Fandom: Dragonball Z
Publish Date: 8/10/2002 to 1/3/2003
Disclaimer: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I do not own DBZ.
"Oh! I get it!" Videl said happily. Gohan grinned back and they moved onto the next section.
She and Gohan were studying for the upcoming trigonometry test. Probably Videl’s worst subject, it was something that Gohan had been doing since he was about eight. And of course, when she’d asked him to help her, he’d readily agreed. And it was finally making sense to her.
Well, some of it was, anyway. Half of it was still soaring twelve feet over her head.
But what they moved onto wasn’t twelve feet over her head. More like fifty feet. Oh, it was so confusing! And Videl didn’t like not understanding things.
Finally, she threw her pencil down in disgust and put her elbows on the table, resting her chin in her hands, trying to look pitiful. "This really sucks."
Gohan smiled, somewhat amused at her frustration. "It’s not that difficult. Really, it’s not. You’ll get it eventually. Let’s try another approach..." They’d been at it for a while, and due to the heat of the day, Gohan had rolled his sleeves up to his elbows.
Three ‘different approaches’ later, Videl once again chucked her pencil against the table and threw her arms up into the air. "I give up! This is impossible!"
He set his pencil down a little more carefully then she did and held out his hands, palms up, in a gesture of helplessness. "Videl, I’m doing the best I can! There are only so many ways to do math problems, and one of them has to work for you!"
Videl looked down at the table, still feeling quite frustrated. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have noticed something strange on Gohan’s hand.
Or rather, his left wrist.
A thin white line stretched from his palm halfway to his elbow. If she didn’t know better, she would have said that it looked like a scar or something...but why would Gohan have a scar like that on his wrist? Unless...unless...
No way, she told herself firmly. I’ll ask, and he’ll tell me it’s a birthmark or something weird like that. That’s all. It’s nothing.
Videl reached out and grabbed his hand so that he couldn’t pull it back. Gingerly, she traced the line with her thumb before looking up at him. "Gohan, what’s this?"
The smile disappeared. All the color drained from Gohan’s face, and he immediately shuttered his expression. "Nothing," he said softly, yanking his arm back so suddenly that she didn’t have time to brace for it and as a result lost her grip on his hand. He immediately put both hands under the table, out of sight, and looked at her pointedly. "Let’s get back to trig, shall we?"
"Gohan, what is that?" she asked again, knowing full well that she shouldn’t be prying, but unable to help herself. This guy has way too many secrets! "Tell me!"
"No. Just forget it," he replied evenly, keeping his eyes on the textbook in front of him and his hands safely hidden under the table, out of sight. "Let’s try the trig again."
With much force, she managed to wrestle a good chunk of her attention back to the task at hand, but she was distracted. Why would Gohan have a scar like that?
As they settled back into their work, Gohan seemed to relax quite a bit. He actually pulled his hands back into view and rested them on the table, though he seemed to be unconsciously rubbing his wrist. But he seemed to be completely comfortable again, right back to normal. Videl tried her best to bite back her curiousity, but her eyes kept straying to his left wrist.
When he leaned across the table and reached out to point to something on her paper, she couldn’t control herself. She took his hand in both of hers and slowly rotated his arm, allowing her to get another, far better look at that scar.
She could feel the muscles in Gohan’s arm beneath her touch, especially as she traced the path of the thin white line halfway up his arm. When she looked up, she was quite startled to find herself looking straight into his dark eyes.
In her eyes, Gohan saw the question; in his eyes, Videl saw the answer.
"I did that when I was fourteen," he said unhappily. Videl recognized the tone. That voice meant that he would have rather swallowed live sea urchins than tell her, but he already understood that she wouldn’t get off his back until he gave her a straight and honest answer.
"You did what?!?" Even though she knew what a scar like that meant, Videl was still shocked.
"I tried to kill myself when I was fourteen years old," he replied.
"But why?" Videl asked incredulously. Gohan—shy, sweet, intelligent Gohan—he just didn’t seem like the suicidal type!
