Chapter 1: A for Ashwinder
The Ashwinder is a serpent that is created from the remains of any magical fire that is allowed to burn unchecked. They only live for an hour and will collapse to dust when they have laid their eggs.
He wakes up in a dark alley, like he always does after one of his episodes.
It is raining and the water seems to have dampened what is left of his clothes along with his own battered soul. He raises one of his hands, somewhat surprised to see the familiar pale skin and raised welts over his palms instead of the dark chaos and moving wisps.
Credence Barebone was still alive and yet, he felt as if his own soul was ready to break at any moment.
The young man shuddered as bright flashes of what had happened in the last days went through his harassed mind. He shook his head and looked around him. The alley was still empty, with overflowing bins and raindrops splattering softly on the ground. Credence glanced at the busy street ahead and felt his throat convulse when he noticed one of them walking past his alley, their wand raised as the witch fixed all the devastation he’d caused during his episode.
Credence huddled closer to the wall, his eyes never leaving the witch until the latter left his sight. He sighed heavily and looked down at his worn shoes, going over his memories and wincing every time he remembered Chastity’s horrified face when he’d left his sin run wild.
He looked down at his hands, watching with increasing fear how his pale skin was slowly being covered in dark wisps.
“You can control it, Credence!”
“I don’t think I want to, Mr. Graves…”
Credence shook his head and tried to ignore the heavy pain in his heart. Mr Graves had lied to him, like everyone had, and had used him to find the child. All adults were the same and he’d been a fool to think that Mr Graves had sincerely cared about him.
The young man shuddered and felt his breath halt, coldness seeping under his clothes and permeating his very being.
The cold progressed until he couldn’t even feel the tip of his fingers nor move a limb. A muffled whine passed through his lips before darkness surrounded him and made him fall into its familiar abyss.
Ashwinder eggs are red and give off intense heat. They can however be frozen with a Freezing Charm. They are generally used in Love potion or eaten whole as a cure for ague.
During his episodes, Credence didn’t think his actions or worry about their repercussions like he did when he was Credence Barebone, Freak of the New Salemers. He was only moved by will and deep feelings like hatred. Or in this case, discontentment.
However, this time it was different. He couldn’t fly like he did before and felt more like a hurt animal than a powerful beast. But Credence didn’t care. He could only feel coldness and the only drive that made him move through the raining city was the will to find warmth. He went down the subway, flew around the electric lamps and yet, their soft flickering wasn’t enough to warm his incorporeal body. He kept moving discreetly until he ended at the docks. The wind was crude now and the rain had stopped. However, the cold was still raging in him and Credence pushed and flew until he found what he had been looking for during the whole day.
A man with a tan suitcase and a blue coat was standing on the deck of a boat, his hair ruffled by the wind as he stared silently to the disappearing coast of New York.
The man in himself wasn’t what Credence was after. However, what he hid in his pocket was.
Credence swirled on the sky and promptly followed the man when the latter moved to his cabin, making sure to be unnoticed during his stalk. Wisps of his immaterial body curled around the stranger’s slim frame and finally dove down in his right pocket. Inside, Credence found a weird looking rock with glowing red lights and a cold surface. However, he knew, instinctively so, that the red rock could be his warm haven if he forced enough.
He pushed against the cold surface, somehow feeling the cold crack against the strength of his ethereal mass and finally, the warmth seeped through the cracks. Credence curled his dark body around the rock and inwardly sighed in contentment.
He was finally warm.
If an Ashwinder egg is left unattended, it will ignite and may burn a building down within minutes.
Newt Scarmander had been considering feeding his animals when he felt an unnatural stillness around him. The air tasted faintly of ozone and he could feel thin pinpricks over his neck. As a magizoologist, Newt immediately knew that a magical phaenomenon was occurring around him and he promptly walked to his cabin, making sure that no Muggle noticed him.
The stillness and ozone smelling phaenomenon followed him and Newt quickened his steps until he closed the door of his cabin behind him. He looked around him, noticing how the shadows were warping and moving while the sunlight didn’t change a bit. The wizard frowned and quickly took out his wand, ready to face and peacefully subdue whatever had followed him into his cabin. However, before he could even take out his wand, he noticed by the corner of his eye something jump into his coat pocket and stay there.
Newt looked down at his coat, feeling Pickett get out of his hiding spot and stand on his shoulder, while he slowly moved his hand to the pocket, wand on the other hand and ready to stupefy at any sudden move.
However, the curse promptly exited his mind when he finally saw what had been hiding in his pocket.
“Credence?” he spoke softly as he watched the swirling mass of darkness surrounding his ashwinder egg.
However, before Newt could even make sure that the always moving dark mass was indeed the young man he'd seen die, his coat suddenly took fire and made Pickett squeak with terror.
Chapter 2: B is for Bowtruckle
Pickett hungers for the flesh of his enemies
The Bowtruckle is a hand-sized, insect eating, tree dweller with long sharp fingers, and a general appearance of a flat-faced stickman made of bark and twigs which serves well in its natural habitat.
Once he’d swiftly extinguished the fire in his pocket and calmed down the distressed bowtruckle hanging on his hair, Newt went over the other occupant in his tiny cabin. The latter was still an incorporeal mass of darkness, flowing under a non-existing breeze above his cot.
Newt eyed nervously the closed door and dirty window in front of his cot, inwardly cursing himself for forgetting to put a silencing spell around his cabin.
The Obscurus, for it couldn’t have been anything else, suddenly huddled closer and the wizard forced himself to relax, remembering the poor young man’s terrified face seconds before the Aurors from MACUSA had tried to kill him. Newt slowly lowered his wand and observed attentively how the abrupt swirls of dark shadows stopped being so quick and slowly condensed until they took a vaguely humanoid shape.
“Good afternoon, Credence,” Newt finally said after spending some seconds wondering how to begin what was sure to be an interesting talk.
The Obscurus didn’t answer him, merely flowing and propagating itself over the whole cabin until every surface was covered in breathing darkness.
“It is good to see you alive,” the wizard added sincerely, his eyes never leaving the humanoid shape amongst the darkness of his cabin.
Pickett suddenly tugged at his hair just as the darkness converged around Newt, pressing hard against his body and pulling at his skin. However, Newt didn’t fight against it and closed his eyes to avoid getting hurt there. He quickly opened them again as he raised a hand to protect the bowtruckle being currently balloted by the Obscurus.
Once Pickett had been secured and safely put in his jacket pocket, Newt focused on calming down the agitated young man.
“I am really glad to see you, Credence,” he said as he braced himself for the Obscurus’ reaction.
A Bowtruckle serves as a tree guardian for its home tree, which is usually a tree whose wood is of wand quality. The twig-like fingers are well adapted for digging out wood lice in trees, and can also be used as weapon against a foe when aimed at their eyes.
Credence wakes up to a weird chittering and an encompassing warmth around him. He immediately tenses, readying himself to Mother’s remarks and the pain of her words.
And then, it hits him.
Mother is dead. And he was the one to kill her.
A moan passes through his lips and Credence curls up in what seems to be a bed. The chittering suddenly stops and the warmth seems to recede while the young man senses the habitual bubbling in his stomach and harsh cold begin to surround him.
“None of that, Pickett,” Credence hears a familiar soft voice, which reminds him of dark subways and of honest eyes. “I promised to help him and I never go over my word.”
The chittering starts again and Credence lets out a breath when he notices that nobody noticed he woke up. He carefully opens an eye and peers around him.
The only thing he can see are the mismatched blankets full of holes and the table covered in wooden bowls and crystal vials.
