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Things Behind The Sun

By aquapen

Drama / Romance

Two In The Morning

She was struggling up a steep mountain path, the hill was broken and hostile, but she knew it well enough.

The vegetation was thick at the sides of the trail and she was trying to keep her balance by occasionally leaning onto the branches of the trees and bushes that offered her some kind of raw handrail.

Her white nightgown flapped around her ankles in fascinating, ghostly patterns as she ran, and her turquoise hair swayed on her shoulders, imitating the sea.

The forest was eerily silent.

It was almost dawn and the lights were pale and cold, almost bluish, cerulean. She kept going, she was almost there. In fact, just as she emerged onto an open, rocky plateau, out of nowhere a warm hand landed firmly on her shoulder.

She knew that touch and she knew that warmth.

Finally. She smiled and turned to meet a smile just as intense.

"You found me."


May, 756

Bulma opened her eyes.

After a brief moment of haziness, she found herself blinking at the white ceiling of her bedroom.

Disappointed, she huffed in annoyance and closed her eyes again, trying to cling onto the details of the dream, but as it always happened, the harder she tried, the faster they slipped away in misty, ungraspable fragments and soon, it was gone. The dream had disappeared into the depths of her subconscious and thus, with a sigh, she peeled her eyes open to look at the red numbers of the digital clock.

2:01 AM.

Great.

With a groan, Bulma brought the heels of her hands to her eyes, pressing hard. She hated being up in the middle of the night. She had learned a while ago that getting her smooth, undisturbed nine hours of deep sleep did wonders for her looks and for her mood. And anyway, as far as she was concerned, sleeping was a sacred activity. All the reasons why she immediately turned onto her right side, squeezed the pillow tight between her arms and tried to go back to it.

Then she turned left.

And then she turned on her belly.

And then, with a frustrated growl, she gave up trying to go back to the sweet world of dreams and crankily got up, kicking away the sheets.

Yawning, she stretched her arms and her back and then she padded with little grace to the french window leading onto her balcony. She peered for a moment at the sky from behind the curtains before slipping outside quietly. The air of the night was hot and damp, kind of heavy, just enough to slightly dim the blinding lights of West City.

She wondered if it was going to rain and with a sigh she thought it was just her luck. Her hair was going to be a real pain in the ass the next day, just when she needed it to be absolutely perfect.

What am I talking about, she then thought, shaking her head. It was not her wedding day. With a light frown, she lingered on the notion of Goku getting married before her and then, just as the thought began to get somewhat twisted in a way she didn't fully comprehend yet, she shook her head with a self-content grin. The whole point of attending a wedding was the competition between female guests to upstage the bride, she told herself.

Bulma was a lot of things – a genius, for instance, an adventurer, not a smug person at all if you asked her, and, of course, she was beautiful. She knew she was. Her mother used to tell her every night while giving her the usual one hundred strokes of brush before bedtime. And Yamcha too – mostly when he wanted his mischiefs to be forgiven, but still – she knew she was. So the last, silly and kind of vapid thought Bulma had that night was that she was going to go all out to be the most beautiful woman at the wedding the next day.

She was brought out of her idle musings when suddenly, out of nowhere, came a ringing voice.

"Hey, you!"

"AAAHHH!"

Bulma jumped right out of her skin, but she recovered soon enough to stupidly put her arms in some kind of defensive stance Yamcha had once tried to teach her.

"Who's there?" she yelled, eyes darting left and right, her arms stretched out in front of her. "I'm not afraid to punch hard, you know!"

Her valiant bravery was rewarded with a loud, amused whistle.

Bulma certainly wasn't one that appreciated being mocked and she was more than ready to chew out to death whoever had dared when she jerked her head upwards but, instead, her mouth went immediately agape when she saw the familiar face hanging down, head cocked curiously to one side.

Son Goku, of all people, was floating in mid-air just above her head. Only, he was upside down, like a huge, orange and – Bulma thought faintly – quite dazzling bat. His arms were crossed on his chest and he had an impish grin on his young, unlined face.

