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Il Silenzio Delle Stelle Cadenti

By Erica Pacumbaba

Romance / Drama

The Queen of Ice

Fire. She was on fire. She could feel her skin burning and her blood boiling.

Why? She was screaming 'Why?' over and over, she knew. No one was answering and she felt the darkness crowding her vision. She could feel the restraints tying her down shaking and smacking against the table in her struggles.

"I should have let all of you rot! I should have let you all die!"

She screamed all sorts of condemnations, rage as fiery as the fire burning her consuming her.

She should have let their world burn in Hell.

A girl woke up in the early hours of morning, mouth opened in a silent scream and sweating as emerald eyes shot wide open in terror. She tiredly wiped a hand down her face, before covering her eyes and tried to catch her breath.

It was a typical morning in the Dursley household, with their unwanted outsider. All three Dursley family members slept on peacefully, while Henrietta "Harry" Potter got out of bed and morosely went to start on breakfast.

When they awoke not too long after, almost none of them greeted the quiet girl finishing up cooking. Dudley Dursley stared at his cousin for a moment, before passing by her and muttering a quiet "Good morning." She paused in her work, before ignoring him and going back to what she was doing.

After getting away with a small portion (they'd probably starve her completely, if they could), Harry started in on the dishes, again ignoring the others as Dudley sat in front of the TV, and his mother went into another room to call her "friends" and gossip, and Vernon Dursley went out the backyard and took a call on his cell phone.

He went back in soon after, all agitated, and immediately went to where Petunia Dursley gabbed away. Harry and Dudley glanced in that direction uneasily, before going back to their respective things. However, both Vernon and Petunia came back into the living room, with Vernon yelling for Harry to join them there. It was there that Vernon announced that his boss was having a business party. It had nothing to do with Harry really, so she didn't know why she had to be there.

And then Petunia and Vernon gave each other looks before purposely glaring at Harry.

Petunia pursed her lips. Vernon sighed. Dudley glanced between his parents.

Harry glanced at them before looking away.

"Well, if we don't bring her, she might…bring down the house," Petunia said disdainfully, revealing what their problem had been. "Especially after they said what she did…"

Harry willfully ignored them, letting their words wash over her.

"If we have no choice," Vernon sneered, his mustache quivering in irritation.

"Then it's settled," Dudley tried to smile cheerfully, and Harry looked his way, still bewildered over his recently nicer behavior. "We're all going to Dad's business party."

"She doesn't have anything to wear," Vernon mentioned, still upset at having to bring the girl.

Petunia sniffed. "She can just wear one of my old dresses."

"She'll look awful!" Vernon eyed the teenager. "It won't fit her and she'll embarrass us. I refuse to be embarrassed in front of my boss."

"Then we'll have to…buy her a new dress," Petunia scowled. "A good waste of money, that is."

Honestly, Harry didn't care anymore. She hadn't cared for a long time, and she just wanted to be left alone. Instead, she'd been dumped back on the Dursley's doorstep and isolated, kept "caged" like some kind of animal. Hidden away like some dirty secret…

Or contained like some kind of disease.

And after everything she'd done for everyone. Harry couldn't understand the way their minds worked, the way they could so callously flip on a whim. The Wizarding World had practically abandoned her after she had fulfilled her duty.

And for her efforts as well, she got a nice little extra from the Wizarding World…

"Come on, girl," Petunia snapped at her. "We're going now. Best to get it out of the way."

Harry nodded sharply at her aunt, and followed after her.

A long drive to London and a shopping district, and the two of them were in a stiff silence as they entered a store that looked fancy enough to have clothing wearable to the business party they were to attend.

"Look for the cheapest dress," Petunia glared at her. "I'll be next door, picking out new clothing for Dudley."

She left Harry alone to look lost in the store that she most certainly didn't look like she belonged to. Wearing an oversized shirt and baggy pants, she looked more like a homeless person than that she should be shopping there. Why on earth Petunia would drag her off to this store and leave her, much less make her look for a dress in this store, was beyond her.

Sighing, she began to walk around, wondering if the store personnel would get on her case and kick her out, or maybe even think she would steal something. Her eyes spotted a few dresses in the meanwhile, but a glance at their prices were too expensive, especially for Petunia's taste and especially because it was for Harry.

