Vegeta had left minutes after the feast ended, telling Gohan to stay safe and that he’d bring word to Bulma and anyone else he met (he wouldn’t seek them out, but the gesture was nice). Piccolo… he didn’t know where Piccolo had gone, but Dende sent word the next day via letter that he left to tell everyone what happened. His mom wasn’t too happy about it, but the fact he was alive would leave him unscathed when he returned home. Everyone was alerted and remained calm, but Piccolo’s reasoning calmed them all down. It would take a while for the threat of Cell to ease itself into everyone’s minds, especially since he could be anywhere. But Piccolo was certain Cell would not attack soon, not even in the first few years. Gohan didn’t believe that, but trusted his mentor’s wisdom.
For the most part everything was back to normal, except DADA class was canceled of course, since there was no teacher anymore. Lucius Malfoy had also apparently been discharged as a school governor, which meant his spawn would no longer be boasting around the school anymore like he had diplomatic immunity.
Actually, now that Gohan thought about it, he hadn’t seen much of Malfoy anymore. And when he did show his bleached head around he was sullen and moody, steering clear of Gohan and the others. Could his father have actually told Malfoy not to test the saiyan, like Vegeta cautioned? It didn’t matter though; even Ginny, who had been the fastest accepting person about Gohan, seemed much happier after her experience.
What Gohan loved most though, was that the large majority of students at Hogwarts gave him the usual space. There were a lot of people who came up and gave him what he called “The Harry-Hercule Treatment”, but the ratio was too great to notice. He saw Piccolo with Dumbledore once, but neither would say what they were talking about.
Unfortunately, though, it seemed that it was time for everyone to return home for the summer. Gohan could have used Instant Transmission or flew, but convinced everyone that spending time with his friends was more important than a few hours on a train. Besides, now that Cell returned he thought it would be highly unlikely he could stray too far from home. Vegeta and Chi-Chi would pressure Gohan into remaining with them, for their knowledge he’s safe and to train.
Gohan smiled; he wouldn’t be surprised if it was his mother, not Vegeta, who insisted he train a lot over the break. She seemed to have taken the fact Gohan barely beat Cell seriously, and wanted him to be able to protect himself easier next time.
Gohan, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny all shared a compartment for themselves on the Hogwarts Express. They all used these last few hours of magic using with great eagerness. Gohan especially took this to heart; he had been able to use it over the summer to practice, and did not think he could get used to no-magic again. Not to mention, having a wand with his father’s ‘power’ fueling it made him want to overuse it before he couldn’t. They played Exploding Snap, used the last of Fred and George’s fireworks, and practiced disarming each other with their wands.
The last two hours though, were spent by Gohan telling the others of his numerous adventures in space and on Earth. He didn’t get to explain all of them, as they all interrupted every other minute with questions. But it was pleasant; the air seemed much cleaner to Gohan now that he could freely tell anyone of his epics. Not to mention, he could say things about them that he could not with anyone else; the Z Fighters took the majority of their fights too seriously (Krillin probably the exception).
Ron, who had left to catch the trolley, came back into the train cart carrying more than Chocolate Frogs. He threw down the paper he had in one hand, the Daily Prophet pages scattering on the seat.
“Thought you might want to see that.” Ron told Gohan. “And if you want, I suggest you frame it.”
Gohan picked the paper up, and opened it as everyone crowded around him to glance at it. The front page had a picture of Gohan and fighting Cell in the air, dodging each other as they punched and kicked. Gohan was in Super Saiyan form, Cell snarling at the child. Neither picture person looked out; they just continued fighting each other with hate and passion in the moment. The caption read:
Hogwarts 2nd Year, Gohan Son, Really Defeated Cell!
Another article had a picture of the Z Fighters standing on the sidelines of the Cell Games, each of them looking at the ring. Their expressions were serious, though if they wanted they would look out at the camera. Some waved and smiled (Krillin) while other scowled and attempted attacking them (Vegeta). Gohan was with his father (also Super Saiyan) and Piccolo by his side. The picture seemed to focus mainly on the father and son, who strangely went from serious to playful as they moved. This one started with:
Aliens Exist! Guardians of the Muggle World Join Wizards!
“They’re calling you the second “Boy Who Lived” you know,” Ron commented, “seeing as you hang out with Harry and all. Dad said they’re trying to come up with names for you. He even told us they’re requesting interviews with that Baba woman.”
