Videl clutched the piece of paper to her chest as her father's eyes lingered across her own. "... Dad? Are you alright?"
"I tried my very best..." Hercule muttered, a strange tone to his voice. "... Videl, honey? Do you understand why I took you off the Force now?"
"You still didn't need to do that Dad!" Videl fired back ferociously, "you know what it meant to me!"
"Look, I need to make sure that you'll be alright... if anything happened to me. The force is a dangerous place, sweetie. I know you can handle it, but it's not what you need right now. Especially when you're not managing to cope in school... I wouldn't have minded if you didn't have those memory problems of yours, and since you chose to not repeat the year later... well, your Science results speak for themselves, sweet pea." Hercule winced, as Videl realised that his words came out a little harsher than he had intended them to, but that realisation did nothing to take the sting out of them.
Fifty-three percent... it was certainly going to be one humongous black spot in her final year. She'd really tried, but there was only so much that she could do with such an uncooperative teacher. Perhaps her father was right, maybe she should've just waited till next year?
Sighing, Videl quickly realised that it was far too late now and that there was no backing down. And besides, she wanted to stick with Sharpner and Erasa... it'd be cruel to them if she abandoned them after everything they'd together, over some Science test that didn't work out... that and she'd only be making things harder on herself. Even still... while her father may have had a point, it didn't justify his actions.
"Dad..." She massaged her temples, "I love being on the Force almost as much as I love being Videl Satan. The Force is a part of me as much as I am a part of it... you didn't have to take me off it, you know!" Almost suddenly, she snapped.
"We could've worked through it together, and maybe after a week or two we could've both had what we wanted dad... so... why? Didn't you think of all the civilians who need my help before you went of making rash decisions? Who's going to save them now?" Her voice steadily dropped to a whisper as she glared at her father.
"Look... sweetie, I know you like to help people and I don't have any problems with that. But when that starts to interfere with your life, your career and most importantly: your future... that's when I start to have a problem. And as for all the innocent people, the police should be able to do a fine job of saving them... and if not, there's that Saiyaman person." He attempted to be diplomatic with her, but Videl still had no intention to grant him that right.
"I don't care about that Saiyaman guy! They need me, dad! And I'll be fine, I just needed to get up to speed with things... you didn't need to take me off. And did you ever stop to think what my thoughts on being pulled out were?" She sniffed, rubbing her forehead. He was overprotective and she loved him nonetheless... but he was so stubborn.
"Videl... I know that you wanted to stay on, but sometimes a parent knows what's best for a child. You might not like it, you might hate me for it, but I'm sure that one day we'll be glad I did it. And... I just need to be sure, that if I ever disappear that my little girl will be alright..." He choked slightly, "th-that she'll be alright, if I'm not here tomorrow... that you'll survive and everything."
Videl was slightly taken aback by the sudden change in the tone of his voice, he seemed almost... sad. She supposed that Sharpner hadn't been the only one that had grown up; she never recalled him acting so strange. Unsure of how to answer that, she caved in.
"Alright dad... I'll try and do a little better."
"That's my girl. I'll see if I can't get you back on the force if you pick up your grades a little..."
Gohan angrily pounded on the door of the gravity chamber, noting that he slightly dented the metal that it was made out of. He was almost positive the racket he was making would rile up Vegeta, and that was what he was going for. He was itching for a proper fight... to vent his frustrations and let out everything that had been building up within him lately. Even if he got the snot beaten out of him, he needed to soothe the anger that he was feeling.
Where had it all gone wrong? He'd been trying to keep his distance from Videl, just minding his own business. If all had gone right, she wouldn't have noticed him and he would've pretended to not notice her. But... no... their damn Maths teacher had to screw everything up. His plans of leaving her to herself this time around were all for nil; all the caution he'd gone through over the last month or two for nothing. Instead of barely knowing who he was, she was now sitting next to him every Maths lesson as he tutored her.
Even worse, he couldn't give her a cold shoulder or something... it was their final year of school; if she failed Maths because he didn't help where he could've he wouldn't be able to live with himself. What he was perhaps most furious about though was that comment that their Maths teacher had let slip...
"... You guys used to sit next to each other all the time anyway..."
The extremes he'd gone to, forcing Erasa, Sharpner and Mr. Satan to swear to not tell Videl about the relationship he'd had with her... all worthless. While he couldn't necessarily bring himself to blame their Maths teacher, Gohan was still frustrated. He needed to beat something up or at the very least, to get beaten up. Whichever one it would be, Vegeta was the man to turn to.
