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Newt is around nine when he realizes his parents don’t visit his grandfather much. Theseus and Newt would both be dropped off a few times a month, Theseus loved to run amuck in the old armory were the portraits would tell him stories of grand adventures and Newt loved the library which was also an observatory filled with exotic plants. His grandfather was often in the library, reading quietly but Newt never minded him and he seemed to be fine with Newt. They would read together for hours until Theseus came banging into the room.

Newt’s grandmother had passed when he was a baby so he couldn’t recall her. All he knew was his grandfather lived alone in a fancy house in London and his mum wanted her sons to visit him. Even if she and her husband never did.

“They had a big fight a long time ago,” Theseus told Newt when he asked. “Mum was supposed to marry someone else but she ran away and married dad instead. I heard one of the ladies whispering about it.”

Newt personally thought his grandfather seemed like the sort of reasonable man who would think his mum and dad falling in love was alright. But he was reserved and very dignified, not liking Theseus and Newt to run too much in the house or eat too fast. He liked his rules as well, no books on the table, no jumping from one couch to the other, no bringing creatures from the garden into the house. But he was never mean about his rules, he would just explain each one patiently. Food could ruin books, jumping too far could hurt someone, creatures from the garden might not like the house and the house might not like them.

“I dunno, he frowns so much,” Theseus huffed but Newt never minded that either.

“He’s still nice,” Newt pointed out and his big brother shrugged, not seeming bothered.

 

When Theseus went to school at Hogwarts Newt’s mum asked if he wanted to wait to visit his grandfather.

“No, I don’t mind going without Thee, did you want to come?” His mum had looked odd, a touch sad as she smiled and shook her head.

 

“Why doesn’t mum visit?” Newt asked his grandfather one sunny day, the sunlight pouring in from the glass windows and roof, warming him to his bones.

“I imagine she thinks she would not be welcomed, or perhaps she thinks her husband would not be welcomed.”

“How come?”

Newt grandfather frowned a moment before putting his book down, giving Newt his full attention. Newt sat a touch straighter, trying to look proper with his grandfather’s gaze on him. The old man seemed to like that, eyes warming when Newt tried to be good.

“Long ago I met a man, a fellow wizard, who saved my life,” his grandfather began. Newt listened intently, his grandfather’s stories rare and precious.

“We became great friends and when your mother was born my friend had a son of his own. We decided they would be married.”

Newt left his perch in the observatory, coming closer to his grandfather to hear better. “Mum married dad though.”

His grandfather nodded.

“She met your father a year before her wedding, but rather than telling me she chose to hide it, thinking it would be better that way.”

“Secrets are bad,” Newt repeated from years of being told so.

“They are. But she kept her secrets until the day before her wedding, choosing to run off with your father than to tell anyone. My friend’s son was left waiting at the alter, shamed and humiliated. So was I, ashamed and humiliated, that she had run away without telling anyone, leaving us all behind.”

“That wasn’t very nice,” Newt decided, frowning at the floor. “But she does love my dad and is happy now right?”

“She is.” His grandfather agreed.

 

“I’m sorry mum, he just needed a place to stay for a bit! He hurt his foot you see,”

“Newt,” his mum’s tone was dark. “Your little friend has eaten through your floor boards and is running amuck in the walls now. You shouldn’t have hidden him, secrets are bad.”

“You kept secrets too!” He defended, worried about his friend and what his parents would do if they caught the poor creature. Nifflers were considered pests and usually wizards killed them.

Killed them.

His mum seemed to stop short, blinking down at him. “What?”

“Grandfather said so,” Newt admitted, feeling bad now as he mum stared at him with a strange look.

 

He didn’t visit his grandfather again in the spring, not until Theseus came home from school months later.

“Dad said mum and Grandpa fought,” Theseus revealed once they were alone. “I guess it had to do with you.”

“Oh.” Newt blinked.

The next evening he went looking for his mum and found her in the kitchen preparing dinner.

“Mum?”

She hummed at him, distracted with the vegetables she was cutting up. Her magic moving three different knives at once.

“I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” She paused, blinking down at him. “For what dear?”

“For saying you kept secrets,” he admitted softly, shamefaced as he mum looked down at him with that sad sort of air about her.

“…Oh honey, that’s alright dear, water under the bridge,” she soothed, reaching out to run her soft hands through his messy hair.

“…Can I go see grandfather again then?”

His mum paused, staring at the vegetables as they cut themselves.

“You get along well with him, don’t you?”

Newt nodded his head. “He tells me stories, about places in the world and the animals that live there.”

“You never could resist a creature,” she huffed but smiled softly. “If you want, of course you can visit him.”

Newt doesn’t know what happened after that and he never did learn precisely but he started visiting his grandfather once again and once a month for the first time, his mum and dad would come, and they’d all have dinner together.

Everyone seemed to get along just fine, which was confusing since they stayed away so long, but Newt thought it best to be quiet about it.

 

When he turned sixteen Newt met Credence Graves in the summer.

Newt would spend a week here and there in London with his grandfather, reading books and going to wizard museums with him, peering at artifacts and learning about magical creatures. He had decided he would study them and his grandfather thought it a good idea, something suitable in higher learning. He also liked that Theseus was going to become an auror, apparently many of their ancestors had done so as well. Without trying to, his mum and dad made Newt feel a tad bad about it, that he wasn’t going to learn how to fight dark wizards or become a great healer or something worthy of attention.

“Education is the stepping stone of all great things,” his grandfather told him. “There is no shame in choosing to learn, to study and share your findings with the world.”

Newt often felt his grandfather understood him best.

On the end of his weeklong visit, his grandfather had a visitor over, an old friend and his grandson.

“I decided to bring the lad, needed a break from his family. John means well but he’s hard on the boy, it’s clear he’s no auror, a softer sort.”

Newt blinked at the comment, not meaning to overhear as he brought in the tea-tray and set it down between his grandfather’s and the visitor's chairs. Gawain Graves was a large man with dark hair and a gruff tone. He was both intimidating and a bit charming with his chuckle.

Taught to be polite Newt smiled in all the right places and listened patiently to the questions about his age and schooling. Once it was done he was sent out into the garden to find Credence, the boy a year younger than him.

“Hello,” he offered and the dark haired boy startled, blinking up at him a touch anxious. There was a morose air about him, something solemn and sad.

“Hello, you must be Mr. Prewett’s grandson.”

“I am,” Newt was usually the nervous one but he felt at touch at ease with the other boy looking unsure of himself. A bowtruckle that had taken up living in the garden chose then to jump to Newt’s shoulder, landing messily and chirping in greeting.

“Oh, hello,” Newt smiled and Credence looked startled from his nerves, blinking at the bowtruckle as it settled on Newt’s shoulder.

“What is that?” He asked curiously and once Newt started it was hard to stop. Credence seemed to like learning about creatures though, genuinely interested in the bowtruckle that Newt managed to coax into the other boy’s hands.

They got on well surprisingly, most boys his own age didn’t care much for Newt. But Credence confessed it was the same way for him so together they seemed to fit.

“A magizoologist?”

Newt nodded, settled in the observatory.

“That is the hope. What about you?”

Credence frowned at his hands and shrugged. “I don’t know is the problem. My dad keeps demanding I pick and I’m trying but nothing… fits. My older brother became an auror and I think my dad wants me to as well but I don’t think I’d do well.”

It was the most Newt had heard from the other boy so far.

“That’s ok I think. We are only sixteen really, lots of time to find the right thing. I only know because I love magical creatures. Even then, my parents aren’t exactly delighted with the choice. I imagine they would like another auror son as well but I don’t think I’d do well either.”

