Twist of Fate
by Peekapika     More by this Writer
Trunks wants more than Goten can give him. He finds happiness eventually, but will Goten?

Author’s Notes: Not all Truten ends happily ever after… Very small spoiler alert: Happy endings still available. Goten x M. Trunks & Gohan x Trunks

Goten shuffled through the thick fog that surrounded Mt. Paozu. In the early morning chill, shadows seemed to swim past him in the soupy air as he walked down to the old cottage that used to be Grandpa Gohan’s house. The structure was more like a Son family shrine now. The four star dragonball was sitting on its cushion, currently being kept company by the one and five star balls as well. His dad’s old power pole was leaning against the side of the stand they rested on. As he walked by it, Goten subconsciously ran his fingers along the edge of the chest that held one each of his dad’s, Gohan’s, and his old gis.

The furniture was so old and rickety, that he didn’t risk using it, instead plopping down on the floor and scooting himself into the nook between the bed and the corner. He still fit fairly comfortably back here, though there was definitely not as much space as when he had been seven. Reaching under the edge of the bed, Goten felt his way along the row of objects hidden within its sagging box spring. He smiled, feeling the outlines of the things he once felt were so important as a child. A rock he and Trunks had found in the woods that had a fossilized leaf pattern in it was one such item. It and a toy car that was the last piece of the race track Trunks had let him have after the WMA Tournament were both tucked into the nearest corner.

Further down, the objects became increasingly more interesting, a comic book, a porn magazine, two little individual sized bottles of vodka… The object on the far end was the only one that sparked his memory enough to make him want to pull it out though and that was his old journal. He extracted it carefully, not wanting to let any of the photos that were also tucked in its pages fall out. He’d started it right after the first time he and Trunks had kissed; afraid to tell anyone about what was happening but too excited to keep the swirl of emotions from escaping somehow.

He chuckled and shook his head at the 15 year old's writings, pausing to look fondly at a few of the pictures stuck in as illustrations. It had taken him less than a year to fill its pages but he had never gotten around to getting another one. By that point people had known about them for a while, and his and Trunks’s relationship wasn’t in the awkward ‘just starting out’ phase anymore. He hadn’t felt as much of a need to get it all down on paper once things started to settle. He could hardly believe that it had been almost 7 years, the time had virtually flown by… He leaned back against the wall and slowly leafed through the rest of his trip down memory lane.

That was where Trunks found him, hunkered down on the floor, laughing quietly to himself over that book.

“Found you” he said, squatting down in front of him. Goten looked up at him and grinned, holding up the picture he was currently examining.

“Do you remember this?” he asked innocently, turning it around to display a shot of their lower halves as they stood facing each other from about a foot apart. Both of them were naked and fully erect, comparing.

“Of course I do” Trunks said, a wicked light dancing in his eyes. “I’m surprised you do though, I had to get you totally wasted before you’d let me take a picture of your dick… And even then you wouldn’t let me put our faces in it” he said shaking his head at the memory of Goten’s protests.

“Well, in all honesty that night was pretty much a blur – except for you getting me hard, I remember that perfectly” Goten said, dropping the photo back into the crease of the page and then closing up the journal. “Funny how certain things stick with us, huh?” he blushed a little as he smiled and carefully tucked the book back up under the bed.

“It was just a hand job” Trunks laughed, he would never get over Goten’s all-prevailing modesty.

“Yeah, but when no one else has ever touched it, even just hands is hot” he replied, holding out his arms and indicating for Trunks to pull him up. Complying immediately, Trunks tugged him to his feet.

“If you remember correctly, which you may not, I did offer a blow job but you were too shy to take it” Trunks stared him in the eye as he teased him. Goten had to lower his eyes for a moment under the intensity of Trunks’s gaze, ducking his head as his blush increased with the accusation.

“Well thank goodness we don’t have that problem anymore” he said, kissing the side of Trunks’s neck.

//They didn’t?// The thought flashed through Trunks’s mind, not for the first time, but he kept it to himself. Instead he kissed Goten deeply and offered him a blow job right there, on the spot.

“What? Trunks, come on. I bet breakfast is ready at this very moment, isn’t it? That’s why you came to find me, right?” he laughed and poked a finger into his chest. Trunks grinned.

“Alright, you got me” he replied in good humor, still undressing Goten in his head though, “maybe next time” he winked and began pulling him to the door.

…………

Trunks had a problem with bruises. Not a problem as in he bruised easily, the exact opposite of that being true was actually part of the problem with his problem. He sighed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he listened to the sound of the water falling in the shower, trying to clear his mind. Goten would be done soon and he still hadn’t made up his mind whether to ask him or not… It wasn’t Goten’s fault that Trunks was in this predicament, so in that respect it seemed a bit unfair, but Goten was the only one who could help him with it, fair or not. The problem was, he was already 99% sure what Goten would say in the middle of sex if he asked him to hit him as hard as he could.

…………

Goten never kept score or track of things like that, but he knew that over the years he and Trunks had both had changes in their sexual preferences. Not as in boys vs girls, no, they were both firmly in the ‘boys’ category there… But as in what they preferred while in bed. Some time ago now, Goten had discovered he definitely had a thing for whipped cream being licked off his chest… Well, and off his dick too, if he was being honest… Trunks drove him so crazy sometimes that he came against him before they even got to the actual penetration part of the evening but those occasions were rare. And it wasn’t like it was a huge deal, it just meant Goten was catching that night, which he never minded.

Lately though… Lately Trunks had started asking for things here and there that didn’t seem like they should really be mixing with sex. He could understand the biting, they were both part saiyan after all. A certain level of instinctual ‘claiming’ would always be involved with that but they’d never let it go overboard before that night a few months ago. Trunks had bitten him so hard that he could feel his teeth meeting each other in the flesh on the back of his shoulder. He would have lost a huge chunk of skin over it, if not for a senzu. Trunks had looked almost as pale as he did afterward, seeing what he had done and apologizing profusely. He’d only wanted to bottom for a couple of weeks after that, even though Goten told him it was fine, that he still trusted him.

But that little incident didn’t really seem like a big deal compared to what happened last night, though the now running theme would forever connect the two in his mind. He and Trunks had had sex as super Saiyans fairly regularly throughout their relationship, up until that night, when Trunks asked him to whip him.

“We’ll never know unless we try it Goten – just use my belt like it’s one, so we can test it out.” Trunks had always been able to talk him into anything, even against his better judgment. He had figured at the time that it might indeed be fun; who knows, right? Especially since Trunks was the one wanting to be whipped, he didn’t give a second thought as to whether he should be trusted or not.

They had been super Saiyan for a while, just teasing and toying with gentle smacks of the belt, when Trunks asked for him to continue the play as they actually had sex; with Goten on top of course. What could go wrong? Trunks kept asking for it harder and harder, that’s what. Not for him to thrust harder, but for the belt harder. At a certain point Goten stopped complying, afraid his lover was lost in the throes of passion and didn’t really know what he was saying. Just keeping up the same force was already leaving Trunks’s chest with faint red streaks all over it. Then Trunks did the thing that Goten just couldn’t wrap his mind around. He powered down. And he timed it. He powered down just a hair's breath before a belt swung with super Saiyan strength hit him and a line of blood sprayed up from his chest.

…………

He had fucked up. God, he had fucked up royally… He had meant to take things slow, to encourage Goten to be the one on top, to hold him down occasionally. He had hoped to work their way up to marks and maybe a few of those beautiful bruises after a couple months… Not this. Not making Goten look at him like that. Admittedly, he hadn’t intended to get bloodied, he really just wanted to see a nice long bruise running down his chest, but Goten hadn’t known that. Fuck, why couldn’t he just control himself?

They hadn’t had sex at all in the four days since it had happened. They’d never not had sex for four days since they first started doing it. Goten would let him kiss him but he pulled away after any more than that. He’d tried to make up with him on the third day, receiving that as his response. This morning, the fourth, he had tried it one more time, and Goten cried. Damn it. He was not good with apologies, Goten knew that… He always used nuzzles and caresses to express his regrets for whatever way he had hurt him… It didn’t look like that was going to be an option this time though.

…………

He would have called it an impulse purchase but having leafed through his old journal not too long ago seemed to give it a sort of legitimacy. Who the hell could you turn to with something like ‘my boyfriend made me make him bleed’ anyway? Goten spent a good 3 hours pouring himself into the pages between those plain brown bindings. This would not be one with accompanying photos. He didn’t feel any better afterward either, just empty. Well, maybe empty was better… With a sigh he stuck it into his bedside drawer, hearing that Trunks had come home.

Trunks ventured into the bedroom and saw Goten sitting on the edge of the bed quietly. He could see him visibly stiffen as he approached.

“It’s ok, I’m not going to kiss you” he said as he dropped to his knees on the floor beside him. Goten’s eyes were rimmed with red, obviously from crying. Normally, seeing Trunks on his knees in front of him would have made Goten’s eyes go wide in a mixture of amusement and shock. Now they just furrowed into a small frown and Trunks hated himself a little bit in that moment. He leaned down, eyes filling with tears himself, and gently rested his forehead on Goten’s knee, making sure no other part of them touched, that it wasn’t sexual at all. He stayed like that for a moment, warring with the emotions that strangled his voice, before finally choking out a sobbing version of “I’m so sorry Goten” as the floodgates opened. As confused and hurt as Goten was, it still caused him almost physical pain to see Trunks cry like that, with no restraint left. He sank down from the edge of the bed to his knees as well, and embraced him tightly. They both ended up crying in each others arms until they had nothing left, but it was Goten who was curled up against Trunks’s chest once the sobbing stopped.

“Why?” a small voice asked for him to leave his barriers down just a little longer.

“Because… Because I lied to you for too long” Trunks whispered.

“Lied? You lied to me?” the small voice quavered.

“About what I really want… It’s my fault Goten, I shouldn’t have waited until I couldn’t take it anymore.”

“I don’t understand” Goten’s eyes stung as they tried to water again.

“Just a bruise, that’s all. I didn’t mean for there to be blood, Goten, please believe me…” Trunks said, holding him tightly.

“A bruise?… You really wanted me to hurt you? Is that what you mean?” Goten said in shock.

//Goten loved him. Goten wouldn’t leave him. Goten loved him.// Trunks repeated in his head, as his mouth very quietly said “Yes…”

…………

Goten had lost his appetite. He moved the eggs around his plate for a few more minutes before giving up and just pushing the plate away. With a sigh he got up and started getting ready for his day. School, his last year and work, at a little cafe on campus, couldn’t compete with the images in his head, though. When Trunks had gotten out of bed this morning, he had the most joyous light in his eyes, running his hands over the bruises on his hips that Goten had given him the night before.

True to his word, they had taken it slow; it had been just about two months since ‘the incident’, though Goten still patently refused to hit him. Trunks said it didn’t have to be specifically hitting, he could just hold on really tight… Goten felt like he was going to be sick, seeing Trunks’s beautiful skin damaged like that and knowing he had been the one to do it… He pushed his own discomfort down, picking up his pack and slinging it over his shoulder. He loved Trunks more than anything in the world, and if this was what he needed, he would do his best to give it to him. A small voice in the back of his mind asked him though, //at what price?//

…………

Shit. He had gone too far again. He could tell immediately from the look on Goten’s face that his most recent request crossed the line.

“No.” Goten shook his head, looking down at him in disbelief. “Trunks, I’m not going to do that to you” he said, edging away from him a few feet over the bed. Trunks tried to smooth it over, making light of it as if joking, though they both knew he wasn’t.

“Come on Goten, it’s not your skin” he did a bad job of laughing as he said it. Then Goten was unexpectedly next to him, cupping his face with both hands.

“Yes it is” he said, forcing Trunks’s defenses away with that quiet declaration.

“Please…” was the only word left at the depth of him that Goten was trying to appeal to.

“No”

And then he was alone. He could hear Goten, finally sleeping, curled up on the couch in the living room. He’d refused Trunks’s attempts to let him have the bed. Trunks resigned himself to sleeping alone, possibly indefinitely this time. Quietly, sneaking through his own house, he made his way over to the living room. Watching the love of his life sleep from a few feet away, Trunks couldn’t stop his thoughts from rushing one after another as he stood there. Mostly they were of his own guilt; he’d pushed too hard. The teeniest, tiniest part of the back of his brain wondered though… Wondered if the love they had for each other was enough to overcome something like this… He’d tried. He’d tried to change for Goten, to be ok with nothing but sweet caresses and gentle lovemaking but it hadn’t worked. And now it seemed that Goten’s attempt to change for him was failing just as badly. Trunks was beginning to have a sinking feeling that Goten would end up being damaged a lot more by the attempt than by the failure.

………..

“I think maybe you’re right” Trunks said, staring into his glass. He couldn’t look at Goten while he agreed with him, choosing instead to examine what was left of his ice. How could he when it was all his fault?

“Oh.” Goten wasn’t sure if the quickness of Trunks’s response relieved him or broke his heart even further. Either way it didn’t change anything. “I think I’m going to go stay with my parents for a little while, Trunks, while we take that time…” he said softly. That brought Trunks’s attention up from his drink. //he’s leaving me//

“How long is a little while?” he said, his voice thick with unshed tears.

“I don’t know… How long do you think you’ll need?” Goten hesitantly asked him.

“Need for what?”

“For thinking. Trunks, you just said you agreed we both needed some time to think.”

“Come on, Goten, just say it” Trunks’s fear turned to anger in a heart beat at being abandoned.

“What?” Goten replied, confused at Trunks’s sudden change of mood.

“We both know ‘thinking’ isn’t going to change any of this” Trunks gestured with a sweep of his arm at the entire living room, as if it represented their relationship. Goten was upset that he had actually planned on doing that serious thinking, whereas Trunks apparently was just going to mope around.

“Well then, what is, smart ass?” Goten challenged him.

“Nothing” Trunks said, practically at a shout. “God, Goten, if you’re going to go, at least have the balls to leave me the right way.” His unshed tears were unshed no more.

“I don’t want to leave you Trun-”

“But you don’t want to stay” Trunks cut him off. Silence filled the air between them for a little too long.

“I love you, Trunks” Goten pleaded with himself as much as with Trunks.

“I love you too, Goten” More silence. “Did you ever?…” Trunks stopped himself. Once he’d started though, Goten’s eyes demanded that he keep going. “Did you ever think, that maybe neither of us should have to change?”

…………

He should not have let this happen. On his first official day as CEO, Trunks had looked like complete shit. His mother even told him not to come, that they could push things back, considering; but he was determined. He was his father’s son. He hadn’t meant to befriend him at the time, just show him that he didn’t hold anything against him over what had happened with Goten. Well, technically, they had already been friends, most of their lives and then some… The problem was, that Gohan knew exactly why they had broken up.

Having been on the receiving end of a drunken heart to heart with his little brother, the last thing he had expected to hear was that Goten and Trunks had split. That was, until Goten cried against him later as he explained why… From that moment on, no matter how hard he tried, Gohan couldn’t stop himself from wondering how many bruises were hidden underneath that expensive designer suit. A normal person would stare at someone’s ass if they wanted them but not Gohan. He couldn’t take his eyes off Trunks’s upper arms, picturing himself grabbing onto one of them to stop him from leaving the room, doing it hard enough to leave the imprint of his fingers in that perfect flesh for days…

That was his mistake, where he had fucked it all up, in letting himself fantasize. One day his hand just wrapped around that well toned bicep of its own accord, preventing movement… preventing it hard. All the other department heads continued to file out the wide double doors, none of them even sparing a glance back as they broke for lunch.

