I have an impending feeling that tells me you're gonna lynch me when you finish with this chapter….

Chapter 19: Learning to see

"THAT'S MY TOAST!!" A young Son Goten's wail of protest echoed within the silent dining room, carrying on out the door, and who knows, maybe even reaching the next turn in the corridor.

Gohan and Videl didn't bother to look their way; those kids always had to engage in some kind of squabble this early in the morning. Go figure. Goku, for his part, was too caught up in his breakfast to care. Bulma, Chichi and Vegeta-Ou though, all turned to the children: a whining, pouting Goten standing on his chair, little fists clenched at his sides and a bored-looking Trunks munching on the aforementioned toast.

"Nee, since you kept putting it aside I thought you didn't want it." Was the young prince's remark.

"I was saving it for last cuz it's my favorite! And you know I never waste any food!" The younger boy plopped down on his chair and sulked.

"Hey, that's true." Videl said with a laugh. Chichi smiled at them. So young and carefree. So much like their parents, but at the same time so different.

"Trunks, let Goten have any one thing he wants from your plate." Bulma's voice reached them, and they all had to look up at her at the tone of her voice. It was cold, droning; like she wasn't even there, like she didn't care.

"But kaas-!!"

"Now." She insisted without even looking at him, a cup of coffee inches from her lips, left arm resting on her waist. "You had no right to take what wasn't yours." The lavender haired boy pouted and unwillingly pushed his plate Goten's way, who in turn didn't hesitate to strip him of the largest sweet bun.

In that exact moment, the dining room door opened to let Vegeta in. He was dressed in casual clothes (as casual as saiyajin went), with a long robe over them instead of the customary blue cape. He walked the several steps separating him from the table, catching the undivided attention of everyone in the room.

"Oi, Vegeta! Where have you been?" Goku piped up after pausing on a large drumstick. His only response? A Vegeta-glare and a grunt. Nevertheless, that didn't seem to deter Goku from taking another bite of his… uh—whatever that was, as he saw the prince bow to his father.

"Otousama. I'm ready to brief you on the Parlumnya operation any time, then we can quickly move on to more pressing matters." For a few instants, the father's and the son's stares met in a blaze of black.

"Wakarimashita(1)." Ou nodded coolly as he placed his cup on the table; then he stood with studied deliberation and both left the room without even a glance back.

All eyes had followed them to the other door at the back of the room, which led to the opposite corridor where the King's office was located. Unlike Earthian custom, the King of Vegeta-sei did not manage his affairs in the throne room, but within the sanctity and privacy of his office, which in itself looked much like an executive office with a direct view of the military Central Operations Base, where he could see everything unfold first hand.

"Hm. I wonder where Vegeta-san has been all this time. I thought it was weird that he wasn't around as usual." Videl commented going back to her food.

"Maybe he's mad?" Gohan suggested tentatively. "He had a hard time with our fight you know. And he didn't even look at me."

"Oi, Gohan! Stop being so conceited! The world doesn't revolve around you, you know." Videl replied. "It could be anything."

"Ouch! You hurt my feelings, Videl!" He exclaimed in mock offense.

"Now, now kids. Don't start that. Vegeta-san must have gone somewhere on his father's request. After all, he is the prince." Chichi reasoned putting her plate aside.

"I completely forgot about that, mom. Sure, he must be fulfilling his princely duties. Bulma-san… Where did he go for so long?" Young Gohan was expecting some kind of proud recounting of the diplomatic tasks his fake uncle and ally would have performed during his trip, as was the blue-haired scientist's custom. What he didn't expect at all, was the violent way she came to her feet, palms still resting on top of the table, face set in a frown before marching out of the room.

"Excuse me… I have things to do."

Everyone noticed the odd disposition, the angry countenance, the rigid stance... Everyone, from Chichi to Trunks, wondered at Bulma's behavior, mistaking it either for one of the consequences of her overworking herself, or because of her hormonal female condition; or maybe because she was in one of her days of the month, or it could be because of the weird looking frog she must have certainly found in her closet or maybe just because she was old.

That is… all but one.

Nobody noticed as Goku put down his food and sat back in his chair, or as he stared at the door Bulma had crossed, or as he then shifted his gaze to the opposite side of the room, to the door in the back, the door Vegeta and his father had left through minutes before. What's more, nobody noticed either the pensive frown that took up his gentle face.

This was all wrong—and he didn't like it.

The white sun snuck its luminous tentacles through the large window next to the desk. On hot days, when the breeze was calm he would open it wide and go to work with his numerous papers, electronic devices or one or two of his must trusted officials. It was hard being a monarch. You had to always think of pleasing the important circles that lent you their support; or at least make them think you were. For you see, one has to be very astute and cunning to keep such a belligerent folk in line; but whilst you had the powerful and influential eating from you palm, it was necessary from time to time to give them a little pat on the head, so they would lick your hand…

It was hard being a monarch, because it was an absorbing job where perceptions of yourself were everything, and these you should adjust to serve your whim—be it over the folk, over the court, over army and over acquaintances, and more often than not, over your own blood.

"You look tired, Ouji." The king commented nonchalantly with the intention of wrenching his son's undivided attention from the window. The well expected glare was sent Ou's way in the usual cold manner.

