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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.

 

Chapter Text

 

Newt dove into his studies.

He traveled deep into a jungle on his own and felt the humiliation and anxiety of the world fade away. He was used to minding his own camp and taking care of himself in the wild.

It was easier out there he found.

The jungle was dangerous, but it wasn't nearly as confusing or painful as the human world.

Diricawl wandered the area, pecking for food as Newt settled in a tree and sketched them, watching them fondly.

He had received letters, his parents unaware, Credence worried, Theseus catching on that something had happened. Three from Percival sat unopened, peering up at him accusingly.

Newt pushed them into a pile with his notes and focused on his drawing. Just the thought of the man made him flush with humiliation. Newt doubted it would fade anytime soon. Why had he done such a terrible thing? Lured Newt in like that. The way he had smiled at him in the bar, walked so close to him, he’d made Newt feel desirable, something he rarely ever felt.

Leta had kissed Newt a few times so Percival hadn’t stolen that from him. But those touches, the hands on him, it had been his first time. He first sexual experience and it hadn’t even been his, not really. It was an over protective man, convinced Newt wasn’t good enough for his brother. So sure of that he was willing to lure Newt out, to press his mouth against his, to touch him like a lover. All to prove what, that Newt would do it, that he would be unfaithful? He thought of the way Kay had startled to learn Credence knew Newt was out. Had Percival thought he had caught him, had easily enticed him to cheat.

His first time, taken to prove he was easy to seduce, easy to be used.

Newt blinked at the tears in his eyes that refused to leave, frustrating him.

People were cruel. Leta had shown him that. Percival continued to. The sooner Newt accepted it, the better.

 

The years dashed by, it seemed the last time Newt looked he was barely twenty-one and now he was twenty-four. Years spent dedicated to his work, to learning and helping magical creatures. Credence remained a good friend despite the fall out with his brother. Newt had taken care to avoid Percival and Credence had never pushed him, even not knowing what had happened.

“I can see you don’t want to talk about it and Percival clams up as well, so I’ve always left it be, not wanting to upset anyone.”

Credence was like that, ever supportive and kind, ever the calm healer.

 

 

Newt made his way to New York eventually, his suitcase in hand. The wedding would come quickly and they had to prepare. They had already decided to have it in America. The Graves owned property in the city and outside it, a rolling manor with lush fields. They would hold the wedding there rather than the city they decided. It was very gorgeous, opulent gardens alive with life as birds sang and bugs hopped about. Credence had chosen well, knowing Newt would like an outdoor wedding to a city church. It would be a small private ceremony as well, something they both wanted.

They stood together on a balcony overlooking the gardens, the warm summer sun on them.

"How is everyone? Your father?"

Credence shrugged, thinking a moment. "Good, in good health and pleased with the marriage. Percival is good too, dedicated to his work."

Newt nodded his head, willing himself not to be bitter. It would only hurt Credence.

"I asked him to give you room," he added and Newt offered a smile for the thought.

“It doesn’t truly matter now, it’s been years really I suppose.”

Theseus had asked Newt about it every chance he could, but Credence had respected his discretion. It really didn’t matter in the end; here they were about to be married. Newt would never want to be around Percival though and Credence deserved to understand why.

“He kissed me, it was a complicated mess but he… kissed me and touched me, just because he could, because he wanted to see if I would let him.”

Newt tried to push the memory from his mind, the dark alley, cold brick on his back and a warm body pressed to his front.

He had never dared to touch anyone else after that.

He still resented the fact that he thought of it still, and even knowing what it was, he still felt a rush of arousal.

Newt glanced over and blinked to see Credence looking rather stunned.

“H-he kissed you?” He repeated incredulously.

“At the bar,” Newt added, feeling a touch hurt that the idea was so shocking.

“No,” Credence took his wrist, squeezing warmly and reading Newt so easily. “It’s not anything about you, it’s just… Percy. He doesn’t just kiss people Newt. The idea of him not being stiff-backed and proper is the shocking part.”

“Perhaps he thought himself undercover, I don’t know. I never understood it myself. Only that he wanted to see if I would, see I would be unfaithful to you.”

Credence squeezed his wrist again. “...I suppose that does sound a bit like him.”

“Ah, here they are,” John Graves called out, a woman in a trendy suit following him. “This is Emily, the planner for the wedding.”

Introductions were made and opinions on flowers began to come forward. Newt didn’t miss the way John’s eyes lingered on Credence and Newt’s joined hands approvingly. The man was gruff and a touch cold but he seemed to treat Credence well. Newt had expected something far worse but he did only know second hand about the man. It was clear that he was pleased with his son's healing training and had already begun to find places within MACUSA for Credence to work. But it was also obvious it was the marriage that pleased him the most, the idea that they would fulfill a contract that he himself had failed when Newt’s mum ran off.

 

Percival never came around during the visit, which made things easier for Newt.

So, of course, the moment he was sure it would be fine, the man appeared.

They were in the living room of the city house, all three reading quietly in each others company.

“Percy,” Credence stood up from the couch pausing only at the slightly harried look about his brother.

“Newt is needed, we have an emergency situation.”

Before he could protest, Percival was sweeping over to him, curling his arm around Newt’s own and side-along apparating him. He stumbled as the arrived on a street side, men and woman in long coats surrounding them.

“Sir,” a young woman breathed in relief.

“How is the situation?”

“It hasn’t moved since you left.”

Curious, Newt followed them and watched as Percival slowed and carefully peered around a wall. Frowning he looked back to Newt and silently motioned him to look.

A rather aggravated nundu was down the block, pacing and growling. Its breath was visible with a green tinge, breathing out toxic air that could kill with a single inhale.

“Oh dear,” Newt muttered softly, letting Percival pull him back out of sight.

“The blocks closed off for now but there is a family locked in the far house. A dark wizard is holding them hostage. We can’t do anything until the nundu is out of the way. The wizard released it to stop us.”

“We tried to stun it and then a few killing spells but nothing worked,” another auror chimed in.

Newt’s face twisted in a grimace. “Nundu are almost completely impervious to magic and they’re very intelligent, they won’t be lured into traps.”

“What do we do?” Percival asked, voice calm and stoic, looking to Newt with a full expectation he would be able to help. It was a bit intimidating but also gratifying to have such faith placed in him.

“Chickens.”

That made the solemn man blink.

“I need at least ten live chickens and I’ll need my suitcase from the house.”

Percival gestured and four aurors disappeared away immediately.

“I can bring him away and into my case I think, after that, the dark wizard and what not is up to you and your aurors.”

Percival nodded, peering around the corner again.

“We can handle that, it’s the nundu that’s the problem.”

Newt nodded and reached into his pockets for his emergency stores. Popping off a lid he drank down a potion made to help avoid the toxic poison of the Nundu's breath.

“Poor fellow, he’s been yanked from his home and dropped somewhere strange likely, it’s not surprising that he’s upset.”

The young female auror made an incredulous noise. But the cluck of chickens took Newt’s attention. Two aurors had arrived with wire crates stuffed full, clearly from a marketplace. He pulled his wand to silence them and peeked around the corner, but the nundu was looking their way already.

He was hungry and that was a good sign at least.

“We need my suitcase,” he breathed and Percival motioned for two more aurors to go and check up on the holdup.

However the nundu wasn’t waiting, it could scent the meal so Newt straightened his back and with a flick of wand opened the chicken cage. Floating the poultry after him, he stepped out of cover, ignoring Percival trying to grab his arm.

“Stay back,” he hissed without looking behind him. Thankfully no one followed.

The nundu snarled, head raised threateningly as Newt came out, eyes down submissively.

“Hello, you look a bit hungry,” Newt cast two of the chickens toward the beast, releasing the spell so they immediately tried to run away from the predator. Which only fed his instincts and made the beast take chase, catching, killing, and eating both quickly.

“I imagine you’re rather irate, kidnapped likely, if not raised in a cage. But you have the air about you of a truly wild creature.”

Newt stepped back down the street, floating more chickens and releasing them as the nundu prowled closer, snarling at Newt but eating hungrily. Likely starved and eager to eat and get its strength back. Poachers always seemed to starve the beasts they wanted for guards, thinking it made them more vicious.

Flicking his wand at a fire hydrant, Newt let the water rush out and the nundu growled but after a moment padded over to drink.

“It would be nice to return home no doubt, I can’t think this city is anything but upsetting for you,” Newt offered, feeding the nundu more of the chickens as he talked, keeping a calm stream of words going.

They passed the house the aurors were at and when Newt glanced up Percival had his suitcase.

The nundu, however, reached Newt first, standing before him, eyes locked on him.

A single hard breath and Newt would be poisoned, his potion not strong enough to stop it this close.

“Hello you magnificent fellow,” Newt whispered, reaching out a hand palm up to let the beast scent at him. He gathered his magic around him trying his hardest to send out waves of comfort. Not once did Newt meet its eyes or do anything remotely challenging, he kept calm and still.

“You’ve no reason to believe me, but I do mean it when I say I’m here to help you,” Newt assured, the creature was clearly exhausted and still feeling cornered. But it settled after a moment, sitting and then lying before Newt to lick the blood from its claws.

Reaching out, Newt called his suitcase to him absently, watching the nundu carefully as he opened the case. The sounds of the other animals made the beast look up, head twisted to the case.

“I’ve a safe place for you, somewhere away from this mess.” The nundu was already moving, following the sounds of a jungle, its home calling it. Diving into the case, Newt knew it would land in the isolation habitat, a calm place where it could settle without endangering any of the other creatures.

Snapping his case closed, Newt looked up as Percival and some of his aurors approached. They seemed a bit shocked, staring at his case as if it might jump up and bite them. Even Percival was gazing at Newt with a peculiar air about him.

“The dark wizard?” He asked weakly and that seemed to snap the man back into action.

“Goldstein, Smith, Buton, down around the back alley, the rest circle the front and close in. The family’s safety is the priority. If he makes an escape let him, we can track him down later, just secure the civilians.”

Percival wore a commanding air about him, pointing where he wanted the aurors and they all went obediently.

“I’ll return home, I need to see to the nundu,” Newt explained and Percival nodded his head, pausing for a moment.

“Thank you, Newt. It’s appreciated.”

“Of course,” he replied, stepping back, noting that Percival seemed like a different man than years before.

 

Newt returned to the Graves city house and told Credence and his father the story before heading into his suitcase to look over his new nundu. The poor fellow was terribly underfed so Newt offered him a bit more food while he mixed up a simple tonic to prevent the nundu’s breath from killing him. It snarled a bit, but ultimately took its medicine. Really a sweet soul once he was fed up and felt safe.

When he came back out of the case, Percival was there, talking lowly with Credence. They both stopped when Newt appeared.

“Is the Nundu alright?” Credence asked politely and Newt smiled.

“He’ll be fine, just a bit scared and hungry, he warmed right up after another supper.”

“The Nundu. Warmed up.” Percival seemed incredulous but he shook it off quickly. “If it’s all right with you, we need you to come into MACUSA and give a statement of what happened.” The man had a commanding air about him, used to giving orders now.

“I’ll come along,” Credence added and Newt nodded, not keen on such things but understanding the point of them.

“There won’t be an issue with me keeping him will there? I did promise to return him home you see.”

Percival frowned but seemed to relent. “I can’t imagine we would have a better solution.”

Newt felt the tension in him diminish and smiled gratefully. Not many officials would let Newt keep the beast, in fact, most would want to kill it. Despite the bad past between them, Newt immediately respected Percival for not seeming to think slaughtering creatures was the easiest solution.

 

MACUSA’s headquarters was a rather remarkable place, Newt pausing to stare at the endless rows of offices up as far as the eye could see. But it was the warm golden sunlight pouring in from the windows that he liked best. They also lit the golden decorations up rather splendidly.

“I was impressed too,” Credence whispered softly and Newt smiled at him, following the brothers down the maze of halls. It was clear Percival was an admired man from the way people moved out of his path and their eyes followed him. Newt couldn’t deny that he was only more handsome than when Newt had met him last, age suited him in a way it did with few people. Percival would likely only grow more fetching the older he got.

Typical.

The auror from the nundu incident, the woman, looked up when Percival called out ‘Goldstein’.

“Mr. Scamander is here to file his statement and be debriefed,” his tone was that polite but commanding again. Reserved in a way Newt wasn’t used to hearing.

The woman jumped up to obey, motioning at the two chairs in front of her desk. Percival stood as Newt and Credence sat.

There was a large open area with high ceilings and rows of desks with men and woman working at them. Fedoras and trench coats hung on coat racks beside the desks, the uniform of American aurors it seemed.

“How have you been?” Credence asked and the woman smiled more genuinely.

“Very good, you?”

Credence beamed back, something shy in his gaze but also something lit up within.

“Newt this is Tina, she works closely with Percy, a mentorship of sorts.”

Newt noticed the way Percival seemed to internally sigh at being called Percy but he didn’t correct his younger brother.

Someone walked up to his side, asking him something. Newt watched the Percival be led off, discussing some matter lowly.

“It’s rare for him not to be stolen,” Credence admitted. “He is the head Auror.”

“Theseus can’t walk in the Ministry building either,” Newt agreed.

“Newt, this is Tina. Tina, Newt.” They exchanged a shake of hands, Tina’s smile looking forced again. Throughout the interview Newt noticed Credence looking at the woman and a few times she smiled sweetly at Credence.

Certainly something there.

 

“N-nothing,” Credence denied hours later as they walked New York streets towards the Grave’s house. “I just admire her really.”

Newt hummed in disbelief, smiling teasingly when Credence glanced at him.

“You’re allowed to want people,” he reassured the younger man and Credence huffed, shoulder drooping.

"I do actually. There was...a man for a bit. Back when I wasn't sure."

Newt blinked but smiled easily, honestly happy for his friend.

"What happened?"

Credence shook his head but smiled fondly.

“It doesn't matter. But I do want people. And I suppose I might think Tina is a s-stunning woman,” he confessed and Newt grinned, feeling happy for his friend as he bumped their shoulders.

“I’m glad. It would be good for you, to fall in love.”

“Because you’re an expert?”

“Theseus highly recommends it.”

“Theseus reads sappy romantic novels when no one is looking,” Credence replied and then looked caught, face turning red as Newt swallowed a delighted laugh.

“Does he really?”

“Please don’t say anything, I promised not to tell anyone.”

Newt couldn’t fight the bright smile on his face, his mouth refused to smooth into a calm expression.

“Good walk?” John greeted them at the door, Percival beside him. Newt realized they must have taken their time returning. They had gone through the park with Credence showing him the areas he knew. They met at the doorway, Newt and Credence heading in as they headed out.

“We looked around. It’s nice to be home, I missed New York,” Credence admitted, still a touch shy around his father but not turning as meek as he would of before.

“We’re headed out to eat, would you boys like to join us?”

Newt shook his head politely. “You go,” he smiled encouragingly at Credence. “I need to check on the nundu.”

“A nundu in my family home,” John contemplated, not sounding upset but more bemused by it.

“Newt does seem to be a creature whisper of sorts,” Percival added calmly, looking over at Newt and making him turn his gaze to the street. Something about the man brought up the shyness in Newt, but then he had used Newt rather callously. It might be the right reaction to shy away from him. At lease Newt found himself without any great aggression, he seemed to truly have moved past. Credence deserved that much, his husband and brother not at odds.

“He has a great talent,” Credence agreed. Squeezing Newt’s elbow before stepping away. “I’ll bring you something back, you should try more of the food New York has to offer.”

Newt watched them leave and while he did enjoy Credence's company he was also glad for some time alone within his suit case.

 

The next time he met Percival, Newt was caught off guard yet again.

A society event, important people dancing in a grand room that dripped with gold and expensive things. Credence and his father had left for it already. Newt hadn’t planned on attending but Theseus had arrived in New York for the event and decided to drag him to it last second.

Newt was too happy to see his brother to put up a fight on the matter. Theseus was only there for the night so Newt went along with him.

Credence looked oddly flustered to see Newt but he dutifully danced with him. His hand felt heavy on Newt’s back, more firm than his usual gentle pressure. The moment they could, Credence was asking to show Newt the balcony view. Curious, Newt agreed and left his brother and future father-in-law talking about auror matters.

“I something wrong?” Newt asked softly, leaning into Credence to comfort him.

“I’m not Credence.”

“W-what?”

“Credence is currently hiding in the Woolworth building, avoiding a room filled with people eager to make nice with him. I fill in for him sometimes, when only one brother is needed and father wishes it to be Credence.”

“Percival?”

He nodded.

“I wanted to tell you immediately, I didn’t want you to think…I don’t know what you would think actually.”

Newt blinked. “You were acting a bit odd, Credence isn’t as uneasy around me.”

Percival hummed in agreement, he looked put off for some reason and wearing Credence’s face Newt couldn’t help but reach out, touching his wrist lightly to comfort him. The man looked startled, face flushing red at the touch.

