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Percival knows what people think of him.

He knows they talk of him, a proper law upholding gentleman or a cold stiff-backed jerk. It depended on who you asked he supposed. But he was formal in most social situations. It was the only way to get through them. Forcing a neutral smile on his face as people greeted him, eyes shining with all the things they wanted. If not for his family name and power, then for his position in the congress. Percival learned as a young boy that people always wanted something. Trusting them was dangerous.

High society was a game of lies his father explained.

Credence was too soft for such things. Other children bullied him often and Percival found him self with a split lip and scolding often. But he refused to leave his brother alone. Even when their father suggested Credence learn to fight his own battles. Percival protected Credence because he needed it.

The urge never waned in his chest as he grew.

When he attended Ilvermorny he found himself looking out for the younger students without prompting

“You’re a born auror,” one of his teachers commented and the words took wind and flew. People talked often about how well suited he was to be one to uphold the law. His father was pleased with the idea even.

So Percival became an auror.

That's not to say he did it only for others.

Just that there was no great pull, no leading light pointing to it. Some of the students he attended with knew what they wanted. They were passionate and alive with it. Percival felt a stirring in his chest watching them.

Something like jealousy.

His life was laid out and he walked the path expected.

He never minded it but he also never delighted in it the way others did.

 

The war was his first real choice.

 

His father commanded firmly that he not go anywhere near it. That both his sons remain home safe. It wasn’t their war. But as it consumed the world Percival thought that it was indeed their war. So many were dying and the country was worn down by it. No maj and wizard alike, both grim faced in the face of such endless seeming death. Percival could feel the need to do something. Just as natural and urgent as defending his brother or anyone being treated unfairly.

He had often been praised for his skill in magic and dueling.

There was a job lined up for him, something comfortable within the safety of MACUSA. His ancestor had helped create the government and so he would always be treated well.

That was the path laid out for him. False smiles with important people.

It dug under his skin until he couldn’t ignore it.

 

He was supposedly a natural leader and a brave man. Credence didn’t think he feared anything, thought Percival was a great hero.

Percival left without telling anyone.

Not even his own father.

He was too afraid. Too scared that a harsh word might break his resolve and make him stay. That he might find himself willing to look the other way while so many died.

His hands shook all the way across the sea.

 

When training started he found his focus. He did well in school, did well under any proper training and so he took to it. Before he was the esteemed Percival Graves, he was a skilled fighter, naturally talented in duelling. Names didn’t carry the same weight as they did at home.

For the first time since he could recall, Percival felt comfortable in his own skin. He didn’t feel like he was wearing a mask that couldn’t be removed. It was almost good.

The killing, however, prevented that.

There was something horrifying about taking life. As if each light snuffed out smeared his own flickering candle, exposed and vulnerable. Every death on his soul in a way that could never fade.

But it was kill or be killed. Young men with scared eyes staring him down, ready to kill him in order to survive.

It was nothing like what he expected. Nothing about it was glorious or right. Percival never forgot that. He never lost sight of it when he became an auror. When he tracked down and fought law breakers he always thought of those enemy soldiers. Of their wide terrified eyes.

At night in his little cot, he wondered if they had families waiting for them to come home. He imagined them receiving the letters, dropping to their knees in agony, learning their loved one was dead. That he had killed them.

Percival never mistreated anyone as a auror. He never stood by to let others either. Before anyone was a law-breaker they were still a human being. ‘Always one for the rules’ people would mutter sometimes, when he cited treatment rules and regulations. Percival never bothered with them, he just focused on his job.

He would make a better world, one where another war would never come. He hunted the dark wizards and played the role in MACUSA. Smiling at officials and keeping relations between countries strong.

Sometimes he thought of the little nomaj villages they passed through during the war. Starving people with no food, little girls offering their bodies to soldiers for the chance to feed their families. Widows with children and no way to support them, hollow eyed and knowing what was to come.

Percival worked hard to ensure MACUSA was strong. That it would be better than that, strong enough to protect itself and all its people. To protect the nomaj’s even.

Stronger than war.

His dedication did not go unnoticed and his work ethic helped him move forward. Percival needed to be in authority if he was going to protect his home. His name and his power, his forced charm and, he liked to think, his integrity helped him rise in the ranks of the Congress.

People took notice of that.

Pictures of him ended up in papers and families introduced their daughters to him with intention.

“Everyone’s eager to see you married,” Credence noted. “They all want to be linked to the great Percival Graves, rising star of MACUSA.”

I only want your intended. The words choked in his throat. Credence was unaware and Percival would never sour that for him. Newt had chosen. Percival would respect that. No matter how deep down that thought dragged him.

Percival would respect Newt. 

 

First loves were the glorious ones someone told him. Percival couldn’t recall who said it. But he remembered them mentioning that the heart didn’t know to be cautious, didn’t know to hold back that first time. It loved as deeply as it could and so that was why first loves always stung so hard.

Percival supposed it could be true.

When he was feeling bitter the would reason that he only loved Newt because he had been there. A warm body and kind smile during a time of fighting and death. They had been trapped together, with their war brothers slowly being picked off. It only made sense they would cling together desperately.

But Percival would think of Newt’s smile. Curled up in a tiny cot together, legs tangled. The blanket up around their shoulders to fight the cold. Exhausting marring both of them. Percival couldn’t even recall what he said. But Newt had smiled this tiny sweet thing. A true genuine smile without his shy edge. Something completely open. His eyes found Percival’s and he looked so painfully perfect.