Vegeta turned back to the window, his back still to his father. His attitude had nothing to do with the desire to watch the beauty of the morning landscape that extended as far as he could see, or with basking in the gentle wind blowing through his coarse mane and the soft sun rays warming his skin… It had to do with the abhorrent feeling of insecure ambiguity the so-called mission had left in its wake. He had successfully exacted the desired revenge so long harbored in his and his brethren's hearts. With his own hands, he had claimed retribution from their oppressors and easily restored saiyajin honor. It should have been a time to rejoice. But there was no joy in his heart—not a shred. Not even a twisted, wicked kind of it. He remained as empty as he had been before going spaceborne, maybe even more, and that bothered him. It bothered him to no end. The vibrating hesitation of his so well guarded emotions, so vague at times that left him swimming in a grayish void…

It had been easy, too easy if you asked him. Maybe it was that. Maybe it had been the unquestionable lack of challenge, but he never once thought of his expectations being wrong.

And there he was, standing by the window, like a fool looking at the early morning as his father continued to jab at him in satisfaction for his performance. The last thing he wanted was to be here, briefing the sovereign. Right now, he should be working out some steam with the fool of Kakarotto. But oh poor of he who lets Vegeta-Ou see into their head! As it would be his leash.

"I am proud, Ouji." Vegeta turned to look at the man. "You have returned to us something that we had been waiting for so long. Do you remember Ouji? That first time the title of Kyuusaisha(2) was set on your shoulders?"

"Hai. You made sure it was very well programmed in my brain." The shorter saiyajin had half turned back, his gaze still resting in an indefinite spot in space. "I wonder if you ever even believed it yourself." And in his musings Vegeta didn't notice he had voiced those words, and much less in that soft tone with accusing inflection.

Ou's eyes squinted millimetrically, the only sign that indicated he had caught up with something in Vegeta's demeanor that he could exploit. He just had to carve real carefully and gather information that he could later bend to his favor. Ou approached with agonizingly slow steps.

"What did you feel?" He asked in a smooth voice. Only one trained in the ways of the court would be able to detect the faint frown on the prince's face—and that same one's smirk took up his face.

"What did you feel as he slowly, gradually, ceased to exist?" Ou asked in the most cruelly enticing way he had ever used with his son. It was tempting, and if you didn't watch yourself could draw the words clear out of your mouth before you knew it. And Vegeta was no exception… but at least he had self control.

Silence was what answered him.

"What did you feel as you crushed him, as you saw and smelled his fear pouring in waves out of him?" The temptation was building into a crescendo, goading, coaxing him into giving in to the monarch's wickedness; to revel in and enjoy the recollection and sharing of the deepest, darkest secrets of this art—the art of the kill. That feeling while looking into the eyes of the prey as their life slipped out of them, so wonderful, so mystical, as the vastness of the universe. He knew. Oh, he knew that's what he wanted to do because HE had done that too, the other one, the one they said was killed with him all those many years ago.

"Did he shake until his knees chattered?" Ou went on as he approached him from behind and his eyes bore into the back of his neck, and his voice drifted silky over his shoulder, like gentle arms embracing him in pleasant memories of a past that never was.

"Did he beg? Did he flee in panic? Tell me, my son, did he scream like a woman…?"

Slippery, slippery. Convincing. Truth. My son… not Ouji, not Ouji. My son. He never called him that unless he wanted something. He knew, he knew. But it was already too late. The spell was cast, the veiled command obliged…

What did he feel? What did he feel? Not the sense of accomplished duty of his battles along with the Chikyuu senshi(3). Not the feeling of personal victory of his time of standalone space travel. Not even the wicked glee and the rush of powerful superiority of his years with Furiza.

What did he feel?

Only that which he did not wish, which he did not want, which he should not feel, which confused him and trapped him and tormented him and scared him. And it came out, as softly and calmly and forcefully willing and foreshadowing as it was.

"… Nothing."

It was torture… just pure torture. The night was still, calm and silent. It was everything that he wasn't. He was restless, annoyed, energized in a way he never had before. He was hot and not even the breezes that snuck through the fissures of the structure would cool his feverish flesh. He was eager; his heart was beating faster; he hurt [hurt where?]. He didn't even know.

It had been alright in the day, and even after he'd gone to bed. But a while into the night, his sleep had been disturbed by a stab of… what? He didn't even know what woke him up. Then, he saw it. He saw her. He saw her in a light he'd never seen her before. She was turned to him, sleeping on her side. She had worn her peach pajamas with anime cats on it. One of the thin straps had fallen down her shoulder in an innocent fashion, allowing a peek at a decent amount of cleavage. Her legs were bent a little at the knees, like she wanted to get in a fetal position, but not quite; the leg of her pajama shorts riding a little high over her thigh, revealing one shapely leg. He saw the roundness of her hips, accentuated by her position, as well as the soft curves of her form.

It was like he was seeing her for the first time, seeing her like a succulent new dish and it didn't help any when he turned to her face. Her hair had come loose of her ponytail, sprawled on her back and around her face, so peaceful, as she rested blissfully in the REM phase. Blue eyes closed under long lashes, rosy lips that looked so soft and warm and downright inviting then, slightly parted in an unconscious action to breathe better, but that he found almost painfully sensual.

He started to feel things so intensely, as never before, as he thought a strange force was slowly overpowering him. It was like he had no control over his body, what he felt or what he did, as the yearning got stronger the longer he looked at her. Yearning!!! That's what he was feeling. But yearning for what? [who?] For her? That he could understand, as the urge to touch her overrode his common sense and he saw his hand travel to an unsuspecting knee, then coming to within half an inch of contact, only to hesitate.

He looked at her profile, only now realizing that the bathroom light had been left on. His eyes fell on her breast instead, and his yearning and curiosity increased almost to a maddening degree. He gulped. He was so close, so close… He closed his eyes. It was not right, not right. But she won't notice. She won't know. But I'll know. So? I want to do it.

