A/N: This is a teaser for the sequel to my fic The First Prophecy. The First Prophecy is finished and it depends on the time needed by my wonderful beta Somagliana to get it finalized and uploaded. This is a chapter that will appear in the unnamed sequel to that fic. If it seems confusing, maybe you should go read The First Prophecy…maybe you'll understand it better then…go on, you know you want to read it and leave me a review!
A Conversation With Merlin
The white mist parted and a tall figure strode forward. The sillouette was shadowed, but Snape could see that it was a robed and bald man, carrying a long staff. Instinctively, he drew his wand, almost certain that the man was a threat to Harry.
Harry stood uncertainly; why was Snape here? Harry was sure that he had not been dreaming of Voldemort. Unless he had a nightmare, Snape wouldn't show up like this, especially since they weren't on speaking terms at all right now. He watched Snape draw his wand as the shadowed man advanced. Harry sensed no threat, but he also trusted the instincts that Snape had, however he felt about the man personally. He pulled his own wand and stood beside his teacher, at the ready.
The man came into the light and Snape gaped in amazement, his wand falling to the ground. Harry glanced up at him with a frown. Had the other already cast a silent spell to confund Snape? With a growl, he stepped in front of Snape in a protective manner.
The man chuckled and Snape dropped to one knee, bowing his head. He put a hand on Harry's arm, hissing, "Put away your wand and kneel!"
Harry spoke grimly, "I don't know what he's done to you, Severus, but I won't let him get you without a fight."
The man threw back his head in laughter. He put out a hand and Snape's wand flew into his grasp. He handed it to Snape, handle extended, while Harry barely stopped himself from casting a hex at him. Snape took the wand and stood, inclining his head to the wizard before them.
Harry was still bewildered, but it seemed that there wasn't the threat that Snape had first perceived. He wouldn't have backed down from his defensive stance, nor would he have dropped his wand, if this man was any kind of danger to them. Who was this guy anyway? It wasn't Voldemort. He bore a slight resemblance to Dumbledore, or at least he would have if Dumbledore was bald. This wizard was tall, completely bald, with a snow white waist length beard. His robes were a deep purple, with a silver lining. He had a skull-fitting cap of silver on his head. The staff in his hand was topped with a purple crystal. Harry was brought out of his appraisal when the man spoke.
"Have you figured out who I am yet, young one?" His eyes were blue, like Dumbledore's, and they were twinkling just like Dumbledore's did when he was amused.
Harry forgot about the animosity he had for Snape and looked up at the teacher in question.
Snape said quietly, "My Lord Merlin; you honor us with your presence." Harry didn't think he had ever heard such reverence in Snape's voice. He was always respectful to Dumbledore, and Harry had heard the sickening simper that Snape adopted with Voldemort when he addressed that snake. This was decidedly different… Merlin?
Harry's eyes snapped forward and fixed on the smiling wizard. "You're Merlin?" he gasped in disbelief.
The man nodded and Snape growled, "You are being disrespectful, Potter. Offer your wand and bow."
Before Harry could think of exactly how to do that, Merlin chuckled again. "No need for that Severus. I've had enough homage paid me during my own time and since. The boy need not pay more."
Merlin rapped his staff on the ground and a light began to glow all around them. "You might well ask what I am doing here in your dreams, in your time." He waited expectantly.
Snape seemed uncharacteristically flustered so Harry shrugged and asked,
"Why are you here in my dreams then?"
Snape made a strange strangled noise at the casualness of Harry's inquiry. Merlin ignored this and smiled at Harry. "You are worthy of the Gryffindor House, young one. The fates were wise in their selection." He looked at Snape, "Wise in the selection of you both."
Harry couldn't help asking, "What do you mean, the fates selected us?"
"You were both fated to your destinies long before you were born. As long ago as my earth time, I foresaw you and the present age of trouble."
"You mean Voldemort?"
Harry noted that Merlin did not flinch when Harry spoke the name, but looked amused at Snape's hiss.
