Author's Note: This is my first real DBZ fic, please be nice. The lyrics were taken from multiple songs, mostly Linkin Park and Alanis Morissette.

Category: Yaoi, Dragon Ball Z, partial songfic

Warnings: Major angst, shonen ai, lemons, rape, NCS, violence, death (Gohan)

Pairing: Gohan/Mirai Trunks, SeventeenxTrunks

Author: Arigatomina

Email: [email protected]

Complete Archive: www.geocities.com/arigatomina www.fanfiction.net under Arigatomina

Trust

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Time is a valuable thing,
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings,
Watch it count down to the end of the day,
The clock ticks life away.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stars shattered the darkness, a moon sending pale glory over the hill but not touching the valley below. The light sparked on the tips of pale hair, bright eyes directed at the young man whose voice was a steady, soft breath.

"We didn't even know they were together," Gohan murmured, smiling as he glanced at Trunks' rapt statement. "I remember wondering why she looked so smug and proud. We were surprised to see Vegeta with her, but he went wherever he wanted so I thought maybe he was looking to pick a fight. Then my dad asked about the baby and I saw you. I thought it was Yamcha's kid at first. When she said Vegeta was the father, my dad fell over." The boy laughed beside him and Gohan nodded. "Vegeta was just smirking at him and dad bent over you, poking at that little hat. Then your mom took it off and I remember asking what was wrong with your hair."

"Because you look like your dad."

Gohan gave another nod, rubbing his left shoulder absentmindedly as a dull ache set up. "My mom says I'm just as tall as he was, now." Silence crept in and he glanced down to where his sleeve was folded, looking where his arm had hung. So many years had passed since then, but his mom liked to remember when they were all together. His eyes lifted to Trunks and he gave a slight smile, drawing the boy's attention away from his missing arm. "You do look a little like Vegeta, though, when you're training."

"I'll be stronger than he was," Trunks said, eyes solemn.

"Definitely. You may even pass me up someday." The boy gave him a doubtful look and Gohan smirked, glancing back to the valley. "My dad once told me that Vegeta's mission in life was to defeat him. They had a...complicated relationship."

There was a city below them, but Gohan could see no lights, no signs of life that would have sparked at them ten years ago. Things were so different now, as if his childhood had been spent in another world. But Trunks had grown up here, this was the only way he'd ever known. He didn't remember the days when people lived without fear of constant attack. Gohan often wondered if it wasn't better that way. If he didn't have his memories, he wouldn't be able to compare the differences. Trunks was luckier, young enough not to understand exactly how much better things had been. His hand pressed the burning spot on his shoulder again and he wondered if there were any chance of those days coming back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Remembering all the times you fought with me,
I'm surprised it got so far...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sometimes his confidence left him and he was certain his resistance was futile. But quiet nights like this were journeys to the past, he felt a wave of peace, immersed in nature. His eyes turned to the boy beside him and he blinked at Trunks' bright blue eyes. They were sitting in the grass and the teen barely reached his shoulder, his head tilted back a bit as he looked at him. Gohan's shoulders tensed as he looked at the boy's young face. He was unmarked somehow. It made him think that he should have started training the youth sooner. But he hadn't been able to do it, he'd stood aside while Bulma sheltered him as well as she could. Now the boy trained beside him, trying so hard as if he had no concept of the youth he embodied. But there was something hiding behind those eyes now and he wondered about that look. Was it just the moonlight that made them sparkle that way?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You were my best friend
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trunks blinked when a hand ruffled his lavender hair, his cheeks warming just a bit. That playful gesture embarrassed him and he scowled at Gohan, glancing away when the young man put an arm around his shoulders. He used to like it when Gohan teased him, but it made him uncomfortable now and he took solace in the companionship of the arm around him. He'd trained so hard earlier, merely pushing his limits, but he thought he was improving. He had to improve. If he was strong enough then Gohan would be proud. He wanted that, so badly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's true the way I feel,
What's promised by your face.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I've rested enough."

The boy ducked from under his arm and Gohan's hand closed over the empty space. He could see the eagerness in those pale blue eyes. It wasn't just pride that moved Trunks, that made the boy so eager to please. The boy was watching him and he thought again of the sparkle he'd seen before, dropping his gaze. He was ashamed to feel it, that slight hint of attraction, no matter how close the boy was to him. They were brothers in pain, and Trunks was too innocent to even know what he sometimes wanted from him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Keep that in mind,
I resign this right to explain in due time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maybe if things had been different, he might have thrown caution to the wind. There was still a chance, someday in the future, when Trunks was an adult and old enough to know what he was asking. Maybe then he would say something, but he doubted it. Trunks looked up to him, as if he were more than a companion, he was his guardian, his master. He could never break that trust, certainly not with something so base. It wasn't right to want him like that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And I'd give up forever to touch you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The boy sighed, glancing away to the darkness below, his pale eyes so lovely but filled with a deep sadness. He wanted to wrap his arm around the slight form, just to be there with him, just one soft kiss to show how much he cared. But he knew better. If he ever touched him like that he wouldn't be able to stop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Temptation heeds,
beats like a drum.
Deep in your face,
I will not love!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The boy glanced back at him and Gohan's muscles tightened at the smile. Feelings be damned, he would not give in. His statement hardened as he stood and he frowned as if he truly were nothing but a master about to train an apprentice. "If you're done resting, then get started," he said roughly, his anger tainting the cruel words. "You need to get stronger."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You point the finger at me again...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a second, one brief moment, Trunks was certain he'd seen something. But the callous words couldn't be ignored, they hurt, reminding him of how weak he still was. But he would get stronger. Then, maybe it would be different. If they could get rid of the androids, there'd be no reason to fight anymore. Maybe then he'd have a chance for Gohan to know him better, to realize he wasn't a child anymore. He'd never felt less like a child than he did at that moment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've put my trust
In you...
Pushed as far as I can go.
For all this,
There's only one thing you should know...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He hit his knees hard, soft, damp grass seeping through his pants and Trunks let his head hang as his breath tossed the fine hairs away from his face. He could feel Gohan's gaze on him, could imagine the disappointment in those dark eyes. But he was so tired, worn from the effort. He relied on Gohan, but that wasn't what he wanted. He longed to fight beside him, to walk beside him, not have to be protected as useless. But it was never enough, no matter how hard he pushed himself he couldn't seem to reach that mark. Super saiyan, the mark of adulthood. He was certain if he could touch that, then Gohan would stop looking at him like a young brother who needed to be watched, scolded, taken care of.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I kept everything inside,
And even though I tried,
It all fell apart...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gohan could see the frustration, bright eyes visible through pale hair. He wanted to grab the boy, to forbid him from ever training again. The thought of Trunks fighting the androids tore at him, even if he were there, it wasn't enough. He could still feel the horrible pain he'd felt when Trunks had been knocked unconscious in that fateful battle. He never should have taken the boy with him, he knew that now. He'd nearly died himself, but something stopped him, something more powerful than his pride. It was the thought of what would happen if Trunks were alone and not strong enough. Gohan knew the androids left him alive because he was at least a challenging diversion. If Trunks couldn't reach the same level, they would kill him the first time they fought. His hand curled into a fist and he glared, looking at the rock behind them as if it were a target he could take his anger out on. Something shifted, barely visible in the shadow of the boulder.

