Pandora's Box

Chapter 8

Goku sat at the edge of a river bank, his legs dangling in the water, quietly swishing back and forth in boredom. The dull roar of the nearby waterfall calmed his nerves slightly. He shifted his position a bit before leaning back and looking up at the sky. The soft grass felt pleasant against his naked form, and absent-mindedly he ran his hands through the blades. "I think you're misinterpreting the situation," a deep, slightly husky voice stated. Goku's eyes shifted towards the levitating Namek, a small sigh escaping him, "What's there to misinterpret? Vegeta hates me..." Piccolo grit his teeth lightly to relieve some frustration, "The fact is that if Vegeta really did hate you he wouldn't have done so many things with you." Goku frowned a bit, interlacing his fingers and putting his hands behind his head, "I guess so..." Piccolo sighed silently to himself before he gave up and floated down towards the Saijin. He sat down indian style next to the shorter man, "Listen, Goku...Vegeta is in a very decisive point in his life. He is breaking under pressure that has built up for years. He is a trained warrior, though you and I both know he is, or was, a murderer. Since he was a child he has served under Frieza - this much I do know - the extent of the tasks he had to perform under that tyrant are unknown to me, though I do know he has been killing practically his whole life. Bad habits die hard, and old wounds rarely heal. I believe Vegeta is dealing with you the only way he knows how. Don't blame him, Goku, I know this isn't what he wants. If he really did want to kill you, he would've attacked long ago. The only reason I think he's doing so now is because he's so confused he doesn't know what he wants." Goku looked into Piccolo's eyes, the Namek looking sympathetic. "Look, didn't you tell me earlier that Vegeta had said to you he was finally acting himself the night of your birthday?" Piccolo asked gruffly, a bit upset that Goku was feeling down.

The shorter man gave a small nod, one eyebrow warily raising. "Maybe he was in a way," Piccolo suggested, "Because he was finally doing what he wanted to do and he forgot about everyone else. He also said he was sick and tired of being treated the way he was? That just proves he wants a different lifestyle. He had been trying to be accepted, but failed to the point where he decided to revert back to his old ways. It's the only way he knows how to act, Goku. If the others opened up to him, then Vegeta might calm down a bit. He'd most likely be skeptical at first, but after time he'd learn that you don't have to hide from everyone. Vegeta doesn't want to be who he is, but it's the only way he knows how to be." Goku sighed and rolled onto his side, looking down at the ground, "I understand. I just can't help thinking..." Piccolo made a slight growling noise, "Maybe you should stop thinking that way. I know you, Goku, and I haven't seen you think so negatively before. Has that ever won a battle?" Goku opened his mouth to say something, paused, and finally admitted, "No..but this isn't a battle." Piccolo huffed and folded his arms, "Could've fooled me. He attacked you twice." Goku flipped all the way onto his stomach, facing down, away from Piccolo, "That's different.." Piccolo replied, "Oh yeah? How?" The full-blooded Saijin fumbled for a response, "Uh...because..Vegeta wasn'" Piccolo sighed, his sympathetic look returning, "Look, Goku. The fact of the matter is you can't fix all of these problems by yourself. If you want Vegeta to be happy you're going to have to make a huge attempt to show him how you feel." Goku blushed a bit, his face still down, "You say it like I have a crush on him or something." Piccolo noticed the color that came to Goku's face, "Well, for one who's denying attraction I find it interesting how one will blush at the notion, yet not at the fact of being naked in front of others." Goku's blush deepened at the truthfulness, "Piccolo, I....Are you teasing me?" Piccolo chuckled lowly, a small mischievous smirk on his face, "Maybe, but that's not really the point is it? Goku, you have to understand that friends to Vegeta are rare and greatly needed. When I feel the time is right, I too will approach him and ask to be his friend."

Goku's head instantly turned to look at the green-skinned man, "Are you serious??" Piccolo gave a nod, his expression solemn though relaxed, "I have pondered this dilemma for many nights now. Ever since the androids first arrived, in fact. To be honest, I began to believe I was a bit cowardice to wait so long, but now I see it's for the better. As Trunks has realized, I too know that you're the only one who is able to get through to Vegeta. It's a great deal of pressure to put upon you, but it is the truth. I also know you well enough to not give up, that is why I have faith in you." Goku pushed himself up into a sitting position, still looking at the ground, "Thanks, Piccolo, I'm not sure what to say.." Piccolo stood, his smirk returning, "How does "I'm going to put some clothes on now" sound?" Goku burst out laughing, grabbing his pile of clothes nearby, "I'm going to put some clothes on now!" Piccolo turned away to give him some privacy, floating up to his normal meditation level. Goku slipped on his boxer shorts and quickly pulled on his pants. After tying the sash around his waist both Goku and Piccolo's heads shot up. "That ki.." Goku trailed off in surprise. Piccolo snarled at the bad vibes of the situation, "It feels like yours, Goku." The Saijin hastily finished dressing, his composure becoming completely serious, "Let's go check it out!"


