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Chapter Eight

Trunks flew next to his counterpart. With their fists clenched tightly, and their faces expressionless, they were mirror-images of each other--save for Trunks' glasses. Pan kicked up her power a notch and came up beside Trunks.

"There it is," she said quietly as what had once been the Capsule Corp. tower came into view.

"And there they are," Goku said.

Evil Gohan looked up. He looked exactly like Gohan save for a long scar that ran along the line of his jaw. He was dressed in the black body suit and armor that had been the warrior's uniform on Planet Vegeta. Next to him, Evil Trunks stood with his arms crossed, in the same outfit but with a blue body suit. He had with him an extra accessory--his sheathed sword strapped to his back.

Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, Future Trunks, Pan, Gohan, and Goten landed a few feet away from their enemies. Evil Trunks and Evil Gohan bared their teeth in the semblance of smiles, but the hatred emanating from their faces distorted the expression.

"So we meet at least," Evil Trunks called out. "If you ask me, there are too many Trunks' here."

He raised his hand and an energy blast shot out towards Trunks, but he jumped out of the way. Crouched on the ground, he looked up, glaring at Evil Trunks. Then, he gasped as the energy blast came back and hit him in the middle of his back. He fell, hitting his face hard on the jagged ground. A hand grabbed the back of his brown jacket and hauled him to his feet. A strong arm came around his waist and propped him up. He opened one eye and was surprised to find that it was his father.

"Coward," Vegeta spat. "You're full of tricks and lies."

"It keeps life spicy, Father," Evil Trunks said.

"I am not your, Father. Whichver incarnation of myself that produced you is probably long dead now."

Evil Trunks nodded his head, impressed. "You're not as much as a moron as he was. I killed him when I was seven. He didn't even see it coming."

"Enough with the chit-chat," Evil Gohan interrupted impatiently. "Why didn't you kill that one?"

"I didn't feel like it yet," Evil Trunks replied, his eyes on Trunks. "How are you feeling, Trunks? A little nauseated? A little bruised? I could have blasted a hole right through your stomach, but I decided to let you die slowly instead. Does it feel like glass is cutting you every time you take a breath? That's blood getting into your lungs. If I were you, I wouldn't eat anything either."

"Wait until I get my hands on you," Trunks yelled, wiping the blood on his forehead with his sleeve. "Coward."

Evil Trunks' eyes narrowed. "Careful with that word. I can only hear it so many times."

"Where's Pan?" Future Trunks called out. "Where is she?"

"We've kept her safe," Evil Gohan answered. "You won't be able to find her."

Future Trunks unsheathed his sword. Evil Trunks did the same. At the sight of Evil Trunks' smile, Future Trunks flew at him, sword clutched with both hands. His yell pierced the air with its wildness as he transformed into a Super Saiyan. A look of surprise crossed Evil Trunks' face but he quickly wiped it away and he too transformed.

The swords met with a loud clanging sound. Blue eyes met blue eyes. They pushed against each other and then attacked again, their swords moving too quickly for human eyes to follow. Evil Gohan glanced at the others, noting that they were not paying any attention to him, only to his partner. Lip curling, he blasted off into the early morning sky.

"No," Pan gasped as the glow of his energy caught her eye, and she took off after him.

Gohan followed his daughter, Goten right behind him. Vegeta and Goku stayed. Unable to move, Trunks had to stay with them as he was relying on his father to keep him on his feet. Silently, he prayed that #18 and Bura would be able to hold Gohan off until the other three arrived. He felt his father's arm flex as he noticed the other warriors' withdrawals and he knew that Vegeta was hoping the same thing.

Pan flew so fast that the wind burned her face. She paid it no heed, keeping Evil Gohan in her sight. She could sense her father and uncle behind her, grateful that they were along for the ride. All bravado aside, she didn't know if she could fight this one by herself.

Not surprised to find herself back at the compound, she landed behind Evil Gohan. He turned around slowly to face her.

"You shouldn't have followed me. I had a surprise all planned out for you," he said silkily.

Pan's eyes narrowed and she crouched into fighting stance. "I'm through with surprises."

He looked at her amusedly. "I can crush you like an ant."

"I'd like to see you try," she challenged.

Behind her, Gohan and Goten landed.

"Don't do anything stupid," Gohan warned.

"Same goes for you," Evil Gohan retorted.