Finally, regretfully, his arm came back to his side. He sighed and looking wistfully at her inviting form once more, he rose to go out of the room.

Midnight found him seated at his wing's courtyard, slumped on one of the stone benches near the spring. Maybe it would help him calm himself; soothe his jumpiness with its soft sounds whilst the pale light of the outer lamp post softly illuminated everything around him. He was wearing a tank and drawstring shorts that allowed him mobility and comfort; but that comfort was merely physical, because the mental aspect was a completely different story. He lay on the bench, one hand under his head as he stared meticulously at the other.

He almost—almost—touched her. He almost gave into temptation and felt that pretty skin of hers. He almost ruined their great friendship with his reproachable behavior. The mere fact that he'd been having these urges didn't mean he had to go off and abuse his stand. He loved what he had with Videl; loved the closeness, the trust and companionship they shared. He had never had that with anyone. Ever. And he wasn't about to screw it up and throw all that effort away just like that. That's why he hadn't told her when he first started experiencing the stages of the change. He was sure if he had told her, she would have… um, he didn't know. Get scared? He certainly was. Behave differently with him? He couldn't imagine that. Put distance between them? Now that was something he didn't want. But right now, he was reasoning that was exactly what had to be done: put some distance between them. He didn't know what to do and it was making him worried. He didn't want Videl to see him differently, so he would just wait until later to tell her.

But Kami, he was so… what was the word? The words? He was feeling so many things right then; some that he couldn't even explain, some that even contradicted themselves. And the urgency! Oh, the urgency of it all! It was maddening, frustrating, despairing. His tail lashed the air next to him. It was slightly tingly and still very sensitive. He could still remember what the Astrography sensei had done to him. How could he forget the humiliation he suffered? But also… he remembered what he felt. It had felt soooo nice. Somehow, the beautiful appendage found its way to his free hand. Yes, wonderful. He needed to feel nice now, he really did. He was almost hurting…


His hand began to work its way from tip to base, slowly, hesitantly, tentatively and wondrously. Light, delicious shocks of pleasure began to pinch him all over, in secret places; places he didn't even know existed. And he found the feeling addictive, and his touch wasn't hesitant anymore.

"Who goes there?" a voice suddenly called, startling him out of the blissful world he'd submerged himself into.

Jumping to a sitting position, Gohan looked in the direction of the voice with glazed eyes and flushed cheeks, praying that whoever it was didn't dwell on his shameless [shameful?] practices.

Slowly, the person came into view, revealing a young saiyajin female with shaggy dark hair staring back at him. Commander Cauli was wearing her special night training outfit. It was the same style as the usual saiyajin bodysuit, but hers was sleeveless, with a low cut neckline and the legs stopped a little over middle thigh. She had a towel around her neck which just now she was using to wipe the sweat off her face.

"Oh, it's just you boy." She said again in a neutral tone and then came closer.

Gohan's brow furrowed at the title. Why did she call him boy? Somehow the tone struck him as mocking. She wasn't much older than him.

"I'm no boy." He retorted.

"Oh, yes? And what are you then, a girl?"

"You know very well what I meant. But I suppose if you want to call me boy, I can also call you girl." Her face remained emotionless, only the raise of an eyebrow a hint of an expression. "You're only a little older than me."

"Ah, but there is a difference. You are young and inexperienced, as though I am not." She said proudly.

"I'll have you know I've had my good share of battles… Maybe even more than you; if not, then definitely more dangerous than yours."

Her eyes gained an unreadable expression and she approached, standing in front of his seated form. Just then he realized she was drenched in sweat, though he couldn't help himself thinking of her appearance anything other than appealing.

"I am not only talking about battle, boy; but life in general." He stayed there, staring stupidly at her. And then she smirked, chuckling a bit.

"You do not think I did not see you there stroking yourself? You were not very quiet after all." Now the boy couldn't do anything but flush under the teasing stare of this pureblood. He lowered his head in embarrassment.

"You hit the change, but you look lost. Do you have a shihan(4)?" She asked suddenly serious. He couldn't detect a hint of amusement in her tone.

"S-shihan? No, why?" Cauli shook her head and crouched in front of him.

"Did not anybody tell you anything?" She saw him frown so she took that as a no. "When a saiyajin comes of age, they most of the time do not have any control over their urges and reactions, even their lives. Hence it is tradition to appoint the new adult to a mentor—a shihan—so the shihan can guide them through this process and also into sating and controlling these urges. See the shihan as your teacher in adulthood."

"I don't have a shihan. Nobody ever told me about it. But I guess it's only fair because I'm only seventeen yet. I shouldn't be of age until eight more months."

"Seventeen? That is certainly young. And you need a shihan or the brunt of the transition will get the better of you." The young woman said with a frown, like she was pondering something. There was a long pause, in which the saiyajin pureblood continued her train of thought and Gohan kept stealing sideway glances at her.

"Do you like what you see? You have been feasting through you eyes for quite a while now." She said finally looking at him. Gohan blushed again and tried to deny it, only to be interrupted again.

"I will be your shihan. But an inquiry to your kin must be made." At first, Gohan was so shocked he was speechless, but after snapping out of his trance, he blurted out as he threw his arms out:

"Dame(5)! Dame dame dame! Dame desu(6). Not my parents." The commander frowned.

"Then I must have you permission, in an oath."


"Do you not wish that I be your shihan?" Gohan didn't know for sure, but there was an inflection in her voice that should have sounded hurt, though it didn't. It was more like frustrated.

"Janaikute(8). You're very beautiful. But I've been taught that you just can't do that with anyone. It's the ningen way." She still frowned. She was trying to understand, to figure out what to make of this new development.

