What You Need
by The Dragonball Zone     More by this Writer
In today's tale, the fate of two young men is slowly intertwined with help from a mysterious aged gentleman who makes trades. Can a college professor and a student find one another despite the obstacles in their way? Find out now, in the Dragonball Zone…

Author’s Notes: This is a series of one-shots, operating in the “Dragonball Zone” – conspired upon with Lord Truhan. This episode was provided by Starbearer TM.

A title sequence swirls into view on a star filled screen. A voice calls out, “You have entered a dimension of sight and sound… don’t adjust your computer screen. You have entered the Dragonball Zone.”

Out from the background steps a man wearing a Hawaiian print shirt with a pair of sunglasses, on his back he wears a turtle shell. Facing the camera he says, “Consider if you will a vendor among the busy students of a major university, where the discrepancy between needs and wants can be as wide as the grand canyon. Where a vendor sits in the halls of the student union, observing and interacting with professor and student alike.

He is an elderly man clad in a silk robe who always stops to peer at the young female coeds, one of my favorite past times. He carries a tray with many items that may seem cluttered and an odd assortment.

Approaching him we see a young college freshman, dark of hair and eyes, fleet of mind and shy of personality walks through here almost every day. Dressed not for fashion but for economy in his silk shirt and dark pants. His aim is to study for the best possible grades, without much regard for interaction save the polite minimum.

But both will find it’s not such a question of what you want but what you need.”

***

Today our young student named Son Gohan hurries along passed the vendor, his messenger bag heavy with the books of physics and chemistry. His scholarly eyes are slightly blurred behind glasses but he fails to notice the features of others save the old hermit.

"Good morning Mr. Elder Kai," greets the college freshman.

"And a good morning to you, young Gohan..." The vendor of the halls greets back with a wave.

"I found a magazine on the floor of my classroom," Gohan shyly says with a grin, rubbing the back of his neck. "I don't need it but I am out of..."

"Goodness look at that stack of papers you're carrying!" elder Kai replies.

Gohan awkwardly clutches the papers in one hand because they cannot fit in his bulging shoulder bag. "Yes," he chuckles.

Mr. Elder Kai snatches away the magazine and rifled through his box. He tries to stop the nosebleed he gets from the sight of the lively swim model on the cover of the magazine.

"What you need is right here," Elder Kai announces, holding up a small red and white box.

"Staples..." Gohan replies with a smile. However he is too polite to object and the trade is made. He was too busy to buy a box and the money he has must stretch far enough for the paper he prints upon.

"Can't keep your papers together without them," Mr. Elder Kai replies, hiding the magazine.

"Thank you, Mr. Kai. I'm sorry but I've got to go," Gohan excuses himself with a glance at the clock on the wall. If he doesn't hand his paper in he knows he will lose a vital five points, never mind he still has an hour to go before the deadline.

"Take care, Gohan!" Elder Kai calls to him.

Only a matter of a few minutes passes before a second young man arrives. For we also will consider the young adjunct professor, recently having earned his masters and working on his doctorate, polite and charming. His blue eyes twinkle whenever he greets students and teachers alike. He dresses to impress in his charcoal grey suit. Even his pale blue shirt sets off his lavender hair secured in a ponytail.

Each day student Gohan may pass Professor Trunks without looking up. Passing by in a quest for knowledge, with little overlap, their needs different. Their desires disparate. Yet their true needs can be far from what each suspects. They are teacher and student and each has their role. As Professor, Trunks Briefs carries his briefcase laden with tests he spots the vendor in the hall.

"Good morning, Mr. Elder Kai," he greeted, with a small bow.

"Well, good morning Professor Briefs," Elder Kai replied, eagerly spotting the cup of coffee that the professor has that looks suspiciously not sipped from.

"I don't know if you have anything I might need and I'm in a hurry..." he said, about to leave.

"Hold on there!" Elder Kai calls. "I've got something you'll need! For sure! You've got a lot of papers falling out of your bag!"

