Gohan, after what seemed like an eternity, finally pulled his eyes away from the pool in front of him. He wiped the remaining tears from his eyes, red slightly around them. He narrowed them confidently at Cell, who raised his neck up immediately almost like he sensed the change in him.
I understand, dad. Gohan thought, still staring at Cell with strength. I finally understand. I almost let the power get to me again, almost let his evil cloud my judgment again. Not this time. I won’t allow anyone else to pay for my recklessness, for my actions. I will not allow your sacrifice for me, for all of us, be in vain. I’m going to take your advice dad, what you told me a year ago. I’m going to finally finish this fight… once and for all.
Before the young warrior seemed to obtain an interest in the floor, Cell knew that Gohan’s mind could snap either way at the moment from the look in his eyes. On the one hand, the brat obviously had much more control and ingenuity with his new/old found power and strength than the last time he used it on him. This, along with a hidden vendetta for the death of his father and everyone else gone because of Cell, could motivate Gohan enough to not play “cat and mouse” this time around. On top of that, it may instead inspire the “Ascended” Saiyan to kill Cell quickly without failure.
Then again the boy was already starting to delve into that exact sport he played with Cell, causing Cell to activate his bomb and almost win. The fact Gohan had allowed Cell to regenerate his wounds, didn’t try anything “lethal” against the android, and scarred Cell like he had done to Gohan out of spite supported this. But more than those things, his face seemed to tell it all. That maliciously malevolent look blazing in those emerald eyes made Cell’s insides freeze up instantly, a feat the boy had effortlessly done a year ago last time they fought. The way he grinned cruelly every time the bio-android showed pain was something akin to satanic and unholy. He could not expect to see such emotions etched into the boy’s cheerful face; he couldn’t imagine the child to enjoy seeing pain is inflicted on another being, by his own hands too!
His mind was being pulled in so many directions by the power, by the ability to impose pain and suffering on the own creature to do it so efficiently to everyone else. Cell knew that while Gohan had a slight hold of his old persona, his power had more than a little influence over himself.
But once Gohan found the puddle in the marble to his liking however, and the boy’s enraged expression changed drastically to miserable happiness, Cell’s brows furrowed. What was the spawn up to, and why did he suddenly loose interest in vengeance against the tyrant? Surely this wasn’t a ploy or distraction, as Cell could clearly see tears forming in his adversary’s eyes.
Cell, having one of the most precocious minds of the age, didn’t need a nanosecond less to realize that this was an opportunity offered up to him. He immediately began to file through ideas in his head, ideas that could offer solutions out of this predicament. He thought of Instant Transmission as a way, but then remembered Gohan would be there before he shielded his energy to hide. Maybe he could fly out of there, right through the Chamber roof and leave them all there. But that plan was just as worse as the former, seeing as Gohan was immensely faster than himself. However… he could always expect the hot-headed Riddle to attempt to require his dignity and kill Potter. Gohan always did put his human emotions and attachments over everything else, probably what made him so powerful.
Cell’s eyes widened for a moment and he smirked in realization. Slowly, he raised his head as he felt Gohan snap out of it, looking at Gohan clearly now. Emotions? Attachments? Maybe… just maybe Cell could use those qualities as a strength too.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” Cell mumbled, watching Gohan carefully from the distance. “If I use my full power he’ll realize it immediately, and this will be over faster than any of us expected. But what can I do? There are only so many moves I can make, so many choices to consider.”
Apparently, Gohan’s hearing had been enhanced as well, far beyond those a normal Saiyan (on Earth) had. Because immediately after Cell spoke Gohan smiled a bit, dry tears smeared across his cheeks.
“Don’t worry about what choices to consider Cell,” Gohan replied, his voice shaky. “Because I’ve made mine. I’m tired of playing around Cell; it’s time this was finished.”
