“Oh, it looks beautiful! I can’t wait until you see it!”
Gohan smiled at the Videl’s giddiness. He never expected her to get into the ‘wedding’ thing but he had surprised himself by how much he enjoyed it. He still let her make a lot of the choices—with some influence from ChiChi and Bulma on occasion—but they’d worked together mostly to decide on what they wanted, when and things like that. Today, Videl had finally decided on her dress apparently.
“So, after all those trips, you decided you like your Mother’s dress?”
Videl gave him a light pout. “Well, Papa didn’t show it to me a lot as a kid. He called me when I was out with your Mom and Bulma and told me that he found it in storage and it would be really easy to restore. He was right.” Here, her eyes turned serious. “Don’t let your Mom show you yet though. I think she took about fifty pictures of it.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.” He promised her. “Mom would never forgive herself if she ruined the surprise.”
“Good.” A sharp incline of the head, arms folded, Videl sat back a bit. “Did you get the rest of your stuff packed up?”
“Nearly.” Gohan looked around the room he had shared with his brother for so long. His books were in boxes, his clothes folded in neat piles and in the far corner, he had a few piles of old mementos that he had to decide to take or leave. “I could take all of this stuff and we’d have tons of room for more. When your father said he built us a house, I was expecting…a house.”
Videl laughed, might have even looked a bit embarrassed. “Papa overdoes it sometimes. And I think he’s still trying to make up for Buu and Cell in his own way.” She grinned, “But we can find other things to do in all those rooms!”
“He didn’t hire any help or anything, did he?”
“Tried to. I stopped him. Told him I wanted to do the cooking and stuff myself. No point in having a maid or anything when we won’t even use half those rooms.”
Gohan, again, wondered if moving into such a large home was a good idea then but it HAD been a gift. Seemed quite rude to turn down such an important one. Especially from the man that was soon to be his father in law.
“Oh and Gohan?”
Her eyes went soft. “I asked Papa to have to put in a lot of trees in the yard and some bamboo.”
A warm smile returned her gesture. “Thanks, Videl.”
When they had first been presented with the house not that long ago, Gohan had stood in shock for a long moment. Not just out of the sheer…size and expense of it but because it had finally hit him—he was getting married, he was moving out. He’d only ever known Mount Paouz as his home and now, it wouldn’t be anymore. He supposed, on some level, he knew that would change but seeing the new house had sent it into his brain with the speed of a punch.
He was rather ashamed to say that he had gone home that night, sat among the bamboo fields and cried.
He was looking forward to his wedding, to starting a life with Videl. He had meant it when he asked her to marry him. He had meant it when he said he looked forward to making their spot in the world together.
Yet, somehow, he had missed the prospect that doing so meant he would be leaving his childhood home.
He had never expected it to be this hard. Yet it was. He had no qualms about the marriage. It was the moving part. He was pretty sure that even with all their planning he had spent more time running about the mountain than he had at home. Every time Videl called him, he had to rush back home from the fields, the streams and lakes or the orchards.
So, Videl saying that they had added more trees and bamboo to their yard was a sweet gesture. She could read him so easily. He knew all too well that it wouldn’t be the same but maybe it would help. After all, his parents had made this a home, he could do the same!
“Did you pick out your suit yet?”
Grateful for the distraction, Gohan laughed himself and shook his head. “Not yet?”
Maybe she looked mad at first but it quickly turned to laughs of her own. “Gohan! You do know that it’s the girl that supposed to take forever to make up her mind, right? How many shops have you gone to?”
He’d lost count to be honest. “Hey! I’m tall!”
“I’m aware.” She said with a shake of the head. “But you look good in anything Gohan!”
“Very.” She admitted. “Doesn’t make me incorrect though.”
Shaking his head, his sharp ears caught the sound of the door opening and the chattering of his father and mother, plus a faint shouting of a younger boy. “Family’s home, Videl. I promise you, I’ll be all ready when the wedding happens.”
“I trust you. Talk to you soon.” She closed the video window.
Waiting just a moment more, Gohan closed his own window, set the computer aside and ventured outside. He could hear his younger brother chattering about why he had to wear a suit and his mother’s ‘no nonsense’ tone even while his father laughed and asked if they cook dinner first.
He’d miss that banter.
“Gohan, why haven’t you ordered a suit yet?”
The young man turned and should have been a bit surprised to see his mother’s fierce glance but he had grown so accustomed to it. He had grown up with it, after all. Plus, she had been as involved as they would let her be in the wedding preparation, even if Videl had full veto rights. Gohan set aside the notebook in front of him.
“Hi, Mom. Done with Bulma already?”
The blue haired scientist had agreed to sponsor all the decorations for the wedding and that included the flowers. Videl had supplied ChiChi with a list of ‘nopes’ and set her future mother-in-law on the path. ChiChi was more than happy to team up with Bulma to ensure the decorations could be seen from space. She had wanted them to get a fancy venue but both Videl and Gohan had said they wanted an outdoor wedding in the mountains around the Son home; it was representative of where they truly started to fall in love even if they’d both been too oblivious to realize it. Videl had left the exact location up to Gohan and he had been quick to say the clearing by the old apple trees where they used to picnic when he was a child. The fond memories and the country aesthetic had met no protests.
However, the Son matriarch had other concerns.
“Mom, I know it’s getting late—“
“Late? No. Late is ordering a week before the wedding. You’re down to three days, son!” She put her hands on her hips. “And you are NOT showing up to your wedding in a gi. I don’t care how clean or nice it is!”
“Mom…don’t worry. I won’t wear a gi.”
“Then WHAT?” She sat down at the table, pushed aside the notebook and took his hands. “Don’t worry about seatin’ arrangements. Most of ‘em are your father’s friends so they ain’t gonna stay in their seats long. But you need clothes for it. Why can’t you have Piccolo make you one like he did with some gis?”
“I still have to know what I want for him to make one. I don’t.” He sighed. “Sorry, Mom. I’m not trying to be difficult, honest, I’m not.”