Gohan snorted, “They can try.” He stared at the picture of him fighting Cell. “I can’t believe they found a picture of that. Where did they get it anyway?”
Ron shrugged, “They said the video camera guy is a squib whose sister works at the Daily Prophet.”
“Great!” Gohan groaned. “Why couldn’t that guy have taken a sick day or something? Who in their right mind goes to the Cell Games for RECORDING IT on film? Cell would have killed that guy if he wanted to! No one is that devoted to their work!”
Harry grinned, “You risked this when you told everyone you were half-saiyan, and then even more when you told them what a saiyan was. Don’t start whining about it now.”
“I guess.” Gohan mumbled. The whole cart shook from the witches and wizards laughter from inside.
As they approached Kings Cross, amidst the arguing of everyone else over if Cell was worse than Voldemort, a thought popped into Harry’s heads.
“Ginny – what did you see Percy doing, that he didn’t want to tell anyone?” Harry asked suddenly, looking at Ginny curiously.
“Yeah,” Gohan joined in, raising his eyes to meet Ginny’s, “I remember that. When Percy drove you away he said you saw something, he didn’t like you did it either.”
“Oh, that.” Ginny giggled at the thought. “Well – Percy’s got a girlfriend.”
Fred dropped a stack of books on George’s head (Gohan laughed hysterically at the scene, earning a glare from George).
“What?” Everyone shouted, Gohan in-between breaths and chuckles.
“It’s that Ravenclaw prefect, Penelope Clearwater.” Ginny explained, smiling. “That’s who he was writing to all last summer. He’s been meeting her all over the school in secret. I walked in on them kissing in an empty classroom one day. He was so upset when he was — you know— attacked.”
Her expression turned fretful, “You won’t tease him, will you?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Fred assured, looking gleeful at the idea.
“Definitely not.” added George, stifling laughter.
“Yeah, they’re absolutely going to drop it.” Gohan muttered to the others. They all laughed at the comment.
The train began to ease up gradually, and then finally come to a halt. Harry took out a quill and some parchment, turning to Hermione, Ron, and Gohan.
“This is called a telephone number—”
“Really?” Gohan gasped, looking at the parchment in awe. “Amazing, absolutely amazing. This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen! I can’t believe how they give telephones their own—”
“I was talking to Ron you git!” Harry shouted, causing Gohan to howl with laughter.
Harry glared at Gohan, “Anyway.” he turned it back to Ron, tearing the parchment into three and giving one each to Hermione, Ron, and Gohan. “I told your dad how to use a telephone over the summer, so he’ll know. Call me at the Dursleys’, okay? I can’t stand another two months with only Dudley to talk to…”
“By the way Harry,” Gohan’s face turned serious, “if the Dursleys need a little crash course in ‘wizard relations’, let me get Piccolo and Vegeta to come visit.”
Harry grinned, “Thanks Gohan, but I really don’t think it’s—”
“I didn’t think Cell would come back either,” Gohan countered darkly, his voice low enough for only the four to hear, “but we all know how that turned out.” A hush arose.
“Look,” Gohan sighed, “If they start giving you any trouble, then you tell me. That way I’ll only interfere when needed, okay?”
Harry smiled, “Okay. Thanks Gohan.”
“That’s what friends do for each other.” Gohan grinned kindly.
“Your aunt and uncle will be proud, though, won’t they?” Hermione asked as they walked off the train onto the platform, mingling in with the crowd.
“Proud?” Harry remarked. “Are you crazy? All those times I could’ve died, and I didn’t manage it? They’ll be furious…”
Together, they walked back through the barrier and into the normal, muggle world.
Gohan smiled, looking at his friends with affection. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was. Granted, the most powerful evil in all existence was roaming about with a vendetta against him, but Gohan didn’t care. He had friends, real friends. Friends who knew about his heritage, and accepted him regardless of it. He found out that his father really did save the day a year ago, even if only by accident with his help. Whatever the future threw at him, Gohan didn’t care. Because now, he knew that he could do anything.
As he saw his mother and brother, waving at him happily several yards away the Ron and (who he assumed to be) Hermione’s parents, Gohan felt his heart swell with the love and friendship he had.
Can’t wait to find out what next year will be like. Gohan grinned.