"How so? It is very interesting this ningen way." Gohan fidgeted. He didn't feel comfortable talking about the topic, especially when he didn't have any experience with it.

"In order to share intimacy with someone else, there has to be a mutual attraction, an understanding, even better, they must share feelings for each other so they can completely enjoy it. It has to be special(13). That's what I was taught and that's how I want it to be." Cauli remained silent for a few seconds and then resumed.

"I do not understand your ningen way. A shihan does not necessarily have to rut with their protégé. Their role is basically to teach them properly. It is the protég's choice if they want to rut with their shihan."

Gohan flinched every time she mentioned the word rut. It sounded so… savage, so vulgar to his pure ears. But her offer was taking an attractive approach and he was again tempted. Two times in the same night. It was too much to resist. But he didn't want his parents to know; that was especially true for his mother. And what about Videl? Did he want her to know? Did he really want to accept the commander's offer? He looked at her again. She was toweling her sinewy arms absently and he could make out her luscious, voluptuous curves through the tight-fitting outfit; the aristocratic dark tail wrapped around her waist, the smoothly toned thighs and her nipples now visible against the fabric of her top. He averted his traitorous eyes from the sight quickly and cleared his throat.

"W-what would you be teaching me?" He stammered uncertainly.

"In your case, it would be quite a lot… I suppose I should include our ways and customs, as well as our laws into your training, among other things… Like this." She finished and quickly snatched the masculine tail that kept curling and uncurling behind him in his whirl of emotions. She made a set of motions with her hands and fingers, eliciting a sharp gasp from the half-breed.

"I'll be showing you many things, but most of all: control. Now, " she went on without stopping her ministrations, " do you accept me as your shihan?"

"H-hai… Ii K-Kami… Be my shih-han."

"Very well. Then we shall meet tomorrow night in this same spot." And as quickly as that, she had disappeared into the night again.

Gohan opened his eyes, aware of the sweet heaviness and moisture he felt on them. They also felt hot, like his whole face, like his whole body; tingly and sensitized every pore in his precious limb while it shivered in delight in the aftermath of the sweet attack. He felt like crying, but of frustration or happiness, he didn't know. Slowly, the haze in his mind began to lift, leaving him with a vaguely nagging sensation… Then he blinked. And blinked again. Wait…

Now what had just happened?

Cauli walked back to her chambers in silence, a small smirk of satisfaction printed on her face. She walked leisurely, taking her sweet time. Everything had just gone wonderful. She congratulated herself on waiting. Who would have known she'd find him after an intense bout of midnight action in the training grounds? And alone nonetheless. She had been aware of the change and how he had been experiencing it. She had been watching him closely when she wasn't on duty. She hadn't made up the shihan thing either, it was just a wonderful coincidence that it came into focus. And the boy was so naive! It just made things easier. And now that she was his shihan—and a secret one by his request—she would go out of her way to make him proper mate material for an Elite of her caste, as well as teaching him how to be an exceptional lover. Yes. The Kais were on her side. And she was very glad. No one, not even the ningen, could stop the inevitable. She would slowly win him and when she did, there would be nobody able to pull them apart. He was perfection. Perfection was what she deserved, what she craved for.

And she always got what she wanted.

"Would you quit that infernal racket!" Vegeta shouted in exasperation at Gohan's insistent tapping of his spoon on the table surface.

"Nn, sorry." The boy stopped and instead opted for jiggling his leg under the table.

Gohan's nerves were being put to the test that day. He was waiting impatiently for his mother to bring his breakfast in, so he could just inhale it and leave shortly after for Vest'har. There was a certain someone that he didn't want to run into that day. At least not until he did some thinking.

Unfortunately, fate seemed to not be on his side that day, for that same person came in the door behind Vegeta Ou and sat at the table across from him with that same composed demeanor for which she was known. The Son boy's thumping remained constant, joined once again by the annoying tapping of the spoon on the table.

Vegeta's glare didn't seem to register in his mind, he just felt the overwhelming need to leave right then and forget his breakfast. He had been unable to get a decent night's sleep after returning to his room and ended up getting ready earlier than usual. Videl must have been still in their room by then, so he had been sharing the large dining room with the saiyajin prince, who was usually up this early in the mornings. What never crossed his mind though, was the idea that maybe Ou, Vegeta and Cauli had breakfast together at this time everyday. Such an idiot… Such an idiot.

"BRAT! STOP IT!" Vegeta yelled this time, making the poor teen jump in his seat.

"O-ok. Sorry." He put the spoon down and sat straight in his chair, bringing his hands together in front of his face, but after an instant, it was his tail what betrayed him as it whipped the air to his side nervously.

There was silence once again between the four as they waited for the food to be served. That was when Vegeta found out Gohan had gotten his tail back, but he didn't comment on the matter and instead chose to observe him. The prince had not forgotten the boy's defiance all those days prior. But it seemed like he was now paying for his disrespect. The Saiyajin no Ouji could see the pitiful state of the Son boy, the nervous tapping, the impatient manners, the swish of the young tail, the way his eyes drifted to Commander Cauli, scrutinizing her and then cowardly running away when she chanced to look at him. His brow creased. Why was he looking at her like that?

The nervous squirming refused to leave and he spied the boy taking the chopsticks from the makeshift basket his mother had put there and subsequently starting to chew on them after Vegeta glared at him one more time. It was then that the Ouji noticed, for the first time once again, the presence of his enlarged fangs. He twitched. That damned chewing was grating on his nerves, but at least it was better than the tapping. Vegeta diligently took in the boy's scent, and his suspicions were confirmed. So he had come of age already…. When had that been? While he was away in Parlumnya? And the way he was spying Cauli… Hnn… He could have sworn the boy would choose that Satan girl for a mate, they were a perfect complement. But he could understand Gohan's pull for the young commander. It was dubbed "Blood Call". It seemed that after all, Kakarotto's firstborn was more saiyajin than ningen.

