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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89. Chapter Eighty-Nine

I I I

A forty ton chunk of Ministry ceiling came crashing down, crushing aurors beneath its bulk and filling the room with smoke and blast fragments. The wind of impact sent everything, even heavy furniture, flying to far parts of the room to smash against walls unseen in the dust and grit filling the air.

It didn't stop Harry from twisting in the air to dodge two spells and firing back one of his own.

"We'll take the long way," Hermione had said, before Susan led the girls off, when they had seen the doors open before them to reveal packed ranks of aurors working for the Voldemort-led government.

Spinning with the next blast, the Boy-Who-Lived tucked himself into a ball to increase his rotation so he could rebound off the next wall he'd been flung into, wandlessly keeping all of the grit and dirt out of his eyes and lungs even though the air was thicker than any London fog with debris tossed up by the explosions of spells going off around him.

The aurors had goggles for seeing through this mess, while he was blind. They sold glasses that could see through this sort of stuff, he'd just never gotten around to buying any - too busy doing other things.

So now they had that advantage and he didn't.

It was a sad fact that at any one time only about twenty percent of a nation fought for freedom and good purposes, another twenty percent sought evil to enrich themselves, and the remaining sixty just didn't much care and would go along with whoever was currently in charge, be he saint or bastard.

The Nazi party at its height had only accounted for twenty three percent of the German population. It was thanks to those who went along with them that within eight years they were able to transform a nation of musicians and philosophers into one of the deadliest war machines mankind had ever known.

Now thanks to aurors who told themselves "they were respecting the office, not the man" Harry was caught in a battle here in the bowels of the Ministry. Two of the ten levels had already flooded, and it looked like this battle was going to bring down the roof of a third on them.

Apparating out would be easy, but that wouldn't give them the wardstones, and if Harry left this, the aurors would no longer be tied up fighting him and would go hunt down his friends.

That would force them to leave without capturing more wardstones.

A new explosion shattered three walls, including one vital support. Harry transformed into his Nemean Lion form and blurred at unicorn speed as he darted out from the mess, aurors shouting behind him in the split second until the thousand ton mass of ceiling came down on them with a sick sort of finality.

Not bothering to change forms again, the boy darted up the nearest set of steps, racing past frightened secretaries up to the next level. He didn't question why his coat was now pure white, assuming the unicorn infusion responsible for it.

Of course, a white lion was also a powerful symbol of magic for a reason, so he felt it was only appropriate considering he was a symbol of that himself.

The first time they'd gotten the wardstones of the Ministry, stolen from the building by Queen Alice at Luna's request, he'd not imagined the later uses he'd have for such a haul and spent them rather profligately in many layered defenses around his first town, then later used most of the rest around his combined farm properties.

Of course, those thick wards were now very welcome indeed in standing off the combined forces of Magical Britain under Moldyshorts, but it left his other five towns remarkably undefended. He didn't dare strip the defenses of the first two sites, but they had to get means to defend the others from somewhere - and where better than the Ministry?

Those as-yet-uninstalled replacement wardstones gathered here could bring his other towns up to the warding standards of Godric's Hollow, which was now looking like an absolute necessity if they were to survive this war.

If anyone was going to survive, that is.

I I I

A boulder weighing fifty stone exploded in the scaffolding of the uncompleted ramparts of the outer defensive wall, sending bodies of dwarven workmen fountaining up in the air and signaling the start of the third assault on Godric's Hollow, shortly followed up by a rain of other boulders.

Voldy's giants had crested the earthworks surrounding the town, as none of the animated cannon or terra cotta warriors Harry had planned on had been installed, so there was nothing to stop them from approaching that close.

There had been no time to create them. All of the efforts those in the town had to give had gone towards completing the great outer defensive wall, and until that was completed everything had been a tertiary concern at best.

An explosion of stacked timbers fountained logs skyward, raining down on defenders who'd been too busy even to keep up a regular rotation of sentries - something they regretted as they were paying for it now.

Still, their efforts had not been without some accomplishment. In one week the wall had gone from an idea to nearly complete. It was close. It was very, very close, but the outermost wall was still only an incomplete ring, not fully closed. A gap lay open on one side, part pit where the unimproved bedrock lay exposed, gradually ascending on both sides through all various stages of construction to become completed walls; everything around that gap covered with scaffolding and discarded tools they'd been using to work on it.

As work parties vanished, trying to find cover from the giant-thrown rock bombardment, a great howling rent the air as the ridge turned silver under the backs of a teeming tide of werewolves rushing those defenses.