Eighteen got slammed against the nearby wall, which cracked under her the force. She fell to the ground panting, trying to catch the breath that was knocked out of her. Another form was suddenly next to her and she looked up to find Sixteen before her. He knelt and wrapped her arm around his shoulder, lifting her up, "Eighteen, what is going on?" The blond winced as she moved, keeping one of her eyes closed, "I don't know exactly. Seventeen and I were just taking a walk through the garden, discussing various things when out of no where this..thing attacks us!" Sixteen nodded, walking them over to a nearby bench, "Stay here, I'm going to go after Seventeen." She nodded, still gasping for air as the taller android left her to go scout out her brother. Sixteen ran off into the direction he sensed his friend, who was about a half of a mile away from where he was. He arrived to see Seventeen on his hands and knees, breathing hard. The attacker was about to make his next move, so Sixteen leapt into the air, slamming down onto the back of whoever this person was. They fell to the ground in shock, looking over their shoulder at the android. "Another one? Who are you?" the person asked in a raspy voice. Sixteen leapt back to give them room, "I am Android Sixteen. Who are you?" The person - or thing with humanoid characteristics - gave an overly friendly smile, "You don't know?" The red-head looked over the person before him, noting the two toned green skin with dark spots, and the interesting shape of the head and tail. It looked like a cross between an insect and a human - something Sixteen was positive he hadn't seen before, "No." The creature grinned, amusement in it's eyes, "My name is Cell, and I too, am an android." Seventeen finally regained his composure, "Careful Sixteen! He's more powerful than he looks!" Sixteen took a fighting pose, giving a nod in his friend's direction. "Oh, are you going to fight me?" Cell asked with a chuckle, "Very well then, let's get it on."

Sixteen leapt forward, intending to punch Cell's face, but the creature blocked the attack with his forearm. Sixteen's other fist followed his other fist's lead, but Cell copied his motions as well, successfully stopping the attack. Cell's arms twisted around, grabbing Sixteen's forearms and pulling them together swiftly, knocking their heads. Slightly dazed, Sixteen stumbled back, shaking his head to clear it. He tried to kick with his right foot, but Cell grabbed it. He started to twist so Sixteen twisted his body as well to avoid pain. He was upside down on his hands when he finally lifted his leg and kicked Cell in the gut. Surprised, Cell let go of Sixteen's foot, taking a step back to massage his injury. With a glare Cell blurred in front of Sixteen, punching him hard in the jaw. The android was knocked back a couple of feet, groaning at his aching jaw. Cell turned his attention back to Seventeen, "We will finish this. I have waited too long to toy around." Seventeen put himself into a defensive stance, "I'll never give up without a fight." Cell licked his lips in anticipation, "That's good. A little fun and a taste of perfection all in one." He crouched low, ready to lunge, when Sixteen's arms wrapped around him, squeezing him tight. "Leave Seventeen alone!" Sixteen demanded. The other android would have none of it, flipping them both over so that Sixteen slammed into the ground, Cell on top of him. Cell's tail helped him push away from Sixteen as his true intent was still waiting an attack.

Cell leapt forward, aiming to punch Seventeen's face, though the android was able to dodge. He spun around, trying to kick Cell in the face, though he too missed his opponent. Cell did a punch and kick combo, successfully landing a hit on the black-haired man. Stumbling to the side Seventeen threw a ki ball at the other android, causing Cell to grunt in pain. Seventeen launched into the air, dealing out a series of ki blasts toward his enemy, which left Cell's damage at a minimal despite how hard Seventeen tried. Suddenly Cell was gone from his vision and he was knocked to the ground. Stumbling to catch his balance, he was unable to see anything but the ground and his feet. He heard Cell curse as another ki blast hit him, this time coming from Sixteen. Cell launched one back at the red-head who barely rolled out of the way in time. Seventeen, finally regaining his strength stood and turned around to see Cell with his tail pointed at him. "Seventeen!" Sixteen shouted, launching off the ground to knock Cell away, but the android flexed his ki, blowing him several meters into the distance. Seventeen gathered his ki and let a large ball loose on Cell, shocked to find it barely scratched the android. Stepping backwards he tried a kick but Cell didn't even flinch. "What in the!?" Seventeen gasped, scared and baffled all at once. The tail's tip opened wide and Seventeen didn't know exactly what to think except that it seemed rather gross for some reason. "No! Seventeen!" Sixteen screamed, pushing himself up off of the ground. The black-haired man attempted to stop Cell but all of his attacks were useless. Sixteen got up, feeling slightly dizzy as he supposed he hit his head on a rock, "Seventeen, run!" The android turned, trying to get away, but Cell's tail lunged and grabbed him like a snake after a rat. Sixteen tackled Cell as hard as he could, but he only ended up hurting himself. The android forced Seventeen up his tail while he threw Sixteen as hard as he could, watching with a smile as the android became a speck in the sky. He shivered in delight, feeling perfection coming closer.