The telltale white sheets scatter behind him in a distinct trail. Professor Briefs's tanned skin took on a rosy hue.

"Whoops! Now that's not good.." he comments with a frown.

Eagerly the vendor rushed to help him scoop up the fallen sheets. After he hands them to Prof. Briefs he says, "You need a stapler."

The shiny red stapler was sleek and shiny in the vendors outstretched hand. Trunks reached out for it. The stack of recovered papers he shoves under his arm. He hesitates at the insistent waggle of a wrinkly finger. His other hand is juggling the coffee.

Trunks blue eyes widen at the obvious faux pax so he passed the coffee cup over to free one hand. Attempting to dig for his wallet in his pocket he apologized, "Oh, you need money obviously..."

"I'll take your cup of coffee," the Elder Kai offered.

That temporary look of surprise on Trunks face was endearing. To think a nice stapler is worth a cup of coffee he purchased for less than two dollars?

"Thank you, sir," Trunks said, smiling with a charming twinkle in his eyes a few female and male students alike notice. Even a college junior, who wanders in a search for something else, clutching a box of staples. He is back because he realizes another need.

Clutched in the hand of the lavender haired gentleman in the neatly pressed suit. A sleek red stapler held in a large tanned hand, connected to an arm sheathed in that grey jacket sleeve with a hint of powder blue cuff showing. Gohan's heart pounded at the exotic features of the arms owner swiveling into view.

Blue eyes met coal black behind glasses. Gohan's heart stops for a minute. So did Professor Briefs. Each faces the other, Gohan clinching the box of staples while Trunks held out the red stapler.

"Um, nice stapler... I don't suppose you could use some of these?" Gohan queried. Trunks noticed how the student’s pale alabaster skin contrasted with his dark hair.

A slight smile twitched at the corner of Trunks lips. He replied in a pleasing tenor voice, "Sure, that would be great..."

Again eyes united. Gohan knew for certain this was the handsome adjunct at the front of his physics lecture from last semester but was too shy to say anything. He was just a college student and never needed to ask questions.

"Son... Gohan it is," Trunks replied, staggering over the name a moment from the long list of twenty five he must memorize. There were many young handsome men in his class but he now recognizes this is the same quiet one who sat to the left and scribbles in a marble composition book in black ink. Always a straight A with neat but spidery handwriting contrasting Trunks's block capital print.

Of course, Trunks motioned them over to a nearby table, one of many in the general lounge to the left of the vendor. Each set down their respective armloads. Only Gohan didn’t take off his heavy backpack although Trunks had set down his briefcase.

"Now, let's get situated here,” Trunks said, clicking open the stapler. Gohan watched nimble tanned fingers snap open the front while he presses at the rear of the stapler.

He neatly held his staple box in one hand, while using a fingernail to slit the seal on the cardboard. Trunks watched the sideways shimmy of the box to loose a row of staples. Gohan's own pale and almost ethereal fingers gracefully clutched the bar of stuck together staples. He maneuvered them neatly into the long compartment of Trunks's stapler.

Both wonder at the same moment if it will fit. Likewise both smiled at the perfect click of the staples sliding smoothly in. Trunks cast Gohan a sly smile and Gohan answered it with a triumphal chuckle.

"There we go, Professor."

"A perfect fit," Trunks agreed. "Now... The papers.

Gohan aligns the corners of stray papers precisely with his fingertips. Trunks loves their shape. He aims the red stapler and squeezed down along its length to cinch the contact. Both enjoyed the satisfying "ker chunk" of completion. Stray papers have united into orderly packets.

Momentarily, Gohan glanced up at the wall clock. He yelped, "yikes! Fifteen minutes to turn in my paper!"

"Sorry," Trunks apologized handing back the box. "I've also got class... Darn!"

He snatched up both stapler and papers at the same time Gohan grabbed his report. Awkward smiles morphed into a polite bow from Gohan, and an offered hand from the Professor.

