I am very sorry about how long this took me to write, I ended up hating where the story had got to. Part of me wanted to delete it and start from scratch, but I remembered how I felt when stories I had enjoyed had that happen to them. In the end, I walked away from the story for a couple of months, then came back to it as if I had been a reader and challenged to finish it. This will be the last update of the story, but it is also the longest (coming in at over nine thousand …). I just felt that if I tried to chapter it I would end up taking even longer to finish it.
As this is the last (barring any changes), I want to take the time to thank everyone who has read it. Knowing that it has been read, and hopefully enjoyed, brings me great pleasure. Even more importantly, a massive thank you to everyone who has reviewed. Anyone who has offered suggestions or constructive criticisms, I have listened to them and considered carefully whether I need to implement the advice. If all you had time to write, or all you could think to write, was that you liked what I had written, your input helped me get to the point where this story was completed. When I have some 150 messages in my inbox relating to this story I could feel the support. So thank you everyone.
The two heads fell aside, but there was very little blood. Mostly, there were sparks. Eighteen walked over to the two corpses and looked carefully at them. "An interesting idea, cybernetic implants to augment the natural rhythm of the body. They possess chi, but not at a level that represents how strong they really are. This means that they can be sensed, and create deception. But who would need such a strategy and why?"
Videl looked at the lady in shock, she had just watched her execute two people and was now talking at a level that was much above her. She turned to Eighteen, about to launch a barrage of questions when the android cut her off, "This isn't a matter you or I can solve. We'll need more help, and the Briefs are out of the question. That means we need Gohan, and our only chance to find him will be when he escapes. Come."
With the instruction, Videl found herself lifted effortlessly as Eighteen took to the sky and flew off.
They stood watching a monitor. The prisoner was starting to awaken, but the chemical would keep his strength suppressed for a good while yet. The scientists were studying his mind using every tool they had at their disposal, but the three warriors wanted to make sure that the captive didn't do anything stupid. He sat, and then suddenly flickered to the wall, leaving an image behind him. After a couple of seconds, the image faded, whilst the person ran their hands along the wall searching for any help. Finding none, he repeated this, moving around the room. Finally he flickered once more, appearing back on the bed in a meditation pose. A second later the image by the wall faded, leaving just the figure on the bed. The watchers were able to keep track of which of the images was real by focussing on the targets power level.
That was too easy.
Two minutes later, the figure seated on the bed faded, like an after-image usually does.
Chi Chi was going about her daily routine, slightly worried about why Gohan hadn't arrived home by that point. A knock on the door made her cease cooking as she wandered over and let her visitors in. She frowned, she wasn't sure she approved of the android who had initially tried to kill her husband, but she knew that Eighteen felt she owed Gohan a lot. The other person was not someone she had ever met before, and she tried to piece together who she could be.
Videl was shocked. The android had flown, carrying her, into the wilderness and straight up to a house. The door of which was opened by the legend that was Chi Chi, the only woman to make the World tournament proper. Before she could gather her thoughts, her 'transport' asked, "Has Gohan got here yet?"
Chi Chi narrowed her eyes, knowing that something would have to be wrong for this to be the case. Even as she was shaking her head, a fourth being popped into existence. Gohan staggered, his strength hadn't returned fully and he had drained a lot in his little escape plan. Before he could hit the floor, he was caught by a child. The group made their way inside and gathered on the settee in the front room, arranging Gohan in such a way that he could relax.
Aware that everyone was looking at him, Gohan started to explain. "A couple of people jumped us, and tried to kill us. They possessed life force, but it never fluxed. Any fighter subconsciously taps into this energy while they fight, as such it never stays perfectly constant. The changes are minuet, but they occur. As the attackers didn't show this change in power, I felt they had to be machines. Sadly, I guess my watchers saw me fighting and about to destroy them so they attacked me. I guess they used some kind of drug to knock me out, then I awoke in Capsule Corp. I'm just glad I worked out how to perform Instant Transmission.
The words obviously made sense to the others, even the little boy, but to Videl they seemed to be nonsense. What does he mean, life force? My attackers used tricks like in the cell games but they clearly didn't know much about him. How on Earth did he appear? It was as if he just … how can you even describe it?
Eighteen had by that point started filling in some of the details. "They were enhanced, I would estimate 90 per cent machine. The methods are unique though, I wonder who possesses this skill level to create these fighters." Her gaze shifted so it was squarely on Gohan, "You need to learn to detect electromagnetic fields. If you can, you will always be able to detect machines pretending to be people."
Videl opened her mouth to speak when Gohan stood suddenly. "The trick has ended, they know I'm free. They will come here first, I need to go."
Chi Chi looked sadly at her son, asking "Where are you going to go then?"
Gohan smiled, "There are some nice mountain ranges I visited when I started to train, I'll stay there for a while. I need to borrow nimbus though squirt, I don't think I can fly just yet."
Goten didn't seem too worried, "So it is hide and seek then big brother? I hope you win."
Gohan moved out the house and called for the yellow cloud. It turned up immediately, and soon was soaring off bearing two passengers. Inside the house, Chi Chi steeled herself for an interrogation by three of her friends.
The sun slowly rose, light filtering into the cave where two teenagers lay fast asleep. Neither stirred, until an alarm sounded on the only mobile phone present. Videl sat up, unsure as to where she was. It took her a couple of minutes to get her bearings at which point she began to panic. Here she was, at the crack of dawn miles away from her house. My dad is going to kill me. Worse yet, he is going to kill Gohan. Wait, worse? Do I really care that much about him that I would rather I died than he did?