He couldn’t pretend that it had been just the war when he thought of that moment. Not when his chest tightened every single time he thought of it.

Percival considered a Pensieve.

All his memories of Newt dragged from his mind and tucked away.

But even the thought of not having them constantly, not having them with him always, bothered him too much to follow through.

People said he was cold hearted, never open to love and Percival wanted to laugh. Here he was a grown man with years between him and the war. And even now, he was still stupidly in love with a man who would always hate him.

A romantic, he would think with a sour smile.

Some days he thought himself over it all. But then Newt would stumble into his life and Percival would be proven painfully wrong. His heart would pound and he would lose his sense.

He would fight other wizards viciously to show off, doing all he could to best Newt’s brother. He would turn his head the other way while Newt broke laws, just to let him keep his creatures. The dragon’s screams haunted him still and Percival knew he would never take any beast from Newt ever again. He would even wear another face and lie like a criminal if only to touch the other man again.

Newton Scamander undid him time and time again, without ever seeming to have to try.

Percival was pathetic.

Each time it happened he returned to his job and threw himself into his work viciously. He buried himself night and day until it consumed him. Until his own sad life could be ignored.

A loner, a man out for justice, a man dedicated to the law.

It made him want to laugh sometimes. Laugh until he cried. He could just imagine how they would stare at him then. The people whispering about him, watching him, labeling him. Everyone was so certain they had him figured out. Percival played the role, used it to his advantage of course. But some days he hated it so much the fury made his hands shake.

 

The wedding came up so suddenly and everything spiraled utterly out of control. Newt wanted him and then he didn’t. He followed Percival back to New York but revealed he didn’t remember him or the war. Theseus was touchingPercival's baby brother. Newt didn’t recall Percival’s greatest betrayal but he wanted to remember it. Wanted to have his memories restored.  

Morgan be Merciful, it was such a mess.

But all that mattered was that Newt was there with him, in the end.

Shyly taking his hand and smiling at him without any fear or ire. They would sit together in the study reading. Newt smiling down at his book and Percival barely reading his. Constantly aware they were on the same couch and the Newt was only an arm’s length away.

If Percival reached for him Newt would let him. Rather than disgust he would smile and open his arms to Percival.

He always reached for him.

Every time.

Newt welcomed him every time.

 

“Again?” Credence sighed when he walked in and found them on the couch. Newt was tucked under Percival, his lips red and swollen from kissing.

“Oh hush,” Newt replied and Percival was embarrassingly happy.

It felt too much, too good.

They fought, of course, Newt wanted his creatures safe and he was willing to walk into danger to do so. To face down Nundu and Dragons like it was nothing. Percival’s heart might fail one day, watching Newt approach beasts that could kill a dozen of wizards so easily. But his heart was also painful proud.

Newt had talked of his dreams. When they were curled up in the cot back during the war.

“I want to travel and learn everything first hand. To study creatures properly rather than just read about them.”

“Books aren’t enough?” Percival teased and Newt sat up, shining brightly in his enthusiasm.

“They’re outdated terribly you see, so many of them just say kill them. They don’t talk about their lives, about their own worlds. So many amazing beasts and most books are just on how to destroy them.” Newt sighed. “I’m going to change that, I’ll write a proper guide, one that teaches how to coexist!”

“We get it!” Daniel, a young wizard in the next cot groaned. “Merlin Newt, you’re going to change the whole bloody world! But can it be after a night’s sleep?” Other men laughed as Percival dragged a blushing Newt back close to him. They were the only ones to share a cot and Percival had told each and every man there if they had a problem with it, they were to talk to him. If they dared to give Newt grief about it, they would walk back to the main military stations on their own.

“Sorry,” Newt flushed and Percival smiled as he drew the blanket up around their heads. Casting a muffling charm he pressed a kiss to Newt’s mouth.

“Don’t be, I like how you are when you talk about creatures. The way you love them shows through.” He reassured the other man as they turned and settled onto the cot together.

“I envy you a bit even,” Percival confessed. He had never had trouble keeping secrets but with Newt pressed to them they seemed determined to fly passed his lips. Newt blinked over at him and he pressed a kiss to Newt’s shoulder.

“You know what you want. I’ve never had that. I’ve always just followed the flow.”

“You make it sound like a bad thing.”

Percival huffed.

“You know, it’s not just handed to you, you’re going to go and get it one day.”

“You will too.” Newt smiled encouragingly. “One day you’ll find it and you’ll just know. I simply have to have that you'll think.”

Percival thought it was soppy that he his mind immediately told him it was Newt that he wanted. 

“You’ll see.”

 

Newt had gone on to achieve all his goals. He was shy and meek but determined and able. He worked with beasts with such a truly genuine talent that it left Percival humbled.

That didn’t mean he dearly wished Newt would show more caution.

“I know what I’m doing,” Newt insisted and Percival had to fight down arguments against such a statement. Because more often than not, Newt did know what he was doing. When it came to beasts at least. When it came to law and social interaction he treated both the same in that he avoided and side stepped as best as he could. Percival forgave Newt’s shyness but it was harder to over look the law breaking. Percival’s very job was to uphold the thing Newt was casually trampling.

So they fought.

Newt didn’t back down when it came to his creatures and protecting them, no matter what any law said.

