Chapter XIII: Getting Things Straight
Just before morning in the land of Korin, Gohan and Videl left for West City so they would arrive before nightfall.
They both felt as light as air with the weight of their confessions off their shoulders. For the first time since they've known each other, they were direct with their feelings and didn't treat them in a round-about way. In fact, for most of the trip back to West City, Videl nibbled on Gohan's neck in a most distracting fashion. Several times he nearly lost control of his Ki and dropped them both.
They managed to get back to Capsule Corp. with only one or two lapses in concentration and scary lurches.
Gohan landed and quickly set Videl down. "Videl, not that I don't enjoy you doing that, but could you not do that while I fly? It's very distracting." Gohan confessed.
Videl laughed. "Sorry, Gohan. I just couldn't help myself." She stood on her tip toes and kissed him again.
Gohan was just beginning to return her kiss with a passion when a voice called out and interrupted them. They pulled apart instantly.
"Well, if it isn't Kakarot's brat." Of course it was Vegeta. The guy guarded Capsule Corp. better than a guard dog.
"Hey, Veggie. I gotta bone to pick with you." Gohan began, walking up to him.
Vegeta's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Choose your next words wisely, Runt." The statement was kind of ironic considering Gohan was a full head taller than Vegeta.
"You left something out when we talked about…" Gohan suddenly lost his bravado. "… you know, a couple days ago…"
"You mean when we talked about Saiyan mating?" Vegeta clarified. "No, I think I covered everything."
"Yeah right!" Gohan said. "Videl and I went to Kami's Lookout and things got… heated. But my Saiyan side didn't let me follow-through. Is there some sort of ritual that we need to complete?"
Vegeta sighed. "Are you two completely sure that you wanna be mates? This isn't some whim of horny teenagers?"
"I thought you said Saiyans…" Gohan began.
"Yes, Saiyans do only mate for life. But you are not a full Saiyan. You are half-human, boy, and human hearts are fickle. If you complete the full Saiyan bonding ritual, there will be no turning back, no matter how fickle your heart is."
Gohan and Videl glanced at each other. Their love hadn't began with their mutual confession, but began almost as soon as they had met, weeks before Majin Buu. "We are sure." Gohan and Videl answered at the same time.
"Why didn't you tell me about this full Saiyan bonding ritual before?" Gohan asked.
"Because there is a fine line between Saiyan tradition and instinct. It is so fine, even Saiyans have trouble recognizing the difference. The Bonding ceremony struck me as a tradition. But I suppose it really is instinct since you seem incapable of bypassing it."
"Okay. So what is this Bonding Ceremony, and how do you complete it?" Gohan asked.
"It's simple. Much more simple than a human wedding ceremony." Vegeta said. "The female typically starts it by stating her intentions to her potential mate. Then they must have witnesses. Typically it is their families, but I suppose any witnesses would do. Then the potential mates must engage in combat."
"Combat? Why?" Videl asked.
"The female must prove to the male that she is capable of defending their off-spring from harm, since the male will often be away at war." Vegeta said.
"But I'm human!" Videl said. "How could I possibly win against Gohan?"
"You wouldn't." Vegeta said simply. "But it doesn't matter. Winning or losing makes no difference. The female just needs to impress the male with her battle skills to finalize the Bond. If the female fails to impress the male, their growing bond is dissolved, leaving both free to find a more suitable mate. The witnesses are there to judge the authenticity of the spar."
"Did my parents…?" Gohan began.
"Kakarot is a Saiyan." Vegeta said. "If your experience proves true and the Bonding is instinct, than he did it too."
"Gohan, haven't you seen the tapes of the Tenkaichi Budokai that you father won?" Videl asked. "Your parents fought together. There were plenty of witnesses, your mother attacked first, and she kept your father on his toes for a while. He won, but proposed to her right after words. That's the Bonding ceremony, right?"
Vegeta nodded. "It sounds accurate enough. Kakarot probably had no trouble marrying his harpy in a human ceremony since, to him, they were all ready mates."
"They were all ready mates? But I don't think my mother would have let my father do something like that before they were married." Gohan began.
Vegeta snorted. "Sex has nothing to do with the ceremony, just like sex has nothing to do with the human wedding ceremony. Sex strengthens and maintains the bond between the two mates, but it does not create it." Then Vegeta grinned. "I can't wait to see how the oaf reacts!"
"Oaf?" Videl asked.
"Your father. You'll have to confess to him about being in love with a half-alien boy a million times stronger than him."
"My father is not an oaf!" Videl yelled.
"Once you are familiar with the ranks of the Z-Warriors, you'll see how foolish your sire really is."
Videl looked ready to kill the Saiyan Prince. Vegeta never minced words, so he was used to offending people and their respective death-glares, so he didn't even react to her death-glare. But their exchange brought Gohan to a painful realization.