“I imagine Credence is much more used to other things with you.” There was no rudeness about the words, just a simple suggestion that had Newt shaking his head.

“Not really. We are friends you know, and simply that.”

“You touch all the time,” Percival pointed out and Newt shrugged unsure how to explain it. Words often failed him when he tried to speak of such things. Only his family and Credence ever touched him and Newt returned to affectionate contact, learning to soak up the warmth of another person.

“I touch my brother often as well, I touch people who are comforting. It’s nothing sexual really.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever understand you two.” He looked like he was almost pouting and Newt felt a smile pull at his mouth. He was looking at Credence’s face and something in him kept forgetting it wasn’t actually Credence. Newt stood close to him, their bodies nearly touching from foot to shoulder.

“Besides, Credence has a bit of a crush, I suspect.”

Percival blinked, leaning in and instantly curious, ever a big brother.

“That lovely auror, Tina.”

That surprised him. “Tina? A bit old for him.”

“Credence never was a young soul though,” Newt pointed out and the other man did have to agree with that.

“It doesn’t bother you?” There wasn’t a censor in his tone this time around, Percival just seemed curious.

“We’re friends. We will marry soon enough, the months are going by quickly. And we’ve agreed to try for a child. But we’ve also agreed if one wished to leave the marriage we will default it on both sides, a mutual divorce so no family is shamed.”

Credence’s face twisted in a strange sort of shock and scandal. Newt stepped closer to bump their shoulders without thinking, watching Percival straighten up a touch at the contact.

“The contract stated no divorce.”

“The original contract did. My grandfather reworded the new one, knowing we were friends before anything else.”

Percival seemed unsure which emotion to land on, settling on a shake of his head with a touch of amusement.

“Honestly, the two of you keep surprising me at every turn. You’ve always been like that though.”

Newt laughed then, amused with the genuine tone of wonder in the man’s voice. Despite everything between them, Newt had always thought perhaps if they would just both try, they might be good friends.

“Miss Tina might be your sister-in-law one day, you should treat her kindly.”

Credence’s face pulled into a grimace.

“You never did let me apologize properly.”

Newt stopped short, the amusement in him slamming shut as he turned is gaze to the street below him, feeling an old ache open up far too easily. Here he had thought they could put it behind them, friendship would suit them far better, would put Credence at ease as well.

“I don’t think I would want to hear it. I would appreciate it if you didn’t try to force me to either.”

Percival remained quiet at his side and Newt’s hand slid away from his, realizing how improper he was acting, touching the man freely as he did Credence.

“I’ll respect that. I did always wonder if you saw my letters though.”

Newt frowned, his mind recalling them years ago, tucked away under notes and forgotten intentionally.

“Somewhere in my notes, I left them. I never did open them I fear. I imagine they are long gone.”

Percival huffed out, seeming a touch relieved.

“That’s for the best. But, let me say this and only this.”

Newt stared down at the streetlights, watching people walk down the streets, cars humming by. It was an enchanting place but Newt knew he would always prefer a deep jungle with nothing but himself and the creatures of the land. He wanted to walk away but he made himself stay, if only to put it all to rest.  

“What happened was my fault... And I know that. I’ll never forget that. Not ever. It wasn’t an attempt to hurt you or prove anything. I just…it was my fault, I made a terrible choice. I admire you a great deal Newt, I’m grateful Credence met you and that your family has been so kind to him.”

Newt managed to glance at the man and Credence’s face looked odd, so somber and serious. But he also looked genuine.

“Let’s not talk on it, it’s done with and there’s little to linger on at this point,” he suggested finally and Percival finally nodded.

“What do you think of New York? Of America, is it everything you expedted?” There was something odd about the words, something off in the question but Newt can’t place it.

“I like it, it seems… different, but in a good way. I like travelling you see, I’ve been all over the world and I do admire each place.” Newt wasn’t sure what to say beyond that, Percival nodding his head.

They both looked out over the city for a moment, staring at the city lights in the shadows of the night.

“…Would you like to leave? I imagine we can depart now without offending anyone," Percival offered.

Newt’s shoulders slumped in relief. “Yes, please.” The party was like a hive of bees, buzzing irritatingly at his back, threatening to swarm him. Newt might prefer actual bees to be honest. Theseus would be fine and they made plans for breakfast in the morning before he returned to London.

Credence’s chuckled sounded odd, too low, something about it smoky. Newt tried to ignore that he could feel it down his back, a trickle of something hungry. He had never forgotten how it felt to be kissed, the way Percival had bit at his neck with such a need. A desire no one else had ever shown him, regardless of intentions.

Percival had made him feel so good.

Newt still thought about it sometimes, when he was lost in self-pleasure. But it would be for the best if they could all just move passed it.

 

Newt didn’t share Credence’s ability to leave things alone. His mind turned over Percival’s words with an obsessive nature. Newt had always been so certain he had done what he did to prove Newt would kiss another man, be unfaithful to Credence. To hear him disclaim that, to say he was grateful for Newt in Credence’s life was a rather big turnaround.

So Newt was curious.

Making sure that his new nundu and the rest of the creatures were all fed and settled for the evening, Newt pulled out his old notes. He kept everything of course, he had a tendency to forget what was the exact wording of his discoveries or thoughts so he kept a heaping pile for future references. It took him more than two hours to find the letters, the three envelopes faded yellow with years.

Newt inspected each one and opened the first. It was filled with polite and proper apologies for inappropriate actions. The second was much the same but a touch more personal, imploring Newt to grant him forgiveness. During the months right after the incident, Newt knew Credence had been rather cross with his brother, refusing to talk to him. Newt was likely lucky the man hadn’t tracked him down again in the jungle, trying to make him accept his apologies.

The third letter was notably longer and Newt settled on the floor of his little study shack, peering over the fine writing.

This letter contained the apologies repeated a third time but also an explanation for Percival’s actions.

I do sincerely apologize for what I have done. Credence has told me you think I was trying to prove something, trying to show you were lacking. I have never found you lacking. Never thought you anything but bright and righteous. Since the moment I met you, you have taught me endlessly about my own arrogance through your own virtues.

When I spoke with you in disguise I had only wished to see if you would be able to see me through the glamor at first. But when you spoke with me, eyes for once not guarded, I allowed myself more then I should have. It was wrong of me to be selfish, to take greedily what you would not have given me by choice. I knew you would never have allowed me, if you had known it was me. In my own desires I allowed myself a terrible wrong to you.

Despite that, I sought you out a second time to confess the truth, to explain properly and apologize for coveting that which was my brothers. The truth of the matter is that I still love you dearly Newt, and would see no harm done to you. And it is clearly obvious that all I am capable of doing is harm.”

Newt felt a bit like the floor was shifting, threatening to topple him over. He re-read the letter again, feeling his face heat up terribly as he stared at the words.  

 

His female nundu, Margret, was rather taken with the new male. Newt could see a romance blossoming there, the two in separate areas but often calling back and forth. Part of Newt was excited with the idea but also a touch worried about accommodating a family of nundu. Margret’s breath was damaged and without it to protect her, she couldn’t return to the wild safety. But then perhaps the male could defend her, they did mate for life.

Newt tried to think on them and only them, the letter feeling heavy in his pocket.

Percival Graves had lusted him. Had wanted him.

That much Newt could accept.

But he had said he was in love with Newt

Love.

It felt silly that he was so startled by it, that something from years ago was leaving Newt feeling a bit dazed.

“Are you ok?” Credence asked and Newt blinked up at him.

“You didn’t hear me calling and you’ve been kneeling at the plant bed for a long time Newt.”

Looking down at the plants, he blinked. “Huh.”

Credence took a spot beside him, settling easily and looking at Newt with a calm ease, waiting. But Newt suddenly couldn’t tell him, how was he supposed to say that Credence’s brother had wanted Newt at one point. Instead, he began talking about the nundus and their potential mating and all the issues it could bring.

If Credence saw through him, he didn’t call Newt on it.

He was kind that way.

 

“Percy asked if you would come into MACUSA tomorrow,” he mentioned off-hand while they were checking the creatures for the last time of the day. Newt was thankful that he had his back to Credence as it hid that he almost dropped the pail of fresh water.

“I guess they busted another illegal operation and found some creatures. But they’re not sure how to handle them. Percy said they had someone for it but they’re working somewhere else now so there’s no one to help.”

Newt felt his anxiety leave him immediately.

“Are they ok? What sort of creatures? Should we go tonight?”

Credence offered a small smile and shrug.

“Percy said they would be fine tonight, none of them are in danger. They’re all resting in secure cages and can wait until tomorrow.”

 

The next day couldn’t come fast enough for Newt. He woke early and left a note for Credence, heading out and down the street towards the Woolworth building that stood out like a beacon.

Newt half expected the building to be empty but there were already workers arriving with the first rays of the sunlight. When he was directed to the auror department, Percival was already there, talking with a nervous looking Tina.

"... and I can assure you, we're just friends." Newt caught her finishing with a rushed air about her.

The poor woman looked beyond relieved to see Newt, rushing to stand and ask if he needed help. Newt clutched at his suitcase nervously, feeling a bit strangely bare as Percival turned his gaze onto him.

“The b-beasts?” Newt managed, trying and failing to keep his face from burning red. He had been so caught up in the welfare of the poor creatures he had forgotten Percival might be there. Tina looked confused at his sudden nerves but Percival accepted it calmly.

“This way, we’ve made them as comfortable as we could.” He stood up from his chair across from Tina’s desk, pausing to turn back to her. “Well talk more later.”

The poor woman didn’t look cheered to hear that.

Newt couldn’t help her, feeling his own anxiety running high as he followed Percival down the narrow hallway.

“I take it you went and found those old letters?”

Newt couldn’t help but admire that the man was a good auror, figuring out the issue so quickly. “I’m a-afraid so.”

Percival paused, standing in the empty hall with Newt at his side.

“I do hope you understand that this shouldn’t affect anything, the way I feel about you, that is. You've made it clear that the past should stay there and I will respect that.”

Newt nodded his head quickly, not knowing what else to do.

“I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention this to Credence, I don’t want to upset him.”

Newt nodded his head quickly again.

Percival glanced back at him for a moment, before nodding his head as if the matter was settled. They started walking again until Percival paused again.

“Please don’t tell Theseus either, I can’t imagine that going over well.”

Newt felt a smile pull at his mouth then.

“I’m certain Theseus is only alright with my m-marriage because it’s to Credence. He’s a bit over the top with others I find.”

“An overprotective brother for certain,” Percival agreed easily. “He would take great offense to the idea of me having ...inappropriate feelings for you. I can’t see him seeing any tragic romance to the situation so much as a terrible perversion fixated on his poor little brother.”

Newt fought a laugh then and Percival seemed pleased, as if he had achieved something.  

“Credence told me Theseus liked romance novels actually. When I asked him, Theseus claimed he only read them because Credence bought them in the first place.”

Percival snorted back a laugh and suddenly the worry in Newt felt lighter.

He tried not to think on how Percival mentioned his affection with present tense rather than past tense.

The creatures rescued were a group of bowtruckles, a niffler, occamy eggs, and a rather irritated Fwooper.

“Has the silencing charm been reinforced recently?” Newt questioned, peering under the creature to see the charm marker hanging on its leg. Typically poachers used physical charms so they could remove them easily in order to use the animals as torture devices.

“Silencing charms? There was magical residue on it but we didn’t register any charms.”

Newt blinked over to the man before very gently pulling his wand. The Fwooper puffed up but allowed him to cast the charm.

“Fwoopers have a powerful song, it’s known to drive some mad,” Newt explained lightly and turned his attention to the niffler. It had a bad leg and didn’t like being touched but its eyes were bright and it was a good weight. The bowtruckles were worse off, a bit browned on the tip of their leaves. They needed a stable home and Newt had a tree in his suitcase, if he could relocate them, they would spring back right away. Pickett would do well to have more company.

Eventually, Newt realized Percival was watching him, eyes curious as he looked over Newt in a strange considering way.

“Y-yes?”

“I was merely thinking. You would do well in such a position, minding the creatures that are brought in here; you’ve always had a gift with them. You do intend to move to New York shortly don’t you?”

Newt was in the process of moving, the Graves had multiple properties and so Newt and Credence were going to move into an apartment together. The intention had been for Newt to settle down and finally write his manuscript out, to begin working on a proposal to offer to the Ministry to see the work published. But the chance to continue to work with creatures was immediately alluring.

“Credence mentioned you had someone but they left?”

“Took off for a higher paying job somewhere, honestly though he wasn’t very good. Cataloged them and moved on, most died in captivity as they usually aren’t in good condition to begin with.”

Newt was kneeling on the ground, eye level with the Fwooper to inspect its dry feet but he turned to stare up at the other man with horror.

“Of course I would agree to help, these poor souls,” he rushed to say, wanting to scoop the whole lot up and rush them into the safety of his case.

“Would it be alright if I took them with me? My suitcase is much better equipped to help these creatures.”

Percival tipped his head a touch, staring down at Newt. “About that suitcase.”

Newt cringed.

 

“Credence never mentioned anything like permits or permission papers?” Percival asked weakly, spinning in a slow circle as he inspected the layout of the suitcase. Gawking a bit at the erumpent Newt was currently hosting.

“He might have, I’m a bit bad for remember that sort of thing,” Newt admitted faintly. Settling the bowtruckles onto the tree. Their glee was obvious as they ran along the branches exploring eagerly. Pickett was nervous but also immediately curious about the new comers, bowtruckles got along well with each other so Newt couldn’t imagine there would be an issue. Pickett was making his way down his branch to greet the new comers, always interested in the happenings around the case.  

“A bit bad? Newt, there are so many illegal things happening or existing in here.”

Newt glanced over at the man, watching Percival peer at the male nundu, Newt needed to think up a name for him, and then Percival seem to realize there were two.

“How many nundu do you have?”

“Just the two,” Newt rushed to assure, standing up and walking over to peer at the new couple, rather in love already. He had moved them so their habitats were side by side. With time they would be allowed to visit one another, a nice slow integration that would prevent any fights.

“Just the two,” the other man echoed, a touch of a strangled laugh in his tone.

“You have to catalog these creatures. Immediately,” Percival announced.

“I already have, why?” Newt looked up as he picked up Dougal, peering at Percival curiously.

Percival rubbed his forehead a touch aggravated looking.

“Because you need to submit forms straightaway for each and every one.”

“Must I?” Newt sighed and Percival stared at him again, trying to figure him out. Dougal crawled on his back, inspecting Newt to make sure he wasn’t hurt or anything, ever a worrier. He seemed to recall Percival on some level, not uneasy about him.

“It’s just, well most of the forms will be denied because this creature is too dangerous or this one is too rare, they’ll want to take them, which I cannot allow. And then there will be a nice list of everything that’s with me for unsavory people to check when they want a rare creature and are curious who to steal it from.”

“MACUSA won’t share the information,” Percival shot back, insulted, and Newt winced.

“Not intentionally.”

“Are you suggesting there is some place you can go and get government listings?”

Newt headed over to the feeding station, pouring pellets and cutting up chicken parts. Percival followed him intently, gaze waiting stubbornly. Dougal crawled onto the table, accepting his bowl of greens. With a sigh, Newt handed the stubborn man a bucket. After a moment Percival took it.

“Tell me, Head Auror Percival Graves, how many black markets do you think are in New York?”

They talked for hours, Percival obediently helping Newt feed his creatures in order to hear all he knew. Newt made sure to interact with each one, trying to show the man they weren’t as dangerous as people made them out to be. Both nundus were pleased to see him and Margret rubbed against Newt affectionately.

The awkwardness Newt felt around Percival had faded as they worked, the man was focused on his job and rather intent on doing it well, wanting to know all about the two extra black markets MACUSA was unaware existed. Newt felt a touch bad for exposing them but there was a lot of terrible things going on within them. A few raids would do good to cull the worst of it. Newt used them as well though, to gather ingredients or food not permitted for his beasts. Sometimes to gain information about poachers or buy creature in need of a rescue. Still, it was better to have the law involved, to keep the markets from going too dark.

Percival’s pocket seemed to vibrate, a charmed piece of paper rattling as he pulled it out and cursed, reaching for his pocket watch and finding it missing.

Newt tracked down the niffler and they both watched as coins, jewelry, and a rather large lot of shiny things poured from the beast. Percival’s watch was among them.

“I’m late,” he grimaced and Newt followed him from the case. “Also please turn all of that in at the lost and found desk and keep your thief under control.”

The holding room was still empty as they appeared from the suitcase. Newt closed his case up and followed Percival from the room, carefully not mentioning the new creatures within it. But Percival still looked back at it, he hadn’t forgotten, but he didn’t say anything on the matter. He even stopped and signed the beasts out on a book listing. It was as much as a blessing as Newt was going to get he thought.

Credence was visiting Tina, talking with her and they both seemed thick as thieves. Newt felt a smile tug on his face at the sight of them, truly happy for Credence.

