1. Chapter 1 Waking up by StarbearerTM
2. Chapter 2 Breakfast by StarbearerTM
3. Chapter 3 Girl Talk by StarbearerTM
4. Chapter 4 What Happened Yesterday by StarbearerTM
5. Chapter 5 Study Session by StarbearerTM
6. Chapter 6 Visiting Hercule by StarbearerTM
7. Chapter 7 Hercule's Reservations by StarbearerTM
8. Chapter 8 Walk in the Garden by StarbearerTM
9. Chapter 9 Advice from the Briefs by StarbearerTM
10. Chapter 10 Lunch with friends by StarbearerTM
11. Chapter 11 Confessions to Sharpener by StarbearerTM
12. Chapter 12 Necessary Evil by StarbearerTM
13. Chapter 13 by StarbearerTM
Over breakfast Gohan and Videl dance aroudn what happens while Chichi jumps to an odd conclusion and Goku tries to divert her attention.
"I could use a hand with the dishes, Videl," said Chichi. She cast a meaningful glance at Goku, then her older son.
"Oh sure, of course!" Videl nodded. She seemed eager to have something to do with her hands. Quickly she got up and started clearing the plates away.
"Gohan, why don't you and I get freshened up while your mom and Videl clean up?" Goku suggested. Taking Gohan's arm, he led him away while Chichi shooed Videl into the kitchen. Together, they carried the massive stacks of dishes towards the huge sink basin. Like she had before, Videl automatically tied on a borrowed apron and pushed up her sleeves.
Chichi nudged her over, reaching for a dish. She stated, "You look like you've seen a ghost... are you all right?"
"Um yeah... I mean um... I guess I'm just nervous about what my dad will think. I appreciate you going to talk to him, but he's really hard headed," Videl admitted, pushing dishes back and forth under the water.
"I've had PLENTY of experience dealing with stubborn men, and boys. Don't you worry, dear," Chichi reassured her. Handing Chichi the dish she'd washed, Videl then picked up another and rapidly scrubbed it.
"I'm not surprised. Gohan, Goten and Goku seem like a real handful. But sometimes it's a nice change from hanging around at my place. It's so quiet compared to here," Videl commented.
Chichi reached over to catch the dish that Videl almost dropped. "Your father's just like any other man. You have to know how to stand up for yourself without being overly so. And when they don't get it, that's when you get tough."
"I don't think he'd say no to you, Chichi. No offense," Videl laughed.
"None taken," Chichi nodded. For a few minutes the two women continued their detailed work. Occasionally Gohan or Goten would wander in with a fresh stack of dishes from the table, and add to the pile. Quickly they'd dart out again to the main part of the house. Although some would regard this division of labor as sexist, there was a very good reason for them to be afraid. Chichi had made it clear that 'washing dishes' with Videl meant it was time for a little "girl talk". This roughly translated as no boys allowed. However, help carrying dishes was more than welcome. She could hear the whine of the vacuum cleaner in the living room, and guessed Goten or Gohan were pushing it.
Videl felt Chichi's eyes on her and flinched when the older woman asked, "Isn't that Gohan's shirt?"
"I um... yeah my clothes weren't clean and..." Both women regarded one another, especially the odd way in which they were standing on shaky legs with a certain obvious stiffness.
"It's quite all right. I'd expect him to be a gentleman and offer you a change of clothes. But you could have asked me dear. I'm sure I have something that would fit," Chichi said, pacing around Videl a half circle.
"Um that's nice of you but..." Videl trailed off.
"I'm sure your daddy would be even MORE easy to talk to if he saw his little girl coming home in women's clothes instead of Gohan's," Chichi winked.
"Oh yeah, good thinking!" Videl breathed a sigh of relief. Chichi glanced oddly at her neck, and Videl shivered.
"Videl, what's that on your neck?" Chichi asked, and Videl winced.
"I... it's nothing I mean..." Videl babbled. Suddenly a loud crash shattered their train of thought and Videl leaned over to pick up the broken shards. Chichi marched over to grab a dustpan and broom.
"Is that son of mine behaving himself? I told him to wait for the wedding after he was married," Chichi mumbled.
"It's nothing... we were just kissing, and it's not what it looks like!" Videl protested. Chichi gave her an odd look, while Videl held the dustpan and she swept the pieces into the metal container.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of. Goku did the same thing to me after we met at the Budokai. I was wondering if Gohan was going to act similarly," Chichi shook her head. "Honestly, like father like son."
Videl's heart pounded when she whispered, "You mean Goku and you... when you..."
"Oh yes, when we were first alone, and traveling to find the Bansho fan, Goku got a little... frisky, and before I knew it he'd leaned over and..." Chichi started. Videl watched the telltale rosiness spring in Chichi's face, her dark eyes a million miles away. Shards of dishes clattered into the trash can, and the lid slammed down with a definitive clang.
"So you and Goku... I mean this was when you first kissed?" Videl asked.
"It was so strange. When I first kissed his cheek, he acted like he didn't know what to do. And then as we spent more time together he got less shy. It's as if something possessed him. But then, when he came to his senses I found my neck bleeding! It was the oddest thing. Of course I wasn't too happy, but something inside me realized that it must be because he grew up in the woods. It's almost like what an animal would do to claim its mate," Chichi murmured, rubbing her chin. "But to see that Gohan did it to you makes me wonder what's gotten into him!"
"I... so you and Goku... I mean you waited till you got married before you... um..." Videl blurted out. "I'm sorry I shouldn't have asked that! How rude of me!"
Chichi inhaled deeply, and rested her hands on her hips. "Well, you might as well know that Goku and I got `married' in the tournament ring. But he didn't actually do anything after I yelled at him for biting me. I realized I must have scared him off."
"I see. But what's this about a fan?" Videl blinked at Chichi.
"I never told you about the Bansho fan, did I dear?" asked Chichi, with a chuckle. "About how my pa's castle was almost burned to the ground... in fact it was looking for that fan that first brought me and Goku together... it was fate..."
"A fan? Brought you and Goku together? Must have been some fan," Videl stared disbelievingly.
"It was an enchanted fan that could put out any fire... my pa and I lived on top of a mountain, but it caught fire... and well..." Chichi trailed off.
Soon the memories spun out through Chichi's tale, and all talk of Videl's bruise was forgotten. She couldn't believe her narrow escape. Something told her that Chichi was hiding something, because it seemed odd that Chichi had not pressed her harder for more information. What was Chichi holding back, and was it an odd parallel to what had transpired between her and Gohan? Had Goku and Chichi really been together before getting married?
Gohan had said his parents were `married in a Budokai ring'. So if Chichi considered them married, and then a bit of fooling around wouldn't be out of the question. Yet she had just admitted Goku was clueless when it came to what a man and woman did in bed. Something didn't add up. Just why would Goku suddenly bite Chichi and then stop? The whole thing puzzled her. Till she realized that Chichi's forceful protest could have easily scared Goku off from pressing his advantage. Nobody wanted to mess with the Ox Princess when she was angry for long.
Goku was struggling to wrap the vacuum cleaner cord around the machine once more without busting the appliance. Biting his lip, he managed to put it away just as he sensed Gohan's ki approaching. Goku brushed his hands off on his orange training pants.
"So you're you were going over to take Trunks back? And then drop by Videl's home?" Gohan asked, as he wandered in, tugging on his sweatpants. Still damp, his spiky hair stood up on end. Goku smelled the clean uncomplicated scent of Chichi's homemade soap and wished he'd thought of taking a bath after he'd finished straightening up the living room. Still, he figured he must not smell all that unpleasant considering he had bathed just that morning with Chichi behind the house.
He smiled to himself at the thought of sneaking out in the wee hours of dawn to the bathing barrel with a nervous Chichi clinging to his shoulder. Knowing that the house was filled with young men they had become stealthier regarding their trysting. What had almost happened in the kitchen was dessert to a playful night. Both had learned the art of lovemaking in strange places that would blow Gohan's mind if he knew. For all Chichi's bluster about improper actions, she was very creative suggesting alternatives to their own bedroom for lovemaking. Goku recalled the crisp cool air chilling her body in his arms when he used his instant transmission to zap them behind the house. She had not protested after he used his ki to heat up the frigid water so both of them could take a luxurious soak in the soft light of the rising sun.
"I figured you and Videl could use the moral support. And Chichi's all set to defend your choice to Videl's father," said Goku. "As long as she does the talking."
"Sounds like Mom," Gohan chuckled. He thrust his hands into the pocket of his jacket and shuffled his feet.
Sensing his son's awkwardness Goku knew he had to continue to clear the air. So he said, "Look, just so you know and you hear it from me, I'm not mad or anything. I think it's GREAT that you found someone to make you happy... I just want you to know that."
"Are you sure?" he asked awkwardly. "Videl's still scared to death about what Mom and her dad will think. If I can't be with her, I don't know what I'd do, Dad."
"But you know we're gonna have to face up to her sooner or later Gohan," said Goku. "That's why you have to trust me on this. As long as we play our cards right this will all work out for the best."
"Yes I know. That's why I've been holding off for so long. I didn't want to make anyone... angry at me," Gohan said seriously. "I love her, and I have no regrets. The last thing I want to do is make her life even more difficult living in her dad's shadow."
Goku reached over and patted his son's shoulder. Both of them sat down on the sofa for a moment, regarding one another. "That's why it's good to have Chichi in on this. You and I both know how forceful she can be when she's made her mind up. The thing is to work it to our advantage. I doubt Hercule could refuse her after she's found the best way to break the news."
"So all she has to do is find some way of saying that Videl's found someone special?" Gohan sighed dubiously. "Her dad's going to throw a fit. He's had this thing about her only being with someone stronger than him. The last thing I want to do is have to fight him and pull my punches. I don't' want to have risk hurting him!"
"Which reminds me," Goku said quietly. "It's been kind of bugging me a while and we didn't really talk much about it."
"What's that dad?"
"Well I just couldn't help but wonder sometimes," Goku trailed off, and then glanced at the ceiling. After a tense moment he asked, "Are you still angry with me for..." he asked.
"For being away so long?" asked Gohan quietly.
Son Goku nodded seriously, looking his son directly in the eye.
"I always am Dad. Sure part of me is still sore about it, but you're here with us now," said Gohan, sitting down at the table opposite his father, whose shoulders slouched in sadness.
"I still blame myself. If I'd been there... if I'd known how upset it made her whenever I was gone... I know how selfish it was, but at the time..."
"You did what had to be done. You don't' have to justify it to me, Dad, I get it. But beating yourself up isn't good either. If I was still mad I wouldn't be asking for your advice about this," Gohan coughed.
"I know. Your mom knows I'd do everything to make it right, and I have... I've done the best I can... at least I hope I did," said Goku quietly, looking for a moment like a lost boy. "I can't make up for the time I lost... but I can at least try to make sure I don't' make the same mistake again. I want to be here for you and Videl."
"I know that Dad. And it really helps to have you here now," said Gohan with a slow nod. He got up and went over to hug his dad, slapping him on the back.
"I'm glad," said Goku, getting up and walking over to pick up the phone. "You and Videl get ready. I think the car's got gas."
"Okay Dad, I'll just see if Videl's ready. Mom's probably talked her ear off now. I'll also round up Trunks and Goten."
"All right. I'll just call Videl's Dad to let him know we're coming," Son Goku nodded as he dialed Mr. Satan's residence.
Outside, Trunks and Goten had piled their belongings. While waiting for everyone to get ready they sparred quickly under the shade of the thick trees. Dressed in his black pants, white T-shirt and a sports jacket, Gohan motioned them both over.
"Okay guys, we're gonna take Videl back now after we drop you off," said Gohan.
"Mr. Satan? He's so funny!" laughed Goten. "Almost as funny as Daddy!"
"He's LOTS more entertaining than that, he's a million laughs," Trunks winked.
"Now mind your manners, he's going to be my father in law!" Gohan cautioned.
"Yep, and he's gonna flip when you bring your girlfriend home," giggled Goten.
"Oh please, he's just taking Mom and Dad with him so Mr. Satan doesn't try and fight him and get himself put in the hospital!" Trunks whispered, and then shut up.
Out of the rear of the house strode Videl and Chichi. The latter's hands gesticulated eagerly along with the excited note in her voice. In direct contrast, Videl stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets, her shoulders tense despite the cheerful smile on her face.
"Gohan, there you are!" Chichi shouted. "You're all ready to go? Where's your father?"
"He's calling Videl's dad to let him know we're bringing her home," Gohan announced.
"Oh man," Videl groaned. Chichi reached over and rested her arm around Videl's slumped shoulders.
"Now dear, we've talked all about this. We'll be there right with you, Goku-sa and I. There's nothing to worry about!" she reassured.
"Yep, my dad's got some sort of plan... you're dad's a sucker for new fans... so maybe he'll not kill me if I have Goku ask for his autograph?" Gohan asked.
"Very funny... and not very nice... but clever," Videl tapped her foot.
"Trunks, Goten, you guys ready to go?" asked Son Goku, striding out of the house. He wore his usual orange training ensemble, but he'd also thrown on a loose blue windbreaker.
"What did my dad say, Goku-san?" asked Videl, zipping up her coat and shouldering her book bag. Gohan took the bag filled with his and Videl's schoolbooks. Moving over he pressed a soft kiss to her ear while his mother wasn't looking.
"I told him that Chichi and I just were DYING to meet him, and that we were bringing Videl over when you came home," Goku winked.
"Ohh, you're clever but I don't know if my dad's gonna buy it!" Videl groaned. Instantly both Trunks and Goten chorused the famous Satan chant.
"They've got THAT part down right," Trunks whispered to Goten. "That silly chant's perfect, even if it is lame."
"Shh, Videl's got sharp ears," Goten said, giving him a kick in the shins.
"Ow, I'm so hurt," Trunks rolled his eyes, smirking.
"Ready to go?" Goku interrupted. Closing the door behind them, Son Goku locked and secured everything. Behind him, the two half Saiyans walked into the middle of the clearing where both houses nestled on the mountainside.
"Yep, let's fly!" called Trunks, waiting for the young couple to walk over to the parked car under the watchful eye of Chichi.
She waved and then turned to Goku. He handed her a long silk coat, and helped her on with it while Trunks and Goten gathered their things into their multicolored backpacks. The engine of the white car roared into life as Goku pulled out and onto the main hover car road leading down Mt. Pauzo.
Everyone hung on while Chichi kept a careful eye on her husband behind the wheel. Gohan remembered how thankful he was when his father finally learned to drive a car properly. Only under Chichi's continued insistence had Goku finally achieved his license. No less than two years had passed and Goku had received the license in the mail just two months before fighting Cell. Little did they know he'd be dead to the world and not able to use it till just a few months later. Catching the look in her boyfriend's eye, Videl reached over and clasped his hand.
After having dropped Goten and Trunks at Capsule, the rest of the Son Family was heading towards Videl's home to drop her off. Next to him in the front seat Chichi made clear to correct Goku if he missed any turns.
"So just what made you two stay up so late?" asked Son Goku, glancing over his shoulder as they drove along to Satan City. "I remember you came for dinner and..."
"Goku we couldn't let Videl go home in the middle of the night! What WERE you thinking?" Chichi thumped the back of his head. "Now concentrate on driving!"
Gohan and Videl glanced at one another, their hands slowly threading fingers together as they remembered the day before. It had been a study day, so all classes were canceled and the students could spend their time cramming for the exams. She had joined Gohan for a study session in the library, only to find her brain refused to absorb one more fact.
Surrounded by other students, she wanted to pull her hair out. Patiently, Gohan whispered the details of the circulatory system to her, and she moaned.
"I just don't get it!" Videl complained, slamming her book shut. Sitting next to her on the library's chairs Gohan glared at the raised fingers and chorus of `shhs' trying to silence his friend.
"Just relax, Videl. I know it's not easy but if we could just..."
"Be quiet!" hissed another chorus of hushed whispers. Glancing around, Gohan and Videl realized they should either stop or relocate.
"I guess we'd better go somewhere else," Gohan told her and Videl nodded. Both she and Gohan gathered up their books and stuffed them into their book bags. She often joked that college prep was an alternative to weight lifting due to the amount of volumes they toted daily. On their way out, they brushed past two blonde characters that made Gohan stop short.
"Keeping a date with the nerd, Videl?" Sharpener joked.
"Oh just leave them be," Erasa urged. "So are you getting anywhere with these finals?"
"Not really. These exams going to be a bear!" Videl complained, glancing at her friend wearily. Both of them appeared to be carrying books also, but had they been waiting outside the library the whole time.
"I think it's easier if you study inside the library?" Gohan scratched his head, and then narrowed his eyes at Sharpener.
"Give me a break. All those people in that small space! It cramps my style," Sharpener waved a hand.
"He's claustrophobic," Erasa said, leaning over to whisper in Gohan's ear.
"Can you believe that, she's speaking in nerd now," Sharpener elbowed Videl. "No offense sweetheart, but maybe we should get away from the library before some more big words tumble out of her mouth and mine!"
"There's nothing WRONG with the way she talks, Sharpener," Videl glared at him. "Besides, it's better than listening to you go on and on."