She decided that her only way to get back and then get to school on time would be through her companion, so she turned and poked his arm gently. Gohan snapped up, fists clenched as if he was going to have to fight then and there. When no threat made itself apparent, he relaxed slightly, asking, "Is there something up Videl?"
"Yes, I need to get home right away. We can't let my dad know about me being out all night."
"I think he will understand, tell him about all your attacks, and I will talk to him while you are at school."
"If you see him, he will kill you for being around me. I can handle it, I'll get into some trouble but then everything will go back to normal."
"You don't need to get into trouble, I will sort it out."
This last statement struck deeply, making Videl think. He is willing to face down my dad for me, to keep me from getting into trouble? Maybe he does care for me, and we can be a couple. But is that what I want?
During these thoughts, Gohan summoned Nimbus to take the pair of them back into Satan City. Seated on the yellow cloud, Videl got to admire the countryside as they flew over at insane speeds. On her first journey she had been torn between worrying that Gohan would collapse, and that she would suddenly fall through the cloud. After a short while, they found the city and descended down towards the mansion in the centre.
As Videl walked through the front door, her father rushed up to her and swept her into a hug, "Videl, I was so worried about you. Where were you? Why didn't you let me know you were safe? Why didn't you come home last night?"
His eyes landed on the lad standing behind her, and his temper rose. He charged at the youth, shouting in anger. Gohan didn't flinch, but spoke calmly. "Some people attacked the two of us last night, so I took her somewhere safe for the night. This was the …fifth attempt on her life."
The words sapped some of the anger from Hercule, but he still demanded, "I want you to fight me. If you win then I will allow you to date my daughter, if not then you will never go near her again."
The stakes made Videl gasp. I wanted this match. I wanted Gohan to fight my dad, to give him the best match he has had in years. Someone who would make him stop sitting on his laurels and keep trying to improve. Do I really want to date him, and why do I feel that never seeing Gohan again is the worst punishment my dad could impose on me?
With barely any hesitation, Gohan responded, "I accept, but with one request. I would like the fight to be a private affair, just the two of us. Later today would be good."
Hercule felt slightly shocked, no one had ever taken up his challenge. Still, he didn't see anything too wrong with the situation, although there was a slight voice at the back of his mind telling him he had seen this lad before.
Videls face betrayed her disappointment, she was hoping that she would get to watch the match. Her head said that it was a foregone conclusion, but her heart wasn't giving up on Gohan. Despite this, she hurried to prepare for school that day.
Videl was walking home, accompanied by Sharpner and Erasa. Her two friends were chatting, with Sharpner pausing to flirt with Videl every so often. It was slightly grating on Videl, she wasn't interested in her long time friend. The hairs on the back of her neck were standing on end, a slight tingling that told her she was on edge. There was someone in the shadows following the group. Her eyes flicked side to side, there were meant to be two police officers escorting her. She tried to spot them, but they seemed missing. Wait, there was one, lying down in the alleyway. As she realised what she had just seen, panic flared through her limbs. Out of the shadow charged a person, identical to the ones who had attacked her the previous day. She turned, kicking out with her left foot. Without hesitation, her attacker blocked. He twisted his hand, grabbing her ankle. His face remained blank, but he easily threw her into a wall. Sharpner stepped across, putting himself between the attacker and Erasa but never trying to help Videl. She didn't blame him, she could clearly see he was shaking. Even she was scared of this fight, she didn't think she had a chance.
Hercule was facing off against Gohan in the ring, his face glaring at the youth who he felt had violated his daughter. He vowed that he would make the kid pay, and then insist he kept his word and never approached his daughter again. It would be for the best. His temper wasn't helped by the fact that Gohan never looked at him, his eyes were remaining lightly closed. "Begin," snapped Hercule.
Hercule charged forward, fist pulled back ready to launch a punch. His attack was stopped when Gohan said "Videl is being attacked again, I need to help her."
Hercule started laughing, "You are just going to chicken out of our fight then? I was going to enjoy …"
His speech was cut short as Gohan shifted into his Super Saiyan form and shot out of the window. That is where I saw him before. He would have slaughtered me.
The android was standing above Videl, a disc of energy forming above his outstretched hand. Even though her life was on the line, her mind was wandering. Why does that look like what that woman could do? Is it an android trick? Why couldn't she be here? Or even Gohan. If he was here he would save me. Maybe then I could tell him how I feel about him. Wish I knew how I feel about him, maybe it is love but do I want to tell him that and then discover it isn't? She was barely watching as the disc flew towards her head and then stopped against one finger.
Standing above her was a figure bathed in a golden light. His hair was gold, and standing on end. The most noticeable feature about him though was his eyes. They were a perfect blue, brighter that the sky above. They even seemed to flicker, as if there was lightning hidden just beneath them.
The disc kept pushing hard, but it couldn't cut through the finger, and it was slowly being torn apart. As it finally vanished, her saviour clenched his fists and walked towards the android. "This is how you use that technique, DISTRUCTO DISC."
Two bright gold circular blades formed above the fists but remained in place. With the additional weapons attached, it took one punch to destroy his opponent. That job done he grabbed Videl and shot into the air, arcing back towards her house. Before she knew what was happening, they were in her house, standing in the ring where a fight had been about to take place. Her father seemed remarkably pale, as if he had just seen a ghost.
"Listen kid, I think I was a little hasty. If my daughter means so much to you then I don't think I should stand in your way. Just don't hurt her ok?"
