Partially Kissed Hero

Summer before third year Harry has a life changing experience, and a close encounter with a dementor ends with him absorbing the horcrux within him. Features Harry with a backbone.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4240771/1/Partially-Kissed-Hero

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84. Chapter Eighty-Four

I I I

Just minutes before the Household Cavalry had been drawn up in one of those "we are so awesome that not only can we conquer the world, but we'll look good doing it!" formations that really only comes out of decades of practice being an elite fighting force.

Now they were quivering in their saddles, trying hard not to panic while desperately trying to keep their horses from bolting.

One didn't get into the Household Cavalry without some pretty impressive qualifications. However, the thoughts of one of those young officers looking over the Wonderland parade were pretty much echoed by the others who weren't in too much awe to think. His eyes stayed locked on the oliphaunts as he recalled seeing a certain movie where beasts pretty much exactly like those batted aside cavalry pretty much exactly like him, by the dozens with those terribly massive tusks thicker and longer than most tree trunks.

Others had their attention focused equally on looking at the Ents, comparing their cavalry sabers with those multi-ton blocks of self-mobile, sentient wood, not liking the odds whatsoever - resolving in future to invest in some axes, cigarette lighters, bottles of whiskey, and rags.

Of course, for the officer in charge, those oliphaunts looked to be the far greater threat. He'd hunted bear in his youth, took a 30.06 and shot a grizzly five times in the chest - hadn't even bothered it. Luckily another hunter came along whose rifle was much more powerful and managed to take it down. On cutting it open, they'd found his 30.06 bullets. Between all of the hair, skin, fat and muscle, they hadn't even entered the bear's ribcage, much less reached any organs (1).

Looking up at that towering monster that was too big to be real, the officer in charge of the cavalry concluded that to even move its own weight that oliphaunt had to have a muscle density that would put tank armor to shame.

And Alice had thirty of them, enough with those tusks and their speed they could raze a significant portion of the Greater London area in an hour or less, just moving through it like lawnmowers, waving those tusks from side to side and knocking down buildings from left to right.

Frankly, the man was convinced the only reason his horse hadn't bolted out from under him was that it had fainted.

Intellectually, the officer in charge of the Household Cavalry knew that he represented the pick and flower of a great nation. Emotionally, he felt like an unruly child facing one of the greatest armies on Earth.

(1) A true story referenced here for flavor.

I I I

The diplomatic party of the Queen of England was justly famous the world over for their excruciatingly correct behavior. Everything was planned down to the most minute detail and handled with the finesse of ages.

They never stood a chance as the Wonderland contingent met them, a pile of animals, playing cards and chess pieces crashing into them and bowling them over like a giant wave.

Everything was chaos from the first moment. For the queen herself the following procession was one to remember, shaking hands with men, sheep, dogs, sheepdogs, men that turn into sheepdogs and sheepdogs that turn into men, often while their paw/hand was still held firmly in her grasp. And, she began to suspect the third time she was introduced to "Mr Sirius Black" they were all the same man.

Seriously.

A stag with a very impressive set of antlers came up to her, transformed into a man, and while sweeping her into a sudden tango commented casually that, "Yes, it's a very nice rack"; Only to be dragged off by his ear by what was either a lady in a lily costume or a lily that looked like a lady.

Queen Elizabeth was wondering if she should ennoble the woman or cause the man to be put to death when a shriek of "Off with his head!" pierced through the air, and it took her a moment to realize that it was not herself saying so.

The Queen of Hearts was present shouting her favorite refrain.

Queen Elizabeth would have been amused if there hadn't come immediately after that a loud "Snicker-Snack" and a head came flying through the air not attached to any body. Her security contingent freaked at that and would have hauled her out of there immediately save for the fact they were all of them busy dancing with walruses in an impromptu performance of some Broadway extravaganza or other they couldn't seem to pull away from.

There were also an improbable number of carpenters about.

The guns of her security guards also seemed to have gotten free and, after unloading themselves, were dancing a rendition of Riverdance on the tables along with their bullets, one of the more imposing rifles standing in for Michael Flatley and doing a more than credible job of it - made all the more impressive by the fact that neither firearms nor bullets had any feet.