Intrigued by the amount of wood and coloured vials, Credence opens his eyes wide and lets himself be surprised by the number of foreign objects and the magical feel of them all.
However, before he can’t even watch everything to his heart content, the chittering stops again and what seems to be a tarp is moved to let pass through the witch with the blue coat.
Credence tenses on the bed and prepares himself to yet another betrayal by those sinful beings. Mother had been right, witches were full of evil and sin. He should have heeded her words and ignored Mr. Graves. And yet, he couldn’t find it in himself to regret those too brief moments where the witch, that man who had betrayed him worse than everyone else, had embraced him and promised him greatness.
“Good morning, Credence,” the witch smiled at him, pale eyes glittering with fake honesty as they quickly went over the young man’s frame and then back to the wooden table. “It is good to see you awake.”
Credence didn’t react to his words and merely observed him walk to the table, puttering softly with the vials and dropping some of their contents in a wooden bowl along with some dried leaves he had never seen before.
“Do you want some?” the witch with the blue coat asked him with the same smile, his eyes never really looking at him. He was stretching the wooden bowl towards him.
Credence felt thirsty but years with Mother had quickly curbed all impulsivity. He merely looked down at his lap and waited. The strikes would soon follow.
“More for me, I guess,” the adult commented with a dejected voice.
The chittering started again and it intrigued Credence so much that it made him look up. To his immense surprise, the sound was coming from a tiny moving stick. The latter was walking over the witch’s right shoulder and moving its leafy arms quite energetically.
“Pickett, that’s just rude,” the witch hushed the moving stick and then looked at Credence with a forced smile. “Bowtruckles,” he said as if it explained everything. “They are quite protective…”
Credence furrowed his brows and observed quietly the witch. The latter was still stirring his mixture while listening to the chittering stick, the bowtruckle. They didn’t really look threatening, nor as regal as Mr. Graves had been.
In fact, the witch’s blue coat was gravely singed over his right pocket and the jacket underneath was covered in dust. He didn’t look at all like the Second Salemers. And from what Credence could remember of that night, he’d tried to help him during his episode.
Therefore, somewhat reassured that the witch wouldn’t try to hurt him directly, Credence kept his head down and asked what had attracted his attention since the beginning.
“Why am I here, sir?”
It generally is a peaceful creature, but will become violent if anything threatens its tree, or even to itself. To take leaves or wood from a Bowtruckle’s tree, one would have to offer it wood lice or fairy eggs as a distraction.
To be quite honest with himself, Newt didn’t know why he had immediately prompted the Obscurus to hide in his suitcase and then made sure that the young man, now in material form, had a nice and recuperating slumber inside.
Like he had told Pickett before, he’d promised Credence to help him and he never went over his word. Never.
Even when the other party betrayed him in the worst way.
But that was a story for another day, Newt reminded himself as he quickly looked at the young boy’s scared eyes and then back again at his bowl full of pepper-up potion.
“Well,” he finally answered Credence’s question with a small shrug. “I have been asked to redact a proper book for fantastic beasts. And I have a mighty need of an assistant. Do you feel like this task would agree with you, Credence?”
Newt ended his proposition with his eyes looking at the Obscurial’s face and therefore noticed all the emotions flashing on it before the young man looked down over his clenched fists. Credence nodded silently and the wizard couldn’t help himself and smiled brightly.
“Perfect!” he clasped his hands and immediately set himself to work.
Pickett sighed heavily on his shoulder and jumped over his clasped hands with an impatient chitter.
“Let’s start with him,” Newt chuckled as he saw Credence’s surprised eyes transfixed over the complaining Bowtruckle. “Pickett had quite a full day and needs some nourishment. Could you feed him for me while I work on my book?”
Credence nodded with his mouth half open and then looked up at the wizard, a brief distressed expression fleeting through his pale face.
“Don’t worry,” Newt assured him. “Pickett will show you where his food is. Just follow his instructions!”
Pickett jumped over Credence’s shoulder and immediately set him to work, tugging impatiently his earlobe until the young man got up and staggered to the buckets full of wood lice.
Chapter 3: C is for Clabbert
It's beginning to look like Christmas... (or the chapter where Pickett needs to get some rest)
So good news! I have now a plot! And bad news: I still don't know how this story will end. Probably with fluff to be honest.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A clabbert is an arboreal creature that resembles a cross between a monkey and a frog. Its smooth skin is mottled green, and it has short horns and a wide grinning mouth full of razor sharp teeth.
Credence couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing.
The witch, whose name he still didn’t know, had only asked him to feed his moving stick and, prompted by the impatient chittering coming from the creature, the latter had been very hungry and determined to get his deserved meal. Therefore, following the harsh tugs on his earlobes, Credence walked past the leathery tap and entered what seemed to be an unending and scorching plain. And a rainy forest. And a dark field. And a stormy forest. And way more places that seemed to be placed seamlessly without ever having one of the animals trespassing their invisible limits.
Credence couldn’t stop watching with mesmerized eyes the unending flow of life around him, the giant beetles pushing around smelly brown balls, the teleporting hen huddling close to its children, the insects buzzing over his head. He just couldn’t keep his eyes away from the colourful and bright creatures around him.
However, the stick man didn’t quite like his admiration and promptly reminded Credence of his task by sharply pinching his earlobe with its sharp fingers.
The young man winced and, muttering a soft sorry, walked to the bucket full of woodlice. He stopped in front of it and looked at the stick man, waiting for it to tell him what he was supposed to do.
However, before the walking stick could even pantomime what to do, Credence was surprised by a red flash and a vociferous croaking.
He stood put, blinking slowly as a weird looking green monkey suddenly jumped on his neck and stole the green man from his shoulder.
Frozen in shock, Credence felt his own soul tremble when he realized that he’d just had the animal under his care stolen.
The witch was going to be so disappointed on him.
The clabbert has long arms and webbed hands and feet that allow it to move gracefully through the trees. On the clabbert’s forehead is a large pustule which flashes red when it senses danger. It feeds on small lizards and birds.
Hours had passed since Newt had given the Obscurial a task. And yet, the latter still hadn’t come back to his shed. He could already feel worry make tight knots in his stomach and the wizard heaved a deep sigh as he put down his quill.
“Worrying means you suffer twice,” he muttered to himself as he rose from his seat and walked to the creatures’ enclosure.
Newt wasn’t very surprised when he saw that Credence wasn’t standing near the bowtruckles’ feeding bucket. However, the fact that the young man wasn’t around did surprise the wizard. He stood put, eyes quickly looking around as he tried to find out where the Obscurial could have gone.
While Newt liked to say that his creatures weren’t dangerous, they could attack a stranger if they felt threatened. And Credence had already suffered too much at the Muggles and Wizards’ hands.
A diricawl teleported near his feet, her chicks immediately following her and huddling closer to her feathered stomach while their mother cooed reassuringly at them. Newt raised a brow and crouched to peer at the magical bird, somewhat intrigued at her presence outside of her habitual forest enclosure.
Suddenly hit by inspiration, the wizard straightened and quickly walked to the humid forest with his wand raised. He wasn’t expecting to find Credence there but couldn’t help to hope that the young man had stayed on the path. There were quite a lot of shy creatures in that part of his suitcase and Credence’s Obscurus could frighten some of them.
Just as he was nearing the end of the forest enclosure, Newt noticed a bright red light in the depths of the trees. Pursing his lips, the wizard left the main path and followed the light.
“Credence!” he exclaimed happily when he noticed the young man standing near the illuminated tree.
