A tribute to my favorite couple of all time. No pun intended.
Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ. Credit for the idea of this story must go to Psycho Ann and her story "Close Your Eyes". If you would like to read it (and I suggest you do), it is in my Favorite Stories section on my profile page.
A Day in Paradise
I've fallen into a world of white. Cherry blossoms swirl around me, lightly caressing my skin and through this lace veil I can see my father next to me. He's grinning from ear to ear, and fighting off his tears. I feel my heart twist at the sight—even though I sometimes wanted nothing more than to be away from him, even though he could be so ridiculous, he's my father and we're about to say good-bye.
But the music is changing, and with a renewed anxiety I prepare to take my first steps. My father grips my arm firmly, and together we walk between the rows of chairs. I don't know if it's the crowd, the cherry blossoms, the anxiety, the fear of tripping on my dress—but I can't see where I'm going. But I put one foot in front of the other; something inside me says this is the right direction.
Finally, I see him. Up until this point I didn't know where I was, or what I was doing. But amidst the whirlwind of white I can see his sleek black tux, dark hair and fathomless eyes. He gives me that lopsided grin that makes my stomach do cartwheels, and when he takes my hand I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
But I can't stay here forever, and as I feel consciousness coming on, I fight to keep the memory I never had.
Chapter Nine: Meeting
Videl could feel herself coming-to as the sun peaked through the window and started to warm her face, but she stubbornly kept her eyes closed, watching the scene play out in her mind, albeit hazier with every passing moment. Her father was giving her away, then the priest was speaking, then Gohan (Pan was running around in the bedroom next door), then her, then the priest again (Just get to the kiss!), and finally the moment closed in, Videl smiled, and contentedly opened her eyes. At least she'd married him once.
Stretching, she started to make the bed as the first part of her morning routine. It wasn't the first time she'd had such a life-like dream, one which seemed to come from another world completely. She'd had many by now, all centered around Gohan and Pan, but with occasional appearances by her father and other friends. Even though Hercule had died so many years ago, his lifelike aging in her subconscious still took her by surprise. She even felt things toward these people—her father, Erasa, Gohan—that she knew didn't stem from her own reality. She had never shown any teenage rebellion toward her father, and yet in all her dreams there was this feeling of reconciliation whenever she saw him. And sometimes her dream-self laughed at the irony—she didn't know why—of her relationship with Gohan. And although they were generally pleasant dreams, she tried not to dwell on them too much.
"Pan, come get your breakfast," came a soft voice from next door. Both mother and daughter answered the call, the latter with eager footsteps bouncing out the door and down the stairs, the former by poking her head out the bedroom door and laughing.
"Now I know you did not do any cooking, Mr. Son,"
"And why is that?" Gohan asked, in mock defense.
"Because I don't smell anything burning," she joked, and kissed him good-morning.
"Are you ready for our adventure, today?" he murmured.
"A little nervous, but yes," she replied.
"It won't be that long of a journey—"
"Oh it's not the journey I'm afraid of," Videl interrupted. "It's meeting your mother… and grandfather. I have one week to make a good impression. That's a lot of pressure, mister." She said, poking a finger into his chest.
"I wish it could be longer too, but I don't like having all my eggs in one basket."
"Of course, I know that. Now c'mon, I want to see what the Master Chef has prepared for us this morning."
"Are you ready, Pan?" Videl asked, amused by her her three year-old daughter's excitement. Pan was in full camping gear, wide-eyed and clutching the straps of her backpack, she'd been preparing for the last week in anticipation of the Great Journey to Grandma's.
Gohan chuckled while he closed the door on their hidden house. Videl hid it well, but he knew she was just as excited as Pan. He, on the other had, would prefer not to risk either of his precious girls out in the open, but they weren't exactly the type of women you could keep fenced in.
"Ready for Gran-Ma!" Pan squealed.
"Alright, troops, let's get going," Gohan said while pocketing the keys (more to ward against errant robbers than the androids) and pulling on his own backpack. The key today was to travel using as little ki as possible while still traveling fast and minimizing time in the open. It was going to be difficult, but the it seemed the stars had aligned—he was recuperated from the last attack, the androids weren't in the area (as far as he could tell), Trunks and Bulma were safe at the moment… he had no more excuses to put off the journey.
