Beyond the Veil
Harry watched herself in the mirror, regarding at how she looked in awe. Even if it had been simple, it had been her wedding. She couldn't believe she was really married now. She couldn't even believe how she looked. She didn't think she'd ever looked this beautiful.
Slowly, she began unraveling her hair, taking out the decorative flowers she'd managed to weave into her hair. She glanced back at Giovanni through the mirror, who had been watching her from his –their –bed. She raised an eyebrow and held up one of the flowers. He chuckled and walked towards her, plucking the flower from her hand.
"Would you like some help, mia stella?" he asked, his voice rolling over her like velvet.
She smiled widely at him, and she sat up and waited patiently as Giovanni's deft fingers expertly unwound her hair and removed pieces of flowers. Her hair fell around her, and Giovanni moved onto her wedding dress. Her breath hitched as his fingers went to the back of her dress and found the zipper, zipping downwards and opening it. As it reached the bottom, Giovanni leaned down from behind her and kissed her ear softly. His lips trailed down her cheek as his hands went to her shoulders, and he had started to kiss her neck when he spoke again.
"Harry, we don't have to do this tonight," he surprised her by saying. "I am yours. And I can be patient."
Relieved, she relaxed and all the tension seemed to flee from her, though she hadn't even noticed she'd tensed up. Looking into the mirror and looking at him, while he stared at her with darkened eyes, she reached up with one hand and elegantly placed her hand against the side of his head. She pushed him toward her and turned her own head slightly, leaning her head back a little as she kissed him.
If the world burned, she had a feeling it would not be because of herself and her phoenix form.
It would be at the hands of Giovanni, and it would be all because of her.
"Okay, Ash, not that I'm not happy about you succeeding and all this," Ariana started out. "But I can't believe you! You don't go hugging Legendaries and getting into their personal spaces and-and-and –and especially not Arceus!"
Ash stared blankly at her aunt, though her own Pikachu was giving her the 'I told you so' look. "What? Why not? I do it all the time. This isn't anything unusual for me." She turned to Cyrus, hoping he'd say or do something to help her out for once, but he was only staring at her blankly. She knocked lightly on his head. "Hello? Did I break you?"
He caught her wrist, though he glanced back at the large, waiting Legendary some ways away from them. He cleared his throat awkwardly, ignoring how Ash's Pikachu was visibly snickering at the situation.
"It is a rather amazing feat to see, for at least your aunt and I, of whom aren't as used to seeing Legendaries or being so friendly and affectionate with them."
Ash scrunched up her nose, but nodded in sort of understanding.
"So, I'm going to go with Arceus," her aunt flinched at that, "and I'll go get this Sirius Black guy."
"I would like to accompany you," Cyrus surprisingly interjected.
Though caught off guard, Ash nodded hesitantly. She hugged her wary aunt and handed her Pikachu (hopefully he'd help calm down and reassure her aunt, but Ash doubted it), and then grabbed Cyrus' hand, leading him back towards the Legendary of all Legendaries.
"Are you sure about this?" she asked him before they reached Arceus.
"I should be asking you that," he replied to her sarcastically.
Grinning, Ash shook her head and went faster towards Arceus.
"Have you made your arrangements, Ash?" Arceus asked her regally.
Ash nodded. "Yeah. Although, my friend here would like to come with me, if that is alright?"
It was kind of strange referring to him as a friend, and Cyrus himself felt funny about it.
Arceus intimidatingly looked him over, and Cyrus felt like shrinking away and finding a rock to crawl under. He felt uncomfortable under the gaze of a powerful Legendary such as Arceus, who seemed to be judging him.
"Very well," Arceus said finally. "However, if we run into Dialga and Palkia, there isn't much I can do to keep them back, if they wish to attack him. They are still upset and angry with this human."
Cyrus flinched, but Ash squeezed his hand. He started in surprise, having forgotten she'd been holding his hand still. When he stared at her, she wasn't looking at him but smiling widely at Arceus. She then glanced sideways at him and gave him a small nod.
"It's fine," she told Arceus. "I've got him. I'll make sure to take care of him."
Somehow, for some reason, that really got to Cyrus and he felt himself warm up oddly.
Arceus knelt, which caused the other two aside from Ash to feel uncomfortable and also almost panicky. However, Ash (as usual) saw nothing the matter and easily went to Arceus and climbed up onto him, pulling Cyrus along. After she got on, Cyrus hesitated for a moment on the ground, before a look from Ash made him wince and then climb up onto Arceus behind her. Then he had to deal with the issue of what to do with his hands and where would he place them, only hesitantly placing them onto Ash's waist after a few moments' thought. She didn't say or do anything, so he relaxed a little and held on tighter.
