Chapter 1: The Black Bird at Dawn

Merlin leaned against the stone archway in the shadows, his hood down low. He hated not being able to stay in the castle. He had tried to go back after Arthur had died. He owed it at least to Gwen. She was saddened but glad to hear Merlin had been at his side. She asked him to stay in Camelot. She was going to lift the magic ban, Merlin could be the Court Sorcerer, a prestigious position that had not been filled for some time.

But he declined. Everything here was tinged with sorrow. He packed his meager belongings, said a farewell to Gaius, and left for the woods. He had wandered aimlessly until he found himself in the Valley of the Fallen Kings. He smiled wryly. A place of so many past adventures and not far from the Crystal Caves where he truly discovered who he was. What he was. And so, using the power of the land that came so easily to him, he built himself a humble abode. It was well hidden so that he could mourn his friends in peace. He had hoped the forest would bring him that peace. And it usually did. But on the anniversary of certain events, like tonight, Merlin always managed to find himself within the familiar walls of Camelot, a silent sentinel, longing for the past.

When Merlin returned to his home he found a raven sitting on his table clutching a letter in its talons. It cawed once at Merlin and dropped the letter. Curious, Merlin unrolled the parchment.

Dear Master Merlin Emrys,

We would like to cordially invite you to teach at our school for witchcraft and wizardry. We have heard of your great deeds in Camelot and feel you would be a valuable asset both to us and to our young students.

Of course we understand if you are still needed in Camelot. However you are welcome to visit anytime.

You may send your response with Elaine, the raven. Term beginning September first. We eagerly wait your reply.

Humbly yours,

Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin

Founders of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry

Merlin reread the letter. A school, specifically for teaching those with magic? After keeping his secret for so long it would feel good to be surrounded by others with similar powers. Although he couldn't really see himself teaching. Merlin sat down on his chair to ponder this opportunity. If he did accept, what would he teach? His powers were instinctual, not something that was ever taught to him. Although he and Gaius has looked up many counterspells in books. Maybe he could teach counterspells and defences against dark magic. Or possibly potions and the healing arts. Gaius had ensured that he was good at that. He knew he was the last Dragonlord, but maybe he could help others students who had a strong affinity for animals. Merlin tried to picture himself teaching young students. In his imagination he pictured himself as Dragoon, a wise old teacher like Gaius was to him.

But that gave him another idea. He could easily use magic to age himself and look older. What was stopping him from reversing that and looking a few years younger? He took a piece of parchment from his desk and grabbed a quill.

To the Founders of Hogwarts,

I regret to inform you that I am declining your generous offer to teach at your fine school. However, I would propose another option. I would be most interested in attending your school as a student. In disguise, of course. It would help me keep my mind from other things and I would still be happy to lend you my advice if you would like.

I am very interested in more knowledge of this school of yours. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Merlin


A/N: Before we continue I will clarify a few things. This takes place many years (well, around 8 years) after Arthur's death. Gwen and many of the remaining knights have children of their own now. Camelot is moving on without Arthur and Merlin even though he still clings to the place. He is finding it hard to move on with his life and Hogwarts will provide this distraction.

Hogwarts is only in its fourth year. Although it is the same huge castle, there is still a very small amount of students and the word has not spread very far yet. Why didn't they ask Merlin to teach before? Quite simple, they didn't have more than four or five classes. Now they are looking to offer new subjects and so much reach out beyond their immediate friends to fill teaching positions.

If you have any other questions along the way regarding the story don't hesitate to ask. Also feel free to leave a review with your thoughts or even ideas for what should happen later. I'm always open to new ideas. Enjoy.