Videl was shocked, was this her father surrendering? She span fast, wanting to see the person standing barely a pace behind her. Gohan. Her eyes started to scan across his features, hoping to find some clue as to why her father would act this way. Neither of the two seemed prepared to offer their opinions, leaving her mind in a mess. Finally it hit her, the gold fighter was at the Cell Games. This means that Gohan was at the Cell Games? Maybe he can tell me more about the final match. She smiled sweetly up at him, asking, "Do you know what happened to Cell?"
Her father spoke, his voice trembling as he revealed the depths of his deception. "I didn't win, this kid did. He destroyed Cell."
Videl felt her temper rising, but she kept it back. After a couple of deep breaths, she saw an opportunity. "Dad, will you let me train with Gohan for the next couple of weeks? I don't want to have to rely on him every time someone attacks me."
"She will be perfectly safe sir, I promise." Gohan added, his voice very sincere.
"Fine, as long as you keep your word." Hercule didn't seem overly impressed, but felt that he had no chance of refusing the request.
After a short flight back into the wilds, the two teens faced each other. Videl was thinking quickly, unsure about her insistence of a spar between her and Gohan. She had settled into her favoured stance, whilst Gohan had fallen into another brand new stance. Well, not quite brand new. It was the famous Satan stance, a stance that seemed very odd when performed by the young male. Gohan waited as Videl surged forwards, her foot scything in towards his head. Gohan started to dodge, before realising that in this stance he wouldn't easily keep his balance throughout the manoeuvre. With this knowledge, he shifted plans and raised his hand to block. The limbs met and the two fighters suffered contrasting reactions. Gohan was completely unharmed, the impact barely being registered. Videl however felt like she had kicked a wall, her foot was in agony. Her normal reaction would have been to switch her stance, moving her injured foot to be her pivot foot. The problem with that was she felt unsure that it would hold her weight, meaning that all kicks were out. Her mind was striving through the pain in her hunt for a strategy that would allow her a way to gain the upper hand. Her heart sank as she realised that she stood no chance, and decided to go down fighting. Pushing forwards off her good foot, she launched a barrage of punches at her opponent. Each punch was tapped away gently as Gohan moved his hands quickly in front of him, never making direct contact but instead going for the sides of her arm so as to reduce the damage he did to her. Finally she leapt up, attempting a single footed drop kick. The blow was simply side-stepped, and then he reached forward and caught her before she fell to the ground. Videl started to blush as she became aware of the way Gohan was holding her. It was almost a bridal carry, and what made it more interesting was that she felt incredibly safe in his arms.
"Are you ok Videl? Did I hurt you?" Gohans voice was heavy with compassion, his worry clearly evident both on his face and in his voice.
Videl was glad that he couldn't see her face, she didn't want him to realise her feelings. "I'm ok, Gohan. Could you put me down?" Videl had to struggle against herself to not add the word please at the end of her request.
Gohan complied, placing her gently on the floor. As she re-arranged herself into a seated position, he dropped to the floor opposite her. When they were both comfortable, Videl gazed at Gohan. He is wonderful. All he seems to think about is everyone else. He is clearly very smart, and has shown numerous times that he is both strong and a very skilled fighter. Any girl would be falling over herself to date him, if they knew about him. I guess I am lucky, none of our classmates know anything about him. That last thought made her wonder about what she knew of the lad. He lives far away, he is the child of ChiChi and Goku. He knows how to fly, and use all of those 'tricks' that the fighters who fought at the Cell games used. He fought, and killed Cell. He is blind, although he wasn't born that way. There is more, and I want to know it all. I want Gohan to trust me, because that means that we could become … She started to smile as prepared to question the demi-saiyan.
"Gohan, I have a few questions for you. Would you answer them for me?" A simple nod was the response, prompting her to continue, "First, how do you fly?"
Gohan sighed, a faint smile appearing on his lips. "It is simple really, a basic technique of ki manipulation. By placing your energy beneath you, you can simulate propulsion. This would enable the person to move in any direction they wanted."
Videl stared, open mouthed. Finally she said, "I don't understand any of that, or what energy is. Can you explain, in simple terms?"
Gohan laughed, "I'm not sure that any of the others would understand that, maybe my teacher would but after that, I think they would be as confused as you. Energy is chi, your life force. Through meditation you can learn to tap into it, to fuel attacks or to help you move, both through flight or simply enhancing your speed. To fly, you take your energy and put it underneath you. I will teach you if you want, I have already promised to teach Goten."
Videl was still slightly lost, although she understood the idea. If I learn to use my energy, I could use what he said to work on flying myself. I'll get to that in a bit. "How did you kill Cell?"
Gohan turned his head down, as if he was staring at the floor. "I used an energy based attack, destroying every last atom of him." Gohans voice betrayed his sorrow as he said these words.
Videl frowned, surely beating a monster was something to be proud of but here was the true saviour of Earth appearing to be sad about it. She felt unsure if she should press for more details, and finally settled with a simple statement, "Gohan, you can trust me. Anything you tell me I will keep secret, and it won't change anything."
Gohan laughed softly, "Better get comfortable Videl. You know so much that it is probably best if I told you everything. I warn you though, my life hasn't been the most enjoyable. Feel free to ask any questions that arise."
Videl leant back, enjoying the sun as it warmed her. She half closed her eyes as she let her mind try to picture the events that Gohan spoke of.
