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.
The next thing Gohan knew, the sun was up over the planet Earth. His eyes were burning, and his whole body ached. He uncurled himself from the tight little ball he’d fallen asleep in, and gasped as tense muscles were stretched for the first time in several hours. It hurt to move!
Almost instinctively he reached for a blade, but he made an unpleasant discovery.
They weren’t there.
He was positive that they’d been right next to him when he’d dozed off. So now where were they?
The answer suddenly became painfully clear. How could he have been so incredibly stupid?
Anger replaced sleepiness, and he got to his feet and stormed off.
Piccolo was on the other side of the lookout, hovering in his usual mode of meditation. He didn’t appear to notice that anyone had approached him, but Gohan knew better.
"What did you do?" the teenager snapped. His mentor opened one eye.
"To what?" Piccolo answered.
"You know damn well what I’m talking about," Gohan raged. "Answer me."
"You mean this?" Piccolo unfolded his arms, revealing a tiny white box in his hand.
"Yes, I mean that. Give it back," he demanded.
"Is it any of your business? Give it to me, it’s mine!"
Piccolo smirked and refolded his arms, keeping the prize in his hand. "I don’t see why I should give you the tools to hurt yourself. You remember what happened last night, I’m sure. When you tried to kill yourself and almost succeeded, you were scared. Just admit it." He had every intention of holding those damned blades over Gohan’s head if that was what it took to get the kid to talk.
"I won’t admit anything to you," Gohan’s anger was skyrocketing, and he was shaking. Why did he need this so badly? He needed to make that cut, and if Piccolo didn’t give him that box, he wasn’t above using his teeth and fingernails to tear his flesh open and let his anger flow away.
"Since when, Gohan?" for the first time since this conversation had started, Piccolo opened both eyes and turned to look his student in the eye. "When did you stop admitting things to yourself and to me? These big ears, as you so delicately put it, have to be good for something. If not listening, then what? I told you that if you had a problem, no matter what, I would listen to you and help you work through it when you needed it. You used to trust me. Did I do something wrong?"
Gohan actually looked taken aback. "I—no, you didn’t—"
He was cut off as Piccolo continued. "To be perfectly honest, Gohan, I’m feeling more then a little betrayed here. You told me that everything was fine, and I had faith in you. You said that those cuts on your arms were just because you’d gotten clumsy, and I believed you. You told everyone that you weren’t feeling guilty anymore and that you’d moved on, and we trusted you. And all the while, you’re sneaking around, slicing yourself up to try and make yourself feel better. Does that seem fair?"
"…no…" Gohan hung his head, his anger dissipating to be replaced by something very much akin to shame. "…it’s not fair at all…nothing’s fair…" He sat down on the floor and stared at the ground, trying to stop his hands from shaking.
"So does it make sense why everyone’s upset?" Piccolo had actually managed to get the kid to start thinking, and he wasn’t going to let up when he had the advantage. "You’ve been lying to us for Kami knows how long. And you must have known that what you were doing was going to hurt people. Otherwise, why would you have worked so hard to make sure no one found out?"
Gohan’s face burned, and he didn’t look up or respond.
"Didn’t I tell you that if you had a problem, you could come and talk to me, no matter what?"
The teenager nodded.
"Gohan, I don’t know what to do with you," Piccolo’s voice softened. "I guess I’m partially to blame for this. I should have figured it out when you stopped talking to me outside of training, and I should have known that you weren’t that clumsy."
Gohan’s head snapped up to stare at his mentor in disbelief. "No way! Piccolo…" his voice dropped to a whisper. "It’s not your fault."
Piccolo raised an eyebrow. "Really? It must be."
"No! Just blame me!" this was almost more then Gohan’s already chaotic emotions could take. "It’s not…" And on top of everything else, his hands were still shaking. He couldn’t stop. He needed to make a cut, and he needed to do it now. It was like a drug addiction.
Piccolo noticed the fact that Gohan was trembling, and said nothing, but instead observed. He had a shrewd hunch what was wrong, and wanted to see if he was right.
Gohan confirmed that guess. "Piccolo…I can’t control it…anymore…I need…to…"
A hand on his shoulder silenced him, and he looked up into his mentor’s face. "No you don’t. You don’t need to. You only think you do. And you can control it."
Gohan couldn’t help but feel like a crybaby as tears began finding their way out of his eyes and down onto his face. Gods, why couldn’t he stop crying? "I’ve spent my whole damn life helping other people fight their demons, deal with their problems. But when I need to face my own, everyone disappears, and I have to face everything by myself," he slumped forward and clenched his shaking hands into fists. "Why does everything I do hurt people, Piccolo?"
The Namekian shook his head. "That’s not true. What you’re doing now is hurting people."
"I don’t want to hurt people," the teenager shook his head fervently to accent his words.
"So what now?"
Gohan was silent for a minute. Piccolo waited patiently, and got the barest hint of a whisper.
"Can…you…" he faltered.
"Can I what?" Piccolo was determined to drag it out of him, with wild horses if necessary!
"Can…you…" Gohan closed his eyes and winced, as if waiting for some deadly blow.
For the first time in his life, Piccolo wanted to sing and dance for sheer joy. But instead, he just gave Gohan’s shoulder a squeeze. "Kid, all you had to do was ask."