Harry couldn't stay there long, running off to her room not too long after the reveal. She locked herself in there and stared at the door, waiting for him to come after her and demand she leave immediately. She wasn't sure what to do next, or what he would do. Would he get upset that she hadn't outright told him about her lack of voice? Or would he finally be bored of her, now that he knew why she wasn't speaking to him, and that she hadn't been purposefully refusing to speak to him? That there was no challenge, no purpose in him continuing his chase and pursuing her. It was game over.
Honestly, she expected to be kicked out.
But he hadn't followed her. She didn't know whether that was a good or bad thing, but she wasn't holding high hopes. She fully expected his reaction to be negative, and that she would be dumped back at the Dursleys and never see him again. And for some reason that caused her to balk; she shouldn't be so surprised though. Giovanni had been the first and only real connection in a long time, and she hadn't really interacted with anyone for the longest time either. Or interacted with anyone like in the way she had with him. Ever actually, now that she thought about it.
That brought her thoughts to a halt. She hadn't realized how depended she had gotten on his company, and so quickly. She had only known him for a short time after all, but after everything and her lack of connection or even just communication with anyone, she shouldn't be so caught off guard that she'd unintentionally latched onto him so fast or so much. And the fact was, for some reason he was the only one who really brought her muted emotions out in the first place. She couldn't even fathom why that was.
She felt as if she was too unsure of everything, and she wasn't sure if she liked this unsteady, helpless feeling. A nagging voice in her head told her she was too afraid and needed to let go.
But then again, she wasn't the only person to make those decisions around here, and she had to wait and see what Giovanni's response would be.
Except he was just as upset and unsteadied as she was, though not for the reasons she had been thinking of. The truth was, he had been caught off guard by the revelation of her muteness, but thought he should have thought of it before now.
He should have figured it out.
He felt stupid, having not figured it out for himself. In hindsight, there were many telltale signs, especially the night before as she struggled to allow him in –to her home and inside her metaphorical walls. It was obvious, and yet he hadn't seen it and dismissed any clues that could have told him the truth and allowed him to adjust his approach to her, that would have made him even more accommodating than he had been.
It was irritating to him that he'd been so blind. But he had a chance to rectify it, and he would change his methods a little more to capture his girl. This was a minor setback, and his ignorance could be forgiven. He'll have her yet.
Giovanni would have gone after her soon after, but thought she might prefer some space instead. He promised he would compromise by approaching her later, which is what he was doing now, holding two plates of ricotta and spinach cannelloni and standing in front of her assigned room. He moved the plates to hold them up with one arm, and then knocked on the door. After a moment, it opened hesitantly to reveal Harry looking warily at him.
"May I come in?" he asked neutrally, and she looked briefly upset before her face molded back to a more unrevealing look. She stepped back and held the door open, and he slipped inside.
"I brought lunch," he moved a plate and then had one in each hand, holding them out for her to see. "I used to have this when I was…upset when I was younger. I still do, but I would prefer that you don't broadcast that out to everyone, especially my employees. I'd rather keep the fear of God in them," he ended dryly.
She gave him a look and pointed to her throat. He rolled his eyes.
"Don't use that as an excuse, mia stella," he smirked at her, more so when she glanced at him in surprise. "I'm sure you'd have other ways of leaking out information."
She smiled slightly to herself, and he knew he'd done well in his reply to her. She grabbed the plates from him and set up at a table the suite graciously came with. He filched the forks he'd brought with him from his pockets, and handed one to her. For awhile, they ate in awkward silence. There was a thick tension in the room and between them, and Giovanni thought about what he could do to defuse it.
When they finished eating, he pushed the plates aside and quickly snatched one of her hands before she could bring them to herself.
"I don't know what you're thinking," he admitted. "But I've never known that, even before I didn't know you couldn't speak. It's no different now than it was before, because I'm still clueless about you. I'm infuriated at my progress with you, not because you can't communicate with me," he interjected quickly, seeing her face start to look upset, "but because I should be able to adjust myself accordingly, even without full knowledge of everything, and that I should have found this out already and on my own. And, the not-speaking withstanding, you feel as distant as ever.
"I'm failing somewhere, and I don't know how I can correct it," he frowned. "I severely dislike failures, and yet I can't even see what I can do to make sure I'm not with you."
Giovanni took the hand he had, and brushed his lips against it.
"However," he firmly declared. "I am a businessman, as you know, Harry. I fully involve and dedicate myself to my investments, and I –though not even I am sure why –have invested everything of myself in you," he completely laid out to her.
