Change of pace. Wanted to write something with two of my favorite characters within the actual DBZ timeline. I know this has probably been done before, but I wanted to think it out my way.
So here are the Son boys :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, or Dragon Ball GT. Otherwise this wouldn't be fanfic.
Edit: There was a question about Gohan's age for when he defeated Cell. (I would reply directly to the reviewer but it's anonymous). In the manga, I'm reading (the VizBig edition), it says that Gohan is 16 years old during the Majin Buu Saga (Edition 7, Volume 20 for all you curious!). Goten is seven years old, meaning that Gohan defeated Cell when he was 9, or perhaps 10 (including the Room of Spirit and Time's accelerated day thing). It may be different in the anime...but I'm too lazy to watch and search for ages, and Google is unreliable. Hopefully this info gets back to you, reviewer!
He was not this active when he was younger. He didn't run around the kitchen, stealing whip cream to spray on his vegetables. Or wear pajamas backwards in the morning and his nice clothes inside out at night. He didn't leave the house with such energy and joy to go through the wilderness that was his backyard. He had been a scared, practical boy who needed to study. He was hesitant and shy and had no idea of his capabilities.
But not Son Goten.
At six, Goten rarely opened a book. His mother hadn't forced him to sit at a desk all day long or eat at any slower pace than normal. He was a messy child, an annoying younger brother, and too unnaturally strong- even by half Saiyan standards. He was fearless and happy and looked exactly like his father.
That's why he gets away with so much.
He wasn't jealous of Goten. Sure, their mother gave the youngest child much more freedom than he had ever experienced. And yeah, Goten hadn't been kidnapped by his uncle or rushed off to Namek to save his friends that he watched die. Goten hadn't watched more people get killed a few years later on and then asked to completely destroy the most powerful monster ever when he was only nine years old.
Goten was allowed to be a kid, a privilege Gohan did not receive. But the older Son wasn't envious at all. How could he be?
It was difficult to explain when he first started asking questions. They usually came up after he returned from Capsule Corp., a trip that couldn't happen too often because of the youngest Son's inability to fly. Nimbus was always suggested, but then that would lead to a whiny Trunks, who (not so surprisingly) couldn't ride the golden cloud. Gohan usually played courier, and he usually brought back a Goten who was more than confused about why Trunks had a Vegeta and he did not.
"He's your uncle, Goten." Gohan had suggested. "Does that help?
The little boy scratched his head, "...No...not really. Why does my uncle live all the way over there?"
"Because he's a delinquent." Chichi dropped a bowl of food on the wooden dinner table, immediately distracting Goten's questions. "Actually Goten, it's rude not to call him 'Uncle Vegeta'. Make sure to do that, no matter what he says, okay?"
Sometimes his mother was just cruel.
And usually, that would be enough-a healthy dose of Chichi's cooking paired with a new mission for Goten to undertake. There would be no more questions for a while, which Gohan didn't exactly agree with. He knew that his father's disappearance was a little more than complicated. Six years later and he was still dealing with it. There'd be a part of him that would never forgive himself. Gohan had every opportunity to end Cell, but he was cocky, savage. His father died for no reason.
It was a loaded question but Gohan nodded, letting his chin collide with his textbook. He peered behind the curtains in front of his desk, wincing at the realization that it was already night. The full moon was out. Something he had missed for the first four years of his life. It was beautiful, pearl white, casting elegant shadows of trees across his home's front lawn. He felt the nerves on his back twitch, but the feeling soon diminished. There would be no more transformations of that nature. "Hey, Mom?"
Son Chichi turned around and sat on her older son's bed. She looked exhausted, either from stress or the time of day Gohan couldn't tell. She had aged so quickly-smile lines and crow's feet, sunken eyes and thin lines of silver in her black hair. "Yes, Gohan?"
"Where'd you put Goten's tail?"
Chichi looked at her son strangely. "Don't you remember?"
"I was...kind of shocked at the whole thing." The young teenager coughed. Sometimes it was hard to speak, especially when his mind was thinking of back then. "There was a lot going on."
She didn't seem to want to talk about it. Chichi straightened her traditional dress before standing and grabbing the mug on Gohan's left side. "He wasn't born with one, Gohan. Do you want more tea?"
"No, thank you. It must be recessive."
