Passing
By: Kitten Kisses (Manna)

Setting: Post-Buu.

Genres: Romance, Angst, Family, Friends, Hurt/Comfort.

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It just had to be one of those days, didn't it? It's hard to describe such a day- the sun shining, the weather warm, but not intense… a soft breeze- and then tell you in the same breath that it is a day of sad remembrance.

A day of sorrow, of mourning.

Of loss.

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The birds started their chirping much too early in the morning for the dark-haired young adult who, turning over in her bed, smashed her face into her pillow. She wanted to yell at them to shut up or else, but at the same time, she knew it would sound ridiculous to anybody listening.

Sighing, she rolled over and faced the end table beside her bed. Light dripped through the window and around the curtains covering it to land on her floor in an impressive display. She paid no notice, and instead, put her hand on a photograph that sat beside a hairbrush and a lamp.

"I love you, Mom," she whispered, her voice still tired. But, tired or not, it was a school day, and there was just no way she could ever afford to miss a class. She had to at least pass to graduate.

Sitting up, she stretched her arms as far over her head as she could make them go, pulling at her muscles to loosen out any kinks she might have gotten from her rather restless sleep.

Picking up the photograph, she stared at it a moment, eyes soaking up the image, as if to memorize it. Raising it to her lips, she gently kissed the top left-hand corner before setting it back in its original position on the bedside table.

It appeared to be some sort of ritual, but Ms. Satan had never bothered to tell anybody about it- not even her own father- and she certainly wasn't planning to do so today.

After dressing, she made her way down to the bottom of the stairs and into their large, spacious kitchen. Food already was laid out for her, and a small part of her wanted to ask where her father was. She knew better than to voice her concern, though. It was painfully obvious where he was.

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She hunched her shoulders forward in her seat, eyes staring down at the worksheet in front of her with half-lidded eyes that were obviously lost in thought. She knew they thought she looked depressed. Probably the entire school, but she didn't care- it wasn't like they could all understand her. They didn't need to know about it, anyway.

'I shouldn't be here,' she thought, her gaze drifting to the ceiling. 'I should be with her.'

But she couldn't be. Mr. Satan was with her now. Yet another silly ritual- out of habit, perhaps?- in their large, lonely, home.

He would stay with her in the morning, and in the evening, she would take his place. They never had gone together, not that she could remember. Not since the dirt had been shoved through the top of the hole that housed one of only a handful of people that she had ever really loved.

She knew Gohan was shifting nervously in the seat he occupied on the other side of Erasa, throwing her questioning, concerned glances.

'He's worried.'

She felt a pang of guilt rise in her chest. He shouldn't be worrying about her- shouldn't even be bothering with it. But a part of her was glad that he cared enough to worry at all. She already knew how she felt about him- about them- but he had never given any real indication to her about how he felt- where he stood in their little group of two that she had secretly been calling a relationship.

She hadn't meant to make him fret at all. They had been through so much together… she felt she owed him a smile of reassurance, at the very least.

Everything will be fine, her smile tried to say, but it wobbled, and fell to the floor with a crash, breaking into a thousand little pieces while the sun blazed through the window on the wall a few rows behind her, its glorious little rays of joy bouncing around the room as her heart broke.

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"Videl! Wait!"

His voice brought some warmth to her soul as she climbed the stairs to the roof of the school. She had almost been hoping to talk to him, at least for a little while.

She waited.

When he finally caught up to her, he put a hand on her shoulder, catching his breath before he spoke. "Is everything okay?"

The concern behind the words was almost enough to make her cry- in fear and in anger.

"Uhm, yeah…" she answered him, knowing her voice sounded unconvincing. "Why do you ask?"

The look in his eyes sent fear through her body, making her legs tremble and her knees feel as heavy as lead. He looked so utterly concerned… for her. His innocence was colossal, but he had also accumulated so much knowledge in his life- about death, about life- that he left her nearly breathless. He didn't care to fight… but when they needed him, he was there. He loved people with all his innocence, and held up the world with his strength.

She loved him for it, though she had never had the courage to say it to his face.

He knew something was wrong, but his innocence let him give her the benefit of the doubt. And his eyes held such deep concern- as if he had to make sure things were okay before he left her- that she knew she would fall under that gaze.