Gohan finally understood why his father sacrificed himself for Gohan, why he wasn’t mad Cell survived or that Gohan lost it before. He finally got what his father had been trying to urge him to do. Gohan smiled sadly, his father did sometimes stray from getting his words direct. Goku was not urging Gohan to kill Cell, but to save the Earth. To save his family and to save his friends, along with the many innocent lives on Earth, was the goal of Goku’s ambitions. Never had his father simply fought a villain out of vengeance or his own genetics. More times than any other Z Warrior he had always showed mercy to his foes, giving them a chance of redemption or life with no dignity. His uncle and Frieza were two of the people that never took to Goku’s offer, and ended up going to the afterlife. Vegeta and Piccolo were some of the more important ones, people who Gohan cared for and were glad his father sparred. His father never looked at a fight as a battle to gain strength or beat a threat to his strength, but as a way to save the people he loved.
And that’s how I have to think of it as too. Gohan thought, staring down Cell with cold steel. I have to stop try to fight Cell, and start trying to save the world. My feelings toward Cell are nothing when compared to the lives of my family and friends. I’m going to take control of this fight, of my power, and kill Cell. It’s time I live up to my heritage, to my namesake… thanks dad.
Cell, smirking in his mind, feigned a look of terror and sullenness onto his face. He put up features of shaky confidence and fake arrogance, which apparently fooled Gohan.
“Oh, I agree Gohan.” He said softly, low enough for only the hybrid to hear. “But this fight between us isn’t over yet, not for a good long time. Your strength is something I’ve once again underestimated, a flaw I carelessly allowed. But,” he sneered, “I won’t let that same mistake happen again. No no, not next time.”
Gohan raised an eyebrow, “What are you-”
“Exonerus Perturbatio!” Cell roared, raising his hand.
Immediately a bright orange light burst from Cell’s hand, erupting out of it faster than anything Cell previously released. It took until the magic was halfway out that Gohan computed it was not a ki based assault, but a magical one. He didn’t know what to expect from Cell, who apparently did not like using magic unless it was needed. Gohan, knowing it was impossible to dodge a spell launched by Cell from that distance, immediately took out his wand from his Gi (how it managed to stay in one piece from the amount of battering its owner received was a mystery) and thrust it out in front of himself. He then began a series of complicated movements with it to block the onslaught, similar to how Lockhart had tried to show Harry, except doing it flawlessly and perfectly.
Whatever spell Cell intended to use, while unknown, would simply bounce away from him and out of harm’s way.
However, as the immensely condensed form of carroty light seemed to soar pass right by Gohan (more than a foot away from hitting the Saiyan), Gohan’s eyes widened in surprise. Something was not right. Cell’s aim might have been off by inches, but to miss his target by over a foot told him that Cell’s attack was not targeting Gohan. But then who could he have been trying to hit?
Gohan’s eyes then reached their limits, as they became saucer disks when he realized who his victim was to be. Harry!
He turned his head so fast he heard his neck crack in seven different places, but that didn’t matter. He blindly turned on his heel, ready to launch himself out to get Harry out of the way. But not even one step forward out he heard a distinct sizzle of a spell making contact, stopping immediately. His heart skipped several beats, frozen in fear and terror.
Harry seemed to look at his body, examining himself as if to check for anything wrong.
“…Harry?” Gohan croaked, his voice and body shaky.
“Yeah?” Harry replied. Confusion spread as he looked at Gohan.
Gohan blinked, confused as well.
“… you okay?” He asked.
“I,” Harry started, giving his body a second check, “I think so. Nothing extra, nothing missing, and I’m not dead or hurt. So I think it did nothing to me.”
Then Harry, feeling strange warmth lightly touching his skin, though not coming from him directly. Slowly, Harry turned his head to Riddle, and his face paled at what he saw. Gohan followed his gaze, and a frown formed onto his relieved face.
“Then again,” Gohan replied grimly, “maybe the spell wasn’t meant for you at all.”
Riddle looked at his hands and body to see it all radiating a dim crimson glow, though slowly diminishing upward. Riddle looked at his hands, curiosity and intrigue plaguing his mind. It crept over his whole body, literally moving over him as if it were alive. When it reached his face, Riddle’s expression now glowed brightly with the blood-like light. Immediately, the light began to soak into Riddle, leaving his exterior for good.
