Chapter One

A Daunting Challenge

Sunlight of the warm Summer morning filtered through the large window which overlooked the main hallway of Orange Star High School. The waxed floor tiles gleamed and reflected the light onto the repainted walls, already strewn with flyers and notices about upcoming events. Still, the air of the school was alive with the anticipation of a new year. The clocks upon the walls counted the time until the first bell, now less than an hour away. The front doors stood open awaiting the arrival of the student body, the first of whom were already beginning to walk towards the doors.

Rubbing the remains of sleep from their eyes, the students stepped reluctantly through the doors of their perceived prison. But misery soon gave way to acceptance and elation as dormant friendships from the vacation were rekindled, new friendships that had been formed were reaffirmed, and loves bringing some comfort to the unhappiness of facing a new school year. Soon the halls were filled with the buzz of many conversations about everything from boyfriends to sports teams.

Stepping around a small cluster of students was a young woman who was perhaps the single most well known student to attend Orange Star. Known for both her family name and her personal accomplishments as a martial artist and crime fighter, Videl Satan was never a nameless face in a crowd. Sighing a bit, she shifted the bag she carried over one shoulder and her soft amethyst eyes turned towards a row of lockers, searching the numbers for the one that would become her home away from home this year.

Absently her fingers toyed with the braid pulled over her left shoulder, growing her hair out had been something she had decided to do after seeing her mother's pictures with the same braid. It made her feel closer to the woman she had barely been old enough to remember. But the few memories she did have were clung to like a life-raft in a churning ocean. Ever the tomboy though, Videl's dress had changed very little, she still wore her long t-shirt and spandex was convenient if she had to rush to a fight. Although she was completely oblivious to the attention her bare legs brought from the male students.

Her thoughts of her mother, her locker number...or anything else for that matter...were shattered by the excited squeal of a young woman calling her name, "Videl! Oh my god it's so good to see you again! How was your summer? Like you have to tell me all about it!"

Shaking her head a bit, Videl watched her best friend Erasa dart through the crowd towards her. She couldn't help but notice the guys who stopped to watch her lithe form maneuver through the crowded hall deftly. To her surprise Videl felt a stab of envy towards the blonde girl, Erasa had probably been on hundreds of dates this past year, it seemed like each week was a different guy asking her out. But the daughter of Hercule Satan was not so fortunate to date anyone she felt like dating...if she were lucky enough to even find a decent guy to look for. Most men she knew were either wanting her father's money, or a trophy girlfriend. All the decent guys were usually intimidated by her strong personality or her father's reputation and even if she managed to get one brave enough to ask her out, all men who wanted to date her had to be approved by her father first. So it was that she had never been on a formal date with a guy, and sometimes she wondered if she ever would at the rate she was going.

Putting such gloomy thoughts from her mind in time to hug her friend, Videl smiled a bit, "Hey Erasa, it's good to see you too."

Erasa giggled and returned the hug, "You look great girl, and I love what you've done with your hair!"

Videl smiled and began moving to find her locker again letting her blonde friend continue chatting away. Occasionally she managed to get a brief word in but for the most part the conversation consisted mainly of nods, uh-huh's and the occasional really. Videl didn't mind though, her summer had been uneventful, at least in terms of new events or special occasions. She had spent much of it with a sensei of her father's choosing who had pushed her daily even though she was recognized as a black-belt in three different styles of martial arts. But for her father there was no relaxation, as evidenced by the fact that he had been gone nearly all summer from their home.

So enveloped in her thoughts and only mildly keeping up with her friend's conversation, that Videl failed to notice when a young man stepped into her path inadvertently. With a grunt she fell back, but not before her hands felt the hard muscular chest of the man she had run into. Taller than her, he was slender but well muscled, wearing a dark blue t-shirt that outlined his muscular torso that was tucked into dark blue jeans. Something about him seemed different though from the innocent and naive boy she had known last year. He seemed taller, more confident and the timidness was gone from his eyes.

Still he spoke quietly, "Videl...I'm sorry I didn't see you, are you alright?" Gohan's strong fingers drew her gently to her feet as she rose and gathered her bag. Erasa smiled as Gohan gave her a greeting as well.

"I'm fine, it's good to see you again Gohan," Videl felt heat in her cheeks and looked down. She had often thought about the oldest son of Goku. But her feelings for him were as difficult to navigate as her father's date book. Still she had to admit, Gohan was definitely what you'd call easy on the eyes. Looking up she found herself caught by his eyes and for a brief moment she was lost to that gaze. She had seen him fight and had seen the fierceness of a warrior in him, but it was the look he had now that was most familiar, gentle and kind with a love of life and a desire for peace.

