Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Brother Z17 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...
Hermione recovered from her swoon, and as she did so felt that she was lying on a sofa of some sort. She opened her eyes, and saw Luna was crouched next to her, looking worried.
Z stood behind the sofa, looking as he always had, except that the lightening scar was now just barely visible. "Harry?" she asked, still not really believing.
"Yes," he answered. He held his hand up. "It's late, and you've had a shock. Details can come over time. In short, Harry met Zed in late May, as Zed was finishing off the dementors. Zed was the first person to reach Harry after the last battle. Zed sent Harry back in time in early July."
"How Zed knew how, I cannot really explain. There's some sort of time loop involved. In a sense, when Harry arrived in 1981, he knew a firm outline of what he had to do over the next seventeen years -- what he had to do was to learn to live with himself. He knew much about how to do everything else he had to do -- destroy the dementors, how to send himself back in time, and the like. But how to live with the knowledge of all the deaths he had caused and was about to cause? How to live with all the people who had been killed and tortured? Not to mention learning to live with the knowledge that he might totally change the time stream from 1981 onwards."
"But that would have set up an even greater paradox," Hermione protested.
"Exactly," Harry said, nodding slightly. "So I had to let my parents die, and Cedric and Sirus and the others. I had to let myself be abused by the Dursleys, and all the rest of it. Now, much of the power for the time travel was generated by killing those eighty-four Death Eaters in August, 1981, as Harry was transported there and he started killing them instantly. That filled in a sort of magical deficit. Then he disappeared from Britain a few days later. He confiscated -- or stole if you prefer -- some of the liquid assets of some of the dead Death Eaters. He traveled to the Buddhist monastery and began the process of healing himself, and studying for his masteries." He shrugged.
"Does he always talk of himself in the third person?" Luna teased.
"Of course I don't," Harry answered. "Still, it's easier to keep the time-lines straight that way. I was Harry Potter, and legally I still am both Harry Potter and Brother Zed of the Lightening Sect of Druids."
Hermione looked at Luna. "And you knew?" she demanded.
Luna shrugged. "Well, it was more than a suspicion at least. I was far from certain."
Hermione looked back at Harry. "I don't remember you being that much taller than me," she accused.
Harry now shrugged. "People probably remember me shorter than I was. You're ten months older than me, and you probably stopped growing taller sometime that summer between our fifth and sixth years. I grew another four inches in our last two years all together, and maybe another inch afterwards. I also slouched a bit back then, too."
"And you're a metamorphmagus?"
"A very limited one," Harry answered. "As it is, that bloody scar will likely be visible until sometime tomorrow afternoon."
Hermione thought through several conversations she'd had with 'Z' over the previous four months. Finally, she said, "I can see where you misled people, but you did very little if any outright lying."
Harry shrugged again. "I tried not to," he agreed.
Hermione looked around. "So, is this the mysterious Potter Manor you mentioned but never took us to?"
Harry nodded. "I never had time to take down the 'family-only' wards until last July."
He turned to Luna. "I'm sorry I wasn't in time to save you at least some of your suffering."
Luna nodded. "I know, my love. I forgave you that as soon as I was rescued. I am glad that Riddle didn't know that you were in love with me rather than Ginny. . . ."
Hermione demanded,"What!" surprised.
"Ginny and I flirted with getting back together in the summer of 1997," Harry told Hermione. "She just would never give up on trying to bring me to her by making me jealous. That worked back in sixth year, but it only worked once. What for you is last Easter, I knew you and Ron had broken up, so I approached Luna, only to be told that although she would have been very interested, you and she were exploring having a relationship when you visited Hogwarts. I backed away." Harry smiled. "Since you two were the only two I considered dating other than Ginny in my last two years at Hogwarts, that rather ended my options."
Hermione blushed faintly. "Is that why you went away?" she asked.
"It was part of it, but only a small part," Harry answered. "While I was not a murderer, I was certainly a killer, many times over. I was vicious and even cruel when I destroyed Voldemort and the Death Eaters. And I was angry, even angrier than I was in fifth year, although not nearly as loud about it."
