Breaking The Wall
by Nezune Otoki & the Last Flowerchild
**we own nothing but the idea for the story**

Gohan stood there trying to stand up as he was covered in wounds. He was on the edge of his limit trying to just stand up and keep balanced. Piccolo glared down at him menacingly. "Stop being so spoiled; do what I say!"

Gohan peered up at him, utterly exhausted, and let out a tired sigh. "But…I…..don't….t-think I c-can fight….anymore". He said taking a shaky step forward.

"You can and you will!" he exclaimed, his temper rising. He made a move to strike the young warrior again, but hesitated, waited for a reaction. He knew that he shouldn't allow the boy any mercy, but something inside of him told him to hold back. He hated this instinct, but couldn't ignore it. He simply stood there, staring down at Gohan with an enraged look on his face.

Gohan fearfully looked up at his namekian teacher with a tear in his eye. I want to show him 'im not some weakling, I really do,but… hurts to even move now.' Gohan raised a tired fist to Piccolo and tiredly and weakly punched his clawed hand.

"Pathetic!" he shouted, swatting away the young warrior's hand. "How can you ever expect to become a warrior if you can't even defend yourself!" he pushed Gohan roughly back a few feet, but made sure that he wasn't too rough. "The enemy has no mercy, he doesn't care if he hurts you—he wants to…" his voice trailed off. Someone trying to kill Ghohan? No, there was no way….he wouldn't allow it. Nobody would hurt him, either…then again, what was he doing? Damn. Suddenly he felt very guilty. "Training's over." He said, turning away.

Gohan felt relief and sadness wash over him at the same time. He didn't want to upset Piccolo, but he couldn't fight anymore; his arms and legs hurt too much to even keep his small frame up anymore. He tried to call to Piccolo but it was barely a whisper. "But…Mr….Picco…Too tired to stand anymore he began to collapse to the ground.

Piccolo tried so hard to turn away, tried not to care, but couldn't bring himself to do so. He knew that he was nothing but a heartless, cold monster, but somehow Gohan awakened these things in him. Was he broken, or simply weak? He turned and caught Gohan by his arm, gently picked him up into his arms. "You've done enough for today." He murmered, far more softly than he would've liked, "I'm sorry if I pushed you too hard."

Gohan didn't hear what Piccolo said but faintly saw his lips move. Blackness then surrounded Gohan's eyes as he slipped into unconsciousness. His limbs now lay limp against the stressed namekian.

Piccolo let out a little scoff, but couldn't help but to press the kid close to him. He carried him away, back to where they slept. "Stupid kid…" he sat down, but didn't place Gohan on the ground. Instead he held the young warrior in his lap, his eyes darting around wildly. Hope nobody sees this, he thought, frowning. Me being nice to anyone like this…it's insane, it makes me seem weak…

Gohan stirred in his subconscious cuddling closer to Piccolo sighing softly. He unknowingly nuzzled his head into Piccolo's chest trying to get comfy. Gohan finally settled down with his tiny hand gripping Piccolo's purple gi.

Piccolo felt his face burning. Gohan was pressed so near him that he could feel his rapid heartbeat. Humans, they're so fragile, especially this one. He seemed so frail lying there in his arms, clinging to him desperately. Suddenly Piccolo felt a rush of affection flood him as he ran a clawed hand through Gohan's hair. He dared to smirk a little at how soft the human's hair was. "Stupid kid," he whispered. Gohan's breathing changed as he shifted in the Namekian's strong arms. Was he awakening. "Gohan," he asked, gently pressing a hand to his cheek. He was hot. "Gohan, are you awake?"

Gohan's breathing was raspy and head head was indeed warmer than usual. Gohan opened his eyes slowly and tried to speak. "y-yea….*pant* *pant* ,I'm sorry that I'm s-s-so weak".

"You…" he swallowed and looked away, ashamed with himself. "…you're not weak. I'm the weak one." He began to run his hands slowly thru Gohan's hair once again. "I shouldn't have pushed you so hard. I'm an idiot…I should've seen that you were near your limit." He felt his face flush with anger. How stupid was he? After all, Gohan was just a kid, and he'd never really had to defend himself. How dare he push him this far? He hated himself. "I-" could he really say the one thing that he'd never said in his entire life? "—Gohan, I'm sorry."

Gohan's eyes lit up a bit at that comment. 'Did really say that?' He couldn't believe that piccolo ,the loner namekian, said he was sorry. Gohan's lips curled into a smile and he nuzzled Piccolo's chest. His cheeks were burning red, but he didn't care at all he was happy in Piccolo's strong arms. "I'ts ok …". Dizzyness then overcame him and he groaned as his head started to pound.

