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Spoils to the Hero

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“I do hope you’re joking.” Newt said, his voice almost a whimper.

“Now, Newt, you know I don’t have a sense of humor.” Tina’s lips twitched, unable to fight her smirk. “Us worry-warts are too consumed with surviving the downfall of our very existences to ever enjoy a joke.”

Newt’s shoulders slumped in a pout. “I merely implied you were stressed and fretted a bit much. Not that you lack any sort of humor.”

“And I was merely stressed because a certain British wizard decided life in America wasn’t complicated enough so he’d release, how many magical creatures again, on its soil.”

The pout was pushing towards epic level, “It was just five.”

“Hmm, right. Five.” She tapped her chin and nodded, considering his argument. “Did you ever catch that fifth one? The insect?”

Newt’s mouth pressed tightly shut in refusal to answer.

“Uh-huh.” Her dark brow rose as she crossed her arms. It was so tempting to start scolding but she held herself back. Presently, there were other pressing matters to attend to—matters that put them both on a time crunch. And sweet, obnoxious Newt was dragging his feet metaphorically. “So, yes, Newt, I am serious. Why wouldn’t I be serious about this?”

“It’s just…well,” he played with his hands a bit, looking anywhere but Tina’s eyes. His nervousness was hitting critical—interesting since the two of them had long passed that and she was one of the chosen few that the young man was comfortable with. It was concerning while interesting to see him become so flustered. “Isn’t Mr. Graves an important man?”

“I’d say second only to our president.” Tina beamed, eyes practically sparkling. “He’s also one of the most powerful wizards of our time. One of the youngest to rise up in the ranks—the youngest to ever make Director. Top in class, most arrests on record, practically undefeated duelist--”

“Important, dangerous, and, as you’ve mentioned, temperamental.” Newt drawled, listing everything from memory with a concerned frown on his face. “So doesn’t it seem a little, ah,” he was growing flustered again, “a bit risky for he and I to be in the same room? I tend to get on people’s nerves.”

“Oh.” She blinked, starting to get it a bit. “You think you’ll mess up with him?”

“I know I’ll mess up with him.” His frown was pitiful and was worse than a kicked unicorn’s face. ”I don’t want to mess up with him, Tina.”

“I know you don’t.” She looked him over, taking in his shifting form and, interestingly enough, flushed face. ‘Ah, well…that’s a right pickle now isn’t it?’

The idea that Newt had a possible crush on Director Graves came as no surprise. The young wizard was drawn to the dark, dangerous, and misunderstood. Make that misunderstood thing a gorgeous man who oozed confidence and it probably made sense that Newt would be drawn in like a moth ready to burn.

Surprise was not a concern. The disturbance, however, was. Tina was not sure about the situation in general. Newt did not seem like the sort who handled romantic interactions well. And Graves was not someone who was handled with timid gloves nor did he handle situations with the same delicate grace.

Poor, poor Newt.

“But I will mess it up. I will. I always do. And he’s not someone who one should take the piss at. I mess up with everyone.” His head was bowed, his eyes sad and filled with memories.

Tina sighed, “Not everyone. Besides, you got on my nerves because, as said, illegal activity during the second coming of the Trials.” She pinched him and smiled as he bounced away. “And only jerks don’t like you. Others, well, I think they sense that you’re flustered and it makes them flustered themselves.”

“I still do not hear any good reason presented.”

“Well, Director Graves is rarely a flustered man, so there is that. You remember how he was when we saved him, right? Still completely composed. Besides your case,” her eyes darted over to the leather-bound satchel in warning, “is the only thing that you’re committing a crime with. And you have do have a pardon for that at the moment. So,” she shrugged, “that shouldn’t be a concern. And he’s not the biggest jerk around.” Her words had little impact as she actually took some time to look around their surroundings to see if he was in earshot. They were in Tina’s own apartment and she still feared him.

Newt felt nauseous.

Seeing his green face she sighed again, “He wants to meet you properly. Not in the hospital. Not surrounded by large crowds. He wants to see you face to face so he can thank you. You saved his life and you saved his government, his home, and many of his friends and subordinates. He wants to thank you.”

