A/N- Yay! I am so happy everyone is enjoying this thus far. Thank you all.
Disclaimer-I own nothing
"Your wish cannot be granted." Porunga's words washed over the stunned group. "The one named Son Goku has refused to be returned to the Earth. He says promises to return later. State your next wish."
"Oh, um, Dende, please wish for Krillin to be brought back to life." Bulma instructed the young Namekian, her mind still racing. Moments later the ex-monk appeared, alive and well once more.
"Hi guys!" Krillin said brightly. Looking around he frowned in confusion. "Where's Goku? I would have thought he'd be waiting."
"He doesn't want to come back right now Krillin." Gohan's soft voice gained Krillin's attention. "He's somewhere out in space. We tried to wish him back, but he said no."
Krillin walked over to the boy and slung an arm over his shoulder. "Don't worry bro; I'm sure Goku has a good reason. He's probably on quite the adventure right now, just like old times. I wish you could have been there with us Gohan, back when Goku and I first trained under Master Roshi. The trouble we got into." Krillin laughed fondly until the he heard a low grumble from the dragon. Clapping a hand over his mouth, he stared at the dragon in horror as his phrasing came back to him.
"Ah, Krillin? Porunga only grants wishes stated in Namekian, its okay." Gohan grinned at his friend.
Piccolo growled low as he glared at the man. He did not find it nearly as amusing as Gohan. Krillin looked at the Namekian warrior and backed away nervously.
"State your final wish or return me to my slumber." Porunga demanded irritably.
"All right already, just hold your horses cutie." Bulma winked at the massive dragon who, much to the amazement of the Namekians, blushed. After a moment, Bulma continued. "Okay Dende, ask him to bring Yamcha back."
"Your wish has been granted. Fare thee well." With that, Porunga disappeared from the sky in a brilliant flash.
The next hour was the definition of bedlam. Once Yamcha had been located, they had barely been able to greet him before Vegeta had stolen a ship. Gohan stepped outside for a moment, ready to escape the tension in the room behind him. His mother was not taking his father's decision very well.
Latched on to his goal, Gohan nodded politely to the sea of green faces as he made his way across the yard. Sitting down he let out a pent up breath. "Hi Mr. Piccolo," Gohan whispered to the floating Namekian. Reaching over, he grabbed the corner of his cape.
Piccolo opened one eye and looked the child over. Gohan was staring off into the sky, a foreign expression marring his face. It was times like this that Piccolo almost wished he had not taught the kid to block. Rumbling low in invitation, he waited for Gohan to speak.
"How do you float like that?" Gohan asked, his eyes still on the clouds above. "It looks so peaceful and your ki doesn't even spike. I'd like to try, if you'd show me, please."
Piccolo cocked a brow ridge, the kid never ceased to surprise him with some of his requests. Piccolo's voice was barely audible, even to the loitering Namekians, as he went over the meditation technique.
Krillin stepped out of the bathroom, smiling in contentment. He had not had a nice, hot shower since before the battle with Frieza. As he walked into the main room, the sounds of Chi-Chi crying assaulted his ears. Cautiously, he approached the pair.
Bulma rubbed Chi-Chi's back, trying to calm the woman down. "It's okay Chi-Chi, I'm sure Goku will be back soon."
Sitting beside the distraught figure, Krillin asked, "So what's been happening, you know since I died and all?"
"Oh, I guess you really are out of the loop aren't you." As Bulma went over the end of the battle and the last few months, Chi-Chi slowly stopped weeping to listen as well. She had forbidden Gohan to even think abut fighting, so this was all new to her too.
"Wow, so the whole planet blew?" Krillin's eyes were wide as he took it all in. Looking around he realized they were missing someone. Krillin frowned as he walked to the window and peered outside. Blinking at the scene in front of him he promptly doubled over laughing.
Piccolo watched Gohan in veiled amazement. The kid could fly, battle intergalactic tyrants, even blow up the planet if he wanted to, but he could not seem to master floating meditation. He would hover serenely for just a moment, but as soon as he slipped into meditation, he would lose control of his sedate flow of ki. Currently Gohan was upside-down, floating above his head, still holding a corner of his cape.
"Kid," Piccolo drug the name out, glaring at the boy.
Gohan grinned lopsidedly at Piccolo. He knew that tone. It was Piccolo's 'I am going to beat the crap out of you if you don't get this right' tone. "I feel like a balloon Mr. Piccolo."
Tugging viciously on his cape, Piccolo brought Gohan back to Earth. "Just. Hover." He bit the words off in frustration. "Don't meditate, just hover, silently."
Gohan closed his eyes and screwed his face up in concentration. Jolting only occasionally, he hovered a couple feet off the ground.
Bulma sprinted to the window, wanting to see what had driven Krillin to such hysterics. She watched as Gohan floated beside Piccolo, imitating his pose perfectly. She looked at Krillin in confusion.
"Just wait, he might do it again."
