Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Brother Z21 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...
"So," Hermione concluded, "what do you think?" She finished arranging her robes and looked at Luna, sitting on their bed.
Luna's sightless artificial eyes looked back. "I cannot see my scars, only you do." Before Hermione could respond, Luna raised a hand. "On the other hand, while it will be difficult to move about outside out chambers, I cannot stay here forever. It would make things easier if I presented a . . . more normal appearance." Luna cocked her head. "What about your scars?"
"If it will make you feel more comfortable, I'll ask."
"Good." Luna smiled slightly. "Now run along to the feast. You don't want to be late."
Luna looked over at the door of the bedroom when Hermione returned. "How was the Feast?"
"Tense," Hermione replied thoughtfully. "The sixth and seventh years were glad to see Remus back, of course, and they gave him a second cheer when his cure was announced. They were polite to me, and Zee. . . ."
"He told me tonight that his name was just the letter. In America, they apparently call the letter 'zed' 'zee' instead."
"Anyway, when I asked if there was anything I could call him besides Zed, he said that I, and by extension you, could call him Zee if we prefer."
"I suppose it could have been worse," Luna mused.
"In what way?"
"Well, if his name were Y, it could be very confusing in general conversation. If it were X, it would be like constantly solving an equation. If it were W. . . ."
"Yes, dear," Hermione said affectionately. She kissed Luna's forehead, and began changing into her nightgown. "He said that he would come by Friday night."
"Good. But what about Professor Snape?"
"He must have known that he would not be welcomed by three of the Houses, but even the Slytherins hissed him."
"To some, he disgraced the House by killing Dumbledore, no matter that Dumbledore may have ordered him to do so. To others, the fact that he betrayed the Dark Lord was treason. To the remainder, the mere fact that he failed on most levels, and is now of no influence, may account for their feelings."
"I'm sure you're at least partially correct."
The students knew their new professor was an odd one right from that first night, from his dress if nothing else. This was reenforced the next morning, when they found Brother Z awaiting the arrival of his colleagues at 7:00 a.m. in a lotus position and floating a few inches higher than the staff table.
The students also knew they had a dangerous, and entertaining, new professor when Professor Snape became the second member of the staff to walk in. He sniffed audibly from one seat away and made a loud sneering comment about fakirs -- and was turned into a seal without Z making a movement. Fiery letters then erupted behind them: BETTER TO BE SILENT AND BE THOUGHT FOOLISH, THAN TO SPEAK AND BE PROVEN A FOOL. If any had missed the point, as the letters dissipated a small sign then appeared above the seal's head, which flashed 'FOOL' until the Headmistress arrived, along with Hermione, Remus, and Flitwick. Snape was snapped back in mid-angry bark, and he partially slumped into his seat from the shock. As McGonagall had been bringing up the rear of the quartet, she had not seen exactly what had happened.
"Is something amiss, Severus?" McGonagall asked. "Zed, do stop levitating at table."
"Yes, Headmistress," Zed replied. "Professor, you seem a bit knackered this morning. You should eat a hearty breakfast and have some prune juice." He held out a platter to Snape. "Kipper?"
Snape's pale face nearly turned green for a moment. "No, thank you," he managed. "I think I shall settle for some toast. Some dry toast, and some tea."
Z shrugged and turned to offer the platter to Remus.
Z quickly became a fixture in the school. "Feel the magic within you," would soon become a mantra that his students would remember like others would always remember "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"
"Magic can be logic, as in Arithmancy or Potions," Z lectured all of his first classes. "Magic can be music in your soul. Those who are in touch with both will be the true mages. Those who obsess only about the music or the logic will become lost. Those who try to force magic to do their bidding will lose their soul. True understanding of magic does not come through blood, it does not come through mere study. It comes through practice and study, and then you must feel the music of magic inside you."
That first Friday night of the term, Hermione brought Z to the outside door to her suite of rooms. "Why are you so nervous?" Z asked.
"Luna's scars and injuries are pretty horrific," Hermione said.
"I shall do my best not to upset her."
Hermione nodded, and opened the door. "Luna?" Z knew that Hermione's suite was similar to his own, although the rooms were slightly larger. There was a large front room, a small kitchenette and dining room and a study, and then the bedroom, along with a small dressing room and a bath.
"In here," Luna replied from the bedroom.
"Oh, dear," Hermione said.
Sure enough, Luna was sitting nude on the edge of the bed. "I hope you are not too startled, or disgusted."
"Any disgust I feel is directed towards the degenerate animals who harmed your outer beauty," Z said quietly. Medical magic had healed all of the broken bones, and closed all Luna's wounds. The nerves had been regenerated, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments reattached. The missing parts, other than the eyes, had been regrown, more or less. "The inner beauty remains."
The result was much superior to what could have been done with the best Muggle techniques, but it was far from perfect. Luna's body was criss-crossed by light scars and patches of mismatched skin, and some very heavy scars, especially on her hands, face, and breasts. The underlying tissues functioned, but not always well, and every slight change in weather caused one set of aches or another.
