What Happens in Pepper City...
The whole mess started when Trunks kidnapped Goten.
At least, Goten would say he was kidnapped. Trunks would insist that he had been more persuasive than forceful, and that Goten had come along of his own free will. After all, the use of blackmail was a more-or-less accepted business practice, and Trunks was a businessman. And it wasn't really Trunks' fault that he had such blackmail material, in the form of a video of Goten in a plaid miniskirt and a blond wig, dancing around to the Shaft theme in a shockingly suggestive manner.
Goten would say, no, that was Trunks' fault. It was Trunks' fault, because when Goten had lost a poker game to Trunks and was already out of cash, Trunks had set out absurd, draconian, downright evil terms for forgiving Goten's debt. Thus the video.
"You are a complete bastard," Goten had said as he pulled the artificial blonde strands into pigtails.
"Well, no shit, Chibi," Trunks had replied as he readied the camera. "My parents didn't get married until I was three."
Trunks could be infuriatingly literal-minded.
But that was just backstory. On the Friday evening the alleged kidnapping occurred, several months after that fateful poker game, Trunks was in a particularly foul mood. He had spent the better part of the day meeting with executives from AltoTech, an aeronautical engineering company, and several hours after that holed up with Capsule Corp's mergers-and-acquisitions attorneys. Of course, just as the junior vice president thought all the important details (and some very unimportant ones) had been hammered out, the deal had fallen through, thanks to some dodgy tax filing on AltoTech's part. Needless to say, Trunks was not pleased; the twenty-two year old executive fumed all the way home. He got back to his large apartment to find his roommate sitting at the desk in the living room, actually studying for once.
Trunks and Goten had lived together for the past three-and-a-half years, since Goten had turned eighteen. Oh, Goten claimed that he wanted to go to West City University because of its excellent graphic design program—Goten had always been more visual than logical—but everyone knew the real reason. Goten had only applied because Trunks was a freshman there; a hundred other universities would have been just as suitable, and far less expensive.
Bulma had more than once cracked the joke that they ought to bring a close to the endless speculation and just tie the knot already. Goten had turned bright red at the thought, but Trunks just shrugged and said they were already like an old married couple. Bulma's unquestioning agreement had made Goten flush that much more darkly.
Their apartment was conveniently located about halfway between C.C. corporate headquarters and the main campus of West City U. Trunks had graduated the year before, and scarcely had he set down his university diploma when his mother installed him in Capsule Corporation's upper management. Of course, Trunks could have refused, but that would have resulted in the forfeiture of his trust fund.
His roommate, who still had a year of college left to complete and mounds of tuition debt with which to contend, had been less than sympathetic.
"Oh, whah," Goten had mocked. "I have to work in a high-paying job that was handed to me on a silver platter if I want access to my massive fortune. Yeah, Trunks, your life sucks."
"You don't get it," Trunks had responded, looking up briefly from his mostly empty beer bottle. And the truth was, Goten didn't get it. His job was mind-numbing, soul-crushing, spirit-killing, and if Trunks had any idea what else to do with himself, he probably would have quit already. And because Goten was blithely unaware of Trunks' perpetual agony, the young heir suffered in solitude.
Well, not tonight. Tonight, there would be alcohol consumed and mischief wrought, and Goten would be honor-bound by the Sacred Best Friend Code (which, it turned out, was an actual published book) to listen to Trunks as he bitched himself into a drunken stupor.
"Chibi!" Trunks loudly called out the old nickname as he entered the living room. "We're going drinking."
Goten looked up from his textbooks, startled out of his concentration. That surprised Trunks; Goten was rarely so focused on his schoolwork. Well, that was just too bad for Goten. School was going to have to wait.
Goten turned his head, now facing his friend. "What?"
"We're going to Pepper City and having inebriated misadventures."
Goten shook his head no, turning back to his books. "Some other time. I have a big assignment due Monday, and I've got a date with Paresu tonight."
Trunks glowered. Like hell he did.
"Chibi," Trunks said, getting Goten's attention again, "let's go. I'm buying."
Goten looked up from his schoolwork again, this time appearing quite annoyed. "Trunks, no. I told you, tonight isn't good."
"Goten," Trunks all but whined, "it'll be fun. Two single guys, a night out, a temporary escape from our worldly responsibilities—"
"I'm not single, remember?" Goten interrupted.
Trunks folded his arms. Of course he remembered. Goten had been dating Paresu, one of his classmates at the university, for the better part of the past six months. This was after a good year of (quite vocally and annoyingly) pining for the girl, during which time she bounced from relationship to relationship. Trunks had thought it was a bit pathetic how Goten had essentially lain in wait, ready to pounce the moment the girl would finally be single and available, but his friend's efforts had paid off. And sure, Trunks got along with the adorable brunette well enough, but when she got in the way of his plans like this, all bets were off.
"Come on!" Trunks pouted. "I've had the mother of all rough days at work, so I am invoking best friend protocol, which demands that you get wasted with me." Again Goten refused. The look in his black eyes made it quite clear that nothing was going to change his mind.
And then Trunks brought up the video. He reminded Goten of the wonderful footage he had. Wig, skirt and all.
"I wonder," Trunks said casually, a sadistic smile coming across his features, "what Paresu will think when she sees it. You think she's into that sort of thing?"
A look of sheer terror appeared on Goten's face. "You wouldn't."
Trunks sauntered up to Goten, leaning one arm on the desk and moving his face right into that of his friend. His hair fell into his eyes, obscuring his features a bit as his grin twisted up at the corners. His teeth flashed under the glare from Goten's desk lamp.