Heaving a deep sigh of her own, ChiChi nodded. “I know you’re not. I don’t think you’re capable of it.”
Gohan didn’t respond.
ChiChi tapped her nails on the table. “Well, you sure solved your brother’s suit problem really quick.” She pouted a bit. “Really wouldn’t kill the boy to wear slacks for his own brother’s wedding.”
“But it’s not worth the fight, Mom.” Gohan reminded her. This had been their debate a few days ago. Goten was adamant against tight long slacks, much like Goku didn’t like them (loose gi slacks were much better; suits were stiff and uncomfortable) but Gohan didn’t think it was worth the struggle to insist. So, he asked if a compromise of shorts to match the suit would be okay. Despite ChiChi’s horror, Goten had agreed and given it was his wedding, Gohan’s decision stood firm.
“I suppose…but that still leaves you. Gohan, what have you turned down?”
“A lot Mom. Some of them just weren’t right for my frame.” He meant that. A lot of them were obviously made for shorter and less stocky folk. Years of training had turned his muscles to solid granite and not every suit worked for that. “And some…well, yellow isn’t my color.”
She raised a brow, considered commenting on how that had not stopped him from utilizing Super Saiyan all those times but decided against it. “Alright. But what about a simple black suit?”
“Didn’t feel right. Felt like I was going to a funeral.” He grinned. “But I did get the white tie!”
Rolling her eyes, ChiChi remarked, “Wonderful, that’s 1/5th of the outfit.” But she shook her head. “You know you could always go for a light blue suit. That’s a nice color on you.”
“Didn’t have it in my size.”
“Her dad’s wearing red.”
“We’re gonna be surrounded by green, I’m supposed to pop.”
ChiChi, despite herself, laughed out loud and shook her head. She supposed she only had herself to blame. Proper appearance WAS something she stressed. “So, what is your plan to get one that will fit you in the next three days?” She raised a brow. “That’s cutting it more than a little close, Gohan.”
“I know but it’s not just Videl’s wedding, Mom. I want to look right too and I haven’t found that yet.”
ChiChi nodded. “Never pictured you being picky on clothes like that but you’re right. It’s your wedding too. But…do you have a plan B if you can’t be satisfied?”
Smiling, Gohan nodded. “I do, Mom. If push comes to shove, I’ll be there, ready.”
Reaching over, she ruffled his hair a bit. “Well, I can’t expect less from you. You’ve always thought ahead.”
“Try to, anyway.” He admitted. “Doesn’t always work out but I try.”
“Such is life, my boy.” She smiled brightly. “Are you all moved into the new house?”
“Not yet. Mostly though. Just have a few things left here. Figured I would take them over the day before the wedding.”
Her eyes appeared soft a moment. “Hard to believe. You’re finally moving out on your own. Into your own house, with your own wife…to start your own life.” Tears welled in her eyes. “Oh, I always wanted it for you, Gohan but it still feels like it came too fast.”
Standing, Gohan crossed and hugged her tight. “Believe me, Mom, feels like that for me too.”
ChiChi looked alarmed, eyes wide. “You’re not havin’ second thoughts are you?”
Shaking his head rapidly, Gohan reassured her. “No, Mom. I’ve never been more sure of somethin’ in my whole life. I love Videl. I can’t wait to marry her. I just meant…well, this place has been my home all my life. It feels weird that in a few days it won’t be anymore.”
The matriarch pulled away and gently tapped his nose. “You’ll always have a place here, silly. You’re just gonna be making your own home, like me and your Dad did.”
“I know.” He smiled, thinking. “It’ll be fun to make the place special for me and Videl like you and Dad did. But it still feels weird.”
ChiChi hugged him a moment, “Felt weird for me too, when I first moved here. Very different from living with Papa! But your father helped me feel right at home.” Here, her eyes all but glassed over in remembrance. “Doncha ever believe anyone that says your father can’t be romantic. He made me feel like I was the center of his world when we moved here. It’ll feel like that for you too, I’m sure.”
Gohan gave her a squeeze back. “Thanks, Mom.”
“Looks good, doesn’t it?”
Gohan grinned at Videl. “Videl, I’m not a good judge. I eat anything, remember?”
Shaking her head, she turned to her father, “Papa, why don’t we just get a big old spread? That way everyone is going to be happy. And I know Gohan and his family will appreciate some food they don’t usually get to have.”
Mr. Satan closed the large book and said, “Great idea, Videl. We’ll make it a feast for the ages! Years and years from now, when we’re all just marks in a history book, they’ll still be talkin’ about the wedding of Videl!”
Videl nudged him “AND Gohan!”
The man laughed, awkwardly as he looked at his future son-in-law. “Right, right, sorry.”
Gohan just grinned. “My parents do the same thing, Videl. They don’t mean anything by it.”
“It’s just still hard for me to wrap my head around.” The man wiped his eyes. “My little girl…finally marrying and movin’ out. I never thought I’d see the day.” He eyed Gohan. “Never thought I’d find someone worthy of her.”
Gohan just gave a bow in response. There was no other response to that. He knew all too well that parents viewed their children with special honor (most of them anyway)—his father and mother certainly would not hesitate to talk about him and his brother as if they had cured the world of hunger-- and with as protective as Mr. Satan could be at times, Gohan knew when to take a compliment. “Thank you, Mr. Satan.”
Videl broke the conversation by gently pushing her father. “Papa, stop it. We’re going to be family now. Can we act like it?”
The man nodded, as if revitalized. “Too right, sweetheart. Gohan, it’s time we dropped my stage name—though I appreciate the respect. I’m gonna be a part of the family. Call me Mark.”
Gohan stammered quite noticeably. “I…yes, Sir. Yes, Mark.”
That felt weird! It must have shown on his face because Videl couldn’t hold her composure despite an obvious attempt. Videl giggled a little. “Might take Gohan a little bit to get used to it, Papa. But I got used to using his parents’ names, he’ll get used to yours.”
