Harry took a split second to register the empty robes on the floor, and the absence of a certain wise old wizard, just as he and Voldemort met in the centre of the landing. He took the time to silently thank Dumbledore for everything.
Harry gave ground against the relentless, if undisciplined assault that Darth Enigma – Lord Voldemort – launched against him. He blocked again and again, spinning in time with the strikes his foe launched, and then suddenly, dazzlingly, he lashed out, forcing Voldemort on the defensive. The Dark Lord had switched from Shien to Djem So, neither of which was adequate against the Ataro that Harry now launched, using a technique shown to him by his own Master.
Voldemort, however, had a little confident smile upon the twisted face of Riddle. He blocked every strike, then lashed out again.
Backwards and forwards it went.
Mace Windu used a quick Vaapad flourish to finish another Death Eater Dark Acolyte. Yoda beheaded another. Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker togther were making short work of some more, Anakin smiling widely – this, to him, was relaxation.
Castor Voraainsar had just finished another Dark Acolyte when he smaw Voldemort on the offensive against Harry.
"Ron, Hermione!" he called. "Hold things together here! Kara!" he added, turning to his best friend in the world. "Stay here – don't try to follow me."
Then he turned to look for Luna Lovegood, and sighed as he saw her on the defensive against a minor acolyte – by choice.
"Luna, just end it!" he yelled. She didn't seem to acknowledge his command, but she did throw a sudden strike that neatly cut the Death Eater in two. Then he turned back to the others, who were mercifully out of opponents for the moment.
"Don't try and help me," he said. "I know what I'm doing."
They all nodded, and Kara blew him a kiss – she knew what he was going to do. They knew each other too well now.
He smiled, one last time, and leapt up, only to find himself facing off against the elder Malfoy. Lucius smiled, cruel and unyielding – and was that Draco there, looking so uncomfortable behind him? He had Force potential, Castor knew, but he had never attended the Jedi Academy.
"Hello Draco," he said.
"You're about to die, scum," Lucius said.
"Draco, I need to help Harry," Castor said, holding his sabre to guard as Lucius advanced. "You know what the Jedi do; you know we're in the right. Help us."
Draco said nothing as his father launched a mistimed attack at Castor, who blocked it effortlessly, and then Castor was too busy blocking the idiot to do any more talking – but then, Lucius grimaced, and looked down – a green lightsabre blade lay somewhere in his abdomen.
"I'm sorry, father," Draco said, and there was a definite crack in his voice. Then Lucius pitched forward. Draco stared at the green blade in his hand.
"Professor Snape told me to build this," he said.
Castor looked it over – nice grip, a bit too solid for Castors taste but definitely a good lightsabre.
"Thank you," he said, then bowing to another new Jedi, he jumped up to where Harry and Enigma were still duelling.
Harry sensed Castor a moment before he jumped in, and dodged around the side of Voldemort to make room. Castor and Harry had not often fought alongside one another – in fact, in the two duels against Dark Jedi that Harry could remember, they hadn't fought alongside one another at all; their knowledge of one anothers moves came from countless practice duels, Harry knowing Castors powerful, brute force Vaapad-meets-Ataro attitude well, and always countering it with a blinding mix of his own natural Soresu and the Ataro that his Master had taught him.
And now, the two styles in concert had Voldemort on the back foot. Whenever Harry struck low, Castor aimed high, and vice versa. Voldemort's one blade could only target one of the two at a time, and whoever wasn't targeted would aim a strike to take the Dark Lord down, forcing him back on the defensive.
It was well that Harry had never found out the exact circumstances of Qui Gon Jinn's death – because if he had, he might have noted the similarities – and Voldemort was a very quick study of all that Sidious taught…
Lightening fast, Voldemort sent a strike at Castor aimed not at the blade, but at the youths right hand, at the wrist. A flying kick sent the literally disarmed Jedi flying. Then he concentrated all his powerful, lightening fast attacks on Harry. H\arry tried to get back into his natural defence form, but somehow, Voldemort was stopping him, keeping him on Ataro…
Then, he launched an attack that sent Harry's guard arm outwards, but instead of taking the arm, he stabbed forward, right into Harry's heart.
Harry barely heard Castors scream of protest…
He pitched forward onto the floor. Then he noticed the floor was white.
Then he looked up, and everything focused. He could see… the temple spaceport? And yet totally empty.
"Ah, there you are," came a familiar voice. Harry looked up to see Dumbledore, smiling down on him.
"I'm dead," Harry said.
"No," Dumbledore contradicted him. "You're not."
"You're dead," Harry added.
"Indeed," Dumbledore smiled.
"You could have beaten Voldemort," Harry told him.
"Possibly, but it was not Voldemort who killed me," Dumbledore smiled.
Harry thought back, and he realised…
"Snape had your lightsabre," he said. "Snape killed you?!"
"He did," Dumbledore smiled. "On my instruction. It was a Farce designed for one purpose. Make Voldemort believe he had won, thus making him reveal himself – just as you arrive with reinforcements."
"And I was meant to kill Voldemort," Harry said, quietly.
"That was the general idea," Dumbledore said.
"And I failed," Harry concluded, sadly.
"It depends on you," Dumbledore smiled. "You see, I told you that you weren't dead. Well, you're not dead, Harry," he finished. "I don't say things that aren't true, without cause."
