His dream about chocolate chip ice cream suddenly vanished, chased away by a very annoying and persistent poking.
“Gooo-haaaan!” Trunks’s sing-song voice made him want to root deeper into the blankets and call back the pretty dream again. He didn’t feel like waking up at this ungodly hour to go and have the life beaten out of his poor ten year old body.
Ok, there was maybe a little too much of a self pity in that thought, but he couldn’t help it; he definitely wasn’t any early riser.
“Don’t be such a baby and wake up. You have a destiny to fulfil!” Trunks stopped poking and bounced cheerily towards the blinds. His rapid flick of wrists made Gohan shrink into the covers out of habit, but of course, at 4:45 there was no sunlight to blind him.
“Scared’ya, didn’t I?” Trunks grinned.
Gohan mumbled something incoherent about cheeky brats and slowly wormed his battered body out from the warm cocoon of his blankets.
He shuffled towards the bathroom and Trunks followed, unfazed by the killing glare Gohan kept sending him for the lack of privacy.
Trunks kind of danced around him, never really cornering him, but everywhere he turned, he had a bathroom full of the violet haired older boy.
He was like a fucking butterfly. Gohan knew Trunks did it to annoy him and to wake him up. His eyes were still dropping while he brushed his teeth.
Trunks stood by his side and played with his hair.
“Behind the ear? Over the ear? Maybe if I leave the left ear covered and put the hair behind the right ear, that looks kind of nice..” he kept babbling and watching himself in the mirror.
Gohan rolled his eyes. He would try to beat the life out of Trunks during the training just for this moment here.
The normally shy and withdrawn Trunks was only bouncy with Gohan and Gohan secretly enjoyed the privilege. He certainly wouldn’t dance around Goku or play with his long hair.
When he was finally washed and dressed and all set up for the training, he stumbled down to the kitchen with now silent Trunks at his feet.
“Morning Gohan! Ready for another day of paradise?” Goku’s cheerful voice boomed in between the four walls. He sat at the table halfway through the mountain of pancakes.
“What paradise you moron, you are about to beat him up!” Chichi bonked him upside the head with spatula and Gohan grinned.
“Good morning, Mommy.” He smiled as sweetly as he could and received her heart melting smile.
“Don’t act so innocent and paradise it is, when you are well trained and strong, you’ll rid the Earth of all the androids and other bad guys. That will be the paradise. Now have some breakfast.”
Rolling his eyes yet again, Gohan plopped his butt on the chair next to his dad and dug into similar mountain of food. Trunks hadn’t spoken yet, just shyly smiled at Chichi when she placed his share in front of him. He did however pour Gohan his glass of milk and ignored Goku’s pleading eyes. That was a satisfaction on its own, knowing he had an ally against his overwhelming father.
“Now, I want you home by 3pm so I can sit with you on those math problems. You need to concentrate on the parts you are weak at. You could spend the weekend with fractions and derivations and maybe I’ll let you off the hook at the end of the week.” His mom, her dangerously sweet smile blinding him, sat across from Gohan and bit off a chunk of a pancake in the caveman style.
Gohan froze and his eyes darted towards his father.
“He can’t, he has to finish the training first. We’ll need him in the battle.” Goku said with his mouth full, ignorant of his wife’s dangerous eyebrow twitch.
“YOU ALWAYS SAY IT’S JUST ONE MORE DAY OF TRAINING OR ONE BATTLE, YOU BIG DOOFUS, OF COURSE, YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IMPORTANT EDUCATION IS WHEN YOU NEVER HAD ONE!! NOT EVERYONE WANTS ONLY FOOD AND BATTLES IN THEIR LIVES!! MY SON WON’T END UP A STUPID IDIOT LIKE YOU ARE!!”
Gohan didn’t hear the rest of what she yelled. He held his hands to his ears and watched her open her mouth mutely. It was kind of amusing and a lot less scary this way.
