Barracks

BY : chayron
Category: Dragon Ball Z > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 18982
Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball Z it belongs to its respective owners. This fan fiction is not a commercial project, and I am not making any money from writing it.

Disclaimer: I do not own Dragon Ball Z – it belongs to its respective owners. This fan fiction is not a commercial project, and I am not making any money from writing it.
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Yaoi (male x male). Goten x Trunks and vice versa. Other pairings. 

Barracks

by chayron (lttomb@yahoo.com), the first pages beta-read by chibi_vegeta, then Chris Cut took a glance at the rest.

Part 13

The officers carrying out the search still had not found the stolen guns. Goten, with about nine hundred other savars, was on the training field. The rows of savars had already been standing here for three hours. Even the present guests from the other school had been lined up while their rooms were being searched. 

As far as Goten knew, there were some powerful anti-aircraft weaponry and a few time bombs missing. He presumed that these weapons might have already been shipped out of the base and sold for a handsome sum.

Goten was certain they would have to stand like this until the entire base was turned upside down. If the weapons weren’t found and nobody admitted to having stolen them or seen somebody who had…well, Goten could easily imagine them standing here during the night…and maybe other two weeks. So this was how “his squad” was going to spend their two days off – standing under the boiling hot sun. 

This was just fucking great.

If that wasn’t enough to dampen everyone’s mood, the latest news was that there was a serious dispute over Shandera’s section. Both Saiyans and Ice-jins were bent on gaining control of it. A few planets in that sector were rich in natural resources such as gems, precious metals, and various gasses, some of which were used in latest technology. Together, the Saiyan Empire and their allies had conquered the sector but, as in many other recent cases, were having difficulties in sharing it among themselves.

Irritated drill sergeants were pacing back and forth in front of their squads, doing a lot of shouting and smacking around. Goten had also heard that all the guards who had been on duty at night received written reprimands. If he didn’t know better, he would have thought that it was ruthless, which was exactly what everyone on the base was thinking. Only he and a few other people knew that two thefts had taken place during the night. However, it was a mystery why the shaii had chosen to overlook this. Were he in the shaii’s shoes, he’d have kicked Toharu and Ranvera out of the base without remorse.

The sergeant was at the other side of the row and was busy yelling at his first-year mate. Goten took the opportunity to scratch his itching back then stretched his stiff body. It had been obvious to the ones who had stolen the guns that a search would be conducted. If the weapons were still on the base… 

While the yelling continued, Goten rolled his head around then did the same with his rigid shoulders. After having stood motionlessly here for three hours, any movement felt heavenly good.

Now, if he were a thief… Where would he have hidden those weapons? Goten’s eyes started wandering through the base, taking in a building after building, wall after wall, corner after corner. Then his eyes stopped and rose above the second barracks. Oh.

“What’s with that flabby look?!”

Goten started violently, his head snapping to the side to stare at the sergeant. He had been so deep in thought that had not even noticed him approach. Goten straightened and saluted.

“Sir!”

“Daydreaming, seamstress?”

The sergeant’s eyes were ruffling through his uniform and, instead of telling the sergeant to shove it and announcing that he had the right to daydream or do whatever he wanted to do on his day off, Goten started praying to whatever gods there were, hoping that he wouldn’t have recently torn his uniform anywhere.

“Twenty laps around the base!”

“Sir, yes, sir!”

Relieved, Goten turned on his heel; he’d rather choose running instead of standing here motionlessly. Then Goten stopped.

“Sir?”

“What do you want now?”

“Sir, have you looked in the water tower?”

“What?”

“For the weapons, sir. Have you looked for them in the water tower?”

The sergeant’s and about other ten savars’ (who had heard the exchange) eyes rose to the water tower protruding from behind the second barracks. A few seconds later the sergeant looked at Goten.

“Get back into the row, seamstress. And wipe that smug look off your face!”

“Yes, sir!”