The incomplete section of wall was not a wide gap, but for the invaders it was more than enough. Like a teacup, all it takes is a single crack for all the liquid to escape. Werewolves did not need much of a gap to charge through, but they did need one, and in this case they had it.

A grim wall of dwarves formed, covering the gap, sunlight glinting off their silver blades and helmets even as more rocks fell among them, fountaining broken bodies of their warriors skyward.

I I I

"Got it!" Susan cried, exultant, as the magically sealed door to the secure room where the unused wardstones were stored slid open under the security codes borrowed from her aunt (without said aunt's knowledge or permission, although Susan felt she would approve of this use).

"Avada Kedavra."

Hannah shrieked as they all turned around to find a killing curse, followed by two others, flying toward them. Hermione tackled the other girl out of the way, else she surely would have been struck by it - also, incidentally diving out of the way of the one aimed for her.

Luna calmly sidestepped hers, while Susan ducked under a fourth fired almost the same time at her.

Hidden around the corner, trapping them in a little cul-de-sack in front of the secure room, his wand tip barely poking out of a little divot he'd carved in the stone of the corner for just this purpose, Mad-Eye Moody grinned.

About time some of the prey thought to dodge. This might be interesting.

One of the distinct benefits to having an eye that could see through anything was that he did not have to stick his head out to see where to aim his spells. There was literally nothing exposed for those girls to return fire to.

To his shock the bushy haired one charged.

He gave her a shot of a back-breaker curse that literally blew her off her feet and sent her plowing into the opposite wall hard enough to leave a body-shaped divot in the stone, then followed that up with a bowel-exploding curse while she still hung there.

By that time the other three doomed but determined children had charged half the distance to reach him and he had to switch aim.

I I I

The hail of boulders being blown apart by the force of their own impacts stopped bare moments before the tide of werewolves hit the dwarven line, torn bloody and ragged by the bombardment.

But the dwarves had signed a contract and by all that was holy they were going to defend this place. They would hold this field or be buried on it.

The very first rank of werewolves of what looked like a furry carpet leaped up into the air to crash against the lines only to get slaughtered in mid-air by a sleet of silver tipped arrows slicing right through them.

The dryads had arrived.

But the tide of werewolves had built up momentum. There were so many of them racing at such speed the second and third ranks ran in under the corpses raining down from the first, crashing hard into the lines of dwarves and slamming right through the ragged holes torn in their line.

Lycanthropes shrieked as jaws closed about silver helmets and teeth began to burn before their guts were torn out by silver swords.

The dwarves went to work like berserkers, slashing about at the furry tide all around them with silver blades that brought death at almost every stroke. Giants fell in the distance, heads and hearts pierced by many arrows, and the lycanthropes in the assault began to panic, scattering many different ways as they sought shelter from the pelting sheets of arrows that slew hundreds of their number every few seconds.

A werewolf darting into town ran up to an intact building, grabbed the door handle and screamed in shock, pulling it back like a toddler who'd touched a hot burner, with similar effects on his furry hand where it glowed red and smoked from the brief contact.

Another werewolf body-slammed the door, hoping to knock it down, only to find himself perforated by the spikes studding it, smoking, blackened holes running all up and down the side he'd used in a checkerboard pattern.

Both crashed to the ground as their heads got pierced by arrows moments later.

But a cornered rat knows how to fight. The majority of werewolves in this attack had broken in through the holes in the ragged gap, and now that the dwarves reformed their line those same lycanthropes found themselves without an easy way out.

Facing deaths every second from their arrows, those same weres turned on the dryads and began racing towards them, determined to consume them and put a stop to the arrows sleeting through them.

I I I

Susan spun around from the force of the Death Curse that had impacted on her. Hannah had already fallen to a trio of blasting curses taken in the chest.

Luna dodged under a back-breaker curse and around a decapitator only to run into a heart piercing curse.

Moody grinned. All four targets down.

That's when he got hit in the back by a pouncing lion.

Hermione sat up, still dazed somewhat by having hit the wall, and marveling as she fingered the hole in her robes where the curses had gone through and hit her silver armor. Beside her, Hannah and Luna also stirred, their armor also glittering through holes blown in their robes.

Then six eyes tracked over to the other member of their party.

"Anyone get the name of that Oliphaunt?" Susan murmured from where she lay face-down on the floor.

Three sighs of relief were deep and heartfelt.