The man laughed in his rambunctious way then suddenly asked, “Oh, speakin’ of names, Videl, were you gonna take on Gohan’s family name?”
Videl and Gohan exchanged glances. Truth be told, they had not thought about it until the man brought it up. Gohan was well used to his family name and it was a thing of great pride for him but family names were rare so he had just assumed he would keep his and Videl would stay without one. Didn’t seem proper to assume she would take his when it was done so rarely. Yet, now, with it brought up, Gohan felt a deep surge of pride at the prospect of her and maybe their children carrying the same name that he held in such high regard.
“I…we hadn’t talked about it but…” Gohan looked at Videl intently, nothing but honesty in his eyes. “Whatever you want, Videl but I…I know I would be honored if you would take it. If that’s what you want. But-but I totally understand if you don’t want to and--”
Her eyes were warm. She remembered all too well that it had been Gohan’s family name that really started all this off. It had led her to realizing he was the son of Goku, given how rare family names were. In a sense, the name that Gohan held such pride in was partially responsible for where they now stood, preparing to take steps together into the role of husband and wife in just a matter of days.
Standing on her tiptoes and pushing herself up with her ki just a bit, she brushed noses with him, “Silly. Why would I turn down such a gift? It’d be an honor.” She meant that, in full. As a little girl, she never imagined she would want a family name, simply because it was so out dated but seeing the pride it gave Gohan, it was an enticing concept and one she would be glad to engage in. The feeling of carrying something he had such pride in and pride that was rightly earned…she smiled at the prospect. A way to show that she and Gohan were a pair, a partnership. “When we marry, I’ll be proud to become Son Videl.”
Mr. Satan ran off indoors to call authorities and officials and whatever else he needed to arrange short notice but neither Videl or Gohan paid him much mind. They had some time before they both had to break for the evening.
Best to make use of it.
“So…seating arrangement or music choice?”
“Hey, Dad. Have a few minutes?”
Goku turned from his spot on the field; more than glad for the distraction. When he spied Gohan crossing the dirt, dressed in a gi and taking on a stance, he all but squealed. “Hey, Gohan! A spar?”
Grinning widely, Gohan fell into his trademark pose—one that was some alien combination of his father’s and Piccolo’s—and made a ‘come at me’ motion with his left hand. His father all but threw the hoe down and darted at him full speed, tossing his scarf off as he did so.
Gohan met his blow and dodged, striking back with a kick and punch of his own.
Goku dodged though not without difficulty and pulled away, conjuring up a ki attack, a wide grin settled on his face. Gohan met his attack with one of his own even as he upped his speed and closed the distance between them without much effort at all.
“C’mon, Dad. Try!”
“Hey!” came the shout of protest even as Gohan’s fist met his cheek. “What’s that mean?”
“Means you’re still holdin’ back on me! C’mon Dad, you know what I can do!”
Goku pouted, though only slightly. He didn’t try to do it on purpose. In fact, after the battle with Buu, he had promised himself that he would stop doing it. Yet, he still automatically held himself back, even if just slightly. Not that Gohan needed him too. In many ways, Gohan was a better fighter than him. Somehow, Gohan had become a fighter that was an odd mix of him and Piccolo. That in itself made him a dangerous opponent. But his experiences with their many enemies had taught him several maneuvers and his interactions with his other friends meant there was some of Yamcha, some of Krillin and even a dusting of the Crane School techniques. Plus some of Mr. Satan’s and Videl’s style and ChiChi’s even snuck in there too. Gohan had always learned the fastest out of anyone Goku had ever spared with and it showed. He was a conglomeration of skill, mixed with power and crowned with intelligence.
Keeping in that paternal pride every time they met in the field was impossible.
Despite all that though, Goku couldn’t help but see the little boy whenever they charged one another and that was hard to get past! He had to practically yell at himself for it.
But since Gohan asked…
Goku let his hair flare to golden then charged forward again.
The resulting spar ended up lasting the better portion of the hour and it was only by a miracle that the farmland remained unscathed. By the time both Saiyans were born, they flopped down by the lake with relief, dipping their worn feet in the water, shoes and all.
“Man, that felt good, Gohan! You’re better than me!”
The young man, predictably, shook his head. “No way, Dad.”
“I say ya are! And I know myself pretty well.”
Gohan smirked. “You’re also my father.”
“Well, yeah but that ain’t nothing to do with how good you fight. You fight good because you fight good.” He stretched and asked, “And whatcha doing out here anyway? Weren’t you supposed to go pick up your suit for tomorrow?”
The young man winced “Yeah…”
Goku rolled onto his side. “Uh oh, what happened?”
“Well, the place screwed up and ordered it three sizes too small. I know it was a rush order but still! Mom is reading them the riot act right now.”
Goku mirrored his son’s expression. “Wouldn’t wanna be them. Well, you got a plan B, right?”
“That WAS my plan B.”
Goku eyed his son, resting his chin on his hand. “Really? You still haven’t found something that suits?”
“I know, I know but I just…” He groaned. “I don’t know what it is. I finally settled on this one because I had to pick one but I still don’t like it. But I guess I won’t have to wear it now. Maybe Piccolo can make me one tomorrow.”
Pondering a moment, Goku asked. “Ya only get like this on stuff that’s important, Gohan. So what is it REALLY?”
The young man heaved a sigh seemingly made of the weight of the world. “I dunno. I mean, I’m excited Dad. Tonight, I’ll take the last of my things over to that big ol’ house and I’ll meet her tomorrow all prettied up and I so want to do that.” He bit his lower lip.
“But…” came the singsong question that was not a question.
“But…I’m gonna miss here. I’m gonna miss you. And Goten and Mom. This place…I’ve got so many memories in this place. I mean, I know I can come back here and stuff but I already miss it.” He smirked, “Videl used to tease me that I could be plopped in the middle of a city and still be a country boy and I think she’s right.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with that.” Goku said with confidence as he sat up and Gohan followed his example. “It’ll always be your home. But you’ll make a home with Videl too. Maybe it’ll be in that house Mr. Satan bought you. Maybe it’ll be in the city, maybe it’ll be on a mountain top in the middle of nowhere next to your senile parents.”
