Disclaimer: Do I really need to repeat this every time?

Pre-chapter author's rants: Part One -

                Hello, and welcome to the first of a series of pre-chapter author's rants.  Why these rants?  Well, I think after this chapter, and everything that has been happening in my life, I'm allowed to.  Just to let you readers know, there are some important bits about this rant that will be vital to the knowledge of the future of this story.

                First, and most importantly: no, this story will not be stopped now.  There are certain things happening in my life, the biggest of which is that I am now commuting to school.  I haven't been doing so well, and my parents decided to do this to try and keep me out of the college atmosphere, or reduce my exposure to it.  What does this do to the story?  Well, it reduces the amount of time I have to work on this story.  I had originally planned to do two chapters over my winter break, and I managed to just do one, and barely.  So now my writing schedule changes for the worse.  The only probable times I can write is on the weekends, and any other time I can fit in.

                And I need to say this now: please, please don't leave reviews begging me to update soon, cause it won't happen.

                That said, I have to say this: Chapter Eight won't be done till at least the end of March.  I'm that serious.  I want this to be a good quality story, and I don't need people pushing me to update when I can't.  If I can, I'll start a mailing list.  That, I believe, is the least I can do.

                One other thing I can do – to prove that I am still alive – is by writing a few one-shots, hopefully like the one I wrote back in December.  By the way, if you haven't read it, go read it and review it.  It's entitled "Saiyaman Poses: What They're Really For", by yours truly and with some ideas from DarkHeart81.

                I guess the last thing I can do is give you an update on the story structure.  After this chapter, there will be two more chapters in part one.  In all, there will be nine chapters in part one.  I hope to tie up a few subplots in those two chapters, as well as this one below you.  Part two will have a different focus for the first few chapters, as it focuses on Shinji and another character that I will be introducing.  Some of that revolves around a second major plot that will be revealed in chapter ten.  I ask you this: please don't lose interest in the story because of that.  It is vitally important to read it when it comes out.  The story will get very interesting in part two, and I promise you that, by the end of that part, you guys will hate me.  I only give you time to think about what I plan on doing.

                One more thing, and then I can let you get on with the story.  I had originally planned to write and post eight to twelve chapters this year.  With the changed outlook, it looks to be shortened from five to eight chapters.  Again, I apologize, but with everything that's been happening to me during the last three or so weeks, I can only hope to get that much done for you guys.

                Sorry to keep you waiting, and I think that will be the longest rant that I'll post.  Now, I present to you, Chapter Seven.

* * *

That Warm and Fuzzy Feeling From the Back of a Saiyan

A fanfic from ShaggyDiz

Chapter Seven

* * *

                The trip to the Lookout was made in relative silence.  Gohan remained ahead of Goten and Videl, and with Shinji unconscious, kept to his thoughts.  Videl, meanwhile, was attempting to get some information out of the young boy.  That proved futile after a few minutes, as even the tempting of candy couldn't derail Goten.

                Yes, he knew better than to take candy from strangers.

                They arrived at the Lookout after a short twenty-minute flight.  Gohan immediately told Mr. Popo to keep an eye on Videl and Goten while he went inside with Dende and Piccolo.  Videl didn't bother to try asking the strange genie anything.  She walked to the edge and looked over it.  She didn't have a fear of heights, yet knew this was a rather large fall to the ground if she were to accidentally slip off of it.  Then again, she only wanted Saiyaman to the rescue.

                And this only confused her more.  She didn't understand why she was in love with him.  It made no logical sense.  Well, with her being the daughter of a champ and him being a hero, it probably made a bit of sense.  Yet, do heroes themselves fall in love?  She knew the answer.

                Yes.  It was 'yes' because she was a hero herself.  Not as big as Saiyaman, but before he showed up, she was the local hero.  She was there when people needed help.

                And she had fallen in love.  'Yes' was the logical conclusion.

                Of course, she'd have to ask Saiyaman if he liked her at all, or if he was just there for, well, being there.  She just wanted to know.

                Then there is Gohan.

                "Life is so complicated sometimes," she mumbled to herself, lazily swinging her feet over the edge of the Lookout.

* * *

                Meanwhile, Gohan had brought Shinji into one of the many bedrooms inside of the temple.  He laid him on the bed and allowed Dende to fix him.  Using his inherited healing gift, he quickly healed his wounds and reconstructed his broken bones.  When he was done, Dende took a step back and looked down with the other occupants of the room.  Shinji looked slightly more at ease, but barely, has his lips and eyes continued to tremble.

                "Dende," Gohan started, "can you heal his mind at all?"  The young god shook his head.

                "I'm afraid not, Gohan.  My powers can only heal the physical wounds, not the mental ones.  If I could, then we'd all be celebrating right now."

                "We are far from celebrating, Dende.  Those two will be back."

                "And what about Shinji?" Piccolo asked.

                "He has less than thirty-six hours to live."  Piccolo looked down at his former student.

                "Gohan…is there anything we can do to help?"  The teen looked up at his mentor.

                "I'm afraid not."  He paused for a second, looking down at Shinji.  Keeping his gaze there, he spoke: "Actually, there may be.  I might need back up tomorrow night when I go face those two.  From what I've learned from Videl, they can sense energy levels."  He looked back up to Piccolo.  "You're going to have to mask your energy level.  Keep a fair distance away too."

                "Any idea on how strong they were?" Piccolo asked.

                "From what I sensed, the stronger of the two was slightly more powerful than Shinji.  If it were one of one, he would have had a greater chance of defeating either of them."

                "How strong is Shinji, by the way?"

                "At his fullest, slightly below Eighteen.  You felt it earlier though, right?"

                "Yes…I kept an eye on the battle.  I should have gone to help."  Gohan turned around, facing the door.  He placed a hand on Piccolo's shoulder.

                "Don't worry about it, Piccolo.  Besides, there had to be a reason behind this attack.  I don't think they planned on killing Shinji."

                "Why do you think that?"

                "Cause I think they wanted me."  With that, he left the room.  Piccolo and Dende were looking back and forth between each other and where Gohan once stood.  After a few minutes of silence, Dende spoke.

                "What do you think about all this, Piccolo?"

                "This incident…it must be connected with the one from two weeks ago."

                "You mean with Gendo?"  Piccolo nodded.  "I wish I was able to follow him when he left."

                "It's not your fault.  We were caught…rather, Gohan was caught off guard."  He let a small smirk come on his face.  "He'd make a good detective."

                "How so?"

                "I've kept my eye on him while you were looking elsewhere.  Along with Shinji, they tried to look for anything on Gendo.  They had a reason to believe that something was up with him."

                "And now they know?"  Piccolo only nodded.  "What do you think he's doing now?"

                "I believe he's still going to be the detective.  If I were him, I'd ask that girl out there what she found out about today."  He turned to walk out of the room.  "Stay with Shinji.  I'll have Popo on guardian duty, and I'll return after I speak with Gohan about tomorrow."

* * *

                Gohan exited the temple and walked over to where Videl and Goten were.  As he got into view, he saw Goten and Popo sparring a bit, with the genie on the receiving end of the attacks.  He was able to block most of them though, which saved him a lot in the pain department.  Once Gohan had come out, however, the fighting ceased.  Goten ran up to his older brother, jumping up and down repeatedly like he had made some kind of major discovery.  Gohan picked up his brother, ending his ranting.

                "Goten," he whispered, "you're going to go home on your own.  Are you going to be able to find your way home?"  Goten nodded.  "Good.  Tell mom I'll be back in a couple of hours.  I have a few things to take care off.  Don't turn off the costume until you get home.  Mom knows how to do it, so have her."

                "Okay, Gohan."  Goten hopped out of his brother's arms and runs towards the edge of the Lookout.  Waving bye to Videl, he took off to his home.  Gohan walked over to the girl, standing beside her at the edge.

                "Videl," Gohan said.  She looked up at him, curiosity evident in her face.


                "There are a few things I need you to do when I take you back."  He paused for a second and kept his gaze out into the sky in front of him.  "Tell the media not to come out to the fight area tomorrow night.  I know that they all want the action footage, but it's going to be too dangerous for anyone to get near there.  In fact, get the police to block all the roadways and the air traffic."  She nodded.

                "Good.  Hopefully I can lead them away from the city to minimize the damage."  He paused briefly.  "If not, then I can get the dragon balls and fix it.  I'm going to need them anyway."  This got Videl's attention.

