The Cupboard Series 6: Castle Voldemort

Chapter 23

Harry was currently doing his utmost not to grind his teeth in frustration and to rein in his emotions, instead sitting quietly and patiently at the table. It was either that or to shove back his chair – an action that, in his current frame of mind would mean it flying back to hit Mickey at the next table over – and to storm from the room.

In front of him was supposed to be his dinner. A delicious, thick, juicy steak with a mound of buttered potatoes, honeyed carrots, peas and a dinner roll. Currently, though, his plate had been snaffled by Hermione and been pulled in front of her, but not before Neville on his other side had snatched his roll. Now both were in the process of ‘fixing’ it for him to eat – Hermione was cutting up his steak and Neville was buttering his roll.

“Oi, give that back to him,” Tonks ordered, plonking herself down across from Harry.

Hermione looked up, her knife and fork poised over Harry’s meal.

“I beg your pardon?” she asked, narrowing her eyes. “You know that Harry can’t …”

Once again, Harry tried very hard not to grind his teeth, especially at her vague hand gesture. He dearly loved the girl but right now he was struggling not to become annoyed by her attitude to his helplessness.

“I said, give it back,” Tonks repeated. “It’s time for Harry to do that for himself.”

“As much as I’d like to Tonks,” Harry said, conceding the inevitable by gesturing to his left side with his right hand.

Tonks, though, cut him off before he could complete the thought.

“Are you a wizard or not?” she asked. “All you need is the right spell. Do you honestly think every witch has the time to sit down and cut up her kid’s dinner every night? Of course not! There’s a spell for that.”

“There is?” a hopeful Harry asked.

“Yep,” Tonks replied, grabbing Harry’s plate and sliding it back where it belonged. “One for buttering bread, too, but I don’t know that one. Ask Molly, she’ll know. But I do know the one for cutting up food. It’s pretty simple and any halfway decent wizard with enough power …”

“Like Harry,” Hermione interjected.

“Like Harry,” Tonks agreed, “can even learn to do the thing wandlessly.”

“What’s the spell?” Harry asked.

Per particulas dividat,” Tonks said distinctly, directing her wand at his steak.

Harry watched intently as she first drew a line down the middle of his steak with her wand before circling it and then jabbing her wand at it. Instantly, the steak divided into bite-sized pieces, each easy enough to be jabbed with a fork.

“There you go,” a grinning Tonks said.

“Thanks, Tonks, you’re a life-saver,” Harry grinned back and promptly stabbed a piece of meat and popped it into his mouth.

“Now, next thing,” Tonks said. “You haven’t been practising your metamorphmagus abilities, have you?”

Harry blinked at the non sequitur.

“Huh?” he asked.

“Eloquent as always,” Tonks smiled before gesturing at his face. “That scar. Do something about it. Unless you like people staring at you?”

Harry stared at her. He hadn’t even given a thought to the idea that his metamorphmagus ability could hide his scars.

“That’d work?” he asked.

“You really think I’ve managed to stay looking this beautiful as an auror?” Tonks asked rhetorically. “I’ve fought a bunch of idiots with spells and knives and what not. Got my fair share of scars to show it. Not that you can see them, can you?”

Harry stared at her. She seemed to be in earnest. And she was the one who’d taught him how to use his ability in the first place. If anyone was going to know what his body was capable of, it’d be Tonks.

Closing his eyes, Harry rested his hand on the table and concentrated. He imagined what his face used to look like and pushed that image into his body. Slowly, he felt his skin shifting as though a colony of ants were crawling under it.

A gasp from his left snapped his eyes open.

“Much better,” Tonks said before reaching over and stealing a carrot.

“It worked? I look like me again?” Harry asked hopefully.

“You always looked like you,” Hermione said, “but yes, you look like your old you again.”

Popping his wand into his hand, Harry transfigured a glass into a mirror. His smile was huge as he stared at his scar-less visage. His face was just as he remembered. Running his hand over it, Harry’s smile only grew – there was not even a feeling of the scar or of the skin puckering at all.

“If your concentration slips, it’ll change back,” Tonks warned, “just like any metamorph change.”

“Thanks, Tonks, you’re absolutely brilliant!” Harry gushed.

“I know,” Tonks stated with a self-satisfied smirk. “But it’s nice for others to recognise my brilliance as well.”

“Um, what about Harry’s arm, could he regrow it using his ability?” a nervous-sounding Neville asked.

