Preview for IDENTITY:

He was breaking; he could feel it, the lack of strength in his arms and legs, the sharp pain that made him think his head was going to explode, and over the top of it all, a cold, high voice laughed at him.

Quirinus sat upright, gasping, and tore through his own mind, checking, but it was just him in there.

Just me, he told himself. Not Him, just me- He kneaded his eyes and peered out into the main part of his flat. His flat was tiny – there was only a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom, and none of it was in awfully good condition. There were, however, layers and layers of warding over everything. If someone even breathed in the hallway, Quirinus would know about it. And since there were no alarms going, there was no one else inside. Just me, he told himself again.

He picked up the wand – which he'd managed to procure from Ollivander – on his bedside table, and flicked it. A moment later, a glass of water drifted into the room, and Quirinus gulped it down, and then set both the glass and his wand down on his bedside table, with shaking hands, and tried to pull himself together.

He almost wished Dumbledore had handed him to the Ministry, so that he'd ended up in Azkaban. He'd done enough bad things that he'd have been driven mad quickly, and would have been too mad to be scared. But Quirinus wasn't in Azkaban, he was in a dingy flat in South London with nothing to do and far too much time to himself.

So Quirinus, being a Ravenclaw, thought. He'd reached several conclusions; one was that Azkaban was the perfect punishment, for anyone except a Ravenclaw; Hufflepuffs would hate the isolation, Slytherins would feel like they were wasting time, that they could accomplish nothing and Gryffindors would hate sitting still. Ravenclaws, though, would hate the deterioration of their minds, certainly, and the lack of stimulation, but after a while, they wouldn't have enough of a mind left to care.

A Ravenclaw that had done horrible things though, and was not sent to Azkaban, would be forced to think about things, and that, Quirinus thought, was a worse punishment.

His second conclusion was that Dumbledore knew that. Dumbledore knew he would think about Christopher, think about what wasted potential that was, and what an awful thing it was, to kill a child. Dumbledore must have known that Quirinus would think about all of the other things he could have learned in the year that he instead repeated his first year at Hogwarts, thought about the way he'd failed.

Gryffindors took failure as a challenge, Slytherins as an opportunity to build character. Hufflepuffs didn't mind failing as long as they'd tried their best, but to Quirinus, to a Ravenclaw… Quirinus had never failed at anything before, not a test or assignment, not a job application… And to fail at something he'd invested so much in… Quirinus rubbed his temples and sank back into his pillows.

He was just drifting back off to sleep, when his wand twitched and started to emit a shrill ringing noise. Quirinus sat upright and seized it. He wrestled with the covers for a moment, and then he was free, and standing in the middle of his small bedroom, wand held out before him, trembling.

There was a sharp knock on his door. Quirinus held his breath.

Hi, everyone!

It's November 30th, and you all know what that means...! The first chapter of my new story, "Identity" is up and accessible from my author's page!

Thank you for your patience between stories!