Gohan's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the door suddenly sliding up, as he saw a certain Saiyan prince at the control panel near the back of the room. Wordlessly, he stepped in, finding it somewhat strange that Vegeta hadn't yet spoken a word.
"... Hi..." Gohan wanted to kick himself as the word awkwardly slipped out of his mouth.
"What do you want, brat?" A gruff voice resonated throughout the silent chamber as Vegeta turned around to face him.
"A fight... I need to let some stress out," Gohan said, opting to simply tell the truth.
"I don't have the time to play stupid games with morons such as yourself." Vegeta said as he looked away uninterested, his arms crossing against his chest.
Unsure of how to respond, Gohan eyed the sweat-drenched prince carefully. "I meant a proper fight... you're the only person I know who'll take one seriously."
"If I wanted a punching bag, I would be using one of those damn robots. If you want to fool around, seek out the Namek or something... stop bothering me."
"B-but Piccolo won't take a fight with me seriously, and besides I'm st-"
"Stronger than him? Please, you may have the blood of a Saiyan running through your veins but you aren't a true one. Were the two of you to fight on equal terms, you would have your behind handed to you before you could even blink." Gohan wasn't exactly sure what to make of the complement to his mentor's... skill?
Sighing, Gohan smiled good-naturedly at Vegeta. He was just trying to rile him up, it was a typical Vegeta move. "If you're so sure that I'm rubbish, why don't you prove it?"
"I have nothing to prove to an idiot such as yourself," Vegeta huffed. "Now if you're done, I've got some training to do."
Well… that certainly hadn't been anticipated. Vegeta was being a little more stubborn than usual, it seemed. "You know, given all the stuff you go on about, I never would've taken you for a coward." An icy tone coated Gohan's voice as he let the words flow out of his mouth. If Vegeta didn't want to fight him, then he'd make him want to.
"Spare me and take your petty insults somewhere else, brat. Go back to playing superhero with that buffoon's daughter before you bark up the wrong tree." There was a certain sting to Vegeta's voice that hurt a little more than he'd have thought it would.
Gohan clenched his fists slightly as he ignored the older Saiyan's words, trying to remind himself that it was only Vegeta's way of getting under his skin.
"If you want a fight, you've got it." Gohan growled lowly, struggling to keep himself in check.
Gohan's eyes narrowed as he saw Vegeta beckon him forward with a gloved hand, smirking in a slight taunting fashion. Running towards the shorter man, Gohan cocked back a fist as he met Vegeta's cocky eyes.
Unhesitatingly, he punched with all his might as soon as he got within the range of the prince, regretting it only seconds later as Vegeta caught it with a single hand. Snarling, Gohan attempted to snap a knee up into his gut, only to find that intercepted by the man's elbow.
Breaking the man's hold on his fist, Gohan jumped backwards as his arms formed a guarding position. He was a little taken aback when he saw that Vegeta had not pursued him after he jumped and even more shocked when said man simply spoke.
"I'm not one of those pesky morons you fight on your little joyrides around the place, I'd have thought you'd remember that."
Ignoring the jab, Gohan charged forward and feinted a punch to Vegeta's gut before sweeping the man off his feet with his right foot. Preparing to elbow the prince, Gohan leapt forward as the man phased out before his body came in contact with the floor of the gravity room without missing a beat.
Well aware of his exposed backside, Gohan tried to duck as a flying kick flew into seconds later, however it was to no avail and the half-Saiyan was sent sprawling across the room. Hitting the floor with a thud, Gohan quickly sprung up as he looked around for Vegeta, somewhat unsurprised when said man was found to be nowhere in sight.
Turning backwards just in time to see Vegeta about the punch him, Gohan threw his body to the side in a last-minute effort to dodge the blow which was sure to be coming his way. However, Vegeta managed halt and raise a foot to his body just before it hit the floor, sending him rocketing off into the air.
Managing to gather his bearings in mid-air, Gohan clenched his teeth as he drew upon his Ki. With a brilliant flash of gold, Gohan transformed to the first level of Super Saiyan and rapidly flew forward, smashing a fist into the surprised Saiyan's temple.
As Vegeta crumpled to the floor from the sheer force of the blow, Gohan reached down to him, attempting to grab him, but a quick elbow to the gut cut the half-Saiyan's efforts short. Retreating momentarily to recompose himself, Gohan gathered his wits as he cupped his hands.