"The gene." He glanced from his textbook back up to his mother behind him. "And for whatever reason, normal Earthlings must have an allele that negates or allows the tail to show. You're obviously heterogeneous."
For once, Chichi took the textbook away from her son. "It's past your bedtime, Gohan. You did enough studying today."
"I need to be ready for high school, don't I?" He pushed in his wooden chair and stretched. He was tired-exhausted actually. His mind was slowing, muddied with evolutionary theory and classical genetics and memories he didn't want to relive. Gohan yawned and rubbed his eyes, "I can start soon, can't I?"
Chichi set down Gohan's mug and started taking out his pajamas. "I don't see what all the rush is about, Gohan. You can probably just skip high school all together."
"Kami knows you're smarter than all of those other children, which doesn't mean you should let up on your studying mister! But..."
Gohan grumbled. This conversation happened too often. "Mom..."
"Orange Star High is the closest one...and in Satan City. Can you believe it? You could have had a whole city named after you if it weren't for that idiotic, wrestler..."
"Mom!" He didn't often lose his temper, especially if someone wasn't being killed. But he was frustrated with...life, he supposed. Peace was nice. He would trade all the alien powers he had if it could give Goten a lifetime of peace, but that didn't mean that Gohan wanted to stay at Mt. Paozu forever. And of course his mother knew that. She must have if she really wanted him to be a scholar. "I want to go to high school."
Chichi narrowed her eyes. "Don't shout, Gohan. Your brother is sleeping."
"And I don't see why you want to go. From what Bulma tells me, she couldn't wait to get out of school."
Gohan scratched his head. His mother didn't get it, did she? She had never wanted a life like that. She was a princess after all, spending most of her time training as a fighter or waiting for his father to come back to her. She didn't go to high school or any school at all, but she knew the importance of education. She only saw high school as a means towards that. And as far as she was concerned, Gohan was receiving all the education he needed right here. Alone. In the middle of nowhere. "...I just want to be normal."
The room was silent then. Only cricket chirps and his brother's heavy snoring from the couch nearby. Chichi crossed her arms and grabbed the mug from Gohan's dresser. "Get your brother and turn off the light. I promised him you'd take him to Capsule Corp. tomorrow. Trunks is turning seven."
If he had to attend another elaborate party for the corporation's heir, Gohan was pretty sure his head would combust from the sugar high wails. "I don-"
"Ask Bulma if she needs help! Be polite."
Gohan sighed, "Yes, ma'am." He hurried out of the room. Studying was exhausting. Goten was exhausting. He swore he hadn't had a good night's sleep since his brother was born. It was a lot better when he had stopped crying. But seriously. The kid sounded like stampeding dinosaurs.
"You're lucky you're cute."
The little boy was curled on a couch cushion, dark hair jutting in at least twelve different directions. There were eight empty bowls of noodles in front of him, and he was currently wearing one of Gohan's old shirts. The red kanji 孫, Son, seemed too big on his little brother. The older boy shook his head. It was too big of a name for both of them. Gohan squatted down and slung his brother over his shoulder. Goten was a heavy sleeper; there was no need to be gentle with a young half Saiyan that seemed to be in a food coma.
Gohan's room had been converted a little after Goten was out of the bassinet. The cradle was gone, but that didn't mean there was a lack of toys-most of them bribes from Trunks. There was no way his mother could afford some of those fancier robots and trains. The Ox King's past treasure could only go so far.
They weren't struggling by any means. Gohan wouldn't have the luxury of studying all day if they had been. But he couldn't imagine what job his mother could get. Though she prided herself on education, she didn't have any degrees herself. And taking care of a half Saiyan kid usually leaves no energy left for a part time job.
He laid his brother carefully on the cot beside his own bed. The shared a large, quilted comforter. Well, at least they were supposed to. Gohan usually sacrificed that comfort in the middle of the night when Goten became restless. Maybe it'll be a sleepover tomorrow. That would take some convincing, but Gohan was determined. There was no motive quite like sleep deprivation. He slipped the raggedy quilt over Goten's shoulders and collapsed on his own bed. "Lights out. Curtain drawn. Night, Goten."
There was no answer from the small boy on his left.
