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.


83. Chapter Eighty-Three


Her Royal Majesty's security forces were not happy. More than one of them had noted that rabbit's proclamation had come by way of announcement, not by request.

Under normal circumstances the Queen would be advised to snub such an invitation, just to show she could. However, the greatest headache to the British muggle government about that ploy was that 'prepare at any site you wish' statement, as it gave the clear indication that there was no clean way of getting out of this, as wherever their head of state happened to be when the appointment rolled around would be presumed to be the location of the meeting, and thus where their guests would appear. So there didn't appear to be any way of avoiding it.

This was enough to drive the security types nuts. Loss of control was always something they found difficult to bear. And, sadly, dealing with magic they were about to see a lot of that. You can't control what you can't understand, and you can't understand what you have no information on; and not even the standard witch or wizard had a lot of information on what they were about to be encountering.

They were being plunged into a whole new world, and didn't like that a bit. And unfortunately, government goons were the worst examples ever created of "fearing what you don't understand."

Queen Elizabeth was perfectly capable of handling the situation, however, and decreed since there was no way of avoiding it, they would meet this head on, holding the event in the gardens just outside Buckingham Palace, right at the heart of downtown London - figuring if she didn't have a home turf advantage there, she never would.

The Household Cavalry was out in force, mostly on horse as the appearance of the previous fairy princess and the results of her presence caused the reliability of vehicles to be cast in doubt. The Mall had also been closed down to vehicle traffic as a security precaution, although once news of where the event was being staged leaked out it got packed with close to a million pedestrians, on par with some coronations and royal weddings.

An extra detachment of Royal Marines was on call in just in case, over and above all normal security for such events, as those playing host knew next to nothing about the upcoming encounter. So those in charge of protecting the royal family had to assume the worst. Part of this meant the rest of the Queen's family would be scattered to the four winds, kept separate from her and under enormously heavy guard in palaces around the country.

The only exception to this would be Princess Diana, the Widow of Wales, who while never directly in line for the throne was still the royal family's most popular member, and if anything was to be hoped for out of this encounter, it would be that the visiting dignitary would simply choose not to cause trouble.

So Princess Diana was kept around as a safeguard, since anyone who had the audacity to murder or otherwise molest her would earn for themselves the undying enmity of the entire country, and a substantial chunk of the world as well - which ought to serve as a disincentive to do so (or so they hoped).

The security types really were going nuts over this.

But a very small corner of Queen Elizabeth's mind left over from her girlhood was curious and absolutely enthralled at meeting the actual Queen of Wonderland - If that turned out to be the case, that is. She was reserving judgment, but quietly hopeful, although not so far as to say optimistic.

It had been decided to hold the event at the rear of the palace, on the large park-like gardens there. Tables had been set (with replaceable china) in much the same fashion as for the Queen's annual garden parties hosted there. One of the gardeners had even been called upon to dig a small rabbit hole, around which a railing hung with ribbons and flowers was set up, standing at the head of a broad walk towards the waiting tables where breakfast was to be held.

It was one thing to hear of strange or wonderful events happening on the TV, to be watched from the safety of one's home, but when it happens direct to one's sovereign her guards had to take the event seriously, and 'strange and wonderful' meant 'dangerously unpredictable' to security types, and nothing was more likely to cause them fits about doing their jobs properly.

Security types like to control variables, and knowing where someone was to be at all times was high on their priority list; so they'd provided a place for this Queen Alice to appear in hopes that she'd use it, allowing them to have far more control over the situation.

In this thing they could not have been more disappointed.


In the hedged clearing of the Fairy Shrine Queen Alice appeared, picked up little Spaz, and began talking to him as though he were a person. "You know, as I was talking to myself I was telling me there was no way that I was living through what I did to poor Harry. Even that breakfast I invited myself to was nothing more than a final salute. So I asked myself, 'How did I live?' And, well, of course, I had no answer until I reminded me to look more closely at the mirror my granddaughter had set up for me to use."

Reaching up, the blonde and apparently seven year old monarch of Wonderland ran her fingers over the lettering carved in the mirror's frame, reading (backwards, so of course she read it forwards) "I show not your face but your heart's desire."

