If Nobody Believed In You
I don't claim to own Dragonball, Dragonball Z or any of their characters. They all belong to their representative owners. I'm just borrowing them in this story. This is the requested sequel to When Somebody Loves You. Please R&R! It's an alternate reality, changes a little of the plot, and takes place right at the start of the Android saga.
"Tell me how would you feel; you'd probably give up too, if nobody believed in you."
Chapter One: Night Before Twilight
The child looked up from his desk work. Schoolwork was horrible. He despised it with every ounce of his being but felt that to please his mother, he would do it. It wasn't like he had much of a choice a lot of the time with the way Mother always pounded and insisted on it. Oh, he knew she thought it was for the best but he didn't think so. In any event, he was finishing up a page of math equations when the door opened. He turned, smiling, seeing his father.
"Hey, little man. How you doing?"
"Being bored. Wanted to go train with you and Mr. Piccolo some more."
A brief chuckle, "I know you did. But those muscles of yours needed a breather anyway."
The eight year old nodded. "And now my brain muscle hurts."
Goku smirked, "Well, c'mon then. You need to get your bath anyway."
The child eagerly put his schoolbooks and writing utensils away and dug in his drawer for his nightclothes. As of lately, he'd taken up his father's style of only wearing boxers to bed. He grasped a pair and followed Goku down the hall and into their indoor bath. It had started raining, Gohan had heard the thunder. So, the outside bath was off-limits for the moment. Gohan had changed a lot, matured a lot but he was still Goku's baby boy who loved to be pampered by his father.
Steam clouded the window as Goku ran a bubbling hot bath for his little son. Gohan stripped off his study clothes and took out the rubber band that held his long black hair in a low ponytail. It spiraled down his back as he kicked off his shoes and socks and stepped into the warm water. Settling back, he smiled at his father who as always sat beside him to help and direct his washing. He was getting almost too old for that but he still needed enough pointers for Goku or ChiChi to still supervise.
Goku let his son do most of the washing although he still had to touch up on a few places, namely the boy's ears, face and tail base. It made him complain a little but Goku thought that was a good sign. Sometimes, he thought Gohan was too relenting to others' desires and not his own. Hearing him complain that 'he could do it!' was progress!
"Hold still, little man, almost done."
Gohan pouted as his father scrubbed behind his left ear. It tickled and it almost hurt. He gave his father an irritated look. Goku in response gave Gohan a fake hurt look. "Ah, I'm just trying to help you little man. Don't look at me like that." He pouted at his little son. Gohan winced and playfully splashed his father's face, laughing out loud.
"Daddy, I'm supposed to give You the look."
"Well, Daddy can do it too!"
Gohan stuck his tongue out at Goku who promptly dropped a few bubbles of soap on the end which made the boy made a horrible face, wrinkling up his nose and the very tip of his tongue sticking out. Goku burst up laughing at his face and helped him stand up, giving him a final rinse down with the shower head. Helping him step out, he wrapped his son in a towel and let the boy scrub himself down. His tail and hair frizzed out but that wasn't really important since all he was doing was going to bed.
"Get dressed and brush your teeth and I'll be in to tuck you in, okay, little man?"
Gohan nodded, pulling the boxers up and then standing up on his stepstool to reach the sink. Goku left him like that and to anyone else, the night seemed to be a typical night. ChiChi came in and gave Gohan a kiss and then left. Goku came in, talked to his for a bit, rubbed his back until his eyes closed and then left with a kiss to the boy's temple. But this wasn't any normal night.
The next day was the day they had been planning three long years for.
Tomorrow, the Androids were supposed to appear.
They were supposed to show up around ten in the morning. Gohan had had enough trouble dealing with Android Nine three years ago, when he'd taken on the heart virus for his father. But the Androids Trunks spoke of, if they were still destined to arrive, were supposed to be powerful enough to floor all the Z fighters, even Vegeta and Piccolo. His father was going to be around this time though!
Still, what if Daddy just turned out to be the first to go, to die so fast Gohan was helpless to do anything…again…
The boy jerked upright in bed, panting. Sweat poured off his forehead and he clutched his sheets tightly in his fists. Pushing his short bangs back, he traced some of the seams of his blankets with a finger. He tried telling himself that his thoughts were silly and that everything was going to be okay but the fear lingered and it festered. What if he was wrong? What if they hadn't gotten strong enough? What if he was going to lose the one man he cared about more than anything else in the whole world? Was he going to lose his father, the man he trusted with his life and soul?
