In His Shadow
by Kiya Sama     More by this Writer
Mirai Trunks just can’t seem to stop thinking about his old mentor. And Gohan keeps thinking about Mirai, will he tell him how he feels.

“One thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine…two thousand! Whew!”

The sweaty well-built body collapsed onto the slightly damp floor, traces of the excess salty fluids still evident on the ground. Damp purple locks were plastered against the handsome man’s face as he stared blindly at the circular ceiling. The dull hum of the gravity machine still on, filled the enclosed space and realizing that lying on the floor was going to get him nowhere, he staggered to his knees and crawled towards the control panel. With a quick flick of nimble fingers, he switched it off and collapsed against the machine, sucking in deep breaths of much needed air. Kami, training under 200 times earth’s gravity was a killer on his muscles and he needed nothing more than a…

“Trunks? Are you in there?”

Eyes that had been snapped shut, opened back up in slight panic as he glanced at his watch. Oh, shit! He had promised to help Bulma fix up that pesky little kink in her latest invention.

“Trunks??! Where are you?!”

“Be right out!”

He had to hold onto the machine to get to his feet and managing to steady himself, he reached for the nearby towel and draped it across his bare shoulders, opting to train in only black spandex shorts similar to what his father, in this timeline, tended to wear. Opening up the door, allowing the warm rays of the late evening sunshine to light up his face and warm his already cooling skin, he winced and cringed back as blazing blue depths were suddenly thrust inches away from him.

“How long were you planning on being there, huh?! Do you have any idea of how long I have been waiting for you?! I could have died and gone to heaven and you would still be stuck in that lousy gravity room!!”

“I am really sorry…”

“Save your apologies for later!! Hurry up and get dressed and meet me in the lab, pronto! Honestly, you are beginning to be more like Vegeta every day!”

The young demi-saiyan could only watched in stupefied silence at the stomping figure of the blue-haired woman disappearing into the large building, before a small smile came unto his lips. If it was any consolation to him, he knew that his mother in his timeline was nothing like the bossy scientist over here.

~ Ah, mother. I miss you so much. ~

~ Only your mother? ~ Came that oh so familiar taunting voice.

Growling softly, he began to make his way into the house, wondering why thoughts of a certain raven-haired man that had once been his master and only friend should come back to haunt him now. He could have sworn he was over that loss by now. Could have sworn that those long lost feelings for a man that had felt nothing but pity and brotherly love for him in return had been lost with the passing years.

~ Hn. Apparently not. ~

Sighing inwardly, he was just about to step in through the door, when he was almost toppled down by two bundles of excess energy. He could feel one such bundle hang onto his calf as the other tried to make a grab for him.

“That’s not fair, Trunks! You said I could be the one hiding next! I don’t want to keep counting anymore! Let me be the one hiding this time!”

“Nu uh! You don’t want to be ‘it’ because you can’t count!”

“Not true! I can so count too!”

“Cannot!”

“Can too!”

“Cannot! Cannot! Cannot! Times a million!!”

“Can too! Can too! Can too times a….”

“Okay, you two! Cut that out!”

Both boys seemed to finally acknowledge the presence of the slightly upset-looking taller man before them.

“Oh, hey, Trunks!” The smaller version piped up happily. It was always cool to see his older ‘self’, even if it did weird him out sometimes. But the seven-year old would have to admit that his older version was way cool. “Didn’t see you back there!” And before any of the others could blink, he had tagged the unsuspecting raven-haired friend of his, yelling in triumph a very loud ‘Tag! You are it!,’ before running like the devil was on his tail. Which was probably true, as Goten, the rather upset-looking Goten, growled at the unfairness of it all, before taking off after the elusive traitor.

Chuckling to himself at their antics, he paid no attention to where he was heading and suddenly found himself colliding, rather painfully, into a well-built chest. The force of the collision was so great, that both parties ended up flat on their backs in stunned silence. A few bewildered minutes later, a muffled wince was heard, as the younger of the two sat up to rub a hand across his forehead.

“Gosh. That was some hit. I hope I didn’t hurt you, mister…” He halted his words as he finally recognized whom he had bumped into. “Trunks?? Oh, no! Trunks, are you okay?” He asked frantically as he half stumbled, half crawled over to the prone figure on the floor.

Long lashes fluttered open weakly to stare into dark worried depths. Unconsciously, a smile so beautiful, that it sent the towering body into a shocked gasp at the sight, filled the handsome visage as the lips parted to whisper out two heartfelt words.

“Master Gohan.”

The son of Son Goku and all around good guy could only blink in shocked silence as the older man’s fingers traced a light pattern down his cheek. Those shining orbs of endless blue seared through his being as he became mesmerized at the way the lips below him moved.

