"Come on, Trunks-kun! I wanna go now!" Goten whined again, sulking with that oh so familiar adorable pouty look on his face. Even at sixteen, he never seemed to have changed.

"Ok, ok! We'll go...but we have to do something I want to do afterwards."

The younger boy brightened up almost immediately, "All right! Now, you have to wear something normal to the party. We don't want people to think you're weird for wearing your fighting uniform. And try to be talkative or you'll never get to know anyone new!"

"Hn," Trunks crossed his arms.

"Please, Trunks-kun! Don't start acting like your dad again!"

"If you want a new best friend, you can go by yourself."

Goten seemed hurt, and Trunks soon felt sorry for saying anything, "You're my best friend, Trunks-kun. I'd never leave you behind. Especially from this party! It's supposed to be the biggest one of the year, and I want you to come. I know you'll have fun once you open up a little!"

Trunks sighed, "Fine. I'll try to be more talkative, but damn it, Goten-kun, you know I hate this sort of thing...," Trunks looked over at the younger boy, who was pouting again, and sighed, "I still don't think that I'll have fun, but....I'll go anyway..."

"Thanks a lot, Trunks-kun, it means a lot to me. Now, go change into some jeans and a regular shirt, and we can leave!"

The boy waved his hand in the air carelessly and just before turning around grinned up at Goten, "Don't forget, I get to pick what we do afterwards!"

Goten rolled his eyes, "Yea, yea, yea. I know... sparring, sparring, sparring..."

"Don't you like it?" Trunks raised an eyebrow.

"Of course! I just felt like doin' somethin' new, I guess."

He shrugged, "Fair enough... You know, we should have a real fight sometime... No holding back.... I feel like I'm loosing my touch during peace times, even with my Otousan fighting me every chance he gets..."

"SURE! That would be great! I feel the same way, 'cept you're the only one I have to practice with..." Goten drooped a bit from the reminder that he would probably never see the father he barely knew again. The one everyone said he was so much like....

Trunks recognized Goten's _expression and quickly changed the subject, "Ok, we'll do that. So, does it really matter what I wear to this thing?"

Goten grinned and grabbed Trunk's black T-shirt with the logo of a rather popular band on the back and tossed it at him. He chuckled and spoke teasingly, "Just wear this. Honestly, I never thought that you would be the type to care."

"Hn."

"Don't grunt at me. Just slip on some jeans and let's go!"

*

Trunks watched the younger boy fly out of the window of his room wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a plain blue shirt. He didn't know why, but the boy looked out of place in those "normal" clothes, instead of his gi. The same way he felt in his dark party outfit... Sighing, he followed his friend, and was rewarded with a wide grin before Goten faced forward again. Usually, he was in the lead, but whenever it came to "social events", the younger boy led the way. Not that Goten wanted to be any more "involved" then he did. The boy's naturally friendly nature seemed to attract people like fly's to honey, and he felt obligated to go to all the major parties and dances, and not let down all the people who expected him to show up. However, though he was much more popular then the stone silent Trunks, everyone knew that they were best friends and that being rude to Trunks was like insulting Goten, and he was so popular, if Goten didn't like you, the entire student body scorned you.

Inwardly, Trunks grinned at the memory of the first time he realized this was true...

He had been on his way to class, avoiding the main part of the hall so he didn't have to get shoved through the crowd. His mind had been wandering on other things, so he didn't even realize it when a group of jocks walked over to him and knocked all of his books out of his hands. They had jeered at him and drawled on and on about how he was moving in on their girls. Riiiggghhhtt. Trunks and regarded them with a steady eye, before completely ignoring them and picking up his books. You see, one thing he prided himself on that not many of the other Z senshi possessed, was his patience. And, when they knocked his things from his arms a second time, it slowly began running out. This went on until the ningen boy's had pissed him off to the point of pounding each one until they were bleeding and bruised, before dropping them in a lake about five-hundred miles from the school. That was when Goten had showed up and stepped in front of him. Now, to casual observers, it probably looked like Goten was protecting Trunks. In truth, he was protecting someone, but it definitely wasn't Trunks. No one had lost their temper, and the entire school was looking down at the group of boys that made their "tenshi" angry. No one spoke about that encounter since the jocks were once again accepted into society. That was the first time his chibi had been the "protector". He didn't mind it too much, though. Trunks hated being around so many people at once, and Goten had been his only means for refuge. The cheerful boy helped him calm down when on the verge of exploding, and he was grateful.

That wasn't the only hardship, however. Girls... In the beginning, girls continuously threw themselves at Trunks. Not just because he was good looking. No, that wasn't the real reason at all. They thought that by dating Trunks, one of them could attract Goten's attention. All the girls had but one goal when it came to Goten, and that was to get close to the cheerful boy and get to date him. Date him for the first time...

Yes, it was true. Though he had been offered countless occasions, Goten had politely refused every date any girl (or guy, for that matter) and asked him on. No one knew why, and the looks the boy's best friend gave people when they asked for tips discouraged that practice quickly. He wasn't even sure why he did it. Jealousy? Perhaps. In fact, that was it most likely. It hurt him that, one day, there would be someone who would take his place in Goten's life and even if he had all the power in the universe, he couldn't do a thing to stop it.

In all the time there were in school together, even though Goten was still a Sophomore while he was a Junior, they had stuck together this long, leaving people to wonder.... What did such a beautiful, spirited boy, see in dark, withdrawn Trunks?

He wondered that sometimes as well.

*

Goten motioned to Trunks that they should stop and walk the rest of the way to the party, and they alighted in an alley close by the house the were heading towards. Goten walked, determined to enjoy the gathering, continuously checking his best friend's ki, to make sure Trunks hadn't decided to bolt after all. He knew it was stupid, Trunks never lied to him, but he was always afraid that the older boy would just get sick of putting up with him, so young and immature, and walk away. That thought always made him feel like curling up and a ball and never leaving his room. Trunks Briefs was his best friend, and he loved him in a way he couldn't love anyone else. They had grown up together, fought together, and even had the power to become a single being. To have their souls meld together, along with their power; to feel the same way, to think the same way, and to truly be complete. He never told Trunks this, but he always longed for the next big battle so they could bond once more. That was as close as they would ever get. That thought, also, never failed to depress him.

He never cared that Trunks was so withdrawn... In part, he wished that he could do the same and avoid contact with all of his peers, considered 'normal' by ningen standards. But, for reasons he couldn't see, people always demanded his attention, and he couldn't blow them off completely. His nature prevented it. However, he was happy to lead Trunks around, for once. His best friend led him and protected him at every other time, he liked to know he gave something in return, no mater how trivial. Slowing his pace, he waited for Trunk to catch up with him, so they could at least talk before reaching the party, where he was sure to slip off into the crowd and stay by the wall the whole time. His purple haired friend walked smoothly, arms crossed in front of him, and head held high. He truly was his father's son.

"Doushita no, Trunks-kun?"

"Oh, gomen... nothing, really...just a little bored, I guess."

"No, Trunks, I'm sorry. I really shouldn't have dragged you with me. We'll only stay for a half an hour, if you want, or, we can just not show up at all."

The older boy gazed at him coolly, "No, I said I would come, and I am going to be there. Besides, we made a deal. We do what you want, and then I get to pick the next thing we do."

"Sure, I guess... Now, let's move a little faster or we'll never get there!" Goten laughed, playfully punching at Trunks, who dodged it easily and grinned down at him.

"Fine, we'll run...if you think you can catch me!" with those words, Trunks bolted ahead of his younger friend, careful to stay in the shadows so no one could see him streak down the street at speeds no normal human could reach. The younger boy stared after his best friend, surprised at first, and grinned the grin that all Sayians got when they had a challenge placed before them.

"I'm older now, Trunks-kun. I think you'll find that I'm no longer the little boy you had beat in everything, and I'll prove it to you in any way I can," his grin slowly faded into a sad smile as he shook his head, "Then, if you find that I'm still a challenge, maybe you will have a reason to stay with me like I hope," and he chased after his nakama, holding nothing back.

