Tamashii no Unmei
Kay, here it goes. 3-2-1...
This is AU, and the private wish of many. Gohan/Videl, and a new plotline, but no new enemies, really.
Imagine this: Goku never spoke to his son after he died. At all. Gohan had to look inside himself and destroy his only limitation, doubt, completely alone. So a horrible depression follows. Soon you'll see Videl and have a reasonable explanation for her supposedly 'greater-than-frieza' strength without the muscle mass that accompanies it. She'll have to be depressed as well *wink*, but they don't really meet until highschool a few years later, where I've further altered the plotline by having Gohan leave his home for an apartment in-city at fourteen. Hey, Syaoran-kun did it at ten! And in a different country at that!
ChibiS: Not everybody watches CCS!
Sage: Well shneh! Think of all they're missing... *Hanyaaan*
I want to continue to the Buu saga, but because of his training of Videl Gohan should be more powerful than the series. He will achieve SSJ2 for the third time when fighting Buu, and be a more-than-even match, I would think, because Piccolo said that he 'hadn't seen this kind of power since Gohan in the Cell Games' talking about Majin Veggie-chan, meaning that at age 11 SSJ2 he was more powerful than Vegeta right before he self-destructed.
Unfortunately, with my only non-CN access being a friend twenty miles away, I'll have to rely on whatever Cartoon Network shows of the Buu sage until I can find the episode transcripts somewhere. Same goes with the exact dialogue of the Cell Games.
I'm not your average fifteen-year-old writer, even if this is my first Dragonball fiction. Evangelion, Sailor Moon, CardCaptor Sakura, and Cowboy Bebop have always been my fancy, yet I finally return to that first love that started it all. My twelfth fic, third posted anywhere, and now I am getting angry at the length of these notes, which I don't generally write(And hope not to see in any other chapter unless I feel it is necessary for explanation or to respond to a review). Not that, in forty-five thousand pages (41mb) of saved text files of fanfiction I ever got annoyed by the author's rant...
But this is supposed to be to inform you that WAFF Addicts Anonymous are releasing an epic that will continue until the end.
Oh yeah, I never include a disclaimer because I operate on the assumption that netfics are never corporately sponsored. Bahtolo drom.
People don't behave the way they should; they behave the way they do.
-Jim Beaubien and Karen Caesar
We are standing in the storm of our own being.
"Be careful, lest in banishing your demons you banish the very best thing within you."
Once upon a time there was what there was, and, left untouched, it looks to shadows for it's 'ever after'. Change is a beautiful thing no matter the dark roads we traverse.
Dark. That's what you would have seen if you had held a mirror to Gohan's soul at the moment. His tears would never be atonement, and the look in his mother's eyes could only make it grow.
Accusation? No, not his mother, never... It must be hate. But she couldn't aim it at her son, only at herself. At least, that was what Gohan hoped. What he took on faith. Yet so much had been put in the fire to temper his faith. And he was completely sure of himself. Of his own power. Of the triumph of good over evil when so much was at stake. He had proved it even, with a useless arm and useless allies and useless actions all around, he had overcome it all alone.
But what about the grains that fall through the cracks? What about when there wasn't all that much at stake in the battle between good and evil? Like one man. How can one be sure of anything except that destiny was a cold, cruel mistress? He'd woken to the whispering of two adults and the shocking reality he had just been through.
His father was dead again. Gone. But for good this time, his own decision. At least, that's what Piccolo said. The silvery sounds of the instant transmission were all that Gohan could recall of that little farewell speech his father gave him. It was his fault, no matter what they would say. They just didn't want him to react the way he was now, with such fervent self-hatred.
That was why he was leaving. He couldn't handle the tears. His own tears. And her stare. He feared what she was thinking behind it. And... his reflection. He was sure that he could destroy, destroy anything in all of goddamned existence!
It hurt. So much so that his tears hadn't dried, just settled on the inside. His mind wouldn't allow him to weep. Not when his own father's blood was on his hands. It was an overload, so he was running away for a bit. He would probably be back, eventually. Might miss the nagging and the food and the way his mom would love him no matter what.
