Giovanni wasn't sure how long it had been. He couldn't be sure of how much time had passed; it could be morning already, and the sun was up bright and early. It could have only been a few minutes.
He just couldn't and didn't keep time.
Instead, he sat on the ground, brooding to himself as he gently caressed and rubbed the dark phoenix's head. Harry's black feathers were soft and practically like silk, and he actually found that it was even more comforting and relaxing caressing the silk-like feathers than even petting his Persian.
"Someone did this to you," he murmured, making sure to keep the anger from his voice, so as to not upset her.
A low keening sound came from her and it brought a pain to his chest. He put one of his hands on his leg and gripped it tightly. He wouldn't rest until he found out who was the perpetrator and he'd spilled blood. He'd paint the streets red by the time he was done with him.
He was jarred from his murderous thoughts as Harry's phoenixian form shifted, before she gave out a cry and then her aviary form began what looked to be a very painful process of reverting back to Harry's normal, human form. He could easily guess that it was just as painful (if not more) to transform into that phoenix state.
When it was over, Harry's naked, shuddering body was curled up, with her head tucked and hidden in her arms. Gritting his teeth and feeling his anger briefly make a reappearance, he calmed himself and walked over to her. He frowned when his touch earned a flinch from her, and a part of him hoped it was more a reflexive reaction (especially after a transformation), rather than her being afraid of him for some reason, even for such a simple one like being afraid of his reaction to her.
"Shh, mia stella. It is just me. Let me take care of you," he murmured, taking off his jacket and tucking it around her shivering form.
He then picked her up and held her securely to his chest, making quick but careful steps out of there and to her room. Once he'd made it there, he gently laid her onto her bed and covered the blanket over her. He'd have to put clothes on her later, when she was more relaxed and also wouldn't mistake his intentions. He momentarily disappeared, coming back with a bowl of cold water and a small cloth, to which he dipped it into the water and sat next to Harry, dabbing her forehead with the wet cloth.
"Rest for now," Giovanni hummed softly. "I will take care of you. Today, you should just stay in bed and let me handle everything."
She blinked up blearily at him, before she closed her eyes and snuggled into her soft pillow. He pushed her hair back from her face and dabbed her forehead a little more. He gazed at her restless face for awhile, frowning and wanting to give her sweeter dreams than what she was obviously dreaming of.
He sat back and kept watch over her, before pulling out his phone. He needed to get to the bottom of this, and the faster he did, the faster he'd find out who was responsible for his stella's suffering and exact a satisfying retribution.
However, Archer wasn't picking up, which wasn't like him. Giovanni frowned and resigned himself to talking to the other man later. For now, he would keep watch and look over Harry, making sure she was taken cared of in the meantime. There would be plenty of time for him to plan the perfect revenge, but right now his focus should and would be on her.
It was only a little time later that Giovanni noticed she was shivering, and he was chagrined to remember he hadn't put any clothes on her, aside from keeping his jacket around her nude form. He still was unsure if she would be alright with him touching her and being the one to put on her clothes, but he was the only one else there and she needed to be clothed and kept warm. He rummaged around the drawers, where Gallade had followed his orders in packing her new things in, and quickly found what he needed.
Though he didn't want to see her nude like this, there wasn't much choice and he didn't want to wake her from her slumber to make her clothe herself. He quickly put on her underwear, taking care not to let his hands linger or look directly at her, and then he quickly put on some plaid pajamas she had insisted were fine and were comfortable.
'She is the more homely kind,' he thought, smiling a bit.
Care and comfort over looks…Although, he still wouldn't mind seeing her in something a little more revealing.
"What do you think, Harry? Would you wear something a little more risqué for me?" he asked her unconscious form.
He sighed at the quiet he was answered with, and knew that even if she'd been awake, she couldn't speak to him anyway. But she could tell him through her notebook now at least…
Giovanni threaded a hand through her hair and kissed her forehead.
The light-blue haired man was thrown out of the bowl, feeling exhausted and yet also enlightened.
Archer had managed to solve a piece of the puzzle of the enigma named Henrietta Potter.
"A witch," he muttered.
He hadn't expected that at all. But he also held no misconceptions that his boss had been spelled into his infatuated state. He could see, even from a young age, how much Henrietta treasured her morals and had a strong sense of what was right and wrong, as well as justice. There would be no way she would have bewitched Giovanni into loving her, especially with how unwanted Giovanni's presence had been at first.
