Videl wrapped her arms around her legs and tucked her face deep into her knees. She hadn't bothered to come out of her room in what had felt like days, and felt a strange sort of relief when no one had bothered her. Part of her wanted Yamucha to come back and hug her and tell her everything was going to be okay, but the rest of her just wanted some time to mourn quietly.
They had been on the ship for a few months now, and things had sort of quieted down. Chi-Chi had been a wreck for the first three weeks, but slowly she had started to smile again, and get to know Goten. The two boys, Goten and Trunks had been as skittish as could be for the longest time, and had refused to stray far from their parents. However after a while of good food, proper sleep, and some good old fashioned tender love and care they were acting like typical ten year olds, running around the ship, exploring where they could and playing strange games. No one had had the heart to tell them that Gohan was dead.
Goten had asked about his older brother a few times, and Goku had just shaken his head and Chi-Chi had simply begun to cry. Goten eventually took it to mean that Gohan was simply lost again, and would catch up with them later, and no one had the heart to correct them. Everyone had expected Vegeta to be the first to explain Gohan's death, but he had been surprisingly quiet about it. He spent most of his time working out in the cargo bay, or with Bulma and Trunks. No one was sure what was going on in his head and no one except Bulma was willing to find out.
Videl had spent the majority of the trip keeping busy, to distract her from her grief. She played with the boys, or cleaned or worked where anyone had work. She often trained down in the cargo bay, but was sure to stay well out of Vegeta's way. The way he trained was on a completely different level than the way she and Gohan had, and she respected it. For now though, Videl felt like sitting in the quiet of her room and reflecting on him.
After a few minutes there was a knock at the door and Videl uncurled herself and walked over to open it. She pressed the button on the side and the door slid open, revealing Yamucha who was standing there with his fist raised to knock again. He lowered it and smiled at her fondly. "Sorry, Vi. Were you asleep?"
"No." She shook her head. "I was just laying awake. What's up?"
"Well, we're going to be coming up on Earth in a couple of hours."
"Really?" Videl's eyes widened in shock. "Wow, I thought for sure it would take longer." It had been years since she had been home, and the thought of going there brought a warm feeling to her heart. "Alright, I'll get ready."
Yamucha reached over and put a hand onto her face. "And you're really okay?"
Videl nodded. "Of course I'm okay. I mean, I'm still a little sad, but from what I understand, that's normal."
"Sure." Yamucha nodded. He reached over and hugged her, which Videl was happy to reciprocate.
Videl pulled away from him after a while and looked him over. "How are you doing? You know… with Bulma?"
Yamucha frowned. "Well… Okay, I think." He sighed and rubbed the back of his head. "Trunks is a great kid, and all but…"
"You don't like Vegeta."
"Do you?" Yamucha leaned forwards. "I mean, he's the type of Saiyans from those horror stories people used to tell. He's killed hundreds of people, and he doesn't respect her at all. He treats her like nothing, and he doesn't even care about Trunks!"
"That's not true, you saw how happy he was when he saw Trunks come back from Freeza. And he's really protective of Bulma."
Videl frowned and folded her arms in quiet contemplation. "Have you talked to Bulma about it?"
"Then talk to Bulma about it."
Yamucha sighed and put a hand on her head and smiled at her. "Alright, alright, I will. Now get ready. We'll be landing soon."
As Yamucha left the room, Videl closed the door and walked back over to her closet, and opened it, grabbing some more decent clothing and pulled them down over her head. She had to admit that the thought of going home after so long was extremely appealing. She left her room, and closed the door behind her, walking along the corridor and running her hand along the wall.
As she walked she looked up and noticed Vegeta walking towards her, a towel around his shoulders. She stopped and looked over at him. "More training?"
He only grunted in reply and kept walking past her. She turned and looked after him. She frowned and thought on what Yamucha had said, and swallowed, mustering up all her courage. "You know, we all love Bulma."
He turned around and stared at her, raising an eyebrow. "What?"
"Bulma. We all love her. Not just you."
Vegeta raised both eyebrows at her. "Wha-"
"So don't hurt her." She looked away from him. "Cause she loves you too."
