It was at this point where Vegeta was having trouble to stifle his continuing (arrogant) laughter, even going so far as to bite into his glove to keep quiet. Ron and Gohan also let out the occasional burst of chuckling at that, trying very hard to breathe normally. Even Dumbledore seemed to have a much broader smile now.
“Would you mind taking Professor Lockhart up to the infirmary, too?” Dumbledore requested to Ron. “I’d like a few more words with Harry and Gohan…”
Ron nodded, and led the still dazed Lockhart out of them room. Before he left though, he cast one final, peculiar glance at the two strangers, Gohan, Harry and Dumbledore as he was shutting the door.
As the door creaked to a close, Vegeta just snapped and started to uncontrollably howl with laughter. He tossed his head back and clutched his sides gasping for air in between, not even trying to control the volume of his voice. Piccolo grinned wider also, blushing a little as he did so. Gohan also began to laugh, not as loud as Vegeta but noticeable nonetheless. Harry and Dumbledore watched the saiyans curiously, not knowing how to approach this.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA!” Vegeta laughed, barking it out as he did so. “HAHAHAHAHA, what an imbecile that guy was, even for a human! I’d hate to have met him BEFORE he hit his head and lost his memory.”
“It was a spell that Obliterated his memory, not a rock.” Gohan pointed out.
Vegeta snorted, “Like it makes a difference, I don’t care.” But then, he narrowed his eyes dangerously at the hybrid. “But now that the kids and their parents are gone, I want the full truth about what happened.”
“What do you mean?” Gohan asked, raising his eyebrows. “Harry and I told you everything—”
“WRONG brat!” Vegeta snarled. “All you told us was about that blasted wizard these people are afraid of, and his pet grub putting people in comas to kill scar-face there!” He pointed to Harry, who flinched at being noticed. “I know you left Cell out so those wizards wouldn’t question anything, but they’re gone now. Everyone in this room knows about him and you, so COUGH IT UP!”
As his crescendo reached its peak, a gust of wind burst around him, along with traces of gold energy within it. It went away quickly though, and Vegeta stood their glaring at Gohan as he calmed down.
An awkward silence filled the room, no one speaking as they all took in the meanings of Vegeta’s words. Finally, realizing something, Gohan spoke.
“How did you know?” Gohan said softly. “I thought that Cell had put up barriers all around the school—”
“Maybe around the school,” Piccolo interjected. “But that doesn’t apply to that Forest out there.” He gestured to the window in the room. “Whatever Cell did, he didn’t do it until he was in the school and safe from detection. I sensed you go ape out there with your friends, and figured you’d have told them everything. You say he put up barriers?”
“Yeah,” Gohan said distantly. “He said that you guys couldn’t sense anyone inside the school because he put up magic barriers around it. He didn’t say what kind except for sensing power levels.”
Piccolo nodded, “That would explain why none of us could sense you or anything else in the castle. I guess he also put some sort of magic force field to shield everything happening in there too eventually. We knew where you were, but didn’t know where there was or what you were doing until you left the school area—”
“Wait a minute Namek.” Vegeta cut in, eyes wide with shock. He turned to Gohan, now looking almost… frightened. “Cell can do what you can do? He can use this… magic?”
Gohan nodded gravely, “Apparently, Dr. Gero put more into Cell than he let on. He not only put our cells in, but those of witches and wizards too.”
Vegeta growled, “Great, just great. And I suppose he’s grown dramatically stronger now too, right?”
Gohan again nodded, and this time Vegeta groaned frustratingly.
“This is NOT how I wanted to spend my day!” He seethed furiously. “When I woke up today all I wanted to do was spar, eat, and train my son. Now I find out the spawn of Kakarot’s put Cell on our doorstep with more power now than when he was a serious threat. Anything else you’d like to add to my now-growing plate child?”
“… I beat him by fully Ascending. I can control it now.” Gohan replied evenly.
“Kakarot?” a new voice rang; curiosity and fear were heard in it. Everyone turned to see Harry standing there, looking from Vegeta to Gohan slowly. “You called Gohan ‘spawn of Kakarot’.”
“So the wizard boy finally speaks.” Vegeta noted sarcastically. “What a wonderful sentiment you shared with the rest of us. Yes I called him that, because that’s what he is; the spawn of that dim-witted low level Kakarot.”
“But,” Harry started, thinking as he said it, “Gohan’s father’s name is Goku. His saiyan name is Kakarot, right? Why would you call him that?”
Vegeta snorted, “Kakarot was the name given to him on our planet. The name “Goku” is simply his alias on Earth as far as I’m concerned. He is a saiyan, and will be addressed as such by his Prince.”
