"Crossroads"

Chapter 2

Gohan had made a point of wearing one of his long sleeved shirts to hide his bandage. He stepped into his morning class with Sharpener at his side. Both boys took neighbouring seats as they saw Angie and Stephanie walk through the door. Gohan couldn't help but groan and Sharpener elbowed him sharply in the ribs. Hissing Gohan shot him a lethal glare and turned just in time to see both girls approach their desks.

"Hi boys." Angie cooed cheerily as her friend took a seat beside her. Unfortunately for them the only seats available were in front of the boys.

This was something Gohan was thankful for and felt relatively safe.

"Did you hear about the dance next week?" Angie asked.

Gohan willed the floor to open up and swallow him whole. He knew what was going to happen next.

"When is this?" Sharpener asked excitedly. He shot a quick threatening glance at Gohan promising him much pain if he even thought of screwing this up for him.

Rolling his eyes Gohan willed himself to sink further down his chair trying to ignore the flirting looks Stephanie was sending his way. He tugged at his baseball cap, pulling it further down over his face and covering his eyes in a sad attempt at hiding. This was something Stephanie found endearing. She adored how sensual and dark his eyes looked when he glanced up from under the brim of his cap. "Very nice", she all but purred.

Gohan squirmed uncomfortably in his chair as he felt a wave of nausea under her predator gaze.

"It's next Saturday at seven. Everyone is going to be there." Stephanie informed them but was quick at turning her seductive gaze back to the sensual male opposite her. Kami he was hot.

Gohan knew what was meant by everyone. It meant anyone that counted.

"So are you boys going with anyone?" Angie coyly asked.

"How about it?" Stephanie enquired. "Are you up for a bit of fun?" Her silky voice was laced in innuendo while, at the same time, she was silently amused by the red tinge that was rapidly spreading across Gohan's high cheekbones.

Embarrassed and quickly becoming irritated with her ongoing flirting Gohan's eyes narrowed dangerously as he was about to tell her in not so many words what she could do with her fun! Instead, he leapt from the chair abruptly. "OUCH! What the FU" Snapping his mouth shut he realised that the whole classroom was watching him. He vigorously rubbed at his throbbing ankle while glaring daggers at his friend and wishing Sharpener would stop kicking him like that. It was getting old REAL quick.

"No. No, we're free. Sharpener said more casually, If you like my friend here and I can pick you guys up?" he suggested with one of his goofy smiles one that Gohan would have found painful if not for him doing a double take by his friends unwarranted suggestion.

Gohan flicked his cap up in disbelief, who was picking THEM up? Sharpener ignored the menacing glare his friend was shooting him. Doing what these girls did best, they cheered with delight like it was some sort of contest. Gohan turned to his soon to be ex-friend and made sure he had his legs tucked out of reach and ready to add his thoughts on this not-so-good idea when he was interrupted.

"That would be... s...o sweet." Angie gushed blowing a flirting kiss at Sharpener who was buckling at the knees. This was all quite sickening Gohan thought. He had to stop himself from hurling.

"Um guys, I hate to BURST your bubble here. But you girls do know I only have an old PICKUP truck, right?" Gohan reminded them proudly seeing the look of horror wash over Angie's features. That was until Stephanie quickly grabbed her friend by the hands all wide eyed pleading with her not to object.

"We don't mind." Stephanie said unable to hide the hint of apprehension in her voice. She turned back to the boys and forced her most charming smile, "It sounds...huh... ah...retro. Sexy even." She gulped smiling still.

Retro? Sexy? With a single raised brow Gohan turned to his friend raising his cap silently with a dazed expression wondering what drug she was on. Their heads turned as they heard their teacher enter the classroom.

Gohan leaned over to his friend brushing his shoulder and whispered. "She does know what a pickup truck is, doesn't she?" he asked dryly. Sharpener frowned and warned him to shut up. Gohan shrugged his shoulders and turned back to his book and opened to the page they were asked. "I guess that's a n...o!" he mumbled sarcastically confirming it to no-one but himself.

ooo

Later that day, he found himself walking down one of the many corridors towards his class when his eyes hardened. Instinct took a strong hold of him like it had done so many times in the past. He had built the reputation of a reckless youth with no potential. How sad his teachers would whisper behind his back. Commonsense seemingly fled of its own accord at that second.

Instead of retreating like any normal kid would have, he stayed still when he saw Chaz and Daniel and a few of their football buds advance quickly. They quickly had him surrounded in the corridor that suddenly appeared much narrower.

"Well, well. LOOK at what we got here." Chaz snarled.

"It looks like someone FORGOT to take out the trash." Daniel laughed humourlessly, his face twisting with malice knocking Gohan's textbooks and notes from his hands. He watched with some satisfaction as they spilled onto the floor at Gohan's feet.

"Oops!" He laughed, "Did I do that?"

Gohan's jaw clenched, eyes fix on Chaz as he towering threateningly over him doing his best to provoke him into another fight. "What do you want Chaz?" He grounded out like the name left a bad taste.

There was a strong shove in the chest trying to knock him off balance but Gohan kept his ground. "Trash." He scoffed. "You just think your something DON'T you?" Looking disgusted and sizing him up. "You might have fooled Stephanie Hamilton but you don't fool ME!"

A light smirk tugged on the corner of his mouth. It was all becoming very clear. Their eyes fixed suddenly and the atmosphere around them turned icy. "What's wrong Chaz? Can't handle the fact that Stephanie, might PREFER brains over brain-less."

That was all it took. Gohan was driven back hard and shoved up against the locker with Chaz's fist aimed directly at his face. "Go ahead." Gohan coolly dared him. Eyes unmoving locked and challenging.

He watched as Chaz's face twisted with hatred. He understood all too well what he was feeling. He had lived a life where, for the last few years at least, he was his old man's personal punching bag.

Gohan watched as the other teenager battled with what he wanted to do, which was to plough him into the ground with his large fist but he played it safe. Chaz knew just what Gohan was gambling on. He could be suspended from the finals if the coach ever got wind of this behaviour. It was a slim chance with dear old wealthy daddy having a say with being on the school board, but still he couldn't afford to upset his old man this close to the finals.

