"Masaka," Gohan whispered, catching Serenity's attention.
"I'm glad you could make it, Gohan-san," she continued.
"You're Neo Queen Serenity? Alive?"
"Yes and no. I told you, I'm from another time. I'm filling my counterpart's shoes until the princess is ready to rule."
"Like I said," Healer stated, "she's Neo Neo Queen Serenity."
"Healer," Serenity whispered, "hush." The other white-haired woman smiled back at her a little wickedly. "Minna-san, make yourselves comfortable. This will take a while. Bulma-san and Vegita-san couldn't come--or wouldn't come?"
"Wouldn't," Gokou and Yamucha answered at the same time.
Trunks frowned. "Kuso," he muttered, sitting down vaguely between Serenity and ChibiUsa.
"What?" Goten whispered, taking the seat nearest to him.
"I wanted to meet them here."
Goten looked positively aghast. "Bulma-san was dead there too?"
Trunks nodded slowly. "She died when I was three. Gohan-san died right after her. Everyone else had been dead for years."
"Even my otousan?"
"Gokou-sama died soon after I was born. I don't remember him."
"I don't know what Gohan-san told you," Serenity began.
"Not much," Kulilyn stated.
"And you hardly told us anything, Serenity-sama," Michiru added.
Serenity rolled her eyes briefly. "Trunks and I are from another timeline, a future equivalent of this world, only much more horrible. The enemy that killed this Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion attacked much sooner. The Sailor Senshi left Chikyuu to destroy it. After several hundreds of years, it had killed everyone but me. I came back to Chikyuu, only to find out the wars here had escalated and almost everyone was dead. That," she pointed at Healer, "was when I went to the past. Soon after I returned to my time, I found Trunks-chan. He was one out of about five survivors of Chikyuu."
"What happened to everyone?" That one came from Yamucha.
"Gokou-san died of a rare viral heart disease when Trunks was about three months old. Everyone but Gohan-san and Bulma-san died fighting the Jinzouningen around the same time. About three years after that, Juuhachigou killed Bulma-san. Gohan-san killed both of the Jinzouningen but died in the process. There was no one left who could run Capsule Corp. so almost everyone else died the next winter."
"If you were gone," Gohan finally asked, "how do you know so much about what happened?"
"I read the records Bulma-san kept," Serenity slowly answered.
"And I saw what happened to her and you--to Gohan-san," Trunks finished. "I was only three, but I'll never forget it. I was six when obasan found me. We've been together ever since."
"You're Saiyajin, aren't you?" Yamucha asked.
"Half. Vegita's my father."
Yamucha almost fell over. "Someone human slept with Vegita?"
Serenity and most everyone else there felt their eyes widen as Trunks's ki rose almost into Super Saiyajin range as he glared at Yamucha. "Trunks," Serenity whispered, touching his arm almost imperceptively. His ki dropped down to its normal resting level, and Serenity continued.
"To make the rest of this long story short, the enemy that killed all the Sailor Senshi and I'm sure had a hand in your counterparts' deaths reappeared after about ten years. We couldn't defeat it alone so we went into the timestream, trying to find a place where all the senshi are alive but we aren't. It will take everyone to defeat Chaos."
"Chaos?" Goten repeated, glancing over at Gohan. He shrugged.
"The best way I can describe Chaos is all evil things rolled into one. It has been hurt before," Serenity firmly stated. "I know at least Sailor Gemini scarred it. If it can be hurt, it can be killed."
"Yosh," Gokou interrupted, "we'll help you."
"And you know we will, Jo'ou-sama," Hotaru added.
"Doomo arigato," whispered Serenity.
"If it's so powerful," Kulilyn interrupted, "why can't I sense it?"
As if on cue, Trunks and Serenity reached out for a sense of its location. "It's still a long ways away," Trunks answered.
Serenity smirked. "It's probably still licking its
wounds. I'd say we have a week before it'll come against
us." She paused, and her face went blank. "Less if I
use any power. There are enough huge kis here to hide Trunks's.
We should be fine."
Amazing, Gohan thought to himself as he walked through Crystal Tokyo. All this time, she was really the queen of Chikyuu, and she still asked for our help. Neo Queen Serenity was supposed to be the strongest being on this planet, so that must mean. . .
"Gohan-san," a soft voice said behind him. He turned around to be confronted by a pair of perfect angel-blue eyes. "Thank you for your help today." She'd changed back into the skirt and shirt she'd been wearing earlier.
"It wasn't a problem, Your Majesty," he stiffly replied. Her eyes narrowed, and she crossed her arms across her chest.
"My name is Serenity. Either call me that or Usagi."