Bulma suddenly felt embarrass at her silly overreaction, but she sure as hell wasn't going to show any of it. With a scowl, she lowered her arms and collected herself.

"Goku!" she yelled, eyes narrowed sternly. "You scared the hell out of me!"

Pouting, she watched as he floated through the air, turning around with a graceful flip; he flew closer to her balcony, bringing a hand behind his head and addressing her his signature goofy smile.

There are things that just never change, Bulma said to herself as she looked on. How many times she had watched Goku doing just that? Her heart suddenly soared, filling with the unfathomable liquid warmth she felt whenever thinking about the strange monkey-boy and most of all about the amazing times they spent together. Except, he wasn't really a little boy anymore, at least on the outside – that was for sure. None of them was actually a kid anymore. The next day was just another reminder of that sort of melancholic truth, but she stubbornly pushed the thought away and dramatically brought a hand to her chest.

"My poor heart!" she declared.

"Hehehe, sorry Bulma!" Goku said, his smile widening as he continued. "I forgot I'm dealing with an old lady here!"

"HOW DARE YOU!"

Goku's open laugh filled the night as Bulma hit him on the arm. "You dummy!" she whined as Goku laughed again and stuck his tongue out. "You're impossible, Son Kun" Bulma continued, shaking her head in the most patronizing way she could muster.

Goku's bright eyes scanned intently her face for a few moments.

"Can't sleep?" he finally asked.

Bulma nodded, before breaking away from his stare. She looked up at the clouded black sky as she answered. "It's called insomnia" she replied. "You too?"

"Yeah…" he said, slowly maneuvering himself through the air to sit on the edge of the balcony.

Bulma raised an eyebrow, turning her head to look at him again. That was new. Goku usually slept like a rock. She had watched him sleep and heard him snore quite a number of times, back in the old days – aware of her gaze, Goku chuckled sheepishly.

"I mean, I don't know" he mused, his eyes wandering on the sky. "This… this whole wedding… bride… thing has put me a little bit on edge."

Bulma nodded, her face all mature and savvy. "I bet it has. What doesn't involve fighting or food isn't exactly your strongest point."

Goku chuckled again. "Hehehe. I guess."

The simple response to her unnecessary jab put Bulma to silence for some reason, but she didn't give in to the sudden, baffling urge to apologize. It was the way it was between them – she was the one versed in the ways of the world and he was the boy from the woods, always learning new things from her. Was it? She glanced furtively at his profile – oddly fascinated and bewildered at the same time.

There it was again. It was the same alien feeling she had experienced two weeks earlier when a tall stranger wearing a turban had helped her recover a yellow balloon for that little girl. Yes, that was Son Kun alright. Happy-go-lucky with his wide open smile. But there was something different about him, flashes of something she couldn't quite put her fingers around and it was weird – she wasn't used to the sensation at all.

They had all been there the day Goku fought against Piccolo, Piccolo Daimao's evil offspring, the demon King, in the finals of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai.

Bulma remembered watching from the sidelines, paralyzed with fear, as he bled copiously on the dirty ground and she had thought that was it – they were all going to die. If Goku, who was a fighter so strong and so foolishly brave, couldn't do it then nobody could and the Earth was as good as in ashes. And that meant so many nevers for her. But, as always, Goku had pushed through the worst odds and once again he had saved the world. He had saved all of them – saved her. And he was all in one piece, which surely enough had been a relief. Of course, once it was all over and the rush of fear and adrenaline faded, Bulma hadn't thought much of it, really – she was just glad she could make her way back home safe and sound, thank you very much.

And then Goku had flown away into the horizon with the girl, that weird Chichi chick he apparently had agreed to marry and – really? Bulma had gaped as her eyes had followed the disappearing shape of the flying Nimbus. Oh Kami, that had happened. Goku was really going and marrying someone. Talk about unexpected, but yeah, stranger things had happened, had they?

Bulma had frowned. She wasn't sure.

She had raised a hand to shield her eyes, but Nimbus was already nowhere to be seen. It had occurred to her she hadn't even said goodbye but, apparently, her muted wave toward the horizon had to be enough for the time being.

