by: Sarah Slutz
Chapter 20: Decisions
Thank you Trynia Merin for beta reading!
Translations for Japanese words in italics used in this chapter at the end…
After hanging up on Pan, Bra took a while packing, wasting time on purpose. She supposed she was stalling; waiting for something to happen that would change the course of events that were occurring. Again, she wondered how could everything had gone so wrong?
When her packing was completed, she commenced making the needed phone calls. What she had told Pan was true, mentioning her surname was always a sure way of persuading people to do whatever she asked of them. Her professors agreed to let her take the finals from wherever she was, as well as Pan's. Then she also contacted a modeling agency that had booked her for a photo shoot that would benefit a children's charity. She rescheduled that along with some other appointments she'd made for the coming week. Next, she contacted her manicurist, hairdresser and beauty consultant too. Examining her appointment calendar for the next couple of weeks she mused, Wow, I am a vain woman, aren't I? Oh well, like mother like daughter, right? After all, it was Kaa-san who set my first beauty consultant appointment when I was six.
There was one last thing she needed to do... she had to inform her mom that she was going away for a while and that she couldn't help her with the Sony presentation they were still working on. Also, she wasn't going to be present in the meeting with the PR consultants in a few days. Bulma was not going to be pleased but really, what other choice did Bra have? She needed to get away.
As she walked towards her mother's labs, she felt puzzled when she didn't sense her ki in the vicinity. Her mom's ki was pretty weak - after all, her forte was not her physical strength - but Bra could hone in on it easily enough. She was her mom after all. Bra frowned as she continued searching for it to no avail for a few seconds; suddenly, she found it and also felt another ki next to her kaa-san's; a vastly more powerful, even in slumber, male ki.
Oh, I HAVE to see this confrontation. There's no way in hell I am missing this...
"Where the hell have you been, Vegita! You had me worried sick! After what our daughter told me, I was browsing through the news, praying you hadn't gone berserk. Can you explain to me what has gotten into you?" came her mother's aggravated voice.
They had met in the courtyard, out in the open, so Bra repressed her ki as low as it would go and floated as high as she was capable of while still being able to see and hear them. She was hoping her father would either be too distracted by her mother's screaming to notice... or that even if he did spot her, he wouldn't care.
Her dad growled back at her mom. He was wearing the same outfit that he had been sporting at the confrontation hours before -jeans and a T-shirt. Vegita had obviously not been affected much by the fight, for not even his clothes were damaged. "What's gotten into me you ask? Your daughter has formed an alliance with Kakarot's son. I tolerate them practically on a daily basis for several reasons that I'd rather not delve into, but this is just unacceptable, Bulma. I will not stand for it."
Her mom stamped her foot in anger. "MY daughter, huh? So usually she's your little princess but if she takes a wrong step, she morphs into my daughter. Nice."
Vegita just stood there in his classical pose, glaring at her mom with his head raised high.
Bulma sighed. "You will stand for it, Vegita. Your daughter loves this man and he loves her. I am sorry if you are still hung over your rivalry with Son-Kun. I honestly thought you were over that. But no matter what, you will not do this to our daughter. She worships you, haven't you noticed? And you really hurt her today with your actions."
"Woman, it wasn't my intention to..." her dad started saying, but then his face hardened once more and he grinded his teeth to stop whatever words were going to finish that phrase. "I have spoken. She will not continue with Goten. The end."
"What is it that you're afraid of Vegita, that our families will be interconnected? Well, newsflash for you, buddy. We already are. Son-Kun has been a constant in my life since I was sixteen and your son and Goten and inseparable, not to mention Pan and Bra are best friends as well," her mom tried reasoning.
"I am NOT afraid," her dad growled, his face thunderous. "It is not a match I desire."
"Most parents aren't happy with their children's choices, honey, but she's old enough to decide now, and she has chosen Goten. He is a very good guy and I for one am ecstatic she's found her match. And they are bonding on top of everything, isn't that romantic?"
Vegita made a chocking noise and Bulma immediately saw she'd made a tactical error. She moved closer to him and placed her delicate white hand on his bare bicep. Looking up at him, she beseeched him with her eyes.
