Somethings just never changed.
Gohan sat crossed legged, gazing into the campfire he started. Here he was again in Break Wasteland—the same place where Piccolo left him alone all those years ago to toughen him up for the arrival of the Saiyans. At the time it happened, he hated what Piccolo put him through. He never wanted to fight. He just wanted to be with his mom and dad. However, this place held some good memories as well.
Memories with Piccolo.
Piccolo’s training was brutal but if it weren’t for him, Gohan would’ve never had gotten stronger. If it weren’t for his training out in the wilderness, Piccolo would’ve never had turned into the heroic warrior he was today.
It’s funny how the worst types of situations bring out the best in people.
Gohan closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Time for another battle.
He envisioned Cell. That monster—that atrocious being who threatened to take everything he loved away from him. Cell looked downwards at Gohan with a smirk and walked up to him. He was so tall. Gohan looked up and felt that familiar fear sink in. There was no way he could take him on. There was no way to beat this thing!
No, there was a way.
There’s always a way. His father taught him that.
With no hesitation, Gohan pulled back his fist and shoved it into Cell’s gut.
Gohan’s eyes snapped open.
Someone was here?
He sensed a small (but impactful) ki presence. The person wasn’t a threat but it’s rare to sense an Earthling with a power level like that. Maybe he should check it out.
Gohan stood up and made his way towards the person. He wasn’t too far from Gohan’s campfire. Eventually, Gohan found another campfire. He saw water bottles, and martial arts staves lying around. A tent was also set up and he could see a few different gis inside. He couldn’t quite make out what martial arts school the symbols on the gis belonged to.
This person definitely wasn’t from around here.
Gohan turned around and finally caught sight of the martial artist. He was a slim—but well-built—man who was shadow punching. He had good technique. His punches were precise and his movements were fluid. His fighting style was more old school, though. The way he carried himself reminded Gohan of how his father used to fight back before he trained with King Kai.
This guy couldn’t be a Turtle Hermit student…
The symbol on his gi didn’t match up with the one on his dad’s.
Noticing Gohan’s presence, the man stopped his drill and stared at Gohan with his fists clenched.
“Who are you and what do you want? If it’s money you want, you’ll have to get it through me first.”
Gohan held his hands up and shook them. “No, no! I’m not a thief. I’m camping out here as well and I heard some noises. I thought someone was in trouble so I just wanted to make sure no one was hurt.”
The man stepped forward. He was wearing a red headband around his forehead. There was an aged scar on the bottom right side of his chin.
Wait a minute. Where had Gohan seen this guy before? He looked familiar…
No…it couldn’t be him. Is he…?
The man’s eyes widened.
“Who are you? And how do you know who I am?”
Gohan couldn’t help but let out a breathless laugh.
“Pigero, you don’t remember me? I’m Gohan, the boy you saved from those orphanage workers years ago!”
Unclenching his fists, Pigero dropped his guard and stared at Gohan with his mouth a gap. He shook his head.
“You’re Gohan? No way, you can’t be him. The Gohan I knew was so short.”
Gohan broke down laughing. Pigero joined in and chuckled.
“But… I can’t believe it’s you, Pigero! It’s been years since I’ve seen you! Where did you go after you left? What have you been doing?”
Pigero went back to his campfire and sat down. Gohan joined him.
“I decided to get fulltime into martial arts. Back then, I wanted to become stronger. I wanted to fight—I wanted to find a way to get all this anger out of me.” His fist clenched again.
Looking up at Gohan, Pigero said, “And how about you? Are you still a fighter?”
Gohan nodded. “Yeah, I am. But I’m not as good as I used to be. My studies have kept me away from fighting. I didn’t feel a need to fight for the longest of time, to be honest. But…” He paused. “Things are different now. I have a wife and daughter. I want to get strong again—for them.”
“So you’re a family man now, huh?”
“I don’t know if I want to settle down. Hell, I don’t even know if I should have kids. I’m not good with children.”
Huh? Was he joking?
“But Pigero,” Gohan started. “You held Chico and the others together. They all looked up to you.”
Pigero squeezed his eyes shut. “I know.” A tear escaped from his eye. “I did what I thought was best for them. But… I still remember that look they gave me right before I left them with the workers. To this day, that look in their eyes still haunts me. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hate me for what I did.”
Gohan stared at Pigero. Sometimes doing what’s best for people requires difficult choices. This feeling was all too familiar for Gohan. The devastation he felt after his dad willing sacrificed himself to rid the world of Cell was a feeling he could never forget. If only… if only he killed Cell the moment the chance came up. If only he didn’t toy with him because of his stupid arrogance.
“I don’t think they would hate you.” Gohan said.
Pigero raised an eyebrow and wiped away the remnants of his tears.
“Something tells me that they’re happy right now. They’re living their life to the fullest because you gave them that chance. Pigero, if anything, I think they’re thankful for what you did.”
Pigero contemplated Gohan’s advice. A few minutes passed in silence. Standing up, Pigero held out his hand to Gohan all while smirking.
“How about a sparring match, Gohan? I would love to show you everything I’ve learned over the years.”
Gohan smiled. “Yeah, sure! I wanna show you what I’ve learned as well.” He took Pigero’s hand.
“Thanks, kid.” Pigero pat Gohan’s shoulder. “Thank you so much, Gohan.”
- This story is exactly 1,102 words long.
|Bleeding Inside Collection|
|Repetitive • Familiar Face|