Disclaimer: Dragonball Z is owned by Akira Toriyama and Bird Studios. The story was inspired by Julie Reece Deaver's Say Goodnight, Gracie.

Before and Beyond
by Silver Galaxy

There are friends, I think, that we can't imagine living without. Those friends, are like brothers, sisters, family to us. That's what Trunks was to me: another brother.

I never thought I would have to live without him. Sure, it was always the number one thought lingering in the back of both of our minds during the many battles for Earth. Either one of us could have been killed at any time! But then it was something we expected to happen; it was something that we knew could happen. But neither one of us ever expected to be killed so suddenly. Neither of us thought that one of us would be killed by a drunken driver or something else so trivial; something that shouldn't even be able to scratch a half-Saiyajin. It's something a seventeen year old shouldn't have to think about. Then again, it isn't something that should happen to an eighteen year old.

If I had known this would happen to him ahead of time, I would have either killed him then, or gone crazy. Then again, I think I did go crazy. No, if I had known ahead of time, I wouldn't have let him pick me up. I would have flown home.

My fingers glide over the soft fabric of his blue Capsule Corporation jacket, wrinkling the stiff denim. I try to remember a time when he had never been without this jacket. When he was just a kid, he never wore anything like this. I think he only started wearing this dumb thing when he was fifteen or sixteen. That wasn't too long ago. But, now that he's gone, it seems like an eternity. Maybe that's why I can't seem to remember how old he was when he got this stupid jacket of his? Or how his voice sounded? Or that insane smirk of his? Maybe that's why I can't seem to remember much of anything about Trunks? I knew him my entire life, but I can't remember him now that he's gone!

My fingers turn into a fist, and the soft fabric is overcome by my crushing grip. Why can't I remember him! Why did he have to be so careless! Why did I ask him to come pick me up! Why did he have to die! He was a fucking Saiyajin! No, the damned Prince of the Saiyajin! He was suppose to be stronger than that!

"Damn it, Trunks! Why the hell did you have to die!" I scream out at the top of my lungs. No one answers me. Trunks doesn't suddenly pop up, and announce it was nothing but a stupid joke to get back at me for something long forgotten. "Why did you have to leave me!"

The wind picks up, blowing dead leaves around me. And then, something flies out of Trunks' jacket pocket, to join the swirling leaves. I reach out, quickly grabbing it, and all the time, wondering what it could be. The minute my fingers touch it, I know it's a picture; the glossy texture gave it away. The three of us -- Trunks, Marron, and myself -- take ... Dammit! We used to take a lot of pictures. Everywhere we went, it always seemed like one of us had a camera. And then, whenever we were bored, Trunks always made us take a trip down memory lane. I remember the last time we went through the ridiculously large photo album; it was just after the Tenkaichi Budokai. Come to think of it, it was just a few months before Trunks was killed.

It was mid-August, really hot outside, and the three of us were at Marron's house, mainly because her entire yard was a nice big ocean. Somewhere along the way, Trunks had somehow found the photo album that Marron had hidden, and dragged it out. We were taking a trip down memory lane, no argument, no way out. Trunks was our leader, in a manner of speaking, and we never went against him. I think it was because he was the oldest ... With Marron only being thirteen, and me not really the leader type, and Trunks being the arrogant, proud, Vegeta-wanna-be (he woulda killed me if he knew I thought that) that he was, he naturally became 'leader'. But, even so, we never said that we couldn't plan against him. And, that time, we had a plan. A plan that our favorite purple-haired wonder would hate with a passion.

Our plan worked out ... kinda. The mutiny worked, but not in the way we had intended.

"I hate that damned cat hat!" Trunks said, his face red from laughter and embarrassment. "Kami, my mom still has that!" I smirked, knowing that Trunks was enjoying this more than he hated it. I always thought I knew what bugged Trunks: being all sentimental and emotional. But I guess I got him mixed up with Vegeta or something? But, you know, I think those two were more alike than they liked to admit. They were both proud, arrogant, powerful, and could both hide their true emotions very well.

Beside me, Marron giggled, pointing at the next picture. "Trunks is wearing trunks," she laughed. The laugh turned into annoying, hysterical, girlie, giggles the moment she saw Trunks' unamused, bright red face. "on his head!"

I joined in laughing when Trunks crossed his arms over his chest, and growled: "It's better than the stupid cat hat!"

We went through more of the "torture pictures" (as Marron and I had dubbed them while putting our plan into action) after that, eventually got through all thirty or so Trunks pictures, and finally got to the pictures we took as a group. I remember one inparticular: the one of us as a group. Trunks had given us both bunny ears, and later claimed that they were victory signs. Oh yeah, we believed him. Not.

And then there's a picture of Trunks. Yeah, another picture of Trunks ... in his boxer shorts. It's just not the picture that makes it so memorable; it's what happened after the picture was taken. I took the picture, Trunks got mad, and we had a little fight way, way, high above Capsule Corporation. Trunks was still in his boxers, and nothing else but his socks. Very memorable.

Funny. That group shot is the same picture that I'm holding in my hand right now. Either Trunks had a double, or he took it out from the album. But I guess it doesn't matter anymore, does it?

I turn the picture over in my hand, seeing if Marron or Trunks wrote something on the back. Yeah, there is something here: "Best friends forever." Trunks wrote it. I'd know his handwriting anywhere.

This picture brings back a memory that neither of us ever forgot. I look at my right palm, and sure enough, I still have faded scar there. "Best friends forever, Trunks. No one can ever replace you." I sigh, letting the memory replay itself in my mind ...

Trunks narrowed his eyes, his confident gaze burning deep within mine. "Best friends forever?" I nodded solemnly, thinking this is the most important thing in my life at the age of seven. As we grew older together, we thought of it as some stupid thing we did when we were bored. But, now, ten years later, when I'm seventeen, and he's dead, it suddenly ranks as one of the most important things we ever did together.

When he picked up the knife, I picked up mine, and together we slit diagonally across our palms; Trunks' left and my right.

"Not just friends, Trunks, but brothers. Blood brothers." I said as we clasped hands, our blood mingling together.

"Best friends, and brothers, forever." Trunks agreed, his insane smirk forming on his lips ...

That was so long ago. It was even before the battle with Buu! And now that I think about it, Trunks' death doesn't seem as impossible as it did. If we could slit our palms so easily back then, then a burning car and being thrown two-hundred-feet would probably hurt him if he was unconscious. If he had been conscious, he would have powered up and saved himself. That's what we do during battles when that happens to us: we get hit with a blast, we get thrown, we power up. But it's sorta hard to do that when you're unconscious, isn't it? He never really had a chance.

Is this how life is suppose to be like? Filled with death and suffering? I mean, I didn't even know my own father for the first seven years of my life because he was dead! Most of us were killed during the battle with Buu. And, before Earth exploded, Vegeta had knocked Trunks out to save him, then killed himself in a futile attempt to kill Buu. Then, Buu killed my own mother. But ... in the end, it all turned out good! Every single time someone has died, they were brought back. Why can't it be the same with Trunks?

Trunks died of a natural death, therefore cannot be returned to life with the Dragon Balls. We tried every possible loop hole to get him back ... All of them failed. For the first time, the Z-Senshi can't save someone. And this time, that someone is a someone that we have all known his entire life. And for my Dad, Vegeta, Bulma, Krillin, Chaotzu, Puar, Yamucha, Piccolo, Gohan, and Tenshinhan, three years before he was born, because they all met his future self. This time, that someone is one of the most important people to us and to the world.

When we lost Trunks, a lot of things went with him: We lost Gotenks ... We lost a valuable member of the team ... We lost part of ourselves ... We lost a friend ... We lost family ... . And some of us even lost our sanity.

