AN:Yay! A brand, spankin' new chapter! And this is a cute one, too. Plenty of Gohan-Videl fluffiness! How can it be kawaiiness between Gohan and Videl if Gohan's still dead, you may ask? Read on to find out. I don't own DBZ, nor do I own any of the other letters. But I own MY plotline!
Chapter Eight—Dream Dance
The pillow was a comfort to Videl. It was the only shoulder she had to cry on. And cry she did. Hot tears slipped from her eyes, forming tiny drops on the pillowcase; her shoulders shook as she buried her face to stifle her sobs.
Had it only been a few hours since she'd woken up in Gohan's bed with Piccolo and Krillen speaking to her? The past several hours were a hazy blur that had taken eons. She vaguely remembered going back to the battlefield, and then they'd come and taken her back to the Son home. The only really clear thing in her mind were Krillen's words to her on the battlefield.
"He says to tell you he loves you…"
Gohan? Loved her? They'd been officially dating for three months. Could he possibly have been serious? Her heart said yes, but her mind resisted, though not strongly and not for long.
The tears came anew as realization dawned. No no no…I love him…Gohan, why did you leave me?
Despite her anguish, sleep settled upon her rather quickly. Her sobs receded and softened into the slow, deep breathing of slumber.
I'm sorry,Gohan felt tears creep to his own eyes. He'd been watching everyone for most of the day. It was like rubbing salt in an open wound, but he had to watch, no matter how much it hurt.
A hand touching his shoulder made him turn to look at his father. Goku had a strange little smile on his face as he sat down and looked down at the now-sleeping Videl. "Hmm…cute girl." Goku's eyes were dancing. "A…friend of yours?" A slight emphasis on the word 'friend' made it perfectly clear that Goku knew exactly who that was, but was just taking the opportunity to tease his son.
The teenager blushed a little. "You…could say that."
"Go see her."
"What?" Gohan stared incredulously at his father.
"She's asleep. You can visit her," Goku's grin grew wider. "I just talked to King Kai, and he says you can visit her in her dreams."
"Really?!?" Gohan was on his feet in an instant. "Where do I go?!? What do I do?!?"
"Calm down," Goku held up a hand. "It's called Dreamtime. Come on. I'll show you."
Where am I?Videl wondered, realizing that she was no longer in her pajamas, but in her normal school clothes. She stood there, looking around in awe at her beautiful surroundings. She was surrounded, or so it seemed, by a night sky—blue-black velvet sprinkled all over with shining dots of silver. She was floating amidst it, despite the fact that she could feel something solid beneath her feet. Did I die too? Maybe I'll see Gohan…
"You're not dead," someone said behind her, "but you can see me if you like."
Videl whirled around, not quite daring to hope…and there was Gohan.
He looked radiant, somehow, even though he appeared just as he had in life. He was wearing the familiar blue-purple gi, the red wristbands, and the smile that made her go weak at the knees. One hand was extended in greeting.
For a five-second eternity, neither moved. Then Videl crossed the shot distance between them and flung herself at him. She threw her arms around him and cried into his shirt, whispering nonsense and baby talk. Gohan's closed around her tightly; it was the safest she had ever felt.
"So…you're happy to see me?" Gohan asked softly.
She could help but laugh. "Of course I'm happy to see you, moron! But where are we, anyway?"
"Dad said this was called Dreamtime," Gohan answered with a chuckle.
"Is it real?" Videl looked up at him with wide eyes.
"Yes…and no," he replied. "I know that doesn't make any sense. Our real selves are here, but it's not a real place. Understand any better?"
"No," she grinned. "But that's okay."
Gohan's smile faded, and his eyes became sad. "Videl, there's actually a reason I brought you here. I wanted to say I'm sorry…for what happened."
Videl shook her head furiously. "Don't be. You beat that thing. That's what matters." More tears stung her eyes, and she mentally cursed herself for being so emotional. "Besides, they're gonna get those Dragonball things and wish you back to life."
The tiny smile returned, and his expression grew thoughtful. "Yeah, I know." He looked as though he wanted to say more, but something strange happened.
Music started playing. It seemed to come from all around them.
Something clicked in Gohan's mind, and he knew. Good grief, Dad. You're getting as bad as Mom! Oh well. I guess I appreciate the help.