*

Trunks ran, with the carefree joy that was in the game that he and Goten had played since they were little. His only regret was that they were coming up on the house the party was at, rather quickly. Reaching out, he felt Goten's ki flare a bit as he got closer and closer to him in their race.

"Not today, chibi. You're not going to beat me today," Trunks grinned wildly as he, too, sped up so that his ki was almost visible and before he even knew it, they had arrived at the house.

Slowing down as he approached, he leaned against the wall surrounding the entrance to the property and pretended that he had been waiting there for quite a while, when the younger boy showed up and skidded to a stop. He stepped forward a few feet and waved calmly at the boy, who stuck out his tongue and smiled in return. For a moment, he thought he had spotted a flicker of disappointment and despair in his friend's eyes...?..no, it had just been his imagination, for the boy grinned again. He stood there calmly, looking at Goten, who was still standing across the street. Suddenly, the younger boy began to run towards him without hesitation, grinning all the while. If they had been sparring, Trunks might have been worried that Goten would hit him, but the boy would never risk it in the open, so he stood stock still, waiting for his friend to slow down and skid to a halt...

He didn't.

Trunks stared at the boy, eyes wide, when Goten jumped and flipped just enough so his hands were planted on Trunk's shoulders and he stayed like that, upside down just a moment, before pushing off and vaulting over the wall directly behind him. Soft cheers erupted from the other side of the wall, heard above the music playing. The older boy didn't move for a moment, still feeling the tingling pressure of his friend's hands on him, before chuckling to himself, and jumping onto the wall in a less conspicuous fashion. After landing on the top, he shrank back as he stared at the hoards of people crowded into such a small area. The lights and the noise did not make him feel any better about the situation.

He weighed the option of just staying on the wall for the entire party, but Goten would be upset if Trunks didn't, at least, say hi to him during the time spent here. He also didn't want to join the masses in the flailing of limbs they called 'dancing'. In his mind, Majin Buu was more graceful then some of the teenagers there, and no matter how well their bodies matched the rhythms, a fight between he and Goten was a million times more beautiful. Strength against strength, mind against mind. It was more then perfection. It was everything.

He jumped from the top of the stone wall into the branches of the closest tree. There, he sat and watched for the better part of the night. He saw friendship, hatred, kindness, and love. He saw his peers move through their life, thinking only of the small things, and envied them. Their lives were so simple, so sheltered from the feeling of true pain. And, even for their small and simple troubles, they each had a group of friends to confide in and find sympathy with. Though he had Goten as his true friend, he had never wanted to burden him with his feelings or problems. He was too pure, even after going though all he did, and Trunks didn't want to make it any harder for him then it was. He loved the younger boy too much to do that. Loved? The word always seemed to mock him when used for anyone besides his mother or even his father, but he could think of no other term that fit the description of his feelings.

Silently, he jumped down from the tree and slipped into the crowd, so he could find Goten and reassure him that he was doing ok...

*

"Hey, Goten!"

The younger boy looked up from his seat on the couch into the small crowd surrounding him, and attempted to locate the source of this voice. He knew from the sound it probably wasn't him, but he had hoped to see Trunks somewhere. The boy had been gone for hours, and he couldn't help but be mad at himself again for dragging him here. One of them should have been spared from this onslaught of people who always insisted on his attention. Finally, a boy about his age, wearing a plain pair of jeans and a plad, red shirt, pushed through the people and approached him.

"Oh, hi! Can I help you with something?" he cheerfully replied.

"Yea, I heard that you were on the baseball team, and that you were really good."

Goten blushed softly, smiling his son grin with one hand behind his head, "Well..."

A friend of his from class laughed, "Don't be so modest, Goten, man! You are the best on the team! We've never lost a game since you joined up!"

Goten blushed a bit more and the guy who had walked up to him spoke up again. "Well, because you're supposed to be so fast and strong, I thought that maybe you'd like to join my karate class. And, if it's true that you were the one who made it to the finals of the Junior Division of the World Tournament, then maybe you still have some skills, if you've been practicing."

The youngest Son stared at the guy, unsure of what to say. There was no way he could join a kids fighting class. It was hard enough to hide his strength at school everyday, and if he was forced to fight people that much weaker then him....he could seriously hurt someone. But then, the kid didn't know that. Piccolo-san had destroyed all the recorders and cameras during before the fight, so no one really knew all the details of the Tournament, and refused to believe the one's who actually did. However, he was saved from having to say anything....if you'd call it 'saved'.

"Back off, Ken, he's a lover not a fighter!" a girl who had apparently been standing behind the couch climbed over it and sat down in Goten's lap, kissing his cheek while wrapping her arms around his neck.

Ken shrugged his shoulders and started to walk away and Goten stared at the brunette on his lap, mouth gaping open. Once he had regained his composure, even while she continued smiling flirtingly at his, he smiled back and gently began to push her off of him and onto the couch.

"I'm really flattered.... but I really just don't want-.."

She interrupted, rolling her eyes, "I know, I know, you don't like to date. That's fine, I don't care. Well, it's been fun, then! Later!" The girl kissed him on his other cheek one last time before releasing him and getting up. She started walking away but stopped a moment to look behind her back and wink, "By the way, your gloomy friend has been standing over there staring at you for a while. Just thought you should know!"

Goten immediately turned around and saw Trunks leaning against the wall, arms crossed. No one would have been able too tell, but he clearly saw the irritation and reproach....and even hurt in his eyes. Fluidly, the older boy broke the lock their eyes had made and began to move his way through the crowds, faster then the normal eye could follow.

"Wait, Trunks!" Goten cried and rushed after him.

*

Trunks heard Goten call his name but didn't slow down. He couldn't believe it had already happened...he had already been replaced. Replaced. It had happened...and it was too soon. The girl had kissed his chibi twice, and he hadn't said anything about it. He just sat there staring at her, and never even noticed him until she pointed him out for Goten. The younger boy was probably worried about him again, wanted to talk, but he wasn't ok. Not this time... Not anymore...

No more staying together everywhere they went.

No more sparing every chance they got.

No more protecting each other.

No more childish races.

No more Goten.

....And he wasn't ready to let him go.

Trunks was alone, and he knew it had to happen. Goten would meet a girl, and she would become number one in his life. There wasn't any time left to hang out with lifelong friends and companions. Seeing him get kissed by that girl just reminded him of that. It may not be her his chibi, his tenshi, would choose to spend his life with, but it would happen. He was sixteen, Trunks was seventeen, and they had to decide what they were going to do with their lives. Trunks knew what he wanted. He knew the only thing he wanted. But, it didn't matter. It never mattered what he wanted. All that mattered was Goten.

He vaulted over the wall and ran through the alleyway, forcing back tears. Boys...don't cry... He remembered the first time he cried in front of his father as a child; he couldn't remember why. His Otousan had punched him through the wall and told him to be a man. Because, men have better things to do then cry. And, crying showed weakness. And weakness showed you were not worth a second glance. Not from Vejiita... It had been a week before his father would look at him or acknowledge him again, let alone speak to him.

"Trunks-kun, what's wrong?!"

He heard the frantic cry behind him, and in response, stopped long enough to gain his footing and take off into the air, ki flairing around him. Goten still followed closely behind as they flew together for a while. Finally, he twisted his head around and glared at the boy.

"Leave me alone, Goten! I have no patience for you anymore! Just...go away!" he hardened his voice to sound like his father, and never slowed down. He kept flying for over ten minutes, mouth tasting stale from the words that he had spoken, before landing and pressing his back against a tree. He hated acting like his father, especially to people he cared for. He was always afraid he would loose them because he was so unfeeling. Tentatively, he felt around for the younger boy's ki. It wasn't there. He must be too far away for him to feel it, or he had hidden it.... It was then he realized...

He hadn't felt Goten's ki flare since he had spoken to him last.

Had the boy given up the chase that early?

Did he really hurt his chibi that much, with one simple comment...?

...how could he...?

