Hope
by Mistress Renet     More by this Writer
Mirai Trunks visits the past one last time and finds hope where he least expects it.
Deathfic

Reverend sir, forgive this pair of sinners.
Spring winds today are blowing in wild eddies, driving dust and dead leaves away, and with them your lessons are all lost.
Do not say, father, that life is a vanity.
For we have made truce with death for once, and only for a few fragrant hours we two have been made immortal.
–Rabindrath Tagore

I wanted to see him again. More than anything, I wanted to see him, alive, whole.

But you’re not him.

I’m not even sure why I’m here.

***

I don’t know how many times I tried to get him into bed with me. I guess I lost count.

“You’re too young,” he said.

“I could be dead tomorrow, Gohan. I’m old enough–”

“You’re not gonna die,” he’d say, smiling at me. “You’re gonna live, get old, married, and have twenty kids…”

“I don’t wanna get married.”

“You’re just a kid. You’ll change your mind.”

I never did.

***

You are so different.

I wonder– did he, my Gohan, ever exist at all? Is that other time even real anymore? Will I just blink out of existence someday, a month, a week from now?

I’m not sure I would mind.

I miss Gohan so much … not you, this quiet student.

My Gohan, who wouldn’t even sleep some nights until I’d promised to keep watch and who’d collapse in my arms then, snoring.

Gohan, who kept me safe. Who taught me everything. Who weakened himself to protect me, who all but killed himself to make me strong.

Who died for me in a future I’m no longer sure even existed.

You finally notice me staring. “Trunks?”

“Gohan.” Your voice is the same but that’s almost all of it, you’re softer, so much softer…

***

I’d crawled into his sleeping bag that night, not trying to seduce him for once, just needing some warmth, some comfort. The last few days had been so hard.

His voice was low and sleepy. “You’re never going to give up, are you?”

“Can you … can you just hold me?”

“Trunks…” He sighed and put his arms around me and I put my head on his chest. Sometimes I did feel like a child next to him.

He put his hand in my hair, stroking it gently.”You deserve better than this,” he said.

“No … you do but … Gohan…”

He was still wearing a t-shirt and shorts; it was spring, still pretty cool. I could feel his muscles under the soft fabric and he was hard.

He’d never been hard for me before or he’d done a good job of hiding it.

He kissed my ear and my heart threatened to stop.

“It … it was easier to turn you down when you asked me,” he whispered against my hair.

Maybe I’ll never ask for anything again, I thought to myself.

He kissed me again, on my forehead.

I guess I’ve done some brave things– fighting the androids, getting in that damn time machine– but I never needed more courage than when I slid my hand under his shirt.

He moaned and found my mouth.

I’ve never tasted anything sweeter than that kiss.

***

I barely recognize you, Gohan, and once I knew your body as well as I knew my own.

But I didn’t really … it’s not your body and no matter how much I want it or how many times I come back, you’ll never be him.

If I close my eyes I can still taste him.

“Trunks, what’s wrong?”

“I wanted to say goodbye.”

“You’re going back to your own time?”

“For good.”

“Yeah? Well … thanks. Thanks for saying goodbye … I was kind of wondering if you were gonna leave soon and I was afraid you’d just cut out.”

“It’s … it’s kind of hard saying goodbye. There was Mom, and, well, me … and I wanted to see you again.”

“I’m … I’m really glad. You know,” he confesses, looking oddly shy, “when you first came … I just … I liked you so much.”

I cross my arms over my chest. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” he says, laughing. “You were so tough and so cool … I kind of had a crush on you, I guess. I mean, the way a kid does … it seems like a long time ago, now.”

“It was, for you.”

“But you … you were in love with that other me, weren’t you? The one you lost.”

I open my mouth but I don’t know what to say.

“You know, I talked with your mom once … I wish I knew how to bring him back for you. I wish I knew how to be what you wanted.”

“Gohan–”

Of all the things I thought would happen, I didn’t expect this.

I’m even more shocked when he leans over and kisses me.His body is strange in my arms but the kiss is so familiar. He tastes like my Gohan, he kisses like him– warm and wet and, to be honest, slobbering a little.

When we break apart, I’m crying so hard it’s difficult to see.

“Trunks– I’m so sorry–”

“It’s all right,” I tell him. “I … I’m sorry.” I blink my eyes to clear them. “You … you’re just enough like him to hurt.”

He holds me until I can pull myself together.

“Did you ever try going back again?”

I shake my head.

“Maybe you went back too far last time.”

“That was the only way to save your father, to … to save everyone.”

“Maybe you can’t save everyone but maybe you could save…”

“Gohan.”

My mentor. My best friend. My lover.

Could I save him?

I have to try.

“Thank you,” I whisper to Gohan; not my Gohan, but maybe close enough to save me, to save us both.

***

This time I’m more careful; I look around before I act. I find the androids nesting in what was once Mr. Satan’s penthouse. The old fraud wasn’t all bad; he died fighting them too.

I destroy them before they even know what hit them.

Two nights before Gohan’s death, I get back into the time machine.

When I return to my own bed, my own room, it is as empty as I’ve left it. No sign that Gohan is still alive; no Gohan in my bed.

I guess I’m not surprised.

But maybe some other time has been saved some devastation.

Maybe some other Trunks will sleep happy beside his lover tonight.

I should be happy for them.

I cry myself to sleep, feeling angry, foolish, and every bit the child Gohan had always said I was.

***

I wake up with the warm, impossible scent of Gohan in my nostrils. I close my eyes and pretend he’s alive, that he’s next to me.

My father would say I was being weak. I guess I am and then I’m startled by someone’s hand on my arm. I turn, powering up…

“Hey!”

“Gohan?” My Gohan, sitting up in the bed next to me, holding his arm up to pacify me.

My beautiful Gohan … his things in my closet, his body so close…

“You okay?”

I don’t think I’ve ever kissed him so hard in my life.

When I finally let him talk, he asks, “You find out anything from the past?”

“Not really.”

“You think they’re really gone?”

He means 17 and 18, I realize. “I hope so but we’re stronger now. We’ll be able to…”

“I hope you’re right,” he says, uncertainly. “Sorry I got in so late,” he says, reaching over to stroke my back. “Sometimes it’s just easier on Mom if I stay around.”

“I know … it’s okay.” You’re here now, that’s what matters. My memory is fading, changing already; whatever I did really worked this time. He’s here, he’s mine. “I’m never letting you go,” I murmur, pulling him back down beside me.

He laughs. “Yeah, you’ve made that pretty clear.” He kisses me, and I’m reminded of something, of another kiss, something that used to be important…

But it doesn’t matter now.

I hope I didn’t ruin their future. I don’t think I did but they are slipping from me already…

I look over at Gohan, put my hands in his dark hair. He feels so good. “It’s all right, isn’t it?”

He frowns, confused. “What?”

“You don’t ever wish … that maybe…”

He shakes his head. “I love you,” he says. “I’m glad … I guess I’m glad you were such a pain in the ass after all.”

I grin and kiss him again. We’ve lost so much but we still have each other.

Right now, that feels like enough.

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