"It's sort of a nickname. Usagi Tsukino, rabbit of the Moon, Gohan-san."
"Why do you keep calling me that? You're older than me, aren't you?"
"I'm older than everyone. That's just what Trunks-chan always called your counterpart."
"Serenity, are you stronger than Neo Queen Serenity?"
She frowned sadly. "Yes, I am."
"The Chaos that's following you is much stronger than the one that came here, isn't it?"
"I think so. The Sailor Senshi were able to defeat this Chaos and save Princess Serenity, while my Senshi and daughter were killed by it."
"Serenity?" She looked up at him. "Who are you, really?"
"I'm just a coward who fled when I was the last one left standing." She looked at the ground and smiled. "Or I was, until I met Trunks. Now, I have the strength to accept everything and stand alone." She met his eyes once more. "Like Neo Queen Serenity."
If she stands alone, Gohan realized, she'll die like Neo Queen Serenity.
"Well, you're not going to have to fight alone," he returned. "That's why you got all of us together, isn't it?"
"Yes. Yes, that is why. And Trunks wanted to meet all of you, especially his parents."
"Who trained him if we were all dead?"
"Tapion. Trunks turned Super Saiyajin when he died."
"There were only five survivors?"
"Trunks, Tapion, and three humans. They were possessed by Chaos. We--I had to--" She choked in the middle of the sentence and turned her back to him. "Gomen, Gohan," she continued a few minutes later. "I'm not usually like this, you know."
"It's all right."
She turned back around and sadly smiled. "Doomo. I'd better be getting back to the palace before Rei freaks out."
"A week is all the time we'll have?"
Serenity nodded. "Less if I use my powers."
"Can you train without using your powers?"
"You and Trunks are welcome to come out to train with us, learn our moves. Maybe Vegita will show up."
She grinned. "Do you think Bulma-san might too?"
"Maybe. Wait a second. Is Bulma-san Trunks's--"
"I've yet to see all three of them in the same place at the same time, but Trunks clearly resembles both of his parents."
"Vegita-san's face and body with Bulma-san's hair and eyes."
"Hai." Serenity glanced behind her nervously. "I've been away from the palace too long. Rei-chan's after me."
"The ki that's like a fire?"
"Exactly. Rei Hino, the senshi of fire, Sailor Mars. And she's already attacked me once. I'd like to avoid that happening again. Ja ne, Gohan."
"Konban wa, Serenity. Can we expect you soon?"
"Is tomorrow soon enough?"
"Perfect. I'll see you then."
"Count on it, Gohan. Count on it."
"Aino-chan, slow down!" Serenity called out. "I can't fly as fast as you!"
Trunks dropped out of Super Saiyajin and let his adopted aunt catch up with him. "Gomen, obasan. I'm just excited."
"Hontoo? I never would have guessed. Is that the place over there?" she asked, already dropping to the ground.
"Go on, musuko-chan. I'll catch up," she stated.
"You're sure? You'll be okay?"
"Serenity-san! Trunks-kun!" a voice called out from over their heads. Trunks looked up and grinned.
"Goten," he greeted the other young man as he landed next to him.
"You ready to spar, Trunks-kun?"
Trunks glanced over his shoulder, and Serenity smiled. "Go on, you two. I think I can find my way from here."
"Oniisan is around here somewhere," Goten offered. "Otousan's sparring with Vegita-san, and Bulma-san's on her way here."
"They'll both be here?" Trunks sounded almost awestruck.
"You can see them after you spar," Serenity reminded him. He nodded slowly. "See you later, Trunks."
"Ano, Serenity-san, wait for oniisan before you go inside."
"Hai. Wakatta, Goten. Go spar, you two," she said with a smile.
"Hai!" Both young men said at once. Neither of them seemed to notice as they took off in a flash of light and a brief vaccuum.
It's good Trunks has someone his own age here besides ChibiUsa-chan. It's almost like he and Goten are meant to be friends. I wonder--
She looked up and smiled at the voice's owner as he set down near her. "Ossu, Gohan. Goten told me you were out here."
"Where is he?"
"He and Trunks are off sparring somewhere." She
paused and looked up at him. "They'll probably be back when
they start smelling food."
Gohan was fairly certain his face matched his gi--and it had been steadily getting redder with every word his mother was saying to Serenity. Thankfully most of it was about his father, but still. . .
". . . and he's never home!" Chichi complained. Serenity nodded sagely and was silent, as if she knew talking might just make the rampage worse. "Can you help me set the table?"
"Okaasan," Gohan protested, "she's a guest."
"Daijoubu, Gohan," stated Serenity as she faintly smiled his way. "I don't mind. I'm glad to help out."