*

"...."

"Trunks?"

"Why?"

"What happened that you hate me so?"

"Am I really just an immature child to you?"

He sat on the edge of his bed, staring at the wall. All Goten could thing about was Trunks. Why...? He continually replayed the scene in his head. Goten turns to Trunks and calls out his name. Trunks runs away, and begins to fly. Goten chases him and calls his name again. Trunks tells him to leave him alone. He called Goten a child. Did that mean he didn't want to be around him anymore...? Spend time with him?...His best friend had never yelled at him like this and it stung him to the core that he was just a little boy to Trunks, when he always longed to be so much more...

"Goten! Its noon already! Get out of your room!"

He sighed, "Coming, Okaasan!"

The boy stood up stiffly, making it obvious that he hadn't slept...or moved, for that matter, since he had dumbfoundedly dragged himself home the night before. He pulled off the jeans and shirt, and settled for wearing his gi for the day. There would be no one to fight with for a while, maybe forever, so he should probably start training by himself more often. When he got downstairs, his mother looked him over appraisingly. He forced a smile.

"Ok, Goten, what's going on?"

"Huh?" he shook his head to wake himself up and smiled, "What do you mean, Okaasan?"

Her eyes softened a bit, but she never moved her hands from her hips, "Goten-chan, what kind of mother would I be if I couldn't even tell when something was bothering my son? Now, you're exhausted, you're depressed, you waited until the middle of the day to leave your room, and you're moving like you slept on a rock. I want to know what's wrong."

Goten recognized the menacing tone in his mother's voice, "Uh, it's nothing..... Just tired from staying out at that party last night, and I didn't sleep well."

He held his breath, willing his mom to be happy with his only partial truth. She scrutinized him one last time, before nodding her head sharply. "I'll accept that.... this time. Now, be home in time for dinner, ne?"

He smiled at her, "Yes, Okaasan."

"So polite! That can only mean you're hiding something, or hell has frozen over... It's probably the first, but in our lives, we can never be sure," she chuckled to herself, "I'll go shopping while you're gone, and make the Son family favorite... Food, and a lot of it. Keep up the manners, and it'll happen more often..."

He ran out the door, and just before taking off, heard her whisper at an almost inaudible volume one last thing. "Goku..." She might not show it to everyone, but Goten knew that it had been hard for her these last few years. Her oldest son married away, her husband dead, and no more meetings or gatherings at her home because earth was save again. Of course, Gohan and Videl visited regularly with Pan, so things weren't always so quiet. And, when he invited Trunks over-

....

Trunks. He probably wouldn't be visiting again anytime soon...

Goten flew slowly through the air, looking over the trees and rivers he had grown up around. He sped up and kept flying until he reached a place he remembered well. A rocky area, with memories that never failed to make him grin. It was where his brother took him training before fighting in the World Tournament. He could still see his brother's wide eyes when he started throwing the rocks, much faster then he had expected. Gohan kept moving him back farther and farther... Or better yet, the stunned look Gohan had when he turned Super Sayian for the first time... a "little monster"... and he could only imagine Vejiita's face, when he found out that they came as a pair...

Chuckling at the memories and smiling wistfully, he landed among the tan colored boulders; stopping to pick up a small stone...

"Trunks-kun.... What did I do to make you so mad at me?"

...and he crushed it.

*

Trunks looked at the Son house and cautiously landed outside. It had taken him this long to finally work up the courage to talk to his friend. To apologize for acting so.... idiotically... He didn't even know why he had thought such things and overreacted over it... It's true that his friend would finds someone someday, and though his heart wrenched every time he thought about it, but that was no reason to take it out on Goten. He needed to tell the boy that he didn't mean what he said...and show that he cared about him, instead of being mad about something no one could control.

He softly knocked on the wooden door, "Hello?"

Only a moment passed before the door swung open and Chi Chi stood in front of him, smiling warmly, "Oh, hello, Trunks! You must be looking for Goten!"

"Hai, Chi Chi-san," he spoke, nodding slightly.

"Well, you just missed him. He left only about an hour or so ago, and he was wearing his gi, so for training I'm guessing. You should be able to catch up with him... By the way, you're welcome to join us for dinner. We could always use the company and there's always plenty of food to go around... I still find myself cooking as if a pack of hungry Sayians were going to show up at my door.... not that it hasn't happened before," she smiled and chuckled to herself, "I hope I helped you. See you later, Trunks."

"Arigatou, Chi Chi-san!" he waved, already taking off after his friend.

He flew at a moderate speed, trying to come up with the exact apology he could give to Goten. Without explaining why he got so mad, that is... The last thing he wanted to say was that he was...jealous. Once again, he found himself having an emotion completely uncalled for. Jealous of a woman who didn't exist.. Or maybe, there was someone...? That was why Goten wouldn't date any of the people who asked... Had his friend fallen in love? Trunks smiled weakly to himself. Maybe. But, he should try to be supportive.. Even if he really didn't want to..

He felt a distinctive flair of ki that could only belong to one boy. Carefully scanning over the ground, he spotted dark haired half-Sayian practicing his energy attacks. Masking his ki, he landed nearby and was content to merely watch his young friend train. The movements were graceful, yet powerful, and he took the time to study the boy's technique so that, if Goten forgave him for his actions, he would better be able to match him. The boy was concentrating so deeply, that he didn't seem to notice Trunks standing so close. Finally, he worked up the courage to step forward. If his friend didn't want to accept him again, he'd leave, but he had to try.

"Goten... I need to talk to you..."

Goten stopped his training, standing up straight, and looked up at him with an unfamiliar sad _expression on his face, "Ok, Trunks-kun." The older boy saw distinct hurt in his eyes, and he wanted nothing more then to erase it.

As Trunks stood there, he struggled with what to say. It had to be good.. He had never left Goten on bad terms before, ever, and he wanted everything to be put right again. Everything to go back to normal, at least, for the most part....

*

"Goten... I need to talk to you..."

Smiling sadly, he stood up. He had known that his friend was standing there for quite a while, but didn't want to say anything about it. Despite his ache to be forgiven for whatever it was he did to the boy, he didn't want to force Trunks to speak with him. If the older boy wanted to talk, then he had to initiate the conversation. And, now that he had, Goten was free to apologize, but it was obvious that Trunks wanted to speak first. So, he would let him.

"Ok, Trunks-kun."

Watching the other boy carefully, he saw that Trunks was trying to say something.. He didn't want to interrupt, so he stood there silently, and his friend finally began, "I wanted to tell you...that...I'm...Goten, I'mreallysorryaboutwhatIdid..."

Goten's eyes went wide in surprise. Even though the words had been jumbled together in a rush, he distinctly heard Trunks apologize. But why?

"Trunks, I don't-" the younger boy found himself cut off in mid-sentence by the hand of his older friend putting his hand up. Slowly, Trunks moved it back down again.

"This is all my fault... I was being stupid and got mad about something that shouldn't matter to me, so... I need to say I'm sorry.. I had no right to say what I did to you, and all I want is to know if you forgive me. It's ok if you don't, but I just needed to ask," Trunks hadn't looked up for the entire apology, and appeared to be obsessed with the dirt he continued to shuffle with his feet.

The younger boy felt a grin spread across his face. Trunks wasn't mad at him anymore! He was so happy that he could no longer resist, and gave in to the urge to hug the older boy tightly. The force of him running toward the older boy and hitting him so quickly knocked the air out of Trunks. As Goten held onto his best friend, he felt arms slowly snake around his shoulders, holding him loosely. They stood like that until he felt his friend catch his breath again, and even longer, before he reluctantly backed away, feeling himself blush slightly. He smiled at his friend, and put his hand behind his head, much like the Son style.

"So, what do you want to do now?"

"Umm... I owe you. Whatever you want, I guess."

"Ok!.. I'm not sure if I can spar, 'cause I...uh, didn't sleep well last night and I am kinda stiff...It'd be to easy for you to beat me..," Goten saw a flicker of guilt on his friend's face, so he hurriedly continued, "So, we could just...talk, maybe?"