Vegeta just stared at her for a few moments, and snorted. "You're a bit damaged in the head, aren't you girl?"
Videl just smiled a little bit. "Are you staying on Earth?"
Vegeta frowned at her, and turned away. "I'm not sure."
"Well, Bulma is going to want to stay for at least a while, and she's probably not going to let go of Trunks. So you should consider it."
Vegeta snorted and folded his arms, but Videl could tell that he meant it as a 'we'll see'. She smiled and turned around to keep walking. As mean as Vegeta could be, it was still quite obvious that he did love Bulma, and he did care about his son. She could understand Yamucha's dislike for him, but she also knew she didn't have the whole story. From what Goku had told her, Vegeta had been with Freeza since he had been Trunks' age, and that had surely changed him. Still, Bulma clearly saw something in him, or else she wouldn't put up with him.
She made her way towards the cockpit, where Kuririn was sitting with 18 at the pilot's chair. He looked over at her and then back at the window. "Isn't that a pretty sight?"
Videl followed his gaze and the view that greeted her was enough to bring tears to her eyes. There was her big blue planet, sitting right outside her window. It had been so long, she had almost lost her taste for home. But seeing it again brought back all sorts of feelings. She walked over to the window and smiled. "How much longer?" She asked, looking back at Kuririn.
"An hour or two." He smiled, taking 18's hand and holding it.
She grinned at the thought and sat on another chair, and spun it around. It had been a while since she had been this happy, and it was a nice difference. She was perfectly content to just sit there and spin when she heard Goku's loud voice drift in from the hall.
"Hey! Stop running you two!"
Goten and Trunks both burst into the room, smiling and laughing and shoving past each other. Videl snickered as Goten ran up to the window, and jumped up, grabbing onto the ledge and hauling himself up to look out. Trunks did the same, propping himself up. Goten looked back as Goku, Chi-Chi and Bulma all walked into the room. Goten looked back and pointed out at the planet coming up on them.
"Is that it, mom?"
Chi-Chi smiled and walked over putting a hand on her son's head. "Yes, that's home."
"Looks small." Trunks tilted his head.
Goku walked over and put his hands on his hips. "Everything looks smaller from far away." He smirked down at the boys. "But it's a lot bigger than you'd think."
Videl stood up and picked Goten up, holding him up higher so that he could see out the window properly. She smiled and rested her chin on his mess of hair, and he poked the glass, drawing patterns into the frost.
"Will Gohan meet us there?" Goten asked quietly, tracing his finger along the glass.
Videl's throat constricted and she felt tears spring to her eyes as she looked back at Bulma and Chi-Chi. Bulma had picked Trunks up, and was holding him tightly, and Chi-Chi had reclaimed a spot at Goku's side. Goku sighed and looked down.
"I don't think so, Goten."
Goku shook his head, and Goten frowned and looked back outside, without another word. Deep down, Videl had a feeling that Goten knew that his brother was dead. And she had a feeling that Trunks knew it too. The two boys were more familiar with death than any other children their age, and she could see in their eyes that they knew. But like children, to them, it wasn't real until it was spoken out loud. Someday they would be able to come to terms with it, but for now, it was alright to let them be children.
Kuririn stood up and repositioned himself at the pilot seat. "Alright, I'm going to start bringing us in for a landing. Every body get ready, and please vacate the bridge so that I can concentrate."
Videl set Goten down, who reached up and grabbed her hand, to walk with her as they all left the bridge. Videl looked up at Goku, who smiled down at her, and walked ahead. Bulma matched pace with her quickly and looked over. "What are you going to do, Videl?"
"I don't know." She shook her head and looked down at Goten. "I want to stay on Earth for a while, but Yamucha, Tienshinhan, and Kuririn… they're my family. I want to stay with them too."
"I understand that." Bulma nodded. "It was hard, after I left with Chi-Chi. I had figured that I would be coming back, sooner than I had. It was pretty naïve of me, but… I'm sort of glad I left." She bounced Trunks on her hip, and he laid his head on her shoulder.
