Merlin belongs to the BBC, Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling
Merlin's legs burned with the effort of sprinting through the forest. He heard the angry screeches and snarls of the creature pursuing him. He looked over his shoulder, but regretted his actions at once; the creature was fast closing in on him.
The beast had a low slung body, which was covered with reddish-brown hair. It was also incredibly fast, which, Merlin was sure, was due to the fact that it had five legs, each of which ended in a clubfoot.
Merlin's foot was nearly caught on a big root, and he quickly turned his focus back to his path. It wouldn't do well to trip and fall with a most likely very hungry monster coming up behind him.
Merlin's breath came in ragged gasps, his lungs were burning, he heard his own frantic heartbeats pound in his ears, and he felt an angry stitch in his left side. Still, he refused to slow down, even though he was aware he might collapse any moment now form sheer exhaustion.
He should never had wandered away from Arthur's hunting party; he'd felt a disturbance in the air, very powerful magic had been administered somewhere close by, and Merlin had to find out exactly what it was. It could have been something or someone trying to kill Arthur, and it was Merlin's responsibility to deal with any potential magical threats.
He hadn't even realized he'd gotten himself lost while following the magical trail until the creature had emerged from between the trees.
Merlin had tried every offensive spell he could think of, but the creature hadn't been deterred, and Merlin had been forced to run for his life.
Then the unthinkable happened, Merlin was so tired his steps became shorter and shorter, and he tripped over a large upturned tree root.
He hit the ground hard, and his breath was almost knocked out of him. He quickly scrambled around and saw the creature loom over him.
His breath caught in his throat, his heart beat violently against his ribs. He raised his palm in a desperate last attempt to defend himself, and was about to utter a spell when a red light soared over his head, he felt the force of it ruffle his hair.
The light hit the creature square in its hairy face. It screeched angrily, and Merlin used the creature's momentary distraction to scramble shakily to his feet.
The creature roared and Merlin was about to turn and run when he heard a voice yell "Impedimenta!"
The creature screeched again and its movements seemed to slow somewhat.
Merlin looked round as another ball of red light shot past his head.
Something was zooming towards him at a very fast speed a few feet above the ground. Merlin eyes widened when he realized it was a boy. A boy was flying towards him. Flying!
Then the creature gave a load roar and Merlin was thrown back to the situation at hand. He turned and started running as fast as his legs would carry him, towards the amazingly flying boy.
He heard the creature once again take up pursuit.
"Run!" Merlin called desperately to the boy "or fly... just get out of here!"
But the boy did not alter his course; he was flying straight towards Merlin and the creature.
Merlin could now see the boy more clearly; his black hair was whipping wildly, and his face held and expression of fierce determination. Merlin was about to shout out to him once more, but lost his words when he spotted what the boy was sitting on; A broomstick.
Merlin was only a few feet from him when the boy suddenly slowed down and hovered very close to the ground.
"Here!" the boy shouted, and held out his hand for Merlin to grasp "Get up!"
This boy couldn't be serious. Did he mean Merlin should get on the broom with him?
Merlin was about to voice the question when the creature once again gave a snarl, which sounded alarmingly close. All other thoughts evaporated. He needed to get away, and fast.
Merlin grabbed the boy's offered hand and hoisted himself up to sit behind him on the broomstick.
"Hold on!" said the boy, and Merlin hastily searched for something to hold on to, but before he could find anything the broom gave powerful lurch forwards, and Merlin's arms automatically wrapped themselves around the boy's thin waist.
He was flying, on a broom, behind a boy wearing long, gold and red robes, away from a five legged creature. Merlin knew he'd had some truly bizarre experiences in his life; he'd even flown on the back of a dragon, for goodness' sake! But this, he had to admit, was something he could never, not even in his wildest dreams, ever have imagined.
The broom flew higher and higher, trees whipped past them in mere blurs. Merlin was still holding on tightly onto the boy's robes. They were almost at the tree tops now. Merlin chanced a look behind him; the creature was nowhere in sight. The broom's speed had left it behind.
