*cough* I know it feels abandoned, but it's not. Sorry about that. It's been about a month since I started writing fan-fiction again after a 7 month absence. Excuse the short chapter, it feels a little rough trying to break back into this story after so long, but hopefully it will get better with the next update.
FYI: Chapter 20 has been re-written and posted anew by the way.
For Vader, because he knows how to get a girl to say yes.
Chapter 21: A demon in flames
The preliminary area was empty save for a lone figure hovering in the air. He was the picture of simplicity and serenity with his legs tucked underneath him, hands resting on his knees as he meditated quietly.
With a partial limp, an old woman with a white coat slowly approached. Her skin was wrinkled in a prunish fashion, dark spots of an unknown growth covering over half the surface area of her skin. If one could see past that skin, into the organs that lay beneath, they would have died of shock to see her walking around. All vital organs were ravaged beyond repair, yet she still breathed and walked the planet determined to finish her work.
"Your serum Pathos," she announced, cranking up her neck to look up at the hovering figure as she reached into her pocket.
"I don't need it. I'm still okay." came the quiet response.
The old woman gestured for his descent, which he obliged without protest. Wrinkled fingers touched the vein in his neck, while sharp ears and eyes scrutinized his pulse.
"Slow, and steady," the old woman confirmed with a nod of her head. "Now rest," she said lovingly. "You'll be up again soon."
The murmurs of excitement in the crowd were lost on him as he scurried past another group of monks. The more he thought about it, the more his chest tightened. It saddened him that it had been that easy, too easy. Life was just too fragile, too precious. Yet it had been that easy to take a life.
But he wouldn't regret it, he wouldn't. He did what had to be done and the world was surely a better place without that ex-con lurking about.
He turned another corner, tapping his pocket for reassurance, before he stopped to take a few deep breaths. Satisfied that he hadn't been seen or followed, he finally pulled the plugs from his ears.
He was immediately assaulted by the wild competing chants coming from the stands. The crowd was clearly enthused.
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!"
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!"
He sighed, hoping he'd get his pardon before he was forced to hurt any of those innocent people.
He reached into his back-pocket and pulled out his phone, turning it on.
"It's me," he spoke quietly. "Any news on the P.A system?"
" Secured," came the equally quiet response.
The fugitive known as Daytime Spencer didn't respond, he cut the call and switched the phone back off, slipping it back to his back pocket.
Alright, the stage was set. It was time to bring out the players.
"LADIES and GENTLEMEN!" the announcer guy began, running from the centre of the stage to stand on one of the broken down slabs of concrete. "I don't know what to tell you Ladies and Gentleman, the clock is ticking, but both fighters seem to be preoccupied with a verbal repertoire."
"Booooooooooo!" the crowd announced their disapproval.
Standing in the middle of the ring, facing his would be opponent, Gohan willed himself to be patient. "Please forfeit," he asked him again. "I don't want to fight you."
"Aww, you hurt my feelings Gohan," thin blue eyes regarded him. "I thought you'd at least share in my enthusiasm for this." Seventeen tossed his hair back, the hoops dangling down his ears tinkering. "Come on, this is a great chance to finally re-enact our destiny. Humour me."
"What are you talking about? What destiny?"
"Ah. I see that I'm the only one who's had sleepless nights thinking about what might have passed between us if certain people hadn't interfered."
"Between us?" Gohan genuinely blinked in confusion.
The Android regarded him quizzically. "Hmm...I guess I was misinformed about you," he said disappointedly.
Gohan narrowed his eyes. What is this bastard talking about?
"I had thought," Seventeen continued, "you'd inherited only brute strength from Son Goku, not his dim wittedness as well."
Gohan curled his fingers. He was plain sick of having the people in his life insulted on this vile day.
"How disappointing," Seventeen sighed dramatically. "To think of how much time I wasted fantasizing about you."
This bastard, what is he on about? "Speak clearly Seventeen, in case you've forgotten I have a girlfriend."
"Heh, some people," dark hair swayed as the Android shook his head. "I'm referring to the fight we were destined to have in the future, you know, the one where I kill you." he smirked.
