"How.. How did it ever get to be like this...?" Gohan muttered under his breath, pausing his dish-washing and letting his head sink with a nostalgic helplessness that felt so familiar, and yet so painful.

"Gohan ? You're still awake?"

He stood up, startled out of his flashbacks and pulled a smile out of there, somewhere,"Yeah, Mom. I could ask you the same, too."

She grinned, reveling in her son's seldom presence,"You could. But I'm sure my answer is alot more simpler than yours."

His smile slacked, feeling a tad guilty for his emotions being so clear to see. Then again, it was ChiChi. Not alot went by her these days, after all these years either. He remembered being young, and feeling the same shame that he was feeling now. As if he was somehow bringing his mother down with him because he didn't have the clairvoyant strength like his father.

"I guess I'm not tired enough to sleep yet. It's been a long night, Mom."

"You mean, it's been a long 3 months."

His eyes briefly flickered upwards to meet hers as he nodded softly,"Yeah."

"I only have a few things to say. Gohan, you don't need to be strong for everyone anymore. You don't have to be your father."

"But it's not the fact that I don't need to be, it's the fact that I fucking can't. Even after I defeated someone that no one else really could without me there, I still could barely manage because I had you to take care of. I had Goten to take on as well, and make sure he had a father figure in me, not just a brother with special powers to teach him."

ChiChi nodded, her age showing in the kitchen light, making her seem more weaker and more wise at the same time,"I know you were pressured. But that was then, Gohan. Now, it's just you that you need to take care of."

"Yeah, and look how great I am at doing that. I lose my daughter and my wife in the same quartile of my life, and now I have a black eye to show for it."

She sighed,"You're doing the best you can, if you ask me."

He gave her a peculiar look.

"Your father told me why Vegeta attacked you tonight."

"Heh. If you honestly think that's the best I can do, then I'm insulted Mom."

She shook her head slowly, peering at him with a protective warmth that he hadn't felt in so long that he didn't even know he missed it so much.

"I think you were trying, and you were simply trying to make everything okay the wrong way."

"Mom...", He pleaded, his hands covering his face in exasperation.

"Gohan, it is perfectly normal to have feelings for someone even in the ... most bizarre of circumstances. She may be young, but she is beautiful. I should know, for she was just here some time earlier this year-"

Gohan spun as his eyes shot to hers with wide shock,"Wait, what?"

ChiChi looked surprise as she slowly replied in confusion,"She simply came over one day. I think it was after she was expelled from her own school. And, well, she had an accident-"

"What accident? Did someone do something to her?"

"Gohan, I don't know what you're trying to insinuate, but no. She was doing laundry outside for me, and there was a tornado. I guess she just didn't see it in time.."

"Are you serious? You had her outside doing LAUNDRY for you?!"

"Gohan! She insisted!"

"I don't care. You know how the weather gets around here. And what about Dad? He could doing practically nothing as her Ki slowly receded ?!" Gohan shouted, his eyes flashing with an increasing anger that scared his mother, for she had seen nothing like it in all the years she had raised and known her son.

"Gohan, I don't answer for your father..." She replied with fatigue, already done out by Gohan's pushiness about this.

"Fine, I'll ask him myself."

With that, Gohan left the room, leaving ChiChi to ponder exactly what was going through her Son's head.

Or who.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Thanks for coming in, . It's been a few days, and no leads have come up... Until now."

Sky blue eyes swept across the station with annoyance, emphasized in his husky,"Make it brief, Officer."

"...Right. We went through Marron's apartment, as you see here. It was located right behind Capsule Corp., as well. So her demise may have occurred anywhere in that area. Besides that, we found a thing or two that lead us to some pretty interesting material as to who Marron really was..."

"Spit it."

The officer didn't hesitate to pull out a file and pass it to Trunks' end of the table. With narrowed, seething eyes he opened it, wishing that this wretched tool of a woman would stop wasting even more of life while hers was ended.

"Oh look. A mighty fine scrap-booking project, if you ask me."

The officer raised an eyebrow at Trunks' sarcastically nodding approval.

"I always did want to see a collage of myself."

"Um, , it may be important to consider where she got these pictures."

Trunks looked up with a blank gaze,"Well, it may also be important to consider that she was mentally unstable and probably made these with a device from my company using only one little photo that she somehow obtained of me."

He nodded,"But you realize that conclusions may be drawn from her apparent...fixation on you."

Trunks looked up again, holding his hands together and pleasantly smiling steely,"I'm listening."

"Well, there may have been a history of stalking, sexual harrassment while she was under the secretary position in your office. This makes you liable to have reacted in a way that could have gotten her killed."

"Ah. How crafty. The CEO killed the meaningless whore of a majour company. You know.. You guys have alot of crooks out there to be worrying about, not publicity and scandal for your city headlines."

Trunks abruptly stood up, peering straight into the officer's eyes with a deadly dare flashing.

"Don't think for one second that this case will be carried through against me. You have no proof, and you have no power. Have a good day, officer."