Videl smiled. "Well if you hadn't, I might not have ever met Gohan."
"Well then, you're welcome."
They both laughed and made their way towards the cargo bay, where everyone else was standing around, waiting for the ship to land. Bulma walked over to Vegeta who was sitting on a piece of training equipment and sat next to him, quietly bouncing Trunks on her knee. She could hear them start to argue about her carrying Trunks, and how Vegeta didn't like it, and she walked over to Chi-Chi and Goku, still leading Goten by the hand. Chi-Chi picked him up away from her, and Videl looked over at Yamucha who was sitting off by himself. She walked over to him and sat next to him, leaning her head on his shoulder. He silently wrapped his arm around her and held her, like a big brother would, and she closed her eyes in quiet gratitude.
After a while the ship came to a lurching halt, as it usually did after entering the atmosphere and touching down on solid land, and Videl's breath caught in her throat. She could hardly believe how anxious she was. It had been so long since she had been to earth she was almost expecting it to look completely alien to her.
However, as soon as the door opened, Videl nearly went to pieces. There was a rush of air that greeted her and she stumbled out of the ship, and bent down, prying her shoes off her feet, to let her toes feel the soft grass tickle the soles of her feet. She smiled and leaned upwards, letting the sun hit her face comforting her in a way only the light of home could. She was so relieved, she could hardly contain it.
"Whoa! Trunks! Look! This floor grows hair!" Goten got down on his hands and knees and patted the grass. Videl looked over and slowly realized the two children had never even been outside before.
"It's really soft too." Trunks jumped up and down. He then looked up and shaded his eyes against the light of the sun. "It's really bright out here…"
Vegeta walked up beside his son and put a hand on his head. "Well, this is how it's supposed to be. Life isn't all concrete walls and shackles."
Trunks looked up at his father, beaming at his words, and Goten had meanwhile discovered his first tree, which he was attempting to scale. Chi-Chi had followed him to help and explain what it was he was climbing, and Trunks looked over at his best friend. "Can I go play too, dad?"
Before Vegeta could even open his mouth, Bulma was beside him, taking his arm in hers. "Yes, Trunks, go play with Goten."
Trunks couldn't be happier as he ran off to meet Goten at the tree, and Videl smiled as they continued to play. She looked over at Goku who was looking around, clearly taking in the sights and just plain enjoying himself. She walked over to him and looked off in the same direction he was gazing into. "Home again, home again, huh?" She looked up at him, smiling a little.
He managed to smile back, and nodded. "Yeah, I guess so."
"… It's sad he couldn't come back with us."
"It is." Goku sighed and lowered his head.
Videl looked up and folded her arms behind her back. "Wherever he is… I hope he's happy."
Goku smiled a little bit and looked up holding a hand over his own eyes. "Well, I'm sure he's in heaven. He couldn't be anywhere else. Not my Gohan." He smirked. "As for happy… he might be, but I know one person who won't be."
Goku smirked and turned to her and tapped the side of his cheek. Videl frowned, and furrowed her brow. She knew no one was happy about Gohan dying, but he had said one person. It wasn't until a fist connected with Goku's cheek and sent him crashing into the dirt that Videl was able to piece it together. She screamed at the sudden appearance of another man, and jumped back, before turning to see just who had punched Goku. She gasped and backed up at the towering man before her. He was green, that was the first thing she noticed about him. The second was his pointed ears, and turban that he wore along with a long flowing cloak. Goku sat up in the dirt, rubbing his cheek.
"Ow… Piccolo, come on, that was uncalled for."
"… He's dead, isn't he?" The strange man folded his arms.
Goku looked up at the man and sat forward folding his arms. He nodded solemnly. "He died defeating Freeza."
"Piccolo! Stop hitting my husband!" Chi-Chi stormed over, kneeling next to Goku. "Honestly, I had hoped you would learn SOME manners!"
Videl looked the odd man up and down and looked to Goku. "Who is he?" She had clearly voiced the question of everyone who had gathered around to stare.