Goten was changed and out the door in a matter of minutes.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
Trunks turned to his left as he sipped his whisky. Sitting next to him at the bar was a fairly attractive brunette. Her hair came in cascading waves down her back, cutting against her tanned skin, and her chocolate brown eyes blinked flirtatiously at him.
"No thanks," he said, holding up his wide-mouthed snifter. "I'm good for now." The girl pouted and turned away. Trunks snorted. He knew girls like that weren't used to rejection.
Oh well, thought Trunks. Too bad for her. He went back to his drink and slowly looked around the bar.
By day, Pepper City was a normal enough metropolis. Business operated as usual, schools were in session, and whole families of tourists could be seen walking down the busy city streets. By night, however, all that changed. Bars and casinos opened, otherwise respectable businessmen fell into gambling and drunken debauchery, and women engaged in the World's Oldest Profession lined the sidewalks of the seedier areas. Theaters presented everything from relatively family-friendly musicals to the most erotic of nude shows. The bars themselves ranged from the grungiest dives to the most upscale establishments. It was at one of these nicer bars that Trunks and Goten soon found themselves.
Trunks had, wisely, figured that they would not be likely to make it back to West City that night. Flying while drunk was something that both young men had tried before, and—after an incident involving a bushel of apples, a volcano, and an errant pterodactyl egg—neither wanted to do again. So they had checked into a hotel, dropped off an evening's worth of supplies and a change of clothes, and made their way to one of the nearby bars.
Trunks turned his head to his right. Goten had twisted his barstool to face Trunks and was laughing as he nursed his beer bottle.
"Okay," Goten said with a quick eyeroll, "what was wrong with her?"
"Nothing," Trunks said, taking another sip of his finely aged liquor. She had been the fourth girl to offer to buy Trunks a drink since they arrived, and the fourth girl Trunks had turned down. "I just don't feel like faking interest to get laid right now."
"Goten," Trunks explained, "I spend my entire day working in an office building staffed by fawning girls in short skirts. I get enough of this on a regular basis." And yes, while he was usually more than happy to take advantage of their shameless flirtation and obvious infatuation, Trunks had had a long day.
"Oh, poor baby," Goten said sarcastically.
Trunks rolled his eyes. "I don't see you taking any offers."
"I have a girlfriend." Goten pouted. "A girlfriend who is probably very pissed at me for ditching her at the last minute."
"She'll get over it."
"Yeah," Goten said, looking a bit downcast. "I guess."
Trunks frowned, suddenly feeling a bit guilty for pulling Goten away from his schoolwork and his date so suddenly. Not guilty enough to fly him back to West City, of course, but still rather bad.
Trunks grinned as inspiration struck. He had the perfect way to get his friend's mind off his troubles. It would take a bit of subtle manipulation, but Trunks had always been good at that.
"Gods, Goten," Trunks said with a sneer, "you're such a pussy."
Goten slammed down his beer on the counter. "You're one to talk, you purple-haired freak."
Trunks nodded with satisfaction. His ploy was working like a charm. "Ooh, clever." He grinned. "I doubt you can even finish that beer without getting tipsy, you big girl."
"I can drink you under the table, bitch!"
Trunks' smile widened. "Prove it."
And so Trunks asked the bartender for two shot glasses and some tequila, and told him to leave the bottle.
This would be the last thing he'd remember about that evening.
Trunks cracked open one eye. He was in a bed, but this didn't look like his apartment. Where the fuck was he?
Memories of the evening before came trickling back into his mind, and slowly he began to make sense of his surroundings. "Pepper City, right," Trunks mumbled to himself. He opened his other eye, and a quick glance around the room confirmed that he and Goten had made it back to their hotel.
The lights in the room were mercifully dim, and the curtains were drawn. His head was pounding, and it didn't take long for Trunks to realize he had a massive hangover. His mouth tasted like a combination of stale liquor and an ashtray. Trunks knew this, because one time back in high school, he had drunkenly eaten the contents of his mother's ashtray.
But seriously, he figured, that was her fault. Bulma really shouldn't have been smoking inside the house and just leaving the cigarette butts lying around.
Trunks started to get up, but he suddenly noticed a strange weight resting on his abdomen. He looked down. There lay Goten, still fully dressed from the night before, curled up awkwardly on Trunks' bed with his head on Trunks' stomach.
Trunks frowned. What the hell happened last night? He carefully slid out of the bed, gingerly moving Goten's head off of his stomach. He figured he'd let the guy sleep. If Goten had gotten half as drunk as Trunks apparently had, the younger demi-Saiyan could probably use the rest.
He stood and stretched, doing his best to ignore the throbbing in his skull. The first thing he needed was a drink of water. Trunks stepped into the bathroom, grabbing one of the complimentary plastic cups provided by the hotel and filling it up from the sink. As Trunks greedily downed the water and moved to refill his cup, a flash of green in the corner of his eye caught his attention. He set down the cup and moved toward the far end of the bathroom counter.
...What the fuck?
His eyebrows shot up toward his scalp. Sitting right there, on the counter, had to be over a hundred-thousand zeni. He picked up the large wads of cash, sifting through the money. He never carried anywhere near that much cash on him, preferring to pay with either debit cards or credit. Where had this all come from?
Screw sleep. He needed to wake Goten and figure out what had transpired the night before. Trunks bounded over to his bed, and leaned down, shaking his sleeping friend by the shoulder.
"Goten?" Goten responded with a soft snore. "Goten!"
"Chimpanzee," Goten murmured in his sleep. "Lumpy hat purple butter."