"Ouch," Erasa laughed. She and Videl shared a conspiratorial wink.
"Humph, I'm so hurt," Sharpener tossed his head. Long blonde hair swirled around his shoulders. "So ladies, would you mind a study break? I'm sure even bookworm here could use a recharge. Right?"
"Maybe," Gohan muttered.
Erasa came around Gohan's other side and leaned towards him. "Don't mind him, Gohan. You need to come with us for some juice. You and Videl both."
"That sounds like a good idea. I can't cram another fact into my brain," Videl yawned, stretching. She still stood in proximity to Gohan, who felt his temperature rising just by standing near her. To his annoyance Sharpener slid between where Videl and Erasa stood on the steps.
Grabbing either girls arm he snickered, "Well what about it ladies?"
"No thanks," Videl glared. She slipped her arm around Gohan's and he glanced straight ahead in his shyness. At the same time she moved Sharpener's hand away from hers. Gohan said nothing as he forced away a blush, securing his book bag's strap across his body. He started walking, reaching down to remove Videl's hand from his arms. Her temporary look of hurt morphed into a blush when she felt his fingers close around hers firmly. Sharpener frowned but grabbed Erasa's hand and tugged her along with him in pursuit.
"It's this way, you two," Sharpener huffed, catching up with the other couple.
"C'mon Gohan, I don't see we're going to get rid of them any other way. Besides, you DO need to get out a bit more. Let's go!"
"Fine, whatever you want," Gohan mumbled.
Feeling Videl squeezing his hand, he let her tug him to a stop. Then all four of them walked in the direction of Sharpener's car. Before long Gohan was crammed into the back seat of a cherry red convertible while Videl sat half on his lap. Unfortunately, his longer legs were scrunched into the foot well, so sitting half crosswise in the seat was the only option. Videl swung into the back, sitting half on his lap while curling her legs around his. That left enough room for their book bags on the remaining side of the seat by them both. Erasa sat in the front next to Sharpener, and the radio blared as they sped along. Despite the cacophony, Gohan enjoyed how closely Videl was pressed up next to him.
After the car ride they all sat around one of the small tables at Crème De Lora's, a small juice bar/coffee house many of the Orange Star High students frequented. Up front a soda jerk and coffee bar workers in their blue and green uniforms bustled about the whirring machines. The girls had gotten a table while the guys fetched various brews. Then they slid into the booth and sipped their beverages. Erasa wiped a whip cream mustache off her upper lip and continued chatting with Videl. Gohan by this time had opened up one of his textbooks and was studiously tuning out Sharpener's boasting and the high light laughter of Erasa's chatter.
A napkin landed on Gohan's book and he glared up. "Excuse me?"
"Hey space man! Come down from orbit and listen to the rest of us will you?" Sharpener said.
"Gohan, this isn't the library you know," Videl nudged his arm. "You CAN put the book away."
"Sorry," Gohan apologized, snapping the book shut. He felt embarrassed that his growing up in isolation had stunted his social development. Patiently, Erasa and Videl smiled.
"Well the smarter he gets the easier it might before us," Sharpener whispered to Erasa.
"Are you SURE that's a good idea?" asked Erasa, sipping another draught of her hot chocolate.
Videl swallowed some of her latte. "Excuse me? What's that?"
"Videl you know there's always ANOTHER way to beat the system," Sharpener started.
"He looked on line. I thought it was strange the amount of time he spends doing that when we were trying to get to the teacher's website for our notes this week," Erasa started. Sharpener tucked a spoonful of his chocolate cake into his mouth and then chewed on it. Erasa snatched a chip off Gohan's sandwich plate while he wasn't looking, to Videl's annoyance. A stack of two other plates were underneath, bearing witness to Gohan's legendary appetite.
"If you would put all the time surfing into studying," Videl started.
"Oh get off my back. I'm trying to do you a favor," Sharpener frowned.
"Your kind of help would get us arrested you mean?" Gohan said through clenched teeth. He didn't mind Sharpener, but there were times when he was sorely tempted to give the blonde a piece of his mind. Any allusions to cheating made Gohan's blood boil.
"He does have a point," said Erasa.
"Sharpener, you'd better be careful WHO you offer your so called HELP to. Because you know that stuff doesn't fly with me," Videl stared at him.
"Oh, right, we can just ask Spaceman for his help," Erasa urged.
"How about it, Son? Care to share some of your wisdom with us laymen?" Sharpener said.
"You never asked before," Gohan cleared his throat. "But okay."
"Good. All we need to do is copy your notes then and..." Sharpener started. However he stopped when Gohan fired him a stern glare.
"Copy my notes?" Gohan frowned. "Excuse me, but you sat in class just like I did, and I saw you writing."
"You mean he was drawing pictures of Miss Harrison's derrière?" Erasa asked innocently enough.
"Sharpener!" Videl glared at him.
"Hey, you know my handwriting stinks! And it was only the one time! I was doing my part to study biology!" Sharpener glared at Gohan. "Besides, it isn't a crime to share notes is it?"
"No, but if you're not taking them in the first place," Gohan retorted.
"Gohan, lighten up. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt," Videl urged.
"I'm sorry, but I can't help you if you're not willing to put in the work. Some of us want to do this the right way," Gohan said. Swallowing his last bite he reached into his pocket and dropped a few Zenni for his share.
"Where are you going?" Erasa asked.
"Gohan, he didn't mean it that way," Videl started. "We really COULD use your help!"
"I'm going home to study," Gohan answered pointedly. "After all we only have a week before the big final."
"Cramping your style?" Sharpener glanced up. "Are we?"
"No it's too noisy here," Gohan answered. "You know where to find me if you change your mind."
"Gohan, wait!" Erasa called out. "I took my own notes and I only want some questions answered..."
"Gohan," Videl began, getting up and rushing after him. She caught the back of his black vest, stopping him.
"Aren't I cramping your style," he asked softly, voice filled with hurt.
"Gohan, I didn't mean it that way," Videl answered.
"You wouldn't cheat would you?" he leveled his gaze.
This earned him a frown. "Gohan you should KNOW me better then that!" Videl snapped.
"I'm leaving now," Gohan announced. He stepped past the people glancing in their direction and marched out the door. Quickly Videl chased after him. Erasa and Sharpener shook their heads.
"You really blew it, Sharpener. I told you it was cheating," Erasa scolded him. "And now we've lost our chance to pass!"
"Stupid goody goody," Sharpener glared. Videl, however had left them behind as she ran down the sidewalk. Already Gohan had blasted off, leaving a trail of fading energy behind him. Realizing he was being stubborn, she leapt into the air, streaking off till she was a glimmer on the horizon for Sharpener and Erasa to stare at with hands shading their eyes.
Videl checked her velocity, her short hair swirling around her neck as she closed the gap between her and Gohan. Already he had a good head start. But to her surprise, he was not flying on his own power, but sitting on top of a strange gold cloud she'd seen Goten sometimes use. Since it was a five hour flight by conventional methods home, he had explained he used Nimbus so he wouldn't tire himself out all the time.
"Gohan!" She called out, over the slashing winds. "Wait up, will you!"
The cloud slowed down to match Videl's speed and she soared along beside it. "Where are you going Videl?" he glanced.
"I wanted... I wanted to study with you. I mean since we've studied together before, and I really COULD use your help," said Videl eagerly.
"For yourself or for sharpener and Erasa?"
"For me, you dummy!" Videl glared at him.
"I'm sorry. That was mean of me," Gohan apologized at the hurt in her blue eyes. Already over the mountains they rocketed, Videl's forehead beading with sweat. Despite having slowed Nimbus he knew she was tiring fast.
"So what about it?"
"Won't your father miss you?"
"He knows I'm out studying for exams. You know I crash at Erasa's sometimes. But could you... huff... slow down so I could..."
"Here," Gohan offered. He reached over and grasped her hand, pulling her towards him. While Videl had never ridden on the strange cloud, she was afraid she'd fall through. To her shock she thumped into a soft fluffy bed of cotton behind him.
"I didn't fall through," she realized, clinging tightly to his shoulders. Gohan smiled to himself, pleased that his assumption was correct. Videl had only pure motives in mind after all. Still she gripped him with a vise of iron as if terrified she'd fall.
"Videl you can relax. If you're pure of heart you won't fall through. And you didn't when you first stepped on. So don't worry," Gohan urged.
"You're sure about this thing?" she suspiciously queried.
Gohan nodded and she loosened her embrace. Still she pressed her breasts close to his back and Gohan enjoyed the warmth of their bodies created together. His mind spun back to the tales his parents told about their first trips together on Nimbus. Now as the mountains moved into place he mentally ordered Nimbus to increase its velocity so he could be home in time for dinner.
Videl was tempted to sit in Gohan's lap if she had fallen through nimbus. Yet she still felt tension in Gohan's shoulders. Instead she contented herself to slide her hand between the fabric of his black vest and white shirt. Despite how `square' his clothing sense was, it could be far worse. He looked far more slender in his current outfit than he did in the red and blue gi she saw him wearing during training. Now she knew it was to perpetuate the illusion of a 'mild mannered school student'.
"It's a good thing I'm not flying," Gohan murmured back, turning his head slightly to look at her.
"Why's that?" Videl asked, kneading his sore tired muscles.
"Because I'd have trouble not crashing into anything being distracted from what you're doing now," he admitted.
"I can't help it. Besides your back is nice and warm," she cooed. Realization dawned on Gohan and he felt an odd twinge of déjà vu. Little did he know that another couple had uttered those words years before and he was the result of that union of love. Gohan closed his eyes and allowed himself to relax under Videl's massage. Such moments where they were alone were few and far between and he cherished each and every one of them.
When they at last whizzed down towards Gohan's home the shadows were lengthening. Carefully, Gohan mentally guided Nimbus to hover only a few feet above the lawn. White sheets fluttered in the breeze on the long clothesline. With her back to them, Chichi was hanging up pieces of laundry with clothespins. Gohan leapt off Nimbus first, and then extended his hand to help Videl down. Chichi spun around and smiled at the sight of the couple.
"You're home just in time for dinner. And you brought company!" she said through a mouth full of clothespins.
"Do you need help Chichi?" Videl asked, dropping her book bag and moving over to help Chichi catch the sheet that was fluttering out of her grasp.
"Thank you dear but I couldn't impose on you," Chichi began. Yet she allowed Videl to help her with the rest of the hanging.
"I'll just take these inside," Gohan said.
"That's a good boy Gohan. Get washed and ready for dinner though! It will be ready in a half hour. Your father's catching a fish to go with the meal... I hope he's gutted it this time!" Chichi expressed as Videl stretched up to slide a clothespin on the next sheet.
"Go on ahead Gohan, I'll stay here helping your mom," Videl said. He nodded, grabbing her bag in addition to his own and hauling it in through the back door. Past him rushed a red and blue blur followed by a blue one.
"Goten watch out!" Gohan shouted as he almost toppled over from the blast of air. Both Trunks and Goten whizzed around, fluttering the sheets and nearly knocking Chichi and Videl over.
"Goten, tone it down!" Chichi shouted. "Dinner's in a half hour! You and Trunks should wash up soon!"
"Okay mommy!" Goten called. Trunks grunted his assent as they swooped by once more.
Shaking her head, Videl returned to helping Chichi put a dent in the huge pile of folded laundry. Most of it was silk tunics, shirts and crisp bed linen. Gohan entered the living room and carried his books and Videl's upstairs to his room for later. He hoped his mother wouldn't mind them studying up there because in the past they usually spread out on the table. Yet he felt he'd get more done upstairs since Trunks was visiting Goten. Whenever those two got together there was trouble with a capital T.
Dinner passed by with a minimum of damage to everything except the food. Videl chipped in to help with the vast amounts of dishes being shuffled back and forth. Fortunately, Trunks had brought some capsulated goods to contribute to the meal so it wasn't such a hit to the Son family finances. Goku's fishing often supplemented the vast needs for food because a family with three Saiyans and a guest equated black hole. Chichi shanghaied Goten and Trunks into doing the dishes till she remembered they often smashed them. Goku did his best not to break anything when he offered his services. Chichi forced him to dry while she washed.
After dinner was done, Trunks and Goten clustered around the video game console, a Capsuletron 4000, one of the top of the line game systems. Goku teamed up with them and tried to keep from smashing the controller with his overeager fingers. Fortunately, they were designed especially for strong Saiyan hands, made of reinforced plastic.
"It's late, why don't you stay over?" Chichi suggested. "We've just put in a guest room downstairs."
"Well I'm sure we won't need it, but thanks, I'll keep it in mind," Videl had said. Goku's next whoop broke the tension nearby in the living room.
"You and Gohan better get to studying then," Chichi winked.
"Mom, is it okay if we study upstairs in mine and Goten's room?" asked Gohan.
"Goten's going to sleep on the floor in the living room with Trunks, so I don't see why not," Chichi said. "But no funny stuff! You two had better keep to the books!"
"I promise mom! It's not LIKE that!" Gohan waved his hands.
"Kissy kissy, ooh!" Trunks and Goten teased. Even half Saiyans had a strong sense of hearing, being able to eavesdrop over the loud bleeps and chiming of electronic music.
"You'd better be quiet you two!" Gohan shook his fist at them.
"Don't EVEN go there!" Videl chimed in, face pumping hot with blood as a vein throbbed on her forehead.
"Enough video games! You two need to finish your homework! One hour on the video game was the deal!" Chichi tapped her foot.
"All right Mom," Goten pouted.
"C'mon Goten. The sooner we get your project out of the way the sooner we can get back to the game," said Trunks. "I'll help you with the math."
"I'm so thankful you're helping him out, Trunks. That's a good boy," Chichi patted his head. Trunks squirmed as Chichi ruffled his hair.
"Aww c'mon Mrs. Son that's embarrassing!" he grumbled.
"Mommy, do we haveta?"
"Yes you do, young man!" Chichi warned, glaring at him.
"Goten, you know I'd help you but I'm busy," Gohan said.
"I bet," Trunks chuckled.
"All right guys, mind your mom!" Goku interrupted. He unplugged the console to Trunks and Goten's annoyance. Chichi shot Goku a look of silent thanks. Lately he had been extra attentive to upholding the rules she laid down. Unlike in times past, he was backing her up when it came to discipline.
"Thank you Goku. Now I'm going to prepare the guest room, Videl. The offer still stands," Chichi nodded.
Gohan and Videl trotted upstairs, eager to separate themselves from Goten and Trunks' teasing. Luckily, their books were out and they'd spend the next few hours themselves under Chichi's watchful glare. As she had with Gohan, she tutored Goten in his studies. Yet she had been much more relaxed when she discovered Goten's strength lied more in fighting and martial arts than academics. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Trunks, who easily soaked up math and science under the tutelage of his mother and grandfather. Naturally he shared his expertise with Goten. At first it was to rub it in his friend's face, but since Majin Buu the two boys had relaxed their rivalry somewhat, focusing more on building their friendship.
Upstairs in Gohan's room, he piled books on his neat desk. Across from him was a futon that was folded up often used by Goten. Videl nervously sat down on the chair he pulled out from the desk while he arranged the supplies. He pulled up another chair to the side and positioned it next to his comfortable desk chair now occupied by Videl. She hadn't seen his room very often, and was struck by how tidy it was in comparison to her own. Gohan never had seen her room except for fleeting glances through the window when he'd fly her back in the middle of the night sometimes. It had become a bit of a game to elude her overprotective father.
"Now," Gohan began, cracking open his text.
Videl's eyes wandered all over the various posters and photos gracing his walls. One side of the room clearly was Goten's, for it was dominated with cartoon characters and sports heroes. Along the wall Gohan's bed was pressed against were maps of the night sky and a periodic table of the elements. Even a poster of some of the most famous scientists from the world looked down upon the young couple. Swallowing her nervousness Videl focused on Gohan's neat handwritten notes. She recopied as he arranged a set of note cards.
"You make flashcards?" she blinked.
"It's the best way. Now we can quiz each other," Gohan suggested. Videl smiled brightly, and they set to work. As the hours passed Videl shivered when Gohan would lean over her shoulder to point out a difficult fact. Or he would tremble slightly at the feel of her body heat when they pressed close to compare their notes. Tension grew slowly in the silence, respective hearts pounding during their survey through the human anatomy.
"Now, trace a drop of blood from your big toe to your brain," Gohan said.
"Okay," Videl started, squeezing her eyes shut.
"Think of it like a highway and a road map."
Videl rattled off the major veins and arteries, successfully tracing the imaginary trip through the heart to the lungs and then up to the head. Gohan listened, humming his affirmation that her route was correct. At that moment he found himself staring at the smooth curves of her neck. Concentration wavering, he mentally slapped himself for such poor focus. They had very little time to straighten out all the major bodily systems so Videl could ace her exam. If they finished with high marks it guaranteed them a placement in a university study program.
Satan City university was one of the best, privately funded by the world champion. Not only did he flood the city's gyms and dojos with his money, he spread the wealth among all the 'civic' institutions to increase his positive PR. Not that he needed any more positive publicity when it became known he saved the world. Videl was not unaffected by the silent tension building up in her stomach, pumping adrenaline through her body the longer she spent alone with Gohan.
