Story Title: Child of Merlin (part 1) Author: sweetmelodykiss Rating: PG-13 (this part) Pairing: Merlin/OMC Snape/Merlin (Snape/Harry eventually) Length: 3249 words Time Period: Hogwarts Years (alternate 7th year) Canon Compliant:Yes, compliant through OotP Summary: Severus finds true love twice. Warnings: AU, slash, angst Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are property of JK Rowling and Warner Brothers, no profit is being made off of this story. A/N: I never could finish this. If any one would like it, feel free to take it.
It had been nine hundred and twenty seven years since Merlin had ventured into the outside world. His hillside prison in Wales had provided everything he'd needed to sustain him all these centuries.
It was with great surprise that he awoke one morning to find the entrance to the cave open. Light streamed in and a gust of fresh air wafted past him.
He slowly approached the cave mouth and stared at the rolling green hills before him. How long had he been imprisoned? Merlin had no idea, but it had seemed like an eternity.
A ripple of magic surged beneath his feet and the cave shook violently. Merlin took a hesitant step outside the safety of his prison just in time to watch the entrance reseal itself. He breathed a great sigh of relief and cast his eyes toward the horizon and the future.
Staff in hand, he trudged down the hillside and came upon a farmhouse. Cows were in the pasture and large metal objects seemed to be surrounding the farmhouse. Merlin wondered what manner of beasts these things were and if the house were under attack. People were milling about, however, and no one seemed to be in distress. How curious, Merlin thought.
Suddenly a child ran up to him. The boy smiled and asked, "Are you Merlin?"
"Why, yes I am, child," Merlin answered.
"Whoa, that's wicked. You must be with the acting company. They're putting on a play today. You make a really great Merlin," the child said in awe.
"Thank you." Merlin replied with a smirk. If the boy only knew, Merlin thought to himself.
"Shouldn't you be around back? The play is about to start. I've got to go. My parents are waiting for me. I can't wait to see you in the play. Bye!" the boy called, running toward his parents.
"Wait!" Merlin shouted after the boy. "What year is this?"
The boy turned and looked at him oddly, "You don't know?"
"Well, I did, but I seem to have forgotten. Would you tell me, please?" Merlin explained.
"Sure. My Papa says that old people forget things all the time."
"Yes. That must be it. The year, child?"
"Oh yeah, it's nineteen ninety seven. I gotta go."
"Thank you," Merlin looked around stunned. Ninteen ninety-seven, how could that be? He'd been imprisoned for nine hundred and twenty seven years. It was totally unimaginable.
Everything had changed. Nothing was even remotely recognizable. The huge metal beasts sat docile around the farmhouse. People walked passed them without a second glance, so Merlin decided that they must be harmless. He headed toward the back of the house in the direction that the boy had run off. As soon as he rounded the corner, a large man wearing armor and brandishing a sword set upon him. Merlin held his staff in front of himself, just in case.
"You're late for the play. We've got to get into position. You were supposed to be here three hours ago. Now we have no time to rehearse. Oh well, we'll have to improvise. Just follow our lead and I'm sure it will be fine. We're reenacting the final battle of Arthur against Mordred. You do know the story, don't you?"
"Intimately," Merlin said.
"Excellent. Come along then. We'll just have to do the best we can without the benefit of rehearsal time. But you can bet we won't be using that agency again for replacement actors.
They're just not reliable enough."
"What happened to your last Merlin?"
"Oh, accident, he fell and broke his leg. He's going to be laid up for a long time. Go around to the side and up those stairs. The curtain is about to go up on the outdoor theatre. There's a yellow x on the stage floor with your name above it. Go stand on that x. I'll cue you when it's your turn to speak. Just answer any questions put to you, in keeping with the story line."
"As you wish," Merlin smiled. This might be fun, playing himself, who would've thought?"
The play went off without a hitch. Merlin took all of his cues and performed the reenactment from his memory of the real battle. He waved his staff and raised his arms to the sky. His voice thundered through the crowd. He had the audience and the other actors completely enthralled. It was the best performance they'd ever seen. At the end, the little acting company received a standing ovation and more donations than they had ever received before. All in all, the leader of the company was very pleased.
