The picture on the front was of a man (likely a wizard), though simply describing him as such was not enough. He had mess jet black hair like Gohan, but it was extremely long, hanging down to his neck and shoulders (in some places). He wore baggy clothes, ripped and ragged as though they were there for years. His eyes were the only part of him with any real emotion, his face and skin deathly pale and gaunt. And right to the side was the title BLACK STILL AT LARGE.
Gohan stopped his search for himself, strangely drawn to the article. Black… what’d this guy do? Gohan began reading the editorial, interested in this wizard that ‘stole the spotlight’ from Gohan.
Apparently this wizard ‘Sirius Black’ was a fugitive from that prison Hagrid was sent to, Azkaban. He was supposedly the worst prisoner to be held there, and managed to escape from the ‘fortress’ island prison. This was a big deal since he is the first ever to do it, and no one even thought it was a possibility. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic guy he saw in Hagrid’s hut, apparently told the English Prime Minister about it to warn muggles. Black killed slightly more than a dozen people with one curse twelve years ago, causing a massacre that has had the whole magical community frightened of since.
“Huh.” Gohan muttered, staring at the haunted face of Sirius Black. “This guy killed thirteen people with one curse… sounds fascinating. And he broke out of an impenetrable prison; that’s impressive too I suppose.”
Gohan wondered if he should get involved, try helping the Ministry locate this guy. But then he remembered he was trying to stay out of the public eye, not in it. Besides, he wouldn’t be much help; he didn’t know this guy’s ki or anything. And it wasn’t really his problem anyway, so why bother? He looked at the next few pages, and after a couple more pieces on Black he found something about himself.
Gohan tossed the paper to the side and picked up the first letter. It looked a little more worn than the other two, crumpled in some places. Gohan opened the envelope and unfolded the parchment in it.
This first one was from Ron. As he unfolded the letter a cut up piece of newspaper fell out. Gohan grinned happily, seeing as Ron sent him a copy of the description of his dad’s winnings. Now, tearing his eyes from the picture of the Weasley family, he looked to his letter. It read:
How are you?
Sorry about not writing any sooner, but my mum and I argued about whether sending Errol across country(s) to talk. So when Harry wrote to me (I’ll tell you about it later) and offered pooling his letter and Hermione’s with mine, problem solved. I hope Hedwig was alright with it though, wouldn’t want her trying to claw out your eyes when she arrived.
Have you seen the Daily Prophet lately? I’d imagine you would, Harry hasn’t subscribed to them yet and he’s almost in the same boat as you. They mentioned you or your dad’s friends every other page for something or another. D’you see what they’re calling you, that’s real creative.
Anyway, me and my family are in Egypt, can you believe it?! Our dad won the Draw made by the Daily Prophet, and won 700 galleons! Bill’s given us tours of the tombs of those Egyptians, who were actually very protective of their stuff. You wouldn’t believe the curses and traps these Egyptian wizards set on this stuff. Skeletons were lying everywhere, probably muggles who tried breaking in (but if you were there, there probably wouldn’t be any skeletons, eh?). Most of our winnings are for the trip, but I’m supposed to get a new wand before school starts.
Gohan looked up from the letter, a vicious grin plastered on his face. Ron’s old wand was a weapon of mass destruction the last time Gohan saw it. When the wand snapped the car ride to school, it set into motion the welfare of so many. And yet… the fact it Obliviated all of that idiot Lockhart’s memory made Gohan become fond of the stick. Still, Ron replacing it was probably a good decision. Gohan resumed reading the letter:
Well be back about a week before school starts, and we’ll be in London to get our books and my new wand. Think your mum’ll let you up too, or are you still on ‘Cell Watch’? Get that bloke (is he a bloke, or is it just Namekian) Piccolo to vouch for you. Try and come over to London!
P.S. Percy’s Head Boy (what a joy), so watch yourself at school.
Gohan smiled, amused at the letter from his red-haired friend. Ron always did have that more contemporary air surrounding him, never afraid to express himself in front of anyone. That was probably why he thought of Ron as the only one who could amuse him in dark times. If there was any possibility of meeting him or anyone else, Gohan would immediately act. But it was two days before school started, so the chances of going were pretty slim. Would they even be there if he went?