Charging blue Ki within his palms, the boy kept an eye out for Vegeta with his peripheral vision. Noting that the prince was watching with a morbidly curious eye, Gohan took his time to power up his attack. No doubt, Vegeta had something in mind; whether it was a quick counter, a dodge or to take it head on, so he needed to put his all into the attack.
"Kame… Hame.. Ha!" He chanted as he thrust his hands forward towards his father's rival, unleashing the energy attack upon Vegeta.
Despite the fact that he was in his Super Saiyan form and that Vegeta was simply in his base form, the proud prince managed to halt the energy beam in its tracks by simply putting his hands out in front of him. With an air of disappointment around him, Gohan grunted loudly as he put more power into the attack, smiling with satisfaction as Vegeta faltered for a second.
It was not to be however, as with a burst of energy Vegeta ascended to his Super Saiyan form as well. Knowing that there wasn't going to be much hope for his attack at the moment, Gohan cancelled it as he gritted his teeth. It figured that with all the time Vegeta spent in the gravity room would amount for something… he didn't really stand a chance.
Determined not to give in until the last breath just as his father had taught him, Gohan phased out and materialized beside the smirking prince, delivering a sudden blow with his foot to the older man's head. Gohan was almost surprised to note that Vegeta managed to dodge it with relative ease… it was rather weird fighting someone who could fight back properly after so long.
Robbers were one thing, but people that were on the same level—or perhaps even stronger—than him were a whole other. It was almost a shock to his system, finding out that he was completely and utterly outgunned by the man before him.
Snapping out of his thoughts suddenly, Gohan jumped back a fraction of a second too late as a gloved hand managed to collide with his jaw. Wiping a trickle of blood away, Gohan smirked slightly as he waited for Vegeta's next move.
Even though he was losing... badly, there was nothing quite like a good fight.
Videl lazily stepped out of the shower before grabbing a towel and slowly drying herself off, before wrapping the fabric around her body. With still slightly damp feet, she walked a little over to the right of the room and opening the curtains slightly.
It was a nice, warm day outside and it had her in a relaxed mood. The steaming hot shower had washed away all of her worries and she wanted to do nothing more than bask in the warmth emanating from the burning globe of heat.
It was a Sunday—they'd always been her lazy day, an opportunity to unwind after a tiring week and perhaps begin to prepare for the next one. Even criminals usually took Sundays off, not in the spirit of the day of course, but because banks and the like were usually far more packed as less people had work. The less people, the less of a chance that one of the civilians turned out to be an ex-cop or a judo veteran.
Being kicked off the force wasn't all that bad, while her very identity felt as though it'd been stripped from her, she didn't have to worry about much as far as criminals went. Maybe she even needed the time off, to catch up?
Videl shook her head slightly as she walked through the bathroom door and into her bedroom, picking up the garments of clothing that she'd picked out previously. She could still handle it, fighting was the one thing that had always been a constant in her life, it felt wrong to have it taken away suddenly. Almost as though it'd do more harm than good.
Letting the towel fall towards the floor, Videl put on her underwear as she allowed herself to drift further off into her thoughts. It felt somewhat wrong to do so, to just think, given how lazy she felt.
Fingering the oversized white T-shirt gently, Videl pulled it over her head uncaring that her still-wet hair slightly dampened the material. It wasn't as though the sun wouldn't dry it off anyway, windows were a godsend.
Grabbing her biker shorts, Videl pulled them on as she jumped back on her bed. It felt good to have her normal clothes back on—she hadn't been able to bring herself to wear them since she'd been kicked off the Force, but at the moment she was just in a feel good mood. The feeling of contrast that the almost perfectly warm sun and her somewhat moistened hair managed to create was second to none.
Even though she was showered, and dressed Videl could've sworn that she drifted off for a few seconds a couple of times on top of the comfortable feeling of her blanket.
A loud ringing sound interrupted Videl's moment of tranquility, as the young girl scrambled around her side table for the landline. It wasn't too often that anyone called it, the number was rarely given out for security purposes and most of her father's associates and Videl's friends usually called their respective mobile numbers.
As she sat up, Videl pressed the phone to her ear. She really couldn't have cared less about who was on the other side or what they wanted, she just wanted to lie back down and continue to relax.
'Hello?' An impossible bubbly voice rang out from the phone as Videl groaned slightly.
"Er... Erasa? What do you want, it's like eight in the morning?" Videl asked, groggily rubbing her eyes with each hand.
