A Curious Girl

Elizabeth Gets Some New Clothes

Elizabeth woke up to feel something leaning into her on top of the sheets. She sat up to realize that her cat Guinevere had decided to join her up on the bed.

“Hello,” said Elizabeth as Guinevere hopped onto her lap.

“Do you like your new home?”

Guinevere closed her eyes and purred contently as Elizabeth ticked her between the ears.

“You’re gorgeous aren’t you little one.”

“Not as gorgeous as somebody else I know,” said Remus from the doorway

“We left your door open because somebody was patrolling your doorway half the night,” said Remus sitting down on the bed and giving Guinevere a good stroke.

“You need to get up sweetheart, we’re going shopping.”

“But we went shopping yesterday,” she said confused as she got out of bed.

“Yes but today, we’re going to get you some decent muggle clothes, if you’re really good we might even hit the toy shop.”

“I’m too old for toys,” she giggled as she found some clothes to wear.

“Do you know what the best news is?”

She shook her head.

“The Macmillan’s are coming around this afternoon and Ernie is staying the night.”

Elizabeth was so excited that she rushed around the house getting dressed for the day, she was going shopping again, her friends were coming round, and she was going to have her first-ever sleepover!

They all got in the car after breakfast. Elizabeth was thankful that they using a car rather than traveling magically today. From what she had gathered so far, magical transportation was fast but uncomfortable.

They went to the clothes shop first.

“I’m going to get the dinner in,” said Lyall, he had decided he’d rather go shopping for food rather than buy an eleven-year-old girl a new wardrobe.

Remus and Elizabeth headed to the children’s department to find some clothes. They started out by picking some basic jeans and a pretty skirt that was flowy and light blue.

“It matches your eyes,” said Remus as he pulled it out.

Remus was right the blue was the exact same shade as her eyes.

Then they got several jumpers, and t-shirts her favorite was a gold jumper which was so soft that she just couldn’t stop stroking it.

They then got her some new pants, vests, socks, and pajamas.

Then they went to the shoe shop where Elizabeth was measured for shoes for the first time in her life.

She waited patiently whilst the lady measured her feet and then went off to find her some school shoes.

Elizabeth didn’t just get a pair of school shoes, she also got a pair of trainers which were light pink, and a pair of ballerina pumps which were bright yellow.

Only once they had done the clothes and shoe shopping did Lyall reappear as if by magic! It was almost as if he had timed them exactly to know what time they would be finished.

Then they all went to the bookshop.

She found a book on Arthurian legend which had beautiful illustrations, the book was so beautiful she didn’t think she would bring herself to read in case she ripped a page, so she put it back on the shelf.

She eventually got the first book in a series called Anne of Green Gables, The Magician’s Nephew and a paperback book Tales from Shakespeare.

As they queued up to pay for her books, they passed a display stand containing videotapes. Dudley had had a video player, but she had never been able to watch them, she had been forbidden.

She looked longingly at The Sword in the Stone, before she was nudged forward by Remus to pay for her books.

When they got home Elizabeth only picked at her sandwich.

“You too excited?” asked Remus knowingly.

She blushed but then nodded enthusiastically.

“Go on then go and get some decent clothes on.”

She skipped upstairs beaming and came back downstairs wearing her new blue skirt which fell to just above her ankles and a new short sleeved white blouse.

Elizabeth had been living with them for five days now, but her arms were still slightly bruised from where Uncle Vernon had hurt her.

“Can I get some flowers for my room?” she asked.

“Of course, Cariad.”

Elizabeth skipped into the garden and collected some marigolds and tulips which she arranged carefully in a vase with some water before carrying it even more carefully up to her room.

Not long after that the Macmillan’s arrived by apparition.

Remus and Lyall went out to the gate to meet them, Elizabeth skipping behind them sniffing the flowers as she passed them.

Mr Macmillan was tall man, he was an auror and had sandy coloured hair and a beard.

Elizabeth stopped skipping suddenly as she saw this tall imposing man, and she hid behind her Uncle Remus.

“Hello,” said Remus, “you must be Mr Macmillan?”

“Please call me George,” said Mr Macmillan, holding out his hand.

“Only if you call me Lyall.”

“A man of my own heart,” he chuckled.

“When my son Tim came home from Diagon yesterday told me he had met Elizabeth Potter I thought he must have been making things up, but then we got your invitation last night and I just couldn’t believe it!”

“Our Tim has got an active imagination,” nodded Mrs Macmillan laughing slightly.

“Where is Tim?” asked Lyall.

“He’s playing with Michael Fawcett,” said Mrs Macmillan.

