Protection the Mirai Way by StarbearerTM, Goku Girl
Story Notes:
This is Future Gohan and Future Trunks, just to clarify, and happens in the midst of Trunks training. Many thanks to Lord Truhan for encouragement writing this pairing! I am using the timeline written by Lord Truhan as reference for this fan fiction.
Chapter 1 by StarbearerTM
Author's Notes:
First fiction writing this pairing. It’s pretty much in the Future Gohan/Trunks timeline. Future Trunks is 16 and Future Gohan is 23.
*Water was essential to life just as much as training is to mine*, Son Gohan thought, fighting the urge to wipe sweat from his brow.

His shadow glided with the movements of another, longer but at the same angle. Son Gohan’s dark brows furrowed in intense concentration, locking with those of his younger opponent. Oddly, the roles of years past were reversed with a lifetime of choreography entrusted to him by Piccolo. Now his pupil upraised hands at forty-five degree angles, hunching his shoulders with his head tipped back to compensate for being shorter then Son Gohan. Tendrils of lavender hair stuck to the sweat that blistered from his forehead.

“Think fast, and don’t hesitate!” Gohan barked, before he accelerated his entire body. Narrowed blue eyes stared shortly to track his movement, and Gohan arched around behind his student.

For miles around stretched spires of rock, jutting out of sand that had crumbled and eroded under years of weathering. Far from any of the ruined cities of the Androids, but closer to Gohan’s mountain home they continued to train. In the distance the extending bands of brown turning to dark green indicated the change in landscape that preceded a half hour flight to the Son residence. At times their training grounds changed, in order to keep one step ahead of possible ambush, Gohan reasoned.

Fortunately, this time as Gohan’s fist flashed out, he impacted Trunks slender upraised wrist. Tilting his torso back a slight bit, he avoided Trunks’ counterpunch. This time only inches from his nose the clenched hand passed, pleasing him. Indeed Trunks was getting closer to actually tagging him. So focused were the blue eyes on the attack, that Gohan then thrust his leg out, his thigh crashing into those of Trunks.

Knocked off balance Trunks quickly recovered, just in time for Gohan to pivot his body on one foot and lash out with a kick. Fumbling Trunks tucked his body inwards and raised one knee to block. His face clenched in pain with the near solid crack, but Gohan felt the resistance through his entire leg. Arching backwards, Trunks landed on his back, and then rolled over out of the way of Gohan’s downward facing elbow as he pounced. Sand flew up into his face, but Gohan ignored it, excited to see that Trunks speed had slowly increased.

Back of his capsule T-shirt and sweats coated with a layer of sand, Trunks rolled halfway on his back to regain his footing. This time he leaned back again to dodge the next two kicks and punches thrown by Gohan. This time Trunks spun and shot out with his own punches. Gohan felt the impact of the right fist on his forearm, but then felt the pressure of Trunks shoulder and other fist slamming into his gut.

*It was a bit sloppy*, Gohan had to admit, but forceful enough because he found himself grunting from some of the wind knocked from his belly. It propelled him back, but he snapped around once more for another try.

This time Trunks dodged under his next punch, and his body blurred into navy blue, white, and lavender before Gohan’s eyes. However, Gohan automatically swept out his arm, feeling the solidness of Trunks belly yielding against his sharp elbow. He steeled himself against the frustrated grunt and sound of his student’s body thudding to the sand.

“Dammit,” Trunks gritted, his eyes squeezed shut.

Hair fanned out to the side, and doubled up with knees pressed into his chest Trunks wrapped his arms around his injured midsection. At that moment, he seemed much smaller and younger, triggering a split second deluge of memories.

Two years ago a peculiarly nasty assault on North City as the deadly duo of Androids had smashed apart the central shopping complex. The local hospital of North city was far too ruined to accommodate all the disaster victims. Some of her employees had piloted a rescue craft to pick up whatever survivors there were. Then Bulma’s local Capsule plant there had set up dozens of palates for the refugees. Capsule more often than not function as a field hospital more than a technological factory. Bulma’s bots and medical teams had tried to set up as much machinery as possible. Not to mention enough pieces of equipment to keep the people alive long enough for their city to rebuild suitable shelters. Several hundred souls needed food and drink, and medical care. At times, like that he helped Bulma keep the water purification system or the hydroponic bots control units.

As always Trunks was right there helping wrap bandages or staunch heavy bleeding when there weren’t enough medical volunteers. By the time, they all had returned to Capsule, Bulma had offered them all places to sleep and recover. Gohan had taken the room down the hall from Trunks, and remembered tossing and turning in the borrowed bed only to hear that bloodcurdling scream. A soft cry of fear turned into outrage as Trunks had burst out of fitful sleep and hurled aside covers. Gohan had remembered the sheer force and anguish in that voice, and had found himself rushing from the place he had slept that night at capsule two years ago.

“Trunks, come on, I know I didn’t hit you that hard! Get up!” he couldn’t stop himself from shouting.

Damn it he was getting too soft, all because he couldn’t help wincing from the pain he guessed Trunks must have been feeling. Despite his better impulse, he stepped forwards, leaning over the huddled lad. Slowly Trunks rolled over onto his back, teeth gritted and graceful lavender brow knitted in pain.