The latter was unscathed, his pale face raised to look at the foliage where a grinning clabbert was dangling Pickett. The bowtruckle was protesting his treatment with quite a strident chitter but the clabbert was having none of that, its red pustule flashing brightly to what it believed was a dangerous foe.
Credence flinched at the wizard’s word and immediately hunched, his shoulders curling to take less place while his dark eyes looked down at the humid earth. The clabbert stopped grinning and his pustule’s glow dimmed considerably.
Newt could recognize a hurt being anywhere and promptly adopted the less threatening posture he could master in such a place. The wizard crouched down, almost sitting on the balls of his feet while he tilted his head, showing both the Obscurial and the clabbert his unprotected throat, while he slowly lowered his wand until it rested near his thigh.
“I see that you’ve met my clabbert,” Newt began with his softest voice.
The clabbert stopped flashing his red pustule and cocked his head, his protruding eyes peering inquisitively at the two humans standing near his tree.
Credence shyly looked up and met Newt’s eyes for a mere second before the wizard glanced at the clabbert and then back at the young man.
“Clabbert are generally quite a shy bunch,” the wizard added just as softly as before.
Credence blinked slowly and peered at the curious creature who was now going down the tree. The clabbert stopped his descent and grinned at the two of them before he dangled a squeaking Pickett.
“But this one was such a prankster that his master asked me to take care of him,” Newt commented lightly as the clabbert hung from his tail and began swatting at Credence’s hair with the poor Pickett. “If you give him a treat, he generally feels disposed enough to listen to you.”
Credence furrowed his brows and looked up at the grinning clabbert who stretched one of his hands towards him. His grinning mouth showed his sharp teeth and the young man shuddered at the sight.
“Don’t worry,” Newt assured him while focusing his attention on the pockets of his jacket. “I always some treats for him on me. Here!” he gave a dried lizard to the Obscurial and gave the boy a small smile when the latter took it without flinching.
The clabbert is generally found in southern states of America, but can now be found worldwide. American wizards and witches used to keep clabberts to give them early warning about approaching Muggles. However, they had to stop using them since, despite looking nice at night, a tree full of glowing clabbert’s pustules caused curious muggle neighbours to wonder why wizards still had Christmas lights up in June.
Credence glanced at the dead lizard in his hand and then back at the clabbert. The creature was now openly salivating, its frog-like tongue licking its chops while it stretched the distressed stick-man toward the young man. Credence raised his hand hesitantly, offering the dried lizard to the clabbert and bracing himself for the creature’s violent reaction.
However, like the witch had assured him, the clabbert quickly took the lizard and ate it whole before it gave back Pickett to the young man.
Credence opened his eyes wide when he saw the clabbert grin at him and then vanish in the dark foliage. The bowtruckle in his stretched hand sat down and hugged tightly his thumb.
And, crouching to his side, the witch with the blue coat smiled happily at him.
“Good work, Credence,” the witch told him with his bright and blinding smile.
Credence nodded absentmindedly, wondering if a witch could be so magical that their smile infused someone with a wonderful warmth.
“Come on, Credence,” the witch added as he stood and stretched a hand toward him. “We still have so much work to do.”
“Yes, sir,” the young man nodded sternly and ignored against his wishes the stretched hand. He still could remember Mr. Graves’ soft hands over his scars.
The witch pursed his lips and shook his head.
“None of that ‘sir’ stuff with me, Credence,” he told him with a depreciative smile. “It reminds me of my brother. Call me Newt.”
Next chapter: D is for...
Chapter 4: D is for Demiguise
The babysitter is back.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The demiguise is a peaceful, herbivorous creature that can make itself invisible and tell the future. Which makes it very hard to catch.
Credence follows the witch whose name seems to be, weirdly enough, Newt among the fantastic beasts’ enclosures. His eyes never leave the adult’s blue coat, drinking in every detail, from the chittering stick figure (a bowtruckle, the witch had told him) to the straight back showing how proud the witch was of his companions.
“Those are Mooncalves,” the witch points at a huddle of otter-like creatures who turn protuberant eyes at them before going back to sleep on their rocks. “And over there is a Doxy, their bite can be quite nasty,” he adds with a sheepish smile.
The witch, Newt, never turns to look at him and Credence doesn’t know where to look. Should he keep following the witch over the beaten path and keep his eyes staring at his worn shoes? Or should he follow that pointed finger and admire yet another colourful creature he’d have never dreamt of?
Credence feels somewhat rattled and his skin seems to be stretched too thin over his bones.
“Well, there are so many of them, I honestly don’t know where to begin,” the witch suddenly stops walking and swirls over his feet until he faces Credence.
His pale eyes seem to glitter with happiness and Credence looks down. He doesn’t feel worthy of such brightness.
“Dear Merlin,” the man exclaims. “Here I am blabbering about my creatures and I forgot about you, Credence!”
The boy shudders at his name. He isn’t accustomed to such attentiveness. Nor does he feel like he will ever be.
“Let’s talk about everything with a cup of tea, shall we?” the witch asks him with a benign smile.
Credence doesn’t answer and merely glances at the stick sitting on the adult’s shoulder. The bowtruckle is looking at him with its tiny brown eyes narrowed, as if it was threatening him with incredible suffering should Credence deny the witch’s proposal.
Credence isn’t a fool, even if Mother liked to tell him that he was one, and he nods.
The stick smirks at him and Credence does his best to ignore it.
It resembles an ape with large, black eyes and long, silky hair.
Demiguises have precognitive sight so the only way to catch them is to do something completely unpredictable.
Once they are both seated in his hut with two uneven mugs full of warm tea, Newt faced the biggest challenge in his life head on. Like he’d always done.
“Credence,” he finally began after spending ten minutes watching with a mesmerized attention the nooks in the wooden table separating from the tense Obscurial. “What do you remember of this last week?”
The young man’s tense form seemed to be made of frozen ice and Newt chased away the brief worry of having a Obscurus suddenly rage through his suitcase.
However, before that could even happen, Dougal appeared near Credence’s frozen form and gently patted the boy’s knee. The latter gasped in surprise, his body briefly shimmering with dark wisps coming from his pores, before he reined himself in and looked up at the wizard.
“This is Dougal,” Newt told him with a tiny smile. “He’s a demiguise. One of a kind too, he loves hugging.”
Credence blinked softly then looked down at the demiguise’s shimmering fur. Dougal merely raised his two hands and waited for the young man to hold him.
“Go on,” the wizard added when the Obscurial stayed put.
The dark-haired boy seemed to tense even more as he slowly took the demiguise on his lap. Dougal didn’t complain and quickly looped his arms around Credence’s neck before he burrowed his head against the boy’s bony chest and began thrilling softly.
The tenseness flowing around Credence slowly receded and Newt loosened his grip over his mug of tea. The ozone smell had finally left the Obscurial’s side and the wizard stared with gratitude at the thrilling demiguise.
What were the odds, Newt thought to himself as he glanced wistfully at his abandoned manuscript, that a demiguise’s thrill would be enough to calm down an agitated Obscurial?
“I remember the subways.”
Credence’s soft voice pierced through the wizard’s thoughts and he immediately perked up to look at the boy. The Obscurial was still looking down, his hands holding with incredible softness the thrilling demiguise on his lap.
Newt’s eyes flickered from his tea to Credence’s pale face before they stopped on a point near the boy’s left ear. He calmly waited for the younger man to keep talking and kept his breathe even.
“You were there,” Credence added quietly. Dougal made a soft coo and tightened his hold around the pale boy. “Mr. Graves was there too…”
“That wasn’t the real Graves,” Newt couldn’t help himself and said it without looking at Credence’s eyes. “It was a dark wizard named Grindelwald who took his appearance and deceived us all. You above everyone else.”
