Under the Radar
A fanfic about Gohan and Videl's relationship right before the Buu Saga.
For the sake of the storyline, I have decided to postpone the Buu saga until further notice. AhaHA!
I tried to keep the characters as close to canon without spoiling everything, but took liberties that I am sure you will discover.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own DBZ nor claim to own it. All characters belong to the franchise and nothing is mine. Except the plot. Ho yez…
Ch. 1: A normal day
It had been a month since school started, but Gohan had finally begun to feel "comfortable" with his new routine. School was still in session, Videl was still glaring daggers at him, Sharpner still shunned him, and Erasa kept throwing him winks out of the corner of her eye.
Boring, Boring, Boring.
There were very few points in his life that he could remember being so mind numbingly bored. Heck even his mother's tirades were more interesting than school was. Gohan sighed. He shouldn't get frustrated with the school or the students. After all it wasn't like he could help that he'd learned all this when he was younger.
Distractedly, Gohan gazed out the window, wondering what Goten was up to. That kid really helped him to forget his troubles. Ever since Dad died….
Letting out a sigh, he pushed darker thoughts from his mind and tried to focus on the lecture. It was tough getting over Goku's death. His guilt from letting his cockiness get the better of him in the fight with cell tore him up on the inside. It wasn't until a few years after Goten was born that Vegeta finally smacked some sense into him.
That's right, Vegeta. Goku's rival and grudging friend.
Gohan had trained himself almost to the point of death, despite the pleas of his family. Yes he was insanely strong, no one ever questioned that. But Gohan felt the urge, no, the need to pay penance. A self-induced repentance paid by overworking his body, giving over to the physical pain, so that no one would ever have to die again. Vegeta had actually encouraged this at first, wanting to see Gohan reach his full potential. However, after a few years, things seemed to slowly get worse for the kid and Vegeta could no longer stand idly by.
Gohan remembered the day, eyes shimmering faintly as the teacher droned on in front of the class.
It was dark and very, very cold. Gohan looked up from the snow on the top of the world. His hair was long for a child his age and his eyes bore deep dark circles. How long had he been out here? He only knew that it wasn't long enough. Not long enough to make up for his arrogance.
He gritted his teeth against the pain as he shakily struggled to his feet. Hands firmly braced on his knees, he wrestled with the depression, self-doubt, weakness, and guilt that plagued him constantly. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a voice broke in on his thoughts.
"Brat, what are you doing?"
Startled, Gohan stumbled completely upright before falling into the snow once more. "Vegeta!" He exclaimed, his countenance changing from surprise to confusion. The mess of emotions in his head settled as anger crossed his face. "How did you find me?" Gohan all but growled at the short muscular form before him.
Vegeta smirked. "How else? I followed your ki." His a frown replaced his smirk as he looked down at the state Gohan was in. Gohan's energy was extremely low and the child had more wounds across his body than Vegeta had expected.
Gohan's face grew darker. "I didn't ask you to come."
"Of course you didn't fool!" Vegeta snapped. "The woman was worried that you had died or something. The nerve of that wench! Ordering me around like that…" His tirade faded off into low grumbles.
"Just leave me alone."
Vegeta's eyes returned to the boy. "Why? So you could finish 'training'? Don't be stupid, brat." His glare narrowed. "Unless you think that you'd become stronger by dying on everyone."
"At least I wouldn't have to listen to YOU anymore!" Gohan once again pulled himself slowly to feet, sending Vegeta a fierce look. "At least I wouldn't have to put up with being in this hell-hole of a life!" His voice grew louder and louder as he clenched his fists. "At LEAST I wouldn't have to see ANYONE anymore! At least NO ONE would have to PUT UP WITH ME anymore!" Tears at this point had started rolling down the young saiyan's cheeks. "AT LEAST I WOULDN'T HAVE TO BEAR with the GUILT anymore! AT LEAST AT LEAST I'D GET WHAT I DESERVE FOR LETTING DAD DIE!"