“Was there something you wanted, Mr. Son?” Trunks looked at him warily, unsure what was going on, until he saw the heat in Gohan’s eyes.

“Yes” he said flatly but then finally forced himself to release Trunks and strode from the room rather anticlimactically. He snuck a glance at Trunks’s reflection in the glass as he went out the doors. He was standing perfectly still with his hand over the spot on his arm that Gohan had grabbed looking at him like he had never seen him before.

Two days of being avoided later, Trunks had finally shown up at Gohan’s front door for answers. Though the fact that he was strategically wearing a jean jacket over a tank top that would show off the entire bruise spoke volumes about what kind of answer he expected… or hoped for. Gohan let him in and then closed the door behind them silently.

Neither of them could really find the words to broach the subject, so Gohan had offered to take his coat, just out of politeness. Seeing the reality of his fantasy spread out on Trunks’s skin like that, right in front of him, broke the ice. Broke the bounds of custom and decency. Would break his brother’s heart all over again when he eventually found out that he had fucked him right there in the entryway, so hard they’d cracked the tiles of the floor beneath them… and he’d left several new bruises for Trunks to run his fingertips over later… God, he should not have just let this happen…

…………

“We have to say something, Gohan.”

“I know, that’s why I invited him over for dinner tonight.”

“You did what?”

“As fucked up as this already is, he has to hear it from us, Trunks, not anyone else.”

“Yeah but both of us at once?…” Trunks was half joking, half serious. The joking part being that maybe Gohan should tell him alone, the serious part that he should.

“It probably would be easier but that’s how you know it’s not the best course of action.”

Trunks sighed.

“You are literally, the wisest asshole I know, Gohan.”

…………

By the time he and Trunks had actually called it quits, his journal wasn’t even half full. He should have known. As soon as he reached Gohan’s house, he could feel that Trunks’s ki there as well. Gohan had neglected to mention that he would be there too and it immediately gave him a sense of foreboding. Not that he and Trunks hadn’t kept things friendly after the mutual-ish split; it was just that it was unlike Gohan to invite him over for ‘dinner’ in the first place and this just added to the suspicious feeling in the back of his mind. Besides, it had only been a month or so, well, 27 days, since Goten had moved back home. He wasn’t sure he was strong enough yet to be able to just casually hang out around Trunks. Taking a deep breath and plastering a smile across his face, he rang the doorbell, just in case Gohan hadn’t noticed his ki arrive.

When the door swung open, Gohan was too cheerful. Trunks instantly saw his mistake but there was nothing he could do about it. He summoned every ounce of bravery he’d ever earned or inherited just to meet Goten’s questioning gaze. At least he was supposed to be acting awkwardly unlike Gohan. God damn it. Under the near babble of Gohan describing their upcoming meal, Goten greeted him, practically ignoring his older brother.

“Hey Trunks.”

“Hey Goten, long time no see…” he laughed out nervously.

Gohan finally got a hold of himself enough to settle down and stop talking a mile a minute, which at this point did more harm than good, actually. Goten looked back at him, noticing the silence right away, as if it was louder than the talking had been.

“Well, I’m sure you’re hungry, so let’s get to it” Gohan said, gesturing to the dining area as a diversion. Crap, hadn’t it been his idea to bring him here so they could come clean in the first place? Now, he could barely work up the nerve to look Goten in the eye. Shit, this was going downhill fast. At least Trunks seemed to be faring better than he was.

Goten let himself be led to the table. He sat down without a word, still wondering what the heck was going on; what the purpose of this little dinner was supposed to be. The table was a perfect square, with three places already set. He chose the one in the middle. He’d rather sit next to Trunks than be forced to avoid his gaze if he sat across from him all meal. He was about to put his fork down and say something like “Ok, what the hell is going on here?” when Trunks reached across the table for the butter. The stretch of his sleeve upward revealed a myriad of purple and blue across his forearm and it froze Goten’s speech. He reached forward slowly, his fingers barely grazing the side of Trunks’s arm as it retracted but it was enough. Trunks froze as well, knowing instantly what Goten would have seen.

Goten stood up, grabbing Trunks’s wrist and sleeve, pulling up quickly before Trunks could react. There was another batch on his upper arm of a perfectly delineated set of fingers.

“What is this?” Goten said, shocked.

“I’m sorry, Gohan, I didn’t mean t-” Shit. Had he just called him Gohan? Where the fuck did that come from? Goten’s eyes went wide in a mixture of shock and horror as too many loose pieces clicked together in his mind at Trunks’s slip up. The hand that had always been his to hold slid out of his grasp as his brain began shutting down in self defense. He looked over to his brother’s face, finding it filled with guilt. After several choked moments of Goten looking at him like he was completely lost, Gohan still couldn’t think of a single thing to say that would make any of it better.

“I’m sorry”

“Are you?…” Goten’s voice was filled with an accusing disbelief. Gohan had no reply to that. He wouldn’t have had a reply no matter what he’d said. Goten turned from them and walked out of the house in silence, not looking back.

Trunks put his head down on the table and cried for the jadedness he had put in his best friends’ voice. There was nothing Gohan could do for his little brother right now; if he went after him it wouldn’t change or solve anything… So he let him go. Instead he went over and wrapped his arms around Trunks, who immediately turned into his embrace.

“Why do I feel like such a horrible person for being happy with you?” Trunks whispered quietly once his tears had dried.

“Because you’re a good person” Gohan whispered back.

…………

“I doubt that’s how he’s going to see it” Trunks countered.

“All we can hope is that some day he’ll forgive us” Gohan replied.

“For being happy” Trunks said, his voice hollow.

“It’s more complicated than just that, you know that, Trunks.”

“I know, I just wish there was something I could do… I still care about him a lot…” Trunks admitted.

“I know… It’d be disturbing if you didn’t, actually. And, of course, I care too… Maybe we should just give him some time, then test the waters again later, try to talk to him about it? I don’t know, ‘time heals all wounds’ seems so cliche, but I can’t think of a single thing to do aside from wait for him to heal a bit…” Gohan thought out loud, stroking Trunks’ back while he spoke.

“I guess. If I tried to talk to him right now, I don’t think it’d be pretty” Trunks sighed. He looked up at the clock on the wall of his office. “I’ve got a meeting in 15 minutes, are you free tonight?” he asked, already sure of the answer.

“Yeah, my meeting’s over at 4:30 today… You want me to bring dinner?”

“Sure, that’d be good” Trunks said, stealing a kiss as he stood. Life went on around him no matter what.

…………

It was like time stood still. Goten’s mind refused to process anything accurately for quite a while. He didn’t remember the trip home from Gohan’s house that day or going to bed. He did stare at the ceiling for a while when he woke up the next morning but then nothing again until that evening. He remembered eating dinner and spilling some food on his shirt… Then. what he hoped was the next day after that, his dad asking him if he wanted to train. It was strange, Goten could see his mouth moving, knew what it was he was asking, but it was like he was disconnected from the reality of it. He just blinked a few times, unable to explain to his dad, or himself, what was going on; so he just walked away. It wasn’t until a few days after that (again, he hoped) that Goten realized he hadn’t spoken a single word to anyone this entire time.

Maybe it was a good sign, that his brain was turning back on, since he was able to recognize it. He wasn’t sure he cared enough to do anything about it, but you know, sometimes life is about baby steps… It was maybe another few days after that when his mom told him grandpa Ox King was coming down from the mountain for a visit. The hopeful light in her eyes when he actually muttered “ok” gave him pause. She squeezed his hand, her eyes misting up as she smiled at him. He sighed and returned the squeeze. And with that, the first traces of ‘caring’ began seeping back into him.

He hadn’t thought about the fact that Gohan might be coming over to see their grandpa too, until the Ox King was knocking on the front door. His sudden fears where allayed though, when his grandpa asked him to join him for a walk through the countryside. Ah, he got it now…

“Sure” Goten said with a nod. It actually felt weird to hear his own voice. As they strolled along, quietly taking in nature and the beautiful day, Goten was glad he didn’t press him with a bunch of questions right away. He was even more surprised when they just sat, enjoying the majestic view for a couple of hours, without either of them saying a word. Goten was just starting to wonder if his grandpa hadn’t fallen asleep sitting up or something, when a huge hand reached over and squeezed his shoulder before starting to stand. Goten got up too giving him a weak but thankful smile before bursting into tears.

He wasn’t even sure what all he told him that afternoon but being rocked in his grandpa’s arms was better than any journal entry. When he had finally quieted down, the Ox King spoke his first words of the excursion.

“When your grandmother died, so unexpectedly, I didn’t speak to anyone for a month… You’re a stronger man than I was, Goten.”

“I don’t know about that, no one’s died on me…” he said, not feeling their experiences were on par in this situation.

“Maybe not but a love you thought would last you forever has been laid to rest; it’s not a light thing to deal with” the Ox King commented gently.

“The worst part is, I don’t even know what to feel; I’m so mad, and hurt… Then I feel guilty, cause it’s not like he was mine anymore but I still feel upset when I’ve no real right to. And to top it all off, I feel pretty betrayed too but not by them specifically, just by everything, I don’t know how to describe it…” Goten rambled, still tucked into his grandpa’s arms. After a few more minutes of soothing him, the Ox King spoke again.

“It’s easy to be bitter about life not turning out the way we pictured it… But the key to living a happy life isn’t in everything going your way, it’s in being able to live with be content with the choices you’ve made. Would you be proud of yourself later if you never spoke to Trunks or your brother again?” his grandpa questioned him. Apparently, he had told him quite a bit after all…

“No, no I wouldn’t.”

“Well, just give it time then. Life is full of surprises, you’ve still got plenty of time to live a good long life with the person you were really meant to be with.”

A pain stabbed through his heart at those words because anyone could see that it was supposed to have been Trunks… He didn’t think his heart would ever get used to that.

…………

Goten sat on the edge of his bed, contemplating the sight before him. It was the last page in his journal. Though time had not been as quick to heal him as he had hoped, he was still measurably better than before. He ran a finger along the edge of the blank space. It wasn’t as if he was completely over everything, maybe he never would be 100%. It seemed like a turning point though… If he bought another one after this, it would almost be like he was clinging to the pain and he didn’t want that. He wanted to heal, he wanted to feel ok about Trunks and Gohan being happy together. Deciding that the thought / desire for that was the thing he wanted to hold onto, he began copying down his current train of thought onto the last sheet. If he did purchase another one, he would make a conscious effort to fill it with his life in general, not just pain. The resolution helped to clear his mind as well and he even began to wonder if maybe he shouldn’t go and see his brother.

…………

Gohan still came home every once and awhile to see his parents. He hadn’t brought Trunks the first couple times thinking it would be too much for Goten until he realized Goten had no intention of being there at the same time anyway. This went on for many months; he’d be out at a movie, or the mall, or the library that day. You can imagine Gohan’s shock when he and Trunks showed up for their appointed Saturday afternoon to find Goten in the living room, lounging on the couch and playing a video game. The sound of a badly dubbed Mr. Satan’s voice was coming from the TV as Goten finished his match, mashing buttons furiously.

“Aw, man, this thing is totally rigged – it’s frickin’ impossible to win unless you play as Hercule” Goten scoffed, starting over. “You guys want to jump in and help me test out my theory here?…” he said casually, not taking his eyes off the screen. Trunks felt like he was going to cry, right then and there.

“Sure” he said, trying to hide the emotion in his voice. Gohan squeezed Trunks’s hand tightly as they came the rest of the way in and sat down on the couch next to Goten. Turning to look at Trunks with a raised eyebrow, Goten warned him as he handed out controllers.

“You better not go easy on me either, this is serious business you know.” Trunks grinned, accepting the number two player with no arguments and nodded his head. Gohan just smiled, he was horrible at this video game stuff so there was no danger of him doing anything on purpose. It became mostly a match between Trunks and Goten because Gohan’s character always died pretty much right away. He didn’t complain though, it was more than he had hoped for in quite a while, to just be sitting in the same room with his brother, let alone amicably.

“I’ve missed this” Trunks said softly, staring at the screen as they chose new characters for the next round, “I’ve missed you… Is it ok for me to say that?” he asked, turning his head at the end to see Goten’s reaction.

“Yeah, it’s ok… I missed you guys too” he replied, keeping things plural and only looking at Trunks out of the corner of his eye, “Dad sucks at video games even more than Gohan, if that’s possible, so I think I might be getting a little rusty” he added afterward, keeping things light.

“I don’t know if that is possible” Trunks said with a laugh as Gohan died again. Gohan tossed the controller down with a sigh in mock frustration but was grinning the whole time.

“We should do this again, you know, just hang out… If nothing else than for the sake of our Play Station skills” Goten offered to both of them.

“That sounds good” they both replied in unison, making Goten snort with laughter, shaking his head.

“Maybe we can even try one that I’m good at” Gohan ventured into the growing mood of playfulness.

“Tetris?” Goten and Trunks both said at the same time, ready to dismiss the idea at once. When Chichi came in with the snacks, all three of them were laughing hysterically on the couch. Goku arrived home a moment after that and stopped in the kitchen; listening to the sound of all their laughter together. Chichi nodded at him, smiling, and turned back to the stove as he went in to greet his boys.

…………

When Goten got his first real job after graduating and finally moved out on his own, Trunks and Gohan threw him a surprise housewarming party. Which basically consisted of Gohan buying him a nice potted plant and leaving it on the table where he would see it right away when he came home and then Trunks breaking in afterward and TP-ing the entire inside of his living/dining room, except for the plant. Having a healthy sense of revenge, Goten saved all the toilet paper from the clean up and enlisted Gohan’s help to get a hold of the capsule that Trunks kept his hover car in. Grinning as he popped it open, Goten replace its contents with a mountain of unwound TP, roughly the same size as his car had been. He’d had to add a bit more to get it mountainous enough, well, a lot more, actually, but he didn’t mind the small expense. He only wished he could see the look on his face when he went to use it next… They’d had to call a halt to the escalation after Trunks somehow managed to fill Goten’s entire bedroom with toilet paper, all the way to the ceiling, while he was asleep inside it. Also, it was getting difficult to find any more of it on the shelves in their general area.

…………

“So is he your type?”

Goten turned, seeing one of his co-workers next to him, Josh, who had suddenly spoken out of the blue.

“What? Are you talking to me?” Goten said, looking around. His question didn’t seem to have anything to do with what Goten was doing, which currently was using the copier to make a sheet of hand written notes darker. Josh chuckled good naturedly and leaned against the edge of the copier, nodding his head as if to say ‘over there’ as he looked into Goten’s eyes.

“Blue shirt and khaki’s by the elevator… You stare at him a lot, him and Rick from accounting… I’ve seen you do it more than once” he said with a grin, “So I was just wondering if guys like that are your ‘type’, Goten.”

Holy shit, he had not just been ‘staring’ at that guy, had he? Goten blushed in embarrassment, trying to keep his cool and think fast. Josh didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would try and blackmail a person but he wasn’t sure how to respond to that… Though Josh was a bit older than him, he seemed like he was just a fun-loving kind of guy, who was often the center of attention. He also had several tattoos that were not quite covered up by his work attire, and Goten suddenly remembered hearing a bit of gossip that he had been a stoner when he was a teenager, and often blamed his lack of basic math skills on that. All of this ran through his mind in a fraction of a second, trying to gauge the situation as his heart rate increased a bit.

“I don’t have a ‘type’, Josh” was what he decided to go with in the end – it came out a little more condescendingly than he had intended it to…

“Good, so how ’bout we do dinner Friday night then?” Josh confidently shot back right away, dismissing his flustered behavior.

“What?” Goten’s jaw dropped.

