Thank you to ShadowMajin for his beta work on this chapter
For Mikey H, because he's awesome and handsome XD
Chapter 12: The rectification of fate
"You're tired." Eighteen remarked as Krillin suddenly swatted the hand that was sneaking up on his chest away. Eighteen sighed. Sometimes, only sometimes, she wished Krilin was a Saiyan or an Android like her; at least then he would be able to keep up with her needs."Last night, wore you out ha?"
Krilin flushed as he defended his libido. "No. It didn't."
"Krilin, it's nothing to be ashamed off. You're only human. I have limitless energy, which means," she traced a finger around his nipples, "I can go all night long, all day, all week, all year, none stop, without breaking a sweat."
"Don't I know it," Krillin muttered. It was then his head snapped up, his eyes clouding over as he seemed to focus on something far away. Flinging the bed covers aside, he swung his legs to the ground. He checked the time - it was early, too early to be up, but what he was sensing was huge."I sense something, a power." He reached for his boxers and slipped them on as he stood up.
Eighteen frowned and levitated out of the bed, her sheer lingerie hugging her seductively as she scowled.
"Let me guess; you have to fly off and gather the troops right?"
"There had better be a power out there; because if this is an excuse to get out of having a romp this morning, I won't be pleased," she said flatly, flicking a few strays of her away from her face.
Krillin gritted his teeth "For the last time hon, I am not worn out from last night. I sense something and I have to check it out, okay?" It was always the same with her! He loved her dearly, but sometimes she could be such a bitch.
"What kind of power?" she stared him down, unflinching, unconvinced.
"Enormous," was his quick reply.
Eighteen folded her arms, "Vegeta enormous?" her voice didn't rise, not even by an inch.
"Hah! It makes Vegeta seem like an insect." Krillin smiled happily, as he slipped some clothes on.
"Shouldn't we be quivering then?" was her less than concerned inquiry.
"Nope," Krillin said happily, as he moved to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. Eighteen followed him and stared him down, irritated that he seemed to be excited about something and not sharing.
Krillin hummed happily to himself as he brushed his teeth and splashed some water on his face.
"You better start talking. Why aren't we panicking then Krillin? If this power is so big, why are you so…happy? " she raised her brow challenging, him.
"Because I know that power, I would know it anywhere. Goku's back!" he grinned
Eighteen didn't even react at the far-fetched news; she simply stared at her husband, wondering if he had finally lost it after all those years of fighting and getting his head bashed in repeatedly.
"Goku's dead." She reminded him.
"He sure was, but I know what I'm sensing; somehow he's back, and I couldn't be happier." He continued his morning routine with a smile. Nothing was going to get him down on such a day, not even his wife's taunts.
Contemplative and weary, indeed the ever lovely, Eighteen realized that her husband hadn't displayed such joy for a long time. "Hmm…" she shook her head. "Now I know for sure that I definitely fucked your brains out last night. You've lost it," she said, and walked out.
"Home sweet home!" the warrior Goku beamed as he took in his surroundings. There was no feeling like it, none at all.
"Come on dad! Let me show ya my room!" Goten promptly grabbed his hand and dragged him down a few corridors. Gohan smiled weakly at the sight. It felt good to be home, it really did. Leisurely he walked around, touching a few items here and there, brushing them gently with his fingertips as a well of emotion rushed over him. Thank God he wasn't crazy. Thank God.
"I'm gonna miss having you in the house" Chichi said softly, "But after the fusion tonight, I imagine that you and Videl will want to have your privacy." A tingle passed through him at the thought. Fused with his older self, he would no longer have to bare this horrible emptiness of being without Videl, of losing her forever.
"We'll be just across the yard, Mom. You'll see us all the time."
"I know." Chichi sniffed. "And you'll give me many beautiful grandchildren."
"Mom!" he flushed. "I don't think I'm ready to be a father just yet. I'm only eighteen!"
"Well, you have to remember sweetie, Gohan is not your age," Chichi added. "He is all grown up and so is Videl. They have wanted to have a family for a while now, but with the life they led back in the future, they obviously couldn't have that dream. Now, who knows how the combination of the two of you in one body will feel regarding that matter."
He didn't want his mom to pick up on how much it scared him; the possibility that his older self would be the predominant and more influential personality in their fusion. After all, he was older, had lived longer, and definitely had more lust for battle. What's more, beyond all that, he was the one that had Videl's true love and affection, their connection was solid. It sickened him.
"I think I'm gonna go out and see Icarus." He abruptly announced. "I'll be back by lunch; Gohan and Videl should be back by then," He said as he offered his mom a weak smile before walking out the door.
Chichi sighed. Very little seemed to cheer him up lately; she could only hope that with the fusion his carefree demeanor would return. She would miss her son, but she would gain two in one, just like she had gained two husbands in Goku; well sort of. It was all so confusing for her; luckily he was still exactly the same with a few changes here and there.
Strong arms circled around her waist as his chin rested on her shoulder. "He's still sad, huh?" the warrior Goku remarked.
"He just needs time, he'll come around." Chichi leaned into him. It was so good to have Goku back, she could hardly breathe sometimes.
"I don't understand why he's not more excited about this fusion. It's not like he's fusing with a stranger, which I had to do a few times with the fusion dance before Seraph pulled the plug on the whole thing. Once he tastes this awesome power he'll be fine, you'll see. He'll never look back. I'm telling ya Chi, it's amazing." He grinned and turned her over to kiss her.
"Urgh, Son Goku!" Chichi pulled back, "Two brains merged together, and you still don't get it!" she huffed, "There are other things to life besides power you know, and Gohan is about to lose a piece of himself, can't you understand that?" she suddenly stormed off in a huff to Kami only knows where, leaving Goku completely baffled.