Then, two days after all the commotion, the wedding invitation came and Bulma had laughed hard with Yamcha at reading Son Kun's name printed on something so ordinary – all the while Puar addressed them a pitying, skeptical look. And then there they were, on her balcony in the middle of the night, side by side quietly.

The silence was stretching between them. It wasn't thoroughly uncomfortable, but soon Bulma, out of nowhere, started to feel fidgety. She shifted her weight from one leg to another and smiled nervously as Goku turned to look at her. His black eyes were big and alive and so quiet and yet simmering, she found it impossible to look away. She felt trapped, staring back, heart tumbling oddly in her chest. And when he returned the smile with one of his own – and it was gentle and clear and unbiased – for the first time Bulma wondered what he was seeing. If she had changed in his eyes, or at all.

She allowed his scrutiny for several long moments, but her smile had become more of a grimace when, finally, she broke the silence, her voice just a little bit strained when she spoke.

"What are you doing all the way up here?" she said past her clenched jaw. Aren't you getting married, like, tomorrow morning?

Goku shrugged, smile unwavering. A few moments passed then the grin widened.

"Wanna go for a walk?" he said.

Bulma blinked slowly, dumbfounded, a little taken aback for some reason.

"…sure."

"Great! Woo-hoo!" Goku exclaimed and with a small, airborne somersault he left his sitting position on the balcony and went back to float up and in front of her like it was nothing. Bulma did her best to quickly conceal her amazement and eyed him more suspicious than ever.

"Come here!" he said, tugging at her gently from her arms. Except Bulma didn't register the gentle part. She felt her feet leave the pavement and shrieked in terror while going stiff as a block of wood.

"GOKU! What the hell are you doing?!"

Goku laughed loudly. "Let's go!" he hollered.

He scooped her closer into his arms, as if she was made of feathers, not of flesh and bones – and she had eaten that chocolate cupcake before bed anyway – and jostled her around until he decided they were secure enough. Bulma gasped and shut her eyes tightly. He was pulling her up through the air, she was positive – she couldn't feel the ground beneath her feet! She opened one eye and immediately wish she hadn't. The city below them was so far away she could only see points of light that were gradually getting tinier. Her heart tumbled faster than ever and this time she totally knew the reason why.

"No, no, no, nonono, put me down!" she screeched, her voice going up several decibel with every word she said, her legs flailing like mad. "I THOUGHT YOU SAID WE'D WALK!"

"Oh, come on, Bulma! It'll be fun!"

"Is an eighty feet fall fun to you, you idiot? I'm too young and pretty to die!"

Goku laughed again and lightly whirled in the air while holding her up against his side – an arm wrapped around her tiny waist.

"Would you stop squirming?" he lightheartedly said, slowly moving up and forwards. In response, Bulma went as rigid as ever and clasped her hands on his forearm.

"GOKU!"

But Goku was unfazed. "You're acting like I'm going to let you fall," he said as a matter-of-fact.

Bulma's head shot up at the remark and their eyes locked and remained locked.

"Uh?" she could only gasp.

"I won't!"

Bulma felt all the breath and the fight leave her all at once. She swallowed nervously but decided she wasn't going to cave in that easily. "I don't know," she said. "I still like my helicopter better."

Goku rolled his eyes good-naturedly.

"Do you trust me?"

Bulma closed her eyes for a split second and then opened them again. Was she really having a chat about trust issues while flying thirty feet above her house in her pajamas? And with Son Kun on top of everything?

The two words left her before she knew it.

"…I do."

"Good!" Goku said with a confident smile and he held Bulma closer as he flew a few feet higher, surveying the skies. "And now… let's go!"

They shot forward like shooting stars. Bulma felt the wind whistling in her ears and her heart racing fast in anticipation, her blood pumping strong in her veins. But she wasn't scared, she realized as she inhaled the cooler air. She watched in amazement as the city below them went by in a blur of lights and smoke, leaving its place to a natural, fiercer, undomesticated panorama.

She was excited. The thrill of the adventure was back on her skin, giving her goose pimples and making her smile from ear to ear.

