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                                                             Painting of Credence

                                                                                                (A watercolour of Credence)

 

Newt returned to the subway where Credence perished the day before he was due to return to England. He didn't really know why he decided to go back to the place where the young man died, he barely knew the boy. But something about Credence just resonated with the Hufflepuff, and Newt only thought it proper to say goodbye to all of his friends in New York, Credence included.

 

Newt decided to go back during the small hours of the morning so he wouldn't be bothered by crowds of commuting muggles. The lights are still on inside the underground tunnels but there isn't a soul, or train, in sight.

 

He stood there at the edge of the tracks feeling the warm stale air wash over him, staring at nothing when he felt it. The tiniest flicker of magic at the edge of his consciousness. Newt narrowed his eyes and concentrated on it.

 

At first he assumed it was just residual magic lingering after the fight with Grindelwald. But the more he focused, the more Newt came to recognise it.

 

The delicate brush of magic against his consciousness undoubtedly belonged to Credence. Newt could recognise it anywhere. He had been exposed to so much of the Obscurial’s magic Newt thought he'd probably never quite be able to forget its unique power.

 

The most bizarre thing was that it wasn't just an imprint of the fight that raged here a few days ago, but it was conscious and living. Newt felt Credence's magic react to his own, ebbing and flowing like a tide. The more he looked the more surprised he became. Credence's magic was everywhere.

 

It had just been scattered completely. It was separated into a bizarre form of magical confetti, and it was flung all over the train platform.

 

A spark of excitement ignited in Newt’s chest. If his magic was alive that meant Credence had to be too. The only problem was, where the hell was he?

 

Newt frowned and glanced around the train platform. He spotted a bench and went over to it and sat down, crossing his legs and pensively settling his chin into the cradle of his linked hands.

 

As he sat there thinking up a storm, something quite bizarre started to happen.

 

Newt didn't notice it at first, but the flecks of Credence's magic started to coalesce and encircle themselves around Newt. As they gathered and grew more noticeable Newt realised what was happening and gave a surprised gasp.

 

Fantastic!” He whispered excitedly to himself and leapt to his feet.

 

“Credence I know your there. Don't worry, I’m going to try my best to help you get yourself back together!” Newt said eagerly.

 

The wizard slid his wand into his hand and held it out in front of himself.

 

Newt didn't start to cast a spell but used his wand as a focusing point, and channeled as much magic as he could through it like a siphon.

 

Newt grinned as he felt his magic slowly getting absorbed into what he could only guess was Credence's weakened form.

 

Newt’s eyes widened as he watched what started to happen in front of him.

 

Just beyond of the tip of his wand a speck of light started glowing. It was minuscule at first and pure white. However, the more Newt channeled his magic the bigger and brighter it grew.

 

It started gradually but the radiance pouring it's way out of the speck started to rapidly grow. It brightened so remarkably Newt had to cover his eyes to protect himself from its brilliance.

 

Newt felt his wand arm start to tremble with the strain he was putting onto himself by pouring out so much of his magic all at once. But he couldn't stop now, not when this could possibly save Credence. The poor boy deserved so much more than he was given. And if Newt could give him a second chance, then he was damned sure going to try.

 

Nevertheless, Newt’s head started to swim as he swayed on the spot, he felt his knees begin to shake and his heart started beating faster than the wings of a snitch. Newt was never a magically weak wizard but he wasn't among the strongest either. So the sheer amount of magical exhaustion he was undergoing proved too much for him.

 

He was unconscious before he hit the subway floor.

 

 

Credence was lost. He wondered if this was purgatory… or even hell.

 

He was in the train station where he died, but it wasn't normal. He wasn't physical, he felt like a speck of dust floating in the air. He was at the whims of his environment, being buffeted around by the gusts of wind that whistled their way through the subway.

 

It was like looking at the world through a pane of frosted glass. Everything was misty and indistinct. People just looked like blurry shadows, and they took no notice of him at all.

 

Perhaps he was a ghost?

 

Whatever he was, it was maddening. Credence had no concept of time like this. Sometimes it seemed to slip past sluggishly and the pressure of his surroundings felt dense and constricting. Other times it whipped past so fast he felt like the breath had been ripped from his lungs. Not that he actually had any lungs to speak of.

 

He had no idea how long he'd been in limbo when he saw him enter the subway.

 

The station was completely empty when one faint shadow of a human slipped inside. This one, however, had a faint golden aura radiating off of it.

 

This was the first interesting thing to happen to Credence since he'd be stuck here so he immediately took notice.

 

The longer he had lingered in the subway the more Credence had learnt to influence his own location, and he tried his very best to float his way over to the shining person.

 

When he got there a blanket of peacefulness and tranquility surrounded him, this feeling was familiar. However, Credence couldn't place exactly where he'd experienced it before. Yet whatever it was, it was nice, and also the first thing of significance Credence had felt in a long while.

 

As he lingered around the ghostly human shape it started to do something other than just stand there. Credence watched as it paced a bit and then sat down for a while. Then it suddenly stood up and held out its shadowy indistinct arm and Credence could have sworn he heard it say his name. He hadn't been able to hear anything from any of the other figures that crossed the platform. But there was obviously something special about this one.

 

Before Credence quite understood what was happening it started to expel pure undiluted magic into the subway. Credence didn't know it was magic per say, all he knew was that this thing was jettisoning out an immense amount of power and that it was electric and irresistible. Credence felt his abstract form start to soak it up like a sponge. The power thrummed through his untethered consciousness, and gave him an anchor on which to focus himself. Whatever this person was doing, it was making him stronger.

 

Credence greedily drank up the energy; he couldn't bare to stay in this blank void of existence any longer. He knew he probably deserved it. He'd had nothing but his own thoughts occupy him for god knows how long. And Credence had been constantly reliving the nightmare that had been his life for the past few days again and again. He had killed people, and no matter how much they deserved it he had taken a life that wasn't his to give. He was a monster and he was weak to grasp at this chance of freedom, but he took it anyway.

 

There was a sudden surge of power and Credence felt himself expand like a dying star. It was incredible and agonizing. His mind whited out at the sensation of being physically remade, and he came to consciousness panting on the cold but gloriously solid station floor.

 

He was flat on his back staring up at the dirty ceiling, gasping oxygen like he'd just been rescued from drowning. It took him a minuet to gather himself mentally, but he managed to shakily sit up. The first thing he saw was the awfully familiar blue coat and ginger curls of the kind wizard who tried to save his life.

 

He was crumpled on the ground like a puppet with his strings cut. He was splayed out on his back like he had fallen, and his wand was limply cradled in his now slack fingers.

 

Credence quickly scrambled onto his hands and knees panicking that the wizard had given his own life to save his. He grasped onto the shoulders of the unconscious man and desperately shook them.

 

“No, no, no!” Cried Credence as he choked on a constricting sob.

 

He slid one of his hands up to the wizard’s freckled face and gently patted his cheek.

 

“Please…” Whimpered Credence.

 

He couldn't be dead. Credence didn't deserve a sacrifice like this, he wasn't worth this mans life.

 

As Credence's vision started to blur with unshed tears the pale green eyes below him fluttered open.

 

Credence gasped and scrabbled away from the man on the floor.

 

“Oh my,” said the wizard without moving, “That really took it out of me.”

 

Credence could see that he was smiling broadly.

 

The wizard stiffly sat up and he ran a hand through his own hair. He blinked a few times and grinned crookedly at Credence.

 

Credence quickly adverted his gaze and stared at his own hands, he was at a loss for what to do or say. This man, wizard, had just resurrected him.

 

“Are you alright?” Asked the ginger man.

 

He didn't sound angry, if anything he sounded rather proud of himself.

 

Credence peeked at him from underneath his dark eyelashes. The wizard was still smiling, but a bit more calmly now.

 

Credence nodded in reply and gently cleared his throat, “Yes sir,”

 

Now he was thinking about it he felt physically fine albeit extremely tired, “What… what did you do?” He quickly asked before he lost his nerve.

 

The wizard chuckled and shakily got to his feet, dusting off his coat as he went. He extended a hand towards Credence in offering.

 

Credence gingerly took it and noted how firm the wizard’s calloused grip was. And he was hefted to his feet with surprising strength.

 

“To answer your question, I'm not one hundred percent sure actually. I just sort of went with it,” Said the wizard straight forwardly.

 

Credence wrapped his arms around himself protectively, trying to give himself what little comfort he could. Now he was used to being whole again, worry was starting to bite at the heels of his thoughts.

 

What was he going to do? His mother was dead, because he killed her, and Credence had nowhere to go. Not to mention the entire magical population thought he was dead and would most likely want to kill him the moment they realised he was still alive.

 

His next inhale was shaky and stuck in his throat. The wizard clearly noticed something was wrong because he had stopped smiling, his expression sinking into a concerned frown.

 

“Credence… are you okay?” He said gently, extending a hand slowly but not making contact.

 

Credence could only shake his head and gasp for air.

 

“Shh, it's okay, you're safe. No one is going to hurt you. I promise,” consoled the wizard. His tone low and steady.

 

Credence looked up at him, he had one hand extended, palm upwards in invitation.

 

Not really knowing what he should do, frightened that he would displease the wizard, Credence accepted and limply placed his hand over the top of the wizard’s.

 

The other man gently grasped Credence's softer more delicate hand, grounding him.

 

“Credence, it's going to be alright, I'm going to protect you. I'm not going to turn you in, this has all been out of your control. I can help.”

 

The tether of the wizard’s hand kept Credence focused on the present and not the dark future his mind was quickly conjuring up. He slowly registered the words being spoken to him. It's going to be alright, protect, I can help.

 

His breathing started to even out, and Credence felt less and less like he would pass out at any minuet.

 

“W-what's going to happen to me?” Stuttered Credence.

 

The wizard gave Credence's hand a reassuring squeeze, “I'm going back to England tomorrow, and you can't stay here. I think the obvious choice would be for you to come with me. What do you think?”

 

The eager smile was back on the ginger man’s face. It was only a facial expression, but it warmed up Credence's from the inside out.

 

He'd been betrayed by wizards before. Like his mother had said they'd all been dangerous, evil and manipulative so far. A shadowy memory of Graves flickered through his mind.

 

But looking up at this other wizard, Credence couldn't think of anyone more unlike Graves if he tried.

 

“That sounds good, sir” mumbled Credence.

 

It wasn't like he had any better options anyway.

 

“Excellent, oh and enough of the sirs, call me Newt!”

Chapter Text

Newt led Credence back to Tina and Queenie’s flat for the rest of the night, so they could get some rest before they set off for England in the morning.

He had to give Credence a hand up the stairs of the subway because he was pretty wobbly on his legs after being incorporeal for so long. Secretly Newt thought it was rather endearing. Credence, however, appeared quite embarrassed at having to cling to Newt’s arm to stay steady.

As they walked back to Tina and Queenie’s place Credence slowly got his footing back, and by the time they reached the front door he could walk without assistance.

Newt muttered an alohomora at the keyhole and pushed it open, gesturing Credence to enter. Once they were both inside, Newt relocked the door with another spell.

Credence looked like he wanted to ask something but Newt pressed a finger up to his lips signaling Credence stay quiet as they were going up the stairs. He didn’t want to invoke the wrath of the girls' strict landlady.

Newt continued to guide Credence upwards and into the sister’s apartment, leading him through the living area and into the spare bedroom.

It was was still made up for two, just like when he was staying here with Jacob. Twin beds with matching coverlets lay against parallel walls and a quaint nightstand was squeezed in between them.

Newt gently closed the bedroom door and sighed, “Few, I think we managed not to wake anybody up. We can talk so long as we’re quiet.”

Credence nodded, hovering awkwardly in the middle of the bedroom, “Are we not supposed to be in here?” he whispered, wringing his hands together.

“Oh Merlin no,” exclaimed Newt, “We’re perfectly welcome, I just didn’t want to unnecessarily wake the others.”

Credence visibly relaxed now he knew that he wasn’t about to get in trouble for trespassing.

“Now, I imagine you have quite a lot of questions?” Said Newt as he sat on one of the beds.

Credence nodded and tentatively sat himself down on the opposite one, “What happened to me?” he looked deeply troubled and confused, which Newt knew was only natural.

Credence had been completely ignorant towards magic up until a few days ago, and his first introduction into the wizarding world had been less that ideal.

Newt sighed and a flash of sorrow danced across his face as he thought about all the injustices the man in front of him had suffered through.

“You are… well were an Obscurial. It happens when a wizard or witch is forced to suppress their magical power, usually after being victims of severe abuse. They develop a parasitical magical force, known as an Obscurus as a result. Which is incontrollable, and eventually fatal,” explained Newt.

Credence had gone even paler than he usually was, “B-but that other wizard, Graves, h-he said I had no magic.”

Newt shook his head, “Quite the opposite Credence. Every recorded Obscurial has died before they reached the age of ten. The fact you’ve survived into adulthood and now apparently survived death shows you’re incredibly magically powerful.”

Newt couldn’t quite recognise the emotion that was on Credence’s face at that moment. He looked both in pain and happy at the same time.

“You said I used to be an ob-obscurial?” muttered Credence clearly confused.

Newt perked up a little bit at this question, glad to be moving onto happier topic, “Yes! I believe when those idiots at MACUSA attacked you they actually managed to destroy your parasite. Because you were in your Obscurus form at the time, your body was unharmed along with your natural magic and only the Obscurus was damaged. However, you were then disembodied with no way of becoming physical again. Luckily I picked up on your magical signature when I went back to the train station, and fed you enough of my own magic to give you the strength reform yourself.”

Credence sat there and stayed very quite for a time seemingly processing what had just been explained to him, “So… I’m not a monster anymore?”

Newt’s heart ached a little hearing Credence describe himself like that, “Credence,” he sighed, “You were never a monster, the true monsters in this situation were Grindelwald and your mother.”

“Grindelwald?” asked Credence softly.

At this point Newt stood up and started to agitatedly pace from one end of the room to the other, “Yes, he’s a loathsome dark wizard who preys upon the vulnerable. Unfortunately you were one of them. That man you knew as Graves was actually Grindelwald masquerading as him to gain your trust.”

Credence who had been watching Newt pace glanced down at his hands, which were huddled together in his own lap, “I’m such an idiot,” he whispered, seemingly more to himself than to Newt.

Newt stopped walking and crouched down just in front of Credence, trying to make himself seem less intimidating, “You’re not an idiot Credence, Grindelwald had the whole of MACUSA fooled, including their president. He’s a devious and ruthlessly clever man who knows exactly how to exploit people’s weaknesses.”

Credence looked at Newt crouched below him. His dark, doe-like eyes were shiny with unshed tears.

“S-so I really am a wizard?” he hiccupped.

Newt grinned, “Yes, you are. Once we’re back in England I’ll take you to get a wand and I can start to teach you how to use your magic properly… that is if you want to... I understand if you want to stay as far away from the wizarding world as possible. You’ve had a terrible experience with it so far. Without your mother abusing you, you shouldn’t have to worry about developing another Obscurus.”

Credence sniffled and rubbed at one of his eyes with the heel of his hand, “No I want that more than anything. But… but I don’t want to be a burden for you.”

Newt unbent himself and gently reached out to reassuringly grasp Credence’s shoulder, “You couldn’t be a burden if you tried, to be honest I think you’ll find it harder to put up with me than I will with you. People often find me… irritating.”

Inside Newt’s heart was beating a mile a minuet, ecstatically happy at the thought of having Credence come with him. He wouldn't be leaving all his friends behind after all. And even with all his creatures, the case got dreadfully lonely sometimes.

Credence carefully leant into the hand on his shoulder, basking in the positive contact, “I don’t find you irritating at all,” he said timidly, almost whispering.

Newt took his hand off of Credence’s shoulder and brought his palms together in a single eager clap, and kept them pressed tightly together, “Then I think we’ll both get on swimmingly!” He grinned.

Newt was thrilled to see a tiny yet beautiful smile bloom on Credence’s face in return.

“Now I think we should probably go to sleep, we have a boat to catch tomorrow afternoon,” declared Newt as he took off his jacket to hang on the back of the door.

“I think I have a spare set of pajamas in here somewhere, they might be a bit short on you though,” he said as he moved to slide out his leather suitcase from underneath one of the beds.

Newt flicked it open and to Credence’s astonishment stepped inside of it, “I’ll be back in a jiffy, sit tight!”

Newt hurried down the ladder and into the first shed-like room of his suitcase. He sped through it quickly towards his makeshift bedroom. It wasn’t as large and comfortable as Tina and Queenie’s spare room but it made do when he was in a pinch for a spot to sleep.

He walked over to a rickety chest of draws and slid open the drawer he kept his pajamas in, gently batting away a few billywigs who thought it was a good place to roost. Newt quickly grabbed two sets of pajamas and shut the draw again.

Newt wasted no time dallying, sort of afraid to leave Credence alone. The man was in a very vulnerable state right now and if Newt knew how to do anything well it was to look after and comfort vulnerable creatures.

Newt popped out the top of his case, not exiting all the way, expecting to see Credence still sat on the bed.

Credence was still on the bed but he had squeezed himself as far into the corner as he could and was fearfully looking at Newt’s niffler, which was snuffling around the floorboards of the bedroom.

“Oh, don’t worry about him. He’s completely harmless,” reassured Newt, “And extremely cheeky for escaping while I wasn’t looking,” he said a bit more sternly in the direction of the creature.

Credence uncurled from his taught position and slid himself to the edge of the mattress to get a better look at the niffler. But he didn’t step down onto the floor.

“He looks a bit like a cross between an echidna and a platypus,” said Credence, his tone curios.

Newt smiled and tossed a set of pajamas onto the bed with Credence, still halfway out of his suitcase, “Those are muggle animals right? I’m afraid I’m not quite as familiar with them.”

Credence nodded, “They’re both egg-laying mammals from Australia.”

Newt grinned up at Credence, “Do you like animals then?”

“Yes, I like them a lot more than I like people.” Answered Credence softly, “I used to have a pet crow, I found it with a broken wing and was helping it get better… until mother found it a-and wrung its neck.”

Newt frowned at the thought of a younger Credence pouring his love and determination into looking after an animal only to have it cruelly snatched away from him.

“Well I think you’ll rather like hanging about with me then, I’ll introduce you to all my creatures eventually. I’m sure you’ll get on wonderfully,” said Newt as he skillfully snatched up the niffler as it scampered by.

Credence gave a barely-there smile and nodded.

“I’m going to get dressed in the case, so you can change in here,” said Newt as he retreated back into the suitcase, a squirming niffler in one arm and pajamas slung over the other.

Once back in the wooden room Newt set the niffler down on the floor and it darted back off to its hoard. He slowly undressed and redressed into the soft yet slightly worn pajamas, giving plenty of time for Credence to do the same.

On his way back up Newt just cracked the case open before exiting, “Are you finished changing?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m done,” came the quiet reply.

Newt climbed the rest of the way out and back into the spare room, glancing up at Credence who was sat cross-legged on the bed with his hands in his lap.

Newt tried his best not to look like he was looking, but he couldn’t help but notice that out of his dark oppressive suit Credence looked much softer and younger than before.

“Well goodnight Credence, Queenie and Tina are going to be delighted to see you tomorrow,” said Newt as he climbed into bed with a yawn.