Finally Gohan broke the moment with a glance at the clock, "Well I'd better run, I'll see you two later alright?"

Erasa giggled and waved as he moved off, "See you later Gohan!"

Videl waved absently, that moment when she had been caught in his eyes...that had never happened to her before with anyone. 'What does it mean?' she wondered idly, 'Does it mean I like Gohan? I mean he's handsome enough, and kind, definitely not one to look for something like other guys...'

"So what was that between you and Gohan? Were those sparks I saw between you two?" Erasa grinned and leaned in causing her friend to back away as if to ward off an attack.. She shook her head quickly and blushed a bit as she spoke hastily.

"N...nothing, I mean he's my friend, you know that.."

Erasa arched a brow and grinned in bemusement, "Are you sure that's all that there is between you two?" But before Videl could reaffirm the friendship she shared Erasa stepped back and grinned. "Whatever you say Videl."

And so the two found their lockers and begin putting their few possessions into them, and they walked towards their first class together. But Videl was caught by a highly nasal voice calling her name. She sighed a bit and turned to face Mr. Williams the guidance councillor. Who stood tapping his foot in unhidden irritation and crooked a finger for her to follow him into the guidance office. Without waiting to see if she was indeed following, he made his way to his office and Videl had no choice but to sit into the chair across the desk from her.

Mr. Williams held a folder with her name in one hand idly flipping through the papers and Videl bit her lip to keep her frustration silent. The guidance councillor was known to be a very irritating man for students to deal with. Still she didn't want to start her day off by irritating the man who was responsible for her scheduling and schooling. Finally he deemed fit to look at her as he began to speak.

"Well Ms. Satan, we seem to have a problem with your schedule this year, we are aware of your service to the community and we do make allowances for your absences due to such events, however your schedule still needs another class to qualify you to advance to next year. You'll need to drop your seventh period study hall and pick up a class..."

She shook her head, that was the big emergency? She rolled her eyes and nodded, "Alright, umm what classes are available?"

He looked at her and pushed his large squared glasses up onto his nose, "I am afraid there is only one class still available for students to elect and that is dance with Mrs. Corwin."

Videl's eyes blinked a moment as she took several seconds to comprehend what she had just been told, "Excuse me? Dancing? I mean is that the only class I can take?"

The councillor frowned a bit and closed the file with a sharp slap, "Ms. Satan, you must understand that I deal with many students a day and haven't the time to go about seeking more alternatives just because you do not like the solution presented to you. Dance, seventh period, you will be there, am I understood?"

She resisted the urge to crack his jaw, but that would have done her no good...still it would have felt good, finally she muttered, "Yeah I understand."

He nodded once, "You are dismissed Ms. Satan."

She rose stiffly and it took a supreme effort to resist her first instinct. Walking out into the hall she again hooked up with her blonde friend, and within moments the meeting was explained causing her friend to shudder at the idea of meeting with Mr. Williams. He made many of the student's skin crawl and Erasa was no different. Videl looked down glumly as she recounted the affair.

"...and then he told me I had to take dance for the credit, when I asked for an alternative he got all high and mighty like I should be grateful that he deemed fit to speak with me at all." She fumed to her friend as they walked into homeroom, but Erasa smiled and hugged her friend gently.

"Well the good news is that I am taking dance the same period, and from what I hear, Sharpner is as well, so at least there will be friends there."

She smiled but the news of Sharpner in the class did nothing to lift Videl's spirits, if anything they sunk even lower. "Honestly Erasa, that doesn't really make me feel better, Sharpner is just about the last person I want to be around right now."

Erasa blinked in surprise, and Videl continued with a sigh, "Let's just say he made me an offer I had to refuse and we'll leave it at that. Although if you want to ask him about it, be my guest."

The blonde sat down and glanced at her best friend in mild confusion. Still if Videl wanted to drop it she figured it best to let it go, for now at any rate. Soon the class began and her attention was brought to the forefront, there would be plenty of time to worry about Sharpner, dance classes and everything else after they got through the first class.

