A New Start
By: Kitten Kisses

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She didn't really want to admit it.

Though she couldn't help but confess- it had been running through her mind like a bad joke (1) for the last two hours. She had nothing else to think about anyway, and with the endless landscape in front of her, and behind, she had the time to let it finish its little marathon around her brain.

It was something she'd never really considered in the three years she'd been fighting crime. She never had been forced to think about it, to be honest. Unconsciously, she raised a gloved hand to her hair, running her fingers through its length.

'What's so wrong with it?' she wondered to herself. Sure, the pigtails were a little childish, and only served to make her appear even younger than she looked without them… but…

She rather liked her hair, thank-you-very-much!

Why, oh why had she turned to him and opened her big mouth? Why did she have to ask? Why did she want the answer?

'I should learn to keep my big mouth shut for once!' She could practically hear herself screaming in her own mind. 'Stupid, stupid, stupid!'

On one hand, she didn't want to cut her hair. She liked it just as it was. It was longer, comfortable enough, and it was safe. She could hide behind it (and her glares) all she wanted, and nobody would even think of bothering her.

But on the other hand, she had to concede defeat. 'He was right about one thing,' she told herself. 'It is better to have short hair for a serious fight.'

But arrghh! Why was she even listening to him? Why did she even care?

Well, he was nice… he was concerned, and he was genuinely trying to help.

A sigh blew out of the side of her mouth as she threw a glance ahead. 'Only a few more minutes…'

She would have to do some serious thinking…

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"Videl? Videl! Where have you been?" The voice seemed deafening in the still night air.

It was her father. His large frame practically filled the doorway to the mansion. She felt a little guilty. She hadn't exactly told him where she was going, and she had sort-of forgotten how far it would be to Son Gohan's home… It was so late! He was probably worried sick about her.

"Sorry, Dad," she told him, tilting her head back to look up at him. Damn, why was she so short? "I was out a little later than I meant to be. Sorry if I worried you."

He moved out of the way, and he headed for the kitchen. She followed, half-wanting to ask him what he would think if she cut her hair. She knew he hated it if she did something without asking first.

He went straight for the refrigerator, and took out a can, popping the tab. "Apology accepted. But look here young lady! You need to inform someone where you are going. You can't just have all the staff staring cluelessly at the walls when I ask them where my only daughter is!"

She half-tuned him out. How many cans of beer had he gone through? He didn't act like he was completely wasted- yet- but when he was like this, he just went on, and on and on… all about him. Him, his rules, his house, his achievements… It really was rather irritating.

Why couldn't it ever be something else? Maybe a, 'Hi Videl; how are you doing, Videl?; How was school, Videl?' Nope, just 'Me, me, me'.

"…Even called all your friends, and none of them knew where you were, either! You'd best not be sneaking off with any boys, Videl, or I'll-"

'I wanna talk about me,' (2) she thought to herself, throwing her hands up in the air, muttering some sort of apology at the "World Champ".

World Champ Ranter seemed more appropriate.

If he wasn't ranting about his fame, fortune, or something he did, he would be ranting about what she had done wrong, thought about doing wrong, thought about thinking of doing wrong, or what she could possibly do wrong.

That was it.

'I'm getting my hair cut.'

It was a win-win situation, anyway. Her father would be irritated (mildly so, at the least), and one of the few respectful young men on the planet would possibly be able to respect her as a fighter. She wasn't sure if he already did or not. It was hard to tell with the way he acted.

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She was pretty sure she knew what it felt like to be a criminal, now. Every time the scissors sliced through a hunk of her hair, she just knew it had to feel like it did to be one of the bad-guys, watching the Judge's gavel come down swiftly with a thunk that would determine what the rest of their life would be like.

Snip, snip, snip.

She felt a little sick to her stomach as she saw a few raven strands fall past her eyes and onto the floor. It was too late to back out now, though. Half of her hair had already been shorn.

'Are you sure this is what you want?' they had asked her. Well, duh. Why else would she be here?

Had she lost her mind? Was she crazy? 'Why am I doing this?!' she shouted in her own mind, realizing that if anybody knew she was asking herself a stupid question like that, they'd probably exile her for life.

She'd only felt faint a few times in her life, but now was most definitely one of those times. She could hardly believe she was doing this. Just then, a thought struck her.

'What if it looks bad?'

Her heart pounded in her chest. What would she do, then? Lock herself in her room until it had grown out again? No way could she show her face in public!

