Obligatory Disclaimer: I do NOT own Dragon Ball/Z/GT, its characters, spin-offs, etc., and I DO NOT own Harry Potter, its characters, spinoffs, etc.
*This story is one year after Gohan defeats Cell, and during the 2nd HP book. By this logic, following Funimation's version of things, Gohan will be 12 years old*
JUNE 2012 UPDATE: for any/all who are new and/or frequent this story (based on characters and plots and creations I am not in possession of) a lot, welcome! As you may have noticed I am rewriting much of this story in light of its… grammar deficiencies, which I predict not only lessen the story's effect early on, but causes potential readers discomfort at having to sift through past me's writing. That being said, I will attempt to update these chapters as quickly as possible; some days I can get through many (June 2nd) and some days there will be noticeable gaps, but regardless know I am attempting to make your present (and future) readings much more interesting than the past's.
Chapter 1: The Wizard
Rubble and rocks littered the landscape. A blazing breeze howled around his body, picking up dirt and sand from the floor and into the air. It rushed past him and down from his perch, toward the desolate wasteland below. Though the arena had been destroyed an entire year ago, its obelisk corners demolished and stone tiles obliterated, broken ruins –layered in dead vines and dirt and brush– still littered the ground. Each broken piece of debris carried an unpleasant memory; a memory that carved a scar into the earth, and carried a scream on the wind,
Gohan grimaced: he was no longer a pilgrim in this unholy land.
He kicked at the dust and dirt at his feet, watching it mix and fly down into the ruins by the wind. The wind blew his onyx hair –its length unchanged since his encounter with the monster Bojack– in and out of his vision, the boy's obsidian eyes sweeping over the remnants of the marble field. They hardened at the memory of Cell's savage smirk just before he'd destroyed his fighting ring. The same snarling expression he'd witness many other times that day, before finally wiping it off his face, and the face of the Earth.
He didn't understand why he came here, especially today. A whole year ago he destroyed Cell, the monstrous android who terrorized the planet and threatened to crush the entire galaxy, bringing peace to the Earth. To do so he tapped into wells of power the universe had never been witness to before, taking the title his father had donned for so long as Earth's savior. On that same day Hercule Satan, long since then praised as a hero to the masses and oaf to the Z-Fighters, took credit for killing the monster and lifted the burden from the boy's shoulders.. One year ago his father, the legendary Goku, adored by his allies and feared by the forces of evil, sacrificed himself to save his home planet and the ones he loved.
The boy had been told by his father's friends –his friends– that it was not his fault his dad died; the blame was cast on Cell, whose attempt to destroy the planet along with himself was thwarted by Goku's voluntary demise. But late at night, when he heard his mother weeping into her pillow those first few weeks after the battle, Gohan couldn't understand how it wasn't his fault.
Gohan smiled, the image of his father's joyful grin burning within his mind. The lovable oaf that so many had been saved by, that so many had come to care for, was an anomaly to the harsh race he was born from. His father was a gentle giant, whose enormous power was dwarfed only by his heart.
Several tears rolled down Gohan's cheek and plowed into the ground, dissolving into the dust-covered soil. As his father died exactly a year ago it was the last day he could be brought back with the Dragon Balls. After that, nothing could retrieve his spirit from the Other World and reunite him with his friends and family.
But that door had been closed a long time, since he declined returning to the Earth. His logic –his flawed logic, in Gohan's opinion– was that without him, trouble wouldn't be so easily attracted to the planet, keeping its residents safe. But without him, who would protect the Earth from evil in the first place? Certainly not Vegeta, who still disdained the rock despite harboring a family on it, nor the other Z-Warriors who just – who just weren't his father.
He and his family and friends had cried and wept at the loss of their fallen loved one, some for as long as several weeks when it hit them there would be no revival this time but the young warrior shook it off soon enough. He was the man of the house now, and he had to take care of his mother now. And his newly arrived baby brother.
Born seven months ago, it came as a surprise to everyone that Chi-Chi was pregnant. The stress of losing her husband must have jostled the growing child within her, for it wasn't until a few days after the Cell Games the mother of soon-to-be two Saiyans realized she was carrying another child. How it eluded detection sooner was a mystery, especially from those who could sense ki.
But it didn't matter. At the sight of the little offspring, any remaining pangs of sadness the large group felt evaporated. Goten's hair was as wily and messy as his father's and brother's, and his eyes just as gentle and kind. Over the next few months, as he grew, everyone was pleasantly surprised to see a mirror opposite resemblance to their fallen friend. His eyes had the same Saiyan onyx color, and the same Saiyan tail, though Chi-Chi and Bulma removed it before Vegeta arrived in a vain attempt to stop them from "butchering his race." The baby had inherited his father's love of animals and playful nature, always willing to play with a baby pterodactyl or lizard or other creature when the opportunity arose.
It was a pleasant omen of things to come. With peace came prosperity, and prosperity progress. Thanks to some support from Bulma, Gohan assisted his mother financially by participating in martial arts tournaments. Little ones that offered enough money to help them get by provided Gohan an outlet for his despair, and encouraged Chi-Chi to loosen her leash. She recognized the boy's desire to emulate his father, that he truly wanted to be worthy of being Goku's son,, and allowed him to train provided his studies not slip. It was difficult to balance: with his mother as his academic coach and Vegeta and Piccolo as his training partners, he never truly had a moment's rest. Though he made sure to train his muscles as much as possible it was never at the intensity or duration that Vegeta would have liked; his mother wanted her son to be a scholar and, until her heart had mended from his father's loss fully, her wishes always took precedence.
Besides, anything Vegeta wants is surely called into question by him being Vegeta.
But it was worth it. To ensure that the planet his father died to protect stay safe, and to prevent the loss of another of their loved ones, Gohan would fight through the aches and sores, the sweat and exhaustion. The Earth deserved peace, but his friends and family needed it so much more.
