AN. My second entry into the (my!) DBZ-Friendshippy DA December contest. I did threaten that I'd do another one, didn't I? Anyway, this one doesn't involve Tien and/or Chiaotzu (at least one of my friends will be pleased to hear, and as you can probably tell by the title...) Anyway, I hope you enjoy, this one had a bit more work put into it than Christmas Eve... Anyway, enjoy!

It was a cold, winter night. The sky was heavy with clouds that threatened snow at a moment's notice, obscuring the half-moon. The Capsule Corporation building was abuzz with activity, the wide garden lit up with flood-lights, a giant buffet table set up in the centre, the air filled with the murmurs of conversation. It was Bulma's annual Christmas party and basically every one she could think of to invite was there.

The Son family was, of course, late. They rocketed through the sky, Chichi cradled in Goku's arms, Gohan flying with his hands clasped behind his back, Goten fiddling with his tie.

"Stop undoing your tie, Goten," Chichi said, her hands busy as she fixed up Goku's collar. "Gohan, could you?"

Gohan grinned as he shifted in midair so he could adjust Goten's collar.

"Don't mess with your tie, squirt," he murmured as Goten made a face. "Mum'll kill us both if you do."

Goten couldn't help but grin at that, his eyes lighting up as Gohan winked. Though he nodded, agreeing to leave his neck be, he couldn't help but be irritated as the striped tie did its best to limit his air supply. He repressed the urge to fiddle with it, knowing on some deep, subconscious level that his older brother spoke at least part of the truth. Secretly, though, he felt a little bitter. He was certain no one else would be wearing a tie.

On this point at least, he was wrong. As the Son family belatedly entered the Capsule Corporation building, Goten noted that practically every other male in the place was wearing various shades and patterns of ties. Each knot was messy and awkward, and several looked as though they were about to fall apart.

Even so, Goten's cheeks burned red as Trunks ran up, his own dressy shirt loosened at the neck. Vegeta was also tie-less, and Goten knew instinctively that though Bulma would have pressed for both her husband and her son to wear these degrading collars, the prince would have flat out refused, and to Trunks his father's influence was far stronger than his mother's.

"Hey, Goten!" Trunks exclaimed, not noticing or being kind enough not to mention Goten's red face. "I was starting to think you weren't going to show."

"Sorry, Trunks-kun," Goten said, unable to draw back the blood in his cheeks. "Couldn't find my tie."

Trunks grinned and Goten knew that his closest friend had read the truth behind his innocent words.

Mum found where I hid it.

They grinned at each other silently as Bulma rushed forward to greet her guests. She and Chichi instantly launched into gossip, conversing in low, secretive tones that the males present made no effort to understand. Goku made a beeline for the buffet table, a grin of anticipation growing on his face. Gohan lifted a hand in greeted, then slowly started to inch towards where Piccolo was leaning again the wall.

"Let get outta here," Trunk said. "This party's really boring anyway."

"Kay." Goten grinned and followed Trunks at a run as they left the courtyard, unnoticed by all. They headed for Trunks' room, the hub of childhood activity it seemed, laughing and joking all the way. The room was filled to the roof with toys, the ground littered with the scattered remains of train and car tracks. Stuffed animals (Goten's personal favourite) were piled up inside the closet. A load of new action figures, toys and limited edition collector's items were spread around the middle of the room.

"Oh wow, you got loads for Christmas," Goten exclaimed, rushing forward to closely examine everything. His own presents had been small and modest, the most expensive item the one from Gohan, who had obviously saved his money for several months in order to afford the large, stuffed panda he had proudly presented that morning.

"Yeah." Trunks scuffed his feet. He had never been uncomfortable about his higher social status; he had obviously never thought about it. Goten was his best friend, the only one he felt understood him properly. He didn't care if he was rich and Goten was poor, just as long as they could still be friends.

"Oh, this is awesome!" Goten cried, sweeping up a large and very accurate model plane. "Does it fly?"

"Yep." Trunks smiled. "If you're lucky I'll let you try it out sometime."

"Wow, that would be so cool!" Goten grinned at his best friend, feeling a slight sinking feeling in his stomach. He recognised it, but only just.

