Preface: This story was partly inspired by the YouTuber JaxBlade, who made a video about what it would be like if Gohan went to U.A. Even though that idea was something I'd briefly thought about when watching/reading My Hero Academia, I wasn't exactly motivated to write about it until I saw how many people were genuinely excited about the concept. That, combined with how much I loved MHA when I first started following it, drove me to start writing this. Here's hoping it works out.
The amazing cover art for this story has been done by athinachann. She has an Instagram account, so do check it out if you'd like to see more of her work. 123GOHANZ has also done some incredible fanart for this fic, so please check him out on DeviantArt if you're curious.
There is also a TV Tropes page for this fanfiction that can be accessed by googling it. If you'd like to contribute to it, feel free to do so. However, be wary of spoilers if you haven't caught up to the latest chapter.
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The Symbol of Peace and Justice
Chapter 1 – Saviour
Thunder rumbled across the chilly night sky as a cloaked figure sped through the streets of the dilapidated city beneath it. The figure – a tall elderly man with a bushy white beard and sparkling blue eyes – ignored the rain pelting down upon his hidden form and paid no heed to his racing heartbeat, choosing instead to remain resolute in his journey as he tightly clutched a sack hanging over his shoulder.
He darted out of a dark alley onto a main road, only for the world around him to be set ablaze. Fires sprang up through cracks in the ground, and the already-decaying buildings in the vicinity collapsed with a ear-splitting boom. A savage bolt of lightning struck the empty road, splitting it in two as though it were a flimsy plastic toy.
The cloaked man breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth, the cool but tasteless air giving him a brief moment of comfort. As though a switch had been flipped, the flames receded and the toppled buildings rose back to their normal heights. The man wiped the sweat off his brow, visibly gleaming even among the raindrops, and continued on his way.
Upon seeing an abandoned warehouse, he burst through the door and slammed it behind him. His keen eyes hurriedly scanned his surroundings for a barricade of some sort, eventually settling on a dusty metal workbench. With notable exertion on his wisened features, he dragged the workbench to the door and set it as a makeshift barrier, praying to any deity who would listen that it would hold strong.
The man puffed and wheezed, his aging body exhausted and weary, but he knew he had to keep moving. Exhaling deeply in an attempt to calm himself, he turned around and proceeded deeper into the warehouse, but was halted in his tracks when the roof collapsed in front of him, exposing him to the sight of a meteor shower assaulting the Earth.
The man blinked, and the meteors went away while the fallen roof righted itself. He grimaced, knowing that time was running out, and ran through the building until he reached a door at the very back. After rushing inside it, he found himself in another gigantic room, with the only difference to the previous one being a glass ceiling instead of a concrete one.
His chest then spasmed and he fell to his knees, the sack over his shoulder slipping from his grasp. It hit the ground with a thud, and the man could only watch as seven orange balls with red stars on them slid out, rolling across the floor. He tried rising to his feet, but his legs wouldn't budge, forcing him to let out a weary sigh.
With trembling hands, he moved the balls close together, momentarily admiring how mystical they looked when glowing in unison. Once that was done, he bowed his head and bellowed at the top of his voice, "Arise, dragon of legend! Arise, and grant my wish!"
The balls began flickering like lightbulbs and started emitting a strange pulsating sound that grew louder the longer it went on. The room turned dark, clouds that had come out of nowhere suddenly covering the already faint moon, and leaving the glowing balls as the only light source in the area. A pillar of radiant yellow energy then rose from the pulsing spheres, shooting towards the sky and cutting through the glass roof with ease.
The long, thin and cylindrical energy then coiled around in the shape of a snake as the light slowly faded to reveal menacing reptilian features. When the yellow had disappeared completely, it left in its place a colossal serpentine dragon, its scaly green skin glistening in the rain. Two brown antlers jutted from its lizardike head, while green hair flowed from its cheeks. A pair of thin green whiskers protruded from its long snout, and its mouth opened to reveal razor-sharp teeth which matched the dangerous-looking claws on its four feet. However, the creature's most menacing features were its glowing red eyes, gleaming ominously in the darkness of the night.
The cloaked man who had called forth this beast was rendered awestruck at the sight, and could do nothing but stare slack-jawed into its crimson orbs. A sudden pressure struck his body to the core, making him feel like an insignificant ant in the presence of a god.
"Why have you disturbed me from my slumber?" the dragon roared, its booming voice reverberating through the room despite its mouth remaining unmoving. Lightning flashed in the background, further punctuating its commanding aura. "State your wish so that I may go rest once more!"
That broke the man from his stupour, and with a deep breath he mustered all the courage he had remaining and matched the monster's ferocious glare. "I have seen the future, and it is grim!" he began as disturbing visions started playing through his head like a roll of film, making him choke up. "This world is full of hate, anguish and sorrow… and if left to fester, it will cast a dark shadow upon us all! Try as I might, I find myself powerless to stop this!"
Tears now streamed down his face, and he made no move to wipe them away. "But while there is darkness, there is also light! There are good people on this planet, and they don't deserve to go out in such a way! Innocent men, women, children who want to live their lives in peace… pro heroes, police officers, doctors who want to help others… why should their lives be cut short at the whim of the mad few?
