Twenty-sixth, Assured Gohan.
Aha! He knew it!
Right from the start, he knew that his dad hadn't been planning some great secret surprise. Whatever his dad did, or said to make his mom believe that he had plans to do something special, must've been the promise of one touching gesture to convince her. As for him, however, from the beginning, he's always had the suspicion that there was something different about his father's behaviour. It's his suspicion that's had him following his father around for three days, (between his classes, of course) to discover that sure enough, he's been correct all of this time.
The evidence is right there.
If he just looks around the tree that he's hiding behind, he'll see the proof in the form of excitement on his dad's face, and Whis being the source of that excitement. That's his evidence, and he's quite glad to be right, it's only that he can't jump for joy at that. He can't rejoice, because one, really, this isn't an exam, which will help him get ahead in his studies, so celebrating his correctness has well, no benefit. And two, being right means that his mom is going to let his dad have it, once she finds out what he's really not been doing during this time of deception.
Spying on the exchange between Whis and his dad right now, it's clear that his dad is prepared to leave just as he is, and that can only mean that he'd never been planning anything on the side in the first place.
Oh man. Oh no, oh no!
This is bad. It's so bad that he has to clutch the sides of his head. He just doesn't understand… Just who is that man talking to Whis? It can't be his dad, because his dad knows his mom…
His dad knows that when his mom learns of what he's planning on doing, she'll mix all of her feelings together; the ones of her version of betrayal, the ones about his dad leaving so suddenly, and the ones about realising that his dad's presence (which she's been enjoying for seven months without interruption), will be taken away from her. And then, when that mixture has been stirred to the perfect blend, his poor dad will most likely die from the explosion that comes from her. His poor dad.
Look at his dad. He's just over there, enjoying the thought of taking off with Whis for training, that he doesn't realise what could happen to him, if things go wrong.
If only the Great Saiyaman were around, Gohan thinks to himself. That guy would be able to save the day... Or not, he reconsiders. The Great Saiyaman is more experienced in dealing with the coarser matters of life. Matters which need his extraordinary power of strength to resolve, unlike this one. This matter is more delicate, and unfortunately, the Great Saiyaman won't be any help, which leaves everything up to him, plain Gohan. He'll have to be the one to make sure that his dad follows his desired training path, without his mom hearing about it until there's nothing that she can do about it.
He loves his mother, he really does, but it's been close to seven months that his dad has been home, doing what he was supposed to do, and being part of the family, so it's only fair that his dad goes off training when he wants to. That's why it's up to him, plain Gohan, not the Great Saiyaman, to protect (and preserve) his father's prospective training.
He's quite thankful that his mother is a woman who stays put and doesn't all that much leave the house for leisure purposes. Had that been the case with her, he would be feeling the full effect of his unsettled nerves pushing to leave from under his skin right now, instead of being tamed as he knocks on the door of his parents' home. After he knocked, there had still been the small chance that his mom would open the door and immediately see right through him, forcing his nerves to reach their full effect on him, but thankfully, it's Goten who opens the door for him.
Seeing the cheery face of his brother, Gohan quickly pulls in a breath, just so he can let it out and express his relief through that breath. Funny enough, he didn't realise he'd been terrified of being confronted by his mom's face, until Goten's face, which is so very similar to their dad's, showed up in front of his eyes. It's a good thing his brother is so much like their dad, because now that there's a familiar face smiling in welcome at him, he feels like he's doing in letting his dad cleanly get away.
'Hi, Gohan,' Goten waves at him and then begins to look behind him, first around his left and then around his right. 'Where's Pan? Did you bring her?'
'Not today, Goten. Maybe next time,' he promises, just so he can move on to the point of asking about the reason for being here, which is, 'Hey, is Mom home?'
'Yeah,' Goten nods, 'she's washing in the bathroom.'
Oh good, he internally relieves.