Everyone clapped Merlin on the back and congratulated him on an outstanding performance. The leader of the company, a man named Garth, the same man who had initially approached
Merlin, took him off to the side.
"Here you go, mate, your cut of the take. This was the best haul to date. You were fantastic," Garth raved.
"Thank you. You have no idea how much this money is needed," Merlin responded.
"Run onto some hard times, huh?" he asked.
"You could say that," Merlin replied evasively.
"Say, don't you have a steady gig? You should. You're a great actor--very realistic."
"Thank you, but alas, no, I do not have a steady-gig," Merlin stated, trying out the foreign words.
"Would you like one? Our Merlin wasn't as good as you and he's going to be out for at least eight weeks. I'd really like to offer you the position. It's steady work and we travel all over England performing. Please, come with us?" Garth begged. He didn't want to let go of the best actor the troupe had.
"That's very generous of you, Garth. I must admit, I did enjoy performing today and I also need some more modern currency. If you're sure you want me, then I'd be happy to go with you," Merlin said.
"Great!" Garth smiled broadly. "Hop on the bus and we'll go and pick up your things."
"What exactly is a bus?" Merlin wondered.
"You've never been on a bus before?" Garth asked, astonished.
"Um, no, can't say that I have," Merlin said looking somewhat confused.
"You're a strange one, but that's OK. The whole company's a little off. If you know what I mean," Garth said with a wink. "See that long blue thing parked over there? That's our bus. Go pick a seat and we'll be underway. Where are you staying? We'll stop by and get your stuff."
"That won't be necessary. All I have is what I am wearing and my staff."
"Boy, you sure have hit hard times, but things are looking up now. You're with us and we'll take good care of you. By the way, what's your real name? I forgot to ask."
"Real name, uh, its Ambrose Emery," Merlin lied. Well, it wasn't a complete lie-Ambrosius was one of his names.
"Nice to meet you Ambrose. Welcome to the family," Garth shook his hand.
Garth led him to the long blue beast. He walked up a short set of stairs and saw rows of seats along both aisles. He seated himself somewhere in the middle and waited. The other actors arrived and Garth took the head seat behind a large wheel. Suddenly, the beast began to growl and vibrate. It lurched forward and turned onto the path leading away from the farmhouse.
It gained momentum and speed as it thundered southward.
Merlin was transfixed as he watched the countryside pass by in a blur. His nerves settled down after a while and he began to enjoy the ride. What was the term the boy had used? Oh yes, *wicked*.
Two months and three days had passed since Merlin had joined Garth's acting company. Business was booming and he had been making quite a bit of money. Merlin had formed a close friendship with Garth during their association. They were completely comfortable with each other, so it was no surprise that one night over dinner Garth blurted out a question that he'd been dying to ask Ambrose.
"Are you a real wizard?"
"What makes you ask, Garth? And how do you know about real wizards?" Merlin asked a bit suspiciously.
"It's all right if you don't want to talk about it. I've never actually seen you do any magic. It's just that you radiate immense power. I can feel it in my bones," Garth explained.
"Are you a wizard, Garth?" Merlin questioned.
"No, I'm a squib. My brother is a wizard, though. He lives in London. I don't see him very often. I think he's ashamed of me because I can't do magic. Anyway, I don't need magic. My company-they accept me for who I am and that's more than I can say for my family. I quite like the Muggle way of life. It's honest," Garth told him.
"I'm sorry, Garth. It's not right the way your family treats you. You're a good, honest man with a heart of gold. I certainly have come to appreciate you very much," Merlin replied.
"Thanks, but it's ok. I've gotten used to it over the years. I am what I am and I can stand on my own. I know my own worth and that's all that matters. And you never answered my question. Are you a wizard?" Garth asked again.
Merlin smiled because he felt at ease with Garth and didn't fear telling Garth a few of his secrets, "Yes, Garth. I am a wizard."