"And then Trunks says they have a pinana and that we get to hit it with a stick, but only after all the other kids leave because then we get more candy." Goten smiled wildly before chugging a glass of orange juice. "Pinana's have candy growing in them! Isn't that cool, Gohan?"
Gohan stopped shoveling in buns and nodded. His mouth stuffed with dough stopped any kind of verbal response. But that didn't stop Goten from continuing, "And then and then I get to meet all of Trunks' other friends! And then and then we can go see all the animals together and maybe they'll want to go on adventures too!"
"Don't show them Nimbus, Goten." Chichi set out another bowl of porridge in front of the young Saiyan and sat down herself. "Or..."
"Or how really fast I am or how really strong I am or how Gohan was the real one that beat Cell or that I live on the other side of the world or that there are these magic balls that grant any wish or that Uncle Vegeta is actually a prince or that you're actually a princess or that..."
Gohan nodded in approval. "I think he's got it, Mom."
"Mhm! I do! So does that mean we can go soon?"
"Sure, buddy." Gohan yawned one more time and then excused himself from the table. "I'm ready whenever you are."
The little boy jumped from his chair and headed to their shared bedroom. "Hold on! Hold on!" He came back a few seconds later, gift wrapped in a furoshiki. "Will you hold this, Gohan? While you fly me there?"
"I should really teach you how to fly someday." Gohan took the bag and nodded. "Of course."
"He doesn't need to learn how. There won't be any more events going on. And Son Goten! You are not wearing that to a party!" Chichi placed her hands on her hips.
"Awww, Mommm." Goten whined before turning around. Knowing Vegeta, Gohan doubted there would be anything too substantial allowed at this event. But that didn't stop Chichi from decking out Goten in a little suit, red bowtie at all.
Gohan cringed at his little brother's discomfort. He knew that feeling all too well. "Ready to go, champ?"
Goten nodded his head and jumped on his brother's back. "Let's go!"
Flying with him wasn't so bad. It was rare for Goten ever to be quiet, but he usually was airborne. Except for the minor "Wees!" and "Look! Pterodactyl!" shouts. Gohan went slower than usual, which still cut the Capsule Corp. trip to about 40 minutes. If he went Super, he could do it in 15, and it could take him only five if he ascended past that.
But the last thing Gohan needed was someone spotting some 'golden' boy landing on the Capsule Corp. lawn. People not surrounded by yellow energy were a little harder to spot. Goten rolled off his back and took the furoshiki. "Thanks, Gohan! You're staying for the party right?"
He could either stay here or go back and review partial integration. Hm. "Yeah, I'll stay." The fifteen year old gestured ahead, "Lead the way."
Goten smiled the whole way to the main section of Capsule Corp. complex. There was a certain area designated for takeoffs and landings, one without any guards or security cameras. It was right between Mrs. Briefs' arboretum and aviary, and though it was a fair distance from the main house, Gohan was grateful he could fly in and out without any worries. And although the complex was huge, the walk never took so long.
His little brother suddenly turned before approaching the yellow house. "You think they have cake?"
"I'm sure they have a cake." The Briefs had five culinary chefs, including one specializing in pastries. "I bet it's big too."
Goten's eyes widened. "Bigger than me?"
Knowing Bulma, probably. Though never one to flaunt money, Bulma wasn't exactly resistant to the urge of splurging. Especially when Trunks wanted something. "Well, let's go find out."
He could already hear the laughter of many children and see the rainbow shades of balloons peeping around the corner. Trunks always had outdoor birthday parties on the opposite end of the Gravity Room, just in case Vegeta wanted to eat in the kitchen or train. Subtlety was not that man's strong suit. Gohan always wondered how Bulma managed to run an international organization with him as a husband and without raising any suspicion. And my mom's worried about high school.
But the Saiyan prince was nowhere in sight, and neither was Bulma. Trunks however was very prominent. The small, purple-haired child was on top of the table, on his knees, with a golden, plastic crown on his head. Trunks looked incredibly bored. His blue eyes were staring upwards as he blew back the ends of his bangs. But when Gohan approached, the birthday boy immediately jumped down, ignoring the giggling children seated around his table. "Gohan!"
Trunks wasn't really the hugging type, but his wide smile clearly showed how happy he was. Gohan gave the smaller boy a pat on the shoulder. "Happy birthday, Trunks."