Honestly, she hadn't expected all that, especially what was basically a confession. And, well, neither did he actually.
But he wasn't really one to take back his word once he gave it, which was why he usually never gave his word to anyone. He'd given it to her, and he didn't really regret it or care to retract it now that it was out in the open.
Flustered, and he was quite pleased at her responsive reaction, she hastily took her hand back and averted her eyes, giving him a small nod. It seems even without the ability to talk to him, she would still be more comfortable with him at a distance. Now that won't do…
He moved his chair closer, alarming her, but for a second he just sat there. And then he slowly moved to grasp her face between his hands, allowing her time to see what he was doing and push him away if she wanted. His eyes bored into her wide ones, and then he leaned closer and firmly placed his lips against her forehead. He kept his lips there until finally her slim hands moved towards him and grasped at the lapels of his suit jacket.
Though a dark beast emerged inside of him and craved to do more, to push her against the wall and ravish her until she was senselessly writhing against him, he forced himself to keep the intimate action tame. There would be plenty of time to do that later on, when she was much more emboldened by his presence and would respond to him more favorably…
Archer waited outside of the house patiently, until it opened to reveal his new source. The woman's name was Arabella Figg, an older woman that had once babysat his boss' new female acquaintance (perhaps he should start referring to her as the new madame boss? He would have to inquire with Giovanni, in order to come up with a more suitable address to Henrietta). It was thanks to her that he'd gotten most of the information he'd obtained on Henrietta.
She nervously looked around. "Please, come in quickly."
She was always unreasonably nervous and twitchy, but he never pushed her too hard about things or inquired about her behavior. He was always patient enough to deal with people of her type, and he knew how to deal with them accordingly.
"In here," she muttered, and she entered her kitchen.
Frowning, he cautiously followed, only to be surprised and wary about the man sitting and having tea at her table, looking incredibly exhausted and just as twitchy.
"This is Rufus Fudge," Arabella informed him stiffly. "He can tell you much more about Harry than I can, at this point. I'll leave you two to talk."
She disappeared from the room, and Archer observed the man critically. He had dark brown hair and brown eyes that were shaded more earthy. He had a slim figure that said he was more suited and used to working behind a desk, than having done any physical tasks on a more daily basis. His pale skin and the bags under his eyes said much about his exhaustion, but Archer wouldn't count him out as not dangerous just yet.
"You're…You're, um, the Archer Arabella mentioned, right?" Rufus asked hesitantly.
Archer gave a curt nod, still watching him closely. "I am. You can tell me about Henrietta? Like what had happened to cause her the trauma Arabella mentioned, or to the fact she is currently mute."
Rufus flinched. "Under law, I cannot tell you anything by the order of the Statute of Secrecy. But…"
He stood up and took something from a previously unnoticed bag to his side, retrieving a stone bowl with strange markings on it and a lid on top. Several vials were taken out and placed next to it.
"I'll be going now," Rufus said quietly, startling Archer with his abrupt leave.
"Wait –" But Rufus left the room and when Archer followed him out, he saw nothing there. It baffled him.
Going back into the kitchen, he wondered about the items he'd been given. It was strange that the man wouldn't even hand it to him, so it made him think that maybe that strange law he mentioned kept him from directly giving the stuff to him. He had a feeling that even the indirect approach Rufus had taken would give the man trouble if it was found out.
He took the items, noticing a small piece of parchment stuck underneath the stone bowl, and went back to his car, where he took the time to read the note.
Pour each liquid from the vial into the Pensieve. It is automatically sequenced, so you will see everything from the beginning and nothing will be out of order. Tomorrow, you will receive the next set.
Curious now, he kept the bowl on his lap as he started the car and drove off. It didn't take him long to reach Team Rocket's base in England, situated beneath Giovanni's business building, where he headed to his quarters and set up the Pensieve like instructed, after which he saw the silver liquid shimmer mesmerizingly in the bowl. However, he wasn't sure what to do next. There had been no further instructions after being told to pour in the liquid, whatever it was.
He was interested in the silver liquid, which moved oddly and not at all like normal liquids. He debated the merits of probing it with his finger, but wasn't sure if it was dangerous. It could be poisonous. But he didn't have time to find out, or trust anyone else with this. Especially since no one else was in the know or had clearance to know about Henrietta, until Giovanni so chose to announce to the rest of the Team about her permanent presence with them.
"Ah well, it is for the boss."
He gently touched the liquid and felt an odd sensation, before feeling as if he was being sucked into the bowl.
