Peppermint Kisses
by Hentai Institute     More by this Writer
Waiting for their families for Christmas, Trunks and Gohan have an unlikely heart to heart.

Watch out for : scandals, cold weather, cocoa, kisses

Written by Angelus

“Holy shit, it’s cold out there!” Trunks declared, stamping the snow from his boots and slamming the door shut behind him. A few feet further into the hallway Gohan nodded numbly, rubbing his aching hands together and valiantly trying to breathe life back into his reddened fingers.

“You can say that again,” the taller, darker demi-Saiyan agreed, unzipping his winter coat and plying the wet material from his arms. “We’ve been getting snow all week in the mountains but this is ridiculous.” Gohan removed his fogging glasses and shook the water from his hair. “With wind like that, it’s amazing West Capital hasn’t been flattened completely.”

Trunks chuckled as he bent to unlace his boots. “Nah, city bred are born to last, Gohan-san, it takes more than gale-force winds to blow us over.”

“I guess so,” the older man decided. Reaching for the drier fabric of his turtleneck beneath his damper sweater, Gohan began to wipe the condensation from his glasses.

“Oh, hell, that’s not gonna work.” Trunks shrugged out of his jacket and pulled the blue sweater over his head, throwing the combination over the back of a chair and plopping his drenched footwear off to the side to avoid hallway traffic. Snagging the glasses from his companion, the pale-haired demi-Saiyan gestured loosely over his shoulder as he left the room.

“I’ll take care of these, Gohan-san. Just ditch the rest of your wet stuff and meet me in the kitchen.” Trunks faded from sight into the darkness of the room beyond as Gohan bent to take off his shoes.

“This is exactly why I switched to contacts.”

“So where is everybody? I thought Bulma-san said six ” Gohan questioned curiously, padding through the dark living room toward the yellow glow of the kitchen.

“Late,” Trunks called; Gohan heard the sound of running water and the roll and rip of the paper towel dispenser. “Bra had a ballet thing at four. Mama expected to be back before six to greet everybody but ” Fuzzy though it was, the older half-breed detected a shrug from his companion. “Obviously that didn’t happen, probably the storm. Dende knows I couldn’t see a damn thing myself on my way here. I drove out of East Saruto around three this afternoon.” Trunks raised the glasses toward the light and scrutinized his handiwork. Gohan shifted his weight from one foot to the other and observed the colors and shape of Capsule Corporation’s kitchen with mild interest as his body warmed.

“Traffic was hell, even in the air. I gave up around four-thirty when the snow started and flew the rest of the way.”

Gohan straightened, surprised. “You flew all the way here in this weather?” His black brow peaked and he blinked as the younger man strode into his focus, a blending form of dark blue, wet lavender, and damp beige.

“Well, what else was I supposed to do? If I hadn’t, I would still be stuck on the Mainland Pike with about a million other people all trying to head west. Here.”

The Son accepted his glasses with a soft word of thanks. Trunks continued past him into the living room; the kitchen brightened considerably as the overheads in the adjoining room snapped on. Beyond the windows, the storm still persisted in turning the festive palate of West Capital’s commuter district into a blank canvas.

“I’d give her a call but I know car reception sucks in this weather.” An abrupt beep pulled the taller hybrid’s attention from the snowy scene.

“And she forgot her cellphone.” As though emphasizing his point, Trunks held the small device up for the other man to see. Its screen cast a hazy electric aura on the demi-Saiyan’s face, defining the paleness of his eyes and the unnatural color of his hair.

“Doesn’t matter how many times I tell her–Gohan-san? Are you alright?”

“H-hai,” he stammered, nodding dumbly, embarrassed at his own impoliteness. Trunks pocketed his mother’s phone with a practiced flip and approached the quiet demi-Saiyan.

“The hell you are. You look terrible,” Trunks stated bluntly, crossing his arms. “Is it the cold? Can I get you anything?”

“No!” Gohan protested, holding up his hands and furiously shaking his head. “I’m fine, really. I just need to sit down, I think.” Taking the unspoken invitation, the older demi-Saiyan perched on the edge of the sofa, resting his elbows on his knees. Feeling the need to explain further, Gohan gestured woodenly.