Gohan didnt even bother with a response.
"What you don't believe me? Listen Phantom, the only fantasies that I entertain involving men fall under one category only – the one where I'm giving them a taste of my boot. My tastes in other matters are strictly limited to the fairer species. I pride myself as something of a female connoisseur. And there most definitely has to be at least one exceptional quality to all the women I bed."
"So you are after Videl," snarled Gohan, taking a step toward the Android.
"Ha!" Seventeen exclaimed. "I guess love is blind after all. I said exceptional Gohan," he turned his neck to glance at the display chair, blues eyes shrinking into slits as he tilted his head, observing. "She's attractive, I'll give you that much. But, I wouldn't quiet associate 'exceptional' with any of her fair attributes.
Gohan growled, fingers clenching into fists.
"You don't seem to agree with my assessment," Seventeen feigned surprise. "Oh dear, did I miss something?" he turned back to stare in Videl's direction in mock thoughtfulness. "Ah," he lifted a finger as if in sudden realization of something new, then he smiled, slyly. "Apologies Gohan, I see now why you looked so displeased. Of course the lovely Videl has an exceptional quality. After all, how many teenagers her age can boast such an exceptional bank balance?"
A scowl turned the half-saiyan's face, "Enough games Seventeen. You know what's at stake here today. So if you're done insulting my girlfriend, can you kindly forfeit? I repeat, I don't want to fight you."
"Hmm," Seventeen folded his arms. "I thought Vegeta had the monopoly on saiyain arrogance," the mask of amusement cracked. "Don't be so full it Gohan. Just because I'm not tripping over my programming to get a piece of your girlfriend like all these human fools doesn't mean I'm insulting her."
Gohan could feel his own mask slipping, he was still on edge after his fight with Lil'Bark, it would take very little to set him off, and he really, really didn't want to fight Seventeen. "Can we have this disagreement of opinion another time? Forfeit!"
"Why should I? Scared of little ol'me?"
"Will you forfeit if I say I am?"
"LADEEES and Gentlemen," the announcer guy began. "Your guess is as good as mine. The clock is ticking Ladies and Gentlemen, the clock is TICKING! Maybe these two intend to settle this with words alone?"
"Booooooooooo!" the crowed screamed its disapproval.
"That's right! That's right Ladies and Gentlemen, for our heroine will not be swayed by any notorious smooth talkers! Someone PLEASE alert these two gentlemen that if they wish to win Ms Satan's hand, words alone will not be enough!"
"Yeaaah!" the crowd screamed their agreement in waves of hysteria.
Seventeen grinned, "Why don't you forfeit?"
"Don't you have bigger fish to fry? You know, a few handsome gentlemen gallantly gallivanting around with those M's on their foreheads?"
Gohan stared at the shorter man with disgust. "And leave Videl to you? I don't think so."
"Ah, he of little trust," sighed Seventeen. "What does it matter Gohan? So we go on a stupid date, so we sit and drink coffee for a spell, so what? How will that affect your relationship? This whole tournament is incredibly stupid, even for these dumb humans. That's...unless," a wolfish smile split his face, "you think Ms Satan would be willing to share more than just a little pleasant conversation with me hmm?"
Gohan gritted his teeth. "I'm asking for the last time Seventeen, Forefeit!"
"Sounds like a demand to me Gohan, not a request at all. Either way, I respectfully decline," Seventeen bowed dramatically, dark hair falling forward like a demonic shadow. "Now come," he beckoned him. "We don't have much time left on the clock." Smirking, he extended his hand out to him politely. "May I have this overdue dance?"
"Fine," Gohan relented. He was out of patience now, seems there was no reasoning with Seventeen, and the clock was ticking.
He narrowed his eyes in irritation. With no Ki to read, he was faced with a blank page, there was no telling how strong Seventeen was. He'd just have to wing it and take it from there. He had come a long way since his training; he could only hope that he was fast and strong enough to win this fight without having to transform.
Trial and error.
He fell into his stance, carefully observing his opponent.
