I realize there are many, many fics out there about Gohan and his school days. But one more cannot hurt, can it? I did my best to bring a new approach to the theme so give it a chance, 'k? Some Gohan/Videl later on because they are my second favourite canon couple.
Disclaimer: By now, it should be quite clear that Dragon Ball/Z do not belong to me, given it had already been being published for two years when I was born.
The school was a nice place once Gohan got used to the multitude of people attending it alongside him, some nicer than the others. The teachers quickly took liking to the polite and attentive student and his courteous and helpful behaviour won him the regard of the majority of his classmates. There was still an occasional suspicious glare tossed his way by one Videl Satan, brought on by his Golden Warrior appearance on the first day of school but as the days passed without any further incidents with that warrior, her suspicions slowly disappeared. The Great Saiyaman was another matter but the two of them had yet to meet face to face and so Gohan was safe on that front for the time being.
Two weeks into the term, their homeroom teacher brought in a stack of pamphlets that he passed on to the students.
"It took slightly longer this time since there was some scheduling trouble but this is the final list of the optional courses offered by the Orange Star High School to the students. Look it over and you have until the end of the week to choose some of them. I'd like to remind you that you cannot pick more than three courses and that once you pick a course, it is going to count as a regular subject, so don't think about slacking off. If you don't feel confident in your ability to handle an additional load, don't choose a difficult course. Now, you have the rest of the lesson to look the pamphlets over and start thinking about your choices."
Gohan took the paper handed to him, quickly looking over his options. The opportunity to attend additional, more specialized lessons, often aimed at gaining practical skills, was one of the main reasons for his attendance to this particular school. One subject name caught his attention as his eyes skimmed down the sheet of paper.
It sounded far more interesting than other choices, especially the short description given underneath.
The goal of this course is to teach students how to do an in-depth research and to improve their ability to think outside of the box. A development of a critical thinking is one of the main necessities for passing the course. The skills learned can be utilized in any field that requires research and analysis - scientific disciplines, journalism, police and detective work and several others.
Gohan smiled. He had already decided he would take this one. The last thing he did was check up the name of the teacher. Ms. L. Trigger. He wondered what kind of person the teacher was but let it go. He would get to see her on Monday, after all.
After a discussion with his mother, Gohan decided to take only the course in Investigative Science. Most of the other offered courses were merely advanced versions of the normal lessons, for the students who wanted to delve more into languages or sciences. Given that Gohan had already reached a college level of knowledge for most of his academic subjects, the additional classes would be just a waste of his time. IS was the only remotely interesting subject and it would come useful in any scholarly activity he might undertake in the future.
So come next Monday, Gohan didn't head home right after school as usual but he made his way across the school into the classroom number D30. He was among the last people there and when he looked around, he could see it was going to be a small group. There were six people in total, including him. He nodded to some of his acquaintances and sat down in the back of the class, looking expectantly at the door.
Suddenly, the door was slammed open and a panting Erasa appeared in the doorway. The friendly blonde looked across her shoulder as if waiting for someone.
"Hurry up, Vi. The teacher's not here yet."
Gohan sat up straighter. He wasn't that surprised by Videl coming - she had made no secret of her ambitions of being the best possible crime-fighter in town and having honed detective skills went a long way towards that - but Erasa's presence shocked him a little bit. The blonde wasn't stupid, per se, she just showed a lack of interest in anything school related. That she even decided to take an additional class was surprising.
He didn't have time to contemplate it longer because Erasa spotted him and squealed in joy.
"Hey, Gohan! You're taking this course, too?" she headed straight for him just as Videl walked into the room, took a quick look around and then followed her blond friend to the back.
"Gohan," she greeted him.
"Videl, Erasa," he returned as the two sat down next to him before turning to Erasa and explaining. "This was the only course that seemed interesting to me. The rest of the classes wouldn't give me anything new."
"Yes, you're so smart, sometimes I feel so stupid next to you. Maybe you should tutor me in private if I have problems in the class," Erasa winked at him flirtatiously.
"Sure, if it helps you," Gohan stammered, flustered by the attention. "I mean, you're smart enough but if you have trouble with some material..."
"You're so sweet, Gohan," she said while Videl looked on in amusement. Seeing Gohan fall to pieces because of a girl's attention was priceless. The short interplay was interrupted when the door opened again and a blond woman who looked to be in her early forties walked in. She was dressed in a dark blue pants suit and the only accessory she was wearing was a headband holding her curly hair back from her face. She looked the gathered students over as she walked to the teacher's desk, set down a briefcase and then turned to face the class.
"Good afternoon, students," she began. "Welcome to Investigative Science. I am your teacher and you will address me as Miss Trigger. My first name is of no concern to you. There's not that many of you which is just fine. This class isn't for everyone. If you feel that you don't have an open mind and are ready to accept that the world is not what it seems, then you still have a chance to walk away. During the course of the lessons, we will be challenging many of your preconceived notions, often venturing into events that you might deem impossible to have happened. However, everything you are about to learn is the truth. I will be very demanding of you, not in an amount of homework or assignments given but rather in asking you to be ready to accept that anything is possible."
She paused and let the words soak in.
"If you aren't ready to have your world turned upside down, I understand. You can walk out that door and I won't hold it against you. If you decide to stay, though, you are agreeing to consider everything you are told without denying it outright. Is that clear?"
There was an agreeing murmur from the students and everyone stayed seated. Gohan was now very curious. If anyone was used to having their world turned upside down and accepting that anything was possible, it was him.
"Good," Miss Trigger smiled. "Now, I'd like you to introduce yourself and tell me what led you to choosing this particular course."
