Disclaimer: Sabrina is heartily glad I don't own this series. Even the anime writers resolved her psychiatric problems at the end of her episode. Oh, you know, at the total expense of her character and her self… hey Sab, are you sure you don't want to hang with me instead? You know how this is going to end.
Timeline: Takes place immediately following Fuse. Manga canon is now on official vacation. You'll see it again towards the end of the series. Follow along on your GameBoy; viva la RBY!
"She teleported to Celadon, where she was needed."
It wasn't hard to find Giovanni in his own base. Even if she hadn't been able to feel him, to track him with the psychic senses of which she was justifiably proud, she'd have been able to find him by simply listening for the one area of the base that- in contrast to the total uproar everywhere else- was uncharacteristically quiet.
Sabrina found him in a corner of the basement- or what remained. She stepped over the lightest damage, the razed walls, the juts of concrete and earth, the tumbled tiles of ceiling. Light fixtures sputtered and sparked, half-shattered on the floor. When the floor split entirely, divided by an impromptu chasm so deep she couldn't see the bottom and so wide she couldn't leap it, she teleported. But not next to him. She landed five steps beside him and cleared her throat.
At the bottom of the new abyss, she knew, there could be bodies. And if Giovanni had left them there, he would be in no mood to be startled.
He turned around and lunged in the same movement, one hand on a PokeBall and the other on a small semi-automatic. She stayed perfectly still, just looking at him. It had been a long time since the last time Giovanni had killed someone with his own hands, but not long enough- nor would it ever be long enough- that she had forgotten it.
He clipped the PokeBall back to his belt, but kept the pistol in his hand. "Sabrina," he said, although it sounded more like an exhale. "I am extraordinarily glad to see you."
"I am sorry not to have arrived earlier," she said, and matched his raised eyebrow with one of her own. "'Not an emergency,' you said?"
"It did not look likely to be," he said. "I did not expect such total failure on the part of this base's security."
"There was an attack?" she surmised.
"Not precisely. There was an intruder. A child."
"Those children," she said, and was certain she was right.
"It seems likely."
"Then this base is no longer a secret."
"That does appear to be the case."
"The child. Is he- or she- alive?"
"Yes. We battled. He is quite good," Giovanni said pensively. "He reminds me of- well, it hardly matters." He swept his hand across, indicating the wreckage. "He escaped the earthquake."
"Are we in evacuation?"
He hesitated. Some part of her wished he would put the pistol down. "I wished to consult with you about that."
"Of course, our security is compromised here. If one child has gotten in, it is possible that another may follow. There is also an evident flaw in our methods of securing the base. The personnel responsible have been dealt with." Sabrina wondered how many bullets were left in the gun. "But that does not mean that the problem is necessarily solved."
He paused again, and suddenly she understood the dilemma. "But if a legitimate businessman were to suddenly leave and cease work on his property here in Kanto's mercantile capital, and a rumor started circulating that the Team was somehow involved here as well…"
"You understand my position perfectly," Giovanni said. "That is why I wished you to be here."
What about Koga, or Surge? a part of her asked, and another part, the piece of her that held her wine, the piece of her that had explained to Morty that the Team made her feel alive, suggested that the first part hold its tongue. Sabrina fought the urge to clench her fist. Focus.
"Are any of the other locations or even the bolt-holes sufficiently guarded as to accommodate transferring part of the operations to them?"
"Not particularly so," Giovanni said. "I had thought of my Gym, of course, but that gets rather more traffic than is comfortable. There is Mount Moon, but that is sufficiently out of the way that any significant movements there would arouse commentary."
"There is my Gym."
"No," he said, forcefully. "You will not endanger your own position in the League with this."
"It has some of the best shielding anywhere in Indigo Insulae," she pressed on. "I sleep there, after all. Not even my own brother could pass without my permission."
"Out of the question. If suspicion turned on you? No," he said, and she recognized the futility of arguing with him any more.
"I would say that more would be lost by leaving," Sabrina said slowly. "If nothing appears to have changed, any rumors spread by children will appear to be exactly that. Clearly the security flaw needs to be addressed. It may also be time to address the problem of these children head-on."
Giovanni nodded. "That is the conclusion to which I had come myself," he said. "I am glad you agree. I have an assignment for you, Sabrina."
"And that is?"
"Shielding," he said. "I want any and all access points locked down such that no one but a Team member can get in. I am not particularly concerned about how this is done, so long as it is effective."
"That will not be a problem," she said. "It is quite similar to the wards already on my Gym."
"I should not have turned you down when you first offered to shield the base," he said. "I apologize. It was an error. I miscalculated."
"You hardly knew me at the time," she reminded him, remembering a hushed conversation in the corner of an anonymous bar somewhere in an anonymous city. You'd be an asset to my organization, he'd said.
"I should have revisited your offer." Finally, finally he stretched his shoulders back and holstered the gun. The corners of his mouth twitched upwards, and he was so visibly exhausted that it almost looked like a smile. "Sabrina, I am very glad that you are home."
She nearly smiled back. "So am I, sir."
"Please rest. No action need be taken before tomorrow." He surveyed the basement- the spires of earth and concrete, the half-collapsed walls, the chasm. "A testament to good infrastructure- the higher floors are surprisingly undamaged. Still, Nidoqueen and I will repair this damage tonight."
"May I help you?"
"No," he said, his eyes still on the deep grave in the ground. "No, thank you, Sabrina. I will take care of it." He looked at her again, locking with her eyes. "I am very glad that you are home now."
She didn't sleep that night, after all.