His mom obviously wouldn't have left Goten all home by himself, but it's still relieving to hear that she's home and she's busy with something that will keep her home for long enough. His mom washing in the bathroom means that she's nowhere near the city, also meaning that the chances of her suddenly heading over to Bulma's, are zero point something. Pushed by that thought, he right away goes to find her in the bathroom.
Once he gets to the bathroom door, finding it open, he gets the thought to just stand there. In silence. In case he forgot on his walk over here, that's his mom over there, and he needs to remind himself that as dedicated and concentrated as she is to washing, there's still that probability that she'll see his face and come to the conclusion that his presence here equals to something being wrong. She's good at that type of thing, so he shouldn't be too free around her. He'll have to be on his guard, for his dad's sake.
'Mom,' he calls after clearing his throat.
His mom, not necessarily rising from her position, lightly turns her shoulders to look towards the door. Even like that, she's not fully able to see his face, she imagines, so he walks to her. Because she's seated on the edge of the bathtub, hunched over the tub to reach the basins inside the tub, he kneels in front of the tub, as close to her as he can manage.
'What are you doing here, Gohan?' she asks him. 'I felt like someone was watching me, and I thought it was your father.'
'That was me,' he confirms, even when it's clearly not necessary to. 'I just came to see you, that's all.'
That's all. But, he's conveniently leaving out the other part about being here to make sure that she doesn't go looking for his dad, and then find out about him going to train with Whis. It's all planned out so that by the time that he leaves his mom, his Dad would've left with Whis as well.
'That's thoughtful of you,' she offers him a small smile, 'but don't you think that you should've brought Pan with you?'
Nervously, also scratching the side of his head, he laughs. Why hadn't he thought to bring Pan with him? The people in this house seem to have an obsession with Pan, so if he'd thought to bring her, he would've blended in perfectly, leaving no room for suspicion.
Accepting that as a good lesson for the future, he verbally promises to not repeat that same mistake again, 'I'll bring her next time.'
'I'd like that,' his mom tells him, going on to ask, 'Did you eat?'
'It's fine, Mom, I'm not hungry.'
He would rather that she sticks to washing the clothes, than leaving the room for the kitchen, but unfortunately, his refusal doesn't register in his mom's head, because she doesn't accept it. Apart from not accepting that he's truly not hungry, she easily gets onto her feet, giving him the reason that not being hungry doesn't necessarily mean that he can't eat. That's the difference, she tells him while she ushers him out of the bathroom, and they walk to the kitchen. He knows better than to argue with her, since he knows that it will get him nowhere, and so once inside the kitchen, he opens his mouth to make small talk about Pan, Videl and school, while she starts preparing cool drinks for all three of them.
He walks with her as she moves around, always politely staying two steps behind or away from her, so as not to get in her way and then risk irritating her. He's avoiding her getting irritated, because if she becomes irritated, she'll start suspecting him. In suspecting him, she'll start questioning him, and if she questions him, then she'll know that he is here trying to cover up something. From that observation, she'll obviously ask him to tell her the truth, and that will be the end for his dad. Wow, he wonders if this is how his dad has to think and act when he is guilty of keeping something from her. Now that he thinks about it, keeping the secret of training with Whis in, his dad must've been keeping on his sharpest side.
Oh, wow, that must have taken a lot of dedication from his easygoing dad. And... Aarggh, what is he doing? Just what does he think he is doing thinking about his dad in front of his mom?
That's the wrong things to do, so he secretly shakes his head to clear his mind of his dad. Thinking about his dad could make him slip and accidentally say something about his dad. If he mentions his dad, his mom is likely to take on the lead of that conversation. Once they get to start talking about his dad, he will most likely start to behave in a nervous and jumpy way, and that will give him away, which will in turn give his dad away, and then that will be the end of his dad's training as he has it planned.
Aaah! He's thinking too much about the thing that his thoughts are supposed to be far from, when what he should be doing, is making sure that he keeps close to his mom enough to watch her, ensuring that she doesn't make a fast escape from his sight, but not too close that it would raise her suspicions on why he seems to be tailing her.