Elizabeth was still trying to hide behind Remus as they went into the house.

“Hey Beth,” said Ernie, “you ok?”

Elizabeth shook her head.

“You scared of dad?” he asked incredulously.

She nodded nervously.

“My Dad may be tall, but he’d never hurt you, he’s too nice.”

Elizabeth still seemed slightly uncertain but took Ernie’s hand. That’s when Ernie saw the bruises on Elizabeth’s arm which had been covered by her jumper the day before.

“Wait here a moment,” he said quickly before rushing into the house.

Elizabeth stood still where she was her breathing becoming unsteady. Her only friend she had ever had, had only lasted a day, and now even he wanted nothing to do with her.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Ernie,” said Mrs Macmillan shaking her head as Ernie dragged her out into the garden.

“Ye gods!” she muttered looking at Elizabeth’s arms properly for the first time.

Elizabeth was in floods of tears as she flopped down in the grass.

“Ernie,” she said nervously, “go and get Remus.”

Mrs Macmillan pulled out her wand to check her for any signs of permanent injuries.

Elizabeth flinched slightly at the sight of the wand.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” she said gently, “I’m a healer.”

“That’s like um,” she thought for a moment, “a doctor.”

Elizabeth seemed to calm down slightly.

“What’s going on?” asked Remus breathlessly.

“How did she get like this Remus?” she asked raising her eyebrows.

“What?”

“I just checked her over, you’re lucky she’s got no permanent damage but she could have been seriously hurt.”

“Do you think that I hurt my little Beth?” he whispered shaking with rage.

“No of course not Remus,” she assured him, “Ernie said something about some muggles she was living with until a few days ago?”

Remus flinched slightly at even the thought of the Dursleys.

“Did they do this to her Remus?” asked Mr. Macmillan.

“That’s why she’s living with us now,” said Lyall.

“It’s ok sweetheart,” said Remus crouching down to pick her up, “no one’s going to hurt you, and you’re not in trouble.”

Elizabeth nodded slightly and held out her arms for him.

He lifted her up and they all went back into the house.

“Remus,” struggled Mr Macmillan, “do you know if anything’s been done to the Dursleys?”

“What do you mean?” asked Remus.

“Well we can already see that she’s been hurt,” said Mr Macmillan, “social services should be reported.”

Ernie shifted slightly in his seat next to his mother.

“I just want Beth to be left alone,” he sobbed.

“Remus, I’m an auror, I can make a report, take it to child services and have this sorted out before tomorrow morning.”

Lyall nodded firmly, he wasn’t going to let the Dursley’s get away with this.

“Are you ok with this?” asked Remus looking over at her.

Elizabeth nodded.

“Ernie,” said Mrs Macmillan turning to her son, “do you want to come to see Beth another day maybe.”

“Don’t go!” she begged as she held back tears.

“No Mum I want to stay,” said Ernie firmly going to sit next to her and taking her hand, “Beth’s my friend.”

“Ok Beth,” said Mr Macmillan pulling a piece of parchment and a quill out of his robe pocket, “I’m going to have to ask you a few questions.”

Elizabeth nodded.

“How did you get those marks on your arms?”

“Uncle Vernon hurt me,” she whispered.

“Did he hurt you anywhere else?”

“Just her legs and a bit on her chest,” said Remus.

Mr Macmillan wrote all this down.

“How did he hurt you?” he asked.

Elizabeth looked from Remus to Ernie nervously.

“Don’t worry you’re not going to get in any trouble,” said Remus putting an arm around her shoulders.

“Um,” she stuttered, “gripping on to my arms when he was angry with me, sometimes he’d shake me if he was extra angry.”

Mr Macmillan’s eyebrows rose as he wrote all this down.

“Anything else?”

“Sometimes he’d encourage my cousin Dudley to hit me,” she muttered pulling at a strand of loose hair.

“That’s terrible!” said Ernie who couldn’t believe anyone could be so cruel to someone so quiet as Elizabeth.

“Right,” he sighed.

“But most of the bruises were from when he threw me in my cupboard.”

Mr Macmillan’s quill nib broke and his mouth dropped open.

“When he did what?” he breathed.

“When he threw her in her cupboard,” said Lyall his eyes full of rage.

“That’s what I thought I heard,” he muttered.

“What cupboard is this?” asked Mr Macmillan getting out a new quill.

“They made her sleep in a cupboard under the stairs,” explained Remus.

“How big was this?”

Elizabeth shrugged.

“Can you describe it for me?” he asked carefully.

“Well there was an old mattress and a light bulb,” said Elizabeth slowly trying to think.