He forcefully shoved Gohan back with all the might he could muster, slamming him painfully back into one of the lockers. The sound bounced loudly around them. Surprisingly quick reflexes prevented Gohan from falling further to the floor. His eyes were fixed warily on Chaz as he roughly released his shirt. Observers whispered among themselves as they watched from a safe distance.

"There WILL be a day." Chaz warned. "You can COUNT on IT! Just you and me, Collins!" Chazs eyes narrowed full of hatred. "YOU and ME!" He vowed thrust a finger into Gohan's chest.

It took all of Gohan's self-control not to react. He just stood there, unmoving, watching. His dark eyes following Chaz until he turned the corner, playing the BIG man with his friends and leaving Gohan with his notes and books sprawled at his feet. Gohan released the breath he didn't realise he was holding. Crouching he started gathering up his things when he heard familiar voice above him.

"Fucking ASS! He was luckily I wasn't HERE or he would found his head permanently IMPRINTED in a locker!" Sharpener boasted.

Gohan smirked and picked up the last of his notes. He stood to see his friend standing nearby looking pissed off. His amusement quickly slipped when he saw Stephanie and Angie approaching looking all starry eyed at him.

"That was just the hottest thing I have ever seen. The way you just stood up to him like that. It was wrong in all the RIGHT ways!" Stephanie gushed rushing at him and throwing her arms around him and making sure her perky busts were firmly pressed up against him. This made Gohan blush. The next thing he knew he was pushed violently up against someone's locker with Stephanie Hamilton in his face; literally. Her naked knee was rubbing in places she shouldn't even be venturing. His cap was knocked back. Their lips locked together bruising. Wolf whistles were ringing in his ears like warning bells about the same time the lack of air was becoming an issue. Stephanie's long manicured nails hungrily fisting through his already unruly hair. Fire burned through his starving lungs, causing the world around him to spin. As suddenly as it started it abruptly ended leaving him standing there shocked and weak kneed. What the hell? He wondered dazzled as the two girls quickly dashed off leaning into one another to their next class, giggling.

Blinking once, twice, he snapped himself back into the here and now. He noticed other guys giving him the customarily, job well done pat on his back as they passed with others giving him the thumbs up. Sharpener was beside him grinning like some fool and nudging him in the arm, winking. "KILLER!"

"Shut UP!" Gohan snarled but unable to hold back his blushing smile. He didn't know what just happened but whatever it was he was sure to analyse it at great length at a later stage. For now he just wanted to escape from the attention he didn't ask for.

ooo

Things were pretty much the same as every other day. He dropped his friend, who had spent most of the drive talking about Angie, off. He would then race to pick up his father before returning home so he could have a quick shower and head off for work himself. Gohan was pleased his father was finally off his back with Sam informing Mark that he needed the kid for a few extra hours a week with one of the shipments until they were in the clear. His father never questioned the boss; not if he wanted to keep his job that was. Mark Collins could be a clever man sometimes.

Even though Gohan always had some time to spare after showering he hated sitting around the house while his father was there. He would rather spend that extra time working. When he got home this time he was pleased to find his father had gone to bed early. Sam must be working him pretty hard as well. Good.

Gohan was hungry but he was too tired to eat so he just climbed the stairs. On entering his room his eyes fell on his homework waiting for his attention, something he was also too tired for. Gohan was exhausted and all this extra work was really wearing him down. He stripped down out of his jeans and collapsed onto his bed. It was a struggle even to climb under the sheets to sleep. That had to be one of the first nights he hadn't wrestled with any of his nightmares in a long while. That had to be a blessing in itself

ooo

The next day, at lunch, he found himself downing his soda and leaning back against the tree, his baseball cap was pulled low over his dark eyes. From where he sat he could see Chaz and his friends tackling each other to the ground, off in the distance, in a friendly game of football on the sports oval.

"He really has it in for you." Sharpener commented, stating the obvious. Gohan raised a brow glancing sideways at his friend who was doing his best to wolf down a whole meat roll disgusting.

"You think?"

He nodded. "Yeah, it's obvious." Sharpener said with mouthful full of food. Gohan grimaced, watching food dripping from his friends mouth. It really was gross. "You'd better watch your back around him. He's out for blood, your blood."

Rolling his eyes Gohan turned back to the football jocks with their usual crowd of girls cheering them on from the sidelines. He had been noticing how Chaz really did his best to act all macho when Stephanie was around. This seemed to be happening at the moment while she and Angie were talking to a large group of their friends over near the oval.

"I don't understand it." Gohan said after a short silence between them.

"What?" Sharpener asked not turning as he was still fully focused on his lunch.

"Why she would be hanging out with me when it's obvious BOZO over there is all over her. Is she using me to get to him?" Gohan frowned crushing the empty can in his closed fist before tossing it in the nearest bin several metres from where they were sitting. Bullseye. He silently cheered himself impressed he could reach that far.

Sharpener looked up from eating. "Huh?" he mumbled frowning. His best friend could be so dense at times. "What planet are you from? She's HOT for you. She wants you bad dude. Angie told me. Remember?"

Gohan settled back against the tree trunk once more, getting comfortable. "Yeah, I remember. But it just seems a little too fishy for me."

"That's because you don't see it. You're always putting yourself down."

Gohan frowned. It was too close to the truth for him he thought as he ripped at the grass by his side. "Well, I wish she'd drop it." He grumbled. She was complicating things and confusing him.

Sharpener couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You're telling me after what she did yesterday. That you don't want any of that?" He pointed over to the girls, "She's hot man. I mean if I didn't already have Angie I would so be all over that, but she's out of my league." Sharpener sighed dramatically. Stephanie was just that much more above Angie and everyone knew it, but the girls were tight like sisters, Siamese twins sister at that. Stephanie with her stunning green eyes and long brunette hair and that perfectly tanned skin. She was exotic, he thought, with her father's Spanish heritage and as for Angie, in comparison to that of her friend, had her blondish brunette hair dark brown eyes, pale completion.