Gohan sighed wearily. Peace didn't equate with normalcy, not with him. His life, no matter how abnormal it would be to everyone else on the planet, had been experiencing unexpected bursts of 'weird' for the last few months. Even as a half-alien capable of destroying the planet several times over, he was questioning the logic of many things that happened around him. It wasn't even just one thing that occurred a lot: multiple different occurrences were happening to him.
Utensils and china shattered around him. This wasn't peculiar normally; with super-strong Saiyans living in her home, Gohan's mother was quite used to having to buy kitchenware in bulk several times a month. However, when silverware would twist and mangle itself on its own, and dishware shatter within their cupboards, it piqued his and his mom's curiosity.
His hair grew randomly, much faster than it should have as a part-Saiyan, much to his mother's and Vegeta's annoyance. Things disappeared around the house and turned up in other rooms, once even all the way at Capsule Corporation. Gohan even swore that several times he'd seen –admittedly in a post-spar haze– that his food floated over to his side, his body much too sore to have walked over and gotten it himself..
And then there was last week, when Bulma and baby Trunks came over for a play date. Without a doubt, it was the strangest of the occurrences.
The sun shone down on Mount Paozu, its rays gently striking the earth. Brush and trees and grass were alight with its golden warmth. Birds chirped cheerfully as a calm breeze crossed the horizon. The sky was barren except for a single large puffy could, its clear azure color brilliantly reflecting off the churning lakes and rivers.
It was a beautiful day. Gohan only wished he could enjoy it, instead of studying advanced calculus at the behest of his mother.
He sighed, looking out his window from behind his desk. His mother and Bulma were chatting animatedly in front of the house, their two half-Saiyan babies partaking in an equally enthusiastic exchange.
The pair babbled incoherently to one another, Trunks making exaggerated hand gestures to the gaping Goten. Goten and Trunks became fast friends when they first met, Goten seemingly awed at the older child's strength and confidence. The lavender-haired boy was truly his father's son; Vegeta set a light training regimen for him, in an attempt to make him as strong as a "proper Saiyan infant" should be. Bulma made sure her husband didn't try throwing their son out of the nest, and it was nowhere near as strenuous as Vegeta had been raised, but it made some noticeable results certainly. Gohan and Chi-Chi had considered training Goten in a similar manner as well, since they always seemed overrun with bad guys, but both staunchly agreed only if he wanted to when he was much older.
Trunks seemed to convince the younger Saiyan to slip away from their mothers, based on his vocal squeals and wriggling away from his mother's notice. Goten followed his lead, and the pair slinked away on their knees toward the edge of the jungle. It would have been a cause for concern if another half-Saiyan hadn't been watching them keenly.
It was a good thing he was; from the depths of the dense forest, slithering through brush emerged a giant snake. The creature, nearly twenty feet long, was dark crimson with indigo spots splashed all along its body. Its eyes a murky yellow, it flicked its tongue out at the blissfully ignorant children. It crept slowly towards them until, moving in just behind them it coiled its body around the infants. The children seemed neither scared nor surprised, quite the opposite: they laughed and giggled, poking at the reptile's body with their pudgy fingers.
Gohan was outside, crouched in a fighting stance with a sphere of pulsating gold ki in each hand, before the serpent could even open its jaws.
The boys, upon seeing the elder Saiyan boy, cheered happily. The snake turned toward the warrior threateningly. Its yellow eyes narrowed as it bared its fangs, hissing at the boy.
"Let them go!" yelled Gohan angrily. Through his worry and rage he noticed his voice sounded higher, raspier, much more… unusual. The balls of energy in his hands crackled with electricity and swelled. The two babies cooed in awe.
The snake ceased hissing, retracting its fangs. It looked at the human in front of him strangely, its eyes no longer menacing. The two stared each other down, the boy's anger increasing while the snake's evaporating from its posture. It tilted its head to the head, looking the boy up and down, almost… bemusedly?
Slowly, and gently, it uncoiled the toddlers from its vice, gingerly lowering them onto the ground. Goten and Trunks, neither aware of what had just transpired, laughed hysterically and clapped their hands happily before playing with the dirt on the ground.
Gohan, though confused, realized the snake understood him. He wasn't really surprised; plenty of animals on the mountain turned tail when his dad did the same thing for them that he just did for the boys. The Saiyan warrior, in turn, lowered his hands, dispersing the energy that gathered within them. The snake, in turn, slithered away from the boys.
Gohan's shoulders slumped, and he released his breath. His heart, which before had been pumping anxiously, began to slow down—
"Sso Ssorry!" The snake just talked to him.
The boy's ears were now ringing with the roar of his heartbeat.
"I musst really sstop eating junk food!" it hissed at Gohan, slithering back into the dark forest. "Ssslowsss me down, you know!"
And then it was gone. Gohan rushed over to the two boys, who instantly latched onto an arm and were brought up into Gohan's arms. They babbled again, Goten lightly yanking at Gohan's hair as Trunks pounded his fists into the older boy's chest.
Gohan ignored them, though, looking back at the spot where the snake had just been. A talking snake? It wasn't the strangest thing in the world, certainly. After all, Oolong and Puar and Turtle proved that talking animals weren't all that unusual; so rare, but not impossible.
His mother and Bulma ran over to them, plucking their children from a grateful Gohan's arms. The boys cried out energetically, trying to wiggle out of their mothers' grasps and toward each other. Both women let out grateful sighs before turning to Gohan. They seemed… alarmed? Flustered?
"What happened?" asked Bulma.
"That snake tried to eat them," Gohan told them, "but I shouted at it and made it let them go. The snake talked to me! Can you believe that?"
"Sweetie…" His mother seemed rather hesitant, turning to Bulma for a moment to share a look. "We didn't hear anyone talking."
"We heard a lot of hissing," added Bulma, "and then noticed the boys weren't with us. We didn't hear any snake talking, Gohan: or you."
How was that possible? He'd emptied his lungs of air shouting at that serpent. He was there! Of course he'd said—
Gohan's heart pounded away in his ears again, sweat beginning to form on his brow.