"Why don't you practice? You've been living the Muggle way ever since you've been with us," Garth wondered.
"It's easier. I'm not sure where magic holds a place in this world yet," Merlin said honestly.
"God, but you are a strange one, Ambrose. But I like you very much. Sometimes I think too much for my own good," Garth gave him a plaintive, almost beseeching look and Merlin's stomach gave a little flip.
It had been centuries since Merlin had been involved with anyone and he wasn't sure he could go through it all again. It was love that had imprisoned him in the first place, but a man still had needs, even if he was the greatest wizard that ever lived.
One month later Merlin awoke with a start. Someone had just elbowed him in the back. Oh yes, that would be Garth. He rolled over to look at his sleeping lover, who snored quite loudly. He smiled and brushed a lock of hair out of the larger man's eyes.
Garth was a gentle and responsive lover, always giving and kind. Merlin was quite fond of him, not hopelessly in love with him, but he loved him in his own way. Merlin wasn't sure if he had ever truly been in love. He knew he'd come close once or twice, but was unsure if it had been real. He was old enough now to know that he cared for Garth, but it was not an all-encompassing love. They were both probably better off that way. They were compatible and happy with each other and that's what really counted. Merlin hoped to spend many happy years with Garth. His relationships in the past had all been so short lived.
One week later the troupe rolled into London. Merlin felt the magic pulsing through his veins. There was powerful magic here and Merlin longed to know the source.
After getting settled, Garth took Merlin on an excursion to Diagon Alley. Garth explained that he'd been here several times with his brother when they were young.
Merlin had never been here. In his time this place hadn't existed yet, but still--he was in his element. Magic was all around and not all of it was good magic.
Merlin could sense the darkness. Its presence was very strong. Merlin's senses were heightened and he automatically raised a defensive shield around himself and Garth.
They spent several hours browsing the shops of Diagon Alley. They stopped for lunch and Merlin began to relax. Just before it was time to return form their trip, they stopped one last time for ice cream. They had to get back soon, as there was a performance to give this evening.
They stood in front of the ice cream shop and ate their ice cream, making idle chit chat and laughing at each other's jokes. As they were getting ready to leave, they heard a loud explosion and then a scream.
Merlin looked in the direction that the scream had come. People were running, scattering into chaos. More screams could be heard now. A large group of men in masks were approaching with wands drawn. They were shouting curses at the general population and killing without mercy for no apparent reason.
A small child stood directly in the path of the advancing horde. Garth bolted and scooped the child up just before the curse hit him. However, it found a mark--Garth. He fell to the ground dropping the child as he toppled over. The child dashed into a storefront and to safety.
Merlin rushed to Garth's side and fell to his knees. He cradled Garth's head in his lap. The Death Eaters were still advancing. He was their next target, being in the middle of their path was not a good idea, but he just couldn't leave Garth.
A shadow passed before Merlin's eyes and he looked up in time to see three young people step in front of him with their wands raised to the advancing horde. Curses flew from their wands and they managed to slow the advance, but not stop it entirely. There were just too many of them. More curses were leveled at the Death Eaters from within an alley. All Merlin could make out was a man dressed in black form head to toe. He could tell he was tall and had shoulder length black hair.
Garth moaned and his eyes opened briefly. He locked his gaze with Merlin and smiled weakly. Merlin, in the meantime, had been reciting healing spells since the time Garth had fell.
Garth had been hit with a killing curse and the healing spells simply would not work. He didn't have any magic of his own to assist the healing spells. Garth took one last ragged breath and died in Merlin's arms. Merlin watched the light go out of his eyes and felt the rage build inside of him.
Merlin blinked and looked up. The three teenagers were backing up. They were losing ground rapidly. Merlin stood up and tapped his staff three times on the ground. The death eaters before him burst into flames and burned until nothing was left but ash.
"Wow! Harry, what did you do?" One of the teenagers yelled at the other.
"Er, I don't know. I don't think I did that," Harry replied.
"Bloody Hell! If you didn't then who did?" Ron asked.
"I don't know, Ron!" Harry said, exasperated.