Tonks’ face fell. “Unfortunately, not. Our ability is great, really useful even, but it still has limits and regrowing parts is one of them.”

Harry gave a small shrug. “I can live with that. At least there’s one part of me that people won’t be staring at any more.”


Three of the eight-seater tables were all but filled near the very front of the Dining Hall of Diricawl Academy of Magical Studies. A tense nervousness filled the air as the twenty fifth years, five seventh years and the lone fourth year waited. Around the edge of the hall, scores of parents murmured to those beside them, as equally as nervous as their children. In between the two groups, a smattering of the school’s professors sat at some of the tables, doing a not-so-good job of hiding their own interest in the proceedings.

Finally, after a wait that seemed to be measured in at least hours if not days, four people walked into the room.

The smallest of falters in Headmistress McGonagall’s footsteps at the sight of the waiting, eager room was only noticeable by someone looking extremely carefully. Alongside the Headmistress was Madam Marchbanks, Head of the Wizarding Examination Authority. Rounding out the four were Professor Tofty of the WEA and Diricawl’s Deputy Headmaster, Remus Lupin.

“It’s been quite some time since I’ve walked into a room where the students have been so quiet and eager to hear me talk,” Headmistress McGonagall smiled.

“I don’t think that it’s us that they’re so eager to hear from,” Professor Lupin stated, eliciting a nervous-sounding laugh from the assembled students in front of him.

Professor Marchbanks, meanwhile, had begun to frown. Automatically, she’d done a headcount of the assembled students and then a second time after coming up with one more than the number of envelopes that she had in hand. Finally, she found the unfamiliar face.

“Excuse me, young man,” Professor Marchbanks said to a boy who was obviously losing his baby fat and quickly replacing it was pure muscle. “But I do not recall administering any OWL examinations with you?”

The boy in question blushed slightly. “Uh, no Ma’am. I’m not magical at all. I’m Dudley Dusley, Harry’s cousin. I’m in the same year as my friends and am in some of their classes but only the ones that don’t need any magic.”

“Mister Dursley will be receiving his Diricawl results today, alongside his classmates,” Headmistress McGonagall explained.

She then turned to the assembled students.

“You will be receiving two envelopes this morning,” she explained. “The first will contain the results from you OWL and NEWT results; the second will be the results issued from the classes you studied here at Diricawl which currently do not have an OWL or NEWT examination attached to them.”

“An error we at the Wizarding Examination Authority aim to correct in the coming year,” Professor Marchbanks stated.

“We will begin with the NEWT students,” Professor Tofty said. “Please come up when you hear your name called.”

As the old, nearly bald professor stepped forward, Professor Lupin moved with him, the envelopes that he would be handing out ready.

“Angelina Johnson,” Professor Tofty called.

Instantly, the Head Girl was up out of her feet, a nervous smile on her face as she quick-stepped across the intervening space to receive her envelopes, firstly from Professor Tofty and then from Professor Lupin.

Next was Lee Jordan, then Alicia Spinnet and Fred and George Weasley to round out the NEWT students.

As the first of the OWL students, Hannah Abbot’s name was called, Fred and George were staring at the two envelopes in their hands. They looked to each other, looked back at the envelopes and simultaneously dropped the Diricawl envelope to the table. Twin envelopes were ripped open, the parchment shook out and the results read. Eyes widened slightly before the two reached across and plucked the parchment from their brother’s hand at the exact same time.


Pass Grades: Outstanding (O)                                      Fail Grades: Poor (P)

Exceeds Expectations (EE)                  Dreadful (D)

Acceptable (A)                                         Troll (T)


Charms: EE

Defence Against the Dark Arts: EE

Herbology: A

Potions: EE

Transfiguration A


After staring at each other for a full minute, their faces all but blank, betraying nothing of their results, the two switched their results back, lay them on the table face down and picked up their second envelope where they went through the same routine.

Seventh Year Results

Pass Grades: Outstanding (O)                                Fail Grades: Poor (P)

Exceeds Expectations (EE)           Dreadful (D)

Acceptable (A)                                    Troll (T)


Business and Finance: EE

Magical Language (Gobbledegook): A

“Well? How’d you do?” Lee asked the two.

In response, Fred and George simply beamed their best mate a broad grin before bounding from their chairs and scampering across the room to their mother to show off their achievement.

At the next table over, Harry found himself quite amused by Hermione steadfastly refusing to open her own envelopes despite her wriggling in her chair which told all and sundry how much she desired otherwise.