Vegeta went insane.

Oh, now don't get me wrong. He's not locked up in a mental institution or anything like that. He just kinda lost it with his ki, and the ability to keep it down and away from others. Gohan said it was a lot like when Cell came back and killed Mirai Trunks, because Vegeta lost it then, too. Only this time, it wasn't someone who was pure evil that killed Trunks. Instead, it was someone who was wasted that killed Trunks.

You know how in elementary school, there's a rule to keep your hands to yourselves? Well, Vegeta needs to follow a variation of that rule: "Keep your ki attacks to yourself." It's really a good thing Gohan was there to restrain Vegeta, and keep him from killing anyone else. But, I don't think any of us can even blame Vegeta for going off the handle like he did. That was his son! His only son! Whether or not he would ever admit it to the entire team, we all knew he loved Trunks with his entire heart and soul. It's just too bad that he was never able to show that love to Trunks entirely...

And there's another reason that we can't blame Vegeta. That reason? That reason is that we all did the same exact thing to a lesser extent. Gohan broke down crying in the hospital right in front of me. Bulma put a hole in her living room wall, that Vegeta later added to. Marron bawled her guts out. The others were upset. And me? I lost it. When I saw his body, I couldn't control my ki or my tears, and that pisses me off.

But, you know what really pisses me off? My father wasn't there until the last minute. Then again, is he ever? He really needs to get his priorities straight! It's always something before us! "Oh, I have to stay dead, so Buu will show up!", "Oh, you know what, I should really go train Ubuu, and abandon my family!" It's the same thing every time with him. He wasn't even there for Trunks, for me, for Gohan ... He wasn't there for anyone!

Oh, sure, he's always around to save the damned world. Way to go, Dad. We're all reaaaaaaally proud of you! You're like a broken record, you know that? Save the world, stay around for a few years, go away. Come back, save the world, die. Come back again, save the world, stick around for a few years, then you go away. Gee, you have to be the world's best father!

At least Trunks was always there for me ... I could tell him anything ... We could do anything together ... He never left me! He never went away! He never died! Until now. But it wasn't his choice! Father, every time you died, you had a choice. Every time Trunks died, he didn't have a choice.

Then again, he didn't have a choice in most things in his life. Bulma was going to make him take over Capsule Corporation when he got older. Vegeta forced him to train and fight. Sure, he loved fighting, but I think he always felt like he never had a choice in any of it. And I think he always felt some kind of pressure to beat everyone, to please Vegeta. But despite all that, Trunks loved life. He was a lot like Juunanagou with the "life is one big game" thing. Trunks wanted to live. Damn it, he wanted to live! So why did he die! Why did he lose the game!

Oh, I know why. He died because I couldn't fly home. He insisted on picking me up, because it was forty below out. Only if I hadn't given in to him. But, with Trunks, it was so easy to listen to him, to trust him, to go along with him and feel safe. Despite his sometimes crazy personality, Trunks was always a careful driver. He never really sped, never drove all over the road, hardly ever took his eyes off the street ... It's hard to believe he died in a car accident ... For a lot of reasons. He's a Saiyajin, he's a good and careful driver, and he's Trunks ... The purple haired wonder who always bounces back!

But, you know, I'm wrong. Trunks isn't any of those things. He's dead, so how can he be? He died three weeks ago, and I'm still referring to him like he's alive. I'm such a fucking moron! How can I not be? He's dead because of me! He's never coming back because of me! He never had the chance to live his life because of me! I still remember it like yesterday ... I still remember every detail that lead up to the day of Trunks' death ...


I walked out the school building, dodging the masses of other students, trying to find Trunks' new car that he had gotten for his eighteenth birthday a few months earlier. But instead of finding Trunks, I found Marron.

"Hey!" she greeted, running up to me, out of breath from running from the middle school to the high school parking lot. "What's up?"

I shrugged, locating Trunks' ki, and I started walking towards it. Of course, Trunks had to park all the way at the back of the school parking lot. I know he did that just to piss me off!

"Nothing happened today?" Marron asked me in disbelief. Something always happened. Whether it be Trunks telling someone off in the next classroom while hanging out the window, or me getting in trouble for falling asleep in class. It was always something, and Marron knew it, because she always heard it about, as did the rest of the school.

"Okay, you really want to know?" I didn't wait for her to respond. "My mom's been bitching about how I'm not involved in anything at school, right? So I signed up for martial arts lessons today." I looked to the younger blonde and saw her giggling.

"Can I come and watch?" she asked me innocently enough to make me sick.

"Uh, no. But if I accidentally kill anyone, promise you'll testify that I'm a kind, caring, considerate man?"

"Uh, no," Marron replied. "I'll testify that you're a mean, self-absorbed, idiot of a man!" Okay, now she was just being a smart ass!

"Some friend you are!" I retorted, giving her my best smirk. I think it came out as the "stupid Son grin", though.

"Hey, hurry your asses up! I wanna get home so my dad can kick the crap out of me!" When I heard his voice, I looked away from Marron, and saw Trunks sitting on his hood, waiting impatiently for us. I always thought that one of those days he was just going to say to hell with us, and go home. "Okay, okay, a little faster! C'mon, you can do it! Oh, oh, not quite!"

"Trunks, shut your mouth! You sound like my uncle!" Marron shouted to him. I laughed when Trunks just flipped her the bird, and jumped off his hood, sliding into his car. "Uh! Stupid moron!" I laughed some more. All in good humor! This was the kind of stuff that made us friends.

"Oh, the ever hurtful comeback. Marron, say you didn't mean it!" Trunks said sarcastically, glaring at her from the driver's seat.

"Oh, Kami, you two. Quit flirting!" I say, throwing my bag into the backseat, and hopping in next to Trunks.

"We're not flirting!" Trunks growled, glaring at me. But I could see his hidden smile.


"Whatever you two say." I retreated. The truth was, everyone on the team knew that they were just friends. After all, Marron was probably just a bit too young for Trunks. But for me, on the other hand ... Four years isn't much of a difference.

Not one of us said a word the entire way to Capsule Corporation. When we got there, I couldn't help but asking: "Are we still friends?" In reply, Trunks whacked me upside the head (it didn't hurt, though!).

"You're a moron, you know that? Of course we're friends! Screwed up friends, but we're still friends!"

"Then why don't you screw Marron already?" I teased, knowing that I was on the verge of getting my ass kicked. Eh, oh well. It was worth it.

"You have a five second head start," Trunks said, a wicked smirk twisting his face. "Fly as fast as you can, Dumbass."

"Trunks!" I pleaded. You know, he got this from Vegeta!

"Five, four, three ... "

"I'm gone!"

I took off going my fastest. I knew Trunks wouldn't hurt me, but I was still sorta scared. I stole a glance behind me, and Trunks was right there behind me. He had the Vegeta-insane smirk on his face, too, which isn't good! I exploded into SSJ, going even faster. In the end, Trunks caught me pretty easily. So, anyway, all he did was punch me in the stomach. The only thing I had to say about that was, "Ow! You hit hard!" He laughed.


Later that night, Trunks dropped me off at my martial arts class, and he even came in to watch. I tried to get him to go home, but he ended up punching me again. I should have had Gohan kick his ass for all the times he punched me like that.

No, forget about that. I think we should have spent more time not fighting ... We were warriors, but sometimes I think we should have just been normal humans ... Like Trunks said he wanted to be the night he was killed.

That night at the dojo, Trunks ended up getting kicked out by the sensei. I guess laughing and shouting out: "Go Goten!", "Kick his butt!", and stuff like that really grated on Sanada-sensei's nerves. But he had a good time, and I guess that's all that matters, right?