Sixteen crashed into the patio furniture, luckily hurting the furniture more than hurting himself. Eighteen rushed to his side, worry and panic in her features, "Where's Seventeen!?" Sixteen let his eyes focus, "I'm sorry, Eighteen." The blond curled her hands into fists, "No! Don't give me that! Where is Seventeen!?" Sixteen rubbed his temple slightly as his vision blurred again, "I think I have a concussion." Eighteen slapped him hard across the face, "Damnit, Sixteen! Where is Seventeen!?" An odd voice answered her, "Don't worry, you'll soon be joining him." The blond spun around to see what looked similar to her previous attacker, "What! Who are you and what have you done to Seventeen!?" The new and improved Cell grinned wickedly at her, "I'm Cell, we've fought briefly before. As for your brother, he is now part of me. As you shall soon be." Eighteen's eyes widened in terror, "No!" Cell chuckled, his tail moving upward, "Oh yes. You see, Androids Seventeen and Eighteen were meant to be absorbed by me, to give me perfection. I was programmed to do this." Eighteen quickly rubbed her sleeve against her face to remove any tears that had escaped, "You can expand beyond your programming like we have!" Cell's grin didn't leave his face, "Perhaps. But I do not wish too." Eighteen ground her teeth together, taking a defensive stance. "No, Eighteen, run!" Sixteen demanded, standing up and pushing her. Cell growled at him, "You're a bit persistent aren't you? Well, you're also a bit annoying. Let's see how you'll handle this!" Cell's turned his body at an angle, moving his hands back, "!!" Sixteen put his arms up to block the blast though it was too much, the blast ripped through him, leaving him in two pieces. Groaning Sixteen complained about being made too humanoid - though he wouldn't die unless his head was destroyed, the pain he felt almost made him wish he was dead. Cell turned to capture the other android only to find her as a speck in the sky. "She'll never get away from me in time," Cell muttered with a shake of his head, "Pathetic how they try." Cell promptly flew off into the distance. A few moments later two figures appeared. "G-Goku," Sixteen stuttered, trying to crane his head for a better view. Goku gasped as he saw the condition the android was in, "Oh my god! Sixteen!" The red-head attempted to chuckle and only ended up coughing instead, "Don't worry, I can be repaired. You must go find Eighteen, she is in danger." Goku's eyebrows furrowed, "What?" Sixteen coughed again, "Cell..he's attacking her. He's going to absorb her."

"Cell!? But we destroyed him when he was still incubating in the lab! I saw it with my own eyes!" Goku protested, unable to believe his ears. "I do not understand it myself, Goku, but it is true," Sixteen said, groaning quietly and wincing. With a fierce nod Goku stood up and turned to Piccolo, "I want you to take Sixteen inside to Bulma and then gather everyone up! Go get some senzu beans as well, and please talk to Kami! He might know more about this than us." Piccolo nodded, picking up the two halves of the android as Goku blasted into the air. He felt a faint ki signature towards the north, deciding it was best to follow that.


Piccolo carefully rushed through the hallways before finally giving up and calling out, "BULMA! GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE!" The blue-haired lady's voice came from the distance, "Well! What kind of greeting is that! Totally uncalled for and-" She froze when Piccolo came into view. She rushed to his side, "Oh my god! What happened!?" Piccolo set Sixteen down as gently as he could, "A fight. Fix him up, I've got to go. If you see Zarbon or Trunks tell them to go to Kami's lookout." Bulma hefted up Sixteen with difficulty, "Okay.." Piccolo rushed out the door and blasted off into the skies at top speed, within a matter of minutes he landed in front of Master Roshi's house. He threw open the door and shouted inside, "Everyone! Go to Kami's NOW!" He didn't wait for the others, merely taking off again. His next stop would be the most difficult, but he already formulated a plan in him mind on how to handle it. Landing next to Goku's house he crept around to Gohan's window, carefully pulling it open. "Hey kid," Piccolo greeted the demi-Saijin who was studying, "You got some spare time? We have to save the world." Gohan leapt up, retrieving a box that was under his bed. "It's begun already? How bad is it?" Gohan asked as he quickly changed into the battle gear he had acquired on Namek. "I'm not sure. Android Sixteen is badly injured," Piccolo informed, still leaning half way into the room. Gohan nodded and leapt into the outside world, "Let's go." They both made their way into the sky, stopping briefly to pick up some senzu beans. In a matter of minutes the entire Z Senshi were gathered. "Hey Kami! Tell us what's up!" Piccolo demanded, setting his feet onto the stone floor. The older Namek seemed grave, "It's worse than I feared." Piccolo growled a bit, baring his teeth as he spoke, "I know - it's Cell! Now tell us something we don't know!" Kami seemed a bit irritated by Piccolo's impatience, "Cell has the ability to absorb living creatures. Though he has already done so what I failed to see is that Cell is about to absorb other androids as well."