She'd spent so long constructing her own little Wall of Jericho around the part of her heart that she hated other people seeing. The walls were high and strong, and she felt as if nothing could break them down. It surrounded her weakness, protecting her from it, and from anybody who dared to try and get a glimpse of it.

She was afraid that he would see through her wall, and at the same time, she was angry with herself for letting him try.

"Well," he said, his hand behind his head, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "You looked pretty awful today…"

"Oh, gee, thanks!" she replied back, her voice coming out more sarcastic than she had intended. "I feel so much better, now."

She half-wished she could take that back.

"T-that's not what I meant!" he almost shouted, his voice going an octave higher as he waved his arms in front of him in an attempt to let her know he hadn't meant to insult her. "I was just worried, that's all!" His face flushed a little when he finished, right arm going behind his head to rub at the back of his neck again.

She could feel her Wall of Jericho start to crumble around her heart. He was making her feel bad about not telling him- without even trying.

"It's… in the past," she tried, knowing in her heart that he would never buy it. "There's nothing you can do."

Gohan was slightly hurt by the comment, she knew. How could he not be? She had practically said that she didn't trust him enough to tell him about whatever it was that was bothering her.

"Oh…" he said, his eyes going to the ground, the look on his face almost one of dejection.

She felt her heart clench in her chest. "I'm sorry," she apologized, looking him in the eye. "I'm serious- there isn't anything you can do about it now."

He lifted his gaze to meet hers, his dark eyes contrasting against her blue.

"Yeah," he said, his tone gentle, one hand settling on his chest, just over his heart. "But I don't know that. I can't know it; not if you don't tell me what it is."

And the walls came a'tumblin' down…

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The grass blew around them as they sat in the park on the ground, just far enough away from the playground to see the children having a good time on the slides and the swings.

"Ten years ago, today, my Mother died."

The words rushed out of her mouth as fast as a roller coaster zooms down the first hill. Mentally, she kicked herself. She hadn't meant to just say it all to him like that. He didn't really need to know. Half of her hoped that he would understand- knew he could- but the other half was praying that he wouldn't think any less of her after it all.

'Please don't think I'm weak. Please don't think I'm weak. Please don't think I'm weak.'

After a few seconds of silence, he answered. "I'm…sorry."

"It's okay," she told him, leaning back on her elbows in the grass beside him, her gaze following the children who were trying to climb up the slide's slippery metal slope. "It happened a long time ago."

"But it still bothers you." It was a statement, not a question. His gaze lingered on her, hoping she would tell him what he wanted to know- everything.

She wasn't looking at him. "Well… I loved her. Still do."

The silence stretched on for a good five minutes before he said anything. "Do you look like her?" he asked her, his voice soft.

"What?" She was confused. His question seemed to have come out of nowhere.

He sweated a little, wondering if he was treading on thin ice. "I mean… I've never seen any pictures around your house… or anything."

"Oh." She felt relieved. It was easier talking about her mother this way. "I was only seven when she died. I didn't know her very well, but I did love her- and I know Dad did, too. It hit him pretty hard…"

She kept the tears that threatened to form at bay. She shouldn't let something that had happened so long ago get to her after all the time that had passed. "He took all the pictures of her down. Family pictures, pictures of only her, pictures of them together… I guess I don't blame him…"

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him lay down beside her with his arms crossed behind his head, eyes staring up at the sky. "Sometimes it's hard to see their picture," he said, his voice mostly neutral.

"I have one, you know. A picture. Of all of us." She gave a short laugh, almost cynical in nature. "The way we used to be. When I look at it, it seems otherworldly. Like… I can hardly believe that it was real to begin with- that it was captured in time on a piece of paper that I can look back on and never forget."

"A picture is worth more than a thousand words…or so they say," he said. "I'm glad you have one to remind you of her."

"I'll…show it to you, sometime," she answered. "Maybe tomorrow. I'm going to go see her today."

He nodded in understanding, eyes still closed. "How…did it happen?" he asked her after a minute or so of silence. When she didn't answer right away, he felt he had to add to his previous statement. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

"It's… it's okay," she finally answered. "We've been through a lot. I know I can trust you. I just have a hard time putting it out there."

She took a deep breath.

'Please don't think I'm weak. Please don't think I'm weak. Please don't think I'm weak.'

"Car accident." She suddenly laughed a little, her voice sounding lighter. "It sounds so pathetic compared to the way your father died… shoot, even compared to the way I died."