It was basically the same thing for the next two nights. We went to school, Trunks took us home, Trunks took me to the dojo, and he stayed. Surprisingly, he behaved himself! I was really enjoying the lessons there, and I knew Trunks liked watching it all. I don't know why Trunks didn't join with me. Maybe he just never got the chance?

But, on the third night, things were different. Earlier that day, Trunks wasn't at school. See, Trunks never took Marron and I to school. I flew to Marron's, and then I flew Marron to school. By the time we got there, Trunks was already there, unless he was late. So, when I got to the classroom that day, and found that Trunks was sick, I was surprised. Trunks' ki felt perfectly fine to me. So I figured he was skipping. No biggie -- it's something Trunks would do, but I don't think he ever did it before that day. Marron and I figured that he would pick us up like he usually did, but he wasn't there after school.

"I always knew he'd do this one day: just say to hell with us." I said with a smirk. "Oh well. Let Trunks do what he wants for once. I'll fly you home."

"Sure." I swept Marron up into my arms, and blasted off into the sky. "Hey, go faster, and twirl around!"

I glared down at Marron. "I don't twirl." I could actually hear her pout.

"Oh, c'mon! Please, Go-chan?"

I scowled at her nickname for me. "Now I'm definitely not twirling."



"Trunks would twirl for me!"

I laughed at that. "That's because Trunks wants to screw you!" I heard her gasp, and she was finally silent for a moment. Some strange, strangled noises came from her, and I really tried not to laugh, but I should have tried harder, I guess, because I burst out laughing.

"Did ... Did he tell you that!" she asked me, shock clear in her voice.

"No," I answered her between laughs. "I actually just made it up. C'mon, he's eighteen ... You're thirteen ... That's a big age gap right now." Again, Marron fell silent. I wondered if I offended her? Didn't she know that I had been joking? "Marron, you know I was just kidding. Trunks really doesn't tell me anything like that, and you know how hard it is to tell what he's really feeling ... About anything! Besides, there's still that age thing ... "

"Goten, that's just it!" Marron exclaimed, looking up at me. "No one knows what he really feels! No one knows him at all! And that makes it so hard to be his friend!"

What was she getting at? That she didn't want to be Trunks' friend anymore? No, I didn't think that was what she was trying to tell me. After all, Marron is too kind to be like that; she has always accepted people for who they are. One of the many advantages of being related to two Androids, a midget monk, and living with a perverted pig, a perverted old man, and a turtle, I guess.

I glanced down, and saw a small island. We were almost to Kame House, but I got the feeling that Marron wanted to talk to me privately, without Muten Roshii, Juuhachigou, or Krillin overhearing anything she had to say. So, I set down on the island, and softly placed Marron on the ground.

"What do you mean, Marron? What are you getting at?"

She looked to the ground, not answering me. Marron turned away, placing her hand on a tree. "He skipped school today. He wasn't sick, and we both know it. Trunks has never skipped school before. He may be lazy sometimes, but Trunks takes school seriously most of the time. You know, he's a genius, so it's a breeze for him.

"So, if he isn't sick, and he wasn't at school, then something must have happened to him this morning; something really bad! And, I'm just worried about him. I have been for the past couple of days. I don't know if you've noticed --"

I cut Marron off. I already knew what she was getting at. "Yeah, I have noticed. He's been quieter; he's toned down with his ... craziness; and he's just been in a dark mood, I guess, for the past few days," But I still didn't see where she was going with any of this. "But, Marron, we all have our bad days."

"I know that, Goten. But have you ever seen the look Trunks gets in his eyes when he sees your parents with you? Or my parents with me?"

"No ..." I still didn't get it.

Marron turned to face me. "He gets this jealous ... or yearning look in his eyes. Like, he wants to have ChiChi and Gokuu for his parents! Or Krillin and Juuhachigou! It's just the way he acts when we're interacting with our parents."

I think that was when it hit me. "Not our parents. Our fathers. Your mom, my mom, and Trunks' mom are all alike, don't you think? They openly show their love for their us -- all three of us. But, when it comes to our fathers, it's a whole 'nother story. Gokuu and Krillin are the loving parents, while Vegeta usually blows Trunks off.

"I think I get what you're saying now, Marron. Trunks is all upset because Vegeta doesn't openly show his love for him. And maybe something happened last night, or this morning, that set Trunks off into a reeeeeeaaaally dark and depressed mood, that made him blow off school. Big deal. He'll get over it! He's lived with Vegeta for eighteen years now, okay? He's used to it.

"Believe me, Trunks has no problem with Vegeta. The battle with Buu proved that Vegeta loves Trunks just as much as Trunks loves Vegeta. Like I said, Marron, bad day. And if he is jealous of our relationships with our fathers, well then, he's an asshole! At least Vegeta never left his damn family all alone! At least Vegeta didn't decide to stay dead for almost ten years! Vegeta has always been there for Trunks, unlike my father. Hell, for the first seven years of my life, Vegeta was like a father to me! Trunks knows that Vegeta cares about him. You don't have anything to worry about."

Marron turned away from me again. "I hope you're right, Goten."

I blinked. She was really stuck on this. "Look, after I take you home I'll go find Trunks and talk to him, okay? Everything will just be dandy!"

I saw Marron shrug, and then she turned around again. "Okay. Will you twirl?"


She pouted again. "Well then hurry up, and get me home, you wet blanket!" I smiled, sweeping Marron into my arms again, and lifting off into the air, heading towards the short distance to Kame House.


I shoved my hands into my pockets stepping onto a wooden bridge that overpassed an iced over river. After I took Marron home, I immediately located Trunks. He was in Bridge Town, no less. Not West Capitol, not Satan City, not South City, but Bridge Town. Well, that did make sense. Bridge Town is closer to Capsule Corporation than Satan City or South City is.

It didn't take long for me to find Trunks' exact location, because he didn't try to lower his ki. He was sitting on the edge of Satan Bridge, his legs dangling over, and his head resting on one of the lower wooden railings. His bookbag was right beside him, too. So that meant that he had intended to go to school, but where was his car? I looked around, spotted a parking lot on the other side of the park we were in, and saw the red convertible.

"Trunks?" I called out, walking closer to him.

"Yeah?" he called back, staring down at the water.

"Ya missed school."



"Oh," he paused, swinging his legs back and forth. "Anything good happen?"

"Nah. But Daisuke was hanging out the window asking where you were. You usually bitch at each other during lunch time -- he really missed you today."


I sat down next to him, copying his posture. "What's up? You're kinda ... out of it."

"I just didn't feel like going to school today."


"What's the point?"

Okay, that took me by surprise. "'What's the point'! Uh, to get a good future!" I shot back, not believing Trunks had actually said that. Trunks took his education really seriously, even if he would never admit it.

"My future! My fucking future!" he yelled, his burning gaze locking with mine. "I don't have a future, Goten! I have gotten more than twenty colleges who will accept me, and I still don't have a future! At least not one of my own."

Now I know what Marron meant by saying that it's sometimes hard to be Trunks' friend. He could be so confusing sometimes! Or maybe it's just that I'm slow to get these things? "What do you mean?"

"Goten," his tone calmed down, and he wasn't yelling anymore. That was a good thing. "it doesn't matter if I finish high school. I could drop out right now, and I'd still have a so-called 'future'. I don't need to go to college, because I already have a 'future' laid out for me. No matter what I do, I'm going to have a 'future' at Capsule Corporation. A boring, pointless, crap job at Capsule Corporation!"

Now I know what's wrong with him. His mom is forcing Capsule Corporation onto him. Trunks doesn't want it. Bulma doesn't care.

"My mom won't listen. My dad doesn't care. It's like I'm invisible until they need me to do something. What I want doesn't matter to them. It's only what they want, what they need." Trunks shook his head, looking back down at the river.