"But how am I not dead?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore looked uncomfortable for a moment, and then he raised his hand. Out of… somewhere, there came flying a small, flayed figure – a child, it seemed. But when Harry saw its face…
"By the Force," he swore, and he stepped back in disgust.
"That is one of the shattered segments of Lord Voldemort's soul," Dumbledore said. "When one rips ones soul so much, it eventually starts falling apart when one does anything damaging to a soul – when he tried to murder you, all those years ago, he broke a piece of his own soul off, and sent it to you, where it has lain dormant for years. And now, Voldemort has killed a part of himself. For what, Harry, is death?" Dumbledore asked. Harry didn't answer, as he expected Dumbledore to fill him in. He was not disappointed. "It is the loss of the soul. Your heart may stop, but it is your soul that matters. The killing spell of wizards causes no damage to the body – but it removes the soul. You had two, and it was the weaker one that was pushed out, while the other remains in whatever limbo it has conjured…"
"The Jedi Temple Spaceport," Harry confirmed.
"Really? How interesting," Dumbledore smiled. "But now, you see, your soul has a choice. Leave here in a ship; or go home."
Harry thought about it for a long moment.
Then, even as he was about to make the decision, he found himself opening his eyes…
Voldemort was walking away from him, raising his sabre, about to bring it down on Castor's head. Harry felt the Force in him. He didn't look down at the woulnd. He felt his lightsabre, cold in his hand. He stood. He walked up to Voldemort. The Dark Lord turned.
The sabre ignited.
Harry swung his arm.
Lord Voldemort looked at Harry in shock for a long moment, then looked down and the red mist of evaporating blood. Then he grimaced.
"My… Horcruxes…" he murmured. He looked for Nagini, his last link to life…
And he saw her headless body, Ronald Weasley standing over it, blue sabre ignited and repeatedly stabbed through the corpse.
"No," Voldemrot said. He turned to Potter. "You…"
He collapsed in two pieces. Harry sighed, and looked down where the Dark Lord's blade had entered his chest.
There was a hole in the cloth – but not the Jedi.
Harry smiled. Then he looked at the stairs, to see Ginny rushing towards him.
"Ginny, are you…?" he began, but he never finished as she jumped on him and kissed him.
When they broke apart, after what felt like a millennium, he smiled again.
Things were going to be alright.
Some time later…
It was going to take a while for everything to clear up, all the mess and all the death. There was mourning on all sides. Draco Malfoy had seen to it that his father got a decent burial, and even now, was negotiating with Remus Lupin – the new Headmaster of Hogwarts – and Severus Snape, the Jedi Master in charge of the Order now that Dumbledore was gone, to see if the Jedi Order had a place for him. Harry, though he had never liked the posturing, arrogant young man, could see a bright future for him, and he hoped it would come to pass. The New Jedi Order would be permanently relocated to Hogwarts now, to help train those who wished it.
Castor flexed his new arm distastefully, and stared in unabashed disgust. It was a skeletal thing, metal and cold.
"I'll never get used to this," he muttered.
"Don't worry," Kara smiled at him, holding the hand in hers. "I already have."
Castor smiled at her, and Harry smiled at them, happy that his friends had found some measure of happiness and peace, and then he raised himself up as they entered the Jedi Council's temporary meeting place.
Mace Windu and Yoda were waiting for him.
"We've read your report on this 'new Jedi Order,'" Mace said distastefully. "I can't say I approve, but Yoda seems to, so…"
"New blood in a differing universe, it is," Yoda smiled. "Do the Jedi good it will."
Mace sighed, but then he gave a rare smile.
"I also understand that you, Jedi Potter, wish to remain here."
"I do, sir," Harry said. "I feel… I feel that this is my home. Without Dumbledore, the Jedi here might lose their way. I feel I am needed to make sure that they keep to the path."
"And nothing to do, it has, with a certain Ginny Weasley?" Yoda smirked. The kiss had been rather visible. Mace Windu sighed, and smiled again.
"We, and the rest of the council, are confident that you will do well here," he said. "May the Force be with you."
Harry nodded, and bowed before the two beings he most respected in the universe.
"And with you, my Masters," he replied, before walking out.
At the portal, some days later, Harry looked for one last time at his two best friends from home.
"We'll come and visit," Castor promised. "As often as duty permits."
"I'm still sorry you're leaving," Harry said. "I still think you should stay…"
"I can't," Kara said, looking both sad and remarkably happy at the same time. "Coruscant is, and always will be home. I miss it."
"And I'm not leaving Kara for anything," Castor added. Harry noted the dangerous undertone in his voice. "Anything at all."
Harry smiled at his friends and bowed, half serious half mocking.
"I understand better than you know," he said. Ginny was waiting with Hermione and Ron behind him, waiting for him to come back. "You will visit, though."
"We will," Kara promised. "Count on it."
"You aren't getting rid of us so easily," Castor added.
And then, one last time, they all laughed. They hugged, and they said farewell.
And then, the two young Jedi walked through the portal, and vanished.
Harry Potter, Jedi Knight – no, Jedi Master – watched the portal vanish, and then turned back to his friends.
This was not the end, he thought, solemnly. Merely a beginning.
Only ever a beginning.
The story wasn't over yet.
To be continued in; Harry Potter and the Fall of the Jedi.