AN:Guess what? We're going back to Gohan for a while! Hooray! I don't own DBZ, but I do own DBH. So there *sticks her tongue out*
Chapter Thirteen—Pros and Cons
The teenager stared in horror at the pool beneath him. His father was taking a nap under a tree nearby, so Gohan had a little time to himself. So he'd opted to do what he usually did when he had free time around this place. He went to watch the others through the pool.
He watched Videl stand up, and he watched her fall. And he watched Krillen try to revive her, with no success whatsoever. They picked her up and flew off; he could only assume that they were headed for home, because he tore his eyes away from the sight beneath him.
He still hadn't made a decision. They were three Dragonballs away, and he didn't have the slightest clue as to what he was going to do. But time was rapidly running out for Son Gohan to make his final decision: to go back to Earth, or stay in Otherworld with his father?
"Still thinking it over?" a nasal voice asked.
He whirled around. "Oh…hey, King Kai. What's up?"
"Just wondering if you'd made a decision yet," the martial arts master asked cheerfully, sitting down next to Gohan.
"A decision?" Gohan played dumb, worried that his father might hear about his conflict.
"About whether or not you're going back to Earth, right?"
Gohan's attempt at playing stupid was shot down, and he stared at the little blue creature. "How…how did you know?"
"Your father noticed that there was something bothering you, but he didn't know what," King Kai shrugged. "So I just put a few things together and made a lucky guess."
"So have you made a decision yet?"
"Not yet. And I don't think I will anytime soon. There's just too much to consider," Gohan sighed.
"Try making a list," King Kai suggested.
"I thought you were supposed to be the smart one in the group!" the kai admonished. "A list of pros and cons. Then compare the lists and decide based on that."
"Okay…I guess that makes sense," Gohan agreed. "Let's see…well, the pros of going back are that I get to be with my friends and family again, right?"
"And…that's about it," Gohan frowned. "Okay…let's try the cons of going back. School, chores, never see Dad again, getting whacked with a frying pan everytime I put even one toe out of line…" he went on in that vein for what felt like a long time. When he finally stopped, he looked at King Kai and actually smiled. "Well, I guess that kind of settles it, huh? One pro to a million cons. That's it. I'm staying here."
"You only listed the pros and cons of going back," someone commented from behind him. "You didn't list the pros and cons of staying here."
Behind him, Goku chuckled. "Yes, I was eavesdropping a little bit, and I'm going to throw a little advice into this conversation. Make a pros and cons list of staying here."
The teenager blinked. "Well…the pro side is getting away from everything I said before."
"But what about the cons?" King Kai asked, taking up Goku's lead.
"You'll never see Goten or Videl or your mom or any of those guys again," Goku pointed out, dropping to the ground next to his son. "I mean, you'll be able to see them in the pool, but you'll never get to talk to them or eat your mother's cooking or argue with Videl or play with Goten or anything. And try to imagine what you'll feel like after you say you don't want to leave. Two month after the wish is made. A year. Two years. A lifetime, maybe? How will you feel then? Will you miss any of them? Your family? Your friends? Maybe even school and chores?"
Gohan didn't answer.
"I'm going to be very, very blunt," Goku continued. "You can't stay here, Gohan. There are too many people on Earth who care too much about you for you to do this to them. And there's so much you could still do before you make a permanent journey over here. You just can't give up your life like that."
Gohan turned his head and stared at his father incredulously. Before he could stop himself, he blurted out, "You did!"
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Gohan would have given almost anything to snatch them back again and hide them away forever. Especially when he saw the look on his father's face. But it was too late. It had been said, and now the feelings he'd done his best to bury since the Cell Games came swimming to the surface. They had to be voiced. It was now or never.
"You left, Dad. You left us behind," Gohan said levelly, not allowing anything to color his tone of voice. "You got to make your own choice, and you chose to stay, when there were plenty of people on Earth who cared a ton about you, and when there was still a lot you could have done, too. But you gave up your life, Dad, and we got left in the dust. There's a word for that. It's called hypocritical."
