Chapter Twelve: Relief, Repercussions and the End of School.
As soon as the door opened, and they stepped inside, Harry and Ginny were met by cries of relief and happiness from Mrs Weasley. Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster looked somewhat stunned, but also relieved, while Kiara had… no visible reaction. Harry could feel the relief that rolled through their bond though, and underlying that was also a well-restrained anger as well as a sense of profound disappointment. He gulped when he realised that his master was waiting until they were alone before she said anything and also that whatever she said was most probably not going to be pleasant.
Turning to Dumbledore, he bowed briefly before offering him the sword he'd used to kill the Basilisk. Dumbledore accepted it before asking quietly for an explanation of what had happened, both down in the Chamber, and also before. Harry looked at Ginny before starting his explanation.
"….and then Fawkes appeared and dropped the Sorting Hat at my feet. The sword appeared in it when I wanted a weapon to kill the Basilisk with. I grabbed it and thrust the end into its brain, before grabbing the diary and jabbing it onto the snake's fang when it was dead. Then Fawkes gave me some information regarding the relationship between Light creatures and the Jedi, before transporting us back to the surface again. Then we came here." Having finished his explanation, Harry sat down and bowed his head, suddenly feeling very tired as the adrenaline wore off. His head jerked up as his master asked the one question he had been hoping to avoid, at least until they were in private.
"And where exactly was your lightsaber, Padawan?" Kiara's voice sounded neutral but to Harry, it carried an undertone that he didn't like. He also knew that if she was upset with him before, then she was going to go through the roof when she heard his answer. Looking at the floor he mumbled his reply.
"ItwasrechargingMaster," he said.
"Excuse me, Padawan, I didn't hear that, could you repeat it"
"I said it was recharging, Master," Harry said, resigned to being thoroughly chewed out in front of Ginny, her parents, McGonagall and the Headmaster. He looked up when he heard a strangled cough.
McGonagall looked as though she was desperately trying not to laugh, Dumbledore was twinkling away like he always did, Ginny was also trying not to laugh at the absurdity of the reason, while Mr and Mrs Weasley were looking warily between himself and his master, uncertain as to whether Kiara would explode or not. Hurriedly everyone got up, Dumbledore and McGonagall walking out of the room slightly quicker than normal. Ginny followed, flashing Harry a small smile as she passed. Mrs Weasley hugged him and whispered a heartfelt "thankyou" into his ear while Mr Weasley patted his shoulder before leaning down to whisper "Good luck," in his other ear. They then left, leaving Harry alone with his master, who looked very close to strangling him.
"Let me get this sorted," his master began, pacing round the room. "You went down into the Chamber of Secrets where you knew there was a basilisk, and you went down there with no backup and your lightsaber was RECHARGING!" She yelled the last word, and Harry flinched slightly. He hated being yelled at.
"Er, yes Master, that's correct," he said nervously, wondering what exactly his master was planning to do to him. Kiara was still pacing round, fuming, and Harry had a sudden, irrational thought.
'If she was a cartoon character then steam would be coming out her ears right now,' he thought to himself, then had to quell the urge to giggle at the mental picture that created. He pulled himself back to the situation as his master began speaking again.
"Do you have ANY idea what I went through when I heard you'd gone missing as well?" she demanded. "I spend several hours here, worrying myself sick and then you have the temerity to waltz in and say that you killed a thousand year old snake with the help of a sword and the Headmaster's PHOENIX, and you also say that you didn't take your lightsaber because it was recharging!" Kiara turned to face him, and the glare she was giving him felt to Harry as though it would burn holes straight through him.
"Why did you not Floo me, like you did last year? We could have handled it together, rather than you almost getting yourself killed. Also, Minerva told me that you had initially planned to stay out of it, but then it Petrified Hermione. I'm starting to think that maybe spending some time apart this summer would be good for you."
