Chapter 1: Prologue
Ten Years Ago
Gohan felt numb as he sat there next to the judge while the plump scowling man in black spat prejudice words at him. It was as if the world was moving in slow motion for the teen. Only the sound of his own breath and rhythmic heartbeat echoed in his ears. His eyes slowly moved over to his mother. She was causing a 'disturbance'. He heard her panicked cries as the judge ordered her to be removed from the court.
"My baby's innocent!" she wailed as she was pulled forcefully from her seat. "He's innocent!"
The doors slammed making her disappear from sight, but he could still hear her cries. His eyes shifter to his little brother. The young boy had tears trailing down his cheeks. He watched as arms wrapped comfortingly around him. His eyes trailed up the arms to see the face of his fathers long time friend. The cyan haired woman tried her best to comfort the demi-saiyan. He buried his head and cried silently for his brother. Bulma looked up sadly at Gohan. Gohan tried to pull a smile to his face to reassure her but failed miserably. Bulma's eyes well with tears. She pulled Goten in and the two cried together. Trunks sat numb next to Vegeta who had a look of sad disapproval on his face. Krillin, Yamcha, and Piccolo sat behind the family to show their support to Gohan. Krillin and Yamcha shared the look of mixed feelings. Anger because of what Gohan was being accused of. If only the world knew the truth. Sadness because they couldn't do anything to stop this from happening. Disgust that anyone would think Gohan was capable of doing this. Contempt. Frustration. Worry. While Piccolo looked up at his good friend in pure sadness. If only these people knew Gohan like he did. They would then understand. This boy didn't even have the heart to lie, yet they tell him that he is. Piccolo shook his head at their foolishness. The humans could be easily manipulated.
"Gohan." he heard the whimpers of his stu... good friend's younger brother. His lips pulled down into a sad frown and he directed his gaze forward toward the judge. "Calm Goten." he mumbled in the silence of the room.
The pain Gohan heard in his brothers voice tore away at him. The sadness he saw on his friends faces hurt him more then the whole situation. Especially Videl. She looked up at the judge pleadingly, before turning her attention to him. Tears poured freely from her eyes and she was shaking her head defiantly. Sharpner sat to her right with a straight face. But Gohan could see under the blond's facade. Under, he could see the smirk that played out across his face. His supposed friend just waited for his back to be turned so he could stab it. All to get what he wanted. To he left sat none other then Mr. Satan. Savior of the world. Defeater of Cell. He glared up at Gohan like he was the bane of his existence. The 'scrawny punk' would finally be removed from the picture. Gohan looked back too her and managed to pull his lips into an awkward smile. That's when the voice of the Judge pulled him from his eyes wanderings.
"Son Gohan, the jury has found you guilty of first degree murder. Your sentence is life imprisonment with no chance of parole." he said gruffly with a scowl. "Any last words boy?"
Gohan looked back up over the crowd. The tear filled smile he offered the crowd sent Bulma into another fit of tears, along with Videl.
Gohan swallowed the painful lump that had begun forming in his throat. "Just one thing sir." he said hoarsely not trying to hide the pain in his voice. "I devoted my life to help the people of Earth. If this is what you need me for, to take the blame for a crime I didn't commit, then I shall do so whit a smile on my face. For your sake."
Tears came to the eyes of those who knew the young man was innocent. The judge growled in annoyance at the boys proclamation. He slammed down his gavel signifying the end of the case. Gohan slowly rose to his feet still smiling. He took in the faces of his friends. Two officers entered the courtroom and made their way to the waiting teen. They roughly pulled his hands behind his back and force a pair of handcuffs on not knowing that if he wanted to, Gohan could easily break out of them. As they started to led him out of the courtroom, Goten called after them, begging them to stop and bring Gohan back. He tried to pull out of Bulma's grasp which was surprisingly strong today. As he did, he ran with speed incomprehensible to humans, and latched onto his brothers orange clad leg and cried.
"G-G-Gohan." the little boy cried. "Y-You can't go. W-What will me and mommy do without you? Who will p-play with me?" his voice rang out into the dead silence of the courtroom.
The officers tried their best to detach the little boy from the prisoner's leg but found it impossible. Gohan looked at the distressed officers, to his little brother. He nudged the little boy with his leg causing him to look up. Gohan, after Goten released hi, knelt down to look into the child's eyes.
"I have to go Goten." Gohan said softly. "They think I did something bad. You and mom can get along well enough without me, and you'll always have Trunks and Vegeta to play with. Not to mention everyone else." Gohan took a moment to glance pleadingly at his family.
Surprisingly it was Vegeta that spoke up first. "You got it brat." he said with that same sad look on his face. The others behind him nodded in agreement.
Gohan turned back toward Goten, tears starting to flow freely from his eyes. "S-See Goten." he said shakily. "Even without me there will still be people to play with."
"B-But it won't be the same Gohan!" Goten cried latching onto his brothers neck.
Gohan tried his best to hug the boy back, but with his arms bound behind him, the only thing he could do was nuzzle his young brother. Gohan took in the last hug he might ever receive from his brother. The last hug he may receive for a long time. It was long and sad and threw his labored breathing, Gohan picked up whiffs of the salty tears that leaked from his eyes. Taking in this last hug, realization hit Gohan. He broke down and openly cried for the first time in a long time in front of his brother. In front of his friends. He felt like that little kid again. The coward that always cried. But this time, he didn't let the smile on his face waver, even if it looked forced. Gohan heard the whimpers of his friends. His family. He heard the hushed whispers of those he didn't know. He also heard the judge growl something. One officer grabbed onto Goten. The other onto Gohan. They tried their hardest to pull the two apart, but no matter how hard they pulled, the child's grip remained constant.
"No!" Goten cried as they tugged. "I need him!"
The crowd watched the scene in dismay.
"Vegeta." Gohan mumbled with a numb smile.
The older saiyan nodded slowly before making his way up toward the two. He walk past the layers and growled harshly showing his disapproval. The officers backed away from the intimidating man. Vegeta looked down sadly at the two. He didn't want to admit he hated watching this happen, but he couldn't hide it as it showed clearly on his face. He grabbed Goten's hands and pulled, and as much as Goten tried, he couldn't get his grip tight enough to stay latched onto his brother. As his grip finally failed him, the officers rushed over and pulled Gohan to his feet, causing the crying child to flail and lash out against Vegeta who held him tightly.
"N-No!" Goten cried as the officers pulled Gohan back up to his feet. They harshly shoved him toward the door not wanting anymore delay. As they reached the doors, over Goten's cries, they heard the accused mutter something under his breath.
"Dende help me." he had said. "Watch over them."
As the doors closed behind him Goten's cries only got louder.
"Gohan." he wept. "Gohan!"
Out of tears the nine year old shook. Vegeta released his hold on him and stared at the door in which Gohan had disappeared behind. No one saw Goten's eyes flash a brilliant shade of turquoise before he turned and ran. Past the bad lawyers. Past the witnesses. Threw the big oak doors and past his crying mother. He pushed past all of the people and ignored the cries of his name. He pushed open the door and ran from the building. Without looking back he pushed himself into the air and took off. He didn't want to be there anymore.