"And what do you want, Trunks?" I asked him. For once, I didn't have to look, and look, and look to try to figure out what Trunks was really feeling. I didn't need to figure him out like I usually did. Instead, all of his defenses were down. What he was feeling was right there. And that scared the hell out of me. If Trunks was trying to conceal his feelings, I would have had some sense of familiar ground. But, with Trunks allowing everything to be out in the open, I was in an uncharted territory.

"I want a life of my own. Being the son of Vegeta, being a Sayaijin, being in Mirai Trunks' shadow, I had to be a fighter, I had to live up to what my future self was. That was fine -- I like fighting. Being the son of Bulma, I had to be a genius, and the future president of Capsule Corp. The genius part is fine, but Capsule Corp. isn't. From the day I was born, they already had my future planned out. I never had a say in any of it, and they won't listen to a word I say."

When he didn't add on, I didn't know what to say. I had just gotten lost in the uncharted territories -- way to go me! I mean, I had never known that Trunks felt like this. And I think that was the other thing Marron was trying to say: no one knew what Trunks felt but Trunks. He was just like his father -- he never let anyone see who he really was, what he really felt, what he really thought. And the only time he did let anyone in, was when he was seconds away from self-destructing.

Oh. Self-destructing isn't good.

"You know, I never really thought about any of this before. It just hit me. I'm eighteen, and I'm going to be in college in just a few months. And after college, I'm going to be stuck as the CEO of Capsule Corporation. Whenever I think about it, I just ... Kami, I sound pathetic." Trunks laughed. Not a sad laugh, not an I-wanna-die-laugh, not a happy laugh. He just ... laughed.

"No, you're not pathetic," I told him, punching him lightly in the shoulder. "You're just confusing! Trunks, everything will be fine. Hell, if you can play hooky at school, you can play hooky at work! Whatadya gonna do, fire yourself?" I meant it as a joke, but when I thought about it, it was really the truth. If Trunks was going to own Capsule Corporation, then the only trouble he could get in would be trouble with his parents.

Trunks smiled and looked at me. "Yeah, you're right. I could even have 'fun' with this." A-ha! He smirked! Right then and there, he got an evil prank smirk on his face! I am THE BEST!

"Yup, I'm a genius! Okay, now can we go to your house? I'm really hungry ..." I asked him, shoving our entire discussion to the back of my mind. Trunks was fine. I was hungry. The only logical thing to do was eat.

"Uh ... Listen, I need to think about things by myself, okay?" said Trunks, looking down at the frozen river. "I have a lot of things to think about -- more than just Capsule Corporation --, and I want to do it alone."

I nodded, a strange feeling overcoming me. Trunks wasn't okay. Something else was bothering him, something he wasn't going to tell anyone. A part of me was glad for that. Before, I thought Trunks had just given up with that hiding his emotions thing. I was obviously wrong. And another part of me knew that I couldn't stay. I knew exactly what if felt like to be suffocated by compassion and friends. I wasn't going to be the one to suffocate Trunks. "Sure."

"Do you want me to take you to karate?" he asked, momentarily glancing up at me.

"Uh, no. I can fly there. No problem." I answered him.

"C'mon, Goten, it's ten degrees below zero out here. I'm even starting to get cold. Besides, I have to do something in Bridge Town, so it's on my way."

He was lying; I could tell. Trunks never went to Bridge Town -- not that I know of, anyway. Why he went there was way beyond me. "Trunks, I don't want to put you out or anything ..."

"You're not," he was still looking at me, and I knew that he saw the reluctance in my eyes. I didn't know why I argued with him about it -- if he wanted to take me, great. "Don't you want to be normal for once, Goten? Not one of the people who save Earth every time someone is trying to destroy it, or take it over? Don't you ever just want to be like the people at school?"

I had never really thought about it. So what I could fly, and shoot blasts from my hands? So what I could destroy the solar system with a wave of my hand? All the better for me. "Yeah ... " Yup, I lied.

"Yeah, so I'll pick you up, and take you home."

"Cool." I stood up, smiling. "See ya then, Buddy."

"Bye." As I walked away, I could feel his eyes on me. But that didn't really bother me, because I was thinking about everything. I guess I did want to be normal for once. Or maybe just for a day? I liked being able to fly, to have ki and stuff like that. So, Trunks felt like that. So did I, but I think he felt more strongly about it.

Big deal.

But then there was another issue; something Trunks hadn't mentioned. But it was something that Marron and I had brushed on earlier: bad days. I don't think anyone really ever realized that Trunks just wasn't full of crazy shit. In battle, he got serious. But so did my dad. So did I. So did everyone. But outside of the battles, Trunks hardly ever got as serious as he was back there. That was a side of Trunks I had never seen before ... But I knew it existed. Everyone thought it was so hard to believe that Mirai Trunks could have been so serious and quiet, unlike our Trunks. But I knew that Trunks really was serious and quiet on the inside. And I was happy that it was deep inside, because I liked having a fun guy like Trunks around.

He was just having teen problems -- that was all. He was going to be fine.


That night, I found out that I was right, after all. Way to go me! He pulled up with obscene music blaring (and I mean blaring) -- the music that pisses my mother off. I just hope she never finds out that it's actually one of my CDs Trunks borrowed ...

He did that in spite of my mom. He did that because he was fine. Just like I told Marron; and I planned to rub that in her face.

I was sitting on the couch when I heard him, and I couldn't help but chuckle at my mom's disapproving expression.

"Bulma and Vegeta never did raise that kid right." Mom commented, a firm scowl plastered on her face.

Hehehehe, news-flash mom: It's my CD! I thought, hiding my growing laughs. I grabbed my backpack with my clothes in it, and ran out the door. "Jaa, Mom!" I jumped into Trunks' car, with one of those "stupid Son grins" on my face.

"Hi! Kami, what the hell is your rush?" Trunks asked me, as he started towards town, going about ninety.

"My rush? I'm not the one who's going ninety!" I retorted, smirking at him.

He smirked back. "Hey, I take advantage of open country road. It's not like there's anyone to crash into."

"Hey, ya never know!" I leaned back, and grabbed his CD case. "So, watcha gonna do in Bridge Town?" I asked him, wondering what bull shit he was going to feed me.

"Mom wants me to go grocery shopping because she hates my guts. She wants tampons, too."

"Are you serious!"

"No," He glanced at me, laughing his ass off. "But I do hafta go shopping."

I smiled, buying that excuse, and turning my attention back to his CDs. "'Cha-Cha'? Who the hell are they?"

Trunks frowned, looking at the CD. "Uh ..."

"Trunks, you burned this with your CD writer, and you don't even know who they are!"

"... I didn't say that."

"That's because you didn't say anything!"

"I did too! I said "uh"! I think you need a hearing aid." he joked. "Kami, just forget about Cha-Cha! Leave Cha-Cha alone! What'd Cha-Cha ever do to you! You know what, I'm gonna tell Cha-Cha that you're making fun of him ... her ... it ... whatever." By that time, Trunks was laughing uncontrollably, and I just shook my head. Sometimes he was totally insane. For about ten minutes neither of us said anything. There really wasn't much to say. But, when I did talk, I really regretted it.

"Trunks, I'm freezing! Damn, you were right! I wouldn't have liked flying there tonight!" I muttered, rubbing my bear arms. I knew I shouldn't have worn a tank top.

Trunks chuckled, keeping his eyes on the road. "I understand that there are more ... intimate ways of warming hotties like you up, but I think you'll just have to do with my jacket in the backseat."

I glared at him. He was flirting with me. He was making fun of me. He called me a hottie. "Son of a bitch ..." I muttered, reaching back and grabbing his blue Capsule Corporation jacket.