“Does that change anything?” he asked grimly. “I’m not magical. I don’t have your powers, I killed people. I’m a monster…”
Newt put his mug down and stood from his seat. He walked around the table and stopped in front of Credence’s hunched form.
“You’re wrong,” the wizard told him with all the honesty in the world.
Demiguises are found in the Far East, but only wizards and witches trained in their capture can even see them.
Demiguise pelts are highly sought after as their hair can be woven into Invisibility cloaks.
“You’re wrong,” the witch repeated as he crouched near him and slowly, carefully, put a hand on his knee.
Credence faintly noticed that the witch had used the same gesture as the thrilling Demiguise in his lap. Dougal seemed to understand his thoughts and merely increased his thrills, reminding the young man of a happy cat basking in a warm ray of sunshine.
“Credence,” Newt added with his ever present small smile over his lips. “Did you know that Demiguise can only be seen by people they judge safe? Would you really believe Dougal would let a monster hold him?”
Credence finally looked straight at the witch and was surprised to meet his blue eyes.
Newt didn’t shy away and just added his other hand on his knee.
“Please believe me when I tell you this, Credence,” Newt assured him. “You aren’t a monster.”
“You are a miracle, Credence!”
“Mr. Graves called me a miracle,” the young man whispered through his choked sobs.
“That man may have lied to you unmeasurable times,” the witch answered him after having given a long look. “But he wasn’t wrong with that one, Credence. You are indeed the most incredible boy I have ever met.”
Credence hunched over and tightened his hold on the thrilling Demiguise. Finally, after fighting his tears since so long, he let them flow freely and for once in his life, wasn’t shamed for it.
Instead of hitting him like Mr. Graves had done before, the witch just crouched near him, his hands never leaving his knees while his demiguise’s thrills eased his sobs.
“It will be okay, Credence,” Newt assured him.
And for the second time of his life, Credence left himself believe in those words.
And this is the end of their first day. The gloom shall soon pass while Credence slowly learns to trust Newt.
However, where is their boat going? And what awaits Credence in that new land?
Chapter 5: E is for Erumpent
In which we learn that erumpents can blow themselves up.
The Erumpent is a huge African magical beast resembling a rhinoceros. It is a powerful creature, with a thick hide capable of repelling most curses and charms, a single long horn, and a thick tail.
On his first day with the strange witch, Credence learns the witch’s name, Newt, and that bowtruckles are quite protective of their witches. Along with the fact that demiguises like Dougal like to hug distressed people.
Dougal hugs him a lot during his first week in Newt’s suitcase.
The second day is when Credence is told that he is actually in a magical suitcase with a lot of dangerous creatures that Newt assures him are “the sweetest beings in the world if treated right”.
Credence just nods and vows to stay as far as possible from the other inhabitants in the magical suitcase.
Of the third day, he doesn’t remember much. Newt tells him that it is quite normal when one almost had their brain eaten by a Sleeping Evil.
Credence doesn’t ask and just goes to feed the mooncalves cooing hungrily in their moonlighted enclosure.
The fourth day goes a little better since Newt decides to spend it by his side, telling everything he knows about every creature they meet during their morning walk through the suitcase. Dougal keeps close to them and reappears sometimes with his arms around Credence’s neck. The young man doesn’t mind it.
Dougal has a really soft fur. It soothes him.
The fifth, sixth and seventh days are a mix of adrenalin and soft cursing when Newt goes missing and only appears by the third day. Credence had been ready to leave the suitcase and confront whoever had taken the witch away. The fact that Dougal had been ready to go with him once Credence had made his mind had reassured him.
After all, Newt had told him that demiguises were pacifists and could see the future. Dougal would be a great help if Credence had to look for the witch everywhere.
But on the seventh day, Newt appears, going down the stairs with his habitual bright smile and pale eyes.
“Hello Credence,” the witch greets him just as happily as he did three days ago. Before going missing without a word. “How are my creatures?”
Credence just looks at Newt, searching for any sign of violence committed against the witch. He could still remember Mr. Graves’ powerful magic hitting the creature loving man. However, there aren’t any new scars over his face and uncovered hands, and the witch’s eyes are still shining as bright as before.
“There are fine, sir,” Credence says while looking at his feet.
The witch sighs, like he always does when Credence doesn’t use his name. However, the young man is still cross with the adult so the latter will have to deal with it.
“It is too bad that you can’t come on the deck with me, Credence!” Newt finally says after a long silence during which Credence looked at his feet and the witch tried to meet his eyes. “The boat passed near a pack of sea serpents. And they were so beautiful, Credence! I think you would have loved them.”
“Sea serpent, sir?”
Newt nods excitedly and begins flapping his hands around. Pickett didn’t approve of it since he came out of the witch’s pocket and chittered with an annoyed grimace.
“Really sorry, Pickett,” Newt apologizes before turning his bright eyes toward Credence. “Sea serpent, Credence! There were three, I think they were a mated pair and their progeny.”
Credence lets out a relieved sigh and sits down. Dougal appears on his lap, like he always does once the young man stops standing, and turns his giant, dark eyes toward the boy’s pale face.
“Just creatures,” Credence whispers to the magical ape. “No danger.”
Dougal tilts his head and raises his arms for a hug.
Erumpents are treated with great caution and respect by African wizards and witches.
The Erumpent will not attack unless provoked, but the results are usually fatal. The horn can pierce skin and metal, and it contains a deadly fluid that cause explosions. There are however rare occasions when the injected object or being does not explode.
“Anyway,” Newt suddenly exclaimed once he finished retelling the three days spent on the deck obliviating muggles so they wouldn’t panic around the sea serpents. “How are the creatures? Did any of them cause some trouble?”
Credence, who had slowly learned to unfold his tall frame from his habitual hunch, briefly looked up at him and Newt widened his smile at him. He had always thought that he couldn’t read well human behaviour. And yet, as days passed by and he spent them with the Obscurial, Newt had learned what every little twitch coming from the young man meant.
Notably that shy way the boy always looked up at him whenever he saw one of his creatures do something truly fascinating.
“The Rampant escaped briefly from its enclosure and went to sleep in the sunny rock,” Credence told him while looking down at the demiguise.
The latter thrilled happily and Newt smiled at the sight. Who would have thought that the shy Dougal would be so taken with Credence?
But he quickly reminded himself that he had other things to think of, and focused back on what the Obscurial had told him.
“Rampant,” Newt repeated absentmindedly. “Do you mean the Erumpent?”
Credence widened his eyes, like he always did when he was horrified by one of his errors, and immediately shrunk back into his defensive posture. Dougal turned his head and glanced at Newt and then looking back at the young man, black eyes briefly turning blue seconds before he tightened his hold on Credence.
“She does that from time to time,” Newt immediately told the young man. He could already feel the ozone pricking around him. And, if his tired eyes weren’t playing tricks on his mind, the shadows around Credence were progressively converging toward him. “She’s in heat, you see. And tries to find the highest point to find a potential mate.”
Credence pursed his lips and tilted his head as Dougal did the same on his lap.
“Why doesn’t she have a mate?” the Obscurial asked with slightly furrowed brows. “She must feel alone, right?”
Newt sighed, understanding Credence’s feelings way too well.
“She does have a prospective mate,” he shrugged and picked softly at one of his nails. “But she fell sick two months ago, back in Kenya, and her horn almost gored out one of her caretakers. Since I was around, looking at a Nundu’s pawprint, they asked me to take care of her and come back once she was better.”