Hermione had to acknowledge that those were good reasons.
"Zed showed up just minutes after Harry had finished portkeying Luna to hospital, and that's when he told Harry who he really was. He explained how Harry now had to go into the past and save Luna and the others at the August Offering, but then would have sixteen years to learn everything he could, and learn to live with himself, so that Zed would be in a position to do what had to be done."
Harry grimaced. "I cursed myself out for several minutes, before Zed petrified Harry and cursed him back and told him why it had to be done that way. I wasn't about to let all those children die, of course, and then Zed reminded Harry that he would have the drop on Snivellus and could watch over you two for a year, and then could do whatever he wanted. He also reminded Harry that he had no plans. And Harry could hardly deny he had what might be called 'anger management problems', and the ability to turn into one nasty dark lord if he wasn't careful."
Harry shrugged. "So, I went back, massacred the Death Eaters, and hightailed it to a magical Buddhist monastery hidden in the Himalaya, and no, I can't tell either of you where it is. It's not the one I would be sending Snape to. That's in Thailand."
Harry saw there were no immediate questions, and so carried on. "I spent a year getting my magic, temper, and I suppose my soul back into some sort of order and control. Over the next two years, I only left to be tested on the various masteries I was learning. I also managed to impart a bit of knowledge." Harry smiled. "My years at the Dursleys also paid off, as I spent a lot of time in the kitchens. If you want something cooked with yak butter, I'm an expert." Hermione smiled at that, while Luna appeared to be interested.
"Then I traveled to Australia, and did some training there for six months, and I also did some more traveling. I then spent just over four years in North America, working with the druids, and then after some more travel, I spent a year in Haiti and then in the Congo Basin and then the Sahara, studying magics. The rest of the time, I was with the magical Catholic monastery, where I finished my formal training and put together the group that helped me destroy the dementors when the time was right." The two women nodded their understanding.
"Once Harry left for the past, I came here, where Dobby and Winky were quite surprised to be called. The Diagon Alley goblins weren't, as Harry had told them right after he dealt with the Hogwarts Governors, and a foreign goblin already knew about my double life. I adjusted the wards here, and then had a long talk with McGonagall." He rolled his eyes at that memory.
"I wish I could have heard that," Hermione teased.
"I don't think she would," Harry answered with a grin. "I spent a bit of time at Hogwarts, working on the Chamber and Slytherin House, and then was asked to help re-ward Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, which is why I missed running into the pair of you in August." Hermione looked a bit mollified at that.
"What did you think you were going to do after this year?" Luna asked.
"Last August? I thought I could deal with Snape pretty much as it turned out, although I didn't know it would be so much fun. I didn't think we'd get your eyesight restored quite as quickly as we did. I did hope we'd have that done by next July, though. At that point, I thought I'd leave the world, as I told you Harry was doing. I could then give up most of Harry's worldly goods, giving much of it to the two of you and Remus. I wasn't certain, but there's a rather powerful magical community of warlocks and hermits in Idaho, over in North America. They are all sorts -- Catholics and Druids and Buddhists and native shamans, agnostic philosophers, alchemists, et cetera. The only things they have in common are the desire to be alone most of the time and a hatred of the Dark." He shrugged. "I might have fit in there, if I hadn't started to feel the love I still had for the two of you returning, and to my surprise, being returned." Luna smiled tenderly at that.
"Who else knows who Zee is?" Hermione demanded.
"In Britain, you two, MacGonagall, Dobby and Winky, and some of the goblins here and abroad," Harry answered. "Seven members of the Buddhist monastery also know, as do my druid mentors. That's it."
The two teens looked surprised. "You aren't going to tell Remus?" Hermione demanded.
"Probably not," Harry answered. "As for the rest of the world, Z is known as a very powerful warlock, but that's all. Harry . . . I would have to deal with politics at a level I do not want to deal with. I really don't think Dumbledore's reputation acted as any sort of real break on Dark activities. Instead, everyone seemed to say, 'well, let Dumbledore handle it'. He couldn't by himself, and neither can I. Maybe, with three or four generations of powerful Pure-blood bigots dead, in Azkaban, or at least slightly impoverished and out of favor at the moment, the Ministry can at last do it's job properly."