Piccolo grit his teeth, knowing they had little time to act, "Get on with it!" Kami sighed harshly, "Cell has already absorbed Android Seventeen. He is after Android Eighteen at this very moment. I'm afraid even in this form he is more powerful than all of us." There was a brief period of silence. "So what do we do?" Krillin asked quietly. "Yeah, exactly," Yamcha added, "If he's more powerful than us what can we do?" Kami bowed his head for a moment before he looked up at Piccolo, "I believe that if we fuse we will have a chance at winning this." Piccolo took a step back in surprise before he folded his arms, "No way, old man. I won't do it." Kami took a few steps forward until he was in front of Piccolo - he then placed his hand on his shoulder, "Piccolo, please don't put personal feelings in between us and victory. I have thought a great deal about this. If you and I fuse you will not only be stronger but smarter." Piccolo huffed, looking elsewhere for a moment, "I don't know about this." Kami tilted his head so he looked into Piccolo's eyes, "Please, Piccolo. Think about this as well: if you die in this battle then the dragonballs will disappear." The younger Namek shook his head, "Then I become stronger and die then the dragonballs will still disappear." Kami smirked a bit, "Not necessarily. You see, I've already thought about this." Kami shifted his position, removing his hand from Piccolo's shoulder, "I had Mr. Popo retrieve all seven dragonballs. My plan is to summon the dragon and have someone wish to be taken to the new Namek. From there they can find a new guardian and bring them home." Piccolo thought the plan over in his head, "I think it's half-baked, but I guess it's our only option. So who's up to going to Namek?" Yamcha raised his hand in the air, "I would. I was dead last time so I wasn't able to see it. Besides, I wouldn't do much in this fight." Kami nodded, turning to him, "Than you may go. This is a solo mission. Now we just need to make the wish."

The elder Namek went inside for a moment before returning with Mr. Popo and the seven dragonballs, which were carried by Mr. Popo's magic carpet. The carpet lowered to the ground and the process began of summoning the dragon.


Goku finally caught sight of two figures, triple-checking to make sure he had his ki masked. It was Eighteen alright, and Goku assumed the strange creature that was chasing after her was Cell. 'Dr. Gero sure didn't do good in the looks department,' Goku thought to himself as he made sure to keep himself hidden from sight. Cell reminded him of a cross between a frog, an insect of some sort, and a human. His eyes noticed Cell's tail and he paled slightly as the tip reminded him of a needle. Shuddering, he crept closer and closer, impressed that Eighteen was holding her own. "Give it up!" Cell roared with delight, "You will become a part of me eventually!" Eighteen leapt back, barely able to escape as Cell lunged for her again, "Yeah, well, Seventeen would never give up!" Cell paused and landed, putting his hands on his hips, "Is that what you're worried about? I can let you talk to him." Eighteen blinked, unsure of the entire situation. There was a pause before Cell opened his mouth again, his voice sounding just like Seventeen's, "Hey Eighteen. It's really me, Seventeen. I want to tell you not to be afraid like I was. Being absorbed isn't a bad thing, Eighteen, really. I thought it's be bad too but it isn't. It feels awesome to be this strong, Eighteen. Please..join me..." Goku could sense the trickery a mile away - which was rather accurate considering his distance from the pair - and he cursed mentally. 'Don't do it, Eighteen," Goku attempted to tell her telepathically, though he knew it would probably have no effect at all, 'He's lying, Eighteen! Don't believe him!' The blond seemed to think about it a moment before she took up a fighting stance, "You're lying! Seventeen would never give up his freedom, even if it was for more power! Idiot! Why do you think he killed Dr. Gero!?" Cell frowned, grinding his heel into the dirt, "Fine. I see we'll have to do this the hard way." They stared at each other for a moment before Cell began to circle.

Nervous, Eighteen made sure to keep her distance from Cell, and especially his tail which had tried to grab her on more than one occasion. The green android finally made his move, leaping at her with a howl. She ducked and dropped onto her hand for balance, swinging her leg around and tripping Cell. Continuing her motion she let herself spin around as she got to her feet, backing away from Cell again. She prayed for a distraction so that she could flee and hide. She wondered momentarily how Cell had found them at Capsule Corp anyway. Cell slowly got to his feet, keeping a keen eye on his prey. He leapt again, attempting to grab her though he leapt to her side, rolled, and got to her feet again. It seemed that even though Cell was stronger now, he wasn't faster than Eighteen. Growling, Cell made another lunge which turned out to be a failure. "Damn you!" he cursed, sending a ki blast at her. She gasped and put her arms up to block it, though she fell back a few feet. Cell charged, his tail lifting high. Her eyes wide with shock, she barely rolled out of the way in time as the tail smashed into the ground where she used to be. Goku kept crawling a bit closer and closer, being extra cautious. The blond let out a blast at Cell's head which he simply batted away. Surprised, Eighteen scrambled backwards, somehow managing to get to her feet. She let out another blast which, again, was swatted away like it was nothing. Desperately she tried over and over, but she didn't even scratch the other android. Finally, panting, she gave up, merely stepping back and away from Cell. His tail moved into position, ready to make the final move. "NO!" she screamed racing towards him in a last ditch effort. Her fists flew at him faster than before but she was only lucky enough to land a few punches before Cell grabbed her arms to hold her still. Giving a yelp she struggled to get free, "Let me go!" Goku stood up, ready to make his move when suddenly the sky turned completely black.