“But it was just the right thing to do. I don’t need thanked for that.” His tone was whining but he truly did not care at the moment. The idea that he and one Percival Graves would be in close proximity gave him the shakes and his heart twist uncomfortably.

‘What if Niffler tries to steal Graves? He shines…oh, Merlin does he shine…but I could go to jail if Niffler kidnaps him!’ Newt was close to pulling out his hair. ‘I have yet to study the capacity of Niffler’s pouch—but a human could possibly fit in, if squished enough.’ He paled. ‘I’m going to make him hate me and I’m going to go to jail. Again.’

Newt was not fond of prison. He’d been in plenty to know it was not his cup of tea and he’d appreciate not getting locked in one again.

“Apparently the Director of Magical Security, my boss,” and oh, how blissful it was to say that again, “thinks otherwise. You’re my doll, Newt. My best friend whom I will do most anything for. But I will drag you by the nipples into that office, mark my words, to remain on Director Graves’ good side.”

Appalled, Newt covered his already layered chest and gaped. “Ms. Goldstein!”

When she was not being overly dramatic or fretting over a child or her job or the end of the world, Tina Goldstein was quite a snarky, potty-mouthed, terrifying woman. It was probably for the best given her department and what she faced on the day to day. It still sometimes took Newt by surprise when she opened her mouth and something non-panicking came out of it.

“Oh, don’t give me that. With your history and travels? I’m sure you’ve heard far worse.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to like hearing it.” He pouted and pulled his coat around him like a shield. “I expected with friendships you’d always be on my side.”

“Pfft, yeah right. Now, up, up.” She clapped her hands together. “We’re already going to be late and Director Graves hates tardiness.”

“Then he already hates me!”

“He doesn’t hate you.” She dragged him up on his shaky feet. “He tends to hold his judgment until after he meets a person. Hurry up. If I’m late he’ll hold out missions from me and make me do paperwork out of spite.”

His head instantly bowed again, “I-I’m sorry, Tina.”

“I’m not trying to guilt you.” Her eyes softened a bit as did her tone. No one handled a sad Newt well. “Don’t panic because we don’t have time for Queenie to make you some more cocoa.” She hooked arms with him, gave him a pat, and then apparated before the man could whine out anything else.

-o-

Newt liked doing the right thing.

Truly, it felt like how he simply functioned in life.

Defending misunderstood creatures, scourging the world to spread good word of beasts, protecting, healing, and adopting said beasts as his babies, and staying out of the way of people for their sake as well as his own. It was all for the purpose of doing something right for others.

So, when he needed to step in during the Grindelwald fiasco he did so because it was the right thing to do.

Perhaps a bit bigger than his normal adventures, though truly he found the incident where he fell into a nest of Flesh-Eating Slugs a bit more intimidating (no offense to the terrorist wizard and what not, but FLESH. EATING.), but it was nothing truly note-worthy in his opinion. And, therefore, it required no thanks save for perhaps overlooking his slightly illegal activities such as, for one minor example, breaking into to a few No-Maj properties, and destroying said properties, to retrieve a creature that is not allowed on US soil.

That was the type of thanks he’d appreciate.

Sadly, and Merlin’s Beard was it sadly, the rest of the wizarding population of New York thought very differently.

Newt swore he broke into hives just at the thought of the handshakes, shoulder holds, and attention promised. When first warned of the upcoming festivities he swore he needed smelling salt or he’d very well would have fainted (bless Queenie and her Legilimency which made her prepared for said fainting and helped him into a cushioned chair with cocoa in a matter of seconds).

Things only got worse when he, along with his gifted-with-a-sense-of-smell creatures, became the primary reason the real Director of Magical Security was found alive. It was then, because of course he bloody well couldn’t stop, due to Newt’s advanced potions and creams that Graves came out of the whole ordeal so quickly and with minor scars.

One Newt Scamander was now a hero within the MACUSA.

And it was miserable.

Worse yet, he was offered a job. The job itself as a consultant (and perhaps foundation of a new department) was fine and dandy. It was pleasant to have a homestead to return to where the attention was positive, if overwhelming, than negative. But it meant he was around friendly Americans (who were the touchiest, most obnoxious folk he’d ever met) more hours than he’d care to be.

