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.
A/N: Starcut’s crew members:

1. Captain
2. Backup Captain - (Kandar)
3. Master Sergeant
4. Navigator - (Adriel)
5. Communications Specialist - (Sildara)
6. Programmer - (Rokunda)
7. Gunnery Sergeant - (Monteira Fawa)
8. Arms Specialist – (Hazel)
9. Arms Specialist – (Mandro)
10. Flight Officer - (Reyn Dueri)
11. Flight Officer - (Jadenas Ealt)
12. Head Engineer - (Nohail Ofura)
13. Maintenance Technician – (Mirun)
14. Maintenance Technician – (Landan)
15. Doctor - (Tamahi)
16. Medic - (Yereli)
17. Head Cook
18. Cook
19. Soldier - (Edesha)
20. Goten


by chayron (, beta-read by quatreofdoom

Part 47

From where he was lying on the floor, Adriel was sending Goten a hateful look. The third-class paid him no attention, his hands patting over his uniform. The security guys lingered at the walls uncertainly but, since it had been over with one punch and no one else interfered, they stayed back.

Quietly, the crew watched Goten looking around in his pockets for the money he owed Jadenas. The third-class counted quickly and held out the credits for the flight officer. “Here. Thanks for letting me borrow.”

Jadenas nodded, taking them. “You’re welcome.”

“You know, I have some news for you,” Sildara said to Goten while Adriel was settling back into his chair next to him. The navigator was gingerly touching his injured mouth. “It was you who hacked into the main terminal from your computer.”

Goten snickered. “Hacked? Me? Are you an idiot? It took me over a month just to find a switch on that damn thing!”

“And yet it was you who did it.”

“Oh, c’mon!” Goten protested, incredulous. “The only way I would be able to hack it would be into pieces!”

Sildara rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you got that part right. Your terminal belonged to Cid Alright, and he sometimes used to work from his cabin. He set it up to connect to the main terminal. It is, of course, against the protocol.”

Goten shrugged. “What do I care? I just turned it on and played a game.”

“No,” Sildara said with a shake of his head. “You also made a call.”

“And that is of no business of yours,” Goten said calmly. His eyes, though, concentrated on Sildara with such intensity that the communications specialist’s brow started sweating. Those eyes were telling him that if it was a fight he wanted, he was going to get one. And then he was going to regret having ever opened his mouth.

“This is already the second time you’ve punched me,” Adriel muttered, touching his swelling lip. He laid his other hand on Sildara’s arm to still him.

“Yeah,” Reyn said. “So you should take the hint finally.”

Hazel and Jadenas snickered. The rest of the crew was nursing their drinks, having decided not to interfere unless it became necessary.

Adriel’s fingertips came off bloody from his lip. He wiped them on his trouser leg. Sildara was threatening Goten without any reason. In other words, Sildara was being stupid and overprotective. After all, it was their own fault for setting Goten off. All Sildara would achieve this way was even more anger; Goten would not back down. Not now and not on this. And, in addition, if Reyn decided he needed to interfere, they would never hear the end of it.

Reyn badly wanted to ask what call they had been talking about but, just like everyone else, decided to let it be for now. They hadn’t gathered here to tear each other’s throats out. They had gathered here to have a pleasant outing before resuming their patrol.

All of them started in their seats when music suddenly blared through the loudspeakers. The volume rose, fell, then rose again and stayed; the evening merriments started. Monteira twirled a finger in his ear to get over the booming shock.

“I wish they wouldn’t do that,” he said, shaking his head. He had to shout to be heard through the music. “You can continue trying to raise the roof, but I’m getting myself more beer.”

“That’s the best idea I’ve heard in a while,” Jadenas muttered under his breath and rose to follow the gunnery sergeant. Hazel went after him. Goten had noticed that Hazel was skittish, his eyes flitting all over the hall as if expecting something to happen. At first, he had believed Hazel was worried that he and the idiot couple would get into a fight. Goten later realized that it had to do with the absence of his twin brother, rather than anything else.

Goten hid his face in his huge mug of beer and returned to the surrounding world only after he had finished all of it. He inhaled three sandwiches in a row and leaned back in his chair. He felt sleepy.

“Hey, don’t sleep,” Jadenas admonished, smacking Goten’s head on his way back to the table. He was carrying two bottles of a clear liquid which the third-class identified as vodka. “We’re gonna party all night long. A few more drinks and let’s hit the dance floor.”