As the Capsule Corp. President stalked off, he heard the desperate officer suddenly shout,"But your picture was literally everywhere! Not to mention, you were also seen at Hercule's home last as well! This isn't just a coincidence!"

"So I saw. I'm flattered, really, but no contact has ever been made between me and that woman. I'm sorry for your case's cold demise...Both of them. Be safe."

Trunks drove home in a sour moodiness at the way this woman was coming back time and time again to bother him. He wished that he had never met her in the first place, that bald ass and his mother being friends and all. If he had any opinion about the whole lot of them, it was that they were simply stitched way too close together for anything good to happen. And he was watching its results through the roller coaster troubles of his little sister.

He walked into the door of his home to see his mother pacing, then stopping when she saw him,"How'd it go?"

"Fine... You know me, I'm a smooth one."

"Yeah, you and your sister both. You know how hard it was to find another damn secretary, Trunks? After all the news coverage and suspicion that it was US who did it because we're the most scientifically advanced facility on the planet, and we COULD cover it up if need be ?!"

"Look, I'm sorry Mom, alright? I didn't know it would have to be done."

She rolled her eyes as Trunks took his shoes off and plumped on the couch,"Okay, well promise me then that with our NEW secretary, you won't kill her."

His eyes snapped to her, freezing there like the blood in his heart had.

"Yeah, you know, you and Bra think I'm the most oblivious self-absorbed person in the universe-"

He raised an eyebrow.

"-Alright, so I might be self-absorbed because my clock's ticking just a smidgen to be. But at the same time, don't throw dirt around here and pretend that I'll never see it."

She brisked over to the kitchen, pouring herself an 'emergency drink' from the freezer. Trunks felt a surge of guilt all of a sudden, not realizing that throughout these episodes of chaos with everybody, his mother had been somewhat overshadowed and ignored.

"Aw, Mom. It's okay not to be the center of controversy anymore. To be honest, I wish I wasn't. I wish Bra would stop being a slutty princess and act like a decent member of this family."

She slowly turned around, the subtlest hint of bags under her eyes visible under the kitchen light,"W-What do you mean?"

"I mean, we still love you. And we're fucking up left and right, but you know what Mom? That doesn't mean you're not special just because you and Dad have already .. been said and done, I guess you could say."

She fully turned around, folding her arms,"Yeah? You think so, Trunks? You think that I'm jealous because you guys are getting attention for murder and illicit affairs sent into my mailbox ?!"

"No, Mom, that's not what I meant. I mean that... You and Dad have already happened, and now Bra and I are happening. And you feel left out perhaps?"

She gulped,"Left out, huh... I wish."

His amethyst eyebrows burrowed with confusion,"What ?"

"Your father is not boding well with your sister's continuing rebellion, and I can't keep saving your ass. Now how do you think that makes your father and I feel when we ARE together and not in the midst of you and your sister's irreparable destruction?"

Trunks swallowed, not liking where this was going.

"Do you want your father to push us away forever?"

"You mean, because it took him 2 decades to actually take us in?" Trunks returned venomously, memories stabbing.

"Yes, that is exactly what I mean," Bulma spat, making her way out of the kitchen, but stopped to make one last remark.

"You and Bra need to think hard about keeping your father here, or thinking about your kami-damned selves."

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Hey Gohan! You're awake?" Goku called cheerfully from the rooftop of the small Son house, the stars beyond him shining just as gleefully with an oblivion to the fire of rage burning through Gohan's temples.

"Why didn't you tell me Bra had come here?" Gohan demanded, a stern tone in his voice that Goku didn't recognize.

"Uh.. I guess it wasn't that important?" He replied with a bell-tone confusion that almost rang its usual innocence to Gohan. But he couldn't take chances now.

"Bullshit. It was important enough for Mom to tell me. I didn't think my own father would keep something like that from me."

Goku chuckled, "Son, I don't understand what's gotten into you! Is this one of those prank shows?"

He shook his head, causing Goku's light smile to fade as he leaped down to his son's level of vision.

"I don't quite get it, Gohan," He started softly, earning a glare from Gohan's obsidian eyes, one very reminiscent of ChiChi's every time she got frustrated at Goku's forgetful antics.

"Neither do I. Why you wouldn't tell me something that should have no significance, right?"

Goku fell silent, the reasons for his omission flashing through his mind like a bad dream.

"So she got to you too, did she?"

He did a double-take at this sudden accusation,"Gohan, no-"

"Save it, Dad. It's not entirely your fault... I know how she is."

An awkward sheet of still quiet fell between father and son, one at war with his feelings and the other at war with what was perhaps his only mistake in life.

Gohan then decided to break it,"But how could you do this to Mom?"

"Gohan, that is not what happened," Goku snapped sternly, more aimed at himself than his son.

"I always thought, just like everyone else did, that you were perfect. That no one could tempt you or trick you to go to the other side, the side that HURTS people you love. Then again, you did abandon us not more than a few decades ago. This seems to be no different. Except.. This time you can't disguise it as sacrifice."

"Son, please-"

"Oh wait! You can say it is sacrifice. You sacrificed my respect, and the future respect of my mother, for just a mere moment of heat with Vegeta's daughter."

