(song contained herein is “Hard to Explain” as performed by the Cowboy Junkies)

We decided to fly there, though it really wasn’t much of a decision, since none of us had a car. Trunks offered to run home to get one, but Goten quickly vetoed that, reminding his reckless friend of an irate father waiting for just such a chance. So we flew, and now we’re standing in the front of this rather shabby looking black building with no windows and a big red neon sign. Trunks is exchanging slim pieces of paper in return for entrance. Tickets, I guess. Then I have to submit to having the back of my hand stamped before following the boys in.

The interior is just as dark as Gohan warned me it would be, and a number of smells assault my senses. Sweaty bodies, the lower musk of arousal, the sharp tang of burning leaves and tar, a sort of biting smell that must be alcohol. My tail lashes slowly behind me as I move smoothly through the press of bodies, following a lavender head of hair. I can feel the eyes as we slip through the crowd, and I smile wolfishly. Oh yeah, I remember this.

The music playing is not what Kakarot had told me to expect, though, and I hear Trunks’ explanation floating back to me, “Oh, we must be catching the tail end of the live act.” Hmm. We squeeze in and find the dance floor mostly cleared, just a small knot of people right in front of the stage. The majority of people are grouped tightly around the bar, talking and yelling to each other, sniffing each other out, looking for weaknesses. Trunks stops in an open space, turns to Goten, smiling.

“I’m going to go get us some drinks,” he explains, and gestures to a table with only two people sitting at it. “You guys wait here.” He moves past me quickly, and I remember I’m not supposed to let him or Goten drink. Then again, they wouldn’t let underage people buy it here, would they? Probably not. I let him go, turning back to my nephew, who’s politely asking the other people at the table if they mind if we sit there. A young couple, she a mousy blonde with a sunny smile to match Goten’s, her friend a slender brunette with a lean, harsh face. She doesn’t smile, but nods, and Goten plops into one of the two remaining seats. I choose to stay standing, leaning on the empty chair, and watch the stage.

A group of humans, mostly long haired and dark. A woman seems to be the singer, and she’s got a mournful, throbbing voice that I like. I find myself swaying to the end of the song, disappointed when it’s over. A kind of bluesy rhythm, then the guitar player’s kicking in on the next one, and he’s making that instrument howl sweet and low. She starts singing, and at first, I’m not paying attention to what she’s saying, but then I hear the chorus.

“Love is hard to explain,

I know my loss is someone else’s gain”

Damn straight. I lean into the chair, glancing briefly down at Goten. He’s deeply engaged in some conversation with the blonde girl, and the darker one is scowling. Jealous, probably.. I wonder how to tell her she’s got nothing to worry about.

“Sometimes love is like a bitter pill

But we just have to take it like it is

Sometimes live is the sweetest thing

And sometimes it’s just naked pain”

And here I thought Saiyans and humans were so different! This woman knows exactly what she’s talking about. And the combination of her melancholy voice and the crying guitar make my body want to move. I know my tail is swaying behind me in time, and I see the brunette start in surprise, staring at it. I grin toothily at her and she stares back up at me. Wow, this one’s got guts.

“Oh, it’s so hard to explain,

I know my loss is someone else’s gain”

I wonder what Vegeta’s doing right now. Is he still fuming? Is he training, throwing himself at the walls and floor with barely checked fury, the way he used to? Or is he eating with his woman, reading the paper, doing something else mundane? My heart still hurts when I think about him, but it’s not so bad now. I can almost bear it. I don’t even think of him every day anymore, only every other day, maybe. But I let my mind dwell on him now, on the sweet curve of the back of his thigh, the way his tail used to snake around my waist when he was excited.

“My troubles started when I found you

But that’s when I wrapped my world around you

And now my living ain’t so easy

I thought that’s what a woman was supposed to do

You see, it’s so hard to explain

I know my loss is someone else’s gain”

I dealt with his loss quite a while ago. Before I died, in fact. But I never really stopped hurting from it. I had nothing else in my life but him and my work. Now, I have a family, and friends, and a whole set of things to keep me busy, distracted. Like I’m distracting myself. Huh? I think back, let my mind float…am I just thinking about Vegeta to stop myself from thinking about his son? Even as it hits me, I’m scanning the crowd, my eyes finally coming to rest on him leaning on the bar, perfect ass and legs shifting as he waits. I’m not the only one looking. Two men and at least five woman are checking him out as well, several of them being quite obvious about it. I want to walk over there, give them something to remember me by, like a broken nose or some knocked out teeth.