“Dinner” Josh repeated himself, his eyes laughing at Goten’s reaction. “You know, that after-work tradition celebrated by every culture in the world… You do eat, don’t you?” he continued to quip.

“Uh, yeah, I eat…” Goten answered him, feeling a little silly now.

“Perfect, me too… See how much we have in common?” he smirked, “Meet me in the lobby at 5:15 tomorrow.”

“5:15… Uh, ‘k…” Goten blinked, had he just agreed to go out with him?

“Cool, I’ll look forward to it” Josh said, giving him one of those friendly 'guy' smacks on the arm as he walked away again.

They had a fairly good time on the date and made plans for another one the next weekend after that. It was weird to Goten to be going out with someone who wasn’t Trunks but he figured he would have to get used to it sometime. He knew no two relationships would be the same but Goten did end up breaking it off with Josh when he realized that after 4 dates and a few slightly heated make out sessions, he’d never once thought about starting a journal.

…………

“Hey, I’m all for free food and booze but seriously, what kind of company throws their Christmas party the day before Christmas Eve?” Josh pretended to grumble as he picked over a tray of appetizers. Goten chuckled, piling his plate high as he put in his two cents.

“I think it was the only night left that the hall was available, no one realized until it was too late how much Georgia did around here” Goten told him. He and Josh had stayed more or less casual friends which was good since their paths crossed at least a couple of times a week at work. The poorly planned nature of the event this year meant not many of their colleagues had shown up. Oh well, more food for me, Goten thought to himself. Not having to be at his parent's house until tomorrow afternoon, he had decided to go ahead and come to the party despite its close proximity to the holiday. Just like Josh had said, if nothing else then for the free meal.

“Yeah, I mean, at the very least, you have someone lined up to replace them as quick as possible… Two months? It’s a freakin’ travesty” Josh agreed with him, “And now we’re suffering for it” he said as he turned and waved his plate of ridiculously expensive finger foods under Goten’s nose.

“Be strong, man” Goten patted his shoulder in mock sympathy before they both burst out laughing. Even before the actual dinner was served, the free booze did indeed flow freely. Soon after that they pushed the seats around so that all 20 or so of them could sit at one huge table. That was probably the last thing Goten remembered soberly before a pleasant, alcohol induced haze began settling over him. He wasn’t exactly a drinker but it was a special occasion… He didn’t really feel like it was affecting him that much; until a couple of the guys hijacked the sound system somehow and changed the ambiance from generic Christmas music to a loud techno dance beat. Before he knew it, almost all of them were dancing on the impromptu ‘floor’ they had drunkenly designated with a line of folding chairs. It was a good thing it’d already come out that he was ‘into’ men at work and it had gone over fine or else the way he and Josh were dancing would have been a bit embarrassing in the morning.

Goten had not danced in forever and the alcohol encouraged him to use this opportunity to the fullest. They had been going at it for a while when one of those annoyingly paced songs, whose beat was somewhere in between fast and slow, came on. Most people decided to keep the fast energy and just dance through it but not Josh. His hands slid down over Goten’s ass and began rolling their hips together in perfect time with the music, neither fast nor slow. It was incredibly hot. Goten hadn’t been this turned on in a long time and even if they stopped right here, he felt like they had practically fucked on the dance floor already.

“Hey Josh” he whispered in his ear as they ground their bodies together.

“Yah, Goten?” lips tickled over Goten’s ear as he was answered.

“You’re drunkh”

“So?”

“So, you’re in no condition t’ drive… I better take you home” Goten only slightly slurred against his neck.

“After ‘is song, I don' wanna stop dancin’ just yet” Josh informed him with a smile. Goten grinned as if he had won some great victory and continued enjoying the feel of his body against Josh’s until the song was over.

The nice thing about taxis is that you get to make out in the backseat of them while being driven home.

When they arrived at Goten’s, they actually managed not to stumble up the walk too badly but it did take Goten three tries to get his door unlocked. It may have been more the way Josh was distracting him than the alcohol though, as once the taxi drove away he slid his hands under Gotens’ shirt while kissing at his neck from behind.

They came through the door already a tangle of limbs; Goten had no idea if it got locked or even closed properly behind them. He lead Josh to his room with kisses and then tossed him onto his bed, garnering a playfully amazed look from his co-worker as he did so. As Goten turned to shut the bedroom door behind him, he hazarded a glance toward the front door. It seemed to at least be closed all the way, so good enough. Thank god for force of habit because there was no way he was leaving his room for the rest of the night. When he turned back around, Josh’s shirt was already gone and he had taken off his shoes and socks as well. Following suit, Goten got rid of as many clothes as he could between the door and the bed.

He had forgotten about Josh’s tattoos, to be honest. As he crawled nakedly over him, he couldn’t help but admire the work done over his chest, arms, and hips. It was beautiful. Before he had too much chance to admire though, Goten found himself suddenly underneath the gorgeous man, being drunkenly probed and fondled.

“God, you don’t waste any time do you?” Goten murmured as a saliva slicked finger entered him.

“As a general rule? No” Josh stopped kissing his neck long enough to answer.

“You don’t mind catching, do you Goten?” he said more like a statement than a question as Goten tried to press himself farther over his wriggling digit. Goten openly moaned as the insertion of a second finger and let Josh reach that sensitive little spot inside him.

“Just fuck me already, please, Josh.”

Maybe it was the alcohol finally starting to wear off or just the shock of not having done this is in so long but it hit him suddenly, once Josh began to thrust inside him, that he’d never been with anyone but Trunks before. He pushed the thought away and didn’t let it take hold over him and he still came with a drawn out shout about an hour later, thoroughly impressed with his initiative in bringing Josh home tonight.

When he woke up the next morning, he couldn’t believe he had taken Josh home last night. Waking up to the warmth he provided in his bed was quite pleasant but as soon as his eyes fully adjusted to the light, he had a definite ‘oh shit’ moment. It must have registered on his face, because Josh raised and eyebrow and brushed a thumb over Goten’s cheek.

“It’s ok, Goten, I know this was just a one time event” he said with a friendly smile. Goten blushed, not really sure what to say.

“I, uh, I haven’t really done the whole, ‘one night’… thing, before” he stammered slightly.

“I see…” Josh said, “Well, if you’d like, I can show you the ropes” he offered, obviously amused with him. Goten just stared, not sure what he meant by that.

“For instance,” Josh continued, “This is the part where you ask me if I used a condom” a twinkle was building in his eyes, “I did, by the way” he finished with another wink and a shrug of his shoulders as if to say ‘it was nothing, you’re welcome’. Goten groaned in embarrassment, putting a hand over his eyes momentarily. He hadn’t even thought of that; he and Trunks had never used them, he didn’t even think he owned one…

“Now, this next part is where it gets tricky” Josh explained more seriously, “There are all sorts of decisions to be made by the owner of the bed you wake up in, as well as by the ‘visiting’ partner in response to them.” Goten’s blush began to fade and he was kind of curious now.

“Like what?” he asked, gaining back some of his confidence and tracing a finger over the dragon tattooed on Josh’s side.

“Well, at the top of the list would be, do you kick me out immediately, or go for a round of morning sex first?” he said as he slid a hand over Goten’s hip.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve had morning sex” Goten commented as he moved his hand to stroke the collection of designs on Josh’s hip, “but even if we don’t, I’m not going to just toss you to the curb at least eat some breakfast or something…”

“You seem fairly open to the idea” Josh said, looking at the light that could easily turn into heat in Goten’s eyes, “why would we not?”

“Ok, I’m just going to admit this up front,” Goten sighed, “I don’t even have any condoms, so unless you’ve got another one hidden away somewhere, it’s not a good idea” Goten waited for Josh to comment and do that laughing smirk thing that, oh my god… reminded him of Trunks… Shit. There was no laugh, though; his face was almost completely calm as he spoke.

“Do you not know how gorgeous you are, Goten?” he asked rather seriously.

“What? What does that have to do with anything?” Goten asked him, seriously confused. Josh stroked his cheek again, his eyes regaining some of their playfulness.

“I know you’ve had a boyfriend before and you’re not a virgin, so I’m just wondering why it wouldn’t cross your mind that you might want to have some around, just in case” he teased a bit on the last part. Goten flopped onto his back with a sigh, crossing his arms over his chest. He wasn’t good at lying, and hell, it’s not like he and Trunks had been any sort of secret…

“I’d never been with anyone but him, and he’d never been with anyone but me, we never used them. I never thought about getting any because I’ve just been trying to heal and stuff, I didn’t even think about dating until you asked me out that time” he said.

“That’s awfully wise of you, for someone so young” Josh commented, serious again, “Do you mind if I ask how long it’s been?”

“Almost two years, this’ll be my second Christmas alone…” Goten answered him. It wasn’t like it made any difference. “We’d been together for seven, it takes awhile to get over that” he said kind of defensively. Josh didn’t say anything for a moment and Goten figured he was trying to think of a way to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible before Goten became the emotional mess that threatened to twist up out of his chest.

“I was married once” Josh said softly. Goten looked over at him, a little startled by his contribution. Josh smiled and there was suddenly a light in his eyes and face that made him seem like an entirely different man.

“My husband and I, we were married for almost a decade. We had our ups and downs, it wasn’t a fairy tale thing where everything was perfect all the time, but we loved each other. He was the one, you know?” Josh paused. Goten nodded. He did know.

“He died a little over 5 years ago now… He was in a plane crash on a business trip… His boss and three other employees all died too” Josh was staring down at his hand. Goten could guess why, but didn’t say anything.

“I just took off the ring about a year ago” he said, flexing his fingers. Looking up at Goten he continued, “I didn’t and still don’t really, want anything too serious, I’m just not ready for that, like you said, it takes a while… But I understand the not thinking about it thing” Josh fiddled with the edge of the sheet, “I didn’t mean to push you, Goten.”

“It’s ok, I’m the one who brought you here” Goten said, “besides, my boyfriend didn’t die, I can’t imagine how bad that must have been, to lose your husband… I mean, I’ve lost people, but not ones that I loved like that…”

“It is what it is” Josh shrugged his shoulders. “I did have fun with you last night” he said a moment later, beginning to smile again, “Come on, we gotta lighten up this mood here before we both start wallowing and end up eating a gallon of ice cream.” Goten laughed, unbeknownst to Josh he could eat a gallon of ice cream just as a warm up but he kept that information to himself.

“I do, by the way” Josh said, his smirk returning as he scooted closer to Goten.

“You do what? Plan on eating a gallon of ice cream?” Goten was smiling himself again after the laugh.

“No, have another condom” Josh said, winking at him. After Goten lay panting and sweating beneath Josh for the second time, he decided that a shower was definitely going to be in order before anything else. That did raise the problem of that being Josh’s last condom though, so Goten insisted Josh shower first and that he would go second, since he was company after all. There was no way Goten was going to make it through showering with him without having sex up against those tiles, so that was the way it had to be.

Josh, having already been mostly invited to stay for breakfast, decided it would be ok to poke around in the kitchen while Goten showered, so he dried off and ‘stole’ a pair of Goten’s boxers to do his exploring. It wasn’t like he couldn’t just return them on Monday. That would make the conversations in the breakroom much more interesting for a while, he thought to himself with a grin. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was already 20 after 1 (pm), but figured eggs were fine for any meal, really. Whipping up about a dozen of them, since he had seen Goten eat on more than one occasion, he started cooking before Goten got out of the shower, figuring it was the least he could do.

Gohan thought it was strange that his brother’s front door was unlocked, noticing when he turned his spare key in it, there was no sound of the dead bolt sliding back… Odd. He reached for the doorknob and turned it without trying the key first, just to check. It swung open.

“Huh, that’s not like Goten, to not lock his door…” Trunks said, frowning. Gohan nodded, agreeing with him.

“Yeah, I wonder what’s up” he said as they let themselves in. There were definite cooking sounds and smells coming from the kitchen, so Gohan made a b-line for it.

“Hey, Goten, you know your door’s unlocked?” he questioned, rounding the corner. The man who stood in front of the stove, cooking in nothing but a pair of boxers, was not Goten. He turned at the sound of Gohan’s voice, raising an eyebrow at him as if Gohan was the one out of place.

“The front door?” Josh said, gesturing with a spatula.

“Uh, yeah” Gohan answered, glancing beside him to see if maybe Trunks recognized this guy. He obviously did not.

“Not surprising” Josh said, dismissing it with another wave of his cooking utensil. “So, you two staying for breakfast? ‘Cause I can whip up another batch…” he offered, recognizing Gohan as Goten’s brother from a picture on his fridge.

“Breakfast?” Trunks said almost accusingly, “It’s one thirty in the afternoon…”

“Well you can call it lunch, if it will make you feel better” Josh replied as if he was soothing a small child. Trunks crossed his arms and snorted at him. Gohan just shook his head, this was not going to be pretty.

“And you are?” Josh asked as he dished out the ready food, heaping Goten’s plate until things were seriously in danger of falling off of it.

“Trunks” Trunks said gruffly.

“And I’m Goten’s brother, Gohan” Gohan said much more politely.

“Those are Goten’s boxers” Trunks interrupted any further introductions, with what he considered to be, the startling news. Josh sighed, he loved kids, really, he did… Then a thought passed through his mind as well…

“And how would you know that?” he asked, still trying to be slightly playful about it, but beginning to have his suspicions. Gohan looked at the completely disparate amounts of food on the plates Josh had dished up, and placed a hand on Trunks’ arm, hoping he would get the hint and back down a bit. Also, the territorial signals Trunks’ energy was giving off were making him a bit jealous…

“I’ve known Goten all my life, we grew up together, I know everything about him. And who the hell are you, anyway?” Trunks sneered.

“I’m Josh” was all he said, eying Trunks coolly. Gohan tightened his grip on Trunks, to get his attention as he spoke.

“So, Josh, are you Goten’s boyfriend?” he asked, unable to control his curiosity any longer, “Where is he, by the way?”

“…He’s in the shower” Josh said, not sure how Goten would want him to respond to the first part of that question when coming from his brother. Thank god the water finally turned off, though it would probably be a minute before Goten emerged.

“You sure I can’t get anything for you and your friend?” Josh said casually one more time, hoping that only addressing Gohan and playing it cool would keep the situation from getting too dramatic.

“He’s my boyfriend and actually I think he could use a drink” Gohan said, steering him to the table. Trunks sat down with a small huff and accepted the glass of orange juice from Josh, not looking at his face.

“It’s just OJ, Goten isn’t exactly a drinker, so no screwdrivers or anything…” he said, not sure if by ‘drink’ Gohan had meant something stronger. Trunks just gripped it and angrily studied Josh’s numerous tattoos. Sitting down, Josh started eating his food, no sense in letting it get cold… He must have read the situation wrong, if Trunks was Gohan’s boyfriend… But it was still odd how jealous he was acting… Oh well, if he had been starting an actual relationship with Goten, he would have worried about it more, but since they weren’t he just let it go, finding Trunks's behavior quite amusing in the meantime.

When Goten crossed the living room he had just a pair of boxers on. He’d noticed all of Josh’s clothes still on the floor of his bedroom and actually expected him to be walking around his house butt-naked. Not that he minded necessarily but he wasn’t sure if he was comfortable enough with their little ‘situation’ to just flaunt it like that… And Goten thanked god for his inherent modesty when he entered the kitchen. Josh was eating at the table with Gohan sitting next to him and Trunks was on the end, glaring at his orange juice as if he was trying to boil it with his gaze.

“Hey, breakfast is ready” Josh said, holding up a forkful of eggs as if to prove it, “and also, you got broken into” he motioned the fork toward Gohan, “You should really think about locking your front door” he grinned, popping the bite in his mouth. Goten had to laugh.