Seconds later he looked into Harry’s direction, looking at him strangely. His expression changed instantly from one of oddity and emptiness into one filled with rage and hatred. His pale face snarled unexpectedly at Harry, who flinched involuntarily and accidentally fell onto the marble floor, simply lying there staring at Riddle. Now Riddle, Harry, and Gohan all formed a triangle between themselves made up of several feet between each.
“I can not simply standby to do nothing anymore!” Riddle shouted, his face red with fury. “No longer shall I wait for my vengeance to be acquired, my pride to return just fully!”
Gohan stared at Riddle hard, not saying anything but expecting Riddle to turn and say something to him. But he didn’t, he just kept looking at Harry with anger emitting from his body.
This raised many questions for Gohan, surging through his head in that instant. Why did Riddle suddenly just… just explode when there was so much tension between Cell and him? Surely he wouldn’t risk his own existence because of his little miff with Harry, would he? He hadn’t said anything since Harry was healed by Fawkes, and even then Riddle chose his words carefully after realizing what Gohan could do. And why did he ignore the fact Cell and Gohan were still fighting? Actually, a better question would be why Riddle was ignoring Cell and Gohan? Sure he probably did feel this way about Harry, considering all that he did to the teenage boy’s future self. But one would think the Dark Lord would have a little more self control, better management of his emotions.
Suddenly, a picture of Riddle glowing menacingly flashed in Gohan’s mind. The spell, of course! That must be it. Whatever it did it’s somehow made Riddle unleash his inhibitions, let loose whatever he’s feeling at the moment. And unfortunately, the main one at the moment seems to be trying to kill Harry!
“I must say though, you have surprised me Harry Potter.” Riddle’s voice rang, bringing Gohan from his thoughts.
Riddle’s temper seemed to withdraw somewhat, though you could still hear the venom in his voice. The cold in every syllable seemed to keep everyone, even Gohan, on edge. It seemed that although the spell did its job, Riddle seemed to keep his mind clear from the side-effects of his anger for Harry.
“Figuring everything out, your bravery against my might, fighting off and killing my ancestral pet, and even your recovery from the venom with Dumbledore’s pet’s bloody crying have proven to me your resourcefulness.” Riddle continued, eyeing his foe with a bitter stare and suave yet broken voice.
He looked deeply into Harry’s face. “But it makes no difference. In fact, I prefer it this way. Just you and me, Harry Potter… you and me…”
Gohan saw him raise Harry’s wand, and knew immediately what was going to happen. He had to do something fast, but what? Once he phased out or made any movements related to his Saiyan strength to Riddle, it would leave him vulnerable to attack by Cell. Sure he was more powerful than the roach, but Cell was without a doubt much craftier and more cunning. If he gave Cell any kind of opening, the android would eagerly take it.
Suddenly, his answer came in the form of a rush of wings flying overhead. Gohan looked up, and saw Fawkes swoop down, before returning to the air dropping something into Harry’s lap- Riddle’s diary.
For a moment, all three wizards seemed to simply stare down at the book in silence. The only noise heard being the crackle and sizzle of lightning surrounding Gohan. Any sudden movements from Gohan would be fatal to either himself or Harry, and Gohan wouldn’t risk it. However Gohan instantly recovered, and conveniently spotted the basilisk fang Harry had in his arm recently. Just then, Gohan had an epiphany Without hesitation he swiped the tooth off the floor, being sure to not let the venom drip into his already deep infected wounds.
“Harry.” he said, loud enough to knock (only) Harry out of his state, “Head’s up!”
Once he got Harry’s attention, he tossed the fang over to Harry, where it landed roughly at Harry’s side. Riddle seemed to be getting his composure back, slowly gazing down at the diary with slits forming in his eyes.
“What am I supposed to do with that?” He asked exasperatedly.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK?” Gohan hissed, watching Riddle snap back to what was happening. “IMPROVISE!”
Harry looked at the fang, then the book, and didn’t need anymore words of encouragement. Without thinking he practically dove for the fang at his side, and plunged its venom-dripping tip into the center of the diary.
