"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.
Outside of the ruined building that had once been MACUSA and was now Grindelwald’s throne room, life carried on. The No-Majs might have been little more than animals in the eyes of the elite, but they still worked. They still went about their lives, their eyes a little more shadowed, their voices a little quieter. But life continued.
Percival made his way through the streets, hating how everyone parted from him. It wasn’t just the robes that Grindelwald had ordered all witches and wizards to wear that had them running from him. He was recognised, even by No-Majs, as one to keep clear of. He was saving the lives he could, but all anyone saw was those he couldn’t help.
He hurried along to his destination, a small bakery that was set into a near deserted street. People still needed bread. There were cakes and other fine treats available for those lucky enough to have the money for them.
The No-Maj baker looked up as he walked in, but didn’t hurry away. Instead, he handed over a box of pastries he had prepared.
“She dropped the order off earlier sir.” He didn’t look Graves in the face. It wouldn’t do. You never knew when someone might be watching. But Queenie would have visited, and passed on a note to the man and through him to those he was harbouring within the suitcase balanced between bags of flour.
“Good.” Graves answered, because he was always going to be polite, even to No-Majs.
“Anything else today sir?”
Graves hesitated, then nodded, pointing at the jar of candies on the top shelf.
“A couple of those.” He handed over the money and took the pastries back to the Woolworth building, leaving them in the break room. In a way, it was the mundanity of life here that was the strangest thing. A change of regime, and life went on. The baker made cakes for the staff of what had been MACUSA and helped shelter members of the resistance.
One of the men in the break room, an ugly man with a twisted nose and thick accent smirked to see him.
“American. The boss wants to see you.”
He popped one of the candies in his mouth, and pocketed the other, walking into Grindelwald’s throne room, his footsteps echoing on the Pentagram still emblazoned on the floor. He bowed his head, dropping the candy from his pocket and sending it across the room to where Credence was sat, naked now aside from his collar and a thin sheet of silk that was spread across his hips. Credence picked up the candy and ate it with a momentary flash of a smile.
“One of your men said you wanted to see me.”
“Director.” He nodded. “I wanted to settle a little disagreement between my men and I. They say that you are still loyal to that woman and her desire to hide what we are, but I tell them you are happy to be known. Which is it?” There was a danger in his voice which made Percival shiver.
“I serve you while the rest of MACUSA rots. Is that not your answer?”
“I hoped you would agree. Still, they are demanding a little more in the way of proof. Perhaps you would be willing to interrogate some of your staff. And there are rumours of some more European aurors arriving at the docks tonight. If you can get the information I need, and remove the threat, I will know you are loyal.”
“As you wish.” Percival answered. “Who do you wish me to interrogate?”
“That woman.” Grindelwald commanded, and Percival fought to repress a shudder. It would be better to deal with an auror, who was at least trained to withstand pain and likely to remain calmer. But if this was what was needed, he would do it.
“Now?” Percival asked. “Or do you want me to prepare for meeting the aurors?” There was no point in getting angry or arguing. Just do what he wanted and hope for the best. There was a time when he would have fought against this. He didn't know what he was now. Which side he was on. He lay awake at night, thinking of who he had once been, the pride and power he had once possessed. That was gone now. What was left was surviving long enough to win this game.
"We may as well interrogate her first." Grindelwald answered, and signaled for one of his men to fetch the President. Percival glanced towards Credence for a moment, seeing how he was watching with wide eyes, then ducking his head as he realised he was being stared at.
Seraphina was dragged in, still wearing the ragged remains of her robes of office. She spat at the guards holding her, and when she saw Graves she froze.
"So. It's come to this?" She asked, and Graves exhaled slowly, remembering them being little more than children, talking about their futures and planning code phrases. It had been years, but he still knew the reply to give.
"You know I've made my choices long ago." He answered, sending a curse towards her. There was no point in going easy, nothing to be gained by not committing. He sent flame to lick across her skin, trailed knives over her body, then hit her with the Cruciatus curse. As she screamed and lay panting on the floor he turned to her and smiled.
"What?" She gasped, panting.
"How do we get into the final vault?" That was what Grindelwald had wanted for weeks now. As far as Grindelwald knew, the few objects which MACUSA valued were stored in there. The fact that there was a further hidden vault was a fact only known to himself and to Picquery.
"I won't-" She started to protest and then screamed in pain. He fought not to let it get to him. He was here to do a job, and that meant that sometimes he had to make harsh choices. He struck her again, sending quick waves of curses and hexes at her, never giving her a chance to catch her breath.
She protested a few more times, before collapsing on the ground, blood trickling from between her lips. She shuddered, and as he raised his wand once more she flinched away.
"Percival-you...after everything, please..." She gasped, and he began another curse. She screamed and backed away as best as she could, before whimpering. "The bookcase. There's a spellbook, third row along..." She murmured a guide, not enough on its own, but with his additional knowledge he would be able to open it. She was taken back to the cells, and he went to put what he had found to use.
Grindelwald smiled as he sent him to intercept the foreign wizards. He returned with the news that they had been killed. He had been able to fake that easily enough. They were banished back to another boat, a letter he had written in the pocket of their leader, telling them to stay away for a few days.
He returned to announce his victory, and found Grindelwald gloating over what he had extracted from the vault. There were objects here with enough power to level a city, but not a country. In a way, it was a positive. He had been assured of Graves' loyalty, and hopefully Picquery would get a few days to recover. All being well, he was going to make his move soon.
"Well done." Grindelwald announced, clasping a friendly hand onto his shoulder. Graves made himself smile at him. "You have proved your loyalty. What do you want as your reward?"
"I want..." This was his opportunity, and there was one piece he needed to bring it into play. He couldn't let on as to the reasoning, so he gazed around the room, pausing when he saw Credence who was watching with something close to fear in those stunning dark eyes. "I want to borrow your toy for the night. I want the Moonflower."
Credence's head jerked up, staring at him in shock, but Grindelwald simply smirked.
"You do?" He asked with a chuckle. He let most of his top agents use the boy's mouth, but getting privacy with him, getting him unguarded, was a favour that most of Grindelwald's officers would not dare to ask for. Percival tried not to hold his breath, knowing that this could backfire at any second.
"You can have him." Grindelwald began, and Graves relaxed a little, only to tense as Grindelwald said a few more words. "If you can prove you want him."
“If I want him?” Graves asked, frowning a little. “Of course I want him. If I didn’t want him I wouldn’t have asked.” Arguing with Grindelwald was a dangerous game, but Percival knew every time he opened his mouth that he could be found out. Arguing was not much more dangerous than continuing to stand by Grindelwald’s side. Now that he had a plan forming, he was determined to get Credence on side so he could make use of it.
“I’m not sure that you do.” Grindelwald answered coldly. “I’ve been watching you. You’ve had the option of using him before, in meetings, and you’ve never asked for him.”
“I didn’t want the distraction.” Graves answered, sneaking a glance at Credence. Credence had his head bowed, his arms wrapped around his fragile body. He was trembling visibly, and Graves pitied him. The boy was an obscurial, had immense power, and yet he suffered. He desperately needed help, but for now Graves couldn’t risk seeming sympathetic.
“His mouth is rather distracting.” Grindelwald agreed. “But for now, well, I think that would be enough of a reward for you.”
“What?” Graves asked, looking up at him in confusion. Grindelwald smirked at him slightly and pointed towards Credence.
“Fuck the boy’s mouth.”
Graves stared at him in confusion and Grindelwald shrugged.
“You want to have him? Then fuck his mouth here. Where I can see. Show me you do desire him.”
Graves bit his lip, swallowing down the urge to argue. Instead, he nodded his agreement.
“Here.” Grindelwald smirked, guiding him to sit down. Graves spread his legs, reaching to unfasten his pants.
“Let the moonflower handle that.” Grindelwald ordered, and Graves did so, glancing over at Credence.
“Here.” He ordered, stomach knotting slightly with fear. He made a mental note to ensure he had an aphrodisiac potion with him for any future encounter that went along these lines, because right now he was concerned he would not be able to perform. Failing at that would probably get both himself and Credence into trouble.
Graves placed his hands on the arms of the chair, watching as Credence crawled across the floor towards him, leaving behind the silk and exposing all of his skin to the chill air of the room. Credence reached him, kneeling between his legs and carefully unbuttoning his pants using his mouth. Graves moved his legs in slightly, bracketing Credence’s shoulders, holding him firmly.
