A Curious Girl

Settling In

Elizabeth woke up the next morning and felt slightly strange. This wasn’t her bed; her bed wasn’t this warm and comfy.

Then she opened her eyes, this wasn’t her cupboard! This wasn’t even the Dursleys.

Then she remembered, she thought it had been a wonderful dream. Professor McGonagall had whisked her away from the Dursleys and now she was living with her godfather Remus and Grandpa Lyall.

The best part about this was though, the Dursleys would never find her, she wasn’t even living in the same country as them anymore.

She looked out the window and saw how beautiful it was. The cottage was surrounded by green; green hills, green meadows, and there wasn’t another house in sight.

She didn’t know what the time was, so she ran downstairs to check, barefoot in her pajamas.

There was a very strange carriage clock she hadn’t noticed the day before; it didn’t tell the time though. Instead of numbers, it had things like work, school, traveling, prison, even mortal peril!

Instead of having normal clock hands, it had three hands, Lyall, Remus, and Elizabeth all of which were currently pointing to home.

“Strange,” she muttered tracing some of the hands of the clock.

She eventually managed to find a clock that actually told the time, which said it was a quarter past seven.

“A quarter past seven!” she exclaimed, “I’m late!”

Usually, she would have started breakfast at least half an hour ago. She walked through to the kitchen and found a small fridge that seemed to work by magic rather than electricity and a gas oven.

Fortunately, the Dursleys up until a year or two ago had had a gas oven too, so she knew how to light it.

She went through the fridge and found a carton of eggs and a pack of sausages; she checked the bread bin and saw that the bread had already been cut.

She reached on her tiptoes to reach the box of matches over the oven and carefully lit one of the hobs on the oven.

She beamed in relief as the hob lit, and she hadn’t burnt herself on the matches.

Then she cooked eggs and sausages, trying to be careful not to burn any.

The only thing she was worried about was the toast, how was she supposed to cook the toast without a toaster?

Eventually, she lit the oven and decided to try it that way and put three slices of bread into the oven.

She was humming softly as she finished cooking the eggs and sausages when Remus came into the kitchen.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m cooking the breakfast,” she shrugged as if there was nothing more normal in the world.

“Why?” he asked raising his eyebrows.

“Because it’s my job,” she said simply,

“Do the cooking and help with any other jobs that need doing around the house.”

Remus shook his head slightly to make sure he wasn’t hearing things.

She carefully poured two eggs and three sausages onto the two plates and only then remembered about the toast.

“Oh dear,” she muttered as she went to open the oven door.

There was a stream of black smoke as she opened the oven door, the toast was more than burnt.

She pulled the toast out of the oven and saw that it was charcoal black.

She dropped the baking tray onto the ground as she looked at the blackened toast.

“I’m sorry,” she sobbed getting down on the floor to pick it up, “I’m used to a toaster.”

“Sorry what for?” said Remus as he helped her clean up the toast.

“For burning the breakfast,” she said tears rolling down her eyes, “you must hate me.”

“I could never hate you little Beth,” Remus assured her.

Elizabeth looked up at him for a moment, why wasn’t he angry with her?

Elizabeth put the least burnt piece of toast on her plate and put the others in the bin.

“What are you doing now?”

“I’m serving breakfast,” she said nervously in case she’d done anything wrong.

“That toast is practically charcoal,” he pointed out.

“I burnt it, so I have to eat it,” she said simply as she took the plates over to the table.

“So, you’ve made breakfast for everyone but all you’re going to be having is a piece of burnt toast?” asked Remus trying to keep calm.

“Yes sir,” she nodded as she tucked into the toast.

Remus was slightly dumbfounded as Elizabeth ate her piece of burnt toast. She seemed to think that this was perfectly normal, it seemed as if the Dursleys had been using her as a live-in slave as well as a punching bag.

“Morning all!” called Lyall coming downstairs beaming.

“I see you’ve learned how to cook properly Remi,” said Lyall, “I’m proud of you, only took thirty-one years.”

