I don't think there are enough apologies for delaying the last chapter out this long. Some of you who I've been talking to know this year started out with nothing but drama over here, most of it isn't worth repeating so I'll simply say sorry for the wait.
I'm going to be moving again, and I'm hopeful that I'll get that creative motivation back to build up momentum and keep it going. There are a lot of projects I'm hoping to tackle this year and I'm thankful to you guys for putting up with my bouts of erratic posting behavior.
I had about a page and a half to two pages of this chapter written for the longest time, and just couldn't get in the feel good mood I wanted the rest of the chapter to have. When it finally hit me I flushed it all out in one sitting. I hope you all enjoy!
Chapter 6: Good Tidings We Bring
"Wait, you can't just leave me here!" Icival resorted to begging the young Sovereign Guard as Gohan allowed the eternal shroud to envelop them. "No! Wait! Come back! PLEEEAAASE!" But Gohan had made up his mind, for what Icival did to his friend he'd let the monster float for eternity in a state that might as well be death.
Though now, having fought in the void, Gohan knew there was no way his actions had gone unnoticed. A brilliant energy overtook him as he was pulled across the dimensional plane. The vortex dragged him along an iridescent path until light sprang forth and Gohan found himself deposited on the Sovereign Kai's world.
The world looked exactly as he had last seen it; tree covered mountains, clean flowing water, and the indigo sky. A creaking sound caused Gohan to slowly turn as the door to the Sovereign Mansion was opened before him.
"It's good to see you again, Gohan," The Kai smiled as he stepped down from the entrance.
"Likewise," Gohan bowed formally but said nothing more.
The Kai also watched Gohan carefully for a moment, judging his body language before asking him, "Is something the matter?"
Gohan straightened back out, "I guess I overstepped my boundaries a bit… I'm sorry."
With a wry smile the Kay looked on past Gohan, "Really, I'm not the one you should be apologizing to."
"Hmmm?" Gohan questioned before he turned around again.
Behind Gohan was a towering silhouetted giant, standing at least twenty feet tall, with claws for hands and large glowing red eyes, "YOU WENT ON AN ADVENTURE WITHOUT ME?!"
Gohan gulped nervously, "Hi Phips…"
The impish gremlin deflated back to his normal size and crossed his arms, "Of all the inconsiderate, asinine, and narcissistic actions on your record, this one takes the cake!"
Gohan blinked a few times, "Am I really that bad?"
Phips shrugged, "Maybe? I'm not even sure what most of those words mean…"
"Oh," Gohan couldn't help but grin as Phips trotted around him.
The Kai shook his head, "In any case Gohan, there's no need to feel anxious, I have been watching the events unfold on your world since this morning, and I feel your actions were mostly appropriate given the circumstances. Good job."
"Thank you sir," Gohan bowed.
"Though next time…" The Kai chuckled, "Try and remember that you're on vacation and it's alright to call in an incident and let someone else handle it, there's no need to involve yourself in every minor scuffle, even if it does happen on your world."
"I'll try to keep that in mind," Gohan's voice was still downcast, a fact that had not been missed by his otherworldly friends.
"Gohan?" Gohan turned to Phips who was holding out the six star dragon ball, "I think you were looking for this?"
Emotions started running through Gohan as he kneeled down and embraced his friend, "Thank you."
"No need to thank me, saving the day is what I do!" Phips gave a sharp-toothed smile as Gohan took the ball, "Now don't leave your new friend dangling in other world for too long you big softy."
With a nod Gohan stood, "Oh, Sovereign Kai, sir, I did have a question while I'm here."
The Kai tilted his head, "And what might that be?"
"It's in regards to my age and immortality…" A hand from the Kai signaled for Gohan to stop.
"Gohan, if there's one thing you've proven to me in the time I've known you it's that you have the power to forge your own destiny," The Sovereign Kai's gaze softened, "Your life is yours to make of it what you will, the decisions are yours to make, and the path is for you to discover. How things will progress with you is something even I cannot know for certain."
Somehow the answer seemed fitting to Gohan as he smiled, it was something he'd known somewhere all along after all, "Thank you sir, I suppose we'll see how things look next year."
"Indeed we will," The Kai smiled, "Then Phips, would you return Gohan to his home realm?"
"I can do that, maybe I can even take care of some errands while I'm out," Phips rolled up his sleeves as he used his rift shift technique to transport he and Gohan between dimensions.
"Perhaps sending Phips wasn't the wisest choice…" The Kai thought to himself as he returned to his manor.
The sun was setting as Gohan flew towards his own home. The last few days replayed through his head. He helped save the world from a threat that chased Vegeta's brother to earth, collected all seven dragon balls, made some new friends, and fought off an interdimensional smuggler who was destroying another world to sate his own desires. It was a good feeling being able to help like that.
An island came into view as Gohan flew across the ocean. There were tall buildings and some construction going on it seemed. He recognized a billboard on the front with Mister Satan's picture on it.
"The Super Gorgeous Wold-Saving Hotel huh?" Gohan felt a familiar signature nearby and floated toward one of the towers where light was shining out through a window.