“There’s been a lot going on in my life recently and, to be honest, I almost didn’t come tonight ”

“Oh ” Trunks’s expression softened subtly as he took an opposite seat. “I’m sorry.” He grimaced apologetically. “Mama told me and I completely forgot. I’ve been such an ass–”

“No, Trunks. It’s ok, really.” Gohan smiled wanly. “I’m not saying it so you can sympathize. I’m just feeling a little under the weather.” Wind pulled harshly, rattling the window, accenting his point on a literal level. “No pun intended.”

Nodding, businesslike, Trunks was quiet for several moments before seeming to come to a sudden decision. Slapping his hands to his knees, the demi-Saiyan stood.

“You know what you need, Gohan-san?” Trunks smirked and braced his hands on his hips, looking for all the world, to a wide-eyed Gohan, like he did when he was twelve.

“I’m almost afraid to ask ”

“Oh, come on!” Hauled unceremoniously to his feet, Gohan had little choice but to follow. A little voice on his shoulder silently wondered how many of Trunks’s and Goten’s notorious escapades had started off just like that and if, by the end of it, he would still have all limbs and wits intact.

“Peppermint kiss?”

“Hai,” Trunks confirmed, emptying the contents of a cocoa packet into a black and white mug bearing the Capsule Corp. circle. “Two parts hot chocolate,” the younger demi-Saiyan instructed, pouring water from the kettle and breathing deeply as it steamed. A satisfied grin crept along his lips as he stirred with an over sized spoon.

“And one part ” Turning, Trunks opened the freezer, inserting his upper half as he searched for something Gohan’s imagination couldn’t even process. Highly skeptical, Gohan pursed his lips and waited anxiously for the Briefs’s next proclamation.

“Ha!” Jerking it from the cold depths and testing his reflexes as most of the frozen goods followed him out, Trunks proudly held his prize. Adjusting his glasses, the older half-breed squinted at the lavish label and tiny writing on the opaque bottle that Trunks extended toward him.

“Peppermint–”

“Schnapps!” Laughing, Trunks twisted the cap and poured liberally. The scent of alcoholic candy canes was slightly overwhelming.

“O-oi! Matte!” Gohan protested, alarmed. “I don’t really drink, Trunks.”

“I know, Gohan-san.” Trunks licked the mouth of the bottle free of liquid and screwed on the top. Giving it one more swift stir with his spoon, he handed it to his reluctant companion and winked.

“But sometimes even the most well-behaved of us need a little extra kiss in our cocoa.”

“So you don’t like being famous, ne?” Trunks asked as he straightened. Flicking off the overhead lights, there was a moment of darkness, then a click before the living room came alive with color. Even as he mulled darkly over the other man’s comment, Gohan could not deny the beauty of their Christmas tree. Custom made dragon balls crafted from the finest international glass glittered golden beside felt and paper cutouts bearing the Briefs children’s signature. Silver tinsel caught the colored lights and cast it against the walls and windows; for an instant, the Son lost his knack for speech. Setting down his mug, he approached the display with something like reverence.

“It’s beautiful ”

“Hai,” Trunks agreed softly. Fingering a gingerbread man with one leg, he laughed, plucking it from the tree.

“Remember this?”

Gohan’s face burned in response; he chuckled in embarrassment.

“Hai. The year Otousan learned the concept of putting food on the tree.”

“That was the last time we ever did popcorn strings, I think.”

Gohan laughed. “Though nothing was as bad as the year he ate Goten’s gingerbread house.”

“Hey, that wasn’t funny!” Trunks objected indignantly, folding his legs beneath him and taking a seat on the carpet just beyond the range of packages and bows, the couch at his back. “I worked for hours with him on that! We had to fly all the way to North Ginger just to find those stupid little gumdrop thingies he had seen in a candy store. They cost me my entire allowance.”

“For gumdrops?” Gohan asked disbelievingly as he dropped down beside his companion, reaching for an awkward instant to grab his cocoa off the coffee table before settling in. Crossing his legs, he blew absently at the steam, sipping the foamy head from the top.

“I find that hard to believe.”

“Well, not just gumdrops, now that I think about it. There were the lollipops and chocolate-coated gummy worms–”

“That’s disgusting.” Gohan wrinkled his nose over the lip of his mug. Trunks shrugged, pulling his knees to his chest.

“That’s Goten.”

“Hmm.” Clearing his throat, the lighter demi-Saiyan brushed the hair from his eyes, folding his arms comfortably on his knees and tapping out an inaudible rhythm on his forearms.

