What is up with all of my oneshots being so...depressing? That's fine though, my next oneshot will be more upbeat. This oneshot was a little harder to come up with, but I chugged through it. Hope it's decent enough...
Warnings: violence, angst, language, blood, et cetera. Rated 'M' just in case.
I'm glad I got through this one. Oh, and to the person who commented on my 'No Remorse For the Wicked', I had already planned on writing a full on Tarble story with two sequels. Hope you're looking forward to it Anon!
P.S. This was supposed to be up on Halloween, however, fanfiction(dot)net had some malfunctions and wouldn't let me edit the oneshot and post yet. Sorry for the long wait :)
'Hour of Silence'
It was hard for him to discern exactly how it all had happened; how things had gone so wrong so quickly. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply in the darkness of his room, the back of his head falling back against the wall as he settled into his bed. He felt the bed dip a little and shook his head in disbelief as he tried to keep from going back into a panic attack. His mother wouldn't be able to take it if he did it again.
"I should've been able to remember." he whispered lowly. He felt a cold hand on his and opened his eyes, watching as Videl smiled weakly at him.
"Gohan, it's not all your fault you know. Sometimes bad things happen without us being able to stop it. Take the fight with Buu for example: we had to put our faith in two virtually deceased alien warrior men and we barely made it then with sheer luck on our side." she joked lightly. Gohan nodded, not being able to bring himself to smile back at her. His spirit was broken.
"Videl, do you think they'll hate me? I mean, when they wake up?" he asked meekly. His shoulders were slumped and his eyes were downcast as he picked nervously at the blanket on his bed. He was doing it again, that worrying thing he got from Chi Chi. What an annoying trait, but hey, it was Gohan. All Videl could do was shrug her shoulders at his behavior and offer him yet another smile.
"They look up to you Gohan. There is no way those two kids could hate you, no matter what happened back there." she said, trying to sound as encouraging as she could. Gohan nodded again, but Videl knew she obviously wasn't going to get anything else out of him. She patted his hand and stood, smoothing out her shirt that spelled out 'Satan' in all capital letters.
"I'll go get you some water and let you be alone for a little while. If you need something Gohan, I need you to promise me that you'll come get me or your mother, okay?" she commanded gently. Gohan nodded again and added a, "I promise" to ensure that he meant it. Videl turned and left the room, cracking the door as she entered the hallway, and made her way down the hall.
When she reached the living room of the Son home, she crossed her arms loosely about her elbows, her eyes falling to Goku sitting at the table with his forehead in his left hand being supported by an elbow on the table. The faint sound of clanking dishes in the kitchen could be heard distinctly in the otherwise quiet home. The air was stifling in here all of a sudden.
Videl fidgeted where she stood. She was uncomfortable with the silence and was seriously contemplating screaming or throwing a fit in order to bring some sort of life to the room. She stopped her furious thinking however when she noticed Chi Chi come walking out of the kitchen, wringing her wet hands on a kitchen cloth.
"Videl dear, why don't you eat or get some fresh air. You've been very helpful but I think that you ought to let us handle the rest." she prodded as gently as she could. She knew better than anyone that Videl would be hard-pressed to stop checking in on the Son family, especially with what happened earlier.
"No thanks Chi Chi. I appreciate your concern but...I really don't think it'd be fair if I left you guys like this. I want to help." she assured the elder woman, determination hiding in her eyes. Chi Chi sighed softly and smiled. She had been expecting that answer, but decided not to fight the fiery daughter of Hercule Satan on such a matter. Not with how weakened her heart was by all that had gone on only a few hours ago.
She then turned her attention to Goku who sat with his head still in his calloused hands, tangled in his black as coal hair. She shuffled over to him and put a soothing, aging hand on his shoulder. Slowly his head rose and he placed the hand on that same side over hers.
"Goku you didn't tell me what Dende said about the boys. How are they holding up?" she asked warily, a hopeful gaze in her darkened eyes. Goku's eyes were distant and clouded as multiple thoughts ran through his head. Absentmindedly he rubbed Chi Chi's hand with his, Videl biting her bottom lip nervously as the two women waited anxiously for him to speak.
He eventually lifted his eyes to stare deeply into hers. Chi Chi wanted to flinch at the action, but held her ground as she waited with a sorrowful hole in her heart. Before she could get her answer out of him however, he abruptly stood and made his way to the door.
"I'm going out for a while Chi Chi. I-I'm sorry. I can't think right now." he said lowly, apologizing as best he could before leaving the house. Chi Chi sighed and went back to the kitchen as Videl stared after Goku in awe. Her hand flew to her chest as she repressed various fears flooding her conscious.
'Why would he...does it mean...?' she wondered silently. Fear gripped her painfully and she immediately turned to follow Chi Chi into the kitchen.
