Hey all, thanks for waiting. I know it's been a while since I updated, but I hope this really long chapter might make up for it. Also, yeah I changed the thing, just cause. Enjoy!
Chapter 11: Double Vision
A cry of anger escaped Gohan as he threw a rock at the sky. Holes pierced cloud after cloud as the stoned soared higher and higher.
"Why does Malfoy's dad scare everyone so much?" he asked his friends. "From what I've seen he's all talk!"
"The whole lot of them are snakes," Ron spat, "but the Malfoys are one of the oldest Wizarding families. And they're powerful; the Malfoys are always throwing their money around. Even if Malfoy's dad didn't work for You-Know-Who, no one on the Committee would stand up to him." He scoffed and kicked at the ground. "Especially for just a hippogriff."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione told their friend earlier in the week, right after Gohan returned from his hours-long sparring match with Piccolo, that Buckbeak's fate had been decided. Gohan was shocked that the Committee had decided to execute the hippogriff, and his heart sank when he noticed Hagrid's tears staining the letter Hermione showed him.
They hurried over to their Care of Magical Creatures lesson, the only time they could talk to Hagrid thanks to the curfews set in light of Sirius Black's now multiple appearances inside Hogwarts. He looked even more disheveled than usual. His beard was completely unkempt and filthy. His eyes matched the blackness of the bags beneath them, large and protruding. He barreled through their lessons in a glazed state, the now impending doom of Buckbeak clearly taking its toll.
"S'all my fault," Hagrid told the quartet after class, as he walked everyone back up to the castle. "Got all tongue-tied." He mentioned that after his clumsy and desperate plea for leniency from the Committee, Lucius Malfoy spoke and completely eroded any chances of Buckbeak's safety away.
As Ron attempted to bolster Hagrid's confidence they saw Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle ahead of them, looking back at the five and laughing uproariously. They finally reached the castle, and the four students hung back to continue speaking with Hagrid.
"S'no good, Ron," Hagrid finally said. "That Committee's in Lucius Malfoy's pocket. I'm jus' gonna make sure the rest o' Beaky's time is the happiest he's ever had. I
owe him that…"
Hagrid turned and ran back to his hut, sobbing into his hands. As they walked through the castle doors Gohan noticed Hermione holding back tears of her own, and Ron and Harry a fierce light in their eyes at the hopelessness of the situation.
Gohan sighed heavily. 'Why is everything so awful?'
"Look at him blubber!"
Malfoy and his two hulking companions were huddled together on the other side of the door, listening in on their conversation. Gohan was, again, shocked at the gall and callousness Malfoy possessed.
"Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?" Malfoy asked his friends. "And he's supposed to be our teacher!"
Harry and Ron started forward at Malfoy, reaching for their wands. Gohan, unable to control his outrage, summoned a torrential wind and caused his body to crackle with electricity.
Hermione let out a small shriek as she brought her open palm across Malfoy's face, her face bright red and her eyes alight. Malfoy fell back against the door, leaning against it for support with a bedazzled expression.
Harry, Ron, Gohan, Crabbe, and Goyle just stood there, staring at the bushy-haired brunette in shock. Hermione raised her hand again threateningly at Malfoy.
"Don't you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul — you evil —"
"Hermione!" Ron made a grab at Hermione, desperately and somewhat bemusedly trying to hold her back.
"Get off, Ron!"
Hermione quickly brandished her wand. Malfoy leapt from his spot and onto his feet. Crabbe and Goyle looked to their leader, not knowing what to do.
"C'mon." Malfoy's response was short and quick, his gaze aimed at the floor. The three Slytherins left quickly, heading for the dungeons.
"Hermione!" This time Gohan had joined Ron's cry, both boys equally awed.
"Harry, you'd better beat him in the Quidditch final!" Hermione shrilly shouted. "You just better had, because I can't stand it if Slytherin wins!" She left in a huff afterwards.
"…We're due in Charms," Ron finally spoke, his eyes following Hermione's shrinking form. "We'd better go."
They hurried for Professor Flitwick's classroom to discover Hermione wasn't there. Harry and Ron and Gohan spent the entire Charms class learning Cheering Charms. One thought, however, didn't leave the edges of Gohan's mind the entire lesson.
'All the girls I know are terrifying.'
For some reason Gohan had almost forgotten Professor Trelawney's voice, but upon hearing the melodramatic "Good day to you!" he remembered he had her just the previous week. Today they were moving up to the crystal ball, a staple of Divination and a magical object Gohan was fairly familiar with.
"The fates have informed me," she told the class, "that your examination in June will concern the Orb, and I am anxious to give you sufficient practice."
"Well, honestly…" Gohan eyed Hermione's glowering form uneasily, "'the fates have informed her…' who sets the exam? She does! What an amazing prediction!"
They got into their usual groups, Ron with Harry and Gohan with Hermione, and attempted crystal gazing.
"Crystal gazing is a particularly refined art," Professor Trelawney's voice carried over the children like an echo. "I do not expect any of you to See when first you peer into the Orb's infinite depths. We shall start by practicing relaxing the conscious mind and external eyes, so as to clear the Inner Eye and the superconscious." Harry elbowed Ron to keep him from sputtering out with laughter. "Perhaps, if we are lucky, some of you will See before the end of the class."
"You're actually going along with this?" Hermione couldn't hide the disdain in her voice from Gohan, who had been staring with onyx eyes into the crystal ball for fifteen minutes. "This is such a waste of time."
"You don't have a mother who wanted to name you Einstein," Gohan protested, turning away from the crystal at last to look at Hermione. "My mom takes my studies seriously, so she makes me take my studies seriously."
"Even if it were a joke of a class?" They both turned to look at Ron and Harry, the latter of which trying to make the former stop his constant giggling.
"It might be a waste of time," said Gohan, "but I love and fear my mother too much to just sit back. I picked this class, so I have to at least try."
"And how will your mother feel when she hears you tried, and still failed the class?"
"…" Gohan turned back to look into the crystal ball. Hermione harrumphed, but the Saiyan could practically feel the glint that burned triumphantly in the girl's eyes.
She was right though. Gohan closed his eyes, his eyelids heavy and wanting to rest since he'd started gazing. As much as Gohan defended Divination and Professor Trelawney, it really was "a joke of a class." Why did he and his friends have to sign up for it? The Saiyan wizard was never one to take shortcuts or the easy way, but he chose the class to spend time with his friends.
Gohan sighed whimsically. 'Maybe Hermione and I should have insisted we all take Ancient Runes or something together. Anything but this class.'
"I could be practicing something useful," he heard Hermione mutter darkly. "I should be catching up on Cheering Charms—" The little blip of Professor Trelawney's ki registered in his mind, and Gohan sensed her hurriedly make her away over to their corner.
Gohan quickly opened his eyes, fixing them firmly on the crystal ball. Whatever honest opinions he had about the class, he did not want to be a slacker. If he failed the class, well, then that would be the end of it (and him). But Gohan had experiences in and out of the fighting arena that told him failure without even trying was inexcusable.
'Still, Gohan reluctantly watched the murky wisps of smoke and fog within the sphere, it doesn't all sound stupid. When you get past the Seer-Speak it sounds a lot like sensing energy.'
Gohan recalled the words Professor Trelawney had spoken to them, about how they should relax the mind and external eyes; both actions were key when wanting to learn how to sense, and things anyone capable of sensing were effortlessly able to do.
The young wizard looked over toward Harry and Ron, who had to deal with Professor Trelawney hovering over them as she foretold Harry's future. Granted he knew nothing about the Inner Eye or superconscious, but maybe Gohan should put his own spin on things. It was more productive than hearing more about Harry's death omens, or reminders of certain failure from Hermione.
Gohan gazed unblinkingly into the crystal ball, his black eyes narrowed. He watched the innards of the crystal ball move about airily, the smoke dancing before his eyes. He easily cleared his mind and focused only on the ball, dark spots glittering in his vision. Gohan was careful to not actually sense ki, only applying its fundamentals of concentration and relaxing his mind: at the intensity he focused at he was sure to sense every nearby dementor.
Fog. Fog. Fog. Fog. Fog. Fog. Fog.
Nothing appeared in the ball. A full minute of nothing underwhelmed Gohan's senses.
He sighed, eyes still sadly locked with the crystal. In the outskirts of his thoughts he heard what appeared to be Hermione shouting, and darted his eyes to the side to—
"Soon you will all die!"
Gohan froze. A humanoid alien, bathed in white and blue flames, flashed through the Saiyan's vision as a deep hoarse voice —the alien?— echoed in his ears.
Gohan instinctively forced the thundering of Professor Trelawney's and Hermione's yells from his thoughts, returning his gaze and focus onto the crystal ball. The fog teased him, playfully jumping to and fro within the sphere. And then—
He was surrounded by miles of sand and stone. The desert's sand picked up as a cold wind howled across the plains.
