AN: I'm getting pretty good at these little one-shots. I know, I know, I need to work on my chapter fics…I'm having a little creative block for the battle scene on "Faith"…ARGH!!!!!! Okay, I feel better. Here ya go, a cute little fic featuring my second-favorite characters *drumroll please* Gohan and Goten! They have the cutest brother-to-brother relationship. I don't own DBZ.

Little Brother of Mine

I am such a doting older brother, Gohan thought with a smile as he reached down and set the baby on the mattress inside the crib. The child squirmed a little bit before settling back into a peaceful slumber.

Son Goten was only a month old, and quite a handful. He was showing signs of turning out just like his father, in more ways then one. For starters, he already had hair. Specifically, Goku's hair. The same wide, charcoal-colored eyes, so fascinated with everything. And Goten didn't get upset very often; he was almost always cheerful. But he did have his moments, just like any other small child.

In addition to that, the kid was already crawling. At a month old! He was also lifting things that by all accounts should have been far too heavy for him.

Gohan pulled the soft blue blanket up around his little brother. Goten moved a little bit in response and let out a large yawn, but did not wake.

It was late, and Gohan knew he should go to bed, but something made him stay there, standing by the crib, looking down at the child that had brought light back into the darkness that had surrounded his life since his father's death.

He reached down again and ever so gently touched his little brother's hair, brushing a stray lock off the child's forehead. Goten was so perfect, so tiny…Gohan sighed. He remembered when his mother had brought the new baby home from the hospital. He hadn't been very impressed; all the kid did was sleep! It wasn't until a couple of weeks later, when Goten had started moving around that Gohan had really warmed up to the new person in his life.

Goten adored his big brother. Anyone who saw the two together could see that the baby already loved his brother dearly, and that the feeling was mutual. There were some things that only Gohan could do. Like tonight. Goten had woken up for some unknown reason and started crying. ChiChi couldn't get him calmed down, and so she had asked her older son for help.

Taken with a sudden idea, Gohan had taken his little brother outside and lifted off into the air, not very high, but high enough so that they could see for miles around.

"Look, Goten, that's the world," he'd said as the child had stopped crying and started looking around in fascination. "It's a big, big world out there, and when you're a little older, we'll go explore it together. Sound good?"

To his surprise, Goten had actually started giggling and kicking his feet, as if agreeing with his older brother's sentiments. They'd stayed up there for about ten more minutes, with Gohan talking softly until Goten started drifting off to the gentle sound of his older brother's voice.

Now they were both back inside, the younger one asleep in his crib, the older one standing vigil beside the crib. Gohan withdrew his hand with a sigh.

Goten, I promise I'll always be there for you, Gohan silently vowed to the tiny sleeping figure curled up beneath the blue blanket. I swear that you will have a normal childhood. You won't have to train or fight or learn to survive out there until you're ready. I promise. You'll have the chance to enjoy your childhood. I don't want you to ever have to go through the things I did, watching a friend or a loved one die before your eyes not once but several times, fighting for the future of a world that will never remember your name. You'll never have to see your worst nightmares come to life. You will be a child. I had to grow up too fast, but not you. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure you only have to become an adult when you're ready. You'll have the choice, little brother, and I'll protect that choice and your chance for a better life at any cost. I'll protect you at any cost, Goten.

It was only as his eyelids began growing heavy that Gohan understood something. He understood why his parents had done everything they had. He had gained that knowledge that usually only comes with parenthood—the understanding of someone who has a child and loves that child more than life itself.

With a sigh, Gohan stepped back from the crib and walked slowly towards the door. As he reached the doorway, he paused and cast one more look over his shoulder at the crib.

Sleep well, little brother of mine, he thought as he pulled the door closed behind him. I love you.

AN: Hey, what can I say, sappy is fun! I'm trying to get my other chapters up, so please be patient. *Candyland is cut off as angry readers begin throwing rotten fruit at her* YAH! DON'T HURT ME!!!!!!