Credence took Graves into his mouth, his long eyelashes brushing his cheeks as he closed his eyes and began to lavish attention on the cock in his mouth. Graves rocked his hips a little, then reached to trail fingers through Credence’s hair. Credence moaned softly, tilting his head, and Graves felt his cock twitch. His concerns about whether or not he would be able to experience arousal under these circumstances had clearly been misplaced. Credence kissed at the end of his cock, hollowing his cheeks as he slid down Graves’ length, licking at the tip as he pulled back up.
If he didn’t look at Grindelwald he could almost imagine that they were somewhere else, that Credence was doing it because he wanted to. He was enthusiastic, but more than that, he seemed to be basking in the gentle contact of Graves’ legs around him. Graves thought, and realised with a sense of horror that Credence rarely got touched. All of Grindelwald’s followers saw him being beaten, and Grindelwald gripped his arms and throat when he used him for pleasure. But for much of the time, Credence sat around naked but untouched, a pretty plaything on show to the world. Humans needed contact, he was sure of that. He had suffered from the lack of it before Grindelwald had taken his place, maintaining a distance at his own cost. Credence was desperate for some kind of affection, and Graves could try to give him that, even as he despoiled the poor man.
Credence bobbed his head, moaning softly around Graves’ length, and Graves gently stroked his fingers through Credence’s hair. He felt guilt for the pleasure that was building in his stomach, but he couldn’t avoid the sensations. Credence was skilled at this, and no wonder. He tried not to think of that, to focus instead on how Credence looked, submissive with his lips stretched wide.
“Oh…” He moaned, trying not to make too many noises. “That feels good.” He closed his eyes, stroking one finger down behind Credence’s ear, making the man moan softly around his cock.
“You don’t need to treat him like a doll. He can take a lot more than that and not break.” Grindelwald instructed, and Graves followed his advice. He didn’t like it, but the alternative would be disobeying Grindelwald and getting killed for it. Credence swallowed, not gagging even as Graves’ cock hit the back of his throat. Graves felt a wave of nausea through the pleasure at how easily Credence seemed to take it. He was used to it. Grindelwald had taken everything from him, even his name. This was just another form of harm for him. Another humiliation for the dark wizard’s captive obscurial.
Credence let Graves use his mouth. Graves fucked into it, concentrating on the pleasure that he felt at that moment. If he didn’t think about where they were or what was happening, he would be able to do this. It felt incredible, Credence’s mouth hot and wet around him. Credence let him slam back into his throat, and he held Credence’s head still. He tangled his fingers through Credence’s hair, thrusting into his mouth.
Graves looked up from the boy, to meet Grindelwald’s eyes. Grindelwald nodded, and Credence’s tongue brushed over the vein at the bottom of Graves’ cock. Climax swept through him, and he held Credence’s head in place, gently massaging Credence’s throat until Credence swallowed it all down.
“Good…” Graves whispered, his voice shaking a little. “Thank you boy…”
“He’s good isn’t he?”
Graves nodded, anger boiling in his blood as pleasure receded. He had already done a lot for the dark wizard, but somehow this felt worse. This had been for pleasure, and he couldn’t deny that he had enjoyed it as evidence of his pleasure was still visible on credence’s lips.
“Of course…” Grindelwald continued after a moment. “It isn’t the first time he’s sucked your cock.”
“What?” Graves frowned, and Grindelwald chuckled.
“I first had him when I was borrowing your form, and he’s still eager for it. Sometimes he gets a special treat. Like now…” Grindelwald transformed his appearance in front of Graves, and Graves shuddered as his own eyes watched him coldly.
“Leave.” Grindelwald demanded, clicking his fingers. Credence pulled away from Graves, and crawled to his master, nuzzling at his crotch. Graves shuddered and walked away, going to shower. He needed to get clean. He could still feel his shame, standing under the hot water. He had used Credence, and he had enjoyed it. Just as Grindelwald had, and now Grindelwald was using the boy wearing his face.
That was a sickening thought, made worse by the idea that his form could be some kind of treat for Credence. That for some reason, Credence had associated him with a good experience, or at least less pain than Grindelwald normally bestowed upon him.
The real concern though was that to get Credence alone, he might have to do it again.
For the next couple of days, Percival did what he could to avoid Credence. He couldn't face seeing him, having to face what it was that he had done. He had enjoyed taking Credence's mouth, and he knew was afraid of having to meet Credence's eyes again, of the other man realising how much he had enjoyed it. He didn't think he deserved to see him, not after what he had put the boy through.
He sighed a little, staring down at the reports on his desk. Illegal trading was happening in the north of the city, and that at least he was easy for him to work with. It was the kind of work he would have done in his old job. The kind of work that he could do to stop the bad guys, and not end up feeling like a collaborator. These jobs were few and far between these days.
He worked on the reports for a couple of hours before he went to find himself some coffee. He wanted the drink to be able to focus, and stumbled along the corridor without paying any particular attention to what was happening around him. He only realised his mistake when someone grabbed him, shoving him into what appeared to be a supply closet.
"Credence?" He asked, shocked by the man in front of him. Credence blinked at the name, and smiled sadly. The room wasn't big enough for the two of them, and they were pressed up together, Credence's thin arms bracketing Percival's shoulders.
"Sorry." He whispered, cringing a little and looking down. "I'm sorry." Credence shook his head. "I know I shouldn't be doing this-" He swallowed and shook his head. "But I... you have been avoiding me, and-"
"What are you doing out?"
"He sent me to fetch him some water." Credence admitted, ducking his head and shivering. "I'm sorry. I just... I needed.. I needed to see you. I know you're angry with me."
"You were ..." Percival sighed. "I was avoiding you. I was angry with myself, not with you."
Credence leaned in and kissed him softly, before pulling away. Percival hated himself for kissing him back.
"I'll see you soon?" He asked, and there was a sense of desperation in his voice which startled him. Percival could tell that Credence was desperate, and he nodded quickly.
"You will. Now go, he'll realise that you are missing."
Credence slipped out of the room, leaving Percival alone. He closed his eyes, and counted slowly in his head. He heard nothing outside, and cautiously he emerged. The corridor was empty. He went to fetch his coffee, and then continued to get on with his paperwork.
That evening, he slipped back to the bakery, walking through to the back room and finding the case. He knocked, and then climbed down the ladder, finding himself face to face with Newt's wand.
"Hello." He murmured, holding out a collection of jewellery and screws. "I bring tribute for your niffler."
Newt relaxed a little and took the offering, dropping the shiny objects to the floor. The young magizoologist was the only visible person, the rest of the resisting wizards hiding deeper in the case.
"I've told you, I won't let him find where you are. But I need your help."
"What about?" Newt asked, and he looked concerned. Percival could understand that wariness - Newt worried about the beasts and creatures he adored.
"I want to know if there's any way to remove an obscurus without killing the host."
"Credence?" Newt whispered, and Percival nodded. "I don't know. Right now, I honestly don't know if it's possible, but I am going to do what I can to find out. I'll research. Do you have any news on Tina?"
"Her leg is healing up well." Percival reassured him. "Queenie sees her most days. How are things here?"
"We're alright." Newt answered. "I'll get to work to see if I can do something about the obscurus. Go."
Percival clambered back out of the ladder and heading up to the bakery, nodding at the No-Maj and making his way back to his apartment. He lay down on the bed, trying to push the thoughts of Credence from his mind. He could still picture the way the young man had kissed him in the cupboard, remembered the sensation of Credence's mouth around him.
He lay in bed, feeling his body growing hard. He moved to stroke himself, picturing Credence in front of him. In his mind though, he was picturing Credence as willing, imagining coaxing soft breathless moans from him. They were in the bed. It was foolish, he was too old to indulge in such fantasies, but just for tonight he could allow it. He moaned out Credence's name as he climaxed, wiping himself down with a wandless spell.
He panted slightly, trying to remind himself that Credence was part of the plan. That Grindelwald had used a mirror of Percival's body to rape the man. That his own feelings couldn't get in the way of what was important. His priority was killing Grindelwald and freeing Picquery, and if Credence got caught in the crossfire he would have to allow it.
He was just putting the final touches to his latest report, summarizing the smuggling operation that he had broken up when there was a knock on his office door.
