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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99. Chapter Ninety-Nine

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A mark was moved on the large battle maps projected on her monitor.

'Everyone is safe except the group that fires first.' That is what Queen Alice had said.

Group.

Not nation, not country, group. Queen Elizabeth II had missed that distinction when she had first heard it. So while Iran had been the country to fire, they had done it upon stating religious reasons, so it was the religion, not just the country, that was punished for it. And that religion was Islam.

So a huge swath had been cut through the world, as in one unbroken strip from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the East, through the Middle East, all of the way across North Africa, the bombs had been allowed to fall unhindered. In some cases they had seemed to divert mid-flight from other countries or targets to hit predominantly Muslim areas.

And the results were not pretty.

Still, in some ways it didn't matter which group had been knocked out. The fact remained that the world stage was a crowded one, and whichever player got eliminated left a vacuum that others were trying to fill.

The universal result was war.

The Soviet Union was accounted a world superpower. They had also been clearly, and accurately, described as "A third world country with first world weapons", meaning that while peasants lived in rude huts not much changed from the middle ages, or squatted in apartment complexes where everything was broken all of the time, scratching out a meager existence for the glory of socialism, they had one of the largest military programs in the world.

(Three of my immediate family have lived there during the period in question. I know, and you would not believe half of the tales about how bizarrely broken everything there was back behind the facade kept up for Western tourists.)

Now one does not get one of the largest militaries in the world without some intent to use it, and being counted a superpower means you are willing to exert your influence to the far reaches of the globe. However, a bit of trouble Russia had always had exerting their influence was you can only reach so far without a navy, and while they had one, they had a very large one, one of the most famous aspects of that country has always been their extreme winters, and most ports they had froze over periodically.

Well, you can't send your navy off to do things when it is frozen in harbor, and ships can only stay at sea for so long, so one of that country's long sought for goals was to have what they called a "warm water port" ie, one not in danger of freezing over half the months of the year.

They had waged several clandestine wars and engaged in countless intrigues toward this aim. The Black Sea hardly counted as it would be so easy for an enemy to blockade in times of war, cutting their navy off from supply and thus rendering it rather less useful. So they always kept their eye out for opportunities to gain another. Their infamous war in Afghanistan, where they had freely distributed poison candies and toys that blew the hands off of young children who touched them, had always been a step for them towards those delicious warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

With that expansion towards warm water in mind, and their demonstrated willingness to do so over the bodies of whoever stood in their way, it should hardly count as surprising to anyone that Russia had decided at the highest levels that if they ever went to war on a nuclear scale that it would be awfully convenient to clear a route to a warm water port at the same time. Armies make the best and fastest conquests of territory when no one is around to oppose them, after all.

So it should come as no surprise that part of the plethora of nukes issuing forth from the Soviet Union caught every single population center between them and the equator. Naturally, only those targeted against territories not protected by the magical treaties hit their targets, but it was quite enough to reduce the Arabic world to a few camel jockeys living in tents, who at the same time began fleeing from the Soviet armored corps that began tearing up those deserts seeking to establish dominance over the terrain, securing those vital coasts so they could, at some future point, build ports on them.

All of the previously existing cities were now so much radioactive wasteland, after all. Soviet nukes had a problem with not being too accurate. So, knowing this, they tended to build them with larger warheads so they hit a wider area, then fire more than a couple towards each target, just in case the first one or two veered off and missed the target entirely. The tactic, called "saturation bombardment" tends to hit everything over a wide area.

No, it had been one very bad day to be a Muslim.

Luckily for the magicals, although the mundanes did not know it, a prevision of those secret magical treaties was the notification and evacuation of the magical people out of any country censured enough to endure blasts. After all, with a portkey arrangement, magical peoples could evacuate a country in seconds so long as everything was put in place ahead of time; plenty of time to avoid missiles whose flight paths were measured in minutes. So the Arabic Magical World went on quite nicely, as they had been doing since before the fall of Persia. They were a little short on belongings. But handy detritus could always be transfigured into anything in a pinch, and gold doesn't cease to exist when nuked, it just gets slightly warm and irradiated (and potentially hard to find, as it gets a little scattered). Since magic suppresses radiation, and they could summon it with spells, all it was to wizards was warm. So they were able to reclaim their fortunes and go buy most of what was needed to resume living normal, magical lives. Yet another example of magical populations ignoring crises that set the mundane world on its ear.

