The Lamb's Silence
Harry waited for the other to respond, and soon enough the handheld mirror in her hand glowed and she saw Hermione's reflection instead of her own. Hermione, instead of talking, began to use sign language to communicate to her, and Harry began to respond. Hermione, loyal and sweet, had taught Harry to use sign language when Harry became mute and finally been let go from her confines.
That was despite, now and even when it first was announced, Harry having been forbidden contact with anyone or anything of the Wizarding World.
Ron and Hermione were the only ones who illegally attempted to do so, and they mainly stuck to the handheld communication mirrors her godfather had given her. They've learned to not speak to Harry, but aside from Hermione helping her to get used to and practice signing, it was because they didn't dare speak Harry's name. They didn't want to leave any chance to indicate they were in contact with her at all or have anyone find out that they were, possibly stopping communication and further causing problems for Harry.
After awhile of 'speaking' with Hermione, Ron took over and Harry got out the whiteboard she'd managed to find from Dudley's old pile of junk and that she'd stolen for herself. Ron, likewise, began writing on parchment and then held it up to his mirror for her to read. She responded on her whiteboard. And so on, this continued.
Ron was still learning to use sign language, but it was harder for him and it was taking longer for him to learn. She appreciated that he was trying though, and she was grateful that he was doing his best just so he could communicate more easily with her.
Aside from the loss of her magic, losing her voice was one of the worse things. It made it harder for her to connect and reach out to others, and left her silent and alone.
They took as long as they could, until both Ron and Hermione had to go before it became too suspicious and even lead to someone checking up on them. When they were gone and Harry was left alone again, she just held the mirror limply and stared at her reflection morosely. She lifted a finger slowly and began to trace the lines on her face on her reflection.
Fire! Fire was everywhere! She was burning!
Her hand clenched around the mirror tightly, but she forced her grip to relax so that she wouldn't end up breaking the mirror.
She banished those images and thoughts to the recesses of her mind, and instead thought of the man from the night before. She didn't know why. It wasn't like she was going to see him again. But he was strange, and the way he acted with her caught her off guard and made her uneasy. She also had to admit to several facts too.
Severus Snape had not managed to teach her good enough Occlumency before, enough for her to block her mind and safeguard it…but he had managed to teach her to lock down her emotions, using Occlumency. It had been a useful method for her to use, mostly as a coping method, though she agreed with Hermione (even if she ignored the warning) that it was an unhealthy method, especially with how frequent Harry turned to it. Further, after the Wizarding World had turned on her and what had happened, along with everything else they did to her, somehow her 'coping method' had switched to an almost always 'on' period.
Ever since her "containment" and then banishment, she'd been cursed with her emotions constantly being in a muted state. She couldn't fully experience emotion anymore, but oppositely she was still able to completely "cut off" her emotions, like she used to.
But Giovanni Rocketto unnerved her. He made her hair stand on end, her heart race frantically, and cause her to react and to lose the self-composure that had been unbreakable for the longest time. And with barely any effort!
That man made her instinctively act, to even lose control. She felt, and easily at that! Without wanting to feel or the ability to stop herself from feeling, she felt and it was because of him…
She wasn't sure whether or not she was happy about this new development.
After all, she had finally gotten used to her emotions being so muted, and the muted emotions allowed her to not experience the full intensity of the more passionate emotions she knew dwindled inside. Especially the rage…
She curled up on her bed and glared at her wall.
Who was that man really?
There was a knock on the door that broke her out of her musings, and she stared at it dully. What? Did they expect her to say 'Come in'? She rolled her eyes.
It opened not too long after that, and she kept her face emotionless as she saw Rufus Fudge, nephew to Minister Cornelius Fudge, enter her room. He smiled hesitantly at her.
"Hello, Harry. Ready to go?"
Ah, it was that time again, was it?
She got up gracefully and walked over to him, looking at him (though it felt more like she was looking through him, in his opinion). He took out the magical binding cuffs they had given him, and reluctantly placed it around her wrists. Not that it was needed –he knew they had already somehow locked away her magic, so that she couldn't perform any spells or whatnot. However, he also knew that more latent magic was accessible to her. She could use her Occlumency, her innate magic's focus on healing her and keeping her healthy, and accidental magic was theorized to be possible for her.