“So she isn’t alone?” Credence insisted as he raised his head to look straight at the wizard.
“Yes,” the latter nodded with a bright smile. “We are actually heading towards Africa right as we speak.”
Just as fleeting as an Ashwinder’s lifespan, a smile brightened Credence’s face.
Erumpent numbers aren’t large because male Erumpent frequently blow themselves up during mating season. Erumpents only give birth to one calf at a time.
Now that the witch is back, Credence notices the difference his presence does to the suitcase’s inhabitants.
The bowtruckles chitter louder than before, the diricawl stops teleporting herself away from Credence and the Graphorns insist for more treats.
But above everyone else, Credence notices how the permanent rushing in his mind and the tight feeling of his skin decrease to a normal amount.
After a week spent in Newt’s suitcase, Credence realizes he trusts the witch with his own life and couldn’t imagine living without being by his side.
It scares him.
The tight feeling comes back and Credence stops following Newt, slowly hunching until he’s crouching on the beaten path. He can’t hear the demiguise’s panicked chitter nor the bowtruckle’s strident screech.
The Obscurus rips through his own soul and Credence screams.
Chapter 6: F is for Fwooper
the clabbert is back.
The Fwooper is a magical African bird with brightly coloured feathers, which can include orange, pink, lime green and yellow. Fwooper feathers are used as quills, and they lay patterned eggs.
Credence wakes up by intermittence. Flashes of worried eyes and soft fur seem to surround him and he goes back to his deep slumber.
He trusts the witch to make sure nothing gets destroyed by his monstrous self.
He sleeps, surrounded by snow and callous hands holding his shoulders.
Credence feels safe and the darkness recedes.
Listening to a Fwooper’s high pitched, twittering song will drive the listener insane, so each bird must be sold with a Silencing Charm placed on it.
When Newt Scarmander had accepted to spend some years looking after fantastic beasts and writing a book about them, he’d immediately bought a leather suitcase at the Wizard Emporium back in Diagon Alley with his meagre salary of the last weeks (six miserable Sickles, thus the battered state of his suitcase). Since he hadn’t had much choice for his suitcase, Newt had been ready to charm it himself and hadn’t been surprised at all when he had entered its magically enlarged space.
Indeed, he could already see cracks over the spelled space and he couldn’t even stand straight.
“That won’t do,” the wizard had muttered to himself years ago, looking at the bleary space barely touched by his Lumos.
And, armed of his Hufflepuff determination, the same that had made him able to graduate from Hogwarts while spending his days at his mother’s cottage, Newt had begun to painstakingly place charm after charm over his suitcase. The Muggle Repelling Spell, which had been placed years before he even thought of buying a magical suitcase, had been fading so he immediately set himself to reinforce it and added a locket to make it easier to use.
Then, he focused on enlarging the available space. While the Undetectable Extension Charm had never been his forte, Newt spent hours casting it until he could finally stand straight and look up. The opening to the real world seemed so far away from where he was standing that the wizard almost shed a tear.
His suitcase had been ready for his travel.
And what a travel it was! Newt visited so many countries and met so many creatures. He soon ran out of ink and place in his suitcase when, after each new stop, he ended up with new friends who sometimes followed him in his enlarged suitcase. There was never a dull moment and Newt often found himself thanking Merlin for having accepted to write a book.
Without it, he would have never met a trickster clabbert, nor followed a Nundu’s trail.
Without it, he wouldn’t have ended in Sudan and met Zahiya. He would never have met a young and brilliant girl being consumed by her own Obscurus.
In fact, without it, Newt would have been completely defenceless against Credence. And his Undetectable Extension Charm would have exploded under the incredible pressure coming from the raging Obscurus.
Armed of his Hufflepuff determination and knowledge of Obscurii, Newt stands straight and confronts the tormented boy.
The Silencing Charm must be reinforced monthly, and a licence is required to own one of those birds.
When Credence wakes up, he’s back on his cot. There are weird purring furballs covering his chest, and he feels a weird tingling on the tips of his feet and hands. Without moving much so he doesn’t disturb the purring creatures slumbering on him, the young man tries to see if there are any other living being around him.
His tired eyes meet Dougal’s all too knowing eyes and Credence promptly looks down. He could still remember the demiguise’s panicked trill. Credence sincerely hopes that he didn’t hurt any of the creatures.
Newt wouldn’t appreciate it.
Credence shudders at the thought of the witch’s disappointment and on what punishment would follow if one of the beasts had been harmed.
The purring over his chest stops and Credence opens his eyes in shock, watching the strangely round and soft creatures tumble around until they roll under his cot. As he does so, the young man notices the familiar blue coat hanging on a coat hanger. Knowing that the witch is never far away from his coat, Credence doesn’t have to look around much to find Newt.
The latter is sitting near his cot, arms crossed over his chest and head falling forward as he breathes softly. His fringe is falling over his closed eyes and Credence sighs in relief. If the witch is sleeping by his side, then the creatures mustn’t have been hurt.
A faint croaking shakes him away from his relieved thoughts and Credence looks at the origin of such sound. On the coat hanger, a familiar monkey looking frog is grinning at him with its sharp teeth, protuberant orange eyes glancing between the sleeping witch and then the young man. The latter furrows his eyebrows and slowly shakes his head.
However, the clabbert doesn’t seem to understand his silent disapproval and jumps on the sleeping witch before flinging itself at Credence’s face. Surprised by such a bold move, the young man tenses and immediately feels his own skin begin to prickle as darkness begins to gather around him. The clabbert’s red pustule flares brightly at him, reminding Credence of Newt’s words about the pustule effect.
But the fact that he’s the danger the clabbert should stay away from doesn’t seem to compute with the creature since it stays over his face and its grin widen.
“He is supposed to be resting, you insufferable glutton!” Newt’s voice surprises both Credence and the unashamed clabbert.
While Credence immediately hunches until he looks smaller than he is, the monkey-frog merely turns its head until it’s smugly grinning at the sighing witch.
“We don’t have any lizards on us,” Newt says sternly to the clabbert who sighs in disappointment before jumping away from them.
Credence blinks slowly, following with his eyes the clabbert’s jumps until it ends on a tree branch near the pink bird who never sings.
“Hello Credence,” the witch tells him with his habitual softness.
The young man flinches and readies himself for his punishment.
But it never comes.
Newt is now standing up, rummaging through the dried herbs and weird mixtures that he likes to call potions. He is turning his back toward Credence, showing yet another sign of trust that the younger man doesn’t deserve. It makes Credence’s heart beat faster, reminds him too of the reason behind his latest episode.
“Here,” the witch walks to his side again and thrusts a wooden mug full of a fuming concoction. “It’s a little pick me up. I feel like you might need it after what happened.”
Credence accepts the drink without a word and looks down at it silently. The fumes are curling around his fingers like ethereal caresses, and he lets himself be hypnotized by their dance. Since Newt doesn’t talk to him, Credence drinks a little sip from the potion and feels warmth fill him immediately. The prickling at the tip of his fingers and toes finally ends, and the young boy sighs in contentment.
“Really sorry about what happened, Credence,” Newt whispers once he has downed half of the drink. “I should have known that you wouldn’t be able to contain such thing for so long. I sincerely apologize.”
Mouth gaping open, Credence looks up at the wizard and is surprised by the honest and remorseful expression on the witch’s face. He tightens his hold on the wooden mug, the prickling feeling over his skin somewhat muddled by his own panicked need of telling Newt the truth.
“You aren’t the one at fault,” he tells him with a voice a little bit stronger than a whisper. “I was the one who almost killed your creatures, sir…”
Newt frowns at his words and the remorse disappears from his face, just as passion animates it.