Actually a rather large dance was already forming, containing everyone who was not already seated and eating. Elizabeth sped to a table as she realized this, taking a seat and a plate with unseemly haste to gauge what was going on and look out at the dancers. The stag and his Lily were there, twirling around as among the best couples, as were a large slice of ham and a giant fried egg, a cup and a spoon, and that dreadful dog person with a woman dressed up in costume as a bone.

The bone person swung by their table to introduce herself as Amelia, and apologize for not keeping her husband under better control. "I am sorry. He can be such a dog!"

Looking up from the dance to see who'd wound up beside her at the table, Queen Elizabeth the Second found herself sandwiched between an excellent imitator of the late Colonel Sanders, a super-shapeshifter with the default form of a fairly smooth snowman wearing a chef's hat who insisted he be called the Pillsbury Doughboy, and seated across from her was a large reptilian creature that introduced itself as Barney, the purple dinosaur. "Saurian, actually," the purple-scaled creature corrected politely.

Another cry of "Off with his head!" pierced through the confusion and Queen Elizabeth shuddered lightly as another appendage went flying. Saying quietly to herself, "I don't think we should invite her back," got answered however by the Queen of Hearts appearing at her side, snorting and resting her chin on her fellow monarch's shoulder, digging the point in rudely. "Please! Dearie, I could come and go from your palaces more easily than you do."

Princess Diana found she was as popular as ever, although the parade of well wishers and admirers took on different forms than before. She could honestly say that she'd never been properly introduced to a ham and cheese sandwich in the same way before - especially one that had such impeccable taste in ties!

Strangely, she felt quite at home among the Wonderland crowd; creatures of all stripes treating her like family, down to the point where they were quite relaxed with her. It was a somewhat rowdy but very friendly reception, the Widow of Wales noted as a woman dressed up as a bone got dragged near, hauling desperately on the leash of her big, black dog, trying to keep it from jamming its nose into the Princess' dress to sniff at her crotch.

During this mess, the Prime Minister of England, who had originally overridden the objections of the security people and insisted on being present for what had to be the most priceless photo-op of his lifetime, somehow navigated through this mess to find one spot of chaos that seemed most controlled and discovered a small blonde girl in a blue dress at the center of it.

After introducing himself to three mice, one duck, two rabbits and a vole (all of whom had blonde hair and had apparently decided to decided to wear blue dresses today) he at last zeroed in on a human girl and made a beeline for her, determined to score points as apparently she had not been greeted formally by any member of the receiving delegation as yet.

Making sure at least SOME cameras were on him, the Prime Minister climbed up the steps on the side of the mushroom where she was sitting, approached the child sitting peaceably surrounded by chaos and bowed slightly. "On behalf of the United Kingdom, I'd like to Welcome..."

Apparently the young girl mistook him for a footman, because a distracted Alice jumped out of her seat, handed him her hat and gloves, and rushed about in the absent and scattered way of confused youth. "Oh, dear me! I haven't introduced myself yet! What must the queen be thinking? Oh, I am so terribly late. Please fetch me my yellow summer dress, will you?"

Ah, for a moment, her innocent confusion took him back to his own youth. In warm, fatherly tones he told her, "We can get to that in a moment. But first, on behalf of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, I'd like to..."

Alice raced past, setting him spinning like a top, not even paying attention as she tried to brush out her long hair. "Oh, and I must have my green ribbon! I couldn't possibly be seen greeting a queen without it!"

"I am trying to greet you on behalf of the crown." The PM scolded mildly.

The child stopped her mad dashing about to regard him with concern, as if he had declared that he was about to shoot himself. "Oh, but I couldn't possibly give her greeting to another. For one thing it wouldn't fit properly, and then we'd have to send you off to the tailor to see if he couldn't let you out in the right places and cut you to match, and it would be ever so messy! And then what would we do with her? It wouldn't do at all to have two of her running about. She wouldn't know a thing about how to handle it, poor dear."

The man found himself catapulted aside by a nasty shove by the Black Queen out of a chess set. "Out of our way, Peasant! We are here to treat with royalty, or not at all. Servants should mind their place."

The politician stood up and brushed himself off lightly in that way that only high ranking Brits seem to be able to pull off. Giving the woman who was ebony in a very real and factual sense an offended glare, he stated, "I'm afraid you'll be meeting with me instead."

