The Cupboard Series 6: Castle Voldemort

Chapter 9

Harry awoke with the image of green, gold and blue still behind his eyes. His head was killing and he brought his hands up to rub over his face. Then, recognising that the ache was more in the back of his head, he lifted up slightly and ran one hand over it.

Encountering a sticky liquid snapped his eyes open. In the dim light filtering in from somewhere he stared at his hand. It was red, covered in his own blood. He stared at it trying to remember back to what had just happened.

And then his eyes focussed past his hand and to the dark wood less than half a metre in front of his face. Turning his head, Harry found more wood just past his shoulder. He winced as he whipped his head to the other side and began panicking at the sight of even more wood. He was trapped, boxed in.

Once again, the flash of green, gold and blue flashed before his eyes and his heart, already beating fast sped up even more, even as his breath started to become short and jerky.

The killing curse.

Voldemort had shot the killing curse at him.

And now he was in a box.

A coffin.

He’d died? Again. And now no one realised that he was alive once more.

“My Lord? My Lord?’ a panicky voice filtered in to him and he froze.

“Is he alright?” another asked.

Maybe, just maybe, he hadn’t died.

But there was no way that that AK could have missed. Harry frowned as he remembered that he’d seen three colours just before everything went black. And the killing curse was only one – green. Perhaps whatever that gold and blue was had intercepted the curse? It was the only explanation that he could come up with.

Listening closely, Harry determined that the voices were coming from his left. That meant that if he was going to get out of here, he needed to move to his right. Looking closely, he noted that the wood was actually badly splintered on that side.

Harry frowned, trying to determine what it was that he was trapped in. The only thing that came to mind was that cupboard that he was standing right next to. Maybe when the AK had hit, it’d exploded and sent him into the cupboard before it fell over? It was the best theory he could come up with. Not that it mattered right now. All that mattered was getting out.

Slowly, Harry felt around. Finding the edge of some wood, he pushed it out. There was a creak and he stilled. Not hearing anything from the Death Eaters, he pushed on.

Slowly, piece by piece, he moved enough of the broken wood out of the way in order to make a hole big enough for him to squirm out of. He hissed as a piece of wood jabbed into his side and again when his already hurt back was scraped some more.

Rolling out of the cupboard, Harry stayed low and still. And then his eyes widened as he realised what was directly in front of his nose – his wand, miraculously whole and undamaged. Carefully, he reached out and took it, breathing a silent prayer of thanks to have it back in his hand.

Slowly by surely, Harry gathered his feet under him and got up into a crouch so that he could peek over the top of the downed cupboard.

Eight or nine black robed Death Eaters were gathered around another lying flat on the ground. Harry’s eyes widened as he saw the milky white skin of Voldemort on the ground. Exactly how that had happened he had no idea, but he wasn’t going to let a gift hippogryph go.

Taking one last look, Harry turned away only to pause in surprise at the battered and half-melted gold tiara on the ground in front of him, its blue sapphire gone smoky. Impulsively, he picked it up and pocketed it; a souvenir that had saved his life.

Silently, Harry slipped away, further and further back into the maze of junk piles that the room contained. He hadn’t gone too far, though, when he heard voices and froze, listening intently.

“Get off me, you fools,” Voldemort snapped. “Why aren’t you four guarding the door?”

The sound of footsteps fading told Harry that his exit was once more blocked.

“Where’s the boy? Where’s Potter?” Voldemort demanded.

“I … I don’t know, My Lord,” a Death Eater stuttered.

“Well? Don’t just stand there. Go and bring me his body,” Voldemort commanded.

Harry’s heart was beating hard as he listened to the Death Eater moving about, wood snapping and then the crash of something large being lifted and tossed aside.

“He’s not here!” a surprised voice called.

“What?” Voldemort demanded. “Where is he?”

“He can’t have gone far,” the Death Eater stated. “There’s a lot of blood here.”

“He can’t escape. This room is sealed and we block the only exit. Spread out and find him,” Voldemort commanded.

