Harry was more than familiar with the significance of the pomegranate setup. The myth it pertained to was well known, only now it had become much more personal to Harry. She knew what Giovanni had implied, what he'd been offering, and what he wanted from her.
She accepted it and willingly drank the pomegranate wine and ate the pomegranate fruit, just as she realized she followed the trail of pomegranate seeds and flower petals to her fate.
She just hadn't realized it would become truly personal and binding when Magic got involved.
For so long, she had pleaded to Magic to save her, help somehow. She didn't think that it would have resulted in it sending Giovanni her way. If she thought about it, maybe their fated encounter at that business party really had been fated.
Her gut told her that regardless of anything, that the two of them had always been bound together. But intervention had made it so that they would actually meet, when there had never been a guarantee before.
And now Magic had taken it a step further, taking her acquiescence to Giovanni's offer to be more binding and lasting than she had thought it would become.
Because now they were entwined through that ceremony, not just symbolically, but magically and inescapably. It had practically been a binding ceremony and she was more or less…married.
She was married.
When the impact of what she had done with the pomegranates hit her, she hesitantly informed Giovanni of the development that they were married, at least in magical terms. Even if it had been on accident, Magic had created a binding ceremony through their little pomegranate set up, and had married them.
He didn't seem displeased at all. In fact (and in hindsight, she really shouldn't have been so surprised), he was rather the opposite –completely pleased about the news, to her amusement. He told her he more than accepted this turn of events, and hoped that she'd have him. And in all fairness, he wasn't that bad of a man to be stuck married to.
Giovanni Rocketto was handsome. He was smart, rich, worldly, and strong in mind and body. He had more than enough capability as a husband to take care of her and provide for her, and saw her as an equal and let her be as independent as she wanted, and equally was open to her helping and being just as capable of a wife to him. She would and could take care of him in turn, and they were both sure that if it came to it, if one needed help, the other would be there and they could depend on the other when one of them couldn't stand on their own and when independency became a hindrance.
And to be honest, Harry had never felt she could truly and completely depend and rely on another, the way she felt she could with Giovanni. She also couldn't help her own natural reaction to him. How her heart beat rapidly, how he could completely drive her breath from her, make her thoughts run around in circles about him…
She could acknowledge now that she'd fallen in love from almost the first sight of him, but feared such a strong pull towards someone, whereas he'd been so eager and willing to chase after her.
"You're lost in thoughts," she heard Giovanni comment quietly from behind her, and she turned to face him.
The garden they were in was something she'd admired in the beginning of her time there in his estate, but hadn't been fully able to appreciate until now, when she could walk through it after she'd recovered from her transformation. The light of the moon shone brilliantly on them both, and the clearing filled with different types of flora that swayed under the slight breeze. It was a beautiful night, and Harry had enjoyed sitting on the ground in her thoughts, though she didn't mind Giovanni's intrusion.
She gave him a small nod and was about to take out her journal, when he sat by her and leaned in close. She gave him a questioning look.
He gently took her hand and then turned it, carefully placing a ring in the middle of her palm. Her breath almost stopped.
"We are, according to you, already married," he said with a small grin playing on his lips. "Well, I don't see why we don't make it legal as well, and get married properly. Will you marry me, Henrietta Potter?"
Harry stared at the ring on her palm, mystified. It was a lovely ring, with the traditional diamond in the middle replaced with a pearl. The band had tiny diamonds set all around it, with just as tiny emeralds intermixing after a set group of those diamonds. Somehow, the ring was both simple and yet extravagant at the same time.
Closing her hand around it, she gave it back to Giovanni, who looked disappointed. However, she held out her hand next, extending her ring finger more prominently, and Giovanni's attitude quickly became enthused as he slid the ring on her finger.
"I suppose you'd like a simple, quiet wedding affair," he quirked an eyebrow at her.
She gave him an amused smile.
"I do hope you'll allow me to plan a more extravagant and larger wedding later on, as you more than rightly deserve," he acquiesced. "But I understand that a small, quick wedding would probably be best for now, in order for you to be quickly taken away."
