Videl nervously clutched Saiyaman's larger hand. "I'm sorry, I'm not really used to all this."
"Heh don't worry, I've never done anything like this before either," the superhero said as he returned the squeeze.
After much insistence from Erasa, Videl had finally relented and agreed to go out on a date with Saiyaman. Her blonde friend had been quick to suggest the movies or a fancy restaurant but Videl had shot her down - that would turn too many heads too quickly and even though her plan required the pair to catch the public eye, she needed to make sure Saiyaman was convinced first of all. After his cautious words the other day, Videl could tell that he wasn't entirely convinced that she was suddenly attracted to him.
It had been a few weeks since she had first kissed Saiyaman and Videl had been making slow progress with the man. In the few encounters that she'd had with her 'crush' since, she'd gotten to know a few interesting things. Apparently the strange techniques that he could use were not the 'tricks' that her father claimed them to be, but Videl wasn't so foolish as to believe the masked man. Then, it turned out that he apparently lived very far away from any major cities - she wasn't sure if there was any real truth to that though. He could fly or whatever, sure, but Saiyaman made it sound as though he flew halfway across the world on a day-to-day basis.
"I guess we're both new to this then," said Videl as she attempted to smile as she looked upon the stars. She felt that it came off a little forced but Saiyaman didn't call her on it.
"We'll be able to figure it out eventually," said Saiyaman, however Videl couldn't shake the feeling that his tone was a little uninterested. He wasn't on to her, was he? "So why don't you tell me a little more about yourself?"
"Says the mysterious crime fighter who won't even let me see his face," jabbed Videl before relenting. "There's really not all that much to know about me, I'm just Hercule Satan's boring old daughter."
"I know how that feels," said Saiyaman as he turned his head sideways to look at the girl as the couple laid on the slightly damp grass. "To live in the shadow of one of your parents…"
"Pfft, you can shoot blasts of energy and fly with the birds. I'm sure you couldn't have failed to live up to anyone's expectations," said Videl genuinely, even if she didn't believe the boy's own words.
"I don't think I'll ever live up to my dad," Saiyaman said with a slight shake of his head. "He's a great man, but we're getting off topic. You were telling me more about yourself?"
"Bleh, you know pretty much everything there is to know about me. I'm Videl Satan and I like to beat up criminals in my own time," Videl shrugged unsure just how much she wanted to reveal to the caped crusader.
"So you're a bit of a martial artist then?" Saiyaman asked in what she could only imagine was a joke. Even though she couldn't see through his black-visor which had fogged up a little due to the temperature, she could picture one of his eyebrows to be arched up high.
"Yeah, you can watch me on T.V. when I win the next World Martial Arts Tournament," she said cockily as she sat up a little abruptly.
Saiyaman whistled lowly. "You're going for a World Martial Arts Tournament title, you must be the real deal then."
"What kind of joke do you take me for?" Videl grit her teeth slightly, it felt as though he was toying with her. Inwardly she knew that she was allowing herself to get riled up but she wasn't going to let any clown to insult her fighting skills. "You wouldn't even be able to keep up with me in a fair fight."
"Really?" he asked with what seemed to be a snicker. He wasn't really behaving like the superhero that Erasa had convinced her to use - he didn't seem as anywhere near as nice. "Shall we see then?"
"You're on," said Videl with a grin as she leapt to her feet. She had been itching for a fight and this whole dating deal was definitely not her thing. "None of those bullshit tricks or anything though."
"Fine," he laughed a little as he stood up too, dwarfing her with his height. "No tricks, then."
"You seem pretty confident," stated Videl as she cracked a few knuckles before flicking both her pig-tails behind her shoulders. "Let's make this a little more interesting then. If I win, you have to tell me a bit more about yourself."
"And if you lose?" asked Saiyaman, an almost calculating look upon his face.
Saiyaman chuckled a little, looking amused, before beckoning her forward. "Alright then, give me your best shot."
Videl thrust a fist with her bodyweight behind it at the superhero, hoping to catch him off guard and shed the first blood of the match. Unfortunately, he saw it coming and sidestepped it with ease. The Satan girl quickly raised two hands in a cross to block the inevitable counter-strike but when it never came, she looked up in shock momentarily before capitalising on her fellow crime-fighter's mistake and leaping backwards where she had a bit more time to think.
