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...
With one exception, the term settled down over the next month and a half into the calmest any of the staff (save one) could remember since 1990.
Severus Snape was not having a good year. To him, it was as if the Marauders had been resurrected, merged with the Weasley twins, and centered solely on him. Every three to five days, something humiliating would happen to him, always with at least one staff member present (other than Granger and Z, they were never the sole staff member present, although they were witnesses at times).
Three times, his boot laces turned into semi-animated snakes, which fought the snakes on the other boot while biting his ankles, tripping him up. Three times, he was attacked by his robes in some manner (once they turned into a cape, which then flipped over his head and tied itself into a bag; once they turned into bat wings which flew him into the ceiling; and once they had turned into a dude cowboy outfit -- although Snape had no idea what that meant, he had disapproved of the fringed leather chaps nearly as much as the many rhinestones). When he had gone over to a form-fitting outfit, it had blown up and encased all of him except his head, hands, and feet in a large purple ball, and small orange creatures, singing something about 'Oompa-loompa' had appeared and rolled him out of the great hall, where he had been transformed back to himself. Once at dinner, his hair had transformed into several dozen lanky but otherwise indescribable creatures, which had screamed, "Wash us, you lazy greasy git" for five minutes, while he was stuck to his chair, before the Headmistress had managed to reverse the situation.
Three times, he had been chased through the halls of Hogwarts, as he tried to drive off the creatures swarming him. The sixty flying fuzzy pink bunny slippers had actually had a bit of a solid kick to them. The two hundred toads, all chanting, "Gut 'im! Gut 'im for ingredients! Gut 'im' had been something of a nightmare. It was the two hundred white bumblebees which had both hurt the worst physically, and also emotionally after he had realized what they symbolized.*
The most embarrassing had, fortunately, been the only incident unwitnessed. After doing his 'morning business' his penis and his rectum had spent twenty minutes calling him names. Having one's penis calling you a 'smeg head' in a Cockney accent and having one's Scots-accented rectum inviting you to, "Go ahead and stick yer head up yer bum an' join me, ye greasy-locked bastard! Ye act like ye already have, ye needle-dicked baby raper!" was embarrassing enough in private, especially when one's penis objected to being called 'needle dick' ("Hey!" his penis had shouted, "no needle is four inches long!") and started insulting other parts of his body.
Someone clearly wanted him out of Hogwarts. Well, even Snape realized that everyone wanted him out of Hogwarts to some degree. No, the person who seemed the mostly likely candidate for the harassment was the mysterious Brother Z. The seal incident the first day of class, not to mention the confrontation at Slughorn's reception, was enough to show that. However, Snape had no idea how the man might be accomplishing his humiliation.
Snape was more than tempted to strike back. He was partially held back because he knew that should he be caught, he would be sacked.
Snape had a great deal of false pride. He was a master potions brewer, but that was hardly anything to be too prideful of -- while he had the basic and senior masteries in potions and the basic master of alchemy, so had McGonagall and Flitwick, while Slughorn also had his senior level in alchemy and was a sorcerer of potions as well). What counted was creating new potions, not just making them. None of his creations had brought Snape any fame, for they had been created under duress for Voldemort. They were too Dark to brag about, and even worse (professionally speaking), they really struck no novel theoretical ground. Snape had had over thirteen years between the first fall of Voldemort and his return. In that time, he had managed to make some minor improvements on other people's potions, and had even reconstructed ancient three potions from just a list of ingredients, with no measurements or directions.
Certainly solid accomplishments, but still really minor achievements at best.
If he lost his position at Hogwarts, Snape would be broke within a few years (he knew there would be few other job opportunities), and would almost certainly never have the resources he had at Hogwarts to make any discoveries.
Snape also held back any revenge against the odd instructor simply because he could not figure out how. To Snape, Z was the biggest mystery he had come up against. The alleged 'brother' held himself serenely outside of Snape's understanding, and since Z was obviously powerful, Snape was not going to go against him without knowing some of his opponent's vulnerabilities.
