Title: Hunt for the Dark Haired Angel
Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ or its characters.
After a truly spectacular victory over Cell, the surviving Z fighters had brought the injured Gohan up to Kami's lookout, along with the body of Trunks. Bulma had already gathered the dragonballs, determined to do her share in returning the world to its former glory. But at the sight of her son's limp, mangled body, the words caught in her throat. She couldn't summon the dragon.
Gohan, having been healed by Dende opted to summon the eternal dragon, having never done so before. His shoulders were tense, as he prepared his wish. He needed to word this right. The people that Cell killed, and the places that the monster destroyed needed to be brought back to the way they had once been. The young hero was hoping that his father would be able to come back as well. He was saving that as his second wish. He knew his father had already been brought back to life once before. And there was only a small chance that the dragon would be able to bring him back, but he wanted it more than anything. His father had died in his place. It was his own fault. And now he needed to fix it.
"I call upon the mighty Shenron! Please grant my wishes," Gohan called loudly. His hands were outstretched over the seven magical balls.
They started flashing, just as the sky became dark. To those that had never witnessed the dragon before, it appeared to be a sudden storm. With one last flash, the dragon snaked its way out of the balls. It was enormous and seemed to go on for miles. The dragon continued to weave himself in the air, only stopping when his only connection to the seven mystical balls was the very tip of his tail. He pointed his mighty head down in Gohan's direction.
"I am Shenron. What is it that you wish?" The dragon's voice was deep and powerful. Gohan trembled slightly in his presence.
"I-I want t-to use my f-first wish to r-return the world t-to the way it w-was before Cell showed up," Gohan said. His voice was trembling, adding an unnatural stutter to his words.
"That what you've wished has been granted," the dragon said. There was a flash in his eye as he brought the earth back to normal. Gohan could feel it as the people Cell had killed were brought back. They were like little fireflies scattered across the dark sky. Their ki was faint, but he could still sense they were there. One being's ki stood out among the rest.
Trunks sat up, confused. It took him time to realize what had happened. Once he gathered his surroundings, he took his mother into his arms. She was crying. Though this time, they were tears of happiness, rather than sorrow. Trunks searched the small gathering of people until he met his father's eyes. Though Vegeta would never say it, he was glad that his son was back. He almost returned his son's smile, but caught himself just in time, returning his signature scowl to his face.
Gohan smiled, satisfied that the wish had worked as he'd planned. Of course, he knew his father hadn't been brought back with that wish. He would feel it if he did.
"What is your next wish?" the dragon asked impatiently. For being an almighty, eternal dragon, he wasn't very patient. Especially since he didn't get out all that often.
"Um...Mr. Shenron, s-sir...I was w-wondering if you c-could use my w-whole next wish to bring my f-father back?"
As soon as he got the words out, he knew he was being too hopeful. Shenron didn't even have to answer. He let his tears spill down his cheeks as he awaited the dragon's response.
"Goku has already been brought back once before," Shenron's voice boomed. "It is not within my power to bring him back again."
"Oh, Gohan," Bulma said, running up to hold the boy in her arms. He may be the hero who destroyed Cell, but he was still a child.
"I know," he mumbled. He sniffled, and wiped away his tears.
"Hey," Yamcha said enthusiastically. "Why don't we use the dragon balls from Namek to bring Goku back?"
There was a chorus of cheers across the lookout. That was a foolproof plan! With the Namekian dragon balls, it didn't matter how many times a person was brought back. Gohan smiled widely. He was going to get his dad back after all!
Or so he thought. A familiar voice called to them from above.
"Guys, I don't want you to bring me back."
"Father?" Gohan said shocked. How was he hearing his voice? His father was dead. "Father where are you? I can't see you."
"I'm in other world. King Kai is letting me talk to you. I'm proud of you Gohan. You did what I could not. You are a true hero," Goku's voice rang all around them.
"But I let you down!" Gohan protested. "It's all my fault!"