Vegeta gazed his father. The monarch was discreetly looking at Cauli and once in a while, when her eyes met Ou's it was as if they were talking without actual words. Those two were up to something. Vegeta eyed Gohan one more time. Hn. He was sure they were aware of the boy's state by now—Ah! So THAT'S what it was… Well, it wasn't his problem anyway. Let the brat deal with it was he would.

He patiently waited until she was sleeping before slipping out of bed and going out the door. Once outside, he hesitated. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. He had half a mind to go back to bed and sleep; or at least try. But he had made a promise. And worse yet, he was curious. That was a dangerous combination where Gohan was concerned. But he couldn't help but feel nervous about the whole ordeal.

Taking a deep breath, he walked back down the hall on his way to the courtyard of the night before. He kept his ki suppressed and his awareness tuned for any unexpected presence. The last thing he wanted was to be caught.

There she was, waiting patiently just out of sight in the shadows. He couldn't tell anything else, just notice she was as calm and collected as usual. Maybe this wasn't such a big deal and he was just torturing himself with the idea that it was wrong. He came to stand some feet in front of her; though she still remained hidden from sight, he would still let her know that he knew she was there. He remained silent, doing everything within his power not to fidget.

The silence was getting uncomfortable as it stretched on. What happened to her? What did she have planned? Was this really okay?

"Well, I'm here. Aren't you gonna say anything?" He asked in a low voice when he couldn't take it anymore.

"… Soon." She got out cryptically and went silent again. Actually, she was reveling in the fact that Gohan had come to her, in the nervousness that seemed to roll off of him, the eagerness… oh yes, she noticed it. It was so obvious to her trained eye. She wanted to stalk him, she wanted to unnerve him; she wanted to take advantage of the fact that she was the one in control.

On his part, Gohan was getting impatient. He wondered what was up with her. It was creeping him out the way she just stared at him from the shadows, like a predator stalking its prey just before pouncing on it. He also wondered what she would be teaching him… and at this hour into the night. He blushed as he remembered their encounter the night before but was suddenly brought out of his thoughts when Cauli's voice finally reached his ears.

"Come, boy." And she turned to walk in the other exit in the courtyard's left side. Only then did Gohan notice she was wearing a very similar suit to the one she wore the night before. He didn't think revealing all that flesh was a very good idea, but he wasn't complaining. Only when his brain finally processed her words did he move to follow her.

"Hey! Don't call me boy!"

He followed her confident strides to a special room resembling the training rooms in the public wing. He had never been there during his stay, but he guessed this was a private place for the young commander if the strength of her scent lingering in the room was any indication. It smelled a little of blood, of sweat and of female. 'Oh man, control yourself Gohan. Don't. Make. A. Scene.'

"This is my private training chamber. Reserved only for me by Ousama's orders. In here, no one will bother us."

Gohan gulped. Okay, so there was no danger of anyone walking in on them. He looked around, trying with all his might to appear calm, but the small tremors coursing his body due to the closeness of a bombshell of a woman at arms reach were very hard to ignore.

Upon noticing Cauli's silence, he fixed his eyes on hers. She was still watching him intently from her spot.

"What do we do now?" He asked after gulping again.

"We fight." She answered without more preambles. Gohan blinked.

"Oh… Oh!" Then he looked at his attire: sweatpants and t-shirt.

"Wear these if you do not wish to ruin your garments." Cauli said again taking out a black cloth from the locker embedded in the wall.

Gohan went along to take it. It was only a pair of spandex shorts. He looked at Cauli and could have sworn her mouth was curved upwards even if just a little.

"Thanks. Um- where may I change?" He asked looking around for a changing room and not finding anything.

"Right here." Gohan stayed silent a little while. Of course, this was her private room; she wouldn't need a changing room. Then he looked at her and asked:

"Would you turn around?" She frowned.

"Why?" Gohan blushed again. He knew of saiyajin behavior about nudity, he had learned to endure the showers at Vest'har; but he didn't think he could take her seeing him naked.

"B-because it's rude to watch somebody you don't know without clothes."

"The ningen way." She said in realization.

"Yeah, the ningen way."

"But you are on Vegeta-sei, my territory. And I say change right here. I will not turn around."

Whoah… did he actually hear what he thought he did? She was being aggressive. Quite a change from the usual emotionless façade. And she was actually speaking whole sentences. Well, Gohan had to admit she was right in that one. So, with a sigh, he proceeded to take off the t-shirt and sweatpants and grabbed the shorts to put them on.

"What is that?" He heard Cauli ask above the burning of his face.

"Huh? This? It's called underwear."



"Off. Take that 'underwear' off. It is not necessary." Gohan's heart skipped a beat. What was it with this girl!? But after a second's thought, he obliged, turning his back to her and slipping his underwear off quickly before putting on the shorts even more quickly. He didn't notice though, the frantic movements of his tail as it slashed the air behind him. That is, until the hem of his shorts brushed roughly against the base of his tail, sending a jolt up his spine.

"Ahhhh!!" He gasped as he turned to look at his backside. His tail was curled tightly at the tip in reaction to the pain. But he didn't notice when Cauli approached him from behind until she spoke.

"Allow me to help you with this." And she took a hold of the waist line, pulling back and taking the brown limb, stroking soothingly to make it relax and at the same time earning a long sigh from the Son boy, before inserting it in the hole on the back of the shorts.