“Auror families,” Credence sighed and Newt shared a smirk with him, meeting the other boy’s eyes for a moment.

“Either way, I think I’ll be arranged anyway. Dad thinks it might be the best if I can’t decide.”

“Arranged?”

“A marriage. Arranged to marry into a family, to give strength to the bloodlines.”

 

Newt hadn’t realized arranged marriages were still happening. When he looked into it, he realized it was still very much a common occurrence.

Once Credence went home to America they started writing back and forth and as he had predicted, Credence’s father was arranging him to be married.

“That’s too bad,” his mum commented when she heard and Newt blinked at her. Theseus and their dad both glanced at their grandfather who seemed to ignore the comment. “I just mean, well, that poor boy doesn’t seem the type to speak up for himself.”

Newt couldn’t deny that Credence worried constantly about pleasing his father. From what Newt had gathered, Credence’s mother had gotten pregnant and so his father married her barely a year after his first wife died. Not long after Credence was born his mum passed away and so it was just Credence, his brother, and father.

He had never explained but it was clear that pleasing his father was immensely important to Credence. It did make a bit of sense in that his parents married because of him rather than he was born because of the marriage. A bit of a scandal right there.

“Did you know people still arranged marriages,” Newt piped up and his mum frowned a touch. “I was reading about it.”

“Girl in training with me is going to marry some man when she’s twenty,” Theseus offered up. “A few kids I went to school with too, I’ve heard of it but it’s not that common.”

“Mostly among the older families, protecting the bloodlines and such,” his grandfather mused.

Newt took a bite of dinner, putting the information away for later.

 

Not long after, Newt was nearly expelled from school.

Hogwarts sent him home and then he was called back by the grace of a kind professor. He was allowed to graduate but still thoroughly dishonored. Leta and his friendship was ruined and Newt’s mum and dad looked at him like he might have a venomous snake in his pocket. Newt felt a shame settle on his shoulders and it refused to leave, making him even more anxious than before.

Credence’s story was worse; his father had narrowed his selection down to two families, both rather horrid. The one was a young woman who Credence did not like at all. She was cruel to him for no real reason. The other an older man who scared him a touch, whispers that he was from a dark wizard family circling. Percival, Credence’s older brother, had tried to convince him to refuse the arrangements but Credence was certain it was his duty to do so. The poor boy was going to enter a marriage he couldn’t break easily with someone he didn’t like and that was heartbreaking.

Newt understood how Credence felt though, few people liked him either. Most thought Newt was annoying or weird. Leta had been his only friend in Hogwarts and now that was gone. Credence was the only other in the world and he was being sentenced to an unfair binding simply because he felt he had too.

 

“Would you be angry if I entered an arranged marriage?”

His mum paused in mid-bite, staring at him. His dad and Theseus both locked on to him as well. His grandfather was the only one not surprised it seemed.

“This is about the Graves boy I take it?” He asked and Newt looked down, fiddling with his napkin.

“I like Credence and we’re good friends. I just think that’s better than… than the choices he had now.”

“Newt, you cannot enter a arranged marriage because you feel sorry for someone,” his mum decreed, looked horrified. “Did you suggest this?” She asked her father and Newt jerked up in his chair.

“No, he didn’t,” he quickly answered. “I just…Credence in my friend and it’s not like I’m someone who makes those easily. If I can help him I would like it.”

“Still not the best reason to marry him,” Theseus offered, looking bad for admitting it.

“I know. It’s more than that. We get along and I don’t know many people I get along with well.”

“You have years to meet people,” his mum pointed out. “What about traveling the world, studying magical creatures?”

“I thought we could do it together?” Newt blinked and his mum sighed, it made him feel like a great fool.

“Absolutely not,” she announced firmly, her tone bringing the conversation to an end.

“Did you see the papers, with the ban on joining up with the army?” Theseus brought up after an awkward pause and they moved along smoothly after that.

Newt didn’t bring it up again but he when he stepped into his grandfather’s library to borrow a few books, he found them waiting already.

“Stubborn like your mother, strong like her too,” his grandfather observed lightly. Watching as Newt flushed but scooped up the books on arranged marriages. “I know better than to try and control you, but read carefully and understand this is no light thing. If you do decide to make a contract, you’ll send it to me first of course.”

Newt looked up at his grandfather and nodded, feeling so grateful that the man wasn’t trying to decide for him. His mum meant well but she was a bit domineering when it came to Newt, thinking he was too soft to make his own decisions.

“Do you… after she broke the contract, did you… love her less?” Newt asked softly, thinking if how angry his mum would be if he went through with this. Afraid she might not forgive him. That he would disappoint her too far this time.

“I love my daughter, I have since the day she was born and placed in my arms and I will until my very last breath and beyond. A parent’s love doesn’t fade my boy, it endures. Don’t let anything hold you back from making your own choices.”

 

Reading up, Newt realized that the marriage was more like a contract for business, filled with stipulations and guidelines. Inside one of the books was his mum’s own marriage contract. Newt read it over and realized that by breaking the contract in the way she had, his mum had forced her father to give up a great deal of wealth. Even then, there was a mark on their family name, it would follow their bloodline, a point that they had not honored a contract and were not trustworthy. It affected loans from banks and even applications into schools.

In the fine print, however, was mention of the contract passing down generations. Feeling giddy, Newt read it over carefully and realized Credence and Newt could be married by the same contract. Already signed and sealed, it would even stand before any contracts Credence’s father made, as an elder family member had signed it, his own father.

Newt sent the contract off, outlining his idea. If for some reason Credence and Newt didn’t want to get married, they could call off the marriage properly a year before the wedding. The contract listed the wedding on Newt’s mum’s twenty-fifth birthday so it would be Newt’s own twenty-fifth. He was only eighteen, so they had years to decide.

 

Everything seemed less important when Theseus left.

Newt’s mum begged him not to go but he still went, packing up and joining the army as the war build up and raged.

“It’s our home too, we should defend it, wizards hiding while muggles die to defend us? That’s not right. We should be beside them.”

Everyone talked about it when he left, about Theseus going against the Ministry orders. Pretty soon, other wizards and witches were leaving as well, inspired by Theseus and following him.

He was right; Newt could feel it in his bones that his brother was right. Why was a wizard’s life worth more than a muggles?

So once his grandfather finished reworking the contract for the arranged marriage, Newt signed it and his grandfather witnessed it, signing his own name again. Credence would as his brother Percival to witness if his father refused but Newt’s grandfather was sure he wouldn’t.

“The boy marrying you will fulfill a contract left standing, even if the Graves are not at fault, it’s still a mark on their name as well. Credence will erase that and no marriage to some new family can be worth more than that.”

Newt nodded, feeling a bit shaky as he sealed the contract and send it off to his friend by owl. His grandfather’s hand was warm and solid on his shoulder, steadying him.

“You of course realize, you won’t be able to help your friend if you go off and get yourself killed.”

Newt closed his eyes; of course his grandfather had realized it.

“I’m so sorry, I left a note for mum and dad but I imagine they’ll be over here tomorrow, blaming you. For the arranged marriage at least.”

“And for not locking you in the basement when I knew you were running after Theseus.”

Newt looked over at the man, taking in the lines of his face, the calm stoic air he always carried about him.

“Do you really think that’s why?”

“I think people underestimate you, and eventually they will see that.”

While he wasn’t normally one for open affection, his grandfather did bring him into a tight hug, holding onto Newt firmly.

“Be safe Newt, the world doesn’t need dead heroes as much as it does good men.”

 

War was a hellish sort of thing, filled with blood and screaming, pain and death everywhere as far as you could see. Some men relished in the fight and the victory but Newt never felt anything but numb.

He took lives.

