Both Gohan and Veleet turned to face the direction of the voice. Both knew better than to show their backs to the prince of saiyans for too long. Gohan also knew that he could hold Vegeta off long enough for Veleet to depart. But, an enraged, enticed Vegeta was an unpredictable Vegeta. To make matters worse, as Gohan concentrated on Vegeta's ki, he faintly detected another. The other ki was very familiar to the eldest son of Goku. It was his mentor's afterall. So now Gohan faced a dilemma. Obviously Piccolo, true to his tactics, was shadowing Vegeta. While Gohan didn't mind facing off against Vegeta, he did mind being pitted on the opposite side as his mentor.
Veleet eyed the direction she was headed then back at Gohan and her brother's voice. She too, was in a dilemma...fight or flight. If she remained to fight, she could lose her precious cargo. If she ran, she'd be turning her back on her brother and almost certainly would cause Vegeta to give chase. Hoping the young hybrid saiyan would tip the scales, she simply froze and watched, secretly wishing she could blend in with the mist and trees unnoticed.
"Vegeta, you can reveal yourself. The theatrics really don't suit you."
Vegeta stepped ever so slowly from the shadows. Normally he wouldn't do what somebody else asked him to, unless of course he actually wanted to. In this case, he was going to join the party anyway. He too, also sensed Piccolo's ki. Perhaps for once, the Namek would agree with him rather than his favored student. And so, to allow Piccolo time to arrive, Vegeta opted to take his time and stall. He knew Gohan would not strike his mentor. Advantage: Vegeta.
"You're more pathetic than I thought you were Gohan. I once respected you, but I see now, that perhaps that was a mistake."
"I never asked for your respect Vegeta. As for me being pathetic. Call it what you will. It makes no difference to me. I know who and what I am. I'm satisfied with that. Nobody can change my perception of myself nor my actions except myself."
"You actually believe that crap, even after I've caught you red-handed in a devious act against my bloodline?"
"Your bloodline? The saiyan race is basically extinct. There's only two bloodlines left. Neither can breed with itself without incestual mutations in the offspring. It'll degrade what's left of saiyan blood. Do you want to watch the bloodline wither and die?"
"If it's destined than so be it. I've already had this discussion with my dear old sister over there." Vegeta growled as he glanced over at Veleet, thus letting her know that he hadn't forgotten about her.
Inwardly, Veleet cursed herself.
Upset and frustrated that nothing went smoothly for himself, Gohan opted to take a stand. He was a man now afterall. There was no more submission to the adults anymore. He was on their level and it was time to make it known.
"Vegeta, under normal circumstances, I'd respect your reasoning to interfere with my business, but this time, it's a bit more personal. This matter is between Veleet and myself. And personally, I don't care about your opinion on it." Gohan defiantly said and finished with a smirk of his own. *My mom would KILL me twice over if she knew what I was doing right now.* Gohan thought to himself as he awaited Vegeta's response.
Vegeta's smirk became a scowl as his brows dipped towards his eyes. Being insulted and disrespected by a son of Kakarrot wasn't on his list of pleasures. But warrior wisdom told him to not push the issue just yet. The situation wasn't quite ripe enough. One more player needed to arrive on the scene.
Gohan, however, wasn't about to give Vegeta the time of day. Videl was buying time with ChiChi and if too much time progressed, Videl would falter to his mother's persistent and deadly accurate intuition. He didn't want Videl to ever experience a wrath of ChiChi if she ever found out she'd been duped and by her son no less.
"Look Vegeta, I haven't got all day. If you're going to do something about it, then do it. Otherwise, I'm leaving." Gohan demanded and then turned to Veleet.
"You'd leave if you knew what was good for you." Gohan warned.
Veleet however, was still in a stunned shock. She remained frozen, like a deer standing in front of an oncoming car. Gohan cursed inwardly and returned eye contact back to Vegeta.
"She knows better." Vegeta said with a chiding confidence.
Gohan drew a deep breath. He was unsure as to how to handle the situation and make it win-win for everyone present. He longed for his father in times such as these.
Videl had enough of trying to stall ChiChi.
"He uh, left to pick up our pizza."
ChiChi snickered lightly on the other line. "If I recall correctly dear, pizza can be delivered."
