"What?" Bulma looked up from her coffee, bewilderment in her eyes. "You don't think you're too old to play baseball anymore--"
"No.. that's not it. " Yamucha frowned. "I'm not going to be joining Gokou and the others for fighting. Anyone my power level came along and Gokou could take him out with with his pinky finger. Anyone /their/ power level would swat me away like a bouncy ball."
"Except you wouldn't bounce as far," she said calmly. "Yam'cha, I think the others would respect your decision. Gokou especially."
Yamucha gave a small smile. "Ah, maybe. But as much as I liked saving the world, I was seriously outclassed when Vegeta showed his full head of hair."
Bulma giggled/chuckled, quieting it by putting a hand over her mouth. She enjoyed her monthly chats with her ex-boyfriend, who, after a while, got used to the fact that Bulma was taken, and there was no way in hell she be 'un-taken' until Vegeta dug himself his own grave... again. "Oh, lighten up, Yam'cha." She winked. "Maybe you can go back to being a desert bandit."
"..Now /that/ is an idea. Robbing poor innocents, making a small living..."
"I wouldn't have to bail you out if you're caught, would I?"
"Yamucha does not get caught." The was a silence, Bulma just watching the long-time warrior, making him sweat nervously. "....Would you?"
"You doubt me?.... depending on the charges, of course."
"Of course," he answered, false mockingly. "...And the rugrats are home."
"Already?" she said, looking at the clock on the wall. 3:24. "Huh. Time flies."
Yamucha nodded as Trunks ran through the kitchen, sliding into a halt in front of the refridgerator, flinging the door open and, more or less, raiding it. A young, blueish green haired girl, followed by a blonde girl with pigtails, entered as well, standing near the doorway and flushed in fury. "Trunks! You pig!"
"Hn??" The purple head rose from behind the door, a package of cheese stuck between his teeth. "Wha'. Ah am naht ahh pilg. Ahm gust hung'y."
Bra huffed, Marron looking like she was intruding. But it was then they got a better look who was actually in that specific room. " Konichiwa, Ojisan Yam'cha!"
Yamucha got in a wave, sweatdropping at her older brother's appetite. Though, as it sank in that the kitchen was occupied already, Trunks pulled himself out of the fridge, tranferring all the food he picked out into his arms and turned, grinning as bright as he could. Why? To hide his indiscrete embarrassment.
Bulma didn't even want to ask, considering she's seen Son-kun's stomach in action; Vegeta was a bit more mannered and neat, but he also had that same Saiyan hunger. It wasn't a surprise their male children also had that appetite... Pan too, but Bra wasn't big on food. That might've been because she, so far, has chosen not to train in offense. .... On the other hand, it probably wasn't just a Saiyajin thing, but more of a warrior thing, since even Kuririn, Yamucha, Tenshinhan, Chao-tsu, and.. ew, Yajirobe had large, healthy appetites.
"Anyway, 'Kaasan, we're going out to the mall with Pan. Can you call Juu-san and Kuririn-san and tell them that Marron won't be back until about... um.. 7?"
Well, that and the fact that Trunks was on his way out with his buffet, Bulma turned to look at the two girls and nodded. "Okay then, but I want you back by 8, at the latest. You have homework to finish /and/ we have that assembly to get to."
"Yoshi! Bye 'Kaasan, Yam'cha!" Marron gave a wave and hurried after the genius' daughter. Yamucha watched them leave too. "Kids are growing fast, Buruma. You're gonna be childless as soon as Bra leaves for college."
She sighed. "I know. But, as the french say, 'C'est la vie.'"
The scarred man smiled. "And as they also say, 'Au revoir.' I promised Puar I'd be back at 4 o'clock, so I need to get going." He rose, as did the blue haired woman. "Want me to see you out?"
"Nah, s'okay. I can let myself out."
"If you say so."
Elsewhere and later on...
"Why, in all of Souja's existance, would Rubus send us out to buy, of all things, clothes??"