"No it's not. And I'm not coming back. I want to give earth a time of peace. It seems that all of the evil beings that attack earth are after me. If I'm not there, maybe earth will finally see peace. So I'm going to stay dead, okay?"
"But dad!" Gohan cried. Krillen came and put his hand on Gohan's shoulder.
"I don't like it," Krillen said loudly to Goku. "But I understand what you're getting at."
"I'll miss you," Gohan whispered to his father.
"And I'll miss you, son," Goku said. "Bye guys! I'll see you in otherworld!"
"Hopefully not to soon," Krillen muttered. Despite Gohan's situation, he laughed at Krillen's joke. Soon everyone joined in. Everyone except the eternal dragon that is.
"You still have one last wish," the dragon said, growing even more impatient than before.
"B-but I don't have anything else to w-wish for," Gohan said, turning to his friends. "What about you guys?" His question was answered with a chorus of 'no's. "I g-guess we don't have anything else to wish for Mr. Dragon Sir."
"Wait," Krillen said. "If nobody minds I'd like to use the wish to get rid of the bombs embedded in androids 17 and 18."
"Why would you want to do that?" Trunks asked in disbelief.
"Are you blind boy?" Bulma asked with a sly smile on her face. "It's obvious that Krillen has a thing for this android 18."
"No I do not-okay I do, but that's not the reason," Krillen said, going red in the face. "I just want them to be able to continue on with their lives without worrying that they're going to explode at any minute."
"That sounds reasonable," Gohan agreed, and he turned to the dragon. "We wish for the bombs in a-androids number 18 and 17 to be removed."
"It's done. And now I will take my leave," Shenron said. He erupted into a bright light, before disappearing. The balls-now covered in a brilliant orange light-floated up into the sky. Once they were up, there was a final flash, before they were sent into distant places of the earth. They were once again normal rocks, waiting out the year until a time when they would be used again.
"Why would you do that for me?" The question was from an unmistakable source. Android number 18. Why she was there though, no one was sure.
"Why not? Everyone deserves a second chance," Krillen said, his face an even darker shade of red now that he knew she'd been listening. "Goku taught me that."
"Thank you," she said seriously. "I have done nothing to you to deserve this chance, but I won't waste it." She turned to leave, running to the edge of the lookout, and prepared to jump.
"Wait!" Bulma screamed. Android 18 turned around, curious. "Why don't you come and celebrate with us?" 18 smiled.
"Is the world ready to see its heroes celebrating with their enemy?" she asked.
"It happens all the time!" Gohan said laughing a little. "With Tien, and Mr. Piccolo, and Vegeta. I'm sure they can handle an android too."
"I don't know how long I will stay," she said still smiling. "But I will go with you."
Krillen was thrilled by this idea of course, but Trunks and his father were wary. Should they trust an android who only weeks ago was trying to kill them? Bulma set it straight for them. She walked up to the android and slung her arm around her shoulder, as though they'd been friends for years. Yes. They could trust her.
"So, where are we going?" Gohan asked, torn between being excited and sad. He didn't want to forget about his father's loss already, but he had beaten Cell. That was definitely worth celebrating.
"How about a restaurant?" Bulma suggested, already picking out the perfect place in her mind. It wasn't too far from West City. And it had everything that the Z fighters could want. Exceptionally good food, karaoke, and a dance floor for her to let loose all of her fear from the past few weeks.
In only minutes, the Z fighters managed to get everyone to the restaurant that Bulma was thinking about. Of course, there were many protests coming from a surely Saiyan prince and a pessimistic Namekian, but with a little sweet talk from Bulma, they were willing enough. Gohan was actually feeling excited. He didn't think he would-having just lost his father-but the setting was just right. The music was loud, but not uncomfortable with his half-Saiyan ears, and there were lots of people there. All of them were celebrating. No doubt for the same reason the Z fighters were.
"Hey, Bulma," Krillen asked-nearly yelling above the noise. "Do you really think you can get us a table?"
