Disclaimer: Don't own DBZ or DBGT.
A/N: I should be working on my multiple chapter story "How Things Change"…but I'm going to be mean. Oh well, hope ya'll don't mind.
Honestly, I can't remember if this would be considered GT or still in the DBZ time-range, but Pan is about two-ish. This will extend past chapter one, but not very far. It's just too dang long to make a one-shot.
Sorry, I'll stop babbling now. Enjoy!
"Please, no!" She pleaded, blood running freely down the corners of her mouth. The girl was young, too young. She couldn't have been more than thirteen, he doubted she could be older than that.
"Pathetic human." He said. It wasn't his voice though, it couldn't be his voice. It was too harsh, too cruel. Too evil. That wasn't him, not now, not anymore. That was someone else, something else.
"No." She cried, writhing against his iron grasp. He let go and she immediately fell backwards, sprawled on the concrete floor.
Eyes wide and face bruised she stared up at him, her fear so intense it was almost tangible. He didn't move, he just watched with inner amusement as she shakily stood, slowly backing away from him. She looked to the left and then to the right, but there was no escape for her.
"Run." The demon said, the tiniest of grins tugging at the edge of his lips. But, no one knew his face well enough to recognize it.
The smallest shimmer of hope crossed her face and she darted off in the opposite direction. He could hear her breathing in raged, tired gasps. And then he lifted his hand. She'd barely made it a few yards away, but it was still engaging to see her try. One thing the humans did have was will, and a lot of it. To bad they were too weak, and stupid, to know what to do with all that will power, they might just have some potential otherwise.
With the slightest of ki blasts he snuffed out her life, and there was nothing that remained of her. His aim was perfect, his technique flawless. He was the embodiment of Sinicism, unparalleled evil with no thoughts of remorse or compassion. He was perfect.
Another ki blast knocked out a building to his left, the flames were brilliant. The humans were screaming, running, trying to get away. The fools, they couldn't escape. No one could, the world was his. He would bring a reign of terror to this planet like nothing the mortals had ever seen.
Death. Pain. Fear. Hatred. Anger. The emotions that circled and churned inside his soul, keeping him the Demon he was. Evil's muse and sin's incarnate, sweet bitterness. How utterly ironic.
"Three…two…" He sent a deadly ki blast into the crowd of stampeding humans. "One."
Then there was laughter, and it shook the very ground beneath his feet. It was as though the Earth itself trembled below him, his terrible presence causing the planet's core to shudder. And it amused him all the more.
Piccolo's eyes were open wide, the rapid beat of his own heart pulsed at the tips of his ears. He felt sweat run down the side of his face, past his cheeks and onto the marble floor. Dende was standing in front of him, a worried expression on his face. Piccolo scoffed and stood up, but didn't tower over his Namekian junior as he once had. Dende had grown too much, he wasn't the child he once was.
"Piccolo-sama, is everything okay?" He asked.
"Fine." Piccolo grunted in response, trying earnestly to shake off the after-effects of his nightmare. Kami, he thought he'd long since outgrown those.
Dende half turned and took a few steps toward the sanctuary, but still watched his older friend.
"You're sure you're alright?" He asked. "You almost seemed-"
"I said I'm fine." Piccolo barked, walking to the edge of the Lookout.
"Alright, if you say so." Dende said, walking away from Piccolo and into the darkened sanctuary.
"Piccolo, perhaps talking about your nightmares would help in relieving them." Mr. Popo said, walking away from his plants with a water bucket in hand.
"What would you know." Piccolo said flatly.
"I remember when Kami would be as frightened as you were just then, his nightmares often had him upset and fearful for days."
"He was weak." Piccolo said, looking over the edge and out into the cloudy vastness.
"Physically weaker than you, yes. But not weak-minded. Just be careful not to keep everything bound-up inside of you, you will gain nothing from-"
"Shut up, I didn't ask for a lecture." Piccolo said, turning to scowl toward the genie.
Mr. Popo shrugged and turned to walk back to his plants. He didn't push his point, and he didn't try to make Piccolo change his mind. That was how Mr. Popo was, he didn't try to make people see his way. But Piccolo watched him walk away, contemplating what the man had said. Perhaps he did need to tell someone, but he couldn't talk to just anyone.
But he did know the one person he could tell.
Piccolo powered up and took off, down toward the Earth's surface. He didn't even have to think about where he was going, or how to get there. He knew too well just how far away his friend was, and he hoped it was a good time to see him. Though it had been quite a while since he'd set foot on that lawn, he knew Gohan wouldn't mind the intrusion.
It had been a long time since they'd seen each other. Gohan was busy, life had taken over. He had a family, job and home to take care of, and no time for visiting an old, childhood teacher. No time for a trip to the lookout, or going to the desert for a friendly spar. Simply no time for the past, really.
