Chapter 2: Parents Just Don't Understand
"You can kill them, if you want to. But I would really like to have a hand in it." - Joanna
There were vampires being brutally murdered in Satan City. A lot of them. Joanna said that in addition to just taking their heads and cutting out their hearts, they burned the rest to ashes. It sounded to me that the killer wanted a little trophy. I had no idea what he or she was doing with the hearts.
To me, being murdered like that was a little excessive. Then Joanna told me that was how you make sure the vampire doesn't heal himself and rise again the next night. Fire also works really well at cremating them.
There's still a lot I have to learn.
I slipped back into my room pretty easily. *That* surprised me. I was ready to have to sneak because either my Kaasan or my Tousan would be still awake. But the house was dead quiet.
Ugh. Bad choice of words.
"Welcome back Pan," came the quiet voice from my bed. I screamed a little and lashed out automatically. I was blocked.
Then the light flicked on. "Tousan?!" I breathed a sigh of relief. But then I was angry. "What the Hell are you doing in my room scaring the crap out of me?"
He frowned at my choice of words. "Where did you go so late at night? I came into your room and you weren't here."
I sighed and shook my head. "It wasn't important. You wouldn't believe me anyway."
"Oh? Well, if you think it was so important to sneak out of the house this late at night *without* even informing us, then I think that it's important that you're grounded for a week. No television, no phone calls, and no going places with anyone." I opened my mouth to protest. "That includes Bra."
I was furious but deep down inside I knew he was right. "Fine, Tousan. Do whatever you want to me, even though I was following your advice when I left tonight."
He stared at me. "What advice was that?"
I turned and look out of the window. I would not answer him. Eventually, he stood and left my room to go and get some sleep.
After school I used one of the payphones and called Bra at her job. I knew she would be annoyed but this was important.
"Hello? This is Pizza Hut, thanks for calling. Can I take your order?" Yes, Bra Briefs worked at Pizza Hut. But it was only until she got through her first year of college. Bulma thought that it was important for her to learn job skills.
"Bra, it's me."
"Pan!" She gasped. "Is everything okay?"
I sighed. "Nope. Tousan grounded me. He was in my room when I came back."
"I see. Well, I know how he found out."
She did? "How?"
"Well you know when Joanna "tested" you?" I could hear the quotes in her voice. "Your ki spiked for a second. I guess it was because you were startled."
"Aw man! That must have been why he came into my room to check on me."
"So what are you going to do now?"
"What else am I going to do? I have to solve the case! Everyone's counting on me!"
"Pan, Pan," She was shaking her head, I just knew it. "When are you going to learn? You can't outsmart Gohan-san, he's just too good!"
"Then I'll just have to tell him. Joanna never specifically said that I couldn't."
"It was a given, Pan-chan. I mean come on! Preternatural beings are secretly living underground in Satan City!"
"Okay, okay. I see your point." I sighed. "But he's really smart about these things, you know? I think he could help."
"If I agreed, I would be talking to Kaasan about it." I heard some words in the background and Bra laughed nervously. "Preternatural beings? I was just kidding! Ha, ha!"
"Yep. Gotta go."
As I hung up the phone, I thought about just how I was going to help the vampires. I mean sure, it was awful how they were dying but I was told it was just the truly evil ones. Wasn't that doing everyone a favor?
I retrieved my backpack from the floor and stuck my hands in my pockets. I still couldn't help but wonder, why us? I know Joanna explained her reasons but there had to be other people with similar powers. More experienced with them too. Bra and I were just two teenagers! Life sure sucked sometime.
"Tousan, Kaasan, I have something to tell you." I sat my parents down in the living room after dinner. I wanted to be in the most comfortable place that I could to spring the news.
"Pan-chan? What is it?" My mother asked. I could tell she was more than a little worried.
"Does this have something to do with last night?" My father was very serious. But he was like that all the time.
"I'm in a little trouble," I looked down at the rug. 'A little' trouble was an understatement.
"How much is 'a little'?"
"It all started when I was coming home from the movie theater yesterday..." As the whole story poured forth, the looks on my parents face changed significantly. As I finished I noticed that Kaasan was horrified while Tousan was blatantly skeptical.
"My poor baby!" Kaasan cried as she hugged me. "What an awful thing to have to deal with!"
"Videl honey," Tousan said in a soothing tone of voice. "Her story sounds doubtful."
Kaasan looked at him. "What do you mean?"
"Vampires existing?" He snorted. "Highly unlikely."
I began to shake my head slowly. "I knew you wouldn't believe me, Tousan. You're too much of a science fact person."
He shrugged. "It just doesn't sound realistic."
"I just wanted to help them just like you said I should," I sniffed. I use tears a lot to get what I want. Usually it works. "Be a good person like you raised me to be."
"Pan, drop the act. I'm not your ojiisan."
I frowned. Damn! "Are you going to let me help or not?"
He shook his head. "I just don't think it's any of your business. If it's real. Murder cases are not for teenagers."
I folded my arms across my chest. "I'm almost eighteen."
"You have no training."
I stood. "I know what I have to do now."
My Kaasan looked up at me. "What's that?"
"I need to move to Bra-chan's house. Vegeta-ojisan and Bulma-san would let me help them. Besides," I began to move toward the stairs, "we're the only ones who can help them."
And it occurred to me, I just might be right.
I did move to Bra's house while we solved this mystery. Bulma-san was quite happy to see me even though she was a little worried about my parents. Vegeta-ojisan was a bit less enthusiastic, but that was just his way.
Bulma-san gave me the room across the hall from Bra's that I always kept stuff in just in case. That's the one thing they'll never be short of: rooms. The Capsule Corporation is huge! I have no idea how many rooms they have total but it should be a lot since the labs and stuff are in the same building. It seems I always get lost at least once every time I'm there. Goten and Ojiisan are the same way.