Goten moaned. “I think I’m going to regret having left Starcut.”

“But you don’t dance,” Hazel told Jadenas with a roll of his eyes.

“I do!” Jadenas protested. “I just don’t dance with Mandro around since he keeps laughing at me.”

“Huh,” Hazel muttered. “Really? That idiot. I’ve never even seen you dance!”

Jadenas laughed. “I don’t think it’s something to regret.”

“We’ll see.”

An hour later found half of the Saiyans in the middle of the hall, jostling like mad together to the music. A dancing Saiyan was always a sight and the local people were watching them, half in astonishment and half in amusement. As usual, it was surprising that none of them were knocking each other out with their fierce arm and leg movements.

The other half of Starcut’s crew, including Goten, had moved over to two empty tables closer to the center of the hall to watch their teammates make fools of themselves.

“That kinda looks bad,” Goten gave his piece of mind after watching his friends dance for some time. It seemed that they were doing their kata, slowing down or going faster according to how the music changed. He had seen how dancing was done by several different species, but this was just…

“Would you like to try it?” Reyn suggested.

Horrified, Goten shook his head vehemently. “Gods, no.” The motion made his head spin. He had drunk quite a lot and then some. His bladder was calling to him. Shakily, swaying a bit, he stood up. “Toilets.”

Reyn watched him go, then his concentration returned to Jadenas. All of his coworkers were a sight to behold, but Jadenas surpassed all of them. He could understand why Mandro couldn’t help laughing at him. Tonight, though, no one from the crew was laughing at him – they were simply too drunk and couldn’t care less.

“Watcha sulking about?” Jadenas asked Reyn ten minutes later, taking a seat next to him. He grabbed one of the bottles lining the table and poured himself a shot. Five bottles already stood empty, pushed to the far end of the table; two more had been left on their previous table.

“I’m not sulking,” Reyn said, pushing his shot glass over for the other flight officer to fill. “In fact, I’m enjoying your…” the third-class trailed off, not certain what to call Jadenas’s dancing. In all honesty, even if he didn’t want to insult the other man, he still couldn’t call it dancing. “…Your performance,” Reyn finished finally.

“Oh, I get it, I get it,” Jadenas said, rolling his eyes. With his head, he motioned somewhere at the hall. “What’s he doing with that third-class?”

Reyn turned in his seat to see what the other flight officer was talking about. At the far end of the hall, Goten was talking to one of the security guys. Goten had been gone for over ten minutes, but Reyn had figured it was because he had been sick. It appeared, though, that on his way to or back from the toilets, he found other things to occupy himself with. The youth was sitting on the table next to the security guy, who was leaning against the wall with his forearms crossed. It was obvious that the music wasn’t so loud there since it didn’t seem that they needed to shout to hear each other. He was grinning about something while the security guy was talking to him.

Jadenas averted his eyes to Reyn. Surprised, he noted that the other flight officer looked a great deal displeased. “Damn,” he chuckled. “You’re pretty easy to read when it comes to him. Don’t worry – it’s just a third-class.”

“Yeah,” Reyn muttered, scowling when Goten burst out laughing at something the security guy told him. In fact, it was just the opposite of what Jadenas was saying – third-classes were his main rivals. “And we’re leaving in six hours.” Reyn’s mouth tightened when he realized he had uttered this aloud. The other flight officer was giving him an interested look.

“You’ve got it bad for him, don’t you?”

Reyn said nothing. He knocked his shot down and stood up. Jadenas gave him a worried look, but relaxed when it appeared that the other man was pretty stable on his feet; he was just tipsy. Still, knowing how aggressive the other man got when drunk, Jadenas followed him through the hall to where Goten and the security guy were talking.

“…and then he said that if he was gonna get in trouble for hitting him anyway, he’d punch him as hard as he could. And then…” The security guy trailed off when he saw two second-classes approaching. He uncrossed his forearms, his back straightening at the sight of them. “Your friends,” he told Goten, who was sitting sideways, still not aware of others’ presence.

“Mm?” Goten hummed, tilting his head back, his body shifting so that he almost fell backwards. “’s you,” he said steadying himself. “What’s up?”

“I was wondering where you went,” Reyn said, lowering his hands to Goten’s shoulders from behind. He squeezed gently.

