Nothing Else Matters
by Shella-chan     More by this Writer
When Cell killed Trunks, he gets sent to the Other World, and there he finally meets the one he loves again…

Song Used: Taxiride – Let Me Die Young

I believe, in the faithful and true
And I believe in silly things, like everlasting love
But I could never ever believe, what was struck upon you
You fell away, but this time, it was for good

A still place. A sense of timeless tranquillity, of endless calm. Warmth, peace and security. Endless curving coils of serpentine length. Soft, pastel colours – green, yellow, pink. Dream-like relaxation. No more worries, no more stress, no more hassles or bother or anxiety. Fear was gone. Silence reigned. Trunks had reached the Other World.

His heart had stopped hurting some time ago, without him realising. The lavender-haired Saiyan looked down, found that the wound had healed. There was no mark on his clothing, no scratch on his armour to betray the fatal wound that had been inflicted on him seconds and forever earlier. All the pain and hurt in his former life seemed but a distant memory to him, something that had happened to someone different. It didn’t matter to him, wasn’t relevant, didn’t have anything to do with him.

He raised cornflower eyes to better see the place he found himself in. Solemn blue orbs took in the sight of Snake Way, coiling on out of sight between fluffy yellow clouds, and Trunks took a deep, shuddering breath. There would never be a lack of air in the afterlife, but there are times when anyone needs to take a deep breath.

Let me die young, let me die young
So I can be with you, forever
Let me die young, let me die young
So we can laugh again, in heaven

He was dead, he knew that. Cell had returned, had shot him, had delivered a mortal wound in the form of an energy beam that burned a sizzling hole right through his chest and out the other side. Trunks had experienced that death, felt the agony, seen his own lifeblood spilling over his armour, and yet felt somewhat … disconnected. Objective. Like it had happened to somebody else. It hadn’t been his heart torn by that energy beam. It hadn’t been his body that fell limply to the ground. It hadn’t been his blood pouring from the wound, soaking the dust, staining the dirt. A different person had suffered that. A different person had been through those things. The demi- Saiyan hovering in the air over Snake Way had not died at the Cell Games. Maybe he’d heard of the tumultuous events of the World Martial Arts Tournament, but they didn’t affect him. Maybe he’d known the lavender-haired teenager killed by Cell, but that didn’t really matter to him.

There was little noise in this part of the Other World, but Trunks fancied that, if he strained his ears, he could faintly catch the ghostly whisper of pipes, carried on a nonexistent breeze as a background to the immense quiet of Snake Way. The sound eluded his consciousness, being more a music of the mind than the ears, but it lingered at the back of his mind. Barely there, barely distinguishable, but beautiful as translucent glass.

Once again, you broke my heart
Other days the pieces fell together again, but this time it’s different
Because today my heart is beyond repair, so it bleeds
Because darling you slipped away, much too easy for me

The music seemed to change slightly as something stirred in Trunks’ mind. A presence, like a breath of air carrying a scent half-remembered from earliest childhood. Familiar, kindling memories from the deepest reaches of his soul… ah, the memories … such power in the recollections evoked by the few seconds between sensing and recognition. The power to bring forth emotions he hadn’t experienced in years seemingly beyond count. The power to make his breath catch in his throat, to make his heart leap, to make his pulse race, to make his hands tremble. And yet he couldn’t quite believe … couldn’t quite accept … after so long, after so much heartache … Gohan …

Flashback

‘Whew … I’m exhausted .. you want to take a break Trunks?’

The lavender-haired fourteen-year-old nodded emphatic agreement and dropped gracelessly to the ground, Gohan settling beside him with rather more control, and the two demi-Saiyans sat atop the rocky hill in silence for a moment, looking at the metropolis spread out below them. Their hill provided an excellent view of the as-yet-unspoiled city and Trunks sighed, thinking how rare it was to find anything in that state of preservation these days.

He cast a sidelong glance at his master, eyes lingering on the shoulder where his arm used to be, and a tight lump formed in his throat as he cursed, not for the first or the last time, what those two had done to his friend. With difficulty he looked away, knowing that if Gohan caught him looking at him like that he’d know in an instant what the younger boy had been hiding for the last long month.

Trunks’ mother used to make jokes about Saiyan intelligence, but for once the teenager was glad she was right – any human would have picked up on the adoration he felt for the older man long ago. He could only hope to keep this charade up for a little longer before he was caught, and Gohan discovered how deeply Trunks loved him.