There was a hint of hopefulness in that last statement but Goku ran over it like he was afraid to linger there.
“Point is. You’ll figure it out. You know your mom and I started in Grandpa’s hut.”
“Really? That little thing?”
“Yep. Cooking outside and everything. But we were trippin’ all over each other and your mom wanted a big kitchen so…well, I made the little house and Bulma gifted us the capsule kitchen. It took us a bit to get used to it but we figured it out. You will too.” He reached over and pulled his son close. “And if you and Videl’s path leads you back here, take any patch of land you want.”
“Thanks Dad.” Gohan didn’t comment on how that was tempting but not likely with a job in the city or anything. It was nice to hear, regardless. “It’s just…well, it’s kinda scary.” He turned a bit red. “That’s rich, huh? The kid that killed Cell and fought Buu scared of being an adult?”
“What’s silly about that?” Goku asked. “It is scary. You’ve had to grow up a lot faster than most but there’s somethin’ nice about having a mom or dad around. I never got that. I remember how frightened I was when Grandpa didn’t come back one morning.” Goku’s eyes grew solemn as they always did on that memory. “I had to grow up fast on that—learn to take care of myself. I hope you had an easier time.”
Gohan nodded. His childhood had not been perfect. It had been full of turmoil and violence but also full of a warm home and happy memories. “I’m grateful, Dad. For everything you and Mom did. I hope I’ll be as good to my own kids.”
“You’ll be better.” Goku stated as he stood and Gohan followed.
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because you’re better than me.” Goku wrapped his arm around his son’s shoulders. “Now, what can we do about this suit situation? Your mom won’t cool down until it’s over you know.”
“I know, I know. Videl’s wearing her mother’s dress so I want something at least as good looking as that. Or at least worthy of standing next to it.” The boy looked skyward. “It’s nice that she can incorporate some of her parents into the ceremony. Guess girls have an easier time doing that, huh? They wear so much stuff—“
Goku paused in his step. His son was always a sentimental type and there was nothing better to get sentimental about than a wedding. Goku liked Videl; she reminded him enough of ChiChi that he trusted her with his son but there was also a bit more softness to her that Gohan needed. He wished he could help but he was no fashion expert. Didn’t see the need for clothes at all most of the time except to protect yourself from freezing or from bushes and animals. But Gohan wanted this to be special and if finding the right suit made it special then…
Realization dawned on the Sayian and he turned, smiled at his son. “Ya know…you’re ‘bout my height, aren’t you? Wee bit bigger?”
“By a centimeter if anything, Dad.” That, oddly enough, was a subject of pride for Gohan. “All sons grow taller than their fathers,” his mother had said with a giggle to Bulma when the latter commented on Trunks’ growth spurts.
“Perfect. I got just the solution for this!” Goku beamed like a child that had just been awarded a prize.
“Dad, Mom made me promise her no gis.” Gohan was pretty sure his father knew better than that but given the man had his fair share of wild ideas, it never hurt to make sure!
“Don’t worry, son. I’ve got something better than a gi.”
ChiChi, wiping her hands and turning off the light as she exited the kitchen, paused and stood in the doorway, looking over the dark living room. The boys were tucked away upstairs—Gohan’s last night here—but the door outside was open but just slightly cracked. That only meant one thing and that was Goku.
Slipping outside, ChiChi followed a familiar beaten path, leading away from the house, slipping through the side way to circle around the old familiar old hut. Sure enough, she found her husband standing there, eyes directed skyward.
He turned, gave her a sad smile. “Oh, hey Chi. I left the door open, didn’t I?”
Shaking her head, she remarked. “Yes but I’m not worried about that.” Approaching, she laid her hand on Goku’s arm. “What’s wrong?”
Pouting, the Saiyan eyed her. “I helped Gohan take his stuff over to that big ol’ mansion earlier. I took apart his bed; he said that we could keep it if we wanted or they’d use it for a guest room. Goten asked if he could have it.” Goku laughed. “Wish he woulda asked that before I took the bed apart.”
She shook her head with a gentle smile. “That’s Goten for you.”
Goku nodded and gestured her over to the light provided by the stars. “Look. Found it tucked under the bed slats.”
The Saiyan unfolded a very worn piece of paper, obviously scripted by a very young child. There were kanji, not all correct, on the side but in the center of the page was a picture, very crude, of a man, a woman and a child with what looked like a smudge of coloring for a small house and a fish-looking creature by an orange collection of scribbles.
ChiChi smiled. “Aw…it must have fallen in between the slats. Gohan used to color on that bed, remember?”
Nodding, Goku fingered it, rubbed at the worn edges. “I remember it. The walls has a few crayon marks I never could get off. So, I tol’ Gohan to just prop his stuffed animals there so you wouldn’t notice.”
“I did.” She said with a shake of the head. “But it was cute so I figured best to leave it be.”
Goku looked upward again. “How did it come to this, Chi?”
“Come to what?”
“Tomorrow. I’m gonna get a daughter tomorrow but Gohan won’t live here no more.”
The woman’s face turned downtrodden. “I know. It’s best for him though! You know he’s going to have so many opportunities in the city and they’re far enough away to still have their privacy and—“
“But I won’t be able to just stick my head in his room to see what he’s doin.’ It’s just gonna be Goten’s room now.”
She leaned against his back, wrapping her arms around his waist. “I know.”
“ChiChi, why didn’t you tell me that this was part of the parent thing?” He eyed her with a child-like pout. “I don’t like this.”
She smiled sadly. “I know. Neither do I. I’m happy, I’m excited but I’m sad.”
“Not sad.” Goku said, “Well, yeah but a different kind of sad. Not normal-sad.”
