Finally, he made it there. After hours of flying in this overheated desert, Gohan finally spotted the building he had been looking for. He sped up and, moments later, landed before the imposing building, scaring the buff looking men standing before the entrance in the process. The demi Saiya-jin laughed nervously at the weird looks they were giving him, scratching the back of his head. He had been so excited about finally reaching his destination that he hadn't noticed these men before landing. Oh well, it wasn't like they knew who he was anyway.
A ghost-like being wearing a Chinese hat then came to him and greeted him, telling him to stand on the line. Gohan complied, standing behind the bulky men who were still throwing weird looks at him. Their attention was diverted, however, when a wealthy looking couple came out of the building, talking about some hidden gold before leaving in their Air Car.
"It's your turn," the white creature told the men. "Follow me."
Encouraging themselves, the burly men followed the white worker inside. Moments later, Gohan heard cries of pain and couldn't help but wince a little. After a short while, the group of men came out of the building, and they weren't in a good state: casts and bandages were covering most of their bodies.
"Sorry," the white worker said to them. "Goodbye!" He then turned to Gohan, "It's your turn now, please follow me."
"Um, excuse me," Gohan said shyly, stopping the floating worker who was about to go inside. "Am I indeed at Fortuneteller Baba's place?"
The ghost smiled. "Yes, you are. She's waiting for you, Son Gohan. Follow me."
The young man blinked, having not expected this creature to know his name. After all, he had never really met Baba, even though his father had known her since he was a kid. Well, she is a fortuneteller, Gohan reminded himself. He got inside the building, walking after the white worker. They arrived to a big, round, empty room, except for the short witch who was sitting on her floating crystal ball.
"I was waiting for you, Son Gohan." She said.
Gohan walked to her, feeling nervous, anxious, and excited at the same time. Now, he would know. He would know if he will be able to give Videl his present.
He hadn't known the girl for a very long time – barely a month –, and all she did was try to discover his secrets. But, these last few days, she had been unusually quiet and seemed rather down, which was quite strange, since her birthday was nearing. After all, how could one not be happy at their birthday?
Apparently, Videl wasn't.
"Her mother died a few days before her ninth birthday." Erasa had explained when he'd finally dared to ask. He couldn't help but feel worried for the young crime fighter.
He had frowned, deep in thoughts. The idea of using the Dragon Balls to bring Videl's mother back crossed his mind. Given, he and Videl weren't exactly "friends", but he knew what it was like to lose a parent. So if he could do something about it, he would.
"How… How did her mother die?" He had asked hesitantly, aware that he looked a bit too curious. However, he had to ask, in order to know if the Dragon Balls could be used.
"Cancer." Erasa had replied.
A natural cause… He'd thought. Damn.
He hadn't given up, though. There had to be a way. So, after school, he had gone to the only person who could possibly know a way to solve his problem: Dende. He was God, after all; if God didn't know, then who would?
And fortunately, he knew.
"Fortuneteller Baba has the power to travel from the Living World to the Other World, and vice versa. She can bring your friend's mother back, but only for a day." Dende had explained.
"Where can I find her?" He had asked. Gohan knew that if he could've seen his dad again, even for a day, he would've been happy. He was sure Videl felt the same way.
"She's Master Roshi's older sister; he'll give you the exact coordinates to her place."
Gohan had nodded and, after saying goodbye to his friend, had taken off toward Kame House.
"You want to find my sister?" Roshi had asked, somewhat surprised. "Why?"
He had fidgeted nervously, a bit reluctant to give his reasons; Krillin had been there, and Gohan knew that the former monk never lost an opportunity to tease him. And this would definitely give him one.
He had to find Baba, though, and this was the only way.
"Dende told me that Baba has the power to travel between the Living World and the Other World; I would like her to bring someone from the Other World for me."
Good, he'd thought, I managed to answer without motioning Videl.
"You want her to bring Goku?" Krillin had asked.
"Um, actually, no. I…" He'd taken a deep breath, knowing that he had no choice but motioning his classmate this time. "I would like her to bring my friend's mother for her birthday."
He'd seen a smirk slowly creep up to Krillin's lips, and couldn't help but gulp. Here it comes…
"Her?" the noseless man had said, his smirk still present. "Your friend is a girl? Wouldn't she happen to be your girlfriend?"
"I… I don't have time for this, Krillin," Gohan had said, stammering a bit, his face deep red. "I need Baba's coordinates so she can bring Videl's mother back."
"Oh, so her name's Videl, huh? Hmm… Son Videl. Sounds good, don't you think?"
