Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ or DBGT.
A/N: Wow, more reviews than I thought. Thanks for reading guys, sorry for the extra long wait for the second chapter, and end, of this story. Life takes over sometimes, you know how it is.
-Ahem- I think I'll take some of you by surprise with this chapter. Maybe, if I do my job correctly.
Thank you to my awesome reviewers: Volcanic, CW, Kieri, Pics-Pixie, flip2dafullest, arghh, sexy green namek lover (love your name), Dancing Mouse, Blue Seer, Kimyou Doll, storm-of-insanity, Kasei Tomodatchi, and Ishida Jill.
"What once was lost, forgotten in the darkest corners of my mind, I now have found.
Oh, what joy there is when Love and Life burn brightly within my soul." - A. Larsen
Piccolo bared his teeth and dug his taloned fingers into the fleshy palm of his hands. His cape whipped around him fiercely, as though it, too, was as angry as he. In fact, Piccolo doubted he'd ever been so angry before, not like this. This time being angry hurt, his entire being wished to be thousands of miles in any other direction.
It really was time for him to get Gohan out of his mind, as if such a thing were possible. At least, it was time for Piccolo to allow Gohan to forget about him, apparently their friendship was putting a strain on his other relationships. ChiChi had hated poor Piccolo for years, that much was certain and undeniable. In fact, with all the good Piccolo had done over the years for the Son family (and the Earth, for that matter), one would think the woman would have grown a little less prejudice.
Piccolo nearly jerked to a halt. That woman had caused enough trouble for him. He'd always overlooked her actions and bitter words for Gohan's sake, if not even for Peace's sake. Should he have ever of put up a fight, a reasonable one at that, there would have been HFIL to pay for everyone involved, and Piccolo had never wanted to be a burden on Gohan. He'd always wanted to be a respected figure, one Gohan could come to when in trouble.
Hmph, apparently that was out of the question.
Without further ado Piccolo redirected himself back to where he'd come from, and so it didn't take long to land on their front lawn. He looked around expectantly, as though he was anticipating an attack from any direction. No, there was only on ki nearby, and it was hers. Time for setting strait old grievances and new ones, time for truly putting the past behind them…all of them.
"ChiChi." He yelled, not quite so viciously as he'd wanted to. Whether for good or ill he simply wasn't that way now. Stoic and proud he may be but evil and cruel he was not, not anymore.
It didn't take but a few minutes for her to make her way to the front door, and then into the lawn. When she appeared Piccolo had to suppress an almost involuntary, and very undignified, "jaw-drop". The woman was…old. She'd aged since the last time Piccolo had seen her. But then that had been, Kami, six or seven years earlier. Ever since Gohan had begun living on his own, and seeing her was not a requirement for seeing him, Piccolo hadn't bothered to come back to this place.
It almost made him lose his nerve and turn back, but that was not his way. He had to talk to her, speak his mind for once. She had to know what she'd done, had to know what she was still doing by not accepting him. Sure she tolerated his presence when she had to, but obviously conveyed her not-so-high opinion of him once he was gone.
"Hello Piccolo." She said, not as meanly as she would have said it a few years earlier, but also not too friendly either.
"You and I have business." He said.
She gave him a look and crossed her arms, still not too meanly but certainly irritated. "Gohan's at home, he's not here. And if it's Pan you're after she's off fishing with Goku."
She gave a curt nod and looked at him expectantly, ready for him to take off in either direction.
"That's not why I'm here." Piccolo said, toneless.
She quirked an eyebrow. "Well, then, Goten is at Capsule Corp. doing a school project with Trunks. Apparently they needed his computers for some part of it."
Piccolo couldn't help but let out a small grunt, this wasn't turning out so easy.
"I did not come to speak with anyone else but you." He finally said, this time he took a few steps forward so to see her reactions better. At first, he'd been standing nearly on the opposite end of the yard.
