Summary: In the lives of Videl Satan and Gohan Son, there is often chaos, utter pandemonium and massive destruction. But there is also a fierce strength and determination, and a realization of what they really have in their lives and in each other: love. Oh, and also, underwear.
The Underwear Affair
Videl Satan hated being known as the daughter of Mr. Satan, the man who saved the world from Cell. It was fortunate for Miss Satan that the world's memory of the whole Majin Buu debacle had been expunged, as she may have been tempted to throw a temper tantrum (or worse, a punch) at the person who referred to her as Videl Satan, the daughter of the man that saved the world twice.
However, because of the Majin Buu escapade, Videl found herself with troubles far worse. She had to deal with being dead, which, for lack of a better word sucked – it sucked completely and utterly, and while heaven was okay, she would rather not see it again for a very long time. There was also the fact that for a couple of hours, she thought the person that she had come to care about most in the world was lost to her forever. It left a lingering sadness in her heart for some time after the affair despite their reunion. It had taken Gohan the next three days to reassure her that he would never, ever do something like that to her again, and another three to work up the nerve to ask her out on a date.
But, in general, her life was approaching some semblance of normalcy. She merely had to deal with a new boyfriend (which really wasn't so bad), his family (which was harder to deal with on Chi-Chi's best days), and two new house guests.
The glare that she had given her father when he brought Majin Buu home to live with them could have made Vegeta himself cower, but she had said nothing, still partly in shock over the previous day's events. Leaving the fraud, the blob and the mutt in the living room, she had crawled upstairs, into her bed and under her covers. The darkness enclosed her, and she slept soundly and peacefully for over eighteen hours.
She had woken up to the cacophony of jackhammers and chainsaws. Cursing like a sailor but feeling just a bit more refreshed, she made her way over to her balcony and threw aside the curtains to see her father's architects, engineers and workmen putting together something on the back lawn. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and walked out onto the small veranda, intrigued. She was horrified to see Majin Buu on the back deck by the pool on a lounge chair, and the shock never really did wear off when she saw him there every day for the next three months as his guesthouse was being built.
She spent very little time at home during that time, nearly moving into the guest bedroom at the Sons. She busied herself with normal, teenager stuff like schoolwork, movies, college applications, and anything else she could get her hands on that would require her attendance somewhere far, far away from Satan City. She hated being at home, because although her father regarded Buu as his friend, it was disconcerting (and frankly, a bit nerve-wracking and downright scary) so see the man who was responsible for her death (as well as every person in the world AND Gohan) drinking martinis and petting the dog at the poolside every morning. It was distressing for other people as well. The swarm of fans that usually surrounded the mansion thinned and eventually disappeared, the media retreated to the mountain district (amusing Goku and Gohan) and to Capsule Corp. (irritating Bulma and Vegeta), and her title had suddenly shifted from the daughter of the man who saved the world to the daughter of the man harboring the world's most dangerous criminal.
This sentiment disappeared when the requisite six months passed and the Dragonballs were used to erase the memories of Earth's citizens. As the legendary dragon appeared before her (which never ceased to amaze her) and Gohan called out their wish, she couldn't help but hope that Buu would be erased from their plane of existence with the memories of him. Unfortunately, after the wish had been granted and the dragon retreated, Buu was still gorging himself on barbequed ribs on the corner of the front lawn of Capsule Corp. To her dismay, her own memories remained intact. She supposed she should be thankful but she still had to come home every day to see Majin Buu raiding her refrigerator (even though he had his own), browsing through her DVD collection, and working out in her gym. He even had the audacity to sit down at her dinner table and eat the dinner that her cook had so carefully prepared, sometimes even from her plate. Even smacking him with her fork (and her spoon, knife, half the silverware in the top drawer, the top drawer itself, the microwave and finally, the entire table) hadn't deterred him. As a result, she'd taken to eating dinner over at the Sons, where Chi-Chi kept a careful eye on her plate to make sure her husband and sons kept their hands off.
In the end, however, home was home. After her father begged and pleaded with her, claiming that he never saw her and why was she leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaving him all alooooooooone (even though he had his pet and his criminal and after the world's memories were erased, the plethora of fans and media that stormed the mansion like a freakin' French revolutionary army every morning claiming their cult-like allegiance to him), she pledged that she would try to spend more time at home since she was leaving for college in August.
Later, Gohan would play the part of the comforting boyfriend and tell her that it was probably his fault, as he should have tried harder to defend her honor and preserve her sanity. Her father would, as he usually did, skirt the fault and blame Gohan.
She mostly blamed herself.
"And so," Valerie Beakman droned to her twelfth grade English class, "Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine hit it on the head in their introduction to A Midsummer's Night Dream when they write, 'Shakespeare confronts us with mysterious images of romantic desire. There are Theseus and Hippolyta, about to be married; both are strange and wonderful figures from classical mythology…' Can anyone tell me about Theseus and Hippolyta?"
Ms. Beakman sighed and lowered the book from her face. "Anyone?" She was met with mostly blank stares, as per usual for this morning's class. Even Gohan, Orange Star's golden child, complete with innocent naiveté and polite inquisitiveness, paid no attention to her, alternating between throwing concerned glances from the window to the door and staring his at watch.