"And you're any better?!"

"No, but at least I waited until I lost everything by myself."

"What's going on out here?" ChiChi's voice rang out from the kitchen window, interrupting the tense air of confrontation between the two Saiyans.

Gohan sighed, giving his father a determined stare,"I guess that's your cue. I won't be staying here any longer. In fact, you can count on not seeing me again."

"Son!"

"Tell Mom I love her but couldn't stay. Please take care of her... if you can."

Despite Goku's expression of shameful desperation penetrating into Gohan's memory forever, he took off into the midnight sky, wishing there was at least one place, one person for him to go to.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Who the hell was that, woman?"

Bulma sighed at Vegeta's cranky exterior, although she couldn't call it new,"It was ChiChi. Gohan ran off last night after finding out that Bra had some kind of accident there over the summer. She sounded really confused.."

"Hmpf. The half-breed idiot should know that Bra has a father do to the worrying."

Bulma felt helplessness run through her at yet another remark from Vegeta that clearly showed just how resentful he was getting at everything, and everyone. Even she could barely get any kind of affection or sentiment out of him, but perhaps her luck had ran out finally after so many years of getting it from him. Of all people, no one would have said that they would have happened, but she thought that maybe because it was so spontaneous, it would last.

"I'm sorry things are horrible, Vegeta, but do you really have to be such a jerk?"

"Should I be jumping for joy as Kakarott's spawn is lingering over my only daughter? And my son is doing Kami knows what with his own life. It just reminds me... The kingdom that I lost a long time ago. How none of this would have been tolerated there."

Another sigh escaped her, only this time a sob attempted to make its way through it. Closing her eyes, she turned her back to her irritable husband, guilt washing over her as she realized it was mainly her fault that he didn't end up the way that he had wanted to all along.

"Well, I'm sorry we're in your kami-damned way Vegeta, so just do as you normally did before, and go."

Silence followed as she could only imagine in her mind what stony expression lay upon Vegeta's face at that one. Her heart pounded in anticipation for his response, her lack of hope making an angry exit out of Capsule Corp. her prediction.

But alas, she was proved wrong.

Arms enveloped her from behind, only causing her emotional dam to break and the long held back tears to fall down her pale cheeks. Her cold hands were met with the warmth of his, the tension of his body releasing as her own was building while she tried desperately to keep from sobbing. She knew it was always his peeve, what he considered the main form of weakness: crying.

"Woman, I've stayed this long, and dealt with you and our own offspring this far... I have a little too much pride to do that now," He whispered in a husky tone of smug assurance near her ear, causing her to collapse in a fit of sobs as she turned and wrapped her own arms around his broad neck.

"I-I'm sorry it's like this. I don't know what else to do, and I thought that you wouldn't be able to do it. I knew, I knew it would remind of you what you could have had instead of-of this-"

"Hush, woman!" He barked softly, breaking their hug to stare into her face as he held it between his hands with strong conviction ebbing from his obsidian orbs,"I wanted nothing more than my children with you and your insolent, mind-wracking presence, and I'll be damned if you accuse me otherwise, woman! I probably would be dead right now, if you hadn't taken all of my dignity and pride away from me as the Prince of all Saiyans."

Her crying ceased, becoming mere sniffles and crystalline eye-fuls of incredulous wonder and relief. A smirk rose to his lips as another thought came to him.

"After all, they are part of my DNA."

She giggled softly, "Yes, you are pretty much to blame for all of this."

He retorted with a swift kiss to her still trembling lips, taking her in closer in his iron arms. Somehow they ended up on their bed, their lips still locked together, preparing for a long-due reconciliation that she felt they hadn't had in years.

"Bulma..."

She stopped and looked at him, surprised at both his releasing of her and his utterance of her first name, almost apprehensively.

"Y-Yes?"

He peered at her with a rising confidence, in more areas than one,"I think I'm ready to pay my dues now."

Grinning and pulling him down to her, it became a long night that she finally spent the right way.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cerulean eyes gleamed in the sunny exterior of the Ouji living room from her mother's face, causing Bra to feel yet another surge of reluctance at whatever her mother suddenly had up her sleeve this time. The confidence was as overbearing as the heat coming from the sun-facing windows that Bra was sitting in front of.

"Bra, we know you've had a tough time going from public school, to girls' school, so we won't be sending you to school again."

She blinked and looked at Bulma sideways in observant wait, ignoring the initial uplift in her chest and stopping herself from asking, "That's it?"

"So I have recruited a little... assistance," Added her father, the brick hitting her hope back down her throat as her proceeding instructor walked toward her and held out his hand with an emotionless expression.

"Hello Bra. I'm usually called by 17 around here, but you will address me as Shokken."

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bwahaha. .

cliffy!

haven't had alot of them, hm ?

i'll be nice next chapter.

i'm nice because there WILL be a next chapter.

how about that ?

[unless people don't review.]

ahhh, empty threat. it joys me enough to be writing this, even to an empty audience.

::: waves ::: ^.^

i mighttttt update by thanksgiving, my treat instead of turkey .

ciao!

~jckash03