Irritated, Vegeta blasted the door that stood between him and the pitiful Ki of the last of the so called Majins. Before the smoke could clear, he grabbed the startled Majin at the throat and shoved his head into the wall, a large crater of crumbling brick and concrete forming in the oblong shape of the alien's head.
"Take me to your Master or Die," he snarled.
Yellow eyes stared in shock, wide yellow lips trembling in a combined gasp and groan with the crunching of bone in his throat. Vegeta snatched his hand back like he'd been stung, staring at it in shock as the Majin crumpled to the floor. He hadn't meant to use that much power.
"You can't be that fragile," he thought out loud. "Get up," he kicked into the Majin's sides.
A pained laugh attempted to come out of the fallen creature, but his vocals were in no condition to be quiet that adventurous. Whispering hoarsely, a strained smirk contorted the Majin's face. "Stupid human, when Master awakens MajinBuu all you-" was all he was able to get out because Vegeta had him up by the throat again, only this time his legs were dangling a rather long distance from the floor.
"Stupid human?" snarled the Prince. "I'll teach you to never insult the Prince of all Saiyans."
And then Pui-Pui was screaming so hard that only the maniac chanting from the stands was enough to drown out his cries.
"OH! OH! Ladies and gentlemen! Ladies and gentlemen!" the announcer guy began as he spied the first signs of action from the opponents. "Looks like...looks like these two rivals have finally concluded their discussion!"
"Yeaaaaaaaaaah!" the crowd cheered.
"WHO will make the first move Ladies and Gentlemen? Will the STEEL...BRRREAKING Phantom, this lady thief of the night SSSWINDLE a victory here today?"
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!" all the Phantom fans rose from their seats, pumping fists and waving flags as they screamed to the top of their voices.
"OR, will the handsome Anonymous once again effortlessly charm his way to VIIIIIIIICTORY?" he roared, sweeping his mike in a large circle as he dashed to the edge of the ring, pointing the mike out to the crowd to catch their competing chants.
"Ano. Nymous. Ano. Nymous. Ano. Nymous!"
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!"
The stadium reverberating from the excited cheers of the crowd, the announcer guy dashed back to the fighters only to blink, and the next thing he knew Anonymous had disappeared from his spot. Turning his head, he found the dark haired fighter standing over his fallen opponent.
What the? He brought his mike to his mouth. "Oh! Oh! Ladies and gentlemen! Ladies and Gentleman! With an unexpected display of ASTONISHING speed, Anonymous gets the first sssssstrike, and it looks like the Prince is DOWNNNNN!" he yelled excitedly.
"Ano. Nymous. Ano. Nymous. Ano. Nymous!"
He turned back from the crowd wondering if he should start the count, but he noted with great delight that Gohan was already back on his feet. "ANNNND... he's back up! He's up Ladies and Gentleman, and I dare say, he looks pisssssssssssssssed!" he threw that one out just for the hell of it.
"Yeaaaah!" the crowd ate it up.
"Phantom! Phontom! Phantom!"
Truthfully, he didn't think Gohan looked pissed at all, he looked more on the contemplative side, like he was trying to decided something. Still trying to scrutinize the son of Goku, the announcer guy felt a definite change in the air around him. There was a small, yet unmistakable tremble beneath his feet and past experience whispered that one of these two fighters was powering up. And if he had to guess, he'd put his money on Gohan. There was something about the way his fists were clenched that said he was up to something. Oh, he was looking forward to seeing this!
He didn't dare move his eyes away, he knew how fast these two could move, but the next time blinked, he realized that he'd already missed it. Damn it! Again!
He brought his mike to his mouth. "Oh! Oh! What a move Ladies and Gentleman, what a move!" he ran across to stand over the fallen fighter. "And the best part, the best part is:" he paused dramatically. "We didn't even get to see him MOVE!"
"Yeaaaah!" a feverish cheer swept the air.
"The Phantom is CCCLEARLY not the only phantasmal creature lurking in this ring, 'cause TWICE in a row, when it comes to attacks, Anonymous is as cccclandestine as his identity! Because once again, the Phantom Prince is dowwwwwwwwwwwwn!" he roared.
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!"