                "Dragon balls?" she asked.  Gohan finally looked down at her.

                "Yes.  Dragon balls.  Ever hear of the legend?"  She shook her head.  Gohan let loose a small smile and returned his gaze to the sky.  "Do you remember back after the Cell Games, when all of those people killed by Cell were brought back to life?"

                "Yeah.  But what does that have to do with anything?  He died, and people thought my dad brought them back to life."  Gohan looked down at Videl again.

                "You really don't know anything, do you?"  A switch was pushed inside of Videl's head, quickly setting her off.  Yet, as quickly as that switch was turned on, it turned off, and Videl's face showed that.  She went from anger to guiltiness in just a second.

                "No," she replied, pride and guilt evident in her voice.  Gohan sat down next to her, mimicking her sitting patterns.

                "You do, don't worry.  You're learning more and more everyday that I'm around.  Someday soon, you'll know the truth."  He looked out to the sky again.  Videl turned to look at the golden hair hero.  It felt like something was twisting and turning inside of her every time she looked at him.

                So this is what love feels like? she thought silently to herself.  She slowly – and quietly – moved over to where Gohan was.  The few feet quickly narrowed into a few inches, and Gohan, so invigorated by the clouds, didn't notice until she was right on top of him.  He looked at her with a questioning glance, and she just met his eyes all the same.  She turned her gaze into the sky and leaned against his arm.  Videl wrapped her arms around his, and, contrary to the belief, Gohan didn't mind.

                "Thank you," she said.

                "For what?"

                "I don't know…I guess for saving me all those times.  I don't think I properly thanked you."

                "There was never a need to."  Videl looked up at him, confused.  He could sense it without looking.  "I knew that deep down inside, you were always thanking me for saving you and everyone else.  I was always just doing my job, like you would do, and people still give their thanks, even if they never told you."

                "Really?" she asked.  Gohan nodded.

                "I can tell.  It's all with the eyes."  To prove his point, he took his finger and pointed it right at Videl's eye.  "There's a subtle gleam to it."

                "I see," she said, blushing slightly and letting a small smile form on her face.  "It kind of makes sense now, I guess."

                "Good.  Now I'm going to need my arm back."

                "How come?"

                "Cause Piccolo is about ten feet behind me, and I think he wants to discuss strategy."

                "How did you –"  She turned around, totally surprised with what Gohan said.  There stood Piccolo, not more than ten feet from where they were.  She reluctantly let go of his arm.  "Okay."

                Gohan got up, lightly patting Videl's shoulder as he did.  He walked to Piccolo, and both of them took several steps away from Videl to get out of her ear range.  "Yeah, Piccolo?"

                "So what's the plan?"

                "Videl's going to get the cops involved; going to have them block off all the major exits of the city.  She's also going to try and put a media silence around the area, although that might not help."

                "Fanatical people down there, huh?"

                "Blame her dad.  That's what got those idiots into this mess anyway."  Piccolo let a slight smirk come off from the comment.

                "He is a bumbling fool at that one.  What else you have planned?" he asked, his tone reverting back to its seriousness.

                "I figure I would pay Korin a visit.  Wouldn't help to have a few senzu beans on hand.  You think he replenished his supply from the last attack?"

                "I would believe so.  If not, then we'd have to be extra careful.  Enemies before have pulled some nasty tricks on us; I would suspect that these guys would do the same.  Be prepared."

                "I will.  If I have to, I'll try and go ascended Super Saiyan.  It's been over six years since I've used it."

                "I know.  This lack of training of yours could seriously affect the outcome of the battle.  I seriously doubt anything can beat an ascended Super Saiyan though.  You have my full confidence and backing in the fight tomorrow."  Gohan smirked.

                "It's not like you wouldn't have given it anyway.  I might need to convince Vegeta to give some support, though I seriously doubt he'll join the battle.  If he senses trouble, then he'll know to come."  He turned back towards the edge of the Lookout where Videl still sat.  "He'll probably beat me senseless after we win this fight too," he said over his shoulder.  Gohan walked over to the edge, where Videl stood up and greeted him.

                "So what now Saiyaman?"

                "Now I got to go visit someone for a quick second.  Don't worry, he's only a few miles below us."  As he said this, two fingers go to his head.  "And I think I'm close enough to him where I wouldn't have to fly down."  With that, he disappeared from Videl's view and entered into Korin's view.  A brief mind scan from the cat updated him on the current events.  He gave Gohan two senzu's and apologized for the lack of stock.  Concluding their business, Gohan used his Instant Transmission and teleported back to the Lookout next to Piccolo.

                "How many?"

                "Just two."

                "Damn."  Gohan stuck out his hand with the beans in it.

                "We might as well split them.  If these guys show us something we haven't seen, then use only half of it for the first round.  They'll still work to replenish most of the wounds."

                "Good.  Take it easy then kid.  I'll see you on the battle field."

                "All right Piccolo."  He shook his mentor's hand before departing.  Gohan walked to the edge of the Lookout, where a smiling Videl was waiting.

                "You're smiling."  She nodded vigorously.

                "I know."

                "Strange," he mumbled under his breath.  "You ready?"  She nodded again.  He picked her up and carried her in his arms; one underneath her legs while another was beneath her back.  Videl wrapped her arms around his neck, and then they took off.

                The flight itself took about forty minutes, and a comfortable silence was held the whole time.  Gohan from time to time looked down at his bundle when she wasn't looking.  He knew he had that feeling in his heart that fell deeper in love with Videl everyday.  He knew it too.  He had confessed his feelings earlier in the day to Shinji, and, while Gohan figured that he told her, it would have to wait.  He had to get it off his chest somehow, and as today did help, it didn't help much.  The person he loved was in his arms, yet she was so far away too.

                Videl, meanwhile, stole quick glances of Gohan's face whenever he wasn't looking.  She too had the strong feeling in her heart of love.  And while it was strong for the hero, it was equally becoming stronger with each passing day for the nerd that she sits next to every day in school.  Videl was confused, yes, for she was falling in love with two men, one of which she hoped to tell soon.  Her hunch would have to wait as well, as she still lacked the credible evidence to prove what she wanted to know.

                It was past six o'clock when the pair arrived at Videl's balcony window.  Gohan placed the girl on her feet and prepared to depart.  Videl saw this though and went to stop him.

                "Saiyaman!" she cried out.  He stopped floating backwards to acknowledge her.

                "Yes, Videl?"

                "Um…can I ask you something?"  Gohan titled his head to the side, a little wary of Videl's current actions.

                "You could ask me from there while I'm up here."

                "Well, I kind of want to tell you face to face."  The blush creeping up on her face was now visible, even in the dying sunset.  Gohan floated back down until he was at the rail of the balcony, floating on the opposite side of it as Videl.

                "Okay."  She shook her head, pushing her fears aside.

                "No…come over here."  She pointed to the ground in front of her.  Gohan simply complied.  He was now really confused to her actions.  He looked down at the girl and noticed the redness in her cheeks, despite the shadow that he created over her.

                "What is it that you want to ask me?" he asked patiently.  As he said that, Videl placed a hand on his naked chest, more to steady herself, but also to put her mind into motion and push her fears aside.

                "I…I wanted to personally thank you for saving me," she said, looking away to the ground.  It became a nice spot to look at during the current moment.  Gohan noticed that, but paid no heed.  His naïve ness was striking again.

                "Videl, there's no need to thank me.  Remember what I told you."  That's when she looked up at him and stared into his eyes.  She turned her body so that she was facing him completely.  Her free hand also went to his bare chest.

                "I know," she said.  "But…I must."  With that, she reached up and brought her hand behind his head.  Grabbing a few locks of his golden hair, she pulled him down slightly while she reached up on her toes.

                Gohan's mind was screaming the whole time.  Cursing and begging him to run, he had not expected this course of action, not after the last time she nearly pulled this stunt.

                He didn't move away this time though.  It let it happen.

                She kissed him lightly on the lips.  His lips are powerful, she thought.  It was a strange thought, yes.  Irrational even, but this was a time where irrational thoughts didn't matter.  As she let her kiss settle in, Videl closed her eyes to relish the moment.

