Pain and Gain
by Timaelan     More by this Writer
This is a sequel of Wishes and Command. I recommend you to read it before starting this one but I guess it's not absolutely necessary.

Also be warned that you'll find much much less smut and more feelings in Pain and Gain than in Commands and Wishes.

Back from his failed mission on Planet Kenam, Trunks is now supposed to travel to Earth to wed the daughter of an Earthling leader but first and foremost, he’s asked to accept the death of Goten who’s been missing for months. This is more than he can bear and maybe it’s time for him to stand up and regain some control over his life. However, no gain comes without pain.

Art source: https://www.pinterest.fr/pin/622411610999594583/



Chapter 1
The weak beeping of a machine barely disturbed the awkward silence of the lab. Nobody dared to speak and it felt as if the doctors had stopped breathing at all.

Trunks was sitting on the examination table with his feet dangling above the floor. Leaning forward, he was studying his toes in disbelief, trying to flex them and wondering if they still belonged to him.

Since he’d been back from his mission, three days ago, he’d spent his time going through countless medical examinations and cross-examinations, and yet, his whole body was still sore. His muscles were especially reluctant to work normally and he wasn't even able to walk properly so far.

He'd been sure that some time in a regeneration tank would be enough to cleanse his blood of Chard's crap, but it seemed he had been wrong on that matter and he was growing seriously concerned.

The last medical tests were just over and he was looking forward to hearing of their results, but the doctors wouldn't tell him anything before his Royal father was here to hear them as well.

After what seemed an eternity, the door of the lab opened at last and everything went back to life in a split second.

"Your Majesties," the doctors greeted in unison with an immediate salute.

The young patient looked up at the newcomers. Much to his relief, his parents had come alone, leaving the usual Councilors out of their business for once. He didn't bother saluting the Royal pairing, but having only pants on, he grabbed his T-shirt and put it on in order to look more decent in front of the Queen.

Bulma was standing still, but he could say she was fighting her urge to hug him. She had become good at hiding her feelings though and although she had certainly been worried- sick during his mission on Kenam, the gleaming of her eyes was the only hint of her emotion. She was wearing a black, tight dress falling down under her knees and a black ribbon was holding her strict bun in place. Her style was very Earthling, and yet, even so, her allure was up to the Saiyan Crown.

Trunks' eyes drifted to his father. Vegeta had probably no will whatsoever to hug his son. He was wearing a very official armor with all possible symbols of Saiyan Royalty. The dark red of his long cloak looked made the fabric look like it was soaked with blood and it made the outfit especially intimidating. Yet, despite the solemnity of his appearance, Trunks didn’t miss the concern in his eyes.

The King turned to the medical staff. "I was told that you are over with your tests?" he asked.

"We are Your Majesty," one of the doctors confirmed with a step forward. He was older than the others, certainly the boss of the team. He cleared his throat and started his explanations. "His Highness was given a very powerful product attacking nerves and numbing muscles. The composition is unfamiliar and we guess it's something unique and typical of Kenam –"

"Why is the Prince still affected by that shit? He spent hours in a regeneration tank, this crap should be over now," Vegeta cut off impatiently.

The Saiyan doctor cringed, doing his best to keep looking his King in the eyes. "Fact is this- thing is not just a classic drug flowing in His Highness' blood. It’s plaguing his cells, so -"

Vegeta’s eyes had narrowed in deep annoyance and it was enough of a sign to have the Saiyan quit the medical babbling and go straight to the point. "We're not sure if and when the poison will leave the Prince's body," he concluded hastily.

"What do you mean? Won't his condition ever be back to normal?" Vegeta growled with a deep frown.

"We can't be sure of anything, Your Majesty. He's doing better already, so we have good hope that his state might improve, but as far as we know- it could take years."

The King welcomed the news with a stern silence while Trunks rubbed a weary hand on his face to hide his shock.

"Does it hurt?" Bulma asked in a weak voice.

"We give him painkillers, Your Majesty. The trouble is the muscles are stiff and physical efforts exhaust him. We assume this effect will fade away in the end but he might still have some sort of paralysis crisis crippling him once in a while," the doctor replied.

Trunks looked down, liking the sight of the floor better than his mother's worried gaze. He felt dazed. He could live with the aching, he could also live with some unpleasant after-effect, but how was he supposed to make it with a Saiyan Crown hanging over his head? He'd always been a Hybrid in his people's mind, now he would also be a cripple.

"Leave us alone," Vegeta's voice ordered coldly.