Now the PM found himself dodging a white rabbit, who'd come up behind him and darted through between his legs, incidentally knocking against the backs of the man's knees with an oversize scroll and nearly sending him sprawling. Straightening its monocle in a very British way, the Rabbit objected, "Oh, dear me, no! It would never do for royalty to be received by mere servants!"

"I assure you..." The offended Prime Minister defended.

The White Rabbit unrolled his scroll, which appeared to be of infinite length as it just kept rolling off into the distance, and while studying it cut the man off in a distracted manner, "You act under a Queen's name and authority. You've made it effectively impossible for her to withdraw that authority, stealing it in all but name, but it is still her name by which this nation is governed."

The Black Queen hauled on Alice's arm and pulled her away from the offended PM, sneering over her back, "There is a name for a person who steals a monarch's power, and it is usurper. So either you are her servant, or a usurper. We don't deal with thieves any more than we do servants."

"My government shall not take kindly to this," The man told their departing backs, then grumbled aside to the nearest living creature. "Are they always this rude?"

The horse-sized caterpillar currently knitting on a giant toadstool nearby gave him a curious look, cocking its head to one side as the insect considered the politician. Returning to its work, it answered, "Government is a mass delusion. The only proof that it exists is that a number of people agree that it does, and are willing to perform acts they blame on it. The same is true of Santa Claus, except that I have never met government." It pulled out a long stretch of yarn and continued knitting.

"You must be insane," the PM snorted derisively, only to stiffen as he felt the presence of a large cat phase into being behind him.

The Cheshire Kneazle Gus grinned, "Oh, we're all quite mad, I assure you."

The PM spent a moment experiencing the panic attacks his guards had been having. A cat the size of an elephant, sitting there in mid-air, GRINNING at him, and making the security types feel uncomfortably like mice. It was one thing to know thirty different ways to judo a person roughly your own size and shape into the ground, but it could not be escaped that different rules applied to large predators casually violating accepted laws of physics.

What use could it be to get someone in a headlock (if such a thing was even possible considering his size) if pulling off his own head was of no particular importance to him? Certainly someone who found the experience odd or distasteful would not do so just for party tricks, and considering moments ago he'd pulled his own head off to juggle it to amuse some guests...

It didn't need to assure them it was mad. But these were security types, and saying someone potentially dangerous in reach of their charge was crazy was a good way of driving them bonkers as well. His appearing and disappearing, having parts vanish and showing up every so often on the muggle queen's shoulder did more to freak the security types out than the oliphaunts standing nearby, able to reduce Buckingham Palace to flinders and powder with a single sweep of their enormous tusks.

I I I

Queen Elizabeth ran into Queen Alice quite by accident, while she was trying to escape that purple saurian's attempts to get her to sing along with Nietzsche, and found the girl scolding a small white dog that was wearing a Napoleon hat and had the complete, full size, intact Bismark dangling from his collar without, and this was the eye-bending bit, touching the ground or putting undue strain upon the poor animal's neck.

Hands on dainty hips and waving her finger at the slobbering, happy animal, the girl told it in tones quite severe, "Now Spaz, relations between nations are defined by one thing: relative power. Nothing else can be achieved until it is determined who has the upper hand. I'm just letting you know it's me."

"Bark!"

Queen Alice rolled her eyes, sighed in defeat, and reaching into the pocket of her white apron. "Oh, fine. You can have another doggy biscuit. But I won't let you have another until you call off your aggressive policies! Gunboat diplomacy or no!"

Spaz danced around her excitedly until he got his treat. Then it held all of his attention. Although Queen Elizabeth did note that it looked disturbingly like a small person, even down to wiggling and wearing clothes.

Queen Alice turned away from the delighted animal with an affronted "Tsk" and, shaking her head, informed the English Queen. "You just wait. Mark my words, he's bad enough now, but he'll only get worse when he gets The Bomb." She folded her arms and pontificated solemnly, "In my opinion, family pets should never be allowed to go thermonuclear. It should strictly be conventional arms, and that only if they are house-trained."

"It is always a pleasure to meet our subjects," Queen Elizabeth greeted the child monarch with a touch of amusement.