He had taken another deep breath, trying to calm his nerves (and his blushing face), then turned to Master Roshi, ignoring the former monk.
"Can I have your sister's coordinate, please?"
And so, here he was, standing before the old fortuneteller who could decide to grant his wish or not. Roshi had told him that she never did anything without a price. Usually, she would ask to defeat her warriors, but since the young Saiya-jin was one of the strongest in the universe and she knew it, he doubted she would ask him to fight the warriors his father had beaten when he was a kid.
"You're right." She said. "I won't ask you to fight my warriors; it would be pointless."
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that she's able to read my mind, Gohan thought to himself.
"Then, what will you ask me to do?" He then asked, a bit nervous.
A mischievous smirk made its way on Baba's wrinkled face. "I will ask you… to confess your feelings to that Videl girl."
His eyes widened, while his face flared up. "Wha…?"
"You can confess to her after I bring her mother back, I don't mind." She continued. "As long as you confess to her."
"But…" Gohan started, having found his voice back. "What do you have to gain in me confessing to Videl? Assuming I have feelings for her, that is." He quickly added.
"It will be entertaining to see." She replied. "And don't try to deny it; would you really go that far to try and bring this girl's mother back if you didn't like her?"
"I…" The blush on his face deepened.
"That's what I thought."
He gulped, his face still beet red. "Al-Alright. I'll… confess t-to Videl."
Baba's smirk widened.
Videl was glad her birthday came a Saturday; she really wasn't in the mood to put up with school today. She wasn't even in the mood to kick some criminals' butts, or to try to unmask Saiyaman. And that was telling something.
So, she stayed in bed, with no intentions to get up anytime soon. When she heard the doorbell, she simply ignored it, closing her eyes and trying to get back to sleep. The butlers and maids could take care of it.
But when she heard a knock on the door of her room, she frowned. Hadn't she been clear enough when she'd said that she wanted to be left alone today? Was that so much to ask?
She decided to ignore whoever was knocking on her door, hoping they would get the hint and go away. However, they didn't. Worst: she heard the door of her room open slowly, followed by the last voice she had expected to hear:
Her eyes shot open in surprise. Slowly, she strengthened up, and turned around to face the boy whose secrets she had been trying to discover for the past month.
He smiled sheepishly. "Hey Videl. Happy birthday."
She blinked. "You came all the way from the country just to wish me happy birthday?"
He placed his hand behind his head. "Well, actually, I have a present for you. Um… Would you mind getting dressed so we could go and get it?" He asked hesitantly.
"Uh…" Videl was dumbfounded. She hadn't expected it, to say the least.
He flashed her a pleading, handsome smile. "Please? I promise you won't regret it."
Her curiosity stirred, Videl decided to follow her classmate.
"Wait for me outside, I'll get dressed."
And really, how could one resist that smile?
Luckily, the town park was only a couple blocks away from the Satan Mansion, because that was exactly where Gohan was taking the birthday girl. He tried not to think too much about the price he would have to pay so that Baba brought Videl's mother back for a day, focusing his thoughts on how happy Videl would be when she would see her mother again after so long. A small smile made its way to his lips as he thought about it.
Even if he would be rejected, it would be well worth it, just to see her happy.
The town park wasn't very crowded, which was quite logical since it was still pretty early in the morning; people usually came the afternoon. Videl wondered why Gohan had brought her here to give her his present, and she was also very curious to know what the said present could be.
She had been very surprised to see him today, wishing her a happy birthday – he, of all people. After all, she hadn't been the nicest person to him this past month; always suspicious, nosy, going as far as following him after school sometimes… No, she definitely hadn't been nice to Gohan. And yet, he had a birthday present for her. A very mysterious present…
Her curious personality then kicked in.
"Gohan, why did you bring me here? I hope you didn't make me come here for nothing." She said in a slightly harsh tone, which caused her to slap herself mentally. Hey, he's going to give you a present! Don't be so rude to him!
Gohan, however, didn't notice her 'rude' tone and simply smiled. "Don't worry Videl, it's gonna be worth the wait!"
Videl looked at her classmate with a raised eyebrow, wondering yet again what that present of his could be. In any case, he seemed convinced that she would like it.
They had been walking leisurely in the park when Gohan stopped abruptly, making Videl stop as well. She looking at him questioningly, asking him why he stopped, but he didn't seem to hear her, seemingly deep in thoughts. And then, he turned to her and gave her a big, happy grin.
"They're here!" He exclaimed.
Videl raised her eyebrows. "They? Whom are you talking about?"