"Err…" Goku blinked in confusion, scratching his scalp. No, actually he didn't understand. How was Gohan losing a piece of himself if…if… he was fusing with himself? Wasn't he gaining a piece? He scratched even deeper into his scalp in confusion.
"Get out." Videl spat venomously, every inch of her, fighting back the urge to flatten him.
Mirai Gohan held his ground. "Not until you listen to everything I have to say. I refuse to leave things as they are."
"URGH!" She lost the fight with her self control and flew at him, but stopped herself inches away from striking as the voice of her trainer annoyingly rang in her head. Only use force if it's absolutely necessary, I am not teaching you these skills just so you can pick on the weak. Always remember that. Grr…She had made a promise, and so, however much she felt that he deserved a proper thrashing, she held back. With all her recently acquired might, she opted to push him out of her room instead.
She pushed hard against his chest, determined to push him right out the door, where house security could escort him off the premises.
But…as it so turned out, things didn't work out exactly as planned. She felt the build and burn of an enormous tension in her biceps, a clear indication that she was applying maximum force without powering up, but...the wall that was Son Gohan didn't even budge.
"URGH!" She screamed in highly frustrated outrage, backing off to gather her breath and cool. She knew he was well toned from feeling him up during their ministrations, but still, he was just a twig! She should be able to push him on his ass. What the hell is he made out of?
"I'm not making this up. If I wanted to come here and waste your time with lies, don't you think I'd come up with something a little more credible than time travel?" In response, Videl just ignored him like an invisible fly. She moved to the wall and pressed a button on the security touchpad. A beep and a bit of static later a voice promptly responded. "Elf coming in from house security control."
"Control, I have an intruder in my room. Kindly send someone to escort him off the premises." She spoke, with her eyes cast hatefully towards the 'intruder'. Mirai Gohan sighed. Why was she being so damn stubborn? "Err..." a voice responded uncertainly from the other end. "Is it the young man you just walked in with?"
"Just walked...in with?" Videl squinted her eyes in confusion. "What are you talking about? I haven't left my room this morning!" She yelled, even though it wasn't entirely truthful. She had snuck in earlier through her window after leaving Yamcha aka Saiyaman in a huff after his comments, but security didn't know that.
"Err...I'll dispatch two guards. But Miss Satan you just came in through the main gates with a young man by the name of Son Gohan. I have a log that says you signed for his clearance and gave an okay to have the thermo monitors turned off. Um...I'm a bit confused ma'm." The baffled desk officer replied
"Listen here Elf..." Videl spoke with her face just inches from the pad. "I don't know what you're talking about! Don't make excuses because your sloppy team let this intruder give them the slip. I want the name of the guard on gate duty, IMMIDIATELY!" she huffed at the inanimate touchpad.
Mirai Gohan fought hard to resist the urge to laugh.
"Yes, Ms Satan. That would be Lanky. Let me patch you through. Escorts are already on their way." The slightly nervous security officer said. A click, a beep, and a few seconds of static later a new voice came through."This is Lanky coming in from Gate Security."
"Lanky! Are you drinking on the job?" accused Videl.
"Wha...Ms Satan, absolutely not ma'm! I apologise if my earlier remark about your new hairstyle was inappropriate." Lanky swallowed back his nerves. Why had he even mentioned it? She was always friendly with them, yes. But she was still the boss's daughter, perhaps he overstepped the boundaries? He trembled at the thought of what the champ might do to him should news of this get to his ears.
"My new what?" It was official, Videl knew that this guard was useless. Only drugs would make one say such stupid things on the job.
Oh brother, Mirai Gohan rolled his eyes as he grew increasingly impatient of listening to the useless back and forth bickering. With a sigh he moved to stand by the unsuspecting Videl and promptly pressed on a black button that cut off Videl and Lanky's connection.
"This is getting us nowhere, Videl."
Videl gritted her teeth at his audacity. Seething, she tucked in the corner of her towel to make sure that it wouldn't 'give' during this, and she was just about to open her mouth to say something, when he firmly silenced her with his index finger. He placed it vertically against his own lips, "Shh…" he shushed her. "I know you're angry, and I know you don't believe me, but I have proof. I'm not horsing around; I really am from the future."
"I dare you to say future one more time." She spoke with a clenched jaw. She was so ready to kick him, even if it meant her towel would go flying.
"Fine. I'll stop talking all together then and show you the proof instead. Like I said, all this 'talk', is getting us nowhere."
"Pft," She scoffed. "Proof? What did you bring? Today's winning lottery ticket?" She folded her arms with one foot slightly forward, her chin turned up at him defiantly.
And despite the killer glare in her eyes, despite the tense atmosphere, Mirai Gohan smiled, "...no, that wouldn't exactly work since things have diverged, but never mind that. I brought something better than a lottery ticket," he told her as he backed away from her, his hand extending out to reach for the doorknob behind him. Gently he twisted it and pulled the wooden door forward. "You might as well come in, hon," he spoke to the older Videl waiting outside the door.
Black combat boots stepped onto the lush carpet that was Videl's floor as Mirai Videl made her startling entry. The air in the room froze completely as Videl's angry expression instantaneously dissolved, giving way to pure unadulterated shock. She opened her mouth wide as if to speak, but nothing came out, so she closed it. Only to open it again a second later, jaw hanging, while her wide eyes could do nothing but dumbly stare.
She couldn't believe what she was seeing.
Mirai Videl roamed her eyes over the teen girl. She too folding her arms across her chest, with one foot slightly forward, as she too, stared. Albeit, with less shock, but with more curiosity.