Videl smiled shyly. "Wanna dance?"
Gohan blinked, then smiled sheepishly. "I really don't know how…"
"It's easy!" she exclaimed. "I can teach you. Come on." It took less than five seconds to get set up, and they began moving in time to the strange but beautiful music. It was unbelievably comfortable.
Gohan suddenly grinned and pulled back a little; he held one hand up and spun her around, pulling her right back in when the turn was completed. A few beats later, he wrapped one arm entirely around her waist and dipped her, pulling her back up and into a tight spin.
"You don't know how to dance, huh?" she murmured teasingly.
"Bulma taught me when I was twelve," he admitted, spinning her again.
"Ah-ha!" she cried triumphantly, letting her head rest against his chest. "So what have you been up to? What's it like to die?"
"It hurts. It really hurts," he answered truthfully. "But it doesn't last long. I've been with my dad. Gods, it's wonderful to see him again! I guess didn't realize how much I really missed him. We've been spending a ton of time together, getting caught up and talking and training and stuff. It's great! Oh, and I told him about you. He wants to meet you sometime, but until then, he won't stop teasing me! Actually, I think he might have had a little something to do with this."
Videl made a small noise of agreement as a particularly poisonous thought began forming in the very back of her mind. What if…
But she didn't have time to focus on that thought—or any thought, for that matter—anymore. The music was coming from everywhere, and it felt like it was just taking control of her. There were only two things she could do: move with the music, and feel. It was magical, in every sense of the word.
They'd been there for ages when a strange tugging sensation made her mind start working again. She glanced over her shoulder in confusion. "Gohan, what is that?"
He sighed unhappily. "It means time's up. I have to go back."
"What?" Videl half-asked, half-shrieked. "No! You can't! You just got here, you can't leave!"
"I have to," he replied, feeling helpless. "But I need you to do something for me."
"Hang in there," he said softly; his onyx eyes burned into her sapphire ones. "This isn't going to be easy for anyone. But you need to be tough, like I know you are, and keep going. Keep an eye on Goten for me, if you can. He's not used to big brother being gone like this. I'd appreciate it."
He smiled, and her knees turned to rubber. "Remember…I love you."
Her heart shattered inside her. "And I love you, Gohan."
Slowly, she rose up onto her tiptoes, and Videl pressed her lips gently against Gohan's; she was pleased when she met no resistance. Her eyes closed as she gave herself over to the purest emotion…
Videl's eyes opened and she sat straight up in her bed, the comforter falling from where it had been wrapped around her shoulders. For a moment, she didn't quite know where she was.
Or why there was the strange sensation of a featherlike touch on her cheek…
The memory of what had just transpired came rushing back to her. And with it came a warm sense of peace…and a nasty little idea that she recalled ignoring, the kind of thought that picks the worst possible time to manifest.
Gohan sounded so happy when he was talking about being with his dad,she remembered as a strange chill wrapped around her stomach. Ice encircled her heart. What if he doesn't want to come back? What if he wants to stay dead so he can be with his father? She shook her head furiously. No…stop it. You're being silly, girl. Don't do this to yourself. He'll come back. He has too much here not to! His family, his friends, school…you…he has to come back. He has to. You know he will. Have faith, Videl. He'll come back. He'll come back…
Even as she repeated that thought over and over to herself in her mind and settled back under her comforter to try and resume sleeping, she wondered just how empty the words were.
Somewhere in Otherworld, three people were talking, and someone was having an equally hard, equally unpleasant time, though of an entirely different nature.
"Nice, Gohan. Yeah, that was nice."
"Shut up, Dad."
"Hey, this reminds me of a joke!"
"Keep talking, Dad."
AN: Come on…I had to make sure Videl knew Gohan was safe and sound over in Otherworld. Also, at some point in some story, I'll have to fully explain Dreamtime. I made it up for Laid to Rest, and it seemed to fit in with a few other things, so it became a regular plot device.
Next chapter, I guess the hunt for the Dragonballs begin. I think. I haven't written the next chapter yet. But I promise I'll get to it a lot faster! I'm going against my normal rules and juggling two major stories at once. I really don't like doing that, but in this case I guess it's necessary. Sayonara!