"I'm not your subject," Queen Alice returned absently, in the blunt and innocent manner of children, attention wandering as she rooted around in her apron pocket for a hand mirror, which she then held up to her face so her reflection could reach out and brush her hair for her.

Queen Elizabeth lofted a frosty brow. What was it with these Wonderland types always insisting the strangest things? The Colonel Sanders imitator and his two friends had been insisting the whole magical world believed them to be terrible villains! "It was our understanding that Lewis Carroll, your creator, was born a subject of our realm? And that the heroine of those tales was also a native to our lands?"

Queen Alice began to play jump the rope, although Queen Elizabeth couldn't help but notice that no one was holding either end, and the rope itself was one of the British Prime Minister's closest friends, who had somehow over the course of this extremely odd morning grown over seven feet tall and only an inch wide.

"Chronicler, not creator," the young queen replied, hardly paying attention, "and the land of my birth became irrelevant when I got my own realm to rule over. Besides, at the moment I outrank you. You have been reduced to a mere figurehead. All of my power is real."

The Queen of England frowned. "Aren't you even going to pay attention to me?"

"Oh, but I am!" the child insisted, looking desperately earnest. "Oh! But you mean in the mortal way, not in Wonderland fashion."

Queen Elizabeth suddenly recalled characters eating dry cakes to quench thirst in Wonderland.

"I'm sorry," Alice apologized, sitting back on a toadstool that grew under her and kicking her legs playfully as it raised her a couple of feet into the air. "I don't mean to be rude. My parents did raise me better than that. But both you and your Prime Minister approached me with the attitude of 'you are mine to command', and I am not. I know the polite thing to do would be to have let it slide, but that would have led to ever so much trouble later on, and it's just better we understand each other right from the start. I am not here putting myself at your disposal. The only power I answer to is the Fairy Queen and her appointed Champions. It would be wrong to let you understand you could command me when you can't. It's not proper to let you think so."

Queen Elizabeth felt somewhat whiplashed by the sudden topic change, but decided to be forgiving. Actually, both she and her government had been approaching this situation with an 'accepting the gift of new resources' attitude, and as the diminutive monarch pointed out, that was hardly proper.

Catching sight of a number of playing cards holding what she supposed was a chess knight upside down in a punch bowl as though trying to drown him, she thought to ask, "Do you mind me asking: where is your security contingent?"

Nobody behaving that irresponsibly could be counted, of course!

Queen Alice gave the muggle queen a curious stare. "Not all of your men together could harm me. I am in no danger. Our worlds are different. Take, for example, your crown jewels. All they are is rocks and metal. The only thing different about them from junk jewelry cluttering pawn shops is scale. You don't wear them except in the rarest circumstances, and when it comes right down to it when you add up all of the salaries of all of the guards over time, as well as all of the other security measures, you've almost certainly spent more protecting them than they are worth. Our jewels, however, ARE power! They do not merely represent it. My granddaughter has a crown that makes her more intelligent, a ring that allows her to summon and speak with the spirits of the dead... can you even imagine that? Say an investigation of murder comes up, she can question the victim, who'll be forced by the magic of the ring to tell her the truth, 'Yes, that's the man who killed me'. Weeks of trial and investigation solved in moments with perfect accuracy."

"So that fairy princess to appear the other day was one of yours?" This seemed to be a neutral enough question to ask.

"No." Behaving with the forthright honesty of youth (which appears blunt at times) Queen Alice snorted. "She is Princess to all fairy. I am Queen only of Wonderland. If she gave orders, I would obey. Thankfully, she's rather nice about not doing that. I expect she's waiting until she understands the situation better, and until then taking suggestions while letting us act independently. But her authority exists for a reason, and as we are at war, eventually I'm sure she'll use it."

Alice then absently took the larger queen's hand in one of her own and began walking past the spectacle of the many events and freak shows going on at the garden party breakfast, none of which Queen Elizabeth would be able to remember in the morning, it was all so confusing. Although her dreams would be of field mice, fruit punch and volleyball for days.

Very shortly she found herself following the young queen up a set of steps to a cozy little table. She nearly fell off in surprise when she realized those steps had been the ridge of spines along the back of a sleeping dragon and the two queens were now having a very relaxed breakfast for two in its hat.

Feeling she had to make sure, Queen Elizabeth delicately asked, "Is this a dragon?"