Gohan hoped, dearly, that this would be what he would miss, what he would yearn to return to. What would be here when he returned? He was intelligent. He knew that this might hurt his mother as much as his father's death, but his grieving process was at a standstill. Time heals, they say. Time. He needed some time.
A feral roar. Food deprivation, sleep deprivation, constant pain from self-inflicted wounds, combined with a month in a place where infinity becomes apparent. Released in a roar of fury.
Piccolo had understood his need for a little time alone. He really cared. And he wouldn't cry or stare. Of course not. That was too human. Gohan was human, more or less. He wanted to be human. He hated his power that was so assured, hated himself. And that was why he had just slammed himself into the ground again: Pain. He had already broken an arm, sprained several bones, and bruises were covering a good portion of his body even with accelerated healing abilities. The edge was near.
Once he had broached that edge he would take it to its maximum before wiping it out. Like his father had done with the tyrant Frieza. Only... He wanted to live. No death wish here. Gohan just wanted to rid himself of the power.
And he had almost focused enough anger, raging hatred, and horrifying memories to reach what had killed his father. Enter the mind of the murderer. Pride's avatar.
A girl, older than he was now, with black hair and large, sapphire eyes, calling to him.
She was about to be hurt. The rage inside seemed to coalesce like a bolt of lightning.
The dream seemed to be running in circles, or spirals. It was like a jumble of thought grabbed from random places at random times. The laws of gravity seemed moot and things continually changed size and shape, until it drove him to waking.
He woke gasping. That dream again... He couldn't understand it at all most of the time, but he knew that whatever it represented caused him enough anger to reach the edge.
His soul was lit with a pathos. Destiny seemed burned into it.
His blood. His father's blood. The blood of his enemies. The blood of his friends.
Death. Death. Death. Black. Eyes. His father's eyes. Father...
The lonely sphere of light he's been living on had been silenced in the face of a greater light, a golden glow enshrouded by bolts of blue electricity.
Gohan threw himself at the infinite expanse. It hurt a great deal, so he hurt it back.
The door to the room of Spirit and Time was blown open. This was probably the result of being slammed into by the one-time savior of the human race at only an eighth of his might. About as strong as his father in his first transformation, perhaps.
It hurt, being a legendary door that even the strongest can't help opening rather slowly, but pain was a moot point. Something desired and something achieved. A world of pain and painful things, of aches and screams and memories that haunted the mind like apparitions.
Mr. Popo was shocked out of his careful botanical tenure by the bloody, ragged figure flying by. He felt he should warn Dende or Piccolo, but sighed in remembrance of Goku's voice in the sky. Gohan hadn't been conscious to hear him. A great loss indeed. To destroy such a beast and then wake up to the knowledge that your father was just gone. Piccolo had brought the boy back alone, and warned Dende that Chi-Chi might need to be watched over for a little while if she got too depressed. The Namek had hated to leave Gohan in that situation, but he had figured it was better that they had each other.
Mr. Popo was worried that Gohan might be defeated by himself, a greater opponent than Cell could ever be.
Crash! Crack! Ittai!
Trees aren't the softest beds in the world, especially when you mistakenly crash into them. Especially at high velocity, and especially from sixty feet in the air.
Gohan stumbled away from where he had hit. His thoughts were elsewhere and in his reverie he was blinded. Most of his time in the Room had been spent trying to escape all conscious thought, to hide from the truth. Now it was really hitting him upside the head with a sharp 'wa-tak'.
Blinking away the crash, he started walking in a random direction. Twilight was falling, and darkness was creeping across the land. Gohan's brain seemed to be unable to decide which way was up at the moment, so he tried to walk with his eyes closed for a bit. Unfortunately he was in the middle of a forest, so after the first few trees hit his face he was forced to accept the dizziness. Eventually it occurred to his weary mind to sit down and try to get some rest, but he pushed himself forward. Always forward. Step after step after step. There was a river. Jump. More trees. Step, step, step.