“You came back, Master Gohan. You didn’t leave me after all.”

The younger boy winced inwardly. ~ He thinks I am…him. After all this time… ~

Swallowing the stubborn lump of pain that was stuck in his throat, he placed a wan smile on his face and shook the broad shoulders gently; hopelessly aware of how much his body betrayed him at the feel of the almost silky skin beneath his fingers. “Trunks. You have to wake up. Snap out of it.”

Said man blinked rapidly and sat up with a quick jerk, which almost sent him crashing face first into the concerned one before him. He shook his head to clear the fuzziness, unaware of the small whimper of need that had escaped his companion’s lips as the long purple tresses brushed against the heated skin on his face.

“Wha…What happened?”

Gohan placed an apologetic smile on his face and rose a bit shakily to his feet, praying and hoping that his hardened state of arousal at being so close to the older man wouldn’t be so obvious. Placing a hand behind his head, he gushed out a bit sheepishly.

“I am so sorry, Trunks. I didn’t see you there. I guess we bumped into each other pretty hard, ne? Okay now, I’ve gotta run back home! Don’t want to be late for dinner! See you at the picnic tomorrow, okay?”

And not even giving the purple-haired man a chance to reply, he took off into the air and flew towards his home as fast as he could.

A frown of consternation was now etched upon the motionless figure on the ground, blue eyes staring with confusion after the disappearing speck in the sky. What had that been about? Why was the other demi-saiyan acting so…nervous all of a sudden towards him? I mean, sure he had been gone for the past seven years, but still…they were still friends, right?

~ Even if he reminds you so much of your lost mentor…now more than ever. ~

He got to his feet, his frown deepening as he walked into the house and towards his rooms. He had to admit that seeing Gohan as a little boy, for the first time, had given him a wave of nostalgia. But gradually, he had come to admire and respect the young boy’s goodness and strength. He had never really known his own mentor as a child, but he had experienced this one’s youth even though it hadn’t exactly been the picture-perfect kind.

He stripped out of the clinging black shorts and stepped under the warm sprays of the showers, his mind roaming with wild thoughts. He had gone back to his timeline and had spent the last seven years helping to rebuild his destroyed city. Things were going quite well now, and so he had decided to take a little vacation, to come back here and to see how things were going with the ‘gang’ so to speak. A small smile came upon his lips as he remembered the surprise at seeing how big his young self had grown and all the other little changes that had taken place. His biggest surprise and shock had come from seeing the now eighteen-year-old demi-saiyan. It had taken all of his strength and self-control not to run into the younger boy’s arms or to weep at the uncanny similarity…save for the scar. It was like the gods had given him another chance to meet his master all over again.

He sighed and switched off the shower, quickly making his way back to the bedroom to search for something appropriate for his lab work. Finally deciding on a pair of black jeans and matching tank top, he tied up his long hair with a black ribbon and walked out of the room.

There was no time to muse over things that might never be, he reasoned as he made his way towards the lab. Let whatever happens, happen. He had a picnic to look forward to tomorrow.

***

Chi-Chi Son held out the baskets and bellowed out. “Gohan, sweetie! Could you place the basket of food over there by the flowers and help me spread out the blankets on the grass now, would you, sweetie?”

Gohan blushed at the endearment as Videl, his current stalker, I mean, girlfriend, sniggered and began to tease him mercilessly about it. Dropping the baskets at the designated place, his eyes took in the happy sight of his father and younger brother about to take off their shoes for some impromptu fishing. Vegeta had Little Trunks at his side, explaining something about the ‘stupidity’ of some warriors (to the completely bewildered young boy), while Krillen, 18 and little Marron made themselves comfortable on another side of the small lake. He could make out Yamcha just arriving with his current love interest. Piccolo had made himself comfortable against a tree in his usual stoic demeanor, while Mirai Trunks was…

~ Where was he, anyway? ~

A light nudge on his arm broke him out of his reverie as he stared at the questioning eyes before him. “You gonna doze up there? Or are you gonna help us out?”

“Oh, sorry. I was just thinking of something…” he explained rather sheepishly as he began to help with the picnic set up.

Wandering eyes, darted around the small group of people, hopelessly searching for the one it sought. He didn’t know if he could take Trunks not showing up today. He had been looking forward to meeting the quiet man with a desperation that he couldn’t even begin to explain to himself. Sleep had been impossible for him last night, as thoughts of their earlier encounter in the day had danced around in his mind. He had gone out of his way to dress extra nicely today. The light tan slacks he wore clearly showed off his strong powerful thighs and the dark blue oxford shirt seemed to make his eyes even darker than normal. He knew he looked good today. Damn, everyone had told him so, already.

