Author's Note: Yay. I managed another update before the end of the weekend. Couple of things.
1) Again, continuity errors with MLTDC Ch1. Ch1 is going to be re-written. This is the one that matters.
2) Let me know if you do notice any other continuity errors within this story, or just Harry Potter continuity errors or OOC ness.
Then it shall be fixed.
Chapter 4: Resistance
Harry awoke the next morning with an aching head and folded his pillow across it to dull the pain.
"Harry?" Ron asked as he slipped his sweater vest on. "What the bloody hell was that last night?"
And then it all came back to him – the book, the magic, the memories, Merlin. Harry's eyes widened and he turned over to face his friend.
"You alright?" Ron asked, worried.
There was a sigh. "Yeah, I'm fine, Ron." He lied.
"You don't sound fine."
Harry wiped his eyes and took in a deep breath before sitting up. "What time is it anyway?"
"Almost time for breakfast. You slept in."
That got him out of bed. Harry raced to the shower, scrubbing quickly before drying off and dressing in his robes for the day. He combed his hair and brushed his teeth before grabbing his wand and heading downstairs. The common room was empty, which one would expect during breakfast, but Harry hadn't noticed the presence of one small figure near the door.
"Harry," Hermione began, her eyes determined. "We need to talk."
"If you're going to ask about the magic, don't bother." Harry snapped. "I won't be using it anymore."
Hermione scrunched up her face in confusion. "I don't understand."
"You don't have to." Harry retorted.
A voice in Harry's head sighed with impatience. Don't be cruel to your friend because you're angry at being me.
Harry's expression turned into a grimace.
"Harry?" she asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm fine." He snapped and headed for the exit.
Hermione followed him to the hall.
Harry barely touched his breakfast. His fork scraped against the plate as he moved a sausage to one side.
I'm not Merlin. He repeated. I'm not Merlin.
Yes you are! You're as much me as I am you!
Harry stabbed the fork with frustration.
Ron raised an eyebrow.
"Harry, you haven't eaten anything."
"I'm not hungry." He muttered.
"Harry you haven't eaten much since this whole thing started." Hermione whispered. "You're going to waste away!"
They're as bad as Arthur. Merlin commented. We're just skinny. Honestly!
Harry's fork clattered to his plate angrily and he held his head.
"I'm fine." He repeated, more to convince himself.
Hermione made to respond but Ron beat her to it. "Leave her alone, Harry. She's just worried about you." He scolded. "And what's wrong with you anyway? You've been a right git all week you know!"
"I don't have to sit and listen to this," Harry said angrily.
You have been a bit of a prat all week.
"Leave me alone." Harry said with irritation as he stormed out of the hall. "Just go away."
"Fine!" Ron said, about to continue his tirade, but Hermione stopped him.
"Wait. Ron. I don't think he said that to us."
"So, what, you're saying he's more crackers than before?"
But Hermione didn't respond to his comment. "Did something happen last night?" she wondered, concerned.
"Yeah. He was muttering weird things and crying."
Hermione looked at him, worried. Merlin. He must know.
"What sort of weird things?"
"Something about an Arthur?"
"Arthur." She nearly choked.
"Yeah. It was bloody mad, Mione. He was out of it, in a trance almost. I've never seen him so upset; it was like someone died."
Probably because someone did. She thought. Arthur. A chill went down her spine and she rubbed her arms, glancing to the door where Harry had left moments earlier. If ever there was confirmation of her suspicions, this was it. But should she confront Harry now, despite how volatile he'd proven at breakfast?
No. Give him time to cool off.
Yes, that was the better idea. Let him cool down a little and then try to approach him. Hopefully then he would be less defensive.
Harry. She thought. Why do you have to do everything yourself?
Oh no. Not him, not today.
"Malfoy." He said with a sigh. "What do you want?"
"I heard you'd lost the plot and had to come see for myself."
Harry frowned, not in the mood. "Well, are you satisfied?" he asked, and turned to walk away.
He felt the hex before it ever came close and turned around. Everything was in slow motion. Without thinking, he gestured the hex away before it ever hit. Then Merlin took over.
