Suddenly, there was a dragon on his desk.
The dragon stared at him with its yellow eyes and Percival met the stare for several long seconds, up until the dragon looked away in order to start chewing on the Cunningham case report.
Slowly, Percival put the cap on his pen, placed the capped pen onto the desk on top of the Sylvester files the labrador-sized dragon was now stomping on, and took several long minutes to rub his temples to shy away the beginnings of a headache while the constant sound of grunting and chewing told of the dragon meticulously destroying a morning worth of his work.
After his coffee cup suddenly turning into a sucking void earlier that morning, the dragon on his desk was only the second worst thing of his day so far, and it wasn’t yet lunch time.
“Fucking Wednesdays…” Percival muttered and got up, careful to not make any sudden moves. He did the buttons of his suit jacket and adjusted his cufflinks before unceremoniously picking up the dragon by the midriff. The little bastard tried to gnaw and scratch him for it, but his magic was powerful enough to keep them both from getting injured by the sharp claws and the equally sharp-looking teeth, although his tie did get burnt before his shields shot up, just in time to protect his body from the flames the dragon rudely breathed at him.
With a wave of his hand, Percival put out the fire burning away the curtains and flicked a finger to open up a window in order for all the smoke to get aired out of the room.
“Now,” he said to the dragon who was actively trying to bite his nose (or to eat his entire face, who knew), “we’ll go find the head of the Beast Bureau.”
Before exiting his office, Percival made sure to slick back his hair just in case the head of the Beast Bureau would notice, this time.
A wizard could always hope.
Newt Scamander was in the lobby, pale and wide-eyed, and looking like he was doing his best to search for something specific while simultaneously desperately pretending to look like he wasn’t searching for anything particular at all.
He would hurry to stand by a bench, wrung his hands and nod frantically by way of greeting at everyone who walked pass (even when they weren’t even looking in his direction), then nervously look around as if to make sure no-one was watching, before suddenly ducking under the bench as if to see whether whatever he was looking for could be found from under there. When he couldn’t find what he was looking for, he would hurry off to check under other benches and behind statues while greeting everyone he encountered with such frantic nods and frozen smiles he was gathering quite a lot of suspicious looks from Senior Auror Weston at the reception desk.
It was silly, really, and not at all an effective method of searching for anything, but Percival caught several nice views of the shapely ass, as Newt crawled on the floor on his hands and knees, and so he couldn’t find it in himself to complain. In fact, he might have stood there for longer than intended, so deep in longing and admiration of the said ass that he half forgot the small dragon trying to kill him and the urgent business of returning the dragon to its handler. He was only brought back to himself when Weston from his seat at the desk by Percival cleared his throat, loudly, in a manner that made it clear he had done so many times already.
Snapping back to his senses, Percival inclined his head at Weston once, stiffly, receiving a slow salute and a wink in return.
“You could’ve just told some Junior Auror to take the beast to Scamander,” the bearded auror noted, soft voice amused. “But I suppose it does send a message, to literally carry around dragons for him.”
Had it been someone else – someone who hadn’t been an auror in charge of the reception already when Percival had been but a boy playing with tin aurors in the lobby while his parents worked for the department, someone who hadn’t smiled and patted his head and given him sweets and told him to call him “Uncle Ollie” – Percival wouldn’t have allowed such comments.
Making an exception for Weston, however, didn’t mean he wanted to respond to his comments, and so Percival left the grey-haired wizard chuckling to himself at the desk and instead made a beeline to Newt, who by now was gazing up at the high columns as if wondering whether he could find what he was looking for from up there near the ceiling.
“Newt,” Percival said when he was close enough to be heard. The hoarseness of his voice took him off guard and he cleared his throat with a cough, trying again, stronger, “Newt.”
Newt didn’t turn around, but there was a moment in which his whole body seemed to freeze up.
“Um,” he finally spoke, voice unusually high. “Oh, hi, Percival. I didn’t notice you. Hello. You’re- you’re out of your office early, earlier than usual. Not that- not that you’re not allowed to be. But you’re out, earlier than usual.”
“I wouldn’t be,” said Percival, dryly, “had your dragon not eaten my reports.”
