Fandom: Dragonball Z
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements)
Publish Date: 8/13/2002 to 11/4/2002
Disclaimer: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I do not own DBZ.
Gohan unconsciously took a step back, then realized that Vegeta was still standing there. He was barricaded on all sides, both by people and stone walls.
"Gohan, don’t do anything foolish," Piccolo said softly. "Let’s just go back. Your mother’s worried about you."
"So is Bulma," Vegeta added.
"I’m not going back!" Gohan’s hands unwittingly clenched themselves into fists. He took another step back, putting himself within reach of Vegeta without even realizing it. Unfortunately for Gohan, Vegeta noticed, and struck.
Gohan felt the blow coming and dodged at the last second, putting himself right in the line of a punch from Piccolo. Twisting his back he managed to dodge that one too, and grabbed Piccolo’s arm.
"I’m sorry to do this, Piccolo," he whispered as he spun around and hurled Piccolo into Vegeta as hard as he could. They both went flying backwards several feet and landed hard, allowing Gohan just enough time to start running.
"Gohan!" he heard Piccolo yelling after him, but he ignored it and kept moving as fast as his legs would carry him. He wove in and out of crowds, down streets, running deeper and deeper into the city.
When he finally stopped, he was about ready to just sit down and cry. They’d found his message, he knew they had, so why the hell were they still chasing him down? He didn’t want to fight them. Besides, why was everyone making such a big deal out of the fact that he’d found a way to control his anger at the world and himself?
Hunched over, hands on his knees, he bit his lip hard enough to draw blood, and found himself reveling in the pain. But the tears that were beginning to sting his eyes were a kind of pain he didn’t want.
He stood there like that for a long time, his breathing fast and irregular. When he finally stood up, he looked around at where he’d ended up. He was standing next to a store with a large window, displaying different electronic devices. Deciding he wasn’t interested, he started walking around, with no particular destination in mind. Different thoughts chased themselves around his mind.
None of this would be happening right now if Mom had just stayed out of my room, he thought bitterly, biting tears back once again. Why was she looking through my stuff anyway? He replayed the evening in his mind. He’d gone into his room…locked the door…then Goten knocked…
It hit him like a bolt of lightning. How could he have possibly been that incredibly stupid? He’d left the evidence right out in the open, and unfortunately it had been the one time his mother had gone in there. He cursed at himself mentally, and used his fingernails to reopen the cut he’d made on his arm only a little while earlier, reveling in the pain and the blood. In the process, he stopped really paying attention to what was going on around him.
Then something else hit him like a bolt of lightning. Namely, Vegeta, slamming him backwards into a wall hard enough to crack the stone. His head struck the concrete first, and he actually saw stars. They’d ended up on a deserted street in one of the older areas of town, so there weren’t many people around, and those that were either ignored the attack or were frightened and got as far away as possible.
Vegeta chuckled. "Gotcha. So, what do we have to say for ourselves?"
Gohan shook his head, trying to get rid of the stars that were flashing in front of his eyes. "I have absolutely nothing to say to you. Now let go of me."
The Saiyan Prince smirked, and surprisingly enough, let him go. "So you’re still going to take that attitude. What the hell is wrong with you?"
"It’s not what’s wrong with me! It’s what’s wrong with everyone else!" Gohan snapped, something within him finally giving way for all his chaotic emotions to come spilling out in his next few sentences. "No one understands me! Why in the name of Kami does everyone have a problem with the fact that I found a fairly simple way to control something in my own life. I control my own pain, and I control my anger. It’s my choice, Vegeta. Not yours, not Bulma’s, not my mother’s. And," he folded his arms and raised his chin defiantly, "I’m not hurting anyone else."
"Hmph. That’s what you think," Vegeta growled, leaning against the wall in his trademark stance. "I know for a fact that what you’re doing is in fact hurting your mother, and even though I don’t like the woman, I think she deserves a little respect for everything she’s done for you. Your little brother will be quite upset if something happens to you. Bulma thinks of you as a son, so you’re hurting her. Shall I keep going? I’m sure there’s plenty more."
Gohan turned around so Vegeta wouldn’t see him flinch under the weight of those pitiless words. Unfortunately for him, being in one place for so long had given Piccolo time to make the scene once again. The Namekian had arrived in time to hear Gohan’s impassioned speech, and Vegeta’s response. He’d seen the expression on Gohan’s face while Vegeta was talking, and decided that it was the right time to step in.
"What about your father?" Piccolo asked softly, sorry to do this to the kid. Sure enough, Gohan whirled around to face him, his expression a mixture of shock, grief, and rage. But Piccolo tried his best not to be affected and continued. "Do you think your father would want you to do this to yourself, kid? I very much doubt it. What do you honestly think your father would do right now if he saw you standing here like this, running away from everyone who cares about you, telling lie upon lie, with blood running down your arm from a cut you made. I think he’d be disappointed. And I agree with Vegeta. You’re completely blind to anything but yourself right now, Gohan. Look past the end of your nose."
The demi-Saiyan stared at his mentor for a moment, as if completely unsure of what to do next. Then he turned away again, wrapping his arms tightly around his stomach, trying to block out an iciness that was coming from within.
"We got your little message, Gohan," Vegeta sneered. "And do you know what the woman would have done to me if I had actually followed those instructions? I’d be playing harp duets with Kakarott!"
"And," Piccolo continued sternly, "my ears aren’t that big!"
To his surprise, Gohan actually laughed. He laughed. He unwrapped his bleeding arm from around his stomach, revealing a large red stain on his shirt. As he leaned against the wall, he put his forehead in his blood-covered palm, and the laughter changed as the tears he’d been fighting back for so long came through in gut-wrenching sobs.
Piccolo and Vegeta both stood stoically as Gohan finally sat down and cried. After a few minutes, the sobs began tapering off, growing softer and softer. Finally, they stopped altogether.
The Namekian leaned down to check it out, and stood back up to face Vegeta. "He fell asleep. The damn kid fell asleep. Unbelievable. He wore himself out."
"Should we take him home?" Vegeta actually looked unsure of himself.
"Not like this," Piccolo answered, shaking his head. "In this state, too many people would get way too upset. I know where we can take him to get him patched up." And put the broken pieces of his soul back together, if we can. Damn it, Gohan, why didn’t you talk to us?