Sensing the subtle shift in Trunks’s joviality, Gohan ventured an intelligent query.

“Hard to believe he’s gotten married, ne?”

The lavender demi-Saiyan’s fingers stilled and his pale gaze slid slyly sideways.

“Tricky, tricky, Gohan-san,” he reprimanded jocularly, waving his pointer finger at his blinking comrade. “Changing the subject. But I asked you a question first, ne?” Gohan paled, studying the contents of his cup.

“Not one to beat around the bush, are you, Trunks?”

Laughing, the younger half-breed reclined against the couch at his back, extending his legs.

“Do you think I’d’ve survived this long if I did, Gohan-san? Seriously, between my family and my family’s reputation, subtly isn’t something I’m allowed. I’d get eaten alive that way.”

Gohan nodded mildly. It was all true, of course. One didn’t grow up being part Saiyan only to be meek and courteous; yet Son Gohan seemed the exception to many rules.

“I was only trying to help people.”

Trunks turned to his embarrassed companion with a raised brow.

“And you did! For how many years now?” Lively in his conviction, Trunks pulled his body into an adamant sitting position. “I was, what, eight when you first put that damn costume on?” When he laughed, the bridge between his eyes wrinkled with the memory. “That was the most hideous thing I had ever seen. I was so relieved when you got rid of that ugly helmet a few years later–”

“Hey, your mother came up with that combination!” Gohan protested indignantly.

“I know!” Getting his knees beneath him, Trunks shoved a righteous finger in Gohan’s face. “And she dyes her hair teal for Dende’s sake and wears red like it’s going out of fashion!”

The older man blinked at the finger, then upward to the demonic pair of blazing blue eyes that had convinced his younger brother to shave his head on a dare at the age of thirteen merely to prove a point.

As it turned out, demi-Saiyan hair did not have the miraculous growth rate of its pure blood father.

“She dyes her hair?” Gohan asked dumbly, unable to form an adequate response to the younger hybrid’s accusation regarding his absent sense of style.

Trunks sat back heavily on his heels. “You’re kidding, right?”

“So how’d it happen, anyway?” Trunks stretched his arms over his head, linking his hands at his nape and crossing his ankles. Outside the window beyond the decorated tree, snowflakes paused inquisitively at the glass before being swept away by a frigid wind. Inside, Trunks’s socks, along with the ends of his hair, were finally beginning to dry.

“I’m not sure,” Gohan began, sipping past the head of his cocoa and appreciating the warmth that spread down his throat. Resting the mug absently on his thigh, he followed the zigzagging path of colored lights and carelessly placed candy canes to the top of the tree.

“I think it was someone in one of my classes–that’s all I can think of. I don’t have much of a social life.” He glared pointedly at the other man, expecting a sharp quip and was more than slightly surprised at the half smile of understanding he received instead.

“So it’s not as though someone close to me found me out. Everyone I know that well pretty much knows that about me.”

“Videl?” Trunks ventured the obvious.

“No, I don’t think so,” Gohan countered confidently. “We’re not together anymore but we’re still friends. We even danced together at her wedding last year–”

“Who did she end up with, again? I know it was in the papers but hell if I can remember ”

Gohan shrugged with a good-natured smile. “Someone we went to high school with. Apparently he’d been chasing her for years and finally broke down and declared his love.” The shy demi-Saiyan blushed under Trunks’ unblinking scrutiny. “Or something like that.”

“And that didn’t bother you? Weren’t you still together at the time?”

“Well, sort of ” Gohan took a hasty swig of his drink and swallowed hard. “I mean, yes, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt for Videl-san like he does.” He nodded to himself. “It’s better that they’re together. I’m sure she’s happier.”

“Huh.” Trunks lowered his arms, propping them on the couch, wrists limp over the edge. “I wonder if she let your secret slip to him and he ratted you out to the papers.” His blue eyes absently followed the colorful collection of packages as it snaked around the base.

“No! She wouldn’t have–”

“Gohan-san,” Trunks interjected with a pointed look. “People will tell you the most interesting things after a good night, if you know what I mean.”

Flabbergasted, Gohan’s mouth flapped like a floundering fish. Couldn’t and wouldn’t died on his tongue as the probability of the entire fiasco reached a realistic conclusion. Finally, the spectacle ended with an encouraging chuckle from Trunks and a disbelieving expletive from his dumbstruck companion.