Bulma and his mother hadn't heard them talking, just hissing. His voice had sounded different to him, less normal. Less… human?
Had the snake not been talking? Was Gohan hissing? Did he speak to the snake in its snake language?
Gohan had kept these thoughts and incidents to himself over the last few months. For the first time in so long his friends and family didn't have any evil or threat looming over their heads, nothing to stir up anxieties or worry. The boy didn't want to be the one to break that peace.
Besides, he was afraid what these things meant.
But perhaps he'd bring it up to Piccolo, his mentor and closest friend. Or, Gohan grimaced at the thought, Vegeta. The Saiyan Elite was the only other knowledgeable Saiyan, after all; perhaps this had something to do with alien puberty—
"SPECIAL BEAM CANNON… FIRE!"
Gohan's neck craned upward immediately, nearly straining at the speed of its movement. An orange and purple drill-like beam barreled down at him, the air humming vibrantly with its power.
A white aura enveloped his body. He bolted to the right, a trail of white in his wake as he hovered just over the ground. Half a second later the beam connected with the ground, and a large boom! echoed across the wastelands, a large gust kicking sand and dirt up into the air.
As the air cleared, Gohan looked over to where he'd been standing, some several dozen feet away. The small hole was cleaved into the earth. He knew better than to judge it by its width, though; the small hole likely went on at least a half mile into the ground.
His black eyes narrowed, studying the empty sky carefully. 'It came from above, so where'd he—'
Quickly turning around, a ferocious gold and blue stream of fiery ki was approaching him quickly. The attack, though slower than the previous one, was still coming down upon the boy speedily. It was too big to evade completely, and too powerful to do nothing and hope to come out unscathed.
The white aura flared to life around Gohan once again, swaying like fire within the wind. He raised his hands, one on top of the other, above his head.
"MASENKO… HA!" A brilliant gold beam of energy erupted from his palms, charging forward and colliding into the opposing attack. The bluer blast buckled, pausing momentarily, before pushing back aggressively. Slowly, the opposing ki attack made its way down toward Gohan, forcing his own attack back with him.
Sweat dripped down the Saiyan's brow. Onyx eyes closed in pain, stinging as droplets of sweat dripped into them. The ground beneath him groaned, quaking and cracking all around where he stood. His arms began trembling and aching at the strain they were put under. The boy began to feel his legs wobbling, as if they were seconds away from giving out.
'No.' His eyelids opened, black irises flickering to green.
Gohan screamed in fury, his aura quickly exploding into a golden sheen. Its size tripled; the young warrior's feet sank further into the cracking ground, bits of stone and rubble beneath him rising into the air shakily.
A large burst of ki erupted from Gohan's palms, cascading forward and into his attack. The golden blast nudged forward, briefly, against its opponent, before easily ripping through it. Both blasts soared higher and higher into the sky, until only a small blip of light could be seen leaving the atmosphere.
Debris and dust had littered the air, obscuring everything within sight. The golden aura around the boy returned to its smaller white form, before disappearing entirely.
Gohan looked around, hi eyes narrowed as he attempted to see through the haze. He paused, turning to his right. As the smoke began to clear, two dark outlines began taking form several dozen feet away.
"Really?" The serious expression on the child's face melted into a grin. "A sneak attack?" he asked the figures, their identity obscured in shadows.
Gohan laughed. "You guys should give me a little more credit. Nice try though."
The two figures were getting larger, their steps echoing across the plains. After several seconds the smoke cleared away. The two attackers walked side by side, their pace even.
The attacker on the left's cape billowed in the wind, the white of it and his turban reflecting brightly in the sun. He easily towered over his companion, and would have dwarfed most people as well. Green limbs protruded from his tunic, and the man's green expression was neutral, blank.
Not that it was surprising: Piccolo nearly always kept his face expressionless, even to Gohan, his former student.
On the other person black flaming hair swayed in the wind, a familiar scowl fixed on his features. The blue and white armor that he'd worn for the last year gleamed, his gloves still crackling with energy as an occasional spark jumped from them. His arms were crossed, and onyx eyes watched Gohan with disturbing ferocity.
His posture, though arrogantly relaxed, beheld an attentive readiness, his feet fixed firmly into the ground. Vegeta was every bit the Saiyan royalty he claimed to be.
The two aliens stopped short several feet from Gohan. Without turning to the other, they walked away from each other, stopping once the three persons created a perfect triangle. The only sounds their Mexican Standoff heard were the whistling wind and grinding of sand caught in its grasp.
"You're slacking, boy." Vegeta's voice was hoarse, his usual sneer directed at the half-Saiyan. "Obviously your human side is interfering with your training. Mere weeks ago you would have had ample time to evade those blasts; now you have to use an attack like that, and waste your precious ki? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; you did inherit the weaker genes that our race spawned."
Gohan's eye twitched at this statement. The barbs against his father were not uncommon, but had picked up in ferocity ever since he died. The Prince would never admit it, but he took the loss of Gohan's father hard. He'd not only lost his rival, but it was when the man had saved his and his family's lives. It didn't help that, at the time, he'd easily outmatched Vegeta in strength and power.
Now the Saiyan Elite had to make due with him, the son of his rival, who not only eclipsed both himself and his father in power, but had killed the very beast that murdered Goku. There was no resolution for Vegeta, only cold embitterment.
"Yet I'm stronger than I was last year, and I was stronger then than you are now," teased Gohan.
Piccolo's blank expression crumbled. He smirked crookedly as he saw the Saiyan Prince flush furiously with crimson.
Vegeta's eyes narrowed into slits, glaring at the now smiling Gohan as though hoping he would combust right on the spot.
"Why you brat!" Vegeta yelled, his blue-tinted aura flaring up reflexively. "Do you know how many planets buckled under my iron grip? The species that have broken at the mere sound of my name—"
"Are you two about done?" Piccolo's deep voice cut in. The two Saiyans broke their somewhat argument, Vegeta's aura vanishing abruptly, and turned to the Namekian. "All I want to hear are your grunts and swears after I plow you both into the ground."