Ten days without sleep seemed to be too much for him, and that was how it came to be that he fell unconscious. A happy thought was that his power must be draining quickly if he couldn't do without sleep. But the other side of the coin was that no matter how powerful you are, you aren't invincible. No, he was still at just a little less than his father after his first transformation. As Gohan fell backwards against the pine-covered base of a tree, all that he could think about was how blissfully dark the backs of his eyelids were.
Light. Blinding bright light was streaming through the open window of Videl's bedroom on the second floor of her father's mansion.
"Honey! Bee-bee-chan, morning's here, time to rise and meet the day!" Her mother stood there looking stunning in the light dress she'd thrown on when she'd woken up, her calf-length black hair reflecting sunlight. How did she do that? Videl groaned at the thought of leaving the comfort of her pillows.
Her mom walked to the closet and opened it. "What shall you wear today, dear? How about... Yellow? No, that's not right. Maybe the blue one with the stripe?"
Videl returned the smile sent her way as she climbed out of bed. She frowned. Turning to her mother she blinked, then sighed. Tears welled up in her big blue eyes as the image of her mother abruptly disappeared. More hallucinations.
It was too much for the eleven-year-old. The accident was so long ago, but it continued to haunt her. Maybe because her father hadn't been home since the Cell Games, partying for the last thirty-six hours.
She grabbed a training gi and took to the gym for twenty minutes. Videl knew that it had to be a lie, that a force like Cell wouldn't have been beaten by her father. Not the deadbeat who tried to drown the pain of his wife's memory in drinks and women every single night.
He hadn't actually even spoken to her in two weeks. But at least he'd been around the house somewhere. Now she had no clue where he had gone or what he was up to, and it just tore her up inside that her father wasn't her father anymore. At the funeral... It hurt just to think about how he had hidden all his tears, turned away from his daughter when she tried to hug him.
And now she was running in the opposite direction. The Fight was what she lived for. For the last ten years she had been training like the good daughter she was, but in the previous three it had been personal torture. Anything to forget. Yet it plagued her dreams, haunted her thoughts, and she knew that all it wanted was release, to finish grieving over what was gone. But her grip was too tight.
School was out because of the Cell Games, but that just allowed more time for training. After warming up she took a shower and threw on some day-clothes. She left for her true workout. Anything to forget.
But no one else could see that, the true reason. She didn't let them.
Unfortunately she missed the note from her dad on the floor by the door, the product of a spur of the moment PR decision involving his concern for the family relationship.
With a yawn, Videl walked around the back of the compound to the gravity room. Before she went in she stopped by the main lab to say hello to Bulma, but politely walked out when she found her and her husband engaged in what might have been a good-morning kiss.
As she set up the program she made a note of the amazing and unbelievable previous settings that were usually there, up to four hundred fifty times Earth's gravity.
Her program loaded in a moment, and she began some stretches before sitting cross-legged to focus for a bit. It started at one point one Earth norm.
Her mother had been an acquaintance of Dr. Briefs for years from his college days, and they had been close enough to attend the funeral. After that, she tried to get to know Bulma and her father, especially since she had an interest in the physics side of several projects they were performing. This gravity generator had amazed her for a while, but as she grew stronger in it, so did her understanding grow and wonder decrease.
One point two.
Her father had rudely insulted the good doctor several times during the course of her training here when he had come to find out what she was doing in flashes of caring sobriety. Videl knew that the Briefs' understood, but it wasn't really enough not to be completely embarrassed and ashamed. Except that Bulma's husband had told her, alone in the hallway a few minutes after one incident, that she was lucky. He'd probably kill himself if he couldn't protect her, no matter the weight of the responsibility of his child. It was heart wrenching just to think about it, he said.
The way in which he said it made her sure that he wasn't at all normally so open. That side of him was probably what had caught Bulma's eye in the first place.
One point four.
And she still didn't know his name. He was at the Cell Games, however, and that made her suspect him of being the one training in the immense gravitational forces. It was inhuman, superhuman, and something she began to strive for. To be better than any human alive. Yet how in the universe was she ever going to garner enough power to shake the entire planet with an attack against someone while flying in midair?
One point eight.
And another thing that irked her was how her father had easily dismissed all of Earth-shattering attacks and maneuvers as tricks. When there was so much proof... Was his ego grown so big in his attempt to become a stranger who had never known Velor Satan? Who had never known his only daughter?