"No, it's not." He insisted. Gohan let out a little groan and pressed a hand to his head. Desperate to relieve him of this pain, the Namekian held him closer. "What's wrong? Are you alright?"

Gohan nodded to reassure Piccolo ,but his pounding head disagreed as Gohan groaned again clenching his head in his hands. "I mustv'e gotten a headache…it hurts so bad Piccolo…" Tears leaked out of the corner of Gohan's eyes and slid down his cheeks freely.

He didn't know what to do. He'd never been depended upon before. "Don't—please don't do that…that crying thing…just don't…" He realized that he sounded uncaring, so to show that he was genuinely concerned about the young warrior, he pressed his face into Gohan's hair, tried to let him know that he was here and he wasn't going to abandon him. Should he? Did he dare? Yes, he did. Piccolo planted a kiss atop the boy's head and let out a sigh. He knew that he was blushing, but didn't care. Nothing mattered besides making that boy better.

Gohan's eyes widened feeling Piccolo kiss his head. His head still pounded, but it softened slightly with the namekian's head on his own. He tried to tolerate the pain by crying softly, however, this caused him to shake violently trying to keep in the sobs. Gohan pressed his face further into Piccolo's chest, searching for any comfort the namekian could offer.

He wanted to say something harsh, something that he'd usually say, but this wasn't quite a 'usual' situation. He thought of saying, 'No, don't do that…stop it,' but in reality, he didn't want it to stop. He wanted to take Gohan's pain away, but not to let him out of his warm embrace. "Gohan, please stop this…" he swallowed down his embarrassment and managed to say softly, "…please stop hurting." He wanted to make the boy's pain disappear, to take it upon himself and suffer, but he knew he couldn't. It killed him that he was so powerless. "Gohan, please stop hurting." He didn't meant to sound so pathetic and pleading, but he couldn't help it.

Gohan continued to nuzzle into Piccolo's chest only hearing bits and pieces of Piccolo's plea. "I don't know how to make it stop Mr. Piccolo….can you just h-h-hold me tightly?" It came out a s a soft, pathetic plea, but the pain hurt so much that he couldn't ask any louder. His arms still lingered with pain, making Gohan release his grip on Piccolo's gi.

"Don't worry," Piccolo said quietly, feeling himself tense up. This was it? This was all that he could do? Well, at least it was something. Without restraint, he tenderly cradled the boy to him, sighing. "Stupid kid….always getting me into trouble and—" Gohan weakly opened his eyes for a moment, but had to close them. Just at the mere glimpse of the kid's eyes, Piccolo immediately dumped his harsh attitude. "Just make it go away," he whispered to himself, "just make the stupid kid stop hurting so bad."

Sleep came to Gohan after minutes of suffering. His body became lax against Piccolo and a relieved sigh escaped Gohan's lips. He felt so relaxed and safe in Piccolo's arms and even with a headache he finally calmed down enough to sleep for a while.

"Yeah, sleep." He whispered, putting some of Gohan's hair out of his face. He wanted to get a better look at the boy's face as he slept. He seemed to be okay now, not in much pain. Piccolo still felt horribly guilty, though. How could he do this to Gohan? Tomorrow maybe he wouldn't make him train…maybe they could just sit together and talk or—No! Piccolo thought, almost angrily, Stop thinking like that! He's the son of my rival, and I shouldn't be getting soft on him just because he's so young. In fact, I should be tougher, I should…as his eyes wandered down to the small boy who lay asleep in his lap, he frowned. I should learn to take it easy on him.

The sun was barely out when Gohan's eyes opened up. He tried to move except there was a warm weight around him, restricting his movements. Coming into focus more now Gohan realized he had slept in Piccolo's arms. A smile graced his lips at the thought of Piccolo letting him sleep in his arms. "Hey, Mr. Piccolo? Are you awake yet?"

Piccolo opened his eyes and let out a tired groan. "What?" he looked down at Gohan and hurried to remove himself from this embarrassing situation. "I—Gohan, you're awake. I—" he made a movement to throw the child out of his lap, but hesitated for a moment. How could he dismiss something so innocent and bright?