"I am not lying, Videl. I am from the future and as proof, I brought you along with me," reiterated Mirai Gohan. Like the wings of a caged bird, Videl's heart thumped wildly and uncontrollably. This had to be some kind of trick! Time travel was just not possible! It wasn't possible!
Without even realizing it, her body gravitated to the woman that had her face and body. The very same woman staring back at her with slight fascination through her goddamn blue eyes! Those were her eyes damn it!
"T-This is..." She stammered dryly, unable to articulate her feelings clearly. "T-this is a..." She swallowed, poking a finger at the older woman's chest. It was definitely flesh, warm and toned. "This is some kind of trick, isn't it?" She snatched her finger back immediately as it made contact, a bit of electricity passing through it.
"I'm no trick." Mirai Videl said, unable to resist the urge to circle the younger her, taking in every single inch of her.
Videl slightly trembled at the sound of her own voice coming from this body double.
"I..." She opened her mouth again, but words failed her. She felt a foreign heaviness in her knees as the slightly older woman continued to scrutinize her with her eyes. She couldn't help it either, her eyes continued to roam over Mirai Videl as the two doubles moved in slow sync, circling and drinking each other in.
Mirai Gohan stood to the side watching them, wondering what was going through their heads."You can't be me," Videl concluded lamely, even to her own ears, her voice sounded uncertain.
"Oh?" Mirai Videl quirked. "Go on then, prove it. Try me." Blue eyes clashed with her own in an open challenge.
"I...I..." Videl searched her database of secrets and filtered out one she was sure no one knew. Not her dead mother, her nanny, her father, or even Erasa—who was the carrier of all her secrets. This would out the impostor in a second. She was sure of it.
Almost smirking, she took a few steps forward and spoke with her eyes staring directly at Mirai Videl's identical ones. "Gypsie, tell me about Gypsie." She challenged arrogantly. Mirai Videl's eyes widened in a combination of surprise and horror as she stole a quick glance at Mirai Gohan where he stood watching their little interaction. "Are you INSANE? In front of HIM?" She shrieked in embarrassment.
"Don't stall damn it!" Videl stomped her foot impatiently.
"Fine. But we're going to the bathroom so I can whisper this in your ear. I am not taking the chance that he might overhear." She glared at the clueless-looking Mirai Gohan. "You have no idea how sharp those ears of his are," she said, steering her younger self to the bathroom, and firmly shutting the door behind them.
Who the fuck is Gypsie? Mirai Gohan stood wondering dumbly.
Not more than a minute later, the two Videls emerged from the bathroom with the younger of the two rubbing her temples, her skin slightly flushed. "I need to sit down" she said, tightening the towel around her chest, before she sat down on her bed. Her bare toes seemed to be curling nervously. This sort of thing just didn't happen. It just didn't. And yet...it had, and here she was in the company of herself. Her head throbbing slightly, she subconsciously continued to rub at her temples with her eyes darting between Mirai Gohan and herself. "So..." She croaked in a hoarse whisper. "You really are from the future." She finally accepted the unlikely truth.
"Yes. I really am." Mirai Gohan said. "But before we get to that, can someone in this room please tell me who the hell this Gypsie is?" he looked expectantly between the two.
Videl had no secrets from him. Right?
"You're angry. I hate to say 'I told you so'," said Vegeta from his position against the wall. He was leaning back casually, one knee bent with a foot pressing against the hard surface. He looked rather relaxed while observing his far from 'relaxed' wife's ministrations from beneath long hooded lids.
"I'm not angry Vegeta; just let it go, okay?" Bulma dismissed his accusation.
"Hmn...I know you Bulma, you've been quiet since we left the future; you're angry." He insisted.
"For the last time Vegeta. I AM NOT ANGRY!" Folded arms and a smirk was the response he gave as he titled his head.
Bulma shook her head. "Don't give me that look! You make it sound like I've been quiet for an eternity. The trip itself hardly lasted five minutes and we've only been back to the present for an hour at most. So what if I've been quiet?"
"Because in Bulma-land, an hour of silence is equivalent to an eternity. You're angry with me, but I will not apologise for my actions. You pushed me into this, practically ordered me like some damn lap-dog. Now it's time to live with the consequences."
"URGH!" She fumed, throwing the first thing her fingers were able to grab, but of course, to her continued frustration, he just caught it without even batting an eyelid. "Would it kill you to let me hit you just this once? Urgh! Insufferable, barbaric APE!" She yelled at him, "Don't act like you were unwilling, don't act like you didn't enjoy it!" She lashed out at him.
Vegeta smirked, and before Bulma could blink, he had her pinned against the wall. "Indeed I did. I enjoyed it..." He murmured close to her face, "...very, very..." He caught her lips between his teeth, "...much..." He finished, his breath hitching, as he slipped his fingers under her dress.
"Stop...stop Vegeta..." She breathed, placing her palm against his chest. She was in no mood for this.
"You can't punish me for something you begged me to do Bulma." He pulled away from her, his dark eyes roaming over her face as he remembered the conversation that had finally convinced him to give in after two weeks of successfully resisting her relentless nagging.
"No." He said with finality.
"You will do this Vegeta, or so help me..."
"You can threaten any damn thing you like Bulma, my answer is still NO."
"Damn you Vegeta! After all the years that I've suffered, after working my fingers raw for years to build a time-machine so that you and everyone else could have this second chance, a different experience than this rotting corpse of a world, don't you think that I deserve something?" Bulma fumed, her blue night-dress clinging to her every curve.