Two point six.
A one hundred thirty-pound weight had been multiplied by two point six.
Videl's only wish was to be able to have a slim hope of matching the immense power of certain individuals whose responsibility was, it seemed, to protect the Earth.
Three point two.
A tear slipped unbidden through her shield. Despair gripped her for a moment the weight of abandonment merged with the pain of weakness, how weak she would always be in comparison to so many others. But she shoved it away with Hope and Will, because she would get to that level, would make it beyond everything in her life at the moment.
Four point five.
Her limit. She tried to stand, but at five hundred eighty-five pounds she was on a roll just moving around. It had taken years to get to this point, but it beat actual weights.
Once she was on her feet, she began to do the slower focus techniques to get used to the gravity before dropping to the floor to start some basic exercises.
Five and a half hours later she was toweling away the sweat and looking forward to a steaming shower at home. It was already one o'clock, and she wanted to make sure she talked to Bulma before she left.
Around the corner to the left, her friend was buried in a new machine. It looked like an android of some kind, but Videl was never sure.
"Already? Time sure flies, eh?
"Have a good session?"
"Uh-huh. Again, thanks for letting me use it."
"What are friends for? It was nice seeing you. I must've missed you this morning or something..." She turned back to her work, mumbling to herself.
As she exited, Videl followed the street around the long way to get home. It was a beautiful day, and she wanted to get to the park later to get some writing done. Then to the gym at home to spar against one of the holographic trainers. It was for technique, really, all of the different kinds of kicks and punches and whatnot.
Her home came into view soon enough, and she stretched with a yawn as she basked in the sun. The warm day was making her sleepy. Maybe she'd just take a nap.
As she got to the gate, however, a luxurious car screeched up to the curb at a stop that took it from sixty to zero in two seconds with the skid marks as proof.
"Videeeeeel!" Her father's rough voice shook her out of her shock at the dangerous driving.
"Dad?" She had only a second to question before she was pulled into the car and it took off.
Two days in the woods. Three days! Without a shower, without any training besides simple exercises and meditation, without a change of clothes! This was disgusting and horrible and the affair was all her father's fault for making a split second decision and then telling her by using one of his personal post-it notes, which happened to be of that one brand that never sticks!
Videl punched a tree and made a decent sized crater in it, although she hurt her fist on the rough surface. It was evening already, and the bonfire that her dad, a few of his friends, and that crowd of women had lit was done roasting the food. Now it served as the center of the party. Most already had at least two beers in them, and most couldn't handle their liquor.
Videl was able to requisition a tent from one of the others worshipping her as the daughter of the savior of the world. Alone, away from the party, she was able to fall asleep.
The party had lasted the night. The fire was still going, and breakfast was leftovers.
Suddenly, someone wanted her to join in on the fun, and the center of a drunken crowd wasn't the best place to be. Videl broke through, literally, and ran off into the woods.
A walk, she decided. She started off.
A few hours later, she changed direction to start following the sun. She figured that later she'd turn back in the direction she came from.
Soon, as in within an hour, she came to a brook. It was crystal clear, and being city girl hadn't dulled her appreciation of natural beauty. That was one of the reasons she enjoyed the park so much. That and the solitude.
Following it made her lose track of time, and direction. By the time she realized what had happened dusk had fallen and the crickets began to chirp. It was getting to her, that horrible noise.
Videl started back down the river. And it was a river by now; it had widened into one a few miles back.
Her foot hit a rock and for all her training she couldn't help a plunge into the ice-cold depth and the force of the current that stole her away.
She awoke in a daze, cold, hungry, and with the mother of all headaches.
After hacking up some water, she attempted what seemed impossible: walking. Dizziness, especially in that dense a forest, wasn't a good thing. But while she bounced from tree trunk to tree trunk in lunges, she didn't actually hurt herself too badly.
Except that she couldn't keep it up for long. Her body just gave out and she landed on her knees with a sob. She was more alone than ever, and her father probably hadn't even noticed yet! No one would notice until they were leaving, and that was if she was lucky! This was the worst thing yet!
