Thank you again for all the kind reviews! I really am glad that people are so interested in this story, and I hope I can live up to whatever expectations you guys have. I have to admit, I myself enjoyed writing this chapter a lot, since it gave me a chance to delve deeper into Chichi's character. I know she's not very popular with most of the DBZ fans, but I've always really sympathized with Chichi. Personally, I see her as a proud, stubborn woman who doesn't always say what she feels, but loves her family deeply and wants them to be safe more then anything else in the world. She's pig-headed, and tends to get tunnel vison on certain issues, but she's not a bad person for it anymore then Goku is for being so naive, or Bulma is for being as selfish as she tends to be. One of my reviewers already mentioned that they like the role Chichi's playing in this story so far, and that they're actually dreading Gohan's departure to Hogwarts since it'll take her out of the story, but I want to assure you all now that Chichi is a big part of SoaW. Don't worry about the later chapters, since she'll still be playing a role, and be growing and learning right along with Gohan.
Now without further ado, please enjoy the very dialog-heavy chapter 3 of Wands and Warriors, and please remember to keep reviewing!
Chapter 3; A Lesson in History
Gohan jumped a little at the sound of the thunder below his feet, an overpowering blast of sound so close that he could practically feel it reverberating down in his soul. Twisting around to peer out the window with wide eyes and ringing ears, Gohan stayed frozen still for a few moments until the rumbling faded away to be replaced by the steady snoring of Mr. Popo, who was sleeping a few rooms away.
Scary... Gohan mused to himself, wondering how the more sensitive Namekian ears of his mentor and friend could handle such a terrifying noise. Then again, Piccolo did tend to sleep like a stone in the rare instances when he was fully out. Sighing quietly to himself, Gohan pushed himself away from his desk and padded over to the window to glance out at the storm below, which had rolled in fast and hard just a few hours after Chichi had left and didn't show any signs of letting up until morning. The torrential downpour was probably the only thing that was still keeping Chichi away from the Lookout, since her doctor's appointment should have ended quite some time ago. Most likely, Bulma had been smart enough to realize that flying through a storm like this was suicide and forced his mother to spend one last night at Caspule Corp. Gohan was tempted to go looking for her himself, but Chichi's strict orders to stay at the Lookout still rang harshly in his ears, and he wasn't about to press his luck with his increasingly stressed mom by defying her like that.
Still, there wasn't much else he could do, now that all his schoolwork was done. Piccolo had wandered off after their talk earlier, most likely to train or something, and Dende and Mr. Popo were both fast asleep now. True, he should probably be in bed himself, but storms like this one always left the half-saiyan feeling twitchy and restless, a lingering side effects to the year he spent in the wild where a storm like this could easily mean the death of grown men, to say nothing of a sheltered little four year old the likes of which he was at the time.
Gohan shook his head as he thought of the way he used to be, before Piccolo and the Saiyans and learning what it was like when someone had to fight for their lives. Looking back, Gohan could barely believe that child was the sort of person he used to be. It felt more like a vague dream, or a puzzle piece that no longer fit into the big picture anymore. Still, despite all the fear and violence and death, Gohan couldn't bring himself to mourn the loss of the boy he used to be. Not when the person born from his ashes was someone that his friends and family could trust to protect them. Not when it made his father so proud.
His mother had mourned, though. Still did, as a matter of fact. That, Gohan did regret, which was why he was trying so hard to make up for it now by being the son he knew she wanted.
Sighing at the depressing turn his thoughts had taken, Gohan turned away from the window with a frown. What was it about storms that made people so moody, anyways? Determined to shake off his malchony, Gohan headed out of his room and out towards the main plaza of the Lookout, hoping that maybe working off some energy would wear him out enough that he could fall asleep despite the weather. He couldn't get too crazy of course, or else he'd risk disturbing his hosts, but there were a few katas he could do that wouldn't bother anybody.
...Except maybe the elderly man sitting at the edge of the Lookout.
Gohan froze in place at the sight of the stranger, shock and confusion making him reel. No one other then his friends should have been allowed up on the Lookout, so who-?!
"Beautiful view up here." The old man said, his voice soft and kind, but with an underlaying authority that had Gohan straightening his posture despite the fact that the stranger hadn't even turned around when he started speaking. "I have heard the legends of the Earth Guardian's Lookout before, but words cannot truly describe how incredible this place is."
"You should see it without the magical storm clouds sometime." A gruff voice behind Gohan growled, startling the boy before he felt the familiar ki of his mentor. Piccolo must have been masking his presence, most likely waiting for this old man to show up.
There was very little that could get past the Namekian warrior...
"Perhaps I'll do that someday." The old man said, a smile in his voice as he climbed to his feet. Once he was up, the stranger turned to face the warriors, and Gohan's eyes widened as he took in the wizened old man with a long, snowy white beard and half moon spectacles perched on a hooked nose that looked like it had been broken in two places.
"You!" Gohan realized at last. "You're the one who's been sending me all the letters!" Periwinkle eyes twinkled as the old man smiled warmly at the half-saiyan.
"That's right, Gohan." He confessed with a polite bow. "I am Professor Albus Dumbledore. I came here from England to speak to you about something very important."
"It's... um... nice to meet you, Professor." Gohan said with a return bow, his manners engraved too deeply to ignore despite his confusion. Now that the man mentioned it, he did hear a slight English accent on his words, but why on earth would someone come all the way from England just to send him letters? "I don't mean to sound rude, sir, but... what could you possibly have to speak with me about?"
"Many things, I'm afraid." Dumbledore answered. "An entire world that has been kept hidden from you since before you were born, which your mother used to be a part of many years ago."
And suddenly, Gohan's promise to his mother not to leave planer Earth didn't seem so funny anymore.
"You're not gonna tell me that my mom's an alien too, are you?" Gohan asked warily, half afraid of the answer. Behind him, Piccolo sputtered in surprise at the half-saiyan's question as Dumbledore drew up short for a moment before throwing his head back to laugh so hard that Gohan was half afaid he'd topple off the edge of the Lookout.
"No, no, nothing like that..." Dumbledore managed through his chuckles, smiling at the eleven year old boy when he sighed in relief. "Would I be wrong to assume that there's a rather interesting story behind that particular question?"
