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.


67. Chapter Sixty-Seven


"You must know your plans for taking on a unicorn's powers through ritual must ultimately fail," the Queen's mental voice hung with a faint touch of moisture in the air, like a fog. "The qualities that define them are beyond any magic you yet command. However," she concluded brightly, as if the sun had broke out from beyond cover, "they do lay within my power. Harry, approach and lay your bundles of unicorn parts out."

Harry did so, laying all ten bales, representing ten avenged unicorns, out on the banks of the pond. Tendrils of mist ran over them like fingers. "Yes, they are as you had been told, fully avenged by you. The man to slay these gentle creatures perished by your hand, nor has he come back. As Bane told you, greater Light magic than this there is not. Do you still desire their power?"

Hermione found her friends' eyes on her, and since it was her idea in the first place, made her reply, "Majesty..."

"Call me mother." The mental words smelled playful.

Hermione dropped a quick curtsy. "Begging your pardon, but I already have one of those. It would feel odd to give her title to another."

"Very well, Majesty will do for now."

If Harry had to guess, he'd say a test had just been passed, but couldn't for the life of him say what.

"Thank you, Majesty." Hermione again bobbed a quick curtsy to hide her nervousness in defending her idea. It seemed so silly now. "We have those hunting us who seek our destruction. We foiled an assassin once by having powers he did not suspect. It was our intent to seek others he would not know of. Toward that end I proposed we seek a second magical form beyond our ability to become Nemean Lions."

Hermione had forgotten she was nearly surrounded by Hogwarts staff. She got reminded when they gasped over that last revelation.

Still, she did her best to ignore them for now. "I suggested unicorns for their speed and agility. This got seconded by Luna who remarked on the resistance of unicorns to curses. But I mean no disrespect!"

"No, it is well reasoned. Though you may have shot far beyond a mark within your power to hit," the Queen gently chided. "Dragons would be far easier. But you are young and still exploring boundaries. I would give you hints to guide you on your way towards making it possible, but you have so delighted me by the gift of so many more dryads than I paid for that I shall reward you in part with this. Step forward, each of you."

The trio stepped forward, then each arranged themselves next to a bundle on unspoken mental promptings.

"An oath I would demand, but it would be redundant with the one already sworn," the Queen instructed. "Kneel."

The trio did so.

"Majesty," Harry broke the self-imposed silence that hung over them all. "Before we begin, may I present to you Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott? Both are betrothed to me through agreements they are bound to."

Startled out of hypnotic reverence the presence of the Fairy Queen's voice demanded, the two shocked girls jumped out of their socks before mumbling a pair of "How do you do"s. And Susan yanked Hannah down to a curtsy with her, both feeling put on the spot and awkward.

"I do very well, thank you," the sudden breeze that accompanied the Queen's tones smelled amused as she answered the pleasantries as though honestly meant. "Harry, are you pleased with their conduct?"

"I find no fault with them, my Queen," he intoned seriously.

"Then Susan, Hannah, approach and kneel."

The girls tried not to be too clumsy as they scrambled to do so, each finding their own bundle to kneel next to. Hannah paled in fright, although Susan mumbled a soft 'thank you' to Harry as she tried to find her wits and breath from where they'd scattered to, and gather them back together again.

"Do you agree to be bound to my purposes?" the Queen asked these two. "As I have bound these three?"

"Yes, ma'am." "Yes, Majesty."

Harry winced. There went that Hufflepuff loyalty again. They didn't have to ask what terms. If Harry and his other fiancees were already bound to them, that was good enough for Hannah and Susan.

Strangely, they could hear the Queen smile. She spent a moment not even saying anything, but they could hear it, like a rustle of leaves.

When she did speak, he could taste her joyous satisfaction. He could only describe it as 'almost, but not exactly, completely unlike peppermint, but in a good way'. "Then, as you are presented by Harry, who has earned my favor, this boon I will grant him. Harry, empty your Time Turner into the lake."

Drawing forth the priceless artifact out of his shirt, the boy wordlessly broke the glass open with the hilt of his sword and emptied out the powdered fairy wings into the pond, which glowed.

"Now enter," the Queen informed the two Hufflepuff girls.

Hermione opened her mouth in a gasp, seeing the naiads nearby, but managed somehow to keep her peace. The Queen could order those about, she knew. So it wasn't certain death to enter those waters so long as she told you to.

The duo stood, then entered, and as soon as they did they flickered, and when they were back again got cast backwards by an unseen force, rolling to a stop in their former positions. The moment they stopped moving it got revealed they had the otherworldly beauty of Harry and his other fiancees.

