A phone rang nearby, annoying one Bulma Briefs to no end. She had been working on some plans for the past few days. A few bugs had to be worked out, but they were giving her trouble, and that incessant ringing wasn't helping any.
"Will someone please get that!?" she shouted angrily towards her assistants. The ringing stopped and a faint 'Moshi moshi?' could be heard.
"Thank you." she said, not really speaking to anyone. She rubbed her temples.
'Finally! That ringing was giving me a headache! As if I didn't have one already.' Bulma sighed heavily. 'Note to self, give bonus to the assistant who picked up the phone, and temporarily shorten the breaks for the others for not picking up that phone sooner!'
"Ms. Briefs? It's for you. It sounds urgent." her assistant, the one who picked up the phone, said in an almost scared voice. She sighed again.
"Alright." She got up and walked to the phone. Before picking up the receiver, she took a few deep breaths to calm herself. A moment later, she picked it up and pushed the extension number.
"Moshi moshi?" she said, just barely keeping from shouting into the mouthpiece.
"Bulma? He's back!" Chichi sobbed on the other end.
"Chichi? Calm down, honey! Start at the beginning!" Bulma said, giving Chichi her full attention, the plans completely forgotten.
Switch to Trunks' room . . .
At Goten's words, Trunks froze, a sock half way on his foot, and Bra's head snapped up. They both turned to him, wide eyed.
"Piccolo hit on you?"
"And he made your mom cry?"
"You haven't even eaten yet?"
"Bra, I hardly think that's nearly as important as the others!"
"He's a saiyan and he hasn't eaten yet. That has to mean something!"
"Would you two stop!? Let me explain!" Goten said, finally getting a word in. Trunks stopped what he was about to say and Bra stared at her feet again, embarrassed at her actions in front of her crush.
"Thank you." Goten got up and started pacing the floor. When Goten didn't speak after a minute, Trunks asked the first logical question that came to mind.
"When did he get back?"
"This morning. I felt him leave when I was waking up. I thought it was just Gohan, till I went to the kitchen and found Mom crying on the floor." Goten started.
"What happened?" Trunks asked.
"Well , from what Mom told me, Dad came back, and found her with Zarbon. They told him about them getting married and he left."
"There must be more to it than that, if he made your mom cry. What did he do?" Bra asked.
"I don't know. He wouldn't hit her. I think he might have said something before he left that hurt her. That's all I can think of." Goten responded, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Oh, your poor mom! Torn between the two men she loves . . . how . . . how . . . what's the word I'm looking for?" Bra asked.
"Ridiculous?" Trunks teased.
"Oh, you!" she thwapped him hard. "What would you know, anyway? You're just a heartless male! No offense, Goten."
'What would I know? I'm only torn between the man I love and my own cowardice! Why wouldn't I know something on the subject?' Trunks thought.
"Then what happened?" he decided to change the subject.
"Well, I told Mom not to worry and that I'd get Gohan and we'd go after him. I also said that once Dad had a chance to think things through, he'd understand, and I think he will. So I found Gohan with Piccolo and . . . Bra, could you cover your ears for a moment?" Goten asked.
"Why? There's nothing you can't say in front of me! I can take it!" Bra complained.
"Fine." Goten covered her ears.
"Hey!" she complained, but didn't really mind! After all, HE was holding HER head!
"It's for your own good!" he told her then covered her ear again. Trunks laughed.
"Where was I? Oh, yeah! I found them together, naked, and it looked like they were about to, or just had . . . you know!" Goten said, too embarrassed to say exactly what he thought.
"No, I don't. What?" Trunks, picking up on his embarrassment, asked, grinning.
"Trunks!" Goten was a little surprised that he would joke at a time like this, but not really.
"Okay, okay! I get the picture! And then?" Trunks chuckled at Goten's discomfort about the subject.
"Well, I . . . Oh, you can listen now." he removed his hands from Bra's ears, a little to her disappointment. "Anyway, I told them what had happened and Gohan said to get you and go to Kami's lookout and see if Dende can tell where Dad is."
"It takes both of you to do that?" Bra asked, a little confused.
