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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.”

Chapter Text

Percival Graves was a man who wants and was a man who gets.

A Graves, one of the Twelve, did not drag their feet nor wait long in the shadows. They moved with intensity and struck before someone else had the chance. Anything worth wanting was worth getting. Their world was of danger, darkness, and soul-crushing work. There was no time to fret about wanting when any day it could be the last.

“So, take.” His family had said numerous time throughout his life.

His father and grandfather had taught him well. They pushed the aggression, the fearlessness, and the hunger to pursue more. His mother gave him tact and patience and the idea to study before jumping. His grandmother warned him of caution and how to get things freely without force; how a coo of words could get more than a threat of a spell.

Their teachings, the tradition of the Graves’, and his natural power were how he got so far. Youngest Director of the MACUSA’s history, a strong support of followers, heir to a wealthy fortune…if he wasn’t so drained of work and had no desire for more responsibility, he could understand why some were worried about his chances in becoming another Grindelwald.

Still, the idea made him scoff. As if he’d stoop so low to shoot for more power at this point. He was near forty; if he was going to go dark wizard, it would’ve been when he was eighteen and under the miserable pressure of turning into an adult. At that age, he could almost understand the temptation of turning dark and fleeing off to hide in the wilderness; very little paperwork to be found there.

No, power was not what he hungered for any longer.

Graves’ smile grew sharp, keeping it hidden behind his fist, as he thought of the sweetheart of a wizard protected in his department.

The moment he had seen Newt during the rescue, Graves had an overwhelming yet calming sense of knowing. Their eyes locked, his own exhausted while Newt’s concerned, and Graves saw a future. He saw his apartment, and one day inherited manor, filled with something domestic and comforting. He saw someone warm waiting for him every day, a smile in greeting. He saw nights of mind-numbing sex, gentle whispers, and laughter.

Soulmates were something out of old wizard tales, romantic stories meant for children, but Graves saw Newt and knew the young man belonged to and with him.

Sadly, the courting needed to take a slight postpone given Graves’ injured situation at the time. But he was now healed and Newt was close and now, finally, it was time to pursue the future he wanted.

“Director Graves,” President Picquery waved for his attention. “The floor is now yours in regards to this matter.”

His face fell to its normal schooled expression, “I believe upping security is an option to consider. Although Grindelwald is now England’s problem once again, I do see the concern MACUSA has on retribution from his followers. That being said, I’m unsure if it needs to be anything drastic.”

“And how do you purpose we go about doing this? Drastic or not, Aurors are already run thin as it is thanks to the fiasco.” Alexander Conway, the financial secretary, asked. He kept himself a few feet away from Graves. A rather futile attempt as Graves and his magic could easily reach him from such a distances and Conway had little talent in anything but numbers.

Another pathetic attempt to drag his name through the sludge. Conway was such a bitter, insecure man who loathed everything about the Director. He did everything he could to make life difficult. It was growing a bit of a headache and pushed at Graves’ notoriously fragile temper.

‘Deep breaths,’ he imagined Newt back in his office and knew he if he not make this easy and simple it could become drawn out. The longer he was away from the magizoologist the worse he felt. And rumors were abound that a grumpy Graves was a dangerous Graves.

“The group involved in the situation is small. Unless the followers are out of control fanatics, I don’t see them making a massive attack on U.S. soil again. It would be too risky without Grindelwald around. My guess is, the bigger attacks will come back to Europe. Those followers here would focus on the chance of his return. Keep to the work of minor projects to ensure his bigger victory.”

“And why are you so confident in that?” Conway sneered though his action felt flat when he flinched away under Graves’ unimpressed glare.

“Because Grindelwald is a diva of the biggest kind. He is intelligent, true, but he is highly in love with himself. He would want to be close to the mayhem so there is little argument on who is responsible.” Graves shrugged, staring Conway down. “He wants the glory and recognition. He’s too far to savor it properly. His followers, therefore, would be the ones to come after the people responsible. If even that.”

Which included one Newt Scamander.

And that was not acceptable.

“Given the group is so small I don’t see how there will be an issue in regards to finances. Perhaps something in regards to wards—but it would be used at two, perhaps three, locations at the most.”

Conway scowled, crossing his arms over his chest. “I take it you have a plan, Director?”

“Of sorts. I think one matter that will save MACUSA expenses would be to keep the people of possible target,” he still felt the need to stress this to the paranoid Conway who was eager for something bad to happen as proof of Graves incompetence, “is keep the people close, in small groups.”

“How do you mean?”

Picquery gave Graves such a glare, which he gleefully ignored.

“Move the Goldstein sisters to a new location and Newt Scamander can move in with me.”

He swore he could hear Picquery’s exasperated eye-roll.

“In with you?”

“Makes sense, doesn’t it? He would be one of the main targets should anything happen. He’d be the safest with myself and,” he pushed seeing the man was not quite yet sold, “I will look after the beasts in his care.”

Conway tapped his fingers on Picquery’s desk, which earned an ire stare, before he nodded. “I suppose it could be beneficial. What do you think, Madame?”

“I think I need a drink.” She muttered to herself and waved Conway’s confused expression. “I have no say in who lives with who. If this can keep you calm about the finances then I approve of the transaction. Just go and get the paperwork done, Conway.”

“But we--”

“You heard Madame President.” Graves voice was a warning growl. “Get started on your work and then bother her with the next step later.”

Pinching his lips, the wormy man nodded and gave a bow before heading out of the elegant office.

‘Three, two, one,’ Graves counted down as he fixed the sleeves of his robes nonchalantly.

“Really, Graves?” She rounded on him with a glare, “Really?”

Graves shrugged with a lazy grin, “I’m just looking out for our resident hero.”

“You better not go crazy on that poor boy.” She pointed at him threateningly. “MACUSA is already shaky from this mess.” Picquery waved her wand around and a flask flew into her hand. She took a deep swig and sighed as if the alcohol was already helping. “I don’t need a sexual law-suit added on to it.”

He snorted, “I’m not going to attack him.”

“Uh-huh.”

“He says no, I’ll pull back.”

“He just needs the use of his mouth to say no, Graves. I get the feeling you’re going to do everything you can to ensure his mouth is occupied.”

“You make me sound like some sort of sexual-fiend. I wouldn’t hurt Newt.” Graves said, rather insulted.

“Right, right.” She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. “You’re still breaking the news to him that his new place is now with you.”

“I look forward to telling him.” Graves picked out his pack of cigarettes and handed one over to Picquery who took it eagerly. He lit one for each of them with a snap of his fingers, “Think you’ll keep the wrinkles off this way?”

She glared as she quickly inhaled her smoke, “Don’t you start. After Grindelwald, you’re the one causing me the most stress. Now you’re going to start seducing Scamander.” She exhaled and watched it puff out in perfect circles. “He may not be the most loved back in England, but his brother is notorious for being crazy and protective. Don’t give me another headache.”

“You know I do my best to keep our president beautiful.” He blew out some of his own nicotine. “It is a hard, almost impossible job, but I do think I handle it well.”

“Keep this up and I’ll transfer Scamander to another department.”

“Testy.” Graves grinned, he always appreciated that the woman could keep up with him, but kept his mouth shut. “Guess you got me in your pocket for now.”

“About time.” She groaned. “And don’t you ever let me catch you two going at it on MACUSA property.”

Grave’s smirk was devilish, “No promises.”

-o-

“Is…is that normal human courting?” Newt gaped, his trembling hands holding a warm mug of spiced milk. “I’ve read it is mostly a form of flirting and flowers. Maybe drinks out.”

“It is for Graves.” O’Brien said, after a long lecture of preparing the young man for the brutal force that was heading his way. “The man does nothing half-way. He’s a work-a-holic, overly powerful…it’s the same for courtship. He goes in and hard.” O’Brien finished this with a wiggle of his eyebrows.

“But…but hard?”

“Yeah. Our boss is pretty fearsome and serious like 98-precent of the time.” Porter said from his desk. “Everything hard and all in.”

“A-And the other two percent?” Newt tried, hoping for some adjectives like gentle, boring, or non-existent.

“When he doesn’t have prey? I assume he may actually relax—but that’s just a myth. No one knows what he does in his downtime.”

P-Prey?” Newt now squawked.

“Oh yes,” the Aurors had terrifying grins on their faces. Again. They were enjoying his torment a bit too much.

“Newt,” Tina pushed in, keeping her voice soft as she swatted after the cruel group. “I know you haven’t seen Director Graves in action but he is something else. On the field, he really is known as a predator. He’s almost indescribable.”

So the group had said. They were eager to list things and explore past conquests of Graves but when it came time to explain exactly what they mean, they just shrugged and went, “you know” when Newt, clearly, did not know.

Storytellers they were not.

“But I’m not a criminal!...But I’m not a current criminal who is presently under the investigation of this department.” Newt corrected at Tina’s glare. “So why would it be…I mean, why would he be a predator in concerns to myself?”

“Oh, Scamander. Sweet, sweet, soon-to-be-wrecked Scamander.” Weiss grinned. “I cannot wait to see you get chased.”

“Well, that is quite creepy.” Newt huffed.

“Yeah,” she flipped another page of her magazine, “I’m attractive like that.”

Newt shook his head, dipping his finger into the drink, and lifted it up for Pickett to enjoy a few sips. “Don’t tell your siblings. This isn’t good for you and I can’t get any of you addicted.”

The Bowtruckle made chirping noises as it eagerly took sips from the drop.

“You really spoil him.” Tina teased.

“Well, a mother tends to do so on occasion.” Newt threw her an unashamed grin. “Speaking of, I probably should get back to the case.”

“You were in the case for two days in a row. You need more time out than this.” Tina scolded. “Besides breakfast and cocoa this morning, have you eaten anything the past few days?”

“Well, of course--”

“Besides whatever grain or whatnot that’s meant for your beasts that was hands-length away.”

Newt’s sucked his lips in.

“That’s what I thought. You need substance, Newt. Substance.” Tina wagged her finger at him. “We’re sticking with our dinner plans. Then home. And we’re not heading out until Director Graves dismisses me.”

“Goldstein is right though.” Blabbermouth O’Brien agreed. “You look too delicate, Scamander. Need some more meat on your bones.”

“I am very capable of feeding myself.”

“Su-u-ure, we all believe you. Not lying at all with that. Here.” Porter tossed over a bar, which nearly smacked right in Newt’s face, if it hadn’t been caught in a spell just a few centimeters from his face. “Wow. Nice catch, Scamander. Didn’t know you did wandless magic.”

“I…uh.” Newt blinked at the bar hovering before his face and gently plucked it from the air. “It wasn’t…what’s this? Toffee pudding crunch?”

“Yeah, you Brits like your pudding right? And that’s a meal bar. We all have them in our desks. Aurors have a bad tendency of skipping meals due to work. Not the best as we also burn the most with our regiment and excess use of magic.” Porter pointed at him. “You eat that. Who knows how long the meeting will last. And who knows if Graves will free either of you when he gets back.”

“Oh, don’t start.” Tina scowled.

“It’s true! You know it, Goldy. Our tyrant of a Director is not the most eager to let us poor over-worked employees go.” Porter sighed dramatically. “Such a cruel, heartless--”

“You wish to continue that?” Graves slithered up, pressing his wand against O’Brien’s neck. “You left yourself open. Again.”

Everyone jumped up, startled out of their minds, as the man came out of the shadows from nowhere.

“Spirits and bones, sir…stop that!” O’Brien covered his heart.

“You are a Senior, O’Brien, you have no excuse.” Grave removed his wand and hid it back in his vest. “I could’ve sworn I trained you better than this.”

“I think you just forget that you’re an unnatural ghost and us poor mortals can only do so much.” The Senior Auror whined, rubbing his neck. “I wasn’t even the one speaking this time!”

“Knowing you, you were about to. And do I have my report?”

“Erm…”

“I think, then, you need to allow Newt space and get back to work. You’re not allowed to leave until that report is done and on my desk. Understand?” By his expression, Graves clearly did not care if he was understood or not. “Now, Goldstein, Newt, my office.”

Tina and Newt gave each other side-glances and followed after him. As they passed his open door, Newt felt the hand back on his form, helping him inside.

“I best not hear any more gossiping or this cruel, heartless tyrant will ensure you’re here till the end of tomorrow’s shift.” He gave them a sharp glare when groans were heard and instantly salutes and “yes, sir!” filled the air in their place.

“Did they bother you any?” Graves asked once the door was shut, looking over Newt with such tenderness that Newt felt like he might be in need of smelling salts again.

“Oh, no, no. Not really.” Newt looked away, his heart throbbing against his ribs. The group’s sniggers and words of warning echoed in his head and he did his best to shoo it off.

‘They were just teasing. Or they misunderstood Graves’ intentions. Clearly, the Director was a superior Auror—no offense to anyone out there. He could hide his thoughts and they just jumped to a weird conclusion. Yes, yes.’ Hard not to agree with Phil. Though cruel, it made the best logic. ‘That makes the most sense. He would never, ever be after someone like me.’

“They were all quite kind. Even offered me some food.” He held up the meal bar.

“So I saw. I also saw it about to smack you on the nose.”

“Oh, t-that was you.”

“Mhm, next time feel free to say such as it may be important for Aurors to know there is an intruder.” His voice was firm but not unkind. “You are quite easily distracted.”

“I…uhm…yes, sorry. Yes.”

“Newt,” his tone was so soft and soothing and Newt just wanted to melt to the floor and never get up again. “You do not have to apologize for everything you say or do.”

“Right. Sorry. I’ll stop that.”

Tina and Graves shared a look and knowing smiles.

“I’m sure you will, Newt.” She patted his shoulders. “Was there something else you needed us for, sir?”

“Yes, Goldstein. I just came from an enthralling” his tone was dripping with so much sarcasm that even Newt caught on, “meeting with Conway from Financial.” He nodded at her groan and eye-roll. “Normally I’d tell you to keep it professional, but given that was my exact response to the situation…he is quite upset with our department.”

“From what I hear, he’s quite upset by a lot of things.”

“Apparently, the rumors are true. My rescue, which was done by a civilian and not MACUSA,” he motioned to Newt, “somehow cost a few dragots, which is simply unacceptable.”

“A few dragots…to save your life?” Newt asked, struggling to understand the words. “That’s a poor concern of his? W-Why would…I mean, it’s your life!”

“He’s as bad as the goblins in your community. Lives are worth less than currency. I suppose it is why we’re so stable but,” Graves shrugged, “it certainly makes it a little aggravating.”

Tina pressed a hand on Newt again when she saw how upset he was about the treatment. “It’s ok, Newt. We just ignore it. All that department and Conway can do is whine anyway. Was it just your rescue?”

“No, there is talk about all involved with Grindelwald’s capture placed under security for safety.”

“Basically Tina and myself.” Newt said.

“Exactly. And he is no fan of mine, given the painful issues I provided him while under capture.” He waved his hand and papers floated from a corner of the office, surrounding the desk. “It is a hope that we will remain protected in case followers seek revenge.”

“Seems a bit unlikely, doesn’t it?” The redhead looked between the two Aurors. “From what I gathered, Grindelwald is a very showy individual. Much like the peacock. He needs to be seen. If we cause any sort of upset, he’d wish to take us out himself. Or at least have it be known he was responsible.”

“His pride wouldn’t let him. Correct, Newt.” Graves smiled.

‘Sweet merciful spirits. Please make this man stop.’ Newt swallowed a whimper. It was almost too much for him to handle. The man pained him. His green eyes were close to watering from the blush and the sheer beauty of the sight of Graves. It felt similar to the time Newt first saw his first Dragon’s egg. How beautiful and elegant it was and how beneath the shield resided a stunning creature of power.

“But despite my saying this, the president is still concerned and wishes to ensure our safety until we’re confident attention has been moved elsewhere or Grindelwald is dead.”

“And the English are dragging their feet with that. No offense, Newt.”

Newt shrugged, “Our process does take a bit longer.”

“What is being suggested, sir?”

“Starting off simple. You and your sister will move to an apartment closer to MACUSA or with more magical neighbors. Along with this, wards, spells, and other items will fill the walls.”

“And I take it Queenie and I won’t be paying for it?”

“Given the nature of Conway’s tantrum, yes.” Grave’s lips lifted to another smirk. His white teeth, predator-like, peeked through and uncomfortable thoughts rushed through Newt once more.

‘Scamander, you have got to stop! This is ridiculous. Just stop it.’ He inhaled and exhaled quietly to himself. It felt wrong to have thoughts concerning Graves' mouth without his knowledge. Filled with guilt, he cleared his throat, “And I will--”

“Be moving in with me.”

Newt’s jaw dropped and he blinked rapidly at Graves. “What?”

“Part of the deal. Some are a bit weary of that case of yours. They also worry that you would be the main hit out of all of us. To ensure your best protection, ease up financial concerns, and have an eye out on your creatures it was decided you would live with me for the time being.”

“I…I…I,” he blinked again and shook his head. “I couldn’t impose on you like that.”

“You would not be imposing. I have the space and the means to house you and your creatures. My household is heavily warded. I also have access to the Graves Manor for more protection and space.”

“But--”

“He agrees, sir, of course he does!” Tina nudged her friend once again.

“Uhm, if it’s for everyone’s best interest…” He nodded slowly. Everything still felt wrong and overwhelming and goodness, would the man stop looking at him like that? “And that I’m not causing any issue to you--”

“None at all, Newt. I’d be happy to have you as my guest.”

“Well, I-I’d be honored to be your guest then.”

“Good, we’ll get the paperwork settled tonight and you can move in tonight or tomorrow. I take it all you need is within your case?”

“Yes, yes sir. It is. Ah, if you wouldn’t mind. I’d like to go back with Tina tonight. I made a promise to Queenie I’d assist her with a project.”

Graves nodded, though his face did not appeared excited at the delay. “Understandable. Then please ensure you have everything you need when you come into work tomorrow. I’ll take you home afterwards.”

“Thank you.” He needed to be with Queenie tonight and figure things out. At least he needed to hear from someone sane and slightly unbiased (aka, more on his side than Graves) to prepare for the situation.

He was to live with Percival Graves.

They were to share air and walls.

‘Sweet mercy, he showers at home! What if I see him without a top?’ He was prepared to wail for Queenie and her knowledge of romance and lust. ‘Does he have hair on his chest? Is it silver or black? Scamander—what the bloody fucking hell man?! You don’t think of people like that!’

“Newt? Newt?” Tina snapped her fingers in front of his face a few times. “Come back to us. You’re having a conversation in your head again.”

“Oh, oh was I? Apologies.” At least he hadn’t said anything out loud. He’d be happy to jump back into a Flesh-Eating Slug’s nest if that had happened.

Graves just let out another chuckle and all the inappropriate thoughts (Graves' bare chest!) rushed back to him once more.

“How long were you there?” Newt squeaked out, needing to change the direction of everything before he spewed out something uncouth. “Back in the office?”

“What makes you think I did not just come up across the scene?”

Newt shrugged as he played with the sleeves of his coat, “I find it difficult to imagine you’d simply storm up to your Aurors without observation. Oblivious or not, they are still powerful and armed. Probably best if you don’t risk it without ensuring they were not paying attention.”

“Smart observation, Newt.”

He blushed and looked at his feet. “You’d also be careful not to let anyone hear or sense you. To ensure a surprise attack you’d play cautious and mask yourself a distance off. Given how everyone was surprised of your reveal but not of your actions, I’d say you do this often enough that you wait for their training and your own.”

“You really would’ve made a fine Auror.”

Newt swallowed thickly. Although not a profession, and normally not a compliment, he had ever wished to pursue, Newt understood this was high praise from the man. Tina had informed him that the Director was notoriously picky in who becomes an Auror under him. Although not the only individual part of the hiring process, he was one of the main reasons people continued or failed in their career.

“Kind of you to say.” He managed to get out.

“Just honesty. But don’t worry,” Graves looked at him with an expression that was clearly not innocent. “I won’t use the technique on you.”

Newt hadn’t even thought of that.

‘I hate everything.’

“I’ll hold you to that promise then, Mr. Graves.” Newt said with a shy grin.

“Percival, please. After all,” he interlaced his fingers and gave the redhead a hungry look and purr, “we’re officially roommates.”

Chapter Text

“So,” Queenie hummed as she finished pouring Tina’s coffee, “Newt is off on a sexual exploration, hmm?”

“Queenie.” Tina groaned.

“Just being honest, honey.” She grinned. “Poor thing. His thoughts have been all over the place since you two got home. I could hear him even when he was in the case. He’s very curious concerning Graves’ anatomy and hair--”

“Queenie! Please! It’s already making me twitch,” she shook her hands around as proof, “to think of my boss pursuing my friend. Let’s not add more sexual visuals, please.”

“But it’s so cute and funny.” Queenie giggled. “I cannot wait to see what comes from this.”

“Still, it is worrisome. I trust Graves, I do, but Newt can just be so fragile.” Tina sighed, slouching against the chair. “And Graves so…not fragile in his pursuits.”

“Oh, don’t fret, sweetie. I trust the Director. He’s a smart man. A good man too, despite his rough edges. He’ll be just right for our Newt.” She wrapped up the lunch-sack and had it float over to Tina’s side. “They’ll soon be the couple everyone talks about at work. And I get to be in the middle of all the gossip.” She winked at her sister who rolled her eyes back in good humor.

“Still, sometimes I wish you could read his mind.”

“Same. I’m sure he has all sorts of juicy details,” Queenie grinned. “But alas, he’s too strong.”

“I know, I know.” Tina stuffed the rest of her toast and egg in her mouth, nearly gagging as she called out for Newt. “We need to head in!”

Nothing was said for a few seconds. Then, there were bangs and stomps and curses. Finally, a flustered British wizard flew out of his case. He had a very familiar panicked look on his face.

“Morning, Newt.” Tina nodded, lounging on her palm.

“T-Tina!” Newt greeted as he tripped over his feet in his haste. “I’ll be late in today!”

“Niffler?”

NIFFLER!” Newt cried out to the disappearing creature, answering her unheard question, and took off out the apartment.

“Oh, Mr. Graves will certainly have his hands full with him.” Queenie squealed in delight.

“Goldstein!” Their landlady shrieked from down below. “Was that a man!?”

Tina wondered if it was too early to pour booze in her coffee.

-o-

“You’re late.” Graves said unnecessarily as Newt finally made his way into the large Magical Security department. He was leaning against the doorframe into his office, arms crossed, as if waiting for Newt to shamefully crawl his way in.

“I hoped Tina would’ve told you that I was going to be.” Newt shifted on his feet as he brought himself to his desk. He flinched and his face felt hot when Graves approached.

“Mhmm, she did.” He reached over and plucked a twig from the curly top. “It still does not excuse tardiness.”

“Sorry. Niffler got out. Again.”

“Goldstein mentioned that. Third time this week, is it?”

“Yes.”

Now Graves was running both hands through Newt’s hair, pulling out the scruff from the day’s chase. “I would’ve thought you’d get that under control by now.”

“U-Uh…uh…right, well, uh,” how was he supposed to speak with this happening?

“Answer me.”

Newt looked away, feeling close to passing out. How was he expected to live with this man? “Well,” he cleared his throat, “She is quite peculiar, the one I have. She is truly a wonderful and fascinating study. No other has shown such persistence. And amazing disregard to all things ward.”

“So you have placed spells on your case.”

“I try to find a new one most every week.” Newt confessed with a sheepish laugh. “She finds a way out each time.”

“Clever little devil.”

“Indeed.” He winced. “And because I have yet to figure out how to humanely keep her under control I foresee myself being tardy on quite a few occasions in the near future.”

“Then I foresee possible punishments going along with that.” His dark voice sounded so nonchalant but it made the bones of Newt’s spine tingle. There was something threatening but something so sinful in that promise.

It was shameful to admit, but Newt almost wanted to push and see what that promised entailed.

‘NO. Mercy Lewis, this is not proper.’ He hated how stereotypical British he sounded. It also sounded hypocritical with all the improper crimes and traveling he’d done during his life—some just the previous week. ‘Just, stop it. Don’t. Don’t.’

“I-I will do my best to not cause any trouble for you, Mr. Graves.”

“Percival.” He reminded.

“Oh yes, uhm, right. That’s right.”

“Does it make you uncomfortable to use my name?”

“No, I mean…not really. It just takes me a while to get used to it.” Newt turned from him to set up his station, not too sure what he was needed for within the building. He’d probably just hide within his case most day. “Not many want me to use their first name. They find it best to keep things as professional,” he sighed adding ‘and as distant’ internally, “as possible for me.”

Graves’ expression grew cloudy. “I’d prefer things to not be as professional. You work within my office but you are not my official subordinate.”

Newt turned back, looking at him in surprise as he removed his coat. “It’s really ok then? This isn’t just because I want you to use my name?”

“No. I wish for you to use it.”

“Well, alright then.” He nodded and smiled at him, a dimple appearing on his cheeks. “I’ll try my best to remember that, Percival.”

Something in Graves’ eyes darkened and Newt gulped.

“I’m not sure,” Graves started, his voice low like a purr. Newt hadn’t thought a human could sound such a way. “If I can trust this case of yours out here when there is a history of escapes.”

“They’re not dangerous.”

“They cause havoc and concern.” Graves reminded, still carrying a purr but of a gentler tone.

“But they wouldn’t harm anyone.” Newt pleaded.

Graves looked at him and nodded slowly, “I do trust your judgment of your creatures, Newt. ”

“They’re no…” He trailed off from his argument and looked up at him in cautious surprise. “You do?”

Graves nodded and his fingers found Newt’s palm again and then trailed up the arm. Although there was a thin layer of cloth between the two of them, Newt’s skin felt hot. When they were so close, Newt could smell Graves aftershave and cologne; it was clean and masculine and Newt could almost pick out a layer of coffee and smoke. His eyes were such a deep brown and were framed by dark eyelashes Newt hadn’t noticed before.

‘Merlin, he is beautiful.’ Newt gasped out air, he hadn’t realized he was holding.

Though not as innocent in appearance, Graves’ eyes twinkled in understanding much like Dumbledore’s would. As if he knew what was going through his thoughts.

“Newt, you have been with these animals, studied them, longer than anyone. Fairly, I do think there is a bias on your part, due to your caring nature.” The one hand continued to stroking over Newt’s arm and his other went back up to the side of his face. “Do people not trust you with them?”

There was an overwhelming temptation to lean into the warm palm. Newt could not help but compare the Director’s hand to his own. His own were covered in scars, some callouses, and burns from his line of work. The tip of his right pinky was slightly shorter from his first Occamy hatchling, not her fault…he hadn’t realized petting her at the time of stress would’ve reacted with a bite, while his nails were always dirty and blunt. Graves and his hands were slightly smoother, though still calloused, and with such direct contact Newt felt the confirmation of how there was a constant, physical thrum of magic under the skin.

Electricity rushed into him and the hair on the back of his neck and on his messy top started tingling.

“Newt,” Graves purred as he pressed himself closer. “You know when your boss asks you a question you should answer, correct?”

“O-Of course.” He nodded blindly, trying to recall what was asked. His eyes, still unable to lock on Graves’ own, were on the man’s throat and exposed collarbone, the first few buttons of his shirt opened, and nearly whimpered.

Newt was not exactly a religious man, not within any of the Muggle or Wizarding platforms, but he felt he was drowning in pure sin at the sight.

Percival Graves without his tie and his collar popped would forever be burned within Newt’s retinas. He would take it to his dreams and he felt horrible at the thought.

“Newt,” Graves tugged at his hair and Newt very nearly let out a very embarrassing, broken sound. “Newt, I require an answer. Do people not trust you with your animals?”

“Not usually, no.” Newt pulled back a moment, his breath stuck in his lungs. “I…well, my study is still very new. Most everyone lacks trust for the creatures they can’t easily cage and tame. I’m also, uhm,” he tried to signal to himself, but he was still trapped by the thicker body of Graves’. “Well, many within my ministry don’t find me very trustworthy from the start. Anything I’m associated with could not be worthwhile in their eyes.”

“Because of the expulsion.”

“And because I like these creatures.” Newt let out a shaky breath as Graves pulled at his hair again. “You know about the expulsion?”

“Public record. Though the bits around it were shrouded. Professor Dumbledore went a long way to give you as clean of a record as possible.”

“He was kind to me.”

“It wouldn’t just be kindness for a man like Albus Dumbledore. He saw something in you. Similar to what I see.”

“You don’t even know what I did.”

“Did you do anything?” Now both of Graves’ hands were pressed on the desk next to each side of Newt’s hips, caging him in. “Was it you? Or was it another and you took the blame?”

Stunned, Newt’s eyes flew to his, “How…what? I mean, I mean, no, no. I did it. It was me.”

“I’ve only known you for a short time, but that’s more than enough time for me to know you. I know what I read in the report, the words of Dumbledore, and your actions. Someone did something and you took their consequence.”

“Merlin,” Newt shook his head and tried to smile but he knew it came off shaky, “I think I’ll need to be careful living with a detective.”

“Hmph, it’s quite obvious if anyone bothered to sit and look. But given the nature of the incident, who the other person was,” his hands pressed over Newt’s waist and squeezed in comfort at the younger man’s flinch, “and how you are one so easily misunderstood I can see why people would choose to be ignorant.”

“T-That is, uh,” he licked his lips but instantly sucked it back in his mouths when Graves’ gaze followed it. “That is a lot of people who are willing to dislike me.”

“That is a lot of fucking morons.”

Newt had to laugh in surprise. “Is the Director of Magical Security allowed to speak like that?”

“The Director of Magical Security is allowed to whatever he damn well pleases.”

More giggling escaped Newt’s mouth but it halted when Graves’ fingers traced over his lips.

It felt so small within the once spacious department. All Newt could feel, see, and taste was Percival. From his trapped point, with their hips touching, and their chest just centimeters apart Newt could make out the muscles of his form. From his broad shoulders, strong chest, and he could feel the powerful thighs brushing up against his own.

Graves felt so different from himself. Newt wondered if he carried scars too or if his body was as pristine as everything else. Did he have other moles or marks? Newt was slathered with freckles, something he’d never enjoyed about himself, but he believed Graves could make anything beautiful.

‘Queenie! What the blundering hell do I DO?!’ He internally wailed.

“Well, well, well. This is quite a sight.”

Newt tried to jump back, startled, as people finally started to show up in the empty space. All he did was shove his lower back into the edge of his desk painfully. Graves did not move an inch expect to hold on to Newt tighter.

The Director looked at the approaching Aurors with displeasure but without any shame or embarrassment in the predicament he was caught in. He acted like it was perfectly normal to have someone pinned up against a desk out in the open of his own department. “Where the hell have you all been?”

“Why Director! I thought you always knew where we were! What sort of leader are you GAK, SORRY, SORRY!” O’Brien yelped when he found himself hovering up and his head now facing the ground.

“Mercy Lewis,” The other witch from the previous day, Abigail Redburn, slapped her hand over her face. “Apologies, Director, for O’Brien just…existing. Porter and myself,” she paused when the man interrupted her with an unprofessional ‘yo’ to hit him upside the head, “went to Wand Permits to look up some information for the fraudulent wands. We thought it faster to go there than for them to drag their feet with our needed files. The rest snuck out for food.”

“Yep.” Weiss hiccupped and then stuffed half a sandwich in her face. “Pancake day. And went on and got a snack.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Graves rolled his eyes, his hands now snaked around Newt’s waist, leading to a very red-faced man.

“Even upside, you are a delight to my eyes, my darling Monica.”

The woman just flipped O’Brien off and stuffed the rest of her sandwich into her mouth.

Newt briefly wondered if the woman was one of the more powerful within the group, as it had been theorized that magic (especially that of attack and defense) could take up a lot of energy, or if she was just naturally a hungry person. It seemed she had food in her hand or on her mind almost all time. Tina and Queenie too, had a tendency of having a snack on them at all time—when they first met, Tina had her face in a hotdog after all.

He always wondered if that was one reason he ate so little, since his talent with magic was less than most others his age, and most younger. Unless food was placed in front of him, he rarely sought it for himself until he was in desperate need.

‘What does Gra…Percival eat?’ he wondered to himself, peeking up to the man who was still holding him. ‘I’d think a lot. He’s constantly using and burning magic. He looks in…he feels…oh goodness…he’s in such good shape.’

“All of you get back to your stations.” Graves ordered as he pulled Newt closer, grabbed the case, and started to bring him into the private quarters of his office. “Don’t make me come back out here. And someone feel free to try and help O’Brien.”

Boss! Don’t! I don’t want to be a training seminar again!”

The smirk on Graves’ face was cruel. “Maybe if you ask Weiss nicely enough she’ll help you.”

“Ha,” she flopped into her chair, putting her feet on the desk, “Fat chance. He used my first name. He suffers for that transgression.”

“Too bad. Get down yourself.” And then shut himself and Newt in his office, preforming a silencing charm to block out O’Brien’s wails and Weiss’ cackles.

“They are close?”

“O’Brien wishes. Weiss is my most powerful Auror here and O’Brien, like the rest of the men here, is an idiot with a danger-kink. He’s been after her since day one.”

“And nothing?” Newt understood everyone had different taste but he found O’Brien quite a fun charmer.

“Weiss enjoys dragging those she appreciates around. O’Brien has yet to figure it out, because again he is an idiot, but she likes him. And therefore she wants him to suffer for it. She doesn’t do feelings.”

“I see.” Newt cracked a grin. “Your Senior Aurors are ridiculous.”

Graves rolled his eyes again. “I’m very much aware.”

“So,” Newt turned back at him, growing a bit shy remembering what just happened. He wasn’t sure if he should say anything in regards to it. He still wasn’t quite sure what just took place at his desk. His body still felt warm and filled with too much energy. “You want to keep my case within here?”

“Yes. You are, of course, free to come in and out to reach it. It belongs to you. But certain people are still concerned. My office is heavily warded so the Niffler or,” he reached up to Newt’s hair gently and after a few seconds brought his hand was removed and Pickett was on it, looking a little confused. “This little one cannot get out.”

“Pickett.” Newt sighed. “I thought we agreed you’d brave the Tree today?”

He made little chirps and pointed at Newt.

“I believe he is telling you off.”

“Very much so. He gets me in so much trouble with his siblings because I seem to play favorites.” Newt pouted and reached over, his fingers brushing over Graves’, and Pickett hobbled over the bridge and back to Newt. “I’m trying to make him less co-dependent.”

“I see it is working as well as keeping the Niffler under control.” Grave smiled. “You spoil them.”

“Yes, well, as I told Tina; I am their mother so I think I get the excuse to do so.”

“Mhmm, I can’t argue. You don’t seem to have the most iron fist in regards to parenting.” Graves helped him over to his couch and set the case down. Once he was sure Newt was comfortable he went to his own desk to get started on his long day. “Perhaps you should start considering bringing a father into the picture.”

Graves just smirked when Newt choked on air again while Pickett made noises that sounded like agreement to his ears.

-o-

“Well, wow.” Newt hugged his case close to him, looking around his new homestead. It was large for a New York apartment with an open kitchen and living room, and a terrace. It had three bedrooms, astonishing really for the location, and each had a personal bathroom. “This is amazing.”

“Originally, I felt it too large for myself. But this location…it is quiet, far enough from work so I get privacy, and just something about it felt like a perfect home.”

Newt looked around. It was very spacious and filled with dark, traditional, but very simple designs. There was not much in the way of personal belongings that Newt could see. Despite it’s beauty and impressive state, it felt rather barren of the personality Newt knew Graves had.

“I rarely bring visitors.” Graves said, as if knowing Newt’s thoughts again. “I usually prefer to keep to myself at home after spending twelve-hour shifts with my Aurors.”

“Oh, then are you sure--”

“You will not be a bother, Newt. I want you here.” His face softened and he took his hand again, rubbing the skin and joints, before he turned it over and kissed the open palm.

“Oh.” He meeped.

“I want you to make yourself at home here with me.”

“O-Ok.” What else on the good earth was he supposed to say to that? If he had been someone with a less than logical mind, he might have jumped to the conclusion that statement sounded like a marriage proposal. ‘But it wasn’t. It would never be. Why do you keep reacting like this? It’s not meant for you like that.’

Graves smiled and showed him to his bedroom. It was pleasant and tidy…Newt feared by the end of the day it would be a disaster. The bed was bigger than he’d had, even when he lived with his parents in their simple home, and looked to be covered in very expensive silk. He slept on cotton and hay and covers made of old tweed and shirts or hand-me-down quilts (or, as many nights, surrounded by creatures).

“You don’t have to let me use this. I have access to my case. It’s how I lived in it when I stayed with Tina and Queenie.”

“Newt, this is your place. If you don’t use the bed, that will be your choice, but this is yours.”

‘I’m not a crier. I’m not.’ It was not denial. ‘But this man is just being evil.’ He thought as his eyes felt tight. He needed a distraction from the heat and the kindness. “The, ahem, the wards around here are impressive.” He could sense and see the sight of many of them around.

“I’d hope, given my position, I would have the best.” Something in his tone was sour. “If Grindelwald had attacked me here none of his shit would’ve happened.”

“Probably why he didn’t.” Newt comforted. “He had to attack you from behind, away you from your home, and steal your wand…” he had to chuckle, “and you still managed to bruise him and his ego. You’re amazing.”

“You’re quite good with compliments.”

“I just notice things. Some things others don’t always notice themselves. I’m happy to remind you.” He looked around again, a soft smile on his face. “This may actually keep Niffler indoors for two, maybe even three, weeks.”

“I’d love to see it escape from this.”

“Oh, she’ll find a way out. I have no doubt about it.” Newt rubbed his hands, he could still feel Graves’ skin. “Did they figure out what other spells he used?”

“Pardon?”

“Grindelwald. For around MACUSA.” Newt’s eyes went into avoidance mode again. “Besides the Polyjuice Potion and Transfiguration.”

“I’m afraid I do not follow, Newt.” Graves’ eyebrow furrowed in confusion. “There were no other spells.”

“Really?” Newt frowned.

“Why do you think otherwise?” He came in close again and Newt felt weak.

“Grindelwald…he is a fine actor, I give him that, but no one can impersonate another perfectly. He did things wrong.”

“How so?” His voice was soft.

“He titled his head to the side more.” Newt demonstrated. “It’s a sign of curiosity but also one of listening and one of innocents. I feel like it was overcompensating on his part. You do not do it so often as he did. His eyes,” Newt used two fingers to point to his own as his hands needed to move in the lecture. “He did not keep upon others for long. He moved them naturally, of course, nothing to show weakness. He couldn’t risk it seeing as you are an alpha after all and he needed to mimic that, but eyes can be the first to go when the Juice weakness. He couldn’t risk brown turning grey.”

Newt then motioned to Graves, “You keep your eyes locked on others. You make them see you. You are in charge and to remain in charge in a pack you need to keep your power and dominance known. Grindelwald knows this, of course, I’m sure he does it himself…but he couldn’t risk pushing it so hard in his enemy’s territory.”

“Alpha?” Graves repeated slowly.

“Oh, oh yes, you are a prime example of a human alpha-male.” Newt nodded as if agreeing with his own assessment. “You show all the characteristics: strength, confidence, relaxation with power. Grindelwald would’ve known much about you but he couldn’t know everything. He could not risk chest-bumping the wrong person so he kept himself as you on the low.”

“I see.”

“You both use soft voices to command but his felt like a show. In Tina’s and mine’s interrogation, he was puffing out his chest a little too much. He also went through it quickly. An interrogation with one person, out of two suspects, and a death sentence for both in around fifteen minutes is not you. You calculate. You draw things out from professionalism and because it works better in your favor. He couldn’t handle the wait. Because he enjoyed it. Hard for a sadist to truly hide his pleasure after all. At that moment he felt victorious and some things slipped. You, Percival, do not slip.”

He nodded slowly, “Anything else?”

“Oh yes, yes.” He nodded some more and his curls flopped about. “Quite a bit. You both have different twitches. He tried not to fiddle with anything but he still continued to mess with his cuffs or hands. You seem to know you always look good so you mess with items around you. Pens, papers, but never your wand.”

“You noticed all of that?”

“I suppose…I mean, I need to.” He shrugged and looked away. “Without training I won’t know what could and could not kill me and such. Nor would I be so decent at finding Pickett.” He gave a grin to the little creature, which popped its head over Newt’s collar at its name.

“That is…amazing. Completely amazing.” Graves laughed and it sounded so breathy and warm. “Why haven’t you tried for an Auror?”

