AN:Okay, I've got a radical idea for a few of my reviewers. If you think this is cliché, or just don't like this kind of story, here's a suggestion…DON'T READ IT! Simple, yet effective! I'm not trying to bitch or anything, but geez, don't bite my head off…anyhoo, on with the story. I don't own DBZ or the song.
Chapter Seven—Still To Come
I look up to everything you are
In my eyes you do no wrong
And I believe in you
Although you never asked me to
As she began to stir back to the world of wakefulness, Videl became aware of someone's eyes boring into her. She shook the last remnants of sleep from her mind and opened her eyes.
Goten was hanging on the back of the couch, watching her intently.
"Good morning," she smiled at him.
He didn't smile back. "You had a sleepover and you didn't invite me?"
"Oh…um, we were going to invite you," Videl improvised, sensing that the chibi was very much offended by this trangression. "But we fell asleep before we could. I'm sorry, kiddo."
A smile broke onto Goten's face. "That's okay. Next time!"
Next time?Videl unconsciously raised an eyebrow. She shot a glance at Gohan, who was still fast asleep on the other end of the couch. I'm not sure if there's gonna be a next time…
Slowly, she pushed herself up into a sitting position, biting back a groan as several muscles stretched out of their unnatural positions. Blinking owlishly, she looked around the room. The storm that had trapped her in this house the night before was gone, and sunlight streamed in through the window, forming a little pool of light on the floor and brightening the room. It was a very different picture from the one she had seen last night.
I wonder when the storm stopped,she pondered briefly, but didn't linger on it for very long. Her eyes drifted back over towards Gohan. He was still sound asleep. Aw, look at him. He looks so innocent when he's asleep. How cutes…wait…did I just say cute?
She heaved a sigh and with a little effort stood up; stretching her arms out over her head, she meandered towards the kitchen. Sounds emanating from that room told her that someone was up and about in there. Hopefully, that someone was preparing something by way of food.
Gods, I'm starting to sound like Goten. Letting my stomach rule my head,she smiled inwardly as she entered the room. "Morning, ChiChi."
The older woman turned and bestowed a welcoming smile on the teen. "Did Goten wake you up? I told that kid to leave you two alone and let you get some sleep."
"No, no, I was already awake."
"Okay. Feeling better?" ChiChi asked conversationally, turning back to whatever it was she was mixing on the counter.
"Yeah, actually, I am," Videl said as she took a seat at the table and watched the mother bustle around, preparing a meal for two hungry Saiyans and two normal people.
"Good. I'm making plenty."
Goten chose that moment to come bobbing into the kitchen. "Is breakfast ready yet, Mommy?"
"Not quite," ChiChi replied without missing a beat. Goten pouted for a moment before turning and skipping back out of the kitchen. "Welcome to our mornings."
"Hmm…" Videl murmured. "Sorry I dropped in like that last night."
"Not a problem," ChiChi reassured her, moving briskly around the kitchen. "Goku's friends used to be in and out of this house like nothing else. Threatening them didn't seem to work, since they always needed to talk to Goku about something right away or else the world was doomed, blah blah blah…" The speech ended with an good-natured sigh and an irritated eye roll.
Videl giggled. "Sounds like this was a real party house."
ChiChi rolled her eyes again. "So…you and Gohan get things worked out?"
"Um…yeah, we did," Videl looked down at the table. "We talked for a while."
"He's been worried sick about you," ChiChi commented. "Worried enough that he hasn't been eating very much."
"Oh gods!" Videl swore, putting her head down on the table. "Crap…now I feel terrible!" Gohan not eating was absolutely unthinkable. What had she been doing to the poor guy?
"Don't feel bad," the demi-Saiyan commented, staggering into the kitchen.
"Speak of the devil," ChiChi teased. "Good morning!"
"I'm supposed to tell you that if breakfast isn't ready soon, Goten's going to run away from home and join the circus," Gohan dropped into his seat at the table and rubbed at his eyes.
"That boy needs to learn some patience," the mother sighed. "What did you say to him?"
"I said we'd come see him in the monkey act," Gohan replied with a yawn. "He seemed to be a little upset about that wisecrack."
"You two…" ChiChi set a humongous stack of pancakes down in front of her older son.
A few seconds later, Goten came into the room; he was floating, sticking his neck forward so his nose could follow the delicious smell. "I…smell…food…"
"I thought you were joining the circus," Videl teased.