Ah. The blonde teacher's eyes drifted to empty seat in the fourth row that Videl Satan usually occupied. It was already twenty minutes into the first period. While Gohan was primarily the one rushing in minutes after the late bell rang, it was Videl that seemed to be running late this morning. Of course, Miss Satan's frequent lateness and absences were usually quietly ignored by the administration, thankful that someone in the city knew how to practice law enforcement, because the police force certainly had no clue. She so frequently ran out in the middle of class that most of the faculty barely noticed, and, since her grade point average was exemplary (the highest in her grade), most of faculty didn't really care. They cared even less that Gohan usually disappeared after her, fumbling with his lame excuses and pretending like no one knew that he was the Great Saiyaman, but frankly, losing her two best students to an inept police force that relied on two mere children to save the city from dangerous criminals irked one Miss Valerie Beakman. They could be seriously injured! Killed, even!
Not to mention leaving Valerie Beakman's twelfth grade English class nothing but a mass of blank stares.
While pondering whether to be completely cruel in calling on Gohan despite his obvious distracted state (though she was at least seventy percent sure he would know the answer anyway), the door to room 256 flew open and a haggard looking Videl Satan burst in, chest heaving and struggling to catch her breath.
"Miss Satan," said Miss Beakman, trying to sound stern but secretly pleased to see her student, "how nice of you to join us. Please, take your seat." She gestured in the general direction of Gohan, who didn't bother hiding his look of relief. "You may drop yesterday's assignment on my desk on your way."
Although Videl's face was flushed from her apparent run to the school, somehow she reddened even further. She looked to the floor, slung her backpack more securely over her shoulder, and shook her head. "I don't have the assignment, Miss Beakman," she said weakly.
"Videl," her teacher admonished in a low tone, "this is the third assignment in a row you are going to have to hand in late. The citizens of this city, myself included, appreciate the work you do for us, as you well know. However, you're about to graduate and I doubt you want to start falling behind now."
She nodded, still looking at the floor. "Yes, ma'am. I'm really very sorry. I'll try to not let it happen again."
"Go sit down."
Cursing her miserable existence, Videl made her way up to her seat and threw her bag on her desk. She tossed a weak hello to Erasa and Gohan next to her, and, looking up, waved feebly at Sharpner with one hand while taking out her book with the other. Peaking over at Erasa's book to see what page the class was up to, she went to turn the pages of A Midsummer's Night Dream when she realized that something was missing.
"Oh my FUCKING God!" she whispered venomously, throwing the book down onto the desk. "Does it ever end? Does it?"
Gohan looked over at his girlfriend as Miss Beakman attempted to call on a comatose Angela. "Videl, what's wrong? Are you okay?" In the background, Angela gave a cute snore and asked her mom for five more minutes.
"ARGH," she groaned, resisting the urge to bang her head against the table. "My LIFE is a fucking JOKE! Look at this!" She shook the destroyed paperback at him over Erasa, who sat between them. "Annihilated! Like my homework! Like my past three assignments!"
Sharpner leaned down and tilted his head towards his friend. "Let me guess. The dog ate it?"
Videl threw her hands up in frustration. "Close. I told Daddy not to let him into my room when I wasn't there. I told him! But does he listen? No! And what does Jabba the Hut do? He eats my assignments!"
Gohan snorted into his copy of the Shakespearean comedy, but sobered when met with the fierce glare of one pissed off Videl Satan. "Videl, you only have a couple of more months," he reasoned. He was right, of course, but he was always right. "Just ignore him. He stays in his own house most of the time, right?"
"'You only have a couple of more months, Videl,'" she mocked, running her hands through her hair angrily. "I'd love to see you rationalize on the subject of Majin Buu if he was eating your homework!"
Erasa lent a gentle hand to her friend's shoulder. "And Buu isn't so bad, right? He saved that bank from those robbers the other day, didn't he?"
"I guess," she mumbled, "but one good deed doesn't excuse his frequent destruction of my things." Trust Erasa to see that murderer's good side. So he offered to go shopping with Bulma (proving that not only was he grotesque but apparently brainless as well) and managed to stop a couple of bank robbers before she and Gohan could get there. "They're MY things!"
Apparently, that was a bit too loud. "Miss Satan!" barked Miss Beakman, a bit relieved at the distraction. Angela was wearing thin on her nerves, and she would have to send the girl out into the hallway with buckets – if she ever woke up. "Is there something you'd like to share with the class? Perhaps you might enlighten us with a bit of information on Hippolyta and Theseus?"
Sure I could, Videl thought, if my book was intact. "Er… Hippolyta was..." She bit her bottom lip, trying not to sound flustered. "She was… okay FINE. I have NO IDEA who Hippolyta was, and frankly, I really don't care!" This was it. The breaking point. Not only had she woken up late this morning, but she spent a good half an hour searching for her homework, which she had found on the kitchen floor, shredded beyond recognition, and, having finally reached school, found her play in pieces and her favorite teacher all too ready to jump down her throat. "Why don't you just ask Gohan? He probably knows the answer; he always does! Or maybe you should try calling on Angela again, who sleeps through this class at least three times a week! Is it so hard to cut me some SLACK, for God's sake? I fight people with guns, I restrain myself from punching out reporters at my front door and I save this city's sorry ass every fuc –"
In the blink of an eye, Gohan was behind Videl, his hand covering her mouth. He laughed nervously at the look of complete shock on his teacher's face and said, "Well. I think Videl's had a rough morning. Ha ha. We're just going to go down to the guidance office to work this out." He grabbed his books and hers, gave Miss Beakman an apologetic smile and ran for the door.