"Where are we going?" she yelled over her shoulder, trying to overcome the wind.

Goku laughed and spun her in the air. Bulma shrieked, but it wasn't terror that time – it was a moment of pure glee.

"I don't know!" he shouted back. "We're going!"


They were soaring.

Cooling air rushing through her hair, Bulma felt a rush of fierce joy as she turned her head slightly to meet Goku's gaze, that was mirroring the elation she was feeling. They could see mountains below them, then small collections of lights as the flew over villages, the wind roaring and roaring in their ears and slowly but surely the sky cleared and tiny trails of silver stars made their appearance – it was wonderful.

Bulma had lost sense of time – she didn't know how long or how far she had let herself being carried away by Goku and the wind when she realized they were slowly starting to descent, trees and trails gradually getting larger as they approached the ground – she could make out the outline of something shining through the darkness. They landed on something soft with a gentle thud. Goku's arms were steadying her as she regained her bearings.

"Here we are," he said, letting go of her. Bulma looked around and she gasped in surprise. They were in the most exquisite place she had ever seen before. Truly. The clearing wasn't very large but the surrounding lush vegetation – ancient trees, vines, bushes bearing small, sweet-smelling white flowers - formed a single, near-perfect semicircle around it and the grass was thick as the most expensive carpet.

"Oh…"

She took a few steps forward, getting closer to the shimmering circle she had seen from above – a beautiful, small yet deep enough pond of clear waters, silvery under the blanket of star-quilted sky.

"Goku…" she breathed, looking around, her eyes wide with admiration as they drank in the scenery. "This is gorgeous."

Behind her back, Goku smiled and said nothing. He watched as she gushed about, moving her head right and left so she did not miss a detail of the amazing spectacle nature was offering her. Something suddenly caught his attention. A tiny, teeny spot of tepid, yellow light zooming by her left shoulder, bright against the night – a firefly. It was so small and perfect he was about to say something when Bulma twirled to face him and it flew away. She never noticed. She was focusing on him, her face bearing a sly, cunning smile.

"Sooo…" she said, her eyes sparkling with mirth. "Are we going to swim?"

Goku waggled his eyebrows. With two steps, he approached her beside the bank and bended slightly as to examine the water. After a moment, he withdraw and took a step back. "Nah," he said, with a shrug of his shoulders.

Not the reaction she was expecting. Surprised, Bulma turned to get a better look of his face, but she didn't make it all the way because she suddenly felt herself being pushed backward… her arms grasping madly at the air…

"IIIH!"

…before she finally lost her balance and hit the water of the pond like a stone, with a loud, very graceless and unladylike splash.

She resurfaced, coughing and spluttering, her hair sticking to her face, covering her eyes and she immediately picked up his laugh through her flooded ears. She growled furiously.

"You big fat jerk!" she howled, spluttering some more water.

With a broad smile, Goku crouched in front of her. "Oh, come on!" he said chuckling. "You asked for it!"

"Hmpf."

Bulma snorted and peeled her hair away from her face to glower at him more effectively. Goku answered with an apologetic smile.

"Sorry. You okay?"

Bulma brought herself closer to the bank with a few kicks of her legs through the water. She grabbed a hold of the dark aquatic vegetation that grew near the shore before changing her mind.

"Ew! Give me a hand, will you."

Goku nodded and reached for her extended arm but he somehow entirely missed the mischievous shift in her irises, because when he took her hand she smirked and yelled "Gotcha!" before tugging at him with all her might and making him topple forward and into the water.

They sank together in a whirl of intertwined limbs. They swirled in upwards circles as they untangled their arms and legs, the water making every movement extremely slow. Bulma had her eyes open. It burned a little, but she didn't mind. It was cool and peaceful, everything was muffled, every sense quietened – the water was a filter, it gave only silence and clarity. Purity. She watched the bubbles coming out from Goku's nose and they exchanged a brief glance. The time of the blink of her eyes, and they broke the surface together.

A beat passed with only their heavy breathing filling the air, then Goku stuck his tongue at her and she splashed water in his face.