The answers went along the usual lines. Most of the people present wanted to attend because they had a feeling the course would be useful in their future careers. Erasa wanted to be a journalist which came as a surprise to Gohan but after thinking it over for a while, it made perfect sense. The girl was always in the know as to what was going on in the school. Videl wanted to improve her police work and Gohan himself replied that he was looking for a career in a scientific research.
Once they were done introducing themselves, Miss Trigger opened the briefcase and pulled out several sheets of paper.
"We won't have a standard lesson plan. This course aims to teach you through experience mainly and so I will give you several topics to research. We will discuss your findings in the class, witwh everyone pitching in with their opinions. Now, which one of you have either an interest or practice in martial arts?"
Three hands went up, including Videl's. Gohan didn't raise his since he hadn't trained in martial arts since the Cell Games and didn't feel like pulling his experience out. The teacher, though, had other idea.
"Mr. Son, you didn't raise your hand."
Gohan stared at the teacher. How could she know?
"I'm not interested in martial arts," he replied slowly and the teacher shook her head.
"I said interest or practice, Mr. Son. I was under the impression you were trained."
Everyone was now looking at him and Gohan blushed at the attention. This was something he had wanted to avoid. But how could this woman know he had had training? Gohan had never seen her in his life.
"How do you know?" he asked and Miss Trigger leant back against the desk.
"Mr. Son, I have attended three World Martial Arts Tournaments in the past. The 21st, 22nd and 23rd. I watched as Goku Son and Chichi Gyuumaou got engaged right in the ring and I find it hard to believe that the son of the World Champion would have no knowledge of martial arts."
Videl stood up in her chair so fast it fell over.
"You are the son of Goku Son!"
Gohan laughed uneasily, scratching the back of his head.
"I didn't think it was a big deal."
Videl sank back into her chair, her eyes still trained on Gohan. Not a big deal? His father was a martial arts legend and it was no big deal. Even she was prone to bragging about her Dad, though she had become better about it in recent years.
"Yes, that's all good. Now, can I put you down as a martial artist, Mr. Son?" Miss Trigger asked and Gohan nodded. The cat was out of the bag anyway. Still, the woman remembered his parents after twenty years? That was weird.
"Good. That divides the class nicely into two. Those who are interested in martial arts, please, sit together on the left. The rest of you, gather on the right. These will be your study groups for the two projects you will be working on for the rest of the term. The themes will be these. For the martial artists - Aliens on Earth: Truth or Urban Legend? and for the non-martial artists - Flying and Shooting Beams of Light: A Bunch of Tricks or a Forgotten Technique?"
They could hear the capital letters in the project's names while Gohan was on the verge of suffering a mental breakdown. Both of the topics came dangerously close to his secrets and he wondered if this was some kind of conspiracy to make him reveal them. But that was stupid. Very few people on Earth were aware of the truth concerning both of those matters and all of them were his friends or family. It was just a coincidence. That was all. Gohan looked up at the teacher and was shocked again when she winked at him mischievously.
"Any questions?" she asked, ignoring the spooked out teen at the left side of the classroom.
"Yes," one of the non-martial artists, a boy named Ruler as Gohan recalled asked, "Our project is too easy. Everyone knows that the flying and those beams of light are tricks."
"How does everyone know they are tricks?" the teacher elaborated.
"Mr. Satan said so."
The woman sighed sadly.
"And you fail right in the beginning. Tell me, if Mr. Satan told you the sky was green, would you believe him?"
"Just answer me."
"No. I know the sky is blue," Ruler said slowly. "But that's different."
"No, it's not. You can't ever rely on a word of a single person. You have to demand proofs. You have to validate things with your own eyes. You have to think about the matter and draw your own conclusion. That's what this course is about. To teach you not to blindly accept what you are told. Always ask, always question things. Otherwise you will be just like the majority of people who are unable to look beyond what is familiar and who are afraid of the unknown. But if humans didn't brave the unknown, we would never have reached the place we are now. If some of us didn't believe in impossible, we wouldn't have the comforts we have now.
Mr. Satan claims those things are tricks. I say they aren't because I have witnessed such feats at the three World Martial Arts Tournaments and I say no tricks are involved. Which of us is right? That's up to you to find out. Do you understand your assignment now?"
The boy nodded as did the rest of his group and Miss Trigger turned to the other group.
"What about you, any questions?"
They looked at each other and mutely shook their heads.
"Very well. You know your assignments. I'd like you to look for some sources until the next week and bring some samples to talk about - magazines, newspapers, videos. Anything that might give you information on your tasks. We will then talk about how trustworthy some of the sources are and how to tell if they are viable. That would be all for today. See you next Monday."
The students stood up and slowly trudged out of the room, the realization that this course was going to be unlike any other sinking in at last. Gohan was in a half-daze and so was the last to leave, catching the sight of his teacher pulling a mobile phone and calling someone. Straining his hearing, he tried to catch some clues to why this woman unsettled him so much.
"Hey, it's me... Yes, I'm done... Fine, I guess. Little spooked by their assignments. And guess what? Gohan's in the class... Yup, looks a lot like Goku except the hair... Okay, I'll tell you later... Okay, meet you in the usual spot... Love you."
He was startled to find Videl regarding him with concern.
"You okay? You spaced out there for a moment."
"I'm fine. Did you need anything?"
Videl gestured to where the other two members of the group waited for them.
"We thought we would start on the assignment right away. You coming?"
"Yeah, I'll go."
Gohan shouldered his pack and followed the small crime-fighter down the corridor. One thing was for sure, this year was going to be interesting.
Well, any comments?