"Gohan, where's Goten?" He glanced behind the teenage boy and frowned, "Goten, what are you doing?"
Huh? Gohan shifted around, finally noticing that his little brother was clinging to his leg. "Goten..." The dark haired boy was holding tightly too, almost ripping through Gohan's pants with his fingernails. Gohan sighed, "Come on, Goten."
"No." The little boy buried his head into his brother's leg.
Trunks was getting impatient. "Goten, stop being such a baby. It's my party and you're my best friend. What's the deal?"
The smallest Son looked in front of his brother's leg and towards the group of children. There were about seven or eight other kids, all dressed in nice brand name sweaters and dresses. Trunks himself was wearing a Capsule Corp. t-shirt and gym shorts, but Gohan knew it was the other people freaking his brother out. "It's okay, Goten. They're Trunks' other friends."
"Psh, no they aren't." Trunks crossed his arms and grabbed his friend's hand, pulling Goten away from Gohan. "Just some boring brats my mom invited." The young heir leaned in, whispering, "Hey, about we ditch this and come up with some prank to scare them?"
Oh not again. Gohan rolled his eyes, staying quiet as his younger brother smiled. "Really? Yeah, let's do it!"
"Okay! But take off that suit first. You look like one of those old men that come over for those boring dinners my grandparents have." Trunks grabbed Goten's bow tie and tossed it, right before dragging his best friend back into the house.
Left alone, Gohan peered towards the other kids surrounding the picnic table, but none of them seemed to notice the birthday boy's disappearance. Bulma seemed to have hired a clown, a magician, and one of those bouncy jungle gyms that Gohan didn't understand the point of. When the magician was done letting doves fly out of his hat, the kids laughed before running around the grass and playing tag. Little do they know what awaits them. Trunks and Goten's pranks were rather elaborate. Gohan expected eight terrified or crying children by the time this party was over.
"Gohan, sweetie! My, my! Didn't you grow up to be a handsome boy!" Mrs. Briefs, who finished circling through the other children, finally approached Gohan and held out her tray. "Would you like a cupcake?"
"...no, thank you." Gohan looked down, slightly bashful at the compliment. "Mrs. Briefs, where's your daughter?"
"She's making a phone call inside. She should be right out!" The blonde woman glanced around, "Now where is that grandson of mine." She covered her mouth as she giggled, "That boy can be a real handful some days."
Understatement if anything. Gohan nodded, "Do you mind if I go inside?" Poor Mrs. Briefs had no way of dealing with two half Saiyans running amuck, especially if Bulma and Vegeta were absent.
The sliding patio door drew both of their attentions, and soon, Bulma Briefs was entering the yard, looking rather irritable. The scientist was dressed in just a pair of jeans and a similar t-shirt to what Trunks was wearing. "Oh hey, Gohan." She was holding a plastic bowl of chips, which she ate repeatedly. "Chichi sent you here to help babysit?"
"O-only if you need it, Bulma."
"Nah, I'm fine." Her blue eyes glanced around and she let out a sigh. "Trunks and Goten took off, didn't they?"
She sat on the picnic bench, bowl of chips in tow. "Well, I'm sure Vegeta can take care of them. You look exhausted."
Gohan cringed. Was it really that obvious? "Do you mind if Goten sleeps here for the night? I can pick him up in the morning. It's just..."
"It's okay with me, Gohan, but you might want to ask Mr. High and Mighty inside. He'll probably want to give Trunks some punishment for ditching his own party."
"Wait, really?" Gohan laughed a bit. "Vegeta doesn't seem like the parenting type."
"It's his excuse to make the kid train. I could care less, as long as Trunks is happy." She popped another chip in her mouth. "Want some?"
"I'm okay. Thanks though, Bulma. If you excuse me, I'll go find Vegeta now."
"So polite. Chichi did one heck of a job raising you, didn't she?" Bulma stretched her legs over the bench. "She did a good job with Goten too. Though I don't know how. You must be a real big help to her, Gohan. I couldn't imagine raising Trunks without my parents that first year or without Vegeta now."