"My tale should begin with my father. We don't know exactly what happened, but he arrived on this planet as a child. He was sent here to wipe out the population of the planet, but for some reason the mission was removed from his memory. That means that I am only half human, the other half being a race called Saiyan."
Videl had gasped at this information, interjecting a question, "So what distinguishes Saiyans?"
"They enjoy fighting, and training. They are naturally stronger and faster than humans, and they develop faster. Fighting to the brink of death pushes them on further, they truly live by the motto 'That which does not kill me makes me stronger'. A pure breed Saiyan is born with a tail, to the best of my knowledge only one half Saiyan has been born with a tail, me. This tail is a weak spot, although a number of Saiyans trained to overcome the weakness. A Saiyan has a massive hunger, they eat a lot more than any human. There a few transformations a Saiyan can go through, but I will talk about those later. Finally, the race has been all but annihilated, there is only one full blood and three half blood left."
Videl nodded, although her mind was at a loss. He is an alien. He is so different to anyone else … and it doesn't matter to me? Gohan is Gohan, alien or not. He is just the man who I … care for? Do I really want to date him?
Gohan took a deep breath before continuing. "My mother wanted me to be a scholar, she still does. This meant that a lot of my early life was focussed on studying. This changed when I was four, my uncle kidnapped me to try and force my father to help him wipe out the population of Earth. My father and Piccolo worked together to kill him, although it cost my dad his life."
Once again, Videl felt the need to ask for more information. "Who is Piccolo?"
"He was one of those who fought me yesterday. He is seven foot tall, and green."
"Oh, so that is his name." Videl paused for a second, then asked the second question, "So this was when you lost your father."
Gohan nodded, but added, "For the first time."
Videl shot up, suddenly seated upright. Her voice quivered as she asked, "First time? How could you lose him more than once."
Gohan sighed, and asked a question in return. "Why does no one pay attention to legends? The tales of the Dragonballs explain that anyone who collects all seven can get a single wish. They can bring the dead back to life if the death was not from natural causes."
Videl stared at the lad opposite him, he was stating that not only could he perform incredible moves but that it was possible to bring the dead back just by wishing. Almost as if he could see the disbelief on her face, he queried, "How did the victims of cell return to life?"
"I guess that makes sense."
Over the next few hours, Gohan recounted his life story. He told her of his trip to Namek, and all the way up to the fight with Cell. When he told her of his arrogance in that fight, she was shocked. His actions that day had clearly had a major influence on his life. If he had acted differently, maybe his father would be alive. Maybe he wouldn't have came to my school, and then I would never have met him.
Gohan had stood and asked softly, "Do you want to wait here while I get us some food, or would you prefer to help?"
Videl lowered herself onto her back, stretching herself out as if sunbathing. She waved her hand, signalling for Gohan to go on his own. As he walked off with his trademark grace, her mind shot to another point. He is blind. How does he walk so well, and react to the movements of others around him? Sighing, she let her mind drift to other thoughts, such as whether the young warrior who had brought her here had feelings for her. She wished that she could find out in a way that wouldn't let on too much of how she felt.
After a few minutes, Gohan returned. He was carrying two massive fish, water dripping slightly from his hair. Videl started to pull herself up, wincing from the pain in her foot. Gohan spoke softly, "You are hurt, I'm so sorry Videl. Just sit there, I can handle to food and you shouldn't move if you are injured."
Videl felt her pride flare up, she never liked being treated as if she was weak. Before she snapped, a thought flashed across her mind. He cares enough about me to take care of me. A soft smile formed on her face as she looked at the fire Gohan was making. She wondered if she could take advantage of this slightly protective attitude that Gohan was exhibiting. Speaking softly, almost nervously, she asked, "Gohan, I'm getting cold over here. Could you help me over to the fire?"
Even as she asked, her instincts were berating her. This was the sort of thing that she had promised herself that she would never do, yet here she was acting like a helpless girl. Before she realised that Gohan had accepted, she was lifted gently and carried over to the fire. She breathed in deeply, enjoying the faint musky smell. As he started to lower her to the ground, she slipped her arms around him and hugged him quickly. As he blushed, she grinned. Her mind was racing as she wondered whether he could care for her.
Days started to slip by, falling into a simple routine. In the morning, Gohan sorted out breakfast before delivering her to school. While Videl studied, Gohan trained himself by suppressing his Ki in his second super saiyan form. When school finished, Gohan collected Videl from the roof and returned her to the wilderness where he taught her the basics of energy techniques and helped her develop more fluidity in her hand to hand skills. Videl felt her skills were improving dramatically. She had also kept quiet about all of Gohans secrets, knowing that he didn't want anyone else to know about him.
It had been a week and a half of the same routine, however as the school day had drawn to an end, Erasa had begged her best friend to spend some time with her. As much as she wanted to get back to Gohan, she felt loyalty to the blonde and agreed to the shopping trip. After a quick trip to the roof to inform her guardian, Videl joined Erasa as they walked to the mall.
Shopping was never Videls favourite pastime, but she was finding it bearable because she was looking for a present for her sensei. After watching Erasa try on a number of different outfits, each more revealing than the last, Videl finally got her way and they visited a martial arts shop. In there she examined each of the different training aids. Each one that she looked over was scorned, she didn't see how they would benefit Gohan in his regular training regime. Finally her eyes landed on an unusual item, an exquisite painting of the 'WMAT Couple'. Her eyes flicked to the price, it was costly but not an amount that she was uncomfortable spending on this gift. Smiling, she paid for it and arranged for it to be posted to her house.