A swift blow to the head blew Gohan back about 300 yards. Tumbling and sliding over the snowy ground until finally colliding with a cliff face. Gohan tried to pull himself up, but failed. Groaning, he slumped to the ground, waiting for the oblivion that he searched for with all his heart.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. Gohan cursed on the inside as he felt a hand roughly pulling him up by the top of his torn and bloody gi. Something smacked him harshly across the face a few times before he pried his eyes open. Vegeta stood there, holding the small boy at his eye level. He scowled and brought Gohan's face close to his own.
"You stupid, ignorant fool," He said softly, "You had no voice in the matter. Why did Kakarrot choose to die?"
Surprised, Gohan's eyes widened at his tone. He'd never heard Vegeta use such a soft voice. His eyes quickly narrowed and he rasped out the answer.
"Because I screwed up."
A resounding whack tolled out across the mountaintop. Gohan squeezed his eyes shut against the painful open-handed slap Vegeta dealt him.
"I thought you were supposed to be smarter than the other idiots in your family." Vegeta sneered at him. "Remove yourself from the picture for once in your pathetic, selfish little life." He tossed Gohan to the ground once more. "So you made an error. He was the one to choose death. It wasn't his duty to do so."
Gohan rose slowly to his feet once more. "To save the planet then!" He all but shouted at Vegeta.
"Fool spawn of a half-wit!" Vegeta shouted in reply. "Namek's dragon balls would've taken care of the planet!" He sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose. "Kakarrot learned instant transmission and could've restored the planet and defeated cell in an instant," He growled at Gohan, "so there was no need to him throw away his life."
"THEN WHY IS HE DEAD!" Gohan screamed, his meager amount of remaining ki blazing in his eyes. "WHY THE HELL IS HE DEAD!?"
Vegeta looked at him steadily. "So that you could live."
Gohan was thunderstruck. The ki in his eyes faded away.
"Wh… what do you mean?"
"Don't play the idiot with me, brat!" Vegeta growled. "I'm not the one who thinks that death is the easy way out here."
"B-but I was the one who-"
"Yes yes we were all there to watch it too." Vegeta interrupted. "I'm not as stupid as that nuisance Kakarrot. I know that he was protecting you when he took cell away for detonation. Hell, he was probably only thinking of you at the time."
Vegeta shouted, "SHUT your trap and THINK boy!" Before turning his back on him. "You're the fool's SON. He DIED so you could LIVE. THAT'S IT."
"NO." Vegeta interrupted again, growing far more annoyed than anticipated. "Training like this is foolish if you are only seeking death! I thought you wanted to grow stronger, not be sniveling in the dirt, begging for punishment." Vegeta turned and stomped over to Gohan, folding his arms, towering above him. "What I hate more than a weakling is an imbecile who has what it takes to get stronger, but decides that his life is worth nothing!" He nearly roared at the boy, "Especially when someone far more powerful gives up his life to save it!"
Gohan sat, stunned into silence. He'd never seen Vegeta like this. He was so adamant. Concerned even.
Vegeta growled low at the small voice coming from Gohan. "Why what?"
"Why do you care?"
Vegeta thought for a moment, reached down and slung the poor defenseless brat over his shoulder. "There are only a few saiyans left, brat. How the hell can I call myself the Prince of all Saiyans if I am the only one?" He slowly lifted off into the air and began flying back to Capsule Corp. "I need a decent sparring partner to become the strongest, and right now, you are the only one who can keep up with me. I am NOT about to let YOU take away my chance to defeat that CURSED THIRD CLASS CLOWN!"
A long pause came, punctuated by struggling breaths as Gohan tried to speak."… I never *sniffle* .. n-never got *sob*… got to s-say goodbye."
Vegeta felt hot tears wet the back of his jacket. Groaning inwardly, Vegeta considered leaving the weakling back on the mountain to die anyway.
"A-and I.." sobbed Gohan, brokenly, "I n-never s-said…"
"Shut it, brat. I don't need to hear your weakness again."
Gohan cried quietly into the proud prince's jacket. Vegeta remained silent the rest of the flight. Letting the truth sink in was the best choice. Vegeta frowned darkly to himself. Stupid woman. I'd better get a decent reward for this. I do NOT want anyone thinking I've gone soft.
