I've always loved how close Gohan and Krillin were, in the past. I wanted to bring some of that closeness back for a while. Really, Krillin was like an older brother to Gohan half the time. This doesn't really sync up with the timeline, but give it some leeway. I haven't written in months- critique is always welcome. (I might add onto this in the future)
"It's good to see ya, buddy," Krillin says, cheerful, as always. He holds the door open, beckons Gohan inside. "How's life treating you these days?"
"Good," Gohan says, eyes searching the Kame House. He smiles fondly. This is the one place that truly never changes. Same furniture, same paint, same decorations; the feeling of safety surrounds him. He remembers playing hide and seek and building forts with the chairs and table, coloring on the hard wood floor in the doorway on sunny days, building sandcastles outside or wading in the water. "Really good. That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about."
"Well, sure," Krillin says, curiosity in his eyes. Gohan is surprised to see his hair growing back, though he had always hoped it would be an unruly patch of red or blonde, something comical to go with his personality, but the traditional black is somehow befitting. Krillin wanders off into the kitchen, coming back with two cans of soda. He hands one to Gohan. "What's going on?"
"Well," Gohan begins, taking the soda and opening it with a loud hiss and crack, "there's... this girl, kind of."
Krillin grins from behind the soda can. "A girl, huh?" He sighs whimsically, and then hops over the spine of the couch, landing comfortably.
Gohan joins him, taking a sip from the can and then setting it on the coffee table. "Yeah. She's really great. Beautiful, smart, funny..."
Krillin laughed gently. "So what's the problem?"
"I'm the problem! I get weird when I'm around her." He rests his elbows on his knees, and then runs his hands through his hair with a groan. "She probably thinks I'm an idiot."
"You're asking him for help with girls?" Eighteen asks, smirking. She is standing in the back doorway; hand on her hip, head cocked slightly. Blonde hair falls into her eyes as she jerks her head at the front door. "You may as well ask the old man."
"Hey, what's that supposed to mean?" Krillin pretends to take offense. "I'll have you know I was quite the ladies man, back in the day."
Eighteen rolls her eyes. "Please."
Gohan grins at the exchange, offering a muted laugh. "It's just...you know how my mom is. I never even had a female tutor, and with my dad being gone all the time..." he trails off, tongue passing over his lower lip. He can see the hurt flash in his friends' eyes, and the way Eighteen lowers her gaze respectfully. He shrugs. "I never really learned how to talk to girls. And who knows, maybe that's a good thing."
"Yeah," Krillin laughs as Eighteen perches on the arm of the couch, arms folded. "Maybe you're right about that."
"We were pretty close when I was growing up, weren't we?" Gohan asks.
Krillin nods. He runs his hand back though his hair, cracking a smile. "Yeah, I guess we were."
"You were the first person I thought of."
"Really?" Krillin asks, surprised.
"Well, yeah. You've always been there for me."
"You're a great kid," Krillin says, reaching over to pat him on the shoulder.
"So," Eighteen says, eyeing him with those piercing blue eyes. "What's her name?"
"Videl," Gohan answers dreamily, and then blinks, clearing his throat, cheeks darkening a few shades of red. "Videl," he repeats. "She's actually kind of weird." he scratches his head. "She was sort of stalking me for a while. I've been thinking about asking her out on a date, and when I think about it, it seems like a great idea. But then I get near her, and my palms get sweaty, and my feet itch, and my tongue feels like sandpaper, and I'm thinking 'this can't be normal.'"
"Oh, that's normal, all right," Krillin chimes in, setting his soda on the coffee table, too. "One time, I actually threw up on this girls shoes I was so nervous."
"You threw up on her?" Eighteen twists around. "That's disgusting."
"I didn't mean it!"
Gohan makes a face and pokes his tongue out of his mouth. "Yuck! What happened?"
"She screamed, threw them at me, then walked home barefoot. Next day, she comes back demanding I buy her new ones."
"Ahh, yeah," he admits beneath his breath, pushing his index fingers together.
Gohan, throwing out his best half-hearted smile, says, "I don't think I'm that bad, but I could still use some pointers."
"Think before you speak," Eighteen warns. "There's nothing worse than an idiot that just keeps blabbering."
"Maybe it would be better if you avoided meal-dates, too," Krillin adds anxiously. "-Avoid eating all together."
"Good idea," Eighteen agrees.
