Disclaimer: Team Dragon Star does not own DBZ.
This story is brought to you by ShadowMajin. Enjoy.
Dark clouds, heavy with moisture and looking to burst at any moment loomed on the horizon. It was for that reason a large tent cover had been erected, providing some protection to the congregation of people there. There weren't that many people, but there was more than Gohan had seen in quite some time. Everyone was dressed in black—the men in suits and the women in dresses. While the men were stoic, there were more than one woman sniveling, crumpled handkerchiefs clutched in their hands, be it gloved or bare.
Under the tent a few rows of chairs were placed, most of them seating the select group. Some men had opted to standing next to rows, right next to the wide openings of the tent. In front of the chairs was a small podium, a priest standing behind it as he set a thick black book on it. Reaching into his robes, he pulled out a set of reading glasses and placed them on his face, scratching his nose before he grasped the book and opened it to a marked page.
Between the congregation and the priest was a polished, wooden casket, hovering over a rectangular hole by a set of railing lining the hole. Gohan found himself staring at the casket, part of him numb, another part wallowing in sorrow. He hadn't expected this day to come, not this soon. And it hurt. It really, really hurt. The man in this casket had always seemed strong, insurmountable even. It was as if nothing could hurt him, and yet…
And yet his father was nothing more than a lifeless body. His father Son Goku was...
It had come out of the blue. Gohan had just returned to his little apartment from work when he noticed his answering machine blinking. It wasn't often that he received calls, so he was surprised to find he had a message. Unfortunately, the man's voice he heard belong to someone he didn't know, informing him that his father had passed away. His whole world had stop there for who knows how long. But when it restarted, Gohan had found himself making calls to people to find out if this news was true.
The clearing of the priest's throat broke Gohan out of his musings.
"Today is a sad day," the priest said, bowing his head for some reason. When he rose it, he said "All of us gathered here on this most unfortunate of days knew the dearly departed Goku and had been privileged to have known him in life. I didn't know him very well, but from all of his friends and family, I have gathered that Goku was a man of unquestionable strength and integrity. His smiles could brighten up a room when he gave them and he only showed those he loved and cared for these smiles. Like an angel gifted upon those who love and cherish others, a reward of profound wealth."
Small pelting sounds rattled the top of the tent, signaling that the clouds had given into their need, letting out drops of rain to fall upon them. The sound grew louder and louder with each passing second until it evened out. A woman towards the front let out a sob before blowing loudly into her handkerchief.
"Yet Goku does not wish us to mourn his loss, but celebrate the life he led, the people he met and loved, the accomplishments he had achieved. Do not drown yourselves in sorrow for that is not what he would have wanted. Instead, remember him as he was, living, breathing, and forever smiling."
Gohan could feel himself losing his focus by this point, his eyes glazing over as he remembered the last time he had seen his father. Nothing had been out of the ordinary, aside from how subdued he was—as if he weren't getting enough sleep lately. But that had been normal for the man. For as long as he could remember, Goku had been a steady presence, completely in control of himself. He didn't smile much, but it was definitely something to behold when he did. A mentor would have been a better way to describe him.
There were some things that troubled him for sure, such as Gohan's social troubles. For some reason Gohan had problems making friends. There were people that were friendly enough with him, but he wasn't the guy going to bars and clubs like the rest of his colleagues. Goku had more than once asked him why he didn't have many friends. Truth be told, Gohan preferred the quiet life and that wasn't always conducive to making friends. Forever a man lonely in a crowd.
And now with his tenuous tie to a social life severed by death, Gohan truly was an island unto himself.
Movement caught Gohan's attention, rousing him once more from his thoughts. The people around him were bowing their heads, the priest's voice taking on a more commanding tone. Instantly, Gohan bowed his head as he began recognizing passage from the holy book.
"…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for the lord is with me and I with him; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all of the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen."
"Amen," Gohan murmured with the rest of the congregation.
"And now we pay our last respects to Goku, our beloved and dearest of friends. We send him to his final destination and hope that we may see him when we make our own journey."
As if that were a cue, the casket began lowering into the grave beneath it, and several more loud snivels could be heard. It was then that Gohan noticed his father's grave stone, the marker being hidden from sight by the casket it. It read:
He shall be missed
Oh yes, he surely would be.