She regarded him carefully under her watchful eye, waiting for him to try and attack her but he didn't budge an inch. Meeting his eyes in confusion, she was angered to see his mouth arched up in the slightest hint of a smile. Charging forward, she feinted with a faux strike to his left cheek before bring up her knee in an attempt to make contact with his gut, however he simply leaned back with ease causing her attack to fall short.
Regaining her balance by bringing her foot back to the grass, she rushed forward and aimed for his solar plexus - a weak spot close to his gut which would wind him if she made contact - but he gently caught her fist in his firm grasp.
"Godammit," Videl said in exasperation as she attempted to wriggle her hand free. Saiyaman let go without much of a protest before ducking below the attempted punch to his head he got as a 'thank you' from the girl. She grit her teeth in even more anger than before as she unleashed a flurry of quick strikes that had no real power behind them. She wasn't attempting to hurt him, no, she was just trying - and failing miserably - to break through his guard. But that wasn't working: each punch was evaded, each kick was sidestepped and anytime she got remotely close to making solid contact with him, he merely caught the offending limb in mid-air with such precision that he may as well have been picking a needle from a haystack.
"You can do better than this," said Saiyaman, his sentence more of a statement than anything, as it began to drizzle slightly.
"Just let me hit you!" grunted Videl in frustration as she attempted to hit him with a powerful roundhouse kick. As usual, he stepped to the side with ease as though she were moving in slow motion.
Videl took a deep breath as she surveyed the situation. 'Calm down Videl, you're not going to get anywhere if you charge him like a bull.' This Saiyaman character was certainly faster than she was and even if she wasn't sure if super strength was one of his 'tricks' or not, she was willing to wager that he was probably stronger than she was. The one definite advantage she probably had over him was that she was an experienced martial artist - in the time she had fought alongside the goofy crimefighter, she had noticed that he never seemed to settle into any kind of stance or anything. He had probably not had any formal martial arts training which was in sharp contrast to her own education in the art, given that she had been learning from some of the best instructors in the world since age ten.
After calming herself, she slowly settled into a basic stance. It wasn't complex in anyway and traded obscurity for a sense of deliberate purpose. Her attacks would deal damage when they connected even if it would take a while - her father often referred to this style as the "slow and steady tortoise that wins the race" - and when that finally happened, she would be able to show this Saiyaman punk just who was boss. He was a nice guy from what she gathered, and even though she felt slightly remorseful for how she was planning to use him, he needed to know that she was the stronger of the duo.
With a grin, she moved forward to attack once more. Even though the spar felt like the most frustrating thing she had ever experienced, aside from one of Azel's little power trips, something about the whole situation felt good. Whether it was her newfound motivation to hit the masked boy or the electric sensation she felt when he managed to dodge a punch at the last second as rain danced upon the couple, she would never know.
One thing however was certain: this definitely beat going out to some fancy restaurant.
"So what do I do next?" asked Videl lazily as she lay over the couch.
"Well, I'd say it's probably time to take things public," said Erasa with a smirk on her face. "You guys might not have the chemistry of a couple down pat quite yet but the press don't have to know that."
"What?" exclaimed Videl in shock. "Already? We only came up with this plan like two weeks ago!" Videl could feel her face flushing with colour but she didn't really care, Erasa's suggestion was way too forward for her to even consider.
Erasa ran a perfectly manicured hand through her golden locks of hair. "C'mon Vi, you knew what you were getting into when we started this. You've got to go for it before you miss your chance."
"Miss my chance?" repeated Videl with a questioning tone to her voice. "We've got ages to pull this off and don't you think Saiyaman would get a little suspicious if we rushed into this?"
Erasa muttered something incomprehensible before sighing. "You kissed him two weeks ago Vi, you've gone out with him and you even tried to beat him up! If you don't do this soon, he's probably never going to want to go public with you."
"What do you mean?" Videl's glistening blue eyes shone in confusion. The girl knew next to nothing about relationships.
"Well, Videl, if there's one thing that we know about Saiyaman, it's that he's a secretive kinda guy," reasoned Erasa, continuing as she caught her best friend's eye. "How much does anyone know about him, other than that he's a bit of a goofball? Do you know his name? His age? Hell, you don't even know what's under that mask of his yet! He's obviously not the type of person that craves attention."
"I guess that's true," admitted Videl as she bowed her head. "You're right, he's like one big walking secret."
"Which means that he's definitely not going to want the media after him so your best bet is to imagine you're ripping off a leech and get it over and done with - go public before you two get too attached and you find yourself in a position where you have to explain yourself to him," advised Erasa as she turned on the television. "Ooh I love this movie."
