The Herald Of Hope

Peace.

It was something Son Gohan had always longed for, but which had, strangely enough, always alluded him. All his life had been a transition of one adventure to the next, from training with Piccolo at the time when the Saiyajin Prince Vegeta had first come to earth along with his lieutenant, Nappa. It was hard for him to accept, at first, that battle was to become the essence of his life, when his mother had always taught him to study that he may be a great scholar someday. A smile tugged at the corner of his lips. He enjoyed reading, though increasinly the ways of his father became more and more familiar to him, much to his motherís consternation. Battle never seemed to stray far from the Saiyajin.

Son Gokou had been admired by his peers for his open and outgoing ways, as well as his impeccability. He also was also a great warrior, and, in Gohanís heart, the best that there was and will ever be. He had died during the battle with the monster Cell, and guilt sometimes gnawed at his heart that he had played a part in his fatherís death. If only he had killed Cell with one swift blow before he had begun to seemingly inflate like a blimp...maybes, always maybes... Yet his Otousan had been kind in saying that he was blameless for what had happened, that all the mattered was that he had defeated Cell. And in that act, the responsibility of being Earth's protector had been placed upon him.

Gohan sighed. He wished it was that simple. That he could defeat anyone who challenged the peace. All too often, though, he found that risking his life was an arduous task. He had just recovered from a battle with Bojack, and the anger and energy it took to reach Super Saiya-jin level 2 was very taxing, to say the least. It was rewarding in some ways to know that he was a very powerful lad. That he indeed was Gokouís son and heir. Though it would take a few years for him to be called a man, he had no doubt that he could grow much more in power over the years. But deep inside, heíd always wondered--did he want to?

He would never be completely like his father. While Son Gokou thrived in battle, he did not relish the thrill and exhilaration of combat as much as his father did. He fought because he had to, and to some extent the influence of the Saiyajin blood would always be upon him. But he was all too Human as well, and he cared very much his mother. He regretted having to upset her whenever he faced death. Yet he had always admired her for being strong, for she had learned to accept what he was and what he could and have become. Not a scholar. A warrior. Not completely, but was acknowledged to be one nonetheless. Even by Piccolo. He smiled once again. Piccoloís respect would always matter to him, for the Nameck was his mentor and friend.

Gohan stood up from his hospital bed and began to wander around the room. The movement managed to ease his sore muscles and enabled him to practice a few moves. Chichi would probably throw a fit if she found him out of bed in so short a time after his encounter with Bojack. But he decided that he had stayed there long enough. He walked to the window and flew off towards their house.

Once again, he reveled in the pleasure that flight always seemed to bring. The air lifted him, enfolded him in its currents, and bore him away with the swiftness of the passing wind. He knew that he could fly much faster, but he chose not to. He was, after all, in no hurry. And he wanted to surprise his mother.

Gohan slowly descended to the ground and picked out a few flowers from a nearby garden that he had passed on the way. Perhaps the present would cheer her mother up. Though he saw that she smiled often in the presence of their friends, he felt a loneliness and longing within her that touched his heart. Maybe it was the absence of his father. But then again, she was used to not having him around. Could it be something else?

"Okaasan?" he called as he entered the house. He found her in a corner, staring out the window, her face unreadable in the morning light. "I'm home."

"Gohan-chan?" she turned, startled. Then she smiled. "You're supposed to be in bed, you know. I always forget how fast you could recover. You're just like your otousan." She then stood and embraced him.

"I-I've brought you some flowers," he stammered, surprised and embarrassed at her sudden gesture. "Here." He handed them to her and grinned.

"Arigato ne? You've always been a very nice boy, Gohan-chan," she took the flowers and placed them in a nearby vase. She then turned and stared at him, her eyes a mystery. "Are you hungry? I could always make something to eat."

"Hai," he answered, his grin widened at the mention of food.