Harry looked around wildly. He needed a way out. At the very least, some way to distract the guards at the door so that he could slip past. While his brain was working feverously, he found himself staring at one of the many skeletons that were in the room. Exactly what the animal once was was anyone’s guess; Harry’s guess was: niffler.

“No, it couldn’t be that easy, could it?” he breathed.

A whole bunch of animals running all over the place could make a nice distraction, especially if they all rushed the door at the same time. And if one of them happened to a mongoose …

But animals wouldn’t be enough. He needed to get them not just looking in the wrong place, but also thinking wrong. He needed some way to confuse them. A memory of a confused Ron sprung to mind and Harry smiled.

“Thank you, Fred and George,” he muttered.

With a plan now in place, however tentative it may be, as well as a somewhat, for now, secure place to hide, Harry got to work.


His first spell was his favourite. Within a few seconds, three miniature dragons were sitting before him. A quick compulsion spell later, followed by a series of engorgement charms and they were ready.

With a final flick of his wand, Harry sent the three shooting into the air. He watched for a second as their wings flapped once, twice, thrice and then they began soaring through the great hall, around the spindly columns and out of sight.

The cries of surprise and fear that erupted had Harry smiling widely.

Distraction one, complete.

Now came the big task.

Harry’s wand became a blur as he transfigured the detritus around him into as many animals as possible. A niffler was his first, followed by hedgehogs, ducks, some rats, a colony of meerkats, a dog and a pair of cats. All were given a compulsion spell to run about the room until they heard the activation phrase and to then rush the door.

Finally, Harry quickly transfigured an old pair of robes into a chimpanzee, added a compulsion for it to get as far away as possible, before hiding and then gathered his magic for the final spell.

Ad hanc mittere vocem,” he intoned.

Eyeing the chimp, Harry shrugged.

“Testing,” he whispered, only his voice came from the chimp’s mouth instead of his own.

With a couple of final flicks of his wand, Harry added a sonorous to the chimp before sending the menagerie out to do his bidding.

“Say, Voldesnot? What’s it like living in a school that you’re not the Headmaster of?” Harry’s voice boomed out a few minutes later.

“I’ve been meaning to ask, why do you make all of your Death Eaters wear a mask when you’re the one that doesn’t look human?” he continued.

“Find him!” Voldemort hissed menacingly.

“Have you considered wearing a different colour at all? Just you look like some kind of priest or something,” Harry said as he moved further and further around the room to one side.

“These taunts are not worthy of you, Potter. And they will do you no good. Angering me will not make your death any quicker,” Voldemort retorted, his own sonorous charm in place.

“I don’t know about that, you seemed pretty quick to shoot that AK at me before. Not that it did any good! How many times have I survived that curse now? Three, is it?” Harry replied.

It now sounded as though the chimp was on the complete opposite side of the great room. Harry took a cautious risk and moved about so that he could see better. Yes, there were a number of black robes concentrating on the far side of the room. Even the four guards on the door were facing in that direction, as was Voldemort.

“Why don’t you come out, Harry? There’s no need to make this game any longer than it needs to be,” Voldemort stated.

“Gotta say, I don’t agree with you there. Besides, I’m having too much fun. Didn’t you ever play ‘hide and seek’ at the orphanage?” Harry asked.

That taunt had just the right effect. Voldemort took a half dozen angry strides towards where Harry’s voice was coming from, taking him away from the door. Seizing the chance, Harry slipped silently forward, closer to where he needed to be.

Noting that the Death Eaters searching for him were now much closer together, Harry realised that his chimp didn’t have long left to ‘live’.

Steeling himself, he knew that it was now or never. Carefully, he began moving.

“I’ve just got one thing to say to you, Riddle,” Harry called.

“Indeed, Harry? And what would that be? Voldemort asked savagely, most likely in response to his birth name.

“I’ve got your nose!”

Before the echo of Harry’s voice faded away, a host of animals rushed at the door. The four guards backed up, their wands flicking from target to target without a spell being fired.