"Mythical dragon of legend… I have spent the better part of my life searching for you, in the hope that you can help put a stop to what's to come!" His heartbeat quickened; now was the moment of truth. "My wish is for you to bring a hero to this world who will save us from the awful future that looms ahead – a shining beacon of hope who will act as a light in the darkness, and one whose heroism will inspire future generations for years to come!"
Silence reigned for a few seconds, and the man found his spirits sinking as he took this to mean the dragon had rejected his wish. Just as his heart was about to shatter completely, the magical being's scarlet eyes glowed even brighter before fading. "Your wish has been granted. Goodbye."
With those parting words, the dragon faded from existence in a glimmer of golden glitter, and the orange balls from whence it came flew into the sky before rocketing off into multiple directions, quickly disappearing over the horizon.
The cloaked man's heartbeat steadied, and he allowed a small smile to spread across his lips. He had done it. Now all he had left to do was wait for the inevitable.
As though fortune had been smiling upon him, he didn't have to wait long. An emphatic crash was heard as the barred door in the other room was knocked down, and a cacophony of thunderous footsteps signalled the arrival of a small army.
With a sudden surge of adrenaline, the grinning man shakily rose to his feet. "I may not have been able to choose my place of death, but I can sure as hell choose how I'm going out!" He threw off his black cloak, revealing a simple vest with multiple sticks of dynamite strapped to it. "You want my body? Then you can have it… if you can find it, that is! Go beyond! Plus Ultra!"
With the pull of a trigger, a deafening explosion was heard, and the large warehouse went up in flames. A gargantuan pillar of smoke, fire and ash spiralled into the air like an erupting volcano, and the pouring rain could do nothing to stop its ascent.
"Withstand him. Withstand him, Gohan!"
Son Gohan's teeth gritted in exertion and sweat ran down his bloody brows as he pushed against Cell's Kamehameha with his own, pouring whatever ki he could muster into the colossal energy beam. The planet trembled under the might of the two warriors, and the vicious winds from their titanic clash blew dust, dirt and shattered rock fragments into the air.
The scene at the ruins of the Cell Games arena truly was chaos incarnate, and it only gave further credence to the fact that the fate of the Earth truly was at stake in this battle.
"You still aren't using all of your power! Let your power erupt!" the voice of Son Goku screamed in his son's head. With those words, a tether snapped within Gohan, and he felt the warm, comforting presence of his father's spirit appear behind him.
"Farewell!" Cell laughed maniacally as his ki spiked, and his beam almost completely overwhelmed Gohan's. The young Super Saiyan groaned as he felt the flesh on his skin blister and tear from the heat of his adversary's attack, and numbness started to encompass his right hand.
Then, out of nowhere, Cell's Kamehameha faltered, and Gohan's eyes widened as he sensed a foreign ki blast of tremendous power strike the bio-android in the back.
"Vegeta?!" Cell stammered in shock as he tried to gather his bearings, but it was too late. The momentum had shifted.
"Now!" Goku shouted, his ghostly visage seeming to pour his own energy into his son's attack.
Gohan roared ferociously as he let go of his inhibitions and channelled all the ki he had left into his Kamehameha. The blue beam of energy swelled to incredible proportions and washed over Cell's beam like a tidal wave.
Gohan took one step forward, and then another. He could feel his opponent's ki signature dwindle as his body slowly disintegrated under the force of the Kamehameha – but he didn't relent. He kept moving, fuelled by the thought of all the innocent people who'd died due to Cell's villainous rampage. Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes as the smiling faces of Android 16 and his father flashed through his head, and he subconsciously channelled more energy into his blast.
However, Gohan was met with an unexpected source of resistance in the form of an invisible barrier of some sort. A black sphere of energy coalesced in the epicentre of the Kamehameha, halting its progress, and before the young Super Saiyan could ponder what it meant, the sphere had grown large enough to encompass his entire being.
When all he could see was blackness, Gohan felt himself get sucked into a void against his will, and was subsequently forced to let loose a bloodcurdling yell as he was racked with an incomprehensible pain that seemed to tear his body apart at the seams. His transformation promptly faded, and tears of agony and horror streaked down his face. The courage he'd felt before evaporated, and was quickly replaced by an abject terror of the unknown.
After what seemed like an eternity, the pain quelled, and Gohan let out a sigh of relief. The darkness surrounding him disappeared, and he found himself floating above an unfamiliar city in the dead of the night. 'Wh-where am I?'
That lone thought was the last one that sprung to mind before an unbearable fatigue overcame the boy and he found himself plummeting to ground, his eyes slowly closing.
A faint beeping awoke Gohan from his slumber. He groaned audibly, shuffling uncomfortably on his mattress as his body felt like it was being weighed down by a slab of lead. Not yet opening his eyes, he tried to go back to sleep in the hope that the aches would go away, but the beeping slowly started to gnaw on his nerves, making him grimace.
His eyes then shot open as his most recent memories came flooding back, and he sat up with a newfound sense of urgency. His onyx orbs hurriedly scanned his surroundings, making him realise that he was in a typical-looking hospital room: pristine white flooring, lime-green walls that were entirely bare, and a small window on one side that was covered by a cream-coloured curtain.
Looking down, he saw that he was clad in a light blue hospital gown exposed at the upper torso, and resting on a simple white bed with the covers pulled down to his hips. Various suction cups and other such wires were hooked to his chest and bare arms, and attached to a heart rate monitor situated next to the bed.
