Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Brother Z3 Reviews
The Final Battle is over. Harry has left Britain, leaving a devastated magical community, a lost Hermione, and a blinded Luna. Hermione becomes Professor McGonagall's apprentice while she cares f...
"I am not pleased for you to be back here," Headmistress McGonagall stated.
"I am so gratified to hear that," Severus Snape sneered.
"I have testified on his behalf," Dumbledore's portrait offered.
McGonagall dismissed the image from her consideration. "Still, I have been commanded to take you back, if possible."
"Why would it not be possible?" Snape demanded.
"There really is no need for your services," McGonagall answered. "Horace is staying on, Remus is available for both Defense and even Creatures, as Hagrid has not completely recovered, and we have a real, certified expert in Defense, as opposed to a self-proclaimed expert in the Dark Arts." Snape flushed. "Still, this was part of a compromise reached with the Governors." She smiled grimly. "The three remaining darkest, most Pure-blooded, Governors have resigned."
Snape was startled.
"Yes, if you return, you will not have the Board to back you up. I will be totally fair, and I expect ALL the staff to also be totally fair."
"Besides being Head of Slytherin. . . ."
"You will not be. Horace will remain Head of Slytherin for the immediate future. Your assignment? Second, Third, and Fourth year Potions. Second and Fourth year Defense. Second year Transfiguration. We have managed to convince Binns to move on, so Sixth year History."
"Because I believe if you again teach with your former bigotry, lackadaisical attention to facts you dislike, and total favoritism in grading, these will cause the least damage. Both your grading and your use of House points will be reviewed. If you can prove yourself over the next few years, prove that you have changed and that you still wish to stay, then we might reconsider your assignments."
"I take it Slughorn and Flitwick are also sharing various subjects?"
"Yes. My apprentice will be teaching First year Transfiguration as well as First, Second, Third year history."
"Your apprentice?" Snape then made a face. "Granger?"
"Exactly. MISS Granger. Horace will be teaching the other years of Potions, and Third year Transfigurations. Remus will be teaching First and Third year Defense and the other years of History, and if needs be, he will help Hagrid. Filius will teach Fourth and Sixth year Transfiguration, and the final four years of Charms. I shall teach Fifth and Seventh year Transfiguration. Pomona will likely be the Deputy."
"And the other new staff member?" Snape demanded.
"You will meet him in a few days, if you remain here instead of leaving until the First," McGonagall said. "I look forward to seeing what you make of him."
"I shall be making my new lesson plans," Snape answered stiffly. "I shall be here on the afternoon of the First, as is required."
"As you will, Severus. Just remember, you are on probation."
Tuesday, September 1, 1998
"Good afternoon, Filius. Did you have a pleasant two months?"
"Not particularly," the diminutive professor answered. "I spent most of my time assisting the Ministry and St. Mungo's, trying to reverse some of the spell damage, to persons and property." He bowed. "Miss Granger. I am so pleased that you have joined us."
"With all the deaths," Hermione said, her voice flat but her eyes still filled with pain, "the Muggle world lost its appeal." Her parents were dead, as were the families of many of the Muggleborn. Although they had not been dating since the previous spring, Ron Weasley had also been killed in the final battle, and that had had its affect, as they had stayed close. "And with Harry disappearing, I really didn't know what to do with myself. I am glad to be here."
"We will do our best to help you heal," Flitwick said kindly. "Once you have finished your apprenticeships and gain your Mastery in Transfiguration and Arithmancy, I hope you feel like doing the same in Charms."
Hermione almost smiled. "I would be honored. We'll see how these go."
Flitwick turned to McGonagall. "I met the most interesting young man while assisting with the repair of the Muggle repelling wards near Hogsmeade a few days ago. Is it true we will have a new staff member in addition to Miss Granger?"
"Yes, but let's wait until everyone meets him to discuss him," McGonagall said.