“We’ll discuss the forms and other matters again later on,” Percival told Newt firmly and he winced but agreed, knowing he was going to be giving up a lot of information about the underworld. Over the years he’d learned to walk with one foot within it, while very illegal, black markets provided Newt with what regular stores would not. The leads on poachers and information on who possessed what, regardless of forms and approvals, was also vital. But again, it was also a sordid place with poor abused creatures chained up and dangerous people, dark wizards and witches lurking about. Better to come clean on the whole issue.

Credence smiled easily for Newt and Tina’s smile seemed dimmer for it. Still, she greeted him and said polite goodbyes as the two men took their leave.

“How was Percival?”

“Fine. He wants me to get permits for my creatures.”

“You told him about them?” Credence seemed a touch disbelieving.

“I showed him actually, he let me take the confiscated creatures into the suitcase for proper care.”

Newt fumbled a step when Credence stopped dead, staring outright.

“W-what’s wrong?”

Credence shook his head suddenly, as if to clear it. “I never expected Percy would do anything but try and confiscate it if he ever found out. How did you ever convince him to do otherwise? Percy lives for his laws Newt.”

Newt’s hands tightened on the case immediately. “You don’t think?”

Credence shook his head in negative. “If he said you should just get permits he obviously means to let you keep them.”

“Well, I did offer a bit of an exchange,” Newt thought, realizing he had in a way traded information for his creatures. “I told him a bit about the black markets around the city.”

“Newt,” Credence huffed, smiling as he shook his head. “You live such an interesting life.”

 

Percival asked Newt in again over the months, bringing him into MACUSA to give advice and care for creatures they apprehended. Newt worked with the aurors well, suggesting the best futures for the creatures and on occasion taking some that needed special care into his case. Credence helped Newt with his permits and Tina looked them over before everything was submitted to Percival who sighed a great deal but eventually signed off on them.

“Please don’t make me regret this,” he said simply and Newt beamed at him, seeing the man stare a touch and feeling his face heat.

They hadn’t really talked about it since the hallway. The entire “Percival had feelings for Newt” thing that was, that he had wanted to kiss and touch him that night. Newt never brought it up but he certainly never forgot it. He was always aware of the man now, aware when Percival stepped in close or leaned in to talk low. Newt paid more attention to how well dressed Percival always was and how calm and kind he could be with the creatures he brought Newt. But then he was also commanding with his aurors and a powerful force when he was on a case. When Newt had first worked with them a few had been a bit rude but Percival had been quick to remind them Newt had faced down a nundu calmly and that he dealt with deadly creatures every day and should be respected. It was a glowing praise but Newt was sure the dark look Percival finished the speech with that was what really made his people treat Newt nicer.

 

With the information provided by Newt, Percival led a series of highly successful raids that made the papers for months. When he and his team came into possession of magical beasts, Percival was outspoken about fair treatment for them. He insisted they be looked after properly and worked to send many of them home.

Newt might had swooned a touch, reading about it.

"They have that right," Percival insisted when Credence brought it up. Newt was certain Credence was only asking to try and warm Newt up to his brother more. He was still unaware of the whole mess between them, that Percival had said he loved him, that Newt was starting to feel like he might be able to answer that.

"During the war, we used magical creatures often, nifflers to take enemy weapons, bowtruckles that freed those imprisoned, countless others. Many lives, my own included, were saved. It would be below us to not try to return the favor." Percival sounded so certain, passionate in his belief. When he glanced at Newt he found himself nodding back, agreeing with every word utterly.

It might have been easier when it was just lust, this something more growing was proving to be utterly complicated.

 

“There’s talk about Percy taking over as Director of Security,” Credence mentioned when it was just the two of them. He smiled brightly, a proud brother.

“He would do well, he manages paper work rather well and I imagine there is a lot of that.”

Credence chuckled. “You would see a high ranking and important government job as something with more paper work.”

Newt wrinkled his nose. “I’m still not sure about how I was roped into a government job myself. But I can’t leave those poor animals on their own.” He supposed it would be a good thing for Percival to rise to power. With his belief in fair treatment to creatures, he could help improve a great deal.

“You get along better now, you and Percy.” Credence noted easily.

“I think we’ve gotten passed everything and found a friendship.”

“I’m glad,” Credence smiled, soft but true. “Percy needs more friends. The war was hard on him you know, when he came back… he was different. He never made friendships like before.”

“Everyone was,” Newt replied, thinking of Theseus and his pain, of Newt’s own ghosts from that terrible time.

“Still, I want Percy to be happy, I’m glad you can be his friend.”

Newt didn’t know how to explain to him he might have developed an attraction to Credence’s older brother. That sometimes Percival would look over at Newt and he would feel himself warmed by it, face turning red with something more than embarrassment. More than just desire.

Nothing happened though, everything was fine between them.

 

But then it wasn’t.

 

Newt very rarely went on raids with Percival and his aurors. He wasn’t trained properly for one thing. Secondly, he wasn’t an auror and had no business being part of a raid. But at the last moment they found out there would be a dragon present, a proper dragon that could pose a terrible threat to their all important secrecy and to their very lives. So Percival joined the team and brought Newt with him, he was to stay back and keep out of any fighting, offering advice on the dragon, if there was even a dragon.

Of course there was a dragon.

A great heart-wrenching dragon, covered in scars and screaming it’s pain and fear. A Ukrainian iron belly with heavy shackles on its legs and another around the base of its neck, it wings too damaged to fly.

Newt’s heart broke when he saw the poor beast and he was moving before he was thinking. Percival cursed after him but Newt slipped passed the aurors fighting, ducking curses and working his way closer and closer to the poor creature.

The dragon snarled at him, too long in pain and only knowing humans for harming him. Rearing its head back, it let loose a powerful blast of inferno fire, melting the steel and wood of the warehouse.

Newt didn’t hesitate, diving under the dragon and examining the chains holding him. Normally time and careful spells would be needed to free it but Newt had a pair of bowtruckles, just in case. They were afraid of the dragon and so they worked very fast, Pickett was such a brave soul and the other took after his example. The shackles came free and blood poured from deep gashes from the too small chains. Newt cupped his hands over the worst of it, summoning the healing spells he knew, fumbling with bloody hands to get into his pocket and fetch a potion to help with the pain. He stopped the bleeding of the first leg and went to work on the second.

Only when the wounds were covered and the dragon not in danger of bleeding out did Newt take in his surroundings. Mainly, the very large dragon head ducked and staring at him, mere feet away. A single breath of fire would kill him, a snap of its razor sharp teeth as well.

Newt didn’t try to talk softly to calm it, dragons were much more intelligent then people gave them credit. Instead he carefully inched closer, the dragon’s blood red eye staring at him as Newt reached up for the last collar around its neck. Pickett trembling but oh so brave as he got up and opened the lock and the metal groaned as it came undone and slid to the floor with a great loud clatter, the entire floor shuddering as it hit.

The dragon raised its head and let out a great plume of fire, dark wizards and aurors alike jumping away.

Newt ducked under the beast, rushing to the far wall and turning to watch the dragon follow him, locked on Newt.

“There we go, come along now, time to leave this all behind.”

His suitcase wouldn’t be able to hold the dragon, he was entirely too big for that.

But the warehouses were abandoned, fishing docks closed down. So when Newt cast a spell and opened a hole into the next building it was a dusty mess but blissfully empty. If the dragon stayed among the fighting, it would be killed, by with the enemy or the aurors.

The walls trembled as the dragon crashed through, following Newt and pausing a moment, great nostrils flaring.

The warehouse was not as abandoned as Newt had thought. But it was luckily empty, no one working the machines and a rather large mess of fish guts in vats against the wall.

“Perfect,” Newt spelled them to fall over, spilling it all out and the dragon immediately began eating, the fighting forgotten.

Letting out a breath of relief, Newt choked when his body twisted in agony by a painful spell coursing through him. His wand hit the ground and magic tossed it away, someone, a man with cold eyes pointing his wand at Newt.

A foul green light gathered at his wand tip and the words of the killing curse began. Newt couldn’t react in time, staring at this man willing to take his life so easily.

But he fell before the curse could be uttered; steel bars from the ground wrapping around his body painful tight and yanking him clear across the warehouse floor and into piles of machinery. Newt winced, very much doubting the man was still alive.

Percival was there suddenly, kneeling down and cupping his face, making Newt look at him.

“Are you ok?” He hissed, something about his tone suggesting he had asked it already. Everything seemed a bit wobbly when Newt thought about it. There was a frantic air about the man as he patted Newt down, looking for any injuries. Something about it was terrifying; a light in Percival’s eyes making Newt think the man wasn’t in the moment entirely. Newt was stunned from a spell but Percival was recalling some dark thing, from his career as an auror or the war perhaps.

Percival took his left wrist and pressed a kiss to Newt’s skin. He could feel his breath against his skin.

Newt stared at him, feeling his heart pounding in his chest, hands shaking a bit as he grabbed at Percival’s coat to steady himself as he sat up from the floor. Kneeling with the other man helping him, steadying him.

“Whatever he did, it hurt very much,” Newt breathed, his whole body throbbing painfully while his mind played over the moment, the spell almost cast, his life nearly taken.

“That was a bit closer than usual,” Newt added weakly and Percival’s hand cupped his face, staring at him with such a wretched look.

He tipped his head, touching their foreheads softly.

“Morgan be praised, Newt. Fuck. I thought he cast it. I couldn’t- fuck. Please don’t do that again, I can’t handle seeing you in danger, I never have.”

He thinks of Percival in the forest from the raid years ago, the man was more upset than that time but just as reprimanding. It was strange that Percival was confident of Newt’s abilities in one breath and then wanting him tucked away in another.

Newt shook his head. “Caught it mid-word I think. Not a n-nice man, to cast something so terrible and evil so e-easily.”

Percival was pressed in too close, Newt’s hands clinging to his coat without him remember doing it, feeling jarred and a bit like a live wire. Adrenaline was pounding through him and he sucked in a careful breath. Pressing his head against the other man’s brow and slowly letting himself calm down.

“Bit like the war, those horrid near misses, those times when they didn’t miss but it wasn’t you.”

Percival grunted, looking grim as he pulled back and Newt stopped him, grabbing his arm and pulling him back close.

“I fucking hated the war, hated almost every second of it.”

Newt stared at the other man, met his gaze and felt something hot and desperate fill his chest.

“Almost?”

“Sir?” Tina called unsurely and Percival’s reply was cut off as he sat back, his face immediately clouding in a mask of professionalism. Newt sat sprawled on the ground, blinking at the woman as other aurors began to arrive. Tina was frowning at him, seeing something she probably shouldn’t have. The fighting seemed done though.

“R-right. The dragon. Best leave it to me. If we can keep the area empty t-that would be great.”

Newt ignored the pain in his body as he stumbled up, finding his wand and inspecting the dragon still gorging itself. Swallowing, Newt tried to ignore the way he could still feel Percival’s hands on his face.

 

With some time and a bit of coordination, the dragon was coaxed to a sanctuary in Canada. Newt ended up escorting him to ensure nothing went wrong and once he was there it made sense to stay a bit, meeting the other creatures and learning about the program and how it ran.

When he returned to New York a few weeks later, Credence was waiting for him, eyes worried.

They curled up on the coach, Credence resting his head on Newt’s shoulder.

“Percy was upset. Said that maybe you working for MACUSA was a bad idea, he… he looked really bothered by what happened. Tina said it was a mess as well, that everything went to hell and you took off on them.”

Newt allowed the other man to softly reprimand him.

“Yes. Well, I’m not much used to working in groups and even less with such a directly offensive plan. I was only thinking to get the dragon to safety, poor Anthony was rather shaken by it all.”

“…Newt a dragon is not worth you almost dying.”

It was though.

It was a magnificent life that was very much worth the risk. The way Anthony had hissed in delight when he was released into the sanctuary, curling over the rocks and finding a great hot spring pool to lay in. He had been the picture of contentment. It was likely that was the first time he had even known anything beyond pain.

Newt thought of the war and Annabelle, the dragon he had trained for months and then lost, her death had destroyed him so deeply had used magic to forget it.

Newt couldn’t regret protecting the dragon.

“I can say that this idea of me going along is a very bad one. I think it’s wiser to bring the creatures to me than send me out to get them. I’m used to much more subtle methods than out right attacking. I think that’s why the dark wizard fellow was able to catch me off guard.”

“Did you see a healer?” Credence held up Newt’s hand, looking for any damage. His fingers ran over a faded scar, a reminder of the very war Newt’s mind was trying to push away. He thought of the kiss Percival had pressed to the same wrist. He could still feel it there.

“There was one at the sanctuary, bit of lightening spell she deduced. Suggested I not take on anything strenuous for a bit.” Newt spread his fingers slowly and felt the faint ache in them. It was fading though and a few pain potions made it easy to ignore.

Credence sat up a bit and started a healer examination, Newt letting him look him over as he pleased.

“Percy was reprimanded, I don’t think he had ever been before.”

“For what?”

“The wizard that attacked you, they said Percy used more force than necessary.”

“He was going to kill me to be fair, had a killing curse on his lips.”

Credence’s hand paused and squeezed Newt’s arm tightly.

“No more raids?” He finally asked and Newt nodded his head.

“No more raids.”

 

Tina watched him oddly, frowning at Newt when he went into MACUSA to help with magical creatures. She seemed to be looking for something in him and Newt wasn’t sure what it was. He could see that she was uncomfortable with the arranged marriage, that Credence and Newt were merely friends rather that lovers. But he couldn't quite place what she was trying to see in him.

Credence was looking too, peering at Newt with a strange expression but refusing to explain what it was.

Percival avoided him when he could at MACUSA, kept his gaze averted and never said a word beyond what was needed when he did talk to Newt. Outside of work, he never saw the man around the Graves house or the manor. They visited the manor outside the city a bit more now, the wedding only a few months away.

Newt felt a bit thrown with it all but he sank into the comfort of his creatures, they remained as steady as ever, following their natures and not acting so confusing like the people around him were. Newt spent the majority of his time in his suitcase, working with his beasts.

Theseus and his parents were due to arrive for a visit soon and Newt was looking forward to it, hoping the strange air that seemed to be haunting him would leave. It would be nice to see them all again and Newt was wondering if he should return home with them for a bit, the wedding was being dictated by a planner for the most part anyway.

“Tina said she saw something,” Credence admitted to him one evening, frowning at his book as Newt looked up from the desk he was at, cleaning up his notes. “When the dragon incident happened.”

Newt tilted his head and nodded. “She did, she was the first auror to arrive after Percival that is. He was comforting me, it had been a long time since I had come that close to dying you see.”

Newt sat back in his chair and looked at the fire, burning away in the fireplace, a new log would be needed shortly.

“I suppose I did cling to him a bit much. Maybe that’s why he’s been avoiding me.”

Credence frowned at his book, staring a page without reading it.

“I asked Percy about it,” he confessed and Newt tried not to feel so eager to hear what the man had to say. “He insisted it was nothing, that he was just making sure you were alright.”

“I thought as much,” Newt agreed easily but Credence’s unsure look remained.

“Tina said it was something more, that you were both holding on to each other and looking… like lovers. She’s positive of it.”

Newt couldn’t stop a soft scoff at the word, shaking his head with a weak smile. A touch bitter sweet.

“Are you honestly asking me if I’m…what, cheating on you? Seeing your brother behind you back?”

“It wouldn’t be cheating really, we’re not actually together are we?” Something about the words rang out to Newt, Credence staring down at his book and not elaborating on the strange comment. Never before had he ever once mentioned any issue with marrying Newt.

“Do you… do you not want to marry Credence?”

The young man’s shoulders pulled in high, his hand clutching the book.

“…I don’t know. I... everything seems a mess right now. Not just with you and Percy, myself as well. There are things...I should have told you.”

Newt opened his mouth and then closed it. For no real reason, no proper explanation, he felt a sudden deep betrayal burn in his chest.

While he had always wished happiness for his friend, he had also always thought they would marry. Even for a short few years.

They had always planned to be married; Credence had sat up for hours with Newt, talking about their wedding and all the plans after. About being together and trying to start a family, even just a platonic partners.

Credence had never seemed unsure, so certain with the idea of them together that Newt had been too.

Nodding his head and swallowing, feeling overemotional suddenly, Newt fumbled up from the desk and out of the room.

Credence didn’t say a word.

Feet pounding down the hall Newt paused when he realized he left his suitcase in the library but he knew he couldn’t go back right then.

It felt terrible, this strange rejection.

Credence should be free to marry who he wanted, to be with Tina if she was what he wanted. Newt couldn’t explain why it hurt him so much, that he wasn’t enough anymore, that their friendship wasn’t enough.

Newt had never once thought it would be Credence to break the arrangement.

They were in the manor outside the city, waiting for Newt’s family to arrive tomorrow and tour it. The cold night air and scent of damp grass from the rain earlier called to him and Newt pulled on his boots. He fumbled to get his coat on, his body not listening to him, tears made his vision blurry.

