He looks at her and considers her question, thoughtfully. "Everyone sees people in a different way," he says. "The way you and your father might answer that question is as different as how my father or I might answer it. I didn't have a – traditional Saiyan upbringing, after all. Neither did he. And as far as I know, Vegeta sees people – humans, at least – as their weight in raw meat."
She giggles, nervously. "You can't be serious."
(Something in his eyes tells her that he is.)
"I learned how to sense ki when I was pretty young, so I guess that's always been a big part of it," he says, continuing. "Walk with me?"
Gohan doesn't do "walks". She's more used to his energy being directed at very specific tasks. Before getting to know him she had never met someone so purposeful in all things, even his smallest movements, and she is still not certain if the blame lies more in his species or his upbringing – but she loves him, either way. She walks with him, the cool evening breeze rustling in the mountain, the hushed sound of wind in the flat-leaf trees of Mount Paozu ringing, and surely, she thinks, she is blessed to have met him.
"Candles," Gohan says, as they walk. "Imagine you lit thousands of candles and had them walk around, and you called that a city. People run on electricity, you know? That energy is like a tiny warm pressure on my skin. Kinda tickles. Really strong people, you feel it like something is squeezing you. Not as nice."
Videl tries to imagine the world as a million little flames. "Really strong people, do you feel them all the time?"
"We hide it, usually – that's one of the things humans are particularly good at. It doesn't dampen the flame entirely, but at least it makes life livable." He coughs. "But yes, with Buu, and Frieza, and – and Cell – it was always there. It was..." He considers his words with a twist of his mouth. "...Hard. It was very hard. For Saiyans, that kind of pressure makes us angry, fuels the drive to fight. In humans, it makes us afraid. In me it ended up all mixed up – the fight or flight – and there were times I would stand there, not sure how to act, or even how to feel..."
He's doing that thing again, where he falls back into his own world and regrets the death of his father, and she's losing him. She scrambles for a new conversation. "But that's what makes you special, right? I mean, there's nobody anywhere who sees the world the way you do. And I –"
He stops walking, and turns to her. " And you what?"
She wants to say, and I think that's incredible, or and I'm okay with not always understanding you, or, and I love you. Being with Gohan has become, for her, two parts love and one part fear – just the knowledge that he could kill her with a wayward thought – a deep and terrifying blend of emotions that leaves her breathless, daily.
"And I understand you," she says, softly. She reaches up, touches him on the shoulder. "Being with you is wonderful and scary at the same time, and sometimes, I don't even know how to feel. So I call it –" She takes a deep breath. "– I call it love. Gohan, I think when you look at people you know you can hurt them, and that makes you afraid, because your heart is full of love."
He regards her, and he regards himself, and Videl knows that there is a part of him that understands because he graces her with his wide and radiant smile, and she falls in love with him all over again.
That night he brings her home to her place in the city, and she invites him to eat; he accepts, and to his great credit conducts himself like a gentleman at the table – she knows what he is capable of, having seen him at his own dinner table. And after dinner she invites him to her room, where she has arranged hundreds of tiny candles. It is a tribute to a soft and gentle love that always has the danger of leaving burns.
Afterwards she lies in his arms, listening to the sound of his strong heart beating – his half-Saiyan heart, she discovers, beats half the speed of hers – and when she finally falls asleep she dreams of candles, and people, and a deep and seemingly endless well.