Credence also slid under the covers and his eyes were half lidded, “Thank you Newt. For everything.”

"My pleasure," yawned Newt with a smile as he dimmed the lights with a spell. 

Chapter Text

Credence woke to the sound of female chatter and the clanging of cutlery emanating from the direction of the kitchen. He assumed that it must have been coming from the two girls’ who rented the apartment.

 

Credence rolled over and looked towards Newt’s bed. It was empty, and had been messily remade in an attempt to make it look somewhat presentable. A little stab of panic shot through Credence at the sight of the vacant covers, but as he lay there he heard the muffled voice of Newt saying something from beyond the door. Credence let out a relived sigh and silently chastised himself for being so insecure.

 

Credence sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, settling his bare feet on the floorboards. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and stretched a little before standing.

 

He couldn’t remember the last time he’d woken up naturally. Almost every day of his life living at the church he’d been woken up by his mother or one of the others, never being able to sleep for as long as he wanted to.

 

As Credence was stood there hesitating on what to do, there was a delicate knock on the bedroom door and an unfamiliar female voice called out to him.

 

“Are you awake sugar, can I come in?”

 

Credence briefly panicked at the thought of being seen in his pajamas by a girl, his mother would have beaten him bloody if she caught him like this. She was forever suspicious of him doing something immoral.

He shuddered at the thought of his Ma finding out that he didn't actually like girls in that way anyhow. It would be just another reason for her to punish him. However, Credence swiftly remembered that his mother wasn't around to hurt him anymore, and that he wasn't going to receive any punishment for being sinful.

 

“Um, yes I’m awake. You can come in,” he replied nervously.

 

The door swung open and an extremely pretty blonde lady entered the room, levitating a breakfast tray in front of her.

 

“Mornin’ honey. Did you sleep well?” She asked as she set the tray down on the nightstand, “My name is Queenie, you’re Credence right?”

 

Credence nodded timidly, and glanced between Queenie and the tray, not quite sure what to say. It was laden with a rack of toast, a jar of jam, and a large floral teapot with two matching cups.

 

“It’s alright sweetie, no need to stand on ceremony for me,” she reassured cheerfully, “Tina and I made you some breakfast, you must be starving after going through all you did. Newt filled us in on what happened. It’s incredible,” said the lady as she gave Credence a comforting smile.

 

Credence had no idea how to respond, he knew it would be polite to thank her, but it was all so much. She didn’t even know him and was already bringing him breakfast like she’d been his friend for years. He was about to stutter out a reply when she started to speak.

 

“It’s okay sugar, you don’t have to say anything. I understand, I’ll go tell Newt you’re awake he’ll be pleased to see you.” She gave Credence one last smile and glided out of the door again, leaving it ajar behind her.

 

Credence sank down onto the bed and blinked vacantly. It felt like the whole world had turned on its head. He was so used to cruelty and indifference from the people around him, suddenly being shown so much kindness was incredibly overwhelming.

 

As Credence was sat on the bed reflecting on how much his life had changed, the door opened again, and this time Newt peeked around the doorway. When he saw Credence he smiled and stepped inside.

 

Newt was dressed already, but wasn’t wearing his coat or jacket, just a shirt, trousers and his yellow waistcoat which was unbuttoned and casual. He walked over a nabbed a slice of toast from the nightstand.

 

“Good morning Credence,” He greeted, “How are you feeling?”

 

Credence didn’t really know how he was feeling, everything about the room was very surreal, and he felt like he might wake up in his old rickety bed in the church at any moment.

 

Newt swallowed a mouthful of toast, and as if sensing Credence’s discomfort he settled himself down next to him on the bed, “I know it’s probably quite a lot to take in all at once, but remember no matter what, I’ll be here. You can ask me anything. If you’re confused about something or just curious, please don’t hesitate. I want to make your introduction into the wizarding world as enjoyable as possible.”

 

Credence swallowed the lump that formed in his throat after listening to Newt’s kindhearted words, he had never realised happiness could cause so much pain. It felt like his heart had become a small fire in his chest, searing him from the inside out with burning gratitude.

 

“I-its not that,” he managed to stutter out, “It’s just everyone is being so kind. No one’s ever… ever done things like this for me before,” he said gesturing to the tray of food.

 

Credence was mortified to feel himself tearing up slightly, and tried to avoid making eye contact with Newt by staring at his own knees. Credence knew compassion shouldn’t be making him upset like this, but it put the neglect and abuse he’d suffered into stark relief when he realised this is just how normal people acted.

 

Newt brushed his arm up against Credence’s very gently, and when he didn’t tense up or flinch away, the wizard pressed up more tightly simply resting against the other man. Newt as always, seemed to know how to precisely comfort Credence without being intrusive or too forceful about it.

 

They just sat there in comfortable silence for a while, soaking up each other’s warmth.

 

After Newt had finished his toast he sighed lightly and stood up, making Credence’s arm now feel unpleasantly cold without the wizard’s solid form pressed up against it.

 

“You should eat something,” said Newt pouring two cups of tea from the teapot, “We’ll need to get going soon. Our boat leaves at noon and Tina want’s to properly say goodbye to you before we leave.”

 

Credence just nodded not feeling quite up to speaking yet.

 

Newt handed him one of the cups and walked out of the room with the other, flashing a crooked little smile at Credence before he disappeared around the door.

 

Credence looked down at the teacup that was now warming his chilly hands, and brought it to his mouth for a sip. He didn’t recognise the flavour. The only tea he’d ever had before had been cheap and bitter, however, this was refreshing and smelt faintly of flowers.

 

He didn’t know if it was the tea, or the fact Newt seemed to just radiate an aura of calmness wherever he went, but Credence felt himself relax a little.

 

He felt marginally better after Newt’s unique but effective comforting technique, and Credence managed to nibble on a piece of plain toast as he finished his drink. Once he was done eating, he stood up and quickly changed back into his own clothes.

 

There was no mirror in the bedroom, but Credence tried his best to flatten his hair using his fingers before shyly stepping out of the bedroom to find the others.

 

Newt, Queenie and Tina were all in the open plan living area. Queenie was waving her wand over a pile of dirty dishes by the sink, which were in the process of now cleaning themselves. And Newt and Tina were sat on the sofa, side by side with their legs just brushing up against each other conversing quietly.

 

Credence felt a bitter unfriendly emotion shudder through him at the sight of Tina and Newt sat so close together. But the memory of him and Newt sitting even closer soon soothed any unpleasantness away.

 

When Credence looked back towards Queenie she was staring right at him with a peculiar little grin on her face. It made Credence slightly uneasy. But Newt, who had stood up as soon as he noticed Credence enter the room, quickly distracted him.

 

“Did you eat?” Questioned Newt as he walked over.

 

“Yes,” muttered Credence, “Are we leaving soon?”

 

Newt nodded, “Yes our boat leaves in about…” He paused and looked down at his watch, “about fifteen minuets.”

 

Credence’s eyes widened, “But the dock is over half an hours walk away!”

 

Newt chuckled, “Luckily you’re traveling with a wizard who can apperate.”

 

Credence vaguely recalled that apperate was the word wizards used for when they teleported. It made him slightly queasy thinking about it, Graves had taken him along a few times and it was a rather unpleasant experience he had hoped not to repeat.

 

Tina had been listening to their brief talk in silence but smiled fondly at them both throughout their conversation, “Are you two both ready and packed to go? We don’t want you leaving anything important behind,” she said as she stood up and strode over to where the two men were standing.

 

Newt nodded reassuringly and replied, “Yes I believe so! My suitcase is nicely bound up now, so nobody can wriggle out.”

 

Credence just nodded in reply because he was wearing everything that he owned.

 

“Now you two be careful okay, and make sure to write!” chided Tina playfully, “You’ll remind this scatterbrain to send a letter now and again wont you Credence?” she said gesturing to Newt.

 

Credence smiled timidly and nodded, “Yes, I’ll try.”

 

Newt rolled his eyes jokingly, “I’m not that forgetful.”

 

Tina just raised a sceptical eyebrow, “said the wizard who’s left his handkerchief in the bathroom.”

 

“Did I really?” said Newt patting down his pockets, “It wouldn’t do to forget that!” he exclaimed as he darted through the living room towards the loo.

 

Tina turned to face Credence as Newt zipped past and gave him a small rather sad smile, “How are you holding up?” she asked gently.

 

“B-better,” stuttered Credence, caught slightly off guard by the question.

 

She smiled, “Good… You know Credence, I just want to apologise for not doing more about your situation before. When I uh attacked your mother I was so angry I didn’t see the bigger picture. MACUSA forbid me from seeing you again and I was helpless. I-if I had acted more rationally and maybe done something that wasn't so stupidly hot-headed I could of-”

 

“It’s okay,” interrupted Credence halting Tina’s flow of self condemnation, “You actually tried to do something, and that’s more than anyone had ever done for me before.”

 

Tina gaped a little and seemed slightly surprised at her own outburst as well as Credence's, “Still, you deserved much more than just sympathy. Even thought I was demoted for hexing a no-maj I don’t regret a second of it. And I honestly don’t think I want to work in an environment where protecting innocent people is seen as crime. So what I really wanted to say is thank you Credence, for making me put the world in perspective and that I’m going to miss you.”

 

Credence was stunned silent after Tina’s small speech and just opened and closed his mouth a few times before he managed to think up a reply, “I-I’ll miss you too. And thank you for caring about me.”

 

Before Tina could reply Newt barrelled back into the living room, “I found it!” he crowed triumphantly, waving his handkerchief in the air like a miniature victory flag.

 

Queenie laughed at Newt’s light-heartedness and stepped away from the kitchen counter, “You boys look after yourselves okay?”

 

“Yes mum,” teased Newt, allowing Queenie to plant a goodbye kiss on his freckled cheek.

 

To Credence’s surprise she sashayed over to where he was standing and quickly pecked his cheek before he even realised what she was doing, “You make sure Newt doesn’t do anything stupid, alright sugar? He’d lose his head if it wasn’t screwed on.”

 

Credence just nodded, afraid his voice would be wobbly at the thought of leaving two of his three new friends behind in New York.

 

“Well we’d better dash Credence,” said Newt staring at his watch, “Hold my hand and we’ll be off.”

 

Credence nodded and tangled his fingers in with Newt’s. Secretly relishing the contact.

 

“Goodbye girls,” said Newt, his voice sounding a little emotional.

 

“Have a safe trip!” called Tina as she and Queenie waved farewell.

 

Before Credence knew it he was being pushed into the tight tunnel-like feeling of apparition, and suddenly he was standing in front a grand ship bellowing thick smoke into the harbour-side air.

 

"Ready to go to England then?" grinned Newt.

 

Credence smiled but didn't speak. He felt like he was ready to embark into anything, so long as he had Newt by his side.

Chapter Text

The ship was expected to arrive into British waters within five days. They were docking in Plymouth, Devon’s largest city and home to the largest muggle naval base in Western Europe. However, they would be disembarking at the smaller commercial harbor a little further down the coast.

 

Newt had to cast a subtle confundus charm on the steward collecting the tickets for Credence to successfully board the ship, but they managed it easily enough. After he was on the ship Credence could easily blend in with the other eight hundred or so passengers.

Once they were inside Newt made a beeline for the room number that was printed on their ticket, cheerfully beckoning Credence to follow behind him.

 

The steward that let them onto the ship had also handed out Newt’s room key, and the Hufflepuff unlocked their cabin door with it.

 

It was rather cramped inside, especially for two people, but it was enough. Not to mention Newt had acres of magical space inside the suitcase they could roam about in.

 

“You can have the bed,” said Newt, knowing that he’d just sleep in the bedroom he had inside his case.

 

“But where will you sleep?” protested Credence looking surprised that Newt had given it up so easily.

 

Newt then realised Credence had no idea what was actually in the suitcase, other than it was bigger than it looked, and sometimes mischievous animals crawled out of it.

 

He grinned at Credence excitedly, he didn’t get to show people the inside of his case very often, and he loved seeing the looks of wonder appear on their faces.

 

“I think it’s time I finally showed you what’s actually inside of here,” said Newt enthusiastically as he lay the case in the middle of the cabin floor, “I’ll just lock the door so no muggles wonder into our room while we’re down there.”

 

Credence gave the case a curious look and but didn’t question the wizard.

 

After making sure the cabin door was securely locked Newt strode over to his case and tapped it with his wand, causing the twine wrapped around it to unravel by itself and the latches to pop open.

 

“There is a ladder just inside, you can feel it when you step in. Climb down and I’ll show you around,” and with that Newt descended into the magically extended space.

 

Once he was at the bottom of the ladder Newt stepped away to make space for Credence. There was a brief moment where Newt worried perhaps Credence would refuse to come down, but he was soon proved wrong and his shoes appeared on the top rung.

 

His long slender legs soon followed along with the rest of his body, and Credence turned around to look at the seemingly impossible room.

 

Oh my,” he breathed, already amazed just by the shabby wooden chamber.

 

Newt grinned, “I have a whole area down here which I usually live in. Including a bedroom, so there is no need to worry about where I’m going to sleep. But you’ve seen nothing yet. Come on, Follow me!”

 

Newt led the way out of the shed-like room and into the outside biomes, and turned around to witness the expression on his friend’s face, he wasn’t disappointed.

 

The pure wonder on Credence’s face was radiant. He looked so young and carefree in that split second of amazement. And Newt couldn’t help but stare, really noticing how beautiful he was for the first time.

 

A bolt of worry wedged itself into Newt’s chest when he realised what he was thinking about. He couldn’t let himself get attached to Credence like that. He was in a very vulnerable state at the moment and just needed help and support from a friend and nothing more.

 

Credence appeared completely oblivious to the small bout of inner turmoil that was currently taking place inside of Newt’s head and turned to look at him. Sunlight seemed to spill from Credence’s smile, and it was the first wholly happy expression that Newt had the pleasure of seeing on him. It wasn’t a huge grin but it was completely devoid of melancholy, which seemed to have constantly clung to Credence like a leech since his resurrection.

 

Newt swallowed awkwardly and felt like his stomach was auditioning for Olympic diving with the mount of flips it was preforming, “W-what do you think?” faltered the wizard, his voice momentarily betraying his flustered emotional state.

 

“It’s incredible,” said Credence, his voice tinged with awe, “How does it work?”

 

“Undetectable extension charms, lots of them. The only other subject I was ever good at other than Care of Magical Creatures was Charms,” said Newt proudly.

 

Credence’s eyes widened slightly, “You did this?”

 

Newt nodded blushing a little under his freckles, “Yes well, it took years of work. Enough about the case though, would you like to meet my creatures?” said the wizard quickly trying to change the topic, and to also take his mind off of how stunning Credence looked when he was happy.

 

“Yes please,” said Credence, a trace of his shyness still lingering in his voice despite his elated expression.

 

“C’mon then, I’ll show you the bicorns first,” said Newt zealously, thrilled to introduce someone new to his beloved animals.

 

Newt proceeded to give Credence the whole tour. He worried that Credence might become bored or tired after trekking through the numerous different environments. But he seemed tremendously intrigued and was asking more questions than ever before. Newt gladly indulged him, happy to talk about his creatures with someone who actually seemed to enjoy listening.

 

Despite appearing to be enjoying himself, Credence was wary of some of the larger, more intimidating creatures. Newt’s runespoor nearly made Credence fall over when she unexpectedly slithered down from a tree that she was resting in. But a giant three-headed snake would probably frighten even the most stonehearted person if taken by surprise.

 

Newt was interrupted during his explanation about the mating habits of occamys when Credence’s stomach rumbled rather loudly.

 

Credence immediately went a fetching red when he heard the noise, “S-sorry.”

 

“Nonsense, you should have said you were hungry. Why it must be about teatime by now. The ship should be serving dinner,” explained Newt gesturing for Credence to follow him back out of the suitcase.

 

To Newt’s wonder, Credence seemed rather reluctant to leave the case. He obediently followed Newt but kept looking behind himself, staring longingly at the magical environment and creatures alike.

 

“You can come down here whenever you like you know?” said Newt as he started to climb up the ladder. Once he was back in the cabin, Newt turned around to give Credence a hand out afterwards.

 

Credence delicately gripped Newt’s hand and let himself be pulled from the suitcase, “Really?” he murmured disbelievingly.

 

Newt busied himself re-securing the suitcase as he replied; “Yes of course, the only condition is that you tell me you’re going in there so I don’t accidently lock you inside.”

 

Newt slid the suitcase under the bed and stood up to look at Credence. His face had furrowed into a sorrowful expression he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

 

“Did I say something?” Newt quickly asked, worried he’d involuntarily upset Credence.

 

Credence shook his head, “You’re just so…” he paused to find the right word, “Generous. And I find it hard to believe sometimes.”

 

Oh,” sighed Newt. The weight of what had truly happened to Credence slammed into him like a locomotive. He’d suffered for so long and hadn’t truly known kindness until yesterday. Of course he’d be worried and confused, especially after having false sympathy dangled in front of him by Grindelwald. He was probably worried that Newt was going to do something terrible at any moment.

 

“Sorry I shouldn’t have said anything,” murmured Credence fretfully, looking down at his own shoes taking Newt’s stunned silence as an expression of disapproval.

 

“Oh, Credence. I’m the one who should be sorry,” said Newt softly, heartache tingeing his voice, “I didn’t realise how overwhelming this must be. If you ever feel uncomfortable or just want to be on your own for a bit, please tell me and I’ll wander off for a while.”

 

Credence shook his head, his sever haircut getting ruffled in the process, “No I… I like being around you. It’s just a big change.”

 

Newt smiled, “Good, I like being around you too Credence. Now how about we got get some food hmm?”

 

Credence looked a little flustered when Newt declared he liked company, but nodded anyway and they made their way down to the dining area.

 

 

After eating Newt suggested they go up for a walk along the deck of the boat. Credence eagerly accepted. He’d never been outside of New York before, let alone out to sea.

 

The deck was fairly empty with only one or two people drifting about. Credence soon realised nobody was up there was because it was bitingly cold. The wind maliciously sliced at his skin like lots of tiny knives, and he wrapped his arms around himself to preserve as much warmth as possible.

 

“Ooh that’s a bit nippy,” said Newt discreetly pulling out his wand, “Thank Merlin warming charms exist.”

 

The wizard did a complicated little gesture with his wrist and Credence immediately felt the cold leak out of his body, and it was replaced with an all-encompassing warmth that penetrated right down to his bones.

 

“What are we going to do once we get to England?” asked Credence while he gazed out to sea. It was a strange sight for him after being so used to the stifling skyscrapers that surrounded him back in New York. Out here he could see for miles and miles.

 

Newt bent forwards and propped his elbows up on the railing, “Well firstly I think we should make a trip to Diagon Alley.”

 

“Diagonally to where?” questioned Credence.

 

Newt snorted softly, “Diagon Alley is a wizarding high-street in London. If you need something magical you’re sure to find it there somewhere. And we need go to for several reasons. First off I need to go to the bank because my pocket change is running a bit low. But once I’ve withdrawn some coins we need to go get you a wand.”

 

Credence’s sucked in a breath of the viciously cold air as Newt mentioned the wand, “A wand?”