She stopped once she entered, watching Chi Chi wash dishes with apprehension and a small bit of disgust. Chi Chi was the traditional housewife. No job. No life outside the home. Just a wife who raised her children, cooked her family's food, and cleaned at their beck and call. But, something even more urgent was boiling on Videl's mind. She clenched her fists and cleared her throat, letting the older woman know she was there.
Chi Chi paused in her dish washing and looked up expectantly, waiting for an answer from the young adult before her. Videl managed to stop a scowl from gracing her features, and she let out the breath she didn't know she had been holding.
"Why did you let him walk out like that? Why don't you ask him for a solid answer and make him tell you?" she demanded. She knew it was a bold and disrespectful move on her part, but she had to make Chi Chi wake up from her daze at some point. Slowly, and to Videl astonishment, Chi Chi returned to her dish washing.
"Now you listen to me young lady," Chi Chi began evenly as she looked back at Videl with a tired yet wise beyond her years glare. Her dish washing abandoned by her prompt discussion with Videl, she rubbed her wet, pruny hands on her apron and took a long hard look at the girl.
"Bad things happen here on Earth and in this family all the time; you yourself had a front row seat to one of the biggest tragedies we've ever come across. But, you do not know how we deal with these things productively. If I sat around worrying Goku over such things and constantly trying to get answers out of him it'd not only turn me crazy but it would also upset Goku and Gohan. Now, what's more important than that, huh? All I have to know is that the boys are in good hands now and that Dende is doing all he can to help us. The best I can do to help is not to badger them to death about it. I did it all my life beforehand, but I learned my lesson. I know better." she warned vehemently.
Videl swallowed hard and relented as she watched Chi Chi storm out of the room. She then sighed and let her shoulders slide down and she decided to make her way back to the living room.
When she reached it however, she was surprised to see that Goku had returned, an ominous look on his face. Chi Chi was standing in front of him with a surprised look on her face to match Videl's. Slowly, Goku raised both hands to rest on either shoulder of Chi Chi's, and he gave her the most serious look he could muster.
"Chi Chi...the boys. You wanted to know how they were doing, right? How they were, 'holding up'?" he began with a slight tremble in his usually strong voice. Chi Chi could only nod her answer and watch him with a panicked expression. Her previous hope was fading rapidly. "Chi Chi I don't know what else to say but, they're gone. Goten and Trunks...they died. They didn't make it."
Videl's whole being shook as the shock and realization of Goku's words sunk in. Everything seemed to fall into slow motion as Chi Chi dropped to her knees, gripping Goku's waist as powerful sobs erupted from her small frame. Videl felt a tear plummet down her cheek, and she wiped her face before racing up the stairs.
She closed the door carefully and leaned back on it. She forgot that she'd meant to bring him some water. Hell, she might as well have forgotten her own name at that moment. The alphabet. Everything. The only words she was still aware existed were the only ones she could bring herself to speak at that moment.
"Can you please just tell me what happened Gohan?"
He looked up slowly. His eyes had dark circles forming under them. His body felt weak. He was going to be sick, and, all he wanted to do at that moment was knock himself out and hope that when he woke up again he wouldn't remember the horrible scene that he lay before him only hours ago. After Videl had left, everything had finally come back to him, at least, the important parts of it anyway.
Slowly, he moved over so that Videl could sit. She complied with his seemingly silent demand, and shifted her gaze from him to the floor as she waited. She knew that what she was asking of him was hard. But, she had to know.
Gohan raised a hand to half cover his face as he thought of what to say. His mind was filled with torment; he knew that the boys were gone. He knew it was all his fault.
"Videl..." he began shakily, taking a deep breath as he lowered his trembling hand from his face down to his lap. He didn't move when he felt Videl place her hand assuredly on his. He almost choked up right then and there. He was the monster that was guilty of such a terrible crime, and here she was comforting him. He knew in his heart, even if no one else agreed with him, that he didn't deserve comfort...not after what had happened.
"We were out in the woods..."
The sun was shining and the clouds seemed to be nonexistent as the three boys ran through their little private jungle. They had done it multiple times in the pass time before dinner at the Son home. Gohan was always the fastest because of his strength, and the two younger boys knew this, but Gohan always held back for them. They didn't like it, but somehow Gohan would manage to take their mind off of his lack of effort by getting them to attack each other. Today was no different.
The voices of the two spirited children carried for what seemed like miles, and made Gohan smile. Trunks was like a second brother to him, so the two boys were extremely important to him. It always did his heart good to see them so carefree and happy like that.
"Hey Trunks no fair you cheated!" Little Goten cried. He had lost his footing for a moment and was scrambling frantically to catch the older half-Saiyan as the three boys ran out of one forest and into a plain leading to another forest nearby. Trunks whipped his head back to look over his shoulder deviously at Goten and let out a satisfied laugh before hopping onto one foot and quickly taking to the air. Goten's eyes widened and he immediately stumbled into his own launch, trying desperately to catch his friend.
