Slide. Stop. Slide.
Slide. Stop. Slide.
Someone or someones griping legs and shoulders. Trapped? Captured?
"I left them. First my best friend gets hurt because of me and now I've abandoned Tousan and Gohan."
"It wasn't your fault that Goten got hurt and the others… I told you they could take care of themselves, besides I left as well."
"Yeah, but only because someone had to take care of Goten."
"Maybe so but you could take care of him just as well as me."
"Hey, his ki is stable!"
Argh!!! Neck on fire! Pain! Fire! Fire!
Hand being lifted. Wrist touched.
"Krillin his pulse is stronger! I think he is getting better!"
Better? But neck?
"Then why hasn't he woken up?"
"I wouldn't want to wake up if my otousan attacked me."
"Did he just say something?"
Goten opened his eyes. At first they refused to focus and watered making the world a blurry site, but he forced himself to blink a few times and slowly took in the scene around him.
A shadowy spectre of a face came into view. "Welcome back to the land of the living," it said.
"Why is it so dark?" The youngest saiyan's words came out at a sluggish pace and it felt like each word was a tongue twister.
"We’re in an air vent," said somebody else. It sounded familiar, younger than the other one and very urgent. "Don't worry we'll be getting you out of here soon."
There was a clacking sound and grey light filtered in.
Goten felt the grips on his arms and legs tighten and he was slid through some tight opening into the light. For a moment it blinded him, but where his vision failed his memory arised.
Playing with Trunks. Laughter.
His father Goku smiling strangely, then NO! He charges at him. Hits him.
PLEASE NO! NO!!
Being taken somewhere. To safety?
"What… what happened?"
"I don't know Goten… I just don't know."
The boy felt himself being propped against a wall and his eyes adjusted and he saw Krillin and Trunks walk over to him and kneel down.
The former monk's hands carefully touched the bandaged wound on his neck. Even though his fingers were being delicate, a searing pain lanced through the wound nearly knocking Goten out once more.
"We'll need to change these," Krillin commented and Trunks nodding, ripped one pant leg of his gi up to the knee, and quickly started tearing it into strips to make crude dark blue bandages.
"It was all just a dream. Right Krillin?" asked Goten as Krillin started unwinding the old bandages from his neck. The earthling gazed at him for a second and then looked away.
There was no answer and Trunks took his right hand giving it a warm comforting squeeze, but the boy didn't want comfort. He wanted it to be fake, not truth. The truth wasn't possible. The truth couldn't happen.
"Right? Tousan wouldn't do this to me. Right?" Goten felt his eyes become red as tears began to build and soon they seeped through uncontrolled, falling down his cheeks in shiny groups.
How could one reply to such a question? Was it even possible?
"Right?" he begged, desperation filling his tone and hope, all hope, was dwindling fast. "Krillin? Trunks?" The demi-saiyan looked from one of his companions to the other.
He didn't need an answer. Their faces told it all and despair like a wave rushed over him drowning him in its cold depth.
"Gohan. I want Gohan. Please, I just want my brother," Goten pleaded and he repeated it again and again, softer each time until finally it was a murmur in his sleep.
The boy was out again and Krillin wasn't sure what to think or feel. For a while the warrior just stood and stared at nothing in particular not at Goten, not at Trunks, not at anything. Part of him had been clinging to the idea that Trunks had been wrong whether he had been lying or mistaken or anything but this. Unfortunately Goten's words had been all too clear and now they knew what was going on.
Why after all this time, Goku? I thought I knew you and now you go and do this.
Krillin finished changing Goten's bandages and then with the help of Trunks, they managed to get the youth onto the Krillin's back. Nobody would have thought the boy was so heavy at first glance, but underneath the bright orange outfit was a set of battle hardened muscle that at this point was limp and supported not one ounce of its own weight.
"Lets get going," Krillin said and turned to Trunks. The Briefs' face was blank and he took in what he saw with a great deal of indifference and it made the human wonder how he had looked a few minutes earlier. The earthling lightly touched Trunks' shoulder getting his attention and with Goten on his back and Trunks behind him they walked down the hall.
They moved mechanically and Krillin felt stupid for being out in the open, but they couldn't stay in the air vents forever, especially with Goten being injured. Unfortunately the chamber with the healing tank was still a floor up and going up there with him somewhere wasn't exactly a good way to get anyone healthy, and get himself and Trunks to lose a great deal of health.
Each step seemed all too loud and he didn't dare fly in the chance that he might sense his Krillin's ki signature. Another little bonus was that ship had been designed in the normal roundish Capsule Corp. fashion, allowing his view to be hampered by the consistent curve of the hall, always allowing a place for an enemy to be hiding.
Eventually after going at their snail pace for a few minutes they came to one particular door that Krillin remembered from before this had all started. Beckoning Trunks, he trudged over, opened it, and they entered together.
It was a small room, a bathroom to be exact. There was a mirror reflecting the figures of the three occupants and adding onto the picture with flicks of shaving cream and toothpaste. Below it was a sink and counter covered with a mess of hairbrushes, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, and other such things, all carelessly scattered there by a group of lazy males. He remembered Chichi saying "You men can train all day and all night, but you can never get the energy to clean up after yourselves." On the right was a shower and toilet that were considerably cleaner.
Trunks broke out of the trance he had been in. "Don't tell me you have to go at a time like this?" he exclaimed.
"No, that isn't why we're here but this is," Krillin explained and closing the door indicated to the lock on the handle. It seemed to silly say that a simple lock was enough to stop a Super Saiyan from breaking in, but this was Briefs made.
"I get it; we can stay here until help arrives."
Krillin shook his head and carefully took Goten off his back and placed him into Trunks' arms. "No, you guys are staying here. I am going to see what I can do." It was a ridiculous idea, but he might able to something to help the others. True, he wasn't as powerful as some but he could surely so something in this mess.
"Wait a sec, I am stronger than you. I should…" Trunks started.
"No," Krillin interrupted. He must be nuts even considering going out there. "I know you want to help and I understand, but if something goes wrong you'll be able to protect Goten better than I ever could. I don't think I could do any good that way, but I do have some ability at sneaking around and that might help out."
There was no protest but the lavender-haired half-breed sighed.
"Come back," he said. It sounded more like a order than a request, a sign of how much like he was like his parents.
"I will try," answered the human and headed out of the washroom. The door shut behind him, and he didn't leave until he heard the soft click of the lock being set into place.
As he walked he couldn't help but rub his temples and came back to the grate that he had come through minutes before and getting down started crawling through the darkness. It was stuffy from dust and hot. He didn't understand why the ventalation wasn't working properly, yet that wasn't on his mind in the least.
It had been bad enough crawling through here when he had been with the others needing to slide Goten up through the little space while Trunks pulled Goten, a slow job that had taken an hour. Now it was worse. He felt like a piece of mouse going down into the belly of a snake where he would die a very painful death.
Okay… Maybe his imagination needed a break.
"How the HFIL do I get into these messes?" he muttered. Despite the comment he knew exactly why.
Gohan and you too Vegeta, you better be alive.