He'd seen those eyes in his dreams, cold and undefeatable. After a second, they met his and he could make out a smirk on the android's face. Shards of shock stabbed him and he stared with a mixture of anger and fear. There was a drift of black hair as Seventeen disappeared. His instinct was to chase and Gohan stood, torn with the need for action. He hadn't recovered yet, he was so far beneath his previous strength that a battle now would be his end. But he wanted to chase, if only to know why the android had been there, how had he found them, why hadn't he attacked when they were unable to feel his power. It hadn't been looking at him, those dark-rimmed eyes had been focused on something beyond him. Turning, Gohan stared at the boy kneeling near the edge of the hill, that pale head bowed. There was no doubt in his mind and a blaze of icy fear and rage erupted at his uselessness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You can feel my anger,
You can feel my pain,
You can feel my torment,
Driving me insane.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Furious, Gohan clenched his fist, fingers digging into skin. He knew why Seventeen had been looking at Trunks. It was the same thing he'd felt earlier, looking at the boy with his eyes and hair shining in the moonlight. But he didn't understand why the android hadn't just attacked. It was good that it hadn't, though, because he knew he didn't have the strength to defeat them. He never had. They would fight him for a while until he was defeated, then leave him alive for the sport. Without him, they had no one to play with. And he had given them another target. He was the one who'd brought Trunks with him to that last battle. They might never have even known about the boy if he hadn't done that. But he'd wanted Trunks to see the battle, to see the fight so he could remember and grow stronger. And he had seen it, the same as Seventeen had obviously seen him. It was his fault.

"Gohan?"

The boy's voice made his eyes flash and Gohan stared at Trunks for a second before realizing what he'd done. Without even thinking, his power level had risen with his anger. But he didn't want to tell the boy, so he turned, waiting until he could calm down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have as much rage as you have.
I have as much pain as you do.
I've lived as much hell as you have,
and I've kept mine bubbling under...
for you... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The saiyan was so angry and Trunks found his own hands curling, mimicking Gohan's pose. He didn't understand where the sudden fury had come from, but more important was why the man wouldn't share it with him. It was obvious to him that Gohan didn't think he was old enough, or capable enough to understand what he was going through. His own anger burned, directed not only at himself but at the man who'd presented him with his back. Gohan wouldn't let him in. He'd lived his entire life in hiding, he'd seen the pain and the deaths, just like Gohan had. The only difference was that Gohan had the strength to fight against what was happening. Or was that the only thing? Staring at the man's dark back, Trunks wondered if it was because Gohan had known his father and friends, he'd loved the people who died. Did that mean that his feelings weren't as strong, because he hadn't lost a loved one? His anger cooled too quickly and he dropped his eyes for a moment, his hands relaxing slowly. Gohan didn't think he understood. But he'd never tell him how much he *did* understand. Because his feelings didn't matter. Gohan had enough problems without hearing his.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You were my mentor.
You were my brother.
You were my partner.
You were my teacher.
You were my very own sympathetic character.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But it hurt, having that back to him. Even if things never changed between them, Trunks knew he could be satisfied so long as Gohan didn't shut him out. Maybe the man would never let him in any further, but why would he suddenly push him away even more? He didn't understand, but he knew Gohan was the only one he had. He loved his mother, but she could never come to grips with the drive he had, the burning in his blood. Gohan knew, he'd seen it for himself. He was everything to him. He was still kneeling, but he rose to his feet, statement solemn, hiding the hurt. "Gohan."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But this is not allowed!
You're uninvited
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gohan turned without thinking, stepping to the boy who looked so alone in the dark, those pale eyes haunted somehow. His hand rose to pull the boy close and he barely managed to stop himself. He paused a foot away, looking at that solemn statement. He couldn't stand the look the boy was sending him. But Trunks wasn't asking for what he longed to give and he cooled himself slowly, managing a light smile for those aged eyes. "That's enough training for today. You did fine, Trunks."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You were my keeper.
You were my hanger.
You were my family.
You were my savior.
And there in lay the issue.
And there in lay the problem.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The man was acting normal again, taking care of him like usual, as if nothing had happened within those dark eyes. So why did he feel worse than he had with that cold back to him? Following when Gohan walked from the spot, Trunks dropped his eyes to the dark grass. He wished he could just be satisfied with what he had. He didn't even know when he'd realized something was missing between them. He didn't like to be so confused.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thou shalt not fear...
Love is with your brother.
Thou shalt not fear...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The night seemed to be filled with shadows and Gohan found his eyes locking on tiny wisps of movements that were nothing more than blades of grass. He could almost feel eyes on them, but his anger was gone now. His eyes turned to Trunks as the boy walked beside him and he knew he wouldn't let them touch the boy. He'd die before letting that happen. There would be no more games, no more letting them play with him, getting enjoyment from their battles. Trunks would never have to know. Someone like him wasn't meant to know. The world needed people like him...

