written for the golden snitch 'the snitch cup'

school: hogwarts

points: 10

animal claimed: unicorn

prompts: write about quirinus quirrell or tom riddle (i'm extra so i used both)

stage: horse

word count: 1019

a/n: btw, i'm super competitive (probably my most slytherin trait) so if you signed up for this competition, prepare to lose :) also, where is the glaringly obvious OUAT reference?

. . .

In hindsight, he's not quite sure how he turned up in the forest — it's just that he had, and the place is dark and feathery, with leaves that make loud crunch sounds in the silence, and there's a certain eerie quality about the forest seeping into the air and settling around him.

It's fall. It's Albania. It's cold. Quirinus has never been more grateful for the turban hiding his bald head.

One problem: it's night. Quirinus will have to settle. He doesn't want to, of course, in this place with the darkness and the creepiness spreading everywhere. Undoubtedly, thinks Quirinus, there are creatures here that will flay him alive once he falls asleep. Vampires, maybe. He'd come to Albania because it's rumored vampires run rampant here. He hasn't met one yet, but he might yet.

Quirinus is an odd person. See, he believes in things others don't. He's seen things others don't. A man, flying on a broomstick. A woman vanishing into thin air.

A pale personage reaching over and biting a dead body, blood dripping from it later on.

Ever since, Quirinus has been chasing the impossible.

. . .

"Quirinus Quirrell," whispers a high, clear voice into the dark. He wakes to it. "Quite alliterative, your name...but you don't care for that, do you?"

"Who are you?" asks Quirinus.

"Who am I? The question is, dear Quirinus, who are you?"

"...What?"

"I know what you wish for. The impossible. I can give it to you...that is, of course, if you'd let me," the voice says knowingly.

"The — the impossible?" Quirinus repeats breathlessly. "You really mean that?"

"Yes," says the voice simply, but it carries a note of Oh, you want it, don't you? embedded deep into its baritones, "the impossible, magic, vampires, a whole different world…" it trails off, knowing just how much it has tempted Quirinus.

Still, Quirinus is doubtful. He does not trust this stranger with the high, cold voice. He remembers his mother telling him, "Don't take candy from strangers," and thinks that this is definitely more than candy — more than life, larger forces he's afraid to dabble in.

"What are you?" he returns.

The voice sighs. "A shade," it answers sadly. "A mere spirit, lesser than even a ghost. but, oh! Oh, once I had been great, once...once I had been a Lord, the most powerful! How I have fallen now, all because of a twist of coincidence...but you can help return me, Quirinus, you can help me, restore me to my former glory once more!" it says passionately as its voice rises with every word.

"Try your best to help people, Quirinus," his mother's voice whispers in his ear. "Help this poor man."

"What did you mean," Quirinus says instead, "what did you mean when you said, 'The impossible?'"

"The impossible?" asks the shade. "Oh, wizards and witches and magical creatures, of course...you have been seeing them for years, haven't you, Quirinus, and you have come here in search of that same impossible, the impossible I will now bestow upon you...all you need to do is say one word, speak, Yes...that is all you would have to do, Quirinus, to achieve what you wish for, even a wand, so much knowledge, and you need only host me and return me to my body...then, Quirinus, how great you will be! A hero among my followers!" it promises.

"Knowledge! A hero? The — the impossible?" wonders Quirinus. This time, he is enticed by this voice and its spirit and its knowledges and the greatness he could have; he does not notice the temperature drop a degree and he does not notice the darkness of the forest or the rustling of the trees, how they whisper to him, "No."

"Oh — why, yes, of course! But, if I might ask, who are you?"

"My name was Tom Marvolo Riddle," it answers, "but you will call me Lord Voldemort. And remember, Quirinus...be careful, because magic, yes, it always comes with a price."

It moves from its spot in the willow tree with this warning, and the willow whooshes as the shade leaves its habitat. This time, it takes residence in Quirinus — just behind the turban, where no one can see.

Quirinus finds himself possessed — curses and spells, a wand of yew, a small child.

Quirinus replies in answer to his new master, "Then I shall pay it."

"Now, there, Quirinus," hisses Voldemort in his ear. "For my first task you will need to get to magical Britain."

. . .

So Quirinus finds himself here. Unknowingly at the brink of death, faced by the very small child that had possessed him so long ago..

"...Who would suspect p — poor, st — stuttering, Pr — Professor Quirrell?" he asks the boy, Harry Potter, with his messy black hair and his lightning scar, and everything about him screaming about his connections to Voldemort.

Quirinus has played the good servant. He has done everything his master requires of him. He has made friends, and he has made enemies. He has manipulated, and he has become someone else. But it matters not, because Quirinus is that kind of man, the kind of man wherein goodness becomes a lost cause once presented with something better.

And because Quirinus is that kind of man, he loses sight of everything that is and instead focuses on everything that will be once he completes This task and This murder, and then he doesn't see that his downfall stands right in front of him…

Voldemort whispers into his ear, "The boy lies," when confronted about the Stone that will restore his master.

Quirinus reaches to grab the boy — Quirinus reaches to burn, and in doing so he crumbles to ash on the floor, forgotten, as his master climbs out of him.

"What a terrible ending to a terrible story," mutters the shade, and it leaves to haunt its tree in Albania.

There it lies for a few more years until a rat with one finger cut off stumbles upon it and calls it his master.