"I was, but breakfast is ready now," Goten answered matter-of-factly, landing in his own seat. "Food food food food food!" ChiChi shook her head as she gave her younger son his breakfast. A few minutes later, she was seated at the table as well; both she and Videl were enjoying slightly smaller servings than the two of Saiyan descent.
It was as Videl was plodding through her food that a terrible thought struck her. She jumped to her feet. "Ohmigod! Can I use your phone?"
As soon as the okay was given by a confused-looking ChiChi, Videl grabbed the phone and dialed a number. The entire Son family watched her curiously.
"Come on…come on…" she whispered, listening to the ringing. After an eternity, a familiar female voice came on the end of the line. "Satan residence."
"Videl? Thank Kami!" the older woman cried. "Where are you, you demon-child?"
"Um…it's kind of a long story, but I'm at a friend's house," the teen replied, looking over at Gohan. He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. "Listen, does Dad know I'm gone?"
"Not yet. I think he's still snoring," Hannah replied wryly. "You might want to come home before he finds out you flew the coop. Otherwise, the only one who knows is Donovan." Donovan was the Satan family butlet. "And I'd trust him to keep what he knows behind his teeth even under torture. You're safe."
"I'll be home soon, I guess. Can you open my bedroom window for me? I'll come in through there," Videl said, feeling immensely relieved that her absence hadn't been discovered. "It'll be a lot less conspicuous. If Daddy finds out I left, he'll have a cat."
"Can do. Just hurry."
"By the way, when do I get to really meet this Gohan friend of yours?"
Videl hung up and turned to face the Sons with a big grin on her face. "All's well. Nobody at my house knows I was gone last night. Well…nobody who would tell anyone. But I have to hurry unless I want someone to find out, and that might be a really bad thing." She bestowed a measuring gaze on Gohan. "Wanna come? Hannah wants to interrogate you…I mean, talk to you."
Gohan's eyebrows went even higher. If they kept getting raised like that, they were bound to make a permanent vacation home in his hair. "She wants to interrogate me? Why?"
"Don't worry, you met her that one time. You know she's nice. She won't eat you alive or anything. Just wants to get to know you," Videl said innocently. "I'm the daughter she never had, and she's been my adoptive mother for almost my whole life. She wants to meet you, I don't argue."
"All right, all right!" he held up his hands in defeat and stood up. "Ready when you are."
Ten minutes later, the two teenagers were airborne, shooting through the sky towards Satan City.
"We're going in my bedroom window," Videl called. "Less chance of someone seeing us and realizing I was gone. Hannah said she'll be waiting."
"Got it," he called back. "I'm a little nervous about what she might ask me."
"You should be," Videl teased. "She's absolutely terrifying!"
"If she asks me about my whole life story, I might break down and cry," he replied wryly. "And to hell with who hears me."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, by the way, here. Take this." She threw something small at him.
He caught it easily and looked at it. "Isn't this your communicator?"
"Yup. That's how the police contact me when they need me," she confirmed. "I called them yesterday after you and Goten left and told them I was going to take a break to get everything straight in my life again. And I told them I'd be giving my communicator to Saiyaman the next time I saw him, so the city wouldn't be without a hero. When I told them that, they seemed pretty relieved. So you're on call now. Not me." She looked at him. "Is that okay?"
"Fine with me!" he strapped the tiny radio onto his arm, right next to his Saiyaman watch. "Criminals of Satan City, beware!"
Videl laughed. The rest of the way there, they didn't talk too much.
As the mansion came into view, Videl unconsciously held her breath. They were taking enough of a chance flying over the city. But luckily, it was still fairly early, so there wouldn't be too many people out and about who might see them.
By being extremely careful and with a little bit of luck, they managed to get to her house without any incident; Videl touched down on the windowsill and motioned for him to follow her. He landed without making a sound, and they both jumped down into the bedroom.
Hannah was indeed waiting, nervously pacing back and forth. When they entered the room, she immediately descended on Videl. "Thank Kami you're back! I was going crazy! Flying off into the storm like that…young lady, you could have been killed! Do you have any idea what that would do to everyone, if you were killed like that?"
"Saiyaman probably would have blown up a continent or two," Videl replied sardonically, recalling her thoughts from the night before. "And the police wouldn't have been able to solve the crime without me, since I do all the work anyway."
Hannah glared at her for a moment, then finally dropped her angry façade. "You're going to be the death of me, dearheart. You know that, don't you?"
"Well, I remember when your hair was still brown," Videl teased. "Those gray hairs are the result of years of hard work!"