Fifteen minutes later, when Videl had finally calmed down (after elbowing Gohan in the ribs to let her go and throwing her sorry excuse for a book against the locker bank on the first floor, followed by the rest of her books and then finally, her shoe), she collapsed to the floor and buried her face in her hands. "That," she announced, when she trusted herself to speak, "was horrible. I made a complete fool out of myself, didn't I?"
Gohan shook his head and knelt in front of her, her right boot in his hand. "You're having a bad day," he said reasonably, and, putting one hand on her leg, slid her shoe back on. "Everyone is entitled to their bad days."
She couldn't help but smile as he started to tie the laces. "It's just this whole Buu thing. I don't think I can take much more of it, to be honest. I know that he's one of us now, a good guy, but I still can't seem to… I don't know… I can't seem to reconcile the past. He killed me, Gohan! He killed you!" Videl closed her eyes. "It doesn't matter if he's a different person now; I can't make myself accept him. It's so easy for everyone else, because their memories are gone like Erasa, or they're used to forgiving and forgetting like your dad, or they're past the point of caring, like Vegeta. Or maybe they used to be the bad guy too, and so they know how it feels to be ostracized and held accountable for the past that they wish they could erase. But it's not easy for me, and nothing I can do will ever make it easy."
Gohan only nodded as he finished, tapped her shoe and pulled her up. Picking up both of their school bags, he slung one arm around her shoulder. "No one said it was easy to forgive, and no one said you had to."
"But Daddy loves him so much," she said. "And I love my father. Which means I owe it to both of them to try."
The half-Saiyan was about to reply, but was cut off by the familiar chiming of the bells, ending first period. He turned to her and, with a sparkle in his eye, said, "Why don't we get out of here and grab some breakfast? Somehow I doubt the rest of the day will be any better if you stay here."
Videl feigned shock. "Gohan? Is that really you? Suggesting that we cut school?" She raised a hand to his forehead. "You don't seem to be feverish…"
Gohan laughed and slapped her hand away. "So I'm not allowed to catch a bit of senioritis now and again? Especially when my girlfriend nearly has a nervous breakdown in English and could severely use a bit of rest and relaxation?"
"Aw," she cooed, pinching his cheek, "I didn't know you cared."
He grabbed her hand and held it. "I do," he said seriously, staring at her. He leaned down at pressed a soft kiss to her lips. "I really do. Which is why we're getting out of here. Come on."
Gohan had to practically drag Videl out the front door. "But what about my book?" she asked, referring to the useless thing left discarded on the first floor.
"Buy a new one. Or better yet, rent the movie."
"Rent the movie?!"
"Don't look so shocked, Videl," said Gohan, taking to the air. "Even I needed a little help plowing through King Lear."
His girlfriend shot up after him. "I like this side of you," she said, catching up with him. "I never knew it existed."
"We'll get breakfast, rent A Midsummer's Night Dream, head to your place and watch it, and then, when we return it," he lowered his voice to a whisper, "we won't rewind it!"
"Walking on the wild side today, aren't we?"
He grabbed her hand and sped off towards Satan City. "You better believe it."
Videl threw her popcorn at her big screen television the best she could from her position, laying down on her bed. "Altogether a disappointment," she declared. "Calista Flockheart does not do Helena justice."
"Kevin Kline was excellent," Gohan pointed out from the regions of her stomach, the place he had made his pillow about halfway through the movie. "But other than his performance, it wasn't great. The book was much better."
Videl pressed the stop button on the DVD player and sighed. "I think I pictured something a bit more... I don't know, magical. That's what the play's about, right? Magic?"
"Among other things. Magic's a big part of it though. There's also that huge, 'The course of true love never did run smooth,' motif."
"Shakespeare would have made a soap writer," remarked Videl, running her hands through Gohan's hair.
Gohan propped himself on one elbow beside Videl and began tracing lazy circles on her abdomen. "Oh, I don't know," he drawled, his fingers inching slowly upward, "I think that some of the characters are pretty deep. Take Helena, for instance. She's the most complex character, the most human and feeling in a world full of characters that only exist for cheap laughs and comic relief. She's the one who thinks most about the nature of love and she's faithful to Demetrius despite knowing that he isn't perfect. She's extremely unsure of herself, worrying about her appearance and believing that Lysander is mocking her when he tells her that he loves her."
Videl shivered underneath Gohan's touch, and when his teasing fingers failed to move past her belly button, she practically yanked him completely on top of her. "He wasn't mocking her," she said softly, tracing his lips with her fingertips, "he was under a spell."
Gohan smiled and gazed at her for a few moments. "She didn't love him anyway," he reminded her. "She loved Demetrius."
"He loved her too, eventually," said Videl, her hands on his face, in his hair, caressing his back. "He was so wrapped up in Hermia's beauty that he never saw what was right in front of him."
Moments, eternities passed as she kissed him softly, and not so softly. She said with her actions what her heart couldn't quite let her say out loud. When she looked at him again he was regarding her carefully, eyelids heavy and playing with her bangs.
"Videl?" he ventured.
"Hm?" she said, lifting her lips to kiss his cheek, and then his neck and collarbone.
His hand gently brushed her bangs from her face. "Videl, I lo—"
Finally, Videl thought. It was silly, she thought, that she felt herself needing to hear the words. After all, they'd spent the last eight months pretty much attached at the hip; she was able to see the raw emotion in his eyes (like when she cried to him the day after everyone had been saved), hear the warm affection in his goodbyes (over the phone when they were both in that dream-like state between sleeping and waking), and feel the happiness practically radiating from him (like when she'd kiss him for no reason or send him cute e-mails just to tell him that she was thinking about him). She knew he loved her – he was too busy showing her that he just hadn't gotten around to saying it yet. Maybe he was scared, too. Maybe he thought that she wouldn't return the sentiment; that she would tilt her head, look at him with pity, break his heart and walk away.