“My Lord?” one asked worriedly.

Voldemort spun around, saw the animals and sneered at them.

“Ignore them, he’s trying to distract us. Don’t leave your posts,” Voldemort ordered.

In a great rush, the animals scampered around the Death Eaters legs, making them shift nervously about. But not once did they move from their post. Not when the meerkats skittered past or the cat or the host of rats. Not even when a lone mongoose shot from the side, through the legs of one of the guards and out the door.


Tavi didn’t change back to human until he was a full three corridors away from the junk room. And even then, it was only because human legs were longer and therefore faster than a mongooses’.

Finally, after what seemed ages, Harry ducked back into the Gryffindor Head Boy’s room, across it, down into the common room and only paused long enough to locate the carving of the snake and to hiss at it.

Once the door was closed, Harry breathed a silent prayer and rested with his hands on his knees. For a bit there, he didn’t think that he was going to get out of that one alive. A little ingenuity, though, seemed to go a long way to combatting brute force. He grinned, imagining what the look on Riddle’s face was going to be when he realised that they’d been chasing a chimpanzee.

Straightening up, Harry brandished his wand.

Expecto patronum!” he intoned. Once Prongs had appeared and appeased himself that there was no danger, Harry gave him his message. “For Hermione: I’m safe in the passageway near Gryff Tower and on my way down.”

Its instructions complete, the stag took off, taking the light that it’d been giving with it.

Lighting his wand, Harry set out after it in a light jog. There was a long way to go to get to the Chamber, after all.


“About time, Pup! What took you so long?” Sirius asked as Harry trudged through the doors into the Chamber proper.

Harry simply looked up and raised his hand in a tired wave.

Sirius and Minerva, it seemed, were the last ones there. A single skipping rope lay on the ground just behind them. All other evidence that the group had stayed there the last couple of days was gone – not even the transfigured beds remained.

“Is that blood?” Minerva asked anxiously, her voice rising at the end in alarm. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” Harry replied tiredly.

“What happened?” Sirius demanded.

“Got chased. Got cornered. Escaped,” Harry replied succinctly. “Fill you in properly later once we’re home, I’ve eaten and slept.”

“I’ll be holding you to that,” Sirius stated.

“Hold on, gentlemen,” Minerva said, holding out the rope.

As Harry and Sirius reached out and simultaneously grabbed it, they shared a tired grin. Moments later, the portkey was activated.


Harry would have fallen on arrival at Diricawl if not for Sirius’ quick reflexes. Even then, Harry still stumbled slightly, despite the vice-like grip his godfather had on his bicep.

“About time you got here,” Chert grouched. “Now get out and let me put this room back to rights.”

“Good to see you, too, Chert,” Sirius grinned at the goblin.

The three had barely cleared the door to the Reception Room before a bushy-haired missile slammed into Harry.

“I was so worried,” she said into his ear. “You were gone so long.”

She leant back then without taking her arms from him.

“That was mighty dangerous and foolhardy, though, Harry, rushing off like that by yourself,” she admonished. “You could have gotten yourself killed.”

“Sorry, love, but it had to be done,” Harry replied. “They were all but through the portrait. If they’d succeeded, not only would they have captured everyone still in the common room, but with the door to passageways open, they likely would have captured everyone. I assume that we got everyone out safely?”

“Three hundred and twelve students and six professors,” Remus said from where he’d been standing off to the side. “I don’t think you left anyone behind.”

“What I want to know is where that ruddy big snake came from and who killed it?” Harry asked, remembering the unexpectedly gory sight that he’d nearly stumbled over on his trek through the passageway.

“That would be Neville,” Minerva replied. “And I’ll let him tell the story of that. How are the students that were bitten by it?”

Remus’ face fell. “Three died. The other two are just hanging on. Thankfully the boy with the head injury will make a full recovery, as will the two with broken bones.”

“Speaking of injuries,” Sirius interrupted. “Harry, you need to head straight to the hospital wing. The back of your head is matted with blood and your back’s a bloody mess.”