Percival refused to think that laws were something to be obeyed and disregarded as one pleased.

So they fought.

But even then, they never broke. They would growl and be fiercely upset but they would crawl into bed together just the same. Percival was too weak to do anything else.

The first bad fight Newt went into his suitcase and stayed late into the night. Percival tried to sleep without him but eventually, he went looking for him.

“I don’t agree with you,” he told him when he found him. And Newt huffed and focused on cleaning a habitat, his wand waving gracefully. “I’m irritated and railed up still. I’ll likely want to argue more tomorrow.”

Newt glanced at him, despite his own ire, he was clearly curious why Percival was even there to say such things.

Percival sighed, he was never good at emotions. Never good at making them clear. People thought he was cold, he wore the masks expected. Too long though. Now he didn’t know how to express simple emotion.

“Come to bed with me.”

Newt blinked incredulously.

“Listen,” Percival shifted his weight, searching for the words. “We can be mad. It’s your right to be mad, to disagree. But… I need…I want,” he corrected. He could feel his face heating in humiliation. He was terrible at this.

“Please come to bed. Be angry and what ever else you want or need, today and tomorrow. But come to bed. Sleep beside me even when I'm angering you.”

Newt made a softer sound, his gaze meeting Percival’s for a moment. He nodded and Percival watched silently as he finished what he was doing.

They left the case and Newt changed for bed. He slid into the cool sheets and his presence put Percival at ease immediately.

Trying to be sneaky, he carefully edged a hand out under the blanket and curled it on the edge of Newt’s sleeping shirt. Moving slowly so the action wouldn’t be felt. After a moment though, Newt’s hand slid down and took his own. The shirt released as Newt entwined their fingers.

“I’m still rather upset about the poaching law and it’s ridiculously light punishment.” Newt sounded firm but his tone was softer. His hand held on to Percival’s.

Percival nodded.

Newt sighed and then turned in the bed, scooting closer and Percival winded his arms around him snuggly.

“You do know I’m not about to disappear?”

Percival nodded again.

 

The trouble was, he didn’t believe it. He didn't know how to make himself believe it.

They argued but they always made up after. They learned slowly to make compromises and found ways to make things work between them. They spend their days together and Newt would smile at him and Percival was so bloody ecstatic.

So it would have to end.

Things this good never lasted. Perhaps he was jaded, but Percival couldn’t ignore the sneaking suspicion that everything would shatter.

 

It started with Newt deciding he wanted his memories of the war back. Credence immediately decided to help him and Percival could feel the pressure on his chest building. He thought of Newt refusing to let Percival touch him, tear streaked and horrified by him. He had hated Percival. If there was anything that would destroy Newt, it was his beast suffering. Percival had done that. Had let one of his dear creatures suffer in agony for hours. That dragon's screams still featured in his nightmares.

Newt would remember and he would leave Percival.

Nothing he said could dissuade Newt. The man was stubbornly set to remember and Percival could feel panic rising in his chest. After a few months of happiness, everything was falling apart. He hated that he was right to fear this happening.

“It’ll be fine,” Newt reassured him but Percival knew it wouldn’t. Nothing would. Percival couldn’t shake the feeling that he was going to lose this.  

 

Newt regained his memories.

He closed his eyes and the spell was cast. The healer stepping back after a moment.

“Let him wake on his own,” he told them and Percival stood to Newt’s side, watching his eyelids twitch rapidly. It only took a minute or so for him to open his eyes. They were wrong, glazed and confused. Peering at Percival with a strange wonder. His fingers gripped Percival’s sleeve in a white knuckled grip. And then he fell into Percival’s arms unconscious.

 

“When will he wake?” Percival ground out.

“Soon, the healers believe it will be in a few days.”

“And each day longer means less of a chance of waking.” Percival wasn’t a fool. He had done his own research on the procedure. He knew what a terrible sign it was for Newt to fall into a wakeless slumber.

“He’ll wake,” Credence sounded certain but he was young and naïve still.

“You had to encourage him in this.”

“Percy,” Theseus cut in sharply. Credence still looked upset at the comment. Percival knew it was wrong, to lash out angrily. But Newt was laid out on a bed with no signs of life. His chest barely rising and falling.

He might not wake up.

“I need to owl my parents, come show me where I can do that?” Theseus asked Credence and the two left.

The white walls of the room seemed stark and empty. Everything in the room was white. The sheets and blanket, the bed rail, the little table beside the bed. It was a private room, Percival had insisted. His father had made sure to pay the hospital generously. Any advantage they could get they were grabbing at greedily. Anything that might help Newt. But the room was too clean. Newt was like a storm, leaving a mess where ever he went. Finding dirt where there should be none, tipping things by accident and leaving bits of creature feed that he always had on him. He was wild and he looked so wrong in the clean bed, in the clean empty room.

Percival hated waiting.

He hated the calm before the storm, the hours before going on a raid. He liked to plan and keep busy. He liked to learn and know everything he could. But he had already done that. He had aleady read every book Newt had brought on the procedure and looked into MACUSA resources for more information on memory charms and removals. Percival knew the odds and the signs. He knew it was bad the Newt slept so deeply, not moving at all. He knew the chance of Newt waking dimmed with each passing hour. The thoughts twisted in his mind.

The clock on the wall ticked too loud, an irritating sound grinding on his nerves.