It was her own fear that stopped her from voicing her feelings, because she wouldn't survive being left behind again.
So she stopped herself short every time the words rose in her throat, swallowing them with the lump in her throat. And now that he was here, in front of her, about to tell her that he loved her, she had to admit that she was more excited at the prospect of actually getting to say, "I love you, too," rather than hearing him say the actual words. She was in the midst of bracing herself for possibly the most romantic moment so far in her short life when her bedroom door flew open and was practically knocked off the hinges by the person on the other side. In a panic, Videl tossed Gohan off of her to the other side of the bed. In her haste, she misjudged the angle and her strength, and he ended up careening off of the bed and onto the floor.
"Yoo hoo!" a high-pitched voice called from the vicinity of the now defunct door. It hung practically by a thread upon its hinges. The door fell unceremoniously against the floor (which almost drowned out the sound of a head banging against hard wood, but only almost because Gohan had a very solid head) as the pink tub of lard waddled into her room.
Videl groaned, barely restraining herself from hurling her pillow at him. "Do you ever knock?" she hissed, straightening out her clothes and bedding. "And did you see what you did to my door?!"
"Buu sorry," he said, scratching his cheek, "but have message for you from Mister Satan."
She had a death grip on her pillow. "What? Just tell me and get out!" And where was Gohan? Why was he staying on the floor instead of hurling a Kamehameha at the thing? Why hadn't she ever bothered to make him teach her ki techniques? Considering her current living situation, they may have just come in handy.
Especially something like a Big Bang Attack.
Meanwhile, Buu stood in the middle of the room, glancing surreptitiously around. What's he looking for? Videl wondered. A midday snack? Maybe a tragedy this time. Romeo and Juliet, perhaps? Macbeth? "Buu come to tell Miss Videl… Buu definitely come to tell her something," he tilted his head, trying to recall. "Just don't remember what."
"Oooooooooh," said Buu, looking towards her nightstand. "Is that popcorn?"
Videl hurled her pillow in the general direction of Gohan when she heard him snort back laughter.
"Was that really necessary?" he asked, lifting himself up and rubbing his head.
"Yes," she growled, trying to ignore the unpleasant sounds of Buu as he shoved her popcorn down his throat. "Now. Get. Him. Out. Of. HERE!"
He shrugged, picking himself off of the floor. "How would you like me to manage that?"
"I don't know. You're smart, you're strong. You think of something! And you!" Videl turned towards Buu, who had finished the popcorn in the bowl and was staring longingly at the kernels littering the floor near the television. "If you can't remember what you need to tell me, GET OUT! And STAY out!"
"But Buu hungry," he whined piteously. "Haven't eaten in twenty minutes."
A chuckle threatened to escape Gohan, but he put his hands over his mouth just as Videl turned her acidic glare to him.
"Oh! Now Buu remember!" interrupted Videl's bane of existence, just as she was about to imply to Gohan that they would not be continuing events prior to their disturbance should he keep acting in such a manner. "Mister Satan want remind Miss Videl that party later start at six and not be late."
"Party?" Videl eyed Buu. "What party?"
"Party with lots of food to celebrate Miss Videl!"
"Party with… well it can't be a birthday party since my birthday was months ago," Videl mused. "Even though I wouldn't be surprised if my father thought my birthday was today, considering he completely forgot in January. Oh! This must be the 'You're Abaaaaaandoning Me And Leaving Your Poor Old Father All Alooooooooooooooooone But Since I Like To Pretend I'm A Good Father I'm Throwing You A Party For Getting Into Your First Choice College' party!"
Gohan snapped his fingers. "Ah yes. I seem to remember hearing about such a party. However, when your father called to invite my family, there seemed to be a little less guilt associated with it and a lot more pride in the accomplishments of his daughter."
"He's my father. Making me feel guilty is his job," she told him, adding silently that her father was a lot like Gohan's mother, "and you know he cares more about his own accomplishments than mine."
"Well, maybe he's trying to do something magnanimous for a change," said Gohan in his patented 'I'm being logical so you should probably listen to what I have to say' tone. "I think he even invited the Briefs, and you know how much Vegeta usually scares him."
"Great," groaned Videl, putting her head in her hands. "It'll be just like one big family reunion, only no one likes each other, weapons are most likely to be drawn and there's a good chance that something—or someone—will get blown up."
Gohan scratched his head. "Aren't all family reunions like that?"
His girlfriend gave him a strange look out of the corner of her eye. "I guess yours are. The Satans don't have family reunions, thank goodness. One too many incidents with Uncle Lucius and his appreciation for rum, most of my female cousins… and some of my male cousins too, especially after the alcohol kicks in."
"Okay! Buu go now!" announced their unwanted guest. "Don't be late to party! Should be good food there!"
Videl stared at the retreating figure as he carefully avoided the fallen door and made his way down the second floor hallway. She nearly slapped herself. "So," she said hopefully, turning to Gohan, who stood rather awkwardly in the middle of her room, "we already ditched school today. What say we ditch Jabba and this stupid party and go the beach to make out instead?"
Gohan flushed. "As appealing as that sounds — and believe me, it sounds mighty appealing — we really should go to this party. It's being thrown in your honor, after all," he reminded her.
