Gohan strode quickly into the house just as his mother hit "8". He quietly assumed his place at the table.
ChiChi stared at him inquisitively. Gohan's response...a goofy grin and the presentation of his empty bowl. But it was Goten who opened the conversation.
"So brother, where'd you go?"
"Go? Like I said, I was studying in the forest."
Goten shook his head. "Your ki was beyond that brother."
Gohan leaned over to whisper in his brother's ear while ChiChi's back was turned as she was busy filling Gohan's bowl.
"Sssssh, I'll give you my dessert if you just keep quiet about it."
Goten nodded in agreement. He could be bought with the simplest of things. Food was the easiest.
ChiChi served Gohan his portion then served Goten yet another portion before she herself, took a seat at the table.She eyeballed her eldest son curiously which in turn, made Gohan extremely nervous. For some reason mothers have a way of looking into their childrens souls. To Gohan, this was worse than a physical pummeling by some strong enemy. Without being consciously aware of it, he began to fidget. This sent warning bells to his ever astute mother. She knew her son's behavioral patterns and what emotions were behind them.
"Gohan, what's wrong?"
"You can't fool me. I know when something's bothering you."
"No you're not. It almost seems like you're locked in some mental battle within yourself. You wouldn't be contemplating a dilemma perhaps?"
Gohan choked down a wad of rice. How was his mother reading him like that!? Did she harbor some psychic abilities and just never told anyone?
"No mom, not really. I'm just lost in thought. There's a lot happening at school and all."
"Oh. Okay dear. But if you need me to--" ChiChi's tone changed at the mention of school. She was so proud of her son attending Orange Star High and getting the education he needed to become a great scholar.
"Thanks mom, but everything's okay." Gohan softly replied as he shovlelled another pile of food into his mouth. Hopefully now the subject would drop. An uncomfortable silence befell the table after. It was too much for cheery, innocent little Goten to bear.
"Hey, so anyone want to see my latest toy? Trunks gave it to me the other day. It has moving parts and makes noise and--"
"Don't talk with your mouth full." Gohan mentioned politely as he removed bits of spattered rice from his face that Goten had spat as he talked.
ChiChi then served dessert, much to Goten's joy. Again, the silence prevailed. Normally Gohan was talkative at the table and willing to carry a conversation, but he was ever quiet. It bothered ChiChi somewhat, but she gave her eldest son the benefit of the doubt. He was a young adult now and she respected his right to privacy be it physically or mentally.
After dinner, Gohan returned to his studies in his room as his mother distracted Goten with some cartoons on tv in the living room. Her two sons were a world apart and yet both seemed to be their father's sons. She worried about her oldest child, but he would come to her if something was amiss wouldn't he?
Piccolo sought out Vegeta's ki. It was in its usual spot, namely at the Briefs residence. While he despised the egotistical royal saiyan, Vegeta was the only full-blooded saiyan he could discuss the matter with. Only Vegeta knew the saiyan culture and history. Sucking up his own pride, Piccolo knocked politely on the door.
Little Trunks answered.
"Piccolo! Hi! What are you doing here? You're not going to give me anymore torture training are you because I don't want to---"
"Quiet. No. I'm not here for you. I wish to speak with your father."
"Dad? Uh, he's very busy right now. You can come in a wait if you like."
Piccolo softly growled. "It is a matter of importance. Please, get him for me."
It was Trunks' turn to growl. "Uhhhh, okay, but I'm going to say it's your fault."
Piccolo raised in inquisitive brow, urging Trunks to elaborate.
"Look man, mom and dad are you know, 'doing it.' Mom and dad are going to be upset that I interrupt that."
Piccolo actually blushed. It was difficult to envision the 'mating' act let alone, Vegeta and Bulma engaging in such. And here was their son, so nonchalant about the whole thing. "Then don't interrupt. Just tell your father when you see him again, that I wish to speak with him. He can find me in the forest at the north edge of this city tomorrow morning."
"Okay, but you sure you don't want to wait here? They'll likely be done in a few minutes."
Piccolo blushed more. "No, look, just give him the message." he quickly replied as he turned and even more quickly departed, leaving Trunks to shrug his shoulders and close the door.
back at the Son residence...