Gohan shook himself from his thoughts by the school bell ringing. It was finally the end of the day! He pulled his bag onto his desk and began fitting his textbooks inside; musing to himself about the reactions he received when he got home.
His mother had been in tears. She was so scared and so angry that she let her emotions override everything. Bulma had been the same way, though Krillin and others of the Z-gang looked relieved that Vegeta had brought him back. Bulma was convinced that he was the one who beat Gohan up so badly, but it was really just the pain Gohan inflicted on himself while training, leaving no room for food or rest. It took a while to sort out the story, but in the end, most everyone was crying, apologizing or laughing with tears streaming down their faces. Piccolo simply smiled and Vegeta scowled, but that was pretty normal anyway.
He'd learned later that Vegeta had volunteered to go after him. He'd really softened up over the years. Yeah he still shouted and ranted and raved and threatened the planet on a daily basis, but Goku was right when he said that Vegeta wasn't all bad. There was more to the saiyan prince than upon first glance. (OOOOH Set up for different fic! I always wanted to make Vegeta a secret softie. :DD)
Gohan continued out of the classroom to his locker, trying to avoid the short raven haired girl storming behind him. He opened his locker and continued to muse upon how his life had changed so drastically in a few short years. He still studied and trained hard, but there was a joy to life now. One that he had missed out on for far too long.
But high school? Nope! Wouldn't have minded missing out on this!
As he shut his locker door, Gohan felt an intense stare at the back of his head. Turning around, he found that Videl had effectively pinned him against the lockers. Her locker, which so happened to be next to his, had the door wide open, blocking one exit. Videl's arm blocked the other escape route as she stood directly in front of him. A little too close for anyone's comfort.
Gohan could feel a prickle up the back of his neck as she stood there. He mustered himself for her onslaught and spoke cheerily.
"Gohan." She deadpanned.
Sweat began building on Gohan's face. She had a determined look in her eyes, one that spelt trouble for a certain secret superhero.
"Do… uh… can I help you with anything?"
"Yes Gohan, actually, you can."
Gohan's eyes widened. Crapbaskets. What could she want now? Videl had been badgering Gohan for a while now, peppering him with questions as often as she got the chance. She used to just ignore him, but ever since the rise of Saiyaman she had gotten more and more outspoken to him.
Videl smirked up at him. "I want to know how you get to school every day."
"W-why would you want to know something like that?" Gohan managed, "I mean, you asked me this already."
"You didn't tell me anything. Seriously, do you drive a car or plane or…"
"I… I fly." He stammered.
"So you can fly a plane huh? Is it a jetcopter like mine?"
"No no! Nothing so fancy." He slowly closed the locker next to him and began trying to scoot himself away from the intense glare and questioning. "Speaking of flying, I'd better get home before my mother worries about me." As soon as he was far enough away from the girl to turn around, Gohan whirled about and ran for the door. "NicetalkingtoyouVidelbye!"
"HEY! Wait just a second!" Videl dashed after him shouting, "I'm not through with you yet Son Gohan!"
Well I'm through with the questions! Gohan thought to himself as he rounded another corner. Why can't she just leave me alone? Yeah she thinks I might be Saiyaman, but still! I've given her no reason to suspect me. He conked himself on the side of the head. No reason besides the fact that I am a terrible liar and actually AM Saiyaman. And that she doesn't really know me. And that I am the person who could destroy her father's reputation about killing cell. Aaand the fact that I'm too strong to be an average highschooler. He let out a ragged sigh. I just hope I can at least last the year…
Gohan turned another corner only to come face to face with… A dead-end.
HOW? Panicked, his eyes darted around the corridor. Who was the genius who put a dead-end in a school building?Why would you DO that?! If I EVER meet the architect…
He felt a hand fall firmly on his shoulder. FRACK.
"Goooooooooohaaaaaaaaan." Videl was panting heavily, eyes lit up in an extremely devious way. "Gotcha."