"We'll be going now," he murmured, pulling out his private portkey.
Instantly, they had traveled and appeared already inside of the Ministry building, outside of the Unforgivables headquarters.
"Good timing, Fudge," Malcolm Walters smiled congenially at him, and he instinctively brought Harry closer to him as he watched the researcher warily. "Hand over the specimen, won't you?"
He pursed his lips at the man's address of the girl in his hands, but he had to transfer her over.
"Follow us and then wait outside the room, while we perform the tests," Malcolm told him and he gave a sharp nod at the other.
He exchanged one last glance with Harry, who looked back at him with an unfathomable gaze. Then they dulled over and he knew that she had probably shut down her emotions. His lips quirked up sadly and then she was disappearing through the door with the researcher.
She knew Rufus Fudge actually cared about her and felt sorry for her. He hated his new assignment, having been assigned to her from the moment she'd been released at the end of her last day in that "prison." What clumsily learned Legilimency she'd managed to learn on her own had told her all of that.
It didn't change that she was still being brought to this place.
"Strip," Malcolm ordered her, turning to activate the runes in the room. "Sit on the table when you're done."
She did as ordered, blankly watching the room light up with a blue glow from the etched runes, the lines starting from the middle where the table was, and then stretching out to reach through the rest of the room. They were similar, but more rugged than the lines engraved on her skin.
"Specimen's name is Henrietta Jamie Potter. Subject is currently 17 years old."
Harry closed her eyes and focused on magic she knew was inside of her, but she couldn't reach. It was like barely just out of reach of her fingers. If only she could just stretch a little more…
"The specimen defeated the Dark Lord at 15, in her fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. Immediately after –"
She tensed up as she felt one of Malcolm's long fingers gently touch her back, just under the nape of her neck and slightly above the middle of her shoulder blades.
"The mark of the Deathly Hallows, the same mark Gellert Grindelwald stole for his own purposes during the First Wizarding War, appeared on the skin of the specimen. Subject began to show no signs of aging or ability to catch illness, and the mark was discovered."
Replacing his finger, she felt the sharp and cold feel of steel against her skin.
"The rules of ownership of the Hallows were discovered, and mastery over them gained one the title of Master of Death. Possession of all three Hallows proved to not be enough, but mastery over them and their acceptance of you was. The Cloak has been in the Potter family's possession and ownership for centuries, probably from the moment it was created, since their ancestor proved to be the Peverell brother who requested it from Death.
"The Elder Wand has been in the possession of Albus Dumbledore since his acquisition of it. However, the subject acquired it by accidentally disarming Dumbledore and ownership was switched. Despite owning it, subject continued to allow Dumbledore possession and usage of it, until the Final Battle where its sentience caused it to appear by her side to be used. The Resurrection Stone was repossessed from the Gaunt Estate and in the possession of many hands, but never owned. At the acceptance of her death, the subject was in possession of it and it allowed her to own and subsequently master it. Having had possession of each Hallow at one point, and having then owned them all and earned mastery of them, the subject currently holds the title of 'Master of Death.'"
By then, Harry could feel the blood dripping in rivulets down her back, but she had numbed herself enough that the pain was passable. She wondered if he was hoping to experiment with combining runic and blood magic that day…
"The specimen seems nigh immortal and un-aging. It is not known if it is temporary or truly forever. Nothing as of yet seems capable of killing her either. Nor does the title Master of Death seem capable of being transferred from her, or taken."
They deemed her dangerous after she had defeated Voldemort and revealed to possess the Hallows, who had attached themselves to her. When it was proclaimed she was the Master of Death, they took her magic away from her, locked her up in this place and wrote the runes into her skin with magic itself. Branding her skin in silver-ish magical bindings, curiously and experimentally rewriting the runes onto her skin, seeing what she could take and what capabilities her new title granted her.
For a year after the Final Battle, she was held captive, experimented on, and locked away from the rest of the world. She was dangerous. A powerful sorceress who had just defeated the Dark Lord, and now was declared Master of Death and seemingly immortal. Of course she had to be stopped before she could become something beyond their capabilities to stop.
The Immortal Sorceress, she heard was what they called her now.