Gohan turned back to Vegeta. The older Saiyan returned his gaze with a sinister smirk. Without even shouting aloud a golden aura surrounded the warrior, his hair flickering to the same shade of gold. His green eyes shone with a predatory hunger, shifting in-between the boy and the Namekian.
Gohan grinned as well. His lustrous aura burst around him again, its wavy flames sizzling in the hot air. His hair stood on end, spiking up and prickling, its golden hue glowing intensely. His green eyes shifted from their previous playfulness, a calm somberness overtaking him. He rolled his neck from side to side, several well placed cracks arising from his movements.
Piccolo rolled his eyes. The former Guardian of Earth threw his turban and cape to the ground, indenting the hardened soil encompassing it. He grunted, and a pearly white flame enveloped his body. The Namekian clenched his hands, flexing his forearms, before dropping into a fighting stance, and Gohan followed suit. Vegeta sneered at the two of them, his posture straight and his arms crossed in front of him.
Piccolo suddenly charged Gohan, sprinting forward with his hands outright. The Saiyan dodged a shot at his ribs, twisting his body around the fist, only to have his head thrown back by a second punch at his jaw. Piccolo didn't let up, despite having the honor of landing the first punch.
The Namekian never gave him a chance to recover, his fists flying forward dozens of times a second. Gohan, unfortunately for the Namek, had gotten his bearings by this point, and effectively evaded all the strikes.
Gohan dodged his mentor's attacks with graceful intensity, occasionally blocking a stray punch or kick. He patiently waited; over time he went on the defensive, his body instinctively responding to Piccolo's movements. Though he was powerful, the half-Saiyan disliked powering through his opponents, especially if they put up a fight.
Finally, he found an opening between his opponent's ribs. Gohan ducked the last blow, contorted to the side and away from the Namek's roundhouse kick, and nailed Piccolo in the gut. Piccolo grunted, hurling backwards in the air. He crashed into a pile of debris several hundred feet away, rocks and boulders of varying sizes entombing the Namek-born fighter.
Before Gohan could enjoy his moment of triumph, his head snapped to the side, sending him sprawling into the ground. The Super Saiyan groaned as the left side of his face stung painfully. Slowly, he picked himself up onto one knee, kneeling, and looked up.
Vegeta towered over him, grinning malevolently: his hand was still outstretched from when he'd backhanded Gohan. He lowered the appendage, rolling his head from side to side casually. The whirring of their brilliant auras filled the silence.
"You're on your knees," noted Vegeta. He cackled. "At last you learn, you third class brat!"
As he said the word "brat" Vegeta planted his foot in Gohan's stomach, punting the boy high into the air. He was sent spiraling speedily into the sky. Vegeta, a trail of gold energy following him, cut off Gohan's ascension, roundhouse kicking him back toward the ground. His landing was rough; Gohan crashed in a crumpled heap into the earth, sand and dirt obscuring his body.
Vegeta's leg appeared out of nowhere, descending down viciously for the boy's exposed back. A small hand grasped the heel of Vegeta's foot, but Vegeta's other leg launched itself at the boy's now turning face: it had been a distraction.
With his other hand Gohan caught the other offensive heel; Vegeta floated in the air horizontally, his weight shifting down toward his feet. The younger Super Saiyan quickly lifted himself up, having a firm hold on Vegeta's legs still. The Elite sneered, but his facial muscles strained as he attempted shifting out of Gohan's grasp.
He twirled his wrists, spinning Vegeta around at speeds anyone else's neck might have snapped at. It only lasted a couple seconds, though; it was obvious to any aware of their strength that Vegeta would stop himself.
That was why Gohan clasped onto Vegeta's ankle, hoisted it over his shoulder, and threw the older man into the ground. Hard.
Gohan quickly charged an azure ki blast, releasing it only a couple feet away from his opponent. The blue sphere exploded upon impacting with the Prince, catapulting him across the plains. Gohan threw his arms in front of him, charging another blue ki attack within his hands. Once it tripled the size of the previous energy attack, Gohan roared and released it.
However, yards away from its target, the spiraling Vegeta thrust his limbs out to his sides and stopped in mid-air. He glared venomously at the incoming blast, charging his hand with golden energy and deflecting it away. The sound of a small explosion resounded, leading the two to assume it careened into a nearby mountain ridge.
Vegeta turned his gaze toward his preteen opponent.
Gohan smiled broadly at the man, his hands thrown in front of his chest curled into fists. He lightly trotted in place, on the balls of his feet.
The Prince of Saiyans saw red.
He snarled, the golden ambient energy surrounding him doubling in size. He flew forward to engage Gohan, his gloved hands crackling with blue ki.
Gohan powered up again, rising quickly into the sky. Vegeta turned upward as well, overreaching Gohan again, and immediately engaging him in hand-to-hand combat. Their faces scrunched up in concentration, they each simultaneously aimed punches at their enemy and defended themselves from their opponent's. An occasional kick was tossed into the mix, one time an entire dozen of them from Vegeta to throw Gohan off balance, but the two Saiyans remained in a deadlock, with neither overtaking the other.
This went on for several minutes, with Vegeta's exhausted sneer watching Gohan's tired grimace.
The Prince of Saiyans, his irritation at the stalemate reaching its peak, broke off his attack and retreated several yards away. He brought his hands forward, sending a volley of yellow ki blasts at Gohan. Almost instantly the boy countered with his own bright sapphire ones. The sky lit up intensely, even underneath the midday sun; the combination of yellow and blue great emerald green explosions, each sending off jade sparks. Each single blast resonated within their eardrums, each of the several dozen explosions ringing their ears and blinding their green eyes.
Whoosh! A purple beam of ki cleaved through the small ki minefield, forcing the two Saiyans to duck and flow below the incoming attack.