The dragon in question was hissing and trying to breathe fire, but Percival kept it under control, ignoring the wary looks the beast was being given from all around the lobby.
Slowly, Newt – with his shoulders visibly tensed up – turned around. The blue eyes quickly took in the struggling dragon in Percival’s arms – which were starting to tire, dragons weren’t light to carry, small or not – and after a wary glance up at Percival’s face, the head was bent and the curly fringe fell in front of the pretty features.
“Why do you presume he’s my dragon?”
Unimpressed, Percival didn’t deem the question with an answer and soon enough Newt’s shoulders slumped and he reached out towards Percival with his outstretched arms.
“Okay, just… Please, give Aron to me.” Newt bit his lip. “I’ve been looking for him for the better part of an hour. He got away when I was trying to take his measurements. He’s so young, still, barely out of the egg. He doesn’t yet know any better.”
Percival was more than ready to hand the struggling thing over, and Newt appeared equally ready to wrap his arms around Aron. The dragon calmed down instantly when Newt steadied him against his shoulder, there was no fire or clawing or biting.
Which was impressive. Newt sure did have a way with creatures.
“You really need to keep the beasts better in control,” Percival told him sternly, nonetheless. “I’m saying this as the Director for Magical Security. I do have to make a report of this, you know. I can’t have dragons running around in my city.”
“Um, technically, Aron couldn’t have been running because his legs are too short for that.”
“But,” Newt quickly amended, blushing, seeming to notice the glare directed at him, “but I understand what you mean, all technicalities aside. I’ll be more careful, I promise.”
With that, Newt leant forward and pressed a soft kiss on Percival’s lips.
"Thank you for looking after Aron," he said, softly, quickly, hurrying then away, leaving Percival standing there in the middle of the lobby, speechless, frozen.
What had just happened?
Newt wasn’t one for physical intimacy, he sure wasn’t one for public declarations of any kind. Yet, he had just pecked Percival right there where anyone could see.
Dazed, Percival barely managed to resist the urge to touch his lips like some lovesick teen.
Thinking about it, he concluded he needed to go make sure Newt hadn't been put under a spell of any kind. He had liked the peck, but only if Newt had actually consented to it.
I love writing about these two. They're adorable.
This fic is just something quick I wanted to write before going to sleep. I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. Let me know, if you want to read more.
Chapter 2: In the Hospital
This chapter is my way of thanking you for the comments&kudos. <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was a risk, to apparate, and he knew it.
Nonetheless, he apparated after informing his aurors of his plans, leaving his position in the line of aurors with a bark of an order for Tina to take his spot, and placed himself in front of the unmistakable golden phoenix eggs and the incubator, waving his wand to twine a Shielding Charm around the eggs the second he was close enough to do so.
Phoenix eggs were rare, there had been no discoveries of any in over a century, Newt had once mentioned as he had showed some ancient drawings of them to Percival with a wistful sigh, and the operation to save them was now justified, even expected, a surprise though the eggs might have been, a raid to the headquarters of illegal wand trade or not.
It had been supposed to take but a few seconds for Percival to get to the eggs to make the protective shields. He had been supposed to protect the "unexpected, considerably valuable find", well enough positioned crouching behind the crates to not get in good view of the criminals, and then he had been supposed to get back to his place in the auror line where they would have approached the criminals together. But as it were, that's not how it happened. Instead of a quick retreat, he was caught off guard: There was an eight criminal, one in an animagus form of an ant and the second Percival apparated to the eggs, the ant became a snarling man standing on the crate Percival was crouching behind, and just as Percival charmed the eggs, a curse hit him in the shoulder from above, piercing skin and breaking bone, damaging nerve endings. The scream of pain tearing right through him turned into an outraged roar when his mind caught up with his body, and his aurors threw hexes at the escaping man, as did Percival, blinking away the fog clouding his vision even as his shirt became uncomfortably wet with the warm blood pulsing steadily out of the wound in his shoulder as well as the exit wound in his chest.
Despite of the charmed combat gloves, his fingers refused to hold onto his wand any longer and the sound of it clattering away some three yards away echoed loud in the suddenly silent bunker. Annoyed and very much bothered, Percival frowned at it – he had never before lost his wand during a fight, not even as a Junior Auror.
