Please Remember Me
By: Kitten Kisses (Manna)
Summary: Videl has a talk with her dad. Why did he live that awful lie for so long? Why had he lied to her?
"In this life, we go our way.
On this moment, we cannot stay.
In the end our debt must be paid…
In the end, all must fade.
All we are shall burn to embers,
But it will be all worth it if one remembers."
"Dad?" her voice sounded a little empty in the large living room that her father liked to hang out in. It had been bothering her for awhile now. She desperately needed an answer to her question.
He was sitting in his overstuffed chair, a bottle of, well, something, half-empty on the little round table next to him. He looked a little confused- a little lost. She almost turned around.
'If you don't ask him now, you might never find out,' she told herself. She'd lived the last seven years of her life believing "daddy dearest" was the strongest, most heroic man on the face of the planet. And only recently had she found out that it was all a bunch of crap.
She had been a little suspicious, but she just told herself that he would never, ever lie to her. They'd been through a lot together. Her mom's death, his rise to fame, and her finding out that privacy was pretty much a thing of the past.
He had no reason to lie to her.
He was looking at her, now, his eyes sad. Maybe he knew what she was going to ask him. Would he tell her the truth, this time?
"I…have a question for you, dad." She tried her best to look him in the eye. After she'd made a fool of herself by telling Gohan's family that her father was a "Dangerous man", and what a great fighter he was, it was a difficult thing to try and see him in the same light she once had.
He patted the arm of the chair he was sitting in. "Sit down, Sweet Pea," he said, his voice uncharacteristically soft.
She took the seat, a little hesitant, and turned to face him. "Why did you lie, dad?" Her voice was suddenly thick with emotion. She was trying so hard not to sound as if she was accusing him, but at the same time, she knew she was. "To the world? To me?"
His gaze dropped to the floor. "It was an accident," he started, his voice cracking a little. He could admit to himself that he was a little afraid. Afraid of telling the truth- of people knowing he was a fraud. Of his daughter hating him. "I didn't mean for it to happen. People just…assumed, and…" He broke off, looking into her cloudy eyes. "I didn't mean for it to turn out this way. I shouldn't have done it."
He couldn't bring himself to apologize. Not yet.
"Why?" she wondered, half-aloud. "Why didn't you just say that it wasn't you?"
She narrowed her eyes. "Are you trying to say that I made you do it? That I put you up to it?"
"No." A simple, one-word answer. "I was a great fighter, Videl," he said. "But I wasn't good enough. We needed money. Desperately. Without your mom's money to begin with, we would have been living on the streets. And I… I didn't want that."
He was embarrassed. She could tell from the look in his eyes.
"After your mom died, it got pretty bad. I tried hard to keep you from finding out. Financially, we were in the hole. I was fighting, and I was winning…but it wasn't enough to dig us out of the debt."
"What debt?" She was curious, now. She didn't really remember any debt. Why would they have been in debt?
"Medical bills, funeral expenses." He sighed, his voice sounding hollow. "When the opportunity presented itself, and everyone just assumed… I jumped on it. I thought- no, I knew that I would never get that chance again." He waited for her nod of acknowledgement before he went on. "I'd always wanted to be recognized, too, you know. I fought for the money and the fame… And I wasn't getting either of them. But after Cell, I was getting it all."
"But…" her voice interrupted him. "Why would you want people to recognize you as something you aren't?
It hit him, hard.
"I didn't," he answered her. "It was just… I was too embarrassed to admit I hadn't really beaten Cell. Would anybody even believe that those strange blond-haired guys had won? Was there proof? There wasn't. Nobody knew what was going on, and I jumped at the chance to be rich and famous." His expression was hard to read now. "After about a year, I couldn't bring myself to say that I was a fraud. I was too busy thinking about us, and what it would do to us."
"The further in you got, the harder it was," she said, her voice softer now. "I think I understand."
"I learned something, though," he whispered, his glass in his left hand. "It can be awful lonely at the top."
She laughed, then. "But dad! What about all those women?"
"It was fun, for awhile," he admitted. "I was starting to miss your mom a little less every day. But then, it got to the point where I wasn't sure if these women liked me for me, or if they liked me because I was rich and famous."
She knew the answer.
"So then I thought, well, I'll keep them all at arm's length. Never let them get close enough to find out anything about me. Never let them find out the truth. Any of it."