"That's great," Gohan exclaims, "but what do I say?"
Krillin looks at Eighteen, who shrugs gently and hops down from the couch.
"Gee, Gohan, I don't know. Maybe you should ask Yamcha… I can't believe I just said that."
"If he asks Yamcha, she'll never talk to him again," Eighteen reveals, walking to the front door. "I've got some things to do. I'll be back later. Good luck, and remember: think before you speak." She takes off into the sand running, and then blasts off into the sky. Eventually, she's nothing more than a tiny, fading light.
Gohan slouches into the couch. "Growing up is hard."
"No, really. I'd rather face Frieza again. At least then I'd know what I was doing."
"You know, Gohan, maybe you should talk to your mom about it."
"Are you crazy?" his head snapped up, eyes locked onto Krillin's. "She'd kill me."
"You're not a little boy anymore," Krillin says with a shrug. "She's got to accept that, sooner or later."
"No she doesn't," Gohan answers pitifully. "I can't talk to her about it, because then she'll start thinking I'm going to run off with some girl and leave her all alone, then she'll start crying and cooking and cursing my dad. It's not as funny as it used to be," he informs.
"Ah, well, sorry. I don't know what to say. Try your Grandpa?"
"I could, but he might let something slip to my mom, and then there would be the crying and the cooking...I don't know, Krillin. I've never felt this way before. I don't want to jump the gun and say it's love, but it's definitely more than just like. What if she decides she likes me, and wants to take it to the next level?"
Krillin waves his hand to get Gohan's attention. "Gohan, calm down, bro."
Master Roshi shuffles in, back hunched, relying on his cane. He leafs through a girly magazine as he walks, eyes glued to the pages. "Next level?" he asks idly.
Gohan twists around on the couch. "Oh, hey, Master Roshi."
It seems like no matter how many hours the man spends in the sun, he never really gets a tan. It's really weird.
"Morning, Krillin. Gohan." he stops by the couch, flips the magazine shut, and tosses it onto the coffee table. He yawns, smacking his lips loudly, then straightens out his back with a series of audible cracks.
"How'd you get Eighteen to like you?" Gohan asks, turning his attention back to Krillin.
"Honestly? I have no idea," he confesses. "I was so nervous every time I was around her, I can hardly remember."
"I remember," Gohan says, "you were always shaking, really bad."
"You were so shy," Master Roshi says. "And so insistent."
"I guess I really liked her," Krillin says, shrugging.
Master Roshi steadies his sunglasses, hmming to himself as he turns to Gohan. "Girl problems, eh Gohan?"
"I'm not close enough for there to even be problems," Gohan grumbles.
Roshi surprises him by saying, "just be friendly. You're a nice enough boy. She'll come around, eventually." Krillin and Gohan hold one another's gaze, while the old man hmms and clears his throat. "Ask her if she wants to sit on your lap," he finishes, chortling loudly. "Hee hee. Girls love that."
"Uh, thanks for the advice, Master Roshi...but I think I'll just stick with being friendly."
"Eh, suit yourself," the old man says, ambling off into a back room. That's another thing that hasn't changed, Gohan thinks with a smirk. He wonders, for an instant, if Master Roshi had ever had a serious relationship before. Probably not, though he probably wouldn't admit it.
Gohan signs. "Well, I better get out of your hair." Krillin grins and makes his fingers into a gun, pointing it at him. He winks. "I can say that, now that you've got hair. Nice, by the way."
"Why thank you. I rather like it myself," Krillin answers, seeing him to the door. "We should hang out sometime. Like old times. Except without the broken bones and the threat to the Earth. Maybe get the whole gang together soon."
Gohan nods, looking out into the endless expanse of water. "Yeah, that'd be nice."
"Tell your mom hi for me. And about that girl...Master Roshi's right. You're a good kid, just relax, you'll be fine."
"Thanks, Krillin," Gohan says, flying up into the air. "I knew I could count on you."
"Any time, Gohan. Bye!"
"Seeya!" Gohan shouts back, blasting off into the sky. He has a lot to think about. He knows trying to form a game-plan for a date that might not even happen is stupid, but he can't help it. As he slices through the air he thinks of his father, wondering what advice he might give. He decides that it probably wouldn't be very good, though it would be good to hear his voice again. As long as he doesn't throw up on her, he thinks with a grin, he should be in the clear.