The forest chirped, livid with life and prosperity. Birds and other woodland creatures scampered across and above the ground. The trees swayed and bloomed with life and energy, a light breeze picking up. The sun began to shine down on the area, the edges of the sun’s rays just creeping past the tree tops. The rivers and streams crossing each other dribbled and crashed lightly against rocks, the occasional fish jumping out to catch passing flies. One would have called it an oasis, the perfect place to live, had it not been virtually inaccessible by common man.
The wind picked up suddenly, cyclones of air appearing out of nowhere as dirt and fallen leaves danced and flayed in the air. Some of the smaller animals and birds immediately took off, squawking and whining at the disturbance.
And then it stopped, the atmosphere finally settling down.
A lone figure now laid on the ground, one knee up for support. His breathes were short and quick, exhausted from the trip. The remaining animals, sensing danger, scampered away from the spot. Within seconds, no other signs of life remained for miles on end.
After several minutes of resting, the figure finally regained his breath. He weakly got up off the ground, standing up tall as the sun continued to slowly move past the treetops to the ground. His wings just barely hovered above the ground, the top of his antennae being touched by sunlight.
“I… can’t believe… that brat… did it…” he panted, still weak and tired from his journey. “That half-breed… got the better of me.”
He started moving in circles, slowly making a distinct pattern in the dirt below.
“I was careless.” Cell decided, looking at the ground in thought. “I let my grudge against the boy overcome my plan. He was to not get emotional or I’d have risked exactly what happened. And it didn’t help that Riddle fueled my desire for vengeance.” He looked down to his right hand, “Lumos.”
The hand glowed bright gold, bright light surrounding it as a beam of blinding light shot from his palm. He muttered “Nox”, extinguishing the light as he got his bearings.
“However,” he grinned nastily, “the boy proved to be of use in the end, I suppose. He gave me the chance to depart from those sticky circumstances. And, his death will not go without meaning.” He frowned. “Even if it did mean traveling across seven countries by low-level flying, the six day trip was worth it. I’m too far for anyone to sense me, and did it without anyone sensing me the whole time.”
He looked into the sky, clouds lazily dispersing to reveal the sky. Cell scowled at the sky.
“But,” he sneered, “now that I let those two brats live, Vegeta and the others will surely know by now. Their guard will be up dramatically, I’ll have no chance to catch the boy unprotected. And the fact they know I can use magic will alert the old man Dumbledore, who’ll ensure the boys house and the area within two hundred miles be protected from me. Even if I wanted to kill the boy now, I would need to wait years for their defenses to be remotely low enough.”
Cell smiled malevolently, “So I’ll just need a little help to speed up the process a bit.”
He looked around, noticing the stillness of the environment. He looked at the forest with mild interest, his gaze lingering no where too long.
“So,” Cell said amusingly, “this is Albania. I see why he would hide here. Secluded, empty, and utterly quiet. I’d expect this from one of his kind of… caliber to go off to.”
He made a start forward, trying to decide where to start. He couldn’t… he wouldn’t risk powering up at all until he learned of a spell strong enough to hide his energy signature. And without his bookworm dark magic memory to help, he couldn’t make or learn of any more spells. He needed someone who knew as much as Riddle…
No. He needed someone smarter. Someone stronger. Someone who had years of experience and knowledge that only they possessed. They had to be as patient and as meticulous about strategy and planning as Cell, and who would keep him from messing up like the times before.
And better yet, he knew where he could find someone like that. Riddle was the one who clued him in on this little jungle of a country. It must have been pretty unique for the teen to babble on and on about.
“Where to begin, where to begin?” Cell muttered. “This might take a while.”
The sun now shone down from the sky, enveloping all Albania in a warm, basking glow.
He smirked, “But then again, I can wait. And in the end, the spoils will be worth it.”
He decided upon a path carven by animals, almost as if the pathway were made for him. Cell casually walked up to the dirt road, letting his hand drag against the trees. It emitted fiery green power, the energy emitting from it singing the wood as he walked, burning deep into the tree. All paths needed markers.
“After all,” He hissed maliciously, his Parseltongue stung the air venomously, “I only met the shadow of his former self previously. He is the only one I can trust. I know his secrets, in any case.”
The darkness of the forest enveloped him, thick looming trees encasing the sky. The sunlight disappeared from the sky; no light, no shadow… only darkness.
“It’s only appropriate I meet the real Lord Voldemort.”