When had this sudden urge to please the older man begun? Gohan figured that it would have been from the first moment they had met, seven years ago. Trunks had fascinated him from the get-go. His quiet and shy nature complimented well with his own persona and yet, Trunks had displayed a courage and strength that he had admired. The guy had killed Frieza single-handedly, after all. But he had been eleven at the time, how could he have felt so strongly about him back then?

He stared at his hands blindly. Memories of the way he had felt on the day Trunks had decided to return back to his timeline consumed him now. Even though he had smiled and wished him good luck, his heart had bled slowly at the loss. He had wondered if the purple-haired boy would ever make it back, even if it was just to say ‘hello’ and as luck would have it, he had indeed returned. The past two months had gone by like a dream for Gohan. He had received the news of his arrival from a very excited Bulma and unable to stop himself, he had dragged Goten to the large compound to meet him.

Being tongue-tied was an understatement, as finding the words to express his feelings to the now older and more mature demi-saiyan proved to be quite difficult. And so, Gohan had made it a personal mission to visit Capsule Corp. at any chance he got. Sometimes under the pretext of meeting with Bulma for some homework help, or bringing Goten over to play… just seeing the purple-haired man was enough to brighten up his day. Only problem was…did Trunks even feel the same way for him?

~ Where are you, Trunks? ~ He pleaded silently. ~ I need to talk to you…to see you… ~

His ears, suddenly, perked up as the jovial but quiet greeting caused him to raise his head up with a snap.

“Hey, guys! Sorry, for the delay. I had to make a quick stop to check up on some things. I hope I am not too late.”

Light laughter and cheerful greetings from the others washed over the enthralled demi-saiyan as he stared, slightly slack-jawed, at the perfection that had walked into the party. Dressed in comfortable blue jeans and a plain white t-shirt, Trunks had managed to look as casual and as downright, illegally, sexy as ever, all at once. The long locks were no longer kept in its usual ponytail, but now framed the beautiful face that seemed to beam with that gentle, knowing smile. Gohan had just died and gone to heaven. His heartbeat raced with each word that came out of those amazing lips that he had fantasized a million and one times over and over, night after night. He gasped out softly as he noticed the older man turn towards him to give him a small wave of acknowledgement. Gohan wasn’t sure if he had responded or not, but he must have, for Trunks grinned back before being distracted by his younger self.

“You can close your mouth now.” Videl commented dryly as she stacked the dishes to the side. “Any more of that and you would have been drooling.”

Gohan blinked and felt his face flush a deep crimson. Geesh! Why didn’t he just put a neon sign on his forehead saying ‘I LOVE YOU TRUNKS.’ That way, he could save himself the embarrassment. Mumbling something to her in reply, he tried to focus his attention back to his duties, but found his stubborn eyes straying towards the other man like a magnet. His traitorous body burned with a slight fever and he hoped and prayed that he wouldn’t have to sit next to him, or he would probably end up exploding into flames of desire at his proximity.

As luck would have it, he got to sit between Videl and 18 and yet his torture was only about to begin. Trunks was sitting directly across from him, his strong legs tucked beneath him in an Indian style position. Gohan barely ate his food, as he drank in each movement that was made by the other. He bit his lower lip as he watched the slice of cake disappear into the moist, parted lips. He growled softly and had to shift, as some icing got licked off the side of his mouth by the quick dart of a red tongue. He almost passed out as the glass of water was raised to his lips, the long strong throat arched in the sensuous act of drinking. Some of the liquid dribbled out of his mouth and Gohan wanted nothing more to do than to pounce on him and to…

“Gohan?! Gohan!!”

“Huh??”

Videl snorted in exasperation and got to her feet. “Everyone has finished eating. You gonna help clean up or are you gonna join the guys?”

Like he needed to be asked that twice. “I would really love to stay with you and help out, Videl, but I…” he trailed off as he noticed Trunks get to his feet. He forgot how to breathe, as he watched the other man stretch out his arms, highlighting every sinewy limb on that god-like body.

Gohan had seen enough. Getting to his own feet, and with a boldness that seemed to come out from nowhere, he walked with determination towards the motionless figure. The words he wanted to say, running around his mind like a mantra. It was now or never.

“Trunks.” He stopped and cleared his throat, realizing that the first try had come out as a squeak. “Trunks.” He called out a bit louder. “I…I…”

The older man smiled in encouragement. “What is it, Gohan? Wanna get something off your chest?”

~ Oh, you have no idea. ~

“Uum…sure! Do you want to take a walk?” He blinked as he noticed the raised eyebrow, before quickly sputtering out a harried answer. “Oh, it’s nothing really. You don’t have to come with me. I just thought it was a rather beautiful evening now and if you weren’t too busy with the others, that maybe you would like to join me for a walk. That’s all. No big deal or anything….”