Of course, Russia was not alone in making a land grab, nor was that the only direction in which they were grabbing. Nearly everyone was getting into the act, and the entire world was at stake.

China had made a push through their western mountains and were trying to gobble up that same former Mideast territory that Russia wanted so badly, and armed clashes between their armies were growing far from uncommon. True, there had been a lot of bad blood between those two countries before, but each had recently tried to nuke the other and both were taking it badly.

Still, there were far too many players on the world battlefields for any sane or rational person to feel even so much as halfway comfortable. To the great surprise of some, secret nuclear arsenals had turned out to be the rule, not the exception, and bad blood that most had not even been aware of had triggered off exchanges in the most obscure parts of the world.

Australia and Indonesia had been one of those. Neither had been supposed to have nuclear arms, but it turned out both did and had fired at each other in an opening salvo to settle an animosity most didn't even know they had. A war that had abruptly ended when Indonesia, which had been predominantly Muslim, ninety percent of which was tightly packed into a small area, got crispy, leaving Australia wondering what to do next.

They had been unprepared for the diplomat from Japan to show up asking 'How much for the country you just conquered?'

They were debating the price even now.

Cost would doubtless be higher save for the fact that it was very doubtful that Australia could deliver the title uncontested, as China had gobbled up all of the small countries along her borders (although she was finding a few, like South Korea, rather a tough nut to chew) and, not being satisfied with that, was looking for still more.

Her transports would already be sailing south toward Indonesia save for the fact that the Russian Pacific fleet was trying to get there first. Russia had the larger navy, but the battles were taking place far closer to the Chinese coast, so she was able to use her air support more fully, and had turned out to have an absolutely astonishing number of submarines and surface to surface missiles.

Japan had completely stopped producing cars and was instead building top of the line weapons and military vehicles as fast as she could, due to the fact that most of those Russia vs China battles were taking place uncomfortably close to her home islands, and either one might decide at any time to support their cause by turning her into a forward base.

In fact, both sides were already getting rather insistent about that.

The armies of India, having charged into Pakistan to finish off their hated foes, were caught in between the two powers, and the country was getting badly abused by both Russian and Chinese ground commanders ignoring her sovereign rights and maneuvering how they pleased, including over and across her territory as they wished.

So it was safe to say that all of Asia was at war, locked in the grasp of heated battle that would doubtless change the face of that part of the world for generations to come.

The Mideast was a wasteland. There had been very little rural population to speak of. Most of the people had been tightly packed in those cities that were now so much glowing, radioactive sand. The one exception was Israel, which was currently gripped in the throes of civil war.

Arafat had declared himself Caliph, and Emperor of every nation that had once fallen under a minaret's sway (which, when you think about it, included most of Europe these days if he wanted to press the point - and he probably did). Troops under him had rounded up every Muslim they could find, gathering them to staging areas, some at bayonet point, and armed every man, woman and child with either an AK-47, grenades, or a bomb vest.

That was not going to be pretty.

Oh, wait. Satellites reported three more nukes going off, one at each staging area. Problem solved.

Pity could wait until after she had seen to her own nation's survival.

The only reason the Atlantic wasn't seeing the same naval battles as the Pacific was that Britain's nukes, which had been the only other exception to the magical treaties rendering most of the exchange cream pies, had all been targeted at her enemies - chiefly those Warsaw Pact countries that had threatened her for so long during the Cold War.

And, being Britain, and understanding the need for fleets, most of those had gone towards eliminating the enemy ports; and this being near the end of October most of the warships were at dock there, resulting in more or less the total annihilation of the Soviet Atlantic fleet - a best case scenario for a small little island country like Britain who was in the Atlantic and felt threatened by said fleet. Although with Britain's nuclear stockpiles, more than a few Soviet airfields or manufacturing or control centers had been hit as well. No sense in wasting an opportunity or neglecting to protect herself from air attacks. One Battle of Britain had been quite enough, thank you.

So west into Europe was one of the few directions in which Russia was not trying to expand. With Moscow and the bulk of her cities west of the Urals so many glowing craters, it was a wonder the country was attacking anywhere, to be honest. Still, if Russian soldiers were said to have only one virtue, that would be their fatalistic determination, and they marched on.