Harry gave him an inquiring look, so he elaborated.
"I'd planned to propose long before you told me of our circumstances," he revealed smoothly. "Besides my personal desire to take you on as my wife in the first place, I also saw that it would be much easier to take you away, go through legal issues and passport dilemmas, if we were to just get married. As my wife, I can take you with me back to the Regions without any problems or need to go through the extra paperwork and legalization of your status and extricating permissions. You'll be harder to find legally and on paper, because you would be married to me and your name changed –making it harder for you to be traced by normal means.
"And well," here he gave a smirk, "I was thinking that marriage would've been an excellent way to get you away from the Dursleys. They would, after all, be basically handing you over to me and giving up all their rights to you and any legal custody, responsibility, and anything else tying them to you over to me. In any case, they would be finally out of the picture and you won't be stuck with them anymore."
It did seem to work out well, Harry thought about it. There were even more benefits popping up as she continued to think about her new twist in life, and she could only continue to agree.
If she was to be bound to anyone or anything, she found that she wasn't minding the fact that it had been to Giovanni and his sordid life and family.
Archer was impatient, but he knew he was more than early. Having come hours early to Arabella Figg's house, all he could do was prowl around the house like an unhinged Pyroar, waiting for Rufus Fudge to hurry up and come to the house already. However, he did at least receive good news and was caught up with the happenings at the estate.
He would have to stop by and buy some flowers to congratulate Henrietta on her marriage and uh…engagement.
Well, a magical marriage was much more promising to him than the legal process, but the marriage might as well be made accountable in all means. Arceus knows that normal people, of the mundane non-magical kind and who didn't know of magic, would probably scoff and not count a magical binding. But at least now he and Giovanni did, and they weren't counted in that small, clueless group.
To the side, he idly noted that Arabella was not so discreetly glancing at him every few seconds. He knew that he, aside from this whole informant situation and the possibility of being found out by her magical ministry, highly intimidated her. It made sense that she would be nervous and uncertain about his presence.
But he'd come a long way, and he had much to do. No amount of terrified glances was going to make him go away.
"This Taboo…" he said suddenly, causing the older woman to jump slightly. "On Henrietta…is everyone affected by it?"
She looked thoughtful. "No, actually. Only those closest to her –the ones they fear and think will and can help her away from her situation. I don't have enough magic in myself to count, given I'm a Squib. Harry, herself, is bound by a lesser Taboo that forbids her from using many words that could relate to the magical word."
"I see," Archer murmured. "Can she be traced magically? I know, once I've messed with the system and paperwork, she won't be able to be traced legally and through normal means. But magically…"
"Magically, all one would have to do is use a locator spell, and more or less ask to find Harry Potter," Rufus entered into the conversation, finally appearing.
"So you're allowed to talk now?" Archer raised an eyebrow, looking at him with a hard to decipher look.
Rufus grimaced, while Arabella excused herself and disappeared from the room.
"Allowed to talk? Not really. But I'm not monitored, and as someone who 'found out' about magic on your own, neither you nor I are violating any rules. Plus, you are a close relative, in a sense, to Harry, and rules state that the close relatives of a magical person may be allowed to know of magic and the magical world. Even with Harry as is, I would say she still counts. There are a ton of loopholes in the law to exploit, so counting this one, we would be able to talk at great lengths."
That was most fortunate, because Archer had a lot he needed to know, especially to expedite and help make Harry's escape as smooth as possible.
"But if 'Harry Potter' no longer exists…at least by name…" Archer hinted, though it flew over Rufus' head. "I mean if she were to, say, get married and her name legally changed?"
Rufus' lips twitched up slightly. "It would be just the right nudge to throw them off slightly on that end. But they could possibly go on to try to look for her magical signature, or if they got desperate –which I assure you, they can –they'll resort through blood magic to look for her."
Archer nodded, but he didn't look worried. That caused Rufus a little confusion, but he waited patiently for the blue-haired man to continue.
