It was stupid. So stupid. A quick, one-second decision, a typical no-brain action, devoid completely of any thought as to the consequences. Stupid, stupid! They always said I was simple-minded and thoughtless, but this time I've really lived up to my reputation as a third-class baka. Damnitt, Vegeta, why'd you have to be so damn right? I didn't think - I didn't even pause to consider how he would take it, how he would react to me leaving him yet again. Kami-damnitt! I just didn't think! Sure, I did it for him, for everyone. Hell, if I hadn't done it there'd be nothing left for them to stand on, or everyone else for that matter. They'd all be down here. With me.
Instead of only me.
I have to restrain the urge to fling myself even farther from them into the yellow clouds that form the ceiling of Hell. What I have done has to be one of the most stupid things I've ever done in my life - most certainly the dumbest in my afterlife - I said 'No.'
They wanted to wish me back... and I said "No."
I just go and do it again. Caught up in my own lust for the challenge, my own over-protectiveness to keep my family away from the reach of the instinctive pull that we Saiya-jin's have to fight - I completely overlook his reaction. I'm such a baka! And now I can't take it back. I made my choice. And it was so _stupid_
... He blames himself...
I watch him from here. He cries when he thinks no one is looking, curled into a ball the tears dry on his cheeks at night. Piccolo held watch outside his window the first week. I know he could hear his tears just as well as I could. Can. He still cries.
I wonder... Does he know that I watch him?
If he did would he still cry? Or would he hide it from me, too ashamed to show me how much my choice has hurt him? Emotion has no place on the battlefield, so we were told.
Sometimes I think that Piccolo knows I watch. He says things after long periods of silence, as if he's aware of my being there, listening, watching, asking questions in the voice I know he can't really hear. Maybe it's the Kami in him, or the Daimaoh, or both. The deity thing must really tune your mind into psychic and unearthly currents; either that or it's something all Namek-seijin's are born with, though I don't remember Piccolo's older brothers ever displaying such talents. They were careless stampeding bulls in a fine china shop, blundering into minds like rampaging Oozaru's. Strange how I can liken myself to them, they who murdered my best friend without a thought to what death truly was. I wish now that I had never learnt to read minds... that I had never brushed myself into his... what is in his mind is... frightening. Soul-gripping.
I wish he wouldn't think things like that. I've been hoping that it wouldn't haunt him as much as it has, but it's getting worse. It's becoming... serious. Piccolo knows. I'm sure of it. I think that it's the only possible reason as to why he's been paying even more close attention to him than usual. His shadow... his guardian angel... the father I could never hope to be.
Damnitt - typical that at a time like this, when I'm needed so badly, I get jealous.
I can't disguise that I'm envious of him - have been since the first time I died. He knows my son better than I do, watched him when I couldn't, taught him to fight, witnessed his first transformation into Oozaru. So many firsts he's seen that I've missed. So many firsts I've missed while I was alive because I've just been too occupied with fighting.
I wasn't there for his first steps; I was training in the forest. I missed his first real laugh; I was unconscious on the floor after knocking myself out on the table when I slipped on some of Go-chan's baby-mush foodstuff. (Incidentally, that was what made Go-chan laugh in the first place.) His first meal of solids (training in the mountains), his first haircut (training again), his first grazed knee (actually, I was cutting firewood during that one), his first word (I was fishing), which happened to be a gurgled attempt at my name (Go-go.) I envy Piccolo for teaching him what I couldn't...
I envy him that every time Gohan looks at him there is undisturbed love in his eyes.
I envy him that every time Gohan looks at me there is pain shadowing the love.
I envy him Gohan's smiles.
I envy him Gohan's laughter.
I envy him Gohan's hesitant attempts to stand close to him.
I am jealous.
