Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Brother Z16 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...
Even with Dobby's best efforts, it took a few days to arrange everything. Still, the night of the 28th, the trio settled down in the village in southern plateau of France.
"I hadn't realized where Beauxbatons was," Hermione said, looking out of the window the next morning, overlooking the snow-filled streets. "I thought it was closer to the Mediterranean," she said in a puzzled voice.
"Why is that?" Luna asked.
"Well, the way the students were dressed at the Tournament," Hermione explained. "Those thin uniforms."
Harry snorted. "You mean you're surprised that they chose looks over practicality?" he teased.
"I suppose I am," Hermione admitted.
"Why did you or her mother choose Beauxbatons? I mean, was she already French?" Luna asked.
"No, actually all that went on in Greece," Harry answered. "However, I knew Gabrielle Delacour would be in Dian's year. I thought she would have an easier time at a place that was used to part-Veela." He shrugged.
"That makes some sense," Hermione said. "Are they friends or rivals?"
Harry sighed slightly. "Friendly rivals, from what I understand. Considering their heritage, that's likely to start changing soon," he pointed out.
"How far of a walk is it?" Hermione asked, changing the subject.
"It's a bit over seven kilometers, but we don't have to walk it. I usually take a broom, but Dobby ordered us a carriage for 9:30," Harry assured them.
"Do you miss flying?" Hermione asked. "I haven't seen you on a broom once, and you used to love it so much."
Luna added, "That's one reason why I wasn't totally sure you were you. I was surprised your animagus form couldn't fly." Hermione rolled her eyes.
"I was more than a little surprised at that, myself," Harry agreed. "And not flying is hard," he had to admit.
Hermione jumped on that. "If you came out as Harry. . . ."
Harry broke in, "I could fly, but again, how could I explain being seventeen years older? I couldn't tell the truth about that, and I couldn't fake it for long. And Zed isn't just a part I play. Except for the name and the lack of baggage, I really am Zed now, more than I am Harry." Harry tried to be firm.
"Well, let's get dressed," Luna suggested. "You might be a plain crow, but Hermione and I must not be plain pigeons, but fwoopers of fashion for the French."
Harry was of course soon ready, and Hermione was not far behind. As they waited in the sitting room of the suite, Harry asked, "I've been meaning to ask about Luna."
Harry sounded confused."In what way?" Hermione asked.
"She's not nearly as eccentric as she was back in our Fifth year. . . ." He frowned in thought. "Come to think of it, she actually started toning it down just a bit in our Sixth year, didn't she?" He seemed surprised to have realized that.
"She did," Hermione agreed, "and even more last year." She frowned. "I think, by accepting her on that flight to the Ministry, by you accepting her as a person in general, she made a stronger connection to the everyday world. She really did see things differently."
That made Harry blink. "Did?" His tone was dangerous.
Hermione nodded. "It sounds as if she was born seeing much as you do when you have your full mage sight engaged. Those sights are muted now, although not gone." Hermione looked at Harry fearfully.
"I really wish I could make Snape pay for that," Harry growled.
"How did he escape that night, anyway?"
"They were in a large crypt. Snape wasn't still in the room, and he wasn't one of the Death Eaters stupid enough to come rushing in when the screaming started. Luna's eyes and tongue were missing, and so were parts of Ginny. I think he must have taken them somewhere to process them as potion ingredients."
At that point, Luna came in. She was dressed like a Russian princess ready for a sleigh ride. "Furs?" Hermione demanded.
"Very warm and snuggly," Luna answered. "Dobby fetched them from the Potter vaults. They've been dead a long time, my love. Considering how far below freezing it is, you might both wish to avail yourselves as well."
Hermione sighed and gave in. Harry did as well, but wisely said nothing.
"That's not what I expected," Luna said as Beauxbatons came into view.
"Since it's over seven hundred years old, I didn't expect this either," Hermione agreed, for the school looming in front looked like a three-quarter-sized Versailles.