“That bastard!”

He would have said more had the phone in Trunks’s pocket not taken that moment to ring. Jerked upright by the sound, Gohan took a deep breath to calm his nerves as the other man flipped it open and laughed at the number that appeared on the screen.

“Now, really, woman, who calls their own phone? I’m not! Well, I am his son, aren’t I? That’s your fault. I’m not the one who–” Trunks barked with laughter as he ran a hand through his hair, working out the tangles that had collected at the ends. It had gotten longer since the last time Gohan had seen him. De ja vu chilled the older demi-Saiyan and he quickly ferreted out the source. While their future had not been as tragic as the Trunks’s he had met when he was a child, this Trunks had become the striking man his forbearer had promised.

“Knew I’d have it? If I do, I’ve gotten it from you–what? No.” Trunks’s gaze flickered sideways. “I met Gohan-san on the way in and Goten had left a message on my phone that they’d be late. Yes, Mother, they. Then you shouldn’t have invited her.” He rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t’ve cared.” He laughed again, stopping abruptly at Gohan’s look.

“What? No, Gohan’s giving me that Son look. You know, the one that makes us all feel like lechers in a playground–I yeah,” the man suddenly looked like a son on the phone with his mother and nodded as though she could see it. “I know. Look, Mama–yeah, I know. I will. Yes. No. I would have told you, but no, not anymore. He didn’t like the attention so we–ok.” Nodding again, Trunks chewed on his lower lip. “I know we do. I won’t. Ok. See you then. Yup. Bye.” Closing the phone against his thigh, the younger man sighed heavily.

“They’re just leaving the auditorium. They should be here in about an hour.”

“Something wrong?” Gohan asked gently, again quite aware of his companion’s shift in temperament. Growing up around his parents, he had taken a lesson from his father’s mistakes in reading his mother. It had aided him well in his past relationship with Satan’s daughter.

“You don’t mind, do you?” Trunks asked offhandedly around the cigarette he placed in his mouth as he patted his pockets for a lighter.

“That’s a disgusting habit, Trunks.”

Rolling his eyes, the younger demi-Saiyan removed the unlit cigarette and glared at his companion. “What’s it gonna do, kill me? As if the myriad of psychotic alien bastards that have a penchant for choosing this planet to kick shit up aren’t enough, you’re going to lecture me about the health effects of smoking?”

Stingy in his judgment, Gohan simply swallowed more of his cocoa and nodded. “Yes.”

Trunks scoffed contemptuously as he shook his head. “You’re incredible. Even after all the crap you’ve been through, you still insist on being ridiculously good. Like it’s gonna earn you life points or something.” Huffing, Trunks stuffed the cigarette back in its pack, tossing it onto the coffee table. It skidded to a halt against a stack of glossy magazines on decorated living.

“True,” Gohan admitted, staring vacantly at the twinkling lights of the tree. After a moment, he smirked at the irate young half-breed and
raised his half-empty mug.

“But if this were a video game, I’d be kicking some serious ass, right?”

“You know this is pretty good.”

“Heh. I thought you’d like it.”

“Mm. Where’d you get the idea? I know it’s nothing grand but people your age generally don’t have Schnapps just lying around.”

Trunks laughed. “Yeah, not exactly a glamorous drink of choice, ne?” Shaking his lavender head, he smiled fondly. “I didn’t come up with it, actually. A friend of mine did the first year I was away from home for Christmas.”

“Someone you went to school with?” Gohan inquired, swirling the last of his cocoa to get the thicker chocolate settled on the bottom.

“Yeah,” the younger man responded quietly.

Mouth poised on the brim of his mug, Gohan straightened his head, quizzically furrowing his brow.

“Are you not friends with this person anymore?”

Trunks jerked, brushing his hair back from his eyes in agitation. “Huh? What makes you say that?”

Stretching, Gohan set his empty Capsule Corp. mug carefully on the coffee table and sat back with a heavy sigh, wiping any traces of chocolate from his lips with his hand.

“Well ” he began, turning to his companion and finding it easier to address him as though Trunks were one of his students. “The way you said it.

As though it’s a fond memory you’re not apt to have again.” The younger demi-Saiyan was silent; his head was bowed to hide his eyes behind a curtain of lavender that glittered and shifted under the multi-colored lights illuminating from behind.