Piccolo taught him to survive... while I... I... Well, just look at me! Because of my stupid actions that teaching is taking a heavy beating now... all because of me. Stupid jealous baka with kaka-hair. Vegeta-sama was right - I was too stupid to live. Gohan is... he's thinking about, I mean seriously contemplating... killing himself.
I hate that word. Every syllable is an empty sound that contains so much pain that it's a miracle it hasn't exploded in my mind when I think of Gohan's connection to it. I hate the way it's taking hold of my Go-chan, the way not a day goes past where he's not thinking about just how easy it would be to do it at that time, and at that place, and with that technique. His mind is filled with voices; his, Chi-chi's, Piccolo's, Vegeta's, and, oh Kami... mine. Fabricated vociferations hurling taunts and untruths into the mind I barely recognize anymore. I guess we all overlooked just how fragile he really is. Just how Kami-damned dependent on us for his happiness he must be. He hides himself so well - he's had to. And I hate myself for the fact that I would have told him the same thing Piccolo had; Fear and cowardice have no place on the battlefield. How were we to know that for him the battle never ends? How was I to know? Oh, Kami, I'm a messed-up idiot who's irreversibly fucked up his son. But Kami, we needed him. We needed him! We could never have won without him! I wish we could've... I wish it would have been possible... it hurts to be wishing so hard, but it was a foregone conclusion that we would have lost irrevocably if he hadn't joined in the...
/Please, Daddy, it hurts too much./
My son doesn't like to fight. He doesn't like to hurt. He doesn't like to kill.
And I've made him do all three.
/I can't do it, Dad! I don't have anything left!/
My son for the world, huh? Is that what the on-going price is for saving Chik-yuu? My son's life, or the life of everyone else on the planet? Well then fuck the world! I don't know the world! Let them fight their own damn battles! I want my son back! Give me my Kami-damned son back you bastards! Damn... I can't... I can't take... k'so, shit, shit, shit! It's all my fault... my entire fault! DAMNITT! Damnitt... Gohan, Gohan, please... put down the blade. Please son... you don't want to do this! You don't! Please... Damnitt, Piccolo - where the hell are you?!
Stop him. Oh, God, somebody stop him.
Why can't he hear me? Kai? Kai, why can't you let me go? Goddamnitt! Let me go down there! What do you mean there's no way?! There has to be! Just... I have to... Oh, Kami, I'm sorry... I'm so sorry... I didn't mean it. I didn't mean any of it! Kami, someone help him. Someone help him, please!
Vegeta? Vegeta, what are you... oh, God, it's too late! There's so much... I think - I think I'm going to be sick... there's so much blood... so much... It can't be too late! It can't! Do something, damn you! Don't just stand there! Fucking DO something! Anything! Sear the wounds closed with ki. Bind his arms. Stop the bleeding. Give him a fucking senzu bean! Just don't stand there with... those... tears... on your face. Help him! Hold him! Just... don't let him go. Please, don't let him go alone...
There you are, Piccolo. Where have you been? Did you have fun while my son was slitting his veins open from wrist to elbow? Fuck you! Fuck you all! Oh, god, how could we have let this happen? How could I have... Gohan, I'm so sorry... I'm sorry, Oh, God am I sorry!
Strange... seeing Vegeta cry. Three times, now, and it's for my son... Hold him, oh please, just keep holding him... Brush his hair from his face... kiss his brow... tell him you love him... Do everything I should have, and do it now! Yes, Piccolo, stroke his hair... keep his mind off all that emptiness. He should never have had to feel it... and I'm sorry...
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...
What do you mean 'It's time', Kaiousamma? Time for...? Oh. Oh, God. Already? Oh, Kami... Just-just hold on, Gohan. I'm coming now, son. Just hold on, all right? It wont last long, I promise... the emptiness won't last long. I'll be waiting for you when you arrive. Not long now... The silence is going to end, and I'll be the father to you that I should have been from the start.
I'm not going to be stupid again.
This I promise you.
"Nadir" - Written by Cabbitshivers 2002-11-03