AN: In an effort to hopefully wrap this story up (and provoke something from my muse), here we go … again.
AN2: I'm jumping time here again for two reasons – one, I suck at fight scenes (drawn out ones) and two, I want to finish the story.
Time seemed to blur for Erasa over the next few weeks – she spent every day she could around Gohan, learning things while he sparred with an array of people that went from Piccolo to the Bandit, from PRINCE (and BOY had that been a revelation) Vegeta to Krillen, and even her Aunt Juu, and just when she thought that she had seen just about everything, he and Vegeta both went 'Super Saiyan'.
'Well, at least he makes a cute blonde,' was the first thing that came to mind, but that thought vanished as both Vegeta and Gohan also vanished, moving too fast for her eyes to see. 'Holy crap,' was the second thing that went through her mind.
During those spars, Gohan had shown to her that, indeed, he wasn't normal, and that what she had learned in school and from television about the 'fake' martial artists was all true… well, most of it… but what had taken her aback the most was when her aunt and Gohan had finally stopped all of the pretenses and had started REALLY fighting. It was… it was the Cell Games all over again in her mind – the destruction those two brought about to the surrounding desert No quarter was given, none was asked for, and just when it appeared that one had the other at the end game, the tables flipped and the aggressor became the defender. Still, through the entire ordeal Erasa had been able to almost sense a… camaraderie between the group, as if they knew that at the end of the day, they would be friends once again.
Now, though, as she sat no ten feet away from Gohan in the waiting area, the feeling was more tense, more… lethal; she had watched the opening matches, matches that had men easily three times Gohan's age across from him, and it had gone quickly with the half-Saiyan male not wasting any time on 'the weaklings'. Hercule's matches had gone quickly as well, but generally with the 'World Savior' resorting to old and potentially dirty tricks and technicalities to win his matches. It was clear in her mind, though, that with every victory the pair got closer and both of them got more anxious.
Gohan, himself, centered himself as he idly ran his hand over the light bruise that had formed on his forearm after his last fight – Tien had, surprisingly, shown up to fight for the grand prize money and had tried his best to win, but in the end the three-eyed man hadn't been able to get past the fact that he was only human.
'Only human? YOU are also human, Gohan.'
Gohan sighed – Goku, again, 'Half human, technically.'
'You sound like Vegeta, like that's some how a disability.'
Gohan snorted as he heard the call for the next match, 'You make it sound like at times it is not.' He stood and stretched in place, 'Pride is not a bad thing to have.'
'Pride is what got me killed,' Goku told him bluntly.
Gohan didn't even flinch, 'I'm not going there with you.' He looked at Erasa, who was now fidgeting, "I'll be back in a few minutes, Erasa – this shouldn't take too long."
The blonde girl looked up at him and, for a moment, seemed to hesitate before she stood up and glomped him, wrapping her arms and legs around and squeezing tightly, "Be careful, Gohan. He's cheating."
Fighting back a blush as he heard Krillen, Vegeta, Piccolo and Yamcha snickering, he whispered back, "So am I, technically."
Again Erasa hesitated before she pecked him on the cheek, "Just be careful, alright?" She hopped down at that point and fled off to where Eighteen was sitting, blushing a bright red.
Gohan blushed himself as Krillen walked over and elbowed him in the side, "So, bro, when's the wedding?"
Yamcha wasn't far behind, "Glad to see that some of my lessons with women finally paid off, kiddo. You're a smooth operator, just like me."
Krillen snorted, "I'm sure Bulma might refute that."
Vegeta walked forwards, ignoring both of the humans and their silly comments, "Brat… Gohan, remember that this is for not only yourself, but for the Saiyan people. Lose and you will dishonor your people."
"Right, no pressure, then," Gohan muttered as he stepped out into the stadium of people.