The two parents stood there a moment then Goku smiled. “’member how Gohan used to run and hide behind you from dragonflies?”
She nodded, still able to see the tiny toddler in her eyes. “Or how he would bring you any large stick he found in the woods and proclaim it was ‘just like your power pole, Daddy?’”
Goku turned to her, “Or the first time he brought you one of them big ol’ fish? I thought you were going to pass out!”
“Well, when you said you were going to take him fishing…I suppose I should have guessed that you’d have taught him YOUR way.” Shaking her head again, she squeezed him tight. “And look where he is now.”
Goku nodded. Strongest fighter on the planet, least without fusing, on his way to being a scholar of some kind, a kind hearted boy—man that always tried to do the right thing and won himself a wonderful girl because of it.
“We’ll still see him, Goku.” She promised him. “If I know that boy, he’ll be coming by every chance he gets. And I doubt Videl is going to stop him.”
“I just…” He pouted. “I sorta hoped that he and Goten would stay here on the mountain. With you and me. Ain’t like we don’t got the space.”
Warmth took her eyes and she moved, standing in front of him and took hold of his hands. “Oh, Goku…I know. I know. Maybe they still will. We never know! That’s a BIG house. Might drive our Gohan a little nuts. But I think he needs some time to figure out who he wants to be, doncha think?”
Lowering his head a bit, Goku nodded though he didn’t fully understand that. He understood the need for Gohan to explore what he wanted and needed but he felt that…well, Gohan was Gohan. He was kind, smart, strong…Goku didn’t understand why he needed to ‘find’ himself at all. But he supposed ChiChi was probably right in this sort of thing. Gohan and Videl did deserve to have their own place, their room to explore and find out their path as a husband and wife.
He just wished it didn’t mean his son leaving. He never thought he’d be the type to be upset over this but life was full of surprises. Gohan and Goten were his world and he had always had a strong bond with his eldest. They had made a life here on the mountain and the prospect of them leaving one day…
Goku wasn’t ready for it but he had no choice in the matter.
“You gonna pretend to be asleep any longer or do I have to tickle you?”
Goten gave a low pout and rolled over, facing his brother on the futon. “I wasn’t pretendin.’”
“Were too.” Came the sleepy but alert response.
“Was not.” Goten sat up, folded his arms into an almost perfect imitation of their mother’s stern look. “Was just thinkin.’”
Gohan rolled over, opened his eyes. “Thinkin’ ‘bout what, Goten?”
The boy lowered his eyes. “You’re gonna go home to your own home tomorrow.”
Gohan nodded. “I am. Me and Videl will be going to our home, like Mom and Dad did when they got married.”
“But…you won’t live here anymore.”
Gohan sat up himself and plucked his little brother up, setting him in his lap. “No but I’ll come back and visit. And you can come visit me and Videl! It’s barely ten minutes flyin’ if you really book it.”
The younger boy shook his head. “Not the same thing.”
Well, he wasn’t wrong. “No. It’s not. But you’ll see, Goten. Things change. That’s okay. I’ll still be your brother.” That much was a deep comfort. He was still Goten’s brother, still ChiChi and Goku’s son. He would just be expanding his titles to include Videl’s husband and Mr. Satan—er, Mark’s son-in-law.
Goten wrapped his arms around his brother. “I don’t want you to leave Big Brother. I want you to stay here!”
Gohan sighed deeply. “Hey, you wanna know a secret, Goten?”
That prospect, as it always did, got the boy’s eyes to light up. “A secret?”
“Yep. If you can keep one.”
Nodding with fervor, he asked, “What is it? I can keep secrets.”
“Well…I’m scared a little bit.”
“You?” Goten’s eyes were huge. “But you love Videl.”
“I do.” He blushed even admitting to it. “I love her a lot. Just like Mom loves Dad and Dad loves Mom.”
“That’s a Bunch!”
“Yeah, it is. But that doesn’t mean that moving out doesn’t scare me. I grew up here. I’m gonna be going somewhere different, somewhere without the trees I know, the animals I know, the lakes I know.” He swallowed a bit. Saying it out loud made it all the more real but the more he spoke, the more he calmed at the prospect. “But I forget…at one point, I didn’t know the trees or animals here, either. But I made them special because I got to have a life here with you and Mom and Dad. So, Videl will help me get to know the new home the same way.”
“So…you’ll make a new mountain, kinda?”
“Guess you could think of it that way.” He smiled. “And that means that you’ll have to make sure the animals and trees and stuff don’t forget me. You’ll have to take care of them for me and I’ll make sure that the new home knows about you so that when you come visit, it’ll know you.”
The boy considered this. It sounded like a very important job; after all, it wouldn’t be right if the mountain forgot about Gohan! Especially since he’d done a lot to protect it all these years. “I’ll make sure they don’t forget you, Gohan. And I bet your new home will like you a lot.” His eyes went downcast. “But…I’ll still miss you.”
Gohan hugged him tight “Aw, I’ll miss you too. But I promise, you’ll still see me a lot. Once Videl and I get settled, we’ll find a day for just us, okay?”
“’Course, goof.” He hugged his brother again. “It’s just spreading out our home, think about it like that.” That was a bit of a comfort to him as well, now that he thought about it. Two separate homes, kind of like Grandpa Gohan’s hut was separate from the house and the apple tree orchard was a nice walk. But they were still home. It gave him a sense of adventure and eased the ache of leaving, just a bit. What he said to Goten was true—he and Videl were going to pour life into their new home, give it a life that no one else could. It gave him a burst of true excitement, not just for his wedding which he had been looking forward to for a while but a new sense of anticipation for what they might do with that house over the years. Didn’t mean losing the mountain didn’t hurt though but maybe it was okay to feel both happy and sad though…“But we gotta get some sleep so I don’t fall asleep in the wedding tomorrow.”
Goten appeared to accept this but asked, “Could I sleep with you tonight? Cause tomorrow you’re gonna sleep with Videl?”
