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.


98. Chapter Ninety-Eight


After settling the Slytherin girls in their own rooms in his house in Godric's Hollow (and giving Dobby commands to fetch their belongings out of their own homes to make them comfy, which they read a GREAT DEAL into) Harry Potter went to Hogwarts.

This was less for the school itself than the people there. Since his belief-powered transformation into the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry found he cared a great deal more about just about everyone in the magical world, as though they were a large, extended family.

A strong character trait, and not one his girls had thought to cut off during his reassembly, because it really WASN'T a flaw.

Awkward perhaps, but not a flaw.

Caring about everybody more than the boy raised by the Dursleys would ever have thought possible had changed his behavior patterns slightly. And while at one point he was willing to write off the magical refugees at Hogwarts as Dumbledore loyalists, or those too untrustworthy to make good minions, now none of that mattered because they were his extended family, even friends (for certain definitions of friend. He had many subtle gradients describing the levels to which he trusted people - because being too trusting was a flaw, one of those Hannah had cut off him during his garden stage in Wonderland).

So now he was no longer willing to just throw those people away, or abandon them to the harsh whims of Fate. They weren't as trustworthy as those already granted place in his cities, but they weren't his enemies either.

Besides, redistributing copies of the last issue of the Daily Prophet among the people at Hogwarts took care of them being Dumbledore loyalists, and being moral or trustworthy was something he felt they could learn.

It wasn't like they didn't have plenty of reason to do so. All they needed was a gentle touch to guide them along the way.

First he wanted to get these refugees out of Hogwarts castle, which was overcrowded in any case and, because the wards had been converted to an information net and were not functioning at siege levels, was really not all secure a refuge.

His cities were far safer, but because those were already full and McGonagall had already deemed these unworthy of sheltering there, that was not a good idea. So before he moved them anywhere, he had to decide where, and how to keep it safe from the inevitable dangers, as he didn't have any extra walled cities, or huge supply caches of wardstones to use protecting them, either.

In the meantime, he went and used a net to capture his now fairly feral film projector, hogtied it in place, and set it to showing the movie Terminator, on the theory that very few magicals could watch a film like that, with time traveling muggles battling nearly indestructible machines, believing it to be true, and still feel at all superior to their non-magical brethren.

Feelings of superiority led to laziness, and he needed these people to be hard workers. A decent portion of them had once been Puffs, so he didn't know what excuse they gave themselves for being such lumps. Then again, a good fraction of them had once been Gryffindors, so he doubted they had a decent excuse to be such cowards, either. And while he was on the subject, a sizable fraction of the magical world had once been Ravenclaws. So what was their excuse for being such morons?

It was like the instant they graduated they lost any of their good qualities.

"Aha!" Harry Potter called out joyously. "I've got it figured out!"

"What is it?" Hannah asked.

"How every witch or wizard who graduates Hogwarts seems to lose all of the good qualities being in those Houses once gave them!" He cried out.

Suddenly he was surrounded by interested parties.

"It's very simple, actually," he declared. "While at school we try to train them to have some decent, redeeming features. So the answer is quite obvious. Once *out* of school they must be subjected to some sort of training to remove those features!"

"The Daily Prophet would qualify." Hermione piped up. "Daily manipulating their minds, filling them with contradictory information would lead to all sorts of related problems."

"Dumbledore's economic practices would do more," Susan kindly offered. "If you want to work hard, there must be something useful to work hard at, and daily paper shuffling in the Ministry doesn't qualify."

Harry seized upon this concept. "Yes! Whether you work hard or hardly at all at a typical desk job doesn't change your paycheck in the slightest. And with privilege and promotion both based on blood purity, there is no incentive to do more than anyone else. So you get an environment of 'how little can we get away with doing' among your workers. Even former Puffs."

The boy was already nodding. "Similarly with bravery. What use it is in office politics? Sticking your neck out only gets you singled out, and fired more often than not. Risk taking and bureaucracy don't mix. And just what point is there to study when it is the whims of your superiors, not the endless reams of ridiculously complicated laws, that actually matter?"

Hermione was nodding along. "So, the Ministry is some kind of anti-Hogwarts? Once you get a job there, unless you are a Slytherin, you are guaranteed of not having any use for those talents school trained you for? That's appalling!"

"But true," Hannah sorrowed weakly, and Susan comforted her. "And with no shops producing real goods, and only a few retail jobs, the Ministry was it unless you wanted to do like the Weasleys and just do a small family farm, getting by but never truly getting ahead."

"And there would always be some wealthy pureblood there ready to steal it from you if you did *too* well," Susan protested. "So what point was there to hard work?"

"I take it this is something your aunt has complained about before?" Harry smiled knowingly.