"Your Albus Dumbledore has the right of it, you know; fear of the name only makes one more afraid of the thing itself." He began a slow walking stroll and Harry fell in beside him, mesmerized. Snape followed silently behind, not trusting himself to speak yet.
"I am here, because you are about to undo the work of the fates with your enmity. I am here that the prophecies made in this age will not have been made in vain." He stopped, whirling about and fixing them both with a fierce glare. "I am here to see that the existence of our world does not end with the reign of that misbegotten abomination."
For a moment, his eyes glowed in brilliant purple, glowering at them as if they were the abomination he spoke of. Then his gaze softened again. He walked again, Harry and Snape along either side of him.
"The First Prophecy, as you have named it, must be fulfilled so that the second prophecy may also be fulfilled."
Harry stopped. "What second prophecy? I know that I am said to be the one who will defeat Voldemort. What is the second one?" He looked at Merlin, who looked at Snape with raised eyebrows as he answered.
"The prophecy about Voldemort's defeat is the second prophecy. The First Prophecy concerns Severus and how he is to be instrumental in your preparation."
Harry looked at Snape, anger in his face. "You never told me about another prophecy. Is that why you helped me when you did? Because you had to? I should have figured that one out. You only did it because you had to. You never wanted to at all. You've hated me still, haven't you?" His eyes were shining, suddenly filled with tears that he furiously held back. He would not let them fall in front of Merlin, and he would not give Sev- no, Snape- the satisfaction of seeing that he had somehow gotten to Harry again."
Snape looked at Merlin, fixing him with his own brand of fury, before he spoke to Harry. "Of course that's not why I've done what I have. I was helping you before I learned of the First Prophecy and what it might mean."
Harry said scathingly, "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. No one ever tells me anything, do they? I'm just the bloody Boy Who Lived and the Bloody Savior St. Potter. Don't bother telling me anything real, because it might put me off doing my duty!" He was breathing hard when he finished.
Snape stepped forward, as if to take Harry's shoulders and shake him, but instead drew his hands back before they made contact. "That's a ridiculous conclusion, Potter. If you aren't told something it's for your own protection. I would thank you to keep a respectful tone when you address your elders-"
Merlin stepped between them. His voice was commanding, for all it's softness. "I came to ease the tensions, not increase them. You will both tamp down the fires of your differences and heed my words."
Harry lowered his hands and unclenched his fists, not even remembering raising them. Snape resumed a less towering stance and uncrossed his arms.
Merlin addressed Snape first, "You, Severus, are accustomed to being heard and not questioned. You have used your powers for darkness and have now turned back to the light. Your redemption will be at the death of the Dark Lord, but you must balance the duties of teaching darkness to the boy and yet preventing his turning to it as you did. A seemingly impossible task, yes?" Snape gave a grudging nod.
Merlin turned to Harry, coming forward to stand over him, the purple light shining around them from the crystal on the staff. "You, Harry Potter, are the Chosen one. You have been branded by the Dark Lord, and it has given you access to his powers. But you deny them, shirking the opportunity to turn his own darkness against him."
Harry opened his mouth but Merlin held out a hand, stopping him. "You are still a child." He turned to take in Snape with his narrowed eyes. "You are a child who needs to feel secure in the adults who are responsible for you." He looked back at Harry, his voice becoming gentle. "You have suffered greatly, and while it is understandable that you do not trust, it is necessary that you do. You need to trust that the adults who care for you will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. Before that time, you need to trust that they have your best interest at heart."
He turned and paced thoughtfully and then looked at them both in turn. "Hate comes so easily. It does now, just as it did in my age. Evil will always be a part of every world and every age. In mine, it was Morgana and her son Mordred. She sowed mistrust in the kingdom, bringing Camelot to ruin. She used my own magic against me because even I fell for her sorceress wiles. She craved power for her son so she could rule through him."