"Are you Mr. Son Gohan?"
Gohan turned his head upon hearing his name. Once his father's coffin had been lowered, everyone had begun leaving at their leisure. Many had been hesitant due to the arrival of the rain, but some had thought beforehand and had brought umbrellas. Gohan hadn't been such a person and had waited for the downpour to lessen. It had been as he was leaving that he had been hailed. He found an elderly man standing nearby, looking at him expectantly behind red-rimmed sunglasses. Like everyone else, he was also dressed in a suit, looking quite formal. Taking a couple steps closer to him, the old man removed his wide-brimmed hat, revealing a completely bald head as he held the hat to a side, reaching out with his other hand.
Courteously, Gohan took the man's hand and gave him a steady headshake. "What can I do for you?" he asked.
The man's long white beard shifted as he gave a wry smile. "You're just like your old man said you were: very polite."
Gohan frowned. For a moment, he could have sworn he had heard this man's voice before, but he couldn't quite place where. "Um…excuse me? Did you know my father?"
"Indeed I did. I am Muten Roshi, your father's lawyer. I was the one that left you the message informing you of your father's passing. I believe you returned the call, but ended up speaking to my secretary."
Oh yes, now he placed him. Indeed, he had spoken to Mr. Roshi's secretary concerning his father's death. The old man had been out of the office when Gohan had called, frantic to know if that call had been nothing more than a prank call.
"Oh yes, thank you for coming out," Gohan said, shaking the man's hand a second time, this time with renewed vigor. "What can I do for you?"
Releasing their grasp, Roshi said, "Nothing too troubling, I assure you. There are a few matters that need to be attended to, specifically concerning your father's estate. If it isn't a bother, would you accompany me to my office? We can settle everything there."
"Sure, I can do that. Umm, do you want to take the same car or something?"
"You came in your own car I see. That's alright, you can just follow me to the office. But first, I need to see a couple of other people, so please don't go anywhere."
"Alright," Gohan acknowledged. With another thin smile, Roshi clasped his shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze before taking off. Gohan watched as the elderly man approached a woman, the one that had been sobbing in the front row. The young man frowned as Roshi seemed to console the woman. Faintly he wondered how she knew his father and how well she knew him. She really seemed torn up about his passing, more so than everyone around here. Part of him wondered what it would have felt like to feel as that woman was feeling.
And what did it say about him that he wasn't?
Roshi's law office was a humble sort of place. For some reason, Gohan had it in his head that Roshi was apart of some big law firm in some giant skyscraper downtown. Imagine his surprise when Roshi had led him to a small, two-story building on the outskirts of town. The first floor had been a lobby with a few other offices, Roshi's office being on the second floor, the largest of the rooms on that floor. It was easily twice the size of Gohan's bedroom, half of it lined with bookcases with a large oak desk covered with legal briefs, papers, and various desk supplies. The other half of the room was more spacious, a couple of couches and chairs placed around a small coffee table.
Gohan found himself sitting in a chair in front of the oak desk, looking about the room anxiously. He hadn't ever felt the need to be in a law office, nor needed to be in one, so actually sitting in one was a new experience for him and he had no idea what was expected of him. New experiences were always nerve wracking for him.
The door to the office was wide open, which allowed Roshi to stroll in with a large, manila folder. "Sorry it took so long. My…uhh…secretary misplaced it."
"Th-that's alright," Gohan replied. Looking towards Roshi, he couldn't help but notice a red handprint on the side of the elderly man's face. Something told the Son man that the document's misplacement wasn't the only reason why Roshi was detained.
As he took a seat in his plush-looking chair, Roshi opened the folder and pulled out a small stack of papers. "Now, this is a copy of your father's last will and testament. I'm already familiar with the document, and if you wish, I can give you a quick summary of the document."
"Yeah, let's go with that. Tell me what's in the will."
"Well, your father didn't have many assets or property, but he has left his home and all his possessions contained within to you. That includes the furniture, clothes, family heirlooms, and such. There is also a small account that he had placed in your name a sum of money totaling at 25,000 zenni, which you can use at your own discretion. He also left instructions detailing how he wishes his body to be disposed of, though I've already taken the liberty of completing."