The sergeant threw the tower another glance then barked for the second-in-command to get a couple of officers to search it. 

ooOoOoOoo

Goten knocked and opened the door to the shaii’s office. He felt somewhat awkward when he saw the shaii engrossed in a bundle of documents in his hands. But he needn’t have worried as the prince’s attention became all his as soon as he stepped into the office and closed the door behind him.

“Sir!” Goten saluted.

“Goten,” the shaii nodded in greeting. “Sit down,” he motioned at a chair opposite his desk. While Goten was getting comfortable, the prince pushed the documents he had been reading aside and started ruffling through a pile of papers on the other side of the desk. He finally found the needed report.

“We found the missing weapons in the water tower,” he said, his eyes skimming over the paper. “They were wrapped up in cellophane and it seems they haven’t been damaged.”

Goten wasn’t sure what was expected of him, so he nodded. This went unnoticed by the shaii, who left the document and looked at Goten, waiting for some sort of affirmation that the younger male had heard him. Goten offered him a tentative smile.

“Very good, sir.”

The shaii realized that Goten was not sure whether he was going to be praised or punished. It seemed that Goten was prepared to expect anything, be it punishment for a good deed or a promotion for mischief. Once again, the prince found he liked a baffled Goten.

Goten’s head, like those of many first-year savars, had already sprouted a quite large hedgehog of hair. Now, Goten looked a little older and more refined. The shaii lowered his eyes back to the report. In fact, he and Goten had only one year difference between them. Yet they were of completely different social and authority standings. There was such a wide gulf between them that it was hard to even consider them meeting under any other circumstances. And even the current circumstances weren’t clear – why was Goten, a third-class, in an officer training school at all?

It seemed that the prince had become submerged in his thoughts thus Goten shifted in his seat to draw the shaii out of trance.

“Have the culprits been found, sir?” he asked.

Shaking off his musings, the shaii lowered the file and shook his head. “No, not yet.”

Goten nodded again. The shaii gave him an odd look and leafed through the report idly.

“What made you think of the water tower?”

Instantly alert, Goten tried to detect any suspicious notes in the shaii’s voice but it didn’t seem that he was being accused or suspected. He shrugged. “There was one near our playground when I was a kid, sir. We used to have competitions to see who would reach the top faster.”

The prince looked at him with interest. “Oh, really?”

“Yes, sir. I remember very well that once I poured a bag of salt down into the water. I got my ass thoroughly whipped for that.”

The shaii chuckled. He felt the urge to hear more about Goten’s past. He leaned back in his chair. “I read that you were born in Yasan…”

“That’s right, sir.”

“What kind of place is it?”

A little surprised, Goten shrugged. “Ughh… Just rock and sand everywhere, sir.”

“Oh. So I presume the little picnic in Korama woods was to your liking, wasn’t it?”
 
“Well, yes, sir, it was. It was a nice change of scenery,” Goten agreed.

“Your father was nearly always away on missions, wasn’t he?”

What kind of interrogation was this? Goten shifted in his seat. “Yes, he was. I was mostly looked after by my brother, sir.”

“I see. Did you get along?”

Never mind being his superior, never mind being the damn prince… What right did the man have to pry into his soul like this? But the prince was watching him expectantly and Goten felt compelled to nod. “Yes, sir, we got along very well.”

“It must be interesting to have siblings,” the shaii mused. “Never had one.” After he said those words, he noticed Goten glaring at him. Then he realized that he shouldn’t have touched the subject of Gohan. He should have been more considerate. The topic seemed to be some kind of taboo for Goten.

The oppressive silence was grating on Goten’s nerves. He could feel that the prince’s mood also fell a few degrees down. Goten had no idea what he had done this time but he wanted to get the hell out of the office. This kind of prying into his past didn’t bode well. Why the heck was the prince interested in such things like his birthplace and brother? It didn’t seem, though, that the prince wanted to rub his nose into the fact that he was just a third-class. In fact, Goten had never noticed the shaii being overly concerned about his class. He seemed to simply accept the fact.