Harry's head snapped up at this. "You can't do that," he yelled, not caring that yelling at one's extremely pissed off master might be classified as suicidal. "I love her. You can't force us apart. I won't let you. She's going to be my girlfriend; you absolutely cannot keep us apart!" Harry stopped there because he ran out of breath. Looking to see what his master's reaction was he seriously considered turning tail and running out of Hogwarts as fast as he could go. Kiara looked on the verge of exploding.
"Can't I, Padawan?" she said, putting an emphasis on his title. "I certainly think I can, and as your master, it's my prerogative to do so. I'm not talking about ending the relationship between you; I'm talking about taking time for us to examine your feelings for her, and also for you to regain your objectivity and logical, rational behaviour when it comes to her. Answer me this, Harry, if you were on a mission with Hermione, and she was injured, and you had to leave her behind in order to complete the mission, would you do so? And don't say what you think I want to hear, answer me honestly."
Harry thought about it before groaning and answering quietly "I wouldn't leave her, Master. I would rather throw the mission away than leave her. I know its wrong but I can't help it." Looking up into his master's eyes, he choked out "I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't have done this but I just, I wasn't thinking straight." He then returned to studying the floor, certain that this was the end of his apprenticeship. He was therefore surprised to feel himself gathered up into a hug. It lasted only briefly but it was enough to reassure him that he was still a Jedi, still loved, and that his master wasn't going to disown him or anything like that.
"Harry this is why I want the two of you separated for a while. Considering you're going to be grounded for the first week of the summer, that shouldn't be too difficult. During that week, we will, as I said be examining this bond between yourself and Hermione, and if it's what I think it is then I can help you learn to control your emotions so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again."
Harry had raised his head in shock when he heard what his first week of summer was going to be like and erupted again, despite knowing that it was a very bad idea. "Grounded? You mean not able to see Hermione, or the twins, or Ginny, or Seamus or Dean? That isn't fair. I received a vision at the start of this year with the Chamber and the Basilisk in it, I had to go. I'm sorry that you don't like it but you can't do this. It most definitely isn't fair." Harry sat down again and sulked for a bit, only to freeze when he heard Kiara start speaking in a very controlled, very icy tone of voice.
"Harry James Potter, you will cease and desist acting like a two-year-old this instant. That little outburst has earned you another week added onto the first one, so you are now grounded for the first two weeks. If you push me any further I am more than willing to up it to three weeks and beyond if necessary. Cease this behaviour NOW or you might find yourself grounded for the whole summer!"
Harry gulped, he knew that his master was more than capable of carrying through with the threat of grounding him for the whole summer and did not want to be restricted to the house for that long. Not to mention that he would be spending a lot of time doing extra training exercises and meditation. He groaned quietly, before asking in a perfectly respectful tone, "Master, may I go and visit Hermione, she should be waking up now that the Mandrake Draught has been given".
Kiara eyed him for a moment before assenting. Harry got up, walked steadily out the door, closed it, and then ran for the Hospital Wing like he had a pack of Sith on his heels.
Walking into the Hospital Wing, he saw Ginny, Fred and George clustered round Hermione's bed. She looked at him as he entered, and hugged him the instant he got close enough. Releasing her he smiled sadly.
"What's up, Jet?" she said softly.
"My master is what's up," he muttered. "I just got treated to a rather scathing lecture on the benefits of calling for backup and having my lightsaber charged at all times. I'm grounded for the first two weeks of the summer, due to my big mouth and challenging the original decision of one week. Worse, my master has decided that the two of us have to take things slower and has decreed that I'm to spend the two weeks that I'll be incommunicado sorting out my feelings for you and then detaching myself from them so they don't cloud my judgement."
Hermione looked at him sympathetically. "It could have been worse, Harry," she said.
Then Fred chimed in. "Yeah, it could have been Mum yelling at you, Harry," he said with a chuckle.
Harry looked bleakly at him. "Tell you what, Fred, you get yelled at by my master, and I'll get yelled at by your Mum, and then we can compare notes based on experience, and work out who has it worst," he growled.