Queenie walked in, holding out a cup of coffee. Her hands were shaking a little, and she put the coffee down slightly too hard. Only with a quick wave of his hand was he able to stop the cup from breaking.
"Anything wrong Goldstein?" He asked. He was aware that his room was probably being spied on, that Grindelwald could hear everything that was said.
"No sir." Queenie answered, then glanced at the cup. "Let me know if you need another drink."
"Of course. You may leave." He told her, and she walked away. Percival waited a moment before lifting the cup, and found a small note beneath it.
'Picquery needs medical assistance.'
Percival thought of the curses he had inflicted upon her, the way he had tortured her on Grindelwald's orders. He couldn't allow her to die. He would have to go and see Grindelwald. He destroyed the note.
He made his way along to Grindelwald's throne room. He knocked on the door.
"Come in." Grindelwald's voice called, and he stepped inside. His eyes were drawn for a moment to Credence kneeling beside Grindelwald, naked aside from the collar once more. But he tore his gaze away, looking instead at the dark wizard.
(Thanks everyone who has bookmarked and left kudos! If you're enjoying this (or there's anything you think I can improve on!) please comment!)
(Sorry for the huge delay, real life ate me, am back now and should be updating more frequently)
“What is it?” Grindelwald asked, his attention on the naked man at his side. He didn’t even bother looking at Percival. They both knew that Percival wasn’t a threat at this moment.
“I hear that Picquery is ill.” Percival answered, trying not to look at Credence. Grindelwald had attached a leash to Credence’s collar, his fingers wrapped around the end of it.
“So?” Grindelwald snorted. “That woman and all she stood for are history now.” He pulled on the leash a little, guiding Credence closer. Credence followed him, letting Grindelwald guide his head into the man’s crotch. Percival tried to ignore the way that Credence obeyed unflinchingly. He couldn’t see the boy he had caught glimpses of before in the kneeling man. Grindelwald had taken that from him.
“She might still have her uses. There are things that she might know which we haven’t interrogated her about yet....” Percival answered, considering his options. He braced himself for what he was going to say, only too aware that what he was about to say could cost him his oldest friend. “And anyway, it seems pointless to let her die from illness when you could make a real example of her.”
Grindelwald waved a hand grandly, signalling for him to continue. Percival pushed the anger and fear he felt deeper into his mind and then smiled a little.
“Execute her perhaps. Not now, with timing, to prove that you have won. Make a spectacle. Show the rest of the world who you are.”
“Alright.” Grindelwald nodded. “Get one of the healers to look after her.” He dismissed Percival with a nod. Percival headed to find a healer, wanting to find one he could trust to take care of Picquery. Several of the best healers had lost their jobs under the new regime, and a couple had been executed. Others had fled to fight against Grindelwald from the outside. But there were a couple of talented individuals who had stayed, clinging to their oath to help every person who required it, regardless of their political allegiance.
It was to one of those, a young woman from Montana, who he told to deal with Picquery. He snapped the order at her, explaining that Grindelwald didn’t want her to die yet. The woman glared at him, defiant for a moment before hurrying away, her head bowed. Percival wondered how many people he had once worked beside who now saw him as a traitor. He wasn’t sure if he was one. It didn’t matter though, not if he was able to win Grindelwald’s trust completely. His own reputation was nothing in comparison to the survival of Picquery or Grindelwald’s fall. Letting himself think otherwise was a weakness that he could no longer afford to have.
The next time Queenie walked into his office with a coffee she smiled brightly.
“Here you go sir.”
“Thank you Goldstein.” He replied softly, eyes catching her quickly flashing a thumbs up at him. For now at least then, Picquery had survived. It wasn’t as much of a relief as he had hoped because he feared he would have saved her merely to see Grindelwald execute her. She would rather have died from illness than for Grindelwald’s sick entertainment.
He sipped his coffee, telling himself that he had made the right choices. It wasn’t an easy situation to be in, and he couldn’t always get it right, but he was willing to try. If he could get into Grindelwald’s inner circle, he could try and find the man’s weaknesses.
Grindelwald was not putting as much effort into conquering the world as he had feared. He was strengthening his control of America first of all. Enslaving the No Majs, executing those who went against him, and taking control. He sighed a little, searching through his paperwork. He divided it quickly into two parts – those that were the kind of work he had done before, to protect wizards and stop illegal activity, and those that were to advance Grindelwald’s cause. It was sickening to see how much larger the second pile was than the first.
He rubbed at his forehead, trying to decide what he would need to do most urgently. He didn’t want to cause more deaths. But fighting Grindelwald now would lead to his own imprisonment or death, and those who were hiding in the bakery might be discovered. He couldn’t believe that he would be able to resist Grindelwald’s torture for long, and if he cracked he could give up those who were depending on him holding strong.
Another sip of coffee, and he heard footsteps in the corridor outside. He tensed a little, reaching for his wand.
Credence slipped inside, the leash gone but collar still present around his throat. He was otherwise naked, and approached cautiously, glancing around.
“You… you saved her, didn’t you?” Credence asked him, his voice little more than a whisper. Percival shook his head, but Credence was smiling at him. He reached out towards Percival’s coffee curiously.
“Of course.” Percival passed the drink over, watching as Credence gulped it down before shrugging.
“Gets rid of the taste.” Credence murmured, walking around the desk.
He walked shyly, his shoulders curled in on themselves still, but he wasn’t ashamed of his nakedness. Grindelwald’s treatment had ensured that at least. He leaned in and whispered in his ear.
“Tina told me before that you were a good man.”
“You shouldn’t believe everything you hear…” Percival murmured softly in return, brushing his fingers through Credence’s hair, feeling his thin body trembling. He could tell that Credence was starving for tenderness, needed even the smallest amount of affection, and he felt himself driven to provide it. He leaned in and kissed Credence softly, just for a moment, tasting coffee on his lips.
“I don’t.” Credence answered. “I wouldn’t have survived if I believed everything I was told. But this? This I believe…” He swallowed, and reached for Percival’s hand. “He thinks that you are fond of me. We… We can use this.”
“It’s a dangerous game you’re playing.” Percival warned, reluctance bubbling inside of him. Every day he was playing dice with people’s lives, but he wanted to protect Credence somehow. The obscurial had been through enough. He might have to risk Credence’s life to destroy Grindelwald, but this was different.
Credence smiled softly at his warning.
“But it brings you closer to me.” He murmured, and kissed back. The kiss was passionate, deep, and Percival felt his heart racing. “I…I had better go…” Credence mumbled, shivering still and seeming reluctant to pull away. After a moment though he did leave, glancing back over his shoulder as he reached the door. “Sweet dreams.” The smile on Credence’s face as he said it made Percival moan, sure that his own feelings were mirrored by Credence’s own.
For the next few weeks Percival lived on a knife's edge, waiting to be discovered, for his secret to be revealed and for the axe to inevitably fall. But at the same time, he made the most of the moments he was offered. There were times when Credence would manage to corner him in a corridor, or while he was at his desk, and Credence would lean his naked body against Percival's. Percival had kissed him a dozen times, in hidden corners of MACUSA They hadn't gone further than that, every touch a risk. Grindelwald was watching.
Percival couldn't visit the bakery too often, couldn't visit the prisoners at all, but Queenie gave him no cause to worry. Credence would watch him in meetings. When Grindelwald offered Credence's mouth to his highest ranking generals, Percival would shrug - knowing that accepting or refusing would draw further scrutiny.
The current meeting, about an attempted coup on the East Coast, had been droning on for the best part of an hour. Credence had worked his way around most of those present, and was now knelt between Percival's legs, his mouth hard at work. Percival stroked his fingers through the long dark hair, trying to provide the contact that Credence needed as he bracketed him between his legs.
"We caught them." Grindelwald said, standing and waving his hand to silence the man who was making a report. "What matters is that auror Langarm has been apprehended and injured. We will execute them in the meeting tomorrow, does that sound appropriate Graves?"
"I believe so. Are you going to do it publicly?" Percival managed to sound disinterested, even as his mind filled with images of the young No-Maj born auror.
"In front of a select audience." Grindelwald answered. "And anyway, I won't be the one to kill him, you will..."