His grin never leaving his face, Gohan took her hand – not noticing the blush spreading across Videl's cheeks at this simple action. "Come on," he said. "They're by the lake."
With that, he started walking again, only faster this time, dragging the confused and blushing birthday girl with him.
"H-Hey, wait! Who is by the lake? Whom are you talking about?" Videl asked again, trying to ignore the fact that Gohan was holding her hand – why was it making her blush, anyway? It was just Gohan!
Not slowing down his pace, the young teenage boy turned his head to look at her and his grin widened – something she didn't thought possible. "You'll see!"
"Gohan, tell me!"
"No way! It'll ruin the surprise!"
"I'm not tellin'!" He said childishly. Videl let out a frustrated sigh; why couldn't he just tell her?
She was about to insist some more when she saw the lake from the distance. As they approached, slowing down their pace a bit, Videl made out two figures by the lake. She raised her eyebrows upon realizing that one of them was a very old woman that was sitting on what seemed like a floating crystal ball. Videl blinked several time before turning to the second figure. Its back was to her and it was sitting by the lake, but by its long, raven hair and slim silhouette, Videl could tell it was a woman. A somewhat familiar woman.
And then, the woman stood up, turned around, and smiled warmly at seeing the two teenagers. Videl froze, feeling her heart stop. It couldn't be…
"M… Mom?" She said tentatively, barely daring to believe it.
Satan Akemi nodded, still smiling. "Yes Videl, it's me."
Videl found herself crying in her mother's comforting arms. She didn't really remember how she ended up in her arms, not that she cared right now. All she wanted was to stay where she was and never leave that place again.
Seeing that her job was done, Fortuneteller Baba went toward the teenage boy who was looking at the reunited mother and daughter with a gentle smile. As she floated past him, she spoke:
"Don't forget the price."
At hearing this, Gohan stiffened and his smile fell, as he thought about the infamous price. The witch gave a quiet, evil-like chuckle, and then she left, probably to make herself comfortable so she could watch him get rejected, the demi Saiya-jin thought bitterly. He sighed. Well, at least Videl gets to see her mother.
The girl's crying relented little by little, until it stopped completely. Akemi pulled back from her daughter slightly, smiling tenderly at her as she proceeded to dry her tears.
"I think your friend here can answer that question better than me." Akemi said, her gaze diverting to the young man standing a short distance away.
Videl whipped her head around, following her mother's gaze. As their eyes met, Gohan smiled at her.
"Happy birthday, Videl."
"So, if I understood correctly," Videl began, "the old lady that was sitting on a floating crystal ball is a fortuneteller that has the power to bring dead people back to the Living World for twenty four hours, and you asked her to bring my Mom back for my birthday."
"Um, yeah." Gohan replied, scratching the back of his head. He was feeling a bit awkward, for some reasons.
Videl allowed a smile to form on her lips. "That's… the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me."
The demi Saiya-jin blushed, still scratching the back of his head. "I'm just glad you're happy."
The young girl looked at him curiously. "How come you're so kind? I wasn't even nice to you, and you, you do that for me. Why?"
"Be-Because I…" Do I tell her now? He looked briefly to Videl's mother, who was watching them silently. I would rather tell her while we're alone, but I guess it doesn't really matter after all.
"Yes?" She said curiously, urging him to go on.
Gohan closed his eyes as he took a deep breath, gathering some courage. "Because I…" He opened his eyes, gazing right into hers. "I have feelings for you."
Videl froze on the spot, staring at him with wide eyes as a deep blush covered her cheeks. Her mouth opened slightly, as if to say something, but no words came out.
"You… You don't have to say anything," Gohan said quietly, his eyes now lowered, staring at his shoes. "I just… needed to tell you." He sighed softly. "I'll get going now. Make the most of your time with your Mom."
Not daring to look at her, Gohan turned to leave. He was only able to take a few steps however, because Videl grabbed his arm. He looked down at her, eyebrows raised in surprise. Her head was lowered, but he could still see her beet-red cheeks.
"You… You can't just leave like that… After what you just told me." She said, not letting go of his arm.
Gohan scratched the back of his head with his free hand. "I'm sorry, I just… I just don't know what else I could do."
There was a silence, Videl still holding Gohan's arm. She suddenly tightened her grip on it.
"Why?" She asked faintly.
He blinked at her. "Why, what?"
"Why do you feel that way towards me?" She looked up at him. "Why, Gohan? I don't understand."
He looked away, blushing. "I… I don't know. I guess you can't control that sort of thing. I just… do."
"I still don't understand."