He supposed he could perhaps admit that meeting the Director made sense. They’d be in somewhat close contact for the upcoming years . And yes, perhaps if the roles were switched Newt himself would wish to show gratitude too.

That still did not mean he looked forward to the interaction.

“Your palms are sweaty again.” Tina said as she continued to drag her friend around the maze of the Woolworth’s insides. It did not change as frequently as Hogwarts or the Ministry did, but it was larger and changed just enough to make Newt’s head spin at times.

“Apologies.” He muttered. “I tend to do that in response to nervousness. Much like another beast. Did you know when startled--”

“Nope.”

Newt sulked, “But I listened to you speak of Mr. Graves. Why can’t I have a moment? It’s really fascinating. The secretion of pus from--”

“NOPE.”

“Come on Tina. It’s really not that bad. The pus is actually quite useful for medicinal properties. With just some a few other ingredients it can--”

“NO. We’re not about to go meet my boss when you’re about to start a tirade about animals and pus.” Her nose scrunched up. “We can talk about it later. After dinner.”

Newt sulked.

“Dinner will be chicken-pot-pie from the corner shop.” She cooed in bribery.

Now Newt’s eyes brightened. He truly loved that dish. And if he could still tell her about everything he discovered later than he could try and wait. That did give him enough time to mentally put together all of his knowledge.

‘Let’s see, the pus is truly fascinating. Not many know that under the right circumstances it could become a perfect salve for burns.’ His smile started to grow at the thought. ‘But Tina should really hear about its size! For a creature that seemed to have evolved from the common housefly, I’m sure she’d be eager to hear it grows to the size of a man’s fist.’

Tina brought them to a quick stop, spun around, and started to mess with his bowtie and hair.

“Tina, what are you doing?”

“Director Graves is all about impeccability. You will find him always dressed sharp, style, and organized. You’re a bit of a mess.”

“Well,” he sighed, none too surprised to find out he was doing yet another thing wrong, “at least you’re honest.”

“Stop pouting. He doesn’t care for pouting.”

“Does Mr. Graves care for anything I can do right?”

“I’m sure he does.” She tugged at his coat, flicking off imaginary dust. “Now, deep breaths.” She then fixed up herself and cleared her throat as she knocked on the door.

Newt felt everything shudder and he tried to pull away to make a hasty retreat, “I think I should--”

“Come on in, Ms. Goldstein.” A deep voice ordered as the door opened and all hopes of escape instantly washed out of Newt’s spine. He was familiar with Graves’ voice when Grindelwald was wearing his skin but hearing it again from the natural, right source was strangely different. “Mr. Scamander.”

He gulped.

“Newt, come on.” Tina pulled him in.

“I do not have all day, Ms. Goldstein.” The man continued.

“W-We’re coming, sir. Newt, I just told him we’re coming…move your legs.”

“I-I’m not walking?”

“No, you’re not Scamander. Please,” Graves’ voice broke through again. “Come. In.”

Newt yelped when he felt a force grip the front of his vest and he was quickly dragged into the office space. A mild squeak escaped his throat when it stopped and he nearly tumbled face-first into the desk. Or he would’ve if that force was not back, this time cradling his head and hoisting him back straight up.

“Careful there, Scamander.” Graves warned from his desk, barely looking away from the paperwork floating around his person. His wand was placed to his side within reaching distances but clearly had not moved for some time.

‘Oh, right.’ Newt licked his lips, nervous. ‘Wandless magic. Voiceless magic, too. Hell, what talent.’

Theseus had similar abilities but it seemed so different to Newt. Watching Graves do it was something else. Perhaps because Newt had witnessed Theseus work and sweat for some years to to get to the level he was at, saw that it was not always simple to learn no matter the prodigy, but Graves made it look natural and easy. Like magic was so fluid within him that a wand was just more for show than anything else. As if this was how he came into the world; a body more of magic than blood.

It made his form all the more impressive. And imposing.

And beautiful.

Newt knew his freckles were vanishing under the hot blush crawling up his neck and he looked away and down. He did not want to make contact with those intense brown eyes and see disappointment.