 

Newt nodded his head and smiled at Credence’s stunned expression, “If I’m going to teach you magic you’re going to need one.”

 

Joy bubbled up inside of Credence’s chest. This was really happening, he thought. He was on his way to England, traveling further and further away from New York. And it struck him that he would never ever have to return to that wretched city if he didn’t want to.

 

“I’m never going to come back here,” he stated, more for his own benefit rather than Newt’s.

 

Newt turned his head to face Credence and gave him an earnest look, “I don’t blame you, and don’t worry you’ll never have to return if you don’t want to.”

 

The two men stood there on the prow of the ship until the warming charm wore off and the sky started to get dark.

 

“We should probably go back inside, it’s late,” said Newt.

 

Credence agreed and they both returned below deck and headed back to their room.

Chapter Text

Before they retired to bed Newt invited Credence back into the suitcase.

 

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy using the communal bathing area they have here. But I have a bathroom in the case if you want to have a wash?” suggested Newt as he rummaged in one of his dressers.

 

The dilemma of bathing hadn’t crossed Credence’s mind yet. So when Newt mentioned it he was desperately relived when he realised he wasn’t going to have to bare himself in front of a crowd of strangers.

 

“It’s through here,” directed Newt handing Credence a towel he’d just pulled out of the cupboard and the pair of pajamas he’d borrowed last night.

 

Credence was shown the way into a small but homey looking bathroom. Inside it had a large claw-footed tub with bronze birdlike feet, and a sink with matching bronze taps. There was also a white porcelain toilet in the corner with an overhead tank and a pull chain. It was overall one of the nicest bathrooms Credence had ever been in.

 

He only had a tarnished steel washbasin in his room back in New York, and the New Salem Philanthropic Society had gender-separated showers for everyone to share. Credence had never actually enjoyed the luxury of taking a proper bath before.

 

“Take as long as you want,” said Newt, “Everything you need should be in here. Feel free to use any of it.”

 

Credence nodded and Newt left the room.

 

Despite not actually ever using a bath Credence wasn’t an idiot and knew how to work the taps. While the tub was filling up he read some of the bottles that were lined up along the side. Most of them sounded rather normal like Pearlita’s Perfumed Bubble bath, but then there were some which were clearly for Newt’s animals. Credence quickly put back the bottle that read Hippogriff De-licer and squeezed a few drops of the bubble bath into the churning water.

 

To Credence’s surprise and delight large fist sized bubbles frothed off of the surface. They seemed to hover unnaturally still and shone a bright silver, and when he popped one it smelt daintily of jasmine and honeysuckle.

 

Credence smiled to himself at the sight of the magical bubbles and turned off the taps. He undressed and carefully folded his clothes over the closed lid of the toilet.

 

He gradually lowered himself into the tub getting used to the steamy temperature. Once he was in it was delightful, and Credence absentmindedly thought that he could get used to baths.

 

He let himself just relax for a little bit, soaking up the warmth until his cheeks were pink and flushed. Credence didn’t want to linger for too long because he knew Newt wanted to use the bath after him, but it was hard to resist.

 

Once he was finished luxuriating in the fragrant water Credence efficiently scrubbed some soap into his hair and ducked under the surface to wash it out. There was a flannel thrown over the side of the tub, which Credence used to wash his face and body, blushing a little at the thought of Newt using the same one.

 

Once he was done Credence got out and pulled the plug, quickly drying himself off with the fluffy blue towel Newt had given him. As he was pulling on his pajama trousers he caught sight of himself in a large burnished mirror that hung over the sink.

 

He frowned at the reflection of his bare chest. Credence was pale and skinny, with numerous scars scattered across his skin. He knew if he turned around his back would look even worse. Years of beatings were etched into him, some of his scars were old and a silvery white, while others were only a few weeks old still pinkish and tender. Obviously becoming incorporeal and reforming hadn’t given him any magical healing properties.

 

His good mood from the bath had vanished and seeing himself so clearly made him feel small and damaged. He could usually avoid looking at himself most days, only ever getting glimpses of his reflection in windows or metallic surfaces. The only other time he saw any of his scars was when he looked down at his hands. There were various welts laced across both of his palms; it was one of Mary-Lou’s favourite places to punish him. Credence had become very good at hiding those scars, from himself and other people.

 

Credence turned away from his reflection and grabbed his pajama shirt. He quickly slipped it on and buttoned it up, feeling more comfortable straight away.

 

He took a closer look at his own face in the mirror, noticing the faintest shadow of stubble starting to make an appearance. He glanced about for a razor but couldn’t find one. Perhaps Newt had left it somewhere else.

 

Credence gathered up his stack of clothes and the towel and made his way back to the main room of the case. Newt didn’t seem to hear him enter and continued to busily chat away to what looked like a little green stick with legs.

 

“Yes I know that Pickett, just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they don’t like you,” said Newt to the little stick man that was sat on his hand.

 

The stick didn’t appear to say anything back but apparently Newt understood it, “Yes but you’re a bowtruckle, and do you know where bowtruckles live? Yes trees! You can’t live in my coat forever.”

 

The small green stick put its spindly arms on where a human’s hips would be and blew a raspberry at Newt’s face.

 

Newt gasped theatrically, “How rude.”

 

Credence found himself smiling a little at the one-sided argument unveiling before him. He stepped closer and set his bundle of clothes down on the table in the centre of the room.

 

Now having noticed him Newt turned towards Credence and asked, “Have a nice bath?”

 

Credence nodded, his wet hair dripping uncomfortably down the back of his neck, “Yes it was very nice, but I was wondering if I could borrow a razor so I can shave. I couldn’t find one in the bathroom.”

 

Newt set the stick man down onto the table, “Oh, I don’t actually own a razor. There’s a spell for it. Would you like me to do it for you?”

 

“Okay,” said Credence, wondering what a shaving spell would feel like.

 

“Alright, sit down for me. I don’t want to miss and accidently take off half your hair,” said Newt as he pulled out one of the rickety wooden chairs that surrounded the table, gesturing for Credence to sit in it.

 

Credence took a seat and waited.

 

Newt simply pointed his wand at Credence’s jaw and muttered, “Tondesco.”

 

Credence watched as the fine powder of his stubble drifted down onto the table. The spell had no sensation to it whatsoever.

 

“Hmm stay still, I didn’t get all of it.” Said Newt, an expression of deep concentration on his face.

 

Newt ended up casting the spell on Credence three more times all at slightly different angels before he deemed himself finished, “Ah there you go. This is why I like being ginger, you can barely see my beard most of the time.”

 

Credence raised a hand to rub at his chin, it was completely smooth and stubble free, “Thank you.”

 

“You’re very welcome,” replied Newt with a smile, “Would you mind keeping and eye on Pickett for me while I go wash?”

 

Credence’s eyes widened, “Are you sure, what if I hurt him?”

 

Newt placed a reassuring hand on Credence’s shoulder, “I’m very sure, Pickett has an attitude on him but he’s not dangerous. And I know you’ll take good care of him.”

 

Credence felt pride and worry bubble up inside of his chest simultaneously. On one hand he was thrilled that Newt deemed him a worthy caretaker, while on the other he was petrified he’d do something drastically wrong and lose all respect from the wizard.

 

Before Credence could protest any further Newt disappeared into the bathroom, taking his own towel and pajamas with him.

 

Credence was left alone with the stick man, who was currently stood on the table staring up at Credence with beady, little, black eyes.

 

“Hello,” murmured Credence.

 

Pickett didn’t say anything back, but skittered a little closer to get a closer look at the new human.

 

The bowtruckle didn’t seem stressed that Newt had left the room, and lifted his twiggy little arms up into the air.

 

“What do you want?” asked Credence quietly, keeping his voice low and gentle so he wouldn’t startle the tiny creature.

 

Pickett just reached a little higher and made a grabbing motion with his spindly fingers.

 

“Oh,” breathed Credence, “Do you want to be picked up?”

 

The bowtruckle nodded eagerly.

 

Credence delicately lowered his hand onto the table palm-up so the little creature could scurry onto it, momentarily forgetting about his scars. Pickett scrambled up and settled himself on the fleshy part of Credence’s hand where his thumb met palm.

 

He couldn’t help but smile at the creature perched on his skin. Up close it was rather cute, Credence particularly liked the leaves that sprouted from the top of his head.

 

With his other hand Credence gently stroked one of the leaves as delicately as he could. Pickett pushed up into the contact, making a strange creaking noise that Credence assumed was good.

 

“Newt said your name was Pickett right?” Asked Credence as he continued to pet the bowtruckle.

 

Pickett nodded and stood up, having seemingly grown tired of the stroking. He started to explore the hand he’d been sat on.

 

It wasn’t long before Pickett found one of Credence’s older scars nestled in one the natural creases of his palm.

 

Credence clearly remembered the day it happened. He’d taken too long handing out leaflets and come home half an hour later than he was allowed. Mother was in a particularly foul mood that day, and she immediately grabbed him by the collar and pushed him up the stairs to his room. She ordered him to present his belt and viciously flogged into both his hands with it.

 

The pain of the memory stung at Credence just as much as the whipping itself had, and he felt himself start to tremble.

 

He couldn’t break down now, not when he had a tiny life to look after.

 

Credence tried to focus on the little creature in his hands and push the memory of his mother out of his mind.

 

Meanwhile Pickett seamed to sense something was wrong and made a gentle cooing noise. He blinked up at Credence, and then looked back down to the scar.

 

Credence had no idea how clever bowtruckles were but it was obvious Pickett had made the connection between his hands and what was upsetting him.

 

To his surprise Pickett gently stroked the scar with his own little fingers and clicked reassuringly at Credence.

 

He wasn’t quite sure what did it, it was either the memory of his abuse or the compassion this tiny creature was showing him, but tears started to spill down Credence’s cheeks hot and fast.

 

Credence had to set Pickett down on the table so he wouldn’t accidentally hurt him, and before he knew it painful sobs were wracking their way out of his body. He’d been very successful at pushing any thoughts of his old life out of his head while spending time with Newt. He was constantly being introduced to new people and new places; he hadn’t really had time to reflect on past events.

 

The memories of the cruelty fogged up Credence’s mind and he could think about nothing else, it was like every other thought just fell away and all Credence knew was the sensation of the deep, aching, sobs shivering their way through him. He felt himself sink into a protective position, burying his head into the crook of his crossed arms.

 

He didn’t notice Pickett scrambling off the table and wiggling under the bathroom door.

 

Credence had no idea how long he stayed there curled up with his head bowed, but the next thing he knew there was a gentle hand stroking his back, and a soothing voice calling his name.

 

“Credence? Credence please speak to me, I’m worried.”

 

Credence managed to lift his head up and was immediately greeted by an anxious looking Newt. The ginger appeared to be half dressed and still soggy from his bath, his navy blue pajama shirt was buttoned up incorrectly and his trousers looked damp like they’d been put on before he’d dried off properly.

 

“Pickett said you were upset, is there anything I can do?” said Newt, his expression a vision of earnest concern.

 

Seeing the pure worry on Newt’s face seemed to break something inside of Credence and the tears came back with a vengeance. He buried his face in his own hands and wept openly.

 

Credence barely registered being hoisted up from his chair by Newt’s surprisingly strong arms, but he immediately noticed when the wizard embraced him. After only having negative physical contact from almost everyone he knew, unexpectedly being given this soft, painfully careful hug made Credence tense up for a moment.

 

One of Newt’s hands came up to rest between his shoulder blades while the other slowly smoothed up and down his back, and the soothing motion got Credence to slowly relax into the embrace.

 

Credence just let himself become saturated with Newt’s warmth and the reassuring pressure of his hand. His face was pressed into the soft cotton of Newt’s pajama shirt, and he inhaled the sent of jasmine and honeysuckle.

 

Newt held Credence until his crying had just become the occasional hiccup and he drooped against the wizard with emotional and physical exhaustion.

 

“Feeling better?” whispered Newt into Credence’s hair.

 

Credence nodded against Newt’s collarbone, “S-sorry I don’t know what h-happened.”

 

Newt slowly withdrew from the hug to look At Credence's expression, but kept his hands firmly on his upper arms.

 

“Don’t apologise for showing your emotions. Crying can be a healthy way of releasing them,” said Newt supportively.

 

Credence who had been previously looking at the floor looked up towards Newt, “C-can I stay down here? I don’t want to be alone.”

 

“Of course you can, come on lets go lay down, I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted,” said Newt leading Credence into another room he hadn’t been in yet.

 

It was tiny, and mostly taken up by a cream coloured bed with its headboard pressed against the rear wall. The room was so small that the mattress also touched the two other walls either side of it, creating a warm cosy atmosphere. The roof above the bed was slanted and completely covered with drawings of magical animals.

 

“You don’t mind sharing a bed do you? I mean I can sit here for a bit and then go up to the cabin if you want?” Said Newt as he carefully gauged Credence’s reaction.

 

Credence shook his head, “N-no I just want you to stay please.”

 

“Okay make yourself comfortable, I’m just going to fix this mess,” said Newt as he fiddled with the front of his pajama shirt.

 

Credence climbed into the soft bed covers and patiently waited for Newt to rearrange his top.

 

Credence let out a small gasp when he caught a glimpse of Newt’s chest, it was littered with a multitude of unusual scars. Credence realised he’d made a noise of surprise when Newt looked up from his buttons, and he felt himself start to blush.

 

“Sorry,” he said quickly looking down at the duvet.

 

“Its okay, I’m actually rather proud of them,” replied Newt as he lifted up his shirt again.

 

Newt pointed to a large shiny burn scar that stretched from his left hip up to his bellybutton, “See this, I got it after I saved an antipodean opaleye hatchling from some poachers and its mother decided that I would look better roasted alive,” he then pointed to a scattering of small needle like scars just above his ribs, “These are from the spines of a particularly grumpy manticore who really didn't want it's teeth brushed. I’ve got a lot more stories but forgive me for not telling you every one, I’m quite tired.”

 

“N-no, its fine. I just… didn’t expect them,” said Credence, and he felt the irrational need to open up about his own wounds, “I have a lot of scars too… they’re not from doing anything very brave though.”

 

Newt had finished re-buttoning his shirt and clambered into the bed next to Credence, “Quite the contrary, yours might not be from a dangerous magical creature, but you’ve been unquestionably brave to endure for as long as you did. You should be proud, it shows that you’re a survivor.”

 

A flicker of hope wiggled its way into Credence’s heart as he heard Newt speak about acceptance, maybe someday he’d actually be able to look at his own scars without being choked by disgust.

 

“Lets get some sleep,” said Newt with a yawn, and he lay down under the covers making sure to give Credence plenty of space.

 

Credence tucked himself up against the wall, feeling secure with it at his back and Newt lying just in front of him. He felt safe and protected here. The memories of Mary-Lou and the New Salem Philanthropic Society feeling more and more like a distant memory.

Chapter Text

Newt woke up slowly, the haze of his dreams leisurely fading away. He scrubbed at his eyes with the heels of his hands, trying to successfully banish the cobwebs of sleep from his mind.

 

The Hufflepuff stretched drowsily, suddenly freezing up when his arm touched another warm body lying in his bed. Newt turned his head and relaxed when he realised it was only Credence.

 

The dark-haired man was still fast asleep, curled up protectively on his side and facing towards Newt.

 

He smiled at the sight of Credence sleeping so deeply. His face looked almost angelic pressed up against the soft cream colours of the bedspread. The worrisome expression that always seemed to linger on Credence’s face was completely gone as he slept, and his dark almost jet-black hair surrounded his head like a shadowy halo. Newt hoped that one day maybe Credence would look that peaceful while he was awake too.



As carefully as he could Newt inched his way out of bed, trying his very best no to disturb Credence. Just as he stepped onto the floorboards thinking that he’d made it, there was a rustle from the covers and Credence sat up blinking blearily at Newt.

 

Newt smiled at the man still nestled in his bed, “Good morning,”

 

Credence seemed to be struggling to gather his thoughts but managed to muster a drowsy, “Good morning,” in reply.

 

“Did you sleep well?” asked Newt as he rummaged around for his clothes.

 

Credence nodded and ran a hand through the birds-nest that was his hair, “Yes, thank you.”

 

He seemed a little embarrassed, whether it was because of his catastrophe of a hairstyle or the fact they had both slept in the same bed, Newt didn’t know.

 

“Do you have a comb I could borrow?” asked Credence timidly, barely managing to stifle a yawn.

 

“Yes, it should be in here somewhere,” said Newt thoughtfully as he glanced around, “Hmm I can’t see it…”

 

Newt stretched out his hand and flicked his wrist, wordlessly and wandlessly summoning his comb. It whizzed out from under the bed like a tiny silver comet straight into Newt’s fingers.

 

“Here you go,” said Newt cheerfully, handing the comb to Credence, who was now looking exceptionally shocked.

 

Credence limply accepted the comb seemingly to no longer care about his tangled hair, “Wizards can do magic without wands?” he asked all traces of tiredness gone from his voice.

 

“Oh yes!” said Newt realizing once again how unused to magic Credence was, “Not all wizards can do it though, and its usually only simple spells. I’ve always been pretty good at charms so summoning something that close to me is quite easy. However, some very powerful wizards can do most of their magic wandless, one of my teachers at school could do it.”

 

Credence gazed down at the small silver comb in his hand, “I used to be able to do some. When I was younger… before Mary Lou adopted me. I thought I had imagined it all.”

 

Newt’s eyebrows made a bid for his hairline in surprise, “How old were you?”

 

Credence shook his head, “I’m not certain... I was maybe two or three? I’m not actually sure how old I am. Mother never told me my birthday, I’m not even sure if she knew it herself.”

 

“It’s incredible if you could actually control your magic at such a young age. Most children don’t display any signs of magic until they’re at least eight or nine. Even then its bursts of accidental magic that they can’t control,” said Newt, thinking about a tiny Credence summoning his toys. Newt wondered what Credence’s birth parents had been like and what happened to them. He didn’t dare ask, it seemed like a very private topic that Credence probably wouldn’t enjoy talking about.

 

“And there is a quick fix regarding your age problem,” continued Newt, “There is a spell that tells you exactly how old something or someone is. It’s been very useful at determining how old my creatures are in the past. Would you like me to show you?” asked Newt as he headed towards his jacket that was hanging on the back of the bedroom door.

 

Credence nodded vigorously, appearing enthusiastic about finding out his true age.

 

Newt shoved a hand into one of his coat pockets and fished out his wand, quickly hurrying back over to the bed and taking a seat next to Credence, “Okay here we go,” he said softly as he pointed his wand at him.

 

Newt concentrated and barely whispered the spell, “Natalis.

 

A faint speck of light started to glow dimly at the end of Newt’s wand, and a stream of ashy blue smoke soon followed it. The smoke pooled together and slowly started to contort itself into recognizable numbers and letters, hovering in the air just in front of Credence.

 

Birthdate 30/9/01 Age 24

 

Newt smiled, “There it is, you’re twenty four!”

 

Credence was stunned into silence as he stared at the smoky letters. His dark doe-like eyes shone a bit brighter than normal, with the very faintest hint of tears glimmering in their depths. Credence wasn’t beaming, but his smile was definitely there, just the slight curl at the corners of his mouth.