Erasa looked at her friend, trying to work out why she had brought a picture when she had said she was looking for tools to help her train. Shaking her head, she decided that she would never understand her best friend. With all the clothes shops having been visited, the two girls paid a visit to a coffee shop where Videl got inundated with information about people who had gotten together at parties over the last few days.
After their drinks they headed to the Satan mansion, where the two friends parted ways. Once she was inside the walls, Videl turned to the figure leaning against the wall. They were positioned perfectly, in such a way that you would have to be inside the walls to see him. She smiled, stepping over to Gohan for him to carry her back to their hideaway.
A scream echoed through the area, causing both teens to snap to attention. They span around and sped out of the gates in time for Videl to see a blonde haired girl being carried into the sky by a figure. It was almost instantaneous for Videl to recognise her best friend. Her soft gasp turned into a slightly louder sound as she was scooped up by Gohan as he shot after Erasa like a rocket.
When they landed, Erasa was lying on the floor unconscious. Four identical figures walked towards Gohan, each wearing plain gi's and possessing very cold faces. Gohan only responded by dropping into a simple stance, opting to use his mothers stance against these opponents. The first opponent shot towards him, left fist arcing towards his head. Gohan simply ducked under the blow, stabbing with outstretched fingers into the upper arm of this attacker. For a normal person, that would mean a dead arm. For someone like Gohan, this was much more destructive. It actually removed the entire arm.
Before Gohan could press the advantage on that opponent, the other three moved in. All three attacked simultaneously, each throwing unusual combinations at the demi-saiyan. The speed of the attacks was faster than Videl could see, but that didn't faze Gohan who was dodging the attacks with ease. After a couple of seconds, Gohan snapped his right foot out, crashing it hard into the head of the first opponent. As the head caved in, Gohan reversed his rotation and slammed his heel into a second victim. That opponent also found his head shattered, falling lifeless to the floor. Videl stared at the incapacitated people, a grim smile decorating her face as she saw the sparks slipping from the damage inflicted. She turned back to Gohan where she saw a small beam of energy shoot from his hand and tear threw the two remaining opponents. He relaxed, then span around and seemed to tense up again. She looked up and saw three figures drop down each with a furious expression. The shortest of the three, with his flame style hair, spoke in a cold voice, "Take him down quickly."
All three took up ultra-aggressive stances, positioning themselves to surround Gohan. In contrast, Gohan fell into a conservative stance, his feet well spread to allow himself to shift his balance in an instance. Tien threw the first blow, his foot thrust out at the chest. Gohan blocked it easily, then ducked as a chop swung overhead. Piccolo retracted his arm, stepping forwards to close the distance. Vegeta took advantage of the distraction, allowing his power to surge as he shifted from his base state all the way up to his maximum, the second level of Super Saiyan. When he had finished powering up, he dived into the melee. Gohan was getting hard pressed, he hadn't transformed yet and the three opponents were making sure that he didn't have a chance to gather his strength.
Duck, left, right, Gohan was moving purely on instinct as his mind started to hunt for a route to defeat his friends without hurting them badly. Steadily he worked his hands up, keeping it slow enough that the opponents wouldn't spot his strategy before it came to pass.
"Solar Flare." A sudden shout from the beleaguered youth caused a bright flash of light.
Grunting, all three of his opponents tried to keep the pressure up by following his ki. Sadly for them, they hadn't learnt all of Gohan's tricks, as they found that they were detecting energy all around them.
Three paces away, Gohan released all the restraints he had placed upon himself, transforming once to the mythical Super Saiyan. With his strength now exceeding that of his opponents, he spoke calmly, "You know Tien, I worked on your technique to find a method for it to work on opponents who have lost their sight."
Vegeta shot towards the noise, but his two companions remained stationary as doubts started to fill their minds. Attacking blind, his punch missed the target. Gohan however landed two solid blows, knocking the full blooded Saiyan to the floor a short way away. In the time he had gained, he continued to speak, "I have beaten these androids, I would much prefer to rest than to spar with you."
The response from two of the adults was to power down, but the third screamed in anger as he allowed all of his power to surge through his body. Charging, Vegeta launched a barrage of blows targeting the torso of his opponent. Gohans hands snapped into position, deflecting each blow before it connected. Finding his strategy failing, the Saiyan Prince flipped back and focussed his chi into a ball in the palm of his right hand. "Big Bang Attack".
Videl gasped as the energy beam smashed into Gohan from point blank range. The constant flow of energy caused smoke to start to form around the demi-saiyan. Vegeta held the attack for a good two minutes before letting it die down, feeling tired but confident he had defeated his opponent. As the landscape cleared, they became aware that Gohan wasn't standing in that spot. In fact, there was no sign of Gohan anywhere. Videl felt her heart sink as her fears started to cloud her mind. The one thing this did do was help her realise just how she felt about her classmate. Ok, so I am in love with him. Why did he have to die before I realised it?
"Oh, sorry Vegeta. The androids kidnapped one of my friends so I took her home. I hope you don't mind that I had to take a few seconds out of the fight, and that my disappearance didn't cause you too much trouble."
The words caught everyones attention, Gohan was now standing in the exact spot where Vegetas attack had been attacking. He showed no sign of damage or tiredness, his body straight and his clothes spotless. In contrast, Vegeta was taking deep breaths revealing just how much his ploy had cost him. Gohan approached him steadily, striding deliberately towards Vegeta who dropped into a full defensive stance. Before Vegeta had a chance to react, Gohan phased behind him and dropped him with a single well placed chop. With the saiyan prince defeated, Gohan relaxed and powered down.