“You don’t have to wait for me,” Harry smiled as Luna, the lone fourth year to take some of her OWLs was called to receive her envelopes.

“I promised I’d wait for you so that we could do it together,” Hermione replied determinedly.

Finally, Harry’s name was called and he quick-stepped across the room and back again.

“Ready?” Harry asked his girlfriend.

“Yes! No. Yes,” Hermione said before tearing into her first envelope.

Harry carefully cast a minor cutting curse at the top of his envelope before reaching in and shaking out the parchment.


Pass Grades: Outstanding (O)                                      Fail Grades: Poor (P)

Exceeds Expectations (EE)                Dreadful (D)

Acceptable (A)                                         Troll (T)


Ancient Runes: O

Arithmancy: O

Astronomy: EE

Care of Magical Creatures: EE

Charms: O

Defence Against the Dark Arts: O+

Herbology: EE

Potions: O

Transfiguration: O


These results are in addition to the two (2) OWLs that you have already achieved in the subjects of History of Magic and Muggle studies.

Sporting a broad smile, Harry quickly opened his second envelope to read the results in there.

Fifth Year Results

Pass Grades: Outstanding (O)                                    Fail Grades: Poor (P)

Exceeds Expectations (EE)               Dreadful (D)

Acceptable (A)                                       Troll (T)


Enchanting: O

Magical Language (Gobbledegook): EE

“Straight ‘O’s’, Hermione?” Harry guessed.

“Yes!” she all but squealed. “And with the two from last year, that gives me eleven. How about you?”

“Passed everything, O’s and EE’s,” Harry replied.

“We’ll be able to pick our NEWT subjects now,” Hermione stated. “You’ll continue Enchanting, I’m guessing – you are so lucky getting to start that one a year early – and Spell Crafting for me.”

“I’d have thought our mundane results would be on here as well,” Harry said, looking back at his Diricawl results and noting the absence of Mathematics, English, Science and The Arts.

“Mum says that they had to go to an independent marker,” Hermione stated. “We’ll get those ones in a week or two.”

“Your parents are looking expectantly at you,” Harry commented.

“Come on, let’s go show them how well we did. And Sirius will want to see, too,” she said, pulling him up as she, too, rose from the seat.

All around the room, students were eagerly showing off their results and receiving excited congratulations and hugs. From the front, four incredibly proud educators looked on with smiles on their faces.


A menagerie of animal heads turned at the sound of the door opening. Fred and George Weasley took one look at the inhabitants of the room before carefully sidling along the wall to stay out of the way, their hands carefully kept behind them.

One of the largest, a huge black grim, transformed into Professor Black as he padded towards the new arrivals.

“What brings you two here?” Sirius asked.

Fred and George shared a look before turning back to their professor.

“We, uh, we could use some help,” Fred said.

“Help?” Sirius asked, one eyebrow raised suspiciously. “Help with what?”

Again, Fred and George shared a look before simultaneously bringing their hands from behind their backs to reveal that each carried a vial full of thick potion.

“You’ve brewed the potion to show you what your Animagus form is?” Sirius asked, knowing where the two were up to in the long, long process.

His voice, though, petered off as he took in the colour and consistency of the potion that the two were holding.

“That’s not right,” he began, his eyes narrowed at the vials before snapping up to stare at the two. “What have you two done?”

“Well, we had a bit of an accident,” George began sheepishly.

“We were trying to brew the potion …” Fred continued.

“The one that we’re supposed to be up to …”

“To show us in a trance …”

“Dream-like …”

“Vision, what our forms are.”

“Got it right and everything …”

“Followed the recipe perfectly …”

“It was the perfect colour, …”

“Consistency, …”

“Texture, …”


“And we were all ready to drink it – ”

“Two months ago.”

“But then Lee walked in .”

“He’d just been out in the greenhouses …”

“There was something on him …”

“Some kind of pollen, we’re guessing.”

“Whatever it was, we’re obviously allergic to it …”

“Had us coughing and sneezing like crazy …”

“Straight into our potion …”

“Ruining it …”

“Sort of …”

“At least for using it to find out our form that way.”

“But it did mean that the first ingredient was added …”

“To make the potion that would change us …”

“Into our animal.”

“So, we figured, why not?”

“And kept on brewing.”

“Until today.”

“When it was finally ready.”

“But seeing as how this is something completely new,”



“We thought that it’d be wise of us to do it where you could help …”

“We know, completely unexpected of us …’

“Not our usual method of doing things …”

“But we’re doing it anyway.”