Gohan could not have come up with a more successful result. Riddle threw his mouth open and let out an immensely piercing and extensive scream, dropping the wand and clutching his heart severely. Ink shot out of the book’s wound in loads, spilling all over the text and Harry’s hands to poor out in a puddle onto the floor. Riddle’s face contorted in pain and fear, flailing his arms in all directions while going back to grip his heart. He screamed and shrieked and screeched, his body contorted and twisting in all sorts of forms as pain shot through his very being and soul.
And then, to Gohan’s amazement, he vanished. Probably not the best word to describe it, but he seemed to just disappear from in front of them. Gone. Forever.
Gohan snorted. Well, that Riddle anyways. Now there’s still the one made of what you could call his soul floating out somewhere.
Gohan moved over to Harry, extending his hand out to him. Gradually, Harry smiled to his friend and reached out to grab his hand. But before he did so, Harry swiped the diary from the ground, ink dripping from the damp pages. Gohan returned the smile with a grin and pulled the wizard onto his feet, letting Harry lean on him for supported.
After several moments of uncomfortable silence, Gohan blew air out of his mouth irritatingly and lightly hit Harry on the top of the head.
“What the bloody hell was that for?!” Harry shouted, rubbing his head.
“…Took you long enough.” Gohan noted sulkily.
Harry laughed, Gohan joining him soon after. Their voices echoed throughout the hall, magnifying their voices. Suddenly, Harry stopped his chuckling and grinning abruptly, realizing their fight wasn’t over just yet.
“Cell-” Harry started, not bothering to finish.
Gohan’s emerald eyes narrowed. He swiftly set Harry onto his own feet to turn around, vast sapphire spheres of crackling energy forming halfway through his spin in each hand. He looked around to find Cell, like Riddle, gone without a trace. Gohan tried to sense Cell’s energy, going as far as his sensing would go. Nothing. There was no trace of Cell’s ki anywhere.
Gohan growled, his aura flaring out even more for a moment, “Damn him! That bloody bastard (Gohan’s been in England too long)!!”
He furiously fired the energy blasts into the air, each one soaring farther and farther down into the Chamber. Gohan started walking agitatedly back to Harry, the ends of the Chamber lighting up brightly as each blast collided with the other. The Chamber shook even more as a result, not ceasing for several seconds.
“What… what happened?” Harry asked carefully, watching his friend with concern as he walked back over to him.
“The damn android escaped!” Gohan roared, his eyes shining dangerously. “He used that spell to unleash Riddle’s inhibitions to kill you, knowing I’d go to help. Probably took his time to Instant Transmission out of there too, smirking at me behind my back. He was probably planning this too; he didn’t seem all that scared right before he used the spell. WHAT A COWARD!!”
“……Sorry.” Harry said lamely.
He didn’t know what else to say. Sure, Riddle was dead and so was the basilisk too. But compared to that… that thing that just escaped, Harry might as well have served up Gohan and his friends on a silver platter. Because he couldn’t take care of Riddle alone, Cell got away scratch free. For all he knew, Cell could be getting stronger and stronger until he can be ready to kill Gohan. Then, the world really would be in trouble.
Gohan still made animalistic noises, grunts and all other noises fuming Saiyans make when their enemy escapes them. After several seconds (and curse words later), Gohan took in several deep breathes and sighed. After that Gohan closed his eyes, focusing all of his energy on breathing and concentrating to calm down.
After about a minute of calming down, Gohan’s light (yet powerful) aura began to fade away, as did the electricity surrounding his body. His blonde hair drooped slightly, before finally falling down to his Super Saiyan form. His muscles contracted to their less enormous (though still protruding) size. Finally Gohan opened his eyes; they slowly faded from their sparkling emerald to their deep bright blue color. His facial expression finally reverted from his always serious to his usual normal attitude.
“What did you do?” Harry asked, surprised his friend had just… changed.
“That was what is called an “Ascended Super Saiyan”, or as I like to call it my Super Saiyan 2 form.” Gohan answered, examining the cuts and feel of his hands. “This is what… what Cell was talking about when he said I had a hidden power. After I used that Ascended form a year ago, I had some trouble accessing it with… past memories haunting me. But I digress; that form gives me amplified power, but it takes a lot out of me since I haven’t used it that long with that much power. I reverted to regular Super Saiyan to save energy. I did it with my… my dad to train for Cell before.”