                Gohan did likewise, watching her do the same.  Her lips…soft…feathery.  It's like an angel.  He liked this moment.  Hell, he loved it.  All he wanted to do was just sweep her up in his arms and carry her onto the bed.  Irrational thinking again, for a pure moment of bliss.  He nearly slipped too.  He moved his arms up to her hips as the kiss settled in, just a light kiss on the lips, and nothing more.

                Slowly they broke the kiss; rather, Gohan broke the kiss himself.  He moved his head back slightly while pushing her back slowly with his hands.  He looked down at Videl, who still kept her eyes closed, and whose lips remained in their kissing position.  Soon, she realized that the moment was over.  She closed her mouth and opened her eyes to see Saiyaman looking down at her.  Her hand still clutched his hair, but she soon relinquished control of that.  It slid down to his chest again, parallel to her other hand.

                "Saiyaman," she whispered.

                "Videl…I'm sorry.  Please, you must understand this."  He kept his eyes locked with hers.  Videl had tilted her head slightly to try to understand what was happening.

                "Understand what?" she asked, whispering again.

                "I hate to do this to you…but you realize that this can't work.  I'm sorry."  There was a silence.  Unlike their previous silences, this one was uncomfortable.  It was unbearable.  The air around them became hot with pressure because of the tension.  Finally, Videl broke it.

                "I understand," she simply said.  Her arms became limp as she looked down towards the ground.  Gohan calmly took a hand from her hip and placed it under her chin, lifting her face up so he can look into her eyes again.  He realized what he had done, but it had to happen.  Gohan the Superhero couldn't fall in love.  Gohan the Nerd…had.

                He just wished that when she found out about it, that she would forgive him.

                "Videl, I truly am sorry," he said.  But Videl couldn't take it anymore.  She swatted his hand away, and the blissful happiness she experienced minutes before turned into unbridled anger.

                "No!  Just…just get away."  She pushed herself away from Gohan, backwards toward the opposite end of her balcony.  She stared at him with a deadly glare, one that could burn holes into an ordinary man.

                "Videl –"

                "Leave!" she shouted, pointing out towards the sky next to her.  She didn't care where he went.  She just wanted him to leave.

                "Videl!" Gohan shouted.  He needed to end this now, and he figured fighting fire with fire would work.

                "No!  Leave!"  So far, it was unsuccessful.

                That was, until he made a major mistake.

                He reached out and grabbed her wrist.  That's when she snapped.

                That's when she reached around and slapped him in the face.  Hard.

                For the Saiyan though, it barely stung.  He was unprepared for it though, yet he let his face go with the motion of it.  He let go of Videl's wrist, which she pulled back to hold her stinging hand.  Gohan's body remained unmoving though, still in slight shock from the hit.

                He came out of it though and turned to look at Videl.  She looked at him, hurt in her eyes as well as his.  She knew this was wrong.  Everything right now was wrong.  Why did she have to kiss him?  Why did he have to say no?  That was the burning question in her mind.

                And as she thought it over, Gohan had decided to leave her to her thoughts.  He was hurt, yes.  It had to be done though.  No matter what, it had to be done.  As he began floating up, he heard a desperate plea.

                "Wait!" Videl cried out.  Gohan heard it, and turned around to face her.  He hovered no more than five feet from the balcony floor.

                "Yes?" he said as calm as he possibly could.  She walked forward a few steps until they were mere feet apart.  The question was nagging her though.  She had to ask him.  She must know why.

                "Why?"  Gohan looked down at her.  He had wanted to her this question.  He wanted her to get this out of the way so it would all be over.  Her stubbornness persisted however.  It was one of the things, for some strange reason, that Gohan loved about her.

                "Because," he said.  He held a brief pause before finishing.  "Because I'm a hero.  And heroes can't fall in love."

                It hit Videl like a train.  And she knew it too.  It slammed into her, tore her insides apart and spewed them all over the tracks.  By the gods she did know it.  It played in her mind over and over again, how that statement sounded like the one she thought off an hour before.

                And she knew it was a lie.

                "No!"  This caught Gohan off guard.  He tilted his head slightly, confused of this mannerism of hers.


                "You're wrong," she choked out.  Her fists were clenched and her eyes were shut tight.  Gohan saw none of this, as she was keeping her head down.  It wasn't until she looked up at him did he see what was wrong now.  Her eyes, now open, were brimming with tears.  She started shaking too.  Gohan floated down back to the balcony and landed, looking at the girl.

                "Why?" he asked.

                "Because I'm a hero!" she shouted at him, her tears now sliding down her cheeks.  "And I've fallen in love!"  She stared at him, waiting for a reaction from him.  She didn't get one, for Gohan already knew it.  He found out several hours before of this development.  His silence only angered the girl more.

                "Talk damn you!"  And so he did.

                "Videl, the lives we live are vastly different from each others.  Your life, while I might not understand it all, is a sheltered one where a father who shamelessly spends all his time in the limelight does nothing but prevent you from being who you truly are.  You risk your life every day fighting with the police department.  I don't know why, but I assume it's for good reasons.

                "I've lived a life protecting people that I care for.  It wasn't an easy life.  No…it was quite the opposite.  I've lived with the burden and pain of the actions that I took, and people have died as a result.  I am nothing but trouble for you."  She starred at him, listening to his every word.  She knew he was true about her.  He admitted that he knew very little about him, yet nailed what was known.  As for his life, she had to believe him.  As absurd as it sounded, Videl felt as if it came from his heart.

                "But, why?  I don't understand.  Everything is just so wrong."

                "Videl, nothing is wrong.  This is what life does to us.  It throws us curves that we can barely understand.  Yet, what we do know will help us get through each day.  Do you understand that?"  She nodded.

                "I understand.  Yet why can't you love me like I love you?"  Her tears fell faster now.  She was quickly becoming tired, and this soul baring, the thing she rarely does, is causing too much pain for her to handle.  Gohan made it short and simple for her though.

                "Because I don't want to lose you.  It would tear me apart if that happened."

                With that she knew.  It became clear as day to her now.  He did love her.  He couldn't risk that love.  If she died, he would probably die as well.

                "Tell me," she said softly.  Her tears had died down, and she was in more control.  "How many people have died that you cared for?"

                "Too many.  The one that hurt the most was the one that prevented my brother from having a father."

                "I…I'm sorry."

                "Don't," he said, turning to leave.  "He wasn't.  He was proud to be my father.  He was proud of what I did.  No matter how many times I beat myself over this, I know, deep down inside, that he smiles from that place he currently resides at up in the sky."  He floated up into the air, and turned one last time to Videl.  "Make sure you tell the police and media the plan.  I'll come by when it's over.  Goodnight, Videl."

                "Goodnight, Saiyaman."  With that, Gohan flew off.  Videl retreated to the safety of her room, where her father had barged in shortly after she settled at her bed.  She yelled at him for invading her privacy and kicked him out.  She laid back in her bed, not bothering to bring the covers over her.  She didn't bother with her homework, or anything else for that matter for the rest of the night.  Well, she would get her personal maid to bring her dinner, but that was all.

                She fell into a fitful sleep, happy and content.  She had no reason as to why she slept like she did that night, despite the heartbreak she felt.  She realized that maybe her love for the hero was fruitless, although he had acknowledged – without mentioning it – that he loved her.  How much, she wasn't sure.  There was nothing much she could do about it.  Their relationship would surely change; she knew that.  She would see him repeatedly to fight crime, and her love for him, she knew, couldn't get in the way.

                He was right, she concluded for herself.  There was too much of a risk to fall in love with each other.  To risk that would bring much more heartbreak than she felt tonight.  What she would do now was anybodies guess.

                She still had Gohan.  She might as well try a relationship with him. Correction: she had a great relationship with him.  Videl could only conclude that he was too shy to maybe pursue a different type of relationship.  She could work on that hunch of hers a bit more too.

                But as she fell asleep, she never realized how relevant those last words Saiyaman had said tonight.  She had forgotten that he had said that his father was proud of him.

                Gohan had said the same thing to her two weeks ago.

                Ah, the misery of heartbreak.  Irrational thinking was never a good thing.  And that irrational thinking made her forget those last words altogether.

* * *

                It was now Thursday.  A new school day came and went, but not without its problems.  Of course, the problems mainly rested on the shoulders of Videl and Gohan.  Videl had the first hand account of the events, but was unable to give away any details, for it would give away Shinji's identity.  Instead, no one made a passing glance to Shinji's absence.  They figured that it was the flu, or some other type of virus that kept him out of school for the day.