"Nothing you need you hear, old man." A surly Piccolo cut in behind Gohan, narrowing his eyes. "Now either speak your piece or take your leave."
"Very well." Dumbledore agreed, "The truth is, Gohan, that your mother is a witch. One who has decended from a long line of powerful witches and wizards, and who has wielded incredible magic in her own right."
Silence greeted the Professor's proclaimation. Piccolo seemed unsurprised at this new reveltation, but Gohan needed a few minutes to absorb Dumbledore's words, and several more to realize that it wasn't a joke or a prank on the Professor's part.
"Um... okay." the boy said, looking between his mentor and the old man, feeling a bit like an idiot since he was obviously the only one who had no idea what was going on. "What's... what's that mean, exactly?"
"It means that you're long overdue to learn about your family, and the world that they have helped to shape." Dumbledore answered, reaching into his robe to pull out the thick, parchment envelope that was becoming far too familiar to Gohan. Accepting it, the half-saiyan's eyes immeidately sought the familiar emerald green handwriting on the front.
Mr. G. Son
Main Guest Room of the Earth Guardian's Lookout
Above Korin's Tower
Sacred Land Of Korin
FFA 44195 SQ
Despite Gohan's superhuman strength, the letter felt oddly heavy in his hands. Hesitantly, the boy glanced from the envelope to the strange old man who had given it to him and then to his Namekian mentor over his shoulder, who appeared mostly disinterested in what was happening between his student and the Professor.
"I... can I really open this?" Gohan asked uncertainly. His mom had been so distraught, so intent on keeping the contents of this letter from him. As curious as he was about the letter in his hands, his loyalty to his only living parent made him hesitate about blatantly disreguarding her wishes.
"Do whatever you want, Gohan." Piccolo replied curtly, his harsh features softening only slightly when he looked at the troubled young boy. "I can help and give you advice, but I'm not going to make your decisons for you, kid. You're never gonna learn anything if someone's holding your hand all the time." Gohan didn't appear to be all that happy at the Namekian's answer, and went back to studying the envelope for a moment before turning it over and carefully undoing the seal, curiosity winning the eleven year old over. After pulling out the pages inside and slowly unfolding them, Gohan began to read, his eyes widening with every word they absorbed.
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Son
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equiptment
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
By the time Gohan finished the letter his jaw was slacked and he was left blinking owlishly at the words before him for a few moments before finally reacting.
"He... hehe..." Gohan started, his shoulders shaking. "Hehehe... so... this whole time... hehe mom's been protecting me from a SCHOOL?!" The irony of the situation dispelled the last of Gohan's worries about defying his mother as he dissolved into laughter, doubling over and clutching his stomach as his muscles began to protest at the action.
"Something tells me it was more then just the school, kid." Piccolo observed, eyeing the elderly Dumbledore with a frown.
"Indeed." Dumbedore agreed, looking somber. "I'm afraid that things were quite dangerous in our world during the time when Chichi was a part of it. Back then, there was a dark wizard. He was cruel and bloodthristy, and managed to strike fear into almost all of the wizarding world. Some of us managed to stand up to him though, and many lost their lives for it. Including your grandmother, Tamari Niao." Dumbledore turned away from Gohan here to study the stars, a distant, pained look glazing his eyes as he recalled a time long pass.
"Your grandmother was a very good friend of mine, Gohan, and a remarkable woman with a very loving heart. She wasn't one to bear any injustice, especially the sort that became all too common in those days. I had a lot of faith in your grandmother's abilities, which was why I asked her to pursue a matter I had some concerns over, something that I felt could have given us an edge over our enemy. Unfortunately, she never made it back from that mission. Chichi was only fourteen at that time, and I'm afraid she never forgave me for sending her mother to her death."
Mom... Gohan thought, his stomach twisting as he thought of his mother going through such an ordeal. If what the elderly wizard said was true, then it was no wonder that she was so hysterical every time Gohan and his father flew off into a fight.
"And the dark wizard?" Piccolo questioned, watching the Headmaster carefully. "What happened to the guy who started all this?"
"He was defeated, about a year or so after Chichi left the wizarding world entirely." Dumbledore answered. "No one has seen any sign of him since then."
"So he wasn't killed then?" Piccolo clarified, eyes narrowing.
"I don't believe so, no." Dumbledore confessed quietly. "Evil as he was, our enemy was also brilliant. His defeat most likely left him gravely injured, but not dead." This answer didn't seem to make Piccolo very happy, but the Namekian warrior didn't question the wizard any further, allowing Gohan to interject with a concern of his own.
"Um, not to be disrespectful, sir, but are you really sure that I have this magic stuff or whatever in me?" Gohan asked uncertainly. "I mean, my mom seemed pretty sure that I didn't have it and... well, I kinda have this other stuff I can do that lots of normal people can't. Maybe you thought that stuff was the same sort of magic that you can do or something?"
"I assure you, Gohan, I didn't make any mistakes." Dumbledore promised the boy confidently. "A certain acquaintance of mine has been keeping a close eye on you. According to her, your father had a certain amount of immunity to some magic spells and potions and she believes that that passed down to you, which negated all of Chichi's efforts to keep you from being born a wizard."
"An... acquaintance?" Gohan repeated, confused.
"Baba." Piccolo guess with a scoff. "Should've known that she was in your pocket all along. No wonder you managed to learn enough about us and our powers to sneak around undetected the way you have."
"Ms Baba did tell me about your talents, along with many other things." Dumbledore confirmed. "The stories she's told me about you are really quite fascinating, Gohan. You're a very remarkable boy." Gohan flushed a little at the elderly man's praise as Piccolo scowled, clearly not pleased that this man knew so much about his pupil.
"So basically, you've been spying on the Sons for years now. Any special reason for the interest in the kid now? Cause I gotta say, your timing's pretty suspicious..." Dumdledore didn't look fazed at Piccolo's blatant accusation, though Gohan himself was a little confused. Piccolo wasn't surprised by this. As smart as Gohan was, he didn't have a cruel bone in his body, so he could never understand the tactics of people who manipulate others.
Like someone who showed up out of nowhere looking to take a kid away to a magical school right after he lost his beloved father.