"And what of her, or rather Magic itself, having performed a magical binding between Henrietta and someone?" Archer said then, catching Rufus off guard.
"Magical bindings are nonexistent these days," Rufus licked his lips in disbelief. "And Magic doing the binding itself…that's unheard of. It's permanent and completely binding, and it has been decided that only those who were meant to be together absolutely should complete one, as those couples that did and found later that they were incompatible or weren't meant to be or just simply cheated or were unhappy…there were consequences. Very bad consequences."
Again, Archer looked completely unconcerned.
"But it is more than enough to nullify any locator spells," Rufus reluctantly said. "Her magical signature would have been tainted by the presence of another, even if that person was a Muggle. Her blood is her life force and through which magic is heavily entwined with, so it too would be 'tainted' in a sense."
Archer frowned. "But if she were needed to prove she is who she says she is using her blood…say, going to your magical bank and having to use her blood to prove her identity…"
"Well, just because it's been altered, it doesn't change who she is," Rufus tried to explain. "She is still herself, still Harry."
"So physical presentation of blood would certify herself and any blood magic involve," Archer mused, still frowning. "Then who is to say that this ministry of yours can't use her blood to find her? Do you all not have a collection of her blood?"
"All gotten before her altered state," Rufus said, thinking rapidly. "It wouldn't help now, since Harry's blood is different from the time that we'd collected before. If she gives her blood now for any reason, it'll still register as her because she would still be recognizable. Oppositely, her old blood would be insufficient because it doesn't have the new 'properties.'"
Archer understood as much of that as he could, though he would still be more comfortable after getting a better bearings on magic than he currently had.
"Do you have all of her memories with you right now?" he asked suddenly.
Rufus blinked but nodded.
"I would like to have all of them at this time," Archer said grimly. "Time is running out, I fear, and I –or my employer –cannot afford the time to wait for a vial of memories a day. We are…working on making sure Henrietta is…free from her chains."
Rufus stared at him for a moment, before he hesitantly reached into his pocket. Archer opened his mouth to reiterate the need for all of them, when he closed it and watched in hidden bewilderment as the man pulled vial after vial from his pocket, of which Archer was sure all of them wouldn't fit in there unless with magical help.
"These are her years from 2-5," Rufus pointed to certain vials. "This is childhood memories and this is her last few memories, which detail…her time with the ministry."
Archer had a feeling he would be more than furious with that last vial.
Ariana withheld a yawn, even though she was extremely exhausted. After her little meet and greet with Granger, she had set off like a Zubat out of hell. The girl was smart as heck, and had managed to give her all the information that she could, despite being limited in what she could say because of the restrictions on her. And even with the monitoring and restrictions having been lessened since from the beginning, there were still a fair few in place to hinder Granger from full out giving information to Ariana.
No matter. Ariana got plenty out of her.
What especially interested her was the loss of Harry's godfather. According to the girl, Sirius Black had fallen through a mystical veil that supposedly was instant death. However, no one knew for sure what it did or where anyone went if they went through it.
Hence, the red head was highly doubtful of that outcome. And how was she going to refute it? By bringing Sirius Black from the 'dead' and making Harry extremely happy with her. That sweet girl sounded like she more than deserved some happiness, and Ariana admitted there had been something about her that had drawn in and had made Ariana attached to her from the beginning.
Besides that, if Sirius Black, as Ariana theorized, had actually been transported to some other dimension, then she just needed to find a way to reach him and bring him back. To do so, she'd need the help of a certain dimension legendary to do that. And to get to it, there was a certain blue-haired nihilist she had to hunt down in the Sinnoh Region…
Well, at least she managed to reach the Regions in record time. She'd gone straight to headquarters in the London base, after talking with Granger, and transported herself in a dizzying rush to the Regions using their psychic transports. Unfortunately, she hadn't specified just where in the Regions she wanted to go, and had ended up landing in the main Kalos base, since that was where they were currently operating a large part of their current plans. Before deciding to teleport again to another base, she gained an idea.