The announcer guy swept his mike forward to once again capture the erratic cheering of the fans, but he kept his attention on the two fighters, willing the young fighter to get back on his feet. There wasn't much time left in the hour-glass, but he wanted this fight to last as long as possible.
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!" he noted how the dark haired fighter's fans were already on thier feet, no doubt convinced of their victory.
Luckily for him, Gohan didn't disappoint, because the next thing he knew the young fighter was back on his feet. "Wait! Wait! Ladies and gentleman, don't cash in your winnings just yet, it's not over! It's not nearly over just yet. The Phantom is UP!"
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!" he observed the crowd, more than pleased by the level of cheers. He also didn't fail to notice that the bulk of the roar had now switched in favour of Gohan.
He had to admit he was thoroughly excited. He wasn't sure how Anonymous was striking these blows, his movements were just too fast for his eyes to follow, but even more impressive was Gohan's reaction to them. Save for a few specs of dirt on his Gi, the young contender didn't appear to have a scratch on him. The only corroborating evidence was the damage to the ring where the young man now stood. It was as if a large boulder had crashed in that spot.
Oh yes, he had seen fights like these before, things were sure to get ugly before all was said and done and he couldn't wait!
He ran his tongue along his lips to give them a much needed supply of moisture, his throat was starting to burn too. It was always handy to have a bottle of water to sooth these occupational ailments but that would ruin his professional image. He straightened his sunglasses and brought the mike back to his mouth.
"That's right Ladies and Gentlemen! Those STEALTHY moves from Anonymous may have brought the mighty Ox Prince down, but let's not forget that this Phantom, that this CREATURE of the night is here to stake his CCCLAIM!" he rushed to the edge of the ring and pointed his mike at Videl for dramatic effect, then raced back to stand next to the two fighters.
"Yeaaahhhh!" the crowd ate it up.
He took a deep breath, a small shiver working itself up and down his spine. The air was changing again, he could feel it. "L-Ladies and Gentleman, as you can see," he began dramtically, "without stagger or teeter, with a grace befit of his royal heritage, MERE seconds after that devastating blow and the PUR-RINCE...stands...UNSCATHED!" he rushed to Gohan's side to attempt to lift one of his hands into the air, but something, some invisible force began to push him away.
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!" the crowd was still cheering.
What's happening? He panicked as the ground cracked around him, his clothes dimpling and pressing against his body from the force of some strange wind. Boulders and pebbles began to defy gravity as a warm glow began to pulse around Gohan.
The announcer guy could only gape in admiration. So, he'd been right all along, it had been Goku and gang who'd beat Cell. His son's transformation was proof!
As soon as the winds of change calmed, he straightened his clothes, advancing as close to the fighters as possible. Gohan was aglow with the same light he'd seen on the mysterious fighters during the Cell games. As for Anonymous, he was just standing there observing, not at all affected.
The crowd was still recovering from the force that had rocked the ring and the greater part of the stadium. Some people were busy picking themselves from the floor, while some had their eyes closed, averted or covered. A great chunk, those brave enought to watch, even as they had to hold on to something to keep from blowing away had their jaws hanging on the floor.
Either way, the Arena had gone as quiet as a funeral procession.
"Ho! Ho!" the announcer guy began, "this is no time to blink Ladies and gentlemen, open your eyes, FEAST your eyes and believe it for the truth it is! For today, LIVE at the Satan Arena, the Phantom has done the IN-CCCCREDIBLE!" he roared, but the spectators didn't erupt in cheers. In fact they didn't react at all, they looked like they were barely breathing. Shock and fear was written in their eyes and here and there he could spy a few parents storming off with their children in tow.
Ah damn it. We can't have that. I have to think of something! I have to tell them something. Think!
"What is this incredible display of power Ladies and Gentlemen? Is it a trick or is it dark and dangerous Sorcery? Fear not Ladies and Gentlemen for it is neither! The Phantom has simply dug deep into his roots and awoken the ARCHAIC FLAMES of his ANCESTRAL HOME!" he roared, sweat pouring down his brow as he caught his breath.
The was a small stir of confusion, but they still weren't convinced.