"He looks like the type of person Dumbledore would have appointed, not you," Flitwick teased as the wards announced someone had given the password.
"Come in," McGonagall called a moment later. "I had one staff appointment forced upon me, but only one."
"Not me, I hope," Remus said, limping in. He was still not 100% after the final battle, but he was recovering.
"No, of course not," McGonagall answered. "How is your wife?"
"Well," Remus answered. "It does make sense to have a few aurors stationed in Hogsmeade as constables." He looked at Hermione. "Dora reminded me to tell you that you and Luna are always welcome in our home."
"Thank you, Remus."
"So, it is really true, my boy?" Flitwick asked eagerly.
Remus nodded. "I don't know how he did it, but Harry ended the Curse before he left. I haven't felt the least bit ill the last two full moons." He smiled grimly. "One less thing for Severus to complain about."
"Why did the Board members back him?" Flitwick asked, curious.
"Harry was able to force them out. In a manner of speaking, Severus is their last attempt at revenge," McGonagall answered.
There was a sharp rap on the door of the Headmistress' office door. "No warnings?" Flitwick asked.
"If it is who I think it is, I doubt he would trip one," McGonagall answered. "Come in!"
Hermione was filled with curiosity. The Headmistress had refused to say anything about the mysterious professor, and it had piqued Hermione's curiosity even more than Remus', as she had not met him during the week he had spent in the castle in early August.
Considering how slowly some wizards age, the man who came in could have been anywhere between 25 and 40, at Hermione's guess. He was a bit more than average height, and seemed to have a slim but athletic build. He certainly moved with confidence.
His dress was eccentric, even by wizarding standards. He wasn't really wearing robes so much as he was wearing a plain grayish-brown habit, complete with hood. Had he had his hair cut with a real tonsure and had his belt had a rosary in addition to the plain leather cord, he would have looked a bit like an early Franciscan. His sandals were the oddest looking Hermione had ever seen.
Hermione decided he wasn't handsome, as much as he was striking. His light brownish hair was cut very short, and his features, other than his eyes, nondescript. His eyes were a brilliant violet, a color Hermione had never seen before. She blinked when she saw them twinkle.
The man's hands went inside the sleeves of his habit and he bowed. "Headmistress. I hope I find you well." Hermione thought he had a pleasant voice, although she couldn't begin to describe his accent.
"Brother," McGonagall answered with a nod. "I take it you would still prefer that form of address?"
"I would." His eyes moved to Flitwick, then to Remus, and then to Hermione. "Professor Flitwick, a pleasure to see you again. Professor Lupin and Miss Granger, I presume? I am pleased to meet you both. I am known as Brother Zed."
"A religious order?" Hermione asked.
"After I left school, I was involved with the fight against Voldemort during the end of his final reign of terror. Then, having learned things about myself I did not like, I have travelled since 1981. I worked and studied with an Order of Druids in North America, a magical Buddhist monastery in Nepal, and a secret magical Order within the Catholic Church. I also learned from some other teachers. I am not here to preach any religious doctrine. I am here to teach magic. While there might be some philosophy," his left hand came out of his sleeve and he presented Hermione a bunch of artificial pink rosebuds, "there might also be some slight-of-hand for demonstrations. . . ." His right hand was suddenly filled with real roses, "and some other magics as well. These are your favorites, are they not?"
"Do you possess the inner eye?" Hermione teased.
"Not as such." He turned his attention back to McGonagall. "Is the dark one going to be teaching?"
"I am afraid so."
"I shall watch him," Z said, and the others thought it almost sounded like a vow. "Anyone may fall into Darkness, and they can often not be saved by the intervention of others. However, I will not have a child led to it when I am near by. May I continue my search of the castle, looking for Dark Magic?"
"Of course. After the events of the last seven years, who knows what tricks Riddle or his agents might have left."
"May I watch?" Hermione asked.
"You may walk with me, but you will likely find it physically exhausting and not terribly interesting."
"Please inform me of the results."