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One thing,
I don't know why.
It doesn't even matter how hard you try.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gohan had made a practice of not going too close to his home aside from infrequent trips. He was unable to sense the androids and he was afraid of leading them to his home, or Trunks' home. He knew there was a chance the androids had been following them, the fact that Seventeen had known where they trained could have been a coincidence, but he doubted it. Not wanting to leave the boy alone, he'd seen Trunks home before returning to the rock. The sun had risen by the time he landed near the boulder, and he wasn't surprised to see a dark-haired figure step out from behind it.

"Eighteen would love what you've done with your shirt," the android said softly, lips curved in a smirk, "that flap is so stylish."

"Stay away from him." One black eyebrow rose at his growl and Gohan cursed himself. He hadn't recovered enough to be forcing the battle now, but he couldn't wait, couldn't risk waiting. "This is between us!"

"You're the one who brought him to the battlefield," Seventeen reminded the black-haired man, that smirk not fading. "I really should thank you for that. He must be special, such potential power and so young." Pale blue light had surrounded the taller fighter and he held still when Gohan rushed him suddenly, hair flashing with gold a second before he disappeared. The young man really was quite fast, but not nearly fast enough. Catching him from behind, Seventeen hit him in the back, knocking him to the ground. His hand curled around Gohan's wrist, the other buried in thick blonde hair. "You really shouldn't try to attack. Your power is much lower than it was the last time I defeated you." The man didn't resist when he pulled the hair back, looking down into green eyes. "If you want to stop me, do it once you've recovered...as much as someone so pathetic *can* recover."

That smirk tore at him and Gohan knew he could have gotten free, could have forced the fight, could have died within minutes. But the android enjoyed the sport too much. "Why are you waiting?"

"It makes it more fun this way," Seventeen explained, his voice dropping until it as a confiding whisper. "You see, you'll fight me and die. Then, he'll challenge me to get revenge for *you*. And after I've beaten him, I'll rape him." Those eyes burned into his and his smirk widened. "That's nothing, you know. Because I don't plan on killing him. He'll challenge me again and again, over and over. I won't just rape him, I'll break him, shred every ounce of pride in his slender little body. It's so much more fun that way." The saiyan jerked away and he hit him across the neck, knocking him into the ground as he lifted, wind rushing through his long black hair.

Pushing himself up, Gohan caught sight of a flash of white teeth as the android smiled before rushing off. He didn't bother to chase, there was no point. Everything inside of him was clenching, burning until he thought he would spit up blood from the grinding pain. His body jerked forward as if he'd been struck in the gut and he dug his hand in his hair, closing his eyes tightly. It couldn't happen, surely he could do something to stop it from happening. And why did it have to be him, the one thing he'd sworn to protect, the bright soul he'd give anything to shelter? "Why?!" His cry echoed in his ears and he curled on his knees, bits of earth burnt from the useless power surrounding him. He could feel wetness on his cheeks and he whispered the question again, knowing there was no answer.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cover up your face,
You can't run the race.
The pace is too fast,
You just won't last.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He flew from where he'd left the boy, but paused, looking back. He looked so small, crumpled on the ground, knocked out by the unexpected blow. He was going to die and fail him, he knew that without any doubt. Gohan had tried, but he knew he wasn't going to recover any more than he had and he was still weaker than he'd been before the loss of his arm. He'd hoped, somehow, the fury of protecting the boy would give him strength, but he knew he was going to die in a vain attempt. His eyes burned suddenly and he flew back to the ledge, crouching near Trunks. He couldn't seem to stop his hand from shaking when he turned the boy slowly, staring at those closed eyes, the soft hair falling into his face. "I'm sorry," he whispered, bending so he could brush a soft kiss over the boy's cheek. "I hope you know...how sorry I am." The burn in his eyes increased and he kissed the boy's parted lips, a breath of a touch before he pulled back again. Laying him down, he remained, looking for a long minute, knowing it was his last. "I am." Something died when he finally turned and he sprang into the air, flying to his death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But you, you're not allowed...
You're uninvited.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He would never have pushed the boy, would have kept his own feelings hidden forever if it meant they might taint him. He would never have done that to someone so pure. The thought that Seventeen might take him, tarnish and violate him was unbearable and Gohan could feel the anger. It was consuming, tearing him apart. It wasn't right, some horrible fate he couldn't accept. He wanted to kill the android so badly...and he wanted to kill himself for not being able to.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I was afraid of your rejection.
I was afraid of your icy silences.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The rain washed the tears down his cheeks and Trunks ducked his head, holding the man closer to his chest. There was no warmth there, the cold seeping into his soul as he tried to pull him closer. He should have told him. What did it matter if the man had rejected him, kept him out, he should have told him. Then maybe, maybe he wouldn't be filled with such regret to join the horrible tearing pain inside him. "Why? Why...?" The pain was building and he couldn't bear to look at the face he held close to him. He wanted to die, but first, he had to have vengeance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
They point the finger at me again.
Guilty by association...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She was crying. Watching Gohan's mother cry, Trunks was vaguely aware of his own dry eyes, he was too empty for tears. It was his fault. If he'd been stronger, if he had, if only he'd been stronger. He was the only one who could have helped. Maybe it wouldn't have been enough but at least he could have died trying, died fighting, died like Gohan had.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So pure, such an statement...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The boy was still unconscious where they'd left him and Seventeen touched down quietly, eyes locked on pale lavender hair. He knew Eighteen had probably followed, but he didn't really care. He was remembering Gohan's fury, how desperate the man had been to protect the boy. Looking at the boy's face, so young without the anger of battle, he nodded to himself. He'd seen that before, the pain. The boy's eyes were so expressive when he was in pain. He wanted to see more of that, more of those pained emotions. Anger he knew, but he longed to tear the boy apart slowly and watch the feelings seep into those pale blue eyes. Eyelashes flickered and he smiled when the boy blinked at him, jerking back painfully. "You realize he died trying to save you. What a waste."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I tried so hard,
And got so far.
But in the end,
It doesn't even matter...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His body screamed at him when Trunks tried to attack the black-haired android, but he had no strength. The battle had nearly killed him and he couldn't dodge when he was struck aside easily.

