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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91. Chapter Ninety-One

I I I

Sunset cast orange shadows over the platinum blonde hair of one girl among the many witches and wizards gathered in the Death Eater camp outside of Godric's Hollow. They'd been gathered out of pureblood circles who believed in all the Dark Lord taught but had not yet taken his Mark - a necessity since no one with the mark could approach across the ward line. But if their Lord could not use his preferred troops to lead the assault, there were plenty of others who believed and would carry his cause and banner forward.

Draca was one of many who'd been reclaimed from prison by the Dark Lord for that purpose.

She was NOT rejoicing.

Bruised over every part of her body, filthy, wearing torn clothes that had once been fine but were now beneath even the Weasleys' rather questionable standards, bloody in places and fresh from a round of Crucio curses, Draca stood on a ridge scowling out over this mysterious town that had appeared out of nowhere, and seethed in anger. She wasn't angry at the town per-se, although they would be the target of her rage. The former boy had built up a dream of all that the Dark Lord's coming would mean for her personally, and the only thing on that list she'd received was being released from prison.

The biggest wish left unfulfilled was that she was not Draco Malfoy.

Voldemort had not restored her birth name or gender. She did not have her ancestral estates or fortune. Heck, she hadn't even gotten those breeding contracts revoked! Voldemort had taken one look at her when she'd made the request, glanced down at her belly and done the unthinkable, commenting that the current Lady Darling had the right idea about breeding purebloods, and would be congratulated! Then he'd gone on to state that more pureblood girls ought to be subjected to such breeding contracts!

In fact, Draca's situation had inspired him. If one witch could be made to bear twenty four children, then ten thousand witches could have nearly a quarter of a million! At that pace, in two generations they would have enough wizards to actually rule the muggle world rather than sit around talking about it.

Ten years for the kids to be born, twenty for them to mature, and another twenty for the next generation, they could be prepared to rule the muggle world inside of fifty years! That was a heady thought, and inspiring to think on. Most Death Eaters joined up for the opportunity to kill a few muggles. The concept of ruling them had always seemed out of reach: an ideal, or dream.

To actually have a usable plan to approach that was extremely motivational.

Now, there weren't ten thousand purebloods to be found. All told, counting up every boy or girl from tiny toddler to toothless old crone, they had less than six thousand purebloods in Britain, roughly fourteen percent of the magical population. But, accepting those were going to be rare, the purebloods could be preserved for a ruling class, as they should be, while the whole magical population could be made to increase. The non-purebloods would serve the purebloods, much like knights served their lords, and they would rule over the muggles as their natural peasantry!

All sorts of magical people had begun to get excited by this idea, and not just among the purebloods or Death Eaters. Even among those opposed to Riddle there were those, like Ron Weasley, who really liked the idea and many began to proclaim that if he'd said from the start that was what he wanted they never would have opposed him!

Ask me to be more pureblood than I am, and I can't do that. But if all you ask is that I have kids, well, I can do that. There were even debates in pubs where so-called moderate wizards grumbled to each other about how something like this ought to have been done a long time ago.

Naturally, most of the people saying that had never changed a diaper.

Now getting ten thousand witches under breeding contracts amounted to basically all of them that weren't either too old or too young to bear kids. So Voldemort directed his Ministry to pass mandatory marriage and childbearing laws. It was called the Lovegood Initiative, by Wizengamot members too slow on the uptake to realize that Luna really was a Darling.

Then, because he was Voldemort and really not a nice guy, he made them pass additional laws so a wide number of crimes (chiefly political opposition to him, of course) now carried a penalty for witches of carrying an additional full set of breeding contracts, and for wizards of being turned female and then subjected to breeding contracts.

Nobody much cared for the discomfort of the witches, of course. These laws also had an extra stipulation that every pureblood family must produce a girl who could then be used for breeding purposes. And, if a girl could be obtained no other way, then a boy would be taken and gender-changed.

Some purebloods, mostly those with only a single (male) child grumbled a bit, but no one dared complain too loudly lest they draw Voldemort's wrath. Most couples, like Ted and Andromeda Tonks or Odd and Selene Lovegood, simply looked at each other, shrugged, and ordered the necessary set of potions to fulfill those laws, even among those in Harry's towns (which were new to the concept of no longer being governed by the Ministry).

