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24 March 2007 @ 03:23 pm
A Price Paid in Blood, ch. 25 (DBZ)  
Title: A Price Paid in Blood: Alternate Ending
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.



Piccolo growled under his breath as he swooped down lower, trying to get a good look at the ground below. After they’d lost Gohan’s ki, they’d flown around for quite a while, until Vegeta had silently expressed a need to rest for a while. After the Saiyan Prince had slept for a short while, they’d resumed, but they still couldn’t find him.

If Gohan was sleeping, which they assumed he was, his ki would be pretty much impossible to sense; when asleep, a person’s ki would all but vanish. But he wouldn’t be sleeping now. It was the middle of the afternoon. The kid had to be on the move again.

The Namekian’s lips pulled back into an angry sneer as he pulled back up into the sky, unable to spot the kid. Damn it, damn it, damn it…you’re gonna regret this kid, if it’s the last thing I ever do…

He closed his eyes and reached again with his mind, searching desperately for that tiny trace of ki, anything to let them know that Gohan was still okay. The thought that Gohan might not be well, or might not even be alive, actually had Piccolo somewhat scared. He didn’t know what he would do if something happened to Gohan. Especially something he should have noticed and could have prevented.

Still nothing. That meant that Gohan was too far away.

Damn it. Well, he can’t hide forever.

A thought struck him then, and he stopped in midair. He cleared his mind, formed his thoughts into a nice mental spear, and hurled it across the mind-to-mind bond that he and Gohan had shared for so many years. And Piccolo was quite pleased when he felt the thought go through.

Surprise, then, strangely enough, fear, then, *What do you want Piccolo?*

Thank Kami, Piccolo thought to himself before sending a response. *Where are you, kid? We need to talk. Right now.*

Alarm again. *Why?*

*Don’t play dumb, kid. You know why. Where the hell are you?*

*I can’t tell you,* came the reply, still fear-tainted. *I don’t want to talk.*

*Damn it, Gohan!* without meaning to, Piccolo exploded in a mental yell. *You have a problem, and running away isn’t going to solve it!*

Anxiety, panic, and something akin to guilt blended and came flying down the bond. *I…I can’t, Piccolo. I won’t. There’s nothing wrong. I don’t have a problem.*

Rage surged through Piccolo. *Then explain the razor blades to me. Explain your little message to me. Explain to me why you’re running away.*

Silence. For a minute, the Namekian was afraid he’d gone too far, and that Gohan had shut off the link. Then, *It’s none of your business what I do. It’s nobody’s business what I do.*

*That’s not true.* As soon as he’d gotten that first reply from Gohan, Piccolo had been following the mental signal from the bond, rather than a ki signature. It was getting stronger, which meant he was getting closer. He flared his own ki slightly in an attempt to alert Vegeta.

Sure enough, the Saiyan Prince appeared nearby not thirty seconds later. "What’s going on?"

No sooner were the words out of his mouth when that oh-so-precious energy signal they’d been searching for became painfully clear. They’d caught up to him, finally, and they weren’t going to lose him again. Piccolo grinned. *Hey kid, you might wanna watch out. It’s getting cloudy.*

A dry chuckle came back. *Yeah, sure.*

Clouds had moved in quickly, though not enough to block the sun. It was probably going to rain.

Piccolo broke the mindlink for a moment as he turned to call to Vegeta. "If he realizes we’re catching up and bolts, can you catch him?"

Vegeta smirked in all his arrogance. "Not a problem for a Super Saiyan."

He reconnected the link. *Gohan, just stop already.* A spasm of panic surged down the link, and Piccolo grinned. *Oh, did I mention that we found you?*

The link broke again, this time by Gohan’s choice, but it was too late for him. They had him.

Anger and fear mingled in Piccolo’s mind and spurred him on so that in a burst of speed he shot past Vegeta. The Saiyan Prince looked startled, then disgruntled, then transformed to a Super Saiyan and caught up, matching pace with the Namekian.

Suddenly Gohan’s ki did a nosedive. He’d gone down and was probably taking to the ground. At least down there he’d have a physical hiding place. The level of his ki also dropped. He was pushing it down as far as possible.

Piccolo and Vegeta exchanged a look and shot towards the energy mark, each silently vowing that the kid wasn’t going to get away again.