AN: Ah, a brand new chapter. Lovely. BTW, did you all like the fast update? Two days, two chapters, and I'm already almost done with Chapter 13. Not too bad, huh? Well, enjoy! I don't own DBZ.

Chapter Twelve—Sickness

Gohan slammed into the ground, landing on his back. Hard.

His father touched down a few feet away and studied his son with a smile. "I still can't believe you stopped training, Gohan. But don't worry. We'll take care of that in no time."

"If this is taking care of it, maybe I'd rather stay out of shape," the teen commented sardonically. "Man, this hurts like—" he cut himself off at the look his father was giving him.

"Well, come on, let's keep going!" Goku jumped back into the air. Gohan leapt to his feet and followed suit, and the sparring match began anew.

Gohan was grateful for the distraction that sparring so conveniently provided. It meant that he didn't have to think about anything but landing punches. And when he couldn't think about his problems, he felt a lot better about things in general. He still didn't know what he was going to do once the Dragonballs were gathered and Shenron was summoned, and he knew that sooner or later he would have to sit down and make his decision. But as far as Gohan was concerned, there was nothing wrong with prolonging the inevitable, if only for a little while.

Unbeknownst to Gohan, his problem hadn't gone unnoticed. Goku had realized early on that there was something wrong, though he didn't know what. But a blind person could have seen that Gohan was fretting deeply over something. And it bothered him to see the kid so troubled. But there really wasn't anything he could do unless he was told what the problem was. And if Gohan didn't want to share whatever was worrying him, then that was his business and his decision.

And so the spar continued, while King Kai stood on the ground, watching, and enjoying what little food he'd been able to swipe out from beneath the flurry of Saiyan-wielded forks.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ChiChi stared blankly into space; she didn't seem to hear Bulma speaking to her. Not that this was unusual, of course. Since Gohan's death, she had been in an almost trance-like state, a state from which she rarely emerged unless forcibly dragged.

Finally, Bulma got her attention, and the younger woman sat upright and looked around. "Huh?"

The blue-haired beauty sighed and repeated patiently, "I asked if you wanted some lunch."

"Oh. No thank you," ChiChi replied softly, and returned her attention to the wall.

Bulma looked at the wall for a minute, then gave up. There just wasn't anything interesting about it. And besides, if this was what ChiChi needed to do to keep from going into hysterics, then let her be.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Two in one day! Man, we'll have Gohan back in no time!" Krillen rejoiced

Four gleaming orange balls sat in a circle on the ground, sparkling. Since there were so many of them now, the gems were starting to glow.

Piccolo was acting much more friendly towards the other members of the search party since they'd started collecting the Dragonballs. He just wanted to wish his best friend back and finally put an end to the whole damn nightmare.

Even Vegeta seemed happier. Not like he would ever admit to giving a damn about something as trivial as the son of his sworn rival. No way in hell he'd admit that. But he was definitely doing his part. He had almost singlehandedly retrieved the seven-star ball a few hours ago.

That had been a fight. Someone else had it, and didn't want to give it up. It had taken a little bit of Vegeta's special abilities to…ah…persuade the monster who was hoarding the Dragonball to part with it.

Videl secretly wondered if the fire had been put out yet. Since she'd nearly drowned, she'd been treated more like a glass ornament than a person, and really didn't get to participate in any of the fun stuff. And it was pretty annoying. She hated feeling worthless. After all, she'd come along on this expedition to help them find the Dragonballs and wish Gohan back as soon as possible. But how could she help if they wouldn't let her do anything?

But what was bothering her more was the bouts of lightheadedness she had started experiencing recently. One minute she would be just fine; the next, she would have to steady herself to keep from falling on her face. The rest of the time, she felt completely normal. But the sickness, as she thought of it, was getting more and more frequent, and it was only a matter of time before she just passed out.

If that happened, the guys would probably send her home, and that was the last thing she wanted.

She stared at the precious gems on the ground and sighed. Three more. They only needed to find three more, and then this would be over. She could stop worrying and freaking herself out by wondering if she would ever see him again. And she hoped that it would happen soon.

Slowly, she stood up. The guys, who had been studying the radar and trying to plot out the course of action for the next Dragonball, stopped talking and looked at her.

Videl felt the color drain from her face, and her hands started shaking. Oh no, not now…

She turned quickly, which turned out to be a very bad idea. Her pulse was pounding in her temples, and she couldn't even see straight anymore. As long as she could lay down, she'd be fine. She just had to move away from the guys and fall over.

She took a few shaky steps, and realized she was weaving; in the space of about thirty seconds, Videl had become completely incapable of walking a straight line. And they noticed it. How could they not? She was swerving all over the place, like a drunk driver trying to drive on an interstate.

"Videl, are you okay?" Krillen asked. He sounded concerned.

"Fine…just fine…" she said; the woozy feeling tripled, and she felt her knees buckle. "I just need…to lay down for a minute…I'm fine…don't worry…"

Those were the last words she managed to say before Videl collapsed.

AN: Short chapter, I know, and I'm sorry. And I know I'm zipping through the Dragonball search, but I can't write fight scenes at all, so trying to have them fight for them or something probably would result in this story being put on the back burner for another five months, and I don't want to do that. BTW, Videl's problem will be explained. Just wait and see ^-^