"Bulma, I'm already seeing two of you. Don't fuck with my brain even further by constantly talking about her and her experiences like she is you. She lived the nightmare, not you. She built a time machine, not you. She bares the scars of a tortured life, not you. Even without the obvious differences in your appearances, the longer hair, the worn clothes, the wrinkles and the un-characteristic short nails, I could still tell you apart from just looking in your eyes. She may be the you of this world, but she is not my wife. You are. I will not sleep with her just to assuage your guilt." He made his argument for the millionth time.
Bulma opened her mouth to speak, but Vegeta glared her down. "No woman, I am not some gigolo for hire. You can't just pass me around like one of those vibrating mechanisms you Earthling women have. I am the Prince of all Saiyans, and I will not sleep with her, it's absolutely preposterous." He ensured that the desire—and curiosity of doing just that—did not surface in his tone.
"Listen here buster." A furious Bulma poked her finger at him. "If you dropped dead this very instance, right now at..." She glanced at the clock "...eleven twenty-two… And I took this time machine right here," she pointed at her case of capsules lying on the dressing table, "and travelled back to five minutes ago, just what do you think I'll find?"
"If you died, right now, right here, and I took the time-machine and went back to five minutes ago, to precisely eleven seventeen, what would I find?" her eyes challenged him.
"You know what you would find. The two of us engaged in a tiresome, yet senseless argument about your ludicrous plan," was his curt response.
"That's right Vegeta, I would find this scenario, and you know what that means? It means that suddenly, out of thin air, there would be two Bulma's, right? The one you're arguing with, and the one from five minutes into the future."
"Where are you going with this?" the prickling at the back of his neck, the same one that always bothered him whenever she started one of her arguments began to warn him.
"I think you know. There would be two Bulmas, the one you're busy arguing with, and the one that just popped back a few minutes in time."
"So, would I, me, the Bulma that just popped back, still be your wife?"
"Don't be stupid woman, of course you would."
"Why?" He repeated the question, it was ludicrous, what was she getting at?
"Yes, why am I still your wife? Is it because the time difference is only five minutes? What if I travelled back to ten minutes ago then, what then? Or thirty minutes into the past? What if I took it back a day, or a week? Or...let's go wild and say fourteen years! That's how old the older Trunks is right ? Fourteen years, right?"
"Every instance in time has the potential to become a time-line Vegeta, every single instance. Do you have any idea how many potential time-lines that leaves us with? INFINITE! All it requires is for someone to fuck with time and then boom! A new timeline is born. Just like that, we are all duplicated. Copies created. She is me and I am her, every experience she has had up until Trunks intervened with time is mine as well. I guess we could say that time travel causes a de-fusion. An alternate being breaking away and being born or splitting from the original. Like clones."
"Still nothing! I feel her pain and longing just as if it were my own. It is my own! The way her eyes follow you around. I know what she's feeling." She turned away from him, her voice cracking as the overwhelming sadness of her older self's life continued to plague her. She could never shake off the knowledge that the older woman was walking what was rightfully supposed to be her fate. "I am not threatening Vegeta," she wiped away at tears she hadn't even realized were threatening to fall, "I am asking, and I never ask you for anything. Please go to her, just for one night. Do it for her and do it for me." She sat down on the bed and crossed her leg.
"You ask too much."
"I only ask that you give in to something you've already been thinking about since we arrived here two weeks ago." She blinked back tears, "Now you can give in with a clear conscience."
"Please," she scoffed, reaching for a pack of cigarettes, "I've seen the way you look at her, I'm not blind" she grabbed a lighter and set fire to the roll of paper and tobacco.
"T-That's...t-that's...you don't know what you're talking about!" he denied what he knew to be the truth.
"Don't I?" She stood up and walked towards him provocatively. She dragged a mouthful and let it fill her lungs. "It's nothing to be ashamed about. It's rather flattering, actually," she exhaled and circled one arm around his waist, her face tilted to his as the smoke made him choke. Saiyans were just too damn sensitive to smoke, she chuckled. "See…Mr Prince of all Saiyans; now I know that even when I'm old and grey, you'll still wanna jump my bones." She grazed his earlobe just slightly with her teeth and stepped away from him.
Vegeta frowned at her choice of words. "She is far from being old and grey. She may be older and unkept, but she is still ethereal."
"Oh Vegeta!" Bulma smiled, pecking him lovingly on the cheek, her face positively radiant.
"W-What?" he was lost for sure, Bulma and her two second mood swings.
"You're so barbaric and dense. You don't even realise that you've just given me the biggest complement of my life!"
Vegeta stared at her like she had sprouted horns. He hadn't said one damn word about her."What could you possibly be on about now?"
Bulma simply pulled away from him and waved her hand dismissively, "Just go, please. Bulma's waiting," she said, just before going for another drag, her eyes fixed on his, as she inhaled, held, then exhaled, eliciting a satisfied sigh.
Vegeta held her stare for a few minutes, trying to read her. He was unable to detect any fluctuations in her stubborn resolve. He sighed, shaking his head. "You'll regret this in the morning and make me pay for it. I know you woman."
"Clearly you don't know me as well as you think you do." Was her retort before she watched him leave their room to go to another woman's bed. Though, that woman was really her.
"Still think that I don't know you well?" he questioned her
"You're not even close Vegeta. It's not the fact that you had sex with Bulma that's got me upset."
"Is that so?" he said doubtfully
"It's the fact that we left them there! Older Trunks and Older me! We left them behind, in that...that disaster of a world. You saw! You saw how Trunks was looking at you! The boy never had a father and then for two glorious weeks he has one, a brother in Trunks, and another friend in Goten to play with. He was so happy, you saw. But all that he gained, all that he came to know and love, it was only to have them disappear like they never existed. It's not fair!" She said heatedly, her heart breaking for them.