"Oh yeah, that reminds me…" Trunks turned and walked to his bed, lifting up the cover and looking beneath it. He let out a little laugh, then reached under and pulled something out. When he turned he had a huge box held easily in one hand, the entire thing covered in festive, shiny, brightly coloured paper, topped with a gigantic ribbon. The little piece of plain paper attached to the top read 'Goten' in the scrawling scribble that was Trunks's handwriting.

Goten's eyes widened, his mouth dropped open a little bit, and he lifted one hand and pointed at the box.

"Is…is that for…me?" he asked in a voice that was hushed almost to a whisper and touched with wonder.

"Yep. Merry Christmas, Goten," Trunks said, grinning, looking pleased at his friend's response. "Here, open it."

Goten stepped forward, the model plane slipping from his hand to land upside down on the floor beside him. He held out both hands and took the giant box, staring at it with awe as the sinking feeling in his stomach increased.

"You…got this…for me?"

"Yeah, you dummy," Trunks said, still grinning. "C'mon, open it before I take it back."

Goten's vision was a little blurred as he tore at the wrapping paper, sending it flying to the ground in tiny, shining pieces, revealing a large, plain box. Lifting off the top he revealed a familiar new toy that was sweeping the nation: 'Build Your Own Rollercoaster'. It came with tracks, pins, instructions how to set up fifteen different sorts of rides and four different styles of carts. It was very, very expensive.

"Trunks-kun…you…you…" His lip started to tremble as his eyes filled with tears. "You didn't have to…"

"It's Christmas," Trunks said, shrugging. He didn't seem to have noticed the tears in Goten's eyes. "I wanted to get you something. D'you like it?"

"It's so cool." Goten struggled for words for a moment. Deprived of the intense teaching schedule his brother had been put through, his vocabulary was less impressive and he often had to pause mid-conversation to figure out what he wanted to say. Trunks was used to this and didn't protest as he waited patiently. Finally Goten added, "I don't know how to thank you."

"So long as you like it, I'm fine." Trunks grinned, but the joyful expression fell away when he finally noticed the tears in Goten's eyes, the way he was biting hard on his lower lip. "Goten-kun? What's wrong?"

"I…I couldn't… I mean… I didn't get you anything," Goten finally managed in a whisper. "I couldn't afford to…"

Trunks was silent for a moment. Then he grinned and lightly punched Goten on the arm.

"S'alright, you can just owe me for next year," he said. Goten instantly brightened.

"Really, Trunks-kun? That's so nice! Thank you!" He let go of the huge box and flung his arms around his best friend, hugging him tight. Trunks laughed and hugged back for a moment.

"Here, I've got a piece of paper and a pen lying around somewhere… You can write me an IOU, okay?"

"Kay." Goten pulled away and grinned the infamous Son grin. "Thanks, Trunks-kun. You're so nice. You're my best friend."

"Well, someone's gotta be nice to you," Trunks said, unwilling to reveal how much those words meant to him. "C'mon, get writing."

Goten nodded enthusiastically, grabbed a pen and paper from the floor and crouched down, scribbling frantically. He straightened and held out the paper to Trunks, who took it with a smile.

"Thanks, Goten. Hey, let's go mess about with the adults, what'd'ya say?"

"Sounds like fun."

"I'll meet you there, okay? I've gotta put this somewhere safe."

Goten nodded, gave one last hug to Trunks, then turned and sprinted from the room, laughing loudly. Trunks hesitated, then turned and crouched, looking beneath his bed. Hidden there, nestled behind where the present he had bought Goten had been, was a small tin with a hinged lid. He pulled it out and opened it, then just looked between the contents and the scrap of paper in his hand. Then he smiled, gently placed this one inside and closed the tin, sliding it back into its hiding spot. With this chore done he raced outside to find Goten, thinking hard about the contents of the box.

Six individual scraps of paper, written on in mediums ranging from pen to pencil to crayon to paint, each one tattered around the edges, some faded with age, each bearing the evermore readable signature of a boy growing up, beginning with the incomprehensible scrawl of a two-year-old.

I O U: 1 x-mas present. Love Goten.

AN. Is it cute? I should hope so. In case you're wondering, there's six pieces (counting the one that Trunks put into the tin) because Goten didn't learn how to write until he was 2 and he's seven during this story. That makes six pieces of paper: (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). I hoped you enjoy, review if you feel the urge to XD