Newt laid motionless, he looked wrong like that. Always doing something, running after some beast or keeping his hands busy nervously. He barely stopped most days. Percival almost wished it was like the dragon raid, a furious deadly moment and then it was over. This was far worse, dragging out too long already. With no real way to know how much longer it would go on.

It had barely been a day.

 

“We should write letters, in case he wakes,” Credence explained. “In the night I mean, or when no one is here." He was trying to be optimistic.

The Scamander’s had rushed to New York to sit by the bedside and weep. Percival visited three times a day. One in the morning, the afternoon and the evening. He stood beside the bed and watched Newt sleep for a handful of minutes and then he left. He couldn’t be the worried lover at his bedside without a moment gone. Percival was sure he would go mad if he tried. Credence filled the role instead. Always there, always waiting.

The white room and it’s white blank emptiness gnawed at Percival.

Seeing Newt pale and unmoving ate away at him. Despair threatened to pull him under. At any time or place, Percival felt as if he might break. Tears were behind his eyes every given second. The days slowly dragged passed, hour after hour without a sign from Newt.

Percival couldn’t sit there in that room and watch Newt die. He just couldn’t.

So he went to work. He dedicated hours to catching criminals and working on new laws. He sat through meetings with focus and never let his mind wander.

His hands felt ready to shake at any given moment.

He took care of Newt’s precious beasts for him. He had joined Newt enough, helped enough that he understood the basic care. He prepared their meals and tried to tend to the sickly ones.

 

“Easy,” he breathed at the Graphorn. The beast nervous as Percival attempted to get closer. It had a bad leg and the bindings needed to be changed. But Percival hadn’t caught the bloody thing yet to do so.

“Almost there,” he coaxed and the beast snorted at him. Eyes flashing before it dashed off.

“Wait!” Percival cursed as the creature took off.

Anger coursed through him. Not a reasonable sort, but something unchecked. His nerves frayed and his entire being twisted with worry. He kicked a feed bucked across the grass and ran furious hands through his hair.

“Bloody dumb beast.”

Newt would have scolded him terribly if he heard such talk. Always so protective. He would call himself ‘mummy’ to the infant beasts. So endeared.

Percival couldn’t even imagine what he would do with a case of illegal creatures. If Newt didn’t wake.

The thought squirmed painfully but Percival faced it.

He had never been one to avoid horrid truths.

His heart would be hollow and the idea of not seeing Newt’s smile, hearing his voice, not feeling his warmth was numbing. It dragged in his chest, almost a physical pain. It made tears burn in his eyes and his hands shake. But if it happened then Percival would have to look after these creatures. Newt’s heart would break if he dared anything less. They meant too much to him for Percival to just shove them off on someone else. Each one had a name and plan, to be returned home once they were healthy. Newt had pages of notes on vague plans to see if the Nundu’s would mate and if the male would protect the female. If they could be released together because the female, Margret, lost her toxic breath.

It mattered to Newt.

So it had to matter to Percival.

At least this way he was doing something. He was keeping busy.

 

“I want to bring some of Newt’s creatures to the hospital.” Credence announced on the fifth day. “I’ll help ground him when he wakes.”

Percival frowned. Most of the beasts were riled. Each day that passed without Newt arriving put them on edge. Dougal was constantly escaping to search the house. Pickett was sneaking out on Percival. All of the creatures were stressed.

“Which ones should I bring?” Credence prodded softly. He nudged the plate of food closer to Percival as well. They were in the suitcase, Percival just finishing minding everyone. If he wasn’t in his office he was in the case. Anywhere else felt too still.

“Percy?” Credence asked again and he managed a shrug, running a hand over his tired face. “He’s going to wake, I know he will.” Credence insisted.

Percival didn’t disagree. Some people needed that hope. Percival just needed it to happen already.

 

Credence’s patronus found him mid-meeting.

The aurors were tired and snappish, complaining Percival was working them too hard. He ignored their whining and continued to demand their best. Percival held them all to a high standard he knew that. But he also knew they were capible of living up to it. They were aurors, lives depended on them, Percival would always demand the best for that, for them all.

So if felt hypocritical when the patronus arrived, bursting into the meeting without a care. A personal matter of his disturbing the group.

“Newt is awake!” It cried joyously and for a moment Percival felt frozen. He had always prepared for the worst. For any scenario. But in this he was unprepared. He hadn’t dared to let himself linger on the idea of Newt waking. It made him too emotional. Too desperate for the idea of it. Like it would consume him just to... hope.

For a moment he didn’t know what to do.

“Go,” Tina Goldstein told him, sitting up with wide excited eyes. Percival disappariated from the room, breaking the wards meant to prevent it. It takes days for the Woolworth building to be rewarded properly. People talk for months about it, that Percival Graves might have a heart after all, rushing to see this Scamander.

 

Newt held him tightly and talked but Percival barely understood the words.

He was awake, shaking and fragile but awake. His eyes jumping and his lips moving. That was all that mattered in the moment.

Newt was awake.

He didn't hate Percival.

 

Curled up in their bed, Newt dozed softly. They stopped pretending to have separate rooms when Newt came home. Dougal and a niffler were curled up with him. Percival imagined there were more of them in the room. They had taken Newt’s return with great glee and were all very clingy to the man. Newt smiled sheepishly when he was caught with them out of the case.