He put the letter beside him, on top of the newspaper, and reached for the second envelope. Gohan knew right away, as he tore it open, this was from Hermione. The small lettering and feminine style of handwriting couldn’t have been anyone else’s. Did Hermione know Ron would be back the week before term? Of course that was a rhetorical question, knowing of the closeness between the two friends (could they… no).
I’m very sorry for not writing you sooner, I can only imagine how lonely you must feel. But, if you haven’t opened Ron or Harry’s letter, we decided on sharing Hedwig to deliver our letters.
I’m in France right now with my parents, and it is absolutely gorgeous! There’s a lot of interesting history on local witchcraft here (I know you will be somewhat interested, unlike Harry and Ron); I’m actually thinking of rewriting my History of Magic Essay to include some of the things here. It’s a little longer than Professor Binns asked for; I really hope he doesn’t mind two extra rolls of parchment.
Is your summer fine? How are you dealing with everything? To be honest, I’m actually anxious when I get news because I want to know what you’re up to. Ron is as well and we’ve even sent Harry clippings of you with our birthday presents. I read in the Daily Prophet that whenever they approached Capsule Corp. they had to deal with that Vegeta character (the Prince right?). I do hope you’ll try to persuade him to calm down a bit; that isn’t really helping you winning the magical community over.
Gohan snorted; right, he could get Vegeta to calm down. In fact, he was going to get right on that as soon as Snape started being nice to Harry, and then Master Roshi was going to become a devout feminist.
How’s your training coming along? Vegeta and Piccolo aren’t being too rough with you are they? I know that you have to prepare for Cell, but ganging up on you is so… unfair. Not that you couldn’t take them, but still.
Ron says he’ll be in London a week before the holidays end; I’ll be there. Can you make it? Will your mom let you come? I really hope she does; we’ve already asked Harry, and you should come as well. If I can add, say you need to get your books anyway, you could kill two birds with one stone.
P.S. Ron told me Percy was made Head Boy. Percy must be pleased with himself (though Ron was peculiarly unhappy).
Gohan put this second letter down now, grinning mischievously as he stared at the signature. Hermione actually wanted Gohan to manipulate his mother? France must be helping Hermione adjust her personality a little. Well now that he knew two out of three of his friends were going, Gohan might actually have to take Hermione’s advice and play the guilt card.
Then again, the witch did have a point. He hadn’t gone to pick up his supplies yet for school, and it was almost too late. He’d definitely be going tomorrow now that he thought about it; Chi-Chi may have cared about Gohan but once he was at Hogwarts he was pretty much guaranteed safety.
Gohan picked up the final letter, and through process of elimination already knew who it was from. This one looked the messiest, probably from having to write it secretly without his relatives knowing. Gohan frowned; the Dursleys had better be treating Harry like he actually was their family, or else he’d have Vegeta have another talk with them. Gohan chuckled; that was quite a meeting, from what he heard. He had Bulma convince the Prince to listen to Gohan, and watch over Harry for a few. Gohan ripped the envelope open and unfolded the parchment. It read:
What’s going on? If you haven’t opened Hermione or Ron’s letters yet (I highly doubt you haven’t), we got tired of wondering how you are and sent Hedwig over with our letters. Take your time sending her back, I kind of need her away for a while; the Dursleys said they’d sign my Hogsmeade permission slip if I mixed magic for a while. Then again, Hedwig knows where you live so I wouldn’t be surprised if she rushed over and got to you in a week or so (I gave her a Senzu Bean I saved from last year, so that should give her a boost).