"Nice try." Harry said. "Maybe you need more practice."
"What the hell was that, Potter? How did you do that? It's dark magic, isn't it? My father will hear about this."
The voice in his head began to chuckle, and Harry couldn't help but do the same.
"Your father." Harry asked. "What's your father going to do?"
"He'll get you expelled." Draco muttered.
"Good luck with that, Malfoy."
Harry walked away, leaving Draco frightened and angry.
You can't just do that. Harry thought.
Yes I can. I am in here too, you know. Are you ready to listen to me yet?
There was a sigh. Suit yourself. He's a prat, though, isn't he?
Harry couldn't help but snort.
After lessons, Hermione found Harry in the common room staring at the fire.
"Harry?" Hermione asked.
He didn't answer. Camlann might've gone back behind the glass wall in his head but Harry couldn't shake the emotion that had come with it. He watched the fire forlornly, his eyes red and his glasses on his lap.
Hermione frowned and sat next to him.
"Harry?" she tried again.
Harry sighed. "Hermione, please. I just need to be alone."
Let her help. She's your friend.
She won't understand. And go away! Didn't I say I don't want to be you?
You can't take this back Harry. It's done. It's been done since the day you picked up that book.
Harry took out his wand, attempting to douse the fire. It didn't work. He could feel it struggling, its loyalty changing.
"I'm not leaving you, Harry. Just trust me."
"I'm sorry, Hermione." He said, standing up.
Her eyes betrayed her hurt and he frowned. He hated doing this to her, but what choice did he have? He couldn't very well say "I'm upset because I don't want to be Merlin." She'd call him six kinds of crazy. But he knew someone who wouldn't.
"It's better for you not to know." He said sadly, and left.
Hermione sighed heavily, leaning forward onto her hands. She glanced toward the staircase before looking into the fire forlornly.
"Hagrid?" Harry asked softly, knocking twice. No answer.
He frowned, and turned to leave. The door suddenly opened inward.
"Harry!" Hagrid exclaimed. "It's late. I didn't expect ter see yeh here tonight."
"Sorry. I shouldn't have…" He began.
"Nonsense. I always have time for yeh, Harry. Come in."
Harry couldn't help but smile as he entered the hut.
"Been a while since yeh came down for a visit."
"Yeah, about that…" Harry began.
Hagrid raised a hand. "You haven't seemed yerself." He said. "Especially in class. What's going on?"
Harry sighed. "That's…sort of why I'm here. I need your help."
Hagrid sat down, curious. "With what?"
"Please, Hagrid, before I say anything, just promise me you won't tell anyone."
"Harry…" he said softly, before nodding. "I promise. Now, what's troubling yeh?"
"Hagrid, I…I found this book in the Room of Requirement, and it had this magic. I've been using it, and it's really powerful, and…"
"Whoa, slow down. You found what kind of book where?" Hagrid asked.
"Some sort of old spell book in the Room of Hidden Things."
"Oh dear." Hagrid muttered.
Harry tensed. "Hagrid…" he began, his tone defensive.
"No! Wait, Harry. Finish what you were saying."
"Why? So you can keep things from me too?" Harry exclaimed angrily. "I thought you were different, Hagrid, but you're just like the rest of them."
Rude. A voice said in his head.
"What?" Harry said aloud.
I said rude. I thought he was your friend. Is that how you speak to him?
Harry gritted his teeth. "Just go away." He said.
"Harry?" Hagrid asked. "Who are you talking to?"
No. I will not. Just because you are insistent on ignoring me, does not mean I will give up. I'm Merlin, or have you forgotten?
Get out of my head.
Harry suddenly fell against the wall as weakness overcame him.
I knew this would happen. Merlin muttered. Harry you must stop this. Your body was not meant to handle two presences.
That's not my fault, is it?
"Harry?" Hagrid tried again. "Harry, we should take you to the infirmary."
"No!" Harry exclaimed, holding his head. "No."
Just tell him.
"Hagrid." Harry began, breathing heavily. "Promise me you'll tell me what you know?"
"Yeh know I will." He said.