She didn't notice Gohan's face twist briefly into a mask of guilt before reverting to normal again. "It doesn't matter how they go," he told her. "It always hurts the same."

She smiled a little, then, with the knowledge that he understood her. "You know, it probably sounds stupid to you, but every morning when I wake up, I kiss that picture, and tell her I love her… to make up for…not telling her before she died."

'Please don't think it's stupid.'

She saw his eyebrows go up. "Really?" he asked, and she felt better at the genuine curiosity in his tone.

"Yeah." She wasn't going to cry. She could do this. "That morning, I was running late to school, and I was pulling clothes on, grabbing my backpack, and just generally panicking. When I opened the door and rushed out, I had to turn back, because I realized I had forgotten my lunch! I opened the front door again, and there she was, a neatly packed lunch in her hand, and a smile on her face."

She nearly choked at the memory, tears threatening her.

'I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry.'

She could feel her voice crack a little under the strain of forcing herself not to cry, and she knew Gohan had opened his eyes to watch her speak. "She just kept right on smiling, and said, 'Here you go, sweetie,' and all I could do was say 'Thanks' before I ran off towards school. Right after lunch, I was called out of school and told that she had been hit by another car on her drive to the grocery store, and hadn't survived the crash."

He suddenly sat up and twisted his body around, putting his arms around her and pulling her up from her half-laying position into a hug. "It's not stupid," he said.

She stiffened a bit at his touch, but relaxed after a moment, putting her arms around him to return the gesture of kindness. She didn't cry- just held on.

"The kiss, I mean," he whispered. "It's not stupid."

She gave him one final squeeze and pulled away. "Thanks," she said softly. "It means…a lot. Really." The corners of her mouth turned upwards as she flashed him a small smile. "I have to go now. To see her."

Standing up, he pulled her to her feet. He knew she wanted to be alone with her. Sometimes, being alone was the best thing.

"I'll see you in school tomorrow… and… I'll bring the picture so you can see. I kinda look like her… a little."

"Sounds good," he said, dropping his arm loosely around her shoulder and squeezing it gently, before turning around to leave, his face a little red.

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The sun was nearly set, the orange and pink hues splashing through her now-open window onto the floor and walls of her room. She had finally gotten around to doing the worksheet she'd been assigned earlier after a peaceful evening at the cemetery.

A knock shook her out of her concentrated state.

"Videl, honey?" her father asked her, the door opening a crack to reveal his form standing behind it. "Can we talk for just a second?"

He stood in the doorway, something in his hands. "I…I've thought about it…" he started, his voice a little weary. "And I decided that… you should have this. It was her favorite picture of us- her and I- and I think she would want you to have it."

She had turned her chair around, and was staring at him, mouth opened in a mix of confusion and shock. "D…Dad?" she asked hesitantly.

He handed her the picture, and she turned it over to reveal an 8x10 photograph, beautifully framed, of her mother and father. They were dressed up, and looked younger than she remembered them.

"Prom," he said, shoulders drooping a little, eyes wistful. "She looked beautiful."

She ran her hands down the side of the frame, fingertips gently touching the faces of her parents. "I…I don't know what to say!" she whispered hoarsely, her eyes welling up with unshed tears. "Are you sure?"

He nodded once, wiping away a few tears of his own. "One more thing," he told her, stepping closer and putting his arms around her in a hug. "I think we should go back and see her again today."

"What do you mean?" she asked, confused, as she returned his hug.

"I mean, together. As a family."

And the walls came a'tumblin' down.

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Author Notes:

I came up with this idea at work (of course, that's where I do most of my thinking). I actually kind of like how this turned out.

We know nothing of Videl's mother except that she is dead. She says so in, I think, the episode "Take Flight, Videl!"

The Wall of Jericho, if you didn't know, is a Bible reference to the great city of Jericho (where their rather strong enemies lived), who had a very tall, very strong wall built around them to keep them safe from intruders. God told Joshua to take his people around the great city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times, and after they went around seven times, they all stopped, and the people gave a great shout- and God sent the walls of the city tumbling down. There's a song about it (sure it's a children's song, but it's catchy!).

So yeah, it's a Bible reference, but I thought it made a good comparison.

I'd really like to know what you thought of this. Was it good? Bad? Happy? Sad? Were the characters in-character? How was my grammar?

Thank you so much for your time!