"Better to be inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in."
Percival could still hear his friend's voice saying that. Theseus Scamander was hopefully in Britain, but he was probably one of the many Europeans sent over to try and bring down Grindelwald's regime. It was a risk, one that had seen dozens of aurors murdered in the fight. Grindelwald unleashed his obscurus on the battlefield, and they couldn't survive its attack.
He didn't want to be one of Grindelwald's followers, but Theseus was right. The only chance he had of bringing Grindelwald to justice was to stand by his side. The American aurors who had survived the initial takeover were languishing in MACUSA's cells. They were powerless, trapped and tortured. Graves stood at his side, sat beside him at dinner, and silently waited for a chance.
He had his own face back now, and Grindelwald was no longer hiding his identity. Some nights, most nights, Graves went to sleep wondering if he was doing the right thing. He had tortured No-Majs, even killed them, as Grindelwald commanded. The dark wizard took a lot of pleasure in seeing Graves as his right hand man, no longer the trusted confidant of Picquery and those who had hidden magic in the shadows.
He sat beside Grindelwald during yet another meeting, listening to him ranting, and the door opened. A pale man, barely more than a boy, walked forwards. Graves tried not to stare, but few others even tried to hide their gaze. Credence Barebone. Grindelwald's obscurial. The Moonflower. Pale skin and dark hair that fell in waves to his shoulders. Slender, cheek bones visible. He was wearing a loose white shirt which hung to mid-thigh. That was all other than a black leather collar embroidered with white flowers which was wrapped around his throat. He was silent, shaking a little.
He crouched down in front of Grindelwald, bowing his head. Grindelwald reached out and stroked his fingers through Credence's hair, leaning in so that the obscurial could pass on his message. He smirked, then reached down to open his pants. Graves closed his eyes, not wanting to see as the obscurial took Grindelwald into his mouth. The meeting continued, most of the assembled crowd ignoring the groans from Grindelwald before he emptied himself into Credence's mouth, massaging his throat until he swallowed. For a moment, Credence's eyes met Percival's, and then he looked away.
"Anyone else?" Grindelwald asked, and a couple of hands raised. He shoved Credence beneath the table and Graves watched him crawl away, kicking off his shoes. He stretched out his leg, brushing his foot against Credence's own. The meeting continued.
"Graves, how is the West Coast?" Grindelwald asked, and Graves gave the answers he could. He did what he could to prevent unnecessary death, but staying within Grindelwald's inner circle was his most important role. He had to be here if he was going to achieve anything. Sometimes that meant making sacrifices.
Eventually, Credence made his way back from under the table, nuzzling into Grindelwald's hip, his eyes glancing over to Percival. Percival tried not to stare too much, not wanting it to get noticed.
The meetings were always like this. He would share looks with Credence, and try not to draw attention. He wanted to keep Credence safe, but he knew that if it came down to it he would have to sacrifice him to get rid of Grindelwald. The hope though, was that he could find a way to protect Credence and destroy the dark wizard. The obscurial was powerful, if untrained and afraid. He wanted to earn his trust.
Outside of the meetings he didn't see Credence, so other than stolen glances they had never spoken. But there was a major raid going down next week on a remaining cell of MACUSA loyal wizards. Graves saw a chance of using that to get what he needed.
Credence sat at Grindelwald's feet for a few more minutes, until the meeting was finished. Grindelwald was pulling his hair, but Credence sat there quietly.
Eventually the meeting ended, and the others stood up. Credence followed Grindelwald from the room, his head bowed. Just as he got to the doorway, he glanced back over his shoulder, his eyes finding Percival's.
"Please." He mouthed, and Percival inclined his head slightly. He just hoped that he would be able to help him.
He stepped out of the meeting hall, and froze when he saw the younger Goldstein walking past with a tray of drinks. She smiled at him.
She walked through to a side room, and Graves followed her.
"The others are all alive. Tina's leg's healing up nice." Queenie whispered. "That boy's getting you all muddled up, isn't he Mister Graves?"
"Just tell them I should be making my move soon." He told her. She nodded, and handed him a cup of coffee. Queenie had been invaluable in this new world. No one had noticed her, and she had carried on as she always had, still able to tell things she had no right to know. At least she wasn't warning him away.