He breathed a sigh of relief before turning back to crane his neck to see past the mop of the boy's raven black hair, but from this high up he couldn't discern their location. Still, it was amazing to see the forest from such a high angle.
Beams of light were filtering through the thick canopy of leaves right above their heads, and the cold wind felt wonderful on his face, which was laced with sweat.
"Thank you!" said Merlin, gratefully "For saving me back there."
The boy half turned his head to look at Merlin through the corner of his eye, obviously not wanting to take his vision off their flying path.
"No problem" he smiled.
Before he could stop himself, Merlin asked "What sort of broom is this?"
Right after he'd said it, Merlin realized how stupid that question must have sounded, especially since the answer should be obvious.
Nevertheless, as he turned his focus back ahead, the boy answered simply "A Firebolt"
Merlin didn't know if that was supposed to mean anything significant. He was then about to ask 'how does it fly?' but stopped himself just in time. The answer to that was so obvious even Arthur, who'd unknowingly had a warlock for a servant for over three years now, would have known that the broom must be enchanted. So Merlin jumped straight to the next question on his mind.
"Was it you who did that thing with the red lights?"
'Of course it was him, who else could it have been?' the voice in his head answered for him, and Merlin could've smacked himself on the forehead with his palm for once again, asking the obvious.
"Yeah, it was." said the boy, "Though it didn't really help much, did it? Must be immune to Stunners, and Petrificus Totalus, did that first, and my Impedimenta charm could barely slow that thing down."
"A charm?" Merlin questioned, "I've never heard of Impedimenta...or Stunners and whatever that other one was...before."
Merlin felt the boy tense beneath his grip.
"But you do know magic, don't you?" he asked slowly, his voice suddenly hesitant.
"Of course I do." Said Merlin, and the boy let out a breath.
"Right, sorry, "he said, "No offence, but for a moment there I was afraid I'd might have picked up a Muggle. That wouldn't have been good for the Statue of Secrecy." He finished absently.
"None taken." said Merlin "But what's a Muggle?"
The boy turned to Merlin with a look of faint surprise, and then turned away from him again.
"Muggles," he said "are what wizards and witches call everyone who doesn't have magic."
"Right" said Merlin, slightly embarrassed, feeling as a warlock, he should have known this fact. Especially since the boy seemed surprised Merlin wasn't familiar with the term, and then explained it to him as though it was something common that everybody knew. Merlin decided not to ask what The Statue of Secrecy was.
The broom decreased its speed to a more leisurely pace.
"So..." the boy began a bit awkwardly "did you go to Hogwarts?"
"Um, no. What's Hogwarts?" Merlin asked
"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"I didn't know there was a magic school." said Merlin, he wondered if Gaius knew about this Hogwarts, but if he did, wouldn't he have already told Merlin about it?
"Really? I should have guessed, though; you didn't know what Muggles were." said the boy "Most witches and wizards in Britain get their Hogwarts letter when they turn eleven. That's when they can start their first year, and then go there for seven years, though I..." he trailed off, and when he spoke again, his voice was low, and a bit strained "I sort of... missed my seventh year."
Merlin was about to ask why, but his intuition told him this might not be a very good conversational topic to venture into, if the way the boy's demeanor suddenly took on a darker and less welcoming shade was anything to go by. Even though Merlin's natural curiosity was lusting to pry into the subject and find out more, he really did not want to upset the person who was in control of the flying broomstick, which was rather high above the ground.
Growing uncomfortable with the sudden silence, Merlin decided upon another topic, one that seemed more comfortable for the boy, and which he also was curious to know more about.
"What's Hogwarts like?"
"Oh, Hogwarts is great." The boy's tone sounded more cheerful, "It's the first real home I ever had. My best friend, Ron, and I slept in the same dorm, and used to sit and do our homework in the common room with my other best friend, Hermione. She would always make sure we got our essays done on time.
"Anyway, there are many subjects like Defense Against The Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, Care Of Magical Creatures, though we don't get to handle any creatures like the one that chased you, which I think was a Quintaped, by the way. And there's ancient runes, and potions..."
Merlin listened intently as the boy summed up the subjects of Hogwarts. All the things he could learn in such a place...Merlin suddenly found he very much wanted to go and study there.
