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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54. Chapter Fifty-Four

I I I

Darting in a window on the seventh floor, having used their special clothes to go invisible before going into their recently mastered small-fairy forms to fly up ahead, Luna and Hermione reformed before summoning the door. The two girls then quickly began preparing the Room of Requirement as a movie theater to show the poor Bones girl the situation she'd gotten into. Only once they were inside the vanishing room did they become visible once again.

There had been a rushed and hurried debate as to how far or fast the trio ought introduce Susan to the facts of her new relationship and the baggage it brought to her life. But Harry, in the end, said they'd try full disclosure, and he'd also read her mind throughout to see how she was taking it. If Susan did well, that was a major hurdle out of the way. And if she didn't, they wouldn't have to Obliviate much time from the poor girl's mind.

No one wanted to do such a thing, but the stakes were kind of high at the moment. They wanted to trust her, but if she wasn't trustworthy then it was better to know that right away when it would be easiest to get out of the engagement.

"Luna?" Hermione tucked a lock of hair back behind her ear to ask.

The other girl blinked at her guilelessly, if somewhat out of focus. "Yes?"

Hermione looked over her shoulder, following Luna's gaze, and found a small cloud of creatures buzzing around there performing some incomprehensible dance. In the weeks since becoming a fairy, she'd noted that she could see all sorts of things that ordinary witches and wizards couldn't. But after the first few experiences of pointing them out, and learning her classmates couldn't see them, had become reluctant to bring them up in front of others for fear of their reactions. She'd seen how they'd treated Luna, after all.

It was something to talk about with the blonde, but not the present concern.

The bookworm rushed ahead. "Back when you were first teaching us fairy lore in that cave you mentioned that humans are blends of all kinds of things, but magical creatures had a clearly dominant few. I was just wondering, seeing as how all three of us are fairies now, what fairies tended to be, other than merely vain."

The blushing bookworm did not see fit to mention that she'd set a darkness charm on the mirrors in the rooms she used, limiting her to staring at her reflection for a mere half hour a day before they'd blank out. She'd needed it. It had led to her doing her hair and makeup by feel once or twice, but so far she had avoided any catastrophes of getting too caught up in staring at herself in her true form. Although, it felt like she was starving herself if she tried to go without looking at her fairy form entirely.

Privately she suspected that the other two had the same problem. Although little did she know that Luna indulged in far more than a mere half hour a day.

The girl descended from fairytale heroes and heroines turned to stare more directly at the daughter of dentists. "What brought this on?"

Hermione looked away, avoiding the true admission that she was becoming increasingly nervous about - her increasing need to be close to Harry, and the very weird sensation of having said those things around Narcissa. She'd always considered herself a very prudent, confident, conservative girl, and the things blurted out of her own mouth during that interview shocked her!

Still, there were plenty of concerns that didn't require her to make THAT sort of admission! "I'd noted we have ability to do wandless transfigurations, as well as the fire spells we'd expected to be able to do after that ritual. But I'd put that down to our powers, not our personalities. Only that brought the psychological potential for change to mind, and I'd wanted to know the risks."

There. Now she'd brought the subject up without admitting to the fact that Harry having other women mysteriously didn't bother her in the slightest.

Luna casually shrugged, avoiding a knowing smirk with considerable ease. "There are several different grades of fairy kind, and as the Queen so kindly pointed out, nothing but the most powerful could handle the amount of fairy magic our ritual inadvertently gave us. And, before you ask, the largest and most powerful fey are very humanlike in their temperaments. Although we do fall prey to obsessions easily, they're rarely more than fads. Since fairies live so long they rarely have many children, and so do not have what muggles would call generation gaps. But, as if to compensate, adult fey do go through phases of mania that compare well to fads. Why?"

Hermione sighed in relief. "Oh. That's a relief. I was worried that we might all begin to fall prey to mental disorders, or something."

Luna paused to consider, coming into focus mentally before she spoke. "I do see a little bit of influence of our current bodies shining through. You are the most curious, but I imagine that is because you knew the least about fairy lore or our new bodies and are, like all children, exploring what that means. In Harry I see a bit of the typical fairy vanity poking through in his desire to work out and increase the health and strength of his human body - because even in disguise, fairies cannot bear to not be beautiful. So he is fixing those problems so his original, mortal form will be better looking. Also, I see a bit of the tendency for obsessions in his present mania for defending us and our property from the coming war. But that's all perfectly understandable. It was and is a very real and pressing need, and I do appreciate him doing it. But the focus of his intent is such that he never lets up, and so accomplishes more in a few weeks than the most intense mortals would've in months. But, considering our vulnerable state and the experienced and entrenched nature of our opposition, it is an advantage."