“Eh, it wouldn’t do any good, they have a key” he said, nodding to them and taking a seat at the table. He ignored the million and a half questions on his brother's face, and began eating, passively wondering how good a cook Josh was. Suddenly there was the sound of breaking glass from Trunks’ end of the table. Goten sighed, he was almost afraid to look… but on the other hand, it’s not like he’d asked them to come over.

Trunks was a bit startled when his glass of orange juice exploded in front of him, he hadn’t meant to actually break it… He quickly picked up the base of the glass before Josh could see that the damage was not from his grip on it. Gohan was scowling at him, but Goten just looked at him like 'really?' and stood up.

“No, I’ll get it. Sorry about that, Goten” he said, grabbing the paper towels and feeling like an idiot as he cleaned up the glass. Josh got up at the same time, since he had now finished his plate, and poured him another drink without a word. Trunks was more grateful than he should have been that the man didn’t really seem to know his way around Goten’s kitchen.

“Well, I think I’m going to go see if I can rustle up my clothes” Josh said with a wink to Goten, putting his plate in the sink. Goten nodded, his mouth full of food at the moment, and kept eating as Josh headed back to the bedroom. Gohan and Trunks looked like the current silence was rather awkward for them, but in all honesty, Goten was actually starting to enjoy this whole thing a bit, seeing how it affected them. He didn’t make any effort to speak, instead eating with a small smile until his breakfast was gone. Gohan ventured to break the silence first, while Trunks just looked sheepishly at his new glass.

“So, have you guys been dating long? When we first came in I asked him if he was your boyfriend, and he didn’t really answer me…” With perfect timing, Josh came back out, dressed in his good suit from last night, and heard Gohan’s inquiry. Glancing over to him, Josh saw the playful look in Goten’s eyes, and decided to risk cutting in.

“Na, I’m not his boyfriend” he said, bending over and kissing him. Goten saw him leaning in and didn’t fight it, his eyes even twinkling a bit in unexpressed laughter, so Josh took it up a notch and put a fair amount of passion into the kiss, turning it into an almost impromptu make-out session. Finally breaking away from him, he leaned back up and ran a thumb over Goten’s cheek.

“I’m just the flavor of the week” he winked, and Goten blushed. Gohan’s eyebrows looked like they were going to leap off his face, they were raised so high. Trunks’ face had become unreadable, but at least the kid had gotten a semblance of control over himself, and wasn’t scowling anymore. “See you Monday, Goten” he finished with a smile.

“Oh, ok, Josh” Goten said, slightly disappointed that the fun was over. After a moment, Goten hopped up and followed after him.

“Just locking the door behind you” he said innocently as Josh gave him a questioning look. He really did want to lock the door, but he had one last thing to say as well.

“Thanks for being cool about this” he smiled as Josh walked past him and outside. He knew Josh would know what he meant, but that his brother and Trunks wouldn’t, which was why he chose that wording.

“Anytime” Josh nodded, his eyes laughing, and then he headed down the walk and off across the street. Goten had no idea where he was going, but he figured he was a big boy and he could take care of getting himself home.

“We didn’t mean to, uh, scare him off… Sorry” Gohan did the grown-up thing and apologized.

“Oh, it’s ok” Goten said absently as he locked the door, “We were out of condoms anyway.” Trunks choked on the juice he had finally decided to go ahead and drink, and the sound of breaking glass filled Goten’s kitchen for the second time that day.

…………

Trunks felt really bad about how immature he’d acted at Goten’s that day, so he had been looking for an opportunity to pull him aside and apologize all night. The problem with New Years’ Eve though, is that it’s all one big party. And then of course Gohan had found it necessary to pull him aside when midnight struck, so they could share a little more than just a kiss to start off the new year. Before he knew it, 2am had rolled around, and Goten was saying his goodbye’s, about to take off for the night.

“Hold up there, Goten, I wanted to talk to you for a minute, if you can stay awake just a little longer” he joked as he waved him down.

“Oh, sure Trunks” he said. Leading Goten away from the main party and over to the kitchen, Trunks leaned against the counter, not bothering to sit down. Goten took the cue that this thankfully would not be a long conversation, since he really was getting tired.

“I just wanted to say I’m sorry” Trunks confessed, looking embarrassed.

“Why?” asked Goten incredulously, “What’d you do now?”

“No, I didn’t ‘do’ anything else, or again… Whatever… I meant for for other day, with that Josh guy” he said, actually blushing a bit.

“Did Gohan put you up to this?” Goten asked him, still not quite believing that Trunks was apologizing to him.

“No, it just seemed like the right thing to do, I was out of line” Trunks admitted, taking a deep breath.

“He’s been a good influence on you” Goten admitted softly. “And I do forgive you. So don’t worry, it’s not like it’ll happen again.”

“Yeah, we’ll definitely call first from now on” Trunks nodded. That wasn’t exactly what Goten meant, but just as a precedent for the future, it would seem like a good idea; you never know… So he decided to let it slide.

…………

“Bad news, Goten” Josh said as he came up behind him.

“What? Don’t tell me the vending machines broke down again, cause there will be a riot this time” Goten joked with him.

“Nope, worse than that actually… Remember Rick from accounting and his hasty divorce? Turns out it wasn’t cause he’s gay. She was” Josh said, disappointed.

“Damn” said Goten, furrowing his brow.

“Yeah, I guess we’ll have to either call off the bet, or pick a new ‘target’” Josh said with a grin.

“Don’t say it like that” Goten rolled his eyes at him.

“What? Even if it was just a pizza, a bet’s a bet, and it did revolve seeing which one of us he’d rather go out with.”

“Right, but that was like, a hypothetical, way distant scenario, you make it sound like we were waiting for the ink to dry before pouncing on him” Goten admonished.

“Which is why you would have lost, Goten, because you just don’t think like enough of a slut” Josh admonished back.

…………

It seemed like his mom had been a lot easier to shop for when he was young. He remembered one time giving her a candy cane striped candle for her birthday, and her ooing and ahing over it, even though her birthday was at the end of March… Of course he had been like 6 at the time, so that might have had something to do with it. Goten paced up and down the isle of decorative and novelty knick knacks, having no idea what to get. Finally, out of frustration, he stood in the middle of it and closed his eyes, spinning in a circle a few times and then pointing randomly before he opened them again. A woman at the end of the isle laughed. He didn’t really pay any attention to her, focusing on what fate had chosen for his mother instead. A Snuggie? He couldn’t get her that…

“Mother, or wife?” the lady asked, having come closer without him realizing it.

“Uh, mother” he said hesitantly, was he really at the point of getting help from a stranger? He looked at her smiling face; she seemed to be about his mother’s age, maybe she could help… It was either that, or a Snuggie, at this point…

“And good, old-fashioned chocolate is out?” she said, raising an eyebrow as if such a thing could not possibly be true.

“Yeah, it’d never make it past my dad” he informed her. She kind of rolled her eyes a bit, but continued to offer suggestions.

“Well, every woman likes jewelry” she informed him.

“Brother already beat me to it” Goten sighed.

“Fancy beauty-care products? A good smelling lotion?”

“Mom’s very picking about her beauty regiment…”

“Pretty stationary? A diary?” Goten’s face lit up.

“You’re welcome” the lady patted him on the shoulder, still smiling.

“Thank you!” he said as he trotted off to another section of the store.

Well, being for his mother, Hello Kitty was going to be out… And so were most of the other selections here, being made for girls far too young. Way down at the end, they had some more sophisticated designs, even ones with little flower themes on them that he thought she might actually enjoy. It came down to roses, outlined in a silver filigree pattern, or orchids with a gold one… He chose the roses. He was just turning to check out if they had matching pens, when one of the journals up near the very top of the shelf somehow caught his eye. He reached up slowly and pulled it down. It was nearly an exact replica of the very first one he’d ever owned. It was only a rather plain black on the outside, but it stood out against all the others here, with them being so colorful.

He stood there looking at it for a while, but then put it back on the shelf. Perusing the various offerings, he chose one with sort of a sparkly blue plaid on it’s cover, and then went back on his search to see if they had the matching pens. He remembered once, promising himself that if he ever got another journal, it would be filled with the whole range of his emotions, not just the darker ones. He felt like he was in a place to do that now, and was fairly excited at the checkout stand, not just for his mother’s gift finally working out, but for his own purchase as well.

…………

Turns out, it’s a lot harder to write in a journal when you’re not all emotional. He recorded a few cursory things in it from time to time, but he felt like he was letting the idea of it down almost, by not using it in this new capacity as much as he had the others. As he thought about it, he came to the realization that his life was really just at an emotional ‘medium’ right now. He wasn’t plagued by sadness and doubt anymore, which was awesome, to be sure. But on the other hand, most of the emotions he experienced on a day to day basis now weren’t really the ‘opposite’ of that. He wasn’t down, but he wasn’t up. He was just hovering along in between the two. A wave of genuine loneliness swept over him so strongly, that he sat down right there, in the middle of his bedroom floor, and held his head in his hands for a moment.

Of course, now he could think of something worth writing down… It wasn’t supposed to be like this, he thought, thumbing the edge of the pages. He finally decided to go ahead and write his realization down. If that was what he was really feeling, then it would be like a lie to not put it in there. Once he was done, he very seriously considered his next series of moves, placing the journal in a drawer and looking at the clock. It was only 7:30 on a Friday night… There was still plenty of time to go out, dance, meet someone new. He wasn’t planning on even drinking, and certainly not on bringing someone back home tonight, but if the happiness of having someone close again was what he wanted, he was going to have to do something about it himself.

…………

“Hey, Goten” Trunks said, landing on his doorstep out of the blue, “I need to ask you for a favor – like, a really big favor…” Goten raised an eyebrow at that. Trunks put his hands up.

“Before you say anything, I know I’ve already asked you for way too much over our lives, but just hear me out, ok? There’s no one else I can go to with this” he said, obviously distraught. Had he been crying? Goten ushered him in right away, and sat him down on the couch. Something serious was brooding under his “princes always hold it together” demeanor.

“What’s wrong, Trunks?” he prompted him. Trunks closed his eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly before he spoke.

“You remember the story of how your Dad died?” Trunks asked him.

“Which time?”

“The one right before you were born.”

“Yeah, with that Cell guy, and Gohan ascending to SSJ2, all that?” Goten looked at him questioningly.

“Yeah, that’s the one… But you’re leaving out the most important part there” Trunks sighed, the look in his eyes becoming rather dark, “Me.”

“You? You were a baby Trunks… You mean the other guy, don’t you, the Trunks from the future?” Goten wasn’t sure where all of this was going.

“Yeah, him… After everything was taken care of, he left, right? That’s what he was supposed to do, leave, and go take care of his world. He wasn’t ever supposed to come back” Trunks put his head in his hands.

“What do you mean, come back?”

…………

He’d been so distraught, he’d forgotten to keep his energy down… Shit. He so did not want to deal with anyone right now, but from the feel of it, it was Piccolo who’d come after him, and he knew he’d never evade the surly green giant at this range. With a sigh, Mirai Trunks went back to staring at the vista, hoping if he said nothing he’d be left alone again quickly. When Piccolo landed, he stood beside him and crossed his arms over his chest.

“So, your mother, she’s gone then” he said seeking confirmation. It wasn’t what Mirai Trunks had expected him to start with.

“Yeah, she died about a year ago” he answered before he could remember he didn’t plan to talk.

“Why now?” Piccolo asked him, his voice betraying a genuine curiosity. Not ‘why him?’ or ‘why men?’ (in general), though Mirai Trunks could guess now at why those other questions didn’t really need explaining. His plan already in tatters in every way imaginable, he went ahead and told him.

“Because we’d be the same age, so it wouldn’t be so awkward – looks like I called that one wrong too” he said dejectedly. After a moment, Piccolo spoke up again.

“There’s something I think you should know, Trunks.”

“What, that he’s already fucking the other me?” Mirai Trunks said sarcastically.

“No, I assumed you’d already been informed of that” Piccolo said flatly, not rising to the drama of the situation. A sort of huff, mixed with a snort, came out of Mirai Trunks, and he turned his head away from the Namekian.

“Yeah, I was, at point blank, by myself.”

“Look kid, I didn’t come here to listen to you mope, I came because Gohan asked me to; to check on you and make sure you were ok. With the other Trunks freaking out so much about your arrival and the little stunt you pulled, it might be a long time before he’d get the chance to explain things to you, if ever. So he asked me to talk to you. This is not some self-esteem building session, you got it?” Piccolo seemed rather agitated, but he actually did care underneath the gruffness.

“You kind of suck at this whole ‘pep talk’ thing” Mirai Trunks informed him.

“Do you want to understand or not? The choice is up to you. I’m perfectly fine with turning around and leaving right now.”

“What is there to ‘understand’? Huh?” Mirai Trunks asked him, upset, “How can anything you could possibly say make a difference?”

“He’s not your Gohan.”

“I know that.”

“No, I mean in more ways than just that” Piccolo countered.

“What do you mean?” Mirai Trunks asked, though his tone didn’t sound as if he actually cared.

“The explanation goes back almost as far as your last journey here” Piccolo said cryptically.

“Ok, fine, let’s hear your ‘explanation’ then, I’ve got nothing better to do” Mirai Trunks sighed and leaned back against the rock he was sitting next to, staring off into the distance again. Piccolo looked at him closely, almost as if to gauge whether he should really tell him or not, then finally he spoke.

“I’m sure you realize that not many people are aware of the fact that there are, or were, alternate versions of themselves in your world. Gohan is one of those few people, and he used to think a lot about your time, what happened to him in it, and how different things were for him here, thanks to you. I bring all that up so you’ll know how I got my information, from talking to him about what he knew of it, and the differences between the two times” Piccolo paused, taking an almost meditative like breath, and then plunged ahead.

“There’s more than one way to lose everything you care about kid, sometimes you don’t even have to die…”

“What?” Mirai Trunks had to admit he was a bit intrigued by what the green man might have to say now.

“Our Gohan, he’s a lot stronger than yours was.”

“Everyone knows that” he said, getting ready to dismiss him again.

“But have you ever sat down and thought about what it might mean for him, what it might do to him, to be so powerful at such an age?” Piccolo asked him, almost rhetorically, knowing he hadn’t.

“I don’t get what you’re trying to say, because he’s stronger, he started screwing the other me?” Mirai Trunks gave him an annoyingly fake summary of the situation. Piccolo sighed.

“Do you remember when he first broke through? When he first touched that power that was an entire level above and beyond anything we’d ever dreamed?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“And how he reacted and treated the situation? He wasn’t just in a rage, he toyed with his enemy, reveled in the pain he inflicted on him. He let giving into that become a weakness that ended up ultimately hurting those around him.”

“Yes, I remember, Piccolo, I was there too” he said a bit sullenly.

“Ok, now picture that boy, with all that rage and violence simmering inside him, going through puberty.”

Mirai Trunks frowned at first, and then his eyes went wide as he thought about it, and he turned to face Piccolo, looking for some sort of clue as to whether the hint he had just placed in his mind was really true or not.

“Training seemed to make it worse. I would take him out here and there in the beginning, when we could pry him away from his studies… He eventually told me that, at first, it was only while we sparred or directly after that he would get those violent thoughts… How it started mixing with his newly awakening ‘urges’, and how it scared him. He was fine most of the time… But one day, we’d had the chance to spar three days in a row, a feat virtually unheard of… And the night of the third day, he powered up in their kitchen, destroyed a couple of his mom’s pots and pans, raised a hand to her… Well, fist actually… All over a dish he didn’t care for. He would have killed her, instantly, striking her while powered up at that level… He made a choice that night, to choose his family over the power, over continuing to try and train. He didn’t train again until he was certain, years later, that he could control himself. It took about 5, if I remember correctly. Five years of calmness and monotony and meditation, to keep the worst of it at bay while his hormones were in overdrive” Piccolo paused and waited to see what Mirai Trunks’ reaction would be.