                Videl knew the true cause, though, and that had made her fidgety the whole day.  No one made a second glance though, except for Gohan.  He had asked her, and she gave an abridged account of the events from the day before, carefully leaving out Shinji.  She had made a note to herself to ask Shinji after all of this about a superhero name.  Being called 'Shinji' out in police work wasn't the smartest of things.

                But there was no time for that now, especially if Saiyaman failed in defeating the current threat.  As school began, Shinji had about twenty-four hours to live.  When school ended, it would be brought down fourteen or fifteen hours.  The window of opportunity was big, yet she knew anything could happen.  Saiyaman may win, or Saiyaman may lose.  It was as simple as that.

                This weighed heavily on the mind of Gohan.  From the time he returned home yesterday and throughout the current school day, he was in a slightly depressed state.  He constantly asked himself 'Why?'  Why did this have to happen?  Videl had asked him about his gloomy state.  He gave off a quick excuse; one that the girl easily accepted to an extent.  He had to keep up the façade somehow.

                But deep down in his heart, he knew that he had failed again.  And this had brought his previous failures out into the light.

                "I'm not cut out for this," he mumbled once during the day, somewhere in the bathroom between lunch and the next class.  This wasn't the way to think though.

                He knew it though.

                Vegeta would pound it out of him.  Piccolo would do the same.  And he knew that neither his mom nor Goten would want to see him like this.  He couldn't fail though.  Pride had been the answer.  It was taken a notch down because of yesterday.

                But not now.

                He knew what he had to do.  And he would do it.

                He would save Shinji.

                That is what he contemplated on the highest building in the city.  He sat over its edge, letting his legs hang over.  He saw in the distance Videl's yellow jet copter.

                "I guess she is saying goodbye for the last time, just in case," he said.  "I wouldn't blame her."  An idea sprang into his head.  Lifting off, he quickly jetted to West City and to Capsule Corporation.  He landed in the yard and walked over to the stone statue that stood alone amongst the flowers.

                The stone statue was of Goku: a memorial for a great man.

                Gohan walked up to it and looked up at it.  He marveled in its size: it captured the true scope of his father's heart and strength.  He reached a hand out and touched the stone arm.  He looked down at the base of the statue, and read its inscription:

To our dear friend Goku

A great man, forever and ever

                Footsteps came up from behind, but Gohan paid no heed to them.  He knew who it was.  He knew what was coming.

                "Stop moping around," the harsh voice spoke.

                "I'm sorry Vegeta," Gohan said, turning around to face him.  Vegeta crossed his arms and stepped up next to him.

                "Don't be," he said softly.  Gohan turned his head to look down at the former prince, watching him study the memorial.  "You know…I come out here from time to time."

                "Really?" Gohan asked, turning around again to face the statue.

                "Yeah.  Every time I want a decent spar, I come out here and yell at the statue for a while.  Bulma usually yells at me whenever I'm out here for a long time."  They both shared a laugh.

                "I see.  It would be nice to see him one last time.  I saw something like that earlier today."

                "With who?"

                "My friend Videl.  I saw her go to the hospital.  Her mom has been in a coma there for a while."

                "I know.  Bulma told me.  Her and your mother has spoken a lot about this girl recently."

                "Do you know what they said?"

                "Well, despite the fact that her father is that fool of an ape, they seem to like her a lot.  I haven't met her, but from what I've heard, she sounds good for my own reasons."

                "Like what?"

                "Hmm…for child birth, for first," he said.  Gohan immediately turned red, which was the reaction that Vegeta was gunning for.

                "Not you too!" Gohan shouted.

                "Don't worry," Vegeta said, his laughter dying down.  "She's a strong woman.  She'd be perfect for a Saiyan like you."

                "Thank you," Gohan, blushing slightly at the comment.

                "I've heard about this current predicament," Vegeta said, changing the topic.  "You know, I would gladly just charge in there and blow them to kingdom come."

                "I know you would.  I was actually beginning to think that you were getting soft too."  Vegeta turned a heated glare to Gohan.

                "Be quiet, before you know what is coming to you."


                "Good," he said, reasserting control.  "You have a plan though, correct?"  Gohan nodded.  "Let's hear it."

                "It's simple.  When they arrive, I lead them as far away from Satan City as I possibly can.  From there, I'll take them out anyway I can, with Piccolo for support.  We each have a senzu bean, just in case.  If all else fails, I'll try to ascend and defeat them that way."  Vegeta let the plan sink into his head.

                "When was the last time you ascended?"

                "The Cell Games…I know what you're going to say too."

                "I might as well reinforce it: Why haven't you gotten off of your lazy ass and trained like a true Saiyan?"  Gohan sighed.

                "I don't know Vegeta.  I just don't know.  Maybe I lost my desire to fight when Dad died.  Who knows?  No excuse will make an acceptable answer though."

                "Damn right."  He turned around to walk back into the house, leaving Gohan at the memorial.  He stopped for a moment and turned his head slightly.

                "I'll bring Trunks, just incase the battle goes for worse."

                "Thank you, Vegeta."

                "Go home and get some rest now, Gohan.  You'll need it for tonight."  With that, he went inside, leaving Gohan at the memorial of his father, watching the last ray of light strike his face before being covered by darkness.  Two storms were beginning.  He hoped that one would go his way.

* * *

                It was five o'clock at the Son house when the state of emergency announced itself on the TV.  Gohan, with his family, sat down and watched as the news anchor gave detailed instructions for what was happening tonight.  He smiled inside, thanking Videl for a job well done, even though he knew some media members would try and catch a glimpse of the fight.  That was why he planned to get away from Satan City: to protect the people and to keep the risk takers – or Idiots – from interfering.

                Satisfied with the announcement, they got up and went to the kitchen to eat a somewhat early dinner.  Goten was busy chopping away at his rice and noodles, while the saner members of the family ate theirs at a reasonable pace.  Gohan stared at the carefree kid and began to wonder why he didn't have a childhood like that.  A small smile showed up at his face, which Chichi noticed.

                "Gohan," she said, keeping her voice down.  "Are you all right?"

                "Yeah mom…why do you ask?"  She sighed.

                "I'm just making sure.  I want you to be careful tonight, okay?"

                "Okay mom.  I know I'll be safe anyway.  I got three people backing me up, just incase all else fails."

                "Then why not let them fight?" she asked, raising her voice.

                "I'm doing this for Shinji.  If I fail, then he dies."  He turned away from her and went to his meal.

                "Gohan…I'm sorry.  I don't want you to die though.  And I don't want you to get all these negative thoughts boiling in your head.  It'll cause nothing but trouble."

                "I know mom."  He leaned his head back and stared up at the ceiling.  Gohan took a deep breath, and faced forward again.  "I'm sorry."  They went back to their food for a few minutes, eating in silence.

                "I'm doing this for more than Shinji," Gohan said, breaking the silence.

                "Then for who?" Chichi asked.  Gohan turned to look at the answer.  It was Goten, who was completely unaware of the conversation that was taking place.

                "I want his life to be easier than mine, Mom.  He doesn't deserve to get caught up in this mess.  He's only a kid."  He finished his last bite and got up, making his way to the living room.  Chichi got up and followed him there.

                "Gohan…I want to give you something.  Follow me."  She walked towards the stairs with Gohan in tow.  They ended in front of Chichi's room on the second floor.

                "What is it mom?" he asked, curious.  Without an answer, she went inside, beckoning him to come.  He slowly walked in and watched her go through a closet.  It was one of his father's closets.  He saw her pulled back slightly, enough to see her face.  She gave off a satisfied smile, and reached forward again, only to pull back.

                "Here.  This should fit you," she said.  Gohan stared on in shock.

                It was one of his Dad's training uniforms.

                "Mom –"

                "Quiet Gohan," she said, hushing him.  "Wear this tonight, and make your father proud."  Chichi placed the uniform in her son's hands, and stepped back.  He looked down at her and hugged her.

                "Thank you, Mom," he said, a tear briefly showing in his eye.

                "Go try it on Gohan," she said, stepping back.  "I want to see what you look like in it."

                "Okay Mom."  He went off to put it on.  Chichi, meanwhile, went downstairs to the living room, where Goten was sitting on the floor, watching the TV.  She patted his head while passing him to go sit on the couch.