Let me die young, let me die young
So I can be with you, forever
Let me die young, let me die young
So we can laugh again, in heaven

‘You did really well today, Trunks-kun,’ said Gohan, bringing the blue-eyed half- Saiyan out of his thoughts. ‘I can tell you’re really improving.’

‘You think so?’ asked the teenager hopefully. Gohan’s approval meant everything to him, was the reason he tried so hard to be a Super Saiyan and make his mentor proud. He was glad his efforts seemed to be finally paying off.

Gohan turned to smile at him. ‘Of course,’ he said cheerfully, making the boy blush suddenly. He hid the telltale colour of his cheeks behind a fall of short lavender hair, but Gohan, chuckling, brushed it out of the way and exposed his face. ‘Now, Trunks, there’s no need to hide,’ he said teasingly. The hints, the insinuations, the many meanings that simple phrase could take, only made Trunks more uncomfortable. Gohan, of course, picked up on this immediately and grinned.

‘You have to learn to relax a little, Trunks,’ he advised. ‘You’re much too tense. Stress is bad for your health you know.’ Trunks looked up at him, bewildered, and immediately his eyes were caught and held by Gohan’s onyx orbs, by the sparkling mischief in them, by the gentle teasing expressed in their blacker-than-black gaze.

‘Here,’ offered Gohan, ‘I’ll show you how.’ To Trunks’ alarm and lasting delight, the black-haired man then proceeded to lean in and kiss him on the cheek. The teenager’s ears burned like a struck match as a cacophony of emotions exploded inside him ranging from disbelief to embarrassment.

When the loneliness inside me
Turns to pain
I’ll drink my heart to sleep
Just to see you once again

‘Gohan,’ he mumbled, looking very firmly away, ‘what was that for?’

There was a soft chuckle and Gohan, apparently not at all perturbed by Trunks’ shyness, took the younger boy’s face in his hand, kissing his forehead now. He appeared not to even notice the younger demi-Saiyan’s discomfort, ignoring the tension in his body as he proceeded to lay a line of chaste kisses down the teenager’s jaw and neck.

Trunks was definitely confused by now, but he couldn’t help the pleasant buzz that was reverberating through his whole body at the feeling of Gohan’s lips on his skin, causing him to shiver convulsively. ‘What are you doing, Gohan?’ he asked cautiously, trying to suppress the incredible hope that was making him feel like he was flying without leaving the ground.

I believe, in the faithful and true
And I believe in silly things, like everlasting love
Let me die young, let me die young
So I can be with you, I want to be with
Let me die young, let me die young
I’m on my way

‘Something both of us want,’ whispered the black-haired demi-Saiyan huskily. ‘I know how you feel, Trunks. I’ve known for weeks.’ He turned Trunks to face him. There was no mischief, no teasing in his eyes now, instead there was glittering intensity. ‘And I feel the same way. Trust me, Trunks, I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life.’ His voice dropped even further, so it was barely more a breath, but his face and eyes spoke volumes more than any words could have. ‘Ai Shiteiru, Trunks.’

There was utter silence that weighed on both of them like the gravity had suddenly been flipped to a thousand times what it normally was. Trunks found he was holding his breath and he let it out in one enormous, relieved sigh that made his slight shoulders tremble, sheer elation making him almost dizzy. ‘I love you too, Gohan,’ he whispered.

End flashback

So close, no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Trunks could hardly breathe. Hope suffocated him, desperate longing, yearning for the person he loved most in all the world. Could it really be… could it actually, positively be Gohan? The cornflower blue-eyes narrowed as the demi-Saiyan focused on the oh-so-familiar energy signal, concentrating, wanting to ascertain beyond doubt its owner, wanting to prove that his dearest wish would not be denied, not now …

There he was. A figure just on the edge of vision, a blur of orange in the heady, misty air of Snake Way. Trunks blinked, blinked again, wanted to call out, but words stuck in his throat, throttling him. He stifled a choking sob and the figure began slowly approaching. The lavender-haired teenager was frozen in place, still not daring to believe. It was too much to hope for, too much to take in, that in so short a time his heart’s desire would be granted again, that he was truly here, that they were together again.

‘Trunks…’

His voice, so strong yet so gentle, just like the rest of him. It hadn’t changed a bit in the five years since Trunks had heard it last. But it was full of feeling, of raw emotion, of anguish and joy mixed into one, and it released the tears from Trunks’ eyes in one moment as he sprang into motion.