Unexpectedly, he fell forward unable to steady himself, and the rough concrete floor scraped his palms as he tried to support himself, now on his knees, and that surprised him even more than losing his wand. Had he been injured that badly?
“The director is down!” the call went up both behind and in front of him, in front of him as a whoop of malicious delight, behind him not professionally enough to hide Jenkins’ shock.
And just like that the frozen silence was replaced with loud explosions, and the bright hexes lit up the bunker all around Percival, as the criminals attacked and the aurors responded with newfound determination.
Frowning, Percival looked down at his shoulder.
The wound was cursed, obviously, and he cast a few wandless first aid charms, just enough to prevent himself from bleeding out. When doing a recon, Team Delta had missed the ant, and Percival couldn't now take any chances of there being more unexpected surprises. They needed to secure the perimeter, now, and he needed to get his aurors in control of the situation as fast as possible, he needed to keep his people safe. With the world spinning and his shoulder feeling like it was on fire, Percival took in the positions of his aurors and their opponents.
“Jenkins!” he gasped into his watch to reach the Senior Auror's ears over the screams and the explosions as curses went awry and shattered parts of concrete walls. “Take your team into the position eight-AK!”
“Yes, Sir!” came the instant answer from his watch, and Percival gritted his teeth as he managed to push himself into a sitting position against the crate, pulling the phoenix eggs closer to himself to shield them better.
Jenkins would now advance the criminals with Team Beta, all five aurors in their Animagus forms, Percival knew without needing to check, just as he knew they would need cover. Gritting his teeth, the pain barely bearable, he forced out, “Weddings, nine-FT!” as that order would have Weddings with Team Alpha covering Team Beta.
Weddings’ expected, “On it, Boss!” was instant, and suddenly there were small hands tearing apart his reddened shirt, his fine black coat having been removed magically. Percival followed the hands up the arms all the way up to the shoulders until he saw the tight clench of Tina’s jaw.
“Goldstein. I'm not in any immediate danger, but the situation is not in under our control yet, so stop with the fussing and go arrest those bastards. That’s an order.”
“Then stop bleeding, and I will."
The electric lamp exploded as a wayward hex hit it, and as the light went out, only the colorful strikes of spells and curses illuminated the bunker.
“And that was an order too, Sir, with all due respect!” Tina's eyes were on Percival’s shoulder, her steady wand raised as she applied first aid magic. “Newt will be furious as it is, and I don’t want him to be furious with me as well, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just go ahead with keeping you alive.”
Newt wouldn’t be furious, Percival knew, regarding the phoenix eggs gathered in his arms. The eggs were intact, the incubator was intact. Newt would be happy, and grateful – and who knew, perhaps Newt would be grateful enough to demonstrate his gratefulness again in a form of a peck.
The peck Newt had given him two weeks ago had not been due to spells or potions, Percival had been relieved and happy to find out after studying Newt just in case. It was more of a case of...
"Sir. Sir! Percival, for fuck's sake!"
Percival blinked. It sounded like Tina had been calling his name for a while now. His cheek stung like he had been slapped.
"That's right, just like that, well done, Percival! Keep your eyes open, okay? Don't close them again."
They hadn't been closed, had they. He wasn't one to sleep on the clock. Just in case, Percival focused on keeping his eyes open.
"Sir," he managed, despite of his exhaustion and the chattering of his teeth. "Not Percival, at work. Unprofessional."
"You can be such an asshole, Sir," he heard Tina saying, and just then the incubator exploded in green light and sharp shards as a killing curse hit it. Tina swore, Percival focused on keeping his eyes open as per requested, and even as he lost his consciousness, his eyes remained open.
He woke up wrapped in soft, white sheets.
Sitting by his hospital bed, there was Newt with dark circles under his eyes, the curls unkempt. He was stroking Percival’s hair, a faraway look in his eyes.
“...and even then,” Newt was saying, seeming unaware Percival had awoken, “I’d rather you’d kept yourself intact.”
Wondering about the statement, Percival felt himself falling back to the inviting numb place inside his mind. Before darkness claimed him, he could feel the soft press of Newt’s lips against his, and how could it even be that his heart was suddenly soaring while his body remained still and hurting on the bed?