Videl listened to the teacher, but her mind was racing towards seventh period, how was she going to do a dance class. She wasn't exactly the dancing type, still she realized she had very little choice in the matter and would have to grin and bear it. For a brief moment her mind caught onto the only positive occurrence that had come of this day and she smiled a bit. 'Gohan...perhaps Erasa's right, perhaps there is more going on between us than friendship, I only wish I knew what it was. And I wish I weren't so afraid to find out.'

Hours later, Videl stared at the closed door to room 207, which was the dance hall and home of all dancing classes, with no small sense of foreboding. She even contemplated skipping the class and blaming it on her crime-fighting, but her beeper was regrettably silent. With no recourse she slowly pulled the door open and looked around. The classroom was open and spacious, with a row of chairs along a wall, mirrors lined the wall opposite the chairs. In one corner of the room was a small office with a desk which she assumed was the teacher's desk. On the wall over the chairs were several plaques, certificates, awards of various sizes, newspaper clippings and pictures. A closet took up space next to the office, three sets of double doors and she could see what looked like clothing in the only one that was opened.

Sunlight filtered from windows above the mirrors mixed with the room's yellow lights to give a soft glow to the hardwood floors. All in all it felt...welcoming and to Videl it was a comforting feeling. Only about half of the chairs were filled, a result of the class' lack in popularity, there were about twenty students counting herself. Of those twenty she saw only three she knew well, Erasa of course, Sharpner unfortunately and then she noticed the third and gave a bit of a surprised sound.

"What are you doing in this class Gohan?" she asked curiously, seeing him here was perhaps the last thing she expected and he gave a slight smile and a shrug.

"Well I wasn't sure what to take this year and my mom suggested I try something artistic, so I decided to give it a shot, you?"

She smiled a bit in return, his smile had always been somewhat contagious, "Just a cruel twist of fate, stuck with a shortage of credits and this was supposedly the only vacancy."

He took a seat and she slid next to him comfortably as he shook his head, "Well it could be worse, I was a little afraid I wouldn't know anyone in the class, so maybe it's not such a terrible thing right?"

"No, perhaps not so terrible after all," she answered with a wry grin.

But the conversation was soon cut short as the last voice she ever wished to hear spoke, "Ah Videl, it seems like ages since we were last together."

Sharpner came up and slid an arm around her shoulders, but she was swift to remove it disdainfully and gave a grimace, "And yet it wasn't long enough, is this another poor attempt of yours to pick up women?"

He laughed as if it were the funniest joke in the world, "No need to be like that Videl, it's been months since I saw you."

"I see that your nose healed, but I guess I failed to knock some sense into that thick skull of yours."

He grimaced and unconsciously rubbed his nose as if to reassure himself of it's lack of damage, Gohan couldn't hide a grin as he regarded the man. Before they could continue their banter the door to the class opened and the most flamboyant teacher any of the students had ever seen stepped before them. She was tall and slender, with a mane of deep auburn hair that flowed over her shoulders and dancing green eyes that seemed to glow with an inner joy that the rest of the world was not fully aware of. She wore a dark green dress that hugged her ample form and the skirt flowed around her knees in a constant swaying motion which rang the small bells attached to her dress and hung from her wrists.

All things considered it was the strangest and yet most refreshing change from the dreary suits that were most teachers. For Videl, the teacher's stance and merry eyes made her feel comforted about being here. Mrs. Corwin was also younger than most of her peers, indeed she was fresh from college and had only been teaching for about two years. Anyone who had dealt with her for dance class or after school activities was always ready to talk about how much they enjoyed her energetic presence.

Giving a slight curtsy which caused many of the men to begin drooling, Mrs. Corwin gave a giggle and winked, "Well it's nice to see so many interested in the beautiful art that is the dance...and those of you who are here for reasons other than your personal choice, well we'll try to make it a fun time anyway."

That elicited a few laughs, and Videl realized that at least half of the students here weren't here by choice. Still there were worst things to be doing as the teacher took a roll of the students present. Once finished she had the students rise from their seats and come to the center of the room. There was much shifting and nervousness as they waited for her instructions but soon there was some stiffness and groaning as she led the class in some stretching exercises, and she impressed many by her flexibility. For Videl and Gohan it was quite easy and their flexibility did not go unnoticed by the young dance instructor.

"It's great to have someone with such physical, abilities, you two will make fine dancers," this brought a bit of an embarrassed flush to their faces. Sharpner and Erasa both got similar praise which caused Sharpner to puff up like an overstuffed peacock with his tight muscle shirt and those white slacks. Videl rolled her eyes as the class wore on and they were given an outline of what the class would entail. They would learn various styles of Latin and ballroom dances, given a test on each one. The final would be their participation in a dance presentation of their choice to the class.