"That's what you're upset about?" he looked positively shocked by the realization.
"Sorry to burst your bubble there Casanova, but unlike you, I am perfectly capable of thinking about other things besides sex!" she yelled, storming out of the room, and shutting the door behind her.
"Then you should have said so," Vegeta muttered under his breath. It's not as if he hadn't thought about it, about their broken world and what leaving them behind would mean. But what was he supposed to do? Play husband to two insufferable women with matching brats? His head pounded just thinking about such lunacy. With a strong resolve to let the matter die, a permanent death at that, one that even the meddlesome dragons couldn't interfere with, he muttered a few incomprehensible curses as he also stormed out, heading towards his trusted gravity room.
He had missed it terribly in the two weeks he'd spent in the future.
Damn you Kakarot; not that it wasn't bad enough that you always seemed to be one step ahead of me. Damn you for coming back from the dead as a fused abomination, holding a power that makes my Super-Saiyan Two seem laughable.
It had been a long and tough explanation, but Mirai Videl and Mirai Gohan had been able to get through as much of it as they could. Videl was still so confused about a lot of things, but she didn't really care for all the details. She cared about two things only.
"So you lied to me and then you used me." She said quietly, her eyes holding his in a quiet rage. She didn't know what she was feeling exactly. She was beyond angry, but then again not that angry; she was hurt to the point of devastation, but again not really either. She was in-between so many emotions that she couldn't hold on to. Damn it, she just wanted to hold on to one lousy emotion!
Gohan frowned, "I lied yes, only a little. It was more withholding of the truth. But I didn't use you Videl, I didn't use you."
"You used me as a substitute! How is that not using me?"
"I didn't know the facts; I didn't know what this world was supposed to be, or what it represented. I was dead after all; and by the time I found out, things had already progressed between us. Besides, my feelings for you are real. I didn't use you."
Videl scowled deeply at that line, her face contorting into deep lines. "I'm tired of hearing your voice. You don't even know when you're lying to yourself." She stood up and walked towards her closet. "Get out of my room, I have to get dressed."
Gohan knew that tone well. It was the dismissive and final one. To argue with it was to get clawed, simple. "We'll go, but Videl I-"
"You go." She snapped her neck and gave him a dirty look. "Videl, I'd like you stay." She turned her eyes at her double. "I'd like to talk to you about a few things." she said almost shyly. She felt so silly about being nervous about talking to herself. She had so many questions for the older her, personal questions, questions about herself. But most importantly, she wanted to know things about Gohan, not this one, the younger one.
She wanted to know exactly how things had gone down between them when he'd first gone to the past. She felt cheated in this whole equation and she'd be damned if she was going to let them do this weird fusion whatever, ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after while she's left behind, forgotten, like she didn't exist, or worse, like she didn't matter.
She mattered alright, she was Videl Satan and she wasn't about to allow herself to be forgotten.
"Aaw man, Goku, my head is about to explode from all this. So…there's…really two of you in there?" No matter how many times they explained the current situation, Krillin still couldn't believe all that had happened. It was just too much, even for a crazy bunch like them.
That morning he had left his house, with his wife flying quietly beside him, and followed Goku's ki; not surprised when it lead him all the way to Mt. Paozu to his friend's home. The little holes in his heart from seven years ago had immediately filled up, swarming him with an emotion that overflowed and spilled out of him in the form of joyous tears. The earings dangling on Goku's ears had taken him back a bit, but man, it was just so great to see him that he hadn't even thought to question him on his new look.
After a long tearful reunion, the duo had been interrupted by the expected arrival of Tien, Chaoutsu and Yamcha. It was impossible for anyone on the planet who could sense ki to miss the magnitude and familiarity of what was being emitted from their resurrected friend.
They had all gathered in the garden then, lounging back on the green grass, enjoying refreshments in the new glow of the emerging morning sun peering down on them from behind the mountains to be joined by Gohan upon the teen's return from visiting Icarus, watching Goten and Trunks play, listening to this incredible tale of how 'the warrior Goku' came to be, and more depressingly, why.
"Heh heh he, yeah, there's really two of me in here, but it sure doesn't feel like it though, and-" he suddenly halted and snapped his neck up to the blue sky. "Well then, here they come, I think…there's two Videl's coming. Oh boy," Goku scratched his head.
T-Two…V-Videl's? Gohan's shoulders tensed up immediately. He hadn't been counting on seeing the crime fighter this soon, at least, not while he was still…himself. He supposed he was grateful that he hadn't been the one burdened with the task of having to explain anything to her. His own lies seemed so far away and negligible compared to the situation his older self had put her through.
"Oh man," Yamcha shook his own head. Videl now knew the truth about his own role in the lies. Just earlier that morning they had talked and disagreed about her situation, and even knowing how heartbroken she was, he had still not confided the whole truth to her. She would be feeling betrayed on so many levels and he could hardly blame her. He sighed, bracing himself for her fury.
"Not to be rude Eighteen," Chichi spoke up, "but you better get out of here before Gohan and the Videls arrive. Those two may know about the differences in our world, but seeing you…" she just trailed off.
"Got it," the Android silenced her. She knew what it would mean. "I'll see you at home Krillin." She shot into the air and made a path for Kame island.
Gohan watched the blonde Android disappear into the horizon and shook his head. How was it possible? How was all this possible? Just how…much evil still lurked within her? It was hard for him to revert back to the old trust and affection towards her with his experiences from the future; it was just too fresh.