Luna paused a moment, considering, before she voiced her thoughts aloud, "And the fact that time moves oddly around the fey may well be working in our favor. Have you not noticed how very much we get done in an average day? How long they feel? Do not forget WE are fey! Nor that it was the Fairy Queen who set us on this journey. Tell me, do you even know what day it is? I've long since lost track myself."

Hermione was gosmacked. Aside from her birthday, which was... recent, she had no idea how much time had passed before school began. Each day seemed weeks long, and that was blurring things. Normally her course schedule was so important to her she never lost track of days of the week, but lately even on Normal Days she'd taken to just following the other students in her year around to find her way to what classes were being held. All thoughts of her normal schedule had fled her normally quite keen mind. However, thanks to the magically expanding bookbag Harry had gotten for her, she was able to carry about the texts and materials for them all without trouble.

She swallowed, chewed a lip thoughtfully then nodded. "I guess that makes sense, that she'd give us a little boost in overcoming the entrenched position of our main foe by granting us a little more time each day. She could even have given Harry a little nudge to help him acquire his drive to win this war. And as his friends we are just naturally helping him along."

Luna drilled her with a sudden, intense stare. "Hermione, make no mistake. We are Harry's friends and we are helping him, but we are also much more than that. Our bodies, and thus ourselves, were literally made to serve him by the author of our transformation. Harry is the hero. He was the person the Fairy Queen needed when she had a quest that needed accomplishing. She would have been happy with him alone, but we came along for the ride. No one is objecting to our presence, and Harry at least is very glad to have us along, but he is the key, and we were made to assist him in his pursuit of her goals. That is our purpose."

Luna blinked slowly, acquiring an odd expression as she tilted her head thoughtfully. "Still, it is not a bad thing to know the purpose of one's life."

But Hermione saw yet further. "And the ultimate goal is the propagation of our nearly extinct race, so we're fine with him being a playboy."

Luna nodded. "Frankly, judging by his embarrassed behavior when I was searching that woman for Marks, I'd say we're more fine with it than he is."

I I I

Susan had begged off joining them immediately, so Harry was waiting for her outside of the Hufflepuff common room when instead of one girl, two emerged. One was the redhaired Hufflepuff he was expecting, the other a pink-faced blonde girl who, unlike Susan who wore her hair in a long plait down her back, was wearing her hair in pigtails and had dimples on her cheeks.

"Harry?" Susan presented her friend, who was blushing royally. "This is my best friend Hannah Abbott."

Harry gave the girl a short bow. "Charmed, I'm sure."

Hannah's already royal blush increased two steps as she returned him a short curtsy. "Hello. A pleasure to meet you. I always thought you seemed so nice."

"Harry," Susan was blushing now. "Hannah and I grew up together. We've always been the best of friends. And, you see, the thing is... well, every witch our age in the wizarding world grew up hearing stories about you, and most of us dreamed of one day marrying you."

Susan paused, blushing royally herself now and too embarrassed to continue until Hannah delivered a sharp yet discrete elbow to her ribs.

Harry was just confused.

Susan, now blushing like a beet, hurried on, "Anyway, Hannah and I played 'Marry Harry Potter' no more than most, but being best friends we did agree that if one of us got you we'd share you together."

Harry blinked.

He'd forgotten about Hufflepuff loyalty.

I I I

"Harry, you're late!"

"Sorry," the boy answered. "Got sidetracked. I saw Snape and just HAD to compulse him to transfigure himself into a toad and leap into the mouth of some wild animal to be chewed up and devoured."

"Why all the complication?"

"Because I want it to be totally and legitimately accurate, after Dumbledore retrieves his Potion Master's remains and reanimates him, when I call Snape a walking piece of shit."

"And who are your companions?" Luna asked, blinking owlishly.

"Ah, please meet Hannah Abbott. Susan Bones you already know. Apparently at some point in their youth they agreed to share me."

"Hurray!" Luna shouted, jumping up and clapping her hands.

"Welcome to the club," Hermione told them both earnestly.

Harry sulked.

He had introduced the duo of Hufflepuffs to his other fiancees hoping for a veto on the extra girl, only to find both Luna and Hermione delighted by the concept and eagerly welcoming both of them.

He could never understand girls. Weren't they supposed to be jealous at times like this? Sometimes he wondered if he ever would understand them. Then he reached down into those memories of the seventy year old dark lord in his head and found Tom Riddle had come no closer to an answer than he. More dark lore than anyone else alive, yet girls were a mystery he'd never cracked. Harry might have given up right there save for the fact that Riddle had never tried. His only lusts had been for power, glory and immortality. So Harry felt there was still hope he might crack this mystery yet.

The poor boy.

