A/N: I am having major brainstorming and inspiration for this story right now, so I'm currently working on it like crazy before I lose interest again. I'm actually thinking about splitting the story into two parts—this part dealing with the events in the SW universe, then the sequel dealing with the Wizarding world. Any ideas you all have would be welcomed and processed as potential plot points—a lot of you have already given me several which I plan to use!
(Jacen's joke in this chapter is my personal favorite.)
"So where is it that we're going?"
Jacen looked over from the console he was studying to where Harry sat in the co-pilot's chair. He grinned to himself seeing how enthralled the teenager seemed gazing out at the wide expanse of stars, knowing that Harry had fallen in love completely with Outer space. Several people did. For Jacen space had also fascinated him—a trait that seemed to be passed down through the Skywalker line—but he had found that following his capture from the Yuuzhan Vong and his instruction from the Fosh Vergere, he had lost much of that previous interest.
He had instead gained an almost obsessive urge to learn more about the Force, and not simply as the thing the Jedi used for their advantage. Vergere had awakened a hunger in him to understand how the Force worked and what was good and bad about both the Light and the Dark Sides. His five-year sojourn throughout the galaxy had taught him much but he still wanted to discover more.
"We're going to the Outer Rim," he answered slowly. "Just as a head's up, it's not as civilized as Coruscant, so don't be surprised when you see some things."
"Like what?" Harry had turned away from the sight of the stars and was instead looking at him curiously.
Jacen snorted. "Like slavery, for one," he said. "Smuggling, gambling, covert operations, illegal spice mines…" He could have gone on, he supposed, but he had always thought that the list was depressing.
But Harry didn't seem as shocked as he could have been. Hmm. Perhaps the kid really wasn't as innocent as Jacen thought him to be. "I guess not a whole lot changes between dimensions, then," the teenager replied quietly. A sad smile was shared between them realizing how true the statement was.
"It's a place called Adumar," Jacen explained out of nowhere, carefully ignoring the way Harry turned to look at him with surprise. He kept his eyes on the console. "A quiet planet. Inconspicuous. But there's something going on there, from what I've been told. Something that could threaten the Alliance."
"And we're supposed to do—what, exactly?" Harry shook his head in confusion. "Not start something—?"
"No. We're supposed to scope it out. See what they're up to. It's going to be a stealth mission."
"So it's important that we're not seen." It was not a question.
Jacen nodded. "Exactly."
"And we could maybe start a war if we're caught?"
Jacen froze for a moment, then straightened and looked at the teenager. His expression was guarded, almost wary. "How much of my parents' conversation with Uncle Luke and Aunt Mara did you overhear?" he asked carefully.
Harry shrugged. "Enough to let me know that it's important. That anything could probably spark a war between Corellia and the Alliance."
For a long moment the Jedi Knight sat in silence. Then he nodded slowly. "Yes. The tension's been building between them for a while now."
Harry grinned again. "You know, I think that maybe Corellia isn't totally wrong," he remarked quietly.
Jacen's gaze sharpened. "What do you mean?"
Again the teenager shrugged. "I'm just saying that in a government there's always room for improvement. Maybe all they need is some compromise between them. I don't get why Corellia couldn't rule themselves, anyway."
"As a separate government, you mean?" It was Jacen's turn to shake his head. "That's not how an Alliance works. All of the planets must work together in one giant network. If one planet splits away from the rest, more will follow its lead and then where would the Galactic Alliance be?"
"But why does the Alliance have to be the one in charge? Couldn't the individual planet systems be in charge of themselves with help and mutual aide between them and the Alliance?"
Normally, Jacen Solo perhaps would have become a little defensive—argumentative, even—in matters such as this, but now… He couldn't help but laugh.
Harry frowned. "What is it?"
Jacen allowed himself to laugh a few more seconds, feeling his heart throb painfully. "It's nothing. It's just—you remind me of my younger brother Anakin."
The door to the room was locked and he had already told everyone to leave him by himself for a couple of hours. Finally, Luke could leave himself to meditate fully. He sat cross-legged in the middle of the small, comfortable study, immersing himself in the Force, searching again for the mysterious presence he had sensed before.
When Harry had been told about one of his friends seeking for him through use of the Force, he had responded with humored disbelief.
'You're kidding me, right?'
Luke shook his head, completely serious. 'No. I'm not.'
The young wizard stared at him in open astonishment and confusion before shaking his head vehemently. 'But we don't have the Force in my world!'
'Harry, there are many different types of energies in the universe—some completely undiscovered to us. Who's to say that one or the other doesn't exist in a lesser extent in our respective worlds?'