"I told him what would happen," Seventeen continued, as if the boy had not moved. Crossing the space, he grabbed Trunks' wrists, crouching over his chest as he pushed the boy into the ground. "He didn't want to believe it, thought he could stop it." Those pale blue eyes were wide and he released one wrist, striking the boy across the face when he struggled. "He died trying to stop me from doing this."

He didn't understand until the android pulled at his clothing and Trunks struggled furiously, trying to find some reserve of energy left. Gohan had died for him? It wasn't true, it couldn't be true. Pain exploded on his temple and he tasted blood in his mouth. He could see a smirk on the android's face and he wondered how he could be tearing his clothing and still holding him down. Surely he wasn't that weak, so much that his resistance meant nothing. He tried to kick the android off of him but another blow met with his temple and he could feel himself going limp. His struggles were through thick syrup, he couldn't fight back. And Gohan had died for him? To prevent this Gohan had given up his life and he couldn't even fight back? He'd given every bit of energy he had in the fight, had become a super saiyan...and it did nothing...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A weak link...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The tears had started with the second round and Seventeen watched them avidly, shoving the boy's legs close to his chest as he thrust into him. It definitely hurt him more, but it didn't seem to be the physical pain at all. He didn't understand how the boy could be so weak. Why had Gohan been so desperate to protect him? He thought of all the battles he and the tall fighter had fought, so many times, and he'd been hiding this weakness. This boy, the thing he'd wanted to protect and Seventeen was tearing it apart. "Why did he bother trying to save someone so weak?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Trying to hold on.
Didn't even know,
I wasted it all just to watch you go...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The calm question ripped at him and Trunks bit back a cry, trying desperately to stop the tears. He didn't want to show the pain. He'd betrayed Gohan. He didn't know why the man had died for him, but he was alone now. Gohan was gone and he'd never even told him.

"Why did he die for you?"

He'd died for him. How could he? Trunks clenched his teeth, eyes closed tightly against burning tears. How could he? He didn't deserve that...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thou shalt not fall...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The rocky ground cut exposed skin when Trunks pushed to his knees, the ground wavering beneath him. His hands dug into his hair and he hid his head against his arms, screaming into the ground. He wanted to die, but he knew he couldn't. He couldn't give up, not when Gohan had died for him. He couldn't give up without proving that it *wasn't* a waste. But he thought it was...a wasted death...for him...

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Straight away you just moved into position again.
You abused me in a way that I've never known.
You abused me in a way that I've never known...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The town was destroyed and he couldn't stand, his leg throbbing from where he'd fallen. Eighteen was watching him and Trunks felt a flush of shame at the way her lips curled up, knowing she planned to watch. It was too humiliating, he dropped his eyes, knowing he had no strength to fight.

"You came back for this," Seventeen said softly, crouching in front of the kneeling boy. He could see those pale eyes directed at the ground and he touched Trunks' chin, lifting the gaze until it met his own. "It wasn't to challenge me at all, was it. You came back for this, because you enjoy it." Pain poured from those eyes from a well so deep he felt he could bathe in it. And he planned to do just that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I would throw a party...
Still it would not come.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The boy didn't move as he dressed casually and Seventeen looked at him through narrowed eyes. He was angry. The game was losing its fun. Oh, he enjoyed the sex, physically, but he knew he was missing something and he wanted that as well. Crouching, he clenched a hand in Trunks' lavender hair, leaning over him. "Come back when you want more," he murmured, his eyes glinting. Next time he'd try something new. Maybe he'd make the boy like it. The idea brought a tiny glimmer of an undefined emotion and he frowned, wondering what that was. He didn't know, but the idea definitely had merit.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There's something inside me that pulls beneath the surface;
Consuming, confusing.
This lack of self control, I fear is never ending;
Controlling.
I can't seem to find myself again,
My walls are closing in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So strong, Trunks was diving into the pain, but he couldn't deny his body's reaction. The android was urging him to beg and he'd kept himself from it, but he couldn't deny the horrible pleasure mixed with the tearing sensations. Some part of him must want it, there was no other explanation. He wanted this, even though Seventeen had killed Gohan, traitor. The betrayal was too much. He stared into Seventeen's taunting eyes and hated himself more than the android.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's so unreal...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He wouldn't beg. That one piece of resistance seemed to anger the android and Trunks almost welcomed the roughness again. Dark-rimmed eyes were glaring at him but he looked past them, inviting pain to erase that awful pleasure. Someone was standing over them and his eyes widened when he saw Gohan, the horrified and betrayed statement jerking a painful cry from his lips. The image was gone suddenly and he stared at the spot, unable to breath as tears ran down his cheeks.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm crying day and night now.
What is wrong with me?!
I cannot find out.
I feel I'm going to break.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The carpet felt undeserved beneath him, but he sat on the floor, his arms wrapped tightly around himself. Tears poured from his eyes, seeping into the collar of his shirt. They wouldn't stop. He spent so much time in the darkness of his bedroom he wondered if he was buried there. He didn't know what to do. He longed to hide but he couldn't forget how Gohan had fought to the end, Gohan had never given up. But he kept thinking, remembering Seventeen telling him he challenged them because he wanted the outcome. He never wanted it, he couldn't want it. He hated the androids. But there was no fury to go with the thought, just those tears that wouldn't stop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's been a while,
Since I could
Look at myself straight.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His mother called through the door and he moved to it, mumbling something about being fine. A few seconds passed before he was certain she'd accepted that and he moved in a trance back to his bed, careful not to look in the mirror. He didn't want to see himself. He was afraid of what he might look like now that he'd fallen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I don't want the world to see me,
'cause I don't think that they'd understand.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She was worried about him, he knew that. He barely saw her, coming home so late. When he was forced to see her he couldn't meet her eyes, too afraid that she'd see. He was terrified that somehow she would look into his eyes and know.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Crawling in my skin,
These wounds they will not heal.
Fear is how I fall,
Confusing what is real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You can't stop challenging me, doesn't that prove how much you want this?"