Trunks chuckled lightly and placed a hand upon the strong shoulder, squeezing it gently to stop the babbling boy. “Okay, okay. I will come with you. Lead the way, Gohan.”

Nodding numbly as the hand remained upon his shoulder, feeling sure that his legs would refuse to cooperate, he led them away from the others and into the quieter, more peaceful part of the surrounding woodland area. All of a sudden, he felt hopelessly tongue-tied…again. What in the world had he been thinking? How could he invite someone out for a walk and now not have anything to say?

~ He probably thinks I am some poor teenage boy that desperately needs his company…which I do. Oh, Kami, what the hell should I say?! ~

“So, uum…did you have fun at the picnic?” ~ Nice opening, Gohan. Really suave there. ~

Fortunately, Trunks didn’t seem to think it was stupid, for he smiled and nodded curtly. “It was great. You should have seen the way your dad was wolfing down his meal. Damn! But come to think of it, I noticed you didn’t eat much. Is something wrong, Gohan?”

The boy didn’t hear anything else. Trunks had noticed him! Had actually taken the time to look at him! There was a God, after all!

“Gohan?”

“Hai…”

“Is everything, alright?” They had stopped now, as Trunks had now placed both hands upon his shoulders and was staring into the almost glazed obsidian depths. “Is there something that you want to tell me?”

~ Yes! I want to tell you, how much I love and need you, Trunks! I love you! ~

Instead, a slow shake of his head in a negative gesture was all that he could manage. “No…there is nothing wrong.”

Trunks, however, was not about to give up that easily. “I don’t think so, Gohan. You looked kinda spaced out there for a while. Are you getting sick or something?”

“Trunks…” he whispered softly, his heart unable to hold it in any longer. “Will you…will you hate me for asking you something rather personal?”

The older man stiffened for a moment, before smiling in reassurance. “Hn. I don’t think so, Gohan. But go ahead and ask.”

Gohan took a deep breath and stared deeply into the endless sea of blue. “What…what do you see me as, Trunks? Who do you see me as?”

The longhaired man was rather taken aback at the question. The obsidian depths before him begged for an answer and a deep wince of sadness and understanding flowed through him. Closing his eyes, he tried to will the words from his lips. “Gohan…”

“You see me as him, don’t you?!” Came the vehement cry of pain. “You still see me as your dead master , don’t you?!”

“Gohan, please try to understand…”

The younger boy shook his head in denial, a few tears beginning to fall out of his eyes. “No! I don’t want to understand! You called me Master Gohan yesterday because you were thinking about him, weren’t you?!” A pained choked sob escaped his lips. “Why? Why can’t you forget about him? He is dead, Trunks! Why won’t you let him die?!”

“BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT I COULD EVER LOVE!” He sank to his knees as the long-held emotions caused him to tremble. “He…He showed me what it was to…to feel, Gohan. Please, try and understand. He was…was the only one I had left. He meant the world to me. He was…life itself and when they took him away from me…that part of my heart died along with him. I couldn’t…get myself to love anyone like that again. I swore…never to give my heart to anyone…”

A miserable choked whisper of ‘Why?’ came from Gohan, as he too sank to his knees to cradle the tear-streaked face before him within his palms. “Why won’t you let me show you that it can be different? I could make you feel again, just like he did. Please, Trunks…just give me a chance.”

And with careful deliberation, he closed the small distance between their lips with a light, almost feather-like kiss. Feeling a bit giddy at not having been rejected, he closed his eyes and pressed his lips even closer to the now parted ones before him. Feeling bolder, he gently licked the full lips in silent reverence, before slipping it into the warm cavern that was his fantasy’s mouth. He sighed with joy as he felt the other’s tongue brush against his in a soundless duel, both now having to clasp each other’s hands in a tight grip as the kiss deepened to became one of hopeless desperation.

Several breathless minutes later, both finally managed to pull away from each other, as they groaned weakly at the whirl of emotions that flowed through them.

“I love you, Trunks.” Gohan whispered achingly, as he felt the older man cradle him against his strong chest. “And I will wait for you to get over him. Even if it means having to wait until my dying day.”

Trunks felt his heart break at the words.

“Hai, Gohan. I understand.” He murmured softly against the short dark locks. “I can’t make you any promises, but I will try…for both of us. Can you accept that for now?”

Another stray tear rolled down the younger boy’s face as he nodded mutely into the white shirt.

“Hai, Trunks. I accept.”

~ I have no other choice but to live in his shadow…to live in my own shadow… ~

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