"Really? I think it's rather unfortunate, myself." Dumbledore responded. "But I feared that contacting Chichi before Gohan was of the age to begin school at Hogwarts would merely send her on the run with him that much sooner. I'm afraid that things were very... unpleasant in the Wizarding world when Chichi left us, which left her with a very negative opinions of wizards in general, and myself specifically."
"Because of my grandmother?" Gohan asked quietly.
"Among other things." Dumbledore admitted. "Thankfully, those dark times have passed, and things are more peaceful now. And even if they weren't I would never allow anything to harm the students in my school." Piccolo studied Dumbledore closely for a moment after that before accepting the man at his word, backing off to let Gohan state his own curiousity.
"If I go to this school, will I have to leave my home?" Gohan asked, looking troubled at the thought. Gohan had loved all the spells and tricks he'd seen so far with his letters, and the animals and gifts that Dumbledore had given Bulma and Vegeta were really cool, but the boy just didn't feel comfortable abandoning his mother right after his dad had just died.
"Yes, I'm afraid so." Dumbledore said, confirming Gohan's fears. "I know you and your mother are going through a difficult time right now, and I do not wish to make things harder on either of you, but untrained wizards can be dangerous to those around them, especially ones that have your potential. I assure you though, Gohan, we'll provide you with every means neccessary to stay in contact with your friends and family here, and you'll have ample opportunity to make new friends at school as well since all the students live with their yearmates of whatever house they've been sorted into while school is in session. You are welcome to return home during the winter and spring, and I'll be willing to make allowances in emergencies or when there is a need for you to be away. I will also provide you with a means of writing home as well, since only a few owls can cross the barrier that protects Chikyuu from the outside world."
"Owls?" Gohan repeated curiously, remembering the last line in the letter he just read.
"Wizards train birds, specifically owls, to deliver letters and packages wherever necessary. Think of them as our Post Service." Dumbledore explained. "I believe that your grandfather still keeps one or two handy, though I recall your mother wasn't especially fond of them." Gohan winced at that, knowing it to be all too true. Chichi didn't seem to like any kinds of birds, but she especially hated owls for some reason.
"I... I don't know about all this..." Gohan admitted, frowning down at the letter in his hands. "...Can I talk with my mom about this first, before I decide anything?"
"Of course, Gohan." Dumbledore said, smiling warmly at the boy. "I don't want you to make any decisions that you'll regret later. You still have plenty of time until the September 1st deadline, so I encourage you to sit down and talk with your mother. With any luck, perhaps speaking with you about the past and her own experiences in the wizarding world will help Chichi heal from her pain."
Somehow, Gohan doubted that such a task would be as easy as Dumbledore made it sound.
"At any rate, now that I have delivered your letter to you I really must get back to the responsibilities I've been neglecting while I was here in Chikyuu. Good luck, Gohan. I hope that I'll see you during the Opening Ceremonies at Hogwarts in a few months."
"Thank you, sir." Gohan replied, biting his lip as he reread the letter in his hands, only to glance back up when Dumbledore's ki suddenly dissappeared from the Lookout.
"Gotta say kid, you sure know how to keep things interesting." Piccolo commented, breaking his silence again now that their intruder was gone.
"Well, I guess that's one way of putting it..." Gohan said with a weak smile. "What do you think, Mr. Piccolo?"
"I think this is all crazy." Piccolo said bluntly. "But then again, you've been through crazier then a magic boarding school run by a guy in a dress. Do what you want, kid." Gohan's weak smile transformed into an outright grin at that very Piccolo-like response. Without the Namekian even really saying it Gohan knew that, whatever decision he made, Piccolo would back him up, no questions asked.
And judging from the way that Piccolo growled out a sigh at the sight of Gohan's ear-to-ear grin, the Namekian knew it too.
As much as Bulma loved her life, and as grateful as she was for everything she had, there were still times when the blue haired genuis regretted ever hitting a certain monkey tailed brat with her car. Generally, this happened when she got put into a life or death situation because of her friendship with the now tail-less and desceased warrior in question, but occasionally Goku still managed to give her grief without even being present.
Like when the selfless jerk went and got himself killed, leaving her to worry about his psychotic widow and gentle son.
I should have just run the other way after Goku picked up my car and threw it like a baseball. Bulma thought grumpily for the umpeenth time in her life as she stepped out of her shower wearing nothing but water and a fluffy white towel. Things would be so much easier for me if I had just gone back to West City then.
"Fer goodness sake, Bulma! What's takin' ya so long! Ya said we'd go up ta the Lookout as soon as the rain stopped, remember?!" Chichi snarled at her from the other side of her bathroom door.
"I'll be out in a minute, Chichi." Bulma shot back and she quickly began to brush her still damp hair.
"Ya said that ten minutes ago!" Chichi screeched in return. "In case ya fergot, my baby's in danger right now, all because SOMEONE made me go ta a doctor's appointment that I didn't need!"
...Much, MUCH easier.
"I think Gohan will be okay up on the Lookout by himself, Chichi." Bulma said irritably, her temper putting a bite in her words that few people would dare use while speaking to the terrifying Son matriarch. "You didn't need to wake me up at two in the morning to take you up there right away. Vegeta would've sensed if something was going on up there that we needed to worry about."
"Like he sensed the man who was sneakin' into yer house every night fer almost week straight?" Chichi huffed back, adding more fuel to Bulma's growing fury.
"Alright, that's it!" Bulma growled out, slamming her hairbrush down so hard that it snapped in two before storming out of the bathroom to confront the other woman. A small part of her was reminding her that it was a bad idea for a delicate, unarmed woman such as herself to attack someone as dangerous and frightening as Chichi could be when she was properly motivated (and nothing motivated her more then the thought of her son being in trouble) but that part was overruled by whatever insane disease had befallen the brilliant woman and made her fall in love with the cranky saiyan prince. "Now you look here, Chichi! I don't care what you-!"
"GOHAN!" The next thing Bulma knew, she'd been tossed out of Chichi's way and into the nearest wall, the breath knocked out of her in the dark haired mother's mad dash to greet her son.
Okay. Ow. Bulma thought dizzily, suddenly remembering why Chichi scared her so much. She kinda felt like she just got hit by a tank...
