This is my first fanfic up at this site, so please review when you're done and let me know how I did.  Flames are welcome, as long as you don't become vulgar and degrading, and feedback is always good.  Thanks for bearing with me!

Disclaimer:  If I owned DBZ, I wouldn't be writing a fan-fiction about it, now would I?

Not So Simple

By: Dreamwraith

Some people call me the Demon King.  Some call me Ma Junior.  Others call me nothing at all.  The majority of the population of this world believes that I am a freak, something to degrade and despise.  A few know better, though, or at least think they know better.  To them I am simply Piccolo, the Namekian defender of Earth.

Well, perhaps not so simply.

I was "born" on the day my "father" died.  And it wasn't even a natural Namekian birth, either.  Not that I knew I was a Namek, but even in the egg I could feel it.  Something was wrong with my parent.  My very first experience with ki was at my father's death.  I can assume that much…in the egg, I could feel the anguish, the pain all around me, even though it was not mine.  Someone was being hurt, and that someone was dying.  From inside the egg, then, I felt movement.  Was I being lifted?  As a vague sense of urgency came to me from whatever was moving me, I was bombarded by emotions, memories that were not mine.  There was also an overwhelming need for revenge tied in with the intrusion, and I could not resist it.  What else would an infant not yet born do?  I accepted the charge given to me, of course.  This "Son Goku" must have done something very wrong.

As I accepted the fate forced upon me, I was hurled far from that angry, hurt presence.  Not long after that I hit something with a dull thud.  My eggshell cracked slightly, and I decided that I should probably leave it.  It would not be safe for much longer; the outside world is a dangerous place, as I found out many times over the next few years.  As I reflect upon the past now, I realize that had I been any other newborn on the planet, I would have had the sympathy of a thousand others.  But the instant I shattered that shell, I made known to the world that I was a demon.

Perhaps, had my father not charged me with the destruction of Son Goku, my appearances could have been overlooked.  I rather think not.  After all, who would trust a child who had just emerged from its protective shell looking like a demon?  A child with fangs, pointed ears, and dagger-like fingers?  A child with eyes that could bore into your very soul?  Within the first few moments of my life I had already experienced things that no child ever should…and yet I was not concerned.  My eyes, had any living thing come close enough to see them, already burned with hatred and anger.  I had to train myself to become stronger than Son Goku.  I had to kill him and anyone else who stood in my way.

For the first three years of my life I hid myself away from the rest of the world, especially from the one known as Kami.  We shared both a mental and a physical link, that much I knew, but he had his own ways of stopping me that did not involve death.  I shuddered to myself as I thought of the technique that had imprisoned my father and resolved to find a way to protect myself from it.  The Mafuba, it was called, and I loathed it almost as much as I did Son Goku.

I trained my body and mind, raised my ki.  I learned how to shoot energy from my hands and form it into a ball.  I could expand my body to gigantic proportions.  I could even listen in on conversations at distances that would have made them inaudible to the human ear.  I grew stronger and swifter.  If the memories imparted to me by my father served me correctly, I was faster than Son Goku and about as strong.  I continued my training to keep up with the pace set by that man, for our fateful battle was drawing near.

The Tenka'ichi Budokai.

Of course I mused to myself, what would I do once I beat him?  What purpose would I have once I killed Son Goku?  I decided that my second step would be to take over the world like a good villain should.  I could imprison Kami within his own glass jar for the rest of eternity while the world burned.

That all-encompassing day dawned hot and clear, and I entered the Budokai.  More than a few people gaped at me strangely, looking for all the world like beached fish as they opened and closed their mouths.  I suppose, though, that I am rambling about an unimportant detail.  I won my first match against a monk named Kuririn without much difficulty, and my second match went much the same.  That second match I fought against Kami in disguise.  He tried to use the Mafuba on me, and I turned it back on him and trapped him in the jar meant for me.  Then I swallowed it and walked out of the ring, knowing that the man I hated most would be my next, and final, opponent.

My fight against Son Goku was the all-consuming moment that I had trained for my whole life.  Two equals, head-to-head for the title of Champion.  Even though I was aiming to kill and he was not, it was still a matched fight.  I even called his bluff as he pretended to be unconscious.  This couldn't be the same man that had destroyed my father!  He was such an idiot!

My cockiness was probably what had doomed me.  I will not speak of how he managed to free Kami.  It will more than suffice to say that I will no longer expand my size in front of that man again.  The experience was very unpleasant.  And that is an understatement.  I will also say that the battle was embarrassing toward the end.  Yes, he did triumph, and yes, he did spare my life, even braving the "wrath" of Kami to do so.  I don't like to be dependent on others, and yet I needed the man I hated most to help me.  Upset is also an understatement.

For the next five years I trained harder than ever.  I wanted to beat him into the ground so badly I could taste it.  Each punch brought with it a mantra and a rhythm: kill Son kill Son kill Son.  I was the Demon King, and I refused to be beaten by a mere human.  Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have taken him as lightly as I had.

At night I would reach out with my mind and probe his thoughts.  I didn't get caught, of course; his mental discipline was too underdeveloped for that.  I learned much from him.  I learned where his friends lived, how strong (or weak) they had become, and that he had a son, named after his grandfather.

I spent many weeks pondering my course of action.  I couldn't attack his household directly because of the child; Son's wife was the warrior-woman from the tournament, Chi-Chi, and she would fight to the death for the infant.  I couldn't attack the old man and the monk because the old man knew the Mafuba, and the monk could protect him long enough for him to carry out the attack.  Tenshinhan and the emperor posed the same problem.  Yamcha, I decided, would be my first target.