Trunks heard the steps of the Saiyans pouring out the lab and the door sliding close in their wake. As soon as everything went still, he felt his mother's arms embracing him. He didn't resist her and inhaled the sweet scent of her clothes. "God, Trunks, you're alive at least," she murmured in a trembling voice.

He returned her hug softly.

She kissed his head gently and rubbed her hand on his back in a comforting gesture. "We'll find something. I'm sure there's a cure."

She pulled away from him and smiled at him after a last kiss on his forehead. He knew that "everything's not lost" smile of her. It was both warming and scary.

He was startled by the touch of his father's hand on his shoulder.

He hadn't noticed Vegeta walking closer to him. The Saiyan King was staring thoughtfully at his son. "You did well, son. All the Saiyans have fallen under the influence of that fucking Planet but Gohan and you made it."

Trunks was taken aback by his father’s attempt at comforting him. The meaning of his words was even more puzzling. In Trunks' opinion, the mission on Kenam had been a total disaster, ending with hundreds of dead soldiers and a crippled Prince, and considering his own survival as a success, or as proof of his strength was the last thing on his mind. “We only made it because we’re half Earthling,” he mumbled bitterly.

Vegeta's hand squeezed his shoulder. “You made it because you were smart,” he corrected. “You should be dead by now, but you're not and that's the point. You’ll get better soon and even if you don’t, we all know now that you’re capable to cope with calamities."

Trunks frowned and watched his mother nod in approval. “Still. Many people died under my command,” he pointed out.

Vegeta's hand left his shoulder and the King's face went back to his usual coldness. "That’s a soldier's fate. You couldn't save them. Our scientists misjudged the damn Planet when they sent our squads on the mission. They are the one to blame in the first place.”

The statement twisted Trunks' guts as memories of Pepper popped up in his mind. She had sensed that something was wrong from the very beginning. She had tried to warn him and he hadn't listened. He'd been a total prick and even though he could put his behavior on the Planet's influence, he still felt deep guilt.

Bulma seemed to perceive her son's confusion and she hugged him again. “You’re back now. You're safe and you will heal,” she murmured in his ear.

A crackling voice coming from the intercom broke the quietness. “Your Majesties, it’s time.”

Bulma pulled away from Trunks with a dejected sigh. “We got to go, darling. We'll see each other at the Ceremony.”

Trunks scowled wordlessly as the door slid open, revealing a group of Councilor waiting behind.

Just a glimpse at them made Trunks sick. They were craving to hear about the Prince’s condition, already calculating the political consequences. When he would be King Trunks would send each of them on Missions as nasty as Kenam, just to see how it would turn out.

As soon as his parents exited the lab the crowd of meek Councilors surrounded them. His mother gave him with a last sad glance and the whole procession stepped away on the corridor.

While the group moved on, the old Chamberlain stayed behind. Trunks met his wary eyes and failed to return his faint smile. The old Saiyan came into the lab to see him. “We're all relieved to have you back, Your Highness.”

The man certainly meant what he said, and yet Trunks wondered somehow if his return to Vegitasei was really a blessing. He felt so down. “You know I can’t die without the Council’s permission,” he replied in sarcasm.

Saying so he climbed down the examination table. However, his moves were so clumsy and his muscles were so painfully reluctant to support his weight that he almost tumbled down.

The Chamberlain rushed closer to help him, but Trunks pushed him away. “Let go of me,” he hissed in irritation.

“Doctor!” the old Saiyan called, “Give him a strong painkiller for the ceremony and escort him to his room so that he can get ready.”

“I can still take care of myself,” Trunks spat by snatching the box of pills out of the doctor's hand. He seized the stick he used to walk and exited the lab. No one was bold enough to protest but he could feel everyone's eyes locked on him as he limped away along the corridor.

Crossing the palace to join his room was a rough way. He had to deal with the agony of his body and face the puzzled glances of the people on his way. His outfit wasn't up to his standard either. His pants and T-shirt with the Capsule logo made him look very much like an Earthling, something Saiyans would regard as highly improper for a Royal personality. The stick was even worse. The weakness of his legs and the effort he needed to take a single step were plain to see.

Everyone saluted him nevertheless. He was doing his best to avoid eye contact as he couldn't help but remember Kenam. He realized that the soldiers had come to somehow frighten him. What if they decided to lash at him? What would he do? He was helpless. He knew his fears were ridiculous. No one would dare to be disrespectful here in the Royal Palace.

What did they think of him deep down their minds though?

Regardless, he was their Prince. He shrugged off his bleak thoughts and forced his head up, trying to look adamant and confident despite his condition. The faces he saw were unaffected, but he knew better than relying on these emotionless attitudes.