"Hey!"

Bulma splashed him some more. "Serves you right!"

"You want war?"

"Oh, no, you don't!"

"Get ready!"

"Ahhh, Son Kun, stop!"

Their loud giggles and their splashing around filled the night. They didn't even notice the return of the firefly Goku had found so fascinating earlier – it was back, bringing along hundreds and hundreds of sparkling, bright friends.

An hour later, they were lying side by side by a warm, crackling, perfect fire in the middle of the clearing. They had left the water because Bulma had waved her palms in front of Goku's face, so close to it that his eyes had crossed while trying to look at them.

"See? See?!" she had screeched, talking about the wrinkles caused by the water and Goku had rolled his eyes and led the way out of the small lagoon.

The fire was blazing merrily. Their clothes felt halfway dry on their skin and Bulma was feeling good. Great, in fact. The weird uneasiness she had felt earlier that night was gone, leaving place to a quiet, warm, familiar sense of belonging. Of course, she couldn't explain any of it. If you asked Bulma Briefs, the only place she belonged at night was the comfort of her own bed. But basking in the glow of the fire with Goku by her side and the stars above her head, she truly felt at peace.

"Check it out" she breathed, eyes fixed on the dark blue sky. "Have you ever seen anything like it?"

"I think so," Goku said, his arms crossed behind his head. "But I don't think I ever really paid attention. This is… wow!"

He then caught his breath in surprise. "Look! What's that?" he asked, his finger tracing an arc in the sky, dark against a fine, bright spray of stars.

"It's the Milky Way" Bulma answered. "You know, I've never seen it so well before. Not in real life."

"It's pretty amazing, isn't it?"

Bulma grinned at Goku's childlike awe. "You can see it again if you go out in the desert, in the middle of nowhere. Maybe from space," she said. "Just imagine what it would be like to go and see the stars up close."

Goku gasped softly. "Wow. It does make you feel so small."

"Hey, speak for yourself."

Goku chuckled, amused by her usual pretentiousness, but this time Bulma didn't react by screaming and kicking as usual. She closed her eyes, smiling, listening to his soft giggle, swimming in it, savoring it. She sighed deeply, with content, letting in and out all the air she had in her lungs. She didn't want to open her eyes. Everything was awesome and exactly as she remembered from all those years before. Maybe even better. Definitely better.

"Ahhh," she exhaled. "I missed this."

"What's that?" Goku asked.

With another sigh, Bulma moved her gaze to study the stars again before answering. "All this time" she explained. "I really missed this". She scrunched up her nose, as she admitted a little big truth. " I missed you, Son-Kun. Did you miss me at all?"

She didn't know why, but that last question came in a small voice, that wasn't really her own. Not the one she usually used around him, anyway. She turned her head to look at him across a few blazes of dark grass and he was in the same position, arms folded behind his head, eyes wandering the sky deep in thoughts.

"Nah, not really" he replied after a few moments.

Bulma scowled, blushing furiously. "Well, thank you very much!" she howled, sitting up briskly as if the grass was suddenly on fire.

"No, I mean, I didn't have to miss you."

Bulma froze. She didn't know why. Her frown slowly fell and her face went slack as he continued.

"Things used to get rough during the training with Kami," Goku said quietly, "So sometimes I closed my eyes and thought about you. You guys kept me going, you, Krillin, Master Roshi… you've all helped me getting stronger. So, you know, in a way you were always with me and I didn't have to miss you."

Bulma stared, mouth slightly open, at loss for words. She silently took in what Goku had said, dwelling on it, twirling his words in her mind until they didn't mean anything anymore and she couldn't understand anyway – she couldn't understand the constriction in her throat. As she examined Goku's pacific profile she thought about them, about how, in the end, they never really had a true, meaningful conversation. Or at least, she had never really taken the time to ever pay attention to Goku's words until that moment – much like he never really spared a deep thought to the stars above his head until that night. And now that both her heart and head were listening carefully she felt so confused and overwhelmed by him, she did the only thing she felt was safe to do. She leaned forward to throw a few small twigs into the fire and changed the subject.