"Oh, and I almost forgot about Quidditch." The boy exclaimed, "I was on my house Quiddicth team."
Merlin was about to ask what Quiddicth was, but the boy continued "Oh yeah, and there's four houses, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. You get sorted at the start of first year, by the Sorting Hat..."
As the boy continued to talk about what qualities in a person defined which house they'd be sorted into, Merlin noted his voice started to sound faintly wistful. And When he started speaking about how terrified he'd been when the sorting hat had nearly put him in Slytherin, Merlin got the distinct impression that this boy hadn't truly opened up to anyone in quite a while , and was now all too eager spilling very private information to a complete stranger.
The boy seemed suddenly to come to the same realization, for he abruptly stopped his rambling and cleared his throat.
"So...anyway," the boy said, gaining control over his voice "I think we're far enough away from the Quintaped now, I thought they only lived on some island, that's what my textbook said. It got that wrong."
Merlin saw the ground come steadily closer, and they landed softly on the leaf-strewn ground. Merlin got off the broom a little unsteadily, his legs were partly numb after all the running he'd done earlier. The boy swiftly followed, then held the broom handle in one hand and proceeded to search his robes for something with the other.
Merlin watched in fascination as the boy extracted a stick from an inside pocket and pointed it at the broomstick, which started to shrink.
"Magic" the boy grinned and put the broom, which was now the size of a small dagger, in another inside pocket of his robes.
"Right, obviously" said Merlin, with a small, embarrassed smile. He really had to stop voicing questions with such clear and obvious answers.
"Don't want to lose that again" the boy muttered, patting the part of his robes where the broom now safely resided "I was damn lucky when Hermione actually managed to locate it."
Merlin choose not to comment on this, instead he saw something else rather fascinating about the boy.
"What's that?" Merlin pointed briefly at the boy's face.
"What?" the boy said sharply, and his eyes suddenly looked a bit fearful.
"Erm..." Merlin was suddenly afraid he'd might have offended the boy somehow "that...around your eyes."
"Oh" the nervous manner vanished; he straightened his bangs, "You mean my glasses?"
Merlin nodded, uncertainly "What are glasses?
The boy's emerald green eyes widened "You don't know what glasses are?" he asked incredulously.
Merlin shook his head.
"Blimey, you've never heard the term Muggle before, you've never heard of Hogwarts, and you don't even know what glasses are? Where you've been living all your life?"
"Erm...in Ealdor," Merlin said hesitantly, unsure of whether that last question was meant to be rhetorical or not "But what are the glasses for?"
The boy looked at Merlin like he'd grown three heads, and after a rather uncomfortable pause, the boy finally answered his question.
"...I've got poor eyesight, and the glasses help me see better."
The boy started looking Merlin up and down, scrutinizing him, "Those clothes..." he murmured.
Merlin was really starting to feel uncomfortable with the way the boy was eyeing him.
"Is...is everything alright?" said Merlin slowly.
The boy stopped his scrutinizing, but continued to stare at Merlin as though he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"This can't be right, but it fits..." The boy whispered "but...but, how's that even possible?"
"What can't be happening?" asked Merlin, "What's not possible?"
But the boy seemed not to have heard him; he only looked away from Merlin and started rambling to no one in particular.
"This can't be real, can it? But it feels real, but then again so did talking to Dumbledore at King's Cross, but I haven't died...have I? "The boy looked down at himself "I only took off right after the funeral, I didn't crash into anything and die, did I? No, no I'm sure that didn't happen, besides, last time I was naked and I'm definitely not... and I have my Firebolt...then am I really...?"
Merlin cleared his throat uncertainly, not really sure how wise it really was to try and interrupt boy's frantic ramblings, which Merlin didn't understand much of. The boy looked slowly up at Merlin, with a surprisingly determined expression.
"Where am I?" he asked, looking Merlin straight in the eye.
"Albion?" the boy blinked
"...Yes, this is the land of Albion."
"...Right..."said the boy, nodding, "Judging by the clothes it's somewhere in the middle ages, the Wizarding World isn't in hiding yet, and in the middle ages...they had kingdoms, and...and Merlin's beard!"