"What truth? That's you're just an ordinary man? A little greedy, and selfish, but you just want what everyone else does. Food, a roof, love, friends, and to be remembered after you die, right?"
"But you know, dad… Eventually, we'll all be forgotten."
"I know," he answered her. "But that doesn't mean I don't want to be remembered now. After I die. Nobody wants to die, and have everyone forget them in a week…or a year…or ten years."
"It's not the amount of people that remember you that matters," she told him, her voice serious except for the slight cracking. "It's who it is that remembers you, and why. Because when you die, and you see all these people, they'll know." She looked him in the eyes, a few tears gathering at the corners of her own. "Wouldn't you rather go to Heaven and have five people say, 'Wow, Hercule was such a great guy!' than go up there and have five-hundred people praise you for something that never happened. Even worse, what if they knew it was all a lie?"
He drank what was left in the glass, and went to pour another. "I guess I never thought about it that way."
"Please do," she said, giving him a kiss on the cheek and a small hug. "I love you, dad."
"Love you too, Sweet Pea. And…"
"For what?" she was confused now.
"For not being mad. For listening. For being here."
She smiled. "You're welcome."
She left the room, closing the door quietly behind her before she made her way to the kitchen.
"Did you find out what you needed to know?" she heard someone ask her.
"Yeah, I did." She looked up at the young man's face. "It's…pretty complicated, Gohan. But it gives me some things to think about."
He gave her one of his easy-going smiles and patted her back with his large hand. "I'm glad he told you what you needed to know. And I'm glad you didn't blow up on him, too!"
She laughed a little. "I thought about it; I really did. But he looked so sad and alone in there, I…couldn't bring myself to yell at him at all."
His expression softened a little. "Wow," was all he managed to say.
"Wow, what? Wow, I didn't yell, or wow, he looked sad and alone?"
"Both." He rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. "I mean, he's not a bad guy or anything, just a little…different."
She raised an eyebrow. "He said he wanted to be remembered after he dies. That everyone wants that."
He cocked his head to the side. "Is that why he did that?"
"Only half the reason," she said, setting a can of soda on the counter in front of him. "Do you want to be remembered after you die?"
"Of course! By my family, and friends. I think I would rather die and have someone say, 'Wow, Gohan! Do you remember when you helped me out?' and it would be someone I didn't even really know. Someone I helped, who remembered me, and who had to tell me I helped them, because I didn't remember, or even know I had done it! Wouldn't that be great?"
She thought about it for a few moments before answering. "Yeah," she decided. "It would be. It wouldn't be the generic, 'Thanks for saving the world' type of thing, either."
"Exactly! As long as a few people remembered me for the good things, that's all that really matters… I think." He looked at her over his drink.
She met his gaze. "Are you going to remember me?" she asked him, her tone only half-serious, though deep down inside, she knew she'd take his answer very seriously.
He didn't even have to think about it. "Of course I will," he said, his voice a little concerned. "Why wouldn't I? We've only known each other for a little while, but you already mean a…a lot to me." He could feel his face flush at his words, but he would never take them back. They were the truth.
She felt herself blush over his words, but, at the same time, she was glad to hear them. "Thanks, Gohan. That means a lot."
"It's the truth," he said sincerely, finishing down his drink as he stood up. "Now, I have to get home, but if you need anything at all, just call." He was smiling again, the embarrassed tint still coloring his cheeks.
"I will," she answered. "And thanks."
She smiled at him, giving him a quick hug before he left. "For everything."
I need to work on endings. Seriously! I was going to end this immediately after she tells Hercule "You're welcome," but I didn't. Why? Because I'm an idiot! Now I'm not sure if I should have ended it there, or where I did end it. Let me know what you think.
Sometimes I like Hercule-bashing. Sometimes I don't. I would imagine that Hercule took the credit for his own good, but not only that- for his family. Goku might be one of the strongest men on Earth, but look at how much money his family has. Like…none. If ChiChi had to go to the hospital for any reason, they'd be in debt big-time.
Hercule wasn't a weak man. In the seven years since Cell, though, pretty much all he does is slack off… which is part of the reason he's so weak during the Tournament.
Anyway, let me know what you thought. Especially constructive criticism! For this story, I especially want to know how the characters were. In character? Out of character? Let me know! Thanks!