AN:Howdy, all. Hey, Gohan/Videl4Ever, feel free to bug me about another story. People bugging me is what keeps me going ^-^ Oh, and may I point out one of my company policies? I DON'T LISTEN TO ANONYMOUS FLAMERS! Constructive criticism is one thing, but I ignore the comments and use the flames to keep me warm, cuz Iowa winters are very cold. Soo…yeah. You can stop chewing me anyway, because I did manage to wrap everything up in this chapter. Yup, it's over, folks. And like I said in the very beginning, no guarantees on closure. Decide for yourselves.
Yah, we be back with da chapter 8. Don't Z own I Dragonball. Clear? Good, because next is going to be the statement "I don't own the song 'You're Still You' by Josh Groban"…in an anagram! Or maybe not!
I will remember you
And what life put you through
And in this cruel and lonely world
I found one love
Okay…you can do this. Just look at the floor, you'll be fine…Videl told herself, closing her hand around the doorknob. Taking one more deep breath, she pushed open the door and walked into the classroom. The teacher, who had been lecturing, stopped in midsentence. Every eye in the room fell on her with an almost audible thunk.
She swallowed hard, and walked into the room, trying to appear confident. She walked up to the teacher and handed him two things: a note from the office, and a folder stuffed with most of the work she'd missed. Gohan had been kind enough to give up his weekend and sit in the library, tutoring her and getting her caught up. As far as Videl was concerned, he officially qualified for sainthood.
"Welcome back, Miss Satan. Nice to see you again," her teacher said with a warm smile. "We all hope you're feeling better?"
"Yes, sir," Videl replied, surprised that the confidence was no longer feigned. It was really there. She almost felt like her old self again, but she was still nervous.
"Hey, girl," Erasa whispered as Videl dropped into her seat. She just smiled and glanced across the room at two others.
Sharpner waved and grinned. Much as he could be a pain sometimes, according to Erasa, he'd actually been worried about her. He was a jerk, but she was thankful for him.
Gohan smiled, and flashed her a thumbs up. When the teacher began lecturing again, he seemingly returned his attention to what was being said.
But a few minutes later, a note was slid along the table. Erasa took it and passed it along. Videl glanced down, picked up the paper, and sneaked it into her lap, where she unfolded it. She recognized the neat handwriting immediately, and chuckled to herself at the words.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Sorry, thought you could use a cheap laugh.
She pulled out a pen and wrote underneath it, You're a nerd, Son, and passed it back.
A moment later, it was returned with another message from Gohan. Actually, that's wrong. The real answer is to get to the other side.
Videl smiled. Ah, it was great to be back. Even if there was something looming on the horizon that she really didn't want to have to think about.
The trial was coming up.
"Shaddup…" Videl muttered into her pillow, trying to make the incessant beeping that had invaded her dreams go away, but it persisted. Finally, with a groan, she slapped a hand down on top of the alarm clock, stopping the beeping. And with an even louder sigh, she heaved herself into a sitting position and looked around the room.
It was way too early to be awake. At least, by most normal human standards it was. But she didn't have much choice in the matter. Today was a big day, even though the reason it was so big was something she would have very cheerfully forgone.
Today was the start of the trial. Not only was she going to be present for the whole thing, but she was going to be called to testify. It was more of a formality, since Saiyaman had scared the man into confessing everything, but it had to be done in order to determine sentencing. She wasn't looking forward to it at all. They were going to ask her to relive one of the most terrifying moments of her life, and expect her to just do it. Nope. Not something she was exactly excited about.
Okay, to say she wasn't looking forward to it would be the understatement of the millenium.
Someone…give me…tranquilizers…sleep…she thought sleepily, dragging her tired body out of bed and across the room to her closet. In keeping with the settings she would be finding herself in today, her normal school clothes weren't quite going to fit the bill.
Videl hated dressing up. She always had, and she suspected that she always would. But she was going to be in court, and jeans were most likely not appropriate. So she had resigned herself to wearing soemthing nice and, after a bit of deliberation, she selected an outfit.
"Kami bless whoever invented the little black dress," she murmured, examining her choice. Simple, knee-length black sheath-dress. "Even I can't mess up this look."