Trunks shook his head. What did the kid dream about? "Chibi," he said a bit louder, "wake up."
"Huh?" Goten said sleepily. Slowly, his dark eyes opened. "What happened?"
"Goten," Trunks said calmly. "How much do you remember of last night?"
"Wha?" Goten carefully sat up, moving so he was cross-legged upon his bed. "Last night?"
Trunks sighed, deciding to give Goten a minute to get his wits about him. "Yes, last night," he said, as patiently as he could. "We're in Pepper City, we went out drinking."
"Oh," said Goten, rubbing one eye with his right fist and yawning. "Right. Last night." Goten frowned, trying to piece together as much of the previous evening as he could. "We were in a bar. And I think we decided to have a drinking contest."
Trunks nodded. "Yeah, I remember that. What about after that?"
Goten's frown deepened. "Honestly, I'm drawing a blank after that."
"Great," Trunks replied in a sarcastic drawl. He dropped onto the bed next to Goten, making the mattress squeak under the sudden addition of weight.
"My head hurts." Goten whined. "And I'm thirsty."
"There are cups in the bathroom."
"Yeah, 'kay." Goten carefully stood and walked toward the bathroom, much as Trunks had done minutes before.
Trunks fell backwards, landing so that his backside was lying upon the bed. He threaded his fingers together and placed his hands behind his head, resting there. He closed his eyes, desperately trying to remember what had happened the night before. He recalled turning a few girls down, then deciding that the best way to distract Goten would be to get good and drunk with him. He remembered them matching each other shot for shot, and soon enough a crowd had gathered around the two demi-Saiyans. Curses were uttered, insults were hurled, but the evening went blank some time around his tenth shot.
He vaguely remembered something about a card game, and for some reason the image of a Mister Satan impersonator in an ornate hall came to mind. Beyond that, however, no details were recalled.
A shout from the bathroom broke into Trunks' recollections. "What the ever-loving fuck?"
"Hmm?" Trunks opened his eyes and sat up straight. Goten stomped back into the room, looking equal parts flustered and shocked.
"Found the money?" Trunks asked.
"Fuck the money!" Goten suddenly held up his left hand. "What's this?"
Trunks furrowed his eyebrows, deeply confused. Nothing looked to be wrong with his friend's hand.
"Uh, your hand?"
"No!" cried Goten. "This!" Goten pointed with his right index finger at the base of his left ring finger. Trunks looked more closely. Sitting there was a narrow, flat golden band. Trunks gulped loudly, the zeni on the counter suddenly the furthest thing from his mind.
"That, uh, kind of looks like a wedding ring, Chibi."
"I know that!" Goten shouted, sounding ever more panicked. "Why am I wearing a wedding ring?"
"Fuck if I know!" Trunks stood, walking over to Goten. "Now you're sure you don't remember anything from last night?"
"Yes!" Goten threw down his arms, never breaking eye contact with Trunks. "Oh, Dende above, I got married to some random girl last night, didn't I?" Goten cried mournfully as he moved to the other side of the room, sitting at the small round table near the door. "Paresu is going to kill me."
"Look, Chibi," Trunks said, sitting at the chair opposite Goten. "Just because you're wearing a ring doesn't necessarily mean anything."
"What if it does?"
"I'm sure there's nothing to be worried about." Trunks rested his hands on the table, nodding.
Then something glittered in the corner of his vision. Bright blue eyes widened with the realization of what, exactly, was resting on his own left hand. Trunks' heart jumped into his throat, and it felt as though a block of ice had fallen into the pit of his stomach.
"Oh, holy mother..."
"What?" said Goten, sounding worried.
Trunks lifted his hand in much the same manner Goten had, albeit rather more calmly. "This." Goten tilted his face slightly, so that he could see the ring on Trunks' finger. The one that matched his own perfectly.
Goten blinked once. He blinked twice. He blinked a third time.
And then he started laughing. Trunks jumped out of his chair. The situation had clearly broken Goten's brain; his best friend had finally lost it.
Goten doubled over in his chair, resting his hands on his knees as he struggled to catch his breath between laughs. "Oh gods!" Goten shouted. "And to think," he wheezed, "I was actually worried!"
It was Trunks' turn to blink in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
Goten's chuckles subsided as he sat up again. "Ahh," he sighed. "We must have been joking around about being like an old married couple. You probably took the joke too far—as always—and actually bought a couple of wedding rings."
Relief flooded through Trunks as he processed this explanation. The cold feeling in his gut disappeared. That made sense—it was a joke they (and most of their friends and family members) had made on more than one occasion. And it certainly sounded like the sort of silly gesture Trunks would pull, especially while drunk.
"Okay then," Trunks replied, nodding. "Told you it was nothing to worry about."
Goten stood, a silly grin on his face. "Dumbass. You really had me worried there for a minute."
Trunks chuckled a bit in reply. "How do we know it was my idea?"
"It's always your idea."
Trunks shrugged. No point arguing with the truth.
Goten stood cheerfully, walked across the room and began digging through his small duffel bag. Trunks figured he should do the same; he'd been wearing that suit for over twenty-four hours, and though he'd taken off his jacket, his shirt, pants and tie had become rumpled and smelled of cigarette smoke. He opened his own backpack, digging for a toothbrush and a fresh pair of boxers. His hand brushed along a sheet of paper. Funny, he didn't remember packing any documents into his overnight bag.
Trunks shrugged. Some work papers must have made their way in as he hastily got ready to leave the evening before. He pulled out the paper, expecting to find a balance sheet or a copy of a contract.
