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24 March 2007 @ 03:48 pm
A Price Paid in Blood, ch. 31 (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.



"Gohan, there is a reason I came back," Goku said levelly, aware that his son wasn’t happy about anything that was happening. "I’m here because I know what you’ve been doing. I know what’s going on, and I’m here because it’s kind of my fault that you feel the way you do. You’re not doing any good for yourself or anyone else by cutting yourself, son, and I want to help."

The teenager audibly snorted, something he’d probably picked up from Vegeta. "Well, you can’t."

"And why not?" Goku demanded, reminding himself to keep calm. But something about Gohan’s attitude was really getting to him.

"Because you don’t know me," Gohan growled, still facing away from his father.

"What do you mean? I know you—"

"No, you don’t!" the teenager snapped. "I hate to break it to you, but you have no right to interfere with my life anymore. It’s none of your business what I do."

Goku was silent, which surprised Gohan enough that he turned around to see what kind of a reaction his words had gotten—

—and felt the stinging impact of a hand across his face.

Gohan actually cried out in surprise. Did Dad just…slap me?

Apparently, Goku had, and he wasn’t done yet. He grabbed the front of his son’s gi and pushed the stunned teenager against the wall of the house. The look on Son Goku’s face was one Gohan had almost never seen—it wasn’t quite angry, it wasn’t quite sad, it wasn’t quite disappointed, it wasn’t quite anything, it just was. And it was directed straight at him.

Fear inched its way up Gohan’s spine. Maybe I went too far…no. I didn’t. He needs to know exactly what’s what now. I’m not backing down.

The Z fighters came running out of the house, apparently drawn by the sound of flesh hitting flesh, or perhaps Gohan’s cry, but father and son ignored them all. Goku moved forward until his face was about two inches away from his son’s, then said, in an even, too-calm tone, "I am your father, Gohan. It is very much my concern what you do."

At those words, the tedious hold the teenager had had on his temper snapped, and he felt his ki rising as he raised one fist and landed a perfect punch right on his father’s nose. Goku stumbled back, clutching his injured face, too surprised to even feel pain. While Goku tried to react, something within Gohan broke, and he made the transformation to Super Saiyan as he raged. "You’re my father, are you? Well then where the hell have you been for the last three years, Dad?" He put a sarcastic accent on the word ‘Dad’. "Why didn’t you want to come back, Dad? Maybe it’s because you didn’t care about us! Everyone else in the world mattered more to you than us! We’re your family, but we always had to take back burner to people who didn’t know you and wouldn’t remember you! All those times you went off somewhere else to train and left me and Mom all by ourselves. Piccolo was more of a father to me than you were. Hell, Vegeta’s a better father than you. At least he stays around with his family!"

In some part of his subconscious, he was vaguely aware that his mother, brother, Trunks, and Bulma were all crying, while everyone else was simply staring open-mouthed and wide-eyed. He also noticed that his father was looking stunned and stricken, and he took a certain amount of twisted satisfaction from the emotional grief he was putting his father through. And he wasn’t done yet. "You abandoned us! You abandoned me and Mom and Krillen and Yamcha and Piccolo and Vegeta and everybody! What about us, Dad? The things you cared most about were eating, training, fighting, and family, in that order. And if some new enemy showed up, then it was adios, amigos, gotta go save the world. You didn’t have to listen to Mom crying herself to sleep at night when you weren’t there, Dad. I did. And you didn’t have to listen to everyone cry when you said you didn’t want to be wished back. I did. You weren’t there for anything after crazy Uncle Radditz showed up. In other words, I had a father for four years and after that it was someone who was there every once in a while. How dare you think you have the right to ask anything of us, Dad? And look at this!"

Without even thinking, Gohan held up his arm, the one with a thin white scar tracing the line of the blood vessel, and shoved it right under his father’s nose, knowing full well it would hurt Goku and happy in that knowledge. "Are you proud of this? I did this because I couldn’t take it anymore, Dad. I’ve been doing everything. I’ve been studying, training, helping Mom, taking care of Goten, and everything else that needs to be done. I’m the only role model Goten’s ever had, and if I screw up, then he might end up getting screwed up. And you know what? I can’t do it! I am fourteen years old, with a past that includes things most people have only seen in their nightmares. I can’t handle it. And you—you were never there. Ever. You have nothing to do with me, and you have no right to try and help me, as you put it. I don’t need your help. I don’t want it. You leave us alone, leave my little brother with no father for two years, and then come back and think everything’s all right. Well it’s not. You chose not to come back, Dad. You didn’t even think about what we wanted. If there was a tougher enemy, we would have found some way to beat it! It wouldn’t have mattered! But no, you have to go be the world’s hero, and never mind what your family thinks. Forget about us, forget about the people who love you." Tears of anguish were streaming unnoticed down Gohan’s face now. "What about us, Dad? What about us?!?"

Throughout his entire outburst (if that word even begins to describe what had just transpired), Gohan was slowly and steadily moving forward, and Goku was slowly and steadily moving backwards, too much in shock to do anything about it.

By the house, ChiChi was screaming weakly for him to stop it, but he could barely hear her. She was crying too hard to put any force behind her words anyway. Bulma was clinging to Vegeta’s arm in something very much akin to fear, and the Saiyan was too stunned himself to even noticed. And the chibis were absolutely terrified, grasping whoever happened to be nearest them. For Trunks, it was his father, who once again didn’t even realize that there was anyone holding onto him. In Goten’s case, it was Piccolo, and the chibi was hanging on with a vengeance.

But it was Goku who had just borne the brunt of his son’s fury. How long had Gohan been holding that back? He’d been dead for three years, but that seemed like much more than three years worth of pain, grief, and rage. One thing he did know—he was fortunate that Gohan hadn’t attacked outside of shoving him once. If the teenager had decided to really go after him, Goku doubted he could have put up any semblance of an defense. And words failed him, he couldn’t say anything to even attempt to placate his son. In short, he was just as powerless as Gohan felt.

Suddenly, Gohan stepped back. He was breathing hard from the force of screaming. And the tears were still flowing freely from his eyes, although now he actually noticed them, and his shoulders were shaking with crying and anger. At his sides, his hands clenched into fists so tightly that his nails cut into his skin and drew blood. He looked down through his tears at the blood, and grinned sadistically. It was so twisted a smile that even Vegeta shuddered.

Without warning, Gohan wheeled around to face the rest of the assembled Z senshi. The smile vanished, and he snarled at them, "I hate you! I hate you all! You never cared what I wanted, it was always what everyone else needed or wanted me to be! When have I ever made a decision about my own life? Never. You never let me. I hate you I hate you I hate you!" He was still crying, harder now, and he spat the rage-filled words at him as if they had tasted bitter in his mouth. Finally, he put his face in his hands and staggered back a few steps, whispering between sobs, "I wish I was dead…I wish I was dead…"