I'm surprised she's lasted this long around Okaasan,Gohan sourly thought as the white-haired woman set the table around him, especially since it's been just her and Trunks for so long. Serenity looked up, caught him watching her, and smiled again. She's probably just glad for the company.
"Ne, Gohan," she whispered very softly from right behind his ear suddenly, "it's more than just that."
"You can read my mind?" he whispered.
"A little, and only if you don't mask your thoughts properly." She stepped back into view, still smiling faintly. "I had to learn it around Trunks-chan," she continued, reaching over him to set the last place.
"How long have you been listening?"
"Since you stopped blushing. Gomen nasai, Gohan-kun. I won't do it anymore. Trunks-chan and Goten-chan are on their way back."
"You love him very much, don't you?"
"He's the son I never had, my whole family that was taken
from me. Gomen," she apologized, retreating into the
He couldn't resist grinning brilliantly, blocking another blow. That same grin disappeared as Trunks's fist connected soundly with his stomach. Goten let out a very undignified grunt as all the air left his lungs, and he doubled over in pain. He was a bit surprised that Trunks didn't take the opportunity to attack his unguarded back, but the pale-haired fighter waited, floating patiently, letting him recover.
He's definitely not much like Vegita-san! Goten thought purely to himself.
"Why don't we call a time out?" he suggested. "I don't know about your aunt, but okaasan hates it when I come home all beat up and sweaty."
Trunks lowered his eyes almost immediately. "Gomen, Goten," he apologized, barely above a whisper. "I didn't mean to get you in trouble."
This was an abrupt change of pace. Just a few minutes ago, he'd been very determined to pound Goten's face into the soil. "It's okay. She won't get mad so long as we get cleaned up before dinner." He glanced around. "There's a lake near here. We can get cleaned up there."
"Hai. Lead the way."
This is scary, Goten mused as he flew toward the lake, Trunks next to him. The wars there must have been really bad if he doesn't recognize the landscape. "Ne, Trunks-kun?" He looked over at him. "What was your world like?"
Trunks was silent for a long moment, and his already stern face hardened. "Empty. All this here," he gestured below them to the trees and the approaching body of water, "was a barren wasteland. Nothing except a few scattered groups of trees and animals existed on the whole planet with me and obasan. Everything and everyone else was dead, either by the Jinzouningen or nature."
"Hai, or Chaos. That's why we have to defeat it this time, or die trying."
Goten grinned and put a hand on Trunks's shoulder. "We'll win. Here, we always do."
"Hai. We even beat Majin Buu." They set down by the lake. "It took a long time and most of us died, but we beat him and then wished everyone good back to life with the Dragonballs."
"Sou ka?" Goten nodded. "Where were the Sailor Senshi?"
"Dunno. Maybe that was while they were fighting Chaos because they showed up again later without the king and queen."
Trunks nodded solemnly and knelt down by the water. "I think obasan misses him a lot."
"I think your obasan likes my oniisan."
"Nani?!?" Trunks almost yelled, head whipping back to look at Goten.
In answer, he just grinned again and pushed Trunks in the
There was a very soft knocking on the door. "Gohan-chan, can you get that?" his mother called from the kitchen.
"Hai, okaasan!" he returned, getting up from the table and answering the door. "Goten! Trunks! What happened to you?"
Each of them looked up at him with very guilty eyes then pointed at the other, saying in unison, "Him."
Of course, it was at that very moment that Chichi and Serenity chose to step out of the kitchen, each of them carrying almost more food than they could see over. Almost at the same time, they slammed the bowls down and glared at the two teenagers. It was Chichi that started first, though.
"Goten-chan! Trunks-chan! What happened to the two of you?!?" They both looked down, silent. "Both of you, get inside and out of those wet clothes! Now!" Trunks looked up at her briefly then back down.
Serenity's face softened as she realized what that look meant. She smiled at the drenched pair then glanced over at Chichi. "Ne, Chichi-san, does Goten have some clothes Trunks can borrow?"
"Umm...hai. They're about the same size. Goten-chan, see if there's something in your closet Trunks-chan can wear, all right?"
The two teenagers nodded and started inside. As he walked past Serenity, she reached up and messed up Trunks's hair. "Have fun?" she asked softly.
"Good. Go change. The last thing we need is two sick Super Saiyajins."
"Okay, obasan." He followed Goten in his room in silence.
"Looks like they're turning into very good friends," Gohan commented.
"It looks that way," answered Serenity. "I'm glad too. Tapion was his only other friend." She was quiet as she stretched. "Oi, when will Gokou-san-tachi get here?"