Susan blushed.

Harry bounded to his feet, comforting both girls with a hug. "Well, now I know what I'm going to do with these people."

"What?" Four female voices chorused.

"Simple!" Harry declared. "Their loyalty to Dumbledore and laid-back magical complacency are both gone, or seriously challenged at any rate, and that's two major flaws down. Besides, we've got unicorn senses. The truly bad ones I can send to where it doesn't matter if they betray anything, they can only hurt themselves. And the rest of the people I can work with. What these people need are jobs so they can be busy and enjoy some self-respect again!"

Here he grinned mischievously. "And, I just happen to have a large number of farms, ones NOT attached to our free cities, and a license to raise as many magical animals of whatever kinds I want to right out here in merry old Britain. For that matter, I've got my recently restored family's hereditary right to raise produce, and a recently-tricked-out-of-the-Wizengamot ability to sell anything made by any business I own. The government already waived their right to govern what I can or cannot do there, so I can hire as many former Hufflepuffs as I want to bring those farms up to full production!"

He spent a moment enjoying the gaping of his friends before adding, "Then I can get some former Gryffindors to demonstrate some of that bravery by ranching those beasts Hagrid once stashed in that menagerie he'd hidden in the Forbidden Forest. He really shouldn't have had them, but I legally can, so finders keepers in this case. If they'd been caught they would've gone into Ministry holding cells that were already draining into my pockets in any case. With those, plus the ones I'd already gotten through the Ministry, I've got a huge selection of magical beasts to handle, and now the right sort of people to a make a real production base out of it!"

Hermione's grin met his own. "Then you can put all those out of work Claws to researching how to make cauldrons, tents, trunks, brooms, and all sorts of finished goods, so that magical England has an economy again. Brilliant!"

Susan grinned, adding her own penny's worth, "Paying them all a percentage of their labors, of course, so they have every reason to work hard and overcome some of that institutional laziness that bogged our world down." Glancing at Hannah, she added, "We like programs where people who work harder make more money."

"Sounds eminently reasonable to me," Harry declared. "And they'll need places to live, but we've run out of dispossessed dwarf clans hungry for good homes and looking for work. So some of our wizards can build walled towns for themselves! I really can't trust them in our secure villages, for fear that someone would give away all of their secrets, but on ones they made on their own all of the defenses would be new! So they wouldn't be the same secrets to lose, and they may even come up with something so good we'd have to adapt it to our dwarf-built villages!"

Harry got surrounded by cuddling. Speaking into the girls' hair, he muttered, "And if dad and his friends are so good at imitating Death Eaters, I think it's high time to send them out buying up additional properties, as right now the market is great for anyone wanting to buy up land. The right potion could net you a manor in trade, so why not a bunch of new farming territory?"

The giggling of females secure in the knowledge he was not only kind but a good provider was a soothing balm to his ears.


The Marauders loved the idea, and scooted off right away to accomplish it.

"Harry? A moment of your time, please."

The boy stopped and looked up at his Transfiguration teacher turned dryad.

She gave him a smile, holding a small package in her hands, before starting a short lecture. "Britain is not the only country with a history of magic, nor even was our gift restricted to Europe. And those who develop this peculiar talent use it to suit their particular needs wherever they are."

Minerva presented him with the package.

He opened it to find an old brass lamp.

The magic was wrong for it to contain a genie. Still, looking up to her in confusion prompted an explanation from the smiling teacher. "This is a Harem Bottle, developed by the wizards of the Middle East, oh, a very long time ago. Some of these contribute to the genie legends, though that's really muggles confusing things, for as we know, genies actually exist."

"What does it do?" Hannah asked over his shoulder.

The fairy teacher presented Harry with a ring, by way of answer. "Wearing this ring, which is tied to this bottle, you can rub it a certain way and be transformed temporarily into mist, which then gets drawn into the bottle. That is how you enter or leave the device. This master ring also has the power to create subservient rings which are tied to it. Those you are to give to your wives, to enable them entrance and exit at the same time and by the same manner as you."

"So it's just to give us a private place to hang out?" Susan asked, fluffing her hair absently. "Even if it's a palace on the inside, something tells me there's got to be more to it than that."

A warm smile graced Minerva's lips. "You are correct. It is a palace on the interior, a very lavish one by all accounts, one whose fountains are carved of hollowed out jewels and so on. But the secret is much more than that. Do not forget these were arranged by wizards with many wives specifically to hold those harems. Many men had eyes whose reach exceeded what their trousers could attend. Quite a few of those Persian wizards married more women than they could satisfy, and some enterprising wizard came up with this bottle as his answer. It worked so well that it has become the standard from then until today, so it must have some merits. You see, for a man wearing the master ring it works something like a prism splitting light beams. I don't understand exactly how it functions, the specifics are quite convoluted and understood, I am told, only by the masters of the craft of making them. However, the function is quite clear. One man and many women enter, and on the inside there is one man for every woman. They are all the same man, and when he exits they all become one man again. But while inside of the Harem Bottle every wife gets to enjoy her husband privately. She does not have to share."