ChiChi did look surprised, but immediately straightened her face when he came toward her. Stiffened and feeling somewhat infringed, she tightened her arms over her chest and put on her best fighters face: impassive stare and cold eyes. Once Piccolo was upon her, nearly within arms length, she stared at him straight in the face, meeting his eyes. Even after all these years, Gohan's entire childhood and adolescence, Goten and Pan's births, and all that was in between she still had issues with him. How very sad.
Piccolo calmed himself and began, as best he could, to simply speak what had been on his mind the entire flight down here. He expected shouting, hitting, perhaps some ki blast (not aimed at her, but at least in his defense) and a wrecked relationship that he'd tried so hard to keep placated for the past eighteen years. All was about to be ruined, and his ears would be bleeding by the end of it. If one thing could be said of ChiChi, she had extreme lung power.
"For eighteen years I've been a part of Gohan's life." He started, not too loud and not too soft. Though he was mostly toneless, he was getting his point across.
"And every day of it I've had to put up with you and your hatred for me. You never wanted me around, and so I tried my best to keep away from you. Gohan was the only one I wanted to bother with anyway."
And then, after he breathed, he lost his temper. His voice suddenly rose as his emotions did get the best of him, but he didn't bellow as ChiChi would have. Though, she did bend her neck slightly at the new found hostility in his words.
"I died for that kid, I hope you know that. Never in my life have a felt such pain than I did dying for Gohan. But I'd do it again. I'd do it every hour of every day if it meant keeping him safe and happy. But you don't see any of that, all you see is MaJunior. The Demon who killed innocent people at the 23rd Teckenchi Budokai, beat up Goku and kidnapped Gohan to train him.
"Yeah, I did those things. Training Gohan I don't regret, I'll never regret it whether that hurt you or not. But killing all those people and causing so much pain, those things still haunt me. I have to live with my sins, and trust me I'll be punished plenty in the afterlife, so why are you trying so hard to make my life here a living h-ll?"
Piccolo breathed in deeply and awaited his verbal beating…and he waited. Finally, after he'd actually had time to calm down somewhat, he contemplated the look ChiChi was giving him. He nearly face vaulted, had he not caught himself in time. Did pigs just take flight and HFIL freeze over? Son ChiChi was, well, speechless.
She did frown, and open her mouth, but no words came. She cleared her throat and shook away an odd feeling of guilt.
"Why did you say all of this?" She asked, trying hard to add some edge to her words. But, they simply came out strained.
Piccolo scowled himself and swallowed. This was not the reaction he'd been expecting, this was not the ChiChi he remembered. Where was her finesse? Her ferocity? Her everything?
"I visited Gohan today, that mate of his practically spat in my face because of what you told her about me." He said, losing the sharpness in his voice he'd had moments earlier.
ChiChi looked a little unsure at first, then blinked. "Videl? I don't remember…I've never liked you, so I guess that was obvious. I don't…I've never said things to her on purpose, just to get at you."
Piccolo's eyes widened just a little, as he found himself on the receiving end of an apology from ChiChi. He was certain now that HFIL had, indeed, frozen over completely.
"I know you care about Gohan, I think I'm just really good at holding grudges. But at my age I don't think it's wise to keep those anymore, not even against you." She forced a smile, which faded quickly into a small grin. "Sorry."
Piccolo stood still, swallowed again, nodded his head, and turned to look around the yard. He was ready for the Earth to split in two, or the sky to come crashing down, or some unheard of phenomena to occur. That, at least, would make more sense than ChiChi apologizing.
ChiChi nodded too, and turned around to go back into the house.
"What a minute." Piccolo said.
She turned to face him.
"That's it? That's all you're going to say? No fighting, or yelling…or throwing things?"
ChiChi eyed him oddly for a few seconds, took a breath, and then laughed. Her small chuckles turned to outright fits of laughter, the force of which made her hold her abdomen. Piccolo just watched in utter confusion as she doubled over in amusement, tears beginning to run down her face as she lost any and all composure.