A surprising majority of mainstream magicals, tired of hiding out like mice in an attic, began talking about these laws favorably, many feeling as though it was something the Ministry ought to have been doing all along.

In truth, very few witches and wizards weren't aware that their numbers were shrinking in comparison to muggles. Back during the Middle Ages it had been something like one magical for every hundred mundane, at times and in places as low as one in fifty - a far cry from the one in two thousand now in Britain. Virtually every being with magic was aware of the numbers disparity, and on some level felt anxious or nervous about it.

Not a few were tired of hiding out from the muggle world, and not just among the purebloods. The sentiment ran rather strong among the filthy mudbloods and halfbloods as well. Not that they mattered, of course.

However, none of these grand plans were making Draca happy.

Potions were actually getting quite scarce in Voldemort-run Britain, as the primary sources of ingredients were either Light families (which had by and large disappeared, no one knew where), Hogwarts itself (which still resisted) or international dealers which had cut them off due to there being a Dark Lord in control. So things like bruise-healing-paste were in short supply, and nobody had any to waste on low priority targets like Draca No-Name.

So not only was she nameless and a girl, but her contract had only stated Crabbe and Goyle, so when the heirs to those lines had died the contracts simply passed on to their fathers, whose understanding of reproduction was, err, limited. At some point in their past some idiot had, probably as a joke, told the senior Crabbe and Goyle that women had children only after being properly beaten, and those two inbred morons had believed it!

So Draca had spent an afternoon being pummeled with their fists. No wonder both of their wives had died. They'd almost certainly only had children thanks to those impregnation potions slipped in on the sly.

Without access to impregnation potions (which her contracts forbade) Draca was expected to submit to the fumbling efforts of idiots the same age as her father! Not just once, but a dozen times each, at least! And that was even assuming those two blockheads could even figure it out! Worse, the whole thing had Voldemort's official seal of approval! It ought to bring more pureblood children into the world, so he was fine with it.

Well, Draca No-Name was NOT!

Trouble was, the Dark Lord coming back had been her genie in the bottle, her dream come true, her 'everything will be alright when' and it was anything but! So now she was forced to deal with the aftershocks, the 'what now?' when her first dream had blown up in her face and turned into a nightmare.

It was not being an easy transition, either. In point of fact, Draca was still hung up on the 'everything ought to be perfect now' and not quite grasping how it all wasn't. About the only thing she could be sure on was that while once she had been the heir to one of his most powerful supporters, a patron in the form of her father able to provide wealth and political influence as well as powerful spells to serve the cause, and now she was not.

Already she'd been Crucioed by new recruits, like herself, who'd been heady in their new freedom to use the Unforgivables as much as they wanted. She had been around when their wand hands had gotten itchy. They'd recognized her as low on the totem pole with no one to protect her, and the results had been predictable.

Bullying was an ancient and respected tradition among Slytherins.

Well, that put it back in terms of the Slytherin dormitory, and she could deal with that. All it meant was acquiring a new patron, then things would be fine. And to do that all Draca needed to do was distinguish herself in some way, so that persons of wealth or influence would want her loyalty.

Well, that was easy.

Shaking from the effects of a curse she'd once delighted to use on others, Draca had been inspired to start upon the path of her Aunt Bellatrix - that of Hit Witch. She decided she would become so dangerous that anyone could see using her as simple breeding stock would be a waste of resources.

She already knew all the Unforgivables, after all. How hard could it be?

So she was staring out on a peaceful town, populated with people that had never done wrong to her, contemplating how she was going to torture and kill the inhabitants in ways that would stand out as so horrible it would place her above the rest of the witches and wizards plotting to do the same.

I I I

Angry crowds had gathered on the steps of Gringotts, the wizarding bank. It had been weeks since the goblins had allowed anyone to visit their vaults, and the economic crisis had grown steadily with each passing day, as they were not even allowing remote withdrawals from clients' accounts.

The goblins kept coming up with excuses: broken tracks, cave-ins, dragons having gotten loose and rampaging in the tunnels, and finally a minor civil war among the goblins themselves leading to those vaults being unavailable. At first the magical populace had been patient. The excuses had sounded dire enough. But at each passing day without money their personal discomfort grew and grew to the point where it was unbearable.

