AN. My entry into SweetestIrony's January contest, theme: Future. This is the only thing that came to mind. (shrug) Sorry it took me so long (I keep thinking it's the end of the month already!!) but I've been super busy and not had much time to right... That's my excuse for any mistakes in here too. Pathetic, I know, but there you have it...
Lights flashed, music pounded, drinks poured copiously into paper cups and snacks spread invitingly over heavily-laden tables were snatched up by greedy hands. Rowdy teenagers danced in the centre of the room, jumping up and down in time to the music, twisting their bodies into (what looked like) exceedingly uncomfortable positions. Stationed safely on the side of the room, a full cup in his hand so that if anyone asked him to dance he would have an excuse not to, a tall, black-haired, fair-skinned boy stood. His wide, dark eyes, filled with a naivety and innocence that gave the (entirely false) impression that this was a boy who could easily be taken advantage of, skimmed over the room. The baggy shirt and pants completely hid the solid muscle he had beneath, and the only way to find it was to either engage him in hand-to-hand combat (a bad idea, even for the incredibly stupid) or 'accidentally' bump into him.
One who knew about these muscles and found the opportunity to do the latter suspiciously often was weaving her way across the dance floor, warding off the amorous advances of several drunken teenagers who, at any other time, wouldn't have even tried.
She reached the boy, then thumped him gently on the shoulder with one fist. He turned and grinned, holding his drink gingerly in front of him, simple and pure pleasure in his eyes.
"Congratulations on graduating," he said with a grin. She sighed and instantly his smile fell away. "Videl-san? Are you okay?"
She avoided his eyes and instantly his stomach dropped to the ground. He and Videl had been dating for a while now, and if what he suspected was happening was really happening he was afraid his heart would crumble into pieces so small no one could ever repair it.
"Can we talk outside, Gohan-kun?" Videl said in a low voice that wasn't quite a whisper. "I need...to talk to you about something..."
"Sure." Gohan forced a grin on his face, though it felt stretched and false, hoping he gave off the right air of nonchalance, though his heart was thrumming high in his throat and his palms were starting to sweat. "Whatever you say."
He followed her, weaving through the crowd as she did, his eyes fixed on her back. What would he say if she said what he thought she was going to say? What would he do? Would he protest or, like a pathetic wimp, would he roll over and accept it? No. No matter what else happened he would fight for this. Because he loved her.
He hadn't actually told her yet. The words had not left his mouth, nor had they left hers. He had loved her with his whole heart, truly and deeply, since the day she had stepped out of her car with her hair cropped close to her skull. Seeing her like that, the wild heat of her defiance burning in her eyes, the furious set of her mouth, the challenge in her stance. She had been like a goddess and he had fallen hard for her.
He supposed he was a coward for waiting so long, for hiding such a strong and powerful truth, but he was terrified of what she would say, how she would react. And now all the happiness, all the good feelings they had built up around themselves were in danger.
They got outside. It was quiet, silent compared to the party inside, the soft hooting of owls and the gentle rush of water in the river that snaked past the house they were in the only sounds. Videl moved forward, leaning against the railing of the veranda, looking down at the ground below them. Gohan's stomach sank a little lower and his pulse sped up.
"Videl-san? What's wrong?"
"Gohan-kun, we need to talk."
That was the second time she'd said that, but he didn't think she realised. Maybe she was just as nervous as he was. Was that possible?
She cast a glance back towards him, and the pain in those big, blue eyes cut him deep. He moved forward instantly, reaching for her, but she shrugged him off, turning around sharply. With his hands outstretched as they were, she was completely closed in by his body, pressed against the railing. He dropped his arms instantly, flushing a deep red.
"About us, Gohan-kun," she whispered, before he could apologise. "About where this is going."
He almost gagged. The horror that filled him so completely at those words was like nothing he had ever felt before. He staggered back a few steps, looking at her with wide eyes he knew didn't hide the shock he felt.
It felt like he was shouting, but the word emerged as a soft, hoarse whisper. Videl flinched at the sound of it, turning her head away. He looked at her profile, memorising every inch of her features just in case the outcome she wanted came to be.
"Gohan-kun, we can't keep pretending that this is all going to work out," Videl said. She was speaking quickly, probably so she wouldn't hesitate, but it made her words seem harsh and cruel. "This isn't a story-book, a fairy-tale. We probably aren't going to live happily ever after. I think we should stop now, before we both go off to university and find other people. I think... I think we should..."