After he'd moved away, Giovanni asked Harry to accompany him to his study. He'd also informed her he'd had their pokémon resting, to recover from their battle and also be fed. She looked intently at him, but at least now he knew that her silence wasn't purposefully.
It also made him wonder if maybe that trauma he'd heard about had something to do about her muteness. And if possible, if there was any way he could help her regain her voice. She wasn't a selective mute by the way she was gesturing to her throat and being unable to utter anything at all, even to the point where she and her Glaceon were almost hurt. That was still just a guess, but it seemed likely. So that meant, if he took that her trauma could be involved into account, that maybe an injury had caused her muteness.
That put a terrible scowl on his face, though he quickly fixed his expression so as to not alarm Harry.
If it was an injury and it had been caused by someone, he would be paying that person a personal visit in the near future.
"I have something for you," he voiced instead, once they'd reached his study.
She looked inquisitively at him, but he went to his desk and held up a leather-bound notebook. He then went back to her side and handed it to her.
"This was meant to be given to you as a diary, or for you to use for whatever you please. However, I would like to request that you use it to communicate with me," he gave her a serious look, really meaning it, even to the point where he'd actually request it. He wouldn't for anyone else, because he was used to and really just ordered everyone else around…but this wasn't just anyone else, it was Harry.
Harry was always the exception.
She carefully opened it, a single hand elegantly caressing the inner pages and then the outer shell of leather appreciatively. Then, bemusing and ending up delighting him, she plucked the pen he had poking out of his breast pocket, and began to write in the notebook already. After she was done, she held it up for him to read.
Thank you, Giovanni.
And he was extremely pleased by this turn of events, and thought maybe the reveal of her muteness hadn't been such a bad thing in the end after all. She was now actively using his name, even if it was in writing.
He decided now was a perfect time to spend with her and "talk" as they hadn't been able to before. And he'd found out a great deal of things that he probably wouldn't have been able to, or would have taken much longer had he not known she was mute.
He learned she'd named the Glaceon he'd given her Lily, after her mother. He also found out she knew Ariana, as he'd suspected after linking Ariana's story of the girl and her horse-like relative and remembering meeting Harry's aunt.
Regrettably, he didn't know sign language, but resolved to learn now that he knew that she was proficient enough in it to communicate. Luckily, Archer did and would help her practice it, once Giovanni told him.
He stayed away from the topic of her markings and her family situation, especially the suspicious deaths of her parents. He also decided, having a strange feeling, that he shouldn't ask anything about her private school or why she'd dropped out, especially if it concerned the mysterious trauma she suffered and if it linked to her muteness. He didn't know if she knew anything about her lack of records, so he didn't ask about that either.
What was interesting, when he asked about the can of Mace he'd wanted her to have, was finding out about the unauthorized visit to her from Archer. He'd assumed his subordinate would have included it with the box that had been delivered to her with the dress Giovanni had chosen for her. Instead, he'd found out that Archer had personally handed it to her and had said a few things, though Harry wouldn't say what. It seems he would have to have a talk with his subordinate and hear just exactly what he'd said to Harry, and find out just exactly what had happened and why Archer had gone to her in person.
Though surprisingly, Harry hadn't asked him any questions. Still, it wasn't like he'd given her a chance to, when he'd asked her so many things and hadn't realized he hadn't allowed her to squeeze some questions of her own in.
Curious, and a bit apprehensive, he asked the next question with a bit more hesitancy than his previous questions.
"Are you afraid of me, Harry?" he hid any expression on his face, trying to keep it neutral as he waited for her answer.
She blinked in surprise, before looking like she was thinking about the answer. Then she began writing and he held his breath.
Not…afraid. Apprehensive. Not used to…this.
He wanted to ask her what she meant by that, though he could get somewhat of a gist, even if there was a broad range her statement could cover. Still, he didn't want to push her and left it alone. For now.
He saw her writing again, and he patiently waited for what she would ask, pleased she might be finally asking a question.
Why do you call me 'mia stella'? And it seems you're calling me that less recently?
"Ah, good question," he tested waters by reaching over for her hand and holding it. Though she tensed, she didn't pull away, so he took it as a good sign. "First, I have been calling you it less, simply because I'd always wanted to use your actual name more, once it seems we've gotten more intimate and you had started using mine. While it is in writing, I count it. And I find that our progress has been much more personal than before.
"'Mia stella' is Italian for 'my star,'" he explained. "The more common and cliché explanation anyone could use would be to say like you are a bright, shining star, but that's not all to say. At least, not for me. Stars are actually many light-years away –miles away from the Earth."