 

“Thank you,” He breathed looking between the slowly fading numbers and Newt’s face.

 

Newt couldn’t help but smile at Credence’s happiness, “Anytime Credence. I’m going to go get dressed in the bathroom. Shall we go for breakfast once we’re done?”

 

Credence nodded and started to shuffle out of the covers.

 

 

Over the next few days aboard the steamship Credence diligently helped Newt care for his case of creatures. There wasn’t much else to do otherwise, but Credence appeared to enjoy it enough.

 

He seemed to be at his happiest when he felt like he was being useful, and Newt didn’t just placate Credence by letting him do the little tasks. With his help it took Newt half the time it usually did to finish feeding all the animals. Newt still took the task of serving the slightly more zealous feeders like the nundu and the snappy occamys, but Credence appeared to take great delight in feeding and caring for the gentler creatures.

 

Their stay on the ship slipped past quickly and calmly, the only slight hiccup happened on the second night.

 

Newt was just slipping under his duvet when Credence stumbled down the ladder into the suitcase. He had gone up into the cabin to sleep that night, no longer in desperate need of comforting. But Newt immediately knew something was wrong when he heard the unusually loud clatter come from above.

 

Newt sprung out of bed and quickly padded his way into the main room of his case. Credence was barely managing to stand at the base of the ladder, one hand gripping onto the rungs the other pressed over his mouth.

 

“Credence! Are you quite alright?” called Newt as he rushed over to the unsteady man.

 

Credence shook his head and swayed into Newt when he got close enough, pressing his forehead into Newt’s collarbone. When Newt looked down at the man pressed into his chest he realised that Credence looked absolutely dreadful.

 

Credence was always rather pale but he’d gone a sickly grey-green colour and sweat was dampening his hairline. Newt gently lifted his hand and pressed it against Credence’s brow.

 

“Gosh you’re freezing, do you feel ill?” fretted Newt as he carefully maneuvered Credence to sit in one of the chairs that surrounded the table.

 

Credence glanced up at Newt from his seat with slightly unfocused eyes, he looked like he was having an undeniably wretched time.

 

“I… I feel sick,” stuttered Credence, quickly clamping a hand over his mouth again, as if he was afraid of vomiting right then and there.

 

“Oh Merlin,” crowed Newt in realization, “I almost forgot that we’re on a blasted boat!”

 

Credence gave Newt what probably could have been a withering look if he didn’t look so pathetically unwell.

 

“Here take this,” hurried Newt as he thrust a random bucket into Credence’s lap, “I should have known you’d get seasick. I should have never made you go back upstairs. I’m so sorry Credence.”

 

Newt hovered in front of Credence and fretted for a moment, deliberating on what to do. He felt awfully guilty for letting Credence go back up onto the ship. Newt had known that Credence had never left New York before, let alone been on a boat, he should have predicted that he might get motion sick.

 

“I’ll brew you an anti-nausea potion,” blurted Newt, suddenly remembering the recipe.

 

Credence gave a shaky nod and wisely didn’t try to speak again and risk opening his mouth. He just stared down into the empty bucket, clutching at the sides tight enough to make his knuckles turn white with the strain.

 

Thankfully anti-nausea potions were not complicated, and Newt flitted around his workstation throwing the ingredients together. He always had his potions set nearby because he never knew when he would have to cook up something for a creature in an emergency, and in some cases humans too. Making the potion for Credence reminded Newt of the time he made a poultice for Jacob's murtlap bite, and a bolt of longing shit through his chest thinking about his lost friend.

 

Soon the smell of peppermint and ginger filled the air and Newt poured the contents of his small cauldron into a chipped teacup.

 

“Here you go, it doesn’t taste very nice but it should make you feel better in a flash,” said Newt, holding out the cup.

 

Credence set the thankfully still empty bucket onto the floor and delicately took the teacup from Newt. He took a tiny sip and Newt saw Credence try his best not to make a disgusted face. Nevertheless, he eventually managed to drain every drop.

 

Newt sat down in the chair next to Credence, “Feeling better?” he asked quietly.

 

Credence seemed to be trying his best to look at everything but Newt, “Y-yes, I’m sorry for waking you. I shouldn’t have come down.”

 

Newt frantically shook his head and a ball of guilt settled like lead in his chest, “Oh Credence, you didn’t wake me up. And even if I was sleeping, know that you can come ask me for help whenever you need it.”

 

 

Credence looked up at the wizard in front of him, reluctantly tearing his eyes away from his own lap. The tone of Newt’s voice struck something inside of Credence and he sounded like he meant every word he said with absolute conviction. His words were so honest and gentle they cracked Credence’s heart in two.

 

When Credence spoke he could hear the edge of tears in his own voice, “I d-don’t like being up there… by myself.”

 

It was true; Credence couldn’t bear to be holed up in the boat all by himself again. Newt’s company was soft and warm, and Credence was starving for it. The cold cabin felt like a void to Credence after being shown the paradise that lay within the suitcase.

 

After hearing Credence’s confession Newt’s expression seemed to crumple, and for a second Credence was terrified that he'd angered him. However, Newt proved him wrong yet again by answering with absolute kindness and not even a hint of cruelty.

 

“It’s alright, you’ll just have to sleep down here with me for the rest of the trip, I would switch beds but I get dreadfully seasick too. However, I don't mind sharing if you don't either. It would be unkind of me to make you stay up there,” said Newt with a vague gesture up towards the ceiling, “Now why don't we get some some rest?”

 

Credence let himself be led back into Newt’s tiny yet cozy bedroom for the second time, and he wondered how long it would take before Newt finally grew tired of him. Credence knew it would save him a lot of pain if he just got over it now and went back upstairs, seasickness be damned. But he was selfish and wanted to cling onto every last ounce of comfort Newt was willing to provide.

 

 

After the seasickness incident the journey sped by. It wasn’t long before land was finally sighted. Newt and Credence were up in the dining area having lunch when England finally came into view.

 

“Gosh would you look at that,” said Newt standing up and edging towards a window, Credence following close behind him, not wanting to get separated from Newt in the crowd of other passengers.

 

Newt was grinning so brightly it could rival the sun, “Home sweet home!” he said with a laugh.

 

Credence followed Newt’s line of sight and stared at the faint green line breaking up the endless horizon of the ocean, his first view of England.

 

Newt eventually grew tired of staring at the seemingly unmoving landmass in the distance and turned to look at Credence, “We should probably go make sure everything is ready. It will take a few hours for us to dock in Plymouth yet, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!”

 

Credence agreed and followed Newt back to the suitcase to make sure everything was in order. Thankfully because they rarely left the magically extended space, they actually had very little to pack.

 

“Shall we go stand up on the deck until we get to disembark?” Suggested Newt, clearly excited about finally being home.

 

“Yes please,” replied Credence, also eager to soak in the sights of England for the first time.

 

Luckily the weather was fair, albeit a bit chilly. But it was nothing a quick warming charm from Newt couldn’t fix.

 

Credence and Newt stood shoulder to shoulder as the green coastline of Cornwall snaked by. Eventually the rest of the passengers started to assemble on the deck, signaling that they must be close to landing.

 

Credence took in his surroundings as their ship slowly pulled into the marina where they would disembark. The air was brisk and carried the smell of fish on the wind. Seagulls seemed to be as common as pigeons were back in New York, keenly observing anyone carrying food with clever eyes. Credence noticed a small troop of uniformed sailors stride by, just as smart in their white suits as the seagulls were in their white feathers.

 

Credence didn’t even realise he was lost in thought until Newt gently tapped him on the elbow.

 

“Come on Credence, we have to get off!” said the wizard merrily.

 

Newt grasped Credence’s arm in the busy crowd so they wouldn’t get separated. Luckily there was no steward at the ramp leading down onto the jetty, so Newt didn’t have to revisit his confundus charm again.

 

Once they were both on dry, splendidly, solid ground again Newt turned and faced Credence with a crooked smile, “Welcome to England!”

Chapter Text

Newt led Credence away from the ship, deftly weaving them though the gathering crowds. It had gotten very busy as soon as the boat docked, loved ones of the passengers rushing to greet family and friends who had been away for too long.

 

It abruptly struck Credence that nobody had come to greet Newt. From what he’d managed to gather Newt had been away from England for months. Surely there was somebody who’d missed him?

 

But Credence didn’t allow himself to stew over it and let himself be steered into a small cobbled side street by Newt. It was completely empty save for a few seagulls strutting around.

 

“You up for being apparated again?” Asked Newt as he checked around for any muggles that could be watching them.

 

“Yes, where are we going?” Questioned Credence, wondering if they were going to go to this Diagon Alley Newt had mentioned on the ship.

 

Newt apparently deemed the coast to be clear and securely grasped Credence’s hand, “We’re going to go to my family home for a bit before we go anywhere else, we need a place to stay while we’re in England and we can’t live in my suitcase forever.”

 

Credence nodded, it made sense. The case was comfortable enough but he had already found more niffler droppings in his shoes than he had ever wanted to, and that was after only staying in there for a few days.

 

“Alright then, take a deep breath!” Said Newt, and Credence felt Newt’s hand tug on his own pulling him into the constricting darkness of apparition.

 

With a sudden flash Credence was being blinded by sunlight again and it took him a moment to readjust.

 

Once the sunspots stopped dancing in his eyes Credence took in the view around him. The first thing he noticed was the colour white everywhere.

 

He looked down and realised that they had dropped into an inch or two of snow. He absentmindedly heard a surprised oh echo from beside him. But he was too busy staring up at the grand building in front of him to care much.

 

The large stately home was made from pale yellow stonework and stood alone with no other buildings for miles around, just expanses of wintery countryside. It was a wide two-story affair with a doorway sheltered by an arch in the center, and rows of mullion windows set elegantly into the walls. One side of the building was completely encased with dark ivy, the only smattering of green amongst the expanse of snow and cream masonry.

 

Credence had never seen a building like it before, and with a self-conscious wince he realised that Newt must be exceedingly rich.

 

“I should have known it would snow,” chuckled Newt, drawing Credence out of his thoughts, “It is January after all. Come on let’s get inside before we freeze our toes off.”

 

Credence numbly followed Newt up the lawn, their footsteps crunching as they walked.

 

“I wonder if anybody is home,” muttered Newt walking up to the front door. He stopped under the archway, feet now on snowless stone.

 

To Credence’s surprise the eagle-faced knocker on the door opened its beak and talked in a posh elderly voice, “Master Scamander, welcome home.”

 

Newt acknowledged it with a nod of his head, “Yes good afternoon, could you let us in please?”

 

The door didn’t say anything else and just obediently swung open. But just as Newt was stepping inside he paused and backed out, half closing the door so he could talk to the knocker again.

 

“Oh, this is Credence by the way. Make sure you let him in when he asks, he’s a friend,” instructed Newt.

 

Credence never thought he’d never get used to the warmth that rushed to fill him when Newt referred to him affectionately.

 

“Of course, welcome to Heathridge House Mister Credence,” said the knocker sagely.

 

Credence wondered if he should say anything back but Newt ushered him inside before he could muster up a reply.

 

The first room they stepped into was small and rectangular, with three archways leading off in different directions. The only objects in there were an empty coat stand, a rack of miscellaneous shoes and a thick Persian rug overlaying the rich wooden floor.

 

“Hang your jacket up if you like,” said Newt as his shook off his own coat and hung it up, “Don’t worry about taking your shoes off though, the rug has a scouring charm built into it.”

 

Credence nodded and obediently took off his jacket, following Newt’s example and hanging it on the coat stand.

 

“I’m not sure if any of my family is home at the moment,” mumbled Newt more to himself rather than Credence. He sounded a bit anxious.

 

“Oh, I know,” he said more confidently, “Sunny!”

 

Credence automatically flinched when a loud unexpected noise echoed through the room like a whip crack. He was even more surprised when a tiny humanoid figure popped into existence by Newt’s feet.

 

“Master Newt is home!” Squeaked the tiny creature excitedly. Credence noticed that it was wearing a frilly pillowcase as a makeshift pinafore.

 

“Hello Sunny, its good to see you,” Grinned Newt, looking genuinely happy to see the petite person. Credence wasn’t one hundred percent sure, but whatever it was looked vaguely female.

 

“Are mum and dad home?” Questioned the wizard.

 

The creature shook its head, its large bat-like ears flapping, “No, Mistress is going to Paris with Breezetail and Dartclaw. Master Basil is accompanying her. But Master Theseus is coming and going sometimes.”

 

“Oh I completely forgot it was hippogriff show season. Well it’s probably for the best. You know how dad can get,” said Newt looking immediately relived, tension sinking out of his shoulders.

 

The creature nodded again and also seemed a little uncomfortable, “You is bringing a guest?” it chirped curiously, discreetly changing the subject.

 

Newt’s smile brightened up again and he gently grasped Credence’s shoulder, “Yes! This is my friend Credence; I brought him back from America with me. Credence, this is Sunny my parent’s house-elf.”

 

The elf curtsied politely, “Is a pleasure meeting you Sir.”

 

Credence who was still rather overwhelmed gave the house-elf a tiny awkward bow, “Nice to meet you as well.”

 

The elf looked surprised for a moment like the bow had shocked her, “He is having very good manners Master Newt.”

 

Newt smiled fondly at them both, “Yes, Credence is very polite. Why don’t we step inside and get out of the entryway to somewhere more comfortable.”

 

“Yes of course sirs, Sunny will go put the kettle on for you. Shall I be taking your case?” Asked the elf.

 

“Oh uh no, I’ll hang onto it,” Replied Newt quickly, “Come on Credence, let’s go sit down for a bit.”

 

Newt gestured for Credence to take the central archway, and they walked down a hallway into an impressive looking parlor.

 

It was a beautiful room but not overly lavish. It was decorated with rich reddish-brown leather sofas and dark wood furniture. One wall was mostly taken up by an impressive stone fireplace, which sat cold and unlit. Above it was a portrait of a striking auburn-haired woman who bore a minor resemblance to Newt. To Credence’s surprise he realised the portrait was moving slightly. The woman seemed to be fast asleep in the chair she was painted in, but her chest was rising and falling softly with her breath.

 

“Take a seat Credence,” offered Newt as he flopped down into a regal looking armchair.

 

Credence gingerly perched himself at one end of a sofa and tried not to burst with the sheer amount of questions threatening to flood his brain.

 

Newt smiled knowingly, “Remember I’m never going to be upset with you if you need to ask something.”

 

“Um Sunny, what-” started Credence, but before he could finish asking Newt interrupted him.

 

“She’s a house-elf. They’re lovely creatures that live to serve wizards. It’s a tricky topic because while I certainly do not condone slavery of any kind, house-elves become dreadfully upset if they’re ever set free.”

 

Newt must have seen the slightly horrified look on Credence’s face and continued to explain.

 

“I personally think it’s because generations of elves have just been born into it and know no other way of living. You would have to get the entire wizarding population to suddenly give up their servants to get it to stop. And let me tell you, the old pure-blooded families definitely won’t be doing that any time soon. My parents certainly won’t.”

 

Credence frowned but decided to leave that topic for another time, he had too many other burning questions to ask, “What’s a pure-blood?”

 

Newt mirrored Credence’s expression of distaste while he thought, “Well I’m a pure-blood. My entire family is. It’s a witch or wizard who’s only got magical blood. There is a dreadful ladder of elitism in the wizarding world, where people think the less magical blood you have the less valuable you are. Which is complete poppycock.”

 

Credence didn’t quite know what to think of that. He supposed it was only obvious that there would be some form of superiority in the magical world. Every organized civilization had something like it.

 

“What does that make me?” He asked.

 

Mary Lou had told Credence that his true mother was a vile loathsome woman who had practiced witchcraft, but never told him anything more than that. Credence assumed she must have been a witch but had no proof other than his own magical power, which seemed to be shaky at best.

 

Newt sighed and ran a hand through his hair, he looked rather uneasy for someone in his own home.

 

“You’re probably a half-blood, however, you could be a pure-blood or a muggle-born. There is no way of knowing really. There is a magical inheritance test you can take at Gringotts Bank, but it won’t show anything other than British heritage so I’m afraid it would probably be completely useless to you. But I wouldn’t put any sort of significance into it Credence, a wizard is more than his blood-status. ”

 

Credence nodded and looked down, studying the grain of the floorboards, “Where are we? I mean I know we’re in England, but which bit?”

 

Newt seemed to agree with moving on from the blood-status topic and started to brighten up, “We’re on the North East coast of England, specifically Whitby, in Yorkshire. This is my family home, I grew up here.”

 

“How come we didn’t apperate all the way here, why bother with the boat?” Questioned Credence, thinking surely if you could teleport ordinary transport would be completely negated.

 

Newt shook his head, “That’s because apperating is very difficult magic. Wizards aren’t even allowed to start learning how to do it until they reach seventeen. The further you travel the more dangerous it becomes, and you significantly increase the risk of splinching yourself.”

 

“Splinching?” Echoed Credence curiously, the way Newt said it didn’t make it sound fun.

 

“It’s when a wizard apperates but doesn’t bring all their body along with them.”

 

Credence paled at the thought, “Oh.”

 

“Yes it can be very nasty. Sometimes it can be quite hilarious though. While I was learning how to do it at school, I managed to apperate across the great hall without any of my clothes. Quite embarrassing at the time but it makes for a funny story now,” chuckled Newt.

 

Credence tried his best not to start blushing; thinking about a naked Newt was a very bad idea.

 

Thankfully Sunny reappeared and thoroughly distracted him.

 

The little elf was levitating a silver tray with an ornate tea set on top of it. She flicked her boney wrist and it slid onto the coffee table in front of Credence.

 

“Thank you Sunny,” said Newt with a smile, “Do you want a cup?”

 

Sunny shook her tiny head, “Thanking you muchly, but I must be going to feed the foals now. They’ll be wanting their supper.”

 

“Ah yes,” replied Newt as he poured the tea, “I shall have to come see the new babies at some point. I’ve been away so long I’m afraid I’ve probably missed quite a lot.”

 

Sunny smiled proudly, “Yes there are many new foals, Mistress is already winning awards with them. I shall be seeing you later,” and with a snap of her fingers the elf disappeared again.

 

Credence was still staring at the spot where Sunny had been when there was a loud crash that sounded a lot like a coat stand falling over from somewhere down the hall, followed by the sound of muffled cursing.

 

He immediately turned to look at Newt wondering if this was an expected disturbance. The wizard’s eyebrows had risen in surprise but his expression quickly morphed into a surprised smile when another man stumbled into the lounge.

 

Credence glanced between the two men and immediately deduced that they were related. They were extremely alike, the main difference being that the unfamiliar wizard had a neatly groomed ginger beard and longer hair that reached his jawline. But he was also a lot broader than Newt, with obvious muscles filling out his robes.

 

“Newton?” Gasped the stranger. His voice was deep and authoritative, even while it was laced with surprise.

 

“I’m surprised you still recognise me,” said Newt with a grin, setting down his teacup and standing up.

 

The other man broke into a very similar smile and rushed forwards completely ignoring Credence as he went, “Come here you idiot!” He jested.

 

The bearded man engulfed Newt in a massive bear hug lifting him clean off the ground.

 

“Watch the spine,” wheezed Newt as he let himself be half squeezed to death.