“Could you fit anything else in the cupboard?”

“I had a bag of clothes but that’s it,” she shrugged.

“Could you stand up in it?”

“Not without hitting my head, I had to crouch down to get out each morning.”

Mr Macmillan sighed again as he wrote this down.

“Did you Aunt or Uncle ever punish you?”

Elizabeth bit her lip and nodded.

“Why?”

“For burning the breakfast or for talking to other children at school.”

“Talking to the other children at school?” said Ernie.

“Burning the breakfast?” said Mrs Macmillan her eyes popping in shock, “she’s not even eleven why was she cooking it in the first place?”

“She was more of a live-in slave than a daughter,” said Lyall through clenched teeth.

“Other than hurting you, how did they punish you?” asked Mr Macmillan fearing for the worst.

“Usually hurting me and then locking me in my cupboard and then locking the door from the outside.”

Mr Macmillan nodded trying to keep calm.

“One time I managed to unlock it,” she said, “I was desperate for the bathroom when Uncle Vernon found out though he got very angry, next thing I knew everything went black, I was in my cupboard with a throbbing headache, the lightbulb had been removed and there was now a double lock.”

“How old were you when this happened?” asked Remus trying to hold back his tears.

“Um,” she said thinking back, “seven.”

“How did you open the door?” asked Ernie.

“Accidental magic son,” sighed Mr Macmillan as he finished his notes.

“How did you find her?”

“Albus contacted me saying I needed to come and collect Beth,” said Remus, “that was six days ago.”

Mr Macmillan looked to Elizabeth again.

She sighed again.

“I got a letter from Hogwarts school, I didn’t usually get letters, so I put it under my jumper to read later.”

Mr Macmillan nodded.

“The letter told me I was witch, but I didn’t believe it, so I wrote back saying there must have been some kind of mistake.”

“But your Mum and Dad were magic, how didn’t you think you were a witch?” asked Ernie.

“Up until five days ago,” Lyall explained, “Elizabeth thought that her parents had died in car crash drunk.”

Remus’ knuckles turned white as he clenched them.

“What happened next dear?” asked Mrs Macmillan.

“I went to post the letter, but Uncle Vernon caught me running back into the house. He got angry and threw me in my cupboard. That afternoon Professor McGonagall came to visit, she was curious as to why I hadn’t thought I was a witch.”

“I bet you she wasn’t happy,” said Mrs Macmillan remembering McGonagall from her own days at Hogwarts.

“She was furious, she found me in my cupboard and told me to pack, we left for Hogwarts.”

“I think I’ve got everything I need,” he muttered scanning over his notes.

“Where do these muggles live?”

“Albus wouldn’t tell us,” said Lyall.

“Probably because we wanted to kill them,” seethed Remus.

“Quite honestly I cant blame you,” said Mr Macmillan shaking his head.

“Uncle Vernon’s not going to hurt me?” she checked.

“Sweetheart,” said Remus pulling her in for a hug, “he is never going to hurt you ever again.”

Elizabeth took a deep breath.

“Number Four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey.”

He nodded as he scribbled that down.

Mr Macmillan knelt down in front of her.

“You are a very brave young lady you know that?”

“I’m not brave,” she stammered, “if I was brave, I would have fought back.”

“You don’t have to fight to be brave you know; you’ve been through so much I hope you’re happy with your new family.”

“I wish I could stay longer but I’ve got to get this report in, between this and Tricia’s medical scan notes those Dursleys should be locked away for a long time.”

Mr Macmillan headed out the door and apparated straight to the ministry.

“I’ll go make some tea,” stuttered Mrs Macmillan getting up from the sofa still not believing that anyone could treat a child like that.

“I’ll help,” said Remus.

Lyall had gone to go walk off some of his rage by walking up the hill outside the house.

“You ok Beth?” asked Ernie.

“Yeah,” she muttered, “I know Uncle Vernon can’t hurt me, but.”

“But what?”

“I’m worried that you don’t want to be my friend anymore.”

“Beth,” said Ernie “of course I want to be your friend, you are good and kind.”

“So are you,” she pointed out.

“What I was going to say, is that to have gone through all those terrible things, and still be such a nice person, that means that you are going to make a pretty amazing friend.”

Elizabeth smiled slightly as Ernie gave her a hug.

“Let’s face it,” he chuckled, “if you can defeat You Know Who, and survive that Aunt and Uncle of yours, you can do anything!”

“Thanks Ernie,” she giggled.

“Want to come see my room?” she asked hopping up from the sofa.

“Sure,” he beamed.