"It's true Ladies and Gentlemen. See for yourselves as he buoys up and flares stronger than the sun itself." He pointed his mike at the spectacle that was the floating glowing Gohan. "I kid you not; look at him Ladies and Gentlemen, look at how this kid has summoned to his command, to his very will...the LEGENDARY SSEARING...the FFFIERY...DEMONIC flames of FFFFire Mountain!" he cried, his voice impassioned wit conviction.
"Yeahhhhhhhh!" they finally snapped out of their stupor.
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!"
"And YET! Despite this blinding display by the Ox Prince, despite this volcanic power hell bent on devouring what remains of this Arena, our incognito opponent is NOT AFFECTED! With only the silky locks of his hair showing a reaction, Anonymous seems to be holding his own. OH! Oh! More than just holding his own, it's true Ladies and Gentleman, look at him," he pointed. "Anonymous is even SMILING!"
All the flood lights dropping on the nonchalant fighter, the announcer guy continued. "What guts! What resilience! Ladies and Gentlemen, let's hear it for the fearless Anonymous!"
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!"
His monstrous power carving a split in the ocean as he flew, Dabura suddenly slowed. Hmm, was he going in the right direction? He had no choice but to come to a stop so he could invoke his demon powers to 'see' the Tournament Arena.
"Ah," he sighed. Just as well he'd stopped; he was headed in the wrong direction.
Making a sharp turn, he changed direction and sped towards the location of the last of the minions. From what he'd seen of Pui-Pui's condition, it was evident that he wouldn't need to dirty his hands in disposing off him.
He could feel his blood urging him forward; he was definitely looking forward to draining the short fighter off his energy.
"He can't get a hit! He can't get a hit in now Ladies and gentleman!" the announcer guy reported excitedly. Since the earth shaking transformation, Anonymous hadn't been able to land a single blow on his opponent. "This ferocious glow, burning brighter than the allure of the fallen Lil'Bark is not just for show. Oh, no it's not! No matter what he tries, Anonymous can't seem to get even a single hit!"
"But Ow!" he winced dramatically when Gohan effortlessly jabbed his opponent at the back of the neck, making him stagger on his feet. "Apparently the Phantom CAN!" he screamed. "Did you see that Ladies and gentleman? Incredible, it had to hurt! Look like the previously untouched Anonymous has finally taken...a HIT!"
"OH!" he exclaimed. "It's a follow up! Just as he tried to rise, a BRUTAL follow up. Struck down by the righteous hand of royal judgement! Ladies and Gentlemen...for the first time this tournament...Anonymous IS DOWNNNNNNNNNNNN!"
"Phantom! Phantom! Phantom!"
Chest heaving, he practically had to hop over rocks to get to the centre of the ring were Anonymous was lying.
"Will he get up? Will he get up Ladies and gentleman, for that was no ordinary attack, can we even say it was HUMAN?" he drawled his eye carefully observing the fallen fighter. He didnt know how he'd been struck down exactly. It had been all lights and glow and crackle and boom!
He licked his lips, trying to make sense of what had just happened to the stunned audience. "SHROUDED in golden flames, CRACKLING in blue whips of THUNDEROUS destruction," he heaved after dropping his voice too low. "That was CLEARLY no attack of mere mortals! Ladies and gentleman even the salamander itself would have gone down in the heat of those flames! For no man or creature can withstand, the MIGHT, the P-POWER the absolute FLARE of Gohan, the mighty fire wielding...DRRRAGON!" he roared, pointing at the expressionless fighter hovering in the ring.
"Gohan! Gohan! Gohan!"
"Dragon! Dragon! Dragon!"
"And he's UP!" he exclaimed, stunned! He'd turned away for just a second and Anonymous was already up. "Look at him rise from the ashes! Feast your eyes Ladies for his clothes may have taken the brunt of that flame, they may have been burnt off his body but as you can see, underneath all that soot, underneath all that char...Anonymous stands UNSCATHED!"
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!"