He could almost believe what the android was saying. Why did he keep trying? Why couldn't he just stop challenging them? He didn't know anything except how weak he was. He must want it. The thought scared him but he couldn't think of any other reason. Denials tried to bubble past his clenched teeth and he closed his eyes, afraid of what he might see. He might see Gohan again, watching his fall, knowing he wasted his death on someone so unworthy of such a sacrifice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I might be proving you right
With my silence or my retaliation...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You can deny it all you like, your vehemence just proves how much you want it. It's so bad that you go out of your way to find me, just so I'll do this to you."

The words were so soft, as if the android never had the emotion to vary his voice and Trunks couldn't block it out. He told himself that it wasn't true. The only person he'd ever wanted was Gohan. He would never want something like this from the android who'd killed the person who meant everything to him. He told himself this as he tried in vain to block out the words. But was it true? He didn't know anymore...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's been a while,
Since I could say
I loved my self as well...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The heat opened his eyes and he stared upward, gazed at the sun. He could make out Seventeen's shadow, moving above him but his eyes were glazed. There, the words were fading. He felt as if he were being pulled toward the heated oblivion of the sun. It would be so easy to fly toward it, burn out in the atmosphere, oblivion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'd have an orgasm.
Still it would not come.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The blue eyes were empty and Seventeen glared at them. The fun was in the emotions that played in those eyes. But there was nothing there, so empty. He wondered where his satisfaction had gone.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Discomfort endlessly has pulled itself upon me,
Distracting, reacting.
Against my will I stand beside my own reflection,
It's haunting, how I can't seem
To find myself again, my walls are closing in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The water looked cool as Trunks stared into it, but his eyes didn't go beyond the surface. He was looking at his reflection. He didn't look different the way he'd feared he would. His eyes didn't show how he'd betrayed himself and the one person who meant everything to him.

"Long time no see."

The voice was one he heard in his nightmares but he didn't react, his eyes locked on the reflection. This time he wouldn't. He wouldn't challenge him. He never wanted what Seventeen did to him, he never challenged the android in order to get that. He'd prove it to himself by not moving. But a small part of him screamed at the thought, reminding him of his words to Gohan, so long ago. He'd sworn that he couldn't sit back and watch the androids kill mercilessly. The voice reminded him of Gohan's words, that so long as he had the power to resist, he would. The reminder tore his resolution asunder and he turned to face the android.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't seem to fight these feelings.
I'm caught in the middle of this,
And my wounds are not healing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seventeen's eyes were narrowed and Trunks stared at them, powering up slowly. He didn't bother to turn into a super saiyan. He felt empty, dead, as if the power was merely coating the rim of a vacant shell. His eyelids were heavy and he longed to close them, to fall back into the water and sink to the bottom of the lake. Instead, he stepped forward. He had to fight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't fight these feelings.
They will bring you pain.
You can take away,
Make me whole again.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The black-haired android looked as if he wasn't sure what to make of his statement and Trunks thought how easy it would be to die now. All he'd have to do is make Seventeen lose control. One blast stronger than the android intended and it would be over. He'd never remove the past, but he could get beyond it. Surely if he forced the android to fight with top power he could die the way Gohan had.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In spite of the way you were mocking me,
Acting like I was part of your property.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"How eager you are," Seventeen commented, watching the teen's eruption of power. "You know, I'm almost getting bored of the game. You aren't as fun of a toy anymore."

Staring at the android, Trunks didn't respond. That was fine, if he didn't enjoy the game he should end it, end it now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So you're a kind who deals with the games in the mind.
You confuse me in a way that I've never known.
You confuse me in a way that I've never known.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The black-haired male disappeared in a flash of movement and Trunks held still, not planning to avoid any attacks. But an arm moved around his waist and his eyes widened when he felt himself being pulled against a hard body.

"We could skip the battle for once," Seventeen whispered, his lips brushing the frozen boy's ear.

A hand pressed up beneath his shirt and Trunks didn't know what to make of it, shivering despite himself. Lips pressed his neck and he could feel his body calming, reacting to the soft caress. He didn't know what was happening, but the android had never done that before.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You will feel my anger,
You will feel my pain.
You will feel my torment,
Driving me insane.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lunging forward, Trunks pulled away and turned to stare at Seventeen. He powered up quickly as anger returned to him. He didn't know what game the android was playing now, but if Seventeen thought he wouldn't fight back then he was fooling himself. He couldn't think anymore, nothing was clear in his mind, but he knew who his enemy was. Seventeen had killed Gohan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When will they learn
This loneliness?!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not reacting to the boy's sudden anger, Seventeen folded his arms, cocking his head to the side curiously. "You fight because you don't want to admit you would take it willingly. It's been weeks, you must be frustrated with no outlets."