As the girls cuddled together receiving comfort and expressing gladness that all had survived Hermione spent a moment marveling how being around Harry had a way to make extraordinary things seem quite ordinary. "That's right," she exclaimed, forcing herself to sit up from the group hug. "The Fairy Queen shared out among us Harry's ability to survive the killing curse, didn't she?"

"Almost rather have died," Susan groaned, also rising. "That hurt!"

I I I

As Harry catapulted through an arc of backward flips he released a ribbon of purple energy toward his enemy. It impacted on a thin partition wall and went clear through it, continuing on to explode among several unoccupied desks of flunkies who had evacuated a while ago.

Moody was busy dodging for all he was worth. Being taken by a lion in close combat was a recipe for suicide that never failed to be effectual. He'd only escaped more mauling than he did because at the same instant he'd been taken he'd also released one of the creatures from his pockets.

A ten headed King Hydra was enough to distract even the most ferocious of lions, regardless of having prey in their paws.

Harry couldn't defeat any such thing claw to claw so had gone back to a form suited for spellcasting.

A wandless Confundus charm hit one of the hydra's heads in the eyes and it immediately turned and bit the neck of the head nearest it.

The auror and hit wizard Mad-Eye Moody shot several stunners at the boy, having seen with his one normal eye that the child wore silver armor - odd that he couldn't see it with his magical eye, but that could be thought on later, now it was time for killing his primary targets.

With a smirk at Moody, Harry drank a silver-yellow potion, and instantly his hair unbound to become a tide of locks pooling up around him briefly before gathering itself into four locks and shooting out in all directions, grabbing office chairs to fling them into the paths of the oncoming spells even as the child of prophecy raised his own wand toward the auror, eyes ablaze with a green fire that glowed from within.

The veteran auror was scared.

I I I

Lavender twisted as the bulk of the werewolf crashed into her, already dead yet so heavy it knocked the bow out of her hands and pinned her to the dirt.

All four of her locks of hair wrapped around it, shifting the body just enough, and with her own arms getting under it, she was able to throw the corpse off and stand. A lock of hair raced off at the speed of a striking snake to retrieve her bow and bring it back to her hands, already knocking an arrow.

It shot, hitting under the throat of a werewolf and blowing out the top of its head in a spray of gore, the dwarf it had been about to emasculate hit it three times with his silver sword before realizing it was dead.

The battle had spread everywhere, and gotten chaotic. Defense of the gap had been abandoned as foes raced throughout the town, attacking tent dwellers and causing mayhem and destruction everywhere they went. So the defending forced had fallen back to chase them down and round them up.

Fighting was house to house and around every street corner. That meant the wall was no longer defended, and somehow a horde of zombies had gotten into the city. Seeing one raise a dwarf high, Lavender shot it with her bow, first blowing its skull apart into fragments, then hitting each shoulder and hip as it stumbled.

While a bow was far from an ideal weapon for facing undead, especially zombies which cared nothing for poison and very little about fire, she wasn't about to let herself get mobbed again trying to dismember them with her sword. That had just gotten messy.

Still, she reflected, and she drew back to the ear, loosing a shaft that pierced the heart of a vampire that had somehow gotten involved in this assault, it was better than the alternative.

Trelawney had shown her herself, a vision into the future, and she hadn't liked the type of person she'd become. In fact, it was hard for a girl to go any lower. First passed around the boys at school, then hooking up with that absolute waste-case RON of all people! A disaster of a relationship anyone could have expected going into it with the dumbest Weasley, a soured life, poor grades, barely making graduation then not able to find a life, permanent relationship or job under she became a run down gutter whore, prostituting herself for galleons to live a miserable drunken existence off of before dying in her late twenties, one more whore who'd used up her short-lived beauty before leaving only an anonymous corpse in a ditch somewhere.

Not the type of future she'd wanted, and seeing that through the eyes of a seer was a couple thousand gallons of cold water dashed in the face for a wake-up call!

That or be a dryad? Where could she sign?

Heck, even without all of the benefits of being an immortal fairy, and nymph who was a personification of natural beauty. Forget all the speed, dexterity or the fact that she couldn't die so long as her tree lived, the integrated silver armor or weapons she could call upon, if it was just a choice between a normal, unexceptional life as a housewife and witch versus a future where no one with any self-respect would touch her because Ron had had her first, it would been so simple even the youngest Weasley boy could've figured it out!

