"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.
Elswhere, Gohan excused himself after they arrived at home, but Goku caught his son's shoulder. "Gohan, you want to go sparring?"
"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.
Even after his spar with his father, Gohan still felt the need to fly far away from his home. Something drew him in the direction of Capsule, to consult another female in his life that he knew would give a different perspective. That is if she was not in a meeting or engaged in mommy mode.
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.