He paused momentarily as various scenarios ran through his head, and the heart rate monitor started beeping even louder. Why was he in a hospital? If he was injured from his fight against Cell, either Dende would've healed him or someone would've fed him a senzu bean. There was no fathomable reason for him to be in a hospital.
The beeping was now at such a volume that he found it unbearable, and with panic coursing through his being, he ripped the various wires off his body and leapt to his feet. The shrill noise assaulting his eardrums stopped instantly, but he paid it no heed as he rushed to the window and flung open the curtains.
He hadn't spent much time in any big cities, but he had been at Capsule Corp enough to know what one looked like. This… was somewhat different. The architecture was still large and mildly imposing, and the streets below were still bustling with people going about their day, but somehow things just didn't seem as modern; the cars in particular were overly blocky, and none of them seemed capable of flight.
The loud pitter-patter of footsteps broke the startled demi-Saiyan from his musings, and he turned around to see three doctors run into the room.
"Thank heavens, you're awake!" the eldest of the three said. His face was old and wrinkled, and his hair was grey and frayed, but there was a kindly smile on his weathered features.
Despite that, Gohan's eyes darted suspiciously from one doctor to the other. "Where am I?"
The doctors shared puzzled looks before turning back to the boy. "You're in Tokyo," the only female of the group spoke.
Gohan's brow furrowed. That was a name he was unfamiliar with. "What region is that in?"
This time, the doctors' foreheads creased in worry, and the last of the trio – a clean-shaven young man – answered his question. "Tokyo is the capital city of Japan, which is one of the most prosperous countries in Asia."
Gohan's eyes widened, and his heart started racing. Breathing suddenly became difficult, but he used some meditative techniques Piccolo had taught him to calm himself down a tad. The doctors stared at him apprehensively, unsure what to say.
Try as he might, Gohan couldn't rationally justify his current predicament. Geography was one of the many subjects he had studied when he was younger, and he was pretty certain he had a good idea of what the world looked like despite having only visited a small part of it. At no point had he ever come across the words 'Tokyo', or 'Japan', or even 'Asia'. Just where in the world was he?
He gulped, his throat suddenly parched. "Could I please see a map of the world?" he asked, his voice low and meek.
The female doctor nodded and pulled a phone from her pocket. She typed a few things into it, then walked towards him and handed him the device. Gohan stared at the map on the small screen, confusion playing across his features. None of what he saw was familiar to him… this wasn't the world he had grown up in.
He reached out with his ki, trying to sense a familiar signature, but was beyond stunned to realise that he couldn't get a read of anyone's ki. The people milling about outside, the doctors trying to help him, the rest of the hospital's inhabitants… he couldn't sense any of them. Had it not been for the fact that he could read his own energy perfectly, he would assume that he'd lost the ability to do so. Somehow, for some reason, nobody in this world had ki.
For a brief moment, Gohan felt as though he was rendered blind. The loss of one of his primary senses was a shocking one, but he pushed that thought aside. He had more pressing matters to deal with right now. With trembling hands, he handed the doctor back her phone before he accidentally dropped it.
"Are you alright," she asked softly, her tone laced with concern.
"I… I don't know where I am," Gohan responded, trying to keep his emotions in check. "I don't know how I got here, and I don't know how to get back home."
A comforting hand on his shoulder caught the boy off guard, and he traced the source to find the warm green eyes of the elderly doctor meeting his own. "Come this way, young man," he said gently, guiding him along. "Let's get you back in bed and try to make sense of this whole mess. You've been through a very trying ordeal, so it's only natural that you're a bit discombobulated. You two may leave us," he added, motioning to his colleagues.
Gohan nodded and did what he was told, his bare feet plodding along the cold floor until he reached the bed and sat on the edge of it. He buried his face in his hands.
"Would you like some water?" the doctor offered.
"Yes please," Gohan replied, his words muffled by his palms. When he was given a plastic cup filled with the liquid, he removed his hands from his head and greedily gulped it down. After he was done, he handed it back to the doctor. "Thank you."
"You're most welcome," the doctor responded, a hint of amusement in his voice. He took out a clipboard from his lab coat and skimmed through it as if to double check the information. "Now, I suppose you're eager to be updated on the situation?"
"It'd be nice to not be completely in the dark," Gohan mumbled with a bit of uncharacteristic sarcasm. He wasn't in the best of moods right now.
The doctor merely chuckled. "Before we get started, do you have a name?"
"Son Gohan. I'm nine years old."
"Ahh, so you remember that much. I see. Most interesting," the doctor mused, jotting the name down on the piece of paper in front of him. "My name is Shuzenji Shigeaki."
"Pleased to meet you, Dr Shuzenji. Thank you for taking care of me," Gohan stated gratefully.
"Such a polite boy," Doctor Shuzenji remarked. "The pleasure is all mine, young man. That said, your case is a most unusual one. In fact, I daresay it's the most unusual case I've ever dealt with." Gohan's heart sank. That sounded foreboding, and did nothing to assuage his worries. As though sensing his fears, the doctor gently patted the boy's back. "No need to worry, though. It's nothing that can't be resolved. It just might take a little longer than normal, that's all."
Gohan still had his doubts, but so far Doctor Shuzenji hadn't done anything suspicious. Deciding to listen to what the man had to say, he nodded, beckoning him to continue.