"Of course, Headmistress."
"What kind of Dark Magic detectors will you be using?" Hermione asked as they walked down the corridors.
"My senses," Z replied. "I think you have a difficult accepting that."
"A Dark Magic detector detects two things. Magic and intent. Intent must be interpreted. A true mage has access to magic at many levels, and may train his senses to properly interpret them." Z smiled slightly. "I do not think you accept that."
"It's not easy."
Z stopped walking and looked at Hermione dispassionately. "I have a passion for justice, and a thirst for knowledge which will help me further justice. You have a reputation for an even greater thirst for knowledge. What do you have a passion for?"
"I don't know," Hermione confessed. "I think that thirst, as you call it, is almost all I have left. I came from a small family, the only child of only children, who were also only children. They are all dead. I lost my ex-boy friend, even though I had already learned that I did not love him as much as I thought I did. I lost my best friend, the center of my life, because Harry felt he had to get away, because of what he had been forced to become."
"He had become a powerful warlock, who had had to kill many," Z agreed. "I was much the same." He sighed. "If killing does not change you, then you were very Dark before you killed."
"I've killed," Hermione whispered.
"I know," Z said. He came to a decision. "Will you trust me?"
"Probably," Hermione answered.
"I will have to touch you, but not, well not. . . ."
"Not a 'bad touch' as they say to children?"
"Nor a 'good touch', as adults might say. A neutral one."
"Take my hands and look into my eyes."
Hermione took the hard strong hands with their long fingers into her now-soft small hands. She was on the short side and slim, barely 5 foot 3, while Z was 5 foot 10. She gazed up into his purple eyes.
Hermione had learned Occlumency, and she felt little warning twinges, but nothing overt. "Close your eyes." She did so, and Z moved her around so that she was standing in front of him, leaning against him. Their hands were still in contact with the other person, but he had his left arm around her waist, his right hand was on her left shoulder and her hands had slipped onto his very powerful forearms.
"Open your eyes."
Hermione did, and what she saw amazed her, for the corridor's mute colors were completely gone, replaced by wavering shadows. "Is this how you always see?"
"No, this is one form of mage sight. Look at the paintings. What do you see?"
Hermione frowned. "I can't see the subjects, but they are in wavering grays and blacks."
"The blacks are Dark magic."
"All the animate subjects may leave their frames. The people in the paintings form a surveillance network. That is gray, neither light nor dark. However, the human subjects tend to gossip, which is mildly dark. Now, shut your eyes again. Now open."
Hermione opened her eyes and quickly shut them, overwhelmed by the overlying images.
"That is mostly how I see. However, I have other mage senses as well. For example, there is a fraudulent, corrupt, petty, and injured spirit who has been lurking behind us, sneering, for about half a minute. My guess is that it is Professor Snake."
"That's Professor SNAPE to you, as Granger could tell you if you are done fondling her."
Hermione tried to turn on Snape, but found herself held in strong arms.
"If you are Professor Snake, I mean Snape, then she is Miss Granger. If you think I am touching her inappropriately, as opposed to professionally, as you heard the complete discussion, you are even more foolish than you are twisted." Z let Hermione go and turned towards Snape. "Now, I suggest you take your dirty mind back to whatever gutter you inhabit."
Snape merely sneered and moved on. Z bowed to Hermione. "My apologies if I made you feel at all uncomfortable."
"You didn't," Hermione answered. She hesitated, but said, "I appreciate the gesture, but defending me from Snape's innuendo will likely be a full-time job."
"Why? Other than the fact that you are brilliant, attractive, Muggle-born, and an associate of Harry Potter, I mean."
"That would likely be more than enough for him," Hermione agreed. "Do you know what set off the final battle? What lured Harry to Voldemort, I mean, and what set Harry off?"
"In general," Z answered tonelessly.
