If Gohan had learned anything tonight, it was that all the liquid courage in the world couldn't make him comfortable at a party full of his classmates. He supposed the fact that this particular party was at his girlfriend's house probably helped a fraction, but that didn't change the fact that everybody seemed to have some inherent understanding of what to do, and he absolutely did not.
How did they know how to dance without looking like total idiots? How did they conduct conversations over such obnoxiously loud music? Of course, alcohol played a heavy part, Gohan assumed. He had definitely missed this stage of social development, though. Despite the warm buzz that he felt throughout his body, the alcoholic ciders he'd had... quite a few of, just weren't freeing him of his stupid social anxieties.
Videl wasn't too far away. She was sitting on one of the couches, chatting animatedly to a couple of girls Gohan didn't know particularly well. As if he knew anyone here particularly well. He didn't hold any of this against Videl, of course, since it had taken a painful amount of convincing from Erasa to even have a party at the Satan mansion. It wasn't really a special occasion. Just a long weekend. Apparently that was a special occasion to exhausted senior students though, and Gohan could understand that much. But... if it wasn't here, then maybe he could have gotten out of it. Or at least, he may not have stuck around for the entire night like he was obviously going to do in this instance.
Possibly he was being a little melodramatic, though, Gohan considered. It wasn't as if he hadn't spoken to people. That in itself was an achievement, since he mostly stayed glued to Videl's side at school. She didn't mind, or so she said. Still, Gohan knew his girlfriend would have a better shot at enjoying the night if she didn't have to spend it babysitting his socially awkward self. He had said as much to her before the party started, and she had told him that he was overthinking it. He had a habit of doing that.
During this chat however, Videl had revealed her own misgivings about having a party, one of which was that she wasn't exactly buddies with these people. It was essentially Erasa's party, mixed with a few additions that could only be courtesy of Sharpner. To his credit, Sharpner had attempted to drag Gohan into some conversations with these guys, as he had attempted to with regularity back at school since finding out that the shy boy in baggy clothes was an accomplished fighter. Gohan, to his credit, generally tried to indulge them but would always find the conversations veering into dangerous territory, which caused him to shut down completely. Then, with a predictability Gohan had begun to find almost amusing, the guys would change the topic to his relationship with Videl. Discussion there also tended to quickly descend into inappropriate territory, thus ending the two points of conversation people often approached him with.
His next attempt to take a sip of cider was met merely with a struggling drip, and Gohan realised that he had drained the bottle he was holding. He also realised that he was looking like a major creeper, standing in a group of people but not contributing to the conversation at all. It wasn't like he hadn't tried. He had, and they had all tried too. They could be unreasonably nosy at times, but Gohan's classmates were nothing if not persistent. They wanted to include him, and he could tell it wasn't a ploy, at least not always. He just didn't know how to meet them halfway.
Glancing across the room, Gohan longingly noticed that the archway which led down a hall and to the rest of the mansion would provide him a brief escape. It called out to him seductively, and Gohan felt that everybody was pretty absorbed in what they were doing and wouldn't notice if he absented himself for a short while. He took the opportunity to slip as gracefully as his blood alcohol level would allow, towards the glorious exit.
"Hey, where are you going?"
Gohan stopped upon hearing the voice of his girlfriend. He turned, and saw Videl steadying herself after she had presumably jumped up too quickly from her perch on the couch. They both stood in the hallway just past the arch, shadowed by the structure and slightly obscured from the party.
"Just need a breather," Gohan explained, holding up his empty bottle. "And a refill."
Videl narrowed her eyes suspiciously. Back in the day, that look had instilled him with fear. Tonight it just made her look all the more tipsy, and Gohan had learned to call her bluff anyway.
"S'everything good?" she pressed.
Gohan leaned down and kissed her cheek. "Right as rain, Lovely."
"That's a dumb saying."
"Not if you like rain."
Videl sighed and wrapped her arms around his waist. Gohan returned the hug, wishing everybody in the other room would just go home or pass out. He wanted her to suggest they go up to her room. He wanted to shut the rest of them out for awhile. He knew though, that he got his way more nights than not, so he broke the hug and gently nudged her back towards the party.
"I'm fine, promise," he said as sincerely as he could muster. "Now go back, you're being an awful hostess."
This earned a smile from his tiny girlfriend. She stood on her tiptoes to kiss him, the small gesture making him all the more reluctant to let her walk away.
"Come back soon, 'kay?" she said before walking back through to the lounge area. Gohan had detected a bit of concern in her voice, and he felt bad for not being honest with her. He didn't want to ruin her night though, so he simply turned on his heel and walked through to the main portion of the mansion.