“Oh. I was just interested in what life is like here. This is Parian,” Goten introduced, pointing at the third-class. “Reyn and Jadenas. He’s been working in this club for five years. You won’t believe the things he gets to see in…”

Parian tuned out Goten’s excited prattle. From the way the youngster shifted in surprise, but didn’t protest the older man’s possessive gesture, Parian deduced that they hadn’t been together for long. He dropped his eyes away when Reyn gave him a long meaningful stare. One would think he had been about to bag this second-class kid. Right. The kid was surprisingly easygoing, not bothered by his different class at all, but that was as far as it went. Parian wished he could tell the stupid ass what he thought of his suspicion, but the second-class was entitled to pound him into the ground for as much as meeting his gaze directly.

“Umm?” Goten squirmed uncertainly when the atmosphere cooled considerably. “What?” he wondered, looking at the quiet men. “Don’t tell me you’re jealous,” he giggled, elbowing Reyn in the side. “Stuuuupid.”

Reyn realized Goten was much more drunk than he appeared since he had only meant it as a joke. He met the other third-class’s eyes levelly and saw them widen in surprise when it finally dawned on him. Goten flushed red up to the roots of his hair. Reyn wondered how Goten could still act so coy when they were already sharing a bed. He, however, found this character trait of Goten’s endearing. It peculiarly contradicted to how he was during sex, but Goten liked to feel wanted. Goten had admitted as much when he had talked about some Kyon he hadn’t been able to reject properly. This was obviously where the largest part of his indecision to cut off all of his second-class admirers stemmed from. Selfish bastard.

“Erhmm…” Goten mumbled uncertainly when Reyn just stared at him quietly. “I’d better go back to my table.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Parian said. Before this oaf of yours stirs up some kind of trouble, he added in his thoughts.

When the three of them returned, everyone else was already at the table, nursing their drinks. Loud guffaws were echoing over the music at something Adriel was telling to everyone. As soon as Goten joined them, a filled shot glass was pushed over to him and, not caring whether it was his or not and, not the least bit interested in what was in it, the third-class emptied it. It was quickly filled again.

At some point, Goten found himself on the dance floor, but he kept clumsily bumping into other people and Reyn dragged him away back to the table. Goten protested at first, then settled down. Soon, he was chortling loudly at something Adriel said. Watching, Reyn shook his head. Goten had a short memory indeed – just two hours ago he was ready to take Adriel’s head off. Maybe he would when he got sober. Or too drunk.

While Adriel was enthusiastically sharing his hottest experience with the local females, a loud echoing voice could be vaguely heard above the music. It was going on and off brokenly, only separate words floating above the music.

“…rd, you have a call from Velora. Please, …”

Goten frowned as it was intertwining with Adriel’s hilarious story. Must be someone important to be contacted from the capital itself. A captain maybe, or maybe an official needed for war council, or maybe someone’s female found out she was pregnant.

“…man ...epherd, …ere’s a c…ll for you from Velora. Pl…se, proc…d…”

Distractedly, Goten rolled his eyes and looked around for a drink. All this time, while listening to the navigator, he had been sobering up, since his shot, for some reason, stopped being filled. He hadn’t noticed, in fact.

“…and then she said she had a younger sister, if I was interested,” Adriel was telling. “Of course I was! Who wouldn’t be! And imagine my face when I…”

“Germ…n She…herd, you have a call f…m Velo…a. Proceed t… the…”

“Oh, shut up already,” Goten snorted at the unyielding voice. “Nobody cares about your stupid call!” His friends were also looking around, glaring at the loudspeakers. Must really be some serious bigwig for the announcer to be so persistent in begging him to answer the phone.

“…erman Sheph…rd, you have a call from Velora. Please, proceed to…”

Goten’s chair crashed down to the floor when he shot to his feet. “Where’s the fucking phone?” he gasped out, his eyes wide in sudden shock.

The crew stared at him in surprise.

“Huh? What?” Monteira asked, unsure what had caused this kind of intense reaction.

Abruptly, the music went down, only the static in the microphone heard. Everyone in the club raised their heads to stare at the loudspeakers on the ceiling. The people on the dance floor started protesting against the lack of music.

“German Shepherd, you have a call from Velora. Please, proceed to the counter to answer the phone.”

“Oh, gods!” Goten wheezed. “That fucking idiot!” Gasping for breath, he ran off to the counter, leaving wide-eyed men in his wake.