The man did not hate him either. If he did, he would have kicked him out of the base long ago. Actually, Goten felt that the only reason he was still there was because he kept the prince amused. Except when he annoyed the hell out of the prince. He could not blame the man; he probably was the only savar who visited the shaii’s office almost daily on one or another basis.

There was something weird with their conversations as well. Some of the shaii’s questions and remarks were pretty laid-back and sometimes personal, as if they were buddies instead of subordinate and a superior. Except that the shaii was far from his buddy. They were worlds apart. Was the man lonely? Despite one of them being a third-class and the other an elite, the shaii could probably see kinship in both of their isolated surroundings. But was that even possible? Or was this interest in a third-class specimen solely educational?

Goten fidgeted with his fingers in persisting silence. “Sir, I wanted to thank you for sparing Ranvera and Toharu.” The shaii looked up at him with curiosity. Goten cleared his throat. “I’m certain they are very grateful, sir.”

The prince gave a dismissive shrug. “Well, despite Ranvera being an idiot, he’s a genius who is sought after by National Security. I have no wish to deal with loads of documents concerning his removal. Besides, there’s not much point in that – he would still be accepted into any other officer training school right away.”

Goten was silent, his watchful eyes fixed on his superior’s face.

The shaii shook his head. “No, I would not go as far as to make sure he isn’t accepted anywhere else. He’s not that annoying.”

“I see. Then what about Toharu, sir?”

“Well, unlike Ranvera, Toharu is just an idiot.” The shaii wanted to leave it at that but then he raised his eyes and caught a glimpse of Goten’s interested face. He found himself obliged to supplement his answer with details. “It wouldn’t be fair to kick one out and leave the other. Besides, if Toharu left, then his boyfriend, whose father is an influential man, would also go; probably right to Ario’s father’s school. Again, not really much point in that. It’s like an interlocked chain, your squad, Goten. If you pull one, then the rest follows. I wonder how many would follow if I pulled you, Goten?”

Goten took it as a rhetorical question and chose not to answer.

“So tell me, Goten, would that Ranvera guy follow you?”

Goten blinked in unexpectedness. What the hell was with this? “No, sir. I don’t think he would.”

“You think so? He seems pretty serious about you,” the prince pressed further.

“He’s sleeping with my roommate, sir. This doesn’t sound very serious to me, sir.”

The shaii was surprised for a moment then frowned in distaste. “What? He’s sleeping with both of you?”

What business did the prince have ruffling through someone’s dirty linen? Goten snorted derisively. “Sir, I’m a third-class. What sane second-class would want me for a partner?”

“But he doesn’t know that, does he?”

The prince regretted his question because now Goten’s eyes went ablaze. He had crossed the line. Nonetheless, he liked watching Goten’s reactions. He liked seeing what kinds of them Goten had.

“Sir,” Goten hissed, “if I wanted to use my temporary second-class status, I’d have already fucked half of the base.”

“Well, there’s no proof that you haven’t.”

Goten’s whole body leaned forward, his mouth contorted into a snarl. He seemed to be torn between punching or shouting at the prince’s face but then, with obviously enormous effort, settled on swallowing the insult. He dropped his eyes to the floor. He imagined a meteor smashing into the headquarters, into the office, splashing the prince on the spot, right at his feet.

The prince knew that at the moment Goten felt like strangling him. The shaii suppressed a malevolent grin. He felt angry and wasn’t sure whether with Goten or himself or both of them.

“There’s a promotion in sight.”

Goten didn’t seem interested, his face still radiating anger, his eyes remaining glued to the floor.

This made the shaii wonder. He tossed the documents on his desk, pushed his chair back and stood up. In a few strides he approached the window with two dried flies. “Actually, what do you want? I mean, what do you wish to do with your life?” he asked, half-leaning half-sitting on the windowsill.