Queen Elizabeth was feeling particularly bitter about those Russian troops who had made fast marches over the polar ice cap and were now invading Canada - sent on their way in a surprise attack before even the first bombs had been launched. The commonwealth territory did not have the military strength on hand ready to withstand them unassisted, and the Americans were being surprisingly reticent to help, since most of their ready forces had already been tapped responding to the attacks from Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti (head of a Caribbean League that had replaced Cuba as the communist proxy in the region) whose over-eager governments had struck northwards with firm assurances from their Russian allies that their target would be assailed from all directions at once.

Well, perhaps it would have been so, only Canada was not rolling over as fast as Russian planners may have thought. The Soviet Atlantic fleet was mostly destroyed in port, and their Pacific one finding itself far too thoroughly engaged by China to try overcoming American presence on that front. Yet cutbacks in spending, and canceled military projects (now being hastily reawakened in light of present need) had sapped far more of the American strength than had been obvious at first, and much of what did exist had been deployed overseas, leaving the homeland shockingly vulnerable.

That, and her manufacturing power had, by and large, been shipped overseas. So the sleeping giant was finding it rather hard to awaken and bestir itself, what with a blinded population already demonstrating in anti-war rallies, too pampered and lazy by constant safety to understand the need for war now, when it was almost at their very doorstep, and would be in a very short time.

Mexico had promised free passage to the Americans for their ground army to head south to combat the countries threatening her there, although the drug cartels had made the point moot by attacking lines of shipping, hoping to loot those weapons and supplies for their own soldiers. So a surprising fraction of the American military strength had gotten bogged down subduing that country, just so they could pass over to attack their real enemies.

Queen Elizabeth had quite a large army, and would love to help, however she dared not spend the fuel she needed for her own nation's survival, burning it up by engaging in foreign wars. Even Canada, though she dearly hated to part with it, could not be saved at the cost of the home islands.

Scores of nuclear power plants had been authorized, overruling previous limitations simply due to their upcoming desperate need for power. But it was a race to get them done in time before they lost the ability to do so. Solar power was on order to be installed everywhere it could reasonably be put to good function - all of which could have been done easily just a few years ago, only now it just might be too late. Too many countries were too busy at war to make such things, and her own did not have the capacity to do so she might've liked. It had been a fringe technology - one that existed, but hardly installed in any great amount. They just didn't have the scale.

Now she was deeply regretting that shortsightedness.

Besides, as much as she might have enjoyed adventures in foreign lands to save former colonies, her troops were still very much needed at home. They stood in readiness, as Europe was not being spared the trials of war.

With North Africa depopulated, France had surged south to 'protect her interests' in the former colonies in Algeria, and that had gotten blurred a bit in definition as France was trying to secure far more than she'd once owned.

The tempting fruit of those oil wells had drawn more than one comer. North Africa was seething with 'liberators' there to 'rescue' it. Even poor Greece had rediscovered some ancient, long thought lost imperial ambition and was trying to expand her territory by invading Turkey, making the claim that millennia ago it had once been a series of Greek colonies (which was true) and which involved a strange sort of justice as Greece had the notoriety of being the only NATO country ever invaded by another NATO member - Turkey. So it was now somewhat fitting that she return the favor.

It was also somewhat amusing in a linguistic sense that the only reason this was even possible was the much larger Turkey had been fried - in a series of nuclear fireballs, it was true, but Turkey had been fried all the same. Since that country still held some of the territory she'd once invaded Greece for, and that section had not been missed by those missiles, it was even possible to say that Turkey had been fried in Greece.

And Hungary was right there, ready to gobble up her neighbors, too.

Somehow the discovery that Wonderland was real no longer held so much surprise for her anymore.

Speaking of which.

"So, have you done as I asked?" Queen Alice asked without preamble.

Looking up from her desk in her supposedly secure residence, Queen Elizabeth replied. "You asked me to overthrow my entire government."

Queen Alice was unruffled. "Governments are like diapers. They both should be changed frequently, and for exactly the same reasons. Otherwise they become so filled with filth, and the rot and corruption that follows it, they actually endanger the precious life they are put in place to protect."

The elderly British monarch sighed. "It is very hard," she confessed, "to put through any recommendation based upon the whimsy of a child, or a world we know nothing about."

Queen Alice casually opened the French doors out onto the palace gardens and offered, "Then come with me for a walk, and I'll explain a few things."

Mindful of how very little they knew about this magical world, and how very much her security types gnawed over the tiniest scraps of information, the Queen of England felt the opportunity to learn a few things worth the risk of a walk in her own gardens and rose to follow the childlike queen.