Gohan cleared his throat clumsily; he'd been standing there for a long moment in silence while Videl was scolded by her housekeeper. The way that they looked at him, they might have actually forgotten he was there for a moment. "Um, if you don't need me anymore, I'll just be go—"
"Not a chance," Hannah said firmly. She pointed to a chair up against another wall. "Sit. Now."
Her mannerism at that moment, coupled with the way she took charge, gave Gohan chills; with the exception of Videl, no one had ever reminded him so much of his mother. He immediately obeyed, taking the proffered chair, and waiting for the interrogation to begin.
"So…Gohan, is it?" she asked, pacing back and forth in front of him. Her expression was stern, but her eyes were dancing, so he knew she was just kidding. "How old are you?"
"Eighteen, ma'am," he replied, sketching a salute. He instinctively liked this woman.
Apparently, she liked him as well. The things she asked were fairly basic—she wanted to know about his family, grades, other friends, hobbies, and things like that.
"All right, we're going on to the real question now," she said menacingly. "Tell me your whole life story, starting from when you were born."
Videl, who had been watching this whole scenario, actually groaned and clasped a hand over her eyes. She was thinking back to what she and Gohan had talked about earlier during their flight to this house. "Hannah, please!"
To her surprise, Gohan was perfectly calm. "Well, I was born at an early age, and I was raised until I was as old as I am now," he replied easily, tapping his chin with his finger in thought. The attempt at the joke felt very daring.
And the attempt at the joke was quite successful. Hannah threw her head back and laugh. "All right, you have my seal of approval. And that little brother of yours is wonderful."
Much to Videl's surprise, Gohan actually blushed a little. "So…what was this for?"
"Just getting to know you," she shot Videl a look that Gohan couldn't quite read. But it seemed that whatever secret message was conveyed between the two women in that glance was perfectly clear to Videl. Then it was her turn to blush.
But before anyone could say anything else, a familiar bellow came from the hallway. "Videl? Are you awake yet, sweet pea?"
"Crap!" Videl cursed under her breath so as not to be heard. "Gohan, you'd better get outta here before he comes in. If he sees you…"
"He'll probably punch you in the face, knock you out cold, and then call the police," Hannah whispered. "Leave. Out the window."
"Got it," Gohan ran to the window as Hercule's ki came closer. "See you guys later." Without waiting for either of them to say goodbye, he took off.
Not three seconds later, Hercule burst into the room. "Good morning, sweet pea!"
Videl managed to keep herself from rolling her eyes. "Morning, Dad."
"I thought I heard voices in here," Hercule bellowed, looking around suspiciously.
"Oh, I was just talking to Hannah!" Videl said quickly, thankful that the housekeeper was still in the room. It was an easy and believable story.
The World Champion's gaze fell on the older woman, who was closing the window on the other side of the room, and the suspicion disappeared from his eyes.
Hannah smiled knowingly. "Just letting a little fresh air in the room."
After the events of the night before, the rest of Videl's day seemed boring. After all, what could possibly compare to flying out into the storm of the century, nearly getting yourself killed, being rescued by an alien, bawling your eyes out on a friend's shoulder, and ending up falling asleep on the couch in that friend's living room? Not much.
It was later that day when the phone call came. The light of dawn was fading into twilight. It was a time that always made Videl nervous, since that was the way the sky had looked when…
She tried not to think about it anymore. There were other things she could think about now.
Like Gohan, for instance. She was thinking about him a lot lately, only now she didn't start shaking like a wind-tossed leaf when he came to her mind.
Or she could think about the fact that she had finally seen Sharpner and Erasa, for the first time since her hospitalization. Sharpner had come bearing most of the schoolwork she had missed; Erasa came bearing loads of gossip. Surprisingly, they hadn't asked too many questions. They had stayed for about an hour, filling her in on everything she'd missed.
Or, along the same line, she could think about her return to school. It would come soon. She only hoped that there wouldn't be too many awkward questions asked. Also, there was that huge stack of work she needed to catch up on. But that wasn't too much of a problem. If she asked, she was sure Gohan would be perfectly willing to help her out.
And so, having completed a full circle, her thoughts were back on Gohan when the phone rang. She ignored it, assuming correctly that Hannah or Donovan or someone would pick it up.
Sure enough, Hannah came into the room with a cordless phone in hand. She looked alarmed. "Videl, it's for you. It's someone from the police department. Said it's important."
Videl got up out of her nice, comfortable chair—the very chair Gohan had been confined to during his "interrogation"—and crossed the room to take the phone. "Hello?"