Goten crossed the hall like a bullet. He kept running until his stomach crashed into the counter, knocking the wind out of his lungs. Gasping, not managing to utter a word, he held both of his hands out over the counter, his fingers curling and uncurling in demand.

“What? What?” the barman said, taken aback at the sight. “Did something happen, Sir?”

“Phone, phone, phone!” Goten gasped out, clapping his hands together in his agitation. “Give me the damn phone!”

“German Shepherd?”

“That’s me!” Goten huffed out. He slapped his hands on the counter demandingly. “The phone! Now!”

With one more suspicious look at the third-class, the barman pointed at the other end of the counter where the phone was. Goten scrambled to it. “Oh, oh!” he said over his shoulder. “Return the music, okay?”

“You sure? You won’t be able to hear mu-”

“Yeah, I’m sure!” Goten said, already fitting the receiver over his ear, almost jumping up and down. “You’ve got some balls…” he panted out into it. “Sir.”

“Yeah, last time I checked I did have some,” came the prince’s smooth reply from the receiver. “You know, it always amazes me how much respect you have for your superior officers…”

Goten rolled his eyes. The music filled the club again, but it was not so loud as before. Mentally, he thanked the bartender.

“You sure took your sweet time before picking up the call.”

The third-class snorted. “I’m amazed I figured out it was you at all, sir. What if I hadn’t recognized you?”

“I’d have just used your real name. I’m glad you remembered, though.”

Goten felt he was smiling unconsciously and straightened his face. “So what can this dog do for you?” he asked. He heard the prince chuckle softly. Then silence settled on the other end of the line.

“You hung up on me.”

Goten’s face was suddenly hot like a furnace. “Err…” he stammered. “That… That wasn’t me.”

The prince tsked. “Oh, Goten. Besides lying to your superior officer, you forgot to add honorifics again.”

“Sir, I lost the number a long time ago. It couldn’t have been me. I don’t even know how to use a phone.”

“Well, of course.”

“Dog’s honor!” Goten could almost see the prince rolling his eyes. He listened to the prince sigh. It must have been a great sigh for him to be able to hear it through all the ruckus in the bar.

“We can argue about this some other time,” the prince said. “Goten, there’s this man on board the ship with you, Reyn Dueri. He’s just like you.”

Leaning on the counter, Goten closed his eyes with a chuckle. “Yes, I know, sir. He told me. I know about the project and all that stuff.” This was not a phone conversation. It was a great deal too late, the information, but it made him happy to know that the prince was looking out for him.

“Do you?” The prince was silent for a few seconds, then cleared his throat. Goten’s unconcerned voice made him wonder. “Did he tell you why the two of you are on that ship?”

Goten opened his eyes. “No, sir. He said he didn’t know.”

“He’s lying.”

Goten stiffened, bracing himself against the counter. “What’s the reason, sir? Is there something I must know?”

“So he told you nothing about that… I’ve just recently read a few reports concerning…hmm…your kind. I think they are interested in how you’ll react to each other. It seems that your kind don’t get along with each other. Far from it.”

Goten tried to stifle his laughter. From the uncertain silence at the other end of the line, he knew he hadn’t been successful. So the video hadn’t reached the prince yet. The third-class wasn’t certain if he was glad or disappointed about that. Probably both. “I think there’s got to be some mistake there, sir,” he explained, trying to steady his voice. “Reyn and I… We are…umm…very close.”

For a few seconds, only static could be heard in the receiver. Then the prince exhaled loudly.

“Goten, are you trying to make me jealous?”

Goten tugged at the cable leading from his receiver to the phone. The prince’s voice, hardly controlled, was just above a hiss and was a great deal angry. Goten wasn’t certain if that was because the prince believed he and Reyn were an item or it was because he thought he was talking shit just to piss him off. The third-class wished he could end the conversation here. On the other hand, he wanted to hear more of that memorable voice. He chewed on his lips for a few seconds, then gave in with a sigh. “I probably am. I might also be making a statement.”

“You’re drunk.”

“Yeah, I am,” Goten agreed easily. He didn’t want to go any deeper than this. As long as it helped him avoid the confrontation, he was going to agree with anything.