Goku's jaw was hanging off his face, as was King Kai's. Apparently, this was not the direction they had expected this conversation to go, and from Goku's expression, he hadn't realized any of this.
Gohan stood up and dusted himself off, ignoring his father's horrified expression. "Well, you know what, Dad? You got to make your choice, and now it's my turn to make mine. I decide what I do. Not you. So just let me figure this one out myself."
He turned on his heel and strolled off; it was a struggle to keep from breaking into an open run just to get away. Those were things that he never wanted to tell his father.
Once he was a safe distance away, Gohan collapsed under a tree and put his face in his hands. "Great, Gohan, that was just wonderful."
The lists he'd made were still fresh in his mind, lists of pros and cons for staying or going. And when he got right down to it, the lists were equal.
Each of his friends' faces flashed through his mind. If he stayed he would never see them again, but he would be able to stay with the father he'd lost so much time with. Even though he was kind of upset with his dad at that moment, if someone could have waved a magic wand or something to bring Son Goku back to life at that instant, he would have taken the opportunity in a heartbeat.
But that just wasn't an option. He could either have his father back, or the rest of his family and friends. Not both. Even if they gathered the Dragonballs, they couldn't brink his dad back to the living world, assuming Goku would even consent to the wish.
"What are you doing over here, kid?"
He turned and looked up at the imposing green figure now looming over him. He managed a smile. "Oh. Hey, Pikkon."
Pikkon leaned against the tree Gohan was sitting under. "Thinking things over?"
"Yeah, and it's not easy!" the teen sighed. "I don't know what to do. And if you suggest a pros and cons list, I might have to strangle you."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Pikkon replied, sounding amused. "Problems with your father?"
"You wouldn't believe."
"King Kai said that they're going to wish you back. True?"
"Very true. That's my problem. I don't know if I want to go back."
"I'm not even close to making a choice," Gohan threw his hands up in the air. It was amazing how much Pikkon reminded him of Piccolo; they even looked a little bit alike. The deceased green fighter was proving a very good ear when Gohan just needed to vent.
"How much time do you have?"
"Not much. I think I have three Dragonballs to go, and then it's decision time."
"What do you have over there that's worth going back for?" Pikkon asked.
Gohan glared at him. "Sounds like a pros and cons list to me."
The green warrior shook his head quickly. "No, just a simple question. What do you have over there that you consider worth living for?"
"Well…" Gohan thought for a minute. "The most important people in the world to me are my friends and my family. Goten and Mom and Videl and Piccolo…and I don't want to give them up. I can see them if I stay here, but never see them. But if I leave, I lose Dad all over again. That nearly destroyed me the first two times it happened, Pikkon. I don't know if I can go through it again."
"The choice is ultimately yours, but let me give you a word of advice," Pikkon pushed off the tree and stood up straight. "Something my first teacher said to me. 'He is wise who will give up that which he cannot keep to get that which he cannot lose.' Just think on it for a while. I'm sure it will come to you."
With that, the green fighter left Gohan to his thoughts, jumbled as they were.
Great, now I have to figure out whatthat means! the teen lamented. It just doesn't make sense! What do I have to give up that would get me something I can't lose?
He was going over the possibilities in his head when he heard his father's panicked voice. That got his attention like almost nothing else would. Son Goku almost never got panicked. If it had his father worked up, it had to be serious.
Momentarily forgetting about the words they'd exchanged earlier, Gohan jumped to his feet and watched his father run towards him. "What? What is it?"
Goku's face reflected the panic in his voice. "Gohan…it's Videl."
AN: Cliffie! I'm really not sure about Pikkon's character, and I needed someone else in there, so I just used him. Don't like it? Sorry, not changing it! Next chapter, Videl's increasingly serious problem, and the continued hunt for the Dragonballs! I haven't even started the next chapter, and I'm not going to think about it right now. Boy's basketball team is at the first round of the state tournament, playing against the school we beat out last year for the state title. I'm gonna go listen to the rest of the game, which will be over by the time you read this AN. Right now, that's what's on my mind. I'll update when I can!