“I went to see my doctor

‘Cause I thought I had a hole in my heart

But he said, ‘Girl, you’re just wasting your time.

Because some man messed up

Went and messed up your mind’”

Why don’t they show some respect?! The man is a member of the royal house! I push down on the aggressive instinct, unsure of what to do with myself. Why is every time I start a relationship with someone other than a family member, I have to get so mixed up about everything? Next thing you know, I’m going to be trying to jump Krillin. I survey Trunks again, this time a little more objectively. Nah, even on his best day the ex-monk couldn’t match that body. Or that attitude. He cocks his hip to the side, then leans forward to shout something to the bartender. I sigh, and thank the gods I have a chair in front of me tall enough to hide my excitement.

“It’s so hard to explain

I know my loss is someone else’s gain

Oh, love, it’s so hard to explain

It’ll make you forget your name

It’ll turn you upside down

It’ll make you wish that you’d never been found”

I glance back to the band as they wind down, the woman saying something into the mic, thanking the audience or somesuch. The lights go down on the stage, and the band plus some other people begin clearing away instruments and electronic equipment. I concentrate on that, watching them intently, trying to forget the lavender haired god who would be heading back here all too soon. Finally, I feel my embarrassment easing. Gods, it hasn’t been this bad since I was a teenager myself!

I hear Trunks’ voice behind me, and I turn. He’s carrying three drinks, all of which contain what suspiciously smells like alcohol. One is green, and two are a sort of mellow amber. “I thought you weren’t old enough for that,” I point out, but he just grins.

“Come on, Raditz, loosen up. Haven’t you ever heard of a fake ID?” He sets the green drink in front of Goten, who smiles beatifically up at him. “Okay, that’s a Kamikaze,” he explains. “It should be sweet enough that you can actually drink it.” Goten grins, and sips experimentally. His black eyes light up with the knowledge that not only is he about to do something he isn’t supposed to, but it’s not going to be as unpleasant as he thought.

“These,” Trunks continues, handing me a drink, and setting one down in front of the remaining chair, “are Rusty Nails. Yamcha swears by them, so,” he shrugs, and I can see he got them because he thought they sounded sophisticated. They smell very strongly of grain liquor, and I hide my grin. No way is he used to the taste. I move out from behind the chair as he slips into it, smiling smoothly to the two girls. “They should start the music soon,” he adds to me, nonchalantly taking a sip of his drink. I watch his face carefully.

Yep, there it is, the wince and widening of the eyes. I can’t help it, I start laughing low in my throat, and he glares up at me. Goten looks over, and begins giggling, too, the blonde girl staring at him goggle eyed. I shake my head, and lean over to him. “Look, kid, what you have to do is kinda roll it to the back of your tongue if your not used to the taste, let it slide down your throat.” I demonstrate with my own drink, swallowing half of it in a go. He looks irritated, but still, he’s watching me intently. Nodding, he goes for it again, trying to drink the whole thing at once. I watch in surprise as he actually manages it, though with a great deal of coughing afterwards. Goten collapses back into his chair, holding his stomach.

“Want some of mine?” he offers, grinning hugely. Trunks just scowls at him, in a very good imitation of his father. I toss back the rest of mine, placing the empty glass on the table. This Earth liquor is a little weak, and I don’t figure I’ll even catch a buzz from it.

“Don’t worry about it,” I smile down at the young prince. “You’re not supposed to be drinking that stuff anyways.” Uh-oh. I realize, even as I say it, that it’s going to goad him to drink at least two or three more of those until he does get it right, and I’ll end up carrying him home. Goten sips more reasonably at his lime concoction. Suddenly, the music starts up, with a pounding bass beat that is more like what my brother had told me to expect. I like this stuff, too, but it renders almost all conversation completely useless. The brunette across the table is hauling her friend up by the wrist, out on to the dance floor. The blonde waves cheerfully to Goten as she’s dragged away into the newly forming crowd.