Gohan was extremely uncomfortable about what he had to do. But, a deal was a deal. He never backed out of his promises. And he had thought it through. It was the right choice wasn't it? Everybody would win without any physical violence or turmoil right? Something deep inside him made him feel less and less confident by the minute. No matter, he had to go through with this. Once he knew Goten was in a deep sleep and his mother had also retired to bed for the night, Gohan picked up the phone and dialed.
*yawn* "Gohan? It's one in the morning."
"I-I know. I'm sorry. But this is important."
"So shoot kid."
"Do you have any cryogenic freezing devices? Or could you create a couple for me in a matter of days?"
There was silence on the other end for a moment. "Gohan, what do you want with those type devices?"
"I uh, I need them for a chemistry experiment. It's a end of year project at school for a grade."
"And you waited this long to request those?"
"Uh, well you see, I wasn't sure if I'd need them or not, but it turns out I do."
"And you couldn't wait to ask me at normal hours?"
"I kept forgetting to ask all week. I didn't want to chance forgetting again. I had to call you as soon as it popped back into my head."
"There really is a little Goku in you isn't there?"
"Nevermind. Look, I'm not sure if there's any here or not. I'll check the labs tomorrow. I'll call you tomorrow evening?"
"Uh, wait Bulma, could you call after eleven?"
"At night? Why so late?"
"I don't want mom to know I'm using such materials."
"But your school does right?"
"Hiding information from your mother puts you on dangerous ground Gohan."
"Please don't say anything to her?"
"Why do I get the feeling this is something more than a chemistry experiment Gohan?"
"You know how overprotective my mother is. If she knew half of what I did in school and just outside of it, she'd likely pull me from classes there and have me home tutored again. She watches me like a hawk even when I'm lighting a barbecue fire."
"Point taken. Okay, I'll call you tomorrow after eleven. If I---" Bulma was suddenly interrupted. A loud growl could be heard over the phone line.
"WOMAN, PUT THE BLASTED PHONE AWAY AND BE QUIET!"
"Well, good night Gohan. The royal prince has stirred and commands thee."
"Good night Bulma and thanks."
"Sure kid. Don't mention it." Bulma said as she hung up the phone.
"Don't worry Bulma, I defintely won't." Gohan muttered to himself as he too, hung up the phone.
Next day, at the forest outside of Western Capital City...
Vegeta flew northward on the trail of the Namekian's relaxed ki. As usual, Piccolo had found a serene place to mediate near a waterfall and was doing just that.
"Well, don't keep me here all day Namek. I have better things to do."
Piccolo's ears twitched at the rough and loud saiyan's words. "Don't worry Vegeta. The less I see of you, the better."
"Hmph. So, what did you call me here for anyway?"
"Kakarrot's brat is none of my concern."
"Oh really? And what of the saiyan female?"
Vegeta was astute enough to quickly grasp Piccolo's meaning. "I live up to my word and threat. She knows better than to bother him."
"But what if he went to her?"
Vegeta pondered the situation for a moment. "Why would he?"
"You underestimate Gohan. He's got his father's heroic personality, but he also has an intellectual mind. He's likely thought up an alternative option that neither of us had planned on. He's going to look for a way out of the situation without a physical fight. I think he may have found one already."
"So, it may not necessarily be the best option. It may be the easy way out. Gohan's still young. His thinking may not be rational and his judgement contorted by his own body's urges. Whether he's consiously aware of it or not, Gohan's mind and body often end up at odds with one another."
Vegeta smirked. "It's called adolescence, Piccolo. So what."
Piccolo was increasingly growing annoyed with the royal saiyan. "Look, I wished to speak with you about this matter since you are the only one among us that knows of saiyan culture and biology. Gohan, albeit only half, strums to its tune. The other part of the problem is a full blooded saiyan like yourself. So, put that all together and it means a saiyan must assist in dealing with this issue."
"I have dealt with it, my own way."
"In actuality, you did nothing, Vegeta. Veleet still courses this planet. And Gohan's still her target. Nothing has changed."
Vegeta spat. "Piccolo, you care too much. It's a weakness." The saiyan remarked before launching into the air.
Vegeta didn't need to confirm whether or not he'd assist. Piccolo knew by the saiyan's body language that a challenge had been delegated to him and he would do whatever he could to stifle that challenge and emerge victorious.
to be continued...