He sighed deeply. "Evil ebbs and flows like the sea. It's a give and take of currents and waves. It's mostly in balance, the light coming back to uncover the darkness, once it's had it's time of being." He fixed them with a glowing stare. "But this present darkness, the power of the Dark Lord, has been rising, and not ebbing. The fates saw that this future was coming, and with it, two possible outcomes.
One, he works his unnatural magic to overtake the wizarding world. Once that happens, his thirst for power will destroy the very thing he wants. He will annihilate so many in his quest that there will not be any remaining of our kind after another generation." He paused to allow them a moment for grasping his words.
Snape felt bile rise up in his throat. He had thought that the Dark Lord was the very Devil personified, and now those thoughts seemed to be accurate. But he had not thought that his reign of darkness would bring about the end of wizard kind. He looked back up as Merlin continued.
"The second outcome sees the end of the Dark Lord, brought about by the Chosen Child of Light, or the Wizard of Light. Harry Potter was the Chosen Child of Light. You defeated him because of your mothers sacrifice, but he was not vanquished from the earth. You are now the Wizard of Light, and while you will be his equal in power one day, you are not yet. You must continue to learn all you can of both the Light and the Dark. Only this will be his undoing, for he knows no Light. Only by this will you stop the tidal wave that is coming to consume the world."
Harry looked at Snape, and in green his eyes Snape saw the fear and felt the hopelessness that Merlin's words caused him.
Snape looked at Merlin and Merlin stared back with a ferocious intensity. "You are the sentinel of the mind of the Light. You are the one who will teach him what he needs to know. It has been foretold and cannot be denied if this outcome is to be the one that comes to pass. You must be teacher, friend, and father. You cannot be his enemy. He will die without you; and without him you will all die."
Harry began to tremble with the force of emotion. This was so much more terrifying than when the prophecy had been just words. Now they had been given voice by Merlin. Now he knew that the words were certain and that he would have to kill Voldemort. He looked up at Merlin, squaring his shoulders and asked, "Will I die when I kill him?"
Merlin smiled down at him. "Not all things are known. I did not know the depth of your heart and the strength of your courage until I stood before you. I cannot see the end for you. That is for you to make. Fate only destined you to be the one for whom his destruction would be possible. They did not preordain you to either live or die."
Harry braved another question, "You're Merlin, more powerful than Voldemort. Why can't you kill him? People say Dumbledore is the greatest wizard of out time and that he is the only one Voldemort fears. Why can't he kill him?"
Merlin's eyes glittered. "I am shadow now. My age has passed and I cannot take part in this age. As for Dumbledore…he is the greatest wizard of your time. He has successfully defeated another dark wizard of your time already. But the destruction of Voldemort must be at the hands of a force that even Dumbledore does not have. You, Harry, will have the power that he knows not, because you were conceived in love, saved by love, and have a heart of love inside you."
The white mists began to swirl up around Merlin. The crystal sent a glow into the droplets, rainbows twisting into the swirls of white. He gazed at them both and then at Snape. "Once, you helped him have the childhood he had missed. In spite of what he has been through, he still needs the life experiences that any other boy needs. No matter what powers he may have, his heart is still that of a child; tender and easily broken. Tread lightly, my friend. Be his guide, not his tyrant. He needs both constraint and freedom to become what he must. "
The mist consumed Merlin and the rainbows faded. Snape looked down at Harry. In spite of what all Merlin had said, he knew that it was ultimately up to Harry what their future would be. Could he forgive Snape? Could he let himself trust again a man who had taken away more of his friends?
Harry stared up with full green eyes. One time before, he had offered a spiritual healing. He had seen the death of the Grangers as a deep, unforgivable betrayal. Merlin had said that they would have to work together for Harry to learn what he needed to know. Would he offer spiritual healing again?
Snape knew that meant he would have to relive those moments in the Granger home so Harry would be able to see and understand what had taken place there. He would have to reopen his own festering wounds to do it and he did not relish the thought.
Harry held out a shaking hand. Snape extended his own unsteady hand until just the tips of their fingers touched. Whiteness engulfed them.