They turned their heads: Piccolo, with one arm outstretched in front of him, smirked at the pair of Saiyans. Dust and dirt covered his body, his cloths ripped and torn.
He shouted, and his white aura erupted around him in a brilliant and radiant display of power. The Namekian was in one piece and ready to fight.
More importantly, though, he was refreshed. His two opponents were sweaty and panting, their cloths torn and smeared in sweat and blood. They had been fighting each other for nearly fifteen minutes, enough time for each of the Saiyans to suspect the Namekian of letting them tire each other out.
But the short reprieve didn't last; Piccolo charged rapidly at the two warriors, faster than their weary minds could have anticipated. Piccolo's foot was feet from crashing into Gohan. However, the boy was ready for such an attack, his arms crossed in front of him to absorb the blow—
The foot, along with its Namekian, vanished. Gohan faltered, turning to an equally wary Vegeta. They looked around the empty sky, turning around back to back.
Piccolo reappeared in front of Vegeta, his right fist lowering toward the fighter's face. Gohan back away slightly, hoping to not get caught in—
Wham! Piccolo's wrist had been caught by Vegeta; the Namekian twirled the Saiyan around, gathering speed, before throwing the older Saiyan at Gohan's unguarded form. Vegeta, with his combined Super Saiyan strength and momentum from the toss, kicked the younger Super Saiyan, careening him down toward the earth.
They tricked him!
'Why am I surprised?' was Gohan's singular thought before he crashed into the ground. The intensity of his landing was such that he shattered the ground beneath him, sinking into a deep cavern of dirt and stone. Piles of dust and dirt and sand arose, being carried by and mixing in with the wind.
A tense silence plagued the battlefield. Piccolo and Vegeta looked at each other with uncertainness. Sure, Piccolo had been knocked out briefly, but, admittedly, he wasn't a Super Saiyan.
And he wasn't Gohan.
The wind howled around them, blowing so fiercely that it brought much of their work's debris up toward them.
Crunch! A large gash spread across the ground. Almost immediately it shattered, with bits of earthly shrapnel piercing up into the sky with alarming quickness. The two adult fighters danced around the sharp rocks, avoiding them with practiced ease.
Once the upward raining of stone had ceased they looked around their surroundings anxiously. Almost as if they sensed their impending doom, they hesitantly turned around.
Gohan floated just at their same level, only a few yards away. His green eyes beheld a calm, almost dispassionate intensity. He held their gaze evenly, his lips twitching into the barest of smiles.
It was only then that the two Z-Fighters noticed both his hands were cupped together at his side. A brilliant shade of cerulean emanated from in-between his fingers, a large sphere of ki gathering savagely within his palms.
Before Vegeta and Piccolo could react to these insane turn of events, Gohan quietly spoke.
"Ha…" His words were soft, but his voice was adamant and steeled. "Me…"
Vegeta and Piccolo turned to each other worriedly; it was abundantly clear the boy had begun the chant before they'd even noticed him. It was too late to avoid it.
"Oh well." Piccolo sighed deeply. "I suppose he deserved this win."
"… Shut up, Namek," Vegeta spat out.
"HA!" Cobalt energy exploded from the Saiyan's hands towards its two unfortunate victims. The Kamehameha Wave's girth widened as it shot towards them, flooding the sky and ground in fluorescent powerful shades of indigo. The blast collided with the two Z-Warriors, sending shock-waves that shook the Earth below them, and incinerating any clouds within several miles of their battle.
The two warriors crashed in a heap onto the ground, Piccolo lying on top of Vegeta among numerous amounts of rubble and indented stony floors. Their auras had left their bodies, Vegeta's hair reverting to its original black coloring.
Gohan dropped out of Super Saiyan, panting as his hair fell and became onyx again. He landed next to where his collapsed friends lay, biting his tongue to keep himself from giggling at their prone, groaning forms. Smoke wafted off of their bodies, their clothes torn and burnt.
Slowly they recovered, lifting themselves from the rubble that layered them. Dusting themselves off they turned to the victor, who sheepishly smiled at them.
"I guess Vegeta was right." Piccolo smiled slightly at the boy. "Your last Kamehameha was twice as powerful."
"And," Vegeta added bitterly, "you didn't get nearly as many bruises from us. Though, I wouldn't expect anything less from a half-breed like you."
Gohan examined his body curiously. There were indeed many scratches and bruises on him, his clothes were torn and signing in several places on his body. Thankfully he was durable, barely even feeling the small injuries.
Good, it meant his training was paying off.
Inspired by his father, and hoping to live up to his legacy, Gohan agreed to regular training sessions with Vegeta and Piccolo, always either one or both of them. The other Z Fighters didn't really have a desire to keep fighting, instead opining to bask in their newfound peace. Krillin was enjoying his time with his newlywed wife, the former Android Eighteen, who was slowly adjusting to human life. Tien and Chiaotzu went off on their own most of the time, training somewhere on Earth privately. Yamcha focused on returning to baseball, now that the threats of invading Saiyans and Androids were over with.
It was probably for the best, anyway. Vegeta and Piccolo were the only two fighters who, admittedly, could give Gohan a run for his money. He was also the only one who could give the two a challenge also; he'd probably have frequent scuffles and sparring matches with the training-addicted aliens because of that fact.
Vegeta more then any of them kept up with his training. He virtually lived in the Gravity Room, rarely ever coming out except to eat and sleep. Gohan was forced by the Prince to not hold back when they fought, which he enforced by relentlessly and savagely attacking Gohan without mercy.
Both Gohan and Piccolo knew t Vegeta's goal was to surpass the younger Super Saiyan, which was obvious to anyone within their circle. He strove to reach the next stage of Super Saiyan to satiate his hunger, using the only living Ascended Saiyan ("Super Saiyan 2" as Gohan called it) as his tool and power gauge.
"What if I was just holding back?" said Gohan innocently. His eyes shone brightly. "You know I have a tendency to do that."