"Son Gohan, what on earth do ya think yer doin' back here on earth?! I told ya ta stay at the Lookout until I got back up there!" Bulma heard Chichi demand as she peeled herself off of the wall. Shaking her head, the blue haired woman made her way to her room to get dressed, keeping an ear on the conversation being held just down the hall.
"Yeah, I know, but mom-!"
"Don'tcha 'but mom' me, young man! I'm yer mother, and what I say goes! Honestly, are ya tryin' ta give me an early heart attack runnin' around like some sorta delinquent all the time?!" As she began shuffling through her drawers for clothes, Bulma couldn't help but roll her eyes at Chichi's comment. For goodness sake, Gohan was about as much a delinquent as Vegeta was a gentleman.
"No, mom. But I-!"
"-Deliberately disobeyed me! I knew leavin' ya with that demon was a bad idea, he's a terrible influence on you! Ever since he kidnapped you-!"
"Mom, I spoke with Professor Dumbledore last night."
Silence greeted Gohan's candid confession, which made Bulma frown curiously as she buttoned up her jeans. Considering how much yelling Chichi had been doing lately, the sudden peace was almost eerie...
"...That man... Are you tellin' me he got up ta the Lookout durin' the storm?" Chichi asked, sounding as though she already knew the answer and didn't like it at all. More curious then ever, Bulma hastily grabbed the first shirt that made it's way into her hands, eager to get back out in the hallway to find out what was going on now. This sounded like it was getting interesting...
"Um, yeah. He showed up last night." Gohan repeated, sounding nervous. "...He, um... he told me about-"
"Whatever that man told ya, it was all a lie Gohan." Chichi said abruptly. "None 'a it was true."
"Don't question me about this, Gohan." Chichi said, sounding a little hysterical now. "I didn't raise ya ta be the sorta son who'd believe a complete stranger over yer own mother!" Fully covered, Bulma darted out the door and into the hallway, making a beeline for the Sons to get a front row seat to whatever was going on.
"I never had to." Gohan said, sounding upset about something. "You've never lied to me about anything before."
Bulma froze in shock as Chichi's hand connected with Gohan's cheek. The half saiyan himself looked unfazed at the sudden assault, which made a certain amount of sense given that he was definately fast enough to see the attack coming and dodge it if he wanted to, meaning that he probably let her hit him on purpose. Chichi, on the other hand, looked absolutely horrified when she realized what she had done.
"Oh... oh my..." Trembling, Chichi snatched her hand away from her son, holding it tightly to her chest as if taking it prisoner. "...Gohan..."
"It's true, isn't it, mom? All that stuff he said. About wizards, and magic, and you. It's true that you're a witch." Gohan said quietly. Still trembling, Chichi's shoulder's slumped at her son's accusation, her head shaking silently as the last of her resistance dissolved under the shock of striking the very person she would die a thousand deaths to protect. "It's true that I got some sort of magical power from you."
"NO!" Chichi protested venomously. "That's not you! Never! Those people... they're demons, Gohan. They look down on people who ain't the same as them, like yer grandfather, 'n yer father. They think that their magic makes 'em better than everyone else, 'n that muggles 'n squib ain't any better than animals. They'll turn a blind eye on someone who needs help ta keep from puttin' themselves in danger, even if that person's tryin' ta save 'em! I'm not like that, Gohan, 'n neither are you!" Bulma's eyes widened as words spilled from Chichi, stress and guilt breaking the proud woman and making her confess all. The blue haired genius still didn't completely understand what was going on- all this stuff about witches and people being in danger- but she knew that, whatever all this was, it wasn't easy for Chichi. Once more, Bulma felt a curl of sympathy for the younger mother.
Hardheaded as she could be sometimes, Chichi was still one of Bulma's friends, and Bulma was never one to abandon her friends when they were hurting.
"Professor Dumbledore said something about things being bad when you left the wizarding world." Gohan noted, though not unkindly. The boy wanted to figure out what was going on, and find out how he and his mother fit into whatever drama was unfolding now.
"Should've known that man had a gift fer understatin' things." Chichi said bitterly. "It was hell on earth, Gohan. All because one man fancied himself ta be a God, runnin' around decidin' who got ta live 'n lick his shoes and who died fer not followin' him like a well-trained puppy."
"The dark wizard." Gohan said, quickly realizing that was the person his mother was referring to. The one that killed my grandmother...
"His name was Voldemort." Chichi said blandly. "'Course, mosta those snivilin' cowards in that world were too scared 'a him ta call him that. Always goin' around with this 'You-Know-Who' 'n 'Dark Lord' nonsense. My mother always said that all that garbage ever did was give that man more power over people. Not that he needed any more power. Evil 'n vile as he was, Voldemort was a brilliant 'n powerful wizard."
Professor Dumbledore said that, too. Gohan recalled with a frown. Wisely, he didn't mention this to his mother, since hearing Dumbledore's name only ever seemed to upset her even more.
"But... isn't he gone now?" Gohan asked instead.
"Accordin' ta what little news I got from that world." Chichi confirmed, looking pained. "One 'a his last victim's was a friend of mine when I was in Hogwarts, a year ahead 'a me. Lily Evans was her name. 'Least before she married Potter, anyways. She was a great witch. Noble and strong and kind... I really looked up to her. She and my mother... I always thought that that's how a good witch was supposed ta be. Funny, how both'a 'em got killed by the same evil man." Despite her words, Chichi didn't seem to find any humor in that irony. Neither did Gohan.
"Why didn't you tell me or dad about any of this before?" Gohan wondered, sounding more hurt then angry at the fact that his mother kept such a big part of her life hidden from them.
"I just wanted ta leave all that behind." Chichi confessed. "That world, 'n all the people who'd smile in yer face, then stab ya in the back... When we got married, I kept it from Goku since I knew he'd wanna do somethin' 'bout the likes 'a Voldemort if he knew someone like that was goin' 'round killin' people. I'd just found him again, and we were happy 'n safe 'n newly wed... I couldn't bear ta lose someone else I love ta that monster. That's why when I was pregnant, I tried ta keep ya from gettin' magic too, so they wouldn't suck ya in ta that nonsense. Drank a Lath Potion every night fer nine months straight, since it increases the chances a bein' born without any powers. Never missed a single night. That's pretty much the last bit 'a magic I've ever done..."