 

“Where the hell have you been?” Admonished the other wizard and he set Newt down again.

 

Newt sheepishly scratched the back of his head, “You know, places…”

 

The bearded man rolled his eyes and caught sight of Credence while doing so. As their gazes met, Credence realised that Newt and this man’s eyes were completely different colours. Whereas Newt’s were a soft pale green, his were a dark almost inky blue.

 

Oh, and who is this?” He queried, a lilt of cheekiness colouring his voice.

 

To Credence’s surprise Newt blushed a little, he didn’t understand why. Was Newt embarrassed because of him?

 

“This is Credence Barebone. I met him while I was in America. Credence this is my brother, Theseus,” introduced Newt.

 

Theseus beamed at Credence and exuberantly extended an arm towards him for a handshake, “A great pleasure to meet somebody who can actually stick around this weirdo for more than two minutes,” he said gesturing to Newt with his other hand. His tone was good-natured but it made Credence subconsciously bristle.

 

Nevertheless, Credence tentatively accepted Theseus’s greeting and promptly regretted it when he felt like his arm was being shaken clean out of its socket.

 

“What brings you home Theseus? You never usually leave London,” asked Newt sitting back down in the armchair.

 

The bearded wizard backed away from Credence and poured himself a cup of tea, “Mum and dad asked me to check in on Sunny and the hippogriffs every few days while they’re away, just to make sure the house doesn’t collapse without them.”

 

Newt nodded, “You, uh, don’t know when they’ll be back do you?”

 

Credence noticed the awkward stiffness that had been plaguing Newt earlier had now returned in full force.

 

Theseus took a long draught from his cup and sighed, “Actually… now you mention it, I think they’re back tomorrow.”

 

Credence keenly watched Newt’s face, and was disheartened to see his expression fall into a concerned frown.

 

“Oh,” breathed Newt, looking wholly unhappy.

 

Theseus set his now empty teacup on the table, “I would stay and ask about your trip but I have some important paperwork that needs finishing straight away. I’d explain but I doubt you would understand anything about auror work!” He said pompously, roughly ruffling Newt’s hair as he walked past.

 

As soon as Theseus left the room, Newt furiously scrubbed a hand through his curls trying to get them back into the right position.

 

Credence had been sat there in silence through the entire exchange just observing. Over the years he’d become very good at sussing out people’s hidden intentions and thoughts. It had become rather the necessity in his life. The mood of Mary Lou dictated his every move, some days the tiniest of mistakes could send her off into a rage of righteous fury. Credence constantly had to keep tabs on what she was feeling to avoid constant punishment.

 

And right now, he knew that Newt was uncomfortable, but he wasn’t quite sure if it was his place to say anything.

 

Newt sighed and sank into the back of his chair, “I’m sorry if he bothered you Credence, my brother is the quintessential Gryffindor and can be rather boisterous.”

 

Credence had no idea what a Gryffindor was but didn’t really care; he was more worried about Newt.

 

“No it’s okay,” Credence took a deep breath and decided to go for it, “B-but you look troubled?” He uttered nervously, hoping that he wouldn’t upset Newt even further by asking.

 

Newt looked up at Credence and gave him a weak but honest smile, “That obvious am I?”

 

The wizard pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, “I’m just not looking forward to seeing my parents. My mother is less… trying. But I don’t really get along with my father. That’s all, no need to worry.”

 

It broke Credence’s heart a little bit when he saw the fake I’m okay face Newt mustered up. Credence had seen that same expression on his own reflection a thousand times before.

 

“How about we go look at the hippogriff foals?” Asked Newt, clearly and rather obviously trying to change the subject.

 

Credence wasn’t cruel and he nodded, actually rather eager to see what a hippogriff looked like.

 

Newt smiled again, his grin stretching a little wider this time, “Excellent, I’m sure you’re going to love them.”

Chapter Text

Newt led Credence outside again and around the back of the house to where the stables were built. He was exceedingly relived that they’d moved on from the topic of his family. The strenuous relationship he had with his parents had always been a sore spot for him, and he didn’t want to foist any of his emotional baggage onto Credence who was already heavily burdened with his own. Showing the hippogriff foals to him was a welcome distraction.

 

The stables were about two hundred yards past the house, but you couldn’t see them from the manor because between them was an extensive semi-wild garden with a vast willow tree nestled at its heart.

 

There was a direct trail to the stables that skirted along the very edge of the garden, however, Newt was eager to show Credence the more beautiful route that wound its way through the center. The meandering path snaked in-between leafless winter shrubbery and passed the ancient willow, whose lowest hanging fronds were frozen into a huge glittering pond.

 

Newt glanced towards Credence as they walked. He looked like he was in a state of perpetual wonder as they made their way through the vegetation. Newt supposed that living in New York hadn’t given him much of a chance to explore nature, and Yorkshire was pretty much entirely countryside. Perhaps he’d take him on a walk to go see Whitby Abby before they left. Newt felt like Credence would enjoy that.

 

The two men eventually reached the row of hippogriff stables that lined the bottom edge of the garden. The stables were backed by even more Scamander-owned land that was just open field for the hippogriffs to roam as they pleased.

 

Before they went any further, Newt stopped Credence with a gentle hand on his shoulder. “I just have to warn you Credence, hippogriffs are extremely proud creatures and they wont tolerate any insults. Not that I think you’d ever give them one. But you must address them with a bow; you just hold eye contact and-” Newt demonstrated the proper way to greet a hippogriff, bending at the waist while keeping his eyes on Credence.

 

Credence looked down at Newt and gave a timid little nod, “What if I do it wrong?”

 

Newt straightened up again. “You wont I’m sure. And hippogriffs will return your bow if they approve of you. Even if they don’t bow back they’ll allow you to walk away, just not get any closer. Anyway I’m sure they’ll accept you, you’re very likable.”

 

Newt gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile and tried not too look too delighted at the blush blossoming on Credence’s cheeks. With one last glance towards Credence, Newt stepped forwards towards the first stable door.

 

The stable doors were separated into two parts: the upper half could be swung outwards letting passers by look in, while the bottom half stayed closed keeping the hippogriff inside.

 

Newt poked his head inside to see what was in there. Only one hippogriff stood on the straw, and it was one Newt recognised. She was an older mare that his mother had named Wildwing. Her plumage was a dark inky black that bled seamlessly into dappled grey horsehair, and her beak and front legs were a bright yellow.

 

The hippogriff turned to look at the intruder with sharp intelligent eyes and let out a soft chirp of recognition. Newt gave her a small unnecessary bob of his head; she remembered him as a friend so a bow was rather pointless, but Newt thought it prudent to stay on her safe side anyway.

 

The hippogriff gave a small bow of her own and trotted over to the door, stopping in her tracks when she noticed Credence standing behind Newt.

 

Newt watched as Credence followed his instructions and carefully bent himself into a neat bow, never taking his eyes off of the creature. There was a heartbeat where nothing happened, but sure enough Wildwing also bent at the knee.

 

Newt grinned, “Excellent!”

 

Wildwing walked all the way up to the stable door and stuck her head out, asking to be petted. Newt indulged her and ran his hand up her beak and scratched at the crook of her neck.

 

Newt turned to look at Credence who still stood unmoving a few feet behind him, “It’s alright she wont bite. You can come and pet her.”

 

Credence stepped up to the side of Newt and extended his hand, hovering it hesitantly in front of himself, but he seemed too nervous to actually touch the creature.

 

“Here, it’s okay,” soothed Newt as he gently covered Credence’s hand with his own, trying to ignore the butterflies doing aerobatics in his stomach.

 

Newt pressed Credence’s hand up against the soft feathers of Wildwing’s neck and guided it to gently stroke up and down.

 

Wildwing made a low trilling sound of contentment and leant into the contact.

 

“She’s beautiful,” murmured Credence, his eyes wide as saucers.

 

Newt nodded, painfully away of how close he was standing to Credence, and said, “She is, isn’t she? Wildwing is one of my favorites. I’ve known her since I was a child.”

 

Credence appeared enthralled by the hippogriff, and Newt was reminded of the selfless attention he had put into helping him feed and care for all his creatures while they were at sea. It seemed that despite all the brutality forced upon Credence during his life, he had managed to, against all odds, come away kindhearted and sensitive.

 

A spike of something warm shot its way through Newt’s heart, and he swallowed awkwardly, “W-would you like to come see the babies? They’d terribly charming.”

 

Credence nodded and let Newt lead him away from Wildwing’s stable and down the row of buildings towards the open pasture.

 

There were a few hippogriff-shaped specks off in the distance but none immediately close to them, so Newt cupped his hands around his mouth and did his best imitation of a hippogriff screeching.

 

Credence’s flinch was barely noticeable, but Newt still felt guilty. “Sorry I should have warned you.”

 

Credence shook his head and very gently touched his hand to Newt’s elbow. “It’s okay, you just surprised me.”

 

Newt smiled at the dark haired man and turned to watch the previously indistinguishable blobs in the distance come galloping over.

 

The small herd that trotted over was made up of three adults and four foals. Two of the adults had rich golden-brown plumage, while the third was pure white. The foals, however, were all in various stages of molting their baby feathers so were predominantly a cloudy grey.

 

Before they got too close, Newt turned to whisper to Credence, “The babies wont be nearly so strict about their manners so don’t worry if they don’t bow to you. Its really only the adults you have to impress, if they accept you so will the foals.”

 

Credence gave a determined nod and bowed gracefully, Newt mirroring him. The adult hippogriffs stooped into bows of their own almost simultaneously, and one of the foals attempted to as well, but with its too-long legs and wobbly knees it looked more like a stumble.

 

Newt straightened up and chuckled when one of the babies bowled over into his shins, it only looked a few months old.

 

Newt crouched to pet it, it peeped at him and flapped its small fluffy wings. Meanwhile Credence was gently petting the neck of the white hippogriff. Newt was thrilled to see a small smile on his face. He looked awfully striking stood next to the pure white feathers, his dark hair and eyes contrasting handsomely with the light background. Newt blinked, stunned for a moment, but quickly looked back to the baby Hippogriff and continued to play with it.

 

They stayed out in the paddock until the sun started setting and the first few flakes of an evening snowstorm started to fall.

 

The sun set quickly in winter, and Newt lit up his wand as they walked back up to the house. It illuminated the snow and ice with a radiant white light, making it sparkle like thousands upon thousands of diamonds.

 

“You’re back late,” said the doorknocker suspiciously as Newt and Credence reached the front door.

 

Newt rolled his eyes, he didn’t want to linger outside and argue with the sassy enchanted brass, “Can you just let us in please. It’s getting chilly.”

 

The knocker sighed, but the door swung open.

 

They two men stepped into the engulfing warmth of the house, a sharp contrast to the frigid winter air.

 

Newt brushed the snow off of his sleeves and hung up his coat, Credence doing the same. Newt watched as the last few flakes of snow in his dark hair quickly melted into nothingness.

 

“I’m going to go feed the other creatures, coming?” queried Newt.

 

Credence nodded and followed Newt back into the living room where he had left the case.

 

Newt picked it up. “Lets move this up to my bedroom so we’re out of the way, my parents would disinherit me if I let any of the animals out into the parlor. I’m barely hanging onto their will as it is,” said Newt trying to sound cheery and just coming off as uncomfortably forced.

 

Newt took Credence and the case upstairs. The upper floor of the manor was just as grand as the ground floor. It was furnished with rich, wood-paneled walls and dark blue carpets. His bedroom was right at the end of a long corridor, the best thing about it being the extensive view of the garden.

 

Newt swung the door open and sighed happily as he reacquainted himself with the familiar room.

 

The main focus of the bedroom was the large four-poster bed backed against the rear wall. The duvet was a warm pleasant yellow, and was topped with crisp white pillows. The hangings suspended from the dark wooden frame were a deep burnt ochre. A matching desk was pushed up against one of the other walls, arranged so when you sat at it you had a view of the garden.

 

The rest of the room was decorated with similar Hufflepuff colours. A tall floor to ceiling wall tapestry depicting an old-world map covered one wall, and a faded black and yellow rug with an elaborate pattern carpeted the floor. There were also several extremely cluttered bookshelves lining the free walls. They were mostly filled with collecting jars and potted plants rather than actual books.

 

Newt slid his case onto the floor in the middle of the room, on top of the patterned rug. He turned to look at Credence who was currently examining the new environment with fascination.

 

Newt drew out his wand and tapped the lid of his suitcase. The bindings magically unraveled themselves, and the latches clicked open.

 

“C’mon,” Said Newt, sticking his wand between his teeth so he could descend the ladder.

 

Credence obediently followed.

 

With a second pair of hands, feeding all the creatures took half the time it usually did, and when they both popped back up into the bedroom, there were two plates of chicken and leek pie steaming on top of Newt’s writing desk.

 

“Oh wonderful, Sunny’s cooked us dinner,” said Newt as he walked over to the desk and pulled the chair out. “Here sit down and tuck in, I’ll just grab another seat.”

 

Newt drew his wand and did an intricate twirling motion with it, conjuring another chair out of thin air.

 

Credence’s eyes widened slightly. “Wizards can make things out of nothing, just like that?”

 

Newt tucked his wand back into one of his pockets and smiled wryly, “Wizards can conjure many things, but they won’t stay there for long. This will probably last maybe an hour before it degenerates.”  

 

Credence nodded and sat down on the real non-magical chair.

 

The desk was large enough for Newt and Credence to sit next to each other without bumping elbows. They ate in companionable silence for a while, simply enjoying the hot home cooked food. It was significantly tastier than the mass-prepared meals they’d endured on the ship to England.

 

It felt slightly odd sitting directly to the left of Credence and not opposite him, but he didn’t seem to care, so Newt tried not to feel too awkward either.

 

“So I was thinking, you still up for going to Diagon Alley tomorrow?” asked the Hufflepuff between mouthfuls.

 

Credence set down his fork and turned to look at Newt, not quite making eye contact. “Yes, I would like that. Very much.”

 

Newt nodded and shoved a bite of pie into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully before replying, “I was thinking about giving you a wage.”

 

“For what?” asked Credence clearly surprised.

 

Newt took a deep breath and thought out his reply very carefully. “Well you’ve basically become my assistant already, what with how much you’ve helped over the past few days. And well… I feel like I’m trapping you here sometimes.”

 

He sighed and passed his hand over his freckled face. “I just whisked you away and you had nowhere else to go. So if I pay you as my assistant you could realistically save up enough to leave if you wanted to. I mean you’re an adult I have no right to keep you dependent on me.”

 

Newt looked at Credence’s face to gauge his reaction. He looked positively thunderstruck. His eyes were wide and unbelieving, his lips slightly parted with a gasp.

 

“But, you’ve already done so much. I can’t take your money too!” faltered Credence.

 

Newt reached across the desk and earnestly grasped Credence’s fork-free hand. “I did what was right. And I want to continue doing what’s right. I might have helped you out, but that’s just what friends do. Now the only thing I’m going to do from here is be a responsible employer. That is if you want to formally become my assistant? You could probably get employed somewhere else quite easily… if you wanted to get away from me.”

 

Newt knew Credence would want to get his own life eventually. The security of Newt’s protection would soon start to feel like shackles on his wrists, and he needed to be able to make his own choices. It was only natural, no matter how much it might hurt Newt when Credence finally decided he wanted to leave.

 

Credence’s hand trembled under Newt’s, and he went to draw it away, thinking that he’d made Credence uncomfortable, but the dark haired man clung on.

 

“I had no idea people as kind as you even existed in the world,” whispered Credence, his voice was surprisingly steady, but Newt could hear the edge of emotion wavering underneath.

 

“You’ve done more for me in less than a week than anyone else has done in my entire life. I’d be honored to become your assistant… o-officially.”

 

Newt felt a warm bubble of pure delight inflate inside his chest, and he gave Credence’s hand a squeeze before letting go. “That’s settled then!”

 

Credence glanced up through his eyelashes, and gave Newt a shy but firm nod of agreement. Then went quietly back to eating his dinner, like nothing had happened at all.

Chapter Text

Later that night, Newt asked Sunny to set up the guest bedroom for Credence. She eagerly agreed, excited to have someone new to look after.

 

“This way, Mister Credence,” chirped the house-elf, eagerly tugging on the fabric of his trouser leg.

 

Credence glanced at Newt as he reluctantly let the elf drag him away. The Hufflepuff gave him a reassuring grin and a cheesy thumbs-up.

 

As Credence followed Sunny down the corridor, they passed Theseus who was going in the opposite direction. He looked amused when he realised what was happening.

 

“You’ve probably made Sunny’s entire year, she loves having new people to fuss over. Good luck!” chuckled Theseus as he continued down the hallway.

 

Sunny led Credence to what he assumed was the guest bedroom. It was a little larger than Newt’s room and decorated much more grandly. The bedcovers and curtains were both royal blue and laced with a delicate bronze brocade, and the rest of the furniture had a brassy inlay etched into the wood. Parallel to the bed, a large opulent fireplace was crackling merrily.

 

The room gleamed pristinely in the firelight, and Credence felt like Newt’s parents really wanted to impress any guests they entertained.

 

He had almost forgotten about Sunny when she piped up, “I am hoping the room is to your liking, Mister Credence. There is being some pajamas on the bed, and a toothbrush in the bathroom for you.”

 

Credence looked down into her eager little face, her eyes extremely round and blue. “Yes, it’s lovely... where is the bathroom?”

 

“It is the door opposite, you can be calling my name if you are needing anything else. Sunny will hear you,” said the elf.

 

Credence felt very awkward being waited on hand and foot, but Newt had said that elves, Sunny included, lived to serve and took great pride in looking after their families and guests.

 

“Thank you, you’re very kind,” replied Credence shyly.

 

Sunny smiled and bobbed her head graciously. “Enjoy your stay Mister Credence,” she squeaked before apparating away leaving him entirely alone.

 

Credence got changed into the provided pajamas. They were not the pair Newt had lent him while onboard the ship. These were a crisp black and ornamented with silver thread around the collar and cuffs. Credence couldn’t help but miss the soft worn cotton of Newt’s pajamas; these felt starchy and unfamiliar.



After folding his clothes into a neat pile and setting them on top of a grand chest of drawers, Credence crossed the hallway into the bathroom.

 

The lavatory had a very similar colour scheme to the bedroom. It was mainly furnished with dark blue tiles and bronze embellishments. The marble floor was shockingly cold under Credence’s bare feet as he brushed his teeth and combed his hair at the sink. After he was done, he looked up at his pale face in the mirror.

 

The longer he stared, the more Credence didn’t recognise himself. He knew that the face gazing back at him was his own, but the past week away from New York had already started changing him.

 

The dark circles that usually framed his eyes had softened and almost disappeared. A week of good sleep had nearly eradicated the cloud of fatigue that had haunted him almost all of his life. Credence wasn’t sure, but he felt like he looked a little healthier too. The gaunt lines of his cheekbones were no longer so sharp; they were still prominent, but he looked less like a walking skeleton after a week of regular meals.

 

Credence wondered what he would look like after two weeks, a month, a year?

 

Credence tugged at his fringe, thinking about what it would look like when it was a little longer. Perhaps he could finally get rid of the bowl cut Mary Lou always forced on him.