Goku stood up, and rubbed his cheek. "This is Piccolo. We used to be enemies, but that was a long time ago. He's not bad now. He helped train Gohan when he was little."
"Oh…" Videl straightened with realization. "You're the one who threw him at a mountain?"
Piccolo turned to look at her, and she instantly felt smaller. "He told you about me."
"More about how you trained him, really." Videl said, averting her eyes.
"I see." He folded his arms. "I had hoped I had done enough to help free him, but apparently in the end I wasn't able to save him."
"Free him?" Chi-Chi blinked, standing up. "What do you mean?"
Piccolo's eyes landed on Chi-Chi. "Did you think the fact that his prison transport crashed was an accident? A stroke of luck?"
"You did that?" Goku blinked. "Wow, thanks Piccolo…"
"Wait, if you helped him escape, then why didn't you come find him afterwards?" Videl questioned, putting her hands onto her hips.
"I tried." He explained. "Unfortunately, I had the rest of Freeza's army to deal with."
"It seems like we owe you a lot, then." Goku smiled at him, and lowered his head. "I'm… sorry that I didn't save Gohan. I know that you cared for him too."
"Well, no matter."
"No matter?" Goku looked up and his eyes darkened. "Is that all you have to say? My son is dead, and it's 'no matter'?"
"Exactly. I had a feeling you'd suffer a few casualties, and I'm honestly alarmed you didn't lose more." Piccolo turned around, and started to walk away, but Goku caught his shoulder.
"My son's death is not a casualty!" He pulled him back, violently, and Piccolo turned around, smacking his hand away.
"You misunderstand my intentions." He said, darkly. "You were right when you said I cared for Gohan too, and that is precisely why I plan on bringing him back."
"Bringing him…" Goku stammered. "He's dead, Piccolo!"
"A condition I intend to remedy." He said, looking back towards the ship. "Does this thing have a shuttle?"
"Yes…" Tienshinhan folded his arms. "But…"
"Well, if I'm going to bring him back I'm going to have to go and get him first. Lend me one." He didn't so much ask, as he did order.
Goku leaned forwards, reaching forwards to him. "Piccolo, what do you plan on doing?"
Kuririn nodded to Piccolo as Tienshinhan instructed him to show him back to the shuttles, and walked inside the ship. Piccolo turned to Goku and folded his arms. "I've taken care of your son whenever you couldn't. This time is no exception. I'm going to bring him back here. Alive. With the help of a gift from Kami."
Goku frowned, and took a few steps back. He was silent for a few moments before he nodded. "Okay. We'll wait here for you then."
Videl watched as the strange green man disappeared into the ship, and looked back at Goku. "Can he do that? Can he really bring Gohan back?"
"I don't know. But… I sure hope so."
And with that, a shuttle took off from the ship's side, and he was gone.
About a year and a half had passed since the day Piccolo had left to go and find Gohan. After a while Videl had started to assume that he just wasn't coming back, or something had gone wrong, or he had been crazy and looking for an excuse to steal their shuttle. Either way, things had quieted down. Earth was still used a hub for alien races, and the loss of Freeza's empire seemed to help business more than hurt. Videl had settled in with Yamucha and 17, the latter of whom had been kicked out by his sister who had decided she wanted a family of her own, and that her brother needed to go out and make his way in the world. This of course meant he spent most of his time on the couch, moping.
18 had started this family of hers, with a beautiful baby girl named Marron, who was now about five months old. Tienshinhan had gone back to the mountains in what Yamucha called an 'enigmatic crisis', which he described as the need to look cool. Of course Videl knew it was another one of his efforts to become stronger, and come up with new techniques. She hadn't been entirely slack with her own training, but she wasn't quite up to par with him just yet.
Bulma had managed to convince Vegeta to stay on Earth with her, for a while at least, and had even gotten married to him. It hadn't been a big ceremony, and Trunks and Goten had hardly been able to sit still through it, and even Vegeta had seemed a bit squirmy throughout the whole thing. Still, at the end of it all, they were married, and both seemed pleased by it. There hadn't been much to say afterwards, but Goku had quietly confided that he was glad that even the battle hungry Vegeta could find some happiness in peace. And Vegeta did seem happy, though Bulma and Trunks were clearly quite happier. It had been very tough for Trunks and Goten to fit into the normal life, and even harder for Vegeta, and even Goku had some trouble according to Chi-Chi. But after a long time of peace and quiet and long restless nights, things had started to go much smoother.