Laying down, Gohan patted the futon next to him, “Long as you don’t kick me.”
Goku stood there, silent, leaning against the doorframe. The room looked so wrong. Goten’s toys and clothes shoved under the bed because he couldn’t be bothered to put them away and only a simple fold up futon where Gohan’s once was.
Both his boys were curled up on said futon, light snores emerging from each of them. Goten was considerably louder but Gohan had learned how to sleep through HIS snores in the Time Chamber so he was just as dead asleep as his brother.
Goku knew life didn’t stay the same. He knew that probably better than anyone. He had made a living of it pretty much. But some things had always been constant. ChiChi and his sons. Even if everything else fell apart, even the world literally was blown to smithereens, they would always be there.
Gohan was moving on.
Standing there, staring at his two children, Goku tried to tell himself that this was bound to happen. After all, he saw the animals do it all the time. The pups grew up and then went on to create their own lives. He used to sit with Gohan and explain it to him.
And Gohan, in his child innocence would always declare ‘I’m glad I’m not a pup, Daddy. I don’t wanna leave you and Mommy.’
Goku had laughed at that moment, ruffled his hair. Now, he found himself clinging to those words and wishing more than he had ever wished for anything that Gohan had stuck to that. It made him feel horribly selfish but he could not deny it.
And it was selfish. Gohan was grown.
Or at least that’s what everyone told Goku.
He still only saw a little boy when he looked at him. He saw a little boy that had grown into a truly good man but in his eyes, he still saw the little boy. He had tried to fight against it. He had tried to pretend that Gohan growing up over those seven years did not cut him in the heart every time he saw him.
Or the pictures.
There were so many on their walls, years that he had missed. Seeing it unfold before him in silent images had just driven the desire all the deeper to keep Gohan as young as he could. Even if that was just a young man, a teenager not quite out of school…he had tried to cling to that image.
He was pretty sure that explained his forced smile in Gohan’s graduation photos.
He resolved not to have the same look in Gohan’s wedding pictures.
So far though, he was failing.
Morning was quiet, especially this early. The sun hadn’t even come up yet. The mountain was quiet, almost silent. Goku had left the house (though he remembered to shut the front door this time!) to let his family sleep. Before too long, it would be time for them to get dressed, to get ready and prepare for, as Videl had said, ‘A celebration to be remember.’
Goku had one thing to do first.
And with the rumble of an engine, he waited as the aircar descended and Mr. Satan emerged, clothed in his best. He looked like he had been awake all night and Goku could certainly relate.
“Ah, Goku! The others aren’t up yet, are they?”
“Nope.” Goku shook his head, eyes warm. He had slipped into his sons’ room not too long ago and they had been out like lights, though Goten still squirmed around like a worm. “I wanted to talk to you before everyone gathered here.”
“Good. Good. Cause I got some things to say too.” The man lifted his head, stood as high as he could. It was odd…he was taller than Goku by almost half a foot but he still always felt much smaller than the Saiyan. “But go ahead, Goku.”
The Saiyan nodded. “My son loves Videl. I ain’t never seen someone make him so happy. It’s…hard for me. Much as I want him to be happy, I’d be happier if they just stayed here on the mountain with me.” He shook his head. “But that ain’t right. But I wanted to let you know that after today, Videl’s gonna be as much my daughter as Gohan’s my son. They’re gonna be fine, I know it. They bring out the best in each other. She reminds me of my wife, actually—more fire than the sun! She brings a smile out in Gohan that I haven’t ever seen before.” Goku meant that, with every fiber of his being. There was an aura about the couple when they were together that he could not describe. She made Gohan happy and that was all Goku needed to approve of her. “I doubt they’ll need any help but…but if they need anythin’…I’ll be there to help ‘em.” He smiled. “That’s just bein’ a Dad. I can’t not do that.”
A light chuckle left Mr. Satan’s mouth. “Well, ain’t that funny. Cause I was ‘bout to tell you the same thing. I used to think no one would ever be good enough for my little girl. Thought the man simply didn’t exist. But your Gohan…well, he puts me to shame.”
Goku’s smile could have lit up the universe. “Gohan tends to do that. But Videl matches him so I ‘pose we both were lucky.” He eyed the man. “I ain’t gonna pretend to understand why ya do some of the things you do—ain’t never understood the appeal of fame myself—but ya raised a good daughter so…I like ya.”
Mr. Satan had a nostalgic look to his face. “Videl’s a lot like her Mama…I see so much of my Miguel in her. Maybe that was why I never wanted my Videl to branch out…but can’t keep that fire contained and I see now…not a good idea to either.” He met Goku’s look with a smile of his own. “So, I’m glad that she found your boy.”
Silence reigned and the two men looked at one another, without a word. No untruths had been said. Yet, all the same, they could not stop the underlying feeling of protection, the one that had been born at the same time as their children. Neither one said it but it was written in their eyes.
If he breaks her heart…
If she breaks his heart…
Yet almost as quickly, the warmth of reassurance flooded the atmosphere. Someone that made Videl dance and twirl around when she thought no one was looking was not bound to break her heart. Someone that insisted Gohan was alive when they had no evidence of it because she just ‘knew’ was not someone that was going to break his.
The two fathers looked at one another for a long moment before Goku extended his hand. “Hard as it is for me to accept, our kids are gonna marry today but…well, I like the idea that they ain’t leavin’. Not completely. Just expandin’ the homestead a bit. You’re gonna be family now, Mr. Satan…”
“…then you best call me Mark.”
Goku smiled and helped his son pull the jacket a bit tighter. “Almost…there ya go.”
Gohan turned and looked in the mirror, grinning at his reflection. “Wow. Looks great, Dad!”
“Suits ya, I think!” Goku laughed, slapping a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Now you and Videl can look good together!”
“…thanks, Dad. This is perfect.” He meant that. All his searching and the answer had been at home the entire time. Leave it up to his father to stumble upon the perfect solution when they had gone through all other options.