“No, no,” Newt tried to keep himself small and out of Graves’ sight and way. “I may notice things but magic is not my forte. Especially not the sort meant for the Auror business.”

“What specialty of magic belongs to you then?”

Newt frowned in consideration and then gave Graves a smile that had everything within the older man ignited with life. Holding up his case he asked, “Want me to show you?”

Chapter Text

“This is incredible.” He said, hands in his pockets as he looked around the sight of Newt’s home. It was small but cozy and filled with so much of Newt’s personality he never wanted to leave. The warmth and smell, he had to close his eyes and let it all sink into his skin. This was delicious and home and at the moment it belonged to him.

They had yet to leave the shack but Graves could hear the rumbles of animals outside. It made everything tremble and briefly he found himself concerned about the power that Newt constantly surrounded himself with.

“You like it? Dumbledore helped me out at first. Not sure why. I had no talent in his class. But,” Newt shrugged as he rolled up his sleeves, clearly more comfortable in his own surroundings. “But he trained me a bit. Taught me special spells to create more space. Also gave me permission to roam our restricted forest and book section. I found out so much about creatures.”

He led Graves out into the open, pleased to see actual awe on the normally composed face.

“Mercy Lewis, Newt.” How it looked like it went on forever with gold, stars, and green all over. It was like a melted piece of art that moved and breathed. There were so many movements that even with his sensitive instincts he could not keep up with it all. Looking around, he could not find settle on one amazing sight over the other. It felt like he was looking within the very confinements of Newt’s soul. “You created all of this?”

Newt beamed at how breathless he was. “Here, since we’ll be staying with you, let’s introduce you to everyone!” He grabbed Graves’ arm and dragged him around. “Maybe the Caroline the Nundu? Or the Dougal the Demiguise? I’m sure they’re all eager.”

With a small laugh, Graves allowed the younger man to hurry him about in excitement. He was brought around the case to meet everyone. It probably took them a few hours as Newt would not only introduce Graves but teach him all about the creature and show how to properly approach them. It did not take long for him to notice a very common theme within the majority of the beasts.

“Most everything in here is illegal.”

“And endangered.” Newt countered as he bent his knees to the grass to give attention to some of the mooncalves that were hopping around, clearly excited for their mummy’s return. “Everyone in here I rescued.”

“How did you come by these?” He asked as he came down next to Newt.

“A breeder-mill. They were selling them—or mostly their dung to farmers, both Wizards and Muggles. The manure ensures strong and fast growth for all plant-properties. Incredibly useful and, with enough of these guys, it can be a very lucrative business.” He pressed his hand up against soft fur and the creature purred happily. “Oh, here,” he smiled and grabbed Graves’ hand and placed it on the mooncalf. “They enjoy attention.”

For a few seconds, Graves found himself distracted by the feel of the hand against his own. He could feel all the scars from the years of work against his skin. All he wanted to do was lift up the hand and kiss over each scar and learn what happened to cause each one. He wanted to feel the grooves against his lips and tongue and know there would never be a mysterious wound between them again.

The mooncalf bumped its head against Graves’ hand and purred.

“Quite friendly.” His voice came out deeper than he intended.

“Yes, they are. Except for moving in larger groups, they don’t have much in ways of defense. They are so docile and shy.” He smiled, his cheeks dimpling again, as he stared at the creature, holding his finger out to let the mooncalf sniff and then gently nibble on it. “Very gentle too. Many take advantage of them.”

“I can see why they flock to you then.”

Newt’s smile was soft, “It feels like this is all I can do. I guess this is more of my magic.”

“You don’t sound impressed by it.”

“Not many are.” Newt shrugged. “I’ve been told it’s a rather empty choice, to help the creatures like this. What with war and dark wizards…” he sighed, “Doesn’t help that I’m Theseus’s younger brother. He’s one of the best Aurors in Britain. I should’ve done something like him. Been more like him.”

“You don’t believe it.” He asked in confirmation, his voice strong and worried. “You couldn’t.”

“No, I mean, not really. Looking at everyone here, it helps.” He laughed when the mooncalf jumped up to him, nuzzling against his face. “They tend to help me forget what was said.”

“You shouldn’t believe those who tell you it’s empty.” He sounded angry. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything more worthwhile.”

Newt gave him a humored glare, “Now I know you’re just being kind.”

A pause to wait for the punch-line but the young man looked completely serious. “I’m not a kind person, Newt.”

“You’re not?” Newt pulled back from the affectionate mooncalf, to look at him with bewilderment. “Really? I find that hard to believe.”

Graves tilted a dark eyebrow, “You seem genuinely surprised.”

“I guess so? I mean, you’ve been kind to me and you look after everyone in your department. You’re really well loved.”

“Am I?” Graves moved in closer, his mouth close to Newt’s ear. “By everyone?”

Newt looked away and picked himself up, dusting his pants off, “W-Want to help me feed them?”

Graves’ smile grew hungry at his flushed face, “I’d love to.”

-o-

In the shack, hands washed from the feeding chore, Graves took time to absorb the surroundings that was Newt’s home.

He saw the bright contrast between the magic shack in a suitcase and his own home just above his head. It was filled with nature; wood, plants both alive and dried around the walls, there was a chaotic organization spilled over the table but, Graves noticed, none of the work was strewn about the floor. It smelled of honey, herbs, and hay and Graves found it incredibly comforting.

What was on the floor were stacks of books, binders, journals, and woven baskets filled with more plant-life. Perhaps a pencil or pen fallen about and temporarily forgotten. There was no dust but the floor did have some powder on it that Graves assumed was probably pollen.

All over the table were notes, sketches, more plants, and vials, some empty and some filled with liquids. Taking a peek at the notes, Graves was impressed at the scrawl filled with intelligent observations. The drawings were beautiful too.

Picking up one that had a sketch of a Thunderbird, it struck Graves how detailed it was. Newt had clearly put in a lot of time and adoration.

A greedy part of him wanted the picture. He wanted more than it, maybe to see how Newt would draw him—how he viewed his boss, or to see if Newt would ever draw himself so Graves had something more of him at all time…but for now he wanted this picture. He kept it pinched between his fingers, unwilling to part with it as he continued to look around while Newt was busy emptying out the pocket of Niffler again.

“You bloody rotten…as if I don’t provide enough for you!” He heard the man scold outside. “Glasses?! You rotten girl, you! Someone needs to see with those!”

Chuckling, he shook his head and moved away from the desk.

On the other side of the stairs was a drawn curtain where there was a small mattress on the floor layered with clothes and old quilts. It squeezed something inside him to think this was how Newt lived…but apparently the man was comfortable and happy, though not lavished with extravagance that Graves knew the man deserved.

Continuing his subtle snooping, he found a modest wardrobe with only two other shirts and pants, one other vest, and an outfit that had seen better days that Graves assumed Newt did most of his messier work in. On the floor was another pair of shoes and that was it. He figured the three drawers were other things such as socks but Graves didn’t bother to go further.

He knew it was easy to judge how another lived, especially when he came from a long line of wealth, but he struggled to not have something roar within him at the lackluster sight.

Did Newt provide anything for himself?

Looking around, he saw a few pictures here and there that Graves assumed was family but there were a few of what must’ve been Newt’s Dragon platoon in the army. They all looked well worn, loved, and in view of his workstation. All but one.

Graves scowled at the silver picture frame that was turned away from the rest. Picking it up and turning it over he found himself looking at a young, lovely girl who was throwing a mischievous grin at the camera.

Something vile and bitter bubbled within him as he glared at the woman.

Although he had never seen Leta Lestrange, her name had appeared within many documents concerning Newt’s school life and his expulsion. She had come up as a witness against Newt and his so-called actions.

“Newt and I were having fun but…but…I told him…I told him not to.” The report filled with her claims had said. “He didn’t listen and then everything happened so fast. He didn’t mean to but…but Newt just didn’t listen. It was his fault.”

“Fuck you.” He snarled lowly. “Fuck you and all that you did to him.” His fingers were close to cracking the frame. He wanted to set the whole thing aflame.

It would never happen again.

Newt would never have to suffer such betrayal or to be callously tossed aside in his life. His life would no longer just be providing love and affection for others without anything in return. He’d no longer shoulder a burden of being unworthy nor have his first instinct to be an apology.

His teeth clenched together and he had to push the picture away from him before he truly did ruin it, but not without one last snarl, “He’s mine now and I will not break him.”

And then he smashed it on the table and turned away. He could hardly wait for the day when Newt was finally ready to let go of his traitorous friend and get rid of her image.

Graves would gladly toss it in the bin for Newt. And then set it on fire.

He was very, very eager to set it on fire.

“Sorry, Percival.” Newt sighed, coming in as he wiped his hands with a rag. “Niffler had more in her than I had thought.”

Instantly, some of the rage started to ease off of Graves’ shoulders and he managed a gentle smile at the freckled-man. “She is quite an accomplished thief.”

“Tell me about it.” Newt shook his head before he looked at Graves and then what was in his hand. “Oh, that’s Frank.” Newt grinned at the picture. “He was the one I released here. Such a beautiful creature. I do hope he made it to Arizona.”

“It’s a stunning sketch.”

“You think?”

“Yes. It’s really beautiful.”

“Well,” Newt rubbed the back of his neck as if he couldn’t quite comprehend the compliment. “Most Muggle scientist need to learn how to draw, I thought I’d do the same. Though I enjoyed art since I was young. I was pleased I could bring it into my book.” He tilted his head looking at the picture and back to Graves. “Would you like it?”

“You’d let me have it?”

“If you want it. I do have a few more of Frank. May need to borrow it back from you when I go over the final glance of my book to ensure I have the right pictures…but only if you want it.”

“I want it.”

Newt’s face was a bit surprised at his blunt, possessive tone. But it melted back into a smile quickly enough and nodded. “Then it’s yours. I’m surprised you’d want it.”

“I can appreciate good art, Newt. This is beautiful.” He looked at it again. “I’ve never seen a Thunderbird. It is a regret I could not see it before you released it.”

“Well, whenever I make plans on visiting Frank, I’ll make sure to invite you.”

Graves threw him a deadpanned look. “You plan on visiting a Thunderbird.”

“Oh yes, if I am able to find his exact location. Thunderbirds are difficult to find, you see. They prefer to stay within the lower atmosphere with the clouds or take nests up on mountains and cliffs. But, I’ve gone on similar expeditions. My cliff-climbing skills are pretty spot on now.”

Graves visibly flinched. “Cliff-climbing?”

“Of course. How else do you see a Thunderbird? Besides,” he grinned, “better than cliff-falling. Luckily, I’ve only done that about three times with just a few broken bones.”

‘Oh, sweet Merlin, give me strength.’ He tried not to let out a broken sound at the thought of his beautiful, slender Newt taking a tumble off a ragged cliff. “Why not just apparate?”

“Oh, Thunderbirds are easily startled and can sense magic. If you apparate you risk scaring them, in which usually ends up with them flapping their wings or releasing lightning upon their surroundings or they’re prepared for you and take off or…well, lightening and wings again.”

“Mercy Lewis, Newt.”

“It’s ok, really! Really!” Newt begged, looking flustered and worried at Graves’ face. “Once I figured that out, they were easy to approach. It’s the climbing that’s the most dangerous. Once the Thunderbirds realize I’m not there to hurt them, they are quite gentle and enjoy some attention.”

“You’ve handled them before?”

“Not like Frank. Most of the ones I had contact with were free. Frank had been captured and was in Egypt on the black market. I picked him up, got a little frizzled, but nothing bad.” Newt laughed and tried to smooth his hair down. “This was worse than normal after that.”

Graves laughed and came up to Newt, pushing his fingers through the moppy mess. “I would’ve loved to see that.”

“It was a right embarrassment.” He looked down to his feet, unrolling his sleeves. “I couldn’t control it for days.”

Graves took his hand and gently started to button the cuffs for him. “Did you start on your adventures after school?”

“Within six months, yes.” Newt confessed softly, sensing a slight change in the atmosphere. “I was barely seventeen but I couldn’t sit still there any more. At that time Theseus was already turning heads and rising up the ranks and all the whispers started because of what happened. It was hellish.”

“What did they do to you?”

“It was just talk mostly, nothing to worry about. Professor Dumbledore remained in my life and helped me…well, uh…he gave me some funds once I officially said I wished to travel and study creatures.”

“Kind of him.”

“I could never figure it out. I failed his classes. I wasn’t a war hero like Theseus, I was on the Dragon platoon and rarely saw battle…but he funded me.”

“He saw something in you.” Graves repeated from before, desperate for Newt to understand it.

“Could never figure out what.”

“You’re too harsh on yourself.” He frowned as he held Newt close to him again. “I heard from the interrogation Grindelwald asked about you and Dumbledore. He was interested too.”

A disbelieving snort was his response, “I was tripping him up. Grindelwald had no interest in me, just if I would get in his way. He saw me as an out for his misdeeds.”

“No,” Graves gabbed his face and tilted it up, forcing him to stare. “Dumbledore and Grindelwald have a history, it’s known they are connected and rivals in some way. If one is interested so is the other. He saw it.” He growled, “A terrorist sees how amazing you are but you don’t. How can that be?”

Newt tried to look away.

“Eyes upon me, Newt. I want to see them.” He waited until the man did as told. Those green eyes were gorgeous and he wanted them upon him at all times. They were so gentle but filled with so much hurt. Graves decided to go about changing his mind in a different, softer way. “I am glad that you are here with me.”

Newt made an attempt at a smile but it was very soft and shy. “I am glad too. Though I may not be the best of the roommates.”

“I think you’re wrong about that.”

“I think you’re jumping to kind conclusions.” Newt laughed but then pulled back, using his fist to cover his mouth and he coughed to control his happiness. “Sorry, sorry.”

“More apologies? What are they for now?”

“I’ve been, uh, informed, uh…well…” He reached up and circled his hand around his face, “this and my smile is a bit awkward. All crooked and such. I --”

“I love your smile.” But Graves was not smiling himself to show proof. His face was cloudy and tight. “You have a sad history, Newt Scamander.”

“Others have had it worse.”

“I’m not talking about others. I’m concerned about you.”

“Wh--” Newt bit his lip and shook his head, swallowing down the question. “I’m fine, Percival. Better than I have been in a long while. I’m actually really enjoying my time in New York--” his voice was cut off by a hiss and screech that made him jump and then scowl something fierce.

“Are you kid--Francis!” Newt spun back out, poking his head out of the door. “Francis! Stop biting your brothers!”

“That Runespoor with the cone on its head?” Grave laughed. That had been a bit of a shock to him. Who in their right mind scolded a Runespoor?

“He keeps snapping at his brothers. Very unusual. And very, very bad.” Newt placed his hands on his hips and shook his head. “Did you know they are the representatives of a writer? The left one is always the planner—always thinks and plots. The middle is always the dreamer, lost in imagination. And the right--”

“The critic.”

“Yes.” He nodded, excited about Graves’ knowledge. “Sometimes the right is bitten off due to frustration and beaten egos. This one, however, decides he wants to be more than a simple critic and goes after his brothers.” He blew out a raspberry in frustration. “I think he does it for attention.”

“Everyone wants mum’s attention.”

“Now you’re making fun.”

“What an accusation.” Graves said, his voice lowering. He almost felt light-headed. Although he could tell Newt wasn’t quite aware, but he was clearly flirting back and doing so quite well. Lighthearted, he was more used to pushing a bit more at this point, but flirting nonetheless. It was huge of the man and pride and excitement rushed through Graves along with a desperate starvation. He was hungry for more Newt. He needed to see more sides to the quiet, shy man. “Being rather harsh with your boss, aren’t you?”

“You can’t possibly hold that over me forever.” Newt smiled, rubbing his hands together in nerves. “I thought you even said it wasn’t that professional.”

“I’ve been told I’m a power-hungry tyrant. I think I can do whatever I want.”

Newt shook his head, an amused smile on his face. “You keep surprising me.”

“I can say the same about you.” He pushed some of the red hair out of Newt’s face again. “I think you surprise so many people.”

“Back on the Dumbledore topic?” His voice carried something akin to humor but it was still soft and still timid. It was like he second-guessed every moment of happiness he shared with another human.

Was he already doubting what they just shared? Was he talking himself out of trying to ask for more? The very notion continued to fuel the anger and bitterness in his stomach and Graves needed something to do or he’d very well attack Newt to a wall and make him feel what Graves is suffering through, and all because of how perfect he was.

“I wasn’t going to call it that nor go down that road.” Being such a professional Auror he had the ability of some self-control. But only some. He continued to comb through the messy hair, loving the feel of it between his fingers. He couldn’t wait to pull on it properly and see how Newt reacts. Would he let out broken whimpers, beg for more, try and pull on Graves’ own? Merlin, he couldn’t wait to find out.

With how Newt looked a bit dazed and leaning into his hand, Graves tried not to make an inappropriate noise in response. He needed to press the man against the nearest surface and take or he may very well go insane with lust.

That some control was starting to slip away a bit.

“I still have no answer for you.” New said breathlessly. “Why he, apparently, was so fond of me. He just…as I said, he helped me out by funding me, speaking up for me, letting me into restricted sections. I don’t know. Maybe he just felt pity?”

“Pity would not be enough for restricted-privileges.” His lips quirked. “I think he was testing you. So many dark wizards can come from those who are hurt and have good intentions. You’re so intelligent, Newt. Blindingly so. And though you do not see anything strong concerning your magic, I can. You’re outstanding with talent. I do not remember the last time I met someone with ability to push their magic in creation and healing the way you do. Dumbledore saw that. He wanted to see what you would do once you were unrestricted.” Graves’ shoulder shook in laughter. “And you went to study animals. Oh, you are far too sweet for you own good.”

“I…what?” The tone was flabberghasted and a bit choked. Even Graves could admit, looking at and knowing the man, it felt wrong to ever believe he could become something cruel. “You think he was worried I would become a dark wizard?”

“Dark wizards only come from two places: a individual born poisoned or one who was poisoned by others. Grindelwald was born poisoned. He was born dark. You were hurt, betrayed, and forgotten. That is enough to poison anyone.”

“But I wasn’t talented. Who would be afraid of me?”

“You’re just blind to all that you can do.” He kissed the top of Newt’s head, leaving him blinking. “Come along. You fed the creatures, now it’s time to feed you.”

“B-But I’m not--”

“You’re eating.” Graves warned. “Goldstein told me you skip meals. I’m not allowing that to happen.”

“B-But--”

“Now, Newt.”

“A-Alright.”

“Good little darling.” Graves purred and gave him another kiss, this time at the corner of Newt’s mouth. He smirked with his lips still pressed against Newt’s. “Now, come along back into your new home.”

-o-

“I don’t know.” Newt sighed, well into the middle of the night, as he allowed Dougal, the Demiguise, to gently sway like a swing on his arm. “I mean, I am so pleased you all like P-Percival…” he flushed and covered his mouth as saying the name caused his lips to burn. He could remember the feel of the lips so close to his on his own. “But this is only temporary. None of you get too attached.” He sighed when those big eyes looked up at him, “Yes, that goes for me as well.”

Dougal gave a little hum, tilting his head as he reached over and hoisted himself up to Newt’s chest and neck.

Newt smiled at the hug. “I’ll be ok. I’m expecting it. It always happens, you know.”

The Demiguise gave a soft knock to his human’s head.

“Yes, yes, Tina and the rest seem fond of me now. But how long will that last? I annoy people. Can’t look them in the eyes, flinch as I move and talk, I stutter and mutter so no one hears me, I cannot shut up about you all—not that is necessarily a bad thing,” Newt comforted with a laugh when Dougal gave him a humored huff. “But still so few understand it or you.” He then sighed and lounged against the tree that holds up Dougal’s home.

“He’s so cruel, doing this to me.” Newt hugged Dougal to him. He remembered Graves’ warm hand around his own. How deep his voice went as he urged Newt to eat throughout dinner—how awkward Newt felt to be alone with a man. Each second of silence made him itch but Graved appeared completely comfortable. He talked with a gentle, patient voice as he filled Newt in about some things to know about his new job. He gave Newt looks that still left the younger man breathless but he never overstepped any boundaries.

He kept it friendly, but soft and Newt was mildly disappointed in that.

“Not sure why I’m behaving like this.” He crossed his legs and finally sat down on the soft earth, letting Dougal play with his hair. “I will admit, I do feel like I am missing something. Like I am looking in through a fogged window. I don’t understand what it is though.”

Dougal pulled his hair.

Ow! Now that,” he scolded holding his finger up, “was uncalled for. I raised you better than that.” He rubbed his new tender spot, “I am not being willfully obtuse with any of it.”

Dougal just sighed and used his long hands to pat Newt’s face tenderly.

“I’m sorry that he can’t be your daddy.” Newt said, truly upset. “But I can’t get your hopes up. I don’t think I could ever get him to love me. It’s my fault.” He frowned, lip trembling. Dougal hugged him tighter and Newt returned it. “It’s my fault and I am so sorry.”

-o-

Newt woke up without realizing he had fallen asleep. At least he believed he woke up…it was pitch black and difficult to breathe.

He opened his mouth in surprise only to get some hair in it. Sputtering, he picked Niffler off his face, spitting out whatever got caught on his tongue. She yawned a greeting, hanging limp and looked at him with bleary eyes.

“Good morning to you too. Happy to see you’re still inside.” He poked her belly and scowled when he felt something. “Oh, no, no, no. I know you haven’t figured out his spells so soon. You’re not stealing from our host.” He opened up his palm and wiggled his fingers. “Hand it over.”

Niffler puffed her cheeks.

“Don’t take that tone with me, young lady. You don’t steal. Especially from a man who is taking care of us for a bit and has the ability to throw mummy in jail. Cough it up.”

She pouted some more but reached into her pouch and brought out a beautiful silver chain that had a ring with a black stone on it, followed by three forks and some cufflinks.

“Didn’t we talk about no sharp shiny things?” Newt grumbled as he gathered everything up. “You’re risking getting poked. Now,” he squished her to him. “We’re going up there and you’re going to apologize, aren’t you?”

Niffler waved her hands around, sniffing frantically.

“You steal, you apologize. Then you’re helping me with feeding everyone.” Keeping everything safe, he took a deep breath and made his way out of his case and back into the house.

It felt eerie within it. The walls were unfamiliar and new. Everything was clean and despite how barren so much of it was, there was something about the homestead that belonged to Graves. This was his territory and Newt hated to be intrusive with it.

“Good morning,” Graves greeted , leaning against his counter as he sipped coffee and papers floated around him. “You’re a mess.”

“Fell asleep in the Demiguise’s habitat.” He reached up to pull out some grass. “I tend to do that. Not that I ignored your generous bed, I just sometimes work or talk and then, all of a sudden, I wake up.”

“It does not sound like you have a good sleeping schedule.”

“No,” Newt laughed breathily, shaking his head, “Not at all. Hard to turn it off,” he tapped his skull, “and with all the creatures and their needs I just try to make sure they’re all comfortable. What…what about you?”

“How do I sleep?”

“Yes, I mean, I don’t want to intrude, so feel free to tell me off but--”

“Grindelwald.”

“Well, yes.” Newt stroked Niffler’s fur for comfort. “Are you fine?”

“Mhm,” he nodded, “He only tortured me the first day or when I gave him too much issue. He couldn’t do much though. Although incredibly powerful, he was still using a lot of energy and time in taking over my life. He could not risk being noticed so he still needed to play politician and Director on occasion along with his search for the Obscurus. He left me alone for most of the month.”

“I-I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault that I was bested.”

Bested?” He made an uncouth sound of laughter in surprise over the word. “But according to the report Grindelwald snuck up on you with two others. I don’t think that’s you being bested so much as Grindelwald cheating.”

“A dark wizard cheating. What a surprise.” Graves chuckled. “Still was a sore spot. I’ve had a reputation and I feel it a bit weakened now.”

Newt frantically shook his head. “It’s not, truly. You took on a terrorist and his followers and came out alive. If anything, you’re more feared and respected now. A-At least according to your Aurors. They speak very highly of you.”

“When not calling me a tyrant.”

“True,” Newt laughed, “But, well, I could be wrong…but it seems a lot like friendship. They really care for you.”

“I’d appreciate it if you do not tell them, but I care for them back.”

“I’m pretty decent with secrets.” Newt smiled.

“Yes, as shown.” He nodded to the Niffler. “What is this one doing today?”

“Oh,” Newt scowled at her. “Already in trouble. I believe these are yours?” He put the small pile of treasure on the table with a sheepish smile.

“Ah, that’s where it went to.” He picked up the necklace and pocketed it. “She can have the rest.”

“Are you sure?” Newt yelped when Niffler wiggled around and bounced out of his arms, shoving the presents back in her pouch. She stood on her high legs, sniffing in Graves’ direction. “Niffler, you don’t have a need for forks.”

She squeaked at him in a huff and then scurried over to Graves, crawling up his leg and to his shoulder.

“Niffler!”

“She’s fine.” Graves gave a smile to the creature. “I do believe she is pissed at you.”

“Rotten brat.” Newt scoffed. “She can have spoons, but not forks. They’re too sharp.”

“You are an impressive, unmovable rock, Newt.” Graves smirked. “I can see they do not walk over you at all.”

He pouted, “I don’t spoil them that much.”

“Uh-huh,” Graves calmly sipped his coffee. “Try and eat before we head to MACUSA.”

“Oh, right, I can go on and get cleaned up--”

“You’re eating. Sit.” Graves waved his hand in a sliding motion and a chair pulled out for his guest.

Newt sighed and did as told and a plate came over with toast and bacon. “I wasn’t aware you cooked.”

“I’ve lived on my own since I was eighteen.”

“Doesn’t mean you can cook. Ask Theseus.” Newt smirked with good humor.

“Somehow I am not surprised.”

“Have you met him?”

“A few times. We got along well enough, though he seemed a bit haughty.”

Newt laughed over his bite of toast. “He is. He is a good man. But he most certainly is haughty. Apparently he came out demanding a silver spoon. Pity for him as our family life was so simple.”

Graves grinned, “Please, do tell me everything he’s suffered through.”

“Only if you protect me, because he’ll know I snitched and will come for revenge.” Newt managed to crack a smile. “He’s done so many things to me in the name of brotherly revenge or affection.”

A dark brow titled in interest, “What has he done to you?”

“During his mean stage when he turned fourteen he locked me in a closet for a day and filled it with bugs. However,” Newt shrugged with another smile, “he realized I was actually a fan of the bugs so it lost its edge. But that was as cruel as it ever got. The rest of it was normal things, I guess. Chasing me around to throw me in a lake. Trying to surprise attack me. Things like that.”

“I can’t say anything in concerns for normal. I’m the eldest of three but my younger siblings are sister. I wasn’t allowed to bully them.”

Newt laughed, “I guess I can understand that on some level. A majority of my creatures are girls and I tend to be a little protective over them.”

“Why is that? That you have so many, I mean?”

“Oh, well, because within most species, save for a few, it’s still the female that carries the offspring. Breeders and such only need one male but they need herds of females to make more product. So, usually, when I rescue one, the chances are high it’s a female.”

“That makes sense.” Graves put the mug in the sink and looked over Newt carefully. “What sort of rescues have you done?”

Newt pursed his lips. “I don’t think I want to confess some things to you.”

Graves grinned like a predator, “A majority of it was illegal.”

“You can’t get me to say yes or no.”

Graves titled his head, smirking as he took on that challenge. He looked forward earning the answer to everything, troublesome and good, Newt had done over the years. “Fine. Try to answer this for me then; how many times have you been in jail?”

Newt coughed and avoided eye contact, “Maybe thirteen times?”

Graved covered his face, unsure whether to laugh or cry. “And you’ve been adventuring for how long?”

“For this particular book about a year and a half. But I was looking around studying since around eighteen but my first jail time was nineteen. So roughly ten years?”

“Thirteen times in ten years. I really do need to keep my eye on you.”

“I’m fine.”

“Not with that criminal history you’re not.” He nodded to the plate, “Finish up. We need to head in.”

“Fine, fine.” Newt looked down and realized he only had a few bites left. He hadn’t even realized he was eating during their fun. “Niffler, you need to come back to the case.”

Niffler stuck her little tongue out and Graves laughed while Newt scowled.

“She is quite displeased with you.”

“All because I said she had to apologize for being a thief and she isn’t allowed to stab herself with a fork.”

“Be nice to your mother.” Graves teased as he lifted up his finger for Niffler to sniff at, turning it around in hopes to find something sparkly. Niffler then stuck her tongue out at it and then scurried down and away. “She is a brat.”

“Told you.” Newt said, feeling a bit smug that Graves wasn’t the favorite.

“Just go get ready.” He shooed him off and the plate hovered to his hand.

“Shouldn’t I help with the cleaning?”

“Do not worry about it. Just get ready so we can head out.”

Newt nodded slowly and then head back to his room and case, his heart pounding. “Don’t do this to yourself, Scamander.” He warned as he walked down his case, his inside too warm and fragile. “Don’t you dare do it.”

Chapter Text

Everyone within the office greeted Newt with an eager grin as they quickly surrounded him to ask about his night within the infamous Graves' homestead. All the Seniors poked and tickled at him for any information he could provide. This only lasted a few moments as Graves quickly intervened and had them all stuck to their chairs and quivering from his glare.

Newt was going to make an attempt to assist them and their unfortunate predicament...but he was unable to as Graves pulled him into his office without letting him set anything down. He shut the door, keeping them both away from the rest, which Newt found a bit odd. This was Newt's job, after all, and he had been assigned a desk so shouldn't he become more familiar with his co-workers?

Graves did not seem to believe so as he brought Newt to the couch and then went to his own desk.

“Here,” Graves handed over a file. “This is the first case I want your expertise on.”

Newt looked up excited and took the file to read it over. His smile turned into a bit of a frown the more he read. “What is going on here?”

“We’re not sure.” Graves pressed his hips against the desk, crossing his arms, looking at him. “But there has been a spike in underworld activity concerning illegal creatures. This past week we’ve already found three crates.” He then shook his head when Newt looked up hopefully, “I’m sorry. They were already dead when we found them. It was just parts.”

Newt’s face crumbled.

“I’m so sorry,” Graves knelt before him and place a hand on his knee. “We couldn’t get to them in time.”

“It’s not your fault. I’ve run into things like this before. It’s just…it’s always hard each time it happens.” His face was still slacked with sadness as he flipped through the papers and read over the information and stopped when he found himself at a list. “These are all the creatures?”

Graves nodded. “Yes.”

Newt began to nibble on his thumb, wet eyes narrowed. “Would it be alright to see the file about the Fraudulent Wands?”

“Last I heard, the Wand Permits is dragging its feet in assistance. You think they’re connected?”

“I believe so.” He pointed to the list, “These creatures here have some properties of magic to them, but not necessarily enough to create strong enough cores. These creatures are a bit easier to come across and, if sold quickly enough, can appear normal for a few days so the user is none the wiser. I think if you get the Wand Permits to dissect the wands a bit more, they’ll find a large amount of them will have cores to animals on this list.” He looked at Graves and frowned. “You knew that, though.”

“I suspected it, but no one else has the knowledge in concerns of these creatures like you do. I needed your opinion to see if it was the correct path to go on.”

“Well, I feel sure about it. However,” he continued to frown, his eyes wet. He quickly rubbed them harshly feeling so foolish and overly sensitive. “The Demiguises on your list—that is not for the wand. They don’t work the same way.”

Graves brushed some of the tears off his face, being far gentler with the act than Newt was. “What do you mean?”

“Anything of them can’t make a core for a wand. Not really. Not to mention they are far too difficult to catch in comparison to the other animals. Time is money for smugglers and poachers. It would not be worth going through the jungles in the East to find a creature that has the ability to see acts of the future and go invisible.”

“So why?”

“Their pelts can make invisibility cloaks.” Newt’s shoulders slumped. “They’re still technically frauds, true ones take years upon years to make or are connected directly to a powerful wizard. Like in the Tale of Three Brothers. Ah, do you know that story?”

Graves nodded, “Yes, and the Deathly Hallows. I remember Grindelwald had a necklace for it.”

“Supposedly if you get all three you create an ultimate weapon or you become one. Defeat death and are all-powerful. I’m not surprised Grindelwald was aware of it. Well, anyway, the pelts made from the Demiguise is not the same. It wears out over time.” He then frowned. “Have there been any stones found?”

“Stones?”

“The third Hallow. It’s a stretch, it makes more sense that these are smugglers who are attempting to make a quick dragot but perhaps it may be considered the smugglers are trying to sell the three pieces--”

“It may be a larger fraud then we originally believed. I admit, a group of smugglers trying to pull a big enough lie to sell off false Deathly Hallows seems a bit much.”

“Unless they’re connected to Grindelwald.”

Graves nodded slowly, “Perhaps, yes, unless that.”

“Why was he here in the first place? I can’t believe he knew about the Obscurus and that was the sole reason. Even if he had someone around here giving him information about it…Credence did not show true signs of it until this past year.”

“Because after China and Russia, we have the biggest black-market-trade around.” Graves blinked then shot up. “I’m going to contact their ambassadors and own Departments and see if there are similar occurrences happening there.”

“Seems like a shot in the dark given their size. They’re always going to have that happening.”

“But perhaps it’s become more noticeable. Because you are right, Grindelwald is slowly spreading his hand around the globe…but why come to America? He’s made it quite clear he looks down upon us. What was so necessary except to ensure this product was going out?”

Newt nodded, “What are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking that while the Deathly Hallow theory is a stretch other aspects are not. These wands aren’t being simply sold. They’re being integrated into society to be normal. Grindelwald is trying to create a war. It’ll make it easier for him to win if his enemies had broken wands.”

“Oh,” Newt nodded. “That is a reach too, but,” he cupped his chin in thought and nodded again in agreement, “I can see that. At least with the numbers you’re showing here. This is a massive amount of creatures.”

“I’ll bring this theory to Seraphina and see if we can see if it has any value.” He gave Newt such a breathtaking smile. “Thank you.”

“I-I didn’t do anything.”

“You did a lot. You gave me a new path to think about.”

“You would’ve thought of it soon. I have no doubt.”

“Perhaps,” he shrugged as he was not about to disown his own intelligence, “but I would’ve talked myself out of it. People feel I may be a bit too paranoid concerning Grindelwald. I do not want to believe I’m so influenced by what happened that every crime is connected to him in my head.”

“Well,” Newt looked down, twisting his fingers within each other. “Then I am pleased I could help you out with that.”

“You are really brilliant, Newt.”

His blush was neon once more and his heart started to hurt. That smile and those compliments were too much for him to properly handle. He wanted to hide in his case and try to bring sanity back into himself. He could not lead himself into suffering like this.

“I think you should save a compliment like that till after I actually help you.”

“You are far too hard on yourself.”

Newt shrugged as he pulled out a pencil and started making notes. “We can agree to disagree.”

“I’m not one to compromise in such a way.”

“Because you’re stubborn.”

You’re calling me stubborn?” Graves’ dark brows rose. “Really?”

“I think we can both be stubborn.” Newt huffed. “But I think you may be more so.”

“We can agree to disagree.”

Newt threw him a sulk. “You do not get to use my words back at me.”

“I think I can.” Graves smirked. “What are you writing?”

“Oh,” he looked down at his parchment. “I have doubts about my original theory, with the wands I mean. I want to look over the file and put in other ideas down before the theory is pursued further. Maybe if I think about it a bit more options it will be better? I don’t want you to look into something wrong because I did not understand the—”

“Newt.” Graves came back to his side. “Stop speaking like that. Please.”

“Like what?”

“Like everything you do or say is wrong.”

“Probably won’t be saying much then.”

Graves sighed and pressed his hand against Newt’s face. “We talk like this. All of the Aurors when we have a case. We sit and say whatever comes to mind, any sort of thoughts, so that we can find the best possible route. I feel ridiculous thinking Grindelwald is attached to this as well. I feel like I am wrong and saying something that will waste time. But that’s part of an investigation when we just start and have little facts.”

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Graves laughed, “Sherlock Holmes.”

Newt gave him a surprised smile, “You’ve read that?”

“Yes, learned a lot from it. No-Maj cannot use magic to solve crime or see the history use of a wand. They think brilliantly in solving puzzles of crime. I’ve solved many mysteries and cases with the methods from the stories.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I believe there is plenty to learn from them and how they function. I’m a bit surprised you’ve read it.”

“Every so often I need something outside of pure science. I have to agree with you about Muggles. The fact that they lack magic makes them absolutely brilliant. I find most of their books better in depth and quality.” Newt beamed, an excited expression coming over his face. “Like Charles Darwin and his theories. They’re brilliant. I’ve discovered some of his theories works within my own study and how so many creatures may actually be influenced not only by climate or terrain but their connection to magic. Some of our own beasts may once have been Muggle-known but evolved through years of magic exposure. Ah…oh, sorry. I…you don’t need to hear that.”

“Newt, we’ve talked about you apologizing.”

“Sorry?”

Graves gave him a humored smile. “I love hearing you talk about what you love. It shows so much about you. I care about your creatures as well. Hearing about them and your work are things I want to hear.”

“You say far too kind of things.”

He shook his head, “You’re just asking for me to prove you wrong about this kindness image you have about me.”

Newt threw him a meek but playful grin, “I think you’re just itching for a challenge. It doesn’t have to make sense, you just want to prove someone wrong.”

The Director just shrugged his well-defined shoulders and Newt had to look away briefly. Sometimes Graves’ sharp looks and masculine beauty took him by surprise. The man just looked so pristine and so good in his vest. “I certainly do seem to flourish with the prospect of one. And you, Newt, provide me so many opportunities for a challenge.”

Newt swallowed thickly at the hungry grin went back on Graves’ face. There was no doubt in Newt’s mind…it was the expression of a predator. It was how many of his creatures looked at a possible meal at the start of a hunt. Those dark eyes continued to drag themselves over Newt’s form, settling on certain areas, like his exposed neck, every so often and Newt could not suppress a shudder

“Cold?” Graves whispered, his tone smug.

“N-No, fine. Fine.” Newt shifted in his seat, his fingers digging into his file. He quickly put it to the side. He did not wish to think of the poor creatures and handle the look that made him breathless at the same time. “Uh…Uhm, y-you mentioned that you find there are plenty to learn from Muggles. Does that mean you’re against the relationship ban America has in place?”

Graves titled an eyebrow at him in suspicion, “I believe it is in place for a reason. We have a terrible history of No-Maj not understanding our kind and bringing religious support to execute us. As you’ve recently witnessed with the New Salem.” He scowled, “I have little trust in their judgment with others. You’ve seen how they treat those with darker skin of their own kind. The history of the Natives. How ignorant and spiteful they can be to those who prefer the company of their own sex. They treat their own with hate and violence. We cannot expect any different.”

“But aren’t you all being rather cruel right back?”

“Perhaps. But…Newt, America is just simply too large and still has too many problems in areas for that to work just yet. Perhaps after this Grindelwald-issue things could be reconsidered…but at the moment, I just do not see how it can happen.” He looked at him, “Why do you ask? You seem far more invested in getting rights for your creatures than anything regarding our relationships with the No-Maj.”

Newt tried to shrug in a nonchalant way. “No reason.”

“Uh-huh, you know,” Grave’s fingers touched under his chin and brought him back to focus. “You are a terrible liar.”

“I…w-what makes you think I’m lying?”

“Hmm,” Graves tilted his head and Newt shuddered again. “I don’t believe I’ll let you know. I’d rather not have you try to fix your signs.”

“That’s not exactly what I call fair.”

That same hungry look was still there. His smirk was sharp and his eyes dark; half-lidded and heavy with something that made Newt feel light-headed and small. It was so odd as Newt was usually one of the tallest in the room….but not with Graves. He had never once noticed that Graves was actually a little shorter than himself.

He was not sure how he should respond to feeling delicate.

After everything, from his expulsion to the loss of his parents to the start of his adventures, he’d done well in taking care of himself. He was a bit weak in concerns of human-interactions, true, but in nothing else could he be considered delicate. He’d traversed in the most dangerous areas of the world, survived attacks by creatures and men alike, healed himself, and had done so all on his own.

But Graves takes some of that strength away from him. For once in his life, he wanted to press his head on someone else’s shoulders and have them take care of things for a bit. To have the ability to stand with the support of someone else.

Theseus had always tried but he respected Newt’s independence and choice to keep himself at arm’s length so Theseus could make a life out for himself without the issues his odd brother brought him.