“…Oookay?” Harry said, confused.
Gohan chuckled, “You get used to that kind of talk. Trust me.”
It was about another minute of silence, each contemplating what had just happened. Harry gathered up the Sorting Hat and, with some effort, the gleaming sword from the marble ground.
Gohan walked over to the basilisk fang from the ground, examining it cautiously with fascination. Carefully, Gohan tucked the gargantuan tooth into one of his training bands, making sure it was secure and the venom stopped dripping. Harry gave Gohan a look, puzzled why he took the fang off the ground.
Gohan smirked, “I kind of like it. Besides, I can’t take a souvenir with me to remember?”
“I think you’ll remember this regardless of a souvenir. And what are you going to do with a basilisk fang?” Harry asked incredulously.
“Make a necklace?” Gohan proposed.
Harry chuckled, not going to stop his friend. They made sure everything was gathered up, silence reigning between them for that moment.
“…..It wasn’t your fault.” Gohan stated calmly. “You didn’t know Cell would use that as a diversion, and neither did I. We killed Riddle and the basilisk is dead too, so the attacks on the other students is over. Not to mention Madam Pomfrey’s making those antidotes, so Hermione and the others should be okay. That’s all that matters right now.”
“But… Cell escaped.” Harry pointed out, not at all convinced his friend would find this condition alright. “Not to mention he could get stronger and-”
“Kill me and my friends and destroy the entire world afterwards.” Gohan finished dully. “Yeah, I know already. It’s happened at least half a dozen times, so don’t worry. Besides, no one except you and me both know Cell’s alive, so no one will be expecting me to have killed him (except Vegeta, who’s going to just love the situation). But,” Gohan smiled sadly, “the important thing is you and Ginny are safe and alive, not that Cell isn’t dead. I’ll find him, and I’ll kill him too, but that’s for another day.”
Almost as if on cue, a faint moan could be heard by both wizards from across the Chamber of Secrets. Both boys looked at each other knowingly; Ginny was finally coming to and waking up.
Harry began to make a run for her all from their (far) position into the Chamber, but felt Gohan put his hand on Harry’s shoulder. The next moment, Harry felt himself moving without moving, and in the next instant he was a few feet from Ginny, seeing her moving around hazily and stirring.
He looked to Gohan in shock and confusion, wondering why he did it. Gohan simply stood their shrugging his shoulders lazily.
“Faster.” He simply stated.
Harry grinned, but then turned his attention to Ginny as she began to sit up. Gohan noted her eyes shined with a… confused and perplexed expression, which was what Gohan expected seeing as she was possessed to do… terrible things. He saw her eyes traveling from the body of the slaughtered basilisk, then to Harry in his robes stained with blood, followed by going over to Gohan with his (to her) new look in his torn and tattered Gi. Gohan wasn’t sure if she recognized him, but he thought changing back to regular form in front of her would give her more shock.
But then, she did a double take to the diary Harry was holding, and her eyes widened in fear. Gohan wasn’t surprised to see that; that diary had been nothing but trouble for her, and she blindly and willingly trusted it, only to be used and nearly killed.
For the first time she showed signs of activity; she took an enormous gasp at the sight of the diary and just fell apart, weeping as tears poured down her face.
“Harry-Gohan-Oh, Gohan, Harry- I tried to tell you both at b-breakfast, but I couldn’t say it in front of Percy- It was me you guys- but I-I s-swear I d-didn’t mean to- R-Riddle made me, he t-took me over-and-how did you both kill that- that thing? W-where’s Riddle? The last thing I r-remember is him coming out of the diary-”
“It’s alright,” Harry soothed, trying to calm the younger girl down. He held up the diary and showed her the fang hole. “Riddle’s finished, dead. Look! Him and the basilisk. It’s all going to be alright now-”
“Not entirely,” Gohan cut in, his voice friendly enough to not upset Ginny. “We still have one loose end that got away.”