 

The chilly floor started to make Credence’s toes feel numb, so he turned away from the mirror and left the bathroom. He returned to the guest room glad to be back near the toasty fire.

 

Credence climbed into the vast bed. It was a four-poster like Newt’s, but it was at least two feet wider. He felt like he was climbing into a fabric ocean.

 

Despite being so opulent and obviously expensive, the mattress was cold and stiff, evidently unused to people sleeping on it; as a guest bed it probably got little use.

 

Credence curled himself up into a ball, cocooning himself in the duvet. He should have been able to fall asleep easily. The soft crackling of the fire was comforting, and he had a stomach full of chicken and leek pie, but sleep still eluded him.

 

Embarrassed, Credence realised what was missing. He had grown used to sleeping next to Newt. He always seemed to fall asleep faster than Credence did, and the soft regular sound of his breathing made Credence feel protected. Despite always leaving a generous amount of space between them as they slept, Newt gave off heat like a furnace, and this bed was frightfully cold without him.

 

What Credence missed the most, though, was simply his company. Sometimes they would talk a little before sleeping. Mainly about the creatures and what they had done that day, but Credence cherished every moment of it. He was so used to loneliness that the company of the wizard was immensely precious to him.

 

Credence felt pathetic lying there by himself, yearning for the company of a man who he had only known for a week. He wrapped his arms around himself and tried not to feel so small, or so helpless... or so wanting. His body aching like it was empty at the core.

 

 

Newt was startled awake by a pair of large hands roughly shaking his shoulders. He had fallen asleep a little uneasily that night. He had grown used to the comfortable weight of Credence lying next to him, and without it, Newt felt like there was a piece of him missing. So when Newt felt the person shaking him into consciousness, he snapped awake suddenly and completely.

 

Newt’s eyes shot open, and he stared up into the freckled face of his brother.

 

“Theseus, what are you doing?” he muttered waspishly, annoyed at being so rudely woken up.

 

“Can you go ask your friend to shut up, I think he’s having a nightmare. I was just going to cast a muffling spell but figured you’d want to go give him a cuddle or something,” replied Theseus, his voice was low and thick with sleep but also obviously annoyed.

 

Newt quickly sat up. “W-what?”

 

Even in the dark Newt could practically hear Theseus rolling his eyes at him. “Your friend from America. The only other person in the house, the one you’ve been making heart eyes at all day.”

 

Newt spluttered for a moment and tried to get up, shoving his brother out of the way. “Heart eyes! I’ve only known him for a week, honestly, Theseus.”

 

Theseus made an unconvinced noise in Newt’s direction. “Yeah it’s not like you to hang around someone for more than a few minutes unless you really, really have to. If you’ve stuck with him for a whole week I should go to Twilfitt and Tattings and buy some dress robes for the wedding!”

 

Newt didn’t dignify his brother with an answer and marched out the door. He was glad it was dark because he was certain that his face had gone a mortifying shade of red.

 

He strode past Theseus’s room and further along the corridor. When he got close enough to hear anguished sobbing coming from Credence’s room, Newt’s heart seized in his chest, and he sped up into a half jog.

 

When he reached the guest bedroom Newt knocked but got no response. The distressed sounds Credence was making pushed any niceties Newt possessed out of his head, and he swung the door open and stepped inside.

 

The fire was still burning lazily, and it bathed the room in a low crimson light. It made everything look somewhat distorted; colours didn’t reflect the way they should, and the shadows looked reddish and wild. The flickering light reflected off of the many bronze embellishments and danced on the walls like hundreds of tiny flames.

 

Newt’s gaze was quickly drawn to the figure in the bed.

 

Credence was thrashing, caught up in the bed sheets like a fish in a net. His hair was completely wild and damp with sweat, and his eyes rolled feverishly under closed eyelids.

 

The worst thing though, were the noises he was making. The deep tormented moans ripped their way out of Credence’s throat like a savage animal. The night terror plaguing him was a vicious one indeed. Even as a bystander, it maliciously tore into Newt’s heart, striking panic deep into his core. Whatever Credence was experiencing it was monstrous.

 

Newt did the only thing he could and clambered onto the mattress. Credence was lying right in the middle and was too far away from Newt to touch, unless he climbed on as well.

 

“Credence, Credence wake up!” called Newt, brushing a hand over the sleeping man’s forehead.

 

One of Credence’s hands shot up to grab at Newt’s wrist, gripping almost painfully tight, and his eyes flew open. His pupils were dark pinpricks, fully contracted with terror. For a second he didn’t move a muscle; he didn’t even breathe.

 

“It’s okay Credence, it’s me.” whispered Newt.

 

Newt’s voice seemed to flick a switch inside Credence’s head, and he took a rough shuddering breath that sounded almost painful and exhaled it as a desperate sob.

 

“N-newt…” stuttered Credence, as shining tears welled up in the corners of his eyes.

 

Newt felt his heart break into a million tiny pieces as he looked down at Credence. His face was so open, so desperately trusting and sweet and yearning, that Newt couldn’t help himself and reached out, pulling Credence up towards him with a gentle hand around his back.

 

Unlike the last time Newt had comforted Credence this way, there was no stiffness in the embrace; instead he seemed to immediately relax and lean into it. There were fewer tears this time too. Credence moved his own arms to frantically cling to the back of Newt’s pajamas, and he buried his face into the crook of Newt’s neck simply gulping in great gasps of air.

 

Newt held onto to Credence tightly for about a minute just letting him get his breath back and then gently pulled away, not completely breaking contact, but moving just enough to see his face.

 

“Nightmare?” asked Newt.

 

Credence nodded and seemed to be looking everywhere except at Newt.

 

“Would you like to talk about it?” said Newt, instinctively rubbing a soothing hand up and down one of Credence’s arms.

 

Credence peeked up at Newt through his dark, slightly damp eyelashes. “I dreamt that I was back in New York. Y-you had taken me there, you’d gotten sick of me and sent me back. And Ma…” Credence paused for a moment and swallowed, fighting back tears again. “Mary Lou was there. She, she-”

 

Credence’s voice trailed off and he buried his face into Newt’s chest again, seeking the physical comfort he had been woefully denied his entire life. For a moment, Newt felt the surge of emotions crashing around inside of him threaten to drown him completely. The reason he managed to keep his composure was for Credence’s sake only.

 

Newt wasn’t usually an excessively emotional man and very rarely let any of his negative feelings show. But at this moment, the vehemence boiling inside of him burnt like hot acid. He’d never been one to wish death upon anybody, but right now Newt was glad Mary Lou was dead.

 

Newt was afraid he would scare Credence if he let any of his fury show in his voice, so he just cradled him for a moment and buried his face in Credence’s hair.

 

Once he felt like he could speak calmly again, Newt whispered, “You know, I’d never send you away. I would fight tooth an nail to keep you safe.”

 

There was no verbal response from Credence, but Newt felt him nod against his collarbone.

 

“Would you like to come stay in my room for the rest of the night?” asked Newt somewhat apprehensively. He knew that Credence seemed to take comfort in physical closeness and tried to convince himself that was the only reason he wanted to sleep next to him.

 

“Yes please,” murmured Credence quietly.

 

Newt pulled away from Credence, but grasped his hand to help him out of the frankly oversized bed. He didn’t let go as they walked down the corridor.

 

Newt’s bedroom immediately felt a lot more comfortable than the guest bedroom, and he led Credence over to the bed and reluctantly let go of his hand to let him climb in. It was almost totally dark in Newt’s room; the embers in his fireplace were nearly completely dead.

 

He turned on his side to face Credence, who mirrored Newt’s position. The firelight reflecting off of Credence’s deep brown eyes made them almost look amber.

 

Credence had left one of his hands palm-up on the mattress between them. Newt didn’t know if it was an invitation or simply how he had chosen to position his arm, but he snaked his own hand upwards to lace their fingers together again. Credence didn’t pull away and simply let out a soft sigh at the contact.

 

“Is this okay?” breathed Newt into the private little space they had created between them.

 

Credence nodded and squeezed Newt’s hand a little tighter. “Yes… its nice.”

 

There was a beat of silence between them before Credence spoke again.

 

“Thank you, for coming to help me. I… I’ve always had nightmares but never someone to talk to about them.”

 

Newt nodded and replied, “I’ll always be here for you. Even if you don’t want to talk about it and just need a hug, I’ll be here.”

 

Credence swallowed and closed his eyes. “I’m so glad I met you.”

 

Newt’s heart felt like it was about to explode but he managed to choke out a reply.

 

“I’m glad I met you too, Credence.”

 

Chapter Text

Credence woke up slowly. The haze of last night’s sleep hung over him like an early morning fog. He blinked a few times to banish the last dregs of drowsiness from his mind. Once he was fully awake, he gradually realised that he was almost nose-to-nose with Newt, close enough to count the freckles on his sleeping face.

 

The ginger wizard was snoring very faintly and drooling into his pillow, completely dead to the world. Their hands were no longer entwined, but they had both shuffled closer together during the night. Credence could feel Newt’s bony knees pressed up against his own legs and the brush of his arm against his chest.

 

Credence closed his eyes briefly and let out a steady sigh of contentment. He reveled at the thought of being close to Newt, and right now he’d never been closer. Everything about him was soft and warm: his eyes, his hands, his smile, and his voice. Credence was coming to cherish every aspect of him. So much that it scared him just a little bit.

 

He lingered in the snug quite space cradled between them, wishing he could pause time and live in this moment forever. However, his body eventually protested. He was reluctant to get up, but Credence needed to relieve himself, and his stomach was starting to growl impatiently.

 

Credence delicately slid out of bed, careful not to disturb Newt, and made his way to the bathroom Sunny had shown him last night. After he was done, Credence returned to the guest room with the intention of changing back into his own clothes, but the space on the dresser where he had left them was empty.

 

He stood there for a moment, wondering why they would be missing. Then remembered Sunny’s advice about calling for her.

 

Credence quietly cleared his throat and spoke into the emptiness of the bedroom, “Sunny?”

 

Even though he was expecting it, the pop of air from the house-elf apparating still surprised him.

 

“Good morning Mister Credence, how can Sunny be helping you?” chirped the little elf. She was still smartly dressed in a pinafore made out of a frilly pillowcase and smiled at Credence cheerfully.

 

Credence mustered a small smile in reply and asked, “Good morning, I was just wondering if you knew where my clothes are?”

 

The elf bobbed her head in confirmation. “Yes sir, I was taking them to be washed. Are you wishing for them? Because Sunny is afraid they are still soapy,” said the elf, wringing her hands together fretfully.

 

Credence quickly backtracked, not wishing to upset her. “Oh no it’s okay. I can stay in my pajamas for now.”

 

Sunny seemed to relax a little and then made a disapproving tutting noise.

 

“You can’t be walking around in your nighties all day. Here you can be wearing this for the time being,” she squeaked.

 

Credence watched as Sunny clicked her bony fingers and a swathe of pine green cloth started to spill out of the air and pool into her waiting arms. Before he could recognise what type of clothing it was, the cloth had speedily folded up into a neat pile. Sunny gestured for Credence to take it from her.

 

Credence bent down and carefully picked up the garment. He held it up by the lapels and let it unfold. He quickly realised it was a smart looking dressing gown.

 

“That will be keeping you warm until your outfit is clean. I’m sure Master Newt won’t be minding you borrowing some of his clothes later,” said Sunny with a sure nod.

 

“Oh, thank you,” said Credence as he slipped on the dressing down. It was a comforting weight over his pajamas and made him notice how chilly he had been walking around in nothing but the thin cotton.

 

After Credence had finished tying up the robe, Sunny asked, “Is you being hungry, Mister Credence?”

 

“Yes… a little,” he answered somewhat bashfully. Credence still wasn’t used to the idea of being waited on.

 

Sunny’s grin widened. “Follow me downstairs and I’ll be cooking you some breakfast.”

 

At her request Credence obediently followed the elf through the house and into the kitchen.

 

Sunny gestured for Credence to sit down in a quaint breakfast nook that adjoined off to the side of the room. It held a large table that could seat at least six people, but was only laid out to serve three. The walls surrounding it were nearly all window and proudly displayed an uninterrupted view of the front garden.

 

As Credence sat gazing out into the Yorkshire countryside, Theseus came stumbling into the room. He too was still in his bedclothes, a crimson dressing gown haphazardly flung over stripy pajamas.

 

“Good morning Master Theseus,” chirped Sunny from the stove where she was currently frying bacon.

 

Theseus pressed a hand to his mouth and yawned widely. “Morning Sunny…”

 

The auror saw Credence sat in the corner and nodded towards him. “Sleep well?” he said with a very sly smile.

 

Credence flushed a little under his intense gaze. “Yes thank you.”

 

Theseus swaggered over to where Credence was sitting and tucked himself into the seat opposite him.

 

“Newton still asleep?” he asked.

 

Credence nodded and carefully kept his eyes trained on the tablecloth.

 

Theseus chuckled and started to fiddle with one of the forks on the table.

 

“Oh that’s surprising. Newt’s usually a very early riser. It’s not like him to oversleep. He must have been tired.”

 

There was a teasing lilt in Theseus’s tone, and Credence swallowed nervously.

 

Theseus must know something about them sharing a bed; otherwise he would have no reason to mock him like this. In fact, Sunny probably knew as well. If she went into the guest room to take Credence’s clothes this morning, she would have noticed he wasn’t there.

 

“I… I had a nightmare last night, Newt was up late comforting me,” faltered Credence, uncomfortable about sharing something so personal.

 

Theseus grinned slyly and repeated, “Comforting you?

 

Credence suddenly realised what Theseus was implying and felt his face start to go embarrassingly red.

 

“It’s not like that!” blurted Credence.

 

He had no idea how homophobic Newt’s family was, but he couldn’t bear to be the reason Newt got into trouble. Especially when it was about a completely innocent situation. Credence knew if anyone back in New York had found out that he had been sharing a bed with a man, they’d be utterly scandalized.

 

Theseus laced his fingers together and rested his chin in the cradle of his hands. “Huh, really?”

 

He almost sounded disappointed.

 

Credence shook his head. “No, no. He was just being kind.” He tried his best not to sound disappointed either.

 

“You know we really don’t care about that. Muggles are awfully strange about who you can and can’t love,” said Theseus pointedly.

 

Credence finally managed to tear his gaze away from the tablecloth and met Theseus’s pensive stare.

 

“What?” questioned Credence, his voice barely above a whisper.

 

Theseus sighed and thought for a moment before answering.

 

“Look, I don’t really know who you are, or anything about you. But it’s obvious you haven’t spent much time with wizards… even if you are one. And that means you’ve been living with muggles, who can have a very backwards outlook on life. Especially when it comes to things like people’s love lives.”

 

Credence blinked stupidly for a moment, processing what Theseus had told him.

 

“Wizards don’t care about that, whatsoever?” he said incredulously.

 

“Nope,” responded Theseus, popping the p. “You don’t care about it do you?” he said a little more menacingly.

 

Credence franticly shook his head. “Not at all… you just surprised me.”

 

Theseus smiled and lent back in his seat. “Excellent. Then I should let you know that I think Newt fancies you.”

 

Credence promptly choked on his own spit.

 

“Woah, are you all right?” asked Theseus, as he watched Credence devolve into a sudden coughing fit.

 

Theseus grabbed one of the empty glasses on the table and shook his wand out of his sleeve, then pointed the tip into the cup and muttered, “Aguamenti.”

 

After spelling the glass full of water, Theseus slid it across the table towards Credence.

 

“Sorry I didn’t know you’d react that strongly,” he laughed.

 

Credence gratefully sipped at the water and cleared his throat. “We’ve only known each other for a week. Newt doesn’t… he wouldn’t-”

 

Theseus interrupted by flapping his hand dismissively and making a pffffft noise. “Please, I’ve known him all his life. I think I know when my little brother likes somebody.”

 

Credence felt himself start to go red again. “I really don’t think-”

 

Theseus interrupted him for the second time. Credence was starting to realise that this appeared to be one of the auror’s more annoying traits.

 

“Did he ever tell you about Leta Lestrange?”

 

Credence shook his head.

 

Theseus’s face morphed into a crafty smirk that Credence wasn’t sure he entirely liked.

 

“Now I know you don’t think he likes you, but like you said, you’ve only known him for a week. I have known him his whole life. And Newton, bless him, is a bit awkward. So he’s never had many friends or love interests, which makes spotting one completely obvious.”

 

Credence wondered who on earth wouldn’t like Newt. He might be a bit eccentric sometimes, but he was also infuriatingly likeable and quite charming. Not to mention very pretty. Credence felt like the blush on his face was going to stain and stay there forever at this rate.

 

“Now Leta,” continued Theseus, seemingly oblivious to Credence’s embarrassed state, “was a girl Newt met at school. They were both very similar people. Into the same sort of stuff, namely magical creatures. So as you can imagine, they got on like a house on fire.”

 

At the mention of Newt and Leta’s past camaraderie, Credence was ashamed to feel the acidic burn of envy start to bubble away in his gut. He shouldn’t be jealous; this was all in the past… wasn’t it?

 

Theseus leant forwards on his elbows, putting his face closer to Credence’s, and continued with a conspiratorial tone to his voice.

 

“To make a long story short, Newt was completely arse over teakettle for her. And the point being that she was the only person I’ve ever seen Newt pay any significant amount of attention to… apart from you. So I think it’s pretty safe to say that he likes you. Plus it took him years to get comfortable with Leta, it’s only taken you a week.”

 

Credence sat there stunned for a moment. Newt had mentioned that people often found him irritating, but he didn’t think it was actually true.

 

“He really hasn’t gotten this close to anyone other than Leta and I?” murmured Credence.

 

Theseus shook his head and answered, “He much prefers spending time looking after his creatures. And since the mess with Leta I think he’s been a bit scared of getting close to anyone else.”

 

Credence let his curiosity get the better of him and asked, “But what happened to her? Newt has never mentioned her… not once,”

 

He was practically desperate to find out why Leta Lestrange and Newt had fallen out.

 

Theseus frowned before answering. “Like they say, poisonous toadstools don’t change their spots. And well… Leta is from one of the more questionable families in wizarding Britain. The Lestranges might be one of the sacred twenty-eight and boast about having true blood-purity but they’re nothing but a bunch of rotten snakes. Leta included.”

 

Credence was practically on the edge of his seat now; the more he heard about Leta the less he liked her… not that he was very fond of her in the first place.

 

“She is the reason Newton got expelled from school. It was only by the good graces of Albus Dumbledore that Newt didn’t get his wand snapped in half. Leta was experimenting on a jarvey doing Merlin knows what, and she ended up endangering the other students and violating a bunch of animal welfare laws. Newt, the idiot, took the blame for her because she convinced him that her family would disown her. And Leta gladly let him get punished in her place. Afterwards she completely cut ties with him and wouldn’t even answer his letters,” finished Theseus a little sadly.

 

“That’s terrible,” answered Credence, feeling an aching stab of anger mixed with sorrow lance through him. He couldn’t believe anyone would do anything like that to a friend, let alone to Newt.

 

Theseus nodded sagely. “Yes Leta hurt Newt badly. He may be over her now, but the whole situation has made him fearful of getting wounded like that again.”