And if they took liberties in "protecting" the public and keeping her away, then no one had to know and they should be praised anyway. They could, with her abilities, find a way to prolong life, fight illness, become immortal. They couldn't take her immortality from her, like they originally tried (and hoped to keep for themselves), but they could try to find the secrets of immortality from her. And because she couldn't die, they could experiment all they want on her for other purposes, and not worry about her death.
"Even with the specimen's original extraordinary healing abilities, with the gain of the Hallows, her healing rate has risen exponentially."
Harry lifted her head and gazed blankly at the ceiling as Malcolm plunged the scalpel into her back and twisted.
This couldn't be what she was doomed to for the rest of her life. Damn it, she couldn't be damned to this for eternity!
She cursed them all over and over in her head, and hoped Magic heard her pleas.
Giovanni stood by his window, gazing out over the city of London. The frameless window wall allowed him to oversee the city lit up and still moving along, despite the late hour. Quietly, he swished the alcoholic drink around in his tumbler, the clink of the ice against the glass the only noise in the room. His other hand was in his pocket, fingering the shrunken down pokéball thoughtfully.
He turned his head. "Ariana," he nodded slightly at her. "What is it?"
"The JJM unit called collect. I believe they wanted to report that they failed in catching Ash Ketchum's Pikachu, but that they'll try harder next time," she refrained from smiling.
Giovanni sighed. "Again?" Although, he wasn't sure whether he was referring to them failing in catching that Pikachu they were adamant in catching for him…or that they were again calling collect. Still, despite being idiots, they could be useful and they did do well for him in Unova. And if he was honest, he was rather fond of them. Not that he'd ever tell those three that.
"Is something wrong, Giovanni?" Ariana's voice only revealed the slightest tinge of worry.
Giovanni swished his drink again. "Are there anymore business parties being held, especially involving Grunning's?"
Arianna blinked in surprise. "No, I don't believe so."
"Hm…when was the last time we hosted a business party ourselves?" he mused, and she was further surprised, especially with Giovanni's disdain of attending the last business party.
"I'm not sure," she said at last.
"Start organizing one for…this weekend. Yes, that should do. It's not too close to the last business party that it would look like we're taking the spotlight, but close enough that we can use it to look as a repayment business party in goodwill to Mr. Grunning."
Ariana voiced her agreement, hiding her continued surprise. She hesitated, but decided it wouldn't hurt to ask.
"Is there a reason why you want to do all this, Giovanni? I know you don't really care for these things," Ariana chanced her luck.
Giovanni hmmed. "There was a girl."
Her surprise was further pushed to the limit. "A-a girl?" She suddenly laughed. "Didn't you say you didn't want to 'dally about with silly women' back at that party? What changed?"
He scowled at her. "I wasn't dallying about, and she is most certainly not silly. Nor is she one of those frivolous and annoying women gaggling about the party, or anywhere near like them."
Her eyes lit up. This was a goldmine. One, it's been awhile since her boss had entertained any sort of interest in a woman, much less had been with one. There was also that Giovanni seemed to be actively pursuing this girl, which was unlike him. Not that he usually even needed to expend energy to get a woman to be with him; that he was arranging things so that he could meet her again…
And the way he defended and talked about her! My, oh, my, she must be something special. But if he was trying to meet with her again, then that meant he had met with failure the first time…or that he truly wanted to see her again, which was again unlike him. Or even that it was for both of those reasons, which made it even more than remarkable.
Giovanni also unusually referred to the mysterious female as a 'girl' as opposed to a 'woman.' She didn't want to seem picky about words, but…
"How old is she?" she caught him off guard.
He frowned. "…Young, I suppose. Perhaps late teens. She could pass by early twenties, especially dressed up as she was. I don't know for sure. I hadn't asked, and I was more preoccupied by other things."
She briefly frowned as well at the information that the girl could be young, but then easily brushed it off. They were basically criminals and were in illegal business –what was another law to break? That was if she was underage. She could be straddling the line, or even just look young.
"But tell me more!" she grinned widely, switching gears and leaning against the window casually, right next to him. "What's her name? What does she look like? Come on, give me some more details! Tell me you're finding out more about her."
Giovanni strangely answered her for once. How unusual. This girl must be unique and Ariana was all the more intrigued by her. She made Giovanni act all out of sorts, and Ariana loved it. He probably didn't even know he was.