Gohan removed a small silk red bag from his pocket, pulling out three Senzu Beans from its innards. He tossed one to each of his friends, who caught them eagerly. They placed the beans in his mouth and chewed slowly, relishing the gentle feeling of their wounds healing.
Awkward silence fell over the trio, but unlike their previous ones it was warmly welcome.
"Vegeta," Gohan spoke suddenly, "there's something I need to ask you."
The aforementioned Saiyan grunted; Gohan took this as a sign to continue. Piccolo raised an eyebrow.
"Stuff's been happening to me for a while now," Gohan started, trying to articulate his words. "Strange stuff. Weird, abnormal stuff, actually, that I can't control."
Gohan wasn't sure why he decided to come clean. He thought back to his previous musings on the subject, resolving that it was time he consult Vegeta on the potential 'alien' nature of his accidents.
Vegeta snorted. "Well of course strange stuff is happening to you. You are a Saiyan warrior, not a pathetic human… well, you're not completely a pathetic human. They can't begin to fathom the power you and I possess at our leisure."
"No," said Gohan, "not that stuff. I mean strange for us. Things are happening around – probably to– me that are weird even for us."
A laugh escaped Vegeta. "Ha! What could possibly be strange to the likes of a green bean Namekian, the Prince of Saiyans, and an alien half-breed like you?"
"How about talking to snakes for starters?" Gohan said dryly.
"… did you say snakes?" This wiped the smirk off of Vegeta's face. His and Piccolo's expressions wore masks of shock and confusion.
Gohan huffed. "Yes, snakes; I can talk to snakes, apparently." The air filled with a soft pop!, the winds and Gohan's hysteria hiding it. "And I keep breaking stuff around my house, without even touching it! We're going through glassware so much my mom's thought about feeding me herself. Things have been disappearing and reappearing in places too, and I've even made things float around me!" He pleadingly looked from Vegeta to Piccolo, both of their usually stoic faces frowning worriedly. "Does this make any sense at all?"
"It makes a great deal of sense, Mr. Son! Just not to your friends." All three of them turned around quickly, startled by the voice.
Behind them a tall old man stood, smiling warmly at the trio of fighters. He wore dark purple robes and a pointy hat, with glasses over his startlingly bright blue eyes. A rather long white beard graced his features but, unlike Master Roshi, this old man had long white hair to match his facial hair.
How had he snuck up on them, three highly trained and powerful warriors? Could this old man hide his ki? Did he even know about ki?
"I must say," the stranger cheerfully continued, "you and your friends put on a very entertaining show. Your power was quite impressive; but, I suppose, I shouldn't expect anything less from you." Vegeta stepped forward, pointing his finger menacingly at the man.
"Who are you old man," Vegeta demanded, "and how did you sneak up on me?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Answer now, before I decide to blast you into the next world!" The stranger was unperturbed by the threat.
"I would gratefully appreciate it if you don't do that, Mr. Vegeta," the old man calmly replied. The three aliens froze at the address. "I am just here to speak with young Gohan, and answer his questions."
"Who are you," Gohan asked, eyeing the man suspiciously, "and how did you know my mine and Vegeta's names?"
"Oh, I am so sorry," the man exclaimed. "How terribly rude of me; usually I am much more polite. My name is Albus Dumbledore. I am Headmaster of a school known in my community as Hogwarts."
"Hogwarts? Ha!" Vegeta sneered at 'Dumbledore.' "What kind of school is named after pig acne?"
Dumbledore chuckled, his eyes twinkling brightly. "It does have a funny name, but that is not important. The school I teach at is located far away, in Scotland, Great Britain, and its full name is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Silence greeted him. "Perhaps a demonstration is in order?"
The man removed from his robes a stick; it was pale, very elaborately designed with nubs along its length.
He pointed the stick at the ground, away from them, swishing it lightly before bringing it down with his arm swiftly. A soft whoosh filled the air.
"Meow." Gohan, Vegeta, and Piccolo stared dumbly at a small, black, big eyed kitten. It licked its paws interestedly. "Meow."
The man –the wizard– Dumbledore raised his wand again, swishing it a second time. Before their eyes the tiny kitten elongated and bulked up, growing furrier as it grew in size. Its hair lightened in most places, splotches of black morphing into a dark orange.
Where the once small kitten sat innocently watching them was a large Bengal tiger, its eyes narrowing hungrily as it observed them.
Dumbledore laughed. "Transfiguration has always been my favorite subject. I used to teach it, before I became Headmaster." With a final swish of his stick –his wand?– the tiger disappeared with a soft poof!
The Headmaster chuckled at the range of emotions displayed by the three fighters: shock, incredulousness, disbelief, excitement, suspicion, and so many others.
"I assume you understand what I am trying to say?" he asked them.
"Witchcraft and Wizardry?" Gohan repeated. The words processed through his head, their true meaning sinking into his mind.
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes. Those two terms are used by the school to emphasis the equality of both males and females within the magical community. As you've just seen, Gohan, magic is as real and dangerous as you and your friends, which is why we take great strides in teaching those who can use it how to. Males that use magic are called wizards, and females are witches. I am a wizard: but more importantly, so are you, Gohan."
The air seemed to chill. Piccolo and Vegeta turned to each other, surprised. They looked to Gohan; the boy was equally as shocked as them.
"Me, a wizard?" Gohan looked from Piccolo and Vegeta to Dumbledore.
He bit his lip. A few magic users existed; he'd heard a few stories from his father and friends, particularly their encounters with Master Roshi's sister. Not to mention the Flying Nimbus, his family's magic cloud, and various other magical objects he'd heard of like the Bansho Fan. The Guardian of Earth position was about as mystical and magical as anything could get. Mr. Popo was even a genie, and his friend Icarus was a dragon!