The scaly flaming creature faced five adversaries, four males and a female. They were clothed in vested armor —warriors— and a green visor hid each of their left eyes. One was kneeling on the ground, gasping for air as his forehead kissed the sand. His brown belt twitched against his waist.
"Soon you will all die!" said the creature.
The crouching figure got up, snarling at the alien. A scar on his left cheek marred his face, and his spiky black hair swayed in the wind.
"Yeah?" the man shouted. "We'll see about that!"
He raised his right hand up to his face, curled into a fist. "Goodbye—"
"Wait!" The man faltered at the alien's order. His teammates looked equally uneasy, wary of the flaming figure.
"You have come here seeking psychic power," the alien spoke. "Well, I have given it to you." He paused. "Bardock."
'Bardock' gritted his teeth. "He reads minds."
"You can too, now, Bardock," the alien replied. "You have the power now too!"
Bardock stiffened. "Me? What are you talking about?"
"The one who seeks the power –Frieza– will never have it! But I have given it to you as a gift, Bardock, so that you could See…"
"See what?" Bardock demanded.
The alien smiled. "See the horror of your end, just like we had too." The alien cackled hoarsely. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha—"
"SHUT UP!" Bardock roared. He raised his hand and threw it forward. A blue beam of ki soared forward, engulfing the laughing creature. Its cry of agony was brief, its body immediately incinerating into flaming chunks of flesh.
"Instant barbeque," one of the other warriors said. He was portly and sported a thin mustache. He eyed the ashes of the fallen alien amusedly. "Heh. You never know what you're going to find under a rock these days. Pretty freaky creature, eh?"
Silence answered him.
He turned to his compatriots. "Hey? Yo, hello—"
Bardock crashed forward, his eyes glazed a milky cream color. He fell face-first onto the sandy earth, his body splayed out as his allies quickly surrounded him.
For an instant, everything was engulfed by an intense light, as if smothered by a warm blanket. The echoes of a distant, high pitched scream reverberated through the endless oblivion. Bright nothingness clouded everything. Finally, whether years or only seconds later Gohan didn't know, the screaming ended. All that remained was dead silence.
Trees. Trees and brush were everywhere in sight, and everywhere beyond sight. Green and brown surrounded and protruded everything. Silence filled the vast forest, devoid of all life but the still vegetation.
Branches on the ground were crushed underfoot. A tall figure basking in shadows, hidden by green, stood silently. The phantom brought their right hand up, brushing its palm gingerly against a tree trunk.
It was engulfed in red flames instantly. A cruel wind snuffed out the fire, revealing a withered black husk where the once lush plant was.
The figure turned around. Several crispy ashen trees littered the horizon, smoke wafting lightly in the air. It faced front and walked, its feet landing hard and screeching against the ground.
"Gohan? Gohan! Are you alright?"
Gohan groaned groggily. The Saiyan tried nodding, but his head banged against something hard and cold. He uneasily opened his eyes, their lids weighing tons. Green eyes stared down at him with concern.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked.
He extended his hand. Gohan was dazedly surprised he could lift his arms as he reached out to grab the offered arm. Pulling himself up, Gohan realized he had been lying on the ground. His tail swayed alongside him, having unraveled from his waist after he'd seemingly passed out.
"How are you feeling, child?" Gohan turned to Professor Trelawney, her bespectacled bug-eyes starring softly at him.
Everyone in class had encircled him and Harry. Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown whispered to each other worriedly as they stood with a group of girls. Neville eyed Gohan worriedly alongside Dean and Seamus. Ron was pale, shivering like Neville, but holding Hermione close to him. The young witch was shivering, closer to shaking, and her eyes were puffy and red. Tears adorned her face.
"How are you feeling, Mr. Son?" Professor Trelawney repeated. "You gave us quite a fright, and surprised even my Inner Eye at your sudden collapse."
"I – I'm alright, Professor." It was a terrible lie. Gohan could feel his stomach rising up, a bitter taste in his throat. He didn't have vertigo, but it definitely felt like something close to it. The young Saiyan had broken out in a cold sweat too, by the looks of his robes.
"Would you like to go to the Hospital Wing, Mr. Son? I'm sensing you… might need to." Whether she truly divined that prediction Gohan didn't care. He felt like someone had tried ripping his skeleton out through his throat.
"No! Really, Professor, I—" Gohan paused. He bolted through the crowd until he reached the windowsill. Then the young Saiyan heaved. He emitted a gargled sigh of relief as he finished regurgitating his stomach's contents.
"Good heavens, child!" Professor Trelawney cried out. "What's wrong!"
Gohan groaned, his voice muffled by the distance and talking into the windowsill. "Are visions supposed to make you this sick?"
"What?" Gohan flinched. He hadn't meant to say that out loud.
"Visions. I think – I think I had… a vision." He was admitting it more to himself than to her, than to any of them. Would they believe it? Did he believe it?
"Are you certain?" Gohan was surprised to hear excitement in Professor Trelawney's voice. It was the first time she had ever expressed anything other than theatrical dread. "You possess the Inner Eye? Well done, Mr. Son, on your first try no less! What did you See? Were you able to call upon the Sight yourself, or was it an accident? I myself—"
"Professor!" Harry rushed forward to catch Gohan, who had lost his balance and began to falter down. He slung Gohan's arm around his shoulder, supporting the boy. "Don't you think Gohan should be in the Hospital Wing right now?"
"What?" Professor Trelawney, previously lost in her eagerness, regained her composure. "Oh, yes, very good Mr. Potter. Calling upon the Inner Eye is very strenuous, Mr. Son, especially the first time. You will have to be taken to Madam Pomfrey. Would you mind taking him, Mr. Potter? When I first accessed my Inner Eye, I was bedridden for quite—"
"I'll take Gohan, Professor." The entire class turned to Hermione, who had stepped out of Ron's arms and into the circle of students. "Class hasn't ended yet, and Harry shouldn't miss any of it. Besides, I was – I was on my way out, anyway."
"… Excellent point, Ms. Granger," said Professor Trelawney. "Hurry along now, before Mr. Son has the desire to… expel again."
Harry reprieved himself of duty. He began helping Hermione support Gohan, but the Saiyan insisted he was capable of walking on his own feet. The Saiyan jumped down past the rope ladder and, once Hermione climbed down, they made their way down the spiraling tower. Lavender Brown excitably shouted something, but its echoes made the words incoherent.
They made their way through the tower in silence, finally arriving in the castle. As they passed Professor McGonagall's classroom, Hermione spoke.
"How are you feeling?"
"Really?" she added. "It looked like you were really sick back in the Divination Tower, but now you seem better."
Again, Hermione was right. Only fifteen minutes ago Gohan couldn't have imagined standing on his own two legs and walking, let alone not feeling like his brain was being spun and stretched thin. But all those things that had plagued him before –the nausea, the dizziness, the headaches, and the 'knocked the wind out of him' feeling– had diminished greatly. While he had nearly fallen down and lost his balance standing up in the classroom, the Saiyan had regained his enhanced composure and footing, albeit with slight tremors in his step.
This thought suddenly made Gohan remember his tail was still swinging happily behind him. He quickly wrapped it back around his waist and under his robes.
"I do feel better," he told her. "I'm a little light-headed, and everything kind of aches still, but it's like it's in the back of my mind. I guess it was just a – a side-effect. Like my body not being used to doing… whatever it is that happened."
The two walked in shared silence, their footsteps echoing down the hall.
"Was it really – really what you said it was?" Hermione's voice was quiet, like a scared child. "A vision? You actually – you truly did—"
"I'm not sure," said Gohan. "Maybe? I… I think so, though."
"Wow…" Gohan forced a grin onto his face, despite the unease he had talking about it.
"I guess divination isn't so fake now, huh?" he joked.
"Not that it matters much now," said Hermione dryly. "I'm not studying it anymore."
"I've decided to drop the class," she told Gohan, looking reluctant to speak on the new topic. "When she started talking about the Grim and Harry again I – I couldn't stop myself. I yelled about how the class was rubbish, and then Professor Trelawney had the nerve to call me mundane—" she caught herself from rambling on, however, and cleared her throat. "So I decided I don't want to continue anymore."
"… I don't remember her talking about the Grim," said Gohan slowly. "I don't remember any of that."
"Yes, well, you were…" Hermione stopped hesitantly, "indisposed."
"What does that mean?"
"Well, you never stopped crystal gazing when Professor Trelawney came over to us, even while I argued with her."
Gohan suddenly remembered that. He'd wanted to not listen to whatever it was Professor Trelawney had come over to say, since it was probably just more death talk.
Which it was, Gohan protested.
"I wanted to try something Professor Trelawney mentioned," said Gohan, "since it sounded a little like sensing. I guess I must have… done it right, or something."