"Eighteen wait!" Seventeen said "don't kill her, I think I'll keep her," he pointed at the quivering dark haired woman huddled with the group of Islanders, who had failed to make a get-away.
"Eww! No way Seventeen, she's not tagging along with us as one of your bed-warmers, not with those hideous clothes. She's a filthy hag, and she's not even attractive!" Exclaimed Eighteen in disgust, in the midst of increasing the size of the blast forming in her hands.
He could very well imagine that the fused being he was to become would struggle to adjust to a world were Eighteen and her brother were just free to roam around. His older self, not to mention Videl, had suffered way too much at their hands.
Three pairs of boots touched down on the Son lawn, two of them identical. And as if to commemorate an important moment, the heavy branches and leaves of the forest trees all swayed, creating a wind-swept path as Vegeta bustled in from the east with Bulma in his arms. Goku could sense Piccolo and Dende's approach as well, no doubt everyone wanted to be here when this new 'warrior' was born.
"My God," Krilin exclaimed at the sight of the two pairs of almost identical youths.
"You can say that again," Tien agreed as he stared. It was like his multiform technique, only it was more permanent.
It was the same feeling Gohan realized, only intensified a thousand fold, seeing her again after all this time. It was weird enough seeing two of her standing there, side by side like that. Yet even more weird, even more unexpected, was the way his stomach muscles tensed up, the way his heart made that familiar skip as her scowl intensified, her eyes narrowing as she ignored all the rest and purposefully stormed towards Yamcha and stunned the onlookers by kicking him square in the balls at the exact moment that Vegeta touched down.
"You lying son of a bitch," Gohan heard her hiss, and that voice of hers, a voice identical to the one he'd heard everyday for the last seven months, yet not the same at all, sounded more foreign than he could have ever imagined, yet…it still managed to carry within it that old familiar power to make him nervous on the spot, even though this time around he was not the one on the receiving end of her glare. "You knew this whole time and you didn't tell me!" She balled her fists angrily, glaring down at the faux Saiyaman as he clutched his crotch in pain.
Ah, this was just the thing to cheer Vegeta up, watching the scar-faced weakling twitch in pain would never get old.
"Aaw, Yamcha, are you okay?" Bulma rushed to his side and Vegeta rolled his eyes.
"I'm r-really s-sorry for not t-telling you Videl," was all Yamcha could say. It's not like it was his idea to deceive her this way, it was all Mirai Gohan and yet he didn't see him clutching his privates painfully. The crime fighter didn't seem moved by the apology; she advanced towards him, ready to dish out another blow. Someone had the bare the brunt of her frustrations.
"Whoa!" Goku stepped in front of Yamcha lest the angry girl attack him again. "Easy there Videl, it's not really his fault you know. Gohan was the one that put him up to it, but it was Gohan who lied about being Saiyaman from the start you know, heh heh he…" he chuckled nervously, pointing his finger at the younger of his duplicated sons.
Gohan shot his father a disbelieving look. He just couldn't believe it! Just when he'd thought he could remain in the background in all of this, his father just had to redirect the angry crime-fighter in his direction.
"Yes, well, I'm sure he had his reasons," Videl mumbled, her eyes lifting to meet his. But as soon as they made eye contact, she immediately averted her eyes and…blushed? Wha…Gohan had to blink a few times, just to be sure that he was seeing right.
Mirai Gohan did a double take at Videl's behavior towards the one inhabiting his body. He had fully expected her to freeze him out, or cut him down to size coldly with her words. He still had no idea what the two girls had talked about for so long after she had rudely kicked him out of her room. He'd slipped out of the mansion and found a small café to sit in while he waited. He hadn't been expecting both girls to show up; and he'd hardly had an opportunity to question them. He had simply been told that they were both coming along to witness the spectacle that was to be the birth of this new 'warrior'. There was nothing to do but comply, so quietly and obediently, he had led them to the gathering at Mt. Paouzu.
"I'm glad you understand dear," Chichi stepped forward and cautiously approached the younger Satan girl. She had already spent enough time with the older Videl back in the future, so she immediately passed on the fond feelings for the future mother of her grandchildren to the one who was going to miss out. "I'm Chichi by the way, Gohan's mother." She saw it fit to do the introductions since no one else had. "That's Goku, Gohan's dad, pay no attention to those silly earings of his, we'll be getting rid of them soon enough." She cast her husband a disapproving look. "Obviously you know Yamcha," another disapproving look, "come," she continued, placing her hand lightly on the girl's shoulder, "let me introduce you to the rest of them."
Piccolo and Dende had touched down in the middle of the introductions, and even though Videl was in awe of their obvious alien physical features—not to mention the fact that she was in the presence of a resurrected fused legend and then some kind of god—she couldn't really dwell on it. She was still battling recovery with from the shock of seeing her own self all grown up. It was definitely going to take some getting used to.
"Well then," Vegeta cut through the heartfelt reunion between Gohan and Dende. "Now that the spectators have been appeased, can we get on with the main show? Put the damn earrings on and let's meet this 'warrior' already," he snapped.
Like a splash of water in a candle lit room, the light mood that had been lingering in the air was immediately snuffed out. A reminder that they were all gathered here in what would appear to be a happy reunion, for the typical reason – disaster was brimming in the horizon.
"Vegeta's right boys," the warrior Goku addressed his sons. "We need to get you fused and trained as soon as possible; Seraph is probably mad that we took so long, coming here and saying our goodbyes and stuff. He's real worried about this guy that's coming."
"Pft," the two Gohan's scoffed at the mention of the Absolute Kai's name. They were far from impressed by his approach in this whole thing. Still, it was time and they both knew it. Like a mirror reflection they both grabbed their earrings at the same time, nodding to each other in quiet understanding.