Piccolo and Tien had examined the fallen bodies, and realised that they were the androids that Gohan had proclaimed them to be. The fact that they could sense ki from them was causing both adults to question the opponents that they had witnessed Gohan fighting previously. They both picked up two bodies, leaving Gohan to carry Videl and Vegeta. Finally Piccolo spoke, "We're sorry Gohan, we should have talked to you. I think we need to get an expert to examine these bodies carefully."
Gohan was in the process of slinging Vegeta over his shoulder as he replied, "I understand why you didn't, you didn't want me to train hard and become much stronger when I was going to turn evil and kill everyone. Eighteen thinks they are ninety percent machine, a series of bio-enhancements using techniques different to the ones employed by Gero. We are unsure whether the fact that ki can still be sensed is deliberate or betrays a lack of understanding in energy manipulation. They were targeting Videl, so whoever created them either thinks that Videl and Hercule are the strongest or has a reason to grudge her."
Tien glanced over at Gohan, who was holding Videl gently in a one arm hug and Vegeta slung unceremoniously over his other shoulder. The young Saiyan looked very calm, almost as if he had cut out every emotion. Even his usually perceptive gaze couldn't see any cracks, any signs of humanity in his face. His mind started to ask him if he had made the right decision, was this still the old Gohan?
The small group arrived at the largest company currently in existence. A small boy rushed out, his lavender hair flying from his speed. When he saw his father unconscious, his eyes widened. His power started to surge, and instinctively he fell into a fighting stance. When he attempted to attack, he found his body wasn't responding. When he was sure Trunks had realised that he couldn't attack, Gohan spoke, "Where is the regeneration chamber? Your father needs to get some rest, I think he used up too much strength in our little match today."
Trunks stood there, silently glaring at the person he knew had beaten dad. Taking his refusal as an offer, Gohan continued, "That is very kind of you, we do need to talk to your mother so we will leave your father here for you to take to recover."
With these words the elder demi-Saiyan carefully placed the only pure blood Saiyan still alive onto the floor. With Videl walking hanging on his arm, Gohan led the way into the complex. The strange company quickly found Bulma seated in an empty lab, studying a sheet of paper. The noise of the four androids being dropped onto workbenches caught the CEOs attention, causing her to spin around. The sight that met her made her step back in shock, the young lad who she had believed was a serious danger was standing in with two seasoned warriors who were meant to be keeping him subdued. What made it worse was that four clearly dead bodies had been brought in. Her heart rate was starting to raise before Tien helped her to settle with the words, "We have found some androids, would you be able to help us work out who made them?"
Bulma breathed out, relaxing quickly. "I'll have a look, hopefully they have left some marks of who they are on the implants. Is everything else … safe."
As she spoke the last word, her eyes flicked to Gohan subtly. With his lack of sight, Gohan missed the reference, but Videl didn't. Her eyes narrowed into a fierce glare at the blue haired genius. Piccolo nodded slightly as he spoke, "Aside from dealing with them and stopping us from knocking him out, he has done nothing aggressive."
The next few days slipped past quickly, Bulma carefully examining the components in each of the robots. The first surprising discovery was that they were never human, a mixture of organic parts grown specially or mechanical devices. For most of this work, Eighteen was assisting her. She had almost taken the arrival of these machines as an insult and had set her mind to ending the existence of any of them. School was fairly dull for Gohan, the most interesting part of it being explaining his absence to both the teachers and his classmates. A lot of his peers were also surprised at how close he and Videl had become.
The first gym lesson after his return to school was on a Friday. However, the head teacher had decided to witness what the class had learnt. This meant that the day was going to be spent sparring, with a number of matches performed as full demonstrations. After the first two showed some of Hercules students in action, the third one showed Gohan facing off against Videl. Tien had saved this match for last in the knowledge that it would be the best, and also be a complete shock for the principle.
Videl settled into her stance, calming her emotions as her mind raced through all of the lessons she had received from Gohan. Every few seconds, her mind threw up images of Gohan fighting the machines, shattering limbs with a simple jab with his fingers. Opposite her, Gohan looked undecided. His feet were shifting and his body was not as balanced as it usually would be. Finally Videl felt the need to speak, asking in a soft whisper, "What is wrong?"
She got a faint smile with the answer, "Sorry, I was trying to decide on a stance. I am ready now."
She swept her eyes over Gohan, recognising the stance almost instantly. It was the self same stance that Tien had used, and a faint intake of breath revealed that the teacher had realised and was surprised at the revelation. Her mind suddenly came to an obvious conclusion, Gohan wanted to put on a show. With a smirk on her face, Videl rushed forwards. Her first attack was a punch thrown at the chest, but even as it was blocked she had started a right heel kick. This Gohan automatically slipped beneath, turning his head as if watching it. The smile on his face told her that he was playing the same game, and the next move cemented it in her mind. Gohan moved on the offensive, kicking his left foot at her chest. Her balance slightly off from her kick, Videl pulled her hands up to block. As she expected, this attack was a feint, with Gohans second leg sweeping a lot lower. Videl had came a long way since her fight against Tien, and shifted her weight onto her hands that were on the left leg. Moving through her rotation, she ended up in a perfect handstand balanced on a still moving leg. Gohan twisted his body, changing his position to one that would allow him to shift from being balanced on his hands. As his legs started to move to an upright position, Videl pushed off and used a somersault into a handspring to leave the two fighters standing and facing one another.
