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Time's Orphan
By Femme-Chan

Epilogue: Maybe I'll Find Some Peace Tonight
I need some distraction
Oh, beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

**Sarah McLachlan, "Angel"

"Don't be such a baka, Bishounen," Zukani said irritably, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear and frowning slightly. "Why do you insist on going back to that cabin every day? It's not like that place is in mint condition!"

Juunana looked at his friend and half-smiled at her annoyance. "I didn't think you liked having me around so much, Zu-chan," he said smoothly.

Both teens were sitting on the balcony of Zukani's room, along with Trunks and Goten, watching the sunset. It was a little ritual they had begun shortly after Zukani's return to Chikyuu, one that held deep meaning for all of the teenagers - when one day ended, there was the chance for a new beginning with the rising of the sun.

It had been well over six months, and so many things had changed. Zukani had decided to grow out her shoulder-length locks, and the result was quite lovely - her hair now fell about halfway down her back, and the bangs she now sported were in constant danger of spilling over her eyes. She and Trunks had also recently turned seventeen (which they had celebrated by going out to play 'normal teen' for the night with their best friends), and Bra was now six years old. Goten himself was fast approaching his own birthday, and was eager to start driving (all three of the other teens feigned terror every time he mentioned that fact). And Juunana had, after nearly four months and a lot of thought, accepted Bulma's invitation to move into the Capsule Corporation building - but he was never open about his reasons for changing his mind.

However, some things never really changed.

"Oh, I like having you around, all right," she told the Jinzouningen in an even tone. "Who else am I going to beat up every morning?"

Juunana shrugged, still grinning at the girl. "I dunno. Your brother maybe?"

Trunks snickered. "Last time we sparred we ended up wrecking the gravity room and were grounded for a week!"

"Oh, yeah," Goten said. "You two weren't even allowed to leave the house the entire time!"

"Don't remind me," Zukani groaned, leaning back over the balcony railing and hanging upside-down. "That was the worst thing to happen to me in my life! Well, except for losing my okaasan, and my oniichan, and my best friends, and my world, and my life...."

"Great, now I'm depressed."

"You're always depressed, Bishounen. You should be used to it by now."

Trunks and Goten exchanged a glance and barely kept from chuckling at the other two. They constantly bickered, but never really got mad at one another. When Zukani had taken to calling Juunana "Bishounen" all the time, they began to suspect that maybe she had decided to take a chance with the Jinzouningen. Hell, she'd had a crush on his counterpart, but never really seemed to go beyond the bounds of friendship with this world's version. But about a month ago that, too, had changed.

"Besides, it's not like I'm going to stay there all night," Juunana said, switching back to the original topic of conversation. "I just want to keep it in fair condition [here he shot a glare at Zukani, who stuck her tongue out at him in reply] so that if I ever do decide to go back I won't have to start from scratch again."

"Uh-huh," the other three replied in singsong unison, then laughed at how ridiculous they sounded. Juunana muttered something about low-class idiots and turned his attention back to the sunset (but not before hauling Zukani back up onto the balcony).

The four friends sat in a companionable silence, watching the last rays of sunlight fade from the sky, and remained on the balcony for some time after the stars came out.

"It's a pretty night," Zukani finally remarked, breaking the silence.

"Hai," Goten replied softly, gazing up at the nighttime sky. "It's clear and bright, and I almost swear I can see the moon."

"Why does it keep popping up anymore?" Trunks wondered aloud.

"Who knows? It's a damn good thing we don't have our tails, ne? Imagine if we wrecked the gravity room that way!"

"You two would be grounded for the rest of your lives!" Juunana snickered. Zukani smacked him, but she didn't hit him hard.

Another hour passed, then the four quietly climbed back into Zukani's room, going their separate ways. Before parting, Juunana leaned over and kissed the lone female of the group on the cheek, then smirked at her reaction and walked away.

Zukani touched her cheek lightly, feeling the heat from her blush, and smiled. She closed her bedroom door and returned to the window. Gazing out into the night, her small shy smile grew brighter.

There was hope in this world after all.

Never Really The End


Author's Notes: Dragonball Z and all related characters are the property of Akira Toriyama. Zukani, Xiram, Kenchi, Mikari, Anara, and the Andromedan Elite came from my warped imagination ( 1999); please ask permission before using any of them for your own purposes. The song "All" is 1993 Atlantic Recording Corporation and was written by Ed Roland of Collective Soul. "Angel" is 1997 Arista Records, Inc. and was written by Sarah McLachlan.

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