"Hmm?" Alice looked up, distracted from where she had been trying to catch the wayward menu scampering about. "Oh no, strictly speaking it is not, although it appears quite similar in shape to dragons."

"What is it, then?" The muggle queen was still getting used to the fact that her table was rising and falling with every breath of the mighty, moss-scaled behemoth beneath her, curled up across itself like a cat.

"This?" Alice caught a mouse and shook it out, turning it into a delicate lace napkin she then lay across her lap. "The monster below us is a Jabberwock, currently the only one in the British Isles. It is the magical equivalent of a nuclear weapon, perfectly capable quite without meaning to of wiping out all life in London, more or less by accident. It is invulnerable to everything save vorpal weapons - and none currently exist. For that reason we currently hold this one in an enchanted sleep, from which it will awaken only if I or any of my party are harmed."

"Ah," Queen Elizabeth held off a cold sweat by sheer force of will. Diplomatic functions usually did not involve meeting someone's suitcase nuke, along with a threat of a deadman switch setting it off should your visitors be harmed. Determined not to show it, she plowed ahead, "How did you capture this one?"

"Hmm?" The query drew Queen Alice's attention back from where it had wandered. "Oh, a Jabberwock appears only in dense, ancient magical forests. It is created by the forest itself as a sort of antibody to repel or destroy invaders, and it fulfills that function primarily by its sheer efficiency as a predator. A Jabberwock is a solitary creature that treats all other beings it meets as prey. The only exceptions are fairy creatures, which it ignores, and natives to its forest, who are enabled to sense its approach and discretely withdraw to avoid a confrontation. All others will be hunted relentlessly and unerringly. It can feel intruders on its territory much like you could feel hot needles laid on your skin. A time or two great heroes have gotten together and defeated one, but there is absolutely no point in doing so, as even should a Jabberwock be destroyed it will reappear in a year or two. Still, mortals are infinitely clever, and a generation or so ago this one was trapped, confined in a glass tower so that the Forbidden Forest it protected could be harvested for the immense wealth of magical ingredients it contained. We simply put it to sleep before destroying that tower. Should it wake, it will go straight back to its forest, after killing everyone it could see on its way, of course."

"Of course," Queen Elizabeth commented neutrally. Then she asked because she was sure her security forces would want to know. "Have they any weaknesses?"

"Not as many as you'd think," Alice mentioned absently. "About the worst is modern methods of transportation make it seem surprisingly slow. It could keep up a four minute mile pace for days, easily, so not many people could outrun it. But there are quite a large assortment of vehicles that could. The troubles with that are twofold. You've heard the poem, including the part, 'The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, came wiffling through the tulgey wood, and burbled as it came?' A living Jabberwock constantly mutters or burbles to itself, a low rumbling sound that carries surprisingly well, and penetrates earplugs and the like. We've put a silencing charm on this one that affects it while it sleeps, but they are very good about throwing off spells while awake. Anyone who hears the sound becomes confused to an amazing degree: attacking friends, wandering aimlessly, and so on. It distorts perceptions, causing hallucinations and strangely skewed judgment of distance. A curious side effect of this burble is that a victim's words slide, shift and bend, producing odd hybrids that make communication very difficult."

"Do you care to enlighten me: what does wiffling mean?"

"A form of motion slightly out of phase with the rest of reality. It's harder to track than mere invisibility, seeing as it stirs no leaves. It also gets terribly excited about leaping out on its prey, having been previously unseen. I think it enjoys the looks of surprise on their faces."

"And the eyes of flame?"

"Anyone the Jabberwock looks at bursts into flames. It's a bit like a basilisk except you don't have to meet its gaze or look at it in any way, it only has to see you. Most people perish instantly under that kind of attack. We can wake it up to show you, if you like? As fairy we are immune, though you won't be."

"That won't be necessary." One queen appraised another in a calculating way, before adding, "You know, I have superweapons of my own."

"Yes," Alice agreed disarmingly, seeming scatterbrained, "and their presence and general capabilities are generally known. So you don't have to wave them about in order to say 'If I got serious, I could hurt you'. But on the other hand, you never knew I had anything more than a pack of cards. And playing card men with spears don't threaten major powers. So rather than have you underestimate me, I give you the courtesy of knowing that it might not be the wisest thing to treat me like an inferior, because I'd much rather not use them - especially not just to make a point. So I pretty much had to say 'look at us, we have powerful weapons too' or else we might get into a terrible misunderstanding that wouldn't benefit anyone."