"Ready to go, Arceus!"
"Very well. Hold on tightly," Arceus told them, and then he set up into the skies.
They were getting closer and closer to the atmosphere, which made Cyrus antsy, considering he knew they were humans and couldn't breathe the higher up they were. However, he noticed that for some reason they weren't having trouble at all, even though they were now closer to breaking the atmosphere than before. Noticeably, Ash hadn't even blinked at any of this, despite the danger posed to them.
"When it is time, as we enter this portal, it is important for you two to go to sleep. It is not safe and could be dangerous for humans to travel consciously through dimensions," Arceus said as he continued to fly, though a portal had now formed in front of them. "It is dangerous enough that you will be entering my domain. I will need to allow for my realm to accept you two without any further problems."
That alarmed Cyrus, though Ash seemed to be taking it in stride. However, just as he was going to voice his worry, he felt a heavy presence in his mind and felt his eyes droop. Before either of them could notice, they'd fallen asleep, holding onto tightly to what they had been holding. Before long, Arceus passed through the portal with them.
Ash shifted, sighing into the soft mattress and the silky sheets. Wherever she ended up staying at, she must've gotten lucky. Really lucky…
Although the weight on her back and kind of holding onto her was warm but heavy.
Her eyes snapped open and she moved her head, seeing Cyrus still asleep behind her. As he'd held onto her when they'd been traveling, he was still holding onto her. Just more…tightly than before, with his arms encasing her in his hold. He was also snuggling up to her, which she was sure he wouldn't have had he'd been awake.
She almost freaked out and would have awoken Cyrus, or at least broken out of his hold and moved away (still waking him up in the process)…but then she thought about it. This was a rare occurrence. He was vulnerable and –dare she say it –being rather sweet in a way. She could just lay there and wait for him to wake on his own, and see how he reacts to their current position. He'd probably freak out, but at least he'd once again be showing some more emotion.
That decided, she lay there and waited, admitting that she felt rather comfortable anyway. When he started to stir, she tried not to tense up and waited in anticipation for him to realize how he'd basically wrapped himself around her. And she knew exactly the moment he had, when she could feel him tense up against her, his breathing almost coming to a stop. However, he said or didn't do anything else, and she was getting disappointed at the lack of outward reaction. Maybe she should say something to show she was awake and make him embarrassed?
Just as she opened her mouth to do so, someone else's voice interfered.
"You two are awake. Good," Arceus spoke.
Ash pouted. What a missed opportunity. And Arceus damned if Arceus didn't sound amused right then. All-knowing punk.
Cyrus stiffly unwound himself from her and got off the bed, and when she turned on the bed to see him, he was looking away from her and had already formed his face into its usual serious look. Sighing to herself, she slipped off the bed as well and looked around, blinking at how…human (if sorely extravagant) the place was. It was like a palace room from right out of the fairytales, with the walls and ceilings made of marble. There was no other decorations and the bed was the only thing in the room, and it was huge and fit for more than a human, she'd guessed. She was a little weirded out by the place and how it looked –and biased as she was –thought everything seemed rather human-like.
Not that she was going to ask Arceus. That would be even weirder, and maybe ignorant and reflect her 'human-bias.' Or was she reading too much into things?
"What are you thinking of?" Cyrus whispered suspiciously.
"I'm contemplating speciesism and bias," she told him and he gave her a weird look. He glanced around warily, and she rolled her eyes as she grabbed his hand and squeezed. If she had to reassure him again, geez whatever. She ended up missing the flustered look he sent her as she focused up ahead, as Arceus continued to lead them out of there and down a hallway.
"Sirius Black has been put under a stasis to relieve his body, mind, and soul from the stress of being in this realm, as well as heal him from previous wounds. Though, even with his special condition, being in the Hall of Origin would have still been a strain on him," Arceus informed them.
"Special condition?" Ash questioned him, not sure what he'd meant.
"He is…like you, with something similar to Aura," Arceus told her speculatively. "Your Aura is why you are handling this realm better than your comrade."
She blinked and looked at Cyrus, noticing that he was starting to sweat and move sluggishly. Worried, she leaned towards him and put her other hand against the side of his face.
"Are you okay?" she made sure to speak gently.
He was easily more reactive, inching his face away from her but his face turning red slightly.