Killed other men who were trying to kill him and nothing about that felt right. When the eastern front called for people to try an experimental program with dragons Newt rushed to go. Some men called it suicide but Newt felt that staying in the battlefield was taking something far more crucial than merely his life.

He understood why they were fighting, believed in it even, but Newt now knew with an utter certainty that being an auror would never suit him. He wasn’t meant to fight like this.

Letters came very rarely but a few did make their way to him. His mum and dad wrote, never seeming angry at him thankfully. Theseus managed to send letters across the war zones, bright cheerful things about meeting new friends and learning new defense spells.

He never mentioned offensive spells and Newt never asked.

Even Credence wrote a few times, he had signed the marriage contract and his father was very pleased with it. So much so that he refused to let Credence got to war when his elder brother left for it. If something happened to him, Credence was the only living heir of his father. Newt had a feeling that before the marriage contract, Credence was the one being pressured to go into the battlefields but he didn’t speculate on it, sending letters about dragons instead.

Ukrainian Ironbelly dragons with blood red eyes and scales as hard as steel. But rather round fellows with a bit of a temper but mild if you were patient with them. It was a shame, in the end, they didn’t use them in the battlefields but just having the dragons guarding the front line was enough to keep enemy forces from trying to advance. Newt’s main job was to keep the dragons there and content to be there, which was easy enough once he figured it out. Keep them fed mostly, dragons were much easier going when they had a full belly.

Newt wrote all about it to his family, to his parents, brother, grandfather, and Credence and it helped to have an outlet, to focus on letters and dragons and try not to tremble at night because Theseus was out in the war fields somewhere, fighting every day. Credence understood that, talking about his elder brother, who had always been kind and good to him, off in the war as well. Credence was terrified to loose him and Newt could echo that gut wrenching fear.

Near the end of the war, Newt chose to be oblivated.

All Newt knows was that he stayed with a group of wizards and muggles, and each day another died, they were trapped in a pass without reinforcements. Some men would be fatally wounded and he stayed with them as they bled out for hours and hours, sobbing and choking on their own blood. He knows that the beautiful dragon he had trained with for months, Annabell, was caught by a flesh eating curse and her skin and muscle was slowly eroded way as she roared and screamed in agony. Because of the fighting Newt hadn’t been able to get to her, he’d had to fight himself, had to kill others. When he did reach her, it was to put her out of her misery. The group he worked with had all been killed in the end, Newt the lone survivor.

Newt came back to himself in the medical tent, a healer looking him over. He was coated in blood, human and dragon, bits of flesh and gore clinging to his hands, to his clothing. His throat aches from screaming and his face was still wet with tears. He had a deep gouge in his palm that was messily stitched with a thread like a muggle would.

The healer showed him the forms he signed. On one page in his own writing described the events and he sobbed anew for Annabelle. On the second page was his consent to have the memories taken.

Newt couldn’t imagine how horrid it was, that he was willing to give it up. He’d thought he had seen the worst of the war already but clearly he was wrong.

He rested for a day and returned to working with the dragons, looking for Annabelle for days and having to remind himself over and over that she was dead.

The war couldn’t end soon enough.

 

But when it did, Theseus, Newt, and Credence’s brother Percival, all returned home. Both Theseus and Percival were titled great war heroes in their respective countries. Soldiers crowded Newt’s brother asking for stories on the train; it was eerily like Hogwarts all over. But just the same as when they were children, Theseus pushed passed the crowds and got to Newt’s side, yanking him into a bone crushing hug.

“Well, that was a horrifying experience,” Theseus breathed into Newt’s ear and he hugged his brother tightly, clinging to him for as long as he could. When Theseus pulled back his haunted eyes closed off and a cheerful mask slipped back in place as others came up and talked to him. Newt wanted to slip away into the calm but he stayed instead, keeping close to his brother and offering hugs. At no point did Newt ever congratulate his brother. Neither of them ever talked about the war like it was anything but atrocious.

“I’ll become a great auror,” Theseus told him in the night, there were hammocks piled up in spelled train carts, holding dozens upon dozens of sleeping wizard and witches. Theseus and Newt were curled up in one together like they had children, sneaking into each other’s beds to whisper stories. Theseus had cast a silencing charm so they lay in a quiet bubble together, Newt drawing stars with his wand in the darkness above them.

“I’ll be so bloody good at my job there will be no more wars. I’ll stop them, I’ll gather everyone together and we’ll stop it before it ever begins.”

Theseus spoke with a deep absolution; voice shivering in a way Newt had never heard before. His found his brother’s hand and curled his fingers around the fist, coaxing him to relax so Newt could entangle their fingers.

“I believe you,” he replied simply, thinking of short time in the battlefields and trembling himself. “It would be a great thing.”

The train station is a bit of a mess, people are crowding every inch and families are weeping openly, father, brothers, husbands and sons returning home. Mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives as well.

Newt’s parents were waiting at home, knowing it would be crowded and knowing Newt would want to leave immediately.

People stop them to shake Theseus’ hand, calling him a great man. By the time they are on the way home Theseus was tense again, hands flexing.

“A great man. A slaughterer more like it.”

“I think…I think that you see that, that you know it was terrible, I think that makes you a great man.” Newt managed to tell him and Theseus blinked, looking at Newt.

“We went for the right reasons, we protected our home. We can be proud of that. Even if we’re not proud of what we had to do to protect it.”

Theseus took a long shuddering breath and nodded. Reaching out to pull Newt into a one armed hug. “Always the clever one.”

 

When they got home their mum jumped from her chair hugging them both tightly and sobbing wretchedly. Newt clutched his mother as Theseus moved off to embrace their dad. His mum gave a deep body-wracking sob and Newt felt something in him go still. His mum and dad were both wearing black from head to toe.

“Newt darling, y-your grand f-father,” she tried to tell him but Newt suddenly knew.

His heart dropped to his feet as he squeezed his eyes shut to fight the burn of tears. His mum clung to him, wailing her grief and Newt could feel tears running down his face as he hugged her tightly.

“There was bombings, in the night. It didn’t reach the house but the shock of it all… his heart gave out.” Newt’s father explained and Theseus cursed. A sudden pulse of magic made the house shudder and the wall exploded in splinters as Theseus punched it angrily.

“I fucking hate war,” he snarled and Newt watched their father curl an arm around him, pulling his eldest son into an embrace. Their dad had been an auror, but a permanent injury had left him with a desk job. Newt imagined if he could have, he would have gone to fight in the war despite his age. But he had fought dark wizards, had both taken and lost, he was better suited to comfort Theseus then Newt was. Instead, he held his mum and cried with her, mourning the man who had understood Newt when no one else had, who supported him when no one else had.

The Graves family came to the funeral.

Credence’s father, John, was a stoic looking man, intimidating with none of the softness of his own father, Gawain. Percival, Credence’s brother was the same but younger and with a touch more charisma about him.

Percival and John stood aside while Credence came and stood with Newt and Gawain stood among the close friends of Newt’s grandfather.

“Seems each day another one of us passes on,” he joked among the elderly men, smiling weakly at the coffin. “The best ones seem to be going first.”

Newt sniffed softly and Credence was a comfort at his side. His mum was holding on tightly to Newt’s arm on his other side. Something about Newt’s close relationship with his grandfather had made her begin to talk to him and only him, telling Newt every story she could recall of her father, the good and the bad, everything tumbling forth.

“I wish he knew how much I loved him. I feel like a fool for not saying it, for ever hesitating or thinking otherwise,” she whispered to Newt’s shoulder. They watched the men lift the coffin up high to honor him and carry him to the graveyard across the church. Newt had been asked to help but his mother needed him more, his grandfather would understand that. Theseus and his dad carried for him anyway.