"Beauxbatons was founded by two powerful magical clans just after 1200," Harry agreed. "Their lands lie further ahead, so the school faced that direction. If we had approached that way, it would appear to be a small thirteenth century castle with two additional wings, from the later fourteenth and mid-sixteen centuries. It's actually nearly three times as large as Hogwarts with four times the student population, and draws students from Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, and northern Italy as well as France and Franco-phone Africa and the Caribbean." Harry shrugged at Hermione's look of astonishment and Luna's grin. "My daughter does go to school here."
He went on. "Instruction is still in Latin, and those who don't know it are magically taught it the August before their first year, just like Hogwarts did until the late nineteenth century. Most most non-French speakers choose to have their children learn French as well." Hermione looked impressed.
"Does Dian know English?" Luna asked.
"Oh, yes," Harry answered. "And without a strong accent."
The carriage let them off and they were met by Madame Maxime herself. "Brother Zed," she greeted. "Or should I say, 'Professor' instead?"
Harry first bowed. "Professor might indeed be preferable now," he answered.
"I am most pleased you were able to make the journey after all," Maxime stated. "Your daughter was most disappointed."
Harry grimaced. "I know, and we are here to make up for it. May I introduce my fianceÃ©s, Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood?"
That made Maxime blink, but then she recovered and said, "I see you are living up to your druid beliefs. Come in." She gestured for them to follow her.
"Have you considered my request?" Harry asked as they moved through the chateau.
"I have. You may ask your daughter. Her mother does not seem to care." Maxime looked at the trio. "Tell me, will I be losing one of my better, if most mischievous, students to Hogwarts next year?" Hermione rolled her eyes at that.
"Probably not," Harry answered. "Hermione and I are both on staff there, and I would imagine that would easily cause charges of favoritism."
Maxime acknowledged that. "Too true. Be certain to explain that to her in those terms."
Maxime led them to a small sitting room and showed them in. Dian obviously knew that something was going on other than her father coming to visit. She was therefore dressed in her best outfit, to impress.
Although she was slightly shorter than the average twelve-year-old, and still had her boyish hips, Dian was already a head-turner in the school, mostly due to her extremely beautiful face and eyes, although the luxurious blonde hair and B-cups aided that. Hermione and Luna could see traces of Harry in Dian's mouth and chin, and she had Lily's pertly attractive nose.
More, she had Lily's, and Harry's, vivid green eyes.
Dian stood, and then, bowing, said in formal French, "My father, welcome."
Harry merely smiled and opened his arms. Dian took in the two young women next to her father, but then gave in, and leapt into his arms, crying out, "Papa!"
Harry hugged his daughter tightly, kissed her cheek, and swung her around. "Dian, meet Luna and Hermione, my fianceÃ©s."
Dian giggled. "Oh, Papa, I should have known it would take more than any one woman to break down your defenses."
Harry kept her in his arms. "Ha, ha, very funny. Now, impress the ladies with your correct command of English."
Dian switched to English, and with a perceptible, but not difficult to understand, accent, she said, "I am very pleased, if surprised to meet you." She frowned. "Pardon, but aren't you two, well, young. . . ?"
Hermione agreed with that, "We are," while Luna shrugged.
"Come along," Harry said. "We have permission to portkey you away until New Year's Day, if you would like to come along."
Dian's eyebrows went up. "Really?" She had spent a moderate amount of time with her father, but never away from school or her mother's. "Where are we going?"
"That's a secret," Harry answered, "as is most of what you will learn. Still coming?"
Dian smiled. "Yes, Papa."
Dian's eyes took in the entrance hall of the manor. "It is very . . . correct, in an English way, isn't it?" she said in English.
"This part of the manor is somewhat Muggle, and reflect our family's status in what were once called the Welsh Marches," Harry answered.
"And am I permitted, now that I am sworn to secrecy, to know my true family name?" she asked.
"Your family name is Vase," Harry answered. "Hermione's children will be Grangers, Luna's will be Lovegoods. Three new magical families . . . well, two new ones, and a restored older one. There is more than enough money to take care of that."
Dian merely gave her father a cross look.
"A ritual, a ceremony, took a not-quite eighteen year old boy back to 1981, where he changed his name and spent the next sixteen years preparing to fight Voldemort from a different angle." Harry's Z appearance faded into his natural look.
Dian started giggling, and then laughing out loud.
