Horizon 2

Te De'um


It's stopped.


Nothing is moving.

Except his hair in the breeze, through my fingers and against my arm. And the blood... So slow...

Why is it still moving? Still inching along the floor millimetre by millimetre? Everything else has stopped. But it just keeps going; encroaching, growing... pretending as though the thing that makes it move is still moving itself. Pretending that the heart is still beating, that the lungs are still breathing, and that Son Gohan is not just a body sitting on the floor.

I can scarcely believe that's what I'm seeing.

His chest is so still. I keep waiting for the next breath of air, for the next rise and fall. And I'm straining to hear a heartbeat, something to tell me that this hasn't really happened. That it's just another nightmare. Another fabrication.

I know it's not, though. No matter what I wish this to be... what has happened is real. This is real. And no matter how hard I strain my ears I'm never going to hear another breath of air fill his lungs... His eyes aren't going to open and look up at me, shining with a smile. I'm never going to hear his voice again, shivering in the air, echoing in my cave, muffled through the trees in the forest...

Real. I have to remember.

But...I'm never going to hear his voice again...

That corner in my mind, where Gohan has been since only Kami can remember, is empty. It used to be so full, pulsing in the day time with whatever it was that Gohan had found exciting; a tingle that told me he was okay, that he was happy. And occasionally his voice would come through, some little happy thought that was so strong it shivered through the connection into mine, and made me smile, regardless as to how ridiculous the thought was. At night it was softer, a gentle murmur of tired emotions and sluggish thinking. I could easily fall into meditation with it whispering in the back of my mind. Lately, it's been hard to even feel him... And what I could feel...

Now... he isn't even there.

The silence in my mind is... everywhere.

I'm not certain when Vegeta stopped speaking, but now the absence of his voice makes everything too harsh, too separated. I can hear him breathing; low, quiet beneath the rush of my own breath in my nose. I still keep trying to hear Gohan's, and each time I can't this lump in my throat just grows bigger. I don't know when it started to form. It feels as though it's been there for so long now... months? Since the Cell Games, I think... Yes, since the eleven year old child stood before that monster and pretended to be brave. For his father. I thought for sure that we would all die that day... But it was the thought of Gohan... watching him down there... alone...

I can still remember the way he felt in my head... He was so terrified, yet his determination...

He always seemed to be so strong...

But you've always been good at pretending, Gohan.

I'm not... I'm not sure I'm any more equipped to deal with this situation as I was that one... My hands couldn't stop shaking then, and all I can feel of them now is the strong pulse in my thumb resting against Gohan's cheek. He's so cold... And so pale... I can't help but drag my fingers from his hair, over the closed lid of his eye, and down over his cheek. My fingers leave no marks... there's no blood left in his body to colour them...

Damn it, Gohan. I would trade my life for yours...

But I'm too late.

I should have realised something was wrong when the pressure started in the back of my head. When my ears buzzed and my throat dried, and the thought of drinking anything made me feel nauseous. I should have recognized the signs when Vegeta started moving. I should have been paying attention. I...

I realized too late that something was up. By the time I could sense where Vegeta was going Gohan had probably already...


I can't even think it.

What kind of friend am I? To miss this? To be with... to be elsewhere, when he needed me the most...

What sort of person am I?

One who left too late, that's who. One who arrived too late. One who... barely had time to say goodbye.

I didn't think that I would ever have to, again.

Damn, why is everything so silent?

I didn't expect this when I came to the window. I didn't think that I would see Gohan sitting on the floor, bleeding out all over the wood. I didn't expect Vegeta to be holding him, either, though I knew that he was here. I thought that maybe something else was wrong. He was sick, or... anything else, really. Anything but this. Though...

No. I'm lying. I knew something like this was coming. I should stop making excuses to myself. I know Gohan too well. Far too well. I knew he was going to try it. It was only a matter of time. After thinking about things long enough you start to give them a go. And Gohan had been thinking about this for a long, long time.

I knew. Dende... I knew.

Gohan, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I wasn't here sooner. I should have been here. Would've been had not... had not...

Damn. I can't think about that right now. Not right now. Not when I can't even breathe properly.

Get a hold of yourself, Piccolo. Get a hold of yourself!