Kail simply shrugged a shoulder, not forgetting to peer over it to eye the casually-dressed scientists and guards, to see if they had shifted yet. "No clue, but it might be because of that up-coming formal 'dinner party' with Capsule Corp tonight."
Hn. Talk about last minute. "And we're going to attend?" A colored eyebrow arched high. "That's a first. Are we on display or just there for show?"
"Don't know that either."
Odin, as always, kept his silence as he shifted through the numerous styles of suits in his size while Sirri and Kail discussed what the situation could be, if they were in a formal clothing store, picking out something presentable in front of people, who was supposed to be in the dark about their existance.
"And why isn't that monster of a father you have here?"
"He probably hasn't grown much since the last one we went to.. or at least the last one he went to."
"Hn. ... Well, I'm wandering over here to pick out a dress.. or something that could pass as one."
Kail's smile became amused. "Knock yourself out. We'll stay over here."
"Hey guys! What do you think?" Pan held up a dark blue dress in front of her, putting on a classy look. Marron giggled quietly and Bra's expression soared. "It looks perfect!"
Pan beamed, then frowned at the price tag. "I just wish I could afford it. Why are we going to this meeting anyway? They don't have enough people to show off?"
Bra shrugged and took the dress Pan wore, putting it on a rack they borrowed to load the things they liked onto. "Well, your dad's going because he's ambassador to Japan for the Americans arriving there. Juu-san is going because she's head of technology. And my mama's going for obvious reasons. 'Kaasan's got this idea that we could learn from this experience, so she's dragging Trunks too."
Pan's eyes started beating like hearts at the mere thought of the oldest Briefs child in a tuxedo. "There's my reason for going!"
Marron smiled and pulled another dress off of the racks, this one white, and looking at herself with it in the mirror. It was nice, but not what she wanted. The blonde put it back as both Pan and Bra got to discussing the latter's brother. No, Marron wasn't excluded from the conversation, but she wasn't as interested in Trunks as Gokou's granddaughter was. So, wandering off from her friend's, she made her way over to the other section, the one for women, to see if the perfect dress she wanted was years away.
There, she spotted only one person in that part of the store, a young woman with long hair, wearing loose clothes and scowling at whatever she picked out. She also muttered some vulgar words along with them. Marron ignored her for a time to shuffle through the longer dresses until she came to one she longed to have... and whimpered. Much too big; it might fit her mother.. maybe Bulma-san. The blonde sighed. Oh well.
The woman on her left was still there, frowning most of the stuff she saw. Not a dress person, I guess, Marron mused. But it was then the proverbial lightbulb lit up over the fifteen year old's head. She snatched the dress's hanger and walked over to the woman, draping the article over one arm to keep it from dragging along the cheap, brown rug. "Excuse me?"
The girl glanced down at her before facing her directly, black eyes piercing the light blue ones. As one hand came to rest on her hip, she responded with, "What can I do for you?"
"Well.." Her courage beginning to fail, Marron quickly said, "I noticed you were having trouble finding a dress you like and.. I... though you might want to look at this one."
The hard expression didn't fall, only shifted into something more of bewilderment. "Aren't you a bit young to be working here?"
Marron shook her head, pigtails flying from side to side. "I don't work here. I'm just trying to be helpful. Besides, the color matches your hair." A thick eyebrow arched fluidly, but it went down and Marron held up the dress as the woman reached for it. She held it infront of her and stared in the mirror. She didn't smile, but she didn't scowl or frown either. After a few minutes of looking at it from a few angles, she said, "You've got a good eye, kid. .... Thanks."
Marron smiled at the praise, even if it was from a stranger. At least her ideal dress went to someone who would look remarkable in it. But, the blonde girl's thoughts were interupted by, "Are your parents here at all? Older brother, sister? Grandparents?"
"Huh? ... Oh. No, I'm here with friends."
She offered a weak smile. "Let's get you back to them, okay?"
"Okay!" piped the blonde. She had done her good deed; she also hoped her papa wouldn't be mad at her for talking to a stranger.