Goten’s eyes rose to the prince’s, his face suddenly one vivid expression of hurt. His lips parted to say something, the shaii leaning forward unconsciously so as not to miss a word. Then those lips pressed back into a tight dash, a blank mask slipping back over Goten’s face. The prince nearly grunted in frustration.

Goten thought about warning the shaii that he made an easy target for anyone while standing with his back to the window, his purple hair shining from afar. Then he wondered why he should even bother – just a moment ago he had wished for a meteor to... 

“Sir, isn’t an honorable death in battle every Saiyan’s wish?”

The prince frowned in distaste. “Both of us know better than this: you’re a third-class, I’m of mixed blood. There’s no need for us to juggle these trite phrases. But really, what is that you wish for?”

Unsure and quite shocked, Goten averted his eyes from the older male. He could hardly wrap his mind around the fact that the Saiyan Prince had just admitted the weakness of the entire foundation of the Saiyan culture. He knew that the prince, who had seen much more in his life than him or many others for that matter, was more experienced; he had seen different places, different worlds, and different cultures. This was probably why the prince was different from what Goten expected the Saiyan Prince should be.

It suddenly made Goten feel as if he had just heard something not meant for his ears. It also made him feel indebted for such a revelation.

The shaii, who had been watching the reflection of the battle of wills on Goten’s face, leaned forward in expectation when the younger male opened his mouth again.

“I want to know what happened to my brother, sir.”

There was a pause while the shaii let this sink in. 

“Gohan? You mean you think that he was…?” the prince didn’t finish the thought, his mind reeling.

“Sir, I’d very appreciate it if you moved away from the window.”

“Huh?”

“For your own safety, sir. Lately…” Goten gave the prince a meaningful look.

Confused, the prince stared back at him then seemed to finally realize what Goten was talking about. Frowning slightly, he shifted away from the window. He returned to his chair and sat down.

“You do realize that if someone wanted me dead, they would just blast me together with this entire building?”

“Yes, sir, but they could only do this from inside the base. It’s been stormy lately and the base shields are up. Any ki would be detected in no time, and I doubt anyone would risk firing a powerful gun inside the base. However, yes, it might be not that difficult to hide it during the bedlam which would follow the explosion. The problem would be first-years who would start running around like idiots.”

The shaii gave Goten a look. “And you would not be one of those running idiots?”

“Oh, I’d be the first to start running, sir. In the opposite direction from the explosion. I think I have very good self-preservation instincts, sir.”

The shaii scratched his head. “In my opinion you have none of them. Now, going back to your brother…”

It was obvious that Goten didn’t want to talk about this. He kept silent for a few seconds, studying the floor under the shaii’s desk. With every passing second his eyes grew harder and harder.

“Goten?”

“You and the rest of the world may think me a fool, sir,” Goten said, raising his eyes to the shaii’s face, “but things like third-classes getting admitted to one of the best officer training schools… We wash and polish elites’ armors and prepare their meals. We clean their houses, wipe their asses and die like animals. We don’t get sent to officer training schools. And we sure as hell don’t fight against elites. We believe everything we are told. And we don’t get promoted for anything. But for getting a golden collar around our neck.”

Now Goten’s gaze was nearly a glare, as if accusing him of all the injustice in the world. And then the shaii realized that it was. In Goten’s eyes, he was nothing else but an elite. The discovery made him upset, angry even. It also made him wonder whether Goten was in his right mind telling all this to an elite, his enemy. And what was with these premature presumptions about his brother’s death? But then, Goten had a prevailing tendency to act first and think later. One day this was going to be the death of him. For now, this loose cannon had to be handled accordingly.

“Just like dogs, isn’t it?” the shaii commented. 

Goten’s eyes went into nova. He bared his teeth in an unpleasant grin. “Yes, just like loyal German Shepherds, Your Highness.”

Were Goten sitting closer to him, he would have probably struck him for good measure. Any other elite would have simply killed him for disrespect. Or at least tried to. The prince doubted that an average elite would have much luck in trying to kill Goten. It would probably go the other way round; the third-class was dangerous.