Trunks grinned and hopped onto a boulder to sit down, "Talk? Son Goten wants to talk? What's the world coming to? Sure, we can talk. What do you want to talk about?"

Goten laughed and sat down next to him, "I don't know! Why don't you start.. You're always avoiding social events, so you must have a lot on your mind."

"Nah, not really, " Trunks shrugged, "What about you? You're the one who seems to be keeping all the secrets, it seems to me."

The younger boy seemed shocked, "What do I hide from people, that I haven't ever told you?"

"For one, you've never told me why you won't date anyone when they ask you. Some of those girl were really pretty and popular.. So, tell me, what stops the wondrous, amazing Goten-kun from going out?"

He fidgeted, uncomfortable with the question. Out of all the things Trunks could have asked...why this? He couldn't back out now without justifying his friends suspicions of him hiding something.. Even though he was hiding something...but if he could answer the question without being specific..

"Well, yea. I guess there is something.."

Trunks smiled mockingly, "A girl...?"

No, not a girl.. He smiled to himself.. but, I suppose in the implication of that comment, you are close, "You could say that..."

*

The older boy made himself hold onto the grin. He had gotten himself into this by indulging his curiosity and asking a question he would have rather not had answered. Now that he had made it this far, he might as well keep asking. In truth, he was partially glad that Goten had decided to just talk for once. They never got to hang out as much, with all the parties and sports and school... He had no idea what to say, anymore. It it was probably because of that, they ended up on this unpleasant topic.

"Is it...love?" he felt himself question.

Goten smiled thoughtfully, "It might be..."

He felt a pang, "Well... tell me about her, why don't ya? I am your best friend."

"Well..very beautiful. Nothing less. Ice blue eyes, defined face, wild grin, .."

He couldn't take much more of this, "Yea, yea, what about her personality?"

"Oh? Umm.. Quiet, at times. Strong, always. Proud, very. Extremely proud... Sometimes, spoiled.. and difficult to please.. But generally kind...and tolerative...someone I know I could be around forever and never get bored or tired of them.."

"Even with all those flaws, you seem to really love her a lot," he felt himself admit. And, it was true. With all of those flaws in this girl's personality, she really seemed to have his chibi's heart in her possession.

"I guess you're right.. There are a lot of flaws, but it only makes hi..er..," Goten coughed, "all the more...well...perfect."

"So, do I know this perfect girl?" Trunks realized his spoke this, and only hoped he didn't sound as spiteful as he felt.

"I think so."

"Well then? Spit it out! Who is it?"

Goten figited again and looked away, "I don't really think-"

"Oh, you told me this much! Please, Goten?"

The younger boy jumped down from the rock, "That's not such a good idea.."

Trunks narrowed his eyes, questioningly. Now, why would Goten have a problem with telling him who it was? I mean, he told him her looks, her behavior, and even admitted that they both knew her. So, what was the problem? "Why can't you say?"

"Well.. see... this person is very important to me...and I don't want to make them mad at me...because they doesn't like me that way...and I didn't really want anyone to ever find out..."

Goten gave him a sideways glance, but he was to deep in thought to pay it any mind. Now, what girl would refuse his friend and get mad, just because he loved her. What kind of a manipulative bitch was this? Screw jealously, now he was angry, "Why would she get mad? How could she not love you, chibi?"

He smiled weakly, "Like I said, very proud and hard to please. They might take it as an insult, and I don't think the family would like the situation. The last thing I would ever want to do is make 'em mad... I guess I just have to be content for things to stay the way they are..."

Trunks looked at the boy's hurt and tired _expression. He didn't care anymore. He didn't care about being replaced, or being number two in the boy's life. All he cared about was what should have been the only thing that mattered in the beginning. The younger boy's happiness. "You shouldn't do that! Forget her family or the risks. If you love her, nothing should stop you from telling her how you feel. If she doesn't like it, then she can leave, because she just lost out on someone really...well....//Beautiful, kind, gentle, loving, and perfect in his own way...// ...someone way better then anyone she could ever hope to find again."

"Thanks, Trunks-kun. That means a lot, but it still really doesn't matter what I do.. I just wouldn't be able to go on if I lost...," Goten shook his head wistfully.

"Goten...daijoubu?"

In a drastic change of moods, the younger boy seemed to smile away the sadness previously expressed, and pulled Trunks off the rock and into the air, before releasing him and grinning over his shoulder, "I don't wanna talk anymore.. and, I feel a lot better now..so....let's fight!"

"I don't know..," Trunks looked over the younger boy's form.. He seemed tired and his movements were jerky.. , "are you sure you're up to it?"

He stuck out his chest, "Of course! To prove it, let's go all out! We're far enough from people, we have until late, you've always wanted to, and you owe me! Mou...Please!"

//You're doing the pouty thing again...// Trunks inwardly groaned. "Hn.. Fine...but, if you start to fall apart during the fight because of sleep deprivation..."

"Yea, yea, yea...ok. So, are you ready?"

Trunks grinned wildly, "Always."

*

Crash.

Goten pulled himself out of the rocks painstakingly, too soon feeling the effects of Trunks endless onslaught of attacks. Now, he was second guessing his decision to fight.. He could have just said spar, but nooooo, he had to push for a real one. Even so, he wouldn't let Trunks beat him this easily...

From the tingling sensations on the outside of his skin, he knew that he was still in Super Sayian form, and that was reassuring. They had been going at it for over an hour... Maybe even longer then that… He couldn’t be sure. Standing up straight, he shook the dust from his hair and forced a smile on his face; a front more for his best friend's benefit then for his. He refused to allow Trunks to find him inadequate as a fighter. Besides, he's a Sayian! At least.., he's half Sayian... There was no reason for him to keep hesitating, or to let the fact that he was a bit tired get the best of him. Pulling forth a burst of speed, he kept flying until he was directly across from Trunks in the air.

The purple haired boy tisked, "I know you're better then this, Goten. This is supposed to be a serious fight."

"Don't worry, Trunks, I'm just getting warmed up..."

Pushing off, Goten shot into the air and attacked Trunks head on, but the prince must have expected it, because he disappeared right when Goten threw his first punch, and reappeared behind him, catching the younger Sayian in a hold much like the one at their first World Tournament. Inwardly, he groaned.

“Well, isn’t this familiar?” Goten could practically feel Trunk’s wide smirk.

“Trunks! Not again!”

 He heard a soft chuckle, as air passed over his neck, and he shivered, “Yep. Now, we’re already Super Sayians…so what are you going to do about it?”

Goten didn’t respond, but his mind was racing. //OhKami-samaKami-samaKami-sama… He’s holding me like… Too close… And breathing like… I’m going to do something stupid, and he’ll figure it out. Hell, one look at me, he might notice my- I don’t want to even risk the possibility! I gotta get out of here!//

“Come on, Goten. Escape or yield. Don’t be ashamed to give up. There was never any doubt of my victory, anyway,” Trunks teased into his ear, and he shivered once more.

Struggling again, he knew he could keep it up for a while, but all it was accomplishing was exhausting him and rubbing him against Trunks even more, which wasn’t helping the ‘situation’ any. His mind couldn’t compute any strategy even if he wanted it to; he felt like he was on system overload. So, he did all he felt he could do.

“I yield.”

*

Trunks blinked in surprise, “What?!

“I said I give up. You’re still too strong for me, I guess…”

Trunks just stared at the back of his friend’s head. Son Goten never gave up a fight! Ever! This was completely out of character for him… First, the talk… Trunks was already trying to put that crushing memory behind him for the moment, which was damn hard to do when you’re touching the object of your desire constantly…had the excuse to touch him. Now, this! He was almost sorry to let Goten go. The boy’s struggles had been…enjoyable, and he was thankful that his gi pants were baggy enough to hide how much he had ‘enjoyed’ it.

 “But Goten-”

Goten crained his neck around and gave Trunks a lopsided grin, “There’s always next time, Tru-kun.”