While on the subject, I’d like to mention an ‘incident’ that happened when I got home with my relatives. It seems that the Dursleys weren’t especially proud of my ‘escapade’ with Ron and the twins last summer, and I could tell they were itching for some conflict. Funny thing though; right before my uncle could grab me your friend Vegeta showed up, to the surprise of my relatives and me. Apparently, he followed me home and had a ‘talk’ with them, whether I’d agree to it or not.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you had the guy show up, but what did you think would happen if you set him on my aunt and uncle? Right when my uncle demanded he leave Vegeta tossed a ki blast thing next to him, right at my aunt’s vase. Needless to say, this got their attention. And don’t even try and pull that “it wasn’t my fault” thing. Vegeta told them that on behalf of a concerned friend, they had to treat me right or else. To further emphasize his point he did that power up thing he did in McGonagall’s office, and took of through the roof! But between you and me Gohan, it was hilarious! They called a repairman to fix the roof and got it finished about 9 hours later, while they looked at me like I was intimidating. But anyway, thanks for the concern and help. How’d you even get Vegeta to follow your orders anyway?
Gohan barked a laugh; like that would ever happen! He had Bulma threaten Vegeta with her and Chi-Chi’s wrath if he didn’t help Harry. Vegeta didn’t mind much, as it was only about twenty-five minutes out of his way if he hurried. But he didn’t like Gohan as the ‘tail wagging the dog’; it seemed unfitting for a Prince to be manipulated by an underling, that’s how Vegeta saw it anyway. Gohan continued:
But how’s the whole ‘coming out’ thing going for you? Ron and Hermione sent some pictures and stuff from the Daily Prophet, and I have to admit it looks like fun over on your end. Did Android 18 (she goes by Eighteen now, right?) literally kick some Skeeter lady off her island for getting too close to her daughter? And Yamcha, THE baseball playing Yamcha, is actually a friend of your and your dads?! Why didn’t you mention that when you went on about Friezas and Death Zones; I would have understood what that meant!
But anyway, I have to go soon; my Aunt Marge (who isn’t really my aunt at all, I’m glad to say) is coming by soon and I have to send off Hedwig since she doesn’t know I’m a wizard. Are you going to London like Hermione and Ron are too? If I had it my way I’d go right now, but I can’t annoy my uncle if I want to go to Hogsmeade (Vegeta’s stunt didn’t help me with it either!)
Hope to see you soon!
Gohan put this final letter down, a look of excitement and delight spreading across his features. So Harry might be going off to London too? That was it; Gohan definitely had to get to England soon.
Wait a minute; Hedwig just arrived today with the letters. So that meant… well, his brain was too tired to really think, but the short answer was he wasn’t too late. Two days till school started, and it was still the week before school. If anything he’d probably see Harry; his aunt and uncle wouldn’t go out of their way to take him shopping with them.
Gohan got up, and headed out towards the door, his wand in his pocket. He didn’t want to simply wait and ask his mom tomorrow, he wasn’t like that.
He got out the front door, looking into the azure sky with calm tranquility. He couldn’t believe how routine magic seemed to him at this point. One year ago he couldn’t tell the difference between a hex and a curse; now he knew almost every spell, charm, hex, and curse imaginable. Gohan basked in the knowledge he learned at Hogwarts, eager to absorb as much magical culture as possible; now if he had to listen to Professor Binn’s droning voice one more time he’d turn Super Saiyan 2 and let the adrenaline rush keep him awake.
“I guess I’m just getting tired of this new toy.” Gohan sighed.
He looked at his pocket, and reached in to feel the warm contact of his wand, the low energy emitting from it pulsing. Though no matter how old this habitual lifestyle got, he’d never get tired of his wand; that was the exception.
“So,” Gohan began, a smile playfully forming, “should I fly over or just Instant Transmission myself there?”
He felt the energy in his wand spike a smidge, not even noticeable unless he really tried.
“Yeah,” Gohan agreed, “that seems a bit rude. Besides, flying over there’ll feel a lot better anyway.”
Without another thought of hesitation, Gohan took off into the air, halfway into it powering up and skyrocketing to Capsule Corp. in a blast of fiery white. A look of cheerful determination arose into Gohan’s teenage features and heart; he knew he was going to Diagon Alley tomorrow. There was no doubt in his mind about it; he’d go whether by agreement, guilt from his mother, getting supplies, he’d even be willing to sneaking there.
But aside from how, Gohan would be in Diagon Alley. He would get his stuff for school. And we definitely would get to see his friends.
Gohan smiled brightly, the world below him passing by as he soared in the heavens, “After all, they were there for me. I’m sure as hell going to be there for them.