“They’re worried you see, it helps them to see what I’m doing,” he explained as he stroked a mooncalf's head in the kitchen.

Percival didn’t have it in him to care. Each time he saw Newt, caught sight of him, his heart would pound for a moment. Warmth would bleed in his chest. The memories of the war staggered Newt, he lost his sense of time often. Some days Percival would find him paused in a task, staring off at nothing.

The healers insisted it was normal. That placing the memories into the past would take time.

“I’m sorry, to be a burden.” Newt sighed when Percival found him in the study, the fire gone out and a book forgotten on his lap. His tea cold.

“It’s fine,” Percival replied. After a month, the Scamander’s had gone home. Credence stayed behind and they all remained in the main house with their father. It was two extra people to help look after Newt. No one minded doing so.

His father would usher Newt to bed calmly without a single frown. He let the creatures wander the house without complaint and showed a compassion that humbled Percival.

Together, they all helped as they could, coaxing Newt to feel safe.

“I wish there was a potion to fix me. To settle everything and make time a straight line again.”

“It’ll be fine,” Percival could only repeat, unsure how to comfort.

“What if I never change? What if I’m like this forever?” Newt looked up at him and Percival sat on the couch with him. His pulled his wand and relit the fire and warmed the tea. He arranged the blanket on Newt’s lap and took the book and let it float back to its place on the shelf.

“Then we will continue on like this. I… I’ll have you any way I can.” Percival wished words would come easier about this, more clear in explaining what he felt. Newt was awake and a few moments of confusion here or there didn’t matter. He was there, alive, and Percival was utterly content to have merely that.

“You’re such a sweet man,” Newt huffed, reaching to cup Percival’s cheek.

Turning his head, he pressed a kiss to the scarred wrist. Thinking of that dark time and the certainty he had even then, that all he needed was Newt beside him. He could face anything.

 

Watching him sleep now, the thought only strengthened.

Percival wondered if this was it. The feeling of knowing he had coveted as a youth. The certainty in his chest that the most important thing in his future was this man

It felt unsteady, to adore someone so much. To want them as much a Percival wanted Newt. To feel like going on without him would be so much less. It worried him, but Percival couldn’t control it all. He had never been able to love the man less. Not for years of trying. Now with Newt at his side happily, it was impossible to even think of giving him up.

“What’s wrong?”

Percival blinked, looking up to Newt’s face and finding him awake.

“You look worried,” a sleepy hand reached out and rubbed his brow.

“It’s nothing.”

“Liar,” Newt yawned, turning in the bed to lay on his side and face Percival. His beast grumbled at being shifted. “Is everything ok Percival? Honestly?”

He nodded. “I’m fine. We’re fine. How do you feel?” He asks to direct the focus and Newt surprises him when he looks down and hesitates to answer immedatly.

"There is something... I've been meaning to tell you. But I keep avoiding it."

 Newt presses closer to him, seeking comfort that Percival will always give. "There's something you need to know..."

 

“A miscarriage?” The word felt far heavy than it ever had before. Like a great stone weighing down his chest.

Newt nodded miserably. “I’m not sure, to be honest with you. Charles thought though… and then in the hospital, I was too upset to think to ask for confirmation.”

“You’re a carrier?” Percival can't fanthom why he's never asked before. But it's rare and he’s never heard anyone speak of it either.

Newt gave a little dip of chin in positive.

“I am, I… don’t know the truth but I’ve… been thinking on it. On the idea that we might have…” He bit his lip, looking small and a touch desolate. “We lost many friends turning the war. I thought you should know… what else we lost.”

Percival swallowed and tried to understand the concept, to let it sink in. The last few months had been so good. Newt was slowly healing and they were happy together. The idea that they might stay that way was still sinking in. Now here was a terrible loss Percival had never known about.

“A baby.”

“I’m…sorry,” he finally said, not sure what else to say.

“I never understood that,” Newt replied softly. “When people say 'sorry'. So many told me so during my grandfather’s funeral. Or not just saying it. But what do you say back? What do you do? Do you just nod and agree?”

Percival shrugged, reaching out and taking Newt’s hand, their fingers entwining.

“I wonder sometimes, about what a child between us might have been like,” he confessed and immediately, the idea of it consumed Percival.

There was no real way to explain the feeling. To mourn a life you didn‘t know. To grieve for everything that could have been.

Percival felt thrown by it. This unsettled pain following him. He was suddenly more aware of every child he saw in his daily life. His mind absently working to figure out the age their child would have been.

 

His aurors suffered for Percival's mood. When he felt uneasy he focused on work and so the office became busy. He remained a grim sort of man to outsiders, a powerful auror. Someone too serious with a no nonsense attitude. When he threw himself into his work, he expected his aurors to keep up. To match him stride for stride. If Percival felt lost, that way fine, because at least he was getting work done.

Newt thought it was a bit amusing, the way the office jumped to attention when Percival walked in.

“Make sure these documents are double checked. If you submit them again and I find another spelling error in them…” he let the threat hang for a moment before handing the reports back with a stern look. The auror nodded, clearly biting back a comment. "This should have never reached my desk in such a poor state, it reflects badly on us all."

They knew better than to argue with him. They knew that for a few weeks they would have to be on their toes. Perhaps it was a bit harsh of him. But his aurors had never let him down, in the end he would sit back and let them catch their breathes. Let them look and see all they had done, the good they had achieved by pushing themselves.

