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.
"Finally," Piccolo muttered, looking down at the sleeping figure beside him. It had taken eons to get Gohan to finally fall asleep, and he wasn’t sleeping well. Even now, his face contorted in his slumber, and he was already tossing and turning. After barely being asleep for ten minutes!
Dende and Mr. Popo had been making themselves scarce, leaving the quite unsavory task of handling Gohan’s situation up to Piccolo. He didn’t blame them, but at the same time he wasn’t sure he would have actually trusted anyone else with something this serious.
Gohan whimpered and rolled over, his head touching Piccolo’s knee. The Namekian shook his head sadly. Even in his sleep, Gohan didn’t get any relief.
Piccolo remembered their conversation from barely an hour ago…
"I can’t sleep anymore," the teenager had said, looking nothing less than miserable. "Nightmares, all the time."
"What kind of nightmares?" Piccolo had asked.
"Everything," despite the warmth from the sun, Gohan had shivered. "About half are the Cell Games. Most of those are Dad or Trunks dying, but they’re…different from how it actually happened."
"What Dad says is different. Instead of being so nice, he so…I don’t know…mean. He tells me he hates me. He tells me it’s my fault. I don’t like to sleep anymore. I can’t get away from it. I mean, I’m lucky if I get three or four hours most nights. When I can get away with it, I sleep during the day, but that doesn’t happen very much. I just learned to live with less sleep."
A soft cry from the teenager stirred Piccolo from his revery. He thought for a moment, then reached down and placed one hand on Gohan’s forehead. It was a good thing they had this kind of a bond, or he never would have been able to do this. Actually, under most under circumstances he wouldn’t have done what he was about to do.
Making use of the mind-to-mind bond he and Gohan had developed over years of friendship, he actually worked himself into Gohan’s mind so that he was just outside the nightmare. It was indeed the infamous Cell Games, and he could hear Goku’s voice, his last, kind words transformed into harsh words of hatred. And he could feel Gohan’s anguish.
Dreams, Gohan, Piccolo said firmly, using his mind, knowing that Gohan would be able to hear him. If you will them to disappear, they will.
After a few seconds, the nightmare faded and vanished. Satisfied, Piccolo withdrew from Gohan’s mind and back to himself. He gave himself a short moment to regroup and then looked down to see the results of his handiwork.
The expression on Gohan’s face was calm and relaxed. He didn’t toss or turn, and he didn’t whimper or cry out. The nightmare had passed; Gohan had willed it to pass.
Piccolo smirked. One down, the rest of the night to go. Feeling victorious, the Namekian settled himself in to wait things out.
Through the night, he stepped in to pull Gohan back from half a dozen nightmares. Each time, it seemed like he was needed less and less. Finally, just before sunrise, he had barely gotten into Gohan’s mind when the nightmare was gone.
Huh. Well, he always did learn quickly, Piccolo thought with a smirk, withdrawing from his student’s mind. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Not long after the sun had risen over the planet Earth, Gohan stirred, this time to wakefulness. He sat up, stretched, and yawned. Then he paused and put a hand to his forehead, his expression one of confusion. "Umm…Piccolo, what were you doing in my head?"
The Namekian frowned. "So you caught me, huh?"
"I guess so. What did you do?"
"Gave you a release. You fought off your own nightmares, kid."
Gohan tilted his head to one side. "I do feel…like I actually got some sleep, instead of just being only half awake," he said slowly, and then he grinned. "Thanks, Piccolo."
Piccolo half-smiled. "Well, that takes care of part of the problem. Now we have to get through the rest of it."