Fred now had a comical look of horror on his face and started backing away. "No thanks mate, your master is scary enough when she's NOT yelling at me. I honestly think I wouldn't survive if she did." he said. Ginny, who had remained silent so far, got up and hugged Harry. Grateful for the contact, he leaned in slightly before she let go.
About ten minutes later, Harry and Hermione were sitting in the Hospital Wing talking about what had happened since she'd been Petrified. Hermione giggled when she heard how Harry had reversed Lockheart's memory charm and asked Harry if he was still there. Harry then yelped in alarm.
"Holy Sith, Hermione, I forgot to tell Dumbledore about him, he's probably still locked in his office. Oh to hell with it, can this day possibly get any worse?" he said in frustration.
"Actually, Harry, yes it can" Hermione said, gripping his arm. "I suggest you turn round."
Turning round, Harry was greeted by the spirits of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and his parents. He groaned and sank into a chair, his head dropping into his hands.
"Have you lot come to yell at me too?" he asked in a muffled voice.
He heard his mother chuckle before saying "No, Harry, I think Master Lyn yelled enough for all of us. Not that these Jedi are here to yell at you, Anakin was curious to meet the magical world's Chosen One, and Obi-Wan is here to try and stop him corrupting you."
"Nice work with the snake by the way," Anakin chimed in. "And I came here to help you, not corrupt you like Lily says."
Harry glanced up in curiosity. "How are you going to help me, and with what?" he asked.
Anakin looked thoughtful for a moment before grinning. "How about ways of getting out of trouble?" he said, before yelping as Lily chased him round the room. "All right, all right, I give up, stop it." he yelled. Coming to a halt in front of Harry and Hermione, who were by this time laughing so hard they could barely breathe, he coughed slightly.
"Right, well, I'm here to help you learn to detach yourself from your feelings, so you can be an effective Jedi while still loving this wonderful girl over here," he said.
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. "Like you did such a good job of that yourself, Anakin" he said. "I personally don't believe that Kiara has the right idea, but I won't interfere. Just learn to control yourself, Harry and you should be OK". He then faded away.
James and Lily also faded but not before formally giving their blessing for any relationship that might develop between them. Anakin then came over and sat on the bed, and the lesson began. Harry was initially frustrated that he couldn't detach himsef from his emotions until Anakin suggested building a mental wall round them and then making that wall transparent, so Harry could see the love he felt for Hermione was still there, just controlled. Harry nodded and began the process of building that wall. At the end of the first lesson, he had quarter of the wall built although it was solid and not transparent. Anakin reassured him that the transparency would come when the whole wall had been built and that he'd made good progress. Harry thanked him and then returned to his dormitory.
Fred, George, Ron and Percy had been waiting for him in Gryffindor Tower. They thanked him again, Ron and Percy slightly awkwardly, for saving Ginny. That done they went to bed, as the Leaving Feast was the next day.
At the leaving feast, all the Petrified people were present and the atmosphere was cheerful and happy. Anakin had floated off after the first lesson and Harry had next encountered him making a rather large apology to Kiara. She was listening to him, which was encouraging, but she hadn't fully forgiven him. She did say though, that it would take time for that to happen, but eventually it would. Harry was also happy that things had gone back to normal between him and his master. He was still grounded for the first two weeks of summer holiday, but she had calmed down and wasn't glaring daggers at him anymore. Harry grinned; his master wasn't one of those people who stayed mad for very long, so he knew that while he wouldn't be allowed out of the house, and certain other activities would be restricted, the general day to day relationship between them would remain the same.
The next day Harry boarded the train that would take him home, happy to have survived his second year at Hogwarts and found himself looking forward to another summer of training and fun even if the first two weeks would be spent with no contact from his friends. He settled back and went to sleep, waking up at Kings Cross station. Having arranged to go with Hermione to her house and Floo from there, seeing as his master was arranging things for his incarceration as he called it, at home. It wasn't long though before he ran into problems once again.