The chatter outside his office drew him out, it wasn't a break time but people where clearly distracted. A group was standing at Goldstein's desk. Before Percival could send them scattering with a firm word he caught sight of the point of attention.

Newt smiling shyly as he offered a box of sweets.

His gaze caught Percival’s and his smile grew, turning so welcoming that Percival was heading towards him before he realized it.

“Sir, we were just,” someone started, warning the rest of the group. Most of them left at his arrival but some lingered, keen on the box of pastries.

“I brought some treats and now I’ve been hearing terrible things about you,” Newt told him. A few aurors tensed and more beat a retreat at that.

“Oh?” Percival eyed the remaining few and Tina for good measure as well.

“You’re a slave driver it seems, demanding perfection and expecting unrealistic results. Growling like a wampus when you don’t get them,” Newt explained easily, picking out a sugary confection with a strawberry on top.

Tina looked horrified with each word and the room was dead silent.

Percival imagined he might be hurt by the comments. If they weren’t entirely true. He drove his aurors and was fine to play the mean boss if it meant they worked harder than they would have. He was being pulled into more meetings and slowly being groomed for his promotion so he wasn’t there constantly, they had their breaks from him. He knew he wasn’t working them down to the core, just the occasional reminder to keep them on their toes.

“Are you being mean?” Newt asked, his eyes dancing with mirth. It was rare to see him in such a busy area, with so many people around. Newt was more nervous in crowds but it seemed this was enough to lure him out. Beyond the humor in his gaze there was a keen worry as well. Newt knew why Percival was upset and had come to offer any help he could give.

“Try this,” Newt requested, holding a napkin under the pastry as he offered it. It was a well-kept secret that Percival liked sweets. Rather than coffee, he preferred sugar to give him energy. He drank black coffee merely to keep the hard man illusion alive.

Everyone was watching them, expecting Percival to go off, likely at Newt himself.

So instead he took Newt’s wrist, fingers touching the scar as he lifted the man’s hand so he could lean in and take a bite of the treat. Newt immediately flushed a fetching red and you could have heard a pin drop in the office.     

Percival wiped his lip with his thumb, peering down at Newt in a challenge. The man looked adorably flustered but he was far from being weak.

“Take the afternoon off?” He asked, not realizing how lewd such a thing sounded. Newt probably wanted to walk in the park or spend the day in the suitcase together. But it sounded far more devious, as if he was telling Percival to come home and to their bed. 

“Of course,” he agreed with a smile, sliding an arm around Newt’s waist as they went to his office to collect his coat.

Percival imagined the afternoon was lost, his aurors brimming with the need to gossip on about what they had just watched. Percival was a hard man who stuck to his rules and rarely stepped out for an afternoon. He was a workaolic and lived in his office by the rumors. So it took attention, that Newt could coax him away from his desk. More people whispered about them and the hold Newt had on Percival.

 

No one bat an eye when Percival and Newt’s engagement was announced.

 

“This is a bit more overwhelming than I remember,” Newt commented with a huff, looking down at the papers laid out before them.

They had claimed the smaller study in the house it seemed. Often sitting together on the couch, Percival going over work as Newt worked on his book. The fire crackling in front of them, casting a warm light in the room.

“There are many decisions to make, more so with my standing.”

“The Director of Security,” Newt smiled and Percival allowed himself to feel accomplished with the new title. He was one of the youngest to achieve such a high station. Within it he would be able to help truly change the laws and shape them for a better future. 

“A high name comes with expectations within social setting as well. Everyone has to be invited, international names and the like.”

“Sounds horrendous,” Newt sighed and Percival couldn’t argue. While he did believe in moving up and playing social games, this was his wedding. Every other event seemed a bit dimmer in light that it was Newt he was marrying. After everything they had been through, they were finally coming together. It felt wrong to make something this precious into a social event. More so knowing Newt wouldn’t enjoy it all. He was already worried about doing something that upset someone important. Normally he never minded such things but with this, he was thinking about Percival more than himself.

“It’s months away and we’re already doing so much work,” Newt picked up a paper though, taking on a determined face.

But it lingered in Percival’s mind, that their wedding was for politics rather than for them.

Each new issue and decision seemed to stress Newt out more. The wedding planner asked them to make choices on venues and decorations and a million other things. Newt did not know the city well enough to know any of the places suggested. Percival considered moving it all back into the open country but it would only complicate matters for who to invite.

“Perhaps we should let the planner just make these choices?” Newt suggested and Percival fought a grimace. He disliked the idea of someone else choosing for him. He was involved in each aspect of his job and he applied that meticulous nature to everything he did. Percival didn’t want to give up control. More so when it came to his own wedding. A marriage to a man he had thought he had lost. Someone he was still learning to believe wasn’t going to disappear on him.

“I’m teasing,” he nudged Percival’s knee with a small smile. “I can’t imagine how terrible it would be for you, to not hand pick everything.”

Newt leaned closer and Percival curled an arm around him.

“I’m sorry to complain so much. Social plans were never my strength.”

“It’s no worry,” Percival assured him, his mind drifting over an idea. He looked out the window and found the night sky, it was late and they should head to bed soon.

But that thought pressed.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” The words came abruptly and Newt blinked in rightful surprise.

“Now?” He glanced at the night sky but a slow smile came to his face. “Why not?”

