Chapter Fifteen: Road to Healing Part Two and Birth of the Rebellion
The group stayed at the med center for a week before they risked traveling. The decision was made to travel to Yavin 4 directly by Portkey, so as to minimize detection by the Emperor's new troops. Although the Senate was still in place, it was a puppet group only and Palpatine had firm control of the government and the galaxy. Luke and Leia were securely wrapped up and held by their parents as everyone crowded round the small Portkey that James held in his hand. A whispered word later and they vanished and reappeared in the Temple on Yavin 4.
"HARRY!" a voice loudly exclaimed. Harry whirled and found Obi-Wan running towards him. He stopped upon seeing Harry's exhaustion and impending breakdown and moved over at a slower pace. Running an eye over the group he stepped back a bit in shock at seeing Bail and Padme, and then gasped when Anakin and Padme revealed the two tiny new additions to the Jedi Order.
"Well, congratulations Anakin and Padme, come along, we'll get you all set up in rooms here. The Temple is in fine form, it apparently used to be used by the Jedi at one point in the distant past, and by another group before them. All the initiates are settled and have more or less recovered from the experience. There are of course lingering nightmares but they're treating it as an adventurous moving house type of experience, which is what we're encouraging if it helps them feel better about it. The Padawans are mostly old enough to understand the real reason behind the move so they're harder to deal with but for the most part their Masters are doing a good enough job with keeping them calm and rational. The rest of us are busy getting the Temple in some sort of order and a group of us is planning a retaliatory strike to possibly reclaim the Temple on Coruscant."
Harry listened to all this with amazement but the last bit caused him to stop and look at Obi-Wan sharply. "No. You need to stop those plans now. Striking back now, when we're still reeling from the last attack is a bad idea. We need to get sorted and stabilized here and then decide what to do. I do know that a series of small strikes would just be seen as an annoyance by Sidious."
"What would you suggest then Harry?" Obi-Wan snapped sharply. Harry glared back and said, "Organise a rebellion. We can't be the only ones that aren't happy with the current government, just look at that petition Bail and Padme organized before everything went to hell. Find other sympathizers, set up bases on sympathetic worlds. Before we do anything else though we need to heal and gather our strength if we're going to stand even a remote chance of winning this new war we've found ourselves in."
Obi-Wan nodded and then silently led the group to their rooms, giving Harry, Ginny and Damien a room, then Anakin and Padme, and finally James and Lily. Bail was across the hall from them. Once they were settled in Obi-Wan guided them to the meeting hall where most of the Knights and Masters were congregated. The initiates were in another room nearby and when they walked past that room the first of the after effects of the attack were felt as Anakin stopped dead before starting to shake. Damien tried poking him to get him to move but the Knight's eyes were fixed unblinkingly on the initiates who were playing and generally creating a mess while waiting for their caretakers to come back. Anakin was finally persuaded to move again when Harry moved and blocked his line of sight, cutting off the initiates from his view. With that, and Harry's insistent yet gentle pressure on his arm got him moving forward again. Damien looked at the initiates as they continued on past but except for a small shiver, he didn't react at all.
"It's OK Anakin, we'll get through this" Harry was saying softly up ahead. Damien couldn't hear his reply but Harry stopped and said more forcefully, "We WILL get through this Anakin; you won't always have the reaction you just did. Come on, we need to get to the meeting room. Soon Severus will be back and we can get started on healing properly."
Anakin nodded and followed Harry to the main hall. When they stepped inside a cheer rose as the rest of the Jedi saw that their two brightest hopes had survived. Scanning the crowd, Harry saw the three people he needed to talk to and began making his way over to them. Anakin had to suffer through being surrounded by Jedi on all sides that were happy to see him alive, when he would much rather have curled up in a dark corner by himself. Finally Harry reappeared and led him over to a corner of the room where Sora and Hikari were sitting. Both healers rose and shook his hand before sitting down. One privacy spell later and the four were able to talk freely.
"I've never heard of this approach to healing but I'd be interested in seeing what happens. I suppose it means dealing with child versions of you two for however long it takes for you to come to grips with what happened" Sora said after hearing what had happened during the Temple invasion and the panic attack Anakin had had earlier.
"Yup. Of course, my parents are more than willing to help look after us, and we will retain our adult memories. Only our bodies will change" Harry replied. Sora looked thoughtful while Hikari merely looked neutral.
"You do understand that both of you will be scheduled for sessions with both of us even after you do this little experiment" she said slowly. Harry and Anakin exchanged a look and then nodded to her, having already planned on exactly that.