Hermione admitted,"I certainly can't disagree with you . . . in theory."
Luna looked like she agreed. "Of course, theory and practice can be far apart," she pointed out. "The people now heading the Ministry were still favored by Fudge and Scrimgeour at various points of their career."
Harry had to say, "True. Still, they did commit themselves to a more open, democratic process of selecting at least some members of the Wizengamot, and they did get rid of many of the restrictive regulations of beings they don't care much about."
Hermione started. "It's just a start. . . ."
Harry stopped her with a raised hand. "I know, and I agree. Now, it is late. Winky!"
Winky popped into the room. "Mister Harry?" She smiled. "It is good to sees youse here, wheres Winky addresses youse properly."
Harry smiled at the happy elf. "Yes, it's good to be back. You have the Misses' luggage?"
Winky nodded. "Yes, Mister Harry, we's has 'em in the guest suite."
Winky beamed when Harry said, "Good job, as always." Harry turned back to his guests. "I'll be doing Tai Chi at Seven in the entrance hall, if you wish to join me. You may each write out ten questions I'll do my best to answer tomorrow afternoon. Fair enough? The rest we can learn over time."
The two agreed that it was.
The suite the two were sharing consisted of a sitting room, then a bedroom, followed by a small dressing room, a lavatory, and a bath. There were magical fires going in the sitting room and the bedroom, and there was a small Christmas tree, lit by dozens of small glass balls less than a quarter of a centimeter across, which each flickered different colors.
"We can see the tree from the bed," Luna observed.
"So we can," Hermione agreed. "Still, Harry was right about one thing."
Luna thought about that, and said, "It is late. We can shower after we exercise in the morning." Luna had started Tai Chi in late November, and to Hermione's slight dismay, was already more at ease with the movements than she was after nearly four months.
Hermione Granger was a very ticklish person. This was not generally known, because the first person to discover that fact had been her father -- and the resultant burst of untrained magic had turned his hands into flippers.
The second person to discover Hermione's secret, Ron Weasley, had suffered a broken jaw and multiple contusions. The pair had broken up a few weeks later.
Luna had managed to turn tickling into a mutual form of foreplay. Still, when Hermione woke up screaming in laughter, she nearly questioned her commitment to the witch.
Nearly, but not quite, as Luna turned her tickles into more intimate touch, and the two were soon playing a game of mutual satisfaction.
When the two lay in each other's arms, enjoying the afterglow of their lovemaking, Hermione asked, "Why?" then kissing her lover to make certain to show she was not upset.
"A reminder that I love you, and will not be leaving you," Luna answered simply. "No matter who and what Harry -- and Zee for that matter -- might be, no matter what he may mean to us, I am willing to share my life with the two of you."
That drew a warm smile. "Thank you," Hermione said. Despite having a happier home life than either Luna or especially Harry, Hermione was in many ways as insecure about love as they were. Hermione hugged her friend. "Are we late for Tai Chi?"
Luna could see the clock. "Not yet. Shall we?"
After their exercise, the trio showered separately and met in the breakfast room. There was another Christmas tree, this one large and with dozens of dancing fairies. "I didn't know what to buy you," Hermione confessed when she saw there were presents under the tree.
"You're still here," Harry answered. "What better gift could I ask for?" He smiled slightly. "And I would imagine that the image Zed projects would rather preclude easy gift giving."
The teens sat."I have to admit, it's difficult thinking of you as both Harry and Zee," Hermione said, helping herself to oatmeal and slicing in some bananas. "Mostly in realizing that although you are Harry, you now have seventeen more years on us."
Harry frowned. "Am I too old for you now?" he asked, perhaps a bit more worried than his tone would imply.
"If you were anyone other than you, yes," Hermione answered frankly.
"Oh, goodie," Luna said. "Does this mean we get our questions answered now? Or aren't you playing?"
Harry looked puzzled, and then shook his head. "I was going to ask how you could possibly have thought them out and written them down already, but then I remembered who you two are. No, I'm not playing, but yes, we can answer them now if you want to."