It took eight whole days for the magic to do its job and for Percival to be back in his office, working. Two of the three phoenix eggs had survived the raid, much to the delight of the global magizoologist community, and they had been a front-page news worldwide. Seraphina had been pleased, despite of Percival's injury, even though the aftermath had caused everyone involved quite a lot of paperwork.
And even if the pain was now but a memory, Percival could still feel Newt's lips kissing him, softly, sweetly, and much as he wanted to, he didn't mention it to Newt in case Newt would tell him it had been but a dream.
Selfish or not, he wanted to believe it had really happened, their second kiss. Possibly their last kiss. After all, it wasn't like it might happen again, was it.
I'm not 100% happy with this chapter, but perhaps someone enjoyed it anyway. :D I hope that someone was you, so hit me with a comment to let me know.
The incident with the flying hedgehogs was finally over, and Percival pulled the study room door closed after him as quietly as he could. The Winston files were waiting for him there in the office, brought there by Miss Littlemore as requested, and he took his seat at the desk, opened the topmost file and – after putting on the reading glasses he kept in the case in the inside pocket of his suit jacket – began to read.
The chair was uncomfortable, and that was why he had chosen it. The backrest was a tad too low for anyone to sit on the chair comfortably, and the narrow seat had a slight incline to it which caused anyone sitting on it to be in a constant state of sliding forward, just slightly enough for it to not be obvious but nonetheless enough to be a bothersome inconvenience.
When Percival had chosen this particular chair to be the guest chair in his office, he had hoped the discomfort – caused by the chair as well as of his glower – would keep unwanted visitors away (he had a sofa in the study of his office and that was where he invited the welcome guests – so far three people had sat on that sofa, if he counted in himself and Pickett). For the most part, his plan had worked, and most people agreed to talk to him at scheduled meetings in one of the conference rooms – which existed for this exact purpose – instead of popping into his office to disturb his work. He wasn’t anti-social, exactly, but there were many who would “have a moment of your time, please, sir,” or “your professional opinion, please, it’ll only take a moment” and had he allowed them all into his office, he never would have gotten any work done.
After complaining about the guest chair several times in vain, even Seraphina had taken to avoiding his office which he considered quite an achievement.
With all this in mind, Percival now studied the lady sitting on the guest chair, not even attempting to hide his exasperation. Her skeleton-like features never flinched as she looked right back at him with eyes that might’ve looked good on an owl, but seemed far too big on her narrow face, and he almost regretted making an exception to his do-not-disturb-my-work office policy – that was to say, giving Miss Littlemore the strict order to “see Newt Scamander and all his relatives immediately in” happened they come by.
To make the matters worse, the thin lips were turned up into a smile. She was amused, or at least wanted him to believe so, even as she shifted on the chair as if finding it just as uncomfortable as it was intended to be.
Capping his pen with a sigh, resigning himself to the fact that the situation wouldn’t be solved in a matter of seconds, Percival broke eye contact to gaze down at the Winston files. His thumb caressed the topmost file with absent-minded longing, and he gave the witch a sour look from under his furrowed brows.
“I can’t decide whether I should pour coffee for you or on you.”
A familiar, unusually long wand appeared in a hand wrinkled with age, and a spell was murmured. One of the two pen holders on Percival’s desk turned into a porcelain cup with the pens turning into a tea spoon, much to his further annoyance, and the other hand – scattered with lines and sun spots – reached for it with determination unexpected from such a frail-looking lady.
“Tea, my dear, as is fitting for an English witch,” came the thin, almost nasal voice, and Percival – pinching the bridge of his nose – was so appalled he didn’t know what to do with himself, let alone with his guest.
Theseus Scamander was, in a word, a nuisance.
“And I must say, if you have biscuits, I wouldn’t mind-”
“I am here to work,” Percival cut him off through gritted teeth. “To work, not to entertain you, Scamander. At least lose the disguise.”
Even disguised as an old witch, something of Theseus Scamander’s wolfish grin came through as he flashed his teeth at Percival.