Gohan's smile turned into a big grin. "Today I'm going to impress you and train until I black out Mr. Piccolo. I won't disappoint you like yesterday." Determination sparked in his eyes even though his limbs still felt incredibly sore, he didn't want to disappoint his teacher again. Something else also made his drive determined ,in fact, Gohan started to feel really weird around Piccolo. It wasn't a bad feeling, but it made him feel warm and so alive to be around him everyday.

Piccolo noticed the odd looks that the kid was giving him. He gave him an inquisitive look and asked sharply, "What? Why are you looking at me like that?" when no response came, he rolled his eyes then rose up to his feet. "You want to train? Fine, but you really need to take a break first."

Gohan's eyes showed confusion while asking Piccolo, "A break?" Gohan then smiled again. "So what are we going to do Piccolo?"Gohan eagerly awaited his answer grabbing onto his cape.

"Mediate." Was his simple answer as he sat cross-legged on the ground. At the puzzled look on the boy's face he motioned to the patch of grass next to him. "Sit." Gohan obeyed without question. Once that had been done, Piccolo closed his eyes, crossed his arms over his chest, and said moodily, "Now just sit and think—think about the quiet, let it consume you. Become enthralled in it, let it overtake you until you fall in love with it…with the tranquility…"slowly he began to feel himself being overtaken by the overwhelming peace of it all. Yes, he was totally at peace with himself…

Gohan quizzically looked at Piccolo for a bit and then tried to focus on peaceful things like waterfalls and birds. After a few minutes Gohan fidgeted around not finding these things peaceful at all. His mind then wandered to Piccolo; Gohan felt instantly calm about the images of Piccolo. His body relaxed as he remembered last night falling asleep into his strong, warm arms. A content sigh escaped his tiny mouth.

Piccolo cast a worried glance over at Gohan; was he truly attempting to meditate? To his surprise, the kid actually seemed to be totally at ease. "Good," he said, smiling to himself. "yes, that's excellent, Gohan. Keep your mind at rest." He himself had sunk back into a world where it was just he and Gohan. He remembered how small and fragile the young warrior had seemed in his arms. He once again felt his face steadily growing warmer and warmer until he couldn't stand it anymore. Think about something else—anything else! Gohan training, trying his hardest for him, only for him….Gohan almost passing out every day after training…Gohan, that's all that seemed to bring his mind any kind of tranquility. He let out a frustrated sigh. Stupid brain. Obviously it was broken.

Just thinking about Piccolo made Gohan feel so happy and peaceful. His mind then wandered to something a little different. This time it was Piccolo's kiss on his forehead and instantly his cheeks burned and is eyes opened. He fell onto his side landing on the meditating namekian. Gohan just stayed there too sore to really move. 'Mr. Piccolo is very warm and comfy. I wonder if he'd let me sleep in his arms again, or give me another kiss.' Gohan smiled and closed his eyes and imagined Piccolo kissing his forehead again.

All at once Piccolo was ripped from his peaceful trance. He fell to the ground, instantly enraged by this. "Gohan, what the hell is wrong with you?" the boy just gave him an ashamed look. Instantly the Namekian's anger subsided. He placed a hand on Gohan's shoulder and made the boy face him. "Well, what's wrong? Does your head hurt again?" he didn't mean to sound so concerned, but like so many times before, it couldn't be helped. He tried to sound harsher, more unyielding and angry like his old, merciless self, but he just didn't have it in him. "What were you thinking about that made you lose your focus like that?"

Gohan's face flushed red and he couldn't look at Piccolo in the eyes without smiling and gushing like a little girl. " Well, I-I uhh…" Piccolo's patience seemed to be wearing thin so Gohan tried to pick up his pace. " Ummmmmm, I was just….thinking…about l-last n-n-night…..when you took care of me is all…." Gohan's cheeks were a cherry red and his hair covered his eyes so Piccolo couldn't see them.

"What about it?" he thought back to the night before. Hastily he turned away from the kid, trying to hide the purple tint of his cheeks. "I don't know what you're talking about. I just did what I had to do to keep you alive, you idiot. If you wouldn't be so weak…" his voice trailed off. He glanced over his shoulder at Gohan. "Yeah, okay, so I took care of you." There was no more denying it. What was the point? "I tried to, anyway. Still, I shouldn't have been so hard on you…you were hurting last night because of me." He hated himself, hated the way that Gohan was staring at him, with such admiration and affection—or did he love it?