"I think that emerald dress would look lovely on you," a woman's voice said from behind her and she whirled around to see a tall red head, her hair in a unique style, and wearing a white dress-like uniform with black accents, a red R insignia on her left breast, and wearing gold earrings and heeled boots.

Red hair like her mother's…

Harry turned back around and saw the dress she was talking about. It had been one of the dresses she'd been looking at, but the price was obscene in her eyes. She strode back to it and picked the price tag with two fingers, dexterously twirling it upwards as she faced the gorgeous red head again. She shook it once to indicate the price and the woman laughed.

"Expensive then? Let me see," she strode over and took a look herself. "That's not bad."

Harry blinked. If that wasn't bad to her, what the hell kind of money did she have?

The woman whipped the dress off of the display and held it up to Harry. She gave an appraising eye of the dress against her, and Harry was suddenly feeling self-conscious.

"Beautiful ruched georgette style evening gown," she heard her murmur. "The one-shoulder neckline makes your chest pop, while hiding cleavage. The sweeping skirt falls down from a seamed waist, while the hem hits down to the feet. A nice touch of a slit down a side to reveal a thigh…the emerald color makes your eyes stand out. Halston Heritage –good brand. No, no, dear. This evening gown is perfect for you. You have to get this dress. It's even already in your size!"

Harry twitched and again, held up the price tag. The woman laughed.

"Alright then. I'll pay for it."

Harry blinked again and stared at her strangely, disbelieving about her sudden offer.

"All I'd like in return is for you to go shopping with me," she explained. "I dislike shopping, moreover shopping alone. It gets tedious and boring. Therefore, if you agree to look for dresses with me, I'll buy this. Deal?"

Harry frowned, glancing at the dress. It was a beautiful dress and she didn't have to pay anything, could probably even not be forced to rely on Petunia and her so-called "family's" money. Plus, she didn't have to go around looking for more dresses for herself. It wasn't like she really had a good eye on that kind of thing. She usually relied on Hermione for things like that –even she was better than Harry at fashion.

With a small nod, Harry agreed and the woman smiled like the cat who caught a mouse. She twitched at the analogy, warily watching the strange woman, who had the evening gown immediately boxed and paid for and had then come back to her, dragging her off to another section.

"I love the color purple," whoever this woman was spoke up. "Maybe a dark purple evening gown…"

The red head grabbed a few dark purple dresses and led Harry to the dressing room, proceeding to dress in the first one. For a few minutes, Harry merely frowned, shook her head, or made a face at the dresses the woman tried on. At one, a slight smile crossed Harry's lips and the other immediately noticed.

"Ah, this one is a good one then," the woman held it up to look at it fully. "It got you to smile, even if a little bit. It's the last one of the pile as well. I'll take this one then."

"Excuse me, but has this girl been bothering you?" Petunia's familiar voice was practically spitting acid, and Harry's face went back to its usual (these days at least) blank façade.

The woman somehow immediately changed, her friendly attitude becoming cold, even as she wore a sharp smile and evaluated Harry's aunt with a look that said she didn't think much of Petunia.

"Not at all. She was helping me find a dress," the woman drawled, barely hiding the condescending tone that Harry still caught.

Petunia huffed. "What good is she? She's mute. She can't offer you a single word. Come on, you," Petunia then directed towards Harry, who had become even more withdrawn. "Stop wasting time. You had better have found a cheap dress."

"Actually," the woman interjected again, even more steel lining her tone. "I've already bought her dress in exchange for her help. Thank you, dear, for helping me find this lovely dress," she told Harry.

Harry, as had become her usual response, nodded back to her and fluidly got up from the chair she'd been sitting on, while helping the woman find her dress. She accepted the box with her dress in it, and then Petunia was dragging her away before she could gesture a goodbye to the other, though she still felt the red head's gaze watching her.

Harry had never even gotten her name.

The night was starting to become a bore, even though it had only just started. Giovanni had no reason to complain already, considering this business party had only started a few minutes ago…but he was restless and couldn't see why Ariana couldn't have handled this on her own. She usually did anyway.

Regardless, he was there now. He had to at least pretend (for the moment anyway) to be polite, though even at least in the Regions, his more well-known acidic personality was well spread. Here was different, and he had to…play nice. Besides, non-pokémon business had much more impact and money coming in outside the Regions, though his successes and business was flourishing in both the outside world and the Regions almost equally. He had done well for himself for all these years.