Chichi immediately teared up. This was it, her little baby was going to become someone else. Goten attached himself to his mother's leg. He knew there were gonna be changes, he just hoped that this new brother of his wouldn't continue to like Trunks more than him like Mirai Gohan seemed to.
Sensing their distress, Gohan walked up to the duo and engulfed them in a hug. "I'll still be me you guys, I'll just also be him as well," he cast his eyes to his counterpart, smiling slightly. "That's not so bad right?"
"I guess," Goten sniffed.
"You better not start," sniff, "using bad words like Gohan does, I won't stand for it," sniff, "I raised you both better than that," sniff, sniff.
"Heh heh heh," Mirai Gohan flushed and chuckled, scratching his head.
"I promise," Gohan murmured into his mom's hair, the pulled away from the group hug. "Alright then, I love you guys." He ruffled Goten's hair and kissed the top of his mom's head. He wanted to say something to the older Videl as well, just once to have her talk to him voluntarily while he was still himself, but as soon as he raised his eyes to meet hers, she just turned away from him, again. She still hadn't said one word to him since learning the truth about who he was. And each time she did it, it was like a whole mountain was sitting on his chest, heavy and suffocating. How easy was it going to be then, for her to get on with the new 'them'?" He tried not to dwell on the issue, once fused, he would be able to hold her in his arms again, and no price was too high to pay for such a privilege.
He supposed that his older self had been trying to do the same with the younger Videl, apologise one last time? He didn't know, because as soon as he'd tried to open his mouth, the crime-fighter had just put up her hand to dismiss him and instead…strode towards…him?
The old nervousness resurfaced immediately. It didn't make any sense to him as to why he still felt this way in her presence; she knew all his secrets now, what was there to still be nervous about?
"Gohan, before this…thing…can we talk?" Her voice was so…soft and undemanding that it took him aback a bit. The Videl he'd left behind was never so soft spoken. She was demanding and pushy and she never looked uncertain.
"W-with m-me?" He stammered, pointing at himself.
"Please?" her eyes darted around nervously as if she didn't want anyone else to hear her. "I mean, I know that we hardly know each other," she began rapidly, when he didn't respond, "I mean, I know that when you were switched, we'd hardly known each other for more than a week and we weren't friends or anything, but-"
He had lived with her in the future long enough to know her well, the babbling and the hand gesture were clear signs that she was uncomfortable and nervous and for the life of him he couldn't understand why.
"…so I understand if it's not exactly on your list of priorities with everything going on around you and-" she continued shooting out words like rapid fire. It didn't help that everyone else around them was so quiet. They were all just standing there…staring expectantly, and his older self was no exception.
"Ahem," Mirai Gohan was the one to clear his throat, addressing Gohan. "Yeah, go ahead, take your time. We've already postponed for this long anyway, I'll just catch up with the guys here while you guys talk."
Gohan tried to steal another glance at the older Videl to see her thoughts on the matter, if at all there were any, but as usual, she was looking anywhere but at him. He felt the mountain sitting on his chest shift, and re-settle at a more suffocating location.
"We won't be long dad," he dismissed his father's unvoiced comment before he could even speak and turned towards his classmate. "Would you like to talk inside Videl?" Going in the house seemed like the best place to be, everyone else was outside. They could at least have some privacy there.
"Sure, thanks," she responded. And once again, he was surprised by her demeanor, that half-hearted smile was almost shy?
He led her through to the homely living room and offered her a seat. "I haven't been home in a while, so…um…I don't even know what's there in the kitchen to offer you." He stood conspicuously with his hands in his pockets, feeling rather nervous himself. This was after all where it had all started, with her…that crush he'd had, the reason he hadn't been able to turn the older version of her away when he'd woken up one morning to find himself living in that nightmare of a world. "I'm sure there must be some sodas in the fridge though, I can go check." He added, when she didn't comment.
Watching her now with those pig-tails falling on her sides, her hands clasped over her thighs in that manner that he knew so well, he couldn't believe his rotten luck. After all this time, just being alone with her like this, and he was apparently still feeling it - that silly old crush. He realized that his older self had been right all along; it was impossible to be who they were, and not have feelings for both girls.
He shuffled his feet and scratched the back of his head, "Or maybe you're hungry? I'm sure you didn't even get a chance to grab breakfast," he said uncertainly, when she turned to face him.
It had been these feelings for her that had made him hold on to her older self so desperately in the future in the beginning. As to when the transition had occurred – it wasn't clear, the actual 'when', of starting to see them as separate people. It must have been when he'd started developing feelings - bone marrow embedded feelings for her older self—but ultimately that's what had happened. They were two completely different people to him now, neither of them having anything to do with the other.
"Um, no…that's okay Gohan, I'm not hungry. I don't need anything." She started to rub her hands together as if she was feeling cold, but then abruptly dropped them back onto her lap.
"Okay," he said. He had to sit down now; he couldn't exactly remain standing, towering over her even more than he already did. She was seated on the very edge of the double seater facing the window. She looked uncomfortable, as if she'd abruptly rouse to her feet and bolt at any minute. He chose the single seater adjacent to her, deliberately avoiding the proximity of the spot next to her on the same couch.
"I guess I should be happy that I was right about you after all, I knew it from the beginning," she started, "the whole Saiyaman thing." She tried to go for a weak smile, but it didn't quite make it.
"Um…yeah, I guess." Gohan was slightly surprised. Was this what she wanted to talk about? He felt…uncomfortable in her presence, at least which was something familiar.