Luna would have goggled over how serious her grandmother was being as she spoke as she took her fellow monarch for a gentle walk. "According to my sources, Britain makes roughly half the food it needs. And with lack of fuel for fertilizers, that is going to drop by about half again, and then by half again when your farming machinery gives out. So, by that math, you have about eight times more people than you can feed, and you just haven't got enough land you can convert over to farms for them. Luckily we can enchant tractors and combination harvesters, so the machinery aspect never has to become an issue. But that's still four times as many people as you can feed."

Elizabeth was indeed *very* familiar with the problem, and liked none of the solutions proposed so far by her government. So she followed the childlike monarch around a bush, lofting an eyebrow as she spoke. "I presume you bring this up to offer an answer?"

"Uh huh!" Alice bobbed her head cutely, inspecting a flying bug with all of the wonder of childhood, and mentioned absently, "We were thinking of taking some off your hands. Forced settlers are nothing new to this world."

That had indeed been one of the answers her government had suggested, one that had very little support as there would be too much fuel involved, to say nothing of the protests it would invoke. But she was taking this walk to drill for information, not offer her own opinions. "And who would you suggest we choose?"

Alice had wandered into a part of the park where Elizabeth had rarely been, and sat, very briefly, on a bench, a butterfly nestled on her finger, to look up at the much older queen with a disarming smile. "Simple. Once you add up your various welfare projects, and the government agencies that administer them, they come to a shocking percentage of your national budget. That's a cost you can no longer afford. But colonization is nothing new to the world, and sending those who don't want to go but are considered a drain on society is nothing new either. I want you to make an announcement to the effect that any who choose to remain on state welfare may do so, they are just at risk of being selected by lottery as involuntary colonists."

She gave the muggle queen a direct look.

"You can't feed them, and you can't survive the riots they could cause as they starved. So the only option left is to send them off to someone who does have the ability to keep them fed. The great farming countries are going to have their own problems, so that leaves us."

The blonde child delicately shrugged, setting her hair to bouncing as she hopped off the seat to wander by a pool Queen Elizabeth could not quite remember being on the grounds. Perhaps it was newly remodeled? "I would actually prefer that people volunteer. You get a better colony that way. But it isn't too hard to trap a lazy person behind wards alone on a farm and tell him he either farms or he starves. Of course, we make every effort to not ask any more than he could give, teaching and where necessary healing people so they are up to the work. But 'work or die' is the rule during crises, and we just happen to be in one. That's one of those fundamental natural laws that we can ignore when we get enough luxury, but always returns to bite us when that luxury goes away. What I am doing is providing more of your people an opportunity to do that work and live, rather than leave them to fight over the opportunities they know of, and mostly die."

Queen Elizabeth could hardly argue the accuracy of those statements. She had been mulling them over all too often of late, herself, and had no easy answers. None that she could afford, at any rate.

Still, this seemed a good time to ask one of those burning questions that were eating up her security types. "Well, We could not possibly hand over any portion of Our subjects without a little more knowledge of how they'll end up. We have awarded them no titles, so We presume Our magicals have worked out something more representative? Perhaps like Our former colonies?"

Alice made a rude and very childish noise. "Pish-tosh. You ought to know as well as anyone politics has always been eventually dominated by some form of aristocracy. Wealth and birth are the qualifications for entry to this exclusive order, and it is rare, once a system like that gets established, for anyone new to force their way in.

"Within the Wizengamot an inner ring of powerful families is dominant. It is a tight circle, drawn tighter by intermarriage and adoption. Most of the names would be familiar to anyone with the least acquaintanceship with their world: The Malfoys, the Blacks, the Bones, the Potters... And of course who can forget the Dumbledores? Truly, magical Britain is ruled by a great cousinship, with everyone of any importance a near relative of everyone else of any significance. Power is actually held in fewer hands than even at the height of British autocracy among the muggles during the eighteenth century. There are perhaps a dozen positions holding true authority in magical government, people who make policy rather than follow it. In the past five hundred years those jobs have been held in all but seven instances by members of only twenty six families. Twenty six families who effectively divided all power between them, and of those twenty six, five held half of those offices during that time, so clearly stood ahead of the rest in power.