“Why are you telling me this? To scare me away? I’m not the kind of jerk who would purposefully break up another couple anyway…” Mirai Trunks asked him.

“I’m telling you this because knowing the effect it had might help ease some of your pain, as per his request” Piccolo informed him.

“Gohan’s request?”

“Yes, Trunks, he does care about what happens to someone he considered a true friend. That caring nature will always be a part of him as well, though it wars with the shadow of what he suppressed for so long.”

“You mean he still has problems with it?”

“After our Trunks and him found their way to each other, he no longer had to view it as a problem. Not many people would be accepting of all of him, love all of him like that… And from what I know of you from our interaction before, the kind of world you came from, I don’t think the type of ‘relationship’ they have is one you’d be able to make yourself enjoy.”

“I was a super Saiyan through most of puberty too, and I didn’t experience anything like what you’re talking about” Trunks said, not wanting to fully believe it, but being too intelligent not to read between the lines there.

“You weren’t born with the rage, kid… None of you were, after him – thank god.”

“None of us…” Trunks said. His brain hurt now, almost as badly as his heart. Was it supposed to distract him from the other pain, was that the plan? If so, it was a sucky one. Trunks didn’t try to hide the petty, sarcastic comment forming on his tongue. As if correcting the grammar of his logic had anything to do with Piccolo’s probably all too accurate assessment of the situation.

“If I wasn’t born with it, then of course the me here wouldn’t be either”

“I meant the Trunks here, and Goten, actually, not yourself” Piccolo informed him.

“Who’s Goten?”

………..

“I’m really surprised you’re ok with this… Not that I’m complaining, I just didn’t think you’d want to set foot in the same room with him for quite a while” Gohan rubbed Trunks’ shoulders as he finished washing the last plate.

“I don’t mind being in the same room with him at all” Trunks informed him, “Besides, I can commiserate with being stuck at Capsule Corp with my parents 24-7, it would drive anyone crazy.”

“That’s true” Gohan smiled and kissed the back of his neck.

“And he did earn a few bonus points by running it by me first” Trunks admitted, turning to face him.

“Oh really? So when I came to you and asked if it would be ok, for us to hang out just as friends, you’d already agreed to it?” Gohan was scandalized.

“Yeah, sort of…” Trunks grinned wickedly.

“Seriously? You sooo owe me now, that’s not even cool” Gohan shook his head slowly, as if in disbelief, while holding Trunks’ gaze.

“Oh come on, you know you like those heels” Trunks said, the wickedness of his grin penetrating all the way through to his eyes.

“And you knew I wouldn’t have enough time to exact my revenge before he got here, didn’t you?” Gohan leaned in, capturing his lips for a kiss that promised revenge would be had.

“I’m not just another pretty face, you know” Trunks smirked as the door bell rang. He let Gohan move to open it, but stayed fairly close in the background. Them being in the same room was fine. Even both of them being in the same room with Gohan was ok. But him being in the same room with Gohan, alone, was not going to happen. Trunks had made sure of that.

“Hey, Trunks, come on in” Gohan greeted him. He entered, and nodded to his duplicate, or rather, the man he duplicated…

“Well, first off, I wanted to let you know that I realized it would be too confusing for us both to be called the same thing” he said, gesturing to Trunks, “So I’ve decided to just go by ‘Mirai’ now. This is your time, your world, and I don’t want to infringe.”

“Mirai? For a name? That’s, kind of, different…” Gohan said. Trunks didn’t comment, he was just glad that it was no longer an issue, he didn’t really care what he decided to go by now.

“Well, it seemed better than going by ‘future brat’, though I’m pretty sure me changing my name won’t stop dad from calling me that” Mirai rolled his eyes. Trunks did have to chuckle at that.

“Don’t feel too bad, he still calls Gohan ‘Kakarot’s brat’ all the time” Trunks told him.

“Really? Still? What does he call you? If you don’t mind me asking…” Mirai wondered.

“Son” Trunks said, not trying to hurt him, but not really caring to hold back either. He softened it with “but he calls me Trunks too sometimes, when he’s mad at me” and added a wink after it. Gohan snorted at that, but before he could say anything in response, the door bell rang again. Gohan frowned, wondering who it could be, until he felt Goten’s energy.

“Hey bro, what’s up?” Gohan said as he opened the door for him.

“Nothing much. Just feeling charitable and thought I’d waste my Saturday afternoon hanging out with you losers” he said, punching Gohan in the arm as he went by.

“Hey Trunks” Goten smiled.

“Hey” Trunks smiled back.

“Really?” Gohan turned, looking at Trunks as if he’d just caught him in the act.

“What? Your brother’s not allowed to come over and want to spend some time with you?” he pretend, as if to cover his intent in inviting Goten there, as if Gohan would ever in a million years believe that. Since Trunks and Gohan were having a rather in depth conversation through the various raisings of their eyebrows, Goten turned to address the other Trunks.

“So, you must be the reason I exist.”

Goten could practically hear Trunks’ end of the facial expression conversation crash and burn. It still felt just the tiniest bit good, after all these years, but he didn’t intend on pushing it. Really he’d just wanted to get to say that, and then he’d leave it alone. Honest. The combination of the laughter in Goten’s eyes, and whatever was going on behind him (he was sure), was amusing enough to Mirai for it to earn him a small smile, that could maybe, almost, sort of be considered a smirk. His eyes sure did light up though, regardless, and he laughed as if he was almost embarrassed as he jokingly countered him.

“Well, I think your parents probably deserve more of that credit than I do… You must be this ‘Goten’ I keep hearing about” he said, extending a hand. Goten nodded, shaking it, then bowed to him. There, that ‘formality’ should make up for not being able to resist his previous comment. Mirai bowed back.

“So, what does Vegeta call you?” he asked, bringing Goten into the conversation after he explained the change in name.

“Oh, just Goten really” he answered, laughing, knowing the word “Gohan” had probably never passed from Vegeta’s lips.

“And what about when he’s mad at you?” Mirai said, quite curious.

“I don’t know, Vegeta’s never really gotten mad at me” Goten thought about it. Mirai’s face looked like it was suffering from a bad case of lag as his mind tried to process what his ears had just heard. He blinked a few times, and put his hands on his hips.

“Vegeta’s never gotten mad at you? How is that even possible?” he asked, dumbstruck. Goten smiled, it did sound ridiculous now that he said it out loud. He tilted his head to the side, thinking for a moment.

“Well, all our lives, Trunks has always been better than me at everything we’ve ever done, I’d say that’s probably the single biggest contributing factor” he said, rather insightfully.

“And that doesn’t bother you?” Mirai asked, his interest piqued.

“Well, by the time it probably would have, I was already old enough to not care about that kind of stuff anymore” Goten knew his answer was a little cryptic, but he wasn’t sure how much of his and Trunks’ past Mirai was aware of already.

“That sounds like it’s a long story” Mirai showed he was capable of a bit of insight himself, “So you guys grew up together, best friends and all that?”

“Yeah, pretty much… Well, let’s see, it’s 1pm now, so… No, we don’t have enough time to get into that right now” Goten laughed.

“Ok… Well however that worked out, you’re both obviously still close enough that you agreed to come over here and run interference for him when he asked you to” Mirai called them on it. Trunks and Gohan had been standing off to the side slightly, just taking in Goten and Mirai’s back and forth until now, when Trunks cleared his throat. Goten ignored him.

“Yeah, pretty much” Goten smiled, finding the hint of challenge in his honesty kind of amusing.

“And do you always do whatever he tells you to?” Mirai asked, only the smallest touch of bitterness creeping into his voice. Goten’s laugh was too loud for the edge of suspensefulness that had settled over the room during the last few sentences. His laughter was actually echoing a bit while everyone else stood around in an awkward silence. He put his hand to his mouth, trying to stifle a lingering giggle as he finally caught his breath. Trunks looked like his face was going to catch on fire, and Gohan was looking at Trunks like he had told him so, and had no right to complain, since he had been the one to invite Goten over.

“No, not at all Mirai” Goten finally said, walking over to the fridge. Grabbing a couple of beers out of it, he handed one to a slightly confused looking Mirai, and then put an arm over his shoulder, steering him toward the back door.

“Come on, I think maybe you do need to hear ‘The History’ as I like to call it” Goten told him, still a hint of laughter in his voice.

“And what, we’re just supposed to wait in here?” Trunks said, only slightly miffed since he knew how this story would go, but that at least it would mean Mirai would be occupied for quite some time.

“Hey, you told me to come hungry, aren’t you supposed to be cooking your guests something to eat anyway?” Goten fired back over his shoulder, “Oh, and please try to refrain from having sex in the kitchen while you’re cooking, that’s just gross and uncalled for.”

“Oh, My, God, it was only that one t-” Trunks stopped himself as Gohan raised an eyebrow at him. They’d never had sex while trying to cook. In the kitchen, yes, but Goten’s comment had been a bit more specific than that… Rolling his eyes, Gohan began pulling food out of the fridge to get started.

…………

Mirai’s face scrunched up a little less now that he was on the last sip of beer, he guessed it must be an acquired taste…hopefully he wouldn’t be forced to drink any more of them out of politeness… He set the can down on the step next to him as Goten stared at the cement of the patio; dragging up his past obviously hadn’t been a comfortable thing for him, but Mirai actually appreciated it quite a bit.

“That… That really sucks” he commented, unsure what words to use. He had not expected this man, who was a perfect stranger to him, to open up quite so much in their ‘talk’. Goten sighed, finishing off the last of his beer as well.

“Yeah, it does… You know, there was a time when I would have tried to just brush it off, thinking that that’s what I should do if I was really over it, you know? But I don’t think like that anymore. I realized somewhere along the way that it was ok to be hurt, if that’s what I was feeling, as long as I didn’t wallow in it. My emotions are valid and I don’t have to hide them or justify them to anyone else. That realization alone actually helped me quite a bit in moving on. It took me a long time to be happy for Trunks and Gohan, but I got there eventually” he spoke to the top of his empty beer can, flicking the tab of it absently.

“I guess it’s just hard for me to wrap my head around how the same person can turn out so differently under given circumstances…” Mirai wondered aloud. The miniscule amount of alcohol in a single beer was in no way, shape, or form enough to affect a demi-saiyan, but he did feel a sort of camaraderie with Goten, both of them being on the outside, looking in. Goten nodded, then studied him intently as he looked up.

“Did you really get a chance to know the Gohan in your time ‘like that’?” he questioned, having understood the future Gohan to have died while Mirai was pretty young. He normally wouldn’t ask someone he didn’t know something so personal, but having just shared what he did, he felt it was ok to at least ask. Mirai would tell him if he didn’t want to answer, or simply just not tell him. Mirai raised an eyebrow at Goten’s question.

“Uh, no… No I didn’t… That’s not really what I meant, I was talking about ‘myself’…” he said, a bit embarrassed; he didn’t want Goten to get the wrong idea though. Goten blushed a little, mostly because he realized he’d embarrassed Mirai, and hadn’t meant to.

“Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t come here just because Trunks asked me to. I wanted to, so I could tell you that I know how you feel. At least partly, anyway. When I was going through all ‘that’, I had friends and family around to help, even when I didn’t want it. I just couldn’t help thinking that it would be awful to have to go through something like that while completely alone. That’s why I decided to go along with Trunks’ request; not really to help him out, so much as to get the chance to let you know that I’m here, if you need someone or something or whatever…” Goten looked off into the distance while he spoke, thinking it would be less uncomfortable for the other demi that way.

“Thanks” Mirai said, surprised at Goten’s empathy and at not sensing any subterfuge in his mannerisms.

“You’re welcome. Just think of it as kind of a standing offer of friendliness, whenever you’re ready to use it. I know it’s only been a couple of weeks since you got here and all ‘that’ happened, so you probably aren’t wanting to go out clubbing or anything yet… I guess I’m trying to say that if you just feel like you need to get out of the house, I don’t mind showing you around; our world’s probably pretty different from yours…” Goten offered.

“Clubbing?” Mirai asked in a confused tone.

“Yeah, that’s what we call going out dancing and drinking, partying all night long… You dance at a dance club, ‘clubbing’… Do you not have that kind of thing in your time?” Goten asked, slightly horrified.

“Well, I mean, people party, I just don’t really do that kind of thing. I don’t usually drink, it dulls the senses…” Mirai trailed off.

“Yeah, I’ve never been that big on it myself, but every once in a while it can be fun… Well, there’s lots of other things to do that don’t involve drinking, like going to the movies, or out to eat, or playing games” Goten suggested, trying to think of what he liked to do in his down time.

“Playing games? What kind of ‘games’?” Mirai said, cracking a smile at Goten’s complete seriousness while having said that. Seeing the look Mirai was giving him, Goten crossed his arms and gave him a sarcastic one back.

“I meant grown-up games, not like hide’n’seek” he said, resisting the urge to stick out his tongue. Mirai’s smile grew wider, and he couldn’t resist pointing out the easily misread innuendo in that statement.

“So, after we go out to eat and to the movies, you want to play some grown-up games with me?” he said, his eyes laughing where his mouth didn’t quite dare yet. He didn’t feel like he really knew Goten well enough to be joking around like that with him, but man, he had left himself sooo wide open on that one…

“That is not what I meant, and you know it” Goten said, pointing a finger at him as he blushed more deeply this time.

“I know, I know” Mirai said, not able to hold back at least a small laugh anymore, “you do have to admit you walked right into that though.”

“Oh whatever” Goten said while he rolled his eyes, but he was smiling too “I meant like video games, or chess or something… Poker! That’s a grown-up game” he added. Mirai laughed even harder at that.

“Ok, ok, just stop referring to them as ‘grown-up games’, and it might help your case a little” he said, continuing to tease him. Goten stopped fighting the urge and stuck his tongue out at him, but wasn’t able to hold it long as he fell into a fit of laughter himself.

…………

Trunks slowly slipped his arms around Gohan’s waist from behind, resting his forehead against that strong back.

“Tell me you love me” he said quietly, his eyes closed.

“I love you, Trunks” Gohan replied right away, his voice full of honest conviction. He turned around inside his love’s embrace, so that those lavender locks rested on his chest now instead. He had been about to put on a pair of pajamas, but figured now they would just be in the way of a proper comforting. He ran his hands up and down Trunks’ back, rubbing and soothing. It was unlike Trunks to be open about his insecurities, but Mirai’s appearance in their time had thrown all of them up in his face at once. Gohan was actually rather pleased that Trunks would show him this little bit of what he must be feeling inside. He pulled him closer, so their bare chests were snuggled together more firmly, and breathed deeply of the scent of his hair, letting the force of his exhaled sigh ruffle Trunks’ hair.

“I love you, always, only you, Trunks” he murmured against him.

“Show me” Trunks requested in a voice that cracked slightly, rubbing his cheek ever so slightly against the solid mass of muscle that was Gohan’s chest.

“Don’t I always?” Gohan said, slipping one hand down to cup Trunk’s ass, and using the other to lift his chin so he could see his face. He smiled warmly, seductively even, but he was met with eyes full of uncertainty as hot tears spilled their way down Trunk’s cheeks.