"I can't imagine how tough for you it must have been, waking up in a world like that," she stole a glance at his missing arm. "I feel so stupid and self-involved, feeling so sorry for myself this whole time after Gohan…I mean the other Gohan…you know; and meanwhile you actually had some real problems." She shook her head, her fingers intertwining.
"I'm sorry you got caught up in this mess Videl, I wish-"
"It's not your fault; this Kai guy or whatever, what an ass huh? I'm sure there could have been another way," she scowled in disapproval.
"Still," he began to say. He wanted to press his apology forward. The older Videl had denied him so many opportunities to apologise and consequently beg for her forgiveness and understanding. It wasn't the same, but…he'd at least get to apologise to one of them.
"No, don't apologise. That's not what I wanna…urgh…" she shot off the edge of her seat and began to pace, a clear indication that she was frustrated with herself. "This is not easy for me, but…I…what I want to say is," she stopped pacing and threw one pig-tail back with her hand. "See, I didn't believe in anything before," she swallowed, pacing once again. "I didn't believe in the concept of Gods, or after-lives, or souls. I didn't believe in magic or soul-mates or fate or any of those crazy things." She opted to stop pacing and sat back down on the double seater. "I only believed in hard work, and justice and…strength. My father's strength…which I know now, was all a lie." She scowled again, like something bitter just touched her tongue.
"I'm sorry you had to find out the truth this way," he interjected.
"Would you stop apologizing?" Her tone was just a bit on the exasperated side.
"Uh…sorry," he mumbled.
"Sorry, didn't mean to snap. It's just that…I want to make sure that I get this out right, you know?"
Well, actually he didn't know, but he nodded his head anyway.
"There was a theory seven years ago, that 'God' brought back all the victims of Cell as a way to reward humanity for our courage during that time, pfft…I didn't believe it for a second. I always thought the truth would be something a little more complicated and original. All my life, I never, ever believed in anything even remotely supernatural or even fantastic, like time-travel, how laughable." She said, followed by a low dark chuckle. It sounded so bitter that Gohan realized that the truth she'd been offered just mere hours earlier was still sitting uncomfortably in her stomach. "Anyway, my point is…it's not about what I believe anymore. Obviously what I believed in was a lie and all those other things are real. I mean, I just met a god today. God, that's so bizarre."
Gohan continued to stare at her; he had no idea where she was going with this. But he knew the other Videl well enough to know not to interrupt when she was on like this. He would be patient, while she got it off her chest. "
"This life, this world we're living in is just," she frowned and shook her head, "well…a fluke, an accident or by-product of a science experiment gone wrong really," she concluded.
Gohan's features visibly reacted negatively to her choice of words, though he didn't say anything. What was she trying to say?
"We are living a re-write, a re-play of the original script. It's sad in a way, to think…that a scientists brilliance was able to undo time and diverge from the 'intended path' if there's such a thing. But Gohan don't you see," her voice rose by an inflection, as she scooted to the very edge of her seat once again, leaning forward so she was as close to him as possible, ensuring that she had his full attention before her next words. "Don't you see that out of all the cities, and all the schools and all the classes, even all the rows of seats that exist," her eyes took on a tiny sparkle, " don't you think that there was a reason why fate chose to place you in Orange Star High? To place you in all my classes, right in my row? What are the chances of something like that happening? This world is so different from the original, nothing is the same, nothing at all, and yet, we found ourselves placed right beside each other everyday at school, not to mention all the times we spent fighting crime together?" She reached out with her hand and grabbed his in hers, staring directly into his face. "Don't you think that it's all just too much of a coincidence? "
"Gohan, we met and fell in-love under completely different circumstances in the original path; one would even say – impossible circumstances, yet we did it. We found a way. And then time-travel happened and then suddenly the circumstances changed, our original lives were completely thrown." She released his hand for a second as she threw her hands up in the air, but then she grabbed his hand again, her voice softening, her eyes too. "Yet, despite all that, we still met again. What I'm saying is…I can't help but feel…that fate, or destiny or the 'Gods', hell, I don't know, the damn universe for all I care. I can't help but feel that," she released a long breath and licked her dry lips, "that we were supposed to meet again, to fall in love again, as fate's way of…correcting or rectifying the order that went wrong in this re-write." She could feel her heart pounding at his startled gaze, but she didn't care, she had to say what was on her mind. "Our destiny was diverged by Bulma when she split time, and now…I just feel like…and I know that it seems insignificant to you in the midst of this threat or whatever, but…don't you think that this swap that this Kai guy did, don't you think that this fusion thing, is yet another interference?" There, she'd said it.
Gohan stared at her as she stared at him. Was she saying what he thought she was saying? Or was he jumping the gun here just a tad? Was Videl, after that long winded speech of hers, in a way, or in a nutshell, or in simplified terms, asking him out? And what more, was she asking him to abandon the fusion?
That couldn't possibly be what she was asking. No, it couldn't be. She didn't even know him, not really. Sure, she knew his older self, and sure she had feelings for him after what had transpired between them and all, but…him? He had never been as bold or confident as Gohan, he had been nothing but a stammering fool around her; the only emotions she had shown around him were suspicion and irritation. No, definitely, he was jumping the gun. She couldn't possibly be asking that.
"I guess what I'm asking, even though there's this big universal threat looming over us blab bla bla; I guess what I'm really asking is...that you don't let yourself disappear into someone else. Stay as you, be Gohan, just Gohan, and not this warrior person. Be you and," he stared even more as she let go of his hand and stretched her arm to cup his face, "when this is all over, let's give in to fate's rectification and see how it works out between us." She finished quietly, and then spared him no time to ponder on it, because a second later, she was kissing him.
That's the chapter, please leave me your thoughts