"Also," Alice continued, hopping around on the edge of a fountain Elizabeth did not recognize, "there are more or less permanent factions among the purebloods, periodically renewing their rivalry in the filling of government posts like Minister or Supreme Mugwump. The Malfoys and Blacks formed one block, the Bones and Potters another, with the Crouch family waffling between them. Each camp also had their subordinate hangers-on, of course, and it was in these circles that the Longbottoms, McGonagalls, Notts and other prominent clans swirled; always looking to advance or to protect their advantages against assault by rivals wanting to tear them down, or by less significant families seeking to distinguish themselves. The Dumbledore clan was until recently one of these prominent hangers-on, always out for advantage yet never one of the top five."

"Until recently?" Elizabeth cocked an eyebrow, outwardly no more than curious, inwardly memorizing all she could of this flood of information. Her experts would no doubt deem it as priceless.

Queen Alice happily nattered along as she went about the garden. "The five families have effectively been destroyed, reduced to a single underaged member in all but two cases. With the death of Lucius Malfoy and the execution of both head and scion of the Crouch family, the only adult members left of any of those families are Amelia Bones and Sirius Black. Yet despite having adult members the power of those families got completely neutralized, because as a woman Amelia couldn't wield her family's political clout, and Black had been imprisoned for twelve years without a trial. Since the Crouch family scion had been imprisoned without issue, his mother dead and his father never having remarried, the Crouch line is dead. And it is hard to think the almost complete destruction of those lines could be an accident because today power is more concentrated than ever - half of those offices of authority are held not by five clans, or even one family, they are held by one MAN! That man is Albus Dumbledore, the greatest political mastermind of an age, and one thoroughly rotten scoundrel who has dipped into every crime imaginable in his quest to add ever increasing amounts of wealth and power to himself. Everything lost by anyone else seems strangely to find itself into his possession, including especially their political power."

"And his family?" Elizabeth inquired, thinking to map at least some of this political genius' support so her experts could examine it for weaknesses.

"No descendants." Alice replied casually, skipping a rock across a pond. "He's a pouf who finds women revolting enough to make the possibility of a dynasty impossible, fortunately, or else he'd be able to pass on what is effectively a magical monarchy, tying up all power among his descendants for who knows how long. His brother is similarly single and the rest of that family died off a hundred years ago. So it ends with him, if he can ever be made to pass on. No creature out of fairy tale is as hard to kill as he is, however. It will be an achievement greater than getting man into space to kill him. Harry Potter is his only opposition of note."

"The Boy-Who-Lived?" Queen Elizabeth was now genuinely astonished. No one who had been studying the magical world neglected to read those books left behind by that first fairy princess. But she had thought those mere fiction, simple adventure stories. "I'd very much like to meet him."

"I can arrange it." Queen Alice got down on her hands and knees, and, with a sudden lunge forward, caught a frog. She stood up with dirt on her dress.

"Still. You are making it very hard to ask Us to commit any of Our subjects to this world you speak of," The Queen of England spoke dryly.

The Queen of Wonderland looked up, astonished, still holding her frog. "Oh, I wasn't speaking of where we intended to move your people at all! I'd thought you were asking about the magical government of England! No, we were planning to use your people to settle various planets of the solar system."

"Now you really are getting ridiculous." The British Queen rose from the bench where she had allowed herself to sit. "We see no way that magical society could master the technology necessary in the first place. None of you seem inclined to space flight, and the logistics alone would be beyond any nation on Earth. So We shall end this discussion here." In truth, she wanted to get this information passed on to the appropriate experts before she forgot any of it.

"Are you sure? There's a beautiful Earth out tonight." Alice asked innocently without looking up, trailing her fingers in the pond.

The Queen of England looked out upon the gigantic reflecting pool (really a goodly size lake. How they kept it so perfectly mirror smooth she had NO idea) to see a vaguely familiar white palace (considerably larger than her own) beyond with a very familiar blue white globe silhouetting it from behind.

Still, it took a moment for Elizabeth to realize and accept that for her to be looking up and seeing the Earth like that she had to be standing on the moon.

As far as the white palace was concerned, Queen Alice stepped up to her side and calmly explained. "Not too long ago the Fairy Queen started collecting Sailor Moon comics, and watching the episodes, and none of us have been able to get her to stop. The palace you see before you was patterned directly after the one in the show, with more detail than you'd believe could have been gleaned from comics and a cartoon. But then, she must have seen them all a million times or more now. She's become a hopeless Sailor Moon fanatic."

I I I

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