Time's Lessons Learned
by StarbearerTM     More by this Writer
This idea is based on the doujinshi Our Time written by Dragon Sisters: Manya and Minea, which wasn’t written or drawn by me. I’m borrowing the ideas for this fan fiction and I’m attempting to fill in the missing pieces that happen before, during and after it. What would have happened if a new and beloved teacher captured Gohan’s affections and diverted them from Videl?

Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball Z, Akira Toriyama does. This work of fan fiction means no harm to the anime or manga. I get no money for writing this. My thanks to Lord Truhan for help with the ideas in this fan fiction.
Shota



Chapter 01
It was hard transitioning from late teen hood to life as an adult, often leaving him with one foot on the threshold while the other seemed frozen stuck inside a comfortable doorway. All markers of comfort had long ago faded, forcing Gohan to form new attachments as replacements for his father’s absence. While the void left by Goku’s choice to remain dead never filled, there were other things that allowed him to seal that emptiness off behind a wall and try not to notice it was there. On the other hand, that was his hope.


In the diversion of supporting others, he found relief from missing his father so deeply. Still questions filled his head, such as why would his father not realize that the risk of danger was far less than the risk of danger through emotional abandonment. A mother needed him greatly as a source of emotional support, and he sensed in time, someone else as well. He had been too distracted before to realize the other life ki burning brightly, yet he knew it from having sensed the same phenomenon in Bulma years ago; it was from the formation of a new child in his mother’s womb.


New life brought new hope. He wondered if this was how Future Trunks must have felt when arriving in a world hardly recognizable from his own. Part of him also wondered if he would see his fellow warrior again. Emotionally shoved on a father who had been long absent only to have that tentative new bond ripped asunder kept him sleepless in his solitary room upstairs. Fortunately, his grandfather the Ox king was on hand to help with stemming the tide of his mother’s emotional downs. Coupled with her increasing pregnancy and her funk induced by perceived rejection from Goku she spent few days out of bed.


Though his books sat neatly stacked on his desk, he found himself only turning to them occasionally now. Far more important were the gentle coaxing of his mother from her emotional stupor through making chamomile tea and fixing breakfast. Now the roles of caretaker switched, evident from him bringing meals for Chichi in bed while the Ox King settled the bills and affairs of the house. Even the women from the village came to help, including Lime’s family, bringing casserole dishes for the young window.


Occasional days of brightness pierced through the gloom of the dull ache when Gohan was not busy studying or helping out with the care of his mother and home. On such days, his grandfather the Ox King would take him fishing to remind Gohan that he was indeed still a youth in need of recreation. HIs life could not be one of sole responsibility, even though he seemed more than happy to sacrifice his own hobbies for the sake of pitching in.


“You need to remember to give yourself some time, Gohan,” Ox King told him as they sat by the shore with their fishing poles dangling in the lake. The sense of comfortable familiarity misted Gohan’s eyes with tears, and eased the ache a bit more. While the void was concealed behind a growing wall of plaster, it still needed more time to solidify.


Even so, the feel of the warm sun burning down on his pale skin filled Gohan with a sense of hope. Textbooks often mentioned how sunlight influenced mood. Just knowing he made the weather possible by defeating cell gave him some measure of peace. Now he could lean back and peer into that blue void crisscrossed by occasional clouds and the diamond glistens of sunrays spilling down. In addition, know that it was because of sacrifice. Yet as he frowned, he could not help but wonder why others did not realize they needed to put their own feelings aside as he had done.


How can helping others be selfish? How could wrapping your separation in a noble and ill-conceived excuse make it right to abandon your wife and child? Gohan felt like loathing his father sometimes, and yet he was disturbed more that it seemed justifiable.


Other times Piccolo was a listening ear. Just talking to Dende in some visits he saw Piccolo meditating at Kami’s Lookout. Hovering in midair with his cape hanging down and fluttering in the thin air Piccolo spoke very little but listened volumes.

***


Years slowly formed out of the endless days. Slow changes were the norm, marked by the progress of Chichi from whole days spent in bed to only partial. In six months, she was often doing a larger share of housework, insisting Gohan resume his studies. There was not as much time for the books to gather dust anymore. So plunging into his studies, he found solace from the aching holes.