He was sweating and aching like mad when he eventually closed the door of his apartment. The place was empty and the quietness felt great. He slumped in an armchair and grabbed his head between his hands.

So, that was it. He would stay that way, maybe until the end of his life. Hardly able to walk. Suffering most of the time. Exhausted by the slightest effort.

And alone.

For the Council had decided that Goten was dead. His funeral was to take place in less than an hour and after that, his life-long companion would become a simple memory, some mental picture growing blurry as time would go by.

Trunks’ eyes met his royal uniform hanging on a hook on the wall. A servant had certainly prepared it for the ceremony to come, and for some reason, the young man felt a wave of deep anger washing over him at the sight. He grabbed the stick and hurled it across the room to the ghostly form of the outfit. He missed his aim and the stick bounced against the wall, yet the move triggered a fierce pain in Trunks’ shoulder.

He moaned at the aching. His eyes were watering in frustration and a nervous sob escaped his lips. His trembling hand went to his pocket, searching for the painkillers. He uncapped the box feverishly and swallowed two pills.

Then, he tossed in the cozy chair and waited for his heartbeat to go back to a normal pace.

Someone had closed the curtains to shield the mighty sun of Vegitasei and except for a ray of dazzling light breaking through a small gap, the room was plunged in a fresh twilight.

As Trunks was pondering silently on his situation, he came to wish he had Gohan by his side. Gohan always knew what to do. He was clever and he was strong. In a way, Chard had been right to say that he deserved the Crown more than Trunks did.

Trunks hadn’t seen him since their landing on Vegitasei. While the Prince had been busy being tended by all possible doctors living in the palace, his friend had family businesses to take care of. He had to comfort his mother all by organizing his brother’s funeral.

Trunks and Gohan had no official reason to spend time together either way. Gohan was a Commander of his own leaving for any mission the King would assign him to and Trunks had to attend all the political events a Prince was expected to attend. They weren't meant to enjoy each other's company beyond some stolen moments, no matter the circumstances.

Trunks was realizing how pleasant his life had been before. It had all ended the day the damn Councilors had claimed Goten should be a Commander on his own. The hell with them.

Their stupid rules had taken Goten away from him and they would now keep Gohan apart as well. In return, the Council was willing to give him an Earthling wife he didn’t even know. He frankly didn’t give a shit about her either.

In a way, he felt awfully screwed.

The pain had faded away. Trunks struggled to his feet and went to the bar. He filled himself a glass of alcohol and walked to the bay window. He noted that the painkillers allowed him to move more easily. As long as the aching was kept at bay, he was able to act almost normally.

He snatched the curtains open and was rewarded with a flow of sunlight pouring inside the room. He opened the glass door and a breath of hot air welcomed him as he stepped out on the terrace overhanging the town of Vegitasei. A faint rumor was rising from the streets far below. He clutched the rail for support as he contemplated the sight. Some rich houses were draped in yellow banners, meaning mourning time in honor of Bardock's grandson.

He sipped his glass with a frown. Bitterness was squeezing his throat. He had to admit that he still couldn’t give up on his friend. Goten couldn't be dead. He would feel it. Life couldn’t be so fucked up.

“Your Highness?” Teeb’s voice called behind his back.

Trunks ignored him and after a while, he heard his Second walk out on the terrace. The Saiyan paused a few steps away from his Prince, waiting in vain for a sign of attention.

“The Council fixed up your trip to Earth,” Teeb eventually announced in a low voice.

Trunks tensed at the words. He downed nervously the rest of his glass and turned around to face the Saiyan.

Teeb was wearing his official uniform. The dark red armor and black cloak enhanced the gold shining in his eyes. He looked truly handsome and impressive. Nothing near what he'd been as he'd been wandering through the jungle with white pajamas stained with blood and madness flickering in his orbs.

Since their return, the Saiyan had grown shy and distant with his Master. He was certainly haunted by memories of his lustful – and oh! so disrespectful – attitude back on Kenam. Trunks was inwardly pained by this formal behavior. As a matter of fact, he’d learned to appreciate Teeb’s personality and what they’d been through together had forged a special connection between them. Not exactly a friendship, but some kind of closeness that Trunks missed since Teeb went back to his official role.

Yet, none of them wished to be reminded of what they had been back on Kenam. What happened in Kenam has to stay on Kenam.