“And that’s where I should have helped you days ago, Credence,” the witch insists. “You are an Obscurial, you have an unmeasurable amount of dark power inside you that is set loose everytime you feel too much. I should have taught you how to deal with it since the first day and yet… I forgot about it. It almost killed you, Credence…”
“I could have killed you,” the younger man points out with a frown. “I am the one who should apologize.”
Newt opens his mouth to protest and promptly closes it, brows furrowing slowly as a strange song begins to surround them.
“Merlin’s beard, the fwooper’s Silencing Charm ended this morning!” he exclaims before jumping toward the singing pink bird.
Left alone on his cot, Credence watches the witch run after the fwooper, and vows to himself to never again cause harm to him.
And, if in the future lessons Newt promised to teach him, Credence learns how to use his own powers, he’ll make sure to use them to protect the witch.
After all, Newt is essential to his own wellbeing.
Chapter 7: G is for Grindylow
In which Credence uses magic to lift his spirits. Literally.
A Grindylow is a small, horned, pale green water creature. It has sharp teeth and feeds on algae, fishes and small sea creatures.
It is in his favorite place of the witch’s suitcase that Credence receives his first magic lesson.
While Credence quite liked the bowtruckles’ tree and Dougal’s burrow, the young man preferred the alcove where all aquatic creatures swam in an eerie silence. Sometimes, when sleep wouldn’t come to him, he liked to sit in front of the gigantic aquarium and watch them swim and grin their sharp toothed smile at him.
The first time one of them jumped out of their aquarium and tried to snap their teeth at him, Credence had been surprised to see a blob of water follow the creature and impede it from even touching him.
Since then, Credence had liked to sit and watch them even more.
Maybe it was the feeling of playing with death that followed every brush with the blob of water whenever one of the tentacles tried to stretch toward him, and the water made a barrier. Or maybe he was becoming like Newt and actually liked the creatures.
Credence didn’t try to look more into it and just appreciated the fact that there was a spot in the suitcase where he could find some peace.
However, he quickly forgets about any peace of mind when he hears the witch’s first explanation of his future lessons.
“So it is impossible,” Credence mutters as he hunches over and tightens his fists.
His nails were digging into the scarred skin of his palms. He doesn’t care about it.
“Not impossible,” Newt waves his hands in the air and blinks owlishly. He looked a lot like one of his creatures whenever he did that. “Just very hard to do without a wand!”
“But you can’t do it,” the younger man points with a small frown.
Weirdly enough, the witch seemed ashamed of himself and looked down. Pickett, who had been seated on his shoulder, glares at Credence. The latter ignores the vindictive bowtruckle and turns his head to glance at the aquatic creatures.
“It is true that I can’t,” the witch sighs heavily and looks up at him. “But I do know that you can do it, Credence! The fact that you survived for so long with an Obscurus in your magic shows it. You have a great chance of being good at wandless magic.”
Credence keeps his eyes on the aquarium and does his best to calm the small quiver of hope in his chest. To be able to do the great things Graves had told him about. To be able to absentmindedly move things with his mind like Newt did with his wand.
To be able to help Newt.
Credence takes a deep breath and turns around to look at the witch.
“It will help with the…” he hesitates briefly and looks at his feet. “the obscure use?”
“The Obscurus,” Newt corrects with a benign smile. “And I do think so. If you use your magic, your Obscurus could stop feeding so much on it, and decrease to a less dangerous degree. Of course,” the witch furrows his brows and sighs softly. “those are all conjectures and we will be testing them every day.”
It was still more than Credence had ever hoped to get.
“I’ll do it,” he says, looking up at the witch.
Newt smiles brightly at him.
Occasionally, grindylows will eat humans. This is why they are classified as dark creatures. The grindylow has long, brittle fingers which, despite their fragility, may be rather strong. The trick to escaping a grindylow is to break their grip on a person. The Revulsion Jinx can be quite useful for that.
While Newt hadn’t expected such a negative response when he’d first told Credence that they would mainly focus on wandless spells, he had persevered until the young boy had finally assented to a try. And what a try it had been!
The air around the Obscurial had vibrated when the wizard had explained to him the principles behind the theory of such magic.
“Don’t worry,” Newt had assured him. “My brother is quite an adept at wandless magic and has bragged about it so many times that I could teach you about it in my sleep!”
Credence had looked quite intrigued by his words and just stood near the grindylows’ bubbles of water. He cut such a fetching image, standing there with his pale features and dark hair among the glittering water and green creatures that Newt had immediately wished to immortalize it with a picture. However, Pickett quickly reminded him to get back to work with a nasty pinch on his earlobe.
“You just have to picture your magic as an extension of your own limbs,” the wizard promptly said.
Credence furrowed his brows and glanced down at his hands. They were shining softly in the dim light of the aquarium behind him. Newt just stayed put, trusting the young man to find out, and if he didn’t, to ask for help.
“Like my own limbs,” the Obscurial repeated softly.
The air tensed around him and Newt noticed that the habitual smell of ozone that normally followed it was absent. It made him smile happily and he petted one of the grindylows that had floated near him. The creature snapped her maws at the wizard, and the latter tapped her muzzle with a stern look.
“None of that,” he chided her with a small frown. “I taught you better.”
The grindylow looked chastised as she floated away from him, and Newt focused his attention back on his disciple. The boy had his eyes closed and seemed to be meditating.
The air was now vibrating with unseen power.
“Very good, Credence,” Newt whispered to avoid spooking the Obscurial. He didn’t want another repeat of the last three days. “Now, picture yourself lifting something around you.”
Credence nodded stiffly. He opened his eyes, their pupils so dilated that the wizard couldn’t even see the habitual brown surrounding them. Raising his hand in front of him, the young man took a deep breath and, letting go of all of his doubts, lifted.
The grindylow in her bubbled water stopped floating happily around them, and started raising in the sky.
Newt was so proud Credence’s success that he let out a happy laugh. The Obscurial’s lips stretched into a surprised smile, and his raised hand faltered.
The grindylow’s bubble burst and the two men got drenched with cold water. Letting out a surprised yelp, Newt immediately took out his wand and casted a drying charm over himself while Pickett chittered hysterically. The poor bowtruckle hadn’t liked his unplanned shower at all.
However, he’d been luckier than Credence since the poor boy had ended covered in both water and a terrified grindylow. The poor creature was holding for her dear life on the Obscurial’s neck while the young man tried to pry her off.
“Dear Merlin,” the wizard muttered as he tried to help. “And this had started so well…”
While the Grindylow is aggressive towards witches, wizards and muggles alike, it can be tamed by merpeople. The half-fish beings keep them as pet. The grindylows are generally found in the weed beds at the bottom of lakes, mostly in Great Britain and Ireland.
The witch is disappointed on him.
Credence can see it, he can see how Newt has been avoiding looking at him since they had made sure that the weird aquatic creature was fine and back in its habitat. But that’s normal, he tells himself, people are always disappointed.
Even people as bright and happy as Newt.
Credence shivers and looks at his drenched clothes. He didn’t have any other clothes than the tattered remains of his Second Salemer clothes when he had woken up in the suitcase. So the witch had gently shared some of his own. And he has stupidly drenched them.
His shivers increase and he grits his teeth to avoid having them clattering. This will be his punishment, he decides. Since he has disappointed the witch and almost killed one of his loved creatures, he deserves it.
Credence follows silently Newt as they both walk back to the hut, the witch looking straight ahead and the bowtruckle on his shoulder ignoring Credence with an annoyed huff. As they arrive to their destination, Credence readies himself to the stern words that will surely follow his mistake.
