Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z.

AN: I will reiterate the warnings: violence and mild torture. Its not as gory as my other fic, Narcissism, but it's just a little more brutal. If you can handle that, enjoy.

Because I Can

The standoff was a horrid mismatch in every sense. One a being of impressive height and breadth, the other small and slim. One defined by hard edges and heavy, chitinous plating, the other by soft curves and smooth skin. One radiated enough power to smother a star, and the other wasn't even half as strong. But none of that mattered; Frieza never backed down from anyone, and Cell wasn't about to try to change his mind.

The pale Icejian snarled, his body tense for a fight, his long, muscular tail coiling violently behind him. The jade chimera standing opposite him held himself at full height, his arms crossed casually over his armored chest, the soft, purple flesh of his lower abdomen shaking with his silent laughter. The other occupants of the cave they were confined in hung back fearfully against the far wall. They were the smart ones, the ones who realized that even with all their powers combined they wouldn't even be a challenge for Cell.

"How dare you mock me!" Frieza roared at his opponent, his clenching fists shaking with rage, his energy crackling around him. The aggressive display only caused Cell to laugh out loud.

"Is it mockery to state simple facts, weakling?" the chimera retorted, his own golden aura rising easily to answer and exceed the Icejian's rise in power. The expanding energy pressed against the stone walls surrounding them, but the strange material refused to give way, keeping all of them effectively penned in.

"After all," Cell continued, flaring his power just enough to make Frieza stumble back a step. "No one can deny the fact that your empire collapsed as soon as you were defeated, and then finally ceased to exist as soon as you were dead."

"It's not my fault!" Frieza snarled back, his voice cresting into a whining shriek, his hands clenching so tightly that his nails drew blood from his palms. "That damn monkey is to blame, not me!"

"Which one?" Cell fired back with a smirk. "Goku, the one who defeated you, Vegeta, the one who exterminated your soldiers like the vermin they were, or Trunks, the one who killed you?"

As Frieza continued to growl, a thought occurred to the chimera, and his smirk broadened into a leering grin.

"By the way, did I mention that Trunks was Vegeta's half-breed son?"

That did it for Frieza, and he launched a heavy bolt of magenta energy at Cell's head with a scream of fury. It went unblocked, connecting solidly and exploding in a violent burst, but once the smoke cleared in was obvious that he didn't need to block it. Not even a scorch mark decorated the chimera's face.

"Hm, who could have known that the destroyer of hope would end up so amusing?" he taunted, dipping and shaking his crested head, his eyes falling shut. "And to think I was expecting something a little less… childish from you."

"I refuse to be cowed by you, you damn mongrel!" the Icejian screamed defiantly, blood continuing to flow from his sliced palms.

"I'd be careful who's bloodline I insult if I were you," Cell warned, shaking a finger at his opponent. "After all, I'm not the one who's father mated his sister, and who's grandparents were siblings, too."

With another cry of rage, Frieza's whipping tail struck the stone floor with a power that would have shattered a mountain. As it was, the strange material merely rippled from the impact and remained solid. Cell once more tossed his head back and laughed at his display.

"Frieza, that's enough!" King Kold called from the back of the cave, his voice wavering slightly, the first sounds he'd made since the confrontation began. "Stand down, son, stop provoking him!"

Behind the older Icejian what remained of the Ginyu force nodded franticly in agreement. They may not have feared Cell at their first meeting, but now they all understood exactly what they'd been dealing with. Someone with his power and his predatory instinct was not to be trifled with.

"Bah!" Frieza snarled, turning his head to glare at his father and at his former minions that huddled behind him. "I don't answer to you! I don't answer to anybody!"

The sudden fading of his smile was the only warning Cell gave before his open hand reached out, striking Frieza across the face. The blow had no power behind it, could have almost been called playful, shouldn't have been more than a light slap; had his claws not been extended. The Icejian's head snapped to the side, his milky-white skin splitting easily for the jet-black talons. Burgundy blood streamed from the wounds, the dark-red lines a stark contrast to his pale hide.