Something had to break, or she couldn't stop the tingling in her toes and other parts of her body. Gohan's nose twitched slightly and she crossed and uncrossed her legs nervously.
A loud yawn interrupted her as Gohan stretched. "Excuse me! Sorry about that!"
"So even the genius needs sleep like the rest of us, huh?" Videl teased him.
"Don't start that again!" Gohan rolled his eyes at her. "Or I'm going to have to take action!"
"You or the Great Saiyaman?" she blinked. A playful twinkle crept into Gohan's dark eyes, and she knew he was letting his hair down. Her feet rested on the rungs of his regular chair.
"Ha ha," Gohan laughed.
Videl pressed her feet against Gohan's chair, propelling the chair across the room. Simultaneously Gohan's chair toppled over and he would have unceremoniously landed on the floor if not for his fast reflexes. The chair bearing Videl slammed into Gohan's bed and slipped out from under Videl. Before she could stop herself her hip crashed against the soft carpet.
"Whoops!" he gasped.
"Oww!" Videl grumbled. It was a minor bump to a trained fighter, but she made a mental note never to be so careless again. Gohan picked himself up off the floor and moved to her side, his hand extended. She glanced up at his dark eyes gleaming with concern.
"Are you okay Videl?" he asked.
"Of course I am, silly! The only thing damaged is my pride," she laughed up at him. Still she accepted the large hand he offered. When their fingers touched she jolted with the excitement which had reached fever pitch. He pulled her up easily, and then helped reposition her so she sat on his bed.
"You sure you're all right?" he asked.
"Don't fuss, Gohan," she urged.
"Well, I'm just making sure," Gohan innocently responded. He pulled up the chair and sat down on it, spinning himself so they sat face to face. His knee brushed hers, and she felt his hand reflexively moved towards her bruised hip. At the last moment he hesitated.
"What, do I look like I mind?" Videl blurted out.
Gohan turned his face away, displaying that shyness that drew him to her like a magnet. "I'm sorry, I don't want to seem like a pervert," he apologized.
Grasping his hand Videl sharply spoke, "Oh get over it Gohan! You act as like you've never TOUCHED a girl before!"
Anger flashed over his face. "Videl, I'm not that kind of a guy!"
"I never said you were, Gohan! But it wouldn't hurt once in a while if you WERE," Videl argued. His black vest rose and fell, and Gohan's eyes narrowed to angular slits under his prominent brows.
"You mean like Sharpener?" Gohan snapped.
Videl felt her face grow hot with anger. She yelled, "Dammit Gohan, what's your problem?"
"My problem?" Gohan responded, clearly upset. "What problem? He's a jerk Videl! I don't know WHY you hang out with him!"
"I don't hang out with him! He just happens to tag along when Erasa and I do our girl things together! Are you jealous or something?"
Awkwardly Gohan spluttered, at a loss for words, his mouth moving but no sound escaping. After a few seconds his mouth finally formed words, "Jealous... who me? Why the heck should I be jealous of that creep?"
"You ARE jealous," Videl suddenly grinned. Her heart skipped beats, relief spreading over her body that her assumptions were correct. Judging by how uncomfortably he shifted in his chair at the accusation, she knew he was attracted to her. More than just as a friend. Both had skirted around the issue without giving a name to their relationship, deciding to live in the moment rather than worry about fate.
"What if I am, hmm?" Gohan suddenly interrupted. Again his eyes narrowed, focusing dark pupils that seemed momentarily bottomless. Videl's own eyes widened, caught inextricably in his gaze. For a moment the shy nerd vanished, replaced by a stern warrior she had remembered so long ago.
"Gohan," she began, but the next words failed her when he reached over and drew his chair so their knees touched one another.
His nose zoomed within inches of hers, so she could feel the hot surges of his breath on her own cheeks. Rarely did she see this side of him, and it excited her beyond belief. That warrior nature he abhorred had risen to protect what he considered needed rescuing, and it was both frightening and heartwarming. Raising his hand he lightly brushed her cheek, continuing to freeze her with that dark eyed stare. The thought of her dying because he did not act screamed through his brain and his every desire was to hold her close and never let her go if he could help it.
Fortunately she knew what to say and do. While she had dated other boys before, she had never come close to wanting to spend more than mere platonic dates with them. With Gohan that had all changed. She remembered their first kiss at the world Tournament. It had been Videl who had moved first, and Gohan had not known what to think then. From those brief touches grew a warm comfort that spread between them. Yet only in privacy would Gohan move to a more intimate kiss beyond a peck to the lips.
The moment she had long discussed with Erasa suddenly revealed itself and she seized the second of seriousness. Reaching over she grasped his shoulders and moved her face towards him. Gohan had no time to react when he noticed her eyes were shut, but he had no desire to pull back. Instinct overrode his need for caution, for he too had felt the pull of his own desires. They had kissed before, but it seemed like forever since they had a moment to share such an intimate gesture.
Because of this his hand grasped her cheek firmly when he felt the touch of her lips on his and Videl's arms sliding around his neck. A split second later he snared her body in his arms, pulling her in a tight embrace. Breaths surged between their lips, and Gohan opened his mouth at the same time Videl's lips parted. Videl's moan disappeared against his lips that turned on hers and answered the kiss she had initiated. Both of them relaxed with the familiar ritual, seeking to express in gestures what their words were too timid to voice.
Videl and Gohan broke their kiss at the same moment, breaths heaving and arms still clasped around one another. Pressing his forehead to hers Gohan whispered, "Videl, I don't want you to get hurt. Not when I can protect you."
"I won't get hurt... not with you around, Gohan. You're thinking it's your fault something horrible happened to me? It didn't. Because we're both safe," she whispered.
"But for how long?" Gohan asked. Energy tingled through her fingertips squeezing his muscles, and she marveled how they seemed to increase in size. For a moment he released her and Videl was disappointed he had lost his nerve. Yet she realized then from the shifting of the weight on his bed that he was sitting next to her so they were side by side.
Videl did not wish to answer in any way except with another hard kiss. Again her arms found their way around his neck, and she leaned the entire weight of her body into his. Gohan rather than fall off the bed, twisted his body so he could swing himself onto the bed so his legs were no longer touching the floor. He rolled her over so she was under her for a second, and then flipped so his back hit the wall and they were on their sides facing one another. Videl squeezed close to him, reaching around to rub the muscles of his back as he repositioned his hands around her waist. Their lips danced over one another's, as their hands quested to know more of the other's angles or curves. A groan surfaced between Gohan's lips, and Videl answered it with a soft sigh. Her leg slipped in between his, shifting against his crotch momentarily. He realized her right leg wrapped around his hip, pulling them so their fronts were flush against one another.
Frustrated, Videl twisted her hips and flipped Gohan on top of her. He grunted, breaking their kiss and pressing his hands on either side of her shoulders for fear of crushing her. Yet she kept a tight hold on him, whispering, "Gohan, it's okay. I like how you feel..."
"Videl," he panted, eyes darker then what seemed possible with a hunger she had long desired. "I..."
"Shh," she urged, cutting off his comment with another smooch. Gohan gave up protesting, realizing she had given her consent that she wanted far more from him. Impatient with his own reservations he allowed his desires free reign. Videl squirmed and he lifted himself off.
"Sorry," he gasped.
"No, this is just in the way," she laughed, and her eyes gleamed with mischief when she unfastened his vest. Its clasp was poking into her, and he shrugged it off.
Both of them had kicked off their shoes at this point, and he realized she was reaching around him to tug his shirt out of his pants. Without thinking twice about it, he let her tug it up and then sat up to let her unbutton it. It landed on the floor next to his vest. He loved how her fingers danced over his muscles and groaned when she began to nibble down his neck to his collarbone. He only stopped when Videl grasped his hand and placed it on her breast.
He half expected her to slap him like Bulma would with anyone touching her. Yet as she guided his hand he knew it was fine. He knew from talks with his father that he needed to be careful lest his Saiyan strength cause injury. Though his mother was a trained fighter sometimes Goku's exhuberations had caused a bruise here and there. The sofa had collapsed on more than one occasion from their lovemaking, and Gohan knew better then to enter the room when he heard laughter and Chichi's cries.
After walking in on his parents in bed together when young, and running out, Goku had explained to him what was going on. He in his own limited way had fumbled to describe how 'mom and dad wrestled for fun'. His persistent questions resulted in Goku's halting explanation, "Mom and I were wrestling like we did when we made you, Gohan. And it's what a husband and wife do."
Chichi was annoyed, but relieved when Goku reassured her he had 'explained the birds and bees' to him. Gohan also read about human reproduction in his textbooks, and Chichi explained that such things were only what married people did. Goku might seem to be childlike but he did know well where babies came from. Nobody could escape that knowledge living under Master Roshi's roof.
"You sure?" he wondered.
"Shut up and help me with this Gohan," she growled. Shrugging he shifted so she could cross her arms and shed her T shirt. Again she guided his hands to her chest, filling out the contours of a black lacy bra. Unlike his mother she was smaller, but comparable with Erasa. It was a bust minimizer, and he remembered seeing her once changing clothes between their sessions. Often, she wore a tighter sports bra when working out. Another frenzied second later and he felt her hands unfastening his belt.
"Videl?" he cautioned, struggling to keep his control before they both ventured further.
"It's cutting into me," she rationalized. She made no move to undo his pants, so he no longer questioned it. Gohan helped her to snake it out of his belt loops and toss it on the side with the ever increasing pile of clothing.
Somehow they made it under the covers, and her miniskirt and his pants lay commingled with the other garments. Now Gohan nuzzled the groove between neck and shoulder while she massaged the massive muscles of his back. Automatically, he grabbed her hand and placed it on his shoulder, worried she would touch a sensitive spot. He knew they were rounding the bases to third from second. Fortunately he hadn't worn any embarrassing underwear, rather having worn boxer briefs that were crisp white in contrast to the soft pink silk of her high cut panties. They were soft and warm against his hip.
"I..." he whispered, half growling it. He had seen the kisses his parents shared, and he recognized the feeling he shared, for Videl matched it.
"I need you, Gohan," she whispered. "Please..."
"Videl, I need you too, but are you sure?"
She could only nod, her eyes and body giving him her answer.
Later, Gohan lay half atop her, panting and kissing her neck. Videl was rubbing his scalp. He was aware of two thoughts: first that they would be in trouble if Chichi and Goku walked in, secondly, that he would have to thank Krillin for his thoughtfulness. From the way Videl was beaming up at him he knew she had enjoyed it as much as he had.
"Gohan, you feel so warm," she whispered.
"Videl... that was so..." he stammered. "Wow!"
"So incredibly awesome, and way better then I imagined it would be," Videl answered for him, kissing his ear. He wondered why he felt hot tears in his eyes and felt a soft sob choking his throat.
"I guess we did it," was all he could say, but Videl's chuckle reassured him that she didn't mind whatever he said.
"And I wanted it. I wanted you Gohan, and now you're all mine, and I'm all yours," she coed. Though he moved, she pulled him back down.
"Just where do you think you're going, buster?" she asked. Carefully he curled up around her back so they spooned.
"I... uh... nowhere I guess," Gohan laughed awkwardly, and then sighed deeply at the well being surging through him.
He was thankful for the tight control Piccolo had taught him for he half feared he would go Super Saiyan. Then he remembered that was no longer a fact. Indeed his muscles had bulked up and Videl was glancing up at him with wonder. As he leaned down to ask another question he heard soft breathing, and realized Videl was fast asleep. Beneath the covers they felt suddenly cold, and Gohan welcomed the embrace of slumber.
Goku and Chichi sat side by side in Hercule's garden. Nostalgic visions danced before their inner sight, pulling them from the present moment. All the events of the past 24 hours could not help but trigger memories of themselves at Gohan and Videl's age.
"Do you remember, Goku-sa?" Chichi whispered, turning to face him. Gently Goku reached over to grasp the side of her face. He knew through years of experimentation what his wife liked and did not like. Reaching up with one hand Chichi unfastened the band that held her hair up in a bun. Goku watched closely it uncoiled like a snake then rained down into twin straight curtains framing her face. At that instant, she looked far younger and less severe.
"I like your hair down like that Chichi, you don't look so angry all the time," Goku said.
"How's that?" she blinked. "What do you mean, Goku?"
"You look like you did when we first got married," Goku answered. Chichi's pensive look melted into a fond smile.
"That's sweet of you to say love," she gushed, her heart melting at his simple and heartfelt words. He needed no fancy speeches to make his feelings known. Goku tangled his fingers through her silky black locks, loving how they glided like water over his rough hands. Chichi simultaneously cupped his face between her hands, caressing his smooth young cheeks. Her Goku never aged a day, and an old fear shortly surfaced.
"I don't care about that," Goku answered aloud. Chichi blushed, realizing because they touched flesh to flesh he could read her thoughts.
"But women DO care about their appearances, Goku."
"I know Chichi and that's silly. Because we are married. A promise is a promise you know," he repeated.
"My innocent lovely husband," she purred.
"I don't know the same things that some people you call 'smart' do. But that does not mean I'm stupid. You know that more than anyone else, Chichi. It's taken you years to see that, but I love you," Goku answered. "I know what love IS."
"I don't doubt that for a second Goku. You just show it differently. Whenever you asked me for a meal, or wanted to devour my cooking, that was one way I knew you loved and accepted me. I could be petty and think that's all you cared about, but food is a way of expressing love, and that's what it took to reach you… but all along you knew far more then I gave you credit for," Chichi answered.
"I know that already Chichi," he answered.
"Sometimes I just have to repeat it, so you know I accept you as you are, Goku. Don't doubt that," Chichi said. "I can feel what you're feeling too, when I'm touching you. Like you learned to read thoughts by touching me."
"It's not just a Saiyan thing," Goku answered.
"Goku, do you sense anyone nearby?" she whispered.
"No," Goku said, closing his eyes for a moment to sweep the area with his invisible probes of ki. Like radar, they bounced off every living thing. He hooked his arm around her waist, pulling her tightly to him.
"Do you remember the first time we did this, Goku love?" she whispered, tickling his ear with her lips. Chichi climbed into his lap, so their faces were the same height. She then swung her leg over so she was straddling him, glad she wore a skirt.
"Yes," Goku rasped, his blood pounding fast. "You thought I didn't know anything…"
"But you did. And I told you to just let go," she answered. Grasping his face, she pulled him towards her for a kiss. Goku often let her take the lead at first. However, as their lips opened and he tasted her in his mouth, he felt his instincts arising. They were very loud voices in his mind, for he had lived in the wild for at least 12 years and had seen his share of animals mating.
"And let me show you how to love."
"Wrestling," he joked, and she giggled like a child again. Making love to him made Chichi feel eternally young, and she felt the crackling surge of his ki rising around them. Like a mantle, it surged over her body, boosting her own ki. Chichi was glad that he had learned how to bolster her energy so, having heard from Bulma how Vegeta had done so. Both women had often shared notes on how the two full blooded Saiyans made love. Because of Bulma's confessions, Chichi had given Goku more ideas on how to not hurt her.
Goku quickly applied the techniques, and to their delight, there were far fewer bruises. He had first applied them the last few nights they had together. Before Cell took Goku away from her. Although she fussed at hating his Super Saiyan appearance, he would power down so she could be with him. However, there was that one night in the bath when he showed her the benefits of Super Saiyan anatomical changes.
"Someone's coming," Goku answered.
Holding tightly to Chichi with one arm, he pressed fingers to his forehead. She prepared herself for the snatching sensation of instant transmission. Reality fizzled and dissolved away around them only to crackle back into place a second later.
Chichi yelped when she saw they were levitating high above the earth. "How do you navigate Goku without any minds to lock onto?" she asked.
"I sensed some of the ki of the birds up here. Nobody will bother us Chichi. Remember the last time we did this?" he whispered.
"One of these days I'm going to have to fly," Chichi realized. All those years of being married to the world's savior and she never learned. Mainly it was because she did not want to remind herself of how different they were. After all, she had nimbus to fly on, so why bother learning another skill she would hardly use.
"I always DID wonder why you'd never asked me to teach you," Goku laughed. "But it's easy! Especially since I've given you some of my ki."
“Wait a minute,” Chichi quirked a brow. Goku blinked in shock.
“Watch this,” Goku smirked. Chichi's ki surged, and gasped in shock to see her levitating quite easily under her own power.
"Wait… NO!” Chichi screamed, flailing her arms.
“Trust me, I won’t drop you!” Goku reassured her. Her yellow tunic billowed around her body as she spread wide her arms and shrieked. She pressed her hands over her face and then felt someone phase in from behind.
"Got you!" Goku laughed, catching her around the waist. She playfully writhed and then felt a golden energy crackling over her.
"What are you doing?" she gasped. "You're not turning… Super Saiyan are you?"
"Did you forget the fun we had with that?" he whispered. "I don't like it when you're scared of me, Chichi…"
"I know… but still… it does make me feel… scared… because you don't look like you… I mean you are my Goku… but you look so… not human…"
"I want you to turn around and see me," Goku whispered. Hands on her hips he spun her around in the air.