Surely Graves…no, he couldn’t. And Newt couldn't give the idea or hope any merit. Maybe. He wasn't sure. He was so confused. He needed to speak with someone about this mess.

“Director?” Someone knocked and Graves pulled back with his typical work-scowl on his face. “Apologies for any intrusion, but we just got the files from Wand Permits. They’re something I’d like you to see.”

He sighed and gave Newt’s hand a squeeze. “I’ll go see into this. You keep studying or go check on your beasts.”

Newt nodded slowly, his throat itchy as he watched the man leave the office for a bit. He allowed himself a moment to watch after him before the door closed and then looked at his lap and empty hands.

There was nothing for Newt to hope for.

-o-

The next morning was Saturday, which meant Newt did not have to technically come into MACUSA. He woke up early, wrote a note to his gorgeous as hell roommate, he went out, and then made his way to a quaint little bakery where he sat in a stool at the front counter and smashed his head against said counter and moped.

No customers throughout the morning paid him much mind. He was a regular and had a tendency of being unusual—the others just apparently accepted his bazaar ways.

Every so often he was slid a cream-filled pastry or tart, which he’d eat forlornly as he talked about everything that happened before the Goldstein sisters appeared. Tina shaking her head sadly at him while Queenie gave him a sympathetic pet or two. And also tried to feed him.

“So…you’re dating him?”

“I what…no? No! And probably never…ever, ever.” Newt groaned as he picked his head up from the counter and held out his hand for another treat.

Jacob obliged and pushed another cream pastry and watched as Newt ate it pitifully. “You’re living with him, he’s kissed you, you’re both calling each other by first names—he called you a pet-name! You’ve shown him the case, your babies like him, he’s feeding you, worried about you, and you’ve been warned that he likes you. You sure you’re not together? And I know you like him…why are you all mopey? Isn’t it a good thing?”

“Because there is no why he actually likes me, Jacob.” Newt muttered over the stuffed Niffler, sucking out the cream. “He can’t. I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

“Of course he does, Newt. You’re a likeable guy! Oh, here, try my new donut. I think it’s a pretty fine attempt if I say so myself.”

Face still stuffed like a hamster of the Niffler-puff, Newt took the offering and smiled. It was a little lumpy but it was shaped like his case, with little designs of the nuts to create the lock.

“A surprise inside.” Jacob nodded, grinning. “Now don’t you think you’re just being a little too oblivious? I mean, come on, I haven’t even seen the two of you close and I can already tell he likes you. A lot. Maybe almost as much as I love my Queen.”

“Aw, sugar,” Queenie squealed and practically danced over to him to give him a kiss on the cheek. Both of them swoon and giggled as they stared into each other’s eyes.

“Oblivious?” Newt sounded affronted. “I am not.”

“You kind of are, honey.” Queenie inputted with a smile. “But it’s ok. Just take your time. I know that mean voice is just being a right fright to you right now.”

“Voice?” Tina asked as she picked out pastries to bring in for her shift. Though a weekend, her normal time off, she offered to fill in for some overtime and wanted to look good to whoever manager was present.

“Insecurities.”

“I call it Phil.” Newt noted then sort of slunked back against himself, hiding in his shoulder as if he said something embarrassing.

“You have to name everything don’t you?” Tina scoffed with good humor. “Oh, how about some of those special croissants too, Kowalski? Maybe...five?”

“Can do.” Jacob went to work filling up the box. “Newt, just take it into consideration that this Mr. Graves has feelings for you. Speaking from someone in a very happy relationship.” He blew kisses at Queenie who caught them with a giggle. Newt and Tina shared a look, with Tina mouthing ‘ugh gag me’ earning a grin from her friend. “it sounds like he is as smitten with you as you are with him.”

“It just sounds impossible.” Newt went back to moping.

“Speaking of Mr. Graves,” Queenie gave Newt a pat on the shoulders. “Where is he today?”

Newt lifted up his head, sadly invested in the topic. “He should still be at home. I left a note saying I’d be out. I didn’t want to bother him.”

“I’m sure you’re not. For all you know he already went to MACUSA. He and so many within the Magical Security department are a bit addicted to work.” Queenie said, throwing a teasing look at her sister.

“Bad guys don’t take weekends off and neither can we. Although, I don’t think the Director takes off much of any.”

Jacob looked interested, as he always did when the Magical Congress, or anything revolving around the Wizarding world, was brought up. “How many do you guys have in your police-force? Is it like what we have? We the No-Maj?”

Tina paused a moment and looked around as if in fear of getting in trouble. She ensured everything was still and silent and no one was eavesdropping. She scowled when she realized she did have a slightly bigger audience than intended but ignored it—if they were interested she’d let them hear. It’s not like she wanted to make public announcement that she was aware of their existences.

“Please, Tina. I’m actually quite interested too.” Newt said, his eyes pleading. “I’d like to hear more about…about him. I just…dunno if I can ask and Percival believe me to be stupid. If I knew something maybe it’ll be impressive? Do you think maybe I could impress him? Please?”

The brunette sighed, shoulders slumped in defeat, and she grabbed a pastry to chomp in aggravation and stress.

“Fine.” She wiped her lips of powdered sugar

Instantly Jacob and Newt got comfortable, excited, while other eyes peeked around corners.

“Here is the fill-in.” Tina started, her tone like a lecture. “Graves has roughly a hundred Aurors within his department here. He is technically the head of all Aurors over the country, but his concentration belongs to those here and the mid-directors, or managers, over the sub-departments within each state. Each state has its own sub-department or a form of an Auror task force.”

Newt was officially impressed. He supposed it made sense, but it never clicked with him that Graves was the leader of all Aurors over America, not just New York.

‘He’s even better than I originally thought.’ He thought with a whimper. After all, what had he done with his life? Got expelled and was writing a book. Graves was so far out of his level it was painful.

“Now, you noticed how you most only see the Seniors?” At Newt’s nod she continued, “Because Grave’s office is typically off-limits. He handles so much that the other levels are provided with their own managers who report to Graves if issue arises. But,” she raised a finger as if in a class, “cases come from Graves—he picks which level its assigned to and then its up to the managers to take it from there.”

“Oh.” Newt breathed, in complete awe, as if he were learning something else about a fantastic beast. “My, sounds like a headache to deal with. He…he is amazing. Absolutely amazing.”

The group shared a knowing look at the fond, dreamy tone of Newt.

“Tell me about it. Easier to understand why he can be a grump.” She grinned. “Now, Graves never has more than ten Seniors and no less than three. Most all Aurors are just Mid, or simply known as Aurors, the rest are Junior. The Juniors cannot move up until they pass some tests and have at least three hundred hours of cases under their belt. And two hundred hours of paperwork. And another three hundred hours of training.”

The eyes on Jacob and Newt’s eyes were wide, Jacob was even jumping around a bit, “Ha! That is a lot of work.”

“Well, not just anyone can be trusted to handle intense cases. So, Mid Aurors are separated into three categories, numbered from One to Three. One is entry-level and Three is the level shy of Senior and is very difficult to get into. I think there are only fifteen in level Three presently. Only those of level Three are ever considered to move up to Senior and most all never do. Graves is highly selective in who becomes his Senior. They are his best of the best and his right-hand men.”

“And you?”

“Level Two. But after everything that has happened there is discussion of a promotion.” She grinned eagerly.

“Which may now need to be reconsidered given all the information you just shared with a No-Maj.”

Everyone squeaked and jumped, Newt very nearly tumbled off of his stool if strong hands hadn’t caught him.

“D-Director Graves!” Tina squeaked at the imposing figure who came out of nowhere. Again. “Uh…uh, you heard…everything?”

“Everything.” He said evenly, steadying Newt.

“E-Everything?” Newt squeaked as well remembering all the embarrassing stuff he had whined about involving the handsome man.

“Yes, Newt.” He reached over and bit Newt’s ear and growled, “And you are being quite oblivious.”

Chapter Text

As Newt tried to deal with the fact that he had lips, teeth, and a tongue against his ear, everyone else was panicking. Tina looked like she was about to simultaneously stuff more food in her face and vomit.

“W-What, a-ah, are you doing here?” Newt gasped, blinking to keep himself from drifting off into a haze. He jerked when Graves nipped his ear again. His knees were shaking and he grabbed to Grave’s shoulders to steady himself.

“Ensuring you’re not causing trouble. You’re not supposed to be out on your own.”

“I-I do not remember that being a requirement in this move.” Newt trembled and then squeaked when the hand on his waist trailed up and down on his hips and thighs. “P-Percival.”

Graves just smirked, nipped him again without any concern of the eyes around them, and then turned his face to the group. He glared at them, “I believe I need answers. Now.”

“I love him and won’t ever be apart from him again.” Queenie said, her voice strong as she wrapped herself around Jacob, glaring with tears in her eyes. “Please, Director Graves. He can’t…you can’t take him away.”

Without the attention, Newt was able to obtain some dignity and balance within himself again and instantly came onto the defense of his friend.

“He helped me out, Percival.” His voice was begging. “He became one of my only and one of my best friends.” Newt tried to explain, holding on to his arm in fear he was about to Oblivate the man.

“I could’ve sworn his memory was erased. At least that’s what’s stated in all the files regarding the case.” He frowned and most everyone took a drastic step back in fear. “Was any of that forged?”

“No, no!” Tina choked and waved her hands frantically. “None of us had really anything to do with the files except some minor interrogations that happened pretty much instantly after the fact. Kowalski here did lose his memory in the event.”

“And yet I see him here heavily involved with all of you.”

“No one did anything,” Newt swore. “So to speak. It was…well,” he looked over at Queenie and gave her a crooked grin. “Love, actually.”

Graves blinked in confusion, unsure if he heard right. “Love?”

“There have been cases, though quite rare, that love has magical properties that may actually override or deflect a spell. Again, not usual, and it is rarely with anything serious. Most are doubtful it would do much against a Forbidden Curse, but I wonder…oh, right, right. Sorry,” Newt gave Graves a meek smile. “Anyway, Queenie came for a visit and…and he just remembered.”

“Just like that?” Graves said in disbelief.

“Well it came a bit slower than instant. Uh, s-sir.” Jacob coughed and tried to hide behind Newt and Queenie when those dark eyes went to him.

“The more we appeared the more he remembered. Without prompting, promise!” Newt continued to cling to Graves’ side. “It was not his fault.”

“Love.” Graves repeated.

Newt peeked at him through his lashes, “A bit romantic, I agree, but I cannot find any other reason save for the idea that everything that happened was simply too grand to ever fully forget.”

“I did…uhm, I did do all of this, the designs I mean, before I met up with Queenie again.” Jacob said. “I dreamt of it all every night. I guess I never really forgot it.”

The Director scowled in his direction, pleased when the No-Maj flinched. He then looked around the quaint shop. Everything within it was a creature from Newt’s case. “All from a dream?”

“Y-Yes sir.” Jacob gulped, braving to face the fearsome Wizard. “I may be many things but I am not a liar. I tried to have my memory erased by the rain because I didn’t want to cause no trouble with anyone here. But I saw her and just…knew.” Jacob gave a meaningful look to Graves who had stiffened. “Everything about her was meant for me. Knew it the first time and then knew it all over again.”

He didn’t say anything but looked over at the pleading Newt and, as it was every time he stared at the man, all other thoughts were lost. His whole world became the meek redhead with pleading, kind eyes. Those images of Newt studying and laughing from the couch, filling up any place they lived in with warmth and affection and making it all a home burned into him.

Sadly, Graves knew exactly what the No-Maj was talking about. He wasn’t sure the memory of Newt would ever be stolen from him. And if it were, he’d know it was Newt for him each time.

“I had looked into possibly taking the memory away again.” Tina confessed. “It didn’t feel right to try again though. A mind shouldn’t go through so much.”

“And you didn’t think to report it to me?”

“I did. But…it just felt wrong sir.”

“Don’t be mad at Tina. I told her not too. I was worried--”

Graves stopped his pleads by giving him a chaste kiss.

Newt went red to the roots of his hair and his knees gave in from under him. Only Graves’ strong arm wrapped around his waist kept him from tumbling to the ground.

“Easy there, love.” He purred and had to pull him up again when the poor man very nearly fainted. “Goldstein, you are paper-pushing for a month.”

She flinched in preparation for more but peeked at him when nothing else came. “T-That’s all?”

“You want more punishment for withholding information from your Director?”

“N-No! No, sir! Thank you, sir!”

“You,” he pointed to Jacob. “You will not say anything. You will never mention the word magic around me or any other No-Maj. If I hear you have broken the trust placed upon you, I will be after you and you will not have to worry about a lack of memory because I’ll ensure there is no head upon your shoulders to keep a memory intact.”

“Of course, certainly understand. Completely. Will not do a thing to betray that trust.” Jacob saluted, pale as his frosting, and then turned to Queenie, whispering, “H-He wasn’t serious was he, dear?”

“Oh, he was very serious, honey. Very. But don’t worry.” She gave a pat to his pale and clammy cheek. “I know you won’t ever do anything like that so there is no need to fret.”

Jacob just let out a high-stressed laugh.

“Y-You k-kissed me?” Newt yelped, completely missing the change.

“I’d hope that would be obvious.” Graves gave him another kiss to hush him. “You have a way with food it seems, Mr. Kowalski. Any questions raised from it?”

“Just about my imagination. Nothing else.” Jacob promised, now fearful the Director would have him close down his shop.

Graves held out his hand and one of them came to him, he inspected it over closely. “Is this an Erumpent?”

“Oh, yes, funny thing about her. Tried to mate with me in the zoo. The…I mean, I mean,” Jacob coughed frantically when Graves gave him such a fierce glare. “I mean what? What magic? I don’t even know what that word is! No such thing! Ha! No, not at all. Oh, uh…ding-ding! That was my oven. Best check on my next batch!” And rushed to the back of the store.

“Do you have to glare at him?” Newt asked meekly.

“Does he have to retain his memories?” Graves retorted, keeping the man secured at his side.

Newt pouted.

“Then I get to glare at him all I want. He is a major risk and I don’t care about making friends with him.”

“He isn’t. I promise.”

Graves did not look convinced. He was stoned face but his hands continued to stroke and dance over Newt’s form. It was gentle but that feeling of branding washed over Newt once more. Silver magic was in his bones and his veins, wrapping around and playing with his own. It felt like Graves was in him, taking him apart but putting him back together. Like Graves realized there was a broken puzzle within Newt and was slowly molding everything to how he wanted.

And Newt enjoyed it.

He wanted more.

“I’ll give you more,” Graves promised softly somehow knowing what Newt wanted. “Just say the word and I’ll give you anything.”

Newt couldn’t handle it, he covered his face, trying to hide away from the stare and the words. He was too close to crying and collapsing. It was too much and he simply could not handle it.

“I’d rather you look at me,”

“Not until you’re fair.”

“I’m giving you what you want and I’m unfair?” He teased, ignoring Tina and Queenie, the first was looking everywhere else while stuffing her face with nerves while the blond was cupping her cheeks gushing over the sight of them. He didn’t care about them or what they thought. His focus was on trying to get Newt’s hands away from his face, laughter in his chest. “You’re going to suffocate yourself if you don’t pull your hands away.”

“I don’t need air.” Newt huffed stubbornly.

Shaking his head, Graves pulled the hands away and pulled them up to his lips. “I do hope you’re a bit open to what I’m showing you. Am I’m making it obvious for you now?”

“U-Uh…uhm…y-yes?” He still did his best to avoid the heated gaze.

“Good, and Goldstein, stop choking yourself on pastries.” He said, not pulling his eyes away from Newt.

“Somfy shir.” Tina mouthed over her large bite.

“Newt,” he looked back to the trembling man. “Are there any more secrets you wish to disclose to me before we move on?”

“Uh…er…ma-maybe?”

“Really? Now, why don’t you share it with me?”

“Well…uh…I…erm. You can’t freak out?” Newt urged.

Instantly dark brows narrowed and a serious look went over Graves’ face. “What the hell did you do?”

“It’s nothing terrible, just…uhm--”

“M-Mr. Newt, Jacob said you really liked the new item. Would y-you to try out this…oh.” A newcomer stepped out from the back, holding a pie in a baking sheet, and stopped at the door.

Graves looked at the young boy before he gave a glare to Newt, “Really?"

“You promised not to freak out!”

“I did not promise a damn thing.”

Credence looked at the situation and paled, “Uh…uh…” and then smashed his face into the pie. “Oh, I made a mess…I-I-I need to go clean this up!” and rushed to the back as well…or tried to if Graves hadn’t motioned his hand to drag the boy to him.

“Him too?” Graves grabbed the collar of Credence’s jacket, keeping him in place. “You’ve hidden the Obscurus from MACUSA? The one that was supposedly killed?”

“Just a little?” Newt tried and then sighed, “I didn’t want you to have to lie for your job or feel like you’re obligated to do anything. Oh, Credence, you got a little…here,” he took out his wand and brought out a handkerchief, wetting it, and wiping the boy’s face. “He’s not just an Obscurus, Percival. He’s a boy who is terrified after your MACUSA tried to kill him.”

Graves scowled at the scolding. “I wouldn’t have let it happened had I been there.”

“The Aurors ignored the command when they thought it came from you directly. It made me worried that even if you understood, others would react on fearful instinct. I didn’t want to risk his safety once I discovered he was alive.”

“And when did you discover this?”

“About a day after everything. I went back to where it happened and I found him huddled in the dark. He was injured and so I took him in.”

“And he’s been here? At a No-Maj bakery?”

“He’s been living upstairs in Jacob’s second bedroom as his wounds and well, his exhaustion healed. He’s been helping Jacob in the back.” Newt smiled at the boy after he finished up wiping his face. “He’s quite good.”

Graves used his free hand to rub his forehead and looked at the younger man who still looked panicked at the sight of him. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

“He really won’t, Credence. This Mr. Graves is wonderful and kind and won’t,” Newt was actually quite fierce with his protective glare, “do anything to you.”

“No,” Graves nodded, staring at Newt with a serious expression. “I will not do anything. Just…just no more surprises like this.” His head snapped up to the stairs just in time to see two girls do an about face and rushed back into their room. He covered his face and groaned. “His sisters?”

“Well, we couldn’t let them be orphans, could we?” Newt said, his voice hushed as if prepared for a screaming fit. “They lived on the street after that horrid woman died. That happened because of us.”

“It had nothing to do with you, Newt.” Graves said, his own voice falling soft and comforting.

“I could’ve done something--”

“Mr. Newt, please, it really wasn’t.” Credence begged, clearly unable to handle a broken Newt any better than the rest. He still kept his eyes away from Graves and continued to try and sneak off. He was failing quite miserably.

His lips were trembling. “But--”

“Mercy Lewis, help me.” He prayed behind his hand before he pulled it away. “That’s it though.” Graves warned. “Those three No-Maj and that’s all. No. More.”

Newt’s face snapped up to Graves in shock before he beamed, “I think I can keep that promise.”

“He, on the other hand,” he wiggled Credence, “We’ll need to inform the president about. I can,” he held up his hand to stop Newt’s concerns, “call in favors she owes me and have only a minimal amount of people know until he is ready to come in to get trained.”

“R-Really?” Both Newt and Credence gasped.

“You…you’d do that?”

“Yes. But there will be rules that I expect everyone to follow. And for you,” he released Credence to keep a hold on Newt. “You need to keep me in the loop with things. I can’t always do what I have done today, but I won’t know if I can or cannot unless you tell me.”

The nod was instant and there was such a look of open adoration and happiness on Newt’s face that Graves very nearly forgot how to breathe. All thoughts of the exhausting paperwork, the headaches from the president, and how many laws he was breaking was forgotten. From that one smile he knew he was doomed for the rest of his life. All Newt would have to do is smile in such an open way at Graves and he’d be ready to murder. As long as that smile was meant for him, all for his eyes, then he’d be willing to commit any act of sin without any remorse.

“Oh, here, uh,” the bright smile fell back to something shy as if realizing what was happening. “L-Let me go get Credence cleaned up a bit.”

Graves nodded, still feeling like something was numbed and forever altered within him.

He pulled Credence to the back, nearly stumbling and Credence panicking, asking if he was all right. Queenie just giggled as she went to manage the register though no customers have appeared…she got the feeling it had something to do with the love-struck brooding man.

“This is a mess.” Graves rubbed his face again.

“Oh, but it’s a good mess, Mr. Graves.” Queenie said. “You know it too.”

“Ms. Goldstein, please refrain from reading my mind.”

She just gave him a toothy grin, “Please, Mr. Graves I do not require Legilimency to see your feelings for our Newt.”

Huffing, he straightened his layers with a scowl on his face.

“Don’t be so disappointed in yourself. Letting your feelings show for Newt will only help you. Oh, and that was me reading your mind.” She teased with a wink.

“Ms. Goldstein.” He warned.

“She doesn’t mean anything by it!” Tina cried out. “She can’t always help it. A-And I think she was saying that just to make you flustered. I doubt your mind was read. Y-You’re just…just impenetrable! Truly!”

“Goldstein, that’s enough.” Graves pinched the bridge of his nose. “Is Newt aware that he can get whatever he wants?”

“No worries, honey. He doesn’t.”

He just continued to rub his head a bit relieved to hear Newt was not only oblivious to Graves ready to shove him into the nearest closet and shred his clothes off with his teeth, well that wasn’t a relief, but that he was also completely unaware that he just needed to bat his eyes and he had one of the most powerful Wizards alive eating out of the palm of his hands. It was such a blessing he was a sweetheart or he’d truly be worried about the fate of the free world. Newt could probably have a whole army at his beck and call.

Tina pressed her hands together to look at her boss seriously. Or as seriously as she could with powder and chocolate all over her face. “Here’s a thought. May be a bit crazy, but hear me out…have you ever considered telling him no?”

He glared at her, “I just told him no more No-Maj.”

“Good gracious, Director. That…that wasn’t a no. You’re literally letting him keep three No-Majs at his side because he was about to cry.”

“Fine,” He growled, willing to admit his faults. “I’m weak in regards to him. But looking at it from a legal standpoint, MACUSA owes an apology to that family. A massive one. We knew of the abuse, had ideas that Credence was at least a squib, and we did nothing after we thought we killed him. I’ll set up paperwork to ensure it’s legal.”

“And Kowalski?”

“I am a powerful, dangerous man, Goldstein, but even I do not wish to earn the wrath of your sister. As long as he is the only No-Maj in her life, she can do whatever she wants with him.”

Queenie just beamed.

-o-

“We need to talk.” Was what Graves said as he and Newt left the Kowalski Bakery, dragging the man into a nearby alleyway.

“Oh.” Newt gasped as he was pressed up against the brick wall. “A-About Cre--”

“Us.”

Oh.” Newt breathed out again, softer.

“I want you. I know you want me too.” He pressed his thicker body up against Newt’s and purred, “Are you willing to finally let me court you properly?”

Newt arched slightly against him. He’d never get enough of Graves’ body up against his. How it felt to have someone bigger and stronger pinning him. It was erotic, almost animalistic, and he loved it.

“Newt. Answer me.”

Gods, that demanding tone made him wiggle. “I-I…are you sure? I mean--”

“We’re not going down that road again. I know what I want. I want you. You.” His hips made contact with Newt’s own and they both hissed. “You’re beautiful and so bright. I want all of it. I crave all of you all the time.”

“I…I’m the same.” Newt tried not to whimper the confession out. He wasn’t sure if he could keep it all inside of him no matter how desperate he was to. But he wanted Graves to understand how amazing Newt saw him. “I want all of you too. You and your brilliance and strength. I just don’t see--”

“Then let me help you see. Fuck, I’ve had dreams about you since we first met. From just a simple, domestic life together to dreams about fucking you on every surface of my home and office. I feel desperate all the time. You,” he growled, his fingers running down Newt’s chest to the hem of his pants, coyly playing with the belt, and he un-tucked the white shirt. The easy access got him briefly distracted as his hands reached in to touch the skin. “You do this to me. No one else.”

Newt was a whimpering, shaking mess. “I-I…oh-oh…”

Graves’ knee went up in-between Newt’s thighs, grinding against his crotch and watched in rapture as the man kicked and arched, gasping and whining. “You’re gorgeous like this. How could you ever think you’re nothing but perfection?” He tugged at the top of the shirt, popping it open and wasted no time to press his mouth against the exposed skin.

“O-Oh, oh…P-Percy,” green eyes closed and the back of his skull hitting the wall. “Percival—oh hell.”

Biting the neck, Graves pulled back enough to speak, “You’re so sensitive. I’m barely doing anything and you’re suffering like this.” He gave a thrust and Newt’s hands clung desperately to his back, letting out a sound that could only be described as a mewl.

Pressing his tongue on Newt’s exposed throat, he dragged it up and nipped at his chin. “I swear, I am going to trace every single one of these freckles with my tongue.”

Newt legitimately sobbed and his fingers rose up to cling to Graves’ hair. “Please, Percy, please.”

“Anything, anything.” He slurred back, finding himself drunk off the sight and scent and sound of Newt. His Newt. His. The sound of that was too tempting and he sucked and bit harshly on the side of the neck, right under the jaw. He wanted Newt to carry his bruises, up where his coat could not hide it.

A jealous part of him wished they were doing this in England, within Newt’s own ministry, where anyone could walk upon them and see the beauty of Newt. To see what they had once rejected and exiled. He wanted Leta Lestrange to watch what was once her Newt, belong to someone else.

Mine,” he hissed and gave Newt another grind, their clothed groins rubbing against each other. “Yes? You’re mine.”

“Yes, yes, yes.” Newt continued to sob. “Yours. Please.”

He was precious like this: crying, gripping, and panting. The noises out of his mouth went straight to Graves’ already hard cock. Gasping himself, he pulled his mouth from Newt’s neck, his lips hovering centimeters away from Newt’s. “Do you want me?”

“Please, yes.”

“You want me to kiss you?”

“Yes, yes!”

“And more?”

Yes! Stop being such a prick.” Newt whined. “You’re not fair at all.”

“I never claimed I would ever be fair. I warned you,” he purred, his tongue darting out and traced over Newt’s pink lips, earning a squeak and a jerk. “I was not a kind man.”

“I’m believing you now.” Newt groaned, miserable. “I-I can’t keep this up. Either kiss me or-or Phil will show up again.”

Graves pulled back with a dark look, “I’d appreciate if you do not mention another name while we’re like this.”

“It’s just my insecurities. I’ve already been made fun of that I need to name everything. But fine, yes, no more, so please skip the teasing and kiss me. Or do something. Please, Percy…Percival. Please.”

“Anything.” Graves repeated again, his shoulders easing from their territorial tension, and pressed his mouth over Newt’s.

It wasn’t the simple, chaste one that took place in the shop. He dug his canine against the bottom lip, making blood rush to it. When he was no longer satisfied sucking he cupped Newt’s face and angled it back so he could spear the mouth with his tongue properly.

It took a moment of his thrusting over and over, dancing over Newt’s own tongue, for the shy man to start returning the movements. To have him move it so softly, testing the waters and his limit…to know Newt had probably never done something like this before, to have another thing belong to Graves alone…

A growl that almost did not sound human escaped his chest and he gripped Newt’s hips and brought him closer. Anytime allowed breath, Newt was lost in a chant of his name, switching from Percy to Percival, while looking to be lost in ecstasy. He started to thrust weakly back, reaching for Graves’ neck and pulled him for another kiss.

Graves continued to make love to Newt’s mouth with his tongue. He could feel the other man’s movements become frantic and noises escaping his mouth before he stiffened, arched, and gave out a cry that Graves happily swallowed down.

The high of his orgasm lasted a few seconds before he slumped against Graves, panting against his neck. He continued to nuzzle the stunned man, gently bringing him back to himself.

After a few moments, he kissed the soft cheek and pulled back.

“Are you fine?”

“I’ve ruined my trousers.” Newt gasped in an attempt to sound scolding. Truly, it sounded more like he was sulking pitifully.

“Then let’s go home,” Graves purred, pressing his face into the crook of Newt’s neck, “and clean you up.”

Newt whimpered, pressing his forehead against the man. “What was that?”

“Sex.”

“It was?”

“It doesn’t always have to do with penetration or being naked.” He kissed the corner of Newt’s mouth. “This was shared pleasure,” he purred against the soft mouth with the most kissable-lips he’d ever seen in his life. “I get the idea that you were quite pleasured, weren’t you?”

Newt whimpered and weakly arched against him again.

“Mhmm, yes, that’s what I thought.”

“But…but did you? I mean,” he coughed over his embarrassment, “did you…you know?”

“Climax?” Graves grinned at the adorable sight.

“Merlin’s beard, I can’t even say it.”

“Don’t you have a whole chapter of reproduction and sex in your book?” Graves teased without mercy.

“Yes!” Newt cried out, throwing his hands up. “B-But that had nothing to do with me! Or humans! Or…or anything like that. It was science. This…this was not.”

“Yes, it was more than that.” He helped him get steady on the ground. “And to answer your question, no I have yet to climax.”

Newt looked positively heartbroken, “D-Did I do something wrong?”

“No, love, no.” He kissed his forehead. “I was close. I need just a few more moments. But I chose not to. We can handle that once we’re home.” He smirked as he looked over Newt’s disheveled form. “Besides, I want to come over or in you.”

Percival!” He yelped, gaping and covering his face.

“Was that too much for you?” He asked, throwing him a cocky grin.

“It’s not funny.” Newt moped, sniffling.

“Actually, I believe it’s rather hysterical.” Graves gave him a kiss. “You’re quite pathetic.” He laughed some more when Newt tried to smack him. “Now, don’t attack your boss.”

“I told you that you can’t keep using that.” Newt tried to fix his hair and keep his shirt together.

“Have yet to hear a good reason why not.” Graves reached over and assisted with Newt’s clean up, trying to control his fluffy hair. “You know you can call me that.”

Blushing, trying to button his shirt back up, Newt threw him a confused look. “What?”

“Percy. You can call me that.”

“O-Oh. I…that name sort of slipped out when…uh…are you sure?”

“Yes.” Graves moved Newt’s hands away when he noticed he was putting buttons in the wrong holes and redressed him. “I do not let most use it, but I’d like for you to.”

“Well, t-that feels like an honor.”

Graves scoffed, trying to keep his laughter under control. “An honor to use my nickname?”

“Of course.” Newt huffed right back, sounding protective again. “It is. If no one else uses it that means it’s personal to you. You’re giving me permission for something very close to you. That’s an honor.”

“Oh.” He swallowed thickly and for the first time, in a long time, he felt his face heat up.

Newt straightened his back, looking at him the best he could. “P-Percy,” he cleared his throat, trying to get rid of his stutter. “Can we go home now?”

“Yes,” Graves nodded and pulled him closer. “Let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

By the time they apparated back home, Newt was desperate to give something back to Graves. Despite his own want to push Newt into his bed and ravish him until he cried again, he knew to take his time. Newt was the sort who’d be willing to move too fast for the pleasure of someone else.

Newt had been used too much in his life as is. Graves would not allow himself to be added to that list.

That being said, Graves trusted Newt’s judgment and if the man wanted a bit more for the day, and to alleviate Graves’ aggravation, then he wasn’t going to ignore his wants.

Still, Graves was pleasantly surprised with Newt’s eagerness. The younger man, with pleading eyes, begged to do something for Graves. The Director needed very little coaxing and gently urged the man to his knees and slowly unbuckled his belt. After their little moment in the alley and just the sight of Newt in such a position, Graves knew he was not going to last long.

“Let me know if you need to stop,” Graves breathed out.

He nodded, looking nervous and flushed.

“It’s ok.” Graves pushed his fingers through Newt’s hair. “Just take breaths and move slowly.”

With another nod, Newt shakily brought up his hands to finish undoing Graves’ trousers. His fingers grazed over Graves’ exposed abdomen and a purr came out of Graves’s chest. Once he felt the heat of Newt’s mouth around him he groaned out, "Newt."

Graves did his best to not thrust, he did not wish to make the man gag so early on in their exploration of each other, but was a difficult task. As Newt dragged his tongue around, made little moans and yelps, and actually looked up at him with eyes seeking approval Graves couldn’t help but give into some temptation and moved his hips.

Newt took it eagerly. His fingers gripped on to Graves’ hips for stability and to just touch wherever he could. He was certainly not the most experienced in doing this, but Graves had nothing to complain about. He was putting his all in providing pleasure and something about that genuinely warmed Graves, even within such a lustful situation.

“Take it slowly,” He moaned. “Don’t, sweet Mercy Lewis, take too much.”

Newt tried to make a noise of agreement but it came out more as a hum. Graves hissed out a curse, unable to hold back, and barely managed to pull out of Newt’s mouth as he found himself coming.

He took a few moments to catch his breath, petting Newt with adoration.

“D-Did I do alright?”

“Yes,” he took a sharp inhale, smiling down at him. “Yes.”

Newt was still so red as he returned Graves’ earlier favor by helping him redress and then wiped his face, looking a little lost as to what to do next. It took him a few moments before he was able to look up at him in all seriousness, “Weren’t we supposed to talk?”

Graves smacked his head against the wall. “You want to talk after that?”

“You said you wanted to talk about us before…well….everything.” Newt bit his lip and it was just such a tempting sight. “I just want to make sure I-I’m not missing something important for you and with all of this. With whatever this is.”

“Newt, stand up. We’re not going to talk with you on your knees like this.”

His knees were wobbly but he did as told.

“I told you before, I want to court you. I want you.”

“To date.” Newt clarified.

“Courting does usually entail an aim of something romantic. Such as dating.” Graves tilted a brow. “You really have never done this?”

“Not really, no. As I told Tina and the others, I am far more familiar with the wooing rituals of creatures rather than humans.” He shrugged and he brought out the handkerchief again to wipe his face.

“You need a shower.”

It took very little convincing after that to get Newt into the shower. And it was actually Newt’s idea, be it flustered and shy, to invite Graves in as well. He quickly retracted the invitation, afraid he overstepped boundaries, but Graves all but tackled his mouth to get him to stop fretting over the very concept that the answer would be no.

Like Graves was stupid enough to reject him.

Getting the clothes off was a bit awkward at first. Newt had no idea what to do or where to start. His fingers were shaking and he clearly had no training in the art of stripping. He very nearly fell three times during the whole session.

It was the cutest thing Graves had ever seen and he knew if he were twenty he’d already be hard again. As it was, he could feel the start of a swell—very early than what he was used to but one he wouldn’t make note of till later. He already got his way by coming over Newt’s face; he did not wish to push it any more.

Entering the sexual lifestyle took time and he did not want to frighten the giving man.

“Slower, love, slower.” Graves gently paused his movements. “One button at a time. I’m more than happy to rip your clothes off but I know you don’t have many replacements.”

“How do you know that?”

“Questions later.” Graves started kissing over Newt’s face. He almost imagined that the freckles tasted different than any other skin he’d ever had before. Newt was pure sunshine and honey and earth. “Fuck, you taste gorgeous.”

“Percy,” he sighed.

Graves went back to kissing his lips, his hands taking charge in removing clothing. He stripped himself of his vest and shirt and then went to Newt. With his experienced hands it took little time to get them nude.

He pulled back, looking down at Newt who was gazing at him in awe.

Graves understood the feeling. He had to stare at the slender form from his collarbone that was almost feminine in curves to his chest down, down, till he reached his toes. He was thin, but firmer with muscles than Graves had expected. Freckles were splattered everywhere from his stomach to between his thighs.

‘Oh, please, please be on his ass.’ Graves prayed, licking his lips hungrily.

But the lust only clouded his thoughts briefly before the discoloring and jagged marks finally clicked within his brain. He blinked and looked over his Newt once more, “You have so many--”

“Scars.” Newt winced as he tried to cross his arms, appearing embarrassed.

“No, don’t. I want to see them.” He pulled the hands away to get a proper view. There were so many, all different styles and sizes, but they all had a similar feature that they looked painful.

“They’re pretty ugly.”

“Anything but. All of these from your time with your creatures?”

Newt shrugged, “Of sorts. You have some too. From your own adventures?”

Graves’ fingers were busy tracing over a deep flesh wound wrapped around Newt’s shoulder. “Each from a case, yes. Only one from Grindelwald. It’s on my back from when he attacked me.”

With a brief moment of bravery flooding his system, Newt reached over and touched Graves’ chest. It was firm with primarily black hair on it running down his tight stomach and down…Newt looked back up, not quite ready to stare there just yet. He may have had it in his mouth just minutes before but he could only handle one thing at a time.

There were some moles along with the scars. One was on his hip and the other right under his left pectoral. Right above the mole on his hip was a scar running at an angle towards his groin and over his hip. Newt had to touch it in interest.

“Someone made an attempt at a Sectumsempra-jinx.”

“Those slashes are supposed to never heal.” Newt said, his voice catching his throat.

“They were piss-poor examples of Dark Wizards. They thought simply knowing an incantation and waving a wand would be enough. Hurt like a bitch, but it healed up easily.”

“Good. Good.” Newt swallowed, his fingers trembling.

“Not nearly as many as you.”

“Shows how good you are.” Newt said, smiling up shyly through his lashes. “It does not look like you get hit often.”

“Oh, I get hit,” he grabbed both of Newt’s hands and brought them up to kiss the knuckles. “Plenty get a lucky shot here and there. But rarely are they powerful enough to leave anything behind or leave me away from the desk for long.”

“I see…you have a tattoo?” Newt gawked, finally noticing Graves’ perfectly sculpted bicep and shoulder. It wrapped around it like a band, all solid black markings, with runes and then crawled up to his shoulder to create the face of a creature. Instantly Newt was upon it to decipher which animal it was. “Wait…this is a Thestral?”

“Yes.” Graves said with a smile.

“But you don’t have them here, right?”

“There are similar beasts but, no, the Thestrals are not natives to America. But my mother’s side is Irish. She took me to her homeland numerous times and I saw them.”

“You could see them?”

“Yes. I saw the death of my aunt, my father’s sister, when I was five. She got ill and passed on in the Graves Manor.” He reached up and brushed his thumb against the intricate ink.

“Why not a Wampus? Tina said that was your class.”

“I thought it fitting considering my family and the name Graves. We have a long history as being death-bringers, as poor omens, to some and protectors to others. We’re viewed differently to each person based upon what they have seen. Usually misunderstood, always intimidating, and reward those who provide trust and obedience.”

Newt nodded in awe at it. “They are creatures of the dark but are incredibly gentle.”

“Yet fiercesome.”

“Cannot deny that. It’s hard to understand something so closely associated to death.” He could not look away from the image. It was simple but stunning. “What are the runes and other markings?”

“The runes are protective charms. Chances were low I’d get a job with complete safety. It helps with poisons, some attacks, and enhances my senses.”

“You can do that?”

“Takes a lot of training, a lot of special ink, and knowing the right magic-folk to do so.” He brushed over it and Newt’s fingers. “I have to get it touched-up on every three years. But it has saved me numerous times.”

“Wow,” Newt breathed. “It truly is beautiful. Looks Native American influenced.”

“It is. They are one of the few who can do it and only some tribes will assist others with it. My connections run well.” Graves chuckled. “Come on, we’re talking about tattoos out in the cold while you still have my come in your hair.”

“What? I do?” Newt yelped, humiliated.

“It’s a good look on you. But it will be a pain to clean the more it dries. Come on,” he waved his hand and the shower turned on, steaming almost immediately. “I promised I’d clean you up and I rarely go back on a promise.”

“F-Fine.” Newt got in and started to shake again, as if he’d come to remember what was happening. “As long as we talk.”

“Of course, love.”

-o-

So, Graves occasionally did go back on a promise.

Very little talking happened in the shower. Once he started washing Newt’s hair and he started making those noises…well, he was only human. It led to a nice, long grinding session against the tiles and another orgasm from Newt before Grave finally had the view of Newt’s freckled backside.

He only got a few licks in before Newt wailed and came for a third time. It did wonders to Graves’ ego and he was eager for the day when Newt was ready for a true romp, where Graves wouldn’t stop till he wrung the weeping man dry.

But, that was another day. Presently, he was more invested in getting Newt comfortable and lounging in bed. It was still afternoon but his Newt looked a bit worn out from the orgasms. He brought the man into his large bed to hold on to him, pressing Newt’s back to his chest and for a few moments just listened to and felt him breathe.

“Are you alright?”

He nodded slowly and gave a sigh. “Yes. Still a bit wobbly.”