Percival was able to hide his gasp at that revelation as a moan, and he wished he could push Credence away and focus on what was being said. Langarm was young, but he was a good auror. A fighter. He was married - to another auror who hadn't survived the initial attack. He could only hope he would find a way to save him.
"The rest of you can leave. Graves will remain until the moonflower is finished-"
Graves heard the others leave, his eyes closed as he focused on the burst of pleasure within him, wondering if he was somehow doing this wrong. There were no guidelines for this situation, no training which could have prepared him. He still as certain he was doing it wrong. He felt his climax build despite himself, and spilled into Credence's throat. He went to stand, not looking back - showing tenderness was putting Credence's life at risk.
"Wait." Grindelwald ordered. "I still need to speak to you."
Reluctantly, Percival lowered himself back down, his mind racing with the secrets that he was keeping. He shuddered as the man opposite him changed his features, his face hollowing until it was Credence's own eyes that gazed back at him, followed a moment later by Percival's, and then Grindelwald's own once more. Percival kept watching impassively. It wouldn't do to be seen as panicking - Grindelwald was a paranoid man. Panic could get Percival killed.
"He hasn't been behaving recently." Grindelwald pointed towards Credence. "Even if I wear your face to fuck him. So you're going to do me a favour and punish him."
"What?" Percival asked, trying to breathe calmly, not to let the terror show in his eyes. It must have worked because Grindelwald didn't look overly concerned.
"I know you wanted him. You asked for him. So far you’ve only got his mouth, but that changes now. You are going to fuck him in front of all my friends at the meeting tomorrow. After you've killed Langarm. In front of representatives from the New York Ghost, and several well respected European families, you are going to bend the moonflower over the conference desk and fuck him just like you’ve been dreaming of. Put him back in his place." Grindelwald smirked. "How does that sound?"
"Good." Percival lied. He didn't want to be seen as acting suspiciously, despite the vomit and bile which crawled inside his throat. He doubted he sounded very convincing.
"I thought you might like it." Grindelwald agreed after a moment. "And I think you can probably put him back into line. But just in case you can't-" His attention turned to the man on the floor and he flicked his wand towards him.
The scream that escaped from Credence was pitiful, but Grindelwald paid it no mind, allowing the spell to continue for almost a minute before calling it off. As Credence lay there gasping for air, Grindelwald turned to Percival.
"You haven't been leading him on have you? Misleading him about what you feel?"
"No sir." Percival answered, using the tip of his toe to push Credence's shaking body away, then rubbing at his arm with a boot as that was the only part of him that could get into contact.
"And I can trust you to be practical, Director?"
"Always." Percival answered, reminding himself that the focus was getting the others out of the cells. Credence was just a casualty of what would happen, but it was still sickening. Percival wished he could take Credence back to his room, clean his wounds and let him rest.
Instead, he returned back to his room alone, the sound of Credence’s screams following him down the corridor.
Please heed all the warnings. Sorry for the delay, this scene was an absolute bastard to write.
Auror Langarm, due to be executed in the meeting, was Percival’s main concern. A young man, a promising auror with no-maj parents, Percival didn’t want to lose him. Didn’t want him to be killed at the end of Percival’s wand. The fact he was expected to rape Credence was more minor. It sickened him, but if he could save Langarm it would be an acceptable cost. He reminded himself of this, even though he felt sick. He stared down at his wand, feeling sick, trying to work out how he had got to this point.
He was afraid of killing Langarm, and he wondered if that was something they could use. A boggart perhaps, or some other creature. He considered his options. There had to be some way he could get through this encounter without Langarm needing to die.
He heard a knock on his office door and smiled as it opened, then paused when he saw the dampness in Queenie's eyes. His first thought was that something terrible had happened to Seraphina. If that was the case, then all of this would be hopeless and his opportunity of fighting back was damaged if not lost.
"What's wrong?" He asked her softly, aware that it might be overheard, but needing to know.
"It's Cerberus Langarm sir." She answered, her head down. "He's hurt real bad. I think if I could get him to a healer for a few weeks he might get better, but otherwise, I don't think he's gonna make it..." She sniffled, and Percival wondered how much of her actions were a show for the camera, and how much was her own sadness. His heart sunk at that. Even if he could spare Langarm, there was no way he could get him to healers. The man's fate was sealed and the best that he could do now was make it quick.
He stood up and embraced Queenie, rubbing her back, and leaned in close enough that he could whisper into her ear.
"Tell him I'm sorry."
"He said he forgives you." She murmured in reply, before walking away, leaving Percival to his thoughts.
Despite his reluctance, Percival made himself sleep that night. Being tired would achieve nothing other than making the situation more difficult for him the next day. Tossing and turning wouldn't save Langarm, wouldn't spare Credence. His own guilt meant nothing. He had promised Grindelwald that he would be practical, and he intended to stick to that promise now. He would do what had to be done.
He slept, and woke with a sense of resentment like a cannonball lodged in his gut. He dressed, pulling on the same clothes he had worn when he had worked for MACUSA, the same clothes that Grindelwald had worn when he impersonated Percival himself, and headed down to the Pentagram office.
Walking in was like facing a dark parody of the International Confederation of Wizards. A number of faces he recognised from wanted posters and auror reports glared down at him, as did people from Europe. There was the light blond hair that meant the Malfoys were in attendance, and beside them the Lestranges, the Blacks. Prominent families. A cameraman from the Ghost was there, as was one of the reporters who had interviewed Percival before. There was a desk, where a figure sat chained. Even from behind it was clear the man was badly injured. Langarm hung limply in his restraints, his body slack, one leg bent out at an unnatural angle. Percival walked around him, trying not to see the injuries across his body.
"Good of you to join us Director." Grindelwald called out imperiously from his seat, watching the proceedings from the center, the focus of the action. Beside him knelt Credence, naked. His back was bloody and his head was bowed, arms shaking visibly even from the distance that Percival was from him. Percival tried not to see. Seeing would help no one.
"Now, this auror tried to stop us." Grindelwald spoke to the floor at large, before flicking a crucio at Langarm. The man screamed in pain, his body starting to convulse, and Percival walked closer. "What shall we do with him?"
The screams of "Kill him" echoed around the room, and fell silent in a moment when Grindelwald raised his hand.
"What do you think Director?"
"I think that we need to set an example. Kill those who stand in our way." Percival answered, staring at Langarm. There was no-one here to assist, no one to save him, no friendly face to watch his passing. Only the click of the reporter's camera, and the hungry eyes of the watching monsters.
"Do it." Grindelwald demanded and Percival raised his wand, pointing it straight at Langarm's heart.
"Avada Kedavra!" Percival spat, seeing the green lightning flow from the tip of his wand to Langarm's chest For a moment he tensed, before he flopped forwards onto the desk, life extinguished.
The audience were whooping and hollering their delight, and several were laughing. Percival suspected that they were laughing at him as much as at poor Langarm, but he couldn't be certain. He was surviving. But it came at a cost greater than he would have imagined.
"Well done Director. I do hope you weren't close."
"Only in the past. He couldn't adapt. He needed to die." Percival answered, trying to ignore the sickness that swirled in his gut, the body of one of his fine aurors laying sprawled on the ground before him. His answer was met with more laughter and more clapping and cheering. Grindelwald smirked, standing for a moment, and all attention turned to him.
"I think our director has done well." He began, and was met with cheering and laughter. He let the words hang in the air for a few minutes before he smirked. "And good behaviour deserves a reward." He clicked his hand, and the chains binding Credence released. He pushed him forwards, and Credence began to crawl forwards, his limbs shaking so badly that he threatened at any moment to fall forwards.
The camera continued to click.
"The Moonflower here has a special fondness for the director. Always waits as long as possible before he sucks the director's dick. And he's been playing up recently So now the director gets a reward, and the Moonflower learns what happens if he misbehaves." Grindelwald continued to talk. "Director, fuck him over the table. Put him in his place."
"What do I do about-" Percival gestured to the dead body, words failing him.
"Just work around it." Grindelwald said calmly. Percival fought down the bile in his throat, and focused instead on Credence. He had dreamed about Credence the past few days. But this was real, and it was unwelcome.
