Disclaimer: Holds Akira Toriyama's head on a pike. "It's mine now. All mine." *alarm rings* Wakes up. "NNNNNOOOOO!!!!!!!!"

Author's Notes: The more times I read this story, I less I liked the ending. I did the same thing so many others have done. I forgot Yamcha. Poor Yamcha. Anyway, this wraps up his character. Enjoy. And thanks for reviewing.


Heartless

Epilogue

Yamcha laid on the couch, ever faithful Puar floating nearby as they listen to an all-too-familiar rant.

"Yamcha, you can't keep doing this to me—er—yourself.  The public needs you."

Yamcha smiled sardonically at his jittery manager.  "The public.  Alright.  And what should I stop doing, again?"

"Trying to get yourself killed!"  The man adjusted the hair that had become disheveled from his recent outbursts.  His face was red, and he was sweating, obviously out of shape from the years of ease after his own athletic career.  Yamcha kept his sardonic air about him.  Will this be him after he retired from both martial arts and baseball?  Kami, he hoped not.

"You know," the manager continued, "I thought I had troubles with other players.  Alcohol, drugs, steroids, injuries, codependence—those are nothing.  Those people just cause scandals or waste away.  It's not like any of those dressed in an orange jumpsuit and tried to fight a killer android.  And let's not forget the aliens when you actually did die.  Fighting for the world is for people like Hercule.  And I don't think another death is going to work."

Yamcha just stared at the man until he looked away in disgust.  "Listen, Yamcha.  You're the best player out there.  You're on the fast track to the Hall of Fame.  The Titans will pay anything to keep you, and after another year of not getting killed and actually playing we'll have our pick of teams.  Practice starts Monday."  He tossed Yamcha a baseball cap, who caught it with ease, and left.

Puar floated closer to Yamcha.  "He may have a point there," she squeaked out.  "You don't have to fight anymore."

Yamcha continued to stare at the cap, showing no reaction to her words.

"I mean, there are so many others who can fight if Earth is threatened.  Gohan, and Piccolo, and Vegeta…"

A look of anger flashed in his eyes.

"Oh, no!  I'm sorry, Yamcha.  I didn't mean—"

"It's alright, Puar.  I'm—OK."

Puar continued to stare at him in concern.  Yamcha didn't blame her.  He hadn't been himself for a long time.  The years had not been kind to him.  Not only death and losing Bulma, but while everyone else got stronger—while everyone else had started to settle down with families—he felt overlooked and left behind.  And he was supposed to be the good guy.  The nice guy.  But Bulma had left Mr. Nice Guy for Mr. Abuse.

It had been a few months since Goku's death, and life was getting back to normal.  Even the crazy evil people were becoming not so evil.  The blonde android was spending a lot of time with Krillen of all people—he really was happy for Krillen, though.  He'd said so, and apologized for what he'd said to him.  And even Vegeta was actually sticking around.  OK, so maybe he wasn't Mr. Abuse.  But, darn it, it was supposed to be him!  Why was Vegeta the good guy now, and Yamcha the bad guy?  Vegeta had everything, and he had—nothing. 

"What am I going to do now, Puar?  I lost everything."

Puar sat next to him, taking his large calloused hand into her two furry blue paws.  Startled, Yamcha looked up at her.  A wisdom seemed to shine through, belying her cute kitten appearance.  This was the friend Yamcha had come to respect from their desert days.  "You haven't lost anything, Yamcha.  The thing with Bulma didn't work out, but that's for the best.  You have lots of good friends, a good career, you're strong, and you're still young.  Don't pity yourself.  You'll live one day at a time, just like everybody else.  There are no more bad guys—no more fights.  You can start over now, just like you have before.

I can start over.

It was true.  He'd lost everything—but himself.  He still had himself.  He always had himself.

Puar laughed.  "There's a smile.  It's been a while."

And sure enough, Yamcha felt the corners of his mouth curved up.  He did have a bright future.  The past was the past and he'd severed all ties to it.  He WOULD start over.  For the first time in years he was excited.  Suddenly, the world didn't seem so heartless to him.  Couldn't wait to see what was in store for him next.

He started to push himself off the couch, and saw the cap held forgotten in his hand.  Smiling, he put the cap on his head and walked over to the mirror.  I didn't match his orange gi, though.  The "jumpsuit.'  Through the mirror, he saw the clothes Puar had bought for him laying out on a chair.  Walking to his room, he quickly changed, and shoved his gi into the back of the closet.  He paused at this action, but he was resolute.  Sever all ties.

"I will fight no more," he told his reflection in the full-length mirror.  He looked transformed.  Not like a Saiyan transformation.  But it did make him feel more powerful—happier.  Two paws encircled his neck as Puar hugged him from behind.  "I'm glad."

And maybe… this would last.