Gohan nodded his head as he leaned back into his chair. "Thank you for that."
Roshi nodded his head in acceptance. "I believe that just about covers everything. All you need to do is sign this document here." At this, Roshi pulled out a sheet of paper and slid it over his desk towards Gohan. "All this says is that you have been notified and have received your inheritance as gifted to you by your father, Son Goku. Just sign and date at the bottom."
Leaning up, Gohan picked up a pen from a nearby pen jar and gave the sheet of paper a quick read through. Satisfied that it said what Roshi claimed it did, he signed and dated it, then slid the paper back to the lawyer, setting his pen down on the desk. "So is that all?"
For a moment, Roshi seemed as if he were about to say as much before some thought struck him. "Oh! I almost forgot." Picking up the folder, he turned it upside down and began shaking it, a set of keys dropping out of it and landing on the desk with a loud thud. Picking them up, he handed them to Gohan as he said "These are the keys to your new house. I believe you'll be needing them."
Gohan stood in the master bedroom. It looked the same as it did that last time he was here -oh so long ago. The room was clean and orderly, almost as if no one had been living here for months. It was like staring at a room display of how a bedroom was supposed to look like rather than what it really was. But then, he could say that about the rest of the house. Everything was there that was expected to be there. It was as if all the furniture and appliances were there just because rather than for a purpose. Yet, he had grown up in this house. He had been far messier when he had been roaming these halls and rooms, so it made sense that it would be easier to keep things clean without a little child around.
Gohan wasn't shocked by the arrangement of the house though. His father had always been working, so he was rarely—if ever—at home.
Squeezing his fingers tight, he felt the set of keys he had been given in his hand, the jagged side of each key pressing into his palm. These were his father's spare house keys—he knew this from the missing car key on the key ring. As far as he knew, he had a house key and a bunch of other ones that he wasn't sure what lock they went to. He had tried every key on the front, back, and side door just to see what they all went to and found that only one key worked on each door. Gohan was assuming one of the keys went to an office or whatever job Goku had done throughout his life. Still, that would only account for one key and there were quite a few left unknown. It was rather odd to say the least.
With a sigh, Gohan pushed the thought aside and turned to the closet. There was going to be many things in this house that he was going to have to get rid of—mostly clothes and redundant furniture. With this house now in his possession, it made no sense to have his apartment and this house and not be using one of them. Since this place was bought and paid for, it just made all the more sense to move in. Taking a couple steps to the closed closet, Gohan grabbed onto the door handle and opened it up, revealing a rather messy looking closet. The young man blinked at the sight. It was a striking contrast to the rest of the house.
"So Dad did leave a mess behind," he murmured to himself.
Looking at it, he found his father's shirts, pants, and coats hanging from a metal bar reaching from one side of the closet to the other. That wasn't the messy part. It was the pile of boxes, random papers, and random knick-knacks below the hanging clothes that were a mess. There was a similar mess on a shelf above the clothes. It was almost as if someone had crammed as many things as they could and barely closed the door without it all falling out on top of them. In fact, it was miracle already that the pile hadn't fallen on Gohan the moment he opened the door.
Then as if to prove him right, a stack of papers resting on the shelf fell forward, several sheets flying about the room randomly. The majority of the paper stack landed on top of a box, causing it to topple forward, which resulted in a chain reaction of a few more boxes falling out of the closet. Quickly, Gohan leapt backwards, a few of the boxes landing where he had been standing, their contents bursting out a moment later.
Staring at the sight, Gohan rubbed a hand against his forehead. He just had to curse his luck, didn't he? Letting out another sigh, he then tossed the keys onto the bed and kneeled down, shoving the spilled contents of the boxes back into their cardboard containers. He made sure to get a look at everything before he put them back; one never knew if they would find something worth keeping. Moving the repackaged boxes to another part of the room, he continued cleaning out the closet, looking through the other unopened boxes, finding some things to keep and others to get rid of. A box of Halloween costumes here, a couple of sport trophies there—it was like a walk down memory lane.
