The words in the text book were all just a blur. There was no point to them. Just words in a book, Gohan thought dully. But still, focusing on the unimportant words might make him stop remembering. Scenes of the baron battlefield, his father's last smile, and his own sins faded to a smaller portion of his mind as he focused his eyes on the page.
The more Gohan tried to learn the material, the less he thought of what he had done. He stopped thinking of himself as a careless murderer and instead just thought about learning the complicated mathematical equations and theorems.
"Gohan," Chi Chi's voice floated from downstairs. "Dinner's ready."
Gohan didn't seem to have heard at first, and only continued to study and make an occasional note. Then finally he sighed, closed the book softly, and went downstairs.
Like a robot he sat in his chair, where his mother had already dished him out a plate of food. He didn't eat any of it, but only stared at the food with unfocused eyes.
"Gohan," Chi Chi said in a nervous voice. "Please eat your dinner. I don't want you to get sick. You already are looking thin and a little feverish."
"Ok, mom. I'm sorry," Gohan said in a monotone voice. He gave his mother a smile that didn't reach his eyes and began to eat slowly and mechanically.
Chi Chi and Ox King shot occasional worried glances at the boy while the rest of the meal continued in silence. This was the routine for nearly the last month. At first, Gohan seemed like he would be ok and resilient to his father's death, and ready to continue his life. But a couple months ago a pattern of lifeless perfection and emotionless personality had taken over Gohan. He would now do whatever he was told without question, say nothing unless he was spoken to first, and study the entire day away. It wasn't the Gohan Chi Chi or Ox King knew, and it was quite unsettling.
Chi Chi took a deep breath. She was going to tell Gohan the news tonight. Hopefully the knowledge would wake him up from whatever trance he had been in lately. "Gohan," she started quietly to get Gohan's attention as he finished his last few bites of rice. "When you're done eating, would you come with me and your grandfather into the living room. I have something important I want to tell you both."
Ox King looked quickly up at his daughter. He had been suspicious about Chi Chi's appearance and increased mood swings for a while now. Maybe his suspicions were about to be confirmed. He switched his glance to Gohan who was now staring at his lap. He knew Gohan was struggling to come to terms with what had happened last month. The events of that tragic day had taken time to sink in to the eleven year old boy, and now the pain seemed too much to handle.
After the dishes were washed and drying, the small family gathered together to hear the news. The emotions in the room gave off the feeling that Chi Chi was about to deliver news of a death, rather than the joyous and exciting news she was about to tell. She took a deep breath, and tried to interject some happiness into her voice.
"Dad, Gohan. There is no doubt in my mind anymore, and I'm sure I am correct in my feeling that I am going to have a baby," she said with a smile. She looked at Gohan," You are going to be an older brother. Isn't that great."
"Oh, Chi Chi, I'm so excited for you, this is wonderful news!" Ox King shouted, jumping up to hug her. He swing her merrily in a circle so her legs lifted right into the air.
They both stopped and looked at Gohan, who hadn't even seemed to hear the announcement.
"Gohan, are you alright? Did you hear what I said?" Chi Chi asked quietly and cautiously.
Gohan looked up, and Chi Chi was shocked to see just how dark the circles under her son's eyes really were. "Yes, I'm sorry mom. I heard. That's great news, congratulations," Gohan smiled again, and it was painfully clear it wasn't authentic. His voice sounded like it was coming from a horrible actor in a drama film.
There was a long and nearly painful silence. Neither adult knew what to do at the moment. It was clear Gohan wasn't taking the news well.
"Well, it's getting late, and I can see you're tired," Chi Chi said softly, sitting next to her son and putting a hand on his shoulder. "Why don't you head up to bed and get some extra sleep tonight."
Gohan nodded silently, but before he could fully stand, his mother grabbed his arm and pulled him towards her. He allowed himself to fall back to the couch and into her embrace.
"I love you," she murmered quietly. "I know it's hard that your father is gone, but he would be happy to know there is going to be another member of the family."
Gohan stiffened in her arms, and pulled himself away. "I'm sorry mom," he said quietly, not looking at her. "I really am tired, so I'll go to bed now. Good night."
Chi Chi looked at her father with watery eyes as the sound of his slow footsteps retreated. "I don't know what to do for him," she said in a quavery voice.
Silently Ox King pulled Chi Chi to her feet and hugged her tightly. "I know it's hard, but he probably just needs more time to come to terms with what happened," he murmered over the sound of her crying.
Upstairs Gohan was turning off his light. But instead of climbing into bed, he opened the window and softly flew outside.
As he increased speed, he didn't notice the suppressed energy following behind him. It was an energy that had been watching him through the windows of the house from a distance for the last few hours.
Now even more worried than he had already been for his student, Piccolo followed Gohan. The strange energy Gohan had been emitting for the last few months had just become even shakier and unnatural. Piccolo feared what ever was going to happen next, couldn't be good.