                A few minutes later, Gohan entered the room.  Chichi stood up, too speechless to say anything.  The uniform was a perfect fit.  Goten ran over to his older brother, tugging on his pant leg.

                "Gohan, whose is that?  I've never seen that one before."  Gohan laughed.

                "Yes you have.  It's like the one you usually wear."

                "Really?  So that one is mine?  But how does it fit you?"  The young boy's curiosity brought a deep smile to his face.

                "No Goten, I didn't make a super sized version of yours.  It is one of Dad's uniforms.  Mom thought it would help tonight," he said, looking down at Goten.  He turned his gaze at his mother.  "It will help tonight," he finished.  He looked back down to Goten.  "I have to go now squirt.  Stay her with Mom tonight and protect her, okay?"  Goten snapped to attention, his bubbly actions a moment ago gone.

                "Yes sir!" he shouted out.  He then began marching to the left and to the right, showing his intent of protecting his mom.  At second glance, he looked to be protecting the kitchen for than protecting his mom.  Chichi and Gohan both got a good laugh out of his antics.

                "I'm going to go, Mom.  If all goes well, I'll be back in a few hours."  She brought a finger to his lips.

                "Not if.  You still doubt yourself.  Repeat after me: It will go well.  I will win."

                "It will go well.  I will win," he repeated, no mock tone in his voice.

                "Good.  Now go."  She gave him a quick hug and walked him out to the door.  They looked at the time once more before exiting.  It was five twenty-five.  The fight would begin in under an hour.

* * *

                Gohan stood silently on a hill overlooking Satan City.  A soft breeze had started, and his black hair flowed with the wind.  His belt and uniform did the same.  He looked at the outskirts of the city and saw the various police barricades.  He took a more focused look.  No Videl.

                "Good," he said softly.  "She won't get in the way.  Better to be at home now anyway."  He looked out to the horizon.  The sun, barely visible through the rain clouds, wouldn't set for another ten minutes, and that gave him some time to finalize his actions.  He felt Piccolo land behind him, so he turned to greet him.

                "For a moment there kid, I though it was Goku standing there," the Namek said.

                "It was Mom's idea."

                "Chichi has changed a bit I see."

                "I know.  She has surprised me recently…told me to take whatever spare time I can to train to protect my friends."

                "As you humans would say it, 'Mother knows best'," Piccolo said with a smirk.  Gohan let a small smile set on his face.

                "I'm surprised that you would say that.  I know you like this planet and all, but these people are really simple minded at times."

                "I'll whip them into shape then.  What else can I do?"

                "Don't let Vegeta know.  He likes this place a lot as well.  He's lightened up a bit now too."

                "I guess that's what happens when you have a family.  The rules change slightly."  They both remained silent for a moment.  Gohan turned out to the horizon again and saw the sun starting its descent into the night sky.  It was only minutes away from the fight.

                "You should get going now Piccolo.  I'll be all right to start with."

                "Very well.  Good luck kid."  He lifted off and flew away from the city.  Gohan stayed on his power for a while, keeping track of where his friend and mentor was going.  He stopped about twenty miles away.  Good…I was aiming for that spot.  He looked out to the sun again.  The final visible rays of light that could be seen through the clouds had disappeared.

                It was time.

                "All right then," Gohan said, quickly transforming into a Super Saiyan.  He felt no need to let this fight get out of hand.  He told himself to stick to the plan and hope that he didn't have to ascend.  He would know soon enough.

                After a few minutes of darkness, a bright light popped out of nowhere about forty feet from Gohan.  He only turned his head to it.  The light dissipated after a few moments to reveal two men.  The pair immediately spotted Gohan and casually floated over to face him on the hill.

                "So you're that worthless human's friend, huh?" Kaou said.  Gohan didn't respond at all.  "Hmm…doesn't matter to me.  I'll enjoy breaking you apart tonight."

                "That won't happen," Gohan said with a smirk.

                "And why is that?"

                "Because I will be the one who destroys you."  Kaou titled his head back slightly and laughed.

                "You really think so, you pathetic human?  I don't know why Gendo didn't take care of you before.  Hell, he came back crying like a youngling.  You humans are all the same."

                "You are wrong on that assessment."

                "And why is that?" Kaou asked.  Gohan let his smirk set in more.

                "Cause I'm not completely human."

                "Really now?  Then this makes this fight more fun.  It'll give us more a challenge than what we had yesterday.  By the way, you have less than ten hours left until he dies.  I wanted to wait until around the middle of the night, but Zaou here was antsy for some fighting.  I guess he just wanted to get it over with.  It would have given you a smaller window to save your friend, you know."

                "I must thank Zaou then.  But enough talk."

                "If that's the way you like it, then be my guest."  With that, Kaou jumped forward, looking to score the first hit.  He drove his fist forward and hit nothing but air.  A sharp elbow dropped him to the ground.  Zaou came up from behind Gohan, looking for a quick sneak attack, but the Saiyan hit him with a spinning hammer fist, sending his opponent for a midair spin before slamming into the ground.

                Capitalizing on the opportunity, Gohan jumped into the air, flying away from the city.  He kept an eye on their energy levels, preparing to fight them again when he was a good distance away.

                Back at the outskirts of the city, Kaou and Zaou stood up groggily.  Kaou looked out to where there was a gold streak in the sky, showing where his current adversary as at.

                "That coward.  Why did he run?!"  Kaou shouted out.  He looked to Zaou for an answer.  "Yeah…I figured that he wanted to get away from the city Zaou.  He's pretty good though, much better than Shinji.  We're going to have to be careful with him."  A pause.  "Don't sweat it, brother.  We'll use that as a last resort.  I do think it makes our Mind Games attack much more devastating.  Come now, we have a freak to catch."

                The pair quickly jumped into the air, hot on Gohan's trail.  The Saiyan teen, meanwhile, had stopped about five miles away from the first encounter.  He floated in midair, awaiting their arrival.  He spotted them a few minutes later, flying quickly to fight Gohan again.  They stopped several feet away from him.

                "I see where you're going with this boy.  A real pacifist at heart, huh?  It won't get you anywhere against us!" Kaou taunted.

                "Then let's end this now."

                "Let's."  With that the three flew at each other, and the next round began.  A flash of light erupted as they collided, and as it dissipated, a brisk punching match ensued.  Gohan spent most of his time blocking the attacks of the brothers, but managed to get in some harsh hits.  Kaou and Zaou had no such luck in finding a hole in Gohan's defense, wondering how powerful their opponent really was.

                Zaou was the first to fall, receiving a brutal hook to his jaw, which sent him flying several hundred feet away.  Kaou quickly flew backwards, gaining some distance between himself and Gohan.  They floated and engaged in a staring match, hoping to catch the other off guard.  Kaou ended it by briskly moving towards Gohan, throwing a knee in his direction.  Gohan blocked it with his fist, and then blocked a punch from Kaou.  He pushed him off and threw a roundhouse at Kaou, hitting him and sending him straight into the ground.  He followed that up with a weak energy blast, leaving a small dust bowl in its wake.

                Gohan floated down to the ground and landed outside of the crater.  A swirl of energy exploded from its center, but it didn't faze him.  He kept watch the whole time, as Kaou eventually floated out of the hole.  He had bruises on various parts of his body, and his pants and vest had received some cuts.

                "Now that was cheap," he quipped.

                "I really don't think so," Gohan responded.  "Attacking two on one is cheap.  I was only defending myself.  Surely you must realize that."

                "I do.  I must say, you are a strong opponent.  Too bad I won't be able to let you live.  I was thinking about letting you join us, but I see you have too good of a heart.  That is something I rarely see."

                "Thank you, I think.  I never got a compliment from an enemy before."

                "I had to.  Your life will end shortly."

                "Enough of that.  You have proven nothing with your power so far which would be my end," Gohan said, taking a step back, deepening his stance.  "Either find a way or I'll shove it all back down your throat."

                "Very well."  Kaou flew forward, leading with his foot.  Gohan caught it, and then quickly dodged a roundhouse from Kaou opposite leg.  He pushed his leg off and nearly connected with a bicycle kick.  Kaou neatly dodged that and went back on the offensive.  Gohan, now enjoying this little match, had landed on his hands from the previous attack.  He twisted around on his hands and pushed off, leading with his leg.  It hit Kaou's chin, who had also landed a hard jab into Gohan's stomach.  It barely fazed the Saiyan.  His kick, at the moment, had left Kaou severely disoriented.