Gohan leaned forward with both arms resting loosely on his knees and chewed on a grass stem he had plucked from the ground. Dark predator like eyes watched Stephanie's every move blinking some when his locks blew across his vision. He thought about his encounter with her when she had stolen that kiss from him. It wasn't the first time this had popped into his head since it had happened, and it wasn't like the first kiss he had ever had either. It confused him. As a rule, girls never really did anything for him. They still didn't, but that was because none had kissed him as passionately as Stephanie Hamilton and certainly not in front of, what felt like, the whole school.

It did arouse some thoughts he wouldn't normally be entertaining. Harris still had what it took to get him off, but realistically that was never going to happen. On the other hand Stephanie was here and offering. He didn't know what to think or why he was even entertaining these ideas. He was getting restless of late, horny would be another word used, but that would be understatement. His dreams seemed to be stimulating some very wild and bizarre fantasy that bordered on the lines of a werewolf movie, violent and brutal at times. This thing with Stephanie was stirring something within that terrified him. It didn't feel human at all.

"Hey GC!" Sharpener called again but louder. "We're going to be late!"

Blinking Gohan snapped from his thoughts. He squinted shielding his eyes from the sun. "Huh?"

"The bell dude We're late for our class." Sharpener pointed over his shoulder towards the buildings.

Gohan sprung to his feet and dusted his jeans. He looked confused seeing hardly anyone around. There were just a few remaining stragglers heading indoors. "Already?"

"You spaced or something?"

"No. I justah, forget it. Where are the girls?" he asked reaching down to snatch up his backpack.

Sharpener laughed, patting him on the back. "They left already."

Confused Gohan frowned. "They were here?"

"No. They've been put in charge of organizing the dance, so theyre busy recruiting their friends to help."

"The dance?" Gohan said eyes wide. Hell. "I forgot all about it!"

Sharpener heaved his bag over his shoulder as they both head over to E block. "You're kidding, right?" he asked unsure whether to be appalled or amused.

Gohan glanced back over his shoulder at his friend. "It's not like I've had a chance. I've been so caught up with work. I'm too tired to think of anything else." He explained.

"Geez, you really need to get your priorities in order." Sharpener remarked shaking his head in dismay. "Now listen. It's really simple, man. Stephanie is your first priority; number one on your list. Everything else comes last." He explained as they both stepped into the building.

"Not if you want me to keep driving you to school it doesn't." Gohan argued. The truck was costing him fortune in fuel and maintenance. If he didn't do all the repairs himself it would be costing him even more. Repairs, is exactly what he knew he would be doing this weekend. He knew where his old man would be and that's at the pub like normal. That or fishing with his friend Don. Gohan didn't care as long as it kept him out of his hair.

"Mr Collins. Mr Sullivan! I assume you both have a class to go to?" Principle Fisher's voice boomed startling them both. Both boys jumped slightly embarrassed of being caught unawares.

"Yes sir." Sharpener was quick to reply. Through rebellious eyes Gohan watch the tall lanky man with his dark rim glass look down at them like they were nothing more than hoodlums.

"Well then, I suggest the two of you get there before I put you both on detention this afternoon." Fisher threatened. Both boys turned and hurried away leaving the man to fuss over one of the many proud school photos that framed the entrance.

"Prick!" Gohan snapped rounding the corner and seeing the stairwell insight.

"Fucker!" Sharpener growled as they both started to sprint up the steps two at time before heading down the hall until they reached their class.

On entering the unnaturally quiet room they cringed, "Mr Collins. Mr Sullivan... You're late!"

Not again.

ooo

"You know, I hate school." Sharpener bitched, and not for the first time that afternoon. "I really hate it."

"So you keep telling me." Gohan smirked pulling up alongside his friend's apartments. "You've only got tomorrow then you a free man." He reminded him.

"True. Tomorrow night do you wanna come with me and Angie to the flicks?" Sharpener asked looking hopefully, maybe a little too hopefully.

Gohan laughed. "I don't think so. Threes a-" his eyes narrowed quickly seeing through his friend with the odd expression Sharpener was pulling. "NO! No-no-no-no and NO!"

"Aww...come on!" Sharpener whined. "It will be great the four of us. Pleeeeease! I promised them you would."

"Well then you've got a problem, because it isn't going be happening!" Gohan growled, flatly refusing. "I've got a date already with this baby." he all but purred patting the steering wheel affectionately.

"Oh come off it! Stephanie wants you bad." Gohan frowned deepened. Something inside of him wanted this.

He was fighting it. "... I don't know. I've gotta go, dad's waiting."

Smiling and feeling fairly confident that he could persuade Gohan into going with them. "Okay, I'll seeya later then. I'll pop around."

"Yeah, sure." Gohan mumbled sounding less than enthusiastic than his friend. He recognised all too well that sparkle in Sharpeners eyes, believing he was close to achieving his goal. Sighing, Gohan waited for his friend to close the door.

"Catchya!" Sharpener waved happily. With a short nod Gohan shifted into gear and waved before taken off again. He wasn't impressed with his friend and even less so with himself.

By the end of each evening Gohan was left feeling exhausted driving everyone to and fro. That combined with the ever mounting schoolwork and working back at the steelyards, something had to give.

He would be pleased when the weekend finally arrived. Then he would be able to make up for all that schoolwork he hadn't been able to catch up on. That and working on the truck was making for a full weekend, and it looked like the movies with Stephanie was also on the cards. Thats if Sharpener had his way and Gohan knew he would.

Maybe, he could pretend to be sick, real sick with the flu or something. It would have to be convincing. It could work, but then his face dropped, knowing full well Sharpener would see right through his ruse. Frowning, he wouldnt put it past his friend to just rock up and drag him from his room if need be. No doubt with a foul tasting bottle of cough mixture in hand just to teach him a lesson.

Sharpener really has it bad for Angie and would do anything to keep her on good terms with him.

Traitor.

ooo

Gohan looked down at just above his wrist. It wasn't healing as fast as he would have liked. He was wearing ripped jeans a long t-shit this time red with an orange logo on the front. With a fresh bandage on his arm, he raced down stairs to start the day. His hair was still damp after the shower in a miserable attempt to wake himself up. He climbed into the Chevy, brought the old girl to life and quickly backed out of their narrow driveway. It was Friday and he wanted to get the day over with so he could get the weekend rolling. There was a lot that needed doing.

