Disclaimer: Don't own Dragonball in all of it's aspects. Also, some of the terms may be wrong and I'm totally sorry about that.

There was something different in his smile this time. It was a grin of absolute certainty that eclipsed his tentative outlook. One could even say it bordered on overconfidence. I unconsciously reflected his smirk, a warm feeling gurgling in my abdomen.

"You have the eyes of a man who sees victory, Goku," I noted, hoping to goad him into revealing his secret weapon, "Perhaps you have what they call an 'ace up the sleeve'?"

The fighter stretched playfully. His Super Saiyan enhanced hair bobbed up and down rhythmically. He was vastly stronger than before, moving from a target to a dangerous threat. He could possibly even…

I tried to brush the thought of death aside, but it's dark figure caressed the edges of my mind. Even after reaching my Perfect stage, I'm awed by the fact that there is still power in this world that can match me. My veins began to throb. I felt my body lightly shiver. This happened when I fought Piccolo, Vegeta, and now Goku...

…My adrenaline is pumping…

…And now I feel alive. The most alive! I can see everything with more clarity and I can sense everything more vividly. I can see the minute details of the birds circling above us, the faint hairs on Goku's neck hardening, and the doubt within the eyes of his allies…

…I can see it all. Why is such a beautiful experience only confined to my most frightening moments?

I lunge forward, launching a textbook punch of the Kamesennin School. With unwavering eyes, Goku parried it and counter with a knee to my stomach. The sharp pain briefly reverberated through my body. Regaining my senses, I sharply chopped the back of his neck and snapped a kick toward his exposed face. The feedback of his face against my heel filled me with indefinable satisfaction.

He slid backwards, retreating into a defensive Broken Shell stance. What an amiable prey. He grew from a backwoods youth into a warrior that could compete against the pinnacle of evolution. I wonder how many battles he had seen to advance to the level I so easily came to? How much training did he go through?

It was useless pondering, I concluded as the Saiyan directed a flurry of punches my way. I blocked all of them with my forearm, but the force behind them was still numbing. He's an obstacle in my path toward world destruction. He's nothing but a temporary hindrance yet there was something I couldn't deny.

Goku ducked under my kick and struck my chin with a fierce uppercut. I was sent reeling, but recovered with a Strong Namekian stance. After a minute stare down, we both lunged at each other and I connected with an open palm but my opponent was undeterred. In the next few moments, the air was pregnant with our supersonic martial artistry. I aggressively fought for every advantage and so did he, yet we were both unable to overcome the other.

I should've been furious. How could such an inferior creature be my equal? I was crafted from, not only him, but the greatest powers in the universe. How was it possible that someone of this world could compare to me? These qualms were the least of my concerns. In fact, a warm, pleasurable sensation had taken over my body. As I narrowly dodged a sharply aimed ki blast, my emotions erupted into a grin.

I was having fun!

With every attack Goku threw, there was a gambler's uncertainty. The uncertainty that he may be bringing my existence ever closer to its end. Combat is the ultimate game. It's been the only part of my life where there's been chaos and risk. Absorbing the androids was a given and hunting Goku was my purpose from the very beginning, but this! This is where I find all the fulfillment of all those lusts and desires I thought were alien to me. Here, with my life on the line, is where I truly feel at one with myself.

Goku retreated once again and took an unfamiliar pose, probably buying some time to think of a strategy. I smiled. I wanted to reach across the void, the gap that separated us as hero and villain. I wanted to tell him that I wished we could fight like this forever.

Instead, I flew into the air and cupped my hands together in preparation of a Kamehameha wave. There was nothing to say. The fates had chosen our sides. There was nothing to do but fight.

…But thank you for giving me this happiness.

Author's note: I just had a random urge to do this one-shot. It was partially to help hone my writing and also cause I was always fascinated by Cell. I felt there were more dimensions to his character than Toriyama gave us. Anyway, thanks for reading!