"Whoop dee doo," said Videl dryly. "Party, publicity stunt; it's all the same to him."
"Your cynicism amazes me sometimes," he admonished, making his way over to her balcony. "Can't you just accept that he's doing something nice for a change?"
She shook her head. "No. That's impossible. And where are you going?"
"Home. I need to shower and change if I want to be back here by six."
"Are you sure you don't just want to go make out somewhere?"
He hovered in the air above her balcony and groaned. "Make that a nice, long, cold shower. I'll be back later."
"Promise you won't leave me alone with the crazies?"
He leaned down and kissed her quickly. "I promise. But you have to promise to try to stay out of trouble. This means that you're not allowed to use Majin Buu as the bull's eye when you're playing darts."
"Hey!" she said defensively. "That was only once. Okay, okay," she relented when she saw Gohan's look of disbelief. "Maybe twice. It isn't all that effective anyway, considering he absorbed my three best darts."
Gohan shook his head, laughing. "And you're absolutely forbidden from convincing Vegeta to use Buu as target practice for his Gallic Gun!"
Videl huffed. "That was only a suggestion! Never, ever did I think he would actually DO such a horrendous thing! I was just as horrified as you were, believe me."
"I don't go looking for trouble," she insisted, leaning back against the glass doors. "It just happens to find me."
"Suuuuuuure," he said with disbelief.
"Oh, before you go," said Videl. "Wasn't there… something… you wanted to tell me before we were interrupted by the bubblegum volcano?"
Gohan scratched the back of his neck. "I guess I… I'll tell you later, okay?"
With one more quick kiss he was off, sailing in the general direction of the mountain district, leaving Videl with a general feeling of overall disappointment. She was also extremely irritated that she had to entertain tonight at this "party." She threw herself down onto her bed and buried her face in her pillow, wishing that someone would just put her out of her misery.
"Oh! And Miss Videl!" she heard a voice call from downstairs. "Buu is sorry about math homework he ate this morning. If any consolation, calculus taste funny!"
Videl was still lying on her bed at six fifteen (although she had showered and changed into a long tank top and leggings) when Gohan flew back into her room, looking immaculate (as usual) in a black t-shirt and long khaki shorts. He dropped onto the couch by the far window and crossed his arms over his chest. "I would have come in through the door, but seeing as you don't have one…"
"Are they all down there?" Videl asked, ignoring Gohan's attempts at being humorous. He would be over in the morning to help her fix it… even if he didn't know it yet.
"Well," he replied, "My parents and brother have been here for a while, they're probably eating; the Briefs are fending off reporters; Krillin, his family and Roshi are lounging by the pool; Yamcha and his latest girlfriend are drooling over the cars in your father's garage; Tien and Chaotzu are recalling days of old with Lunch, Oolong and Puar; your father is mingling with guests I don't know and generally freaking out that you haven't come out of your room yet; and all of our friends are waiting for you to make your grand, though fashionably late entrance."
Videl narrowed her eyes. "Where's Buu?"
"I don't know, actually," he admitted. "I haven't seen him since this afternoon. Maybe he just took some food and left."
The youngest Satan rolled her eyes. "And you really believe that he would voluntarily miss a chance to humiliate me in front of a group of people."
"Oh, come on. You know he doesn't do it on purpose. He has the mindset of a two year old. He's like a toddler."
"He ate my calculus homework!"
"You actually did calculus homework?"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing, nothing," Gohan waved his hands defensively. "Come downstairs with me, Videl. We'll stay for a couple of hours and then we can go. Wherever you want."
She slowly rose from her position. "Fine. But if that creature comes anywhere near me, I'll deck him."
As it turned out, she had nothing to worry about. In the two or hours so that she and Gohan mingled with the crowd, she saw neither hide nor hair of Majin Buu. She obediently listened to Erasa's gossip, feigned interest when Gohan let Sharpner win an arm wrestling match (Sharpner had probably enlisted Gohan in some sort of scheme to help him impress the women at the party, but in Videl's honest opinion, they were probably all feigning interest), broke up a slight skirmish between Goku and Vegeta (over, if one could imagine, the last shish kabob), and played a game of catch with Yamcha. She even assured her father that yes, she was leaving for school but no, she was not leaving him forever and no, she could never, ever replace him in her life, (even though she may have thought about it once in a while). The most troublesome thing that happened since she came downstairs was Goten and Trunks' enthusiastic attempt to find out what would happen if they opened a capsule car underwater.
Later she would say that she was fooled by the apparent peacefulness of the gathering (barring the Goten and Trunks incident, of course, but such an incident was expected at a gathering such as this, and so it wasn't counted). Vegeta would scoff at her naiveté and lecture her that a fighter should always be ready, especially in times of peace, because it was a general rule that the longer the duration of peace, the more likely it was that something would happen to destroy it.
The peace was most definitely obliterated, and, like many months ago, the blame rested primarily in the oversized, pink hands of Majin Buu.
It began as Videl was pulling Goten from the pool, trying valiantly not to scream at him about the stupidity of playing around with dangerous capsules. As Trunks sniggered in the background, Goten's eyes widened and he gave her the Look, the one perfected with years of practice that said, "How could you be so mean to me, Videl? How could you?"
As his eyes filled with tears, she sighed and vowed to get him to teach her the Look one day. Even Chi-Chi wasn't impervious to it, considering how much trouble the youngest Son managed to get out of using it.