He pulled into school with Sharpener at his side as usual. Gohan spotted Chaz talking with Stephanie before she noticed his big Chevy entering the car park. With its rusty charm among the endless line of new cars in the student's carpark it wasn't hard to miss. He secretly watched as a smile burst onto her face on seeing him. It gave him some satisfaction to know she was interested in him instead of bozo.

She rushed to meet him as he pulled up. Both Sharpener and Gohan glanced at each other with the same serious expression. They had both seen the fiery look Chaz had shot their way before his jock buddies patted him on the back persuading him to follow, but Chaz was not having any of that and shrugged them off.

Gohan silenced the engine and was pulling the keys out of the ignition as Stephanie came to his door. "You took long enough." She gushed gleefully. She moved aside as Gohan climbed out and pulled his baseball cap over his eyes to hide his annoyance. "I thought I'd wait for you. Angie will be a little late Sharp." She told the taller blond as he grabbed his bag from the tray of the Chevy.

A disappointed Sharpener nodded. He would have liked his girl to meet him as well. "Did she say when?"

"No. Just that her dad was going to drop her off on his way to work." Stephanie explained still focussed on Gohan like a puppy with a new treat to be had. Gohan shifted his bag onto his shoulder ready to leave. He had no qualms of leaving her standing there alone.

She was a little taken back, "Gohan!" she called watching him slip past her. Unfazed Gohan continued, but his eyes were focused on Chaz off to the side watching cautiously from under his cap. Both boys' eyes were locked as Stephanie slipped her arm around Gohan's.

"What's wrong?" She purred not noticing the friction between Chaz and Gohan until then. "Oh." concluding that there was some jealous rivalry between them. "Don't worry about him." She reassured him stepping in front of Gohan, stopping him in his tracks. "I'm here ...with you!" She cooed as if that would make it all worthwhile.

Quickly becoming irritated, "What do you want?" He demanded, sounding a little too testy for her liking.

Frowning, "Well, someone WOKE up all grumpy!" She griped rubbing her arms looking just as agitated as him.

Gohan rolled his eyes, but lowered his tone. "Stephanie please can we just" thats as far as he got when his mouth was captured in a searing kiss.

Ohh yeah. ON FIRE! Someone yelled. Laughter and cheers filled the car park around them. Stephanie wasn't a girl that could go unnoticed, especially when she attached her mouth to someone as hot and mysterious as loner boy.

Gohan just stood there not knowing what had happened. One minute they were on the verge of fighting then the next. He definitely wasn't expecting it, but from his peripheral he could just see Chaz's murderous glare. Inwardly he couldnt help but smirk. Something inside of him snapped and went with the kiss despite it all. Even adding to the flame.

Stephanie was taken off guard as the tables turned dramatically. Taking control Gohan angled his head in such way bringing her against him. His firm body pressed hard up against her softness. Heatedly he slipped his wet hot tongue into her willing moist mouth. This time it was Stephanie who went weak at the knees as she melted into the burning flame that would surely consume her whole. A needy moan burst to the surface born and delivered from the fever that rose between them.

Only a lack of air on her behalf had them separating. Dazed but smiling dreamily from ear to ear Stephanie couldn't take her eyes off Gohan who was standing there even more confused than ever. His dark probing orbs studied her rich glazed green pools staring back at him in wonder.

Gohan snapped out of the moment remembering Chaz and shifted his sights. The jock was no-where to be seen. Stephanie, on the other hand, slipped her arm around his waist and led him like a confused puppy into the building and towards class. Sharpener was on the other side giving him the thumbs up and patting hes back amused as they left the ecstatic crowd gossiping amongst themselves. They knew what the talk of the school would be that day and Stephanie was sure to rejoice in its glory. Gohan was hers and now all those jealous bitches out there knew.

Offloading his things into the locker Gohan was dumfounded. What had HE done? Cursing. IDIOT! Was the first and main thing that recurred watching Stephanie further down the corridor busy chatting ten to the dozen with her in friends. They hadn't even got far without someone stopping them and wanting to know all the details. Gohan felt sick, and rightly so.

Sharpener wandered up to his side with the usual goofy grin on his face. It was one that Gohan really wanted to knock off. "Man, I wasn't sure you were going to come up for air. Kami, that was WILD!" Gohan shot him a glare but Sharpener only laughed. "No. It really was man. You've got every girl in this school wanting to do away with Stephanie Hamilton."

"Don't you have a place to be?" Gohan growled.

"Yeah, right next to MY man." Sharpener cheered proudly. Gohan shot him the death glare and slammed his locker door closed. "Come off it man that was WICKED! You can't stand there and tell me that you felt nothing?"

"Way to go dude!" cheered some guy patting him on his back as he passed by. Gohan had no idea who the hell he was only that he was in the year ahead of him. He was sure hed never hear the end of this.

Sighing he went to leave but Sharpener wasn't finished. There was an outstretched hand on his chest preventing Gohan from going any further. "Wait. You haven't answered my question." Gohan rolled eyes, fed up. "I knew it! That's a YES!" Sharpener's cheered. Pleased with his detective work his grin widened with the knowledge.

Gohan couldn't deny some of it was good, but he couldn't compare it to anything really. It was not like he had had many kisses to judge it by so how would he know. All it did was make him wonder what it would be like to kiss James Harris his teacher in the same way. This was something that wasn't going to happen any time soon or, for that matter, ever.

ooo

The rest of the day was torture as far as Gohan was concerned. Stephanie never left his side enjoying their new found fame. They were the talk of the school. The hottest couple from what Angie had reported. It seemed the only one who was miserable about it was Gohan. He preferred not to comment and was still kicking himself for being such an idiot for playing on Stephanie's feelings to get at Chaz. He was still wallowing in self-pity as he headed to his science class. It was the only class that Angie and Stephanie weren't in which was a blessing.

Harris was looking especially good this day with his tight shirt showing off his solid biceps. Hmm... Gohan found himself licking his suddenly dry lips. His heart rate seemed to increase on its own and he felt like someone had put the heater on full blast. It was extremely hot in the room, suffocatingly so.