If he could just hold on, just wait a bit. The gardens and the vast green land was right out the door and it was safe, safe for him to let whatever was building in him out.

The door opened, of course it did, before Newt could leave.

Percival walked in, stopping short when he saw Newt, a neutral expression immediately coming over his face before it faltered, taking in the tremble of Newt’s shoulders.

“Are you alright?” He frowned, staring at Newt with such a strange expression. Something between resignation and obligation. It just made his chest burn that much more. This bizarre man who claimed he was in love with Newt but then couldn’t stand to see him.

“I think I wish I had never met your family,” Newt told him calmly, watching the confusion seep into Percival’s handsome face.

“Your brother needs you,” he offered and carefully slipped passed the man, heading out into the calmingly cold air.

Walking along the line of trees, Newt felt himself slowly become overwhelmed, leaning against a tree and feeling the tears burn. He didn’t try to fight them anymore, letting his body react how it wanted.

It wasn’t Credence’s fault he told himself, he should have realized their strange arrangement wouldn’t work out. His mum had been so sure it would fail, Percival had seen it too in some way, but Newt had stubbornly refused to even listen.

He’d been so sure.

Sliding down until his backside hit the damp grass, Newt curled up and just let the pain out. Tears and gasping sobs, feeling unwanted and lacking. He let all of it take over and tremble through his body. Bleeding out the hurt until it didn’t feel so pointed, until the humiliation wasn’t choking him.

He wasn’t sure how long it took but eventually the tears stopped, drying up. The dire scenarios of him living isolated in some jungle with nothing but his beasts became silly. Newt wiped his face and tipped his head back against the tree, letting the cold air fill his lungs and refresh him.

Not everything worked out in the end.

But that was not the end either.

Newt wouldn’t be able to push the hurt away quickly but with time he would move past it. Credence not wanting to marry him wasn’t the other man declaring Newt a terrible friend. If anything, it was likely because Credence was rather in love with Tina and unable to wait to be with her. A fairytale love if anything.

Newt felt a smile pull at his mouth, if anyone deserved such a thing, it was Credence.

Sucking in a deep breath and letting it leave him in one long huff he looked up past the black lines of the tree branches and leaves, the moon peeking at him.

His grandfather would understand, he wouldn’t think Newt had failed in someway.

John and Percival Graves would likely be angry with him. His mum and dad quietly relieved and Theseus would accept the change easily.

Newt would be fine.

In time.

He could travel again, go deep into the jungles and forests of the world and find the rarest of creatures. He could maybe even make a trip back to Hogwarts, visit professor Dumbledore and wander the forbidden forest, perhaps find the centaur herd and see if they remembered him.

Wiping his face again, Newt pushed up from the ground, his legs protesting. He must have been there a bit to make them cramp and a bit numb, his one foot sleeping.

Perhaps it was truly for the best, with this strange thing he felt for Percival, the beginning of something he had never expected. Maybe there was a possibility there, for something genuine.

Stepping away from the tree he paused when the silhouette of a person turned towards him. The lights from the house too weak to identify him. The area wasn’t dangerous but it was the dead of night. Newt winced when he felt for his wand and realized he left it sitting on the desk with his notes.

“Newt?”

The worry in him broke but hesitation filled him, embarrassment coming over him.

“P-Percival,” he called back, watching the man stalk over to him as Newt stepped back and pressed against the tree. He really didn’t want to face the man now, too many emotions jumbled up inside him.

“I should apologize for my comment e-earlier, it was rather rude, I was a bit over emotional you s-see,” Newt fumbled to explain, staring at the other man’s feet as the approached him, swift steps that didn’t slow when he was close.

Firm hands gripped his arms and pressed Newt to the bark of the tree, making him look up and blink, not sure what was going on.

“I can’t stand to see you cry.”

But then Percival was kissing him.

Newt felt utterly baffled, both of these brothers were far too enigmatic for him. But the man kissed so well, his entire body was radiating warmth and making Newt realize he was cold. He clung to the heat and let Percival kiss him, just as mind-muddling as that time in a London alley.

Hand’s cupped his face, tipping Newt’s head and pulling at his chin, opening his mouth and then there was a tongue slipping passed his lips and everything was twisting hungrily.

Newt let his weight rest against the tree, hands meekly holding the edge of Percival’s vest as his mouth felt so wonderful on Newts. Percival pulled back a touch, biting at Newt’s lower lip gently before letting go.

Blinking at the man, Newt struggled to think of something to say but then Percival was kissing his jaw and down his neck, barely there touches that made his skin tingle. Percival stepped closer, closing the small distance left between them, pressing his firm body to Newt. It reminded him of London, the cold brick and the warm body, Newt whimpering as he came.

Strong hands pulled at Newt’s shirt, pulling it from his trousers as magic undid his vest.

Percival took his left hand and pressed a rough kiss to his wrist, a copy from that moment in the warehouse. Something about it seeming so sweet.

Merlin, Newt was going to let him have him, let him right there against a tree.

Merlin, Newt wanted him too, wanted him to desperately.

After being rejected, no matter the reasonable reasons, Newt felt a desperate urge in him to feel desired, to be wanted by someone.

Percival had said he loved him.

Loved.

But then Newt saw something move beyond them, jerking in the startling realization, pushing Percival away, face a mortified red.

Percival looked half lost, gaze hungry in a way the made Newt want to pull him back. But he shoved him, turned him, nodding with his head until Percival looked behind them and saw his father and brother standing there, a handful of yards away.

 

“Let me see if I understand this,” John Graves was a solemn looking man at the best of times. Currently his face was a grim mask that showed absolutely nothing.

They were all seated in the library, John in a chair on his own, Newt in a chair across from him and Percival and Credence together on the couch between the chairs. Like young boys being scolded.

“Credence and Newton agreed to marry because Credence did not want to marry those I had chosen for him. They are not in enamored with one another and never will be.”

Newt stared at the rug, fixated on the pattern.

He imagined Credence nodded because John spoke again.

“Percival and Newton are not in fact in any sort of sordid affair but would like to be, regardless of the fact that Newton is to marry Credence in less than two months time. A marriage that Credence is no longer sure of.”

Percival sighed but the couch shifted so he must have made some sort of gesture.

“Credence in apparently infatuated with some auror woman named Tina Goldstein and so wishes to marry her?”

“…I…No, we’re just friends. It’s a misunderstanding.” Credence croaked and Newt glanced up at him, feeling sympathy for the poor man, looking so uncertain and shaken under his father’s firm glare.

“But there is someone,” he added in a whisper, face twisting with shame.

“Morgan be merciful,” John growled, rubbing his face with his hands. “This is like some bloody soppy novel.”

“Had it occurred to none of you to discuss these matters like grown wizards? To perhaps push the wedding back until the issues were resolved?”

“There is nothing to discuss,” Percival replied, tone calm with the professional air about it. “Credence and Newt are in a contract to marry.”

“Don’t act like that means a bloody thing to you, or did I not just find you with that man up against a tree like a twenty-year-old thinking with his cock rather than his head?”

Newt winced as Percival shut up.

“Clearly there is a great deal to discuss. The more prominent matter would be whether Credence and Newton are going to marry. Credence?”

“O-of course sir,” Credence replied quickly and his father sighed.

“Credence. Do you want to marry Newton?” He asked, punctuation each word with a sort of exasperation.

Credence looked torn and his father sighed.

“To bed with the lot of you. We’ll discuss this in the morning once you’ve actually thought about it.”

Being sent to bed like children scorned was not something Newt was used to but he took the escape the moment it was offered, rushing over to his suitcase and propping it open to go check on his beasts.

The creatures greeted him warmly, Newt carrying Dougal around and feeling comforted by him.

“Quite the mess we’ve made,” he admitted to him, watching the bowtruckles run amuck on their tree. Dougal pet his hair soothingly.

Newt took his time but he eventually finished for the night and sleeping in the suitcase would be too much like hiding.

With a worried look at the steps of the exit, Newt climbed them.

The library was quiet, the fire still burning in the pit and casting heavy shadows around the room.

Newt carefully closed his case and stood, freezing when he realized John Graves was still in his chair, sipping some amber liquid.

Part of him wanted to slink off but a gesture from the man made him obediently walk over, seating himself on the couch the brothers had abandoned.

“Which of them do you think tried to sneak back to go find you in your suitcase?”

Newt stared at the rug under his boots, hoping he hadn’t tracked mud onto it.

“I always thought Percival was born an adult, always so calm and formal, naturally focused and dedicated. He took on Credence with such devotion, guiding and guarding him. He finished his schooling top of his classes and excelled his way through auror training. The war was hard on him but he persisted and continued on after returning. I’ve had plenty of compliments about him over the years, his professionalism always mentioned.”

“…He is very good at his job,” Newt agreed weakly, not sure where this was going.

“He is. But he’s terrible at his own life, he forgets to eat half the time, so busy working. I don’t think he’s ever dated anyone passed a few months. The worrying thing with that boy is he doesn’t look after himself. Doesn’t take for himself, not personally. So imagine how it felt to find him wrapped up with you, necking like a teenager rather than a thirty-six-year-old man about to be named the youngest Director of Security.”

Newt blinked at the rug, not sure what to say again.

“And then there’s Credence. So desperate to prove something he would marry someone he isn’t even sure he wants. That boy never thinks, always rushing into what seems like the best idea, what will prove himself competent without thinking about what he actually wants.”

“He only wants to please you, to show you he’s…good enough I suppose.”

“He’s my son. There is no ‘good enough’. Morgan, what a bloody mess.”

Newt glanced at the man and found he just looked tired, frowning into the fire as he was.

“Credence has always thought that perhaps you might…resent him, seeing as you married his mother because she was pregnant with him. You had little choice and he wants to show you that it wasn’t a mistake…I think.”

John frowned harder, glaring at his drink as he sloshed the liquid around in it.

“Of course. He would think that and never consider to just ask at any point. Little choice? Nonsense. I married Credence’s mother because I loved her, I would have never married her for less than that. I would have never forced Credence to marry someone he didn’t want either.”

Newt stared a touch, watching the impassive man’s mask crack a tiny bit, a worn genuine smile gracing her face. “She was bright and warm and I was lucky she ever agreed to have me.”

“I was told you didn’t speak of h-her,” Newt mumbled and John frowned again.  

“Why should I? How would you like to be reminded of someone lost to you? Credence looks so bloody much like her. It was hard at times but I always did right by that boy. If he didn’t want to marry he should have bloody well said something. Now I have one son to be married shortly and not even knowing if he wants to and another who doesn’t know how to take things for himself lusting after his brother’s arranged.”

“…It is rather like a romance novel isn’t it?” Newt mused and John startled him with a low chuckle.

“But the question of it is what role you play. What are your intentions towards my sons?”

Newt stared at the man before breaking his gaze and looking down at his hands.

“I imagine Credence and I shouldn’t be marrying. Not when it’s clear to me that he doesn’t truly want to. For him to even mention he isn’t sure suggests he knows he doesn’t want to but can’t just say it outright.”

John hummed in agreement, looking back to the fire.

“And my other son?”

“I’m not sure, I don’t know what Percival wants from me. He pulls me close and then he can’t stand to look at me. He told me he had feelings for me but that he would control them. I…I don’t know what to do with that honestly.”

Newt leaned back into the couch and felt a sudden dizzying moment of familiarity. John Graves abruptly reminding him so much of his grandfather that it hurt Newt’s chest a bit.  

“What do you think I should do?”

The old man looked a touch thrown to be asked that question but he tipped his head in thought.

“I’ve married once for politics and once for love, so I feel I have a good opinion on that. If you marry, do so for love and nothing less.”

Newt nodded.

“As for Percival. I imagine you might have to corner him and make him talk about his feelings. Good luck with that.”

Newt sighed, knowing very well that this was going to be a battle.

 

The next morning, Newt tracked Credence down, finding the man in his rooms.

Credence was a sobbing mess, more so then Newt had ever seen him. He hugged him tightly and clung to his body as if afraid Newt would push him away. He apologized for not being sure, for promising to be with Newt and not admitting his was unsure for entire years.

“I just noticed that everyone seemed to be marrying because they were in love, romantic love, and it bothered me. It shouldn’t have but it did. I should have told you. You’ll always be my friend though, you know that right? You’re the greatest friend I’ve ever had.”

Newt nodded his head quickly with wide eyes, accepting the apologies hurriedly and pulling a handkerchief for Credence to wipe his face. He had never seen Credence so emotional.

“Are you alright?” Newt hazarded to ask and Credence shook his head.

“I s-spoke with my f-father this morning.”

Newt had left the library and fallen asleep in his bed almost immediately, sleeping through most of the day. Clearly, he had missed important conversations.

“What happened?”

Credence leaned on Newt, resting his head on his shoulder as they had for years.

“Nothing bad. We talked is all.”

Newt wasn’t sure what to say so he simply sat there with Credence, letting him lean against him comfortably.

“…He loved her,” Credence whispered with a soft sniff. “My father, he loved my mom Newt. We t-talked about her for the first time. Properly.” Credence’s voice was filled with a soft wonder and Newt felt a smile pull on his face.  

They agreed the wedding should be called off in ten minutes and then spent hours talking about Credence’s mother. The young man coming alive in a delightful way has he retold his father’s stories and his promise to tell Credence more of them. That it would always hurt to speak of her but that he wanted Credence to know more about her.

“She was amazing,” he sighed and Newt smiled. They had ended up spread out on his bed like teenagers, Newt peering at a box of photos John Graves had finally shared with his son. A beautiful dark haired woman smiling warmly for the camera and John Graves himself, looking soft as he posed with her.

“You look like her,” he noted.

“You think so?” Credence asked brightly, peering down the picture.

There was another photo on the bed, Percival, dressing in a soldier’s uniform, looking bright and young. Before he went to war. He looked devastatingly handsome Newt thought, forcing himself to look away and pay attention to Credence’s words.

 

Newt’s parents and brother arrived, delighted to see him and then confused to hear the wedding was off.

“Credence and I think it would be best, we are wonderful friends but not well matched as lovers.”

His mum took it calmly, a slow smile starting on her face and turning more genuine with each moment. The marriage contract wasn’t so easily forgotten, even as both parties agreed to break the marriage it still meant another black mark on both their names. John frowned at the paperwork with a dark look, looking through it for some sort of loophole.

“We couldn’t find one when we were to be married, why would there be on now?” Newt’s mum commented lightly and Newt was struck by the realization that years ago, they had been arranged to be married. Now here they sat with their children from other husbands and wives, trying to find the best way to end the contract all over again.

“I was almost looking forward to having you as my brother-in-law,” Theseus sighed at Credence who shyly smiled back. Something strange passed between them Newt noted, a look of relief almost.

“We might yet,” Credence consoled and then refused to elaborate. It was clear they had built a good friendship living together, teasing one another back and forth with obvious affection.

Newt’s father and John Graves seemed to get along perfectly fine, sipping fine alcohol and talking about their days as aurors easily.

“They worked together you realize,” his mum told Newt, making him blink at her. They were out on the balcony getting some air as the rest of their family remained inside. “It’s how I met your father, he was assigned to work with my arranged husband.”

Newt didn’t know what to say to that, peering at the two aged men as the chatted civilly.

“I can’t help but noticed someone is missing from this picture,” his mum pointed out lightly.

Percival had already headed back to New York.

“It’s a bit of a mess,” Newt confessed and his mum watched him, reading his face.

“I do recall there always being something going on between you two, usually you were the one rushing to get away while that poor man chased you.”

Newt felt his face burn.

“This is entirely different.”

“So you haven’t realized that man is rather in love with you?”

“Mum,” Newt covered his face with his hands. “Percival is not in love with me.”

No matter what old letter said, Newt was certain of that much.

“Darling, the way he looks at you, even back when he first arrived at the estate, staring at you like you were something stunning. Every rare time I saw you two together you seemed to always miss the way he looked at you, poor man, right enamored.”

Newt thought of the letter confession and supposed he couldn’t argue with his mum on the matter. He had no real idea what Percival thought of him beyond that he had ‘feelings’ and certainly wanted Newt sexually.

“John and Credence told me they couldn’t convince him to stay. I’m willing to bet you anything that if you went to New York and asked him to come back, he would.”

 

Despite missing his family terribly and glad to see them again, Newt went to New York at him mum’s urging.

If Percival refused him it would hurt but his family was there to support him. Newt would recover and let go of this strange something building between them. He would move on, strong in the love of his family and friendship with Credence. At least that’s what he told himself over and over as he waited in the Graves’ city house.

Newt couldn’t imagine Percival liking him showing up at his job so he waited at the house instead. Peering at family pictures and wandering aimlessly, his nerves rather shot.

When the front door opened, Newt’s heart slammed into his throat.

Don’t mess this up, he thought frantically, padding down the hallways to find the other man.

“Did father send you to speak with me?” Percival huffed in a tone that told Newt immediately he thought Credence was there.