"Well, depending on what Dad is doing, I might need his help." Goten explained.
"So, what's Gohan doing?" Trunks asked, also a little confused.
"He went to work. Summer classes."
"Oh, that's right!" Trunks slapped his forehead.
"Well, duh, Trunks! Use that brain Mom keeps saying you have!" Bra teased.
"Why, you!" Trunks chased Bra around the room, she squealed as she eluded him. Goten stood up to try to stop them, but only ended up in the middle when Bra hid behind him. This caused Trunks to stand right up to him to reach around to get at Bra. Goten almost didn't want to stop them!
"Guys, this is hardly the time for this! Dad's back, but he's also missing! Come on, cut it out!" Goten pleaded. Trunks stopped, then realized how close he was standing to the object of his desires, the person from his wettest dreams. He turned away quickly, and began to rummage through his closet.
"So, what's this about Piccolo? Did he really hit on you?" Trunks asked, his back turned toward them, hiding his blush and arousal.
"That's what I'm not too sure of." Goten sat on the bed again.
"Well, tell us what he did, and maybe we can figure it out." Bra suggested, sitting next to him. Trunks stepped into the baggy khaki shorts he picked out and slipped on a long button-up shirt with the sleeves torn off. Adequate clothing when you have a hard on that you don't want anyone to know you have. He then plopped down beside Goten, his shirt bunching up to hind any possible tell tale bulges.
"Come on, bud. Spill!" Trunks mind couldn't help but turn those words into something else, as did Goten's.
"Well, uh, Gohan had just left and I was thinking. I was in the middle of asking Piccolo a question when I noticed how he was looking at me."
"Like how?" Bra asked.
"Like . . . like a starving man who just spotted a juicy steak he couldn't wait to sink his teeth into." Goten said rather quickly.
"Is that all?" Trunks asked.
"No. He said that I reminded him of Gohan, when he was my age. You should have seen the way he smiled. And I squeaked, you know, like I do when I'm nervous?"
"What did you say?" Trunks asked, knowing all too well that incredibly cute squeak that Goten spoke of.
"I said 'I do?' and he laughed. Well, chuckled. Which is really weird coming from Piccolo! But then he said that I even squeak when I'm nervous! I already knew that, but I didn't know he knew!"
"What'd you say then?" Bra asked.
"I didn't say anything, actually. I just, uh, blushed." Goten admitted, blushing sheepishly. Trunks cracked up.
"You blushed! You shouldn't have done that! Not if he was hitting on ya!" Trunks laughed.
"Yeah!" Bra agreed, though not laughing, but rather smiling. "You're just too cute when you blush!" Bra froze when she realized what she just said.
"Funny," Goten blushed even more by the confirmation. "That's almost exactly what he said!" Trunks started choking on his own spit when he heard those words.
"Say what?!?" Trunks asked, rather startled.
"I think his exact words were 'You're even cute when you blush!' and he laughed even more when I , uh, blushed deeper. Then I left." Goten finished, playing with a loose thread on his shirt. All was quiet as Trunks and Bra contemplated what Goten just told them.
"Okay, so he complimented you. Did he look you over? You know, like he was interested?" Trunks asked.
"I think so, yeah. Well, I caught him staring at my ass, anyway." he had been hoping he didn't have to tell anyone about that.
'Don't blame him.' Trunks and Bra both thought simultaneously.
"What should I do?" Goten asked.
"Well, I think you should tell Gohan."
"Privately." Bra agreed. "And have him talk to Piccolo."
"Yeah, tell your brother to keep his boyfriend on a shorter leash!" Trunks said, half joking.
"Gah! Did you have to say THAT?!?!" Goten placed his hands over his face, in an attempt to will the image away. It wasn't working. Goten's actions puzzled Trunks and Bra.
"Why? What's wrong?" Trunks asked, as he placed a concerned hand on Goten's shoulder. Bra did likewise.
"It's just that . . . I thought the exact same thing earlier and . . . it caused an image to pop into my mind of Piccolo . . . wearing a studded dog-collar and leash . . ."
"Well, that's weird but not that bad!" Trunks said. Bra nodded in agreement.
