JogreMyOgre: Glad you're enjoying the story! Sometimes I wonder if I overdo it with the creativity. There's a thin line between fanfiction and original fiction, so I have to remind myself to add Dragonball elements into each chapter so it's not too AU-ish.
MarronChestnut: I love how whipped Krillin is for his family in DBZ, it's too bad I had to kill him off early in this fic. I like late night updates too, they just hit different.
Dulcet Shoujo: It's smart having your stories on more than one site. I'm trying to transition over to Wattpad, AO3 might be next for me. I love The Hunger Games. I'd be lying if I said Suzanne Collins hasn't influenced my writing style. The bunker was inspired by the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane.
"Wake up," Gohan commands, sheathing the sword and tossing it into the dirt next to Trunks, startling him awake." We need to head out now."
Gohan spills the melted ice from the cooler over the glowing coals. Smoke sizzles out from the larger charred pieces of wood, which Gohan steps on with his boot, reducing it to ash. He encapsulates the cooler, then wipes away our footsteps in the dirt with a fallen tree branch.
"We have to make this area look as undisturbed as possible," Trunks explains, noticing the confused expression on my face. He stands next to me, then presses his index finger to his lips and smiles." We were never here."
My eyes flick to the sword now strapped to his back. He has no idea how close I'd come to taking his friend's life this morning. I doubt he'd be smiling and cracking jokes if my plan had succeeded. Maybe it's a good thing I'm not as strong as my mom and uncle. Maybe killing isn't for me.
I smile back. "You know there's a twig sticking out of your hair."
"Oh, sorry." Trunks quickly pats down his head and pulls out the wooden invader. He suddenly becomes self-conscious and pats off the dirt on his grey gi pants and bare shoulders.
"What are you doing?" Gohan asks, joining us after finishing his cleanup work.
"Nothing!" Trunks and I say in unison.
Gohan quirks a brow at us, then shakes his head at the thought of something.
" Trunks, put the blanket over her head and get ready to go."
Trunks blinks at me. I take a step away from him, not agreeing with the idea of having a scratchy blanket thrown over my head and flying to a bunker beneath the ground. I know I should be submissive and go along with whatever Gohan wants, but my fear of heights is begging me to run. Even if I went along with what they want, I know I'll just scream and kick the whole way there. I might even puke.
" Are you being serious?" Trunks asks, focusing his attention on Gohan. My eyes widen at the challenging tone in Trunks' voice. Gohan doesn't seem phased by it.
"Yes, I am," Gohan coolly responds." Put the blanket over her head and let's go. She's stayed with the androids for a long time and is scared to death of them. She will give up our location just to please them. We can't reveal our hideout to her. Don't fight me on this."
Trunks lifts his hand to scratch his nose, but the movement startles me. With the quickness of a rabbit, I run out of grabbing distance and leap over the black stains of what remained of last night's fire. The urge to keep running is strong, but how many times have I tried that already? I stop, bunch my fingers into my dress, take a deep breath, and turn around.
"I hate flying! I want to walk, please, don't make me fly again!"
Trunks gives me a sympathetic look. "I think we should trust her, Gohan. Think about it. We're too far away from the androids or any nearby town. She can't possibly give up our location. You're being paranoid."
"Maybe I am being paranoid, but if there's even the 1% chance of the androids finding us, then I'm not taking that chance." Gohan lets out an irritated sigh." Never mind. I'll do it."
Gohan takes the blanket and marches in my direction. Deep down, Trunks knows that his older friend is wrong, and he's too strong-willed to go along with what Gohan says. In a flash, Trunks' back appears in front of my face. " Stop! She said she's afraid to fly, so leave her alone!"
None of us sees the punch coming. It happens so fast. Gohan let's go of the blanket, freeing up his only hand, and connects his fist into Trunks' jaw. The younger man falls to the ground and Gohan fists his fingers into the younger man's stringy, lilac hair, and his forearm bulges as he forcefully holds Trunks' face into the dirt.
Trunks' legs and arms thrash around like a wild animal.
"You fucking asshole! Let go of me!"
"Not until you calm down," Gohan grunts.
"Let go of meeee! Ahhh!" Trunks roars in pure rage. His aura pushes out a strong wind. He and Gohan sink into a small, human sized crater. The crater becomes deeper as the wind continues to get stronger. I close my eyes and cross my arms over my face, bracing myself against the growing power before me. If his aura gets any stronger, the trees and I will be blown off the mountaintop within seconds.
"Stop thinking about the girl for a second and listen to me!" Gohan shouts." The androids are going to sense your power and find our location! You need to calm down!" In a softer voice he adds." Remember our reason for training every day. Remember why we must never give up!"
Just as suddenly as it began, it all stops. Trunks' rage evaporates into the air. The wind from his aura subsides, and he goes quiet. Gohan hesitates a moment, then releases his hold on the younger man. He reaches to hook his hand under Trunks' arm to help him up, but Trunks shrugs him off.
"I can do it myself," Trunks snaps, standing up on his own.
"Right." Gohan nods in my direction." We need to hurry. The androids are probably on their way here." Gohan runs a few steps and blasts off into the air, taking the lead.
Trunks flies out of the crater and runs over to me. The blanket had blown somewhere into the forest earlier, so he couldn't have used it even if he wanted to.
" Close your eyes and hang on tight." He scoops me up into his strong arms, and I wrap my much slender arms tightly around his neck, pressing my face close to his. He blasts off from the ground like a rocket.