"Well, Death Eaters just don't burst into flames. And we know we didn't do it, so who did," they suddenly turned their attention to Merlin, who had reseated himself on the ground next to Garth. He was absentmindedly stroking the dead man's hair.
The teens looked at each other sadly. They were hesitant to intrude on the man's obvious grief. Harry finally approached him cautiously, kneeling down beside him.
"Sir, Sir, can you hear me? I'm very sorry for your loss. Are you injured, sir?" Harry asked.
"No, child, I'm not injured," Merlin replied, grief heavy in his words.
"Sir, you must come with us; it's not safe here. We must leave now before others show up. Did you see anyone set those men on fire?"
"I only saw Garth fall and I can't leave him here. I must take him home," Merlin stated.
The streets were deserted now except for Harry, Ron, Hermione, Merlin, the deceased Garth, several other fallen victims and the dark man, still hidden in the alley. Merlin was sure the man must have seen him cast the spell at the Death Eaters, but he never came out of the alley. He only watched from the shadows.
Merlin looked up into intense green eyes. He saw power in them and what his life had been like up to this point. The young man before him was a very powerful wizard, and would be a force to be reckoned with someday.
"We've got to get out of here!" The redheaded boy shouted.
"We can't just leave them," Hermione said with a grimace.
"She's right, Ron. Let's get them home." Harry ordered. "Sir, please come with us. We'll levitate your friend, but we must leave now."
Merlin rose to his feet and let the trio levitate Garth off the ground. His heart was heavy and all he could manage was to trudge along behind them silently.
"Where do you live, Sir?" Harry asked.
"We're staying at an Inn in just outside of Diagon Alley. We're an acting company and we were set do a play there tonight."
"I'm very sorry, Sir. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Who were those men in masks and why were they killing people?"
"They were Death Eaters. They like killing people."
"But, why?" Merlin asked in disbelief.
"They work for You-Know-Who." Ron answered.
"For who?" Merlin wondered what sort of being called itself You-Know-Who.
"The Dark Lord, Sir. Voldemort," Harry supplied.
"I'm afraid I don't know of him," Merlin told them.
"You don't? I thought everyone knew about him," Harry supplied.
"I've been away a very long time," Merlin sighed.
"Here we are, Sir. Would you like us to come inside with you?" Hermione asked kindly.
"No, this is something I must do on my own, but I thank you all for your help. You're the only ones who stood your ground against those murderers," Merlin said.
"Well, it's kind of what we do," Ron stated frankly."
"I see. You're all very brave. Your parents would be proud. I must go now. I have to attend to Garth's affairs and let his family know what happened. Thank you again for your assistance."
Merlin turned and levitated Garth inside the Inn on his own. The teens just sort of stared after him. He didn't seem to be using a wand. Then Hermione suggested that it must be his staff and as usual she made perfect sense.
The trio turned and headed back to Hogwarts. They had a lot of explaining to do.
The funeral for Garth was filled with tears and sorrow. He had been a good man and his loss was felt by all. Garth's brother did not attend the service. Merlin was outraged and the company had their hands full trying to calm him down. He wanted to go and throttle the miserable excuse for a brother, but the troupe managed to keep him under control.
After all was said and done, it was time for the little acting company to move on. Merlin had come to a decision--he would not be going with them. It was too painful a reminder for him. He could have been happy with Garth, but it was not to be. Merlin needed to know why. His sole desire was to put an end to the horror he had witnessed in Diagon Alley by any means necessary.
Merlin waved a sad goodbye to the friends he'd made in the few short months he'd been with them. He would miss them all greatly, but he now had a purpose. He had a destiny to fulfill and a battle to fight.
Merlin left London and apparated to Hogwarts. He'd been given directions by the Inn keeper. Apparently, this school was in dire need of a Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. According to the locals, the previous holder of this position was killed three weeks ago in another Death Eater attack.
Merlin wasn't quite sure how he was going to acquire this position, but he had complete confidence in his powers of persuasion. After all, he wasn't Merlin for nothing.