The Ballad of Gohan and Piccolo

Title: The Ballad of Gohan and Piccolo
Plot, or Lack Thereof: Filling in the blanks on how Piccolo’s rough edges got worn off by a certain “little snot”.
Reason for Banishment: Weak characterization.


Piccolo shut his eyes and tried to block out Gohan’s incessant screeching, but it didn’t work.  It was at times like this that he hated his great hearing: even miles away the brat’s high-pitch wail pierced his eardrums.  Sure, the kid was just four years old and Piccolo had abandoned him in the middle of nowhere, but it’s already been a week since that happened.

That stupid kid. Piccolo gritted his teeth.  What does he have to cry about this time?

After a few more moments, Piccolo decided that he wasn’t going to take this anymore: he would give the brat a good beating, then dump him on the island where Son Goku’s friends usually gathered.

The Saiyans can have this planet. Piccolo thought.

***

OWWW! OWWW! OWWW!” Gohan wailed, clutching his leg.

“Will you quit that?!?” Piccolo landed behind him.

“But it hurts!” Gohan sniffed, trying to control his sobs nonetheless.

“What hurts?”

“I fell and hurt my leg!” Gohan’s lip quivered, but stayed quiet because Piccolo glared at him.

“Just wash it with some water and it’ll be fine!”

“But it’s really bad!” Gohan showed Piccolo the injured leg: a large patch of skin had been scraped off, and it was now a bloody mess.

Piccolo stared at the wound.  That is pretty nasty. he thought.  I guess I’d better clean that up before it gets infected. “Fine.  Come with me.” He began to walk towards the nearest source of water.  He stopped, though, when he saw Gohan struggle to his feet and limp after him, not even daring to whimper─but his face betrayed the excruciating pain he was feeling.  This isn’t working. Piccolo realized.  He walked back towards Gohan and lifted him off the ground, then flew to a small stream.

Once there, he set Gohan onto the ground in a much more gentle manner than he’d dropped the boy off, then ripped a strip off of his cape and used it as a washcloth.  Next, he ripped off another strip of his robe and tied it around the wound.  (Gohan bit his lip throughout the entire procedure.)

“There.  Is that better?” Piccolo asked when he was finished.  Gohan nodded.  “Good.  Now maybe I can get some peace and quiet around here.” He levitated into the air.

“Thanks so much, Piccolo-san!” Gohan called after him.

***

The next few weeks went by in a rather quick and quiet manner, except when Gohan fell into a deep ditch.

WAAH!! I’M STUCK!!

A rope made out of vines was dropped from above; he grabbed it and held onto dear life as Piccolo pulled him out.

“Next time, watch your step.” Piccolo replied when Gohan tried to thank him, and vanished again.

***

Gohan had more mis-adventures after that, but Piccolo didn’t show up to help him.  The next time that Gohan saw Piccolo, he complained a bit about this, but he only got a glare.

“You can’t expect me to be your babysitter!” Piccolo spat, and was gone.

About a month and a half later, Gohan decided to explore the valley (since he was going to live here for a long time) and came across a large river.  Curious as to what was on the other side, he tried to get there by shuffling over the rocks.  About halfway across, though, he lost his footing and fell in.

“Help! HELP! HELP!” Gohan shouted, causing water to go into his mouth.  He choked and splashed as the river’s wild current threw him this way and that.  Suddenly he was pulled under, and for what seemed like forever he couldn’t breathe.  He felt himself losing consciousness.

When he woke up, he was on dry land.  He opened his mouth to speak, and coughed violently as more water came out of his lungs.  When he finally stopped, he noticed an angry Piccolo standing over him.

“Didn’t I tell you before to be careful?”

“I—I—”

“No excuses! Next time, even if you drown, I won’t save you, understand?” Piccolo stormed away.  True to his word, Piccolo never showed his face again, although sometimes Gohan thought he was being watched.  Still, Gohan missed having no one around.

***

As Piccolo watched Gohan outrun the unfortunate dinosaur and chop off its tail, he was amazed at how much progress the boy made.  Six months had passed since Piccolo had first brought Gohan here, and now, he was ready for some real training…

***

“Oooh.” Gohan moaned.  His entire body ached from the intensive training session Piccolo gave him.  Piccolo attacked him without mercy─and Gohan had a feeling that Piccolo had been holding back.  A lot.  “Oww.” He moaned again.

“Hmm. You’ve learned not to cry over every little thing.” Piccolo observed.

“Yeah.” Gohan smiled with pride.  He suddenly thought of something.  “Piccolo-san, have you ever fought with my dad before?”

“Yep, and the battle’s not over.” Piccolo smiled.  “After the Saiyans are taken care of, it will be his turn.”

“But!” Gohan began, confused.  “Dad said that you weren’t a bad guy anymore!”

“Hmph.”

“I think so too, even though Granpa and Mom are afraid of you.”

Piccolo clenched his fists.

“Actually, you’re an okay guy.” Gohan continued, unaware of Piccolo’s increasing anger.

“Shut up and go to sleep already!” Piccolo shouted.  “I won’t be so easy on you tomorrow!”

“Yes, sir!” Gohan replied, lying down.  Soon he was snoring away.

“Lousy kid.” Piccolo muttered, observing Gohan.

***

Gohan tried to be amicable towards Piccolo again, but he was rebuffed every time.  Still, Gohan felt himself growing more and more attached to Piccolo.  (And Piccolo was growing more and more annoyed at his young pupil.) Most of the time, though, Gohan and Piccolo just sparred.