“Our planet?” Harry asked to himself aloud, looking from Vegeta to the floor. Vegeta gave a blank stare to Dumbledore.
“Are all your students this slow, or is it just the way you teach?” Vegeta sneered. “He turned to Gohan, “Have you told him about me yet in your little “talk”?”
Gohan rolled his eyes, “Of course I did, and I mentioned everything about the saiyans. But in case you haven’t noticed Vegeta this right now, is the first time I’ve mentioned your name. How do you expect him to connect the dots?”
At this, Harry’s eyes widened dramatically. He looked at Vegeta, and then noticed the smirk on the older man’s face. The black eyes, black standing-up hair, and Prince.
“You’re Prince Vegeta,” Harry concluded, “one of the surviving saiyans.”
“Congratulations, you got it right.” Vegeta noted dismally. He grinned maliciously, “Now if you recognize where Piccolo here is from,” Piccolo glared at Vegeta, “you’ll get a prize.”
The mention of the name “Piccolo” brought many images to Harry’s mind. The picture from that book, “The Demon King” title, what he did, and what it said about him and Gohan’s dad’s rivalry all appeared before his eyes. So many things were going through his head right now Harry had trouble distinguishing between them.
Harry finally took a good look at the being with the other man Vegeta, and instantly recognized the physical similarities from the picture. The hands, arms, face, almost everything was the same. The only difference was the guy in the picture looked more… feral, less human. Not to mention the fact this guy was green threw him off, and the picture was in black-and-white.
“Piccolo, the Demon King.” Harry said, looking warily from Gohan to the “demon”.
“I only used that title once for show,” Piccolo replied. His deep voice and unexpected interjection surprised Harry. “That wasn’t me. For lack of a better term, I’m King Piccolo reincarnated as his son. He died right after I was born, sending me as his legacy. The Demon King name was something he came up with; I’m actually an alien like Gohan.”
“…And that’s supposed to make me less nervous?” Harry remarked lightly.
Piccolo smirked, “I like this kid. He reminds me of Goku.”
“Hopefully this horrible sense of humor is the only way,” Vegeta commented, looking disdainfully at Harry. “I only put up with Kakarot because he was my rival. Not sure if I could take another one.”
“Vegeta,” Piccolo started warningly, “keep it up and I’ll tell Bulma.”
At this, the royal saiyan frowned and said no more.
“With all do respect gentlemen,” Dumbledore’s mystical voice softly spoke, “I believe it is time ‘cleared the air’, as the saying goes, on some rather prudent matters. Wouldn’t you both agree?”
Vegeta was about to snap back something, but Piccolo beat him to it.
“You’re right, we apologize. It’s time we sorted everything out now.”
Vegeta didn’t say anything, but dropped his head slightly to signify a nod.
Dumbledore got up and crossed to a couple chairs by the fireplace, and gestured to them.
“Dear boys, please sit down.” He requested gently.
Both wizards did so, looking at each other with anxiety and unease. Dumbledore returned to his desk and sat down, his bright blue eyes on them with ambiguity.
“First of all Harry, Gohan, I would like to thank you both.” He began, his eyes twinkling on them. “You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could have called Fawkes to you.”
He responded to his statement by stroking the phoenix affectionately, which had currently floated down onto his knee. Gohan and Harry hid chuckles with grins as they saw this; Vegeta looked annoyed at the scene while Piccolo continued to stay steadfast.
“And so you met Tom Riddle,” Dumbledore commented thoughtfully. It appeared he was saying this more to Harry than Gohan. “I imagine he was most interested in you…”
“Professor Dumbledore…” Harry said, looking distressed and confused. “Riddle said I’m like him. Strange Likenesses, he said...”
“Did he, now?” Dumbledore asked, thoughtfully gazing down at Harry with a mysterious look in his blue orbs. “And what do you think, Harry?”
Gohan frowned, looking at Harry intently with concern in his azure eyes. Something was obviously bothering Harry, but what it was he didn’t know.
“I don’t think I’m like him!” Harry shouted abruptly, forgetting anyone else was in the room. “I mean, I’m — I’m in Gryffindor, I’m…”
Harry became silent, looking down with a concentrated look on his face. He was likely trying to make sense with his words, rather than rambling on.
“Professor,” He resumed once more, his voice calm. “The Sorting Hat told me I’d – I’d have done well in Slytherin—”
This cry came not from Dumbledore, but Gohan. Everyone turned to him, and saw his face looking incredibly flustered and shocked.