He has to be concentrated on indulging her with just the right answers, right up to the point where she leads them to sit at the table. His hand is a little bit unstable as he reaches for the hard cakes, but he coaches himself to keep himself composed to the end. The better encouragement to keep his composure, is Goten sliding into the seat opposite his, and just like that, it's as if he had never been worried about getting caught in his cover up.
He is rather taken back to a time when it had just been the three of them in this house, sitting at an older version of this table, having some form of a meal while they engaged in small family talk. Not so long ago when their dad was still dead, and he wasn't married to Videl, before Pan came along, him and his mom would listen to Goten chatting away at all the things that he did during the day, laughing at his adorable innocence in handling certain topics... Those had been good times. They had been a happy family, content with what they had and always loved each other, and-
The sudden sound of the telephone stops his thinking before he can join them to his current situation, and Goten jumping from the table to answer the call, does more to help him give up his thoughts, as phone etiquette demands that both him and his mom remain quiet during the time Goten needs to speak on the phone.
'Mom, it's Bulma,' Goten calls without lowering the mouthpiece from his mouth. 'It's for you.'
'Bulma?' she whispers to herself, but he sees her face take on the expression of slightly bothered.
Looking at him in answer to his call, she softly shakes her head, silently telling him to either let it go, or that there is nothing to worry about, and then gets up to take the phone from Goten's hand, onto her ear.
Hmm. That's worrisome.
He's worried that she's bothered, although strangely, it has nothing to do with the fact that his father is over at Bulma's as they speak. His concern is actually that there's something going on between his mom and Bulma, that's about to catch up with his mom at the wrong time. Considering how he learned that his dad convinced his mom about something that he has not been doing (and is getting away with it), it wouldn't surprise him that his mom is more or less doing that same thing here.
'Bulma?' his mom tentatively speaks into the phone.
The way that she says that single name... It's like she's waiting to hear the worst news, and he can't help it concentrate his face in wonder at what Bulma might be saying to his mom.
'There?' his asks and then she listens for the response.
Now he's really curious. That could be an invitation for a meet up between his mom and Bulma. They're probably supposed to meet up at Bulma's… Or, Bulma asked where they should meet, and thus, his mom is suggesting that they do it at Capsule Corp.
'Okay,' his mom apparently accepts what she's told. 'Thank you for letting me know, Bulma.'
'What's wrong, Mom?' he asks, feeling the need to know what it is immediately after she hangs up.
'It's your father…' she slowly starts, blinking back into focus.
His dad? What can that be about? Especially coming from Bulma to his mom. It's a known fact that Bulma and his mom aren't exactly friends. And another thing, Bulma and the others have this firm perception of his mom, that they almost always side with his dad instead of siding with her, so he's not worried that Bulma reported his dad. Bulma would never do that. He has to get the correct information from his mom, so he goes over to her.
'What happened to Dad?'
She doesn't answer him right away, as he expected that she would do. She firstly only pulls in a long breath, looks at him, and then at Goten, and then at him again, before opening her mouth with no sound escaping from it.
'Mom?' he urges, stepping closer to her, in order to get a reply from her.
This silence thing from her, he's beginning to not like. It's beginning to form into the starter to bad news about his and Goten's dad. He means, why else would she have inhaled like that, and then looked at the two of them, who are sons of the man that she is beginning to talk about, if the next words to leave her mouth, won't be bad to hear?
'You're father's going off training with Whis,' she replies.
Phew... It's only that, it's nothing bad. So then he can relax... He begins to relax his body, but then he finishes processing how she said that, like she can't quite believe what's coming from her own mouth.
He's surprised at how easily she can say that without bursting apart as she does, he's very surprised. To take a better look at his mom, he uses his forefinger to push up his glasses. She's still the same woman, he confirms through adjusted lenses. From what he can tell, she's apparently still in the process of digesting the news, and knowing the analytical part of his mom that comes out when necessary, he can say that right about now, she's doing complicated maths equations, trying to figure out where and what went wrong, that got them (her and his dad) to this point… And, this is his part to buy his dad some time to get away.