Getting dressed didn't take long at all, and she slumped down into a chair to study herself in the mirror. The face that looked back was—in her opinion—enough to break the mirror. She looked like Cell reborn, and she felt like she'd just pulled three all-nighters in a row, studying.
"Let's see what I can do with you," she said to her reflection. She picked up a brush and set about trying to tame her messy black hair.
Then she heard the phone ring.
And she groaned. Lately, that accursed ringing chime had been nothing but a harbringer of doom for her. Quite frankly, she was getting sick of that annoying jingle. But she focused on her reflection, figuring that as usual, one of the servants would answer it. They were always up early; more than once, she'd told Hannah that the hours the Satan household employees kept were positively ungodly.
The ringing stopped, and she sighed with relief. Moments later, something happened that she had come to dread. There was a tap on the door, and when it opened, Hannah poked her head in. "Videl, honey? I know you're going to kill me for saying this, but it's for you."
Videl groaned, but got up and took the phone. As she put it to her ear, Hannah commented. "Well, don't you look nice. Trying to turn someone's head?"
The teenager rolled her eyes. The housekeeper knew exactly why Videl was all dressed up, but she wasn't letting up on the Gohan issue at all. So Videl simply did the obvious: she ignored the wisecrack and started talking to whoever was on the other end of the line. "Hello?"
She listened for a minute, muttering things such as "Yes," and "Uh-huh," and "I see," every few seconds. Then, "So, what are you saying exactly?" Then she listened again.
Videl suddenly went very pale, and her eyes became very wide. She gasped, clapped a hand over her mouth, and all but collapsed into a chair. "You're kidding…oh gods…" She was silent for a minute again. "But…how? No…" she groaned. "…okay…thank you…okay…goodbye…" There was a beep as the phone was shut off and a thunk as it fell to the carpet. She sat back in the chair and put her face in her hands, shaking her head.
"Videl, what is it?" Hannah asked from the doorway. She sounded concerned.
"I have to change. I have to go…out for a while…" the teenager said in a flat monotone; as she spoke, she stood up, shakily, and walked back across the room towards the closet.
It took her a little longer to change this time; her hands were shaking so hard she had trouble holding onto the clothing, but in what was still a fairly short time, she was in her normal school clothes, and stumbling towards the window. "I gotta go…"
"Videl, sweetie…" Hannah began, but Videl waved a hand to silence her.
"I'll…tell you…later…" the teen said slowly and deliberately. It seemed that she was weighing each word out in her mind before letting it come out of her mouth, like a merchant would weigh out grain before giving it to his customer. But she walked to the window and took to the air. Apparently, she no longer cared about being seen by normal people who might panic.
The fly to the mountains took ten eternities, but finally, Videl touched down in a little clearing. In this little clearing stood a cozy little house. This house was her destination.
Having regained her abilities of free movement, she ran up to the house and began pounding on the door. Yes, it was still an ungodly hour by most standards, but she knew that ChiChi was usually up early, so the older woman was probably already awake.
Sure enough, after about fifteen seconds of beating relentlessly on the front door of the Son residence, it opened, and the matron of the household stepped out. She started to smile, but the grin quickly faded when she saw the look on Videl's face. "Videl, what's—"
"Where's Gohan?" Videl demanded. "I need to talk to Gohan. Now."
"He's…getting dressed…" Chichi looked flustered, probably one of the few times in her life she had felt that way. "Just a minute…I'll get him…" She disappeard into the house.
A moment later, Gohan appeared, tying the red belt on his standard blue-purple gi. "Hey, Videl. Getting an early start."
"You. Me. Talk. NOW!" she said shortly, turning and walking out into the front yard.
Gohan blinked a few times, then shrugged and followed her, closing the door behind him. When he got about two feet away from her, he asked, "Didn't the trial start today?"
"It was supposed to," she said angrily. "But it's not anymore."
"What do you mean, it's not anymore?" he asked, confused.
"There isn't going to be a trial anymore."
"What?!? Why not?!?"
"Because the sonofabitch decided it would be easier to just hang himself in his goddamn cell than sit in a courtroom and face what he did!" she raged. Her hands clenched into fists at her sides. "He killed himself. Hung himself with his goddamn bedsheets."
Gohan was stunned, and didn't say anything for a long moment.
But Videl wasn't done. "He's not going to pay for what he did to me and that other woman and her family and my family and everybody! He got off scot-free! It's not fair. It's not fair!" By now she had tears in her eyes, tears she refused to shed.