"Taken back in time a week, put through the same process that made you fae," Susan, who now sported a beautiful head of red-gold hair, whispered aside to Harry and the other girls as she righted herself.

Hannah, whose locks were now a luscious honey gold, nodded along, taking her former kneeling position while tucking a lock of fine gold hair behind an ear.

Then the Queen giggled, and surprised everyone by announcing, "And now I must insist you steal their knickers, Harry. After all, it is a Potter family tradition, and I can't have you marrying anyone without fulfilling it."

The boy's jaw hung open in shock, his eyes wider than ever.

Hermione blushed furiously. "Uh, me too?" she proposed timidly.

"Yes dear, you too," the Queen's laughing voice replied, smelling of mint.

A bit bewildered, Harry glanced to either side before turning forward and bowing from his kneeling position, a slight grin on his face at her playful mood. It was always a good thing when those in authority over you were not in a foul temper, and better to be asked to do a light and humorous thing than something odious. "As my queen commands, so shall it be."

This left them an out, If they truly didn't want to be with him, they could make that clear by how hard they defended against the panty theft; and it would be a binding way out since their Queen had commanded it.

"Good." Her smugness could almost be felt as a ripple in the earth. "Now, each of you, take the greatest treasure you have on you and place it on the grass before you."

Luna hesitated before laying in front of her the Girdle of Lions. It was hard not to be attached to it because it both saved her life and had been a gift from her beloved Grandmother Alice, and also it had been a symbol of what had been to her the single best period of her life.

Parting with it was hard, but sacrifices had to be made.

Harry slowly reached for the Sword of Gryffindor, still sheathed by his side before he felt gently yet wordlessly chided. Blushing, he reached instead for the Cuddle Companion he carried tucked constantly into his jacket.

Hermione smiled as she saw her friend reluctantly lay down the magic plush animal, fondly recalling how much the boy had changed towards them when he could feel the love that transmitted to him when his friends cuddled the matching animals in the set.

She had to admit, it was a nice way to stay in contact even though they slept in different rooms. But hers was not the most precious thing she had on her. Instead, it was with almost painful reluctance the girl removed the Diadem of Ravenclaw that she'd borrowed from Harry from where it was concealed under her hair. It wasn't strictly hers, but the Queen HAD said 'the greatest treasure you have on you' and so that was it. Nothing else she carried even came close to that.

She could feel a tearing in her heart as she sacrificed it, though.

Wordlessly attention swerved to the other two girls kneeling there beside the pond. It was as if they were searched and found wanting, not having anything on them worth more to them than school clothes, certainly a poor showing in comparison to the other offerings. Attention then swerved back to Harry, as their sponsor, and he produced the ring of Salazar Slytherin and the Sorting Hat, tossing them to the girls, who gladly placed them before them.

Luna and Hermione also got subtle promptings and took out their own stuffed toy cuddle companions to lay them out beside Harry's - because his was only of use to him because of the shared relationships to them.

A swarm of fairies also flew forward, laying the three copies of the Potter family invisibility cloak over the offerings.

"Now all is arranged," the Queen's voice said quietly, feeling like a tickle of frost over their ears. "Touch the bales before you."

Reaching forward, the quintet did so. No sooner did their fingertips come into contact with the white fur of those unicorn hides wrapping the bundles than the entire mass turned liquid and flowed over them, eliciting some startled gasps as it reformed around their bodies.

Each child now wore robes as white as unicorn hide, with split sides so they could move their legs freely. The hooves reformed on their wrists and ankles as elaborate bracers and decorative greaves, all gold and ivory. But it was inside that they all felt the greatest changes taking place.

They could hardly speak for gasping as the entire world took on different shades and colors. Looking around it became like the entire world got colored in various shades of 'trustworthy', 'helpful' or 'nice'.

Or the lack of them in some cases. It was like they could smell or see or hear how... well, how *good* a person was.

They could also sense magic like never before. It was like having been deaf for all of their lives and suddenly being able to hear. For a good while it was all they could do to take it all in and adjust to their new senses.

When they did begin to gather their wits back together again, they noted with some surprise that the gifts they had expected to be sacrificed had not been destroyed at all. Instead, each of them had their copy. They all wore copies of Luna's Girdle of Lions, although these were done on white leather instead of the faded yellow/brown of the old. Cloaks hung round their shoulders that each could sense was both unicorn hide and held the properties of that cloak of invisibility passed down in Harry's family.