“Trunks…” Gohan very softly chided him, not for the tears, but for the doubt. Wiping one side away with his thumb, he kissed along the trail of tears on the other, continuing down to Trunks’ throat and neck. Lifting him up, he carried him over and placed him on their bed, administering a healthy dose of tenderness in the kisses that followed.

“I’m sorry” Trunks confessed, putting a hand on Gohan’s head and clutching him close in the middle of Gohan’s lavishing. Glancing up to his lover’s face, Gohan waited, having learned that when Trunks finally worked up the nerve, or alternately, broke down enough, to share his innermost feelings, it was best not to interrupt him.

“I heard them, out there…” Trunks said hesitantly. Gohan leaned up immediately, cupping the side of his face.

“What do you mean, were they insulting you?” he growled out, hardly able to believe such a thing from Goten, but knowing Trunks’ distress was real.

“No, that’s not it at all, they were laughing, joking with each other… Hell, he was flirting with him, for Christ’s sake! He just walks in and, ‘bam!’ suddenly Goten wants to be friends with him… If he can take him away, so easily, without even trying… What chance would I stand if he really decided to go after you?” Trunks asked him angrily and hopelessly, through a haze of tears and fear.

“He’s not taking away Goten, Trunks, and there’s nothing that anyone could ever do to take me from you” Gohan soothed him.

“He IS me, that’s the problem!” Trunks’ anger and fear were increasing, waring for dominance as the emotion of the moment. Both had grown to the point that they wouldn’t be able to be contained much longer. Gohan made a decision to let neither of them claim hold over his love, and instead banished both with a quick fistful of hair and mouthful of skin. He let the low rumble of his growl reverberate through his teeth and into the flesh of Trunks’ neck, a swift demand of submission. Instincts were useful sometimes. Gohan released his hold over his lover’s skin only long enough to speak a few words to his now relaxed form.

“He is not you” he corrected him, and bit down sharply after that. The taste of blood filled Gohan’s mouth as Trunks moaned beneath him and wrapped his formerly limp arms around Gohan’s back, pressing him close.

“You’ll never leave me…” he whispered as Gohan kissed and licked at the mark he’d just made.

“Never. Ever. I love you so much, Trunks” Gohan growled fiercely at him, “You belong to me.” The smell and taste of Trunks’ blood, combined with the way he now writhed beneath him, was waking up parts of Gohan that he normally held at bay… Things that somehow Trunks always knew how to call out of him… He could feel Trunks’ pull, like it was a scent in the air; calling for him to let go and own him. Maybe it was… Before he knew it, that deepest part of him had taken control, and there was no force in the world that could come between Gohan and the man that belonged to him. A low rumble rose again in his throat, and at that, Trunks sighed beneath him, spreading his knees to either side of Gohan’s hips.

There was no concept of clothing in the part of Gohan’s consciousness that was in control right now, and the inconvenient barriers were shredded with a careless flick of his powerful wrists. Trunks’ hips arched up to try and rub against him in the few seconds before Gohan pinned them down. Grabbing each of Trunks’ arms and pinning them likewise above his head was as close to foreplay as Gohan was going to get tonight. Grinding his cock against Trunks until it was fully erect took hardly any time at all since he was whimpering so prettily beneath him. The flesh of Trunks’ arms bruised quickly under Gohan’s fierce grip, and the fire between his legs made Trunks’ throat beg for more even though his voice was incapacitated.

Then, as if in answer, the grip on Trunks’ arms changed into a slow, controlled rake, leaving angry red lines in it’s wake down his arms and over his chest. By the time fingers reached thighs, lines of blood had begun to form behind them instead, drawing a long and guttural moan from Trunks. Every line, every mark, every bruise and abrasion was like a line in a love song to him. By Gohan’s hand, and sometimes teeth, was the ultimate claim made over him. Another bite on his calf… Another bruise on his hip… It isn’t that which gives life to something that truly controls, but that which can destroy it. And every little act of destruction served as a reminder of where the power lay; that the ownership of this body resided not with Trunks, but with Gohan.

A searing fire entered him then, far outstripping the flames that trickled over his thighs, and Trunks cried out into Gohan’s mouth, which sealed over his in that same instant. The trace of Trunks’ own blood mixed with the taste of Gohan’s lips and teeth and tongue as they ate at him, declaring their dominance, was nearly overwhelming. Gohan’s cock claimed him at a steady pace as well, striking the little seat of pleasure inside him with surprising precision, considering the haze of lustful instinct that rode him. Releasing him from the bruising kiss, Gohan quickened the pace of his thrusts as he used Trunks’ hair to pull his head back, exposing the long line of his throat to him. It was times like these that Trunks wondered if having your throat ripped out while in the middle of cumming would be the ultimate climax. The thought alone was enough to make his balls tighten, and when Gohan pierced the flesh around his Adam’s apple, he screamed with the intensity of his orgasm.

Gohan growled ferally at hearing such a sound come from that which he owned. Buried to the hilt in that writhing heat, Gohan came forcefully, a strength in his final thrusts that would have broken a human. Calmness, and a sated vindication flowed through him, telling him to pull his mate close and rest now. As Trunks’ bloodied, sweat soaked, and cum spattered form curled around him, Gohan caressed his back and purred for him, letting him know how completely pleased and content he was with him. In the morning they would shower, and Gohan would cook breakfast while Trunks scanned the headlines of the day’s newspaper… but for now they were just the most powerful being in the universe and his mate, snuggled against each other. Trunks had absolute faith now, that not only would nothing and no one ever take Gohan away from him, but that the heavens themselves would hold their breath if anything should dare to try and come between them.

…………

Goten was surrounded by sick people. Some in beds, some sitting in chairs, a few just laying on the floor as if they had given up. He didn’t recognize any of them, couldn’t really see their faces… He was in some sort of huge building with them… Capsule Corp maybe? But the layout was all wrong… Who would even make a room like this next one, with that small of a square footage and a two story ceiling? He knew he wasn’t supposed to touch them, there was nothing he could do for them. But he couldn’t help giving a squeeze to a hand, a hug, or comforting stroke of the hair where he could.

Then his focus shifted, noticing there was someone else like him in this room, who wasn’t sick either. The others, the infected, were moving toward that person in a rather hostile manner. Why would they be upset about it? It wasn’t his fault that he didn’t get sick. He looked like he was just a young kid too… They were going to throw him out! Goten grabbed him and took him over to the corner of the room, standing in front of him to block their view of him. Once he was out of the others’ sight, they promptly forgot about him, and went back to their suffering.

Goten turned, wishing the one he waited for would hurry up, and got his first good look at the kid’s face. It was him. Fourteen years old… He had been fourteen the time his mom had cut his hair like that… The young him looked up appreciatively, but then suddenly he wasn’t himself; he was Mirai. The younger him still smiled, opened his mouth as if to speak, but then the one he’d been waiting for finally showed up. It was Gohan. Gohan had the antidote. Gohan kissed him, deeply and tenderly, while the younger him cried in the corner. Then he woke up.

Goten blinked a few times, trying to clear the cobwebs of sleep from his brain. Thankfully, in the middle of that kiss, his perspective had changed from being Mirai to looking at Mirai and Gohan through the eyes of his teary younger self, but he wasn’t sure if that was really much better… At least he hadn’t woken up with wood after having dreamt about kissing his brother… The whole thing was awkward, at best. It wasn’t even the problem of having his brother kiss him that lingered, technically he had been Mirai at the time… But why had he cried at seeing it?

…………

Mirai lay on “his” bed, staring out the window of the guest room, thinking about how much it sucked to be an honorable person. True, his and his dad’s definition of honor varied greatly, but it was still one of the strongest aspects of his character. For instance; Vegeta, if having had access to a time machine, would have had no problem going back just a little farther and making Gohan his before the Trunks here ever came into the picture. But Mirai couldn’t do that. The guilt he felt at having risked who knows what sort of divergences occurring just by coming to stay here was bad enough. There was no way he would purposefully destroy the happiness that Gohan and Trunks had found with each other. He didn’t know if it hurt less, or more, seeing how good they were for each other.

It probably would have been easier to move on if he hadn’t made such a fool of himself initially too… He certainly hadn’t planned on it happening like that, not at all… After he hopped down out of the time machine, he had just been so ecstatic to see no ring on Gohan’s finger that he hadn’t thought about anything else. Kissing him seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do, at the time. Looking back, he probably should have at least said “hello” first. A groan of embarrassment filled the guest room even now, just thinking about it, and Mirai pulled a pillow over his head.

Who was he kidding? He’d been in love with, and been fantasizing about, Gohan ever since he was old enough to know what to do with an erection. How was he supposed to just let him go? And to top it off, he was so pent up that it was literally distracting. He couldn’t even masturbate properly, because it just felt wrong to keep imagining Gohan while doing it. Trying to anyway that first time had produced mixed results. Sure, he got off, but afterward he felt like the biggest loser in two universes, still imagining the man who had rejected him so decisively. He was one step away from going and buying porn of some kind, just so he would be able to finally relieve the tension.

He sighed into the back of the pillow before removing it from his face. He had plenty of money, that wasn’t an issue, but he didn’t exactly know where to find a store that might sell that kind of thing in this time… He wasn’t about to ask Bulma or his dad about anything of that nature, not in a million years. Then suddenly a beacon of hope seemed to shine from the recess of his memory. Goten. That Goten guy, Gohan’s little brother, he had offered to show him around. Granted, he was pretty sure this wasn’t what he’d meant, but as open as he’d been in their little heart to heart, he didn’t think he’d mind much. He might even understand.

On the other hand, Mirai wasn’t sure if ‘opening up’ to Gohan’s little brother was such a good idea, it was rather obvious where his loyalties would lay if pressed… He didn’t exactly need to be up front about it though, now that he was thinking about it further. He could just take him up on his offer, and keep an eye out for the right kind of place on his own… It wouldn’t even be lying to him or anything, he really would pay attention to where the things he showed him were. His mind made up, Mirai flipped open his wallet, taking out the piece of paper with Goten’s number on it, and dialed him up.

…………

“You know, after more than a month had gone by, I was beginning to think you weren’t going to take me up on this” Goten told Mirai as he got out of his car in front of Capsule Corp. Mirai shrugged.

“I guess you were right, it does get pretty boring just training all day” he replied, closing the door of the house behind him, “speaking of, let’s go before dad finds us and demands we both spar with him…”

“Why do you think I said I’d meet you on the front lawn?” Goten laughed. He’d heard from Trunks and Gohan that Vegeta was even less likely to let visitors escape without sparring with him than usual, now that Bulla had gone away to college. It was hard to believe, but Goten had found it to be true. Seeing how obviously lonely the guy was, he had made it a point to come over and get in a good workout at least once a week, before Mirai had shown up anyway. He knew all too well the dangers of just ‘hanging around’ Capsule Corp. Mirai grinned at him and nodded, climbing into the passenger seat.

“I thought you had a fairly nice job?…” Mirai said, looking around at the age of the vehicle. Goten raised an eyebrow.

“I do, I’m just not really ‘into’ cars, it gets me to and from the office, since I can’t be just flying in, so it works” he said, starting it back up again.

“Sorry, right… So, what exactly do you do? I don’t think I ever heard” Mirai vowed to be extra polite the rest of the evening to make up for that little faux pas.

“I’m the Assistant Manager for the Customer Analytics Department of Yum! Brand foods” Goten rattled off smoothly, pulling out into traffic.

“Oh… I haven’t heard of them, but that sounds cool” Mirai answered, starting wonder how on earth he was going to make small talk all night like this. Goten smiled, hearing the completely uninterested tone in Mirai’s voice.

“Actually, you probably have. Don’t tell me you’ve been here all this time and haven’t gone into a Pizza Hut?” he asked disbelievingly.

“Yeah, I have, there’s one a few blocks down from here, I think…” Mirai perked up, “You work at Pizza Hut?” Goten had to laugh.

“Sort of… I work for the parent company that owns them and a few other restaurant chains. It’s not like I’m out delivering pizzas or anything, I have a college degree” he asserted between chuckles.

After hitting the mall for an hour or so, and showing him where the movie theater and better places to eat were, Goten told him to pay attention, and then headed off of the main street. Slowing down a little bit, but not stopping, he pointed out a club with a huge line at the door.

“That’s the hottest gay bar in town, but don’t expect to get in with any amount of quickness, unless you ‘know’ someone” he informed him.

“So I take it you don’t ‘know’ anyone, then?” Mirai commented as they kept going.

“I ‘know’ plenty of people, but that’s where… That’s usually where they hang out, so I don’t really go much anymore” Goten forgot the pain was still new for the other man before having started that sentence…

“Oh, I see” Mirai nodded, looking away from the line and down at his lap.

“So, where do you go then?” he asked, curious.

“That’s up next, just a few blocks away.” When Goten pointed out his usual spot, Mirai noticed he wasn’t slowing down here either.

“We’re not going in?” he asked, thinking the night was still young.

“Do you have ID?” Goten asked back, a little surprised that Mirai would suggest that.

“Yeah, I do – it’s 10:30 on a Friday, there’s still plenty of night left. Unless you had other plans” Mirai finished, realizing afterward that Goten may want to be done with him at a certain time so he could go have fun…

“No, no plans, just hanging out with you. I didn’t want to assume you’d be ok with getting hit on all night just yet, that’s the only reason I hadn’t planned on going in… But if that’s fine with you, it’s certainly no problem for me” Goten smiled. Mirai blushed, apparently more pleased with the idea of Goten hitting on him than he would have thought. Strange. Goten was actually turning out to be a really nice guy, from what he’d seen so far. Not that he was looking, that is.

He did notice when they pulled around back to park, that there was an XXX rated ‘shop’ just down the street. Perfect. He committed the spot to memory, and followed Goten.

“Hey, Goten! What’s up?” a voice addressed them from a few cars away as the walked.

“Hey Josh, just getting into trouble” Goten answered with a grin, stopping to wait for him. As he approached, Josh held Mirai’s gaze, giving him a nod of his head, but at the same time a look that said, ‘I acknowledge you, but we are not friends.” Fun. Mirai was pretty sure he was not going to like this “Josh” guy.

“So what’s up, Trunks?” he said, after having greeted Goten with a manly hug and smack on the shoulder.

“Oh, this isn’t Trunks, Josh, this is Mirai, his-” …

“Brother, I’m his older brother” Mirai cut in for him. They probably should have worked all this out in the car before hand, but since Trunks didn’t come to this club, he hadn’t really expected to run in to anyone he knew… Or rather who thought they knew him. Knew Trunks, that is… Mirai sighed mentally.

“Oh, sorry man” Josh said, his eyes softening quite a bit at the news, “I haven’t seen your bro in a couple years, that’s why the mix up. You sure do look a lot alike though” Josh turned to Goten and gave him a raised eyebrow and a questioning look, before turning back to Mirai.

“Can I make it up to you by buying you a drink?” he asked, his eyes moving back and forth between the two of them purposefully, asking if they were here ‘together’.

“Well, I am pretty offended, so sure” Mirai said, not missing a beat, “but it’ll have to be just soda, we don’t really drink.”

“We?” Josh said, looking to Goten for confirmation. Goten just raised his hands in front of himself in a “back off, dude” kind of gesture.

“Ok, ok, I won’t pry, and I’ve no problem buying both of you studs a soda” he said, walking past Goten and on towards the club, “See you inside” he winked seductively at Mirai.

“See, didn’t I say you’d be getting hit on all night?” Goten laughed.

“Yeah, you did… I thought you meant you’d be the one doing the flirting though” Mirai confessed before he could stop and think about it. He supposed Goten’s eyes would be full of shock and/or horror right now, but all Mirai could see in them was an amused laughter.