Finally, when his younger brother was born, another looked to him for guidance. After stewarding his mother through her dark time, he found it a huge relief to act silly and care for a younger soul. Yet he felt adulthood foisted upon him and barely realized that he had a right to protest it. Guilt was a huge motivator, making Gohan shove aside any desire for his own needs in favor of pitching in and pulling his weight.


Right now, a crib sat in Chichi’s bedroom, so she would not have to keep the baby in the bed. Ox King insisted. Much of the time, his grandfather spent the night in a new wing that he had built onto the small house for the new library of books that Gohan would need for his continued study.


Throughout it all, Gohan’s thoughts wandered to the welfare of his fellow Z warriors. Especially

the fate of Future Trunks. Sometimes lying on his bed at night, he thought back to the other times when they had shared sleeping space through their adventures. One particular night crossed his mind more and more often as the days went by and he sat contemplating his calculus:


Trunks thrashed back and forth on his borrowed bed at capsule. Down the hall, Gohan’s enhanced half Saiyan hearing could not mistake the noise of the low moaning, amidst the rustle of cloth. It soared loudly above the domestic din of Capsule’s humming energy conduits supplying power to each of the many rooms. Such a steady hum existed on a much smaller scale at his home at Mt. Paozu. Just why he rested here other then home was just pragmatism, for who wanted to fly four hours home when they could simple spend the night here?


Vegeta had taken quite a beating from the androids then, and Trunks and Gohan were working on individual techniques in one of the other training facilities Bulma had constructed. She had busied herself with discovering how to rig a remote control detonator that could disable one of the androids. So far, Krillin had not been brave enough to use it.


Gohan automatically leapt out of bed, hurling his sheets aside and was halfway down the hall before realizing what he was doing. It seemed born out of instinct. An inborn silent voice urged him to the side of the other half Saiyan. His impulse to knock on the door was overridden hearing the escalation of the moans into near cries of help, and screams. Rather than risk scaring Trunks even more badly by shouting, Gohan simply opened the door and rushed inside. It took a second to register just what he saw amidst the pile of rumpled sheets half dangling off the side of the bed ,but Gohan knew from the thrashing of his arms and legs that Trunks was still sound asleep and fighting some unknown terror.


“Trunks wake up!” Gohan automatically snapped, stepping over a pile of clothes and pillows thrown off the bed. “It’s Gohan…”


“No… No!” Trunks howled. HIs foot flashed out, and then Gohan heard a loud thump accompanied by the crack of plaster on the wall shattering. Gohan drew in his breath sharply, leaping onto the corner of the bed and reaching out to grab Trunks wrists. Already one of his hands was glowing ever more steadily with blue ki, and it would not do to have him hurt himself and anyone else with whatever tormented him.


“Trunks wake up!” Gohan repeated, kneeling right next to Trunks hip. Forcing his face within inches of the other half Saiyan, he saw the sheen of sweat glistening there. While he was worried he could not help but notice that the other was bare chested, judging by the sheets tossed partway aside. Judging by the resistance of Trunks to Gohan’s grasp, he knew it that was quite possibly a reenactment of one of the many battles of futility.


“Gohan, no… You can’t be dead!” Trunks howled. Mention of his name made Gohan’s heart stop dead. The way in which he screamed with such desperation wrenched uncertain emotions to the surface.


Sudden images flickered at random, causing Gohan to blink. So strong was the wave of pain that shot through him that he felt himself shortly stunned. His numb brain seized up, and then Trunks twisted his wrists. The next second Gohan found himself flying across the room, before feeling his shoulder and hip slam against the carpeted floor. A rapid burst of balled up emotions tangled with unfamiliar memories scrambling inside Gohan’s consciousness. He could see the shape of a red and blue gi clad figure standing across a distance from him, his hair burnished gold. Although its back faced Gohan, he noted the sigil spelled out his own name, though the style was the Turtle Hermit school uniform.


“Take me with you Gohan, please… I can help you fight; I won’t get in the way this time!” a younger version of Trunks voice echoed. From the solid muffled quality, Gohan realized he was seeing memories through Trunks eyes.


Gohan questioned just how such a connection could be forged, then remembered how his father Goku could read minds with a touch of a hand to a forehead. Back on Namek, he had asked to read Krillin’s mind in such a manner. Inadvertently Trunks had transmitted these images to Gohan through the contact of skin on skin. Strange other emotions tingled inside Gohan, and he felt mixed with fear something else that caused him to blush.