"Thank you Son Gohan," said Trunks. His tanned hand perfectly fit the pale creamy skin of Gohan's. He felt small calluses along with the coolness of a firm shake.

Gohan sensed a jolt that represents anticipation instead of electricity. He wondered if their paths will cross again. Other than in the confines of class.

"Well um... Er... See you around Son Gohan," Trunks said with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Good afternoon Professor," Gohan replied with a wave of a reluctant hand. He hastened down the hall at a brisk walk before Trunks turned and moved off to his class.

**
Since the stack of papers on Prof. Trunks desk grew, he considered the staples that fill his red Satanline stapler. Memorable images of graceful light olive tinted skin on those hands haunted his thoughts between Sharpener and Erasas tests. It was fortunate that the student Gohan is no longer under his tutelage, yet dare he consider possibilities?

A red stapler was what he needed apparently but he had few ideas of just what Gohans schedule was. The possibilities arose that one common place he'd seen him was that vendor. Perhaps if he sought him out he could discover where he was.

Eager to try out his idea he slowly made his way out of the common adjunct office towards the student union. He strolled under trees resplendent with gold foliage. Heavy with leaves they cast short shadows in the noonday sun. To his surprise he spotted the vendor set up along the path with his tray of various and sundry notions.

Not only that but he manufactured a reason to duck behind a tree and pretend to check his cell phone for messages. Glancing around the tree he recognized a fall of black hair and the hint of black glasses. Next to Gohan stood a bald young man who he remembered from the martial arts team.

"I need some markers," Gohan muttered shyly.

"Well, young man you need something else..." Said the vendor with a wink. "Perhaps..."

"But..." Gohan began.

"Well, I know you need this, young man," chuckled the vendor as he passed something to Krillin.

"A cell phone charger cord? But I already have one… okay… okay if you insist,” Krillin trailed off. "Well, I've got a broken pencil."

Trunks watched as the elder kai accepted the pencil and forks over the cord and plug. Gohan mumbled, “Well, I don’t know if you’ve got anything else I need… but I don’t need this red pen… I found it dropped on the floor…”

“Actually, I do have something you need,” murmured the Elder Kai with a smile. He passed a small piece of cardboard printed with distinct lettering Trunks had trouble reading.

“A movie ticket? But I don’t have time to go out,” Gohan sighed, glancing at it dubiously.

“C’mon Gohan, he’s giving it to you! I’m always saying you study too hard. Live a little man!” Krillin whispered holding up a hand to Gohan’s ear.

“Here’s the pen… I guess if you think I need it…” Gohan relented, presenting the pen. Trunks smiled slightly but he felt a bit of sadness. The young man didn’t think he had time to even go to the movie? Also, he didn’t think there was anything he needed but he gave the red pen thinking of someone else’s needs.

Generous and thoughtful, Trunks realized with a slight blush. Qualities that made him even more attractive to the young adjunct. Krillin glanced down at the ticket and whispered, “There you go! If you don’t use it I will…”

“Krillin, we’re going to be late for class!” Gohan warned him, tugging on his sleeve.

“Oh crap! We gotta go!” Krillin gulped, running after his friend. Both of them carried books whose cover Trunks recognized. While tempted to stop Gohan, Trunks knew that it was bad to encourage students to miss any class, no matter what subject.

He however saw the book that one of them had dropped, and turned it over. Shakespeare. professor Pahukan’s course possibly, Trunks surmised. He tucked the book under his arm and moved to follow the others, temporarily forgetting the vendor. Elder Kai called out, “Professor Briefs! I have something you need?”

“I’ve got to get this to a student who just dropped it,” Trunks said.

“Don’t you need a red pen?” asked the Elder Kai waggling it, the very one Gohan had picked up. Thoughts of Gohan holding that pen in his pale white fingers caused Trunks to blush.

“Ah well, if you insist…” Trunks murmured. He dug through his pockets, and pulled out a small packet of headache tablets. Shrugging he handed it over.