“Glad I got you in bed then.” He squeezed his arms around Newt’s shoulders, inhaling his scent.

“Don’t you need to go into work?”

“No. I was to take this weekend off to tend to you and ensure your new life here was flowing smoothly.”

“Really?” Newt looked back at him. “Tina said you rarely take any days off.”

“No, not normally. I haven’t had much reason or life before, outside of work.”

“Before?”

“Before you.”

“Oh.” Newt squeaked. “You haven’t d-dated or anything like that?”

“Nothing serious in about five or some years. A partner or two on occasion when I felt the need, but nothing and no one really did anything for me like cases. And now you.”

“I don’t…I mean…why me? How do I fit into your life like that? I don’t get it. Your cases are crazy exciting. You are respected and adored by so many. With your power, wealth, connections you could have anyone you want. What on earth did I do to get this attention?”

“Your kindness.” Graves lifted up Newt’s hand again, kissing and nibbling over the knuckles. “Your warmth. Your crazy interests and how passionate you are about them. How protective you are. Your intelligence. There is so much I could go on about with you. But each time I think of you, it comes back to your gentle warmth and how selfless you are. You sacrifice so much for others and just ask for the opportunity to continue on doing so in return.”

“I think you’re greatly over compensating what I am.”

“I’m not. I live in darkness, Newt. It’s my life. I deal with cruelty all the time. You’re the opposite of it and everything I could ever want.”

“But I’m not stable. Overlooking all my issues up here,” he tapped his head, “I feel the need to travel. I need to study and find all the creatures I can. Wouldn’t that be bad?”

“That you want to travel? No. That’s part of your life.”

Newt frowned, “But wouldn’t that be unhealthy for a relationship?”

“If we’re separated too often for too long, perhaps. But it would be just as unhealthy if I kept you from your travels. I know you’d spend more time of the year with me here and eventually I’ll retire and travel with you.”

Now Newt turned to look at him stunned, “You’re thinking about retiring?”

“I had no plans on staying the Director till the end of my days. I’m not staying for the wealth. I’m the heir of the Graves’ estate after all. I’ve stayed out of love for the job and a need for something to excite me.”

“You think you’d be happy traveling with me?”

“I know I will be.”

“Oh. Well…I…this is serious for you?”

“Very.”

“A-Alright. I-I’d…I mean, well, if it’s fine by you, I’d like for it to be serious as well.”

“Asking for permission to be serious after I just told you I plan to be serious. Love, you will ruin me one day with how precious you are.”

“Sorry.”

“No apologies for that. It’s a good ruin.” He kissed the top of the curly top. “Do you feel like we discussed it enough?”

“For now, I think…maybe. I’ll probably have many concerns and questions. I’ve never done this before. I just want to make sure it goes well and I…I just have a tendency in messing up and I do not want that with this.”

“Take it slow, listen to me, and talk to me when you have concerns and it’ll work out. I promise.”

“Making a promise after already breaking one seems a bit risky, Mr. Graves.”

Graves laughed, “You’re the one who tempted me.” He nibbled at Newt’s ear. “You making those noises, dripping wet, in my shower was too much to handle.”

“Don’t blame the victim here.”

“You find me some evil fiend that lured you off your pure path?” He growled and tickled Newt’s sides, grinning when the man jumped and wiggled. “Oh, so you are sensitive everywhere.”

“D-Don’t you dare. You do that and you really are an evil fiend.”

“So glad I am finally making my point in that.” He nipped him again and then went to nuzzling into his neck. “Your scars…where did you get them all?”

“Oh different places, different things, and different reasons. This,” he pointed to his shoulder, “in the war. My Horntail got hit, right close to the heart, one of the few weaknesses of a dragon, you know. He was delirious with pain. I was trying to heal him when he grabbed my shoulder and threw me away from the wound. He didn’t mean it, of course. Was so sorry once he was a better state.”

“This?” Graves thumbed brushed over a smaller scar on his abdomen.

“Ah, that…well, you’ll find I have a few scars from animals, most from them injured or when I didn’t understand what makes them comfortable.” He held up his hand as proof. “Usually the arms are where they strike. This was human.”

“What?”

“Wizard, a squib, but he found a business in poaching. I may have confronted him when he was hunting unicorns, they’re quite endangered,” he shook his head in disappointment and crippling sadness, “I was able to free the one he trapped but it took me a little bit of time as he had items bought from the black market that makes some unlocking spells difficult. Managed to turn but he stabbed me.”

“Stabbed you…what the fuc--”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve had worse. I knew it was coming so I was able to get punctured in a less than dangerous location. Had to knock the man out, which I do feel bad for his jaw…may have broken it,” he winced, “but it worked out. He was arrested, the jaw fixed, and the unicorn actually came back to help my wound. It was amazing.”

“Worse.” Graves repeated, his tone tight. “You’ve had worse than being stabbed.”

“Mhmm, yeah, just part of the business.”

“I think I may retire tomorrow and never let you travel alone again.”

“Oh, don’t be over dramatic.”

“I’m worried that you’ve had worse than being stabbed and you call me over dramatic.” He made plans to give a firm scolding to the man at a later date. A panicked reaction to a stabbing was not over dramatic. “What else?”

“Here,” he pointed to his neck where Graves noticed a very slim white line. “Someone tried to slice my throat.”

“I think I will be unhealthy and lock you up for the rest of your life.”

“Percy,” Newt rolled his eyes, “really.”

“I don’t think I deserve that tone when you just told me someone tried to slit your throat.”

“That was rare. That close of call with poachers rarely happens. These just got the upper hand for a bit. It wasn’t that bad, necessarily, I had just run out of some potions to help it heal fast at the time.”

“And why were you out of healing potions?”

“The baby Nundu needed it.”

Graves closed his eyes and counted back from twenty. When he and Newt finally marry, he would ask for nothing but hard drinks as gifts. He got the feeling he would desperately need them.

-o-

“Were you snooping around before?” Newt asked hours later back within the case. He was mixing liquids together in a vile. Both were black until they made contact with each other and started to turn a glittering gold. “That’s how you knew about my clothing?”

“Yes.” Graves was apparently a man who carried little shame. He was sitting against the ladder, comfortably clothed, as he watched his Newt preform his art. “I was curious about you. But you left your wardrobe open anyway.”

“I wasn’t expecting anyone to take a look at my clothes.” Newt threw him a look. “Is this a detective thing, a Director thing, or a Graves thing?”

Graves laughed, “How about all three?”

“I never thought the Director of Magical Security would be a snooping brat.”

He just continued to laugh, “You’re quite cruel with your names for me. Didn’t I bring you to orgasm about three times today? I’d hope for some gratitude for that.”

Newt went red again, “I-I’m happy to thank you for it. But I’m also more than happy to sprinkle in names that you deserve.”

“I’m waiting for something a bit more romantic.”

The redhead’s shoulders started to shake in his shoulders. “Also never took you for a romantic. You keep surprising me.”

“Can’t make things boring for you.”

“I can’t imagine you doing that.” Newt said, his smile gentle and comforting. He held up his project, looking at the concoction with serious eyes.

“I’m an old man who works in politics. Trust me, it can be boring.”

“You’re not old.” Newt chuckled. “And you do a lot of good and interesting things in your work.”

“Nothing like this,” he motioned to Newt. “What are you doing?”

“Ah, this here,” he pointed to a large tube that had one of the black goo in it, “is contaminated Dragon blood.”

“Contaminated with what?”

“Dragon pox.”

Graves’ attention snapped into narrow focus. “You’re handling Dragon pox without any protective gear?”

“It’s alright. It’s a different thread. Can’t transfer to humans.” Newt hummed to himself. “I studied a bit of Gunhilda’s potion. Her cure for humans is outstanding but this study here is to go directly to the source and eradicate it from Dragons. Hard to catch it if it no longer exists in the carrier.”

“You…you’re looking to eradicate Dragon pox.”

“It’s not my main project but it’s something I am interested in. I started picking it back up again after I met Tina and Queenie and heard how their parents died.” He sighed. “I don’t think I’ll be able to do much. My focus is the book and spreading information on as many creatures as possible. But I’d hope any information would be useful.”

“You’re studying to eradicate Dragon pox.”

“Yes? Well, I mean, a little.”

“Mercy Lewis, Newt. How can you not see it?”

“Well,” He looked a little hurt and insulted, “it’s not easy to find a cure--”

“No, Newt, no. Just…” He looked at Newt with such open adoration and admiration, “how you do not see how amazing you are. It just baffles me.” He ran a hand through his hair and was surprised to find his fingers trembling slightly. His stomach was flipping and his throat kept constricting.

‘How has this man not been stolen?’ Graves thought with something akin to awe. ‘How is he all mine?’

“You’re staring.” Newt hunched his shoulders again and put his project to the burner. He watched as it simmer and bubble slowly and his fingers clenched and unclenched at his pants.

“There is a lot to stare at.” Graves smiled. “You’re lovely.”

“D-Don’t say things like that.”

“Why not?”

“It just…it’s too much.” His voice came out like a breath.

“Negative or positive?”

“I’m not too sure.” Newt said honestly. He kept his stare away and his cheeks were alit with another blush. “You just…you just keep staring at me and saying things and…and I don’t know what to do.”

“Why not just enjoy it? You leave me wishing to wax poetry about you,” Graves snorted. “Nothing I’m known for, I can assure you. You make me mindless and floating just by staring at you. You have me under some sort of spell.”

“How can you say these things without batting an eye?”

Graves shrugged nonchalantly. “Just how I was raised, I suppose. I see no point in feeling shame or embarrassment for expressing how I honestly feel. Besides, knowing you do not hear this, be it yourself or others, makes me want to tell you everything I see.” He smirked. “And you’re blushing enough for the both of us.”

“I want to throw something at you and everything in arms reach is dangerous.”

It was a good enough threat and Graves took pause to consider it for a moment. But only for a moment. Teasing Newt was far too enjoyable to bother with the risk of disembowelment or such.

Besides, something about all of it was pleasant. It felt like he rarely was allowed to take part in anything like this. And it had been years since he last flirted and it was once a talent he had been proud of. It’d be a shame to avoid practice.

“I have to say, I don’t believe I have ever had someone try and cure a disease after sex.”

Newt puffed out his cheeks. “First time for everything I suppose.”

“I find it incredibly attractive.”

“You do?”

“Very much so.” Graves stretched his back, picked himself up, and walked over to Newt’s station. If Newt felt comfortable studying with no protective gear than Graves felt no immediate danger. It had been too long since he had last touched the beautiful man. If only there was not actual Dragon pox three inches away, Graves would feel tempted to bend the man over and rut against him till the damned desk broke. “Of course, you working in general is something to be admired.”

“How is anything I’m doing attractive? I’m standing over blood, sweating, and muttering to myself like a loon.”

“And all I do at my job is glare at papers and peoples and growler. And I know you’ve stared at me before. What’s so attractive about that?”

“How do you know everything?” Newt’s voice was a whine. It was miserable. He could not get away with anything. “I did not believe I was staring that much.”

“It was enough.” Graves trailed his fingers around the cute ear that poked out from the curls. “I know you believe yourself to be a well accomplished liar but you do not hide enough from me.” He kissed the shell of the ear. “It’s like you with your creatures. You look and know from their subtle body language. I do exactly that.”

“Then how is any of this fair?”

“Planning on lying to me, love?”

“W-What? No…Well, not really. No.” Newt frowned as he looked thoughtful. “I certainly do not wish to do so.”

“I certainly do not wish to lie to you either. I suppose both of us may have to exclude the other do to the nature of our work. But I mean more so about hiding men from me.” He grabbed Newt’s hips and tugged him closer. “I’ll be blunt--”

“Oh, you haven’t been so far?”

Graves rolled his eyes in good humor and went back to hooking his fingers in the hoops of Newt’s pants and tugged roughly. He gave Newt a kiss and found the lips still tasted so good. Perhaps it was just in his mind, as they usually just tasted just like skin, but he swore it had flavor and it dripped down into his belly. Addiction was a vice he was not famous for, but he was already a prisoner to this taste and feel. He bit the bottom lip and then felt the need to apologize as he gave it a gentle suck.

Newt just sighed and opened his mouth, more than happy to allow Graves in to do what he wished.

Graves took a few minutes to enjoy the shared moment of delicious suffocation and obsessive need. He felt like a teenager again, insatiable and consumed with more. It was better than the first time he snuck a swig of booze, better than winning house cup, better than sitting in his chair for the first time as Director. This man was better than all of it.

They pulled back simultaneously, pressed their foreheads together, and shared air. A brief smile was shared before the game continued.

“Don’t interrupt love. “ He bit the lip again. “Now, I’ll be blunt; I am a jealous man.”

You get jealous?”

“We all have our faults, Newt. Mine happens to be jealousy. I do not appreciate the idea of you around others. You with others who wish to do this,” his thumb rubbed a circle over Newt’s hipbone, “with you.”

“No one else wishes to.”

“Plenty do.”

Newt shook his head but did not say anything else against the argument. Instead, he took time to play with Graves’ shirt, touching over bare skin as well, and looked over the exposed chest. He searched for one of the scars again and found he enjoyed the feel of it. To know the man was still alive and they somehow found each other.

Most all of the past few days felt like something out of a dream or a storybook. How did they get to this point so quickly? How were they here to begin with? Newt knew he should not ask, should not push for answers on something concerning relationships, but he needed to know. He needed to understand. He needed to see what Graves saw and maybe understand.

He had so many things lodged in his throat but all he could manage out was, “Are we allowed to sleep together before we properly date?”

Graves threw his head back and laughed. This man was simply impossible and it was so lovely. “Ah, Newt, I hope you never change.” He could not remember the last time he had smiled and laughed so much. “I do not believe I have ever needed to explain such things before.”

“Sorry. I just…I just wish to know what we’re doing exactly. Normally it’s the courting, then dating, then sex, then marriage…or something like that. I know you said serious I just…want to know exactly what you mean by serious.”

“Ah, I see.” Graves tipped his head to give him a proper comforting kiss on the forehead. “I wish for a relationship. Not just something for physical fun. I want you more than sex. I want what we have for each other right now.”

“Then…then how about,” he swallowed thickly and needed to get something brave and something for Graves outside of his chest. There needs to be something more from his side and to show that this man was completely adored as well. That he was not the only one who felt jealous and unsure over the idea of someone else around. He’d never fight Grave’s choice should he finally decide to find someone new, someone better, but the idea certainly caused nausea to roll within the confinements of Newt’s belly.

He wanted to work on this relationship. This, whatever it really was. No matter how long or short it was. But if that was the case he needed to start asking better questions than simply ‘why’.

“Could we,” he tried again, choking the words out, “…could we possibly go out then?”

“Mr. Scamander,” Graves’ lazy grin came back to his face, “are you asking me out?”

“Don’t make fun!” Newt groaned and covered his face again. “A-Am I doing it wrong?”

“I’m not.” Graves coaxed as he kept them tangled together. He tried to bring that dreamy smile back on Newt’s face. “Not making fun. I would not do that to you. You’re doing everything right. I’m actually quite proud of you for doing so.”

“You sound like a parent.” Newt averts his eyes and squirms a bit in discomfort.

“I’d rather not be seen as such.” Graves looked concerned, “You really do not get the compliments you deserve.”

“Oh Merlin, please do not start this up again. I do not want you to feel like you need to pity me or-or that you need to be nice because of--”

“Newt,” Graves halted the talk quickly. “My words are not that and you know it. Everything I say about you is something I truly feel. This is something we need to work on, don’t we.”

“That isn’t your responsibility.”

“You’re mine and therefore, yes it is. Or I want it to be. You do not have to do this alone. I do not believe it fair for you to fight that voice, Phil was it, when it’s so unfair and brutal to you.”

Newt’s lips quivered in a smile, “You didn’t laugh at me for the name.”

“I find it just something that you do, naming it, and I seem to like most everything you do. But I am more displeased of the voice’s existences rather than the fact that it has a name.” Again, he said such things so fluidly; no smile or sign of embarrassment. He spoke it all as if it were just a simple truth rather than something heart wrenching.

The blunt personality calmed something within Newt. He always found humans tried to play coy or maneuver around their words. One statement could mean something else and Newt could never figure it out what everything truly meant.

Graves’ expression was full of promise. “Let’s go out tonight.”

Newt blinked, a bit confused, “What?”

“To help you start seeing something more to yourself with this. Our date. Let’s go out tonight.”

“Oh.”

“Do not sound so excited there, love. Weren’t you the one who said you wanted to go out?” Graves replied, teasing again.

“I do! I do! I just…I did not expect you’d want to tonight.”

“Why not?”

“I…I don’t know.”

“We’ll get that figured out then.” He kissed his forehead again. “Do you have much left to do?”

“Ah, just a bit. Some writing and to finish feeding and check-ups.” He tallied everything up within his head. He could not rush with anything but he found himself quite eager about the date. He assumed that was a good thing.

“Do you still wish to go out?”

“Yes!” Newt could not help but nod eagerly. “I do wish to. Please.”

There was a smile back on his face. It was comforting and made everything feel a bit better. Graves had such a beautiful smile and what a thing to know that Newt was one of the few who was allowed to see it. He wanted to do what was necessary to keep the man smiling and happy.

“I’ll get started on everything right away.” Newt promised as he went to get his work started.

“You do not have to rush.” Graves said. “Why don’t I help you with the feeding?”

“You’re alright with that?”

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself before. I’d love to do it again.” Graves promised and smiled. “If everyone would accept my return.”

“Yes! Yes, of course. Everyone loved you.”

Everyone?” Graves teased again.

“Well, not everyone.” Newt grinned. “I do believe the Fwoopet is not pleased with your arrival at all.”

“Can’t please everyone, I suppose. But I will defend myself if that pink fluff flies at my face again.” Graves warned as Newt approached him and wrapped his arms around Graves’ torso. He pulled the slender man back against him. “I’m serious.”

“I’ll warn her to hold in her anger.” He couldn’t help but giggle. “I guess you’re not the only one who is jealous.”

“How exciting.” He drawled. “Rivals.”

“I’ll protect you from them.” Newt showed all his teeth in his happy grin.

“What a hero.” Graves flicked Newt’s ear. “Let’s get started.”

“I thought you said not to rush?”

“Guess you’re really the one luring me away from the pure path. You’ve made me lie multiple times now.” Graves laughed. “Let’s go so I can treat you right and make you know this is more than fantastic sex.”

“But…we can still keep that?”

That hungry grin came back, “Oh yes. We can for sure keep that.”

Chapter Text

“So, is it still pretty biased in England?” Graves noted as they sat down at their table. The moment the Director had shown his face within the romantically lit restaurant he and Newt were escorted to a table instantly while served water and brought over a drink list.

“What do you mean?” Newt tilted a brow as he decided to keep to just the water for now. He feared what would happen should he get tipsy and lose some inhibition around the gorgeous man.

“With the pureblood-nonsense.”

It took a moment for Newt to understand and then rolled his eyes, “Are you saying America is any better?”

“Within our own magic community? Yes." Graves said with a smirk as he ordered himself some Muggle-brandy.

“Ok, so, yes, there is still this weird…nonsense about pureblood families. But isn’t everyone here purebloods if you don’t snog Muggles?”

“No and you know it.” Graves smirked as the man pouted. “There are plenty of squibs we look after and many locations away from bigger cities accept No-Maj to Magic relationships. We accept them too. We just fear the No-Maj and their nasty little history. Those of England tend to throw around names like it makes them better. I’ve heard stories about the Malfoy family and the Blacks.”

“Oh, them.” Newt snorted. He went to school with two of the Malfoys. The older sister was a right doll. She was a shy girl who stuck close to Newt and Leta along with some other misfits on occasion—she excelled in Herbology and medicine, which was something not right for a pureblood heir. The younger sister was a monster who did anything she could to make hell for anyone not in her prestigious circle. “They’re not all bad. But some members…yeah.”

“Is it true they push for incest?” Graves asked, sounding truly curious. “To keep the blood in the family?”

“Not for the past fifty years or so. Although not necessarily outlawed as of yet, it is not something society really accepts any more.”

“The Scamander's are not pureblood.” Graves noted.

“No. But we are a rather old family. But I have many Muggle ancestors. I am connected, through my mother’s side, through a pureblood family of the Weasley's. A few times removed. But their reputation has started to go downhill because of their many friendships with Muggles and lower-class families. Many within the family are quite enamored with Muggles and their ways.”

“Baffling.”

“Percy, Muggles aren’t these horrible monsters. They humans, like you and myself, only without magic. We all work pretty much the same way except with that.”

“I m very much aware.” Graves snorted. “Except they are quite a bit behind on the accepting category.”

“We can agree on that. But there is so much to learn from them. I think we depend on our magic too much at times.” Newt confessed as he played with his salad fork. He worried this was a topic that would chase a man like Graves off. “They’re accomplishing so much in their medicine and their technology that it’s almost magic. I feel far behind them in that regards.”

Graves was silent a bit and then slowly nodded, “I think I can admit to agree with that.”

“Really?”

“We added elevators into MACUSA once we learned what the No-Maj were doing with it. We were still doing a sort of floo-network.”

“The Ministry is still using that.”

“Magic is a part of us, ah, thank you.” He paused when the waiter brought Graves his drink. They took a moment to order their food before they went back to their conversation. “Yes, but it also is something else. If we overuse it, it’s like we’re abusing it. We’d exhaust ourselves. We seem to think magic is in unlimited surplus but that has never been proven.”

“It hasn’t been. There haven’t really been any studies either. I mean, it’d make some sense. Everyone has different magic, different talents, and different levels. Wouldn’t that mean some might have a different limit?”

“I’d hope not. Or if there was, a way to expand it.”

“I feel like there would be. I think you and a few others are prime examples of that.”

Graves smiled. “I do feel like that was a compliment.”

Newt laughed, “It was. I…I can always feel the magic rolling off of you. When we touch to when we’re just around each other.” He looked through Graves, studying him. “It’s like I can almost sense or taste or feel it. It’s silver I think. And it’s always spinning and working. It shows how powerful you are. You said that magic is separate, but I think with you it’s not. You and your magic are together.”

Graves went on to study Newt right back. His face serious as he reached over and touched the freckled hand. Newt shuddered as a feeling of silver tendrils brushed through him, making his lust bubble.

Without mercy, Graves rubbed his thumb over the knuckles as he dark eyes kept Newt pinned. “Love, have you ever looked into the fact you may be an Empath?”

Newt blinked, “No?”

“Perhaps you should see a Seer about that. You’re incredibly aware of what a person is and how they are feeling. It’d make sense you could see through Grindlewald's disguise and how you do so well with animals.”

Newt looked down at their hands. “Oh.”

“That’s astounding if you are. Empaths aren’t common.”

“They’re hard to diagnose.” Newt sighed as he clenched Graves’ hand back. “I’ve heard of Muggles discussing things concerning the mind. It is still early on in the discussion over it. Most are using the term to describe those who are self-absorbed and prefer to be alone as they show--” He winced. “Sorry.”

“Love,” Graves warned.

“Sorry. I mean. Not sorry?” Newt flushed and looked down a bit embarrassed. “Anyway, I wondered if I was that.”

“You’re not self-absorbed.”

“I am. A bit. With the connections. I think of myself and my survival within a human scenario. I don’t…I can’t communicate well. But I think so much. There is always so much in my head and I make people feel weird or uncomfortable. I rarely make happy.”

“You make me happy.” Graves said, his tone rough but soft. “And the Goldstein sisters and all the people you weren’t allowed to keep but now can.” He smiled when Newt threw him as sheepish grin. “You are different. I won’t deny that. And yes, sometimes different doesn’t hit with some people. That doesn’t mean anything about yourself but them. You can’t please everyone Newt.”

“It feels like I can’t please anyone.”

“Newt, you pleased me a lot this morning.”

“D-Don’t you start that here! We’re in public!” Newt snapped, face red again.

“Why not? I’m just using it as an example.” Graves grinned like a predator. “You pleased me a few times this morning. Twice at least.”

“Percy,” Newt begged, holding his face. “You’re horrible.”

“Just showing that your argument is wrong as you have pleased a lot of people, mostly myself…and only myself in such a way.” His tone changed slightly. It sounded dark and tense. “No one else but me.”

“Y-Yes.” Newt nodded, keeping his eyes down. “Only you.”

“Good.” He kissed Newt’s hand. “But you do. You make people happy.”

Newt blushed so hotly. “I-I’m happy to hear that.”

“Now, why not tell me how you’re enjoying New York. You’ve been here for about two months now?”

“About to be three.” Newt gulped his water quickly. He felt hot and uncomfortable with how Graves was staring. It was hard as the man gave him such sweet smiles to lustful eyes. He could barely keep up with the attention. “It…has been well? I feel like I haven’t done much within the city if I am honest.”

“Have you gone to the theaters or cinema?” Graves asked. “Done any sort of annoying sight-seeing?”

“That would entail crowds. Which I do not do well with.”

Graves smiled, “Then I’ll have to show you some of my places. I don’t believe they’d overwhelm you.”

“I-I’d like that.” Newt said, peeking at him shyly.

“You’re beautiful like that.” Graves said and smiled when Newt whimpered and blushed. “Apologies, love. Strange how I keep forgetting you flush so easily.”

“You’re a horrible person.” Newt muttered.

“I still got you. I must be doing something right.” Graves gave him the lazy grin that always made Newt sigh and groan. “I think you need to get used to this, Newt. Because I am not about to let you go any time soon.”

Newt sniffed and looked around as if he wasn’t struggling to breathe. “I hope so. I don’t want to let you go any time soon either.”

Graves gave him a watery smile. “Then we’re in perfect agreement.”

-o-

“More crates.” Graves sighed as he flipped through the file on his desk. “Three found on a No-Maj ship from Africa this morning.”

Newt’s face fell as he listened in. After a weekend of nothing but kisses, dates, and a good bit of fondling this was the last way he wanted to start his week with Graves. But work and duty, no matter how heartbreaking, called and Newt was not about to let this horrendous crime continue.

“No more leads?” He inquired.

Graves shook his head. “So far the crates have appeared on different ports in New York and from vessels coming from different locations. We’re cannot figure if they’re coming from the same location and they’re hiding it or they really are from different places.”

“The animals themselves do come from different places and magical communities. But how long have they been dead?” It was such a tough word to bite out but Newt managed without a stutter.

“None can figure an exact time. No one but yourself is used to these creatures. And no, Newt, I’d rather you not see the decomposition.”

Newt huffed at his lover. “I may need to if we want to solve this.”

“That’s not fair to you, love.”

“None of this is fair but if I remember correctly I was hired on as a consultant. I need to consult to do that job.” He reminded him. “I hate it, Percy, I do. But these things aren’t new to me. As I’ve told you, I’ve handled things like this.”

“You’ve shown me as well.” Graves touched over Newt’s shoulder, remembering all the scars he carried from his adventures. “I still do not wish to be responsible for having you see this.”

“The poachers are responsible. Not you. You didn’t do this,” he motioned the files and the list and pictures of the creatures. “So you don’t have to protect me from it.”

“I want to.”

“Thank you.” Newt smiled lovingly at the man. “But you don’t have to. I can handle it. So, please,” he reached over and touched Graves’ hand. “Let me help you out with this.”

Graves’ face went warm and gooey and Newt returned the look but then had to look away. A few days of sex wasn’t enough to get him out of his normal habits though Graves was doing his best to use sex as a mental medicine. Newt had to admit; he liked these experiments for mental medicines. He was very willing to continue on with them and see if they do help.

“So,” Newt smiled in his playful way and gave Graves a pat on the cheek. “Let’s get to work, hmm?”

“Have you ever been told you are gorgeous when you want to work?”

“No, I will say that is a first.” Newt laughed. “I do think someone else has said I looked good working on Dragon pox cures though.”

“He has very good taste then.” Graves kissed him, his tongue rolling over parted lips. His large hand cupped the back of Newt’s skull, his fingertips massaging against the curls and skin.

Newt gave off a happy, pleased sigh against the mouth. Graves dominated the kiss. He was growing very addicted to the taste and feel of the mouth against his own. Of smelling the aftershave, the taste of toothpaste, and the pain when Graves decided a bit was deserved. Newt found himself touching over his shoulders and the back of Graves' neck, feeling the cropped hair tickle against his fingers and have the broad chest keep him protectively in place.

Drunk was certainly one way on putting it. Newt thought perhaps he was more on a high, like those in opiate dens, from the attention. Every bit of the attention was something Newt was craving more and more with each passing minute. There were times, dangerously, he almost forgot about his creatures.

What power Graves had over him. Just a curve of his mouth or a small movement of fingers against skin and Newt was a pliable mess for Graves to do whatever he wanted with.

It was fascinating.

And burning.

And Newt never wanted it to stop.

But eventually they needed to pull back, though neither seemed thrilled with the idea. Graves continued to provide kisses over his face; his fingers gripping just slightly under hurt and it made a shudder go down Newt’s spine.

“You are distracting.” Graves growled.

“You’re the one who kissed me and got us off topic.”

“Your fault.”

Newt just laughed. He appreciated these moments and attention. It was nice to have this to grip to when he remembered about the case and the crates and all the animals. It still burned him to know there were people out there harming these innocent creatures but wrapped around Graves he felt something sure within him that Graves would help resolve it. Graves would handle it all

He pressed his forehead against Grave’s shoulder and sighed. It felt right to be pressed up against him in such a way. It was nice to have such warm, strong arms around him and just feel like everything would work out.

“Are you sure about this?”

“I want to help out with this case.” Newt said seriously. “I want to make sure these animals aren’t harmed any more and that you get any assistances needed.”

Graves sighed, gave him another kiss, and helped him up. “Fine. Let’s go see what you can discover.”

-o-

Newt wiped his cold, sweaty face with his sleeve as he pressed his back against the wall and closed his eyes.

“Love,” Graves pressed a hand against Newt’s cheek, his thumb brushing over the soft roundness and freckles. “Are you alright?”

“Fine.” New answered with a kind smile. “It never gets easier.”

“You shouldn’t have come in there.”

Newt shook his head, “No, no, I’m fine.”

“You’re pale and shaking.”

“It was not a pretty sight.” Newt said, looking at the door that hid away the bodies of the creatures for evidence. It was horrible. The skins and bones with some dried blood…he did not want to remember it but there were some ideas now around his head.

“Love,” Graves kissed over his face. “I want you to sit down and let’s get you something to drink.”

“Percy, I’m fine. We should get back to your office and discuss what was in there.”

“Only if you sit down and drink something.” He smoothed the curly hair back, his expression that of worry. “We do not need to start on this right away.”

“Percy,” Newt repeated. “I’m a consultant, remember? I work here and with you. I shouldn’t be babied from doing my job.”

“I can baby you all I want. I’m the boss.” Graves practically sulked.

Newt rolled his eyes. “You’re ridiculous.”

“You’re mine, Newt. I protect what’s mine.” Graves noted, his tone completely serious.

“You’re overprotective.”

“Don’t care.” Graves kissed him again and it still tasted so good. “You’re sitting and drinking, you understand?”

“Yes, yes. While we talk.”

“Fine, fine.” Graves teased back and kissed Newt’s forehead and brought him through MACUSA, hand intertwined with Newt’s own.

“How on earth do you not care what people do or think or say? “ Newt asked softly, allowing Graves to drag him around in what was both romantic and controlling. Even holding hands, his lover still looked mighty impressive and fearsome.

“Why should I care? I’m doing what I want, not bothering anyone. I don’t even care over what anyone here says or does, especially when I do not know them. Besides, I’ve always been through hell multiple times. I’ve run out of fucks to give before I was twenty.”

Newt laughed in surprise. “What a way to think.”

“I hope to get you to that point. You care so much what unworthy swine think. You’re perfect, Newt, and shouldn’t care about any of these,” he motioned to the hustle and bustle of the MACUSA headquarters. There were many stares and whispers but everyone steered clear at Grave’s growler, “people think.”

“I suppose. I just,” he shrugged, “do. I don’t want to cause issues for anyone.”

“Because you’re too kind.” They stopped at the elevator and Graves gave a nod to the House Elf, “to Magical Security.”

“Please.” Newt inputted.

“Right, please.” Graves nodded.

“Mr. Scamander doing good for Mr. Graves. More polite.” The Elf nodded in approval.

“Guess that means that Mr. Scamander needs to stay around to ensure I remain that way.” Graves noted back and Newt went red once again.

“You flirt.” Newt muttered shyly once they were out of the elevator.

“I will not deny that.”

“Of course you won’t.” Newt sulked.

“O’Brien,” Graves said with his usual scowl in greeting. “Get Newt something to drink.”

“No, you don’t have to do that.” Newt sighed.

“He does if he wants to stay on my good side.” Graves said then nodded to O’Brien. “Newt went to study the corpses. I want something to calm his nerves.”

O’Brien didn’t seem upset about getting shooed for clerical duties and he just saluted. “Monicaaaa, want to accompany me to the cafeteria?”

“No.” The witch said, flipping through a file. Her nails were still sharp and metallic and looked ready to draw blood.

“I’ll buy you an ice-cream.” O’Brien cooed.

“Done.” She moved her boots off the desk, tossed the file behind her (earning an eye roll from Graves), and stomped over to him. “Touch me and I rip out your jugular.”

“Rawr. You are so attractive when you’re homicidal. OW! My neck! Monica!” O’Brien yelped.

Newt watched them go and shook his head. “I now worry about his health. Both mental and physical.”

“I gave up my concern years ago. O’Brien is just a lost cause.” Graves pulled him back into the office and sat him on the couch, ignoring Newt’s glare. “You wanted to talk?”

“Yes.” Newt straightened up, trying to look professional. “For the most part, it was as I thought. A good chunk of those creatures were used for wand cores.” He frowned, but tried not to let the other man worry or fret so he pushed on. “But it looks like other things were being used as well.”

“Yes?”

“Yes, there aren’t really wands that use kidneys or livers for wands. Maybe for some of the frauds but most of them don’t have any properties to make the wand last long enough to sell.”

“What are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking it’s possible this is still connected to some of our original theories, concerning the big ones with Grindelwald and such, but I am more confident that this is a large scale smuggling ring. Perhaps they are making sells to followers or trying to help support Grindelwald’s cause but I have doubts that’s what they’re all used for.”

“Why?” Graves looked interested.

“I bet he and his organization do use the black market for funds, but I have doubts on him running something like a smuggling ring. He’d more or less be a buyer or a contact. It takes a lot of time and effort to run one of these things and I just don’t see him having the time. And for it to pick up after he’s been imprisoned? Even with others who have power in his circuit that wouldn’t make sense after the loss he suffered. After what happened here, he’d need his people to lay low for a while and move without notice. Nearly double-digit crates in two weeks,” Newt waved the file around. “That’s a lot of time, effort, and money. Not to mention it would make no sense to bring the animals here. It’d be in Europe. Closer to his home base.”

Graves nodded. “So you think he has nothing to do with it?”

“An order? Perhaps. As I told you before, this is a massive amount of creatures and all of them can serve some purpose. But I made contact with Theseus over the weekend and there have been no found similar shipments on England’s soil. Not even around some of the other locations either. Nothing more than the ordinary that is.”

“Still, that is a large smuggling ring. We’ve had issues with them in the past but…but this is bigger than I have seen.”

“Maybe word is getting out about the golden opportunities America holds? You said yourself that America is massive. And with its borders with Canada and Mexico, trade could really be lucrative.”

“A trade?”

“It’s one thing I wanted you to look into. See if there has been any notice fluctuation of creatures on your territory. Are the numbers of Wampus disappearing growing or falling? Things like that.”

Graves paused and looked thoughtful before he looked over to his desk and his sketch Newt gave him. “Like Frank.”

Newt nodded, “Thunderbirds are native to America. While the animal trade and black-market is nothing new, it was something else to see a Thunderbird in Egypt. I thought it was just one unlucky creature. Now I’m wondering if a bigger black-market-trading system has started up between countries.”

“We’ve rarely paid attention to the population of creatures, but give me some time and I can make contact with some different colleagues and connections and get some information.” He crossed his arms and looked at Newt, “But you found Frank alive. These are coming in dead.”

“Which makes me think the ones coming here are for other uses. A kidney of a Demiguise doesn’t do anything for a wand but if you have blood issues rumor is that drinking a concoction with it down will help clear you up.”

“Medicinal purposes?”

“Perhaps. Maybe even as a scam. Sell enough of the pieces to Muggles, get them talking about this new, amazing product that cures stomach ulcers and in three month’s time you can just use berries and rodent intestines and no one would care.”

“Just pay for a few crates, get the business rolling, mass hysterics do the rest.” Graves nodded slowly. “No-Maj have a tendency of falling into herd mentality. If just a few say it works, no one else will say otherwise. They’d believe it would work too.”

“I think we need to look into the different markets around New York. Both Muggle and Wizard. See if there seems to be a bigger quantity than normal. And see if vendors are promising elixirs that work like magic.”

“You know how many vendors, both kinds alike, say that?”

“Shit loads.”

Now Grave had to laugh in surprise.

“Yes, sorry,” Newt smiled. “But yes, a lot. Unfortunately that means your Aurors are going to be doing a lot of legwork. Also, see if you have anyone that can watch the ports.”

“Already have three.”

“But have them look for something else besides crates. You’ve interfered with a few shipments already but,” Newt’s finger tapped the file. “What you showed me today was not the whole shipment.”

“What?”

“We saw some dried forms, sure, but that is only one way to transport these creatures. You can only do so much with what we saw. There are other ways. Some species were missing bones. Others eyes. And there was far to little signs of blood in the crates and over the bodies.” Newt said. “If these smugglers want success and know how to do so, they wouldn’t put all their money in one box.”

Graves blinked. He hadn’t known that.

“Look at ports in Washington and California. Get in contact with Canada and Mexico. My guess is they’re slipping in different types of creatures, all in different ways. Here, we’re getting some parts, dead, and separated because these ports are far more heavily guarded. There may be live shipments in other locations. And perhaps even missing bits coming up in other locations or coming through different types of ships.”

“That…well, that is brilliant. I will get to that.”

Newt smiled a bit at him. “If we can find any proof of Grindelwald’s involvement we can send the proof to England and add it on to his sentence. Hopefully a few more crimes would get him on the death-sentence.”

“I’m surprised you’d want that.”

“I don’t, not really, but Grindelwald is a very bad man. He’s done some terrible things and I want that stopped.”

Graves nodded and ran his hand through the red hair. “What else did you see?”

Newt scowled, “I think, unless the crate has living creatures, the crates needs to be left alone. Seen if there is any way to get a tracking spell on it. Or just have someone find the crates and follow it. Or something. I don’t think anything will stop just by picking up the crates. These types of people…” he frowned and his fists clenched over his pants. “They do not give up. There is too much money in this business. They’d simply move their location if you bother them too much and find other ways to bring it into the city.”

“Undercover work.” Graves nodded. “I can get Redburn on that.”

“I think I need to be assigned a position with it as well.”

“No.”

“Percy.” Newt groaned.

“Absolutely not. You’re not a trained Auror.”

“I’m a trained smuggler-fighter.”

“Not under my watch. You’re not doing it Newt. If you’re on the field you’re with Weiss or myself at all times. You’re not going undercover.” Graves crossed his arms, settling the issue.

“I can handle it though.”

“You’re not just going out on a high-stakes, dangerous mission within your first month of work.” He warned. “This is something Senior Aurors or Level Three will work on. People who have worked as a group before. Who are trained as a group. You’re trained as an individual, if you can call running into dangerous training,” his eyes narrowed, still peeved about Newt’s history. “If you ever want to do solo missions or one without myself present, you go through training like everyone else.”

“What? But it sounds like that’d take years!”

Graves grinned at his victory. “What do you know, so it would.”

“Percy.” Newt tried again.

“No.”

“What the bloody hell?”

“Don’t try to use your dirty mouth to distract me.”

Newt blushed and covered his face. “You’re impossible. You can’t just flirt when I’m mad at you.”

“If it gets you flustered, I sure as hell can.”

Peeking through his fingers, Newt gave s sulky glare to his partner who was just smirking an egotistical smirk. It was painful and so attractive and all he wanted to do was smash his mouth wit his own to get it to stop. But Graves would take that as a reward for his bad behavior and Newt had learned not to enable bad behaviors with all his babies.

Of course, he never wanted to snog his babies (ew, they were his children!) and he certainly wanted to snog the life out of Graves. Badly.

“You thinking dirty thoughts to match your dirty mouth, Mr. Scamander?” Graves purred.