"Because I wanted to die," he said softly. "My life was crap. I lost control of the lie, and everything went straight to hell from there."
Videl looked suspicious. "The lie?"
"The lie that I was over my father’s death. The lie that everything was all right. I told a whole bunch of lies from when I was eleven to when I was fourteen, and they caught up with me. When everyone found out what I was doing, suicide was the only way I could think of to get away." Gohan’s eyes dropped to the tabletop as he realized that he’d just given her a nice wide opening to pry into a time he didn’t want to talk about. Now or ever.
She saw the opening, and pounced. "What were you doing?" Thoughts of drugs, sex, and violence towards others chased each other through her mind. But it wasn’t any of those.
Gohan sighed and decided to just get it over with. Chances were that she’d find out eventually anyway. Or at least, he figured that she would. "I cut myself, Videl. Daily for three years. That’s how long it took for me to slip up enough so that my mother found out about it, and she recruited Vegeta and Piccolo to find me. They had to hunt me down because once I realized that my mother knew, I ran away. Well, to make a long story very short, they caught up to me. But I couldn’t go back. So I used one of my trusty razor blades and cut my wrist open."
Videl was staring at him open-mouthed. Whatever she had been expecting, it certainly wasn’t that. "So what happened?"
"Dende healed me, and they took me home," he answered shortly.
"Is that all?" she asked.
"No," he replied, knowing full well that she’d know if he lied. "A bunch of other stuff happened that I’d rather not go into right now, all right?"
For the first time in all the time Gohan had known her, Videl nodded and backed down. But she did ask another question. "Will you ever tell me?"
He shrugged noncommittaly. "Maybe."
"Are you okay now?"
"Yeah," he lifted his eyes again to meet her gaze so that she would know he was telling the truth. "It took a lot of time, a lot of help, and a lot of love, but I got over it. And I learned my lesson. I haven’t done that since." He paused and chuckled. "Actually, I pretty much owe my life to Goten. I doubt he remembers it, since he was only two years old at the time, but his love pulled me back. He saved me."
"Will you ever tell him?" Videl’s heart was cracking in two. How could anyone possibly know that kind of despair? She had never expected this out of Gohan.
"I don’t know," he said honestly. "Maybe. When he’s older. Right now, I don’t think he’d understand, and he’d probably get scared if I told him now. He’s too young still."
"Well, I’m glad you told me," she said truthfully. "I’m glad you know you can trust me with all these secrets you seem to be keeping."
"Actually, you’d be amazed at how nice it is to actually have someone I can talk to. I mean, outside of the gang," he rubbed the back of his neck. "They already know all the details. And I owe them a lot too. Goten may have pulled me back, but a two-year-old sure as hell can’t beat any sense into a person’s head. That honor fell mostly to Piccolo, Vegeta, and my father." He paused. "It was kind of weird, but when I was...dying...I saw something strange. You know how everyone says your life is supposed to flash before your eyes? Well, mine did. But I remember very clearly that the last thing I saw was a young man talking to someone, a teenage girl. I didn’t have clue what it meant until one day, I woke up and looked in the mirror, and realized...the guy was me. Not long after that, I found out who the girl was. You. I don’t know what it means, and I guess it really doesn’t matter. I never told anyone about that, though. None of my friends know. I just told them that my life really did flash before my eyes." He stopped again, and got a strange look in his eyes. "I owe everyone so much...and I doubt I’ll ever be able to repay it."
"First of all, that’s what friends are for," she leaned back. "They keep each other sane. For example, I don’t know how I survived all that time without my trusty sidekick Saiyaman around to block all the bullets and stop missiles in midair." He feigned a pout at the part about him being a ‘sidekick’, and she smiled at him. "And secondly, I’d be willing to bet that you keeping a solid head on those shoulders and not doing anything stupid is payment enough for them."
He nodded sheepishly, then cleared his throat. "Well...now that you know almost everything about me...let’s try this trig again."
A companion piece to A Price Paid in Blood.