Actions

Work Header

Running Time

Chapter Text

 

 

With the weight of snow and curiosity, Graves crossed through a stillness of the street toward a boy who dressed not quite appropriate for such weather.

 

The boy looked familiar. He sat still, hands rested on his knees with palm open. Graves could catch a glimpse of old cuts before Barebone boy stop aimlessly gazing at grey, heavy sky.

 

He looked at Graves.

 

A Squib?

 

Graves always covered himself under light invisible spell so No-Majs wouldn’t notice him unless he interacted with them first.

 

The auror kneeled down, Barebone’s gaze followed. Graves didn’t missed that the boy moved a little, trying to make himself smaller or vanished. “Barebone, right? I saw you with Mrs. Barebone at the Square two weeks ago. What’re you doing out here?

 

No answer.

 

What’s your name?

 

Credence.

 

Alright, Credence.” Graves used the same tone he used when he told subordinates to get to the point. “How long do you intend to sit here?

 

I don’t know, sir.” Credence trembled. “I’m sorry.”

 

No need.” Graves shook his head, standing up. “Could you please come with me?

 

I’m sorry.” Credence apologized again but stood up as he asked.

 

If I messed up our meal, it should be me who need to apologize.”

 

Disbelief for what had he heard flashed on the boy's pale face. He stared at Graves with a lot more focus than he did to the sky. “Come on, Credence. You can sit on my front stair if you want to be outside, but you need something warm.”

 

The Image of vacant street before him, and sound of Credence reluctant steps behind him, slowly dissolved into silver lines.

 

Graves was sitting on a couch, inside a house that had lost all the sense of his home since a month ago. All because of some obnoxious intruder, walking around like he was new, rightful owner.

 

“I hope he’s useful, Mr. Graves.” Grindelwald dragged his wand, stirring the pensive teasingly. Its light shone on his face, which still looked exactly Graves’. “It will benefit everyone.”

 

Poison numbed Graves whole body. It burned inside but nothing compare to the Director of Magical Security’s rage. What No-Majs said about ‘If looks could kill’, this dark wizard of century would be six feet under by now.

 

“He has no idea about me. Not a sharp pin.” Grindelwald continued. “Today I tried a bit stricter method on him, since you look like someone who would snap eventually.”

 

Eyes closed as if it would shut Grindelwald’s voice away.

 

“A squib wishing damn hard to be a wizard.” Taunting, taunting. “Pity.”

 

And yes, Graves snapped. But all he could manage was a twitch of index finger. Grindelwald didn’t let it slide though, he flicked his wand, dragging Graves down on the floor and had both his armed bound.

 

“Sorry, but can’t risk with your wandless magic, can we?”

 

“He's…used to it.” Graves grunted

 

“I beg your pardon?”

 

“That people who help are also people who hurt him. Let him go.”

 

“I’m not holding anyone captive besides you, Mr. Graves.”

 

Every second he couldn’t snap this man’s neck, Graves felt even more suffocating.

 

“Isn’t it your face, this face, should I say our face? that has him? Right where you made him believe he belongs.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

This shirt won’t do. It doesn’t go with my neck, but no problem here, right? I like you neck, in case you haven’t noticed.

 

The wall of underground’s tunnel.

 

‘Your taste isn’t bad at all, Mr. Graves.

 

Smooth surface made from concrete and cut stone,

 

I hope you’re not attached to that penholder in your office. I was a bit clumsy today.

 

And his fist.

 

That boy’s doing well. Tell me, Mr. Graves, which one would you prefer more; a kiss on a cheek or should I kiss his crown?’

 

Mr. Graves.

 

Mr. Graves.

 

“…Mr. Graves, sir.”

 

“Don’t.”

 

“Mr. Graves!”

 

I SAID DON’T CALL ME THAT!

 

It was like all the black clouds had finally been chased away, leaving him with reality behind dull curtain. Graves stopped punching. He rested his broken fist against the blood smear on tunnel’s wall. Cut knuckles with dark color starting to bloom, covering from fingers to wrist.

 

Slowly, he turned to her. Sweat dampened both his hair and stubble. He hadn’t shave even once in these past weeks.

 

Tina carefully observed her superior while keeping the distance to give him some space. She waited, both hands raise at shoulder level. Wand in dexterous hand, a small light on its tip.

 

Graves breathed out. “What do you want?”

 

“What do I…” Tina gaped. “Sir, your house was burned down! President Picquery and we all are worried about you! We thought you were attacked again— “

 

“It was me.” Graves murmured. “I burned it.”

 

It started,

 

With clothes.

 

Shirts, waistcoats, coats

 

Then he saw all of it; wooden table and banister that was touched, polished floor that was trod, or even the mirror that had reflect his own face in the place of that man’s head.