“So, will you watch over us …”

“Make sure nothing goes wrong …”

“As we make this first foray into our beautiful,”


“Animal selves?” they finished together with pleading, expectant eyes staring at Sirius.

Sirius shook his head, trying to get the fast-growing headache to abate.

“You know that this is incredibly dangerous and reckless, don’t you?” he asked. “There’s a chance – extremely low, I’ll grant you – but a chance nonetheless that you’ll be an animal that doesn’t like this environment.”

“We know,” Fred nodded.

“That’s why we’re here …”

“So that you can reverse it …”

“If things go sidewards …”

“Strange …”

“Out of whack,” George finished.

“Alright, since you’ve got the potion ready and you have done the right thing and come asking for help, we’ll do this,” Sirius agreed.

He then turned and faced the room, raising his voice to ensure that all heard him in the vast space.

“Oi! You lot! I need everyone human again for a couple of minutes,” he called.

Everywhere animals stopped their play or scampering about or sitting and examining their own body and reverted to their human forms.

The roan horse shrunk to become Susan Bones; the grizzly and black bears changed into Hannah and Neville; the owl and swan swooped down from where they were perched, resolving into the Greengrass sisters. Tracy Davis languidly uncurled herself after spending time as a cat while beside her, Lil Moon grudgingly gave up being a lemur. The rollicking canines gave one last bark of excitement before the Labrador changed into Fiona Spinks and the Jack Russell terrier changed into Colin Creevey. The last to change were the platypus, fox and mongoose.

“All right, you two, into the centre of the room and take a seat,” Sirius ordered as the others all took up position around the room, looking curiously on.

“It seems that these two have brewed the potion to show them their form on their own,” Sirius said. “However, there’s been a bit of a stuff-up and instead of the trance state to find out their forms, these two are going straight for a forced transformation. There’s no telling what they’ll turn into, so everyone be ready and make sure to stay out of the way.”

After checking that he’d been understood, Sirius looked to the twins.

“Who’s first?” he asked.

Fred and George glanced at each other before giving a single, firm nod.

“Together,” they said and promptly upended their potion, drinking the lot in a single go.

Everyone watched as their skin began to ripple and darken slightly to grey. At the same time, all of their hair completely vanished. Almost together, the two flopped forward onto their stomachs, even as their legs snapped together and began to fuse into one. The sound of ripping rent the air as their bodies grew, even as their arms shrunk and changed shape. From the remains of their clothes, a dark, pointed protuberance emerged in the middle of their backs. As for their heads, their eyes seemed to drag across their face, pulling further apart even as their mouth lengthened out and their nose drew inwards before disappearing altogether.

Finally, after nearly two minutes where their bodies underwent the change, they were done.

For a moment, there was absolute silence in the room and then, one by one, starting with Sirius and Harry, the room erupted into howls of laughter.

As for the twin dolphins, they simply rolled their eyes upwards trying to take everything in. Their bodies rocked slightly from side to side but, out of the water, they weren’t going anywhere.

Aguamenti!” Hermione said, pointing her wand forward.

Using her wand like a hose, she sprayed first one dolphin and then the other, making them arch their backs, their tails coming right up and a series of ‘squees’ and ‘clicks’ emerge from them as they smiled and seemed to laugh.

“Dolphins! Who’d have guessed that?” Harry laughed.

“Well, it does make sense when one thinks about it,” Hermione replied. “Dolphins are known as being fun, always smiling and laughing. They also live in large groups, not unlike the Weasleys themselves; and they’re incredibly helpful – there are countless stories of dolphins helping people throughout the centuries.”

“When you put it like that, it’s perfect,” Harry replied.

Sirius, meanwhile, had forced the two back into their human forms.

“Not much practical use though,” George pointed out.

“Unless we go to the beach,” Fred countered.

“That could be fun,” George pointed out.

“We are presently living on an island,” said Fred.

“An island surrounded by water,” George nodded eagerly

“Hold on, you two,” Sirius interjected. “No swimming around the island until you know your animal exceptionally well and can transform by yourselves – backwards and forwards – well enough for myself and Headmistress McGonagall to say that you can.”

Fred and George nodded solemnly.

“Don’t worry, we’re not going to do anything reckless,” George promised.

“Well, any more than normal,” Fred added.

“And we have no interest in getting stuck as dolphins …”

“In the middle of the sea …”

“Not so easy to pull pranks like that,” the two stated.