"Vegita... I understand. You will never truly be friends with Goku, and you resent him for so much. It's alright to feel that way. Have I ever asked you to stop feeling they way you feel? No. All I've asked you is to make an effort to be as civil as you can to my circle of friends. Besides, you need him to spar with. He's the only one that can give you a challenge in this planet."
Vegita tilted his head and kept his silence, but his stance had relaxed marginally. Bra was very impressed with her mother at that moment and the way she was handling her father.
"I know you'd do anything for us Vegita... if you could do what you did when Majin Buu... can't you do this one single thing? For your daughter? For me?"
Bra could see her dad flinch under those soft words and he hissed, "I have repeatedly requested that you do not mention that incident to me... ever."
"I know, and for the most part I've honored that request... but this is too important, dear. I am not asking you to give them your open approval, just please don't get in their way. If you want, you can go on an extended training trip for a while and come back when the dust has settled. No one else really knows what's happened and I assure you I will make sure neither Chichi nor Goku will tell anyone," her mom said.
"You presume to kick me out? Send me away?" Tou-san asked.
"No, I would never do that. It is merely a suggestion. It would serve several purposes... you would blow off some steam and you wouldn't be around to have to endure seeing the situation you don't like until you've come to terms with it."
Her dad turned his face away and looked like he was struggling mightily with himself. He opened his mouth several times to speak but closed it shut. Finally, he directed his dark eyes to her mother's blue ones and said, "Would you go away with me?"
"What?!" Bulma yelled, astonishment present in all her features.
"Is something wrong with your hearing? I asked if you would come with me. Perhaps it is time to finish what we started years ago with our bond. Let's leave the brats to fend for themselves."
The sun seemed to dawn on Bulma's face. Her eyes were sparkling with tears and she smiled so widely, it almost hurt to see it. "I... I... Of course I will Vegita, where would you take me to? Oh, what should I pack? This is so exciting!" Bulma blubbered, fairly shaking in excitement.
"I will take you nowhere if you don't cease your blathering!" he snapped.
"But..." her mom protested.
"Not one more word," he warned.
Bulma smirked at Vegita, unconsciously imitating his favorite facial expression almost to perfection. Since their heads almost at the same height, all she had to do to kiss him was lean forward slightly, which is what she did. Her mom kissed her dad passionately, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. For a moment, Vegita's arms remained passive at his sides, fists clenched; but then wrapped around her waist abruptly in a tight embrace.
Blushing bright red, Bra turned away and headed into the house, not before hearing her mom whisper, "I love you," and her dad replying, "I know."
So, she'd been right after all. She'd known her mom could fix this latest horrible problem, although she wasn't naïve enough to believe it had been all her doing. Her dad had let Mom sway him, for otherwise, she doubted he would have caved so easily. The simple fact he had come back home so quickly to hear the music proved that most likely, he had already been regretting what he had done. Well, at least as much as the proud Saiya-jin no Ouji could regret anything. Thank Dende, though, for she didn't know what would've happened if her dad had kept opposing them. She would have continued to be with Goten, of course, but it wouldn't have been the most ideal of situations. What a relief that this that part of the current circumstances was under control.
But now what? How was she supposed to fix things with her own future mate? If her parents, who were so different in so many ways, could manage to understand each other so well, why couldn't she do the same with Goten?
Her dad would no longer be an obstacle. The only thing left to do was figure out how to make Goten understand they were meant to be.
"So, are you finally ready to tell me what's been going on lately?" Gohan asked Goten, a concerned expression shining from his compassionate eyes.
"Yes, Brother, I am," he replied, settling himself on a comfortable couch in Gohan and Videl's home.
"Is it women related?" his older brother asked, sitting across from him and adjusting his glasses.
"One woman. Bra."
"Bra!" Gohan spluttered, his glasses almost falling off after he started so violently.
"Yup. Bra and I have been together, as in relationship wise, for two months."
"Two months and you hadn't told me?" asked Gohan, sounding hurt.
"I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention. She didn't want anyone to tell anyone at the beginning. We were still figuring things out and we didn't know how everyone would react. Her mother found out by mistake and so did Yamcha. Today, Vegita caught us right outside our parent's house, and we were planning on telling everyone today at the picnic. We thought he'd left for a training trip. It was a mess. Bra even went Super Saiya-jin."
"So that's what I had felt... I hadn't been sure. No wonder the picnic was canceled… You look like you were put through the meat grinder. Please, tell me everything, from the beginning."