But they never come.
“Come along, Credence,” Newt says as he smiles at him, sulking bowtruckle on his shoulder and some dry clothes in his hands. “You must be freezing.”
The witch pushes the dry clothes into his cold and damp hands, and Credence is left speechless.
“Go change,” the adult adds, surprising him more and more. “I’ll prepare some Pepper-Up potions to make sure we don’t get sick. But after that,” Newt stops talking and gives him a bright smile. “After that, we will celebrate your first act of voluntary magic!”
Credence freezes on his spot. The fact that he can feel the cold nipping at his fingers and ears, that the pungent smell of the giant beetles’ dung permeates the air, that he can clearly see and count every freckle on the witch’s face should be enough proof that he isn’t dreaming.
And yet… and yet, he pinches his own hand, avoiding Mother’s leftover scars as he does so, to make sure that he isn’t dreaming.
That night, Credence falls asleep with Dougal curled next to his hip, and a wide smile on his lips.
He dreams of floating water and of happiness.
Chapter 8: H is for Hippogriff
Sometimes you just need fresh air and love to get better.
Guess who is two days late for the chapter? This sick person...
A Hippogriff is a magical creature that had the front legs, wings, and head of a giant eagle and the body, hind legs and tail of a horse.
It takes three more weeks until they finally arrive in Africa.
Not that Credence notices it straight away, since he spends his time in a magical suitcase, tending to the just as magical creatures. However, the witch’s visits become rarer and there are even some days where he just doesn’t appear.
Credence merely bids his time and trains his magic by trying to levitate the giant beetle’s dung. It is a tiring exercise but at least, it helps him keep his control and stop worrying about the missing witch. Dougal stays close to his side during those days without Newt, and Credence always rewards him with fresh fruits that he plucks from the clabbert’s favourite tree.
And then, one day, Newt gets in the suitcase and proposes him to walk out.
“Out,” Credence repeats as he digs his fingers into Dougal’s soft fur. The demiguise’s contented trills increase in volume and the young man smiles at the animal.
“Yes,” Newt assents with a wide smile. “Since we arrived at the port and we have to wait three hours for the next train to the city nearer to the male Erumpent’s plaine, I thought you’d like to walk around.”
Credence hesitates. While he feels curiosity of seeing another country, he can still remember the destruction he left during his episodes in New York. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone again.
The witch seems to realize his dark turn of thoughts and promptly adds reassuring words.
“Don’t worry,” he tells him. “There won’t be any wizard around, you’ll be safe! And… if you would prefer a less populated place, you can always come out when we arrive at the park! I’m sure you’ll love it!”
Credence tilts his head and looks down at Dougal. The demiguise has his eyes half-closed and seems close to falling asleep. It reassurs the young man that, if the animal felt safe enough to fall asleep, he is indeed safe.
“I can choose?” Credence asks.
He chastises himself immediately. Credence should know better than to ask that, the witch will be aggravated by his gluttony for attention. Maybe the witch will even punish him. The young man hunches over himself and digs his fingers into Dougal’s soft fur. However, the animal doesn’t protest over the treatment and Credence relaxes slightly.
“Of course, Credence!” Newt smiles at him happily. “I will not force you out if you don’t feel ready!”
Credence nods and looks at his shoes.
“I would prefer going out in the park,” he says to his shoes.
There are no angry words following his decision, and he relaxes. The witch isn’t Mother, he tells himself.
And, day by day, Credence begins to believe those words.
Newt bids him goodbye and climbs out of the suitcase with a bright smile, promising him that he would buy some clothes. Credence doesn’t say anything at that promise, since he was the one who almost ruined the witch’s clothes during his brief encounter with the panicked grindylow.
Those aquatic creatures could have sharp claws when they were scared.
The door closes after the exiting witch and the young man glances at the suitcase. The animals are happily chittering and moving around. Even with the pungent smell of the beetles’ dung, he takes a deep breath and feels at home.
Then, clasping his hands over Dougal’s sleepy and prone body, Credence vows to himself to train his magic till he’s able to protect all the inhabitants in the suitcase. Newt included.
The breeding of fancy hippogriffs is an established wizard career, with known breeders such as the Scarmander family. Images of fancy hippogriffs are sometimes put onto calendars.
Owners of Hippogriffs are required by law to cast a Disillusionment Charm on the creature every day to prevent it from being seen by Muggles. Using Hippogriffs for personal transportation is also illegal under the Internation Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.
Newt sighed as he observed the colourful clothes hanging in front of him. While it was true that he favoured such brightness for his everyday clothes, he wasn’t so sure if his recent protégé would like it. After all, Credence had chosen the tamest shirt in his wardrobe.
The wizard gnawed softly on his lips and considered the two shirts in from of him. They weren’t too pricy, he reasoned. He could buy both and give them to Credence.
Nodding to himself, Newt took the shirts and walked to the trousers. This time, he knew immediately what to take and made sure to choose the most resistant clothes. Poor Credence had been walking with holes in his trousers for the last weeks and Newt wanted to help him. Even spells couldn’t fix those holes.
He quickly bought the clothes and some undergarments for both his protégé and himself (doxys loved to eat soft cotton, this was getting problematic). Then, he walked to the station and, as he did so, admired Mombasa’s colourful streets and busy circulation.
Credence would have loved it, Newt thought as he watched some of the shops. There were so many things that were totally different from New York.
At least, the boy had accepted to come out in the park. Newt nodded to himself, that was an amazing fact. To be quite honest with himself, the wizard had thought that the poor Obscurial would still be scared from the outside world after all the abuse he’d gone through.
But Credence was incredibly strong and never failed to surprise him.
Newt smiled to himself and boarded in the train, sitting near a Muggle with a smile. He carefully put his suitcase on his thighs and waited for the train to move.
In three days, Credence and the Erumpent would finally see the sunlight for the first time since New York.
Nairobi was as he remembered, Newt thought as he stretched his legs and got out of the train. He had spent quite a bunch of uncomfortable night but, at last, he was close enough to apparate near the park. As he did so, tightly gripping his suitcase so he didn’t lose it, Newt wondered if his childhood friends would still be in the park.
Credence would love meeting them. He was sure of that.
The diet of the hippogriff consists mainly of insects, birds, and small mammals such as ferrets. They will sometimes paw at the ground for worms if no other food is readily available. When breeding, hippogriffs build nests on the ground, and lay only a single, fragile egg. The egg usually hatches in twenty-four hours. Infant hippogriffs are capable of flight within a week, but it takes many months before they are strong enough to accompany their parents on long journeys.
It takes four days until the witch comes back. Credence counted them patiently, feeding the creatures carefully and making sure that the Erumpent wouldn’t escape her enclosure this time. He spends some time near the grindylows’ aquarium and trains his magic until he can lift the grindylow with his magic while he carries around the graphorns’ food.
That success makes him want to holler happily and tell it to the witch. But Newt is still busy outside so Credence focuses on lifting two grindylows. It doesn’t go that well so he goes back to trying to move only one.
Then, Newt is back.
“Credence!” the witch exclaims from the top of the ladder. “Quick, come out. You have to meet some friends!”
Credence frowns. It must be the first time that Newt got so excited from something out of the suitcase since the sea serpents. Which, still doesn’t sound that great for him but, since it is the witch who is telling him about it, he approaches the ladder.
He trusts Newt with his life. Nothing bad will happen outside, Credence reassures himself. Newt always stopped him before wrecking something. And his latest episode didn’t destroy not kill someone.