After class Harris asked him to stay back. Brow raised Sharpener shot Gohan a puzzled look who in turn pretended not to notice. He was sweating like pig and panicking that he had been caught checking Harris out during class. Warily he approached the teacher's deck. He really had tried hard not to look, but it's near impossible when your wet dream was standing over you explaining Quantum physics.

Harris smiled which caused Gohan to go weak at the knees. "You did a great job today Gohan."

That did it. He was the greatest man that ever lived. "Thank you sir." Gohan said coolly desperately trying not to blush.

Harris smile only grew seeing the light blush across the boy's cheeks. He knew all too well about Gohan's crush on him which was something he found adoring. It was something he had commented on to his lover over the phone. Surprisingly it was not very well known in a small town like Heyfield that he had a boyfriend waiting for him back in Satan City. It wasnt something that would be welcome.

Just another reason James heart went out to this boy being stuck in such a backward town as Heyfield. Life wasn't going to be easy for the boy living here and if he could get Gohan out then all the better. He had his feelers out in search for an acceptable scholarship that Gohan could apply for.

"Do you think you can help me carry one of these to my office?" Harris asked motioning to the boxes full of the equipment they had used in class. Without saying a word Gohan shifted his backpack further across his shoulder and reached over to lift one of the boxes.

"That's it. Quick glancing around the room, I think I have everything." Harris said. Gohan waited patiently at the door for him. "Is it too heavy for you?" Harris asked, concerned at seeing the teen appear to struggle with the box he was holding.

Gohan shook his head indifferent, "No, it's fine." He quickly shifted the weight of the box from off his injured arm not wanting to attract attention to it.

Moving ahead Harris smiled.Okay then. Lets go.

They headed off down the corridor in silence. Encouraged by their brief talk after class the other day Harris was hoping to use the time to get the kid to open up.

"Arent you hot in that? Harris enquired noticing the boy had been wearing long sleeved shirts for a few days straight now. Nervously Gohan glanced down at his sleeve to see it had caught and was clearly showing his bandage. He glanced nervously back up at Harris who had also noticed it.

"I'm getting over a cold." Gohan lied shifting the box so he could hide the bandage.

Harris frowned. The boy's strange behaviour would suggest something else, something more serious. Not wanting to scare the boy he went on to something less threatening until he could think on how to approach this. "Have you thought any more about a scholarship?"

Relieved Gohan relaxed. "Yes, but I haven't had any time to look anything up."

"Why not Google it." He suggested but then saw the boy's expression drop.

Gohan felt awkward and little embarrassed. "We don't have a computer. Dad thinks..."

"Don't tell me a waste of money?" Harris smirked but the more he heard about Mr Collins the more he understood Gohan's behaviour and more, he was sure he didn't like this guy. Gohan nodded as they both rounded the corner.

"I can't get to the library until the weekend because I work late during the weekdays and well the school computers are always booked." Harris nodded understanding all too well.

Other teachers and himself had been trying to upgrade the computers for the students. But Heyfield High prized themselves on sport and not academic. It had a lot to do with Mr Allen Pitts funding the school's football team where his son Daniel Pitts and best friend Chaz Newhart were the key players. It was something he was fighting to change for kids like Gohan to have a chance.

They arrived at the office and opened the door. "I tellya what" He started placing his box on the chair near the door. "Just put it down there thanks Gohan." He said pointing to the floor near the chair before going to the desk.

Gohan did as he was asked and stood to see Harris jotting something down on a notepad and peeling it off. "Here. This is my home number and my address. Ring me sometime. Sunday would be best. I'll be home for sure then. We can arrange a time for you to come over and use my computer if you like. What do you say?"

Gohan was dumfounded. What could he say? He would jump into the man's arms if he didn't think it would freak him out. But then again that wasn't his style either. He wasnt able to contain his smile as it quickly spread across his face. He cleared his throat and could feel himself getting a little too emotional. It's not every day someone offered to help him. "Umm you sure, sir? I mean trusting me with your address and all."

Harris laughed and patted the boy on his shoulder. "I think you and I have a lot more in common than you think." Gohan frowned slightly confused not catching the hidden meaning. Harris laughed again. "Yes Gohan... I think I can trust you."

Gohan looked down at the address scrawled on the paper. He pocketed it very carefully with Harris looking on hopeful he would use it. Not just in wanting to use it for the computer. Gohan reminded him of his lover's childhood. He wanted to help. Harris didn't want to see Gohan go through any of it if his theory correct. He had grown attached to the kid.

Harris patted him on the back and sent him on his way. He watched as Gohan left, shaking his head amused at the boy trying to cover up his excitement. 'Well, I better stock the fridge if Im going to have company.' he thought chuckling before returning to unpacking the boxes with high hopes that Gohan would accept his invitation.

ooo

That afternoon Gohan was over the moon. He even managed to make an escape early before Stephanie and got out of class. He didn't have to worry about Sharpener as he was getting a lift with his mother. The only thing that was left was for him to go and pick his old man and even Mark Collins couldn't dampen his good spirits.

Gohan raced up to his room and made sure to close the door behind him. Pulling out the scrap of paper Harris had gave him. His dark eyes lingered over each letter before a smile broke onto his face. "Yeeesss! " He made a dive onto the bed still holding the paper. This was the closest thing to a date he ever was going to get, even if it wasn't truly one.

He bit his lower lip in an attempt to stop smiling like some idiot. He was unable to believe it and wished he could ring someone, anyone, and tell of his good fortune. What he held in his hands was no small triumph. Gohan was delirious in the knowledge that hed achieved the near impossible. Obtaining the phone number and address of the hottest male in all of Heyfield. He would be spending time alone with the very man he been fantasising about for so long now. Granted it was just to use his computer, but still this was better than anything he had ever hoped. Gohan kicked off his shoes and decided he needed a shower. He needed to think.