"Ah, I'm sorry, my bitch. You can spank me later, okay?" When he said that I'm sure my face turned red. Where the hell did all of this crap come from?

"Where the hell is all this coming from?" I demanded to know, sneering at him.

He shrugged, as he struggled to hold back his laughter. "I don't know ... It was just a cheap shot!"

I couldn't believe him. "Dumbass." I pulled on the jacket, scowling at my best friend. Mom was right -- Vegeta and Bulma did screw him up.

"By the freakin' way, how can you be cold? I'm burning up!" Trunks changed the subject, throwing me a strange look that I countered with one of my own.

"Trunks, it's about thirty degrees below zero. That means it's really, really, really cold outside. How can you be hot!" I looked closely at him, and my jaw practically dropped. "Hell, you're even sweating!"

He shrugged, taking a deep breath that sounded a bit frantic. "I don't know; I'm just hot. Drop it."

Again, silence overcame both of us. It seemed really weird ... Really ackward. I hardly ever felt ackward around Trunks. I struggled to find something to talk about, because I hated how I felt right now. "So, uh, do you want me to just fly back home?"

"What? Why the hell do you even have to ask?" he exclaimed, slowing down as we came into the town. "Do you want to fly home?"

I shook my head. "Not really. I just don't want to bother you ..."

He momentarily took his off the road to glower at me. "Why would you be bothering me!"

"I don't know. It's just a feeling I get ..."

"I'm about to spank you, my bitch." he threatned, smirking at me.

"Piss off!"

"Only if you lick it up." he said.

I turned away, muttering stuff under my breath. He could be so freakin' perverted sometimes. "You and Roshii should get it on! Perfect couple!"

"Nah ... You really think so?"

I started laughing. I didn't feel ackward anymore, I'll give him that. That's what was so great about Trunks. He could always lighten up the situation ... He could always make you feel better. "Oh, yeah, definitely!"

He got quiet and acted like he was thinking. "No, no I couldn't. It would break Oolong's heart!"

I burst into laughter, while he just kept a straight face. A few seconds later, he stopped the car in front of the dojo, and I just looked at him. "Seven, right?"

"Yeah. Pick me up at seven." I grabbed my bag, and got out of the car. For some reason he was smiling ... seductively. "Stop that!"

He laughed, revving the engine. "See ya later. Don't kill anyone, or I will spank your tight ass."

I shook my head, walking into the dojo. "Goodbye, Trunks!" I called back, still laughing.

That was the last conversation we ever had. That was the last time I ever saw my best friend alive ...


The class went fast. It was mostly sparring, which was very rare. I was so preoccupied with sparring with Sanada-sensei that I didn't even notice Trunks' ki falter, and then drop to the point where it was almost nonexistent. That's what Gohan told me ... That's how he knew something was wrong. He said the entire team showed up where it happened, thinking it was a new enemy. The entire team was there for him... Except for myself and my father.

I didn't even notice that I couldn't feel him anymore until I was done changing. I remember thinking that something wasn't right, but I couldn't place it until I picked up his jacket. That's when I realized that I couldn't feel his ki power anymore ... I knew something wasn't right.

I even remember how my stomach felt when I realized this ... I remember freezing in panic. I couldn't move, and I just stood there. It wasn't until Ryo (one of the friends I made at karate) punched me in the shoulder that I got my bearings straight.

"Hey, what's wrong?"

"Uh ... nothing. Look, I gotta go." I was surprised I was able to talk, because I felt choked up. I ran out of the dressing room, not bowing where I was supposed to bow, and I just ran out the door with no regard to anyone or anything. I blasted off into the sky, searching out Trunks' faint ki signature. I knew exactly where he was, then: Satan City Memorial Hospital.


Inside the hospital, I immediately felt everyone's ki power. I ran through the emergency room, because that's where I knew they were. When someone stepped out in front of me, I pushed through them, but immediately found myself being pulled back.

"Goten!" It was Yamucha.

I turned around, yelling at him. "Yamucha ... Where's Trunks? What the hell happened? I can't feel his ki anymore! I can't feel him at all! What happened!"

"Goten, quit yelling!" I nodded. "Look, he was in a car accident."

"Huh? A car accident? Is that it? A car accident?" I exclaimed in disbelief.

"Yeah, but he's really hur ... " He trailed off and looked past me. I turned around, following his gaze. The moment I saw the doctor talking to Bulma, and the furious look on Vegeta's face, I knew that it was over. Trunks was dead. Somehow, a fucking car accident had killed a Saiyajin. A car accident had killed my best friend. And somehow, I began shaking. Somehow, my heart felt like it was being ripped out, thrown on the ground, and was being stomped on.

I was so ... shocked, I guess, that my eyes saw straight through my brother, and I didn't even realize that Yamucha was gone, and Gohan was standing right in front of me until he spoke.

"Goten ..." he started, and I knew that this was killing him just like it was killing me.

"I know, Gohan. I know. Trunks is dead, isn't he?" I think it was more of a statement more than it was a question. I couldn't feel Trunks' ki anymore. And I had always been able to feel him. Over the years, I had created this special spot for him, where I could feel him every second of every day. Now, the spot that was usually filled with the spirit of my best friend, was nothing but a dark, cold void of nothingness.

Gohan nodded, his eyes losing contact with mine.

"How?" I demanded, wondering why my heart was aching, my head spinning, but no tears even threatened to come. It was like I knew he was dead, I knew that I was never going to see him again, but I just couldn't cry. Is that wrong?

"Goten ..."

"Gohan! Please! Gohan, he's my best friend, and I want to know what happened! I know you know!" I yelled, trying hard to not go SSJ, and completely destroy the hospital that hadn't been able to save Trunks' life. I figured Vegeta wanted to do that.

I could see the uncertainty in his eyes, then finally, cooperation. "A drunk driver ran a stop --"

"I will kill all of you pathetic humans!"

"Huh?" Gohan and I looked over to see Vegeta throw a doctor against a wall, knocking him unconscious. I had seen Vegeta enraged before ... I've seen him pissed off a lot ... But the look in his eyes at that moment was the most intense, furious, pained and hurt look that I had ever seen.

Gohan's eyes widened when he saw Vegeta begin to power up, a murderous look forming on the face that looked so much like Trunks. But I didn't care about Vegeta. I was hoping that he would kill all of them. Yet, the only thing I really cared about at this point was how my best friend got killed.

"Vegeta! Stop it!" Gohan yelled, as he ran over to him and grabbed Vegeta by his shoulders. "What are you going to achieve by killing everyone here? Trunks is dead! He isn't going to magically come back to life if you kill everyone here! You do realize that everyone you care about is here right now, don't you? That includes your wife and daughter!"

Gohan's words hit me like a fist in my face. "Trunks is dead ... He isn't going to magically come back to life ..." I repeated his words to myself. He was right. He was so fucking right.

"Get your hands off me!" Vegeta yelled, breaking free of Gohan's grip. "They deserve everything they get! How could they let a Saiyajin die from a car wreck! If they're that stupid then they belong in Hell!"

Gohan pushed Trunks' father against a wall. I don't know why Vegeta allowed it, or if Vegeta could even protest. After all, Gohan is the most powerful out of all of us. "No one else is going to die tonight, Vegeta. Got that? No one else. I just lost someone who was like a brother to me. Now have some compassion, and go comfort your wife or something!"

"I think you're forgetting that he was my son," I watched as Vegeta's angered expression faded into shock. "My son ..."

Gohan stepped away, knowing that Vegeta's assaults were over. The fact that his son, not just Trunks, was dead just hit him like Gohan's words hit me.

