Characters: Piccolo/Gohan

Summary: In a wasteland far, far away, Piccolo has some work to do. And it all involves one little boy.

Aaaaaaaand Disclaimer: Do not own Dragonball Z.

The brat was breathing hard. He could barely stay on his feet, exhausted to the bone. The last few hours for him had been rough and while he had valiantly weathered through an onslaught of violence and destruction, he was just about through.

It wasn't good enough.

"Mr. Piccolo?" the brat wheezed out. "Can we…take a break? I can barely…catch my breath…"

"You want a break?" Piccolo grunted, unpleased. "We've only been at this for three hours. Surely you can do better than this."

It was month eight in this insane endeavor of his. Training the son of his greatest enemy, a man he had sworn to slaughter like a pig. He had dreamt since the day of his birth of having Son Goku lying at his feet, his precious blood leaking out of every orifice he had, including several he hadn't previously had. Of course, his fantasy had been somewhat fulfilled when the fool had sacrificed himself to stop that intensely powerful brother of his. He would have reveled in it had that piece of scum not prophesized the arrival of fighters far his superior.

And that was what brought him here, staring at this product of two insects he had a greater desire to squash than assist. The sorry state of this brat only confirmed further his superiority to every living thing on this planet.

Unfortunately, the potential this brat had shown in the battle with Son Goku had been devastating. Never had he dreamed of such power existing, much less sleeping within a sniveling child, especially the one belonging to his sworn enemy. If he wanted to see this planet under his iron rule, he had to make a warrior out of this kid.

It was a job he was sorely ill-suited for.

"But Mr. Piccolo," the boy whined. "I just need a rest. Just a little one."

"You can rest when you've defeated the Saiyans," Piccolo retorted. "Or when you're dead. Frankly, I care not which choice you choose. But you will give me everything you have and much more. So much more. Whether you like it or not."

"But I don't have anything left!"

Piccolo's face twisted into one of rage, his eyes blazing as he bore his fanged teeth. His power swelled within him, focusing into his eyeballs. A flash of light was the only warning the boy received as twin energy fired from his eyes. With a yelp, the boy ducked the beams, his hands covering his head as his eyes shut tight.

Piccolo charged the boy, one of his hands balled into a fist, ready to strike. His blow would have landed too had the brat not cracked one of his eyes open and saw his charge. Putting everything he had into his legs, he leapt to a side, Piccolo's fist flying through empty space. Leaning forward, his arm arcing inward, Piccolo waited for the boy the try a counterattack. The boy didn't disappoint. When his feet touched the ground, he pushed off of it and charged the green man, a fist ready to strike as he gave a war cry. Twisting his body, Piccolo swung his fist out, backhanding the boy and sending him flying through the air with a cry of pain. The boy hit the ground soon after, skipping on it several times like a stone skipping on water.

Using a burst of speed, Piccolo disappeared from sight, reappearing above the bouncing body. With the side of his body paralleled to the ground, his left arm raised and bent at the elbow, hand balled into a fist, he rammed his elbow down onto the boy, nailing the boy in the stomach. Immediately, the boy crashed into the ground, causing a spider's web of cracks to spread out as an explosion of dirt and dust flew into the air.

Righting himself, Piccolo drifted away from the crash sight, touching down on the ground where the broken earth ended. Patiently waiting, Piccolo watched as the dust cloud dissipated, revealing the boy sprawling on the ground like a limp doll. Bending down, Piccolo wrapped his fingers around the boy's neck and lifted him high into the air. Weak gasps of pain struggled their way from the boy's mouth as he hung there, at the mercy of the most evil creature on the planet.

"The Saiyans will not allow you time to rest. They will come and they will kill you," Piccolo barked at him. "And when they are done, they will find and kill your mother. Everyone you know will end up as a bloody corpse. Do. You. Under. Stand?"

Piccolo squeezed his fingers tighter, causing the boy to give out a chocked gasp, showing a bit more life than before. Piccolo was not pleased.