The android had no clue at all. It wasn't sex he longed for, but someone to share his pain with. Seventeen had no concept of what it meant to be alone. The android had Eighteen as a constant companion. Even if she was an android as well, he wasn't alone so he didn't know. "Fool!"

The boy dodged but Seventeen caught him again, an arm curving around the boy's neck but not squeezing too tightly. Leaning down so his lips touched Trunks' ear again, he breathed into it. "Have you been relieving yourself on some human out there? Tell me. Are you doing to others what I do to you?"

"Of course not!" Cursing, Trunks pulled his head to the side, away from the low laughter that tickled his ear, mocking him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You love the things I say I'll do,
The way I hurt myself just to get back at you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He'd never be with a real person after what had happened. He couldn't taint someone else, and that was just what Seventeen wanted. The android didn't want him with anyone. Suddenly, Trunks calmed, thinking of that. He wondered if he were really giving Seventeen satisfaction by staying alone. But then, no one would want him now anyway, not if they knew. So it really didn't matter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Like any uncharted terror,
Surely I must seem
Greatly intriguing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seventeen didn't understand the boy, but he thought some of the taunts he threw out must be true. They got such a reaction from him. His arm was around Trunks' neck, but the boy wasn't resisting and he pressed him down to his knees. "Don't bother fighting," he said slowly, "you know how it will end." Despite his words he felt a touch of surprise when the boy didn't react and he was glad he couldn't see those pale blue eyes. He never liked how empty they were, missing those emotions that had drawn him in from the beginning. It ruined the fun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So break me,
Shake me, hate me,
Take me over.
When the madness stops then you will be alone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was so different from anything Trunks had ever known. He could feel moist kisses pressed over his back, a strong hand touching him, not hurting but caressing him. He had an incredible urge to fight back, to make it hurt. But he couldn't forget what Seventeen had said, that he needed to resist. Instead, he closed his mind, letting himself be thrown by the sensations. A small part of him whispered that this time it wasn't about him at all and he wondered what that meant.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Broken home, all alone.
Broken home, all alone...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His head was bowed so his pale hair fell in his face and Trunks spoke around the fine strands that clung to his lips. "You're alone." It didn't come out as a question, his whisper, and he wondered about that, if it were true.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You want someone to hurt like you;
You live what you've learned.
You want to share what you've been through;
You live what you've learned.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A hand grabbed his hair and he was jerked back, onto his knees so he looked over his shoulder at the android. He could see anger in those hard eyes and he wondered more. He wondered if he'd actually discovered something. Maybe it wasn't about him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But then I accused you in a way that you've never known.
But you hurt me in a way that I've never known!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was something behind those eyes as Seventeen stilled and Trunks relished in the anger there. Finally, finally he'd found something to hurt him back. After all of the taunts thrown at him, he had found a weakness. He fully expected the gentleness to stop, to be punished. Then, he would know for sure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If I am aloof no one will know
When they strike a nerve.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The boy was staring at him with an odd statement and Seventeen wanted to shove him down, to grind him into the ground. He longed to tear the impudent boy apart and show him how stupid he was for thinking such a thing. But his statement cleared suddenly and he pushed on Trunks' back, lowering him as he continued his slow assault. His voice gave no hint of the anger he'd felt as he ran his lips over the boy's back. "You can believe whatever you want, if that helps you deny how much you want this."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You love the way...
I look at you.
You take pleasure in the awful things you put me through...
You take away, if I give in.
My life, my pride is broken...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He'd been forced to enjoy himself before, but this was too much. Trunks could almost imagine it was someone else rocking him, touching him. His eyes burned when he couldn't hold back a moan. He was ready to fight back, no longer caring what Seventeen had said. But the feelings were so good, the arm around his waist strong but gentle that he wanted to forget.

When he'd finished, Seventeen turned the boy, his statement blank when Trunks flinched away. He leaned down, kissing the boy's neck as he fondled him, his eyes glinting on the pale skin. "You prefer this."

Closing his eyes, Trunks felt tears creep out. He couldn't help but think that Seventeen had to be right.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And how can I complain?
How can I complain when I'm the one who reaches for it...?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The android was touching his hair, so gently. Trunks kept his eyes closed when his face was turned, lips touching his as a hand curled on his chin, keeping it open. Seventeen didn't need to bother, though, he didn't have enough pride to resist. He wanted it, that was why he didn't fight back. There was no one to blame but him. The android only gave him what he wanted, even if he'd never known how horrible a person he was inside.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Confusing what is real...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With that painful realization, Trunks opened his eyes. In the cloud of tears he imagined it was Gohan kissing him and his hands moved to clutch Seventeen's shoulders, holding tight to the illusion.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Without a sense of confidence,
I'm convinced that life is just too much pressure to take.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The reflection remained after Seventeen left him and Trunks stood in the water, staring at it. It would be so easy to kill himself. He was a traitor, there was no denying it anymore. He thought of his mother, of the time machine she was working on. She kept asking him if he would use it once it was completed but he couldn't do that. What if he saw Gohan again? He'd never be able to face him. He couldn't be of help anyway, he knew that. Who would even want his help when he'd betrayed everything and everyone on earth? He'd betrayed Gohan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Would I be whining if I said,
I needed a hug...?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wrapping his arms around himself, he tilted his head back to the sun. He could feel tears trailing down his neck, sliding onto his bare chest. His whisper was like a prayer. "Gohan..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I wish I had someone to talk to,
Someone I could confide in.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He was so confused. He remembered how wise Gohan had been. He'd always understood. He would be able to tell him the truth, whether it was too late, if he should give up now. Most of all, Gohan would listen to him. "Gohan..." His voice broke and he ducked his head, holding himself tighter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't afford to be misread one more time...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trunks moved out of the water and stopped on the bank, dressing slowly. Clothed, he sat down to think. He actually thought about Seventeen, all the things the android had done. He never felt anything but hate for the android. He never wanted the sex, he had no cravings for it. He was afraid daily that he might have to challenge them again, that proved he didn't want it. If he were giving a different impression, then he'd have to stop doing that. If it was just a lie Seventeen was telling him, then that was fine, but he had to stop doubting himself, stop giving the android fuel to hurt him with. He tried to convince himself, but it was so hard.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Feels bad to be alone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He was hungry, making him think of his mother, wondering how long it had been since he'd gone home. He couldn't face her, and he was afraid the android might follow him there. Today just proved Seventeen was keeping a close eye on him. The only time he knew where the androids were was when they attacked a city. His eyes hurt and he sighed, digging his hands into his jacket sleeves. "I want to go home."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Why must I feel this way...?
Just make this go away...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He didn't even realize he'd begun to speak aloud, but he wasn't talking to himself. "Why am I so confused? Why does he get to me, twist my thoughts till I feel so bad about myself? It shouldn't even be about me, not when you're the one who died. It should be about you. So why am I always thinking about myself? It isn't right. I can't even sleep without nightmares. I just...I want it to end, all of it."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't forget
Why you were mine.
I need you now!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His eyes burned more and he shook his head. "Why did you have to go and die for me? Damn you, Gohan! Fool!" He punched his fist into the ground, tearing a hole in the earth. "I'm not worth it, Gohan. I would have given *anything* to have you live..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've felt this way before,
So insecure!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What are you screaming about?"