…………

It had been a lot of fun, showing Mirai around their time last night. He did eventually have to pull Josh aside and let him know point blank that Mirai was not going to be leaving the club with him, and to back off a bit. He took it pretty well. Thinking back now, Josh may have been laying it on that thick just to try and force Goten to either step up and tell him off or bow out and let him at Mirai… Bastard. As much as he didn’t know about Goten’s life, he sure knew him pretty well after all these years. Goten shook his head, smiling. He’d find an appropriate way to pay him back later. He jotted down several idea’s that seemed worth trying out into his journal as he went. He didn’t particularly dwell on ‘revenge’ stuff, but with Trunks (and Vegeta) both such strong influences on him as a kid, he certainly knew how to settle the score here and there when he wanted to. Even Gohan had discovered that, over time.

Goten wondered if Mirai would have a vengeful side, like Vegeta, genetically, or if it was something Trunks had picked up by being raised by him. He could definitely see a lot more of Bulma in Mirai, her responsibility and caring, her brash intelligence, rather than his father’s brash pride. It was funny, but he couldn’t help thinking of Mirai’s own words when they had first met, about how the same person can turn out so differently… Mirai was… calm… and reserved… he joked when you pushed him a little, but wouldn’t let you push him any farther than he wanted to be pushed. It had been kind of fascinating to watch him, interact with him, at the bar last night. The last thing Goten wrote down was that he hoped Mirai would contact him to hang out again, seeing as how they’d ended up having so much fun.

…………

Mirai wiped at a smear of dried blood on his chest, hissing as the water came in contact with the already healing wound. Being Saiyan meant healing quickly, and this had been hardly more than a scratch while training anyway, it was definitely not something senzu worthy. Besides, he already looked like a half-human pin cushion, having spent his adolescence under the abuse of the androids without those healing beans. He absently soaped up a washcloth, thinking about the past more than he usually let himself.

Seventy three. He’d kept track of them, remembered every punch, every kick of those battles. Of course he’d kept trying to fight even once Gohan was gone. The androids must have truly been as bored as they always claimed they were with the humans, to have let him go that many times… Since they had already destroyed the only other plaything that was any fun – No! Mirai stopped himself from thinking along those lines any further. Shaking his head, he finished cleaning up from his daily spar with his father, and turned off the water.

Wrapping a towel around his waist, as very rarely did anyone knock in this house, Mirai opened the bathroom door and stepped out into ‘his’ room. He sighed. He really needed to move out. Bulma kept insisting that he stay, though he was beginning to think that it was mostly to keep Vegeta distracted sparring with him and out of her lab when he got bored. Making sure the door was locked, he dried off and began to dress. He only got as far as boxers and a pair of jeans though, before catching sight of himself in the full length mirror on the back of the closet door. There was another ki burn on the back of his arm that he hadn’t noticed before, but of course now that he saw it, it began to itch. Well, at least it wouldn’t be visible under his shirt.

Thinking back to the facial scar his former mentor had received as a young kid from those monsters, he actually had to count himself lucky now. Hardly any of his scars were in such visible places, though depending on the cut of shirt, they peeked around the edges of collars or sleeves. Needless to say he did not walk around without his shirt on, and never wore shorts, no matter the weather. He had noticed during training that virtually the same amount of past damage was evidenced on his father’s physique, but Vegeta never gave a shit about anything to do with physical appearance. He quietly added that to his list of the real reasons he admired the man. The only time his dad had ever made any sort of comment on it was when he’d blasted away enough of Mirai’s shirt to see the mass of scar tissue that ran over his left side for the first time.

“I guess there’s a fair share of Saiyan blood in you after all, brat, to have survived something like that” was his ruling on the matter. Never another word was spoken, though after that, none needed to be. The small hint of pride in his voice was enough. It was kind of a shame that after all these years, that Mirai was realizing that just a parents’ pride was not enough to make someone content.

“One step forward, two steps back” he said to his reflection with a sigh. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. He had gotten porn, thank god. Plus, he did have a few laughs with Goten on the outing he had used to discover said porn. Honestly, he’d had fun, come to think of it. He wondered if Goten would think it was odd if he needed showing around again this weekend. It was Thursday now, and Mirai knew he’d already have plans for tomorrow, Goten seemed to be a pretty popular guy. He was nice, Mirai thought, he deserved to be popular…but that meant he was not going to be free on such short notice. Well, if he called him up now, maybe they could do something on Saturday or Sunday… Even just having something to look forward to for next weekend would help take his mind of the patheticness of what his existence had become.

…………

“Hey, Mirai! What’s up?” a friendly voice called out from the end of the isle behind him. Trunks turned around, even though he knew the person was mistaken; wondering who on Earth would know the both of them existed, yet still confuse them. When Trunks saw that it was ‘tattoo guy’ (Josh, he believed his name was…), he stiffened automatically. It wasn’t like he’d ever forget meeting him, even though a small voice in his head laughed at him for his reaction. That had been, like, what? half a decade ago?… And none of his business to begin with? Apparently first and only impressions stuck with Josh too though.

“Oh, sorry Trunks, I thought you were your brother, man” he said overly casually, starting to turn back around.

“Wait, how do you know Mirai?”

…………

“If it was no big deal, then why are they hiding it? Hmm? Tell me that” Trunks said, rounding on Gohan’s placations.

“We hid it too, in the beginning” he reminded him.

“For a few weeks, and that was different, neither of us were complete strangers. That Josh guy said they’ve been seeing each other for months” Trunks scowled.

“Ok, the first time we went through this, all he said was that he knew Mirai because he hangs out with Goten all the time-”

“Yeah, all the time” Trunks interrupted him to stress those words, “So when I took a risk and pretended that I knew they did, just not that Josh was a part of it, he fell for it and practically confirmed the whole thing!”

“What ‘whole thing’?” Gohan said, rubbing his temple, he was beginning to lose his patience here.

“That they’ve been sneaking off to that club together, that they are together” Trunks continued to fume. Gohan put his hands on Trunks’ shoulders, looking him in the eye.

“So what?”

“So what?!? We have no idea what this guy’s doing, what his intentions are, how can you say that? Goten’s your brother, for fucks’ sake!”

“Alright, calm down Trunks, I mean it” Gohan’s voice began to have an edge to it, one his lover should know was a warning, “Mirai would never do anything like what you’re implying.” Trunks used a burst of speed to fling Gohan’s hands off of him, and grabbed the front of his shirt, bunching it up and pulling Gohan’s face down level with his.

“What keeps making you think that you know this guy?” his eyes were narrow and voice like steel, “You hung out with him for what, a week? Almost 30 years ago? I believed you when you said you wouldn’t hang out around him with out me, so tell me Gohan, which is it? Did you break your word, or are you just being that naive?”

Gohan blinked, having a brief flashback involving a certain Saiyan Prince who used that same tone of voice with him. He furrowed his brow; the harshness in Trunks’ words was starting to pierce through the general good naturedness of his feelings towards Mirai. How well did he really know him?

“Even so” he had one more point to bring up, “I think someone would have noticed-”

“You thought I was a good little boy once too, Gohan” Trunks said quietly, putting the final nail in the coffin of his lover’s arguments. Gohan paled.

“We have no fucking clue what could be going on in his head, and that is not ok. With everything Goten’s been through, what I’ve put him through… It would kill him. I can’t just let that happen” Trunks finished, finally letting go of his lovers’ shirt. Gohan nodded, afraid that in that light, he had to agree… He sat down, holding his head in his hands for a minute. Trunks just crossed his arms over his chest, waiting for Gohan to gather himself.

“We need to watch him” Gohan said finally, raising his head, “Observe them without either one knowing he’s being studied. If Mirai’s just using him, or playing some kind of sick game, he’ll give things away when he thinks no one’s looking.”

“If it’s crowded enough in the club, we could keep our ki down and get away with it easily” Trunks suggested. He was willing to go along with Gohan’s theory, in so far as it would be good to have some sort of evidence to present Goten with, to explain why they’d beat the living shit out of his ‘boyfriend’.

…………

He thought it was funny, how quickly habits could form. Even once Mirai had gotten his own car, Goten still picked him up in a near drive-by fashion, both of them heeding their very heavily instilled ‘avoid Vegeta when you’re wearing nice clothes’ instincts. Actually, Goten had started coming by to spar during the week again, once he found out he wasn’t intruding on Mirai’s parental bonding. Mirai had actually coughed up Dr. Pepper out his nose when Goten used that phrase to refer to time spent with Vegeta. A very poor, yet hilarious, drawing of that instance was a few pages back in his journal, and Goten couldn’t resist the urge to flip back and look at it real quick in the middle of writing.

The problem with journals is they tend to suck you in, if you start reading the past things you’ve written. At least that’s how it had always been for Goten. He felt good though; the quality of his writing and the insight within this one’s pages was infinitely better than the first one he’d had. He grinned just thinking about it, that time he’d leafed through the one of him and Trunks, as opposed to this one of him and – oh shit…

Goten froze, his eyes happening to be hovering over a line that talked about how incredible Mirai’s hair was. Oh my god… This… That can’t be right… Did he really write that?… This could not be happening… His heart was all of a sudden racing in his chest. He dropped the book, almost with a tossing motion, onto the nightstand beside him, his jaw slightly open in disbelief. Then he picked it up again quickly, turning back through it to find the first entry that concerned him. Five pages? He’d written that little in it before starting to hang out with Mirai? The thing was half full already of… Goten closed the book, pressing it’s covers tightly between his hands while he closed his eyes and tried to think.

The complete lack of rational thought he was experiencing right now was nearly infuriating. In frustration, he raised the edge of the journal up to his mouth, eyes still closed, and bit down on it firmly as if it were a wooden spoon and he was about to get his leg sawed off, making a small whining squeak at the same time. It didn’t help. He sighed and released the book from his teeth, flopping down backwards over his bed with it still in his hand. Staring at the ceiling yielded no answers either. His stomach growled. He should be eating dinner and getting dressed right now. He looked at the clock and it was only 6pm; he wasn’t supposed to pick up Mirai until 9pm, so he had time.

A smile broke out over his face, thinking of the man, and suddenly Goten covered his face with both hands and began thrashing around on his bed. He purposefully tangled himself up in his comforter, and then sheets, knocking off his pillows as he flailed and mildly cursing the entire time… Until he accidentally got disoriented and fell on the floor. At that point, his cell phone began to ring, causing him to jump as if caught in his childish act.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Goten, what are doing right now?” Mirai asked him.

“Uh, nothing, why, what’s up?” he asked back, disentangling himself the rest of the way as he blushed furiously.

“I’m starving, why don’t you pick me up right now and we’ll get dinner before we head out?” Mirai suggested.

“Sure, sounds good” Goten said automatically.

“Ok, cool, I’m ready whenever you are…” Mirai prompted him, this being his way of asking Goten’s ETA.

“Uh, give me 20 minutes, ok?”

“Perfect, see you in a bit… then.”

“Ok, see you” he hung up the phone. Oh. My. God. Was this a date? Were they dating? How had Goten missed this? What had he been about to say instead of ‘then’? Did he just imagine that? Goten was about to return to wallowing in his blankets when he realized he’d only given himself 10 minutes to change, seeing as how Capsule Corp was a 10 minute drive from his place. Giving a ‘meep’ and stripping out of the remains of his work attire, he hurried to make his self-imposed deadline. Why hadn’t he given himself a half an hour instead? //because you don’t want to wait that long to see him// a little voice in his head informed him. Oh my god, what the hell…

…………

‘Nervous’ was the word of the evening that night. Goten spilled his drink twice at dinner, and dropped his keys as he tried to unlock his car on their way out of the restaurant. Crap. He knew he was acting differently, and that Mirai suspected something was up. He had yet to say anything about it though, instead just kind of glancing at him out of the corner of his eye every so often. Goten’s luck ran out though when he finally found a spot to park at the club and almost reversed into a parked car because he got distracted by the way Mirai’s hair was flung over the back of the seat. He tried to laugh it off, but felt Mirai’s hand on his arm as he turned.

“Are you ok, Goten?” Mirai stopped him before he could open his door. Damn, his heart was doing that racing thing again; blood pounded in his ears so hard he was sure Mirai would be able to hear it in the close confine of the car. God, he sucked at this… Trunks had been the one to make the first move in their relationship, and Josh, well, he and Josh had both been drunk off their asses when that happened, so it didn’t really even count. With a deep breath, he turned to face Mirai, giving him a nervous smile.

“I’m fine” he said. //brilliant, Goten// his mind congratulated him.

“Are you sure? Cause you seem like something’s been bothering you tonight… It isn’t something I did, is it?” Mirai asked cautiously. In all the time they’d been hanging out, things had always stayed very casual and friendly between them. Maybe a little innuendo was exchanged on the dance floor, all in good fun of course, but nothing more than that. Mirai figured that after six months, Goten was not going to notice him, and he had tried to put those feelings on the back burner as best he could. He was definitely reluctant to lose Goten’s company if he confessed them and it went badly. He also felt a bit weird about having fallen for Gohan’s little brother so easily, but he kept reminding himself that he’d never actually been with Gohan, so that shouldn’t really be an issue. Not that he should even still be having those little pep talks with himself…he was supposed to be letting it go of it…yeah.

“No, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that, today, I kind of, uh… Are we?… Um… Would you do this for a date?” Goten found himself blurting out after stumbling around for a good way to broach the subject. //wow, you’re gonna get poet laureate for sure on that one// his brain kicked him while he was down. A horrendous blush shot up his face, every heartbeat feeling like an eternity while he waited for Mirai to make sense out of what he’d just said and respond in some way.

“Do this for a?….What? Is, is this supposed to be a date?” Mirai said, his heart leaping. Watching Goten’s blush, he couldn’t help but smile. Was that why he’d been acting so clumsy and nervous tonight?

“Well, it could be…” Goten said, trying to read his face. When he saw the light that filled Mirai’s eyes as he said that, and how his smile turned into a full-on grin, Goten knew he’d made the right decision in saying something. Growing a little bolder, he added, “I mean, it practically is, you just haven’t kissed me yet.” //take that, brain// he thought, scoring a point for his own flirting capabilities…against himself…//ok, stay on track here// he warned himself as he saw Mirai begin to speak.

“Well, the night’s still young” he said, still grinning widely. Goten giggled, looking down at his lap as he toyed with his keys…

“So, should we, uh, head in then?” Goten asked, looking back up. He could hardly believe that Mirai had reduced him to a 14 year old schoolgirl with just a grin, but he couldn’t really say that he minded.

“Sure, let’s go.”

That grin again. For him. He couldn’t remember ever seeing a look like that on someone’s face… It wasn’t a smirk, or a fake gesture used to hit on someone with. It was like all the subtlety and nuance of any added emotions had been stripped away, and he was looking at a man who was just plain happy to be in his presence. Mirai slipped his hand into Goten’s as they crossed the parking lot, and Goten had to check himself, to make sure he wasn’t actually floating off the ground as they walked.

…………

That night in the club was full of hand holding, dancing closely, and looking into each others eyes for longer than would be considered normal. It was easy to go unnoticed, as Goten and Mirai hardly noticed anything going on around them anyway. That Josh guy had hung out with them for about 15 minutes when they first came in, before taking off to go hit on loose guys at the bar. Trunks kept a close eye on them the entire night, as did Gohan, but he was beginning to see a hole in their plan. They couldn’t “observe” Mirai’s behavior while he thought no one was looking, if he and Goten never left each others company.