I look down at the two boys, and see that they’re leaning in close to each other, yelling in each other’s ears. I can’t hear a word of it, so I turn back to the dance floor, watching the crowd curiously. As the next song kicks in, I start being able to lump the dancers into groups.

The first group are couples. They come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and dancing abilities. Usually they dance fairly close to each other, some mirroring each, others holding on and actually moving their bodies against their partners. Then there are the people who dance by themselves. Some of these people are not particularly good dancers, but they seem to be enjoying themselves as they sway to the music, most fairly enthusiastic. I can approve of that. The second group of loners consists of people who tend to be fairly dressed up, and they also tend to be somewhat better dancers. Often they’re near the back of the floor, where a big mirror covers the wall. Some of them, you can tell, are dancing for specific people, trying to catch an eye in the rest of the crowd. But a lot of them are dancing like…well, they’re just posing, really. They’re not hearing the music, they’re using it as a back drop for their own self admiration. I don’t like that, but it’s sort of fascinating, in its own way.

I realize I’ve been watching the crowd for some time when Goten moves up next to me, smiling. I raise my eyebrows at him, and he gestures towards the dance floor, as if in invitation. I realize he’s asking me if I want to go out there and dance. I frown, pointing to him, and he throws up his hands, laughing and shaking his head. He points to me again, this time resting his hand lightly on Trunks’ shoulder, who’s looking up at us coolly. Ah, he’s staking his claim. Well, hell, I might as well go out there. After all, I’ve already broken the rule about alcohol, and somehow I doubt these two are going to take the opportunity to slip into the bathroom for some anonymous sex with strangers. I eye the people near us, scanning for potential threats, and see none. Good enough.

There’s one really great thing about hard soled boots. You’re sort of forced to stalk in them, take big, predatory steps. I enjoy the feel of heads turning as I claim a small space of the floor, and just stand there for a minute, getting a feel for the music. Heavy bass beat, rhythmic thumping, cut with aggressive guitar. I let the beat rumble into my bones, and then, with a feral grin, I’m moving.

Damn, but it feels good to just let go, let my body sway and shake, feet moving carefully in the small space. I snap my head around as I dance, half closing my eyes, trying not to be distracted by the stares of admiration tossed my way. It’s flattering, but for right now I’m only here for the music, for the beat commanding my body and driving my muscles. It feels glorious to let my hips sway, my arms caress the air…like fighting. I can feel a slow burn beginning in my muscles, the sweat gathering at the back of my neck, but I ignore it, dancing through five songs, then ten. I don’t ever want to stop.

I feel the hand moving a second before it reaches my tail. Spinning faster than the human eye can see, I grab the wrist of a startled man. His green eyes are wide as he stares up at me, and he stammers something I can’t hear. I snarl at him, moving so that I’m in face, blocking his vision of the rest of the room. He’s terrified, I can smell it, and I start to grin, tightening my hold on his wrist. The delicate bones snap under the pressure and his face collapses in agony. I throw him to the floor, and the crowd moves aside for one second, before swallowing him. The whole thing has gotten my blood boiling, and I can feel my tail whipping the back of my thighs excitedly. Maybe it’s time I got back to my responsibility.

Goten and Trunks are where I left them, but from the collection of empty glasses on the table, I can see they haven’t been bored. Both look fairly flushed, and I wonder if it’s from the alcohol, or if they’ve taken a turn on the dance floor as well. Trunks is staring at me as I approach, blue eyes wide, some emotion on his face I can’t quite read. Goten is looking at me too, but with a sort of bright expression of concern. He points off in the direction of the man I just tossed aside, question in his dark eyes. I shrug, wave a dismissive hand back towards the crowd. He ahs, and grins, then leans forward to point at the dancers, then at me, then gives a thumbs up. Uhh…oh, he’s saying I’m a good dancer. I smile back in appreciation, and then he points towards the restrooms before heading off that direction.