I watch the ground from over his shoulder with growing dread as the forest and that part of the mountainside becomes as tiny as an ant within seconds. I whimper when the mountain disappears completely beneath a layer of white fluffy clouds. Never in my whole life did I want to be at the same height as the clouds. That was just too much for me.
Trunks' fingers lightly press into my waist and knees, and he smiles when I look at him." Closing your eyes might help. Don't worry, we'll be at the bunker soon. You're safe with me."
He focuses his attention straight ahead and his smile curves down. I catch sight of the bruise forming along his jaw. It's going to take some time for his bruise and ego to heal.
After a few short minutes, the flight is over. Gohan is waiting for us at the edge of a cliff when we land, his face lit up by the sun. There are three female humans waiting beside him. The teenage girl wearing a dark green flannel and black leggings, with an intimidating assault rifle held ready in her hands immediately grabs my attention. I'm so surprised to see another girl close to my age that I barely notice when Trunks gently sets me down.
The teenage girl with the rifle glances from me to Trunks, then back at me. Her reddish-brown eyes narrow when she notices Trunk's jacket, which I'm still wearing. Her lips curl, and her voice sounds just as hostile as she looks." Who the fuck is this?"
I'm not sure what I expected when Gohan revealed that there would be other girls here, but I didn't expect this. Clearly, she didn't want me here. That's fine. I didn't want to be here either. Hopefully, she couldn't see the sting of hurt on my face.
"We can introduce ourselves later," Gohan says, putting his arm around me and giving my shoulder a light squeeze. To everyone else it probably looked like he was trying to comfort me, but I knew better. He was warning me not to reveal anything about myself. " We have to hurry. The androids are coming."
"They know where we are? How?" blurts out the girl the same height as me, wearing a blue hoodie and black spandex shorts. She doesn't look afraid. Her light blue eyes hold only contempt for the androids. A second glance at her face tells me that she's older, closer to Gohan's age then mine. My skin prickles like a kitten's fur when it encounters a predator. Somehow, I know that this girl is more threatening than the one carrying the rifle. I can sense it.
Gohan frowns down at the blue-eyed girl." I lost control of my power this morning, which is as good as waving a red flag and broadcasting my location to the world. I'm sure the androids must've sensed it. That's why we need to go inside as quickly as possible."
"Humph, you never lose control. You're not telling us the whole story, are you?" The blue-eyed girl shoots a scathing glare at Trunks, then spits at the ground." Ah, whatever. Go run and hide if you want to. I'll stay and fight."
"No, V, you can't!" cries the youngest girl standing next to her, who could be no older than ten. She hugs tightly onto the older woman's arm." I don't want you to die!"
"Aka-chan!" The girl with the rifle hisses, silencing the little girl's cries.
The girl, Aka-chan, let's go of V's arm and walks over to rifle girl's side like a dutiful dog.
Gohan and V stare at each other in silence for a moment, then Gohan sighs." Trunks, take Marron to Bulma and lead everyone safely back to the bunker. Miss Videl and I need to have a chat."
"Right." Trunks takes a step off the cliff and drops out of sight. The little girl called Aka-chan does the same thing. Driven by curiosity, I shuffle closer to the edge of the cliff, then peak over the side. Trunks and the little girl are standing on a manmade ledge.
The girl waves." Jump! You can do it!"
"No, I really can't!" I shout while shaking my head.
Rifle Girl stops me from taking more than two steps back. She presses the tip of the rifle against my back and growls." Move it!" She shoves the rifle into my back, forcing me off the edge of the cliff. My scream echoes as I fall. I land on the hard, rocky surface with my knees first, then fall forward on trembling hands. Rifle girl lets out the lightest grunt as she jumps onto the ledge, barely missing my fingers with her military boots.
"Are you okay?" Trunks asks, rushing to my side. He helps me up. "Can you stand?"
"Yeah." I reply, blinking dumbly at the girl who had just pushed me. I can't understand why she would do such a thing. Does she somehow know that I'm 18's daughter, is that why she pushed me?
The little girl's big brown eyes narrow, and she slaps rifle girl as hard as she can on the thigh." You're a meanie, Haruto! I'm telling Dad about this when we get back!"
"As if he'd care," She snorts, pushing her long burgundy hair over her shoulders. She glares at me for a second, then looks at Trunks." I can already tell this girl is going to give us more trouble than she's worth. We should just leave her and let the androids do what they want. Weaklings like her never survive long in this world anyway."
"That's enough," Trunks sighs. He points ahead at the narrow trail leading down the edge of the cliff." Gohan gave us an order, so get moving."
"Yes, sir." Rifle girl –Haruto—rolls her eyes but is the first to descend the trail. The little girl, Aka-Chan, follows close behind.
"Are you going to be okay?" Trunks asks.
I think about it for a moment, then slowly nod.
"I'll be right in front of you. Shout if you need my help. I can fly you the rest of the way if you need me to. There's no shame in being afraid of heights." Trunks gives me his best reassuring smile, then descends the trail after the others.
I tilt my head back to look up at the sky—it will be a long time before I'll get to see sunlight again—only to find Gohan peering down at me. My loud scream when I was pushed off the edge must've attracted his attention. My cheeks heat up at the thought of him witnessing Haruto say those mean things to me, then the sweet moment I had with Trunks just now.
Gohan disappears, focusing his attention back on the blue-eyed girl who would rather die than spend one more day hiding from the androids.