"But not untouched," Luna corrected regretfully.
"I will have to touch all of you, and it will take most Fridays of the term," Z said. "I shall do the skin of your face and deal with the underlying trauma tonight, and then start with whichever limb hurts the most next week."
"Will it hurt?" Hermione asked.
"It will not be pleasant, but not actually painful," Z responded. He flipped his hand and a straight chair appeared.
"How did you do that?"
"Do what?" Luna asked.
"I merely conjured a straight-backed chair," Z responded. "Hold out your hand, and I will guide you to it."
"Why was it remarkable?" Luna asked as she did as she was told.
"He didn't use his wand," Hermione replied.
"Have you ever seen me use a wand?" Z asked, has he stood behind Luna.
"I haven't seen you teach. . . ."
A wand appeared in Z's left hand and he handed it to Hermione. Then he started touching Luna's face and head.
"It's very unresponsive," Hermione said, swishing the wand.
"It's a plain polished piece of pine," Z said. "It's not a wand, it's a stick, which I use for instructional purposes. Now, I need to concentrate."
For the next thirty minutes, Z stood behind Luna, minutely adjusting his hands, and she made small moaning sounds at times. Hermione could see the concentration on Z's face, the sweat. She could even feel the slight tingle of active magic in the air. Finally, Z stopped, and his hands fell to his side. "See how she looks and feels in the morning," he said, obviously more than tired. "I'll need to talk with the two of you after dinner as well."
"All right," Hermione said as the pair helped the even more exhausted Luna to the bed.
"Just one more thing before I go," Z said.
"May I have my stick back?"
"Well?" Luna asked the next morning. She was seated on the conjured chair, her face in the full sunlight coming in from the window.
"Remarkable. Except for the eyes, of course, and just a trace of that massive skull fracture over your right ear, everything seems totally healed," Hermione said, lowering her wand. "How does it feel?"
"There's no pain, no tension anywhere from my neck on up." Luna took a deep breath through her nose and then exhaled. "The nasal passages seem better as well, and even my teeth come together better."
Hermione kissed Luna's nose, and the pair hugged. "You sound more like your old self, too."
"He also fixed my tongue," Luna said. Her original one had been ripped out of course. "Shall we test it?"
Z was not at breakfast, but did manage to drag himself to lunch early, where Hermione was waiting for him. "How are you feeling?"
"I probably expended as much energy as I would have in a three-hour fire-fight," Z responded. "Hence our using Friday nights."
"Is that why more people don't use that technique?"
"No, it's because there aren't more than a few dozen mages in Europe who would have both the power and the skill to do it at that level all at once."
"Mages? That's the second time I've heard you use that."
"Well, I could have said 'wizards and witches', but I prefer the North American term." At that point, other staff members started to join them.
About five minutes later, Hermione felt Z touch her arm, and a head gesture directed her to the entrance of the hall. Snape was just stalking in, with his robes billowing menacingly behind him. Suddenly, Snape stopped and struck a pose that would have done Lockheart credit, hands on both hips and chin up. His robes transformed into a cape, flying behind him, as if in a stiff breeze, although his greasy hair did not move.
At that point, background music and voices were heard:
Young male: Look! Up in the sky!
Woman: It's a greased pigeon!
Older male: It's a diseased bat!
All: No! It's SuperSnape!
Pompous Baritone: Yes, SuperSnape! Slipperier than an oiled eel, able to leap to wrong conclusions in a single bound and frighten small children with a single sneer . . . it's SuperSnape! A strange visitor from a disgusting planet, without the kindness and compassion found in normal men -- and who, disguised as Professor Snape, a murdering scum of the earth and bad-mannered teacher at a school of innocents, keeps up the fight for bigotry, pettiness, and the never-ending struggle for in-bred cretins everywhere!
At that point, the music climaxed, and then the hex Snape was under lifted. He started turning colors that would have reminded Harry of his Uncle Vernon, swallowed hard, and marched out of the great hall.
As soon as he was out of sight, the students burst out laughing, and McGonagall pinched the bridge of her eyes as she closed her eyes. "'Why be a teacher?' my father asked," she muttered. "'It's not that noble or well-paying a profession,' he said. 'Hogwarts is full of lunatics' he said. Did I listen? No"
"Did Professor Snape have a good dinner?" Luna asked that night.
"I'm sure he did, as he ate somewhere else," Hermione answered. She turned to Z. "Do I want to know how you did that?"
"I will neither confirm nor deny that I had anything to do with that," Z answered.
"Very well, what can we do for you?"
Z conjured another chair.
"As the other chair seems amazingly stable for a conjured object, could you at least make a non-matching one?" Hermione asked. "I'd like to see how long they last."
"As you wish," Z said, waving the first into non-existence and then conjuring a second chair. Hermione sat Luna down in the chair.