"So, we are to consider ourselves equals?" Elizabeth raised her eyebrows.

"Oh, far from it!" chirped the apparent seven-year old queen. "So far I have the advantage. I have a very good idea of what you have, where you have it, and how to destroy it. But if hostilities erupt how are you going to target Wonderland? It doesn't exist in three dimensional geography. You can't get there from here without fairy powers, which you don't have. Again, I don't say this to be rude, but it is very important when establishing a relationship to set clear limits right from the start, and you have to admit the natural reaction of your people to something new is to immediately try to harness it. Scientists and universities want to study it, businesses want to exploit and market it, your government would reflexively tax and regulate it. In short, all of you expect it to be obedient to your demands and subject to your powers, not to mention yoked to your needs, and we simply can't have that! So I feel I had to make it clear that isn't happening with us. We are our own system. We may interact with you, but we will not be subject to you. No matter how much you may want our resources, you will ask nicely and we will negotiate whether you can offer enough to entice us to share, just like any other major powers. You will not simply take them."

Queen Alice paused thoughtfully, a cute expression on her face. "A good example of our need to express this clearly can be shown by my arrival, when both you and your Prime Minister used language carefully chosen to establish dominance over me."

"It can be difficult for adults to take children seriously." Elizabeth said with a nice smile over layers of hidden meanings.

Alice's eyes narrowed over the brightly colored pink ball she had picked up, and when she did her eyes were OLD! "Down, dear. I'm almost a hundred years older than you. I was an adult when your grandmothers were in diapers. I look seven because that is the age I wish to be, nothing more. And I don't doubt, if you had the power, you wouldn't appear as old as you are either."

Then a butterfly fluttered by and she was all sweetness and innocence again.

After spinning around in circles chasing butterflies Queen Alice turned a liquid gaze on the muggle Queen that would've melted the heart of a demon. "But really I am not here today to talk of myself. I am here mostly to warn you there are other magic users around whose intentions are decidedly unfriendly, and who won't hesitate to use mind control and all of the other nasty powers you may have heard rumors about. Hordes of zombies, vampires, ghosts and other undead, werewolves and giants - these things are real, and there are people who stoop to use them. And sadly among their favorite victims are your people."

Queen Elizabeth thought she recognized a bargaining tactic. After all, if such threats did exist, something had to have been holding them in check until now. Why could that something just continue to do so? "Forgive me, but even in light of present circumstances, I find that a little hard to credit."

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Queen Elizabeth felt chilled. That voice that came from behind her was so perfect an imitation, oozing menace just like the figure it represented. One could almost feel the mood set by the background music. She turned around and, yes, the familiar black armored menace was there, an imposing seven or so feet of him in caped magnificence, shiny lights on his breastplate and all.

And her first thought on seeing this person was that the films hadn't done him justice. Darth Vader was easily three times as imposing in real life as anyone else she'd ever met, and she'd met quite a few people who'd made it their life's work to be as imposing as possible. Any doubts this was the real Vader standing there simply couldn't survive his presence. The cloak around his shoulders was as nothing compared to the aura he exuded.

The fact he held a towel over one arm like a butler completely escaped her.

Queen Elizabeth never even realized she'd dropped the drink she'd been holding. Nor would she ever be privileged to hear that the Muggle Studies class at Hogwarts had shown the original Star Wars trilogy last month.

It was all she could do to 'meep!' in surprise and not faint.

Alice continued conversationally while she was playing with a kitten. "Frankly, if I were in your place, I'd begin mass production of silver bullets, and outfit every bobby with a cross and wooden stake as part of their standard gear."

I I I

Author's Notes:

I think that's all I'll permit myself of the Wonderland scenes for a while. It is all too easy to write and has an addictive quality, but I don't wish for it to become too large a part of my story.

There is supposed to be a plot buried under all of this somewhere.

But, yes, Dumbledore had believed so strongly in the opposition of Colonel Sanders and those two others, and gotten enough other magicals to believe in them likewise, that guess what happened when all that belief flowed through Wonderland?

 
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