Author's Notes: This is my third fanfic and my first one concerning DBZ. This will be yet another look into Gohan's life before and during his tenure as the Great Saiyaman/Gold Fighter (I haven't decided which one yet). I thought that aspect of DBZ could've shown some serious potential, and could've even been a spin-off Animanga. BUT, that's merely wishful thinking…

Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ. If I did…well, see the note above. DBZ and all names, characters, and like thereof, is the property of Akira Toriyama.

A Hero's Calling

A DBZ Fanfic from Darth Umbrus

-AHC-

Chapter 1: Dreams of the Past

It was a burden no nine-year-old should ever have to bear. Son Gohan had to, however. He was his father, Son Goku's trump card in the fight against the Bio-Android Cell. Goku had been depending on the hidden strength of his only son to save the planet, no, the universe. Gohan rose to expectations, ascending to a new level of power, Super Saiyan 2, which granted him immense strength. But with that ability, an extreme arrogance surfaced as well.

The Saiyan blood that coursed through his veins took control when using Super Saiyan 2, and it made Gohan toy with his weaker opponent. While Goku and the others urged him to finish Cell off, he took pleasure in slowly and painfully torturing Cell; and his superior strength made Cell furious.

After being outclassed in every way, even going as far as Gohan forcing him to vomit up Android 18, a source of his power, Cell became desperate. He pumped himself full of ki, and was going to self-destruct, taking the planet, and all of its inhabitants he hadn't already killed, with him. Gohan, now feeling extremely powerless, could do nothing but stand there and berate himself for his foolish behavior.

Goku, seeing this, used the only available option. After a quick goodbye to his friends, he used Shunkan Idou (Instant Transmission) to give his son last words, before taking Cell to King Kai's Planet, seconds before he blew up, killing Goku and King Kai, and destroying the Kai's planet.

Gohan couldn't help but feel responsible for his father's death. If he had listened to the others, Goku would still be here. Despite all of his power, he was powerless to save the one person most important person to him. He was a failure.

Gohan felt something he never thought he would feel again…He felt Cell. Cell had somehow regenerated in his perfect form, and thanks to the Saiyan cells within him, he had come back stronger than ever. He promptly disposed of Trunks, Vegeta's son who had come from the future to help fight, and laughed about it, as Vegeta attacked him in a blind rage. Cell quickly dispatched him and threw a killing blow, which Gohan blocked, losing the use of his left arm.

Cell decided to end the fight with Gohan rather unceremoniously by using a technique he had usurped from Gohan's father: Goku's signature technique, the Kamehameha Wave. Gohan, feeling sorry for himself didn't attempt to fight back, until Goku began comforting him from the other side, telling Gohan that he HAD to fight, not just for himself, but for the Universe as well.

Gohan, empowered by his father's coaching, used only his right hand to combat Cell's Kamehameha with one of his own. The battle raged back and forth, with Goku urging his son to go on, before Cell got bored, and was about to put the final touches on his attack. Thanks to a key distraction from Vegeta, Gohan put all of his remaining energy into his attack, forever silencing the threat of Cell.

Now they were on Kami's lookout, using the Dragon balls to repair all of the damage done by the Bio-Android; to restore all of the lives that he had stolen in the quest for power. There was one person, however, that even the mighty dragon could not restore…

-AHC-

"Please don't cry, son." That was a voice he would never hear in person again. From whatever realm of the Otherworld he now resided in, Goku spoke to his son and the rest of his closest friends and family. "I can understand how you feel, but you need to know this is for the best. Frieza came after me. The androids, Cell, they were all here because of me. If I don't come back then maybe the Earth can have some peace for once."

"But that's not fair!" Gohan let the tears run. "It's not fair daddy! What about me and mom? We need you with us!" He had to swallow before mustering his last words, "I need you." Despite all the people gathered around the glow of the eternal dragon, Shenron, the Lookout never seemed such a lonely place before.

"Hey, remember what I said before I took Cell away? How this may have been the best course of action after all? Eighteen would have died along with Cell had you finished him off. I've had a second chance, she hasn't. In fact, I think I've had a few too many already. Besides, Otherworld is a big place! King Kai and I are going to have lots of fun!"

A low, loud snort echoed through the Lookout. "Oh yeah! Lots of fun, you lousy home wrecker!"

"Aw, don't be like that King Kai. I already said I was sorry! Well . . . I suppose it's time. King Kai looks like he's getting ready to burst; long distance call and all."

Gohan wiped away his drying tears with his bruised and bloodied arm. He hurt all over, but none of that mattered to him. I was arrogant. I can never be that again. I swear I won't. I'll be like my dad. I'll protect the Earth just like he did. I promise.

"Take care of your mother for me, Gohan." Goku was saying his final words. "Tell her I love you all. Goodbye . . . my friends." And then he was gone. The Lookout was indeed a very lonely place.

Piccolo had been watching Gohan since Goku first began speaking to them. He could see the hurt in the boy's eyes, but was not worried. Gohan would be fine. All he needed was time. The Namekian's eyes turned back towards Shenron. "We still have another wish to make." They had already restored the Earth to how it was before Cell. What else was there to wish for?

To everyone's surprise, Krillin stepped forward. "I think I have one."

"Oh yeah? Well what is it?" Yamcha asked.

"Maybe we could wish Android Seventeen back to life. I mean, Eighteen's all alone here."