“Goten-”

“Listen, I had better get back for dinner, or Okassan is going to have a fit.”

//Why does he keep changing the subject…?// He sighed in defeat. Maybe he was still stronger then Goten physically, but the younger boy could get him to do nearly anything he damn well wanted. So, he ignored the occurrence completely as those eyes pleaded with him, and replied, “Yeah, you’re probably right. Let’s go, shall we? Oh, and your mom asked me to stay for dinner. Do you mind?”

A pause.

“Trunks-kun, you are always welcome. You don’t even have to ask.”

“Thank you.”

He hadn’t known what to say. No joking…no sarcasm… All he said was ‘Thank you.’ How else was he supposed to respond? There was another uncomfortable silence before Goten grinned one of those grins. He knew it so well, because it was a grin they often shared. A grin that always seemed to form when something ‘fun’ was about to happen. Slowly, Goten flew up to him, and placed two of his fingers in the middle of Trunk’s forehead. Just a slight pressure that caused the spot tingle, and him to become nervous…

“Goten, wha-?”

The younger boy’s grin widened, “Tag…. You’re it,” and he took off flying.

*

“Hey, Goten-kun! Pay attention! We’re switching classes!”

Goten started, “Huh? Oh, thanks, Tsukue-kun.”

The boy grinned at him and waved, “No prob. See ya in English.”

Slowly, he dragged himself out of his desk with his books and left the room. Goten didn’t know what he’d do if it wasn’t for the other kids at school. It seemed all he could think about was Trunks. How something was just…wrong. Ever since they’d had that ‘conversation’ a few days before, they had been talking to each other less. Trunks always seemed preoccupied… He didn’t like it. Now, he was beginning to wish he had never said anything… What if Trunks had figured out he was who Goten was talking about? What if he realized why Goten had given up the fight so soon? Those questions nagged at him in every waking moment of his day, and even sometimes kept him up at night. He couldn’t stand it… He had to confront Trunks…he had to know how much the prince knew. Try to just…inconspicuously slip it into the conversation… ‘Yea, Trunks…you remember when I told you about someone I liked… Do you have any guesses on who that could be?’ Hrm….that sounded… ick, horrible. What if Trunks knew, but was just ignoring it? The truth was disgusting, so he pretended it wasn’t true, so he and Goten could still be friends. Was that it? And, if Goten mentioned something, and Trunks knew for sure that was how he really felt, then would the older boy not want to even be around him anymore? Or, what if there was the smallest chance that Trunks possibly feels the same way? Or what if Trunks is completely oblivious to any of this? Or…

Goten shook his head… He really needed to get some sleep… Now he was rambling in his mind, instead of just his speech… And then, a whine echoed through the hall that made his hair stand on end… well, more on end.

“Goootteeennnn-kuuuunnn!”

He stifled a groan and plastered on a kind smile, hoping it didn’t look to fake, “Ohayoo, Ocha-san.”

The blue-eyed blonde smirked at him, “Hey, Goten. I was just wanting to let you know that there is a party coming up next week, and as of yet, no one has asked me.”

//Arrogant little…Try being more subtle, why don’t ya? Well, how does playing ignorant work into your plans?// Goten stifled his mischievous grin, and gave her a clueless smile, “Well, then you had better start looking for someone to take you.”  

Much to his disappointment, she didn’t seem phased in the least, “How cute. No, I just thought I’d give you the honor of being the first one to have that chance to ask me out.”

This time, he did give an exasperated sigh, “Ocha-san, please. You know I don’t like to date.”

“Nonsense! I’m sure you just need to go with the right person,” she leaned closer to him and gave what she must have thought was a sultry smile, which just encouraged his terror and disgust.

//You’re right. I do need to go with the right person, and thanks Kami-sama it isn’t you…ick…// “Ocha-san, I-”

“He would love to go with you.”

Goten’s jaw dropped in surprise as he turned around to see a very familiar face, “Trunks?!

*

Trunks watched Goten walk slowly through the halls, and sighed. Goten loved someone else… That hurt. Really hurt. More then any fight he had ever been in. He’d managed to ignore the pain he felt for a little while, but now it was all catching up with him. He watched as Goten walked, obviously exhausted for some reason. He saw when the younger Sayian was approached by the blonde…Ocha…something or other… She was one of the most popular and arrogant girls at school. Very picky. Her family only approves of her being with the best. Trunks watched as Goten leaned away from her, behaving somewhat nervous… And a thought struck him.

Goten was in love with Ocha?

Blue eyes, proud, hard to please… a family that might not approve of them being together… As far as he could see, it was all there. All of it. (Ouch… There was that pang again…) But, if Goten loved Ocha, why was he being so…tense? He thought a moment. Of course… Goten was reluctant to initiate a relationship because of all the uncertainties… Isn’t that what Goten had pretty much told him. He sighed… This would be hard… One of the hardest things he would ever have to do… But, if it meant ensuring Goten’s happiness, he would do it…

Quietly, he walked over to where the two of them were talking and overheard Ocha say something about Goten needing to be with the right person. //Yea… I only wish it could be me… Like that would ever happen… Fate is laughing at me right now, I know… Laughing at me with a damned stupid grin, just because it has nothing better to do…//

Goten shook his head slightly, “Ocha-san, I-”

He took a deep breath, working to keep it steady, “He would love to go with you.”

Trunks?!” Goten whipped around, and he tried to hide his hurt behind a soft smile.

“Goten-kun, just go. You’ll have fun and have nothing to worry about. I know this is what you want, so you shouldn’t be afraid of being with…her,” he choked slightly, and looked down at his feet. He would do this. He would make sure Goten was happy. The younger Sayian would be happy, and he would be happy because of it… Still…even though he knew this was the right thing to do, it still felt wrong…and was killing him.

Goten stared at him, perplexed, “But Trunks-kun, I-”

Ocha interrupted, “Lovely! The party is next Saturday at 7 p.m., so don’t be late! I’ll call you and we can work out the details. I definitely promise a good time, if you catch my meaning,” she winked, an attempt at ‘cute’, and walked away.

Trunks stared after her a moment before quickly leaving the scene… He was a Sayian prince… No one could see him cry…

*

“Trunks…how could you do this? How?” Goten curled into a small ball on his bed and shook slightly as the cold night air blew through his open window.

Trunks… He had… He had made him go with that girl… Trunks had dumped him off with someone else… For a date… That hurt. A lot. Up till now, he had always held that hope. That tiny bit of hope that Trunks, his best friend he had fallen in love with, felt the same way he did. That hope always helped him to go on when he doubted everything… Now, he didn’t even have that. Without hope, doubt was all he had left…

That, and his first real date that weekend with a girl that made him cringe every time she opened her mouth.

“Goten!” Chi Chi called from the kitchen, “Trunks is on the phone! He wants to know if you’ll be sparring with him today!”

At the mention of Trunks, he was overcome with anger and hurt… //How dare he call here after what he did? Even if he doesn’t know how I feel about him, he had no right to set me up with that girl! He had no right!//

“Tell him I don’t feel like it!” he called from his room, hoping he was loud enough for his okaasan to hear him.

A few minutes later, his door opened and Chi Chi walked into his room and sat at the foot of the bed, looking at him with a worried _expression on her face, “Goten…is there something wrong? Are you feeling ok?”

He turned away from his okaasan, and tried to blink away the tears returning to his eyes, “Hai, Okaasan.”

Goten could feel her hand reach around and touch his wet cheek, “Goten… you’re crying… What happened?”

He shook his head, resisting the urge to break down and tell his mother everything… But he couldn’t do that even if he wanted to… How would his okaasan react if she knew her son was in love with another boy? He felt so pathetic… just a little baby… “I’ll be fine, Okaasan.”

Chi Chi moved her hand away before placing it on the flat of his back and rubbing slightly, comfortingly, “Goten… I know it’ll be all right. I will always be here for you, no matter what. Never be afraid to tell me anything.”

He choked on his suppressed tears and as soon as he heard the door open and close again, indicating his mother’s exit, he let them go.