'But sensing never hurts,' Gohan reminded himself. 'Not unless it involves the dementors.'
"No one really noticed," Hermione continued, "not until I was about to leave the room. Neville… he said you weren't moving. Professor Trelawney asked if you were alright, but you didn't say anything. You just kept… staring."
"Harry and Ron and I walked over to you, but you were just…" Hermione shuddered. "Your eyes were white, Gohan, everything was just… white. And then you just – you fell out of your seat and on the ground, and your eyes were still open and… like that."
…his eyes glazed a milky cream color. He fell… his body splayed out…
"It was all just really creepy and—" she sniffled.
Realization hit Gohan.
"You were the one that screamed?"
"No," said Hermione, "that was Parvati. But I got panicky when you fell, and Ron held me back while Harry checked on you. And then your eyes closed and you – you were back to normal."
"…I'm sorry I scared you all," said Gohan. "I didn't know this would happen. I still don't know how any of it could have happened, really. I'm not even sure if this is magical or just… something else."
'The consequence of living in-between two worlds.'
And then Hermione asked the question they both knew was coming.
"What did you See, Gohan?"
"I – I'm not sure." His thoughts were falling on top of each other, rambling over the things he had Seen.
He remembered that man's face, garbed in Saiyan armor, scarred and snarling.
Those eyes looked so familiar; eyes as black as Gohan's —eyes as white as Gohan's.
That thing — that person — Gohan knew who it was. He wanted to deny it, but how could he? He hadn't seen his face in the vision, Gohan knew, yet at the same time Gohan had. He was sure of it. He knew that face too well to be wrong. It held too large a place in Gohan's memory for him to not be sure.
He just wasn't sure what it meant.
"But I think I know who can tell me."
"I still don't get how you aren't bothered by all this homework, Gohan," Ron said. "Oh, I forgot: it's you."
The Third Years were beside themselves when they learned how much homework they were assigned over the Easter holidays. All of it was in preparation for their exams which, being a little over a month away, was ludicrous to many.
Gohan didn't express an opinion one way or another about it. He didn't have any problems with his assignments and breezed through them relatively easily, assisting Harry and Ron when he had the time. Hermione wasn't as willing to divvy up her workload and, considering its mass, made her three friends worry for her.
Gohan shook his head. "You guys are all doing a lot more than I am, Ron. Without you, Hagrid might have given up all hope for Buckbeak's appeal."
Gohan was the only one not juggling other things in addition to studying. Ron was enraptured with trying to save Buckbeak. Hermione, while having dropped Divination, was still struggling to maintain her composure with so many classes. Harry had a harder time than either of them, spending the bulk of his days practicing with the Gryffindor Quidditch team for the Final match against Slytherin.
While Gohan didn't think Quidditch should come between Harry and his grades, the boy was adamant at beating Slytherin. Specifically, he wanted to beat Malfoy. Tensions between Slytherin and Gryffindor reached their peak days before the match, but it was nothing compared to Malfoy and Harry's rivalry. Gohan heard how Harry had slung mud at the Slytherin under the Invisibility Cloak that day at Hogsmeade. He also heard how Professor Snape almost caught Harry, who had been saved by Professor Lupin and his surprising knowledge of the Marauder's Map. Sadly, the Map had been confiscated by the werewolf, but Harry had not been punished.
"Alright, team!" Wood burst into the Gryffindor Common Room. Most of the House was there, lounging about, giving support and praise to the Quidditch players there. "Bed! And be on alert tomorrow, we need to keep and eye out for those snakes in the grass."
Malfoy and the rest of Slytherin House attempted several times to put Harry and other players out of commission, so they couldn't play in the upcoming match. However, Wood insisted that everyone, especially Harry, travel in groups so as to stop such acts. Wood even insisted that Gohan stick with the team the day of the big game, to discourage any last minute schemers.
"I can't be with you guys all day, Oliver," said Gohan exasperatingly. "I'm meeting up with a friend." Wood's eyes narrowed.
"Which House?" he questioned.
"None of them," Gohan replied. "He's visiting from home. I asked him to come by and tomorrow's the only day he has time."
Upon hearing this, Wood perked up. "He's like you?"
Gohan rolled his eyes. "He's a Z-Fighter, yes."
"Which one is he?"
The Prince of Saiyans was not pleased when he read Gohan's request to drop by the castle and talk. However, Gohan insisted it was important enough that the Saiyan wizard could not go into details unless it was face to face. Though Vegeta was capable of actually flying over as fast as he wanted, Bulma insisted he spend some time with his family. Hence, the one day Vegeta could drop by, tomorrow, was the day of the Quidditch Cup match, and the day Oliver Wood desperately wanted Slytherin deterrents.
And what better deterrent than a hot-headed former bad guy capable of blowing up the planet twice over?
"Perfect!" The triumphant light shinning in Wood's eyes was unsettling when matched with the almost malicious grin on his face. "Invite him along!"
"No, Oliver, you don't understand! He'll kill—"
The older Gryffindor seemed to have gone deaf right at that moment and walked away, not listening to Gohan as he cheerfully hummed the school song.
Gohan spent his time in bed trying to come up with an argument for why Vegeta shouldn't flay him. He fell asleep before he could think of one.
"I saw Sirius!"
Ron chocked on his pumpkin juice as Hermione and Gohan pulled Harry down into a seat, looking around the Great Hall to see if anyone had heard the Boy-Who-Lived's declaration. Thankfully, the jeers thrown between the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables drowned Harry's voice out.
Gohan shot him a look. "I thought I told you to tell them quietly?"
Harry ignored the question. "Last night I saw Crookshanks outside my window, hanging out with a black dog. I went to show you, Ron, but they were gone when I came back."
Gohan had heard this only an hour ago, when he and Gohan were alone in the Boys Dormitory. Resigned to his fate, Gohan agreed to Wood's request of staying by Harry's side the entire day, as well as the rest of the team when they got together. Harry slept in a bit and, once he was awake, told Gohan of the new development.
"And you're sure it was… him, and not another dog?" The stare Harry bore into Hermione's eyes was enough of a response. "Where were they?"
"Near the Forbidden Forest, by the Whomping Willow."
"That overgrown weed?" Ron glared down at his food. "That thing's nothing but trouble! Why go anywhere near there?"
"Do you think he's hiding near it?" Harry asked suddenly. It was obvious he wanted to find his godfather badly.
"How could he?" Hermione asked. "Whenever anything gets near the Whomping Willow it goes into fit. We'd have noticed the tree thrashing about all the time if he was there."
"Which begs the question," Gohan added, "Why were he and Crookshanks down by it?"
"A better question is what was Crookshanks doing with him?" Ron said. "The cat likes dogs but still hates… other things?"
Gohan was pleased Ron was making an effort to be civil, especially since Hermione was close to a mental breakdown lately with classes. Hermione noticed it too, because she gave Ron a watery smile and sniffled.
"Professor Lupin," Harry spoke. Everyone turned toward him. "He told me the Whomping Willow was planted when he came to Hogwarts."
"So?" Gohan asked.
"So it would have been planted the same year he came to Hogwarts. Maybe there's something special about it for him. Professor Lupin would know; they were friends."
"Harry," Hermione started, "we can't—"
"I know," Harry cut in, "we can't tell him or anyone else." He sighed. "Still, it's a thought."
"Good morning, children."
All four students jumped in their seats. Behind Ron and Hermione stood Severus Snape, clothed in his usual black robes. He greeted them with his trademark sneer, leering at them contemptuously. However, he eyed them longer than usual, scrutinizing them quietly. Had he overheard them?
Finally, after several seconds of stony silence, Professor Snape turned to Gohan.
"Mr. Son. You are required in the Headmaster's office. I trust you are well acquainted with its location by now?" The barb was small, but there.
"Yes, Professor," said Gohan. "Thank you."
Professor Snape gave him a tight nod, and turned to leave. Upon his second step, however, he turned back toward them.
"And Potter?" Professor Snape smiled oily. "Good luck against Slytherin today. I'm sure you'll need it." He turned and left, not sticking around to see Harry glare at the back of his head.
"What does Dumbledore need you for?" Ron asked.
"I don't know," Gohan admitted. "Maybe he heard about my… thing in Divination?"
Gohan didn't call them visions, as obvious that it seemed that they were. He considered himself to be a lot of things: Saiyan, human, alien, wizard, student, martial artist, even Parselmouth, loath as he was to admit it. But Seer? Someone like Professor Trelawney, who spends their entire life looking at peoples palms and crystal balls, who tell people when their pets die? That wasn't Gohan at all.