“Ohh, good exchange, I’ll take them,” Elder Kai cackled, passing him the red pen at the same time he surrendered the packet. He smiled meaningfully at Professor Briefs.

“Thank you,” Trunks said, placing the pen in his breast coat pocket and wandering quickly off to drop off the book. He didn’t want to interrupt the class but perhaps he could catch the two before if he was fast enough.
**
Professor Paihukan paced around in front of the class, checking the clock on the wall. His tall white turban and robes are spotless, and his sharp eyes look to see which student is present yet in what seat. Two up front are missing, much to his surprise.

Gohan half dragged Krillin into the class, tugging him down to sit in front. The young bald man hated it-- not that he was bald he shaved thank you very much-- and plopped down next to his best friend reluctantly. He grumbled under his breath but pulled out his own notebook once Gohan removed his marble composition book and a pencil.

“Geez, can you stop using that movie ticket as a bookmark?” Krillin hissed to him.

“I can’t use it till next week,” Gohan protest, frowning back at his friend.

“Then, I’ll take it off your hands,” Krillin whispered, nodding meaningfully. There was a certain student named 18 he had been wanting to get the attention of.

“Krillin, I might need it. I promise I’ll use it but be quiet,” hissed Gohan, nodding at the professor who swiveled his head in their direction.

“Mr. Krillin, do you have something to share with the rest of the class?” he grunted, pointing his yardstick at the monk.

“Who me… no… oh man… I was just… um… commenting on how Trinculo and um… stephano are sometimes… um… played by actors who have other minor parts…” Krillin stammered, sweating.

“How very interesting. That is true. I’m impressed you actually read The Tempest but we are studying Henry Vth this week!” Paihukan grunted. “Although for your sake, you reading ahead should be an example to the rest of you!”

“Ugh…” Krillin groaned and Gohan was sure that his friend was wishing the ground would open up and swallow him whole right now.

Gohan nudged him supportingly and called out, “Professor Paihukan, I know that Henry the Vth inspired a sense of loyalty among his friends. But some modern interpretations could lead people to construe this as same sex relationships among his men…”

“Indeed it could, Mr. Son,” said Paihukan, nodding as he turned his attention to Gohan who had his notes open.

Trunks peered in the door, listening to Gohan. He figured that he would stop by later and drop off the book then. Gohan spotted the young woman that Krillin was looking towards, frowning at her cell phone. She glanced back and forth. Krillin smiled a bit, brandishing the cell phone cord he’d just gotten. He passed it over to her. Through the door Professor Briefs saw the young blonde take the cord from the wrestler and use it to plug her cell phone into the wall.

How did that vendor know or anticipate just what everyone would need? It wasn’t something they necessarily wanted. He glanced down at the book in his hand, tapping it slowly. Not wanting to interrupt the class he quickly rushed off towards the lost and found. Now was not the time to drop off a book at class when he himself would be late to his own class!

***

Gohan glanced at the movie ticket quietly, using it again as a bookmark to reserve the next few pages in his composition book. Professor Paihukan started to pack up his books in anticipation of his next class. Krillin shyly got up and walked over to 18, whispering, “I’ll see you in a bit Gohan…”

“Okay,” Gohan whispered back, smiling a bit. Krillin’s fate was in his own hands. He strode out the door, almost bumping into Professor Briefs.

“Ah, Professor,” he said with a slight blush.

“You dropped your book…” he said quietly, handing it over.

“Oh that’s not mine, that’s Krillin’s… but thank you…” Gohan said with a small smile as he closed his eyes. “I’ll return it to him. How’d you know…”

“I er… waited to return it to you. I happened to be walking by when I saw one of you drop it…” Trunks admitted shyly, smiling back. Gohan’s eyes admired his silky lavender hair.

“Well, thank you!” Gohan said brightly. “That’s very kind of you but I hate to think you went out of your way just to drop off a book…”

“College books are expensive,” Trunks said with a shrug. Gohan nodded slowly.