"Uh, well that's true Ms. ChiChi, but you see, the pizza place is backlogged on its deliveries and Gohan didn't want to wait. Plus he said the pizza would likely be cold by the time they got here. So, he offered to go pick it up."
"That sounds more like Gohan. But, still, something doesn't seem right. "
*Geesh, she's better than me at this detective-hypothesizing stuff. Maybe the police investigation force could use her...no, she's only like this when it comes to her family.* Videl thought as a bead of sweat scampered down the side of her face.
"What doesn't seem right?"
"Well, my son said he'd be back by a certain time."
"We're uh, running late. It takes a while for Gohan to convince Sharpener about right answers. Sharpener puts Gohan through the gauntlet everytime he disagrees with an answer. It happens alot."
"So you're studying?"
"On a Friday?"
"Sure. Gohan's showed us how fun and how better it is to begin studying early. He says we retain more knowledge that way and therefore will get better grades."
"That's my Gohan. Look, is there any possible way you can watch Goten for the night? You can tell Gohan to bring him back with him. I need to go to Bulma's for the night. Something came up last minute. I can drop him off on my way there."
"Uh, well, I uh, I guess so. If he behaves so we can study."
"Just give him some milk and cookies, plunk him in front of the tv with the cartoon tape I give you and he'll be there for a few hours. Then, when he's finished with the food, give him his blanket and bear. He'll be sound asleep in no time. He'll probably stay like that until Gohan brings him home."
"I guess it's okay then."
"Thanks Videl. You'll make a great wife for my son someday!" ChiChi said as she hung up the phone.
"Swell, great. I'll have Goten and no way to know if Gohan's even going to come here at all tonight." Videl muttered to herself. "Gohan, whereever you are, whatever you're doing, you owe me big time."
Back at the "battlefront"
Gohan was growing impatient. Somebody had better do something soon. He decided it'd be him. He walked over to Veleet.
"Just go. Forget about whatever happens here. I can handle it. Just know this. You'd better leave Earthspace because I'm not going to hurt Vegeta so badly where he can't give chase. If you're in space, he's less inclined to follow."
"That was part of the deal anyway wasn't it? I said I'd leave and I will."
"Then go and do it now." Gohan finished as he walked away from her and back towards Vegeta.
"You could've taken me out right then. I turned my back to you and wasn't powered up. You're slipping." Gohan taunted.
"And I'm no idiot Gohan. It only takes a mere second to sense an attack and powerup. You are too much like your father for me to try such an attack. Neither you nor Kakarrot would fail to notice. You'd both counter it, instinctively. So, why waste my energy."
"Well, my back isn't turned now. You gonna blast?"
"I don't do anything somebody else says."
"Spoken like the you of your past."
"Fine then. Sit on the defensive then because I'm tired of waiting and I don't want to be here any longer. Now let me by or I'll go through you." Gohan challenged as he assumed an attack position.
"I'll let you by. If you leave, I can blast my dear half-sister with no meddling from you."
"You cann---" Gohan trailed as he suddenly realized Veleet still hadn't left. She should've been gone already! Gohan silently cursed to himself. What was it with women!? He was trying to save her! Vegeta looked to be in kill-mode and she didn't stand a chance without Gohan's aid.
Before Gohan could figure out what his next course of action might be, Piccolo arrived on the scene. He didn't say anything and just stood there with his ever present stern expression. Vegeta's scowl turned to smirk upon seeing Gohan's eyes widen at the presence of Piccolo. The situation was nearly neutralized now. Gohan would not powerup fully nor strike at his mentor. Things were falling in place perfectly for the prince of saiyans.
Now very upset that Veleet hadn't left when she had the chance, Gohan shot her a very angry look. It didn't phase her of course. She still couldn't figure out why anyone would fear a lowly Namek. To her, the only challenge was still her half-brother and she knew, the young hybrid saiyan who was seemingly defending her could outfight by power alone.
Gohan then shot a glance at Piccolo. It wasn't an angry look, but rather one saying, 'what are you doing here and whose side are you on?' Piccolo remained as impassive as a rock. This meant he had to glance at the only other player on the court...Vegeta. The saiyan prince was smirking. This said a whole lot about Piccolo's position. Vegeta wasn't smirking like that prior to the Namek's arrival. Thinking through it swiftly, Gohan finally saw Vegeta's angle. He would not summon his great powers against Piccolo, even if Piccolo sided with Vegeta. So now, Gohan had to develop another angle, one that would shift the situation into his favor.