After the outline was concluded, the students were asked to speak a little about themselves as a form of introduction. Videl hesitated, her life was so well known there was very little she felt that was worth saying, "Everyone knows about me...ummm I am really taking this class because I had to...dancing isn't really my thing. But I will do my best and all since I am here." The other students looked at her expectantly, as if waiting for something more, but Videl felt she had nothing left to say.

Mrs. Corwin smiled a bit, "Why don't you tell us what you hope to get out of this class and this year of school Videl?"

Blinking a bit, Videl stopped with the ready answer, to get through another year. Somehow she felt that she was safe here, that within these walls there was no need to give the public face. So she searched inside for the real answer, "I guess, that I'm not sure what I want to get out of this, at least not yet."

Ms. Corwin smiled and nodded her head once, "Perhaps the answers will come to you in time. Alright Gohan, your turn."

Videl looked at the young man as he rose and smiled that contagious smile, "My name's Gohan, I have been into martial arts for most of my life, but I am really looking forward to trying something new. It'd be nice to interact with someone who's not trying to knock my teeth out." Several of the students chuckled, including Videl who had been one of those people for a brief time, "As for this year, well I would like to just enjoy being a student, make some friends...and who knows? But whatever happens I plan to have a good time doing it."

"That sounds like a wonderful thing to look forward to Gohan, and we'll do our best to help." As the bell rang the young teacher smiled and looked at them all, "Alright, I'll see you all tomorrow where we'll begin our familiarization of the basic foxtrot."

The students began filing out, and without intending to, Videl found herself walking side-by-side with Gohan. Fortunately this was her last class of the day and she was looking forward to getting some work done. Her activities outside of school were well known and so she was given a study hall as her last class. For a long moment the two walked amongst the hallway of students in silence, but Videl wanted to say something. Finally she stopped at the row of lockers and looked at the boy next to her.

"How was your summer Gohan?" she asked as she begin putting her books into her locker. Students rushed to make the next class before the bell rang, but Gohan seemed oblivious to the time as he merely stood with her.

"Pretty good actually, Goten and I went on a camping trip for two weeks, then mom went to stay with her father and left me at home for awhile." the bell rang and she regarded him quizzically.

"You aren't worried about being late to your class?"

"I don't have a class to be at this period, my schedule's full the rest of the day, so I figured I might as well take the last period off, maybe give me some time to train or get a jump on my studies. Much like you I suspect."

She laughed a bit as she swung her bag over her shoulder, realizing they were alone in the hallway now she looked at him, "Well, I am surprised your mom let you get away with that, I know how intent she is on your studies. Tell you what, how about we go get some ice-cream or something?"

He smiled a bit, but only replied gently, "I'd like that."

So they left the school enjoying the companionable company of each other, sharing their experiences of the last summer over Rocky Road and Strawberry ice cream. Videl found herself laughing pleasantly as she talked about the dance class, "And I suppose that it's not as bad as I first feared, I was really nervous about it when Mr. Williams told me I was going to be in a dance class. Me! A dancer! Like that possibly made any sense."

But her companion regarded her for a moment as if he were considering something, "Actually I don't think it's that difficult to believe."

She flushed a bit under his scrutiny, but she sputtered quickly in reply, "Come on Gohan I am the classic tomboy I am not a dancer like most girls, I don't wear makeup, or have a dress for every occasion. I haven't even been to a dance."

He rose slowly from the table and shook his head, "Not like most girls, I'll give you that, but you can be every bit as graceful as any dancer I am sure." She felt her mouth moving as if to reply, but really she had no response to those kind words and eyes as she looked down feeling like the heat in her cheeks should have made soup out of her ice cream. But Gohan saved her the trouble as he looked at his watch. "Unfortunately I've got to run, Mom will start worrying if I am not home soon. I'll see you tomorrow in class." And he winked as he began jogging down the street.

Videl waved as he left, and whispered softly, "Goodbye, Gohan." She sat alone for sometime with her thoughts always turning towards the boy she was beginning to find more interesting by the moment. But she still felt a wave of trepidation at what she might truly be feeling for it had not occurred before and thus she was unsure how to handle it. Finally she begin the long trek home her steps lighter than they had been in some time as she felt a smile on her lips, 'If nothing else, this year is going to be much more interesting for having you in it Gohan.'