He couldn't continue to hide things from Videl if they were mates. Before they preformed the Bonding Ceremony, Gohan would have to come clean to her about the Cell Games.
Vegeta noticed the look on Gohan's face and realized what was going through his mind. Vegeta had gotten pretty good at reading Gohan during the seven years of Goku's death when Vegeta was the only person able to give the demi-Saiyan 'Saiyanly' advice. "You should be proud of your accomplishments, Halfling. Few Saiyans could have resisting a foe of that magnitude." Vegeta said seriously. "You are a fine addition to the Saiyan race, and your future mate will be just as proud of you as your moron father and I am."
The complement really meant something coming from Vegeta, who usually had nothing good to say about half-breeds unless that half-breed happened to be his son. It showed Gohan that Vegeta really did care for him, even though he pretended not to most of the time.
"Well, I guess we should go tell our parents." Gohan said. "Should we go separately or together?"
"I guess it doesn't matter with your parents, but you need to come with me to meet my dad."
"Sure." Gohan said. "We haven't been properly introduced, haven't we? It would look bad on me if I mated you without even being introduced to your father."
"That's not the only reason. Our courtship will be one full of fighting. We are gonna have to fight to become mates, and you'll have to fight my father for my hand." Videl said. "He's got some stupid rule that any boy I date has to first beat him in a spar."
Videl looked worried for him, but Gohan was relishing in the chance to fight Mr. Satan. The man had really annoyed him at the Cell Games, and he wanted the chance to knock his ego down a few levels. Even worse than stealing his credit for defeating Cell was the insults against everything the Z-Warriors did, their sacrifices, and everything they stood for. The Z-Warriors had all trained all their lives to defend Earth from evil, and Mr. Satan belittled a lifetime worth of training with a single sentence: 'It's all a trick.' Goku's sacrifice became meaningless. What did Mr. Satan care that someone's husband and father had died? What did he care that Goten grew up most of his life without knowing his own father? What did he care that Gohan had been forced to answer that heart-rending question from his kid brother: 'Gohan, why don't I have a daddy?'
Gohan suddenly realized what he was thinking. He really didn't like Mr. Satan. He still carried a lot of baggage from the Cell Games regarding Mr. Satan. All of this will have to be resolved before I mate Videl. Gohan realized. I can't become her mate while I have this many unresolved issues with the Cell Games and her father.
It was only then that Gohan realized that Videl was talking. "…I know you're really strong, Gohan, but I don't want to see you get hurt."
Gohan stared at her. Despite all I've shown her, she still believes her father is the stronger of us? Well… I suppose that is my fault. She won't know until I tell her the truth about the Cell Games. "I'll be fine, Videl. Don't worry. I'm half-Saiyan, remember? My heritage gives me an advantage in battle no human can match." Besides, I could fight Mr. Satan with a fraction of my full power and still utterly defeat him.
On the other hand, if I kick the crap out of Videl's father, it wouldn't exactly make her eager to be my mate. Gohan thought, and then came to a decision. All right, I'll fight him with one percent of my power. That'll be close enough to be fair, right? No flying or Ki blasts wither. He'll just call me a trickster and forbid me from seeing Videl. For once, it might be satisfying to fight like a human.
"Videl, I'm not afraid of fighting your father. I've had my share of great opponents too, you know." Gohan said, smiling.
Videl sighed. "Okay, Gohan. I trust that you know what you're getting into."
Gohan nodded. I know, more than you do. "Now I've got my own question: are you brave enough to withstand my mother's 'grandchildren' tirade?"
The color drained from Videl's face. She had all ready endured the mini version of Chi-Chi's grandchildren rant, and that was when Gohan and Videl's relationship was still in her head. She would be unstoppable once she found out Gohan and Videl was a reality. Chi-Chi had all ready told her how many grandchildren she expected (half-a-dozen, at least!?!), that their first had to be a girl so that Chi-Chi would have a little girl to spoil for a change, since she only had her two sons (and tips on how to make a girl), and a mile-long list of baby names (not an exaggeration. It really was a mile long! Videl measured it with the help of her servants).
"I… don't think I'm brave enough for that." Videl said sheepishly.
Gohan couldn't blame her. He barely had the courage necessary to face his mother with news like this. But he was going to do it anyway, because Chi-Chi was his mother. She may be overbearing, but he still loved her, and she deserved to know from her son.
"Okay, I'll tell my family tonight. You said your father is away earlier? When does he get back?"
"Tomorrow afternoon." Videl said.
"Okay, then I'll stop by your place tomorrow, and tell your father. Don't worry; I'll be ready for a fight."
"Okay, Gohan. I guess I'll see you tomorrow. And good luck with your mother." She leaned into Gohan and kissed him again, a gesture he returned gladly.
When Gohan pulled away, he laughed. "I'll need it." And he flew away, while Videl flew in the opposite direction towards Satan City.
