Chaser 2 of the Appleby Arrows - uflesh940

QLCF Season 9 Round 1

Prompt: Your character is reunited with someone they haven't seen in a long time

3. [word] treasure

4. [object] bird cage

8. [creature] hippogriff

Harry bid farewell to Neville's parents, and left Hermione to talk to Gilderoy. He wandered further down the Janus Thickey ward, and spotted another former teacher he hadn't expected to see. Sitting upright in his bed, and reading from an earlier edition of the Daily Prophet, was Professor Quirrell.

Quirrell looked as if he hadn't aged a day since his time at Hogwarts, though he wasn't wearing his turban this time around, and sported no obvious damage to his person.

"Professor Quirrell?" asked Harry, shocked at seeing his former teacher there. Quirrell looked up from his newspaper, expression morphing into one of shock. "Potter? What are you doing here?"

"How are you still alive?" demanded Harry.

"You'll find," said Quirrell, "that healers can fix up a great many things, given enough time, including horrific burns that cross your entire body, and a mind twisted by a year of constant possession.

Harry blinked, having forgotten about how badly Quirrell had been injured near the end of his first year.

"So, why are you," Harry paused, for lack of words, and gestured in Quirrell's general direction.

"Still here?" asked Quirrell. "Well, after I had been mostly healed up, they asked me more about my possession. They listened for a while, but eventually decided to lock me over here. After all, I would have to be insane to believe that really happened, considering that" Quirrell gestured angrily with his arms, "I would clearly be insane, considering that everyone knows that you-know-who is dead."

"Wait, so you were also attacked for believing that Voldemort returned?" asked Harry.

Quirrell flinched at the mention of Voldemort, but eventually gave a wry smile. "People have been claiming that you-know-who has been alive for years. And all of them have ended up trapped somewhere, by the ministry, in a variety of hospitals, prisons, and other institutions. This world, Harry, is like a bird cage. Seemingly thin and weak, but if you fiddle around with it enough, you'll find yourself trapped between the wires."

Harry blinked, clearly unsure of what to think of the analogy.

Quirrell continued. "Take me, for example. I was an ambitious young man, with big plans. So far, vampires have lived in their own isolated little communities. But they have so much potential! With enough work, the Vampires could one day form something a lot like the wizarding world! Of course, eventually, I twisted the wires too far, and I ended up being trapped in my own body for over a year."

He shuddered. "I should've simply shifted the cage in my favor, and left the wires alone."

Harry frowned. "You should've told more people. You could've contacted the press! You should've twisted the wires a bit further."

Quirrell shook his head. "Very few people would take me seriously, Harry, considering that I'm here for my "delusional paranoia". Twisting the wires would only further limit my movement."

Harry frowned. "I'm in something of a bird cage myself."

Quirrell shook his head. "Harry, you are the treasure. You're trapped within so many boxes, locks, and cages, that it's impossible for you to move, and even if you managed to escape, you'll be hunted like nothing else."

"That doesn't sound right," said Harry. "I still went outside the cage to foil your plans."

"We weren't trying to steal the stone that night," said Quirrell. "We were waiting for you. We wanted to see how you acted under stress, how you reacted to threats, to promises of rewards. The stone was easy to find, but I would've had to fight my way through the traps while under constant attack by teachers. I would never have actually managed to get it out of Hogwarts, and you-know-who had other ways of returning, anyway. The philosopher's stone was never our goal. You were our real goal. And even before we learned more about your personality, it was plain to see that you would be showing up in that corridor, looking for Snape."

"I was- inside the cage the whole time," said Harry, looking dazed.

Quirrell nodded. "It's ironic, isn't it. Both of us are as different as can be, and yet, here we are, fated to be trapped in our respective cages for eternity."

"No," said Harry. "I won't let that happen." He began pacing back and forth nervously.

"What are you going to do?" asked Quirrell, having long since folded his newspaper and put it away.

Harry stopped pacing, and looked at Quirrell intensely for a couple seconds, before finally giving Quirrell his wand.

Quirrell stared at the wand in his hand, as a long forgotten warmth flooded his body. "Harry Potter. You truly are a treasure." Harry opened his mouth to say something, but he never had the chance. "Obliviate. I'm sorry about this, Potter."

Quirrell stepped out of his bed, flicked his new wand experimentally, and exited the ward.

Rain was pouring out of the sky, and the wind whipped in Quirrell's face as he sped across the English Channel. He would have a difficult time managing in England, but thankfully the wizarding community was insular enough that the events in England wouldn't follow him across the border.

Suddenly, Quirrell pressed his stolen broom to the side, barely escaping a gout of flame which torched the waves below. The wind screamed in his ears as he sped away, turning his broom slightly, so he could identify his attacker. Upon seeing said attacker, his face paled. Sirius Black himself was on his trail, frantically riding a hippogriff. His mount let out a fearsome screech, and Quirrell was forced to move once again, as the beast struck out at him.

Black fired an orange curse out of his wand, and Quirrell's broom splintered. He barely managed to throw himself onto the hippogriff, before his broom stopped working due to the damage from the spell. Sirius lashed out at him, a knife slashing at his left hand, before Quirrell pushed him backwards with a knockback jinx, both barely clinging onto the hippogriff while fighting each other.

"Why are you doing this?" asked Quirrell. "The dark lord knows I'm intelligent enough not to share his secrets," he added, trying to pacify you-know-who's right hand man.

"I don't follow the dark lord!" screamed Sirius. Had it not been raining, Quirrell would've noticed the tears on his face. "You killed my godson!"

"What?" asked Quirrell, taken aback.

"He's dead!" yelled Sirius. "A poorly done obliviation destroyed his mind!"

Quirrell stared at him in shock, which gave the hippogriff the chance to swipe at him with one of it's wings. Quirrell barely managed to hold on.

Sirius clambered towards him, barely clinging on to his mount's wet surface.

"Wait!" cried Quirrell, recognizing the danger he was in. "Sirius, please! Don't kill me! If you're truly innocent, you can still gain your freedom! Live the rest of your life in a house filled with riches, or kill me and spend the rest of your life in a cell!"

"I don't care!" yelled Sirius. "The only treasure I cared about was Harry Potter! Now die! Diffind-"

"Avada Kedavra," said Quirrell. The spell had no chance of missing at such short range, and Sirius Black plummeted towards the water.

Quirrell panted a couple of times, trying to calm himself down from his first murder, when suddenly, Buckbeak bit into his shoulder. Quirrell screamed, but the hippogriff slashed at him with his claws, raking down his chest, sending jolts of pain throughout his body. He fired a blast of flames at the disobedient animal, but it didn't have much effect in the rainstorm.

He was about to try a different spell, when the hippogriff hit him squarely in the chest with one of his hind legs. His ribs cracked, and he coughed as blood spilled into his lungs. Quirrell gave a pained smile at the irony. He had finally managed to escape his cage, but would die before he realized any of his new freedoms. He finally pressed his wand into his chest, and willed the transfiguration to happen. His entire body gained a metallic hue as it slowly began stretching into long, metallic wires which eventually encompassed Buckbeak in a circular formation, as his body completed it's transformation into a bird cage. The hippogriff began struggling and flapping around frantically, clawing at the bars as it fell. The noble animal pulled and tugged at the cage, but was unable to escape. By the time the transfiguration reverted, both Quirrell and Buckbeak had rested at the bottom of the channel for long enough.