“I didn’t make this Dad,” said Remus coming out of his state of shock, “Beth did.”

“Why is she eating a burnt piece of toast?” he muttered as he sat down next to Remus.

“I burnt the toast so have to eat it,” she said again in a sing-song voice, she had clearly been told that many times.

“Here Cariad,” said Lyall shaking his head as he put a sausage from the two other plates onto Elizabeth’s.

“You don’t have to eat burnt toast.”

“Are you sure?” she asked nervously, “I don’t want to take away from either of you.”

“Eat up love, we’ve got to get some meat on you,” said Lyall.

Remus had only been nibbling at his own breakfast, he had thought the night before with the bruising had been bad enough, but now he realized that she had been a live-in slave as well.

“Why are you both being so nice to me?” she wondered as she ate her breakfast.

“What?” said Remus pulling himself out of his own thoughts about the terrible Dursleys.

“Why are both being so nice to me?”

“Because you’re our little girl Beth,” chuckled Lyall.

“But I burnt the toast,” she said, “and then instead of shouting at me, and locking me in my room, you both gave me part of your breakfasts.”

“That was an accident sweetheart,” explained Remus, “you should have felt you needed to make breakfast in the first place.”

“But I have to earn my keep,” she said confused.

“Orphans have to earn their keep,” she said in the same sing-song voice as earlier.

This was another one of the sayings that had been drilled into her from a young age, don’t talk to strangers, don’t ask questions, orphans have to earn their keep.

“You don’t have to earn your keep Cariad,” chuckled Lyall, “we’re just happy you’re here.”

“Oh,” she said slightly confused.

Clearly, everything she already knew was wrong, everything that Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had told her was wrong.

“So I don’t have to cook the meals?” she asked with her head slightly tilted.

“No,” said Remus.

“Or do the laundry?”

“No,” said Lyall.

“Or help with the weeding?”

“No,” said Remus.

“But I like doing all those things,” she protested, "I like helping.”

“That’s fine Cariad,” said Lyall, “but you don’t have to if you don’t want to, Remus and I are the adults, it’s our job to look after you, not the other way around.”

“Am I in trouble?” she asked tears coming to our eyes.

“I was just doing what I’ve been taught to.”

“I know that Beth,” said Remus, “but you don’t have to do that anymore.”

“Don’t worry Cariad you’re not in trouble if you want to help around the house of course you can, but don’t feel like you have to, and don’t overdo it.”

“And don’t light the oven on your own again,” said Remus, “it’s dangerous.”

“Do you understand?” asked Remus.

Elizabeth inclined her head slightly again.

“I like it in the garden, it's pretty, could I help with the gardening still?”

“Of course, if you want to,” said Remus.

“Or maybe Cariad, you could just play like a normal ten-year-old!”

Elizabeth gave a slight giggle and her face lit up, at the thought of being able to go outside without having to work in the garden doing the weeding.

“Grandpa I have a question.”

“Ask away little one,” beamed Lyall.

“Why do you call me Cariad?”

“It is a term of affection,” he explained, “it means love in Welsh, it’s the same as calling you, sweetheart.”

“Oh,” said Elizabeth smiling, “I like that.”

“Ok little one what do you want to do today?” asked Remus as they took their plates over to the sink after breakfast.

“Can we go in the garden; I want to see what kind of plants you have.”

“I think we can just about manage that,” said Remus giving her a hug, “now go on, go get dressed.”

Elizabeth skipped upstairs to go and get up and Remus rolled up his shirt sleeves to get started on the washing up.

“I should get to the Ministry,” sighed Lyall fetching his robe.

“Will you two be alright on your own?”

“We’ll be fine Dad,” said Remus.

“Dad, do you know if we still have some of mum’s old concealer.”

“Why are you looking for your mum’s makeup?”

“Well, we need to take Beth shopping, muggle and magical, if we cover up the scar no one would even know it was her.”

“You are a genius Remi,” said Lyall giving his son a quick hug, “bathroom cupboard, behind the skelligrow.”