“Easy to train, easy to feed, easy to dispose off,” Goten continued. “Easy to k-”

“You’d surely bite off your master’s hand.”

This made Goten fall silent for a few seconds. He eyed the shaii carefully. What he thought was scoff on the prince’s face was, in fact, closer to mischief and curiosity. The bastard was just teasing him, playing with him, following his reactions. Annoyed, though his anger was starting to dissipate, Goten relaxed back into his chair.

“Sir, do I really amuse you that much?” Goten asked after a pause, when he was aware that both of them realized the pointlessness of this banter.

The shaii cocked his head to his shoulder. “Well, yes. You’re a very interesting specimen. Also the only third-class who nearly punched my head off my shoulders.”

Ah. So this was what it was about. Did the man hold a grudge against him after all? Was this simply an elite’s pride?

“Ah yes,” the prince nodded, “back to your promotion.”

Goten could only stare at him. He felt he could not understand anything anymore. “Sir, you can’t promote a third-class,” he stuttered finally.

The shaii seemed to think about it. “Right,” he drawled. “I forgot that bit. Officially, you are not even supposed to be here…”

Goten was not sure what the prince was playing at. Obviously he was teasing him again. Damn him to hell. “But I would not refuse a pay raise, sir,” Goten said, testing his luck.

The shaii grinned at Goten. “Ah. You wouldn’t, would you?”

“No, sir, I wouldn’t. I would never refuse a pay raise. My conscience would eat me alive, sir.” 

“Yes, I have no doubt about that.”

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“Today is supposed to be my day off, sir. Toharu’s, Ario’s, Kyon’s and Ranvera’s as well.”

The shaii leaned back into his chair, crossing his arms over his chest. He gave the younger male an amused look. “And what would you like me to do about it, Goten?”

Were this any other man, like Ranvera or Kyon, Goten could have sworn that the man was flirting with him.

“We spent half of the day standing on that training field, sir.”

“Hmm… I suppose it’s your own fault for not figuring out about the water tower sooner.”

Goddamn the bastard.

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“What about the dispute over Shandera’s section between our and Ice-jins’ officials, sir?”

The prince’s face lost all playfulness in an instant. He uncrossed his arms. “In two days they are meeting again to decide under whose control it’s going to be.”

“Recently Ice-jins haven’t been very generous, sir, have they?” Goten drawled matter-of-factly. 

The prince leaned forward, putting his hands on his desk. Goten was right, recently the spoils of war hadn’t been shared equally. Ice-jins and Leiadors had been the allies of The Saiyan Empire for nearly a decade. They planned together, fought together and then shared the trophies. Various disputes were not a rarity but recently they had become rather serious.

Some Saiyans had started suspecting Ice-jins and Leiadors of wanting to unite against The Saiyan Empire. After a few similar opinions had been voiced out, Ice-jins and Leiadors had been quick to deny the accusations saying they were paranoid. The fact, though, was that the Saiyans were the weakest link in the triumvirate. Conquering the Saiyans and removing the powerful Saiyan Empire form the political map would benefit Ice-jins and Leiadors immensely, strengthening their power and influence.

“Sir?”

“I understand what you’re asking, but I don’t know any more than you do,” the shaii said. “For now, I’m serving as a shaii of this base, meaning I’m getting the same information as all the officials in officer training schools.” He shrugged. “Well, as I haven’t been summoned to the court yet, I would presume the situation is under control.”

“In any case, sir, it would be safer to avoid wandering alone and it’s best to stay away from windows.”

The prince chuckled. “It’s good to know you’re worried about my safety.”

“I’m more worried about my own safety, sir, which depends on the safety of the Saiyan Prince.”

The prince rolled his eyes. Really, although he knew that mostly Goten only pretended not to be concerned about anything or anyone around him, any other elite in his case would at least have tried to appear angry. 