Newt flinched in his seat, maneuvering his legs as he felt himself growing uncomfortable. “Don’t you start.”

“I think I started some time ago. You’re fault.” Graves breathed, his mouth all of a sudden close to Newt’s once more.

“You can’t blame me for you not paying attention to your work.” Newt whimpered back, his words mouthing against Graves’.

“Oh,” Graves slurred. “I think I can.”

The next kiss made Newt sigh in absolute pleasure. He pressed his palms against Grave’s face, finding it slightly scruffy and it made his skin tingle. It made things start to melt off. Everything started to feel right within him. Everything was balanced. For one Phil was keeping his loudmouth shut and in his place was nothing but “Percy, Percy, Percy.”

His slender fingers went through the black hair, tugging a bit and was pleased when Graves gave off a noise of pleasured agony. It made Newt feel something ignite within him and he wanted to try and have Graves make more of the sounds.

“Sir!” O’Brien burst in. “Got you guys some drinks and snacks and, oooh,” he stopped at the sight, his eyes sparkling. “Guys! They’re tonguing each other in here! Told you they’d get together over the weekend!”

“Weiss,” Graves called out in a dangerous voice as he glared at his obnoxious Auror. He then waved his hand and O’Brien’s wand, along with the food and drinks shot over to him. “He’s unarmed. Do a practice session. Now.”

O’Brien paled and behind him, her face covered with ice-cream residue, Monica Weiss started cracking her knuckles with a wide, creepy grin on her face. “Can’t go against an order, can I sir? Come along. Let’s see if I can perfect my spell to pull organs out of the anus.”

“NOOO!! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” He wailed as Weiss grabbed him and yanked him out of the office.

“Merlin, out of the anus?” Newt covered his face.

“She is quite talented in interrogation.” Graves said nonchalantly as he handed over a glass of water to his love.

“With that threat? Yeah, I don’t doubt it.” Newt could only imagine Weiss coming into an interrogation, smacking her lips on some chips or cookies, her feet on the desk, metallic nails glinting, and promising to pull necessary organs out of the anus. That would get people talking instantly. She could probably get Grindelwald to talking.

“She is the best for a reason. Here, drink and eat and we’ll get back on topic.”

Newt smiled, taking the offerings, “You sure we can manage that?”

Graves just threw him another grin. “I don’t know. Let’s try.” And then he kissed Newt again

Newt smiled against his lips. “I do believe you’re failing.”

“A Graves never fails.” He muttered and decided to shut up Newt’s teasing by dragging his tongue on his lip. “Now, stop distracting me or I’ll put your mouth to better use.”

Newt shuddered and blushed and decided kissing back was the better route to take lest another nosy Auror slipped in.

‘Almost perfect.’ He thought, thinking of the case. ‘And once we settle this it will be.’

Chapter Text

Two weeks went by incredibly fast.

It was a crazy concept to think about. It had been almost two weeks since Newt first set foot within Graves’ apartment as his new homestead. It was weeks filled with kisses, dates, and quite a bit of fondling. Newt rather enjoyed learning the proper way to make Graves shudder.

Of course, Graves was still far superior in that regards. Newt had suffered from many spine arching, toe-curling, and mind-numbing orgasms throughout the few days and it had been brilliant. As of yet there had been no, goodness it got him flustered to just think about, penetration…but Newt knew it was coming and he was eagerly awaiting for when they both thought that next step was ready.

In hopes to do well, Newt had gone so far to speak with Queenie about it. He had no doubt he’d be the one who was pinned down and taken, and that alone got him clinging to something to stay standing. He had no desire to discuss it with anyone but he at least wanted some idea and Queenie was a smart dame who was well versed in the ways of bodies and romance. She had been giddy to share what she could though she urged him to speak about it to Graves.

Graves had urged for open communications…but Newt hoped to save himself some embarrassment. Of course it’s not like he didn’t understand sex. He might be a bit naïve and oblivious but he wasn’t that much. Although not as often as so many other boys and men, Newt had an occasional urge he’d take care of. But before he met Graves he hadn’t had any desire since he was twenty-five, a few years prior. He was not against sex, as Graves loved to prove, but he just never felt anything if there was no person he had feelings for. And growing feelings for a person was just as rare. In his life, now including Graves, he summarized he had about four crushes in total.

But Graves, Newt understood very early on, was not just a crush. Although they may act like lust consumed teens ready to hide in a corner to grope, this was not something so simple and instinctual as that. This was deep and powerful and all consuming.

Newt knew, deep down, Percival Graves was the one for him.

What he wasn’t sure of is if he was the one meant for Graves.

The man clearly had a line of suitors. He was gorgeous, powerful, intelligent, successful, wealthy…well, needless to say there was a checklist human’s looked for in a perfect mate and Graves marked off almost all of them.

Sure, he got the feeling Redburn wouldn’t look often at Graves given the fact he was a man and Newt was positive she liked humans with a little more…women in them. Probably preferably her…as she liked to point out to Newt during a drunken night.

Yeah, he was quite sure she would never be competition given the way she was throwing eyes at every dame within the bar last week.

Newt also knew that regarding that same checklist he was very much lacking. It was unusual to have two people such polar opposites become what they were. How hands were always in desperation to be close. Everything was about skin on skin and sharing heat and…

Newt snapped back into himself with a shake of his head. He’d never been so distracted before in his life. To be fair, he rarely had to work while concentrating on anything else. He and Theseus were very close but they also had a deep understanding on how they both worked. They preferred letters, Howlers, and the occasional month-long reunion. They did better alone and they loved the others appreciated it. With their parents dead and any other family members not interested in Newt or only using Theseus for his status it was very easy to concentrate on their loves: work.

Now, Newt had to deal with a gorgeous man in his life and multiple friends on top of his work and his beasts. It was a headache, perhaps a wonderful headache, to balance everything for the first time in his life.

But, to Newt’s proud surprise, he was handling it despite the moment or two where he got lost in thinking about Graves or the case or HIS case and it got a little bit much. But it was fine.

It was more than fine. It was bloody brilliant.

Still, there was just too much to do and think about.

With a sigh, Newt tapped his quill against his papers and scowled. It was hard to feel romantic and happy when there were people out doing such horrendous things to these wonderful creatures. There was far too many. In the past two weeks there had been two more crates found and talk from California was that there was some suspicious smuggling happening and their different markets, both Muggle and Wizard, had seen a big boost in certain beast-based medicine.

He knew so many had the ideas that some of these beasts had healing properties, and some of them do, and therefore had a big business. But there were so many other different, less harming ways to get those items.

“Do you need a break?” Graves asked from his workstation.

“Hmm?” Newt looked over and then shook his head. “No, I’m fine. Just a lot to think about. Smuggling is such a difficult crime to find evidence for. There are just far too many trails to ever make some proper sense of what comes from where.”

“I hate to say Wizarding Murders can be easier…but they really can be.”

“Because of the personal magical residue and the history left in the wand.” Newt nodded in agreement as he rubbed his forehead. “Without witnesses a smuggling organization is difficult.” He flipped through all the new files they had received that morning and tried not to look miserable. This was his fifth file and he still had six more to go.

“Do you need anything to make it easier?”

“Maybe twelve of me.” Newt sighed. “I’ve done multiple smuggling cases on my own but I’m always on the field and it isn’t usually as big as this one. All your Aurors are asking the right questions but I’m not seeing anything here that catches my attention.” He said as he looked over the interview process.

“That is one of the most bitter parts of this process.” Graves said patiently, used to the wait and the feet dragging.

Newt, however, was not.

Squinting and rubbing his eyes, Newt finished the file and went to the next one, quickly reading through and making notes. Another interview, this time with one of the docksman. He was on duty for three of the deliveries but there had been at least ten found. Weiss didn’t like him but there was nothing for her to prove anything other than instinct. It might have hurt his image when he tried to flirt with her.

Five pages in he was growing bleary eyed over the whole process and how the docksman, named Jimmy, was drawling in great detail about this third shift. How nothing appeared out of ordinary, everything that was scheduled arrived on time, and anything that was unexpected was thoroughly looked through. The only thing he found were two little cases of Acromantual in a captain’s quarters that were then proven to have papers and was there for anti-toxins as they had come from South-Asia.

Newt paused and then reread over the statement:

“I saw these two things in his medicine drawer. Looked suspicious, I thought. It worried me cause I took a glance and just knew it was from an Acromantual. Well, since you all told me to be on the look out for beast stuff, I thought I’d point it out. You know?”

He read over it a few times and then went to find the man’s background history. Very basic education. Got most of his schooling and training through home schooling. Came from a long line of Wizarding seamen.

Newt frowned, “Percy, this gentleman here,” he got up and handed over the paper. “What do you know in regards to his knowledge?”

Graves tilted a brown and looked over the sheet and then handed it back over to Newt. “Only what is said here.”

“What did his family do on the sea?”

“Primarily spices between America and Canada. They rarely went out too deep into the ocean.” He gave him a look. “Why do you ask?”

Newt flipped back to the page that caught his interest and pointed at the passage.

Graves read over it and scowled. “What about this?”

“Do you know what an Acromantual is?” Newt asked, pointing to the word. “Can you pick out their venom in a vile within a Wizard ship? Do you know you can milk them for venom? And do you know their venom is worth at least three hundred Galleons?”

“I did no--”

“How did he? And how did he know by just one look?”

Graves looked up at him and then at the sheet before he cursed and grabbed his coat. “Come along Newt. We’re going to have another interview and I want you present.”

-o-

The man, Jimmy, was not someone Newt pictured for the name like Jimmy. It sounded sweet and nice and small. This man was not.

He wasn’t burly by any means but he was thick in the torso and arms. His skin was tanned and peeling in some areas from the many years spent in the sun. His teeth were all there but a little yellowed and his face slightly bushy but he wasn’t holding a beard…it looked patchy throughout his face. He was as tall as Newt but as big as graves and it was a bit intimidating.

“We had just a few more questions for you, Mr. Noble.” Graves said, keeping Newt behind him and Weiss. “As you know a few more crates have been found and we were hoping for your assistances.”

The man shrugged, “Can do what I can but I dunno what else I can tell you. I wasn’t here for that shipment.”

“Yes, yes, we know.” Graves waved away the concern. “That’s not what we’re here for. We found some new evidence in concerns with a co-worker of yours.”

He blinked, “Really? Who?”

“We’re unable to disclose that at this time. Just rest assured he’s not dangerous and at the moment all we have is some suspicious, nothing concrete.” He nodded to Weiss who had a notepad and quill levitate to take notes. “We’re curious if anyone has set off warning bells to you and why.”

Jimmy hummed and cupped his chin, “Well, I can’t say anything for sure, especially since I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“That’s one reason we don’t want you to know the name. We want to look a bit more into him without bias. If you mention him we might have more proof to go after him.”

“Hmm, ok, I see. Well, there are a few. One is Brian, he’s more paperwork. He looks over things and what comes in and goes. He could do things the easiest.”

Weiss nodded and her quill continued scribbling. Despite the loud sounds of the port Newt cold hear it and the woman make noises.

“Then there is Hugo. Foreigner. From Russia or something. They work for cheap but I don’t trust’em. Can barely understand a word he’s saying most of the time. And don’t these people do big in the fur trade?” He asked as he made a pointed look to Graves. “They do bring in tons of crime, don’t they? Wouldn’t surprise me the least about him.”

“Mhm,” Graves made no indication what he was feeling. He just nodded as if he was paying attention. “Anyone else?”

“Yeah, yeah.” He listed three more men that were very general points that sounded a bit more against them as a person than any sort of suspicious behavior. One who cheated at card games and supposedly had connections to the mob—normally would be a good place to check only that Graves had already checked that gentleman before and had disproven him as a subject.

“Ah, Anthony. Italian. Another foreigner. Guess better than some of those Irishmen.” He tilted a brow to Newt as if wondering if he was Irish with his hair.

Newt cleared his throat and allowed his accent to be a little thicker than normal. “Please do continue, good sir.”

Weiss snorted and Graves’ lips twitched briefly before it fell back into his solemn, apathetic expression.

“Hmph, guess Englishmen are better. Anyway. Anthony, he was talking about things that were rather interesting. You know.” He tapped his nose as if he had smelled something suspicious. “Talking about things like teeth and bones his grandma used and how good they are for joint aches.”

“What kind of teeth?”

“Well, there were things about monkeys but I know he meant something else.”

“What do you mean? What else could he mean?”

“He talked about them being white with blue eyes. That’s not normal in monkeys, huh?”

“Not normal, no. But not enough for there to be concern that he’s connected. Unfortunately the regular monkey is something used for some medicines and potions. Why are you so sure it wasn’t a monkey?” Weiss said, tiling her head to look oh so innocent. It was hard to believe it though as she still looked angry.

“No, but we all know he’s talking about a Demiguise, right?” he asked, motioning to all of the group. “That’s the perfect description of it. And it makes sense. The things can do a lot, right? Heard loads of stories about them. Sounds like it.”

Graves shrugged, “I don’t know much about these creatures. I’ll need to look up a bit more about that to make sure but I know little about beasts. I just want to get this business out of our streets. It’s taking dragots from so many Wizards and I’d like that to stop.”

“Mhm,” he nodded, “Ok. Well, I just think that he was talking about that. He’s also been wearing nicer things than what he should have. He doesn’t have the ability to get a pocket watch to show off. He’s for sure your guy.”

“Because you are convinced he was talking about a Demiguise?”

“Yes, yes sir. Sure of it completely.” Jimmy nodded. “Yes. I’m positive he was talking about a Demiguise.”

“Hmm, anything else he mentioned that might be in relation to the crates?” Graves continued.

“Yes, yes.” He nodded. “Oh yes, there was something else. He mentioned something else about creatures. A few times now that I think about it. I thought he was just, you know interested in that…dunno why a guy like him would be into beasts. But he did. Something about Doxy and Abraxan and Hinkypunk.”

“Really? He mentioned all of those creatures by name?”

“Yes sir he did.” Jimmy nodded.

Graves nodded back and he pushed forward with some other questions but Newt struggled to pay attention for the next ten minutes until Graves took him by the shoulder and led him away from the man after bidding him farewell.

The conversations were kept nonchalant and low. Very normal until they were within the sight of MACUSA.

“Well?” Graves looked at Newt.

“He’s involved.” Newt said without any doubt. “He was throwing out those names to put us on a different trail but he said them all with too much ease and without any question. He also was able to describe a Demiguise. Even with his excuse of sea tales, I don’t think he’d heard enough to grasp onto a description that well. Demiguise and its name are only known for their invisibility powers and nothing else. They are primarily white abut can come in slightly different shades.”

“And you don’t think that was a mistake?” Weiss asked.

“No. He was looking too desperate to convince us of the fact that this man was handling a Demiguise.”

“And why are you so sure it has nothing to do with this Anthony?” Graves wondered.

“He very well might. Could be a partner or sorts. Probably easier to do when there are such big shipments. But I get the feeling it’s not. While it’ll be easy to throw a partner under suspicion and get them hurt that is a major risk. We pick up Anthony and then we have a witness under our protection. Percy and Weiss, you both are notoriously famous for your interrogation techniques. Those who work at the ports like those two would be on the lower level of the power structure.” Newt explained, his voice breathless. “Even fear of their bosses wouldn’t do much. Their fear would of the Aurors would outweigh their bosses instantly. They’re ruled by the fear of the moment. Besides,” he shrugged, “if they’re taken in they know they’d be killed off should they be released just as a precaution. Giving us Anthony is dangerous and hopefully he’d know that.”

Graves smile and smoothed back Newt’s hair. “Brilliant. Well,” he looked at Weiss and nodded. “Bring this Anthony in and see what he has to say. At the very least he needs to be under surveillance and protection since this Mr. Noble is eager to frame him for everything.”

“O’Brien and I will head back to the port now and do that. Maybe get him before anyone else.”

“Good, go and do that.”

Weiss nodded and hurried forward into MACUSA to pick up O’Brien and get onto their mission. As she did, he turned back to Newt to look over him. “You did wonderful today.”

“I wish I could’ve done more. But I do hope that I got everything correct. I’m positive it was him though. His words and everything…it made me very confident that was him. He’s connected to it.”

Graves smiled and nodded. “What would you suggest we do now?”

“Picking up Anthony is the best step. Even if he has nothing to do with any of this it seems like it’ll be the best move. It should throw Mr. Noble off a bit and make him feel comfortable for at least a short amount of time.”

“Until he worries about Anthony squealing or us finding out he has nothing to say.” Newt bit his thumb in thought. “Jimmy needs to be tailed though. That much is certain. We must ensure that he does not get away.”

“Yes,” he nodded. “Unfortunately that will be the case.” he ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I’m going to be busy for a while because of this.”

“We will be busy.” Newt corrected with a pout.

“Of course we both are. But we’ll both have different things to do and I’ll get extra hours. Hours you’ll need to use on your case.” Graves said, giving him a firm look. “I don’t want you to get exhausted with everything you’re handling right now.”

“Percy,” Newt groaned. “This is ridiculous. I can handle myself with this.”

“According to Goldstein you have worked yourself to the point you blacked out before.” Graves crossed his arms over his chest and gave him a glare. “Is that or is that not true?”

“Uh…”

“Well? Does my darling danger-prone brat have anything to say?”

“Goldstein is a dirty traitor.”

Graves smirked. “She works for me. I may have promised her some assistances with moving up if she spied on you.”

Newt’s jaw dropped. “You did what?”

“I know you heart me, dear. No need for me to repeat myself.” His victorious smirk was miserable. “Now,” he pressed his finger under Newt’s chin. “Get into my office and place silence charms over it. I think I need to put that bratty mouth of yours to good work.”

-o-

“So the case is pretty intense.” Jacob noted as he pushed a plate of cream puffs to Newt’s hands.

“Yes,” Newt sighed. He was forced to take weekends off. He did appreciate it despite his stubbornness in the matter as it gave him time he lost to look after his babies. They had grown worried and lonely with him so buys with Graves and the case. They were understanding but it was still not right to them to not get the attention they deserved and needed. “There have been a total of twelve crates found now. It’s been miserable.”

“I’m sorry about that, my friend.” Jacob gave him a pat on the back. “What all is happening?”

“We have a suspect. From what I hear a few Aurors are tailing him but so far he’s not doing anything suspicious except for one thing. He met with an unknown individual at the port for about seven minutes and then they parted ways.”

“Do they know what they talked about?”

Newt shook his head. “No. Weiss went to follow him but he had already apperated by the time she got to his position. They just knew he was a blond man of average build and looks dressed in grey clothes. He kept his collar up to keep many features hidden.”

“Wow, mystery. This is really out of a novel or one of those little stories. You’re in the middle of another amazing thing, Newt!”

Newt gave his Muggle friend a smile. “I just wish it didn’t have to do with creatures and didn’t take up so much time from Percy. We make some time for each other but the two of us have been too invested in the case to really be together.”

“He’ll make time for you again, honey, don’t worry.” Queenie comforted as she came out with a basket of freshly baked bread loafs. She started to put them in their proper place on the little cubbies on the wall. “You both will get this resolved and then you should take a some time to yourselves. Maybe a pre-honeymoon.” She winked at him and Newt groaned and buried his face into his hands.

“Oh, I don’t worry about that. I mean we’re both busy after all.” Newt said, giving her a smile. “I just worry since he’s sending me home and he’s doing all sorts of work.”

“He’s done this many times before, don’t worry about him. He knows his limit. He worries because you don’t.”

“And now he knows thanks to you both.” Newt crossed his arms to properly sulk.

“Don’t start that sweetie. It was for your own good. You push yourself too much. You needed someone to get you under control and protected. Oh, you can’t have pastries without tea. I’ll go make you some.” She skipped to the back, making conversation with Credence who was cooking. “Ok, sweetie. We’ve practiced this before. Try to heat up the tea pot.”

Jacob beamed, “she is doing so well with him. She is such a wonderful mother.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Newt smiled back. “I’m happy Credence has a healthy motherly figure in his life. It’s what he deserves.”

“Have the Wizards been kind to him?”

“The ones he sees, well enough. Most are fearful about him but it’s going well. Whenever Credence is at MACUSA O’Brien and Graves are around him to ensure he feels protected. Hard to be too fearful with men who look like them at his side.”

“The best bodyguards there are. How is O’Brien doing? Does he need more cupcakes to woo his lady?”

Of course snoopy O’Brien discovered Grave’s hidden No-Maj and of course the two romantics managed to hit it off. And since Jacob learned of Weiss’ need for food constantly he’s provided O’Brien all sorts of treats to help in his wooing.

“Still earning bruises.”

“Ah,” Jacob smiled pleasantly. “He’s winning her over.” Apparently from just a few conversations he also knew how Weiss expressed her affection. “Take me on a bet, good man, this time next year they’ll be together. Year after that it’ll be marriage.”

“I’m not sure if Weiss is the marrying type.”

“Psh,” Jacob waved his hand. “Of course she is. She’s possessive. She’s going to want to get a ring on that man once she is willing to share her feelings and make sure everyone else knows who he belongs to.”

“Oh.” Newt looked thoughtful and had to agree. “Yes, I can see that.”

“It’ll come. Especially since O’Brien has a connection to me,” he grinned, “she’s going to use him to get to me and all these goodies.” He opened his arms to his shop.

“That I can definitely see.”

“So, no worries. They’ll be together soon enough.” Jacob promised with his own playful wink. “Now, I think we need to get back onto the topic of you.”

Newt stuffed his cheeks full of pastry and grumbled, “It’s nothing anyone needs concerned about. I just wish we didn’t have to deal with all of this mess. It’s horrible and we have some leads, as said, but I just don’t know how to get it figured out sooner. Percy and others told me to be patient but there are beasts suffering, Jacob. I can’t just sit still and…” He sighed and placed his face in his hands.

“You’re just going to feel worse if you fret so much. You’re thinking too much and you’re unable to see things clearly.”

“I know, I know. But I’m so used to moving on my own and getting answers quickly. Now I’m just…” He used his hands to show where he was. “Sitting. I have to take breaks. I can’t work all the time. Everyone is watching me to make sure I don’t pass out and…” A frustrated look went across his face.

“Hey, hey,” Jacob gave him another pat on the shoulder. “Don’t do that to yourself. You’re eating yourself up with guilt and that’s not fair to you at all. You’re doing you’re best so you can continue working cases in the future. You can’t burn yourself out or get hurt.”

I know.” Newt groaned out. “It still doesn’t make it easier.”

“What about you get some goodies to take home to Mr. Graves?” Jacob offered as he held a cute pink box up. “All your choices!”

A weak smile went on Newt’s face. “That might help a little bit.”

“Of course it will. I made them myself.” Jacob grinned. “Now why don’t you go help Queenie with Credence and I get some things put together for you. That usually makes you feel better.”

Newt nodded and did as told; walking back to the kitchen area to see Queenie assisting Credence with his wandless magic he was showing talented signs with. His face was scrunched up with frustration and concentration as he tried to light the oven with his mind but to no avail.

“Credence, my boy,” Newt greeted with a smile. “I see you’re attempting Incendio spell. Fascinating one that is. Did you know some beasts use similar jinxes? They don’t use a wand either. So let’s try it this way…”

-o-

Newt lounged in bed truly feeling better after a training session with Credence and a few big bites of sweets. Jacob was right in that. He felt a bit clearer headed only he was getting panicking and foggy again.

Graves wasn’t home.

It was late and Newt had done all his chores with his beasts and tucked all the non-nocturnal ones into bed and promised to come back in to play with the others later and bring Graves with him. But after midnight, Newt came back himself to give them attention for a while and promised them that Graves would see them in the morning before their bedtime.

Even with all the chores and studying and his attention needing babies he just couldn’t concentrate enough. He missed Graves. He wanted his scent and magic around, filling up the space and making the place feel like home. Without another human the apartment became obvious in how barren and lonely it was.

The idea that Graves had remained alone here for so long really bothered Newt and he just wanted him home to give him a hug and kiss and maybe continue on their little fun from his office from before.

“Damn.” He groaned and rubbed his eyes. “I’m ridiculous. Since when did I become so…so…desperate to mate? Merlin’s Beard, there should be other things I am concerned about. And here I am with some desperate need to preform…well,” he scowled. “I’m alone and I can’t say anything. What is wrong with me?”

He had no answer for that only that he was ridiculous and needed to be a better adult.

“Let’s try this.” He inhaled and exhaled. “Sex.” He groaned and covered his face. “I want sex with Percy. More…uh, adult sex.” He grabbed the pillow and smothered himself with it and tried to let out muffled scream of “SEX” without suffocating himself from embarrassment.

He did this a few times till he was about to choke and cry.

Finally he pulled the pillow back and glared at the ceiling. “Goodness, I am pathetic.”

Right when the night world was growing closer to the witching hour did the wards let him know someone was approaching the Graves domain. Quickly getting in his robe he rushed to the kitchen area and the entryway to wait for Graves. He twitched nervously and smoothed out his hair from the little confidence session he tried to give himself before. All he had was a pillow that had some saliva on it and a red face.

He checked his breath too, hoping it smelled clean. Instantly he stopped when the door wiggled and turned open. He straightened himself up, prepared to look like he was just walking into the kitchen at random but the moment he saw Graves’ face he knew he was a lost cause in remaining calm and mature.

Newt melted at the sight of the man, feeling like so much within him ignited. His fingers clenched at his robe to get himself under control and not annoy the perfect man on top of everything else he had to suffer through.

“Percy.”

Graves looked over at him, clearly not surprise to find the man up. “You should be in bed, love. It’s late.”

“I know. But I was worried about you. I didn’t know when you’d be home.”

“I’m sorry.” Graves sighed as he came in and locked up. He looked over his wards to ensure everything was holding well. “This case is keeping me very late. I didn’t want to keep you up.”

“We’ve talked that I’m used to irregular sleeping patterns. I’m fine. What about you?” Newt said from the doorway, looking concerned. “I brought some food back from Jacob’s. Do you want anything? Goldstein told me you don’t always eat when you work.”

“Goldstein is a dirty traitor.”

Newt laughed, “That she is. I got some of the ones you like. I can make you a plate?”

“In a minute.” Graves said with a small smile.

“You look exhausted.” Newt approached him and took off his tie. “You need a break.”

“It’ll come. I promise. This is just necessity for now. Don’t worry about me, love.” Graves pressed a kiss on Newt’s forehead.

“You know I have to be concerned.”

“I thought you try not to worry so you don’t worry twice?” Graves teased and brought him closer.

“Yes, well, with you I guess I have to make an exception.” Newt scowled, hugging him right back. “I just want to make sure you’re fine. You’re getting bags under your eyes and I know you worry about your age.”

Graves laughed and nuzzled against Newt’s neck and then blew on it to make the younger man squirm and laugh. “You need to watch your mouth, darling.”

“And you need to eat something and get to bed.” Newt pulled back. “I’m going to make you some tea. That should help you out.” He made a little swish of his wand and started to work on the tea. “To think you were nagging me earlier and you get home at one. That’s ridiculous. Hypocritical! The mooncalves wanted to see you before to bed but you’re so late--”

“I love you.”

Newt halted, everything under his influence shaking and falling but was caught by another magic in the air. He didn’t notice as he spun around, “What?”

“I love you.” Graves repeated.

“I…what?”

“Is it that surprising? After everything you have done? All that you’re doing? Of course I love you.”

“Love? Like…love?”

“Yes, love. As in absolute adoration, marriage in the future, all I want to do is smile…that kind of love.”

Newt swallowed thickly. “I…wasn’t expecting to get any sort of confession at one in the morning.”

“Do I look like the type of guy who’d do something predictable or normal?”

Newt, face still red and eyes moist, had to shake his head at that. “You make a valid point.”

“So then this should be rather expected from you.” He smiled. “You don’t have to answer back though. I just saw you and knew I needed to say it.”

Newt groaned and his head fell back. “Percy you are killing me. You’re the most unfair man alive.”

Graves shrugged, “You seem to enjoy it.”

“I can both enjoy it and be frustrated with it.” Newt sniffled and wiped his eyes. “But I’d like to answer if I could?”

“I’d love to hear your response.”

“Well, I, uh…” Newt froze. “It should not be so hard and embarrassing when you did all the hard work.”

Graves just laughed and walked over to him, pulling him tight and gave him a kiss on the head. “You’re just delicate.”

“I am not.” Newt whined. “I am going to get you to see me differently than that one of these days.”

“Of course love, of course.”

Newt grumbled but buried his face into Graves’ chest and shyly muttered out a, “I love you too.”

“There, was that so hard?”

Newt pinched him.

Graves winced and then pinched him back. “You’re violent.”

“Told you I wasn’t delicate.” Newt said his voice muffled as he gripped onto Graves tightly, never wanting to let go.

The older man just smiled and buried his face against him and inhaled. “I love you. I love you.” He repeated and began to run his hands up and down Newt’s back, comforting him as he started to shake and cry. Graves decided he had teased the poor magizoologist enough and did not make any comment about emotional tears. He just continued to provide sweet words of affection and hold him.

“Hey, maybe we can continue being like this in bed?” Graves offered after a few moments.

“Oh bugger!” Newt shot back, his eyes red and freckled cheeks blotchy. “I was weeping like an emotional loon and you need sleep! Go,” he wiped his face, “go get read. I still want you to drink tea to make sure you relax.”

“It’s not needed love.” Graves waved his hand and all the tea making stopped. “Truly. I just want in bed with you. Please.”

Newt continued to wipe his eyes and sniffle, “Well, only because you asked so nicely. You are getting less grumpy.”

“Only with you. Now,” he walked over and hoisted the thinner man up with ease. “Bed.”

“Hey! Don’t go acting like a brute to get your way!” Newt scolded, giving him a tap on the head. It was a very not threatening move but Graves decided to play it safe and not say anything about it. He truly wanted bed with the love of his life and to drift off into a relaxed slumber.

A part of him was kicking himself that he did this confession so nonchalantly. Newt deserved to be wined and dined and then made good and proper love to after such an exclamation. But Graves also knew that this was real and them. This made Newt comfortable and happy. It was honesty and spurt of the moment and was so perfect in its own right.

Soon enough Graves found himself comfortable and refreshed in his bed with Newt curled up against and almost under him. His muscles relaxed and he knew he was close to drifting off in absolute serenity.

Or he would’ve if Newt didn’t decide to poke him.

“You know, I do love you, Newt, but I am more than willing to tie you up to give me some peace.” He threatened as he gave his lover a sleepy glare.

Newt just gave him a sheepish but playful smile. “Just wanted to make sure you’re not about to change your mind.”

“Why the hell would I do that?”

Newt shrugged as if innocent but Graves could see a little glint there. It was both mischievous and insecure. “You know, with your history? The Seniors said you’ve been on the prowl before. Finding pretty to corrupt in showers and such.”

Graves scowled, “Did they?”

“Mhm, said that they knew you wanted me because you had a look you’ve had before. Need I be worried of past conquests?”

“Now, don’t even tease me about that, love.” Graved groaned.

“Who said I was teasing? Maybe I’m being serious and getting prepared.”

Graves sighed and gently grabbed Newt’s waist and gave it a squeeze, which earned him a nice little squeak. “I’d hope I wouldn’t do anything to make you upset or insecure.”

Newt made himself comfortable against him and wrapped his hands around the back of Grave’s neck. “You know I’m always going to be insecure.”

“I’d hope not. But are you seriously interested in learning about my long ago past relationships?”

Newt shrugged, “I guess I am curious on some level. You’ve done it enough that your Aurors knew about it.”

“Apparently when I want something or am on a case I make the same face.” Grave scowled. “They made fun of me for having some reaction for food once. I’m not sure why they chose me when Weiss did the same thing.”

“Because Weiss is scary.”

“I’m quite sure I am more terrifying and powerful than Weiss.” Graves grumbled.

“Of course you are.” Newt giggled. “You’re the scariest thing around.”

Graves sighed but he did not sound exasperated and he just gave him another kiss and wrapped himself possessively around him. “We can resolve this issue of yours tomorrow after I sleep. But you’re going to get scolded.”

“Promises, promises.”

“Newt, don’t even try to tempt me when I’m about to pass out.” Graves warned against his face.

“Fine.” Newt snuggled in close to him and sighed. “In the morning.”

Graves smiled, “Promise.”

Chapter Text

“Graves! Graaaves!”

Newt smiled to himself behind the new stack of papers concerning the case. Apparently files reproduced faster than Jackalopes during a summer rut. He swore when they left yesterday there were fourteen files left. Now there were four stacks of twenty on Graves’ desk. It was no wonder the man was always stressed looking. Newt had only done the work for a few days and he was already close to pulling his hair out.

Graves pressed his face into his hands and took a deep inhale.

Newt started a countdown in his head and soon enough when it made it to one O’Brien burst his way through into the room. “Hope I’m not interrupting any sexy times taking place here!”

Without looking up, Graves waved a hand and O’Brien’s collar was grabbed by an unseen force from behind and yanked him out and then slammed the door shut.

“Well,” Newt patted the papers together and put them back within their little binder, sat it to the side, and picked up a new one, “that is one way to be greeted in the morning.”

“I’ve not had enough coffee to face any of them, especially O’Brien.” Graves muttered.

“You know you’re going to have to. It’s possible that he had information.” Newt dipped his quill into the inkwell and started circling some creature facts he thought pertinent to the case. He was getting close to his break to go and tend to the creatures so he wanted to finish everything up as quickly as possible. He wasn’t spending as much time with them, and though everyone understood (they wanted their mommy with their new daddy and to have this cruelness stopped) it was clear they felt a little lonely.

“The least he can do is present it in a professional manner and not barge in.” He was interrupted by a knock and he let out another sigh. “At least he’s learning a bit.” He waved his hand and now the sheepish O’Brien came in with a grin. “You going to behave?”

“I’m not sure I can ever make that promise, sir.” He dramatically saluted.

Graves was about to smack him with something.

“Well, did I interrupt something?” He probed with a grin and behind him Redburn poked her head over his shoulder and looked around as if curious to see signs of a sexcapade.

“Are they doing the horizontal-bang-bang?” Weiss called from her desk and now Newt covered his face with his hands.

“Doesn’t look like it. I think they really were just working.” Redburn called out.

Graves put his pen down, intertwined his fingers and glared at the bothersome group. “I’m waiting to hear how my being involved with Newt is one, any of your business, two, more notable than your job, and three, gives you the gall to barge in and ask.” His face was passive but everyone could see the glint of something dark in his eyes. “Any answers for this?”

Porter, whose head also popped over O’Brien’s shoulders, sulked, “We just care about you both, that’s all.”

“And it has nothing to do with you all being nosy and desperately trying to find a way out of work?”

“Now, boss, that’s just cruel.” O’Brien made his eyes wide and innocent. It was a miserably failed attempt. Graves simply glared back at him, lifting a brow, and waited with grim silence for a better response. “We just needed a little break.”

“We have four major cases that needs our attention and next month is another session of tests for the Junior Aurors, that, if memory serves me correctly you, Redburn, are leading. I also believe I am still waiting for a proper lead in the Fraudulent Wand case and how it connects to our mysterious dismembered creatures.”

“W-We found they were the same breeds! And interviewed that Jimmy fellow!”

“Nothing but speculation that it was from the same shipment. Nor do we have a proper connection on who are the buyer and the supplier. You have seven runners who know nothing of use. I still do not see anything concerning the other cases either. So,” he tilted his head and everyone gulped. “Tell me again why my love-life is far more important than that.”

“What a bunch of morons. Do I have to do everything?” From outside, Weiss made a lot of noise to pull herself away from her comfortable desk and come into the office, shoving the nosy group out of the way and then flopped next to Newt, getting comfortable against him. “Almost,” she wiggled a bit against his elbow and then threw a leg over the armrest of the couch. “Ah, there. So, boss, I sent them in here to give you an update.”

“Your desk is the closest to mine Weiss.”

“I didn’t want to get up.”

Graves sighed, “Please continue.”

“We’ve been trailing Jimmy but still no sign of that white-ass humanoid. And yes, we got another confirmation from the Brits that our good friend Grindy is still locked up. The more we look into it the less it seems that he has a big hand into this while thing. This other blond is someone else.” She held up her metallic nails to gaze upon their shine and sharpness. “The other guy is under a form of witness protection though he doesn’t know it. We want to make them all think the heat is on him and not Jimmy. I think it’s working.”

“Jimmy Noble seems to be getting a bit bolder in his movements. The more we watch him the more sure we are that he’s directly responsible, in some part, with the smuggling.” Redburn piped in. “He no longer is on duty when we are lucky and find a crate but strangely enough we have witnesses seeing him in the different areas that are rather notorious for their black market dealings each day they come in.”

“He’s really not the brightest man.” Porter noted.

“We’ve started putting a little more pressure on Jimmy. He’s growing rather nervous. Twitchy.” O’Brien decided to demonstrate this by twitching his hands. “We’re positive he’s about to mess up.”

“Showing all the signs. He’s backed into a corner, be it from us or this other fellow, so we think a stakeout is in order.” Weiss commented. “We’re thinking two teams at the dock and another, smaller, team spread out within some of the smuggling hot-spots.”

“And what makes you believe we need to do this on a bigger scale now?”

“Because I just issued an official arrest for Anthony. I want to bring him in and have him interrogated and under our eyes. Either he’s gonna crack and spill everything about Jimmy or he’s going to be able to convince us he has nothing to do with the whole business. Either way, from Jimmy’s obvious panicked reactions, it will be enough for him to feel like he needs to move quickly.” Weiss noted as she played with Newt’s hair out of boredom.

“That does make a lot of sense.” Newt said, growing accustomed to the attention the other Witches and Wizards gave him. “We all feel confident about his actions and of Jimmy not, you know, being the brightest of all masterminds. Chances are high he’s going to react in a way that he believes is his for his own self-preservation.”

Graves closed his eyes as he listened to the reasoning.

“We have enough evidence for this.” Weiss said. “I think the game-plan should be we go and pick up this Anthony fellow within the next hour and have someone else remain diligent over the primes suspect. My guess is it would be about another hour before he hears any rumors. We need to see his reactions and see where he moves. My guess? He’ll find a way to get in contact with Blondie, fill him in, get scolded for being stupid and forced to stay put to not cause suspicion.”

“Followed immediately by doing something to cause suspicion.” O’Brien noted. “Not sure what yet but it will be obvious and it will happen tonight. Or this week-ish.”

Finally Graves nodded. “All of this is substantial enough. We’ll make plans to get that underway immediately. We’ll figure out positions and groups to take part during the watch tonight. Newt--”

“You better have me on the team.” Newt said. “I am not missing out on putting a stop to this. I will be at the port.”

“No, Newt, actually,” Graves looked at his lover, “I want you at one of the smuggling locations. Maybe the Wizarding Market or China Town.”

Newt frowned, “This better not be you being overprotective. I’m none too fond of this interfering with my job.”

“I know, I know. And we’ll talk about it.” Graves promised with a smile. “But we all know what to look for at the port. I’m unsure if anyone from the team will know any signs once they make it onto the market. I want you and another Auror to stalk the markets. We all know we’ve missed a few of the crates but we haven’t been able to intercept them or find what stall is selling what. You can.”

Newt crossed his arms and nodded, “It will be a little difficult but I think I can manage that.”

“I want you to teach the Auror that will be with you during this for the signs and questions they need to ask.”

Now Newt looked a little surprise, “It won’t be you?”

“As much as I’d like it to be, no. I’ll need to lead the larger team at the docks. That’s where chances are higher a fight will break out. It’ll also be where we make more aggressive moves. That can cause issues and I need to be around where the firepower is. You,” he pointed, “are good at stealth and espionage. You have a long history of blending in. I need that in the Markets and not in the battle.”

The younger man still wondered if this was just Graves being overprotective. But the more he thought about it the more it did make sense. Newt was decent in combat but he did better searching for clues. And with how spell-happy and aggressive (and still ignorant) these Americans were in concerns of attacks and the creatures, it would make sense for Newt to look in the location where they money would come from. He could spot suspicious trade, pick up key terms, and appear like a smuggler well enough.

Even Graves, with all of his experience and perfection, was still new to creatures and aiming to stop the trade to keep them alive, not simply because it was illegal.

“Fine.” Newt agreed.

