Dedicated to Linbug.
Disclaimer:I do not own Dragonball Z. Period, dot, end of statement.
Chapter One: Respect
The Halloween Dance was in full swing. What were presumably Orange Star High School students were milling around the gymnasium, clad in all sorts of strange costumes. A fairytale princess was fending off advances from a Grim Reaper. People had to look away from the disgusting sight of "Mr. Satan" and "Cell" making out in the corner (though a few wondered what kind of money they could get by taking pictures and sending them to the tabloids). Godzilla was making an attempt to dance with Marilyn Monroe. The "Great Saiyaman" wannabes – a surprising number – were currently having a pose-off in the middle of the dance floor, much to the amusement of one Son Gohan.
Gohan wasn't so socially challenged as to think that his poses (shamelessly stolen from the Ginyu Force) were "cool." (Okay, so maybe he had for a few days, but Videl's scathing comments had quickly disabused him of that notion.) And who could seriously think that shy, nerdy Gohan could do poses like that? Some of them took serious flexibility and everyone knew that nerds couldn't do the stretches in gym class, let alone the poses the real Great Saiyaman did. One of the Saiyamen demonstrated that very fact when he sank into the splits and subsequently ripped both his pants and his dignity to shreds when he couldn't get up again. The poor guy was booed out of the circle to go find another pair of pants.
"Disgusting, isn't it?" someone sneered from beside Gohan. He knew without looking that it was Videl. Her ki was the highest in the vicinity (besides him, of course); it wasn't hard to locate her. He grinned at her comment, but didn't look at her.
"If you think that's disgusting, look over there," he suggested mischievously, tilting his head towards the corner next to the food table. The strangled sound that issued from the girl's throat a second later let him know that his mission had succeeded.
"Gohan!" she exclaimed indignantly as she recovered from the sight of her father and his worst enemy kissing. "Why did you have to point that out to me?" Gohan turned to look at her, but the retort died on his lips when he saw what she was wearing.
Although he would never admit it, and especially not to Videl, Gohan had wondered what kind of body the girl had been hiding under those baggy shirts. He assumed that she was built like a fighter, obviously, but somehow he had never factored in that she really was a girl and so had different… assets than the fighters he was used to. The skirt, although long, had huge slits up both sides, showcasing her (very shapely, he noticed) legs. The upper portion of the costume, a dainty gold and brown bikini top, revealed that yes, Satan Videl was definitely a girl.
"Gohan, my eyes are up here," Videl growled, sounding irritated. Gohan's eyes shot up from where they had been tracing the slight muscle visible on her stomach. He blushed.
"S-sorry Videl," he stuttered, blushing harder. "It's just that…well, why are you wearing that?" His voice broke slightly and he cleared his throat embarrassedly. Videl scowled, fiddling with the end of her braid.
"My original costume somehow disappeared and Erasa 'just happened' to have this one," she replied. "If I'd gotten my way, I would've worn my regular clothes. Erasa forced me to be Princess Leia under pain of extreme humiliation. The outfit's less humiliating than what Erasa would reveal."
Strangely, that made perfect sense, Gohan thought as he nodded. Videl and Erasa had known each other since they were in kindergarten. Erasa was bound to know every embarrassing thing that Videl had ever done.
"That outfit looks familiar. Who are you supposed to be?" Videl queried, obviously eager to change the subject. He let her, shifting his arms a bit to make sure his muscles were well hidden.
"Remember the Delivery Boy?" he asked. Her eyes widened as it finally clicked. She began to circle him as she inspected his costume.
"I'm impressed," she announced, coming to a stop in front of him and placing her hands on her hips. "This looks exactly like that kid's outfit," she added suspiciously, blue eyes narrowing. Gohan, who had studiously been avoiding looking at her lest his eyes stray somewhere they shouldn't, blinked in surprise and a bit of panic. What was he supposed to say? He couldn't exactly tell her that a seven-foot-tall green alien from the planet Namek had materialized it out of thin air for him! He needed to think of something, and fast.