"Well how do I even start to do any of that?" questioned Videl. "I mean, I'm not sure if you're aware but I've spent most my teenage life trying to evade the media… it's not exactly like I'm best buds with them. How would I even go about catching their eye?"
"You're Videl Satan, they already flock to you enough as it is, all you've got to do is get a bit of speculation going," Erasa said, rubbing her palms together as though she were a villain from a cartoon plotting something devious.
"And how do I approach Saiyaman about it, do I just tell him 'hey I think it's time that we told the whole world that we're dating' or something?" asked Videl as she shook her head. Erasa's plan was alright in theory but it would never work.
Videl spat a mixture of saliva and blood out of her mouth. Unexpectedly, a high-scale bank robbery had occurred - there were probably more goons in on the whole thing than there were officers in Satan City - and naturally, she had wound up in the middle of it. Saiyaman hadn't even shown up until almost the end, by which point she had to have taken out at least thirty people single handedly.
They had taken a few people hostage, and as much as Videl didn't want to think about the splatter of blood and brains on one of the walls of the bank, she knew that such things were apart of the job. While no one life was more valuable than another, she was at least thankful that she and Saiyaman had managed to get there in time to save the one young boy in the group of hostages. Siren's wailed loudly as Videl took a deep breath, finally willing herself to step back into the bank which still stank of blood and the metallic body armour of the thugs.
Surprisingly, Saiyaman had yet to fly off into the cloudy afternoon sky. He looked a little disturbed and appeared to be nodding his head awkwardly as a few police officers questioned him. Now that she thought about it, this was the first time that she had seen him witness a death - the first one that she had been unable to prevent ever since he had first shown up to fight crime alongside her.
"You did well, Videl," said a voice that she recognised to be the deputy chief of the police force as he clasped a hand on her shoulder. "I'd take the fact that not a even single one of those involved in the heist got away to be a victory, never mind the fact that you managed to save most of the hostages. Your actions may have not been enough to save that one poor soul but they definitely did save the others - something that the police would never have been able to do by themselves."
"It was Saiyaman," said Videl with a grunt, knowing that she could not take any of the credit. "They had me overwhelmed too, I was just stalling for time… without him I would have been toast."
"Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time Videl," the man, in his late twenties, said with wisdom beyond his age. "What matters today is that you gave it your all and that the people who were responsible for the young lad's death will pay."
"Thanks Liroh," said Videl in an attempt to end the conversation quickly. Just thinking about the dead man made her feel sick to her stomach. She took a deep breath, careful to not inhale through her nose to avoid the unbearable smell, before turning back towards Saiyaman. He was following a few police officers outside the building, undoubtedly either to finally make his departure or to help face the press outside.
It had been a long time since someone had died as a result of a crime in Satan City and people would undoubtedly have questions since the city's two foremost crime fighters were present at the crime scene.
"Hey," Videl said weakly as she made her way towards him, the corner of her eyes upon the police officers ahead of them.
"Hey," he responded, his voice a low monotone in contrast to the usual goofy inflexion she was used to hearing in his voice. "I'm glad that you're okay."
"M-Me too… I mean I'm glad that you weren't hurt too bad either," said Videl as she closed her eyes. She had to bring it up, just to know that he wasn't suffering on the inside because of her own incompetence. "I can't believe that this happened… there were so many thieves."
"I should have been here earlier," Saiyaman said quickly, cutting her off. "Thirty thugs is really pushing it, even for you."
"It's not your faul-"
"I know," said Saiyaman as he nodded his head quickly. "I'm not the one responsible for his death, those thugs are. And they will face justice for what they have done."
The slight curling of Saiyaman's lip that was just barely visible under his helmet betrayed his words. He didn't believe what he was saying and yet his words sounded so wise that she couldn't help but feel that he had dealt with death before. Maybe her first assessment had been wrong?
Her fellow police officers opened the door in front of the two crimefighters and suddenly they came face to face with a small horde of reporters. It seemed that they had gathered quickly since there had been very few when she had been outside not five minutes prior.
"Videl, what do you have to say about the young man who died here today?" a reporter asked as he pointed his microphone towards the girl.
"Saiyaman do you have anything to add? What do you think the motives of the gang responsible were?" another added before Videl could even get a word out.
"Were there any other injuries? Do you have any words to offer the citizens of Satan City as we all try to come to grips with this horrible tragedy?"
