A Curious Girl

Beth

Elizabeth clung on tightly to Remus's hand with one hand and her shoebox with the other.

They spun away again, and she soon found herself by a cottage at the bottom of a large hill. It was a cool crisp Summer evening and there was sheep bleating at the top of the hill.

“Where are we?” she asked looking around.

“Pembrokeshire,” said Remus.

“Where’s that?”

“It’s in Wales bach!” he chuckled.

Elizabeth shrugged as Remus opened the gate for her.

It was a stone-built cottage and looked like an idyllic paradise unless people were actually looking for them they wouldn’t find them.

“Da!” Remus called as he opened the gate to the house.

“Dad!”

“Remus!” called Lyall Lupin running out of the house to give his son a hug

“I was wondering where you were, a job interview?”

“Not exactly no,” he chuckled looking over at Elizabeth who was watching the sheep on the hill.

“Beth?” whispered Lyall pinching himself to make sure it was true.

Remus nodded beaming.

“But how?”

“I’ll explain later,” Remus whispered.

“Beth,” said Remus, “this is your Grandpa Lyall.”

“Welcome home Cariad!” said Lyall going to go give her a hug.

Elizabeth flinched away again, not for the first time that day.

“It’s ok sweetheart,” assured Remus, “he’s not going to hurt you, nobody’s going to hurt you.”

“Promise?”

“They’ll have to get through me first,” said Remus winking.

“Let’s get you two inside,” chuckled Lyall who was just happy to have their little girl back.

“Remus, why don’t you show Beth up to her room?”

“Ok Dad,” said Remus as they headed into the house.

The bottom floor of the house had a large kitchen and a large sitting room, and a bathroom. In the sitting room, there was a trap door that looked like it might lead to the cellar. The second floor had another bathroom and three bedrooms.

“Can I ask a question?” said Elizabeth as they climbed the stairs.

“Ask away.”

“Why do you both call me Beth?”

“We always have done, Elizabeth is a bit of a mouthful for a baby, your parents used to call you Beth too.”

“You don’t mind, do you?” he asked turning around.

“No,” she admitted, “I quite like it.”

She had never had a nickname before so it might take a bit of getting used to.

They walked along to one of the bedrooms on the second floor.

“It’s not much,” he shrugged putting the bag of clothes down, “but it’s all yours.”

Elizabeth walked into the room after Remus, it was painted a pale yellow, which was made even more beautiful by the sun coming in through the window.

There was a small double bed with a rainbow-colored patchwork on top. There was also a wardrobe and even a desk and chair and a small bookcase.

Elizabeth ran over to the window and played with the latch opening and closing it, she then ran over to the desk to stroke the honey-colored wood.

“Are you sure this is all mine?”

“Is your name Elizabeth?” asked Remus pointing at the name painted on the door.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” she beamed running over to him and pulling him in for a hug.

“Woah there sweetheart,” he chuckled, “it’s just a bedroom.”

“I love it,” she said bursting into tears.

“Don’t cry little one,” said Remus gently, fishing for a handkerchief.

“Long day,” she sobbed.

“I get that,” he said, “now then why don’t you get cleaned up, and then we’ll have dinner hey?”

Elizabeth nodded as she let go of him.

“Is that Boris the Bear poking his head out of that bag?” asked Remus looking at the bag properly.

“You know Boris?” she asked confused.

“Know him?” he chortled, “I not only named him, but I bought him.”

“I see he’s been very well-loved,” he said shaking his head as he saw how tattered Boris was before he left.

“Why don’t you take a bath and get in your pajamas and then we’ll have dinner yeah?”

Elizabeth nodded enthusiastically and pulled out her best pajamas which were pink.

Elizabeth went through to the bathroom where Lyall had already run her a bath with plenty of bubbles.

Elizabeth beamed, she had never had a bubble bath before, that was a treat saved for Dudley.

She noticed that she had got so many bruises over the last few days that her arms and legs were more purple than white. It didn’t matter though; she was never going back there ever again.

She enjoyed a luxuriously long bath and then got changed into her pajamas, before going back downstairs.

“There you are Cariad!” chuckled Lyall, “and here was I thinking you’d been swallowed down the plughole with the bathwater.”

“Don’t be silly,” giggled Elizabeth as she sat down at the table which had already been set.

“I hope you like pasta,” said Lyall as he brought over three plates of pasta with olive oil and peas with chopped ham.

“Everyone likes pasta dad,” said Remus.

Elizabeth tucked into her pasta, but Remus noticed that she didn’t even eat half the plate, maybe she just wasn’t hungry after such a long day, he couldn’t exactly blame her.

By the time they finished dinner Elizabeth had started to yawn at the table and her eyes were starting to droop.

“Bed Cariad,” said Lyall firmly as he took the dishes over to the sink.

“I’ll do that,” said Elizabeth starting to fill the washing up bowl to do the dishes.

“Don’t worry darling I’ve got it,” said Lyall, “you get up to bed, you’ve had a long day.”