“mmm hmm…” he agreed, shouldering his bag. “Well… I… I’ve got to get to my next class…”

Trunks glimpsed the edge of the movie ticket sticking out. He was about to say something, when he hesitated. “Well, I could walk you there… considering it’s on the way… I’d been meaning to ask you about…”

“What is it, Professor?” Gohan asked, blinking as he looked at him with those dark eyes in slight confusion.

“Professor Briefs! Fancy seeing you here on this side of campus!” Professor Paihukan said with a stern nod.

“Ah, good day Professor Paihukan. I was just returning a book a student of yours dropped,” Trunks said.

Noticing the two professors speaking, Gohan waved and went to meet Krillin who had just walked out with 18. The young monk blushed brightly as 18 left, carrying the charger that she put into her bag. Gohan yelled as Krillin dragged him away from the two chatting professors.

Shrugging Gohan figured he didn’t want to be rude. Whatever professor Trunks was going to ask him could wait. Besides, professors didn’t need students interrupting their conversation and he didn’t want to ignore his friend. “So… did she…”

“She gave me her phone number if we wanted to study. I tell you I really needed that cell phone charger! What a coincidence,” chuckled Krillin. Gohan pushed the book into his hands.

“You dropped this. Professor Briefs waited to return it…”

“Wait, Professor Briefs? You mean that guy over there talking to Professor Paihukan… Gohan, why didn’t you tell me that…” Krillin asked, lifting an eyebrow.

“Shh, Krillin, he’s a busy man. We don’t want to interrupt them,” Gohan hissed.

Krillin grumbled, “But Gohan, he’s a really cute guy! And you aren’t blind are you?”

“Krillin, shhh!” hissed Gohan, blushing bright red. “not so loud…”

“Oh lighten up Gohan. You can’t study all your life you know. You need someone to share it with,” Krillin said patting his shoulder. Gohan groaned and walked alongside his friend, his pale skin the same hue resembling a tomato now.

**
The next morning Gohan and Krillin had finished breakfast. On the way to their class Gohan carried an extra capsule soda that had fallen out of the machine and Krillin sipped an energy drink. Humming Krillin pointed to the vendor.

“I gotta thank him Gohan!!!” Krillin insisted, grabbing Gohan’s sleeve.

“Okay, if you want. I’m sure it’d be nice. Don’t know how many people actually do thank him,” Gohan said as he glanced down at the can.

“Hey Mr. Elder Kai!” Krillin sang out, waving to the old man as he glanced through a magazine. Blood dripped from his nostrils before he mopped it up with a handkerchief.

“Man, I wanted to thank you for the cell phone charger. I got a date!” Krillin cheered, winking at the elder Kai who winked back.

“Eh, I was right. Wasn’t I?” the elder Kai snickered with an identical expression.

“Excuse me but I got an extra soda. I thought you might want it cause I don’t drink the stuff,” Gohan interrupted, holding it out.

“How kind of you, young man. It just so happens I have something i know you’ll need,” Elder Kai said brightly, taking the can.

“No, that’s not necessary. I just thought you could…” Gohan began but the man waved his hand.

“Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not how I work. I always give people what they need when they give me something. Honestly what is this world coming to?” Elder Kai asked, clicking his tongue. He pulled a Capsule whiteboard marker out of his pocket. Black.

Rubbing his head, Gohan glanced at it. “I dunno if I need this right now. Really, I’m fine.”

“Gohan, take it. You don’t want to upset the guy do you? Besides who knows, you could get the boy of your dreams with it,” Krillin teased.

“Krillin… that’s silly,” Gohan mumbled sheepishly, rolling his eyes.

“Well, you never know when you need an overhead marker,” the Kai said, waiving the marker in front of Gohan’s face.

Sticking it into his jacket pocket Gohan mumbled his thanks. “Sorry I’ve got to go. You coming Krillin?”

