To all who passed Eliza Potter in the street she appeared to be a normal 10 year old girl, a little small for her age, a little pale but essentially a healthy 10 year old. To her Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon she was a nuisance, an inconvenience, an abnormal irritant.
Eliza knew this, and so did her twin brother, Harry. Elizabeth Potter and her brother had come to live at the Dursley's many years ago, before they could remember. Their parents had died in a car crash when Eliza and Harry were babies and had "left their awful children and in the hands of their hard working relatives", as Aunt Petunia had said many times before. Aunt Petunia was Eliza and Harry's mother's sister, but there was no pretending that the sisters had ever got along. As far as Eliza knew the sisters had not spoken to each other for years before Lily Potter's death.
The Dursley's and the Potter children lived together in a respectable neighbourhood in Surrey. The Dursley's also had a son, who was also 10, named Dudley. Dudley had any toy or game or snack food that he wanted, Eliza and Harry did not. Harry lived in the smallest bedroom of the house, whilst Eliza lived in the cupboard under the stairs, she didn't mind this much, Eliza was small for her age and the cupboard was her personal space.
Eliza awoke on the morning of the last day of the summer term to the sound of Dudley running down the stairs, she was sure he did this just to annoy her. Eliza sat up slowly and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes; the last day of primary school had finally arrived. She dressed quickly and then went to join the rest of the household in the kitchen, Harry wished her "Good morning" to which she smiled in reply, that was about as much as Eliza ever responded to people. Very occasionally she would say something important to Harry, not that such an urgent occasion had occurred for a while, but never a word to anyone else that was just the way she was.
Breakfast was a relatively uneventful affair, with the slight exception of Dudley teasing Harry and Eliza about the fact that he was going to a private school next year and that they were not, over time the teasing had lost its effect but witless Dudley did not seem to notice. The three children left the house together and then Dudley ran about a hundred metres ahead, quite a feat considering his size, to put some distance between them. Harry turned to Eliza.
"Last day, Eliza!" He exclaimed with a wide smile, she nodded and smiled and they then continued the short walk to school in silence.
The school day was long and eventful, Harry got into trouble for turning their teachers wig blue (Eliza found it very unfair there was no way Harry could have done it, perhaps the teacher had used a strange dye which reacted with the school lights?) and some girls pushed Eliza over in the playground and caused her to graze her knee. The other schoolchildren loved to tease Harry and Eliza because it made Dudley, who was very popular, think that they were cool. It was with no sense of loss when the twins walked back to the house after leaving the school; in fact Harry was positively elated.
The next few weeks passed slowly and rather uneventfully with the exception of the trip to the zoo which had caused both Harry and Eliza to be locked in their rooms for days due to a confusing incident involving a snake and Dudley. One morning in late July something very unusual occurred, Harry and Eliza both got a letter. Harry bought them into the kitchen during breakfast and passed Eliza's envelope across to her without tearing his eyes off his own. She took it with a confused expression, but there was no mistaking the intended recipient;
Miss Elizabeth Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
The uproar that followed the arrival of the letters was unlike any Eliza had ever experienced. Uncle Vernon leapt up from the table and ripped the letters out of the twin's hands and ordered them to their room/cupboard with a purple, rage filled expression on his face, Eliza didn't even think to disobey. Harry however clearly had.
"I WANT MY LETTER!" He shouted over Dudley's demands to read the letters,
"OUT!" Vernon roared chasing all three children from the room.
Over the next few days Eliza tried to put the letters out of her mind, it would have been easier, she thought, if they would have stopped arriving. Letters continued to arrive throughout the next few days in their hundreds, the reaction that followed caused Eliza to dread breakfast time. Harry had tried many attempts to retrieve the letters but none had been successful.
On Sunday morning, four days after the letters had begun to arrive, Uncle Vernon had reached the end of his tether and ended up ordering the family to pack some of their belongings and be ready to leave in thirty minutes. Eliza packed a change of clothes and waited nervously by the door.
They drove for miles, Dudley was not impressed. They stayed at a hotel and then when letters arrived there too, an irate Vernon bundled them back in the car and drove them to the coast. This led Eliza to her current predicament; she was curled up on the floor of what could only be described as a shed on a rock in the middle of the sea, watching Harry trace two birthday cakes in the dust on the floor.
This had been a tradition for the twins since they were 5, their birthdays had never been acknowledged events in the Dursley's house, they only found out when they started school when their birthday even was. After that they always kept track of the dates and Eliza would draw or make some physical image of two birthday cakes and they would both blow them together and each make a wish. Harry looked up at Eliza and whispered quietly so that the sleeping Dursley's wouldn't hear.
"Are you ready?" She nodded and pulled herself into the sitting position and wrapped her blanket around them both still thinking hard, what was she going to wish for? A new colouring book? Should it be something big like a new home for both Harry and her? Eliza was still thinking hard when Harry counted down.
A new family for her and Harry?
Eliza jumped and started in shock as the door of the tiny shed came crashing down and a huge giant of a man walked in. Harry pulled her out of the way, ruining the birthday cake pictures in the process. Dudley screamed and ran behind his parents, who had ran in but were now paralysed by fear, Vernon holding a pistol and pointing it at the man.