"And nothing else!" Goten finished. Trunks and Bra's eyes grew wide as they pictured a similar image in their minds.
"Oh, my!" Bra spoke after a minute of silence.
"Indeed!" Trunks concurred.
"I'll never be able to look at collars and leashes the same way again!" Goten exclaimed.
"Yeah, well, thanks for sharing! Neither will I!" Trunks said sarcastically.
"Me neither." Bra agreed.
"Sorry, but you did ask!" Goten reminded them.
"And I'm kicking myself for that!" Trunks admitted.
"Let me join you, dear brother!" Bra's voice dripped with sarcasm.
"Like you wouldn't have asked if I didn't! You wanted know as much as I did!" Trunks shot back.
"Let's not start this again, please? We've got enough trouble as it is without you two bickering!" And they stopped. He didn't get it. Bulma would have to yell at them 3 or 4 times before they would stop, but he only had to ask once and they would stop immediately!
"Hey, Trunks. Do you know who might have wished Dad back?" Goten asked, just now remembering the question he tried to ask Piccolo.
"Huh? Well, um, no. I don't." Trunks admitted.
"Well, I had narrowed it down to 17 and Vegeta, since they both had a dragonball, but I can't think of any logical reason as to why either of them would do something like this. What do you think?"
"I haven't seen either of them for awhile, which isn't new, so I can't really say. Hmm . . . let me think for a minute." Trunks said.
"Well, 17 lives way out in the woods by himself, all alone. Maybe he got lonely? Maybe he thought that since your mom remarried, that he would need a place to stay and he could stay with him, and keep him company." Bra offered. Trunks and Goten both turned toward her with a weird look on their faces, as if she had just struck upon something and didn't even realize it.
"That's it!" Trunks exclaimed.
"Why didn't I think of that before!" Goten started pacing again.
"What? You mean I'm right?" Guys?" Bra asked, confused by the boys reactions.
"A romantic interest!" Trunks joined Goten in pacing.
"It all makes sense now! Why else would anyone bring him back?"
"But who? We still haven't figured that one out. It could still be 17, of course. We really don't know that much about him. But Dad . . . doesn't seem likely that it would be him." Trunks conjectured.
"Maybe it's someone we don't know, like a secret admirer he had." Goten proposed.
"Not likely. I mean who else knew about the dragonballs and New Namek? It's pretty far fetched." Trunks concluded.
"Yeah, your right." Goten paced some more.
"Hold it! Back up the gravy train, boys! What are you talking about?" Bra stood there waiting for an answer.
"Well, when you said 'keep him company' it just hit us! The one reason I hadn't thought of for bringing Dad back!" Goten explained.
"And that is what? Love? Lust? If so, then who would it be? Certainly not Daddy! And I hardly think 17 is gay! This just isn't making any sense!" Bra sat down with a sigh. "So, that's what you were all excited about? Big whoop! Sounds to me like you're just grasping at straws!"
"Well, at least we're trying! And one of them is bound to be the right straw!" Trunks joked. This caused Goten and Bra to laugh a little and loosen up a bit.
"We should get going, Trunks. Besides, Dende might know the answer to who, even if not the why." Goten headed for the door.
"Right behind you!" Trunks said.
"Wait! Can I come?" Bra asked hopefully. Goten and Trunks exchanged looks.
"Better not, squirt, could be dangerous! Besides, Mom would have a fit!" Trunks told her.
"But we'll tell you all about it when we get back, okay?" Goten said, placing a hand on her shoulder. Butterflies flitted through her stomach at his touch.
"Fine." she said, giving up.
"That's my girl!" Goten ruffled her hair and kissed her cheek. She wasn't complaining!
"Come on! Stop making passes at my little sister, and move your ass!" Trunks called
from down the hall. Goten soon followed, leaving a whistful Bra behind.
A/N: Ah, sibling rivalry! ^^ Who will win Goten's affection? As if you had to ask! ^_~ And what of Bulma's mysterious plans? . . . You'll have to wait on that one. ^^;; Moshi moshi=hello (used when answering the phone)