"Of course, Krillen," she said giving him a mischievous smile. "Do you not remember who I am? Heir to the Capsule Corporation, a.k.a. the wealthiest woman alive."
"Oh, okay," Krillen said. He only kept quiet for a few minutes though. Once they'd been seated, and they'd received their first drinks, he headed off for the karaoke line, wanting to get a chance in before too many drunkards wanted to sing all night. Though he wouldn't admit it, he was also trying to convince 18 that he was a fun guy...but he didn't know how well that would work out for him. She only saw fighting as fun. And though he did agree with that, he wanted to show her the different-less ferocious-ways to have fun on earth without trying to destroy everyone on the planet.
Gohan noticed that she turned her head a fraction towards the stage when he started singing. She even cracked a small smile before shaking her head.
The group was in the midst of sharing their training experiences of the past three years when the door burst open and a huge crowd of people came in roaring and cheering. Vegeta let out a growl, which caused the Z fighters to be on their toes. Could it be Cell? They were certain that Gohan had defeated him, but they'd thought Goku had gotten rid of him before that. You can never be too cautious.
They all relaxed when Vegeta narrowed his glare onto the big, burly man on the shoulders of two strong men. It was Hercule Satan. The man that was at the Cell Games with them. The 'Strongest Man' that the Earth had to offer. But he'd been weaker than even the weakest of the Z fighters. Not strong at all. Not even strong enough to take one punch from the monster. The Z fighters laughed at the memory of him flying into the cliff face when Cell swatted him away. It was as if he were a fly.
But why then, were these people carrying him around as if he were a hero?
"Make way for the Strongest Man Alive!" One of the crowd members hollered. Many people cleared out of their way. Many...but not the Z fighters. Since they didn't move, the crowd had to settle for second best for their hero.
"Show some respect fools!" Another crowd member hissed at them.
"I'll show you respect!" Vegeta growled at him fist at the ready. The man ran off at the sight of the fury evidently present in Vegeta's eyes. Bulma practically had to throw herself at him to get him to calm down. "I am the Prince of all Saiyans, and they have the nerve to tell me what to do," he muttered under his breath. Bulma was rubbing her arm soothingly across his shoulders, murmuring caring words to him until he'd calmed down enough.
Gohan decided that Hercule could claim the title if he wanted to. And it was obvious that he wanted to. He was basking in all of the attention and affection. Gohan wouldn't want to be the centre of attention. He just wanted to forget the whole battle had even taken place. But he knew he'd never be able to forget. Not with his father gone. He shook his head to clear it of the negative thoughts. Goku wanted him to be happy and safe. That's why he stayed in the other world. Gohan was not going to disrespect his wishes.
"Guys," he said, sounding surprisingly cheerful. "Just ignore him. He's not worth our time. Let's just enjoy living in a safe and peaceful world while it lasts. How about it?"
They were shocked by Gohan's words to say the least, but they decided that he was right. The warriors kept talking about strategies and techniques for another half hour. Bulma, having grown bored of all this fighting talk, headed over to get herself a drink from the bar. Having downed the glass, Bulma pushed her way onto the dance floor. She cut loose, and started having fun herself. Not as much fun as she would have had if Vegeta would get out of the booth and dance with her, but she was having fun none the less.
Gohan was only half paying attention to the battle talk. Usually he'd leave that to his dad, but they seemed genuinely interested in his opinions. So he'd been trapped there talking instead of dancing or having fun...
And then she stepped up to the stage.
"Hello everyone. You don't know me, but that's okay. I just wanted to dedicate this song to my daddy. I loved you before, but now I get to share that love with the whole world. All because you saved it today. Thank you daddy," she said before the music started.
Gohan didn't find anything particularly interesting about her speech. Sure, she was Hercule's daughter. So what? If anything, he felt sorry for her. Not only was Hercule deceiving the world, but he didn't seem to care that he was lying to his own family. He was about to point that out to the others when she opened her mouth to sing.