"What?" Merlin quipped at the sound of his name.
The boy once again, appeared not to have heard him "So...if this is the land of Albion," he muttered, then turned once again to Merlin "what kingdom am I in?"
"You're in Camelot." said Merlin, now starting to think this boy might be somewhat mentally afflicted.
The boy blinked again, "Did you say...I'm in Camelot?"
"...Yes, you're in Camelot."
"Merlin's pants!" the boy gasped.
Merlin was taken aback by that, whatever he had expected the boy, who seemed unable to come to terms with where he was, to say next, this certainly wasn't it. He looked quickly down at his trousers, then back up at the boy.
"What...what did you just say?" Merlin asked.
Once again, the boy didn't hear him, but instead asked a question of his own.
"So...Arthur's king then?"
"No, he's just the prince." said Merlin.
The boy's eyes widened comically "Arthur's real?"
Merlin nodded "Of course Arthur's real! I would know, I clean his chambers, bring him breakfast, and polish his boots every day."
"You know Prince Arthur?" the boy asked incredulously.
Merlin nodded, "I'm his ser-"
"-Merlin's teeth, I really am in Camelot!" the boy's loud exclamation interrupted.
"Why do keep using my name like that? There's nothing wrong with my teeth!" Merlin said irritably.
At that, the boy reeled "What?"
"I said," Merlin repeated" There is nothing wrong with my teeth."
"I never said there was." said the boy, confused.
"Then why'd you say my name?"
"Your name?" said the boy "But I don't even know your name. We never told each other our names."
"But you just said-" Merlin began, but then realized the boy was right; he couldn't remember telling his name. Perhaps the boy meant some other Merlin, and his teeth.
"Never mind. What is your name, by the way?" asked Merlin, a little friendlier.
"I..."The boy hesitated for a moment, and then his posture started to relax, "I'm Harry."
The boy held out his hand, and Merlin shook it.
Then Harry froze, his and Merlin's hands still linked, and his green eyes widened once again.
"Merlin?" exclaimed Harry "The Merlin?"
Merlin let go of Harry's hand, "I'm the only Merlin I know of, if that's what you mean."
Harry just stared at him with wide eyes for a moment, and then said rather absently "Hermione is going to love this."
"So um, Merlin, you don't know anywhere I can stay, do you, until I can get home?" asked Harry with a sheepish smile.
Before Merlin could answer, a very familiar "MER-LIN!" suddenly sounded through the trees, and both Merlin and Harry looked in the direction the voice had come from.
Arthur and his quarry of knights came trudging up a path towards them.
"There you are! I had to abandon the hunt and start looking for you!" Arthur sounded annoyed, but as he came closer, Merlin saw relief in his eyes.
"Have your hearing gone bad, Merlin?" said Arthur.
"No." Merlin shrugged.
"It must have, because I thought I told you to stay close by," Arthur walked up to Merlin "but what do you do? You go and get yourself lost, again!"
Merlin only grinned sheepishly, and Arthur went and slapped him on the back of the head, but it was more playfully than admonishing.
"Ow!" yelped Merlin "What was that for?"
"For being an absolute idiot" Arthur grinned, "again."
Yep, thought Merlin, Arthur's definitely relieved to see me.
"Who are you?" Arthur turned to Harry, who had been watching this whole exchange looking amused.
"Potter, Harry Potter."
Arthur nodded, then proceeded to introduce himself "I am Arthur Pendragon of Camelot."
"Nice to meet you." said Harry.
When Harry didn't even give the smallest of bows, Arthur's knights looked taken aback, and the corner of Merlin's mouth twitched at Arthur's questioning, and slightly forlorn expression.
"What?" said Harry "Have I got something in my teeth?"
Arthur rolled his eyes "Honestly Merlin, you've managed to find yourself a friend with even worse manners than yourself!"
"What about my manners?" asked Harry, looking back and forth from Merlin to Arthur?
"Please forgive him, Sire" said Merlin, looking at Harry out of the coroner of his eye as he added the title "Harry told me he'd never been in the presence of royalty before."