"I'm fine," he muttered.
She frowned, but didn't push him. However, she pulled him closer and monitored him more closely out of the corner of her eye. After a while of walking, Arceus stopped in front of a door.
"Is he in there?" Ash asked suddenly, feeling anxious.
"Yes," Arceus confirmed. "You may retrieve him and come to me. We will return at once back to where we met."
Trading a look with Cyrus, she pushed the door open and entered. The two of them quickly spotted the prone body, who was laying peacefully in a similar bed to the one they'd woken up to.
"I will carry him," Cyrus actually offered, and headed over to the unconscious man and brought him off the bed and then carried him. He was a bit slow in coming back and was starting to perspire further, which made Ash worry even more and think that they had to get out of there for his sake, even if she was feeling fine.
Soon enough, the two of them were back on Arceus and had settled the man they came there for in front of Ash, and then they were heading back, once again falling asleep on the way.
"You guys sure look cozy."
Ash woke up again, this time to see her aunt leaning over her and wearing an amused, if contrite, expression on her face. Furrowing her eyebrows in confusion, she tried to look around to see if she could decipher what her aunt had meant, which was quickly realized when she couldn't really move that much. The fact was, she was once again trapped in Cyrus' arms, and this time she could feel his breath tickling the hairs on the back of her neck.
"You've got to be kidding me," Ash muttered.
She didn't know if she was fortunate or unfortunate that her aunt was aggravated and impatient enough to shake Cyrus awake and drag him off of her, startling and violently waking Cyrus into consciousness and realizing what he'd been doing after the fact. From his position on the floor, he avoided looking at Ash as he slowly got up (though he did toss a glare in Ariana's way).
"So I got Sirius set up in another room," Ariana told them. "He's still unconscious, but color's coming back to his skin and all his vitals seem normal. Sheena suggested we stay here a bit, try to rest and see if we can get him to regain his strength, and try to get him adjusted to being conscious and living life again. Don't know how much that will work since we're not sure when he'll wake up, o-or if he'll wake," her aunt grimaced. "And that's discounting the fact we're in the Regions, whereas he's used to the Mainland."
That was brought to Ash's interest, considering she'd lived in the Regions all her life and hadn't heard much about life outside of them.
"He's from the mainland?" Ash asked curiously.
Ariana laughed. "That's right. You've never been. Giovanni's got business out there. You're used to calling the four Regions grouped closer together as the mainland, that of Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh, with Unova and Kalos being the Outer Lands. Which, as a native, is fine. But technically, the Mainland most people talk about will refer to the world outside the Regions."
Ash turned to Cyrus. "Have you ever had business in the Mainland then?"
Cyrus, feeling awkward at her sudden attention, shook his head. "No. Cyrus Industries had never expanded beyond the Regions, and actually mostly centered in Sinnoh anyway."
"About that, do you still run your business or what? I kinda figure, with you being somewhat of a fugitive and all, that something would've been done with your business and your money," Ash scrutinized him. Unknown to her, her aunt had slipped out while Ash had gone on a tangent, intending to check up on their new addition to the group.
"Saturn is taking care of it, though I still have access," Cyrus revealed. "They never revealed my involvement with Team Galactic or my role in it and the Team's past plans, and the public never got wind of it from anyone either. However, the International Police are still looking for me, hence why I've kept my head down and kept to myself all these years."
"Have you learned your lesson?" she asked suddenly, watching him closely.
"Learned…my lesson?" Cyrus asked, giving her an uncertain look. However, she didn't answer him, though she continued to look at him with an inscrutable look. Cyrus felt uncomfortable being put on the spot like this, but felt like he had to give her an answer for some reason. And yet, he couldn't figure out what she'd wanted from him. "I don't understand," he admitted.
She frowned. "Is life worth living? Is this world worth it? Do you want to live in this world?" He flinched, just as she paused at that spot. She also hesitated, which he noted, but she pushed herself to continue. "Could you think of giving everything a try? Even emotions? I'm an emotional person, so if you can't, I don't think you could handle being around me."
Wait, what? What was she saying? Ash really needed a filter at that point, because she wasn't sure what she was saying anymore.
Cyrus stared at her, and she wished she'd kept her mouth shut. But then he spoke and surprised her with his answer.
"I'm not an emotional person," Cyrus started, causing her to cringe. "But I am…more accepting of them than I thought I could ever be. And this world…it is not as bad as I have thought it was, and maybe I could just continue to live through it and find my own way."