Harry propped himself against the table before lowering himself into the seat again. He took another deep breath. "Hagrid." He said. "I think I'm Merlin."
Oh, you think, do you? Merlin retorted.
"Merlin." Hagrid responded, his tone betraying nothing.
"He just…he won't shut up." Harry said. "That book…something happened, and now he's just in my head all the time."
Harry looked up, expecting to see disbelief, but instead he saw understanding and resignation in Hagrid's face.
"Dumbledore always said someone was gonna come looking fer that book, Harry. I guess he just didn't expect it would be you."
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"It's Merlin's. Though if the great wizard's in yer head, I don't doubt yer already know that."
"You believe me." Harry said.
"Course. Lot 'a wizards figgered that Merlin was gonna come back someday. Just not…as another wizard, suppose. No one really dares to mess with rencar…rein…" He struggled.
"Reincarnation." Harry sighed. "Hagrid, I saw King Arthur die. I felt Merlin's emotions."
Merlin was quiet, the twinge of pain evident.
Hagrid frowned. "I'd love ter help yeh, Harry, but I'm afraid I don't know how."
"I just want him gone." Harry said. "Merlin is this…amazing wizard who founded…everything, and I'm just…me…just Harry Potter. I don't want to be him! But he won't let it go. What do I do?"
Hagrid sighed. "Harry." He said. "I think…that's going to have to be up to you."
"Hagrid." Harry said softly, thinking.
"Why do you believe me?"
Hagrid simply smiled. "Why would you lie?" he said.
Harry nodded. There was a pause before Hagrid spoke again.
"You should tell your friends."
"They wouldn't believe me."
Hagrid's eyes twinkled. "Give them a chance, Harry. They've been here for yeh this far."
Harry couldn't debate that. He acknowledged Hagrid's advice, before turning to leave.
"Thanks." He said.
"It's not like you to sneak into the restricted section, Mione." Ron whispered.
"Yes, well, it's not exactly a normal situation, is it Ron?" She whispered back. "Now be quiet or this cloak won't help us."
Ron pouted but did as she asked. He'd nearly fainted when Hermione had confronted him after dinner, demanding that he nick Harry's invisibility cloak, but when he'd tried to question her she'd responded with some platitude about trust. He was so concerned about Harry by this point that he'd agreed to whatever she wanted, if it would help his friend. But she'd insisted on going alone and he certainly wasn't going to let that happen. So here they were.
"We're in." Hermione whispered. She removed the cloak and tucked it under her arm.
"Now what?" Ron wondered. "What are we looking for?"
"Gold magic." She said. "That's where it started."
Ron nodded and headed further down the aisle. Hermione watched to make sure he was gone before skimming for what she was really looking for: a book about reincarnation.
She opened it, reading quickly through the contents and flipping to the section on complications.
Reincarnation is a dangerous and unreliable process, even when cast by the most skilled of wizards. Many complications can arise. The new person may never remember their past life, or if they do, may choose to resist the past life in favor of their current one. Alternatively the memory of the past life may push to the forefront, sometimes taking complete control, or causing a break of the mind into two halves.
Hermione was horrified. She remembered Harry muttering to leave him alone earlier. Her expression dropped as she imagined losing Harry completely, only to be replaced by a solemn Merlin.
I can't let that happen! I have to reason with Merlin. But if I do this, I'll need to know more about him.
Hermione shook her head.
Listen to me. I'm talking about Merlin as if he's just another wizard. Reason with him? I'll be lucky to get his attention!
She closed the book with a frown and looked for another.
"Hermione, I found this one." Ron said, returning with a book about druid magic.
"Good, you can skim that and see if anything matches." She said, getting up to search for another book.
Maybe if I look for Arthurian Legends? Or the legend of Merlin?
There was unfortunately no book so obvious as to be called the Legend of Merlin, so Hermione was forced to look for Arthurian Legends.
'Prince Arthur and the Warlock Merlin: Pre-Arthurian Age'. Wait. Prince Arthur? Wasn't he King?
She gingerly pulled the book off the shelf and skimmed again, reading the beginnings of the legend.
Some wizards believe that Merlin wasn't always a powerful wizard. There are rumors that he originally came to Camelot as a youth, during the reign of King Uther.