‘Why shouldn’t he be?’ A familiar shadowy voice hissed throughout his brain. It had been one of his many companions throughout his life and school. Theseus called it something normal like insecurities but Newt preferred the name Phil. ‘He had to be rescued by someone like you. You who failed most of your classes. Who got expelled. Who seems to succeed on accident alone. And now he has to thank you.’

“M-Mr. Graves, uhm, nice…well, nice to see you…uhm up? Well? I mean, yes, well. You know, doing well.”

“Perhaps you can look me in the eye when you say that, hmm?”

Tina knocked her elbow against his side and Newt realized though it was posed politely that was not intended as a question.

“Oh, uh…right,” he did his best, he truly did. He looked up to lock eyes with the Director. It was a surprise at such a difference his face was in comparison to Grindelwald.

Seeing Percival Graves now, Newt had to wonder if Grindelwald had to use other spells to keep the rest of the MACUSA from spotting the faults in his performance.

Graves sat tall, his shoulders back, and his face firm. He commanded eyes on him. And his voice, though a bit soft, was stronger than Grindelwald’s failed attempt at being soothing. The GrindelGraves Newt met preformed magic more like a show, but how everything moved within the office felt like an extension of Graves himself.

From the first moment Newt saw Graves, fake or not, he had been struck by the intensity and beauty of the man. Masculine, strong, confident…it was almost a pain to look at him the first time. Now that there was no longer something sinister behind that skin, Newt found Graves blinding.

And yet, for a few breaths he felt like that was all he could do. What human wouldn’t get lost absorbing the details of his face? The man was aesthetically perfect. Almost like a Dragon or a Wampus. Sleek, powerful, commanding…goodness, he could go on waxing poetry (or, really, just listing words—he was quite decent at lists if he said so himself) about the man in his head for at least a few hours without pause.

“Mr. Scamander,” He titled a brow as his lips turned up into a smirk, “you’re staring.”

“Sorry!” He yelped and his cheeks went red once again. “Sorry, I’m sorry, I am glad. Yes, yes, glad that you’re back and well.” He managed to say that with his eyes somewhat locked on brown before he had to turn them downward again.

“I suppose that is good enough.” Graves said with a chuckle.

Oh.

Oh, he laughed.

Well, that was truly unfair and should be illegal. It was far more dangerous than his beasts would ever be.

It vibrated from his chest and Newt felt his own constrict.

He found his hands and the floor very interesting. It was a very pretty marble floor. It was dark with some lighter color of gold bleeding into it. If Newt concentrated enough on it he could almost see pictures within the swirls.

“Mr. Scamander,” Graved started again, his voice low and soft. “I wanted to take this time to share my gratitude with you and all that you have done for me and MACUSA. We are all in a debt to you, but none more so than myself. What you have done will never be forgotten.”

“Newt.”

“Newt?”

“If you don’t mind?” He asked, hating how it sounded pleading. “I prefer the use of Newt. It also ensures I’m not confused with my brother.” He shrugged, hoping he was playing off as a cool sort of man when really the idea of being compared to his brother again was exhausting. And he had enough emotional exhaustion.

And the thought of Graves, of all people, comparing him to Theseus was enough to make Newt’s eyes hot.

“I must admit, when I say I owe someone a debt I don’t expect them to ask for something like that. But, for you, Newt it is.”

“Sorry.” He gasped out before he could stop himself.

“Now why are you sorry?” He coaxed gently.

“I…uh…it just seemed rude of me and a bother to tell you to call me…I mean something…” He was panicking. He was never good with human interactions, but throw in something remotely familiar to a crush and he became a horrible, broken mess of emotions. “Sorry.”

“Newt, deep breaths now.” Tina said. “Sorry, sir. He gets a bit flustered around new people. Just give him a few days and you’ll be beating him out of your office with a broom.” She gave the redhead a friendly smile.

Newt had no idea when the man had moved but all of a sudden a warm hand was under his chin.

“Up, Newt. Look up.” Graves ordered so, of course, Newt did as told. “There. You have nothing to apologize for. Eyes on me.”