When he'd seen the name of the competitor, he KNEW that things were going to be interesting – the son of Goku was at the WMAT, in HIS arena, fighting for the championship against Hercule, the man that, arguably, was the biggest loud-mouth on the planet. Still, as both made their way through the ranks of fighters, he'd seen the growing worry in Hercule's eyes as Gohan shredded the competition, just as he'd seen the growing, if chilling, smile that Gohan had worn at the end of each fight.
The Announcer had no doubt in his mind – this was probably going to be a blood bath… and one HELL of a money-maker, "Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we've waited for is HERE!" The crowd roared on-cue and he let it die down for a second before he spoke again, "In this the final match of the Tournament, we have Hercule Satan, the Savior of the World-" again the crowd roared, but there were also a surprisingly large number of boos and calls of 'fraud', "- and Gohan Son, son of Goku Son, former champion and an upcoming star in the World Martial Arts community!" THIS got a roar out of the crowd, but also a bunch of screams from the younger ladies in the crowd, with more than a few cries of 'Marry me!', which got a cry of, 'Grandbabies!' out of the box that held Gohan's mother.
Hercule walked out first, dressed in his brown gi with a black belt, his afro swaying slightly in the wind as a gust suddenly came down, and he looked surprisingly serious as he began to stretch lightly. He had to admit that, while he personally detested the man, he thought that Hercule hadn't looked this good in a while, he had to keep an objective voice and call it like it was. Still, though, he privately hoped if his bet of ten thousand yen on Gohan would pay off…
Gohan walked out at this point onto the field and he had, apparently, changed – earlier, he had been wearing a black rendition of the Turtle-style gi, much like the one his father had worn, but now that was replaced by a dark blue jumper with a red sash, wrist bands and brown slipper-like shoes… hey, that looked… nah, couldn't be.
"Fighters to the ring, please." Both men stepped up onto the flat surface, a sixty-four by sixty-four and he went on, "Now, ladies and gentlemen, I must warn you that what we are about to see could be quite brutal, but I must also remind both of the contestants that if you kill your opponent or are caught cheating, you are immediately disqualified."
"I have no problems with his cheating," Gohan called out from his side of the ring, never taking his eyes off of Hercule.
Hercule posed a few times, as if trying to intimidate the boy, "I don't need to cheat to beat a punk like you!"
"So you admit that you've cheated?"
"Um… well, no, I haven't! They were all felled by my superior skill!"
There was a collective snort in the entire stadium.
The Announcer raised his hand and said, "Are you ready?" Before either could give an answer, he dropped his hand, "Fight!"
Gohan walked forwards, no, he didn't walk – he sauntered, STROLLED forwards in the general direction of Hercule as if there was absolutely nothing of interest over there and he was out for a little fresh air. His entire posture was lax, seemingly at ease, except for his eyes – they were hard, a very hard onyx color that drilled into the soul of his opponent and could and would cause fear.
Hercule, for his part, sweated as he watched the youngster walk towards him with a gait that told him, no, the kid was NOT going to go easy on him – he saw right through the attempt at a leisurely stroll, and he knew that unless he did something fast, he was not going to win the title. Sadly, when the day had started, he'd been told with the rest of them that only a victory could win the title, not a disqualification or forfeit, so that had kept him from poisoning the others.
"KILL HIM, DADDY!" He looked over where his daughter was, her nose still bandaged from the last surgery that she'd undergone to fix it, and felt heartened that his little girl was there to cheer him on.
"FEED HIM HIS SPLEEN, GOHAN!" Gohan smirked slightly as he heard someone, Yamcha, he guessed, yell out 'encouragement' from the stands and saw Hercule shiver in place even more. Yes, go for the fear… just like Vegeta had told him.
With a roar, Hercule launched himself at Gohan, his fists swinging haymakers, hoping to catch the punk off-guard, but it didn't work as Gohan disappeared, only to reappear behind the large man and slam his foot into the upper part of Hercule's back, sending him flying to the other side of the ring.