“Aww, Percy dear, you recognized me already?” The tone was playful, but it had Percival grinding his teeth nonetheless. “This is all for you, my friend. I’m trying to cheer you up, miserable as you always are! Seeing me as my Great Aunt Rachelina (may she rest in peace, a ghost or not) was supposed to make you burst out laughing. But,” the big eyes squinted at him quizzically, “even though I clearly failed at making you piss your pants, at least I can take some consolation in the fact that this look should make you feel comfortable, seeing as you’ve got the humor of my Great Aunt Rachelina – now we can talk humorless great-aunt to humorless great-aunt. If you like, we can even knit over our natter, my dear.”
A mumble of a spell and a wave of the wand had the capped pen in Percival’s hand turn into a knitting needle. Percival was quick to transform it back to its original state because it was his third favorite pen and he would not let Theseus fucking Scamander turn his third favorite pens into knitting needles.
He was satisfied to see Theseus shift on the chair, clearly trying to not slide forward.
“Without a permit signed by either me or the president, it’s a crime to lie about your identity to my staff,” Percival said, calmer than he felt. “It applies even to undercover aurors, let alone to a visiting British citizen such as yourself. You must be aware of this which means you couldn’t have lied about your identity to my secretary to get her to grant you entrance.”
“Of course I didn’t lie to the lovely Miss Littlemore,” Theseus said, cheerfully.
“Since you didn’t lie to her,” Percival went on as if Theseus hadn’t spoken, “it means you must’ve been able to give her proof of your real identity, otherwise she wouldn’t have let you in. I won’t insult you – even though you may deserve it – by even suggesting you would’ve convinced her by illegal ways to let you into my office, which leads me to believe you had with you a valid Permit for Changing Physical Appearance in a Governmental Building, one you could present to her. Since I didn’t sign that permit for you, you must’ve been to see President Picquery, whom you must’ve convinced to get in on your idea of a…” Percival couldn’t help his grimace and finished with a flinch, “’prank’.”
“Logical deductions,” Theseus sounded impressed. “I suppose there’s a reason why they made you the head of this quiet little tomb of yours.”
As if to imply it was so quiet at the MACUSA dust was collecting on the director’s desk, Theseus swiped a finger across the gleaming mahogany surface and tsked at the nonexistence layer of dust on it, studying his dustless finger with a disapproving shake of his head.
“Though I have to say you’re going to waste here,” he repeated what his letters had been saying for the past year. “All amusement and pranking aside, Percival, we could really use a wizard like you in Europe: Grindelwald and his fanatics are causing us quite a lot of problems there, and we would welcome a powerful ally like you – with open arms, I might add. That's why I was sent here, to convince you to join us. I mean, come on! Here you sit, the most powerful wizard in the continent, in your quiet office collecting dust while we’re working our arses off to keep that bastard and his followers even somewhat controlled!
Percival ignored his internal wince at the mention of Grindelwald. A year prior, the British authorities had let him escape, much to everyone’s anger and horror. Percival still bore signs of torture from his time in Grindelwald’s captivity three years ago, even if the scars were mostly mental by now, and while he managed to ignore his discomfort at hearing his torturer’s name, he couldn’t quite stifle the sting of betrayal at the thought of Theseus and Seraphina playing a prank like this on him.
He didn’t have a good sense of humor, that was true, but it wasn’t the fact that a prank had been played on his behalf that twisted his guts, no. Against the common belief, he didn’t mind being the butt of the occasional joke for as long as the joke was somewhat constructive and was used to build team spirits. This prank, however…
Grindelwald had come to him like this, disguised as Seraphina, and he hadn’t suspected a thing. Not a damn thing, until he had turned his back on her and had come back to his senses in magic-binding chains with Grindelwald grinning down at him from a few feet away. At least – if he wanted to see the useful side of it – he was now better at recognizing disguises than he had ever been before, thanks to Grindelwald often appearing to him in a disguise to have a familiar face torture him, to add to his torment. Tortured, both mentally and physically, Percival had gradually learnt to recognize a disguise when he saw one which was quite convenient to Director for Magical Security.
Now, three years later, Percival wasn’t bitter about it – had worked through such feelings – and he was by no means a sensitive man, but something in his gut still twisted at the thought of Theseus and Seraphina thinking a prank like this would be funny. Theseus could be thoughtless without meaning to and it was probable he had earnestly thought Percival would be cheered by his ridiculous façade, but frankly, this was even worse than the time Theseus had disguised himself as a toilet bowl – then, at least, it hadn’t been Percival who had been left feeling like shit, quite literally.