Newt held his eyes for three seconds and then looked away. Graves laughed some more and Newt swore he saw stars at the sound of it. It was too much for him to handle. He almost preferred the grumpy tone.

“We’ll get you there. Now, come along.” He pulled Newt out of the office.

Catching Tina’s stare, which had both brows raised and a look of awe and curiosity upon her face, made him feel lost. The feeling intensified when Graves’ hand found its way down his shoulders to his back as he helped Newt out.

“Are we done already, sir?” Tina asked.

“I set up a time for a reason, Goldstein. I’m to meet Picquery soon.” He looked over at Newt. “We’ll continue this later, Newt, if you do not mind.” His voice carried a promise.

“That…that is fine.”

Newt’s lower back was burning against Graves’ large hand. Even through his coat, it felt like he could feel the finger-pads against his skin. His overactive imagination wondered if Graves’ silver-wisps of magic were seeping into skin. Branding him.

‘Stop. That. Now.’ Newt scolded himself. ‘That is not romantic, Scamander. Don’t you try to make it so. Don’t. Don’t.’ He gave a deep internal sigh when he realized he still found the idea of it, no matter how far-fetched or dark, rather attractive and knee-melting. ‘Ok, fine, you loon. You may find it somewhat attractive. Just realize it’s a no. Mr. Graves would never do that. Especially to someone like you.’

Oh, looked like Phil was back.

“Please make yourself comfortable within the department.” Grave said as he stopped their small group outside the office. Instantly the eyes of the fellow Aurors turned to look their way. Graves paid them no attention as he continued, “Madame President informed me that you are a new resident here and she and myself believe it best you stick close to my department for now.”

“Really?” Newt had not been informed of this.

“Yes, your work-station will be here.” With his hand still upon Newt’s body, he led him over to an empty desk that was literally three feet away from Graves’ private office.

“Here?”

“We want you close at hand. We figured for a while, you will be working with us concerning any cases. We’d need your expertise on how to handle cases involving beasts and the like. It is my hope you will also provide occasional classes or seminars for the Aurors and anyone else who may be involved.”

“O-Oh.” He gulped. “I don’t do well with crowds.”

“Noticed. I’ll find a way to work with that. For now, I want you to concentrate on getting comfortable.”

Newt blinked at the unexpected, patient news. “Oh…th-thank you?”

Graves went silent for a moment, regarding him closely, before he nodded and that small smile went back on his face.

And, as before, Newt’s face turned downward quickly. His cheeks felt uncomfortably hot and his heart did numerous summersaults. A smile looked so good at him.

“Goldstein.”

“Sir!” She saluted a bit dramatically, her hand nearly smacking against her face.

“You and Newt are close. I’d like you to look after him when I’m unable to. Make sure he gets familiar with his new surroundings.”

“I can do that, sir.” Her lips were twitching and her eyes sparkling at the thought of a personal assignment from the boss.

“Good.” He nodded and the serious face he had looking at her changed once more looking back at Newt. “Please feel free to come and talk to me if you have any concerns. I hope we can have more time to talk but, as of right now, I need to head to my meeting.”

“T-That is fine.” Newt felt like he was close to his limit of (gorgeous) people for the day.

“Please,” he started, the voice turning low, and he grabbed Newt’s hand. They were trembling a bit and Graves’ own fingers started to rub circles over his scarred skin in gentle, soothing motions. “Enjoy yourself here.”

Newt was very aware that there were so many eyes upon the two of them.

Gulping he nodded back, unsure what else to say. It was hard to find his voice with the attention. Still, he found it all such a surprise. From the rumors, he expected Graves to be a man with a short-temper and would make the gratitude as swift and professional as possible. Instead, the Director was acting like quite a warm gentleman. Perhaps Tina had over-exaggerated Graves reign of terror within the whole of MASUCA.

“If you can all sit and gape, then you can all be doing something useful.” Graves’ kind tone changed instantly as he regarded his comrades. “O’Brien, where is my file on the fraudulent wands case?”

The man, O’Brien, held up his hands in mock surrender, “I’m getting to it, boss. I’m getting to it.”

Now, O’Brien.” Graves snapped in a tone that no one with a right mind would ever argue against.