"There." Gohan opened his eyes to find her in front of him.

"A-arigatou(10) Cauli-san." She folded her arms across her chest before smirking visibly.

"You are a beautiful male, Gohan of the House of Bardock." Of course, the boy's blood rushed to his face and he automatically put up the Son Grin™ and brushed the back of his head.

"H-hontou ni(9)? Arigatou."

"Now. We fight." Gohan nodded and after stretching briskly, gained his battle stance. Cauli followed suit and they clashed after an instant. Cauli was on the offensive, displaying moves and strategies Gohan had barely seen in Vegeta's and Nappa's style; that is, with a few variations for the female fighter. There were very few openings in her stance, but all were regulated as part of dangerous hoaxes. Then all of a sudden, she stopped. A glare nailed Gohan to his spot.

"I have had enough of you studying my moves. Fight back or I will not teach you anything."

Gohan sighed and touched down softly on the floor. He pondered whether to give in or not, after all, he was really curious about what she was planning to do, but he was also afraid of hurting her.

"I am not that blue eyed ningen. I can fend for myself." She said while catching her breath.

"Okay. I'll do it." He brought his ki down to her level and assumed his fighting stance once more. This time, he was the one to attack first, dashing up to her. The fight started. There was an unspoken agreement against ki attacks, but the physical battle was brutal. At least hers was, hence making Gohan imitate her aplomb.

Then he felt it—what she meant. It was like a slight ache in the pit of his stomach and then developed into a physical sense of excitement he had felt few times in his life. It was the sensation that he LIVED for battle, that it was what gave his life meaning. His eyes glazed with an unearthly shine, his skin heated up and thin rivulets of salty sweat rolled down to cool his skin. His heartbeat accelerated, his breathing deepened… He tuned in solely on the female before him, and around him, then above him and finally behind him. She was a mystery, like Pandora's Box that he had to somehow open and discover its contents. But she was tough. She was good. He had to find a crack, or better yet, make it himself, to open her up like a book and know what was to her. But she was tough. It would not be easy. But he didn't mind. It'd be worth the challenge.


When did their match turn into a game? It was like a game of tag and he had to catch her. She teased him; and not only with her presence, but with her proximity… among other things. He started to notice things he had been blind to before and now he couldn't help but find them all alluring. The sheen of sweat that made her skin glow under the lighting; the compact legs responsible for her annoying speed—if he could only touch—the firm behind that was the worst tease; the blue top drenched in sweat straining against generous mounds, their peaks at complete attention; the long neck just now revealed as she took a hold of her abundant mane and held it to the back of her head with both hands. It looked like she was inviting him. Oh and that—that long slim rope of fur that waved in agonizing slowness behind her. No, correction. THAT was the worst tease. Okay, now that really looked like an invitation.

Gohan didn't know it but he was showing some clear signs of excited anticipation. His own thrashing tail was a clear proof of that, and the way that his eyes roamed the young commander's body.

She knew his instincts were at work, but she just had to give a little push. She took one single step forward, hands still holding her hair up before her tail came along to her front and slowly glided down between her breasts before dipping down low and going back behind her to dance along with her intentions.

Gohan's eyes flashed and he slightly bit his bottom lip. Now if that wasn't an invitation he did not know what was. So he approached, slowly, tentatively probing if permission had been granted. She did not move. She did not talk. She just looked up into his eyes with an intensity he was slowly being able to comprehend. What was he supposed to do now? Was there some kind of ritual he had to follow? Saiyajin seemed bent on sticking to their ritualistic traditions, but he didn't know what to make of this. And he didn't want to be left hanging now either. That would be too cruel.

She still didn't say anything, didn't move, she just looked… waiting? She was waiting for him? Hmm. He should have known she was not the talkative kind of teacher. So he had to figure things out on his own? Okay, then so be it. What would be the next thing to do? Since she was just standing there; very vulnerable, he might add…

He wanted to touch her. It was a desire that had became him as they fought. He really didn't know how a woman's body felt like—really felt like—when he meant to know. But was he allowed? Looking into her eyes again he saw the same expression: patience. Hmm. Was she actually teaching him something?

He really wanted to touch her. But he didn't think she'd like that. Hmm. She wasn't very modest though. Maybe she wouldn't say anything. And that position she was in was not helping either!!

He made up his mind. Without taking his eyes off hers, he brought his hand to her face, tracing her cheek and jaw line with a finger, following to her neck and her collarbone before lowering to her breasts, tweaking one nipple innocently before cupping the whole mound into his hand. She didn't move. He marveled silently at their feel and he memorized their shape, their weight, their texture and their size. They were so warm and fascinating, so alien but so familiar that he couldn't get his hand off them, running the back of his hand over the warm peak and earning a silent huff from the female. But still, she did not move.

His hand traveled down her torso, reaching her midriff and also wondering at the slimness of her waist before rounding into wide hips. A fleeting thought crossed his mind; easy to hold on to and enough space to carry a baby. Where that thought came from he didn't know, but he would not dwell on it. He had more pressing matters to attend.

Gohan moved behind her, observing the long slender digits holding the mat of onyx, noticing the obvious curvature of her edges and corners. He barely grazed the nape of her neck with a curious finger, eliciting a tremor that he could have sworn he saw travel down her back; so he followed it. His hand followed the trace of that tremor, the only proof so far that what he was doing wrenched a reaction from her. His fingers followed the straight spine diligently, stopping again at the waist to hold her with both hands and then lowering them to her hips of mythological muse to cup her firm behind. When he was satisfied, he went back to his place before her and only then did she move. Her hands came back down to her sides and she kept looking at him in the eye.