Credence reached Percival's feet, and knelt up, reaching for his pants, nuzzling him through the fabric before undoing it, taking Percival's cock into his throat, sucking on it. Percival ran his fingers through the dark hair, trying to make the gesture soothing but to look as though he were tugging. After a few moments, he pulled Credence away, shoving him onto the table, as far from Langarm's body as he could. He thrust into Credence, feeling the heat of the boy's body. Credence cried out in pain and Percival tried not to hear as he began to rock his hips, focusing on the fact that doing this would keep Credence alive. It was meant to appear a punishment, and judging by the laughter of the people around it was succeeding. He wasn't entirely sure who it was that was being punished, but he lacked the strength to argue. Instead he focused on his movements, on fucking into Credence.
Credence was rocking back against him, even as soft pained noises escaped his lips and Percival closed his eyes to block out the rest of the world, focusing only on the two of them and the sensation of Credence's body around his own. It seemed to work, his arousal continuing, and he imagined that they were in bed, that he had been able to take it slowly and treat Credence the way he deserved. He imagined Credence climaxing, moaning Percival's name, and that thought was enough to make him climax inside Credence. He pulled out, and nearly knocked into the photographer who was snapping away at the mess that had been left and which now trickled down Credence's thighs.
He heard clapping, and looked up to see Grindelwald smirking down on him, an amused look on his face.
"I'm impressed Director. Now, you've asked for him before. Do you want him still?"
"I do." Percival answered after a moment. It could still be a trap, but for the sake of both of them he had to hope that it wasn't.
"You can take him to your bed for tonight. But I will see you in the morning, and I want him there then."
"Thank you sir." Percival answered, trying to ignore the anger and sickness within his chest as he gripped Credence's hair, feigning pulling him towards the door, as Credence scrabbled along on his hands and knees beside him. He was still shaking, and looked close to collapse.
"You can make as much a mess of him as you want." Grindelwald called out. "Hurt him. Have your fun in whatever way you'd like, and maybe it will mean he learns a little more about how to behave in future."
They reached the door, and Percival glanced back over his shoulder, smiling at the man even as he felt sick.
"As you wish sir." He pushed open the door, and allowed Credence to crawl through. He was startled by quite how close Credence seemed to collapse. The applause started up again as he reached down to grope Credence. It was adding another humiliation, but it might just save both of their lives. He stepped out.
The door swung closed, but not before Percival heard laughter.
Credence slumped slightly against the wall, his head down. He was shivering all over, the cuts in his back opened by Percival's actions. Percival made himself focus. Made himself concentrate, and didn't allow himself to think of the body of the auror he had left behind. One day he would be able to mourn him, add his name to the list of those who had died in the line of duty. But today was not that day. For now his focus had to be on the survival of himself and those around him. Credence was still the obscurial, despite everything. He still had powers that would make most amazed, and Grindelwald allowed him close without questioning it, without worrying. He was confident in his own abilities, and that made him weak.
Percival reached down and rested a hand on Credence's back, casting a simple healing spell without speaking. It wouldn't stop the pain completely, but it would ease it enough for him to carry on, for the two of them to make it back to Percival's quarters. He didn't aid Credence further. He wanted to, but doing so would be too potentially dangerous. Showing Credence sympathy could get him punished further, could get both of them punished. He walked slowly though, so that Credence could keep up with him. It wasn't much, but it was the limit of what he could do. When they got to the door of MACUSA he nodded.
"You can walk while we're on the street." He cast a charm over the boy to hide him from No Maj eyes as he walked along naked.
Percival had rooms not far from the base, along with a transfigurable bed in the office. They were where he had been held prisoner, and he hated the reminder of what it had been like, but he walked inside anyway. Once Credence followed he closed the door with a wave of his hand, and crouched down beside him, sensing that the wards were still in place. That no-one had been inside since he had left it.
"Do you want a bath?" He asked Credence. Credence nodded slightly, shivering. Percival stood, guiding Credence to his feet and pulling him to his chest, gently stroking his fingers through Credence's hair. "You did well." He whispered to him, trying to calm him, to give him the comfort and reassurance that he needed. "You can relax now. You got through it." He went to pour a bath, and laid Credence in the warm water, then stepped away.
Credence reached out, gripping his hand and holding on to him for a moment.
"Please don't leave." He whispered. "I don't want... I don't want to be alone."
"You don't have to be alone." Percival promised. "I'm not going to leave you." He sighed, and sat down on the edge of the bath, starting to wash Credence's hair. "You don't need to be afraid." He murmured softly. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" Credence frowned. "Why are you apologising?"
"Because I raped you." Percival's voice was quiet, and shame shone in his eyes.
"You... you can't blame yourself for that." Credence murmured. "He told you to. And you...." Credence twisted, leaning up to kiss him. "I know they took photographs. But what those images show isn't... isn't what happened. You didn't want to... it wasn't..." Words failed him, and Credence's lips were soft against his own.
"I'm sorry about your friend." Credence whispered. "He was brave."
"He was." Percival agreed, and the two of them lapsed into silence. Percival found that he had a lot to think about.
Credence leaned into the gentle touch as Percival stroked his hair, cleaning him and wrapping him in a towel. "You can borrow a pair of my pyjamas." Percival said softly, fetching a pair and then handing them to Credence. Credence shivered a little as he pulled them on. Percival walked him to the bedroom.
"I can sleep on the sofa." He said simply, accepting his place. Credence frowned and shook his head.
"Don't go." He whispered. "I get... when I'm on my own, I have nightmares... let me just... just for one night..."
Percival sighed, but he knew he couldn't deny the boy anything. He wrapped his arms around him, gently stroking hands across Credence's arms. The boy shivered, leaning into his touch. He liked being held, felt safer in Percival's arms, and Percival wasn't enough of a monster to turn him away.
No words passed between them for a little while, and Percival thought that the boy had fallen asleep. He shifted a little, planning to fetch a glass of water, when Credence spoke.
"Why are you being nice to me?"
"Because you are a person. No one deserves to be treated the way you are." Percival said. It wasn't a good answer. Credence deserved a proper response, but there was none more that he could give, other than the truth. It took him a few moments to decide that Credence deserved that truth.
"Grindelwald is a monster. His treatment of No-Majs alone would earn him execution, let alone... he kills those he dislikes without any consideration of due process or what is right. He tortures you. He keeps the people he hates in prison to torture them for his own amusement and he... he cannot be allowed to get away with this."
"No." Credence agreed. "So what's your plan?"
"Who says I have a plan?" Percival asked, pressing another kiss to Credence's lips. Credence smiled up at him.
"I do. Because you aren't the kind of person who doesn't have a plan."
Percival shook his head, and considered.
"Do you want to escape from him?"
"More than anything." Credence whispered. Percival nodded, and reached to squeeze his hand.
"It'll be dangerous. What I'm going to ask of you will put you in danger, do you understand?"
"Living... living puts me in danger." Credence answered. "And anyway, this is no real life. What you offer is a chance." He looked up at Percival's eyes. "I want to be free of him. What do you need me to do?" He blinked back tears, burrowing into Percival's side. Percival kept up the gentle touches.
"Do you know his plans for Seraphina?"
The boy shook his head, and Percival frowned.
"The President, Picquery?"
Credence nodded. "Next meeting, he's going to have you execute her... they think that I don't... that I don't listen. But I do."
Percival nodded. He felt sick. Grindelwald really did mean to destroy him utterly - killing one of his aurors had been painful enough. But killing his closest friend, America's best hope - even the thought was monstrous. He tried to push those thoughts away.
"Do you have control over your obscurus form?"
"A little. Why?"
"Because I'm going to need you to create a distraction..." Percival explained, tucking a blanket around Credence. He could only hope that either they succeeded, or they both died, because he didn't want to imagine how Grindelwald would respond to the treachery that the two of them were planning. Credence listened to his explanation, finally falling asleep clinging to Percival's chest. Percival rubbed his back, trying not to think of the potential cost of what he was asking him. He was meant to be being practical. If he had to sacrifice Credence, it would be worth it.
He pressed a kiss to Credence's forehead, whispering a silent prayer that he wouldn't have to throw Credence's life away. In his sleep, Credence whimpered and curled closer.
Returning Credence to Grindelwald was sickening. The boy whimpered when he was woken, clinging closer to Percival for a moment and sniffling against his shirt.
"I'll come back to you." Percival promised, "you can do this.” He tried to reassure him with gentle lies: "it's just a few more days". The words slowly provided a little comfort, if not enough, but Credence settled for long enough to be brought back. Percival smirked and handed him over to Grindelwald, and walked away without looking back.