Yamcha looked like he would explode. "Are you insane? What happens if he's not as reasonable as her? He could start attacking us!"

"Well if that happens I'm pretty sure Gohan, Vegeta, or even Piccolo could stop him in a flash. I mean, they're the most powerful guys in the universe now." The thought sure sounded insane, but they all knew otherwise.

"I . . . forgot about that." Yamcha shrugged to the others, "I guess I really don't have anything against it."

"Go ahead Krillin." Piccolo stepped away from the glowing dragon balls. "You can make the final wish."

The short, bald man stepped towards Shenron and spoke loudly. "I wish that Android Seventeen be brought here back to life!"

The dragon's eyes glowed for but a moment before they faded. "That is not within my power. Ask another wish."

Not within his power? As far as Krillin was concerned, Shenron did not grant wishes when someone was already alive or when they had already been asked once. He rethought his wish and said; "Then please, would you make Eighteen human again, but still keep her powers?"

This time Shenron's eyes glowed longer and brighter. "Your wish is granted. I have granted your two wishes. I shall depart." The dragons form glowed in a golden light, and then dove back into the gathered dragon balls. The seven lifted into the air, and then shot out towards the distant ends of the planet.

Tien shot a puzzled look at his short friend. "I don't get it, Krillin. Why did you change her back to a normal human, but let her keep all that power?"

"Well, I just figured she'd be pretty mad if she had lost all of it."

Unknown to the Z fighters, Eighteen was still on the Lookout. She was hiding behind one of the pillars, listening to them. When Krillin had made the wish she could feel a sudden change within her. It was warm and wonderful. Why would he do this for me?

Gohan stepped towards the Lookout's edge and stared down on the Earth. Did they even realize how much they owed to their protectors, he wondered. Just like his father, Gohan did not care. Helping people had become as much a part of his life as it had been with Goku's. He would never have it any other way.

Sunrise came on the far end of the planet. It was warm, and felt great on his cold skin. "Come on you guys." He turned back to them with a smile. "This is the first day of the rest of our lives.

- AHC-

This was not something he had looked forward to. Gohan could barely look into his mother's eyes as he told her that Goku was not coming back. What hurt the most was this being the second time Chichi had to deal with the death of her husband. It was Gohan's second time losing his father.

"But why? Why would he leave me?" Tears began to sting her eyes. Gohan had his turn to cry. He would let his mother have hers. "I didn't think this would happen again so soon."

"Mom." Gohan placed his hand on her shoulder. "Dad told me that he thinks this is for the best. He thinks that maybe things will get better if he's not around for people to come after. He also said he loves us both."

"Of course he said that." She sniffed. "That stubborn, heroic fool. He always did think like that." Chichi looked up into her son. Her little boy who had grown up too fast. How a nine-year-old could do thing things he has done was beyond her, but Chichi knew Gohan was his father's son.

She noticed it then. Gohan was the very image of Goku. She reached out to smooth out his unruly black hair. "How are you Gohan?" Chichi pulled him into a tight hug. "You're so brave."

His grandfather stepped up with a firm pat to Gohan's back. He nodded, "You were great, Gohan. Just like your father."

-AHC-

Gohan awoke with a start, drenched in cold sweat. He had been having the same dream since the Cell Games over four years ago. The dreams weren't as frequent as they were in the beginning, but they still came. He looked at his clock, its glowing green numbers reading 3:26 AM. He sighed, and ran a hand over his face.

"Why does this still haunt me?" He asked himself sullenly.

A lot had changed in the time since that horrible day. The world blindly worshipped a man named Satan Hercule, "The Man Who Beat Cell," their worship going as far as to name a city in his honor, Satan City. He looked around his room, or rather, the room he shared with his three-year-old brother, Goten. Apparently, Goku left his wife a parting gift. Goten was born eight months after Gohan saved the world.

Gohan looked through the darkness at his brother, whom he could easily see thanks to his enhanced Saiyan sight, as well as his bed being three feet away, and he saw the kid in a strange position, snoring loudly. He smiled, thinking about how much his brother reminded him of Goku. He even had the same haircut. Goten was an extremely happy-go-lucky boy, who didn't have a care in the world.

"Lucky," Gohan muttered.

"MMM"- Goten snorted, and woke up suddenly, bolting upright in his bed. "You say something onii-chan?" He asked groggily.

Gohan cursed silently, forgetting about Saiyan hearing, and said, "It's nothing, squirt. Go back to sleep."

"Oh. OK." Goten replied, before laying down as suddenly as he had sat up, snoring as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Gohan chuckled a bit while getting up, and pulled on an orange gi, with a navy blue undershirt, matching wristbands, and a matching sash. He pulled on a pair of boots that were black with a yellow stripe going around the top and down the front of the shoe. He admired himself in the mirror for a moment; he was wearing his father's colors, as a tribute to him, before opening the window, and sliding out soundlessly. He was about three hours early, but after the dream; he figured he needed something to take his mind off of it. He spent about ten minutes warming up and stretching, before he got serious.

-AHC-

Author's Notes: There you have it folks! That does it for Chapter 1. Coming up next, is a meeting fated in the stars…Who will it be? Where? WHEN! Only time will tell…Also, Gohan must make a potentially life-altering decision.

POLL TIME! I need help in deciding Gohan's Superhero Persona. The Choices are:

The Great Saiyaman

The Gold Fighter

Super Saiyan