Newt was always ready for the unexpected. Happy to go along with the flow. 

Percival’s father and brother were in their rooms for the night and so they walked quietly down the halls. Pulling on their coats and easing out the front door. It felt a bit silly but the way Newt smiled was enough for him.

The streets were silent in the evening, not quite midnight, hours. Rows of expensive houses and parks went by in the crisp air. Fall was just beginning to sink in, the nights growing colder.

“Do you like New York?”

Newt thought for a moment.

“I do, as much as any city. But… not that it’s less or anything. But there is something very different about being out in the wild.” He looked to a small park they passed, trees and bushes all meticulously shaped and groomed.

“There is a sort of… calm about it. It’s far from quiet of course, so many animals up and about. And it’s not anymore safer than a city. But it’s… singular. I’ve always adored it.”

Percival nodded, thinking of Newt out in the wild, feeling at one within nature.

“Are you excited to travel?”

“Very much, I want to meet every magical creature this hemisphere has to offer.”

He did light up when said it as well, clearly meaning it. Percival could feel a warmth in his chest for Newt’s enthusiasm. 

“I imagine I’ll hear all about your adventures.”

“Well I will write and I don’t plan on staying anywhere too long. I’ll come back to New York often. I… I had thought you might come sometimes, when your work allows it?”

Percival nodded without needing to think on it, ready to spend as much time as he could with the other man.

“I do travel, I will more with the new position, the director of security does include the whole country. But I had actually meant I would hear about you at work, you do seem a bit terrible at following the law properly.”

Newt managed to look a touch abashed.

“Write laws for me then, laws worth following. That won’t make me choose between the welfare of a creature or following the rules.”

Percival fought a smile. People thought Newt was meek and the idea was rather ridiculous. Percival had never met anyone as strong as Newt was, he was unbreakable when it came to what mattered to him.

“Oh, that’s lovely,” Newt commented as they rounded the corner. The cathedral stood tall and glorious as it had when Percival was a boy.

“My family comes here, my great grandfather helped design it,” he offered and Newt followed him up the stone steps. The old wood door creaked as it opened, a few people with their heads bent in prayer. 

“This is where we’ll have the ceremony?” Newt asked voice soft as he leaned into Percival to whisper.

Percival paused and Newt turned to him. “For the wedding?”

He nodded. “This church is a wizarding one.”

The candles lit in respect were all floating on their own, magic all around them. It was designed to hide in plain sight. Nomaj's wouldn't notice it.

“Percival,” the old priest greeted, walking slowly with his bad leg. Percival allowed the man to embrace him.

“Father Patrick,” he nodded, stepping back to gesture to Newt. “This is Newton Scamander, my intended.”

The priest nodded, reaching out a hand for Newt to take and shake warmly. Of all those within the large church, father Patrick was special to the Graves. He was a good and kind man who never allowed politics or money to sway him. Beyond that, he had always been an empathetic man. The sort that put you at ease without ever trying.

“I grew up attending this church with this man, he’s a good friend to my family,” Percival explained and Newt smiled a touch more genuine.

“Percival is a good man, a bit bossy, but very good,” father Patrick teased and Newt muffled a chuckle.

“Yes, thank you for that.” Percival paused, that thought turning. The church was nearly empty and there were many private alcoves along the sides. 

“I had thought to speak to you about the wedding,” he began, reaching out and taking Newt’s hand. He peered at him curiously but let Percival talk to the priest.

“Oh? A woman with a book of schedules had come by, asking questions for many months down the line.” He didn’t sound disapproving, almost curious though. As if he knew Percival would have preferred to be the one in control completely.

“I had thought,” Percival hesitated, surprised with his own nervousness. “I had thought perhaps we could change that.”

“The wedding?” Newt looked confused, fingers unconsciously holding onto Percival’s.

“I…” he glanced at Newt, looking for his reaction. “We could be married. Now.”

Newt blinked, mouth parting in surprise.

“N-now?”

Percival nodded.

“But…all the plans and the planner, all the people…”

“Don’t matter. I don’t need a grand affair, I don’t need hundreds of witnesses or flowers and fine wine.” Percival felt off, it was rare for him, not to feel certain in his choices. He knew he wanted this, but he was worried to offend Newt with such a wild idea. 

“I just want to be married. To you.”

“Now,” Newt added, sounding less startled as he looked around the empty church.

“If you want,” Percival said. “We could go home and forget it and the wedding planning can continue.”

“I…yes.” Newt smiled, eyes dancing as he looked back to Percival. Their joined hands held tightly.

“Yes?”

Newt nodded, slowly looking a touch excited.

Percival turned back to the priest. The old man had watched them go back and forth with a fond smile.

“Yes,” he agreed wholeheartedly and Percival fought a bright grin in reply.

A young witch and her elderly father who had come to quietly reflect stood as witnesses for them. Newt glanced at Percival, dropping his gaze but darting back up over and over as the priest went through the ceremony.

Their hands held entwined.

Percival pressed a chaste kiss to Newt’s mouth when prompted and someone clapped.

They were married.

 

 

The aftermath was silly. Everyone having something to say when they found out. His father shook his head at them, Credence was hurt they didn’t tell him, Newt’s mother upset to have missed her boy’s wedding.

But through it all, Newt wore a tiny smile, even as he apologized profusely. He never looked like he regretted it at all.  