He didn't think he could face the look in Credence's eyes as he abandoned him.
For the next couple of weeks, Percival played the part of the devoted follower, fulfilling Grindelwald's every whim. He brought him the results that he longed for, and never paid more attention to Credence than any of Grindelwald's other followers did, the only difference being that if Credence was servicing him in a meeting he would run his hands through the boy's hair, holding him gently against his thigh and trying to allow him to feel safe, at least for a little while. It wasn't much, but there was nothing more available for him.
His trips to the bakery continued when he could, and Queenie brought pastries with embedded notes on the days when he couldn't get there himself. He had let himself down into Newt's case, survived the normal round of interrogations, and then turned to the British magizoologist.
"It'll be soon."
Newt nodded, his hand resting on the nundu's head, holding her back from attacking him.
"We will be ready."
Percival had to trust in that. He had no idea how many wizards and witches were gathered in the case, or what Newt's plan of attack was. It was safer that way, for all of them. All he knew was that he needed to create a distraction for them to arrive. He reached out and shook Newt's hand.
"It's been an honour." Newt said softly. Percival nodded.
"Thank you. I hope, next time we speak it's as free men."
He climbed from the case, nervous as always of having been discovered, but the back room was empty as he squeezed himself out from bags of flour, casting a quick scourgify on himself as he stepped back out into the street.
The No-Majs stepped aside, giving him room as he walked along, his cloak flowing out behind him. He hoped that one day soon he would be able to wear the clothes he chose, rather than those that Grindelwald demanded. Forcing wizards and witches to be identifiable as exactly that was just one more way for that man to exercise his power over them all.
Even when they won, and Grindelwald was removed, the world would need rebuilding. There was no easy way to go back to the situation that had existed before, no way to hide in the shadows. But such concerns weren't Percival's issue. He had never been the thinking type. He was Picquery's attack dog and proud to be it, targetting anyone who stood in the way of her rule. She was fair and intelligent, and could play the game far better than Grindelwald.
Percival needed Picquery. America needed her. The entire world needed her, if he was honest with himself, and yet he was going to be asked to execute her. So he had to get this right.
Credence seemed to be avoiding him - ducking away from him in corridors and lowering his head if he caught sight of him. Percival hoped the boy was just sticking to the plan they had agreed on, feared that he was regretting what had happened. Either way, Percival knew he could never fix what he had done. Or what he was putting Credence through now - the boy had gained a bruise across his face, and a cut lip. He was looking paler than before, and cringed more visibly.
He watched as Grindelwald extended one long hand, stroking the fingertips through Credence's hair. Credence whimpered around Grindelwald's cock, his shoulders tensing. He didn't let himself think about it. If he did, he'd only worry for Credence, and the plan left no space for kindness.
"You must have had quite some fun with the Moonflower here..." Grindelwald's fingers traced the harsh leather collar that rested at Credence's throat. "He hasn't been the same since I got him back. I think that after your little show last time, you can do the same in my meeting tomorrow. Several of my most important friends will be there."
"As you wish." Graves agreed, bowing his head respectfully. He managed to smile.
"Oh, and Graves?" Grindelwald continued. "I'm going to have you kill Picquery. We can't let her be a symbol for any potential rebellion."
"As you wish." Graves repeated, his face emotionless. Had he not been warned of this plan already by Credence, he would have been unable to hide his surprise. As it was, he could take the news impassively.
Grindelwald looked down at him, scrutinizing. He was clearly pleased with whatever it was he saw, as after a few moments he nodded.
Graves nodded and walked away, raising a hand to his forehead and rubbing slightly as he passed outside of Grindelwald's site. He felt the first dangerous stirrings of hope bubbling up within him.
When Grindelwald called him into the Pentagram room, Percival was ready. The room was filled to the brim with a number of different wizards, with several of Europe's finest families in attendance. They looked down at him as he made his way forwards, bowing before Grindelwald before allowing himself a moment to glance around the crowd. Queenie Goldstein was there, and a few others from what MACUSA had once been. They stood uncomfortably around the edges of the central court, shifting from side to side. They were the ones low enough in the rankings to keep their position when Grindelwald took over, but who hated what he had done. He saw a hint of a brown suitcase at Goldstein's feet, but didn't let his gaze linger. To see that would be to feel like victory was in his grasp, and he couldn't let himself get distracted.
"Good of you to join us Graves." Grindelwald called out, and Graves stood to attention, head held high. He didn't let himself see Credence kneeling at Grindelwald's feet, his back bloody and face bruised.
"A pleasure to be here sir."
"I thought you could give us a little show, before the main event-" Grindelwald pointed to the audience, and Graves followed the direction to see Picquery was standing in the middle of the crowd. Her skin was almost grey, one eye swollen closed. She was mottled with bruises and damp with sweat, swaying slightly. Her head was held high and she gazed out resolutely. Graves glanced away before he could react, worried what he would do if he let himself see her.
"So. A show." Grindelwald demanded, and Credence crawled forwards, nearly slumping to the floor. He made his way towards Percival. "It's only right that the queen sees what has become of the man she once trusted. One last memory before you kill her."
Percival nodded, his hand on Credence's head when he reached him. He glanced up at Grindelwald.
"What do you want?"
"I want you to be rough with him." Grindelwald answered. "Put him in his place."
"As you wish." Graves answered, splaying the boy out on the floor and undoing his own pants. He whispered a quick spell to make it easier for Credence before he thrust in. There was laughter from the surrounding crowd.
Percival wrapped his arms around Credence's chest in an attempt to provide some comfort, while making it look like he was merely pulling the boy closer to him. Credence whimpered, then whispered.
"Will you still want me?"
The irony of the question sickened Percival - he wanted the boy now, but at the same time he was aware that Credence was in no position to agree to what was happening. Neither of them were. Still, there was only one answer he could give.
Credence nodded, and then took a deep breath. Black smoke started to pour from him, and the audience that had been whooping and laughing a few moments previously began to scream in terror. Credence slipped from beneath Percival, arching up into the air, his human form just visible beneath the smoke, hated collar still in place. The smoke dived down towards Grindelwald, picking him up into the air and then slamming him to the ground. There was a crack as his skull hit the marble floor. Then there was a loud roar, and the nundu sprang forwards, followed by a dozen witches and wizards casting spells. The audience Grindelwald had assembled tried to fight back, but the remains of MACUSA attacked, wands raised. Percival caught sight of Queenie firing a spell off at one of the British purebloods before he ran to Seraphina.
She smiled at him weakly.
"About time." She croaked, gazing up at him. "Get me out of here before I faint." Percival apparated to his own office, cradling Seraphina in his arms. He sat her down, and made sure the wards were raised so that only he could get in. Here at least she could collapse without being seen by MACUSA as a whole. They needed her to be strong, so that was what she would be.
"I'll be back soon." He promised, before returning to the fray.
Spells flew through the air in all directions, but he ignored most of them, able to block them without much thought. He looked around for Credence, finding him laying collapsed by Grindelwald's body. He raced towards him, falling to his knees, and checking him. His skin was cold and his eyes were glassy white, black lines criss-crossing his throat and chest. The obscurus swirled through him, and Percival tried to shelter him from the fight. In doing so, his face got close enough to Credence's mouth for him to feel the faint exhale of air slipping between his lips.
Credence was still breathing.
Percival's strongest instincts screamed at him to stay beside Credence, to guard the obscurial. But the fight was continuing. The case was opened in the middle of the room, and there were more in the fight now now - Americans in the clothes they had worn before Grindelwald's takeover. Those must have been the witches and wizards that had used Newt's case as a refuge.
There were more than he expected. They were still outnumbered by Grindelwald's supporters, but they were aided by a number of creatures. There were large snake-like creatures twisting their way through the crowd, a thunderbird repeatedly diving down from the ceiling to attack, and what looked worryingly like a nundu was menacing some of the British.
Percival rejoined the fight, his wand out. He fought with the lowest rungs of MACUSA, and with those who had tried to resist Grindelwald's rule and had spent months hiding in a No-Maj bakery. His aurors were still trapped in the cells, many injured. He saw some of the fighters fall, but he kept going, blocking spells. He had left the President in his office. He had to survive so he could get her out of it again. That drove him on, and he sent further spells racing across the crowd.