'What!?' Goku thought, looking up as erratic lighting crossed the sky, 'Someone's calling the dragon??' Cell looked around, wondering what was going on as well. The only person who didn't get distracted seemed to be Eighteen who slipped free from Cell's grasp and began to run. Cell made a lunge for her but the dirt in front of him kicked up into his eyes as a ki blast disturbed the ground. Cursing Cell rubbed his eyes, trying to clear his vision. Eighteen fled into a nearby forest, running as fast as she could. In a matter of seconds the sky cleared and Cell could see again. He cursed loudly, "Damnit! Which way did she go!?" Taking to the skies he guessed a direction and blasted off.


Yamcha appeared on a strange planet with a green sky. He didn't have time to truly look around as he had appeared in the middle of a village. A crowd instantly gathered, one Namek stepping forward, "Are you friend or foe?" Yamcha rubbed the back of his head in nervousness, "A friend, you guys. A friend of Goku's in fact." The Nameks instantly brightened. "You know Goku?" one asked excitedly. Yamcha nodded, a warm smile on his face, "Knew him since he was a kid. I came here over serious matters, however." His expression dropped a bit, "You see, some android named Cell is attacking the Earth. Kami and Piccolo are going to fuse so we need a new Guardian of Earth. Would anyone like to volunteer?" A young boy's voice called from the back, "I would!" The crowd parted, making way for the boy. "My name is Dende and I'd love to help out your people like you have mine!" the small Namek announced, running up to Yamcha. "That's great, kid! You think you can make a set of dragonballs though?" the desert bandit said teasingly. The Elder Namek spoke up, "Dende is young and blessed with the special gift of healing people. He will make a fine guardian." Yamcha cheered as it seemed luck was smiling upon him, "Alright then, we have to go!" Yamcha reached into his pocket and removed the dragon radar, clicking the button on the top he announced the location of each, him, Dende, and five other Nameks flying off to retrieve them so that the bandit and the new guardian could go to Earth.


Meanwhile, on Earth, another was about to depart. "Goodbye Mr. Popo," Kami said with a small, reassuring smile, "You're been a good friend all these years, but this is something that I must do." The black man had tears running down his cheeks, he gave a nod, "I understand, Kami. I'll miss you so very very much." The old Namek gave a nod, "Do not worry, there will be a new guardian to look after soon enough." Kami composed himself and turned towards Piccolo, "Are you ready?" The younger man nodded, "Yeah, I'm not to sure what to do though." Kami closed his eyes briefly, preparing himself, "Open your hand and place it on my chest." Piccolo hesitantly reached forward, his palm pressing against Kami's chest, "Now what...?" The older Namek smiled warmly, "I shall do the rest." Piccolo jolted slightly as it felt like electricity was running through him. Not a painful amount, but enough to make him jump. Both of their bodies began to glow white, Piccolo's eyes shut tightly as the surge intensified, coursing through every vain inside his body. The glow grew brighter, overwhelming and consuming, Piccolo ground his teeth together as the incredibly odd sensation surged through him like potent drug. There was a small flash, and then, the light was gone, along with Kami. The late guardian's staff fell onto the stone floor, Piccolo collapsing onto one knee, panting slightly. "Piccolo, are you ok?" Gohan asked quietly, looking terribly worried at the condition his mentor was in. "Yes," Piccolo replied after a moment, "I think I finally am." Mr. Popo picked up Kami's staff, holding back tears as his long time friend was now gone. "Let's hope Yamcha gets back soon," Krillin pointed out, unsure of what to make of the newly transformed Piccolo. "We're going to have to act first," Piccolo stated, gaining everyone's full attention, "Goku is out there by himself chasing after Cell, you all better catch up. I'll be fine here, I'll clue Yamcha in when he gets here." The Z Senshi turned to leave when Zarbon and Trunks landed.

"Hey, what's going on?" Trunks asked, looking around in confusion, "I just stepped in and Bulma said to come here. I ran into Zarbon on the way so I brought him along." Piccolo was as brief as possible, "Kami and I fused. Yamcha went to the new Namek to get a new guardian. Cell absorbed Android Seventeen. Goku has gone after Cell alone. Cell is after Eighteen. Any questions?" Trunks blinked slowly to clear his head..he would have never dreamed that he'd end up trying to save the androids' lives! With a defeated sigh Trunks gave a nod, "Right. We better go help Goku as everything seems under control here."


Goku debated for a moment whether he should follow after Eighteen, or Cell. 'I'd be no good to Eighteen and I could even expose her with my ki,' Goku thought for a moment, 'I should go after Cell and distract him if he gets too close to her.' Over viewing his plans again, he leapt into the air, going after Cell. The first few minutes were what would be considered normal for the situation. Cell looking back and forth while cursing to himself, and Goku following carefully behind. However, Cell abruptly stopped in mid-air. 'Oh shit,' Goku stopped as well, 'He knows he's being followed.' Putting two fingers to his forehead he disappeared exactly when Cell spun around. The large green android looked around the surrounding area to make sure he was alone when he spotted some company nearby. His lips upturned into a vicious smirk as he dove down faster than most of the Z fighters would be able to see.