Gohan was completely elated and he did a couple loop-the-loops to let out his feeling. His life always seemed to be one big cosmic joke dedicated to Murphy's Law. Everything seemed to go wrong, either comically or tragically. But, for once, something in his life had gone right.
When he first began to develop feeling for Videl, he never imagined that she would return them. It seemed a long shot, and too good for the cursed life of Son Gohan.
But this was a reality, Gohan was sure of it. Even his wildest dreams didn't dare believe that Videl might love him in return.
After several minutes of giddy elation, Gohan's heart sunk, remembering the unpleasant duty that awaited him. Telling his family.
He wasn't really worried about his father and Goten's reactions. At the most, his father would pile on the suggestive comments, and Goten would tease him about 'kissy-kissy' games. It was his mother that he was worried about.
He was sure to endure an unstoppable tirade of a Grandchildren rant.
Gohan sighed and resigned himself to his fate. He would do anything for Videl, and now was the time to prove it.
Gohan arrived home just before nightfall, a little later than usual. As he expected, his mother was waiting for him.
"Gohan, do you have any idea what time it is?!?" Chi-Chi demanded. "Where have you been all day? Bulma called saying you left Capsule Corp. this morning."
"I'm sorry, Mom." Gohan apologized. "Videl showed up at Capsule Corp. this morning and I spent the day with her."
Chi-Chi immediately softened. "Oh. Well, I suppose I'll have to forgive you this once. Should I be expecting any Grandchildren in the near future?"
Gohan didn't respond, which made Chi-Chi curious. Previously, Gohan had responded to such statements with a loud, incredulous 'Mom!' Chi-Chi's mommy senses were tingling. Something was defiantly afoot. And she had a hunch it had something to do with Videl.
"Where's Dad?" Gohan interrupted Chi-Chi's question.
"Goku?" Chi-Chi questioned. "He's getting Goten washed up for dinner. You know what a chore that is."
Gohan nodded. Before Goku came back to life, Gohan was the one with that chore. And he knew from personal experience that the washer often got wetter than Goten.
"If it's all right, I'd rather wait for Dad before I tell my news." Gohan said.
Chi-Chi gave him a look and then finally relented. "Okay. Your father should be nearly done, and then you can tell us what you are hiding. You know the suspense isn't good on my heart."
"Don't worry, Mom, it's good news." Gohan said.
"What's good news?" Both looked around and saw Goku walk in with Goten on his shoulders. As expected, he was soaked from head to toe, and trying to dry his spiky hair off with a towel.
"Ah, Goku, dear. Just in time." Chi-Chi said. "Gohan has some news that he wants to share with us."
"Oh really?" Goku said. "Well, what's the good news, son?"
"Well… um… I went out with Videl today, and we talked a lot. We decided not to frustrate the desire in our hearts." Gohan could tell Chi-Chi was holding her breath. "We've decided to become mates."
Goku began to speak, but whatever he was going to say was cut off by a scream from Chi-Chi, which forced him to cover his ears instead.
"Oh, Gohan, I'm so proud of you!" Chi-Chi squealed while she embraced her son. "I just knew you'd grow up, meet a nice girl, get married, and give me all the beautiful grandchildren I've ever dreamed of!"
"Does that mean Videl's gonna be my big sister?" Goten asked from Goku's shoulders.
Goku had his fingers in his ears, trying to get rid of the ringing that followed Chi-Chi's squeal. "Yeah, it does. I'm really proud of you, Gohan. Videl's a nice girl."
"So, when can I expect those grandchildren, Gohan? Oh, silly me! If you only did that today, then it will be another nine months at least! Oh, dear, then we'd better start planning the wedding right away! Hang on, I'll call Bulma…"
"Hang on, Mom!" Gohan interrupted. "No, we haven't done that yet!"
"Oh. Okay, then." Chi-Chi looked slightly disappointed. "Then a wedding ceremony can wait a little. Were you and Videl thinking of a day?"
"Mom, a human wedding ceremony can wait until after we graduate. Public schools don't take kindly to students getting married." Gohan said. "But we can do a Saiyan bonding ceremony right away."
"Bonding ceremony? I've never heard of a Saiyan bonding ceremony…" She glanced at her husband.
"Uh… when we fought together at the 25th Tenkaichi Budokai… that was our Bonding Ceremony." Goku said. "Saiyans bond through combat."
"Yeah, that's basically what Vegeta told me. Videl has to impress me in combat. Then we'll be mates." Gohan said. "Videl and I are gonna 'talk' to Mr. Satan tomorrow. Then we could probably have the Bonding before the week is out."
"That sounds like a plan." Chi-Chi said, smiling. "Just remember, Gohan, I won't wait for grandchildren forever." She winked at her eldest son.
"Mom!" Gohan replied incredulously.