"Nice save." I muttered as he came back over to me. "So, what happened to Trunks?"

Gohan sighed, as he leaned against the wall. "Like I was saying, a drunk driver ran a stoplight, and crashed into Trunks' car. Trunks' car exploded, and he was thrown a good three hundred feet. He had massive head injuries, and when they brought him in, he was in a coma. He only regained consciousness once, and the ... the, uh, the only thing he said was, "Just tell everyone that I love them." Then about ten minutes later, he was ... gone."

I wonder how Gohan had managed to say all that without his voice breaking, or his tears spilling? I wonder how some damned drunk driver managed to kill Trunks? I wonder how a little bump on the head and a few burns managed to knock Trunks into a coma, and then kill him?

I wrapped my arms around my stomach, taking comfort in the worn-in feeling of Trunks' jacket. "When did he die?"

"About ten minutes ago. I was there when it happened. I was even hold ... holding his hand." Ah, there it was. That break in his voice that I knew was coming, and those tears shining in his eyes were just about to spill. Why could he cry, but I couldn't? I had known Trunks better than Gohan. I knew everything about Trunks: his favorite food, his biggest crush, his darkest secret, how many times he did it with someone, who he hated. I knew it all. Gohan didn't know anything about Trunks. So why is it that Gohan seemed to be able to cry over my best friend's death, but I couldn't?

"Wh ... what happened to the drunk driver?" I asked, trying to forget about my emotions. Gohan's expression turned from one of a grief into one of hate and disgust.

"The other driver walked away without a scratch. He was arrested for man slaughter, but he's already out on bail." I could tell that Gohan was struggling to hold back his anger, just like me. I think he figured out that three pissed off Saiyajin can only bring about global destruction.

Bad for that other driver, good for three pissed off Saiyajin. I knew that Vegeta was going to hunt the bastard down, beat him to a pulp, then Final Flash the asshole. Too bad. I want to help. "Where's his body?"


"Answer me, Gohan. I just want to know." I needed to see him one last time. I didn't care about how bloody, burned, or messed up he was. He was my best friend, my second brother, the guy who had always been there for me. I was, and still am, sorry that I hadn't been there for him.

"Way down tha hall, in the, uh, where they made the ER bigger. What is it, Emergency Room B or something. They're gonna take his body down to the ..."

And Gohan broke down crying. He couldn't finish the sentence without breaking into tears. And I mean tears. The kind that you can't breathe through, talk through, see through. The kind that choke you up, and make you feel like a dumbass that's gonna die. I watched him slide into the room in front of me and close the door. I don't blame him. What twenty-seven year old wanted a hospital full of people, including your friends, family, and the strongest people in the universe, see you bawl your guts out?

The extension to the ER, Gohan said. If that's where Trunks was, then that's where I was. And that's where I was going.


I ran down the halls, oblivious to everyone and everything. It hadn't taken me long to reach the emergency room -- just a few minutes. I looked around, searching for Trunks. Then I realized that I wouldn't be seeing Trunks' familiar face. I was looking for something that would never be there again. So, instead, I looked for a dead body, on a gurney with a nice white sheet covering it. How many dead people could there be in this hospital?

Well, that depends on how incompetent they are! And believe me, it takes one helluva incompetent hospital to lose a Saiyajin who has a few bumps on his head! And, of course, it's named after the biggest asshole of them all: Mr. Satan. Sorry, Videl.

I looked and looked for Trunks, and even though it seemed like an eternity, I think it only took me a few minutes for me to spot him ... or at least what I think was Trunks. Who knows how many other people these pathetic excuses for doctors have lost? But I knew it was him. I just knew.

And then everything else in the hospital seemed to disappear. It was only Trunks' dead body and myself. I wanted to run out the door, and never come back, but I knew I couldn't. I was stuck in the hospital, or at least, that's how I felt. I knew I couldn't go anywhere until I saw Trunks. That really sucked.

And then I started walking forward, wanting to stop myself, but at the same time, I wanted to keep going. I was so confused! And, for a moment, I caught myself thinking like I used to think: "I wish Trunks was here." Only Trunks was there, but because he was, he was causing me all these problems.

Everything seemed like it was taking forever ... Like I had been walking towards the gurney for years and years! But it only took me a few seconds. Before I knew it, I was there. For the first time in my entire life, I didn't want to see Trunks. I didn't want to be anywhere near him. I wanted to abandon him ... To leave him and everyone else behind, and just fly somewhere far, far away! But like earlier, I was stuck here. I felt like there was this huge ki attack coming at me, and I was frozen there waiting for it to kill me. But then I would have welcomed that huge ki blast. Anything to get out of this hospital ... this world ... this life!

But this time I guess I couldn't have what I wanted, because I reached out, and grabbed the snow white sheet in my fist. And before I could protest against myself, I whipped the sheet back, revealing something that I never wanted to see again.

I've seen a lot of things in my life ... I've seen death ... I've seen destruction ... I've even seen Trunks get killed before. But nothing I could have ever seen, ever been told about, would have prepared me for this. I mean, he doesn't look that bad ... by anyone else's standards.

With shaky hands, I reached out and touched his pale face, and found that it was ice cold. I ran my fingers over his blue lips, not believing that this was Trunks. But it was ... It was his purple hair that, even through everything, looked almost perfect ... as always. It was his closed eyes and relaxed features that made him seem like he was sleeping. Except, when Trunks slept, he was always sprawled out everywhere. Every time I slept over at his house, or he slept at mine, I always tripped over him if I woke up before him. But, despite all that, I expected him to roll over with a curse, like he always did when anyone woke him up. But ... it didn't happen. He just ... laid there. Dead.

I looked over his face again, my hand drifting down to his shoulder. There was a blood-soaked bandage around his head, and I could even see part of a deep cut by his eye that must've run from his forehead down. There was so many other cuts and bruises ... Dammit, how could a car accident do this to him!

Something splattered on his ashen cheek, and then another, and another. What was it? I touched my own cheek with my hand, and found it wet with tears. The 'something' was my tears. I didn't even realize it ... But then again, how could I not cry? This was my best friend ... someone I considered part of my family ... this was Trunks!

"No ... Trunks, you're not dead. This is a dream. Just a bad dream. You can't be dead. You're not dead!" Someone put their hand on my shoulder -- a nurse -- and I moved away from her hand. "Leave me alone. He isn't dead." I felt myself getting choked up, as more tears streamed down my face. "He ... isn't ... dead, dammit! HE ISN'T DEAD!" I didn't break down crying like Gohan. I powered up, my grief turning into rage, and my rage turning into massive power. I exploded into SSJ, screaming and bawling my guts out at the same time.

And, that time, a nurse didn't put her weak grip on my shoulder. But, instead, a strong, almost painful hand was squeezing my shoulder from behind. For a moment, I thought it was my Dad, but when I turned around, I saw Trunks. I collapsed onto him, hugging him, powering down, and still bawling like an asshole. "Trunks?"

I felt Trunks slide down a wall and sit on the floor, holding me in his arms, just letting me cry and let it out. But he knew just as well as I did that I'd probably need to bring around the end of the world to get rid of everything I was feeling. "Let it out, Goten. It's okay. Just let it out." And that's what I did. I cried, and cried, and cried just like an idiot.

Soon, I felt almost everyone on the team in the same room. Yamucha, Tenshinhan, ChiChi, Videl, Pan, Bra, Bulma, Piccolo, Krillin, Juuhachigou, Marron, Muten Roshii, Gohan, Chaotzu, and even Gokuu . . my father. Everyone was there, except for that one person who meant everything to me. The person who had caused all of this.

And then I knew it wasn't Trunks. Trunks was dead. And it still hurts like a bitch every time I see Vegeta. Because when I see Vegeta, I see Trunks ... Just like I did in the emergency room that day.