He didn't like talking this way-about how difficult it was for his mom or how much easier it would be if Goku was still there. Because he already knew how difficult it was. He saw it every single day. He knew that things would be different with his father around, that maybe he'd get more sleep, that he could go to high school. His mother and him would get a break every so often. Goku would take Goten on fishing trips at the lake or to see the birds hatch in the nests nearby. He knew his mother taught Goten how to fight a little, but Goku was the real master. Goten would already know how to fly by now and they could go out together. But most importantly, Goten would know his father.
Gohan only nodded his head a bit before retreating inside the main house. It was still fascinating to him to see a house of that size or things like a dishwasher, and he always caught his breath a bit when he entered. It was easy to detect Vegeta's ki, though Gohan could have probably guessed where the prince was anyway. Vegeta was sitting at the counter in workout clothes with a thick sandwich. Four other similar sandwiches sat out in front of him. He didn't even look up from chewing before saying, "Brat, please tell those two insolent pests to stop making such a racket in the fridge. If they accidentally waste any food, I'll make them go hunt down their own for the next three weeks."
Trunks and Goten stopped scurrying through the fridge for a brief moment. Two tiny heads turned to the full blooded Saiyan and then to Gohan himself who just shrugged. "I'm surprised he's only giving you three weeks."
"It's not going to waste, Dad." Trunks was currently holding bottles of pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, soy sauce, and any other condiment his little hands could grasp. "It's an experiment."
"Hmph. Shouldn't you be hanging out with the pathetic humans your mother had the audacity to invite here?"
Trunks shrugged, "I rather hang out with Goten."
Vegeta finished his sandwich and pulled over the next in line. "Well, at least he's Saiyan. If your mother throws a fit because of this 'experiment' expect four hours of training tomorrow."
Goten looked at Trunks and his own stash of jars, but the little prince just shrugged and gave an affirmative nod. "Yeah. Totally worth it. Alright, Dad. See you tomorrow."
The darker haired child also grinned, "Thanks, Uncle Vegeta!" The two terrors soon vanished from the kitchen and left a growling Saiyan prince.
"Why does the brat insist on calling me that?"
The teenager ignored him. "You know that stuff is going to end up all over your yard, right?" Gohan edged up to Vegeta and sat across from the older man.
Vegeta didn't look up. "What do you want?" His dark eyes looked at Gohan, and the young teenage fidgeted back. He could never really get too used to this. A domesticated Vegeta was just as terrifying as the one that first landed on Earth. "I have already found out how you surpassed the initial Super Saiyan state. There is no further use of you, unless you wish to spar."
"No...no, I'm good." Gohan was definitely out of practice, while Vegeta probably trained hours a day. That wouldn't end well. "Bulma told me to ask you if it was okay if Goten slept here tonight. I'll pick him up tomorrow."
"If he wishes to train with Trunks tomorrow, it is fine. I start them out on 50G."
"What? Vegeta, they're just kids."
"You were two years older than my son when you defeated Cell. I was a year younger than Kakarot's brat when my planet was blown up." Vegeta sniffed at his tea nearby. "Perhaps I should raise it to 150G."
"You know what, I think my mom wants Goten home. Forget I asked." There was no way Goten was prepared to handle a sparring session with Vegeta, especially at 150G. "I'll fly back now and pick him up in a few hours."
"Wait." Vegeta raised his hand, commanding Gohan to sit back down. The teenager didn't even have time to really think what Vegeta could possible want before the prince spoke. "Have you heard anything from Kakarot?"
What? That was probably one of the last things Gohan was expecting. "Excuse me?"
"He's your father." Vegeta glanced back beyond the kitchen before returning his attention to Gohan. "I'd imagine he'd contact you at some point."
"He's dead, Vegeta."
"That hasn't stopped him before."
Gohan knew this, of course. He thought about it the first couple years his father was dead. There had been times when King Kai had contacted them, either when his father was there or when Piccolo and the others were on his planet. And there had been that time, when they had tried to wish Goku back. Gohan heard his voice loud and clear. But never since.
"Does he speak to Goten?"
It was rare that Vegeta ever spoke their names, usually referring to him as 'Kakarot's brat' and Goten as the 'spawn Trunks feels the need to hang out with'. The name drop made Gohan on edge. What's Vegeta getting at? "Look, Vegeta. I know you really want to fight my dad again, but he's not coming back. He's staying dead."