Her timing couldn't have been better once again, but it wasn't Gokou who came through the door. "Bulma!" Chichi greeted. And then to the small blue-haired girl coming in after her, "Ohayoo, Bra-chan!"
Serenity blinked, but that was all the surprise she allowed herself to show. Masaka, her mind declared, Bulma-san has another child?!? She stared at the child but couldn't determine who her father might be; the girl was a minature Bulma. Could it be Vegita-san?
The little girl walked right up to Serenity and asked, "Who are you?"
"Serenity Tsukino," she answered pleasantly, bending down to her level. "And you are?"
Kuso! Bulma-san's family name too! "Well, I'm very pleased to meet you then, Bra-chan."
"Why are you here?"
"Gohan-kun invited me."
Bra nodded sagely. "Mama made me come."
"Bra!" Bulma scolded, and the little girl cringed just a little bit.
Slowly Serenity stood and stepped closer to the blue-haired woman in front of her. "Ohayoo gozaimasu, Bulma-san. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"So you're the Serenity I've been hearing so much about? I'm pleased to meet you as well. Yamucha said there was someone else here with you."
"Okaasan! Serenity-san!" Goten called, dragging a very flustered Trunks back in the room. "Is dinner ready yet?"
"We're waiting on your otousan and Vegita."
"Great," Bulma commented. "We'll be waiting all night then."
Serenity smiled to herself as she examined Trunks. Okay, maybe he and Goten are almost the same height, she admitted to herself, but Goten's a lot bulkier than Trunks-chan. Still... it's not that bad; I wonder where he's hiding his tail. The back of one of his pants legs twitched just slightly, and her smile grew.
"Goten!" Chichi scolded. "Aren't those the clothes Bulma gave you?"
"H-hai, but they didn't fit me as well as they fit Trunks-kun."
"It's all right, Chichi," Bulma said softly. "He's right; it does look better on..." Serenity could almost literally watch surprise set in as the woman's face dropped. "Trunks?"
Whatever else he was going to say was cut off by the door slamming open. Both Serenity and Trunks jumped at the sudden sound--then again when Chichi started yelling. "Gokou-sa, how many times have I told you not to slam the door?"
This dinner's going to be one big series of diasters,
Serenity direly predicted.
Bulma couldn't help being shocked really. That quiet, tiny, white-haired woman had actually managed to eat as much as and as fast as the Saiyajin the first two courses of the huge meal. She'd actually managed to beat Gohan to a few pieces of food, even waging a small chopsticks war for the last dumpling; Bulma was pretty sure he'd let her win. After two courses, she'd slowed down to a more leisurely pace and started up a quiet conversation with Chichi. That was when the question came.
"So, Trunks," Yamucha began, and Trunks lifted his eyes to look at him and didn't stop eating, "if Vegita here is your father," there was a growl from Vegita's general direction, "who's your mother?"
Trunks promptly choked on his noodles, Gohan on his rice, and Serenity on the middle of her word.
"Who?" Yamucha persisted. Slowly everyone's but Chichi's and Serenity's attention focused on the lavender-haired young man. "There's no reason for you to keep that a secret."
"Bulma-san is," Serenity stated, neatly plucking up the very dumpling Yamucha was reaching for. There were various sounds of surprise and shock from all over the table. Her blue eyes looked at each one of them in turn as she finished chewing and swallowing. "What? You couldn't look at them and tell?"
There was a squeal of delight from across the table from Trunks. Bra almost literally appeared in his lap and attached herself around his neck in a near-strangehold. "That means you're my oniisan!"
Serenity laughed softly then glanced over at Bulma, a very strange expression on her face. Gohan followed her eyes. Bulma looked almost...guilty.
"Gomen nasai, Chichi-san," Serenity apologized to her hostess. "I'll be back in a moment, if you don't mind."
"No, no, go right ahead."
She smiled at the dark-haired woman and then stepped outside. The night air was a bit brisk, but it felt nice. She wrapped her arms around herself and mused, I was right after all. Vegita-san must be Bra's father!
She felt a small tug on her skirt and looked down into eyes as blue as her own. "Serenity-san?"
"Hai, Bra-chan?" she asked, kneeling so that she could look at the girl eye-to-eye.
"Does this mean you're my obasan too?"
"Only if you want me to be, Chibi-Hime."
"You know?" She looked perplexed in that way only three-year-old can.
"I know. I know a lot of things."
"So does my Mama."
Serenity laughed softly. "Ano, Bra-chan, your Mama's a genius though. I'm just very old."
"How can you be that old, Serenity-basan? You don't look that old."
"I'm Lunarian, Bra-chan. People on my planet lived long lives so that we could protect Chikyuu."