The funeral was nice.

I think.

I don't remember any of it. I wasn't paying attention. I don't even know what anyone said about him. I didn't even want to go, but something forced me to go. Mom, Dad and Gohan were nagging on me. Some family they are. Trunks would have understood my decision not to go ... He wouldn't have made me feel guilty.

But ... here I was. He died three days ago, and here I was: miserable, a wreck, and not giving a shit. Here I was as I walked through the cemetery

I couldn't feel or hear anything -- I couldn't feel the wind, I couldn't hear the birds chirping ... It was the strangest feeling that I ever had. And, for a moment, I even wondered whether or not there was anything to see and hear. Maybe the wind was mourning Trunks? Maybe the birds were crying instead of chirping?

How stupid was that!

Like the birds care ... Like the wind knows ... Like anyone knows how I am feeling. They think they know -- they think that I feel like they feel. Well I don't! I feel like half of me has been ripped away ... Like there's just a huge hole in me ... And there is. And there is no way for me to fill it in. It's there forever -- it's there until I die and see Trunks again in the afterlife. And even then I'll bet that it will still be there.

That's how much Trunks meant to me ... That's how much of an impact he made on my life ... It's not fair, ya know? It's not fair that I tell myself not to think about the things we did together, and then I always end up thinking about those stupid things, and then I always think about how I'm never going to get the chance to do it again with him.

And that's when it always hits me at full force. Over the days it hasn't changed one bit. Everyone thinks that the pain is going to fade away -- maybe for them it will, but not for me. I know that. Because whenever I think about those things, I feel the same exact way as I did when I first found out that he died.

That's not fading. That's not getting worse. That's just ... at a stalemate. A battle. A big freakin' battle between ... what? Me and Trunks? Trunks is trying to make me forget him (I know he would want me to get over myself), and I'm trying to hang on to him ... So, is that it? Am I locked in a stalemate with my dead best friend?

Greeeeaaaat. Even at death we're still trying to kick each others' ass.

"Trunks ... Forget about it. I'm never going to forget you ... I'm never going to replace you ... I'm never going to let go of our friendship ... Just give it up." I muttered to the heavens, before I couldn't take looking at the stupid bright blue sky anymore and I lowered my gaze.

I still couldn't feel the wind or hear the birds. I was still numb outside and inside. I kept on walking aimlessly, just thinking about Trunks. I found myself ending up on a bridge that covered a fairly large stream that ran into the Satan City River. "Trunks, I'll never let go of you. I'll never get over you, either." I murmured, staring at the still water. "Never."


That was one week ago, and that's where I am right now. One week and three days after Trunks died, I'm on a bridge in a cemetery holding a picture of Marron, Trunks, and me.

The only good news is I haven't missed much school, since I'm now on spring break. That's the best thing about the time Trunks died -- I only missed two days of school because of spring break.

But I don't think I can go back to school. I'll never be able to shove the memories to the back of my mind ... I'll never be able to see Daisuke and not be reminded of Trunks. But that's not what's really on my mind right now. What's on my mind is what I overheard Gohan saying.

"So that's why he died ..." That's what Gohan said. And the only person I know of that died recently was my best friend. If there's a reason why a car accident was able to kill Trunks, then I'm going to find out no matter what it takes. And I don't see any reason why I shouldn't do that now.

I lifted into the sky, took a deep breath, and blasted off for my brother's house.


When I got there, I banged on Gohan's door impatiently. I had to know what was wrong with Trunks. I had to know how such minor injuries could cause him to die. It seemed like an eternity before the door opened.

"Uncle Goten!" I glanced down, and saw Pan standing there in a fighting gi. She shouldn't be fighting now. She's too young. She needs to learn how to be normal ... She needs a chance to grow up ... She needs a chance to enjoy her life before it's over.

"Uh, hi, Pan-chan! Is your dad home?" I asked, forcing a smile. It was a crappy smile. I never could lie. But Pan is only four years old, so I'm betting she won't catch on.

"Yup! Hey, when's Trunks cummin' o'er? He said he'd show me how to do his Burning Attack, but he won't come here to show me."

I visibly shuddered. Pan is smart -- really smart. But even so, she doesn't realize what "dead" means. She thinks he's coming back ... She thinks he's just avoiding her ... Or maybe Gohan and Videl haven't told her yet?

"Uh, he's ... " What should I tell her? That he's busy? No, I can't lie to her. She'll hate me, and I'll hate myself for hurting her."He'll be around ... someday." I forced another smile. "Can I come in?"

Pan shrugged, dismissing the thing about Trunks. "Papa! Uncle Goten is here!" I leaned against the wall, looking at the back of my brother's head on the living room couch.

"Hey, Gohan, I need to talk to you about something really important." I stated, playing with a button on Trunks' jacket.

"Uncle Goten, how come you're wearing Trunks-kun's jacket?" I froze. I didn't even think about it ... I didn't think she'd notice.

"Uh, I borrowed it from him, Pan-chan." I answered her. She shrugged again, and then she just ran off upstairs, yelling back a "'cuse me." Heh, that she picked up from Trunks. "So, you haven't told her yet."

"Nope. Come sit down." I walked over to him, and sat down across from him.

"Why haven't you told her?"

Gohan sighed, throwing his glasses on the coffee table like they were nothing more than a piece of garbage. "It'll kill her. You know it. And don't even say it, Goten. I know that we can't keep lying to her whenever she asks where he is. Hell, you two used to baby-sit for her and Bra almost every weekend. She's getting suspicious, but I just don't know how to tell her ..."

"Right." I agreed, not taking the time to comfort him. "What was wrong with Trunks?"

Gohan blinked, looking at me in confusion. "Huh? You know, head injuries --"

"Fuck that," I snapped. "You know damn well that head injuries can't kill a Saiyajin. If head injuries could kill a Saiyajin, then we'd all be long dead. What else was wrong with him. What the hell made him so weak!" He didn't reply. God, he pisses me off so much sometimes! "Look, I know you saw the autopsy report! I know you know! You were one of his best friends, you're my brother, all of us are on the same team. We all deserve to know this! Every single one of us!"

"Fine." Gohan finally agreed. "The autopsy report said that a heart disease was starting to form in Trunks' heart. Actually, it had been there for a long time -- seventeen years, to be exact. I guess it was just dormant or something."

"Seventeen years? He got it when he was one?"

"Yeah. So, anyway, it was beginning to "wake up", I guess, but I don't think even Trunks knew it. I guess it weakened his system or something. Look, I'm not even sure if that's what made him so weak like that. But it's the only thing that the autopsy found that could account for his death."

"So ..." Shit ... I don't want to believe this. "You mean that he was going to die anyway? Maybe just a few weeks later?"

Gohan shook his head. I could tell he was hiding something. "No. He wouldn't have died."

"What? Why not!"

Gohan growled under his breath. Something was pissing him off. "He wouldn't have died because Bulma had the antidote -- she's had it for seventeen years! She's had it ever since Father was cured of his heart disease ... "

"Father's heart disease ... ! Are you saying that Dad gave Trunks his stupid heart thing that he got from Yardrat!"

"Yes. I'm pretty sure Dad gave it to Trunks just before Androids Nineteen and Twenty attacked South City. It's the only time Father was around our Trunks when he had the disease. And, to boot, that's right about when it almost killed Father. It was easily capable of being passed on to anyone. Hell, I could even have it! I just don't know why it took so long to start attacking Trunks."

"So, it's Dad's fault that he's dead!" I exclaimed, not wanting to believe it.

Gohan shrugged. "Technically, yeah, I guess. But don't even go blaming Dad for this! He had no control over it!"