"So you're staying over," Trunks commented as I finished unpacking. He stood in the doorway, with his back against the frame, staring at me.
I glanced at him briefly. "Yeah, so?"
He smiled in a sneaky way. "No reason. I'm just making an observation."
I straightened up and looked at him fully. "You're up to something."
I rolled my eyes. "Who else is in the room? You act suspicious most of the time but still..."
Trunks is like a brother, a *strange* brother. I mean, the man is always sneaking around doing *something*. I think he's doing something illegal.
I used to have a small, tiny crush on Trunks when I was younger. Okay, so it was a *huge* crush. But I saw him practically every day when he visited Goten-ojisan when we used to live next door to Obaasan and Ojiisan so it was convenient.
Now he's just another guy who likes to drive me insane. Hey, it beats being terrified of me.
"Do you want something?" I asked when it was clear that he *wasn't* leaving.
He sighed and looked away. "Pan-chan, I want to know where you and Bra went last night. She won't tell me and-"
"Whoa! Wait a minute!" I help up my hand. "How did you know we went somewhere?"
He looked sheepish now. "I, um, followed you guys."
That made me jump to my feet. "You baka!" He didn't even flinch. "How dare you follow us! It wasn't any of your business!"
Now he started to back away. "I was curious but I got worried when I went into the alley and you two were gone!"
"That's it," I pushed past him and stomped down the stairs and into the kitchen.
"Vegeta-ojisan," I said sweetly. He looked up from his 'snack'.
"What is it brat?" I hate it when he called me that but now was not the time to correct him.
"You need to do something about your son. He's invading my privacy!" I pointed at him. "Next time it could be yours."
He waited until he finished eating to answer me. "Why should I do anything to help you?"
"Because you like me?" He just stared. "Because you love Bra and *she* likes me?"
He shrugged. "Good enough. Trunks! Get your ass down here!"
I cackled as I passed him on the staircase. I hope he gets what's coming to him.
We didn't even need to sneak when we left her house that night. Vegeta was the only one in the living room and he was watching some stupid police show. Something like World's Dumbest Criminals.
Bra and I, dressed in what we called our "Detective Gear", flew over to the secret lair of Joanna after making sure we weren't being followed.
"Do you want a list of the vampires that were killed?" She asked us after we took a seat in her office. She had on a pretty snappy black pants suit today. "It has their full names and addresses. Maybe you want to question the families."
For some reason vampires having families didn't seem... right. "Do you have something that you need us to do?"
She shook her head. "I'm not a detective. I can just suggest what I think you should know."
I took the sheet of paper from her. "What if the vampire didn't have friends or a significant other?"
"Then they are not listed. I only included the ones you may get a lead from. It would be good for you to begin tomorrow during the daylight hours. For the non-vampires only."
"I understand." Bra nodded. "So, you just want us to find the killer?"
She smiled in a way that I didn't like. "You can kill them, if you want to. But I would really like to have a hand in it."
It would not be good to piss Joanna off. I can see that now.
"Great!" I grinned. "Let's get started then!"
Bra and I began on a vampire, of course. It *was* night after all. It was a man named Xavier who was listed as the best-friend of a rapist named Gunther. I wonder how he got mixed up with that type of person?
"Are you going to do all of the talking?" Bra whispered to me as we stood on Xavier's front porch. "I don't know how to question people like this!"
"And you think I do?" I retorted. "Relax Bra-chan. It won't be so bad."
He came to the door within thirty seconds of the doorbell. Was he waiting for us?
"Come in, come in!" He said cheerfully. "Can I offer you something to drink? Tea? Coffee?"
I raised my eyebrow. "Why would you have tea and coffee?"
He shrugged, still smiling. "You never know when you'll have visitors."
Oookay. Anyway, Xavier-san didn't look like a vampire. He was short and round with a balding head and tiny spectacles perched on his nose. At best he looked like somebody's grandfather. At worst, Santa Claus.
"Can you tell us how you knew Gunther?" This should be an interesting story...
"Joanna introduced us, you see. We had to work together on a project for her and we had a lot in common." Right. About as much in common as the Pillsbury Doughboy and Sadam Hussein.
Then the man's smile disappeared and he said rather sadly, "He was my partner."
I blinked. "Nani?" Partner in what? Crime?
Bra leaned over towards me and whispered. "Gunther was his boyfriend."
My mouth fell open and I looked at him. Jeez, I wasn't even going to ask.
Bra picked up with I left off. "So you don't know who could have done it?"
He shook his head. "I know lots of people would want to kill Gunthy," Gunthy? Gag me with a stick. "but I knew that he just couldn't control himself around women. It was like a mental illness."
That was it, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer. "And you stayed with him?!"
"Pan!" Bra was shocked. I sort of was too. That wasn't the type thing to ask a grieving.... boyfriend.
I looked down at his expensive looking Persian rug. "I apologize, Xavier. It was wrong of me."
He sighed. "Not a problem. I ask myself that same question, too, sometimes."
Bra broke the tension in the room with a question. "Can we have a picture of him for reference? If it's not too much to ask, I mean."
He stood. "Not a problem. There's a recent one that I took just last week with my digital camera." He took a frame from the mantle over the fireplace. "He liked having his picture taken."
I stood. "I apologize again and I hope that we do find his killer. It's sad that you have to go through this."
He nodded and the smile slowly spread across his face again, but this time it wasn't as jolly. He lead us the front door and opened it for us. "Thanks for dropping by. I do love the company, even though it wasn't the best of times."
Bra nodded. "I understand. We'll do all that we can."
We left Xavier that night with him standing on the porch. It was depressing, really, because that killer just didn't realize how his murder was affecting the loved ones of the victims.
Even criminals have friends.