Several times the Ministry both before and after Voldemort's takeover had generously offered assistance. After all, it was not just the packed masses of peasantry that missed their gold, but wizengamot members as well as the Ministry itself that needed access to their funds, to say nothing of the Dark Lord's demands for gold. Their pleas to gain access to their funds had grown more strident every day. However offers of magical assistance, mine equipment, dragon handlers and aurors had all been ignored until it had reached the breaking point.

Voldemort had thought to turn his full attention to the goblin problem once Hogwarts had fallen and he was in full control of Magical Britain. Then the Ministry building had fallen under attack, and that left Moldyshorts with the headache of how to run a magical government with the apparatus to do so effectively destroyed. Not only was the building itself lost, but a high proportion of the government employees died in the flooding, collapses, and of course hydra attacks.

Being killed had been enough to set off the Dark Lord's temper. He didn't like being exposed as having simple weaknesses like dying, and he made sure his displeasure was well known at his resurrection ritual.

Then he'd learned of the loss of the Ministry building itself and that had set him into an apocalyptic fury; because with it vanished all means of monitoring the magical world, the trace put on wands when they were sold, supervision of apparation and portkey travel, as well as countless other systems were lost - to say nothing of the floo now being shut down, the controls along with the hub system having been destroyed in the collapse.

Probably only one percent of the magical world knew how to apparate, and those were the only ones who could create portkeys. Without the floo, most witches and wizards were now reduced to riding brooms (and not a few of them were terrible at that, as well).

Parkinson Manor, where the dark ritual to raise their lord was performed, had been filled with the groaning, tortured bodies of those who'd felt the Dark Lord's displeasure over that setback.

Then Pettigrew had the remarkable stupidity of informing their lord, still in the fires of his temper, about the loss of the Hall of Records. It hadn't even occurred to Voldemort to think about the lost records until then. When it did, his fury left a death toll, claiming anybody nearby.

Lack of those records would cost him more governing ability than the loss of the building and the employees combined. They had already sent divers using gillyweed down to see what could be recovered, and the first one in the door had encountered some sort of spinning tooth golem and been shredded.

Worse, their efforts had drawn the attention of the other monster swimming happily through those flooded halls. Only one man of that exploration party had returned, and he got out by apparating while the beast ate his friends. But before he'd gone he'd seen the condition of most of the records there.

Voldemort had blown his top over that. Parkinson Manor was no more. But while he was doing so, any effort to reclaim the ministry building was quietly abandoned. The magical world had a long history of ignoring every problem they safely could, even long after it was no longer safe to do so, and it was just much easier to leave that king hydra rampaging down in the now-useless Ministry complex, seeing as it was a total loss anyway. If anything was left down in that ruin, they would have to brave the king hydra to reclaim it.

That left Voldemort only one option. If he was to reclaim any amount of that data, there was only one place to do it - Gringotts Bank.

Gathered crowds of witches and wizards around the bank let out a cheer as they saw the approaching auror force. Doors of the bank had been blockaded since the day this measure first began to be discussed on the wizengamot floor at an emergency session.

The Wizengamot was effectively gone. Their chambers smashed and flooded and a large portion of their members gone, so Voldemort was happy to order what was left of the Ministry to relocate to the goblin tunnels. That way they would have access to the bank's records and their gold at the same time.

The public declaration was if the goblins were unable to run the bank, then the Ministry would take it over and run it themselves. While the few thinking individuals among magic-kind saw that as its own recipe for disaster (Fudge was not the only Minister who would have run the place as his own personal piggy bank, and Ministry inefficiency on everything else would not be welcome here) still there was little enough alternative but to force the bank to reopen to get people at their gold again, let the pieces fall where they may.

Under cover of the aurors, cursebreakers, no longer affiliated with Gringotts since they'd stopped paying all of their human employees, went to break the wards on the doors. The traps and protections fell surprisingly quickly, to the dismay of everyone who'd ever purchased supposedly unbreakable goblin wards - as if they couldn't ward their own bank, what could they protect?

Faith in goblins took a substantial hit that day, and not only as bankers.

At last the doors fell open, coming crashing down on the bank steps as a final trap meant to crush invaders, a device that failed as it was the very Gringotts employees who'd maintained those traps who had broken them open, and thus knew to keep everyone out of the way of those doors when they fell, crushing stone underneath them.