The paper was neither of these things. The face of the document had a blue colored background on white paper, and a government seal adorned the top of the paper. A large heading curved along the top of the paper, and the bulk of the text was written in an ornate script.
All of a sudden, the cold, terrible twisting in his stomach was back.
'To Any Person Legally Authorized to Solemnize Marriage,' read the paper, 'you are hereby authorized to join in the Holy Bonds of Matrimony and to celebrate the Rites and Ceremonies of Marriage between...'
Oh, came a voice in Trunks' mind. Oh no.
"Goten?" Trunks said, his voice positively shaking. "Can you, uh, come here for a second?"
An oblivious Goten stepped over after placing his change of clothing upon the still-made bed, the one they had not slept in. "Sure, what's up?"
Trunks stood. "Uh, I'm holding something."
"I can see that." Goten rolled his eyes. "What is it?"
"Chibi," he said, turning the sheet so that the written side faced Goten and holding it out with one hand. "It looks like a marriage license."
Goten raised a single black eyebrow, leaning in to read the paper more closely. "Whose marriage license?"
"Uh," Trunks said, placing his right hand behind his neck and continuing to hold out the paper with his left. "Apparently ours."
Goten stood up straight again and stepped back. "No. Way."
"It, uh," Trunks gulped loudly. "It looks official."
"Can..." Goten's voice was barely above a whisper. "Can we even do that?"
"What do you mean?"
"We're both guys."
"Thanks, Chibi, I hadn't noticed." Trunks handed him the sheet of paper. "Marriage License. Trunks Briefs and Goten Son. That's definitely us, alright."
Goten stared at the paper. He read its written words over and over, his eyes growing wider each time. Just when Trunks thought his friend's eyes were actually going to pop out of his skull, Goten walked over to the table, set the marriage license down, walked back over to Trunks...
...and proceeded to grab him by the collar and slam him into the wall.
"Ow!" Trunks cried out as bits of plaster fell into his hair. "Goten, what the fuck?"
"WHAT THE FUCK YOURSELF!" Goten screamed, pulling Trunks back and slamming him into the wall again. This time, Trunks was quite sure a few of the ceiling tiles were shaken loose.
"What the hell did you do to me?" Goten continued, punctuating his words with another thud into the wall. "You son of a bitch!"
"Goten!" Trunks finally grabbed for his friend's wrists, pulling them off his collar and wresting himself free. "Great Kami, calm down."
"Calm down? How the fuck am I supposed to calm down! We're fucking married!"
"Yes, I know," Trunks responded. It looked like he would, once again, have to be the rational one. "But I don't remember last night any better than you do."
Goten was pacing wildly now, his eyes darting about the room. Trunks was quite sure the younger man was going to start hyperventilating at any moment. He took a deep breath, and focused his energy on keeping his voice level in an effort to calm Goten. "Okay, listen Chibi—"
"Don't you 'Chibi' me!" Goten shrieked, ceasing his pacing at once and facing Trunks again. "Fuck, Trunks!"
Trunks sighed. This was going to be harder than he thought. "Just relax, Goten."
"Relax? How do you expect me to relax?" Goten dug his fingers into his scalp and sat upon the made bed. "Oh gods, what are we doing to do? We're going to have to tell our moms and Gohan and my dad and your dad and..."
Trunks pointedly tuned out Goten's panicked rambling. Instead, he looked down at his hand, focusing solely at the small gold band glittering on his ring finger. Even in his incoherent, hysterical babbling, Goten did make a good point. How were they going to explain this one?
He looked at the digital alarm clock on the nightstand between the two beds. It wasn't yet noon. He picked up the marriage license again, looking at the time stamped upon it.
Alright. They had been married for less than twelve hours. This was Pepper City; Trunks was sure this kind of thing happened all the time. Maybe the hotel staff knew how to get out of these situations.
"...and he's going to kill me and kill you and then I'm going to kill you but we'll both already be dead and—"
"Goten!" Trunks cut off the other man's blabbering. "Goten, I have a plan."
"Oh, no!" Goten said, standing up suddenly. "The last time we went along with one of your plans, we ended up married!"
"Goten," Trunks said evenly, "do you want to find a way out this or not?" Goten grumbled, but nodded. "Okay, then. Look, this town is infamous for stuff like this. I'm sure the hotel staff will know how to handle this kind of situation, alright?"
Goten took a few deep breaths, forcing himself to calm down. "Alright," Goten said after about a minute. He still sounded upset, but no longer panicked. "Okay, sounds good."
"Okay," Trunks affirmed. "I'm just gonna take a quick shower, and we can go downstairs and get this all sorted out."
As Trunks began walking toward the bathroom, he felt a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. He turned to see a very uncomfortable looking Goten. "What?"
Goten swallowed loudly, apparently steeling himself to ask his next question. "So," Goten said after a moment, "we didn't...you know..."
"We didn't what?" Trunks asked, doing his best to sound innocent.
"Did we...do it?"
The corner of Trunks' lip twitched. Considering that they had both been fully dressed when they awoke, Trunks sincerely doubted that anything had happened. He also knew it was mean to mess with his friend, but after the kind of morning he'd had, he could really use the entertainment.
"Do what, get married? I'm fairly sure we did."
"Damnit, Trunks, you know that isn't what I meant! Did we..." Goten lowered his voice, despite the fact that they were quite alone. "...have sex?"
"I'm not sure," Trunks replied. "Is your ass sore?"
Goten sputtered indignantly for a few moments before responding. "What the hell makes you think I'd be the one on the bottom?"