Hopefully, that's been remedied by now.
He wasn't sure, but he was hopeful about it, what with Giovanni having invited and taken her to his private estate. He wondered how the boss was handling long-term, close contact with her, and alone in that large place. He also wondered if Harry had done anything yet to reveal her magic.
Something about that bothered him though.
However, since he had an important piece he could plug into the mismatch of information he'd already gathered, Archer could now reevaluate all of his information. Now there were much more things that made sense, like they hadn't before. Her private school and how she practically dropped off the radar at the edge of 11. Records stopping at all, like it had for her, was impressive –but at that age? It hadn't made sense to him at the time.
A lot of his questions had been answered actually. The suspicious deaths of her parents, her living arrangement with people that detested her and who she detested, and the lack of records. He still didn't have anything yet on her trauma or why she had dropped out of her school early, but it seemed like he had at least four more years of memories to look through before he could maybe get a glimpse into that.
He would have to get Ariana to help him out with something first though, if he wanted to speed the process up. He made the quick call, informing her of the new changes and asking her for her help. The woman sounded a little too enthusiastic to get involved, but he could count on her to get things done and get what they needed quickly.
Now he just needed to reach Giovanni and report to him about his new findings. It would be best to bring the Pensieve and the memories as well, now that he thought about it. He was sure his boss would be skeptical and need proof.
Archer collected his things and carefully made his way to an elevator, setting everything down on the floor and making sure the lid was sealed tight on the Pensieve. When he'd reached his boss' office, he frowned when he saw that Gallade wasn't there (he silently berated himself for having not thought of the fact it would've stayed with Giovanni), and that he'd have to use another pokémon to travel there. Knowing time was against him, he realized he'd have to travel back down to use one of the Abra transports the rest of the employees were to use to travel where they needed.
Sighing in aggravation, he headed back down and headed specifically for the transportation room. There, a bunch of transporters were set up, powered by multiple Abra. He didn't look at the Rocket agents maintaining the area, heading straight to a transport. There, he laid his hand on the scanner on the outside, which one of the Abra would use to read his mind for the location he needed to be teleported to. He stepped into the transport, and then he disappeared from there.
Within moments, he appeared in Giovanni's personal study, instead of the bottom floor general study that the rest of the Rocket employees had access to. Gallade was there, sleeping peacefully, but Giovanni wasn't there working late as usual. He should have expected it, considering that Harry was staying there this time, and his boss would have all his focus on her. He made his way to Giovanni's master suite, and knocked succinctly. He frowned at no one answering, and hesitantly tried the door.
When he peeked his head in, he decided to do a quick sweep of the suite when he saw and heard nothing, and even checked the master bedroom. Seeing nothing, he made a cautious guess that his boss might be in Harry's room. He idly thought that it seemed too soon for them to be together in a room, and too soon for Harry to feel comfortable for that either. Then again, there were many reasons why the two of them could be together right then, much less for any certain activities being or having been performed.
Still, a protective feeling overrode his thoughts, and he still thought it was too soon for them (especially for Harry) to be together alone, even in any kind of platonic way.
Archer took a deep breath and made his way to Harry's suite, which while large, wasn't as huge as the master suite. Neither he nor Giovanni had thought she would be comfortable with such a large place all to herself, and as the estate and this particular wing was large enough by itself (despite Giovanni being more than willing to trade his master suite for her), they hadn't wanted to intimidate her.
Finding the suite closest to the master suite, he knocked on the door and hoped he'd get an answer this time. It took a few seconds, but the door opened to reveal a harassed-looking Giovanni. He looked almost fully clothed, missing his dress jacket and tie, and his sleeves having been rolled up and a few buttons on his dress shirt unbuttoned.
"Archer?" Giovanni asked in confusion. "What are you doing here at…" he glanced at his watch, "at 4 in the morning?"
He cleared his throat and lifted the Pensieve he carried carefully in his arm.
"There's been a development, Sir."
He tried to discreetly peer around his boss to glance into the suite's living area, but his boss stepped out and closed the door behind him.
"She's sleeping in her bedroom," Giovanni frowned. "She had a…rough night."
Judging by the lack of a pleased tone in Giovanni's tone, Harry's rough night wasn't due to more pleasurable activities. Archer inwardly scowled and felt agitated. What had happened? What was he missing now?