                Gohan landed a few feet back from where Kaou had fallen.  He stretched his senses out to find his other opponent, and found Zaou attempting to sneak up from behind.  He smirked and immediately turned, raising his arm up right before a foot impacted it.  Zaou tried to drive further into the attack, but couldn't, as Gohan's forearm block proved to be the deterring point.  Quicker than the eye can see, Gohan snapped his arm out, twisting it and latching onto Zaou's leg.  The teen pivoted around and slammed his opponent into the ground.  Gohan stepped back and stared down at his opponents, both nearly out for the count.

                "That was too easy," he said, looking at his handy work.  "It's unfortunate that I have to do what I must do."  He extended his arm out to finish the fight, but stopped for a moment as the brothers slowly stood up out of the ground.  He remained fixated in that position and wondered how both had survived attacks like that.

                "You really think…you could finish us off that easily?" Kaou said, standing tall and brushing himself off.  Zaou did the same and walked backwards to where his brother was.  "Now watch and learn, boy.  Zaou, let's do this."  He nodded, and they stood next to each other in a parallel stance.  They then extended an arm out towards each other: Kaou his left arm and Zaou his right arm.  Their palms faced out with a gap of only a few inches in between.  Electric shots began dancing between the palms, and as Gohan watched intently, he saw what appeared to be a fazing between them.

                What are they doing?  It's like they're falling apart at the seams.  It was the complete opposite, though.  As the shocks continued, both brothers dropped into a parallel stance, with their back legs straight and their legs closest to each other bent.  Their upper bodies turned to face each other, and the arms that weren't in use were now exactly like their other arms.  Electricity shot from the sky and all around them, and a brutal wind kicked up as well.  Gohan was forced to cover his eyes and dropped back a step.  Damn it!  I got to stop them from whatever they're doing!

                He stepped back and cupped his hands to his side, preparing what hoped to be the final attack.  Gohan started yelling out the word, quickly gathering as much energy as he can.  Before he could reach the end of his chant, an explosion erupted from the middle of the two enemies, and a cry was heard:


                The explosion sent Gohan off of his feet and disrupted his Kamehameha Wave.  He slid back several feet before grinding to a halt.  He looked up into the exploding light and covered his eyes, unable to see beyond the outer layer of the light.  It was a grim mistake, for he would have seen two shadows within the light become one.

                The light soon dissipated away, and Gohan climbed up to his feet.  The wind continued on slightly, mixing in with the wind of the arriving rainstorm.  Slowly he removed his arm from his eyes, and immediately he dropped into a stance.  He scanned his opponents – or rather, opponent.  The two men had become one.  The basic features remained the same: the bluish hint of the skin; the gray Mohawk, though now slightly longer than before; and the black and white vest and pants.  The figure now had a second pair of earrings to show the original markings of the brothers.  Two changes caught Gohan's eyes and senses: the increase in size of the opponent, and the immense increase in power.

                Three…no!  Nearly four times more powerful than before?!  Impossible!  As he thought this, a thick laughter filled the air.

                "So, boy…you think you had bested me, huh?" the man said, his voice deeper than Kaou's.  Gohan's inner panic had now ceased, and his Saiyan side, evident in the early battle, had returned to the forefront.

                "At first, yeah.  But now, this should be more fun.  I can probably break a sweat tonight."

                "Really now?  That gives me some more breaking to do then."  He dropped back into a stance, preparing to both defend and strike.  "Allow me to introduce myself now.  My name is Super Kauou: the fusion of Kaou and Zaou.  The strength of this form is more than doubled their original forms.  I am the perfect warrior."  Gohan let out a little chuckle.

                "Perfect warrior, huh?  That's funny, since I've defeated the supposed 'perfect warrior' over six years ago.  Hell, now that I think about it, he was stronger than you."

                "Silence, you insolent pest!  How dare you mock my fighting prowess!" Kauou yelled out, flying forward and attacking with an energy filled punch.  Gohan slid backwards and met the punch with his own.  Energy and light began anew, kicking up dust and debris.  The rain had begun falling several minutes before, slowly at first, but now had a strong steady rainfall.  It cut through the dust and created a muddy landscape beneath the fighter's feet.

                Gohan slowly started loosing ground, as Super Kauou's pushing power was more than the Saiyan's at this point.  He slid on his balls of his foot through the mud.  He quickly changed that, pushing himself off of the ground and flying forward, connecting on a punch to Kauou's jaw.  Gohan flew around and fired an energy blast into his back, but Kauou had quickly recovered and turned to deflect the blast towards the atmosphere.  They then flew at each other and immediately launched into a heated assault of punches and kicks.

                Kauou soon gained the upper hand and started connecting on a few punches.  Gohan realized it too.  His opponent simply had more endurance than him at this point, and while their power levels were nearly equal, one of them had to give.  He let the thinking go to his head though and ended up getting sent into a hill with a hard kick to his stomach.  Kauou followed that up with a massive energy ball and launched it at Gohan.  The teen could only stare at it as the ball prepared to hit, but never felt it.  A piercing energy attack struck the side of the ball and sent it flying off into a mountain.  Both Gohan and Super Kauou turned in the direction of the blast, and both saw the same thing:


                "A Namek?  On this planet?  How interesting."

                It was Piccolo who had arrived on the scene, sensing the battle from his designated spot.  He knew he had to join the battle once he felt the massive spike of energy from the two enemy fighters.  He was there not a moment too late.

                "Gohan, sit this one out for now.  I'll take care of him," he said, removing his turban and cape.  He flew up to a small knoll several yards away from Super Kauou.

                "You think you have a chance against me, Namek?  That boy felt a piece of my power.  You sure you want it?" he said, laughing.

                "Shut up you damn fool.  Let's do this."  With that, Piccolo flew forward, preparing to strike.  He flew straight at Kauou, who was looking rather bored with the current choice of foe.  He was reaching out to block when suddenly, Piccolo fazed out.  Kauou looked around, attempting to see or feel the Namek.  He spotted him one second too late, as Piccolo slammed into his neck with a flying sidekick.  He flipped backward and threw a barrage of energy balls at the stumbling enemy, hitting him several times and creating a crater of mud and water.  Debris erupted up into the air, and the fight was at a standstill for the moment.

                Piccolo landed a few feet away from the crater.  He reached out with his senses to determine the current status of his opponent.  I know he is stronger than me, he thought.  I doubt that attack would keep him down for long.  I just need to buy time for Gohan to recover and for Vegeta to arrive.

                No sooner than he finished his thoughts did a large eruption of energy shot out from the crater.  Piccolo took two steps back and remained wary, keeping his eyes on the settling mud and debris.  A few seconds later, he saw Super Kauou float out of the hole.  He cracked his neck: first to the left, and then to the right.

                "You know Namek…I think I actually felt that one.  I believe it's my turn now."  With that, he fazed out of sight.  Piccolo took a defensive step back, but it didn't matter.  He received a massive blow to his stomach from a speedy, powerful punch, courtesy of Kauou.  He hunched over and grabbed his stomach, searching for air.  He never saw the kick that slammed into his jaw and sent him flying off into a mountain some distance away.  Piccolo was out cold and done for the fight.

                Gohan chose this time to reenter the fight; quickly swooping in and delivering a shoulder strike to Kauou spine.  The large enemy was whipped forward by the strength of the attack, but recovered relatively fast.  He turned and threw an energy blast at Gohan, who easily knocked it away with his hand.  He wasn't deterred, and forced Kauou onto the defensive, launching into an attack of quick jabs and hooks.  Kauou managed to block the majority of them, but unlike before, some of the strikes were hitting him.  He was done in by a kick that Gohan sneakily got in, putting him through a mountain next to where Piccolo laid.

                Gohan quickly flew towards the mountain, looking to continue the fight.  Just as he reached it, however, a new burst of energy erupted.  Out of the smoking rubble came Super Kauou, looking more pissed off than he ever has.

                "Enough!" he shouted.  "This game ends now!"  He placed his hands out in front of him in the form of a diamond and began channeling energy.  Gohan, knocked back by the explosion, saw too late what Kauou was planning.

                "MIND GAMES!"  The red diamond shot forward.  Gohan quickly threw his hands forward and pushed all his energy in that direction, hoping to disrupt the blast.

                It didn't.