Her cute, little niece was traipsing around these parts, according to the last report of the JJM unit. Those three, unknown to them, continually harassed and stalked Ash Ketchum, who was actually the daughter of Delia Ketchum –Ariana's sister.
It was hilarious really, and the only ones who knew were Giovanni and Archer, because that bastard knew everything.
And the best part was that her niece was such a magnet for trouble, and somehow ran into the regional Teams like they were annoying door to door salesmen you couldn't get rid of. More so that Ash already had experience dealing with Cyrus Akagi, and had met the man before –could probably even find him somehow. With Ash's usual magnetism to trouble and the Teams, Ariana could bet her niece's unfortunate luck would actually help Ariana in finding the reclusive former leader of Team Galactic.
Inwardly cooing in triumph at her genius, Ariana redirected her thoughts to her niece and focused as she was teleported again. Finding herself in the town of Lumiose City, Ariana had two places to check for sure. Ash would probably be staying at either the Pokémon Center, like she usually did and like most trainers…or at the region's Professor's Lab. Seeing that she was in Lumiose City, home to one Professor Sycamore, she had a heavy feeling Ash was with the latter, with her tendency to get each regions' professor's favor and inevitably get attached to her.
Geez, if Giovanni really wanted to rule the world, he should just get tips off of Ariana's niece.
It hadn't taken him long at all, to find where the Dursleys were. They had been keeping tabs on them after all. It was how Giovanni knew the family was going to leave for a while, and leave Harry behind. It was what had allowed him to take advantage of the situation and ask Harry to stay with him in the meantime, whisking her off to his country estate. And even better, now he didn't have to return her.
"You're…not serious, are you?" Vernon Dursley was as disgusting to look at now as he had been when Giovanni had first seen him.
He resisted the urge to sneer.
"I am very serious, Mr. Dursley," Giovanni said slickly. "I am not joking around at all."
"But you're asking to marry the girl!" Petunia Dursley's shrill voice joined into the conversation.
"Actually, I'm not asking," his look turned cold. "We can do this the hard way," he pulled out a gun and placed it on the table with a loud thud, and making their faces pale. "Or the easy way," he pushed the set of papers closer to them.
"Harry is underage still," Giovanni frowned at that. "Therefore, I require your signatures on these papers to permit me to marry her. I advise you to sign quickly."
"She has people that monitor and want her guarded," Petunia said tersely, though she was obviously shaken up.
Giovanni gave a very sadistic smile. "And I will deal with them all. Thoroughly."
The elder Dursleys shivered and looked at the table in trepidation, focused on where gun and papers rested ominously. Their son sat completely still to the side, and the last –whose home they were currently in –had gone grocery shopping and wouldn't be back yet.
"And you can be assured that your memory would be wiped entirely of her –she wouldn't exist in your minds and you can wash your hands of all memory and responsibility of her," Giovanni continued, knowing these people wouldn't want anything to do with Harry and this offer would only entice them. "You wouldn't have to deal with her anymore."
That put a look of consideration on their faces, though Dudley looked extremely reticent.
"I don't want to forget Harry," Dudley scowled, but his parents shushed him. Giovanni gave him a considering look.
"Not now, Dudley," Petunia gave her son a strained smile. "This is our chance to be free of the girl!"
"She'll be your responsibility now, got it?" Vernon told Giovanni gruffly, signing the papers as quick as he could. "No take backs. We don't want her back, so don't bother. If you get tired of her, got bored, or you finally realized she's a no good bitch and not what you wanted after all –you can do whatever the hell you want with her. Just don't give her back to us."
While Vernon handed the papers to his wife, Giovanni was contemplating using his gun anyway and shooting the two of them after they were done signing, but decided that it might be too suspicious. Perhaps a car accident or a gas leak in their house later on…
It would be ironic, considering Harry's past.
Once the papers were signed and he'd collected them and safely put them away in his briefcase, Giovanni straightened up in his seat.
"Mr. Malfoy," he called out softly, and a pale aristocratic man swept in, wearing a robe of all things, but which were obviously made in expensive material. Ice blue eyes glanced coldly over the group, but his lips curled into a mocking sneer.