Graves nodded back, looking serious. He was in completely business focus. “I’ll lead the case at the port and Newt, you’re taking charge of the market. Now, I want you all to go take a quick break, gather up materials, and meet me back here in ten minutes so we can officially start planning.” He pulled out his quill and hovered a piece of paper to him and started to scribble over it. It then folded up into a mouse and bounced away. “I suspect we won’t have any issues from Madame President.”

Reluctantly, Weiss picked herself up and they all saluted and went to do as told. It left Newt and Graves alone and Newt had a good chunk on his mind.

“I thought we just finished planning?” Newt said, wondering why everyone had to come back and do more conversation.

“We have a lot settled but not enough just yet. I now need to set up a warrant for Mr. Nobel. All wands needs to be checked by a higher up in the permits in case a battle does take place to ensure the wands are stable. I also need to get an interrogation room set up and--”

“Alright, alright, Mr. Business.” Newt laughed and held up his hands. “I can see I am out of my league here. You clearly know what you’re doing as the Director. I believe you now.”

Graves smiled back. “Glad I got your trust with this.”

It fell silent for a moment and Newt approached him, deciding to be brave, and sit on his lap. He wrapped his arms around his neck and looked at him with some concern, “Are you alright with this?”

“Not really. But I cannot be so overprotective with you. I know it’s not something you always enjoy and, yes, you are part of my team and this case is under your expertise. But I’m still holding on that you’re working with someone. And that decision is being overprotective and being a Director. No one new to a team is ever assigned an alone case in their first year. You’re no different.”

Newt shrugged, he could handle that. Besides, that was cases regarding things that came directly through MACUSA. He knew plenty of ways to find other issues that flew under the radar. “Alright, that’s a deal then. “

-o-

Newt was part of the interrogation.

It was unusual and difficult to be back in the small room, sitting on an uncomfortable chair, and feeling eyes all around watching him. Weiss was in the corner, picking her teeth with the tip of her nails, slouching against the wall as if there was not a care in the world. Redburn was sitting to the left of him, shifting through papers, taking her time to study things Newt knew she didn’t need.

Anthony was before him, looking small and shaking. He had dark skin, hair, and eyes. He had deep five ‘o’clock shadow and bags under his eyes. He wasn’t much older looking than Newt himself and his hands, twitching over the table were cut and worn from his time working on the docks.

“Alright, Mr. uh,” Redburn flipped through the pages for show. “Mr. Anthony Moretti. We have some people giving us reason to believe you have your hands in something a little shady.”

“No, ma’am.” He shook his head.

She held up a finger, hushing his words, as she looked through the file. “Are you aware of the smuggling crates we have found at your dock?”

He nodded. “Yes, ma’am. Probably supposed to be kept quiet but that’s rare. Rumors spread quickly.”

“Well, it seems rumors are spreading about you,” she now pointed at him, “and the smuggling.”

Anthony shook his head quickly. “No, no, ma’am. I’m not involved in that. Please, ma’am. I didn’t. I don’t.”

“Well, why would anyone tell us otherwise?” Redburn tilted her head.

“I don’t…well…I haven’t done anything. I promise. But some don’t like that I’m here to begin with. Anyone too obviously Un-American isn’t always welcomed in some places.”

“That’s such a No-Maj thing to do though.” She said.

“You don’t believe Wizards are capable of it too? It doesn’t matter that I was born from a Wizarding line. I’m Italian and I moved here from Italy when I was seven. That is enough for some to not care for me.”

“Hmm, do you believe someone would actually use this situation to paint your wrong? Simply because of your heritage?”

Anthony nodded. “Yes. There are a few but the one that stands out is Jimmy Nobel. He works during the unloading and loading process. He also does work in searches and sometimes security given his size. He’s very against my everything.”

‘Mr. Nobel made that very clear.’ Newt thought as he looked over the man.

“What are some of the things Mr. Nobel has done that makes you think it was him?” Redburn continued. She remained calm and composed and dancing around questions.

“He’s not shy in his words towards me. Sometimes it’s upsetting but ridiculous things that you’d see boys in a schoolyard do. Other times, when he gets a bit too much in his drink, he lets out threats.”

“He does appear to be a rather threatening individual.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Still,” she said, calmly. “He might not be a friendly person but why should we believe you?”

Anthony looked a little panicked, “I…I don’t know. But why should you believe him?”

“Why not?”

“Ask anyone who is different. Hell, even the No-Maj gets his attention, despite regulations urging to keep away from their departments. I mean, the Wizard docks are big enough that it’s not needed and yet he actively seeks them out.”

“Yes?”

“That’s…well, he’s willing to break regulations. He looks out for trouble. He has a temper.”

“Mhm-hmm,” Redburn scowled. “That’s not enough. Being a right ass doesn’t mean much of anything.”

“Please, just…please. I have a wife and child. I’m not…I wouldn’t do anything to risk them. My Ana, she is going to Ilvermorny in the fall. I wouldn’t risk that.”

“That school is not free. You wouldn’t make much with your dock-pay.” Redburn pointed out.

“No, no. I can’t...I wouldn’t. The people who do that are not good. Once you get involved you can’t get out. They’d use my child and wife against me. I couldn’t risk them. No matter the money. And, and you can contact the school yourself! My Ana is excelling with her reading and spells already. They offered her a scholarship. Why would I risk involvement with people like them when there is no need?”

“People like them?” Newt piped in for the first time. “What do you mean?”

“I…I just mean the whole criminal folk. We don’t live in the best neighborhood. We see them--”

“No,” Newt gazed at him intently. “No, it wasn’t.” He held up his hand and then moved his head and then got closer, studying the man. “You had certain people in mind. You’ve seen something.”

“No. No.”

“Yes,” Newt continued. “You’re frightened. But not of us, not necessarily.”

“I happen to think he is afraid of me.” Weiss pointed out.

“True, but everyone is.” Newt conceded.

“Aww, love you sugar.” Weiss went back to picking her teeth.

“You,” Newt went back to Anthony. “You haven’t come right out to say it’s Jimmy Nobel. You’re pushing us in his direction. Dropping little hints. But why won’t you try and say it’s him?”

“Because I don’t…I don’t know for sure--”

“Maybe. Not for sure. I know there are some potions that would make you talk but that’s not what this is about.” Newt continued to look at him. “You saw Jimmy speaking with someone. A one of them. Do they know you saw?”

Anthony licked his lips and took a moment of silences and shifting in his chair and then shook his head, “I don’t know.”

“But you can’t risk it.” Newt looked at him a few moments and then turned to Redburn. “He’s not involved but Jimmy suspects he knows. That’s why he gave us Anthony’s name. I think you need to get an Auror to his house and ensure that his family is alright.”

Anthony’s face was pale. “My family?”

“Mr. Moretti I need you to tell these women the person you saw. Describe how they look and when you saw them.” He gave a pleading look to Anthony. “Please do this so we can help you.”

The dark window to Newt’s left vibrated and Newt knew it was a sign he was done. He gave another pleading look to the man and then left and allowed Weiss to take his place.

He walked out and around to the enchanted window to see Graves waiting for him.

“You got him in a corner and got him to open up.” Graves noted. “What made you realize he was innocent?”

“It was little signs.” Newt said. “Signs I bet you, Redburn, and Weiss all saw. But his movements and words…he was trying to get us to look in Jimmy’s direction but not obviously incase he was picked up by whoever Jimmy is working for and forced to talk. He could say honestly he hadn’t told us a thing.”

“Protection of his family. He felt he might be doomed but his family not be.”

Newt nodded. “Yes.” He then looked over to Graves. “Why did you want me in there?”

“Well,” he pressed his hand arm against the window, watching the imprisoned Wizard talk with his two Senior Aurors. “If you had suspicions about Grindelwald as me, I wanted to test your abilities to pick up signals of another. How you sense them.”

“Still the Empathy thing?”

“Yes, after seeing you in there I am positive that you have that ability. Also, you have a calming affect on people even if you are studying them rather awkwardly.” He smirked at Newt’s reflection. “And you’re part of this world now, and though I won’t have you in interrogations often, that’s something you have to get tested for, I wanted to see how you handle it.”

“Did I do well?”

“Wonderfully. You were a calming presences.”

Newt smiled and then looked to where Anthony was still getting questioned. “Will he be alright?”

“Yes. The moment he mentioned his daughter I had a few Aurors go to his place to check on them. Depending on how this goes will depend on what will happen to all of them. It’s likely we’ll want to put them into protective custody. Perhaps move them.”

“That might be hard.”

“It might. But they’d do it to keep their lives. And it will be easy enough to convince the Financial Department if we break such a massive case because of his assistances.”

“If I didn’t know better I almost think you’re excited about that.”

“Can’t help that I hate that department and am more than eager to make them suffer.” He smirked as he picked around for a cigarette. “I’m thinking of getting them closer to the school so he can be close to his daughter.”

“I’m sure he’d like that.”

Graves finally found his cigarette and popped it into his mouth, lighting it up.

“Those stink.” Newt said as he scrunched up his nose.

“Sorry, love. I tend to bring these out more during cases.”

“I say those things have to be bad for you.” Newt scowled. “The plant properties and other chemicals used in them do not add up to something healthy.”

“Well, guess you’ll need to help me break the habit.”

Newt rolled his eyes. “Now what do we do?”

“Now,” Graves pulled the cigarette out and blew smoke into the air. “We get ready for the stakeout. We get everything put to work. I want you to leave your case in my office. I’ll put wards up around it to ensure that no one escapes.”

“I’m still waiting for the day Niffler finds a way.”

“You know, I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

-o-

“Alright, Scamander,” Porter kept tight to the lanky Brit. “Ready for a long night?”

“More than.” Newt pressed his back against a bricked wall and just stared out at the bustle around the Wizarding market. It was already near midnight but the whole place was still crammed pack with people. The smells and sounds were super familiar to him. It was no different than any other market he had been to before.

“Well,” Porter looked around as well. “You’re in charge. What do we do?”

“Not use words that would make people think we're doing something,f or one thing.” Newt noted bluntly. “We shop for a bit. Different places. For different things. Just because a stall is selling something associated with creatures does not mean they’re connected to the underworld. Usually means they’re not because that would be too obvious.”

“Right, right.”

“Do you remember how I told you to act?”

“Yes,” Porter nodded with a pout. “I’ve done things like this before.”

“Still, just got to be a bit careful with smugglers of creatures.” Newt reminded him and sniffed the air. He looked around and then pulled his coat, a grey older one the department provided him. “Right, you start from the north end and I’ll start from the south. We meet in the middle and then head east.”

“And we’re keeping a look out for Jimmy Nobel incase he doesn’t show up at the docks. Now, remember, Newt, don’t go out and do anything on your own. You see anything you let me know.”

“Right, right.” Newt parroted Porter’s words, waving him off. “Now we need to go before we get any more looks.”

Porter sighed and nodded as he pulled out his pocket-watch, “One is our meet-up time.” He reminded, tapping its face, as he stepped into the crowd. “See you later.” And then disappeared into the masses.

Newt waited approximately five minutes before he left the alley and made his way around the many different stalls. He kept close to sellers of spices and ingredients, sharing low conversations in the different languages of the people. It took very little time to leave his fifth stop with a small bag of fresh almonds sprinkled with sugar and honey and headed on to the next stop.

As he told everyone in the Magical Security Department, especially Porter, those who smuggle creatures are looking for money without any doubt, but those that are professional knows to start with trade first. A Mooncalf could get a person over 50 dragots, true, but it could also get ten pounds of dillyweeds or five Mandrakes. A smuggle for a smuggle. It meant less chance of getting caught. Money was far easier to trace than a plant, no matter how dangerous said plant was.

Newt popped in some of the nuts and chewed. He made a move to scratch his head and slipped a piece to Pickett.

He waited around a stall selling enchanted quills as he gave a subtle look to the one beside it. Upon the carpet and tables were hundreds of little bottles, about the length of a finger and just as thin, and with different colored substances within them.

From his angle, Newt could make out what some of them continued.

‘Unicorn blood. And some with potions and unicorn hair mixed in. Scales, talons…Mercy Lewis…I think I found it.’ He pushed back for a lower price of one of the quills. When the price was finally where he wanted he pushed a bit more and got it further down. He handed over the payment, pushed his quill into his coat, and then wandered over to the stall he was truly interested in.

Up close he noted most all of the items had something to do with a creature. Each one claiming for medical purposes but Newt knew better. He picked up one claiming to be useful for vitality and one for alleviating sores.

Newt’s stomach churned at the sight but kept his face neutral as he looked over the options.

“This one,” He held up the one for aches. “How much?”

“You have the price on all of them.” The salesman said. He would’ve heard Newt’s bargaining and was already prepared for a fight. A good haggling typically got him a long way for information.

It took some time but he got enough Intel to know he was on the right path. His interest caught the interest of others. Just the right amount of questions and there was another stall he knew where to go to. One a certain Jimmy had been seen appearing at a few times.

‘Luckily Jimmy Nobel is a man easily recognized.’ He smiled to himself as he made his way to the meeting point with Porter. Slipping his hand into his pocket and muttering under his breath. He maneuvered his way into the alleyway as he pressed his back against the bricks.

It was a little difficult to maneuver his piece of paper into one of the cracks but he managed.

If Porter didn’t arrive soon, Newt would have to make a move for it. He had a feeling he already caught attention. He pursed his lips and took a look around.

Taking a deep inhale, Newt looked around for Porter. It was close to time for their meet-up. If he arrived soon, the timing would be perfect. If not, well…he quickly pulled out his wand and waited in the silent alleyway and the white noise of the marketplace.

It was just for a few breaths and he waited for a spell to let lose from the shadows.

There was nothing. No glow. No build up of power. Nothing.

Perhaps he had gotten away.

‘Then again,’ he cursed to himself and tried to turn around as he heard the swift movement of shoes too late. He had his wand out, prepared for his defense only to have something smash against his head. ‘A rock. I was prepared for everything but a rock. Oh bugger.’

And his world went black.

Chapter Text

Graves rubbed his head and wondered if he really should start looking into the idea of retirement. These preps and stakeouts were not as enjoyable as they were when he was twenty.

Then again, they weren’t enjoyable then either.

That probably should’ve been his first clue NOT to go down the career path.

But he got Newt out of the deal. Even if it felt a few years later than he’d like, it was still something amazing and he supposed he could be grateful for that.

He’d still take time to do a lot of bitching about it though.

“Time?” He heard O’Brien ask, voice low, somewhere within the shadows.

“12:39.” Redburn answered.

The world around them was dark and still. In the distance, out in the bay, some lights of ships shimmered. And just a block down a No-Maj dock was still bright and noisy with work.

Strangely enough, this Wizarding dock, which would function best at night, was dead. No lights, no flick of wands, nothing. There weren’t even the sight or sounds of cats running about.

“I’d thought this would’ve run at all hours.” Another Auror noted.

“It should’ve.” Weiss stretched her fingers out, her whole body tense.

It was disturbing to see the place without life and movement. It read wrong. Which meant they were on the right track. It stunk of something foul and the air crackled. The hair on the back of Grave’s neck started to stand on edge and he knew that something was coming.

“My shield has been walked through.” He noted to his team.

Weiss took the signal and passed out the powerful herb gel. Everyone took a small scoop and rubbed it under and in their nose. O’Brien nearly had a choking fit when the strong smell of mint and something syrupy made its way up to his brain.

“Calm down.” Weiss huffed and then, with amazing delicate precision, did the same to her own nostrils.

“It’s just so strong.” He blinked back some tears as his sinuses were opened but also clogged with the intense smell.

“Don’t be a baby.” She huffed and handed it over to Graves to finish up the round. “You know there is a chance we’re going to find something decaying. Last thing we need is someone vomiting from the smell. So snuff it up.”

O’Brien muttered under his breath. “Fine. Fine.”

Graves barely flinched when he had to do the same. It was a very common procedure during missions that might have terrible smelling bits to it. One would think O’Brien would get used to it, but apparently he just needed to whine about everything.

Once the big baby was taken care of, the rest of the group went silent.

Graves made a soft clicking noise and with barely a shift in the air, everyone disappeared. He took a step atop a crane, overlooking the whole dock from his perch. His eyes remained intense as absorbed the world below him. To the right, hiding behind the walls of the makeshift office building, were three of his team. He could see the soft glow from the tip of their wands as signal.

To the left, close to a pier and keeping low to the ground were four others. Soon their wands made a soft glow for a few seconds. And before him, hiding atop buildings were the final members of his team, waiting the next signal and movement.

Although they were ready, he knew they had a bit longer to hold until anything exciting happened. And he would not make a signal for attack until he was sure they’d get what they needed.

He lowered himself to a knee, his sharp eyes upon the ground.

‘There.’ He watched as Jimmy Nobel shimmered out from a spell. It kept his appearance hidden but Graves found it rather easy to see through. Clearly he was a docks men because of his lack in talent in magic. Graves sensed his arrival thirty minutes ago when he paced around the perimeter three times in nerves.

Jimmy walked in the middle of the dock, looking around for any sign of trouble. Nothing.

Graves could see Jimmy’s shoulders ease a bit. He was relaxing.

Good.

Graves and his team watched as Jimmy make a quick round to check for intruders. Then, he got to work. With some flicks of his wand, he moved some crates around and soon enough three other men arrived, probably taking a signal from Jimmy.

All four went to work and as they moved Graves noticed that his tem had interviewed these men before and one was a manager of the dock. And, if Graves’ eyes didn’t deceive him, another one was a No-Maj.

‘Well then. Just another mark on the record.’ His eyebrow narrowed. What a ridiculous pack. Their movements were rather disorganized and panicked. It didn’t appear that the brain behind the operation was around just yet.

But he could tell each of them was waiting for something.

So, it was time just to get comfortable and wait right along with them.

-o-

When Newt came back into reality he wasn’t aware of it at first.

His vision was blurry and dark and he felt numbed for some odd seconds. When he moved, his shoulder gave him a bit of twang of pain and he halted his moving.

Taking a deep breath, he gave himself a few moments to meditate and grab on to some bearings. Finally, he started to come back into himself and slowly come to understand what had happened.

Internally, he groaned in misery at the situation. ‘Buggering fuck.’

The side of his face felt sticky and he was familiar enough with wounds to know that it was blood. It was starting to get thick against his skin. His vision felt a little blurry and his head certainly throbbed everywhere. Newt gave himself a few moments to compose himself and gather his surroundings.

His hands were secured tight behind his back, twisted in an awkward and painful angle. Whenever he moved, his shoulders, elbows, and wrists ached painfully. It was possible he could maneuver out of the bindings but he was positive he might need to break parts of his hand to get out without severe rubbing. He’d done it before, it was not an enjoyable process, but to get out of a kidnapping situation it was always worth it.

The smell of the location was stale and damp. It was also incredibly dark—it took far too long for his eyes to properly adjust.

‘A cellar then,’ he decided. ‘That won’t make things easy.’

He moved his feet and tried not to groan when he realized they were tired together too. He was without his coat and he was starting realize that he was chilled to the core.

The room felt empty but he was not confident enough just yet to make any move. Instead he hummed softly under his breath. Instantly, Pickett moved from his hair, down his neck, and to his bindings. The creature made soft little clicking noises as he tried to get the ropes off.

He tried for many moments but made no dent.

‘Spelled.’ Newt scowled. Whoever these people were truly wanted to leave nothing to chance. Most felt comfortable with something simple and without magic once the wand was removed. Pickett could get through most things but he did better with something more mechanical like handcuffs or a lock. A rope took time and it absorbed magic better than metal.

‘Shit.’

He pressed the back of his head against the pipe he was bound to. Pursing his lips and ignoring the headache he gave himself a few moments to get himself calm before he went back to work. Looking around he took in a bit more of his surroundings as his eyes finally adjusted. From what he could see he was indeed alone but that didn’t mean he wasn’t being watched.

He popped his lips in annoyance.

The walls were made of stone and looked a little run down. Everything felt a bit dirty and slimy and there was no insulation as Newt could feel his chill grow worse. He’d be lucky if he left this situation without a cold. It seemed doubtful though as his nose already felt wet.

Pickett gave a little apologetic squeak.

“Aw, no, it’s ok. You did your best and that’s what counts.” Newt whispered. “Get back to safety now.”

The little green creature gave another sound and crawled back up to the fluff of hair. He crawled over to the wound and gently gave it pats and kisses to try and make it better.

Newt smiled to himself at the sweetheart then went back to his less than desirable predicament.

‘Good news is Porter is aware I’m missing. Chances are low I was taken far away from the marketplace.’ Newt took a sniff and at first all he could smell was the blood but he pushed that to the side and discovered he could smell something else. ‘Wood chips. And metal. By the state of this cellar I can assume the flat above is probably getting renovated.’ He felt confident he was in an apartment of sorts. The cellar looked too small and lacking any remains of a business.

‘If it’s being updated as I suspect than we’re in a place owned by someone mildly wealthy.’ Unless a neighborhood was really up and coming to the rich, the old buildings were left for the poor or to rot. ‘Knowing that, it might even be possible I’m close to Percy’s place.’

He hoped his luck was that good. But New York was a massive city and the wealthy had spread themselves out well. And given the fact that he was picked up by someone none to pleasant, it was a chance he was anywhere in the city.

Being found soon was not looking like a possibility.

Movement surprised him and he looked over and up to finally notice the stairs leading up to a door. It was hard to see, but with a squint he managed to make its outline. It was still.

But then there was a bump. A little one and then another.

And another. But it wouldn’t open. That didn’t make much sense until there was a “plop!” sound, followed by little pitters on the wooden stairs. Newt watched as a little dark lump slowly came into his line sight and he sighed.

“Niffler.”

She gave him a squeak, waving her arms about.

“I see you broke Percy’s wards. What a day for you to figure it out.” Newt frowned. “Unless you had it figured out a while back and you were playing innocent.” His mouth pulled down further. “Or you snuck out before the wards were placed up.”

She sniffed at him and crawled up to his lap.

“Well, I am happy to see you. Can you help Pickett with my binds? I…” He paused and looked up at the door. His heart started to pound. “Pickett get on Niffler and you both hide. Now.” He whispered harshly.

Pickett did as told and crawled out of Newt’s hair and down to Niffler. The creatures scurried under the stairs and out of Newt’s eyesight.

Straightening his back, he looked up as the door opened and a soft glow from upstairs trickled in. The light outlined a man who started to come down the stairs, one step at a time. His hands were in his pockets and newt could tell he had on a fine suit.

“I see you’re awake.” The man greeted.

“Of sorts.” Newt said with a nod. “Head is in a bit of pain.”

“Right, sorry about that.” He walked over and stood over Newt’s form. It was an act of dominance and power. Newt had seen it plenty of times before.

“Well, my own fault for not expecting a rock. Good on that.” Newt shifted in his binds. His shoulders were killing him. “So, did you come down here to get information from me or to inform me of different things?”

“Both I suppose.” He had blond hair and blue eyes. He was young, but age could be deceiving with magic at the works. One thing that comforted Newt was that he was sure this was not Grindlewald.

“Well, would you like to start with the questioning?”

“I suppose I could. Your name?”

“Newt Scamander. Same question to you.”

“Richard Davis. Call me Rick.” He crouched down to look at Newt better in the eyes. “What were you doing out there tonight, Newt?”

“Assisting with a case. What about you?”

“Searching for people part of a case. Therefore, you. You were asking a lot of questions. It caught my attention.” Rick titled his head as he looked Newt over. “What do you know about the case?”

“I guess I need to make sure we’re on the right case. What are you here for?” Newt barely had the question out when a foot kicked him deep in the stomach. He gasped and gagged. Instinctually he tried to double over but his hands prevented that. Newt settled for gasping and spitting out thick saliva. “Rude.”

“I’m not here for games. We know it’s the same case. You’re the creature fellow and you’re here looking for my creatures. I want to know what exactly you know and how much of MACUSA is aware of my movements.”

Coughing, Newt glared at him. “They’re not your creatures.”

Rick’s fist smashed against the injured side of Newt’s face and Newt very nearly blacked out.

“Let’s try it again, yes? How much does MACUSA know?”

“Nothing.” Newt spat out some blood but it proved a waste of time as Rick hit him again

“Now that is a lie. Everyone knows Graves is always two steps ahead of everyone. He has something figured out. What does he know?”

Newt wheezed. His cheek was already swelling and his jaw ached.

‘Well, this is a right pisser.’ He coughed and spat out some more.

“Newt,” he reached over and yanked Newt to look back at him by the hair. He tugged hard and then shook Newt’s skull. “I need an answer.”

“Don’t know.” He coughed. “I’m a consultant. I’m here for creatures.”

His fist now made contact with Newt’s stomach, right where his foot met it just moments before. He added another hit in for good measure and stepped back when Newt vomited on the floor and over his pants. “What do they know?”

“I don’t know.” Newt gasped, panting. “I’m not an Auror. I’m not allowed to know.”

Rick sighed heavily, “Maybe I need to leave you alone for a bit, hmm? Maybe stewing with that ache will be enough to get some answers from you.”

Newt just watched him leave, his eyes heavy and in pain. It was hard to keep his vision clear. It was possible he blacked out for a few moments because the next thing he knew he woke up with Niffler patting his face, sniffing over him in worry.

“Hey girl.” He smiled weakly at her and he knew his teeth and gums were red. “Sorry. It’s ok. Mummy is fine.”

She made a little whimper and gave him a little kiss with her muzzle.

“It’s ok. But,” he groaned, he tried to keep his head straight. “But I’ll need your help.” He coughed and whimpered. His body was in so much pain. “Bite through the binds a bit and then go get help.”

Niffler and Pickett both shook their hands, clinging to him.

“I can’t just walk out of here. I don’t know what’s up there. And we need to get this guy.” He smiled. “Can you go find Percy? Go get your papa. He can help me out here.”

Neither looked convinced or comfortable but Newt shook his head. “You can’t stay here with me. Go get papa. Trust him. He’ll help mummy.”

Niffler made another whimper but did as told. She went behind Newt where she started to nip and pull and gnaw and the ropes. Newt felt it start to loosen and with a little movement signaled to Niffler that was good. She went to his feet next and did the same thing to them.

“Alright, go on. Go get Percy.” Newt groaned. It felt like a tooth was chipped. “Go get him.”

They gave him one more pitiful look before they rode off, plopping under the doorway, and out to safety. Newt sighed, leaning back against the pipe and started to maneuver his wrists, playing with the rope.

Percy would be there soon and Newt would meet him on his feet.

-o-

The ship released a horn that made Graves’ bones vibrate.

It had docked forty minutes prior and boxes filled with mysterious goods were getting unloaded. The group of people moved quickly, pressed for time and worried about the eyes they could feel but couldn’t see.

Clearly, they were up to no good. There was little doubt that they picked the perfect night for their sting but so far thee wasn’t enough proof to make the move. Graves needed them to open up one of the cargo-crates for there to be undeniable proof and little they could claim, legally, in their defense.

He was ready for this nightmare case to be over with and he was not about to jump the gun due to impatience because he was a bit tired. He’d wait out the night if he had to. One of the shipments would be opened as a precaution and only then would the team strike.

There were now about thirty men moving below him. It would be quite a battle on their hands but he had faith in his team. With the little talent in magic on the pier, it could be handled with ease.

‘Then again, there are No-Maj involved. Chances are high they’d brought some of their weapons in too.’ Graves hated guns. He found them so impersonal and easy. It took away the responsibility of the wielder and could do nothing but kill.

He pressed a hand against his bicep where his tattoo started and urged the flow of his magic to run strong. A shield started to cover him that’d be enough to keep a bullet from penetrating his skin. He’d have one hell of a bruise but that was better than death in his opinion. He figured Weiss and his other Seniors were doing their own type of shields.

“Alright, that’s the last of them.” The captain called as the final box hit the surface of Newt York. “We getting our payment tonight or what?”

“Slight change in plan. Mr. Davis had to postpone his visit here. He’s going to give you the coins in the morning at the designated place.” Jimmy said.

“Problem?” The captain did not sound confident.

“Might actually be a good thing. Don’t know the details myself.” He walked over to one of the crates and said, “Accio, crowbar!”

The metallic item rushed towards Jimmy’s hand. He smacked it into his open palm for a moment and then dug it into one of the wooden boxes. He used all his muscles before it cracked open. He and a few others stepped back, arms covering their noses.

“Mercy Lewis, you’d think you could spell this to keep the stench down.”

“Like you using your arms, we use as little magic on everything to make it hard to trace.” The captain scoffed. “Quit whining. We had to deal with it on the trip here. Just get it already.”

Jimmy huffed back but opened up the top to look inside. “Alright, looks like it’s all here.”

“Hands up where we can see them!” Weiss ordered, her voice powerful and angry, as she apperated with four other Aurors. “Down on your knees. On your knees!” She held her wand out, aimed right at Jimmy.

Some of the workers reached to pull out their own wands but O’Brien appeared now, “DOWN!”

Soon the group was surrounded. From his perch, he could tell they were still tempted to make an attack. They were clearly feeling confident about their numbers so that needed to be put a stop to. With ease, Graves took a step off the crane and appeared before Jimmy, glaring at him with indifference and a warning.

“Evening, Mr. Noble.” He pressed his wand against the man’s throat, enjoying when he gagged in terror and surprise. “I think it’s time we had a nice little conversation about your job.”

Needless to say, once the group realized they were in the prescreens of the infamous Director of Magical Security, fighting was the last thing on their mind. They threw down their wands and got on their knees, hands behind their heads.

‘Hmm, maybe Newt was right. The Grindlewald-incident really has put a nice mark on my reputation.’ Graves walked around like a predator, giving each man a steady, unimpressed stare. “Weiss, would you mind filling these gentlemen in as to why I’m in a…less than pleasant mood?”

She stepped forward and the men flinched. “My dear Director here has been dealing with your shit for about a month now. We had to clean up so much stench, deal with poor little creatures’ and their death, and be away from loved ones…late nights, little food, and plenty of liars. What a miserable time. And guess what, you’re all involved with that.”

They gulped and looked away from her.

“And yet we come to find the big boss, this Mr. Davis, isn’t even around so we can settle this like civilized wizards. We now have more work to do. You,” she motioned to them all with her pointer finger. Her steel nail grew slight and the point went even sharper. “You all are the cause of this. Now, if you’d like the interrogation process to go as swiftly, and painlessly, as possible, I think it’s time for you to speak, cause you see,” she then motioned to Graves. “He’s just mildly upset now. That usually gets the simple treatment. You know, nail pulling, skin on fire…the basics. But get him angry and chances are it’ll be far worse.”

Leave it to Weiss to be imaginative and terrifying.

“Of course, since you made my dear Director upset, I might just step in for him. I’ve discovered this amazing spell. It has to do with your internal organs not being so internal.” She grinned, her smile sharp and hungry as she played with her wand. “Who wants to help me perfect it?”

They all started singing at that point.

“What do you have?” Graves asked after twenty minutes of talking.

“A lot of what we suspected. Black market dealing. It’s big too. In a few different countries. Pretty much all deal with the capturing and selling of creatures. For many different reasons too.” O’Brien noted. “Apparently this Mr. Davis is a top-dog but probably not the biggest around. But we get him and we have the best connection in tearing this thing apart within six months. At least from what I guess.”

“He’s that high up?” Six months to take down an international organization was an impressively short amount of time.

“Sounds like it. Probably in charge of the North American post. Or at least close enough to it. We get him and we got our in.”

“Then get to work on that. I want this man caught.”

“Already got the plan ready. The captain is supposed to meet him tomorrow morning. Jimmy was supposed to give him the time and location. We just need to be there and we got him.”

“Then I’ll leave it to you and Weiss to get the information for now. Let me know if you need any assistances.” Graves ordered. O’Brien saluted and went back to the group to start taking them to MACUSA and their temporary prison.

“Redburn,” he called out and she came up to him quickly. “Right now, you’re in charge of the cargo and the ship. I’ll have a bigger team sent for assistance in the morning but for now I want nothing off this dock until everything is looked through. Get started on listing and categorizing what we’ve found and send members to search the ship for anyone else. Let’s see if we can find some creature alive.”

“Sir,” she saluted and went over to her team, explaining the orders.

Graves checked his watch and sighed. It was past three in the morning. Soon enough the sun would raise up. They didn’t have much time until they needed to figure out where to meet this Mr. Davis.

He was ready for the end of this and to get in bed with his Newt.

“Time.” He called out.

“Just ten more minutes for the arrest.” O’Brien called out. “Madame President has been made aware. We’ll need to move quickly to keep such a big haul out of the press. We’ll need a cover story if we don’t want the rest of this group to catch wind.”

“It’s going to be hard with a whole Wizard Dock closed.” Graves cursed to himself. “No time to cover it all up. When the press shows up give them half-truths. We’re stopping a smuggling ring but it’s just on American soil. Make it seem like we feel confident we’re finishing it up.”

“Going to be hard for anyone to believe you’ve half-assed something sir. Especially our evil villains who will sure read this paper.”

“It’s the best we can do. I can get Seraphina to assist with the backup. I’ll have to discuss it with Newt, but perhaps I can make our relationship public. Don’t normal people grow stupid because of love?” He gave a meaningful look to O’Brien.

“Hey! I’ll have you know, sir, I was stupid before I fell for Weiss!”

“And that just shows my own insanity for ever hiring you.” Graves snorted. “Finish up. We’re looking at the rest of the day of more work.”

“I just took the last of them to MACUSA.” Weiss appeared back in the scene. “They are all in cells awaiting interrogation.”

“Except for Jimmy and the captain, leave the rest to sweat.” Graves said.

“Director Graves!” A voice Graves did not expect called out.

He looked over his shoulder to see Porter rushing to him, his coat bustling in the wind. His face was grave and worried.

Newt was not with him.

His stomach clenched and something akin to terror washed through his blood veins. This was bad news and all he waned to do was release a roar of horror and rage. But he kept himself calm as he walked over to meet Porter. “Where is Newt? What happened?

Porter panted and shook his head. “He was taken.”

Graves’s body stiffened and his teeth ground against each other. “When?”

“Unsure of exact time. We separated.” He handed over the letter to Graves. “Apparently he was aware he was being followed. He left this for me to find.”

Graves grabbed it and pulled it open. His eyes read over the words frantically. “He mentions a vendor, have you questioned him?”

“Arrested. He’s ready for you back at MACUSA. Or Weiss. I can show you where I found the letter.”

His face iced over and his eyes darkened. “Change of plans. Weiss, go and see what you can find out from Jimmy and this vendor. Make it quick. As painful as you like. I don’t care. Just get me that fucking information.”

“Sir.” She nodded, her face also dark as she disappeared into the air.

“Redburn, I still want you to stay here and ensure everything gets settled. I’m leaving you,” he pointed to a few Aurors, “them. The rest I didn’t point to, you’re with me. Same with you O’Brien. We’re going to find Newt.”

Chapter Text

“How’s the head, Newt?” Rick asked pleasantly. He straddled on a standard, uncomfortable chair, his chest and arms pressed against the backrest.

“Bloody and bloody painful.” Newt said. “Chest in a right bit of pain too.”

“Mhm, expected. I may have cracked a rib or two.”

“You’re not the most gracious of hosts, Mr. Davis.”

“And you,” he pointed to Newt. “Are not the most pleasant of guests.”

“Touché. I’ve been told I annoy most.”

Rick’s fingers tapped on the chair, “I honestly can’t tell if I like you or not. Given our predicament and opposing sides, it doesn’t really matter, but you got some kick in you. Most don’t look their kidnapper in the eye like you do.”

“No offense, but I’ve been kidnapped a few times already. Job hazard.” He explained at Rick’s confused stare. “And no offense, you’re quite a fight but after facing Director Graves and Grindelwald, oh and the time with that assassin from Sudan—now that is a story. She was quite charming when she didn’t want information. She became an auntie recently! Oh, right, right. Well, after all of that it is a bit easier to face you.”

Rick gave him a blank look. “How do you know that about the assassin?”

“Oh, we send letters to each other on occasion. Had tea in Budapest last year when we were both on jobs. My rescuing an animal and her after some corrupt politician. Her niece is adorable.”

“You became friends with your assassin?”

“I had no ill-feelings towards her. She was given false information about me, she was quite apologetic, and she only hurt myself and not my creatures. We had quite an adventure after that. Able to laugh over the whole mess.”

“I almost want to ask if this is some attempt to scare me off from touching you but I actually believe you’re telling the truth.”

“Now, I have as much capability to lie like any other but it just seems wrong to lie about things like that.” Newt huffed.

“Really. You are fascinating. I think I may actually like you.”

“Feelings are not mutual. I apologize for that. You’re hurting creatures and all.”

Rick did not appear to be insulted and he just shook his head. “If you weren’t such a liability I think I’d keep you and give you to my sister as a pet.”

“Not the best of compliments. I’ve heard that one before too.”

“Of course you have.” He pulled out his cigarettes and lit it up the Muggle-way. “If I wasn’t so pressed for time I’d love to hear about all of your adventures. You should write a book, Newt.”

“I am. About the creatures.” He pursed his lips. “You think my own adventures would do well too?”

“You befriended your assassin.”

“Ah, right. Touché once again.” Newt tried to straighten his back but groaned when he felt something pop. He decided to just remain slumped over for the time being. “What has you so distracted with the time?”

Rick blew out nicotine rings and Newt was reminded of a fascinating and intelligent Squib who spoke of his great-great grand wizard grandfather who could make ships out of smoke and went on adventures with Elves, men, and creatures called Hobbits. The man had spoken to Newt about writing his own novel of his grandfather’s adventures and his run in with a dragon and a dark artifact, rumored to have been an actual Horcrux—something almost unheard of since Herpo the Foul.

Rick was not nearly as impressive as the grandfather.

“Just a little of this and a little of that. Although from what I hear, my plans my change because of your MACUSA.”

Newt instantly knew the sting was successful. “What have they done now?”

“Not sure as of yet. But my runner has yet to return with my information of the haul we were supposed to receive tonight. He was supposed to return to me with some numbers and with a message that the captain understood some pertinent information.” He pulled out his pocket watch and gave a dramatic hum over his cigarette. “Twenty-seven minutes late. That’s not like him.”

Rick then picked himself up and made his way over to Newt’s crumbled form. “Mighty interesting how that happened the same night I found you.”

“Coincidence and all that.” Newt knew what was coming and relaxed his solar-plex and had a gasp and cough prepared for the fist hitting into his gut. “See?” He gasped and tried not to gag. “Rude.”

“This ignorance isn’t cute, Mr. Scamander.

“Good thing,” he rasped, his body aching, “I’m not trying to impress you.”

Rick squatted down in front of him. “The fact that you won’t tell me anything makes me wonder how deeply involved you were with all of this. What else is out there waiting for me?”

“I don’t know.” Newt spat out some more blood. “I was at a market looking for clues regarding the case, yes, but I was sent out on what was supposed to be mild research. They wanted me out of the way.”

“Oh, Newt, Newt. See, that lie doesn’t work on me. Especially seeing you with a Senior Auror, all those stories you just told me about, and this happy little rumor about you and Director Graves.”

“What?” Newt sniffled and blinked, his nose ached.

“Ah, that caught your attention, hmm? Well, the thing is, you two have appeared cozy and little blabbermouths abound have been all excited about this.” Rick grinned and it was sinister and cruel. “I’d think the squeeze of the Director would have some information.”

“Wait,” Newt made his eyes go wide. “You mean...Mr. Graves likes me?”

Rick hung his head and groaned. “What?”

“You said…oh goodness, is it true? Please, tell me everything you’ve heard. He’s spoken about me? What did he say?”

With a frustrated groan, Rick picked himself up and glared down at the bounded man. “I’ve made up my mind. I don’t like you. And I think I now know what to do about that.”

“How exciting. But truly, what did Mr. Graves say about me?”

Rick parted with only one more painful and violent action and made his way back up the stairs with a promise of returning.

‘Well,’ Newt spat on the ground again. ‘Guess it’s about time for the finale.’ He smiled and maneuvered his nearly free hands to make the ties appear tighter than they were. ‘Hopefully there won’t be any more rocks.’

-o-

“Newt was kidnapped.” Tina repeated, looking a little shocked. “Really?”

Graves nodded. “It looks that way. My fear is that the actual kidnapping only lasted a few moments and now he has assigned himself a new case without my permission.”

“Yes, that does seem like him.” She rubbed her forehead. They really needed to sit down and talk to the redhead about working in teams better. “Where do we begin?”

“With some of my Aurors taking care of the mess at the pier I need more experienced ones, like yourself Ms. Goldstein, to comb through the market. It was where he was last found. You are very in tune with Newt’s movements. I think you’d be able to retrace his steps the best.”