"Wow!" The four girls accompanying Harry glowed with pleased surprise, popping up on the tips of their toes to get a better look at this wonderful device that would solve so many of their problems.

Harry, too, was suitably impressed.

McGonagall smirked kindly down on them. "Mister Potter, from my point of view I have been a dryad for thirty years, plus a few days. And all that time I have known two very important facts: one is as far as I am concerned, the only male is you, and second that a great many dryads hold that same opinion - so I must inevitably share. I knew there were a hundred of us and I wasn't about to put up with only having you for one week every two years. You can be assured that I looked into many ways to make the situation less awkward, while getting as much of my intended husband as I reasonably could. This was the best answer by far, and this bottle in particular was the best that I could commission from the very best of the craft. The master who created this one is responsible for some of the finest examples of this art ever to exist and had been retired for thirty years when I approached him. Fortunately, I was able to entice him out of retirement temporarily to create this, which he spent years on and openly acknowledges as one of his greatest works - even superior to the one he uses."

Her eyes sparkled, quite pleased with herself. "I wasn't about to put up with less. The majority of these devices made anciently in magical Persia could hold a dozen women quite easily. Better ones, made for their kings, could manage a harem of one hundred and forty four. And while I felt that might be enough, we'd nearly fill that already, and you are at only the start of a life that may go on well into eternity. So I thought it best to be prepared, and got you a lamp of legendary quality, able to hold a dozen times even that of their kings. So you are well prepared, even should Fate somehow deliver you over seventeen hundred wives." The teacher somehow hid a smirk. "The majority of cheap knock-offs made today function for only one hour every day and support, at most, four wives. Enough for a roll in the hay for the maximum wives allowed by Islam. But that wouldn't even have taken the edge off your needs. Besides, we are not constrained by Islam. So this one works for up to twelve hours each day and could have held King Solomon's harem with ease. Indeed, I am assured he used one almost exactly like this."

The girls around Harry practically glowed, vibrating in excitement.

"Only twelve hours?" Hannah pouted, making doe eyes at Harry.

Hermione pounced on it. "How much time does your average muggle woman get to spend with her husband? If they're anything like normal he has a full time job. Eight hours work plus an hour for lunch, and an hour commute each way is not unusual. In fact, it's a fairly light schedule by most accounts, as there are places that gleefully overwork their employees. In fact, it's been a standard business practice for some time to do massive layoffs then force the remainder to pick up the slack of all those missing workers without any increase in pay. So only devoting nine hours a day to work is actually quite a generous estimate. Plus half an hour to an hour commuting each way is sadly typical. So there he has ten to eleven hours each day away from her, potentially quite a lot more. So let's just say twelve on average to account for the rising percentage that have even rougher schedules. Now, assuming no other interests or hobbies that will take away time from her (quite a large assumption, and almost never true) she has twelve hours a day to spend with her husband. About eight of them will be spent sleeping. So on average she has something like four hours of his day to spend time with him, and if you assume TV or kids or sports or any number of hobbies, or card games or other interests to get in the way, she potentially has a great deal less hubby time. So twelve hours alone with him is quite generous, and I for one am happy to have it," she declared. "Millions of women put up with less."

Luna smiled dreamily. "Oh, we are the most fortunate of women." So saying she pulled a book out of one of her magical pouches and turned to a well-worn page, marked by a bookmark. Sharing this with Susan, she explained, "Our Transfiguration teacher was not the only one to perform research. Recall, we are all Nemean Lions part time, and have their abilities full time. Tell me, what does the underlined section say?"

Susan obligingly read aloud, "Lions typically copulate twenty to forty times a day for several days during a mating bout, and may be fifty times a day or more for vigorous specimens. Females are ready several times a year."

Both girls looked up at Harry, broke away to hide behind the volume and broke out into ferocious giggles.

McGonagall found herself blushing furiously, yet oddly pleased, with Hermione acting almost as her mirror beside her, privately resolving that she needed to arrange for her man to steal her knickers - and soon!

Hannah sighed and fluttered her lashes at Harry, who felt oddly nervous.


Bellatrix giggled to herself.

She often did that when she was causing mayhem, havoc, carnage or destruction to her master's enemies.

And boy did THIS qualify!