'Oh shit! No!' Goku swore to himself, watching from the distance in mute terror as Cell dove down, fully aware that even if he used his instant transmission it'd be too late. Eighteen heard a slight buzzing and turned to find the source when a shadow overcast her. The last image she saw before she was enveloped in darkness was that of Cell's evil grin. Goku cursed for a few seconds, blaming himself completely for not taking action sooner, 'Damnit! I'm sorry, Kami! Please forgive me, everyone!' He watched as Cell's body began it's metamorphosis, energy dancing around him like lightning, a glow encasing him and growing brighter by the second. 'He's so strong!' Goku gaped as wild winds tousled his hair, 'My god....he's so strong!' Cell's maniacal laughter was sent through the landscape nearby, the hills echoing the strange half-transformed voice, adding to the eeriness it already possessed. Goku watched, his mind desperately trying to decide on what to do. He was about to make the leap into Super Saijin mode when he faintly heard someone call his name. Spinning around he saw his fellow fighters approaching. "Stay back!" he warned, flying towards them, "Don't let him see you yet!" The group drew back towards the ground, keeping a wary eye on the newest android. "Goku, what are we going to do??" Krillin asked, his voice hiding his panic. He, as well as the other warriors, could sense how powerful Cell was, and it was more intense than all of them combined. "He's not expecting us to all attack at once," Goku threw out, running a nervous hand through his hair, "So we'll split up and charge him." Trunks looked at the ground for a moment, then over at Cell, "Do you think that's wise? Goku, I don't think that even both of us would be able to kill him.." The full-blooded Saijin tugged at his ebony locks in frustration, "I can't think of a better plan to do! It's now or never, guys!"

The storm vanished as quickly as it came and the group peered over at the newly transformed creature. 'He looks so human now,' Goku thought to himself, being captured in the hard red eyes, 'And his eyes are like Frieza' it must be true. He is made up of all of us.' Zarbon finally spoke up, "I'll go in first, Goku. I'll give you the best distraction that I can." The Saijin tensed briefly at the sound of the alien's deep voice, "Alright then. Zarbon, attack him head on from the north. Tien and Trunks, I want you coming it at angles towards Cell's sides, head in a southern direction. Krillin and Gohan, I want you to keep your distance and attack with your ki from angles facing north. I'll come in directly behind him. Got it?" The group nodded in agreement. "Then go, Zarbon!" Goku gestured for him to leave, the alien blasting off. "Let's move guys!" Goku said before leaping off to take position towards the south.

Cell flexed his new body, looking at it in admiration, 'I feel as light as a feather!' He did a few experimental punches and kicks, chuckling with elation at the ease of his movements. A movement caught his eye and he looked up in time to see a fist flying at him. He leaned back and grabbed the arm that swung past him, pulling the attacker closer as his other hand flew into their gut. Zarbon grunted in pain, refusing to give up so easily; he hooked his leg around Cell's and attempted to pull the android down. Cell grabbed his other arm and twisted him around, causing Zarbon to fall to the earth. He was about to make some taunting remark when a ki blast hit him, causing little to no damage. Glaring he turned to see a short, bald human with his palms outstretched towards him. "How pathetic, Krillin!" Cell called out, charging up a ki blast of his own. A moment later a body slammed into him from his left side and a ki blast grazed his head. Stumbling he was able to catch himself to find that Tien was the one who was latching onto him. He growled lowly, about to swat the three-eyed man away when someone else elbowed his back. A swift kick was made to the back of his knee, causing him to falter, and then an astounding kick sent him flying forward.

Shaking his head, Cell realized he needed to be more accustomed to his new transformation, 'So they want to play with fire, huh? Don't they know that when you play with fire you always get burned?' Flexing his ki he blew the weakest of the Z fighters out of the immediate area. Goku, Trunks, and Zarbon were those that remained. Goku spun around towards the teen, "Trunks, now is not the time to keep secrets, you understand!?" The purple-haired demi-Saijin gave a quick nod before he closed his eyes, gathering his ki. With a small explosion of energy, Trunks let his hair flair to life with flowing gold; an aura radiated around his body. Visions of the evil androids in his time flooded Trunks' mind as he charged towards Cell, overwhelmed by the suddenness of emotions. The android looked at the teen with a unimpressed expression, spinning around at the last second and kicking Trunks' side, sending him sprawling into the dirt. "You aren't even powerful enough to keep me entertained," Cell said in disgust, marching over and placing his foot on Trunks' head, "Ah Trunks, so good to see you again." Trunks wished to rub the dirt out of eyes and he growled in between his coughing, "I don't know you, you bastard." Cell leaned shifted his weight onto his foot, causing the demi-Saijin to cry out in pain, "Yes, I'd assume so since I killed you where I come from. I guess meddling with the time stream has caused this to happen. I'll give your mother your regards, Trunks. Her name was Bulma, wasn't it? Such a weak woman... Hmm...And now that your father is alive, I'll be sure to send your dying words to Vegeta as well." Zarbon's eyes widened in confusion, 'What is that freak of nature talking about??'