He flew as easily as thought, the motions being more an exercise for the mind than the body, feeling as though he would burst if he lost a moment. His objective, the devastatingly gorgeous black-haired Saiyan he loved more than life itself, matched his speed, yet time dragged as they neared each other, every second crawling when each was so close to their goal. Trunks’ vision was so blurred that he could barely see. Salty liquid spilled down his cheeks, flying out behind him as he sped towards his beloved.

Then they met, with a crash that almost broke bones, and Trunks hugged his adored demi-Saiyan lover fiercely. Wracking sobs shook him, supreme happiness overwhelmed him, and he buried his face in Gohan’s shoulder. The other’s arms shook as they encircled him and Trunks could hear the older man’s own grief express itself in hoarse whispers as Gohan repeated his name, repeated it again and again like it was the breath of life to him. ‘Trunks … Trunks, aisuru, you’re here … you’re really here, Trunks…’

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters

The cerulean-eyed teen’s face was lifted as they gazed at each other, adoration in both pairs of eyes. Two mouths merged in a searing kiss, two tongues tangled eagerly, two souls met and melded again as the lovers reaffirmed their bond. Trunks’ hands fisted in Gohan’s coal-black hair, tears squeezed out of his tightly shut eyes as he wrapped his legs around the other’s waist. His body implored him to get as close to Gohan as he could, yearning for the contact that had been denied them for far too long. Strong hands held him close, their bodies up against one another’s with crushing but hopelessly unsatisfying pressure. Skilled fingers kneaded the muscles in his lower back, tempting lips parted to allow him further access. Trunks’ heart was melting.

Suddenly the kiss ended. Both demi-Saiyans were gasping for breath, their lungs cruelly deprived of oxygen. For a time while their bodies demanded fuel they were confined to merely staring at each other as ragged breathing slowed, became controlled. Cornflower met ebony in utter and deepest love and neither had the heart nor the strength of will to break the contact. Trunks found words slipping out of his mouth in a voice barely more than a whisper.

‘Oh, good, you remember who I am, then.’

They both collapsed laughing amidst their tears. Gohan was kissing the top of his head, holding him as tightly as he could as their mirth spilled over, rocking him back and forth in his arms, tears still sliding down his face.

‘Trunks … my love … if I were to tell you how much I missed you, I wouldn’t have time to do this…’ Then his mouth was on Trunks’ again, slower now, tenderer, but more passionate. There was fire in the lavender- haired teen’s veins now, warming his body, toasting his skin. He became aware that he was trembling as Gohan spoke again. ‘But how? Beloved, if you’re here that must mean you’re dead. How? Not the androids, please…’

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

The younger demi-Saiyan shook his head. ‘No, Gohan. Not 17 and 18, anyway – but an android. I travelled to the past. You know how my mum was working on a time machine? Well, it actually worked, believe it or not, and I went back in time nineteen years so I could warn your dad and all the others about the androids.’

‘Did it work?’ asked Gohan eagerly.

‘Yeah, sort of,’ Trunks replied, a little uncomfortable. ‘You see, what it did was create a different universe, a different timeline, without actually affecting anything in our world.’

‘So the androids in our world are still alive?’ Gohan questioned slowly. At Trunks’ solemn nod he sighed, and buried his face in the silken lavender locks, stroking the teenager’s face gently. ‘So how did you die? I didn’t know there were any androids other than 17 and 18.’

‘His name is Cell,’ Trunks informed him, his gaze hardening. ‘He’s a totally biogenetic android created by Dr Gero. On his own he’s very strong, but it’s in his programming to absorb 17 and 18 to reach his full potential strength. And if you thought those two were strong, then Gohan, you don’t know the meaning of the word.’

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

Gohan gaped. ‘You’re not serious?’

‘Deadly serious,’ replied Trunks grimly. ‘Let me put it this way, you might be able to understand – 17 and 18 were far more powerful in this timeline then they were in our world. Not even my father as a Super Saiyan could defeat them. But Cell, before he absorbed either of them, was even stronger.’ He continued as Gohan stared at him wordlessly. ‘Once he’d absorbed 17, his strength went off the charts. But even that wasn’t the end of it.

‘My father and I had been training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, where it was possible to get a year of training in one day. When we went in, neither of us could match 17 or 18 in power. When we came out, Cell, even when he’d absorbed 17, was nothing to us.’

‘Nani?’ exclaimed Gohan. ‘Trunks, do you know what you’re saying?’ He stared in complete incredulity at his younger lover, turning him round to look at him. ‘I mean, you look a lot tougher than you were, but still … are you serious?’ For several minutes he simply gazed on Trunks before shrugging and grinning helplessly. ‘Well, I always knew you were going to end up stronger than me. I just hadn’t expected you to be this strong!’