The group eagerly began to educate the new arrivals. They'd stolen the Headmaster's penseive long ago, in one of the very first raids on his office, and though they'd never made time to watch all of those stored memories (something he resolved to do at the earliest opportunity, but they were so *busy* keeping his tail lit on fire by a continual string of emergencies, and preparations for later flight) the device was perfectly adequate, paired with the Room of Requirement, to simply show the new girls the experiences the Fey trio had been through up to that point in the year.

Harry, having developed a nearly unhealthy degree of paranoia, had been prepared for just about anything but what actually happened: The two girls plainly accepted everything.

Everything. They watched the conversation with Hermione where he and Luna had at last finally convinced her the Headmaster was playing foul, nodding along the whole while. The girls got excited by their triumphs surrounding the Goblet and empathized with the emergency they went through with the naiad lake and Fairy Queen, and the Hufflepuffs got downright determined to pitch in and do their fair share when they saw how hard the trio had been working to secure a base of operations at Godric's Hollow.

Harry had been gently watching their minds the entire time, and all of those feelings were genuine. The pair of Hufflepuffs agreed with their reasoning that the Headmaster was a Dark Lord, then later observation of the Escape From Hogwarts crystallized that in their minds as they saw the Headmaster lead an attack on his own former students, shooting down those who tried to escape on brooms and even injuring some quite severely.

Then those two cheered along with them as the Fey Trio relived their various memories of attacks on and traps laid for Dumbledore and his crony Snape.

Harry had been prepared for anything but how easily and completely the duo had been won over to his cause, believing completely in him and the necessity of his campaign against Dumbledore. No Obliviation or mind-meddling required.

Frankly, he'd been so prepared for failure he wasn't sure how to cope with success.

Happily, his girls had no such problems. Honestly, Hermione had been shocked so completely so many times this past little while that she wasn't sure there was anything that could surprise her anymore. So they launched completely and immediately into befriending the new pair of girls.

Harry came back to ground somewhere in the middle of a conversation begun when one of the two Hufflepuffs had asked, "Are you really related to Alice in Wonderland?"

Luna was already smiling dreamily. "Oh yes."

"What's she like?" Susan pressed, having loved those stories long ago.

"Grandmother Alice generally gives herself very good advice (though she very seldom follows it). And sometimes she scolds herself so severely as to bring tears to her eyes; she told us once of trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet she had been playing against herself, for she is very fond of pretending to be two people, when some magic of Wonderland hasn't shrunk her down so much there's hardly enough to make one respectable person."

"She sounds a bit... odd," Susan struggled not to be offensive.

Luna gladly shrugged. "Sometimes she's only as mad as a March Hare."

"Have you really got a March Hare in there?" Hannah queried.

"Of course!" Luna laughed. "There's also a Mad Hatter, and he tells the most excellent stories about fighting Batman in his youth, before he moved there. But once in Wonderland he couldn't get out, so well suited to the place he could never leave. So he's been with us ever since. Although you mustn't believe him when he tells you stories about made-up people like Joker and Two-Face. The poor dear is mad, so he doesn't accept they can't be real."

Both Hufflepuff girls were wide-eyed. Hannah exclaimed, "It all sounds a bit like the tales of Disneyland some of our muggleborns were telling us."

Hermione tucked a lock of hair behind one ear and proudly played the voice of experience. "Disneyland is a pale shadow of an attempt to reflect what the Lovegood family reality is."

I I I

Bellatrix was, contrary to her expectations, enjoying her stint replacing the Hogwarts librarian enormously. It was a great way to manipulate knowledge, just by hauling old books out of storage the Headmaster had ordered removed off the shelves and out of circulation, then putting them up in big displays at the front of the library, where the Ravenclaws would descend on them like starving wolves.

Most of the history books covering the magical world had gotten pulled out of circulation. But, since the history of the magical world was also the history of the pureblood families in it, as those were they who'd been around all that time, she felt it absolutely vital to get that knowledge out there so students could properly appreciate the importance of it!

It was also a great way to point students towards books that had recipes in them to neutralize love potions, as well as charms to detect whether or not someone was under those or similar effects.

There went the Headmaster's breeding scheme right there. No more sullying the pureblood lines with mudblood infusions any more! Although that stud book of his had been absolutely fascinating reading, and explained why so many of the ancient, pureblood families had gotten married to mudbloods of late. Still, while she could appreciate a good scheme, it had to stop.

Bella would not tolerate her Lord's vessel getting pawned off on those blood traitor Weasleys!

Although if he wanted to keep the girl on as a sex slave she was fine with that. Still, there were so many better fish in the sea, and he had so much better taste. And to make sure he had all of the best options open, Bellatrix had privately commissioned the printing of several modern magical history books portraying Harry Potter as absolutely awesome no matter what the Daily Prophet said last year.

Those were going up in the front displays, too, in tasteful green covers that she had already begun to subtly bully the Slytherin girls his age into reading.