She let out a breath, breaking out into a blinding smile. It made his breath catch in his chest and he couldn't help just staring. Without warning (or thought on her part), Ash threw herself at him and embraced him tightly, causing him to once more be supremely flustered and unsure what to do or where to place his hands.
For her, she reiterated her thoughts. Maybe Cyrus really isn't that bad.
"How's he doing?" Ash asked her aunt, who was currently checking Sirius' temperature. They'd been there a week already, and there hadn't been much progress in his state. Although, to be honest, considering where he'd been and how long he'd been there, they hadn't really thought he'd wake up quickly anyway. In fact, there was a fear that he mightn't wake up at all.
"Not okay, but not any worse than when he got here," Ariana frowned as she examined the comatose man under her care. She turned her attention to her niece. "And of you? How are you holding up? Especially having to put up and watch over the nihilistic dolt?"
"I'm fine," she reassured her aunt. "Actually, it's not so bad with Cyrus either. Right now, he's helping out Sheena and Kevin by getting the groceries. It's a bit amazing really. Other than that, we've taken to perusing Sheena and Kevin's library, and he's been educating me about Sinnoh's history and the region's legends. He's a pretty good lecturer actually, and I like listening to his voice."
Ariana gave her an incredulous and disbelieving look, but Ash was being honest. Cyrus really had taken to helping out, and was getting groceries from the store at that moment. And she really had been spending time with Cyrus at the library, and reading all the cool things Sheena and Kevin had stocked up in there. And Cyrus, after a few curious questions about Sinnoh from her, had decided he'd educate her about it all, and she'd realized right away that Cyrus was interesting like this and was good at lecturing. She also, admittedly, enjoyed listening to his voice a little too much.
"Yeah, okay," Ariana muttered. "I'll believe you, even if it sounds all crazy to me."
Just then there was a loud groan and the two females froze. They traded looks before they moved their heads rapidly to look at their 'patient.' They waited with bated breaths, and then Sirius had once again groaned, this time shifting minutely from his position. Then his eyelids fluttered and beautiful crystal-blue eyes revealed themselves.
From there, Ash let her aunt take over, directing the heavily breathing man's attention to herself.
"Mr. Black? My name is Ariana," her aunt introduced herself. "I'm a friend of your goddaughter. Henrietta Potter?"
At that, the man shot up from the bed and alarmed them, more so as that movement had caused him to double over and cough violently, his entire body shaking from the effort.
"Please calm down, Sirius!" Ariana attempted to calm him, slipping in his first name. However, he stayed agitated.
"H-Harry," he gasped out. "I have to get to Harry."
"She's fine," Ariana told him, using a soothing tone. "When you're better, we can take you to her. But right now, you need to calm down and lay back on the bed."
Ash, watching them, slowly backed away. She was sure she wasn't going to be helpful at the moment, so decided to get out of there and probably go check on Cyrus. He should be back by then…
Sirius wasn't sure how to take anything. He'd woken in a strange place, with strange people. He wanted to roam free to explore his surroundings, but his body was still feeling weak. But most importantly…
He wanted to go to Harry and see if she was alright.
The last time he remembered seeing her, they were in that stupid chamber in the Ministry of Magic's lower levels. He was falling backwards through the Veil, and he could clearly recall the look of utter, devastation on his goddaughter's face as she watched him.
He had to talk to her, reassure her he was alright. He wanted to know where she was, because he knew Harry would be there by his side, watching over him and forgetting about her own health because that was the type of person she was. And yet, at the moment, he was clueless and unsure what was going on.
The door to the room opened and that girl entered, the one who'd been helping the gorgeous red head who'd been taking care of him the most. A light blue-haired man followed after her, carrying a tray of food and medicine.
"Oh! You're awake," she said cheerfully. "I brought breakfast! Come on, Cyrus. Over here."
Cyrus was the man, Sirius concluded. Both of them came closer, with the girl directing Cyrus to place the food tray gently on his lap.
"I'm Ash by the way," she said idly. "Aunty Ariana said you've been doing well and recovering much faster than anyone thought you would. It's amazing."
Ariana was the older red head, he remembered her saying her name. Sirius hummed a nonchalant answer, looking down at his food. It was a simple soup, some fruit, and some cheese to nibble on.
"My goddaughter," he brought up again.
Ash cut him off. "I haven't met her," she revealed. "My Aunty Ariana asked for my help in finding you though, and she showed me her picture. She's really pretty."