The female android's voice made him leap to his feet and Trunks turned warily, taking in her easy stance. She was leaning against a tree, arms folded over her chest as she looked at him. He knew she'd watched before, but she'd never done more than that. Still, he was very aware of the fact that she was just as strong as Seventeen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You speak of my love like
You've had experience
Like mine before...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"You really loved that dead fighter," Eighteen said softly, her voice thoughtful. She turned her head to look at the boy and raised an eyebrow. "Didn't you."

Fury erupted inside him, warring with hurt and Trunks clenched his fists. "What would you know?! You killed him!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Confusing what is real...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She moved so fast he barely had time to jerk when her hand touched his cheek and he froze, wondering why she hadn't hit him. Her eyes are odd and he holds warily.

"He's really broken you," Eighteen commented, "you look like a little kid." Smirking, she shook her head. "But you are a kid, I keep forgetting. You really are a fool to keep fighting against us."

Trunks' eyes widened when she brushed the back of her hand over his cheek again. The gentle gesture was so odd, he didn't connect such softness with the androids.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Can't afford to be misled one more time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jerking away, he reminded himself who she was. He wasn't going to fall for their mind games anymore. His eyes narrowed when she turned slowly to face him. "What do you want?"

"Have you told anyone? Don't you have family?" Her statement was blank, but her lips twitched when the boy's anger disappeared, his stricken eyes so wide.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have been silently suffering and adapting,
Perpetuating and enduring.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trunks imagined telling his mother and he cursed suddenly, throwing an arm out in anger. "Of course not!" She looked surprised and he glared at her, furious.

"Why?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How would I explain...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That question proved she was alien and he turned suddenly, leaping into the sky. He didn't know why she asked, but he didn't want to ask her. She was the same as Seventeen, they were both the same. He just wanted to get away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm gonna run away,
And never say goodbye!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As if his speed were nothing, Eighteen flew alongside him, her eyes sweeping over his furious face. "Are you going home to see your mother?" The boy froze as if he'd struck something impenetrable and she moved closer, touching her fingertips to his cheek again. "We know where she lives, but Seventeen isn't interested in one human female."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
She said I can help you,
So what do you say?
But it's not free baby
You have to pay...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leaning closer to the boy, Eighteen gave a small smile, her eyes dancing merrily. "I could hide you from him. I have the same urges as he does, if you prefer that."

Trunks stared, horrified by the offer and he started to pull away, a voice making him freeze again. Turning, he flinched when he saw Seventeen fly to them, those black-rimmed eyes glaring at them both.

Staring at his sister, Seventeen's eyes narrowed at her smirk. "Don't interfere. This one's mine."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You were talking crazy.
You wanted to do
Away with yourself,
And you thought I would be
A perfect resort.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seventeen glared at her, sneering when she shrugged her shoulders. "It was just an offer," she said carelessly. The boy in question let out a furious cry and she looked at him in surprise, raising an eyebrow when his hair changed from lavender to blonde.

"Stop it!" Trunks screamed, his heart pounding furiously. "Stop playing with me! It ends now! Just kill me!"

Seventeen looked at the boy, his eyes darkening slowly. "Why would I do that?" The boy lunged at him and he dodged carelessly, moving to the side.

"If you don't I'll do it myself!"

