A tribute to my favorite couple of all time. No pun intended.
Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ. Credit for the idea of this story must go to PsychoAnn and her story "Close Your Eyes". If you would like to read it (and I suggest you do), it is in my Favorite Stories section on my profile page.
A Day in Paradise
They say that in paradise everything is in harmony with everything else. Here, as evening grows closer the sky is in harmony with the earth—bloodstained red. Crumbling buildings make up what was once Orange Star City, and I wonder vaguely what it was like before it was a graveyard. Before it was a garbage dump. A battle field.
They say that in paradise all man loves his neighbor. I've met many people, and they all love their neighbors… if they have any. Man loves man, because somehow "humanity" has become a stronger word. It means something to be human and not hollow. Like the cyborgs.
They say that in paradise there is no greed. Well I've seen people die saving the lives of strangers. I've seen people abandon million-dollar homes with their young children and going to live in the country-side. I've heard stories of people giving up incomparable worth and possessions just to escape their own imminent death.
By all accounts, I live in paradise. But I'm not fooled. This isn't a paradise. And I know because I've seen the real thing. It's not much different from this… the only difference between this hell… and paradise, is one man. Son Gohan.
This is the story of my four years… in paradise.
Chapter One: A True Warrior
Satan Videl struggled against the monolithic wall crushing her small frame into what was once a fire station. The pain was almost insurmountable, yet she kept pushing against the barrier, hoping against hope that maybe it would budge… even if just an inch. She was pinned there, and yet it wasn't enough to kill her—just yet. She wished the wall would either just kill her or move.
Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
But of course it wouldn't, and none of her meager efforts to shake the wall off of her was going to change that. Suddenly, she heard a loud explosion from somewhere around the block. Shit! Did that mean they hadn't left yet? She immediately stopped her labors and instead focused all her energy on breathing as slowly and quietly as possible… and trying to look as dead as the old man under the coffee shop table across the street.
The sounds of the androids' blasting was coming closer with each passing second, and Videl wondered what could possibly be left of the city for them to be so occupied in destroying it. Almost as soon as this thought occurred to her, a whooshing sound like a jet zipped by, followed quickly by a crash a few yards away. Yet unlike a ki blast no flames erupted at the base of the coffee shop, and soon Videl saw a young man dressed in a battered orange gi heave himself out of the rubble, gently removing the limp arm of the old man that had fallen on top of him after his crash.
The young man stared intently at the other side of the street from whence he had come, no doubt waiting for the androids to follow. Then, as if he could feel her eyes on him, he glanced over and she saw caught a brief glimpse of terror in his eyes. She knew at that moment that he was sorry he had waited for the androids to come this way, and was regretting not going back to their previous arena. He tried to fly away and draw the battle further from her…one of the only living souls still in the city, but the cyborgs had already arrived, so the battle commenced right there in front of her.
Videl's father had been a martial artist, and a very good one, at the time of his death ten years ago, so she knew by watching the exchanges between the two parties that the mystery warrior was a superb fighter. And to his advantage, he was definitely smarter than the androids. But they were faster, stronger, tougher, and lasted longer… so what chance did he really have?
Actually, to call him a "mystery" warrior wasn't entirely accurate. True, she didn't know his name, or where he came from, and she'd never seen him before, let alone met him, but the underground radio talked about him all the time. He was a hero to all the kids at her shelter. They even had a nickname for him; they called him the Gold Fighter. But looking on at the duel raging above, Videl thought that "fighter" just didn't quite do him justice. He really was a warrior. A true, honest to goodness, romance novel, action-adventure movie warrior.
He looked worn, and she strongly suspected that he was no where near being adequately fit to fight today. From what she had heard from the radio, he and the androids could fight so fast that the human eye couldn't even see them. But she could see plenty right now, and deep in her heart she felt both pity and thanks for this stranger. It might've been better for him to skip out today, and recover instead have his head pounded into the ground, but he had chosen to come anyway. He had chosen to save her today.