“All right,” said the tall figure, his gold hair spiky with the power of a Super Saiyan. Gohan shivered through the recollections realizing it was he, or an older version. Teal eyes stared down with a silent sadness that felt painfully familiar. In addition, the nasty scar crossing his face told the silent story, not to mention the left sleeve of the weighted top that dangled without an arm.


“Kami,” Gohan breathed, pushing himself to sit up. “That’s me… in Trunks world. But I look so… so different…”


The thrashing had abated by now, and Gohan tensed to hear the change in Trunks breathing. Rasping breaths and a pounding heart echoed, but Gohan realized that his own heart was pounding equally unrestrained trying to process the alien memories. Tendrils of his hair hung down, and he felt the weight of his own lengthening hair halfway down his back. He heard Trunks breathing slowly, and the creak of bedsprings heralding someone swinging around their weight to sit up.


“Gohan…” whispered Trunks, voice thick with emotion.


“You… you’re awake… thank Kami,” Gohan responded, his own voice cracking slightly.


“Wait a minute… what… what are you doing here?” Trunks asked. Gohan managed to scoot over, pulling himself on his hands and knees to where Trunks sat on the corner of his bed.


“That must have been one nasty nightmare. I heard you from down the hall,” Gohan confessed.


“Gohan, what is it? WAs I that loud? Sorry to make you worry. I’m fine,” Trunks said, scooting to the edge of the bed. He was worried why Gohan was still sitting on the floor, looking badly shaken. Trunks extended a hand to him, and motioned for Gohan to take it. HE easily tugged his friend up towards the bed.


“Come on, sit down. Since we both woke up, it doesn’t look like we’ll get back to sleep any time soon. Are you sure you’re all right? You look like you’ve seen a ghost…”


“I should ask you, Trunks. You sounded like someone was murdering… sounded like someone killed your… best friend,” Gohan tentatively observed. He sat down next to Trunks on the edge of the bed, looking only sideways at the older half Saiyan instead. When Trunks gasped, Gohan knew he was treading on dangerous territory. Should he continue to press Trunks to talk, or not?


Seeing how Gohan’s shoulders were slumped over, Trunks too felt the tension in the room rise to a palpable level. His gut told him that somehow Gohan had figured out just what he had been dreaming about, and he cursed the fact the younger version of his mentor was so smart.


“Are you okay? Holy shit did I do that,” Trunks commented, staring at the hole in the wall. He felt anger surge through him at his lack of self-control. His every motive was to spare Gohan the truth of what became of his counterpart. Better the youth still cling to some notion of childhood before the storm increased, rather than have angst foisted upon him so young. He was on the threshold of teenager hood, and only a few years separated them both. Ironic.


“I saw, Trunks,” Gohan coughed.


“What are you talking about?” Trunks lamely tried to protest. A hand rested on his arm, squeezing tightly.


“I saw myself. You somehow… put memories into my mind… I didn’t realize till I saw them…” Gohan began. Trunks inhaled sharply, his muscles twitching under Gohan’s grasp.


Trunks words came out stilted and tinged with trepidation, “What DID you see… Gohan…”


“What must have been me? You were asking me… er him… to not leave you behind,” Gohan answered, his young voice trying to relate something to the owner of the memories. IT seemed pointless, but Trunks had a right to know what was going on. Although Gohan could be angry at the memories forced into his brain, it was his fault for bursting into the room without knocking.


“I see,” Trunks nodded, swallowing hard. He removed his arm from Gohan’s grasp. The dim glow of whatever ambient light from the windows shimmered on his lavender hair, painting it hues of silver. One foot still hung down while his arms wrapped around the other knee hugged to his chest.


“I’m sorry if I saw something I shouldn’t have Trunks,” Gohan apologized. He too drew up his knees and hugged them both, rocking back and forth slightly on his side of the bed.


“What’s done is done, Gohan. You only saw yourself as an adult,” Trunks began. Yet he stopped his explanation as the description of memories rang clear in his mind.


“Oh,” Gohan acknowledged. He could tell in the change of tone in Trunks voice and the hesitation that he had ventured into forbidden territory. Already he had crossed a line that he felt he should not have. Now he knew something far more intimate then Trunks had ever meant anyone to discover. How could he admit to trunks he knew the feelings held secretly for so long for his other self?


He only wished he could love someone that much when he was older.

***



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