“I’m not going to let go of you that easily, you idiot,” the prince growled irritably. “How many times do you intend to make me repeat myself? And that guy is dangerous. Stay away from him, and I’m not saying this be-”

Goten stared at the row of varicolored bottles on the shelf in front of him. He could only see a blur. “This is insane,” he said finally, taking the receiver away from his ear. “I… I gotta go.”

“Goten, wai-…”

The third-class stared at the wobbling receiver on the counter. Leaning his elbows on it, he bent forward, his hands sliding into his hair. Shit. He shouldn’t have answered the call. But what could he do? It was not as if he could hide from a Saiyan Prince. And it was not as if he wanted to. That selfish purple-haired bastard was messing him up again. And the problem was that it felt both wonderful and dreadful.

Goten started when a hand appeared in his vision to hover above the receiver. He almost grabbed at the hand to prevent it from taking the receiver, then caught himself and raised his head to the bartender.

“Bad news, Sir?” the Ardarian asked sympathetically, returning the receiver to the stand.

Goten took a moment to think. “Not sure,” he said finally. “It depends on how you look at it.” Then he slammed his forehead against the counter, making the bartender jump away from him in surprise. “Fucking hell,” Goten cursed, raising his head, his forehead now reddish. “I forgot to ask about my father!”

Both he and the bartender started in surprise when the phone rang again. The bartender gave Goten a questioning look. It rang again.

“Oh, gods,” Goten moaned, motioning with his hand for it. He had no idea what to say except for repeating to the prince over and over that they shouldn’t be talking at all. The prince was not going to like that. Hopefully. The expectant emotion made Goten feel like slamming his forehead against the counter one more time. He was really drunk to want that.

“You’ve got some nerve to hang up on me for a second time,” the prince hissed when Goten answered. “I’ll freakin’ tear your tail off the next time I see you!”

“Then it’s better not to see me, sir,” Goten said moodily, angry at himself and the prince. “I’m against violence. Especially when it’s committed against me.”

“Oh, shut up with your crap!”

Goten closed his mouth. He stared at the varicolored bottles. “I’m a bit confused,” he admitted to the other man. “And pissed off. And nervous. And afraid.”

“You’d better be!” the prince snapped at him impatiently, not really listening to the third-class’s confessions. “Don’t you dare hung up on me again or I’ll personally come and hunt you down!” he growled irritably. “Now listen carefully, you idiot! That Reyn guy is dangerous. Why do you think there are only four of your kind left? I’ll tell you why, Goten. It’s because you’ve killed each other off! There’s something wrong with how you perceive each other. It’s pure instinct, they claim. I’ve read the entire thing, but it doesn’t seem that they figured out what it is exactly that makes you do it. But the fact is that you will attack Reyn or he will attack you as soon as both of you power up over a hundred thousand or so. That’s a proven fact, Goten.”

“Ohmyfuckinggodmotherfuckingasshole,” Goten breathed out in a few seconds when the shock passed enough for him to be able to speak. “So that’s what it was! That sonovabitch!”

“What was?”

“Never mind. I have a question, sir.”

“I bet you do.”

“So why would they put us together on one ship, sir? That doesn’t make any sense! One of us would just kill the other. Why would they do that?”

The prince was silent for several seconds, then hummed musingly. “I figured they wanted to see how you reacted to each other, but when you put it that way… It really doesn’t make any sense. From what I’ve seen, they treasure all of you too much to just go and do that. Mmm…”

“Well, maybe they’ve finally gotten bored with us,” the third-class reasoned. “Or found someone else to toy with.”

“I seriously doubt that, Goten.”

Goten liked how the prince said his name. Soft and warm and with a hint of teasing. He closed his eyes, wishing for the prince to repeat it again. Realizing how silly he was being, Goten cleared his throat uncomfortably and opened his eyes again.

“How is my father doing, sir?”

“He’s just fine. Last time I checked he was being sent to Bruminan Station. He’s completely recovered.”

Frowning, Goten studied a tall brown bottle on the top shelf. He had heard that name somewhere. It was very important, he knew. But what exactly was it about that name that made it stand out…

“Goten? Goten!”

Goten shook himself out of his trance, blinking. “Oh, sorry. I kind of…”

“Don’t ask if you don’t care!”

“You’re pretty irritable today, sir. Did something happen?”

He heard the prince sigh. “Every day, something happens. I wish I could be on that damn ship with you and not have a care in the world about all these… Argh! Do you know that my grandfather is trying to marry me off to some six-eyed tropical fish they call Princess of Redora? I’ve spent two hours arguing with him!”