The androids seemed to have noticed his weariness as well, and as the battle went on she could hear the black-haired one laugh at her warrior and say, "you shouldn't have come today, Gohan. You're too weak," he snickered.
"Gohan"'s only reply was a fierce but failed punch at the android, who caught it deftly and smirked.
"I think we'll have to teach you a lesson, Gohan. You can't save everybody." And with that he took a ki blast like a knife and, still holding Gohan's arm, sliced right through it. From behind the blonde android gathered up enough momentum for a final kick to his neck which knocked him out.
He fell like a stone, making a huge crater in the middle of the street.
"Haha! C'mon #18, let's get outta here. This place is boring now that we've taken care of him."
"Aren't you going to kill him?"
"Why? He's the only real entertainment we've got. Let's keep him around a while longer."
"You're going to regret that one of these days,"
"Oh, please, #18. You're so overdramatic." He rolled his eyes and together they blasted off into the distance… and away from Satan City.
As night approached, Videl's pain did not lessen, but her thirst grew. She desperately wanted some water to soothe her parched mouth, and hung her head against the wall in front of her to both signal defeat and to ease to tension in her neck.
A young purple-haired boy had arrived a few hours ago to take Gohan away. Even then her throat had been too dry to call out to him to save her. She supposed she would never see her warrior again, and it was a shame, because she had really liked him. An attachment probably formed more on the basis that he had saved her life—if only for a few hours—than anything else, she supposed.
She was absolutely exhausted; she closed her eyes but couldn't sleep because the pain was too potent. She thought she ought to cry but couldn't somehow. So she just lay there, hunched and resting on the enormous block of concrete that had been slowly killing her the last few hours.
She heard a sound, a lot like the wind but not quite, and very faint, very soft footsteps approaching. Reason told her she was delusional. She listened.
A soft hand on her shoulder.
Gentle fingers took her wrist and began feeling her pulse.
She opened her eyes and saw the man who had already saved her life once, coming back to finish the job.
He was intently focused on her pulse, but after a moment looked back up at her face and saw her blue eyes staring back at him.
"Are you alright?" He whispered.
Videl licked her lips in a vain attempt to moisten them, and nodded.
"I'm going to try and get this thing off of you, it'll hurt, but everything's gonna be alright."
She wanted to thank him. To throw her arms around his neck. To scream out his name and tell him he was the most wonderful person in the world. Instead she just nodded, but somehow knew that he understood all that she was trying to say.
Lifting the wall wasn't really a problem for him at all, and although it hurt like hell, she was extremely relieved to be free from all that pressure on her small frame. She collapsed almost as soon as she was free, and immediately her guts and blood began spilling out of her onto the ground below. She could feel herself growing faint even as Gohan turned her on her back, and was sure that this time she was finally going to die, when she felt a soft warm glow encompass her body and looked up to see Gohan emanating gently ki from his hands to her stomach. He wasn't healing her, but his ki was enough to sooth the pain and give life to her blood cells which started clotting much faster than normal, and tissue even delicately pulled itself together.
"Now, this is just a quick patch-job. I'm going to have to take you the hospital in Baker to get you all better, so don't make any sudden movements, okay?"
He lifted her gently into his arms, and looking at her asked, "Have you seen anyone else around here that might be alive?"
Summoning all her will power, Videl managed to speak. "I was bringing three children into the city with me when they attacked. I told them to run into fire station and look for a bomb shelter. I think they made it."
"You brought children into the city?" Gohan raised a brow.
Feeling slightly offended that he would accuse her of being ignorant or careless, Videl sought to explain: "I run a small shelter in the wilderness for orphaned children. I brought them to the city with me so we could buy more food and carry it back."
"Oh, sorry," he had sensed the hurt in her voice, and felt bad for his implied accusation.
"If you find them alive, will you take them back home? We're in the Keiffer Mountain region. Just on the eastern skirts."
"Sure thing," he smiled, "now stop talking, you'll need your rest," and he gently took off in the direction of the nearest underground hospital.