"Professor Dumbledore thinks that maybe saiyans are immune to some forms of magic." Gohan informed his mother. "That's why I ended up getting magic from you after all."
"That'd explain why yer father didn't react ta that Love Potion I tried on him once 'r twice before ya were born." Chichi mused dryly. "That was a bit of a blow to my pride. I was pretty well known fer my potions at Hogwarts. Well, that 'n Quidditch..."
"Quidditch?" Gohan asked, perplexed.
"'s a sport. Ya play it on broomsticks. I made the team as one of Gryffindor's Beaters in my third year. Always took people by surprise, since I'm so small, 'n a girl ta boot, but no one could deny that I was good." A hint of pride flashed through Chichi's voice as she spoke of this sport, despite the fact that her son and Bulma had no idea what she was talking about. "'Course, that smart-mouthed Potter 'n Black used ta bet ten gallons before every game that I'd lose my temper and beat someone on the other team ta death with my club. Kinda wanted ta smack their heads t'gether when they started that nonsense, 'fore Remus told me they were just kiddin' so I'd be all fired up fer the game 'n really put a wallop on the other team..." Realizing that she had gone off on a tangent, Chichi flushed red and coughed into her fist before trying to regain her composure.
"At any rate, it wasn't 'til after ya were born that Voldemort died, 'n by then I didn't see much of a point in comin' out 'bout my powers. I was perfectly happy livin' without magic, 'n ya were supposed ta be a squib anyways. And I just... I knew that even if that monster himself was gone, Voldemort's supporters were still out there, 'n I didn't want ta have ya anywhere near that sorta people. I wanted ya ta have a peaceful, lovin' childhood, Gohan. The kind I never got cuz'a the war with Voldemort." Chichi's face darkened for a moment here. "'course, that was all fer nothin' anyways, since ya ended up gettin' drawn in ta all those fights, 'n flyin' around in space doin' God only knows what..."
"But... you miss it, don't you." Gohan realized, reading his mother easily. "Maybe not all of it, and definately not all the people, but it was still a part of your life for a really long time, and you haven't had it for eleven years now."
"I gave it up, Gohan, 'n I don't regret my decision, no matter what that Dumbledore told ya!" Chichi said hotly, her temper flaring at her son's accusation. More than anything else, that proved to Gohan that he was right. "Gohan, whatever that man said 'bout yer powers is total nonsense! Ya have enough control over yerself now thanks ta martial arts ta keep from blowin' anythin' up in a temper tantrum, 'n that man has absolutely no political power here in Chikyuu, so ya don't have ta go ta that school! Ya can still be a brilliant scientist!" Gohan frowned at the forced cheer in his mother's tone, hearing the hint of desperation and fear beneath it. Fear that all her hard work and sacrifice had been in vain, and that Gohan would once again be sucked into a world where he could get hurt at any moment.
To be perfectly honest, Gohan didn't want that either. He wasn't anything like Vegeta or his dad, despite his saiyan genes. Gohan hated fighting. Seeing violence, hurting other people... stuff like that always made the young hybrid feel sick to his stomach. He knew it was necessary sometimes to protect people, but he would never have the love for battle that his father and friends had.
But all the same, violent and frightning as it could be sometimes, Gohan couldn't imagine walking away from the life he lived and never looking back.
If someone told him that he could have the normal life he'd always craved... a life of peace where he didn't have to worry about the world ending, or aliens, or andriods, or anything else like that, in exchange for giving up all his powers and never speaking to any of the other warriors again... Gohan could never be strong enough to do it. It was torturous of him to even consider it, even though he knew that that was what his mom wanted for him.
Gohan had accepted the fact that he'd never be normal a long, long time ago. Maybe now it was time for Chichi to do the same.
"I want to go, Mom." Gohan stated, his tone quiet but firm. "I want to know what kind of world you and my grandmother came from. I want to see it all with my own eyes. I want to learn how to be a wizard."
God, Chichi's face when he said that... No matter how many times it happened, or however good a reason he had to do it, it was never easy for Gohan to break his mother's heart. Not when he knew how fragile she really was underneath her infamous temper and terrifying strength. Recovering quickly, Chichi hid her pain behind anger, her most reliable method of strong arming her superpowered family into submission.
"I said no, Gohan!" Chichi snarled, hands on her hips. "Yer better then all that garbage! Why do ya think I've been hidin' all this from ya fer so long?! Ya wanna know where me 'n my mother came from?! Gohan, I gave up on magic, 'n yer grandma got killed cuz 'a it! What does THAT tell ya?!"
"I still want to know for myself." Gohan said, holding his ground. "Maybe... Maybe Professor Dumbledore was right. Maybe things are better now."
"Maybe?! MAYBE?! Ya want me ta trust yer safety on the word of a man who sent my mother ta her death?!"
"I want you to be who you are, mom." Gohan corrected her gently. "And... I want to find out who I am. Where I belong."
"What are ya talkin' about, Gohan? Ya already have a place ya belong!" Chichi said, genuinely taken aback.
"Not anymore." Gohan sighed, shaking his head. "Cell's gone. I don't have to fight anymore, but I can't pretend I'm like other kids my age. I'm not normal, like you want me to be."
"Ya think I want ya ta be normal?" Chichi said, looking stunned at her son's words. "Gohan, I... that's not it at all! It ain't about bein' normal, it's about bein' happy 'n safe! I mean, yer the son of the strongest warrior in the world 'n a former witch, I pretty much knew from the start that normal wasn't gonna be an option fer ya. But... yer father 'n I both lived in bloody, dangerous worlds. I didn't want that fer ya, because I knew ya could be so much more! That's why I'd push ya so hard ta keep studyin' and learnin', even when the world was threatenin' ta go up in flames around us!"
"There's always going to be danger, Chichi." Bulma broke in, surprising the Sons. The blue haired genius' expression was unusually serious as she gazed down the hall to the room where her son lay sleeping. "It doesn't matter if he's a fighter or a scientist, there's always going to be risks involved, and you won't be able to protect him from everything."
"At least with scientists, the risk doesn't usually involve death." Chichi reminded Bulma bitterly.