“N-no,” he answered and watched him start, coat nearly falling to the floor. He twisted and stared at Newt, who fumbled to look back, meeting his gaze for a moment.

“I…hadn’t expected you,” Percival finally said hoarsely after a moment running a hand through his hair.

“If you want me to go…” Newt hesitated. “Just tell me and I’ll g-go and I’ll never bother you again.”

For a painfully long moment, Percival was silent.

“No. I suppose we should talk about this mess. Is Credence upset?”

Newt shook his head, standing there in the doorway watching Percival approach him.

“Not particularly. Relieved if anything,” Newt replied and Percival nodded calmly. He seemed to come close but then walked off to the side right before he reached Newt, entering the sitting room and heading right for the liquor cabinet.

“Tina will be crushed,” Percival noted absently and again Newt felt like he wasn’t quite on steady ground.

“I’d think she would be excited, about the marriage being off. But Credence is insisting they're only friends.” He pondered cautiously and winced when Percival nearly spilled his glass. The air felt far to tense, filled to the brim with something Newt couldn’t name. He knew he liked this man, but they certainly didn’t have a smooth relationship. He wasn’t even sure what Percival wanted. Perhaps just the chance to bed Newt.

“…Credence had told me last night that he would do everything to win you back,” Percival finally said, his back still to Newt as he crept closer, feeling like he was approaching a wild beast more than a man.

“Your father spoke with him, he explained that he only wanted his sons to marry for love, not politics or because they f-felt they had to.”

Newt was an arm's length away now, Percival turning his head to the side to look back at him, making him freeze.

“What are you doing?”

“I honestly don’t know, I never do with you,” Newt admitted, closing the distance and resting a hand on his back, a tiny tremble running through him as he inched closer. Resting his brow on the slighter man’s shoulder, Newt let out a shaky sigh.

“I don’t know what you want from me, Percival. You confuse me so much,” he huffed, biting his lip but making himself go on. If they never cleared the air this thing would always sit between them. “But I do know I a-admire you, that I think you a great brother and a wonderful auror and in general a powerful wizard and a g-good man.”

Newt trembled harder. He had spent hours thinking about what to say but the words seemed to flee him now, leaving him fumbling to explain himself.

“I know I’m a-attracted to you and I… I feel something for you that I don’t understand properly, something that’s strong even though there’s no reason for it to be that way.”

Percival remained tense the entire time, listening to Newt blabber on. When he fell quiet he shifted a touch and Newt could feel the motions through his back as Percival lifted and gulped back his drink.

“You don’t even know,” he chuckled; something about it twisted with a despairing note.

“I usually don’t,” Newt confessed. “I’m not good with people, in the sense that what’s obvious to everyone is a mystery to me. I mean, I’m trying to say that is…”

Frustrated he bumped is head on Percival’s shoulder, drawing a slightly more sincere chuckled out of him.

“Let me make this clear then,” Percival sounded utterly pained as he spoke, slowly turning around finally. Newt stepped back but the other man’s hand caught his forearm, keeping him close as he faced him.

“Credence accused me of wanting you for sex, my father accused me of being a coward, your brother told me I didn’t have a chance in hell, and you mother told be I’d have to just sit you and tell you outright to make you understand.”

Newt blinked. “W-when did you speak with them?”

Percival shook his head.

“Over the years. Years, Newt. I’ve been stupidly adoring of you for years. I never forgot you. I thought you were a ghost at your grandfather’s funeral for a moment and then when my father said you were marrying Credence I was so angry without any right to be. When I saw you again at your family’s estate, you were as gorgeous as I remembered. Your mother teased me about trying to show off,” he raised a hand and cupped Newt’s cheek, making him look up. Newt mostly felt confused, people didn’t like him, great men like Percival Graves didn’t need someone like Newt for anything.

“That time in Romania, with a dragon sitting in your lap like a dog, all those beasts soothed by you so easily. It felt like when the first time I met you, you were doing something amazing, being a kind sweet soul to beasts all others feared.”

“People don’t like me,” Newt blurted out like a fool, feeling his face heat up. “They think I’m annoying and clumsy, and weird. I am weird.”

“Amazingly so,” Percival agreed. “Is that supposed to be a bad thing though?”

Newt stared at Percival’s fine suit, his smart tie with a black stone pin gleaming in the center.

“Newton Artemis Fido Scamander,” the older man announced, reaching to tip Newt’s chin so he would look up and meet his gaze. “I’m pathetically in love with you.”

Newt’s heart was pounding, the words not making sense at all. He had expected sex, he had honestly thought the man wanted him in his bed and nothing more. People didn’t fall in love with him. Leta never had and despite years of being friends, Credence hadn’t either. But Percival looked honest, he looked weary and worn out and Newt wasn’t sure what he was expected to do.

“I understand though, why you don’t want me. I understand that you can’t forgive me, that you might never forgive me.” Percival added lowly, dropping his gaze down.

Newt blinked, thinking of the letters and the night in the alley. Percival had betrayed him in a terrible way, but he sounded so ruined by it, like it was something more than Newt remembered.

Seeing him in such pain felt like a hurt to Newt himself, he didn't want this man to hurt so.

Leaning forward, he pressed his lips to the Percivals. The only one he had ever kissed romantically. Percival thankfully melted into it, arms reaching out for Newt, pulling him closer as Newt’s hands gripped at Percival’s vest.

Percival kissed so wonderfully, making Newt feel too warm and muddling his brain. Hands pulled at his waist, making Newt step in so their bodies were pressed together firmly.

When the man pulled back a touch, Newt followed him a bit, hesitating to end the contact.

“Will you come upstairs with me?” Percival asked and Newt felt young and silly with how quickly he nodded.

 

They fell on the bed and Percival kissed Newt’s neck as he pulled at his clothing, stripping them both, hands bumping and magic pulling. Newt was laid out on his back with Percival crawling over him.

“I’ve always wanted to have you on a proper bed, always thought it was a shame I didn’t,” his muttered into Newt’s skin, pulling his vest undone and then trying to shove Newt’s shirt off as well.

He licked at his bare chest and his wet tongue made Newt whimper as it flicked over his nipple.

Newt’s hand got tangled in his shirt, the button at the cuff still done up. Percival chuckled as his magic undid it and he took Newt’s hand in his own, lifting it to press a warm kiss to his wrist. His skin tingled under the sensation.

“I wish I could have done better,” he breathed, tongue along the faded scar and Newt was confused but to lustful to care much on strange comments, Percival often said things that made no sense.

He pulled Newt’s trousers down, Percival’s clever fingers pulling the material down and away until Newt wore only his union suit, pulled open. His erection was pressed against the fabric and Percival arranged himself so he was between Newt’s legs, his mouth running over the wet fabric pressed against Newt’s prick.

“Would you like to be sucked off?” Percival teased huskily and Newt nodded feeling nervous by far more excited.

“P-Please, I’ve never…never done this before.”

Percival frowned rather than smirked. Newt had thought he would like to know that, that it might be exciting to him to know he was the only man who had ever touched Newt.

Pushing up, the older man climbed his body and pressed a long kiss to Newt’s mouth, nipping and sucking until he felt a bit dizzy with it.

Percival pressed back breath.

“Why do you say that? You said the same thing when we met in London. That you were a virgin.”

Newt stared at him a moment.

“B-because I am?”

Percival scoffed and Newt immediately felt hurt flash through him. Suudenly  Percival rolled off the bed and got up, pacing the room as Newt sat up and suddenly wished he was more dressed. He dragged his discarded shirt into his lap.

“I know I messed up, I know you won’t forgive me for that. But why…I can’t stand it when you do this, pretend like it never even happened. Like it meant that little too you.”

Newt stared outright now, mouth opening to answer and closing when he couldn’t think of anything to say.

“The…alley way in London?” He finally asked faintly and Percival’s face twisted in anger.

“The war Newt, the fucking war. You know, that time that you constantly refuse to acknowledge.”

“My experience with the war is my business, Percival. Why should it matter to you? We never crossed paths.”

Percival snorted, a scoff on his face as he glanced at Newt and seemed to do a double take, his pacing slowing as he stared at Newt who was utterly bewildered.

“We… never met?”

Newt shrugged, desperately wishing he was dressed now as the man just gawked at him.

“I worked in the eastern front with dragons you see, I wasn’t in the battlefields.”

“I remember. You trained Annabelle.”

Newt felt something inside him go very still.

 

Chapter Text

Newt sat on the bed, staring at Percival utterly speechless for a moment.

He had never talked about Annabelle. Not with Credence or Theseus even, no one. He had never wanted to and so never had.  

Percival approached him slowly, hands carefully reaching out to touch his shoulders.

“How can you say we never met Newt? When we did. When you stayed with me almost every night. You’d help the healer for as long as you could and when you had a moment, you’d crawl in my bed with me, curled up against me.”

Percival sounded devastated. He sounded torn open in a way Newt had never heard from him ever before. It brought tears to Newt’s eyes and made his hands shake.

“You were the only good thing, you were all I had, you kept me together when I was scared like a boy. I don’t think I would have made it through the war without you.”

He sounded so sincere and Newt felt a tear track down his face.

“…I don’t remember,” he breathed and the words almost refused to sound, stuck in his throat until he made them stumble out.

Percival knelt before him on the floor, peering up at Newt as he sat on the edge of the bed. They hadn’t turned any lights on so it was the moon that lit the room, casting a pale blue hue on them.

“What do you mean?”

Newt shook his head, fighting more tears.

“I came to with blood…everywhere on me, all over my hands and my clothing, I could feel it under my nails. I had nightmares for years about it.”

Percival’s warm calloused hand squeezed Newt’s elbows, sliding down to hold his trembling hands, coaxing him to go on.

“The healer told me I was hysterical, that I wouldn’t calm down. Annabelle had died…a h-horrid death and everyone from the group of soldiers I was with had been killed. They said I wouldn’t calm down, that once the potions faded I would panic again. So they….it was war time and a battle field, they didn’t have time to be gentle you see, I understand why.”

“Why what?”

Newt closed his eyes, not wanting to see the man before him.

A man he had apparently forgotten.

“They oblivated me.”

Percival’s hand gripped hard enough to hurt.

“They took my memories of the entire month I was sent to the battlefield away.”

Newt heard Percival swallow and felt the man’s head touch his lap, his brow resting on Newt’s knee as he still held onto his hands.

“…You don’t remember me from the war.”

“The first time I met you, was at my grandfather’s funeral.”

Percival huffed a weak laugh, a distinctly broken edge to it.

Trembling, Newt made himself look as he drew his hands back and gently settled them on Percival’s shoulders.

“I’m so sorry Percival.”

The man shook his head.

“Merlin, you must have been so confused, every time I spoke to you. I thought you were pretending not to recognize me. I was so worked up it never even occurred to me you might not actually know me.”

Percival trembled again, seeming to gather himself before he finally pushed back and stood up. Without looking at Newt he left the room, his footsteps fading down the stairs.

Newt watched him go before flopping over on the bed, crawling in and curling up, utterly confused and lost as to what he should do.

He had known Percival.

Had slept with him, had sex with him.

Had forgotten him.

But it didn’t make sense. No one had survived they told him, no one but Newt. Had Percival left at some point?

Newt curled up in the large bed, distantly realizing he was in Percival’s own room. A pair of trousers tossed over a chair, an empty glass beside the bed, , book beside it. This was somewhere Newt had no right to be but his limbs refused to move. Curled up in the bed that had the scent of the other man, he felt strangely at ease, calm in an odd way. He wondered if the pull he had always felt for the other man was because of something forgotten, some bond forged in war.

Newt stared at the moon as it drifted across the sky, unsure when he eventually fell asleep.

 

He woke to a drawer closing. Blinking blearily and lifting his head. He was under the blankets now, warm and snug and it was temping to fall back asleep.

But Percival was there, standing before his dresser with a fine dress shirt limp in one hand. He was freshly shaved and showered ready for work but frozen for some reason, staring at nothing.

“Are you a-alright?” Newt made himself ask, worry overpower his nerves.

“I don’t know. I should head into work. I know I should, but I don’t want to.” Percival sounded muddled in way Newt wasn’t used to.

He sat up and watched the man stare down at his shirt before dropping it.

“I think a part of me is glad, that you don’t remember.”

Newt looked away from his back, staring at the blankets, realizing Percival must have tucked him in at some point without waking him.

“You hated me you know, at the end.”

Newt blinked, looking up to study Percival’s back. He wore a white undershirt that shower his arms. Faint scars marred his skin but he was fit, he was handsome. Newt had always known that though.

“I don’t think I did,” he tried to reassure and the man shook his head in rejection. Newt looked away when he turned, feeling his anxiety claw up his body as Percival approached the bed. He turned away again and sat on the edge, the mattress dipping with his weight.

“I killed your dragon, Annabelle.”

Newt jerked quickly to stared at him then, sitting up to hear his story.

“When you wanted to send her away to safety I made you keep her there to fight. When she was cursed, you tried to go to her but it was too dangerous, there was no way you’d make it to her. You fought me, I held you down and you screamed and howled, cursed me to hell and back.”

Percival glanced at him and Newt looked away.

“I hadn’t known you had such language in you,” he smirked bittersweetly.

“By the time we fought them back, when help arrived there was no saving Annabelle. You wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t let me touch you. You…gave her peace and told me you never wanted to see me again.”

Newt looked at the rumpled blankets, trying to recall something magic had taken, something he had given up willingly.

“They told me everyone had died,” he recalled, trying to picture a young Percival, trying to see him amidst the horror of war. The photo Credence had came to his mind, that young man with bright eyes that would have dimmed amongst all the death and killing.

“There was another attack, the team we worked with did die. I woke up in a medical ward months later with no identification, in a enemy ward by mistake. When I asked about you… they said you had returned to training the dragons up in the mountains.”

“…You never wrote, you never came after me?”

“I thought you hated me, I thought the best thing I could do was respect your wish, and leave you alone,” Percival sounded so wreaked, running his hands through his hair and clutching his head.

Newt couldn’t leave him like that; he pushed the bedding down and edge closer to him, gently resting a hand on Percival’s shoulder. The man relaxed into it and so Newt nudge in a bit more closer, resting his head and shoulder and against him, winding an arm around his waist.

Percival took in a deep uneven breath before dropping a hand to Newt’s knee and gripping him tightly.

“When I saw you at the funeral, I was so confused, I didn’t understand what the hell was going on. We had never talked about Credence and then out of nowhere you had known him for years and you were getting married?”

“That must have been rather startling,” Newt agreed, wondering why the boy had never come up between them. But with the war, it wasn’t impossible, Newt had focused as much as he could on his dragons.

Percival chuckled wearily.

“Rather.”

Newt smiled weakly, pressing the side of his face to Percival’s bicep.

“The memories are gone now Percival, I don't know if I can get them back.. But I do know that I don’t believe you would intentional kill, not even a dragon. I also know that the war was terrible and dark and we all have regrets for the horrid things we did. I’m sorry I can’t recall you from that time but I do know that as atrocious as the idea of watching Annabelle die is, I wouldn’t have allowed them to obliviate me for that alone.”

Percival tipped his head to look at Newt and he glanced down at the man’s hand on his knee.

“I see magical beasts tortured far too often. I’ve found the remains of them when poachers pass through before I get there. I’ve seen them mutilated in cages for potion ingredients. I’ve seen dreadful, appalling conditions. And I’ve never wanted to forget, it’s part of what drives me you see. Knowing that it’s happening makes me want to do better, to educate others and to put a stop to it.”

“The war was different,” Percival sounded so young, Merlin, how long had this been haunting him?

“Maybe. But I still don’t think Annabelle was the reason, other dragons died, most of the ones I trained never returned. I…I think it might have been you,” he confessed.

Percival was watching him now and Newt struggled not to fidget under his gaze.

“If I had b-been with you, if we had… if we were lovers I would have been devastated to hear you had been killed. No matter how angry I was at you or whatever anger furled nonsense I said. I don’t….I don’t love easily…I’m awkward and I don’t endear people to me…people don’t like me you see.”

Percival’s hand squeezed his knee and he looked about to protest so Newt made himself move on.

“The point is, I don’t have many people. If we were lovers, even for just a short time, and you were taken from me…more so after we had fought…” Newt felt tears prick in his eyes just at the thought of it, at the very idea of losing Percival now.

He pressed in close to hold the man and Percival turned to him, pulling him in and they ended up on the floor against the bed, curled up tightly together.

“…I think the idea that you had been killed was why I broke, why I gave up so much that they oblivated me… I thought about it when my Grandfather died, the idea of asking them to take the memories away. I felt easier than all the pain I had felt then.”

Newt whispered it against Percival’s chest, head tucked under the other’s man’s chin snugly.

“But none of that matters really,” he admitted. “What m-matters is what we do now, here… instead of the past. I’m not who you thought I was, I don’t have those memories like y-you do.” Newt hesitated but knew he would have to ask. “So knowing that, do you e-even want me… still?”

