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Second Nature

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The knock at his apartment door happens a quarter after midnight. Graves was in the middle of correcting the thirtieth report when he pushes his chair back, hands going to his wand instinctively. The wards at his door would have woken up half of New York if the person on the other side had even a shred of ill-intentions, but the knowledge does little to ease the adrenaline singing in his veins.

Graves is at the door, one hand turning the door knob while the other has his wand pointed at the ready, a hex high a thready in between his heartbeats. He does not know what he had expected to find, but the sight of Newt Scamander standing there with a bright smile on his lips and that suitcase of his in one hand. "Good evening, Mr Graves. May I come in?" He says, not waiting for an answer before he shoulders his way in, parking himself on his couch.

"It's the middle of the night, Mr Scamander." Graves says, gesturing to the clock on the mantlepiece. He stands with one hand still on the doorknob, gaping slightly at the way the man is shedding his blue coat.

"Oh, yes, I am quite aware, thank you very much." Newt replies, smiling up at him as he unlatches his suitcase. "Now, just a few things, but don't you think you should be resting after that nasty incident with that Hippogriff yesterday?"

"How did you -?" Graves stutters, just as Newt says, "Tina." 

Pursing his lips, he closes his front door, locking it. Newt looks him over from where he is still fussing over his suitcase. "I have something to show you." He says after a beat. Throwing it open, he climbs into the interior of the suitcase, beckoning him close as he goes.

Looking around his apartment, Graves swallows the indignant sputter that rises in him. He hesitates for a moment before deciding that whatever insanity this man has brought into his home could not possibly compare to what he had already known first hand. Graves puts one leg in, and then the other before following Newt down.

"Mr Graves, mind your head." 

Graves fights the urge to confiscate everything on sight. He privately makes a mental note of all the contrabands he can see, writing out the report he would need to submit later. Apparently, his thoughts run clear on his face because Newt chuckles, pushing his sleeves back. "Come along Mr Graves."

He does not know why he does it, but he follows.

The illegality that greets him out in the sanctuary makes his left eye twitch. Graves reckons that there will be a need for multiple reports, but he shall prevail. Newt looks around like he is expecting something to jump out of the shrubbery. Knowing what he knows of him, Graves keeps a safe distance between the two of them, going on alert.

"Newt, is that you? Can you come take a look at the Boggarts for a minute? They're acting a little..."

Graves feeling his heart ratcheting high to his throat at the sight of the young man coming towards them. Credence is standing tall, wreathed in the artificial sunlight from one of the environments. Gone is that atrocious bowl cut, and his hair is tied back into a loose bun that Graves can see is held by an Occamy. He looks relaxed and healthy. And Graves feels sick.

"What is this." He says, stumbling back. "They told me you died."

Credence keeps his dark eyes on him, just as Newt says, "In a lot of ways he did. And then he came to me."

Graves digs his clenched fists into the flesh of his thighs. "Why have you brought me here? Why... What do you want with me?" He gasps, tongue heavy over the words. He ducks his head, squeezing his eyes close as a wave of panic sets into his bones. When he opens them, he is seated on the steps of the shed, Newt's changeling eyes peering worriedly into his and Credence standing a little way away, face carefully masked. 

"Why?" He croaks. 

Newt bites down on his bottom lip. Casting furtive glances between Credence and him, he eventually settles on a shrug. "I don't know. I suppose I was hoping to assuage you  on any misguided guilt you may have about playing a part in whatever happened to Credence. But more than that, I suppose I was hoping I was right."

Graves looks at him. "Right about what?"

"This." Newt says, leaning in with a gentle hand on his cheek. Stopping just as his lips brush against his, he murmurs, "Just, don't hurt me if I am wrong?"

The kiss lasts barely long enough to register in his mind. But when they part, Graves catches the jealousy that runs through Credence's features. "Explain this to me." He says. Newt straightens, holding a hand out to Credence. Together, they come to crouch in front of Graves.

"He came to me and I helped him. Eventually, we figured that we were both felt the same way about each other and we acted upon that realisation." 

Credence, who had remained silent, slips his free hand into Graves'. "But we also came to the realisation that there was something missing between us." Squeezing his hand, Credence visibly braced himself. "So we decided to come for you."

"We're only sorry it took us this long. Tina kept us abreast of your well-being and we were meant to be here a month ago, but there was that business with Fawkes and when we heard about the Hippogriff, we knew we had to come." Newt says in a rush. Credence nods, and Graves finds himself under their expectant gazes.

There are about a million things he should say, but what comes out is, "So you love me." 

Credence ducks his head. "Is it that strange to believe?"

"You, I can understand. A little problematic, but I can see how it could happen. But you." He frowns at Newt, "How?"

Newt smiles a little sheepishly. "I don't think you've ever seen yourself in that coat of yours, but your arse is quite positively sinful."

Graves blinks. Shaking his head, he sighs. "Do I get a say in this?"

"If you tell us no, we will respect that." Credence assures gently, "But don't you think that man has taken enough? Especially from both of us? Would it be so hard to just let us love you? Take care of you?"

Graves feels a gentle bracketing of his face. Cool hands turn his head to face Credence. "Won't you let us protect you? Won't you let us in?" Credence asks. Graves' hands move to hold him close before he registers what he is doing. 

Their kiss happens between one exhale and an inhale. Credence tastes like sunshine and the sea, and it takes all of him not to sob. They part only for his lips to be caught in another claiming kiss with Newt. "Say yes, Percival. And let us love you." 

At this, he folds himself in between their bodies in an embrace. "Yes." He whispers, allowing himself to fall.