“He said once… that he would love you u-until his last breath, and beyond that as well.” Newt offered gently and his mum clung to him, a hand over mouth as she sobbed. Together they followed the coffin and Credence helped Newt when he stumbled, holding his mum up tightly. Newt smiled at his friend and Credence looked wide-eyed but determined.

After the burial the people began to leave, shaking hands and whispering condolences. Newt excused himself halfway though; unable to look at faces he didn’t know and thank them for watching him bury his grandfather. He held no blame or resentment but at the same time, he just couldn’t do it a second longer. No one held it against him as he walked among the graves alone, rain beginning to drizzle as it always did in London. It felt good, cool on his face while he was warm in his coat. The rain reminded him of the glass observatory in his grandfather library. The serene air of the room as Newt and his grandfather sipped tea and read in comfortable silence together. Newt imagined everything would remind him of the man for a while.

Footsteps following made him pause, Newt turned expecting his family or Credence but it was a stranger. No, it was Percival, Credence’s brother.

Newt blinked at him as the man came up to him; he was older than Theseus but not by much, in his mid or late twenties. He was handsome but his eyes were cold, a look reminding Newt of the war, so many men carrying that burden in them now.

“You’re marrying my brother,” he announced bluntly and Newt blinked. Credence and his father were coming up behind him.

“Y-yes?”

“Why? What are you hoping to get from this?” There was an accusation there and Newt stared at the gravel, at the man’s shiny shoes.

“Is this really the time to be a-asking me?”

“You signed Credence into a arranged marriage contract, a generations old contract that was revised and ironclad. He has to marry you now, our father would never accept anything less.”

“You’d prefer his other options?”

“I don’t know what you’re playing at, but I’m going to find out.”

Feeling stung, Newt stepped away, turning to look at the rows of graves. “Please l-leave.”

Credence arrived as his brother turned away. “We should head back,” Percival told his brother and Credence frowned but nodded. Pausing before heading to Newt’s side.

“You’ll write me when you feel up to it? We can visit again after.” Credence offered softly, looking at Newt and clearly wanting so badly to help but not knowing how. Newt nodded his head, turning and accepting a hug from the other young man.

“Take care?”

“I will,” Credence offered with a shy smile. Turning and walking towards his brother and father. John Graves nodded at Newt politely and Percival looked away, waiting for Credence and not acknowledging Newt.

“Bit of an asshole,” Theseus nearly made Newt jump out of his skin, dropping whatever charm he was using to hide. “But I think he means well, probably worried his dad forcing Credence into it or something. I can get behind the worried big brother.”

Newt offered a weak smile, leaning back and letting his brother hug him, dropping his head on his shoulder limply.

“I’m not fine if that’s what you’re asking. But I will be in time.”

Theseus sighed and hugged Newt close, both of them watching the rain begin to truly pour down, the grass seeming greener because of it.

 

His grandfather left everything to Newt’s mum, offering suggestions but not making any demands. He wanted Theseus to have his house in London so he had a place once he returned to work as an auror. All his books he wanted Newt to have, the rest of the things in the house could be left, divided up, or sold as they pleased. Newt and Theseus were also to have a tidy sum for their careers, Theseus to get by as he started work and Newt to pay his way as he traveled to learn about magical creatures. Everything else went to their mum, including a massive estate outside the city where she grew up in.

After much discussion, Newt’s parents moved outside the city into the quiet countryside and Theseus moved into their grandfather’s wealthy house in London center. Newt packed a suitcase and headed to Ukraine to learn more about iron belly dragons.

From there he began a long endless travel, wandering from place to place and learning everything he could about magical creatures. It was a bit lonely at times but he visited home and wrote often. He wrote with Credence and invited him on adventures as well. They spent a month in India together, and Credence seemed to enjoy it. He was fascinated with the healing practices there and Newt thought he saw something spark in the other man.

Not long after Credence wrote of a newfound interest in healing. He ended up at St Mungo’s Hospital to begin training and Newt visited him more often, spending time with both Credence and his brother. They two got along quickly as well, Theseus taking a liking and pulling Credence under his wing a bit.

Newt felt a touch bad about it but he never stayed longer than a few weeks, always hearing about a trip to go find some exceptional beast or hearing about a rare sighting.

His grandfather’s friends had mentioned Newt to the Ministry and with Theseus a rising auror and very popular, they seemed to favor Newt, sending him off on trips other governments would have never allowed him on without the Ministry to back him. But the best adventures were the ones no one knew about, paying people under the table to go into the deep jungle and study the truly rare creatures.

Of course, Newt also ran into poachers.

The first time, he managed to get a broken leg and a rather large tree branch through his midsection. Fortunately magic was rather powerful and Newt ended up in St Mungo’s of all places.  

“You know, if you die, I can’t marry you,” Credence huffed, peering over the hospital bed at him. “Theseus just left but he’s pretty upset, talking about you throwing yourself into danger.”

Credence was blissfully judgment free, he never seemed to scold anyone, only ever observing curiously. “Do you want me to call him back?”

Newt shook his head weakly.

“You’ll be fine by the way. It was a bit rough for a while but then you pulled through. Your parents were here too, I think they’re staying with your brother.”

“You should stay with him,” Newt managed to wheeze and Credence blinked.

“The healers managed to pull a tree branch as thick as my arm and you’re still arguing about this. I’m impressed.” As the years slid by, Credence seemed less beaten down and somber. Newt secretly thought Theseus was rubbing off on him and that it was a good thing. Credence smiled more, not often but soft genuine things. Good smiles.

“It’s a nice house, empty r-rooms,” Newt pointed out and Credence shook his head.

Theseus and Newt had been trying to get Credence to move in with Theseus for a few months now. He was staying in a tiny apartment on his own, his father paid for it and it was decent but it was far from the hospital and it isolated him a tad too much.

“If I agree will you promise not to take on five dark wizards head on to defend a baby demiguise?”

“Dougal?”

Credence smiled. “Theseus went to investigate the scene and found him, he’s at your brother’s place with your mum bottle feeding him. Rather cute.”

Newt smiled, relaxing into the bed as his eyes drooped.

“Get some rest,” Credence told him as Newt fell back into slumber.

 

“Hello Newt,” An older man greeted him, a white healer coat on as he wrote notes down, peering at the potions on the table beside him. Pain potions mostly, some for mending muscle and making sure organs fixed themselves properly.

Newt was distracted though; the healer was distinctly familiar in a way he couldn’t place.

The man seemed to notice right away.

“The war my boy, we met during the war,” he offered and Newt blinked before nodding. “I was the healer who oblivated you. Terrible business, war is.”

Newt nodded weakly, not sure what to say but feeling a burning question craw up his throat. He had always wondered, ever since the war had ended and he returned home. So many people struggled with their memories, with their shame and pain of the war. Newt had begun to think himself a coward in a sense, choosing to forget it. There were others who choose to be oblivated, but Theseus had always been against it, wanting to recall every raw detail to drive him forward. He made unintentionally made Newt ashamed, he had never told anyone that he given up part of his memory.

Four mere weeks.

“Can I ask you something?” Newt gently forced out, knowing it would only plague him if he didn’t ask.

The healer raised a brow.

“Did you… that is, did you…think, in your opinion. Did you think it was the best cour-course-"

“Was it for the best that you were oblivated?” The healer summed up for him and Newt nodded red faced.

“War is a terrible thing, its horror is not something all people can overcome. There is no shame in that. I’ve had people come through here asking for every last moment of their time to be removed, even now after all this time.”

“And mine?”

The healer huffed, pausing in his writing to peer down at Newt.