"You should seriously reconsider your position, Frieza," Cell warned calmly, his voice laced with a deadly chill. "You are not the one with the power here."

Once more growling, Frieza brought himself back to a centered stance, glaring as the chimera before him slowly, deliberately, licked the blood from his fingertips.

"Isn't that the way you lived your life while you still had it?" Cell continued once the last of the blood had been cleaned away. "Right of the strongest? I really hate to be the one to burst your carefully constructed bubble, but you lost those rights a long time ago."

"That's not true!" Frieza screamed in denial, his power flaring wildly. Blinded by his rage, he failed to see Cell reach out again. This strike, though the claws were retracted, had enough power behind it to knock the Icejian to the floor with an audible crack of breaking bones. Kold and the Ginyu Force shrunk back further against the far wall as Cell approached Frieza's prone form.

"Open your eyes, Frieza, you aren't the strongest anymore by a long shot," the chimera sneered as he lifted the small Icejian by his throat, gesturing violently with his other hand, first to the barred mouth of the cave, "Not out there," then to the stone beneath them. "And most certainly not in here."

Frieza made no attempt to reply, merely continued his growling and clawed at the hand that was expertly cutting off the circulation to his head. Cell narrowed his eyes at his struggles, before his hackles rose and he violently threw the Icejian into the bars of their prison. The metal rattled but held firm, reminding them all of their confinement, and Frieza shrieked as they drained his power from him. He crumpled limply to the ground, trembling, struggling to gather enough strength to crawl away from the bars.

A few feet of distance was all he needed to be free of the metal's effects, but it took a lot out of him, and he collapsed again, coughing up blood. He didn't notice Cell calmly walking over to him, not until he tried to rise and the chimera's foot, hard and hoof-like beneath the layers of skin and connective tissue, came down heavily between his shoulder-blades, keeping him pinned.

"Is this how it's going to be, Frieza?" Cell asked evenly, slowly applying more weight as the Icejian struggled to get out from under him. "You know there is nothing you can do to stop me."

Frieza froze as the chimera's foot applied a sharp pressure to his spine. Yes, he was already dead, but that didn't mean nothing hurt.

"…please…" It was almost too soft to detect, but Cell's hearing was just as sharp as a Namek's. A frown crossed his face.

"Begging won't save you this time, Frieza," he intoned darkly, holding the pressure from his foot steady. "I'm not Goku, Saiyan angel of mercy."

When he received no reply and no more struggle, Cell paused to regard the Icejian beneath him. Blood continued to dribble from his scrunched up face, and his eyes were squeezed tightly shut, as if praying for an end to the pain. Cell smirked, looking forward to crushing his hope. A stray thought, one of Frieza's own memories came to the forefront, telling him of a moment when the tyrant had stood in the same position he currently occupied, with someone else beneath him. The events that followed were certainly interesting suggestions.

Gathering enough energy to hover, Cell lifted his other foot off the ground. His wings flared out slightly as his weight shifted, fighting to maintain the same, steady pressure on Frieza's back. Slowly, carefully, he brought his other foot down on the Icejian's outstretched hand. For a breath he rested it there, waiting until he knew Frieza understood what was about to happen, before shifting his weight again.

The first finger snapped, and Frieza let out a sharp yelp, trying to jerk away from the pain. But Cell maintained his balance, chuckling darkly at his victim's struggles. He waited a ten-count to allow the pain to fade, just as the Icejian would have done were their places exchanged, before shifting his weight to the next finger. It, too, snapped loudly, drawing another yelp from Frieza. Another ten-count, and then the finger after that, and again until only the thumb remained unbroken.

Cell lifted his foot away from the crushed hand and placed it back on the ground as he took a moment to observe his victim. He growled low in his throat when he realized that he was trembling beneath him.

"Oh, come now, Frieza," the chimera scoffed. "Is that really all you can handle? Were you in my place you'd barely be warmed up. What's the matter, can't take what you dole out?"