"Rocket business or –"
"It's about Miss Henrietta," Archer interrupted, interjecting a note of urgency in his tone. "May we convene in your study?"
Giovanni glanced worriedly at the door, but nodded. "Make this quick. I don't want to leave her alone."
Curious and wary about what his boss meant, Archer nodded and followed after his boss to the study. There, he related meeting Rufus Fudge after going to his new contact, and mysteriously receiving this parcel. He explained about what the Pensieve could do, though Giovanni looked skeptical.
"I suggest you look into the contents of the Pensieve yourself, Giovanni. It would explain better than I could," he suggested, but Giovanni glanced at his study's door.
"It sounds like it'll take awhile. I don't want to leave Harry by herself," Giovanni looked agitated, making Archer worry more.
"I'll look after her," Archer offered. "I can stay by her side, while you watch the memories."
While it wasn't the ideal way to find out about her or even how they'd like to get to know her, they needed answers and it seemed like there was an invisible clock ticking on them. Though they weren't sure why they got that feeling, they knew it was urgent they pieced together everything and quickly at that.
"There's a bowl of water by her bedside, with a damp cloth. Rewet the cloth and dab her forehead every few seconds," Giovanni instructed him sternly. "If the water starts becoming warm, dump it and refill the bowl with cold water."
"Yes, Giovanni. I understand," Archer obediently nodded.
Giovanni then doubtfully lifted the lid of the Pensieve slightly, before completely taking it off. He looked intrigued at the silvery liquid inside, with a slight silver-colored mist floating atop it.
"Just touch it then?" Giovanni murmured.
At Archer's nod, Giovanni gently touched it and then was pulled into the Pensieve.
When Archer called her out of nowhere, Ariana hadn't known what to expect and was almost irritated that he'd called her at such an early time. Almost, since she was already awake and was bored. And it was her good fortune that he'd called to get her help on the one project she'd been itching to be a part of. Anything to do with Harry Potter, and she was game to do whatever was needed.
And right now, she had to locate someone named Hermione Granger.
Apparently, according to Archer, Granger was Harry's female best friend, while a Ronald Weasley was her male best friend. Weasley wasn't locatable, so she was to set off and find out where Granger was and to interrogate her about what she knew of Harry.
The information she'd managed to find was that Granger's parents were dentists, her records eerily echoed Harry's in regards to records and schooling, and that prior to her own 'disappearance on paper', she was a very studious and intelligent student in her past schools. She was caught off guard by Archer's new information about the existence of 'magic' and everything else the other Executive Rocket had told her, but she didn't shrug it off.
She figured she could let it go, and maybe even confirm it with the girl she was about to go and question.
Finally having found the girl's home, Ariana parked outside in the driveway. She calmly made her way to the door and knocked, grinning when it opened to show a young teenaged female, with frizzy brown hair, just as Archer had described.
"Hermione Granger?" Ariana had a Sharpedo-like grin on her face.
Granger looked warily at her. "Y-yes? That's me."
"You and I need to talk about a certain Harry Potter," Ariana practically purred out.
She was going to grill this girl and find out whatever she could. By the time she was done, Ariana would have squeezed out every little pertinent information regarding Harry.
It was a little before noon before Giovanni was finished. After he was back in his study, he had stared at the stone bowl in deep contemplation. Then he put the lid back on and went back to Harry's suite, where he relieved Archer of his task, sending his subordinate back to his duties. Archer had informed him, before leaving, that he was due to receive the second set of memories that day. He had made it quite clear to his second in command that he'd wanted to see those memories as soon as he was done viewing.
He knew without saying that Archer would want to view them, and that it was probably needed so that all available information was known to his subordinate anyway, and Archer would be prepared for anything. Still, in the back of his mind he was slightly agitated at the thought of someone else viewing such personal memories of Harry. He didn't want anyone else knowing Harry so intimately, and he wanted to selfishly hoard those memories of hers to himself. It made him return to his study momentarily to stare at where the Pensive had been, knowing that Archer had taken it with him and aggravating him with the stone bowl's absence.
Deciding it was best to check up on Harry, he left his study again and went to her suite, heading straight for her bedroom. She was still sleeping, so he retrieved the bowl of water and dumped it in the bathroom sink. He refilled it with fresh, cold water and then went to her side, taking the cloth and dipping it into the cold water. From there, he sat by her and continued to cool her forehead.
Luckily for him, she seemed to be waking up. Her eyes scrunched a bit before she weakly opened them, blinking tiredly at him.