On their heads were pure white copies of the Sorting Hat, standing tall, fresh and blemishless as though wholly new, not even wrinkled. Around the base of the hat where conical part met brim the Diadem glittered under wreaths of butterflies and flowers, and on each of their fingers they had pure gold rings.

Harry noted in some distant part of his mind that the previous crude gold ring was now smooth and far more artistically designed as well as beautifully decorated, but the greatest change was that the stone multiplied with the ring which was once black, now had a different color for each of them. Harry's was white and each girl had a primary color.

In all, it was a great deal to take in, especially with their new senses. Harry was hit worse than all of them.

Eventually he shook his head, tuning in to a conversation that had already been going on. It was the Queen's non-voice he caught first.

"Before that, you must mix the Rampion Elixir."

"Huh?" The bewildered boy blinked stars out of his eyes.

Hermione smiled. "Another name for rampion is Rapunzel. I learned that from an old fairy tale."

Every eye turned to Luna, who shrugged. "Actually no. I'm not genetically related to Rapunzel in any way."

Harry and Hermione were shocked.

Then Luna smiled. "But the *witch*, on the other hand... muggle versions of that tale treat her very poorly. But she was a genius with plants and potions and not ugly at all. And how would you feel if your adopted daughter had been seeing a naughty prince behind your back? Auntie was only trying to keep her safe, and of course punish the scurrilous rake who deflowered her. Muggles seem to think that having rank makes you a nice person, but it doesn't. He even came back with his knights and hunted my poor great aunt to death for the crime of trying to protect her adopted child's virtue. A travesty of justice, but also a pity her spell workbooks got lost at the same time."

"Quite correct," the Queen's voice dripped merriment. "Although they are not lost. Before they rode her down she came to a naiad lake, since dried up, but managed to toss her treasures in. Those still lies safe and sound in the fairy sanctuary near there. And those include the formulas she was working on to control Rapunzel's gift."

Luna boggled, her jaw dropping open in amazed delight over this news.

"What WAS Rapunzel's gift, anyway?" Susan's head spun.

All eyes swiveled back to Luna, who obliged them by offering this explanation: "At the beginning of that fairy tale a witch who had the most lovely garden was living among muggles. A greedy woman who was her neighbor sent her husband over the fence to steal some rampion she had growing there, and he did. But you must know eating enchanted herbs without any knowledge of what they do is unwise at the best of times, and the witch had been breeding new magical species. No one knew quite what they did. So when the greedy woman's husband came by the second time to steal more herbs, and the witch caught him, she got from him a confession that his wife had already eaten some of her experimental, magical herbs - and was pregnant. Well, the dangers of that were even more extreme than an ordinary person doing the same. So the kindly witch insisted on monitoring things so they didn't go too far astray. And, when the child was born it turned out there were negative effects. Straight out of the womb Rapunzel had hair over eight feet long, and it wriggled about like octopus tentacles. Naturally her mundane parents were horrified, and cast her out right away. Feeling somewhat responsible, the witch took the child in and raised her, teaching her how to control her gift - for she could manipulate her long hair as well as any of you do your arms and legs. Indeed, it grew over twenty yards long, and she could form it into four separate locks each with all the power and finesse of her arms and hands. My great aunt worked tirelessly to help her, and studied this the whole while, eventually learning to duplicate this gift on purpose. It wouldn't work on the witch herself, the best she ever got that potion it had to be applied to a child less than a year old, but four extra arms could be very useful. Anyway, while they were working they stayed in a tower together. It had no door or stairs because they needed none, Rapunzel could lift herself or anyone else in or out with her marvelous hair. Then a debauched libertine of a prince came along and seduced the innocent girl, and, well, you know the rest - although that part about my great aunt putting out the prince's eyes was a vicious lie! She never did anything like that! It was all an excuse he used to get his father to send knights to kill her."

Hermione's eyes were wide. "That... that's not the muggle version of the fairy tale."

Luna crossed her arms over her chest and turned away, feigning huffiness. "Well, the prince was able to hire bards and storytellers. My great aunt was dead, so she could not. Another thing he left out is that after the challenge of obtaining her was over he grew bored with Rapunzel in under a year and threw her out, penniless, on the street while he went to chase after Snow White, who had lands and things she was in line to inherit. Rapunzel died of a broken heart shortly thereafter."

"Are you..?" Susan hesitated to ask.