That was exactly what Goten did, not sparing any details, except for those that were not necessary and would embarrass both of them anyhow. Gohan's eyes just kept widening as the tale continued. When Goten started talking about the bond, he gasped.
"Why is that Vegita never told us about this? Videl and I... could we bond this way too?"
"Do you sometimes feel her emotions and do you two have a connection so deep, it scares you sometimes?" asked Goten.
"Yes," replied Gohan, his eyes shining with so many emotions it made Goten look away.
"Then I would say it was just years overdue," he whispered.
"This is just... Wow," Gohan stammered. "I suppose I am going to have to talk with Vegita myself now. I am not looking forward to that. Goten, for what it's worth, I think you did the right thing with Bra."
Goten buried his head in his hands, and shuddered. "It's worth a lot, Gohan, thanks. Trunks called me an idiot but I knew you'd see it my way. I didn't want to make a mistake and have her hate me forever."
Gohan nodded. "I understand. When Videl and I finally decided to be together, there were many obstacles and one of the biggest ones was the fact that Videl would age so much faster than me. I didn't know if I wanted to subject both of us through that ordeal. In the end, though, Videl convinced me it would be worth it and besides, no matter who I got with, it would be the same if she was human. Videl, was my heart, and still is."
Goten smiled at his brother and then grinned widely. "You still sound like a lovesick teenager. Do you think I will still sound like one in twenty years?"
"Sure, why not? We are Sons after all," Gohan chuckled heartily and Goten did so too.
"I still feel like a jerk, though, the way I was so aggressive at the beginning. I couldn't help it. Could it be that I pushed Bra into this... that once the initial infatuation fades she'll realize she made a mistake?"
"You shouldn't think like that, Goten. Bra is a girl that knows her mind. You yourself said she's been in love with you for years," his brother pointed out.
Goten shook his head, "Yes, but...Ugh, I've run out of buts. I just don't want to lose her! At the same time, I also want to make sure this is what she really wants. What should I do now?" Goten inquired, turning his eyes toward his older, stronger and wiser brother.
"I think that perhaps you should let her know how much she means to you before she leaves. Explain that you only want the best for her but that you do want to be with her. Perhaps she left with a different impression and it would be best if you revealed that. She deserves to know before she makes a decision."
"You're right," Goten said. "But if I go see her now, there is no way I'm going to be able to let her go again."
"Hmmm," Gohan hummed, his countenance serious. He seemed to be concentrating, perhaps pinpointing someone's ki. Then he smiled.
"Bra is still in Capsule Corp and my daughter is here, upstairs. You could talk to her and tell her to relay the message to Bra."
"Perfect! Why didn't I think about that?" Goten said, smacking his forehead with the palm of his hand.
Gohan chuckled and scratched the back of his head. Do I also look that dumb when I do that? Goten wondered, grinning. He then turned towards the stairs and stomped up to the second floor, honing in on Pan's ki.
He knocked on her door and immediately Pan opened it, looking somber and ready for a battle, almost. When she realized who it was at the other side of her doorstep, she blinked and then scowled.
"Oh, it's you. Do you have ANY idea how much trouble you've caused me, huh?"
"Erm..." he stammered.
Pan pulled him forward and closed the door soundly behind them. Subsequently, she stepped back and crossed her arms. "Bra is quite upset. She has demanded I go with her on an extended trip. See the packing?" she gestured towards the capsule suitcases on her bed.
"Sorry?" Goten said, his head down.
"What are you going to do to fix this? Bra is under the impression you dumped her."
"But I..." he started but Pan cut him off.
"Even I understand what you were trying to do, Goten but I guess it's going to take a while for Bra. Right now she's still dealing with stuff over at her place for the trip but Goten, you have to do something!" she tersely informed him.
"That's what I'm trying to do right now. I want you to relay a message to her," he said.
"What message?" Pan's eyes narrowed to suspicious slits.
He took a deep breath. "Tell her that I love her now and forever. That I do want this bond with her, and I understand everything that goes with it. Tell her that by no means was I dumping her, I just want her to make her own decision because it is life altering and extremely serious. I am not underestimating her because of her age. I was just trying... I merely... I want the best for her. She is my everything. I will understand and accept any decision she makes. Can you tell her that?"