The truth was, Gohan thought as they made their way through their forest home in the direction of the mountains, he wanted nothing more than to go camping with Pan out in the forest he'd known since childhood and through the canyons he'd explored under the tutelage of Piccolo, and tell her the same stories his father had told him so many years ago about their beautiful wilderness home. Everything about this trip was walking a fine line—travel fast, but don't use ki; teach Pan about his wilderness, but don't waste time; protect Pan but let her enjoy her freedom—and it was winding him up too tight.
"Calm down, honey," Videl whispered and took his arm. "It's going to be alright, look at her!" Up in front Pan was jumping around, clasping her hands and trying to catch butterflies, albeit unsuccessfully. Gohan nodded grimly and watched as Pan caught sight of a squirrel and quietly started to stalk it while it stored nuts in its mouth. She was creeping tip-toe behind the unsuspecting creature when he suddenly saw her and bolted toward a large oak. Pan sprinted after him and tried to scramble up the trunk but started slipping halfway and fell with a loud "thump!" at the bottom. Above her the squirrel started hurling acorns at her until she ran away, covered in mud.
Gohan couldn't help it anymore. He laughed and ran after her, scooping her up and swinging his only daughter around like an airplane.
"Papa! It's time to come in for dinner now," a soft voice called from inside to Son house at the base of Mount Poazu. Sighing, the Ox Kind set down the hoe he'd been using in the home's garden and, wiping his brow, headed back into the house.
"Have you seen them yet?" ChiChi asked, setting a plate down in front of him before taking her own seat at the table.
"No, but we don't even know if they're coming this week, ChiChi. Gohan said it could be anytime."
The Ox Princess scoffed, a shadow of her old-self surfacing on her features, "what kind of planning is that, anyway? Doesn't he know it takes a lot to get ready for a wedding? He can't just show up." She shook her head, "so like a man."
The Ox King just laughed. "Well he is a man now, Chi. And it's good planning, the kind that avoids the androids," he pointed out.
His daughter sighed and gazed out the window where the sun was just starting to set, "I know."
Dinner continued in more or less the usual manner, casual conversation between father and daughter followed by swift clearing of the plates. There wasn't much to say these days, what with the two of them living alone and having little connection to the outside world. It wasn't until ChiChi was midway through washing dishes that she looked up from the soap suds to see the three figures walking toward the house, the last rays of sun setting behind them. ChiChi gasped and dropped her plate back into the sink, running outside to meet her son and the rest of her family she'd never met.
Gohan and Videl each held one of Pan's hands and were swinging her back and forth between them when Pan suddenly squealed "Gran-Ma!" and let go, running full speed ahead toward a tiny figure in the distance.
ChiChi did the same, running and smiling with arms wide open to hug her granddaughter. "Panny!"
They met in the middle of the field and hugged like the greatest friends who hadn't seen each other in a long time.
"Oh Gohan, she's beautiful! And so big!" ChiChi exclaimed as her son walked up to the gleeful duo.
"I know," Gohan bent down to give his mother a kiss. Behind him Videl put on her best smile and held out her hand.
"Mrs. Son, I'm Videl. It's very nice to meet you."
ChiChi didn't reply but gave Videl a scrutinizing look, checking her up and down several times before nodding her head in approval.
"It's nice to meet you too, of course. Come on in! I still have some dinner. Are you hungry?" she asked, turning to the girl in her arms.
"Mommy already made sandwiches," Pan replied.
ChiChi frowned. Sandwiches clearly did not constitute dinner. "Well I have rice, and fish, and yummy vegetables!" Behind their back Videl was silently fuming and Gohan kept looking back and forth between the two women, wondering how to put out a fire that hadn't started yet. Thankfully, he didn't have to, as ChiChi carried Pan back into the house thus giving Videl enough time to mentally recuperate and settle down.
"C'mon Mommy! Daddy!" Pan shouted, and side-by-side her parents followed her into the little house at the base of the mountain.
A/n: I know, I know. I'm an erratic updater.