“The Sorting Hat told you that too?” Gohan asked incredulously, staring into Harry’s green eyes. “It said you’d do well in Slytherin also? (If I said in earlier chapter he did know or implied it, forget that. I’m too lazy to check)”
“It told you that you could be Slytherin?!” Harry responded, hysteria creeping in his voice like Gohan. “You?”
“Well… yeah.” Gohan admitted, looking relieved and alarmed at the same time. “It told me before it Sorted me I had the potential for Slytherin. What about you?”
“The same.” Harry answered; he was glad someone else had this burden to share, especially someone who could sympathize. “Except it was a year ago.”
“What’s the big deal?” Vegeta growled, agitation creeping into his voice. He was tired of these meaningless interruptions, and from what he heard before had a basic understanding of the revelation. “So some rag suggested you into a school club or whatever. That doesn’t make you anything like this ‘Riddle’ person.”
“But…” Harry looked helplessly at Dumbledore, unsure what to say. “Everyone thought I was Slytherin’s heir for a while—”
“Again, the same thing with me.” Gohan countered sternly. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go around killing magical babies and making anagrams out of my name.”
“But I’m not an alien. And they thought I was the heir because I can speak Parseltongue like Slytherin.” Harry mumbled, obviously losing steam from the continuous disruptions.
“You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,” spoke Dumbledore serenely, “because Lord Voldemort — who is the only and last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin – can speak Parseltongue.”
“… Oh yes,” noted Vegeta sarcastically, “that explains everything. It’s all coming together now; the pieces are putting themselves together for sure!”
“Unless I’m much mistaken,” continued Dumbledore, “he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar.”
Everyone in the room’s jaws dropped (yes, even Vegeta), and stood open mouth in silence. Some tried speaking, but they could barely make any sounds from shock. Gohan’s upper lip trembled, trying to form words silently.
“Not something he intended to do, I’m sure…” Dumbledore added reassuringly, easing any questions held at the outrageous news.
“Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?” said Harry, awestruck and bedazzled.
“It certainly seems so.” Dumbledore agreed.
“Anymore twists and this may as well be a soap opera.” Piccolo muttered to no one in particular, though Gohan could see Piccolo grinning at the young boy. Gohan returned the gesture with a cheeky smile.
Harry kept trying to make himself the bad guy, and convinced he had to be in Slytherin. Dumbledore kept insisting that while he would have been Slytherin’s ideal choice for his house, the Sorting Hat put him in Gryffindor for a reason.
“You know why that was.” Dumbledore told Harry. “Think.”
“It only put me in Gryffindor,” Harry persisted dejectedly, “because I asked not to go to Slytherin… (“Same with me.” Gohan added quietly enough for all to hear.)”
“Exactly.” Dumbledore happily replied, smiling at him. “This makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Harry, slowly realizing this, sat still. Gohan knew while Dumbledore told all this to Harry, he meant for Gohan to listen as well. “If you want proof Harry that you belong in Gryffindor, and you if you feel this way Gohan, I suggest you look more closely at this.”
Dumbledore reached for the sword lying on McGonagall’s desk, and produced it to the two boys for them to see. Gohan grabbed the blade and Harry the handle, and together held it near the firelight to look at the weapon. They turned it over and saw the rubies imbedded in the hilt shine crimson in the fire. And that was when both boys saw what was written just below the hilt.
“No way.” Gohan whispered. Harry nodded mutely in agreement.
“Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that particular sword out of the hat, Harry.” said Dumbledore finally, ending the discussion.
The next minute, no one spoke. Not even Vegeta chose to quip something in the air. Everyone knew now was the time for everyone to settle and accept all these revelations.
Finally though, Gohan had enough of the somberness.
“So you see Harry,” Gohan grinned, “there’s nothing to worry about. The only one in the room who is actually evil is me!”
“And how, may I ask, did you come to this conclusion Gohan?” Piccolo asked; there were traces of worry and concern in his voice.
“Well Harry got his dark magic ability from Voldemort.” Gohan answered simply. “His Parseltongue power is untainted, as pure as that ability can get. Mine isn’t.”
“That maybe,” Dumbledore smiled mysteriously, “or it may not.”
“What?” Gohan questioned, eyes narrowing.
“Do you recall how Cell was… incapacitated last year?” Dumbledore asked tenderly.
Piccolo and Vegeta now looked around the room distractedly, knowing how uncomfortable the room was about to get.
Gohan’s eyes hardened, “Of course I remember. My father died that day —”
“Exactly.” Dumbledore finished happily. “Now how did he die?”
“My dad… he took Cell away from Earth before he exploded. Ended up destroying King Kai’s planet instead, along with King Kai and himself (and anyone else there).” Gohan smiled, a tear beginning to form in his eye. “He saved us all.”
