Well, I'm back, and hopefully I'll be able to finish my little story. Not that I feel anyone will still be reading this after soooooo long, but it doesn't matter. I want to finish this story for my own enjoyment too :)
The first thing Gohan became aware of was the sound of a crackling fire. Then he noticed the smell of the earth. He knew by the smells of plant life, the temperature and humidity that he was some place tropical, probably a rain forest. Soon after his senses returned to him, he recognized the energy of his mentor nearby. The feeling of complete exhaustion, the fire, the knowledge of Piccolo's steady energy, and even the scents and feel of this place brought back memories of when he was just five years old.
He waited a few minutes before opening his eyes. He knew Piccolo was angry. That was another feeling that brought back memories from when he was a five year old. He could remember waking up on occasion with the feeling his mentor was going to scold him for slacking in his training. Now felt like one of those times.
But he wasn't five years old anymore, and he wasn't afraid of Piccolo anymore either. He was stronger than Piccolo. He slowly sat up and looked boldly into Piccolo's eyes. He refused to be a little kid anymore and feel ashamed for how he'd been acting. Piccolo could yell at him and try to persuade him to change all he wanted. Gohan wasn't going to change a thing, he needed to do this.
Piccolo felt himself cringe internally at the lack of emotion Gohan displayed as soon as he woke up. His eyes seemed as colorless as ever. It was like he was determined to not show any emotion.
Being careful to stay calm, Piccolo stood up and slowly approached Gohan. Gohan stood too, not wanting to have the tall namekian tower over him even more than usual.
"Are you feeling ok after you nearly drowned yourself in sub zero waters?" Piccolo asked quietly.
"Yes," came Gohan's defiant reply, refusing to look away at the subtle angry tone in Piccolo's voice.
"Good." Without warning Piccolo punched Gohan as hard as he could. Because Gohan's guard was lowered, and his body was already so weakened the blow hit him hard and he flew back until he crashed into a tall and large tree, smashing it in half.
"Piccolo, what are you doing?" Gohan yelled, flying into the air to avoid the nemekian who was approaching fast for another attack.
But the exhausted eleven year old Saiyan didn't even have the energy to go super saiyan. Piccolo was fully charged and next to Gohan in seconds. "Teaching you a much needed lesson," he growled, grabbing the boy and throwing him higher into the air. Within seconds, he quickly flashed behind him and punched him into the ground.
Gohan quickly scrambled out of the crater his body created to avoid the wave of energy beams. "Alright, enough already. I get it," Gohan yelled as he avoided another energy blast.
He began dodging all of Piccolo's constant onslaught on attacks. Finally, a low kick from Piccolo connected, and Gohan was once again flying into the air. Piccolo appeared behind him, ready to blast him with another energy beam from a close distance.
"I said enough!" Gohan screamed, and his anger allowed him to dig deep and let loose an intense blast of energy that knocked Piccolo back into the ground.
Too exhausted to even stay in the air, Gohan fell softly back to earth, landing next to the who in the ground Piccolo was still laying in. Next to him he was startled to hear a quiet chuckle.
"What's so funny?" Gohan asked, rounding on the still laughing Piccolo who was climbing out.
"Doesn't this remind you of old times?" Piccolo said with a smile. "I know I was harsh on you, but there were those times you would get the best of me, even then. Do you remember what I told you back then, the first time you managed to hit me with masako?"
Panting, Gohan sat on the ground and thought. He did remember. He had been nearly as tired as he was now, and Piccolo was relentlessly giving him a beating. Gohan finally charged up the energy as Piccolo had showed him and used his own unique attack. It had thrown Piccolo back several feet.
"Yeah, you told me I finally had stopped avoiding my problems and instead did something about them. You told me I finally became stronger, and did what I needed to do," Gohan mumbled.
"So you do remember," Piccolo growled, suddenly stern again, now towering over Gohan. "Come back with me to the fire, there is more I need to tell you, and your body temperature is still too low."
Gohan no longer wanted to argue. He was tired, and felt ready to pass out. Piccolo had just proven he was stronger at the moment, and that brought back all of the intense respect he had always had for his mentor as well as some of the fear he hadn't felt since he was four. He was now cringing at the way he had been acting, and how disrespectful he had been the last few weeks. It was lucky Piccolo hadn't been harder on him.
Slowly, Gohan shakily stood up, and followed Piccolo to the dying fire. He gratefully sat down next to the warmth as Piccolo shot a small energy beam into the fire, making it double in size. Piccolo didn't sit though, and continued to tower of Gohan, taking advantage of the boys exhaustion. Gohan stared tiredly into the fire, waiting for the scolding he knew was coming.
"Now you had better listen to me Gohan," Piccolo growled. "I am no longer asking you nicely, I am telling you. You are going to stop this destruction of your body. It isn't accomplishing anything. I expect to see you taking proper time to rest, and spend some time clearing and focusing your mind. No more training in these harsh conditions, and start allowing yourself to do the things you care about. If I notice you out neglecting your physical and mental health again, I'll pound you to the point where you can't move for a month!"
Gohan wasn't stupid. He understood the underlying message Piccolo was giving him. It showed him quite plainly how this form of training was only making him weaker. Piccolo's threat was quite real. In his current state, Gohan didn't have much energy to fight back or defend himself, and he knew Piccolo would stay true to his warning. Somehow with this thought though, he couldn't hold back a smile.
Piccolo was shocked to see the boy smiling weakly. Not only was it not an expected response to the threat to begin with, it was the first genuine smile Piccolo had seen from Gohan in a long time. "What are you grinning about," he snapped. He couldn't make himself sound quite as threatening as he had intended to.
"You said it yourself," Gohan said, finally looking up into Piccolo's eyes. "Doesn't all this remind you a lot of our first few months of training?"
Piccolo smiled too, in spite of himself. Of course Gohan was right. Piccolo used to use threats just like this all the time. Now the scene was even complete with the fire next to them. Piccolo allowed hs demeanor to soften, and finally sat down next to Gohan.
"I am serious though Gohan. Start to face your problems. Breaking yourself down isn't going to help. You need to understand your fathers decision is not your fault. It's because of you any of us are here right now. You have got to actively get your emotions under control and take action to move on with your life."
Gohan's eyes hadn't left Piccolo's. His gentle black eyes were filled with pain and understanding from Piccolo's words. It hit Piccolo just how young Gohan still was. The boy wasn't even a teenager, and the responsibility of the world had been thrown at him just a few months ago.
"I'm sorry Piccolo. I know I've been stupid. It's just so hard to deal with. I know I made mistakes during my fight with Cell. I let my power get to my head," Gohan's voice quavered and tears began to fall from his eyes. Hating to show this weakness, Gohan quickly wiped them away.
"Nobody blames you kid," Piccolo said softly. "That was a lot of power that suddenly came into your possession all at once. It's no reason to beat yourself up like this. I know you're father is very proud of you."
Gohan sat quietly for a long moment, letting Piccolo's words sink in. Finally, Gohan couldn't fight his fatigue anymore and allowed himself to lay down, curled up next to the fire. He let his eyes close. "Thanks Piccolo," he whispered just before losing consciousness. Two tears had leaked from his eyes, and streaked down his face.
"Just do me a favor and allow yourself to heal," Piccolo muttered. With surprising gentleness his green finger brushed the tears away. Then he picked the boy up and flew towards the direction of his house. ChiChi would have a fit if she noticed her son wasn't in bed within the next few hours.