Gohan didn't often spend time in the main living quarters. Generally, he walked from the front foyer directly upstairs to Videl's room, or skipped that entirely by simply landing on her balcony. They weren't sneaking around by any means. It just seemed that, as time went on and Gohan saw Mr. Satan's daughter naked more and more frequently, it got proportionately more awkward to deal with the man himself. Despite the blessings he'd given, it didn't take much social awareness to notice that Mr. Satan was not sure how to respond to the teenage boy regularly sleeping in his daughter's bed.
One room in the mansion that Gohan did know fairly well was the kitchen. The one frequented by the residents of the house, rather than the cook's kitchen, was situated in a cluster of rooms that were mostly deemed the territory of Videl's father. The couple often found themselves raiding the kitchen late at night, being careful not to disturb the Champ while he did... whatever it was he did these days.
Videl had stashed their drinks in the fridge, but Gohan, as he searched the shelves, was less than pleased to notice that they were all gone. His eyes landed on a bottle of riesling, but decided that he wasn't actually in the mood to drink anything else, now that he had escaped the party. He had reached that point awhile ago, but hadn't really known what else to do with himself. The kitchen dimmed once he closed over the fridge doors gently, and he made a decision only drunk-Gohan would make; he decided to venture further into uncharted territory, towards the sound of a TV.
The familiar laughter of Mr. Satan himself flowed through the cluster of rooms, the sheer volume of it causing Gohan to wonder how it was that he and Videl never heard it from the upstairs bedroom. Usually such laughter was to be avoided at all costs, as Gohan wasn't overly keen on putting a stop to it by announcing his presence. This night, however, he poked his head into the lounge, which was lit by the flickering images of the TV, as well as a table lamp.
Mr. Satan didn't initially notice Gohan, and the boy thought for a moment about turning around and heading back to the party. Which of the two options was the lesser of two evils, anyway? He wasn't sure. His choice ended up being made for him, as his eyes met those of the now grown-up puppy Mr. Satan had saved during the ordeal with Buu. Buu himself was sitting on one of the couches, and noticed Gohan a split second after the dog, Bee. Simultaneously, he was greeted with an excited 'yip', and a cheerful exclamation of his name.
Gohan raised a hand in greeting, shyly acknowledging Videl's father as the man raised a curious eyebrow.
"Can I help you?" asked Mr. Satan.
Stepping properly into the room, Gohan glanced over at the TV, which was playing some comedy film that he had seen bits and pieces of in its previous airings. "Uh..." he drawled, any possibility of eloquence lost in the midst of alcohol and awkwardness.
A sigh escaped Mr. Satan and he gestured towards a comfortable looking chair. "Just sit down. You look like you're about to have a panic attack, Kid."
Did he? Gohan considered his current anxiety and figured the Champ was probably right. He took a seat where he was told, and relished in the squishy comfort of luxury.
"Chocolate for Gohan?"
Gohan glanced over at Buu, who was holding out a box of individually wrapped chocolates. His first instinct was to question whether or not the confectionary had once been human, but he managed to hold his tongue and simply replied, "Uh, sure," before taking a piece. He felt bad for questioning Buu anyway, even in his head. The pink guy had proven himself to be quite a good egg.
Inwardly congratulating himself on his choice of chocolate, Gohan chewed the caramel filled square and contemplated his next move. He had abandoned a party full of his peers, in favour of sitting in a loungeroom with a man who probably hated him only slightly less than he did all of Videl's unsuccessful suitors. What was he planning on chatting about, exactly?
"All partied out?"
Gohan swallowed the chocolate and met Mr. Satan's glance. "Something like that," he said carefully, trying not to give away any signs of inebriation.
Mr. Satan gave an amused snort. "Total idiots in there, the lot of them."
"They're... okay," Gohan stammered, feeling obligated to talk up the people who had been granted entry into the seldom partied-in mansion.
"Haha!" barked the older man, before taking a sip of whatever spirit was in the glass he nursed. "You're a funny one. Give me a break, Kid, I can tell you have no idea how to deal with those brats."
That was a statement that warrented some thought. Gohan allowed his seedy memory to recount the brief few minutes earlier in the night where a girl was rather easily coerced into letting a guy squeeze her breasts to prove to that "they were totally the real deal."
Yep, he was definitely still learning how to deal with this weird species.
"I'm sure Videl appreciates you trying," Mr. Satan continued, sounding more genuine than Gohan had ever heard him.
"Maybe," replied Gohan. "I think... I think she's a bit uncomfortable with all of this, too."
"Of course she is, my little girl is nowhere near as suave as she thinks she is."
Gohan's lips tilted up in a smile at this statement. It made him happy to see that Videl's often absent father did still notice things about her. Things Gohan noticed, that perhaps the rest of the world didn't.