Harry blinked, taken aback by the possibilities Luke's response had opened up. 'Hermione would have a field day with that one,' he muttered to himself, then seemed to resign himself to hearing what Luke would say. 'All right. Say that someone in my world has the ability to touch the Force. Who was it? Could you tell?'
'A girl. Your age, maybe younger. Blonde.'
Harry blinked again. 'With grey eyes?'
Luke nodded. 'A soft, high voice.'
Harry's mouth dropped open. 'Luna,' he breathed, and then the corner of his mouth twitched into a grin. 'Of course. Why wouldn't it be Luna?'
'She's been searching for you, calling your name.'
'Does she even know what she's using to search?'
Luke shrugged. 'I don't know. Probably not, as you say that your world has no knowledge about the Force. She's more than likely running on pure instinct.' He smiled with wonderment. 'She would have to be quite powerful to be able to use it like she has…'
And that was what Luke was currently counting on. He could recognize a fellow Force-user when he sensed one, and this girl—Luna—was most definitely someone who could.
It was surprisingly easy to find her again. A doorway, perhaps, opened between worlds as a pathway, so it was no chore to search for each other again. The girl recognized him immediately.
'You know Harry Potter?'
Her voice was soothing. Presence a silver sea of calm. His reply was simple. 'I do.'
Delight, as innocent as a child's. A smile, perhaps. 'Tell him we're looking for the bridge. Then he will be able to come home.'
Then she was gone as quickly as she had met him. Luke allowed her presence to slip away and prepared to end his meditation—and then curiosity got the better of him. He wondered if perhaps through this newfound pathway he would be able to sense Harry's world, and reached out, searching, searching…
He sensed fear. Anxiety. Love. Hate. Happiness. A whole myriad of emotions born of a world. It was faint to be sure, but he smiled to know that he could sense it anyway.
A whole world, undiscovered and mysterious. A world without conscious use of the Force.
If finding a way between their worlds wasn't an adventure, he didn't know what was.
"Ben told me about him," Harry confessed softly. "Anakin. He said that he died in a previous war."
Jacen nodded gruffly. Over a decade later and it was still perhaps the most painful memory he possessed, seeing his kid brother fighting the Yuuzhan Vong warriors bearing down on him, bloodied and battered, bleeding internally and dying, glowing with golden energy as he fought his last stand. A sixteen year old boy, killed simply doing his duty as a Jedi Knight.
Of course, the Order had lost a lot of Jedi to the Vong, simply because of centuries of mistaken hatred and revulsion.
Harry was playing nervously with his datapad, swallowing hard. "I saw someone die," he said quietly, almost to himself. Jacen listened. "A boy, seventeen. A few years older than I was. We were in a tournament, in the final task, and we had to navigate a maze and find the Winner's Cup. We reached it at the same time—and I told him to take it with me." He laughed bitterly. "I didn't know that the cup would take us to that graveyard. I didn't know that Voldemort was waiting there. But he was, and he said to 'kill the spare' and when I looked Cedric was dead on the ground…" He breathed deeply and squeezed his eyes shut, calming himself. He looked over at Jacen. "It was my fault. I shouldn't have told him to take the cup."
"It wasn't anyone's fault," Jacen said quietly. "Like you said: you didn't know what would happen. You were acting innocently." When Harry still looked unconvinced, he sighed. "Look, there's something that an old mentor of mine once told me: 'The rise or fall of a civilization can depend on the decision made in a fragment of a second. There are many seconds in a day. How many seconds can you regret? How many choices?'
Harry snorted. "Too many," he responded dryly. But he did appear to be thinking about what Jacen had just said.
Vergere would have liked talking with Harry, he thought to himself. Hell, he would like to talk with Vergere again. But there was no way to, and she had taught him to let go of what you could not have.
"Hey," he said with a sudden smile, "what goes ha-ha-ha… thump?"
Harry looked over at him like he was crazy. 'I don't know," he answered carefully. "What?"
"A droid laughing its head off, of course!" came the prim reply, as if in an imitation of Threepio—but then Jacen began to laugh and the mock-seriousness was broken.
Harry took a second to process the absurdly bad joke, more confused than anything else, then the actual humor of what the wording said clicked and he couldn't help an exasperated smile, unable to help laughing himself. "You do know that that's really terrible, don't you?" he asked through his mirth.
Jacen nodded, still laughing himself. "But clever," he answered, then managed to clamp down on his own humor and force it aside. For a long moment the two of them simply sat in silence, but whatever reservations that had existed between them was gone now. The ice had been breached, and despite age difference they ultimately agreed a mutual friendship was begun.
If Jacen still entertained thoughts that Harry Potter reminded him of his younger brother Anakin, however, he kept them carefully to himself.