That was rather ironic as she was the star and considering his ground-type preference, would that make him the Earth?
He brushed his thumb against her knuckles. "So very distant. A cold atmosphere, but a burning hot core. I know deep inside of you is a raging fire and I want to bring it out of you and light it higher aflame."
Giovanni, though, was wary of that 'core' burning out and transforming into an unforgiving black hole, whether it was from whoever or whatever that haunted her or even of his own doing.
She wrote something quickly down and then pushed the leather-bound book towards him, tilting her head slightly and her lips twitching up. That caught him off guard, but in a completely good way.
But would you be able to tame that fire?
He barked out a laugh and grinned unashamedly at her. "Touché, Harry. But you just proved me right, and that you probably do have a rather fiery personality I want to know more of." His grin turned wry. "However, stars can be really old. I have the strangest feeling that, despite how young you are, inside you are much older. You are…more mature than many women I know. There is something rather weary and even worldly about you."
Seeing her frown though, made him rethink his words and perhaps try to backtrack and save face from whatever he'd said to upset her. But he stiffened up and stared in wonder as she bent her forehead over their held hands, laying it gently on top of them, and the strange and almost worshipful imagery evoked something strange in him. And when her lips gently landed on the back of his hand, he exhaled a huge breath he hadn't even known had been held in.
Her sacred lips slid away at the same time as she slid her hand from his. And when she looked up, she gave him the saddest smile he'd ever seen in his life, with emerald eyes that spoke of seeing and having done too much.
And inside, a rage grew and he swore he would find whoever had made her like this, who had hurt her so much (because he swore to God that he just knew someone was behind her pain), and he would make them pay dearly.
He determinedly snatched both of her hands, holding them tightly in his. He ignored her startled face and looked straight into his eyes.
"Stars have been shown in history to have guided people, led them. People have always looked to the stars. I have no doubt that many have probably done the same to you. Please lead my path, Harry, and I promise you the world," he swore fervently.
Because now he was even more sure than ever. She would be his. She was the most important capture of his life, and no Legendary would ever compete with her. His entire being counted on her.
Giovanni could see her face slowly turning red, and the look of mixed uncertainty and shock. But it was important that he get it across to her how important she was –to him, to his Team, to his dreams and goals, to whatever future for him there was. There was no future that meant anything, if she wasn't in it.
She started to hastily write something, hands shaky as she held his pen to the paper. She handed it to him and he read it quickly.
I'm not afraid of you, but when you get like this…I do become afraid.
Not what he'd wanted, but he understood that the intensity he kept displaying towards her wasn't normal or healthy, or probably even sane. He could also see how terrifying and uncomfortable it would be to see it, much less be on the receiving end of it. But…he wouldn't compromise on this.
Because she had to know sooner or later how desperate he was to chain her to him.
"I'm sorry," he said with a small, strange smile that had a tinge of apology, even when he and she both knew he contradicted those words much more than he wasn't.
Was he sorry? Maybe. In the end, he was more unapologetic than he was.
He could apologize for how he made her feel, and maybe even a little for his behavior, but he wouldn't apologize for how he was or the base truth of which that he would probably continue on and not stop himself.
Perhaps he could be a little sorry about that.
Harry lay in bed, with her Glaceon mewling and cuddling up to her.
She shivered, wide awake and eyes staring at the ceiling. Today had been…emotional. Too emotional. She hadn't had such an explosion of emotions for a long time; it was such an intense cacophony all day, with her emotions ranging from lows to highs. It was like a rollercoaster, and the strength of them didn't help.
Lily began pawing at her in earnest, but her body was locked up and her mind racing. She didn't even notice when her eyes became dilated, to the point where they looked black, and her breathing became labored. She did notice when there started to become two spots of burning sensation on her back, right between her shoulder blades.
'No. No, no, nononono –'
Horrified, Harry threw herself to the side and stumbled off the bed. Lily yelped, watching her mistress in panic. Deciding to get her mistress' companion, she darted out the door as soon as Harry opened it, going for Giovanni as Harry staggered about, almost like a drunk.
She gasped, clutching at her throat, and contorting her shoulders. Her staggering became more hurried, and at a turn in a hallway, she lurched and started to wildly flail her head about, her torso shaking and convulsing violently as she tried to shake off the growing pain.