That night he couldn't sleep. Not because he was upset but because of all the delicious imagining that kept popping into his head. What it was going to be like over at Harris' place. He also didn't want to come across too keen even though he might have already failed there. Gohan couldn't wait. Rolling over he forced himself to close his eyes in an attempt to get some sleep.

ooo

Gohan wasn't as enthusiastic as he was last night. His father had woken him up at the crack of dawn to drive him over to his friend Don's place. For whatever reason Don couldn't get to their place to pick him up. They were going to do some fishing before heading off to the pub that evening. Gohan was so tired he just pulled the jeans that he had worn the previous day over his pjs and grabbed a shirt. It made for a tight fit but he was past caring. He blindly tossed the keys on the table and collapsed onto the couch groaning. He was too tired to climb the steps. Gohan wished he was little once more and someone could carry him to bed just like his mother used to do.

He must have dozed off because the next thing he knew someone was pounding on the door. "HEY GC! Get off your lazy ASS, and open the DOOR already! It's your friendly wake up service!" Came the unmistakable British laugh, a good friend. Rubbing his hair yawning Gohan opened the door to be greeted by two sunshine smiling faces. "You do know WHAT time it is?" Gohan grumbled and headed back toward the kitchen letting his visitors do as they please. This was something they had habit of doing anyway.

"Yeah, but the question mate, is do you?" chuckled Robby, a tall gothic looking boy in his later teens. He waltzed through the door with his trademark coat swinging with each step. He had a very rich accent and dark wavy hair that matched his dark eyes and painted nails. In all the years Gohan had known him he had never been dressed any other way. He was a very carefree kinda guy but always a business man at heart.

"Ignore him, babe." Angel said brushing past Robby in her fishnet stockings, calf high fluffy white boots and short hot-pink nylon skirt. It was so out of place, mix/match, but she always seemed to make it work. Angel was a punk looking girl that didn't mind wearing what she knew would draw attention. She had an attitude as well as a very attractive girl under it all. She came up behind Gohan who had collapsed in a chair with his cheek pressed heavy on the table looking dead to the world. Smiling she folded her slender arms around him before bending over and kissing his head. "Did my baby have a bad night?" Angel enquired. Robby spotted an apple and picked it up, tossing it in the air before catching it and taking a big bite. He leaned over the counter his dark eyes returned to watching Gohan relaxing into one of Angel famous massages.

"No. Sweet daddy woke me up at some ungodly hour." Gohan grumbled ready to fall back to sleep under his friend's talented fingers.

"Aww you poor boy." Robby pouted taking a seat across from them. He plonked his heavy boots onto the table before tossing a small familiar brown paper bag onto the table in line of Gohan's vision. "Maybe this will help."

Gohan's eyes widened. "You didn't?" He gasped sitting up with Angel hugging him tightly pressing her cheek to his.

"It's our early Christmas come birthday present." She explained kissing Gohan before releasing her hold on him and sliding into a chair beside him. Her smile matched his. Robby chuckled clearly enjoying the younger male's reaction.

You did? Gohan grinned climbing to his feet.

"I did. Robby chuckled. What do you think of your BIG brother now?"

Gohan rushed him and hugged him tightly before kissing him fully on the cheek. Robby eyes widened delighted. "Gees, sis I think we should do this more often." he said touching his cheek as Gohans attention turned to the brown bag as he pulled out a joint. "I think I'll marry you both for this."

Robby wiggled his brow playfully. "That could be fun." laughing at Angel pulling a face. Both were in good spirits as Gohan searched hastily through the kitchen drawers for a lighter.

"Here... playboy." Angel called tossing him her lighter. Gohan caught it in mid air, impressive.

Robby stood. "Maybe we should retire outside just in case daddy dear rocks up." He suggested knowing all too well Gohan's relationship with his father.

ooo

All three decided to go for a walk once Gohan was dressed. They stepped out of the house and headed down the street cutting across the back of the park to hangout where no respectable person in Heyfield would be seen. The route took them under the old railway bridge where most of the street kids hung out or dealt. They found a fallen log to sit on and Gohan lit up a smoke and handed it to Angel who took a draw before handing it back.

The temperature was a lot cooler this early in the morning as the grey rain clouds hung low over them. Everyone milling around was doing their best to keep warm. There were only a few stragglers there but most didn't rock up until nightfall. This was where Robby and Gohan first met; only a few blocks from where Gohan lived. You could see the woodlands from his bedroom window if you stood in the right place.

There they got talking about things that interested them. They never really went into depth about anything and were comfortable just being in each other's company.

The two older teens were checking up on their little bro as they saw him. They knew Gohan would be running out of stash and didn't want him go looking for it elsewhere. There were too many underhanded older guys out there that were looking for kids like him. He was candy to the eye and an easy target while in that state of mind. They had seen Gohan really down and knew he didn't always think clearly when trying to stop the pain. This was their unorthodox way of helping him. The only way they knew how.

After a while Robbys dark eyes flicked to Angel were they met with the same concern. So youre going to tell us?

Frowning, he had hoped they wouldnt breech the subject. Gohan lowered his bandage wrist from brushing back a few strands of hair away from his face.

It was accident. I wasnt thinking clearly.

Let me look. Robby raised his brow challenging.

Gohan sighed, Its real not that bad. Its healing. He insisted. He watched as Robby unravelled bandage to look for himself.

Angel watched on concerned beside Gohan tentatively she traced her slender finger over the angry scar. It looks painful.

Its a little tender, nothing more. Gohans brows knitted under the unwanted attention. He pulled his arm free from Robbys hold and analysing troubled eyes. Really guys its nothing.

It had to be something to get you into that state. Robby pointed to his wrist as Angel insisted on bandaging it for him.

Dad was just being on my back more than usual and I just lost it for second. Less than impressed Robby refrained from saying or doing anything, but it was clear to everyone he was livid.

Here. Take this. Robby pulled out mobile phone from his jacket pocket. Ive been meaning to give it to you for some time. I want you to use it. Ring me! His meaning was clear.

I cant take your phone. Gohan argued as it was shoved in his hand.

Yes you can babe. Angel smiled hugging him. He can always get another one. She winked. His mothers sucking up big time. Angel explained throwing some light humour, knowing how difficult Gohan found when others showed affection.

Gohan was aware of Robbys story about how his wealthy mother had up and left him to go back to England with one of her million boyfriend leaving him behind to be raised by his father and aunt. It was all very complicated and theatrical. A worthy story of its own accord.

Yeah, so take it. Robby said more sober, Id feel better if I knew youve got it.

