Green Skies

Disclaimer: I do not own, nor have I ever owned Dragonball Z or any of its incarnations. I just like to play in their world.

He dreamed of a world with clear green skies. And in his dreams, the great oceans were a liquid green and dotted with islands covered in thick blue grass and rich soil. There were tall trees, with leaves that ran from aqua to deep blue, naturally forming a ball of foliage at the top of each smooth trunk. The world was uncomplicated. Days were spent planting and cultivating the future trees. The people were content. They smiled and worked. And they all looked just like him in their individual ways, from the youngest to the eldest. In his dream, he could feel the warmth of the sun. He could smell the familiar scents drifting by him. He heard the songs of the amphibians. He could see the crystalline ocean spray as the great fish leapt up for joy, and dove back down again. And he longed to touch the ground, to feel the soft grass, to let the sea water slip through his fingers and watch the drops send rings of minute waves rushing away. In his dream he could hear the music of his language as it soared from his people, lyrical and comforting, and he could see them gathered to celebrate their lives on their world. In his dream, he felt his heart swell as he looked on family and friends.

Piccolo's eyes opened.

The sky was blue, not green. He blinked his eyes. The grass beneath him was green. The leaves of the trees were green as well, varied shades of green, yet green. And these trees did not reach skyward on narrow, smooth trunks. Nor did the leaves bunch at the top in a ball of rich, shining blue foliage. There was no symmetry here. The trees varied in shape and size. And, he knew, there were islands here, but they didn't float in a sea of soft green. Instead, the oceans here were blue to match the sky. For a moment, confusion flooded his mind. This was all wrong. This wasn't...home.

But it was.

He didn't know that other world. That was Nail's world, and it was Nail's dream. He had no memories of Namek. He hadn't even known he was from that world until the Saiyans came. He had believed he was from this world. And he had lived alone and isolated here. He hadn't cared that the trees and grass were green, that the ocean was blue. He had paid no attention to the song of this planet's amphibians, nor had he noticed if a great fish leapt for joy from the blue sea to send crystal water splashing high. He had only wanted revenge. He had lived for it.

"Why didn't you go with them, Piccolo?" A quiet question. Black somber eyes set in a young face, staring up at him. A wish on the Namekian dragonballs had sent the others on their way to their new planet.

"Because of you, Gohan. Just because of you." He thought the answer that he hadn't given.

Why would he want to? When this was home to him, and always had been. He had just never realized it. Not until the sudden realization that the boy with the black eyes, the son of his lifelong enemy had somehow wormed his way past the hatred in his heart. The realization had been unexpected. The emotion he felt had been strange and alien. The boy had taken everything he had dished out to him. He had survived against odds the brutal training he had thrown his way. Yet he had always come back for more. He had called Piccolo friend, mentor, master. And Piccolo had learned a feeling that was more powerful than his own hatred. And in a split second he made a decision to die. It wasn't a rational decision. Rational would have been to let Gohan take the strike Nappa aimed at him. Rational would have been to stay alive for the sake of Kami and the dragonballs. But then, he hadn't exactly been rational since that Saiyan warrior had dropped out of the sky and claimed to be Goku's brother.

Piccolo's lips twitched into a wry smile.

He had joined forces with and helped his worst enemy defeat an even more powerful enemy. He had taken a screaming, whining kid and turned him into a warrior. He had seen respect and affection reflected back at him from those black eyes. And he had been shocked to find he felt the same emotions. He had found a purpose beside revenge. He had discovered someone who was more important to him than his own life. Did it matter so much which world he was on, as long as he was there to watch over Gohan? This was home, with its blue skies and seas, and its humans and their problems. Their problems, which had become his problems. Their world, which had become his world.

"Hey Piccolo! I'm ready! I'll get you today, you just watch." The boy's voice broke into his thoughts. He turned his head slightly in it's direction, letting his lip curl back from his fangs.

"You think so, kid?" He said in his rumbling deep voice. The answering grin was proof enough that while respect might be there, fear was not. Piccolo stood up.

"Sorry, Nail." He thought. You can have your dreams, but this is my world, and I plan on staying here. Gohan needs me."