"Three nights ago, we found your body in a large crater in the middle of the road." Gohan's eyes bulged at the startling revelation. Now that he thought about it, the last thing he could remember was falling to the ground immediately after being teleported to this strange world. "Honestly, my colleagues and I were amazed that you were still alive," the doctor continued. "Your clothes were in tatters and your body was heavily injured, with your left arm being worse off than anything else. On top of all that, it looked like you had fallen from a tremendous height. Your Quirk must be truly remarkable if it let you survive that."
Gohan looked at the man strangely. "What do you mean by Quirk?"
Doctor Shuzenji stared back at him with an equally befuddled expression. "I beg your pardon? Can you please repeat that?"
"You said something about my Quirk. I'm afraid I don't know what you meant by that," Gohan elaborated.
Doctor Shuzenji frowned, pausing for a few seconds before speaking. "Gohan, my boy, I'm inclined to believe you have a case of amnesia." The demi-Saiyan raised an eyebrow at that. He could definitely see how the doctor would come to that conclusion. It was certainly the most viable explanation, even if it was wrong. Nevertheless, the man continued. "Quirks are special abilities that 80% of people are born with. They tend to manifest by the time a child is in kindergarten. If you want to find out more, you can read up on them later, but that's the basic gist of it."
Gohan nodded slowly, fascinated by this new piece of information. He figured that was why he couldn't sense anyone's ki; perhaps Quirks were this world's substitute for ki? Still, while it was a marvellous concept, he could see how problems would arise from it. The thought of maniacal villains in the mould of Freeza or Cell running around with unique superpowers was a horrifying one.
"In case you were curious, I have a Recovery Quirk, which runs in my family," Doctor Shuzenji explained. "It allows me to amplify and speed up the human body's healing process. It's quite handy in my line of work."
Gohan nodded once more, pleased to note that there were people in this world who used their powers for good. His mind began to wander, contemplating what different kinds of Quirks people had, and how they could be used. Furthermore, while he didn't have a Quirk himself, he couldn't help but be curious as to how these Quirks would compare to his own powers.
The doctor then fixed Gohan with an inquisitive gaze, interrupting his musing. "I know this might be difficult with your amnesia, but tell me, Gohan, do you remember anything about your Quirk?"
The question made the demi-Saiyan pause. He pursed his lips, contemplating his answer. He knew he had to be extra cautious with what he said next. While he did trust Doctor Shuzenji, he was still a stranger to this world, and he had no idea how things ran. What if by telling them he had a completely different power to their Quirks – one that was far more accessible and could be taught to others – scientists would want to run tests on him and find out how to harness that power for themselves?
Gohan didn't like being paranoid, but Piccolo had always taught him to be vigilant of the world around him. In this instance, he knew it was wise advice to take on board. He swallowed thickly as his heartbeat quickened. "I can manipulate the energy inside my body to do things like increase my strength, shoot energy waves and even fly," he described.
There. He wasn't lying, but he wasn't entirely truthful either. His powers weren't exactly a Quirk, but no one else had to know that.
"Fascinating. Most fascinating," Doctor Shuzenji mumbled, furiously scribbling down the information. "A truly powerful Quirk. Should you decide to pursue that path, I can envision you becoming a fantastic pro hero." Gohan was about to ask the doctor what he meant by 'pro hero', but the man had already decided to move on with the conversation. "Well, that certainly explains a lot, but it doesn't account for everything."
Gohan stiffened, knowing this was coming. He steeled his nerves and braced himself, preparing for the worst.
"When we took you in and ran all the necessary tests, we were surprised to see that your DNA didn't match any we have on record," Doctor Shuzenji stated in a businesslike tone. A bead of sweat ran down Gohan's temple. "That, combined with the way you seemingly appeared out of nowhere, raised a lot of questions. Some of my colleagues even joked that you were an alien that crash-landed on Earth."
Gohan chuckled uneasily. "Th-that's kind of extreme, don't you think?"
The doctor waved off his concerns. "Think nothing of it, my boy. It was just their overactive imaginations running wild. Besides, I doubt they were being entirely serious." Gohan resisted the urge to wipe the sweat off his brow. "While your situation is indeed a bizarre one, we live in a bizarre world where Quirks make even the most impossible things seem possible. I don't think it's worth getting so hung up on your origins when there's so little information to go on."
Gohan smiled inwardly, feeling a surge of respect for Doctor Shuzenji. So far, the man had shown himself to be an upstanding individual, and the demi-Saiyan was glad that he was the doctor assigned to his case.
"However, I can't help but be curious," Doctor Shuzenji began, immediately catching Gohan's attention. "What's the last thing you remember?"
Gohan paused before answering. "The last thing I remember is showing up in the sky and falling to the ground while losing consciousness."
"Yes, I figured that much," the doctor mused, writing down his findings. "Is there anything you remember before that?"
This time, Gohan had to think harder about his next answer. Should he tell the truth about how he was in the process of finishing off Cell, only to get teleported to this strange world against his will? While doing that would be easier on his conscience, there was also the risk that he would be declared insane, and that would be a most unpleasant outcome.
Conversely, since the diagnosis had already been suggested, he could always claim to have complete amnesia. Despite being told he was still on Earth, he knew in his heart that he was a long way away from home, and with no feasible way to go back… yet. Telling someone else about his predicament, at least before properly analysing it himself, could potentially invite trouble – especially in a world populated by people with superpowers. Perhaps in time he could share the truth with a trusted confidant, but for now, it was best kept a secret.