Gohan's eyes were now on Piccolo's back as he replayed the words in his head. "You were hurting last night because of me." Gohan walked up to Piccolo and grabbed his clawed, green hand. "But Mr. Piccolo you were just trying to make me stronger, cause I'm so weak that….I can't even fight for a couple of hours to save my own life….last night….even though I had a headache, when you were holding me like that…it made me feel so relaxed that I was able to sleep. I don't know if I would have been able to sleep if you weren't holding me." Gohan's grip on Piccolo's hand tightened a bit as he continued to pour out his feelings. " If I weren't so weak, then maybe you wouldn't have to waste your time with me." Tears now ran silently down his cheeks as he said what he thought was the problem.

Piccolo's eyes widened at these words. "You think that you're my problem?" he couldn't believe his ears. Gohan nodded, tried to walk away shamefully, but Piccolo caught him again and held his hand tightly. "I know that I beat you up all the time, call you weak and useless, but it's a lie. You're going to be a great warrior one day—even better than me." He knelt down so that he was on Gohan's level. The memories of the night before came into his brain. He gave Gohan a small smile . "I made you feel better last night, huh?" Well, he had to admit to himself that he actually liked it when Gohan had depended on him last night. "Alright," he had admit it at last. He'd grown attached to the kid, despite his better judgment. "yeah, if you wanna know, you made me feel better last night, too. I just…I don't want to hurt you like that again, because it's not fair to you. You deserve a better, kinder teacher."

Gohan smiled big and lifted his head to look Piccolo in the eyes. He blushed at Piccolo's words and gripped the namekian's hand tighter. "But Mr. Piccolo I like having you as a teacher. I actually love having you as my teacher and I don't want another one or anyone else." Piccolo was the only one who could teach him and make him feel safe at the same time. "I hate it when I have to leave for home, cause then I'm away from you, and then my heart and stomach hurt badly. But when I see you again I feel so much better." Gohan smiled at Piccolo and laughed happily.

At first all that Piccolo heard was that he caused Gohan pain. This killed him, but nonetheless he also heard the part about how much the young warrior cared about him. This shocked him; someone actually cared about him? Someone was genuinely willing to be his friend? What was a friend? Wasn't it supposed to be someone that you cared about, treasured? Gohan was this for him and so much more. He was more than someone to teach and be around. Piccolo couldn't explain it or turn it into any kind of rational logic; all he knew is simply what was. What was happening between Gohan and him was something that he hadn't planned for or expected in all his life. He didn't want to ruin it, yet he couldn't ignore it. Finally, after a long minute of thought, he gave Gohan what he evidently wanted—he leaned forward and pressed his lips gently against the boy's forehead. "I will always protect you, do you understand?"

Gohan nodded his head. "Yes, I understand ." Gohan had a big smile and his eyes were so bright with happiness and life. His cheeks dusted pink at the kiss he just received. Gohan had an urge to repay Piccolo the favor, so he gently leaned up and brushed his lips on Piccolo's cheek. Gohan then nuzzled his chest and laughed some more.

This action utterly puzzled the Namekian. "What was that for?" Then again, did it matter? He scooped Gohan up into his arms and, although the boy was surprised by this sudden action, held him close. "And tomorrow don't complain to me about how hard I am on you, got it? This doesn't mean that I'm going to start going easy on you just because we're—" he faltered before saying, "—friends."

Startled a little at being picked up, he clung to Piccolo a bit before settling down. "I wanted to kiss you back, I felt like I should repay you….plus I wanted to." Gohan's blush was visible to Piccolo at this point, but he didn't see the need to hide it anymore. "I don't expect you to go easy on me Mr. Piccolo." His smile never faltered as he said this." Mr. Piccolo? Did you ever have any friends before me?"

Piccolo seemed startled by this question. "Well..." how could he, this adult that Gohan so admired, admit aloud that he was nothing but a loner? He didn't even belong in this world, and his whole life he'd never considered other people good enough to talk to him. He was the great son of King Piccolo, he wasn't born to be a nice person, yet here he was, humoring some little kid and liking it. "No," he said at last, "I guess not…you're the only person who's ever even wanted to talk to me." He felt the hard, cold walls of his heart beginning to crumble, but still he didn't fully open himself up to the kid. "But that doesn't matter, because I don't need friends." Without realizing it, he gently pressed Gohan closer to his chest, tried to feel more of his warmth.

"But Mr. Piccolo, everyone needs at least one friend ,and you're my one friend that I need." Gohan smiled at Piccolo. I want to let Mr. Piccolo know that I want to be his friend, or maybe even something more. ' I don't really know if that's possible though, a guy liking another guy like a girl likes a guy. I have these feelings toward Piccolo like I should have towards a girl, but I can't….I only have these feelings for Mr. Piccolo….i think I like Mr. Piccolo a lot…..maybe even love?' Gohan concentrated on his thoughts about the Namekian that he didn't hear piccolo calling his name.