“You seem to be certain that this conflict is going to escalate into war.”

“Sir, what I’m sure about is that sooner or later – probably sooner – there’s bound to be a situation where one of the allies would start getting in the way, be it us, Ice-jins or Leiadors. Power corrupts and the more power one has, the more he still wants to have. There’s no stopping, sir.”

“Hmm… Who do you think has more chances of reaching the top?” 

Goten pondered for a few seconds. “I think it would be Ice-jins, sir,” he said then. “They are the ones who contracted us and Leiadors. They have been keeping house in the universe far longer than any of us. I would not be surprised if they also have resources we have never heard about.”

“You do realize that all of what you’re saying is sedition against the triumvirate, treason so to speak?”

“Are you going to arrest me, then, sir?”

“No. But I would advise you not to profess your thoughts to people you don’t know that well.”

In answer to the shaii’s words, Goten offered him a conspiratorial grin. “You think I would, sir?”

Pleased, the shaii chuckled softly. “Alright, let’s say that this time you chose you listener wisely.”

Mutually amused, they stared at each other. Then Goten started in surprise as the intercom beeped. Reluctant to answer, the prince let the phone to emit a few long wailing shrieks then pressed the answer button.

“Yes?”

Although a lot of questions were still left unanswered, Goten was certain that the conversation was over. Indeed, a few seconds later, the prince released the button with words “send him in”. Then he told Goten he was free to go.

After Goten had left, for a minute, the shaii continued to stare at the closed door thoughtfully. He felt somewhat guilty for not sharing the information he knew with Goten. But then…he didn’t know much and what he knew would only lead to further questions instead of answers. He preferred to talk to Goten when he had more tangible leads.

The shaii pressed the call button on the intercom. It was answered almost instantly. 

“Bring me a pay raise form. Yes, I’ll attach my report to it.”

The prince released the button. He stared at the telephone, his gaze slowly turning reproachful. He himself, though, had no idea whether it was directed at himself or Goten. He turned his head to the window to stare at the sky, which was murky with sandstorm. He hummed softly. Maybe he should really order some blinds or something.  But what difference did it make? If someone wanted him dead, they would just wait for him to exit the building. The shaii shrugged.

Really, Goten was damn lucky that he was not any other elite. Any other would have reduced his pay instead of increasing it. Goten had a low tolerance for indignity, which resulted in smart-assed remarks and rebuffing as soon as he felt someone was looking down on him. It was no wonder the third-class got into conflicts with various elites. 

Goten looked out for trouble. Or at least tried to. It didn’t really work. He was like a walking magnet, like a catalyst. The spunk and defiance in his eyes presented a challenge. That’s why it didn’t work. People either followed him or went against him. And when you went against him, he retaliated.

The prince heard steps in the corridor behind his door and before the door opened, his fleeting thought was that one could strike sparks out of Goten. Quite a lot of them. And he was up to the task.

ooOoOoOoo

When Goten returned to his barracks, he found a note on the door saying that his friends were celebrating the rest of their day off in Matilda. He tore the note off the door, stuffed it in his pocket, turned around and left for Matilda’s.

It was the middle of the day, everyone busy with their work, and the officers’ club was nearly deserted except for Goten’s friends and another group of three officers sitting at the other side of the club. They glanced at Goten when he entered, but he didn’t rouse their interest and their eyes dismissed him.

“Hey, is everything okay with you?” Toharu asked as soon as Goten was within earshot.

Surprised by the seriousness in Toharu’s voice, Goten gave him a questioning look. “Yeah. Why shouldn’t it be?” he asked stopping at his friends’ table.

“You spent over an hour in his office,” Ranvera explained. “I hope it was not because of what Toharu and I did the other day?”

Goten shook his head then shrugged. He observed the table, which was strewn with empty mugs and tumblers, then took the empty seat next to his roommate. “It was because we have been discussing the increase in my pay.”

Four sets of eyes locked on Goten, who wiggled his eyebrows playfully. 