A witch next to him fell backwards to the ground, and one of the large snakes let out a screaming sound before it went still. There was blood, more than he would have expected. The ceiling of the pentagon room started to shake, and Percival realised with horror that one of Grindelwald's followers was attempting to take it down.
He threw up a larger barrier, looking around for a few of the stronger magic users.
"We have to get everyone out of here." He shouted. They began to apparate away, grabbing the hands or the arms of others and pulling them from the room. There were bodies lying on the floor, some moving, others still. Percival watched as some of those were taken, and then the first few chunks of ceiling dropped onto the waiting crowd below. A few shield charms floated upwards, blocking the weight for now, but it wouldn't hold.
The room was almost empty, the air thick with dust. He raced to Credence's unconscious form, gathering him into his arms. He grabbed Grindelwald's shoulder, apparating the corpse with him - it was unpleasant but he knew he might have to prove the man was dead. He went to the main lobby, where the others were, and it was clear that his side had won. Grindelwald's followers were laying in groups, their hands bound, with Newt's group standing guard.
There were eyes on him, some wands aimed at him. To some of those within MACUSA, he was the worst kind of traitor, selling out those who had tried to resist Grindelwald. Percival placed Credence down gently, then raised his hands in silent surrender.
"He's dead.” He announced, pointing at Grindelwald's body. "We won."
Newt walked across the foyer, his nundu pacing behind him. He reached out and shook Percival's hand.
"It's an honour to finally meet the real you, Director Graves." There was clapping and cheering. Percival glanced down to see that Queenie was sitting beside Credence, gently stroking her fingers through his hair.
"He'll live." She whispered. "Go, free my sister."
Percival selected a few of the more talented fighters to accompany him to MACUSA's cells. He was ready for traps, for there to be pockets of resistance to them. But Grindelwald's followers had packed the Pentagram Room. It was his own aurors now that were waiting for him, and as he walked forwards they began to applaud.
He allowed himself one moment to accept their appreciation before he focused. Several of the aurors were clearly severely wounded, and a few were lying broken in their cells - some bodies were unrecognisable.
"Healers are on their way." he told them, walking to each cell in turn. "MACUSA thanks you for your service." He said softly to each of them. He saw their injuries, the pain they had suffered while he had been Grindelwald's toy. He felt like he had betrayed them. "We will not abandon any of you." He swore to them.
"What about Madam President?" One of the older men called out. Percival hesitated for a moment before nodding.
"She survived. I'm going to take a healer to her now."
"Thank you." Goldstein whispered. Percival bowed, and headed up the stairs. He arranged for a few of the healers busy with the wounded to make their way to the cells, and held back one of the top healers, Louise Burdock.
"The President needs your assistance." He told the older woman. She paused for a moment and then nodded, and Percival led the way to the office.
Seraphina waved a hand in greeting. She looked even more exhausted than she had with Grindelwald, but she smiled.
"We back in control director?"
"Yes Madam President. Now, Healer Burdock is going to take care of you. I need to check on a few others, but I will return soon."
That explained, he made his way along the corridor, determined that he would find Credence.
Credence was where Percival had left him. The injured individuals were laid out beside the Salem Statue, with healers moving between them, doing what they could to save lives and limbs. Queenie Goldstein was sitting beside Credence, talking to him softly. The boy was shaking a little in her arms, skin pale. But his eyes looked how they should, and he wasn't bleeding. Newt was racing around, tending to both animals and humans. The aurors were making their way up from the cells, supporting each other. Percival went over to help them, doing what he could to make things easier for them, performing basic triage.
He heard Queenie Goldstein squeal, and she raced forwards, wrapping her arms around her sister. The auror leaned on her sister's shoulder, blinking back tears. Percival returned to Credence. It took a moment for Credence to look up at him.
"You said-" He whispered softly. "You said you'd still... still be with me."
"I will." Percival promised. "Are you alright?"
Credence nodded, reaching up with his hand to tug at the hated collar around his throat. The white flowers twirling across the leather made it look almost innocent, but Credence yelped, snatching his hand back from the leather against his throat. He swallowed and whimpered softly.
"It hurts." He whispered, his voice shaking a little. Percival nodded.
"I'll get my aurors to take another look, see what we can do. We'll find a way of freeing you." Percival promised, even though he knew that he couldn't be certain of it. Grindelwald was a skilled wizard. If he didn't want it to be physically possible for this collar to be removed, it wouldn't be. Credence would be trapped. "Will you be alright, if I go and check on a few of the others? I'll come back."
Credence hesitated for a moment, blinking uncertainly before he nodded once.
"Just come back, okay?"
"I'll come back." Percival promised.
He worked through the aurors, and then spoke to the healers, asking after the others. There were a lot of wounded, and some of the prisoners were injured as well.
"I am going to contact the British with the President's assistance." He informed his aurors. "And anyone else who might help."
"We won sir." One of the junior aurors, Marcon, murmured. He was malnourished and badly bruised, but he was fighting to stay on his feet.
"We did." Percival agreed. "And now the hard work starts." The young auror laughed slightly in response.
Graves had thought that serving Grindelwald, pretending to share his goals while working against him, had been difficult. He had been unprepared for the challenges he faced as he tried to rebuild the world that the dark wizard had reshaped.
Seraphina was holding up surprisingly well, giving press statements, arranging for meetings with the No-Maj politicians that still survived. The aurors were managing to keep control in the magical community, but the sudden collapse of Grindelwald's America had left panic in its wake.
War was in the air, and Percival tried to keep the No-Maj press from stirring up another conflict as MACUSA tried to rebuild. For the moment, MACUSA was weak, and that made them vulnerable.
He gazed down at the paperwork - a transcript of his last meeting with the president, and the papers he needed to fill in in order to enable what she wished for. They wanted to prove that life carried on. That Grindelwald hadn't torn down everything.
But he had.
Grindelwald's body had been photographed before being destroyed. The photographs had been shared with the No-Maj press, proof their oppressor had been vanquished. Percival found himself sympathising with the old No-Maj custom of hanging the bodies of traitors from the city gates. Rumours swirled that somehow the monster that had tried to take total control had survived. That he would be coming back.
Percival couldn't let himself listen to rumour, and wasn't involved in MACUSA's internal investigation, seeking out any remaining Grindelwald supporters. He knew that he had no right to do so, that he would be one of their suspects. He'd had enough of that infighting, and instead his main concern was trying to rebuild the country that had nearly been destroyed.
He rubbed a hand across his forehead, and almost jumped at a knock on the door. He looked up, opening his door with a wave of his hand to find Queenie Goldstein standing there, a cup of coffee in her hands.
"Yes Miss Goldstein?"
"Are you available for a few minutes?" She asked, and then raised her hand before he could make an excuse. "It's about Mister Barebone."
"I can spare a few minutes." Percival conceded, reaching out for the coffee. Goldstein handed it over, leading him along to a quiet corner of the wand permit office, where Credence was sitting.
The boy still looked unhealthily thin and pale, his eyes darting around the room before he relaxed a little to see Percival. Queenie seemed to have a knack with helping the boy relax, and therefore she had been caring for him, even teaching him the beginnings of magic. Queenie handed the boy a cup, and sipped one herself.
"Cocoa." She explained. "Now, you two need to have a little talk. Because both of you, you've been worrying yourself silly about things that ain't your fault."
Percival opened his mouth to argue, then saw Credence was nodding slightly, his hand resting on the thick leather around his throat.
"Credence, have they had any luck finding a way to get it off?"
"It would probably hurt quite a bit to have it removed." Credence said softly. "More of a concern is the fact that there are apparently quite a lot of scars there. Unhealable ones. So even if we get it off, it'll still be clear I'm..." Credence's voice drifted away into silence.
"What did you want to talk about?" Percival asked. Credence frowned a little, biting his lip before he answered. In the background, Queenie was fussing over one of the small snakes from Newt's case.
"Me." Credence started, then shook his head. "Us." He looked up, managing to meet Percival's eyes briefly. "You said we'd be together. I know you're busy but... if you were just using me, say now. I won't attack. I just... I need to know." As he spoke his hands picked at a loose thread in his pants. "I feel like you're ashamed of me."
Percival almost laughed at that, shaking his head violently from side to side. He reached out, cupping Credence's smaller hands in his own, and gazing into his eyes.