Piccolo smirked. It had finally happened, ChiChi had completely lost her mind.
Seconds later ChiChi calmed down enough to get another look at her visitor, and couldn't help but snicker some more. She took the dish rag from off her shoulder, where she'd placed it when she came outside, and tossed it toward Piccolo. The green giant grabbed it mid-air, stared dumbly at it and then at her, and held it out at arms length.
ChiChi nearly snorted with bemusement. "Ha, there, happy now?"
Piccolo's eye twitched and mouth opened slightly. But, amidst the absolute chaos he suddenly found himself caught up in, he could not form words.
"Huh?" Was the only coherent word he could reply with, undignified as it was.
"You wanted me to throw something, so there." She huffed and walked up to him, taking the towel out of his hand.
"You really ought to learn to relax, you'll give yourself a heart attack taking everything so seriously." She said, walking away from him.
Piccolo shook his head and cleared his throat. "Some advise, coming from the woman who nearly had a Conniption Fit about her husband getting his license."
ChiChi stopped and turned around. "You failed that little test too, if memory serves me."
"I still don't know how I actually talked you into it, and wearing those old clothes of Goku's." She smiled a little and leaned against the house.
"You didn't." Piccolo said, moving just a little closer to the house. "You made Gohan talk me into it."
"Ah, yes. I remember that now." She tapped her finger on her elbow and said, more to herself than Piccolo: "You always did do what he wanted."
Piccolo sneered a little and looked down at the ground.
Give me a break. He thought. It wasn't that obvious, was it?
There was a long, but not uncomfortable silence. Piccolo was rather amazed, he'd never spent this much time alone (and unharmed) with her before. Actually, truth be told, he'd never spent any time alone with her. Old age suited her well, she'd actually mellowed out a little. Too bad she'd not caught on to the idea some years back, that certainly would have made Piccolo's life a little easier.
"So," She started, after at least three minutes of silence. "Are you thirsty?"
Piccolo started, looked up at her, and just nodded. She twisted her neck, indicating he was welcome to come inside, and walked through the doorway. Piccolo stood outside for a few seconds, debating on whether he should be pushing his luck with her. Then he decided to go inside, certainly things couldn't get any more strange than they already had. Besides, getting on her good side now might mean getting on Videl's good side too.
So, he tossed his weights to the side of the house and entered. A glass of water was waiting for him on the table, and ChiChi was continuing with her dishes. Piccolo looked a little oddly at the setting, but then shrugged it off and sat down. He did hate human chairs, they were always so uncomfortable and short. The water was good though, and he drunk it slowly, savoring both it and the silence.
This wasn't so bad, it was actually a little relaxing. Neither adults talked, except that ChiChi said Goku would soon be returning with Pan. And then there was more silence, because there was simply nothing the two had to say to each other. And, oddly enough, both became comfortable with the arrangement. Once the dishes were finished ChiChi made her own self a glass of water, then refilled Piccolo's glass, and sat at the table across from the warrior.
Both did nothing but listen. Listen to the silence.
Gohan landed on the grass with a slight crunch, as it was nearing fall and the lawn was getting stout. Videl was close behind him, none to happy. Gohan was slightly confused, he knew he felt Piccolo here, but he also felt his mother. No one else, just the two. What was going on? Those two couldn't get along if the Earth depended on it, not even if the latter was a possibility.
Gohan huffed and grabbed Videl's hand, leading her toward the house. The door was open, and so Gohan just walked inside. He stopped dead in his tracks once he noticed who was sitting at the kitchen table, directly in front of him. Piccolo to his right and his mother to his left. They were alive, not fighting, not yelling…nothing. Just sitting there, drinking water.
"Um, hi." Gohan said.
Videl was beside him, just staring at the three of them.
"Hi dear, how are you?" ChiChi asked.
"I'm…fine." Gohan said, eye brows furrowed. He looked to Piccolo, who just stared at him blankly, and then at his mother.