"True." Bulma acknowledged with a shrug, turning back to meet Chichi's eye. "But it's harder sometimes to be the one stuck in a lab or something when everyone you love is risking their lives for what they believe in. You know that as well as I do, Chichi. Do you really want to inflict that on Gohan?" Chichi flinched at Bulma's words, drawing back as if the other woman had slapped her. "It doesn't matter if he's out there, right in the thick of it, or stuck worrying himself half crazy like us, Gohan's going to get hurt. The best you can do is make sure he's prepared for whatever danger may come his way."
"Please, mom?" Gohan begged, lowering his head to look at his feet. "I just wanna try. Even if it doesn't work out, I'm never going to be able to live with myself if I don't at least give it a shot."
Chichi was silent for a long time after that, her face unreadable as she thought things through. Then, finally...
"Yer not gonna like it as much as ya think, ya know." Chichi said flatly. "If ya thought I was tough about homework, just wait 'til McGonagall get her hands on ya."
Gohan grinned widely at his mother's begrudging consent, excitement bubbling over and making him cheer loud enough to earn a snarled threat of dismemberment from the room that Bulma and Vegeta shared. Though he'd won her over, Chichi couldn't bring herself to join in her son's obvious glee, already worrying that she had made a bad decision for her child. Bulma, on the other hand, had no problem sharing Gohan's mirth.
"Good for you, kid!" The genius said cheerfully, beaming at the boy she had grown so fond of in the past six years. It was good to see Chichi finally learn to let go and give Gohan a little choice in his life. Nevertheless, there was one thing that was still bothering the genius... "Soooo... anyone wanna fill me in on what all of this is about, or am I just supposed to keep guessing?"
The days following Chichi's big confession and her reluctant permission to allow her son to go to Hogwarts were very busy. In part, this had to do with Bulma's rapidly approaching wedding, which the blue haired genius guilted Chichi and Gohan into lending her a hand with, but there was also the half-saiyan's growing excitement about his new school to contend with as well. Gohan was having a hard time containing his curiosity about wizards, but had to try around his mother since Chichi still seemed like she'd withdraw her permission for Gohan to go away at the first opportuntiy that presented itself. Thankfully, his grandfather was all too happy to answer any questions he had, obviously pleased that his daughter had changed her mind.
The large man had been visibly thrilled at the news when the boy came back to the Ox Kingdom to spent the night before Bulma's wedding. Bulma and Pansy had taken over Capsule Corp eariler that day, recruiting Chichi to help them get everything perfect for the wedding and tossing all the boys other then Trunks out on their ears. Gohan and Dr. Briefs took their eviction with grace, but Vegeta was far less happy about it. The saiyan had thrown a royal fit until Bulma pulled him away for five minutes. When the warrior returned, he had grudgingly agreed to give Bulma her way, much to the relief and amusement of the others. Dr. Briefs then took Vegeta away for what he cheerfully called a 'good, old fashion bachelor party' with Krillen, Master Roshi and a few of the other guys, but Chichi strictly forbade Gohan from having any part of celebrating with the men, instead shipping him back to her father's for safekeeping. Gohan didn't mind this much, since he knew he'd see everyone at the wedding anyways, and he wanted to ask his grandfather some questions without Chichi breathing down their necks.
"I can't tell ya too much. I didn't get ta study magic m'self since I'm a squib, but yer grandmother was really somethin' else. Chichi too, before Temari died and she started hatin' all the wiards." Ox King told Gohan when the boy started pressing him for information.
"What's a squib?" Gohan asked, having heard that word more then once by now, but only just now thinking to ask.
"Someone without any magic, who's gotta wizard parent." Ox King answered. "It doesn't happen much, but every once ina while ya get that. Anyways, both of my parents were half gaints too, so the chances of the Ministry of Magic lettin' me study even if I did have powers was really slim. Some 'a the people in the magic world don't really like anyone who ain't all human, if it's really obvious they're different."
"Why does it matter?" Gohan was baffled as to why something so trivial would bother people. Throughout his life, Gohan had made many friends of vastly different walks of life; humans, aliens, animals, and even gods. Some were more strange then others, but he loved and respected all of them, and the idea of someone treating his friends badly because they weren't human troubled the young boy quite a bit.
"It doesn't, but some people like ta make a big deal outta somethin' that shouldn't be an issue." Ox King said sagely. "Don't worry, though. Without yer tail, people won't realize ya ain't fully human. Heck, I always kinda thought yer father hadda run-in with a cranky witch who cursed him 'er somethin', before we found out about the saiyan thing." Gohan froze at his grandfather's words, realization sinking in and making the boy go cold with fear.
That's right. It dawned on the child. I'm only half human, too. Less than that, actually, if his grandfather was to be believed. What if this Ministry or whatever found out that he was part alien? Would he get in trouble? Would his mom?
"Um, if they find out I'm half-saiyan, what's going to happen?" Gohan asked worriedly, chewing on his lip as he fidgeted.
"Nothin', I expect." Ox King replied with a shrug. "I mean, if ya hurt someone, then there'd be trouble, but just havin' more then human blood in ya isn't enough ta get ya in ta hot water, m' boy. Aliens 'n stuff only land really here in Chikyuu, anyways. A side effect of the spell that protects this place from the resta the world."
"That's right, Professor Dumbledore said something about a barrier..." Gohan remembered suddenly, feeling a bit foolish for not having asked sooner.
"Yep. Chikyuu was all set up 'bout a thousand years ago by a wizard named Lord Damon, who wanted a place where all the creature 'n people that wizards 'n muggles- that's what they call people without magic, by the way- considered freaks could live without havin' ta worry 'bout nothin'. There's still a magic beacon that draws in people who ain't gonna be accepted in normal society, 's'why everythin' otherworldly lands here in Chikyuu. Dunno fer sure, but I think it's underneath Korin's Tower or somethin'... Anyways, that's why there's talking animals 'n lotsa other stuff here that ya don't see outside 'a Chikyuu. And then lotsa Muggles 'n Wizards who didn't fit in came too, 'n life here in Chikyuu became much different then whatcha see in the outside world. We've all lived 'n worked together fer so long now, no one thinks anyone else ain't normal, even if they're not human."
"If there's other wizards here in Chikyuu, then shouldn't there be a Wizard School here, too?" Gohan asked. It seemed strange to him that all kids his age with magic would have to travel all the way to England to learn to control their powers.