Mr. Satan stood up and walked over to a cabinet, where he carefully extracted a second glass identical to the one he was sipping from moments earlier. With his other hand, he grabbed a bottle of brown liquor, and walked back towards the sitting area.
"You ever had scotch before?" the man asked, not waiting for Gohan's answer before he poured enough of the liquor to fill just under an inch of the glass. He thrust it under Gohan's nose, and the smell of alcohol assaulted the boy's nostrils.
Accepting the glass hesitantly, Gohan nodded. "Yeah, my dad and Vegeta made me drink some with them after... I..." he stopped short of finishing his sentence, realising it wasn't in his best interests to continue.
After I lost my virginity to your daughter, Gohan finished in his head. He hadn't even known that his father was aware of the supposed significance; probably, Chi-Chi had mentioned it.
"It's, uh, probably best if we forget I said anything," he replied, and averted his eyes to the TV. It wasn't as if Mr. Satan was a total idiot; he obviously had some understanding of what went on behind doors he allowed, in his infinite generosity, to be closed. Still, Gohan had found that talking about it with his own father was extremely awkward and weird, despite Goku's best efforts at being nonchalant and supportive. It definitely wouldn't be any better talking about it with Videl's dad, even if Gohan had unknowingly walked himself into a bonding session with the man.
Mr. Satan's eyes narrowed, not unlike his daughter's had earlier, this seemingly the standard response to Gohan withholding information. He thankfully did not press further, and simply held up his own glass of scotch and took a sip. Gohan followed suit, and tried not to wince as the strong liquor tingled against his lips. It wasn't bad. It was just a strong contrast to what he had been drinking just twenty minutes ago.
"It's much better than that crap my daughter has you drinking," said Mr. Satan, as if reading Gohan's mind. Oh boy, now that would be troubling.
Gohan took another sip, and attempted to appreciate the individual flavours in the liquor, like he had learned to do to an extent with wine. He could get used to it. "Cider's alright," he responded quietly.
He received no further response, as Mr. Satan had turned his attention back to the TV. Gohan found himself tuning out slightly, not really paying attention to the film but not wanting to get up either. Absentmindedly taking small sips from the glass in his hand, Gohan concocted up stupid scenarios in his head that involved him magically gaining social prowess and becoming the life of the party once returning to it. Videl was happy, he was happy, everybody was happy.
Except, of course, that wouldn't happen because he spent way too much time in his own head, not unlike what he was doing at that moment, and was never able to respond to things the way a normal teenager would. Man, how had he even been able to get a girlfriend? If Videl came to her senses and broke up with him, he'd surely die alone.
Gohan wasn't sure how long he had spent beating himself up in his head, but eventually he was snapped back to reality by Mr. Satan's voice cutting in.
"Do you know why I allowed Videl to have this party?"
Gohan looked back toward the man and shrugged. "Because she told you it was a 'gathering' and apparently those are different?"
"She didn't fool me with that little tale," Mr. Satan replied, amusedly. "No, the reason I allowed it is because she has you around to make sure she's safe."
Gohan blinked a couple of times, not sure what to make of that claim. Videl didn't really need any of his help at the best of times, let alone at a party in her own house.
"Even though she isn't a little girl anymore, it's good to know that at the end of the night, you'll be the one in her bed," continued Mr. Satan. "Not some idiot jock who 'just wants to make sure she's okay'."
"As if she'd let that happen, anyway," Gohan replied, smiling slightly as he thought of some guy being subject to Videl's wrath, drunk or otherwise.
"A father never stops worrying," was the simple response.
Gohan nodded. He understood that, to an extent. Initially he had been surprised that his relationship with Videl had been so easily accepted by her father, but as time went on it did become clear that Mr. Satan was a bit more savvy than he seemed. He knew what being so globally recognised did to his daughter's reputation at school, and what kind of male attention it brought. He clearly just wanted what any father would; for a guy to see his daughter, not his achievements. If anybody was going to do that, it would be the Gohan, since it was his actions that allowed Videl and her father to live the way they had been for nearly eight years. They had chatted briefly about it, Gohan and Mr. Satan, awkwardly admitting some hard truths, and it became clear that if Gohan had wanted the fame, the money, or to see Mr. Satan's own come crashing down, he would have seen to it long ago.
It also didn't hurt that Gohan, clearly and without having to prove it, was able to pass the 'Stronger than Mr. Satan' test that had been put in place once Videl hit puberty. That, however, was not a conversation the two had ever had, at least not explicitly.
"That was a hint for you to go back to the party and make sure nobody is spiking Videl's drink," Mr. Satan said, impatiently.
"Right, of course," Gohan replied, standing up quickly. He drained his glass of the remaining scotch and made his way to the door, legs feeling slightly funny from the liquor. He then placed the glass onto a side table. "Thanks for the drink."
