Chapter 9

"So what's this thing you want to show us, Babette?" Goten asked impatiently as he followed Trunks through her apartment door. His mother was already going to kill him for breaking curfew. "I really need to get home."

She turned around, curls bouncing and shut the door as he passed through. "Stay here. Let me go get it," she said and then slipped out of the room.

Goten frowned at Trunks when she'd left, and he just shrugged innocence. After dropping the others off, Babette had demanded they come inside to see some magic gizmo that her 'ancestors' gave her. She acted like it was the secret of the century.

She was hot. Goten had to give her that, but frankly Trunks' chick gave him the creeps. If she had parents, they were never home, and her place looked bare…really bare. Especially for such a dolled up babe. Shouldn't there be pink lace and posters of boy bands everywhere?

"Yeah. I should be getting home, too," Trunks said. Goten saw that weird wistful expression crawl back into his face. He'd been wearing it since Moroshka left. Goten nudged him in the arm.

"Don't worry about Moroshka, champ. She'll get over it. I doubt she'll ever let you set her up again like that, but she'll get over it. And it's not like Tyus didn't know he was pushing her buttons. You saw how he was dancing with her," Goten said as he chuckled, remembering how audacious their friend had been with the straight-laced Moroshka. It had cracked him up to see her fight Tyus off the entire evening, no doubt using every bit of restraint she could to keep from killing him. Goten exhaled his breath in a whistle. "I would have paid money to see that."

"Yeah," Trunks said, the corners of his mouth barely lifting into a forced smile.

Dude, Goten thought. What's his deal?

"Okay," came Babette's voice from the bedroom. "You can come in, now."

They looked at each other, sighed, and walked in. Before them on a crude metal stand sat a large, transparent ball. Goten couldn't help but to be intrigued.

"What is it?" Trunks asked as he hesitantly approached the orb, studying it in blatant curiosity.

Babette tapped it with her finger, and the thing came to life, with cloudy tendrils snaking its interior, emanating a soft, blue light. "It's a relic of my ancestors," she said, almost entranced by the thing, her eyes wide and staring as if crazed. "It's magic." She then met their eyes with her own. "It can show you any moment in time, past or present," she said eagerly.

What is a high school girl doing with a thing like that? Goten wondered.

"ANY moment?" Trunks asked with a eagerness that made Goten nervous.

She nodded greedily, then grabbed Trunks' hand and led him to it. "Come now. Is there any event that you'd be interested in watching first hand? I bet there is…"

Trunks looked at the ball, transfixed, looking twice as anxious as Goten felt. He nodded hesitantly, like a little kid. An ominous feeling came over Goten suddenly, but it was so elusive that he did nothing to stop the chain of events. Besides, what if the orb worked? How cool would that be?

She placed Trunks' hands on the thing. "Now just think of the moment you want to witness first hand, and push the concept out and into the ball with your mind." Trunks, being accustomed to focusing his ki, had little trouble. The relic swirled, and its light fluttered as his hands encompassed it.

"Will we be able to see what he sees, Babbette?" Goten whispered as he watched Trunks eyes widen, then narrow at it.

She shook her head. "It only plays for the eye of the beholder," she answered quietly, staring at Trunks as intensely as he was staring at the orb. Again, Goten got an unsettling feeling in his gut.

You sure talk weird, chick, he thought. His attention was yanked back when he heard Trunks gasp. Turning back, he saw his friend's face twist into a cocktail of confusion, disbelief, horror…

"Trunks!" Goten cried, stepping towards him. "What is it? What do you see?"

Trunks could only shake his head abruptly, his gaze relentlessly held by the ball in his hands. His jaw muscles spasmed, and his eyes watered, but he didn't look away.

Goten clenched his fist and grabbed Babette's arm. "What is it doing to him?"

She shook her head, a disturbing glint in her eye. "It's the vision he's watching. It must be something…awful."

Goten looked back to find Trunks trembling, radiating waves of ki. My word, he's about to ascend, he thought in disbelief. What the hell is it showing you?

Trunks opened his mouth in a silent scream as his eyes spilled over. Goten imagined it was the worst expression he had ever seen on his friend's face, and just as he stepped forward to pull him away from that thing, Trunks released it, and fell to his knees, panting in great rasping breaths.

"Trunks!" Goten knelt beside him and placed his hands on his friend's trembling shoulders. Trunks' eyes were clenched shut, as if in an effort to banish from his mind whatever images the orb had shown him. His forearms were bulging, and his hands had curled into claws, splintering Babette's hardwood floor.

A strangled sob escaped his lips then, and without looking up, he spoke. "Moroshka," he said, his voice gnarled and unnatural. He suddenly leaned up and grabbed a fistful of Goten's shirt, nearly knocking him over with the force. His face was twisted in agony, his tear-brimmed eyes were filled with fire and hate.

"It was Moroshka, Goten!" he cried. "She killed my father!"

* * *

Moroshka had found it nearly impossible to sleep. She'd taken a bath to relax, and then tried reading, but it seemed as though nothing could stop her mind from going over and over that strange connection with Trunks. She'd analyzed every nuance of the moment. And when she tried to stop thinking about it, something else would trigger the memory.

