Fandom: Dragonball Z
Publish Date: 9/3/2002
Disclaimer: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I do not own DBZ.
It’s finally happened, Piccolo.
The kid grew up.
He was just a child when you first saw him, four or five years old at most. A lost, frightened child, alone except for the being that had killed his father. Admit it, Piccolo—you enjoyed seeing him so scared, so vulnerable. You fed off that fear. You trained him to fight the Saiyans. It started out with you teaching him, but somewhere along the line that changed, and he taught you a thing or two.
One year later, you died for Son Gohan. You, the incorruptable evil, jumped in front of a blast to save the son of the man you’d spent your whole life hating. What were you thinking?
On Namek, were you surprised? He nearly defeated Frieza all by himself. When Frieza managed to throw the blast back at him, you saved him again. That seems to be your purpose—to watch Gohan’s back and save his butt when it’s necessary.
The Cell Games. Kami…you weren’t sure if he’d survive, were you? You’d been trying to get him to harness that power for as long as you’ve known him. It only took him seven years to get it. But when his father died…did you think he would ever recover? No, Piccolo, you didn’t. Gohan was shattered almost beyond help by that terrible experience.
But he did recover. You should have known better than to expect that he wouldn’t; he’s stronger than that. It took a little help and a lot of love from all his friends and family to put him back together.
Then one day, you turned around and it hit you, Piccolo. Gohan grew up. Eighteen years old, and nearly as tall as you are. A child no longer, if he ever was a child in anything but body. He lives for himself now, himself and his family. He juggles school, home, friends, family (that kid must be the most devoted older brother alive), the occasional sparring match with you, and that girlfriend of his. Whether he’ll admit it or not, he cares very deeply for her. Anyone can see that. And you have to admit it—they are a good match. Videl is tough and smart. Could you honestly picture anyone different for Gohan?
Time to face facts. He doesn’t need you anymore. Oh sure, he comes by for a sparring match every now and then, or drops by to keep you updated on everything that’s happening in his life, but Gohan is an adult now, and good ol’ Mr. Piccolo will eventually fade into the background, merely a fond memory.
An all-too-familiar ki signature caught Piccolo’s attention, but he didn’t move or betray that knowledge. Instead, he stared straight ahead at the river in front of him, waiting until the presence was just behind him…ready to strike…
"Don’t even think about it," he growled just before the blow fell.
He was rewarded with a sheepish chuckle. "I can’t ever sneak up on you, can I?"
"Not a chance."
Gohan thumped down beside the Namekian. "Why?"
"I practically raised you, kid. I know you too well for that," Piccolo smirked. "Actually, I believe I know everything."
"Yeah, right. You’re no fun," the eighteen-year-old feigned a pout, then grinned. "Feel like sparring a little?"
"Sure, kid," Piccolo sat unmoving for a moment as the teen jumped up and took to the air.
Slowly, he smiled.
In the water, his reflection smiled back.
Or maybe you’re wrong, Piccolo.
So this is what it feels like to be a parent.