"Why not the tail?" She asked, not curious, but as if beseeching his realization over own his actions on him. Gohan was silent for a second, but then responded.

"I've been told it's not right, but I don't understand why."

Cauli smirked slightly. "Allow me to demonstrate."

Her hand moved like lightning. He didn't even see it until she already had the limb in her grasp. Only then did he feel the pressure in his tail bone, but she wasn't doing anything, she was just holding it.

"I believe you are experiencing extreme sensitivity now that it has been regenerated?" Gohan nodded. He was actually keeping a close eye on the saiyajin female who had his new weakness in her hand right then.

"The pain seems unbearable, never ending… but so is the pleasure… it makes you feel like it can break you into pieces right then and there, it can make you howl like when you watch the full moon." Her fingers began to play slow and subtle patterns on his fur, going from tip to base and back again. Gohan's eyes widened, his breath caught in his throat and his muscles tensed. OH. MY. KAMI. It was just like that time in Astrography when the teacher scolded him. But this was even better [worse?]. He could feel electricity course his tense form. And the sensations were so powerful and so close one after the other, that his body could do nothing more than tremble. A moan escaped his lips and his effort for suppressing it only seemed to heighten the feeling. Slowly, it all concentrated in one spot, his groin was tightening impossibly to painful proportions. His body came afire and he knew without knowing that she could help him, help him go there, to that place he had to go to but he didn't know where it was, that place that he knew without knowing that was where he had to go to end this sweet torture. Another moan escaped his lips.

"Please…" He heard himself say. But please what!?

He could feel her presence closer still; her scent had changed into such a sweet and intoxicating aroma that was drawing him to her. It was like she was calling him. He opened his eyes to find her nightly pools regarding him with an unknown shine and that same intensity he had seen earlier. Fuck it… He had to get closer… His arm reached out to her, but before he could touch her, she let go abruptly and stepped back out of reach.

"Now what is your conclusion?" She asked as if nothing had happened. Gohan's eyes flew open and he instinctively looked around for her. Why had she stopped? Had he been imagining it? An insistent pull from his lower section demanded attention, but he was also sure that she had asked him something. What was it? With considerable effort, Gohan pried through the haze in his brain, barely shaking his head.

"What?" He asked in a distracted voice as he brought himself to look her in the eye again.

"What. Is. Your conclusion?" She marked each word with a pause, the slight mocking barely obvious. Gohan didn't seem to understand her, so she rolled her eyes and shifted her weight to her other leg and elaborated. "About contact with the tail?"

"It's… " He fought to concentrate on the question, on his answer, but it was difficult. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly to calm the tension in his muscles. "… dangerous. Had I been in battle, I would've been completely at my opponent's mercy. It's a weakness."

"Very well." She said with a nod. "That is the reason why you must always keep it out of reach and guarded. Even a trained tail may have a limit of endurance; that is why we emphasize tail training as much as martial training. This is especially true for high class saiyajin."

A little disappointed, Gohan wound his tail around his waist swiftly and looked at Cauli for what came next. She looked at him unfathomably for an instant and then nodded, going back to the little locker on the wall.

"That may be all for tonight." She opened the small door to expose his sleeping clothes and waited patiently for him to move. This took him some seconds to process and he walked up to her and took his stuff, stopping to look at her before saying:

"This was a very interesting first lesson. I'm looking forward to the next." The commander nodded again.

"Tomorrow night." She closed the locker and turned to walk to the exit without regard for the Son. "Do not be late!" She threw without looking back at the last minute before she disappeared out the door. Gohan stood there, looking after her even when she wasn't there anymore.

"Are you kidding me?" He asked to no one in particular and he too walked out on the way to his room.

The warm breezes drifted through the open halls, swirling and dancing around the columns and crevices of the structure, but not at all managing to calm the anxious figure that stalked the nightly shadows. Eyes darting here and there to avoid being spotted, he reveled in the thrill of the small adventure, of the forbidden. It made his blood pump faster and he found he liked the feeling.

Without major hassles, he managed to reach the heavy door he had crossed the night before; his excitement growing at what awaited him beyond it. Taking one last look around for his own reassurance, he stepped in the room.

It felt humid and stagnant, like a small space crowded with people. The scent of female sweat was strong... She had been waiting for him. As was already second nature to him, he felt for her ki and found it above and behind him. She floated there, Indian style and watched him. Gohan couldn't help the excited dance of his extra limb when he set eyes on the saiyajin. It was like something in his blood vibrated at her presence. Never had he felt this way.

Slowly, she floated down, touching the ground with both feet before folding her arms across her chest. Mmm, how he liked that pose... it quite enhanced some of her attributes. Cauli noticed the path the dark orbs took at the same time that the brown tail slowed its rhythm, akin to a feline waiting to pounce on its prey.

She locked eyes with the half-breed and took some steps forward, coming to stand before him while still staring.

"Lesson #1 of the night... Keep your emotions in check. They make you transparent." He frowned lightly in a questioning manner. "I can see right through you." She answered, both still not moving. Gohan drew a ghost of a smirk across his lips, doubting the young woman could backup her words.

"You have changed. You are more confident, bolder... more foolish. The rush of this kind of freedom has taken over you. You don't want anybody to know, yet you tempt fate by taking unnecessary risks. You are eager to start, eager to learn, enchanted by phantom promises you have weaved up yourself in your own little mind that is still so blind." An obvious smirk comes to her face. "You are getting exasperated with my talking, wondering when I am going to hush and start the lesson. Images from last night fly across your mind and you want to relive it. Your hands itch, your skin tingles and is that a shiver running down your spine? You want to hush me, fight me, hit me touch me havemeownme..." The words left her mouth at the same speed the images and the feelings crossed his mind and his eyes were slowly widening in wonder at the saiyajin's accuracy. But how could she know?