Again, Gohan scratched the back of his head with his free hand. "I guess I like your strong persona, your determination. I like how your eyes flare up when you're fighting," he smiled, "or when you have that cute concentrated look when you try to figure out my secrets. I just like you, Videl, because you're so beautiful and so strong, and you're always willing to help those in need, risking your life doing so – though I'm always worried about you in those cases." He paused, turning his eyes back at her. "Yeah, I guess that's why I like you so much."
Well, that's what I call a declaration of love, Akemi thought, watching the two teens silently.
Videl felt her heart race in her chest as she gazed into Gohan's dark, intense eyes, and she was sure she was blushing again. She looked away then, not knowing what to say, and Gohan smiled sadly.
"Like I said, you don't have to say anything." He said softly, gently removing Videl's hand from his arm. "Just, enjoy your birthday with your mother, okay?"
"Okay…" She said quietly.
"Well, see you on Monday, Videl. And happy birthday."
And with that, Gohan turned around and walked away.
It had been a few hours since Satan Akemi had come back to the Living World, and mother and daughter were spending their time in the town park, just talking. Videl's head was lying on her mother's lap, while Akemi stroked her daughter's long hair with her delicate fingers, just like they used to when Videl's mother was still alive.
Videl was happy. Seeing her mother again, being able to talk to her, confide in her… She had missed it so much. She was very grateful to Gohan for bringing her mother back, even if it was only for a day.
The girl fell suddenly silent when she thought of her classmate. She felt bad for not saying anything to him when he confessed his feelings to her. But it was so unexpected! She would have never thought that he, of all people, felt that way towards her; after all, she had been everything but nice to the boy.
She had never really thought of him that way; she had been too busy trying to discover his secrets as well as Saiyaman's true identity to really notice how sweet Gohan really was. And, she had to admit, he was quite handsome too. She blushed slightly at her thoughts.
Seeing the light blush spreading across her daughter's cheeks, Akemi smiled, guessing what, or rather, who Videl was thinking about. Young love…
"Gohan seems like a really sweet boy."
Videl smiled sadly. "He is…"
"Could you tell me more about him?" Akemi then asked, curious to know more about this boy who seemed to hold strong feelings for her daughter.
"Well… I don't really know much about him. I've known him for about a month, since he's been in my class, and he never talks about himself. I know he's really smart, and he lives very far, somewhere in the mountains."
Akemi raised an eyebrow. "And he goes to school although he lives so far from it? How does he commute to there everyday?"
"I don't know. He says that his mother is very strict about his education, so the distance doesn't really matter to her. But I know he's hiding something."
"What could he be hiding?"
Videl sighed. "Nevermind."
There was a silence for a short while, then Akemi asked suddenly:
"Do you like him?"
Videl flushed intensely, her eyes widening. "Wha… What?"
"Do you like Gohan?" The woman asked again.
"I…" She blushed more. "I'm not sure… But… My heart beat so fast when he told me about his feelings for me… I thought it was going to go out of my chest. It can't mean anything, can it?"
Akemi smiled, stroking her daughter's hair. A beeping sound was suddenly heard then, startling them both. Then, Videl cursed under her breath as she looked at her watch, while Akemi looked on in confusion.
"Stupid police force, can never pull through one day without me…" Videl cursed as she straightened up, answering the call. "Videl here."
Akemi frowned as her daughter was talking to her watch about what seemed to be a hostage situation in a jewelry store.
"Videl, what's going on?" She asked, just as her daughter ended the call.
Videl sighed, standing up from the grass. "There's a crime going on in the city, I have to go help the police."
"What?" Akemi exclaimed, standing up as well. "But Videl, it's dangerous!"
The young crime fighter gave a small smile. "Don't worry about me Mom, I've been helping them for two years now, and I always manage. Those crooks don't stand a chance against me."
Akemi watched helplessly as her little girl got out a yellow Jet Copter from a capsule and climbed on it. Then, without thinking, she followed her inside the Copter.
"Mom, what are you doing?"
"If I can't stop you from going there, I can at least keep a watch on you." Akemi replied, crossing her arms stubbornly.
"But Mom! They have guns! You could get hurt!" Videl protested.
"And so could you. But don't worry Videl, I won't stay close to the crime scene. Now let's go."
The girl sighed softly, still reluctant to let her mother come with her, but started the engine nonetheless. Soon enough, the Jet Copter flew towards the jewelry store.
Gohan was flying at top speed towards the city he had left a few hours ago. He could sense Videl's Ki flaring up, which could only mean one thing: she was fighting, probably against criminals.