                It fazed right through his energy and straight to his mind.  He grabbed his head, as the pain quickly shot throughout it.

                The last thing he remembered before loosing consciousness was getting kicked to the ground by Super Kauou, and Vegeta flying in for the rescue…

                "Where am I?" the boy asked, looking around at his surroundings.  At first, he didn't know where he was.  That was until he recognized a rock face that was created by a strong burst of energy.  He looked around some more and saw the desert landscape.  Then it hit him.

                "I'm at the Cell Games.  But why?"  He spotted a body on the ground.  He walked to it and recognized who it was immediately.

                "Trunks," the boy said.  He checked for a pulse.  None.  The hole in his chest clearly showed his condition.  He looked up and spotted another body.  He got up and walked over to it.

                "Eighteen," he said.  Again, he checked for a pulse.  He found one, but barely.  He reasoned that her cybernetic parts were keeping her alive.  Looking up, he saw something that wasn't supposed to be there.

                "What the hell?" he muttered.  Before him were all the bodies of his comrades.  He ran to Vegeta.

                Punctured lung: slowly bleeding to death.  He ran to Piccolo.

                Hole in his head: presumably dead.  He ran to Krillin.

                Punctured heart: dead.  He ran to Tien and to Yamcha.

                "Dead.  They're all dead."  And that's when the laughter started.

                The boy turned towards the laughter.  His eyes did a double take.  It was Perfect Cell.

                "So boy, it's just us now.  All your pesky friends were beginning to get on my nerves, so I had to get rid of them.  Too bad though, since they would have seen how much you failed them!"  The boy stepped back and looked around, fear evident in his eyes.

                "No…it isn't my fault.  It isn't my fault.  It isn't my fault."  He repeated that mantra over and over again, tears threatening to break in his eyes.

                "Yes boy.  It is your entire fault.  All your friends are dead, and your father is dead as well.  It's your turn now."  The boy looked up to Cell.  He saw him rise up a single finger.  He didn't move at all as the death ray pierced his heart…

                He woke up screaming.  "It was all a dream," he said to himself, wiping his head of the cold sweat that was developing.  He heard a pair of feet running up the stairs.  He looked to the door just as it swung open, revealing a middle-aged woman.

                "I heard you scream.  Are you all right?" she asked.

                "Yeah Mom.  It was a nightmare.  I'll live."

                "That's good," she said, walking over to him and checking his head.  "You have a bit of a fever, son.  Go ahead and stay in bed today.  I'll come back in about fifteen minutes with your dinner."

                "Thanks Mom," the boy said.  His mom left the room with a smile and closed the door behind him.  He laid back down on his bed, placing his hands behind his head and grinning a bit.

                "I think I like this," he said.  He felt something picking at the back of his head though.  "Something isn't exactly right."  He got out of bed and walked to the window.  He looked outside and saw the peacefulness and tranquility of the yard.  He saw a boy lazily chasing a butterfly, giggling the whole time.

                "Nothing wrong there, I think."  He walked over to the closet and opened it.  Again, he saw nothing out of the ordinary.

                "What is wrong then?" he asked out loud.

                "Maybe it's something with your mind, son."  The boy was shocked to hear this voice.  He turned around and saw a man standing by the door.

                "Who are you?" he asked, forgetting that the man had just called him his son.

                "Like I said…it's probably something with your mind, son."

                Son?  "Dad?" the boy asked.

                "Good.  We're getting somewhere now."

                "Wait…you're dead!"  The man laughed out loud at his son's statement.

                "Ding-ding-ding!  Give that boy a prize!"  He stopped laughing and walked up to the boy.  "Gohan, wake up."

                Gohan?  "Gohan…who is 'Gohan'?"

                "You are Gohan, Gohan.  It appears that you forgot your name.  It's a good thing I came when I did too."      

                "What's happening?" he asked.

                "Let's see…the guy you were fighting hit you with this mind attack.  You are currently unconscious in the outside world while in here, you are living a lie."

                "But…that's impossible!"

                "How can it be impossible?  Remember…I'm dead."

                He's dead?  But he doesn't have a halo.  Unless…  "Tell me…is what you are telling me all true?"

                "Yes Gohan.  I know this because I sensed that you were forgetting something.  I saw that you had this strange feeling of want, and now you got it."

                "I see."  He thought over what his father had said, wondering if it was all true.

                "If you care to know, I've been watching the battle.  King Kai told me about a battle occurring on Earth, so we checked it out.  He sent me here to get you going again," he said, seeing through his son's hesitance.

                "All right, so I'm in this dream world.  How do I get out of it?"

                "Hmm…oh!  I know!  You supposedly just had a nightmare, right?"  Gohan nodded.  "Okay…um, this is hard."  He started rubbing his chin, trying to figure out something.

                "Well, can you at least tell me what's happening outside?"

                "Hold on."  He closed his eyes for a few moments before opening them up.  "Vegeta is beating up the guy real good."

                "Damn it.  I have a reason to be out there!  What is it though?"  His father cleared his throat.

                "If I may."  Gohan looked on at him confused.  "The reason that you are fighting today is for Shinji, who was hit with the same attack as you.  The difference between you and Shinji is that you've lived through your failures.  You know what failure is and yet you've succeeded in defeating that.  Never forget how proud I am of you.  That is your fuel.  Now get back out there and save him."

                "I will, Dad.  I will…"

                Gohan slowly opened his eyes.  He still felt a sharp sting of pain in his head, but now wasn't the time to complain.  He had to rise to his feet and finally defeat Kauou.  He pushed up on his hands and rested on his knees.  The sweat from his brow mixed in with the rain as it slowly dripped off his face.  He took one of his hands to wipe off some of it, though it was a futile effort, seeing as the rain continued to pound down on the battle surface.  He ignored it though and struggled on.

                He pushed back on his hands slightly and brought up a leg, placing his foot on the muddy ground.  The pain his head intensified, trying to keep him from standing.  It spoke in volumes.  It wanted him to fail.

                "No," he muttered.  He pushed on his bent leg and slowly stood up.  The pain in his head tripled in size, yet it did not stop Gohan.

                "No," he said louder.  He was hunched over, trying to push himself up even more.  He wanted to stand tall.  He forced the pain to the back of his mind, yet it was a battle to do so.  Every time he pushed, the pain pushed harder.  He pushed back twice as hard, and yet the pain would strike back even harder, until Gohan snapped.

                "ENOUGH!" he screamed out, standing fully erect and shooting out his energy around him.  The pain continued to pound, trying to win the battle, but Gohan would not let it.  He would not give in.  He failed before, but he would not do so now.

                It was then that the battle between Vegeta and Super Kauou stopped.  Vegeta held up his opponent in the air while looking over at the surging power that Gohan was creating.  He smirked and looked over to Kauou, who had seen better days.

                "As you can see, nothing defeats a true Saiyan warrior.  That trickery that you did will never keep one of us down, especially him.  I enjoyed this little game we played, so I think I'll leave you with his trusting hands."  That said, Vegeta went and tossed Kauou over to where Gohan was standing.  He looked up to the teen and struggled to his feet.

                "How…how is it that you stand after my Mind Games Attack, boy?" he spat out.  Gohan grinned, but in pain.

                "Simple, though I think I'll tell you in the after life."

                "How so?  Your power level has dropped significantly because of my attack.  Even after that beating your friend gave me, you are nowhere close enough to defeating me."

                "Is that so?" Gohan said.  He glanced up to his hair and understood why he wasn't as strong.  "I see that I'm no longer a Super Saiyan.  I think I'll change that…in fact, I'll take it up to the next level just to finish you off."  With that, he flexed his arms and transformed, quickly turning Super Saiyan.  He didn't stop there, though.  He bent over slightly, searching deep for what would truly help him.  He saw it in front of him.

                "What are you staring at boy?  Is this all you got?!"

                "No, it isn't, Kau-ou!" Gohan said, emphasizing his name.  "You messed with my mind and my friend's mind, and you killed innocent people!  I draw the line here, Kauou!  I draw the line HERE!"  With a final scream, he snapped.  All the grief and failure caused by Kaou and Zaou, and now Super Kauou, all reached a singular point before erupting outward.  The result was Gohan reaching deep within himself and gathering all the surrounding energy.  It exploded outward, blinding anyone who was at least a mile away from the blast radius.  A crater was created, reaching close to five hundred yards at its widest.