*

“Problem, hon?”

Trunks looked up at his mother from where he sat in the kitchen by the phone. Her hair was pulled back in a small ponytail, face framed by fly-aways. She now wore small wire framed glasses and a white lab coat. In his opinion, she still looked fairly young, despite her constant complaining about her age to Vegeta who had since become used to it. However, from the look in her eyes, he could tell she hadn’t been getting much sleep, and that alone made her look her true age.

“It’s no big deal, ‘kaasan. I’d be more worried about your lack of sleep.”

Bulma moved toward the refrigerator and looked at him, eyebrow raised, “I’m a big girl, Trunks, I can take care of myself. You can stop trying to change the subject every time I ask you a question. So, spill.”

He sighed. His ‘kaasan had never been known for being anything less then stubborn, “It’s nothing. Goten hasn’t been… talking to me lately.”

 He had been looking down at his hands and didn’t notice his mother until she dropped her plate on the countertop loudly in front of him, snapping in back into reality. Calmly, she stared into his eyes, “Trunks. I’ve known Goten a long as I’ve known you. Maybe even as well as I know you. He wouldn’t get upset like this without good reason. Son’s aren’t like that.” She grinned, “Well, male Son’s anyway.”

“I know that… I just wish I knew why.”

Bulma grinned at him and tapped him on the head, “Trunks, please. Use some of the genius logic you got from me. Whether you are good with emotions or not, it should usually get you by. Now, think. What was the last think you did before you became distant from each other? What did you last talk about before Goten got upset?”

Trunks just blinked at his mom. How stupid of him! He’d been so busy wallowing in his own self-pity, he hadn’t even thought of doing the obvious. “Thanks, Okaasan.”

She grinned and ruffled his hair, “No problem, Trunks. Even geniuses, Kami-sama forbid, make a mistake or look over something. Especially when it comes to people you care about. We tend to over think things instead of seeing the answer right in front of us.”

“Hai, Okaasan.”

“Such a good boy,” Bulma smiled at him, grabbing her sandwich and going back into the lab. After a moment, she stuck her head out of the doorway, “Oh, and Trunks?  If you can find a moment, please tell your good for nothing, neurotic father that I want us to have dinner together tonight. This is not debatable.”

Trunks grinned slightly. His parents were strange, but he probably had a more stable family than most, “Of course, Okaasan.”

*

Goten climbed the steps to the front door of Ocha’s house… no, mansion, and knocked on the door. He couldn’t believe he was actually going through with this. It’s not like he wanted to. When Ocha had called him, she was so busy telling him what to wear so it would compliment what she was wearing, explaining that he had better be there to pick her up not a minute earlier or later then when she said, he should bring a nice car (or if necessary, rent one), etc, etc, so on and so forth… that she wouldn’t let him get a word in edgewise. He expected she knew that… or she really was so obsessive and conceited that she wanted him to change who he was for her. So, now he stood here outside this girl’s home in clothes she chose for him (A navy green long sleeved shirt with a popular brand logo on the front and dark blue jeans), with a rented car parked in front she asked him to get, at the exact time she specified, and he didn’t even like her like that.

The door opened and a butler appeared. Goten thought he looked like he had a piece of plywood attached to his back and something foul smelling under his nose, “The Miss will be right with you…Sir.”

Goten decided right away he didn’t like him at all. The way he hesitated before saying Sir and the way he looked down at him… he didn’t like being looked down upon. It made him feel… worthless. He wasn’t… He would be good enough. He’d be good enough for friendship. Good enough to fight against. Good enough to please his mother after having the genius well-behaved brother that always seemed to be better then he was. Good enough to have love from the one he wanted it from the most…

“Oh, Go~ten-kun!”

He winced and forced a smile… He had to break it off tonight. He had to definitely break it off tonight… He wasn’t sure how, yet, but it had to be done… “Hello Ocha-san.”

She stepped through the doorway and smiled at him. Ocha wore a dark green spaghetti strapped dress and her hair was up in an elaborate style. Pretty. She was definitely pretty. It was just too bad that he didn’t like her…or girls at all, really. She looked him up and down. A head to ass to toes thing that could make even the most stoic uncomfortable. After a moment, she smiled at him and grabbed his hand.

“You look hot, Goten! You’re wearing just what I asked.” Ocha began dragging him down the stairs and toward the street, “I can’t wait to see the car!”

He could barely stop from groaning. Oh, Trunks would pay for this. He loved Trunks more then life itself, however hopeless that was, but Trunks was going to pay for at least this bit of suffering.

*

Trunks slid through the shadows, easily going unnoticed, and searched for his best friend (hopefully more) through the crowds of teenagers. He was embarrassed that he hadn’t realized it sooner. Or, at least had thought it through before doing it. He didn’t even consider the possibility because he was so absorbed with his own thoughts and feelings. Now that he thought about it, it was completely obvious. Goten wasn’t in love with Ocha! He didn’t even like her. After asking around he realized that, outside the rich group of kids, nobody really liked her for her personality and Goten would never fall for someone based on looks or wealth alone. He knew that as surely as he knew the same was true for himself. His mother was right. Even geniuses make mistakes, and this one was probably the dumbest ever. No wonder Goten was mad at him. He would have felt the same way, if not worse because of his ‘unusual’ situation with the other boy. He only hoped the Son would accept his rescue.

“Goten-kuuuuun! Don’t you want to dance?”

Bingo.

Trunks slid though the people. He wanted to make absolutely sure that Goten would want his help before barging into his life. This time, he was going to think things through. Peeking between a couple of body’s, he saw that girl Ocha wrapped around his Goten, and had to force down the surge of jealousy that threatened to flood his thoughts. But, no. He wouldn’t get jealous and irrational.  He had already let his little jealousy bit consume him and that almost wrecked their friendship. Still, a small growl managed to escape he throat. All he had to do was wait for an opening. A chance to slip in and steal Goten away before anyone realized what happened. That alone would be a feat.

A sigh, “Ocha-san, I’m really a bad dancer. You probably should have chosen someone else to bring you to this party.”

“Oh, no way!”  She chirped before reaching up and pulling his head down closer to hers and smirking at him, “Dancing I can go without. It’s what comes after the dancing that I really wanted you for…”

Another growl. //That’s it. I’m getting Goten before that girl does something to him and I have to kill her.//

He cut between the couple and masked his anger with a haughty smile, “Hey, Goten-kun. I’ve been looking all over for you”

Goten snapped around to look at him, obviously surprised and relieved he showed up, but with an underlying hurt that reminded him of that flicker he saw at the last party and when they had their argument. “Trunks-kun… Why are you here?”

I thought quickly, “I was just about to explain that-”

Ocha cut in, obviously annoyed at having her ‘fun’ interrupted, “Hello…. Trunks-kun is it? It’s nice to see you and everything, but we’re kind of in the middle of our date.”

She was an obstinate one… Goten wasn’t going to be able to do it, so he had to insure she understood that there was no date. There would be no other dates. They were over, permanently. He would see to that.

“I realize that, Ocha-san, but I’m afraid there has been a terrible mistake.”

She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms, “Mistake? What kind of mistake?”

//Think, Trunks, think!// “Well, you see, Goten-kun had plans tonight that really can’t be cancelled.”

“Then why didn’t he tell me about this?”

“I suppose he must have forgotten,” he shrugged. “His mother insisted that I pick him up. She had overlooked this until Son Gohan-san called. He and the rest of his family had made plans for them to all have dinner together and visit tonight. You know, since they don’t see each other often anymore.”

Ocha looked over at Goten who feigned remembrance, “I suppose you’ll have to be going then.”

“Yea. Gomen, Ocha-san,” he replied to her, sounding a little too cheerful to be sorry.

She sighed, “Well, we can always reschedule our date for another day-”

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” he interjected, grinning

“Oh?” She scowls, “And why not?”