Brother Z was at least casually friendly with every staff member other than Severus, and all except for Severus seemed to like the strange warlock. Even Filch seemed to like the man. He did seem to have a slightly closer friendship with Lupin and Flitwick, and was also close to Granger and presumably Lovegood. Snape was knowledgeable enough not to confront the ex-dueling master Flitwick, and Lupin's being cured of his curse had removed the one soft spot Snape could easily exploit.
That left Granger, since Lovegood was never visible without Granger and usually Z. Even ignoring her blood-status, Snape loathed Hermione Granger. As far as he was concerned, she was a very talented parrot -- she could read and memorize, but he would never believe she would ever understand magical culture. She could do the magic, but he did not believe she could really understand it. To Snape, she was like someone who studied the scores of symphonies, but never played an instrument well and who never went to concerts.
In addition, she of course had been Potter's close friend and ally. He knew he could probably hurt Granger by taunting her on her hero's desertion, but he also knew he could only get away with that in private, and probably only once.
He would try to save that satisfaction for some perfect opportunity.
That he was disliked Snape knew. Snape just could not accept why he was disliked. To him, killing Dumbledore, kidnaping the Weasley girl and Lovegood, had been necessary for his cover, and therefore right. He did not realize that if he could at least admit to himself he had been wrong, that what he had done had been both wrong and of little value, then most people could have accepted him (although while still not liking him). Then his torment would have been seen as wrong, and it would have ceased.
Therefore, as Halloween approached, all of Hogwarts, except for Severus Snape, were keen with anticipation.
Halloween was on a Saturday, and therefore it was also the first of three Hogsmeade weekends during the autumnal term. As they were the two new staff members, Hermione and Z would be on duty for all Hogsmeade weekends, while the others took turns.
Professor Dumbledore had allowed students and staff free to roam with a large degree of freedom, in terms of both time and space. Professor McGonagall did not. Professors Sinistra and Lupin would lead the students to the center of town, while Hermione and Z would be in charge of getting slower students there in a timely manner. Then, the staff would again account for the students, in the presence of one of the new village aurors. From 10:00 until 2:00, the students could move about the High Street of the village, but were not to stray. Promptly at 2:00, the role would again be called and they would march back. Hermione and Z would patrol from 10:00 to 11:00 and again from 12:00 until 1:00. Sinistra and Lupin would patrol the other two hours.
"Are you going to tell me what, if anything, you have planned for tonight?" Hermione asked as they started their first patrol.
"You know about the fireworks for Luna. . . ."
"No, what you plan to do to Snape."
"Why should I have anything planned for Severus?"
"You shouldn't, but you probably do," Hermione said sternly. Z merely shrugged. "As far as I've heard, nothing's happened to him for over a week," Hermione went on suspiciously. She gave Z the eye. "What did you do that was so bad you didn't allow anyone to see it?"
Z merely kept walking.
"Was it really that bad?" she asked, now concerned.
"From everything I've heard he's done, no," Z finally said after a pause.
"I promise not to tell anyone but Luna, and I'm sure she would promise not to tell," Hermione said. She really wanted to know.
"Oh, very well," Z said, and told her.
Hermione was stunned, although she knew that she would be giggling when she told Luna. "How. . . ? Why. . . ?"
"Well, I got the idea from some students," Z admitted. "I overheard one calling him a walking prick, and several saying that he talked out his arse."
Hermione merely sighed. "Does this serve any purpose?"
"It serves notice that he is being watched. If he were left totally alone, he would still believe that all his problems were someone else's fault, and would likely go back to abusing the students to some degree."
"And if he is thinking about you pranking him, he's not attacking me, or Luna."
Hermione frowned. "Do you think I can't take care of my self?"
"On the whole, yes," Z replied. "However, Snape is a vile, twisted but still very dangerous man. And Luna is in no position to protect herself."
"Partially true," Hermione said.
"Did you know we have a large number of elves enslaved at Hogwarts? Over a hundred, in fact?"
"Yes, I do."
"There are also two free elves. One, Dobby, is very attached to Harry, and therefore very fond of Luna and fairly tolerant of me. The elves, in general, also adore Luna. They're helping me keep an eye on her, and on Snape."
