- Character Bashing
- Death - Minor Character
- Alternate Universe
Amaranth Euphemia Potter lay in her playpen, idly gumming at the charmed teething ring that was helping to soothe the pain of her molars coming in as she listened to the rain of a mid-autumn storm drumming against the window. Her mother sat in an armchair nearby, humming softly to herself as she read a book on Charms. Lily was studying for her Charms Mastery. She knew that while the war was going on, it would be very difficult to take the Mastery exams, but maybe once the war was over…
Lily sighed softly, catching the attention of her husband, James, who was sitting in the twin to Lily’s chair, a drink in his hand and the family cat sprawled across his lap as he idly pet her. “Everything alright, Lils?” James asked, setting his drink down on the table next to him.
Lily shot her husband a quick smile, though it faded away after a moment. “I’m just… I’m worried that this war will never end. I want to get my Charms Mastery. I want–” She looked over at Amaranth. “I want Mara to live a happy, healthy life.”
James shooed the cat off his lap before going over to the playpen and scooping Amaranth up, earning a pleased coo from the tiny witch. She flailed her hands, bopping her father on the chin with her drool-covered teething ring. The Potter Lord grimaced a little before wiping the drool off his chin.
“C’mon, little doe, no sliming your dad up,” he said, making Lily chuckle a little.
“It’s her job in life at the moment,” she said as James settled Amaranth in his arms more firmly. “Eat, poop, sleep, and spit up on people.”
“But the prophecy–”
Lily scoffed. “A prophecy made in a seedy tavern by someone applying for the Divination job at Hogwarts? I respect Dumbledore, but I still think the prophecy doesn’t have much weight to it.”
“It might not have much weight to you, but to Voldemort and Dumbledore, it does,” James said. “They have belief in it enough for the whole world.”
“Belief is a powerful thing, Lord Potter. Trust me, I should know.”
Lily and James turned quickly, Lily drawing her wand from its dimensional store in a silver bracelet on her right wrist and pointing it at the intruder. James shifted Amaranth back in the crook of one arm while pressing a hand against Lily’s back, preparing to use the emergency Portkey he wore to get his family away to the safe house not even Dumbledore knew the location of.
“Who are you?” Lily demanded. “How did you get through our wards?”
“Or the Fidelius?” James muttered. Lily ignored him, keeping her wand leveled at the tall man who stepped out of the shadows. The stranger had his hands raised in a calming gesture of peace as he came to a halt in front of them.
“I mean you no harm,” he said. “If I did, I wouldn’t have made you aware of my presence. As for the wards and Fidelius… I am a servant of the Lady Herself. I walk the path between Dark and Light, keeping the Balance as is required of me.” He looked at Amaranth, who was staring at him curiously. A small smile curved his lips, warmth filling his mercurial hazel eyes and crinkling their corners. “That path has taken me here. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”
“What do you mean?” Lily asked, eyes narrowing. She didn’t like the way the stranger was looking at her daughter, even if he was dressed surprisingly Muggle-like in neatly pressed trousers and a soft-looking thin sweater over a crisp white dress shirt, a plain black tie tucked under the sweater completing the look. His head was clean-shaven, though there was some faint stubble on his cheeks. All in all, decidedly not someone she would’ve pegged for a wizard, especially not one powerful enough to walk through wards and a Fidelius like they weren’t even there. If she’d passed him in Muggle London, she wouldn’t have given him a second thought, even with the moderate Scottish accent that flavored his words.
The stranger’s gaze never shifted from Amaranth even as he sank to one knee in front of James, placing his clenched right fist over his left breast. “I’ve been waiting since Camlann to meet the heir to the Magic-blessed Pendragon, and I’ve been brought here by the Lady after over fourteen hundred years of wandering the Isles and the world now that that blessed event has happened.”
James and Lily just stared at him, shock writ clear across their faces. It was James who spoke first, his words hesitant.
“Are… Are you saying that our daughter is King Arthur reborn? And that you’re…”
“Merlin, or Myrddin Emrys,” the stranger replied. “And no, young Amaranth is not the Pendragon reborn, but rather his rightful heir, and as such, is the future ruler of Magical Avalon and the British Wizarding World.”
“But… Why her? Why not James?” Lily asked.
Merlin looked up at her, amusement sparkling in his eyes. “Because while your husband is a descendant of Godric Gryffindor, who was in turn a descendant of Percival, one of Arthur’s most trusted, it was your family who carries the legacy of Arthur– more specifically, your mother’s family. Amaranth is the heir because while you were the first in your family to be given the Lady’s Gift in many generations, it was only when you two married and combined your bloodlines that Magic recognized her right to rule, even while in the womb.”