“It’s not under the stairs is it?” he asked halfway up from the sofa.

“Of course not,” giggled Elizabeth running up to her room followed by Ernie.

“Look,” she beamed, “I have my own window, and my own bookcase, and a desk, and such a soft bed.”

“Meow?” said Guinevere waking up from where she had been sleeping on the quilt eyeing Ernie suspiciously.

“You like Ernie,” said Elizabeth, “you met him yesterday.”

“Meow,” she said drowsily getting more comfortable on top of the quilt.

“Who’s in charge you or the cat?”

“I don’t know sometimes,” she giggled as she started to fold her clothes away carefully in the wardrobe next to her uniforms.

“Are these your old clothes?” asked Ernie looking at snot green jumper.

“Um yeah,” she muttered pulling at a strand of her hair.

“I’ve got a really cool idea,” said Ernie his face lighting up, “I’ll just be a tick.”

He ran from the room and Elizabeth continued to fold away her new clothes carefully.

Ernie came dashing back in with a smile a mile wide on his face.

“Why are grinning like a Cheshire cat?” she asked.

Ernie looked confused but shrugged.

“We’re going to have a bonfire, I just got permission.”

“What?”

“We’re going to burn your old clothes and maybe let out some pent-up rage at the Dursleys by screaming at the top of her lungs.”

Elizabeth somehow looked even more confused.

“Last year my cousin had a bad breakup with her boyfriend, so we built a bonfire and burnt all his stuff and shouted all the things we wanted to say to him at the flames, somehow it really worked.”

“That sounds really weird,” said Elizabeth shaking her head, “but also kind of fun.”

“Exactly!” said Ernie bouncing with excitement, “why don’t we go collect some firewood?”

“Ok,” she chuckled as they ran out of the house to collect fallen branches and wood.

By the time it reached six o’clock they had enough wood to light a huge fire, Mrs Macmillan had gone home because she had to go pick up Tim from his friends.

In the middle of the bonfire was Elizabeth’s old clothes.

“You kids ready?” asked Lyall beaming.

They both nodded.

“Stand back then,” he said pointing his wand at the wood and lighting the bonfire.

The wood started to burn, and the flames began to crackle.

“You want to start Cariad?”

“Um,” she muttered thinking for a moment.

“I hate never loved me as much as Dudley!” she said.

“Louder!” shouted Lyall.

“I hate how, you told me I was a freak!” she yelled.

“That’s it!” beamed Lyall.

“I hate how you hurt our little girl!” yelled Lyall.

“I hate how you never let her have any friends!” yelled Ernie.

“I hate how you told her Lily and James died in a car crash!” yelled Remus.

“You made me eat burnt toast!”

“That is a crime in itself,” said Ernie shaking his head, “no one should be made to eat burnt toast!”

“You treated me like a slave!” she yelled.

“You never said you loved me!”

“However hard I tried it just wasn’t good enough for you!”

“And you never let her eat ice cream!” added Ernie.

“Yeah,” agreed Lyall, “all kids should be allowed ice cream!”

After a while, they all stopped screaming and Ernie and Elizabeth danced around the fire as the sun set.

They headed inside for dinner at about half eight, Lyall had made hamburgers which were delicious.

They were just finishing dinner when Mr. Macmillan came bursting through the door.

“There something wrong Dad?” asked Ernie getting up from the table.

“No son everything’s fine,” he said.

Ernie sat back down again in relief.

“The Dursleys have just been arrested,” he beamed, “we gave the muggle police the evidence they needed, they don’t need to talk to Beth, they’ve already got enough evidence, those two aren’t going to see the light of day for a long time.”

“What about Dudley?” stammered Elizabeth.

“I think he’s staying at some Aunt’s.”

“Aunt Marge,” nodded Elizabeth, “Vernon’s sister.”

“You’re going to be ok now Beth,” said Remus pulling her in for a huge hug.

“I’ll come to pick you up in the morning ok Ernie?”

“Ok Dad,” beamed Ernie.

“I don’t think they’ll be getting much sleep,” said Mr Macmillan.

“Then why do they call it a sleepover?” asked Lyall.

Elizabeth dashed upstairs and took it in turns to change into their pajamas in the bathroom. Elizabeth pulled on a pair of new pajamas which were lilac and super soft.

Ernie and Elizabeth made a huge fort out of blankets and pillows and they stayed up all night telling stories, playing truth or dare. Guinevere was confused as to why they were up so late, but she ended up joining in the fun playing with them in the fort.

Neither of them slept a wink but the second that Ernie left the next day Elizabeth went straight up to bed and slept all day.

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