"Rob" Gohan didn't quite know what to say. He was speechless, if not a little teary at their kindness. It felt good to know someone was looking out for him. Robby smirked and grabbed a hold of him pulling him into a tight hold.

"It's cool."

"Hey! Is this an exclusive boy's club or can an EXTREMELY cute girl crash it?" Angel crowed already stretching her slim arms around both of them. All three smiled as they immersed themselves in a group hug and laughing as they pulled away.

"You're never excluded." Gohan said grinning as she kissed him.

Good to hear. Angel laughed as they all set off back down the winding goat track.

Gohan turned to the taller boy, So your mothers back in town? he asked feeling comfortable and loved among these two who knew him like no other in his dysfunctional life.

Robby waltzed on ahead with his jacket blowing behind him. Lighting up another smoke, not at all impressed. Yeah, the worlds gone to pot!

You should see her latest toyboy. Angel laughed with Robby rolling his eyes. Hes gotta be in his early twenties.

Ewww... Gohans face twisted with the image he was left with.

I dont know what he sees in her.

Money. Robby offered looking down at the cherry end of his smoke having heard it all before.

Yeah, theres that. Angel waved her hand as if that wasnt half obvious. He spent some time in Japan a few years back.

Japan, huh? Gohan nodded, interested. Whats his name?

Juunanagou, but he prefers Junnana. I know. Maybe you should meet up with him. He could give you a quick lesson in Japanese. She laughed, playfully swatting him knowing full well Gohan was flunking it.

Smirking, Yeah, maybe I should.

ooo

They parted ways promising to catch up soon. He loved them dearly and appreciated everything they did for him. Even so, after going their separate ways he couldnt stop over analysing things.

Everything, it seemed, was pissing him off of late. Not only was his mood quick to darken, he added to all the stress he was under by feeling weighed down over everything.

A flash of lightening cast an eerie glow on the area. Not keen to go back to the house just yet, Gohan sat on one of the three swings in the vacated park. The miserable weather had kept normal people away.

The weather fitted his mood. He reflected back how his life had changed from being under the protective loving wing of his mother to the abusive hand of his father he now lived with. How they had moved from one town to the next since her death. They had never been in one place for too long. Heyfield had to be the longest they had stayed at one place. He put that down to his father trying to find full time work and a friend that would tolerate him. Gohan was thankful he was getting tired of their gypsy existence. His father always owning money to the wrong crowd and forever hiding out from them.

Now his life was changing in ways that baffled him. His body was changing along with it in a way that he couldnt understand and couldnt explain. Waking up with nightmares was bad enough, but just recently he was experiencing weird things. There were times when his skin felt like it was on fire, blistering. It wasnt uncommon for him to break out in a fever that left his body racking with tremors day or night. It would only take seconds for his hair to be drenched in perspiration. He literally felt as if his body was dehydrating, craving and calling for something. It was bizarre. It was like his internal thermostat had been turned all the way up and was out of control.

This was quickly followed by a heightened arousal where his skin itched and ached until he could release some of the tension. Gohan was too embarrassed to find out if this was a normal teenage guy thing, but something deep down was telling it wasn't.

He pushed the disturbing thoughts away and finished his joint. In the end he decided to work on the old Chev. He stamped out the butt of his joint feeling lighter once again.

Once home he rushed up stairs and quickly stripped to change into something that wouldn't be a big problem if it got covered in grease. He grabbed an old pair of torn jeans and a singlet.

Gohan drained the oil and replaced it. The sun was beginning to peek as the clouds slowly dissipated until they were all but gone by lunchtime. Half way through the job someone kicked his shoes. He glanced over to see familiar sneakers in front of the truck.

"I thought you be off to the movies?" Gohan said matter-of-factly as he tightened the filter and making sure it was seated before wiping his itchy nose.

"That's not until tonight." Sharpener stated plonking himself down watching his friend at work. "I heard you ditched Stephanie."

Lying on his back Gohan frowned while working on. "I left early."

"So you're going to come tonight?"

He sighed in frustration. "Are you asking me or are YOU ordering me?" Gohan growled getting sick of the conversation.

"Come OFF it man. Stop playing. Come with us tonight. We'll all have fun. You'll see, and you don't have to drive. Mum is letting me use her car tonight." Sharpener pleaded and becoming frustrated himself. Angie had been on the phone all morning reporting on Stephanie's emotional state and for some reason it was his fault. Since Gohan was his friend he was told to fix it if he wanted a date with her.

Sharpener just needed some slack from his friend just so he could get it good with his girl. They hadn't even gotten to first base and his patience was running out.

Hearing the desperation in his friends voice Gohan climbed out from under the truck holding the wrench and greasy rag. He met his friend's pleading eyes and returned an aggravated glare and tossed the rag down. "Fine whatever... What time?"

Unamused he watched a smile explode onto his friend face, Sharpener jumped to his feet. "I'll pick you up at seven."

Gohan nodded, "I'll be ready." he said wiping his hands unenthusiastically.

Sharpener fisted him in the arm. "I owe you big for this." He said before heading over to the car to give Angie the good news to pass on to Stephanie.

"I know." Gohan smirked before climbing back under the truck as he heard his friend take off at speeds not meant for tight streets such as these. If his mother only knew, Gohan thought chuckling to himself before getting back to work.

By the time he climbed out from under the truck and cleaned up it was going on two thirty. He still hadn't put the second wash in. Gohan climbed down the stairs to the basement carrying the full clothes hamper from the upstairs bathroom. He was searching through the pockets before putting them in the washing machine when he came across a pair of jeans. He pulled out a leaflet he had all but forgotten and leaned back against the washing machine and his eyes went to the number. The likeness between his mother and this woman was uncanny. He took the leaflet and rushed back upstairs to his room. Once upstairs he searched for his old bedtime book that his mother used to read to him when he was real young, a keepsake of times now long gone.

From one of the pages he pulled out a photo of his mother holding him on her knee. Gohan looked about three years old. Chichi was laughing as she tickled him while he tried squirm away. It was taken by one of their neighbours when they lived in a small town far from Heyfield. This was at a time when life was good. Gohan smiled as he ran his finger loving over her face. Then his attention turned to her wrist.