Gohan's mind went blank. All that filled his thoughts was her beautiful voice. She sang like an angel. He turns his head to face the stage fully, finally taking in the appearance of the girl he'd previously thought uninteresting. Now, she was anything but. Her long black hair was pulled into wavy pigtails, with her bangs wispy, falling just above her eyes. Her eyes were absolutely stunning. A shade of blue that put even Bulma's eyes to shame. She swayed rhythmically with the music, looking slightly uncomfortable in her frilly dress. No doubt her mother forced it on her before they came here. She had to look presentable for the world. Gohan decided that the pink lace didn't suit her at all. She seemed to be more casual and relaxed. Definitely not a princess like Bulma used to be.
When her eyes glanced his way, his breath caught in his throat. Her eyes only held his for a second, before they moved on. She was oblivious to the trance she'd but the poor boy in.
"Hey, Gohan, you okay?" Krillen asked. The Z fighters attention was pulled away from the salt and pepper shakers that Vegeta was using to demonstrate a particular battle he'd been a part of while under Frieza's command.
Gohan didn't dare speak. He didn't want to miss any of her song, so he simply nodded, forcing himself to breath. The majority of the Z fighters turned back to Vegeta's demonstration, but Krillen and Yamcha knew what was going on. They knew what was making Gohan dazed and distracted.
"She's cute isn't she?" Krillen said, nudging Gohan's arm.
Once again, Gohan could only nod.
"Looks like Gohan's worse than I was," Yamcha said laughing. "He's too scared to speak!"
Gohan turned his head slightly towards them, but kept his eyes on the girl singing. He put his finger to his lips, silently telling them to shut up. They complied, but only until the song ended thirty seconds later.
The girl made her way to the edge of the stage, and jumped into her father's arms, giving him a big hug. A dark haired woman enveloped the two in her arms, completing the family hug. Gohan was disappointed that the song was over, but excited about a chance at meeting her. He stood up, intent on going over and talking to her; he wasn't sure what he was going to talk about, but he wanted to get to know her. But before he could take his first step, Krillen grabbed his arm, pulling him back into his seat.
"What did you do that for?" Gohan complained, yanking his arm back from his father's best friend with little effort.
"We can't tease you if you walk away, now can we?" Krillen said laughing at Gohan's pouting face. "What's wrong Gohan?"
"Nothing," he muttered.
"He's just mad 'cause you wouldn't let him introduce himself to his girlfriend," Yamcha said smirking.
"I am not," Gohan countered.
"You're not mad," Yamcha said smiling. "But you were going to introduce yourself to your girlfriend huh?"
"Yeah," Gohan admitted. But he realized his fault, and hastily added, "But she's not my girlfriend..."
"Yet?" Krillen asked slyly.
"Yet," he agreed, searching for her in the crowd. He spotted her next to two blonde children. One was male and the other female. What was odd was that the male had much longer hair than the girl. She was subtly beautiful, but not breathtaking like his mystery girl. The male looked weak, weaker than either of the girls. He lacked confidence, which both girls had in abundance. He seemed to be the odd one out, but it was almost as if he was the glue that held them together. But Gohan didn't like the way he looked at his mystery girl. It wasn't quite the same way that Gohan was looking at her, not nearly as intensely, but it was obvious that he cared. Gohan was suddenly documenting his competition.
"Do girls like the weak guys more than strong ones?" he asked no one in particular. He looked to Yamcha and Krillen, expecting them to give him an answer and was shocked when the answer came from behind him.
"It depends on the girl Gohan," Bulma said with a smile on her face. "I like the strong ones. I only settle for the best." This earned her a grunt of approval from Vegeta. Gohan could see he was incredibly proud to have Bulma as his mate and wife. Just as he was proud to call Trunks—either the baby or the teenager from the future—his son. He just didn't like to show weakness, so Gohan never bugged him about it.