 

Credence swallowed awkwardly before asking, “So you… you really think Newt likes me like that?”

 

Theseus, whose expression had gone dark and brooding while they were talking about Leta, perked right back up again. “Yes of course I do. Newt’s about as obvious as a troll riding a bicycle.”

 

Credence smiled over the rim of his glass, the tiniest spark of hope flickering to life in his chest.

 

Before either of them could say anything more, the topic of their conversation strode into the kitchen.

 

Newt, unlike Theseus and Credence, was not sporting a pair of pajamas and a robe. He was fully dressed in a pair of tan trousers and a forest green waistcoat, his shirt was a plain off white.

 

The Hufflepuff smiled when he saw Theseus and Credence sat together at the table.

 

“Morning!” He said cheerfully, and walked over to them.

 

“Good morning brother,” responded Theseus.

 

Credence mumbled a shy, “Morning,” in reply.

 

He tried his best not to go as red as Theseus’s robe, their conversation about Newt still exceedingly fresh in his mind. He immediately failed as Newt chose to slide in next to him rather than his brother. Theseus gave Credence a secretive I told you so look over the tabletop.

 

“Have you two been awake long?” Asked Newt.

 

Credence shook his head and Theseus said, “Only about half an hour or so. Credence here was the early bird.”

 

Newt opened his mouth to say something but was stopped by Sunny, who squeaked, “Breakfast is being ready sirs!”

 

She clicked her fingers and three plates of full English breakfast came sailing over to the table, followed by a pot of tea and a jug of orange juice.

 

“Oh thank you Sunny, this looks delightful,” grinned Newt.

 

Sunny curtsied, “You is very welcome. Now I must be going to go dust Master and Mistress’s bedroom before they are arriving from Paris.”

 

Newt’s face fell as Sunny disapparated and he sighed into his scrambled egg, “I forgot that was happening.”

 

“They’re not that bad,” scoffed Theseus.

 

Newt sulkily stabbed a hash brown with his fork and replied, “Not to you they aren’t. You don’t constantly receive lectures about what a disappointment you’ve become.”

 

Theseus sniffed haughtily and didn’t reply, just shoving a bite of fried tomato into his mouth.

 

Credence was starting to feel increasingly awkward and timidly cleared his throat, “Are we still going to go to Diagon Alley today, Newt?”

 

Newt swallowed his mouthful and eagerly switched topics, “Yes of course! We can go straight after breakfast if you like?”

 

“I’d like that,” said Credence with a smile.

 

They spent the rest of their breakfast discussing what they were going to do in Diagon Alley. Theseus occasionally chipped in to recommend a shop but mainly stayed focused on his food.

 

When they were finished Theseus waved his wand over the empty plates and they whizzed over to the sink and started washing themselves.

 

“Well unlike you lucky chaps I can’t spend my whole day frolicking around shopping, I actually have work to do and need to get back to London,” he said as he stood up.

 

“It was nice to see you Theseus,” said Newt, also rising to his feet.

 

Theseus smiled and gave Newt a friendly hug. He then turned to where Credence was still sitting.

 

“It was nice to meet you Credence, I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of you in the future,” grinned Theseus cheekily and extending an arm for a handshake.

 

Credence flushed a little at the suggestion but accepted Theseus’s goodbye, and resigned himself to having his arm nearly shaken off again.

 

Theseus left the kitchen with a jaunty wave, leaving Newt and Credence by themselves.

 

“Well now you’ve met one half of the Scamander family,” said Newt with a sigh, “Why don’t you get dressed and we can floo to the Leaky Cauldron.”

 

“Well, um, Sunny said that I should borrow some of your clothes because she took mine to be washed,” said Credence.

 

“Oh of course!” replied Newt, “Come upstairs and I’ll see what I can find.”

 

Newt led Credence back up to his room and started to rummage through his wardrobe.

 

“Some of these might be a bit dusty, they’ve been in here a while,” said Newt, from halfway inside the armoire.

 

Credence shuffled closer to peek over Newt’s shoulder, “How long had you been away from England?” he asked curiously.

 

Newt popped his head out of the wardrobe with an armful of clothes, “A little over a year, but these will be good as new after a cleaning charm.”

 

Newt handed Credence the mound of fabric and turned to close the cupboard doors.

 

Looking down Credence saw what appeared to be a jumble of garments, mostly in the warmer colours Newt seemed to favour. Newt instructed Credence to lay them out on the floor, and he case a cleaning charm over them, making little clouds of dust rise off like steam.

 

“Alright, I’ll leave you to get dressed up here. I’ll meet you in the sitting room,” said Newt, and he left the bedroom.

 

Credence quickly got changed into the clothes that Newt had left him.

 

He ended up dressed in a pair of earthy brown trousers with a matching waistcoat and a pale blue shirt. Luckily he and Newt were similar builds, except Credence was an inch or so taller. It made the trousers a tad short but not noticeably so. Overall it was a nice change from the dark oppressive colours he always had to wear back in New York.

 

After he was dressed Credence quickly nipped back into the guest room to fetch his shoes and then went downstairs to meet Newt.

 

He was stood next to the fireplace in the lounge, underneath the portrait of the previously sleeping woman. Only she wasn’t even in the frame now.

 

Newt’s face split into a grin when he saw Credence walk into the room.

 

“You suit my clothes better than I do,” He said cheerily.

 

Credence didn’t even bother to hide his blush this time, “Thank you, they're very nice.”

 

Newt placed a friendly hand on Credence’s shoulder and squeezed, “Ready to go get your wand?”

 

Credence nodded and couldn’t help but match Newt’s smile.

Chapter Text

Newt had chosen to floo them straight to the Leaky Cauldron rather than apparate to London and enter from the muggle world. Finding a secluded spot to safely apparate from could be exceedingly tricky in the city, muggles had eyes everywhere.

 

Credence appeared slightly nervous at the thought of flooing by himself but Newt reassured him it was very hard to get wrong. So long as he pronounced ‘Diagon Alley’ correctly he would be fine.

 

Newt went first to show Credence how it was done. He was never the most graceful of people at the best of times, so when he stumbled out of the Leaky Cauldron fireplace Newt nearly bowled over into the nearest table of people. He apologized profusely and turned around to wait for Credence to emerge.

 

Sure enough a very bewildered looking Credence soon appeared. His usually very neat hair had been ruffled in the hot wind of the floo and there was a smudge of ash high up on his cheekbone. Yet he still managed to step out of the fireplace with more dignity that Newt could ever hope to muster.

 

“See that wasn’t so bad!” said Newt with a grin as he stepped towards Credence.

 

Credence shook his head and looked at Newt with wide eyes and an owlish expression on his face. It was downright adorable. Newt couldn’t help himself and reached up to smudge the streak of ash on Credence’s cheek away. It was gratifying to see that Credence didn’t even flinch as he reached towards his face and even leant into the contact slightly.

 

Newt suddenly realised what he was doing and pulled his hand away rather abruptly, “Ah, sorry you had some soot on your… never mind. Our first stop is Gringotts the wizarding bank here in London. It’s a very grand building, run entirely by goblins.”

 

“Goblins?” said Credence curiously.

 

Newt nodded and led Credence towards the courtyard of the Leaky Cauldron. “Yes they’re a very clever race of beings. They’re exceedingly good at metalwork and managing finances so they’re in charge of the wizarding currency. Lots of wizards think that they’re inferior but you’ll find that they’re completely wrong as usual.”

 

Credence watched as Newt pulled out his wand and said, “Like house-elves?”

 

Newt turned to smile at Credence approvingly before he tapped the bricks to open Diagon Alley, “Yes exactly like that. There are lots of wizards who believe other intelligent races such as house-elves, goblins and centaurs are beneath them merely because they’re not human. It’s a very silly notion I don’t quite understand.”

 

Before Credence could reply, Newt had tapped the sequence of stone to reveal the entrance to Diagon Alley, and the bricks sprung to life twisting apart to form an archway.

 

Newt was filled with childish glee as he watched Credence’s face morph into an expression of wonder.

 

Newt couldn’t remember the first time he visited Diagon Alley; it always just felt like a place he’d known about and grown up with. But he could imagine what it must feel like for Credence to suddenly be shown the endless world of colourful, glittering window displays. It must be like stepping into another world.

 

“Come along Credence, let’s go get some money and then we can spend the rest of the day looking around,” said Newt as he led Credence up the busy cobbled streets towards the distant looming shape of Gringotts.

Newt had never seen him so visibly excited before. He seemed more confident too. Credence’s shoulders were no longer slumped and the air of vulnerability that usually plagued his expression was completely gone. It was almost like looking at another person entirely. However, that thought suddenly reminded Newt that Credence Barebone would be a wanted man if anyone else found out he was alive.

 

As they were walking, Newt abruptly directed Credence into a secluded nook in-between two shops. “I just remembered something,” he muttered.

 

Credence’s brows furrowed sharply, and he looked anxious. “Is something wrong?”

 

Newt shook his head quickly and grasped Credence’s upper arm to reassure him. “No, no. Don’t worry. I just think it’s probably best that you use a false surname. No one over here knows who you really are and I just think it’s safer we keep it that way.”

 

“Oh,” breathed Credence. “Should I use another first name as well?”

 

Newt shook his head. “Credence might be an unusual name for a muggle but wizards have a whole host of bizarre names so it won’t stick out too much. Barebone however might turn a few heads. Bellchant is a common wizarding surname that I think fits you nicely. Would you be okay adopting that?”

 

Credence nodded and replied sombrely, “I never much liked Barebone anyway.”

 

Newt gave Credence a small supportive smile and guided him back out onto the road. “Excellent. I have a few… uh connections in the Ministry of Magic who’ll most likely be able to get you some authorised papers and it can be official.”

 

Credence gave Newt a curious look but didn’t question him.

 

They eventually approached the majestic entrance of Gringotts. Credence carefully eyed the goblin that stood at the door but thankfully didn’t make it look too obvious. Once inside, Newt strode right up to one of the many desks that lined the walls of the marble building. The goblin sat behind it observed him shrewdly.

 

“Good day, how can I help you?” he asked in a low serious voice.

 

Newt rummaged in his pockets for his vault key and slid it onto the desk between him and the goblin. “I’d like to make my usual withdrawal, along with an additional three hundred galleons please.”

 

The goblin nodded sharply and disappeared behind the counter with Newt’s key.  

 

Newt and Credence lingered by the desk for a little over a minute before the goblin returned. He came back with two sacks of coins and passed them back to Newt along with his vault key.

 

“Will that be all for you today Sir?” questioned the goblin.

 

Newt nodded, “Yes thank you, have a good day.”

 

The goblin bowed his head in return, and Newt and Credence left the building.  

 

Before they went anywhere else, Newt ushered Credence over to an empty bench that was nestled up against the side of Gringotts and sat down, gesturing for Credence to do the same.

 

“Here,” said Newt handing Credence the slightly smaller sack of gold containing the three hundred galleons. “I thought I’d give you your wage early seeing as we’re in Diagon Alley, you might see something you want to buy.”

 

Credence’s eyes went as large and round as one of the coins, and he seemed a little overwhelmed at the prospect of being given a month’s of assistant wages all at once.

 

“I mean I’ll still buy you your wand and some basic books for helping you to learn magic, but you never know what you might see here,” added Newt quickly.

 

Credence stared down at the pouch nestled in the cradle of his palms and said, “But I haven’t even done anything yet…”

 

Newt gently rested one of his own hands over the top of Credence’s and replied softly, “Honestly Credence you’ve done more for me than you realise. Just having you as an extra pair of hands in the case has been enormously helpful. I think once you’ve managed to get to grips with your magic you’re going to be positively invaluable.”

 

Credence looked up from their hands, studied Newt’s face, and whispered, “I… I cant-”

 

“Shush, just take it Credence,” insisted Newt. “You’ve saved me so much time recently, you genuinely deserve it.”

 

Credence swallowed thickly and nodded, still looking slightly doubtful.

 

Before Credence had the chance to protest again, Newt sprung up and said, “Come on then, lets go get you a wand! The shop is back down this way.”

 

Newt directed Credence back along the cobbled street to Ollivander’s wand shop.

 

Before they could go inside, Newt felt Credence tug on the corner of his sleeve.

 

“Newt,” he whispered.

 

Newt paused and turned towards him. “Yes, are you alright?”

 

“What… what if none of the wands work?”

 

Newt sighed and turned his wrist to softly grip Credence’s hand, trying to reassure him.

 

“Don’t worry Credence, one of the wands will work for you. You’re undoubtedly a wizard and I’m sure Ollivander will have a wand for you. His family has been amongst the leading wand makers for centuries.”

 

Credence still looked uneasy but nodded and let Newt lead him into the dusty confines of Ollivander’s wand shop.

 

As the door swung closed behind them, all the noises of Diagon Alley fell away like they’d be put under a muffling spell, and there was a beat of absolute silence before another voice pierced the gloom of the shop.

 

“Ah Mister Scamander, I wasn’t expecting to see you any time soon. Mind you I suppose it was only a matter of time until one of those beasts of yours managed to swallow your wand,” said Ollivander as he loomed out of the darkness.

 

Credence pressed closer to Newt’s side shyly as soon as Ollivander appeared. Newt supposed that Ollivander could be quite a ghostly figure to suddenly be surprised with in a dark room.

 

“Oh no we’re not here for me, my wand is as fine as ever,” said Newt as he twirled his wand in demonstration, “This is my friend Credence Bellchant from America, he misplaced his wand on the trip over the Atlantic,” lied Newt.

 

Ollivander raised a wispy silver eyebrow but didn’t question him. “Which is your wand hand Mister Bellchant?”

 

There was a second of silence where Newt kicked himself for not mentioning wand terminology to Credence before they came into the shop, but Credence had swiftly put two and two together and said, “My right.”

 

“Hmm alright, wait here,” instructed Ollivander as he sent a tape measure flying towards them. It started to take Credence’s measurements by itself as the wand maker disappeared back off between the towering stacks of boxes.

 

Ollivander returned several minuets later with a small collection of boxes that he placed on the counter top.

 

“Here you go Mister Bellchant, try this one first. Rowan with a dragon heartstring core, ten and a half inches nice and flexible,” said Ollivander as he handed Credence the wand.

 

Credence held onto it for maybe three second before Ollivander was snatching it back again, “Hmm no, this one?”

 

Ollivander switched between wands for a good quarter of an hour before he finally presented Credence with simple yet elegant wand. It had a very dark woody-red handle that slowly faded to a lighter rosier colour at the tip. It was amongst one of the more handsome wands that Ollivander had shown Credence.

 

Newt watched as Credence’s eyes widened with surprise as he grasped the handle and a cascade of iridescent sparks shot out of the top.

 

Credence looked between Newt and Ollivander for reassurance that this was the one. Newt beamed at him.

 

“Congratulations Credence!”

 

Newt watched as Credence’s face shone with a smile, pure and honestly happy.

 

Ollivander’s thin lips turned up at the corners with a small smile of his own and said, “Ah yes cedar with a phoenix feather core. My father used to say cedar wands were often found in the hands of wizards with a strong strength of character and unusual loyalty.”

 

The wand maker gave a pointed look towards Newt and continued, “I would go even further and say I have never yet met the owner of a cedar wand whom I would care to cross, especially if harm is done to those of whom they are fond.”

 

Newt flushed under his freckles and tore his eyes away from Ollivander’s almost hypnotic gaze and he turned to Credence.

 

Credence was staring down at his new wand, a smile still gracing his lips. Newt felt himself fill with a sudden surge of pride. He felt privileged to be a witness of this moment, and Newt knew that Credence was going to become a spectacular wizard one day.

 

Ollivander coughed pointedly, making Newt realise that he had just been openly gazing at Credence for Merlin knows how long.

 

“Ah yes, how much do we owe you Ollivander?” Said Newt awkwardly, hoping Credence hadn’t noticed him behaving like an idiot.

 

“Seven galleons,” replied the wand maker, raising a singular wispy grey eyebrow at Newt.

 

After Newt paid for Credence’s wand they bid Ollivander goodbye and stepped back outside into the bustling streets.

 

“What do you think then?” asked Newt with a grin as they walked down the road.

 

Credence turned to look at Newt with a thoughtful expression on his face and said, “It’s amazing. I… I feel complete. Like there has been a piece of me missing all my life, and I’ve finally found it.”

 

Newt felt a pang of sharp sorrow spike through him as he thought about Credence aching for something nameless for years on end. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have been so viciously denied his magic like Credence was. It was a miracle that his obscurus hadn’t killed him.

 

Thinking about how things could have turned out frightened Newt immensely, so he did the sensible thing and completely buried his emotions like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

 

“I’m glad I got to be here with you when you matched with your wand Credence. It’s typically a moment you share with your parents… but I suppose I’ll have to make do,” said Newt with a small self-depreciating smile.

 

Newt suddenly realised that bringing up Credence’s parents might have been a bad idea, but instead of getting silent and withdrawing, Credence leant into him shyly and brushed their shoulders together.

 

“I’d rather it have been with you anyway,” said Credence with a casual tilt of his head, smiling gently.

 

Newt swallowed almost hysterically as he heard Credence’s answer. The tide of affection that washed over him was like a tsunami, and he struggled to breath. It was as if he was drowning in it.

 

Looking at Credence’s soft smile triggered a switch in Newt’s head and a light bulb turned on. The thought burnt intensily and shone with absolute clarity. It was in that moment as they walked along the paved cobblestones of Diagon Alley together, that Newt realised he was in deep deep trouble.

Chapter Text

Newt ended up leading Credence on a merry jaunt through Diagon Alley for the rest of the morning, and Credence was more than content to just drift along in Newt’s wake. The Hufflepuff whirled Credence through a seemingly never-ending carousel of shops after they left the smothering silence of Ollivander’s.

Newt had insisted on purchasing Credence some more suitable clothing for working in the suitcase, and a selection of beginner spell books to help him learn magic. Credence tried his best to protest about more money being spent on him but Newt was having none of it.

As the sky was beginning to darken and the pair of them were both weighed down with shopping bags, Newt stopped in the middle of the street and stared up at a shop sign with a pensive look on his face.

Credence followed his gaze and saw that he was looking at a dimly lit storefront with many different species of owls hung in cages outside, watching all of the passersby with bright, intelligent eyes. There were also a couple of cats lounging about in the setting sun, and a large pen full of sleek, black rats.

“Would you like a pet, Credence?” asked the Hufflepuff.

“A pet? But you already have so many!” exclaimed Credence, thinking of all the other beasts inside of Newt’s suitcase.

Newt grinned at him. “Yes I know, and I didn’t say I wanted a pet, I was asking you.”

Credence swallowed nervously and gazed at the gently hooting owls. “But… what would I even do with it? I’m fine helping you look after all of your creatures.”

“Every good witch or wizard needs a familiar, Credence, they help focus your magic. Pickett has wormed his way into becoming mine, whether I wanted him to or not,” chuckled Newt.

“Oh…” breathed Credence, thinking about Mary Lou’s vicious words on witches and their demonic animal companions. “Why are there so many owls?” he continued, trying to shake the poisonous memories of his adoptive mother from his mind.