“Goku! Are you and Gohan ready? Don’t you tell me that Piccolo hasn’t come to help and—“ the door opened and ChiChi plowed in, her red dress clinging to her even as she moved much faster than the material should have allowed.
She stopped cold once inside and put her hands to her mouth even as her eyes welled up. “Oh, Gohan…is that your father’s suit?” Memories flooded her consciousness and oh, her son looked so handsome just like his father had…
Grinning, Gohan fluffed the collar a bit, “Yep. Was Dad’s idea. Cause Videl is wearing her mother’s dress so why not…me wear Dad’s suit?” They’d used the white tie instead of the ruffle and bowtie but otherwise, it was his father’s wedding suit, down to the cufflinks.
It fit him perfectly actually and that gave him more joy than he thought it would. That special something he wanted to bring to the wedding—this was it. Maybe it was a minor thing but it was important to him.
“It’s perfect!” She grinned brightly, dabbed at her eyes to keep her make up from smearing. “Oh, you just wait until you see Videl! You’re both going to look amazing.”
And just like that…frenzy. Gathering Goten, the family of four, courtesy of Goku’s instant transmission quickly set up the last minute decorations before the necessary officials and then guests started to arrive.
Gohan’s nerves were high and the more people that showed up, the worse they got. Even seeing people he knew like Krillin and Sharpner didn’t do much to stop the twisting of his stomach. But in a good way. This was it. This was his step forward. He was going to have a family of his own, someone of his own to protect, someone of his own to love.
His childhood, hectic as it was, was always full of love. He knew not everyone understood it but he did. He knew his parents and he knew how they operated, how they loved and he knew that he would do the same with Videl. All that love he saw reflected in his parents’ eyes was going to come out of his eyes. All that comforting and loving contentedness he could feel from his parents whenever they were together…that was going to be his now.
A hand on his shoulder made him turned and he smiled, “Hey Dad.”
Goku looked more than a little uncomfortable, all set in a black suit and tie. It really wasn’t his father’s look. The fancy look of formality suited his mother more readily but knowing his father was uncomfortable but chose to not complain meant a lot.
“You doing okay, Gohan?”
He nodded, even though his palms were sweating more and more as the formal arrangements because to take place, the DJ got into position and the very last of the guests started to filter in. “Nervous. But I’m happy though. Just…this is it, you know?”
Goten, standing by his side (as who else would Gohan ask to be his best man) grinned up and hugged his brother. “I’m gonna get a new sister!” There was still a faint hesitation to him but more genuine excitement. His smile was infectious. “You two are gonna make a great Mama and Daddy.”
Gohan choked and coughed. “Goten…let’s not jump ahead, okay?”
The boy looked confused a moment. “Well, that’s what happens. You get married then you have babies. Daddy was nineteen right?”
Goku chuckled. “Let’s let Gohan focus on just the marryin’ first, okay, little buddy?”
Goten shrugged but dropped the conversation. He just shifted back and forth from one foot to the other, seemingly oblivious to ChiChi’s scolding looks. Goku shook his head with a smile and then looked Gohan in the face again.
“You’ll do just fine, son. Hard for me to believe it’s here but…well, you became a man before I knew what happened.”
Face slightly red, Gohan remarked, “Did the best I could do.”
“You always do.” Goku smiled, the slight sadness clear in his eyes. “I wish I could have seen more of it. I wish I could have been there to see you grow from that strong boy I left to the man I see now.”
Gohan didn’t answer. He never had a good answer for that. He wished his father had been there too but there was naught to be done about it now. He had done what he thought was best and Gohan did the same with whatever he was handed. On the one hand, he would never stop wishing that they had gotten that time…but on the other, “Well, in a way you were there, Dad. I never stopped looking up to you.”
Goku gave his son a side hug, smiling, “I’m one lucky guy then because I look up to who you’ve become, Gohan.” He knelt before Gohan could react and with a ‘now, you gotta stand still for a little bit, Goten. After the ceremony, you can run around all ya want, I promise,’ he stood, gave a clap to his son’s shoulder and rejoined his wife in their seats.
After that, it was the signaling music that took Gohan’s attention. Videl had not wanted much in the way of attendants but she said the opportunity was too perfect to not ask Erasa. Apparently, Erasa and her had known one another for a time and while Videl had never planned her wedding per say like other girls would, she had promised Erasa a special role in it and Videl always kept her word.
Erasa was positively beaming as she made her way down the pathway, her feet crunching down on the grass in the dyed blue flats she wore. She looked wonderful, the light blue dress a brilliant contrast to her bright yellow hair which had been put in so many curls that it was a wonder she had any hair left. She never stopped smiling, even when she came to a stop on the side, awaiting Videl’s entrance. She did giggle, partially, when she met Gohan’s eyes, mouthing ‘she looks amazing.’
Well, Gohan didn’t need anyone to tell him that. He was well aware of how amazing Videl looked all the time, let alone when she had the assistance of thousands of zennie to add to it. Far as he was concerned, she could have shown up covered in mud and sweaty and he would have swooned. So, when she appeared down at the end of the aisle, amid music that she had selected, Gohan had nothing but eyes for her. She was positively glowing, full of white gossamer and it looked like nature had dotted her face with the morning dew that reflected the sunlight. There was a light in her eyes that made his own eyes wet.
Mr. Satan---Mark (Gohan did not think he would ever get used to calling him that)---was openly sobbing but he looked at Gohan with nothing but respect in his eyes. Videl gave him a kiss on the cheek and he said, head held high, “Never thought this day would come because I never thought I’d find someone I trusted with you. Someone that I knew would treat you right.” He eyed Gohan, set his free hand on his shoulder. “She’s my pride and joy, Son. And I know she’s yours too. Take care of her.”
Gohan smiled, meant every inch of it, and said, “I think Videl can handle herself. But I promise you that nothing will happen to her without taking me out first.”