Still, Gohan could hardly take this stranger's word –"Professor Dumbledore's" insistence– that he was one of them, that he was also a… a wizard. The things that had happened to him were… abnormal, but magical too? Gohan couldn't be a wizard, he was a Saiyan! His father wasn't magical; he was a fighter for Kami's sake! His mother was just plain human too; there was no way he could be a wizard when no one in his family was.
Perhaps this Dumbledore was trying to trick them. He appeared to be a kind elderly man, like an eccentric grandfather almost, but there was something… more, about this Professor Dumbledore. Behind his spectacles and beyond his rather impressive beard, the man's bright blue eyes sparkled with kindness, like his father. It was because they were so similar to Gohan's father's eyes that he could notice a fiery confidence within them, and a strength that only few could muster in a glance. He wasn't strong, not with ki at least, but there was a powerful aura around the man. Gohan could almost feel it radiating off him.
The Dragon Balls were magical: they were so magical, that they had the power to grant wishes. If there was a whole community of witches and wizards hidden in the world, nothing within it could hope to match the magic powers of Shenron, the Eternal Dragon the seven mystical orbs summoned. What if this was all a façade to get the Dragon Balls? It was almost too much of a coincidence he approached them.
Gohan had to play dumb, at least for the moment. "But that's… that's not possible. I mean, magic doesn't—"
"We know it exists, Gohan," Piccolo interrupted. He turned to Dumbledore, shrewdly analyzing the man. "We all know, so there's not point in trying to keep it a secret." So Piccolo was alright with this wizard knowing about the Dragon Balls?
Wait, no – the Namekian shook his head ever so subtly at Gohan. The green fighter surely had enough experience to not be so careless with the knowledge of the Dragon Balls. So, he was just talking about everything else then? That they could trust this man, barring revealing anything too… personal?
"When Kami fused with me," Piccolo continued, "I learned of an entire secret society of people who use magic. Channeled through their 'wands,' they used spells and magic for everyday things, unbeknownst to the rest of the world." He nodded toward the wand in Professor Dumbledore's hand. "I also learned bits of their culture, as well as a bit of their history. Kami's memories are hazy, to say the least, but I have a firm enough grasp on them at the moment."
"They live on the planet in small clusters, without revealing themselves to the outside world out of secrecy; typically, they only operate with other magic-users, and clean up after their messes to stay unnoticed. Based on what you've told us –levitating objects and making them disappear and the like– it does sound like magic. You're a wizard, Gohan."
It was a lot to take in for the boy. He'd seen things most people couldn't fathom, fought monsters that they couldn't dream up in their worst nightmares. But that was normal for Gohan. This – magic – being a wizard thing, waving a magic wand and creating kittens and tigers out of thin air, it was just so… not normal.
"Why?" Gohan turned to Dumbledore. "Mr. Dumbledore, why are you here? Why am I a – a wizard? It's nice to know what's happening to me, I guess, but why are you telling me all of this?"
"I am here to invite you to join our school," said Dumbledore, "so you may learn about your magic and how to control it. As a wizard or witch grows they usually show signs of magic in the form of 'accidental magic' by no later than ten years of age. Accidental magic is raw and untrained, occurring usually because of a wizard's emotions. The results may vary, but what you've described are all examples of accidental magic. Once this occurs, and the child is eleven years-old, a school nearby invites them to attend and harness their abilities. I am offering you the same opportunity, and attend Hogwarts to learn about magic."
"That makes sense, I suppose," admitted Gohan. Though he was attempting to stay calm regarding this whole upheaval, the more they talked about magic and wizardry the more excited Gohan became. He was a wizard! He could learn magic, something no one else he knew could do!
A previous thought returned to mind, however, and Gohan sobered up again.
But why am I a wizard," he asked, "why am I just learning I have magic? You said everyone shows signs by the time they're ten and… well, I wasn't showing any signs of magic when I was ten, I know that for sure. My parents definitely weren't magical either."
"I do believe I said we usually show signs of magic around ten years of age ," Dumbledore replied merrily. "But it is a reasonable question, and one that can be answered quite easily."
"A family with no magical history can indeed produce a child with magic," he explained to the three fighters. "These children are called Muggle-borns. The term Muggle is simply a term wizards and witches use to refer to non-magical people. Typically Muggle-borns, having no knowledge of magic, experience their magic quite infrequently compared to those who do, since it comes more as a need than a want. But, like you said, your situation is a most confusing one."
Dumbledore's turquoise eyes twinkled. "I personally believe that, because you are half Saiyan, those were the dominant genes in you for quite some time, overpowering your magical genes with their… aggressive nature. This required a little more time for your body to register your magic, once it finally matured enough and grew into itself."
The three warriors' eyes bulged, gawking at the ancient wizard incredulously.
"It is only my personal theory, though," added Dumbledore.
"How do you know the boy is half Saiyan?" roared Vegeta, a torrential wind bursting around him at his menacing tone. "No, wait, a better question is how is how you even know Saiyans exist! You weak Earthlings are whiny children within this galaxy, withdrawn into your own pathetic world."
"That is a fair question on your part, Prince Vegeta." Professor Dumbledore's eyes twinkled again as Vegeta froze, his mouth hung agape. "The various Ministries of Magic, the many governments which run our World, have been keeping watch on you and your friends' movements since you, Vegeta, and your partner landed in East City so many years ago. Almost anywhere in the world there are a few a wizards or witches who, are either settled into the Muggle World, or live in one of our many spread out populations. Our webs of communication, though not as technologically superior as Muggles, are no less immediate, and allow the flow of information to be almost instantaneous."
The wizard frowned, for the first time his stormy eyes hardening. "You killed more than a few wizards and witches when you destroyed East City, Vegeta, and upon your arrival we knew you were the cause. Naturally we assumed you were powerful dark wizards, but we couldn't locate any whispers or news of dark magic activity. So, once we exhausted all of our usual sources of information, we turned to a witch highly regarded within our community: a Seer, so powerful and elusive that she had fallen into myth within several circles at the time. Thankfully, though, she is a close friend of mine."