"Gohan, you…you're so kind to me, but I don't understand why." Piccolo met Gohan's gaze. "You Earthlings, your all so soft and kind…I don't understand it." Truly he didn't. He was meant to destroy this pitiful planet, but instead he was falling in love with it? No, it wasn't the planet he was falling in love with…it was the kid. "You've made me feel something…" Something that I don't understand. He wanted another kiss, but he didn't know exactly how to go about asking for one. Instead of speaking he swallowed down his shame and buried his face in Gohan's hair. It was so soft, warm and inviting—just the thing he needed right now.

Gohan smiled softly at Piccolo and relished in Piccolo's head on his own. "Of course I'm nice to you, you're my friend and I care about you, I love spending time with you, training or not I love to be around you. You're so cool Mr. Piccolo, you're one of the strongest fighters I know, and I l-l-like y-you a lot Mr. Piccolo." Pink ascended to his face once again as he confessed to the namekian his feelings. "All of us need someone to love and for someone to love us back Mr. Piccolo." His eyes closed as he laid his head subconsciously on Piccolo's shoulder.

"I suppose so." He cast his gaze up at the rising sun. "Hmm." He thought about this concept of love as he began walking back to where they had slept the night before. Although Gohan had a questioning look on his face, Piccolo placed him gently on the ground and urged him to lay down. "Go back to bed," he said, sitting down on the ground next to him. "You should get a few more hours of sleep, and don't argue with me about it. I'm only trying to take care of you. You shouldn't be training at all today, not after how hard I pushed you yesterday." Just as Gohan laid his head down, Piccolo reached over, placed a hand carefully on his head, and said, with much difficulty, "I guess—I mean, I suppose that I like you a lot too. Don't let it get to your head, but I guess you're right about the love thing."

A smile carved Gohan's lips as he slipped back into the darkness of sleep. Before Gohan was completely submerged in sleep, he placed his tiny hand on Piccolo's larger hand. "g'night Mr….Picc..olo…". Sleep overtook him leaving Piccolo to his thoughts.

"Yeah, goodnight." He murmured, gripping Gohan's hand. He laid down next to him and closed his eyes, tried to get some sleep as well, but found that he couldn't help but to face Gohan and reach out. He checked to make sure the boy was sleeping before slipping an arm over him and pulling him a little closer. "Sleep well, kid." He cuddled close to Gohan without realizing it. It was instinctive; he wanted to protect him, to keep him warm.

Gohan stirred a little , and cuddled a little more into Piccolo for warmth. His mind was filled with the dreams of Piccolo and him spending time together and when he took care of him; especially when Piccolo kissed him. When Gohan awoke again it must have been midday , since the sun was high up in the bright sky. He went to get up, but a heavy weight pulled him back down cuddling Gohan.

"No," Piccolo said tiredly, hugging Gohan to him. "don't leave." Since he was still half asleep, he didn't realize how desperate he sounded. The young warrior didn't seem to mind, either. He complied with Piccolo's request. He knew that much time had passed since they'd both laid down together, he knew that he should get up, but he just didn't want to ruin this moment. "Gohan," he said, his opening a little to stare at the boy, "stay here."

"You want me to stay in your arms Mr. Piccolo?" Gohan smiled and nuzzled Piccolo." But Mr. Piccolo? Shouldn't we be training?" He tried to get up again, but the namekian's grip only tightened at his futile efforts to get up. Gohan quit struggling and nuzzled into Piccolo's neck.

"No," he said, shaking his head. "no training today. What a stupid idea…" he wrapped his arms more securely around the human. How was it that something was so warm and compassionate? Would he ever be able to train Gohan again, knowing that he was hurting him? Damn the human for making him care so much. "Damn you," he said quietly, "damn you for making me care so much."

" Oh ok Mr. Piccolo then what's a good idea to you?" Gohan was a little taken back at Piccolo calling training stupid and not wanting to train. He then realized that Piccolo said something else as well. " Mr. Piccolo? Do I really make you care so much?" Eagerness laced in his cute voice , and a smile plastered on his face.