It was interesting, however. When they found Bra and Pan, they were so oogling these two guys who were picking out suits a few circular racks away (it was more like the black haired man was helping the tall blonde looking for a suit), so the two girls didn't notice their third party member returning. "Hey Pan, Bra, what're you doing?"
Both jumped about four feet and gave startled gasps. Pan clutched her chest as Bra squeaked, "Don' do that, Marron! .... Where'd you go? And who's she?"
A casual shrug. "I just wwnt browsing. Wanted to see what other dresses there were here. I was by her.. and found a dress that might've looked good, so I showed it to her."
The woman nodded and held the dress in the crook of one arm. Her eyes wandered from the blue haired girl to the black haired one. Even after that start, Black Hair was back to doing... whatever. Over the racks, she looked in Pan's direction... and had to force herself to hold back the smirk. Being all oogled at by a pair of underagers... They don't even look 13 yet. "Anyway... Marron, is it?"
A nod and bouncing pigtails confirmed the name.
"Well.... Thanks again." Marron smiled. "No problem." And as the girl walked away, Marron thought, She's not so bad. But then she saw who the girl was heading for and started laughing softly, while Pan and Bra, who were still watching the gorgeous-yet-older-than-Trunks men, just let their jaws hit the floor in a shocked manner.
The black haired man held up one more dress suit before the blonde made his choice, out of agitation. The former snickered as he put back the one in his hand and took the finely tailored white one from the blonde. The girl smirked and dragged them both towards the register.
Kail dropped the stuff off for the cashier to total and turned to Sirri as she plopped her choice on top of it. "Who were they?"
"Some bunch of kids. No big thing. That blonde one help me with 'the dress'. .... They were drooling over you guys too."
Odin only raised a clueless eyebrow while Kail was trying hard not to burst out laughing. Two kids giving /them/ star-filled eyes? How histerical is that?
Sirri only snickered. "If you guys can catch the attention of girls who aren't even in their teens yet, imagine what kind of attention you can get in the real world."
"Hn. I wouldn't be talking about the real world, if I were you," Odin spoke, pointing towards the door. Two of the scientists and one of the guards were entering the store now, and Kail and Sirri quit their humorous triad. The guard collected the bagged clothes as the doctors started talking about shoes and maybe an accessory or two, leading them out of the department store. Three pairs of ears couldn't hear them, but three pairs of eyes watched them closely. Bra could only frown in confusion as Marron and Pan looked at each other dumbfoundedly.
Later that night...
"Mom, I don't see why I have to go. This has--"
"--everything to do with your future," said the blue haired woman, fixing her son's tie. "This company /will/ be handed down in the family, Trunks, and that means you."
Bra giggled loudly at Trunks' pouting frown and Vegeta only snorted rudely. "You fuss over the boy too much, woman."
"And you don't fuss enough. This is just evening things out," was her last comment before brushing aside light purple bangs and finally leaving Trunks to his misery. The black tuxedo, similar to his father's, looked quite dignified, yet the fact that they weren't too into them was written all over their faces.
Bra was amused, even as she hung on to Vegeta's arm. Her red dress clashed draumatically with her hair, but it still wasn't a bad choice... not considering her age, however. Vegeta had protested against it at sight, only agreeing to let her wear it if she stayed by him at all times. The light green haired girl didn't mind the protective attitude from her father; she loved spending time with him anyway.
Bulma folded her arms and inspected her family. Trunks was messing with his cuff, Vegeta was... Vegeta, with the addition of a Bra attachment on his arm. She smiled approving and perked her thumb towards the door. "Let's go."
At the assembly...
The clamor of numerous people talking arosed as the doors opened, emitting in more people who'd only add to the sound when they meet the right people. At a table for eight, though, not too much was happening. Three little girls were whispering to each other and gossiping between them with childish squeals and giggles, the two older women were exchanging words with a spikey-haired younger man, who, when not being spoken to by the women, had his attention on the Americans a few feet away at another table. And all while the last two men stayed quiet unless spoken to, both uncomfortable with the surroundings. Big gatherings weren't their share of pie.