"There's a safety valve anyway," she said, throwing a towel over the sopping wet Goten. "The water pressure is greater than air pressure underwater and therefore the capsule won't work properly. You wouldn't have even been able to open it."
Chi-Chi rushed over to where they were standing, rage hiding carefully behind concerned eyes. "Tell me," she said in an even tone to Goten, "that I did not just see you jump into this pool fully clothed."
"You didn't see me jump into this pool fully clothed?" he offered in his most adorable voice, the effect muffled somewhat by the towel that was still under his head. He poked his head out, radiating cuteness. "You just think you did?"
The Son matriarch put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot against the concrete. "I should take you home right now!"
"Oh, come on Chi," came Goku's voice from behind his wife. "Let him stay. He didn't mean any harm."
"Yeah, come on, Mom. Don't be mad at me." The Look AND the Pout. Chi-Chi didn't stand a chance. "Please?"
She sighed. "Fine. But be careful around the pool area; it's dangerous! You never know when an accident will happen."
With great comedic timing, a giant pink blur sped past Videl, who, unfortunately had been standing a bit close to the edge of the water. Before she had the chance to blink, she was propelled into the air by the force of the wind generated by the speed and a huge SPLASH was heard as she fell head first into pool.
Oh BOY. If looks could kill, there wouldn't be a person left standing on the Satan property when Videl emerged from the water. Breathing heavily (from the surprise, and also from the lack of oxygen under water), she used her hands to pull her hair away from her face and narrowed her eyes. Her heart was pounded heavily in her ears, and so her voice sounded very far away to her as she asked, more calmly than she would have expected in such a situation, "What the hell was that?"
Goku opened his mouth to respond when a blur of equal speed to the previous ran past. "Videl," the blur said, and, when he slowed down, Videl realized that it was Gohan, "why are you in the pool?"
"I don't know exactly," she seethed, grinding her teeth together. "It may have possibly had something to do with the PERSON THAT YOU'RE CHASING!"
Gohan cringed at her tone. It was approximately t-minus ten seconds to meltdown. "Well, Videl… I er… found Buu. I'm… well… I was… chasing him."
Goku, Chi-Chi and Goten backed away slowly.
Videl walked out of the pool, wringing out her shirt. A red, blazing aura surrounded her and sparkled with intensity. "That's quite apparent. However, I think the operative question in this particular situation would be WHY."
Gohan laughed nervously. "Well. It's sort of funny actually…"
A handful of surprised yelps arose from the left, and Videl shifted her glare in their direction. Majin Buu ran frantically around the crowd, dodging Muten Roshi, who had apparently taken Gohan's place as pursuer. That in itself was strange (as the pervert usually only chased women around), but what was even stranger was that Buu's head seemed to be covered with something black and…
Something black and lacy…
Something black, lacy that had most certainly originated from her room.
Time seemed to move in slow motion as Buu sped past the pool, followed by Roshi, and she was able to get a nice, long look at what exactly was on his head. It was a pair of her bikini underwear, to be specific, and tied around his chin was the matching bra. It was a very nice set, actually, one that she liked very much and was very expensive, and it was currently adorning the head and ears of one Majin Buu.
Meanwhile, as this information was processing, Gohan was looking everywhere but at his girlfriend. His next string of words came out very fast. "Well, it seems like not having a bedroom door is a bad thing. I sensed Buu's ki near your room and when I got there, he had your," he coughed, "underwear on his head. He said something about a hat and ear warmers. You know, he's very fast and I'm falling behind, so I'm going to try to get those things back for you. I'll… uh… be going now," he backed away and joined Roshi in his attempts to catching Majin Buu.
"You know," Goku nudged Chi-Chi towards the direction of Videl, who resembled a volcano seconds before eruption. Her battle aura was enormous, and the heat that was radiating from her body was sufficient enough to dry her off completely. "I really should go help Gohan."
At this point, most of the guests were in a state of utter confusion. There was the guest of honor, standing in the middle of the pool area and radiating a strange aura; Majin Buu, supposed friend of justice, running around with a bra and panty set on his head; Muten Rushi, famous martial artist and even more famous pervert, following closely; and Son Gohan, running frantically after the two, intent on defending his girlfriend's honor and… er… underthings.
"Prettttttty," Roshi cooed, making a grab for the lingerie.
"Oh no you don't!" exclaimed Gohan, taking a giant leap over his father's master and landing directly on top of Majin Buu, knocking him to the ground. After a brief wrestling match, Gohan emerged the victor (by knocking Buu out cold), the black and lacy undergarments secure in his hand.
"Humor a dying old man, Gohan," pleaded Roshi, who began to chase after Gohan. "Let me see those!"
"No! Are you insane?! No way am I letting you fondle my girlfriend's underwear!"
"Dad," Trunks pulled on his father's shirt. "What's going on?"
"I haven't a clue," the prince replied, taking a bite out of a chicken leg, "but I think it's about to get a lot more interesting." He pointed with his free hand towards Videl, who was making her way quickly over to where Gohan was eluding Roshi. Meanwhile, Buu himself was regaining consciousness, and, feeling a bit drafty without his new ear warmers and hat, decided to pursue the person that had stolen it front him. He waddled quickly after the old letch.
"COME BACK HERE YOU PERVERTS!" Videl shrieked, causing all of the guests to shift their attention towards Gohan.
"It's not what it looks like!" he insisted to the crowd, flailing. "They're the perverts!" He gestured towards Roshi and Buu, who were gaining ground on the Saiyan.
