Alone with Everybody
Oh no. She recognised me! It'll be all over school this morning, Gohan thought to himself again as he walked hesitantly into the front yard. He'd spent all last night worrying over it, and his name just kept repeating inside his mind, over and over, her quietly questioning voice sending him into a panic. Oh well, I still have to go, he thought with a mental groan, and walked through the gate into a maelstrom of people.
"Did you hear?" Gohan turned to see Iraza walking up to him, eyes wide and sparkling. "The Great Saiyaman saved Will last night! Isn't that cool?!" She rushed to tell somebody else as Gohan's eyes roved the multitude.
He realised he could hear Will's voice in the middle of the crowd, and strained to listen to what she said with a sinking heart.
"Alright, already! Some guys from one of the other forms dragged me into the trees, started beating me up, the Great Saiyaman arrived and sent them packing." Will sighed in exasperation. She'd been telling this story since she'd got into school, and she was sick of repeating it over and over, while Videl, who normally stood up for people, just watched with a smile at her own part in the story. "He left, I collapsed, Videl found me." Various questions were hurled at her- for at least the tenth time each. "No, I don't know who it was." Her eyes locked on Gohan's, and he could tell his face was one of confusion. Why had she said she didn't know? Was this more blackmail, like that other girl Angela? What did she want? She didn't seem like the 'desperate for a date' type.
The bell shrilled, piercing into his delicate eardrums. Gohan winced, following the crowd into school, still trying to figure out why Will hadn't told.
Gohan called after her at recess. He had to know why she hadn't revealed his secret identity. It was driving him crazy.
"Oh, hey, Gohan." Will raised one eyebrow in question. "Did you want something?"
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" Gohan led her over to a bench, where he sat carefully, trying not to sit too heavily and break it. The girl sat down on the opposite side and watched him, waiting silently for him to speak.
"Why didn't you tell?" he asked in a rush, the words tumbling out of his mouth before he remembered to check if anyone was near. Then he realised. What if her blackout means she doesn't remember? What if I just gave it away?!
"Because it's not my secret to tell," Will replied quietly, after glancing around to see that nobody was near. "And it won't be yours, either, if you're not careful."
Well, that puts the 'she forgot' theory out of the window, Gohan thought with a grimace. "Why not? Anybody else would have."
"You don't trust me, do you," Will asked in an almost silent whisper. "You really don't believe I'd keep your secret."
"Do I have any reason to think you would?" Gohan asked before he could stop himself, and went on to add, "Someone blackmailed me last week, and that turned out to be about my underwear!"
"Fine then. I only know one way to get you to trust me." Will sighed. She'd never told anybody this before, but it was the only way he'd trust her. If he didn't, he might destroy her. And if he told, she'd tell everybody the truth about Gohan. "Once upon a time, a few generations ago, an alien came to Earth."
Gohan held his breath. She wasn't talking about his dad, was she? If she was, he'd have to do something about her. She already knew too much for his own- and Goten's- safety.
"She wasn't the first alien of her type to come to this planet. For many centuries, they had been coming to Earth, to find mates."
She? It's not my dad she's talking about, then. But- other aliens? That we didn't know about?
"The aliens had been seen, sometimes, by humans who were not chosen, and were given the name 'Elves'."
Gohan nearly laughed out loud. "But Elves are fairy tales!"
Will looked at him with accusing green eyes, and the laughter was stilled in his throat. "All stories have a grain of truth in them. When people were 'taken by the fairies', it was them being taken back to the home planet. When they returned, centuries later, old and grey, it was because they wished to return home to die." She smiled lopsidedly. "I know it's hard to believe, but can I please finish?" Gohan nodded mutely, and she continued.
"The elves were fragile creatures, and they needed to mix with human genes to keep from becoming far too frail." Will held a finger up, stopping him from interrupting. "Now this is the important bit. This alien fell in love with a man, and he loved her. But he wouldn't leave Earth, and she couldn't leave him. So she stayed, and gave birth to a son. She died in labour." Will stopped, and took a deep breath. This was taking everything she had- and despite the fact that she would tell everybody who the 'Great Saiyaman' was, she'd still end up in a zoo if anybody found out. Always a great incentive. "The son had children, and so on. But the children were always mostly human, with very few vestiges of Elf. Then, a female descendant had a daughter who was not like the others. A throwback, a freak, a misfit, whatever you wish to call her. They named her Willow, because she was so fragile and thin. And that child grew up, strange and alone on this planet. Mostly elf. An alien on her home planet, the only one of her kind. " A single tear of loneliness welled up in her eye, and she dashed it away with the back of her hand before Gohan could be certain it had even existed. "And that's why you can trust me. Because if I tell everybody exactly who you are, then you'll tell everybody what I am, and they'll lock me away in some freak show, to be stared at." A sharp movement of her hand, and her hair was brushed back, revealing a pointed ear that wasn't that unusual to Gohan after his visit to Namek, but was very unexpected when it came to humans- or presumed humans. The hair fell back and covered it, and she seemed normal again, but for those strange, hostile and eerie eyes that once more stared at him.
# I'm alone with everybody on this planet. # The thought came from nowhere, a lonely sigh that Gohan heard without his ears. He stiffened in alarm and looked around. It hadn't been any mind-speech he recognised, but…
"What did I do?" Will whispered, a look of panic on her face.
"I just…was that your thought?" Gohan asked, a similar look of astonishment on his features.
"Oh, no…" Will took a deep breath and exhaled sharply. "It's happening again. I'm broadcasting my thoughts on broad-wave access."
"Let me explain…"