Licking his lips a bit anxiously, Gohan adjusted his glasses and leaned forward, afraid he had unwittingly upset his host.

“Trunks, are you–”

“You’re more observant that you should be, sensei,” he teased, raising his eyes with a characteristic grin; Gohan relaxed visibly.

“I didn’t mean to pry–”

Sighing resignedly, Trunks surprised them both by standing.

“No, it’s alright.” He smirked at the older hybrid’s bewildered expression. “Turn about’s fair play, after all, ne?” Reaching into his back pocket, Trunks produced a capsule, flipped it upright with practiced manipulation, and popped it with his thumb. When Gohan blinked the scene into focus again, the Briefs boy was rummaging through a knapsack on the floor.

“Good. Nothing got wet ” Rumpled shirts, worn jeans, and a ki-stained training gi formed a growing pile on the floor before Trunks seemed to find what he was searching for. Plucking a folded newspaper from the bottom, he took a deep breath and a long look before handing it to the quietly questioning Son. “I know you’ve been avoiding the media, Gohan-san but you’re not the only one in our circle making the papers these days ”

Gohan accepted the paper wordlessly. The silence didn’t last longer than it took for him to read the first line.

“‘International heart breaker. Wow. That’s more eye-catching than what I got. Did you know they compared me to–”

“Yeah, I heard but your costume was more disturbing than just your glasses, Gohan-san and you’re a teacher, not a reporter.”

“I know but they seemed to find the comparison amusing enough,” Gohan clipped irately, snapping the newspaper open to view it fully.

“You’ll find out soon enough that reporters only love you as long as it sells papers. So they found out your secret identity.” Trunks shrugged dramatically and gestured loosely. “So what. They’ll spend the next few weeks learning everything there is to know about you and then drop you like a wet rag when they realize you really are just a good Samaritan with a bad sense of style.” Bending, the younger man perched easily on the edge of the couch, scanning the lines of print over his companion’s shoulder. “Funny thing is, the most they’ll latch onto is your past relationship with Satan’s daughter. They’ll hound her incessantly, thinking there’s dirt there.” He chuckled darkly. “Bet she’ll think twice about pillow talk after that, ne?”

“Hmm ” Gohan commented absently, reading the article in his hands. Dumbfounded at the punch line, the black-haired demi-Saiyan looked up at the object of his editorial over the silver rim of his glasses.

“I can’t believe this is in–” he flipped the paper over just to be certain, “–an international paper! It should be in a tabloid! Where did they come up with this trash?”

“Well ” Trunks slid down until his ass hit the floor and jerked his chin toward the article. “It’s all true, actually.” He smirked. “Except that bit about eloping. We never did that.”

“Wow ” Gohan mouthed distractedly, adjusting his glasses, still scanning the tiny words that crawled across the page. “Do your parents know?”

“That I’ve been making headlines? Oh, yes.” Trunks crossed his legs and rested his elbows on his knees, picking at the carpet. “Even Papa knows how to read, when he cares to.”

Gohan placed the paper gently on the floor as though fearing its bite. “How’d they find out about you two?”

“Ah,” Trunks raised a finger, “the better question would be how we kept it a secret as long as we did.” Sighing, blowing the hair from his eyes, the younger man leaned back and stared at the ceiling.

“We were both in the media enough as it was. We didn’t need the added hassle, so we were extremely careful when we were together.”

“The papers made it seem like you hated each other,” Gohan mused. “I never followed the whole thing but it was pretty convincing.”

“Yeah, I’ve got acting and fighting down to a science. Combining the two seemed to make sense,” Trunks remarked bitterly. Rubbing his eyes with an exaggerated sigh, he sat up. “The thing is, we did hate each for the longest time. He’s a fucking prick, even when you do get to know him.”

“But living with Vegeta-san must have prepared you for that.”

Trunks laughed; turning to Gohan, he propped his elbow on the couch and linked his hands. “I think that’s the ballsiest thing you’ve ever said about my father.”

“Yeah, well ” Gohan coughed self-consciously, pushing his glasses further up his nose. “If you ever tell him I said that, it’d be the first and the last.”

“Heh, but you’re right, you know. Papa’s not just bark, but he does his fair share. If I’d’ve taken everything he ever said to me to heart, I’d be seriously messed up right now.” Trunks paused, then punched his companion on the shoulder when he realized the spasmodic breathing was Gohan’s bad attempt at concealing laughter.