I look down at Trunks, who is now smiling lazily up at me. I slip onto the bench that the two girls were previously occupying, across from him. I look down at the glasses, and frown at him, but he’s still just staring at me, smiling. So I guess getting drunk makes him a bit stupid. Goten seems to be handling his liquor much better, but then again, maybe most of these glasses belong to Trunks. He’s rising from his chair now, and I shoot him a questioning glance. He shakes his head as if to say, don’t worry, and moves back towards me. Oh, I guess he isn’t going anywhere after all. I relax.

It doesn’t last long, as he slides his knee along the bench, then lifts it over my legs, and suddenly is sitting straddling me, knees pressed firmly into my hips, settling his weight on my thighs. My entire attention is suddenly focused on the very warm, very attractive prince in my lap, and I draw in a deep breath, confused and a little worried. It’s hard to think, though, looking up into that beautifully flushed face framed by a curtain of silken lavender hair. The dark, musky smell I got a whiff of earlier in the evening suddenly fills my nostrils.

“Trunks,” I begin, knowing my voice is cracking. “I don’t think this is such a good idea. You’re drunk, and-“ he puts a finger to my lips, stopping me, but he probably can’t hear me anyway. He leans in, places his lips at my ear, and I feel my entire body tremble at his touch. Oh shit.

“Mmm, I like the way you dance,” he purrs into my ear, wriggling just a little in my lap against my growing erection. I can’t stop myself, and I groan. He takes advantage of my open mouth to lean in and kiss me, his tongue darting in immediately to claim my mouth, hands smoothing along the sides of my neck, the cold metal of the rings on his cuffs chill, pressing his chest up against mine. It feels so damn good, and I do the one thing I really shouldn’t: I kiss him back, wrapping my arms around that slender waist and devouring his mouth hungrily, like a starving man presented with a ten course meal. He tastes divine, the sour tang of whiskey fading to the background of a sweeter flavor, like citrus. He moans into my mouth, I can feel the vibration through his lips, and I press my tongue across his teeth and into that achingly warm cavern.

The slick yet slightly rough feel of his shirt rubs across my nipples, so poorly protected by the mesh shirt. The sensation is electrifying, and I find myself running my hands down his back, confused when I don’t find the tail. Oh, right, he doesn’t have one. Finally he pulls back from that magnificent kiss, and leans in again to my ear, flicking it lightly with his tongue. I don’t care who’s watching, I want him so badly I can taste it, melting on my tongue.

“What did you do to that guy?” he asks playfully, rolling his hips again, grinding his ass against my arousal, his groin against my stomach. I can feel I’m not the only one enjoying this. Gods, has he done this before?

“I…uh…” I remember he can’t hear me, and I lean in, taking a long whiff at his neck, letting that silken hair brush along my cheek before I place my lips at his ear. His body shudders delightfully against me. “I just broke his wrist,” I answer, trying to form words through the haze of lust. “Nothing big.”

He pulls back suddenly, his gorgeous face alarmed. I can’t imagine what’s upsetting him. He says something I can’t hear, but his lips are clear enough. ‘You what?!’ I blink up at him confused. ‘Oh shit!’ He’s off my lap, and I can see him shaking some of the drunkenness off as he pulls me to my feet. Well, I guess that little interlude is over. It’s hard for me to switch gears so fast, and I find myself bemusedly watching his ass as he pulls me back towards the bathroom. Goten’s just coming out, and he smiles at us inquisitively. Trunks grabs him, too, and hauls us out the back door near the telephones. Once out in the open air, he listens intently. Seemingly satisfied, he turns to me, almost angry.

“What did you do that for?” he hollers, waving his arms through the air. I have no idea what he’s referring to, and I glance over at Goten uneasily. I really shouldn’t have been pawing Trunks like that, it was obvious Goten had a thing for him, and who wouldn’t? But is Trunks going to bring this up in front of my nephew? Surely he’s not that cold hearted?

“The wrist,” Trunks interjects into my thoughts, and I frown. Oh, he was talking about something completely different.

“He was trying to grab my tail,” I explain reasonably, while Goten is still looking confused.

“He broke that guy’s wrist,” Trunks explains tersely to the darker haired boy, and I watch that same look of apprehension and surprise bleed into his features.

“Oh, man, we gotta get out of here!”

“Why?” I ask, completely confused. Trunks just sighs and shakes his head.