No, Bellatrix was having so much fun outwitting the Headmaster and undoing nearly a century of manipulating the curriculum by pointing students towards books they would have been reading had he not been messing with things that she could honestly saw she'd never enjoyed anything not involving Crucios so much!

Why, it was even more fun than feeding a Dursley his own testicles! - something that she would've said was impossible only a week ago, when she would've sworn that she'd never enjoyed anything more.

She was just contemplating how best to highlight the appeal of a parcelmouth as a spouse to those same impressionable Slytherin girls, who ought to know better than view it as a drawback in the first place, when she caught a hint of movement out of the corner of her eye.

She would've paid it no mind, only it was something invisible moving, and the eye drops she'd gotten long ago not only let her detect that, but made it so anything invisible things caught her attention more than anything else.

So what was Mad Eye Moody doing in a school?

I I I

Mad Eye Moody was doing what he loved best - killing people.

He'd read up on the Headmaster's files on the boy, or what the Headmaster could recreate of those files, anyway. Seems he'd had a large number of break-ins, accidents and fires in his office of late. Still, there had been plenty of information about the boy's escapades, and it seemed he mostly survived by a stupid amount of luck.

Luck was easy to deal with, you just make sure all of the options are bad.

There was a certain art to it, but people who expected to jump aside at the last moment almost never expected the floor they landed on to be trapped. Those who lived by good luck and good reflexes, or the right amount of help showing up at just the right moment, just weren't prepared for when a floor fell out from under them on a route they'd always traveled safely before, dropping them thirty feet into a spiked pit full of trolls while the lid swings back into position over their heads, complete with locking and soundproof charms so their classmates could walk right over their life-or-death struggle never knowing or hearing of the slaughter going on under their feet.

Such a thing was easy to prepare. There were several such pits in Hogwarts. Most had been inactive for a terribly long time, just waiting for the right passwords to rearm them. And with the paintings all over the place, giving a password just as a certain boy walked by was childishly easy!

All he had to do was fill the pit with trolls.

No, people who lived by luck never expected the sort of things a lot of pre-planning could do to people.

Constant Vigilance was the only was to live life!

Dropped into such a situation, a person like Harry would probably be lucky enough to fall without injuring himself severely on any of the two-foot-tall metal spikes regularly spaced around the floor. And, given the boy's history against magical beasts in the past, he'd almost certainly figure out a way to miraculously defeat all four trolls.

But the silly boy would almost certainly expect the trolls to be the real danger, instead of just a momentary threat used to focus his attention. That would give the walls their time to flash-heat up to a temperature usually associated with smelting metal, frying all those caught inside. A Freezing Flame charm would be useless against the sort of threat, even if the boy knew it. And Potter's school marks did not support him being studious. Still, even if his female sidekick was there and fell in with him, they'd both die as there was no way they'd survive the heat, even if they did defeat the trolls.

And he knew a bunch of hags who'd pay dearly for a delicious roast witch or two, to say nothing of a slice of roast Boy-Who-Lived. No, he was planning to make a fortune peddling that boy's corpse among the various hag coveys. A little cut here, a little taste there, and he'd be as rich as the Malfoys.

Actually, since he stood a chance of killing the last of the Malfoys, now called Darling, along with the Harry Potter boy, maybe he could even convince the Headmaster to share the profits when he seized those accounts.

Now if only he knew of a market for roast trolls. Too tough a meat for hags, and besides he'd be wringing them of every drop of money for bites of Harry.

Moody peg-legged along, unaware he'd caught the notice of a librarian.

I I I

Five young kids, Harry Potter and four girls, were heading along the corridors to lunch at the Great Hall when the floor fell out from under them.

Luna was fine, landing on her feet while the jeweled eyes of the cats on her girdle glowed, not even fussed over so short a drop. Harry was able to catch hold of his wits enough to Levicorpus the three other girls even during the middle of his own fall. But he himself hit rather badly, a long iron spike skidding off his silver armor to bruise despite the enchanted dragonhide padding underneath. Luckily, Luna was able to catch the three other girls with her wand by that point, so they did not fall to impale themselves on the multitude of iron spikes below when he bounced and lost concentration.

That was when the trapdoor slammed shut above them, and four glowing pairs of eyes under sloped foreheads emerged out of the shadows around the pit before the slouched, muscular builds of trolls.

Susan and Hannah screamed, clutching each other in fright.

I I I

Author's notes:

Sometimes as a writer one of the hardest things to do is recall that your characters know all that you or even your readers do. So plans have to fail for reasons entirely apart from them not being clever.

This sort of trap would kill most D&D characters, who consider themselves a paranoid and well-prepared lot (of course, there are exceptional specimens who'd come out just fine).

Of course, Harry is immune to heat, as are Hermione and Luna, but Susan and Hannah aren't. Plus, there are those trolls to consider.

 
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