"Darn," he muttered, trying to get a better view of the girl. The three kids were dancing like there was no tomorrow to the fast song. He smiled; she was having so much fun. A huge smile was on her face, and found himself memorizing the way it lit up her face. He wanted to be able to make her smile just like that.
Bulma noticed his distraction, and turned to see the three kids. She immediately figured he had a crush on one of them, guessing to herself that it was the blonde. The little blonde girl was really cute after all. "Oh," she said, "does our little hero have a crush on her?"
"Yep," Krillen said grinning like a fool. "But apparently she's worse than Cell, 'cause he won't even go over to talk to her."
"I would too! You just wouldn't let me, and now she's with her friends..."
"Come on boy," Vegeta said, no longer interested with his demonstration. "The little earthlings shouldn't scare you so much. They are weak."
"Well excuse me Mister Prince-of-all-Saiyans! I'm sorry humans are so weak, but do you really think that he shouldn't be afraid?" Bulma screamed at him. Vegeta winced, knowing that he'd be on the couch for a week if he didn't answer her correctly.
"What I was implying," he started, "was that they were merely earthling children, that are nowhere near as brilliantly intelligent or as strong," he continued. For good measure he added "or as beautiful as you are?"
"That's what I like to hear," Bulma smiled at him. He turned red in the face, blushing at her open display of affection. He was in front of the world's strongest warriors after all! He didn't need them to think he'd gone soft.
Vegeta merely grunted as a response, and hurriedly went back to his abandoned demonstration.
"Come on Gohan," Bulma said, as the song changed from the fast upbeat song to a slower tempo. "Come and dance with me!"
Gohan didn't have much of a choice. He couldn't pull away from her—well he could, but if he did he could hurt her, and then he'd have to face the wrath of Vegeta, who was bound to be tons more powerful when protecting his mate—so he just let her drag him onto the dance floor. He flew up enough that he could look at her face to face, knowing that Vegeta would rather have him looking there than her chest, which was unfortunately his normal view at eye level. As a bonus, being up that high allowed for him to look over her shoulder at his mystery girl. As he expected, she was dancing with her two friends in an awkward—but fun—way, where they were each holding hands and swaying in a sort of circle.
Gohan focused his senses on the girl. Reaching out with his half-Saiyan hearing—which is infinitely more acute than a mere human's—he tried to catch their conversation.
"Isn't it great that that monster is destroyed?" the blonde girl asked in a bubbly voice.
"Yeah it definitely is," the dark haired angel agreed.
"But what makes it way cooler is that your dad actually killed him off, not those mysterious fighters from the TV. According to your dad, they actually fled the scene when Cell when to attack," the male was saying excitedly.
So not only was Hercule taking credit that wasn't his, he was lying about the capabilities of the Z fighters? Gohan hoped that this news wouldn't reach Vegeta's ears. He didn't want to know what the Saiyan Prince would do when he heard that Hercule was belittling his honour.
"Yeah," the girl said, not seeming excited at all. "You know, I'm a little thirsty, I think I'll go grab a glass of water." She dropped their hands, and took two steps away. In the time it took for her to take those two steps, Gohan was formulating a plan. He would casually walk passed her while she was getting her drink, and compliment her on her singing. But he wouldn't say anything about her dad. It wasn't right for him to do that. Besides, he got a feeling that she wasn't really happy with that subject.
But just as he was about to tell Bulma that he needed a break, the little blonde girl grabbed his dark haired angel's shoulder. "I'll get it for you. This is you and your family's big night. You just keep dancing." She cast a sly glance at the boy.
So this was her plan all along? Gohan thought to himself. His heart was sinking fast. The two blondes are working to get my dark haired angel to favour him? Why him! I beat Cell. I let her father pretend he did. I want to be the one that makes her smile, not him. Not HIM!
As his jealous thoughts warred in his mind, his dark eyes flashed blue-green for a second. But Bulma's gasp was enough to bring him out of his rage. "Sorry Bulma," he murmured, watching as his dark haired angel let the blonde boy put his arms around her waist, and placed her own hands on his shoulders.