Goku's voice rang out with anger, "That's enough, Cell! Leave Trunks alone!" Cell looked at the other Super Saijin, a smirk upon his face. He ground his foot against Trunks just a bit to anger Goku even more, "Ah...Goku. The hero who saves the day. I hate to break it to you, my friend, but you are no match for me." The Saijin took up a battle stance, "We'll see. Now leave him alone!" Cell tsked, waving a finger as he ground his foot against Trunks' face, "You're in no position to make demands, Goku. You know as well as I do that I'm stronger. That's why you had everyone attack at once, isn't it?" Goku grit his teeth in frustration, "Fight me and you'll see." The android sighed, a grin spreading across his lips, "I suppose I shall." He lifted his foot to kick Trunks into a nearby tree. The teen clutched his head in one hand and his stomach in the other, wishing his head would stop pounding. It felt like that kick along snapped a few ribs, and his head wasn't in any better condition.

Swiftly, Cell launched himself at Goku, his fist slamming into the young Saijin's jaw with a sickening crack. Feeling thick, warm blood enter his mouth, Goku stumbled back to find Cell launching another attack. He attempted to block with his left arm, but when Cell's punch connected with the flesh, Goku yelped as he felt the bone shatter. Dear gods! Cell was so powerful he would tear him apart like tissue paper! Taking a few steps back to regain his composure, Goku spit out a mouthful of blood. His eyes hardened and he glared up at the android, 'I'm not going to let you do this, Cell. I'm not going to let you hurt everyone I care about. I have lived in this nightmare my whole life, and I'm not going to let you take this all away when I've worked so hard for it!' With a roar, Goku's aura burst into life, his body phasing out only to appear in front of Cell's, his fist connecting with the android's nose. Stunned, Cell placed a hand over the throbbing appendage, and making the mistake of blinking which caused Goku to gain quite a few hits into his chest and stomach. A roundhouse kick was served, but Cell moved up to block it. After doing so, he dropped down to the ground and kicked up with his feet, hitting Goku square in the chin. Another rush of blood filled the Saijin's mouth, and he stumbled back, falling flat on his back, his head slamming into a rock. Vision blurred for a moment as his eyes began to throb dully with pain, the back of his head voicing it's complaint as well. Fumbling around, not truly aware of what was going on, Goku somehow found his way onto his feet. As the world began fading back into view, he heard Cell's faint words, " just die!!" He blinked to clear away the fogginess to find a large ki ball in front of Cell's hand, aimed directly towards him. His mouth opened to say something though there was nothing to say. Kami...this was it? It was all over already...?

A voice shouted over the ache of his body and the heat of the battle, "Kakkarot, you idiot!" Goku blinked, completely convinced the voice was a figment of his own imagination. He saw Cell release the ki ball and he was prepared for impact when his body was suddenly pushed, roughly, out of the way. He fell onto his side and looked up in time to see the blast smash into someone he didn't expect to see there. There was Vegeta. Vegeta. Vegeta was taking the blast that was intended for him. Oh god..Vegeta...

The prince could not even scream as the pain that shot through him made him mute. For the briefest second he wondered why he had done this, but it was lost amongst the flood of agony that flowed through his veins quicker than his own blood. The blast tore it him, shredded him, like a vicious, angry monster, using it's claws to tear him apart layer by layer. And then, the energy stopped it's assault, and gasping, Vegeta fell to the ground. Goku could only stare for a moment, his breath ragged as he looked over the battered man. His midsection was torn clean open, blood splattered across his clothes, the smell of burnt flesh forcing adrenaline to flow. "V-Vegeta!!" Goku screamed in terror, crawling over to the smaller man, "Vegeta! Why!?" The prince choked on a response, finding difficulty in breathing. A burn came to Goku's eyes, "Damnit, you ---!! Just hold on!!" With newfound power the Super Saijin immediately launched an attack on the android, his thoughts swirling out of control, 'I'll kill you for hurting my prince!!' Cell hissed as he felt a bone in his face crack under Goku's assaulting fist. Rearing back he aimed a kick towards the hero which Goku narrowly missed. "Makankosappo!" a gruff voice shouted, a large beam blasting Cell down into the earth. Goku paused momentarily to see who it was that had joined him. Seeing Piccolo he yelled out orders, "Go help the injured!" Cell snarled as he leapt to his feet, throwing a ki blast towards the Namek while doing so. Piccolo was able to avoid the blast, moving his way down towards the nearest person, which was Vegeta. Goku landed another punch, satisfied when a spray of blood began to stream from Cell's nose. Suddenly, Goku found himself tumbling across the ground, his ribs crying out with each roll. Growling, the android blasted Piccolo away from Vegeta, the ki forcing it's way through the Namek's body, leaving a half dollar sized hole in his chest. He noticed the approaching kis of the others and he prepared to get rid of them all.