Goblins shared a fault with wizards in that they were lazy, not doing any work they didn't have to, and forcing humans into subservient roles maintaining their traps had pleased them immensely. Now it meant their supposedly impregnable bank got opened as easily as a can of sardines, dealing a mighty blow to people's faith in goblins.

The aurors rushed in, wands out in battle formation to the accompanying cheers of the watching crowds, waiting to get their money back. Ten minutes later the report came back - the bank was empty, nothing left. The goblins had fled, taking everything they could with them. The building was bare down to the stone floor tiles, even the entrance to the tunnels below was missing.

The shouts of outrage and betrayal could be heard for miles.

More than one goblin rebellion had begun this way, although this was the first time they'd done injury by stealing a bank, they'd all begun with similar acts of betrayal and cruelty. So the Ministry began to take measures right away. Kill on sight orders got issued, and a bounty was put out on goblin heads.

In truth, the goblins HAD been planning a rebellion, just not this way. Riddle would actually do the world a favor in the mainline, as his torture and murder of a few hundred goblins for sport would have satisfied the repugnant and cruel species that wizards still had what it took to smack them around, and thus put off the next goblin wars by a couple of decades. However, here that would not happen, and they'd been forced to act on plans prematurely.

The latest goblin war had begun.

Ironically, no one had planned it this way. The goblins had been quietly building forces up to create an unstoppable army, but they weren't there yet, and it was not their intention to close the bank or seal the tunnels. No, they'd actually had no choice at all about that. It was one of the relics of the last goblin war, leftovers that nobody had previously cared about.

No one involved knew the full story. But when Harry took over the played out Black family mines back when he was consolidating all of his family property with that staff he had unwittingly closed Gringotts. Although unknown to him at the time, Gringotts had been illegally using them to store vaults in - they'd occupied some of the largest Black family mine properties in the last series of goblin wars and had never been successfully evicted from them. After the peace process goblins had thrown up a building on top of the mine entrance they'd been using as a fortified warren during the fighting, and started the bank those contracts allowed them to run right on top of their fortified camp. This had by and large been forgotten, but those mines were never legally theirs, so when Harry collected them, he unintentionally stole most of Gringotts, including most importantly the parts the gold was stored in.

Mines quite often have many entrances and air tunnels, so Harry had never known when he'd gone about collecting family properties carefully marked out on a map that one of those connected to the tunnels below Gringotts, and that those mines had vaults recently installed in them since the last war.

This was ironic because now the wealthiest witches and wizards in Britain were those that did not bank with goblins, and the majority of those were in Harry's towns, where he'd convinced them not to and put private vaults in every basement to give them an alternative.

Bad luck on Dumbledore's part, as that faction he so adored and promoted, the purebloods, had by and large been economically broken while his enemies now prospered as the value of a galleon just expanded explosively.

The law of supply and demand. When there are fewer, they are worth more. With very little liquid cash left circulating about magical Britain, those who had some quickly found that it would buy a lot more than it used to.

I I I

While Voldemort was busy preparing, Harry and his friends were too. Actually the teens were arguably working twice as hard as Voldemort because they knew what they were up against, there was no guessing, and they had a clear set of goals to accomplish if they were to achieve anything.

Even on triple days, it felt like they had next to no time at all. Forget free time, they didn't feel like they had have enough to get critical, life-saving stuff done quickly enough to suit them.

Even with Harry's expertise it took one day of feverish work each to bring the five unwarded towns up to the standard of magical protections around Godric's Hollow. That took two days each repeated three times with one for fixing up errors, expecting an attack at every moment, and during that time the four girls were all working as hard as Harry at setting those wards up.

There wasn't anybody else to do it, as every competent magical already had as much as they could handle assisting with the general construction. But the Boy-Who-Lived turned out to be an excellent teacher, and though the work was hard, specialized, and high above their education level, they got it done to a surprisingly solid standard.

The being that was Harry Potter had splattered like a pumpkin dropped from a tall tower under the impact of all of that belief energy. Of course, having that done in Wonderland, such an experience didn't have to be lethal. Instead he'd transformed into a garden whose many scattered leaves and flowers represented parts of him. Initially that garden had spread all over. The best it could do under its own power was pull together enough so that the various bushes and plants he'd become had contact with each other. But they'd had no way to resolve their many conflicts, so that was as close as he could do under his own efforts.