"L-Ladies and Gentleman," he gulped, distancing himself once again from the fighters. "L-Looks like," he began nervously, heat enveloping him even as he moved further and further away from the fighters. "Looks like the fire Dragon is preparing another attack." he wiped the sweat from his brow with his sleeve, really wishing for that bottle of water now. "You might be too far to feel the overwhelming power of that ball of light glowing in his hands, but I can assure you, I feel it, I feel it so much I'm already sweating!" he admitted, his hurt pounding excitedly.
He didn't know where the final round was going to take place because the ring was in shambles.
"OH! OH! What's this Ladies and Gentleman?" excitement began to mix with apprehension. "Looks like," he backed away even further. "Looks like Anonymous is creating a glow of HIS OWN!"
"We first saw this glimmering type of attack earlier from the Champ himself when he stepped in between Ms Satan and Pui-Pui!"
"Satan! Satan! Satan! Satan!"
"That's right Ladies and Gentlemen, the Champ has set a trend here today. But it looks like...it looks like Anonymous's is the biggest one we've seen so far!" he stared, stunned at the size of the purple glow enclosing the fighter.
"Anonymous! Anonymous! Anonymous!"
"Let's watch carefully Ladies and Gentlemen, for it looks like these two powers are about to clash!"
It was time to end this.
Having summoned enough energy to toss his opponent from the ring without seriously injuring him, Gohan was getting ready to unleash his attack when Seventeen surprised him. In the blink of an eye, the Android curled his arms and legs together, as he charged a purple aura around his body. The aura consequently began expelling a rather familiar giant barrier around him. Humph! This was Cell's 'Perfect Barrier'; he still remembered it from when the fiend had clashed with his father.
So...Seventeen was finally taking him seriously, about time.
Damn bastard had already pushed him hard enough to resort to transforming – something he'd hoped to avoid at all costs. Now the whole world had seen him in this state, it was only a matter of time before the dots started connecting, and the rumours started flying.
Alright Seventeen, let's see how that so called Perfect Barrier holds off against this, he pulled his arm back, preparing to toss the monstrous attack when-
"TIME's UP! Time's UP Ladies and Gentleman!" the announcer guy's voice rang in his ears.
Wha...No! It can't be!
"The thirty minutes are OVER! And with both fighters still very much on their feet, looks like...looks like we have yet another first for this tournament, for Ladies and Gentlemen, as you very well know, with no clear winner, this match's victor will be decided by the JUDGES!"
NO! Gohan paled, this...this couldn't be happening. But as he turned his eyes up to the hour-glass, there was no disputing the facts. The thirty minutes were up and that could only mean...that could only mean...
A quick glance at the Android's smug face and he felt sick, because he knew exactly what the bastard was thinking. In trying to defeat him without transforming, he'd taken more hits than he'd given. He'd been brought down twice, while he'd...
He swallowed, Videl, she was already so angry with him. She wasn't even talking to him, how was he going to face her?
"Here it comes Ladies and Gentleman, the judge's decision!" the announcer guy reported.
"Satan! Satan! Satan!"
"Who will come out the victor? Will it be our previously untouchable friend incognito, a man whose identity is as mysterious as his undisclosed history? Or will it be the young man born of flames, the fearsome, the mighty...GOHAN!"
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!"
"GOHAN! GOHAN! GOHAN!" the crowd seemed split.
The announcer guy unfolded the piece of paper in his hand and brought to mike close to his lips. "Ladies and Gentlemen, it's a unanimous vote from our judges! I give you the victor of this round, I give you the man who will face Pathos in the final round, Ladies and Gentlemen, let's hear it for ANONYMOUS!"
"Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous! Ano. Nymous!"
Seventeen took a dramatic bow before he began to walk the corners of what was left of the ruined Arena. He waved and blew kisses at the hoard of female fans screaming his name. A roughish expression on his face, he winked at Gohan when he circled back to his original position.
Unable to take it anymore, Gohan made a move to snatch up the Android and...
"Enough Gohan," his mentor's voice was suddenly above him. "This is not the time."
Furious, Gohan clenched his fists and stormed off.
"How could you?" she lashed out at him the minute he entered the VIP lounge.
"Videl, let me explain..."
"You lost on purpose!" she accused, red puffy eyes glaring at him in disbelief.