"You have the power to stop it all. Use it! Otherwise, this world will burn." The boy's body twitched, his eyes slowly cracking open. Better, but not good enough. He was going to have to push harder to get the desired reaction. "Or should I save you anguish and put you out of your misery, hm?"

"," the boy gasped out.

"Better yet, perhaps I should visit your dear mother. I can end her life too to spare her from an even more horrible fate."

It was instant. One moment the boy was nothing more than a sack of useless meat; the next a surge of energy skyrocketed within him. Yes, yes! This was the reaction he wanted!

The boy's eyes flew open, his teeth bared as his face shown with unbridled rage. A restrained growled leaked between his teeth. A rush of wind lashed out from his tiny body, pushing Piccolo back. Surprised, the green man lost his grip on the boy, his arms flying in front of his face to guard it.

Then with a loud roar, the boy thrust his arms out in front of him, a large blast firing and nailing Piccolo in the chest. Knocked off his feet, Piccolo flew through the air, his hands grasping onto the beam as it carried him away.

Slowly, Piccolo began to push himself off the blast, his hands holding him off of it. Raising a knee, he pressed it into the beam, trying to slow it down, stop it even. If he could gain control of it, he could send it where ever he wanted it and come out relatively unharmed. Unfortunately, it had too much momentum. He couldn't stop it!

Twisting his face, he began shifting his body to a side, slowly, but surely. With a strangled cry, he pushed himself off the beam, the blast roaring by him as it ripped off the front of his mantle and one of the shoulder guards. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the blast fly straight towards a nearby mountain, detonating on it as enraged flames swept the area. Smoke and dust enveloped him a moment later, the green man disappearing from sight.

A loud explosion startled Gohan, causing him to cry out in shock and stumble. Quickly regaining his balance, he looked around, finding a rising cloud of smoke a large distance away. What…what happened? What exploded?

"Mr. Piccolo?" Gohan called worriedly. When he didn't hear an answer, he could feel a sinking feeling within his stomach. Why wasn't Mr. Piccolo answering? "Mr. Piccolo?" He called out louder. Where had that guy gone? Didn't he say they couldn't have a break? So where was he?

Gohan suddenly stiffened. Ever since Mr. Piccolo had taken him out here, he always sprung a surprised attack on him. He claimed that the enemy wouldn't ever charge out in the open and allow him a chance to fight back. Immediately, Gohan started looking in every which direction. Left, right, behind him, yet Mr. Piccolo couldn't be found anywhere.

That was when he noticed his shadow growing smaller, the sky becoming brighter. Looking up, he caught sight of an incoming blast flying down on him from the sky. With a yelp, Gohan spun around and ran as fast as his little legs could carry him.

An explosion erupted behind him a moment later, sending a roaring wind that blew him off his feet. Crying out in surprise, Gohan could feel his feet rising above his head until he realized he was flying through the air upside down. Then gravity kicked in and caused him to land face first on the ground, his body rolling around and skidding on the rocky earth until he came to a stop, lying on his stomach with his arms and legs splayed out.

"Ow…" he whined as he felt a stinging pain all over his exposed skin. That had hurt. Sniffling, he fought back his tears. Mr. Piccolo couldn't stand it when he cried and said he had to grow up. And grown-ups never cried. Lifting his head up so he could wipe his tears away, he immediately saw feet standing in front of him. Slowly looking up, he found Piccolo looking impassively down on him.

"Graceless," he groused, "but at least you dodged it this time. We'll have to work on keeping you on your feet."

That…that was the nicest thing Mr. Piccolo had ever said to him. His mouth widening into a smile as his face lit up with joy. "Thank you Mr. Piccolo!"

Mr. Piccolo grunted at him before turning around and walking away, his cape billowing behind him majestically. Though was it just him or was one of those shoulder thingies Mr. Piccolo always wore missing? Weird. "Come, Gohan. It is time for your lunch."

At that moment, Gohan's stomach growled loudly. Scrambling to his feet, Gohan hurried after the green man, a slight limp in his leg. "I need to get my sword!" he announced happily as he caught up with him. "I can get lunch quicker with that!"

All he got was a grunt in response.

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