It had left him as large as a decent sized muggle park, all of his various scattered bits unable to draw closer to each other than that.

In this thing he had been truly rescued by his girls, as each had provided focus for his parts and collected them together around themselves. That act alone had done more to heal him than he'd been able, pulling together most of his major factions into coherent wholes. Considering that he was trying to be one person, being four trees and a handful of bushes was far improved over being a wide and spacious park. Then they'd gone the further step of pruning some of his worst flaws, doing more than many would ever understand to heal his wounded psyche and assisting him integrating.

Thus he had become one person, not the splattered remnants of one.

Of course, empowering Harry as the Boy Who Lived had consequences.

Hermione shuddered as she watched Harry at work. They were in Ravenshire and had only just exhausted themselves following after him laying the last wardstones around this, the last of his six towns. It was exhausting work, far above their level, and yet with Harry's careful instruction they had all done fine anyway.

The Boy-Who-Lived was, without a doubt, one of the finest teachers she'd ever had, and considering her early tutors, that was saying something!

Now the girl watched in wondering awe, unable to stand herself from so much magical effort, yet there was Harry, fresh as a daisy, laughing and joking around with the work crews as they returned from another day working on the walls.

Too tired to do much else than observe, she saw him behave as though he'd put no effort into the warding at all, and was best friends with everybody there. From this evidence it hadn't taken her long to confirm something she'd seen in his books, namely that the Boy-Who-Lived tended to see, and treat, the entire magical world as one, big, extended family, happily greeting everyone by name and knowing their important days, birthdays and anniversaries and such.

Dobby and Hedwig both were already most deliriously exhausted by continual efforts of carrying gifts around. A mere crisis like impending doom and the end of a world spiraling down under control of an evil overlord wasn't going to make Harry forget something as important as little Sally's birthday! Oh No!

And there were a lot of little Sallys in their world.

More than that, most of their world was refugees at the moment, and they needed things. So a thoughtful little gift basket from the boy hero was just the thing, and typically contained exactly what they needed to get on their feet again, without even having to be asked.

THOUSANDS of those were getting sent out! And it all seemed effortless on Harrys part, fitting that in like others did breathing. It was just something to do while going about your ordinary day.

While new, this behavior wasn't a flaw, so it couldn't get clipped by the girls pruning him; although Hermione rather suspected it would lead to Christmas bills that were just downright INSANE! Getting gifts for forty thousand people wasn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The fact that, judging by what she'd already seen so far, they would all be thoughtful and personalized to each individual's own interests and tastes beggared belief - but that's the Boy-Who-Lived for you. He didn't even think twice about a monumental gift shopping effort that would normally require a small corporation to organize; however it was an odd quirk, and it wasn't the only one.

Harry now had the same manner with crowds as Sybil Trelawney - that of a great celebrity who inherently knows the spotlight belongs on them anyway, and it would have been a bit odd to see them fight over it, except it never happened, as each inherently trusted the other, so they shared it naturally.

He had other interesting quirks, like he always has a bag of candy handy that he instinctively offered to adults and other children, and that made you feel better instantly. Hermione could peg the origin of that one easily enough - magical authors drawing on what they knew had copied some traits from the best sources they could think of, so Dumbledore's candy habits also became a trademark of the Boy Who Lived (although his were better). Those candies were as near as she could figure actually based off the patronus stones the twins were working on, in candy form no less - pure, congealed good feelings, enough to make a tyrant feel a saint, for a moment.

Susan, laying exhausted nearby, had been observing Hermione observe Harry, and chose that moment to ask, "What'cha thinking?"

Hermione told her.

The Hufflepuff girl blinked. "So you're telling me those stories, some of them more than ten years old, have him using a candy based on something the Weasley Twins haven't even invented yet?"

"Yeah, I know. It bends the mind, doesn't it?" Hermione nodded. "And that's not the least of it. I suspect that Harry is spending on gifts because right now he has money and the rest of our world doesn't, so is all unconsciously jumpstarting an economy in our little towns for us with all those gifts he keeps buying everyone. We need it, so he is doing it, all probably unaware. That's the mind-bending part. We do need currency in circulation, and he is probabaly the only one who has enough since the bank closed, but that he is seeing to that need without even being aware he is doing it." Hermione shook her head. "Amazing."

I I I

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