Gohan met Vegeta's eye contact and refused to look away. This would indicate to the saiyan prince that he too, was not going to back down. Vegeta's smirk twitched slightly in response. Gohan had just called his bluff.
"Vegeta, as much as I would love to watch you try to kick my ass, I do not have the time for it right now. I'm rather busy."
Vegeta's eyes narrowed. "Try? Boy, in your state, I think I may actually succeed. Besides, your business is of my concern."
"What? You wish to help me shop for a teddy bear?"
"Don't patronize me boy! I know that's not the main reason for your outing."
"Yes it is." Gohan replied in a manner that emulated his father's style, complete with the ignorant, goofy Son smile. This of course, sent sparks of annoyance down Vegeta's spine. He hated being reminded of Kakarrot. Gohan knew how to push buttons on the prince of saiyans almost as well as Goku.
Vegeta growled and spat. "Don't play that game with me Gohan. I know you're smarter than that."
"No games Vegeta. I'm in a hurry. Now, if you want a fight, I promise you, since I'm in a rush, I'll finish you fast. I'd rather let you save face. So why not just let me pass?"
"You mock me?!"
"I'm not the one picking a fight here. I'd rather avoid it, but I know how insistent you are. My time's short. I really must find this bear and get back home."
Vegeta said nothing. He simple powered up and burst into a glow of super saiyan.
Gohan shrugged his shoulders. "Guess this means no pass eh?" He then completed his own power-up, matching Vegeta's level. He allowed the proud prince first punch, which of course missed the speedy son of Goku. Gohan's speed and agility were his greatest assets in an 'even' match.
"You still mock me boy!?"
"So what's with the pathetic power level? I know you to be above that."
"Honestly Vegeta, you wish to make the same mistake you did with Cell? You wish to challenge me into a power level beyond your capabilities? I'm trying to be fair here."
Vegeta lunged forward in a fury of rage. Gohan knew that the saiyan prince was now fighting out of anger and not technique. Vegeta was a great fighter, but only as long as his emotions were under control. At this point, it would be all too easy. Gohan maneuvered easily around Vegeta's desperate swings. Upon one move, Gohan checked the time on his watch. He only had 90 minutes left!
"Sorry to do this to you Vegeta. I know you'll challenge me later after this, but I really must be going." Gohan replied as he dropped out of super saiyan and found the level given to him by the elderly supreme kaio....mystic. There was no glow, no physical transformation, nothing out of the ordinary done to Gohan at all in this level. He was simply as much if not more powerful than a level 3 super saiyan. Vegeta's level 2 was hopeless.
Vegeta yelled in rage and frustration. He knew he was severely outmatched now and despised the Kakarrot bloodline for such fortunate luck in attaining such power.
Gohan didn't want to harm the saiyan prince. He merely wanted to get by him. When Vegeta lunged once again, Gohan sighed and lobbed a light punch in Vegeta's stomach. The prince gasped for the air that was leaving his lungs too fast. Deprived of oxygen, Vegeta passed out and fell to the ground below with a nice thud.
Shaking his head, Gohan apologized to him despite that fact that he knew that the prince couldn't hear him. Powering back down, Gohan continued on his journey. He arrived at Capsule Corporation and knocked on the window to Bulma's lab. Natuarally she was working in there.
Startled at the sound of the knock on a window that had no balcony or way to it, Bulma's heart nearly stopped, but her brain registered the familiar figure looking back at her with a goofy grin. She settled back down and opened the window to allow Gohan in.
"Can't you saiyans learn to use the 'normal' entrances into houses?"
"Sorry Bulma, I'm in a bit of a rush."
"For the canisters?"
"Uh, now, but I'll take those if you have them. Actually, you know that bear Goten sleeps with?"
"Yea, the bear my little Trunks gave him."
"You know where I can get another?"
"What happened to the--wait, I probably don't want to know."
Gohan nodded with an uncomfortable blush.
"You're right, I definitely don't want to know." Bulma said as she found the canisters she and Gohan had conversed about over the phone. "As for the bear, let's see...I know that I've seen another one of those around here somewhere. Trunks replaced it after realizing he still liked the stupid thing. But, now that he's older, he's encapsulated many of his toys that he considers too childish now." Bulma said as she led Gohan down the hall to Trunks' room.
"So where is Trunks?"
