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24 March 2007 @ 02:00 pm
A Price Paid in Blood, ch. 4  
Title: A Price Paid in Blood
Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements)
Genre: Drama/Angst
Publish Date: 8/13/2002 to 11/4/2002
Disclaimer: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I do not own DBZ.




The cool night air slapped Gohan across the face as he soared above the clouds, but he ignored it. It didn’t matter anymore. Nothing mattered anymore.

Clutched tightly in his hand was the little white box from his nightstand. Inside that box were the spare blades, the ones he hadn’t used yet. There were enough of them to last for a while—however long that might end up being. He wasn’t sure, and he didn’t care.

He could sense Bulma’s faint ki and Vegeta’s huge one from behind him, at his house. His mother must have called them for support. And she was probably going to get Bulma to talk Vegeta into going out and searching for him.

Sure enough, Vegeta’s ki began moving, but it wasn’t following him. It was heading off somewhere to the west of him…towards another ki.

Shit, Gohan silently cursed, He’s gonna go get Piccolo and they’re gonna hunt me down and then Piccolo’s gonna try and make me think about this and make me feel guilty…I gotta hurry.

The last thing Gohan wanted to deal with was Piccolo, probably the only person alive who could ever get to him, aside from his father.

But his father was dead, it was his fault, and Piccolo just couldn’t understand that.

He picked up speed, not caring how much ki he was giving off. If he needed to, he knew he could always outrun them. That was one of the wonders of being a Super Saiyan.

Below him, the forest zipped by, and gave way to the city. Millions of glimmering lights twinkled like stars that had fallen from the sky. It was beautiful, but he didn’t bother paying attention to it. Distraction was the last thing he needed.

His destination wasn’t too far ahead. He was headed for his old training grounds, the place Piccolo had taken him when he was four years old, right after Radditz had shown up. He’d rarely gone back since the battle with Nappa and Vegeta, but now it seemed like it might be a good place to land and calm down. And figure out what to do next.

Before long, the island appeared beneath him. He dove to the earth like a falcon in the dive, flipping over at the last second to land quite gracefully on his feet.

A quick check proved that Vegeta had reached Piccolo, and they were on the move. They’d probably pick him up soon enough, so that left him very little time.

He saw a small cave nearby, and recognized it almost immediately. How many nights had he spent in that very same cave, staring at a small fire, thinking about his parents, and scratching algebra equations into the dirt with sticks? That little crevice had been his home for months, so what better place to stop and catch his breath?

Hmm…I remember it being a lot bigger, he thought with a touch of irony as he sat down on the dirt floor, with his back against one stone wall and his legs stretched out towards the opening. It was quite dark; a small sphere of ki floating over his head did the trick. But that doesn’t matter. To business.

Gohan rarely cut himself more then once or twice a day, as so not to raise suspicions; he’d already sliced twice today. But he didn’t care anymore. They already knew, so what was the point in being secretive about it anymore?

He selected a blade from the box and rolled up his sleeve. He didn’t even bother with simply reopening an old injury. The sharp edge danced across the flesh of his lower arm, leaving a sticky red liquid in its wake. He’d cut himself on that part of his arm only once before, and Goten had noticed it. He’d made up a quick excuse, and had decided not to cut there again. But now it didn’t matter.

The blood flowed, and his anger seemed to flow out with it. It was bleeding a little more heavily then his upper arm did, and he found that to be quite pleasing.

Even though he was calming down and letting himself bleed, he kept a mental "ear" positioned on Vegeta and Piccolo. They were on their way. Which meant he didn’t have much time.

I’ll run, he decided grimly as the blood began tapering off. I’ll fly so far away that they can’t sense me, and then they’ll never find me, and I’ll be safe, and I can do what I want. They don’t understand…none of them understand anything about me…

He briefly thought back to a conversation he’d once had with Piccolo. His mentor had told him that if he ever had a problem about anything, to come and talk to him about it, to work it out. Piccolo had promised to always listen.

Yeah, but I bet Piccolo gets really sick and tired of hearing about all my little problems. He doesn’t get why I felt so bad about the Cell Games. It took forever to convince him that I was over it. I decided after the Games that I wouldn’t always bother Piccolo every time something bad happened. Besides, he probably has more important things to do…meditation and stuff.

With that slightly bitter thought repeating itself in his mind, he grabbed the box and used the bloody blade to scratch a message into the floor, hoping that they’d find it.

Piccolo, don’t even bother trying to find me. I’m going away, far away. I don’t want to be found. Just turn around. Yes, I’ve been cutting myself. I’ve been doing it since a few months after the Cell Games. It’s the only way to make myself feel better. Tell Mom and Goten that I’m sorry, but I can’t stay here. Nobody understands me. And I can’t just come and yak your big ears off every time I have a bad dream. I refuse to be a burden on anyone, especially you. So just let me go. It’ll be better for everyone that way. Goodbye forever. Gohan.

Having left his message along with the blade on the floor, he got rid of the ki ball, exited the cave and took off into the night sky, moving fast enough so that he would be out of sight by the time they got there. He didn’t have much time to get away.