“I protect my own,” he now said, stiffly, putting the capped pen into the remaining pen holder. “I have my priorities. I offer you the support I can give from here, Theseus, but I will not come in person.”
“I hope to change your mind, sooner rather than later,” said Theseus after a pause, and didn’t add like so many others would have, ”I’d think you of all people would be determined to hunt down Grindelwald,” which restored some of Percival’s respect for him.
The very next instant any remaining respect was replaced by exasperation when Theseus changed the subject abruptly – as was typical of him – and went on to say,
“So, where are you hiding Newt, anyway? In your study, or? You two have gotten pretty close, haven’t you? Am I hearing wedding bells, or is that just the semen in your testicles desperate to burst out?”
At his best, Theseus Scamander was mildly irritating, and on his worst days outright infuriating, but sometimes – like today – it was impossible to have a scale with which to measure his character.
Indeed, Theseus Scamander was in two words a true nuisance, and that was what Percival told Newt two hours later when Newt – yawning and stretching after his nap on the sofa in Percival’s study – came into the office with Pickett chirping cheerfully from somewhere amongst his messy curls.
By now, Theseus had left, thankfully, after an argument which had resulted into a game of hex poker, which had resulted into another argument and then into some old-fashioned arm wrestling until Percival had called Theseus “unprofessional” and Theseus had thrown his arms up in a surrender and said he would leave, if Percival started throwing such insults around. They had shaken hands at the door and told each other to “fuck off” which meant there were no hard feelings between them.
But nonetheless, Theseus was a nuisance.
“I know,” was all Newt said to that. “I’m sorry.”
Percival sighed and pushed the plate of biscuits towards Newt.
“It shouldn’t be that any time I argue with Theseus it’s you who ends up apologizing.”
“I’m sorry,” was said again, and the grey-blue eyes blinked groggily at Percival from behind the tea cup he was yet to transform back into a pen holder.
Percival sighed again and ran a hand through his carefully combed hair.
“I’m sorry, too, Newt,” he said, suddenly tired, “for making you feel like you need to apologize for anything.”
Newt didn’t say anything to that, just drank his tea and ate the biscuits, and Percival went back to reading the Winston files. After Theseus’ interruption, he would have to work overtime today to catch up with his duties. He wasn’t particularly bothered about it – he would have likely worked overtime regardless.
Some time later, Newt got up from where he had been sitting on Percival’s desk, cross-legged. The cup was cleaned with a spell, and the biscuit plate and the teapot found their place in the cupboard in the corner by the study room door.
“Thank you for the tea and the biscuits,” said a soft voice. “And thank you for letting me nap here. I was exhausted after the… um, you know. The incident. With the flying hedgehogs.”
Percival dismissed the gratitude with a wave of his hand since it truly had been of no inconvenience to have Newt stay in his study for a few hours (it had been closer to pleasure, if anything).
Percival underlined the seventh suspect’s name – when suddenly Newt’s eyes appeared between him and the Winston file opened on his desk. The next thing he knew, there were lips against his, hands in his hair, and though the angle must have been uncomfortable for Newt, Percival was given a kiss, a proper kiss, not just a peck of lips, and there was the taste of vanilla and oats and strawberry and of Newt, and –
“Well, erm. I’ll see you tomorrow, then, okay?” was but a warm breath against his lips.
“Okay,” Percival managed, stunned, and Newt took his suitcase from where it had been leaning against the guest chair. With a shy smile sent in Percival’s way, he was out of the office and in the corridor, and Percival was left alone to stare at the closed door and to wonder what in the name of Mercy Lewis had just happened.
The Scamander brothers would be the death of him.
This chapter is my thank you to all the lovely readers who have left me comments even when I haven't been updating. You've been kind enough to ask if I'm okay and if I'm still writing. I'm sorry I haven't been responding.
I'm well, thank you for asking! I've been travelling, seeing my friends and relatives and enjoying life. Work began recently, so that has kept me busy for a while, too. It has touched me people still read my fics and even ask after me, too! Thank you!
I'm now hoping to get back to writing. I apologize for any and all mistakes beforehand.