“You go on ahead,” said Krillin with a grin as he saw 18 walking by. Gohan quickly moved in the opposite direction. Something about this whole situation was starting to bother him. He shrugged and walked passed the science building for his chemistry class.

**
“I can’t believe it,” Trunks grumbled, fumbling in his pockets and in his bags. He glared at the incriminating marker that left a faint trace on the whiteboard. Class started in less than five minutes and he was giving a lecture on quantum mechanics!

“Awww come on! Give me a break,” Trunks grumbled, glaring at yet another marker as he tossed it into the trash. “Not now!”

Out in the hall, Gohan heard the commotion and stopped to listen to the frustration laced voice. His heart pounded a bit when he realized it was Professor Briefs! Not only that but he sounded upset. Shyly Gohan poked his head in the room.

“Are you okay, Professor?” he asked, holding onto the door frame.

“Gohan! I didn’t see you there,” Trunks said a bit flustered, spinning around so his ponytail swirled around and landed on his back.

“You sound upset… is there anything I can do?” Gohan asked, taking a step into the class.

“It’s silly really, class starts in five minutes and I’ve got a pile of dead markers. What are the odds,” Trunks asked, forcing a chuckle.

“Oh, is that it? I’ve got one right here that you could use. I don’t need it,” Gohan said, pulling it out of his pocket. In that instant Trunks wanted to kiss the young man, not just because of the marker.

“Gohan, you’re a lifesaver,” Trunks exclaimed beaming. He took the marker, his hand touching the other’s briefly. That jolt of electricity between them was even stronger than when they had first shook hands.

For a few brief moments, they regarded each other. Swallowing, Gohan took a deep breath and gathered his courage.

“Do… Do you like to go to the movies?” He asked.

Surprise filled Trunks's eyes. Gohan fingered the ticket in his book and pulled it out. He brandished it in front of Trunks, who was still silent with a cross between amusement and shock.

“Yes, I do but surely you must need a study break…” he asked quietly.

“Well, I don't need it, and well…” Gohan muttered as he continued to hold it out. The end of the ticket quivered.

“Tell you what,” Trunks whispered, hearing the students clamoring outside the door. Gohan leaned closer to listen.

“Yes, Prof. Briefs?” He whispered back. His breath fanned Trunks's ear.

“You go. I'll buy my own,” Trunks whispered, hand brushing Gohan’s for the briefest instant.

However the next instant students pored into the class. Forced to keep up appearances both of them moved apart like repelling magnetic poles. If both were seen engaging in any activity beyond scholarly pursuits it would spell disaster.

In shame Gohan dissolved into the crowd swarming the lecture hall. He felt akin to a salmon swimming up a waterfall. Whispers of, “teachers pet!” Echoed in his ears. Covered in shame he vanished into the school.

Trunks heard the whispers of students filing into the classroom. Inwardly he groaned at the possible ramifications. Still he was a professor who many a student had a crush on.

He only hoped he hadn't ruined Gohan's academic career. Only during the lecture covering the marker board in equations did he consider his own risk.

**

The next day every time a student whispered nearby, the studious Gohan flinched in anticipation. Were they concerned with him or was it paranoia?

Whispers turned to pointing. The shabby threadbare shirts Gohan wore had been fixed many times. If only he had the self confidence you carry Krillin, his friend.

How could he erase possible shame brought on to Professor Trunks? Passed the Elder Kai he wandered, book bag flung over his shoulder.

Tucked into his book this time was an application. There was no way he could have the courage to fill it out now. Continuing his graduate studies at the same institution would be suicide for them both.

"It can't be that bad,” Krilllin told him, walking alongside his hunched over friend.

“But everyone is whispering. Just because I loaned him a marker before class,” Gohan grumbled back.

“Buddy, if you carry yourself like you're in shame people will believe the rumors,” Krillin warned.

“It doesn't matter, Krillin. I'll probably have to transfer and he will be fired,” Gohan protested. Both stopped in front of the Elder Kai walking passed.