So close, no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Trunks smiled half-heartedly, not having completed the tale of Cell. ‘But that’s not the end of it, Gohan.’ His solemnity brought Gohan back to earth and the black-haired man regarded his beloved with a concerned gaze as Trunks continued talking. ‘You see, while either Vegeta or I could have destroyed Cell any time we chose, my father decided that Cell wasn’t a challenge to him. He let him go, so he could absorb android 18.’

‘No!’

‘Yes.’

‘Kuso, Vegeta, you always were too prideful for your own good …’

The lavender-haired teen cut him off. ‘The point is, Cell managed to absorb 18, and then neither my father nor I could match him.’

Gohan reeled. ‘What? After all you’ve been telling me about how strong you and Vegeta were, Cell was even stronger? Kami …’

‘I know,’ said Trunks bitterly. ‘And although Goku was almost as strong as he was, and you were even stronger, he still managed to beat us.’

For the umpteenth time that day Gohan was flabbergasted. ‘Me? And my father? Stronger than you? Me? Stronger than Cell? Trunks, you must be joking … right?’

‘Why would I joke?’ the blue-eyed teen asked simply. ‘It’s true, both of you were far stronger than either me or Vegeta.’ He shook his head. ‘But as soon as it became apparent that he could never hope to beat you, uh, Gohan in this timeline, he decided that, rather than simply be defeated, he would go out with a bang. He decided to self-destruct and take Planet Earth with him.’

Gohan merely stared in silent horror. Trunks saw his expression and said quickly, ‘He didn’t manage to do it, thank Kami. Your father sacrificed his life to save us all. He used the Instant Transmission technique to take Cell somewhere else, but it cost him his own life. But trust me, it doesn’t end there. Did I mention that Cell can regenerate?’

His black-haired lover looked more sick than surprised. ‘So he grew himself back even after blowing himself up? And then somewhere along the line he killed you …’ Trunks nodded and was promptly drawn into a comforting hug. ‘It’s not nice, is it?’ Gohan murmured in his ear. The lavender-haired demi- Saiyan shook his head.

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

‘And I don’t know what’s happening down there,’ he lamented. ‘For all I know, Cell could have done what the androids did in our time. He could have taken over the world. He could have destroyed everything. He could have done exactly what I came back in time to prevent. Gohan, I don’t want to have lost this timeline too.’ He raised anguished eyes to those of his lover, meeting charcoal warmth in the older man’s gaze.

‘I know, beloved. I know.’ Worried for the gorgeous teen he’d fallen in love with so long ago, Gohan hugged him tightly, stroking the soft lavender hair gently. ‘But that’s not your concern any more.’ The younger demi-Saiyan looked up at him questioningly. ‘It’s not your place to worry over them any more,’ said Gohan, as gently as he could. ‘Trunks, my love, you’re here now. With me. That’s what matters, aisuru. That’s what’s important.’

Tears started filling Trunks’ cerulean eyes as the impact of Gohan’s words reached him. ‘Oh, Kami, Gohan, I’ve missed you so much,’ he whispered. ‘It was – it was like every day was a year of torture. Like I had nothing left. I’d never been so alone. I didn’t even want to go back to the past because that would mean seeing another you, someone who was supposed to be the same person but so different, someone who didn’t have our memories, who didn’t share our love. When …’ He sniffed, wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. ‘When I saw him, I thought how unbearable it was that he could look so much like you but be not you. I missed you even more then. It was all so unfair, so terrible …’

‘Oh Trunks,’ murmured Gohan. His own eyes were filling, hating to see the one he loved in pain. He blinked against the saline mist obscuring his vision and took the teenager by the arms. ‘Trunks, the past is gone,’ he said earnestly. His voice was wobbling against his will. Seeing his adored Saiyan prince again was an even more emotional ordeal than he’d bargained for. ‘You don’t have to hurt any more. It’s all right, now that we’re together. I’m with you, beloved, and we have eternity ahead of us. Nothing else matters.’

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters

Trunks collapsed into his arms again. ‘Gohan, I’ve waited so long to be with you,’ he choked. His voice slowly became more level as he sighed, releasing the emotions he’d been unable to express for time out of mind. For a long moment the two lovers were motionless, each silently relishing, absorbing, the closeness both had missed so much. It seemed the time for words was past and now it was a moment to bask in the utter bliss of the present – they were together again.

::Trunks? Trunks, are you there?::

The voice startled him. ‘Who’s that?’ he asked. ‘Where are you?’

