Also available as: Epub
A/N: I own none of this. I do not own Harry Potter or any rights to his image or personality. I do not own the moon or the stars. I do not own human genders, other than my own personal original factory equipment. Honest. Nope, not me. I most certainly do not own the rights to a billion dollar literary work. .. Damn it.
"Daddy?" Hermione asked in a confused tone. "Is this what I think it is?"
"That depends," the dentist said from his position on the floor, where he was making adjustments to the positioning controls of his exam chair. The Model 1215 was a touch finicky and always needed to be tweeked into spec by the dentist who would be using it. He looked up at the nose mask his daughter was holding. "What do you think it is?"
"I think it's a scavenger mask," Hermione said hesitantly.
"And that's what it is," her father agreed as he returned to his work on his chair.
"But Daddy, you've always said that modern dentistry had no need for anesthesia, that was why you've always retrofitted all your exam chairs with the thick leather straps and paid extra for the exam room sound proofing," she protested.
"And I was right," he confirmed from under the chair where he continued to make his adjustments. "This is a little something your mother and I picked up during our time in Australia."
"Australia?" Hermione echoed guiltily.
"Quite," her father agreed, "I must admit that no one was more surprised than I by this innovation by our Australian cousins, but I have informed the BDA of this wonderful invention and early indication is that they will move to adopt it in the UK by our next Association meeting."
Leaving her father to his adjustments, Hermione set out to solve the mystery of the Australian gas.
She had found the masks in all five of the exam rooms of the new Granger Dental Surgery. Then she started following the lines that fed them.
Hermione's guilt over sending her parents to Australia as the Wilkens had her hoping that whatever these masks were for had nothing to do with what she had done.
Finally she found the tanks. Large brownish bronze tanks with a yellow stripe.
That didn't make the slightest bit of sense.
Elizabeth Granger heard what was coming to be the familiar squawk of a modem connecting to the internet. She entered the family's 'computer room' which had at one time been intended to be her husband's library to find Hermione waiting for her logon to the local Internet Service Provider to complete.
"Dinner is in five minutes, Love," she said gently to her daughter, who was still a bit skittish around her and her husband after their adventure down under. "What is so important that you couldn't wait?"
"It's the new therapeutic gas that Daddy said the two of you learned about in Australia," Hermione explained as she typed in her search instructions. "I don't understand how it works."
Elizabeth cocked her head to one side, "It seems fairly clear to me, Hermione. What about it is confusing you?"
"Mum," Hermione said plaintively, "the new gas is helium. Nothing I've found suggests that it has any anesthetizing abilities."
"Oh, it doesn't," her mother confirmed. "There is nothing about the helium that is therapeutic for the patients."
"It doesn't?" Hermione asked. "Then why are you using it?"
"Well, you have to remember, the patients are not the only people in the room. The Australian Dental Association holds that the therapeutic nature of the Dental Professional's workplace must be considered as well. Just as before, the patients still scream," Elizabeth admitted, "but under the helium, the screaming is hilarious!"