“You didn’t choose to be oblivated in the sense that you were told it needed to be done and you agreed. To keep you calm we had to have you on steady potions and the second we stopped them you would fall apart. You couldn’t function. You watched your dragon die a slow agonizing death and you watched the men you were working beside all be killed one after another. You wrote it out and you signed the sheet. Once we took the memories, the change was immediate. You were recovering quickly, you were fine without your potions, you went back to work with the dragons again and you kept fighting until the war was done. In my personal opinion, the right thing was done.”

Newt nodded, feeling choked up now, thinking of soldiers he couldn’t recall and a dragon he had adored slowly dying, screaming in agony.

“You’re not weak, not for needing help to heal, to recover,” the healer proclaimed with certainty, patting Newt’s hand before leaving.

His words were calming and they felt right. Newt couldn’t compare himself to his brother and be upset when they didn’t match, they were two very different people. What mattered was he was there now, he had survived and come home. He would always try to do so but he would also follow his dreams. A group of poachers might kill him one day, but Newt wouldn’t let such fear hold him back. He would just be better, he’d let Theseus give him dueling lessons and he would continue on.

 

He spent the next eight months between London and his parent’s estate, Theseus teaching Newt to defend himself with far more vigor than his Hogwarts teachers ever did.

“Be fast Newt, don’t hesitate, you don’t have to hurt, just disarm,” his brother commanded, circling Newt as he gasped for breath and stumbled after him. Their parents were watching from the gardens, Credence sipping tea with them. His dad would offer advice from time to time, but no one helping Newt at all.

“It’ll be good for you, then we won’t receive owls in the night that you’ve been seriously hurt in the middle of some jungle,” his mum mused in her light but deeply guilt riddling way.

Newt huffed and drank water down while Theseus stood beside his chair and wolf down sandwiches.

Slumped and kind of wanting to lay down and not move, Newt blinked when he spotted a dark figure. He hadn’t noticed his dad was missing but now he was coming out of the house with someone else. A grim looking fellow that seemed familiar but Newt was too tired to think.

“Percival,” Credence called, suddenly excited as he pushed up from his chair and went to meet his brother.

Ah, that’s who that was then.

Everyone exchanged polite greeting but Newt merely waved a hand, rude but he was barely breathing yet and Percival hadn’t left a great impression on him.

Theseus roared in laugher, clapping Newt’s arm.

“They really didn’t train you up at Hogwarts did they? I recall it being a good education on defense and dueling.”

“Do you think it was better than Ilvermorny?” Credence questioned curiously and his brother looked up, eyes dark in challenge. Before long Theseus and Percival were on the lawn flinging curses back and forth.

“Thank you,” Newt offered softly, watching his brother work out his energy on someone else.

“You looked like you really needed a break,” Credence replied and his parents chuckled.

“I didn’t know your brother was coming.”

Credence shrugged. “He’s been meaning to visit when you’re around, always seemed to miss you when he visits.”

“Not intentional,” Newt replied honestly, watching the elder brothers fight. It was a bit staggering the power between them, the poor lawn being devastated.

“He wants to apologize to you, properly. He feels terrible about what happened. Father had only just told him about the marriage that day and he reacted poorly.”

“Acknowledgement is key,” Newt’s mum offered calmly, sipping her tea while his dad was locked on the fight, watching keenly.

“Those two will be top of the world some day,” he contemplated and Newt couldn’t deny it. Theseus’s power was impressive and he was cunning and clever with how he fought. But Percival Graves had a lot of sheer power to him, throwing it out easily. He moved with a serpentine grace, striking blindingly fast and dancing away from attacks just as quick. Credence also had a lot of raw power to him as well, both men strong wizards.

“Do you think your father wants us to have children?” Newt pondered and Credence blinked, looking away from the fight to stare at Newt.

“Your bloodline seems strong, I would think he’d like that to continue.”

“I’m not a carrier if that’s what you’re asking,” Credence said with a touch of his old nervousness. Some male wizards from pure blood families could carry children, able to become pregnant despite being male. It was considered a great blessing to occur ‘naturally’, a blessing of magic most pure families liked to think.

“Newt is,” his mum said easily. “He always liked the idea of it, had a doll he would carry around as a boy.”

“Yes. Thank you mum.”

Credence huffed a laugh.

“I imagine we’ll have a few children then, I’d like a family.”

Newt hummed in agreement watching the fight play out, Theseus’ quick but clever and pointed attacks against Percival’s powerful and smooth grace.

 

“Mr.Scamander?”

Newt swallowed a sigh, turning on the balcony to face Percival Graves. Dougal was in Newt’s arms sucking at his bottle contently. The demiguise seemed to catch the older man off guard but he recovered quickly.

“I’ve been wanting to speak with you,” he offered and Newt leaned against the balcony railing, the cool night air feeling nice on his skin.

“Yes, Credence had mentioned it.”

More than a few times at this point.

“I wanted to apologize for my behavior the last time we met. I was an ass.”

Newt was caught a touch off guard, darting a glance at the man’s face curiously. Percival did seem sincere, a frown settled on his face.

“I was so caught up in worry for Credence that I allowed myself to behave poorly, to throw accusations at you while you were trying to bury your grandfather.., I know how much he meant to you.”

Newt looked down at Dougal and reminded himself to be an adult and not petty.

“That’s fine, I understand it was out of concern for Credence, I can admire that. We decided to marry partly because I was worried for him as well.”

Percival stepped closer, walking to the rail beside Newt and looking out over the vast gardens. There was a strange air of hesitation about him.

“Credence told me that later. The arranged marriage seemed to come out of nowhere though. He never mentioned writing you or becoming close friends. I was concerned why you would offer so suddenly… Given everything that had happened.”

Newt thought of the other suitors Credence had and understood the man’s fears.

“I signed it before I left for the war, Credence had the contract for much longer than I think you realize. We discussed it at length as well, the pros and cons of it.”

Percival was looking at him again but Newt was more focused on Dougal.

“Your brother is capable of looking after himself I think.”

“He is,” Percival agreed quietly. “He’s done very well for himself, finding his footing. Healing suits him, London suits him.”

“It might suit him now but he fully intends to move home after, we’ve discussed that as well,” Newt explained, sensing an older brother anxious about his younger sibling.

There was a tell tale pause.

“I didn’t know that.”

Newt smiled easily, glancing at the perturbed man beside him.

“As I said, we have discussed this. Credence hopes to work for MACUSA one day, in their emergency healer ward.”

“You wouldn’t mind New York?”

“I’m traveling this side of the world now so I can travel that one after we marry. I think when the wedding comes I’ll be ready to settle in and write my book manuscript.”

“Credence mentioned that, he praises you as a great mind, if a bit brash,” there was a wry humor to the words the Newt didn’t right understand but he just gave a little shrug, feeling awkward.

“I’m perfectly fine, I’m here now and for the pains I’ve gotten this little one,” Newt smiled down at the demiguise. “I feel like I’m doing just fine really.”

“I don’t disagree… you seem happy.”

There was something odd about the way he said it, looking at Newt so fixedly. But Credence had warned him his brother was bit…intense. But he was also well meaning.

They stood in an easy silence, Percival seemingly used to it from years of Credence and Newt found he felt no pressure to make light conversation.

But he did have a question.

“Are you and Theseus going to rematch?”

“At first light,” Percival replied almost immediately and Newt fought a smile. Proud aurors, always wanting a challenge.

“Theseus tends to think well on his feet until something truly unexpected happens.”

“Helping the enemy,” Percival teased and Newt smiled shyly.

“Theseus is, without a doubt in my mind, currently trying to weasel every detail he can about you out of poor Credence.”