The Icejian shivered at the scorn in his voice, but made no attempt to reply. Cell sneered down at his prone form; even he could understand the virtue of being able to receive pain as one gives it. It was his Saiyan blood, coursing hot through his veins demanding the thrill of equal combat. Yes, he relished a little pain, it was only when he couldn't give that pain back that he…

A cold, dull rage started to creep up Cell's sternum, and he took a moment to reign it in before it overcame him. This was about regaining some control, not loosing his temper. He took a deep, calming breath, and with the exhale he released his anger. A quick glance to the back of the cave showed Kold and the Ginyu force still huddled in fright. But a glance towards the barred mouth made his rage return.

With a sharp snarl and a crackling of power, an energy disk sprang to life in Cell's hand as he glared at what stood just beyond the bars. A pair of ogres, one red and the other blue, regarding the scene before them quizzically. Their eyes flickered down to Frieza, who'd just noticed their presence, making Cell growl louder. If they dared to interfere with this he would kill them. The energy absorbing metal kept them safe from him for the moment, but as soon as they opened the gate to stop him he would strike.

"Uh, shouldn't we break them up?" the blue one asked his companion, scratching his head, still eyeing Frieza.

"Are you crazy?!" the red ogre replied incredulously. "I'm not tangling with him unless I have to!"

"But, Mez, this sort of thing is against the rules," the blue one protested.

"Fuck the rules! These sorts of people are exceptions to them anyway. Besides," the red ogre then gestured down at Frieza. "Have you even read that little bastard's record? He deserves everything he's getting in there."

Mez turned his back then, walking away and pointedly ignoring the prone Icejian reaching his good hand out to him, pleading silently for salvation from what he knew was to come.

"I say," the ogre continued. "That we just leave well enough alone and forget we ever saw this. Come on, Goz, we've got more important things to do."

And with that Mez walked away, not once looking back. Goz glanced between his associate and Frieza a few times before making up his mind. He, too, turned his back and left without a backward glance. The former tyrant's hand trembled in the air for a moment before dropping to the ground in despair. Cell, on the other hand, threw his head back and laughed.

"Oh, priceless! You have no luck at all down here, do you?" he spoke at long last, the energy disk finally evaporating in his palm. "Now then, where were we? Oh, yes, I remember now!"

Cell removed his foot from Frieza's back before dropping to straddle him fully, his hands brutally gripping his shoulders. The Icejian began to struggle again, but his efforts only made the chimera chuckle.

"You might as well stop fighting me, princeling, there's no one who can save you." Frieza froze upon hearing his own voice, his own words, coming from another's mouth. Cell chuckled at his reaction, now knowing exactly how he was going to go about putting the former tyrant in his place.

"Why…?" The voice was weak and shaky, coming from the far end of the cave, but Cell heard it anyway. His head snapped up and his fiery glare fixed on Kold.

"Would you care to repeat that?" the chimera growled out, in his own voice once more. The former Icejian king stiffened under the sudden scrutiny, but still managed to speak.

"Why are you doing this?" Cell blinked a moment, before smirking at him.

"Because I can."

Cell turned back to his victim then, leaning down low over his neck, before baring his teeth and clamping down across the back of it, just hard enough to bruise. Frieza gasped in shock, stiffening, fully grasping the implications of the action even if he didn't know the origins. But Cell chose it very carefully; it was, after all, the Saiyans' ultimate gesture of dominance. Releasing him, he leaned closer to the Icejian's ear.

"How do you like it now, Frieza?" This time it was Vegeta's voice in which he spoke. "I've been waiting a long time for this, you sick son of a bitch."

Seeing the reaction he'd expected, Cell chuckled sadistically. He was going to use this voice throughout this little session if he continued to respond like that. Smirk never leaving his face, he sunk his claws in to begin the torture in earnest. Revenge was always sweet, even if it wasn't yours to take.