"Videl?" a female voice said on the other end of the line.
Videl thought she recognized it. "Michelle? Is that you?"
"Yes, and I have news for you," the officer said. She sounded nervous.
"What's up?" Videl asked amiably. She felt better than she had in weeks.
"We got him."
The teenager froze. For what felt like a long time, the line was silent as Videl attempted to process what she had just heard. Finally, she squeaked out a few syllables. "You…got…him?"
"Caught the bastard in the act," the officer, Michelle, confirmed. She went on with a few more details, such as the man's name and such, but Videl didn't actually hear a word of it.
Finally, Videl shook herself out of her daze and asked, "How did you get him?"
"He broke into a house and jumped another woman, same as he did to you. Exact same MO," Michelle said. "Well, he apparently didn't count on this woman's husband coming home early. He heard noises, called the police on his cell phone, and then went in and got the bastard just before he took off out a window. Held him until we got there."
Videl listened with one hand over her mouth in shock. "Oh gods…what else?" She didn't know why she felt compelled to ask for the rest of the details.
"He…he hit her with a hammer, same as you," Michelle said hesitantly. "And…"
"And what? Tell me!"
The officer hesistated.
"Please! I need to know!"
Another moment of hesitation. Then, very softly, Michelle told her. "He killed her. She died en route to the hospital from the head injury."
The phone fell out of Videl's hand and clattered to the carpet by her feet. She stared straight ahead, her face completely blank.
From the receiver on the floor, a small voice was heard. "Videl? Videl? Are you there?"
Slowly, she picked up the phone and put it back against her ear. "Sorry…is there anything else?"
"Well, you might like to know that when we got the call, we gave Saiyaman a ring. He answered your communicator, all right. Told him what was up. When he got there…damn, I thought he was going to kill that guy. I really did. I've never seen Saiyaman so angry. He punched him—sent him right through a wall. He was furious. Actually started glowing. Well, after that, the bastard was blubbering like an idiot. Scared to death. Confessed everything. He's not getting off."
Videl could actually picture that. And she knew that, given the opportunity, Gohan very well might have killed that sonofabitch. But she didn't say that. Instead, she just said, "Thanks Michelle. Keep me posted, okay?"
"Can do. Take care. We miss you!"
Videl pushed the button to turn the phone off, and let it fall again. Then she wrapped both arms around her stomach to try and block out a cold that was purely internal.
"What? What is it?" Hannah asked, picking up the receiver.
"They got him," Videl said flatly. "They got him."
Quickly, Videl filled her in on the story she'd gotten from Michelle. "She said that when Saiyaman got there, he went berserk. He almost killed the guy!"
"Well, Saiyaman is concerned about you, I'm sure," Hannah said. "Does he know what happened to you, exactly?"
"Yes, he does," Videl smiled weakly. "After all, Saiyaman and Gohan are one and the same."
Hannah's jaw dropped. "That nice boy? I'm sorry, but I just can't picture him going crazy."
The doorbell rang at that moment, making them both jump. A few minutes later, Donovan appeared in the doorway. "Ms. Videl, there's a visitor here to see you. A young man. He says it's urgent."
Before he had finished his last sentence, Videl was already past him and running down the stairs towards the front door. She slid around the corner, and came face to face with Gohan.
"The police just called," Videl whispered. "They got him."
"I know. I was there," he said.
"That's what they said. They also said you nearly killed him," she pointed out.
He looked down. "I lost my temper. Sent him through a wall." Then he looked back up at her, right into her eyes. "Are you okay?"
In response, she walked forward and put her arms around his waist. "I've been working with the police long enough to know that this is only going to get worse from here. Trial, sentencing, that whole stupid process. I wish it would all go away."
His arms circled her shoulders. "I doubt it'll go away, no matter what you do. You just have to hang in there and show that sonofabitch that he can't beat you." He sounded angry.
It was the first time she could remember ever hearing him really swear, but it didn't matter too much to her at that point. He was offering comfort, and there was no way in hell she was going to refuse that at a time like this.
And a few feet away, in a nearby hallway, an older woman smiled knowingly as she turned and walked back towards the kitchen. Hannah sighed happily; this was definitely more than a high school fling. Those two were perfect for each other.
All they had to do was survive what was still to come.
AN: Yay! Another completed chapter! Sorry the updates are becoming farther between. I'm going against my principles and juggling two stories at once. But this story is almost done. I won't know until I write it, but the next chapter might be the last, or it might be the second to last. Not sure. We'll see. Ciao!