Desperate, she began rushing about blindly before she accidently slammed herself into a wall. She threw her head back and a screech escaped from her mouth. Her hands flew to her throat and her eyes widened, and she hurriedly continued her stumbling walk to her destination before it became too late and she destroyed everything around her.
Using one hand to help her against the walls, her movements slowed and she made her way more sluggishly than before, each step becoming more painful as the burning spots in her back began to spread. She let out another screech and fell to her hands and knees, her back arching as skin tore open at her back, from where the burning spots had originated.
Two black wings slowly slid out, pushing out gradually and causing Harry to feel as if her back was being shredded. After the initial push, where large bits of the wings had come out, another push had them emerge fully, and they flapped once before lying limp against her. She whimpered, her voice returning, if only for this transformation.
She crawled a bit more, looking up to thankfully see she had somehow made it to the room she wanted to be in. Her body trembled and she pushed herself up and opened the door, practically tossing herself into the battle arena. She crawled to the middle of the arena before her body shook one more time, and then she collapsed onto her back and her body began seizing.
As the seizures continued and her body convulsed into violent movements, she could feel the bones inside her body begin to shatter and then her body contorted unnaturally and she began to shift and reshape into a larger being.
Another screech, louder and more eerie, escaped from her and echoed through the estate.
When Giovanni found Harry's Glaceon scratching and calling at his door, he left his work behind and followed after her in a worried state, while still wondering about that inhuman screech he'd just heard. He'd started to rush towards Harry's room, but Lily diverged from that path and he'd had to head back a turn and follow Lily to where Harry apparently was.
That she wasn't in her room was worrying and made him uneasy.
He was disquieted by the stillness of the air and the sudden silence. It wasn't boding well and he wanted to find Harry quickly, hoping that nothing was wrong and she was alright.
On his way to wherever they were heading, he was disturbed to find indents, cracks, and other damages to the walls the closer he came to what he realized was where the battle arena was located at.
"What the hell happened?" he muttered in confusion.
When they finally came to the battle arena, their final destination he realized, he stared at the door in confusion. He looked down at the Glaceon by his feet.
"She's here?" he asked hesitantly.
Lily nodded, rubbing her paw against her nose.
"You smell her in here?"
Another nod. Giovanni frowned and then reached for the doorknob, anxiously opening it and wondering what he'd find behind the door. He turned the doorknob and then, after another pause, pushed it open. The lights began turning on one by one and then he sucked in a huge breath as he stared in terrified awe at the great creature massively dominating a huge space around it. The battle arena was more than half-filled with it, and Giovanni doubted that even many of the Legendaries could match it in size.
"What…what are you?" he breathed out, also wondering how in the hell it had gotten into this place and where it had come from. But one thing was clear…
This…this wasn't a pokémon. Not one he knew of, or had yet to be discovered…
He cautiously came closer, when Lily came rushing passed him and towards the beast. His eyes darted around the room, seeing torn fabric all around the ground. Sleek, black feathers (no doubt from it) were layered all around them, some still floating in the air and falling down. He reached out and plucked one from the air, examining it curiously. It was extremely soft and silky, fine to the touch and a bright shine to it that rivaled (maybe even best) the shiny coating from a Cresselia feather. Pocketing it into his breast pocket, he looked back at the creature that was somewhat curled into itself, hiding its head behind a massive wing.
Risking it, he walked closer and stopped beside Lily, who had stopped a few paces before the creature and had sat there, intensely watching it. Frowning down at her, he looked back up and watched the creature with a wary air.
"What are you?" he asked again, louder this time.
It gained its attention and it shifted, alarming Giovanni, who took a huge step back. But it just moved slightly to face him and then moved its wing, revealing its head. More beautiful black feathers decorated it, still sleek and shiny, the glossing reflecting the light from above. It looked at him with tired, pained eyes, and he actually felt a burst of compassion, something he hadn't actually felt for anything or anyone until Harry.
Not only did he remember what he was there for, rather who, but he also recognized the emerald eyes that stared at him from across the room, on a giant creature that looked like it wanted to die.
Before he even realized it, he'd walked the last few steps towards her (because it was her, he just knew it, and no one had those emerald eyes ever). His hand trembled as he reached out and gently touched the top of her head as she bowed it towards him, and he tenderly stroked her head.
"Harry? Is that you?" he asked, voice quiet and as if he was trying not to disturb the stillness of the room.
She let out a loud keening sound that reflected her pain and sorrow, and he felt like he was shattering into pieces, with her feelings reverberating through him. He felt something wet hit his face and reached up, and blinked blankly.
He hadn't even realized he'd started crying.