I could tell Gohan thought it hadn’t gone well. He was so upset he even failed to notice my barely suppressed excitement. But I had seen things he hadn’t, noticed Piccolo’s confusion even behind the disinterested front he wore. I had to get Gohan to see it as well. I wanted to shake him. Instead I settled for talking to him.

I started talking as soon as we reached our house. “He was confused, Gohan! He was confused! Didn’t you see it?” I knew he hadn’t though. That realization registered through my excitement for Gohan. The whole thing was too personal for him.

Gohan was baffled. “Confused?” he echoed. His face said it all; there was doubt etched deeply into his expression. “He was angry, not confused.”

“Gohan.” I was so excited the words leapt from my tongue unchecked, serving only to confuse him more. I had to get through to him. “You confused Piccolo.” There wasn’t enough time for me to be exasperated by his uncomprehending stare. Instead I reiterated the fact. “When you were flirting with him he became confused.” Gohan’s face turned a predictable shade of red at the word flirting. I ignored it and continued. “At first I thought Piccolo didn’t know what to think, but he saw it. I know he did. Don’t you get it?” I finally shook him, “He likes you, he really does.”

“Goten, you aren’t making any sense.”

I was his little brother again instead of his helper. All he saw now was the seven years of experience I lacked in everything. He didn’t get it. I couldn’t believe it. I wondered then if I was that dense when it came to Trunks, but I quickly went back to the problem of Piccolo. “Let me start over. Tell me if you are following me, okay?” At his nod I started explaining again, trying to sound as assured as possible. If I were to convince him, then he had to see me as his helper again. I couldn’t afford to remind him of the seven years that separated us by allowing my excitement to control me.

“Piccolo noticed you were flirting with him. Do you agree with me there?”

“Yes.” Gohan’s tone reflected his discouragement.

“All right, now just assume my next comment is correct. When Piccolo noticed you flirting he became confused. Now just trust me here,” I told him when his incredulous look warned me he was ready to challenge my observation. “I think he became confused because he believes he is misinterpreting your actions. He wants to believe you like him, but at the same time he won’t let himself. Now why that is, I don’t know but…I really do think he likes you.”

Gohan still wasn’t convinced. “He was angry, not confused, Goten. I’ve known him my whole life, and, while I trust your judgment, I think I know Piccolo.”

He didn’t realize it but Gohan had just given me the argument I needed to convince him of the truth. “Don’t you think Piccolo tells himself the same thing?” I paused then to let the statement sink in. “I told you he wants to believe you like him. You two are doing the same thing! Both of you refuse to believe the other could feel that way. You, because you are afraid of rejection, and Piccolo, probably for the same reason. And if that isn’t the answer then Kami only knows what is.”

“He was angry because he doesn’t want me,” Gohan offered half-heartedly. I could tell though that it was a conditioned response. His head was throwing out the last defense his heart had, but at the same time he was weighing the truth of my arguments.

“He loves you Gohan. You are the only one he lets close to him.”

“Maybe.” His defenses were crumbling. They needed to if he was going to listen to my next idea. They absolutely had to if this was ever going to get anywhere. Neither he nor Piccolo would have the courage otherwise, I was sure. It was rather ironic that what I was doing to Gohan is what he would have to do with Piccolo; get under Piccolo’s defenses and smash them quickly. But Piccolo was replacing them with love, while I could only give Gohan hope.

“Gohan you have to believe me. Piccolo feels the same way you do. I would bet my life on it. Now will you listen to me? I think I know what you have to do.” The trepidation I saw when his eyes met mine was tear- jerking. I wanted to take him in my arms again, but, remembering our decision at breakfast the day before, I refrained.

I steeled myself and continued. “You must show him. That is the only thing he will understand. Piccolo won’t believe words, even from you. He would only convince himself once more that he was mistaken. You can’t seduce him either. I think he would attribute your actions to hormones, and everything else you may do after as well. That leaves only one option as I see it. Show him by your every action that you love him.”

“That’s…but how do I do that?” Gohan asked. “I’d have to be with him all the time. Won’t that look odd?”

“No,” I replied, “because you are going to start training more.”

“Goten, I don’t have a reason to train.”

I only looked at him pointedly until he started talking again. It wasn’t that hard to win an argument with Gohan. All you had to do was wait for him to talk himself into a hole, and that always proved to be remarkably easy. Sometimes though, he was also remarkably astute.

“Right. What do you expect me to do, just tell him I woke up that morning and decided I wanted to start training more?”

As I said, sometimes Gohan was remarkably astute.

“You’ve got to be joking. You are joking, aren’t you Goten?” The hopeful, pleading note in his voice did nothing to dissuade me. This thing had to be done. It certainly didn’t help my desire to be in his arms again though.

“I didn’t say it would be easy, Gohan,” I informed him. “In fact, you will most likely have to persevere through him trying to push you away.” The wide-eyed look Gohan gave me prompted me to quickly explain my reasoning. I tried to get all the words out before he panicked.

“Okay, so you need to show him how you feel or he will never find out. We know that is true. Now, based on past experience he will become confused, and that confusion will turn into anger. The anger will cause him to push you away. You just have to remember that the anger isn’t directed at you.”

It sounded so easy when I laid it out like that. In truth I knew it would be more complicated. Gohan realized this too. “I don’t know about this, Goten,” he interrupted.

I made a vow to myself right then. When it was my turn to confront Trunks I would not let my fear rule me. But for now I had to get Gohan through this.