"Um…" Oh, smooth, Gohan, real smooth. "Um, my mom made it!" he finally blurted out. "She's really good at making things like that." Videl look unconvinced.
"Right…" she drawled skeptically. Before she could start grilling him, however, a few jocks strutted over to them, one putting an arm around Videl's shoulders. Gohan was stunned at the guy's audacity; no one did something like that to Videl and escaped unscathed. Yet Videl merely stood there, not even trying to get out of the guy's one-armed embrace.
"Hey Videl," the jock said in what he probably thought was a seductive voice, "why don't you ditch nerd boy here and come with us instead?" He gave her a suggestive look. His two friends leered at her. Videl gave all of them a disgusted look.
"No thanks," she replied, shrugging the guy's arm off. The jock didn't give up and resettled his arm across her shoulders again.
"C'mon Videl, you'll have more fun with us," he persisted. "You can even dance with me."
Videl rolled her eyes. "Be still my heart," she deadpanned, shrugging the arm off for the second time.
Still not deterred, the guy lifted his arm again as he sneaked a peek at her exposed upper torso. He hit a snag, however, when the offending appendage was caught in what felt like a steel trap. But it was no steel trap – Gohan had reached out and grabbed his arm tightly, eyes smoldering in rage.
The demi-Saiyan had stayed quiet throughout the exchange thus far, confident that Videl would put the idiots in their place – after all, that was her job description during school. He was therefore understandably confused when all the girl did was stand there, aside from getting the jock's arm off her shoulders. Why wasn't she fighting back? But when the guy started eyeing her like a piece of meat, Gohan started to get angry.
Respect was something that had been stressed to him ever since he could remember. Respect his parents. Respect his elders. Respect his fellow fighters. Respect his enemy. Respect men, women, children, aliens, rich, poor, large, slender, genius, insane, and so on. "Respect," his mother once told him, "goes a long way in getting you where you want to go in life. Treat everyone you come across with respect, regardless of how they treat you."
That this person was acting like Videl was a trophy to be won was disrespectful. Videl did so much for the city – she fought criminals, saved people from life-threatening situations, rescued cats out of trees… She helped so many people, and did she ask for anything in return? Nothing. And yet many of the boys at OSH treated her like she was dirt. All they wanted was to say they dated the daughter of Mr. Satan, either that or they wanted to sleep with her. It was disgusting.
Gohan tightened his grip on the jock's arm, uncharacteristically enjoying the boy's wince of pain. "She said 'no'," Gohan said calmly, pulling Videl behind him with the other arm. The jock futilely tried to wrench free of Gohan's grasp. The demi-Saiyan let go at one particularly fierce tug and the other boy flew backwards a good five feet. Gohan stared impassively down at him. "You should leave," he said, and his tone brooked no argument. The jock tucked tail and ran, his two flunkies right behind him.
A tap on his arm made him turn around to face Videl, who was scowling. "I could have handled that, you know," she informed him tartly. He raised an eyebrow.
"You shouldn't have needed to in the first place," he replied evenly, tugging his cape over his head. He ignored her gasp when she saw his muscular frame, instead focusing on tearing the cloth from the armor beneath it. "It wouldn't have happened if you weren't wearing that." He nodded his head towards her outfit.
He finally detached the two pieces. Carefully laying the armor on the floor, he then proceeded to unceremoniously shove the collar over his sputtering friend's head. The cape was far too long for the girl, but it was better than her torso being almost completely exposed for the world to see.
"Gohan, why did you do that?" Videl practically screeched. Despite her question, she tugged the cape more snugly around her shoulders. Gohan bent down to retrieve the useless armor.
"That situation won't happen again if people can't see you," he replied, turning away to go to the door. "Don't move," he added, looking over his shoulder. "I'll be back after I get this out of the way." He began to walk away, leaving his poleaxed friend behind.
Videl watched him go, clutching the material tightly and making sure that her torso was covered. Where had that come from? She had no idea that Gohan could be so… confrontational. And since when was he built like a Greek statue? 'I'll figure you out yet, Son Gohan,' she thought. 'But first…' A bright shock of blonde hair caught her attention.
"ERASA, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"
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