The sudden screams ripping through the house walls stopped Gohan from lashing out, which was probably for the best. Besides, someone infinitely more volatile was about to rip the full blooded Saiyan's head off.
The Saiyan prince coolly turned towards his wife, who seemed covered in...actually Gohan didn't know what she was covered in. All he knew was that it smelled Kami-awful, and seemed to be this vile shade of brown. Vegeta immediately held his nose, "Woman, how can you ever expect me to listen to you while you smell like that?"
Bulma bit back a curse, "Your demon son and his gargoyle friend, no offense Gohan, have decided to throw water balloons on all of the guests."
"Do not refer to those cardboard cutout children as guests. I was once a guest in this house and I cannot bare the comparison."
The blue haired woman snuffed. "Please, Vegeta. Don't flatter yourself with that term. You were a booty call, nothing more."
Gohan suddenly felt extremely uncomfortable. There was something about Bulma and Vegeta's dynamic that was a little...off putting. Especially when you were a teenaged family friend. Poor Trunks.
Vegeta didn't seem fazed. "I don't see what the problem is. Aren't water balloons a part of your culture's idiotic activities at these events?"
"WHEN THEY'RE FILLED WITH WATER!"
So that was what all those jars were for. That certainly beat the runaway petting zoo fiasco from last year. Vegeta shrugged, "I'll deal with it."
"You better, mister! I swear he gets this from you! I was certainly a well behaved child, not some..."
"Woman, you stink. You can bitch at me all you want after you shower."
The red flushed to her face and she became tart with anger. She huffed over to the Saiyan and raised a pointed finger, about to curse with language from the deepest pits of hell, until she saw Gohan from the corner of her eye. "Gohan, could you please explain to the guests that we're extremely sorry for what happened while the jerk here rounds up his son and your brother?"
"Not a problem, Bulma." Gohan flinched. She did smell awful. Something between garbage juice and that decaying smell of rotting meat.
"Thanks, Gohan." Bulma headed towards the hallway, but turned back and glared at Vegeta. "I'll deal with you later."
Vegeta smirked, "Looking forward to it."
Bulma just growled and left the room.
"Anyway, Brat." Vegeta moved from the kitchen chair and tossed his plates in the sink, careful not to break the fragile porcelain. "What were we talking about?"
Pushing the shock of Vegeta wanting to continue conversation aside, Gohan managed to speak. "My dad."
"That's right. He's a coward."
"The bitterness is getting kind of old, Vegeta." He usually wasn't this nasty, but he hated talking about this. "I'm the one that surpassed you. Shouldn't you..."
"You are not worth my time. Kakarot was a genius in battle. It's a shame he didn't hold the same passion for fighting as he did for his family."
Gohan had to stop the urge to transform. He was always fueled by anger, powered by the taunts and actions that hurt his family and friends. And what Vegeta was saying hurt hard, hurt to the very inner core of his chest. But he held on to the restraint, whether because he didn't want to hurt Vegeta or damage the house, he wasn't sure. He was pretty sure it was the latter. "You have no idea what you're talking about. He was a good man. He loved all of us. He's staying dead for us."
"Hmph." Vegeta crossed his arms. "Keep telling yourself that."
He felt like crap the rest of the day, but even more so as he made his arrival towards Mt. Paozu. Gohan was still angry over what the Saiyan prince had said. Vegeta was an asshole, all politeness aside. He was despondent, grumpy, and arrogant.
And he was right.
At least partially. He was right to question Goku. Why hadn't he contacted them? Why did he choose to stay dead? Did he really think he was to blame for all the bad guys? What if they needed him in the future? What if there was some bad guy that came along a year or two from now and they needed his help?
But that wasn't even the real thing that bothered him. Gohan was supposedly the strongest now, though with his training regimen (or lack thereof) the fifteen year old was starting to doubt it. Even if bad guys came for him, they could take care of it. Vegeta was a good guy now. Krillin, Yamcha, Piccolo, and maybe even Tien would come and help need be. Goten and Trunks were too strong for their own good. They could handle whoever else comes. Especially with Goku by their side.
And what about Goten?
Could he see what was going on? Didn't he listen to them? Gohan thought he did; he had in the past. So did he know Goten existed and not even care to say 'hello'?