"What are you doing?"
“I don't want you to be scared of me in any form, Chichi. I don't want to hide things from you anymore. You need to see this so you won't be scared of me, if I ever have to go this far…"
Chichi's eyes round as saucers took in the latest development in her husband transformation. She stammered, “What… what the HELL is this?”
Teal eyes shadowed by a prominent brow ridge regarded her. A long gold mane swung past his waist, crackling with white-hot inner fire. His gi glowed like the surface of a furnace, the aura almost searing her with its intensity.
“Super Saiyan three, Chichi. Don’t be scared, please,” he pleaded, voice reverberating like an earthquake. Still she let him keep his hands on her hips, knowing that he would not let her fall.
Gold energies surged around him, extending to her, cascading in gold flames. Normally his hair was swept upwards into that tower of spikes she feared and once loathed. Now she tolerated it and even became fond of the terrifying Super Saiyan powers he kept tightly shuttered. However, to behold him now she threw up her hands when she felt the intensity of his power ringing in her soul.
"You needed to see this Chichi. I know you're scared of the power I wield. But you have to know I would never hurt you. This is why I spent years in Otherworld. Learning to tame the abilities locked inside. Because of this…"
"You don't have to prove it to me anymore Goku," she said loudly.
"I know," he said, opening his arms to her as she reached out to him. That golden cascade swirled backward, then surrounded them both like tendrils of an octopus wrapping around prey. Lost in the golden fibers Chichi felt momentarily frightened. Yet she was reassured the next moment because of massively strong arms enfolding her. Along with it traveled Goku's unique scent to her nostrils, telling her that this was indeed someone she should never fear. All irrational terrors evaporated when his lips covered hers firmly. Tasting his breath wafting into her mouth she sighed with desire.
Automatically Chichi tunneled her hands through the hair all around her once she folded her arms around his huge neck. As many years before his radiant aura never burned her. Rather it sparked the gulf in their life forces by providing a bridge anchoring their souls together. One might think that by drawing a mere human so close to a being of immense power would equate to a planet rim side of a supernova. However, the comparison was false. Instead, she felt like a flower flourishing under the branches of a vast oak tree, shading, and safe from the elements. They completed one another in much the same way all creatures in an ecosystem wove together to create a flawless balanced habitat where life could exist for millions of years.
Chichi drowned in the comfort Goku's kiss offered, never feeling so safe in all her life. His true essence permeated her being, and she reached out to the questing thoughts ghosting across her mind. As before through physical contact Goku could read her thoughts and she his. Emotion, thought and consciousness merged before parting at the same time Goku released her so she could breath. Terrifyingly handsome were the first words she summoned through her pleasure numb brain to describe the face of a Super Saiyan 3. Giddy with joy she spent long minutes admiring the visage of her husband, the world's hero, and savior of Chikyuu.
"Incredible," she chuckled, deep rich laugher pleasing Goku's ears.
Voice deep with throbbing power, Goku answered, "Well I guess this means you're not afraid of me transformed like this anymore?"
"Goku, dear, just WHAT were you saying again about how you CHANGE with each transformation?" she blinked lasciviously. Goku laughed in great booming peals like a tolling bell of a city clock. Everything transformed to a force of nature, and Chichi felt as if she were bathing in the ocean, riding on its waves rather than fighting its force. One could survive a tempest if they succumbed and swam instead of fighting against its flow.
Goku smirked, his hairless brow giving his expression a primal smugness that pleased her even more. Fortunately, Chichi knew how to swim in circumstances metaphorical and real. Her husband would never intentionally hurt her. This she knew beyond any reasonable doubts at this time and onwards. Head tipping back she let Goku feed a steady stream of ki into her fragile body, reinforcing it for what was to transpire. Ever so carefully, he increased her natural life force level, knowing that pouring so much into a small vessel too quickly would destroy her. Because her trust was open fully she could receive his gift.
Goku tipped his golden mane head back, whispering her name. The energies of their kis erupted over the couple levitating a mile above Chikyuu. The explosion of light and ki swept like a tidal wave for a brief second, blindingly radiant. All beings capable of sensing ki blinked in momentarily alarm.
"What brought that on, Vegeta?" Bulma shrieked in irritation as her Prince burst through the door.
"Thank that third class idiot friend of yours," Vegeta snickered, leaning in for a satisfying kiss. Scooping her up in his arms, he turned around. Bulma's laughter joined Vegeta's on the way up to their bedroom.
"You're such a toddler, Goten! Don't tell me your daddy didn't tell you," Trunks teased.
"I know all about that stuff, Trunks! It's just that if I say anything else, Mom would wash my mouth out with SOAP for a week!" Goten glared at him in return.
"As if she could hear you," Trunks chuckled.
"Your parents must be kissing too, cause I feel a big burst of ki just now," Goten started.
"Ugh, GROSS! Mom and dad kissing…" Trunks protested. "Let's get OUT of here!"
"Whatever you say," Goten laughed. Both boys rocketed off to fly somewhere away from the massive surges of ki.
"Daddy…" Videl gasped.
"Videl, it's okay, it's not an attack!" Gohan grabbed her arm. Peering around the back of the sofa Hercule blinked at Gohan shifting uncomfortably where he sat on the sofa. He had moved apart from Videl a bit, and she could see him breathing deeply.
"Gohan, if it's not an attack," she trailed off, seeing the hungry gleam in his dark eyes.
"Videl… it's getting… hot in here…" he rasped.
"Someone wanna tell me what this is all about?" Hercule asked.
"Yes. And that's why they wanted to… hem be alone," Gohan admitted, mortified for the third time that day. Gohan and Videl fiercely blushed; sweat pouring down their foreheads to feel the massive ki surge. It did not take a genius to figure out just who and what caused the temporary ki flare. Especially when Gohan sensed another following it of almost equal intensity from West City.
"Gohan… was that…"
"Uh huh," Gohan blinked, glancing away in embarrassment. "Mom and Dad…"
"Is that from your parents, Gohan?" Hercule realized. He ducked out from behind the sofa and made his way back to his recliner. Sitting down again, he reached for a cigar and his lighter.
"Sometimes I wonder if it was a good thing you taught me to sense ki," Videl mumbled, suppressing a hot blush of her own.
"Wow, that lucky sunofagun," Hercule guffawed, his mind making the connection.
"Dad, give me a break," Videl moaned, sharing Gohan's mutual discomfort. The mental image of anyone's parents doing something so natural tantalized those not related, and repulsed those who were.
"I think this is a good time to say that we'll WAIT a while before we… go THAT far…" Gohan broke the awkward silence.
"Yeah. Um… I think you and I get what I'm trying to say here," Hercule cleared his throat.
"Videl and I will make the decision in our own way, and in our own time," Gohan reassured him. Both he and his girlfriend took deep breaths, trying to calm themselves from the feelings they had just received from Goku and Chichi's energy surge.
"Um, how about the Taitans?" Videl brightly tried to change the subject. Hercule lit another cigar and shouted for a drink.
Bulma set her cigarette in its ashtray, and then turned over to face her purring husband. Vegeta reached down and stroked her belly thoughtfully. "You said Goku was responsible," she started, yet Vegeta's finger touching her lip silenced the rest of what she had to say.
"Not another word. Let me enjoy the rest of this without mentioning that idiot's name," Vegeta chided her. Reaching over, Bulma playfully ruffled his spiky cone of hair flaring over the pillow he rested his cheek in.
"Vegeta, are you trying to tell me something?" she asked.
"I'm half dreading the next nine months," Vegeta answered cryptically, giving her a frown.
"What was that, buster?" she said, pulling her hand back. Vegeta caught her wrist, and then pulled it up to nibble on the back.
"How would you like another brat, Woman?" he smirked.
"Vegeta, give me a straight answer… you told me that it took a lot for Saiyan males to…"
"How about a daughter," Vegeta asked.
"You mean…" Bulma asked.
"And you'll probably give her another underwear related name," Vegeta snickered.
Chichi was tucking stray bits of hair into her usual bun while Goku ran his hand over the back of his neck. Both of them had that slight flush still indicating they had been having a lot of fun in Hercule's garden. Mortified, Gohan slouched a bit. He had not gotten much sleep the last night and knew he would be dead to the world. Although he wished he could see Videl again, he would be glad for the break. Both of them needed to cool off and reflect on what had happened.
Saying their good-byes, the Son Family took their leave of Hercule Satan. Once they pulled away, Hercule turned to his daughter. "Dad, you're okay with him, right?"
"I wouldn't have let him get away without a broken leg if I hated the guy, Videl," Hercule laughed. "His dad's a Boy Scout, and his mom's pretty feisty. But she's old fashioned, and I like that. I think I'm cool with you two getting more serious, only if you know WHAT you're getting into. I don't want you two getting into trouble…"
"Dad, I know what you mean," Videl blushed. "I'm 18 years old."
"Even though, you're still my little girl. No matter how grown up you are," Hercule reminded her. "And I want you to be happy, but I also want you to be careful. That kid's family is fine, but you two are going to get pretty distracted from college if you rush into this so fast!"
"Gohan's parents won't let that happen," Videl said. "His mom would have a stroke if Gohan fell behind in his studies. And she won't let that happen to me either. And Goku's a Boy Scout, like you said before."
"True. But that doesn't mean I won't still be watching you two as much as I can," Hercule said.
"I'm going upstairs to study some more, Dad, if you don't mind," Videl said.
"That's fine, sweetie pie. You do that. Daddy has a press conference this afternoon, so you're on your own for dinner. Cook will fix you up something nice if you let her know in time what you want," Hercule said, giving her a big hug and a kiss to the cheek. Videl nodded, glad her father understood. He could have been far worse, but luckily, he had a lot of respect for Goku.
"I'm really in love with him," she soberly realized, flushing pink.
The next moment she quickly leapt up and rushed to her bathroom. Scanning the counters, she realized she was missing something. Then Videl beat a trail back to where her book bag lay. Digging through the zipper part that held something else, she pulled out the small tray of birth control pills. Her father had insisted she start taking them, because he guessed that she like many teens might fall to the temptation of sex. Videl had insisted she did not need them, but took them anyway to satisfy her father's protectiveness.
"I don't mind if you DO have fun, Videl. But I had better know who he is, and if he's weaker than me, FORGET IT. And if he EVER gets you into trouble, I'll flatten his face," she recalled him saying. "Just think of this as insurance."
"Jeez he practically ENCOURAGES me to have sex by insisting I take these. Or was he just showing in his way that he knows how things can be?” Videl wondered. Either way she counted the pills and was relieved to remind herself, she had been faithfully taking them since age 16. Most girls in the school were encouraged to be on birth control since the incidences of pregnancy and sex were up.
"Sure Dad, let me put my books away," Gohan said.
"All right you two. But come back for dinner, and make sure you leave enough time to keep studying Gohan!” Chichi reminded them. Both of them nodded, and went inside to grab their things.
Father and son soon blasted off, headed off in the direction of Grandpa Gohan's home. It was close to the newly constructed house, which replaced the one Brolli decimated years ago. Touching down, Gohan and Goku let their bag drop to the ground. Inside Chichi had packed a sizable amount of snacks and fresh towels and clothes for them. She hated them arriving back all sweaty.
"I know you'd normally spar with Piccolo, but it's been a while," Goku said.
"Not a problem," Gohan said. He had changed into a set of clothes much like his father's, since they were the same he had gotten from Supreme Kai. Fashioned in the image of Goku's, they were the same shade of orange and blue. Yet Gohan had a sigil on the back while his father's was absent of one. They stood opposite from one another, taking stances to commence.
A quick bow, and then they flew at each other. Sparks crashed as Gohan blocked his father's punches. He shot out in a roundhouse kick that Goku crouched under; narrowly missing his father's sweeping trip kick. For a time they traded blows, simply relying on mere moves to communicate rather than powered up skills. At one point Goku phased out, and managed to sneak up behind his son to put him into a neck lock. "Gohan, you have to keep your ki sense trained!"
"I know!” Gohan grunted. Suddenly he dropped, letting his body go limp despite Goku's attempts to squeeze. Then Gohan managed to tuck his leg under his father's and jerk forwards. Both of them tumbled repeatedly, but when Gohan crashed down on top of his father, it knocked the breath from Goku long enough to break his hold. Then Gohan rolled over, his fist cracking against Goku's jaw.
"Nice punch Gohan. You're still pretty strong," Goku laughed, wiping a bit of blood trailing from his lip. He could punch and hit Goku all he wanted, for his father would simply heal with accelerated Saiyan pace.
"So Dad, you talked to me before, but why do I get the sense you still have something to say?” Gohan panted, standing fifty paces from him.
"Because," Goku heaved, wiping away sweat as he slid into another stance. "I know you…"
"Do you?” Gohan asked, phasing out. The next moment he appeared above Goku, his father narrowly avoided hitting him with an elbow to his son's back. Gohan feigned and then Goku caught hold of his leg, spinning around like a top. Then he let go, hurling his son away towards the trees. At the last moment Gohan recovered, hands pressed to the front of his forehead.
"Masenkoo… HAH!” Gohan shouted. Goku crossed arms in front of his face, blocking his son's basic attack.
"Good, Gohan. You almost got me there," Goku laughed with pride. Then a blaze of energy caught Gohan off guard when he flooded blinding white radiation.
"Nice try, but no luck," Gohan gritted, hands shielding his face. Relying on his ki sensing, he reached out, feeling nothing from his father's blank presence. Yet, his gut told him his father must be ready to attack… from above.
Gohan took off, wildly weaving back and forth as if he were disoriented and blinded. Sure enough, he felt the sizzle of a ki edged punch in midair. He knew his father did not rely on energy attacks as much as Vegeta or someone else would. Goku preferred physical punches, and then escalated the game after toying with an opponent. Just why Gohan felt the need to get serious so soon he could not answer.
Yet he blocked the thundering punch headed his way easily, seeing the glow of his father's spiky tower of hair one second, and the gleam of teal eyes the next. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Gohan had already powered up, his son's own fist slamming into his gut before he hurled his father headlong. Goku caught Gohan's forearm, cracking the whip and turning the move against him.
"Not bad Gohan, you’re still pretty strong!” Goku gasped, picking himself up out of the sizable dent he made in the earth.
"You're just playing with me Dad. What's this all about?” Gohan asked, shaking his head, knowing his father was not even halfway serious like he.
"You think about Videl like you do about fighting. You’re serious. I was just making sure you were on your guard," Goku explained.
"Another 'life lesson' through fighting, eh?” Gohan cocked a brow. "Always using sparring to make a point. I always wondered if you and mom ever did the same."
"Before you were born we did," Goku confessed, giving him a grin. Both of them powered down, each guessing the other wanted to talk now.
“Maybe you and Mom should fight more often. I mean spar, Dad. Sometimes she gets so frustrated. I’ve found that fighting with Videl makes me… feel better,” Gohan shrugged.
“I guess you’re right, Gohan,” chuckled Goku. “It’s just that she’s so scary sometimes! And I’m afraid I’ll hurt her if I’m not careful. I have to hold back a lot!”
"Look, what you and Mom did back at Videl’s Dad’s house… I appreciate what you two did, but I don't know if it made things better or worse, Dad," Gohan confessed, sitting down in the shade of a tree. He pulled a water bottle out from their bag, twisting the cap off to take a long draught. His father did the same, pushing sweat from his brow. Unlike Gohan's hair that was plastered to his head, Goku's still stood up.
"You were pretty worked up, so I thought you could blow off some steam," Goku said.
"Mom thinks Videl and me are just like you and mom were, huh? But I don’t’ think so,” Gohan answered, still looking deadly serious. Goku knew the gleam all too well in his son's dark eyes.
"Gohan, she only wants the best for you. That’s what she’s always done even if she gets a little crazy about it. I mean if she didn’t care, she wouldn’t get so mad! You don't need me to tell you something you know yourself," Goku said with a chuckle.
"It's not a joke, Dad," Gohan growled.
"I know it isn't. Look, I trust you, Gohan, so why can’t you trust yourself?” Goku asked.
"Videl’s dad doesn't want us to rush into anything. However, I’ve always listened to Mom. Done what she said. Now… Dad, we… were… you know… so doesn't' that mean we HAVE to get married?” Gohan asked.
Goku sighed deeply, walking over and squatting next to his son. Gently he rubbed his son's shoulder, before giving it a friendly thump. "I guess I'm not the best to talk to about these things but I can listen. Okay… since you DID do it with her…I think you should get married."
"That's what my gut tells me. However, my head… I mean there are so many things that could go wrong,” Gohan plaintively sighed.
"This is why you can’t wait sometimes. Gohan, just cause you’re married doesn’t mean you stop living. Don’t think what will go wrong, but what could go right," Goku urged him.
“But you and mom ALWAYS argued about you running off to fight, Dad.”
“Yes she did. But you didn’t always see how we patched things up, Gohan. When I said I was sorry. And when she sometimes said SHE was sorry for getting so mad. But the more she yelled, the more I learned that it meant she was scared. And I’ve done some really scary things. I guess that’s why I thought it would be better if I didn’t come back that time. But what I’m getting at Gohan is that…”
"But it's MY decision, Dad. Not yours, or Mom's or her dads!” Gohan snapped, shrugging his father's grasp off.