Oblivious of his Master's meditation, Teeb resumed mercilessly. “We are to depart in two days. We’ll travel on the same ship as Lord Gohan who’s taking his mother back to Earth. We’ll stay on Earth for one month, then your mother and sister will join us to celebrate the engagement and we’ll go back to Vegitasei with your bride to celebrate your wedding there.”

“My bride,” Trunks repeated in a thoughtful murmur.

Teeb looked down in a sorry stance. “You’re summoned by the Council tomorrow morning to review the diplomatic details before we leave.”

Trunks gritted his teeth. “Serve me another one,” he ordered by handing his empty glass to his Second.

“Are you sure? The Ceremony is to start soon. You should get dressed now,” Teeb objected hesitantly as he took the glass.

“Go,” Trunks commanded in a growl.

The Saiyan obliged and disappeared swiftly inside. Trunks turned back to Vegitasei Panorama. The sun was ruthlessly burning his skin but he couldn’t care less. He studied the proud building erecting around the Palace. Their tall figures felt suffocating. They seemed alive, greedily claiming his body and soul, demanding him to abandon Goten, to live a life of loneliness in the arms of a foreign wife surrounded by servile and cold subjects.

Teeb came back with the glass and Trunks snatched it out of his hand.

“I remind you that you still need to hear about the proceeding of the ceremony, Your Highness. Do you need me to help you get ready?” The Second offered sheepishly.

Trunks tilted his head with a glare at him. “What? You really think I’m not capable of fastening an armor properly, is that so?”

“I… I was told you were aching pretty badly, so I thought –“

“Get the fuck out of here,” Trunks cut off coldly.

The Saiyan respectfully stepped back. “I’ll be just behind the door if you need anything,” he insisted before walking away under his Prince’s stern gaze.

That was still another issue. Trunks wasn’t even sure that his strength would ever come back. For now, he could hardly summon some shitty amount of ki and he hadn’t even tried to fly so far.

He climbed up the railing of the balcony and stood up carefully face to face with the huge city. As he kept sipping his glass, he stared at the void in front of him. It felt dizzying and he wondered if he would be able to fly if he jumped. He closed his eyes to focus on his inner energy. His ki was buried deep down somewhere, he could sense it, but no matter how hard he tried, it wouldn’t respond to his call.

Finally, he opened his eyes with a sigh and finished his glass. He threw it away and watched the small item fall down. At some point, it disappeared from his sight and the muffled sound of glass shattering eventually echoed somewhere below.

After a second thought, he jumped down the railing back to the terrace to go back inside.

He was boiling inside, feeling somehow trapped in an utterly frustrating situation. And yet, he had no clue about what to do.

He went to take down his uniform hanging on the wall but he froze at the last minute. The dark red cloak was the exact copy of his father’s, his family’s exclusive attribute. The armor was shiny white with golden edging, massive and heavy. And of course, there were matching gloves with that. It wasn’t the first time he was to wear his Royal outfit, but right now, it felt a bit scary, a bit oversized. A bit too much.

His attention was caught by the long item hanging next to the uniform. The sword he’d taken back from Kenam. He took it with care and unsheathed it. For a split second the idea of showing up at the Ceremony with the weapon at his side crossed his mind. What a scandal it would be. He smiled.

“Your Highness?” Teeb’s voice interrupted him once again.

The Second had come back without Trunks noticing. “You’re not done, yet,” the Saiyan noted with a hint of disapproval in his tone.

Trunks pointed the sword at him. “I won't attend the ceremony.”

Teeb frowned in disbelief. “This – You have to go. Lord Goten was a close friend of yours.”

“And he still is,” the Prince replied with a graceful swirl of the blade.

The Second shifted nervously. He was unsettled. “Your Highness – You can’t do that. Your father will be furious.”

Trunks sighed and lowered the sword. “I am somehow furious too. So what? Who cares? Just go tell them I won't show up,” he mumbled.

“Your Highness, I beg you. Think about it. Think about Bardock's family. Think about Lord Gohan. His mother is wild with grief,” Teeb pleaded further.

Trunks scowled. “Yeah, poor Chichi. Saiyans ruined her life. I'm pretty sure she won't give a damn if I don't come. They told her that her son is dead and I bet nothing matters to her anymore. As for Lord Gohan, he will understand me.”

Teeb didn’t move. He kept staring at his Master with wary eyes, clearly trying to figure something to convince him out of his madness.

All of a sudden, Trunks took a swift step to him and in a quick blow, he brought the blade just under the Second’s chin. “Go tell them and leave me alone,” he snapped.

The Saiyan cringed at the unexpected move. The gold in his orbs was flashing in disbelief and pain. “As you wish,” he murmured in defeat.



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