Percival excused himself a moment later, walking hastily and Newt fought his mirth. The lingering resentment he felt for the man faded and Newt let it go, it wouldn’t do him any good. Percival would be his brother-in-law one day after all.

 

Eventually Newt went traveling again, a quick trip here to meet a rare creature, a weeklong tour to try and find the beast. It built up and once more he was off, traveling the world and learning about the wonders of magical beasts. Truly they were amazing creatures, intelligent beings with their own magic. But with anything magical came people wanting to take it.

Newt had managed to work his way in with a group of rather nasty poachers by posing as a wealthy British man looking for rare pets. Once he had a tour of the building and knew the layout well enough, he’d return at a quiet moment and free all the beasts. That was the plan until he realized the poachers were also rather dark wizards and there were all manners of terrible things happening in the seemingly empty warehouse on the edge of the city.

As luck would have it though, fighting started up in a rather spectacular manner. Newt ducked away as the poachers talking with him rushed into the fray, spells fighting all over the place and people fell and objects exploded. Newt peered through the danger and immediately noticed him. Percival Graves was among the people fighting so it was clearly a raid, aurors catching dark wizards.

Keeping low to the ground, Newt made his way to the back and entered a room packed with poor creatures. There had to be hundreds and no way for him to move them safety. Newt had worked alongside the law and he knew that in most cases, the creatures would be killed, deemed too dangerous.

They were at the back of the building though and the forest line wasn’t too far off. Biting his lip, Newt stepped back and pulled his wand casting a quick spell to open a good sized hole in the wall.

“Alright, shall we head out?” He cheered at the nervous creatures, reaching into his pocket for the young bowtruckle he had found last month. “Could you help me?”

The creature chirped and jumped up to the nearest cage, unlocking it as Newt took to the other side.

“Let's all go then, out the side here,” he directed, pushing the mooncalves and doxys out, opening every cage that held something nonaggressive. Those that were a bit dangerous, a poor nundu and a young dragon, Newt shrank the cages down carefully and tucked them into his coat. It was filled with space charms and held them safely as he worked quickly. The fighting was dying down now so Newt worked faster, nudging the creatures out the wall and towards the forest. Thankfully they had the instincts to head towards the trees, going for cover and safety.

“I should have know,” a gruff voice made him freeze, turning around slowly to find a man at the door, pointing his wand at him.

“Oh, hello Percival,” Newt greeted with a weak smile, hopping down from a high cage with a bowl of swooping evils, he tucked them away into his coat.

“I was just on my way out, no harm done,” he cheered, trying to slip past the man and through the hole. “I imagine these is plenty to arrest these men on but there is a rather large store of very illegal animal parts on that table.”

Percival pushed Newt’s shoulder to the wall abruptly, hand squeezing down as he pointed his wand in Newt’s face. After a moment though he dropped it.

“How in the hells did you know it was me?” He demanded and Newt blinked, realizing it was a rather good disguise, polyjuice maybe.

“You were fighting, I watched you and Theseus battle for a week straight, it was very obviously you by the way you fight.”

That made the man blink and voices from beyond the room made them both look. Newt shrugged from the man’s slack grip and slipped from the room quickly. Percival leaned to peer through the hole and frowned at him but didn’t call him back as Newt beat a hasty escape. Pausing to pick up a few younger mooncalves and jogging to the forest line.

“Out of sight is best for us,” he told them cheerfully. Newt herded all the creatures into the forest. Romania had rather nice forests that went on for miles so Newt wasn’t too worried about running into trouble. Once significantly deep enough, he set up a little camp, pulling off his coat and settling the dangerous creatures cages in a quiet spot. The mooncalves were in poor health so Newt began looking each over carefully.

“I did underestimate how many of you there would be, but I did bring a snack,” he offered them the pellets he had and pulled all the food he had stored in his charmed pockets, feeding everyone. A stream trickled nearby and the creatures all ate and watered themselves. Newt carefully freeing the nundu and dragon once he realized they were both far too weak to cause trouble. The nundu’s breath seemed disabled, scars all along its neck preventing it from puffing up to breath. The dragon likewise had long slashes on his neck, right where his fire glands were.

“Monsters,” Newt breathed with disgust for the poachers. “To hurt you so terribly.”

The ward waved outside the camp and the mooncalves looked up, far better security than any spell. Newt sat up and watched the lone figure make its way closer.

“I had thought you might pop by,” he greeted, hands on the dragon, soothingly as it growled at Percival.

“Hush now, he’s no threat to us. Eat your chicken,” Newt coaxed the beast and Percival thankful kept his distance. His clothing was ill-fitting not but his face was his own now.

“Some sort of auror undercover program I would imagine, Theseus does similar cases.”

“You shouldn’t be here, you always appear where you have no business,” Percival told him and Newt huffed, sitting back and peering at the man.

“I was there first to be fair. You technically crashed my rescue.”

“These creatures should be turned in, they’re evidence.”

“Yes, turned in so they can be ill cared for and eventually destroyed when someone gets around to acknowledging them.”

Percival paused, head tipping as he watched Newt rub a salve over the dragon’s hide, soothing the dry cracked skin, gaping sores from poor care. The man actually looked sympathetic, watching the poor beast sign in relief.

“…What will you do with them then?”

“Heal them, help them, take them to their native land and release them.”

Newt glanced up at the other man, watching a curious mooncalf meander over to him, nibbling at his coat. Percival frowned down at it but didn’t pull away from it.

“Would it honestly matter, would the charge of dangerous live magical animals make a difference in the end? Because from my experience it rarely does.” Newt tried not to sound bitter but his tone went sour. Too many times had he asked the law for help, too many times had the punishments for terrible crimes been little more than a slap on the wrist, pay a fee and on your way. Magical creatures were a nuisance to most governments, rather than precious lives to be protected.

“Is this what you do when you travel? Break laws and make deals with poachers?”

Newt huffed but knew he had to be a bit careful, anything said here would eventually get back to Theseus. Ever since their duels the two aurors had become good friends and talked often. Theseus kept an eye on Credence for Percival and Newt imagined Percival would return the favor.

“Not very often actually. I was trying to tour their set up and find out the best way to sneak in later and free the creatures.” A mooncalf nudged Newt’s leg and he pat it’s neck absently. The dragon was settled into the dirt, relaxed as the pain it had been in, for months at least, began to fade away.

“Sneaking into dark wizard’s camps, even better.”

“Usually they’re just poachers, I admit, this one was a bit over my head. I did intend to leave as soon as I could and inform the proper authorities.”

“They had no real intention of letting you leave you realize, they knew who you were.” Percival sounded frustrated then, pacing in the dirt with his mooncalf friend following him like a little duckling. It was rather adorable. Mooncalves were a good judge of character as well; if they took to Percival he was a good man.

“They knew you were the British man obsessed with creatures, that you were going to try and pull something.”

“Huh,” Newt bit his lip thoughtfully. “I hadn’t thought I would have a reputation. I’d best remember that in the future.”

Percival stopped short.

“Or you could not do dangerous things! You need to be more careful, this is dangerous.” He snapped and Newt blinked startled, looking towards the man. Newt was never good with people, always feeling unsettled. Percival didn’t wake that feeling in him, he reminded Newt too much of Theseus, if far more grumpy.

“I was not going to leave these poor creatures. Honestly, I’ve managed in far worse situations. There is no real need to worry about me.”

Percival rubbed his head like it ached and a few more mooncalves came over to investigate him.

“…You’re my little brother’s future husband, could you try to make it to the wedding? Please don’t throw yourself into danger Newt.” The last part almost seemed like a plea.