"To be honest with you, I'm not really sure. He's in this house somewhere, but it's a large place. He's got a lot of his father in him. He likes to come and go without saying when or where. No matter how many times I punish him for that, he still continues to do it. Stubborn, just like his father. And who am I to think my punishments will mean much to a super saiyan?" Bulma rambled as they entered Trunks' room.
"Threaten to cut his portions down. Starving a saiyan, especially a growing saiyan is one of the worst punishments."
"I guess you would know." Bulma teased with a wink. Gohan blushed.
"Ah, here's those storage capsules. At least Trunks is developing sound organizational habits. He's the neatest member of this family. "
Gohan scanned Trunks' room. The place was spotless and everything was in its place. Even the bed's comforter was neatly pressed and tucked upon the bed.
"Trunks does this himself?"
"Sure does. He says its faster and easier to find things this way. He's got the makings of a fine businessman, don't you think?"
Gohan shrugged. Like himself, Trunks was being molded into fulfilling his mother's wishes, whether he wanted it or not.
Bulma found a capsule and popped it open on the floor. A bunch of toys were in a pile where the capsule had landed.
"It should be in here somewhere." Bulma muttered as she began to paw through the mound of toys.
Gohan's sharp eyesight picked out the bear immediately from his position across the room. He walked over and pulled it out.
"Wow! I thought your mother said your eyesight was deteriorating?"
"It is. I can see excellently from a distance, but up close, I can't focus."
"Too much studying in the dark as a boy."
"Blame it on my mother."
"Yes I know. But, think of it this way, it's a good thing. I've learned from it and now little Trunks will experience preventative measures. I'm already making sure he uses reading glasses when he studies. That way, when he's an adult, it'll be second nature for him to put glasses on whenever he has to read. It'll be a necessity when he takes over this company."
Once again, Gohan cringed inwardly at the sounds of 'pre-destination'. Poor Trunks. The boy wasn't going to get a chance to choose his profession. It was already planned. Hopefully, Bulma would at least allow her son a freedom to pick his own mate and not arrange that either.
"Thank you so much for the canisters and bear Bulma. I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you. You've helped me out of a bind so many times."
"It's nothing kid. I owe your father so many more. Since I can't pass on my gratitude to him, I may as well give it to his son."
"Good-night Bulma. Tell Trunks I said 'hi' too." Gohan said as he waved, opened the window in Trunks' room, and flew off into the night.
Bulma watched him depart. "You've grown up so much kid. Where have all the years gone?" she muttered to herself as memories of the past filled her mind while she picked up the toys and reencapsulated the toys that her son was now too grown for. "They grow up so fast."
Vegeta regained consciousness when he felt a slimy, wet mass upon his cheek. As his eyes focused, he found himself looking straight into the eyes of a rather slick looking, mean guard dog. It growled and took a step back, showing its teeth and prepared to attack.
Vegeta pulled himself up, rubbed his slobbered cheek with a glove, and returned the dog's stare. The dog of course, understood this eye contact as a challenge and crouched to lunge. Vegeta was in no mood for such a lopsided battle. He'd just sucker-punched into unconsciousness by the son of Kakarrot already tonight. He'd not tolerate any more stupidities. With a growl of his own, Vegeta raised an arm and blasted the dog into oblivion. Whether it was right or not, Vegeta always felt better after a kill. His warrior instincts active once again, Vegeta's new goal was to unravel whatever it was the son of Kakarrot was up to.
Gohan sped across the sky at breakneck speed. His mystic level allowed him to travel at blinding speeds. He covered a flight that, by jet, would take several hours, in just thirty minutes.
Slowing and powering down as he saw Mount Paozu's peak rise in the distance, Gohan had to slink back into his house unnoticed. This meant he had to suppress his ki as well. Goten was becoming very skilled at sensing and reading ki's.
Luckily, his mother and brother were both in the bathroom. Goten was getting a bath before going off to bed. Entering his room, Gohan sighed with hard earned relief. Placing the canisters with the rest, Gohan made his way to his mother's bedroom and placed the new teddy bear atop Goten's blankets. Returning back to his room, Gohan stripped off his clothes and collapsed onto his own bed. It had been one hell of a night and he was anxious to let it end. He pulled the covers over himself and was fast asleep almost instantly.
to be continued...