“Many wizards prefer owls because they’re amongst the most useful familiars. The wizarding world uses owls to send post, so having a familiar who can do that for you is pretty helpful. There are others of course, for example cats, toads and rats. But a wizard can have almost any creature as his familiar if it’s a good match,” explained Newt, a passionate sparkle springing to life in his eyes as he talked about the different animals.

Credence did envy the special relationship Newt and Pickett shared somewhat. They seemed to instinctually understand each other without even speaking, and he thought about what it would be like to have his own creature companion.

“Can we go in and have a look?” asked Credence, a flicker of longing kindling to life in his chest.

Newt grinned and hitched up his bags into a more comfortable position. “Of course. Let’s go!”

Unlike Ollivander’s, the pet shop was a cacophony of noise. The low, soulful hooting of owls and the shrill chirp of frogs was almost constant, the drone only occasionally being broken by a loud meow.

As soon as the pair had set foot in the doorway, a shop assistant called out to them.

“Good afternoon sirs, can I help you?” he asked cheerfully.

Newt shook his head. “No thank you, my friend here is looking for a familiar, I’m sure he’ll know what it is when he finds it.”

The shop attendant nodded knowingly and said, “Of course, please talk to me if you have any questions.”

Credence turned to look at Newt questioningly as the assistant occupied himself at the till, now slightly worried about ‘just knowing’ his familiar.

“It’s a bit like finding your wand, the feeling is just not as extreme. Believe me, you’ll see,” reassured Newt with a grin.

Credence swallowed nervously but trusted what Newt said. He had reassured Credence that he’d match with a wand, and sure enough that had happened. Why would he lie to him now?

So following Newt’s advice, Credence slowly took a turn around the shop, pausing now and then to take a closer look at a creature that stole his attention for more than a moment.

He did rather like them all, but then again Credence thought that was just in his nature. It wasn’t until he’d reached the very back of the shop, where it was dark and gloomy that anything of note happened.

Credence was almost startled into falling over when there was a very loud and raucous caw from somewhere above him. Quickly glancing up he saw what he thought was a shadow come to life, but after a moment of gawking Credence just realised there was an incredibly large crow staring down at him from the rafters.

The bird cocked its head at Credence curiously. The shift of light over its feathers made them look like they were dipped in oil. Blues, greens and deep purples swam over the sheen of its shadowy feathers like ripples in a pond.

After a moment of mutual staring the bird hopped down onto a nearby shelf, fully exposing itself from the gloom. Now with a better view Credence realised it was even more majestic in the light, and he thought that this bird couldn’t possibly just be a big crow. For its beak was longer and crueler, and the pitch-black eyes that stared at him held a sharp intelligence your average bird lacked.

“Hello,” murmured Credence, painfully reminded of the bird he had taken in as a child.

The bird didn’t make a sound but hopped closer to him, and to the edge of the shelf. Reaching the precipice, it paused and looked between the ledge and Credence before making a decision. The bird spread its broad black wings and glided down to perch delicately on Credence’s shoulder.

Credence didn’t see Newt staring at him with soft adoring eyes. He was too busy tenderly petting the silky back of his new avian friend.

The tender moment was, however, broken by the shop assistant.

“Oh my, I’ve never seen Odette show such an interest in somebody. She’s usually awfully grumpy, and prefers to stay up in the rafters where nobody can bother her.”

Odette cawed noisily at the shop attendant as if to tell him to bugger off, but he simply chuckled good-naturedly from behind the till.

“See what I’m talking about? I assume you’ll be taking her then?”

Credence paused for a moment and looked at Newt, not sure if he needed to ask permission. The ginger had the oddest smile on his face that Credence couldn’t quite place. And he simply offered Credence a reassuring nod and gestured towards the shopkeeper as if to say go on then!

“Yes… she’s the one I want. How much?” he asked.

The assistant grinned. “For a fine raven like Odette, ten galleons. She’s smarter than any owl, I’ll tell you that.”

Credence couldn’t hand the gold over fast enough.

A few minutes later, they were striding out of the pet shop with a new family member perched proudly on Credence’s shoulder.

“She matches you quite handsomely,” said Newt with an adoring smile.

Credence couldn’t help but blush a little. “She’s lovely. I’m glad she liked me.”

“It’s very hard not to like you, Credence,” chuckled Newt. “Now how about we go get a spot of ice cream at Fortescue’s before we go home?”

Credence smiled with enthusiasm. He’d never had ice cream before.

Newt took great delight in watching Credence’s face when he took the first bite of his strawberry dessert. The dark haired man’s nose scrunched up in an adorable fashion and he almost looked like he was ready to spit the mouthful right back out again.

Newt couldn’t help but giggle. He tried his best to smother his mirth with his hand, but it was to no avail. He made an embarrassing snorting noise that just made him laugh harder, and before he knew it he was wheezing into his own bowl.

Looking up, Newt saw Credence staring at him with surprise.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

Newt took a deep calming breath before opening his mouth. “You… you just looked so cute and shocked. I couldn’t help it.”

Credence turned to the side avoiding eye contact, his cheeks flushing prettily. However, Newt could see the smallest smile twitching at the corner of his mouth.

“It was colder than I expected…” murmured Credence.

Newt just snorted out an amused huff of air and plucked out the wafer that was stuck in his own ice cream.

“I mean it is called ice cream. What did you expect?” teased Newt good-naturedly as he held his wafer out to Odette. She was still perched on Credence’s shoulder and greedily snatched the treat from Newt’s fingertips.

Credence sighed and surprised Newt by rolling his eyes at him before defiantly sticking another mouthful of ice cream into his mouth.

Newt grinned. “Do you like it then?”

Credence simply nodded, too polite to speak with his mouth full.

“Good. You deserve something tasty after all the walking I made you do today.”

Credence swallowed and set his spoon down before saying, “You didn’t make me do anything. Today was amazing, and I’ve loved every minute of it... thank you for bringing me here.”

Newt had trouble swallowing his own mouthful as he heard this. The burn of affection blazing in his chest was choking him, and the chill of the frozen treat did nothing to sooth it. He knew Credence had been happy today, but hearing it actually come from his lips was something else entirely.

He must have been making an odd face because Credence’s eyes narrowed and he leant forwards over the table. “Are you alright, Newt?” he queried.

Newt cleared his throat and nodded self-consciously. “Yes, sorry. Just got a smidge of brain freeze for a moment there.”

Credence relaxed back into his chair but still had a suspicious glint swimming in his dark eyes.

Nevertheless, they eventually both finished their desserts and Odette finished nibbling on her wafer. The sun had fully set by then but the streets of Diagon Alley hadn’t dimmed at all. Lights started to flicker on inside of shop windows and the streetlamps started to glow with a deep pinkish-orange light.

Newt sighed and rummaged for some coins to leave on the table.

“We should be getting back home. I don’t know about you but I’m starting to get sleepy,” sighed Newt reluctantly.

Today had been perfect, but he knew all that was waiting for him at home was confrontation and disagreement. His parents would almost certainly be home from their gallivanting in Paris by now, and Newt knew no matter how he approached the situation his father was going to have something negative to say.

The walk back to the Leaky Cauldron put Newt in a somber mood. He noticed that Credence seemed to realise something was wrong, but thankfully he didn’t pry. Newt flooed back home first and stepped out into an empty living room. Credence and Odette tumbled out a few moments later.

“Let’s go put our things upstairs,” suggested Newt.

It was on their way back down from his bedroom that Newt heard his mother’s muffled voice for the first time in over a year.

It was coming from the kitchen.

Credence looked at Newt pointedly, as if to say so what are we going to do?

Newt swallowed once before saying, “Well, we better go say hello.”

Chapter Text

Credence held his breath as Newt opened the kitchen door. In his head it seemed to swing open almost painfully slow. When in reality the movement was completely normal. The obvious dread that had been seeping off of Newt all day had wiggled and wormed its way into Credence’s own heart, now lying there in a heavy and uncomfortable knot.

 

How terrible could these people actually be?

 

In all the time he had known Newt he had seemed genuinely pleased to see almost everyone. What made his parents such an exception?

 

Credence was pulled out of his contemplations by a gasp, then a seemingly delighted yell from in front of him.

 

“Newton!” cried a female voice from somewhere beyond him in the kitchen.

 

“Hello mum” replied Newt, stepping forwards and making enough room for Credence to see past his shoulder.

 

When Credence caught sight of what only could be Newt’s mother, he wondered why he had entertained the idea of her looking like anything else.

 

She was the spitting image of Newt. The only difference being her age, gender and the fact she was incredibly short. Perhaps only just brushing five foot.

Her hair was curly and a tawny-orange streaked with bolts of pure white. Her pale green eyes were framed with deep laugh lines and her face was completely covered with freckles.

 

The tiny woman moved with surprising speed across the room to reach her son, Newt coming to meet her halfway. This meant Credence now had space to move past him and into the kitchen.

 

As he moved forwards Credence kept his head bowed and tried to look as small as possible to avoid drawing attention away from the reunion. But he shyly glanced up through his eyelashes at the man still seated at the breakfast nook.

 

He wasn’t standing up so it was hard to gauge how tall he was, but it was obvious this was where Newt and Theseus got their height from. However, that’s where the similarities between Newt and his father stopped.

 

Where Newt’s mouth was soft and curved, his father’s was sharp, thin and pinched at the corners. His dark blue eyes held no illusion of warmth, when it was hard to see anything but kindness in Newt’s gaze.

 

Credence briefly wondered what colour his hair had been when he was younger because now it was a dark steely grey, and combed backwards into a slick ivy league haircut.

 

Newt was now hugging his mother, and smiling. But there was something about his expression that worried Credence. Credence also thought it odd that Newt’s father hadn’t even bothered to stand up and greet his son. He just sat grimly at the table as grey and still as a gargoyle.

 

However, Credence wasn’t allowed to stand silently in the corner for very long. Newt’s mother who had finished welcoming her youngest child soon turned to face him.

 

Oh, and who do we have here Newton? Aren’t you going to introduce us?” She asked as she stared at Credence, who itched uncomfortably under her gaze.

 

Newt cleared his throat and laid a hand on his mother’s shoulder as if to hold her back from smothering Credence. A little bloom of gratitude flowered in Credence’s chest at the sight.

 

“This is Credence Bellchant. He’s a friend I picked up in America. And the lovely beast perched on his shoulder is Odette. Credence, this is my mother Penelope and my father Basil.”

 

Credence wasn’t quite sure what the etiquette was for meeting a friend’s mother and father so hovered nervously for a moment, but the decision was taken away from him when Penelope stepped forward and extended a single weathered hand.

 

“Please call me Penny,” she said with a smile.

 

Credence bobbed his head and accepted her greeting, soon realising Theseus also seemed to of inherited his oblivious strength from her as he felt his arm nearly get shaken off again.

 

“Nice to meet you ma’am,” said Credence making eye contact for the first time.

 

It was strange looking into the green eyes that were so much like Newt’s. Even thought they were almost identical in colouration and shape the keen almost evaluating stare Penelope was giving him made his skin crawl. And her smile seemed much sharper and wolfish up close.

 

“So America huh?” Questioned Penelope turning to face Newt again, “What were you doing there Newton?” her tone turning a little bitter and disapproving.

 

Credence watched as Newt shifted awkwardly, and he hated that he knew the fidgeting meant Newt felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable.

 

“I’d come across an enslaved thunderbird in Egypt, I uh liberated him, and needed to take him back to his home… to Arizona,” answered Newt.

 

Penelope tutted quietly, “You and your creatures Newt, they’ll be the death of you. Thunderbirds are dangerous.”

 

“So are hippogriffs,” countered Newt brusquely, his previously nervous manner changing to irritation as quickly as a niffler snatching a coin.

 

But before Penelope could reply Newt’s father suddenly stood up.

 

“I wont have you speaking to your mother like that Newton,” he commanded in a low severe voice, “you should apologise.”

 

Newt swallowed once before saying a weak, “Sorry.”

 

Credence felt increasingly awkward standing in the corner of the room. He felt like an imposter. He looked between Newt and his parents just taking in the scene, when he accidently met the gaze of Newt’s father.

 

Basil stared at him for a moment before making a disgruntled humphf sound, “So where did my son pick you up then? He’s always finding lost strays”

 

Credence bristled at the notion of being called a stray but endeavored to stay polite.

 

“New York sir,” replied Credence determined not to be the first one to break the man’s unyielding stare.

 

“I thought Newt said he was going to Arizona. Why didn’t you tell us that you were in New York Newton?” countered Newt’s father, snapping his head back towards his son.

 

Credence watched Newt aggressively run a hand through his own hair turning it frazzled, “I’m twenty nine father, I don’t need to regale you about every little twist and turn in my travels.”

 

For the first time in this awkward encounter Credence saw a flicker of emotion on Basil’s stony face, and it was anger.

 

His eyes narrowed sharply and his lips thinned into a disapproving line. “That’s no way to answer a genuine question Newton, can’t I ask towards the whereabouts of my son anymore?” Mr. Scamander's falsely even tone conflicted with the obvious bitterness written all over his face.

 

Newt’s fists clenched and unclenched at his sides before he replied. “We both know you aren’t asking because of your duty as a worried father. So don’t act like you actually care. I’m not an idiot.”

 

Basil let out a humorless bark of a laugh. “Don’t care? Of course I care. Why would I be asking otherwise?”

 

Credence was shocked to see true contempt form on Newt’s face for the first time; it was a terrifying expression on him.

 

“Oh stop lying dad, I know the only thing you’re worried about is that I’ll somehow humiliate you and leave a trail of embarrassment with Scamander painted all over it wherever I go. Merlin forbid that something I do somehow gets connected back to the spotless family name,” spat Newt.

 

Credence was horrified to hear a tremble in Newt’s voice. This was obviously a sore topic for him. He fretted internally wondering if there was anything he could do to diffuse the tension.

 

“Well Newton, you can’t blame me for worrying about it. After that sordid business with the Lestrange girl trouble has followed you around like a particularly persistent bludger.”

 

Newt made a wounded sound deep in his throat, and brushed a hand over his eyes. “I was sixteen dad, sixteen. And you’ve never let me forget it! Perhaps that’s why I try stay away from you and this house whenever I can,” stressed Newt, almost yelling now.

 

Basil didn’t say anything but Newt’s mother stepped forwards and tried to lay a hand on Newt’s shoulder, but he brushed her off.

 

Newton,” she sighed dejectedly, but didn’t try to elaborate.

 

“I’m sorry the family disappointment came home, but don’t worry I won’t stay long,” Said Newt his voice cracking before he turned and strode out of the kitchen. The door slowly creaking shut behind him.

 

Credence just stood there for a second, completely frozen. Odette fidgeted restlessly on his shoulder.

 

Hmphf, coward,” muttered Basil, turning around to sit back down at the table.

 

Credence didn’t know what came over him and before he knew it he was opening his mouth and saying, “Respectfully sir, you couldn’t be more wrong.”

 

There was a beat of silence where Credence wondered if he’d actually voiced his thought out loud.

 

But then there was a softly exhaled, “Excuse me?” from over by the table.

 

Credence shakily cleared his throat and mustered up all the confidence he possessed, which wasn’t much, but it was all he had.

 

“I said you’re wrong sir.”

 

Silence.

 

Credence swallowed awkwardly and continued. “I don’t think I have ever met anyone as brave as your son. You should be proud of him.”

 

Credence watched as Basil’s eyebrows rose in shock… or perhaps it was mockery?

 

“And what makes you say that Mister Bellchant?” he questioned.

 

“I was… I was in great distress back in New York,” said Credence thinking about his time as little more than an incorporeal wisp, “Newt saved me from a terrible fate. Not to mention he basically singlehandedly took down Gellert Grindelwald, finally allowing him to be captured by MACUSA.”

 

Credence felt a small surge of triumph swell inside of him at the stunned expression on Basil Scamander’s face. And he took the opportunity to turn around and stride out of the kitchen.

 

He didn’t get very far because as soon was he out the door he collided with a warm body.

 

“Newt?!” exclaimed Credence, pulling himself away from the ginger man.

 

Newt looked up at him with watery eyes, “Hello.”

 

“You, uh, you didn’t hear that did you?” whispered Credence.

 

Newt gave him a small shaky smile but didn’t say anything, and grasped Credence’s upper arm and started to tow him away from the kitchen.

 

Credence just let himself be led until Newt brought him to his bedroom.

 

A small bead of dread started to form in Credence’s chest, why was Newt being so silent?

 

But as soon as they were through the door Credence suddenly had an armful of sniffling Hufflepuff.

 

Newt’s tawny curls tickled his nose as he pressed his forehead into Credence’s chest and seemed to cling on for dear life.

 

“T-thank you for saying such nice things,” stuttered Newt, his voice muffled into Credence’s shirt.

 

Credence blinked, stunned for a moment, before tentatively brining his arms up to cradle Newt’s waist.

 

“Well, it was the truth.”

 

Credence could feel Newt exhale shakily into his chest; it was warm and fluttery… or was that just his own heartbeat? It felt like it was ready to beat its way right out of his ribcage, and he wondered if Newt could feel it too.

 

“Still, you didn’t have to stand up to him like that. I’m sorry I got frustrated and snapped at them. That never would have happened if I stayed calm. I shouldn’t have left you in there on your own. But I just couldn’t bear to stay in there for one more second,” apologised Newt.

 

Credence instinctively tightened his grip on Newt’s waist trying his best to comfort his friend, and thought about all the times Newt had done this for him.

 

“Don’t… don’t say sorry. It wasn’t your fault,” sighed Credence, turning his head and pressing his cheek to the top of Newt’s head. His hair smelt like jasmine and clean animal fur.

 

Newt just sniffed a little and Credence could feel the warm, wet dampness of tears soaking into his shirt but decided not to say anything about it. He simply held onto Newt hoping that he was providing some semblance comfort.

 

He wasn’t quite sure how long they stayed there, but soon his legs started to get stiff from standing stationary for so long.

 

“Why don’t we get ready for bed?” suggested Credence.

 

Newt made a reluctant noise, but still managed to unglue himself from Credence. When Credence caught sight of his face he couldn’t help but stare a little. Newt as it turned out, appeared to be an exceedingly pretty crier.

 

A couple of stray teardrops clung to his eyelashes like dew, and his green eyes shone brighter than normal. The very tip of his nose was pink along with his normally pale cheeks, and all together Newt made a rather adorable picture. Credence blinked once before quickly turning away and making a show of rummaging for his pajamas.

 

After finding his bed clothes Credence went and preformed his nightly rituals in the upstairs bathroom, while Newt descended into his case.

 

When he returned to Newt’s room, the wizard was already curled up on the bed, sat upright with his knees drawn up under his chin.

 

Newt flipped a corner of the covers down in invitation once he saw Credence renter the bedroom.

 

Credence quickly strode over, eager to be in the warm embrace of the bed… and Newt.

 

Once they were both snuggled under the downy cover of the duvet Newt rolled over to face Credence and shuffled a little closer.

 

“Do… do you mind if I?” he asked as he pressed his head towards Credence’s arm, and searched out his hand underneath the covers with his own.

  

“I don’t mind,” he replied, gripping Newt’s hand tightly in return.

 

There was a silence for a long while and Credence thought that Newt must have gone to sleep.

 

But just as he was just drifting off he heard a soft thank you whispered from beside him.