Percival didn’t bother with apologies. He wanted to be married and now he was. There was no issue as far as he was concerned. He would say so and calmly stare down who ever was complaining until they stopped bothering him. His father and brother were the only ones immune to the tactic and both of them were not truly angry.

Newt and Percival wore a pair of simple bands, nothing extravagant but more realistic. Something they could both wear during their respective jobs.

Percival’s gaze caught on the shine of the ring for months afterward. He had to learn not to smile at the thing, lest his reputation of asshole slip a bit. Half the aurors were certain Newt had been seduced and snatched up, poor delicate soul.  

Percival snorted a laugh as Newt cursed breathlessly, chasing an unrepentant niffler across the suitcase.

“Return it immediately you little obnoxious no-good thief!”

The niffler scurried off with Newt’s rind and Percival laughed outright as his husband chased the beast relentlessly. He always got it back, whether it was the niffler or in some beast’s stomach somehow, the ring eventually returned to his hand.

 

“We’ve come a long way,” Newt mused one night, curled up together in their bed with the snow falling outside the window. Soon spring will come and this will likely be the last storm of the season.

Percival had learned that Newt loved to watch such things. He had enlarged the windows of the room just so the man could curl up on their bed and watch. The leaves of the trees in the yard or the rain on the windows, any sort of weather seemed to sooth Newt. For a few hours he seemed to come to a still and his shoulders slumped as he curled around a pillow. He never seemed interested in much chatter, just letting his mind go wherever it went in these moments

Percival liked to sit with him and read, he tried to avoid work and brought novels to bed. It had been a long time since he had read leisurely. With Newt and his watching habits, he found himself doing so more. Whenever a good storm came through or the sun hit the trees in the perfect light, a soft breeze dancing the leaves, they would curl up. Sometimes pressed close, sometimes apart on different pillows.

It was an intimacy Percival wasn’t used to, but he found himself enjoying it immensely.

“A long way?” Percival thinks of their first meeting and all the years of painfull fumbling that followed. The heartache and the doubt, the sudden hope and eventually disbelief that they had ended up together, watching the snow. Percival was certain the one day he would be able to simply enjoy it and that worry he would lose this would fade.

“I suppose we have. In the spring you’ll begin your travels.”

“Later now, or at least not as far, I haven’t decided yet,” Newt sighed, seemingly utterly content, curled on his pillow like a cat. Dougal was sleeping tucked behind the man’s knees.

“You’ve changed your plans?” Percival turned the page of his book. Conversations came and faded in these moments so when Newt didn’t reply right away he didn’t press. It was rare for Newt to lose his concentration these days. For time and the war to curl around his mind, but it did still happen sometimes.

Newt sucked in a deep breathed and let it out slowly, unfolding around the pillow and stretching until his head gently bumped Percival’s thigh. He was sitting upright, back on the headboard a book in his lap. Right on the edge as Newt managed to take up most of the bed.

He shifted a hand to run through Newt’s curls absently. Trying not to feel too much like he was petting a dog. Newt adored it though, turning his face into the touch so Percival’s fingers ran over his brow and cheek.

“Percival?”

He hummed in reply, gaze going from the book to Newt’s eyes. He peered up at him, biting his lip in a nervous gesture.

“I’m pregnant.”

Percival stared for a moment, opening his mouth to reply but finding the words absent. Newt sat up proper, butting his head to Percival’s chest and he immediately curled him into a hug.

“…Are you sure?”

Newt nodded. “Credence checked. And then he checked six more times.”

Male carriers weren’t uncommon but it was rare for them to actually have a baby. It was a complicated process with dangers and magic involved with biology. Percival had thought they would have years to consider the idea of a child. That they would have to actively try for a child.

“We didn’t plan this,” Newt edged and Percival tightened his grip on him.

“We didn’t. But we can now. Are… are you happy?”

Newt pulled away, arranging himself to sit in Percival’s lap and face him. He was a touch taller and had to lean to press brows together.

“I… it’s unexpected but it’s good. I think. I… I never knew how to feel about the idea that I lost a child, beyond sad. I was sad for a life we never even knew and all the things they didn’t get to do. But I never really thought about having a child. I knew we would…eventually. But… well 'eventually' is now I suppose.”

“Are you happy?” Percival pressed and Newt smiled, the tension about him breaking.

“Yes, very much so.” He leaned in, resting his head on Percival’s shoulder and curling against him. It made no real sense how such a tall willowy man could curl up so compactly.

“Are you happy… with this?” He echoed back.

Percival opened his mouth and tried to think of what to say.

“I… I am. I’m worried, about all the health concerns and the issues involving a child. But the idea of a child… of your child. Is a good one, I’m delighted.”

Newt huffed out a relieved sound.

“Why can’t anything we plan work out properly?”

Percival chuckled. Feeling his chest blooming with a radiating warmth. The idea of a baby, of Newt carrying their child slowly settling in his mind. Of a little boy or girl that they would raise together. He looked out the window at the snow and immediately thought of a tiny child’s first time seeing it. Their first million times or everything the world had to offer.

“We’re just not good at arrangements I suppose.”

Percival had never thought of children beyond he knew they would have them. But now his mind was creating an image. Of Newt with a tiny baby in his arm. It resonated in his chest, it felt perfect. The absolute best future he could hope for. One that he was certain he would make happen.

"I suppose so," Newt hummed lightly.

Percival just had to kiss him then.