A True Hero
an altiverse story by Dot

Yet another attempt at a more serious story, and at originality. Enjoy.
768. It was the year that was forever burned into the people's memories; the year of the Cell Game. Of the nine warriors who faced that horrible monster, only one returned: Mr. Satan. To the thunderous cheering of the entire world, Mr. Satan announced his defeat of Cell.

The people were so grateful of their savior that they were willing to give him anything he desired, including the power and prestige of a world ruler. By a near-unanimous vote, the king turned over his power to Mr. Satan, who graciously accepted even though he had not requested such a thing.

Not everyone, however, supported Mr. Satan's rule. A few knew that knew the truth about what happened on that fateful day, and even fewer saw that Mr. Satan was nothing but a ruthless, ambitious tyrant. But, being in the minority, they were either ignored or silenced. Over time, though, those voices began to gain in volume...

***

"Can I go to Satan City to see the parade, Mom? Please? Pretty please?" Goten looked up at his mother with puppy dog eyes.

Chi-Chi sighed. "Oh, all right."

"Hooray!" Goten jumped up and gave Chi-Chi a crushing hug. "Thank you!"

Chi-Chi sighed again. If only he knew...

What hurt her was not just the fact that today was the anniversary of Mr. Satan's "triumph" over Cell, but that Goten was an almost exact clone of his father--the father that, because of Cell, Goten would never have. And Gohan, too, had never came back from that awful battleground...

"Mom?" Goten looked up at Chi-Chi. "Why are you crying?"

Chi-Chi awkwardly wiped away the tear that streaked down her face. "Just getting sentimental again." She forced a smile. "Now, run along and have a good time!"

"Okay!" Goten nodded vigorously. "Oh, yeah! Can I go to Trunks' house after the parade?"

"Well..." Chi-Chi considered this for a while. "Go ahead."

Goten gave his mother another hug before stuffing his feet into his shoes and running off.

As she watched her son leave, Chi-Chi agonized over whether to allow Goten to live in ignorant bliss or to tell him the painful truth. After all, there wasn't much time left...

Twenty minutes later, the door was broken down and police rushed in, wielding their weapons menacingly.

"Son Chi-Chi, you are hereby under arrest for treason against the great Mr. Satan," announced one of the officers.

Chi-Chi stood slowly and, keeping her head up, walked forward.

***

Satan City--formerly the Western Capitol, home of Mr. Satan, renamed for the great hero after he became king--looked like it was ready to burst at the seams with activity. Every street was covered with decorations of all sorts in preparation for the great parade. This year, it was announced that fireworks would be added to the celebration.

Videl sighed as she watched the people hustle about. Seven years ago, her ideal vision of her father had been forever shattered when she secretly followed him to the Cell Game by 'hitchhiking' in the trunk of the car which brought him there. She already had the vague idea that her father exaggerated his greatness, but she had no idea what a wimp and a coward he was.

When Videl saw her father take advantage of the confusion and claim the victory for himself, she found herself hating him to the point of even wanting to kill him. This scared her so much that she stayed glued to her hiding spot after everyone left, her thoughts whirling in her head.

That's when she heard the whimper.

"Otousan..."

Never had Videl heard such a cry of hopelessness and despair. Peeking out from behind 'her' rock, she looked for the source of the sound.

He should have been dead. He was bleeding profusely from every part of his body, his breaths were weak, and his heartbeat nearly undetectable. But he still had enough strength to cling to life, every once in a while calling out for his father and weeping red tears. Videl, having nothing save the clothes she wore, could only sit by his side, hold his hand, and pray for a miracle.

A miracle did happen: Mr. Satan, realizing that his daughter was missing, sent a group of his men to find her. When they got there, she told them that the young boy had been injured by a wild animal and was in dire need of medical help. (Not in those exact words, of course, but no matter how eloquently she could have worded her plea, it had still been a lie.)

After the boy had recovered, Videl tried talking to him, but couldn't get anything out of him save his name, Son Gohan. When she prodded further, he only gave her a dark glare and retreated into his own world.