His voice wavered for a moment. He shifted slightly, but still didn't loosen his grip on the kid. "If you really wanna know, then yeah, you do, dumb kid." He wished that he knew how to be softer and kinder to people, to talk without sounding so harsh. Gohan seemed to understand the hidden compassion behind his words, though, and that's just why Piccolo felt no shame in cuddling with him. "Yeah, I guess that I care a lot." Damn it, he thought, what the hell am I doing being so nice? I can't help it, though…

Gohan smiled up gently at the flustered namekian and nuzzled Piccolo again. " So what are we going to do today Mr. Piccolo?" Gohan wriggled in his grasp excitedly awaiting Piccolo's response. 'I wonder what Mr. Piccolo is thinking right now?' Gohan felt at such ease right now in Piccolo's arms, like he belonged there. ' It feels so good to be in 's arms, I don't know why it just feels so right, and I feel so safe with him.' His hands gripped Piccolo's gi tightly still waiting for his answer.

"I'll tell you what we're going to do—you're going to lay here and not say a word." Gohan opened his mouth to say something else, but Piccolo cut him off. "No, no more talking. We don't need to talk." And with that, he gathered the boy up into his arms and kissed his cheek. Immediately he regretted this blatant display of emotion, and he tried to recover by turning away and saying, "Alright, go if you want. I don't care." Could the kid see how purple his face was?

Gohan's cheeks heated up again at Piccolo's kiss. He brought his hand up to his face and felt the burning sensation. Gohan's lips curled up into a sweet, innocent smile. Gohan cuddled Piccolo a little longer,then he got up and ran to a stream. "Mr. Piccolo I'm gonna go for a swim!" Gohan waved to Piccolo and took his clothes off flinging them somewhere on the bank diving into the shallow water.

"Wait—what?" Piccolo stood there utterly confused for a moment before slowly making his way over to the stream. He tried not to watch as Gohan swam and splashed around. "You—damn it, just…what are you…get out of there…" but the kid wasn't listening. Finally he decided that he'd best just give in to Gohan's request. "Fine, swimming. Whatever." He proceeded to remove his training clothes, but hesitated. The kid was watching him with wide eyes. Piccolo felt his face burning again. "What? Stop staring!"

"Ok ok." Gohan shielded his eyes with his hands. He didn't know that he was staring at Piccolo, but he couldn't help himself. They were both males after all so, it shouldn't matter. Gohan uncovered his eyes to face shirtless Piccolo stepping into the water. Gohan swam over to him and splashed him a bit on his pants.

"You…" he sighed. What was the point of even trying to be angry or frustrated with the kid's wonderment? He glanced around, made sure that there was absolutely nbodoy watching him, then splashed Gohan back a little. "There, happy?" That was all he wanted in the world, to make him happy. For him that seemed like the most important thing, the only thing. A slow, steady smile spread across Piccolo's face. He splashed Gohan a little more. Stupid kid…amazing kid… He playfully dunked Gohan under the water then relaxed a little. This wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. At least Gohan wasn't staring at him anymore. He cast his dark gaze over to the boy and smirked—he was still staring. "What the hell do you find so fascinating about me?"

"Mr. Piccolo I find everything about you fascinating." He smiled continuing. "you're so amazing , you're so strong and you're so cool. You protect me and help me train even though Im only human. Plus you're skin color is so cool, I've never seen anyone else with green skin. Your skin color makes you so much cooler." Gohan was happily splashing Piccolo again. Gohan climbed onto Piccolo's shoulder and gently rubbed his green, pointy ear.

Piccolo stood there in the water, utterly amazed at this answer. "I'm cool?" he tried to play this off. "Pfft. Yeah, sure. Obviously I trained you a little too hard yesterday if you think that." Still, he did relish this idea of being special. His smile grew as he felt Gohan's small fingers running up and down the green skin of his ear. "You're so easily fascinated." He mumbled to himself, slightly embarrassed as the kid now began playing with his sensitive antennae. Gohan accidentally pressed a little too hard, and instantly Piccolo was pushing him away, grimacing in pain. "Ah, you stupid kid! Not so hard!" at the apologetic look on the young boy's face, his tone softened. Piccolo rolled his eyes, scooped Gohan up into his arms, and took his hand. He guided the kid's small hand gently to his left antenna and said, "There, that's better. They're really sensitive. You have to be careful or it'll hurt."

Running his fingers gently over his antennae, he felt a grin on his features as Piccolo relaxed and smiled a bit. Piccolo looked like he enjoyed the attention so , Gohan kept rubbing his antennae softly. He didn't even realize that he was resting his head on the namekian's head. " Mr. Piccolo is that better?" Gohan nuzzled his soft hair on Piccolo's head again.