He sounded so serious, those green eyes wild and Seventeen's eyes narrowed more till they were mere slits. For some reason the thought irritated him. Darting back, he gave a lazy nod to Eighteen. "Let's go." She moved away immediately and he joined her, leaving the teenager alone in the sky, with nothing but his anger.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You bleed just to know you're alive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trunks stared after them, the fury gone again. He felt even emptier. At least they could have fought with him, hurt him. They could have let him feel that he was trying. He knew he could never kill himself, not when Gohan had died for him. And they would not give him an easy way out, it was so unfair.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gonna run away, gonna run away.
Gonna run away, gonna run away.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He flew home, knowing it didn't matter if the androids followed or not, they knew where she was if they wanted to kill her. His mother seemed so surprised and happy to see him. She didn't ask where he'd been, she was working on that time machine again, and for once he actually looked at it. It wouldn't be done for at least a year, but maybe by then he would be ready to use it. He could leave it all behind, if not through death, then in the past. He wasn't sure yet, he might still get stronger if he left the androids be and trained on his own. Time would tell.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You!
How I see, even when I close my eyes...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The time machine hovered in the air and Trunks breathed deeply, looking at his own world after so long. He could see the spot where he and Gohan had sat, the place where he'd had that last midnight training session. He knew he was home. "Gohan..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory
Of a time...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I'm stronger now," he whispered, his voice quiet as he moved the time machine carefully. "It will end now. Your sacrifice wasn't in vain." He could remember Gohan's arm on his shoulder and the wondered how long it had been since he felt that warmth, it seemed like an eternity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The sound of your voice
Grated on my memories.
Even if you're not with me
I'm with you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He could almost imagine Gohan's voice during the training, encouraging him, telling him how close he was. He belonged here. This was his world, his earth, his connection to Gohan. Even seeing the younger Gohan in the past hadn't brought the completeness he could feel now that he was home.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Things aren't the way they were before.
You wouldn't even recognize me anymore.
Not that you knew me back then,
But it all comes back to me
In the end...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She was worried, but Trunks smiled at his mother, tossing his coat over the chair before leaving the place, heading for his destiny. He'd changed during his trip. He was going to kill them both, to finally have that vengeance he'd first sought so long ago. He would never be fooled by Seventeen's mind games, never again. Because he was going to kill them, he was, him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's been a while,
Since I could
Hold my head up high.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Flying toward the place where the androids were fighting, Trunks could feel a burning eagerness radiating through him. It would all end now. He'd come so far, was so much stronger. Gohan would have been proud of him, he was certain of that, and he was proud of himself. He was going to kill them and end the pain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've put my trust...
In you!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He'd depended on Gohan as a child and now he accepted his place. The people of earth depended on him. He'd never thought of that before, but he knew it now. He wasn't going to lose, there was no chance of that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
No matter how far we've come,
I can't wait to see tomorrow.
No matter how far we've come, I...
I can't wait to see tomorrow
With you!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He thought of his death in the other timeline. He hadn't been able to remember anything when he'd been brought back, but he thought that his next death would be different. Gohan would be there, they all would. Gohan was surely with his father right now and he would see him again. The thought was almost enough to make him smile. But he was close now and anger hardened his face as he dove to finish it, once and for all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Why do you affect me?
Why do you affect me still?
Why do you hinder me?
Why do you hinder me still?
Why do you unnerve me?
Why do you unnerve me still?
Why do you trigger me?
Why do you trigger me still?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Looking at Trunks, Seventeen could feel that odd twinge he'd always had after he finished with the boy. He'd never understood that feeling. But Trunks looked different somehow, older, stronger. He didn't look like a child anymore. That bothered him and he glared, angry to admit the boy could cause any emotion in him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't fight these feelings,
They will bring you pain.
You won't take away,
I'll be whole again.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eighteen died quicker then he'd imagined and Trunks turned to Seventeen, remembering all of it. He'd been dealt so much pain at the hands of the black-haired android. But now he could see a reflection of that, just a hint, as the male lost his sister. Seventeen had no power now and Trunks was finally completely at peace with himself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Heaven forbid I be criticized.
Heaven forbid I be ignored.
I have abused my power,
Forgive me.
You mean we actually are all one...?
One...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"She was human."

The young man's words knocked him free of his paralysis, but Seventeen stared at him in shock, wondering how he could have known that.

"You must be as well," Trunks continued, his voice hard. "For that, you are unforgivable. How many humans have you killed? Toyed with? And they were the same as you."

Looking at those green eyes, Seventeen knew the boy had grown up somehow. He was going to kill him. He could feel that twinge again and he wondered if it could possibly be regret. He didn't think so, surely it couldn't be that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Still it would not come.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The super saiyan launched at him and Seventeen had a flash of terror, finally understanding that twinge of emotion. His last thought was one of disbelief. He couldn't really have been afraid, not of one boy. Could he really have been afraid of the boy, of what he was doing to him, of what he was creating inside those pale blue eyes that were now so much greener...?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've walked, sometimes confused, Sometimes ready to crack open wide,
Sometimes indignant, sometimes raw.
Can you imagine...?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trunks didn't hesitate in the disaster of their fight, walking away calmly. He could feel the breeze in his hair and he thought that it was so different from the way he used to limp away from their battles. He felt no pain, nothing but a hum of peace in his mind. His eyes closed and he tilted his head back to the wind.

* * *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It's been a while,
Since I could stand
On my own two feet again.
And it's been a while,
Since I could call you...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The moon was the same, the cool, damp grass unchanged by time and Trunks sat where he had so many years before. Gohan would have liked to see him now. The thought made him sigh and he was sure of it. He was finally there, able to take care of himself. The only thing missing was the arm around his shoulders.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And it's been a while,
Since I've gone and
Fucked things up,
Just like I always do!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He thought back to all the mistakes he'd made, not believing in himself. He was so na´ve, fooled and manipulated, but that wasn't him now. In the other timeline he'd made himself proud, even if he hadn't been the strongest. He was different now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I would be lying if I said
I was completely unscathed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"It didn't ruin me," Trunks said softly, his words for someone he couldn't see. "I do carry the scars inside, but I've grown so much since then. I'm a man now." In the other world the young Gohan had told him how Goku watched them from above and he winced, his eyes dropping to his hands. "I hope you didn't watch. I hope you understand, Gohan, that I've learned, finally. Don't hold it against me..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Even though you're close to me,
You're still so distant.
And I can't bring you back.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Silence was the only answer and he thought of the connection he felt to Gohan, knowing that the man might not be up there. He may not be anywhere able to see him. He knew that he would live his life alone, but his eyes lifted to the stars, admitting that he knew this. Despite that knowledge, he still planned to see him again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And it's been a while,
Since I said I'm sorry...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His voice was a soft whisper, taken by the night before he left the hill. "I'm sorry, Gohan. I should have told you...how very much I love you..."

--Owari--

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