"That is not true!"
"Then how? Explain to me how Seventeen was able to win, when you're so much stronger than him!"
He hung his head, it wasn't on purpose but it was his fault. He'd really hoped to reason with Seventeen so he wouldn't have to fight him at all. So they'd spent a big chunk of the fight just standing around talking, and by the time he'd realized what had to be done, it was already too late, the thirty minutes was up. Now...
"You can't even explain it can you?"
"Videl, please don't be mad about this, we'll work it out somehow."
"Sure, suddenly it's not such a big deal right? You don't care who I go out with, just as long as your precious baby is safely delivered, you don't care what I do or who I do it with! Admit it!"
He could feel himself spiralling out of control, just how much was he supposed to put up with today? It wasn't enough that he'd had to deal with countless perverts all day long because of this stupid tournament, but he'd had to put up with those sardonic Majins roaming around and killing people, and now he had to stand here and listen to these false accusations with everyone watching.
Enough was enough.
He scooped her up, shot out the window and took off at a dizzying speed. He felt her try to protest once or twice, but as he deliberately upped the speed, she'd had no choice but to just cling on to him with her eyes closed. He knew it was too fast for her, she'd come a long way in her flying but this was beyond the reach of any human, not just her.
He kept flying, without any destination in mind until the lull of the flight finally exhausted all the fight and protest in her. It wasn't long after that he began to feel her body give way. Now, he could feel that she was completely relaxed in his arms. Convinced she woudnt attempt to wrestle out of his embrace, he slowly began to reduce his speed until he was flying at a reasonable pace. A pace that allowed him to take in his surroundings. To be honest, he had no idea where he was, but it hardly mattered.
He glanced around, and when as far as the eye could see, the blue spread of the ocean was all that greeted him, he figured this was as good a place as any to sit down and talk without the peering eyes of his family and friends.
Finally. Since this whole tournament affair began, he'd known no peace. He had eyes following his every move, and he was plain sick of it. How Videl coped with it on a daily basis was beyond him.
He came to a stop, his feet hovering a few inches from the water as he relaxed his hold on her. "You can open your eyes Videl," he prompted softly.
He was hopeful, but not exactly confident that she wouldn't lash out at him again. Though her Ki felt calm enough now, she was still a woman, a pregnant and arguable hormonal one, so one could never know. Nervously, he peered down at her face as she pulled it out of his chest.
"Where are we?" she opened her eyes lazily, only to frown as she took in the vast expanse of blue above and below.
"Err...I'm not sure, we could be anywhere," he admitted, his eyes fixed on her face.
"So," she lifted her eyes up to his face. "We're lost." she pursed.
Gohan grinned down at her, that haughty look of displeasure she'd perfected never failed to do him in. Only Videl could look so adorably cute while she pulled that face. "I couldn't get lost even if I tried Videl," he said good-naturedly. "It will be easy to sense my way back to the other's Kis. Don't worry."
"Sure, easy for you to say. You're not the one going on a date with a demented Cyborg." Her eyes narrowed. "Thanks a lot."
"I'm sorry," he sighed. "I was tardy and careless and stupid. I should have known I couldn't beat him without at least transforming." He shook his head. "I should have done it all differently, from the fight with Lil'Bark I...I'm not proud of myself; I have a terrible temper and in the heat of battle...I don't know, there's no excuse for it, but something inside just...snaps."
"What you did to Lil'Bark..." she trailed off, avoiding his eyes. "You scared me, you really scared me."
"I'm sorry," he said. She had really seen the worst of him, and he'd promised himself that he would never get like that again. He tipped her chin. "I'm sorry," he said again, not knowing quiet how to apologise for acting on his more basic instincts. "Can we just sit down and talk about this?" he pleaded softly.
She didn't speak for a while, nor did she move or look at him. It was just...quiet. And the more it stretched, the more worried he became. Once again he found himself at the mercy of her forgiveness. There was enough going on around them, they really didn't need to be fighting at a time like this.
He wished to God he could read all those strange emotions passing on her face, but they must pleaded his case because after a while they cleared completely.