"Will everyone have to know what happened" Anakin asked, his fear of being thrown out of the Order painfully obvious. Hikari shook her head. "No. The Council will have to know but they won't be so cruel as to throw you out because of a situation that you couldn't control. If they did that then they might as well throw Harry out too and they're not going to do that."
Anakin relaxed at hearing that and Harry looked at him before standing and pulling Anakin to his feet. "Thank you, we'll come and get you when Severus gets back with the potions. For now though, we're both exhausted and need to rest. We'll see you tomorrow morning."
Harry steered Anakin out of the hall, telling the other Jedi that they needed sleep. They made it all the way to their corridor and Anakin stumbled into his and Padme's room. A cot had been set up for the twins and he fell into the bed beside Padme, going to sleep almost immediately. Harry surreptitiously set up a monitoring charm to alert him if Anakin had a nightmare, even though he knew that Padme would most likely help him through it, and left. He had one last thing to do before seeking his own bed and that was checking on his daughter.
Making his way to the creche section of the Temple he found Tamsin easily enough and just stood above her crib, watching her sleep. Ginny found him there and gently led him back to bed, not needing much persuasion as he was satisfied that Tamsin was safe and not in danger. Just before she went to sleep, Ginny cast the same monitoring charm on Harry as he had cast on Anakin, she wanted to be able to wake and help him if he needed it.
A week later Severus Snape appeared on Yavin 4 and was immediately taken to Harry and Anakin. Both had told the Council of what had happened during the evacuation and it had gone exactly as Hikari had predicted. The Council wasn't happy about the deaths of the Padawans but they couldn't really blame Anakin, and nor did they blame Harry, since Mace had been in that fight with Sidious as well. They were all interested in the outcome of the experiment as they called it, much to Lily and Ginny's indignation.
"Ready Harry, Anakin" Severus asked, giving each of them a vial of a thick purple potion. The antidote was green and just as thick. Both Jedi looked at each other and then at the circle of Council members, friends and healers and then said, "Bottoms up" before downing the potions in one gulp.
The effects weren't immediately noticeable until they began to shrink. Within minutes the 34 year old Harry Potter and the 26 year old Anakin Skywalker were reduced to the age of 4 year olds. They looked round at all the large people standing in a circle around them and began to tremble.
James and Lily knelt down and held out their arms to Harry. "Harry, love, come here. It's us Harry, its Mum and Dad. Come on Harry, we won't let anyone hurt you." They kept up this flood of soothing words until the four year old form of their son came walking over to them, a bit unsteadily, and still wary. Anakin was still looking round nervously, until he spotted Ginny who was holding her arms out to him and walked over to her, still wary and tense but he seemed to accept comfort from her. The three Potters stood with their newly shrunk members of the family in their arms and glared at the people that crowded round too close in the interests of examining the effects of the potion.
Harry whimpered at the closeness of strange people, even though his adult mind told him who they were. Finally he seemed to let go of his fear and looked round. Spotting Yoda he struggled until Lily put him down.
Yoda watched with interest as the four year old Harry Potter walked towards him. He stayed silent, wanting to see what the miniature Jedi Master would do. Harry walked up and hesitantly held out his hand.
"Hello, Master Yoda" he said. Yoda's eyes widened. "Remember me you do?" he asked. Harry nodded, and tried to explain himself but grew frustrated. With a surge of magic he let his words be heard telepathically by everyone.
I know who you all are but my four year old self is here and at the moment he's scared and afraid. This is part of the process; I need to let him have enough control so that all the overwhelming emotions from the past few days can be let out safely. So rest assured that I do know you all but I will be letting my four year old self have control until the emotional stuff is worked through and he, for all intents and purposes doesn't know you so don't be offended if I react badly to any of you, it isn't personal OK?
"OK Harry. Why don't you go back to your parents, they seem to want to cuddle you till you get sick of it" Mace said with a smile. All the Jedi in the room were looking at the four year old versions of the two Chosen Ones with smiles, hoping that they could resolve their issues over time. James picked Harry up and walked out of the room, with Lily and Ginny behind him, Ginny still holding Anakin in her arms. The five made it back to James and Lily's room where the two four year olds were put down on the floor. Anakin made for a piece of machinery where he began to tinker with it. Harry looked round in confusion before heading for a corner. James and Lily watched in confusion and shock as Harry curled up in the corner, merely watching Anakin play but not joining in.