Percival held him tight enough that it hurt.

“Newt, you are who you are. Memories or not. You’re the same brave daring man I met then, each time I’ve seen you, you’ve managed to remind me of that. I…I don’t know how to feel about you not remembering.” Percival sounded almost confused, frustrated as he tried to deal with this sudden change in his world no doubt.

“I don’t blame you for letting them go or anything like that,” he added after a breath. “…And it’s strange to think you don’t recall. But in the end, you’re right, what matters is now. I’d have you in any way you’d let me.”

“Oh…I’m glad,” Newt muttered, realizing he truly was, that he had been holding his breath. Worried and wondering if Percival was going to ask him to leave, if this thing was over before it had truly begun for him.

“I’m in love with you, I don’t say that lightly Newt. I would never say such a thing lightly.”

Newt bit his lip, looking down and trying to comprehend the idea that Percival Graves was in love with him.

A soft finger on his chin tipped his head back up Newt felt far too young as the older man leaned in and kissed him softly. It wasn’t the same as their kisses before, something more tender. Percival didn’t seem hungry but rather content just to press soft kisses to Newt’s mouth.

He felt inexperienced but willing to learn, letting the man kiss him as he pleased. They shifted on the floor, Newt ending up in Percival’s lap, facing him. He pressed kisses to Newt’s skin, to the corner of his mouth and his cheek, to his brow and chin. They were such sweet touches. They made Newt’s chest pound a bit as he glanced nervously at the man before him.

Percival seemed like he was in no hurry, his hands rubbing Newt’s thigh and back lightly, not lewdly but more for the contact alone.

“Will you try? To be with me?” He asked quietly and Newt didn’t hesitate to nod. He wanted to explore, to feel out this thing between them.

Percival kissed him again and Newt pressed into it now, mouth wet as they touched. His hands awkwardly leaned against Percival’s shoulders as their chests came close, brushing a bit.

“It’s strange to think you don’t recall our first time, that you were my very first lover,” he mused softly and Newt trembled, his mind whirling with such a thought.

“You’ve been my only, my first and the only man to touch me,” he confessed and Percy paused, pulling back a touch to read Newt’s face. He couldn’t meet his gaze but let the man look his fill.

“I’ve never felt…never wanted,” he fumbled, a tad mortified to admit he was inexperienced.

“That’s fine, it’s no sin to be pure, to be untouched. You did like sex though, rather liked being ridden,” Percival managed a teasing tone and Newt felt himself flush hard. The innocence about their comfort vanished in a breath, everything feeling sexual.

“Oh,” he breathed. “I suppose you know more about my sexual preferences then I do,” Newt considered and Percival chuckled. “Will you teach me?”

“Of course.”

 

The didn’t have sex that day.

Newt almost expected it but Percival was content to kiss him for hours, hands skimming all over Newt, holding him close.

It felt warm and hazy and at first he was nervous but as the time drifted and nothing more happened, Newt relaxed into it.

They ended up on the couch downstairs, Newt still curled in the other man’s arms as they talked about every conversation they had prior and what they had been trying to say to one another.

After that Percival asked him questions about his beasts and Newt asked about his job at MACUSA. There was something delicate in the air between them and neither wanted to push. So they carefully navigated and learned more about one another.

 

Credence returned to the city first, curious and hopeful as he peered at them. Newt couldn’t manage to speak up but Percival’s face must have gave it away because Credence looked relieved and delighted.

It was tempting to tell him everything, about the memory loss and the war but when they were alone, Newt found he didn’t want to speak of it.

It was between Percival and Newt together, until they figured it out, it should stay between them he decided.

So instead he spoke of careful agreements to court, to date, and try to see if they fit.

Credence was of course excited and thrilled, the idea of Newt becoming his brother-in-law clearly pleasing.

The day after Credence, their father and Newt's family came to the city and Newt was swept up by his brother and parents. They toured New York and spent time with one another, catching everyone up on their lives.

Newt was happy to be with them and he adored each moment he had with them. But he didn’t hesitate to go off with Percival at times, bowing out of dinner in a busy restaurant for a quiet meal at the Graves home. Credence and their father out themselves, leaving Newt and Percival alone. Percival took him to book shops with rare books on beasts and to apothecaries with medicines he needed for his creatures. They walked along the park and talked softly, watching one another, waiting on something it felt like. But also learning each other, growing comfortable being together. It surprised Newt, how well they seemed to fit without trying. Percival reminded him a bit of his grandfather, he seemed stoic and cold at first. But once Newt learned to look for it, he realized there was much more to Percival Graves than he had ever thought before.

 

“One brother for another huh?” Theseus asked, sliding up to Newt as he looked over at his sibling. His family was the guests of the Graves, everyone in good spirits as they chatted in the sitting room. His mum had taken Percival’s arm and refused to let him go, talking happily with him, wearing a knowing smile.

“I s-suppose so.”

“Makes sense,” his brother commented and Newt glanced at him curiously. Theseus just shrugged.

“You and Credence get on great but it always seemed more like friends. It was obvious Percy had it bad for you from the start.”

Newt frowned a touch, trying to look back and see this affection that had been obvious to everyone else.

“It was the way he looked at you, his eyes went a bit soppy,” Theseus explained.

Newt glanced over to Percival to see him looking back, his gaze warm.

“See? Soppy,” his brother teased and Newt pushed at him as Theseus leaned in and scooped him into a hug.

“I’m happy for you, whoever makes you happy Newt,” he grinned. “Even if he’s a bit old for you. I hope you’ll grant me the same.”

Newt blinked at his brother, seeing something almost awkward pass on his normally confident features. Theseus huffed and glanced at Credence quickly.

Oh.

Oh my.

Newt managed not to gawk but just barely.

Credence was talking with his father but when he glanced their way he looked at Theseus first. When he saw Newt watching him the other man flushed, as if caught.

“Theseus,” Newt breathed, not sure if he should be scolding or congratulating.

“It was a passing thing, when we lived together. He wanted to learn and all that. It wasn’t supposed to be more.”

Newt stared at his brother, watching him look truly tongue-tied. Theseus was usually so put together and easy going, it was odd to see him so awkward.

“The wedding, it made me realize, and we talked,” his brother huffed, looking perturbed at not being able to explain it smoothly.

“Is everything all right?” Percival asked as he and their mum approached, sensing Theseus flustered state.

Newt wished he was better at this sort of thing.

Instead, he calmly told them: “Theseus and Credence are sleeping together.”

That brought the room to a standstill.

 

Too soon the visit was over and Newt bid his family goodbye, promising to come home soon.

“Take care of yourself,” his mum told him, kissing his cheek and smiling sweetly at Percival.

“Do try to keep him out of trouble,” she teased and Newt flushed as Percival offered a bemused smile and nod. “Also, please don’t hit Theseus again, although I do understand the first time. That was quite a shock.”

Percival frowned like he had tasted something sour but nodded.

Credence and John had said their goodbyes at the house, but Percival came with them to the docks. His mum wanted to ride the sea and hopefully see a sea monster on the way.

Theseus offered Percival a handshake, not seeming bothered by his black eye. Honestly, he seemed glad to have it out in the open, his affair with Credence. The awkwardness was gone now and Theseus looked happy in love.

Both their fathers just seemed bemused with it all while their mum was actually quite pleased.

Percival was the only one unhappy and despite that, he shook Theseus hand. They traded barbed threats but almost seemed to be teasing. Newt could only hope they would fall back into their easy friendship.

Newt watched his family go and felt a bit less for it, they always made everything a bit brighter.

“All right?” Percival asked and Newt nodded and offered him a smile.

 

They hadn’t discussed the idea of Newt restoring his memories. When he mentioned it Percival insisted that it didn’t matter. If anything, he seemed a touch anxious with the idea of Newt remembering it. There was a fear in him, that Newt might hate him if he recalled.

It was that fear that made Newt want to recall.

But it had been many years and removing a block was a dangerous thing the longer time passed.

But not impossible.

 

Newt had ended up staying in the Graves house, the entire family there as well rather than Newt and Credence finding a place to share. Eventually, something would happen but Newt felt it more likely Credence would head to London and Newt would find a place with Percival.

Credence did seem rather in love with Theseus and vice versa. Once Newt was over his shock, he delighted in it. Theseus would treat Credence how he deserved and Credence would do the same for his brother.

It seemed possible that they could all find a happy ending.

But Newt needed to know. He needed to ease that fear in Percival.

“You…knew each other?” Credence stared at him and Newt made himself explain. They were alone in the house together, John and Percival off at some official event for the evening.

So Newt confessed all he could and Credence grasped his hand, holding on tightly until he was done his story.

“Merlin, it makes so much sense,” Credence breathed. “Percy was so odd after the war, haunted, but something more. Like he lost someone. I had always wondered.”

He blinked and shook his head in amazement.

“You knew each other, were lovers. All these years he’s been fumbling around trying to get you back.”

Newt flushed at such a thought but when the thought on it, he realized Credence had a point.

“He came home and found out I was marrying you…” Credence stared at Newt with horror. “He must have been so confused, Newt, I was so mad at him for being rude at your grandfather’s funeral!”

“It’s all a bit mixed up, isn’t it?” Newt managed and Credence nodded, leaning his head on Newt’s shoulder and hugging his side.

“But it’s also wonderful, it’s amazing, that you’re together in the end.”

Credence agreed to help and so they began researching memory charms and the healers who specialized with them.

“Something professionally done wouldn’t be impossible to remove, even after all this time,” Credence theorized. “If we can find the healer who did the work, that would be even better.”

Newt blinked. “He worked with you, when I was in St. Mungos that time. I met him again.”

Credence stared at him over his books, a smile coming to his face.

They tracked the man down.

Theseus helped without knowing the full story, Newt not ready to explain just yet. A part of him had never stopped feeling weak for being obliviated in the first place.

 

“I’m worried about what you two are up to,” Percival told him one evening.

The nice thing about sharing the house together was that if Newt wanted, he could sneak over to Percival’s room in the evening. The man always welcomed him and was happy to lay Newt on his bed and kiss him senseless.

It made him feel young and silly, sneaking about, but the moments with Percival were worth it.

His mouth so talented as he kissed Newt, leaving him hard and aching. They built a little more each time, kissing longer, touching more.

Newt had felt Percival’s hand on his cock and had returned the favor, face flushed as Percival growled in his ear and came in his hand.

With patience, Percival talked Newt through his first blowjob and then returned it. Leaving Newt gasping and muffling his cries as Percival’s warm wet mouth undid him.

Touching him no longer brought anxiety, Newt slowly becoming more confident. Growing more sure that he wasn’t going to muck it all up, but that he was always welcomed, always invited to touch however he wished.

“What do you think we were up to?” Newt replied distracted. They were laid out on the bed together. Newt on his back with Percival over him, shirts undone as the man licked at his throat.

It was hard to focus on conversation and Percival had quickly learned it was the best way to get the truth out of Newt.

“Credence suddenly has books on memory charms.”

There was an edge to the words, that fear still there and Newt reached up to cup Percival’s face. He made the older man look at him properly, seeing that glint of insecurity.

Newt just couldn’t let it be, he had to erase it.

But he also wanted to know, he wanted to remember what he had given up. He wanted every single moment he could with Percival.

“We’ll be careful, I’m not looking to make trouble for myself,” Newt reassured him.

“It doesn’t matter, that you don’t recall,” Percival reminded him, he pressed a kiss to Newt’s chin. “I like this actually, getting to teach you everything. I’m actually good at sex now, not a fumbling idiot.”

“Did you mess up often?”

Percival’s ears burned red and Newt wanted to know even more.

The man kissed him into distraction, rolling them so Newt as on top, legs spread to straddle the man’s hips as they traded lazy kisses.

Percival’s hands cupped his backside, groping him and Newt pushed back into the grip, his cock aching in his trousers.

“What shall we do tonight? Would you like my fingers again?”

Newt shivered at the memory, he’d been a right mess the first few times, trembling as Percival coaxed him to climax with three fingers buried in his arse.

“I’d like that, I’d like everything please.”

Percival hummed, kissing Newt’s mouth again. “Everything?”

“A proper fuck, if you will,” Newt made himself say and it was worth the split second of surprise that flitted over Percival’s face.

“Such language,” he huffed after a moment and Newt grinned down at him.

“Fuck,” he repeated, sitting up and pulling his shirt off properly. “Will you fuck me Percival Graves? Take my virgin body a second time around?” He felt foolish but Percival was smirking up at him, eyes so amused that Newt couldn’t stop himself.

He gasped out a laugh when Percival twisted them again, pushing Newt into the bed on his back.

“Of course,” he replied with a charming grin, he seemed so much younger in these moments. For once he wasn’t that solemn auror and Newt found himself endless fond of this side that Percival had shared with him.

Pressing kisses to his bare chest, Percival stripped Newt down. He licked at his cock teasingly, his tongue tracing a wet line before his teeth gently scraped.

Newt started under the feeling, gripping the bedding in one tight fist.

“Did you place a silencing spell?”

“Of course, the last thing I want is my father or brother to overhear,” Percival grumbled, glancing to check the spell before he nipped Newt’s thigh. Not ready for the light bite, he yelped and Percival looked so smug about it.

“You’re terrible,” Newt sighed and Percival wasn’t a touch regretful.

Reaching out a hand, he called the bottle of oil to his palm from the table stand and popped the top off.

Laying back, Newt watched him slick his fingers, rubbing the oil to warm it.

Kneeling between his spread thighs. Percival offered him a reassuring smile as his fingers gently ghosted over Newt’s body. Warm fingers touched his hole, carefully tracing over the sensitive rim.

Biting his lip, Newt struggled to make himself relax. It was hard not to tense at first he found.

Percival muttered a quick cleaning spell and Newt felt in inside him, readying his body.

The tip of a single finger pressed in, slipping into him.

It felt strange to him, the feeling of being opened up. But as the finger pressed deeper, it slid over the right area and pleasure radiated.

“Oh,” Newt sighed, toes curling in the bedding as Percival worked a second in. He rocked his fingers smoothly but with a lazy motion, letting Newt get used to it.

“A lovely sight,” he muttered and Newt’s face burned. He wanted to close his thighs immediately, hide away.

“It really is, you're so pretty Newt, even here, so pink and delicate. I wish you could see it, how you stretch around my fingers.”

Newt never had anything to say in reply when Percival talked like this, low filthy things. Newt could barely talk in a normal situation, being like this, so intimate, he usually ended up babbling.

The third finger burned a touch, his rim protesting at is was made to open up. But Percival worked him so well, slicked fingers rubbing inside him. He twisted his fingers as he slid them to the knuckle and Newt muffled a whine. The ache was a strange feeling of hurt and pleasure, just enough to make him jerk with each thrust.

Percival pushed faster now, the feeling of the friction making Newt’s body react. His hips swayed on the bed, pushing into the motions.

“I’m going to, please,” Newt fumbled to get the words out. “I w-want you now,” he managed and Percival nodded. He didn’t look smug now, he looked hungry and eager as he slid his fingers free. His pants undid themselves and Newt watched him pull himself out. The oil gleamed as he poured more, slick his cock up.

It seemed imposing, the size of it, for something that was to go inside Newt.

“We’ll go slow,” Percival told him, moving up to press a kiss to Newt’s mouth. “Tell me if you want me to stop.”

Warm firm hands pulled Newt, rearranged him on the bed so they were lined up.

The head of Percival’s cock felt far too big when it pressed against his rim. It rubbed lightly at first, smearing the oil. When it pressed harder, Newt made himself relax into the bed.

The feeling of a hand on his cock made him shiver. Both of Percival’s hands were on his thighs, holding him still. The sensation ghosted again, Percival using magic to tease him as he eased in.

It was too much, the burn hurting as Newt was opened wide. Biting his lip harder he focused on the good, on his throbbing cock and Percival panting over him.

The pain faded as the man moved, slowly pressing a bit more in.

“Alright?” Percival asked and Newt nodded.

The oil was spelled to help with the hurt and so almost immediately the burn of it faded.

Newt was left with the full feeling and Percival buried inside him.

When he pulled back the friction inside felt delightful.

Newt shivered, thighs trembling a touch as Percival pressed back in, slowly moving.

“Newt?”

“K-Keep going please,” he replied too quickly. Percival huffed a laugh but obeyed, rocking into Newt as he explored the feeling.

When the man thrust a touch faster it felt good, oh so good.

The delicate touch began to fade as Percival took him, pushing into him over and over. Newt liked it immediately, liked the stretch and full feeling, liked being taken.

Just like every other time, the more Percival worked Newt over, the more he needed.

He reached up and pulled Percival down by his shoulders, kissing messily. Percival shoved up into him, grinding his body as deep as he could and Newt moaned loudly.

Face red but not truly caring, he took another kiss before Percival was pulling away. Newt felt him come free, his body opened up in a entirely new way. It felt lewd and Newt sort of liked that. He had never explored his sexuality but he found himself reveling in it with Percival.