Lyall walked to the apparition boundary by the gate and left for the ministry.

“Can we go do the gardening now?”

Elizabeth had just come downstairs wearing the same oversized jeans as the day before with an oversized tie-dye t-shirt tucked into them.

“Um Beth, why are all your clothes quite so big on you?”

“Aunt Petunia bought them in the charity shop with room to grow.”

“Right,” nodded Remus as they walked into the garden.

“Well that’s that decided then, tomorrow we are going to Diagon Alley to get your school supplies and the day after, we’re going shopping for everything else, clothes books anything you need.”

“But I don’t have any money,” she stammered.

Remus scoffed slightly.

“The Potter’s are one of the richest wizarding families, and you are the sole heir.”

“What does that mean though?”

“It means you young lady are very rich.”

“Do the Dursleys know about this?”

“No,” chuckled Remus, “if they had known, they probably would have tried nicking it.”

Remus passed her a little bottle of potion.

“What’s this?”

“Sunburn protection potion,” said Remus, “I don’t want you getting burnt.”

“So, it’s like sun cream?” she asked as she put it on.

“Exactly,” nodded Remus.

Once Elizabeth had put on the sun protection potion they went to work in the garden. It was a huge garden with muggle and magical plants mixed in together, with pieces of card sticking out of the dirt explaining them all.

“Why don’t we start off with what you already know?”

“Ok,” she beamed.

“Potatoes,” she started pointing at the sign.

“Hmmm,” he nodded.

“Strawberries,” she continued, “cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, and sunflowers.”

“Remus?”

“Yes, Beth?”

“I call Mr. Lupin Grandpa Lyall, what am I supposed to call you?”

“When you were a very little girl you used to call me Uncle Moony,” he chuckled.

“Why?”

“Because I like to howl at the moon.”

“Like a werewolf?”

Remus nodded slightly.

“How about Uncle Remus,” he suggested.

“Ok,” she shrugged.

“Sunflowers,” she continued, measuring herself against the tall sunflowers.

“Uncle Remus,” she asked as they knelt down to start pulling up the weeds and gathering the fruits and vegetables.

“Yes dear?”

“Why are you and Grandpa growing Daisies?” she asked, “Aunt Petunia always told me they were weeds.”

“Well they are, but they can also be used in potions,” he explained.

Once she had pointed out all the muggle plants she knew Remus started explaining the magical plants.

“This one is dittany,” he explained carefully, “it’s used for healing minor wounds.”

“That’s handy,” nodded Elizabeth.

“It is,” he agreed.

“That is Hellebore, be careful with that one it's poisonous.”

“Is that why its sign is written in red?”

“Exactly,” he nodded.

“So in that case, Nightshade is poisonous too right?”

“Correct, you catch on fast don’t you?”

“I like gardening,” she beamed, “it was the only chance I had to leave my cupboard.”

“Your what?” choked Remus.

“My cupboard where I slept.”

“You slept in a cupboard?”

Elizabeth looked up at Remus whose eyes were full of rage like they had been the night before.

“Yes,” she mumbled, “have I said something wrong.”

“No,” said Remus shaking his head.

“Beth, I promise you,” he said firmly putting his hands on her shoulders, “that those people are never going to hurt you ever again.”

“You’re not angry with me?”

“No,” he sighed, “I love you too much.”

Elizabeth beamed and gave him a huge hug.

Once they had finished in the garden Remus went inside to start on the lunch.

Elizabeth only ate half her sandwich, but Remus knew that given time she’d get a regular appetite back.

“Uncle Remus,” she asked after lunch, “do you have any scrap paper?”

“Scrap paper?” he asked slightly confused, “what for?”

“For drawing on,” she explained.

Remus bit his lip to stop himself from screaming insults about the Dursleys.

“You don’t have to draw on scrap paper sweetheart,” said Remus composing himself.

Remus showed her where the paper and parchment were kept in the writing desk in the sitting room.

“Do you like drawing?” asked Remus as she looked in awe at the crisp parchment.