"Trunks wait!" Goten continued to yell. Trunks rolled his blue eyes and growled lowly before turning slightly towards Goten as he kept flying.
"Goten you're missing the whole point of this race you dummy. You're supposed to catch up to me not tell me to wait!" he said, flabbergasted at the idiotic remarks his best friend was making. Goten pouted to himself, but quickly sped himself up and replaced his previous scowl with a lit up smile as he charged towards Trunks.
"You're mine!" he challenged, and tackled an eager-to-battle Trunks, grins on both faces.
"Yah right Goten!" Trunks yelled back as he stretched out his arms, catching Goten and immediately going into a rolling spiral in the air as he tried to stop the little torpedo Saiyan.
Gohan watched the two from away, holding his hand up to block out the sun. They were flying awfully high for Gohan's taste, and were not in his immediate view. He didn't think much on it, though, as the boys had done this over a dozen times.
Sighing, he turned and wandered over to a particular grassy spot on the field and collapsed to the ground unceremoniously. He closed his eyes and let the sounds of the boy's laughter lull him into accidental, unknowing sleep.
Minutes ticked by. Only minutes. That's how long it took Gohan to fall asleep on the grassy plains. Minutes; how long it took for the boys to disappear beyond the reaches of the trees. Just a few innocent minutes for things to fall to hell.
Gohan suddenly jerked into a sitting position, his heart beating rapidly as he tried to get his bearings. He looked around. What time was it? Where were Trunks and Goten? How long had he been asleep? Were the others finally back at the Son home for the barbecue they were supposed to have this afternoon?
He brushed his bangs from his eyes and stood, searching the skies slowly for any sign of the boys while simultaneously feeling for their energies. He could feel nothing.
A tinge of dread invaded his veins and he immediately raised his hands to call out for them. He felt like he had called their names forever, over and over again with no response.
Then, a spike of energy made its way to Gohan's senses. He recognized it as Trunks, and felt his pulse quicken as he took off in the direction of the forest. He fought past the trees, abundant and aggravating at once, and tried to find the lost half-Saiyan. Finally, he could hear faint moans, both Goten and Trunks, and knew then that Trunks must have raised his energy to help Gohan find them.
"Oh no, I shouldn't have taken my eyes off of them for a second. This is, this is all my fault."
Gohan stopped abruptly as his eyes took in the horrific scene before him. Both boys lay motionless on the ground, soaked in their own blood and whimpering softy in pain. Gohan felt his blood turn to ice as he struggled to move towards the boys. Whatever had happened to them and caused such horrendous wounds as the ones on the kids? What had even been powerful enough to take them on?
He managed to snap out of his reverie long enough to race to Goten's side. Slowly, he lifted the now limp boy into his arms, taking in his brother's state with difficulty. Something horrible had found and attacked them, and Gohan had been sleeping and didn't prevent it.
"I...I could've stopped this or, at least...I could have at least saved them." he whispered painfully. His heart shook with agony as he tried to figure out what had gone so wrong in such a short amount of time. He couldn't have been asleep for more than a few minutes, so how could something possibly hurt the two Super Saiyan boys and not even stir Gohan from his slumber?
But none of that even mattered now.
He held Goten in his arms tightly, brushing the bloodied hair out of his younger brother's eyes while simultaneously scooping up Trunks with his free hand. His body shook with powerful convulsions and his eyes blurred with unshed tears. He breathed deep, trying to calm himself down, but all he could think about was his mother screaming in pain at the sight of her innocent little boy drenched head to toe in his own blood. Likewise with Bulma and her Trunks. Piccolo and his father, Goku, would be so disappointed. Vegeta would probably have to be held down or seduced in order to keep from killing Gohan.
He shut his eyes as tight as he could, and began to rock the two boys in his arms. The others would be there in an hour, he knew. All he had to do was wait. He couldn't even try to connect to Piccolo and call for help, and no one would be looking for them. The energy drop could easily be mistaken for simple fatigue. No one would know, not until they got there one hour later. He could feel their energy vaguely, and deduced their speed and time quickly. It unnerved him to know he'd have to wait that long, but he couldn't even think straight to call for assistance. No, this was all he had. Comfort for the children he should have been powerful enough to save.
He kept rocking in an attempt to rid himself of the panic flooding his heart. He hadn't felt so scared in years. There was not a sound around him to distract him or help soothe him. No birds chirping. No breeze blowing the tree's leaves. Nothing.
'One hour. Just one hour Gohan.' he assured himself as he listened intently for the sound of a hover car landing nearby or voices in the background. All he had to do was wait...
Just one hour. An hour of silence.
Depressing oneshot is depressing; is it not? I promise I have way more positive work coming around soon.
Poor Gohan :( Don't forget to review though!