Then, to their horror, he powered up to Super Saiyan and raised one hand behind him towards the compound. Pan could sense them all inside and fear tightened in her chest. She could feel his power level and couldn't believe that he could hide it from them. But that wasn't what she was afraid of. She was afraid because this evil man was only using a fraction of his power.

"No," Goten gasped. "Don't."

"Watch me."

"GET OUT OF THERE!" Pan screamed, but her words were drowned out by the explosion and she stopped sensing their energies.

"BURA!" Goten cried, his scream raw. "MOTHER!"

He powered up to Super Saiyan and began attacking Evil Gohan. Tears streaming down his face, Gohan jumped into the fracas. Pan trembled, but stood her ground. She studied Evil Gohan's movements, seeing how fluid and smooth he was despite the fact that he was fighting two Super Saiyans. He held his own. Goten and Gohan exchanged a look and continued attacking.

Then, Pan's eyes widened. "They're alive," she exclaimed. "They're alive!"

Her words distracted Evil Gohan and Gohan was able to land a punch. Evil Gohan flew backwards, smashing into the greenhouse.

"They're here somewhere," Pan said, her voice low. "Keep him occupied and I'll get them out of the way."

Nodding, Gohan and Goten went to the greenhouse and blasted energy blast after energy blast at it. Brow furrowed with concentration, Pan walked on the remains of the compound, trying to feel them out. She let out a shriek when a fist broke through the rock.

"Grandpa," she said, understanding. He must have teleported to the compound at the last second and got them to the basement...the bomb shelter that Dr. Briefs had built before Bulma had even been born.

Goku dug himself out. He and Pan helped the others free of the rubble.

"I'm taking them to the cottage," Goku said to Pan. "I'm going to stay with them."

If Pan was surprised by his words, she didn't show it. "Go. I'll help them keep the other Gohan busy."

Pan started to turn, but Bura caught her hand.

"Pan, tell Goten..." she started.

Pan looked into her friend's eyes, remembered her uncle's reaction to Bura's possible death, and knew. She hugged her. "He knows."

"Be careful," Videl said, kissing Pan's cheek. "Take care of your father."

"I will. Be careful, Mom."

"Go to Vegeta and Trunks, Pan," Goku said. "They'll need your help."

He then took Chichi in his arms and Marron put her arms around his neck. Videl and Bura stood on either side of Bulma. They shot up into the sky, #18 behind them to watch their back. Pan took a deep breath. Gohan and Goten seemed to be doing alright against Evil Gohan. She powered up and headed back to the city where the Vegeta and Trunks were.

Trunks felt himself getting weaker. His vision swam and he grew heavier in his father's arms. Vegeta set him down, a scowl on his face.

"I'm dying, Dad," Trunks managed to say.

"No," Vegeta said firmly. "Not yet. You can't let him win."

"It's not really up to me at this point."

Vegeta looked up and watched his other son fight with Evil Trunks. A gutteral growl escaped his lips and he powered up. Evil Trunks hadn't been expecting him and his eyes widened when he saw the Saiyan Prince coming at him at full speed. Future Trunks jumped out of the way in time as Vegeta let loose.

Evil Trunks hadn't expected Vegeta to be this strong. The other Vegetas he'd met never got to this point. His mouth set in a snarl, he swung at Vegeta with his sword, but the older Saiyan ducked out of the way and his fist connected with Evil Trunks' face.

"Get Trunks out of here," he called back to Future Trunks.

"What about you?" Future Trunks replied.

"Get him out!" Vegeta yelled.

"Stay here," Trunks whispered. "I'll...

Pan landed next to him then, crouching down and supporting him. "I'll take him," she said. "Back Vegeta up. Don't give me any of that one-on-one crap because this is not a game."

Future Trunks was shocked at her tone, but knew she was right. Her dark eyes glinted stubbornly as they looked at each other.

"But don't kill him," Trunks reminded him. "He knows where your Pan is."

Future Trunks nodded. Pan put Trunks' arm around her neck, hooked her own arm around his waist, and flew off. Evil Trunks sensed their exit and with one last swing at Vegeta, he disappeared.

"What...?" Vegeta started.

Evil Trunks reappeared in front of Pan and Trunks. Before they could do anything, he put his hands on them and they all disappeared.

To Chapter Nine