"What the hell do you mean? He knew he had a disease that was easily capable of being spread to other people! Especially a one year old! He isn't that stupid!" I screamed, jumping up. "Why are you even standing up for him? He's never been there for us!"

Gohan stood up, and I could tell that he was trying to stay in control of his anger. But I didn't care. Gohan didn't scare me. "Father has been there for us plenty of times. He's saved our lives -- "

"Saved our lives. Wow. Our lives. But what else, Gohan! Is that all he can do? Save our freakin' lives! He has never been a proper father to us! Every couple of years he sticks around for a while, but then he always leaves! Yeah, I'll admit, he's fun. He's cool to be around. He's caring. But he has no idea what this is doing to us! To me! To mom!

"And now he played the biggest part in killing Trunks. He killed the one person who meant everything to me! The one person who was always there for me no matter what! And Gokuu took that away from me."

All of Gohan's anger was apparently replaced by shock. "Goten, he's your father."

"Do you think I care anymore! For the first seven years of my life Vegeta was like a father to me. And, as far as I'm concerned, Vegeta will always be a hundred times better a father than Gokuu will ever be. Vegeta may be rude, arrogant, proud, and obnoxious, but he cares about his family, and he always puts them first. And Gokuu? Fighting has always come before us, Gohan!"

The surprise left, and the anger was back and better than ever, now. "You think so, huh? You weren't around to see Vegeta care less that Dr. Gero almost killed Trunks and Bulma! You weren't around to see Vegeta care less about Mirai Trunks, until he was dead! You never saw Vegeta when he was the worst person you would ever want to meet!"

I turned, and walked towards the door, placing a firm grasp on the doorknob. "At least Vegeta improved and got his priorities straight. I'm still waiting for "Father" to put his family before his battles." With that, I left. I could care less what Gohan thought of me, now. All I cared about was that Gokuu caused Trunks to die.

I've always been taught that to not forgive someone is to hate them forever; it's part of the Japanese culture. And even though Gokuu has no idea he is what caused Trunks to die, I can never forgive him. Never.

And I plan on letting him know that.


"Mmm, this is good, ChiChi!" I heard Gokuu say as I walked into our house. Figures -- he probably doesn't even a remember a Trunks existed. "Hey, Goten! You have to have some of this! It's great!"

I shook my head, wondering how I could have ever loved him. "Dad, I need to talk to you outside for a second. It's really important."

"Goten!" My mom started to scorn me, but I didn't give her the chance to go on.

I scowled inwardly, wanting to tell my mom to get her head out of her ass, but I didn't. I knew I was pissed off, and I didn't want to do anything that I'd have to apologize and kiss ass for later. "Sorry, Mom, but this is really important. I'll be waiting outside." Without another word, I walked outside, and leaned against the house.

In no time at all, the door opened and Gokuu walked out, giving me a confused look. "What's wrong, Goten?"

"What's wrong? I'll tell you what's wrong. What's wrong is that you're the reason Trunks is dead." There. I said it. Now "Father" knows. "You gave him your heart disease because you're an idiot. It was just kicking in, and it weakened him. Or, at least, that's what your other son has to say about it." I couldn't believe how calm, relaxed, and cold my voice was. But that was good. I didn't want to come across as that naive ditz everyone thinks I am.

"Goten ... "

"Shut up! I'll never forgive you, Gokuu! Never!" As I said the words, I powered up into Super Saiyajin. "You killed the person who meant everything to me! You killed the only person who ever cared about me! You killed the only person who didn't expect anything of me!" I stared at his shocked, stupid face. He didn't expect any of this ... He didn't know, like Gohan said. Well, it doesn't matter! If he had actually thought for once in his life Trunks would have never gotten his disease! Trunks would still be alive!

"Goten, calm down. Fighting me won't bring Trunks back."

"Is that all you have to say! I know damn well that fighting you won't bring Trunks back! Nothing will! But if you had thought about how contagious your heart disease would be to a one year old seventeen years ago, then Trunks wouldn't be dead right now. Trunks would be fine. None of this would have ever happened! Do you know how many lives you've ruined!" I screamed at him. I felt hot tears streaming down my face, and I cursed myself for being so weak.

"Goten, I'm sorry. When the heart disease never attacked me in those three years before the Androids came, we all thought that Mirai Trunks made a mistake, or something changed history and I never caught the virus! But, after the disease struck, and after I got over it, I should have told everyone who came in contact with me to take the antidote.

"You're right, Goten. My mistake caused Trunks to die from his injuries, and there's nothing I can do to rectify that. Don't you think I know that, Son? I've dedicated my entire life to saving lives and protecting innocence, but in doing so I've killed one of the people that I care most about. How do you think that makes me feel? How do you think that punching me will make anyone feel better about Trunks' death?"

"Let's find out." He never saw my attack coming. He thought he knew his son well enough to know that I wouldn't attack him. He thought very wrong. Before he could do anything to stop me, I landed a punch right smack dab in the center of his face, causing the great and almighty Son Gokuu to fall right on his ass with his nose bleeding.

"Do you feel any better?" he asked me, as he stood up with blood pouring out of his nose and into his hand that was covering it. "Do you think Trunks wanted you to do that?"

God, I hated him so much! But my reason just changed. I hated him because he was right ... I didn't feel better ... I felt worse knowing that I hurt someone I cared about. I don't even know why I blamed him ... There was stuff he could have done to prevent his disease from spreading, and I don't think I can ever fully forgive him for that, but I can't hate him. "Dad ... I'm sorry ..."

I stood there like an idiot with tears streaming down my face. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say. But he did the talking for me. He grabbed me, and pulled me into a tight hug. "Dad, I'm really sorry."

"Goten, it's okay; don't apologize anymore. You had every right to punch me, just like everyone who ever knew Trunks does. It is my fault he's dead, and I know that you can never completely forgive me, because I can never forgive myself for being so careless." he told me. He was even crying.

"I've always been dependent on him ... How the hell do I go on without him?" With all the guilt Dad was putting on himself, he really wasn't the right person to ask. But he's the only person I trusted enough, I think.

"To be honest, Goten, I don't know. I've never lost anyone. I've never lost a friend for good. I don't know how it feels, so I'm not even going to try to pretend I do."

"No one on the team knows, either, do they?"

"No, Goten, they don't. But I know you'll find a way. You have sixteen people that you can count on for help, so don't worry about anything, Son."

I tightened my grip on Dad's gi, glad that he was my father, glad that he was so understanding and caring. But I knew things would never be the same.

There are friends, I know, that we can't imagine living without. But imagining isn't living. I will find a way ... But I can't imagine it.


Almost one year later, I did find a way. I can live without Trunks, because I've been living for the past months. Even so, it still hurts like a bitch. And I was right, after all. Trunks and I are at a stalemate, only I've been letting Trunks win more and more these days. But I still can't let go ... I still wear his jacket, and I don't see myself trading it in for a new one anytime soon.

And speaking of bitches, today is the biggest bitch of them all: it's his nineteenth birthday. Or it would have been. So, here I am, at his grave stone giving him flowers for his birthday. I set them down next to sixteen other bouquets. "Happy birthday, Trunks. And guess what you get? More flowers! Dontcha feel special?"

I almost expected a reply from him, but I knew better. I may not let go of him for a while, but I'm not delusional. With a final smile, I stood up, and shoved my hands into Trunks' jacket pockets.

"Best friends and brothers, forever, Trunks. Even in death."

I still have the scar on my hand, and I don't think it will ever go away, even though it's old. It's too deep. Kinda like the friendship Trunks and I share. It's old, it's deep, and it will never fade completely.

And that's the way I like it.

The End

(c) Silver Galaxy, 2001