Hermione's eyes widened. "What?" She hissed.
"Have you found something?" Ron asked.
"Um…" She caught herself. "No. Sorry. Thought I did. How about you?"
"Nothing. All rubbish about druids not using wands. Some mention of Merlin but other than that…" He yawned.
She sighed. "I'll just be a few minutes, Ron, and we'll head back."
Hermione flipped to the end.
Rumors say that Merlin was trapped in a crystal cave. No one knows for certain if he died or if he still lays in Britain. It is, however, well known that King Arthur died of a fatal blow from the warlock and knight Mordred. It is speculated that both will return, though the details or where or when are anyone's guess.
Hermione blinked. That matched the legends at least.
Wait. Is that why Harry was crying?
It seemed like the closer Hermione got to an answer, the more questions she found. She sighed.
"Mione! It's Filch!" Ron suddenly hissed.
Footsteps sounded through the otherwise silent library. Hermione quickly replaced the book on the shelf and ducked under the cloak with Ron, making a quiet escape past the strict caretaker and toward the common room.
It was late when Harry arrived back at his dorm and he had a rather large headache he couldn't get rid of, even with a spell. He sighed. There had been no more comments from Merlin, and for that he was grateful. For some reason, he felt as though Merlin was waiting for Harry to follow Hagrid's advice and make his own decision.
Harry groaned. How did he get himself in these situations? If someone told him in first year that he'd have the greatest wizard of all time inside his head he'd never have believed them.
With a yawn, Harry realized he wasn't going to be able to think tonight. Arguing with Merlin all day had drained him, and avoiding Ron and Hermione hadn't helped. He quickly changed into his pajamas, feeling the tiredness pass through his limbs. By the time he'd packed away his school things for tomorrow, he was nearly asleep on his feet, and fell into bed, into a deep sleep.
"Harry." A voice called.
"Harry." It called again.
"Ron, I was just falling asleep. What do you..."
A face suddenly appeared in front of his. "Hi!"
Harry jumped up and stumbled backwards before falling down again.
"You're not Ron." He exclaimed, looking around. "Wait! You were in the painting! Are you…?"
The dark haired man grinned. "I'm Merlin."
Harry analyzed the man's purple and golden robes with awe and fear. Merlin looked confused before realizing the problem.
"Oh! Sorry. This must seem really intimidating."
He closed his eyes and his clothes changed to the clothes he'd worn when he'd first met Arthur. "There," he said, "That should be more…casual."
Merlin held out a hand to Harry, helping him off the ground. Harry stood stiffly, trying not to stare at the unusual piece of red cloth hanging around Merlin's neck.
"Is this in my head?" He asked.
"Of course it's in your head." Merlin said with a scolding tone. "But that doesn't make it any less real, you know."
Harry thought that sounded really Dumbledore-ish, but figured it must come with the territory of living so long. He looked at Merlin, really looked, while they walked. The man was tall, dark-haired, with awkward proportions and the biggest ears Harry had seen. Not exactly how he'd imagined the founder of the wizarding world.
"You're thinking about my ears." Merlin said.
Harry turned red.
"It's okay." He said with a laugh. "I don't mind. I know I'm not the person you expected. To be honest, I thought you'd be angrier, given the amount of torment I've put you through today."
"It's a lot easier to be angry with a formless voice than the actual founder of the wizarding world." Harry admitted reluctantly.
Merlin smirked at that, before leading Harry up some stairs and into a small laboratory with a bed and fireplace.
"I know this place." Harry said.
"I'd be surprised if you didn't."
"This is Gaius' chambers, isn't it? But how do I remember that? It's your memory not mine."
Merlin sighed an d motioned for Harry to sit. He did. Merlin sat across from him.
"Harry." He said firmly. "I don't think you understand how this works. You are me."
Harry frowned. "No, I'm not."
Merlin sighed. "When you went to the zoo with your Aunt and Uncle, what happened to the glass?"
"I made it vanish."
"How about when your Aunt Marge became a balloon?"
"I was upset." Harry said. "I couldn't control it."