Pan turned her moist eyes up to his and nodded. "That was the most romantic thing I ever heard!"
"Thanks," Goten said, blushing profusely. "But you have to do me one more favor."
"Anything," she said, grinning.
"You must wait until you are at your destination."
'But why?" Pan asked, shocked.
"I still want her to think about it. I don't want my words to sway her before her rational mind has a chance to kick in. You do understand, right?"
"You said anything, Panny. Please, I'm begging you."
"Okay, I'll do it, but you owe me big time," huffed Pan, crossing her arms again.
Pan shook her head and asked, "Can you explain to me about this bond? What the hell is it?"
"Ask Bra, it's best if I leave now before the notices I'm here."
"Fine," Pan grunted. "Honestly, you two are just trouble."
"Alright, all ready to go!" Pan said, smiling brightly when Bra arrived to pick her up.
"You seem awfully cheery," Bra complained.
"Oh, I just have a feeling everything will be cool. Chin up, Bra, it's not as bad as you think."
"How would you know? This isn't very supportive of you, Pan, I am suffering here," Bra complained.
At least Pan had the grace to look a bit guilty about that when she lowered her eyes. Or was she trying to hide her amusement? Was her friend aware of something she didn't know?
She sent Pan a suspicious look but when she raised her eyes to look at Bra, they were as innocent as can be.
"Sorry, it's just I can't understand why you don't see what I see. It is so obvious he is just trying to do the right thing. I am sure it wasn't easy for him."
Bra snorted. "It isn't easy for me either. He even mentioned my age. Grrr, when I get my hands on him..."
"... You are going to jump him," Pan finished for her and then smirked widely.
"You are NOT being a good friend right now," Bra huffed.
"On the contrary, I am being your best friend. Did you talk to our professors?" Pan asked, evidently trying to sway the direction of the conversation. Bra let it slide and nodded as she adjusted her Hermes special edition backpack filled with capsules. Pan merely had three, which she had already stuck in her pockets.
"I have to tell my dad," Pan said as they went down the stairs.
"You haven't told him yet? What if he has a problem with it?" Bra scolded.
"With things like these, it's better to catch him off guard. He is far too smart and likes thinking things through a bit too much," said Pan.
"Well, what about your mom?" Bra wondered.
"Mom is with Grandma, and she's more indulgent with me in any case... Don't worry about it, just wait here."
Bra was left standing in the hallway while Pan walked towards where her dad was sitting in the living room, reading a thick book. He had been glancing their way but then lowered his eyes back to the book as soon as he noticed her looking. Did he know what was going on already?
Pan and Gohan spoke in low voices so their words were pretty indistinct. Gohan didn't seem agitated at all. He nodded several times and a small grin even escaped his lips. Her best friend then returned to her side and they left silently.
"So what did he say?" Bra asked as they took off for the four hour flight to the island. They slowly gained altitude and Pan took her sweet time replying. Gritting her teeth, Bra awaited her answer not too patiently.
"He said it was good for to me to be there for a friend in need and was relieved to know that it wouldn't affect my studies."
Raising an eyebrow, Bra eyed Pan and swept her hair back, as it was impairing her vision in mid-air. "Is that all?"
"Yes, why, should there have been something else?"
Bra frowned and looked forward again. Her hair batted her eyes once again and she almost hissed in annoyance. "Did you bring a scunchy with you by any chance?" she asked Pan.
"No, sorry. I have some in my capsules but not on me, besides the one I am using," Pan said as she fingered her tied-back hair.
"Great," Bra grumbled.
The truth was Bra really tried very hard to stay silent during the flight. For a space of perhaps forty-five seconds. After that great amount of time, she couldn't take it anymore and she turned to Pan and said, "I have no idea what I am going to do now Pan! How long am I suppose to stay away? Am I even doing the right thing? Should I be convincing him for the huge mistake he is making? What if he doesn't even really want me? I mean, it's all happened so fast and it all did start with a drunken kiss… maybe it really isn't real…"
"Bra, stop it, that's not true," Pan interrupted her, frowning. "You are taking things way out of proportion. I know my uncle loves you, alright? I have seen it with my own nauseated eyes."
"You don't know that, it could simply be infatuation," Bra replied.
"Why are you acting so insecure, Bra? Why are you doubting the last two months of your life? I was there too, alright and I am telling you, it's not like that."