"I told you, did I not?—I can see right through you." She said as if answering his unspoken question. He opened his mouth to ask her something else, but she interrupted in a low voice:

"Shhh! Watch, listen and learn. That is all. I can read you easily because you let me, but I can also predispose you to feel or think a certain way with my attitude or my words."

It didn't take Gohan long to realize that in fact, Cauli was not literally reading his thoughts, though she was actually adept at reading people through posture and expressions. It was a quality of a good strategist. The girl wasn't a commander by contacts alone; she really had quite the virtues.

"How do you do it?" he asked at last.

"Simple observation, intuition and a little imagination." Gohan could very well believe her, since she seemed like a very observant person; a woman of few words but plenty of action, some would say.

"You should really learn to control that tail of yours. It gives you away quite precisely. Had I not known better, I would have thought you quite indecent, why with the shamelessly suggestive bearing, any female would be flattered." Her words struck a cord in him. Something told him that he wasn't supposed to do what she was saying, but he really had a hard time controlling that damned tail of his; it seemed to have a mind of its own.

"How is it bad?"

"It is not proper. Be careful from doing that in public." He nodded, clearly determined to follow her advice and quickly wrapped his tail around his waist, intending to keep it there as long as necessary.

"Good. Now remember lesson #1." She waited until he nodded. "Now we fight with your emotions locked. Concentrate on a neutral thought, a familiar shape, a solid wall, and hold on to it. Detach yourself from everything else." He nodded curtly once again.

She didn't waste any time to attack him, keeping a constant lock on his eyes; every time he faltered, she would say so and catch him off guard. He was surprised at the amount of times it happened, mentally berating himself to give his best. And every time his tail got a cramp, he fought to keep it in place, which created another source of distraction.

Gohan soon forgot about trying, resorting to let things flow, keeping a gentle hold on the so called "solid wall" to relieve the pressure, until he once again got caught up in the thrill of their battle. It was—it was—different. Not at all like fighting his father or Vegeta or the kids. Maybe it was something about how women fought. Although… it also didn't feel like when he fought Videl either, but then again, she was not a saiyajin female. Saiyajin females were… uncharted territory. There was something savage about their presence that just—just gave him a high.

Videl had some of that too, which was very strange in a ningen woman, but in contrast she was fragile and lighthearted. Cauli was hermetic, like vacuum closed. She was a mystery in a very tight wrap and he was willing to take off layer after layer until he knew what was under all that. Maybe he would find Eden in the middle of the desert, like he had found it in the rocky mountains of Videl's psyche. A treasure in a harsh land.

Videl… He wondered if she had noticed his absence.

A swift sweep of his feet brought him to the floor cleanly. Cauli stood over him, hands on hips as she looked him down.

"You are hopeless boy." She said with a frown and turned to walk out of the chamber without looking once back.

"Matte yo(11)! Cauli-san!" He called after her as he came to his feet and took after her. "Matte kudasai(12)!" He yelled in the deserted midnight hallways as he jogged up to her. Upon reaching her, he laid a hand on her shoulder to turn her to him. She whirled around and he could have sworn he felt an icy chill pass through him when their eyes met.

"If you are not taking this seriously, then you must release me from my duty. You are wasting your time, and what is more important MY time. In any case, in the end it is you who will need it." Gohan tried not to lower his head as she spoke, to look her in the eye with dignity. As she finished, she turned to leave once again, and once again she was stopped by Gohan, earning him an annoyed glare that almost shook his resolve.

"I'm… " he thought about saying 'I'm sorry', but then remembered what Cole had told him, to not apologize so much since it made him look weak. So he got a very determined look on his face, straightened up and continued. "… Willing to give it another try. I promise to do better." She stared at him for an instant and then walked away.

"Very well then." She threw over her shoulder as she disappeared around the corner.

(1)Wakarimashita = I understand (formal)

(2)Kyuusaisha = savior

(3)Senshi = soldier, warrior

(4)Shihan = teacher, instructor

(5)Dame = useless, no good, hopeless, bad (in this case "that's no good cuz it would get me in trouble")

(6)Desu = polite copula, informal form of "arimasu" which means "to be" (I think)

(7)Demo = but

(8)Janaikute = that's not it

(9)Hontou ni? = really? For real?

(10)Arigatou = thank you (casual)

(11)Matte yo = wait up (the yo is only for emphasis)

(12)Kudasai = please

(13) to all the GUYS out there, I can just hear you thinking: "That's so gay". But remember Gohan's upbringing. You are how you're taught

{cowers from the myriad of readers with shiny murdering eyes}

Ack! Well guys. You see… This is… Well… DON'T KIIIILLLL MEEEEE!!

This is necessary for the story, otherwise, it wouldn't be a triangle. And besides, I'm doing something different here. Bear with me. This chapter took longer because, as some of you already know, I had lost one of the scenes and had to rewrite it (not from scratch though). Okay now, next chapter is gonna take some time. I got a few things going and I dunno when I'm gonna update. But rest assured, I WILL UPDATE!!

Oh, and I'm going to have to revamp that mailing list. There are lots of emails that don't work anymore, so please, those of you without an FF.net account and Author Alert activated, leave your email in your review if you want to be notified when I update this story.

Oh, and not liking the new updating method. Grrrrr...

Okay. Thanks to all of you who reviewed!! Lazy again! Buh-bye!

Koko ni heshite (heck! no arrow!)