Videl took a deep breath, glancing towards Saiyaman who looked a little overwhelmed by all the questions, before responding. "What happened today was horrible and my thoughts go out to the deceased's family. I truly regret not being able to save him and while today is no doubt a dark day, we must do our best to keep sight of the light in these times."
The reporter who asked her the question nodded in understanding, gesturing for Videl to continue her speech as the cameraman lapped it all up.
Videl peeked at her fellow crimefighter once more. She gulped slightly before continuing what she was saying. "I hope that the young man who was taken before his time will be able to finally find peace in the heavens but as I was saying before, it's important to not lose track of the good things in light of horrible events like these. This is something that we can all get through… together."
With that, Videl quickly turned towards Saiyaman and pressed her lips firmly against his as so many cameras flashed that it looked like a meteor shower.
"Caped Crusader Steals Crimefighter's Heart," Erasa giggled as she showed Videl the front page of the magazine.
"I think I like this one better," said Videl, gesturing to the magazine in her own hands. "Satan Swipes Saiyaman Away… Castrol Left for Dust."
"You did things in a pretty creative way," complimented Erasa. "I'd have never thought to turn the press away from a bad situation like that and now the whole dating thing is official. What did Saiyaman say about it all?"
"He was pretty flabbergasted so he stammered for a little bit before hightailing it out of there… I hope he's not too upset with me," said Videl remorsefully. The prospect of using someone for her own gain still did not appeal to her conscience.
"Aww… is our little Videl starting to reveal her hidden feelings for Saiyaman?" teased Erasa with a grin that only the blonde girl could conjure.
"No, of course not," scowled Videl. "It's just that if he's not happy about it, our plan might not work."
"Whatever you say," Erasa continued, attempting to sound as though she wasn't convinced. "I have to say though, that's twice you've kissed him now and two weeks ago I thought that you'd probably punch me for even suggesting it. I'm impressed Vi."
"It's not like it's that much of a big deal," Videl blushed slightly at the girl's praise. "And besides, I've only done it because I've had to. It's not like I wanted to kiss Saiyaman either of those times."
"So you're saying he's a bad kisser, then?" Erasa gasped. "That'll thrown a monkey-wrench in my plans to score off the rebound."
Videl's face briefly morphed one into one of disgust, appalled by the girl's thinking process, before she snapped out of it. "N-No, it's not that. I don't know if he's a 'good' kisser or a 'bad' kisser - I've never kissed anyone else - and he barely even kissed me back both times." That was a lie but Erasa didn't have to know it. "I just don't think this whole romance thing is down my alley; it's not as bad as I thought but I'm not suddenly enjoying it or something."
"You're just in denial," Erasa waved away her protests like she was blowing out a candle. "I mean just wait until you start properly noticing those muscles, you'll wonder how you were ever in doubt."
Videl sighed, knowing that if she gave Erasa a reason to the girl would carry on forever. "I think I'm fine thank you, I've seen enough body builders try to impress me because of my dad. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have to pick something out of my wardrobe for that big dinner meeting tomorrow night."
"Oooh, let me help you!" exclaimed Erasa as she eagerly volunteered. "What have you got in mind?"
"What you had me wearing to impress Saiyaman earlier, minus the heels, the hair and probably a lot of the makeup too," replied Videl. She wasn't that big a fan of the dress either but it was definitely more formal than the oversized white t-shirt she was accustomed to wearing.
"That won't do," Erasa shook her head. "Not at all. You can't wear the same thing twice, especially so soon after you wore it the first time. Remember that Saiyaman's probably going to end up seeing photos of the event and you don't want him thinking that you didn't go to the effort of dolling yourself up just for him."
Videl knew it was a fairly weak excuse and that the blonde just wanted to play fashionista but the Satan girl caved. If not as a 'thank you' to her friend for her help, just in case Saiyaman actually did end up seeing it. Besides, the girl reasoned, she didn't know his identity so for all she knew he could actually end up attending the event himself. "Fine."
"You won't regret it, when I'm done with you, even Azel will be fuming in jealousy," Erasa gave her best friend a toothy smile.
"I suppose if there's one good thing that came out of all of this, it's that Azel will finally have to get off my back."
Videl awkwardly sipped on a glass of water. She was one of the few people that were seated - most were standing up and mingling but the Satan girl had no interest in talking with a bunch of rich, stuck up snobs. Her dad hadn't been kidding when he had said that there would be important guests… a little to her right stood the Bulma Briefs conversing with some other rich person and to her left stood Former King Furry.