“With our king, you mean?”

“Yeah, right, that freakin’ asshole!”

Goten’s eyes widened at the blasphemy, then he burst out laughing. “You sure you should be telling me this?”

The prince snorted. “Better you than anyone else.”

Goten’s grin disappeared slowly. The prince must be really tired to be sharing such personal things. Tired and incredibly busy with the empire affairs, but still miraculously finding time to concern himself with some third-class’s problems, to look out for him. A wave of gratefulness and warmth flowed over Goten. He wished he could thank the prince, but that didn’t really seem appropriate.

“Why are you so quiet?” the prince asked.

“And why are you?”

They kept silent for a while, then Goten said, “You know, I sorta know about those weekly reports Nohail sends to you.”

“Very good!” the prince said smoothly. “Then you can help him write them.”

Silence followed again.

“You’re serious, aren’t you?” Goten said in a moment, his fingers tapping on the counter.

“Yes, I am.”

The third-class sighed, accepting the inevitable. “He’s still got those swords you gave him. He treasures them a lot. We had fun fighting.”

“Don’t sugarcoat it. He’s nowhere near your league. Not with your speed.”

“That’s harsh.”

“But true.”

“Yeah,” Goten consented. “But the swords were pretty.”

The prince snickered.

“I wish we could spar again,” Goten said, his voice dreamy. “Like we did on the base. That was so awesome!”

“It was,” the prince agreed. “We’ll do it again, next time we meet.”

Silently, Goten blinked at the varicolored bottles of alcohol on the shelf. He heaved a sigh. “Will that be before or after you tear my tail off?”

The prince was quiet for a few moments. “If this is ever over…” he started, his voice soft and somewhat shaky, weighed down by sheer emotion.

“That bad, huh?” Goten said, not allowing him to finish the sentence. “Sir, it is not wise to give a promise that you cannot keep.”

So Goten was back to honorifics. The way the third-class was trying to avoid everything was, to say the least, annoying.

“Why are you so certain that I won’t keep it?”

Goten rolled his eyes up to stare at the ceiling. “Let’s say, sir, that something tells me that if I ever see you again, it will either be in the afterlife or you’ll be married to that goldfish, or maybe to some other seafood.”

“And is that a problem?”

“Meeting in the afterlife? Well, the only problem with that is that there’s no proof that it exists, sir.”

“No, you idiot, the other one.”

Goten chuckled. “Not a problem in itself either. The problem will be your precious wife, who will have me executed the moment she sees me. I seriously doubt this would be good for my health, sir.” Goten let out a tortured groan. “And I can’t believe I just contemplated that. I must be going nuts.”

“I like it when you’re drunk.”

“Of course, you do, sir. Of course, you do.”

“Let’s agree on one thing, Goten. If w-”

In his receiver, the third-class suddenly heard a series of something knocking against something. The prince cursed softly.

“That’s probably him again. With a new bride.”

“Showoff,” Goten accused.

“Hn. There’s not much to show off when they are so ugly.”

“Well, that probably depends on what standards you apply.”

The prince muttered something under his breath.

“So what will you do if His Majesty doesn’t back down?”

“I’ll just have to convince him the hard way.”

“Ah, you mean beat your standpoint into him?” Goten wondered, hardly managing to wrap his mind around the way he was discussing the affairs of the Royal Family. Was this even real? “Can you do that?”

“Well, that depends whether we spar using our ki or without it.”

“Seriously?” The third-class thought for a moment. “Your defense is lacking.”

“You haven’t even seen me at my full power.”

Goten chuckled at the prince’s objection. “It would still be lacking. And what is your power level, actually?”

“Umm…” the prince hummed reluctantly. “About a million.”

The third-class choked on his saliva and was caught in a coughing fit. It was only a minute later that he could think clearly again. His face red and his lungs still aching, he wiped at his stinging eyes. He glared at the counter, his lips stretching into a bitter grin. ‘Our power rivals, or sometimes exceeds, that of the members from Vegeta House.’ Yeah, Reyn, right. Two hundred thousand didn’t exactly cut it. Neither did three hundred thousand, for that matter. Goten felt as if the gap between him and the prince had widened tenfold. There went his hopes to find some kind of leverage in this bizarre relationship. Why did he even brood on that? Why was he so stupid?