"S-so you did Videl." He said hesitantly. Suddenly, his eyes alit on his saving grace. A men's restroom. "B-but I can't stay to chat. I reeeeally had to use the restroom and ran to find one you see."
"Ahuh… So tell me, why come to the one at the end on the science wing?" She folded her arms, a triumphant smirk on her face. "You weren't… running away were you?"
"Running away? Pshh… no!" Gohan scoffed. "I just… forgot a textbook in the science wing and since I had to use the restroom I'd come over and get two birds with one…" He trailed off. I can't believe that just came out of my mouth.
"If I didn't know better," she said, moving in front of the restrooms, "I'd say you were scared."
"Oh… uh, I'm not afraid of you." You can't hurt me physically at least.
"Well you should be." Videl said matter-of-factually. "I know you are hiding something. And I'm going to find out what it is."
"Is that so?" Gohan chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his neck out of habit. "I'm not hiding anything Videl! Besides, what would I possibly want to hide from you?" Besides everything.
She frowned. "I don't know yet. You have behaved suspiciously ever since you got here."
"Well this is my first attempt at public school so…"
She looked him dead in the eye, thinking. After a moment she seemed to have come to a conclusion. "Hmmm.. I guess so. Sorry if I came on too strong." She smirked. "I tend to find out as much about a person as I can. Guess it's from helping out the police all the time. Hopefully I haven't scared you out of public high school forever."
"No no! You haven't scared me at all!" Videl turned and began walking down the hall away from Gohan.
"Well good. I'll see you tomorrow then." She casually threw over her shoulder. Videl turned the corner and walked out of sight.
Gohan almost crumpled with relief. She bought it! I can't believe she bought it! I let her come to her own conclusions and it worked! He strolled down the same hallway, towards the main entrance, with a bounce in his step. Maybe now things will settle down and we could be friends! He hadn't had much luck in that department, though he did chat regularly with Erasa, Sharpner, and Videl, he wasn't as close to them as a friend should be. Gohan spent most of his spare time as Saiyaman and evading one angry Videl. She had follows his scent like she a hound, but she is twice as tenacious! It was as if the vigilante police girl had made Gohan her new pet project.
Being someone's project is not such a bad thing. He mused to himself as he left the building. It certainly made life interesting! He knew Videl had good intentions, but couldn't get over the fact that she was out for blood. Figuratively speaking of course.
The teenaged saiyan left main campus and made his way down a side street. It was much easier to fly home from the outskirts of town and not the center of it. He paused to see if anyone was near him. Gohan didn't see anyone, but stretched out his senses just in case.
"Augh!" Gohan let out an audible feeling of frustration as he felt a familiar ki nearby. Videl again? I thought she decided to give it up! Growling faintly, Gohan darted behind another building. Figures she wouldn't just leave it lay. Sighing, the teen leapt off the ground and landed on the 4 story building behind him. Glancing down, he saw Videl look about wildly, cursing that she had lost her quarry again.
He chuckled. It's actually kind of like a game. I hide, and she tries to find me out. Too bad the consequences are too high to actually play it like a game. He watched as she ran off in another direction to activate her jetcopter. I wish I didn't have to hide who I was. Gohan had started out sincerely liking his school. The people there were pretty nice if you could get past all the teasing. Yeah it was boring, but hey you can't win 'em all. Heck he even thought Videl was cool too. She didn't treat him like she wanted something from him and was honest and open from the start.
Wish I could have been as honest with her as she is with me. He though reluctantly to himself as he switched his watch to Saiayaman mode. The ensemble covered his school clothes and hid his identity beneath a dark visor and helmet. This was a security. Flying around and saving people as a normal Gohan would totally reveal who he really was. No one wanted that kind of publicity.
Videl flew off in her jetcopter in the direction opposite of Gohan. That didn't happen too often. Usually she headed straight for him. Maybe, just maybe his luck was starting to turn for the better?
She spun about abruptly and headed back his direction. Snap! He hid behind an old air conditioner sitting on the rooftop. He stayed there until Videl had flown by. Figures it was too good to be true. Oh well. Just got to think positive. He stood up from his crouched position. Like how mom will have dinner hot and ready when I get home. He grinned and let out a loud whoop before shooting up into the sky.