Really, couldn't these police officers leave Videl alone for just one day? It was her birthday, for God's sake!
Finally, he saw the city from the distance, and flew straight to Videl's Ki, arriving at a jewelry store a few moments later. Police cars surrounded the store, which confirmed his suspicion that Videl was fighting crime. He sighed. The police of Satan City was really hopeless.
Already in his Great Saiyaman outfit, Gohan landed next to the Police Chief who sighed in relief at seeing the superhero.
"Saiyaman! Thank God you're here!" He exclaimed.
"What is the situation, Chief?" Gohan asked in his fake superhero voice.
"There are six of them, and they took the jewelry store hostage. Miss Videl is in there now actually, but I'm afraid it won't be enough…"
The Police Chief saw Saiyaman's jaw clench at his last sentence, his worry for the young crime fighter obvious.
"I'm going in." The Great Saiyaman stated, before rushing inside the jewelry store.
When Akemi saw a weirdly-dressed man coming from the sky, she blinked several times. Then the man talked to the Police Chief and moments later he was rushing toward the jewelry store, so fast she barely saw his movement.
"Oh, that's the Great Saiyaman. He's been helping out the police fight crime for about a month now, and the city has been a lot safer since he's appeared, though there are still some criminals that don't understand they don't stand a chance." A woman explained to her when she asked.
So, this weirdly-dressed man was a superhero? It was hard to believe when you looked at him. But, as long as he helped her dear Videl, it was alright, Akemi guessed.
This was getting a little out of hand. Fighting six criminals at once appeared to be a little harder than what Videl had thought, and she was even receiving a few hits. Those guys were pretty good actually, nothing like what she was used to.
She jumped back, catching her breath while examining her opponents. They were out of breath as well, but they didn't seem very affected by her hits. Videl frowned. She had to take care of them quickly so the hostages could be released.
"Hehehe… I told you we could take her down if we teamed up." One of them told the others.
"I'm still up, you stupid jerk!" Videl retorted, rushing towards the one who spoke to knee his neck, putting more force into that hit than before. He fell to the ground, knocked out.
"Still so sure you can take me down?" She smirked, turning to the remainder men.
"You bitch! You're gonna pay for that!"
Videl merely smiled, waiting for them in fighting stance as they rushed towards her. She had understood that she couldn't take it easy against those guys. If she wanted to beat them and save the hostages, she'd had to give it her all.
The fight began again. Videl could barely block the attacks they were throwing at her; it seemed that she wasn't the only one who had decided to give it her all. They seemed to be stronger and faster than a few moments ago. She suddenly felt a sharp pain on her back and before she knew it she was projected towards the wall. The teenage crime fighter closed her eyes, waiting for the impact with the wall.
It never came.
Videl opened her eyes, seeing the all too familiar orange helmet.
The superhero looked down at her, and although she couldn't see his face, Videl knew he wore a worried expression.
"Are you alright?" He asked, and Videl blinked. His voice sounded different than usual, which she knew was faked. It actually sounded almost like…
It couldn't be…
"Oh, look who's here! The so-called superhero!" One of the bandits laughed.
Videl saw Saiyaman raise his helmeted head to look at the laughing criminals, his jaw clenched tightly. He then gently put her down on the floor, telling her to stay there – and again, his voice sounded different than usual – then he suddenly disappeared, only to reappear right in front of the criminal who had spoken, his fist planted in his stomach. The man's face was contorted with pain, and then he fell to the ground, unconscious. Videl watched as the red-caped hero then took care of the four remainder criminals, knocking them out easily.
Gohan exhaled deeply, calming himself down. When he had seen those crooks hitting Videl cowardly from behind, he had been seeing red. But now they were all knocked out, so he had no more reason to be mad.
He then went towards Videl, who was still on the floor, watching him. When he arrived to her level, he crouched down, asking her if she was alright again. His voice sounded like usual now.
"Who are you?"
Her question made him smile, like all the other times she asked him that very same question. He didn't answer, like usual, and instead asked her:
"Can you walk?"
She nodded, standing up from the floor. Saiyaman smiled again.
"Well, I'll get going then." He said.
"What, no speech? No poses?" She asked, smirking at him.
He chuckled softly. "No, not this time, Videl."
He went towards the exit, but stopped before the doors and spoke, his back to her:
"By the way, Videl… Happy birthday."
The young girl blinked, while the superhero exited the store, taking off to the sky. Then, a small smile appeared on her lips.
"Wow. This is… huge."
So this was where her husband and daughter lived? It could be a castle! How could Hercule afford it? Did he win the lottery or something?