One day, Piccolo was even tougher on Gohan than ever before.  When Gohan charged at him, Piccolo stopped him with a fierce punch that sent him flying into a cliff.

The sound of Gohan smashing into stone masked a sickening crack.

Still embedded in the wall, Gohan touched his left shoulder, which felt like it was being pierced a million hot needles, and realized that it was broken.

“Get up!” Piccolo commanded.  “Today’s training isn’t over yet!”

“Y-yes, sir.” Gohan pushed himself up with his good arm; Piccolo noticed the way his other arm slumped.

“You’re hopeless.” Piccolo told Gohan.  “Wait here.” He took of into the sky.  A little while later, he returned with a bag of something.  He reached into the bag, took out a bean, and tossed it to Gohan.  “Eat it.”

“Why?” Gohan turned the bean over in his hand.  “What is it?”

“Just eat it!” Gohan obeyed, and at once felt his shoulder heal and his strength return.

“Woah.” He whispered, testing his arm.  “Cool!”

“That’s called a senzu bean; it heals any injury instantly.  Now, let’s continue.”

“Continue?” Gohan repeated, horrified.  But Piccolo was already charging at him, so Gohan also leaped forward.

***

─Three Months Later─
“Good!” Piccolo shouted as Gohan’s punches rained on his arm.  “You’re learning how to control your energy!” After a while, Gohan jumped back and recollected his energy.  Just as he was about to attack again, Piccolo said: “That will be enough training for today.”

“Really?” Gohan dropped out of his battle stance.

“I said the training will stop, not the fighting.  I want you to attack me with all of your strength.”

“But─”

“Do it.” Piccolo ordered.  “Besides,” he added with a sardonic smirk, “you wouldn’t be able to hurt me if you tried.”

“Grr!” Gohan growled and launched himself at Piccolo, who was somewhat impressed with the boy’s speed and strength.  Of course, none of Gohan’s attacks were hurting him, though, and since Gohan was still concerned about injuring his mentor, Piccolo could block and dodge them with ease.  However, Gohan was starting to get frustrated that he was not getting any results and decided to surprise Piccolo with a few things he had learned on his own.  He feinted a punch and jumped back.

“That was a mistake!” Piccolo admonished, charging towards Gohan.  Gohan responded by raising his hands together, palms forward, above his head.

“HAA!” He shouted, shooting a small blast at Piccolo, who was too stunned to block.

When the dust cleared, Piccolo found himself on his rear end.

“Piccolo-san!” Gohan rushed to help Piccolo up.  “Are you all right?”

Piccolo batted him aside.  “I’m fine.  That whimpy attack of yours just caught me by surprise, that’s all.” He stood up.  “But I’m impressed that you were able to do it.  When did you learn that?”

“I practiced by myself.” Gohan beamed.  Piccolo then understood that in very little time off that he had given the boy, he had pushed himself even harder, and the energy blast was the result of that extra training.

“I’m very impressed.” Piccolo said, with lesser sarcasm.  “With a bit more practice you’ll be able to perfect that.” Gohan nodded.  “But you need to call it something other than ‘ha’.”

“I haven’t really thought of that yet.”

Piccolo smiled. The kid thinks I’m being serious! But that attack does need a name. He closed his eyes to think.

“Hmm.” Piccolo opened his eyes and smiled again.  “How about ‘Masenko’?”

***

That night, Gohan babbled incessantly until he realized that Piccolo was ignoring him, so he stopped.  As the night grew colder, Gohan snuggled closer to Piccolo for warmth.  Piccolo growled, but allowed Gohan to stay by his side.

“Piccolo-san, I love you.” Gohan sighed.

“‘Love’?” Piccolo raised an eyebrow.  “What the hell is that?”

“Well.” Gohan knitted his brows together, thinking hard.  “It’s sort of like you really like someone, and you care about them, and─”

“That’s enough.” Gohan stopped, but snuggled even closer to Piccolo.  Soon he was fast asleep.

Piccolo looked at the sleeping boy and thought about his words.

Do I care about him? He wondered.  Am I training him just to face the Saiyan? He didn’t understand the feelings that were going through him, ones that were completely different from the hatred and loneliness he felt before.

“Why do I feel like this?” He asked himself in a quiet voice so that he wouldn’t wake Gohan.  “I don’t like it.”

Is it ‘love’?

Piccolo looked at Gohan again.  He reached out and touched the boy’s hair, which was still soft and downy like a baby’s.  Gohan murmured something and wrapped his arms around Piccolo’s.

“I ‘love’ you too, Gohan.” Piccolo whispered.  “And I will take care of you. I promise.”

***

Another three months later, the Saiyans came—and Earth’s defense force failed.  Yamcha, Chiaotzu, and the Tien were all massacred.  And now, Nappa set his sights on young Gohan.

“Take this, kid!” Nappa shouted, charging at Gohan.

To everyone’s shock (including Nappa’s and Vegeta’s), Gohan stopped Nappa by kicking him into a mountain.

“Ooh! That does it!” Nappa yelled as he climbed out of the hole he had made.  “Nobody hits me, especially not a two-bit kid!” He began to form an enormous ball of energy in his hand.  “Die, brat!” He shot it at Gohan.

“Ahh!” Gohan, seeing the energy come at him, froze; he seemed to know that it would be useless to try to block or dodge.  He didn’t see someone running his way.

It hurts!
I’m stuck!
I’m not your babysitter.
Next time, you’ll just drown.
You’re not too bad of a guy.
Piccolo-san, I love you.
I’ll take care of you. I promise.

I promise.

Piccolo threw himself in front of Gohan.

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