'Oh hey Vi! Uhh, I was just wondering what you're up to? Doing much?' Erasa questioned in a naturally curious tone.
"Not really, why'd you ring the house though?" Videl asked curiously, as she fished around for her mobile phone to make sure she'd not left it on silentor anything. Spying it on the floor, she stretched out a hand and managed to lift it up.
'You weren't answering on that, so I figured I might as well try this line,' Erasa spoke confidently as Videl lifted her phone's screen towards her face. Pressing a button, Videl sighed again when it didn't respond.
"Figures... it's dead. Sorry 'bout that, so anyway what were you asking me about?" asked Videl as she carelessly tossed the device onto her bed. Making a note to relocate the phone's charger to near her bed so that it would be easier to charge it, Videl shuffled over to the edge of the bed.
'I was going to ask you if it's all right, if come over later? Might have a surprise for you too,' Videl could almost visualise the blonde winking as she heard that.
"Sure, I guess, can't do all that much harm. I guess I'll get ready then, I'm still lying in bed like a lazy butt, but what time are you gonna come over?"
'... You'll find out soon enough.' Erasa said in an overly ominous tone, 'well, I've got to run now but I'll see you soon.' And just like that, the blonde hung up in what Videl could only assume was a hurry.
Videl couldn't help but let a small smile overtake her face as she placed the phone down onto the side table, trust Erasa to run off like that. Heading over to her bathroom one more, Videl cracked her knuckles before stretching a little bit.
Approaching the sink, she pushed the faucet up allowing for a steady stream of water to drop out from below. Videl reached into a cup next to the sink, pulling her toothbrush out from it before grasping the tube of toothpaste that she'd left beside the sink last time.
Gently giving it a little squeeze, she applied a little bit of the minty green paste on top of the cheap bristles of her brush—she'd had to resort to a spare after the bristles on her old one had somehow gotten contorted a couple of days ago.
Dipping the brush under the water, she brought it up to her teeth and began to brush her teeth. Once the Satan girl was done, she rinsed out the remnants of the toothpaste on the brush under the sink before placing it back into the cup. Grabbing the glass next to it, she filled it up with water before gargling and turning the faucet off.
Running a hand through her hair, she noted that it had mostly dried off although it was a still a little wet. Figuring it couldn't hurt to dry it, she grabbed her hair drier and flipped the switch before running it over her hair for a couple of minutes.
Sighing as she realised that while the Sun was still bright it was no longer providing much warmth, Videl turned off the hair drier and placed it back on the vanity. Deciding to forego the signature pig-tails that usually accompanied the clothes she was wearing, Videl picked up her hairbrush and straightened out her hair a little.
Satisfied, Videl placed it back down before walking out the door once more. Entering her bedroom again, she grabbed her mobile phone and placed it in charge near the windowsill. Maybe it wouldn't be too bad an idea to use her video phone as a normal phone, she hadn't been asked to return it and she doubted that she would have to... they were still rare and expensive on the market, and were limited in terms of what they could do.
Her regular phone could pretty much do everything except video call, which was pretty much all her video phone could do except make normal calls. The advantage of her regular one lied in the fact that it could send messages and access the Internet—albeit at high prices and with slow connections—however, her video phone was a lot more portable.
Videl doubted that she'd really be using it for police purposes again, or at least for a while, so it wasn't a half bad idea given how useful it had been while she was a part of the Force.
Deciding to worry about it later, Videl walked out of her room determined to grab something to eat... hopefully before Erasa rocked up. Videl had learned that the blonde girl was serious about dieting and Erasa generally tried to enforce her own rules on her too, usually making for an awkward meal. She didn't care how fat it'd make her, Videl preferred french fries and a burger over a salad.
It was more filling and she usually burned off the calories or whatever—she wasn't sure of the specifics—later that day as it was. She wasn't too sure how she had kept to her workout schedule before the accident, but given that her body was in relatively decent shape Videl assumed that it was probably similar.
It probably wasn't half a bad idea to go running or something though, it didn't look as though she'd need to lift weights for a while but keeping in shape sounded like something sensible. Videl was sure that she wouldn't appreciate being unfit if she ever regained her memories... gahh, the very thought of the whole ordeal was messing with her head.
Shuddering slightly as her bare foot made contact with the cold floor of one of the many corridors that made up her house, Videl pressed on quietly. The last thing she wanted was for her to be found by her father...
She was still at odds with him but at the same time, things had worked out a little. A confrontation would be awkward, she was sure of that much. However there was something off about him the other day.