"Okay Gohan… I know! Look, we’re still your mom and dad. But I know you’re a man now," Goku nodded, satisfied.
“I don’t want to shut you out, Dad,” said Gohan. “But I’m scared.”
"So what are you doing to DO about it? Ask her to get married?"
"You didn't even know what marriage was, Dad.”
"But that didn't mean I didn’t learn what it was," Goku reminded him. "Look, I know I didn't know ANYTHING about it. I had no clue. But something told me it was right. That I needed someone else in my life. And something inside told me your mother was that person."
"I guess," sighed Gohan. "Thanks Dad. But I think I just need to think about this myself."
"I know," Goku nodded. "But I’m behind you 100 percent whatever you choose.”
"Thank you Dad," Gohan thanked him, accepting his father's embrace. In Goku's own limited way, he had somehow helped finalize Gohan's determination.
He touched down outside of Capsule, suddenly noticing that he had not changed out of his fighting gear. However, the security guard waved him through, "Hi there, Son Gohan. You want to see Ms. Briefs?"
"Yes, is she available?" he asked.
"You can go right in," he nodded, and Gohan strode through the lobby. The recent President had made many changes, to convert the mansion into her own residence. Still it changed little after the Majin Buu incident, despite the attack of Hirudigarn where she needed to totally rebuild the main dome.
However as he wandered through he sensed only three ki's. Those of his brother Goten and Trunks, somewhere inside the arboretum. Blinking he stood there wondering if the guard had been playing games. After all, he had not said she WAS in; only that Gohan could go in.
"How nice to see you, handsome," cooed the voice of Bulma's mother to Gohan's amusement? "Good grief you always look much bigger and stronger each time I see you! I can't believe you were just a little boy such a short time ago!"
"Hi Mrs. Briefs. Is Bulma here?"
"Oh my, she's at the doctor's right now. But you can wait for her if you like. She should be back shortly. Did you want to talk to her? I've got some lovely pastries in the kitchen if you'd like to help me taste them… and your little brother's wondering when you'd be showing up…"
"It's okay, I'm not here to pick him up just yet, I'll just wait for Bulma… if she's busy," said Gohan. However, he felt her grab his hand and tug him into the main living areas with her regardless. Realizing he was hungry, he let her lead him to the vast kitchen. It was rare to see Bulma's mother puttering around so much, so something must be up.
"Damn," Gohan thought after a half-hour of eating sandwiches and a whole dozen chocolate chip cookies. Morosely he watched Goten and Trunks wolfing down their version of a snack and teasing him.
"Did you have FUUN with Miss Videl?” Trunks said.
"Is Videl gonna be living with us yet, Big Brother! Aren't you two ever gonna get married jeez?” Goten teased.
"You guys, I'm NOT in the mood, "Gohan shot them both a deadly glare.
"S'cuse me, you grouch, what bit your ass?" mumbled Trunks.
"Boys, such language!” Mrs. Briefs gasped in shock. "You know your mommy doesn't want you using those words around guests."
"C'mon Nanna, she's not here to see," Trunks scowled back.
"Still, in front of a lady, it's not nice," Gohan scolded, glaring at Trunks as if he were his own brother Goten.
"My mom would stick a bar of soap in MY mouth if she was here," Goten pouted.
"Jealous?” Trunks baited him.
Gohan was thankful when someone interrupted with a cough and a stern grunt of, "Don't you have anything BETTER to do then chatter idly by, boy?"
"Vegeta," Gohan nodded, looking up the Saiyan Prince. As Trunks ran by, he saw Vegeta's hand ruffle lightly through the boy's hair, something he would never see so readily.
"Dad, are we going to train today, or were you going to take us to the amusement park like you promised? We both kicked butt," Trunks said.
"After you finish your workout, we agreed, Trunks," Vegeta reminded him.
"Oh yeah, right," Trunks nodded. "C'mon Goten, let's go."
Vegeta saw the two off with his taciturn expression. Mrs. Briefs had placed a plate of cookies from seemingly nowhere, shoeing the boys out. Crossing over to the large fridge Vegeta tugged out a jug of milk and proceeded to gulp the whole container down in a swig. Gohan continued to stare off into space, suddenly feeling under intense scrutiny.
"So, are you going to tell me why you're here, kid, or just take up space? Or are you here to bother the woman with your own mating problems?” Vegeta asked.
"Huh, uh… no I mean yes," Gohan responded, averting his gaze. Right now the last thing he needed was an annoyed Vegeta giving him more stress.
Stop babbling like that idiotic father of yours, boy," Vegeta reprimanded him as he sat opposite Gohan at the table. Already he had grabbed a plate of sandwiches left from a catering party the night before, setting them down on the table. Seizing a few, the Prince began to eat them.
"I was going to see Bulma, but I guess she's out. I'll just take Goten and go if I'm imposing," Gohan started.
"Cut the crap and come out with it, Gohan. You had sex with that Satan girl, and now you're feeling all worried about this planet's fool conventions?” Vegeta guessed.
"All right, there's no hiding it from you, Vegeta. I guess I just needed to talk to someone about…"
"And that idiot father of yours fell short so you sought out the woman's advice, eh? I suppose since she's not here I'll have to share my wisdom on this matter," Vegeta humped.
"Not unless you…” Gohan started.
"Shut up and listen, or else leave now, while I'm still in a good mood," Vegeta interrupted. "Stop that polite garbage."
"Sorry. Vegeta, I have no idea what to do. I slept with Videl… and my mother doesn't' know… but my dad does…"
"So what if that mother of yours knows or not? Are you not 18, Gohan? You are a man in the eyes of this world and Saiyan society. Are you going to let her puss whip you the rest of your days or stand up and be a man?"
"Vegeta, it's not like that," Gohan glared at him, feeling the protective urge resurface. Seeing Gohan's ki spike Vegeta smirked.
"So you've got a backbone. Too bad, it only emerges when you are pushed to the wall. Show some balls, Gohan, and take that earth woman for your own. Who's to stop you, but your own squeamishness?"
"That idiot? What can he do?"
"I don't want to humiliate her, Vegeta," said Gohan.
"Since you insist on playing these mundane games, at least play them with the conviction you should have, instead of hiding behind your mother's skirt," Vegeta taunted. "Or are you…"
"That's enough," Gohan said quietly. "You're right. I'm letting my fear get the better of me."
"And you're supposedly a genius? Well better late than never for you to get that through your head, Gohan. Ever since Cell, you have let your power decline for favor of fitting in, and have suffered the consequences of letting yourself get soft. Aren't you tired of pushing aside your own desires for those of your overbearing mother?"
"She's not overbearing Vegeta! Stop trashing my mother! I've put it with it for years and I'm getting quite tired of your crap," Gohan glared at him.
"Then prove me wrong Gohan. Show some balls. You have already made that woman your mate. What does it matter if you marry her in the eyes of Earth law now or later?"
"It does," answered Bulma, standing in the doorway of the kitchen.
He reached for his wristwatch, then checked the capsule attached to it. Sometimes he still felt the need to wear that 'Great Saiyaman' outfit in case he ran across any trouble. For the past few days very little had happened to warrant an appearance by him or Great Saiyagirl. Crime had died down to minor break-ins that the authorities could handle on their own. Both superheroes had informed the police they were only to be contacted for jobs that taxed the resources of the law department.
A quick shower taken indoors later followed up by a blast of ki to dry his hair, and Gohan returned to get dressed. This time he selected a more casual pair of jeans, leaving behind his usual nerdy ensemble in favor of a polo shirt. The outfit was completed with a pair of nice new sneakers. He made his way into the kitchen to sit down at the table piled high with breakfast. Already his father and younger brother were stuffing their faces, served by Chichi flitting about with second and third helpings.
"There you are! You slept in! There will be nothing LEFT if you don't shake a leg, Gohan," Chichi informed him.
"I asked for yours, but you had to s how up after all," Goten whined.
"You're dressed a little different Gohan," Son Goku commented, through mouthfuls of his breakfast.
"I suppose it's not that bad, considering you're wearing one of those newer shirts I bought you last year for your birthday. I didn't realize it went so well with blue jeans," Chichi clicked her tongue.
"It's only a study day. I'll be at the library most of it," Gohan said, looking calmly down at his mother. He lacked the usual nervousness, but Chichi seemed in very good spirits.
"He could wear clothes like yours Dad," Goten chimed in.
"Now don't give him ideas, Goten," Chichi scolded, but ruffled her younger son's hair. "I have to admit it's growing on me. Especially since those are NICE jeans, not full of holes or rips as if some of the teenager's think seems 'cool'. Eat up Gohan…"
"Right Mom," he nodded, sitting down to get what breakfast he could away from the others. If he glanced up from his bowl he could see Goku mouthing a thank you to Chichi, who wrinkled her nose playfully. Dad's constant presence and attention to his mother continued to mellow Chichi's still high-strung disposition. Certainty after what happened yesterday she had a reason to celebrate. Such thoughts made Gohan blush and he pushed the image from his mind.
"Are you going to get some balls and make it known what YOU want?" Vegeta's voice echoed in his mind. Gohan finished his food efficiently, then stacked his plates to take to the kitchen.
"I'm going mom," he announced. "I put my dishes in the sink."
"Say hello to Videl for us! And don't forget your lunch," she said.
"I don't think that will be," he started, then figured that battle was not worth it because he didn't want to ruin his mom's good mood. "Okay thanks."
He took the paper bag she handed him and leaned over to kiss her cheek before hugging his dad and little brother goodbye. Goku slapped him on the shoulder and then opened the back door for him. "Remember just relax," Goku whispered.
"Right Dad, Thanks," he said.
"And if you're going to be saving the world, be sure and call us to let us know if you'll be home for dinner?" Chichi called, cupping her mouth with both hands to call to him as Gohan blasted off. Ki flared over him as he rocketed across the skies towards school and Satan City.
Meanwhile Videl had arisen from bed, and felt the aches and pains still plaguing her body. How she received them were still far worth the aftereffects. She went about her own morning routine, choosing to dress herself in a new skirt and short sleeved blouse that was low cut. A quick goodbye to her father on the way out from breakfast brought her to the air car she normally took to high school. Although she could easily fly, she knew her father would scold her about drawing undue attention to herself.
"Those tricks are fine for the ring and when you're playing hero, but be careful please?" he urged. "I mean I bought you that car for your sweet sixteen and the least you can do is use it to humor your old man… sweetheart?"
"Sure dad," she relented. Luckily, there was no need to worry about parking with her vehicle since she could easily capsulate it and carry it in her purse. Today she had paid particular attention to her hair, and walked around in a pair of strappy sandals. Weather was mild, and she felt the need to show off for Gohan's sake.
The small amount of makeup added enough charm to her without detracting from her beauty. It was hard to focus through a written exam in Biology, but she was glad for the study session. Nearby across the lecture hall she glimpsed Gohan, sitting near Erasa and Sharpener. While other students were perplexed, Videl felt much relieved that the facts easily flowed through her pencil to the paper.
"All right class, thank you for an excellent year. I wish you luck in your other finals and comprehensives," the teacher said after all the papers were handed back. The bell rang, and Videl stood up to put her schoolbooks away. Erasa sidled up to her whispering, "So, you didn't call me all last night? How did you do?"
"Pretty good. But I think I can't know till the scores are posted on the school web site," Videl whispered back.
"So… did you and Gohan have a fight?" she asked.
"Oh no," Videl whispered, dragging Erasa into the ladies restroom. She hated to elude Gohan, but sensed her friend would not be satisfied without a quick and dirty news flash.
"Wait, you two made up… and… wait did you go to HIS place to study?"
"Well," Videl leaned closer, both of them standing near the sinks and scanning for anyone who would be listening.
"Wait… you did… and you… Oh Videl… did you…"
"Just a minute… we got to his place, and his mom fed me. You know how she is the best cook in the world practically. She let us study in Gohan's room…"
"Wow how did you pull that off? I thought you said Mrs. Son was the overprotective mom from…"
"She's cool once you know what to tell her," Videl whispered, trying to keep her excitement in check. Erasa's blue eyes widened when Videl continued her confession. With each passing minute, Videl's face flushed from pink to bright red.
"You two… did you…"
"I wasn't sure I could walk for a week," Videl whispered back.
"EEEEH! YOU LUCKY GIRL!" Erasa squealed.
"SHHH! For heaven's sake!" Videl clapped a hand over her friend's mouth.
"You and he… did it? How was it you've got to tell me!" Erasa pleaded.
"It was so… how can I describe it," Videl said dreamily. Erasa was amazed to see such a look on her friend's face. Being with Gohan had softened the rough edges on the tomboy, and left her a young woman.
"Was he gentle and sweet, or hard and fast? I heard the quiet types…"
"Both and neither. It was incredible. Erasa, it was ten million times better then anything we have heard the rest of the gang say," Videl laughed.
"Lucky girl! It didn't hurt?"
"It hurt, but he knew what he was doing…."
"Then you really did do some hands on studying of biology," Erasa giggled. Both of them continued to whisper about things until several other girls entered the room. Grabbing each other's hands, they rushed out to grab some lunch. On the way there, they saw Sharpener and a few of his friends standing around. Erasa and Videl's other friends named Flair Tip and Prisma Mark, both with purple hair and tanned skin, and pink hair and violet eyes respectively clustered with them in the line. Prisma brushed off her blue sundress while Flair was pulling her purse further up the shoulder of her blue jeans vest and capris ensemble.
"Don't you two look like you've got a big secret," Flair whispered, fluffing out her purple hair which complimented her bronze skin nicely. "Some dirt you two want to share?"
"I'm only worried about if we all passed the biology final!" Prisma interrupted. She twisted a lock of her long pink curls around one finger nervously. Her violet eyes sparked with worry.
"I think we'll be okay," Videl said.
"I saw you guys yesterday with Sharpener and Gohan. Did you have a private study session we didn't know about?" pouted Prisma.
"Leave 'em alone. I'm sure with Gohan they're going to get straight A's," Flair waved a dismissive hand.
"Let's go get some coffee, I need it after being almost fast asleep," Erasa said.
"Don't you want to meet the guys for lunch? Because they are standing over there waiting for us…" Prisma waved. Already two young men, both the boyfriends of the two girls were sitting or preparing to drag chairs out of the table. Sharpner was already standing near them.
Minutes before, Sharpener had chased down Gohan, who was glancing around for Videl. "So, did you have FUN studying last night?"
"Give me a break Sharpener. I hope I did the same thing YOU did, actually studying my notes," Gohan returned.
"Lay off the bookworm, Sharpner," someone interrupted. Gohan looked gratefully at their mutual friend Bic, who was broad, shouldered with muscle. Although he was a football player, he studied quite hard. Gohan had helped him on several occasions with other classes, and had earned the jock's respect in spades. Short-cropped hair on his tanned head was a dark red, almost crimson, and he stood a full head and shoulders above the two classmates.
"Guys I'm starving. The girls are going to bitch if we don't save them a table, remember?" the second person named Beryl reminded them. A bit slenderer then Sharpener, and shorter then Gohan, he pushed his glasses up further on the bridge of his nose and glared at both of them. A letter sweater had the words Baseball written across his back, and despite his smaller frame, his arms were nicely muscled.
"So let's go already," Bic urged. "You guys coming?"
"Misery loves company," Sharpener shrugged.
"Erasa's probably going to be there with Flair and Prisma," Beryl said, grabbing his backpack and slinging it over one arm.
"I bet you can't wait to pitch your usual lines at her. Did you catch anything funny last night?" Sharpener asked.
"Zip it Sharpener," Bic urged. Sharpener clamped his mouth shut and glared.
"Easy guys. We're all fagged out from that exam, so let's keep it cool," the pitcher of the team raised mediating hands.
"Fine, it's nothing," Bic said.
"Whatever, I'm starving," Sharpener said.
"So Gohan, I wanted to thank you for the suggestions. I think the flash cards worked great," Bic said. He strode first, with Gohan walking next to him, followed by Beryl and Sharpener a few steps behind.
"Sharpener, I'll tell you about the play by play. If you tell me if you and Erasa had some fun of your own."
"Okay, but you'd better dish," Sharpener brightened up. "Did you and your honey get a hands on for this test?"
"It was all bases loaded," Beryl whispered. Eagerly Sharpener angled his head closer. Both of them had played baseball together several seasons and were next door neighbors. Often times Beryl kept Sharpener in check if he got too much out of line. He had tried to urge Gohan to join their team despite Gohan's protests.
Bic knew the other two from middle school. He watched over most of the 'nerdy' kids because he had once been one himself. That was before he had his growth spurt and gained a good amount of muscle. Now the nerd turned jock took care of his old friends and new. Gohan felt most at ease with him, and the two were discussing the finer points of which question they missed when Beryl interrupted.
"There's an empty table there, guys. Let's grab it."
"Right. You joining us Gohan?" Bic asked.