"Her name is Henrietta," he revealed. "She prefers Harry. She's young, like I said. Dark-haired, petite. Verdant eyes –" This amused and surprised her; such poetic description, a rather choice and specific word for her eyes, and to use that instead of a simple green… "Horrid relatives. And yes, I've already had Archer go on and do a background check on her, so that I can have all the info I need."
Ariana suddenly had a very wicked grin that Giovanni glared at.
"Don't pester Archer for information about her," Giovanni practically ordered. "Now get started on that business party."
"Of course, Giovanni," but it seemed too easy to him, that she easily backed off. "I'll take care of things."
As she left, Giovanni exasperatedly thought that he'd have to keep an eye on her. If there was one thing he knew for certain, it was that Ariana tended to get overzealous on things that interested her.
There was a knock on his door and he ordered them in, growing more interested when he saw it was Archer who had entered. As always, his loyal second wore his white uniform crisp and stood straight, his posture proper like the blue-haired man preferred. Even Giovanni tended to slouch more often than his subordinate.
"I have the information you wanted, Giovanni," Archer informed him respectfully.
He raised an eyebrow. "Already?"
"Truthfully, there wasn't much information to come by."
Now that raised both of his eyebrows. But it was intriguing and unusual news.
"Go on," Giovanni prompted the other.
"Henrietta Jamie Potter, born July 31st in 1980," So she was seventeen then. Not quite legal, but a few months and that wouldn't be the case. "Born to Lily Marianna Potter neé Evans, and James Dorian Potter. Parents died young, at the age of 21, in a suspicious gas explosion in the house, orphaning her at age 1. She was then given over to the next of kin, Petunia Teresa Dursley, married to Vernon Hobart Dursley. She lived with them, and her cousin Dudley Hammond Dursley, since then and currently still does."
The news about living with her current family, Giovanni was aware of. He'd noted how she was with her aunt and the rest of the family, all of whom seemed to detest her –he found it odd that she had been with them and wondered about the parents and had suspected something of this. He hadn't expected just how long she'd been with them however. It was also unexpected how young the parents were when they died, and how young they must've been when they had her. He also took note about the gas explosion and that it was being described as "suspicious."
"Her current residence is Number 4, Privet Drive, Surrey," Giovanni smirked at that. That was definitely useful information, and one he definitely planned on exploiting. Frequently, might he add, and as soon as possible. "She attended public schooling in the area until the age of 11, whereupon she attended her parents' alma mater from then to her fifth year, upon which reports say she returned a year after she stopped her schooling and was reported to have suffered some sort of trauma. She is currently not in school and remains at the Dursley household. There are no other records on her –she has no medical records, nothing on schooling after she turned 11 and began to attend that private school, or anything else. She seemingly drops off the radar."
Giovanni's interest was peaked even more. It seemed his little emerald was even more mysterious than he'd pegged her for. He did, however, frown at the report that she had suffered some kind of trauma.
He saw his second in command hesitate. "What is it?"
Archer shifted uncomfortably. "I…had further trouble getting information on her, despite how I was able to pull up anything at all and how quickly it seemed. I don't believe it is a largely known fact that Henrietta attended a private school; around the neighborhood, I gathered that they believe she is some sort of criminal and hooligan, and attends a school called St. Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Children."
Giovanni was split between amusement and outrage. Amused that anyone could actually see Harry as that, or believe those lies, and outraged that those views were spread and accepted about her.
"I managed to attain a source that supplied me with the information that I was otherwise unable to get through normal means, especially with the lack of records on her. She was an old babysitter of Henrietta's –an Arabella Figg. She also informed me about the rumored trauma and the discrepancy of Henrietta's return from her last attending school year to coming back to the Dursley household."
He was seeing a lot of discrepancies and missing information. But he had a feeling that he would find it all out soon, and that he would certainly be informed by Harry herself.
"I see. Continue to find out what you can, although it won't matter too much if you can't. I believe she'll tell me in the end. Do prepare a passport for her though," Giovanni then turned back to gaze through his window, swirling his drink much more rhythmically, while wearing a slight grin on his face.
Archer observed his boss quietly. "Sir, do you intend on taking her from here?"
"Take her? Not at all," he began to wear a full-blown smirk. "Before long, I will have her coming willingly with me."