"They have a few fer the animal folk- Puar 'n Oolong used ta go ta one, a long time ago- but when they tried settin' one up fer wizards, it didn't work out so good. Too many people from too many different cultures, y'know? Sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes it makes things messy, 'specially when it comes ta teachin' young'uns. People were fightin' bout pretty much everythin', makin' it impossible ta settle on one standardized method fer teachin' new wizards, 'n it woulda been way too complicated ta try 'n make a school for each one a the cultures, so Lord Damon set it up so that kids can go ta whatever school they wanna, anywhere else in the world. Normally, when a new wizard is found in Chikyuu, they get owls from all sorts 'a different wizards schools, totin' what makes the school great. In yer case though, yer grandmother's family's always traditionally gone ta Hogwarts, so the other places didn't even bother tryin' ta send ya a letter."
"Well then how come we've never seen any wizards or witches other than Baba?" Gohan asked. "I mean, with everything that goes on, I'm pretty sure we should've noticed something..."
"It's not surprisin' ya haven't seen anybody, actually. It ain't illegal fer wizards ta use magic 'round muggles here like it is in the outside world, but people still don't like ta show off too much. Mostly, they live out in the country side, away from all the Muggles in the city. It's never smart ta mix muggle technology 'n wizard magic, after all. Plus, when a lotta 'em go ta study, they start settin' up a life fer themselves out there 'r find someone they wanna marry er somethin'. Since travellin' in and outta Chikyuu all the time is a bit of a hassle, 'n it's almost impossible ta get new wizards 'n witches past the barrier, they'll usually end up leavin' Chikyuu behind. Most anyone who comes back here specializes in just one thing 'er another. Like Baba 'n her fortunetelling. I know some people who do a lot with healin' magic, 'n some who study magical creatures... Master Roshi's teacher was a wizard, actually. 'S how he managed ta seal away King Piccolo..."
"Is that why Piccolo knew about wizards?" Gohan wondered.
"Maybe. 'Magine that ol' Kami knew a lil about them, too." Ox King answered. "Ya oughta ask him yerself, though. Ya said he saw some 'a the signs when ya were training with him?"
"Um, yeah. Before I got better at protecting myself, I guess I used magic a lot when I was in danger." Gohan admitted sheepishly. Ox King chuckled heartedly at the confession.
"That happens with young wizards." Ox King assured him. "One time when Chichi was really little, she came pretty close ta blowin up the castle 'cause she thought there was a monster in her closet. Turned out ta be justa old ghoul playin' tricks, but it left a right mess. Took us three weeks ta clean up... 'S'why Temari made a special helmet fer yer mom, ta focus her powers without hurtin' everythin' around her. Chichi got better with her control when she started goin' ta Hogwarts though, 'n she didn't need it at all by the time Temari passed."
"Do you think I'll be any good at this magic stuff, Grandpa?" Gohan asked, a troubling though occuring to the young halfling. "I mean... it's not like learning science or math, right? And, it's not like fighting or using ki, either." Gohan didn't mind working hard at a new skill, but the fact of the matter was that he was pretty used to being good at almost everything he tried. He wasn't being boastful or arrogant, but realistically there were things Gohan did that no child his age should've been able to accomplish. Gohan knew that there weren't many other kids his age who not only studied Advanced Quantim Physics, but had their theories printed in Science Magazines. And even though he had only been studying martial arts for seven years now, he could already easily best warriors who had been fighting for almost three times that long. Vegeta or Piccolo could probably outsmart him as far as strategy went, but Gohan's strength would easily overwhelm even them if the half-saiyan ever truly fought them seriously.
This, though... this was something completely new, and scary. What if some of his mom's potion or whatever had worked, and he didn't have enough power to do whatever the other kids could? What if he went into the wizarding world and just made a complete idiot of himself? What if Chichi was right, and everybody hated him because he was different?
What if he wasn't good enough... again?
"From what I understand, ki is natural energy found in all livin' things, right? Magic... Magic is special. Kinda like blue hair, 'er bein' born withoutta nose, 'er havin' three eyes. 'Er maybe a monkey tail?" Gohan smiled weakly at the playful jest about the oddities that popped up among him and his more human friends, but worry still ate away at his stomach. "Magic does draw offa ki sometimes, fer the more advanced spells, but generally they're two seperate energies. But don't worry 'bout that, Gohan. Yer gonna be a brilliant wizard, I can pretty much guarentee it."
"Because mom and grandma were good?" Gohan guessed.
"Because yer a great kid, 'n even with all the craziness that goes on all 'round ya, ya never lost touch with the thing that makes ya great." Ox King corrected his grandson, tapping Gohan pointedly on the chest above his heart. "'n no matter what's goin' on, 'er what yer up against, you'll always be brilliant at everythin' ya try as long as ya remember ta just be yerself."
A Son grin threatened to split Gohan's face in two in response to his grandfather's words, filling him up with a confidence that he hadn't felt since his father's death.
Maybe he'd be able to do this after all...
"I can't do this."
"This feels a little backwards." Bulma complained as Chichi poured herself some more wine. "I mean, I'm the bride here, right? Shouldn't I be the one who's all jittery and second guessing myself at the last second?"
"Stop jokin' 'round, Bulma, this is serious!" Chichi griped. "I can't send Gohan off ta that school! Those monsters'll eat my poor, sweet baby alive!"
"...We are talking about the boy who turned Cell into space dust, right?"
"Chichi, you need to calm down." Bulma sighed. "Gohan's a strong, smart kid, who's more mature then pretty much all the rest of the gang put together. Discounting the occasional genocidal psychopaths, I don't think I've met a single person who doesn't love your kid, and if anyone in this magic school stupid enough to be the first and tries to hurt Gohan, then they'll just have to deal with a frying-pan wielding Tiger Mom, a Namekian who almost laid waste to all of Chikyuu, an assortment of other warriors who have dealt with several world ending crisises and a brilliant scientist with deadly accurate guns."
"Guns ain't much good against wizards." Chichi said flatly as she took a big gulp.