"I guess if nobody minds," Gohan shrugged. He felt too good to let Sharpener's glare ruin his morning. Each of them pulled out various chairs and tipped others up to save places for their female friends.
Bic waved the cluster of girls over from the lunch line. He led the way, Gohan at his heels. "Stay here," he told Sharpener and Beryl. Both of them piled their books around the spare places and kept any others from stealing their spots. Male voices interspersed with female ones once Gohan and Bic grabbed the trays gallantly for Videl, Erasa, and their friends.
"You're late," Flair scolded.
"So how'd it go, Hun?" Beryl asked Bic.
"We'll tell all soon," he waved her to the table.
"Gohan, you were right. I did… study on my own last night," Erasa whispered.
"Well I'm glad to hear that. I had hoped Sharpener didn't drag you into using those tests," Gohan nodded.
"Let's just say Sharpener shaped up after I got wind of that," Bic said firmly. "I don't think he'll decide on that option."
"Good," Gohan nodded with satisfaction. Erasa beamed with pride, while Videl moved up to stand near Gohan.
"Hi," she said shyly. He gave her a smile and reached out to take her hand.
"I missed you," Gohan answered. Their fingers intertwined and he set down her tray before them. Once chairs shifted, the eight friends arranged themselves in a comfortable circle around the round table. Gohan pulled out a bag lunch, as did Beryl, while the others contented themselves with the food. Bic got up once more to fetch more food for himself and anyone else that wanted it.
"What's this I hear about 'outside help'?" Beryl sidled up to Sharpener.
Gohan almost spat out his drink had Videl not slapped him on the back. "Easy there Gohan."
"You okay?" Flair wondered, tossing Videl a napkin.
"You don't have to spray it, bookworm," Beryl cautioned. "I was just wondering if you used those tests or not… because if Bic finds out you did…."
"You'll be dead meat," added Prisma, threading her arm through Beryl's.
"All right already! I get the message," Sharpener sulked.
Surrounded by the crowd of their friends, Gohan and Videl were jostled and pushed. Everyone tried to maximize tabletop space without knocking the contents of their respective trays to the floor. Bicc Penn and his girlfriend Flair solved their quandary by eating off one tray. As for Erasa and Sharpener, they simply got rid of their trays and put their bowls and plates directly on the table.
Beryl and Prisma sneaked food off each other's plate. Despite the huge basket of fries and double order of barbecued chicken they worked on, it still seemed like they picked at their food. It drove Sharpener nuts whenever he would accompany his oldest friend on a double date because of this. Evident by the impatient glare he shot the two over Erasa's shoulder. "C'mon, you're going to make me nuts eating one dang fry at a time!"
"Don't you know it's my secret weapon, Sharpie? Makes the girls stay with you longer," Beryl mock-whispered.
"Okay, okay, I get the hint," Sharpener relented. Gohan and Videl were pushed closer together, so as Videl tried to reach for a napkin, Gohan leaned over to pick up his bag off the floor. He extracted a few containers out of it, and opened them up. Taking a pair of chopsticks, he used them efficiently to eat the rice. Erasa at the same time leaned over Sharpener's lap to pull something out of her bag and set it before them. She gleefully pulled the plastic wrap off a homemade tangerine and spinach salad. Sharpener raised a brow; annoyed she set it right in front of him.
Yet seeing Beryl feeding his girlfriend a fry, he changed his mind. Especially when she licked ketchup off his still extended finger. Erasa suddenly felt his arm snake out and drag her onto his knee. She almost dropped the spoon she held, feeling Sharpener's muscular chest pressed to her back. "Okay, let's see what you've brought, since you've put it right under my nose," he whispered.
"Is he for real?" Beryl shot an inquiring look at Prisma.
"Oh hush up! I've been trying to hint to those two for Kami knows how long," she hissed in his ear. He found a mouthful of chicken wing shoved into his mouth. Erasa blushed a pleasant shade of pink when Sharpener himself started digging through the salad with his own fork, appearing VERY interested in what she had to offer. Gohan was thankful Erasa and Sharpener had drawn attention away from him and Videl.
"Hey, I think we've hogged enough chairs," Sharpener glared at the surprised looks of everyone else. "I don't think any of you would argue about this…"
"He's so forward," Erasa giggled, loving the fact that he had finally seen what was in front of him all along. In addition, to her delight and everyone's continued amusement he let her feed him small bites.
"He's actually eating it and liking it," Videl whispered to Gohan. She leaned forward to take a mouthful of ginger chicken he extended to her on his own chopsticks.
"Wonders never cease," Gohan snickered to himself. "He's actually showing some brains. Erasa is a sweet girl. I only hope he treats her well."
"Don't worry," Flair whispered, next to him, half sitting on her chair and Bic's lap. "If he doesn't, Bicc with see if he fits into his locker."
"Even though I usually reserve that honor for freshmen," Bic joked.
"Ha ha," Videl shot him a glare. Nevertheless, both smiled.
Not wanting to be outdone by Sharpener's open declaration, Beryl urged his girlfriend into his lap, and there were two empty chairs pushed out. Eagerly the ever-crowding cafeteria snatched them up. The only thing they feared was the overzealous eye of a teacher lunchroom monitor chewing them out for PDA's.
"Crap, I think I saw Miss Harrison on lunchroom duty!" whispered Beryl.
"What are they going to do to us seniors? Give us detention?" Sharpener laughed, quite liking the feel of Erasa on his lap.
"Well there's a thing called 'not graduating', which could turn into a five year plan if you're suspended for not keeping your hands to yourself, idiot," Bic glared at him.
"Oh, so they're supposed to put up with you and bookworm playing Boy Scout and get jealous?" Sharpener teased.
"There's a time and place for everything," Gohan interrupted. "And if you respected the rules, you wouldn't want to put your girlfriend in danger because you can't control your base impulses."
"Oh I'm so scared," Sharpener laughed.
"Loosen up, Gohan," Beryl said.
"Leave him alone. You people behave, okay. That's for later," said Bic, glaring at his classmates.
"Lousy spoilsports," Sharpener gave him a dark look. Nevertheless, his blue eyes spoke of promise to a shy but excited Erasa that he released from his lap. Reluctantly Beryl did the same with Prisma. As the teacher marched over both girls made a show of gathering food plates and rushing off.
"Nice save," Beryl whispered. Sharpener had to agree.
"When did you first kiss?" Beryl nudged Videl.
"What?" Gohan spluttered a mouthful of his beverage across the table. The recipient of this spew of droplets this time was Sharpener, who cursed under his breath. Erasa's attempts to mop the food off his visage with a napkin soothed him for the time being.
Videl's blue eyed glare focussed annoyed at Beryl. With an expectant glance towards Gohan she asked,
"No use asking him that stuff, Beryl. He's not going to answer THAT in a million years," Sharpener answered on Gohan's behalf. Erasa's eyes widened, as did Videl's at the unexpected intervention.
"I'm not asking you Sharpie. Aren't you going to answer the question, bookworm," Beryl further taunted, his eyes twinkling with the growing smirk poking one cheek into a fierce dimple. Judging from the angle of his crooked smile, Erasa felt the tension reaching boiling point. Uncomfortably she squirmed in Sharpener's lap, causing her date to feel blood rushing to a place he was both pleased and flustered to realize.
Dark eyes bottomless as midnight, Gohan lowly but firmly answered, "That's none of your business, Beryl."
"Like we want to know his business anyway," Sharpener added, tightening his hold on Erasa's waist to keep her from squirming so much. Not that he minded the result, but trying to stand up a few minutes later would cause many eyes to divert south of the equator.
"My first kiss was at the movies," Flair tittered.
"I remember that well, sweetheart," Bic said, pressing a kiss to her cheek.
"Guys, get a room," Videl threw a piece of ice at them both. "Seriously! Can't we talk about something else?"
"It's not like we're asking if anyone's a virgin," Beryl began. "You are so uptight man… what's your deal?"
"Shut up," Gohan suddenly said, a low growl erupting from his throat. "That kind of talk doesn’t belong here."
"What's gotten you so uptight?" Beryl asked Gohan.
"Guys, simmer down," Bic said, playing moderator.
"It's no big deal, Gohan. He asked a simple question. You don't have to answer if you don't want to, so relax," Sharpener said, grabbing Gohan's shoulder.
"It's something that guys talk about in locker rooms and girls talk about at slumber parties," Erasa supplied. "Not something we talk about in mixed company."
"I agree with that," said Videl. "So if you don't mind I've got something else I'd like to do."
"Just answer the question, Gohan. I'm not the one making it a big deal," Beryl continued. Everyone wanted to slap him at the stupidity of his persistence. What was he trying to prove anyway?
Sharpener was not in the mood to have a fight develop simply because he wanted to explore the interest he had sown in Erasa. Alternatively, was it the desire to help someone that had now become important to the girl he once thought he loved? Whatever the case Sharpener found himself quickly blurting out, "Look Gohan, you could just say it's none of our damn business if you want. Beryl, that's his business okay?"
"He's right," Gohan chimed in, shooting Sharpener a grateful sidelong look. "Back off, Beryl. I'm not in the mood for this."
"Excuse me, sheesh," Beryl grimaced. "Aren't we a little touchy?"
"Look, buddy, some people want to think about other things, let them do it. However, our relationship is OUR private business everyone. NOT the subject of everyone's lurid fantasies. If any of you have anything you would like to ask, fine. But don't do it like it's something to brag and embarrass us about, because I won't stand for it," Gohan said angrily, nudging Videl off his lap. His dark eyes gleamed brightly, making everyone shiver.
"Oh, so we're not good enough to hang with you, is that it, bookworm?" Beryl asked, shoving his girlfriend aside and leaping to his feet.
Videl caught hold of Gohan's arm, leaning back a bit. Jabbing a finger in Beryl's direction she snapped, "Get lost Beryl. Gohan's right. It's NONE of your beeswax what Gohan and I do, got it?"
"Guys, enough, people are staring! Cool it," Bic interrupted, waving his hands.
"Um… he's right… sit down okay?" Flair contributed.
"I'm not the one making a big deal out of nothing! Bookworm's the one who has a stick up his ass, not me, Bic!"
"Shut up Beryl. It is not worth it. Gohan, if you do not want to talk about it just say so. Don't throw a fit!" Sharpener urged.
"Come off it sharpener, don't tell me you're sticking up for the guy!"
"Everyone shut up and listen to me!" Gohan raised his voice further. "I just don't like gossip that's all. It's rude and it's sophomoric and I REFUSE to play these games."
"He's right," Flair said quietly. Suddenly they felt the weight of dozens of eyes on them, burning like invisible heat.
"Sit down Beryl. You too Gohan. There's no need for this. Gohan has a right to his opinions. So drop it," said Bic. Suddenly Beryl plopped down on his chair, next to Prisma. Meanwhile Gohan and Videl gathered up their books and stuffed them back into their respective bags.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm sorry Flair, but I think I've lost my appetite," Gohan said. "Excuse me."
"Later," Videl added, before disappearing into the hubbub of the whispering crowded cafeteria. Everyone exchanged awkward looks after such a conversation stopper.
"He's sure old fashioned, Beryl. You know how he was when he first showed up. Are you surprised,"
"I know Prisma, but still… he shouldn't have a cow for such a simple question," supplied Flair. "Even if it was direct."
"Flair, I admit he's a bit shy about such things. But that doesn't mean he's less of a friend."
"Bic… guys can we change the subject already?" Sharpener asked.
"What's gotten into you, Sharpie?" Beryl asked. "Suddenly defending Bookworm."
Sharpener tossed his head with a swirl of blonde hair. He started stacking his books and then reached over to grab Erasa's. She asked, "What are you doing?"
"Erasa, let's get out of here. The moods shot, and lunch is over," Sharpener said, extending a hand to her.
"Huh?" she asked, still sitting in the chair abandoned by Videl.
"You coming or what? I don't know about everyone else, but I've got some exams to pass," Sharpener continued.
"I guess you're taking after bookworm Sharpie?" Beryl snickered.
"Beryl, get the stick out of your ass. I don't have to explain my business to anyone!" Sharpener retorted.
"I think we should leave, Sharpener," Erasa suggested, lightly taking his hand.
"Hey, who put a bug in your shorts man? Why are you being so damn touchy?" Beryl demanded, standing up and glaring at his friend.
"This isn't the royal jerk competition you two!" Bic glared at both of them. "Now sit down because you're making a scene."
"Always worried about your image?" Sharpener glared. "C'mon… let's go."
Both of them quickly wandered off in the same direction as Gohan and Videl had gone. Leaving four other teens blinking oddly at each other under the scrutinizing watch of the onlookers.
"Show's over, butt out!" Bic shouted loudly. Quickly the rubberneckers looked away, mollified by the large football player's imposing bulk rising out of the chair. Nobody wanted any trouble. Especially when the lunchroom monitor orbited backs and marched right towards them.
"Excuse me, but you two need to come to my office right away. I don't want anyone else stirring things up Finals week!" Mrs. Harrison sharply interrupted. Sullenly Bic and Beryl were waved to follow her, their girlfriends gathering their own books up.
"Gohan, go easy," Videl whispered, tugging his sleeve. "What's gotten into you."
"Why should we have to put up with that garbage? We're graduating from high school, not continuing it!" Gohan complained, still marching along with Videl clinging to his hand.
"Hey, Gohan!" shouted Sharpener's voice.
"Now what?" Gohan mumbled.
"Hey, wait up! Listen!" Erasa called.
"What?" Videl asked, turning to look at them. Her quick tug on Gohan's hand stopped him, much to his irritation.
"If you don't mind I've got some studying to do," Gohan said, not looking at the other couple.
"Gohan, I just wanted to let you know Beryl wasn't being cool. In addition, that well…" Sharpener scratched his head.
"Where are you going with this?" Videl suspiciously asked.
"We were just talking and um…" Erasa said shyly. "Would you mind having a group study session with all of us together."
"No tests, just our own notes. How about it Gohan. Let us bury the hatchet. I mean we are all about to graduate and I um... I am the first to admit I've been an ass about this. So can't we all just be cool now?"
"What's in it for you?" Gohan asked.
"Look man, I'm sorry okay? I should not have been such a dork. But can we just start over? I mean we're all friends, and once we all graduate… I mean… you do have a point and all," Sharpener fumbled.
"Huh, that's news coming from you," Videl said.
"Give him a chance okay? He did stand up for you back their, Gohan," Erasa said sweetly.
"What do you have in mind?" Gohan asked, turning around to face them fully.
"Dinner on me? Truce? Then we all study at the place of our choice? Library or wherever. And there's NO catch, Gohan," Sharpener said quietly.
Gohan and Videl exchanged glances. Holding out her hand Videl said, "Okay. That's cool."
"Fine," Gohan said. Sharpener was nervous at first but was surprised when Gohan extended his hand as well. Bewildered Sharpener saw the frown fade from the dark features that softened, and reached over to shake hands with his once rival for Videl.
"See it's not that hard to behave, right boys?" Erasa giggled. Videl rolled her eyes and Sharpener actually allowed himself to relax from that permanent bad boy smirk.
"Wondered when you'd pull the stick out of your butt," Videl mumbled. Nevertheless, Erasa's giggle and quick hug to Gohan irked her before she could start. That strange look of jealously Sharpener shot in Gohan's direction was a refreshing change.
Piled into Sharpener's car, the four friends chattered quickly about the best way to study English Composition. Once they exited, they found their way into a shopping mall, where Erasa just had to look at the new dresses. There was a long wait at the restaurant Sharpener chose, and Gohan wanted to try somewhere less expensive. Therefore, the four teenagers all stood just inside the entrance of Escargot, mulling over their options.
It was Sharpener that spoke first, curling his arm around Erasa's waist. Casually he suggested,
"Hey I've got an idea, babe. Gohan and I'll wait here, and you ladies go off and shop a bit."
Erasa's blue eyes twinkled, which didn't surprise Videl in the least when she squealed, "Sharpener that's a GREAT idea! I saw the CUTEST dress we have to try Videl. And the nail parlor's doing a 2 for one deal… we'll get our nails done while we wait!"
"But Erasa…" protested the other girl.
The Matre D suggested, "Excuse me, but would you like to wait or come back? You can sit in the bar if you would like. There's a chance you can get a table more quickly…"
"The bar?" Gohan blinked, tugging at his collar as if someone had suggested he should jump in a shark infested lake.
Sharpener patted his shoulder comradely; "You are 18, right? In addition, you don't have to get anything leaded, bookworm. I just want a man to man chat with you that's all? I mean since the girls…"
"So that's your motive eh?" Videl glared at him.
However Erasa exuberantly cut off any further protests Videl or Gohan could offer, "How about it Videl? Which would you rather do? Shop or wait in some noisy bar?"
"We'll wait in the bar while the ladies go and come back?" Sharpener asked. "Go on Erasa, we'll keep the seats warm for you!"
"Thank you!" Erasa squealed. "But I forgot my credit card! I only have enough cash for dinner!"
"You can borrow one of mine," Sharpener said, reaching to take out his wallet and pass one of his credit cards to her. "Here, I'll write down the access code for you."
"Wow, that's generous of you," Videl looked at him.