 

He saw the fireplace he was forced to stare at it uselessly, unable to shove Grindelwald into dancing fire.

 

“I burned everything.”

 

Unclenching the injured fist, he caressed the trail of need to destroy this enormous barrier. Graves moved closer until he could rest his forehead against cool concrete. Below the stain was a phrase, engraved upon the tunnel’s wall.

 

Credence Barebone

Remember the loss of an innocent life, mourn with laden heart’

 

He gently touched the ‘C’ of a name he had called far too many times in such short period, because Graves was disgusted with the way that No-Maj pronounced her stepson’s name.

 

“That man destroys everything he touches, Tina.” Graves whispered, eyes trailed on once destroyed tunnel. Almost everyone in wizarding world talked about it, about the night their society was so close to be exposed to a wrecked city. They talked about how Scamander had helped. Magic fixed all the ruined buildings. It restored. It concealed. “I burned what he has tried to leave.”

 

Him.

 

Graves trailed his point finger to the right, passing an alphabet ‘r’ ‘e’ til the final ‘e’ of Barebone.

 

And felt like something had ended, over and over again.

 

Only shattered pieces of him, glued with rue, trying to pretend that it was him stood still.

 

‘Post-Grindelwald’ , people in MACUSA named.

 

Him.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Graves paused, then turned to the young man in a silent living room. Credence was sitting by a fireplace, bathing in warm orange light. A Huddling shadow painted on the wall. The auror adjusted his reading-glasses.

 

"Come again?"

 

Barebone boy swallowed, forcing himself to speak a little bit louder even though that thick shyness still had not unraveled. "Ilvermorny. Did you go there too?"

 

An old book on Credence's lap.

 

"How did you know about... Oh, where did you find that book?"

 

This time, Credence turned to him, looking a bit wary.

 

"The shelf." He pointed at Grave's enormous bookshelves.

 

Graves bit his groan. "I totally forgot about it. I shoved it there decades ago." Glasses taken off. "No, I didn't go to Ilvermorny. I went to Hogwarts.” He added. “My parents hated Ilvermony."

 

"W--why?" Confusion colored Credence's face immediately.

 

"To quote my mother, 'If they're going to pretend that they didn't destroy schools and communities to build a replica of Hogwarts with four creatures from Native American origins on top of the gate...'." His mother didn’t finish that sentence but her son could guess that it finished in her head with uncountable rude words.

 

"There was another school here?"

 

"Various schools as there were more than hundreds of tribes, still are. We live in a stolen land, Credence. My parents went to Ilvermorny. They'd learned about history from a history class, just like other people, and they believed it. They believed and loved it so much they wanted to know more. Only to find out that they were all lies." Graves took one sip of now cold drink. Contemplation reflected in dark orbs. "With such shallow understanding and proud enthusiasm, my parents...had hurt people. They had angered the Pukwudgie because they thought it would be like Isolt's bedtime story. My parents had also hurt many Natives who try to protect both the Pukwudgie, and them, brutally. The Natives asked for justice, my parents confessed their crime, MACUSA interfered."

 

Credence gaped. "Your parents had been in wizarding prison?"

 

"No, MACUSA justified their action, claiming that the Natives were savages and must have attacked them first. Case closed. My parents never dare to go back. They tried acting like everything was back to normal. Sometimes, my father said he should cut off his own hands just to not remember the blood on them. We’re good at that, forgetting, erasing.”

 

The silence got heavier in the room. Graves sighed, he had told Credence the truth about squib only three days ago, maybe he should save this conversation for later but it was hard. Mr. and Mrs. Graves were so ashamed about this they couldn’t wait until their son got the letter from Ilvermorny. Graves himself didn’t’ hate his mother and father for unloading this on him. He just shared their shame. It was buried deep most of the time. They told him Skin-walkers were real and more powerful than Animagi, so powerful the invaders tried to get rid of it from the WW and history.

 

"Like every wizarding society, the Natives had their own way with magic. They also didn’t need wands, a symbol of invention among witches and wizard from European origin, that was one of reason why they were painted as savages and our ancestors felt righteous to destroy them." They even helped or had the No-Majs helped them. This part of history was obviously unclear even in his paernts’ co-written book about ‘True History of Magic in North America’ since they were too ashamed to go ask from any Native American people and there was no record in main library of MACUSA nor Ilvermorny.

 

That book also got his parents jailed when Graves was 14, and in Hogwarts. It made Graves decide to come back here. He joined MACUSA afterwards.

 

Every place had washed blood, forgotten pain, obnoxious pride, and buried shame.

 

His parents’ shame was here. Someone needed to own it.

 

“But, aren’t you all…wizards, Mr. Graves?”

 

Graves heard the unsaid ‘Not like me’, he shook his head.

 

“Aren’t we all are?”

 

Breathing.