We'll Rest Easy
The squabbling could be heard even across the expansive home. Bulma rolled over on to her side with an agitated sigh, her eyes shut tight to keep the childish bickering out from inside her brain. Yet it did not cease, and she puffed an angry breath against her pillow. Popping a single blue orb open, she found her bedside clock to read it was nearly midnight. Carefully, she reached out her arm behind her to find a definite dent in her mattress – he had been here, and now he was gone again.
Another deep exhale pulled from her lungs as she turned to that side of the bed, eyeing the place where he once was. He could be so fickle, she thought behind her shut lids now. The sounds beyond her hall having quieted to a dull buzz, Bulma found herself being lulled back into rest as she mused idly upon her bedmate. Some nights, he was there. Other nights, it was as though he had been only a shadow between her coverlets.
She wasn't sure how long she had dozed, for she had simply been on the cusp of sleep, the noises of the night still filtering in between her ears and the pattering of rain and flashing of lightening at her window flickering behind her closed eyes. Abruptly, her bedroom door creaked and parted from the frame. A sliver of dim light poured into the first few feet of her room, barely touching the edge of her bed. Bulma found herself lacking the strength to lift herself up from the lacing tendrils of slumber, her mind wading lethargically through loose ideas of what could be the disturbance.
However, as warmth crawled up her bed and neared her, her eyes grudgingly opened. Pupils dilated slowly in the darkness, and she could barely make out the familiar silhouette kneeling at her hip. Kindly, her lips unfurled into a lazy smile, her gaze hazy over the boy at her bedside. "What are you doing here?" She queried to him in a hushed voice, unable to better angle herself to face him. "You should be asleep."
"Did I wake you, obachan?" That tiny voice. So much like him.
Bulma shook her head briefly against her pillow, unintentionally nuzzling into it. "No, no," she assured him, lashes fluttering in an effort to ward off sleep. "I could hear you and Trunks-chan all the way down here," she murmured. "Why all the noise? It's really late, you know."
"He called me a baby," the boy pouted – she couldn't see it, but Bulma certainly heard it.
"Why would he call you a baby?"
"The lightening outside woke me up," he told her urgently, his little hand clapping softly at her arm to rouse her from her descent into slumber. "And it spooked me. He said babies can't sleep in his room." Again, his clammy hand shook at her forearm, pleading her to waken and tend to him.
"You're not a baby, Goten-chan," Bulma's eyes cracked open and she sluggishly moved her outstretched arm from his grasp.
"Why's he got to be so mean?"
Bulma would've grinned. She thought she might have. "He's not mean. He's your friend, y'know," she mumbled and lolled her head back upon her pillow. "He just wants to pretend he's bigger." She wasn't quite sure what she was saying. What were they talking about?
A sniffle came from below her, and Bulma's eyebrows knitted inward at the soft sound. "Are you crying?" She asked of his quaking form; she thought she could feel him shaking.
"N-no," he sniveled, and she parted her eyes once more to find his fists pressed into his face. "Only babies cry."
"You can cry, you won't be a baby," Bulma told him quietly. Wearily, she reached over and tugged at the covers beside her, pulling them down further. "Here, c'mere," she invited, the same arm barely lifting to beckon him closer before it collapsed over her stomach. He did as requested, inching up the bed alongside her until he was burrowing under the covers. Bulma fondly thought of her son as Goten squirmed, when he was not much younger than this child curling at her side.
Goten twisted beside her, still rooting around to find a comfortable space against her. His indecision had Bulma's abdomen introduced to an elbow and a knee, before he seemed to settle. She felt the tickling strands of his hair near her chin and neck, and in her dreamy state, she remembered this feeling – a boy, somewhat larger, though of the same cloth. Breathing in, she scented trees and streams; just like him.
"Can you tell me a story?" Goten's quiet voice rose from nowhere.
"What do you want a story of?" Her mouth moved mindlessly around the words.
"Just a good one."
He wriggled as Bulma's hand crept up and swept through the thick, black branches of his mane. Inexplicably soft to the touch. How did they manage that? Her fingers caught at a tangle and she deftly raked through it, feeling him flinch in annoyance beneath her hand. "How about one about your dad, hmmm?" She mumbled as she continued the sweet motions through his hair.
Goten's breath was drifting into easy draws, and she felt him nod under her fingers.
"When I first met him, he looked just like you," she breathed, eyes peeking apart to reveal her darkened room to her. But she imagined beyond the layout, envisioning instead the brightness of Son-kun's forest home. Technicolor spilling over the edges of her mind. The small house. The strange boy. "He lived there, all alone."
"All alone?" She smiled at the sound of sleep ebbing into his repetition.
"Mmmhmm," Bulma hummed. "He had the Sushinchu-" Goten squirmed and shook his head, "-That's the four star dragon ball. He said I could borrow it, since I was looking for them, and he came along to help me…"
The expanding of Goten's chest began to slow, and Bulma only vaguely remembered to continue as she listened for the unhurried pace of his breaths. "He was so strong, even then."
"My daddy was the strongest in the world, right?" She almost didn't understand his muttering, the boy's face mostly obscured by covers and the pillow tucked under his head. "That's what everyone says…"
A ribbon of wonder tied around Bulma's heart, her brain reaching into perfect functionality in that moment. Her blue eyes slitted to alleviate the burning sensation along her lashline. "He was," she muffled her agreement into the top of the boy's head, a tender kiss planted among the bushel of black. "He was the nicest man, too," she sighed heavily, feeling her breath toss strands of his hair. "He always saved me if I was in trouble. He was always protecting everyone…"
Goten remained silent thereafter, his little body rocking gradually with each sleepy inhale. Bulma tilted her head forward to peer curiously into his face, instantly recognizing each curve and every feature from eons ago. With an exhausted exhale, she pressed her cheek against the crown of his head, her arms folding over the boy's middle as he shuffled back into her embrace.
Author's Note: Noooooo idea why I thought of this. But I did. And it was too sweet and adorable of an idea for me not to write it. Not to mention I'm totally in love with the idea that Goten is really close to Trunks' family. This is set sometime just before the Great Saiyaman arc. Please review! I appreciate your comments! :D