“So Gohan,” Dumbledore continued readily, “would you say that in order to protect the ones he loved, he sacrificed himself for their safety? And would you also agree that he knew what he had to do, and accepted it just so that you, your family and friends would be spared from harm?”
“I… I guess so.” Gohan hesitated, unsure where this was going.
Dumbledore and Gohan turned to Harry, who seemed to be thinking hard as he looked into space. His expression showed realization, though working through his thoughts.
“Sacrificing himself to protect people…” Harry muttered, thinking hard. Where had he heard that before?
Then, he remembered. The lights in his brain flicked on; this wasn’t that unfamiliar to him. Harry looked up to Dumbledore.
“Isn’t that what you said my mother did Professor? You told me she shielded me from Voldemort to protect me, and that made it so Voldemort couldn’t kill me while I had her protection.”
Dumbledore nodded, “That is correct Harry. Her pure, undying love for you is the reason Voldemort ceased to be. Your mother died to keep you safe and left a protection upon you so that Voldemort, who your mother was shielding you from, could never kill you.” He then turned to Gohan. “And that is exactly what your father did for you Gohan.”
Gohan, Vegeta, and Piccolo all gasped in surprise, their eyes wide with shock and disbelief. Silence filled the room for a full minute before anyone spoke. The only thing was it wasn’t Gohan who first responded to this news.
“What the hell are you talking about wizard?” Vegeta demanded harshly, glaring at the old headmaster. “Kakarot had nothing to do with killing Cell except for screwing it up the first time. He may have helped with moral support for the brat here from the Kai’s planet, but I hardly call that protection.”
“I do not imply that Goku simply gave ‘moral support’, Prince Vegeta.” Dumbledore answered calmly. “Whether he knew it or not, Goku was extremely instrumental in Cell’s downfall. Your father’s sacrifice Gohan, not knowing if Cell would die but that he himself would to protect you, laid upon you the same fortification Lily Potter gave Harry the night she died. In doing that, Cell could not kill you so long as that barrier exists. His love for you, the driving force for his actions, kept you and everyone else safe that day.”
“But… my father…” Gohan whispered as tears swelled in his eyes, “… he wasn’t… he couldn’t have been—”
“A wizard?” Dumbledore finished. Gohan nodded slowly.
“He has a point.” Piccolo put in grimly, looking at Dumbledore with seriousness. “Goku was from Planet Vegeta. Granted there are certain races that have also learned of magic, but none of them included the saiyans. Goku wasn’t even part human, as much as he believed he was. There’s no way he could have known about this magic, let alone do it.”
“Piccolo… love is something universally known by all.” Dumbledore explained, smiling to Gohan and Harry. “All creatures, whether it is for a person or for greed, have all felt the pull and feeling of love. Voldemort, though he may never be able to love someone else, has great love for himself and power (though he would not call it that). Love has a magic all its own; of all the miracles happening in the world, they all draw from the strength of love. Have you never cared for someone so strongly Piccolo, you would do anything for them?”
Piccolo froze, his expression still solemn. But then, his eyes drifted to Gohan, black linking with navy. Student and teacher gave each other a long, meaningful look. The bond between these two was strong, stronger than almost any other known. The one person the great Namekian considered a friend, the best friend he would ever have. The kid who he would protect at any cost; Piccolo loved Gohan the same way Goku did, becoming a reserve father for the boy without hesitation.
Piccolo’s stern features melted into a warm smile and soft eyes. Gohan returned it with one of his own, looking up to him as 2nd only to his father.
“I thought as much.” Dumbledore brightly continued. “The connection you and Gohan share, Piccolo, is but one of the examples how love’s magic works. It changed you from the shell of your ‘demonic’ former self into the strong, caring, selfless being you are today. Your devotion to your enemy’s son, your one true friend, and his respect and understanding for you transformed your malice and rage into love and helpfulness. Love can transcend any barriers, including whether one is magical or not.”
Vegeta rolled his eyes in disgust, making a face and throwing Dumbledore a dirty look. However, so that he wouldn’t be thrown in the spotlight on the topic ‘love’, said nothing on the matter.
“So you see, it is highly possible for Goku to have passed a barrier onto Gohan like Lily did for Harry.” Dumbledore resumed.
Harry’s brow furrowed, questions forming in his head.
“But sir,” said Harry, “Cell could hit and kick Gohan down in the Chamber of Secrets when they fought. Voldemort isn’t able to touch me because of my mother’s protection, or he burns and stuff.”
Dumbledore nodded, “Very good observation Harry. Yes, Cell is able to touch Gohan and not be hurt in any way. That aspect of defense is one thing differing from you and Gohan’s security.”