"Where is your planet?" Bra asked eagerly, looking up at the sky. "Can you see it from here?"
"Hai. See that little slip of white in the sky there?"
"That's the Moon. There can't be planets on it," retorted Bra.
"All right, Bra-chan, you're smart. What's the Latin name for the Moon, its official title?"
The little girl struggled for a little bit, then her eyes widened in shock. "Luna! You used to live on the Moon, Serenity-basan?"
"A very long time ago, Chibi-Hime. Even before Chikyuu froze."
"Hontoo? Masaka? That would mean you were born in... in... 1978."
"I was, on the 30th of June. Should you still be out here, Chibi-Hime?"
"No, I should go back." She held out her hand. "Walk with me."
"Of course, Oujo-sama."
Our Usagi is back, Minako sourly thought, but she's turned into a slave driver. I can appreciate the gravity of the situation, but still...
The white-haired woman's head turned towards her. "Am I really that bad, Minako-chan?" she asked gently.
She nodded. "Okay. So try again."
"Usagi-chan, the Sailor Senshi are trained to use attacks, not just arbitrarily release power."
She stepped over to Minako and stared with hard, ice blue eyes into Minako's own blue eyes. "Hear this now, Minako-chan: Chaos will not give you time to call out your attacks. Trying to do so anyway got my Senshi tortured and then murdered. You must learn to release bit of power without the words. You can cultivate one powerful attack with words, if you like, as I have, but you must also be able to attack without words or warning. Wakatta?"
"Hai, Usagi-chan. Is this what you've been learning from Son-san?"
Completely unexpectantly, Serenity's gaze dropped to the ground. "Hai, Gohan-kun showed it to me." Her face hardened, and she looked back up. "We only have two more days, tops, Minako-chan. Hayukuu! Try it again!"
Sailor Venus nodded determinedly, and this time she successfully created a small ball of orange light in the palm of her hand. "Yatta!" she declared.
"Great job! Now just work on creating it a bit faster, okay?"
"Sure." The new queen of Chikyuu turned to head back inside the palace. "Where're you going?"
"I... um... promised Chichi-san I'd come to dinner again."
"Sure. I bet so." Sarcasm was very heavy in the Inners' leader's voice. "Be sure to give my best to Chichi-san."
"Minako-chan!" Serenity cried indignantly, whipping around to face her.
"What is it with you and Son-san anyway? You've been there almost everyday this week, and if you're not there, Son-san is here. Are you and him--"
"Minako-chan..." She sighed. "Gohan-kun understands me. After all, it was his counterpart that came from the future to warn Gokou-san-tachi of Cell."
"So you're saying you're lonely," summarized Minako.
A slight blush spread over Serenity's face, and she looked
away again. "I am, maybe, Minako-chan. I think I am."
Trunks dodged under his father's kick and aimed his fist at his stomach, wishing somewhere in the back of his mind that he had been able to train with his own father or one of the Vegitas in the pasts they'd visited. He had learned a lot about his father in the second world the went to, where everything was the opposite, from Black Lady and when he and his father fought side-by-side against the Sailor Senshi. He was finding out even more now but much slower. Power-wise, he and Vegita were nearly equal. Trunks was faster, but his father was a great deal more cunning. Neither of them had scored a real blow yet, and despite himself, Trunks was beginning to really enjoy this.
He could sense Gohan-san and his aunt watching from the ground as he blocked Vegita's next attack and met it with one of his own. He couldn't help thinking back to what Goten said about his obasan liking Gohan-san. They certainly were together enough...
Blackness and pain swamped his head, and he forgot all about Vegita. He clutched his head as it worsened and fell out of the sky; he faintly felt someone grab the back of the Capsule Corp. jacket Goten gave him to slow his freefall.
Vegita set the unconscious teenager on the ground. "What's wrong with the brat?" he growled.
Serenity shook her head, frowning as she stepped closer. "I don't--"
Something dark and evil crashed across her mind; it felt almost like a thousand razor blades slashing through her brain. She too clutched her head between her hands and screamed wordlessly. Strong arms caught her around the waist as her legs threatened to give out from under her.
"What is it?" a very soft, very familiar voice said in her ear.
Unconsciousness pulled at her, but unlike Trunks, she'd fought this battle before. She shoved it back and used Gohan's shoulder to regain her footing. Everything around her was still blurry and vague, but she forced herself to focus enough to answer Gohan's question.
"It's Chaos. It's here."
[A.N.: Oh, Megami-sama, that took forever! Hope everyone's sticking with me because the end of "Hope: Grand Tour" is coming soon! Bai-bai!]