"Good morning, Harry," he murmured, patting her forehead one last time, before setting aside the bowl and the cloth. "Do you feel better?"
She woke up completely and became a little more aware, cringing away from him. He frowned and reached out to her, only to see her silently whimpering. He didn't back down, slowly moving his hand to softly touch her head and let her see that he wasn't going to hurt her.
"I won't hurt you," Giovanni said firmly. "I will never hurt you."
Harry's bright emerald eyes tentatively opened and solemnly gazed up at him, and he kept his hand where it was. He sucked in a deep breath when Harry tilted her head up and kissed his palm.
He moved his hand after, and cupped her face. He slowly brought his other hand up, watching her eyes cautiously watch it, before bringing it to the other side of her face and holding it there. Cradling her face carefully, he leaned down and kissed her lips.
"You must never think of yourself as a caged bird with me," he whispered against her lips.
Giovanni pulled back from her and stared into her eyes, trying to convey his sincerity to her. He was almost alarmed when she blinked and tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes and trailed down her face. Harry then shifted closer, before moving onto his lap and hugging him to her, hiding her face against his shoulder.
He would possess this girl and destroy all those who had dared to lay a hand against her.
After he'd calmed her down and had settled her back into bed, he piled a few of the pillows behind her and sat her up. Then he left her for awhile, coming back with a tray of food. He fed her the soup first, and then helped her to lay back down before he went to start in on his own food. When he was done, he was tempted to give her a massage, but was unsure if she would be receptive to it or feel comfortable. He knew she would be sore after something that looked as painful and enduring as the transformation she'd gone through, so he settled for reaching for her arms and gently giving them a rub down.
She shyly gave him a small smile, so he took that to mean that he hadn't overstepped his boundaries and that she'd liked it. Perhaps another time he could do a little more, but for now this would have to do.
When Harry began to insistently reach to her side for something, he held her back and looked to see what it was. Seeing the notebook he'd given her, he grabbed it and handed it to her.
"Was that what you wanted?"
Harry nodded and began to scribble something into the notebook. She then turned it around and showed him.
You weren't…supposed to see that last night. You're not supposed to know about that at all.
Giovanni frowned. "I could guess that. It's not a normal thing, turning into a phoenix or what not."
She looked away from him, but he reached out and touched her hand gently to reassure her. She started to write again.
Usually, I only transform when my…levels are up. On the rare occasions when my emotions are heightened and I feel extremely, it triggers my transformation. That's not supposed to be a usual case, because my emotions have become muted. You make me feel.
Giovanni didn't know what to make of that. On one hand, the admission that he made her feel made him extremely pleased. However, he didn't know and was worried what it meant for her and the issue of this transformation. And still, there was the issue of her being a witch, which he still didn't know how to bring up.
"I have so many questions, but I don't want to overwhelm you," he felt frustrated and helpless. He had to do something, so that he felt like he had achieved something for her. "Can you leave the Dursleys? Run away from there?"
Not…sure. I don't currently have…access to money. Or property. I have no one and nowhere to run to, and no means of escape.
"What about your magic?" he tentatively brought up.
Harry's eyes widened and she flinched, moving away from him. He held up his hands.
"Archer came across the information. He had a source in an Arabella Figg –a babysitter of yours? She then introduced him to Rufus Fudge, who provided your memories of your first year. I assume from what Archer told me, that this Fudge intends to give a set of memories every day."
Harry looked anxious, though he had noted her reaction to Rufus Fudge's name coming up.
"You know Rufus Fudge?"
She took some time to write something and then he was reading.
He is like…my handler. He keeps watch over me of sorts. He's nice and doesn't like what's…being done to me.
Giovanni wanted to question what was being done to her, but didn't want to push her too much. And he had a feeling he wouldn't like the answer anyway. He put off those thoughts and continued to read.
As for my…'power', I'm underaged still, and The Trace is on me. I can't use my power or else it would alert them. Aside from that, my power is locked up anyway. They 'wrote' something on me that prevents me from using my power, as well as writing something to prevent me from speaking. They wouldn't want me to speak or reveal anything about that world, so even writing anything will alert them using a variation of the Taboo 'method.' Some words I can get away with, but most of them relating to that world I can't.