"Anything for the lady. Now shoe, both of you, and have fun. Call it a study break, right Gohan?" Sharpener said, slugging Gohan on the back.
"But Sharpener… the whole point was to take them out to dinner."
Leaning close to him, he whispered, "Let them have their girl chat time Gohan. Play along will you?"
"But Gohan…" Videl started.
"No, it's okay," Gohan said with a smile. "I think it wouldn't hurt. And you two do need a break…"
Videl shrugged and then both she and Erasa went over to give their respective dates a hug. After all, Videl would hear all the details later. Sharpener seemed very relaxed while he and Gohan took seats at the long granite countertop. Both presented their Ids, and Sharpener ordered a West City Brew while Gohan settled for Capsule Cola. To his surprise and delight, Sharpener did not berate him on his beverage choice.
Light from the TV flickered over the patrons along with the neon buzzing signs spelling out West City Brew and Satan's Secret Ale. Patrons filed in from the waiting area, clustering around the already filling bar counter where the two huddled. Grabbing a handful of nuts, Sharpener tossed one into his mouth. Gohan picked up his fizzing glass, wet with condensation. He tossed the lemon wedge in, and raised it to take a sip. Seeing Sharpener hold up a hand and grab his beer, he hesitated.
"A toast, Gohan," he offered.
"Graduation, and friendships, new and old. And for making me pull the stick out of my butt and um…"
"Act like a human Being?" Gohan chuckled. Sharpener grinned, clinking their glasses together. Visibly they relaxed, and soon settled into talking like old friends. Gohan had to admit he liked Sharpener better as a friend than a rival for Videl's affections. Especially since he had suddenly decided to show his interest in Erasa.
Yet, his protective nature wondered what would result. Would Erasa be disappointed or not? He was interrupted in his thoughts by Sharpener's next question, "Um Gohan, I know it was stupid to ask about a first kiss. But was it because it was in front of the girls that you got all upset?"
"Yes," said Gohan. Occasional clinks of the bartender reaching for bottles and the murmur of patrons around them drowned out their conversation, proving sufficient masking noise.
"I see. Well you are an old fashioned person. But hey, that's cool with me. And you are right. WE are growing up. Videl is lucky to have you as a boyfriend. And I'm a dope for not letting it go sooner," Sharpener said. "Just treat her good okay."
"Or we'll take it outside?" Gohan smirked. Sharpener laughed, and they continued to sample their beverages. They swiveled their stools around to watch the ballgame. The female bartender aimed her remote at the TV, turning up the sound. Both of them chuckled to hear about the Taitains versus the Satan City Devils.
"They're nine ahead, and it's the fifth inning," Sharpener noticed.
"Yamcha's up to bat next!" his friend pointed up to the flickering screen, rife with images and the latest scores scrolling along the bottom.
"You know Yamcha the Slugger, Gohan?"
"Of course! He's one of my dad's oldest friends!"
"Heh, cool. Maybe you could twist his arm and get season tickets, Gohan?"
Setting his Capsule Cola down, Gohan said, "Hey Sharpener."
"It was in West City. My little brother and his best friend saw us though, and I tried to stop them from telling Mom…"
"Oh? What's this that you're talking about, bookworm?" Sharpener wondered, mouth still half full of mixed nuts. His voice cleared through the application of more beer.
"My first kiss… I mean my first… well… French kiss," Gohan said with a blush.
"You didn't have to tell me man. But thanks," Sharpener said with a smile. "Are you sure this wasn't the Great Saiyaman you saw kissing her?"
"I…" Gohan stammered.
"Relax. I know who you are. I mean Erasa figured it out. And we all saw you at the tournament," said Sharpener. "But it's not like I'm going to blab it to the world. Most of us didn't draw the correct conclusion after that whole thing… I mean it was like something came over us all that we wanted to forget but didn't."
"Oh… so how…" Gohan trailed off. HE realized part of the wish to forget Majin Buu included the words 'and the Great Saiyaman's true identity'. Tacked on as an afterthought by Goku, he was grateful. Yet, Erasa had still figured it out so it hardly mattered. It was the reason he continued with his superhero identity despite his 'unmasking' at the tournament.
"I mean maybe you WISH it was you and Videl kissing when you two REALLY saw Great Saiyaman and Great Saiyawoman smooching," Sharpener winked.
"Oh," Gohan blinked, realizing they were in a public place. "Yeah you figured it out! Silly me!"
"So what did you see them doing? The Great Saiyaman and the Great Saiyawoman?"
"Mmm, they were um fighting a bunch of zombies. When the city was invaded by the living dead, remember?" Gohan ran with Sharpener's 'cover'.
"How could I forget that. Man it was creepy. Having a whole bunch of tanks rattling over your car during rush hour!"
"Well that wasn't all that went weird. I saw these alien monsters running around the city. Then I saw the Great Saiyaman right there. He defeated the monsters in ONE punch… and then Videl… she um… got really excited and cheered him on…" Gohan continued.
"One lucky guy," Sharpener sighed wistfully.
"Yeah, tell me about it," Gohan chorused his friend's sigh.
He remembered that day well. Both of them had gone from eating dinner to fighting crime, side to side. Gohan had shed his disguise and beaten Freeza with a swing of his fist. Seeing Videl's look of admiration he felt the urge to show off with a crazy series of poses. Caught in the moment he remembered her stop clapping to catch his gaze.
"You were amazing Gohan!"
"Aww you're just saying that!" he laughed wiping the sweat from his brow with a gloved hand. Still he wore his green vest overtop very tight spandex. Reaching down Videl grabbed the discarded sunglasses and turban. She shyly handed them back to him.
"You'd better put these back on. I see some citizens nearby, and you don't want to blow your cover, right?" she winked.
"Oh yeah, that's right…" he realized, quickly sliding his sunglasses back into place, then blushing when Videl tugged the turban over his head. She reached around his neck to secure its knot at the base of his scalp where his hair started. This brought them close together, and Gohan's hands were poised half at his sides, half in midair.
"We can't let evildoers know who your secret identity is, right, Great Saiyaman?" she winked.
"Um no! You are right, Miss Videl," he answered in his stage voice. Her blue eyes twinkled, and then he felt her arms tug his neck and head along with it. Caught off guard, he grabbed her by the waist to steady her and himself from falling forwards. Especially when Videl levered herself up with her arms and caught his lips in a kiss. Gohan froze stiff; amazed she would be so bold in his superhero getup. Rather then, protest, he allowed himself to fall into the sensation of her mouth gliding over his, and her tongue brushing light teasing strokes between them.
Nervously Gohan parted his lips to allow her, feeling their breaths merge. A wave of heat shot over him, his gloved arms locking her in place so she could not escape even if she wanted. At that moment, he was extremely thankful to his Saiyaman guise enabling him to be far bolder then his mere Gohan self would dare. Dramatically he leaned her down over his arm, dipping her in a theatrical pose he had spotted in one of his mom's favorite movies. By the time Videl ended her side of the kiss, she panted heavily with eyes half shut.
Gohan responded licking his lips, and initiating the first of many long kisses. While the city still echoed emptily around them, he held Videl protectively in his arms. Her feet left the ground while the Great Saiyaman himself swept her off them. Through the soft motions of her mouth and the soft gasps he swallowed, he knew this was not the kiss of a girl, but that of a woman. Exactly the type that his mother would give his father when he arrived back from a fight and she was worried sick for his life.
It was still the day they had lunch together. Rather then go completely home, Goku's wife had decided to pay Mr. Hercule Satan another impromptu visit. There were certain things she needed to clarify with the blowhard, and she meant to do so without the intervention of anyone. Carrying her well stocked handbag Chichi wandered through the mall past a sporting goods store. Judging from the reporters jockeying for position she had hit jackpot.
"Time to move in," Chichi decided, striding confidently up. She pulled out an 8 by 10 glossy of Mr. Satan and shoved her way past the reporters.
"Excuse me, autograph hound coming through!" she said. At the table the World Champion was rapidly signing his new workout DVD's. He wasn't counting on the woman who was shoving her way to the front of the line.
"Sir, someone's disrupting your signing!" hissed one of the guards. Bobbing his head up, Mr. Satan suddenly realized who it was shoving and pushing.
"Give her this VIP pass this minute!" he ordered, thrusting it into the man's hand. Quickly the attendant made his way back and caught Chichi's attention.
"Ma'am, this is for you! You're Mr. Satan's special guest…" he waved. She accepted the pass and let herself be led by the arm to sit next to him behind the table. He shoved the attendant aside and pulled out the chair for Chichi.
"Oh Mr. Satan, I just HAD to see you again! You're my son's FAVORITE fighter," Goku's wife crowed loudly, pushing the picture under his hand. Everyone in line glared at her, and expectantly at Mr. Satan.
"Um… what a lovely surprise!" he said. Choruses of 'who is she' and 'tell us' echoed.
"But that's not all who I am, is it?" Chichi cooed, batting her eyelashes at him.
"Um yeah! That's right! She's… she's…" he stammered. Wildly glancing from his press people to the disgruntled fans he struggled for something to say.
"She's someone I know VERY well! She's the Ox King's daughter!" blurted out the World Champion.
"The Ox King?" whispered a gentleman wearing a Mr. Satan baseball cap backwards.
"That's right!" Chichi laughed. "Wife of the one and only… Son Goku… you might remember he won the 23rd Budokai?"
"Wait a minute, I remember that one! It's where that monster blew up the ring?" an old timer chimed in.
"Wait you're lying!" someone else, sporting a T-shirt with the world's 'great hero' posing across it, said.
"Um… but we don't have time for memory lane! Because she's joining me for a lunch break folks!" Hercule suddenly blurted out.
"But you can't leave your fans," the Ox-Princess insisted.
"I'm sorry to let you Satan fans down, but I'll be back in an hour! So hang tough! The first one hundred in line gets a personally autographed copy in the mail of my upcoming 100 greatest punches!" the would-be hero babbled.
"If you insist," Chichi smiled winningly, though her eyes gleamed like that of a cobra.
"Yes sir!" he nodded. Grabbing his press agent he hissed, "Find some way to distract them while I get rid of her!"
People grumbled and complained, pushing against one another in the crowded store. However as their hero politely offered his arm to Son Chichi, he shot urgent looks to all his staff. Faced with disappointing a half thousand fans and public humiliation through Goku's wife's appearance he figured trying to sweet talk her was the best bet. He led her into his limo, and whispered something to his chauffeur. "Drive us out of here, around the block! Make it snappy!"
Once she sat down in the large limo, he took the seat across from her. "Um… what brings you here, Chichi? What an unexpected… surprise!"
"I just had to come out and see you in action, Mister Satan. There were a few things I wanted to clear up…"
"You didn't just come for an autograph I take it?" Hercule tugged aside his collar beneath where he felt sweat building up. His guest sat primly across from him with crossed knees, and watched as he opened the minibar.
"Champagne, beer, wine?"
"Just spring water, thank you," the Ox Princess thanked him reaching in to grab herself a bottle of the very expensive stuff. Hercule grabbed himself a beer and popped the top. He guessed this was going to be one of the most uncomfortable limo rides of his life.
"So um… what did you come to see little ol' me about? I hope lunch was okay…" he said.
"Just wanted a little chat with you, Mr. Satan," she said sweetly, sipping her drink.
"About what? What did you um… want to clear up?"
"Oh just a little story I hear going on… and on, and on," Chichi said with a half mean smile. "I understand You've been telling fibs."
"Oh c'mon what do you mean?" he glared at her.
"Well all these years you've been going ON about how YOU defeated Cell?" Gohan's mother raised her manicured eyebrow, and glared him right in the eye. "And it's getting pretty old, don't you think?"
"What brought this on?"
"I've been a patient woman, Mr. Satan. I can be rational and calm. But I've waited FAR too long to get this off my chest. And frankly I'm TIRED of this whole 'I defeated Cell single-handedly' song and dance. Since it's an outright boldfaced LIE!" Chichi shouted.
"Now just a minute here!" Hercule began, resorting to his 'tough guy' image for this challenge. Clearly from the way her face contorted in anger as a result, it was not one of his better career moves.
"Don't you tell me to wait, buster!" shrilled the Ox-Princess, grabbing the front of his shirt and pushing her nose right into his face. All the fury of seven years had reached critical mass and she had the chance to speak her peace. She wasn't about to pass it up now.
"Um… wait… you've got it all wrong! It wasn't MY idea!" Hercule gasped, inching back on the limo seat.
"Do you know the PAIN of a mother who lost her HUSBAND to this monster… only to turn on the TV and see YOUR mug plastered everywhere?" Chichi started to rant. She shoved her face right into Hercule's and he backed up on the limo seat.
"N… no… but I did lose my wife…" he stammered.
"Because she RAN AWAY from you! Isn't that right? Your dear daughter shared a lot of things with me, MISTER Satan. But that's not what I'm talking about here, is it?" she half growled. Flames seemed to dance in her eyes. Hercule realized this was one enemy he couldn't bluff his way out of.
"Now be reasonable! What… what do you want?" the would-be hero queried, feeling as if he was facing the end of the world.
"Gohan was the one who defeated Cell you big MORON!" Chichi screamed, intensely enough to rattle the limousine windows. "Dammit how COULD you pretend to give your heart and soul to save the world when my poor son lost his FATHER that day, fighting that monster? You can't understand how it KILLS me to remember that! My little Gohan almost DIED to save your backside, and you have the unmitigated GALL to presume your daughter is too GOOD for marrying him!"
"Please… wait a minute! I didn't mean… I…" Hercule half-whimpered, much like his dog Bee did for an extra helping of steak. "You've got it all wrong!"
"Don't you talk back to me mister!" she continued to rant, still grabbing him by the front of his shirt. "You won't get out of this till I'm THROUGH saying my piece! At least sit here like a MAN and hear me out!"
"Um… okay you win! I'll listen!" he surrendered, hoping he wouldn't lose control of all bodily functions then and there.
"I want you to think LONG and hard about what you've been doing! You don't know how lucky you are to have my Gohan and Goku pulling your lazy pompous BUTT out of death's way both times! Yes you DID have a tiny part in saving the world, but to dare to pretend to have done something you didn't do… there's only so much a mother can take!" Chichi half sobbed. "Because you rub it in our faces every damn DAY! And all this money you make at MY and other's expense!"
"I… I didn't… think…"
"No you didn't think! All you care about is your damn IMAGE! While my sons barely can get the education they deserve. While you eat STEAK and lobster and everyone bows and worships the ground you walk on! I bet they even think your breath smells nice when you get up and don't brush your TEETH!" the Ox Princess shrilled.
After this tirade she shook him so hard his teeth rattled, like dried beans in a maraca. The world's champion and hero felt himself getting dizzy. "How dare you… how DARE YOU!"
"Oh crap… I'm dead," Hercule whined, knees knocking as she shoved him up against the wall of the limo. Her eyes almost blazed red like hot coals, and he felt a wet spot staining his pants. "I.. I'm sorry!"
"What was that?" she demanded.
"I'm SORRY!" the wrestler shouted. "I'm so sorry! Look, please don't kill me! Let me go!"
"You're sorry for WHAT?"
"I'm sorry for… claiming I beat up Cell when I didn't! You don't understand how they just spun it on me…"
To this Goku's wife screamed, "And that makes it okay? Instead of denying it you capitalized on it! You lied by omission, you JERK! That's just as horrible as lying outright!"
"I… please… look, if you want money I can pay you! Please… just don't…"
Despite all of his blubbering she was hardly swayed. Even the momentary mention of remuneration for past misery only brought a brief respite. Releasing his shirt she seethed, "Oho, you don't know how much I wanted to scream 'you big fake' in front of all your fans. If it weren't for the fact my son was marrying your daughter I would."
"So you see… you can't say anything…" Hercule feebly protested, landing back against the seat. "You know what this would mean?"
"Oh yes I do. That would deny a poor innocent girl, ignorant of your crimes of her rightful dowry. And I can't do that. Not when my Gohan can live like a king… at your expense," she cackled.
That peal of laughter frightened him far more then her former screaming fit. Seizing his opportunity the world champion put in, "So you do need me… after all."
"Unfortunately yes. That's the only reason I keep my mouth shut. But you're going to do something about revising that little history stunt of yours. The next time someone wants you to tell the tale of how you single-handedly defeated CELL, you're going to tell them you had HELP. Not only that but you'll tell them the truth."
"But that would ruin my…"
Rolling her eyes she groaned, "Oh save it! Would it kill you to tell them that GOHAN was the one who struck the final blow? Aren't you enough loved by your loyal followers that you could tell them ANYTHING and they'd STILL bow and kiss your feet? Haven't we suffered enough for your blunder?"
"B…but… it would ruin me!" whined he. Still eyeing him predatorily she tapped her chin.
"Come to think of it… I've got a better idea. I think it will be far better punishment to see you squirm and try to cover your mistakes… especially if I let it slip that you were fibbing?" she snickered, with an almost diabolical smirk. "But no… that's too devious. I think it would save you a lot of trouble if you just fessed up about Cell. That Gohan was the hero, and you were a convenient distraction."
