This one-shot was brought to you by Dying Grin.
A golden aura filled the cramped room as the teenage boy turned and moaned in his sleep. The bedsheets were soaked with sweat and were covering only the boy's legs. The sleeping occupant of the bed bucked his hips upwards, spilling the bedsheet onto the floor.
"Dad?" he moaned in his sleep. "Dad, no! NOOOOOO!" his voice rose, reaching a crescendo filled with grief and pain. His power level spiked and the heavenly golden aura that enveloped him seemed to brighten for a moment, but then dimmed down to its original shade.
On the bedside table the digital clock turned 00:00. In bars all over the world people cheered and drank, celebrating the defeat of the monstrous Cell at the hands of their saviour, Hercule Satan, three years previous. But for others it was a time to celebrate miracles, how their loved ones that were killed by Cell had come back to life shortly after the android's death. For the teenager in the grips of a nightmare, it was neither.
To him it was the day he lost his father...for good.
Gohan continued to pummel the bug-like creature, in his fury abandoning his energy attacks and simply lashing out with his hands and feet. He was deaf to the pleas of his father and the other fighters to end it; for once he was the strongest and oh Kami it felt good to let it all out. As he beat Cell, other villains would replace him in his mind.
First he saw Raditz as he threw Cell backwards. Then he saw Vegeta and Nappa as he kicked Cell from behind. The faces of Zarbon, Dodoria and Freiza flashed through his mind as he punched Cell again and again. Next, as he ground Cell's face into the dirt, he saw Androids 17, 18, 19 and 20 in front of him.
He found himself laughing as they fought, at how outclassed his opponent was. Then his teal eyes widened as Cell began to inflate like a balloon, the monster crowing about blowing up earth!
The demi-saiyan continued to toss and turn in sleep, muttering inaudibly as his ki would dip and rise almost every other minute. His breathing was laboured and ragged, one of his hands finding the edge of his bedside table and clutching it tightly. The table cracked and splintered seconds later, reduced to nothing but saw dust on the floor. Still the boy slumbered, reliving his memories of that fateful day.
As he reached a certain moment in his nightmare, his whole body stiffened and the extensive books along the sides of the wall began to shake and fall off the shelves. His aura brightened as his ki continued to grow stronger and stronger, his bed buckled under the enormous pressure put on it. His bed collapsed under him, sending the boy tumbling to the floor, and for a brief second it looked as if he would ascend to the next level.
He watched in numbness and shock, powerless to even move as his father approached the now gigantic Cell. Goku reached up and grabbed Cell by his stomach and craned his head around to look at the Z-fighters. They looked back in awe and shock, and a slight bit of loathing from Vegeta. Gohan watched in shock, tears forming in his eyes as his father lifted his other hand to his forehead, about to perform his instant-transmission technique. Gohan realized his father was speaking, but he felt like the entire world was on mute, and then Goku and Cell were gone. Gohan fell to the ground on his knees, the tears flowing down his face and he screamed.
The boy cried out in his sleep again. His room seemed to shake slightly as his body's aura got brighter and brighter. Next the shelves of this bookcase came loose and fell to the floor. But nothing seemed to be able to wake the boy and stop him from reliving the horrible moments of what happened next.
Gohan could feel the others looking at him with something akin to pity. The rational part of Gohan was telling him that they had the dragonballs and Goku could be brought back, but the young boy in him only saw his father's death replaying over and over in his mind. Conflicting emotions ran through him. On one hand he felt glad that Cell was gone, but his grief far outweighed any happy emotions.
His flaming rage had turned into simple anger; Gohan could never let himself go like that again. He had to lock away the Saiyan side of himself, in case something like this ever happened again.
A raging wind suddenly kicked up, blowing dust and dirt against his body. He gasped as he jerked his head up and stared straight into a large dust cloud. He could see a familiar silhouette standing in the cloud and his stomach dropped. A second later a purple blast of energy came flying out of the dust, heading towards Trunks. Cell had returned.