                To Super Kauou, it felt like forever.  Finally, it stopped.  His eyes, after a few moments, were able to see again.  He turned to look at Gohan, and immediately he was dumbfounded.

                "Such a power increase…impossible!"  Gohan smirked.

                "Believe it.  This is an Ascended Super Saiyan.  You should be happy.  You're only the second opponent that I've ever faced in this form."  He started walking forward, looking to end this fight once and for all.  His tail, which was kept wrapped around his waist for safekeeping, was unfurled.  Its slow swaying movement clearly showed Gohan's seriousness.

                "Damn it!  That's it!  MIND GAMES!" Kauou cried out, quickly sending out the red diamond at Gohan's direction.  The Saiyan just let it go through him and continued walking.  "Why doesn't it work?!"

                "You yourself should know what this attack does.  It goes after the opponent's failures, or his predictable failures, and magnifies it.  Only a person who has faced their failures and experienced the burden of loss will not be affected.  Of course, I got a little help from above.  But enough of that.  I tire of this game."  Gohan dropped his leg back and turned his hips.  He cups his hands at his side and started his chant.

                "Ka!  Me!"

                Super Kauou had seen enough.  He quickly turned tail and flew off into the rainy night, wanting to get away.

                "Ha!  Me!"  A ball of energy formed in his hands.  He looked up and saw Kauou out in the sky, about two miles away now.  Thought he could get away now, huh?  Locking onto this energy signature, he disappeared, only to reappear in front of Kauou.

                "What's this?!" he cried out, screeching to a halt.  Gohan smirked at his foe before becoming serious once more.

                "HA!" he shouted, thrusting his arms forward and releasing the ball of energy.  Kauou screamed in agony, trying in vain to block the attack.  The wave went right through his arms and blew right through him.  His cries had ceased as his body turned into dust.  Super Kauou was finished.

                Gohan floated down to the ground, still in his Super Saiyan Two form.  He breathed a sigh of relief as he felt the last of Kauou's attack filter away.  He turned to look at Vegeta, who had retrieved an unconscious Piccolo.  He walked over to him.

                "Thank you, Vegeta."

                "Save it Gohan.  This should have been child's play today for you."  He turned away from Gohan and started walking towards the direction of the Lookout.  "Still," he said, turning his head slightly, "You did good today, despite you having slowed in your training.  Tell me, how did you get out of that attack?"  Gohan walked up beside Vegeta and stared straight ahead.

                "It was my Dad, yet again.  It was strange, really.  I was lost in my own mind, and he came and got me out."

                "Kakarot…he still has a few tricks up his sleeve, especially in Other World.  Come now.  We have to get to the Lookout and get this broccoli back in shape."  Gohan let out a slight chuckle to Vegeta's use of name for Piccolo.  They soon lifted off and flew towards the Lookout.

                As they did, the rain finally stopped.

* * *

                "So that's how it's done, huh?" Shinji asked, sitting in his bed on the Lookout.  Two days went by, and Shinji was back to his normal self.  He was kept up at the Lookout – at Dende's request – to make a full recovery.  He was scheduled to leave today.

                "Yeah.  I have a feeling that those two and Gendo weren't the last of them.  Hell, I expect Gendo to come back again.  We'll be ready for him when he does though," Gohan said.  He had come up to the Lookout to check on his friend.  He didn't get the chance to talk to him after the battle two days before as Shinji was sleeping soundly for once.

                "We will.  I doubt I'll get to the power level that he's at, even if it is an evil power.  Now tell me…did anything happen with Videl?" he inquired.  Gohan blushed slightly.

                "Well…a lot did, but not with me.  With Saiyaman.  I, um…kind of turned her down as him."

                "You did what?!"

                "Shinji, it was for the best.  At least…for now.  I can't have her in love with my other identity.  I need her to focus on me.  Call me selfish, but this way is better.  Besides, you and I both know that she is developing something for the real me."

                "I know.  So when are you going to tell her…about everything?"

                "Beats me.  It's only the beginning of November anyway.  We've all known each other for just two months or so anyway.  I guess…I just need more time, that's all."

                "Respectable.  Now go get Dende; I want to leave," Shinji said, feeling a little too antsy to get back into the real world.

                "Sure thing.  By the way…Krillin said that you're turning seventeen in a few days."

                "He did?!  Shit…I guess I'm done for."  Gohan laughed.

                "Yeah.  Seventeen Saiyan punches coming right up!"

                "No!  The agony!  Wait!  Wait!  I want to stay!  I want to stay!"  Gohan was on the floor now balling his eyes out in laughter.

                "Too…late for that, Shinji.  Now come on; everyone down there misses you."  With that, Gohan left the room.  Shinji stood up and put on his clothes, and then he walked to the window.

                "He's right.  It'll be great seeing everyone again."  With that, he left the room, ready to return to his life again.

* * *

Responses to reviews:

Andromeda of the Moon – Thank you for liking this story and reviewing it.  To tell you the truth, I really don't know why I decided to entitle this story like I did.  I kind of wanted a long title for it, and I ended up with that.  It really doesn't make sense, once you think about, especially with how I'm set upon doing this story.  I don't plan on changing the title, as it would require me to go back and change it through all the chapters I've posted so far, plus change it on my web page.  Oh yeah, I'm that lazy.  I really can't think of anything else either.

                Like you, I never saw any OC's being trained by Krillin and Master Roshi either.  It kind of fits with what I wanted to do too.  I have my own view with Gohan being drunk, though.  It was his first time, and whether or not he's a Saiyan or not, a first time drinker who has drank enough will get drunk.  I got drunk off of four beers the first time I drank, and I am a fairly heavy guy.  Also, and to prove my geekiness to the world, I was watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager once and the crew were having a party.  Seven of Nine had one glass of champagne and was out of it.  Either way, we have our own opinions of Gohan being drunk.  I respect your opinion, and don't worry; it has no effect on the coming story.

RDBRaptor – Yes, I did say most loyal reviewer.  You've been there since the beginning, and I thank you for that.  There is no need to worry about 'Saiyaboy', however.  It was a one-time plot device.  As for the Mind Games Attack, well, I went more in depth here with it.  I had planned out this fight for a while, and I actually had to take out a few spots of it cause it would have went too long.  I guess that little mind sequence helped out a bit and moved away from the fight scene for a brief moment to settle things down.

DemonDancing – I'm glad that it makes more sense to you now.  I still have much more development for Shinji, but that won't be until the first few chapters of Part Two.  As for your idea of adding a summary, I will do that, but not now.  I thought about what you said and I decided on doing a massive summary of the first part at the beginning of Part Two.  For now though, I try my best to recap events of the previous chapters in the updated chapter.

Watchful Falcon – You know, I noticed that too.  However, there are two parties to blame: myself, and ff.net.  For my part, some of the narration was a bit screwy.  I just wanted to get that chapter out as fast as I possibly could, and when I went to beta it, I noticed that.  Again, my laziness has shown through.  For the other half of the blame, it was some sort of loading error.  I use italics for inner thought and flashback sequences, and for some odd reason, over half of them didn't load up when I originally did it.  After editing the chapter, I went to upload it only to see that half of the italics didn't show up again.  So I left it as that.  I have the original version of the chapter up on my web page.  Of course, I also mentioned that at the beginning chapter six.  Oh well.  I'll fix that at some later time.

Tabi Chan – Yes, I hate cliffhangers too.  They are a major mainstay in American literature, and they are a pain.  However, I fail to see the end of that chapter as a cliffhanger.  For starters, I tied up everything I could when finishing up that chapter.  Also, that chapter was long.  I mean it.  It clocked in, without my usual author's notes, at fourteen thousand plus words.  If you thought that was enough, I also gave fair warning back in chapter five that chapter six and seven was a two-part arc.  Still, thank you for both of your reviews, and I do hope that you liked this chapter.

To everyone else: Thanks.

I ask this only once: if you didn't read the opening author's rant, please do so now.  It is very, very important.  I have nothing to report down here, so now, on with next chapter's preview.  Until next time, peace.

Next chapter: After a long development of trust, Videl decides that it's finally time for Gohan to meet her mother.  Upon seeing her, Gohan comes to a realization that could change Videl's life forever.  Meanwhile, Videl confronts the person that changed her life three years before, and learns something that will change her life and bring her a new perception on the one person that she thought she truly knew.