Still, that didn't stop the entire school from calling him one. When word got around that Gohan had a vision during Divination he was instantly labeled a Seer. Even worse, what could have been labeled as just idiotic gossip was ruined Professor Trelawney herself confirmed that Gohan had "made contact with the Inner Eye." Gohan feared that Professor McGonagall's once studious opinion of him morphed into the same disdain for Professor Trelawney, who Gohan heard from Lavender and Parvati had told the Deputy Headmistress she was keen to take Gohan as an apprentice of sorts.
Students came up to him asking what he saw, and even bolder ones flat-out asked him something about their future. Ron, Fred, and George took it upon themselves to be Gohan's bouncers, either leading away the ignorant or tossing out the crass, on account of Gohan's docile nature. Hermione, Harry, and Ginny took to being Gohan's moral support, which was very much appreciated in this embarrassing time. Most of the Gryffindors thought nothing else of it ("You're an alien monkey-wizard who can talk to snakes," Seamus told Gohan, "doesn't add much more to it, mate"), but the Slytherins made sure to pick up the slack. Gohan was ashamed to say Malfoy actually embarrassed him by asking if he knew how many points Slytherin would beat Gryffindor by.
"Why?" Harry asked. "It's not like you've told anyone what you Saw."
Gohan eventually confided in his friends that he'd seen what appeared to be his grandfather and some other Saiyans. He did not reveal anything more, however; he wanted to talk to Vegeta before he jumped to conclusions.
"Still," Gohan stood up, "I've got to go. Will you be alright with me?"
Harry laughed. "I'm sure the rest of Gryffindor can pick up your slack if I leave." Several people along the table raised their goblets and shouted "Here here!" and the like.
Gohan quickly made his way toward Professor Dumbledore's office. He was again greeted by the stone gargoyle.
"Password?" it asked.
"Professor Dumbledore asked for me," Gohan said.
The gargoyle cackled. "I'm sure he did. Password?"
Gohan was about try "Cockroach Clusters" when the gargoyle was suddenly shoved aside.
"Ah, Gohan!" Professor Dumbledore greeted him from the doorway. "Thank you for coming."
"Thank you, sir. Professor Snape said you wanted to see me?"
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "I do believe I told Professor Snape you were wanted in my office, not that I wanted to see you. But please, step in!"
Gohan walked past the gargoyle and into Professor Dumbledore's office. "I'm sorry Professor, but is there—"
"The difference, brat, is that I wanted to see you, and I'm in his office."
Vegeta glowered at Gohan from in front of Dumbledore's fireplace. Dressed out of his Saiyan-styled armor, Gohan assumed Bulma picked out Vegeta's attire. He wore an orange T-shirt and khaki pants, his arms crossed as usual.
He was also wearing, Gohan pleasantly noticed, the dark brown dragon-hide jacket he got Vegeta for Christmas.
"How did you get here?" Gohan asked. "I thought I'd have sensed you if you flew."
"Those things that guard the castle make things unnecessarily complicated," Vegeta answered. "I was forced to travel here through my blasted fireplace."
It was then that Gohan noticed the ashes that plagued Vegeta's cloths and hair.
Gohan chuckled. "You had trouble Flooing in, didn't you?"
"I will kill you if this jacket is ruined."
"Come now, Prince Vegeta," Dumbledore cheerfully chided. "There is no need for such talk, not with such a simple solution at hand. Scourgify!"
Professor Dumbledore pointed his wand at Vegeta, and instantly all the soot vanished from his body. Vegeta gawked at the wizard incredulously before narrowing his eyes.
"The next time you use your stick on me without my permission," Vegeta hissed, "is the moment this school loses its Headmaster!"
"You're most welcome." Dumbledore turned from Vegeta to Gohan. "Now, Gohan, while I am fine with your friends appearing at Hogwarts, I would like a warning for when they may come stumbling out of my fireplace into a heap on my floor."
"I did not stumble, old man!" Vegeta growled. "And if you get rid of those ghouls guarding your gates I won't have to use such idiotic modes of transportation."
"Be that as it may," Dumbledore continued, "a 'head's up' would be much appreciated the next time this occurs."
Gohan bowed his head. "I'm sorry, sir. I would have asked you if it was alright if I'd known Vegeta would not be flying. It's just important that I talk to Vegeta about something, and it couldn't wait."
"Does this have anything to do with your sudden illness during your Divination class?"
Gohan stared uncomfortably at the ground, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.
He felt like more of a circus freak than last year. Parselmouths were practically unheard of, but there were currently two residing in the castle, lessening its mystique. Since Harry was far more famous as a wizard than Gohan it had been him, not the Saiyan, who received the most attention from it. Harry's snake-speaking ability was technically more legitimate than Gohan's too; he received it accidentally from Voldemort, while the Saiyan-wizard had received his accidentally from Cell, who had received it from Voldemort's genes. Both boys ended up with Parseltongue in the same circumstances, but Gohan suspected there were just as many differences as well.
But Seeing was all Gohan. As far as he knew, none of the genes that made up Cell were Seers since, according to Hermione, true Seers totaled at less than a dozen in the entire existence of wizardkind. That was why he couldn't believe he was a real Seer, an actual textbook definition of a magical vision-receiving wizard. It was why some people looked at him like he was a dancing monkey now, and why Gohan was hesitant to talk about it.
"Sir, it's not that I—"
"There is no need to explain, Gohan," Dumbledore said sincerely. "Although I am Headmaster I am not entitled to know every little thing that goes on inside Hogwarts. Should you like to talk to me about this at some later date, you will have my undivided attention." He tossed a sidelong glance at Vegeta and chuckled. "Besides, I should think the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain is getting impatient waiting for his two volunteers."
Gohan smiled gratefully at the old wizard. Professor Dumbledore was truly the only one who could masterfully command such a balance of strength and kindness. Except, of course, for Gohan's father.
Vegeta's eyes narrowed, shifting between each of the wizards.
"I'm telling you Snape knows something!" Ron insisted. The redhead immediately went on with his suspicions once Oliver Wood left Harry's side to examine the Quidditch pitch. "He's always barking things at us. He was way more quiet than usual when he came over here."
"He doesn't know anything, Ron," said Hermione. "And maybe if you lowered your voice, we could make sure no one does."
The trio turned toward the staff table, craning their necks to look past Hagrid's hulking sulking form. Professors Snape and Flitwick were talking quietly to one another. Snape nodded stiffly when the smaller Professor gestured to the Daily Prophet. The Charms Professor turned to his left, toward Professor Sprout, and engaged her in conversation as well. It appeared to be the same one, as he again motioned toward the paper. Undoubtedly it was a blurb about Sirius Black still on the loose, an article about his two Hogwarts break-ins most likely.
Harry didn't really want to give Snape any more attention than he had to, but then the young wizard noticed the look on Snape's face. He'd seen it plenty of times before, when the Potions Master bore it hatefully into his skull. He'd also seen it recently this year given to another individual: Professor Lupin. The look of utter loathing and contempt, the special hatred that Snape clearly held for both student and Professor was affixed firmly on the Potions Master's face.
And his gaze was firmly on the Prophet that lay near his plate.
"I think Snape hates Sirius Black." Hermione and Ron turned towards their friend. "I've never seen him look so angry except when he's either with me or Professor Lupin. And he hates us both."
"Mate," said Ron, "everyone hates Sirius Black. He's a mass-murdering fugitive."
"To everyone else," Ron added, seeing Harry start to protest. "It's not as if they know… other things about him. I bet McGonagall hates him just as much as Snape."
"But Snape hated my dad," Harry reminded them. Memories of his nighttime altercation with Snape popped up in the boy's mind. "He's a criminal, sure, but why would he really hate the guy that…" Harry couldn't finish his sentence, but Ron and Hermione understood. The guy that got my father killed.
"He's a professor, Harry," Hermione said. "He's on our side." She shot Ron a look as he pretended to gag. "He may not be likeable, Ron, but Professor Snape is still a teacher, and a Head of House. I'm sure he still looks out for our safety, if not our points."
Harry shook his head. "It's not that. There's got to be more to it, I'm sure of it."
And then a thought popped into his head.
"Snape hates me because I look like my dad," Harry thought aloud, his brow furrowing. "Snape hates my dad, and I'm almost positive Snape hates Lupin. Professor Lupin told me that he and Sirius and my dad were all friends at Hogwarts, so maybe—"
"Again with Professor Lupin!" said Ron. "Harry, we can't tell him anything. This is just like that bit about the Whomping Willow again."
"That's not where I was going with it!" Harry said. His pause was accented by the Great Hall's doors creaking open. "… Still, I bet Lupin knows something about both of them, maybe if we just tossed him a—"
Harry turned to Hermione. "Hermione, I know Snape hates them for some reason, so if we just asked Lupin why—"
"Not that," Hermione shrilled. She pointed over Harry's shoulder. "Look."