“Are you prostituting yourself or something?” Kyon said with a touch of mild envy. He yelped as Ranvera whacked him over his head. “What?” he asked, rubbing the sore spot. “I’d also prostitute myself if only anyone wanted me. Especially a prince!”

Goten gave Kyon the finger then dropped the act. “Well, I have no idea whether there is going to be any increase. I was the one to suggest it.”

Kyon gave him a look of pure incomprehension. Ario scratched his head while Ranvera and Toharu met each other’s eyes uneasily.

“You mean, you just went and suggested?” Kyon asked.

“Well, he said I was to be promoted. I don’t want to be promoted, so I asked for the money instead.”

Now all four of Goten’s friends looked at each other then lowered their heads to their drinks. Feet shuffled under the table when Toharu kicked Ranvera with a concluding “told-you-so”. Goten watched their reaction with a confused frown. Kyon drummed nervously with his fingers on the table then seemed to get embarrassed at the loud sound echoing through Matilda and stopped.

Toharu cleared his throat. “I see. Get yourself something to drink.”

Goten gave him a little surprised look then stood up and went to the counter to get a beer. On his way, he realized that he was starving and also decided to buy something to eat. 

“Toharu, relax. It’s impossible for the prince to take an interest in a common second-class,” Ranvera said with a sour conviction as soon as Goten was out of earshot.

“What’s impossible was an elite knocking up my mom,” Toharu snarled at him. “And she was only a pilot of his damned spaceship!”

A stunned silence settled at the table. Only Ario was drinking his beer noisily in big gulps, indicating that he had already been familiar with this piece of information.

“But you…” Kyon stuttered, “…second-class…”

Toharu rolled his eyes. “Of course, I’m no second-class. I’m a cross between an elite and a second-class. Well, sure, I should not have been allowed to be born, but here I am, as there are thousands of others.” He saluted Kyon with his mug then took a swig from it. “Do you really think I bested my opponents in the ring just by sheer will and skill alone? Pfft…” He laughed derisively. He took another gulp and swallowed it loudly. 

“I got to know this, though, when I was already ten. When a second-class female came to the children’s home and told me her story. He shipped her off to some backwater of a planet and I was just given away.” Toharu shrugged. “Nothing much to complain, of course. More than half of the Saiyan population grows up in children’s homes. But she told me she would have kept me if allowed.”

Kyon and Ranvera waited for him to continue but Toharu was just angrily staring at his tumbler of beer, certain that there was nothing to add to what had been said.

“And your father?” Ranvera asked tentatively.

“Ah. I beat the shit out of him a few years ago.”

Kyon nearly choked on his beer. “Fuck, man, he’s still your father… Say what you want, but he also spared your life…”

Toharu’s lips stretched into an ugly unnatural grin, baring his teeth. “Well, what can I say, sweetheart? I’m not all sunshine and flowers. I’m his shame and he’s mine.”

At that point, Goten returned carrying a mug of beer and a tiny portion of cutlet. It was unbelievably expensive but Goten was nearly certain that he was getting the pay raise. This was like a symbolic celebration.

In silence, his friends watched him arrange the petite cutlet and his huge mug of beer on the table then sit down. Obviously wanting to say something meant only for his ears, Toharu leaned forward over the table. Instinctively, Goten also leaned towards him so as not to miss a word.

“Is the prince sexually harassing you?” Toharu whispered quietly, but at the same time loudly enough for their friends to hear. Toharu suddenly felt glad that Goten hadn’t taken a bite of his cutlet yet because Goten would have probably spat it out right in his face in that unexpectedness. Now Goten was just staring at him in utter incomprehension. 

“Doing what to me?” Goten stuttered.

“Well, like touching you or insinuating something se-”

“I know what sexual harassment is,” Goten interrupted Ranvera, glaring at him. “It’s what you’re doing to me all the time!”

Kyon burst out laughing while Ario and Toharu tried to stifle their giggles.