Mr. Satan seemed to accept that answer and with grave reluctance, he released his grip on Videl’s hand. Gohan stood there, waiting, looking as deep into Videl’s eyes as he could and he felt his stomach sink when she did not reach for him.
She kept her hand where it was.
Swallowing hard, Gohan pondered to himself if he had said something wrong, if he had responded poorly but…Mr. Satan had been satisfied and as Videl often reminded him, her father was much harder to please than she was (though he was not entirely convinced of that fact) yet here she stood, unmoving.
Finally, looking at Gohan with warmth, she said, “I consider myself lucky to have found you…” she shifted her eyes to Goku and ChiChi sitting in the front row, not even three feet away. “My father has given his blessing for me to Gohan. Might I have yours?”
The parents of Gohan stared and looked at one another. The entire congregation had gone silent. While weddings tended to be a mishmash of different traditions, asking the parents of the groom was simply never done. It just…well, there never seemed to be a reason for it. Usually, it was the boy trying to win over the parents of the girl.
But Videl was quite serious. She eyed the Son matriarch and patriarch with nothing but sincerity in her eyes. “May I?” She asked again.
After a moment more, Goku and ChiChi almost stood together and made their way up to the grouping before the official. ChiChi was nearly crying already, merely at the gesture, and even Goku looked a little weepy-eyed though significantly more put together than ChiChi. All the same, it was the matriarch that took the hands of both Videl and her son.
“Oh, Videl…I couldn’t have picked a better wife for Gohan if I had searched the whole world.” The woman’s voice broke. “You look so beautiful. He looks so handsome…I know you two will be wonderful for each other. You’ll take care of one another. Of course you have my blessing.” She smiled up at Gohan. “You take good care of this girl, Gohan. She is a rarity.”
Videl beamed, gave a half bow of respect then turned to Goku.
The Saiyan stood there, silent for a long moment. ChiChi was close to elbowing him in the ribs, he could tell. He wanted to say no, that as much as he loved Videl and thought she was good for his son—the best he would ever get!—there was no one alive or dead that would be good enough in his eyes for his Gohan. No one. No matter how much Goku respected them. The only way he could see letting go of his son right now was if Gohan was, truly, in love and better for it to be with them.
So Goku turned to his son. “She makes you happy.”
Gohan nodded, eyes bright. “More than I thought anyone would. I…” he considered. It was odd. Here they were, in front of a whole congregation and yet it felt like it was just him and his father. The intensity and importance in his father’s eyes and voice was impossible to miss. “When I’m with her, I…I imagine it must be like when you’re with Mom. Complete. Whole.”
Goku closed his eyes tightly and despite the crowd, he reached up and ran a soft ruffle through Gohan’s hair. “She makes ya happy. That’s all I need to know.” He turned to Videl and drew her into a tight embrace. “Guess I get me a daughter now.” He held her tight a moment then released her, took ChiChi’s hand and took a long step back, leaving just the two soon-to-be-weds alone.
The rest of the ceremony seemed to pass in a blur for Goku. He imagined it was the same for his son. It had certainly been that way for him with ChiChi. It had been something he would never forget. Yet, it passed so quickly.
The warm looks, the declarations of love that should have sounded cheesy but came across as completely genuine. The way that Videl all but threw her arms around Gohan’s neck as soon as it was permissible and laid a kiss on him that would have made Roshi blush.
Then the photos. Goten jumping around like a little monkey, ChiChi fussing so much over her appearance that she missed one of them and Gohan and Videl almost fusing into one another by how much they hung to one another. Not that he could blame them but he still flung his arm around Gohan’s shoulder for a photo or two. His son smiled at it.
Goku barely registered when the ceremony had passed to reception, food and dancing.
Food. He didn’t notice the food.
All he could do was stare at his son, swaying with Videl on the dance floor, smiling like the entire world was wrapped in his arms.
Which it was.
Videl was the world to his son and he was the world to her. He could see it just by the light in their eyes.
A light nudge on his side made him turn. ChiChi leaned into his side. “Are you okay?”
He grinned, “Course I am, Chi.”
“You’re not eatin’”
Well, he supposed that was a fair argument. He took a stab of the food and shoveled it in. It was good, full of spice and texture, just like he liked. But it felt empty. He found himself just fixated on Gohan. Every time he laughed or smiled, Goku could only see a much smaller boy. One that was pleading to go out and explore with him.
One that ran and hid behind ChiChi’s leg at the sight of a dragonfly. One that he had taken into the Time Chamber and had truly savored every last moment with. The boy that used to ask him to come and flush the monsters out of his room because they were afraid of Daddy.
Now though, he saw such joy in that man’s face…joy that he only saw reflected when he looked at his own wife. Turning to look at ChiChi, he took the moment to dwell in it. The knowledge of knowing someone would support you, would care for you and yes, would tell you when you faltered was something it took him a while to get used to and he knew he did not always show the appreciation that he should. But he did love her. In a deep way that he could not put into words.
The kind of love that would grow frustrated, angry, irritated and yet would never waver. Would never leave and would never, ever dampen. The kind of love that could see you through life and death…and then life again.
His son had found his own ‘ChiChi.’
“I’m fine, ChiChi.”
He meant that. Truly meant it. Just as he had truly meant that he was thrilled his son was happy. Just as he truly meant that he was blessed with a daughter now. Just as he truly meant that he had an extended family, beyond what he had thought would ever happen.
When his son and Videl left by calling on Nimbus and waving to the crowd the same way he and ChiChi had done, he smiled and bit down his sadness, letting the happiness, letting the relief that his son had found someone as dear to him as his own wife, bubble to the surface. He cheered with the others and waved, calling about ‘comin’ back soon!’
When he carried home a weeping wife, an exhausted Goten and saw them to bed, he stood, just a moment, and took in the silence. Took in the much more open bedroom, took in the lack of books in the living room. Walked outside and walked among the bamboo where Gohan used to play hide and seek.
He walked. And walked. And walked.
And under the shade of an old familiar apple tree, Son Goku wept.