"What up with Gohan? His ki just spiked, and now he looks depressed. But only a minute ago he seemed happy," Krillen said to the warriors. Piccolo opened his eyes from his mediating state.
"Gohan's been very taken by that girl. Frighteningly so. His mood follows her actions. She was heading off alone, so he got excited, happy that he had a chance to meet her. He was furious when she got very close with her male friend—"
"Jealousy? I didn't even know that Saiyans got jealous. Goku was just carefree, probably didn't even know what jealousy was. And Vegeta has too much pride to get jealous..." Krillen said interrupting Piccolo's observations.
"He was angered close to becoming Super Saiyan, Krillen. Realizing his mistake, he is now depressed that one: the girl is very, very close to that other boy, and two: he was dangerously close to attacking Bulma in his rage," Piccolo finished.
"He was attacking my—I mean Bulma?" Vegeta said. To say he was mad would be an understatement, but knowing that he almost showed his affections was worse than his anger.
"Only almost," Piccolo repeated. "What's worse is her father."
"Why?" Tien asked confused.
"Because," 18 answered before Piccolo could. "Her father is that pompous man claiming to have saved the world from Cell."
"Oh!" Krillen exclaimed, bursting into laughter. "I thought I had bad luck with women, but this is ridiculous!"
At the sound of Piccolo's voice, Gohan's ears tuned in to listen to their conversation. Was he really that predictable? Or was it just because Piccolo was extremely observant? What really made him feel worse was when Krillen was laughing at the irony of the pairing. The daughter of the man who 'saved the world' and the child that actually succeeded in doing what her father claimed to do. It was fairly ironic...but he couldn't help himself. It's not like he really chose her or anything. It was one look at her and BAM! he was obsessed.
Bulma's phone was ringing in her pocket. With the music, her dull human senses weren't able to hear it, but Gohan's sharp ears picked up on the little jingle easily enough.
"Bulma, answer your phone," he muttered, dropping his hands from their awkward position on her waist. Oddly enough, nobody had noticed the levitating boy, passing it off as an overly affectionate mother dancing with her pride and joy, to the point where she'd lifted him off of the ground.
Bulma looked confused for a moment, but realized what he'd said, releasing her hold on him. "Hello, Bulma Briefs speaking...Chi-Chi? Yeah Gohan's right here, just a sec. I'll put him on." She held the phone out to him. "It's your mom."
"I know," he muttered, before taking the phone. "Hi mom..."
"GOHAN! Where are you? Why aren't you at home, proving to me that you are in one piece? I just want to hold my boys again. To know that everything is going to be all right! Is that really too much to ask!" Her voice was loud and piercing. Gohan winced and pulled the phone away from his ear.
"Mom...MOM! I can hear you perfectly fine, you don't need to yell. It hurts you know. I just have one more thing I want to do here and then I'll be right home. I swear," Gohan pleaded.
"No! I have been away from my baby boy too long. It's going to take you long enough to get here. Even if you and your father can fly," she said. "So no. You come home right now." Chi-Chi hung up the phone without letting Gohan argue the point any further.
As much as he wanted to stay and meet his dark haired angel, she would have to wait. And he would find her again. He just had bigger fish to fry right now.
"Bulma," he said quietly. "Will you come with me?"
"Why? You know your way right?" she asked confused his scared demeanor.
"Yeah...But mom doesn't know about dad yet...and I don't want to tell her alone," he said, nearly whispering now.
"Oh, Gohan," she said suddenly understanding. She enveloped him in a hug, and called over to the Z fighters. "It's time to go guys! Chi-Chi's going to be on the warpath when she finds out about Goku. We can't send him in alone..."
Without another word, the Z fighters left the restaurant, with Gohan and Bulma in the rear. Her arms were wrapped around him protectively. What Gohan didn't notice was that the eyes of his dark haired angel were glued on him as he passed through the door.