Jumping at the crash of thunder, the boy kicked off his sheets and slowly creaked his door open. It was silent. His parents' room was dark and by their ki, he knew they were asleep. Looking at the clock he could make out that it was about one in the morning. Too early for anyone to be up yet he knew sleep was not going to come back. He wanted some air.
Despite the rain, maybe the smell of fresh grass and nature would clear his head. He slipped out the front door and for a while just stood there, watching the rain pour down and enjoying the feeling of the cool air. Taking a step out, his feet crunched soft green strands beneath them. They felt good. He walked out a bit, still careful to stay in the open, so to avoid a lightning strike if they occurred. Goku had taught him that…
Daddy had taught him so much! He had so much still to teach him! What if these Androids took away that? Took away all he cared about? As always, he was certain if Daddy wasn't able to defeat them, then they were in trouble. He didn't have nearly the skill his father did, nor the power. He was almost certain of it. He would be almost no good to this battle, he could already feel it. What if he messed up again, like he had in training so many times? What if….
"Wow, that was quite the sneeze, little man!"
Gohan turned "Huh?"
Goku was right behind him, holding out a cloak over his son's head. "You're going to get sick out here, kiddo."
"Daddy…what are you doing up?"
"I could ask you the same."
Gohan lowered his head. "Couldn't sleep."
"Little of both, I guess."
"Good. That's normal and it'll keep you fro making overconfident mistakes." He paused and took his son's hand. "But don't worry too much. You need to relax. We've done all we can." He gently led the way back in doors and knelt to Gohan's level. "Try and get some sleep, kiddo. You're going to need all the energy you can get tomorrow."
He sighed and pushed his hair back. "I can't Daddy…what…what if we're not strong enough? What if I lose you again? I can't lose you again!"
Goku closed the door and threw a log into the fireplace. He threw a ki blast into the wood, rendering a warm and cheery fire before started to rub Gohan down with a warm quilt ChiChi kept on the couch. "Oh, little man. Is that was you're worried about? We've trained as hard as we can, kiddo. We have an idea what to expect and that gives us a great advantage. Plus, we know how to fight together, how to use one another's strengths to counter our weaknesses. You don't worry about that."
"Hard not to Daddy," came the child's sniffling answer. "I don't wanna lose anyone I love…I can't stand it."
Goku smiled and lifted Gohan up into his arms. He thought a moment and wrapped Gohan in the warm quilt. Gohan enjoyed the comfort, laying his head against Goku's shoulder, something he doubted he'd ever grow too big for. The warm fire helped a great deal. When the gentle swaying began, it was intoxicating. A calming sensation passed over his heart.
Goku smiled at his son, gently easing the rocking chair back and forth. ChiChi kept one by the fireplace because she liked to sew or fold clothes by the warmth of a fire on chilly evenings. It used to be in Gohan's nursery and then his bedroom, up until he was three years old when he didn't need it at night anymore. But Goku saw the need in his older child's eyes. Three years older, three years wiser but that made not a scrap of difference. He was a child and he needed comfort so Goku would give it, regardless of his age. If he needed this when he was sixteen, he would do it.
"Daddy…I'm sorry. I'm acting like a baby…"
"You hush. There's nothing wrong with it. There's nothing wrong with being scared. There's nothing wrong with needing the comfort. Heck, even Daddy gets nervous before a battle."
"yep…and since when do you mind cuddling with Daddy?"
A faint smile "I don't."
"Didn't think so. So you just let yourself relax."
Gohan tried. His nose twitched and the faint smell of warm cinnamon and sugar trickled into his nostrils. He turned his head as the door to the kitchen opened and for the first time noticed the light on and ChiChi's ki signature. She walked in, silent as could be and handed Gohan a mug of warmed milk. "Here, son. It'll help you sleep."
Goku gave her a grateful smile and Gohan took slow sips. He paused and asked "Mother? Daddy? How did you know I was awake?"
"It's a parent thing." Came the answer in unison.
"Right." Gohan laid against Goku's chest, sipping his milk. The gentle presence of his father, the sweet taste of the milk on his tongue and the warming dancing flames was enough to make his eyes shut. For the time being, the fears of morning vanished and his mind drifted off into a dreamless sleep. Goku tightened his grip, keeping up his rocking.
For tonight, he wouldn't mind the comfort either.