With that in mind, Gohan shook his head sadly. "No."
He could've swore he saw an almost imperceptible glimmer of disappointment in the old man's eyes, but it was so fleeting he didn't know if it was his imagination playing tricks. "I see. This must be very hard for you," he remarked sombrely.
"Yeah," Gohan muttered. It was true. He was, for all intents and purposes, stranded.
Doctor Shuzenji took a seat beside him and fixed the boy with a pleasant smile. "I know you must be distraught and confused right now, but please, try not to worry," he spoke softly. "In this dangerous world of ours, children being orphaned after tragedies or misfortunes is unfortunately a common occurrence, so the government implemented measures to support them."
While hearing about the children who lost their homes and families caused Gohan immense sadness, the rest of what the doctor said piqued his curiosity. "What kind of measures?"
"While a homeless child would ordinarily be placed in an orphanage, if the child is of an appropriate age and maturity, they can choose to live on their own," Doctor Shuzenji clarified, his smile widening slightly. "If the child chooses this option, the government will provide them an apartment and a fortnightly allowance, which will be enough to pay for rent and other necessities such as food and clothing. The child will also be offered free schooling up until they graduate high school – of which attendance is compulsory, might I add," he finished with a chuckle.
Gohan's eyes were wide as he listened to the doctor's explanation, and his lip quirked into a tiny smile. It almost sounded too good to be true.
Doctor Shuzenji observed him with an amused expression. "I take it that option appeals to you?"
Gohan blushed a bit at how obvious he was being. "It sounds perfect."
"Wonderful!" Doctor Shuzenji explained, clapping his hands jovially. "We'll have to keep you in overnight and run some tests in the morning, but you can leave in the afternoon! I'll even be your guide! You'll just have to fill out some paperwork beforehand, but after that you'll be good to go."
For the first time since he'd arrived on this world, a genuine smile spread across Gohan's youthful features. "I can't wait."
At that moment, a thunderous rumbling reminiscent of an earthquake reverberated through the room, making its two occupants freeze. When it ended, there were a few seconds of stunned silence before Doctor Shuzenji craned his neck to stare at a scarlet-faced Gohan, who was sheepishly scratching the back of his head. "Good heavens!" he proclaimed in an awestruck tone. "I haven't heard a roar that mighty since Fat Gum went on a hunger strike!"
Gohan clutched at his stomach and refused to meet the elderly man's gaze out of embarrassment. "Umm… do you guys have any food around here?"
The following afternoon saw Gohan walk out of the hospital with Doctor Shuzenji by his side, clad in a plain white t-shirt, jeans and basic sneakers – clothes the hospital had provided. He would've much rather worn a gi, as he found them a lot more comfortable, but he knew he had to wear these kinds of clothes if he wanted to fit in.
After pigging out at the hospital's cafeteria, much to the astonishment of the building's staff, he had spent the rest of the day brushing up on some of the world's early history through a book loaned to him by Doctor Shuzenji. It made for fascinating reading material, with the World Wars in particular being a captivating topic.
During this time, Gohan had come across a few other hospital workers and patients who had unusual, animal-like features, which Doctor Shuzenji had told him was due to their Mutant-type Quirks. The demi-Saiyan found them quite interesting, but didn't stare too much as he knew that was rude. Besides, he had grown up in a place where anthropomorphic animals were commonplace, so it wasn't too farfetched of a sight.
Gohan had also found out from conversing with his fellow patients that being a hero was a legitimate profession in this world, and that brought him no small amount of glee. He had always admired the superheroes he'd read about in comic books when he was younger, and was a huge fan of the Super Sentai shows that aired on TV. However, he was by no means naïve about the matter, and was well aware that the need for pro heroes had arisen as a means to combat dastardly villains, of which there were sure to be plenty.
Shaking those thoughts from his head, Gohan followed Doctor Shuzenji down the steps from the hospital and onto the sidewalk. It wasn't a long walk to the apartment, but he found himself taking note of several sights and features that made Tokyo seem a lot different to West City. Now that he was seeing it first-hand, he realised he was right in his earlier assessment that this world wasn't as technically advanced as his own.
The buildings tended to be more rectangular as opposed to sleek and domed, and there weren't that many cars on the roads either. Instead, it looked like the majority of people preferred to walk or cycle to their destinations. Large advertisements were plastered across billboards and atop various structures, promoting bizarre products like the Facial Fitness Pao: a plug-like object with two long, floppy handles that was placed in the mouth, and was supposed to prevent facial sagging by flapping the handles up and down.
While Gohan was busy pondering the logistics of such a device, a sudden commotion caught his attention. What looked like hundreds of people were huddled at the foot of a tall building, staring up at a giant TV screen attached to it. Doctor Shuzenji stopped in his tracks and joined them, so Gohan did too, curious as to what had drawn such a crowd.
Two news reporters had just finished talking about something, so the camera cut to a massive, overly-muscular man in a form-fitting suit, sporting blond hair with two large bangs that stood up straight. His lips were pursed and his eyes were downcast, giving him a grim expression that just didn't seem to fit on his features. He was standing behind a podium, looking down at an expectant audience.
The crowd around Gohan cheered joyously when the blond man appeared on screen, making the demi-Saiyan wonder if he was a popular celebrity.