"Yes," he said with a relived sort of sigh, "much better." He watched Gohan's fascination. Was he really that special? He wondered in the back of his mind what it would be like if he were an Earthling like the kid…maybe they'd be better suited for each other? Despite what Gohan said, they were clearly different from one another. Damn his antennae and green skin…he looked so different from everyone else on this stupid planet. Gohan obviously didn't mind; he just laughed. Piccolo gave him a sort of meek smile. Yes, I know I'm different...but you like it? Without realizing it he was gripping Gohan's soft hands. The kid gave him a fearful look, as if he thought he'd hurt Piccolo. "No, it's alright. You're fine, kid." He leaned back and relaxed in the stream. "Don't be so scared. I'm not going to yell at you."

Gohan's expression relaxed back into a content smile. He nodded in understanding and dove back into the cool water. He doggy paddled around Piccolo for about an hour before getting tired and resting on Piccolo's leg. He felt Piccolo tense a bit before realizing it was Gohan and relaxing again in the cool water.

The Namekian gifted Gohan with a gentle smile. "Can't you find someone else to annoy?" of course he added, ensuring that he didn't seem too mean or harsh, "Not that it does annoy me…at least not that much." His hand traveled down to Gohan's back and strayed there. "Good Gohan," he said, feeling himself begin to relax, "This is perfect." When the kid made a nervous movement to get away from him—clearly he feared annoying his green friend—Piccolo reached out and held him there protectively. "Don't go anywhere," he said, not stopping to think about exactly what he was saying, "stay right here by me forever."

Gohan halted his squirming and looked at Piccolo in awe. Did he just hear that right? "Mr. Piccolo you want me to stay by you forever?" Hope laced in his voice unknowingly. He felt the namekian stiffen a bit. Gohan wanted and would very much stay by Piccolo's side forever. He felt at home with Piccolo, like he could be himself and let his guard down around Piccolo. Gohan nuzzled into Piccolo without notcing what he was doing.

Did I honestly just say that? Piccolo wondered to himself, his face blushing a deep purple. "I…" he couldn't take it back now, and oddly enough he had absolutely no desire to. It felt amazing to finally be able to express his feelings. It was a new, thrilling sensation for him, and like the feeling of Gohan pressed tightly against him was exhilarating. "Yeah," he finally admitted, peering into the water so that he wouldn't have to meet Gohan's sweet, innocent gaze. "I won't let you leave." He said this seriously, but in reality he knew that if the kid wanted to leave him forever, to never be with him again, to move on into adolescence and leave him behind, he'd let him, just because he wanted to make him happy.

Gohan looked up at Piccolo and actually saw his face turning purple. He smiled and said, " Mr. Piccolo I don't want to leave you. I-I-I want to be by y-your side forever. I don't know why but I feel safe around you….like I can actually relax and have fun." Gohan had another urge to kiss the namekian again so, he leaned up and lightly brushed his lips against Piccolo's already purple cheek.

"You kissed me?" he asked in wonderment. When the kid said nothing, just blushed, he pulled him closer. "Come here." He kissed Gohan's forehead. "I'm glad that I make you happy. Now—" he lifted Gohan out of the stream and turned away as he started to dry off. "—get dressed. I'm tired of sitting here." Damn, he felt amazing. He wanted to get up and conquer the world now. Was it really just the simple innocence and love of Gohan that had done this to him? Once the kid was done dressing, Piccolo stood up and put on the rest of his clothes. The young warrior took his hand and held it tightly. Piccolo dared to smile down at him. "Hope your happy, kid."

Gohan smiled big at him nodding his head rapidly . "I am Mr. Piccolo, you always make me happy." Gohan's face dusted pink at his little confession and continued to stare at his teacher and friend. Gohan then stared at the setting sky and took off running happily around the training grounds until it was dark.

All the while Piccolo watched the young warrior running, he felt his heart swelling with a kind of pride that he'd never really felt before. The kid seemed so carefree; he'd been young once. Had he ever acted like that? He couldn't remember. He couldn't really remember anything that had happened in his whole life before he'd taken Gohan under his wing. Finally the kid tired out and retreated into Piccolo's warm embrace. As the moon shined down on them, Gohan let out a tired yawn and stretched out in the Namekian's lap. Piccolo waited for a moment before covering him up with his cloak. "It's cold." He commented, more to himself than anyone else. "I don't want you to freeze."