Peeking in for a moment Gohan saw Videl and three of her friends sitting around a room where a fireplace was burning. They were eating some kind of pastry treat, and wrapped gifts were sitting on a nearby table underneath a glowing star hanging from the ceiling. They were all joking and laughing and singing.
"Everyone's happy, I'm glad." Gohan whispered to himself as he floated away from the window and continued his flight home.
Something caught Videl's eye as she stepped away from the conversation and walked over to the window. It was too dark to see anything, but for some reason she stared out into the darkness as a feeling of contentment washed over her.
Her friends eventually pulled her back into the pack of festivities.
Mt. Paozu came into view and Gohan could already smell the dinner his mother was cooking. "I'm home!" Gohan called as he landed.
"Gohan!" Goten immediately ran out to his brother, "You're back! Where'd you go? What'd you do? How come you didn't take me with you? Did you go on an adventure? Was it fun?"
Gohan put Goten in a headlock to calm him down and simply replied, "Yes."
"Boys, wash up, dinner's ready!" Chichi called.
"Coming!" they shouted, and despite how quick they were at washing up Goku still beat them to the table.
Chichi prepared an extra large meal for the evening, and everyone happily ate to their fill, "And once you're done eating we can get to the presents."
"Presents!" Goten yelled happily, and cleaned off his plate.
In the living room a large golden glowing star was leaning against a pedestal and several wrapped boxes were laid out behind it.
Goku pulled one of the gifts out, "This one is for Goten."
"Ohh!" Goten excitedly ripped the paper off to reveal a remote control helicopter, "That is so cool!"
"And this one's for Gohan," Goku handed Gohan the next small box.
Gohan was much more delicate when it came to removing the paper, trying to carefully pull the tape from the paper without tearing any of it.
"Gohan, the paper's not going to be reused, go ahead and tear it off!" Chichi encouraged.
With an energized grin, Gohan tore the paper from his gift and found a capsule inside. Clicking the capsule ejected a guitar and music book, "Whoa." Gohan's eyes widened as he looked over the instrument.
Chichi explained, "You've spent so much time studying concrete subjects that your father and I felt it was time you had some creative avenues to explore."
Gohan strummed a cord to hear the tune reverberate through the room, "Wow, thanks!"
"The next one's for both of you," Goku slid a medium box over which Goten and Gohan ripped open together to find their own video game system inside.
"Yes! Now we don't have to go to Trunks's house to play video games, this is awesome!" Goten yelled in delight.
"And these boxes was left by the door today Gohan, one's addressed to you… but I'm not sure who it's from," Goku handed Gohan a small package which had a label that read "To: The Son Family" but in the "From" portion there was a strangely drawn face with long ears and sharp teeth grinning widely.
"Oh dear…" Gohan whispered as he unwrapped the gift.
The box was opened and everyone stared confused at its contents, "It's… a rock?" Goku scratched his head in a befuddled manner.
Gohan found a note inside and read it aloud, "A remnant of Planet Vegeta-Sei, let me know if any of you feel weak or anything once it's open."
"Well it's a nice rock and has its own stand and everything… but why would it make anyone feel weak?" Goku asked confused.
"It's just… never mind," Gohan pushed it aside and cautiously pulled out the next box addressed to him. He actually held the box away from his face as he opened it as if afraid something might explode from the box. When nothing happened he looked inside and pulled out a can, "Acme… fart spray?" A tag dangled off the side of the can that Gohan caught and read, "Quit acting like an old fart."
Gohan shook his head as Chichi looked disgusted by the gift and took the liberty of taking it from Gohan's hands, "I think I know a good place for this…" and took it to the outside trash.
They were about to clean up when Gohan noticed another capsule inside the box from Phips. Curious Gohan reached for the capsule and clicked the button. The little capsule began vibrating violently for a moment as if it were stuck and unable to process whatever it was trying to expel. Gohan dropped it onto the floor and all of the sons watched as it rolled and shook and bounced for a few more seconds before it finally burst open in a huge cloud of smoke. Once the smoke settled a brand new display stand was left upright in the Son's living room, nearly seven feet tall, and suspended in it was Gohan's old toy.
Gohan ran his finger along the hilt of the Realis and pulled it out with one hand. A note was attached to it which simply read, "Follow no heart but your own, make your own choices, carve your own destiny."
A slightly emotional look crossed Gohan's face, "This is so going in my room."
"That's fine," Goku laughed, "I think it'll look good there."
"Let's go play outside, please! I want to try out the helicopter!" Goten begged.
"You boys should go play," Goku encouraged.
Gohan tilted his head to the side, "I'll help mom clean up, then I'll be outside."
Goten huffed a bit, "Do you mean it this time?"
Gohan gulped, "Of course!"
Goku followed Goten out the door and Gohan and Chichi began clearing out the wrapping paper and dinner plates.
They worked in companionable silence for a moment before Chichi finally spoke, "Gohan, I'm very proud of you, you know that right?"
It always made Gohan a little uncomfortable receiving praise, so he shifted on his feet a bit, "Yeah, of course, thanks."
Chichi could tell she opened up with a line that Gohan found a little embarrassing, but she needed to get something off her chest, "What you did for those people in North City was very selfless of you, you're such a good person."