Kami, how did things turn out this way? Piccolo slowed down and contemplated turning back, what purpose did he serve in Gohan's life now anyway? Certainly not 'sensei' anymore. Wasn't is just yesterday he was a pint-sized, "mop-top", mini-me, following in Piccolo's every step? Who adored every word (few as they may be) that Piccolo directed toward him, and managed to escape his mother's watchful eyes every so often, always coming to spend time with his teacher.
Time simply went by too quickly. It didn't seem like so very long ago Gohan was a child himself, and now he had one of his own. Pan, the small but feisty little girl was completely taken with her grandfather Goku, and Goku was wrapped around that child's finger. Young as she may be, for she was no more than two, she loved to fight. She wanted to be a warrior like Goku, and Goku liked the attention.
Who could blame the man, Piccolo had liked the attention of a child too. The attention and care of one child had caused Piccolo to give up everything he knew and wanted, even his own life. Gohan's affection and respect had done what nothing else could, and Piccolo remembered it all. Every mock-bow and salute, every joke and teasing remark, his wild hair and big eyes.
He remembered the chunky little boy who stole his wardrobe, who fought along side him through battle after battle. Every endearing look of a student to his beloved mentor; every stout laugh the boy had made was engrained in Piccolo's memory, never to be forgotten. Where had that little boy gone? And just when had he grown up? Seemed to Piccolo it had happened overnight; but then, isn't that what every parent says?
Enough reminiscing. Piccolo thought, almost bitterly.
There was the house, relatively small and modest as it was. What day of the week was it? If it were a week day Gohan would be at work, and Piccolo was not going to deal with the two females of the house until he got back.
No, he could sense Gohan inside the house, so it's the weekend. Piccolo landed smoothly onto the ground at the edge of the property, about fifty feet from the back of the house. He crossed his arm, closed his eyes and leaned against the first tall tree he found.
And he waited. Five minutes passed, fifteen, twenty. And then he came outside.
"Piccolo-san!" Gohan exclaimed, all but bursting from within the house. It took him just a minute to pinpoint Piccolo's form, but when he did he practically jogged down to him.
"It's good to see you, it's been…" Gohan stopped short and thought.
"Too long." Piccolo finished, pushing himself off the tree he'd been leaning against.
"How are you?" Gohan asked, scowling just a little.
Piccolo looked over at his young ex-apprentice and snorted. "You're too intuitive."
"No, I just know you." Gohan stated bluntly. "But tell me what's up, something's bothering you."
Piccolo looked Gohan up and down, then began walking toward the house. Gohan followed just behind him, watching him. He couldn't quite pinpoint it, but something was wrong. Piccolo was acting…different. He was somewhat melancholy, more than usual anyway. He wasn't grunting, he wasn't silent. He was different.
But Gohan knew better that to prod, Piccolo would tell him when he was ready. That is, if he was ever ready. That was a strangeness about Piccolo, sometimes he'd just have spells of being sad, or even lonely. Gohan always felt a tad guilty when Piccolo would come to visit, mostly because he knew there really wasn't anyone else Piccolo would visit.
That was Piccolo, though. He was one unto himself. It might be said that no human was an island, but Piccolo certainly had that ability sometimes.
"Where that's brat of yours?" Piccolo asked.
"Visiting mom and dad for the weekend." Gohan grinned a little. "Dad came to pick her up this morning."
Piccolo made a slight grunt, which signaled he understood. Goku had never been that dedicated to Gohan when he was a kid, at least not in Piccolo's opinion. If he went away to fight or train, he stayed away. He was dead for a year when Gohan was near Pan's age, he stayed gone in space for a year, then stayed dead for seven years. By the time Gohan was eighteen he'd been with his father exactly the same amount of time he'd been without him.
Well, at least Gohan had a better father than Piccolo did. At least Gohan's father didn't transfer every bloody, violent, evil memory he had into his son, didn't plague him with nightmares that could make Vegeta himself tremble. Didn't transmit every negative feeling he'd ever had into his son, to keep his evil tasks or make him seek vengeance on his enemies.
Goku was a better father than Daimaou, at least Gohan could say that.
"Gohan," came a feminine voice at the doorway. "What are you…oh, hello Piccolo-sama."
Piccolo looked up to see Videl, Gohan's wife, staring at him a little uneasily. She had yet to spend enough time with him not to be afraid of him. He was, well, scary. He understood that, and tried to overlook her for it. Pan didn't seem so hostile, though, she'd often welcomed him with a hug (or, rather, an attempted hug that Piccolo would block). She was, in several ways, just like Gohan had been.
Piccolo grunted in return, knowing Gohan was watching him pensively. Every time he and that woman met Gohan acted like he was on pins-and-needles. Like he was waiting for something to happen, though Piccolo didn't know what. He imagined, that since Piccolo expressed his utter dislike for her father, Gohan tried to make sure he didn't feel that badly about Videl. Though, she reminded the Namek of the boy's mother, and that was never a good thing.