Opening one box, Gohan found a stack of photos resting inside. Pausing, the young man reached in and began through them. A small smile crept onto his face as he saw familiar images: a picture of him and his father, both smiling at a mountain retreat; another of them on a fishing trip, a giant fish held by the tail in his father hand, a child-aged Gohan wrapping his arms around its giant head, his arms not even reaching halfway around it. Another photo showed him graduating high school, a wide smile on his face as his father smirked at the camera, his strong arm wrapped around Gohan's shoulders.
Gohan continued going through the photos, each one a pleasant reminder of times gone by. Who knew his father had kept such things? The man had hardly struck him as a sentimental guy. Perhaps there was more to him than he—
Gohan paused. Looking into the box, he saw something peeking out some photos. Setting the pictures in his hands to a side, he reached into the box and began moving the photos still in the box. There was a metal box in there, smooth and sleek. There were handles on either side of the box, ones that Gohan grasped and lifted the metal box out.
Once he got a better look at it, Gohan recognized it as a lock box. "Huh, wonder what Dad keeps in here," he said out loud. There was a small lock on top, meaning that he wasn't going to be getting into it any time soon. Too bad.
Grimacing, Gohan set the lock box on the floor and moved to clean up the mess he had made. That was when he caught sight of the keys on the bed. Turning to face them, he reached out and picked them up, bringing them closer for a closer examination. There was a small key, smaller than the other ones on the ring. Staring at it, Gohan then looked to the lock on the lock box and wondered. Was this the key to that box? Figuring he had nothing to lose, he shifted the key set until he hold the small key between his fingers. Turning back to the lock box, he then tried to insert the key into the lock.
Lo and behold, the key went in, and turning the key, the lock shifted with it, unlocking the box. Moving his hands to the side of the box, he lifted the top of the box and gazed inside.
What he found was a large, thick manila folder and on top of it several glass vials, each containing a liquid of varying color. A couple of the fluids were clear while one was purple and another green. Frowning, Gohan picked up one of the clear vials and turned it in his hand, examining it. It was then he found a small, white label with black print on it. The first thing he immediately noticed was a small logo of a skull with crossbones beneath it. Next to the logo was the wording Ethylene glycol. What the heck was this stuff?
Obviously the skull and crossbones meant it was toxic, but toxic to what? People? Animals? Gohan dropped his eyes to look at the other vials, finding each one had the same sort of label with the logo and name of the substance. Tetrodotoxin, Bungarotoxin, Methacrylonitrile, and Dichloroethyl ether were just a few of the names he saw. However, it was the vial labeled Cyanide that got his attention. And…was that…Arsenic?
Holy shit, these were poisons! Immediately, Gohan put the vial back into the lock box and slammed the lid shut. Locking it, he pulled the key out and shoved the box as far away from him as possible. The keys were making a soft, jingling sound, evidence that he was physically shaking. What…what the hell was that? Why would his father have that stuff? Sure it was locked where no one could get it, but a normal person shouldn't be able to get their hands on cyanide or arsenic. Those were federally regulated toxins! Everyone knew that!
No, he wasn't going to go further with this. Quickly, Gohan got to his feet and walked up to the lock box and picked it up. He then put it back into the cardboard box he found it in, paused, then walked over to the closet. On the upper shelf he saw a blanket and grabbed it, pulling it down. Fortunately, that action didn't pull down any of the precarious packed boxes his father had stuffed up there. Returning back to the box, he shoved the blanket into it and on top of the lock box, hiding it from sight. Closing it, he was sad to not see any packing tape nearby, but didn't feel like searching the house for any. Instead, he then shoved the box into the back corner of the closet, then grabbed some of the boxes he had placed about the room and packed them around the offending box.
Once he was satisfied with his work, he closed the closet, happy to see it close with ease. Turning away, Gohan then spied the pictures he had been looking at scattered on the floor. Bending down, he gathered them all into one small stack. As he stood back up, he couldn't help but stare at the one on top, his graduation photo. Focusing on Goku's smirking features, Gohan couldn't help but say out loud "Dad, what were you doing?"
All he got was silence in return. After a moment, he shook his head and turned to a nearby dresser. Opening the top drawer—finding it to be his father's underwear and sock drawer—he put the photos in it and shut the drawer. Then with that, he left the bedroom and made his way out of the house.
That lock box, the poison, the giant secret that had fallen into his lap—Gohan wanted nothing more to do with it.
Nothing at all.