Gohan’s brows knit, confused and concerned because he was certain there was enough force in his punch not to cause so much damage. *Surely, Trunks had taken more solid punches then this, so why was he shuddering so much without rolling again to his feet?*

“Trunks?” Gohan lowered his voice, bending his knee more firmly.

Yet two sky blue eyes popped wide open, and sand hissed with the sudden movement of the once curled body. A loud shout accompanied the forward thrust of two legs at Gohan. Pain erupted, and he drew his abdomen tight, seeing through the pain that was little in magnitude to many injuries, but struggling to process what he’d seen. He had just glimpsed Trunks pressing the flats of both hands planted in the sand behind him, then levering his entire body upwards and landed his feet in the pit of Gohan’s stomach. The clever smirk covering Trunks face at that moment infuriated and invigorated Gohan as he glided back, still curling in on his own body.

“Nasty trick, but not too bad,” Gohan wheezed.

*Don't EVER let down your guard, you idiot! Pay attention! Don't let feelings get in the way, you'll get killed!* Piccolo’s voice echoed Gohan’s mind, reprimanding him for a moment of weakness. Nevertheless Gohan couldn’t help hesitating a mere second to see the boy curled up on himself. It reminded Gohan of how vulnerable after Trunks was, after days of calmly sorting out the damaged bodies pouring in. In sleep, his mind processed the afterimages.

More and more people each day would seek refuge inside the huge cracked done of their corporation, and fewer scientists remained alive to keep the company running smoothly. Trunks had seen progressively more death and destruction at close hand since that night, and Gohan knew exactly what the substance was that comprised his nightmares. For he had seen such horrors himself.

“I have to admit you did get me there, Trunks. Not bad,” Gohan relented, staring down at the hunched figure. Trunks really WAS in a great deal of pain, holding his shoulder and fighting back what gleamed in his blue eyes.

“I know it was dirty, but I couldn’t resist,” Trunks answered, drawing in great draughts of air to counteract the sharp crack of pain spreading like a wave from his right shoulder. He wondered if his arm would move for a day or more.

“True,” Gohan nodded. “I’d say it was worth a time out. We’re done for the day.”

Trunks nodded, a slight smile masking the still surging pain. This time when Gohan leaned forwards and extended a strong hand, trunks outstretched his own ivory fingers. He shivered as they touched the rough palm of Gohan’s hand, and marveled in the strength of the grip. Only a small snap of Gohan’s figure tugged both of them to their feet. More ribbons of sand fell from Trunks back and made their piles in the sand. Gohan resisted a chuckle feeling sand dropping from the back of his gi as well.

Glancing down he saw his fingers were still closed around Trunks hand. Neither questioned the contact, and he felt his role yet again shift. It was not mere protection, Gohan soberly realized as he saw the pride glowing from the youth’s face. He let go reluctantly, seeing Trunks questioning look, and pushed tendrils of the boy’s lavender hair from his face.

“I must smell pretty ripe,” Trunks joked.

“That makes two of us,” Gohan nodded, chuckling himself.

It seemed so natural to raise his hand to pat Trunks on the back, as Trunks stood closer to him. Instead of removing it after the friendly contact, Gohan’s arm rested around Trunks slender shoulders, and he felt Trunks leaning into his body as well. Around his waist, Gohan felt the curling of Trunks smaller arm and pulled the boy towards himself more tightly. The light pressure of Trunks side against his felt safe and reassuring, and necessary.

“Lunch now?” Trunks laughed, glancing up at him.

“Yes,” Gohan nodded, feeling his own stomach rumbling in unison.

That fact reminded him of their similarities, and he did not fight the warmth arising in his stomach and being. Similarly, he didn’t stop the smile twitching his angular cheeks into a grin. That same expression graced Trunks visage as well, and he realized what a relief it was to see him smiling. It was worth a few moments of self-deprecation and stupidity.

*On the other hand, was it?* If he didn’t push Trunks hard enough it would be his own damn fault if the boy died at the hands of the androids. Could he chance letting Trunks fight at his side when the boy wasn’t ready? Yet he had to be.

“Earth to Gohan! You call me a space cadet, remember?” Trunks nudged him, giving his hip a squeeze as they stood there in silence.

“True,” Gohan nodded.

“What’s with the one word answers? Are you pissed that tricked you?” Trunks asked, swinging out from Gohan’s arm to stand right before him. Lavender brows wrinkled in a frown and Gohan again mumbled a curse.

“No and yes. I’m more pissed at myself because I should have known better,” Gohan answered, his eyes narrowing into that stern look that caused Trunks to tense.

“Oh,” Trunks answered, not sure of what to say.

He fought the impulse to laugh and joke whenever Gohan’s face hovered between a serious frown and a reprimand. Still he tightened his grip on Trunks shoulder and said nothing as he pulled the younger man towards him. The urge to protect overpowered the urge to reprimand, and Trunks wound his arms around Gohan’s waist, sensing an automatic need for body contact.