“What?” Hermione exclaimed, pulling at him to get him to turn around. “I thought you said that you were ‘fine’? This does not look like ‘fine’!”

“I am fine,” Harry protested, a fact that was belied when Hermione’s gentle probing hands on his torn shirt had him wincing.

“No. You’re not. Sirius’s right, hospital wing,” she ordered.

“You know that you just said that Sirius was right, don’t you?” Harry asked even as he was being ushered out of the Security Office.

“Hush, you,” Hermione said. “And that’s something that need never be repeated.”

“Yeah, right, like Sirius is ever going to forget that,” Harry snorted.


Both Harry and Hermione were greeted by a slew of voices as they entered Diricawl proper, all from the now ex-Hogwarts students. Their calls, though, brought others out to add in their greetings and thanks for rescuing them from the hell that the castle had become.

The voices were cut off as they went down the corridor towards the hospital wing.

“You people really did a very good thing,” Remus stated.

Harry paused as they were about to enter the hospital and raised his eyebrow at the Deputy Headmaster.

“It’s still early and a lot of them simply wanted a place to sleep for the remainder of the night,” Remus began. “But we’re starting to hear stories. And from what we’re hearing, Snape and the Carrows did not make the students’ lives there pleasant at all.”

When Remus didn’t elaborate, Harry nodded.

“I think that I can guess; I saw Seamus’ face, that was enough to tell me what’s been going on,” he said.

“Mister Potter, what seems to be the problem?” Healer Jeffries asked, rushing over the instant that she saw them walking in, Hermione with one arm around Harry helping keep him upright.

“Just a bit tired,” he tried, but quickly continued when Hermione ‘hmphed’ at him. “And I seem to have a few bumps and scrapes.”

“On the bed, please,” Healer Jeffries instructed. “And tell me where it hurts.”

“Well, I guess, the back of my head, my back, my left forearm, my side and my right shin.”

Healer Jeffries began bustling about. Her wand instantly vanished the remains of his shirt before she gave a sigh.

“‘A few bumps and scrapes’ he says,” she mimicked.

“I wouldn’t listen to him,” a voice called from further down the ward. “He’s a Potter and just like his father – always getting into trouble and hurt one way or the other and thinking that it was nothing to worry about.”

Harry turned at the familiar voice before being pushed back to face the front. He’d had enough time, though, to confirm who’d been speaking.

“Hello, Madam Pomfrey, glad to see you made it,” he said.

“Thanks to the six of you, yes,” she replied.

“And I’m thankful that you rescued her as well,” Healer Jeffries stated, “without Poppy, there are a couple of extra kids who might have died.”

There was silence then as Healer Jeffries moved about Harry, healing the smaller cuts with her wand, using essence of dittany on the larger ones and spreading bruise balm where needed. Even his hair wasn’t spared, being magically washed and dried from the matted blood that had congealed in it.

Finally, bandages were wrapped around his torso to protect his back and she pronounced him all done.

“A day or two should see the worst of those cuts healed up,” Healer Jeffries declared. “For what remains of tonight, I’d like you to stay here. Especially with that head wound. It looks like you took quite the nasty bump and I want to be sure that there’s no ill-effects.”

Harry was about to protest, his mouth even opened to do so, until he saw the expressions on not only Hermione but also Sirius, Remus and Minerva.

“Whatever you say,” he replied, bowing to the inevitable.

“Get some rest, Pup,” Sirius said, patting his leg. “Moody, Amelia and the others will want to know what happened in the morning and we’ll need you awake for that.”

Harry nodded, already dreading the tongue-lashing that he knew he was in for when he told of his adventure in the junk room.

“Goodnight, Harry,” Hermione said, leaning in to give him a kiss that was a little more heated than a peck, but not overly so with so many others in the room.

“Goodnight, Hermione, I’ll see you in a few hours,” he replied.

With that, he lay back and tried to find a comfortable position for his head and back. Somehow, he didn’t think that sleeping would come very easily the way he was feeling.

In that, he was wrong.

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