The wooden floorboards warped and split as the Saiyan ascended to the next level. His aura was blindingly bright and the glass in the window shattered, sending cold air into the mockery that was left of his room. The sleeping Super Saiyan 2 was growing restless, seeming to sense his own immense power but still he slept. His sweaty body slipped off what was left of his bed.
Before anyone could react, the blast pierced through Trunks' armour, ripping through the lavender haired man's heart. It occurred to Gohan that this was exactly how Vegeta had died on Namek. Gohan's legs felt like lead. He didn't know how to react; he didn't want the anger to consume him again, but he didn't know if he could beat Cell without it. Before he could choose, Vegeta chose for him.
Vegeta had watched in silence and shock as his son drew his final breath and then turned to face a smirking Cell. The Prince of all Saiyans screamed in rage and flew at Cell, a golden aura blossoming around him as he did. The Super Saiyan and the android met in mid-air.
The teen groaned once more in his sleep. A few birds had fluttered into the room and were looking at the boy in curiosity. Those that got too close and entered the aura quickly made a hasty retreat back to the night skies of Mt. Paozu. He shifted again and mumbled in his sleep, a few cracks appeared on his wardrobe, the only piece of furniture still intact in the room.
Gohan could barely hold himself upright in his fatigue as he stared up at the Eternal Dragon, Shenron, that floated above him in the black sky. The rest of the battle with Cell had been a blur to him. He had fought with more control this time around, but there was something about the new form of Super Saiyan that seemed to just cause anger to fester in his soul. He had found it hard to keep a clear head, but eventually it had come to the the final push.
His Dad had talked to him and Gohan was sure the man had somehow helped him perform the miracle that had been his one-handed Kamehameha. Cell's Kamehameha had met his and oh Kami it had been the hardest struggle of Gohan's life. Inch by inch, Cell's attack had been pushed back.
Then the attacks had hit Cell and consumed the creature, Gohan making sure to keep pouring more energy into the attack until he was sure that every last cell of Cell's being had been destroyed. Now they were on the Lookout, all but Vegeta who had stayed behind at the battlefield.
There was a cheer as Mirai Trunks was brought back to life. Gohan found himself grinning from ear-to-ear as well. Next, Krillin tried to turn 18 and 17 back to humans. Shenron could not and so the ex-monk settled for removing their bombs. Next, 18 yelled something along the lines of 17 being her brother not her boyfriend and left. Now for the moment he had been waiting for. He stepped up beside Dende as the wish was made. "Almighty Shenron," the young guardian proclaimed, "bring the one they call Son Goku back to life!".
His ki reached new levels and his wardrobe crashed to the ground, sending purple and orange gis fluttering around the room along with a few "normal" clothes. But then, to the shock of the nearby animals, who were fleeing the 439 Mountain Area in droves, fearing that the mountains would collapse, his ki began to lower again.
The golden aura dimmed as the Saiyan returned to the first Super Saiyan form. It seemed that the worst was over as his ki was still lowering and then the golden aura disappeared completely, leaving behind a sleeping and sweaty black-haired teenager.
Perhaps one of the hardest things emotionally Gohan had done was watch his mother falling to her knees, sobbing over the news of her husband's death and being powerless to help. Cell nearly paled in comparison and his blood boiled when his grandfather, the Ox King, defended his father's actions.
He hoped his anger would fade. He was not sure how he could live his life with this dull anger in his being and just had to hope it passed. It did with the news that his mother was pregnant, the thought of a younger sibling dismissing any leftover anger he held. When Goten was born, he looked exactly like a miniature Goku...funny how things turn out in the end.
When Son Gohan awoke in the morning, he found his room exactly in the condition he expected. Every year on this day he woke up like this, laying on the floor in a room that looked like a bomb had gone off in it. It had been three years since Goku had refused to return to the land of the living.
It's true what they say: it hurts to die, but it will hurt a hundred times worse for those left behind, living their lives without that person.