"Credence, I am not ashamed of you. I think you are a remarkable young man, and I believe that the world needs more like you. You fought for what was right in a situation that would have killed a lesser man, and I am proud of you."
"Then why do you act like you're ashamed?"
"Because I am ashamed of myself." Percival admitted. "I can't forget what I did to you, what I did for Grindelwald. I hurt you, I killed for him. And I was ready to let you die to stop him. Photographs of me hurting you have been seen by most of America, and you expect...you expect me not to be ashamed of what I am? Of what I did to you?"
Credence stood up, walking around the desk, and then dropped to his knees before Percival, gazing up at him. He reached for Percival's hands, holding them gently.
"You were brave. You risked yourself to save everyone, including me."
"I hurt you." Percival murmured. "I always said that there were lines that shouldn't be crossed, and I tore through them."
Credence leaned up, stretching in order to press a kiss to Percival's lips. It was a chaste, tender thing, but it was accompanied by a smile so bright that Percival felt as though he had stepped into a patch of sunlight.
"You saved me." Credence said softly. "And you were brave enough to slander your own name, your own soul, to save me and so many others. That's real bravery..." His hand squeezed Percival's own. "I know everyone has seen the photographs, but if I see them, all I see is a hero. A man who was about to save the President of MACUSA and the lives of everyone within its shores..." He swallowed. "Sorry, been practicing this most of the morning. I just... it won't go away. But I know that in time, it'll get easier."
Driven on by his speech, Percival leaned in and kissed Credence chastely. For a few moments they kissed closed mouthed, before Credence's tongue brushed at the edge of Percival's lip.. Percival opened his mouth, hoping that he was doing the right thing.
Queenie giggled and practically skipped from the room, before Credence stood and pulled Percival into his arms. This time, it was Percival that initiated the kiss.
Waking up beside Credence, and knowing he would not have to send him back to his torturer, was one of the dearest moments of Percival's life. He saw how the young lithe man lay tangled in the sheets, his eyes closed, and he tucked the blanket around him tenderly, trying to keep him from getting a chill.
Percival summoned over a book, and began to read it as Credence napped beside him. He would have been able to call over some work, but didn't want to risk disturbing him. His gaze was drawn to a photograph on the mantelpiece, his lover standing beside Scamander and Queenie, his arms wrapped around a wriggling dark ball of fur. Credence was doing well.
Credence had been a well-known part of Grindelwald's regime, his tear-streaked face and broken body seen by almost everyone. Now Percival got to see another side to him. He got to see the intelligent young man he had fallen for, who had existed only in snatches in the awful flood of before.
Percival was beginning to contemplate breakfast when the man beside him moved, and he decided pressing another kiss to Credence's lips was a better use of his time.
Credence giggled, indulging him with tender kisses for a few moments before pushing Percival away. Percival smiled fondly as he moved away, heading to the kitchen to get breakfast for the two of them.
It struck him how ordinary everything was. There were people who wanted to see him prosecuted for what had happened, but so far he hadn't had to face that particular threat. His aurors, those who had suffered while he had served their captor, still respected him. He couldn't claim to deserve that respect, but did not know how to rid himself of it either.
"You look serious today," Credence said as he walked in, Percival's black dressing gown around his shoulders, concealing the hated band of leather around his throat.
"Just thinking how lucky I am," Percival answered, and was met by a cynical expression from Credence. He could tell that the younger man didn't believe what he was saying, but he meant every word. "I didn't lose you, when I could have... he would have wanted to take you from me, and that... that would have destroyed me. Instead you are still here. You killed the monster."
"You gave me the strength," Credence whispered, and pressed a kiss to Percival's cheek. Credence was a very tactile person, now that he had been freed, always eager to touch and to be touched. Percival was glad to indulge him in that, holding his hand as they walked.
People stared. But people would stare anyway, and it was better for them to stare at their joy than at their sorrow.
That thought gave him a boldness he had not known before, and he reached out to grasp Credence's hands in his.
"I like waking up beside you."
"I like it too," Credence giggled, squirming a little and looking away, a faint blush across his face.
"I'd do it every morning for the rest of my life if I could."
"I don't see why you can't," Credence answered, gazing up at him. "In fact, I think that would be a good plan."
"You want to make this official?" Percival asked. Credence shrugged his shoulders.
"Whatever we do with it, Ma would still see it as sinful, and I'm hardly a virginal bride." He paused, and leaned in to kiss him. "But Credence Barebone suffered enough, and had his name dragged through the mud. I guess being Credence Graves means I could have a fresh start."
"Only if you want to," Percival encouraged. The last thing he wanted was to make his lover feel trapped or unwelcome. He cuddled him for a moment, and Credence nodded and kissed him again.
"I want to. I don't want something big. I know...what I want. Just our friends, and Sera-" He caught himself. "President Picquery could do the ceremony?"
"I'd like that." Percival brushed his fingers through Credence's hair. After everything that had been so public, he couldn't help feeling that it would be a good idea to have some privacy in the end. "You can sort it out if you'd like."
"I have an idea." Percival told him gently, pressing a kiss to his lips.
The preparations were soon underway. Percival couldn't help feeling that he was cheating somehow, that he was managing to steal a happy ending which he had no right to. But then Credence would appear, and he would focus just on him.
Credence seemed to have grown taller since Grindelwald's death, his body no longer cowering in on itself. He would talk to Queenie, and was learning to be his own person after a lifetime in his mother's shadow.
One evening, Credence came home wearing what appeared to be Scamander's grey and yellow scarf. Percival didn't comment initially, aiming not to be jealous. Scamander was a good man. But Credence's gaze kept darting at him.
"Are you alright?" he eventually asked, no longer able to stand the tension that was between the two of them.
Credence nodded, and flashed a smile.
"I'm alright. Just... got something to show you." He reached to undo the scarf, and for a moment Percival imagined seeing his throat free of the leather that imprisoned it, and the scars that had been cruelly dug into his skin.
What he saw instead was that Credence's collar seemed smaller, lighter. It was a navy blue, and across the surface twisted silver embroidered vines, which fluttered and swayed as he breathed. Percival walked forwards, resting a hand on the collar, and Credence shrugged slightly.
"Queenie helped me with it. It's not... it's not coming off. But this... this reminds me of you."
Percival was helpless but to kiss him back, one hand resting on Credence's hip as the other stroked across the dark leather.
The ceremony itself was small, and quiet, away from the gaze of the media. Credence was wearing a smart suit, navy fabric and a silver waistcoat embroidered with blue vines. Percival wore his own suit and his favorite coat, a silver scarf across his shoulders.
Seraphina was still recovering, but she stood for the ceremony, wearing golden robes which had been charmed to help stand. The baker had done the catering, helped by Queenie, and Tina was the one to walk Credence up the aisle, relying on him and a cane to help her walk.
Percival was glad that it was private and peaceful. It was so different from what had happened before. Their form was signed, and information would be given by Seraphina to the press in a week's time. That gave Percival a chance to get far away before it happened. There would be people who recognised them anywhere, but stepping away from the glare of the media would be a welcome relief.
Credence held onto his hand throughout, his thumb tapping nervous circles on the back of Percival's palm. Percival held on.
After the ceremony, Credence glanced up at Percival.
"There's nowhere people won't recognise us," Percival cautioned, allowing a moment for that statement to sink in before he continued, "so we're going to go somewhere new. Somewhere where we don't need to worry about people. And Queenie tells me that you have never left the city? That needs to change."
"I'm not sure if Grindelwald might have taken me abroad for a meeting," Credence admitted. "But otherwise, no, I have always been here."
"Well luckily I have a plan to change that," Percival explained with a gentle smile. "Newt is going to let us accompany him on his travels for the next few weeks."
Credence smiled, before frowning a little as Percival's words sunk into his mind.
"Few... weeks? But your work-"
"I've decided I no longer fulfil the requirements of a director. I will be the deputy director when I return, but it has been decided that first a few weeks of absence are needed. To give my team a chance to work out their new roles, and me a chance to rediscover who I am, with my husband at my side."
Credence smiled up at him, and then leaned in closer, kissing him almost chastely. Percival kissed back.
"Our guests are waiting," he pointed to the food, and Credence nodded, tucking himself under Percival's arm for security.
Thank you everyone who has read and commented - I hope you have enjoyed!