They keep tabs on me too. It used to be frequently, so there would be no chance of my escaping anyway, but only recently do they seem to only come to see me and take me away at the beginning of the month. Without any way to keep away or anyone to go to for that matter, because I can't risk the one person that I can go to in this condition, I'm stuck with the Dursleys and that house. Even if I attempted to run away from there, it wouldn't take them long to find out I was gone and then track me down.
Her condition would especially debilitate her. No money, no place, no one to go to…That alone would be hard enough for her if she decided to run away. But then being mute on top of that, it would definitely make things harder on her. Being mute also seemed somewhat new to her, and not something she had completely learned to cope and deal with it. Striking it out on her own like this would leave her uncertain and scared out there. And if he could guess, she didn't seem to have much knowledge of London or the surrounding area, or even of current 'Muggle' technology.
She would be so lost and alone…
In his thoughts, he hadn't noticed her rapidly writing something down, until she'd shoved her notebook close to his face. His eyes darted through and read it quickly.
Are you…are you afraid or bothered by me? After last night?
He could practically hear the hesitation and fear in those words, even though it was only written down.
"No," he said vehemently. "In fact, even though I wouldn't wish such a painful transformation on you, your form looked absolutely beautiful. If only it wasn't so painful for you to transform into that form…Is it? Painful?" he hesitantly ventured to ask.
Harry looked reticent as she wrote down her answer, and he was hesitant to read it.
It's very painful. Most transformations aren't usually like that. It can be painful, but it's not like mine and my form is unusually and extremely large, which makes it worse. My bones are breaking apart and my skin is tearing, and I'm basically reforming myself a new body. And maybe it wouldn't be as painful if they hadn't forced the transformation on me, and now it's marked through my skin with the other writings they put on me.
There were so much he wanted to do for her, and yet it was obvious that he couldn't do anything. For now, at least.
"You need your rest," Giovanni suddenly said, startling her.
She watched him bewilderedly, but he knew she needed some time to think after what he had to say next.
"Harry, I want you to listen carefully. I will leave you to think over what I'm about to say to you, but I want you to think over this very carefully. I want you to think about the fact I have money. I have a place for you to go to. I can get you transported anywhere easily, and you have no fear of miscommunication or being taken advantage of. You will not be lost. Your inability to talk will not hinder you. I am someone you can go to at anytime."
Giovanni grabbed her hand and kissed it tenderly.
"You now have an opportunity and the means to run away from all of them, and no one will be the wiser."
He reluctantly let go of her hand.
"Think about that very carefully, mia stella."
Harry did think about it all. She couldn't stop thinking about it. She lay in that bed for a long time, just thinking about Giovanni's words. This could be her out. But what about the Dursleys? The only flaw she saw was what if they interrogated them about who took her and where had she gone.
Could that be circumvented?
She could always ask Draco and his family for help. Giovanni was an unknown to everyone. No one knew who he was and how she knew him. The Wizarding World wouldn't have a clue, especially because he was a Muggle. And it wasn't known that she was close to the Malfoys either. This could work. She could make this work.
He'd make sure this would work.
Harry moved off of her bed, her bare feet making contact with the soft carpet. She trekked out of her room and stopped short in the main suite, seeing a vase full of fragrant and beautiful blossoms. She wasn't sure what they were, but they smelled sweet and heavenly.
She touched the tips of her fingers against them in awe. However, she looked near the base of the crystal vase, and saw a bunch of seeds laid out. She followed the line of it with her eyes, and saw that it went to her floor and trekked all the way to the door out of her suite. She went after it and went outside of her suite, and then saw that the seeds followed a line down a hallway. She started to follow it, and saw that along with the seeds, petals of the flowers she saw in her room were also dropped to the ground around the seeds.
She was so busy looking at the petals and seeds, following them, that she didn't notice that once they came to an end, she would look up to see Giovanni sitting in front of a small table, a plate with pieces of a cut up pomegranate, and two wine glasses filled with a dark reddish liquid.
When she looked up finally, she halted and stared at him and his offerings. He looked serious and was extremely quiet, and she was suddenly nervous and unsure as to what to do.
"A bite, a sip. Or you could turn around and walk away. It is your choice. It is always your choice," his smooth, accented voice weaved its spell into her ear.
She started to breathe heavily, and took another look at the offerings laid out before her.
And then Harry took a seat on the empty chair opposite Giovanni, and reached out for a slice of the pomegranate.
She took a bite of it and swallowed, and then reached for her glass and took a sip of the pomegranate wine.