All he could say was simply, "But Ma'am… Chichi… I can't do that."
Chichi continued, wagging her finger into his face like he was Gohan or Goten being punished, "Can't or won't? You played your role, Goku told me. And I'm generous enough to give you that much. But Cell, that's just unforgivable! Wouldn't you be a bigger man if you admitted it was a misunderstanding? My Goku gave his life, and my son almost followed him. And you stealing the credit is… unspeakable!" Chichi continued.
"But what can I do? You're asking the impossible!" shrugged he.
"You'll figure it out. Because one way or another, the truth will be told. And you'll have to pick up the pieces," sighed Goku's wife. Temper abated, she smoothed out her own dress, then tucked her hair back into some semblance of normalcy.
"Am I supposed to call a press conference and say, 'Hey folks, you know the whole Cell business? Well… I lied'?" Hercule gasped, shaking his head violently.
Chichi dug through her bag and pulled out a compact mirror. As she continued to talk she reapplied her makeup, "Well that would be a good start. But I suppose you'll find a way to sugar coat it and spin it for the press like you always do."
Helpless to her reasoning he continued to look for a convenient out. He was accustomed to trickery, resorting to his charisma to charm the ladies. However Chichi was no ordinary lady, unfortunately for him. "But… how can I… when can I? I mean come on. Is that really what you want?"
"I won't let it slip right away. There are people who remember things here and there. And because your daughter is dating my son, I'm sure I can convince them not to hide things for your benefit. Gohan is far more of a hero then you'll ever be. I suppose that's enough. But I'll be watching you."
"Well does he really WANT all the publicity? I mean I dunno but Gohan strikes me as the kind of kid who doesn't like the limelight. And anyhow, there's enough of a spotlight that's gonna be on them when they do get married. And how about that husband of yours. Does he really want fame and fortune?" Hercule managed to stammer.
Flustered, Chichi's face turned beet red. "How can you dare presume to get inside my husbands and son's head, mister! You're lucky I don't boot you into next WEEK for saying that!"
In a long exhalation Hercule released all the tension. It was far worse then when 18 had squeezed 10 million Zenni out of him. He offered, "Maybe you and I… can make a deal? I mean you and I both know what went down. But I'm reminding you, that my whole fortune and Videls are built on my reputation. Can you take the chance it will take a dive?"
"Spare me," the Ox-Princess mumbled.
"You… well… um… if you keep quiet… I'll pay you," said Hercule. "We both benefit. Let my daughter and your son have a nice life with lots of money."
Again the mention of money caught her attention, judging by the quick swivel of her head towards him. Raising one eyebrow she queried, "What's that?"
"I'm rich, and I stole the credit for Cell. Maybe I can make it up to you. You claim I got rich at your expense. Well I can pay you… pain and suffering? You want them to be well off right? And it's the least I can do to make up for the years you say I've been 'cashing in' on this Cell deal."
"This isn't a court of law, mister!" Chichi snorted, unimpressed. She was convinced he had watched way too much television. Hadn't she always warned her son it would rot his brains? Clearly the evidence of this sat before her now, quivering like jelly.
Frantically he waved his hand toward her, "But hear me out! How about ten million Zenni for starters… as a… good will offer… I mean your son's going to school and all…"
Any further expressions of ire melted into disgust on her otherwise attractive face. She agreed, "If I had more pride I'd laugh in your face. But seeing as it's hard to make ends meet, I think we can negotiate. I should kick myself for this."
Patting his pockets, Hercule over-dramattically dug through them. Then he laughed nervously, "Um… well… I don't have my checkbook on me, but I can have someone draw up some papers."
"You do that. I'll be back to make sure you're not flimflamming me. I have a better idea. Why don't you let me off where I say, and pay for whatever I next buy? As a so called 'first installment'?" said she.
Hercule extended his hand and she put hers in it. He placed a kiss on the back, and then Chichi gave him her most charming smile. She knocked on the partition between driver and cabin. When it rolled down she cast the driver another sweet grin. "I'm ready to leave now. Mr. Satan is all yours."
"Sir? Where should we let her off?"
"The mall would be a nice place," Chichi suggested. Hercule wiped sweat off his face when she waited for the driver to stop the limo and open the door for her. Once she climbed out, the fighter began to relax a tiny bit. In the last fifteen minutes he had tasted a slice of hell he would not soon forget. Guilt did often strike him, but he usually had a way of pushing it aside when thinking about the dollar signs. Now he had to do it for Videl's sake. At that moment she had him by the balls and he did not like it. Quickly whipping out his cellphone he dialed his lawyer's number.
"So," Gohan said, rattling the ice in his glass as he swirled it in his fingers. "You seem to be pretty studious all of a sudden. Why the change in heart?"
"Erasa," he confessed. Gohan noticed the faint rose tinge creeping over his pale skin. It was a curious sight to see the tough guy exhibit such a gentle disposition.
"Don't tell me. She made you dinner the last couple of nights, and sent you cookies by sneaking them into your locker?" Gohan chuckled.
"Wait a minute, she did that to you?" Sharpener blinked, his mouth gaping.
"Yep. That's her style. She figures the way to a boy's heart is through the stomach. Like my mom does," Gohan chuckled. Immediately another diet capsule cola tapped down on the bar, while the empty glass was plucked from its place. Condensation wet his fingers, and the bubbles of the soda fizzled into his face when he tipped another mouthful over his lips. His sensitive nose twitched rabbit-like.
"Another beer, sir?" the barkeep asked, startling Sharpener out of the faraway daze. He gripped the edge of his stool hard to keep himself from toppling off, but it swayed dangerously back. Fortunately, Gohan leaned forward and seized the chair to stop it from spilling his friend on the dirty floor.
"Oh yeah, sure," Sharpener nodded, glancing embarrassed at a concerned Gohan.
"You all right? You seemed out in space there," Gohan chuckled.
Sharpener steadied himself with both hands gripping the bar edge. Fishing in his pocket, he pulled out his wallet. Gohan noticed the new picture of him and Erasa tucked into the photo part, along with the edge of a few hundred Zenni, and a brightly colored wrapper he recognized. The Raincoat brand, naturally, and Gohan found it was his turn to blush because of the thoughts of him and Videl pixelating in his mind suddenly.
"It's catching, bookworm," Sharpener teased, glad that he hadn't had a nasty fall.
"You're one to talk. I'm glad you two got together," Gohan smiled, watching Sharpener pick up his glass of beer. He licked the foam from his lips, then swung his wrist around and shook his sleeve aside to reveal the gold watch. For a second he consulted it.
"The girls should be back by now, don't you think?" he said with some concern.
Gohan nodded, also glancing at his timepiece. Originally, he had worn a modest watch with a leather band. It had been a gift from his grandfather Ox King, and he had already replaced the battery five times, and the band itself twice from constant use. In comparison to Sharpener's it seemed very plain, but it suited Gohan fine. However, Bulma had since given him one made of stainless steel with nickel finish. It bore the Capsule brand, and contained his great Saiyaman getup. Now sporting this watch, he felt a bit more 'in with the in crowd', though he did miss that other favorite one.
"Huh, what's that on the news?" asked Sharpener, tugging Gohan's sleeve. Annoyed at himself for not noticing, Gohan glanced up. His eyes widened at the sight of ZTV news reporters at a nearby mall. Mr. Satan's limo was being blocked by what appeared to be a mob of people brandishing signs.
"Today in the entertainment news, our own hero Mr. Satan, who saved us from certain danger many times, was at a book signing cut off prematurely by overzealous fans. A strange dark haired woman was seen climbing into his limo as he departed for urgent business elsewhere. However paparazzi snapped pictures of the same mysterious woman climbing out of his limo at the Satan City mall."
"Who's that lady getting out of the limo?" asked Sharpener.
"Oh no... I can't believe it," groaned Gohan.
It was none other than his own mother, Chichi, wearing rather nice clothing with her hair done up in its distinctive do. Biting his lip, he felt his own back muscles tense up just wishing he could hide. Fortunately, the shot was too brief as the woman disappeared into the front doors of the main department store.
"Her identity is being withheld, according to this press release from Mr. Satan. He reassures that everyone will receive an autographed copy of his book for their trouble." The reporter behind the front desk finished. "In other news..."
Bar patrons murmured, jabbing one another in the ribs or whispering among themselves. Gohan shrank down in his stool, wondering if there were eyes upon him or if he was just too paranoid.
"Oh no, I can't believe it. What was she doing there?" Gohan groaned a hand to his forehead.
"What's wrong, Gohan? You look like you saw a ghost."
"I'm just worried€¦ for Mr. Satan that's all. I mean there are some crazy nut jobs out there," laughed Gohan uncomfortably.
"Maybe the Great Saiyaman might protect him eh?" asked Sharpener with a witty grin.
Gohan spewed soda over his pants, coughing spasmodically. Sharpener whacked him on the back, shoving napkins into his face. He realized that he had best stop mentioning the news broadcast to keep Gohan from throwing fits. Whatever had spooked him Sharpener wasn't sure. Yet he knew better then to press his friend. Videl would never forgive him if he were the cause of Gohan choking to death.
Both were relieved to see the hostess leading their dates through the bustling entrance. Slapping Gohan on the back, he urged, "C'mon, the girls are here!"
"Thank Dende," Gohan sighed with relief, internally grateful for the timing.
"But I can't decide if green or pink is better!" she had moaned.
"Have 'em hold it!" Videl suggested, dragging her towards checkout. "Now let's go!"
A quick glance to the clerk behind the cash register was answered with a nod. Followed up by a swish of garments on the counter, she waved at Videl and her friend. Fortunately, the Satan name and likeness created very favorable conditions for being in a hurry. Word had gotten around that Videl Satan herself was shopping, and everyone had been most polite and helpful.
"Hurry up!" laughed Videl, urging her friend Erasa ever faster after her. "You don't want to keep two hungry men waiting?"
"Well one of them probably isn't THAT hungry after he found the surprise in his locker," Erasa confessed. Videl screeched to a stop, causing Erasa to collide with her back. Both ladies almost toppled to the floor had they not grabbed onto one another to steady themselves.
"Whoa wait... what does that mean?" Videl asked, blue eyes gleaming with something between suspicion and anticipation.
"I was talking about sharpener," Erasa innocently confessed. "You know... he loves oatmeal raisin cookies!"
"Oh of course, what was I thinking?" Videl burst out laughing. Her mind cleared of whatever insane thought filled it. For a split second, she wondered if Erasa was teasing her about her own relationship. Fat chance considering Erasa's sense of humor bordered more on teasing anecdotes then irony or sarcasm.
They entered the restaurant together, carrying their purchases so far. Whatever ones they had left with the clerk at the boutique they would retrieve later. For now, they prevailed upon the hostess to place their purchases behind the desk. Once they entered the bar, they noticed Sharpener waving vigorously to them.
Both groups rendezvoused with a series of hugs and quick kisses before following their server through the forest of tables to a secluded booth. Windows overlooked a vista of Satan City gleaming in the orangy red of twilight. Gohan remembered having seen it from the perspective of the tallest tower while perfecting his Great Saiyaman shtick. How ordinary and how refreshing to behold it from a restaurant table sliding in next to his girlfriend.
"Now, what will it be folks?" asked the server, whose nametag bore the name Mark. "Shall I give you a few minutes?"
"White wine for me," Videl requested. "And another Capsule diet cola for Gohan?"
"That's right," Gohan nodded, flashing Videl a smile. The fact that she knew his preference so well added to the warmth and familiarity he now experienced. He could now call it contentment.
"A beer for me and a light beer for the lovely lady next to me," Sharpener said, curling his arm around a giggling Erasa. He had to admit he regretted not doing this sooner, so he wanted to avail himself of every opportunity from now on to get close to her. Minutes of mundane yet relaxing conversation passed among the two couples, during which Erasa and Videl updated the young men on their recent purchases.
All the while Gohan pulled Videl closer to him so he could hold onto the fleeting moments of comfort. Any moment now, he guessed sharpener would bring up the embarrassing footage of Chichi and Mr. Satan on the ZTV news, so he wanted to ready himself for the fallout. To his delight, Sharpener said nothing. Their server arrived shortly afterwards with his drink laden tray, reaching among each to pass the beverages around to their respective clientele.
"Ready for dinner, or should I give you all a few minutes alone?" Mark winked.
"I'm starving," Gohan announced. "I don't know about you, but I'm ready to order now."
"I'm with you there, man," Sharpener chorused. "What will it be, sweetie? This garden salad medley looks good?"
"Oh yes, I want the ambrosia salad first, and your chicken Cesar!" Erasa cooed happily.
"The garden salad and steak special looks good for me. How about you, kiddies?" Sharpener teasingly asked the other couple.
"Watch it, Sharpener. You're only a few months older then we are!" Videl shot him a good-natured glare.
"I think the steak looks good. I'll have three orders, if that's all right?" Gohan asked before looking at Videl.
"He's not kidding, he's in training," Sharpener interrupted.
"Okay sure," Mark blinked.
"Salmon with the sides for me, Mark, and antipasti," Videl smiled sweetly. "And don't worry."
"No problems Miss Satan, whatever you like," Mark whispered shielded by his hand.
Though miffed to be reminded of her celebrity status, Videl let it go in favor of enjoying a nice night out with her boyfriend and friends. It was difficult to go anywhere in Satan City without someone recognizing her, so she might as well make use of it.
Videl's trilling cell phone interrupted Sharpener's latest joke. Gohan whispered, "Just ignore it Videl. They can call back."
"Live a little, will you?" Erasa pouted.
"I'm sorry I have to take this. If it's Daddy, he will freak if I don't call in," Videl said.
Casting apologies to all of her friends, she retrieved the device from her purse to check the call number. Judging from the look on her face the three classmates knew the answer. Gohan slid out of the booth to allow her to climb out and find a private corner to speak to her father alone. Watching her retreating figure, Gohan's mind spun back to the news broadcast.
"You okay, Gohan?" Erasa waved a hand in front of his face.
"I'm fine. I just... well it just reminded me we're still young," Gohan commented, his eyes dark with disappointment.
"I know it blows huh," Sharpener said, glancing at his cell phone that he held in one hand. "Mom goes ballistic when I don't call in. Parents are always going to pull the cord a bit before they let us go."
"But earlier you were saying that you told mom you should 'cut the umbilical cord," Erasa started.
"Doesn't matter," Sharpener complained. Erasa leaned her head against his chest and patted his back.
"That's true where my mom's concerned. A few days ago she dragged Dad and me over to Videl's house and declared we were engaged," Gohan said.
"Say what?" blinked Sharpener.
"Whoops, I wasn't supposed to say anything about that," Gohan blushed, clapping hands over his mouth. "It's not LIKE what it sounds like!"
"Ho, so you're going to pop the question?" Sharpener glared at him.
"I mean not RIGHT AWAY I..."
"You haven't set a date yet, right? I'm so excited! This is so sweet!" Erasa half squealed.
"SHH, not so loud!" Gohan begged, his teeth chattering.
"So what did Videl's dad say to all this?" Sharpener wondered, cutting off a piece of steak before thrusting it into his mouth.
"Well, my mom can be pretty pushy. Videl and I finally wanted to talk to Mr. Satan alone. We've decided we're going to wait after college to get married. I mean we don't even know we're going to the same school," Gohan confessed.
"But you said you'd go to Satan City U with the rest of us?" Erasa asked.
"Get real, if he gets accepted into Western College with that brain of his, he'll take it," Sharpener scolded back. "Won't you?"
"Mom wants me to live at home. But I don't think I want to,” Gohan whispered.
"Your mom seems pretty protective," Erasa nodded. "I wouldn't blame you for wanting to move out!"
"I'd say get an apartment with Videl and get married in secret. There are places you can get a certificate fast," said Sharpener.
"But I can't do that! Mom will be even more upset if she doesn't have a say in planning the wedding," said Gohan. "I'm her oldest son. She's got to make a big deal over it or else I'll regret it forever!"
"Wow, she's got you by the balls," Sharpener shook his head.
"You don't want to get my mom mad, trust me," Gohan started. "She's one hell of a woman to see angry. When dad or I get wind of it, we duck and cover."
"Seems like the lady needs anger management classes?" Erasa wondered.
"No, just a room filled with unbreakable objects," Gohan teased. "No, she means well. It means she cares. She loves Videl, and wants us to get married sooner rather than later!"
"Well, that's good right? I mean if she accepts Videl," Erasa asked.
"What it means is that he wants to enjoy his freedom before he gets hitched, sweetie," Sharpener corrected. "Right Gohan?"
"Yes, but I want Videl there too. To be a part of it," Gohan affirmed. Sharpener moved his plate to the side and leaned over the table to bring himself closer to Gohan. He too bent over to hear what Sharpener was saying in a lower tone.
"Then go get her a ring, you poor dummy," Sharpener whispered. "Make a promise to her and a date for two years from now. She's your fiancée, so use that to buy yourself some time."
"I don't want to string her along!" Gohan hissed back.
"Guys, she's coming back?" Erasa interrupted. Both men quickly sat down once more and brushed their shirts off. Neither wanted to cause a scene.Return to Top