"OH! Gohan's pulled a nasty surprise out of his repertoire that sends Hercule flying through the air, crashing and burning on the ground!"
Hercule shook the stars out of his vision as he stood up and looked back at the punk while the Announcer sang his praises – 'time to even the odds' he thought as he reached into his gi and grabbed a small handful of salt.
Gohan arched an eyebrow as Hercule got to his feet again and charged him, but his eyes widened slightly as Hercule threw out a fist full of something directly at his face. Not thinking, he quickly jumped into the air, over the cloud of white crystals, over Hercule, and hung in the middle of the air while the man sailed through said cloud.
"And it appears that Hercule has something in his eyes! Something that he himself might have thrown – this is going to the judges."
Hercule pawed at his eyes to get rid of the salt he'd thrown himself and had been hopeful would put the pup out of it long enough for him to pick up a quick win, but his ears told him that things were not going as well as he hoped.
"Nice try, but not good enough," he hear from above him, and when he opened his eyes, all Hercule could see was a blurry form from the tears. The next thing he saw, though, was stars as something hit him in the jaw, hard, and then a blurry blue sky until he hit the ground and started rolling.
Gohan watched as the temporarily blinded jerk rolled across the tiles until, finally, he ran out of room and rolled out onto the ground. Honestly, he had expected to feel SOMETHING other than nothing when he finally won, but that is all he felt right now – nothing. It was… anticlimactic.
Hercule was protesting, loudly, that, no, he had NOT cheated, that Gohan had, about this, about that, and about the other thing, but the replays showed everything and, as such, he was disqualified. THIS comment from the Announcer, though, had upset more than a few people as it meant that Gohan had NOT won the title – the most vocal of the protestors had been Chi-Chi, and not far behind her was Erasa, but honestly, he didn't care.
Gohan sat in the now-empty stands, hours later, and looked out at the ring with a troubled look – he couldn't explain why he felt so cheated, and he was sure that if he asked, he wouldn't have liked the answer.
The vague scent of perfume behind him was all the warning he got before Eighteen spoke, "You're upset."
He nodded absently as she sat down next to him – it was odd, really, that a woman who had done her best to kill him, directly and indirectly as Cell, was one of the few people that he could talk with nine times out of ten and actually feel better with.
Next to the half-Saiyan, Eighteen looked at him and then looked out at the ring, "What is the matter?"
He looked at her with an amused look on his face, "You are asking about the emotions of a 'fleshy'?"
Eighteen had the good grace to blush – not long ago she had told both Erasa and Gohan that she didn't care about the 'feelings' and 'emotions' of 'Fleshy' beings, that their personal survival had precedence over their feelings and such, and now she was being called on it, "People and beings can change, Gohan, and you and Erasa… have changed me."
He smirked slightly, "So we're melting the Ice Queen?"
Eighteen shot him a look, "Never."
From behind them was another snort, "Please, you're just a puddle of water between us, Aunt Juu." Erasa sits down on the other side of Gohan and looks over at her, "Of course, between us, Gohan's putty."
"Am not," Gohan groused slightly even as Eighteen smirked.
Eighteen pulled him into a side-armed hug meant to fluster him, "You know that between Erasa and I, we can get you to do anything, Gohan."
Gohan smirked at this, looked over at Erasa, winked, and put his arm around Eighteen's waist, pulling her into his side even closer, "Come on, Juu, you know I only have eyes for you."
The android sputtered and blushed brightly for several seconds before Erasa finally couldn't hold it in any longer and let out long gales of laughter, laughing so hard she fell over into Gohan's lap and held her stomach, "Priceless!" What she was too busy laughing to notice, though, was that neither Gohan nor Eighteen had removed their arm from around the other…
Dende looked down at the scene below him and snickered – what fun this was going to be…
AN: Alright, that's it! Finished! Finito! Done! BAM! …sorry, too much Food TV. Reviews, please.