"So, were you two just…visiting?" He asked, and the words sounded strange just coming from him.
"Well, sort of. Just drinking some water and sitting here." ChiChi said, standing up and putting her empty glass in the sink. She reached over the table for Piccolo's glass, which he pushed toward her fingers just enough for her to grab it.
Gohan clamped his mouth shut, blinking several times. "Um, well, Piccolo…Videl and I came to apologize."
Videl stepped forward immediately. "Yes, I'm sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to."
Piccolo looked at her, which made her a tad uncomfortable, and then his gaze returned to Gohan.
"Piccolo-san, I'm sorry if you heard anything that made you mad." He said earnestly. "I like your visiting, I like seeing you. Videl doesn't mind, she was really just mad at me for not doing those chores weeks ago. You just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Gohan smiled at his friend, hoping there was no permanent damage done. After a minute Piccolo lifted the corner of his mouth slightly, which Gohan knew meant that all was well again. Piccolo never could resist that kids smile anyway, it always made him break.
"So, are we all good now?" ChiChi asked.
"Well, sure." Gohan said cheerfully. "But what I want to know is, how come you and Piccolo are suddenly getting along?"
"We just are, seems we both finally grew up." She said. "Besides, it only took eighteen years."
Gohan's eyes widened a little, and he just stood contemplating for a minute. This was certainly unexpected, to say the least.
Videl snickered and crossed her arms. "So where's Pan and Goku?"
"Fishing." ChiChi said.
"And Goten?" Gohan asked.
There was a pause, and Gohan took a seat next to Piccolo. "What about supper?"
ChiChi "hmphed" and crossed her arms. "So I guess that means you're expecting a meal from me?"
Gohan blushed and smiled vaguely. "No."
Videl stood behind Gohan and leaned on his back. "I'll help you cook up something, since you're gonna have a full house."
ChiChi smiled. "Yes. We'll get started on dinner, but you two boys get out of the kitchen." She grabbed Gohan by the ear and made him stand up.
Piccolo was standing in an instant, anxious that the woman would try that trick on him, and followed Gohan out the door. When the two were farther into the yard Gohan hit Piccolo on the arm playfully, getting his friend's attention.
"You're staying aren't you?" He asked.
"Yeah, sure." Piccolo said.
Gohan smiled wider. "Good. Today has been…interesting."
Piccolo scoffed. "Interesting indeed."
Gohan cleared his throat and walked down the hill. "Spar with me sensei."
"Sensei?" Piccolo repeated. "I'm not your sensei anymore."
Gohan stopped and frowned. "Well sure you are, you'll never not be. I'm afraid you're stuck with me Pic, from now on."
Gohan gave a stout laugh and began his stretches, powering up within a few minutes to begin their match. Piccolo stretched as well, but wasn't quite as interested in the sparing match as he should have been. What Gohan had just said sobered him and made him think. Still his sensei? Never won't be? Stuck with him?
Gohan landed a punch to Piccolo's middle, and Piccolo returned with a kick to the demi-Saiyan's head.
"Aiya! Piccolo-san, that hurts!" Gohan said, rubbing his bruising forehead. "Kami, I'd forgotten what a tough sparing partner you are."
Piccolo smirked and watched as Gohan buckled down and became serious again. No one could deny the boy was a Saiyan, fighting was in his blood. Scholar or no scholar, he was a warrior nonetheless.
"I'm afraid you're stuck with me Pic, from now on." Gohan had said, and the words still rang in Piccolo's ears.
Yes. He was right, as he was always right. And Daimaou, he was dead. Dead to the world and dead to Piccolo, as he should be. Nightmares or no, Piccolo had a life to live and a family he cared for. Oddly enough, though, the Sons weren't his real family, not even the same species. And ironically, they were the family he was fated to destroy, but that was no longer a possibility.
Yeah kid, I'm stuck with you. Piccolo thought. But, Gohan would never realize just how right he really was.