“Why such long faces, young men?” Cackled Elder Kai.

With bowed head Gohan didn't bother looking up. Instead he mumbled, “I'm surprised you haven't heard about it by now?”

Elder Kai extracted a small bottle from his tray, tutting, “Well, yes, but that kind of rumor flies around all the time. You need some spot remover… for that stain on your jacket….”

Unable to stop himself or protest Gohan reached out and clutched the vial from Elder Kai’s hand. For a moment he held it close to his chest.

With his other hand Gohan tugged a folded sheaf of paper stuffed into an envelop over before he replied, “I don't need this application anymore to the graduate program. If Professor Briefs is in trouble I'll transfer.”

Krillin’s eyes widened to round circles. He yelped, “Gohan! Don't be hasty!”

However, he spoke to his friend's rapidly retreating back instead of his face. He spun and rushed after Gohan quickly. Minutes later Trunks stormed up with fierce blue eyes narrowed to slits.

“Good heavens, what is wrong?” Began Elder Kai.

“Save it! Thanks to your meddling I've just ruined a student's career!” Trunks snapped. He gritted his teeth. “I'm on academic report myself!”

“I'm sorry, Professor, that's a shame all right,” Elder Kai attempted to mollify.

Yet Trunks stepped closer, rasping, “you have something in there that will fix it?”

“Only a pair of scissors is what you need,” Elder Kai protested, backed up against a tree while Trunks rifled through his tray. In disgust Trunks pocketed the sharp shears. Shaking his head Elder Kai sighed and wiped sweat beads off his forehead.

**

Elsewhere Gohan stood in front of his mirror in the nearest men's bathroom. He glimpsed swollen red eyes and his wild hair sticking up. Taking a small ball of cotton in one hand he dabbed some of the vial’s contents on his face.

Slowly he dragged the moist ball over his skin. Cuts and scratches vanished under a smooth alabaster complexion.

Intrigued, Gohan rubbed the cotton ball over his hair. The wild locks smoothed down one after the other. A few dabs on the threadbare shirt and jacket removed even the most ground on stains.

From behind he heard the creak of the bathroom door. In the mirror he glimpsed it opening as Krillin called out, “Gohan, buddy are you… Holy Dende!”

Shock filled Krillin's face, his mouth hanging open. Gohan turned, asking, “Krillin, are you… Look, I'm fine… See?”
“I umm… Yeah! You look great! For some reason I forgot why you were upset but I remember it was bad,” Krillin chuckled, patting his friend's back.

Gohan smiled at him, sweat beaded on his forehead for a change. Just what had the spot eraser done? He would have to investigate scientifically.

“Let's go. I think both of us could take in a movie later tonight,” said Krillin grinning. He brandished two tickets under his friend's hand.

“Let me guess, you were going on a date with 18 but she can't make it,” Gohan teased a bit.

Gulping Krillin stammered, “no way! I gave her one already. We thought you could tag along.”

“I wouldn't be a third wheel,” Gohan asked, twitching a brow.

“No man! Not looking like that! You'll attract a great guy!” Krillin beamed. Gohan shared his smile and exited the restroom with his friend.

Outside Gohan noticed people whispering and gasping. He flinched in anticipation of jeering remarks yet each of them were complementary.

Instead of being the butt of a scandal, Gohan in his Chinese collar shirt and dark blue blazer felt cool and mysterious. Even rubbing the spot remover on his glasses fixed them so he wore them like new.

**

Trunks grumbled, storming out of the Dean's office. Rumors had reached Dean Yemma's desk and he had shrunk back as he was reprimanded for fraternizing with a student.

Now, he walked with hunched over shoulders towards the elevator that would bear him downstairs. Being on academic probation meant a compromised future.

The bells dinged for Trunks to announce he was on the ground floor. He stepped out, hearing the double doors slam shut.