"Visionary was a good friend of mine, so to hear about his disappearance cut me deep," the muscular man began, his voice booming. The people watching him speak were rendered mute, latching onto his every word, and Gohan couldn't help but follow suit. "I have worked with Visionary many times in the past, and his Clairvoyance Quirk has been a significant help in saving countless lives. Even when he was getting on in years, Visionary always put other people before himself, and that selfless nature of his is something we can all aspire to emulate."
The man then looked directly into the camera, and Gohan was mesmerised by the sheer amount of strength and determination visible in his deep blue irises, even through the TV screen. "Visionary, my friend… I don't know what happened to you, but rest assured I will be working day and night with the police to find out. It's the least I… and all of us… can do to honour your memory. Your impact on the current generation of heroes will be felt for years to come, and you will be sorely missed. May you rest in peace." he finished, bowing his head solemnly.
The camera then cut to a picture of grinning man with a bushy beard and long white hair that flowed down his back. His face was wrinkly and weathered, showing his advanced age, but his blue eyes maintained a strong spark to them. Below the image were the words, 'Rest in Peace'.
Despite never knowing this Visionary person, Gohan felt himself shedding a tear. The charismatic blond man's heartfelt speech had already made him a tad emotional, and the picture was the final straw. He quickly wiped the tear away so as to not draw attention to himself, but was surprised to see that many of the people in the crowd were balling their eyes out.
When the crowd started to disperse, Gohan looked up at Doctor Shuzenji, whose face was uncharacteristically grave. "What happened? Who was that guy giving the eulogy?" he asked the elder.
The man wiped his eyes and gave the demi-Saiyan a sad smile. "That was All Might, the world's number one hero. A few days ago, another hero, Visionary, went missing. I don't know the exact story since the police are keeping it under wraps, but he was pronounced dead soon after."
Gohan frowned deeply. "That's so sad. Visionary sounded like a great guy."
"That he was," Doctor Shuzenji remarked. "But, such is the world we live in."
Gohan sighed. It was just another stark reminder that no matter where one went, there would always be evildoers running amuck. He would've clenched his fist in frustration, but then he remembered something from the day before. "Hey, Dr Shuzenji, can I ask you something?"
"Of course you may, my boy," the man responded.
"Yesterday you told me that with my Quirk I could be a fantastic pro hero." The doctor's eyes lit up in recognition, so Gohan continued. "How do I become a pro hero?"
Doctor Shuzenji stared at Gohan for a moment before his face broke out into a wide grin, and he barked out a boisterous laugh. "While I'm overjoyed that you're eager to pursue such a noble cause, you have a long road ahead of you before you're ready to become a pro hero."
Gohan's mood soured at the rejection. That didn't sound good. "How long exactly?"
The doctor laughed once more and heartily clapped Gohan on the back. "You can only get your provisional hero license in high school, but you'd have to graduate to get a full license."
Gohan's jaw dropped at the information and his arms hung dejectedly by his sides. "But that's so long!"
Doctor Shuzenji didn't laugh this time, but instead smiled warmly at Gohan. "You truly are a kind boy, and I know you'll become a great hero one day," he said comfortingly. "But you're still nine years old. Don't be in such a rush to end your childhood. The wonderful heroes we have now, like All Might, aren't going away any time soon. They'll still be out there patrolling the planet, fighting criminals and saving people. Before you get to join their ranks, you should try to enjoy being a kid first."
Gohan said nothing to that, choosing instead to contemplate the doctor's words as they continued walking to their destination. While he was initially prepared to argue, the man did have a point. He was still only nine years old, and the prospect of getting to have a normal childhood was an enticing one. After all, he'd been forced to fight for his life against some of the evilest beings imaginable ever since he was four years old, and he'd be lying if he said he wasn't sick of it.
That thought caused a small feeling of disgust to well up in the pit of his stomach. He was blessed with extraordinary powers thanks to his heritage, whether he liked it or not, and it was only right that he put them to use saving people.
But then again… it wasn't like this world had a lack of heroes to pick up the slack. And Doctor Shuzenji did mention that a hero license was required to be a pro hero. Perhaps he had a point in saying that Gohan should enjoy being a kid before he dove into that world. In the meantime, it would also give him the opportunity to try and figure out why he was dropped into this world, and maybe try to find a way back home.
Still, he couldn't help but wonder about something. "Hey, Dr Shuzenji?"
"What happens if someone uses their Quirk to save people without a hero license?" he questioned.
The doctor stopped walking and turned towards Gohan, a startlingly stern look on his face. "The use of Quirks in public without a hero license is prohibited by law," he stated firmly. "While law enforcement tends to look the other way if you use your Quirk for something harmless like travelling or helping an elderly person cross the road, using your Quirk dangerously will be punished severely."
Gohan suppressed the urge to gulp, taken aback by Doctor Shuzenji's sudden change in demeanour. He couldn't help but wonder if the man knew what he was thinking when he posed the question. Nevertheless, he nodded. "Thanks for letting me know. I was just curious."
As thought a switch had been flipped, all the seriousness drained from Doctor Shuzenji's face, leaving the man smiling brightly. "No worries. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask."
Gohan would definitely keep that in mind.
It didn't take the pair much longer to reach the apartment building Gohan would be staying in. He stared up at the large structure, a blank expression across his features.
"It's not the most glamorous thing in the world," Doctor Shuzenji mumbled sheepishly.