As he let those words register in his head, Harry suddenly became aware that the Great Hall had become absent of sound. The shouting and taunts from the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables had ceased. He saw everyone one Hermione's sides of the table –Dean and Neville and Lavender and George and Ginny and many others– turn to each other with wide eyes. He heard chairs scrapping and backs turning, followed by several short gasps around the large dining room.
Anxiety and curiosity overtaking him, Harry slowly turned in his seat.
Just in front of the doors to the Great Hall was Gohan, eyeing the ceiling's numerous candles nervously with his hands behind his back. At his side was the Prince of Saiyans, Vegeta, scowling so intensely Harry had only seen one like it when Professor Snape looked at him.
With his arms stiffly crossed in front of him Vegeta briskly walked down the Hall, Gohan hurriedly following in his wake. The heads of students and professors alike, with expressions ranging from awe to fear to surprise, turned and followed them. Vegeta seemed to know this, while still looking straight ahead, because his eyes seemed to burn.
Harry knew where they were heading. He just couldn't decide how to feel about it.
The two Saiyans finally stopped at the trio's table. Everyone waited in tense silence, unsure of what was going to happen.
"…Hi, Vegeta," Harry said awkwardly. "Good to… see you, again."
"Children." Harry almost shuddered as he heard that word a second time today.
"Harry, Ron, Hermione," Gohan started, alternating between eyeing Vegeta and his friends. "If you're finished eating, maybe we could all go to the Quidditch pitch, yes?"
"But I'm not done yet." Harry wanted desperately to kick Ron. Thankfully, Hermione was thinking along the same lines. "Oi! What was that for, Hermione?"
"We'd be happy to go outside, Gohan," Hermione said. "Right, Ron?" Harry noticed just before Ron did that Vegeta's eyes were narrowed into slits at the redhead.
"Yeah" was all Ron squeaked out. They hurried toward the doors as fast as their feet would carry them. Once they exited the Great Hall, just before the doors slammed shut, the volume within the room increased exponentially. No jeers or shouting, just excited chatter from every table and corner of the area.
"I am going to lock you inside the Gravity Room with me for a whole month," Vegeta hissed, "at double the gravity you can take, regardless of what my wife or your mother think. I will not give you minute's rest until either you decide to kill me or I knock in your skull so badly you'll be in a coma that Namek brat couldn't heal you from: Unless you give me a damn good reason not to."
Harry, Hermione, and Ron had never seen Gohan so petrified.
"I am a Saiyan Elite," Vegeta continued ranting, "your Prince! How dare you make me walk inside that room like a common pet! I am not some spectacle for your wand-waving classmates to ogle at!"
"I – I had a – in Divination – I Saw my – he looks just like—"
"Stop stuttering!" Vegeta yelled. "You are a Saiyan warrior, not a damn Tuffle! Spit it out, brat!"
"I had a vision about my grandfather!" Gohan shouted. His eyes were shut tightly as the words were flying out of his mouth. He opened them and saw Vegeta staring at him blandly, waiting for him to speak again.
"Bardock," Gohan continued, "I had a vision about my grandfather Bardock during one of my classes."
"… This is uncommon for wizards?" Vegeta finally asked.
"Seers –wizards who can see the future and stuff– are really rare," Gohan said, blushing furiously. "And I think my grandfather had visions too."
"Can we… can we not do it here?" Gohan asked, looking around the corridor uncomfortably. "I don't want anyone else to hear."
"…" Vegeta walked past the students down the corridor. All four of them followed suit, two on either side of the Prince. Thankfully they were heading toward exit outside near the Quidditch field, so no one had to correct Vegeta on where to go.
"You claim to have seen the past," Vegeta said conversationally as they strolled down the corridor. The few children that were in the hall didn't linger long if they recognized the man accompanying Gryffindor's Quartet. "Granted, I never wasted my breath telling you your grandfather's name, but how can you be sure it wasn't a hallucination? Or a dream? From what Bulma tells me Divination's a class where one's mind can't help but wander."
Gohan noticed Hermione glow as if Vegeta had given her a personal compliment.
"It wasn't a dream," insisted Gohan, "or a hallucination. We were taught how to look into crystal balls that day; I concentrated on it hard and then I was – I felt like I was somewhere else, like I was actually there watching it."
"And what was it, exactly?" Vegeta asked. Harry and the others silently held their breath; although Gohan had told them he had seen his Saiyan grandfather talking with an alien, it was about all he said they would understand.
Gohan scrunched up his face in thought.
"I was on a desert planet," Gohan started. "There were some buildings but they were damaged. My grandfather was there with some other Saiyans. There were some mountains, and a lot of wastelands."
Vegeta snorted. "That doesn't exactly narrow it down. Some of us were shipped off to conquer planets when we were infants; that could have been one of a thousand raids your grandfather went on. And all planets looked dead when we got through with them—"
"What?" Vegeta and Gohan stopped and turned to Harry. "You destroyed planets?"
"I'm aware the brat has explained to you my people's noble history," Vegeta sneered, "so your revulsion is without merit. All races under Frieza's rule conquered planets or, if called for, cleansed them of their populace." Vegeta turned to Gohan. "Was it a simple conquering or genocide?"
"The alien told the Saiyans its people had been killed," Gohan answered, "so I guess they were all wiped out." The five resumed walking
"What did this creature look like?" Vegeta questioned.
"… Scaly, and humanoid."
Vegeta rolled his eyes. "I've conquered at least four races that fit that description."
"It was on fire!" Gohan defended himself. "I couldn't see anything else." He remembered what his grandfather had said when the alien called him his name. "He was psychic."
"What?" They had exited the castle and were outside now. A couple of Fifth Years making out on a nearby bench jumped as Vegeta barged past them.
"The alien," Gohan explained, "it knew my grandfather's name. It said the Saiyans and Frieza wanted his people's psychic powers. The alien told Bardock that he gave him the power… to see the Saiyans' end like his people had seen theirs."
Vegeta abruptly stopped, forcing the others to halt as well before crashing into him.
He threw back his head and cackled so harshly the non-Saiyan students cringed.
"Ha! So the Kanassans had some bark to go with their bite." Vegeta smirked. "Too bad it didn't save them from slaughter."
Hermione said "You know what happened?" just when Ron asked "Kanassans?" The Saiyan Prince eyed the two disdainfully, who lowered their eyes from meeting his gaze. It was clear he didn't appreciate being interrupted by any of them.
"I'm understanding many things," Vegeta told them. "Planet Kanassa was one of the last jobs my people took. I was a boy, but high enough in the hierarchy to hear about it. The Kanassans possessed psychic powers like mind reading or seeing the future. Frieza feared their abilities might somehow make them a threat. They were competent fighters, so –coupled with their abilities– were left alone by Frieza's army."
Vegeta smiled grimly. "Except a team of low-level Saiyans. Your grandfather invaded Kanassa during its full moon and massacred them. No one believed Saiyans could do it; they underestimated our power." He paused. "Frieza realized this shortly afterwards."
They were passing through the training grounds now, with the Quidditch pitch in all its monumental glory in sight.
"And the Kanassan warrior," Gohan began, "he made my grandfather psychic too?"
"Apparently," Vegeta replied. "He gave Bardock the ability to see the future so that he could see Frieza destroy our planet, just as we had Kanassa." He chuckled icily. "It would be poetic if we hadn't prospered through our destruction."
"So if my grandfather was a Seer—?"
"You're as moronic as Kakarot if you truly believe he was one of you," Vegeta cut in dryly. "Your grandfather was not a wizard, not one of you wand—"
"Try staying on your broom with jelly legs, Potter!"
Several pulsing yellow spells flew toward the group, cast from the wands of a group of three Slytherin boys not in Gohan's Year, who charged the group and had left their bushy hiding spot. One of the spells soared past the five onlookers just south of the Quidditch pitch. Another almost struck Gohan, but he jumped out of the way.
The last curse would have flown into Hermione before Vegeta roughly pushed her aside, causing her to fall to the ground. Vegeta lit up pale yellow when the spell hit him, and growled when he suddenly couldn't stand straight and wobbled about on his legs.
"Shite!" one of the boys shouted. "We missed!"
"Let's go!" another Slytherin added.
They turned around to run away and were surprised to find the man they'd jinxed towering over them. Shocked, they looked down and saw his legs flailing lightly. In the air. As the man hovered above the ground.
"You will give me your sticks." Vegeta's tone was final.
"No way!" one of the Slytherin's shouted feebly. "You'll have to take 'em from us!"
Vegeta quickly raised an arm and tossed a blast of bright blue ki toward the Quidditch pitch. Just before it reached the stands the Saiyan Prince closed his hand into a fist and the ball exploded into millions of ki particles.
"You would not be the first children I've killed," Vegeta said coldly, "but you will be the first ones on this planet."
The Slytherin teenagers ran back to the castle as Vegeta floated over to the four Gryffindors, tossing his newly acquired wands to a surprised and arm-flailing Ron.