And today, he seems to be even more depressed than ever, Videl thought, casting a sidelong glance at Gohan's brooding form. It was at times like this that she wished she could read Gohan's mind, although it didn't take much psychic ability to guess what he was probably thinking.

The chiming of the clock brought her back to her senses.

"Well, I have to go and sit through three hours of torture," she said with a long-suffering sigh. "You keep yourself out of trouble, okay?"

Gohan didn't so much as blink.

Videl sighed again. "Cold as stone..."

***

Videl calls me cold as stone before she leaves. Perhaps that is true. Part of me died on that day, and what was left has scarred into a hard mass.

Half of me doesn't want to think about what happened. The other half doesn't want to forget. How could I ever forget? The looks on their faces when I lost control...when I got too cocky...when Otousan sacrificed himself to save us...when Cell came back, stronger than ever...

Trunks-san, a hole blown through his chest. Kuririn-san, Tenshinhan-san, and Piccolo-san, vaporized before they could even blink. Vegita-san, using the last of his energy to distract Cell just long enough so that I could finish it off.

Otousan...

My eyes burn, but there aren't any more tears left to cry.

Perhaps I really am made of stone now...

***

Videl plastered on her false smile as she joined her father on the balcony. Mr. Satan did not acknowledge her, for he was already absorbed in the adoration the people below are showering upon him. She briefly wondered her he would react if she ever told him how she really felt about all of this bull.

Smile, wave, and smile some more. Her cheeks were starting to hurt. The stupid parade was taking forever. At this rate, it seemed like it would end just in time for the next anniversary.

Finally, the last float passed through. Mr. Satan stood and addressed his faithful followers.

"Dearest people. You know how hard I've worked for you..."

Videl rolled her eyes. The only thing that Mr. Satan ever done for those people squander their taxes for his luxurious living.

"You may also be aware that there are some who are spreading slander about me..."

Videl raised an eyebrow, as her father never mentioned the resistance publicly before. Maybe he was finally starting to take his opposition seriously...

"...today, it ends. For today, my loyal men have found one of those responsible!"

Videl's heart constricted as the soldiers brought out the prisoner. Head held high, eyes glittering with defiance, the prisoner stood in the square for all to see. What surprised Videl the most, though, was that she didn't recognize this woman; that had to mean there were other resistance groups.

The rest of Mr. Satan's speech was a blur, although Videl did remember much enthusiastic cheering. The 'traitor' was then taken back to the deepest depths of the dungeon, where she would remain until her 'trial'. It was certain from the way everyone glares at her what the verdict and sentence will be.

Mr. Satan noticed Videl's pale complexion, and, misinterpreting it entirely, had some men escort her back to her room.

"Hmm," the doctor muttered, checking her various vital signs and finishing off by taking Videl's pulse. Then he set her wrist down and smiled. "A perfect bill of health!" He tapped her cheek. "But you should be getting a little more sleep."

"I'll do just that," Videl replied. Turning to the men, she said: "Could you please see to it that I'm not disturbed?"

"Of course, Miss."

As soon as everyone had gone, Videl rose from her bed.

***

"Gohan."

I continue to stare at nothing in particular.

"Gohan." Her call is stronger, more insistent. She has never used this tone of voice with me before. I turn slightly, and acknowledge her presence.

She grabs my arms firmly. "Gohan. Look at me."

Her eyes burn into mine. Something that has slept within me for seven years begins to stir. No, no, no...

"Please. I need you." She turns on the television.

My heart quickens slightly when I see Okaasan on the screen, but still I say nothing.

She slaps me across the face. It doesn't really hurt, but why does my chest suddenly ache so...?

"Fine!" She spits out, tears streaming down her face. "Stay here for all I care!" As suddenly as she came, she is gone, her footsteps echoing down the hall.

My heart feels as if it is on fire, as if has been dropped to the deepest depths of hell.

A hoarse whisper escapes my lips. "Okaasan..."

For the first time in seven years, a tear streaks down my face. And another. And another. And another...


If someone wants to take this idea and run with it further, go ahead, just give me the proper credit. I don't have the strength to continue this story; it's just too draining.
Copyright 2000 by Dot
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?