‘Oh, well…there it is, then.’ Newt blinked. ‘Perhaps I am still a civilian to him. Maybe once I start working I’ll get that treatment too.’

If that were the case, he’d need to mentally prepare himself. He did not do well with commands, one reason he worked for himself, or harsh tones. It brought up too many childhood memories…but if he was aware it was coming, perhaps it’ll be easier.

“Let me know,” Graves squeezed Newt’s hand to get his attention out of his own mind, “If anyone here causes you issue. They tease but they won’t,” his sharp brown eyes gave a warning glare to the group, “If I tell them not to. Isn’t that correct, everyone?”

“Yes sir!” They cried out, saluting as Tina did before.

Newt wanted to say none of that was necessary but he couldn’t find his voice. Graves was just looking at him. The stare warmed him up and stole his ability to speak.

Well, he still had the ability to make some noise as proven by the loud squeak of surprise when Graves lifted up his hand and gave it a kiss. His lips were soft against Newt’s scarred hand and, briefly, Newt worried he had fallen under a spell or literally wandered into a storybook.

“I will see you soon.” Graves said with another smile. “Enjoy your stay with us, Newt.”

“I-I will, sir. Thank you.” Newt said, his voice unable to go above a whisper.

Graves nodded, his eyes still warm and overwhelming, and then went stalked off from the department. Newt couldn’t help but stare after his straight back and how he practically melted into the shadows. He cradled his hand to his chest. He could feel his pulse there and it felt hard to catch his breath. His whole insides felt lit up as if he drank firewhiskey.

‘Oh, my.’ He thought, knowing he was probably close to swooning.

“Well, well, well…” A voice cut into the scene once Graves was out of earshot.

Newt’s fairytale moment shattered as he became back aware to his surroundings. The Aurors around him were grinning deviously. Even Tina. And that was a terrifying sight.

“W-What?”

“Oh, you are so doomed.” One of the Senior Aurors grinned.

“Huh?”

“I can’t deny it…it looks like it’s the case.” Tina said, shaking her head. “I thought there might have been something up with Graves’ request. But,” she continued to shake her head and laughed a bit in surprise and disbelief. “I’ll be damned. I did not imagine it, right?”

“Graves certainly had that look.” A woman agreed. “Someone is hungry, hmm?”

“Uh…?” Newt felt quite lost.

“Poor thing. He doesn’t stand much of a chance.” Another witch noted . Her smile was practically feline-like as she looked Newt up and down. “Think he’ll ever learn to walk without limping?”

“Not if Graves has anything to say about it.” O’Brien laughed joyfully. “And we all know he gets his way.”

“Now, don’t be crude.” Tina scolded, though it was hard to take her seriously after she threatened to drag him out by his nipples and was smirking along with her comrades. “He’s innocent.”

“And a bit clueless?” Newt tried, feeling left out. “What are you talking about?” He paled. “Did I make him mad enough to…to fight me?”

Fight?” O’Brien shook his head and gaffed. “Goodness no! Not you, Scamander. Course, he may look to bruise you here and there. You know,” He bit at the air in example. “All rawr like.”

“I…I don’t know actually.” He looked around, feeling a bit of a panic brewing. “I don’t get it. If he’s not angry why would he want to bruise me? That sounds like he hates me.” His shoulders slumped and he felt his heart crack a little.

“Oh, the opposite my friend.” Tina hummed as she gave him a comforting pat on the back. “Director Graves likes you.”

Perking up did not begin to cover the intense relief washing over Newt. “I didn’t upset him, then?”

“Witch’s tit, no! Not in the least.” O’Brien continued to laugh. “You, my good Scamander, are a special one to the Director now.”

“I…I am?”

“Very, very special.”

“Oh, well…I mean, that’s just because of my luck in saving him.”

“Nu-uh.” O’Brien wagged a finger around. “That caught some attention, true, but that’s not enough for our boss.”

“Then,” Newt licked his lips as he looked around the group, “I apologize, what is so interesting about this?”

“He wants to fuck you.”

What?” Newt squeaked again after a pause where he sharply inhaled to the point he started choking. “W-What?”