"I trust your Headmaster can identify the attackers with these," he said. He turned to Hermione, who had since gotten up off the ground. "There is a way to reverse what they've done to me, yes?"
"Finite—" Hermione steadied her quivering arm. "Finite Incantatem!" Vegeta lowered himself back onto the ground, nodding in satisfaction. The witch didn't inform him that, had he been hit by more than one jinx, it wouldn't have been that simple. They would have needed the castors to reverse the effects.
"Thank you," she said quietly. Vegeta stared at her blankly before turning back to Gohan.
"Your grandfather was not a wizard."
"What?" all four Gryffindors said.
"We are a race of warriors," Vegeta continued. "In our long, proud history there has never been a record or account of a Saiyan who demonstrated magic. We are physical fighters; we do not rely on sneak attacks and supernatural trickery."
"But why would I See my grandfather?" Gohan argued. "There's got to be a reason why I had a vision of him—"
"You are a wizard," Vegeta replied. "I can't explain why because it's magic. Perhaps because you are related and possess a similar skill, I don't know. There is no deeper meaning. What Bardock received was a psychic curse from a race that died once they learned their fate. Go to Baba for all I care, perhaps the witch can make sense of your new trick. But this is not my problem."
They all stood there awkwardly. Vegeta stared coolly at Gohan who, he noted, was just as composed as the Prince was.
Vegeta narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
"You three," he gestured to the non-Saiyan students, "leave us."
Harry asked "Why?" just as Ron said "Okay!"
"If I wanted you to know," Vegeta drawled, "I wouldn't tell you to leave."
If Harry wanted to argue further he didn't show it. After telling Gohan they'd go find Oliver Wood the trio headed for the Quidditch pitch.
"What are you hiding?" Vegeta demanded once they were gone. "The Namek told you Saiyans can't use magic back in that senile fool's office! You aren't so stupid you wouldn't remember that."
He eyed Gohan curiously.
"You never thought Bardock was a wizard," he concluded.
"I did want to talk about my grandfather," Gohan admitted. "I wanted to know what I Saw, and when it was. But I knew Bardock couldn't be a Seer."
Gohan paused, hesitating to speak his next few words.
"I had a second vision," he told Vegeta, "right after the one about Bardock."
Vegeta harrumphed. "One you didn't want your friends to know about." Gohan's silence raised his intrigue. "A vision you don't want anyone to know about?"
"… There was a forest," Gohan spoke. "Someone was walking through a forest. They were burning trees with their hand using ki, I think. I heard them say 'soon,' and then I snapped out of it."
Vegeta remained quiet for several seconds, his head bowed in thought. When he looked back at Gohan, his face was expressionless.
"You believe this person is Cell." It wasn't a question. They both knew it wasn't.
"I never saw who it was," said Gohan, "but I'm sure it was Cell. We all know it's a matter of time until we fight him again. 'Soon;' he's almost ready for us."
Vegeta kept staring at him thoughtfully.
"I'm serious!" Gohan said. "We've never actually pinned down Cell; he always gets more powerful! He ran away because he wasn't stronger than me: What if he is now?"
"…It is," said Vegeta finally, "very possible it was Cell. It's suspicious you had a premonition of one person, and if anyone outside our merry group can use ki to burn trees it's Cell."
"But," he added, "perhaps you infer too much from this 'Seer' business."
"How can you say that!" shouted Gohan. "If Cell's going to attack soon we've got to be ready for him! We can't let anyone die."
'Not again,' he added silently.
Vegeta frowned. "Mind your tone, boy. You're the one who wants to keep this from the wizards."
As frustrated as Gohan was, he knew Vegeta was right.
"Your first vision," Vegeta continued, "the one involving your grandfather, clearly happened in the past; almost three decades ago. How can you be certain the events in this other one aren't equally as skewed from the present?"
"… Uh…" Gohan hadn't considered that.
"You assume Cell is going to pop up at any moment," said Vegeta, "but you fail to see what it would mean for him to fight us now."
"I'm sure I can match Cell." Vegeta's tone was arrogant, and his eyes burned brightly. Gohan rolled his eyes. "You are certainly capable of killing him; our strength combined with the Namek's is more than enough for Cell."
"What about Krillin and Yamcha and the others?" Gohan asked.
Vegeta shrugged. "Adding ten boulders to one thousand hardly makes the weight feel heavier."
"But Cell isn't stupid," Vegeta went on, "and like you said, to kill us he would have to be much stronger. If he was becoming more powerful we would sense it."
It made sense. Cell was hiding his energy from them, which made him impossible to locate by sensing. However, to train he'd have to power up so he wouldn't become weaker, as Vegeta had pointed out to Gohan over the holiday break. By powering up, though, he'd become a blip on the Z-Fighters' radar. And if Cell resorted to killing people, draining them of their ki so he can increase his, the body count would also reveal his presence to the group.
But there was a problem with this idea.
"Cell put up wards around Hogwarts so no one could sense ki outside it," Gohan pointed out. "Even if he powered up to his maximum, if he is using those same spells we still won't sense Cell."
Vegeta growled irritably. "It took Cell and the diary to do that! Only that thing's knowledge and both their powers combined allowed them to shield the school. Without Riddle, Cell has nothing."
Gohan wanted to argue, to say Cell would still find a way to come at them.
But the wizard couldn't.
Vegeta was right; without the Riddle memory Cell had no chance of using magic to hide himself.
Riddle might have had more knowledge of magic than anyone on Earth, but he didn't have his body. He possessed Ginny, a girl who hadn't honed her magic well enough for Riddle to properly use. He likely supervised Cell; while inexperienced, the villain was grafted with enough wizard genes to be very gifted.
Cell might remember a few things the diary taught him, a few spells that were easy enough to recall, but it was unlikely Voldemort –even as a teenager– would confide in Cell spells and secrets of great magic, only for him to have no more need for the dark wizard and kill him.
It was a convincing enough dilemma to calm Gohan down.
"So you think it'll be a while before Cell can get strong enough without being found?" asked Gohan.
"Yes," said Vegeta, "but it doesn't matter. He will return; all we can do is keep training so when he does resurface it will be all the easier to destroy him."
Gohan found little comfort in that, but it was better than what he'd been dreading since his visions. Cell was trapped; he couldn't kill them unless he got stronger, and he couldn't get strong without revealing himself for at least a few years. Given that time, Gohan would be even further above Cell's level, and Vegeta could certainly become stronger than Cell as well.
Numerous cheers and shouts erupted from across the way; the students were all filing into the Quidditch stadium for the final game.
Gohan let out sigh. "Alright, I guess we should head over to the field—"
"And what makes you think I'm going to stick around and watch your idiotic game?" Vegeta cut in dryly. "I have far more important things to do with my time than watching children ride around on broomsticks."
"It's not that dull," Gohan said. He took Vegeta's words as a slight on the whole magical community. His new community. "Harry almost got killed when he fell off his broom. The whole match won't be longer—"
"That's right," said Vegeta. He had witnessed Gohan and Harry in the hospital wing after the past match. "People get hurt?"
"Well, not usually," Gohan admitted. "Slytherin's the only House that plays rough, and they only get really nasty when we're against them—"
"Very well then," Vegeta declared, "you've convinced me."
The Prince turned on his heel and walked toward the Quidditch pitch entrance.
Gohan hurried after the Saiyan warrior. 'Why do I think he's changed again?'
"TWENTY–ZERO TO GRYFFINDOR!"
"This sport is far simpler than you led me to believe," Vegeta told Gohan over the cheers and jeers of the stadium crowd. "Your explanation was overly complicated; five minutes into this 'Quidditch' game and I'm following it perfectly."
"I only told you what Harry told me last year," said Gohan. The Gryffindors screamed gleefully as Oliver Wood saved their goal. "I didn't know you'd pick up on a magic sport so fast."
Vegeta rolled his eyes. "I was drilled in the art of battle tactics and strategy, another thing your ilk fall short of as Saiyans." The crowd of blue and bronze around them burst into cries of outrage; the Slytherin Chaser Montague had grabbed Katie Bell by the hair and attempted to force her to drop the Quaffle.
Gohan and Vegeta had arrived well before the stadium was filled to the brim with spectators, but they did not seek out Ron and Hermione's company. Vegeta had spent much of his patience dealing with them previously, and was not keen on entertaining even more students. Gohan knew they would be sad they couldn't sit with their friend during the biggest game for Gryffindor in years, but Vegeta, as much as he made it seem otherwise, was also Gohan's friend.
They took up residence amongst Ravenclaw House, sitting at their edge bordering the Gryffindors, who as Vegeta put it "should be smart enough to know not to bother me." A couple of seats on either side of the Saiyans were empty; if anyone knew who was sitting among them –and given the reaction the two Saiyans received in the Great Hall, it was likely some did– the students ignored them.