Trunks gave his friend a smug, callous smile. "Because that's how our relationship works, dummy."
"AUGH!" For the second time in a five minute span, Trunks found himself slammed into a wall. Damn, he thought with mild irritation. The damages to the room were going to be a bitch to pay for.
Goten grabbed Trunks by his upper arms, lifting him a few inches off the ground. Though the fierce, angry scowl on his face might have frightened a lesser man, Trunks kept his cool.
"Calm down, Goten. I'm only asking because I know I'm not sore. So, are you?"
"So I'm guessing we didn't do it, then." Trunks' smile widened. "Besides, we're still dressed from last night." Goten narrowed his gaze at Trunks, but dropped him. "Now," Trunks said, brushing himself off dramatically, "I'm going to go take a shower. And then we're going to undo whatever it was we did last night."
Goten just grumbled in reply.
Goten had mostly calmed down by the time Trunks stepped out of the shower. Trunks got dressed while Goten took a turn in the bathroom, and the two of them rushed down to the hotel lobby to see what could be done about their little situation. As luck would have it, the concierge was not only at her desk, but appeared to be completely unoccupied. Trunks and Goten briskly walked up to her to explain their situation.
"Yes?" she said, looking up from her fingernails. She set aside her nail file, looking quite bored.
"Miss," Trunks began politely, "we need your help."
"What can I do for you, sir?" she asked around a yawn.
"Well, you see," Goten started, "we got married last night."
"Oh, how wonderful!" The concierge clasped her hands together, the boredom leaving her expression entirely. Her eyes actually sparkled with excitement. "You two are a brilliant couple. Are you looking for a reception hall?"
Goten sputtered, apparently trying to explain that, no, they weren't a couple, brilliant or otherwise, but seemed too flummoxed to be able to put a sentence together.
Trunks beat him to the punch. "We didn't mean to get married, Miss. Neither of us remember it, and we honestly think it was a drunken joke that just went too far."
"Oh," she said, her face falling. She sighed wearily and pulled out a small business card from her desk. "This is the address of the nearest courthouse." She once again sounded quite uninterested; this was probably a speech she had given many times in the past. "They get busy pretty quick, but if you get down there in the next hour or so, they'll probably be able to see you today."
"Oh thank Kami," Goten said, taking the card and slipping it into his jeans pocket.
A hopeful female voice called after them. "So you definitely don't want to stay married?"
"No!" two deep voices shouted back.
Violent tempers were a trait that ran through the Son family. They may have been the nicest, most generous, most mild-mannered people most of the time, but if you got them mad, they would turn into the very embodiment of homicidal rage. This was true of Goku, this was truer of Gohan, and—as it turned out—it was true of Goten as well.
Trunks knew this. The judge, however, did not. Which was unfortunate. Had Judge Bazel, a man that had to be in his early forties, been privy to this information before Trunks and Goten had arrived at the courthouse, he might not have tempted fate, and therefore might have been able to avoid his current predicament. He might not have flicked one limp wrist, insisting that Goten and Trunks were just too cute to break up. He might not have told the two young men that if they were going to give him an attitude, he was not going to authorize the annulment. And so he might not have found himself being dangled by his ankle over his bench, while Trunks held off the bailiff and the accompanying security.
Sadly, this was all conjecture. Because Judge Bazel had given Trunks and Goten a hard time, and he was being held up by an ankle while his robes draped over his dangling arms and face.
"Ex-cuuuuuthe me!" the flamboyant judge cried out, his lisping voice only a bit muffled by the cloth of his robes. "Young man, thith ith completely inappropriate!"
"Give us the goddamn annulment!" Goten shouted, shaking the poor man's ankle and making his whole body jiggle in the air.
"Thweetie," the judge replied, "if you want my number, we can do thith later, but not in court!"
Oh shit, Trunks thought as he easily disarmed one of the policemen. That pervert of a judge actually liked this sort of thing.
What the hell kind of courtroom is this? The stories were true – this sort of thing could only happen in Pepper City.
"Goten," Trunks said, casually knocking the bailiff unconscious. "You'd better set him down."
"Oh, I'll set him down alright!" Goten shouted. "In several pieces!" He shook the beleaguered judge again. "Now annul our fucking marriage already!"
"Sugar," the judge said, addressing Trunks. At least, Trunks thought the judge was speaking to him; it was a bit hard to tell with the man's head and arms obscured by his robes. "You need to enroll your husband here in thome anger management clathes. Thith isn't a healthy way to work out aggression."
"Augh!" Goten dropped the man unceremoniously onto the bench. He was too furious to speak as he climbed down from the mounted podium and stalked out of the room.
The judge signed the order to dismiss the matter with prejudice. He then waved flirtatiously after the two demi-Saiyans.
The cab ride back to the hotel was quiet and awkward. Goten was fuming, while Trunks honestly felt more anxious than angry. How were they going to get out of this now? They'd already had one court hearing on the matter; Trunks wasn't sure they'd be able to secure another.
Besides, Trunks wasn't sure if, after assaulting a judge, they should be showing their faces anywhere near a courthouse.
They went back upstairs to their hotel room, resolving to check out and get out of the hellhole that was Pepper City as quickly as possible. Perhaps they could get this mess sorted out once they got back to West City. Trunks gathered his things in silence, and Goten did the same. It was only after Goten had finished packing that he spoke.
"Trunks?" he said, his voice still tense with rage. "Where's the plane capsule?"