Ranvera blushed lightly. “You’re being cruel now,” he muttered, embarrassed.

Goten snorted at him. With cold radiating off his face, he turned to face Toharu. The second-class realized that Goten took his question the wrong way.

“If you want to have fun at my expense, you r-”

“I’m not mocking you. I’m being serious, Goten,” Toharu interrupted him.

Frowning, Goten took a moment to digest this. Disbelieving, he blinked at Toharu. “The shaii? Sexually harassing me? He knows I’m a th-” he trailed off at the warning on Toharu’s face. “He would not sexually harass me even if I begged him to!”

Kyon grinned. “Have you?”

Goten gave him the finger. “Idiots,” he muttered, concentrating on his cooling cutlet. “Listen, I appreciate your worry, but you’re being too much. He would not touch me even if I were the last Saiyan in the universe.”

“He likes you.”

Goten pointed at Toharu with his fork, the cutlet dangling from it. “I don’t think he likes me. I think he likes the source of constant amusement. He’s bored out of his mind.” 

“Whatever,” Toharu gave in finally. “I just thought I’d warn you.”

“Then why the hell did you discuss it with half of the base?” Goten asked, mouthing the cutlet.

“Hey, now. Don’t be such a prick. We are worried about you.”

“There’s no reason to worry about me.”

Toharu rolled his eyes. “Our ever stoic Goten. You’d probably kill yourself first before asking anyone for help.”

Goten pointed with his fork at Kyon. “I asked him to lend me a uniform. And I borrowed some money from you.”

“Yes,” Ario nodded. “And I think we all got the shit beaten out of us because of him on more than one occasion.”

Goten nodded. “Exactly.”

“I won’t even start about the kitchen duty or that stupid flag.”

Now Goten glared at him. “Well, this was not my fault.”

Ario shrugged. He watched Goten finish his cutlet with a healthy appetite. The younger male didn’t seem to be upset by his words.

“Don’t worry,” Kyon patted Goten on his head. “We love getting beaten because of you.”

Goten rolled his eyes, pushed his empty plate farther from him and took his mug of beer. “And let’s drink to this,” he snickered, raising his mug, emptying half of it in a few huge gulps.

ooOoOoOoo

In an hour, the only two people in the club were Ario and Toharu. They were also planning to leave after finishing their beers. 

“Goten is right, you’re clearly over thinking this,” Ario said. “The prince knows that Goten is a third-class. He won’t as much as look at him.”

“Listen, love, you’re a hundred years too early to be teaching me about how people look at each other.”

Ario snorted. “I hate it when you do this.”

“Do what?”

“Sound like a three-hundred-year-old fart.”

Toharu chuckled. “Well, sorry.”

“Besides, why are you so worried about their affairs? We were just told to make sure he stays alive. Nobody said anything about protecting his cherry.”

Choking on his beer, Toharu let out a series of half-laughter, half-coughs then managed to swallow it. “I know this. But I would not want for him to end up in some nook of the universe just because the prince would be afraid of his dirty affair with a third-class reaching the masses.”

“Feeling sympathetic? Do you think he’s also of mixed blood just as you?”

Toharu shrugged. “Fuck knows. I don’t think he himself knows. Even if he knew, he would not tell us. Hmm…” he drawled. “What if his papa is some high-ranking elite plagued by remorse? Why is everyone so watching out for him?”

Ario snorted at him. “Why, really?” he asked sarcastically. “Sometimes I wonder whether you’re more in love with me or him.”

Toharu glared at him. “I can’t help liking him! Besides, in the end it might appear that he’s the prince’s illegitimate brother and the king is his granddad! Then we’d always be in his favor!”

Ario choked on his beer. “You did this on purpose!” he accused his lover as soon as the beer stopped running through his nose. He wiped at his wet and reddish eyes.

Toharu shrugged. “Well, yeah.”

“But, Toharu, love, you have a thing for soaps.”

TBC



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