"Oh yeah, it's true that you weren't there when Daddy beat Cell." Videl remembered. Her mother looked at her questioningly.
"Who is Cell? And what does he have to do with your father getting rich?"
"Cell was a monster that threatened to destroy the Earth, seven years ago. He held a tournament which he called 'the Cell Games', where each contestant would fight him in order to save the planet. Daddy entered the tournament and beat Cell. And the people were so grateful to him that they made him really rich, and even renamed the city where Daddy lives 'Satan City'."
"I see…" Akemi said quietly, registering everything her daughter had told her. Her husband had defeated a monster able to destroy the planet? It was hard to believe. Sure, Hercule was strong, but not this strong. But maybe he got a lot stronger in the time she had been dead? Yeah… That must be it. After all, if the whole world believed that Hercule beat Cell, then it could only be true.
"And this is my room."
As Akemi entered her daughter's bedroom, she couldn't help but smile at how tomboyish it was. There were posters of martial arts movies, famous martial artists and such, a punching bag was hanging down from the ceiling, and then there was the hi-tech stuff such as a flat screen TV, a DVD player, a few game consoles, a laptop…
That's my little girl, she thought smiling.
Then, she noticed the corner of a wall that was filled with news articles, and when she got closer, she recognized the weirdly-dressed man who called himself the Great Saiyaman on the pictures. There were quite a few articles about him, as well as of a certain "Gold Fighter", as people called him. Apparently, Videl was suspecting Saiyaman to be this Gold Fighter, and the Gold Fighter to be Gohan.
"You think Gohan is Saiyaman?" Akemi asked, turning to her daughter. Said daughter collapsed on her queen-sized bed, now staring at the ceiling.
"I don't know." Videl replied. "But there's something about Saiyaman that's reminds me of Gohan. And plus, Gohan keeps finding excuses to get out of class every time I get called by the police. More than suspicious, don't you think?"
"True… But," Akemi sat down on the bed, now looking at her daughter. "Even if he really is Saiyaman, don't you think it is kind of wrong to try to unmask him? After all, when you have the kind of abilities Saiyaman has, it's normal to want to lead a normal life without having reporters trying to know everything about you."
"I… never thought of it that way…" Videl admitted. "But, I'm not trying to unmask him to reveal his identity to the world, I just want to know who he is."
Akemi smiled. She had heard from the people around the crime scene today how Saiyaman only showed up when Videl was in trouble; her and only her. It seemed that Gohan wasn't the only one who wasn't invincible to Videl's charm.
Or maybe, according to Videl's suspicions, he was.
Hercule sighed as he entered his enormous mansion. What a long day he had at the dojo. He was glad he was finally home. He felt bad for leaving his little girl the day of her birthday, but she had refused to celebrate it for years. Eight years, to be exact. Ever since his beloved wife died of cancer…
Although he used his fame to hit on women, he never loved any of them. The only woman he ever loved was his deceased wife, and he doubted he would ever love any other woman like he loved her. But she was gone now, and he had to move on…
He decided to go check on his daughter. It was pretty late and he doubted she was still awake, but he just wanted to make sure she was alright. So, he went to her room. As he was about to turn the handle of the door of her bedroom, he heard something he didn't expect coming from the other side of the door.
He blinked. Then smiled. It seemed that Videl was laughing with someone, in her room. He was glad she wasn't depressed today, though kind of surprised. But, it was a good surprise.
He knocked on the door, wanting to wish his daughter a good night, as well as thank the person who was making her laugh.
He heard steps coming closer to the door, and then the door opened.
And Satan Hercule, the Martial Arts World Champion, fainted.
At the door, Akemi turned to her daughter. "I guess he didn't expect to see me here, huh?"
Videl couldn't help letting out a small laugh. "Guess not."
The dark-haired woman sighed. "Come on, help me get him to bed."
"I'll do it." Videl said, getting up from the bed she had been sitting on and going toward her unconscious father at the door.
Akemi raised an eyebrow. "You sure? He's quite heavy, you know."
Videl bent down to pick her father up. "I know, but it shouldn't be a problem for me."
With some difficulty nonetheless, the young fighter carried her father to her bed then put him on it, exhaling loudly. Why was he so heavy anyway?
"See, you should've let me help you." Akemi remarked.
"It wouldn't have made a big difference anyway." Videl shrugged.
Akemi narrowed her eyes. "Satan Videl, are you calling me weak?"
The girl smirked at her mother. "Maybe."
"Oh, I'll show who's weak!"