“I love drawing,” she beamed, “would you like to see some?”

“Of course,” nodded Remus.

Elizabeth skipped off to her room and came back a few moments later with her shoebox of drawings which she passed to Remus.

Remus looked at the drawings on the back of old receipts, shopping lists, and envelopes. There were drawings of the plants that she had helped with in the garden, some of the drawings were of brave knights and beautiful princesses.

One of the envelopes depicted what was probably Rapunzel. There was a princess in a tower with extraordinarily long hair hanging out of the window. The drawings almost seemed to breathe.

“These are remarkable,” said Remus shaking his head slightly, “you’re a genius.”

“Um thank you,” she blushed nervously.

“Can I draw in the garden?”

“Of course, sweetheart,” he beamed.

Elizabeth went out into the garden and started to draw on the parchment with a pencil. She lay down in the grass and breathed in the fresh grass before she started to sketch.

She hadn’t seen much of the school yet, but she still couldn’t wait to draw it.

“Last time I checked Professor Dumbledore had a wand, not a staff,” chuckled Remus.

Remus had sat down next to her to keep her company

“Oh no that’s not Dumbledore, that’s Merlin,” she explained as she finished the drawing.

“So it is,” chuckled Remus.

“Merlin did go to Hogwarts, so it makes sense.”

“Merlin was real!” she exclaimed looking up at Remus her eyes wide in shock.

“You’d better believe it, so was Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and all the rest.”

“I thought they were just legends!” she breathed.

“That’s what the muggles want you to think,” whispered Remus tapping his nose knowingly.

“Can I draw you?” she asked.

“I would be honored,” he beamed.

Elizabeth pulled out a fresh piece of parchment and started to sketch carefully.

“Uncle Remus,” she asked, “why do you have scars on your face?”

“What?” he asked.

“Is it because you’re a werewolf?” she asked casually.

“What are you talking about?”

“Well you told me earlier you howled at the moon and I used to call you Uncle Moony,” she said as she sketched.

“You’ve just told me that Merlin and Arthur were real, and I learned yesterday about magic, so it makes sense that werewolves might be real too.”

Remus sighed heavily.

“Yes, werewolves are real, and I am a werewolf.”

“Ok,” she shrugged as she continued her drawing.

“You’re not scared of me?” he asked confused.

“You’ve told me you’d never hurt me, and I believe you,” she explained matter of factly.

“Well I won’t hurt you, I transform in the cellar I can’t get out to hurt you because Grandpa Lyall guards the entrance to the cellar.”

Elizabeth just kept drawing as if none of this phased her, biting her lip slightly as she concentrated on shading his eyes.

Remus was confused, usually, the second anyone found out he was a werewolf they shunned him, but Elizabeth didn’t seem to care she just accepted it.

“I’ve finished,” she beamed passing him the portrait.

Remus looked at the drawing, he was smiling, but the real smile was in his eyes which seemed to light up even though she had only been drawing with a stub of a pencil.

“Can I keep this?”

Elizabeth shrugged as she began a drawing of her new house.

Remus went inside to hang up the drawing and started to make a list of all the things that needed doing, she needed some better clothes, they needed to take her to Diagon, and her birthday was in less than a week.

Elizabeth was still drawing when Lyall came back from the ministry.

“Hello Cariad,” he beamed seeing her drawing in the grass.

He took a sharp intake of breath as he saw that her arms were covered in bruises, she was wearing a t-shirt today, so this was the first time he had seen her arms.

“There something wrong Grandpa?” she asked looking up from her sketch.

“No Cariad, there’s nothing wrong.”

Lyall headed into the kitchen and found Remus sat at the kitchen table.

“I am going to kill Dumbledore,” sighed Lyall joining his son at the table.

“They made her sleep in a cupboard Dad,” he muttered in case they heard her.

“She was more of a slave than a child,” he muttered.

“What are we going to do Remi?”

“Make up for the last ten years the best that we can,” said Remus nodding firmly.

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