"What are we going to do?" James hissed to Lily. She sighed and shook her head at James' question before conjuring a ball and gently crouching down in front of Harry.
"Harry, do you want to play?" she asked. Harry looked at her with wide eyes, before he looked down. "Not allowed to" he muttered. Lily shook her head. "Yes you are Harry, look, come play with me."
Harry watched in confusion as Lily began to throw the ball up and down, before rolling it towards him. Hesitantly he reached out and pushed it back towards her. She grinned and pushed it back. Mother and son soon settled into a game which gradually built Harry's confidence. Unfortunately he grew a bit too excited and lost control of his magic. A vase on the side table shattered with a crash. Harry jumped and promptly retreated into his ball, whimpering.
James entered the picture then. Squatting down, he gently managed to uncurl Harry and held him. "Look Harry, it's all fixed" he said, waving his wand. Harry looked at him and asked, "You're not mad?" James shook his head. "No Harry. It was an accident. That's all. An accident."
"How did you fix it?" Harry asked. James looked perplexed before answering, "Magic." Harry shook his head. "No such thing" he muttered, reverting to the Dursley teachings as a way of making sense of things. James and Lily looked at each other and silently vowed to make a trip to Earth once things were settled in the Republic once more and kill the Dursleys.
"Yes there is Harry. How did I fix it if not with magic?" James said gently. Harry looked thoughtful before saying, "Magic is real?" James and Lily both nodded again and Harry held out his hand towards the ball. Without saying anything he concentrated and the ball began to float upwards. Anakin looked over and thought that the game Harry was playing was much more fun.
He tried levitating it too, and it fell down. Anakin glared at Harry and said "You made it fall." Harry frowned. "Did not" he snapped back.
This continued for a while as James, Lily and Ginny looked on in amusement at the antics, before deciding that enough really was enough when Anakin pushed Harry over and Harry's magic acted to protect him, throwing Anakin across the room. Both young Jedi found themselves in separate corners for a while, until they finally apologized to each other.
That night, when both were asleep in the same room, although in different beds, Harry was awoken by a soft whimper from Anakin. He got out of his bed and climbed into Anakin's bed, cuddling up to him. Anakin's whimpers slowed and then ceased. James and Lily, who had heard the whimpers, came to see what was wrong and James sneakily took a holopicture of the scene.
"Blackmail material" he said and winced when Lily smacked him upside the head. They moved to separate the two boys, with James sitting with Harry while Lily talked with Anakin about the nightmare. The next night it was Harry's turn to be comforted through a nightmare while Anakin was encouraged to go back to sleep.
This continued through the next three weeks, as both boys had frequent nightmares. Harry even changed into the infant form of Goldshadow once or twice, which James made sure to take a picture of. The nightmares slowed and slowed over the months as the adult minds of Harry and Anakin slowly got past what had happened to them until one day James and Lily looked up from their perusal of the plans to form an organized rebellion against the new Empire, to see two solemn looking four year olds in front of them.
"We've decided that we want to be our normal ages again" Anakin went first. James raised an eyebrow and Harry cut into the explanation. "The nightmares will probably continue but we've got over the initial reactions enough that we feel ready to deal with it as our adult selves, not our four year old selves."
"If you feel ready Harry, Anakin, we have no problem with it. We just want one more thing though" Lily said, looking at Harry with a sort of longing in her eyes. Harry frowned before squeaking as she swept him into a tight hug. James set up the holocam and sat down with Harry on his knee while Anakin sat on Lily's. The camera went off and the picture developed a few minutes later.
Later that afternoon the antidotes were handed out and soon the four year olds developed back into the normal appearances of Harry and Anakin, both of whom looked at each other and said, "Well that was weird" as soon as they'd recovered the ability to talk properly. James sneakily held out the holopic he'd taken the first night that the nightmares struck and then the picture of Harry as an infant Goldshadow. He didn't get the reaction he was hoping for as Harry promptly changed into the adult Goldshadow before changing back and grinning.
"Nice try Dad but I happen to think that those pictures are rather cute. Now, where's Ginny, Tamsin and Damien. I need to talk to them before Anakin and I set up our counseling sessions. James nodded and went to call Ginny and Damien. Ginny appeared 5 minutes later and said that Damien would be along as soon as he'd finished classes for the day, to which Harry nodded and merely hugged Ginny tightly. Padme had come looking for Anakin and both women had brought their children so time was spent cooing at the 4 month old twins and the 5 1/2 month old Tamsin. The reason for the age difference was that Luke and Leia had arrived a bit late, which had caused some concern but not too much as Padme had been healthy and a week or so overdue wasn't too bad. Harry and Anakin looked at each other, both sporting goofy grins still, as they held their children, which had James shaking his head until Lily reminded him that if it hadn't been for the war, when Harry was born James would have taken out a front page ad in the Daily Prophet for months documenting everything about him, even the number of bowel movements. This quickly shut him up and he blushed hotly, along with Harry when he realized what Lily had said, while the rest laughed at them.