A directing grip made him roll over and get up, on his hands and knees as Percival lined up behind him.

Gripping the sheets, Newt choked a cry down as the man slid in him in one sure motion. Hands gripped his hips and now each time Percival thrust into him it was accompanied with a loud smack of skin on skin.

In this position Percival moved with more ease, pulling back quickly and slamming right back in. The motions threw Newt forward and he steadied himself on his arms, managing to push back to meet the lunges.

“Merlin, you feel good, fuck Newt, look at you,” Percival muttered voice pitched low as he pounded into Newt.

He managed a whine in reply, thighs spread and braced as he met each motion. The friction inside him felt amazing, it was building as well, reaching for something more and Newt wanted very badly to feel it.

“Fucking gorgeous,” Percival hissed and Newt glanced over his shoulder, finding the man staring down at him, eyes so dark and lustful.

The harsh thrust, wracked through his body, shoving him forward and the hands on him yanked him right back. Newt sobbed, dropping his head to the bed and moaning as it kept happening.

He could feel himself working to that edge, his cock throbbing.

When his shoulders hit the bed, his arse still up high, the bedding shifted enough that the tip of his cock grazed the blanket. A barely there feeling that felt electric with the fucking he was getting.

Newt whined high in his throat, shivering and shoving back frantically. Percival's rough hand gripped him, took hold of his aching cock and Newt tossed his head, overwhelmed immediately.

He came with loud sobs, fingers hurting with how hard they clutched at the bedding.

Percival fucked him through it, slamming hard and fast as Newt cried out.

As the release began to fade Percival still yanked him back, panting harshly. Newt managed to rock into the motion, pushing himself back and feeling the fullness inside him.

After a few hard strokes, the hands tightened on Newt’s waist and Percival groaned hoarsely. His body shoved without rhythm, pushing deeply and grinding there as he panted and growled through his own release.

Buried inside Newt, Percival was coming inside him, marking him in a way no man ever had before. At least what Newt could recall.

Still breathing hard, Percival pulled back carefully and then they collapsed to the bed together. Skin on skin felt too warm, the bedding blissfully cool. He was sweat soaked he realized, his hair damp and clinging.

Percival was the same, he looked glorious, naked and sprawled, still coming down from his climax.

He looked utterly perfect.

Newt’s heart hurt with how much he adored the sight of the other man.

Percival had his eyes shut but they slid open, looking to him as Percival turned his head.

“Hello,” Newt said and felt foolish for it, never good with words.

But Percival grinned, not some held back thing, a full grin that lit up his entire face. Newt loved how he looked then, opened up, not hiding anything.

“Hello,” he echoed and Newt felt a smile pull at his own face, everything feeling so good.

Almost perfect.

 

“Are you sure?” Percival frowned, he looked a touch severe but Newt knew that was how he hid worry. They were in the healer’s ward, Credence and Theseus giving them a moment alone.

“I’m sure. I want to try. I want to understand. I know I love you,” it still felt new on his mouth, Newt felt like a child with how giddy it felt to say it. “And I want to remember you. I want our first kiss and our first time. Wouldn’t you want it back?”

Percival sighed a great heaving sigh but eventually nodded. His hands reached out and squeezed Newt’s own, entangling their fingers.

“Please be safe,” he requested, turning to stare at the paper work beside the bed Newt was seated on. Percival had it memorized by now but he still looked it over, reading every last detail.

A knock made Newt’s poor nerves start but then Credence was coming in, Theseus following him anxiously. He came to Newt’s side, not caring about Percival and personal space as he pressed to Newt’s side and pulled him close.

“Ok?” he asked and Newt felt a bit like glass, as if a touch more pressure would make him break.

Of all the people, it had been Theseus who he struggled to tell. Credence had let something slip in a fire call and then his brother was there, asking questions.

Newt had been terrified that Theseus would think less of him when he learned he had been obliviated and never told him. He had spent years watching his brother work through his memories of the war, fighting his ghosts and overcoming them. Working hard to do so. It had always made Newt feel terrible, even if he knew it shouldn’t. Everyone was different and used different methods to cope. But even so, that guilt never completely left him.

And so telling Theseus had been a mess, tears and apologies that had Theseus comforting him like he was a little boy again. He insisted there was nothing to be sorry for, nothing to be ashamed of. Theseus had hugged Newt tight and insisted he was not less for accepting a memory charm.

Afterwards, his brother had stuck close. He was worried and only growing more so when he learned Newt intended to try and lift it.

“Even if it works, which it might not, which you might get hurt doing so, do you really want to recall? Something so horrid that you chose to forget once already?”

He looked worried and Newt had doubts but pushed through.

“I was alone in a healer ward during a war. Now I’m surrounded by people I love, I’m sure Theseus.”

His brother had frowned terribly but nodded, accepting that it was Newt’s choice and then supporting him from then on, despite his own worries.

Credence offered him a bright smile and Newt manage to return it weakly, feeling his nerves shake when the knock on the door came and the healer arrived.

It would be instant for Newt, a few moments and the memories would return to him. But working within the mind was always highly dangerous and there was so much room for mistakes. Newt was taking a risk and he knew that. But he wanted to know, he needed to.

Percival, Theseus, and Credence stayed in the room as the healer lifted his wand and touched Newt’s brow.

“Ready?” The man asked, seeming calm and confident, sure he could find and alter his own magic within Newt’s mind.

“Ready.”

 

Newt hadn’t been sure about going to the pass.

But his commanding officer had insisted. He said Newt was a skilled trainer and that Annabelle was needed. They needed to keep the pass, to prevent the opposition from taking it and thus access into the entire area.

So Newt went.

It became a great mess very quickly.

Only a few days in, the enemies began a fierce attempt to take the location. Newt was forced to fight on the battlefield.

Forced to kill.

Men pointed their wands at him, ready to kill and Newt had to respond in like. If he deflected he offered them the chance to strike again. He learned that when he hesitated the first time and the wizard used that moment to strike and kill another soldier. The man fell dead before Newt and then the wizard was striking at him again.

Newt killed him, a single hard blow that threw him back hard enough that his head cracked in sickly. A wet sound as Newt stumbled back, staring at the dead man beside him, looking up unseeing because Newt had hesitated.

He wanted to be sick.

“Pull yourself together!” Someone hollered at him, shaking Newt roughly and pulling him behind him as he deflected a curse and sent his own.

Then Annabelle flew in, breathing great plumes of fire on the enemy lines and scattering them immediately. No one prepared for a dragon. It made it easy to fend them off and when the dragon landed, making the earth tremble. She twisted her long head to peer at him worriedly, only calming when Newt pet her and spoke soothingly.

“A friend of yours?” The man from before asked and Newt turned to face him, looking at him properly. He was handsome if grimy but they all were, settled in camps that even for wizards were cramped with base provisions.

He wore an American uniform.

Percival and a small group were sent to help Newt and the British officers already at the pass. There were a handful of muggles as well and the Americans were uncomfortable with them but Percival took it in stride.

“More troops is never a bad thing, even those without magic.”

“They’re here, willing to die just as we are,” Newt pointed out and Percival nodded. They settled away from the main fire a bit, a touch of space between and the others. Newt was trying to hide his hands as they refused to stop shaking and Percival seemed to know that. He settled beside him and asked about Annabelle, coaxing Newt to talk about the dragon. He never did notice when the shaking stopped.

The nightmares started right away, the man’s head cracked open wide, black blood washing out, filling the space until Newt was ankle deep in it.

So he spent his mornings looking after Annabelle, tending to her to cover the fact he wasn’t sleeping.

“It’s not much of a secret you know,” Percival approached them, respectful of the dragon peering at him. But he was also the only one daring enough to even come close, the rest of the camp staying very clear of her when they could.

“Secret?”

“You’ve black eyes, great big bags. Not sleeping means you’ll mess up, you’ll get yourself killed.”

Newt pat Annabelle and bit his lip, running his hands down her hide. She had avoided anything too bad but she was nicked up already.

“The potion stores are low, we should have been relieved by now. There are people who need to sleep far more than I. At least I get a few hours.”

“Nightmares?”

Newt nodded.

“I don’t think anyone doesn’t have them,” Percival offered in assurance.

“Do you?”

“Every night.”

The next time Newt woke, panting and shivering, Percival was there waiting. He was in the cot beside Newt, an American in the British tent but no one seemed to care. Percival was charming that way, talking his way into whatever he wanted. Charismatic in a way Newt was a touch jealous of.

The other man pushed Newt back into the cot, his firm hand making Newt’s heart beat faster. For a moment it felt like he was about to be kissed and Newt was startled to realize he would let him.

Maybe even want it.

He liked Percival.

But then Percival was curling up with him, settling them both into the bed to sleep.

The nightmares didn’t stop but waking with someone helped. Newt slept more.

When Percival was the one thrashing Newt learned to curl his arms around him gently, to run his fingers through his hair until Percival calmed or woke. When he did wake he stayed in Newt's hold, letting him soothe him as he wrapped Newt up in a tight embrace.

Another wave of soldiers came and they fought again. Newt stayed near the back, defending the front line soldiers from a distance as Annabelle rained down fire.

Newt killed three more wizards. A spell throwing boulders crushed two and the other he flung a muggle gun into, straight into his chest as the man dropped his wand in shock and then collapsed. Blood poured out of his mouth as he died, grasping at the dirt, eyes frantically looking for help.

Newt’s nightmares wracked his body but Percival held him every time.

The soldiers kept coming to the pass and the reinforcement never did. The group fought them off each time but more and more of them were killed. More were wounded.

“I need help,” the healer grunted, holding a screaming man down, blood pouring from the stump where his leg should have been.

The other healer and assistant were both killed earlier.

“I worked on animals,” Newt choked, they were desperate and anything would have to due.

“Get over here, help me pin him so I can stop the bleeding.”

Newt held the man down, staring into his panicked gaze as the healer attempted to save him. He bled out, his eyes losing their movement, growing unnaturally still.

Each day more soldiers would come and Newt would help fight with his dragon assisting them all.

Each day the eighty soldiers would drop numbers, one or two on good days. A dozen on the worst day.

Newt helped the healer, learned to hold the soldiers down, talk to them, and promise to tell their loved one their last words. He learned basic healing spells and he learned death rites. His hands were stained red, always warm with blood dripping.

He preferred it to the fighting, at least here he was trying to help.

Every night he would crawl in with Percival. At his tent or at Percival’s own. No one said a word about it. No one cared in the face of carnage.

On the day they made it through without a single death everyone was jubilant. Even those in the healing beds, missing limbs and in pain, managed smiles.

One of the muggle soldiers had a harmonica and played a song, someone beating on a bucket in time with him and another singing. Percival spun Newt around in a mockery of a dance and they fell over a log turned seat, giddy with a touch of hope.

Percival kissed him there in the dirt, his finger’s tipping Newt’s chin up so he could press their lips together. The others laughed and left them be, Newt’s face burning red as Percival grinned at him.

It warmed Newt, made his chest light.

It was a brief respite among all they were facing, amongst the death and the killing, the bloody hands and dying men in the healing tent.

There was something good and all the dark made it so much brighter.

Newt had never felt this way before.

He had never thought it was possible to love someone so much so quickly.

They would talk about home sometimes and eventually Newt realized Percival was Percival Graves, Credence’s brother. It felt surreal to comprehend such a thing. In the great horrid war, he had found Credence’s sibling and ended up in love with him.

He hoped the boy would understand.

He didn’t tell Percival, didn’t want him to worry about anything more. He spent hours planning and rationing everything, working with the older soldiers to try and come up with plans to defend the pass.

But Newt knew he couldn’t marry Credence now, not if he could be with Percival.

“You’ll come to America?” The man asked him one night, smirking at Newt as he flushed and nodded, willing to promise anything to the man. Percival was the only thing getting him through this war. He could feel a bond forming between them, more sure and certain than anything had ever felt before.

Even Leta had never felt like this, her companionship was nothing like Percival. He never made Newt fell bad about himself, never made him feel weak or silly. They just seemed to fit. Interlocking snugly without trying. Newt knew there was much more to relationships and the war was affecting them, but he did know he loved the man. Barely three weeks in and he knew it utterly.

They cast privacy charms on the cot and explored. Percival was new to sex as well and so it was a bit of a mess. Fumbling on the tiny bed with no supplies. They were also exhausted every day and usually ended up rutting against one another sloppily, both coming too fast.

Neither cared.

Eventually, they did manage proper sex. Newt whimpering as Percival pushed inside him. It felt amazing, a moment of pleasure among so much death.

Percival wiped Newt’s tears gently and kiss him as they rocked together.

 

“They figure the reinforcements are blocked,” Percival mused and Newt nodded, looking over the camp. There were only twenty-one soldiers alive, six unable to fight. No healing supplies left, only a few days more of food.

“But they can’t remain that way forever, they’ll get here.”

He sounded so sure, Newt just had to believe him.

The other men believed him.

Their commanding officer was dead and while there were other soldiers with a higher rank, Percival had taken command. He kept them together; spoke reassuringly, insisting help would arrive at any moment. They had to hold the pass.

The men believed him.

They needed to.

Newt needed to.

They use spells for healing but eventually it wastes magic that they need. They can’t afford to use it unless it was absolutely needed. One of the muggles teaches them to stitch wounds with his needle and thread.

Newt winces as Percival stitches his left palm. An ugly gash he’d received, it was too wide to just leave it be.

“I’m sorry love,” he murmured gently, fingers trying to be careful as he worked.

“S’ok,” Newt managed, biting his lip with each pierce.

Percival kissed his wrist each time, apologizing as he closed the wound.

“Well get through this,” he told Newt, looking up at him, eyes fierce and certain, unwilling to consider anything less.

Newt nods his head, desperately willing it to be true. It aches in his chest how hard he wants to survive this, wants to be with Percival. To see his mum and dad, his brother and grandfather. He wants to go home and he wants them to meet Percival, wants to confess knowing Credence and explains the silly arranged marriage. He wants their first fight and he wants proper sex in a real bed. It chokes him, how much he wants those things.

“We will,” Percival swears, like a spell being cast, as if magic will assure it. “We’re going to be ok.”

He kissed Newt’s wrist.

“I love you.”

 

 

He knows something is wrong right away.

There are far more opposing soldiers than there have ever been before. There are barely twenty of them left, four muggles, a healer, Newt, few powerful wizards in fighting condition.

“Percival,” Newt breathed, eyes looking over the approaching men from careful cover, at least two hundred.

“We fight, the backup is on the way, a patronus spell arrived this morning. Just a few hours and then we’ll have help.”

They were very likely about to die.

Percival knew it, his eyes grim.

Newt reached out, taking his hand and willing a miracle.

“I need to send Annabelle away.”

Percival shook his head, his gaze turning on Newt, hard but pleading, desperately pleading.

“We need her Newt, without your dragon we won’t stand a chance. But with her, we might. If we hide in the trees and make it seem like there are more than we are, we might do this.”

Newt trembled.

“She’ll die, Percival, she can’t hide, she’s already hurt. She won’t….” His hands shook terribly and Percival caught them in his own, turning Newt to face him properly.

“I know. But we need her.”

Newt felt sick to his stomach, bile jumping at his throat. He felt numb and cold.

He didn’t send Annabelle away.

Perhaps if they were quick, if they fought carefully, she would survive.

Newt would insist they release her after that, let her retire and find a mate, have some babies. A life of ease after fighting their war for them.

His dragon fought for them.

Percival was exhausted and stressed to the limit but he focused and cast amazing spells, one after another unendingly, making it seem like there were so many more of them. The others helped but it was clear Percival was the strongest among them. His eyes were intent on the enemy, determined to win.

“I’ll show you America, after all of this,” he told Newt before the fighting started. They clung close, kissing openly, no one interrupting them. All of the men were grim but determined, all knowing they faced death but willing to fight still. True heroes in the face of such terrible horrors.

Annabelle caught a stray curse in her wing, plummeting from the sky.

The ground shook as she impacted, his leg dragging brokenly with her damaged wing. She was out in the open and the enemies’ spells fell like rain.

Then they stopped.

Newt paused, watching frantically from cover, willing the dragon to get up, to make it somewhere safe.

But then she began to scream, terrible roars laced with pain. It dragged on and Newt’s hands clawed at the earth, he tried to block it out, sobbing, but she screamed, called to him.

Newt pushed up, trying to get up and go.

Percival was waiting for it, it seemed, pinning him down tightly as Newt struggled, fought him.

“Let me go to her, let me help her. Please, Merlin let me help her,” he cried, hot tears running down his face. The others looked away as Percival held him down.

“They want you too, that’s why they did it, they’re trying to lure us out. Newt, we have to stay.”

Annabelle’s screams took on a agonized edge, howling sounds echoing in Newt’s bones.

He could see her, could see her skin coming off, peeling away in clumps.