His grin widened. He was really going to enjoy this part, “Because I don’t like you. And, frankly, neither does he. No one could possibly attracted to an arrogant, annoying, control freak, so I really wish you would get over yourself. Come along, Goten.”

They tried to stifle their laughter as they left a gaping Ocha behind, staring after them, and he heard Goten’s laughing slowly die down until he just knew he was frowning. Then, he remembered what was ahead. He remembered that he had a lot of apologizing to do. He remembered that they had to drive the car all the way back to Chi Chi’s house…

//It’s going to be a long ride home.//

*

Trunks climbed into the driver’s side of the car. He expected as much. Trunks always goes into leader mode when he is nervous or confused. Goten sat in the passengers seat in silence. He supposed he should be grateful that Trunks bailed him out of that disaster. Even though it was his fault in the first place.

//Kami-sama, Trunks… For a genius, you sure do miss a lot of things… It makes me wish you had figured out how I felt before you hurt me so much without even realizing it…//

“Goten-kun… I know this probably sounds hollow. I’ve been acting so stupid lately…saying and doing stupid things. I really am sorry. I l-…I care about you, Go-kun. I would never hurt you intentionally.”

He glanced over at Trunks and noticed his tense _expression. He guessed this hurt Trunks, too… Maybe Trunks was afraid that he wouldn’t forgive him… He should know better. Trunks could do anything and Goten would inevitably forgive him. Goten smiled softly. Sometimes the prince could be so foolish… and he was supposed to be a childish one.

“I’m not angry, Trunks-kun. You should know that already. Just tell me… Why did you make me go on that date?”

Goten watched Trunks squirm, obviously uneasy. //What would Trunks be worried about? Ha. Probably just doesn’t want to talk about being wrong some more. Slowly the prince’s pride erodes away, huh? One more complication in his life and he might have a nervous breakdown. ‘Hey Trunks. Guess what? I’m gay. Oh, and I’m in love with you too. Aren’t you lucky?’ If that one wouldn’t send him into a coma, I don’t know what would.//

“Remember when we were talking a while ago?  After we had that…problem at the party?”

“Hai,” it was his turn to be uncomfortable now. He remembered that all too well.

“Well, when you told me about that person you…loved… And, I saw you talking to Ocha-san and I thought about it… And I assumed…”

He stared at the other boy, “You thought I was in love with Ocha?”

Trunks just nodded and looked over at him briefly. Goten could barely stop from launching into hysterics. Trunks thought he loved Ocha?! Ridiculous! Insane! This was almost too much… The one he was in love with set him up with some girl because he thought Goten loved her? It was one of the hugest mistakes ever made, and when he thought about it, one of the funniest concepts he could imagine. Only Trunks… He was so…

“Pretty stupid huh?”

//Something like that…// He smiled, “Nah, it was just an honest mistake. Though, how you even thought that I could like someone like her is beyond me.”

The other boy looked over at him and grinned, “As are many other things.”

He growled a little, much like Trunks did when he got angry, but showed that he wasn’t upset when he smirked and stuck out his tongue, “Maybe so, but for a genius, you can be pretty dense sometimes.”

“It’s human to make mistakes.”

“We aren’t exactly human,” he grinned.

“We’re close enough without our tails.”

“That doesn’t change the fact that we have Sayian blood in us.”

Trunks twisted he head around for a moment and chuckled, “I’m not arguing that we’re half Sayian, but are you determined to turn this into an argument of some kind?”

He raised his eyebrows and shrugged, “Why not? We can always settle things the usual way.” He snickered, “Besides, I have the make up for all the matches I missed this week. How ‘bout it?”

The older boy grinned, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

*

Trunks plopped himself onto the cool grass, exhausted. School and sparring in one day could be fun, but definitely exhausting.  He fell backwards, staring at the sky, and knew when Goten followed suit. They were just lying there in silence, and, truthfully, he enjoyed it. The calm wasn’t something he usually got very often. For one, he was a teenage genius. Not to mention he lived with his mother and Vegeta. Not exactly a match made in heaven, but it certainly could be amusing at times, if not infuriating in other moments. It was times like these that he was able to go over everything in his mind and stabilize before his temper snapped and he’d become something to the effect of Godzilla tearing through downtown Tokyo.  Closing his eyes, he dozed off slightly before a voice snapped him back into reality.

“Hey, Tru-kun?”

Slowly opening one eye, he looked and Goten lying beside him. The younger boy was staring at the sky and he followed his gaze to the clouds, “Yea?”

“Why did you go after me at the party?”

He swallowed apprehensively, hit by that unexpected question. //Why should I be nervous…? …I have a bad feeling about this// “To apologize, remember?”

“But…why didn’t you just wait until the next morning?”

“Because…” he pulled a blade grass from the ground and ran it through his fingers before dropping it and picking up a twig instead, “I thought that the least I could do was help you dump that girl. I know you, Go-kun. You never would have been able to do it on your own.” //Yea, that and the thought of that girl’s tongue in your mouth makes me want to…// He growled unconsciously and snapped the piece of wood in half.

“Are you ok, Trunks-kun?”

Coloring faintly, he nodded, “Hai.”

There was silence before Goten piped up again, “I wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t shown up. Hm?”

Taking a deep breath, he forced a grin, “You probably would have ended up in a back seat somewhere, huh Go-kun?”

Goten wrinkled his nose, much to his relief, “With her? Not likely.” The younger Sayian was quiet for a moment before he turned to him again, _expression thoughtful, “‘Wonder what would have happened if we had… I mean, I wouldn’t ever with her, but you know?”

//I’mnothavingthisconversationI’mnothavingthisconversation…// “I wouldn’t know, Go-kun.”

“Uh, huh!” Goten sat up, “You’ve already done it, right? I ‘member who it was, too… It was-”

“Goten-kun,” he interrupted, sounding harsher than intended, “It would have been no big deal. You shouldn’t even be bothering me about that. Are you really so eager?”

Goten flushed a bright shade of red and looked away from him quickly, “No!” The smaller Sayian fell back against the grass and stared at nothing, “It’s just… Maybe if I had, just once… Maybe people would stop crowding me. I mean, it’s nice to have a lot of kids like you and all…but I hate being chased around for a date by all the wrong people. I figured, if I had, maybe I wouldn’t be such a quote ‘prize’ unquote.”

Trunks couldn’t help it. He laughed softly. //I don’t think that would ever happen. Anyone would be lucky to have you.// “You hold virginity too cheaply. Like I said, it’s no big deal.”

Goten’s cheeks tinged pink again, but he scoffed, “Oh, yea. ‘It’s no big deal’ says the attractive, genus, multimillionaire, fighter guy who is not a virgin. Uh, huh…right…”

He grinned and sat up, leaning over the smaller boy. //He thinks I’m attractive… Sure, he probably means it as a friend, but…// “You think I’m attractive?”

*

Goten’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened. He hadn’t meant to let that slip. “I… I just meant that the kids at school all know you are.”

“Including you?”

“Trunks-kun…” he sighed, irked at Trunk’s obvious teasing. It wasn’t that Trunks bothered him… He was annoyed with himself for wishing Trunks really cared what he thought. “All the girls at school like you, and that’s all there is to it. If that hasn’t told you by now, I don’t know what will.”

Trunks rolled his eyes and moved away, “Sure, but they’d find a block of ice attractive if it meant they could be could be closer to their precious Goten-kun. Which, from the way people talk, is pretty much how they see me.”

“You’re kidding me?” //How could people be so stupid? You are…so much more then that…//

“Did I say I was?” Trunks sighed, “I had wanted you to answer that question because…I wanted to know if you saw me that way?”

At first, he thought that the older boy was just looking for fuel to feed that ego Goten knew he had, but the hesitant look on his face told him otherwise. He shook his head furiously, “Ne, no way, Trunks-kun! I mean, you do have bad points, but everyone does. You got your parents pride and the aloof attitude your otousan has around people, but you are smart… you’re kind and usually patient. You’re strong, and I don’t just mean physically. People can rely on you… Um, jeez Tru-kun, you’re like… Kami-sama… If I really thought you were a jerk or something I wouldn’t…” //have fallen in love it you// “have you as my best friend.”