Months went by and Harry and Anakin were making slow but steady progress towards healing. Anakin's physical wounds from Mustafar had healed long since, but Harry still felt somewhat guilty and neither was really comfortable sparring together any more as both had to shove the memory of Mustafar to the back of their minds whenever they lined up against each other. This was a problem that Mace and Obi-Wan were determined to fix.
"OK Harry, this time you will spar with Anakin, and remember, you can't hurt him here, the lightsabers are set on the lowest level. Just spar and remember why you love it. You can't be afraid of sparring with Anakin for the rest of your life, he's one of the only ones capable of lasting more than a few minutes with you" Mace said as Harry warmed up in the clearing reserved for sparring. Over on the other side, Obi-Wan was giving a similar talk to Anakin. Both Jedi faced each other and then on a count of three, activated their blades.
"Begin!" Mace said and got out of the way as Harry and Anakin moved towards each other. The duel was stilted and awkward at first but gradually both Jedi remembered why they loved to spar against each other and then they really got into it. They loosened up and began tossing friendly insults back and forth like they used to before Mustafar. It had taken a while to get to this point but now that they'd reached it they recognized another hurdle overcome and both couldn't help laughing.
"Getting old Harry?" Anakin laughed as Harry slipped in the mud caused by a recent rain shower. Harry slid out of the way and threw mud at Anakin to distract him while he regained firmer footing.
"Old? Never. A wizard can live till 100 or beyond, I'm still a youngster!" Harry yelled back, his eyes sparkling with amusement. As Anakin wiped mud out of his eyes Harry grinned and asked, "I wasn't aware that mud was in the sky Anakin, perhaps you ought to be called Groundrunner instead of Skywalker?"
Anakin growled and leapt at Harry, who countered the attack easily. Both stopped at a prearranged signal, their blades crossed and neither giving an inch. The match had ended in a draw as most of their duels did. Both disengaged and deactivated their blades, going to the natural hot spring for a bath before changing into fresh clothing.
"Are you ready for your final test Anakin?" Harry asked. Although they still had a few personal issues to work out, they didn't need Sora's or Hikari's help with them, just meditation and talking with each other and other people would do. Severus Snape had been very helpful to Anakin with working out his issues, and both he and Harry were grateful for that. The last test however, was to see if Anakin had managed to deal with his fear of the initiates and young Padawans. He had had something of a block regarding them and it hadn't been unusual for the Knight to be seen walking rapidly down a corridor to get as far away from the initiates as possible. This had confused and hurt the children until their caretakers had told them that he was still hurt from what had happened to him when they'd moved here and he needed time to recover.
"As ready as I'll ever be" Anakin said. Gathering his courage, Anakin turned and made his way to the initiate training rooms. His test would be to spend the day with the initiates as a guest instructor and general helper. He had made progress with meeting several groups of initiates over the weeks of his counseling but this would be the first time that he'd been around a large group since his brief transformation into Vader.
Harry watched him enter and then went to spend time with Damien. He needed to reconnect with his apprentice and make sure that his training hadn't suffered too much in the upheaval. Damien was still doing well academically, even though the classes were obviously less formalized than before, although the same material was covered. Even with the Republic in tatters, and the Empire on the rise, they still needed to learn diplomacy for when the Rebel Alliance was formed. Lightsaber skills were prioritized as well, and languages were put on hold for a while. Outdoor survival courses were also a priority too. Chemistry was obviously out of the question but astrophysics and navigation were still useful to learn, even though the Padawans grumbled about the most boring classes being the ones that were kept instead of the fun ones.
"You OK Master?" Damien asked after their short sparring match. Harry smiled at him and replied, "Yes Padawan. Things are finally settling down, and I was given a clean bill of health the other day so I'm on active duty again."
"That's great. What about Anakin though?" Damien asked, worried. Harry smiled again and said, "He'll be OK. He has a few more issues that need dealing with but he's not going to collapse on us anytime soon. How are your studies going, was Obi-Wan good to you while I was indisposed?"