At that moment, Roshi managed to take advantage of Gohan's distraction and plucked the panties and bra from his hands. He practically squealed in ecstasy as he nuzzled the garments, breathing in deeply. "What a haul, what a haul!"
Satan, who had been hiding behind a strategically placed potted plant in order to escape the chaos (because really, who knew with these aliens? They were nice and all, but they flew, they expelled energy from their bodies that could KILL people and some of them were downright MEAN (coughEighteenandVegetacough)), allowed himself a peak at the action. Gohan, Videl, Buu, Goten and Trunks were hot on the tail of Muten Roshi, who was practically molesting Videl's underwear as he ran.
"Well, Daddy," Videl said acerbically to the potted plant as she ran by, "I'm happy to see that you're doing fine. How am I, you may ask? Well. As you can see, I'm a bit busy trying to retrieve my… THINGS… from an old pervert, who was only able to get his hands on them because of your friend Buu. Make no mistake, Daddy; when this is over, we are going to have a long, long talk."
Satan shivered under her gaze and took a step backward, hiding himself further in the leaves of the plant. "Yes, sweetpea."
She took to the air and gained on Roshi, finally getting close enough to land a roundhouse kick to his head. He fell to the ground, his sunglasses in pieces, still clutching her underwear in his hand. "So prettttttty," he said, slurring his speech slightly. "Look at all the pretty flying undies."
Videl pried the stolen loot from his hands and sighed. She barely had a chance to catch her breath when she was toppled over by a very large, pink blob. He brusquely snatched the bikinis and bra from her and dropped them onto his head. "Buu take back hat and ear warmers now, Miss Videl!"
"Get BACK here!" That was Gohan, who, at this point, seemed to be very annoyed. It appeared that half of the party was annoyed as well (though not as annoyed as Gohan, who didn't quite like the prospect of half the city seeing his girlfriend's underwear, and certainly not as annoyed as Videl herself, for obvious reasons), because people began to leave, join the chase ("Come ON," she heard Goten say to Trunks as the two boys ran after Gohan, "Don't you want to see what girl's underwear looks like?") or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, watch in amusement (was Vegeta laughing? Vegeta NEVER laughed).
Videl herself could only stand there, mulling over her cursed existence as the crowed chasing Majin Buu grew to incredible proportions. Over two dozen people ran past her, with Majin Buu leading, but Gohan hot on his tail. Behind Gohan ran Goten and Trunks; behind them a rejuvenated Roshi, Krillin, Tien, Chaotzu and Goku, who was lagging behind because he was finding that laughing and running at the same time was pretty hard to do; and at the back were her friends from school, people who didn't quite know why they were running anyway, and the dog. Vegeta and Eighteen stood off to the side, barely able to contain their amusement at the spectacle.
She really didn't know whether to laugh or cry. She was debating the pros and cons of both when a couple of things happened at the same time.
Bulma wrapped a comforting arm around one shoulder and Chi-Chi gave her a warm hug, smiling as they welcomed Videl to the chaos that came with being the woman of a Z-fighter.
Gohan finally pried the bra and panties from Buu's head, but miscalculated his attack and ended up on the bottom of a pile-up of confused partygoers.
Her father emerged from his plant and approached the reporters in attendance (who had been taping the entire thing) trying to exert some damage control (and, of course, assert that he was handling everything, of course, because he was Mister Satan, and compared to saving the world, a little brawl at a party was a piece of cake).
A Solar Flare coming from the direction of the pileup fried the film in the cameras of the reporters who had been taping the entire thing.
The dog barked something furious.
Buu whined that he was hungry.
And Videl fell to her knees. Majin Buu had defeated her once again.
When she woke up, she was coherent enough to notice a couple of things.
One, she was outside and it was dark.
Two, she wasn't in a bed. After the underwear incident, she'd stormed into a guest bedroom and threw herself on the mattress, intent on sleeping for two days. She found herself instead lying on a soft, grainy material. (Sand, her mind processed eventually. It was sand.)
And three, her pillow was the lap of someone, Gohan to be exact, and he was smiling as her eyes flickered open. "Hey," he whispered.
"Hey," she managed to whisper back, taking in the sweet breeze and salty air of the ocean that surrounded her. "Did you kidnap me? Was I sleeping that soundly?"
Gohan put his hands up. "I did and you were. I hope you don't mind."
"I don't. How long was I out?"
"Only about an hour. How do you feel?"
"Like I just ran into Vegeta's fist," she groaned. She sat up and glanced around. "What are we doing here?"
"You wanted to go to the beach, right?" he asked, pulling her towards him. "I figured it was the least I could do after—"
Videl put a finger on his lips. "Don't say it. Don't even say his name. Just let me appreciate the gesture without having to remember what a miserable day this was."
He chuckled, his eyes dancing. "Videl Satan, I think you need to start looking on the bright side of things."
"So tell me, because I'm curious," she replied, leaning against him. "Where exactly do you see a bright side in all of this?"
"Well," he said, taking a deep breath and wrapping one arm around the girl sitting next to him, "tragedy brings people closer together?"
"I hardly think that having my underwear stolen classifies as a tragedy, Gohan."
He coughed. "There was also the extensive damage to the Satan property, the car that inexplicably ended up on the bottom of the swimming pool, the mysterious disappearance of a couple of guests and the fact that you still don't have a bedroom door."
"And the fact that you've been officially inaugurated into the life of Son Gohan," he said, turning his head towards the ocean. "It isn't pretty, is it?"