Trunks tugged at his hand and they tip toed out of kitchen while his mom was busy yelling at his dad, who sat there with his stupid grin, acting like he had no idea why education was more important than saving the whole world. Not in Chichi’s world, that is. But he had enough time to learn that, in Gohan’s opinion, being married to her over ten years.
The impact of the fight was a lot less effective as it was a daily occurrence, the fight over his education vs. training. In the end, he always sneaked out and divided his time to his studies and training equally, because despite their faults and well, general uncool demeanor every adult suffered by default, he loved his parents and wanted to please both of them.
He played tag with Trunks to warm up a bit, the general rule involved no flying. By the time his father extracted himself from the claws of his furious but loving wife, they had both a nice layer of healthy sweat.
“Come on boys, time to go. We only have till 4:30pm.” beamed Goku.
“Huh? I thought she said 3 o’clock.” Gohan frowned.
“She did.” the evil smirk Goku gave him let him know the childish father of his was getting back at Chichi for the idiot comment. Gohan just shrugged deciding he didn’t want to be the one to try and stop his parents or even worse, getting in middle of their battles.
The three of them flew north-east towards the East Capital, where they rented a dingy old gym for their daily trainings.
It took them half an hour to settle in, including the everyday chat with the owner.
Each of them now focused on their warm up set of push ups and sit-ups and squats. Doing around thousand of each, helped them to warm the muscles nicely, all of them were covered in a layer of sparkly sweat.
“Ok Gohan, let’s see what you can do. Bring it on.” Goku waved at his offspring and Gohan frowned. He hated when his father let him feel the age difference.
He attacked Goku and tried to land a punch but Goku dodged them easily. Every kick, every punch made the younger pant harder while Goku managed to look almost bored, chatting away with Trunks and the gym owner.
Gohan hated the fact that he seemed so weak next to his dad, especially in front of Trunks. His friend was maybe 7 years older, so of course, considerably stronger, but still, he never let him feel weak.
Goku now added a punch or two, though Gohan knew he didn’t use even half of his strength. But nevertheless, his battered body felt each punch, even if half-hearted as a full blow and ached accordingly.
After three hours of getting his life kicked and punch out of him, with Goku being hardly touched despite Gohan’s efforts, he allowed his son a half an hour break before he was to face Trunks.
Even if Gohan felt like bitching at both of them, he knew he learned again something new and maybe he will be able to use it against Trunks. The break was over too soon and he was faced with his best friend. Trunks, as caring as the guy was, was a fierce opponent and wanting the best for Gohan, he refused to baby him. He was fighting at full speed and force and Gohan was left to deal with it. He tried to listen to his father’s advices not to panic, to think calmly about every punch, to calculate and observe every one of Trunks’s move.
By the time they finished, he didn’t have a square inch on his body without a bruise. With Trunks’s gentle guidance, he joined his father and friend in the sauna, where Trunks treated his wounds carefully.
He pouted a bit, feeling once again as a total failure, but his dad entertained them with stories from his own training days, trying to make him feel better. After Goku left for a shower, he slumped against the wooden bench hoping for a nap.
The sauna made his body nice and numb to all the pain, his muscles were relaxed and kind of weak, so when he stood up, he had to grab Trunks’s shoulder not to fall in front of him.
He let Trunks help him into the showers and wanted to enjoy standing under the hot stream. But after two minutes the water suddenly seemed a bit colder.
“Hey Gohan, do you feel it too?” he heard Trunks next to his ear through the noise of falling water.
“Shit, I still need to wash. Father spent all the hot water on himself AGAIN” He frantically tried to lather his hair, spraying bubbles in all directions. Trunks helped him, carefully avoiding the worst wounds.
When the water turned icy cold they both jumped away with a pair of unmanly yelps. Shivering, they dried quickly and dressed in the change of clothes they brought.
Goku was waiting for them enjoying a cup of coffee with the gym owner.
“Time to go home son, I am so hungry I could eat a bull, only his teeth and horns would be left.”
“But I still need to go and buy a math textbook. Mom would have my balls if I didn’t bring it.”