Tina looked like she was about to implode on herself. “You can count on me, sir. We’re going to get Newt back.”

Graves just nodded, his face tight, before he looked to Queenie. “You are not an Auror and have no training in the field. However, I am in need of your abilities. I want you to go with your sister and start asking around. Your charming techniques are some of the best I’ve see and I believe you can bring out the best information without threats as well.”

There was no argument from the sisters. He was pleased they arrived to his office so quickly, even if they brought Credence with them. The young boy looked nauseous and unsure how to stand.

Graves understood how he felt. He wanted to be back out in the field but as the Director he needed to see his prisoners making it into MACUSA property to avoid any sort of legislation later. His muscled were stiff and ready to move. His instincts were roaring at him to find his Newt.

He took a quick inhale to calm himself. Nothing would come if he lost his temper.

“Both of you please get to office 261. The team is expecting you. They’ll fill you in on what you have to go to.”

“You won’t be part of the team?”

Graves shook his head. “No. I need to follow other leads.” And oh, how it burned him and made him ache terribly to say this. “There is a possibility to find one of the leaders in this case. I have a better chance of finding Newt through him than I would in a search.”

Queenie did not need to read his mind to understand what lese could happen. Out in the actual search was a risk for anyone personally involved in a loved-one’s disappearance. It was still dangerous for Graves to be around someone who, in some way, was responsible for their disappearances. Who knew what would happen when Graves met up with the leader.

“Please get to moving now. We have little time to waste.” He gave them all a glare. “Now.”

“Sir!” Tina saluted and then rushed out the door to avoid any anger.

“We’ll find him, Mr. Graves.” Queenie said with a kind smile, moving a little slower than her sister. “We’ll get him back for all of us. Now, sweetie,” she turned to Credence, “you either stay here or go back to Jacob’s place.”

“Y-Yes m-ma’am.” He nodded, looking at the floor.

“It’s Queenie, honey, not ma’am. Now you be safe. I’ll see you in a little while with Newt.” She gave him another smile and followed after Tina. They could hear her heels click in her rush.

“I’ll have an Auror to come and escort you to the bakery.” Graves said as he gathered up his necessary items for the next point in the case.

“A-Actually, Mr. Graves…uhm, sir,” His hands clenched his black pants and he looked to be shaking. It just occurred to Graves this was their first time alone together. His face probably made the boy uncomfortable. “I-I want to help Mr. Scamander.”

His voice cracked and his eyes still looked wet but he moved his face up to stare Graves in the eye.

“I know you do, Credence. But only Aurors or special cases like the Goldstein sister can be on the field.”

“Please. He’s done…he’s done so much for me. I want to…please. I can’t make bread when he’s in danger.” His hands shook but there was a stubborn expression on his face. It nearly made Graves smile to realize that it mimicked Newt’s own. The two had been around each other more than Graves realized.

While the boy probably won’t throw a fit and hopefully, Merlin hopefully, he wouldn’t go against orders for his own safety it was better it was best not tempt that.

Looking to his couch, his heart lurching at the sight of the lonely case, and nodded. “Actually, there is something I need you to do.” Graves looked at the boy with some concern. “How familiar are you with Newt’s case?”

“Quite, I think. He’s brought me in there numerous times.”

“How are you with his creatures?”

“Well off with most. Except the Nundu who only likes Mr. Scamander. And the left head of the Runespore who only likes itself.”

“Good. Your spells of defense and wards decent, yes? I’ve read up on your report for your tutoring and you are doing well in that regards. “

Credence nodded.

“I need you in Newt’s case. Those creatures are too smart for their own good. They will find out about Newt, if they haven’t already, and I fear they may try to assist in the rescue. Please make sure that does not take place.”

“You don’t need me out on the field?”

“You’re seventeen. No seventeen year olds should be out fighting. I want you to enjoy being a child-wizard. Not a soldier.” Graves straightened out his collar and nodded to the boy. “Are you accepting of this?”

“Yes, yes sir.” Credence nodded frantically, his eyes wide and wet. “I’ll do what I can. And…please bring him back.”

“I will.”

Graves walked Credence into the case and made sure he was safe and comfortable. A few of the creatures recognized the boy and hurried over to him, purring and chirping for attention. Everything looked relatively calm inside. The creatures had yet to sense something was wrong then.

Good, it needed to stay that way.

“I’ll still send an Auror down here with you.”

“I’ll be fine sir.”

“I have yet to see you interact with the creatures and can’t wait around to do so. I don’t like anyone in here without Newt.” He had to clear his throat as his breath sputtered a bit. “No arguments, Credence. This is for everyone’s safety.”

Credence looked down and nodded.

“You stay safe in here. Newt will kill me if something happens to you or the creatures.” That earned a small smile and Graves took that as a victory.

He left the case feeling a little a little more uplifted.

Nothing would happen to Newt. There was too much for him to live for. Still too much for him to do. And Graves would not let anything happen to him.

It was a promise he was very willing to kill to keep.

-o-

Rick took his time.

Newt figured it was a waiting game. Many had done this before. Graves did as well. They left the people alone to sweat and stew and worry what would happen next.

Newt had no time to worry. Why bother worrying now? That would be such a miserable last feeling to have if something did happen. Fear was understandable; he could die with fear because it would pass once he did. But worry? Worry and regret probably could follow after a soul.

For instances, he was sure his father was up in whatever afterlife there was still fretting over the last chapter of whatever book he was reading at the time. You’d think a pleasant afterlife would settle that, but his father would find away to be upset. Probably causing his mother a headache. She’d find a way to get one of those too.

He really missed them.

But he had no plan on joining them just yet, or worrying about joining them, thank you.

‘I think my head is a little more injured than I thought.’ He blinked when his vision blurred a bit. He wasn’t too worried about a head injury. Despite the brain being such a scary organ to have injured, it was something Wizards could fix as long as it wasn’t scrambled by magic or left to rot for days. A klonk to the head wasn’t a concern.

Now, injuries concerning veins and other organs are the issues. Newt worried about his stomach as Rick had enjoyed giving him a few unnecessary hits there. Newt kept his eye out on his blood, but so far none that he coughed up were black or coffee-ground in texture. He didn’t think it was too early to feel comfortable but he kept his guard up regardless.

He took another look around his surroundings. The only way out was through the basement door. More than likely his wand was nowhere close. That would be a pickle.

The good news was that he was underground in what must’ve been a brownstones of sorts so he only needed to get up one flight of stairs to make it to the floor eh wanted to escape on. But making it to a door or window would be hard. He could take down Rick, if he moved fast enough, but who knew if anyone else was out there.

‘Either he is really confident or he is alone.’ Newt had never seen someone with power interrogate someone alone. Even Graves always had backup. It did not seem like Rick did.

‘He could be a false mask.’ That’s what he called people who were stand-ins for the higher-ups. They were used on occasions to keep the real people in power safe. ‘But still, I’d think they’d have someone pretending to protect him.’

Unless Rick said otherwise or Newt saw another person, he just won’t know. He’ll have to plan with that as a surprise variable.

He’s done his best to keep Rick relatively preoccupied with stories and being generally annoying (it’s wonders how well that worked over confidence and anger) but he wouldn’t hold off on his plans for long. Newt guessed Rick was waiting for some sort of confirmation that the deal had failed and he was in danger before he came back down.

If Rick was smart, that wouldn’t not give Newt much time. Hopefully he’ll be stupid and confident and wait a bit longer.

Niffler was fast but she could only do so much in regards to where Graves was. Newt needed to be prepared that they won’t show up until after things started to fall apart.

Sighing, he rubbed his wrist. They were starting to burn and chafe worse now. He wouldn’t be surprise if he found them bloody raw.

His head snapped up when the door creaked opened and Rick entered in. Alone again. Newt tried to squint to see if he could see the shadow of anyone else out there but he had no luck. He itched at his plans as he tried to get a good read off of his captor. The man had promised for things to change when he returned but he did not look different than when he left some time before.

Newt tried not to let nerves get to him. Although a decent conservationist, he knew Rick had a sadistic streak in him. That grin he shared earlier was enough proof on that. He was also a young crime boss, there was no way he wouldn’t be at least willing, if not eager, to shed some blood.

He tried to straighten himself up in preparation.

“Well, I finally managed to get some information. Or lack of.” Rick said as he made his way down the final steps. “Seems like a big raid happened at the docks. The city is already in a buzz about it.”

‘Percy won’t be happy about that.’ Newt thought with a wince.

“So, now I know a bit more of what happened tonight. I don’t get my animals.” He gave off a dramatic sigh. “At least I didn’t pay for any of them. But that’s still going to give me a big issue in my pocket. That pier was my best one.” He rubbed his head. “What a bother. I knew it was a risk to start business in New York, right by MACUSA at that, but the risk was worth the reward.”

Newt didn’t say anything. If the man wanted to confess all of this then he was free to. Newt understood what that mean but he didn’t think of that.

“I have to close shop up here, Newt. I can’t make business with that Graves around. He’s too good. He’ll catch up if I stay. I’d hoped everyone would be too busy with that whole Grindelwald business.” He paced around and Newt maneuvered his legs out of the way.

“All I have now is California and Washington.” He sounded so despondent.

“Washington is a lovely place.” Newt said, unable to help himself. But what was wrong with Washington? It was the best place for Big Foot studies in the world. Newt had even considered the idea of one day retiring there.

“It’s trees and trees and trees. Not too mention opposite of New York. My African deliveries are going to be cut in half. Probably more.”

“You could just take this as a sign to get out of this life.”

“Funny, Newt. Quite funny. Now, whoops, would you look at that? I just told you my two other ports. Wonder what to do now?”

“I’m quite sure you mean to kill me. Not sure why you wouldn’t just Obliveate me.” Newt said, taking time to meditate and prepare. The air shifted and Rick rocked happily on his feet.

“Now, Newt, where is the fun in that?” And in trained, fluid movement he pulled a dagger out from the back of his pants and lunged.

Chapter Text

“This place is worse than MACUSA.” Queenie said, her voice low. Her head gave her a little pained twitch but she masked her features perfectly. Her abilities had been with her since birth so hiding headaches or too many voices came with the territory. Despite so many deep in illegal activity, most all the heads were clear and open.

“Perhaps it’s lack of training.” Tina kept her arm intertwined with her sister’s. The whole market gave Tina the hives. Even with her training with Newt, it didn’t mean she could handle disorganization, crime, and invasion of personal space. She liked calm, thank you very much.

“Mhmm,” Queenie smiled at vendors and then pulled her sister to one that sold handkerchiefs that’d never fall on the ground. “I need to get something for my honey.”

“Doesn’t Jacob use rags?” Tina sighed as she picked up and played with some intended for men.

“Oh, these are far better than rags.” The vendor pressed. “They aren’t just spelled. Their dye is full of potions, the silk made from spelled silk worms in China, and then they are spelled with the utmost care and consideration.”

“Her man runs a bakery. He sweats and is covered in flour at all times.” Tina heaved a sigh. “It’s even getting onto my sister’s good clothes.”

“Shame. A lady needs her clothing. This one here,” he held up one that was delicate and soft pink. “This could help with the mess.”

“Oh, that’s lovely.” Queenie gushed as she held it up.

“I don’t know.” Tina pursed her lips. “I think it’d go nice with your Sunday coat but what about the mess? Not too mention how he continues to lose the pocket watch you gave him during the courting process.”

“Don’t be mean.” Queenie whined. “He don’t mean it. He’s just busy, is all.”

“Naw, that’s no way for a beautiful lady like yourself to be treated. A dame like you covered in flour and dust? You deserve a queen’s treatment.” The vendor continued.

“Thank you, sweetie.” Queenie said, her smile shy and soft.

“We can get one handkerchief but we’re here for something more.” Tina pressed, tugging at Queenie’s arm as she slowly picked over the selection.

“What more could ladies need than these beauties here?” He asked as he handed Queenie another option.

“Besides something for the mess, the pocket watch, her husband-to-be has stomach ulcers thanks to his business.” Tina rolled her eyes to the heavens. “We’re looking for something to mend it and have him quiet down about the pain.”

“Ooh, stomach ulcers. Yeah, those are a pain. Don’t help much that the shops out of here make them out of ingredients that makes you need many flasks.”

“Exactly.” Tina scoffed. “You think a bakery owner can afford an unlimited supply?”

“Teenie, you’re being mean about my honey again.”

“Naw, she’s just looking out for you, love.” The vender pointed out. “You need to save your money for things like jewels and petticoats. Not medicine that is just there to make you buy more.”

Queenie’s shoulders slumped.

“Tell you what, you both buy one of these beauties here and I’ll give you the word on where to get some real good stuff. You only need one, two at most depending on how bad the man’s stomach is, and everything will healed right up.”

“And how is that?” Tina asked, placing her hands on her hips.

“It’s made from special ingredients.” The vendor promised.

“Uh-huh. My bet is it’s all the same things you get from the stores but maybe a drop of Mandrake in it to make it special.” Tina now crossed her arms and glared at the man.

“Tough cookie, you are. Means you’re smart. Have good eye for deals. You’re right. Go bout ten stalls down,” He motioned to their right, “and that’s exactly what you get. But my word gets you into the stall in the next alley over. He’s got the real stuff.”

“What’s the real stuff?” Queenie asked, tilting her head.

“Oh, the best use. The stuff the stores don’t use or if they do they make it impossible for anyone outside of the Twelve families to afford. It’s used with Unicorn blood.”

Queenie gasped and held her mouth, “Isn’t that dangerous?”

“Naw, naw. The curse only works if you’re the one who kills the beast and if you drink massive quantities. Totally safe for the likes of you and your fiancée. It’ll heal him up right quick then.”

“That’d be wonderful. My honey won’t have his bellyaches any more. Can we try it, Teenie? Please?” Queenie begged.

Tina sighed and pulled out her purse and handed over the coins to the vendor. “This better be worth it.”

“Oh it is, ladies, it is.” He swore as he eagerly took the money and handed over Queenie’s choice of handkerchiefs.

‘Exactly what we wanted.’ Tina thought as Queenie jumped up and down in excitement.

-o-

Graves nails dug into his palm.

This was taking too long. Why was it taking so long?

He tried not to grind his teeth together but he couldn’t control it. His foot tapped and he was close to breaking the skin of his palms. He was angry and stressed, but he was used to that. What he wasn’t used to was this horrible feeling of dread and terror. Even when Grindlewald had him, it was nothing compared to this.

His usually calm mind ranted, “Newt, Newt, Newt” in a miserable mantra. He was so aware that his lover wasn’t at his side. He wasn’t anywhere safe and it just killed something within the Director.

“It’s getting too late.” Graves said.

“We’ve only been here thirty minutes.” Someone commented.

It’s what Graves told himself, that he was being distracted by Newt’s situation but he shook his head. “No. It’s late. There would be someone here to ensure safety for the meet-up. No runners, no workers, nothing. No business deal would take place without insurance.”

“What are you thinking?” O’Brien asked.

“That we missed someone at those docks or we took far too many.” Graves cursed. “Shit, shit. What a fucking rookie-mistake. The talk on the exchange. There was someone there who was to be the messenger to the boss. No one’s coming.”

O’Brien wasted no time and whistled loudly. Instantly everyone met up in the middle of the park to discuss the new actions.

“Someone get in touch with Weiss. She needs to double-time her interrogations.” Graves ordered.

“Sir,” O’Brien started. “We want him back safely as well but if you push too hard and have a witness or criminal break you’d be looking at losing this whole case.”

“Like I give a flying fuck.” He rounded on his comrade and friend. “Newt may not be an Auror, but he is still part of this team. This means that we treat the situation as MIA. He has information and connections, doesn’t he?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Which means anything goes. So someone tell Weiss to get what I want out of these people. Now.”

The Aurors flinched back slightly.

NOW.”

“Yes sir.” Someone said, Graves didn’t know or care, and appperated off.

“We need to look at this from a different angle. This isn’t working.” He ran a hand through his hair and growled. “Newt wouldn’t just get kidnapped. He’d leave something behind to ensure we’d find him.”

“If he was taken by surprised--” O’Brien tried.

“Doesn’t happen often.” Graves stopped him. “He’s always too far ahead of himself for that. If he had time to write a letter then he had time for something else. It’s known Newt is associated with MACUSA, we’d get word about him if he were dead.”

Something knocked him hard in the chest and he stumbled, briefly seeing spots.

“Sir,” O’Brien steadied him.

“I-I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.” O’Brien said lowly. “Just…we can’t think of that. Ok? He’s fine. Newt is fine.”

“Of course he is.” Graves pulled himself away and tried to steady himself from the brief moment of pain and shock. “He’s fine.”

It was still so hard to find a way to get his breath. His head wouldn’t let this get to him. Newt depended on him. He couldn’t fail him because of rookie mistakes and moments of emotion. His soul ached for his other half and he hadn’t realized how empty he felt until he thought, for one miserable moment, that he might never see him again.

‘Stop it.’ Graves snarled to himself. ‘This won’t help him.’

He took deep breaths, trying to ignore the pained deep in all his organs, and straightened himself up. There was still something hard boiling deep in his stomach.

With an internal shudder, Graves made sure his cloak was straight and impeccable. He needed to remain strong. He was a leader and he could not have people view him as weak. He couldn’t view himself as weak.

Stuffing his hands into his pocket, he tried to medicate and keep his magic under control. If he wasn’t careful it would spiral out of him like a monster, ready to devour and lash out at anyone who dared to get too close. He couldn’t risk any of it.

‘It’s fine. Newt is fine.’ He told himself a few more times and then frowned as it clicked something was wrong with his hand. Scowling, he pulled it out of his pocket and found a little ball of quills. He blinked a few times at it trembled and slowly unfurled itself on his palm. “Niffler?”

It squeaked at him, frantically moving it’s little arms around for his face. Then a little green creature popped up as well, also wailing and reaching for him.

“Pickette…what…” He blinked a few moments as the other Aurors circled around him.

“Where the hell did they come from?” O’Brien asked, looking at the cute creatures.

“They weren’t in my pocket before.”

“Well, they are now. You snuck up on the chief, nice going little ones. I think you deserve a job.” O’Brien said with a smile.

Niffler sniffed and jumped around, pulling at Graves’ cuffs and Pickette crawled its way up to the slick black and gray hair.

“What…” He blinked and looked at the two. “Newt. You’ve seen Newt.”

Niffler nodded frantically and pulled at the cuffs again. She panted and looked exhausted.

“Her paws are all raw.” O’Brien noted as he used his finger to gently lift up one of the pink paws. “She came from a distances and moved fast.”

“Show me. Where is Newt?” Graves ordered and Niffler pointed in a certain direction. “Let’s move.”

-o-

Newt knew it was coming.

Newt also knew he couldn’t avoid it like he wanted. Being stabbed is definitely not the greatest experience he had in his life. He’d certainly rather be in bed with Percy or under his babies as they snuggled against him. Feeling a slick blade slide in through his skin and ribs was not a joy he ever wanted to repeat. Again.

‘That’s what?’ He thought as he tried not to let his body tense up. ‘Five times now?’

He couldn’t help but let out a small yelp of surprise and pain. He could feel it inside of him and knew it didn’t hit the best of spots despite trying to move out of the way. Doing his best to not move, Newt couldn’t help but flinch a little but he gave himself a bit of a break given the fact he had just been, you know, stabbed.

Rick released the blade and stood over him. “Well, that certainly got you to shut up.”

Newt gritted his teeth and gave his captor and would-be-murderer a glare.

“Muggles have it, you know.” The man noted as he watched with interest as Newt gasped and gagged. “This whole thing without magic. No wand,” he re-gripped the handle of the blade, “no proof.” And then he twisted it more within Newt.

A scream very nearly ripped from the redhead’s throat. At least his theory of Rick being a masochist was confirmed. ‘Always look at the bright-side, Scamander.’

“I wonder how your Director Graves will feel when he finds you like this. Ah yes, no worries. I’ll watch you die but I won’t leave you here to rot alone. I want to make sure those at MACUSA sees what they couldn’t save. There is always something so nice about that. Taking people with some power down a notch.”

Newt collapsed to his side and wiggled around. He did not like the idea of Percy and his friends finding him in such a state.

“You also have a case, don’t you Mr. Scamander?” Rick hummed. “Everyone is a jabber about it. A case of wonderful things. Filled with impossible things that no other wizard has achieved. I wonder where that case is now, hmm? Why not tell me so I can take care of the little ones for you. Last I heard you supposedly have some rarities in there.”

Newt shuddered and shook his head, still agonizingly moving about.

“There are even rumors of something extra special in your mix. A young squib, a Obscurous. Ah, now that I’d love to get my hands one. What exactly can you make from the bones of a beast overflowing with magic?”

“You,” Newt panted and glared hotly at Rick. “Will never hurt him.”

“I don’t think there is much you can do about it in your position.” Rick grinned.

With a growl that sounded much like his creatures, Newt hoisted his bottom half up and swiftly maneuvered his legs around. His attacker only had the time to let out a “what” before Newt’s heel smashed into his face. He staggered away, falling to his backside, seeing stars, but Newt was not done in his movements yet. Quickly, Newt hoisted himself up and tackled the stunned man. He flinched as the knife hit the other body but ignored the feel of steel inside of him. He only had a few moments for a quick takedown.

Wrapping his arms around, he secured the stunned man in a chokehold, bracing his chest tightly and twisted the arm to momentarily stun his movements. His knees bent, prepared for the fight back. A protective, dark part of him wanted to just finish Rick off for everything he had done and planned to do. But Newt shook that off. He would never become someone like that and he wouldn’t kill a man for Credence if he didn’t have too. The boy deserved more humanity in his life than that.

Rick reached back to try and tried to yank Newt’s hair and scratch his face. It stung but Newt hang on. Rick, who was thicker than Newt was, tried to toss him over and for a few seconds of panic, Newt felt his feet hover over the floor. He very nearly was tossed over the shoulder.

But Newt let out a loud, strained groan and pulled himself back. Soon his feet were back on the ground and his arm tightened on Rick’s airway.

“D-Don’t,” Newt gasped once he was sure the man was drifting into unconscious from the lack of air, “underestimate a man who hugs Nundus for a living.”

Newt knew he needed to hold on a little longer but he felt blood dripping down his stomach to his leg. Despite so much of him escaping him, he felt far too heavy. All he could do was drop Rick to the ground and soon Newt followed. His knees hit the hard ground and he caught himself by his palms. Loose stones dug into his hands and he gasped in agony. He wasn’t quite sure where the blade had struck him but it was hitting him hard and fast.

He tried to drag himself over to a wall to prop his back up but his strength gave up on him and he collapsed to the ground. Spots appeared in his eyes and it became hard to keep his eyes focused. He wasn’t passing out yet but he knew he was getting close.

Rick twitched around and it was just a matter of time before he awoke and then Newt couldn’t do anything against him. This was probably twenty-minutes, if that, away from becoming something even worse than what it was now. Newt gave a longing look to the stairs and wondered if he could drag himself up them. If he could just pull himself to the street he had a chance.

But, Merlin’s Beard, those stairs looked worse than his climb up Kilimanjaro.

Taking a deep breath, he tried to pick himself up and get to the stairs but fell forward. He quickly angled his body to the side to avoid hitting the knife. Near him, Rick groaned and gasped, trying to wake up.

“Bloody hell.” He groaned and his vision erupted with spots again. With a shudder, he tried once more to drag himself away. He could feel some blood leaving a trail under him and behind his legs. The numbness was starting to fade and he could feel pain starting to swell in his chest and abdomen. And, oh, that’s not good.

He rolled on his beck and stared blankly up at the dark ceiling.

‘Percy,’ He thought, begging for something to happen. Hoping for a chance to continue on with this new life. He couldn’t leave Theseus behind, he was far more sensitive than he let out. Credence couldn’t lose another person. Jacob had so much to show him about the Muggle life and all the pastries. He needed to get babied by Queenie and battle with Tina. He had to see if O’Brien if ever won over Weiss. All his precious babies, it wasn’t right to leave them alone without their mummy.

‘Percy.’ He gritted his teeth and refused to let himself cry. ‘Percy.’

The door above the stairs bowed out and then cracked out in an explosion of dark and silver weaves of magic. Dust smoldered the room and an intimidating figure came out, looking furious and deadly.

“P-Percy.” Newt gasped, blinking up at the man. ‘Well, that was some timing.’ He thought with a small smile.

“Newt.” He rushed down the stairs, his feet thudding against the wood. He kneeled to Newt’s side, his dark eyes narrowing in the wound. “Mercy Lewis. What…what…”

“A little bit of a pinch.” He wheezed. “Is fine.”

“You’re stabbed. Fuck. Fuck.” Graves gently picked the man, cradling him gently.

“The man behind you. One of the heads. He,” Newt clenched his eyes shut to concentrate. “He’s the one you want.”

Graves looked back, watching as O’Brien and others circled the man. “What happened?”

“J-Judo.” Newt explained, his face pale. “Learned it…from travels. Handy, huh?”
“This…” Graves had no words. His fingers brushed over the miserable wound and he nearly let out a noise he’d never made before. The sighed would be forever burned in his head and he noticed his hands were shaking. That’d never happened before.

“Ah, l-leave it…it in.” Newt couldn’t breathe well. Blood was filling up his lungs. “U-Unless h-healer here. Will bleed out q-quicker if…if out.”

“No, no, no, no.” Graves had never felt panic in his life before. This was a new, overwhelming and nauseating emotion for him. His whole body was starting to shake and he could barely make-out what Newt was telling him. “S-Stop, you can’t…you can’t be bleeding. Stop bleeding.”

“Fine. It’s fine.” Newt gasped and a blood bubble popped out of his mouth. “I-Ignore that. Just need healer.”

“No, no. Newt, this isn’t…oh sweet Mercy Lewis.” He clenched the man to him tightly. “You can’t do this to me.”

“T-Trying not to.” Newt promised with a weak smile. “Don’t want to. Sorry.”

Graves shook his head and swallowed. His throat ached and he turned to his Aurors with a strained voice, “Healer. NOW.”

No one bothered to say anything in response and just quickly left as ordered.

With his hands still shaking, Graves reached into his vest and coat, looking for his small case frantically. “Where the fuck is it?”

“Here, boss, let me.” O’Brien came over, knowing what he was after, and reached in to bring out a small black case from the hidden contents of the cloak and vest. “Just keep holding on to him.”

O’Brien unzipped it and looked quickly for what was needed. “Green one?”

“Yes.” Graves’ voice came out like a choke.

With a nod, the Auror brought out the syringe filled with green liquid. “Alright, Scamander. This might hurt a bit.”

“A form of clotting medicine?” Newt’s words were slurring.

“Yeah. This should help keep you with us.” O’Brien braced one hand on Newt’s thigh and then quickly jabbed the needle into through the trousers and into the skin. It took a few seconds before Newt started to clench and shudder. The medicine was intense to work quickly for the Aurors hit on the field and any healing magic that moved fast and without the hand of a witch or wizard usually meant short-term and a lot of pain.

But it’d give Newt a few more minutes and that’s all that Graves cared about.

“He’s escaping!!” Someone called out. “He’s got a wand!”

Graves looked over his shoulder to see the man that was down just moments ago hurrying to the doorway. He cursed himself for being do distracted by Newt’s predicament—the other Aurors had read his worry and grown distracted.

Stopping at the entryway, Rick turned around and pointed the wand down, the tip at Newt’s head. Graves snarled and instantly covered the man. His body was shaking and tense and if Newt were not in his arms he’d be ripping the man apart with his fingers and teeth.

“No one move.” The man’s voice was raspy and raw. “I will take you down, got it? Wands down!”

Graves looked down at his Newt, the man growing whiter by the second. They didn’t have time for this. He didn’t want to risk anything more happening to his Newt. “Wands down.”

Everyone did as told, glaring at the man as he backed up to the door. “Knew something was up between the two of you. Never thought a man like you would ever get a weakness, Graves.”

“I can see how Newt took you down. You’re easy and stupid.” Graves snarled. “Stop gloating and get out.”

“With pleasure, Director. So now, gentleman, I bid you all adieu.”

“STUPIFY!” Tina cried out, appearing behind the man and hitting him straight at the neck with her spell.

He went still instantly and before he had a chance to fall down Queenie reached out, grabbed his collar. “You don’t mess with our family, sugar.” And then smashed her fist into his solid face and sent him flying down the stairs

“Need a handkerchief, Queenie?” Tina asked, smirking smugly down at the man and handed over one to her sister.

“Why thank you, Teenie.” Queenie took it and wiped her knuckles with it. “Oh, Newt, honey!” She hurried down the stairs to the best of her abilities with her tight skirt and came up to his side.

“Glad,” Newt panted, “You got the message.”

“You’re in a lot of pain, huh, sugar?” Queenie asked as she pressed her hands against his wound.

“I’ll…I’ll manage.” Newt groaned, closing his eyes as his vision shattered a moment and he saw the darkness washing over him.

“Newt,” Graves begged. “Stay awake. Don’t. Don’t close your eyes. Stay awake.”

“Bossy.” Newt cracked a smile, some blood coming out of his mouth and nose.

“Healer is here!” Someone said as a pop interrupted the moment. A woman dressed in white robes rushed to them. She did not care who was cradling the injured man; she pried his hands away roughly and knocked him back away from her patient.

She pressed two fingers against Newt’s neck and then one against the wound as her eyes narrowed in concentration. “Punctured lung. Internal bleeding has started. You used the medicine? Good.” She muttered, not paying attention to anyone else but Newt. “Stretcher is needed. Keep him steady.”

She pulled out her wand and muttered her spell and carefully levitated the near unconscious man. “We’ll see you at the hospital.” Was all she said to the group before she vanished with her patient.

Queenie, looked at her hands, covered in Newt’s blood and then looked over to the pale-faced Director. “He’ll be fine, honey. A nurse like that will get him healed. She was confident.” She wanted to tap her head but resisted.

The man could barely hear her. His hands felt heavy and he could see his sleeves were soaked in Newt’s blood. He stared at them, no longer filled with his Newt and found he couldn’t breathe.

‘I want to be home.’ Graves thought, his body numbed. ‘I want to be home with Newt and in the case. I want to be attacked by a stupid pink bird and have the mooncalves beat me for attention. I want our bed. I want my Newt. Please. Please. Please.’

Chapter Text

“How is he?” Weiss asked as a greeting as Graves stalked into the office. She kept herself down and away, making herself small and unassuming to the man who looked on his last edge of sanity.

“He lost a lot of blood. Apparently fighting his captor both saved his life and put it in jeopardy.” Graves said, his voice even and soft. “The doctors were concerned for the first five minutes and everything started to settle.”

“He’s fine.” She guessed.

“He’s fine.” Graves confirmed with a nod. “They’re keeping him asleep for a while as tendons and such mend and they wish to keep him under observation until tomorrow morning to ensure the blood transfusion is settling without any hitch.”

Weiss released a subtle sigh of relief and continued to follow her leader, her straight back matching his own. “Got you a chunk of information from my interrogation. I think we’re looking at the end of the case.”

“They gave it up so easily? It’s only been a few hours.”

“What can I say?” She shrugged not so modestly. “I have some skills. Was a bit anti-climatic on my end. All I had to do was threaten and they were singing.” Weiss actually sulked. “I didn’t get to use any of my spells.”

“What about our new guest?”

“Now, sir. I won’t steal away your fun. I’m not that selfish.”

“Thank you, Weiss. You can have him when I’m done.”

She barked out some harsh laughter. “Don’t get my hopes up sir. I already know there won’t be anything left.”

“True. Next murderer you’ll get five minutes alone when you interrogate.”

“Aww, be still my heart.” They walked into the dark corner of the interrogation area. They walked towards the furthest end of the long hallway, passing by the temporary cells. Weiss threw the people inside a grin with all teeth and they flinched away from the bars. “See you lot later.”

Whimpers followed after them and when they were a distances away Weiss decided to fill Graves in some more, “The captain and that Jimmy fellow are looking at a few months in jail. The rest will be on probation.”

“To be expected. Our laws don’t cover much in regards to the creatures. They’ll be punished more for smuggling than the killings of the animals.”

“Will Newt be alright?”

“With the sentencing? He’d probably be a little sore but he’s more aware than ourselves in regards to that.”

“Positive notes, I don’t think anyone in that cell is going to be smuggling around here any time soon.” She grinned a hungry grin once more. “Now what about this Ricky individual?”

“Attempted murder of a diplomat and MACUSA employee, connection to crime syntactic, smuggling, and withholding information means a tough hand is needed.”

“Withholding information?” She repeated, unsure what he meant.

“Of course, Weiss. Don’t you remember him stubbornly refusing to speak?” He asked as they entered into the room and then with a wave of his hands, he commanded, “Silencio,” as the bruised face man opened his mouth to speak.

“Now,” Graves took a seat and intertwined his fingers together, his eyes boring into the stunned blond man. “Why don’t we get started?”

-o-

“How are you feeling?” Tina asked, placing a tray of tea and a slice of strawberry cake she had picked up from the bakery on the small table. “Jacob made it just for you.”

Credence looked up at her and then down at the treats. A mooncalf was snuggled against his lap, big eyes heavy and making little noises. “Fine. And thank you.”

“Seems you have someone attached to you.” She said and took a seat.

“The creatures knew something is wrong so I told them the truth.” The young man said with a meek shrug. “I didn’t want to lie to them.”

“They were going to figure it out anyway. I’m sure they appreciate you telling them. How are all of them?” She asked.

“Worried.” He combed his fingers through the creature’s fur. “This one was in a bit of a panicked state. He’s calmed down a bit. The rest are doing a bit better but it’s hard for them.”

“I expect so.” Tina gave the creature a pet as well. “Poor things. Are you able to keep them here? Settled?”

“They want to see him. They’re hurt that they can’t come see him. I’ve had to stay on to my toes with them. A few have tried to escape to find him.” He gave a pat to the mooncalf, which made another whimpering sound. “But, they seem to understand about not leaving. They trust Newt. Apparently they’re a little used to this.”

“Still can’t be easy on the babies.” Tina noted.

“I can’t communicate with them like Newt but I think I’m getting what’s made so many of them so upset. They love me,” he smiled as the mooncalf nuzzled against him as if in confirmation. “But I think they see me as a brother. They want their parents. Why hasn’t Mr. Graves come and see them yet? It’s been about twelve hours since Mr. Newt was admitted to the hospital. They understand why mummy isn’t around, they don’t understand why Mr. Graves isn’t.”

“Oh. Oh, I see.” Tina smiled softly and then frowned out to the many fields of creatures that kept close to Credence and the entrance. They paced and made noises of aggravation; some pawed at the ground while others curled up in small, sad balls and made sounds that broke Tina’s heart. “Well, tell them that he’ll be visiting them soon. He’s had business in regards to what happened.”

“He’s interrogating the man who stabbed Mr. Newt.”

She pursed her lips and weighed her options and then nodded. “Yes.”

He nodded back slowly. She had no idea what to think about that. Some days she wished she had the same abilities as Queenie. There was something unsettling in the way Credence noted the fact. She shook it off; the chances the he knew exactly what Graves was up to in interrogation weren’t exactly high. Credence was still hidden from so much truth of MACUSA and the darkness that was in Graves.

“He’ll be done soon.” She swore. “It just takes some time for these things. You know?”

“He’s torturing him.”

Tina choked and waved her hands around. “What? What? No, no! We’re a professional organization. He wouldn’t…no.” She swallowed, her throat dried out. “No. Not for so long.”

Credence picked up the mooncalf, grunting at how heavy it was and smiled as it curled up closer against him. It purred and nibbled at his shirt for comfort. “You don’t have to lie to me, Tina.”

She licked her lips and chewed them. “We don’t torture.”

“You don’t.” Credence looked up at her. “And you’re good for that. But they do. The Seniors. Director Graves. They do.”

“How do you…why do you suspect it?” She asked, clearing her throat.

“It’s the eyes.” He said with a shrug. “I’ve seen eyes like theirs plenty. There are monsters in there. They’re just monsters on the good side and who care for others. Still,” he shrugged once again but gently to not disturb the baby who was finally falling asleep. “They’re monsters.”

Tina shook her head in denial. “Why would…” She shook her head again and decided not to pride how he knows what a monster looks like. “Just…just don’t worry about it.”

“I’m not worried.” Credence said, still completely at ease and with his focus more on the creatures.

“Well,” she cleared her throat again. “Well good.”

“Yes.” He nodded in agreement.

“Well, ah,” she pushed the snacks forward. “You need to eat.”

He smiled back at her, clearly grateful. “Thank you, Tina.”

“We also have two heroes back!” She clapped her hands, trying hard to keep things light and positive. “Now where…Niffler! He needs that!”

Credence laughed as the little round creature started to shove the fork in her pouch. “I’ll use something else. With all her hard work, she deserves it.”

“Newt doesn’t like her with forks.”

“Yes, the whole stabby-thing.” He said with a small laugh. “I’ll watch her. But she deserves something nice.” He poked at her paws. They smelled of herbs and creams and there were small bandages around them. They had been rubbed raw from her frantic running and she was dehydrated so she needed rest around medical personal rather than the other creatures.

“She and Pickette should get a hero’s welcomed.”

Pickette appeared and gave a little chirp and flexed its little limbs. He looked so excited and proud.

“I’ll tuck them in and make sure they don’t escape.” Credence promised. “I know that you need to do more paperwork.”

Tina heaved a heavy sigh and nodded. “Sadly I do. I need to ensure Queenie is protected since she broke a prisoner’s nose. For some reason she could get a blight on her record or lose her job.”

“I doubt Mr. Graves would allow that.”

“Still. Financial is throwing a bit about everything. From Queenie’s actions, needing to heal a suspects nose, Newt’s injuries…” She sighed. “You’re right that I need to go and get to work. You let me know if you need anything?”

“Of course, Tina.”

She smiled and nodded, “I’ll see you later. Don’t overwork yourself.”

“I think you need to be the one told that.”

“True.” Tina laughed and ruffled up his hair. “Let’s get this cut after this settled down. It’s getting shaggy. You’re going to look like a damp Newt.”

“I think I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Tina smiled at him again as she reached the ladder. “We’ll take you up to see Newt real soon.”

“Thank you, Tina.” Credence smiled back and then took a big bite of cake and watched as she made her way up and out of the case. “Don’t worry,” he said with full cheeks and cream on his mouth. “Graves is going to killing him for you.”

-o-

“Are you going to play asleep to me, honey?” Queenie asked. “That’s bold even for you.”

Newt weakly pried one eye open to look at her. “Couldn’t help but try.”

“Well, I’m not a nurse. I’m not here to make you take more medicine.” She said as she sat down at a free chair next to his bed. “How are you feeling?”

“Bored.” He groaned. “I can’t believe I have to be in this bed till tomorrow.”

“Just as a precaution.”

“The ministry never made me stay.” He sulked, crossing arms over his chest.

“Welcome to a life where people care for you.” She said simply. “Nurses orders. You’re not to leave till tomorrow.”

Newt blew out some air and pouted. “I have so much to do.”

“Yes, like rest. You know he won’t give your permission to get you out of here.” She warned.

He blew out more frustrated sounds. “Percy is being ridiculous. Besides he can’t force me.”

“You’re in the MACUSA hospital wing, injured from a MACUSA case, under a MACUSA department. Even if Mr. Graves didn’t have a controlling streak, you’d still be forced to sit still.”

“Ugh.” His lanky limbs flopped around in his epic sulk. “This isn’t fair. My creatures!”

“Are being taken care of. I promise. Everything is fine. You need a break anyway.” She said, waving her finger at him. “Now behave or I won’t sneak in treats for you.”

Newt slouched in his pillow. “Fine.”

Queenie smirked and then took out a box with another slice of the strawberry cake and placed it on his lap with a glass plate and a simple fork. “Jacob decided to make some cake for you and Credence. You know he doesn’t do cake often.”

“No.” Newt picked himself up weakly, his side a little tender. “I know he’s more about the bite-size things.” He took a few bites and smiled pleasantly. “He needs to just get past the size. He makes amazing cakes. A little bit too sweet, but,” he licked his lips, “I’ve always liked things with a little more sugar.”

“Cause you’re made of it.” She gushed and pinched his cheek.

“I’m sure many would disagree.”

“So you got a little bite to you. It’s why you’re so liked.” She grinned. “We Americans like attitude.”