Except for one. In the midst of glee at Gryffindor's ten-point penalty shot, a thin blonde girl wearing a lion head as a hat sat next to Vegeta, never taking her eyes off the match.
"Leave." Vegeta's voice was tight and controlled.
"Do Moon Frogs croak, even though there's no air?"
Vegeta, for once, was speechless. His face slackened, staring at the young witch blankly. Cheers erupted around the stadium as Harry dodged two Bludgers.
"The moon doesn't have air," the girl explained, "and you passed the moon to get here, so you've seen the Moon Frogs. Did you hear them croaking while you were flying by?"
Vegeta continued to stare at her incredulously.
She turned her head away from the game at last, looking past Vegeta and over at Gohan. She had grey eyes, with an almost glassy expression. She seemed very airy, with a dreamy gaze. "Have you ever heard them croaking, Gohan?"
Gohan was at as much of a loss as Vegeta.
"I –um– we can't breathe in space, so –uh– so we can't fly there. Vegeta always traveled in a ship too, and wouldn't have heard croaking anyway through his ship's hull… so, yeah," he finished lamely.
The girl nodded, disappointment crossing her pale features. "How sad. Still, I'm sure father and I will find out."
The girl seemed familiar to Gohan. Her aura of… whimsy was very striking.
"We're finally planning a trip in search of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack," she continued. "My father suggested Sweden for its most recent sittings, but we won't have enough money to fund such an expedition for a few years."
The Crumple-Horned – he did know this girl. From Diagon Alley. Her name was… she's—
"You're Luna," said Gohan, dredging the name from the depths of his mind. "Luna Lovegood."
'Luna' tilted her head to the side. "Of course it is. I hope a Wrackspurt hasn't gotten you."
"A Wrackspurt. They're invisible, and they fly into your ears and make your brain fuzzy. I heard some of them float around Hogwarts, but no one's seen them. Because they're invisible, of course."
"How do you know this girl?" asked Vegeta, turning with a sneer to Gohan.
"I met her getting my school robes," Gohan replied. "It's nice to see you again, Luna. You have a very nice… hat."
Luna beamed. "I made it myself. Ravenclaw's my House, but I always cheer for Gryffindor when you're not playing against us. I wanted to have it chewing on a snake, but there wasn't enough time before the Finals. I did include this, though."
She reached for her wand –which had been placed behind her ear, Gohan noticed– and tapped the lion-hat on its temple. The lion became instantly animated, emitting a loud roar. Had the Quidditch field not been echoing with constant cheers and boos it might have startled students.
"How useful," Vegeta said sarcastically. Still, Gohan could tell he was impressed that a girl as young as her could create such a thing. "Shouldn't you be sitting with your little school friends, chatting about love potions and broomsticks?"
"I don't have many friends," said Luna offhandedly. "Most people call me 'Looney Lovegood,' so I would imagine they do not like being around me. A lot of them say I'm a bit peculiar."
"How preposterous." Vegeta gave a look of mock surprise. "All because you believe in invisible brains fuzzies and Moon Frogs? The nerve some brats have."
Vegeta might have let his sarcasm run rampant had Gohan not glared at him. The boy knew what it was like to feel out of place, and while his and Luna's situations weren't the same, he could relate to her. He also wanted to ask Luna if all others did was call her names, but decided not to pry.
"I haven't seen any Wrackspurts," said Luna, "they're invisible. My father told me, though, that he was going to print information for the readers about how to spot them as soon as he found it."
"Readers?" asked Gohan.
"Oh, yes. My father is the editor of The Quibbler, our magazine. He publishes all sorts of findings and research for the public to see, things hidden from them that they might not know otherwise."
"Are they as riveting and informative as your precious Moon Frogs?" Vegeta, despite his obvious feelings and evidence to the contrary, seemed to gravitate towards the conversation.
"Well, we have more than just documentaries about creatures. Father told me several subjects he plans to publish in next month's issue: the Department of Mysteries' Unspeakables are all sworn in with an Unbreakable Vow on them and their families, Nicholas Flamel really died years ago –one of his descendants pretends to be him and uses the Philosopher's Stone–, and how Minister Fudge is making a an agreement with the goblins to keep interest rates low in exchange for better treatment."
Gohan had no clue about most of the things Luna was talking about but, considering he heard from Harry and Piccolo that Nicholas Flamel had been alive during his (would have been) First Year, it seemed these stories were a bit farcical.
"That's really –er– interesting, Luna," he said. "Where does your dad find these stories?"
"He interviews people," Luna replied. "After that, he researches a lot. Father likes to tackle the things the Prophet won't publish; he says 'a real story is only as true as it is unbelievable" and 'the public believes only what it wants to.'"
"I'm sure he's a credit to your race," Vegeta said dryly.
"He is!" exclaimed Luna. "You'd get along swimmingly with him, Mr. Vegeta." Luna began to explain how her father predicted aliens were involved in the Cell Games, all the while oblivious to Vegeta's flushing face from his 'Mr. Vegeta' title.
The Saiyan Wizard turned away from the conversation, turning back to the game to catch up. Thankfully he hadn't missed much; Gryffindor was now up by forty points, and everyone except Harry and Malfoy were exhausted and bruised. It seemed the House rivalry had kicked in upon Gryffindor's gigantic lead.
Gohan, as well every other non-Slytherin, booed when Slytherin's two Beaters hit both Bludgers at Wood, each one hitting him in the stomach. Vegeta noticed it too, based on his vicarious cackling.
YOU DO NOT ATTACK THE KEEPER UNLESS THE QUAFFLE IS WITHIN THE SCORING AREA!" Madam Hooch, floating on her broom just above the south stadium entrance, had gone into frenzy. She was close enough that Gohan could see her eyes flicker with fury. "Gryffindor penalty!"
Angelina Johnson scored another ten points for Gryffindor, but Gohan barely noticed.
'No way, Dende.'
He was too busy gawking at the scrappy black dog leaning against the underpass of the entrance.
"Vegeta," said Gohan suddenly, his eyes fixed firmly on the Animagus. Sirius seemed to be watching Harry soar up into the sky, en route toward the Snitch. "We need to go."
"Haven't you forced me to do enough, brat?" The black dog in the distance remained oblivious, barking angrily along with others as Malfoy grabbed the end of Harry's broom to stop him from catching the Snitch. "Can I not watch your classmates pummel and pound each other in peace?"
"Vegeta," Gohan said exasperatedly, "this is important! Stay if you want, but I really – oh no!"
Amidst the furious exclamations, heated boos, and livid hisses of the Quidditch audience, Sirius the dog turned his head away from his godson and locked eyes with Gohan. Whether an unlucky accident, a dog sense, or magical ability that made him seen from so far away Gohan didn't know, but the Saiyan had been caught.
Sirius turned tail and bolted from the Quidditch pitch.
"Not again!" Gohan turned and ran past Vegeta and Luna, down the bleachers. "Nice seeing you again, Luna!"
He could have flown. He could have even run faster, despite his current speed still far beyond what humans were capable of. But Gohan wanted to attract as little attention as possible, as few questions raised about why he was in such a hurry to leave the game. Thankfully, it seemed everyone, even Professor Dumbledore, had their eyes only on the debacle that Malfoy created.
Gohan stopped just outside the exit, looking around the grounds wildly for signs of Sirius. He couldn't sense Sirius at all, likely because he was a dog. The man had just given Gohan the opportunity to try and talk him out of killing Pettigrew! He couldn't lose the man now.
"Why, exactly, are we not watching your friends losing?" Gohan turned and saw Vegeta by his side, arms crossed and frowning.
"In my desire to stay," Vegeta explained, "I neglected to realize I'd be stuck alongside that blathering blonde girl. Shockingly, she is just as rambling and idiotic as your father."
Gohan was about to snap at Vegeta, when a black blur ran from behind a tree and toward the Forbidden Forest.
"Who?" Vegeta said sharply. "It's just a mutt, nothing imp—"
"No time, Vegeta! We've got to stop him!"
Sirius was farther away than Gohan had anticipated. He was already nearing the edge of the Forest, where Gohan couldn't enter now without dementors popping up. He couldn't run after the older wizard, but maybe he could still make him stop and listen to reason.
"I can't go into the Forbidden Forest without dementors breathing down my neck," Gohan told the other Saiyan. "That dog can't enter the Forest!"
A bright blue light enveloped Gohan. A small explosion reached Gohan's ears, followed by the sound of trees crunching and a dog yelping. Vegeta had thrown a ki blast at Sirius, burning through the forest and cleaving trees and setting brush aflame.
Gohan could barely contain his anger.
"What'd you do that for?" he yelled. "I don't want him dead, Vegeta!"
"You never said that," countered Vegeta. "How was I supposed to know?"
"Have you met me?"