Mackenzie and her father were surrounded by a band of other accomplices and wealthy people within their own tax bracket. There were many tables and though there was designated seating, she could already tell that nobody would end up sitting in their assigned seats. She supposed it was for the best that she wasn't bored by her father's fancy business talk since he was meant to be sitting next to her. She just had to hope that everybody would leave her to her own devices and refrain from approaching her - not much to ask for in a room full of the world's most influential people.
The girl really wasn't sure why she had let her dad talk her into coming, it wasn't like alternate energy was something that interested her or anything. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more she felt as though the dinner would not be too dissimilar to one of her geography classes back before she dropped the subject: important but extremely boring.
She brushed a loose strand of hair away from her eyes gently, careful to not ruin the hair-do Erasa had spent twenty minutes on. Her friend had talked her into wearing a backless white dress, complete with a pair of matching - but small - heels. When Videl had caught sight of herself in a mirror she had been pretty surprised, never had she thought that she'd be able to pull off a fancy look but she didn't look half bad. In fact, amongst all the other well dressed and primed-to-perfection people in the room, she looked right at home.
"I was wondering when I'd run into you."
Videl looked up sourly. It was Azel… of course it was. "I was praying you didn't."
"Aww, don't be like that Videl," said Azel with a grin - or a smirk, she couldn't really tell - in an ambiguous voice. A part of her knew that the man in front of her was her childhood friend who she had known for almost as long as Erasa while another was aware that he was just as likely teasing her.
"Why don't you go back to another one of your floozy-girlfriends," Videl said harshly. She wanted nothing more than to be rid of him.
"If you're getting jealous all you have to do is tell me," laughed Azel without missing a beat. "Even after all this time, I wouldn't mind taking you back."
"In your dreams," she said defiantly before sipping down some more water. Azel was alright normally but when it came to discussing their relationship, or lack thereof, he would transform into an intolerable jerk. Videl sighed before trying to take the conversation elsewhere. "So what do you think the big deal about this whole dinner thing is?"
"Alternate fuel sources are interesting things but they make up very little of the market share for energy. They've been closing the gap, yes, but it's like comparing an ant to a goliath," Azel recited, probably having been given the same spiel by his father. "They have very little support so they're hoping to secure a few big names."
"So how's that any different to what you guys want?" asked Videl as she attempted to understand it all. She was used to beating up thugs not business practices.
"Funding the acquisition of fuel from space is a lot more costly than rallying support, for one. We want money, they want endorsement," he shook his head. "Y'know, you must really try to understand these things if you want to inherit your father's image."
Videl snorted. "You're starting to sound like you inherited much more than you dad's image; I don't need another old fart lecturing me." A small silence overcame the two of them before Videl broke it once more. "So if they want support, why would they invite the likes of you?"
"It's standard practice, maybe they were hoping Father would have a change of heart and support the collapse of his own empire," Azel chuckled a little. "Nothing will come of it, naturally, though."
"So why's everyone here then?" There were plenty of faces that Videl recognised who wouldn't be caught dead endorsing alternate fuel.
"To check out the competition." Azel reached out for a glass of water as well. "If they've got something special to show, then these are the people who will want to be the first to know."
Videl nodded, figuring that Azel's words made some sense at the very least. "So do you reckon it's got a decent chance, green energy, that is?"
"I wouldn't invest in it if my life depended on it," said Azel with a smirk. Videl was sure that was mostly because of his family ties but raised an eyebrow as he explained. "We're far too big to be stopped now, even if they offer cheap prices we can go far cheaper and simply starve them out."
"So why don't you then?" asked Videl skeptically. What Azel was explaining, compicated as it was, made sense but she wasn't sure if she could completely believe his words.
"Did you never study economics?" asked Azel with a sigh. "For money of course, profit. Why would we charge less for something when we can charge more for the same thing?"
Videl shook her head slightly. She couldn't really relate… her family had more money than she'd ever know what to do with, and the Castrols had more and then some, so she couldn't really understand what motivated them to keep on making money.
Suddenly the deafening noise of a loud explosion tore through the room as several windows shattered. Videl pulled Azel under the table and ducked as the distinct sound of gunshots rang out through the hall, accompanied by a few panicked screams.
"Welcome, everyone!" a voice, the source of which Videl could not identify from under the table, boomed. "You have ten minutes to turn over every person on this little list in my hand before I start killing the whole lot of you."
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, KakarotSonWrite a Review