'How do you know that?' he asks her, feigning cluelessness.
'Bulma told me,' she says, blinking only once and then turns to him directly to order, 'Take me to Bulma's. I'm going to see your father! Your father won't get away with this. He promised…' she begins to adopt a break in her voice. 'He said... Pan... He...'
'What did Dad promise?' he questions only to buy the time for his dad to leave already.
Of the three possible things that could be the cause of his mom sharply turning away from him without giving him a single look, or an answer, he chooses to believe that she simply doesn't have time for anything that isn't her husband at the moment. He is choosing to believe that his mom is thoroughly furious, that nothing else matters to her, as much as getting herself in the same place as her husband is.
'Mom!' he desperately calls after her, feeling a little too stunned by her angry exit to move from the spot. 'Wait, please. Calm down. Where are you going?'
'She's going to Bulma's,' Goten says. 'You can't stop her.'
'She can't go!' he cries, quickly facing his brother. 'She'll stop Dad from going to train.'
'She's going,' Goten says again, this time shrugging like it's nothing close to a problem what was just revealed to him.
He begins to look towards the door, hoping to see his mom coming back, but something about Goten's unbothered expression, him just standing there, makes him return his focus to his brother. If anything of support, he had expected that Goten would easily take their dad's side as well, that he would help in keeping their mom home until their dad got the time to leave with Whis, but he's getting no such thing. In its place, Goten's rather looking sure of what's going to happen.
Can he please stop looking like that?
For a tiny person, a child at that as well, he seems to know exactly how this is going to play out with their mom, and he's not in the least bothered by it. He can't entirely blame the little guy, though. Goten's too much of a child to realise that their mom is very capable of getting their dad to stay, so he probably cannot understand the urgency in making sure that their mom doesn't get to their dad in time.
'Goten, do you want her to stop Dad from going to train?' he asks, partly getting annoyed with his brother.
'No,' Goten shakes his head, 'I want Dad to go and train.'
'Me too,' he tells his brother, 'that's why I have to stop her.'
'You won't,' Goten carelessly responds to him, which would've been much more annoying, if Gohan wasn't already rushing off after their mom.
He catches up with her after running for a few minutes, but when he tries to get her to slow down her pace and calm herself, she hotly replies that if he won't take her to Bulma's, she'll walk there by herself, and he better take care of Goten until she comes back. His compassion for her kicks in right then, effectively removing him from protecting his dad's current dream, to rejecting the unthinkable thought of letting his mom walk all the way to the city, when he is fully capable of taking her there. He sees no choice but to take her, in other words.
If it counts for something with the gods, though, he wants it known that he's not choosing to sacrifice his dad's dream, he's making the choice to lessen his mother's load. He can't, in his right mind, allow his mom to make a long trek to the city, atop being furious with his dad.
'I'll take you, Mom,' he resigns, partly sorry that his father will not be getting what he wants.
He holds out his arms, attempting to carry her the normal way, but she refuses that way, telling him that she doesn't want him reminding her of 'his father' by carrying her that way. He's then forced to hold her rather awkwardly from behind, and still then, she struggles against him as if he is taking her by force. To anyone looking at them, not knowing that she's just expressing her fury, it would look like she can fly on her own, but he is trying to keep her back, that's why she's struggling for him to let her go. When really, he's flying her there, while she's raging out in his hold.
He should've tried harder to keep his mom at home, because now, she's making his dad run around, hiding behind Bulma. That is until his mom explains that it was Bulma who told her the whole story, and his dad probably decides that Bulma can do nothing to protect him, if she's the one who ratted him out. To get a better hiding place, he runs from behind Bulma to behind Goten, as if Goten has the ability to save him from his own wife. Well, maybe Goten does have that power... He'll have to see what Goten can do to help their dad out.