"It's nice to see you again." Videl said. "Do you want something to…drink."
Piccolo smirked, knowing she had nearly forgotten that he only ever drunk water. He nodded and she went inside, but not without giving Gohan a look and nodding her head. Gohan blushed and turned to Piccolo, twitching just a little.
"Why don't you just wait here," He pointed to the patio. "She probably just needs my help to reach something."
Piccolo quirked an eye ridge and nodded. Females, he certainly didn't understand them.
Gohan walked on ahead and into the house, where Videl was waiting on him in the kitchen. She was scowling and had her arms crossed, tapping her foot irritably. He suddenly felt like he was back at home, being lectured for visiting with the 'demon' again. He shut the door behind him and walked closer.
"Son Gohan," She started. "What's going on? Why didn't you tell me he was coming over?"
Gohan was quick to get to her and cover her mouth.
"Shh, he can hear you." Gohan whispered. "He can hear everything when we're this close."
He pulled her gently into the laundry room and turned on the dryer. He uncovered her mouth and was promptly hit over the head.
"Just what do you think you're doing? Don't ever hold my mouth like that again!" She crossed her arms and scowled.
"Videl, I didn't want you saying anything that would…you know, make him mad."
"I don't care if I make him mad, he can call like everyone else to let us know he's coming over."
"Videl he's not like that, he just comes over whenever." Gohan looked at the door. "He doesn't even own a phone."
"Then he can at least tell us something somehow before he just shows up. Look at us, having to talk in our laundry room because he has such big ears!"
"Videl don't say that, he can't help that he has good hearing. All Nameks are like that." Gohan looked to the dryer and turned the knob, making the noise louder.
"I can't hear myself think in here!" She yelled.
"Shh!" Gohan said. "He can hear you if you yell, stop it."
She glared at him. "Don't tell me what to do, you're mother told me some things about Piccolo that I didn't like."
Gohan's eye brows furrowed and he bit the inside of his cheeks.
"So that's why you're acting like this, Mom said some stuff to you."
"Well, yes. He killed your father, and hundreds of people at the 23rd Teckenchi Budokai. He was a demon, and a lot of the other senshi are weary of him too. I know its true, I've talked to them."
"Videl! I don't go asking you're old friends about the people you hang out with. Piccolo's my best friend, you know that."
"I know that, but I don't have to like him just because you do." She snorted. "You promised to help me today. You said you would cut the grass, and fix that window upstairs, and-"
"I know, I know. I will do that stuff, but I never get to see Piccolo. I really want to visit for a little while."
"Bull, Gohan." Videl said. "He never just stays a 'little while'. He stay for hours when he comes by, and even stays overnight sometimes."
"He only does that when I ask him to, he doesn't impose on us…he'd never do that." Gohan hit the dryer, but not enough to brake it. "Videl, please don't be like this. I told you what Piccolo's done for me all these years. If he wants to talk for a day here and there, I owe him that much."
Videl softened just a little. "Fine Gohan, go ahead and visit. But you will fix that window and cut the grass, even if it's after work this week."
"Yes dear, you know I will." He turned off the dryer and kissed her on the cheek as he walked past her.
He opened the door to the laundry room, smiling, and walked through the kitchen. He felt odd though, something wasn't right. He didn't feel Piccolo's ki nearby, it felt like it was miles away, moving fast. Not just that, he couldn't feel Piccolo. They had a bond, the two of them, ever since Gohan was just a kid.
Dende had said it was quite a lot like telepathy, but it was just a Namekian bond. When Piccolo was feeling or thinking something, Gohan felt it too; but only when they were close enough. Long distances rarely worked unless they tried to contact each other.
But Gohan was being blocked, quite forcefully, by Piccolo. Gohan had never learned how to block out his sensei from their bond, and he'd never wanted to. Only once in his life had Gohan been blocked like this from Piccolo, and that had been years ago.
Gohan darted out the door to the patio, but was greeted with empty chairs and concrete ground. Videl followed soon after, wondering why Gohan had become so anxious. She didn't see Piccolo anywhere, but Gohan was now sitting in one of their lawn chairs, head cradled by his hands.
"Gohan, what is it?" She asked, genuinely concerned for him. She knelt beside him and put her arm on his shoulder. "Where's Piccolo? Wasn't he waiting out here?"
Gohan was silent and still for several minutes, then he looked up at her. His eyes were so sad, that's the only way she could describe them. He looked lost, he looked confused and hurt all at once. She felt a stab of pain on his account, had she said something wrong to him? Maybe she'd been just a little too hard on him.
Gohan opened his mouth and she held her breath, paying close attention to him. She'd truly never seen him like this. He put a hand to his forehead and sighed. He didn't look at her, he looked past her into the distance, letting his eyes relax and un-focus. Then he took a breath.
To be continued…