"Hm?" Trunks said, looking up from his backpack. "Oh, it's in my jacket pocket." He gestured toward the wooden chair, over which his suit jacket was still draped. Goten dug through the jacket's pockets for a few minutes. He froze suddenly, and slowly pulled something out of the pocket.
"Trunks?" Goten repeated, holding up a small box. "What is this?" Trunks looked over again, taking in the tiny cardboard container in his friend-slash-roommate-slash-husband's hand.
Of course. His trusty poker deck. Well, that certainly did explain the cash on the bathroom counter. He must have won it in a drunken card game the night before.
"That's my special deck of cards." Trunks nodded proudly, standing.
"What's so special about it?"
"You have a marked deck?"
"...Trunks," Goten swallowed loudly, his shoulders trembling slightly. "Isn't this the same deck we used when I lost that bet to you and had to wear that miniskirt?"
Trunks looked up toward the ceiling, that anxious twisting again returning to the pit of his stomach. He glanced back at Goten, managing the most innocent expression he could.
"GOD DAMNIT, TRUNKS!" Goten balled his right hand into a tight fist, crushing the card deck and condensing it into a small wad. "I'm going to break every bone in your body!"
"Now, now, Chibi," Trunks said in a sing-song voice, holding up both arms in front of him. "You don't want to get locked up for spousal abuse."
Goten's cry of anguish echoed throughout the hotel.
Trunks decided that he really should have given Goten more credit. The other half-Saiyan had managed to keep his temper under control long enough for them to check out of the hotel, and even make it all the way back to their West City apartment. Of course, now that they were home, Goten's demeanor was not nearly as pleasant, but it could have been far worse. In truth, Trunks was just grateful that his friend had waited until they got home to tear him a new one.
"YOU TWISTED FUCKING IDIOT!" Goten was pacing back and forth in front of the couch, gesturing wildly as he continued screaming. "This whole mess is YOUR FAULT! You're the one who wanted us to go to Pepper City, you blackmailed me into coming with you with a video you shot, you CHEATED AT CARDS so that you could shoot that video..."
Goten continued rambling. Trunks just sat on the sofa patiently as his roommate accused him of being responsible for everything from their current situation, to the weather, to the extinction of the Great Woolly Mammoth. Trunks was fairly sure he'd seen Goten yell more in the last day than he had in the past twenty-one years combined. The violet-haired Saiyan had to admit, it was a little intimidating at first. Now, though, it had crossed the line into entertaining. Funny, even.
"WHAT?" Goten yelled, cutting off his own rant. "What are you smiling about?"
Trunks quirked an eyebrow at that. He hadn't noticed that he'd started smiling. Now that Goten pointed it out, though, he could feel the shit-eating grin that had made its way across his features. Trunks knew he shouldn't press his luck, but he just couldn't help himself. It wasn't as if he could get into any more trouble with his friend.
"Well?" Goten shouted. Trunks composed his features, flashing Goten his most charming smile.
"Oh, nothing." Trunks' voice was silky smooth as he spoke again—he figured that, if he was going to do this, he was going to do it right. "It's just, you're beautiful when you're angry."
Goten's eyes widened as he processed his friend's smartass remark. He twitched and sputtered for a moment before he cried out. "AUGH!"
Goten swung. And Trunks ran.
Trunks wasn't sure how he ended all the way out here, but apparently he'd managed to fly into the general vicinity of Mount Paozu. He could sense Goten fast approaching behind him, but Trunks had always been a bit faster than his best friend. That being said, Goten was properly motivated by a rage unlike Trunks had ever seen from his best friend, and was gaining quickly.
Okay, Trunks admitted to himself as he felt his friend's energy spike in pursuit of him. Maybe that last joke went a little too far. He glanced about, wondering how best to evade Goten's wrath. He just needed to stay out of the other Saiyan's way until he could cool down a bit.
Two to three weeks should suffice.
Without warning, Trunks felt himself being slammed downward toward the earth. He hit the ground with a loud thud, sending dirt and rocks up into the air. He barely managed to roll out of the way before Goten kicked his chest in.
"Goten!" Trunks cried out. "Have you lost your mind?"
"No!" Goten said, flying at him with his fist outstretched. "I'm going to make sure you can never get me into trouble like this again!"
Shit, thought Trunks as he dodged. Goten had snapped, and Trunks was in trouble.
"Goten!" he repeated, narrowly evading an energy blast. "Aren't you a bit young to be a widower?"
Damn my smart mouth! Trunks thought as he ducked to avoid a particularly vicious kick to the head.
Trunks looked around frantically, hoping to find a place to hide. He considered taking refuge at Goku's house, but he really didn't want to have to explain to Chichi that she had accidentally married her son. If he thought the verbal onslaught from Goten had been bad, it was nothing compared to the eardrum-shattering rant that would surely spring forth from his mother.
That left Gohan. Trunks deflected an energy blast from Goten as he flew in a straight line toward the house, bursting in without knocking.
Gohan was perched on the dining room table, poring over a large stack of books and academic papers. He looked up, startled, as his door burst open and Trunks flew inside.
"Uh," Gohan began, peering at the other demi-Saiyan over his glasses. "Trunks?"
Trunks shut the door behind him. "You have to hide me!" he said through gasping pants.
Gohan stood from the table and approached the panicked demi-Saiyan. "What's going on?" he asked with concern.
"Your brother's lost it, that's what's going on!" Mere moments later, Gohan's door burst open for the second time, and in came a livid Goten.
"You!" Goten said, ignoring his brother and focusing solely on his intended target. "I'm going to fucking kill you!" Goten knocked over the coffee table as he ran toward Trunks, intending to finish the beatdown he had begun outside.