He couldn't think badly of him. Try as he might, Gohan couldn't-wouldn't let himself hate his father. That man, though sometimes absent, had done so much for him, for everyone. He taught him the values of good, of hope, of life. He was his father, and his hero. Goku was Gohan's rescuer in a world that had once been terrifying. When faced against the hardest challenges in his life, his father was there, smiling and with a hand on Gohan's shoulder. He inspired him to be a good person, and he couldn't hate him. He just wished Goten knew him.
"What is it Goten?" He sat on the couch beside his brother, but immediately gasped at his brother's appearance. He had smelled almost as bad as Bulma did, and Chichi demanded he take a bath as soon as they got home. Their mother also said she had made Goten a new outfit a while ago and had finally finished some of the minor details.
The thing was that it looked exactly like what his dad used to wear. Combine that with...how Goten looked in general and Gohan was freaking out. He was the spitting image of his father, if his father had suddenly became a kid again. Goten fidgeted in his seat. "I feel weird."
"Did Mom make you that?" Gohan couldn't help but wonder why. It wasn't painful for her too?
Goten smoothed down the top portion of the orange gi. "You have one and I really liked it."
Gohan had forgotten about that. "You got it because of me?"
"Yeah. Who else, Gohan?"
The statement threw him off, and Gohan immediately moved through the living room, going through drawers and picking up an old book his mother had long ago put away. She said it'd be easier without any of that. That Goten was enough of a reminder and that if they wanted to, they could always go back and look.
"I can't keep holding on to something that wants to be free so badly." She had shut the book with such finality that the 10 year old Gohan felt his heart rip. This wouldn't be like the last time. He had no Piccolo to train with, no future battles to distract his mind.
His mother was tired of a husband that was barely around. She had mourned him once and couldn't do it again.
Gohan opened the drawer and stared at the leather down book. There were pictures in there-that's all. Just thin sheets of paper that, in its fibers, held a multitude of memories interlaced with chemical produced pigments.
And he hadn't touched it since. Not until now.
"It wasn't originally mine, you know."
Goten stared at him, dark eyes growing in curiosity, "Oh?"
"Nope." He sat Goten on his lap and opened the book in front of his brother. "Look at this."
The little boy stared at the page. It was an old picture, one taken before Gohan was born, and maybe before Goku even met Chichi. His tiny hands grabbed the edge of the book, putting it in front of his nose as he stared at the little boy opposite him. He was wearing a blue outfit, holding a long pole in his right and left hand. A younger Bulma was also there, and Gohan expected Oolong was the one forced to take this picture. Goten blinked, "It's me."
"It's your dad, Goten. When he was younger. Here." Gohan put the book back on his brother's lap and turned the page. "That's Mom and him at their wedding."
"Mom was pretty."
"She still is." Gohan turned it again. He smiled at this next page. The photo was one of a small little boy with a tail and a brightly orange ball on his head. Holding the timid boy was a tall, lean man in an orange gi, Kame written on his upper chest. "See? That's where I got mine from."
"Is that you, Gohan? You look so scared!"
Gohan blushed, "I was. I wasn't like you when I was younger."
"And that's Dad, right?" Goten pointed his finger at Goku's face. "And he's happy in heaven?"
"He's happy in heaven."
"Mommy says he was a hero." Goten let out a yawn and leaned into his brother's stomach. "She said he saved the world."
Gohan nodded his head and closed the book, setting it on the table. It was late and his brother was tired. Gohan cradled the boy in his arms and placed him on the cot in their room. He pulled the quilt up to his brother's chin and sat on the other side, the section that was his own bed. "I'll tell you all about that another time."
Goten rubbed his eyes, "You saved the world too."
Gohan rubbed the top of his brother's head and nodded. "Maybe."
"You're my hero, Gohan."
He smiled and switched the lamp on his side table off. It didn't take long for the snoring to start and for Gohan to want to bang his head through a wall. But despite his brother's nighttime bellowing and inability to sit still or remain quiet, Gohan loved him, more than he thought possible. Goten had this incredible power to be happy, to brighten everyone up with just a smile or wave. He was innocent, fun loving, and adventurous. And even without a father, he was stronger than Gohan ever thought he would be. "And you're mine."
Okay. Now back to writing B/V things. Reviews would make my day absolutelty, positively awesome. Thanks everyone for reading!