Raditz sat quietly on a couch at Capsule Corp, looking and feeling more out of place than he ever had before in his life. The others sat around him, talking quietly as they waited for the younger Trunks to return from lunch. His brother-- he'd have to get used to that idea-- sat next to him, not really contributing, just eating something he'd stolen from the fridge. He got the impression they may have a few things in common, at least.
This was a stupid idea, he thought indignantly, wondering if he could just return to the future quietly while they were distracted. It hadn't been his idea to come here in the first damn place…
He'd climbed to the top shelf of their storage hut, digging around for the last of the capsules that had been sent from the past for them to use. The supplies had been dwindling for a while now, but no one was nervous. The King and the General were headed back for more meat and materials, and that wasn't all they'd be bringing back with them.
Mama stood below him, raising her voice so that it echoed around the small space. "Well, do you have family there or not?"
"I mean technically, yeah," he'd muttered, reaching out to grab capsules on the back of the shelf.
"Then you go. You should be honored the King even asked you to accompany them."
Raditz rolled his eyes. "Trunks wants me with him because he doesn't trust me alone in the village."
Mama pulled the long spoon from her apron and smacked him on the back of the heel. He winced dramatically, barely feeling the sting. "What was that for?"
"For being dumb," she said pointedly. "You think the King is foolish enough to invite an enemy along with his unborn child? He asked you to come because he trusts you."
"Not enough to take this off," Raditz mumbled, holding up the dense bracelet still on his wrist.
"His request says enough," she argued. "He has watched you for two years, and knows what he is doing. You will bring back the right supplies for the kitchen anyway. Tell your family I said hello."
"Mama, they aren't exactly going to be happy to see me. It's just my brother and his family, and the one time we met we didn't really start on the right foot."
"Family is a luxury that many of us don't have," she said, voice a bit softer.
"That's not true," Raditz muttered quietly. "You've got plenty of us, Mama."
"You will go to the future," she announced, dusting her hands off as if they were covered in flour. She walked out of the storage hut, nodding as if she'd just made a safe point. "Your family will listen."
Yeah, not so sure about that. The glances his nephew was occasionally throwing towards him were sharp enough to kill. Apparently a few years of good behavior wasn't enough to erase the past. Not in Gohan's eyes.
He looked towards Trunks, or as he said to call him here, KT. Two years had made a difference, at least between them. He'd gotten to know the young king well, well enough to know that his behavior was off. In almost all situations, KT kept calm, weighing his options, planning strategy or implementing steps to reach a goal. Today he paced back and forth through the living room of Capsule Corp, muttering about his younger self being irresponsible. The King was on edge, off his game for once. Maybe, just maybe, Mama was right. Maybe he'd asked Raditz to come with them for a reason.
There was one person who was absolutely not nervous around him. Vegeta's daughter had clung to KT and Mai at first, but now she stood stoically next to his seat, staring him down as though he was about to perform some kind of trick. He finally had enough.
"What do you want , Kid?"
She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes, and he couldn't help but snort at her attempt to look intimidating. "What's your name again?"
"And you're a Saiyan?"
To his surprise she suddenly scaled his legs so she could stand on his lap and be at eye level with him. He couldn't read her expression. She didn't look angry, really, but she didn't look scared either.
"What are you doing, Bulla?" Gohan asked from where he held his daughter.
Bulla ignored him. "Did you ever fight a three headed tiger before?"
The room went quiet, staring at her.
"Uh… yes, I did," Raditz said, wondering how the hell she could know that.
Bulla's eyes went a little wide. "But then Nappa fell down and one of its claws hit his back, so you grabbed a piece of meat from a great big lizard you killed earlier and got the cat to chase after it so Nappa could hit it from behind."
"Uh… yeah," he said, staring at her in stunned silence. She was a little off; it wasn't lizard meat he'd offered a Trifelix once to distract it, it had been the left leg of an enemy he'd slaughtered, but she was still damn close. "How the hell did you know about that?"
Bulla jumped from his knees, running to her room. Before anyone could ask what she was doing she was back, holding up a big stack of papers and a doll with long hair.
"You're the guy from my bedtime stories!" She exclaimed, starting to lay pictures out on the couch. "You and Nappa and The Prince." She leaned towards him conspiratorially and whispered. "I'm starting to think The Prince is Daddy."
"Our father tells you bedtime stories about Raditz ?" KT balked.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" The younger Mai asked, walking next to Trunks.
"Definitely," he said. "Mom and Dad aren't home. We'll introduce you to Bulla first, and by the time they come back she'll be talking all about you. That way you won't have to be so nervous."
Mai smiled anxiously. She hadn't told Trunks the real reason she didn't want to meet his parents. There was a good chance that his mother might recognize her, and know about her past. It was unavoidable. Eventually, if she wanted to stay with Trunks, she had to face Bulma Briefs. At least with his parents on vacation she had the chance to do a practice run with his sister.
Trunks paused at his front door, frowning.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"There's more people here, I can feel their power levels," Trunks said, looking confused. "Wait, is that--"
The door opened, and on the other side of it stood a man who looked exactly like Trunks, just older. The man scowled at him. "It took you long enough to get here. Do you often leave our sister with others when you're supposed to be…" the man stopped, catching sight of Mai. "You… oh. You found…"
"What are you doing here, KT?" Trunks asked, turning red.
A woman walked up behind him, and for a moment Mai thought she must be dreaming. It was a woman with her own face, staring back at her, again just a bit older.
She looked at Trunks who had gone pale. "Mai… I can explain this…" he said carefully. "Just don't freak out, okay?"
The older version of herself crossed her arms, and a suspicious frown slid across her face. Mai went cold. Forget facing Bulma Briefs. No one could expose her secret life worse than herself.