"Related to Snow White?" Luna lofted an eyebrow, concealing her smile. "Not at all. It was the queen, her stepmother, who wasn't awful or wicked at all. Only she was a witch. Anyway that story about her vanity and envy was all made up to cover for the fact that Snow White ran away from a marriage that had been arranged for her by my many times great grandmother to a decent fellow who would have looked after her. She fell in with dwarves, who taught her to drink, and after rebuffing all of my great grandmother's attempts to reconcile fell in with that awful prince, who got her pregnant then left her, dosing her with Draught of Living Death while he went to chase after Cinderella, who at least had the sense to wear a perfume on their wedding night that was poison to the evil at heart, and that killed the awful bastard. It was a good precaution, suggested by her fairy godmother so he wouldn't toss her away in a ditch like the rest of his conquests."

Now Harry's eyes were wide. "So that bit about Snow White and the glass coffin was Draught of the Living Death? What about that anti-evil poison?"

Heck, he could think of a MILLION uses for something like that! Perfuming the halls of Hogwarts, for a start.

Luna snorted, disapproving of the long-ago prince's actions. "Unfortunately the recipe for it was long since lost. And contrary to the tales, the prince didn't save Snow White from that coffin, he put her in there himself; and she is still in there, somewhere, waiting for the antidote."

"You're ruining all of those tales for me, you know." Hermione groused in good natured fun. Actually it was rather exciting to learn some of these things were history!

Ok, well, she'd had some initial reluctance to accept them, but lately? Nah! You just couldn't see some of what they'd done and stay skeptical. Not after meeting the real Alice and the Cheshire Cat.

Luna was unruffled. "No, that was the prince. He did have good bards, though. Very skilled at lying and covering up all of his infidelity."

"Are you..?" Hannah began.

"Related to Cinderella? Yes." Luna primly declared, with more joy than her previous announcements. "After her grieving period was over she remarried to a very nice fellow, and they had a daughter Aurora, whom you'll probably know as Sleeping Beauty. You know how that goes. Anyway, she got released from her spell of enchanted sleep by the son of Snow White's stepmother. And they actually all had decent parents, so were good, responsible people, so were able to actually live Happily Ever After."

Susan tried to change the subject so she didn't have to say she didn't believe her. "Can we get back to the subject? How do we mix that potion?"

"Do we even have to? What if I don't want my hair sixty feet long?" Hannah protested.

"Oh, that's not a problem." Luna dismissed her objection airily. "One of the first things my great aunt did to make it less of a burden on Rapunzel was to enable her hair to change how long it was. Sixty feet was the base length, but she could stretch it longer or contract it much shorter, almost to where the ends were off the floor when she stood!"

"But how will we get hold of her recipes to do that?" Hermione wondered.

"Why, simple. I'll provide access to the shrine that holds her books, of course." Came the Queen's merry reply, proving she still listened in.

"But if it has to be applied to a child less than a year old..." Susan wondered, trying to be practical about things.

Harry smiled at her, "Ah, Susan. I might not have been born yesterday - but it was last month. This fae body I've got is significantly less than a year old, and yours is even younger. The potion ought to work on us just fine."

"And on my new dryads too." the Queen interjected calmly yet wisely.

"Doesn't that mean Dumbledore could use it?" Hermione grew concerned. "After all, he is making new bodies for himself all of the time."

"Not at all," Harry crowed, placing hands on hips while he boasted. "You see, each one of his is actually a copy of a body that has already been around sixty years, at least. Like if you could cast a Duplicating Charm on an old car, it would still have just as many miles on the odometer. Ours are brand new, created fresh just last month. And while they may be patterned after our old forms, there is nothing of our old bodies in them!"

"Actually, dear, that's not quite true," the Queen corrected softly. "No one person can supply all of the material to create a new body from. It's against the laws of nature for one sentient creature to be both parents to a child. So I had to use some salvaged material from your old bodies to make up the rest. So, while I am your mother, your old body makes up the other parent."

Harry's face twisted into a grimace as he realized that just as he'd accepted he'd fully escaped from that experience without negative consequence, he'd become his own father after all. His old body was the 'other parent' of his new.

The Fairy Queen laughed. "Oh! You should see yourselves! That's why I keep doing that trick. The looks on people's faces are PRICELESS!"

Rather forcibly reminded that their Queen was, after all, mother of a race of tricksters, and thus at least something of a trickster herself, Hermione managed to calm her reaction to the news about being her own daughter (and the girl had NOT expected to be informed she was her own father! But the mother slot was already taken, so that only left... Brrr!) and at least got her face composed straight. "Ok, but wouldn't that potion require more of that long ago witch's experimental, magical herbs? It doesn't sound like any of them survived if the witch who was growing them got murdered and all of her effects lost. Even if her notes survived, it could take decades to reproduce those experiments accurately!"