“I’ll take her,” said Remus getting up from the table and following her upstairs.

When Remus got upstairs Elizabeth was getting out her book.

“Ah King Arthur, I suppose you’re a bit old for bedtime stories?”

“I never really got any,” she shrugged as she read and sat down on top of her bed.

“No bedtime stories!” he said in mock outrage.

“The hours I spent reading you to sleep as a baby, but you wouldn’t remember any of that would you Beth?”

She shook her head again as she turned the page, the page caught on the cuff of her pajamas and pulled the sleeve up slightly for a second.

“What was that,” he said quickly.

“What?” she asked confused.

“On your arm,” he said slowly, “it was purple.”

“It’s nothing,” she stammered.

“It wasn’t nothing,” he said calmly, “you’re hurt.”

“Can I take a look?”

Elizabeth sighed and finally gave into the inevitable. Remus and Lyall were going to find how badly behaved she was and send her back to the Dursleys.

She took off her pajama top and bit her lip slightly trying not to cry.

Remus’ mouth fell open as he looked at his little girl.

She was all skin and bones, he could practically see her ribs, no wonder she didn’t finish her dinner. Her arms and chest were more black and blue than the white her skin should have been. Some of the bruises were fairly fresh, but some looked like they might have been there for weeks.

“Is there anywhere else?”

She nodded and rolled up her trousers to show her bruised legs.

“Who did this?” he asked trying to keep calm.

“Uncle Vernon mostly, occasionally Dudley,” she mumbled, as he passed her back her top

Remus’ breathing started to quicken, and his eyes started to flash with rage.

Those bloody Dursleys! Dumbledore could have sent her anywhere, but he sent her to live with known magic haters!

“I’m sorry!” she sobbed bursting into tears.

“Sorry?” he asked, “why are you sorry?”

“Because you’ve waited so long for me,” she sobbed, “and then you end up with a freak like me who is so bad she has to be punished.”

“What?” he stammered.

“Sweetheart, I’m not angry with you, you’re perfect and I’d love you no matter what.”

“Then why were you angry?”

“I wasn’t angry with you sweet little Beth,” he sighed, sitting down next to her, “I was angry with the Dursleys. I can’t believe they’d hurt you like that.”

“So I’m not in trouble?”

“No poppet,” he said gently.

“Do you want me to tuck you in?”

Elizabeth nodded and snuggled under her duvet and quilt.

Remus kissed her lightly on the forehead as he tucked her in.

“Good night little Beth, welcome home.”

“Remus?” she called softly as he left.

He turned back around.

“Thank you.”

“Thank you, Beth, for coming home.”

Remus trudged back downstairs and flopped onto the sofa.

“What’s up Remi?” asked Lyall.

“Son?” said Lyall sitting down next to him.

Remus had just burst into tears he had been holding back all afternoon.

“It’s ok Remi,” said Lyall putting an arm around him, “she’s home.”

“I know,” sobbed Remus, “but you didn’t see her just now, she’s all skin and bone, covered in bruises.”

“The Dursleys?”

Remus nodded.

“Fucking Dumbledore,” growled Lyall, “if I ever get my hands on him!”

“It’s not his fault,” sighed Remus.

Lyall gave his son a significant look.

“Well, it’s not all his fault.”

“No wonder she flinched away when I tried to hug her,” muttered Lyall shaking his head.

“Just give her time Dad,” said Remus, “I’m going up to bed.”

“Night son,” said Lyall giving him a quick hug.

Remus headed up to bed and changed into his pajamas, the second his head hit the pillow he fell asleep.

After a while, though he woke with a start, he could hear sobbing. His wolf senses as his Dad called them made his hearing extra keen.

He hopped out of bed and pulled on his dressing gown to go and find out what the matter was.

There was the sound of muffled sobs coming from Beth’s room.

He opened the door a fraction to check on her and saw that Elizabeth was shaking with tears.

“Sweetheart?” he whispered from the doorway.

“I’m so sorry,” she stammered, “I didn’t mean to wake you.

“Firstly, don’t apologize,” said Remus brushing a lock of hair off her brow, “everyone has nightmares.”

“And secondly,” he said smiling slightly, and holding his arms open “I might be able to help you, why don’t you tell me what it was about?”

Elizabeth moved over the bed to snuggled up next to him.

“Tom was in it,” she nodded.

“Tom?” asked Remus.

“I think Professor McGonagall said his name was Voldy something.”

“Voldemort,” sighed Remus.

“He could give anyone nightmares poppet,” he said stroking her hair.

“He killed Mum and Dad,” she mumbled.

“I can’t even imagine what that must have been like you Beth.”

“Don’t worry your safe here little one,” said Remus holding her close.

“I’m just so scared,” she sobbed into his chest.

“Shh shh, don’t worry now little one I’m right here,” he soothed stroking her hair.

Eventually, Elizabeth stopped crying and started to fall back to sleep.

Remus tucked her back into bed and went back to bed himself.

It had been a long day, but it was the start of his new life, he had his family back, his little Beth.

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