“Let me go!” He screamed. He cursed and swore, mindless threats and words as he watched his dragon die slowly, panting for breath still. It went on for hours.

“I’m sorry,” Percival chanted, like a prayer almost, over and over.

He didn’t let Newt go.

The reinforcements arrived after everyone was dead.

Only Newt, Percival, and the healer, Charles, were left.

It felt numbing, everything far away.

Annabelle was still alive, her skin gone, body destroyed but still alive to feel the agony.

Newt held his wand limply, tears running down his face as he cast the spell to put her our of her misery. The dragon still twitching until she finally died, by his own hand. Percival and Charles stood a few feet away, watching silently. Newt slumped into the dirt on his knees, watching Annabelle finally die. Finally finding peace.

The new soldiers came and pulled Percival away, wanting a report as they began a fresh attack to keep the pass.

“Go,” Charles reassured him, wrapping an arm around Newt. “I’ll take care of him.”

“I’ll be right back,” Percival said, cupping Newt’s face but everything was numb.

“Why,” he muttered, staring at his dragon. “You let them, let them torture her to buy time.”

“I’m sorry,” Percival breathed and he sounded it. “We needed…we needed time. I’m sorry, so sorry Newt.”

“…I hate you,” he exhaled, wanting to hurt him, wanting Percival to feel numb and broken. “…I never want to see you again.”

“Newt,” Percival tried to make him look at him but the officer called him, voice urgent as the ground shook and the fighting raged on, people screaming as they died.

Percival left.

“Dramatic and cruel,” Charles muttered to Newt, beginning to drag him away from his dead dragon, looking around for the healing tents.

When Newt moved to get up, a sudden pain laced through him. It felt like something impaling his gut, he thought perhaps he had been shot by a muggle bullet.

When he collapsed Charles followed him down, feeling where Newt had grabbed at his midsection.

“What is it?”

Newt gritted his teeth, the hurt too sharp for him to speak. Charles' hands touched his stomach, magic sparking to feel what was wrong.

The older man cursed, voice low and angry.

“Newt…are you a carrier?”

He blinked up at the man.

“There’s…there was something, a flicker but it’s fading out. I think you’re having a mis-”

The ground exploded beside them, dirt and shrapnel flying everywhere.

Charles had his back to it and was thrown forward. A thick tree branch pushed through his chest, the pointed edge catching Newt in the shoulder.

Agony lanced through him until the darkness came up, swallowing him whole.

 

Newt woke in the healer tent, slowly shaking off the haze of sleep and tasting potions on his tongue. Men and women filled the cots, various stages of pain all around him. Healers worked among them, helping and administering potions to relieve pain.

“Hello, Mr. Scamander.”

Newt’s voice didn’t work on the first try. His body was sore, aching all over, but there was no true pain. His mind was muddled but it trickled back slowly. Annabelle screaming in agony, Charles dying right in front of him, eyes empty even as they fell backward.

Newt checked his shoulder but it was healed.

Only his hand held a faint scar, the stitches gone.

Newt could feel Percival kissing his wrist each time.

“Percival, he was with my g-group. Percival Graves,” he told the healer and the woman offered him a sad shake of her head.

“I’m sorry sir, but no one survived from the unit.”

“No... Y-you don’t understand. Percival Graves, he was American, he left to go speak w-with an officer when help arrived.”

The healer offered a nod and held out a potion.

“Please, I’m c-certain if you ch-check.”

“Please drink this,” she insisted gently, pressing it until Newt just snatched it and drank it down, feeling dizzy with the effects immediately.

“Tell me where he is, please,” he begged and the healer offered a heavy sigh, her eyes sad.

“We lost the pass Mr. Scamander. The reinforcements weren’t enough in the end. You were one of the very few soldiers removed before it was overwhelmed. No one else in the original group survived. Everyone that did from that area, is right here.” She waved her arm and Newt looked, leaning forward to check each bed, hoping for Percival and heart clenching each time it wasn’t him.

“There must be more,” he breathed, he wanted to scream, to panic but everything felt far away. The potion made him feel heavy and tired.

“Please, check for me, p-please,” he whispered, feeling tears burn down his face as the healer helped him lay back down. “Please.”

“I will,” she reassured, her tone seeming light but her gaze heavy. “I’ll check the list again, Percival Graves.” She sounded used to it, used to double-checking for dead soldiers for those who had survived.

She would find Percival, Newt was sure.

When he woke again the same healer brought him a chart of the dead.

Percival Graves was listed.

His body found and sent to the coast for transport back to America.

Percival was dead.

Newt sobbed, choking heavy things, which stole his breath until he couldn’t breathe at all. The healer pushed him to the bed and cast something to make him sleep as he gasped for air.

He had said he hated him.

Had said he never wanted to see him again.

Newt had never regretted words more than now. They circled his mind, Percival’s hurt face as he spoke them, the man only wanting Newt safe. He had died with those words, the last thing Newt had ever told him.

He hated him.

He never wanted to see him again.

Newt sobbed into his pillow. He ignored the healers and the food they pushed at him. He ignored their accounts that the eastern front was asking about him, wanting their best trainer back.

Newt laid in the small bed, it felt too big, he was used to sharing it, used to Percival pushed against his back, legs tangled.

If he lay very still and closed his eyes he could almost feel him. That arm sliding over Newt’s waist to curl snuggly, the bed shifting as Percival got in with him. His warm breath on Newt’s neck.

He could almost feel it.

If he just lay still enough.

They gave him potions every day, over and over, to make it all numb.

Newt rubbed his stomach idly thinking about Charles and his hands on Newt’s middle. He had thought Newt was having a miscarriage, a barely there life being snuffed out. Most witches and wizards new almost immediately, a few days after even, if they had conceived. Magic protected the baby, it helped it survive, and miscarriages were uncommon. Newt might have felt the life dying inside him, forced from his body from all that had happened.

Newt might have had Percival’s child within him.

His body as refused it, had failed to protect it. Newt wanted to ask the healer about it but he didn’t. He didn’t ask anything. He drank his potions and when they refused to give them, he curled up in the bed and cried.

He felt weak and useless, he felt stupid, people beside him had lost limbs, had barely survived. And here he was, useless in his bed, perfectly fine in body.

Broken in everything else.

All those men, the slow deaths in the healer tent, Charles himself, Annabelle, and Percival. They had all died to protect that pass and in the end, they had lost it.

They had lost the bloody pass.

“Newt,” his old commanding officer, from the eastern front was there, sitting in the little visitor stool.

“We need you back son, the war needs you, we’re struggling with the dragons, with training them.”

Newt blinked at the man.

“We need you to train more.”

Annabelle screamed to her death, until her sounds were tiny husky coughs of blood. She had no place there, no creature did. This was the human's war, not theirs. She shouldn't have had to die for them.

“No, no more,” he breathed. “I can’t. I c-can’t anymore.”

The man nodded. “The healers told me so, they think we should do something to help you, to take the pain away, something more than potions.”

Newt blinked, dazedly looking towards the man finally.

“They want to take the memories away Newt, take all the pain away. Make you forget.”

Newt’s chest hurt. It never stopped hurting. He thought of the men he killed and he thought of his dragon. He thought of the soldiers screaming in his arms as they died.

Of a dead baby.

Of Percival being dead.

“We’re going to do that alright? Take this all away so you can return?”

Newt nodded weakly.

They made him write what happened down so he could look later.

Newt didn’t mention Percival. Even the idea of writing his name made Newt’s hand shake too badly.

 

“There’s no blood,” the healer told him when he woke.

“It’s on my hands, under my nails,” Newt explained, staring at it as it dripped down his skin. “I need to wash it off.”

The healer frowned but Newt's commanding officer was nodding.

“Let’s get him a basin to wash up?” He requested and Newt felt relieved, smiling thankfully at the man.

The blood refused to come at first, but eventually Newt cleaned it off, scrubbing until his arms ached.

Until he needed a healing potion because he had rubbed himself raw.

 

Newt opened his eyes, feeling the room spin.

“Newt?” Percival was there, a ghost made real. But his hands were firm and warm.

If Newt stayed very still, he could feel him, Percival was still there.

“Newton Scamander,” the healer said, his face aged strangely as he made Newt look at him. “Take a moment, breath and reorient yourself.”

Percival’s hand on his arm started to slide away and Newt jerked, grabbing at it, holding it frantically.

“Newt?” The ghost whispered and the healer stepped back.

“You alright?” Theseus asked, Credence at his side.

“Deep breaths, it’s ok,” Credence said soothingly. Newt dragged in uneven gasps, not able to make them calm.

Percival watched him, he was dead but he was there, watching him.

Newt shook his head, tears burning down his face.

He pulled at Percival and he came obediently, he felt real but he wasn’t. He stepped in close and hugged Newt tightly, talking low soothing word Newt couldn’t hear.

If he held very still, Percival would feel real.

Newt sucked in his breath, stilling his chest, he didn’t move, he wanted to feel Percival a moment more.

When his sight blinked and his lungs burned he held his breath still.

A moment more.

If he was still enough.

“You’re dead,” he reminded himself, the words almost a gasp with how much he want to inhale.

But he had to be still.

“Newt?” Percival sounded panicked as Newt fell forward. Darkness rushing up to embrace him.

 

He woke up in a healer ward.

Not a tent but an actual building, white brick walls, a large clean room.

Dougal was sleeping at his feet, curled up serenely.

Pickett was on the nightstand, a plant placed there for him to perch in.

Newt smiled at them, feeling exhausted.

He wondered of he was in Britain, if they had moved him home from the war.

The thought felt odd.

Wrong.

Dougal stirred at his feet, looking up curiously.

Newt stared at him, blinking as his mind reeled, thoughts mixing up.

The war was over now. Had been for years and years.

Percival was dead.

But he wasn’t.

Percival wasn’t dead.

The two thoughts clashed violently, memories of death charts and Percival alive and well fighting one another.

Percival was Credence’s rude older brother, always watching Newt, always looking so awkward. Looking hurt because Newt was marrying his brother. He’d promised to come to America with him but he was marrying his brother.

Dougal nudged his leg, making Newt look up. The room spun dangerously and he thought he might be sick. Pickett squeaked from the table and Newt turned to look at him. There was a letter on the table. A pile of letters. Different names on each one.

Mum, dad, Theseus, Credence, Percival.

Newt’s fingers shook at he clutched the letter with his name on it, tearing it up as he tried to open it. His hands shook terribly.

Percival Graves is alive and well’ it stated immediately.

Due to miscommunication, during the battle for the eastern pass, I was labeled an enemy. I woke in a separate healers ward two months after the battle.

I stitched your hand for you when we ran out of supplies, I kissed your wrist each time. It was the first time I told you I loved you.

We met again and through misunderstandings, I did not realize you had lost your memories of me. I was unable to let go of the love I felt for you. I screwed up multiple times but you let me try again and again.

Credence broke your arranged marriage and shortly after I learned you did not remember me.

We began anew, dating with hopes to marry.

You wanted to recall and went to a healer to have your memories restored.

Something went wrong within your mind and you panicked once they were restored. You are in a healing ward recovering. I am waiting for you to wake up."

Newt read it over and over again.

Until the words made sense, until his mind agreed.

Percival at his grandfather’s funeral, at his parents home in the country, Romania, the alleyway, meeting in New York. Percival kissing his wrist when the dark wizard had almost killed him. Kissing it like when he had stitched his palm.

The scar was there. Newt traced it with shaking fingers.

Percival was alive.

“Newt?” He jerked, looking up as Credence came in. He was older. No, he was the right age. He had grown up.

Percival was alive.

Credence came over, bending down to meet his gaze with wide worried eyes.

“Are you ok? I’ll call the healer,” he turned away and Newt shot out a hand to grab him, clutching his wrist to keep him there.

“W-what happened? Where is he?”

Credence stared at him, looking a touch scared. He pulled his wand and cast a patronus, the dog rushing away with a message he didn’t need to speak.

“You reacted badly to the restoration. Newt you panicked and we couldn’t calm you. You lost conscious. It’s been nine days now. You wouldn’t wake, the healer was worried-“

Credence cut off, his hands twisting the grip to hold Newt’s hand in his own tightly.

“…He thought there was a chance you might never wake.”

Newt swallowed, his mind still unsure, everything still settling back into place.

The war was long ago.

Percival was alive.

“Where is Percival?”

“I sent for him, just now, you saw.”

Newt nodded.

“I need to get the healer Newt, I’ll only be a moment.”

Newt nodded again.

He made himself let go of his friend.

“Just a moment,” Credence swore, his eyes shining with tears.

 

Footsteps returned a moment later, a quick pace.

Newt looked to the door, expected Credence and a healer.

Percival stood there instead.

He was out of breath and he had gray hair now, his face older.

“Newt?”

Percival crossed the room quickly and Newt scrambled to meet him, nearly tripping out of the bed.

When Percival reached him, he yanked him into his arms, pulling the man half onto the bed. Newt clutched at him, trembling as he buried his face in Percival’s neck.

Warm arms encircled him, clutching back tightly.

“Merlin, you scared the fuck out of me,” he breathed against Newt’s hair.

“You were dead,” he confessed, the words painful to even say. “You were dead and I was alone. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

He fought more tears and Percival shushed him, lifting a hand to cup his neck and rub soothingly.

“I’m right here. It was all a mistake. I was hurt, but fine.”

“I’m sorry,” Newt repeated, thinking of Percival chanting it against his shoulder as he held Newt down as Annabelle was tortured. He’d been sobbing as he said it, crying as he held Newt down to keep him safe.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for, come on now darling, it’s fine.”

“It’s not. I said those things to you, I said I hated you, like a spoiled five-year-old. It was the last thing I said to you, you died and I said I never wanted to see you again.”

The arms tightened enough to hurt but Newt didn’t mind at all. Dougal was petting his leg, making worried sounds.

“I’m so sorry Percival. I forgot. I let them make me forget. I let them take you away. But you we’re gone and I…I couldn’t.”

Percival made a pained sound against his hair, still stroking Newt’s neck.

“Darling, it’s ok, it’s fine now. We’re both fine now, right here, together right?”

“I love you,” Newt agreed, turning to press his face against Percival’s neck. The scent of him was warm and perfect. “I love you. You’re alive.”

“I’m alive.”

Percival took Newt’s hand, he lifted his wrist and Newt felt him press a kiss to his skin.

“It’s ok, we’re going to be ok.”

 

 

It took time for Newt to adjust.

The war suddenly felt closer than it had, the gore and pain haunting him at night.

Newt thought it a fair price to pay, to have his memory with Percival returned. He had been so young and wide-eyed back then, so utterly in love. He had already begun to fall in love with Percival again and it brought a smile to his face to think about.

“Not once, but twice now, you’ve won me over,” he delighted in telling Percival. The man fought the obvious pleasure at knowing that. For days after Newt woke, Percival was weary of fallout. As if Newt might wake one morning and decide he truly did hate him. But as the days drifted by the fear seemed to fade in his gaze.

Dougal helped Newt sort his buckets, offering the right one for each handful of meat. Percival dutifully sorted the vegetables, determined to learn the feeding schedules perfectly.

“I’d like to thing you remembered in some way,” he mused. Newt tipped his head in thought for a moment, pausing as he sliced the chicken.

“Perhaps. A part of me might have, I did fell a pull right away. But I was also aware you were rather handsome.”

Percival shot him a smirk and Newt fought a grin.

He felt giddy like this, down in his suitcase looking after his creatures with Percival at his side.

They were moving in together soon and in the spring they would marry. The contract would be fulfilled, perhaps twice over with Credence going off to London to be with Theseus.

It felt too good almost, as if something bad should come along to ruin it. Newt tried to push such negativity away from himself though. He deserved to be happy, to be loved and to love in return. He was worthy of arguments over the beast sleeping the bed or important paperwork all over the living room. Over towels on the floor and events Newt didn’t want to attend. Someone in his life to argue with, someone who wanted him around and was working so they both fit comfortably. They would fight over little things and then fall into bed after, makeup sex turning out to be a delight.

Newt thought it was funny a bit, how far everything had spun from what had been originally intended. A nice arranged marriage between their families had led to his mum running off with his father and then Credence running off with his brother. It worked just fine for Newt though, who had Percival with him now.

He had his memories of first kisses and intention for future ones.

“Why are you smiling like that?” Percival broke his thoughts and Newt offered him a warm look.

“Just thinking of you,” he teased and Percival shook his head, fighting his own smile.

There were still times when panic swept Newt up. When he would rush from where he was to find Percival. He needed to reassure himself sometimes, that he was alive. Percival would stop whatever he was doing and offer that to Newt freely. Kissing his brow and letting the man press his face into his shoulder, feeling him there, real and alive.

It was more than Newt had ever expected he would have.

Far more than he ever planned when he and Credence signed that contract.

Newt watched Dougal go over to help Percival sort the feeds, the man frowning oh so adorably at the plants, as if they had wronged him.

Far more.

Chapter Text

 

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.