Sizing up the situation, he took a tentative step towards her. When she didn't move away, he took that as a good sign, and took another. "No. It's not fair. Nothing's fair, Videl."
"Oh god, this is all my fault…" she said in a rush, turning and burying her face in his shoulder. "It's all my goddamn fault."
"No!" he yelled suddenly, grabbing both her shoulders and pushing her back far enough that he could look her in the eye. She looked stunned at his outburst, and almost a little frightened. "None of this is your fault! I told you that before, and I'll keep telling you that until you believe it. Do you know why I'm going to keep telling you that? Because it's the goddamn truth. Videl. It's the truth." She remained silent, and dropped her eyes, so he continued. "Videl, listen to me. Life isn't fair. You got a really bad deal here. Nobody is going to argue that point. But you know what? You survived, and right now, that's what matters the most. You're alive, you're safe, and you're going to be all right."
"I think I already asked this, but what did I do to deserve a friend like you?" she asked softly, still looking down at his feet.
"Must have been something really good,"Gohan replied. "But let me ask you a question. What did I do to deserve a friend like you?"
"Something terrible, I'm sure," Videl actually teased back. "But he's dead now, and he's not going to pay for a goddamn thing!"
"Don't be so sure about that," Gohan smiled knowingly. "I happen to know a thing or two about how things work in Otherworld. When that guy goes through the check-in station and meets up with King Yemma, we'll see exactly what kind of penalty he gets for what he did."
Videl pondered this for a minute, then nodded. "I hope he ends up in Hell."
"You shouldn't think like that," he admonished her gently. "But just for the record, I'm pretty sure that's exactly where he'll be going."
"Good," she said fiercely, then hugged him again.
"So…you never told me exactly why you were so afraid of me," Gohan said after a minute. It was a dangerous question, but he needed to know, and chances were that she needed to tell him.
There was a long moment of silence before she replied. "I…I knew you would never hurt me, Gohan," she said into his shoulder. "But…oh gods, I don't know why. But there were nightmares where I'd see two faces, and one would be yours. It scared me to death."
"You thought I might hurt you?" he asked softly.
"No…yes…I don't know…" she all but sobbed, sounding absolutely miserable.
"Hey, it's okay," he said quickly. "You don't have to know. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not ever, who knows? But Videl…you know I will never, ever hurt you. Ever. And don't ever think otherwise."
She sighed. "I guess it's true what they say. Closure really is a myth."
"No, it's not," Gohan shook his head. "I should know. It's real, but it's hard to get. Sometimes it just takes a little time to find it." Suddenly he stopped and sniffed the air. "And unless my nose is deceiving me, it smells like Mom is making some kind of food items for breakfast." He stepped back and bowed, offering her his arm in a ridiculous fashion, like something out of a very old movie. "Wouldst thou liketh to accompany me? I daresay perhaps we might discusseth this further…eth?"
She had to at least smile at the silliness of it all. He was trying to cheer her up, and she appreciated the effort. Feeling a little foolish, she sketched out something that sort of resembled a curtsey. "Why, yes, dear sir. I would loveth to." She took his arm, and they walked towards the house.
As they strolled, Videl let her head rest on Gohan's shoulder. It felt right. For the first time in ever so long, everything just felt right.
If Gohan was to be believed, then there really was closure.
And maybe she hadn't found it just yet.
But to Videl, that moment felt like a very good start.
You're still you
After all, you're still you
AN: Well. That's it. We're done. Think what you will of my ending. I actually had an idea for one more chapter, but I really wasn't sure if I wanted to write it or not, so I just didn't. If you really really really really want it, I could probably write it, but it wouldn't be until sometime next week, since I'm going out of town all weekend for a show choir trip.
And remember what I said about anonymous flamers. I don't listen. I DO listen to constructive criticism. And I might have to keep Hannah around for a while in other fics. A few people said they liked her. She's a fun old lady!
But fear not, friends, for now "Faith" becomes my priority fic. Translation: I'm actually gonna finish the thing! And when that story is complete, I have another little notion I've been stirring up for a while. Actually, I have three chapters typed already, and two more written out, waiting to be typed ^-^ I hope you'll visit my little corner of ff.net again sometime. Buh-bye!