Epilogue

The flash of a camera brought Hercule out of the stupor he'd spent most his day and night in. "Hey, who's there. What's going on?" He blinked and shook the cob-webs out of his head.

A largish group of police officers were moving through his apartment, taking pictures, dusting for fingerprints, and an EMT was poking and prodding him. "Hey, I asked you people what's going on here!?"

One of the detectives stooped over. "Well Mr. Satan, we originally thought you were robbed and left for dead, but as there are so many valuable items laying around, we decided maybe it was some sort of personal attack. Then we thought better. You are the world martial arts champion, who could knock you out like that."

The EMT cut in. "Then I told them you were showing signs that you had received a massive electrical shock."

"I mean look at you hair, man," the photographer said.

"My hair?" Hercule began patting his head.

"It always looks like that. Don't you watch television?" the EMT said. "I have valid medical reasons for my proposition. He's registering a mild magnetic charge and look at the burn on his face."

The detective nodded and waved the two men quiet. "Frankly, we think it was a freak lightning strike. There was some lightning in the area yesterday. The captain's convinced that's what happened." The detective pulled out a note pad. "So, is that what happened?"

Hercule tried to remember what had happened the day before. "I was struck by lightning?"

"We think so. Don't you live with your daughter? Might she have been in the apartment when this freak accident occurred?"

"Videl, I don't know. She isn't here?"

*************************

Piccolo led Chi Chi and Goten into their home. He'd given them strict instructions about how they were to speak to Gohan. If he hadn't improved from the night before, they would have to tell him to eat and sleep and perform daily necessities. It would not be a pleasant experience. "I'll go upstairs to check for improvement," Piccolo said.

Chi Chi nodded and herded Goten inside. "I'll get some breakfast going. Goten, you go get ready for school."

Piccolo squeezed up the narrow staircase and entered Gohan's room. The young man was asleep, just as Piccolo had ordered. Piccolo crouched down next to the bed and gently shook his friend. "Are you awake?"

Gohan blinked sleepily. "Yeah, now I am." Piccolo took his hand and started to pinch the bruise he caused yesterday. Gohan immediately pulled his hand back. "Watch it. You don't need to poke at me. I'm okay now."

Piccolo was unable to contain a real smile. "Then you're back to your old self."

A loud squeal emerged from next door. Immediately Goten could be heard shouting down to his mom. "Nobody told me Videl slept over. She's in the shower right now. Do I haf-to take one? I'll be late for school."

Gohan's face turned bright red. "I can explain."

Piccolo's smile grew a fraction and a low chuckle escaped. "Save it for your mother. She'll be more interested."

*******************

Energy and presence was lost for a time but consciousness never faltered. It was hours before the cathedral of statues in its silent unchanging pocket dimension, reverberated with the tortured screams of it's thwarted mistress. The ghostly form the creature assumed, when it finally mustered the power, remained that of Videl.

The only thing that had saved her from absolute destruction was her garden of statues. She had placed a bit of her core pattern in each of them. Unfortunately, it had taken so long to realign with her new core, that all contact with her power source, Gohan, had been lost.

Gohan had been stronger than she'd ever imagined a fighter could be, and he'd slipped through her grasp. To have tasted such energy and have it stripped away was an agony. Not only that but she'd lost Rinback. His body, decaying on the floor, would never become one of her statues, a battery to store the excess energy she milked from her alcolytes, but also a memento of their time, their love.

The screams gradually faded, and a peace seemed to fall over the creature's face. She rested her ghostly head against the cool crystal of one of the more bizarre creatures in her possession. "Still I survive. As long as there is life and love to be bound, I shall continue." She stroked one of the many tentacles of the statue and power danced over her fingertips. "I will return, Golden Warrior, and finish what I started."

The End --- I'll be posting a follow-up one shot silly fic entitled Gohan Eternal Fashion Victim momentarily. I needed a laugh after writing this one.

Anyway, thanks for the positive response to my first DBZ fic. Happy reading and writing and I'll see you around the feedback pages. :)