“You’re thinking some kind of depressing crap again,” the prince said.

“How do you know?”

“You always do that.”

For the hundredth time this evening, Goten let out a long vibrating sigh. “I’m thinking that you’ll have to sell the palace to pay for this call.”

The prince chuckled. “Yeah, you aren’t exactly easy on the pocket.”

“All the reason to…” Goten trailed off uncertainly. To forget him? He didn’t really want the prince to forget him. To dump him? They weren’t even together in the first place. “Umm…” he drawled, lost. He was saved by the insistent knocking he could hear on the other end of the line. It sounded livid and impatient this time.

“Alright,” the prince said, “I’d better go or I might end up married to a lobster before I know it.”

“Yeah, it’s best you don’t. I’m afraid to even think about what your offspring would look like.”

When the prince hung up, for a few moments, Goten stood still, leaning on the counter before taking away the receiver. He idly prodded it a few times, then, with a thankful nod to the bartender, started making his way back to the table where his crew mates were.

“Damn, you were on it for half an hour!” Adriel exclaimed while Goten was taking his seat next to Reyn. “Who has that kind of money?”

It was said jokingly, but Goten easily identified the prying curiosity underneath. “I’m still not talking to you, pornfreak,” he pointed out.

“German Shepherd?” Reyn drawled, wondering why someone would call Goten that. “It’s a dog, isn’t it? I’ve seen one or two in the colonies.”

“Really? What kind of dog is it?” Jadenas asked.

“Who was that on the phone?” Reyn asked, watching Goten filling himself a glass of vodka.

Goten gave this some thought. “I think it was the dog’s owner,” he said, lowering the bottle back onto the table. He grinned at the way Reyn was looking at him, an uncomprehending look on his face. “Woof!” Goten barked, saluting the flight officer with his glass, his grin stretching over his face, but never reaching his eyes.

While the rest of the table was laughing, Reyn was giving Goten a searching look. He could feel unfriendly vibes coming from the younger male, even his scent was bordering on aggressive as well. There was also a great deal of confusion. Both combined, they made the worst blend possible. Goten was on the defensive. Anything he said could set the younger male off. What the hell had he been talking on the phone about?

Half an hour later found Goten moodily staring at the urinal in the toilets. His earlier elation at receiving the call had been quickly replaced by unease. He didn’t know what to do with himself. Then there was also the matter of Reyn lying to him. He knew why Reyn had lied. He would have probably lied as well. At least as long as there was no risk of them powering up over a hundred thousand. Being in a spaceship minimized the possibility of them summoning great amounts of ki, but there were still all kinds of emergencies. Orion, for example. But then, Reyn hadn’t known anything about his dream beforehand. He had kept things from Reyn as well.

Goten went to wash his hands. He frowned at himself in a tiny mirror above the sink. Was he trying to justify Reyn’s reasoning or was he just anxious because of the possibility that the flight officer might have toyed with him? If the latter appeared to be right, Reyn had better pray. He was not going to be a part of any haughty schemes.

The third-class moved his hands from under the tap and the water shut off. Shaking the water off his hands, he turned to go and met face to face with the elite who had tried to pick on him earlier. Past his grinning face, Goten cast his eyes on three more elites behind him. Backup. All in full Saiyan armor, while the only thing he had was his useless scouter.

“Four against one?” Goten muttered, backing away into the washbasin. “That’s not really fair, is it?”

“You should’ve thought about that before flirting with our women, shithead,” the elite snarled.

The other elites behind him didn’t move, and Goten realized that they were here just to monitor the justice being served. They had probably intended to pick a fight with the entire crew of Starcut, but by going alone to the toilets, he had given them the perfect opportunity to settle this quietly.

“Umm… I wasn’t flirting. In fact, I have a boyfriend.”

“Who the hell cares,” one of the elites snorted. “Just punch him a few and let’s go,” he said to the back of his companion.

Goten caught the elite’s fist and shifted sideways, powering up and kneeing him in the stomach, the elite’s armor bending like a piece of plastic. The man doubled over, hitting his chin against the washbasin. The third-class heard his teeth rattle. Goten grabbed him by the back of his head and lifted him, slamming him face-first into the tiny mirror above the washbasin just before the dazed elite started powering up as well. He let the unconscious body drop to the floor.

“Three to go,” Goten said with an anxious grin, flaring his ki even higher.


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