Tien nodded slowly, concentrating to send a telepathic message to Gohan. To his shock, he found that he couldn't push the words into the young man's mind. Videl had drawn herself back into her stance, she knew that this was now going to be a bit harder. Gohan surprised her by launching into what would usually be a reckless assault, and it took all of her skill to keep her weight shifting in such a way that no blow was ever landed. Feeling that she was being pushed back too much, she started to search for an opening in what would normally be an impenetrable defence. The words of Eighteen suddenly echoed in her head, and she decided to try something unpredictable. Jumping up, she kicked out with both feet. As she knew would happen, Gohan leant back so her attack missed. However her momentum caused her to end up once again on her hands, feet pointing towards ceiling. From here she tried to reign out kicks at her good friends head. Instead of them connecting, Gohan crouched, before leaping into a full somersault over Videl. Acting instinctively, she knitted her legs around her opponents neck and pulled her weight forwards. All her training with Gohan told her that this would be unsuccessful, but it was really her only option from the position they were in. To her surprise, Gohan seemed to be pulled down. She started to grin, her competitive streak shining through. To her absolute horror, Gohan completed his fall with a handspring, and grabbed hold of her legs. She ended up sat on his shoulders, with very few escapes. After trying to slide off backwards, she was reduced to applying a chokehold by tightening her legs. Gohan walked slowly towards the edge, as if his breath and hence strength was starting to fade. He carefully fell forwards, catching himself before Videl was slammed painfully into the floor. Leaning forwards from his position on both knees, he caused Videls head to be resting on the floor, on the outside of the ring.
The entire class applauded, their faces showing the shock at the level of the fight performed. A call from Sharpner showed the thoughts of the assembled audience, "Wow Videl, you got really unlucky there. Still you were handling him no problem."
Tien was about to contradict the statement when someone did it for him. "Don't be silly Sharpy, Videl was doing well but at no point did Gohan look troubled. I don't think that Videl would normally use some of those moves."
Videl laughed, the analysis from her blonde friend surprising her. "Erasa is right, I knew I was losing. I just had to hope that my strategy let me win quickly."
Tien smiled, "You both fought very well, as I would expect from the two best students in the class. Videl, you adapted to your opponent, and shifted tactics very well. I was also glad to see that you kept to your stance, and also have developed a defence to that manoeuvre I demonstrated to you in the first lesson. Gohan, you kept your composure, and showed your intelligence and quick thinking in finding counters to moves you would never have seen before. If the two of you keep working like this, I would say that you can keep sparring against each other and finding new ways of developing."
The principle was very impressed, and walked over to talk to the two combatants who were standing side by side. His enquiry as to whether they felt that the teacher was helping them was met by a cold response, "You have had us training under a former world champion. I would be very worried if we didn't improve."
The principle took a step back from the force of answer from Videl, and finding the soft chuckle from the other youth in front of him just as unnerving, turned and left the room.
As school ended, Videl found herself being joined by her two blonde friends. They walked in silence for a few minutes, before Erasa suddenly asked, "So when did you and Gohan start dating?"
Sharpner spluttered, his mind hating the idea that his Videl had been stolen from him. Before he could find his voice to state his objections, Videl answered carefully, "We aren't together. I think he cares for me, but he has been having a few problems recently, and with the people trying to kill me we haven't really had a chance to discuss it."
This revelation silenced her companions, Erasa was sure that Videl would deny it even if it was true. Sharpner, for his part, was trying to come to terms with the idea that 'his' Videl was with someone else and happy about it. It left him questioning his place in life, although a little voice kept whispering that he flirted with her purely for his reputation, and that the blonde girl by his side was the one he really was interested in.
Days flew by, Gohan had settled back into the routine imposed by school and was enjoying it. During one lesson, he received a message from Eighteen to let him know she had located the people in charge of making the androids. From the way it was written, he knew she had already dealt with the issue. The holidays were approaching, with all the students looking forward to a week of freedom. The last lesson before the break was gym, and the students were happily watching the videos of previous matches. Gohan was clearly not paying attention, it was almost as if he was asleep.
A faint flicker of energy made Gohan spin round. Even as his mind shouted for him not to, a ball of energy was sent soaring towards its target. Vegeta appeared exactly where Gohan had predicted he would, right in line with the attack. Caught unprepared, the Saiyan prince found his flesh torn apart by the powerful attack. This seemed to cause all hell to break loose, as every fighter on the planet launched themselves at him. His hands went into overdrive, pushing each attack aside whilst opening a new avenue for his counter attack. In one fluid motion, he phased out, a sick grin adorning his face as his friends attacks ended up hitting one another. In that one instant, everyone died, lying at the feet of the demi-Saiyan.
"This is the power I offer. With it none will ever be able to stand in your way." The voice was back, it seemed to think that this was something that would motivate Gohan.
The waves of disgust coming from Gohan pushed the image back. "You are mine. All you damnable half-breeds are mine. You will join me or you will die."
"I will protect this planet, and all who reside here." Gohans mental voice was perfectly calm, his emotions kept well in check.
"I am unbeatable. I will destroy you."
With a start, Gohan awoke. Cold sweat was running down his face, his heart filled with dread. The threat was serious, he could sense the strange power approaching the school like a missile. He tried to calm himself, clearing his mind automatically. Slowly his ki began to surge, building up gradually as he subtly started to loosen his joints.