Lifting the dog to her face so she could speak to it nose to nose to impress upon it the seriousness of this moment (while Spaz took the opportunity to wiggle a lot and lick her nose), "Now if you were using a wand to cast spells and you suddenly switched to a new wand and cast a hundred times better, you wouldn't think it was the wand either. Neither would I. But in this case I told myself, against my strongest objections, that using a mirror whose magic is focused on desires to access Wonderland, a land of desires, had to accomplish something. I told myself right back it had to be a coincidence, and this of course convinced me that it was nothing of the sort! So I immediately launched into an argument with myself over it, and after pulling my hair and making me cry I convinced me to give it a try. So here I am."

Putting down Spaz, who pranced about her in doggy adoration, Queen Alice then reached forward into Trelawney's oak and pulled her out of her tree, much to the dryad's shocked surprise. The little girl pinched the Divination Professor's nostrils shut, forcing her to open her mouth to breathe, when the little queen then immediately pulled all of the magic of the mirror into the glass, which she turned into liquid and poured down Sybil's mouth, forcing her to drink all of it.

The little queen then released her and asked sweetly, hands folded delicately in the picture of maidenly innocence, "Pardon me, but do you mind if I add to you the magic of an artifact I find terribly important, so it not be lost?"

Sybil Trelawney made the strangest expression, feeling that still liquid mirror settle in her stomach and knowing that magic had already been added.

"Woof!" Spaz barked, excitedly waving his tail.

"Thank you very much," Alice curtsied to Trelawney. "And, might I add, it was very careful to have your lawyer answer for you, as I can attest these agreements can be fraught with loopholes and danger. So you are very wise to have an expert answer on your behalf."

Alice then turned to address herself and ask, "Isn't that right?"

"Oh yes," Alice then turned back around to reply, nodding brightly.

Trelawney's numb gaze switched back and forth between the two Alices now standing before her, and noted the one had a split lip and swollen eye, along with tussled hair that had the appearance of having recently been pulled.

Luna had said her grandmother was fond of pretending to be two people. But if this was pretending, Alice had clearly improved her game over the years, because the dryad couldn't tell which was the double and which was real.

While she was so confused, the little girl cut a carrot under the dryad's nose, and while possibly the furthest thing from an onion, it caused the stunned oracle to weep as though her family had just died.

The little blonde queens each collected a tear, then disappeared again.


The road known as the Mall in downtown London was built for the express purpose of hosting grand processions of every kind, from the Household Cavalry showing their colors, to royal processions and the cavalcades and motorcades of visiting dignitaries, it was meant for the sheer purpose of providing a place for the grand parades of gilt and grandeur that are so dear to the pomp and ceremony that are the very spirit of royalty.

On one end this broad way was anchored by Buckingham Palace, and on the other by Trafalgar Square. It was a ceremonial route, studded with flags and such monuments as the Admiralty Arch and the Victoria Memorial along its length. The message of the entire thing was meant to be shouted aloud, "We are beautiful. We are powerful. We are Great Britain."

It was also, unsurprisingly, a popular place for tourists. Anything beautiful and unique tends to draw them.

However, as an invisible fairy flying in to Trafalgar square, circling around until it came to Nelson's Column (commemorating the death of Admiral Nelson who fell at the Battle of Trafalgar for which the square was named) could suggest, things were going to take a different turn today.

Perching upon the tip of the tricorn hat of the figure atop the massive pillar, the fairy sometimes known as Tinkerbell rested, looking around a bit. Then, when she had picked one of large open fountains suitable to her needs, flew above it and released a single tear. The tear as it dropped into the waters went unnoticed by all, however its effects were extraordinary.

The surface of the pool flashed for an instant into a perfect mirror, and the entire body of water joined the spray tossed by the fountain in suddenly surging upwards into a towering column of water over a hundred feet high that froze into a perfect giant rectangular mirror at nine o'clock precisely.

The first news copters to transmit this naturally made a fortune as station after station paid to be tied into their feed.

That mirror then flexed, transforming into an equally giant, still-mirrored, face that then looked around the square (drawing no little attention itself doing so). That mirrored face then opened its mouth wider than should be anatomically possible, and inhaled deeply, causing leaf detritus and garbage to fly into its mouth, people to grab onto things, skirts and hats to go flying, and more importantly for all of the pigeons around the square to be sucked into its gaping maw. As later laws banning the feeding of the feral pigeons were not yet enacted, nor were such measures as using specially trained falcons to control the pests (pigeons were often described as 'winged rats' by maintenance personnel the world over), the pigeon flock of Trafalgar Square was close to its estimated height of thirty five thousand birds, all of which got sucked in by the giant face in one giant windstorm. It then chewed momentarily, then once again opened its mouth, its tongue lolling out and forming a giant ramp down which a procession flowed out to the shock and startlement of all those wind-blown witnesses standing by.