A shocked expression crossed over Gohan as he dropped a stack of boxes he'd been carrying, "How'd you know about that?"
The question made Chichi nervous as well, "I have my ways…" Gohan frowned silently as his mother's dodged his question. Unable to take that expression from Gohan, Chichi explained, "When Goku started talking about a strong warrior and you caught in the middle of it… He seemed fine as if there was nothing wrong in the world, but I had to know for sure so I caught Baba and had her tune in her ball to catch the last bits of everything. "
"Mom… I was fine," Gohan shook his head almost exasperatedly.
"I know but…" Chichi had to choke back tears before explaining, "But Gohan, honey, listen, I need to tell you something serious that I haven't ever told you." It was confusing seeing his mom worked up all of a sudden, but Gohan let her continue, "And what I need to tell you is, I'm sorry."
Gohan rolled his eyes, "Mom, you don't have anything to…"
"I never gave you a chance to be yourself and be a child. I never let you play and have fun. I was always so worried about the real world that I never paid much attention to your world. And that's why I'm happy you've been given this chance, to be young and carefree for however long it lasts. I guess what I'm saying is… please don't be in a hurry to grow up too fast. I want you to have the fun I never let you have when you were smaller," Chichi had spoken so quickly she'd worked herself out of breath.
Quivering slightly, Gohan tried to respond, "Mom I…"
"Let's just leave it at that Gohan," Chichi was obviously emotional, but she spoke now with a sense of finality, "There's no need to say anything, just keep your mother's words in mind when the time comes."
"Okay…" Gohan promised.
"Good," The two both felt much better after the talk and finished cleaning the rest up quickly.
From outside Goku shouted, "Hey Gohan, come on Goten and I are waiting for you!"
"Go on then," Chichi smiled to her oldest son who nodded to her before running out of the house.
As Gohan walked across the yard he found Goten and his dad by the measuring pole. Goten had his back against it and Goku was marking his height again, "Would you look at that Goten, you must be hitting a growth spurt, that's another inch!" Goku cheered as he pulled the ruler from Goten's head.
"Woo-hoo! Come on Gohan, let's check if you've gotten any taller too!" Goten urged.
"I don't know Goten…" Gohan mumbled quietly. He looked to his dad for support, but Goku only held out the ruler and gave a supporting smile, "Alright…" Gohan took the position with his back against the pole. Goku set the ruler on top of his head and marked Gohan's height.
Gohan stepped away from the pole and tried to change the subject, "It's a little dark for flying that helicopter huh?"
"Wow Gohan, check that out!" Goku exclaimed.
Gohan turned and saw there was a new mark left for him. The indenture Goku made was nearly an inch above his eleven year old mark. Gohan stared at the mark in amazement with his mouth hanging slightly open for a moment, not even comprehending his brother's cheering.
Goten settled down and checked over his brother, "Are you alright Gohan?"
The disbelief slowly faded and turned into a smile and then a laugh. Gohan turned to Goten with an emotionally happy look on face. Goten was about to ask something else when Gohan grabbed him by the arm and dragged him off, "Come on Goten, we need to go play!"
Forgetting whatever had just been on his mind, Goten went along with it, "Yay!" The two flew off chasing Goten's toy helicopter over the forest.
Goku grinned to himself as he watched his boys playing carefree in the starry sky, "A happy Winter's Day for sure."
Thanks everyone for reading.
So that's where I intend to leave the subject on Gohan's age for a while. He's growing, just much slower than normal. To me what I wanted to convey in this special was that we may not always get exactly what we want, but that through troubling times and less than favorable situations may you always find hope for the future. That and despite how old you may feel, always find time to be a kid. I hope that left everyone feeling good about things, it definitely helped uplift my spirits some.
So sorry again that this ending was so delayed. A Holiday Special ending in February… geesh I'm bad. Hope you all forgive me and I'm hopeful to start a few other projects here soon. I've got a few stories I want to finish up before ZAT continues. Part of me is even considering interjecting with a new DBZ story with my own version of Gohan and Videl in school. Not having ideas for stories has never been my problem… narrowing down which story I want to work on… that's a challenge.
This is far from the end of what's in line for ZAT. I want to get back into the ZAT: Serius Prime sub series and write a few more episodic stories within that entry, some of them may even include Gohan as a guest star! I've even been toying with the idea of expanding ZAT into other fandoms such as Blue Dragon to expand on the background and story arcs of other characters involved with the universe. And of course the next big installment of ZAT has a lot of notes going for it already. I want the next mainstream installment of ZAT to blow away every preconceived notion that has ever been set in DBZ before, and that's going to mean getting things a little crazier than they already are. And to do that I've been laying the groundwork down and giving out some subtle foreshadowing in both the Immortal Saiyan saga and this Reviving Dreams saga.
It means a lot to me to have people leaving feedback and enjoying the story as it goes. It really makes this whole process feel like a collaborative effort. I've been doing the writing, but so many great ideas have come from everyone out there following along that I can't thank you enough for helping me be just as excited to see the story unfold and the details shine through.
Thanks again, and I do hope to hear from you all soon!
'Till next time!