“He won’t be angry at you, Gohan,” I reassured him. “Piccolo could never be truly angry with you. Once you have slipped past his anger, that is when you must show him, beyond all doubt, that you love him. It is important that he doesn’t see it coming. You can’t give him time to convince himself you don’t mean it, okay?”

Gohan, completely unresponsive, was just looking at me. If the outcome wasn’t so serious, the disbelieving stare he was giving me might have been funny.

“Gohan,” I said softly, resting my hand on his shoulder, “do you understand?”

For a moment I thought I would have to explain it all again. Much to my relief he answered me then. “Yes. Yes, I understand.”

Gohan tentatively took my hand then. Realizing what he needed I stepped closer and let him enfold me in his arms. He was hugging me tightly, face pressed into my hair. I could feel his breath stirring the strands against my neck, gently tickling. Then he was pulling back and letting his hands slide to where they gripped my shoulders.

“What did I do to deserve you, Goten?” Gohan whispered, pulling me back up against him. The closeness was soothing to us both. It was nice to know someone loved you, that there was someone to hold you when you needed it.

We stood like that for a while, Gohan finally breaking the silence. “Please. Can we…please?” I couldn’t say no to him, not when I also needed the comfort of his body.

“Yes, Gohan, of course,” I replied.

His hands were shaking as he led me over to the couch. “Goten.” My name was a sigh, whisper soft, Gohan guiding me until my calves pressed against the cushions of the couch. “Let me touch you.” The calloused hand caressing my face momentarily stole my desire to move. Gohan was my world, and right now he needed me, we needed each other.

“Take these off,” I told him, breaking the spell, my hands tugging at the material of his pants. A kiss was placed on my nose before he complied, and I followed suit. As his hands moved up to his shirt I stopped him, my hands resting on his forearms. “Allow me.” Gohan lowered his arms and my hands slid beneath the dark blue top. Playing over the ridges of muscle I pushed the shirt gradually up. My eyes followed the skin revealed by the material, stopping when his nipples were revealed. I glanced up at him then, and his eyes were riveted on my face, his mouth slightly parted, breathing accelerated. I lowered my head, tilting it as I went to maintain eye contact, and took Gohan’s tender bud into my mouth.

“Goten.” The sound of his voice when he said my name was worth anything and everything I could give him. I wanted more of him and didn’t object when he finished removing his shirt. Hands playing over my back, he slid them down to grasp my shirt, and I stopped my ministrations as he pulled it over my head as well.

But I wasn’t ready to give up my control yet. Moving so that Gohan was now facing the couch I pushed him onto it. His muscles fascinated me, rippling beneath his skin as he sat down. Nudging his legs farther apart I knelt between them, hands running from his knees up to his outer thigh, then moving up his sides until they reached his nipples. I didn’t linger, only running my thumbs across them before sending my hands back down, this time across his stomach and lower.

My brother was all dark, black curls below his waist, the same as me. His length was thicker though. All comparisons were ended when a moan, elicited by my hands petting his sac, fingers twining through the curls, brought me back from my contemplation. Gohan moved a hand up to my face, fingers gliding over my cheek and into my hair. I took it as a signal, and flicked my tongue over the tip of his arousal, lapping at the salty liquid there. His hand tightened in my hair as I nibbled down his full length, occasionally swirling my tongue out. My name fell from his lips once more, and to show my pleasure at the sound of his voice I took him entirely into my mouth. Remembering what he had done to me I sucked as I let him slide out of my mouth, repeating this several times.

Both of his hands were then in my hair applying a light pressure to the back of my head, so it was with some surprise that I registered his voice saying, “No, Goten, not like this.” His voice was breathy, and I knew that if I continued he wouldn’t object. But his hands were pulling on my shoulders so I released his member from the confines of my mouth, looking at him questioningly. “Up here,” he said, hands insistently moving over me. I obeyed, straddling his lap, his hands moving down to grasp me. His sweaty hand stroked my swollen arousal, the moisture from his palm mingling with the clear liquid at my tip, the friction feeling fabulous. I leaned in for a kiss; the pleasant heat of his mouth only increased the throbbing in my groin. Whimpering, I pressed against him, assuaging my need in Gohan’s calloused palm. I needed the physical release he was carrying me towards. Gohan’s murmurs encouraged me. My thighs on either side of him shuddered with my completion, my panting echoing in my ears.

I collapsed against him sated. He left his hand on me as my breathing started to even out. Forehead pressed against his chest, the sight that first greeted me when I opened my eyes was his neglected shaft. I hugged Gohan tighter, and as if it was a signal, he removed his hand from my spent member and slid it around to the heat of my puckered entrance.

My spent passion allowed his finger to slide into me easily. Despite his obvious need, Gohan took his time, rubbing gently, his slick fingers gliding over the softening muscles. And so when his cock slid into me it was with minimum protest. I felt only his fullness, mind registering only the pleasure of him sliding over sensitive tissues. He sped up then, all attempts to pace himself forgotten in his need. My hips on either side of him, he thrust into me, a desperateness communicating itself in his movements. With my sex trapped between our bodies I was swept along, the friction taking me with him. I felt a twinge of guilt, of selfishness, when I came before he did. That was twice and he still hadn’t come once. But the feeling was soon forgotten when I felt the warm rush of his release fill me. He groaned and crushed me to himself, his member shifting so it slid out of me.

We lay there, unwilling to move, afraid to lose the comfort that was temporarily ours. Both of us knew this couldn’t last. But for now it would fill the gnawing emptiness in our souls. And tomorrow we would take care of the rest.

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