"Voldemort had seized two of our friends, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. Voldemort used all his power to break into Harry's mind, and then had Ginny repeatedly raped. I think nearly all the male Death Eaters raped her at least once. They tortured Luna. Well, Harry saw all that and went berserk, and I mean that literally. The point is, the last thing Draco Malfoy did before Harry ripped his genitals off and forced him to choke to death on them was to kill Ginny. Luna survived, but she has been permanently blinded and terribly scarred."
"I thought there were magically prosthetic eyes," Z said.
"There are, but they really only work well when paired with a real eye. In fact, they can cause long term damage if used alone."
"And what does any of this have to do with Professor Snake?"
"Luna's father was killed last May. She's staying in my suite."
"I am remarkably gifted in healing wounds, even old scars. I offer my services, to her, and to you if you have any."
"I'll talk with Luna about it. The point is, well. . . ."
"He will claim that you are a lesbian."
"He will." Hermione squared her shoulders. "I am not a lesbian, but Luna is my lover as well as my friend."
"Then I would be even more honored to help. Come," Z went on. "I have heard several stories about Riddle. Let us see if the logical conclusion is also the correct one. Either way, I shall have the center for the search pattern I will conduct for dangerous magics."
"Where are we going?"
"I believe it is called the Trophy Room. Please correct me if I am not taking the most direct way or if I am getting us lost."
Hermione stopped him about three minutes later. "If we keep going to the main stairs, they move, at least during the school. There is a smaller set of side stairs this way."
Brother Z obediently followed.
"May I ask you something?"
"Of course. I reserve the right not to answer."
Hermione pressed on. "You said you fought in the first war. What about the second?"
"From your point of view, you were apparently involved in the fight against Voldemort since the spring of 1992, if not before. You do recall that the news was not released until late June, 1996?"
Hermione made a face, but merely said, "Yes, I do."
"At that point, I was still with the Brotherhood in southern Italy, finishing several courses of study. Your Ministry refused outsiders to come in and help until after the death of Dumbledore."
"And his killer has returned to the scene of the crime," Hermione added, disgusted.
"So he has, and he has not accepted the guilt for any of his crimes. As for me, I was with the team who came in and destroyed the dementors. In fact, it was partially my work which allowed us to do so."
"That came at a good point for us," Hermione admitted. "So, what are we looking for?"
"Voldemort supposedly cursed the Defense position. That really should be impossible, considered by itself. I do not see how it could be possible in effect, unless it is linked to an actual person or some physical object. It may have been partially linked to Voldemort himself, but I think there must be an object somewhere in the castle that serves as a center."
"That makes some sense."
"I had planned to start this weeks ago, but I ended up only having nine free days, and I spent the entire time decontaminating Slytherin House." He wrinkled his nose slightly, and Hermione realized that the man had very little distinguishing body language, or much giving away his feelings in voice or face.
"Somehow, I am not surprised." A thought occurred to her. "Do you know any Parselmouths? You might need to enter the Chamber of Secrets."
"I have many types of animal magic," Z answered. "It is not all that uncommon a gift, outside of Europe. And yes, some of the Dark magic I found in Slytherin House was based on Parseltongue."
"I wish you could have been the Defense teacher a few years ago," Hermione said regretfully as they entered the trophy room. Hermione shook her head, remembering the phony duel Harry had been lured to, seven years before.
"So do I. Now, what objects here might be associated with Riddle?"
"The list of Head Boys, and a special service award, if nothing else."
"Let's start. . . . oh, my." Z walked over to the obscure corner where Riddle's award was. "This carries a powerful curse, no, at least seven curses. Three very powerful." A snap of his fingers summoned a notebook and a pen. As Z muttered incantations, the pen wrote down several pages of arithmatical equations. After ten minutes, Z paused, and then took another five minutes to clear the award of Dark magic. He then searched the rest of the trophy room, but found nothing unusual.
"Shall we retire to prepare for the students' arrival?" he asked.
"May I see the equations at some point?"
"Of course. Now let us continue on."