"Whoa whoa whoa!" Gohan cried out as he intervened. He leapt between Goten and Trunks and grasped both of his brother's upper arms, preventing him from moving. "Calm down, Goten."
Goten struggled for a few seconds, but was unable to free himself. "Let me go, Gohan! Trunks has this coming!"
Gohan shook his head. "Not until you calm down and explain yourself. Now, care to tell me what's going on?"
"This!" Goten bent his left arm at the elbow so that Gohan could see the narrow gold band on his ring finger. "We're fucking married! And it's all because this fucker got me good and drunk in Pepper City!"
Gohan stared for a few moments before releasing his brother's arms. He stepped to one side, leaving Trunks exposed and vulnerable.
"Knock yourself out, little brother."
Trunks' eyes widened in fear and shock. "Gohan," he cried, "you traitor!"
"Sorry!" Gohan called after the younger Saiyans as Goten dragged a struggling Trunks into the backyard. "Blood is thicker than water and all that."
So Goten spent the next twenty minutes finding how precisely how thick blood—specifically Trunks' blood—was.
Trunks glared daggers at the two brothers in front of him as he downed his tea. Gohan had dragged a bloodied, semi-conscious Trunks back inside once he felt Goten had gone far enough—Goten had disagreed—and give him a spare senzu bean. Though Trunks felt fine physically, he was more than a bit miffed at the whole affair.
He was never going to get the bloodstains out of his shirt.
At least beating the living daylights out of him had seemed to calm Goten down. Now, perhaps, they could figure out what to do about the situation.
Trunks, Goten and Gohan were all sitting in the living room, sipping mugs of tea that Gohan had brewed up for them. The eldest demi-Saiyan had spent the past ten minutes trying not to laugh through Goten and Trunks' explanation of their situation. He set down his mug just as they wrapped up their story.
"So you accidentally got married," Gohan said, his tone light with amusement. "Why don't you just get an annulment?"
"That, uh, didn't work out so well," Goten said, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck in a gesture he had learned from his father.
Gohan raised a single black eyebrow. "What happened?"
"It's kind of a long story," Trunks said wearily. "The point is, the annulment proceedings were dismissed with prejudice. Getting an annulment is kind of out of the question for now."
"Okay," Gohan said with a calm shrug. "So get a divorce."
Goten and Trunks looked at each other. At the exact same moment, each of them slammed their palms into their foreheads in identical gestures of frustration.
Gohan frowned at the two younger demi-Saiyans. "Did you seriously not think of that?"
"Nope," they both replied in unison. Without so much as a goodbye, they both ran out of the house, brushing past Videl and Pan as both came home.
Videl glanced from the retreating form of her brother-in-law and turned back to her husband. Her eight-year-old daughter mimicked the movement. Gohan was perched on the couch, rubbing his forehead and looking deeply frustrated.
"Gohan?" Videl asked as she shut the front door behind her.
Gohan shook his head, not removing his right hand from his face. "Don't ask. Just, don't ask."
Pan pouted as she joined her father on the couch. "What's going on, Daddy?"
"Nothing, sweetie," the man responded as he looked at his daughter. "Your Uncle Goten is just an idiot."
Pan smiled sweetly as she scooted closer to him. "Oh, Daddy," she said, wrapping both arms around his neck and pecking him on the cheek. "I knew that."
Yori leaned back in his leather office chair, running a hand through his well-groomed, graying hair. He had worked as the Briefs family attorney for more than a decade, and so had come across more than his fair share of interesting legal problems, for which he was most handsomely compensated. These issues ranged from getting Bulma out of trouble for some of Capsule Corp's more questionable accounting practices, to dealing with her temperamental husband's tendency to have restraining orders leveled against him on an almost monthly basis.
But having to draw up the divorce proceedings for the young Trunks, who had apparently managed to accidentally marry his very male best friend? That took the cake.
Trunks and Goten were seated across from Yori's polished desk as he dug through some of the necessary paperwork. He had sat patiently through Trunks' explanation of what had happened, ignoring the irritated comments that were periodically inserted by the irate, black-haired young man beside him. He pushed his glasses up his nose, looking back at the anxious young men in his office.
"Mister Briefs," Yori began, "did you sign a prenuptial agreement?"
"Huh?" Trunks replied, tilting his head to one side.
Yori leaned across his desk, looking intently at his client. "Did you sign a pre-nup?"
"No," Trunks shook his head. "I don't even remember us getting married."
"Well then," Yori said, looking back down at the stack of papers Mister Son here is entitled to a portion of your assets."
Trunks sputtered from a moment. A deep red flush, caused by shock more than anything else, came to his cheeks. "What now?" he finally managed.
"He is entitled to some of your assets," Yori repeated. "Unless he agrees to waive those rights, that is."
"Oh," Trunks said, relief creeping into his voice. "Goten agrees. Right, Goten?" He turned to his best-friend-slash-accidental-husband, sure that he would see the other young man nodding in assent. Instead, Goten's lips had twisted into an evil-looking smirk, and his black eyes were glistening in a way that Trunks was quite sure he'd never seen on his friend before.
It was terrifying.
Goten's smirk evolved into an equally frightening grin. His bared teeth glittered in much the same way as his eyes. "This is perfect."
Trunks felt an anxious twisting in his gut. "What's perfect?"
Goten jumped up from his chair, fast enough to knock it off of its legs. "Now I can get back at you for this whole mess!" He shot a fist into the air in triumph. "You're ass is mine, bitch!"
Trunks' jaw dropped in shock. "You cannot be serious."
