A/N: Time line: After the Cell Games.
Rating: PG-13 (for content and potentially for language)
I make no promises about how soon I'll be able to update this. But, it shouldn't be too long.
Warnings: Angst filled
Summary: This story takes place after the Cell Games. Gohan defeated Cell, but Goku did not survive the battle. Gohan struggles to deal with his feelings of guilt.
Gohan leaned against the wall, ignoring his mother's rants. He crossed his arms over his chest, one foot cocked up against the wall, knee bent, and watched her grow redder in the face. She was really worked into a state this time.
He sighed and then turned to walk out of the room.
"Gohan!" Chi-chi snapped at him. "I am not done talking to you."
"Tough." He didn't even turn to look over his shoulder. "I'm done listening." He let the door slam behind him as he walked outside. He powered up and took off, even as she followed him into the yard. He flew away from her; away from his home; away from the house; away from the incessant nagging; away from the screaming baby that looked so much like Goku that it hurt to look at him.
Gohan was running away from his past. The only problem was that he could never escape himself.
Chi-chi watched him go, tears swimming in her eyes. She took a shaky breath. Her baby was out of control and there was nothing she could do to stop him. It had been nearly a year since the Cell games and Gohan was slipping farther and farther away from her.
At first, she had been so buried in her own grief and the arrival of the new baby, that she hadn't really noticed his changes. Now, when they were so glaringly obvious that she couldn't miss them, she didn't know what to do.
"Goku..." she choked out. "I'm losing our son..." She sat down at the table and buried her face in her arms and cried. "I don't know what to do. I don't know how to reach him. I wish you were here."
It had been the slip in Gohan's grades that had first really caught her attention. Even when he had taken off so much time to train, he had always been a wonderful student. Initially, she had chalked it up to grief and stress. She hadn't even pressed him about returning to his studies until his arm had healed. It had been a vicious break and she knew it was causing him more pain than he let on.
But it was the other differences, more subtle that she had missed at first. Gohan had changed... he was no longer the happy, carefree boy that he had been. He had gotten insolent, disrespectful, even rude. Then he had started staying out past his curfew. It was only a few minutes at first, then an hour, then several hours. Then the time came when he was gone for an entire day.
Chi-chi had been frantic. She had called everyone she knew who Gohan might have gone to stay with. When he had walked in the next morning, like nothing had happened, Chi-chi had gone ballistic. He had stood there, eyes wide, and promised not to do it again.
That promise had only lasted a few weeks, before he was out all night again. Gohan had point blankly refused to explain where he had been, or what he had been doing. Chi-chi had sent him to his room. He had gone, albeit, sullenly.
"He's just being a teenager." Bulma had scoffed when Chi-chi had confided her concerns. Bulma was so wrapped up in Trunks, who had grown into an active toddler, and Vegeta, who was almost the same as he had always been, except a tad softer around the edges, that she had really not paid any attention to the escalating problem. After all, Gohan had always been such an easy going child.
"He's not a teenager, Bulma. He's a twelve year old boy... and I think something is really wrong." Chi-chi had insisted.
Vegeta had offered to take Gohan somewhere and deal with him personally, but Chi-chi had quickly backed away from that offer. She wanted her son back to the way he had been, not back in a matchbox, and she was afraid that would be all that Vegeta would leave her.
"Forget it, Vegeta! Stay away from my son!"
His expression hadn't changed, but secretly, in a place he wouldn't even admit existed, Vegeta had been relieved. He wasn't positive that he could beat Gohan in a physical fight. The boy had proven to be far more powerful than Vegeta would have ever expected.
"Its Kakkarot fault." He had offered by way of explanation, then turned to leave.
"What's Goku's fault?" Chi-chi had demanded, defensive. Vegeta hadn't bothered to answer her.
Bulma had been too busy chasing down Trunks to pay attention to that exchange. Chi-chi watched the purple haired boy toddle around trying to catch a butterfly and again felt tears swim in her eyes. She held on to Goten a little tighter.
They grew up so fast. It was just the other day that Gohan had been a baby. Now he was so different. Chi-chi swallowed, determined to strengthen her resolve. If she couldn't find help from Bulma, she would ask her father.
The Ox-King had chuckled at Chi-chi's account of Gohan's disintegration. "Really, Chi-chi. He's just being a boy. He'll be fine as soon as he snaps out of it. It's only hormones."
Chi-chi desperately wanted to believe her father, but in her heart, she knew that Gohan's problem wasn't hormones. Her maternal instincts screamed at her to help her son, but she was truly at a loss. Gohan had changed so much that he didn't even seem like the same person to her.
"Goku..." she sobbed. "Help me... Gohan needs you... I need you."
There was no answer to her broken hearted pleas. Goku was dead and she had no choice but to sit and watch as her family shattered around her.