Her drooping eyelids caught something. A glow. A shine, really, off of golden hair. Not even blonde, but gold.
She crawled along until she found the boy, looking so lost and sad that she felt perfectly empathetic. He was sprawled out in a pile of pine needles, coushiny enough. At least he might know a way out, Videl reasoned. And he probably makes a good pillow. She sat between his legs, and fell asleep before her head touched his shoulder, wondering at the moment why she would put so much faith in a stranger she happened upon in the woods.
Within a few minutes his ki flared unconsciously and she felt like a warm blanket was surrounding her. She was no longer cold and wet and depressed and lost in the woods, but wrapped in the warmth and strength of someone who could probably understand her better than any other.
Gohan woke lazily in the hour of the wolf, the darkest before dawn.
He felt good, like there was something wonderful and right about the world and a golden glow filled him like molten gold. Then he looked down and realized that his hands were wrapped around the waist of a perfect girl. It struck him as strange that he would ever think that way, but he did without noticing it.
She was muscular, but nothing so noticeable, yet her power was at its max. And what a max! It may not be comparable to his own even as chopped as it was, but she could have beaten Vegeta when he first arrived here. That was an amazing trait, especially in a human. Maybe she had been training for years like him. Someone who knew what it felt like to be pushed and pushed and finally to push yourself because that's all that's left to be done.
An idea struck him. Something that was probably in his subconscious for a long time. He sized her power up and figured she had the potential to pass even Krillin, Tien, and Yamcha by a long shot. So he took the idea of the Kaioken and changed it.
Gohan began what might be called 'feeding' her energy off of himself. He didn't want or need it, and without years of training in his own art could she ever catch up to any of the others. He felt sleepier than before, but happy that he could give something instead of just destroying further. Soon, his hair returned to the black that it hadn't been since weeks before.
Eventually dawn rolled around. Gohan was so far gone that he had to bite his lip hard to keep himself awake. He stood and decided that the girl must be lost, so he felt around for the nearest energy sources. Once they were located, he jumped several thousand feet into the air and landed her just outside the camp. Then he pushed his power down in order to conserve it on the walk home.
Piccolo knew a little something about math. It was called a ratio. When you have a power of one hundred, at ten you will be exhausted. At a power of one million, one hundred would be exhausting.
Gohan was far beyond this, he knew. His power was like a beacon in the night, and easy for Piccolo to watch over. However, his power was hitting just a little over one hundred right now, and he would be more than ready to collapse. What little of his power he'd had left was now taken from him, and while he could still do anything that someone limited to that low a power could do, his body was close to death.
Yet... it was still there somehow. The only way to describe it was to say that it had changed color. Gohan was in a bad situation. Weariness would cloud over his thoughts until it might be too late.
It was hard for Piccolo to grasp why Gohan might do something like this, but the answer seemed simple once it was found: Guilt. That was something that someone who had saved the world through his own suffering didn't deserve on his shoulders.
Piccolo shot off of the tower in an effort to aid the child.
Why did he do this?
Poor boy... I wish he'd have come to me.
It was hard on him. And he kept trying to turn super-saiyan in his sleep on the way over.
When was this?
It must have been a few hours ago. Around one.
Terrible. And it must have hurt, him being so weak...
So... have you heard the news?
I'm pregnant again.
That was nice of Goku.
You insensitive... I ought to-
"Wha- Mom? Huh?" Gohan could barely lift one eyelid. He just wanted more sleep...
"I'm here, Gohan." Chi-chi held his hand.
"I am here as well."
"Gohan, we have a senzu bean for you to take." She lifted his chin and was going to put the bean in his mouth when he shouted a hearty 'no'.
"I don't want it. I don't want the power."
"You'll... die. Without your power you will die, little boy. And why don't you want it? You stopped Daddy's sacrifice from being in vain. You saved us all! What's wrong?"
A mumbled whisper. Gohan wished he could see what was going on.
"What did you say?" Chi-chi moved her ear closer to Gohan's mouth, close enough to see the tears he couldn't shed, and the strength with which he forcefully shut his eyelids.