A moment later, Gohan began to rock back and forth. Before he could steady himself, he flipped upside-down and rose several additional feet into the air. It was then that Bulma noticed the grip Gohan had on Piccolo's cape. It was as though that white fabric was the only thing keeping Gohan tethered to the ground.
Bulma joined Krillin in laughter as Piccolo pulled Gohan back down. "I wish I had a camera with me!" She exclaimed.
Krillin shook his head, "Not me. That sounds like a quick and painful way to go, death by Piccolo."
"What about Piccolo?" Chi-Chi asked, joining them at the window. She only saw her baby, next to the Monster, with his face scrunched up in what appeared to be pain. "Oh, no Gohan!"
"Chi-Chi, wait." Bulma grabbed the other woman's hand urgently. "Just watch for a minute."
"My baby is with that monster, he could get hurt. I am not going to just wait." Chi-Chi snapped, her cheeks flushing red in anger.
"Piccolo won't hurt him Chi-Chi. I mean, I'd think you would realize that after everything he's done for Gohan." Krillin never took his eyes off the pair outside as he spoke to Gohan's mother. He did not want to lose his nerve. "Did you ask Gohan about it all? You know, about why he was so adamant about going Namek with us?"
"Of course I know why Krillin," she said, exasperated. "He wanted to help wish everyone back."
"No, it was never about the others for him. Bulma and I, we went for Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotzu. But Gohan…it was all about bringing Piccolo back. I swear, all I heard the entire trip was Piccolo this or Piccolo that... Look at them Chi-Chi, really look. Piccolo died protecting Gohan that day. Does it really look like he is going to hurt him now?"
Chi-Chi stepped back to the window reluctantly. Gohan's face was slowly losing its pained expression as he relaxed. Then suddenly, he wobbled wildly. Just as he was about to flip, Piccolo reached out a hand. Chi-Chi watched as the Demon simply pushed Gohan back down before resuming his own meditation.
"I don't understand." Chi-Chi whispered. Her baby did not look frightened or hurt. He was laughing, he was happy.
"That's okay, none of us do. Just do not say anything to Piccolo about it." Krillin grimaced. There had been a moment on Namek, when they thought Frieza was gone for good. He had taken the opportunity to rib Piccolo. Had Frieza not killed him moments later, Piccolo would have.
"How can Gohan…Piccolo killed Goku didn't he? Piccolo killed Gohan's father and then kidnapped him. It's just not right." She turned, glaring at Bulma and Krillin. "And since when are you two so accepting of Piccolo?"
"That's not it Chi-Chi." Bulma shivered slightly as she remembered the one time she had spoken to the Namekian alone, just before the planet exploded. "Piccolo terrifies me, but I can still see what's in front of me."
Chi-Chi rubbed her temples as her head started to throb painfully. She just wanted it all back to the way it was. Before Goku had died, before Gohan had befriended a demon, before she had been left behind and alone. Her movements stilled as something Krillin had said sank in. "Wait, died protecting Gohan. You said Piccolo died because he was protecting Gohan." She stared at the ex-monk, silently demanding.
Krillin looked at her in bewilderment. "Chi-Chi, please tell me someone told you about it. You know, what happened the day the Saiyans arrived." Krillin groaned, obviously not. "Sit down, this could take a while."
Gohan watched as his mother picked at her evening meal. He was worried about her. She had spent the last week in a daze. "Mom, are you okay?"
Chi-Chi jumped at the question, her fork clattering to the floor. Gohan walked over and retrieved it for her. "Mom?"
"Sorry sweetie, I'm fine, just a little tired." Chi-Chi sighed at the disbelieving look her son was giving her. Sometimes he was too perceptive for his own good.
"You can tell me you know. I'm not a little kid anymore. I can help."
The words ripped into Chi-Chi's heart, not a little kid. He is five years old, she thought. What kind of twisted world did they live in that he no longer considered himself to be a child?
"Honey, you're five, I think that still qualifies as a kid. And speaking of age," she smiled at him, "your birthday is in a week. Do you know what you want?"
Gohan blinked at her, he had forgotten the date. He had not celebrated his birthday the year before; he had been in the desert with Piccolo. "Um, since I didn't have a birthday last year, do you think I could have something really special this year, please?" He looked at his mother hopefully.
Chi-Chi eyed her son warily and slowly nodded.
Bouncing in his seat, Gohan's eyes began to glow with excitement. "Really? Thank you! I know exactly what I want this year. I want one whole day with no studying, no extra makeup work the next day, and I get to go outside and play as much as I want. Then maybe for dinner, we could go and have a picnic."
That was it? Chi-Chi thought, momentarily speechless. Shaking her head in bemusement, she smiled at her enthralled child. "I think that could be arranged."
Gohan melted into his bed, worn out from the pure bliss of his birthday. His mother had made a special breakfast for him to start the day out. Then she had shoved him out the door with a packed lunch and told him to have fun with Piccolo. She had forbidden any fighting and did not seem too thrilled about it, but still. His mother had told him to have fun with Piccolo! It was a dream come true… almost. Looking out the window, he sighed. There was still one person missing.