Newt was around so nothing bad would happen.
Credence gets up the ladder and has to squint when he comes out. There are trees around them and Newt is standing near him. The witch is smiling happily at him and then opens his arms.
“Look, Credence! Those two creatures were my closest friends when I was your age.”
The young man follows the witch’s words and widens his eyes when he sees the two animals standing close to the older man.
They have bright bronze feathers, menacing beaks and sharp claws at their front. But the back is made of two horse legs.
Credence meets their orange eyes and doesn’t dare to move.
“Good,” Newt tells him. “Now, bow respectfully to them.”
Credence obeys. The two creatures bow back and suddenly he’s surrounded by bronze feathers and there’s a beak softly butting against his back. The young man raises slowly his hand and, trying his best to smother the nervous trembling of his limbs, caresses the head of the animal standing in front of him.
The witch smiles at him, his shoulders brushing against his as the two winged creatures get their affection.
It is the first time since Newt York that Credence went out. The sun is shining through the foliage and the soft brushing of the creatures’ feathers over his face tickle him.
Chapter 9: I is for Irish Phoenix
Credence seems to have many qualities
So guess who got even sicker, noticed that she had to write a 25 pages essay and had three days left to do so? This idiot here.
Anyway, here's how I relax, writing two awkward dudes being awkward together.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Augurey, also known as the Irish Phoenix, is a thin and mournful looking bird, somewhat like a small underfed vulture in appearance, with greenish black feathers and a sharp beak. Its diet consists of insects, fairies and flies.
The reserve, Credence learns pretty soon, is full of life and sound. It is quite like the suitcase, but no magic can copy the wideness of the Kenyan sky. The two hippogriffs still crowd around him, pushing softly against his back whenever he stops petting one of them, and Credence has never felt so much at peace with himself.
“This one is Newton,” the witch tells him while caressing the darker coloured hippogriff’s beak. “And the other one is named Fido. They are mates.”
Credence glances at the two magical animals, noticing the faint scars on the used beaks, as well as the shining feathers. They look old and, from what Newt told him, had lived with him when he had been his age.
“I never knew if my mother named them after me or if I was named after them,” Newt chuckled as Fido snapped playfully at his red tinted hair.
The young man freezes at the word.
“Mother?” he repeats softly.
He feels a small pang of pain in his chest, reminding him of the striking belt over his skin, Mother’s stern look, her pinched lips…
Then, he hears the hippogriffs’ coos and contented trills when his fingers dig heavily under their feathers. The sun is warming the top of his head, and he can feel the warm air caress his exposed face.
He is in Africa.
Mother is dead.
Credence sighs and his body sags.
The witch looks at him with a raised brow, seeming curious at his sudden relief.
“Are they that weird?” Newt asks him.
“What?” Credence answers. He doesn’t know anymore what they are talking about and feels ashamed for it.
“My names,” the witch explains with a faint smile. “I always thought that they were quite mundane. Sharing them with them,” he stretches a hand toward the two winged creatures, “always made me feel like I was never alone.”
“It isn’t weird!” Credence immediately protests. “They are… they sound nice. Like you,” he finishes in a mutter.
The witch blinks, his golden skin taking a sudden scarlet tinge while his mouth gaped open.
“What… oh… I mean,” Newt blabbers as his eyes flickers everywhere.
Newton puts his beak on the witch’s hair and begins running its sharp tip over the scalp, seemingly trying to calm down the blushing man.
“Oh Merlin,” the latter whispers while watching his feet.
Not that Credence notices much since he has spent the last minutes blushing vividly and cursing himself in his head.
The two men stand quietly, their cheeks burning red while the two hippogriffs look over them with a long suffering sigh.
The Irish Phoenix is native to Great Britain and Ireland, but is also found in Northern Europe.
It was long believed that the mournful cry of the Augurey foretold death, and wizards would go to great lengths to avoid their nests.
Newt was considering burying himself back into his work to forget the sudden bashfulness that had submerged him. However, because his mother had raised him well (well, that is, as well as one could when they were more preoccupied with the latest hippogriff’s birth than with their youngest son’s birthday), the youngest Scarmander straightened his back and looked up to watch Credence.
It was his first time out of the suitcase since his Obscurus explosion, and Newt was quite intrigued as to how the boy was feeling. However, it seemed that he didn’t have to worry since the young man was smiling softly at Fido, hand petting the hippogriff with an unmeasurable kindness, while Newton fluttered his feathers in pleasure at his mate’s happiness.
Suddenly, a familiar cry echoed through the reserve and Newt smiled happily as he heard it.
“What was that?” Credence asked him while stepping closer to him.
Always happy to share his knowledge of animals, Newt turned all his focus on his protégé and smiled at him.
“That was the cry of an Augurey,” he said and waited to see Credence’s eyes brighten with curiosity.
Day after day, his dark eyes had progressively lightened as he let his curiosity run wild. And Newt had done his best to always encourage him to ask him questions. Because, as he always said, even the simplest question could help him write his book.
“What is an Augurey?” the young man asked him.
The wizard’s smile widened and he stretched his hand to take Credence’s.
“Come,” he told him as the two hippogriffs started walking toward the Augurey’s nest. “I will show you.”
Newton and Fido had always known where he wanted to go, back when he had been a child, alone and despairing for his brother to come back from Hogwarts. And, just like back then, they made sure to stay close to him.
They made, Newt noticed with a bright smile, the best companions for a walk in the reserve.
Research determined that the Augurey merely sings when it is about to rain. When it was learned that Augureys could foretell the coming of rain, they were used as weather forecasters. However, the continual moaning from them during the winter months was difficult to bear.
Credence stops short when he sees the bird.
It reminds him as himself, with the way those shoulders are hunched over and the sharp beak.
However, it also has a certain beauty to itself, with those green tinged dark feathers and the all seeing eyes.
“When an Augurey cries,” the witch whispers to his right. “It means that it’s going to rain.”
Credence blinks in surprise. He wouldn’t have thought that such a foreboding looking bird could have a cry so useful.
“Not so long ago,” Newt continues quietly as Newton and Fido stand guard to their side, “Wizards feared them and thought that their cries announced death.”
And yet, Credence tells himself, they didn’t. This animal was innocent, even if his appearance could fool him to think the contrary.
“Of course, once they made proper researches and observed them, they found out that Augureys merely announce a bad weather,” the witch commented with a light chuckle.
It reminds the young man of another case of possible lack of information. After all, from what little Newt had told him, there wasn’t much that was known about wandless magic and Obscurials.
“Do you think it could be the same with me?” he asks in a breathless whisper.
The witch doesn’t answer immediately, watching with captivated eyes the Augurey move contently in its nest. Then, just as Credence was ready to apologize for his unneeded question, Newt looks at the two hippogriffs and his lips quiver briefly.
“I wish I knew the answer, Credence,” the witch tells him with a brief flicker of his eyes towards his face.
The young man meets those ever running green eyes, and he knows, suddenly and without any doubt, that Newt wished with all his strength he could be enough to help him. And that Theseus needed to never meet the Obscurial.
Credence stumbles, his legs suddenly quivering and ready to let him fall. He doesn’t know what happened but he still is sure of one thing.
That man named Theseus was dangerous and Newt was terrifyingly worried of what would happen if he ever met Credence.
So this chapter was pretty plot heavy.
And the Augurey was actually introduced in Kenya by Newt. He pretty much gave Newton, Fido and the Augurey to the park and then took the Erumpent to heal her. Such a nice fellow, this Newt.
Anyway, next chapter will be very heavy. We are finally going to talk about the punitions.