“Look, I know you’re a bit behind the times, Raditz. But that stuff is illegal here! You can’t just going around breaking people’s bones because they try and grope you a little in a club!” Trunks is clearly irritated, and I note, with a bit of disappointment, that this is probably the conclusion to any other little trysts he may be interested in. It’s for the best, anyway, but it doesn’t stop the little hitch in my stomach. But suddenly he smiles, and his face lights up again, before he starts laughing. Goten and I share puzzled looks over a lilac head.

“Man, Raditz, trust you to be the one to get us in trouble.” He’s clutching at his stomach, and suddenly Goten joins in, and I’m left standing there feeling like an idiot. The high wail of distant sirens cuts through the laughter, and still grinning, Trunks takes to the air.

“Come on, we gotta get out of here,” he calls, and Goten and I follow. Looks like Trunks had a bit much to drink, though, as his flight is erratic and jerky. Nodding once to my nephew, we move up to either side of him, swinging his arms over our shoulders, and speed off, leaving behind the lights of the city.

It doesn’t take long to make it our house, but Trunks seems to be doing a little better by the time we get there, able to fly on his own, albeit slowly. “Not even breaking curfew,” Goten exclaims, looking at his watch. “I better get in, though. Raditz, can you make sure Trunks gets home okay?” he asks me earnestly, and I close my eyes. He wouldn’t be asking me that if he knew what happened just a little while ago.

“Yeah,” I answer hoarsely, and he hugs me impulsively, before slipping inside. I see the single light through the window. Doubtless Chichi is waiting up for her baby. I grin to myself, then turn to Trunks.

“Come on, kid, let’s go,” I say, deliberately trying to distance myself from him, put that moment of weakness behind me. He stares at me with opaque blue eyes, and just nods. I follow him, since I have no idea where we’re going, and though I curse myself I still find my eyes wandering over that glorious body lasciviously. Finally he touches down in a small copse of trees. The Capsule Corps building is enormous, I can see it from here clearly.

“My dad wouldn’t be real glad to see you,” he offers in explanation. I nod, watching him, unable to see anything clearly on his face in the darkness. He moves closer, and I unconsciously draw in a sharp breath. “Look, Raditz, about tonight,” he begins, his voice that of the shy kid I met a week ago. “I…I wanted you to know I didn’t do that just because I was drunk.”

My mind reels as I consider the implications of his confession. What the hell does he mean? “What the hell do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m attracted to you. A lot. And…what I did in there, I wanted to do. Before I started drinking, I mean. Then when I saw you on the dance floor…and with that guy! I…guess I just got my courage up, and did it.”

I did the wrong thing back at the club. It’s hard, but I make myself do the right thing now. “What about Goten?”

I can see him wince, even in the dim light. He sighs, and crosses his arms over his chest, like he’s cold. “Goten? I…I guess I’ve known for a while how he feels. But it would be too weird…we’ve known each other since we were little kids! He’s like…he’s like my brother.” I can tell he’s not being completely honest…but I don’t think he knows he’s not.

“Trunks,” I begin gently, gritting my teeth for what I have to do. “I need some time with this, okay? You’re a lot younger than me, and I care very much about my nephew.”

“Only eleven years!” he exclaims, and suddenly he’s pressing against my chest, running his hands up to my neck, lacing his fingers behind, staring up at me. “You can’t say you’re not attracted to me,” he adds, and suddenly that confident devil from the club is back. It’s all I can do to keep from sweeping him up and taking him right there in the grass.

“I’m very attracted to you,” I admit, my voice rough with suppressed lust. “But that doesn’t mean we should, uh, act on it.” It’s so damn hard to be strong with his muscular body writhing against me like a cat in heat! I carefully disentangle his hands from behind my neck, trying to push him away carefully, without coming into contact with any more of that burning skin. I do the only thing I can, I take to the air.

“Look, we’ll talk about this later, okay?” I say, as I realize with some shame that I’m running from a seventeen year old boy. A sexy, gorgeous, amazingly intriguing seventeen year old boy, but nevertheless. Thank The gods he doesn’t give chase, and I don’t look back as I fly off. One thing’s for sure, I’m not getting any sleep tonight.

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