With that, Akemi grabbed a pillow from the bed and a pillow fight between mother and daughter began, their laughter accompanying the sound of pillows hitting each other.
That was how Hercule found them when he woke up. At first he thought he was dreaming; it could only be a dream, after all. As much as he wanted his wife to be alive, she wasn't. She died eight years ago, so there was no way she could be here, pillow fighting with their daughter. Yeah, it must be a dream…
But then, a pillow flew right to his face.
"Ow!" He exclaimed. Then he blinked. How come it hurt? You can't feel pain in dreams. Unless…?
"Oh, I'm so sorry Daddy! I guess I don't know my own strength…"
"To think that pillow was aimed at me."
"Well, you're the one who wanted to prove that you weren't weak."
"I'm not weak! You're the one who's too strong!"
Hercule blinked. "So… This isn't a dream?"
The two most important women of his life turned their attention to him, and the older one smiled warmly at him.
"No, Hercule, this isn't a dream."
"But… how?" He asked, still barely believing it.
"It's for my birthday." Videl replied, grinning. "Mom gets to stay with us until tomorrow at 10 A.M."
"Wh-What? Why does she have to leave?" The Champ asked.
"Because I don't belong to this world." Akemi replied. She then showed the golden halo floating above her head. "See?"
Hercule blinked again, noticing for the first time the golden halo. "What… is that?"
"It's my halo." His wife explained. "I have it because I'm still dead. I was allowed to come back, but only for a day, after which I'll have to go back to where I belong."
"I see…" The man said, disappointed that his wife would have to leave him again. "But how is that possible? How can you be here?" He then asked.
There was a silence in which, to his surprise, his daughter blushed while his wife smiled knowingly. Hercule blinked once again.
"What… What is going on?"
"Oh, don't worry Hercule; our daughter just has a little crush." Akemi said, causing her daughter to blush even more.
"WHAT?" Hercule yelled, standing up at once and marching towards both women. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SHE HAS A CRUSH? VIDEL! IT BETTER NOT BE A BOY OR I SWEAR I'LL KILL THE LITTLE RUNT! I ALREADY TOLD YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DATE BOYS UNLESS HE IS STONGER THAN ME!"
"Hercule, calm down for God's sake!" Akemi yelled back exasperated.
The World Champion exhaled loudly, calming himself down a bit. He was still upset though, and crossed his arms while declaring:
"I don't want you to date boys, Videl. You're too young."
"On come on Hercule, she just turned seventeen! I was dating boys when I was younger than her!" Akemi insisted.
"She's too young!"
"No she's not!"
"Enough!" Videl exclaimed suddenly, stopping them from continuing. "I already have a hard time determining my feelings, and you two are NOT helping. And Daddy, know that without Gohan, Mom wouldn't even be here with us now, so you should be grateful to him and certainly not kill him."
"So it's true? You really do like that boy?" Her father asked seriously.
"I…" Flushing, Videl thought back of what Gohan had told her earlier that day. She thought of what he did for her, how sweet he was. She thought of his smile, and the way her heart beat faster when she thought of him. And she could only reply:
It was very late at night, but Gohan wasn't sleeping. Half listening to his little brother's soft snoring, the teenage boy was thinking about a certain raven-haired girl. He wondered what she was doing now, with her mother. He supposed that since they only had a few hours left together, they were probably having a sleepless night to spend as much time together as possible. That was what he would've done if his father had been back for only a day, in any case.
His thought drifted to the price he'd had to pay in order to bring Videl's mother back for her birthday. He wondered what Videl thought of him now that she knew about his feelings for her. He hoped that things wouldn't be awkward between them at school. Since Erasa was Videl's best friend and the blonde always wanted him to hang out with them for some reason, it would be hard for them not to see each other.
But there was still something that bothered him. After he had told her about how he felt about her, she hadn't replied anything. Gohan wasn't sure, but did that mean that she didn't reject him? Could he possibly… have a chance with her?
As if, he thought, shaking his head inwardly. After all, why a girl like Videl would be interested in him, the school nerd?
He sighed, turning to the side. Still, it would be nice if she was…
"Get ready to go back."
The Satan family jumped at the sudden appearance of the old fortuneteller. Videl recognized her instantly, and she held her breath as she understood why the witch was here.
Hercule blinked. "Um, who are you?"
"I am Fortuneteller Baba. I am the one who brought back your wife from the Other World." She replied.
Akemi looked at the clock on the wall. It was indeed ten o'clock in the morning. She sighed.
"I guess it's time for me to go back." She said sadly.
