Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z.

AN: The idea for this fic came from a forum discussion regarding the whereabouts of Brolly's tail. The scenario depicted below came to mind not too deep into the topic. Enjoy.

Desperate Measures in Desperate Times

Raw power saturated the air; the night was practically ablaze with it. The sky itself shook and ignited, the scent of ozone nearly drowning out all other smells, save those of blood, smoke, and musk. The full moon's glow was nothing compared to the golden fire that raged beneath it.

The transformed Paragus could only gaze in horror upon the Oozaru that rampaged before him. Could only wince at the roars that rattled more than just the air. Could only hang back at a safe distance lest he get killed. Could only despair at his helplessness as his son's power swelled beyond anything he ever felt possible.

This was Brolly's first full moon, the first his father was willing to risk, given his son's… condition. He should have waited longer, he realized, waited until he could be certain of the boy's control. He should have known this would happen. But then hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

It was dangerous for him to be here, perhaps even fatal, but the dangers were likely just as high for his son. Even at his current distance he could see the micro-wounds that riddled Brolly's body. Micro for an Oozaru, that is, but nearly as big as Paragus in his normal state. And every single gash was torn from within, by the energy so massive that even the immense size of the transformed state couldn't contain it all.

The old stories came rushing back to him as he watched the golden beast rage, only serving to increase his horror. The first Super Saiyan, they said, had been destroyed by his own power. And if he did nothing that would likely be the fate of Brolly as well. Realization continued to unfold as the legend played out in his head; Goldentail's unintentional self-destruction had obliterated an entire solar system. If his son's power continued to rise then the event was likely to repeat itself.

There was nothing for it: either Paragus would be killed in his attempts to stop Brolly, or he would die in his son's inevitable fiery end. All he could do was pick his poison, and chose his own death. His choice was made in a heartbeat.

Making sure to stay on his son's blind side, the older Saiyan dropped onto all fours and cautiously approached the other Oozaru. When Brolly turned, he shifted his position, trying to stay as quiet as possible. When Brolly reared and threw his head back, roaring savagely and beating his chest, he flattened himself against the ground, maintaining a low profile. He needed to get close if he was to pull this off.

Bit by bit, Paragus neared his crazed son, struggling to still the nervous swaying of his tail. No sudden movements, mustn't draw his eye. All around him the landscape continued to change and the smell of scorched fur filled his nostrils. He wasn't sure if it was his pelt that was ablaze or Brolly's; probably both, he reasoned, seeing the tears in the golden Oozaru's skin and feeling the searing heat on his own.

A full body length away now, if Brolly were to suddenly turn on him he would have no room to dodge. He couldn't afford to hesitate, but he was; in any other circumstances he would be horrified at the mere thought of doing what he was about to do to his own son. But these were not normal circumstances, these were desperate circumstances. And thus desperate measures needed to be employed.

Forcing himself to think only of what needed to be done, Paragus lunged forward, closing the distance between them and snapping his jaw shut around the base of Brolly's tail. The golden Oozaru howled, the high shriek sounding so pained that the older Saiyan almost let go. But he didn't; he clenched his jaw tighter instead. He could hear and feel bone cracking under the pressure. His son turned his head, green eyes shining with betrayal, but he couldn't give in to that oddly plaintive stare. He knew what had to be done. He clenched his teeth and ripped.

A spurt of blood struck Paragus' eye as the tail broke away, and Brolly screamed again. He cried and writhed and thrashed, but the dangerous rise in power seemed to have been halted. And that was what mattered the most. The older Saiyan let the torn limb drop from his mouth as he watched his son's fur bleed from gold to brown. And then he breathed a sigh of relief as the other Oozaru began to shrink.

The fur receded and the snout shortened as the body mass greatly decreased, the figure slowly transforming back into the Saiyan boy it had been just a few short hours earlier. Within moments the change was complete, and in the wake of Oozaru was left Brolly, curled up, and sound asleep.

Paragus slumped to the ground, suddenly feeling exhausted. For a moment he lay partially on his side, panting deeply, his paw-like hands placed protectively around his slumbering son. True, after Brolly's display of power not too long ago most of those who could have posed a threat to them were long gone, but he didn't feel like he could take any chances now.

His breath finally caught, he took a moment to sadly regard the boy in front of him. The missing tail was an unnerving sight for him, but he kept reminding himself that he had had no other choice but to do it. It wasn't like it was necessarily permanent damage; young tails grew back all the time, and Brolly was still a few years away from the age when that stopped happening.

Well, what's done is done; there was nothing else for it. Scooping his son up into his cupped hands, Paragus moved to perch on one of the mesas that was remarkably still standing after Brolly's rampage. Consciously coiling his tail around his waist, he settled down and got comfortable. All he could do now was wait for the dawn. And then, he would deal with the inevitable fallout from the crisis he had created. He hoped his son could forgive him.