"Oh, I am," Goten said. His grin seemed mere millimeters from splitting his face in two. "And Kami have you had it coming."
Trunks stood from his own chair, also knocking it over. "Goten, you can't do this!"
Trunks bit his lip, clenching his teeth hard enough to draw blood. "Then you are in for the mother of all legal battles, Chibi."
Goten narrowed his eyes at his roommate. "Then I'll see you in court!" He left the room without a backwards glance.
"You'll be hearing from my lawyer!" Trunks shouted after him. And with that, he stormed out of the office as well.
Yori tapped his pen on his desk. "Three," he began. "Two. One."
Trunks burst back into the room with the same flourish with which he had left. "Uh, Yori, you are my lawyer." Trunks righted his chair and once more took his seat across from Yori's desk.
"Yes, Mister Briefs," Yori said, displaying the unending patience he had learned after bring on retainer for the Briefs family for nearly twelve years. "Yes I am."
Trunks sighed to himself as he set down the legal documents Yori had drawn up for him. It had been three days since he'd seen Goten, who'd presumably been staying at his parents' home since their meeting with Trunks' lawyer. Between Trunks' extensive assets, the fact that a large portion of his fortune was locked away in a trust fund until he was twenty-five, and the sheer amount of stock he owned in the publicly-traded portions of Capsule Corp, his financial situation was enormously complicated. If Goten really went forward with the divorce proceedings, Trunks could be tied up in years of litigation.
He rubbed his temples with his index fingers, sinking deeper into the comfortable couch cushions. He knew Goten couldn't care less about the money—the kid just wanted to teach Trunks a lesson. And, having had three days to cool off, Trunks was starting to realize that maybe he had it coming.
Goten made a good point. Ninety percent of the time, the absurd situations the two of them found themselves in were Trunks' fault. Trunks frowned at himself—then again, Goten really should know better by now than to listen to him.
He let out another sigh, letting his mind drift until he heard the front door to the apartment. He looked to his left to find Goten standing there, the sun glowing behind him as he stood uncomfortably at the threshold.
"Hey," Goten said, pulling his keys out of the lock. "Can I come in?"
Trunks shrugged. "It's your place too."
"I guess so," Goten said. Trunks nodded—at least Goten seemed to have calmed down over the past few days. Goten came into the living room and looked down at Trunks piles of legal and financial documents before addressing his friend again. "So, uh, about earlier."
"What?" Trunks asked.
"I spoke to a lawyer."
"Uh...this divorce thing is pretty complicated."
"Yes," Trunks said, pointing at the documents strewn across his stylish coffee table. "I've noticed."
"It's your fault, you know." Goten folded his arms. "You have a LOT of assets."
Despite himself, Trunks laughed. "Yeah. Remind me to sign a prenup the next time I drunkenly marry my best friend."
For the first time since that fateful morning in Pepper City, Goten gave Trunks a sincere smile. He joined the older demi-Saiyan on the couch, a thoughtful expression on his face.
"Maybe it's more trouble than it's worth."
Trunks frowned in curiosity. "What are you saying, Goten?"
"We could always just stay married."
Curiosity became shock, and Trunks slammed his pen onto the coffee table. The table creaked, almost giving way to the force of Trunks' hand. "You were freaking out about it more than I was!"
"I know," Goten admitted. "But then I thought about it, and, you know. Maybe it's not so terrible."
Trunks raised both hands to his temples, closing his eyes and rubbing against the massive pressure that had suddenly appeared there.
So this was what an aneurysm felt like.
"Not so terrible," Trunks echoed. He looked back up, observing the earnest expression on his friend's face. "You're serious about this."
"Yeah, well, as long as it doesn't bug you that I'm still going out with Paresu."
"Why would that bother me?" Trunks rolled his eyes. Just because they were married didn't mean they were in a relationship or anything.
"So, yeah, why not?"
Trunks bit his lip pensively, another concern coming to mind. "Okay, what if one of us wants to actually get married one day?"
Goten shrugged. "Cross that bridge when we come to it?"
"Hmm," Trunks responded. "I guess..."
"Also," Goten continued eagerly, "apparently you get a nice tax break when you're married."
Trunks stroked his chin thoughtfully. "You make an interesting point." After all, between Trunks' income and his trust fund, some tax relief would be nice. He looked back down at his left hand, once more taking in the wedding band there. "And this would be a pretty reliable excuse for getting out of dates." Hell, Trunks dared to hope, maybe all the damn Capsule Corp staffers would leave him alone now.
"Plus," Goten said brightly, "we already live together."
"Chibi," Trunks said, extending his hand, "you've got yourself a deal." And they shook on it.
Goten laughed a bit, apparently relieved that the whole matter had been resolved. "I'd better call Paresu and explain what's going on."
Trunks nodded, gathering the papers on the table and moving to the kitchen to throw them out. "Let me know how she takes it."
As it turns out, the attractive young brunette took it fairly well. According to Goten, she had simply laughed for a few minutes, said that it was bound to happen eventually—something which both Trunks and Goten thought was a little distressing—and asked Goten what he wanted to grab for dinner.
So that evening found Trunks sitting on his large sofa, watching a particularly gory movie with his husband and his husband's girlfriend. Twenty minutes into the film, the three of them had already consumed one six-pack and were working on another. Trunks laughed a bit as Paresu buried her face into Goten's shoulder, closing her eyes as the movie's protagonist sliced open another man's gut, eviscerating him and taking a bite of the prolapsed intestines.
Really, Trunks decided as he took another sip of his beer, this wasn't so bad.