"And just where do you propose we sit?" she broke the ice, "In case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of the ocean." Finally she gazed up at him, a hint of a smile tugging the corners of her mouth.
It was far from a full pardon, but Gohan felt partially relieved. At least she was willing to stay here with him a while, and Kami knew he needed this down time with her.
"Nimbus!" he immediately called out.
Videl stared at him like he'd just gone completely insane. She was about to comment on it too when a cloud began falling from the sky at dizzying speeds. Then her startled eyes could only stare at the fluffy apparition.
"Hey Nimbus," Gohan patted the trusty family cloud familiarly as it zoomed in, hovering lower than any cloud should ever be able to boast. While she was still too shocked to speak, Gohan took advantage and swept one arm below her knees, the other on her back, settling her down. "There, nice and easy." he said, settling down next to her.
"Um...I'm sitting on a cloud." she said simply, cradling her injured hand carefully against her chest. "I would ask but frankly since that day in Basil Valley..." she trailed off.
"I know, it's been one weird thing after another." He finished for her.
His heart almost stopped when she surprised him by breaking into unexpected smile. "That crazy story you told me about your grandpa and how your parents met was true! Flying clouds and Bansho fans and everything, my God Gohan!"
"I told you it was," he pointed out.
She shook her head, the smile never leaving her face. "You know Gohan, as strange as sitting on a cloud is, the fact that you actually expected me to believe that farfetched story about your grandpa back then is even stranger to me right now." she chuckled.
"You asked me to tell you about him, so I did."
"Yeah, right. You told me that story with a hidden agenda."
"What? What hidden agenda?" he blinked in confusion.
"Oh, feigning innocence are we?" blue eyes looked disbelievingly at him. "Didn't you use telling me that story to corner and guilt me into a certain confession hmm?"
Gohan laughed, "Oh yeah, now that you mention it," he grinned.
"You're such a douche you know that right? I can't believe you made me confess to my crush on the Delivery-Boy knowing it was you all along."
"Aww, come on Videl. Before you told me, I had no idea your crush was on the Delivery-Boy. I just wanted a name and a face so I could make whomever it was look really stupid and weak in your eyes on the day of the tournament. Apparently I'm a jealous and unreasonable guy."
"Idiot, being jealous of yourself," she rolled her eyes. "By then it didn't really matter whom I'd had a crush on when I was thirteen. I was way over that Delivery-Boy fantasy." she shrugged nonchalantly.
As irrational as his reaction was, Gohan coudn't help it. He didnt want her crush on the Delivery-Boy to fizzle out – EVER. He wanted it to live endlessly in tiny butterflies in her stomach, the way the image of the crime-fighting Videl lived in his. In an instant, he'd tapped into his well of power, and the next thing she knew, he was super-saiyan state.
"You wound me Ms Satan," he said in a deepened voice, teal eyes replacing brown, gold hair shimmering in the place of black. "How could you get over me so quickly?" he asked, wrapping his arms around her waist with the aura of his power enveloping both of them in a warm and tingling glow.
Videl chuckled, "Sorry Delivery-Boy, though I've been known to have a thing for blondes, I'm a one man woman." She told him. "And I just so happen to have a great boyfriend." she added.
"Oh?" he raised his brow. "I don't know if he's all that great, wasn't he dumb enough to lose against that Android?"
"He was," she sighed. "That was really tardy and careless and dumb of him, but...now that I'm thinking clearly again, I realize that I might have been a little...harsh about it. I'm over it now."
A huge weight was immediately lifted off his chest. "I'm sure he's grateful, I'm sure he's been agonizing about it since it happened. He was stupid."
"I know," she said quietly.
"But all is not lost is it Ms Satan? Since your boyfriend wasn't able to secure a victory on this day. Will you allow this undeserving Delivery-Boy to at least give the younger Ms Satan her fantasy?"
"W-What do you mean?"
"This," he picked her up and floated off Nimbus, the currents from his power cutting through the water below in large ripples as he kissed her.
End of Chapter. Hope you enjoyed this little snippet.
A big thank-you to my dearest Vader, DarkVoid116 for dangling a juicy carrot before me.