Vegeta rolled his eyes. "The thing isn't dead. Look." He was right; Vegeta's aim had been slightly off, shooting at something so small and far away, and threw Sirius down to the ground. He got up, limping slightly, and shook his body free of loose debris.
The young Wizard came to his senses when he saw Sirius turning around back to the Forest.
"You can't kill him!" Gohan shouted. The surge of adrenaline throughout his body wasn't helping him speak as vaguely as possible. "We didn't mean to hurt you, but you need to listen for Harry's sake!"
The dog stopped, turning its tilted head toward the pair.
"What he did was unforgivable," Gohan continued, "but he can prove you're innocent. Once we find him we'll take him to the Ministry and set you free."
Even from so far away Gohan could see the dog snort. Sirius shook his head, growling and baring his teeth.
"Vengeance isn't right!" yelled Gohan. "They wouldn't want you to murder for them."
Talking about the Potters must have been a breaking point for Sirius. The dog shook his head violently to the side and turned back around, limping just past the border into the Forbidden Forest.
"How do you think Harry will feel if you rob him of a chance to live with someone that really cares about him? If you're proven innocent he can live with you, away from the Dursleys!"
Sirius froze. Gohan jumped at this.
"You should know what his relatives are like," he said. "Harry's spent his whole life living with them and being treated like a house-elf! You have the chance to give him a home away from that, from them, and make you both happier than you've ever been."
Once again, the dog turned around to face Gohan. Once again, their eyes locked onto each other.
"Would you really be so selfish and rob Harry of all that?"
The Hogwarts grounds exploded with cheering, thunderous applause and shouts enveloping the entire grounds as it leaked from the Quidditch pitch. Sirius paused momentarily, and then disappeared into the Forbidden Forest.
Gohan stood silently, watching the spot where the Animagus had been.
A smile slowly crept onto his face; perhaps he'd actually broken through to the escaped wizard.
"I don't suppose you'd care to explain what that was about?" drawled Vegeta.
"Would you even care if it doesn't concern you?" Gohan said.
"Fair point," the older Saiyan agreed.
The two returned to the Quidditch pitch. They immediately realized the match was over, as well as the outcome; the field was overflowing with gold and garnet, amassed with weeping First and Seventh Year girls and boys alike. Though Gryffindor dominated the masses, spots of blue and yellow could be seen as well. Professor McGonagall was weeping happily, embracing an equally gleeful and sobbing Percy Weasley.
At the center of the crowd, raised onto the shoulders of ecstatic students, was the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Fred and George high-fived each other and goaded the crow exuberantly to chant and cheer louder. Katie and Angelina and Alicia held onto each other in a group hug, sobbing all over each other. Oliver was lost in his own world, easily crying more than any on his team. Harry was hoisted higher than the others, grinning madly and proudly displaying the Golden Snitch caught in his hand.
The crowd on students hoisting the players moved the team toward a raised stage, where Dumbledore waited with a patient smile holding the Quidditch Cup.
It was a beautiful sight to behold, all of it. The day had proven itself an unreal marvel.
Finally. Everyone could have a happy ending.
The dead forest was almost disquieting.
The woods were empty. Much more empty than usual. No wings fluttered about aimlessly, no feet softly trotting on the ground, or the rustling of leaves or brush. All of this was typical, but something about it was different.
It unnerved him. Silence and discord followed him like a plague, but nothing could prepare him for the stilled atmosphere that enveloped the area. Even the air seemed colder, harsher, more unforgiving.
As quickly as he'd noticed this, however, it ended. The comfortably artificial silence was ended by branches crunching, leaves being mangled and crushed. The air hissed softly as the noise got closer.
A man entered his sanctuary, the home he'd made for himself so long ago. Tall, cloaked in the cool darkness provided by the trees, the man slowed his pace, coming quickly to a halt in the clearing he'd made.
Good. Another fool had wandered into his trap. He cherished the luck granted to him by fate, the treat she'd brought to him. Twice, he could prey on larger game than he'd been forced to make due with. Perhaps he could avoid the perils his last quivering victim had brought with his compliance.
He slithered down from his lofty perch, the branch quivering under his weight. The tree trunk groaned as he made his way down, softly landing on the ground. Carefully, he slinked closer to his oblivious quarry. Not even two feet away he hid in the shadows.
Baring his fangs, his body shuddered violently. He steeled his will and focused—
"I do hope you're not planning anything rash." The voice was deep and baritone, its tone almost light-hearted.
His body stopped convulsing. He stared at the man in surprise. How did he know someone was there? Did he know it was him?
"You've hidden yourself well," the man conceded, "but not entirely. Though I cannot see or sense you, you've made no effort to hide from my hearing. It's not much to go on, I admit, but the leaves you're lying on top of twist so audibly underfoot." Though cloaked in darkness, the man's smirk was palpable. "Well, perhaps not underfoot."
He froze. This man knew. How could he possibly—
"I considered burning down this entire countryside," the man said casually, "until I picked up your trail a short while ago. My patience had nearly worn thin, scavenging these many months, but I knew eventually I'd find you. I had, however, hoped to find you sooner rather than later."
This man had been searching for him? Had he been searching for him, or for some cause to the deaths of his many former vessels?
"I am also pleased," he continued, "you have not lost all of your potency, considering your current state. Imagine my surprise when I find this particular area of the forest shielded from detection: that's good. Now, perhaps we can double this one-sided conversation, and speak on even terms. I'm sure it's much more pleasant than slithering around in the dark, preying on hapless creatures that turn up."
Silence was his reply.
The man sighed. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but perhaps some incentive might change your mind. I have, after all, been searching so long to meet you, Lord Voldemort."
The Dark Lord couldn't believe what he'd heard.
He slithered out from the shadows, raising his body up. The stranger lowered his head to the ground, meeting his slitted serpentine gaze.
"Quite the appropriate host body." The man chuckled. "There, was that so hard?"
"How did you know I live," The Dark Lord demanded, "where I was?"
"I heard," the man said, "in your younger years, you had a fascination with Albania." The man looked around the woods casually. "I don't know why, though. I already had my fill of endless trees a week into this country."
"You're a Parselmouth?" Voldemort hissed, barring his fangs dangerously. "How can you possibly speak the language of the snakes? Only my noble ancestry has been given the great gift of Parseltongue."
"That's not entirely accurate," the man replied, "but yes, Salazar Slytherin's line has created most of the Parselmouths in history. Myself included."
"Impossible! I am the Heir of Slytherin!"
A deep belly laugh erupted from the man. "That I know all too well, nor do I wish to dispute it. But that is in the past; I do not come barring false credence or hostility, merely an offer."
"What offer?" questioned the snake.
"A partnership. Between you and I."
Lord Voldemort hissed, possibly in an attempt at laughter. "And what is to stop me from simply possessing you, as I have every insect beneath my greatness? What could you possibly have to offer me?"
A luminous inferno lit up the wooded expanse. The air hummed and whirred dangerously, wind rushing all about them. Dirt and debris were lifted up into the air and thrown all around them. The man was surrounded by a golden flame, its ends licking the air tenderly.
"Whatever it is you desire. A body you may call your own. Power beyond even your wildest imagination. The world at your feet, Wizard and Muggle alike, cheering and fearing your name. Even immortality is not beyond possibility if you wish. We have much to offer each other, my friend, if you but give me a chance to prove it."
Lord Voldemort's lidless serpentine eyes widened. He could see, now, this man was no man at all.
Wings spread out from his toned and large body, flexing themselves. Lightning crackled off his body and down into the ground, illuminating his green and black checkered body. His head was adorned with two antennae, a crown for a being that reeked confidence and regality. Pink eyes shone brightly, reflecting off of pale skin.
The creature observed his body with interest, his long hidden away strength at last brought to the surface. The auric aura tickled and lightly prickled against his skin, his blood coursing excitedly. The man flexed his fingers pleasantly as electricity crackled within his palms.
"But, I think, revenge might be a good place to start."
Some of you might think I'm overpowering Gohan by making him a Seer (yes, a Seer, not anything related to Bardock), that's not my intention. I figured Gohan's got nothing natural for him; he's good in general cause of his studious lifestyle, but nothing that screams "his own mark as a wizard." Plus, he's not going to have nearly any handle on it (since the resident Divination teacher is pathetic) and it would provide a nice angle to see Gohan actually struggle with something and prove he's not at all perfect. Not to mention it adds a little bit of originality to it; how many people actually make Seers in HP stories?
The Bardock vision was verbatim from the Father of Goku movie (Funimation I believe); the lines are accurate, I just attempted to describe the scene.
Also, I know Luna's hat doesn't come up until the 5th book, but it never explicitly said it was made that year, so I tweaked the circumstances and timeline.
I might repost if I think of other Qs, or if you guys have any you have and I have time to answer. Comments and opinions are always appreciated if you have any.