"You've been using wandless magic since you were just a boy." Merlin said wryly.
"But it's not just me. Lots of wizards do that!" Harry protested. "It disappears when they learn to control their magic."
"In their third year?" Merlin countered.
"I was under stress."
"Maybe." He said nonchalantly. "Or maybe your magic is more reactive, like mine. I had spurts of wandless magic my entire life. I just learned to control it wandlessly."
"I'm not that skilled a wizard." Harry said. "How can I possibly be you? I mean you're the most powerful of us all!"
Merlin chuckled. "And there's the awe." He said. There was a pause. "If you had been born with my magic, Harry, you'd have been whisked off to the Ministry at birth. I had to make sure you'd be normal, grow up unnoticed until the time we could remember, and hide it properly. Now our magicks have blended. You can use the old or new spells, with or without a wand, once this settles down."
Harry frowned. "Well my wand still isn't working."
Merlin shook his head. "It won't, yet. Its loyalty has to change. It can't do that until you accept me."
"But I'm not you."
"No?" Merlin asked. "Tell me, how is your potions coursework coming along?"
"I have to do it for the second time because the first time blew up in my face." Harry said sourly.
Merlin laughed. "Of course it did."
"Why is that funny?"
"Merlin is hopeless at brewing tinctures and potions." A voice suddenly answered. It appeared Merlin had conjured up Gaius from his memory. The man continued. "Oh, he can make a poultice easy enough, but put him near the cauldron and it nearly always ends in disaster."
"You're Merlin, and you can't brew potions?" Harry asked, surprised.
"As it turns out, I did eventually learn the skill, but it took many years."
"Snape would have a field day if he knew that."
A sour look came over Merlin's face. "Unfortunately for Snape, it's none of his business."
Harry held back a grin at Merlin's apparent dislike for the potions professor.
"The fact is, Harry, I've been with you since you were born. I'm only a memory of your past life. You are me, reborn – new Merlin, if you like. You've got my personality, my skills, my wit, and my rashness."
Harry sat back, taking all that in. He hated to admit it, but Merlin had a point. He couldn't deny how similar he felt to the man in those memories.
"But I'm already the Boy Who Lived." Harry protested. "People expect things from me, and…"
"I know what it feels like to have expectations placed on your shoulders." He said. "Befriending a man who hated magic and slowly helping him become a fair king was one of the hardest things I ever did."
"But I can't be you too, Merlin. Don't you see? I just can't. I don't know how to be you. The Ministry will want me to rule. I can't rule! I'm only fourteen!"
Merlin tsked. "You don't have to know how to be me, Harry. You are me. And once you've accepted that, all my knowledge and all my memories will be yours to draw on. The Ministry doesn't have to know anything. Trust me, the last thing we want is to be the head of the Ministry of Magic."
Harry nodded somberly. "Even if I don't have to rule, or be the head of the Ministry, there's still the responsibility that comes with being you. Won't I have another destiny, another prophecy to fulfill?"
Merlin sighed. "Perhaps. I have no way of knowing that."
"Don't you have the sight?"
Merlin snorted. "If by the sight you mean the gods show me things when it's convenient, then yes, not that it was useful in the end. A man's mind is his own, even when he's been prophesied for death."
He saw Harry's look at this and forced himself to calm down. "I didn't at first." Merlin explained. "I could only see things through the crystals. It…developed."
Harry pondered this, knowing what Merlin spoke of. "I saw your memories." He said. "And I don't know if I can take the pain you've gone through."
"I can. You'll be stronger whole."
Harry looked at the table, conflicted.
"You had a headache when you went to bed tonight." Merlin said softly.
"If you keep fighting me, they'll get worse. We'll always be fighting each other." Merlin explained. "But if you let us meld, you'll have my memories, my experiences, but also my strength. You'll have help, and this will seem less overwhelming to you."
He watched as Harry took that in.
"Okay." Harry said finally. "Suppose I was okay with all of that. You're still…you're Merlin! I can't…"
He looked away. "I'll always be in awe of you. I mean, you created this…world of magic."
Merlin walked over to Harry and sat next to him.
"May I?" he asked.