“And what about the prophecy that she’s supposed to defeat Voldemort?” James asked. “How is she supposed to rule the Magical world if she’s got a Dark Lord coming after her?”
Merlin rose to his feet in a smooth motion, his attention finally leaving Amaranth and focusing on James. “The one known as Voldemort will be a problem, yes, but he’s not eternal. He’s a blight on this world and an enemy of the Lady. I’m here to ensure that he does not condemn her to a life of solely being a weapon to be used against him and other evils by those who would want such a thing.”
“How can you help her?” Lily pressed. “Can you keep her from having to face him at all?”
Merlin’s expression went clouded. “No,” he said softly. “She must face him at least once. Prophecies are tricky things, and often not understood fully until after they’re completed. However, fate and the magics inherent in these kinds of things will force them to come together again and again until the prophecy is fulfilled.”
“But can you help her? You’re Merlin, for–” James let out a sharp laugh. “Well, you know. You’re Merlin.”
“I am,” Merlin agreed with a slight tilt of his head in agreement. “I can and will help her. I’ll guide her and be her mentor and one of her protectors until such a time as she doesn’t need me any more.”
Lily was quiet for a long moment. “When– If– If we die when Voldemort comes for her, will you protect her? Raise her?”
“What about Sirius?” James asked, surprised at the request. “He’s her godfather. He’d raise her, as would Alice and Frank. You know that.”
“I know, but Sirius is headstrong and impetuous, and while I love Alice and Frank like they were my own family, I want to make sure Mara has the best chance she can get,” Lily replied, “and who better than Merlin himself?”
James scrubbed a hand over his face, thinking. He focused on Merlin with a pensive expression. “Do you know if we’re going to survive?”
Merlin hesitated. “I can see several different outcomes, but I can’t tell you your fates,” he said finally. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” James said with a shake of his head. “Lily is right. You’d be the best choice to make sure Mara survives whatever Voldemort and the rest of the Wizarding World throws as her. Would you be willing to do that for us?”
“She’s my queen,” Merlin said simply. “I want her to be as strong and prepared as possible. If it means helping to raise her in your stead, than I would be honored.”
He reached out and gently brushed his fingers across Amaranth’s forehead, a few fine locks of her hair– which was already so dark a red as to seem black unless in direct or strong light –being moved as he did so. A shimmer of golden magic followed his fingers, sinking into her skin and earning a yawn from Amaranth, who was hardly impressed. “I’ll do my best to make sure her godparents and other honorary family members don’t do anything stupid when the time comes,” he promised. “I’ll be visiting the Longbottoms after I’m finished here.”
“Give them our love,” Lily said, earning a nod from Merlin.
“Of course,” he replied. “I’ve touched Amaranth with my magic, so I’ll be able to find her no matter where she is, regardless of whether or not she’s behind wards or even a Fidelius.”
“Thank you,” James said. He shifted Amaranth in his arms before reaching out to shake Merlin’s hand. Merlin shook it firmly, giving James and Lily a smile and a brief nod before letting go.
“Be well, and may the Lady guide you,” Merlin said before turning on his heel and vanishing with a soft pop of air.
It was barely three days later when Merlin felt the tug in his magical core, a sense of sadness sweeping over him. He closed his eyes, grieving the loss of two vibrant and truly magical souls, before grabbing a long coat and dark scarf and then putting them on. Merlin left the private island that, to all outside appearances (particularly to Muggles), looked abandoned but in reality held a thriving and self-sufficient small castle behind thick walls and even thicker wards, appearing outside of the ruined house in Godric’s Hollow that had once held the Potter family.
He couldn’t sense Amaranth’s presence in the half-demolished house; only the lingering taint of black magic in the crisp air. Merlin closed his eyes briefly, focusing on the connection he had with Amaranth. A few moments later, he was appearing in a wholly Muggle neighborhood, something that made Merlin narrow his eyes. This wasn’t good at all.
Merlin strode down the street, fallen leaves swirling in his wake. The trace led him to Number Four, Privet Drive. Anger rose sharply in Merlin’s gut when he saw the small form of Amaranth laying swaddled in a blanket on the front doorstep. He held out a hand, an oaken staff with a large orb of moss agate suddenly appearing in it out of thin air. A few passes over Amaranth’s sleeping form had Merlin’s anger rising even more. She had one warming charm and a sleeping charm on her, but that was it.
Merlin put his staff away back in the pocket dimension it was kept in until needed and then scooped Amaranth up, cradling her against his chest. He pocketed the letter that had been left with her, intending on reading it later.
“Come along, little one. Let’s get you somewhere safe,” he murmured as Amaranth stirred, one small hand clutching at his coat. Merlin turned on his heel, leaving Privet Drive behind, never to be visited by either magical being again.