"This fire is amazing," she said. Maybe too loud. "You're good."

Goku didn't seem to notice her turmoil. He lay there placid as ever, his eyes glued to the fire, his black irises reflecting the flames in a way Bulma found astounding, extraordinary. Yes, the fire was just a reflection, but also… she squinted. Could it be? Was her sight deceiving her? Maybe it was a combination of the shadows cast by the trees and the starlight and the fire – she gulped.

"My grandpa taught me" he simply said. "I like fires. They make me feel strong, and safe."

A few moments went by in silence, then Bulma discarded her qualms and laid back down, propping her head on one arm, looking at him intently.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Shoot."

"Are you ever afraid?" she blurted out. Goku finally turned his head, a quizzical look on his face.

"Like, I don't know, when you fought the green Piccolo monster," she supplied. "Do you ever get scared? Even just a little bit?"

"Well…"

Goku frowned, mentally weighing her question and Bulma couldn't help but smile at the concentration etched on his face, the one required to solve the most difficult equation in the world. And of course, it was a hard question. But she wanted to know. She thought about their first meeting. How could possibly a twelve years old grow up in the woods by himself and not be just a little bit scared? How do you save the world without fearing for your life? Really, if she thought about it, nothing human could compare to the creature stretched beside her by the fire.

"Sometimes," he finally said. "I think it's okay, though. Otherwise you'd never know your limits and if you don't know them you can get hurt bad. And you can't go past them," he concluded with a conspiratorial wink.

Bulma nodded thoughtfully.

"That's… very smart, Son Kun," she obliged, giving him a playful nudge that earned a snort from him. They glanced at one another for a second before breaking down into silly, unmotivated giggles.

Still snickering, Bulma rolled on her back, the Milky Way entering her visual field once again and she didn't realize his laughter had stopped.

"Bulma?"

His voice was low and somber and Bulma paused.

"Yes?"

She felt him hesitate for a split second. "What do you think will happen tomorrow?" he said.

Of course. With all the excitement of the night, she had completely forgotten about that.

In the last few hours her world had consisted exclusively in that lovely clearing in the woods and the gentle, playful company of her oldest friend and in that small, perfect universe nothing from the real world could get in. She wondered if he had felt the same bliss, and for a moment was tempted to ask, but he seemed unusually preoccupied and rightfully so, and for once she realized that she had no business in asking questions that would only satisfy herself. It was her turn to ponder his question with care; she thought about his confusion about the infamous bride-food debacle and holding back a laugh while she remembered the scene from merely a few days ago and his dumbfounded, slightly terrified expression, she opted for the safest route, glad they were back to their comfortable pattern of mature woman and naïve boy.

"What do you think will happen tomorrow?"

Goku sighed. It was as if his whole body was deflating.

"I have no idea," he admitted. "I don't really know what I'm doing. All I know is that I made a promise."

"Well, then… I guess you're doing the right thing by honoring your promise," Bulma said. "You'll be fine," she then added, when she saw he wasn't satisfied with her answer. "You're pretty resourceful, after all".

She tried to smile in a reassuring way. Goku's black eyes lingered on her face for a moment before he answered.

"If you say so."

Bulma nodded her head up and down energetically, maybe too much so to be believable. "I do!" she said. "And obviously I know more about this kind of stuff than you do, so it's my word we'll be trusting!"

She looked at him again through the blades of grass, eyes narrowed, daring him to contradict her. And of course, he didn't.

"Yeah!" he said, chuckling softly. "Alright, alright!"

Satisfied, Bulma gave him a curt nod. "Mh."

Then she turned her attention to the sky with a thoughtful expression, before bursting out in a high-pitched laugh. Goku startled and looked at her as if she had suddenly gone crazy.

"You know," Bulma said, regaining a little of her composure. "Now that I think about it I can totally picture it!". She giggled hysterically. "Chichi!" she boomed, in a lousy imitation of a masculine voice. "Is dinner ready? I'm hungry!"