Provided you kept his name out of it, so he wouldn't know he was avoiding himself, naturally. His ego wouldn't permit any rational thinking that failed to glorify him, so naturally he did very little thinking at all.

The Patils had been faced with a similar choice: married to men three times their age who never loved them, to grant business advantages to their family - or be beautiful, immortal nymphs and hang around with Harry for eternity?

Tough choice, huh?

For a surprising number of girls at Hogwarts, the current war placed them in a situation where they faced either an ugly future, or one with Harry. Tough times made for unpleasant choices for far too many families that would not end well for the daughters forced to compromise themselves and sacrifice their own happiness in order to save their parents.

Just the fact that so many wizards would die, or already had, that virtually no witch her age she knew would enjoy a happy and equal partnership with a wizard who loved her, made any future without Harry a bleak one.

Lavender loosed another arrow. Multiple impacts had long ago worn off the slight traces remaining of the original application of basilisk venom, but still it bore the force of a longbow whose limbs had adapted to a girl who had the pull strength of a fully grown mountain troll. It blasted right through the skull of the zombie that had been her target, through two more and lodged itself deep in the soil beyond.

Then the next second it was already back in her quiver and her hair was striking backwards, wrapping around an attacker so it wouldn't spoil her next shot, another lock was already drawing her sword from its scabbard.

I I I

Anyone with any sense had long ago fled the Ministry building. Thus, it ought to be no surprise to those who knew anything about wizarding government that the place was still packed with minor office workers, functionaries, and petty bureaucrats who were racing about like frightened chickens as their world in some cases literally collapsed around them. Floors were bursting, water was racing down stairs, walls kept exploding under spell fire, and the chaos only got worse by those trying to organize it all giving contrary orders.

Moody's King Hydra would have been three times the threat it was if it hadn't kept getting distracted gobbling up Ministry workers too stupid to know not to run in panic right past the mouths of major predators.

But it looked like Care of Magical Creatures was not a popular course.

Since blood purity mattered more to acquiring a position in the Ministry than all other factors combined, this death toll did more to set back Moldyshort's proclaimed (and Dumbledore's actual) agenda than any other catastrophe in the last two wars.

Speaking of the Dark Lord, chaos on the upper floors stilled as he made his appearance at last, flanked by Death Eaters and vampire forces drawn from his aborted attack on Hogwarts. People stilled uncomfortably in his sight, far more afraid of him than the many disasters that had them panicked before.

So around him order began to be restored.

I I I

"Got them!" Hermione cried, turning from her now-empty side of the room.

"Same here!" Susan replied, both girls having stuffed the two available expanding bookbags full of every warding material they could reach until they had finally cleared out them all and the only things of value left in that room were the four girls themselves.

It made them feel oddly like bank robbers, to be honest.

Luna and Hannah had been guarding the door to the small, secure room, their only goal to watch and keep Moody, his hydra, or any of the panicked people from interrupting the two with bookbags during their looting of the vital war materials that may or may not be the difference between life or death for a quarter or more of the magical population of Britain.

Luna had done her work with some remarkably effective transfigurations, Hannah with steady yet practical stunners. Not even the hydra liked getting those near its eyes and was happy to concentrate on stupider prey.

"How are we going to get clear? Harry is the only one of us that knows how to apparate," Hannah asked, having worried about this a long time, looking out on the open mayhem in the corridor beyond as structures collapsed under the mighty thrashings of the hydra - too big to fight in so closed a space and too strong to do so without creating the room necessary by shattering the walls all around it as it moved.

"Invisibly," Susan pointed out.

"And through the floor," Hermione added, pointing down. "Look, there are already holes knocked through it."

"That's already flooded," Hannah glanced down. In truth, water was creeping up over their own toes.

"All the better," Luna gave a peaceful smile, serene and unruffled despite the literal shaking of the world around them. "No one else will be going down there, and having eaten gillyweed back in the Hogwarts lake we all have the ability to use our fairy powers to form gills at need, remember?"

"Then out? That's easy!" Hannah declared joyfully.

"No, then to the Hall of Records," Luna declared solemnly, her eyes glowing.

I I I

Author's Notes:

Recall, Moody's eye was enchanted by Trelawney this time, who programmed it not to see certain things she didn't want it to. One of those is living silver, aka goblin silver, aka mithril, so he couldn't detect the girls' armor until he'd already blown holes through their robes.

It is not a common material you see a lot of, and what little there is is not in common usage (mostly old relics stuffed in vaults). So he did not notice it had that weakness until now.

 
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