Giovanni lazily pointed to the adults. "Please, if you will."
"It'll be my pleasure," and Lucius Malfoy swept closer and began to weave a powerful and even rather dark memory spell over the adults, knowing that it would be near impossible to retrieve their memories without breaking them, and even then the memories would still be gone.
After he was done with them, he turned towards the boy. "And him? What shall we do with him? Shall I take his memories as well?"
Giovanni admitted he was rather impressed by the defiant glare the boy sent towards his new associate.
"Tell me, kid, why do you want to keep your memories?" Giovanni stared down the boy, who looked down quickly.
"She's my cousin," Dudley muttered. "I don't want to forget my cousin. We just made up too…"
Giovanni tapped his fingers on his knee, leaning back and looking over the kid in front of him. He frowned before he looked to Lucius, who looked at him with a blank face.
"There is a lesser spell I could use," the blond man reluctantly offered. "They won't bother looking too much into him, considering they would focus more on the parents and assume he doesn't have any knowledge on anything. It's the parents that they would be more concentrated on, and they'll think he's as clueless and memory-locked as them if they try anything and hit any type of barrier, without checking further if it was a weaker version."
"Go on then," Giovanni drawled, and Dudley didn't fight, resigned to his fate but at least hopeful that their talk meant he could someday remember Harry again.
But if this all meant Harry would be free soon, then he was okay with this.
Giovanni stared at himself in the mirror. His lips slowly moved into a smirk as his eyes darkened and he ran his fingers through his slicked back hair, examining himself as he reached for the lapels of his suit and straightened them.
"Where is she?! How the hell could she have gone missing?!"
Everything was running smoothly and he and Harry had already signed the papers and made things legal, sending in the marriage license to be processed and accepted. Afterwards, his Team would bury the official copy so it couldn't be found and Harry would be untraceable aside from their own copy of the license and the miscellaneous papers they needed to keep on hand for her. Anything else outside of their vicinity wouldn't exist, and soon all records of Harry would be gone completely, unless needed to be brought up for a few moments and then disappearing again as if they never existed.
"Did you hear? They can't find her! The Immortal Sorceress is missing!"
"I can't believe the Ministry lost her like that."
Giovanni chuckled quietly, tugging at the bottom hem of his suit jacket and dress shirt, and then straightening his sleeves. Then after a final look over, he turned on his heel and walked out of the room.
"Nothing? What do you mean nothing is working? She should be easily traced!"
A small wedding, as had been agreed between Harry and him. Later…later he can throw as extravagant a wedding as he could, as she deserved. It would be beautiful and elegant, and his beautiful little phoenix would shine brilliantly in front of an adoring crowd.
But for now, while still a white wedding that befitted his stella's loveliness and purity, it would be a simple one with no one but themselves and a priest to marry them off. He still did the best he could to at least make it a pretty wedding, lines of lilies twined around banisters and rose petals decorating the aisle.
He took his place at the altar, by the priest, and waited.
"She couldn't have possibly just disappeared into thin air. What about her relatives? Do they know anything?"
"They don't even remember her."
Giovanni felt his lips move to create a gentle smile as he saw his bride blushingly and shyly tread down the aisle, looking around in wonder before her emerald eyes stopped on him and stared. He gave her an encouraging nod, and held himself back from laughing as she began to jog forward quickly, ignoring the tempo of the traditional wedding march being played in the background. In front of him now, she gave an embarrassed grin and scratched the back of her head awkwardly.
"I want her found! Use whatever you need to! Forbidden spells, dark magic, blood magic! I don't care. Do whatever it takes!"
"Do you swear…" the trading of vows started.
"She's gone, not a trace left behind. Where do you think she could have gone?"
"I'd rather know if she's biding her time, waiting to take over and enslave us."
'I do,' she mouthed in turn, giving him a small but very sincere smile.
Giovanni squeezed her hands in turn.
"Where is she?"
"I now declare you man and wife."
She was his wife now. And he'd wage war for her.
"Where is Harry Potter?"