"There you are," a certain red head strode over. "Are you going to amble around here or go out and mingle? I know I've seen more than a few women looking over and eying you."

Giovanni began tapping his thigh irritably, continuing to look around the room in boredom.

"I'm not in the mood to dally about with silly women," he scowled. He turned to her and assessed her attire. "Not bad, Ariana. I would have thought it would have taken you much longer than you had taken earlier to find a dress you liked."

Ariana frowned at him. "I had help. I found a cute girl wandering around lost in the store I was in, the thirteenth store I had been to that day. I got so fed up looking for a dress, I decided to go ahead and drag someone else to basically find one for me. She did do well, didn't she? I quite love this dress –and she was very thorough, I'd say. Wouldn't smile or go for any of the other dresses I'd picked out, until this one came up."

He raised an eyebrow at her. "A girl? Don't tell me you just randomly selected some girl to help you out."

She huffed at him. "Not quite. Yes, she was a stranger and there were plenty of others around I could have picked out to help me, but she has that lost, lonely quality. I saw some grumpy woman drop her off at the store, and the woman's looks reminded me of a Ponyta –and not in a good way. Horse-like features and bitchy attitude if I ever saw one."

He rolled his eyes at her. "Sounds like the usual type you like to score into the Team."

Ariana hmmed. "I suppose. Maybe a bit, though I don't think quite."

Giovanni eyed her seriously. "A potential recruit?"

The red head smirked at him. "Mm, perhaps…Although I wouldn't mind just kidnapping her and keeping her anyway."

The Italian Kantoan ignored his subordinate's behavior, quite used to Ariana's antics by now.

"I'm going to go around, try to see any potential business to make money off of, or anyone willing to invest in us. Try to have fun, won't you?" Ariana directed towards him wryly.

He easily dismissed her words, back to again scanning the room. She grumbled under her breath as she left him behind, and soon enough he was left alone again.

However, that wasn't for long, as the host of the business party was eagerly approaching him with a group of four. He inwardly sighed, but the host was one of his biggest business partners, despite only being a business that dealt with drills. Then again, with all the construction Team Rocket had to do, those drills ironically came in luck.

"Giovanni! Glad to see you here. I'd like you to meet some people, if you don't mind," the man had a wide smile as he finally reached Giovanni's side. "Vernon, this is Giovanni Rocketto, founder and owner of Gio Corp. Giovanni, I'd like you to meet Vernon Dursley, my best employee. This is his lovely wife, Petunia, and their son Dudley."

Giovanni saw Vernon, a man that reminded him of an oversized Seel, and easily identified the greedy glint in the man's beady eyes, having recognized Giovanni's business and therefore Giovanni himself.

So, a man who lusted after money and power, hm. He could certainly relate, as he inwardly sneered at the man.

He moved onto the wife and nearly cringed at her horse-like features, easily resembling a Ponyta. He idly wondered if this was the same woman Ariana had met in that store earlier. She could still look pretty, if it hadn't been for that horrible flower-print dress she was wearing and the pursed lips she sported, that made her look like she'd just bit into something sour.

The son, however, looked slightly overweight, but like he was trying to lose it and was working towards building muscle. Good. At least he wasn't going to mimic his father in size and rolls of fat.

"Ah, I almost forgot, with how quiet she's been and with her hiding a bit behind her cousin. This is Vernon's niece, Henrietta. Come on out, dear!"

"She prefers to be called Harry," the aunt bit out, and Giovanni quietly observed the venom in which the aunt directed towards her niece, though she tried to hide it.

He finally turned to look at the misbegotten niece, and uncharacteristically his breath caught in his throat.

The young girl was draped in a beautiful, flattering emerald dress, which was nowhere near the beauty of her green eyes. Green seemed too plain to describe them; their verdant color shone and reminded him of emeralds, more so because of how cutting they seemed –like real raw emeralds' sharp edges.

Raven locks were simply tossed over the shoulder that had the single strap from the dress, and tied loosely. The simple style didn't detract from her image, but merely accentuated it by hiding nothing and letting him see all. She even wore no makeup, but that only helped showcase her natural beauty and the fact that she didn't need anything to play it up or make her beautiful.