"I can get creative." Chichi faultered a moment at the absolute certaintly in Bulma's tone when she said that, setting her drink down to study the other woman more carefully. "Chichi, I know you think that I don't appreciate all the things Gohan's lost keeping us safe, but I really do. More then you know. Because of Gohan, my son doesn't have to grow up on a war savaged planet without any hope for the future. Hell, because of Gohan, my son CAN grow up instead of being murdered by some freak science experiment with the rest of humanity. He can know his mom and dad, and has a future where he can be anything he wants. Gohan did that for Trunks, Chichi. It's only fair that he gets the same in return."
"What 'r ya talkin' 'bout? Because 'a the fightin' 'n the space travel, Gohan lost years that he coulda spent with his father." Chichi pointed out sharply. "'n now that Goku's dead-!"
"What about you?" Bulma asked knowingly. "Gohan's right, Chichi. You've been hiding a big part of yourself for a long time now, something that you can share with your son the way that Goku shared martial arts with him. You're not going to try and tell me that you don't want to show him some of those cool spells and potions that you know and have him look at you the same way he does Goku and Piccolo when they're showing off those fancy fighting moves, right?" Chichi stilled at that.
Much as she did hate to admit it, that thought was tempting. Chichi did sort of envy the connection Gohan had with her husband and his friends, like they had a world that just they were a part of. A world she couldn't really fit in to herself, which left her standing on the wayside worrying about her family's safety every time things threatened to fall to pieces. Though her own experiences with the art were impressive by the standards of most humans, fighting wasn't something that Chichi had a talent for the way that Goku and Gohan and even that demonic Piccolo did.
Magic, on the other hand...
"It ain't worth it." Chichi said firmly, stamping down her selfish desires to impress her son. "I'm not puttin' my son in harm's way fer the chance ta show off a few spells."
"Suit yourself." Bulma said, shrugging. "I really wouldn't recommend breaking your word, though. You know how Gohan is. Nine times out of ten he's willing to put up with pretty much anything for the sake of making other people happy, but when that kid finds something he really wants to do, he'll do everything in his power to go for it a hundred and twenty percent. And Gohan's got a LOT of power at his disposal." Chichi's shoulders sagged a bit at the genius' point, knowing it to be all too true. "He's going to go to this school, Chichi, even if you don't want him to. The best way to keep him safe while he's there is to make sure he's strong enough to protect himself from all those monsters you hate so much. At least if you're showing him a few things on top of whatever he learns at this school, then you'll know he's learning something worthwhile, something he can use to protect himself if someone or something ever tries to harm him." Chichi brightened at that suggestion.
"Now that 'cha mention it, there are a few things I can show 'im that'll make anyone who tries ta hurt 'im regret it real fast!" Chichi realized, giving a rather frightening grin for someone who was still considered pure enough to ride Nimbus. "Maybe a good Blasting Curse'll keep those thugs from messin' with my baby!"
"There, see? Silver lining!" Bulma said cheerfully, inwardly cackling at her cunning. Bulma wasn't as strong or as scary as Chichi, but she was far, far craftier then the straightfoward and emotional Princess of the Ox Kingdom. She knew which buttons she had to push to get the younger mother fired up and working with her rather then against her, which was something the guys had a lot of trouble with in regards to Chichi. Bulma had no qualms about using this ability to keep Chichi from backing off of her promise to send Gohan to the school. Especially not when she could so easily imagine how excited Goku would've been at the thought of his son and wife being able to use magic. Bulma would've bet millions that the big, lovable dope would've started collecting rabbits in the hopes that his son would learn to pull them out of hats or something, and a part of her ached at the knowledge that such a display would never take place. Helping Gohan follow whatever path he wanted to take was the least that Bulma could do out of respect for Goku.
Besides, she was pretty curious about all this magic stuff herself...
The sharp ringing of the phone cut off Bulma's musings of all the ways she could exploit Gohan's new magical status, making the blue haired woman sigh heavily as she pulled herself to her feet.
"I hope that's not my dad or Vegeta again." Bulma griped as she trotted over to answer the phone. Chichi barely heard her, too busy making a mental list of all the spells that would be able to protect her son. While she was at it, maybe she'd update all the spells around her home that were meant to keep the family safe, since they had obviously worn off some six odd years ago...
Might as well give that ol' pervert at Kame House a few well deserved jinxes too, while I'm at it. Chichi thought darkly, fire flashing in her eyes as she thought of all the bad karma that Master Roshi was long overdue for.
"Oh, Doctor White! We've been waiting for your call!" Bulma said happily, Chichi frowned a bit at the mention of the quack that Bulma had forced her to see, the one who had created the opening to Gohan that Dumbledore had jumped on like a starving saiyan.
I oughta have a few words with him before he sinks his claws inta Gohan, too. Chichi vowed silently. Dumbledore might have been able to ignore her requests for his letters to stop thanks to some silly old law, but even the heavens wouldn't be able to save the man from Chichi's wrath if he put Gohan into the same sort of danger her mother had often flown off into whenever Dumbledore sent word to her. Chichi wasn't some starry-eyed ten year old who thought that Dumbledore was some infallable defender of justice anymore, and she wasn't going to let him delude Gohan into being a sacrificial lamb for some 'greater good.'
"W-what?! Are you sure?!" Bulma sputtered into her phone, unheard by the plotting mother as she took another gulp of her wine.
Her Gohan was a clever boy though, so he wouldn't fall for Dumbledore's tricks the way she had. And if there was even a hint of Voldemort popping back up into the wizarding world, she'd take Gohan back and barricade the doors, simple as that. No way was she going to lose the last thing she had to live for to some monster with a magic wand. Nothing would harm her son as long as she was around, not Dumbledore, not Voldemort, and certainly not the aliens, robots, and bad science experiments that always popped up in Chikyuu to have their asses handed to them on a silver platter by her family.
"Y-yes... I will... thank you, doctor, I'll tell her right away! Yes, you too. Goodbye." Seconds after the phone clicked off, Chichi found the glass of wine she'd been nursing ripped away from her so quickly that it took her a moment to realize what had happened.
"Bulma? What's gotten inta ya now?" The dark haired woman asked, confusion and annoyance warring for dominance on her face. Bulma ignored this completely, looking very much like a cat who had just caught the canary.
This was gonna be good...
"Hey, Chichi, you know that cold you've had for the past few weeks? The one you kept insisting was nothing? Funny story about that..."