"That's good to know."
"So, what are you going to do to Snape tonight?"
"It's a surprise, which, if he behaves, will not even occur."
"Well, that's a start."
They chatted about the various students for the rest of their rounds, and at 11:00 were off-duty. "And where to now?" Z asked. "Shall we investigate the competitive wares of Zonko's and the new Triple W store? Get a sugar rush at Honeydukes? Check the used bookstore? Have an early lunch? Or do you have private errands?"
"How about the bookstore, and then an early lunch?"
"Of course. The Three Broomsticks, the Hogs Head, or the tea room I heard described as looking as if a teddy bear had vomited the decor?"
"I can tell you really want to go there," Hermione said drily. "And I wouldn't eat at the Hogs Head unless I had a full range of potions and antibiotics handy."
"The Three Broomsticks it is."
Luna fell off her chair, laughing.
"Luna! It's not that funny!"
"Yes, it is," Luna answered. "I grant you, having never seen a penis, I find it difficult to imagine a talking one. Still, one wonders what it would be like to have one's arse criticize you."
"I don't think I want to know," Hermione retorted, shaking her head.
"What part of me should Zee work on next Friday?" Luna said, changing the subject suddenly. Hermione was getting used to that.
"What do you mean?"
"Zee can hardly repair my whole body at once."
"Unless he has asked for suggestions. . . ." Luna shook her head, "then I think we should let him proceed as he thinks best." Seeing Luna look doubtful, Hermione asked, "Do you think I will care for you more when your body is restored?"
"No, but I might turn you on more," Luna answered.
"I am yours, for as long as you will have me," Hermione reminded her remaining friend. She glanced at a clock. "It's not quite Four. Let's have a long bath together, and we'll see if I got that waterproofing charm on the vibrator right this time."
After the Feast, everyone turned out to the grass between the castle and the whomping willow for Luna's fireworks display. Z was very careful in how he arranged the students, for safety's sake. Or so he said.
One person, of course, was determined to be contrary.
"Severus, please stand closer to the group," Z urged.
Snape glared at the man in the habit. "I don't think so." It was bad enough being forced into attending, he was certainly not going to stand near the students, where people might be able to approach him without his knowing it.
"Very well," Z said. He walked over to Luna and placed his left hand at the base of her skull, enabling her to see. "Kneel down," he said. "Hermione?"
Hermione, to Luna's delight, handed Luna her wand, which she had not touched since the night she had been kidnaped. "Light the fuse, and everything is automatic," Z said.
Luna touched the fuse with her wand, and she was delighted in the way the fuse sparked magically in every imaginable color as it ran to the fireworks display.
For the next half an hour, the students and staff (other than Snape) 'oohed' and 'aahed' over the variety of fireworks, magical and Muggle. The magical ones twisted and formed images, the Muggle ones created wonderful colors and patterns (and nice booms, to Luna's delight). Then came the finale, when two dozen fireworks went off at once.
At that point, something seemed to go wrong with one of the last Muggle fireworks. It split apart less that fifty feet above the ground. Half of it corkscrewed off course, and exploded harmlessly into the Divination Tower (Trelawney did let out a squeak of startled protest at that). Over a third of it smacked into the whomping willow, and later examination showed that it had sustained no real damage.
The smallest fragment hit Severus Snape right in the face, spewing out a cloud of black smoke, but fortunately doing no physical damage.
When the smoke cleared, Snape at first looked like a refugee from a bad silent comedy. In addition to his soot-covered face, his greasy hair had been dried and stood straight out on the sides and top, making him look rather like a black daisy from a cartoon from the same period.
Snape realized that he had been had. If he had stood towards the back of the group of students as he had been directed to, he likely could not have been safely targeted.
There was no doubt in his mind that he had indeed been targeted, nor who had done it. He marched over to Z, huffing loudly in anger. Finally, he said, "You're . . . you're . . . you're dethpicable!"
Snape was instantly aware of the smothered laughter, and then he realized what he had said and how he had said it. His memory was drawn back to his childhood, raised in a partially Muggle house.