"There, There, there they are!" was the sudden outburst that shattered the stand-off. It was Goten, who was flying above and pointing down at them. Videl was right behind him.
"Good boy. You really can read ki." Videl said as she patted the boy's head. The two then floated down and landed themselves right into the situation on the ground. With Gohan's thoughts broken by the interruption, he opted to see what this new set of players would bring into their situation.
Videl quickly noted all present. She fought back the urge to just fling herself at Gohan (then slap him for lying). Her eyes graced past Piccolo and Vegeta, but they intensly locked on Veleet. Why was she there and what did she want with Gohan?
"Well, well, what are we up to Gohan?" Videl teased as the strong half saiyan began to squirm somewhat.
"Yeah, I really believe that Gohan." Videl shot back.
Meanwhile, Goten was looking at all the intense faces and growing bored. There was no fight, there was no food, and there was no fun. Suddenly the item Veleet was carrying caught his eye.
"Hey! That's my brother's! Give it back!" Goten yelled at her as he ran at her.
"He gave it to me whelp." Veleet said as she tried to maintain hold of the canister that Goten was now pulling on.
"He needs that for school so you're lying." Goten retorted. He then went super saiyan and yanked the canister out of her hands. He then powered down and ran a safe distance away from her. Upon reaching Gohan, Goten surrendered the canister to him. But, before Gohan could obtain it, Videl intercepted it.
"What is this Gohan?"
Gohan uncomfortably rubbed the back of his head. "Uh, nothing."
"Wrong again. I still don't believe you." Videl chided.
"Open it Videl." Goten encouraged excitedly. He noticed his brother's discomfort and was itching for a fight of some sort, of any sort.
"Perhaps I should. Last chance Gohan. What's in here?"
Gohan flushed with embarrassment. He had no idea on how to deal with it. He didn't want to tell the truth in front of Videl and Piccolo, but he also knew if Videl opened it, she'd find out anyway and perhaps embarrass him moreso.
"Look, just give it to me okay? Please Videl?"
Gohan's whining prompted Videl to begin unscrewing the canister's lid.
"Please don't." Gohan pleaded again.
"Does it have something to do with monkeybitch over there?" Videl asked.
Gohan shrugged his shoulders in attempt to give an answer yet remain as neutral as possible. It was failing miserably.
Meanwhile, Vegeta and Piccolo became spectators. Why not? Gohan was digging his own grave. Videl would place him in it once she was through with him.
"Not an answer Gohan." Videl commented dryly as she continued to undo the canister's lid. "You know Gohan, I nearly got verbally eaten alive by your mother when she called tonight. On top of that, I've been given babysitting duty. Are you aware of how energetic, short-attention spanned, over-anxious your brother is? I went out on a limb for you and now I find out you've been with this disgusting female all this time? Do you know how much trouble you are in...and I'm not talking about that with your mother."
Gohan said nothing. He hung his head low in instinctive response to being scolded at by a female. It was a conditioned behavior since he was very young. Fortunately for him however, his 'in trouble' look was adorable to Videl. It caused her to question her own actions and she began to feel guilty for yelling at him. (Note: This would never work with ChiChi).
Videl stopped unscrewing the lid. She and Gohan locked eyes and the moment froze. Of course, frozen moments test Vegeta's limits and he despises his time being wasted on some 'tender' moment. With a growl, he used speed and snatched the canister from Videl's surprised grasp.
"If you won't, then I will." Vegeta said as he began to turn the lid.
With the canister now out of Videl's hands, Gohan acted. With his own rapid speed, Gohan was in Vegeta's face in an instant. His hands were also now on the canister.
Vegeta's dark eyes slowly craned upward and shot daggers into Gohan's. Gohan's brows slid downward as his anger level rose.
"Vegeta, let it go." Gohan replied in a deep, soft, yet very stern voice.
"You going to make me?" Vegeta taunted in return.
"Heh, yeah." Gohan smirked as he punched into his mystic level and simply pried the canister out of Vegeta's hands.