'But what about Gohan?' she asked herself, a little bitter. 'I can't just refuse to go back to his place…he'll think I died or something!'

"Okay, it's done!" The chipper voice of her hairdresser shook her out of her thoughts. "What do you think?" A mirror was held up behind her head so that the young woman could see her haircut from all sides.

She was too much in shock to answer; instead, she opted to throw money at the woman and leave. Quickly.

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It wasn't that it looked bad… it was just that… well; it didn't look good, either!

A little sigh escaped as she studied her new haircut in the mirror hanging from her bedroom wall. She had half-hoped to come out of there looking really great. How disappointing to know that she came out looking like… uh…

A boy.

She slapped herself in the forehead. 'I look more like a boy than Sharpner does!' she berated herself. 'Why the heck did I do something so stupid?!'

Maybe she could…do something with it! Yeah, that was it… Though, running a brush through it was probably a good idea to start with…

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She hated all the odd looks she had already received. Briefly, she wondered that, if, by any chance, she wasn't famous… would she still get so many creepy stares? So much gossip spread about her?

She'd only been there five minutes, and she was ready to rip her lock off of her locker without even spinning in the combination numbers! Grabbing her books, she slammed the door shut and stalked to class in a huff.

Gossip was inevitable- no matter who you were, she knew. But it wasn't as if anybody had actually asked her themselves! At least her father had been royally irritated at the whole situation.

"Good morning, Videl!" Erasa said in her usually bubbly voice. "I heard you got your hair cut, but I didn't believe it! It's still hard to believe, even though I'm seeing it right now… It looks nice." She smiled a bright smile at her dark-haired friend, scooting forward in her seat so that Videl could sit down.

"Thanks," she answered. "It was a…spur of the moment decision."

She could feel all eyes on her as more students poured into the doors. She wasn't sure if it bothered her because she found it creepy, or because she was a little nervous, wondering what everyone thought about it.

"Is it that bad?" she asked the blonde, putting a hand to the back of her head unconsciously, feeling the short dark hair there.

Before Erasa could even think about replying, Sharpner answered for her. "Who cares what it looks like?" He smiled widely, his teeth showing as he leaned closer to her, letting an arm drape over her shoulder. "Your body's still hot!"

She felt like smacking him, but decided against it. Violence wasn't always the answer.

"Oh, don't listen to him, Videl," Erasa remarked, sending a look at Sharpner that made him pull his arm away. "He doesn't know what he's talking about!"

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She didn't have to wait long to find out what everyone thought. Of course, they didn't come to her to say it, but she hadn't really expected them to, either. She could kick their asses in under a second, and they knew it! Instead of reading like they were supposed to, they were gossiping. Typical teenagers.

'Well, I heard she was a lesbian! I mean, don't get me wrong, she's cool, but she's way too butch to be straight. You know what I mean?'

'Well, the girl's built like an ox!'

'Good point. She's a lot tougher than any of the guys here… Even Sharpner!'

'I don't know… You're probably right. She looked a little manly before, but after cutting all her hair off, it's almost like she wants to look like a guy!'

'She's got no boobs, what do you expect? Her hair was practically the last shred of feminism she even had left!'

"So, uh, Videl!" Erasa tried a desperate attempt to interrupt the whispers that she was sure her friend was hearing. "I thought you were going to take off from school until the tournament was over? Are you still going to do that?"

Videl thought it over, pushing the whispers out of her mind for the moment. "Well, that was what I was going to do, but there's no way I'll be able to keep up in this class, so I'll be coming in for first period every day."

"Hey, where's Brains at? Did he go back to tug on his mother's apron strings?" Sharpner couldn't help but ask. It wasn't like Gohan to miss school completely.

The dark-haired teenager sent him a glare. "No," she said. "I think maybe he went back to being home-schooled for a bit." She knew it was a lie, but wasn't sure what Gohan would want her to say. It was better than telling them that he was really Saiyaman, and that he was entering the tournament.

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'I shouldn't let them get to me,' she told herself, already en route for Gohan's house to get a second lesson in ki control and flying. 'I should only care about what I think, anyway!'

But she couldn't help but wonder if…maybe, they were right. The old saying that our harshest critic is our own self almost made her rethink it all. 'They were even harsher on me than I was on myself!'