"Is that so?" said Arthur, and he looked Harry up and down. "You don't look like any peasant I've seen."
"Just because I don't look poor doesn't automatically mean I should have met royalty." said Harry, a touch coldly.
"Hmmm," Arthur looked at Merlin "where did you find him?"
Before Merlin could answer, Harry quipped in "I was in a bit of trouble with this beast and Merlin here helped me."
"Merlin helped you" Arthur asked skeptically "alone?"
Merlin knew why Arthur had trouble believing he could manage to fight off a beast, being as scrawny as he was, but he still felt rather insulted.
"Yes" said Harry.
"Merlin helped you fight off a beast?"
Harry grinned "Actually, he distracted the beast just as it was about to kill me and we ran for it."
Arthur snorted "Actually, that does sound like Merlin."
"Hey!" cried Merlin indignantly.
Arthur ignored him and smiled at Harry. "So where're you headed, Harry Potter?"
"Nowhere, really," shrugged Harry "I'm kinda lost."
"You're welcome to come back to Camelot with us." said Arthur.
"Thank you." said Harry, smiling politely at Arthur.
"Very well then, let's go." Arthur turned and moved to take up the lead, his knights parting way for him.
The Party of the prince, knights, servant and Harry started trekking back through the forest.
Merlin walked beside Harry, behind the knights.
"Why'd you lie and say I helped you, when it was really you who saved me?" Merlin asked Harry quietly, so the knights wouldn't overhear.
"I just, dunno," shrugged Harry "I guess it's a habit of mine. You can tell him the truth if you want."
"Hmm..." Merlin mused, "Probably best not to. Magic is banned in Camelot."
"What?" said Harry, a bit too loudly, and one of the knights turned his head and looked at Harry. Seeing nothing wrong, the knight quickly turned away again.
"Sorry." said Harry, lowering his voice "What'd you mean magic is banned? What about you?"
"King Uther has forbidden the use of magic in the kingdom; anyone who's found practicing it is executed." said Merlin "Only Gaius, my guardian, knows about me. So you'd better be careful once we enter the city."
Harry looked surprised, but nodded resolutely "I will."
Merlin wanted to find out more about Harry Potter, the boy was nothing short of strange. He had magic, but he couldn't be a druid, he neither talked nor dressed like one. In fact, he wasn't surprised that Arthur had thought he was a noble with the clean and expensive looking red and gold robes the boy was wearing. Yet, if Harry Potter was a noble, why hadn't he showed any ounce of courtesy towards Arthur or his knights.
He also treated Merlin like an equal, although perhaps that was because Merlin had magic just like Harry, and the boy simply treated all warlocks like equals. He had attended a magic school, after all. Then again, didn't only noble's go to school? Were there warlocks and wizards of noble blood? Merlin longed to know more.
"If you want, you can stay with me. I'm sure Gaius won't mind as long as you don't use magic around him, he has a tendency to give you a lecture about how careless you're being." Merlin grinned.
If Harry accepted his offer he would be able to keep an eye on him. Then another thought came to him, what if Harry was here to kill Arthur? Somehow, though, Merlin couldn't bring himself to believe that, but maybe that was only because Merlin really wanted to talk more with Harry about Hogwarts, and have the company of another person with magic, one who could understand, another person in whose company he didn't have to hide who he truly was.
Either way, Merlin would keep a close eye on Harry Potter as long as he was in Camelot.
"Yeah, okay, sure" Harry accepted Merlin's offer with a relieved smile, and Merlin was sure the boy had so far been trying to figure out what do with himself. Harry looked only a few years younger than Merlin after all, so he probably didn't want to be alone in a strange city.
Before long, Merlin saw the outline of the magnificent Camelot castle through the trees, and heard Harry's murmur of "Ron and Hermione won't believe this!"
AN: I found the Quintaped in Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them. Trust Merlin to stumble across a creature which supposedly only lives on The Isle of Drear.
Reviews are very welcome because they do inspire me to get the next chapter up as quickly as possible, ;) it was suppose to be a one-shot but a small plot emerged so this story will have more chapters to it.