“I’m fine, I will be fine. If I’m not, Theseus will step up and marry Credence I’m sure. My family is rather taken with him. He visits my parents on the weekends you know. Mum is a fiction enthusiast and Credence likes it too.”

“Having a plan in place doesn’t really excuse endangering yourself.”

Newt frowned, petting the mooncalf and beginning an examination to make sure it was in good health.

“I do understand your worry, but I’m fine.”

 

Percival didn’t look remotely convinced and Newt wasn’t surprised when Theseus was owling him shortly after, demanding he return home and stop fighting dark wizards for fun.

“Honestly, older brothers are terrible mother hens,” Newt told his nundu with a sigh. But Newt did return back to England and set up shop in his parent’s home. They kept his grandfather’s books for him and Newt poured over those dedicated to charms and extension spells. While his coat was rather useful, Newt needed a larger space to work in. something mobile though, sitting in one spot was never a wise idea when you had robbed a group of poacher’s blind.  

Settled in he library with tea and little sandwiches, Newt read up and took notes on a vague idea to spell a suitcase.

His nundu and dragon were at his feet, resting. Once it was healthy enough, the dragon would go to a protection site with other dragons. The nundu Newt hadn’t found a place for just yet. The mooncalves were out on the lawn, following Newt’s mum. The other creatures had been able to return to the wild without any issues. Dougal remained bonded with Newt and unable to go out on his own while Pickett, his bowtruckle, was rather clingy than the rest of the group Newt minded.

“I heard you’ve been teasing dark wizards,” he father greeted him and Newt looked up from his books.

“That man made it sound far worse and I imagine Theseus only heaped on more horror.”

His father peered over at the nundu and dragon, raising a brow.

“That’s different, they’re completely harmless.”

The nundu growled, swiping at the dragon when its tail got to close to the other beast.

“Mostly,” Newt amended. “I couldn’t just leave them.”

His father sighed, sounding long-suffering more than anything. “Here I was thinking only one of my sons would be dealing with danger everyday.”

“It can’t be helped, it’s in our blood yes?” Newt teased and his father cracked a smile at that.

“Perhaps. But please be careful Newt, your mother and I worry.”

Newt hummed in agreement, resolving to try and step a bit more carefully and also rather annoyed at Percival Graves and his meddling.

 

“He is rather terrible at leaving things be,” Credence agreed with Newt, the two of them curled up in Theseus living room. Credence had finally moved in with the older man and seemed happier for it, admitting it was nice to share a home.

“But Percy does mean well,” he added and Newt couldn’t deny that the man was coming from a good intention.

“Could you perhaps do something dangerous to distract him?” Newt requested and Credence smiled softly into his tea. Unfortunately for Newt, Credence was the picture of caution and rarely did he stumble. His training as a healer at St.Mungos was going along well too, Credence learning to channel his power into healing spells properly. The results had been astounding, few truly powerful wizards or witches went into healing it seemed. The genuine talent he was showing as a healer had helped Credence’s confidence a great deal, he seemed less and less like that shy scared boy Newt met as a child.

Credence was beside Newt on the couch and he dropped his head to Newt’s shoulder contentedly. They had always been at ease with each other, comfortable with touching.

“Richard, one of the other trainees, asked me out.”

“Did you explain the arranged marriage?”

Credence hesitated before nodding. Newt waited him out, knowing Credence would speak up when he wanted.

“Do you… have you ever had…have you wanted someone before?”

Newt blinked and tipped his head in thought. “Not overly much I suppose. I did think I was rather in love with a schoolmate of mine but she broke my heart and walked away.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“I was years now, I do think I’ve moved passed it. I suppose from time to time I do notice some rather handsome man or a beautiful woman.”

Credence didn’t reply and Newt glanced down at him.

“Did you want to date this Richard?” While Newt and Credence were arranged to marry and Newt had every intention of marrying him, he wouldn’t try and trap Credence if his heart called him away. Newt was old enough to understand that much about his mum and dad. While she had tried her best to honor her family’s wishes, in the end she followed her heart and was happy for it.

“I didn’t. But I think that might be the problem,” Credence admitted softly and Newt mused over it for a moment.

“Ah. You don’t think you’re attracted to men?”

“I don’t know. I’ve known you for so long and I’m happy when I’m with you, I want to be with you, isn’t that attraction?”

Newt pondered it, trying to place a description to attraction, to sexual attraction.

“I’m probably not the best person to ask,” he finally admitted. “I do think you are a dear friend though, I would be happy to have you for my husband and well, s-sex isn’t something I think on often.” Newt felt his face flush but he made himself say it anyway.

“Right?” Credence sat up and turned to look at Newt properly. “Everyone around me is so fixated on it but I’ve never really wanted it, never felt some great pull towards anyone.”

“We’re well suited then,” Newt offered and Credence looked relieved, settling back on the couch with him.

 

Newt tried not to think about it but it lingered in his mind, bothering him. While Newt didn’t really feel a great interest in sex, that wasn’t to say he didn’t feel anything. He was attracted to men more than women, he could feel a pull towards someone simply by looking at them. But he had never acted on it, was it true sexual desire or just admiration? The conversation with Credence had left him curious so here he was wandering to a bar with Theseus. It was too loud and packed too full, making his skin crawl.

The entire experiment seemed foolish now and Newt slipped out into the street, breathing in the fresh air and thinking of walking home.

“Hello,” a rather striking man offered to him and Newt blinked, feeling his face warm. He was tall and fit with dark hair and eyes and a warm charming smile.

Ducking his head, Newt managed a weak greeting in return.

They stood there talking about the weather of all things before the man invited him back into the bar for a drink.

Newt agreed.

Once they were inside the man, Kay, found them a small table and pushed Newt between the wall and his own body. He didn’t crowd him in though, rather he shielded him, seeming to sense Newt didn’t like the crowd.

As they talked Kay leaned in to hear Newt, eyes warm and smile a bit dashing. Newt could feel himself responding to the man, wanting him. He stuttered every word and felt like a fool but Kay seemed to like him anyway, smiling constantly.

Somewhere along the way Newt leaned in to say something and Key leaned as well, inches away. Newt bit his lip, watching the man’s eyes fall to his mouth.

“I-n-need to g-get some a-air,” Newt managed to squeak, ducking away from the other man and nearly falling over himself to leave. Theseus was at the bar, laughing with newly made friends and the sight of him calmed some of the panic in Newt. Theseus motioned to Kay with a waggle of his eyebrows and Newt managed to smile weakly in return. Heart still pounding Newt stepped out of the bar and went down the street this time, stepping into a dark alley and leaning against the cold brick.

Sucking in shaky breaths he buried his face in his hands.

There was no doubt then, Newt was rather attracted to men and for whatever reason he didn’t feel that pull towards Credence. A bit of a mess but marriages had been built on less. They could figure it out.

“Newt?” The low voice called and he turned his head, watching Kay step into the alley, step right up to Newt. “Are you alright?”

“F-fine,” Newt stared at the pavement, the way it shined like water under the streetlights. Kay stepped closer and Newt’s heart picked up, thumping far too hard.

When the man leaned in, Newt let him.

His mouth was warm and wet, slick in a way that should have been revolting but only felt good. Newt’s lips opened and Kay’s tongue was in his mouth, his body pressing against Newt’s own. He didn’t know where to touch, hands fluttering on the edge of the man’s coat and his forearm.

Kay seemed to know just fine, tongue licking at Newt’s mouth as his hand’s gripped Newt’s waist. One warm rough hand slid around and down, groping Newt’s backside and pulling him tighter against the man's firm body.