Maybe she'd take off from school, anyway. Despite her best efforts to ignore the various statements said about her, they still stung. A lot. 'Words do hurt,' [3 she acknowledged reluctantly. They also made her mad, but it wasn't as if she could punch the offending students' in their faces. Somehow, she didn't think that even that would make her feel better.

"Dang it all," she muttered, looking for a good place to set her 'copter down, preferably not too far from Gohan and Goten, who were busy running around below her.

'Why am I so nervous?' she couldn't help but wonder. Did it really matter what Gohan thought? Well…maybe a little.

Making an attempt to calm her nerves, she leapt from her 'copter and settled her feet on the grass, one hand on her hip, eyes narrowed slightly.

She heard little Goten ask his brother who she was, his voice utterly confused.

Gohan squeaked out something unintelligible to her ears…something about not understanding.

They weren't reacting too badly… Finally finding her voice, she spoke. "Come on! Let's pick it up where we left off!" Good. She sounded confident… demanding… perfect.

Too bad she didn't feel confident.

"O-okay," the teenage half-Saiyan stuttered, his face a mask of bewilderment.

"Videl!" Goten shouted, loud enough for people a mile away to hear him. "What happened to your hair? Did you cut it?"

"Yeah," she answered, vaguely realizing her hair was even shorter than Goten's, now. "Gohan was right. It is better for fighting. Just let someone try and grab it during a fight, now!" [4

She didn't dare look at Gohan, almost afraid that she would see in his face, what she'd seen in most of her classmates' faces.

But if she had, she'd have only seen him flash a small smile her way- a product of the newfound respect he had for her. It wasn't as if it wasn't there before. He was glad she had listened to him. It was safer this way.

"I didn't really think you were going to do it…uh, after yesterday," he told her, rubbing the back of his head. "It looks good on you."

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Author Notes:

And boy, are there gonna be a lot of these. This was a oneshot. I ended it there. Why? That's all that needed to be said.

(1)- Do you remember the stupid line to say when someone says they're tired? Your answer would be: "Well, you wouldn't be so tired if you wouldn't run through my mind all day!" Also, bad puns/jokes seem to stick in your mind and never go away.

(2)- Reference to the Country-Western song, "I Wanna Talk About Me", by Toby Keith. (The video is hilarious.)

(3)- Reference to the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." How untrue that is! Usually, small things bounce back off of you, but when someone attacks something that you're insecure about, then it really does hurt, even if the person saying it means nothing to you. After being told something so many times, you start to believe it yourself.

(4)- Almost like foreshadowing! In the episode "Videl is Crushed" (Episode 202), some of the WORST screaming she does (in the uncut version, anyway) is when Spopovitch grabs her by the hair and picks her up that way. That was a horrific shriek!

About Hercule drinking. He does, and when he does, he rambles. Remember when Videl brought him food while he was watching his old tapes? He just went on and on and on… there was a bottle of alcohol sitting on the table beside him.

I wrote this for two reasons. One, I just wanted to. It's been jumbling around in my mind for awhile. It's probably not my best work, but I tried my hardest to do something that wasn't as angsty as my usual works. Two, this is a fic about myself, too. A little.

I haven't been happy with the way my life was going for awhile. When I was younger, I had this plan- be married by 20, and have a kid when I was 21 or 22. Well, I'll be 21 next week, and it's not even close to happening. I've only dated once (a guy I met on here, actually, years ago).

I got my hair cut, recently, deciding I wanted a change. Part of the reason I cut it was the opposite reason of Videl's insecurity towards the end of the chapter. People told me my hair was TOO LONG. (Went to my butt.) Mostly men told me this, so I cut it. To my shoulders. I felt like fainting when they cut my hair. It's a feeling that NOT EVERYONE knows, or has felt. It's a personal thing. It's like losing a leg, except, you know in five years, your hair might have grown all the way back (which isn't true for your leg).

I decided I wanted to keep writing fanfiction on a more regular basis, as it was something I used to enjoy a lot. I decided to only post good art online (and got a new DeviantART account that I haven't given to anybody yet). I decided to try and feel better about me: who I am, what I look like, and how I feel. Hopefully, I'll feel better about myself in the long run.

I think that when Videl got her hair cut in the anime/manga, it changed everything. Gohan acted not-as-nervous around her. They became better friends. I think that, her taking his advice helped them along as a couple (either as friends or as potential lovers).

Thanks for reading this. Leave a review and let me know what you thought. Be honest! Honestly is something I really appreciate.

Thank You!

-Manna (Kitten Kisses)