Krillin leapt forward to be knocked back a moment later with a broken arm included. Tien found himself in a similar situation as his one leg no longer had use. Zarbon was next with various injuries. Gohan seemed to be the only one strong enough to get past the creature's defenses as he grabbed Cell's tail and slammed him into the ground. Goku leapt into the air as Gohan let out a fury of ki blasts at the android, before he too, was swatted away. The young Saijin came down with astounding speed, expecting to thrust his elbow into Cell's gut when all he found was dirt. Spinning around it was already too late as a first knocked his head to the side, making the world spin out of control. "I guess I will toy with you a bit longer," Cell murmured, kicking Goku repeatively in the side, earning a painful cry each time he did so. Krillin pulled himself up, wheezing a bit, "Guys...we have something....otherwise...Goku..." Tien moaned, clutching his broken limb, "What can we do...Krillin? I hurt so much...I can barely move..." Krillin looked over at Trunks, "Hey...Trunks......Trunks!....Trunks?" Blinking, the human realized that the teenager was unconscious. He fixed his gaze onto Zarbon to see that the alien was in just as bad condition as the rest of them.

Vegeta rasped for air, wondering why he just didn't give up and let death take him. It would defiantly be better than what he was feeling right now, that was for certain. 'Too bad,' he thought, a smirk tugging on his rapidly cooling lips, 'I wanted to be modern art when I died.' Goku's cries rang out louder as the android continued to beat and torture him for fun. Vegeta strained to see what was going on, only to find that no one was helping the Saijin. 'If I just sit here..he'll die..' the prince thought, his expression blank and void of emotion. Clenching his teeth, the older Saijin held his breath as he forced his legs to bend, ' blast didn't ruin my spinal cord.' Shaking, the prince pulled himself up, using sheer will power, 'I can't let that idiot die because of some stupid android.' His arms pushed himself up into a sitting position, his legs shifted with his feet on the ground, whining as he began to force himself to his feet. Krillin saw a figure rise up in the distance, 'Vegeta...? Good lord, there's hope!' The prince stood and stumbled, gasping in pain and shock as his hands caught some of his entrails as they spilled out of him and towards the ground. Blood flowed up his throat and out his mouth as he kept one hand over his wound, securely holding in his organs, crimson the only color in sight. 'Stupid body,' he thought, his breaths irregular, yet oddly silent, his feet sliding forward in an odd limp. He heard Cell's laugh, cold and maniacal like his own had once been. When he had laughed. He never laughed. Goku was curled up in a bruised and bloody mess, somehow still retaining his Super Saijin form. A memory of the young Saijin slipping on ice and falling came to the brunette. He did laugh. Vegeta drew forth from the endless well of anger he possessed, his one hand clenching his intestines unknowingly, while the other curved in a slightly different form. He could only smell, taste, and feel his own blood, as a maelstrom of rage filled him, consuming the empty spaces within him for these briefest of moments. The glow of energy extended from Vegeta's one hand as he dragged himself closer and closer. The laughs Cell gave and the painful moans Goku replied gave the prince tunnel vision. There was nothing left but the burning hatred he held onto, this burning that was tearing him apart. His hand lunged forward and Cell stopped his assault on the younger Saijin.

Everything became quiet, but it all seemed so noisy. Vegeta withdrew his sword, watching as the android bled blood, though it was purple. Slowly the creature turned around, his eyes wide with surprise, "Vegeta...?" The prince strived to intake air, his black eyes boring into Cell's and telling him things that Cell thought no one would dare speak to him, considering his power. The eyes contained more burning desire to kill than Cell himself could ever produce, and surprised, Cell found he couldn't move. Vegeta roared loudly, the sound purely animalistic as he swung his arm with unparalleled speed. There was a moment's pause before Cell's head slid and rolled away from his tumbling body. Cringing at the pain, Vegeta gathered the last of his energy, growling at his body's protests as he released the attack which tore apart the remainder of the android down to the very last cell. Immediately the brunette collapsed, his sword fading out of existence.

Goku forced his eyes open and begged for his ears to stop ringing. It felt like every part of him was on fire, and burning him from the inside out. His eyes caught a figure near him. A figure? Who was it...? A smaller figure than himself, with dark brown vertical spikes..Vegeta! Vegeta was here! He felt himself inwardly smile as his body wouldn't allow for it to physically happen at the moment. 'Wait,' he thought to himself, as his memory began to return. His voice was hoarse and scratchy as he shouted out, "Vegeta!?" Pulling himself towards the older man he felt panic seep into him, "Vegeta!?" There was no response. Grabbing the prince and pulling him into an embrace he nearly collapsed from exhaustion, "H-hold on Vegeta! I'll..I'll find a way to make it better, I promise!" He forced down tears that threatened to creep down his cheeks as he saw the brunette in the condition he was in, 'Vegeta, hold on! Don't leave me! You can't! You can't because...because you' friend.! And because you' prince! Please, Vegeta, just hold on a little longer!'


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