"And what is so amusing, Dian?" Harry asked.
"My best friend has a crush on my father, who is now old enough to be her father," Dian managed to blurt out. "You're almost too old for these two. You're certainly too old for Gabrielle to track down and marry, like she claims she's going to." She laughed again.
"True," Harry agreed.
Dian quieted down, and then looked at her father shrewdly. "Do you hate the Potter family, or just the old blood traditions associated with it?" she asked.
"Oh, the latter, even if the Pure Blood agenda isn't associated with the Potters all that much. Still, despite the prejudice you, and your half-siblings, will face, just think of how much worse it would be to be the acknowledged child of Harry Potter, alleged savior of wizarding Britain?"
Dian gave that some honest thought, and then wrinkled her nose. "I've seen how celebrities are treated," she acknowledged.
"Now, when I'm gone, my heirs may decided to make their heritage public. Still, it's not like there are hereditary seats in the Wizengamot at stake or anything." Those had been eliminated some centuries before, although the seats had still been held by a small group of families until the previous year.
"Ewww," Hermione agreed. "Hereditary seats would be about the only thing that could make the Wizengamot worse."
Fortunately, Dian had no illusions about her father and mother ever getting together. Her mother had seized the opportunity, and had lucked out, not only getting pregnant, but in choosing a wizard who had access to some money and who was not terribly upset to have had his sperm taken.
She was therefore actually thrilled to see her father involved with two lovers (hardly shocking to a half-Veela partially raised in the jet-set of Muggle France and Italy and the wizarding equivalents). Although certainly not abused in any way, her mother had not been the most attentive parent. If Dian had any dream, it was to be closer to her father.
Now that she knew that her father was actually a time-traveling Harry Potter, she quickly forgave all the hurried visits and was instead surprised at how much time he had actually made for her. Here was a man who literally was carrying the fate of part of the wizarding world on his shoulders for most of her life. It would have been easy (for some, although not of course for Harry) to have just paid off the Veela, or even to have demanded that the egg containing her be broken, that the hybrid creature, which would have no rights until the egg hatched naturally, be destroyed.
The three adults had sat her down at various times (especially Hermione) and discussed her immediate future. Dian was surprised to learn that it was now up to her to decide by Easter where she wanted to continue the next five years of her education. Hogwarts would bring her into greater proximity with her father and step-mothers, but there would be little interaction allowed during the school year.
As a half-Veela, she was a little ahead in the maturing department than her fully human classmates. She could already see the possible disadvantages of having her father around any possible boyfriends. Even if they wouldn't know her father was Harry Potter, Z was certainly a potentially very intimidating figure to dirty-minded little boys with roving eyes, or hands.
While she was the only half-Veela at Beauxbatons, there were two other quarter-Veela in addition to her friend Gabrielle, and several more who had some Veela blood. She was not shunned there, as she might be at Hogwarts, should her heritage come out, as it likely would. Britain was legally becoming less Pure-Blood, but that would no doubt take a few generations to really percolate through the population.
Hermione had already planned the summer schedules, from the wedding/brief honeymoon, through the fertility treatments for Luna in North America on through the middle of August. She was more than happy to add Dian to the schedule. Gabrielle would be asked to attend the wedding, and the pair of them could then travel back to France until mid-July. Dian could have seven weeks with her father and step-mothers.
Despite her incipient interest in teenage boys, this still had great appeal.
Sunday, January 3, 1999
Professor McGonagall looked a bit surprised to see who had tracked her down before lunch. "I didn't expect to see you until dinner," she commented. "I take it the holiday went well?"
Harry nodded, and with a wave of his hand established a privacy ward around them. "Very well. Hermione is having a great deal of fun fine-tuning travel schedules and such."
That was hardly surprising. "And will she be available to help teach in the autumn?" the Headmistress asked, hopefull that Hermione would be returning.
"Oh, yes," Harry answered. "If the treatments we have planned go well, Luna might not be available to help out, though." He managed to suppress a blush.
"That would be wonderful," McGonagall said warmly. "And your daughter?"
Harry simply said, "She will spend much of the summer with us, but will continue on at Beauxbatons."
McGonagall frowned. "Then why are you here?"