He watched her as she tinkered with the pots and began the elaborate ritual of preparing a meal. She was a good cook, and she had kept both him and his father well-fed throughout the years. He did not possess his fatherís tremendous appetite. Yet he admittedly could eat almost as much. Somehow, he had always marveled at her ability to seemingly be able to produce a banquet at every meal. Indeed, he couldnít imagine how life would've been if she had not been at his side all along.

And so, in gratitude, he wolfed down everything than she laid before him, and glancing at her briefly and grinning in the process. Chichi only watched and laughed at his effort to devour all the food that sheíd prepared for him. When he had finished eating, at last, he stared at her once again and found that same mysterious look in her eyes, while her hand carelessly strayed to her belly. He wondered, once again, if anything was wrong.

"Okaasan, nan desu ka? Is there anything bothering you?" he asked with a frown, noticing that she had a worried look in her face. "Please tell me."

"Gohan-chan..." she began, then once again, embraced him. He did note that tears had begun to form in her eyes. "I'm so glad you're alive..."

"I am, Okaasan...and always be here to protect you, ne?" tried to grin to lighten her mood, but she remained serious, and he sensed that she was about to tell him something very important. "Nani? It is about my Otousan?"

"He is dead once again, but then he always seems to be away from my side. He was with me more often when you were younger, though, and it seemed as if heíd be by my side the way he promised heíd be during our wedding."

She let go of him and once again headed for the window. He stared at her in puzzlement. She had never been cryptic, just someone who has always been passive and caring. She may have screamed at his father, but then their light banter had always seemed to be a part of his life. Now he felt that *something* was about to change. Exactly what, he could not yet pinpoint.

"There are times when I had regrets about marrying him, you know. Oh, he was sweet and gentle and innocent at heart, and yet there had been a lot of instances when I wished that he would be more expressive of his love. Do you know had he had once offered my flowers just like you did today, Gohan-chan? We were younger then. Much, much younger.

"But combat had always been the most important thing to him, or so Iíve always felt. Heíd always train to be stronger. And then he had you. Iíve never seen him happier as he was on the day you had been born.

"You do him proud, Gohan-chan. You resemble him. You fight almost as well. You have his innocence and his charm. Perhaps that is why I donít mind him going off to fight so often, so long as you are with me. You had always been my reason for living, Gohan-chan...and now, there will be another." Her hand strayed once again to her belly.

"O-okaasan..." he stammered, a strange suspicion dawning on him. "You mean...?" How could he have been such a baka?

"You're growing up, Son Gohan, and I am proud to say that you had grown well. Soon, you won't be my...only baby anymore." She smiled. "You will make an excellent brother, I think.

"Hai, I am pregnant, Gohan-chan. Now please don't gape. Why don't you go out and play, ne?" She fondly ruffled his hair and returned to her chair by the window. He then noticed that she had been sewing small clothes. How he had been so blind, he did not know. But now that he knew, he began to laugh.

"Gomen nasai, Okaasan", he smiled foolishly and headed for the door. I won't bother you any longer. I'll be back soon." With that, he stepped outside and closed the door.

Once again, he found himself flying and headed in the general direction of Capsule Corporation. Perhaps he would find the others there, and he would tell them the news. They would be surprised, as he had been. Yet he could not contain what he acknowledged to be excitement, and pride. A brother. He was facing another phase of his life, but he felt no apprehension or regret. Now, perhaps, he would find peace.

Goten. The name came to him out of nowhere. Perhaps they would name Gokouís second son Goten. Son Goten. He found himself laughing. He could sense a beginning of new adventures. While Gokou may no longer be around, he was. And he knew that he was going to be the man of the family for a long time to come.

He flew on. Chichi may no longer be lonely once his brother was born. Perhaps she may no longer feel that tremendous sense of loss. And perhaps they could build a happy family together. Gokou was gone, yet his legacy will live on. In him. In Goten. And instictively, he knew what was expected of him.

"Hai, Otousan," he stated, addressing his dead father, hoping, instinctivey knowing somehow that Gokou would hear. "I will not fail."



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