“You can go, I’ll stay with him.” Trunks offered. Goku seemed eager to go home and eat so he just nodded and flew away, yelling back last minute not to be late.
“We have half an hour to spare, and the bookstore isn’t far.” Gohan felt the need to defend his actions. Trunks strolled the street by his side, whistling.
The bookstore held the smell of new books, shelves packed with books in assorted sizes and thickness lined the walls, leaving just one small corner for a sofa and a small table. Visitors could sit there and flip through the books before purchasing.
Gohan went to the section with school books to look for the title his mother ordered him to, while Trunks disappeared somewhere by the classics.
He couldn’t find the book for a while, even requesting help from the girl by the till. When he finally had it in hand, Trunks reappeared grabbing the book and insisting on paying for it.
“You don’t have to, Mom gave me money..” Gohan started to argue but Trunks waved him off.
“I want to do something nice for you because we beat you up pretty bad today. So let me or my conscience would kill me.“
Gohan tried to hide the pout. He had to admit it was kind of nice. And it was definitely nice when Trunks ignored his protests and dragged him across the street, sat him by the table under the huge oak tree and stuffed him with chocolate ice cream.
Even though he was included in a lot of battles, fighting alongside his dad, training in a level a professional human boxer would envy, he was still a ten year old, and it was scientifically proved that stuffing his face at this age was prone to make him gloat.
Sitting on the bench, hoping no city pigeon would poop in his cone, swinging his legs happily in the late autumn day, he felt a moment of contentment.
The bag with his book was kind of heavy and he peeked in, discovering two books inside. One was his math, one was a story book by Jules Verne. He wondered why Trunks bought a book when he didn’t like reading.
“That one is for you.” Trunks said, nudging him to open it. It was called The Mysterious Island and had nice pictures in. But before he could thank Trunks, his friend left him sit there while he ran for his last errand and it made Gohan blush when he came back handing him a bouquet of flowers. Because getting flowers was kind of nice too, yet he couldn’t possibly admit that, being a guy and all.
“I don’t need flowers I am not a girl..” he started at Trunks but his friend just grabbed him by a bicep and sort of threw him up in the air, indicating that it was time to go home. Catching up with him, he smiled.
“We can’t be late. Don’t forget you like your balls.” Trunks smirked and dodged the bag with books that swung by his head.
They flew in silence the rest of the day, Gohan getting kind of nervous because indeed they were late.
He saw Chichi already standing by the front door, he hands at her hips, her brow furrowed. That wasn’t a good sign.
“SON GOHAN, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE AT HOME HOUR AGO!! WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? YOU STILL HAVE HOMEWORKS TO DO!! DON’T THINK YOU CAN SKIP JUST BECAUSE YOUR IRRESPONSIBLE FATHER KICKED THE DEAR LIFE OUT OF YOU!!”
Gohan spied Goku trying to tip-toe away from the quarrel.
“I ..well..I was.. I kind of..” Gohan stuttered. It was hilarious how his knees went weak in front of this woman who gave him life, when he was fearless in battles against monsters.
“It’s not what you think Chichi, we are not late on purpose. See Gohan here stubbornly didn’t want to go home until he bought the perfect bouquet for his mom. I told him you’d rather have him home writing the essay but he didn’t listen.” Trunks rushed to his aid. Both Gohan and Chichi watched him with mouth agape.
Chichi blushed, she opened her mouth several times to say something but she always shut it in the end. Then she knelt by her son and squeezed the life out of him.
“Of course I would rather have you home working on your studies.” She said, trying to act all stern and strict but she didn’t fool them. Her eyes went all soft and watery and she stuck her nose into the bouquet to hide the embarrassment.
“You should teach your useless father some of the finesse. Battle isn’t everything.” She patted his cheek and guided him to the kitchen.
“That’s my boy.” She sobbed happily and Trunks winked at him from behind her.
He had to smile. Trunks was always looking out for him. He decided to become a man, who Trunks could count on as well.