Juuhachi-gou, under the gaijin alias Julia Synthen, had enrolled as an engineer in the mechanics department of Capsule Corp. and slowly built her way up to the status of head of technology. Gohan was here for the purpose of making the Americans, who were over-seas business partners with the company, feel more comfortable.
And people were still arriving.
Which is why no one paid any attention to the fivesome that walked through the double doors.
The first to step in was a man, roughly in his early fifties. Dark hair, streaked with grey, was pulled back into a small pony tail and eyes that matched the color of his unaged hair shined with intrigue. On his right, escorting him, was Sirri.
The dress Marron had picked out for her did, indeed, match her hair so perfectly, it was hard to tell where the strands ended and the dress began. It was held up by a single strap, covering her entire right shoulder and reached down to her ankles, complete with a wide belt that was an innocent white. And she was giving a small, yet shy, smile to the few people who greeted them, or, rather, greeted Tamichi Kei.
Behind them were Odin, his white suit making his gold hair stick out brilliantly, and Kail, frowning at the fact that he was getting a few looks at the style of hair which he was born with. And filling in the rear was Rubus, silently scolding at the very idea of 'the brats' attending this dinner party/meeting. Tamichi-san had some very questionable motives about all this.
Tamichi bowed politely to those who did too, and shook hands to those who offered. Some made a few comments and roused soft laughter. One or two asked about the young lady by his side, which received only the answer that she was Tamichi's grandchild. And when they introduced themselves to her, Sirri just blushed slightly and did the same, going by the name Tamichi Sirri.
Rubus nearly growled at the dangerous attention that Tamichi was drawing towards themselves. ... And the biggest danger of all was just starting to walk up to them.
Bulma Briefs was walking over to them; at the same time, Rubus was able to pull Kail and Odin with him to their table for 'a little talk'...
"Tamichi-san. I didn't think you would be here tonight."
"I wasn't planning on it, Briefs-san, but something told me I should come, so I brought along my graddaughter, Sirri."
Bulma nodded and smiled, bowing towards the dark violet-haired girl, who returned it shyly. "A pleasure to meet you Sirri. .. How old are you?"
The blue-haired woman looked thoughtful. "That's the same age as my son. Maybe I can introduce you two?"
"Uh," Sirri blushed a dark red and shook her head, "no, no, that's.. okay. I, er, um, eh, 'nnn..." She bit her lip in embarassment. "I... Nothing against your son, but I.. just..."
Bulma smiled warmly. "That's alright. I understand."
The small talk went on for a bit before all the guests settled at their tables and a man stepped up to the podium on the stage, who spoke in english for the sake of the Americans. "Ladies and gentlemen, conglomerates, colleagues, family, friends. As you all know, someone within the company was embezzling large sums of money from the main account, here in Japan. That person was caught, arrested, and tried in America and has a sentence of 15 years. But that was only a reminder. The real reason we're here is to enjoy each other's company as we celebrate being a bigger industrial market than even Microsoft. As well, we are going to perform department reports and updates on current stats and everything else that seems important, or not, if that's the case... but either way, lots of z's'll be crowding the room, ne?"
There was quiet laughter and then dinner was starting to be served.
As the third representer stood up, those who were interested listened closely and the rest made small talk.
"You still have yet to tell me why you insisted that we attend this... thing, Tamichi."
Sirri, Kail, and Odin lowered their eyes to their plates, but listened as Tamichi responded with, "I did it for them, Rubus. They have a right to know how the world works. For kami's sake, children don't deserve to be locked up in a white building for the rest of their lives until you decide to make your move against them."
Rubus growled lowly, the rest of the noise level watering it down so that only the occupants at their table could hear it. "They are warriors, Tamichi. Not scientists, or businessmen, and certainly not artists or mechanics. I refuse to have them keep up their useless practices that you taught them!"
Kail frowned, Sirri bit her lip, and Odin narrowed his eyes. They liked what they did in their spare time.... when they had any, that is.