Dumbledore smiled. "Baba, your Master Roshi's sister, tends to stay away from Wizarding society; she found the isolationist atmosphere unsettling, preferring to stay affixed within the light than the shadows. A Seer, by our definition, is a witch or wizard who can divine the future, particularly through visions and prophecies. One of our most celebrated Seers, no one ever coming close to rivaling Baba's experience. In fact, Baba was quite good friends with an associate of mine, Nicholas, another well-aged individual. She even taught at Hogwarts for some thirty years; I was lucky enough to have taken her Divination course during my time as a student. As you can expect, she didn't need to consult her abilities to explain what was going on."
Vegeta swore heatedly under his breath, cursing the witch profusely.
"How much do you know?" Piccolo asked, eyeing the wizard carefully. Dumbledore returned his stare evenly, turning to meet each of their three gazes.
"Everything," he said simply.
"And by everything you mean…" drawled Vegeta. It was obvious that, despite this overwhelmingly alarming news, that they had been exposed, he would not show fear or concern.
"Your attack on Earth, your trip to Namek, the tyrant Frieza and he and his father's demise on Earth, Dr. Gero and his Androids, your involvement in the creation Cell," Dumbledore smiled warmly at Gohan, "and, of course, your involvement in his death. She's updated us over the years, whenever we requested explanations for certain activities. Admittedly, we had strongly considered getting involved when these occurrences threatened us, but Baba convinced us we would only be a hindrance." He laughed. "I must say, after the fact, I quite agree with her."
"Mr. Dumbledore?" The adults turned to the quiet voice. Gohan stared down at the ground, his eyes avoiding the professor's gaze. "Do all witches and wizards know I defeated Cell? Does anyone know about us?"
The Z-Fighters greatly valued their privacy, especially those harboring aliens. That they could do so many great and terrifying things was a constant reminder of the media circus, the fear and panic, that might be incited if others learned about them. It was for this reason that none of them contested Hercule Satan's bold claims of killing Cell and saving the Earth. Gohan especially was concerned about it, given the life he'd been forced into at such a young age.
"No, Gohan." Dumbledore's tone was soft and gentle. "Only a handful of wizards, who work for several Ministries, and I know the truth. Baba explained that your solitude was something you all cherished, and demanded that we respect that. Given that she is a great asset to them, their compliance is mandatory. So your secret is safe."
"So," he concluded, "now that I have explained the situation, onto my question: Will you accept my invitation, and become a student at Hogwarts, Gohan?"
The Saiyan considered the question. He wanted to go to Hogwarts, he truly did. Academics weren't a problem; Gohan was years and years beyond the level of normal –Muggle?– education twelve year-olds studied, knowledgeable well into university-level courses. The distance didn't bother Gohan; as a being capable of flying around the world several times in a single hour, not even at his top speed, going to a European school so far away wasn't problematic.
But why a European school?
"Before I answer," said Gohan, "why am I not being invited to a school closer to home? I'm sure yours is very good, sir, especially if Baba went there, but it seems a little strange to be invited to a magic school hundreds of miles away in Scotland, and not one even on my own continent."
Dumbledore smiled knowledgably. "There is a school, Mahoutokoro, a few hundred miles away. Unfortunately, they do not accept late starters, particularly those from… non-magic households; they prefer their students to not potentially fall behind in their studies, compared to certain others, and bring down their classmates as a result. So, naturally, I volunteered Hogwarts to school you."
"….Sure," said Gohan finally. He smiled brilliantly. "It sounds like fun."
"Wonderful! Now." He waved his wand, and an envelope appeared in his hand. Dumbledore gave it to Gohan. "Here is your list of supplies, and your official acceptance letter. I've already spoken to your mother, and she has eagerly allowed you to come. She asked that I inform you to meet her at Capsule Corporation after our talk, where she is currently picking up your little brother."
"A final note before I depart: You must refrain from using your Saiyan abilities while within the school grounds. Your super strength, speed, flying, energy manipulation and Super Saiyan abilities will not only raise suspicion from your peers, but could potentially endanger them. I believe you will not have a problem agreeing with this." Gohan nodded immediately. "Excellent. Now, I must be off. My friend and associate, Hagrid, will be picking you up tomorrow afternoon to acquire your supplies."
Dumbledore bowed slightly. "Welcome to the Wizarding World, Gohan; we are all proud to have you. Piccolo, Vegeta, I bid you a good day. I shall see you at the start of the term, Gohan."
A loud crack! whipped across the air. Albus Dumbledore was gone.
Vegeta looked across the deserted plains, his face etched with fury and confusion.
"Where did that blasted wizard go?" he demanded. "He doesn't have enough ki to fly, let alone use that confounded Instant Transmission!"
"I suppose it's another wizard power," said Piccolo dismissively. "You never know what's possible when it comes to magic. One day they're flying on brooms, the next they need only think of a place and they're there."
The former Kami turned and looked to his pupil. Gohan locked eyes with Piccolo. The Namek was thrown back into his memories, to the face of an innocent boy he'd picked up and told he had a great power within him. Innocent but determined. Hesitant but curious.
Piccolo smirked; it was in the boy's nature to be feeling such excitement, mentally and genetically. His Saiyan side would want that power to be utilized and trained at its peak, and the boy himself would want to learn more about this Wizarding World and its magic.
"So, Gohan," he said casually, "shall we go to Capsule Corp? I'm sure everyone would like to know of this 'fascinating' news."
Gohan beamed up at him. "Yeah, let's go."
Together, within a mighty white flame made up of three, the two and a half aliens jumped into the sky, ascending further into the atmosphere. Finally, they shot across the horizon. As their trail of white ki faded behind them, a faint twinkle of their energy flared across the sky.
So, what'd you guys think? Factually it's better than the original, but R&Ring is a guilty pleasure here for everyone, and it's nice to know what I write up is entertaining. Again, these rewrites will vary in their delivery here, but I am hurrying along as I can.