Food. The ultimate pick-me-up.
Videl entered the Satan mansion late that night. She'd been looking for Gohan for a while after she'd lost him, but hadn't any luck in finding the suspicious teen. It's like he just… vanished! She shook her head. Not possible! No one can just disappear! But this is the second time this has happened. Oh I can just hear it now. 'Videl Satan, the daughter of the world savior, can't track one nerdy high school student!' What's wrong with me?
Making her way up to her room, she ignored the noises coming from her father's room. It wasn't the first time he stayed up all night re-viewing his 'greatness'. Sometimes he brought women home and that made staying in the same home with him almost unbearable. She clenched her fists. If only there was someone strong enough to knock some sense into that stupid father of hers! He'd changed ever since gaining his immense popularity after the cell games. He was still her father, still a goof, but he'd changed into an arrogant, stuck up, self-absorbed…
She sighed. It could be worse I suppose. Videl fell face first into her bed, snuggling up to her pillow after the stress of the school day. I could be stuck in another shopping trip with Erasa. Those were the worst. Videl had an affinity towards more interesting pursuits than shopping, but she went with her friend anyway. Erasa was a good person. Hard to shop with, but a good person.
Sharpner, another of her classmates, was a good person too. That is, if you overlooked that he'd been trying to get with Videl for the course of their high school career. I've forgotten how many times I've given him a knuckle sandwich. She grinned to herself. Videl made it a point to smack around any boy who tried to make a move on her. This was mostly because most guys just wanted to get to know her because she was rich and famous. You know… get on her father's good side. Stupid jerks. She had feelings too ya know!
Videl let out another deep sigh as she moved from her bed to the bathroom. Dating was the furthest thing on her mind. The good-looking guys were jerks and only wanted to know her for popularity and the others were too weak to do anything other than fawn over the fact that she was Hercule Satan's daughter! This does absolute wonders for the self-esteem. Then again, she never had to worry about that before, so why start now? She figured she was attractive, but never really considered herself as being pretty. She was a crime fighter for goodness sake! Thinking about her appearance and, heaven forbid, boys was not something she could or even wanted to indulge in.
Well, she mused, at least most boys. Gohan was an exception. He was an honest to goodness mystery. A mystery that I am going to figure out! Videl thought firmly. Even if he's not Saiyaman, there is something about him that just ruffles my feathers. Yeah he was cute, but that's not why she was interested. He was intelligent when it came to schoolwork, but didn't know squat about anything else. He didn't know who she was and who her father was. What's more, he snickered when she told him! The nerve of that guy! Yeah it was kind of refreshing not being fawned over, but show a little respect!
Gohan was quite the enigma. He didn't hang out with anyone after school, didn't have many friends, and didn't try to stand out at all. It's like he was the antithesis of a high school boy. What was his deal? He was ridiculously sweet to everyone, even the kids who bullied him like no tomorrow. Gohan never talked about himself and constantly lied when she asked him.
Maybe he is lying because he doesn't trust me. Videl bit her lip. Maybe I should ease up on him… She felt a bit guilty about today. She knew that she'd let him believe that she'd let the whole thing drop, but followed him anyway. I feel like a sleazebag. Yeah I want to find him out, but that doesn't mean I should lie to his face like that.
Videl nodded her head as she slipped into her PJs. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. She decided then and there to become his friend and find out more about him the old-fashioned way. It'd be tough though… She'd been pretty hard on the guy. I just have to be careful. The girl reasoned to herself. Get deep enough to find out his secrets, but not too deep that I can't do the right thing if he really is a danger!
Videl smirked as she slipped in between the sheets, satisfies with her plan. Tomorrow was going to be one heckuva day!
Well that's the end of chapter one. It's taking a bit of a different route than I had intended. Lotsa expositional stuff in there. But the words flew straight from my fingertips WITHOUT MY CONSENT.
Heavens Above! Am I… possessed? O_O
Tune in next time to hear Gohan say…. Something profound? I dunnoes man. Let me know what you think! R&R or whatever!