First down the ramp were tens of thousands of Kenku, Japanese bird/man hybrids who are often described in myth as the originators of martial arts. They were every last one of them wearing livery in the colors of a deck of cards, hearts and clubs quartered with spades and diamonds on a blank white background. And although the Kenku themselves were feathered pink and purple their markings made them look remarkably like pigeons. Roughly thirty five thousand kenku-pigeons, to be exact, standing in martial array.

Down the aisle formed by the thousands of man-sized pigeon-men standing in ranks upon ranks of militarily precise rows to either side of the bridge formed of the giant face's tongue, waterskiing down the tongue of said giant mirror-face, came a giant caterpillar with a human face, pulled along by a giant hookam as though it were a boat, and splashing up water from the perfectly dry ground it crossed from each of its dozen sets of skis.

After this, there was very little doubt in the informed viewers' minds they were seeing the entrance of Wonderland's diplomatic party. Although for most the parades of centaurs in medieval battle array following after the skiing worm came as a welcome spot of normalcy in the proceedings.

The hookam-towed caterpillar skier circled Trafalgar Square twice as the centaur contingent exited the mirror, forming up hundreds strong with their pennants flying bravely in the previously nonexistent breeze. But those who'd hoped for this spot of relative normalcy to continue got disappointed when the next thing through the mirror was a giant grey leg, followed by the rest of a creature so huge as to beggar belief.

Vaguely elephant shaped, it was soon followed by another, then another of the same, all with massive flower pavilions in place of the usual howdahs on their backs. Those pavilions were populated by playing cards, chess pieces and flowers the size and shapes of men and women, all playing about and having a grand old time partying at the tea parties set at those pavilions.

It was clear now the cavalcade had begun, because the kenku and centaurs moved out in processions of both order and chaos (the one because of the fine military drill in which they moved, the other because of the odd things that occurred in their wakes), led in the front by statues joining the parade, mermen and of course Admiral Horatio Nelson who blew his horn as things started to move out, joining in the parade accompanied with his four lions from the base of his statue, a waterskiing caterpillar crisscrossing the parade route back and forth ahead of them.

The air was now thick with news copters covering this. The Fairy Princess of a day ago couldn't even compare to this spectacle, and they knew it. Traffic cops on the street were going nuts, but that was their problem. The news crews gave them no consideration as they jockeyed for position for the best shots for what had to be the most valuable footage of the decade (at least!).

While reporters were prancing about with visions of awards dancing in their heads, there was actually no need for the traffic cops to worry, in the immediate sense, because the Wonderland Parade left them with no need to close the roads, as those same roads took on wonderful rubbery qualities as the parade passed by, stretching to accommodate the Wonderland Parade so there was plenty of room both for them and the already present vehicles, whose antics about trying to evade the colossal mountains of flesh, feathers and hooves somehow became a happy part of one big insane mess that, for all its chaos, may as well have been choreographed for beauty - although no gymnasts or stunt drivers would ever have dared to attempt it as things tumbled all over themselves in a cheerful yet harmless chaos that turned out a continual kaleidoscope of delightful amusements one after another.

Hollywood execs would later weep as they had no way of topping this. The dichotomy of the stern and serious kenku and centaurs marching in perfect military precision through, around, over and under the cheerful mass of chaos going on around them was something they'd never match.

Cars would plow through this miraculously without hitting everything. Sword dancers and jugglers made their appearances just mixed in with the mob, with the star of the juggling show being a giant squid with hundred foot tentacles perched on the back of Oliphaunt number four and tossing about large, hard to identify devices that turned out, on examination, to be tactical nuclear warheads that really ought to have been securely locked away in Britain's inventory. Intermixed in this juggling were the odd passersby, set down a little dizzy yet unharmed after a few death defying twirls and stunts through the air, passing in between fully armed and capable nuclear devices.

And that was just the vanguard!

By the time the fifth Oliphaunt had emerged from the mirror the pattern set by the frontrunners was already well established. But at that point the tone of the occasion changed, as trumpet fanfares and drum rolls signified the main event had at last arrived.