It hadn't been like the day which she'd initially confronted him, he hadn't been too firm while he still had a strict undertone to his voice. It was almost as though he was feeling sorrowful for her, like there was something she didn't know—a missing piece of the puzzle.
Only time would tell whether that was just her gut acting up or whether or not she was onto something, but his words still gave her an odd vibe. Almost as though he was saying that he knew was good for her, even if she didn't and in a way in which she couldn't really understand... thinking about it just made her think that Hercule was right or that what he had done wasn't all that wrong, which wasn't a path which she wanted to go down.
Father or not, Videl would be damned if she let him skate away with what he had pulled. It was totally wrong, even if Videl didn't remember what exactly had happened she was positive that no form of herself would have let Hercule intervene in that manner.
It made her blood boil but that didn't help soothe the feeling that something was amiss. He sounded worried, almost as if he was trying to forewarn her of something.
It wasn't as if he was going to up and disappear, he was one of the world's richest people. Suddenly the wheels inside her head started turning... if he was rich, it was entirely possible that there'd be high amounts of tax involved.
Tax fraud... she'd heard of it before, it was quite often in fact. Her father couldn't be involved with that or something, could he? It was possible although she doubted it, he'd stuttered a bit but his voice wasn't laced with uncertainty—maybe it was just genuine worry?
That was entirely possible, Videl doubted there were too many parents who'd willingly want their children to fail their final year of high school. That'd affect the rest of her life and it wasn't unlikely that Hercule was worried for her future.
She was an only child, one day she'd have to follow in Hercule's footsteps somehow. There wasn't anyone else that could do it, a manager was one thing—but Hercule's image, one of a fighter, a Satan... it could only be continued by one of his blood. Most of their revenue came from Hercule's image as it was, through various sponsors and everything, they'd need someone to replace him when he was balding and in a wheelchair.
She'd accepted that it'd be her quite a while ago... but effectively being thrown a few years into the future was a bit of a shock. In as short as a year, it was possible that she'd find herself stepping into Hercule shoes... although she hoped to complete Uni first, she wasn't sure what she and her father had worked out before the incident.
Sighing, Videl massaged her temples gently as she approached the kitchen. It hadn't taken too long thanks to the ingenuity of the architect who'd managed to make the place the most accessible room even in a mansion as large as theirs.
Videl was a little surprised to note that no-one was there at all, no maids, no servants and no butlers before she remembered that it was a Sunday. They usually didn't come in until about noon on Sundays, normally because she and her father tended to sleep in a bit.
Shrugging to herself, Videl opened the fridge and took out a loaf of bread. Placing it on the bench top, she grabbed two slices of the bread—somewhat disappointed to find that it was wholemeal bread, she'd been hoping for white—and dropped them into the toaster. Pressing down upon the lever, Videl backed off as it began to toast the bread.
She was far from a master of the kitchen, she was more likely to slice thumb than a vegetable, but she knew how to make enough things to get by. She'd had to learn on the few camping trips that they'd been on at school—although they didn't allow you to go on one during your final year, they'd proved to be an interesting experience for her.
That's when she'd truly began to appreciate the simplicity of toast, quick and moderately filling for a long day of hiking or some other type of activity. It was a shame that she couldn't remember going on a camp without a base camp though, she'd been looking forward to constantly changing the location of where she slept every night.
Grabbing the butter, Videl placed a knife on top of it as she stared out the window, lifelessly waiting on the toast. The martial artist couldn't stop her mind from drifting towards Erasa's surprise however; they generally had very differing opinions on what was good and what was bad.Chances were Erasa had either gotten a new boyfriend, a new hairstyle or a new piece of gossip which she was dying to share. Knowing the girl, it was unlikely that she'd ever share something she considered valuable over the phone and Videl had to agree, there was a certainly something special about talking to someone in person.
It was fairly likely that it was the first option though, Videl was counting the days until Sharpner tried to make a move on her—it was blatantly obvious that the two had something for each other. Perhaps something that they couldn't see, but something nonetheless... that said, Videl was curious to see how Erasa would like Mark. She'd seemed rather interesting when Videl had given her a rough run down on the guy.
Happy to be distracted by the little ping which meant that the toast was ready, Videl pulled out the two pieces and put them onto her plate. Raising one up, she almost took a bite before hesitating slightly. Realising that she'd forgotten the butter, she opened the little box of butter and spread it across the toast.
Taking a bite into it, Videl found that it didn't taste half bad for a piece of toast.