"Decades we shall have, my dear," the Queen reassured, switching tacks entirely from her moment of humor. "I'll simply send Trelawney back in time thirty or so years and send her on her way to retrieve those effects from that fairy shrine. She'll have all of the time she needs."

"But doesn't the Dumbledore of the past have a... of COURSE" Hermione cried aloud triumphantly. "The Headmaster's oracle was Trelawney herself! And oracles aren't able to make any predictions concerning themselves! So the Trelawney of the past won't be able to report on her future self to the Headbastard of back then! She is her only blind spot, so the only person we COULD send back that far! As anyone else Dumbledore would be informed of, probably as soon as they arrived! But this way he won't be informed of anything he wasn't going to learn anyway, so his history will be unchanged!"

Harry gave a small smile. "Do you think, if she is going back that far anyway, that Sybil could be allowed to rescue my original parents?"

"Nothing could be simpler." The Queen's voice was soft like falling snow yet firm as a granite mountainside at the same time.

"WHAT?!?" McGonagall blurted, then covered her mouth in shame, reminding everyone of the Hogwarts teachers watching them once again.

The Queen's tone felt warm in a mildly reproving way. "You do not know much of our history if you do not know that it was once widely considered that a person, adult or babe, who died suddenly had actually been kidnapped by the fae and a piece of enchanted wood left in their place. I shall empower her to do so for of all the parents of my champions lost during that period."

"Why are you doing so much for us?" Susan asked softly, suddenly shy.

They could feel attention switch to Luna, but it was not to her the Queen spoke, "My dear, even including those standing here with us now, there are less than a hundred dryads in the whole world! Most are hiding behind rather extreme protections, yet none are as safe as the ones you are creating now. My faithful champions have come up with a blend that cures most of their weaknesses, and cuttings may do the rest. For that I am willing part with a great deal of power expended in rewarding you. Although, I do request you create a second batch of the enhancement potion you mixed with the cordial to administer to my other remaining dryads, as they can apply it to their seeds, and switch to one of them to gain the benefits."

Harry stood up and walked over to Sybil Trelawney, taking a book out of one of his pouches and handing it to her with a soft smile, saying, "Here. This is the book where I've been collecting all of my recipes for enhancement potions, Beautifying Potions, Memory Potions, potions for stimulating mental agility, Re'em blood, Strengthening Solution, Wit-Sharpening Potions and so on. If you'll prepare these ahead of time you may be able to slip them into the cordial sometime, and all of you dryads would have them forever."

The oracle launched herself into a hug of the young man. Then, having released him, admitted with some shame. "I... I've never been much good at potions."

His soft smile was reassuring. "You'll have nearly thirty years to learn. Just give me my book back, when you come back, ok?"

As she turned away nervously to store the book, Harry looked up at the rest of the dryads that were gathered around, seeing they were many and getting an idea of a potential problem that might mean for him.

"Are you going to fight over whose wood I carry?" He asked nervously.

Sybil walked back to the boy, picking up a stick off the forest floor as she did. Then, leaning into his face she snapped it. "This stick is dead." Dropping the aforementioned item, she then reached into his pocket to retrieve one of the trunks she'd made for him. Stroking it lightly, she instructed, "This wood is alive. Do you know how icky it feels to me for you to be carrying dead trees around? Maybe it would feel the same to you if you shoved raw, bloody pieces of human corpses in your pockets, as it does to me when you carry about dead wood - it's disgusting and unclean and makes me want to wash!"

Minerva cleared her throat a bit embarrassed. "I'd compare it to an occasion where your godfather arranged for my panties to become filled with dead rats just as I stood up to a podium to address the school graduation. They had begun to decompose. It was most remarkably unpleasant, and I could no longer even give him a detention for it!"

"It's a sick sensation. Dirty, filthy sick that's both unwashed and..." Poppy shuddered, unable to complete her comparison.


Author's Notes:

I can't help be surprised each time I do it, by how FUN it is to write Luna's family history!

And there were a few surprises besides those, as well. I'll bet none of you saw that 'becoming your own parent' thing coming back into play, either. Let me reassure you she just grabbed some genes to partially clone their new bodies from. So, genetically, they are their own offspring, but it's more like cloning. So no squickiness.

More like a mother taking embarrassing pictures of her toddler so she'll have something to embarrass them with later - in other words a prank.

She is queen of a species known for mischief, after all.

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