"I killed him..." A whisper only she could hear. And maybe the Namek with the big ears.
Gohan felt her hands wrap around him. It felt nice, safe. But the memory of that girl was fresh in his mind, how safe he felt knowing that she was protected. And in comparison... But his mother's was still the love of a mother. He unclenched the fists he had unconsciously tightened.
"It's okay, little one. You didn't do anything wrong, you did everything you possibly could have. You did what was right. Listen to your heart. You know that Daddy is proud of you, that he loves you because in the end everything was alright. And even if it hadn't been, he would have loved you still, because no matter what you would have done the best you could have done." She was rocking him back and forth gently, and his tears were finally released. But inside... Gohan felt cold inside, as though that warmth the girl had brought out was the only fire bright enough. His tears were not the tears of grief and acceptance. They were of surrender. He just let himself go in her arms, let her hold him and take all of his thoughts away for a time.
Nothing would be the same. He was not one of them anymore, neither was he himself.
Gohan was the person who could only be glimpsed behind the mask.
In minutes sweet oblivion was clutching him to her breast.
Videl was wondering if it had been a dream. The entire walk in the woods, the golden-haired boy, the whole thing.
She had woken to find everyone packing to return home. Two-day-old leftovers were all that they had to eat, but she decided to wait. For some reason she didn't feel hungry, though she'd gone without food for more than sixteen hours.
Her father actually talked to her on the car trip, and not about superficial things for once, like school or her day or something. He asked if she thought he had done a good job. With everything. With his dojos. With taking care of her. With saving the world.
So she answered honestly. 'I wish you would stop acting like you can't remember mom...'
He hugged her, something he hadn't done in three years.
'I... not yet honey. I'm not strong enough yet.'
'Did you really save the world?' Hopeful, her voice.
But either he was lost in thought or he just let the silence answer for him, they spent the rest of the trip doing whatever they cared to do.
Now she was laying on her bed, asking herself what had happened. The entire trip had a dream-like quality to it. After a steaming, long shower she had decided that it might have been a hallucination, except that around one o'clock, as she was washing clothes, she found a black hair that wasn't hers. It couldn't be her fathers, she could tell because it was thicker, not so frizzy, and not fine like hers. Also... it had flashed gold for a few seconds. Repetitively.
So maybe the magical boy had magical hair. Videl put it into a locket she found in a tiny, generally unused jewelry box, and decided to wear it when she could.
Maybe she would go to the gravity room later. There was plenty of time, and she hadn't done anything in a while.
This was incredible. And strange.
Videl had told the program that she wanted to try four point five five today, and to just lay it on her instead of waiting. It had been nothing. She raised the bar to six. Still no effort.
She examined herself, and knew that no new muscles had suddenly toned themselves. Picking up some of the amazingly large weights, the ones that she couldn't understand were in here since they were so heavy, she found that even at six times gravity she could handle them.
A risk, she jumped to ten. There was more pressure, and it felt like Earth normal, like this was what would keep her moving at the speed of an average eleven-year-old girl.
So she upped it to eleven. Perfect. It was like when she had first tried this thing at one point five, since she had done running with packs full of deadweight before.
So overnight she had gone from barely able to handle five hundred eighty five pounds, to taking fourteen hundred thirty in stride. And her spine didn't hurt at all like it sometimes did when she changed her maximum gravity.
A knock on the door of the sphere. Now that was strange, but still not as strange as her newfound strength.
She turned off the machine and opened the door.
It was Bulma's husband, and he seemed to blink rapidly at her appearance.
"I was looking for someone, and thought they were in the machine. I'm sorry for interrupting..."
"No, that's okay. I hadn't really started yet."
"Goodbye." He turned to leave. But he stopped. Cryptically he said, "Your power is at a max all the time. You should learn to control the gift he gave you." With that he left, leaving Videl a little disoriented.
How had he known something strange had happened? Power? Did she have some sort of... This was a gift? From the boy in the woods, maybe? God? Wha-? She couldn't train now that she had a headache from the jumble of thoughts running through her head.
She didn't like to take aspirin if she really didn't need it, so at home she just lay down again and tried to sleep it off.