"Bye, Gohan!" called Buu, who had stayed remarkably quiet until then. Gohan raised his hand in a casual wave, before making his way back through to the party.
It was a little quieter than it had been before. Gohan glanced at his watch and noticed he had been away for a good forty minutes. The party had reached its peak a couple of hours before he had bailed, so he guessed it was calming down considerably.
He passed through the hallway, and collided suddenly with a smaller body that was stumbling through from an adjacent corridor. Gohan's hands instinctively moved to the slim waistline of his girlfriend, who steadied herself before glancing up at him.
"I was just looking to see if you had gone to bed or something," Videl explained.
Gohan smiled. He should have known she'd go and look for him after a while. "Nah. I was actually hanging out with your dad."
Videl's eyes widened. "Oh. That's terrifying."
"Yeah, he gave me scotch and everything."
Gohan felt an arm reach around his waist, and he responded by stroking the back of Videl's neck as she leaned into him.
"What did you talk about?" she asked, her voice slightly muffled against his shirt.
"Not a lot," Gohan replied. "He made me come back out to the party, though. To check if your drink had been spiked."
"Ha, like any of those idiots could do that without me noticing," Videl said, followed by a hiccup. "But thank you for your concern."
"How's it going in there, anyway?"
Videl glanced up, and then down the hall towards the lounge. "It's okay. Pretty calm, now. A lot of people have left."
"I'm sorry I left, too," Gohan said, genuinely. He received a tight hug in response.
"Don't worry about it," assured Videl. "I know you don't really like this kind of thing."
"I still shouldn't have bailed on you."
Videl pulled away, and reached down to grab Gohan's hand. "It's seriously fine. I think I expected to find you upstairs reading one of my crappy books."
Gohan allowed his girlfriend to lead him back from where she came, which he noticed wasn't the direction to the party. "Why aren't we heading back to the others?" he asked.
"Because I'm sick of it, too. I want to go to bed," Videl replied, her fatigue evident for the first time.
They climbed the stairs and entered Videl's room. Gohan was suddenly immensely thankful that this section of the house had been off limits to party goers. He walked through the dark room and switched on the table lamp next to the bed, before glancing back at Videl who was ungracefully tugging off her shoes. Barefoot, she was even shorter now and Gohan couldn't resist walking over to her and picking her up. She responded by draping her arms over his shoulders and kissing him firmly. He tasted the alcohol on her lips, and decided that they both needed sleep more than sex, though the latter was so tempting at that moment.
Videl walked towards the bed once Gohan placed her back on her feet. She reached behind her and attempted to pull down the zip that sat at the nape of her neck. "Why did I wear this stupid thing?" she muttered, giving up and climbing onto the bed fully dressed.
Gohan, now barefoot, followed her onto the bed and reached for the zip, to assist. "It's pretty," he said, before gently pulling the zip down. Videl mumbled her gratitude and wriggled out of the garment. She had gone bra-less, the style of dress apparently prohibiting one, so she was left wearing simple, purple underwear. Gohan's eyes scanned over his girlfriend's body before she burrowed under the blanket.
"So you're definitely not going back, then," Gohan stated, amused at the sight of the party host mostly naked, and nearly asleep.
"No, and neither are you," was her response, and he took it as permission to remove his t-shirt and jeans, and submit to the bliss that was a big, warm bed after a stressful party. Videl rolled toward him and rested her arm around his waist. Gohan allowed one of his hands to brush over her curves before pulling her close, kissing her and mumbling a quick "I love you," before closing his eyes.
"I love you, too," she said quietly. Gohan felt her breathing even out and slow to sleeping pace almost immediately. She was always very quick to fall asleep.
As he felt himself drift out of consciousness, Gohan noted with satisfaction that he was doing exactly what Mr. Satan had asked of him. Not that he needed to be asked. He'd be dead before any other man found his way into this bed. And that was a promise.
A/N: So, I have this weird little head-canon that Gohan and Mr. Satan totally become buds after awhile. I mean, why wouldn't they? Gohan is a likeable guy and clearly Mr. Satan gives his blessings at some point. I feel like too many stories depict Mr. Satan as a total dick who still refuses Gohan permission to date his daughter, even after the Buu saga. I think he'd take all of the crazy revelations quite gracefully after some initial disbelief. So yeah, in my mind, this is how the bond should have been created. Also, I think the series focused so much (understandably) on Videl learning about Gohan's life, that it made me curious about how Gohan would deal with the finer details of teenage life that he'd surely encounter after being with her awhile. Sorry if it dragged on a bit, though. I didn't really know how to end it. So I ended with them going to sleep, as I'm pretty sure the majority of my fics end, regardless of fandom.