"This is ridiculous," she muttered. "The last time I couldn't control my own thoughts was when Babidi brainwashed me." After doling over it for the umpteenth time, she convinced herself that it was her imagination. Kai knows it's not like she had ANY experience when it came to intimacy, having always been driven by a greater calling. Bulma had told her plenty, but experiencing it was entirely new… Her mind trailed to Trunks' mother and she gratefully let it.

Bulma had freaked when she'd told her about Babette's mysterious cover up. Moroshka almost felt a tad sorry for the girl. By tomorrow morning, Bulma would have her completely checked out; who her parents were, where she was born, criminal records… She shuddered at the thought of having her own past thrown in her face. Glad you're on my side, Bulma Briefs.

Finally she fell into the lassitude of sleep…only to be ruthlessly yanked out of it by an enormous power.

She sat up and froze as it sent thunderous waves of energy over Capsule Corp, leaving her winded. What the hell…? She leapt out of bed and went to the window. Whatever it was, it was massive. And it was headed her way.

Her thoughts instantly went to Bulma and Trunks. You'll not touch them, whatever you are! With no time to throw anything on over her nightshirt, Moroshka shot out of her window, and hovered protectively over the building that had become her home.

As it approached, the tremendous power became disturbingly familiar…intimate. Suddenly, she recognized who it was.

Trunks? She squinted her eyes at the night sky, and found him. A brilliant light closing in fast…too fast. She barely had time to brace herself as he blurred by, hooking her head in his elbow in a chokehold. The shock of it all permitted little defense, and by the time he flung her down they were well out of the city. She hit the ground, dirt exploding up all around her.

Harsh confusion was overruled by gut instinct, and she powered up and sky rocketed out of the crater to face him, only to lose her courage the second she laid eyes on him. He was at his third level, and somehow…somehow maintaining it. His wild mane trailed behind him like a backdrop, while his clothes screamed at the seams from his muscular expansion. The ire in his eyes had bleached out his irises, leaving great, ferocious white orbs that glared at her as if she were the devil incarnate. She wilted under his gaze. All this fury for me, Trunks?

"YOU!" He flung a finger at her, his expression both terrifying and pained, as if he was trying to bury some deep hurt with anger. "YOU were the monster that killed him!" he bellowed.

He didn't need to say whom. She knew. For a brief moment, she wondered how in the world he had found out; however, looking at his trembling form, she realized that it didn't matter. His anger was justified, and if he wanted to kill her, she would let him. But first he had to know the truth-all of it.

"Trunks," she cried, unsurprised to hear the quiver in her tone. "Listen to me-"

"You KILLED him, and then you stole his family! Everything I thought you were was a LIE!" He came at her again, his moves made frantic by his rage. She dodged and dug her knee in his gut. It did little to slow him down, and she soon found herself gasping for breath as both his hands closed on her throat.

"Why, Moroshka?!" he hissed through his teeth. As terrifying as he was, she saw that his face was streaked with tears, and strangled hiccups spasmed in his throat. To see him in this state hurt her more than the hands crushing her neck.

"Let…me…show…you…" she choked out. Instead of complying, he sent her again plummeting to the earth, only to follow suit and cage her to the ground.

"Murderous…lying…backstabbing…" he sobbed with each word, and he became blurred in her vision as his strength overwhelmed her.

I have to show him, she thought, and in one desperate move she kneed him in the groin, flipping him over and then flipped over and clamped her hands on his head. When their eyes met, she did a 'transfer', just as she had with his father. And she showed him all…

Moroshk's destruction, and Vegeta's cruel laughter; her horrible birth and the unspeakable injustice that brought her into existence; the Supreme Kai's tutelage, and Babidi's enslavement; Vegeta's face as he begged her to protect his family, and his death; the release from Babidi's hold, and the wizard's demise by her hands; and finally, her resolve to comply with the dead Saiyan's wishes.

All shown from her perspective, all felt with her emotions. There was nothing he did not know now. The hate melted off his face, and she felt his power digress under her hands until he transformed back into his natural state, and he lay there, gasping for breath like a fish out of water.

"I'm so sorry, Trunks," she said as the hot tears poured down her cheeks. She collapsed on his chest then. "If I could change the past, I would. I would have had you live out your days in ignorance of…all this. Honestly, I would have."

His heartbeat was screaming through his skin, and he made no effort to pull her in or push her away. The stun of what she'd just shown him too much to handle. She rolled off, and propped herself up on all fours, bowing her head. "I had to show you…everything…before I let you kill me," she said, forcing the words through her constricted throat. "And it's important…to me that you know that though I intervened in your lives out of obligation, the love I have for you and your mother is no less real. I love you," she said trying to muster her courage, and stifle her tears. Powering down, she released all her energy. Then, Moroshka tipped her head to the dirt, and spoke into it. "Now, avenge your father."

She kept her eyes on the ground as he stood shakily to his feet. Several seconds of agonizing silence passed between them and Moroshka clenched her fists in anticipation of the blow that would take her life. She could hear his uneven breaths, and could see his trembling calves. She closed her eyes.

But the blow never came. She heard the quick patter of footsteps and following swoosh as he ran away and fled into the night sky. Left there with all the guilt of a traitor, Moroshka sobbed in the dirt as if her soul was rent in twain. Trunks had spared her.

She was almost disappointed.




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