"Thanks Mr. Piccolo." Gohan smiled and cuddled into the warm cloak, wrapping himself into a cacoon. 'I wonder if I should say it?' "Mr. Piccolo…what is love? I know my mom says it to me but, I think it's different then when she says it to my dad….whats the difference Mr Piccolo?" Gohan waited eagerly for Piccolo to answer.

His eyes grew wide. "The—love? What is love? Well…damn…" he let out a frustrated sigh and thought for a moment. What was love? Had he ever known love? His father had died, and nobody had ever even wanted to talk to him. He'd been born for the sole purpose of eliminating his father's enemies. Had King Piccolo loved him? More importantly, why was Gohan asking these questions? He didn't understand anything that was happening. He didn't have friends, and he'd certainly never loved anyone, yet the kid had changed him somehow. Finally he settled with the answer of, "Love is whenever you can't live without someone. Your mom loves you, but in a different way than she loves your dad. I don't understand it myself, but I guess that's how it works."

"Oh so I guess that's why mom told me that I'll understand when I'm older….i was kinda hoping you could give me a better explanation…" Gohan began to shuffle around in Piccolo's arms obviously pondering about something in his smart, little head. Gohan then let out a frustrated sigh while, continuing to stir around. Piccolo seemed a little puzzled at this but, he just watched Gohan for a while. After a few minutes Gohan began to settle down having a red and bashful face. "Mr. Piccolo? I think I understand what love means ,and you're right it's someone you can' live without….but it's als a feeling of happiness and wanting to be near them all the time….I overheard my dad talking to Vegeta about it and that's what he said…." Gohan's grip on the cloak tightened as he explained himself. "I guesss what I'm trying to say Mr. Piccolo, is that….I…I-I love….you…."It was almost a whisper, but Piccolo's sensitive ears caught it. Gohan looked down afraid to look back up into the namekian's eyes.

I love you…"You love me?" he almost wanted to laugh at how absurd this sounded. Someone loved—couldn't live without—him? For a long while he didn't know what to say. The silence dragged out until finally Gohan let out a little sniffle. He tried to hide the tears of embarrassment and regret that were making their way down his fair face. "No," Piccolo said, shaking his head, "don't cry." He gently wiped the kid's tears away. "Don't ever let me see you crying again." It hurt him far too much. Gohan just nodded. "Good, now listen—" carefully Piccolo touched Gohan's cheek, "—this whole 'love' thing, I don't care about it. All I know is that you're kind to me, and you're the only friend that I've ever really had. I don't think there's a word in the whole damn world to describe how I feel about you." He pressed his forehead against Gohan's and whispered, "I can't believe that I'm saying this, but…but you make me so happy, Gohan, and if you want to call it love, then that's fine. I love you."

Gohan had a big grin along with the rest of his tears flowing down his cheeks. Gohan buried his head in Piccolo's chest and nuzzled it, chanting I love you Mr. Piccolo over and over again. His tiny, strong hands gripped Piccolo's gi tightly; clinging to him for dear life. A smile graced Gohan's lips as he kept nuzzling into Piccolo, there was no hiding his feelings anymore. He loved the namekian , and he didn't want to ever leave Piccolo's comforting embrace. Gohan leaned up to Piccolo's eye level and leaned forward slightly, but hesitating as he was close to the namekian's lips a little unsure that Mr. Piccolo would let him continue.

"Well, what's stopping you?" he asked, smiling at the kid. When no answer came, only a shy, nervous laugh, Piccolo said, sounding almost frustrated, "Damn it, are you going to keep me waiting?" and without any further delay, he leaned forward kissed him. In a moment it was done, but Gohan didn't let him go. "What, another one?" he rolled his eyes and repeated the motion. Once he'd kissed Gohan for the second time, he laid down and opened his arms. "Well, are you going to sleep, or what?" The kid eagerly crawled into his open embrace and smiled.

After snuggling up into Piccolo's warm, strong embrace he leaned up again and slowly kissed Piccolo. Gohan smiled up at Piccolo and cuddled him while whispering, " Goodnight …I love you." Gohan nuzzled his head in Piccolo's neck. Piccolo's grip tightened around Gohan. He nodded. "Yeah, I love you too, kid. Goodnight." Piccolo held Gohan tightly falling into a peaceful sleep; dreaming about him and Gohan. Smiles were on both of their lips as they slept through the night.


Credit for the Gohan parts and quotes goes to my dearest friend and co-writer, Nezune Otoki, who is the best co-writer in the fucking world! Hell yeah! for the Piccolo parts and quotations goes to me, the Last Flowerchild.