A sharp pull arrested his forward progress. He pulled back but it felt as if his ponytail and briefcase strap were yanking him upward. Against his neck the strap constricted.

“Oh no!” Trunks gasped, glancing back over one shoulder. His ponytail and briefcase were stuck in the elevator ascending.

He dug in his pockets frantically, gripping the handles of scissors. Desperate he angled around and snipped at the strap. The blades gleamed and bit into the sturdy leather strap.

Around his field of vision he saw a red tint. His throat felt the bite of the strap around it as well as his back scalp tugging. One more snip and squeeze of the handles before he passed out.

“Professor Briefs!” Gasped a familiar voice. Hands closed around the scissors. He dropped forward like a rag doll into two pairs of arms.

Opening his eyes Trunks saw a blurred face of alabaster skin and dark onyx eyes. Alongside it was the nose less countenance of that other student. “Son… Gohan… Krillin…”
He hoarsely rasped out.

“I'll get the campus medics!” Krillin said sternly, before racing off.

The young man in glasses, slicked back hair and a Nehru collared shirt seemed far more a graduate student then a starving scrimping senior. He murmured, “Professor… Thank Dende you had scissors…”

“That's what I needed,” Trunks laughed, giddy from lack of oxygen. In worry Gohan caressed his cheek and pulled Trunks to rest his head on his lap.

“Just breathe easy. I've got you and you're safe,” Gohan urged. Lifting a hand shakily to his face Trunks swallowed.

“If you're seen with me you'll get expelled. I'm already on report,” Trunks hoarsely warned. Despite his worry, he loved the soothing cool hand on his face.

“Well, that's ok. I'm transferring anyhow,” Gohan reassured him with a small smile.

“Thank you, Gohan,” whispered Trunks. Both remained caressing the others face till Trunks felt a cotton ball dabbing on his face.

“What's that?” He asked. Gohan smiled a bit.

“Spot remover. I figure we both should look our best for whatever comes our way next,” Gohan chuckled. Together they dabbed him with the contents of the vial.

Hearing footsteps come around the corner Trunks sat up. He accepted a hand up from Gohan, still holding on. Both turned towards the security guard Satan, his mouth open wide.

“Are you two ok?” he asked. “Professor Briefs!”

“I'm ok but the elevator almost won,” Trunks joked.

Krillin snapped, “Professor, you were almost strangled! How can you be so calm?”

After the bell dinged, the elevator doors skid open to reveal Dean Yemma in shock. He exclaimed, “Professor Trunks! Are you all right? I meant to tell you the doors been sticking…”

Still standing side by side Gohan and Trunks regarded the growing crowd gathering around them. Looks of disbelief were replaced with relief. However, why didn't either the security guard nor the Dean reprimand professor and student holding hands?

It was Trunks who finally broke the silence saying, “Sir, I know this looks bad but…”

“I see you've met the new graduate assistant, Son Gohan. We just found his application to the graduate program earlier today,” Dean Yemma chuckled.

“Grad… Student?” Gohan and Trunks mouthed in unison. They let go, their brains spinning. Had the spot remover also banished the shame of an illicit but innocent breach of protocol?

Nothing prevented a grad student from fraternizing with an adjunct if both were teachers.

**

Later, at the movies two young men found themselves sitting next to each other. Gohan's eyes widened seeing Trunks there with short cropped hair.

A smile covered Gohan's face. He took the hand that Trunks reached out and clasped it. Krillin and 18 in the next two seats over passed the huge tub of popcorn over.

Raising a piece to Gohan's mouth Trunks popped it in. Gohan's tongue licked the butter off his tabbed fingertips. Both blushed.

Eventually their arms wrapped around each other's shoulders as their lips met in a first kiss, both found what they needed.

**

Master Roshi beams a flashlight on the couple and walks out to the exit.

He says, “An elderly man still gives what he thinks people need in trade. One never knows until faced with the situation how the odd items will shape fate. Yet two people were brought together by a chain of items, in the Dragonball Zone!”

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