Swarms of uniformed playing card men issued forth ringing bells as they marched. Blobs of anthropomorphic fire danced with lightning danced with water danced with tiny whirlwinds dancing with top hats and canes - and spoons and teapots, of course! Turtles as big as cars marched forth, tiny tea parties being held on their backs. Cows wearing turtles shells, mounting bells, playing host to birds singing songs all flowed out like the tides coming in on sanity to wash it under like Atlantis.

And all of that was just a sideshow to the main event.

Now, in a muggle parade, the person it is about takes a potion of honor - then sits there while people with the actual talent, ability and skill perform around them. That was anything but the case with Queen Alice, when she made her appearance in the center of this parade. In fact, if anything, she performed with more energy than any other person there.

She exited the mirror wearing a simple blue dress with a white apron, as she had often been depicted. There was no great oliphaunt for her to ride, no throne for her to sit on, or royal garments.

But there was no question as to who she was as she came in ice skating on dry ground, climbing stairs that weren't there, diving in the roads as though the asphalt was a pool and swimming in the concrete, then boating around on it using wildly inappropriate tools, all the while meeting and introducing herself to the packed crowds of onlookers, meeting and greeting more of those come out to see her than Princess Diana did on a good day, and using the most improbable means of traveling in between them, often being in two or even three places at once, too.

If there was a way to fake this Hollywood would have sold their tiny, grimy souls to possess it - If they hadn't already, of course.

The Wonderland procession only got more bizarre, however. They never took anything like a straight course, turning and twisting about and doing loop-the-loops like a roller coaster on a good day, and taking the road with them.

Buildings were hopping out of their way, joining in their own marching columns in counterpoint to the Wonderland contingent and the street positively writhed under their feet as they marched across it, sprouting giant flowers big as houses one moment, mushrooms the next, and then following a parade of Ents (who weren't about to be left out of the Lord of The Rings contingent) nicely colored trees springing full grown into being behind them.

The Mall, which previously had been straight to help with the grand approach, still looked as straight as an arrow looking down it. One could stand with a telescope at one end and not only see clearly to the other extreme, but pick out pertinent details of the many houses and structures along both sides as though it took as straight a path as a dropped rock. However from the air above it zigged and it zagged and swooped all over London. In fact the one reporter to first see it nearly fell out of his helicopter when he saw from the air the street now spelled out, in delicate cursive scrip, "Queen Alice's Way."

The thing that would throw later scientists into fits was that while on the ground the road was one intact and unbroken strip, from the air it had the dot of the 'i' and the apostrophe at the end of her name properly separated.

And, oddly enough, they would later discover one road twisting all over the heart of London reaching practically everywhere yet remaining straight as a plumb line even as it crossed over and under itself strangely enough made it so convenient to get places that it did more to reduce the traffic congestion of the downtown areas than later tolls would have.

On later being asked, Alice would respond in unusual clarity, "Despite the common misconception, charity is not giving coins to organizations who then claim to do good on your behalf. It is doing good to others yourself, and only rarely involves any money. True charity is the kind word to a stranger, the encouraging of a friend, improving the world around you by doing good deeds. They ought to be as common as air, for they are just as needed. It is these small and simple acts done all the time that make the world nicer for everyone. For myself, traffic in London was tied in an ugly knot, so I tied it instead into a pretty one. You may see this as my gift to the people of this city for receiving me. Either that or the Nargles made me do it," she said with a disarmingly innocent smile.

This would also explain why her procession would somehow leave a functional trolley system behind, all Victorian and lovely, that would later be one of the better sources of public transportation and among the most scenic ways to visit the city, so of course always packed with tourists.

Of course, right now those tourists were more interested in staring at the giant, flying puddings associated with the parade like party balloons.

It was enough to break a rational man's mind. And they had not a few of those join the parade after they went bananas. Actually, going up the Mall, through the Admiralty Arch (which parted like the Red Sea before them to make room for the Oliphaunts, then got drunk and woke up the next day in a warehouse district in bed with a cafe of questionable morals), they passed a Gothic looking building with a giant, blinking, neon sign reading "Mad Scientist's Secret Laboratory" and on up to Buckingham Palace where the muggle queen's security forces awaited them in steadily growing horror.

And the accompanying organ music didn't help improve their moods any.


Author's Notes:

You know, writing Wonderland is an odd experience, to say the least. The part I like the best is probably what would scare a rational man the most, in that it all makes sense at the time!

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