“Fuck you! I’m damn well-adjusted for being part space monkey! I’ve dealt with trauma too, dammit! I just watched my best friend marry a card-carrying air head, for starters! She makes a marshmallow look intelligent!” Gohan’s laughter became audible at that and he leaned heavily on the couch for support. Trunks punched his arm again. “At least I didn’t turn into a dancing super-hero!”

“No,” Gohan wheezed between fits of laughter, finding the entire scene funnier than it had any right to be. “You decided that having sex with your business rival was better therapy!”

Trunks blinked at his incoherent companion.

Then exploded in a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

“Shut up! There was more to it than that!”

“I’m sure,” Gohan laughed, “It wasn’t enough you were breaking the hearts of women everywhere. ‘International heart breaker’!”

“Yeah, yeah. I had to really fuck with the world–”

“By fucking the other,” Gohan squinted at the tiny print, “‘International heartthrob’!”

“Gohan-san!”

“Oh, wow, and I thought I had problems. The world’s two most eligible bachelors ”

“You know what’s even funnier,” Trunks managed, clapping Gohan’s shoulder as they both continued to find breathing difficult. “He’s got the Kaiba Corp. logo on all his underwear! How’s that for conceited!”

Trunks jerked and Gohan choked as the overheads flooded the room with garish light and both blinked the Briefs family matriarch into focus.

Planting her hands on her hips, she cocked her head and raised her brow. “Now that’s something I never needed to know about Kaiba-kun.”

Scrambling into a more dignified position beside the younger Briefs, Gohan adjusted his attire self-consciously. “B-bulma-san!”

“Damn, Mama! You scared the shit outta me!” Trunks clutched his chest for effect, pushing to his feet as the sound of the door opening and his father’s swearing filled the hallway beyond. Moments later, his little sister sped past them into the kitchen, a blur of sequins and curls.

“Isn’t this fucking cozy,” the Saiyan no Ouji jeered as he entered the room, taking in the atmosphere with an arrogant glance. Observing Gohan’s unnaturally red expression and his son’s unusually silent manner, he narrowed his eyes and turned up his chin as he lazily followed his daughter’s recent path.

“Trunks,” he acknowledged his absent offspring with a nod which the boy returned with a familiar wave.

“Konbanwa, Papa.”

“You’ve been training,” he commented as his eyes surveyed his son. “We’ll spar when this fucking weather stops.”

“Hai, Papa,” Trunks returned with a crooked grin. “Missed you, too.”

Vegeta grunted, glancing at the taller demi-Saiyan. Uncomfortable under the scrutiny, Gohan rubbed nervously at the nape of his neck.

“Konbanwa, Vegeta-san.”

The Saiyan prince arched an amused brow, then left the room.

“Well, you’ve made a regular mess of things, haven’t you?” Bulma joked as she removed her earrings, setting them on the table beside her keys.

“Get over here and hug your mother, would you?” Laughing, Trunks obliged.

“I had a long talk with your father,” she murmured into his ear, bringing with her the smell of perfume and engine grease, the frigid scent of winter and wet wool.

“And?” Trunks’s pulse quickened as he hugged his mother’s ample frame, still determined to maintain her youth despite the signs of aging that wrinkled the corners of her eyes.

“I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” She smiled widely, pulling back to analyze her son as mothers do, holding him in place by the shoulders and ruffling his hair as though he were still shorter than her five-and-a-half feet.

“You need a haircut,” she concluded at last. “And new clothes. We’re shopping tomorrow, weather pending.” Holding up a silencing finger, she shook her head. Blue hair that had never seen a grey followed the motion.

“You have no choice.” Something foreign twinkled in her eyes, setting her son immediately on guard. “I’m sure you’ll join us, won’t you, Gohan-kun?”

Suddenly recognizing the deviance for what it was, Trunks’s eyes widened in alarm.

“Mama, it’s not–”

“Quiet,” she commanded with a smile. Lowering her voice, she added, “I think it’s cute, Trunks.” Her nose wrinkled. “And a much better choice than Kaiba-kun.” Trunks opened his mouth to protest but was never given the chance to formulate the objection.

“Now go into the kitchen and help your father before he hurts something. The last thing I need is an explosion after the day I’ve had. Oh Gohan-kun, can I talk to you a moment?”