"Couldn't make us a cup o' tea could yeh? It's not been an easy journey..." Said the giant, closing the door behind him and muffling the sound of the storm.
The voice was gentler than Eliza and been expecting and in spite of herself, she relaxed slightly. The giant looked around and smiled and the twins.
"And here are the young Potter's, small aren't yeh? I suppose your parents were small when they arrived at Hog..."
"STOP RIGHT THERE! I DEMAND THAT YOU DO NOT TELL THEM ANY MORE! I AM ARMED YOU KNOW?" Yelled Uncle Vernon waving a shotgun in the air, Harry gripped Eliza's arm a little tighter.
The giant walked over to Uncle Vernon and tied the shotgun in a knot, the latter whimpered. The giant then turned back to Harry and Eliza and smiled again.
"Anyway you two, Happy Birthday! I've got a cake for you here, might have sat on it, but I'm sure it will taste fine." He reached inside his huge overcoat and pulled out a box, placed it on the table and opened it to reveal a large cake with green icing and brown letters that read 'Happee Birthday!"
Harry and Eliza stared at it slightly taken aback, so apparently the giant was not here to eat them, Eliza felt Harry's grip loosen. She didn't know what Harry meant to say but she felt it wasn't what he did say, which was;
"Who are you?" The giant chuckled.
"So sorry, forgot to introduce myself. My name is Rubeus Hagrid and I'm the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts." He then sat down heavily on the sofa that Dudley had vacated and looked up at the quivering Dursley's
"Any tea then?" When they didn't reply he shrugged and set about making what appeared to Eliza to be a small picnic. He lit a fire and began to cook what smelled like the most amazing sausages in the world. Dudley whimpered.
"Don't touch anything he gives you, Dudley!" Said Vernon, pulling Dudley back further.
Hagrid passed Eliza and Harry a sausage and they looked at each other before taking them. Eliza took a small bite and felt warmth spread throughout her whole body, she hadn't been wrong about the sausages, they were delicious. Harry sat down next to Eliza and she sat down as well, perched on her knees so that she could get up quickly if the situation turned.
"I'm sorry," said Harry bravely, "but I still don't really know who you are?"
"I told you, I'm Hagrid and I work at Hogwarts."
"What's Hogwarts?" Asked Harry, confused.
"What's Hogwarts?" Hagrid paled as he repeated Harry's question and then he turned to the adults and he face became quite angry.
"DURSLEY! Have you not told them about Hogwarts? Didn't they ever wonder where their parents learnt it all?"
"Learnt what?" Harry asked, looking between the adults. Eliza looked over at her Aunt and realised that she had never seen her so terrified.
Hagrid jumped up so fast that Aunt Petunia screamed.
"ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT YOU HAVEN'T TOLD THEM ANYTHING? ABOUT ANYTHING!" He roared at Vernon and Petunia,
Uncle Vernon seemed to be struggling with speech and began to mumble "...didn't need to know... not normal ...we raised them... ungrateful..."
"Ah go boil your heads, the pair of you!" Hagrid then turned back to the twins and took a moment to compose him.
"Harry, Elizabeth, you're a wizard and witch."
"We're what?" Harry replied whilst Eliza simply stared.
"Here, why don't you read yer letters?" Hagrid reached into his overcoat again and pulled out two creased letters. They took them and both read in silence. Certain words seemed to stick out to Eliza; Witchcraft, Wizardry, owl. Many questions seemed to form in Eliza's mind, questions she hoped Harry would ask.
"What does it mean, they await my owl?" Harry asked, that didn't seem to be the most pressing question to Eliza but nevertheless it caused Hagrid to pull a tiny owl out of his ever providing overcoat and attach a hastily scribbled note to someone called Dumbledore to its leg before throwing it out the window. Eliza hoped the tiny owl would be alright, the weather was still atrocious.
Then followed one of the most bizarre conversations that Eliza had ever witnessed, it involved arguments with the Dursley's (who were apparently called Muggles), screams from Aunt Petunia about how much she hated her 'freak' of a sister and a story about an evil wizard known as Voldemort who had murdered Eliza's parents (they had not died in a car crash).
At the end of the lengthy conversation it was decided that Harry and Eliza were to attend a school called Hogwarts, where they would learn magic. After the Dursley's had departed into the other room Hagrid turned to Eliza.
"Not a chatty one are you, Elizabeth? You could rarely keep your mother quiet!"
"Eliza doesn't talk." Harry supplied dutifully.
"Eliza, is it? Doesn't talk? Oh well I'm sure you'll start at Hogwarts, it's the best place in the world." Hagrid said smiling, but with the trace of confusion and pity that people often looked at Eliza with.
"Best get some sleep you two, we'll get yer school stuff tomorrow." With that so ended one of the strangest and yet most exciting nights of Eliza's life. She drifted to sleep with hopes and fears of what was to come, and also the promise of escape from the Dursleys. There was a small smile on her face.
A/N There won't be massive changes in the rewrites but after re-reading I was so ashamed by some of my writing that I'm amazed any of you managed to battle through it!