There was the same bangle, the same likeness. It had to be the same. Gohan didn't know much about his mother's past. Not even her maiden name. Maybe this was her folks looking for her maybe she had eloped with his dad for whatever reason. Another theory was she found out she was pregnant and thought her family would disapprove and left. Thinking about it Gohan wouldve disapproved too.

He wondered if he should ring them at all, just to give them the bad news. The news that their child had died in a tragic accident, one for which he was to blame. Frowning, he tried to block the unwanted memories of that night.

Gohan collapsed back onto his bed, crumpling the piece of paper before rolling it up into a tiny ball where he tossed it into the bin under his desk. On second thought he got up and retrieved it. Gohan didn't have to tell them who he was or anything. Just give them the information so they didn't have to go on wondering about her. Maybe that's what she would have wanted?

Gohan would have done anything for his mother. Nothing had changed there. If anything, he would move mountains for her now. Instead he was left with the guilt of her death. If by doing this, he might be able to help others that might have loved her like he did. That thought settled it. Gohan trotted back down the stairs again to ring the number on the leaflet. He had nothing to lose. The only question was, how he was going to word it. He tried to rehearse what he was going to say as he dialled.

It wouldn't surprise him if they had moved, given that it had been years since the leaflet had been placed in the window. The old man back at the service station probably never cleaned his windows Gohan thought as he waited, tapping on the phone impatiently desperate to get this over with. He briefly wondered what they were like. It was only then that it clicked with him. These people were his grandparents but he had no time to analyse it.

"You have reached the Briefs residence please leave a-"

Gohan was taken aback by the young male voice on the answering machine. It was a sexy husky voice. It unsettled him and sent sparks through him that he couldn't understand. He moved the receiver away from his mouth not knowing what to do or say when he heard someone pick up the line and an impatient voice boomed. "Who's this?" the voice demanded.

Gohan dropped the phone on the cradle and backed away, cursing himself for being stupid.

"Just do it!" He told himself dialling again but this time more determined to get it over with.

Again he waited but this time it was not as long. Gohan heard a lady voice this time. "Hello Bulma speaking." It sounded faintly cross but he didn't believe it was directed towards him.

"Hello?" Gohan spoke timidly. He wondered how to go about this and wished he never started it.

"Yes, who is this?"

"Umm this might sound odd, but have you lived there a long time?"

Bulma raised a perplexed brow. "I guess so, who is this?"

"Err well you don't know me, but I found this leaflet and it has your number on it. It's about a Son Chichi..." Gohan said looking at his mother picture as he spoke.

A loud gasp could be heard as Bulma quickly covered her mouth with a shaky hand. She turned to find Mirai Trunks entering the room and stepping towards her with an openly concerned expression. "Mum?"

She waved for him to be quiet and turned her attention back to the phone. "Who is this?"

"Collins and I just wanted to let you know that I knew Chichi. I'm afraid I don't know how to break this to you, but she died a few years ago." Bulma, paled. She turned to her son speechless. Her hands began to tremble more noticeably. Chichi was dead. After all this time she shouldn't have been so surprised. That would be why Goku could never find her.

"Hello, anyone there?" Gohan asked hesitantly. Mirai Trunks was ready to take the phone off his mother but she refused. Whoever this PUNK was he was going to get an earful for upsetting his mother.

"Sorry. It-it just came as a shock. You're sure its the same person?"

"Yes, I have a photo of her wearing that same bangle that's in the leaflet. It was a gold dragon and if I remember rightly it had these weird looking red eyes that would glow in the dark."

"Yesthat's right. They were fire rubies." Bulma smiled fondly remembering the bangle that the OX king had given his daughter. She didn't need any real proof other than that. Only someone that has seen the bangle would know about its ruby eyes that glowed in the dark.

"Why have you taken so long to ring?" Bulma asked hurt.

Hearing the grief in her voice Gohan kicked himself. Maybe this was a bad idea after all. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. I just found this leaflet the other day over at Rockdale and thought you would want to know."

On hearing how nervous the boy was Bulma composed herself. It was just then she realised he sound young, quite young. "No-no I'm glad you did. If you'd give me your details I can forward a cheque-"

"No. I-I didn't do it for money. I just thought you guys would want to know what happened to your daughter." Bulma burst into laughter. She wasn't that old. Gohan frowned and removed the receiver from his ear. Now what did he do wrong?

"Hehe honey. Chichi wasn't my daughter." Mirai's curiosity piqued. "I was a friend. I did the leaflet on behalf of her family." She explained.

"Oh sorry." Gohan apologised feeling a little better, if not a little foolish. At least he wasn't breaking the news to some frail old women that might have had a heart attack. A light smile of relief tugged on his lips.

Smiling and curious Bulma asked. "So how did you know Chichi?"

Shrugging his shoulders what the hell, she sounds nice enough. "I'm Gohan, Chichi's son..."

"Sorry?" Frowning not sure she heard right. "I don't think I heard correctly. Did you just say"

"Chichi was my mother." Abruptly the phone went dead. "Hello?"

Bulma's wide eyes turned to her son, mouth ajar, speechless, when she realised she had dropped the phone killing the connection. "HELL!" She cursed scrambling for the receiver. "HELLO! Hello anyone THERE? Hello-hello GOHAN!"

"Gohan?" Mirai asked his calculating blue eyes alight with this turn in events. He raked his fingers anxiously though his lavender locks. He was BORN? Mirai Trunks never gave up on the idea that somehow somewhere he would find this world's Gohan. So now there was a chance he does exist in this world after all.

Elsewhere a frowning Gohan mumbled, "If that's how you feel." He hung up and took one last look at the photo of his mother before screwing the leaflet up into a ball and tossing it into the bin in the kitchen. He about turned and went back down the stairs towards the basement to finish washing the clothes.

His mind switched back to the upcoming events of tonight. Gohan wasn't looking forward to it. The phone call was now but a distant memory as he went about his work, but hundreds of miles away he had started a chain of events that would shake his very foundations.

His very life

TBC

A/N: A BIG thanks to my editor Vegeta-sire ;)

Thanks for reading! :)