A crinkle of plastic and the sound of a lighter followed Trunks reluctantly from the room.

“You don’t mind if I smoke, do you, Gohan-kun?”

“Disgusting shit tastes like candy. A real man’s drink doesn’t exist on this fucking planet.”

“I’ll put it away, Papa, before it offends your manhood.”

“Trunks! Vegeta! No sparring in the kitchen! Would you stop provoking your father! Go answer the door!”

“Hai, hai ” Trunks sidestepped his sister as he left the room, chuckling at the cursing that colored his exit. Shivering as he entered the hall, the half-breed kicked aside his father’s boots before opening the door.

“Damn, dude! I thought you were gonna make me wait out here until my ba–” Goten’s mouth snapped shut and his cheeks colored cutely as he ushered his new bride through the door, remembering his tongue and the company he kept. Parisu showed Trunks a plastic smile as she removed her coat, which the business man in him returned with charming precision as he accepted the garment and hung it on the rack to dry.

But Trunks had had enough etiquette and pretending while Goten was dating to continue the facade now that his best friend was married. Goten had known him long enough not to take him seriously.

Not to mention being the only one until recently to know Trunks’s persuasion and not give a shit.

“Hell, man,” he jested, closing the door behind them and brushing the snow affectionately from his best friend’s hair. “If that’s all it takes to lose your balls, I’m surprised you ever made it down the aisle.”

Trunks’s well-timed smile only made the glare Parisu gave him that much sweeter.

“Man, that smells good! You comin’, Trunks-kun?” Trunks declined the obvious remark but his friend read his eyes and joined in his laughter, despite the unspoken comment. Parisu’s jaw flexed angrily as she stalked from the room and Goten hurried to catch up with her.

“In a minute,” Trunks called after him, still chuckling. Goten was married, as the saying went, not dead. Their preferences may have been complete opposites, but perversion knew no distinction and the two demi-Saiyans had too many years under their belts to change simply because of a new female factor. Running a hand through his hair, he went to join his family in the dining room.

“Ano, Gohan-san,” he grinned as they met in the end of the hallway, both attempting to step aside for the other and consequently creating more of an obstacle.

“Didn’t know you were such a good dancer, Son,” Trunks teased as they both sidled sideways.

“I guess there’s a lot we don’t know about each other,” Gohan replied quietly, looking at the floor, the walls, anywhere but at the bright blue eyes of his host. “But I enjoyed talking to you tonight, Trunks.” Strangely weighted with an unspoken intensity, Gohan’s dark eyes finally found Trunks’s and the younger demi-Saiyan could have sworn he felt his heart jerk.

Huh?

It wasn’t until he felt the unexpected blush that Trunks knew it for truth and almost ran away screaming. The deviant in him wanted to say it wasn’t so–it was too ‘Boy next door’! Too too soon after Kaiba? No, that wasn’t right. Kaiba was great for a fuck, for an argument, or for a public spar. Not for conversation. In all their months together, Trunks and Seto had never done what he and Gohan had tonight.

Dende, his mother was right. It was cute. And Son Gohan. Fuckin’ Dende.

“I think I’d like to do it again, later if you don’t mind,” Gohan added hastily, noting the green coloration that crept up Trunks’s neck and threatened his darker complexion.

“Yeah sure,” Trunks agreed, too stunned to do more than nod, genius mind going a mile a minute, trying to determine the variables that had unexpectedly added up to that bizarre equation. Shoving his hands into his back pockets, he felt all of fifteen, as though Gohan had robbed him of ten well-earned years. A bumbling fucking teenager.

Sweet Kami-sama.

But while Trunks was still attempting to determine the miscellaneous factors that may have added to his abrupt and inexpiable attraction to his best friend’s brother, he blinked and Gohan’s nose was suddenly entirely too close. Backing up only acquainted him with the door frame.

Opening his mouth to protest, he found the taller demi-Saiyan’s lips tasted a little like peppermint and his glasses nudged the end of Trunks’s nose.

“Thanks,” Gohan whispered hoarsely. Trunks’s heart dropped through his feet and hit the floor with a thunk.

“Gohan what ”

“I’m just repaying the favor, Trunks,” Gohan stated boldly, though his breathing was far from steady. Turning back toward the light, warmth, and laughter that emanated from the kitchen, he reached above his head and tapped the bundle hanging from the door frame.

“Besides, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do under mistletoe?”

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