Goku snorted and sat up, scooting closer. "Really?" he said. Bulma had a split second of warning – she tried to get away, but Goku's fingers were already on her sides, tickling them mercilessly. "Is that so?" he asked, wiggling his fingers relentlessly as Bulma shrieked and squirmed below him.

"Ah! No! Help!" she yelped breathlessly, scrunching her eyes shut.

Goku grinned mischievously. "What? I can't hear you!"

"Goku, Goku, please!"

"Say uncle!"

Bulma opened her eyes.

She had managed to take a hold on both his wrists. Had he been so close to her the whole time? Their noses were nearly touching and she felt a shiver run up her spine as his breath fanned over her skin. His deep, bottomless irises were looking down on her and Bulma once again thought she saw fire crackling in those amazing orbs. She felt her heart hammer madly in her chest and her breathing coming out in short, hot gasps. Yes, there was a fire in those eyes. And also – something she had known since forever. The wide-eyed, shameless innocence. She realized, with excruciating clarity, that no one had ever looked at her in such way.

She swallowed. Maybe they were just too close.

A beat passed before she found the will to say something and she did so in a throaty whisper.

"…you'll have to kiss Chichi, eventually."

Goku looked at her, clueless. "Kiss?" he echoed blankly.

Bulma rolled her eyes. The moment was gone, the daydream shattered. She sat up, freeing herself from his body. "Why yes, you dummy," she said. "Kiss!"

Goku looked at her for a moment bringing his arm behind his head, a puzzled expression on his face. Then his face lit up and Bulma shot him a suspicious look.

"You mean," he said and leaned forward, clumsily pressing his lips to her cheek. Bulma flat out froze. Her eyes went wide as saucers as he lingered on her skin for a few seconds and then drew back, looking at her expectantly. "Like this?"

Bulma stared at him for the longest moment of her life. Then she arched an eyebrow. "Gosh, isn't Chichi a lucky girl," she deadpanned.

Goku shrugged, nonchalantly. "Well, then, you show me!"

"What? No!"

"See?" Goku exclaimed victoriously. "You don't know what a kiss is like either!"

Bulma scowled and crossed her arms on her chest. "Are you kidding me?" she retorted. "Of course I do!"

Goku smacked his lips. "No, you don't."

"I do!"

"Don't."

"Do too!" Bulma howled.

Then, seeing as Goku wasn't letting go of that absolutely ridiculous belief, and not even knowing why she cared anyway, she grunted in irritation.

"Oh, fine!" she said. She shifted so she was on his knees right in front of him and thought about how to put it. She was very expert, you know. She and Yamcha had kissed a hundred of times, maybe. She cleared her throat.

"I guess," she began, so serious that Goku couldn't hold back a chuckle. "I guess," she repeated, pointedly, and Goku fell silent, "You have to get really close to, hem, whatever it is that you're kissing and then go like…"

Bulma trailed off, biting lightly on her lower lip, thinking. Then she suddenly stuck out her tongue moving it from side to side, crossed her eyes and made the silliest sounds she could think of. "Blah blah blah blah blah!"

Goku burst out laughing at once.

"Really?!" he said, incredulous, then tried to imitate her. He stuck his tongue out and moved it left and right accordingly to Bulma's instructions. "Blah blah blah blah!"

It was Bulma's turn to giggle at the sight. "I know, right? So dumb!". She rolled her eyes. "Blah blah blah blah!"

Maybe they were really too close.

Because just like that, before they knew it, Goku's arms were around Bulma's waist scooping her closer and Bulma's hands had grasped the sides of his face pulling him in – their mouths and tongues meeting fearlessly with one fluid, natural, visceral motion.


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263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...

Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

CurlyRed: I read this entire book in just under 4 hours I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! i found myself emotionally attached to the characters and making personal connections that i had never experienced before while reading a book! I was constantly wanting to read more, every chapter left me on a cliff hanger tha...

FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

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Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...

Jean Tryon: As a beta, I found this story outstanding!! Plot, grammar, phraseology, etc Rachel gives us it all. She takes the story into the future from where due South ends. She is an exacting and thoughtful author.

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

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