"Stand over in front of Luna," Z commanded, and then waved off most of the candles. He then placed his hands on the sides of Luna's head and shut his eyes. After a moment, he said, "Are you ready?"
"For this." He opened his eyes.
Luna took in a deep breath. "Oh, my!"
"What?" Hermione demanded.
"I can see!"
"She is seeing through my eyes," Z said. "She sees you."
"And you are even more beautiful than I remember," Luna said.
"Now, three things. First, Luna's eyes. There is a very Dark ceremony which would restore her the use of eyes."
"Very. It entails removing the eyes from a living person, after ingesting part of a potion made from their liver and frontal lobe."
"Well, we won't be doing that!" Hermione exclaimed.
"Of course not," Z agreed. "It might be possible to alter it enough to use someone recently deceased . . . say a Muggle killed in an auto accident who is also an organ donor?"
"Is it possible?" Luna asked, unsure what that meant.
"It might be," Hermione agreed, stunned.
"I'll give you the full details to think about. Still, it could take time - weeks, months, even perhaps the rest of the year or more -- to work it out. If we think it is totally safe and will do more good than harm, it might still take time to locate a donor."
"In the mean time, we must insure that your optic nerves do not atrophy." He looked at Hermione. "Are your ears pierced?"
Z removed his hands, and Luna pouted for a moment. Z took out two small boxes from a pocket in his robe, handing one to Hermione. He put earrings in Luna's ears, while Hermione did her own. Two more boxes were pulled out of the inner pockets of the robe. These turned out to be necklaces. "The clasp must be over the spinal cord in the neck," he said, adjusting them both and sticking them with a charm.
He pulled out yet another box. This one held a ring, with a small heart-shaped emerald in it. Z gently placed it on Luna's left ring finger. "Feel this bump? Push it out towards the end of the finger."
"Now that feels odd," Luna said.
"What?" Hermione said.
"Seeing myself through your eyes, of course." 'I'm glad my face was fixed,' she thought.
"One final thing," Z said, pulling out a larger box. This held a small opened geode, with a small solid polished amethyst center. "Push the bump on the ring back, past the middle and all the way down." Z then placed the geode in Luna's right hand.
Luna slowly moved the geode. "It's not as clear as Hermione's eyes, and there is no color."
"Correct on both counts. It only generates about half the visual acuity and as you say, no color. And it really doesn't focus, although with practice you can make small adjustments with your will. I'll have another sent along soon, so that you can try reading."
"I have an enchanted scanner which reads to me," Luna said.
"Oh, good. That would likely be less stressful. Now, using either method to see will give you a headache after half an hour of use or so, and using the first will give Hermione one as well. You may develop more tolerance over time. Still, I need you to use either for a total of at least three hours a day". Luna nodded her agreement.
"Why hasn't anyone told us about these things?" Hermione demanded.
"They forgot them," Z answered with a shrug. "The geode method is Druid magic. The jewelry focus was a T'ang Chinese refinement. Neither is as good as the modern magical eye, but since you can't use them. . . ."
Hermione and Luna both gave Z a hug, which made him blush slightly.
On Monday afternoon, Z and Hermione approached Horace Slughorn in the staff room. Hermione appraised him of Luna's optical injuries, and Z gave him a copy of the ritual and the potion.
Slughorn read the information and shuddered. "I can see why it is currently unacceptable."
"Do you think it could be done from someone recently deceased?" Hermione asked. "Muggles have learned how to transplant organs, and many volunteer to donate after their deaths, and others volunteer their relatives after sudden accidents."
Slughorn made a face at the idea.
"And not all of this would be necessary," Z added. "Unlike the Assyrian sorcerers who created this, we can cross-type for tissue matches."
"You may be right," Slughorn agreed, not really knowing what they were talking about. "I can brew any potion, but I am no longer that good a researcher." He looked at Z. "Severus could probably do it."
"I have acquaintances who can do the research," Z answered. "The question is, would you be willing to brew any of the required potions they come up with?"
"Of course." He looked at Z. "Although having the person who created the formula on-hand for consultation would be a help."
"Why do you want to redeem him?" Z asked.
"A minor gesture to a fallen student," Slughorn responded. "You seem to have a personal grudge against him."
"Me? What have I done to him?"
Slughorn merely looked at Z.
"He killed a Hogwarts headmaster," Z answered simply. "Perhaps Hogwarts itself has a grudge against him."
"Oh, really!" Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
"I have been to magical places you cannot even imagine, let alone might have heard of," Z answered seriously. "Nowhere have I seen as much concentrated magic as Hogwarts. Think of every painting as a bundle of nerve cells, as all the students, staff, and elves providing energy. It has a nervous system and energy. That makes it, in a vague sense, alive. Many of the portraits are self-aware, providing sentience. Perhaps you need some lessons in Higher Magic."
"Perhaps I do," Hermione challenged.
"Next Saturday, I am starting a Tai Chi class. I suggest you join us. That would be a first step, which will open many paths."