Hermione teased back, "I'll try to take that as a compliment." She and Luna handed Harry their slips of paper.
Harry studied them as he ate, saying, "Well, I won't answer them in order, and you only duplicated two questions. So, I'll answer one of them first. I have had no lovers as Zed, or before that for that matter. Yes, I am a thirty-five year old virgin." He managed not to be too embarrassed.
"Ginny lied," Hermione said.
"We both thought she had," Luna agreed.
Harry shrugged it off -- Ginny was a long time ago for him, even if he had grieved for her twice. To cover up the awkward silence, he glanced at Luna's list again and sighed. "Sorry, I still don't know where most of these creatures might be, at least under these names. Yes, some summer I'm willing to go snorkack spotting. I did see both yeti and their American variety, the so-called 'big-foot'. No one mentioned them as having much of a vocabulary and so far as I know, they're only slightly more articulate than trolls. As for question number seven, yes, I spent quite a bit of time researching magical ways to help you see, but no, I didn't feel guilt over your injuries. I still cared about the two of you while I was traveling to the present."
Luna looked disappointed in his not knowing more about some of her favorite creatures, but otherwise pleased.
"And yes, he continued, "I do know that polygamy is not legal under British magical law. It is, however, under druidic law, and British law is reciprocal. We would have to travel to North America to get married, and our group marriage would be recognized as legal here."
That made both young women smile.
"As for Hermione's questions, first of all, my mage senses developed slowly. They came about because of my deepening contact with my own magic. Tai Chi is a good first step, as it brings the body under control, and also helped me at least deepen my Occlumency and it was also a good step in meditation. We'll work on your meditation skills this next term -- which applies to both of you -- and we might be able to see about awakening your mage senses next summer."
He considered the list again, and then went on. "Let's see . . . as far as I know there is no such thing as an elemental, so I can't be one. As for changing my Patronus, if you gain sufficient control of your inner magic, you can do the same. It's not as if a Patronus is a true spirit guide, although it has often been treated as such. That also partially answers your question on wandless magic. That is a combination of true control of your magic, coupled with power. I think you both have the power to learn some wandless magic, even if you don't have a real knack for it, as I seem to."
Hermione frowned. "'Knack'?" she questioned.
Harry shrugged. "That's what a teacher of mine called it when I was with the druids." He wrinkled his nose at the next question. "The Dursleys?" Hermione shrugged. Harry repeated the gesture. "So far as I know, they survived the war unmolested, and I really couldn't care less about them," he answered firmly.
"I understand," Hermione said. "Still, I think you should at least arrange a mail drop for them."
Harry's response was, "Give me one good reason." It wasn't said in anger -- his anger against the Dursleys had long ago burnt out. They held no interest for him.
"What if Dudley has a magical child?" Hermione suggested.
Harry considered that. "Good point," he acknowledged, "although I shudder for the species' gene pool if Dudley reproduces." He went on. "We talked about the Apparation into Hogwarts, but you're right. There is something more to it than what I said, although you do know the rest of the explanation."
Hermione frowned, and demanded, "And that is?"
Harry smiled slightly. "Hogwarts does like me. It is sentient. In fact, at least when dealing with me, it is more of a she. So, to go back to one of Luna's questions, if I love anyone other than you two, it's Hogwarts."
Luna jumped in before Hermione could. "Then you shouldn't leave her. I cannot bear children. . . ."
Harry broke in "You can, after a fashion."
Luna considered a moment. "Meaning?" she finally asked.
"It would take some Muggle hormonal treatment coupled with magic, but you are capable of having an embryo implanted inside you and carrying the child to term. It would be difficult, but possible."
Luna stared at Harry a moment, and then flung her arms around him. "I would love bearing your and Hermione's baby!" She kissed Harry's cheek.
"That would mean we wouldn't have to wait until I'm done with my transfiguration studies," Hermione said, pleased.
"And that answers your last original question," Harry said. "As for the other question you asked in common, we can make love whenever and however you want."
The response was immediate.
"Now!" Luna and Hermione demanded.