"Ahh, that's not a problem. It's… fine. It'll do just fine," Gohan remarked. He wasn't lying; he was never the kind of person who put a lot of stock in superficiality or material goods. Still, even he couldn't refute that the apartment building wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at.
It was big, rectangular, and very industrial in its construction. The walls were coloured a faded brown, while the balcony barriers were a drab white. As for the balconies themselves, he could see that there wasn't a lot of space on them, with there being maybe just enough room for a chair and tiny table. There was also a parking lot at the rear of the building, but Gohan didn't think he'd ever be needing that.
He followed Doctor Shuzenji through the door, noting that there was a wall of mailboxes near the entrance. There was also an elevator sitting beside the stairs, which the two males promptly entered.
"You'll be in room 7G," the elder of the pair explained, pressing the button for the seventh floor. "Your stuff is already set up, so you don't have to worry about any of that."
Gohan nodded his thanks and listened to the droning hum of the elevator as it took them higher. A pinging sound signified that they'd reached their destination, so they exited the enclosed area and found themselves in front of a door.
His heart pounded in anticipation as Doctor Shuzenji unlocked it and moved aside, letting him be the first one to step inside the dwelling. With a deep breath, he did just that, and found himself standing on wooden floorboards in a small corridor with three other exit points.
Taking off his shoes, he entered the door on the right and stepped through, finding a modest bathroom with a toilet, shower, sink and washing machine – all the necessities. Leaving the bathroom, he walked through the door on the left, which led to a rather large room that functioned as the kitchen, dining room and living room all in one.
On the left wall, not far from the door, was a small wooden dining table with three chairs around it. Past that, in the top left corner of the room, was an entertainment stand upon which sat a reasonably-sized TV and home phone. Directly opposite this, on the right side of the wall, were an old-fashioned couch and armchair. The bottom right of the room housed a small kitchen which contained a stove, microwave, sink, fridge and benchtop.
The door on the wall opposite the entrance led to the balcony, letting Gohan know that he was right in his assumptions about its size. Still, at least the place had a balcony. He walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge, pleased to note that there was a good amount of food in there. Unfortunately, he could already tell that there wasn't enough to sate his Saiyan appetite, meaning he would have to hunt unless he wanted to go broke.
All in all, the room served its purpose well, so with that in mind, Gohan exited it and entered the only room remaining, which was directly opposite the front door. True to his expectations, this was the bedroom. It contained a simple bed on the left that was big enough to fit one person, a study table on the right that had a computer atop it, and a walk-in closet beside the door.
He nodded in satisfaction and left the area to find Doctor Shuzenji standing by the front door, looking at him expectantly. "So… what do you think?" the elder asked.
Gohan smiled brightly. "Honestly, it's more than I expected. I could definitely get used to this."
The doctor breathed out an exaggerated sigh of relief. "That's great! I'm thrilled that you like it!" A sudden beeping from his watch caught the man off guard and made him frown. His eyes crinkled apologetically in Gohan's direction. "I'm sorry, my boy, but work beckons. I'll swing by tomorrow to see how you're holding up, and we can get your school stuff sorted."
"Please don't apologise," Gohan said softly, bowing his head in gratitude. "You've been a tremendous help these last two days, and I can't thank you enough. I can take it from here."
A beaming smile spread across Doctor Shuzenji's lips. "It's been a pleasure, young Gohan. You're a remarkable young man, especially considering what you've been through. I look forward to working with you in the very near future."
With a wave, the doctor was gone, and Gohan was left alone. He walked aimlessly through his new apartment, not exactly sure how to feel. While he was satisfied with the layout of the place, something just felt… empty, and he couldn't place his finger on what, or why. He frowned, feeling an odd sensation well up in his chest, and sat down at his new computer. Maybe surfing the internet and trying to find out more about this world would cheer him up.
By the time it was eight in the evening, Gohan's eyes were getting droopy. He let out a wide yawn, figuring it was time to go to sleep, and shut down the computer. He rose from his chair and shuffled towards the closet, hoping to find some pyjamas. Doctor Shuzenji had told him there were enough clothes in there to last a while, so he hadn't felt the need to check earlier in the day.
With another yawn, he yanked open the door, only for his eyes to bulge, and whatever weariness he was feeling to evaporate in an instant. His bottom lip quivered, and a shaky hand reached towards the object of his attention.
It was his gi.
The purple gi Piccolo had made for him, that he'd worn when he fought Cell, was resting on a coat hanger. It was frayed, tattered and in a dreadful state, but it was clean and still somewhat functional. Gohan had no idea his gi had been kept and preserved. Heck, he hadn't even thought about its whereabouts these past two days, having had more pressing matters on his mind. But now… seeing it in his new home, among other clothes that he now owned, made something within him snap.
With trembling hands, Gohan took the damaged garment and placed it gently atop his mattress. He then knelt before his bed and stared at the outfit, remembering how he'd felt when Piccolo first materialised it over his body.
He was proud.
He was proud that Piccolo, his first mentor and best friend, had enough confidence in him to clothe him in garb of his own style. He fondly recalled the excited glimmer in the Namekian's eyes when he saw his pupil wearing the purple gi so much like his own.
He was also optimistic.
He was optimistic after the level of strength he'd attained while training in the Room of Spirit and Time with his father. He thought back to the moment Goku had called him to fight Cell in his place, citing that he'd reached a level of power even greater than his own. Knowing that his father had placed so much faith in him gave him a world of confidence, and he took all that on board when he stepped up to be Cell's next opponent.