“Hmm, so I’ve noticed.” He said and munched on his food. “You all enjoy to hide it though.”

Queenie laughed, “Well, we can’t let you Brits think we’re too much fun. Otherwise we’ll never get rid of you.”

“Oh, well, then I’d be happy to get out of your perfect hair.”
“Can’t have that.” She puffed up her lovely golden locks and smiled at him.

“How is, well, how is he?” Newt finally braved himself to ask.

“Worried sick. Angry. Relieved. So many words.” Queenie gave him a pat on the hand. “I guess like all of us but…well, you know your Mr. Graves.”

“An explosion.” Newt said with a smile. “One moment he is as tempered and as warm as a hearth and the next he is consuming everything. I saw it the moment I laid eyes on him for the first time. The real time. I don’t think he’s straining to keep himself in check, I don’t believe he cares enough for that, but…there is so much more to him.”

She smiled. “He’ll see you soon and you can see for yourself.”

“What is he doing?” Newt asked, worried lacing his voice.

“Last minute case stuff. I think he wants to spend time with you as much as possible with no interruptions. He probably thinks you should be asleep right now which is another reason he has yet to visit.”

Newt chewed on more cake, slow as he thought. “I do hope to see him soon.”

“No worries.” She said with another pat on his hand. “You’ll see him soon. I know he’s thinking of you.”

Newt licked his lips and fingers of the cream and nodded with a small smile. He didn’t look as worried which gave some warmth to Queenie’s chilled core. She couldn’t read Graves’ mind but she knew what he was doing and didn’t know what to do or say about it.

But as long as Newt was taken care of she supposed nothing else matter right then.

-o-

Graved un-rolled his white sleeves, pleased to see no blood had reached them. His fists were red and raw but he would have no problem healing them. He gave no look to the man; an unconscious, bloodied limp form on the ground.

“Heal him and you can start again with him tomorrow. I think we’ll have access to him until tomorrow night before we’ll have to release a statement about him. After that...well then the fun can really start.”

Weiss nodded as she walked out with him. “I’ll keep you posted on his progress. You go check on Newt.”

Graves rubbed his knuckles and nodded slowly. “I need to.”

“You know he’s probably already up and causing trouble.” She said with a fond smile. “You need the rest as well. Probably for the best if you and Newt head home sooner than later.”

“Yeah,” He nodded, his shoulders starting to dip as everything he went through started to wash over him. Home with his Newt and his creatures sounded like heaven and that’s all he wanted. “How long have we been in here?”

“A few hours. Not sure on the time exactly. I’m sure you’re closer to the time in taking him home.”

“Good. Get the cleaners down here to get the mess under control. You know how I feel about stains in the interrogation rooms.”

She gave him a salute. “You got it boss.”

“Once it’s cleaned and he’s healed up enough you and the Seniors have the rest of the night off. You can come into work for a half-day tomorrow and we’ll talk about some time-off for everyone.”

“Oh thank Merlin.” She clapped her hands together and looked to be praying above. “I’ll get right on that, most angelic and graceful of bosses.”

He rolled his eyes in good nature. “See to it. I’ll see you again soon.”

“Have a good night, boss! Enjoy the horizontal bang-bang!” She called out. “You deserve it, stud!”

‘And to think I’m considering her my replacement.’ He thought, feeling both secured and terrible for MACUSA and the department. “Get to work, Weiss!”

She gave him a happy noise and went and did as told.

He made his way through the quiet halls up to the hospital wing. Anyone that crossed paths with him instantly moved back to provide plenty of room for the terrifying man. Graves knew his face was something hard and cracking into something even more frightening but truly, he didn’t care. If he got people out of his way and to Newt faster, than that’s all he cared about.

The medical staff moved as well but did not look threatened. Some days he wondered why he didn’t try to hire from medical wards since they were always unflinching.

Everyone left him alone as he made his way to the private corner, where a bed was hidden behind a thick curtain. He came around to see Newt propped up on the pillow, reading through some notes Graves figured someone smuggled up from his case for him.

Instantly Graves found his legs unable to hold him up and he collapsed in the chair next to the bed. He reached for the freckled hand, clenching it desperately, and starring at the green eyes and never wanted to part from them again. “Newt.” His voice was raw and almost timid. “Newt.”

“Percy.” He clenched his hand right back. “You’re here.” Newt said with a smile.

Graves took his hands and gave it a kiss. His eyes felt a little watery and his smile soft and warm on his face. “I’m here.”

Chapter Text

“How is everyone?”

“They would be better if you were around.” Graves answered honestly. “But Credence is looking after them.”

“Sweet boy.” Newt smiled and gave him a pa on the back of the hand. His own fingers trailing over the knuckles. He felt the subtle trembling and the broken skin with splotches of blood but ignored it for now. There were other things to talk about. “Percy.”

“I’m fine.” Graves noted Newt’s worried tone.

“Are you sure?” Newt pressed and squeezed his hand. “You’ve been doing a lot and….well, ok, I can admit I probably didn’t look to be in the best of shape when you found me.”

“Yes.” His throat tightened and he cleared his throat. “That was not the easiest thing to witness.”

“My apologies.” Newt gave a kiss to Graves’ hand. “I didn’t mean to worry you. I just…I realized too late I was being followed and then I knew there was no way I could get back to safety…” He took a deep sigh. “I’m sorry Percy.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t think there was much you could’ve done. You went and asked all the right questions to the right people. I should’ve had another Auror there with you so there would be no need for separation.”

“It was just bad luck.” Newt said with a small smile. “But it’s fine. We’re fine.”

Graves gave a solemn nod.

“You don’t seem to believe it.” He said, trying to keep his voice light.

“I can admit that it’s hard.”

“We don’t need to think about it though. It’s done.” Newt said, a smile on his face. It made his freckles brighten and his cheeks dimple. “We can move on.”

“It’s not that easy, Newt.” Graves confessed as he pressed himself against the chair. He felt the hours finding him finally and he was exhausted. It felt like the world was caving in on him and he had no idea what else to do. All his dark anger had been vented out of him during the interrogation and Newt was now awake s he no longer had adrenalin fueling his system. All of his appendages felt weakened and shaking.

“No, I don’t suspect it is. But we can.” Newt smiled at him. “We can.”

Graves used his free hand to rub his face.

“Percy, you need sleep.” Newt urged. “You need to take it easy.”

“Maybe.” Newt poked him. “Alright, yes, I do. I’m exhausted.”

“Then we need to go home.” Newt pressed.

“You need to take it easy. Be around the medical team.”

“I’m fine.” Newt stressed. “Don’t go thinking that I need to stay indoors because of this.”

“Newt,” Instantly some fire returned back into Graves’ eyes.

“Really, Percy,” Newt sulked, practically glowering upon the bed. “I was just stabbed. It’s fine.”

“Say that again. I dare you.”

Newt was a smart man and sucked his lips back in at the growl. Perhaps not the most tactful of things to say, even he could admit that. Still, the idea of worrying Graves and sitting in a bed was too much. He was already going stir-crazy.

“This isn’t the Ministry who will kick those they don’t care for to the curb. You’re getting tended too.”

“But it’s boring.”

“Of course it’s boring. It’s healing. It’s not supposed to be fun.” Graves snapped shortly.

“And you’re saying you’d be the best patient? Better than me? You wouldn’t complain or try to sneak out or work or anything?” Newt pressed, his eyebrow titled.

“Wait.” Graves’ own dark brows narrowed in suspiciously. “Did you try to sneak out--”

“Not the point!” Newt cried out, waving his hands around. “Just answer my question.”

“Of course I would.” He huffed with complete confidence and still glaring hotly at his lover.

“Then you need to check yourself in and rest.” Newt said with a cute set of batting his long lashes.

“I wasn’t stabbed.” He growled.

“You’re exhausted on the verge of collapsing.” Newt looked at his nails, feigning nonchalance. “I think if you’re going to lecture me about these things then you should prove your point, hmm?

“How the hell did this become a competition? I’m not falling for the bait Newt.” Graves huffed and lounged back in his seat. A part of his wanted to smile till his cheeks hurt. Newt was such a brat. He was awake enough to cause problems. He was well enough to try and sneak out.

His Newt was fine and everything in the world felt right again.

“Why can’t we have fun with it at least?”

“Because, as I’ve said a few times now, you were fucking stabbed.”

“Details.” Newt huffed and waved his hand around. “Besides, it’s not my worst injury. I can handle this.”

The Director rubbed his face and shook his head. “Love, you’re killing me.”

“Well, you’re allowed to leave any time. I have to be here. I at least want to go home. This is horrible. I’ve been here forever.”

“It’s barely been twenty-four hours.” Graves groaned, a warning in his tone.

“That’s forever.” Newt whined dramatically and flopped down.

‘Perhaps this is karma.’ Graves admitted. He actually was a rather piss-poor patient. He’s driven so many staff members and nurses up the wall with his grouchy attitude and demand to get back to work. After he was rescued he was in a right sour mood whenever Newt did not come for one of his shy visits. All the doctors were probably praying for him to suffer with Newt who, at least, was being cut and polite about it.

Even if he had been stabbed.

Graves would never get over that. Never forget seeing the man broken and bloody on the ground with a knife protruding from his gut.

If they had just been a little later, if Niffler hadn’t been able to escape the wards, if Newt hadn’t thought to fight back…

His stomach lurched and his eyes felt tight at the thought.

His life wouldn’t be right without Newt. He wouldn’t be able to handle the loss. Deep down, Graves knew this was not healthy—he should not be so mentally and emotionally dependent on the man with whom he had only seen for a few months. But the Graves family had never been well known for being the most mentally stable. It’s hard to walk the line of dark and light like they do, kill for the sake of protection, dip into the unforgiveable arts for love, and come out completely unscathed.

He’d be fine with Newt. That was all he needed and he’d find a way to stay right.

Graves just couldn’t let anything happen to Newt again.

His fingers popped slightly as he clenched his fist over his pants. He looked down, staring at the small scrapes from the session. How good it felt to dig his knuckles into the skin and watch it split and crack and the pain washing over the bastards face. Something deep within him was hungry to go back and continue on with the job and watch the man squirm and beg.

“Percy, you need to rest.” Newt’s voice broke in.

He blinked and looked over to his partner and sighed. “I will.”

“You should now.”

Graves pinched his cheeks and pulled. “No ordering me around when you’re exhausted yourself. You are the one who needs to go to bed now.”

“Ow,” Newt slapped his hand away. “I’m not tired.”

“That is a big ass lie.” Graves growled. “Now get down and go to bed.”

“Bossy, bossy, bossy.” Newt muttered but pressed his back and head against the soft pillow and stared back up at the handsome director. “Are you fine?”

“Newt--”

“I’m serious.” Newt cut him off, giving him a serious if sad stare. “No games, no flirting, just…you don’t just look exhausted.” He reached over and grasped the larger hand. “This won’t be a problem, will it?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know what I’m talking about.” Newt pressed. “My being injured. I know you take…you’re serious. You worry and take things hard. When I told you about things before, my injuries, you struggled with it. This,” he motioned to where he was injured, “this won’t cause you any problems?”

Graves’ sigh was heavy and his shoulders slumped. “I can’t make any promises about that.”

“But this is nothing.”

“It’s not to me. I watched you suffer with a dagger in your gut, blood over my fingers, and your voice gurgling, and your eyes drifting from mine. I don’t care how fine you are now. I will have to live with that image of you for the rest of my life. I cannot simply get over that. I cannot just be better and happy after that.”

“I don’t want you suffering. Especially over me.”

“Newt,” Graves gave him a kiss on the forehead. “I will always be willing to suffer for you. There is nothing in the world that could make me think anything else.”

-o-

Tina tapped her finger against her desk, staring out into space, as she made her point to ignore the files on her desk and the paper-mice nibbling at her sleeves for her attention. The last thing she wanted to do was put any concentration on the files that dealt with her hurt friend, the terrible incident in the interrogation hall, or the fact her sister’s job was in jeopardy for punching out an attempted murderer.

Groaning, she slumped forward and flopped her head against the desk. She smacked her forehead against it a few more times.

It was empty around her desk as she was one of the few Second Level who had taken part in the smuggling-case. The rest of her co-workers were out on break, cases, or off and it left her some time to properly whine and mope over without getting scolded by a manager. Still, the mice continued to try and wiggle under her hair and neck to get to her nose and eyes to get her attention.

She tried to blow them off her desk but they held strong and gave little noises and glares. One even used its paper tail to point at itself, aggravated.

“Ugh, fine.” Tina picked herself up and pushed her lips out to give a pout. “Go on,” she snapped her fingers. “Unfold yourself so I can get to work.”

They gave her an indignant squeak but did as told. They unfolded themselves into flat paper, ready to be read and filled out. Scowling, she tapped her pen against them, chewing the inside of her cheek, as she tried to put her concentration back into her work. It proved difficult as her eyes started to glaze over again and her shoulders started to slump. She was tired. Worn thin and ready for her shift to just end and be over with.

“You’re pretty worn out, huh?” Queenie greeted with a cup of coffee. She placed it by her sister and looked at her with concern. “Perhaps you should call it a night?”

“Everyone else is working up to the end of their shift. It’ll be better for the department if we get as much done till the last minute.” Tina’s jaw almost cracked when she let out a large yawn. “Once I’m free I’m passing out for days.”

“At least our new place is nice and quiet.” Queenie said, her nose squishing up in pleasure.

“And close. You can drag me home.” Tina yawned again.

“True.” Queenie winked as she flexed her slender arm up. “I apparently have enough strength to earn probation. Least I can do is use it for it good, not breaking noses, and take my sister home.”

“I’m trying to get that probation lifted.” Tina swore.

“Oh, don’t worry about it.” Queenie waved her hand around, smiling. “I and everyone who matters to me calls it a badge of honor.” In a brash statement she went on and kissed her knuckles, which were bruised from the hit. She had refused let anyone heal it. She carried the bruises and cuts with pride. “Besides, it’s Finance that pushed for the probation. I’m now the most popular dame in the whole joint.”

“You already were the most popular.” Tina pointed out, unable to hold back her smile.

“Well, now it’s even better.” Queenie squealed and gave a cute little jump. “O’Brien thinks I should get some sort of a tattoo for my brave act.”

Tina rolled her eyes. “Like you need a tattoo.”

“It could be a moving one. Those always fascinated me.” She beamed. “Then again I am a bit delicate. Maybe I can convince my honey to get one.”

Tina snorted. “Well, I’m sure he’ll do anything you want hi to if you bat your eyes nice enough.”

“Now, sister, I wouldn’t do that for my honey. I’d give him something a little better than that.” She winked again.

“Don’t you dare,” Tina warned, though her lips were trembling as she fought back laughter. “We’re not starting sex talk in our work-place. We have appearances to uphold as proper ladies.”

Queenie snorted and laughed as well, “If they hadn’t figured it out now, I think they need more detective training.”

“I think it just says you’re good at playing the lady.” Tina chewed the inside of her cheek. “Are you sure this is fine?”

“Yes, sweetie.” Queenie smiled. “This probation isn’t bothering me at all. I know Director Graves will protect my job. At the very least, I could get something here.” She twirled her finger around Tina’s department. “Apparently there is always a need for clerical work.”

“Save yourself and don’t join this department.” She pleaded with her sister. “My head is in a constant state of headache.”

The blond just let out another little wave of giggles. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Tina took a long drink of her coffee and sighed in relief. Her sister made the best coffee. Most everyone within the Security Department searched elsewhere for their fix because of how terrible it was—supposedly they had the worst in all of MACUSA, even Wand Permits had better, while the Financial had the best.

Damn Finance Department.

Queenie reached over and plucked up on the files and frowned, “Does everyone have to work on this?”

“Everyone heavily involved.” Tina quickly snatched it away. “Don’t look at it. The descriptions aren’t pretty.”

“And the man is still alive?”

Tina sighed, “For now. I have doubts it will stay that way. Be it Graves is approved to execute or he’ll do it himself and write it off as something else. We need,” she sighed again and looked down at the files. “We need to have everything…prepared if the Director believes an accident is called for.”

“I’m sorry Teenie.”

“Nothing can be clean all the time. With so much trying to get in the way of justice and when dealing with such cruel and foul people…well, something has to stink at times.” She slumped back into her chair. “It just gets worse the higher up I crawl. I know there are things the Seniors and the Director himself do that I will never be aware of.”

“And that’s good.” Queenie determined.

“I know…it’s still hard to know that’s happening. I’m in it just enough to see and hear of some. And apparently take place in it,” she pushed the file away. “But still far away enough to claim some ignorance. It’s actually not a fun median.”

“But you’re doing a lot of good with it. And you’ll continue to do so. I know it’s more than attacking a No-Maj abusing a child but it is still all for the good of everyone else.” Queenie paused a moment and then nodded. “We’ll talk about it later then.”

“Don’t read my mind.”

“Sorry. But your face begged for a new topic.” Queenie came over and gave her sister a kiss on the forehead. “Finish up so we can go home. I bet I can convince my honey to make you something special as a congrats on all your hard work.”

“I’d like that.” Tina smiled and nodded. “You do know even with all of this…I’m still going to try and get to at least Level Three. If I can do that you can quit and finally start up your fashion business. Maybe get it started before you marry Jacob.”

“Now don’t you fret about that. Creating those things are for fun. I don’t need a business out of it. Besides,” she giggled again and gave a little squeal. “Honey and I’ve been talkin. I think instead of fashion I’m going to make enchanted cook-wear!”

“Like aprons?”

“Aprons, ties, gloves…anything to help add a little bit more to the business. Plenty of witches and wizards are coming in, so having some trinkets to sell might bring in a larger clientele. And for future workers.” She squealed again. “It’s getting so busy, he’s thinking of opening another shop or another location for large orders. Just this past week Jacob was hired for a party! He now has four more booked.”

“Oh, Queenie, I am so happy to hear that. Sorry…so sorry we haven’t been there to help him.”

“He managed and hired on some more help. Apparently, since people other than No-Maj have somehow," the two sisters shared a knowing smile, "discovered his place, he’s gotten a few more applications for jobs.”

Tina smiled and felt some relief, if a pang of resentment, to hear that Queenie would be well taken care of. It had always been just the two of them and now her sister was planning a life outside of Tina. It was unusual, wonderful, and hurtful.

“Tell Jacob to maybe ease on the idea of another building.” Tina said, knowing she was breaking code but she didn’t care. “We have a prophecy in the archives that made mention of coin struggle for the No-Maj soon. Just keep his property safe.”

Queenie beamed. “I will. Thank you. How did you know that? Even Seniors need permission to go into the archives, especially with the prophecies.”

“Special case when I was working on New Salem. You know how they acted, always preaching it was foretold this and it is written that. I decided they were dangerous enough to send in a racquet to check if there was anything in regards to that. Might have let some curiosity get to me.”

“Bad girl, Tina.” She leaned in closer. “Anything else?”

Tina laughed, pleased things were light in the room again. “Well, there was a weird one. I don’t think it was foretold yet.”

“A prophecy not told?”

“It happens but usually only for something big. Sometimes when key components are on the field but not ready to move or the game does not yet have all the pieces. Apparently someone very important was born in 1926 and something will happen in regards to July.” She shrugged. “Still incomplete.”

“Interesting.”

“Now don’t you get ideas to go snooping. I’m already going to be in trouble enough if people find out what I told you.”

“Lips are sealed, no worries. Now,” she clapped her hands, “why don’t I go find you a snack so you can finish up the work faster?”

“Anything with as much sugar as available.”

“You got it.” And with another one of her pleasant farewells she was off towards the cafeteria in search for some food.

With a lighter head and heart, Tina turned back to the dark task of reading over and documenting Graves’ interrogation and signing off that everything he did was correct and fair.

Deep down, Tina knew it wasn’t. Knew all of it was torture and wasn’t right. But she pictured Newt injured, how distraught Graves was, how pale Credence became…she thought of her sister and her happiness and suddenly she found it a lot easier to put her signature to the paper.

-o-

Newt glared at the ceiling.

At least it was the one of the Graves’ apartment but that did not mean he was at all pleased at his situation. He was trying to stay in a pleasant mood for everyone’s sake but it was proving difficult as he had now been stuck in bed for three days and it was positively miserable.

“You can sulk all you want, Newt, you’re not getting up.”

“I’m fine.” Newt growled.

“Standard procedure,” Graves stated nonchalantly as he flipped through his Sherlock Holmes book. “Any time an individual who is not in Level Three or higher is injured in such a way, they are to be on medical leave for a week.”

“Medial leave means away from the office! Not stuck in bed!” Newt threw his hands up. “I’m only allowed to go into my case an hour a day. I haven’t written notes since the injury. I’m going crazy, Percy.”

“In my opinion you already were crazy.”

“Wow, someone is rude.”

“Happens when you’re the patient.” Graves’ lips twitched.

He blew out a raspberry and then picked himself up and placed his feet on the floor but didn’t pick himself up. Newt knew not to be that bold when Graves was in such a mood. “This isn’t right.”

“I know.” Graves said with a calm voice and continued to flip through the pages.

“Well, when will it be made right? I don’t want to pick fights,” he huffed when Graves him a disbelieving snort. “But I won’t do this out of love or sympathy for you much longer. I need out of this bed and back in my case. I warned you how I was.”

“Indeed you did. You were trying to cure Dragon-Pox after our first sex session.”

“Then what the bloody hell is this?”

“I thought we covered this?”

“I need something more. You know I do. This isn’t right, healthy, or fair. I want my normal life back. I want to spend time with you like we did before. This thing with…with treating me like I’m made of glass or something it’s not what I want.”

“I know.”

“Then why are you pushing for this?”

Graves’ face was stone and he still did not look up from his book but Newt knew that he wasn’t reading any more. His eyes remained still and his fingers gripped the cover harshly. His dark brows furrowed and he took a sharp inhale and then put the book down and stood up like a soldier. “Then let’s take you to your case.”

Newt frowned. “What?”

“It’s what you wanted, right? To go out and do things.”

“Yes? But I also made mention I want us to be normal again. I want you to feel comfortable.” He crossed his arms over his chest and gave him a curious, hurt glare. “You’re not.”

“No.”

“Because you picture me stabbed.”

“Because I picture you dead.”

“I’m not. I’m alive and ready to keeping living with you.” Newt pushed.

“I know you’re alive, Newt.” Graves said, his voice short. “And believe me, I am happy about that. That doesn’t stop these thoughts or nightmares from attacking me.”

“And a bed is supposed to help?”

“You in a safe place where I can keep an eye on you and keep you in arms reach…that helps.” The man said with a voice rising in anger.

“It’s not helpful for me.”

“I know that, Newt!” Graves said, finally snapping at the man. “You want to be with your creatures and put yourself in more dangerous situations. You want adventures and more scars.”

“That’s not…yes, I want my normal life. Yes, it’s dangerous but…you deal with that too. You do dangerous things. You have your own scars and you plan on going back to it too, if for a while.” Newt pointed out, unsure if he needed to straighten up his back or cower. He hated emotional things. And an argument with someone he cared about? It was miserable. He remembered the fights he shared with his brother and they could be emotional and loud and obnoxious. But they were brothers. They’d been fighting since they were young.

He didn’t want to do anything to hurt his relationship or Graves.

But Mercy Lewis, he was not going to suffer like this. Newt needed out and movement and life. He wouldn’t survive just hiding out under his covers. Neither of them would.

“Just,” Graves to a moment and gritted his teeth and shook his head. “Be careful in your case. I need to go do something.”

Newt blinked, “What? You’re going in with me?”

“No.” He straightened out his hair and clothes. “I need to go out.”

“I…” Newt swallowed thickly and then nodded. “Fine. I will see you when you get back.”

Graves said nothing but gave a stiff nod and went out the door. Newt heard him shuffling around, grabbing his coat, and then the door opened and shut and everything was left in silence.

Chapter Text

Of course it was raining.

Graves didn’t bother to fret over getting wet. His cloak was naturally spelled to keep it from damage but that thought didn’t even click with him. Water dripped over his lashes and down his face. The puddles made loud sloshes and his fists continued to clench and unclench in his pockets.

He couldn’t believe he just left Newt alone. He couldn’t believe he actually snapped at the poor lad.

He was an intelligent man, one with more empathy than most gave him credit for (he needed the quality to be a detective), and so he understood Newt was in the right. One should never keep a dragon or phoenix locked up—it cracks them apart and makes them small and complicit. It destroys the beasts.

And it would destroy Newt as well.

He knew this. He knew this from the start. And yet, here he was, storming about in an actual storm all because he was messed up and could not get the feel of Newt’s blood off of him. He felt misery drip from his brain and throughout all his body. Graves just wanted to wash himself raw—maybe he could find his old self under the soulful grime.

He shook his head, some hair sticking to his forehead, and tried to physically shake the thoughts off him.

“Mercy Lewis, I am ridiculous.” He grumbled, his voice rough. He should turn around and get back to Newt, to apologize, but his feet refused. He was angry and he couldn’t just let it go.

Newt got hurt and he had the fucking gall to shrug it off.

The younger man didn’t understand; he tried to, of course he did, but human connections didn’t click. No one has ever really worried for the redhead before. He never had to answer to anyone or check in. It spoiled him with freedom and also made him very lonely and lost.

‘It’s only been a few months.’ He told himself. ‘It’s only been a few months.’

That thought did little to make himself feel better.

He was still absolutely furious at Newt.

There was a clash of lightening and he sighed. He couldn’t stay out in the weather, even Wizards could suffer from thunderstorms, but he couldn’t go back. Not yet. No matter how loud the skies screamed at him to do so.

He just walked and walked. Perhaps for some hours or perhaps for a few minutes, he wasn’t sure but he just made his way through the winding maze of New York.

“Mr. Graves?” A somewhat familiar voice stopped him.

Spinning around, he glared at the intruder who would dare approach him in the mood but found himself surprised.

The stumpy No-Maj who was aware of everything Wizard was there, holding a trashcan with a towel over his head and shoulders. His chest was covered with flour and his mustache had some powdered sugar, clearly checking the batch he had made. He blinked owlishly and looked ridiculous.

“Kowalski.” Graves noted out of instinct. He was pleased his memory was so sharp and he didn’t even need to think about the man. The Director did the best he could to ignore the idea that there was a No-Maj out there breaking the law.

“What are you doing out here?” The man titled his head in confusion.

“I do not believe that is your business.” The grump snapped.

“It’s just,” Jacob motioned to their surroundings. “You’re behind my shop.”

Graves blinked and looked around. So he was. He hadn’t paid attention to his surroundings at all. His nerves were burning and he felt close to snarling like an animal at anyone who got to close. With suspicion laced in his voice he growled out, “What are you doing out so late?”

“Baker schedule.” Jacob said with an attempt at a laugh. “I bake at night. Well, not just me. Credence helps me out at times. He doesn’t have the best sleeping schedule.” He babbled a bit. “He’s doing good. I mean well. Everything is well and there is no mention of magic or beasts.

“Good.” Graves nodded slowly, feeling awkward himself. “I apologize for disturbing you.” He spun around, his cloak flapping around him.

“Wh--Wait, you don’t…you can come in, you know?” Jacob tried, his voice a bit meek.

“Newt isn’t with me.”

“I can see that. I was, you know, inviting you in.” Jacob shrugged and gulped. “Credence is up. I’m sure he’ll liking seeing you. You know, you’re a hero to him.”

Graves snorted and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “I have intense doubt this face of mine is a hero to his.”

“The lad might flinch a little but he knows you’re Graves and that was not. He likes you and what you do for Newt.” He scratched his face and then went red when he realized he had the damp towel still clinging to his face. “Maybe come and get some coffee?”

There was another clack of thunder and he sighed. “I suppose a quick coffee is fine.”

“Yes, yes. Just till, you know,” Jacob cleared his throat. “You know, till the storm eases up?”

They went inside and the intense change of temperature was drastic. The oven was blasting and made the brick walls warm and filled with the scent of bread, cinnamon, and heat. It was incredibly comforting.

“Here, set up your cloak here.” Jacob motioned to a coat hanger. “We keep this as an option. It always makes the clothing warm and smell nice.”

Graves didn’t bother to tell the No-Maj that he could warm the coat up himself and just allowed him to do what he wanted. He was nervous. Graves could practically smell it on him and Newt made him promise to give the man a bit of sympathy.

“Thank you.”

Jacob beamed and placed it up. “Credence, my boy! We got a guest!”

A few breaths later the boy, no clad in complete black, shyly wandered in. “Oh,” his expression changed to something almost happy. “Mr. Graves. N-Nice to see you again. How is Newt?”

“Being a trouble-maker. So better.”

“Good to hear. Please tell him I’m more than happy to continue to help him with the case. If, I mean, he’d like it?” He fumbled with his words, playing with the hem of his shirt.

“I am sure he’d love for you to.”

Credence nodded, his pale face showing some color. As much as Graves loathed to admit it: living and working with the No-Maj was clearly doing wonders for the boy. He must’ve gained at least twenty-pounds, his hair was allowed to be a natural curly mess, and he showed signs of dark freckles under his eyes that had been blocked by black circles. Despite the poor sleeping schedule, Credence was obviously sleeping far more than he ever had before.

“I found Mr. Graves on an evening walk. Though he could use some coffee to perk him up for the rest of it.” Jacob explained.

Credence, the good lad, didn’t question it or wait for any order. He went over to a counter where there was a pot of coffee that looked blacker than anything Graves had seen before. Especially in his own department. Financial did their best to give him and everyone else in the Security office the worst coffee. They put in for something better and tastier multiple times already but were rejected out of not in the budget.

Fuckers.

Credence came back with a mug of the coffee and a crumbling cake. He placed it on a small table Graves hadn’t noticed before. It was old and circular, metallic as well; it looked like an old garden set.

“It’s our break lounge.” Jacob explained. “Sometimes it’s better to break in the back then make it upstairs. Easier access to snacks as well.”

Graves nodded and took a seat, looking at the plate. “Cake.”

“Don’t like sweets?” Credence asked in worry.

“I do. I just needed something harder.” His lips pulled into a frown. “Whiskey sounded better.”

Credence made a small laugh. “I’ve started learning to make Bourbon sauce. Want me to make you some?”

“No, don’t worry about it. I am sure this well be delicious.” Graves gave him a small, grateful smile. Although the food made his mouth water; the cake looked delicious but really it was the coffee that made him eyes sparkle.

He took a sip and for a moment, Graves knew heaven was real. It was the best black coffee he ever had in his life. It was rich, thick, and filled with flavor. He didn’t even need to add sugar or cream in it—but he still did so because, despite rumors him being made of stone and bitterness, he had a big sweet tooth.

“This is wonderful.” He confessed, deciding to be honest.

Both men beamed in happiness.

“I can see why everyone in my department sneak over here so often.” He finished, humming to himself when they paled and meeped. “I struggle to understand how so many people believe I won’t find out about something in my own city, particularly in my own department. Of course Goldstein blabbed and everyone started to visit.”

Jacob laughed nervously. “I thought you only knew it was some of your Seniors.”

Graves leveled him with a look and a snort. “I’m the Head of the Department for a reason, Kowalski.”

“That you are sir. That you really are.” Jacob stressed laugh.

“It’s fine. I believe it would be unfair of me to deny them this talent. We have horrendous coffee.”

“Yes, people have cried when they actually got something that is decent.” Credence nodded. “Redburn wanted to build an alter for Mr. Jacob. And Weiss may have promised five hits without question.”

Graves turned to glare at Jacob. “Yes, she was being serious. No, you best not take the offer. And yes, I will find out.”

“I wasn’t thinking of it!” Jacob yelped.

“The future Mrs. Kowalski was.” Graves noted and Jacob zipped his mouth shut. “Why am I so insane that I want Weiss as the next head?”

“Cause she’ll terrify the city into safety.” Jacob pointed out.

Graves paused to ponder a moment and then nodded. “Yes, that is true. I pity New York.” He took a bite of the coffee and then another sip of the coffee. “I believe you’ll be safe though. You’re all officially under her favorite list.”

“Oh thank God,” Jacob breathed out relieved. “Credence, lad, would you help me out a bit? I’d like you count the tills tonight.”

Credence eyes sparkled. “Really?”

“Yes, I cannot let having a guest postpone or duties any more. We need to put the profits in the safe. You remember what I taught you?”

Credence nodded, excited, and rushed into a small door that led into a room that looked no bigger than a broom closet. There was a tiny desk and stool, papers and files filled shelves up on the wall, a typewriter on the desk and a thick black safe under the desk.

“You call me if you need anything.” Jacob said, his voice warm.

The young man was already working on the business. He pulled out a calculator as well and started to count money from a metallic drawer from the register. Graves watched a moment as he would count, write something down, and then type something down.

“He seems to be doing well.” Graves conceded as Jacob took the seat across from him.

“He is. It was a hard adjustment. Funny that, you’d think going from something hard into something easier it’d be simple. But much like war, you just can’t let it go. It’s impossible for it to become easy. Beds are too soft. Meals are too filling. Everything is too quiet.” He sighed and patted his belly. “I know I look the part of content but it took me a long time to relax.”

“The first war…the war for us,” Graves clarified, “happened along side your own. We had fierce hidden battles. Some not so hidden. It stole a lot of life from many men, but literally and mentally.”

“Huh,” Jacob gave off a meek laugh. “Not even your magic can stop that. The mental, I mean. The…weirdness and the echoes. How the battles still live on inside.”

“We can handle it better. We have more options…” Graves sipped his coffee. “But there is not near enough research into it. We just give them potions and then send them to an asylum. So much dragnots went into the war, not enough went into the after.”

Jacob smiled, “We certainly agree about that.”

“He’ll do better.” Graves said. “He’s a strong. And he has you, the Goldstein sisters, and Newt.”

“And you.” Jacob corrected.

“And me.” Graves said with a small smile.

“Because you are part of this really odd family unit, I have to ask how bad of the argument was if you’re out in the rain.” Jacob said, treading softly onto the topic.

The director looked at him in some surprise, “Was I that obvious.”

“Well, I figured there would be no way you’d be out in this weather, away from Newt, after what happened, if it wasn’t a fight. Besides, I’ve been with my Queen for a while. I know the look of a defeated, sulking man when I see it.” He laughed.

“It…wasn’t an argument per say. There was no yelling or…or anything like that.”

“But?” Jacob pressed.

“But…I don’t know. I’m furious. I can’t seem to keep…” He trailed off a moment and shook his head. “I don’t know.”

“It’s all just in there.” He motioned to his chest. “Building up.”

Graves shrugged.

“Now, that’s a special kind of anger.” Jacob continued. “A miserable one. One you can’t ignore or vent out. That, I’m afraid, means the only cure is talking.”

Graves made a soured face and Jacob laughed.

“Not the most enjoyable. But, it works. Better than ignoring it at least.” The baker said. “Need any more coffee?”

Graves shook his head. “I’ll have Goldstein bring me some tomorrow when she visits Newt.”

“I’ll have something made for you both.” Jacob promised. “Oh, and Mr. Graves,” Jacob smiled as the man took another bite. “I really hope that Newt comes for a visit again soon.”

-o-

Looking back over the past hour, Graves had no idea how that happened. He just…het just had a pleasant conversation with an illegal No-Maj. And he enjoyed it.

He rubbed his face as he made his way up to his home, a small box of Newt’s favorite cookies in hand, and feeling unsure what exactly happened. He had never just shared thing like that before. Newt was the only one he had opened up to before and now he actually explained something…just…ugh…

What happened to him being the Big Bad Director? No one ever wanted to approach him.

Damn Newt made him soft.

It was quiet within the home. No lights were on and everything felt still. Part of him hoped that Newt was still asleep and they could hold off on the conversation for a few hours.

Luck, however, was not on his side, as he came into their bedroom and noticed a very empty bed.

He sighed, looked to the sky, prayed for patience, and then walked to the case. It wasn’t warded so he figured Newt would be fine with him coming inside. He treaded carefully, not about to step on something slithering around.

Like every time before, he found himself in awe over the world Newt created. The vibrant colors and loud noises, how much life there was…it was overwhelming and beautiful.

He had a feeling where the troublesome man was and made his way over to where the mooncalves burrowed themselves. Their full moon was raised high and the little creatures were bouncing around, biting at bugs fluttering around the sky.

“I was feeling down, so I decided to spoil them a bit.” Newt explained, sitting against a stump with a notebook against his thighs. “They’re not supposed to have this meal till the end of the week.”

“Then I suppose they should love me for being the one who caused it.”

Newt snorted and laughed, “You don’t get to make me laugh.”

“I still disbelieve I have that talent. I’ve been told I have no sense of humor.”

Newt gave him that crooked grin and Graves knew they’d be ok. After a miserable moment of talking.

Gross. Only for you Newt. Only for you.

He took a seat near him, their sides touching. He enjoyed the feel of the thinner man’s warmth and the fact he was there, still alive and able to smile. “Kowalski wanted you to have these.”

Newt looked surprise as the box was handed over. “You saw him?”

“In my tantrum, I found myself at his store somehow. He gave me some coffee and cake and advice.” He pressed the back of his head against the stump and stared up at the false sky. “He was…decent.”

“You like him.”

Graves shrugged.

“You LIKE him!” Newt cheered, laughing. “Oh, now that’s huge news. I’m so pleased to hear that.”

“He certainly makes good coffee.”

“You Americans.” Newt’s nose scrunched up. “Tea is better.”

“Tea does nothing for you after forty-eight hours of mind-numbing paperwork.” He grumbled.

“There is tea for energy, digestion, sleeping--”

“I don’t need you to list all the good properties of tea, Newt.”

“I will get you to drink more.” Newt vowed, grinning at the challenge. “Some coffee is good—but not all the time. You’re addicted. Everyone in your Department is!”

“Because it helps us survive. We would wither away without it.”

Newt waved him off and started to pick out the best cookies from the box. He started to stuff it in his mouth he offered one to his partner who ate it with a little more control. It was silent between them except for their chewing and the happy squeaks of the mooncalves.

“I guess we need to talk.” Graves said after a few moments of eating.

“It’s hard to do that when you’re simultaneously pushing me away and pulling me too tight. I’m not one for a conversation myself,” he made a sour look, “but isn’t that what it takes to, you know, have a relationship?”

“Yes.”

“But, I guess I’m guilty on that too. I didn’t really…involve you in how I was feeling over the beast few days. I mean, I say I’m fine but what does that mean to you? Not much when you saw the,” Newt pointed to his gut. “Seems a little unfair of me.”

“You probably couldn’t have said anything right, anyway. You tell me you want to stay in bed and rest and be safe for the rest of your days and I feel miserable I took something important and special about you. You stay the same, and I constantly worry over your safety. I just…can’t be settled.”

“Not yet.”

“It doesn’t feel like it.”

Newt gave a pat to the man’s knee. “Yeah. You know, Theseus worried a little bit too. Not as much as you…well, he didn’t show it like you do. He would send me letters constantly and would worry when I didn’t respond. I mean it’s hard to respond in the middle of the Amazon, but regardless.”

“And how did he learn to accept it?”

“Well, we’d known each other for so many years,” Newt grinned. “He just sort of accepted it about myself. I guess he made peace?”

“Peace that his little brother was out in the wilderness alone?”

“Yes. Sort of.” He laughed, “But I mean, would you feel better if you were there with me?”

“Maybe.” He closed his eyes and sighed. “I would still worry over you.”

“I guess you wouldn’t be my Percy without that little quirk.” Newt admitted. “Still, need to work on it a little. It sounded like you wanted to lock me up.”

Graves visibly winced. “Perhaps a little overboard.”

“Yes. A little.” Newt teased.

“Just…just give me some leeway. I’ve never had a partner who does what you do. Or get stabbed.” He now leveled Newt with a glare.

“That was not my fault.” Newt huffed.

“You still did that to me. You scared me to death. I actually cried, Newt. You did that to me. I don’t appreciate it.” He grabbed the man, pulling him close and on top of his lap. He buried his face into the curly red hair and sighed. The natural scent helped him find some calmness within himself.

Newt closed his eyes and leaned into the attention. “You know, I’m not that injured any more.”

“Hmm?”

“I don’t think it would hurt if we shared this conversation in bed?”

Newt didn’t even feel them apperate until he was flopped back onto the bed with a bounce. After a moment of surprise he burst out laughing and wrapped his arms around Graves’ neck and pulled him in for a kiss.

“It’ll be ok.” He promised as their hands and mouths became desperate. “We’ll be ok.”