Goku and Chi-Chi had apparently moved back into their old house, where they had lived before Goku and Gohan had been captured. It was nestled at the base of a mountain with quite a bit of open space, that Goten couldn't seem to get enough of. Trunks was often found there with him, as the city where he lived with his own parents, often left him panicked and frightened. Not being used to being around so many people. Still, they were adjusting nicely, and it was good to see everyone feeling so much better.
Videl had settled into her own niche as well. She had started attending school again, and the rest of her time was dedicated to training, or spending time with family and friends. At the moment however, in the height of spring, she had decided to go outside and weed what remained of the garden that someone- she wasn't quite sure who- had decided to plant a long time ago. Something about getting down and working in the dirt, made her feel anchored and good about herself. There was something incredibly peaceful about it, and it was one feminine cliché that she allowed herself. She reached up and wiped her brow as she stood up to admire her handy work. There was a pile of leaves that extended to her calves next to her and only the pretty patches of flowers remained. She put her hands on her hips and smiled, breathing out a sigh of relief at a job well done.
Her breath caught her throat as a voice came in from behind her.
"Some of these weren't weeds. Like this one, see? It's actually a type of agave. Good for burns."
Videl slowly forced herself to turn around. There, standing in front of her, holding the stem of a freshly pulled plant, was a tall black haired boy with black eyes, and a long brown monkey's tail swishing back and forth behind him. Videl felt tears spring to her eyes and she slowly covered her mouth, breathing heavily.
Gohan looked up at her and smiled, holding up the plant. "You didn't damage the roots, so if you want we can sort through it and plant the ones that aren't weeds."
Videl let a laugh that was choked with sobs escape her throat and she nearly fell forwards. "What are you talking about?" She hiccupped, as tears blurred her vision, which only served to convince her further that what she was seeing wasn't real.
Gohan took a few steps towards her and reached out, putting one hand on the side her cheek and wiped her tears. "Don't cry, Videl." He smiled, tilting his head a little to look at her better. "I'm sorry it took so long." He laughed a little. "It was a long trip."
Videl completely lost it then and there. She grabbed onto him and pulled him into a hug. Gohan returned it in full, holding one hand to her head, and putting his cheek on her forehead. "I'm sorry, Videl. I know I broke my promise."
"You're damn right you did." Videl could hardly speak through her sobs, but she managed all the same. "I can't believe you made me wait so long."
She didn't know how he was back, and she didn't care. All that mattered was that here he was, right in front of her, holding on to as tightly as he could. She grabbed onto the fabric of his shirt, and buried her face into his chest. "Don't go again."
"I won't." She could feel him smiling into her forehead. "I mean… apart from going to tell my mom and dad that I'm alive again."
Videl looked up at him. "You came to see me first?"
"I know, right?" Gohan laughed. "I guess that makes you more than a little special, huh?"
Videl smiled and hugged him again. "I can't believe you're back."
"I wasn't expecting it either, but here I am. And trust me, I don't plan on going anywhere, anytime soon. Get this, dying hurts. Who knew?"
Videl smacked his lapel, without looking up, laughing a little. "Take this seriously, I'm trying to have a moment here."
Gohan smiled at her and leaned in and hugged her tightly. "I guess I should just shut up and hug you, huh?"
"That's exactly what you should do."
"Okay." Gohan smiled and closed his eyes, wrapping her up into his arms, and held her tightly. He didn't pull away, he didn't try to look at her, and he didn't speak. And that was all that she needed.
Okay, this was supposed to be up, like... a week ago. But sadly, life decided to punch me in the face while shouting: "NO". I was away from a computer for a while, and was unable to edit and put this up in anything that resembled a timely fashion. Well... Here is it, anyways.