"Yes he was great. He told me all sorts of stories about when you and he were Padawans, you sound like you were a trouble maker" Damien giggled. Harry smirked. "I will neither confirm nor deny that fact Padawan; however I will say that I got to like laundry duty if you know what I mean."
They laughed as they set off on an exploration of the local jungle. Harry remained mostly silent, letting Damien direct where they went and letting him do any tracking. He stepped in when needed but otherwise simply enjoyed being outdoors.
When they got back Anakin met them with a smile. In a happy tone of voice he announced, "I survived. No fear whatsoever. I've been given a clean bill of health with the provision that I come back in a month's time to check how I am. Nightmares have been almost non existent lately so I think I'm almost recovered."
"That's great Anakin. Now, I believe we're needed in the main hall, something about a meeting to decide what to do about that dratted Empire" Harry said, walking towards the meeting hall with Anakin beside him. For now, at least, things resembled something approaching normal.
Harry and Anakin walked into the meeting room to find the Jedi Council, Bail, Padme, and the small group of Senators that had put together the petition before the end of the Republic all sitting round a table, discussing what to do. Looking up, they invited the two to sit down, and began discussing various ideas.
"What do you think we ought to do Harry?" Bail asked. Harry frowned. "Why are you asking me?" he questioned. The group chuckled and Bail answered, "You told us about that little student rebellion you organized at school when you were on Earth Harry, we thought you might be able to help us expand on that to build a galactic size version of it."
Harry chuckled grimly. "First of all, that rebellion was against a teacher and her ridiculous Ministry supported decrees, we weren't looking to topple the whole government. Second, I doubt that fireworks and swamps will work here, although they did back then. What I suggest, and feel free to pick it to pieces, is that you gather more sympathizers, have them sign some sort of loyalty oath so we can't be betrayed and then figure out how to best frustrate the Emperor to no end."
"Frustrate him?" Senator Mon Mothma asked. Harry nodded. "Yes. Put up stiff opposition to any decrees he tries to put through, work on subverting his supporters. Gain the support of the non human members of the Republic; I have a feeling that the Emperor has a human only policy building up. We can take advantage of that if we work on it now. Gain schematics to fighters and other ships, or get shipyards to be friendly towards us so we have firepower if we need it."
The Senators were nodding in agreement but the Jedi Council looked worried. "Master Potter, you seem to be advocating all out war here" Plo Koon said cautiously. Harry looked at him grimly. "It's the last thing I want believe me Master Koon. However, I've learnt from bitter experience that ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away and at the moment the Emperor is busy consolidating his power base which means he's still a bit weak and vulnerable in places. If we can frustrate him by cutting his supply lines, converting his supporters, make people see that a free Republic is better than a strictly controlled police state type Empire then we could possibly end this without much bloodshed. However, the Emperor wants the Jedi Order dead; it's far better to have the military equipment and not need it than need it and not have it. Also, the government isn't strong enough to stand against say, half the galaxy if we get the Rebellion running right."
"Yes but didn't you say yourself that the average person in your war on Earth preferred to ignore the problem and didn't care who was in charge as long as it didn't affect them?" Mace asked. Harry blinked as he applied the principle to the Republic and then he scowled.
"You're right but that means we'll have to work harder at convincing them. Besides, this will affect them, especially the non human Republic worlds. It isn't inconceivable that those worlds would be put at a disadvantage in the new reigme. Slavery comes to mind first off, new rules designed to restrict movements of non humans, things like that. It would start slowly and subtly of course, but over time it would become more and more overt and the restrictions would then be so tight that there would be nothing that could be done about it. Therefore, we work now to preempt that. Most of the recruitment will have to be done via the political channels until word gets out and we'll need to set up bases on other worlds apart from here. A multi pronged attack is better than a single strike."
The meeting continued and finally at the end of the evening, having been interrupted for dinner, a tentative plan was hashed out. The Rebel Alliance would slowly form from the ashes of the Republic and would challenge the might of the newly formed Empire wherever and whenever possible.
Standing outside and looking up at the stars, Harry vowed to give Sidious the largest headache he'd ever had. He wasn't going to let the Emperor have the galaxy without a fight, and he had the feeling that his family and friends would join him in his quest. Sidious would not get one moment's peace if the Potter and Skywalker families, backed up by the rest of the Jedi Order and the fledgling Rebellion had anything to say about it.
The Empire was going to be royally screwed.
Continued in Episode Four: Flames of Hope