Nope, Goten has no power, Gohan concludes while he observes his parents behave like children in front of their audience. Their mom is now going around Goten, to pull their dad from behind Goten, taking him by the fabric of his orange uniform with no difficulty and holding him close to her. It looks like his dad is going to lose this one, that even Goten is talking to their mom about allowing their dad to go for his training. She obviously doesn't allow the defence, refusing to be swayed by Goten, and that is when he decides to give it a hand at fighting for their dad. He tries to use part of her weakness for his dad, his dad's strength, as a reason to allow him to leave, however, she maintains her refusal.
He starts to think along the defensive lines of having done everything to help his dad win this one, except that's when his mom begins to explain that she wants his dad to work hard at home, how she wants him to be a good grandpa to Pan, and inexplicably hard, that hits him right in the heart.
Oh, wow... He places a hand over his chest, attempting to touch the impact of his mom's words with his own hand.
Wow... He really had no idea...
All this time, he's been thinking that once his mom found out about his dad's plan to leave, she'd be sad for herself, and that she would stop his dad for her and Goten's sakes, but she's actually not thinking of herself at all. It had been so easy for him to take his dad's side and paint his mom as the comical villain, to the point where he'd actually had a mental image of his mom, a caricature, more accurately, to help him take his dad's side on this, but now...
As he physically steps back, personally removing himself from this situation that really has nothing to do with him, and then takes a look at what's happening, he notices that even Goten seems unbothered by what's going on between their parents. But on the other hand, between him and Goten, he's the adult, able to see his parents in a light that his brother can't yet. Also, he has his own marriage, unlike Goten, and thus, he can understand that his parents must be more than what they are displaying here.
He considers that his parents have been together for more than twenty years already. Even if (and this is a big if) his parents have had a rocky twenty years within their marriage, they should still be applauded for sticking it out with each other, because if they are strong enough to endure hardships from the other and still remain together, that's powerful. Clearly, as his parents are who they are, both of them could have left the other at any time, but they chose not to.
If his mom, as he knows her, was soft and able to be manipulated into living with continual disrespect and neglect, would she fight his dad so hard, to make him stay with her right now? He doesn't think so. He believes that she would instead be encouraging him to leave, so that she could have her desired rest until whatever time he chose to return. And if his dad, as he knows him, really only wanted to do was satisfy himself and indulge in his wants, would he really be here, play arguing with her, putting on a comical show in front of them, when he simply could've left for King Kai's some time ago, when he found out about Vegeta's training? He doesn't believes so. He knows that his dad would've gone right ahead to King Kai's, to take the matter into his own hands.
What he is realising looking at his parents now, being a pair of mature eyes, unbiased and scholarly –like he's studying an experiment- is that his parents, to each other, have obviously done their respective parts to make their relationship work. They obviously have deep devotion to each other, that they don't show the outside world. Remembering how his mom makes his dad do so many things mostly against his will at first, while at home, it strangely never makes his dad want to leave home, when he is clearly capable of leaving at will. If he's being perfectly honest, he'll conclude that his mom seems to only be capable of making his dad stay, but she can never get him to leave.
Huh... To think that so many of the people close to his family seems to have an opinion about his mom, when he, the son of his parents can't think of one single incident in which his mom made his dad actually leave to get away from the unbearable life that he is subjected to at home. That can only mean that his dad has no problem with being at home, and much less with his mom's behaviour. His dad looks to be enjoying their argument right now anyway, even though he looks to be under her command in that arm lock...
Anyway, in the end, he is just the audience, interpreting what he wants to interpret (naturally drawn to taking his dad's side, of course). In the end, he has no authority over his parents, not over which decisions they make and what conclusions they come to. Truly, he can only take sides, have his opinion, but when it comes to the Chi-Chi and Goku, who are his parents, he will only ever be an observer, and nothing more. His parents are who they are, and the outside world, observation and external bias doesn't change who they are to each other.
That is simply a fact.
This Is It, The End.