Breaking the kiss with a shiver, Newt whimpered as he felt Kay’s erection rub against his thigh. The man pressed his own leg between Newt’s and the pressure felt marvelous. Newt gripped at the man, clutching him close as he whimpered. Kay pressed kisses to his cheek and worked his way down, licking at his neck. When his teeth nipped a bit, just a light pinch, Newt came in his trousers.

“I’ve got you,” Kay breathed, holding on to Newt as he trembled. “I’ve always got you.”

Tipping his head back against the brick he gasped softly and looked up into the black of the night sky.

“I suppose that clears up my sexual crisis,” he mused after a long moment and the man against him chuckled. A warm calloused hand took Newt’s own and guided him, pressing his fingers under the man’s trousers and against his bare cock. It was warm, a startling slip slide of skin under his fingers. Red faced and a bit overwhelmed, Newt still explored, curious despite himself. He curled his fingers around him and Kay thrust into the grip kissing at Newt’s neck, teeth biting gently as Newt gave him a fumbling hand job. The other man came with a groan, something deep in his chest that seemed to reverberate into Newt’s own body. He felt his cock twitch, wanting to rise up again.

Pulling back a touch, the other man peered at Newt and he struggled to hold his gaze for a moment, before looking away.

A hand cupped his chin, a thumb swiping across his bottom lip.

“Alright?”

Newt nodded. “I’m not used… t-this is v-very new.”

“New?” Kay looked a touch confused.

 

They walked through a nearby park, Newt feeling a touch giddy. He had never met someone who seemed unbothered by his meek mannerism or his stuttering speech when he was nervous.

“So this was an experiment?”

Newt nodded.

“I’m in a arranged marriage and I was c-curious. Credence, my arranged, suggested I go to a bar and see what would happen.”

Kay faltered a step.

“He suggested you go?” He sounded so shocked Newt couldn’t help but smile.

“We’ve been friends for a very long time, we don’t hide things from one another, Credence is worried he might not be drawn to men and I wasn’t sure if I was or not either.”

“Now you know?”

Newt nodded.

“…You’ve never had sex before?” There was a strange edge to Kay's tone, his gaze peering at Newt.

He shook his head quickly, a bit red in the face to admit it.

“I hope you don’t mind, don’t feel u-used or anything, Theseus suggested a bar since most people are l-looking for something fleeting.”

Kay tipped his head thoughtful. “…It’s fine. But will you really marry someone you don’t sexually want?”

“Of course. I promised Credence and I will honor my grandfather. Even if we’re not sexually compatible, we are good friends, that is more than enough for a happy marriage.”

“Just that,” Kay frowned. “Not love or desire?”

Newt frowned a touch himself, feeling a bit insulted. The afterglow of what they had done was souring.

“I do love Credence, maybe not in the right way but I love him. I’ve seen plenty of marriages build on far less.”

“Yes, but,” the man seemed to hesitate. “You don’t want more?”

“What more is there?” Newt replied. “I’m not someone people usually like, if anything most people dislike me. I don’t imagine some fairytale love, some man coming to sweep me off my feet. It’s wiser to be realistic.”

“Jaded, I would say. More so for a virgin.” There was something distinctly rude about the words and Newt came to a stop, the bar ahead of them as they finished circling the park. The warmth had died between them, Newt feeling cold now. But he supposed this was how it usually went, people seemed to like Newt until they actually spoke to him.

“T-thank you for the evening,” he managed and left the other man, wondering why the idea of an arranged marriage had riled him.

 

“Newt!” Theseus called, wrapping an arm around him and yanking him into his circle of friends. “We we’re going to get a bite to eat, there’s a diner open late, interested?”

“I think I’ll head home actually.”

Theseus frowned at Newt, leaning in a knocking their heads.

“Did Percy say something to you?”

“P-Percy?”

Theseus nodded, a bit drunk and seeming unaware of the dread creeping up Newt’s spine.

“The glamor was good, he masked himself well but we had a duel this morning and he hurt his foot. He had the same limp from before, gave himself away!”

Theseus seemed delighted with his discovery while Newt felt cold filling his chest and humiliation sweeping over him.

“I’m h-heading home now,” he told his brother weakly, slipping away and out into the night. Heading down the street with a fast step, feeling pathetic and stupid, there were tears burning in his eyes for no real reason.

“Newt,” Kay appeared again, face twisted with a strange indecision.

“Percival.” That made the man stop short, blinking in surprise before the guilt seeped in.

“Theseus says your glamor needs work,” he choked out.

Newt apparated away.

 

“Is there a reason my brother is at the door asking to see you? He said he wanted to apologize.” Credence looked small in the doorway, sensing something was happening. He never did handle it well when those close to him seemed at odds.

“He was a bit rude at the bar last night. Tell him there’s nothing to worry about,” Newt replied, rubbing his face and peering down at his suitcase. He hadn’t slept a wink, working on his spells throughout the night and into the next day.

Newt felt like if he paused, even for a moment, he might break something inside him.

“Alright,” Credence paused, knowing there was more but respecting Newt’s privacy. “You should get some sleep Newt,” he offered gently before pulling the bedroom door closed.

Part of Newt wanted to get up and see Percival leave the house, walk down the street, but he stayed on the floor, looking up at the sky as it faded dark.

 

For whatever reason Percival’s stay was extended. For the first time, despite years of being offered, he agreed to stay at Theseus and Credence’s house.

Unaware of the whole mess, Theseus mentioned it over breakfast and Newt nodded calmly, Credence darting a worried glance at him.

“I asked him to leave it be but he’s so stubborn, I’m sorry Newt. He’s relentless.” The younger man looked wracked with worry and Newt managed a smile for him.

“It’s fine I said. Don’t worry, you have to be at Mungo’s soon don’t you?”

Once Credence left Newt packed his new suitcase, taking the books on charming to work on it. He left a note explaining a rare sighting of a thunderbird in Africa had been documented and he was off to investigate. It wasn’t unusual for him to take off on a moment’s notice but Newt knew Credence would pick up on it.  

Stepping out the door he came up short when Percival was there waiting. Not looking the least bit surprised to see Newt dressed for travel.

“Theseus mentioned you reacted oddly to the idea of me staying at the house, I figured you’d be off immediately.”

Newt stared at the stone at his feet, angry and humiliated still.

“I wanted to talk with you, explain things properly, talk about what’s happened between us.”

“I would really rather not,” Newt told the ground, clutching his case in his hands, keeping it in front of him like a shield.

“I’m sorry Newt, it was wrong, I know that. But you weren’t honest either and I never meant-“

“Please stop,” Newt cut him off, hands gripping so tightly they hurt. “I don’t understand you, Percival Graves. I don’t know w-what I did to make you dislike me so intently or why you can be such a w-wonderful brother to Credence and so utterly cruel to m-me. But I would ask you to stop. Just leave me be.”

Percival stood still before him, Newt prayed silently he would step away, just walk away and let Newt be.

“That’s the problem,” the older man finally said, voice low and ashamed. “I don’t know how to leave you alone…I tried, I swear I did, but with everything that’s happened now…”

The words were odd, confusing, and Newt could feel the panic in him rising.

“I asked you to leave him be,” Credence’s voice made them both jerk hard. The man coming up the steps to the doorway. “Why can’t you listen to me, not even once?”

“Credence,” Percival’s tone changed then, something softer, fonder, and Newt felt humiliated when tears burned in his eyes.

“I need to go, my train is waiting,” he rushed out, brushing passed them both and hurrying down the street.

“No, leave him alone, if he wants to leave, let him,” Credence’s voice was firm in a way it rarely was. Newt could feel his heart soar that the meek man would stand up for Newt.

As soon as he was out of sight, Newt apparated to the station. A dangerous thing in broad daylight but he couldn’t stand to be caught a second time.