Harry nearly growled as he said, "Because Severus Snape is a vindictive twerp."
McGonagall snorted. "I haven't heard that term in quite a while," she said. "What has he done now?"
Harry had had years to practice holding his temper, and simply told McGonagall. "He has laid the neutral foundations for some sort of curse work on the threshold to Luna and Hermione's suite, hoping it would pass unnoticed, not to mention believing that none could identify his work. I am telling you now, so that you, Hermione, Luna, and I can decide what to do about it tonight."
She thought about that for a moment. "What can you do about it, as it is neutral, and not everyone may accept that you can identify wand signatures?" McGonagall inquired.
"Quite a bit," Harry answered.
"When will you and the ladies be available?"
Harry thought a moment. "Three?" he suggested.
"Three o'clock it is," McGonagall agreed.
"I don't understand," Luna said after what little that was known was explained. "How could he hope to get away with anything?" She was clearly puzzled.
"Did you know something had been added?" Harry asked.
Luna, for once, was astonished. "Those enchantments are still there?" she demanded.
"They are," Harry answered. "I hope it doesn't sound boastful, but I am likely one of the few mages who could sense these changes. If they had been at all Dark, you might have sensed them, but no one else in Scotland would have. If whatever he is planning had been added all at once, then there would have been a higher chance of discovery."
McGonagall broke in. "Could it simply be a prank? I know that sounds unlikely, but perhaps things are not as dire as you believe them to be."
Harry frowned. "It's possible, but unlikely. In any event, that's not why I brought this to you," he pointed out.
"From what we know of him, I can't believe it's likely to be some mere prank either. Probably, whatever it is he's planning, it will have a subtle long term effect," Hermione mused. Then a thought struck her. "By adding everything between now and whenever he leaves in June, it likely wouldn't even start having an effect until after that." McGonagall had to nod at that.
"And since it might not be complete until near then, we might not notice the touches of Dark magic as they are added," Luna mused.
"Exactly," Harry agreed. "Hogwarts is so magical that little bits of magic, even the Darkest, are not easy to spot. I'm just more sensitive and more powerful." Hermione laid an assuring hand on his arm.
"So. What do you three want to do about this?" McGonagall asked. "And no, you can't kill him. Not for this level of activity." She made certain she was firm.
"I suppose we have to let him continue until at least the first bit of Dark magic is added," Hermione said regretfully.
"I can add a set of very subtle monitoring wards," Harry said. "Coupled with Hogwarts' own internal wards, that will not only identify whatever is done up and down that section of the corridor as well as the area around your door, it will also identify the caster." Harry smiled grimly at Dumbledore's portrait. "Or do you still want to give that torturing scumbag yet another chance?"
Dumbledore stopped pretending to be asleep. "If only I was a liberty to tell you. . . ." the portrait whimpered.
"I wouldn't care if he's your illegitimate son," Harry snapped. "Why is his freedom more important than the well-being of all the children he's abused as a professor here? Why was his feeling good about himself worth allowing him to mind-rape me? Why is his doing whatever it is he's planning more important than the safety of these two?" He looked as if he expected an answer.
"I cannot tell you without his permission, any more than I could tell him your identity without yours," Dumbledore proclaimed.
"If you were alive, you'd being trying to save him, even if it meant exposing me, even if it meant risking Luna and Hermione's safety, wouldn't you?" Harry accused.
"I would, and I am certain these young ladies are safe," Dumbledore stated.
"Can you look at my borrowed eyes, knowing what he did to Ginevra and myself, and honestly say that?" Luna demanded.
"That was for the greater good," Dumbledore claimed.
"Whatever use Professor Snape had before is certainly gone now," Hermione stated firmly. "Now the greater good is to destroy him like the mad dog he is if he does one more Dark act." She stood and glared at Dumbledore. "I can assure you of one thing, Albus Dumbledore, when I am through writing the history of Voldemort's rise and fall, much of the blame for his rise will rightly go to you. And your mismanaging of his second rise, and your coddling of that mad dog Snape will be part of the public record. Your defeat of Grindelwald, your researches on dragon's blood, will become historical afterthoughts."
To that, Dumbledore could say nothing.