Thus it continued. For a little over four hours Bra examined her relationship with Goten from top to bottom, telling Pan far more that she ever wanted to know about her uncle. She examined every angle, looked for flaws in both of them, and detailed how things could go wrong in every manner possible.
By the time they were half way there, Pan had started to scream, frustrated and unable to hammer any sense into Bra's twisted reasoning. Bra knew she was out of control and venting on her best friend, but she couldn't help it. She was in emotional pain and didn't know of any other way to release it.
"Bra, SHUT UP ALREADY! I SWEAR, I AM ABOUT TO KICK YOUR ASS!!!" Pan shouted.
"Don't tell me what to do! You wouldn't be able to kick my ass, anyway!" yelled back Bra.
"AHHHHH, I can't take it anymore!"
Pan descended as fast as she could and Bra did her best to keep up with her. "Don't fly away from me, you little idiot."
Landing heavily on the sandy shore, Pan faced Bra, her expression defiant. She looked ready to burst.
"That DOES IT. I promised Goten that I would wait until we got to our destination and we are here. I can't take it anymore. You are insane Bra. THAT'S IT!!!"
"What do you mean 'you promised Goten'? Did you talk to him before we left? TELL ME!!!" Bra lunged towards Pan and grabbed handfuls of her blouse, pulling her forward till they were nose to nose. "Tell me NOW!!!"
"OH dear Dende, you need a shrink," Pan groused. She pushed Bra hard enough to make her fall back on her butt and hovered over her, scowling darkly.
"Goten came to my house before we left and he told me to give you a message. He said that he loved you and would always love you no matter what decision you made although, at the moment, I can't imagine why!"
"Spit it up, stupid! What else did he say!" asked Bra, a desperate and pleading tone present in her voice. Bra didn't even bother to get up from her prone position. She noticed Pan's stance relax a bit and then saw her friend sigh.
"He said the most romantic things, Bra. He told me to tell you that he does want this bond with you and understands all the consequences. He just wanted to do what was best for you and didn't want you to jump into a life changing decision you might regret later. The choice is yours Bra, and he will accept whatever you decide. Oh, and he also said he doesn't underestimate you because of your age."
Bra gasped and felt her stomach drop. She suddenly felt dizzy and elated, tense and joyfull, all at once.
"The decision is mine? But… he… so he still loves me and does want the bond. He was just being a protective boyfriend. Oh, I don't even deserve him, I…"
Bra started weeping instantly, and great sobs shook her small frame, making her shudder uncontrollably. "I… I doubted him and… and d-do-doubted myself. I am su-such an i-idiot!" she cried.
Suddenly, a warm body was next to hers, embracing her. Pan put her arms around Bra and stroked her hair, murmuring, "It's alright Bra. This is not an easy situation with an easy solution. It's okay to feel overwhelmed. Don't be too hard on yourself."
Nodding, Bra sniffled and hugged Pan tightly. "I am sorry for being such a bitch, Pan. You're always such a g-good friend t-t-to me," she stammered.
"Hey, I'm used to it and you are also a very good friend. You're always there for me so we are even, don't even sweat it. Although, next time you act like this, I will slap sense into you. Does that sound alright?"
"Yeah," Bra chuckled weakly. "I certainly deserve it."
"What are you going to do now?" Pan asked her, releasing her and looking down at her seriously.
"I am going to Goten of course. It is only just that I be the one to pursue him this time."
Pan sighed in relief. "Good, so does that mean we can go home now?"
"Yes, let's go. I need to make myself presentable first, of course," said, Bra, wiping her face with the back of her hands. "I can't face my future mate looking like this.
"If only we knew instant transmission. I swear, I will badger Grandpa until he teaches me next time we train," Pan complained.
"That would be nice."
"Alright, let's go," Pan said, holding out her hand to Bra. She smiled brilliantly and took the offered limb, although she really didn't need assistance to get up.
"You will be my maid of honor at my wedding, right?" Bra asked, grinning.
"I better be after all you've both put me through!" Pan reminded her, mock threateningly.
To be continued…
Japanese words used in this chapter:
Earth's current god or deity
Author's Notes: I am BEGGING you on bent knees to please review. There is no pride here, just the desire to hear what you have to say about my fic…