A Look
by Gelfing Eight     More by this Writer
Knowing that Gohan’s death caused him to go SSJ, how would Trunks react to meeting the past Gohan? Seen through eyes of younger Gohan who is wondering what’s wrong with his elder counterpart.

Author’s Notes: Start of the Android Saga.
Gohan’s POV, beginning of the Android Saga

A shock of lightening to the soul.

Fast, hard, and leaves dazed and incoherent.

Of course, that was nowhere near what I first thought when he looked at. That one time he did. What actually passed through my mind was “What?”

“What?” as in, “What did I do? What do you want? Why the hell are you looking at me like that, what do you expect?”

Guilty. Inadequacy. Anxious.

He made me feel so guilty, like I had done something terribly wrong but I didn’t have the slightest idea what I did to him. I’d never seen him before in my life! But that’s the reaction he got from me, that was what I felt.

The one redeeming thing was that I knew he didn’t mean me any harm; while I sensed he was disappointed with me on a personal level, I knew he wasn’t trying to make me feel bad.

He did it anyway though.

‘Tousan could feel it too; he seemed to trust him even though they hardly talked for a couple minutes. But then Dad trusted everyone.

Dad told me eventually who the stranger was, after I had bugged and harassed him until he couldn’t even eat. And that took effort.

His answer didn’t really shock me, anymore than the knowledge that Trunks had come from the future had. I could see the resemblance to Vegeta, but not so much of Bulma. He had that same natural intimidation that Vegeta-san did, and the same habit of looking at people too hard, and seeing too much.

Vegeta-san could make me squirm by just looking at me straight in the face when I wasn’t angry with him, but he usually ignored me anyway.

***

He glanced at me once, not hard, just very deep, and I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The wind was warm and scratchy at my face, Vegeta’s old armor a little tight around my chest where I had grown, and everything was so mundane and troublesome that his—just weirdness threw everything off, like either the landscape or he was lying.

A second ascended Saiya-jin, equally, maybe even more powerful than Dad shows up out of nowhere and slays a living nightmare and then offers you soda?

On the same oatmeal day where you hurried to get through algebra just so you’d have a chance of seeing the light of day and happened to put on the wrong socks?

I mean, I really thought I was dreaming.

I had weird dreams sometimes, usually with Dad, or people who looked like Dad except that their faces were scarred or mean and I thought maybe I was dreaming again.

After all, this dream had to do with Dad too right? The fact that I thought I was dreaming was the only thing really keeping me calm, but after he looked at me like that I woke up. Like cold water.

His eyes were cold, yet sort of sick and mushy, almost dying.

I had bizarre dreams, but they were always either extremely happy or angry or evil. Never sad.

Where did sadness incorporate in my life, when I was never sure if Vegeta wouldn’t just destroy the planet just for the hell of it? Bad things happened to me true, but until I knew for sure they were over (I always knew they weren’t) why should I bother thinking about it?

All it brought was pain.

I had too much to be sad over, so much that it would’ve drowned me, and any other kid my age. So I blocked it out, threw it out of my mind, pretended like it didn’t matter to me and forced myself to think about different things.

I know that sounds kind of complicated, but it really isn’t. Mom does it all the time, and so does Dad.

His eyes scared me.

His glance scared me.

It was far too…personal, far too intimate. I know it doesn’t sound like much but…like looking in a mirror? Except that thing you see is a monster, and you know beyond a doubt that it’s yourself.

Dark, muted, twisted in all the wrong spots until your bones feel like they’ve been filled with sluggish cold metal and your ribcage and pelvis traded places. What you saw was a hateful monster, but you knew without a doubt that it was yourself. You knew that the monster was you.

I didn’t want to see what I really was, and I didn’t want him to show me. I didn’t care who he was or where he was from but he had no right to look at me that way! I didn’t owe him anything. I hadn’t done anything wrong!

He didn’t look at me again, and for that I was thankful. Bulma-san occupied most of his attention, and later he was so immersed with my father that he seemed to forget all about us. I was just glad he didn’t look at me in that personal way again.

Yet, I couldn’t help the tiny bit of resentment I felt when he left with a casual wave in his time machine. After shaking me up so and then acting like it didn’t matter?

…Maybe he really was Bulma’s and Vegeta’s son.

***

He grew on me though; much like Piccolo-san had with his pensive and solitary nature. It just attracted me some how; maybe the close association of Piccolo, and a feeling of security, family, whatever.

Just as long as he didn’t look at me again that way.

When he returned, I had wanted to stay as far out of his way as possible, which meant tagging along with him as often as I could, even daring my mother’s wrath.