All of the marked Death Eaters had betrayed her master. Now this witch was a genius, in many ways. Despite her master's intentions she'd worked it out that Harry Potter was not Lord Voldemort. These Light types were so open and friendly and trusting, really you couldn't keep a secret of that magnitude in this environment, with so many gossipy dryads knowing it.

What might've shocked him was that she didn't care.

Bellatrix could see for herself the dwindling nature, the sufferings and struggles of the true Lord Voldemort as he floundered about, unable to cope with his own success, and she was frankly revolted. The man's half blood nature had become an open secret, and his ineptitude at rule self-apparent. But even before that point her loyalties had shifted.

Really, Bellatrix was a creature of simple pleasures. Oh, sure she'd want to torture the odd mudblood every so often, but who didn't? Even that Vernon Dursley fellow had agreed on that.

Hmm, actually, poor fellow might have done more torturing of muggles than *she* had, what with his tendencies to loudly abuse anyone put under his authority, and how long he'd lived in a purely muggle environment. Granted, the shouting and threats weren't as bad as a Cruciatus, but you used what you had. It was the principle of the thing that mattered, and even most muggles were of the opinion that muggles ought to be tortured. They just disagreed on which ones.

No, Bellatrix considered herself a normal, sensible person with perfectly ordinary attitudes, just fewer compunctions about going along with them than most. One of those was so ordinary among women she didn't even think it deserved to be mentioned - she was attracted to power.

And, when it came right down to it, grant them side by side comparisons and it was no contest! Lord Voldemort was a *weakling* compared to Potter! Just look at what they'd accomplished. The snake-faced bastard had been handed a mighty army, and under his leadership it had been reduced and gobbled up piecemeal.

And who had destroyed that army? Why, Harry Potter. Nor was there any doubt that he could handle the rest of it. That he was willing to play up for her benefit only made it so much better.

Granted full control of magical Britain, Voldemort had ruined it. Granted a load of penniless refugees, Harry was making a bustling economy out of them. It was like that in everything. Even their followers! Death Eaters vs dryads and the victor had been clear in every exchange!

No, Bellatrix did not consider it odd at all that she'd want the babies of the man who could so effortlessly manipulate his environment, along with the magical population.

And when it came to master manipulators, Harry could have the Headmaster's head on a plate. How many times had they killed him so far?

No, it was quite clear where the power was, and like any good Slytherin, Bellatrix wanted her share of it. Along, of course, with the adulation and glory that comes from being on the winning side, and perhaps a few muggles tortured when he wasn't looking; just to keep her hand in, of course.

It was simple pleasures like these that made picking the course of her life so easy!

Still, necessary basics had to be attended to, and if that meant causing suffering, heartache, misery and death to her master's enemies, so much the better!

In this case she was branching out into a new route for causing misery and despair. The strange part to her was not using an Unforgivable, or combat spell of any kind.

No, she was using Confundus.

That singularly useful spell allowed her to convince those Ministry flunkies in charge of administering the 'each family must produce a girl' part of the breeding contract law, that each and every Death Eater family was in default and needed to have a male gender-changed. Then, immediately upon doing it, they'd forget about that newly minted girl and declare them in default again, until there weren't ANY men among the Death Eater families!

A harmless little prank, really.

Considering how many of those were patriarchal, with the females unable to inherit or hold property, that would render the Dark Lord's forces penniless of even what few things remained to their names!

Oh! And the SCREAMS she was expecting once they found out! Not only at the lost property, but every last one of those men was a deviant who despised women. So how much would they enjoy becoming one?

She couldn't wait to find out.

Arrogant purebloods (who were unworthy of the title, having chosen to serve the lesser of the available masters), already howling over their discomforts, denied not only the remains of their wealth, but their genders, masculine rights, and striking out their family names from off the history books? Then, of course, she'd appear to blame it all on Voldemort personally wanting to benefit one side over another, not yet gender switched.

Fun and games.

No one questioned her status as a Death Eater (even though she wasn't not anymore), or her access to greater trust and secrets of the snake-faced bastard any of them enjoyed. Then, of course, once things were nicely primed, antagonism on all sides, she could trigger off one faction against another, and there would be a slaughter.

Bellatrix really wondered if they'd be able to overcome the compulsions on those marks to go lynch Voldemort.

Perhaps not, but it would be fun trying.

This wouldn't just be torturing one poor soul or another. No that would put the Dark Lord's entire army to the torch as they betrayed each other over the insults imagined and hatred spawned. and, whichever side she joined would enjoy having her help in totally subjugating and humiliating the other!

She could count on a few fun days out of that! And lifelong misery for any surviving victims to follow.

Now really, who could ask for more than that?


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