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.
I can’t believe I’m actually doing this, Gohan thought unhappily. His mother had basically kept him under house-arrest since his father’s departure the night before. The day had been spent studying, keeping Goten occupied and answering the child’s questions (the chibi’s curiosity as to his father had been tripled since he’d actually met the man), and trying to convince his mother that he wasn’t going to try and kill himself again. It was nearing dusk, and he’d finally managed to get away from his mother to go see what Piccolo wanted.
He swooped down. He was almost there, and anxiety was starting to knot his stomach. But all too soon, he didn’t have time to think about it anymore because the waterfall came into view, and hovering next to it was Piccolo in his standard posture of meditation.
Gathering his nerve, the teenager flew over to levitate beside his old sensei. He assumed a meditation pose not unlike Piccolo’s and waited for his presence to be acknowledged, as he knew it would be when Piccolo was ready.
Sure enough, after a very short moment, the Namekian opened one eye and glared lazily at his old friend. "What took you so long?"
"Mom wouldn’t let me leave," Gohan replied with a shrug. "So...you wanted to talk to me?"
"Yes, I did," Piccolo opened his other eye then and turned his head to speak to Gohan face-to-face. "I wanted to know how you’re doing, for starters."
"Me?" Gohan actually stuttered. "Me, I’m fine. Never better. Nope, doing just great, everything’s fine..." he glanced at Piccolo’s face, and suppressed a smile at the expression he saw there. "...you’re not buying this, are you?"
"How about no."
"I really don’t know," Gohan opted for the honest response. "I’m so confused. I was so happy to see Dad again, but...gods, I just wanted to kill him! He made me so mad, just marching back in like he knew everything about me. But then it was so hard to say goodbye...and Goten won’t stop asking me questions about our father, and Mom seems to think that if she takes her eye off me for more than two seconds, I’ll try to blow myself up or something. She doesn’t trust me anymore, Piccolo."
"Does she have a reason to?" Piccolo countered, knowing that the truth would be best in this case.
"Not really, and I know that," Gohan sighed, rocking back a little bit. "I really blew it this time, huh? I mean, everything that’s happened in the past few days has been because I ran out on my mother when she found out something I didn’t want her to know."
"But if ChiChi hadn’t found out, then it would probably still be going on," the Namekian was quick to point out. "And who knows what would have happened then? We might not have known until after you’d killed yourself or something."
Gohan shrugged. "I guess it was bound to happen eventually. But I really screwed up everything for everyone this time. Nobody could even be that happy about Dad coming back because they all knew he was here because of my problem and the fact that I’m so screwed up..." his voice trailed off, leaving a very heavy silence hanging between them.
Piccolo broke it. "So tell me truthfully, kid. Would you ever do something like that again?"
To his surprise, Gohan actually smiled—a real smile, nothing forced about it. "I don’t think so, Mr. Piccolo. Not that stupid anymore, sir."
The stoic Namekian permitted himself to have the tiniest of grins at the use of the honorifics. Up until recently, Gohan hadn’t called him that for a long time, and even recently, the few uses of the respectful nickname had been to purposely see how much he could hurt his old friend. Piccolo made an attempt to smother his smile and growled, "Aren’t you a little old for that?"
"Well, if I’m too old, then why do you still call me kid?" Gohan retorted.
"Touché," Piccolo muttered. "So if something’s wrong, what are you going to do instead of slicing yourself up?"
Gohan rolled his eyes with the air of a child who’s heard a lesson far more times than he wants to. "I’m going to talk to someone and tell someone what my problem is.
"And what are you not going to do?"
"Bottle it up," the teenager sighed in mock-annoyance and then, more subdued, "or cut."
"Good. Don’t you dare forget it, or I swear by all that is holy I’ll take it out of your hide, kid," Piccolo growled as menacingly as he could manage.
Gohan grinned. "Yes, sir."
They sat in silence for a while. Then it was Gohan who spoke first. "Hey, Piccolo, there’s one thing that’s still kinda bothering me."
"Well...I told you guys what I saw when I...almost died," now that it was all over and done with, talking about it made him feel quite embarassed. "You know, the whole life-flashing-before-my-eyes thing. Well, there was something I saw in those visions that just doesn’t make any sense."
"What was that?"
"It was...it was a girl. I’ve never seen her before. It was so weird. I don’t have a clue who she is, but it felt like I know her. She was older than me, I know. Maybe eighteen or nineteen or so. Black hair, blue eyes...really pretty," Gohan felt himself blush when he thought about it. "And she was talking to a guy. He was maybe the same age, really tall. He had black hair too." It amazed Gohan how easily he was able to recall all this information, things he had seen for not even half an eyeblink. Yet it was so clear in his mind, like he was looking at a photograph.
"And you have no idea who either of them were?" Piccolo queried, looking both intrigued and perplexed at what Gohan was describing.
Gohan shook his head. "Nope. I don’t know who they were, but they were both really really familiar. It felt like I should know who they were, though."
"Well, don’t let it bother you," Piccolo advised, not sure what to make of it himself. "You’ll probably figure it out someday."
"Yeah...I bet you’re right," Gohan nodded his agreement. "Well, I’d better head home before Mom has a cow. She wasn’t going to let me leave at all, but Goten convinced her. Gods, I love that kid."
"I know. Take care, kid. Be smart."
"Will do." Gohan unfolded his legs out from under him and took to the air.
Unbelievable, he thought, feeling the wind rush through his hair. It feels like the entire world’s turned upside down...but it’s only been three days since Mom walked into my room and found out my secret. In three days, I went from a bearable life to a living hell of an existence, and now I’m on the way back. I ran away twice, was brought back twice, attempted suicide twice, my father came back, I nearly killed him, and everything came out into the open. And through the whole thing, all I could think about was cutting and making sure that everyone else hurt as much as I did. Well, congratulations, Gohan. You accomplished that quite nicely.
He twisted in the air and flew lower to the ground, under some low tree branches, then swooped up towards the sky.
And I know Piccolo’s right. I shouldn’t think about whoever those people I saw were. I don’t even know why it bothers me so much. Oh well. I’d better hurry. Mom’s gonna freak out if I’m not home soon. And Goten’s gonna want his bedtime story.
The clouds parted to let him pass as he shot above them, sending little puffs of pastel-dyed fluff all over in his wake. It was nearing nightfall.
A small smile pulled at his face, and he allowed it to rest comfortably on his face. Goten...gods, kiddo, I owe you more than I think you’ll ever know. You saved my life, little brother. And you probably won’t even remember it when you get older. I wonder if I’ll ever get up the nerve to tell you what really happened over these past few days. Maybe. Someday, when you’re old enough to handle it. And who knows when that’ll be? In the meantime, I think I’d better get home before Mom panics and you get upset because your big brother isn’t there to tell you a story.
The thought of his little brother cheered him immensely. He couldn’t wait to get back to his house.
Rolling over so that his face was up, he looked at the sky. The sun was sinking behind the horizon, and the sky was dyed in a rainbow of bright and pastel colors. Mother Nature had to have used nearly all of the shades of red, orange, pink, and yellow on her colossal pallet to create such a breathtaking sunset. The last rays of warmth fell on his face, and his smile grew wider as he dropped back down beneath the thin, colorful layer of clouds.
He glanced back over his shoulder in the direction he had just come from. Thanks, Piccolo. It might not be all right now, but it will be.
With a sigh that was partially happy and partially sad, Son Gohan turned his face away from the sunset and towards home.