Gohan missed both Goku and Piccolo, and the comforting warmth he felt whenever he was in their presence. He missed his mother, and how much she'd fuss over the smallest details when it came to him. It did get a little overbearing at times, but he knew she just wanted what was best for him, and he loved her deeply for it. He missed his grandfather, and how he'd always shower him with gifts whenever he came to visit despite Chi-Chi's protests about how it would spoil him.
He missed Bulma, who was always a voice of reason, and another ear to talk to. He missed Krillin and Yamcha, who were always good for a joke. He missed Tenshinhan, whose drive to keep improving despite his limitations was inspirational. He missed Muten Roshi, whose perverted antics were amusing, if a bit too much sometimes. He missed Trunks, who'd always regale him with stories of his future self's heroics. He even missed Vegeta, who'd finally put aside his pride to lend a helping hand against Cell, and be instrumental in the bio-android's defeat.
He missed Chiaotzu, and Turtle, and Dende, and Mr Popo, and Panchy, and Dr Brief. He missed all his friends and family. He missed the house he'd lived in his whole life, and the serene environment around it that always put him at peace. He missed Capsule Corp, and the feeling of adventure he got whenever he explored its sprawling interior. He missed the Lookout, and how giddy it made him when he looked down at the world below from the heavenly tower, pretending to be its guardian.
Looking at his purple gi had triggered a tidal wave of memories amid a flood of tears, and it made Gohan realise just what was missing.
A sense of belonging.
He didn't belong here. This wasn't his world. These weren't his people.
Even though he lived here now, this apartment wasn't his home. It was too dreary and depressing. It was too cold and industrialised. It was full of strangers who he didn't know, and who didn't know him or what he'd been through.
His home was the rustic little house he lived in with his parents. His home was the sprawling forests and fauna of Mount Paozu, filled with enough birds and beasts to fill up an encyclopedia. His home was the pristine rivers and crystal-clear lakes that dotted the sprawling landscape, which were always good for a quick dip or a spot of fishing. His home was the monolithic mountains that overlooked the East District, acting as a natural ward to any who sought to disturb its peaceful existence.
Gohan crawled into his bed, not even bothering to change, and hugged his ruined gi to his chest as tears streamed down his cheeks.
He didn't know who put him into this world. He didn't know what reason they had for doing such a thing. All he knew was that he wanted to go home.
AN: And that's a wrap… for now. This chapter was a bit exposition heavy for my liking, but it needed to be done in order to set up the world, and subsequently the rest of the story. I apologise if anyone was upset with my portrayal of Gohan in this chapter, but I thought it made sense. Here you have a somewhat sheltered nine-year-old kid who's grown up around friends and family his entire life, suddenly get ripped from his home and stuck in an unfamiliar world, with no idea how to go back. Of course he'd be freaking the hell out when the gravity of the situation finally hit him.
The next chapter will focus on Gohan learning to cope with his new environment. Don't worry, I won't have him wallow in self-pity for too long. I don't really enjoy writing that kind of drama. If all goes to plan, I should be able to start the really fun stuff – when Gohan goes to U.A. – in chapter 3.
I decided to pair Gohan with Momo because I think they'd make an interesting couple. I don't currently know how big of a focus romance will play in this story, which is why I tagged it as Adventure/Friendship instead of Adventure/Romance, but if it becomes a major part of the narrative, I will change the genre. Furthermore, if the Gohan/Momo pairing doesn't work for whatever reason, I'm open to changing it.
Honestly, I didn't plan to start any new stories while I was still working on my current major project, Rising to the Challenge – The Legacy of Son Gohan (TLOSG), as I didn't want to get distracted. But I just couldn't help myself with this one. I don't know how well I'll balance two stories at the same time, but I'm sure as hell going to try. That said, if you haven't read TLOSG, and enjoy what I've written so far for The Symbol of Peace and Justice, please consider checking it out.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you guys thought of this chapter. Whether it's positive or negative feedback, I'm always looking to improve, so if you have the time and are willing, please leave a review.
Until next time!
PS: Describing houses in writing is a real pain in the ass. For those who want to get a better picture of what it looks like, here's a picture of Gohan's apartment I made in Paint: ag1e5xd (type this at the end of im gur . com).
PPS: Almost two years after publishing this, I'm still get people commenting about Gohan's age. Yes, I know he was said to be 11 in the original Funimation dub, but he was nine years old in the manga, which is what I'm using as my primary reference. That birthday episode was filler. The official English translation of the manga, as well as the Funimation dub of Kai, also go with Gohan being nine instead of 11. Now, if you're going to tell me Gohan spent a year in the ROSAT, thereby making him exactly one year older, think again. Goku and Gohan left before the full year was up. Biologically, Gohan was 10, but chronologically, he was either nine or 10. If this still bothers you, then take it up with Mr Toriyama, not me. I didn't write the manga.
PPPS: If your reading experience on this site is being ruined by incredibly intrusive ads that show in the middle of stories, please download an adblocker. I highly recommend uBlock Origin, which has served me well for many years. If you primarily read fanfiction on your phone, then there is a free adBlock app that does the same thing. I understand that this site needs to make money to stay alive, but throwing big ass ads in between blocks of text is not okay.