And when Son Goku came to find out what had happened to his friend, I would be ready and waiting for him.

Ah, sweet revenge.

That time never came, much to my disappointment.

There was a second battle with Son Goku, but I did not fight against him.  A powerful warrior named Radditz landed on our planet five years after the Budokai.  Blast that man.  He came looking for a Saiyan named "Kakarot."  That's when I learned that Son was not human after all, but a member of a near-extinct species of warriors called Saiyans.  And that strange man was his older brother.

He was so much more powerful than both Son and I.  I knew it, and I was sure Son knew it, too.  Nevertheless, I confronted Son about the situation.  This foreigner was a hindrance to both my plans and whatever plans Son had (he had gone so far as to kidnap his son, Gohan), and he needed to be dealt with.  He was a threat, this Radditz.

I refuse to admit that I needed Son's help in this battle.  We confronted Radditz on an open field, and within the first few minutes of battle I had lost my arm to an energy blast.  No matter then, I could regenerate it, but the process would take time that I, that we didn't have.  I instead told Son to attack him while I charged up my most powerful energy attack.  I called it "Makkankosappo," and it spelled death to my enemies.  How ironic…I had invented the attack to kill Son, and I was using it to aid him.  Kami must have been laughing very hard up on his Lookout.

I missed.

Son Goku "distracted" Radditz long enough for his son, barely out of toddlerhood, to blast his way out of his containment and very nearly kill the older Saiyan.  I was completely shocked.  A child had enough power to kill a man that two adults could not!  Even so, it took me a few more minutes to charge up the energy beam again.  This time Son held his brother in one place, and my attack mortally wounded both of them.

Sweet success?  I would think not.  As Son lay dying in a pool of his own blood, I finished off the arrogant Saiyan, who hissed that two stronger, tougher Saiyans would come to the Earth within one year.  The monk, the old man, and the blue-haired woman named Bulma arrived on the scene, crying for their fallen friend.  Feh.  I stood off to the side and watched as Son breathed his last.

I felt nothing at his passing.  Surely, you would think, I would have felt some triumph at achieving my life-long dream?  Alas, it was not to be.  I almost felt pity for him then, and something else.

Every time I reflect back upon this day, I become more and more convinced that it was the day I began to change.  The first thing that tipped me off was that Radditz's soul was able to pass on into the Afterlife, despite the fact that the spirits of those killed by demons are never allowed to rest.  They are doomed to spend the rest of eternity roaming the Earth and seeking release from their never-ending torment.  The other thing was my lack of hatred toward Son.

I, Piccolo, son of Daimaou and thus a Demon King myself, no longer hated Son Goku.  I did not like him, but I did not hate him.  I think this may even be the primary reason for my own abduction of his son.  True, I wanted my own prodigy and my own legacy left behind on this planet, for I felt a sense of urgency as the days waned on.  It was just as true that I felt the hidden power inside the child and wanted its potential to be realized.  I will not admit it openly, but my actions may have been influenced by my pride.  Son Goku had died a warrior's death, and it would be fitting to honor his memory by training his son to uphold the same standards and sense of honor and duty.

So I took the child away and I trained him.  I trained him to be brave and strong, and I found that no matter what I did to him, he still remained innocent and pure.  That kid even taught me, a demon, how to love.  My father would be turning over in his grave if he knew that, but I don't really care.  That kid was the best thing that ever happened to me…

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"Piccolo-san!" Gohan shouted across the Capsule Corp complex.

The Namek opened one eye irritably.  His meditation had been disturbed for the fourth time within the last hour, and he was not pleased.  Still, this was Gohan, his student, and he had proven several times within the last four days that he was more than deserving of at least a few minutes of his sensei's time.  "What?" he growled as he unfolded his arms and legs and floated to the ground.

Gohan and a young Namek, Dende, ran through the gathering mass of planet-less Nameks on the field and stopped under the tree in front of Piccolo.  "I caught a butterfly, Piccolo-san!  Would you like to see it?"  They then proceeded to open their eyes as wide as possible and grin at him.

Piccolo wanted to tell the two dancing children in front of him to go harass someone else.  He was the second-most powerful person in the entire complex at the time, but if the children bothered Vegeta, the Saiyan prince, they would likely be splattered across the wall faster than Kuririn could dive for cover.  "All right," he said with a sigh.  "Let me see this – HEY!"

Piccolo learned a very important lesson that day: never trust grinning children.  Especially grinning children hiding water in their hands.  He glared at them as they ran back to the other side of the yard and hid behind a bush, laughing and screaming the whole way and attracting curious stares from most of the Nameks.  From what he could hear, Kuririn was in on the act, too.  He sighed again and wiped the water from his face.

Out of the corner of his eye, Piccolo even caught Vegeta smirking at their antics.

If it had been even a few months earlier, he, like Vegeta, would have splattered them across the lawn.  If it had been a few months earlier, he would have grabbed them and threatened them into never doing it again.  A few months earlier, none of them would have been brave enough to even approach him.

I suppose this is how soft I've really become.  I'm not quite so simple any more, now am I? he mused to himself as he settled back into his meditative state.  Even Kuririn counts me among his friends now.  I, the King of Demons, have friends and allies.  To them, I am not a freak but a person, a living being, and one to be accepted.  They can accept me as I am, but will they really understand me?  Is it even possible?

Friend?  Yes.

Ally?  Yes.

Simple?  Never.

THE END.