Finally, hours later, after the two of them had gotten a table to take a break from dancing, a moment arose when Goten whispered something in Mirai’s ear, and then got up without him. Trunks elbowed Gohan gently, making sure he was taking note, but he knew almost right away that their interpretations would be the same. Mirai really was completely in love. He watched Goten’s back move away from him in a sort of lost wonderment. And when Goten came back, the look in his eyes as he watched him approach didn’t change in the slightest. In fact the grin on his face just got wider, and he actually blushed a bit when Goten sat down next to him, as opposed to the opposite side of the table where he’d been before.

“I think we’ve seen enough here for tonight, let’s go Trunks” Gohan’s voice whispered in his ear. Trunks turned to him, nodding, and followed him out of the club. Once the cool night air hit him, Trunks took a deep breath and sighed.

“Well, I kind of feel like an idiot now” he admitted, putting his hands in his pockets.

“You’re not an idiot, you were concerned, and rightfully so. I’m just glad you were wrong” Gohan told him, putting an arm through his as they headed for a less crowded place to pop the capsule on Trunks’ car.

“Yeah, I just don’t get why they think they have to hide it then…” Trunks wondered aloud.

“It couldn’t possibly be that they think ‘people’ will not understand and blow it out of proportion…” Gohan suggested. Trunks gave him a sarcastic look as if to say ‘very funny’ and continued walking. There was a certain grain of truth in what Gohan had said though, as usual.

“We should invite them over for dinner sometime” Trunks perked up as he thought, “If we show them we can be cool about it, maybe that will help…”

“Now that actually sounds like a good idea” Gohan confirmed, “Should I call them right now with the invite?” he laughed, patting the pocket that held his cell phone.

“No, just leave them alone” Trunks rolled his eyes, finally finding a spot to take out his car, “let’s let them enjoy the rest of their evening in peace.”

…………

Mirai had been waiting for the right moment to kiss Goten all night, not wanting to just stick his tongue down his throat right away like some horny teenager… Restraint was difficult though, especially considering how much he was enjoying the little blushes and knowing smiles they had been exchanging all night. It dawned on him part way through the evening, that even as much time as they’d spent together, he hadn’t really let himself believe Goten would ever ‘like’ him like that… He felt as if he was walking around in a dream; like it was too good to be true that someone so kind and genuinely sweet would look at him like he wanted him.

When they found themselves wrapped up in a slow song near the end of the night, Mirai decided to gently close the gap between them, pressing his lips to Gotens’ in a soft, exploring kiss, feeling the time was finally right. Goten melted against him, his lips moving sensually, offering a little bit of tongue if it was wanted. Mirai accepted wholeheartedly, and they began taking turns exploring each others mouths, forgetting to move in the small circle that passed for a slow dance in the club.

“I hate to interrupt, ’cause this has seriously been a long time coming guys, but they’re closing the bar, now” Josh chuckled, tapping Goten on the shoulder in the middle of their make-out session. Pulling back, Goten noticed that the dance floor had pretty much cleared, and most people were heading for the exits.

“Oh, uh, thanks man” he said with a blush as he and Mirai unwrapped themselves from each other, heading for the door. He took Mirai’s hand in his again as they walked, and continued to hold it while they drove, even managing to not have any near misses this time.

When they got back to Capsule Corp, Goten decided it was worth the risk to walk Mirai to his door, seeing as how it was the wee hours of the morning, and it was highly unlikely that Vegeta would be awake. Of all the things he should have known better than… Actually, getting surprised by the Saiyan prince while having his son’s tongue down his throat was probably the only non-new experience of the night for Goten. After Vegeta had opened the front door, he scowled at them from behind his protein powder and raw egg milkshake.

“No fucking in the gravity room” he said with a grunt and then roughly shut the door in their faces.

“How early does he start training?” Goten asked, still slightly astonished by Vegeta’s existence, and completely ignoring his words.

“I’m not sure, I just know he’s always awake before I am…” Mirai said, shaking his head, “I can’t believe we’re not being dragged by the scruff of our necks to the gravity room right now.”

“Yeah, that’s for sure… I guess we better not press our luck” Goten said, smiling and giving him a peck on the cheek, “Goodbye, Mirai.”

“’Night Goten, see you tomorrow.” Quickly kissing him one more time for good measure, Mirai released him and then watched as he headed across the lawn. Waving as he got back in his car, Goten couldn’t wait to get home and go to sleep, so he could wake up and see Mirai again tomorrow. Oh my god, did he really, just actually think that sappy, over dramatic crap? Maybe it hadn’t been age that was affecting the journalistic quality of his diaries, but the falling in love thing instead…

…………

“I don’t want to push you” Goten said earnestly, sitting back slightly.

“No, it’s not that, really, I don’t want to stop” Mirai said, taking a deep breath and placing Goten’s hands back over the button of his jeans.

“You flinched… Pretty badly, Mirai…” Goten didn’t move his fingers, neither pulling back or continuing forward. Mirai leaned up and kissed him, placing a hand on the back of his neck and forcing him to get as close as they’d been a moment ago.

“I don’t care about all that top vs. bottom stuff, just so you know. I’m fine either way, if that helps” Goten offered, nuzzling at Mirai’s neck after their kisses had turned into tasting again.

“That’s good to know” Mirai grinned, trying to relax into Goten’s arms once more. That nagging little feeling wouldn’t go away though, no matter how hard he tried to ignore it. He didn’t think Goten would necessarily freak out or anything, since he’d already seen him with his shirt off and been fine. What lay under the clothing lower than that though, was, well, a bit more embarrassing than just a few battle wounds. Damn it, he couldn’t hide forever, not if he wanted to go to the next level in their relationship. He wanted to move past this. He wanted to make love to Goten so badly it was killing him… He put both of his hands on Goten’s shoulders and pushed him up, moving him away and to the side as Goten looked at him worriedly, his eyes filling with concern.

“There’s something…something I need to show you…up front, you know? Before we go any further, I think…” Mirai managed to stammer out before Goten could say anything. Goten ran a hand up Mirai’s bare chest, having a feeling that now he knew where this was going. He remembered the initial hesitation he’d encountered from Mirai, just in taking off his shirt for the first time. Goten had done his best to lay Mirai’s mind at ease over it, kissing and licking attentively over every scar on his broad chest. He knew academically that at least some of them continued below, because they had been lost to the waistband of his pants before his tongue could find the end of them. He had thought, judging by the moans and gasps that little session had produced, that the scars wouldn’t be an issue anymore, but he must have been wrong.

“It’s ok, Mirai, you can trust me” Goten soothed, asking to be let in.

“I know.”

Getting up slowly, his face in flames, Mirai decided it was for the best to just get it over with. He stood up, trying to smile, and then turned, facing away from Goten. Taking a few more deep breaths, he slowly undid his pants, hooking his thumbs into the waist of his boxers as well, so it all came off together.

The slowness with which Mirai’s jeans slid down over the curve of his ass would have been sexy as hell if his energy hadn’t indicated that he felt like he was going to throw up at any moment. Once his jeans hit mid-thigh, they were released to fall to the ground, and Goten understood every flinch and hesitation perfectly. Starting just above his knee, huge capital letters, written in scars, declared to the world “BITCH” up the entire back of his left leg.

My god, how had he not bled out from that? His more naturally tan skin color made the lighter flesh of the scars stand out horribly, just as with his chest, so there was no way you would ever miss it or not be able to tell what it said. Angry tears were rolling down Goten’s cheeks before he even made it all the way off the bed, pulling Mirai around and into a fierce hug. A lavender haired head buried itself in the side of his neck, obviously spilling tears of it’s own, though quietly.

“Which one of them did this to you?” Goten asked, afraid there was more.

“Both” Mirai answered, still quietly. “It was after Gohan died, so I was a super Saiyan, just not enough of one to defeat them.” After a pause, Goten began rubbing his back, hoping he would continue on his own, because he wasn’t sure he could bring himself to ask the real question that weighed on him after this discovery.

“18 held me down while 17 did it… I’d made the mistake of calling him one, and he decided to give me a permanent reminder of the real truth of the matter. I think he would have preferred doing it across my chest, but this was the easiest place for him to reach once they managed to get me pinned” Goten was relieved that Mirai’s voice didn’t sound broken, which was good, but there was definitely a level of emotion in it that he didn’t think he’d have had the courage to speak through, personally. He moved his other hand to stroke over Mirai’s hair, comforting him as the event was replayed in Mirai’s mind.

“They laughed at me the whole time, like it was the most amusing thing to them… Before they left 17 bent down and whispered in my ear… He said that he hadn’t been programmed with a ‘sex drive’, but he knew that the word had that connotation to it… He told me if I ever called him that again, he’d fuck me til I bled, or died, whichever turned out to be more fun at the time… As they were flying away, I could hear 18 arguing with him that he shouldn’t kill their last little plaything, because what the hell would they do for fun then?” Mirai pulled himself out of Goten’s embrace after that, wiping his eyes as anger pushed against his other emotions.

“I probably made it worse too” Mirai started in frustration, but was stopped immediately with Goten’s finger on his lips.

“No, don’t you dare think you did anything wrong or to bring that on yourself” he admonished. Mirai smiled at him slowly, loving the no-nonsense tone in Gotens’ voice as he spoke to Mirai’s mental health.

“I didn’t mean like that, I meant afterward, with the scarring. When I finally made it home, I was too embarrassed to have my mom dress it properly. I did the best I could myself, but I honestly should have had stitches… It might not have been as bad then, but I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly.”

“Do you mind if I ask you something?” Goten requested, immensely glad that his worst fears hadn’t turned out to be true. Mirai nodded.

“Sure.”

“How old were you, when all that happened?”

“About fifteen.”

Goten sighed and hugged him tightly, wishing there was more he could do to comfort him. At every turn, Mirai was proving to have a strength of will that was truly remarkable, and Goten knew he really did have it to thank for his very existence. After standing in each others embrace for a few more minutes, Goten felt Mirai’s hands begin to move downward over his back. He grinned as he felt fingers slipping under the edge of his pants, teasing along the skin there.

“So, Goten?…” Mirai asked him, lips hovering against his neck and a small lilt returning to his voice.

“Yes?” Goten said overly-innocently, trying to coax out that playfulness a little more.

“Can we have sex now?” Mirai asked with a smile, feeling infinitely better now that Goten had seen it all and reacted so well.

“Oh, we’re having sex…” Goten replied, pushing him back towards the bed with a grin.

“Well, I only ask because I seem to be the only one naked around here” Mirai grinned back, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling Goten over by his belt loops. After straddling him, Goten took Mirai’s face in his hands and kissed him passionately, rolling his hips forward to encourage the fingers playing over his crotch.

“Undo me, beautiful” Goten whispered to him, kissing his way along the edge of Mirai’s jaw and over to his neck. Mirai complied, releasing first the button, then the zipper of his pants. He pushed down against the fabric as his hands roamed lower to cup Goten’s ass, knowing it would finally be his before the end of the night. That thought alone lent speed to the growth of his erection, and he rolled his hips up against Goten’s in return.

Shedding the remains of his pants quickly, Goten was pulled down and rolled over in one smooth motion, finding an incredibly aroused half-saiyan cock rubbing against his own right away. He moaned in pleasure as Mirai’s mouth latched onto his neck, sucking and biting gently until a well developed hickey was left behind. His manhood throbbed as Mirai’s hand twirled and kneaded at his nipple.

“Give me your hand” Goten asked, having promised before to help acquaint Mirai with the process. There was the cutest sort of anticipatory light in Mirai’s eyes as he shifted his weight and gave him a hand as requested. Goten raised it slowly toward his mouth, never breaking eye contact as his tongue darted out to taste the tips of his first two digits. Placing them between his lips, he sucked gently, coating them with his mouth’s moisture as he caressed them with his tongue. Mirai stared openly, his mouth open slightly as his cock hardened even further.

“You’ll need to loosen me up a bit first” Goten winked as Mirai looked in awe at his glistening fingers. With a grin and a nod, Mirai’s hand moved downward, circling the ring of tight flesh that was the subject of the evenings’ entertainment.

“Shouldn’t we use lube, or something like that?” he asked, making sure that Goten would really be alright with just this.

“We can, if you want to, I do have some… I just wanted to make sure I got to see your face while I did that” Goten confessed, running a hand through Mirai’s hair.

“Did you like what you saw?” he asked, even though he did blush a bit. Continuing to play with Goten’s opening as he spoke, Mirai pressed against it ever so slightly, barely enough to part the muscle beneath him, and watched as an indrawn breath interrupted Goten’s speech for a moment.

“Yes, I like it” he said in a moan, wanting more. Mirai smiled, but backed off with his finger.

“Where’s the lube, babe?”

Goten looked confused for a second, but then pointed to the nightstand. There was only a single drawer in it, so Mirai found what he was looking for fairly easily.

“I just don’t want to hurt you” Mirai said as he cautiously warmed a squirt of it in his hand. God, he was so horny right now even the texture of the lube was arousing…

“I know, it’s ok” Goten beamed at his soon to be lover. Feeling more confident, Mirai slipped a single finger inside him, drawing a gasp from Goten. His passage was slick and hot with the help of the lube, the tightness of Goten feeling amazing even just around his finger. He couldn’t begin to imagine what finally getting to be inside him would feel like. Mirai probed and prodded, sliding in and pulling out gently; eventually adding a second and third finger as Goten asked for them, begged for them.

Mirai’s hands were practically shaking when it came time to slick his own manhood. After aligning himself, he inched forward slowly with the penetration, opting to lean down and watch Goten’s face rather than the act itself. Every little groan and gasp seemed to go straight to the heart of him as Goten stared back into his eyes while it happened. Once fully sheathed inside him, it all seemed to become real somehow, Goten’s love and affection, is total acceptance of him. Hands soothed and lips murmured, telling him what an amazing job he was doing.

Mirai kissed him firmly, making sure he knew he was indeed alright, and began to work his way in and out of Goten’s amazingly tight heat. He groaned and rested his forehead against his lover; there was nothing in the world that had ever brought him as much pleasure as Goten’s writhing body beneath him. Establishing what felt to him like a rhythm to get the job done with, Mirai was overjoyed to hear Goten’s moans and exclamations increase right along with it. Goten’s legs clung to him, wrapped around his back as if to make sure he kept impaling him at all costs.

A line of precum dribbled down Goten’s dick, and even in the midst of all the sights and sounds and sensations that washed over Mirai, that particular image seemed to capture his attention quite forcefully. Reaching down, he tenderly grasped his lovers’ pulsing shaft, feeling the sticky substance running over his fingers.

“Ohhh! Yes! Pleeease Mirai!” Goten begged as he neared the edge of his own climax. It wasn’t difficult to figure out what he meant by that. Mirai stroked him firmly in time with his thrusts, until Goten screamed out his name and sticky ribbons of pleasure coated his stomach. The degree to which Goten’s spasming body affected him was astounding, and Mirai was burying himself into those tight cheeks with a forceful shout as well, just a few moments later. It took them both more than a few minutes to catch their breath. Curling up around the man he loved afterward, Mirai couldn’t imagine things could ever get any better than this, and told Goten so as he snuggled up to him. Goten wrapped his arms around Mirai too, running his fingers through that gorgeous hair once more.

“I love you, Mirai” he said genuinely, baring his heart just as much as he had his body.

“I love you too, Goten” Mirai admitted, a small blush gracing his cheeks despite what they’d just done. Sharing himself in entirety as well was now something he looked forward to, rather than dreaded, knowing it was with Goten that he truly belonged. With a grin, Goten kissed the tip of his nose.

“This is so going in my journal” he informed him with a content sigh.

“Oh really? I’m worth an entry in your personal musings?” Mirai joked with him.

“Babe, you’re the whole damn book.”


The End

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