Sirius smiled to himself, thinking about her. "Yes, she really is." His smile died down. "Do you know anything at all? Is there anything you can tell me?"
Cyrus actually stepped in, putting a hand on Ash's shoulder. "We're not really sure of anything. Her aunt asked us for help, because she believed –after hearing your goddaughter's story about what happened to you -that you'd gone into a portal. We were lucky enough to find you."
Sirius tilted his head, observing them. They were close together and Cyrus' hand was still on her shoulder, and they'd unknowingly leaned into each other. He smiled a little and his eyes lingered on Cyrus' hand.
"Are you two together or something?" he asked, and nearly laughed at their shocked faces, and Cyrus removing his hand away from Ash as if it had been burned.
"N-no, of course not," Ash said, but her face was burning red. "We're just…acquaintances?"
"Was that a question?" he asked in sarcastic amusement.
Ash snapped her mouth shut, pouting a bit. At that moment, the door opened again and Ariana entered.
"I see we've been busy," she noted, observing the scene.
Sirius opened his mouth, but she beat him to it.
"After you rest up today, I think you're fine to make the travel back to Eterna City where we'll head back to the Mainland. You can be reunited with Harry there."
Sirius felt elated, and promised to himself that he would get better enough quickly. He missed his goddaughter and wanted to see her.
Harry saw her husband talking on the phone, forming several different expressions on his face. She was curious, but didn't think she needed to pry. If it was important and needed her attention, he would come to her and talk to her about it.
Which was what he did, hanging up on his phone and heading towards her. Raising an inquisitive eyebrow at him, he was quick to answer her silent question.
"That was Ariana, one of my Executives," he informed her. "Aside from Archer, she is probably my most trusted subordinate. Interestingly enough, she called to inform me she'd gone off to do something on your behalf."
Confused, she waited for him to elaborate on why a woman she'd never met had done something for her.
"Apparently, after hearing about your godfather, she had some kind of theory that he might have gone through a portal instead. She found a way to test that theory –in fact, she was successful," Giovanni did his best to tell her the news gently.
Her breathing almost stopped and she stared at Giovanni in disbelief. Her godfather…Sirius was found.
'Is he alive?' she mouthed, and when he nodded, her face broke out into the happiest look she could achieve. Inwardly, she was frustrated that her happiness at this unbelievable news was hindered by the muteness of her emotions, and worse that even her frustration wasn't fully formed either. Still, she did her best and wrapped Giovanni in a tight hug.
"He'll be arriving soon," he added. "Why don't you get ready? I will make sure Persian and Lily are fed while you do."
She nodded and got up, heading to her room. She made sure to focus on her breathing, trying to calm herself. She was excited, but unsure at this new news. What would Sirius have to say about all this? About what happened to her? About her being married, and to whom?
Harry didn't want to think about that then. All she wanted was to see her godfather and be reunited with him after so long, especially after having believed he was dead. She quickly fixed herself up and then began writing something down on her journal, she carried it with her as she then went back down to where she was supposed to meet Giovanni, only to see him with a group of people and speaking with a red head. However, she only had eyes for one person, who had been looking around in curiosity and was glancing occasionally in interest at the yellow mouse-like animal near a girl Harry's age, Persian, and Lily, with the pokémon having been gathered together and were speaking to each other in their own languages.
She ran towards him and embraced him, holding onto him and never wanted to let go.
"Harry!" she heard him exclaim.
He hugged her back just as tightly for a few moments before they reluctantly parted, and Harry turned to the others. She specifically wanted to see and meet the woman who had helped make this happen, and thank her profusely, only to be caught surprised by the familiar red head.
The red head cheerily waved at her. "Nice seeing you again, Harry! Remember me?"
Harry nodded dumbly, while Giovani shook his head in exasperation. He moved closer to her, and she could feel her godfather tense and his confusion. But he didn't do anything, for which she was glad.
"Harry, this is Ariana. Ariana, since you met her first when you went shopping, you should know who she is."
"Yeah, your new wife," Ariana snarked, causing Harry to blush prettily while Giovanni glared at her.
Her godfather tensed even more, but surprisingly he didn't say or do anything. She could guess he was still processing everything, especially since it sounded like he'd been in some other dimension. She was still confused about that, but so was Sirius. Hopefully, one of the others would eventually explain it to them more fully.
"This is also my niece Ash, and her friend Cyrus," Ariana introduced the girl and man beside her, though Harry had to wonder at the emphasis.