The only thing off, though it didn't make her ugly and only made her stand out more, were the intricate design of lines and whirls in faint silver down the right side of her body, from her face to the feet sticking out from under the hem of her dress.

The other thing he noticed was the cool look on her face, and the fact she didn't seem at all impressed with him. He wasn't at all happy about that –he'll just have to change her mind…

The girl, Harry (if the aunt was to believe), gave him another look before giving him a nod and not acknowledging him any further, aside from a cool look that moved from him to gaze to the side. There was a strange edge of sadness to her gaze.

"Pleased to meet you," Giovanni murmured, though his gaze didn't move away from the girl. And the statement was true –at least for the girl. He was quite insincere about it, regarding the rest of the family.

He turned to look back to his business partner, faking a smile.

"I'm sorry, but you've caught me at a bad time. My assistant, Ariana, had just informed me that there was a call I needed to make. Perhaps we can talk more later? Addio, tutti,"he gave them all one last nod before he turned on his heel and began walking away.

"Giovanni's part Italian, as you could hear," his business partner continued to gush in his absence. "I'm sure it makes him quite popular with the ladies."

He turned slightly to look at the girl in the peripherals of his gaze as he walked away, hoping she was watching him, but she continued to look off to wherever or whatever had captured her attention.

His lips slightly turned down. No matter. He'll just have to corner her later, having successfully just escaped from the others and deciding that he really should make a call back to base and check up with Archer. His second in command had been due to report to him before the business party had started, but had missed the appointed time.

To his luck, he saw the girl lounging by herself near the refreshments later on, after his call. With a smirk gracing his lips, he walked over to her casually, catching her attention when he was near enough.

"Ciao, Henrietta, was it?" he smoothed his lips into a friendly smile.

She looked at him closely, sharp eyes still haunted by a hollow look.

"Or do you prefer Harry?" he asked, making sure and not going by the aunt's words. He wouldn't take anything from that woman seriously.

She continued to look at him intensely, before giving a small nod in answer.

"Harry then," he grabbed a seat and placed it by her, though it faced the other side. He sat right next to her, though with their chairs facing opposite sides, they ended up facing oppositely away from each other as well. Perfect. He would be close, but not seemingly too in her space (though that was more or less an illusion), and it would also seem that way to others looking in their direction.

Their shoulders brushed as he turned slightly towards her.

Giovanni handed her the drink in his hand, champagne filled to the brim.

"Here, for you, mia stella," he murmured, watching as she hesitantly reached towards him to take it, her slender fingers elegantly wrapping around the stem of the glass. He watched the action closely, before he turned to look at her with hooded eyes. "Tell me, Harry, how such a beautiful girl such as you could ever be related to a bunch of animals, such as your relatives."

He reached for a strand of hair loose from her tie, and twirled it around idly.

"You are such a rare, precious gem," he leaned slightly and whispered into her ear, his lips practically brushing against it with each word he spoke.

He could easily see her tensing up, from the way her shoulder moved, his gaze directed there as he hadn't moved too far away from her ear.

Suddenly, she stood up and he found the glass of champagne neatly being placed in his hand (the same hand that had been playing with her hair) before he had time to react. He looked up and saw her frowning slightly, face otherwise quite blank and eyes like ice. And then she was moving away, easily walking away from him.

"Well…that went quite well," he murmured, but he was still smiling slightly, watching her retreating away from him.

He spent the rest of the time at the business party, charming his way through the group of people, no doubt earning a profit in the future. Near the end of the party, his luck returned again and he spotted Harry keeping to herself, near the entrance of the large banquet hall. His smile returned to him and he set off, easily navigating himself closer to her.

Without her noticing, he snuck up behind her and weaved an arm around her waist and another across her torso, pulling her further into the shadows, hidden in the corner and behind some curtains and darkness.

"I'll let you escape from me this time, mia stella, but next time I expect to keep you all to myself," he practically purred into her ear, feeling her heart beat rapidly against his wrist, and her chest heaving against his arms.

He leaned his head down and placed his lips against her bared shoulder, kissing it gently.

He finally let her go after a moment and she whirled around to face him, eyes wide and watching him warily. Hm, not complete ice then.

"Until next time," he smirked at her, and then moved around her and was the one walking away this time.

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