::It’s me, King Kai. There’s something you should know:: ‘Koibito, what is it?’ asked Gohan. ‘You look all spaced out. What’s going on?’

‘I’m not sure,’ answered the lavender-haired Saiyan honestly. ‘I think someone’s talking to me, but they’re inside my head, like telepathy.’

::Of course I’m inside your head, of course I’m using telepathy, sheesh, you don’t know much, do you, Trunks? No, don’t answer that. Listen – Gohan’s defeated Cell. And they’re going to use the dragonballs to bring back everybody that Cell killed. But don’t get too happy:: Trunks’ automatic elation screeched to an abrupt halt at King Kai’s words. ::That means you, too. You haven’t died before, so when the dragonballs are used you’ll come back to life. I hate to tell you this, Trunks, but you and Gohan can no longer be together:: King Kai stopped talking then and closed the connection, leaving Trunks by himself in a state of shock.

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

‘What? No, please, I don’t want to …’ After seeing his beloved again for the first time in five agonising years, the demi-Saiyan wanted nothing more than to stay with him. To be told that they were going to be separated again, that he was going to go through all that pain again …

He was jerked out of his haze of grief by Gohan’s anxious queries. ‘Talk to me, Trunks. What’s happening?’ Trunks turned newly brimming eyes on his lover and choked out the words.

‘I’m leaving, Gohan. They’re going to wish me back to life along with all the others.’ His voice broke. ‘I don’t want to leave you, Gohan!’ he cried, anguished. ‘I’m going to go back to the other dimension, and you’ll still be here, where I can’t see you, can’t talk to you, can’t be with you … I want to stay here! I haven’t been truly happy in five years and now they’re going to tear us apart again! Goh – Gohan – I can’t -‘

‘Trunks, you have to,’ said the black-haired Saiyan, as gently as he possibly could.

The teenager stared at him, horrified. ‘No, Kami, you don’t really mean that, do you?’

Gohan nodded slowly. ‘Yes, I do. Trunks, you have so much to live for, so much left to do. Your mother needs you. Our world needs you. I … what I need isn’t as important as all of that. You must go, beloved. It’s not your time to stay yet. The next time you’re with me it will be forever, I promise. For now, you have to go back.’

‘But I’ll miss you!’

‘I know it’ll hurt, aisuru, but it’s you that has to go on. It’s fallen to you to defeat the androids now. It’s up to you to get revenge for all they’ve done. It’s all down to you, my love.’

Never cared for what they say
Never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
And I know

‘But – but Gohan …’ For some reason the tears wouldn’t come any more and Trunks felt furious at himself. How could he not cry? How could he just accept that he was going to be parted from the one person who completed him, who made him feel totally at peace? How could he not lose control when his soulmate was telling him, convincing him, that he had to leave him? How could he not break down completely when he was sacrificing his one chance at happiness?

‘I’ll always be here for you. You know that, Trunks.’

Gohan always had the ability to make him agree to anything. And in the core of his soul, Trunks knew he was right. He had to return, had to destroy the androids in his own time, had to make them pay for all the lives they’d ruined, all the damage they’d caused. Gohan always knew what was best. He swallowed. But it hurt so much …

‘Just remember, I’ll always be waiting for you. It’s only a little longer, love, and then we’ll be together, I promise.’

Every part of his body ached with grief but he could no longer argue. ‘Goodbye, Gohan …’ whispered Trunks. Tears of agony filled his eyes. He blinked them away but they stayed, became swirling, opalescent mist, a rain- curtain that turned to silver glass — he cried out Gohan’s name but the mist had swallowed him up; then he was falling, falling through fog, everything was blurred, tears merging with the damp, shining clouds around him.

He blinked. He was on Kami’s Lookout. A pair of ebony eyes was focused on him, anxiety in the deep onyx orbs framed by wild, untameable black hair. Suddenly a joyous smile lit the face that was so painfully familiar to him. ‘Trunks, you’re back!’

The lavender-haired teen sat up, looked around. He was back in the living dimension, back where he belonged … far from his adored sensei, beyond reach of the black-haired demi-Saiyan he loved, alone once more. The deep, shuddering sigh he gave came from the very furthest reaches of his soul, compressed into one single expression the staggering loss he had accepted and suffered. ‘Yes, Gohan, I’m back.’

Just beyond the churchyard gate,
Where the grass is overgrown,
I saw the writing on her stone,
And felt like I would suffocate

In loving memory of our child,
So innocent, eyes open wide
I felt so empty as I cried
Like part of me had died

Comments

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