“As long as that’s understood,” Sirius smiled.


It had been a long meeting, preparing for the coming school year. More than one pot of tea had already been drunk and the plate of sandwiches that they’d asked for had been eaten quite some time ago.

Progress, though, had been made. Subjects that would be offered this year had been decided upon. The teaching staff had been confirmed, including classroom allocations and a tentative timetable. Resources that needed to be replenished or bought for the school had been decided upon. All in all, both were feeling quite pleased with their progress.

“I’m inclined to make both Katie Bell and Leanne Montgomery Head Girls,” Minerva said. “With the two of them being our only prospective seventh years, it only makes sense.”

“Especially when there are no boys in that year level,” Remus agreed with a nod.

“As one would expect, our largest intake is going to be new first years,” Minerva continued.

“We only have enough spaces for twenty,” Remus reminded her. “I know that Hogwarts usually has an enrolment of anything from forty to sixty, but we simply cannot handle that many.”

“I am very well aware of that,” Minerva replied. “I’d like to concentrate our intake on the muggleborns. At their age, it is important that they begin learning how to control their magic before they become a danger to not only themselves, but to those around them. The half-bloods and purebloods, at least, should have family that can teach them.”

“Any idea how many muggleborn there are?” Remus asked,

Minerva glanced across the room at the ancient book and its elegant green-feathered quill. Pomona Sprout had given her life to ensure that it was sent here to Diricawl and out of the hands of Riddle.

“Thirteen,” Minerva replied. “I believe that you and I, partnered with the Grangers, should try to visit each of them as soon as possible.”

“Good idea,” Remus nodded. “A magical and a mundane, one who has a daughter who has gone through the same thing would be good to give the new parents an idea of what to expect.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Minerva smiled. “Once we have their acceptances, we can open up the remaining spots that we have to the general magical population and see if we get any applications.”

“There are two that I’d like to invite personally,” Remus said.

“Werewolves?” Minerva guessed.

“Yes,” Remus replied. “Lionel Hawkins’ father put me on to them. A boy and girl. The boy, David, was bitten when he was six; the girl, Jessica, was only turned two months ago when the family was attacked. I think that we’ve proven that with the measures that we’ve put in place, that it’s safe to have werewolf students.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Minerva stated firmly. “And Lionel has been an excellent addition to Diricawl.”

“He has indeed,” Remus smiled. “Not the top student but he regularly achieves above average results. And he’s made a lot of friends here.”

“That’s wonderful to hear. Go see these new students as soon as you can and offer them a place here,” Minerva said.


“We cannot allow Riddle time to plan,” Amelia stated.

“What other option do we have?” Shacklebolt asked. “He controls Hogwarts.”

That statement was at the very heart of the meeting currently being held in Minister for Magic Bones’ office. She’d grumbled and complained the whole time but finally conceded that she needed to at least make a showing of being in charge. The general population needed that visual reminder that, no matter the state that Magical Britain was currently in, things had improved, the good guys were ‘back in charge’, at least nominally. Thus, Amelia had moved from her office in the DMLE to here. One wall had been stripped of its shelves of doo-dads and had her notes transferred to it so that she could see what still needed to happen.

“It’s an impossible task,” the new Head Unspeakable stated. “Those wards are impossible to breach unless you have a Dark Mark.”

“No. They’re not,” Sirius replied with a shake of his head. “How do you think we got those kids out? By firstly going in through the wards.”

“A small group of animagi isn’t going to bring You-Know-Who to justice,” Augusta Longbottom stated.

“No, that’s what the combined force of aurors, Hitwizards, Unspeakables and other volunteers that we can put together is for,” Amelia said. “There’s no other way than to fight. It’s simply a case of, with Riddle controlling the wards, we can’t get in to take the battle to him.”

“That’s not quite accurate,” Minerva said slowly.

All eyes turned to stare at her.

“What do you mean?” Amelia asked.

“While I’m certain that Riddle is in control of the Hogwarts’ wards, he does not have complete control over them. That honour has always rested with the Headmaster,” Minerva replied. “Even back when I was Deputy Head of Hogwarts and Dumbledore was away from the school at an ICW meeting and he entrusted the wards with me, he always maintained a link, able to override me at any moment.”

“Are you telling us that all we need to do is get to Snape and get him to take down the wards for us?” Amelia asked, staring at her.

“Essentially, yes,” Minerva confirmed.

That might actually be doable,” Sirius mused

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