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24 March 2007 @ 03:49 pm
A Price Paid in Blood, ch. 33 (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.



It was raining again. A heavy rain with huge raindrops battering themselves against the window of the little Capsule house, making visibility through the glass next to nonexistent.

Gohan looked impassively out the window, though not really seeing much. He’d pulled that chair over to the window about an hour ago, about the time the rain had started, and he hadn’t moved since. It was much easier to just keep to himself and not speak to anyone then to try and explain what was going on inside his head. Or his heart.

Hushed whispers drifted within reach of his sensitive Saiyan ears, and the hearing instrument stretched out and snatched up the faint sounds, devouring and processing them. Even with his superb hearing he could still only pick up bits and pieces.

"…must do something…" "…bleeding inside…" "…won’t talk to anyone…" "…never said anything…" "…hurting everyone…"

A new strain of sounds also wafted to his range of hearing. The sound of two chibis talking with Yamcha, who had volunteered to try and keep the kids occupied while everyone else conversed. Gohan listened to the conversation of the younger pair with a little more interest.

"…big brother sad…" "…wrong with Gohan…" "…be okay…"

With a sigh, he finally blocked out the voices, letting his eyes unfocus. He wasn’t really looking at anything anyway. He was just sitting alone, legs crossed, one arm thrown carelessly over the arm of the chair, elbow resting on the other arm, chin resting in his hand in a thoughtful pose. He had even made a conscious effort to keep any and all expressions and emotions from his face. It seemed to be working well; from the snippets of conversation he’d picked up, they didn’t know what to make of him.

After the outburst with his father, he’d just clammed up, and no amount of pleading (his mother), cajoling (his father and Krillen), or threatening (Vegeta and Piccolo) could get him to say anything else. As far as Gohan was concerned, he’d already said far too much. Finally, they stopped asking and forcibly escorted him back inside, where he broke off and took up his current stance in the chair by the window, half-watching the rain hammer down.

The tapping of the rain against the roof and the darkness from the clouds overhead were strangely comforting. He’d cried; now it seemed as though the sky itself was crying as well. With the falling rain, a cloud of depression had descended on the house with a clunk, and he was determined to enjoy it and wallow in self-pity for a while.

Truth be told, he felt quite sorry for himself. No one understood him, no one would ever understand him, and before this, no one had really even tried to understand him, so what was the use in trying now? The only one he could rely on was himself, and nobody else. Not his father, not his brother, not Piccolo—nobody.

If he didn’t reach out, then he wouldn’t get hurt. If he stayed within himself and didn’t share, then no one could find out anything to use against him. Emotions were a weakness he couldn’t afford, everything except anger was just a defect that would get him eaten alive.

Piccolo had taught him that, all those years ago. Right after he’d lost his father. And he refused to say that it was when he’d lost his father for the first time, as so many others did. When Radditz had set foot onto the little island where Master Roshi lived—that had been the moment that Gohan had lost his father.

It dawned on him that he’d been using a lot of Piccolo’s old training lately—wilderness survival, suppressing his own emotions…those were the best lessons his former mentor had ever taught him. At least, that was how Gohan felt about it anyway.

And the rain continued to fall.

I’m alone, he decided morosely. I’ve been alone ever since I was four years old. And I’ll always be alone. Why fight it? Better just accept it. It’ll be easier. At that moment he made a solemn vow to himself. I won’t touch. I won’t let anyone get close. If I push them all away…if I stay alone, then I won’t get hurt again. Never again. I’ve been an idiot in my life, but no more. Son Gohan is through paying for everyone else’s mistakes as well as my own. They won’t let me die, they won’t let me leave, so I’ll stay. But I won’t make this easy for them. Oh no. They made me suffer all these years. Now it’s my turn to make them suffer. I’ve survived worse…loneliness won’t be so bad…

Though he had convinced himself of the promise he was making, he wasn’t quite sure if he believed the last part. But it was the only way. If he isolated himself…it would just make his life a whole lot easier. And maybe someday…he’d be able to get away…

"Made any breakthroughs?"

Gohan didn’t move a muscle, and he didn’t trust himself to answer.

Son Goku leaned against the wall beside the window, looking down at the stoic figure in the chair. "Gohan, you can’t sit there like that forever. Sooner or later you have to face it."

"Says who?" the words came out more bitterly than he had intended, but it was just too difficult to care at that point. And caring took up way too much energy.

"Don’t be like this, Gohan," Goku said, almost pleadingly. "You know we just want to help you."

"If you want to help me, then leave me alone," the teenager hissed, still not moving an inch.

Goku glared angrily at his son. "You’re being stubborn, Gohan. Stubborn and selfish."

"Yeah, so?"

Goku shook his head sadly and looked straight ahead, somewhere over the top of Gohan’s head. "I’m sorry things went so terribly that you ended up like this."

Gohan allowed himself the tiniest of victory smirks as Goku continued. "But what you’re doing isn’t going to change the past. All you can do now is try for the future."

The teenager moved his head ever so slightly to look up at the man before him. "That’s what I’m doing. It’s just that my method of making my own future isn’t what you guys wanted me to do. And that’s why you’re so freaked out. I’m making my own choice, and none of you can deal with that."

With a sigh, Goku apparently gave up and wandered back into the kitchen. A louder murmur of voices, then the hushed whispers resumed.

And Gohan refused to let himself care that he had just put a proverbial knife through his father’s heart. It no longer mattered if what he did hurt anyone else.

Yet somewhere, deep down, he wasn’t quite sure if he really believed that…