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Peaches

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Goku loved exploring Heaven, no matter how much trouble he got into. There was always something new to see, to touch, to climb on or taste or smell. Because Goku's nose was so sensitive, it was usually the smells that led him straight to trouble. So far, he thought peaches smelled best, which was why he asked Tenpou to bring him one from the world below.

"I want to see if it's as delicious as the peaches here," he explained. "They smell so good, especially when they're warmed by the sun."

Tenpou smiled the smile he always kept for Goku, who was the only one to ever ask about the world below with genuine enthusiasm, and told him he'd do his best. "They might not travel very well, though," he warned Goku. "They're a bit fragile."

Several days later, however, he came back from an assignment with dust in his hair and a rather irritated Kenren in tow. When Goku burst into his office, he was presented with a small silk-wrapped bundle, which he promptly opened to discover three small, fuzzy, yellow-and-red fruits.

"Is this what peaches from the lower world look like?"

"Yes," Tenpou replied, "they do look different, don't they? What does your nose think?"

Goku stilled himself for a rare moment, and Tenpou watched with more interest than he perhaps allowed to show in his expression as Goku leaned close and sniffed with exaggerated care. With an almost comical look of serious deliberation, he pronounced, "They do smell like peaches... but sunnier. Can we eat them, Ten-chan?"

"Of course you can."

"I think I'd like to share them with everyone." Goku reached up and put the peaches in their silk square on the corner of Tenpou's desk, and headed for the door. "I'll go find Konzen and Ken-niichan, and we'll have peaches together."

"That's very thoughtful of you, Goku, I'm sure they'd like that."

In the doorway, Goku paused, his hand on the frame. "Ten-chan... do you think Nataku would like a peach?"

Tenpou felt his pleased smile falter for a bare moment, then it broadened. "I'm quite sure he would," he answered, and that was true. "But I'm afraid he's still away on business, and we don't know when he'll be back." And he hoped it was also true when he added, "Don't worry, I'll remember to bring back peaches the next time I leave, and then Nataku can have one too." Goku's expression brightened at that, and he took off down the hallway to fetch his friends.

As his footsteps faded, Tenpou set about the uncertain business of discovering where he'd laid his knife and dinner plate. He was developing a habit of saying unplanned things, simply for the sake of cheering up this strange child. It was unnerving on several levels. Perhaps Kenren would have some insight into the matter, given his tendency to live by the seat of his pants. Moving the peaches from the edge of his desk to the center, Tenpou decided to ask him over their next jar of wine.

He'd just finished wiping off the plate (it had been on a bottom shelf, behind a set of dictionaries in a dead language) when approaching footsteps announced his friends' return.