Archer tilted his head to the side curiously. That Giovanni cared to have her come willingly caught him off guard. And the use of 'with' rather than saying 'to' Giovanni implied a level of equality that he saw the other with, which was unlike his boss.
"Shall I assume we are bringing her with us then?" he asked softly.
"Of course," Giovanni answered with a certain tone. "Though, if she isn't willing, I suppose I'll have to just take her anyway. She'll realize it'll be fine in the end."
Ah, there was classic Giovanni.
Giovanni then knocked back a large gulp of his drink.
"Harry, mia stella, come to me. There is only so long I can keep myself waiting patiently," Giovanni murmured.
"I've news!" Vernon announced at lunchtime, having come early from work. "Mr. Grunning informed me that we are invited to another business party. Apparently, the owner of Gio Corp. is hosting a business party in return for Mr. Grunning's good will, and Mr. Rocketto even specifically requested to Mr. Grunning that we were to be invited. We must have caught his eye!"
He seemed exceedingly proud and excited about this, and Harry hid her roll of eyes.
"It's a masquerade ball, so we have to wear masks. But Mr. Rocketto was kind enough to send us a box of masks we could use!" Vernon seemed to be in high heaven that he and his family were being treated with so much favor and especially from someone so powerful.
"What about Harry?" Dudley asked suddenly, and everyone turned to him in surprise. Harry furrowed her eyebrows as well, wondering what he was getting at and why he had to bring her up at all.
Vernon's mustache twitched. "Well…It was requested that all of us go…even the girl."
Harry was taken aback by that, and became wary also.
Petunia huffed, but that news didn't bring her down. "It doesn't really matter. But, oh Vernon! Since the girl didn't waste money buying a dress, couldn't I use that money to buy a new dress for myself to wear?"
"Of course, dear."
Harry mentally gagged, while silently traversing over to the box of masks Vernon had brought over. She waited as the others grabbed theirs and looked down to see the last mask in the box, a rich jade color, with a black feathery outline.
Why did she have the feeling that man intentionally chose that one for her?
The masquerade ball was already under way when they arrived, and she was quick to split away from the Dursley's and hide in a corner. She let them leave her behind, while she quietly kept to herself and tried to blend into the shadows.
"Why did I figure you'd be here?" a smooth, slightly accented voice spoke to her side, and she saw a tall man in a suit as black as night coming towards her, dark hair slicked back and wearing an amused smirk as he strode over to her. His mask was black as well, though the lighting of the banquet hall showed the red highlights.
She knew who he was immediately.
She nodded her head at him in acknowledgement, slightly tensing as he slid into place beside her. Both of them stared at the crowd of people dancing on the dance floor. She noted the bigger hall and the more extravagant decorations, as well as the more expensive taste clearly being shown, as compared to the last business party.
"There's a quote I remember," he suddenly murmured, leaning into her space and an arm moving around her, bringing her close and then plastering her against his front without warning, as he turned to her as well. "Large parties tend to be so much more intimate."
He pressed her back against the wall and further pushed against her, leaving no space between them at all. She hadn't even had time to put her hands or arms in between them, to try to push him away or put any semblance of space between them. Without any other option, she just looked at his face, staring passed his mask and into his dark onyx eyes.
"Prying eyes won't pay any attention to us here, nor would they recognize us," he continued to murmur into her ear, much too close for her to be comfortable.
Unable to escape from his hold or push passed his more physically built body, she just glared up at him resolutely, pressing her lips into a thin line. But then he was moving away and peeling her away from the wall, still holding her somewhat close to him.
"A dance," he declared quietly. "A dance is all I ask."
And he then further separated from her and held out a hand. She glanced at it hesitantly and then to the dance floor, and then looked back to his expectant face. She placed her hand in his, and his much larger one closed around hers. He pulled her close again, and she could feel his arms wrap around her, the warmth of his body reaching her. It was a pleasant warmth and she wasn't reminded of flames and burning skin.
She gently laid her hands against his chest and then, after a moment, laid her head against it as well. They danced slowly in the corner of the large hall awhile, separated from all the rest, until she was content enough that she said nothing of when he finally whisked her off to the dance floor, and danced amongst the others, anonymously and unrecognizably.
Harry hadn't realized how and when she'd gotten caught in his web.