He never openly objected to me, but it was obvious he was used to being on his own. Even while we flew he kept his distance, and wouldn’t talk or answer my questions unless I pressed him hard.

And, because I paid close attention, I noticed he never looked at me. Always in my direction sure, but his eyes aimed at my shoulder or over my head. But not my eyes. Not after the first time.

I wasn’t sure if I should feel relieved or rejected.

He may have been too snobbish to openly acknowledge my existence. He may have been afraid.

Maybe he did realize how much information he gave away in that first look. I thought maybe he would change a little after I found the second time machine Bulma sent us after. I mean, sure it wasn’t that big a deal, and I wasn’t looking for praise; just acknowledgement. Maybe…just a little attention?

Call it hero-worship, I mean, the man had just broken just about every rule of inflexible and linear theories of time there were, he was a scientific phenomena. And he saved my Dad’s life. How cool is that?

And…he had looked at me funny. In a way I couldn’t forget, but I didn’t really like to remember. While we were waiting in woods on that sunny, nearly-summer day for Bulma to arrive and give us her expert evaluation of the device, I finally mustered (after two failed attempts) to ask him…What? What did he want from me? Why did he look at me funny?

…Actually, I asked him about the weather.

It was a classic mess-up.

“By the way, Trunks-san…What do you think about the weather here?”

He looked at the grass to my right in a slightly baffled, familiar and aloof manner and said, “…Great.”

Great. Wonderful. That’s just fantas~tic, he thinks the weather here is great. It’s nearly summer you know, windy and warm, and soon sweltering. Great. You go Go-chan…What now?

By the way, did you know I spent a good hour flying your mother and your younger alter ego around on my back? And, incidentally, I saw you urinate on Yajirobe’s head. And, I also, “saw you without your pants while Bulma-san changed your diaper.”



…kill me.

Somebody kill me now, I’m going to spontaneously combust and burst into flame.

“I said that last bit out loud, didn’t I?”

You nod slowly, your eyes wide and on my cheek.

KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME!!!

or just make me disappear…

…I most certainly have your attention now, with the mortified-combined-hysterical Look you’re giving me the poker face slipping pitifully.

…I think my clothes are smoking. I hope this isn’t real. I hope my hair catches fire really quickly, so I don’t have to stand any more embarrassment. I hope I’m really dreaming asleep having a nightmare and you did not just hear me say that.

A great deal of my adolescent life depends on what you’re going to say right now. Choose well, Trunks-san.

You break out an uncertain smile and say, “You know Gohan, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop loving you.”

You’re laughing at me. I know you’re laughing at me.

And I don’t want to understand what it was you said, so I grin widely back and answer, “No problem! That’s just great Trunks-san!”

And that was the needle that broke the clock.

After a few minutes of rolling and laughing hysterically on the grass, with dignity and concern for your respiration system kick in and I’m at your side begging you to stop and pounding you with my fists at the same time. And I am trying to hurt you. After a few good hits to the sternum that make you wince you grab my wrists and hold me still over your head, your laughter finally subsiding.

Kami.

I don’t know how long we remained like that, you on your back with that genuine, shaky, tiny smile on your eyes and a charming, smug grin on your lips. I was on my knees next to you, my hands held over our heads so I was leaning a little over you looking shocked and a little trapped and very, very small.

The light brought out light blue and white highlights in your hair, your eyes were relaxed but still a little wary, still a little guarded, but warm and free from the sorrow and grief I always associated with you, your toned skin only adding to the exotic sheen.



Kami.

I think…was I hit? Was I dreaming? It felt like zero gravity, I was going to fall over at any moment, but I didn’t. I…I think I was a little scared. I’d be falling straight into you, after all.

His hands were warm and gentle, yet firm over my wrists, his eyes never wavered from mine, giving me his full attention, letting me sift through his mind through his eyes. It was so much like your first glance, personal, deep, yet this time not sad. Not guilty…just a little curious.

And then I knew. I had an epiphany right there, a revelation so universal and encompassing and subtly complex that I can’t quite remember what it was.

I just remember it was there, and how it felt.

Foggily, I heard myself mumble, “…pretty when you smile…”

You froze.

His eyes widened, fear, panic, hope and he was back on his feet like the ground had burned him. Twice shy. He strode over to the time machine again, touching it with his fingers; completely ignoring me and what had just happened.

“You know what, Trunks-san?” I yelled out after him.

He still didn’t turn around to look at me, didn’t acknowledge me in any way.

“I think it’s going to rain soon!” I called out.

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