"May you what?" Harry responded.
"I want to show you some memories."
Merlin placed his index finger on Harry's forehead and Harry suddenly saw Merlin's most vulnerable moments: all the times he'd been punched, poisoned or pelted with fruit; all the times he'd thought he was going to die. Nimueh, Sigan, both sending him flying. The witchfinder and Merlin's fear. The Serkets; their sting. Trying to save King Uther and failing. Dragoon. Morgana throwing Merlin into a wall, multiple times. Being tied up in Morgana's hovel and then being used to try and kill Arthur.
"Why are you showing me this?" Harry asked, suddenly breaking the connection.
Merlin looked at him, surprised. "You need to see that I'm not perfect." He said. "Yes, I created the world you live in, but Harry, I made mistakes along the way."
Harry breathed in deeply and nodded. He'd seen this before but not all together. And to have all of Merlin's embarrassing failures placed in front of him at once was sobering.
"Come on, let's walk. There's something else you should see."
They headed down the steps and strolled through the courtyard, heading for the Great Hall. Harry was amazed by the winding steps and many corridors that made up Camelot Castle and Merlin smiled at the wonder on his face.
"This way." He said. "Hurry."
Merlin pushed open the doors to the Great Hall and Harry suddenly found himself and the wizard standing in a memory. Merlin's clothes were finer than before and he looked on proudly.
Harry looked worried.
Merlin shook his head. "They can't see you."
Then Harry glanced to the front of the room and saw a man kneeling on the ground with his head bowed: Arthur Pendragon, about to be crowned king. He breathed in sharply.
"I now crown you Arthur, King of Camelot." Geoffrey said.
Harry let out the breath he was holding in pure reflex. The shock was overwhelming – seeing the mighty king of legend crowned, while standing next to Merlin, no less, was really doing his head in. He suddenly found himself caught up in cheers of "Long live the king!" before Merlin led him out.
"What…I mean…that was amazing!"
"You've seen it before, briefly." Merlin said wryly.
"Just one question." Harry said.
Merlin raised an eyebrow.
"Was that really his crown?"
The warlock snorted. "Yes."
"It looks like something from that Burger King place Dudley goes to."
Merlin nearly choked with laughter before ruffling Harry's hair. "You're definitely me." He said. "Already knocking down King Prat. Well done."
He suddenly looked away with sadness. "I've shown you this memory again for a reason. If you accept me, though my experiences will help you, there's one thing that will change.
Harry looked confused.
"You'll want to search for Arthur."
Harry shook his head. "If he's as a good a friend as you remember, why would that bother me?"
Merlin squeezed Harry's shoulder reassuringly before turning to him and kneeling to his height. "We didn't start off that way. Just…don't give up on him."
Harry's face scrunched in confusion. "Are you saying Arthur might be someone I don't like?"
But Merlin wasn't saying anything else. He returned to his full height abruptly, and glanced toward the younger wizard.
"So, will you accept me? Will you accept that we're the same?"
Harry took a deep breath, but nodded. "Meeting you like this has helped." He said. "You've kind of destroyed all my expectations of Merlin."
"Good. You don't want to be in awe of yourself." He said with a wink.
"One last question."
Merlin rolled his eyes playfully. "Yes?"
"You, in the painting, you knew didn't you?"
Merlin nodded. "He could see straight through you. After all, he is enchanted to be the portrait version of me."
"I didn't even realize there was a portrait of you in the castle."
"It's well hidden for a reason." Merlin pointed out. "How popular do you think it would be if your classmates knew about it?"
Harry nodded. "That makes sense." He said, taking a deep breath. "So, what do I have to do…for us to…?"
"Hold your hands out, palms facing upward." Merlin instructed.
Harry did as asked. Merlin placed his hands on top of Harry's and closed his eyes. A wind began to spin around them, increasing with intensity.
"This…kind of hurts." Harry said.
"Relax." Merlin said softly.
Then Harry woke up, and promptly fell a meter through the air before hitting his bed.
And now we have Merlin/Harry. Next: Harry's perspective changes, Harry has a nightmare, and Hermione asks some hard questions.