A sharp ring dragged the class from the video, and most of the students raced out happily, the holidays had begun. Tien smiled at them as they left, then looked worriedly at Gohan. Gohan had a serious look on his face, and was walking slowly towards the fields. Videl followed him, with the three-eyed warrior only a few paces behind.
Gohan stood in the field, his body arranged into a stance that Videl had seen him use a few times. She knew he was prepared to fight someone, and so didn't approach. Her two companions seemed surprised at this, but waited by her curiously.
A large figure with jet black hair and red skin landed in front of Gohan, a look of absolute hatred decorating his face. "This is your last chance brat. Join me or die."
Gohan laughed, although there was no humour in his laugh. Both his fists clenched as he spoke his response, "Why would I ever join you, why do you haunt me?"
The tall figure didn't respond, he just stared coldly at Gohan. After a drawn out silence, Gohan shock his head, his voice showing regret as he said, "If you leave this planet and never return I will let you live."
It was at this point that Videl realised that there was quite a crowd behind her. Goten and Chichi were standing to one side, the young boy in front of his mother as if to guard her. Next to them was Bulma, who was flanked by her son and his father. The green figure called Piccolo was directly behind her, something in her mind was saying that this was so he could protect her. Then there were three more, Eighteen and two men. She had never met these men, although she recognised one of them as the great baseball player Yamcha, and the other she was sure she had seen one of the videos of previous tournaments. All of them were watching the scene closely, and all seemed ready to spring into action.
The figure finally answered Gohan, "I am the strongest half-breed. I was the first. I am unbeatable. I give people some of my strength, and when they die their soul is mine, and all the strength they possess becomes mine."
Gohan lowered his head, appearing worried. He spoke slowly, "But that doesn't explain why you would make them more aggressive, surely you would want them to get to their strongest … unless you get the strength of anyone they kill as well."
The figured smirked, "I am half-Kai. Of course I am as strong as that."
Gohan only responded by flaring his ki, he was now at the limit of his strength unless he was to transform. Seeing this act of aggression, his opponent shot forwards and took the initiative. Moving quicker than some of the spectators could see, the Kai swung a punch towards Gohans head. He brought his arm up to block the blow, but the impact sent him flying. Twisting his body as he fell, Gohan rotated through to end up back on his feet. Immediately he released his restraints, calling on the depths of his power. Gold light flared around him, his eyes shifting to their blue state. With this boost, he charged his opponent and started raining blows towards his chest. The Super Saiyan then proceeded to kick his opponent away and settled into a familiar pose. "Ka … me … ha … me … ha."
The Kai brought his hands forwards, a disc of green energy forming like a shield. Before the famous energy attack connected with this new manoeuvre, Gohan thrust both his arms out. The Blue beam split in two, each half arcing away from its target before curving wickedly back to connect with the side of the tall figure.
The only response this got was laughter, so Gohan reached further into his bag of tricks. With barely any effort, he ascended. This very act horrified Vegeta, who still expended a lot of energy changing states. The Kai gave a short yell, his power magnifying. This started the fight proper.
Punch met punch, neither landing a single blow to a critical part of their opponents' anatomy. Suddenly, Gohan vanished. Taking the opportunity, he drove his knee hard onto the spine of his target. As the Kai staggered away, Gohan brought his hands above his head and called on his own trademark technique, "Masenko … ha."
The golden ball found its mark, and caused an explosion. As the smoke cleared, the Kai was still standing, a faint smirk on his lips. "You did well, kid. Time to die."
Gohan found he couldn't move, somehow his opponent was freezing him in place. That was a serious issue as he was also summoning a beam of deep red energy. With an evil laugh, he sent the move towards the young demi-Saiyan.
The energy was hurting him, and he couldn't bring his hands up to block the attack. A faint voice at the back of his mind spoke, One last chance. The move that helped beat Cell. Gohan pulled all of his energy inwards and started the chant. "Ka … me … ha"
The bystanders seemed confused at what Gohan was trying. Even his opponent showed signs of shock, but his voice contained scorn. "I know you need your hands for that move. You are dead."
"Me … HAAAAAA."
The last syllable of the chant was more like a scream from pain. Gohan still couldn't move his hands, but his desperation before had helped him learn a trick, and it was this he was using. The pure energy surged out of his eyes, and the great strength he had at his disposal was taking control of the conflict. He forced the combined attack onto his foe, his ki sense telling him that it was disintegrating the figure.
Gohan fainted, he had used everything he had in that last move. In fact, he had barely kept enough back to keep him alive. The group of friends raced towards him, gathering around his body. They knew he was still alive, but only just. When they looked at his face though, there were screams of horror from five of the group. Where once he had eyes, now there was just a hole, with blood pouring out of it. It seemed that he had sacrificed his eyes for his victory. The green man looked up into the sky, and spoke words that sounded like a prayer. "Kami, come down here right now."
A smaller green man appeared almost instantaneously, and knelt down besides the fallen warrior. He placed his hand on Gohans head, and a faint light started to surround him. Over the next few seconds, the bleeding stopped and, as if by magic, his eyes were restored. Finally he stood up and looked at the masses waiting expectantly. "I understand now. Against Cell he used his eyes to add more energy to his attack, but the power damaged them. It might have been too bright. This time he sent too much energy through his eyes, and the energy destroyed them. He will be fine, he just needs rest. I suspect he will even be able to see again."
Videl felt her heart lurch at this, how would he react when he could see what she looked like. Before her thoughts could depress her too much, a faint voice whispered inside her head, I love you Videl.