Trunks was quiet and for a moment and Goten laughed nervously, “I’ve been tagging around you all my life, man. You may think I’m not very smart, but even I would have noticed if you were really as bad as you think.”

Trunks glanced over at him, “Thanks Go-kun, but you’re probably giving me too much credit. You don’t always need to appease my ego.”

He shook his head, “I know that. I was telling the truth…” he grinned, “But speaking of your ego, I forgot to mention it. That and the fact that you always get us in trouble, and you always leave me alone at parties, and you’re always always getting me stuck in weird situations you have to apologize for later, and-“ a hand clamped over his mouth, “Mmph!”

Trunks growled slightly, but with a small smirk on his face, “Baka.”

*

Goten stared at the hand over his mouth and gave into the urge to nip at it playfully until Trunks moved it away and Goten grinned at him, before sinking back onto the grass. Yawning, he stared at the clouds until he felt himself begin to drift off, when Trunks interrupted his relaxation with an unexpected statement.

“You know, if you hate girls flocking around you all of the time, there is one sure way I know of that would stop them.”

He blinked in surprise, “Huh? Really?”

Trunks snickered at him, “You could always tell people you’re gay.”

What?!” Goten squawked, blushing fiery red.

Trunks grinned and shoved him lightly, “Hey, it’s not that bad an idea.”

//True, but not if the one person I want to know thinks that it isn’t true… Still, it would be a big help to get all of the extra attention off of me… Trunks is supposed to be the one people flock around, not me. He’s the better one of the two of us.// “Ok…say I even consider this, which I didn’t say I am. How would I get people to believe something like that about me? Girls are stubborn and hard to convince, you know.”

The purple haired boy laughed, “Goten, you’ve been hanging around your ‘kaasan too much, but that’s probably true for most of them.  But, yea, you need to convince people somehow. And, once again the great Trunks has an idea.”

“Sure…then what is it?” Goten rolled his eyes.

“Simple. Get a boyfriend.”

What?! Are you insane?!

“Not since I last checked.”

Goten sat up and looked down at Trunks, exasperated, “Are you joking? I won’t lie to someone to get them to go out with me! Especially when I know that I’m not going to be… that I’m… that I won’t-”

Trunks interrupted, shrugging, “You wouldn’t have to. I would do it.”

Staring wide eyed, mouth gaping, he stared at the seemingly calm Trunks. Like Trunks has said something completely natural, instead of offering to be his ‘pretend’ boyfriend. //This is possibly the only chance I’ll ever have to be with Trunks the way I want to… At first, I really didn’t care what people thought of me, but I’d have to be a complete idiot to pass up this chance!//

“You would…do that? For me?” Goten blinked at him, still disbelieving.

Trunks grinned at him, “Hell yea. After everything you do for me, it’s the least I can do. Now, I know it’ll be a stretch, and a lot of girls will be heartbroken to know that we are ‘no longer available’, but I know we can pull it off if we wanted to. We’re the masters, after all. ”

*

Trunks left Goten at his house, and as soon as the Son had disappeared, only his dignity and the fear of Vegeta popping up and seeing him (he didn’t care what Goten said; his father was always there when he didn’t want him to be) that stopped him from doing flips in the air or something equally incriminating. He had asked Goten out (sort of) and he had said yes (in a matter of speaking…)

//Ok. I realize that this isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but… I’ll be helping him out. And I’ll be helping myself out in more ways then one. Besides that, the school year is almost over.//

He laughed to himself quietly, landing and entering Capsule Corp, “I can picture Vegeta finding out. He’d-”

“He’d what, boy?”

Trunks froze and turned his head to see Vegeta facing him, water bottle in his hand and a towel hanging around his neck, “Is there something you want to tell me?”

//Gah… Once again, Goten, I prove you wrong.// “No, Otousan.”

“Don’t lie to me.” Vegeta paused a moment, before wrinkling his nose slightly in distaste, “You need a shower, boy. You smell like Son.”

He couldn’t help it, and smirked, “Yes, Father.”

“Bah. It’s beyond me why-”

Trunks rolled his eyes. He knew where this speech was going.

“-you would hang out with Kakkarot’s spawn. Low class. He and the lot of them are, especially that Goten brat. He’s a baka just like his father. Totally oblivious to anything of consequence. Not to mention a weakling.”

About that time, Bulma walked in, probably after hearing the whole thing, “Vegeta! Are you badmouthing the Sons again? Honestly, it’s an incredibly stupid thing for the so-called ‘Prince of all Sayians’ to do. And, if you would think about it, there are very few Sayians you are still prince of.” She rose her hand and began to count off on her fingers, “There are Trunks and Bra. Then Goten, Gohan, and Pan. As of now, Goku is dead so you can’t count him, but even so, what you’re doing is insulting the majority of your subjects.”

Vegeta growled and began to walk away, “Quiet, woman!”

Bulma just grinned and followed him out of the room, “And another thing. Trunks isn’t likely to stop hanging around with Goten, so you should get used to the smell. Which, I must say, isn’t half as bad as you after a…”

Trunks snickered as the sound of his mother speaking trailed of, and climbed the stairs up to his room. It was a Sunday, so he had school in the morning. He and Goten were planning on walking together so they could work out the details. After Monday, there would be no turning back. Goten was probably going to be hesitant to go through with this ‘trick’ of theirs, but as for him…

“I’m looking forward to it.”

*

He was nervous, to say the least. Currently, he was waiting up outside Trunk’s house with his backpack, shifting from one foot to the other. And Trunks, strangely, was late.

//I can’t believe I’m going through with this. And he thinks this is just one big joke! This is not how I pictured finally dating Trunks… Not to mention, he makes me wait for him! I got up early for this…?//

“Go-kun.”

He froze and turned around, “..Trunks-kun!”

Trunks grinned at him, “Sorry I made you wait.”

He snorted and ran his fingers through his hair, “Sure you are. And you’re probably sorry for sneaking up on me too, hm?”

“Nope. Not really.”

“You’re impossible, Trunks-kun.”

“And you just realized this?”

Trunks walked ahead of him and he jogged a bit to catch up. They continued in silence for about a block before he coughed, “So…are we really going to do this?”

The purple haired boy glanced at him, “Hm? Oh. If you want to.”

//Hell yes!// “I guess so…” Goten paused a moment before blushing slightly, “Trunks-kun..? Do you know how we’re supposed to…you know…act?” //I know how I’d like to act… But I don’t know what would be acceptable for him…//

Trunks looked at him again and smirked, “Oh. We don’t have to do anything big, really. Simple things will do. Hanging around each other constantly, going to movies together, parties together, a hug, hand holding. It doesn’t take too much for people to be conned.”

//Hm…Now that I think about it, we do a lot of those things already… Except for the hand holding. And hugs…romantic, anyway. But…what about…?// He blushed again, “Will we ever have to…you know…?”

“What? Kiss? Doubtful. Besides, if it comes right down to it, I don’t think it would be that big of a deal. I mean, it’s not like you’ll have to kiss some strange guy you don’t even know. This is me, here. We’re best friends, so it won’t be too weird, ne?”

//We’ll see…It probably will be, but only because one of us wants this to be more than a friendship. And not just in pretend.// “I guess not… Um…Trunks-kun?”

“Hrm?”

“Are you really sure you would do this?” he chuckled, nervously, “Being gay would really slow down the rivers of dating for you. At least, desired dating.”

Trunks laughed, causing his breath to catch. //He always looks good when he laughs. No. Beyond good. Absolutely amazing…// “Go-kun. Of course I would do this for you. I would do pretty much anything for you. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. As for the dating thing, I don’t particularly care. I never was interested in any of the girls that went to our school, anyway… But I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”

*

So, thatís the first part! *grins* Iíll be coming up with more in a little while. Itís already in progress, so send me c&c or whatever else by way of e-mailÖ *snickers* [email protected] Drop a line.
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