"No, Videl-san." Gohan's fear drove him over the edge and he practically lunged towards her, his hands wrapping tight around her upper arms, his body moving closer than he had intended so they were pressed solidly against each other. "You don't mean it. You can't!"
The same defiance he had fallen in love with filled her eyes as she met his, that bright fire that made her eyes sparkle from within. Then he noticed that the sparkle came from tears that had welled there, that the firm set of her mouth couldn't hide the slight tremble in her lower lip.
"And what if I do?" she spat. His first reaction was to back away, to remove himself from the wrath of this goddess, but he ignored the urge and kept his place, staring into her eyes with an intensity that would have made a lesser person cringe. "What if I think we should stop this pathetic playing around and find proper relationships?"
That stung, but he recognised it for what it was; an attempt to get away clean. She was hurt just as badly as he was by the idea of splitting up, but she honestly thought it was for the best.
"Videl-san, I won't let you do this to us. We'll work to keep together. I know this is right. Please don't say that we need to break up. I know we'll work out. Please, have faith in us..."
"We don't have a future together, Gohan-kun," Videl said, and now a fat tear spilled over her lower lid and traced a line to her jaw. "We just don't. We're too...different..."
"No..." He didn't want to let go of her arms (he knew she would use the opportunity to get away from him), but couldn't stand the sight of the tears sliding down her cheeks with increasing speed. He bent his head and began kissing them away, the salty water coating his lips, making sure that his kisses were light and gentle. She closed her eyes and let him, not turning her face away, not telling him to stop, and he was grateful for that because he wouldn't have stopped anyway. He couldn't have.
"Please, Gohan-kun, don't make this harder than it already is..."
"I love you," he whispered as he kissed away tears, and once the words were out he couldn't believe he had waited so long to say them. They were just three, little, one-syllable words, and they made the entire world seem easier. "I love you so much. Please don't leave me."
"You are my future, Videl-san. Please..."
He pulled away, looking desperately into her eyes. She looked back up at him, and the vulnerability there shocked him a little.
"Can't you see how much I love you?" he asked a little hoarsely. "Can't you tell? I'm not letting you leave me without a fight, don't you see that?"
She was silent for a moment. Then one arm slipped free of his grip and a hand cupped around the back of his neck. Next thing he knew she was kissing him, hard, passionately, and the rest of the world melted away so it was just the two of them, standing in a void.
When she pulled away, only by a matter of millimetres but too far by Gohan's reckoning, she kept her hand on the back of his neck and looked at him.
"What are you doing, Son Gohan?" she whispered.
"For once I'm being selfish and keeping what I want," he said softly, then kissed her gently on the lips again. "I'm not letting you leave me, not till we give this the chance it deserves."
There were tears in her eyes still, but she smiled suddenly, luminously, and he knew he had done the right thing. The hand at the back of his neck slipped down and lightly slapped him on the chest.
"You...you jerk," she said, sniffling slightly. "You let me...say all of that..."
"Videl-san, will you marry me?" he asked in a voice that was hoarse with emotion and brutally intense.
She met his eyes again, her mouth dropping open the slightest bit. After what had just happened, he had the idea that she thought that nothing could surprise her. But he wanted to, no, needed to ask.
"I don't have a ring yet," he said, cutting across her in his desperation to let her know the full details. "But I'll get one for you, I swear. It'll be the nicest one in the whole city, in the whole world. It'll be everything you deserve. I'll treat you right, I'll be a good husband, I promise. Please, Videl-san, will you?"
She blinked up at him, fresh tears sliding down her cheeks, then shook her head sharply. His stomach plummeted, until he noticed the wide smile on her face.
"Yes," she said.
The word took a moment to sink in. His momentary disbelief numbed his senses, and he had to shake his head to re-establish the connection between his brain and his body. Then everything in his body soared and his face split in the recognisable grin of his father.
"Yes, because I love you too." She traced the sides of his face with her fingertips, settling her palms on his cheeks, before boosting herself up and gently kissing his lips. The next words she said sent a thrill up Gohan's spine, and heat spiralling down into his torso. "Son Videl…it sounds good, doesn't it?"
"Yes," he murmured, holding her tight to him, unable to stop himself from resting one hand on her cropped hair. "It sounds right."
She hugged him tight and he hugged her back, his fiancée, his life, his world. His future.
AN. A little odd, but the basic premise is that they're at a graduation party and Videl wants to break up to cut their losses. Gohan is, well, less eager. If it's kinda hard to understand I apologise... My writing style has gotten more intense lately, maybe because of lack of sleep... Who can say?? Hope you enjoyed it XD