He had been turned into a Loony Toon.
Snape mustered what little dignity he had left and left the field of combat, bested on all fronts. As he neared the castle, his shoulders slumped, as he remembered what he had had for part of his dinner that night. Duck, and carrots.
The next day, the students would only be allowed to roam the High Street from 12:30-2:30. It was 12:24, and Z and Hermione were still a few dozen yards from the edge of the village when an elf appeared, acting even more hyper than usual.
"Miss Hermione Granger, Miss! Miss Hermione Granger, Miss! Mister Professor Brother Zed, Sir! Bad Professor is outside Missy Luna's room, trying to get in!"
Hermione paled and started to hyperventilate. Z, however, quickly took charge. "Go tell Professor Lupin, and then come back here," he told the elf. Z turned his attention to Hermione. "Trust me, Luna is in no danger." With that, Z disappeared.
"But, he can't apparate into Hogwarts!" Hermione nearly wailed.
"Why not, Miss?" the elf asked. "House elves does." She disappeared, leaving Hermione much to think about.
A few moments earlier, Luna had approached the door to the suite she shared with Hermione. A little tickle in the back of her mind made her ask, "Who is it?" rather than following her first instinct.
There was no answer, just another knock.
"I understand," Luna said, then adding in a louder voice, "I doubt if a land shark could pass the wards, so it must either be Peeves, Professor Snape, or a student playing a cruel prank."
There was a pause, then "It is I," Snape admitted. "I have not come to harm you, I assure you."
Luna hesitated, but opened the door, blocking the threshold with her slight body. "Yes?"
"May I enter?"
"May I remind you, Professor, the last time I saw you, the last time I saw anything with my own eyes, you were ripping my eyes out. Please, I would think that even you would understand that I have no interest in having anything to do with you."
"Then call off your avenger!" Snape yelled.
Luna cocked her head to the side. "I assure you, I have asked no one to avenge me. Not even Harry, let alone Zee."
"Potter seems to be long gone. It's that fakir who's persecuting me!"
"Tell me, Professor Snape, do you believe there is something which follows life?"
"What does that have to do with anything?" Snape demanded. "Is what passes for your mind wandering again?"
"No, it is not. Please answer the question."
"Then I don't know," Snape spat. "There seems to be some evidence that there is."
"Then you should know, you will pay for what you did, not to society, certainly not to your victims such as myself. . . ."
"You were not my victim!"
"As Zee pointed out, you were used by Riddle, and made no useful contribution to the war effort, despite your best intentions. You should have realized that you were not an effective spy long before you tortured me. Therefore, you cannot use your attempt to betray Riddle to justify those of us you tortured, or your failure to help nearly a generation of Slytherins to resist the Darkness. In actuality, any person of feeling would know that even if you had been procuring good information, while what you did would have been necessary, it was still very wrong." Her prosthetic glass eyes seemed to see Snape. "Of course, you could not even use that excuse to yourself to account for your abuse of Harry."
"Abuse," the man sneered.
Luna's voice hardened. "You must either face the truth about yourself in this life or the next. If you wait until the next, you cannot change, you can only be punished. Be glad a Friendly One pursues you now. . . ."
"Friendly One?" Snape demanded. "Another of your inane creatures?"
"The Friendly Ones, the Furies, will not be so merciful in whatever follows this life, Severus Snape," Luna intoned. "Now, go away."
"Will you or will you not tell Zed -- Merlin, what a name! -- to leave me alone?"
"I will not, for I know if he seeks vengeance, it is more to reform you than to punish you. If you cannot understand that, then indeed the students are correct, when they say you are a walking prick who talks out your arse." With that, Luna slammed the door shut.
Snape glared at the door and stomped off.
Inside the room, Luna said, "You may as well show yourself, not that I could tell the difference."
"I will tell Hermione you are fine," Z said.
*On the off-chance anyone doesn't know (unlikely, but possible I suppose) Albus Dumbledore means white bumblebee. As for Snape, he was of course turned into Daffy Duck, lisp and all.