This is... I'm not prepared for this. Not at all. I should be - I'm a warrior, for fuck's sake! Death is normal. Expected. Seen. Old... Shit. No, it's not... No, it's not.

I'm shaking. The shadows of my fingers on his greying skin are trembling like trees harassed by the wind. I have to pull them away before this thing in my throat shatters.

Children aren't supposed to die.

Not like this.

Not ever.

Children... aren't supposed to die.

Was it only a week ago that he was complaining to me about some College grade text book he had to read? He was smiling as he was grumbling, drawing pictures in the margins like he had when he was younger. But... his smile had seemed out of place, as though it were a mask that didn't quite fit anymore because the face underneath of it had changed. And the pictures... there was an abundance of black smudges in them... smudges that could have been...

He hasn't been smiling properly for months now.

I noticed. I'm not blind.

But regardless of me visiting more - stalking him if I was to be honest with myself - he still found a way to silence the voices.

I knew about them, too.

I inhale, and the air shudders in my throat. It's the only sound in the room now. Vegeta's holding his breath.

I think I'm going to break. Is this how grief feels? I've never lost anyone before, not someone who's meant so much to me. Isn't it supposed to hurt more? Aren't I supposed to be crying? What is this thick feeling that numbs me all over? Why is my head so empty?

What the hell is going on!

You're not supposed to be dead! Not yet! Not alone!

Why, Gohan? Why? We can't wish back suicides!

Oh, damn...

We can't bring you back.

Why have you left us here, Gohan? Why? Why can't I feel you anymore?

Numb... Numb all over.

Everything has stopped.

Move. Why won't something move?

"Where were you?" Vegeta asks, and that cursed silence is finally broken. His voice sounds how I feel - hollow, yet his face... his eyes... they're burning. Instantly, as though my futile attempts to forget for a while were flimsy sheets of rice paper burned away by his gaze, recollection returns, and it's suddenly too hard to speak.

I can't pretend anymore. Everyone will know soon, anyway.

"With his mother." I reply. My equilibrium goes, and I find myself with my backside on the floor and my hands cradling my head. There's some hair caught in my nails. Dark, long.


The thing in my throat leaps and quivers and I think it's about to explode. Dende... Dende, how am I going to say this? How am I going to tell her about this?

"She's pregnant."

Vegeta swears with such venom I think he's about to turn super Saiya-jin. I take my first good look at him since I came here, and the thing in my throat does another leap. He's shaking. His chin is resting on Gohan's still shoulder, and he's looking out the window. And his arms... He hasn't let go. He's still clutching the boy to him as if just his grip could keep him here. Vegeta... His cheeks are wet, and the skin around his eyes is red. He's been crying.

Vegeta's been crying. For Gohan. If only he could see... If only Gohan could see...

But his eyes... they're closed...

Gohan isn't here anymore.

Bloody... fucking...

"Fuck!" Vegeta yells suddenly. I jerk my eyes back up to his face from where they had dropped to Gohan's. He's looking over at me now, and breathing fast and deep. "Where is she?"

Stillness drips down into my lungs, and there's not enough air in them anymore. "On her way." I whisper.

Vegeta's head moves slowly from side to side, as though belief is still not a thing he's gifted with. "She can't see him like this."

No, I agree. No, she can't. "There's so much," I whisper instead.

Stupid mouth. Vegeta's looking at me again. "I know." He replies.

And it's barely a moment later when Gohan's body disappears.



I shake my head. What?

Vegeta sits there, stunned that there's nothing in his arms anymore. He looks over at me, but I can't form an answer for the question in his eyes.

"He's been granted his body?" He asks.

I shake my head again. This makes no sense. "I... guess so."

"He's a suicide." Vegeta states as if I'm stupid. I can't keep back the flinch that constricts my face.

I know, damn you! I know! Just... I squeeze my eyes shut, and breathe in deep. Just don't say it out loud...


Another breath. There's something growing within me, now, a hope that I haven't felt for so long now. Whispering... quietly in my mind, a strange but welcome fluttering in my chest. My voice is just as quiet when I finally manage to speak again.

"Maybe he's been forgiven."

Vegeta doesn't say anything, but I know what he's thinking.

Thank God.

...thank God.


--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Te De'um {We praise thee, O God}
Cabbitshivers 2005
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Hosted by www.Geocities.ws