She didn't really have to look that much into it, considering it was almost pretty obvious, with the other girl's red face and glare towards her aunt, and the blue-haired man's almost unnoticeable fidgeting.
Ariana's Cheshire grin said a lot more.
"So I'll have these three settled into our home," Giovanni interrupted, talking to Harry. "You can catch up with your godfather."
Harry gave him a grateful smile and he left with the others, leaving her alone with Sirius.
"You haven't said a word," Sirius said in worry.
Smiling sadly, Harry led him to a place to sit and faced him. She then pointed at her throat and shook her head.
"You can't talk?" Sirius asked alarmed.
Harry handed him her book and opened it to the page she had written down what she needed to. As he read, she could see his face darkening with every word he scanned.
"Those bastards!" Sirius shouted as he slammed the book shut. She reached over and placed her hands on his and he looked at her aggrieved. "I'm so sorry, love. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you, and that you had to go through all this. And I'm sorry that you thought I'd died and mourned for me."
She shook her head and made sure her face, especially her eyes and lips, were visible.
'No, what happened happened, and I'm just happy you're alive and here.'
And he cried with her as he moved around the coffee table separating them, holding onto her like she held onto him.
Sirius was still pretty weak and was still recovering, so he had to rest some more after that emotional breakdown. Luckily before he did so, Ariana finally provided an explanation to them, regarding how she thought about Sirius' predicament and how she'd managed to bring him back. Both Harry and Sirius had managed to communicate their gratefulness to her and to Ash and Cyrus, before Giovanni and Harry had led Sirius to what would be his room and helped him to rest.
Harry was then walking around the manor, thinking to herself of what she could eat for lunch. It was then she saw Ariana's niece walking along the same hallway. She quickly sped up and tapped the girl on her shoulder, smiling widely when she was faced with the surprised female.
"Oh, hey!" Ash greeted her casually.
'Hi,' she mouthed, and Ash kindly didn't mention anything about her muteness. 'Are you hungry?'
"Right, food. I hope you don't mind. I am a bit hungry," Ash admitted.
She smiled kindly at the other and led the way to the kitchens, where she led Ash to a table for them to sit at. After Harry made some sandwiches, with Ash helping out by making some quick rice balls, they sat and ate quietly at the table.
Still curious about earlier and feeling (as much as she could) mischievous, Harry found a writing pad nearby and began writing something down. She then handed it to Ash, who read it and simultaneously laughed lightly and blushed horribly.
"Is Cyrus my boyfriend? Arceus no! That guy's got zero personality and the worst attitude about the world ever. No way." Ash shook her head several times, but Harry wasn't sure the other knew how much she sounded too defensive.
'Why defensive?' Harry teased.
Ash huffed and started pouting. But then she sighed and shrugged. "He's handsome and maybe not all that bad. But we're not dating. Seriously."
Harry grinned widely. 'Maybe you two should.'
"Harry!" Ash yelped in dismay.
Harry just began to laugh soundlessly at her, which the other girl took good-naturedly.
An hour later and her conversation with Harry was still spinning around in her mind. Having managed to find the library, Ash wasn't admitting that she went there to hide and brood.
Remembering the other girl, she thought on how young the other was and how she was even prettier in person. Giovanni was as handsome as ever, though he was less of a jerk than she remembered, and strangely docile and domestic. It was probably because of Harry, and Ash could see how well the two fit together. She was a bit envious and wanted a relationship like that…
Which made her remember the talk she just had (and Cyrus), which made her cringe. No. Just no way…
And yet, she could confess –if only to herself –that she had found him handsome and captivating from their first meeting in Celestic Town. Even as he got overly passionate about talking of Dialga and Palkia, she'd only found it amusing and likening to her own passion towards pokémon battling, despite her friend Brock's insistence he looked and sounded crazy. And when it was revealed that he was the Galactic Boss, none of that had changed.
But still –!
Her thoughts were interrupted as a soft thump broke through, and she saw a tea pot and two tea cups placed on the little table in front of her. She looked to the side to see the culprit being Cyrus, who was purposely avoiding her gaze as he held a book in his arm. He slowly took a seat next to her, and she could feel how tense his body was and how nervous he was, though his face remained as tightly controlled as he could keep it.
He sat back, slightly leaning towards her, and opened the book to begin quietly reading aloud. Ash hesitated before slipping off her shoes and pulling her legs up, curling them under her as she leaned into him, listening to his voice comfortably as she decidedly rested her head against his shoulder.
She really hoped Harry wasn't the type to say 'I told you so.'