"It's already time?" Hercule exclaimed, jerking his head around to look at the clock as well. Indeed, it was time.
"I don't want you to go." Videl said softly, her head lowered. She was doing all she could not to cry, but it seemed that it was a fight she could not win, as a few tears escaped from her eyes.
"Oh Videl…" Akemi hugged her daughter, tears escaping her own eyes. "I don't want to go either, but… I don't belong to this world anymore."
Videl held her mother tightly. "I know… I'm going to miss you so much…"
"I'm going to miss you too, my little angel."
Akemi pulled back from her daughter, smiling at her through her tears. Then she turned to her husband, who was watching them with tears in his eyes as well. She went to hug him, and he held her tightly, burying his face in her hair as he took in her beautiful scent. Damn, he was going to miss this.
They pulled back, looking at each other. They didn't need to say a word, knowing perfectly what the other was thinking. Then, Akemi reached up to kiss her husband lightly on the lips, before stepping back, going towards Baba.
"By the way, Videl," Akemi started as she stood beside the fortuneteller. "Don't forget to thank Gohan properly." She said with a wink.
Videl blushed despite herself, but nodded nonetheless. They said their goodbyes one last time, and then, Satan Akemi was gone.
As he flew towards his school, Gohan was very tempted to change direction and fly to some other place. Any other place would do. However, the thought of his mother knowing about him missing school and the unavoidable punishment that would no doubt follow – meaning, the Frying Pan of Doom – was enough to make him continue flying to his school. Still, he would rather not go there.
He saw the building in the distance and sighed, resigning himself to go there and face Videl. Soon after, he landed on the roof of Orange Star High School and, making sure no one was there, he pressed the small button of his watch and made his Great Saiyaman outfit disappear, only to be replaced by his everyday clothes.
Sighing again, Gohan got inside the school, going down the stairs that led to the corridors. How was he supposed to comport with Videl now that she knew how he felt about her? No matter what he hoped, things will no doubt be awkward between them now. How were they supposed to spend the school year like that? If only that witch had asked for something else as a price, he wouldn't have all these problems now.
Cursing the old fortuneteller under his breath, Gohan unlocked his locker and opened it. When he closed it back, having taken everything he needed for his first class, he found himself beside Videl, and nearly jumped upon seeing her.
"Um, hi Videl." He said awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.
She smiled, one of those smiles that just made him melt, and he blushed despite himself, feeling his heart beat speed up.
"Hey Gohan." She greeted him.
"So, um, did you have a good time with your mom?" He asked, hoping that starting a conversation would make him feel less awkward. Strangely, he seemed to be the only one feeling that way.
"Oh yes, we had a great time. Even my dad joined in, in the evening. We didn't sleep and spent all the night together, like a real family. It really made me happy."
Gohan smiled genuinely, glad that Videl was happy. It was all that mattered to him, and it was well worth the price he'd had to pay.
"See? I told you you would like my present." He said with a chuckle.
She beamed at him. "I loved it. I've had the best time of my life, and it couldn't have been possible without you."
He blushed slightly, rubbing the back of his neck again while looking down. "Uh, well, I'm glad you liked it."
"I realize that I never really got the chance to thank you."
"Oh, don't worry about it. I was glad I could do this for ymmhph…"
Gohan was interrupted by something soft and wet on his lips, and he blinked. Then, he realized that it was Videl's lips that were on his own, and his eyes widened, his face burning him like never before. He didn't move, frozen in surprise and confusion. Why… Why was Videl kissing him? Could it be that she…?
Closing his eyes tightly, Gohan let his feelings get the better of him and didn't think anymore; he kissed her back with all the love he felt for her, pulling her against him as he wrapped his arms around her waist, while Videl cupped his face, deepening the kiss. It lasted a long while, the two of them forgetting about the high school students around them and staring at them in shock.
When they finally broke the kiss, they didn't move from their position, keeping their eyes closed and catching their breath. Just then, the bell rang, bringing them out of their dazed state. They didn't pull apart immediately though, still in each other arms.
Videl smiled brightly. "Thank you, Gohan."
She kissed him lightly on the lips, then pulled apart from him, walking towards her class.
Gohan watched her walk away blinking, still registering what had just happened. And there was only one thing he could say:
As the image in her crystal ball faded away, Fortuneteller Baba sighed.
"I'm getting too nice as I get older. Oh well, it was still very entertaining." The image in the crystal ball came back, showing Gohan who was now running late for his class, having taken too long to come out of his dazed state. Baba smiled. "This was my thanks for saving the world, Son Gohan. I hope you liked it."