"They are only children, Rubus. They deserve to have some work to do. Maybe take them out to the country side. Teach them how to fight in the wide open and in the forests. A change in environment might improve their fighting skills."
"No. It's too risky. The walls we have shield our ki. Out in the open, they'll detect it and investigate from it's unfamiliarity. The answer's no."
Kei sighed and gave up. Rubus was of a stubborn breed and arguing never changed his mind.
Sirri made a slight face and put her utensils down on the plate. No one paid attention to her, really. Rubus was scowling to himself, Kail found false interest in his meal again, Tamichi had found a colleague behind him and started talking to her, and Odin was overlooking the crowd. But there was something... something that made this atmosphere comforting. The girl hmmed and laid her head down on Odin's shoulder, the so-called gentle giant not disapproving, nor seemed to notice as she dozed off...
There is noise: chatter, laughter... My father sits beside me, my sister conversing with her friend. My best friend's niece stares at me with longing, but I make nothing of it. My mother talks with our friends, but I don't talk.
There's something about this place that makes me feel like I've never felt before and it's all I can concentrate on. I'm at peace, one with my soul. But why? Why is this so special? But I know how I feel; no one can say it's different or I'm wrong.
I just feel... whole.
"Sirri? Sirri, wake up. My arm's getting numb."
Kail chuckled, smirking in amusement as Odin maneuvered his arm out from under the dark head and around her shoulders. The blonde was starting to look very uncomfortable about the ordeal.
Bulma was up on stage now, her son right beside her. Tamichi motioned for Kail and Odin to listen.
"As you all know, I'm not going to be president forever, unless I rub a magic lamp and wish for immortality--" A few brief chuckles. "--but the chances of that are point 000000021 to none, so here I am, introducing you to the heir to this company. I know I'm starting him out earlier than agreed to--"
"No kidding," mumbled Trunks.
"--but it's a good learning experience. And, well, if he can't do it," she grinned, "I always have a daughter."
"Upstaged by my little sister," said the pale haired boy, this time loud enough to carry to the mike. "How embarrassing."
"I heard that, Trunks!" came the responding shrill. "You're gonna get it!"
The audience laughed at the sibling rivalry between the two Brief children, and the table Bra was sitting at was laughing even harder, considering Bura was still close to her father... apparenting too close, revealed in all the pained faces Vegeta made as his ear drum rattled and rung from the intense sound waves.
As the noise started to die down, Bulma ahemed and said, "Bra, honey, don't yell across the room. You know how much that annoys your father."
Leaning over, Trunks whispered in her ear, "That's an understatement, 'Kaasan."
"...That's an understatement, 'Kaasan...."
Odin looked down at Sirri after she mumbled that and knitted his eyebrows. The others were too enrolled with the performance on stage to notice. Is she dreaming?
Bulma gave the podium over to Trunks and he cleared his throat. "Must be the oddest thing to see an eighteen year old up here instead of some older employee giving out statistics for the company... But speaking of my role as 'heir', I do plan to take the company over when the time comes... after finishing high school and college, that is.
"Though," he rustled through some papers, "I really don't see why I'm being started out tonight. It's not like I don't have other things to worry about right now, like school or my.. other hobbies.
"But, I've decided, however the only reason I'm taking it, is because I wear glasses and I *know* I look darn fine in them."
"--darn fine in them..."
Odin stared, wide eyed at Sirri as she murmured the same words that Buriifusu-san said. Something was very, very wrong. "Tamichi-san!" he hissed just loud enough to grab the old man's attention.
"What is it, Odin?" Kei turned around in his seat to eye the youngest. Odin looked back at Sirri briefly before saying, "There's something wrong going on. Sirri's speaking the same words Trunks-san is in her sleep!"
The scientist's face was drained of color imediately and stuttered for a moment before rasping out, "Oh.. Oh no..."
And even though the crowd of high-standing employees were laughing and giving high sharp whistles, it was now time to panic.