Fingers stroking Trunks soft hair, Gohan allowed more thoughts to spin through his brain. Oddly, the words “safety word” came into his head, and Gohan frowned at himself for another dearth of such thoughts. Not because they were centered on a male object of affection, but because they were surfacing at a very inopportune time. If he showed such concern for Trunks during times such as these, how could he possibly hope to be ruthless enough to harden his training? How could a warrior balance his concern for his pupil and still be as adamant as steel?

Piccolo had done it easily enough. Yet in teaching Gohan years ago, he had learned the softness of love. It was not a weakness but strength. He could still remember cowering in fear as Piccolo had thrown himself in the path of a Saibaman’s ray. At that moment, Gohan knew that Piccolo had accepted what he had called a weakness. Love.

*Love IS not a weakness*, Gohan reprimanded himself.

Yet why did he question it as he and Trunks glanced up at him expectantly, looking for more than just guidance at that moment? It was love that pushed Gohan to show the ruthlessness of Piccolo’s training all these days when he knew Bulma would be furious when she found out. Could he afford to be soft when any moment could be his last, and Trunks would be alone without a guide, without a mentor?

*Without a loved one,* Gohan mentally added as realization dawned.

By now Trunks had pressed his face into Gohan’s chest and his grip had tightened. Gohan leaned down again to pull Trunks face away and hold him at arm’s length. Held against the hard solid body of the older Half Saiyan, Trunks felt himself quivering from head to toe. He could hardly imagine what the other was now thinking, peering up at him with confidence and the surety that always preceded a training session.

Gohan’s eyes widened when he felt Trunks raise a hand of concern and touch the side of his cheek. Neither questioned what silence said. At that moment his sensei’s eyes held such pain and frustration that Trunks wished he could somehow ease it. In turn, the open look of trust and determination gleaming in those blue eyes called to Gohan. It was but a split second, but they both knew what the other was thinking.

At the same time Gohan’s fist tightened on Trunks shoulder, Trunks leaned up towards his mentor. There was something electric and tingling like ki in the moment, and he felt the darkness of concern on that troubled brow. He sought to brush his lips against Gohan’s cheek, but instead Gohan’s descending profile brushed past his. Firm lips found his soft ones, and Trunks relaxed against his mentor’s body as he was pressed to strong muscle clad in baggy gi. A slight brush of Trunks lips against his caused Gohan to shiver, and he swept his tongue lightly forward.

Yielding to the older half saiyan’s advances, Trunks parted his mouth and a surge of hot breath moved between them both. Minute cracklings of ki tingled over his body, and Gohan tasted what seemed like electric blue. He didn’t want to let go of the warmth he had found and protected through hard days of endless training. Yet he found himself angered that at some point he couldn’t have the power to keep his word.

Trunks would have to protect himself one of these days. Moreover, that realization made him drink all the more firmly from the soft moving lips tasting his for the first time. Gently Gohan boosted him up and felt the wrap of young slender arms around his muscled neck. Lips parting for breath, their foreheads pressed tightly and damp with sweat, pants fanning each other’s faces. As close as could be, cobalt blue eyes and ebony ones firmly locked, their determination shared.

“I won’t always be able to protect you,” Gohan found himself saying.

“Don’t be stupid. I don’t need protecting. We’ll both have each other’s backs, Gohan. I promise,” Trunks exhaled deeply, his gaze wide and full of wonder.

“I know,” Gohan began to mouth, but stifled his impulse to ruin the moment by moving his mouth again over Trunks.

Saying nothing, they basked and drank in the comfort that they could provide. Then reluctantly Gohan released him from the embrace, his mask of hard objectivity again arising. Licking his lips Trunks felt the awkwardness falling on them both.

“Gohan, are you all right?” Trunks asked.

“Food would be good. I don’t know about you, but my mom always cooks more than she can eat. And she’s closer,” Gohan answered, cutting off Trunks concerned question.

“Sounds good to me, but are you sure you’re okay?” Trunks answered, frowning slightly that Gohan had suddenly plastered on what seemed like a generic Son smile and tugged at his sleeve.

“Show me if you can fly any faster, Trunks. You’re going to need to crank up the pace to get there before its all gone, food wise,” Gohan laughed. Already he levitated upwards, and Trunks blasted off after him so he wouldn’t be left behind.

“Dammit Gohan, stop shutting me out,” Trunks found himself saying.

It was as if Gohan couldn’t decide between being the stoic protector and someone free to feel. Far more then just friend or confidant, but lover perhaps? In catastrophic times like those they now inhabited, love was a rare treasure that should be siezed while it lasted, lest it shatter forever unrequited. Would he have to settle for brief cracks in the fašade, or would that kiss be the prelude to something else, Trunks wondered? He didn’t know that Gohan had the very same thought as they blazed their way across the ruined wastelands towards Gohan’s mountain home.

*Am I his sensei, lover, or both?* Gohan pondered, his dark brows knitted in aggravation. Dare he even think of his own needs for one moment when so many counted on him?

*Perhaps yes…* he nodded soberly. Especially since love was the force that drove his father to greatness and beyond. Pure love in all forms no matter what was irrepressible.

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