"No, it isn't," she agreed. "But," she amended at the look of surprise (and somewhat hurt) on his face, "it's the only life that I need. Gohan, my life was never simple. So what? My life is more chaotic now, I'll admit it, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the entire world."
He looked relieved, but still uncertain. "You do realize what you're getting into."
The stars shined brightly above them in a cloudless sky. "I remember what it was like not to know you," she said, lifting her head to the heavens. "I remember what it was like to know you and to hate you. I remember what it was like to know you and to hate you and to hate myself because every day I found myself caring about you more and more. I remember what it was like to think I lost you," she said, her voice breaking, "and I remember what it was like to find you again."
"I know what I'm getting into, Gohan," she said softly.
His hold on her tightened painfully. "If I were smart, I'd keep you here and never let you go. We'd never have to go back to the pandemonium."
"Or we could run away," she suggested. "We could go to Greenland. Or Fiji. I always wanted to go to Fiji."
Gohan smiled, finally. "Fiji sounds nice. No Majin Buu on Fiji."
"Or Satanic Saiyan Spawn," she added.
"Or mothers trying to marry me off…"
"Or fathers trying to guilt me into never getting married…"
There was a brief silence, and Videl was just content in enjoying the crisp ocean atmosphere and the feel of Gohan's arms around her when he asked, "You ever think about it?"
"I guess," she said slowly, wondering where exactly Gohan was going with this. "Isn't every girl allowed to fantasize about meeting the perfect boy and gallivanting into the sunset hand in hand for eternity?"
Gohan squeezed her arm. "Every girl but you, Miss Cynicism and Sarcasm."
"Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a bit disillusioned by the institution of marriage," said Videl. "But deep down – probably really, really deep down, but it's there – I hope I'll find it one day. You know. The eternity part."
"And hypothetically," he ventured, "what would a guy have to do to qualify for this eternity thing?"
"He'd have to file a formal application, for one," she replied wryly. "He'd probably be tall, dark and handsome…"
Gohan pretended to take notes. "Tall… dark..." he muttered, "Hm… I might have to work on that last part…"
"Pretty much got that one down…"
"… smart and kind…"
"I think I've got those covered…"
Videl grinned. "And he's got to accept the turmoil that comes with the life of Videl Satan." She raised a finger and started counting off. "He's got to accept being hounded by the media, loathed by my father, and chase Majin Buu as he runs around my back lawn with underwear on his head."
"Where can I pick up an application?" he asked, leaning down to her.
"I don't know," she said, tilting her face up to his, "are you sure that you're qualified for the position?"
"I hope so," he whispered, his lips inches from hers. "Because as far as I can tell, this is the only job I'll ever be able to do. Besides," he added, kissing her tenderly, "the benefits are great."
"I forgot to tell you," she said against his mouth, his scent whirling around her and making her lightheaded, "that there's one last thing..."
She took a deep breath. "He has to love me."
It was basically a confession on her part, and she felt it, her feelings bleeding from her like a raw, open wound. She knew it and he knew it and she knew he knew it because there was a lurch in his chest and he kissed her with an intensity that shocked but delighted her. "He does," he managed to say when he pulled away.
"How do you know?" she asked.
"He'd be absolutely crazy not to."
Tears burned at the back of her eyes. "He might be crazy, period."
"That's possible," he said, reaching behind him. "I adore you, Videl, and I think you're perfect, neuroses and all. And look, I've already started this hero business." He waved something in front of her. "I defended your reputation and stole your underwear back from Buu. It took a awhile and I had to promise him new ear warmers, but I think I've fought sufficiently for your honor, wouldn't you say?"
She gaped at him.
"And I love you," he finished quietly. "I've always loved you, and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to love you for the rest of my life."
"Only pretty sure?" she managed despite the happiness that fluttered like a butterfly in her chest, threatening to impair her ability to speak, or move, or do anything but burst from the love she felt for him at that exact moment.
"No," he admitted. "I'm definitely going to love you for the rest of my life."
Videl felt warm from her head to her toes, and it had nothing to do with the air temperature. "I might be inclined to love you too."
His smile was brilliant. "You only might be?"
"No, that's a lie, I guess. I'm definitely inclined to love you," she said. His smile was brilliant. "And I'll probably love you forever, unless you do something really stupid like build our house around the corner from your mother's house."
"Our house," he repeated, hugging her to his chest. "I really do like the sound of that."
"Just promise me you won't," said Videl, wrapping her arms around his neck.
He nodded. "Boy Scout's honor."
"You were never a Boy Scout!"
"Oh, one more thing…"
"Let me guess. You want to make out."
"Well… yes, but that's not what I was going to say."
"What is it?"
"Can I have my underwear back now?"
"I don't know… I was thinking maybe I'd keep it. Spoils of war."
"Just shut up and kiss me, Gohan."
Gohan Son was a lot of things, but an idiot he was not.
So he did as she asked, and kissed her.
And no words were spoken for a very long time.
"When did you know?" she asked him sometime later.
He looked over at her. "When did I know what?"
"When did you know that you were in love with me?"
"Well," he said, in the most serious tone he could muster, "Remember that time we fought and you wrapped your legs around my head - "
Videl blushed a fierce scarlet. "That's a legitimate martial arts move!"
"- I said to myself," he continued as if she hadn't spoken, " 'Gohan, that's the girl you're going to marry.'"
She practically mauled him. "You dirty, rotten little pervert!"
"Hey!" he said defensively, trying to fend off her weak attempts at punching him, "at least I didn't steal your underwear!"