“Weiss!” Tina rounded on the other witch, scolding.

“What?” The black woman titled a brow as she played with her pointed nails. She had a southern drawl to her voice. “He wasn’t getting it. And I think it’s a bit unfair to let a babydoll like him out and about with a man like Graves on the prowl. Doesn’t exactly seem fair, if you ask me.”

“Couldn’t you have provided just a little more tact?”

“Ha, no.” She tapped her nails on her desk and Newt noticed they appeared spelled to look like steel. Or perhaps it wasn’t just a look. He knew the American Aurors were a frightful bunch. “Look, the bloke was just about to have a heart-attack from a few words and a kiss on the hand. And we all know that is as innocent as Graves can play. It’s going to get worse from here.”

“Besides,” the other witch noted, “we shouldn’t tease just twenty seconds after Graves told us not too. That’ll mean bad business for all of us.”

“You all are no fun.” O’Brien moped.

“E-Excuse me…b-but what?” Newt coughed, still choking from the first blunt declaration.

“What Weiss meant is that…well,” Tina tried, using her hands to search for the words to not spook the magizoologist any more than what he was. “Yeah, Newt, Director Graves is sort of looking to maybe, you know, court you?”

“Psh, he wants to spend hours upon hours doing some hot and heavy mating.”

Tina threw a lamp at Weiss who deflected it without looking.

“Don’t get testy at a Senior Auror, Goldstein.” Weiss warned with a yawn. “But fiiine, I’ll make it kid-friendly for sun-spot there. Scamander, Graves wants to do the horizontal bang-bang with you.”

“Mercy Lewis, Weiss.” Tina rubbed her hands over her face.

“Meh, best I could do.” And she pulled out a magazine, flipping through it, humming some song under her breath.

“An attempt has been made by Weiss. Someone write that down.” Now O’Brien had to avoid the same lamp thrown at his face. “Love ya too, you gorgeous she-devil. But see, Scamander?” He pointed eagerly. “You’re a wanted man! Ooh, who wants to bet that Cops and Robbers role-play will be introduced?”

Now Tina covered her whole face and groaned. “Guys! Tone it down a smidge more, thank you. Now, Newt, this is nothing to fret over--”

“There is a lot to fret over.”

“No one asked you, Porter!” Tina turned back and tried to give Newt, who appeared to be suffocating on air, a calm smile. “It’s just some courting. You know courting, right?”

“I can name and even preform over a hundred wooing rituals for over a hundred species. Humans…not so much.” He shrugged and his shoulders felt heavy at the confession. “It has never been my strong-suit.” He tried not to physically flinch as the name Leta bounced in his head.

“Wait, hasn’t anyone…no one? Not to you?” O’Brien gaped. “Really?”

“It’s not a big surprise.” Newt slouched. “My appearance does not usually call attention for a mate. I’m not masculine enough for females or pretty enough for males." He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly as he bowed more, trying to hide his face from the group. "I have a rather poor history back home that keeps most away from me lest they get their own black mark on their reputation. Add on to my disposition and ability to make people’s skin crawl with discomfort, it’s not necessarily a big surprise that I have no experience.”

“Then you haven’t been in America for long enough. Many of us are willing to do the horizontal bang-bang with anyone or anything.” Weiss started rummaging through her drawer. “Where the hell are my chips? Porter did you steal them again?”

“After I was sent to the infirmary with a nearly severed arm? Uh, no, Weiss. Even I’m not that stupid.”

“Back to Newt, please.” Tina sighed.

No, let’s not get back to me.” Newt begged. He didn’t think he could handle this any more. Already his brain felt overloaded from the conversation and Phil was having an enjoyable time spewing out denials about the whole occurrence.

“Too late!” O’Brien cupped his scruffy chin, looking thoughtful. “Well then, if you have no experience then I’d say Weiss was right to warn you so bluntly. Graves is a force to be reckoned with when he has something in his sights.”

“But are you sure…I mean…me?”

“With the look he gave you? The kiss? That he called you Newt? No doubt in my mind at all, sun-spot.” O’Brien moved in closer and his friendly smile turned into a smirk. “You, my friend, are in for one wild ride.”