Vegeta was about to launch his own attack, but how? With Gohan at a level that Vegeta couldn't even consider matching, what was he going to do? His attacks would be equivalent to throwing cotton balls at the lad.
"This isn't over." Vegeta spat with utmost disgust.
"With you, it's never over." Gohan spat back. Sensing a potential devious attack by Vegeta, Gohan sidestepped slightly so that his body stood between Vegeta and Veleet. One quick blast from the saiyan prince and Veleet's life would end very swiftly. Gohan cared a little more about life than to see that happen.
Vegeta, as angry as ever, growled, but in the dignified manner of a royal saiyan, departed and lived to fight another day.
With a sigh, Gohan then looked over to Piccolo. That same impassive expression still coursed his mentor's face. With a shrug of indifference, Gohan walked over to Veleet, even knowing that as he did so, Videl's ki was shooting up rapidly.
Once there, Gohan gave Veleet the canister back.
"Go. And don't ever come back."
"And the rest?"
"You won't need it. Besides, saving your ass wasn't supposed to be a part of the deal. So, it's been altered somewhat. Be lucky you have what you have. Now leave before I finish what Vegeta started."
Veleet was aware that the rules had changed. She was lucky to get anything at all. Opting not to piss off the half saiyan anymore than he already was, she turned to depart.
"HEY TAIL-LADEN HUSSY! YOU WAIT!" Videl yelled as she stomped her way over to Veleet.
"What do you want now? I'm leaving. He's yours."
"I want that canister back."
"No. That is between my and your boyfriend." Veleet sarcastically replied with a hiss.
Videl's glare bent back towards Gohan. "Let her go Videl, with the canister."
"Gohan, something tells me that she shouldn't. I trust my women's intuition."
"Let her go Videl."
"Tell me what's in the canister first."
"I can't do that Videl."
It was now that Piccolo chose to speak. "Your friend has a right to know Gohan."
"If you don't then I will."
"Piccolo, that's not fair."
"Neither is life kid. Your friend should know."
With a sigh of defeat, Gohan beckoned Videl over to him. Hesitantly she allowed distance between herself and the female saiyan.
"I'm not turning my back on you bitch. So, you'd better not try anything." Videl sternly warned.
"I have no need to. I don't fear you." Veleet shot back.
Videl's hands balled into fists, but she fought herself to remain composed. If she argued, it would stall Gohan.
Once she reached Gohan, he placed his hands on her shoulders. "It's a long story, but do you promise to hear it with an open mind after this is over?"
"Tell me what's in the canister."
"I will, but first I want you to promise to listen to why what's in it is in it."
"Fine, fine. Just tell me already so I can take a crack at her. I deserve at least one good swing at her."
With a soft, barely audible voice, Gohan uncomfortably replied. "My seed."
"Your what!?" a shocked Videl replied back, suddenly feeling very faint.
Gohan didn't reply. He just hoped deep in his heart, Videl would understand it all, once he explained it to her. Right now, he knew she wouldn't. While distracted and trying to keep her own consciousness, Gohan used the opportunity to signal Veleet to leave. Quietly, Veleet launched into the air. Piccolo followed, to make sure she was headed for her ship. He would continue to follow her until he was certain that the saiyan female had left Earth's space.
A short moment later, Videl regained all her senses. She looked this way and that, and noticed both Veleet and Piccolo were now absent. She then looked back at Gohan with lost, saddened eyes.
"How, how could you?" she began to angrily sob.
"You said you'd hear me out. Please allow me to explain."
Videl ignored him and pushed him away when he tried to console her. Gohan knew now wasn't the time to try.
Noticing his brother who had been distracted from the whole situation by some fresh berries in bushes nearby, Gohan summoned him over.
"Goten, c'mon, we're going home."
"Wait, there's more black berries here."
Goten groaned, but complied. He launched into the air. Gohan followed close behind but halted for a moment for one last glance at his dear friend. "Please Videl, understand." he said to himself, then continued on his flight home.
Videl simply remained alone on the ground for a while. She needed time alone to gather her senses anyway. Why had Gohan done this? Why did he harbor it as a secret? Was she and Gohan ever going to be as close as they were before the incident? These questions needed answers and it was her heart that had to seek them out.
to be continued...