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Hunting the Local Wildlife

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Percival's grip tightens on the coffee cup in his hands. He straightens in his seat, perching on the edge of the chair as his target passes by. Said target is a somewhat plump man in a typical No-Maj suit, albeit a bit ill-fitting for the man's size. The man has a jolly air about him, his eyes crinkling at the edges with laughter, his lips curling upwards in an earnest smile. He has one arm gesturing in the air as he talks and the other around a tall man in a dusty blue coat, whose identity is entirely unknown.  

Twenty-one hours earlier, Percival's team of Aurors had gotten a tip about someone smuggling Occamy eggs to New York. They'd immediately set out to confiscate the eggs, and oh, how he'd hoped the operation would go smoothly for once. It would have been nice to go home early. He'd almost forgotten what it felt like to go to bed before midnight. Instead, the ensuing chaos had all but destroyed a whole No-Maj department store. Three of his men had been injured and sent to the hospital, and that left Percival to track down the last Occamy egg that had disappeared from the scene. 

He'd probably never learn how the No-Maj got a hold of it, and it doesn't matter anyway, as long as he got it back or got rid of it. He's more inclined to do the former, which will hopefully be less stressful for all parties involved. He just needs to reclaim the egg, Obliviate the No-Maj, and report back to MACUSA.  

Suddenly, he realizes he's been staring at nothing in particular for who knows how long. He's running on fumes, which is the only reason why he'd zoned out and let his target out of his sight. He scrambles up to his feet, discarding his coffee cup haphazardly as he hurries to the same direction he'd last seen his target.  

He runs to a narrow side alley, intent on catching up to his target through a shortcut, only to violently crash into someone.  

A man has his arms around Percival within seconds, feet already apart and braced for impact as if he'd anticipated Percival's movements. Percival blinks hard in shock, body tensing within the man's hold. He glances up and meets the man's gaze—are his eyes blue or hazel? 

The dim light in the alley makes it impossible to tell.  

Suddenly, his target's face pops up over the man's shoulder. "I didn't know tall, dark, and handsome were part of the local wildlife that you were interested in," his target says with a smirk, eyeing the Percival who's still in the man's arms and the man who hasn't made any indication that he wants to let go. 

They jump apart with all due awkwardness. The man clears his throat. His gaze is somewhere to his left and more importantly, away from Percival. He angles his body away as well, hunching down as if he wanted to be the same height as Percival. His hands are hanging limply at his sides and his stance is deceptively loose. He very clearly wants to be seen as nonthreatening, but it just makes Percival even more suspicious.  

"Uh, sorry. I noticed you staring at Jacob," the man says sheepishly with a British accent. Percival's eyes widen in alarm. Behind him, the newly identified Jacob chuckles, cutting off the man's next words. 

"You sure? He's pretty taken with you. You always downplay your own charms, Newton. He hasn't taken his eyes off you for a second, in fact," Jacob retorts, elbowing Newt and wiggling his eyebrows teasingly. "Might wanna take this one to my bakery and have a cup of coffee with him, eh? My treat, of course." 

Newton, who names their kid Newton, honestly, reddens and pouts. "Don't call me that. I told you, it's just Newt. A-and..."  

Percival, already thinking ahead, plows through Newt's hesitance with only his objective of retrieving the wayward Occamy egg in mind. Besides, he's been reliably told that he's actually one of the most desirable bachelors in MACUSA. Most of the time, this has no bearing on his daily life, but he'd gladly take advantage of it. For the case, of course. 

"Will you really?" Percival beams at Jacob, before focusing back on Newt and stepping closer. "It's just... Newt, was it? I can't tell what color your eyes are, and I'm terribly curious. The bakery would have better lighting, I'm sure? As well as coffee, and pastries, I presume. Do you like pastries, Newt?" 

Newt looks confused and a bit scared at his advance, which meant Percival was at least partially successful. Jacob snickers behind him, answering for his dumbstruck friend. "He'll have tea and crumpets, like he usually does. Come on!" 

He hooks an arm around Percival's shoulders as if they've been friends for ages instead of fast acquaintances. He lays his other arm back around Newt as well, dragging the other man along. 

"Which bakery are we talking about, by the way?" Percival asks, as though he hasn't spent the past three hours researching about Jacob Kowalski, No-Maj, owner and chief baker of the most successful bakery in Manhattan. 

"Kowalski's!" Jacob shouts happily. "Best in Manhattan, not gonna lie. Heh, probably, anyway. I get a ridiculous amount of people lining up for my creations, you know. It's because I make everything with love, I always say. It used to just be a bakery, but I've expanded, so now there's also a small dining area and an espresso machine." 

Percival listens to Jacob's prattling with half an ear—it's great that his target is offering information about himself voluntarily. All his other senses are focused on Newt, who's gracefully allowing his friend to drag him.  

Too gracefully. He may look like he's being weighed down by Jacob's meaty arm, but something tells Percival that Newt could be very nimble and quick when he wants to. 

His footsteps are nonexistent next to Jacob's heavy ones, as if he's walking on the balls of his feet. When he takes everything else about Newt into account, it gives Percival the impression that Newt is ready to act at a moment's notice. 

Does he know about the Occamy egg? 

Not even ten minutes later, they arrive at Kowalski's. Jacob ushers them to a table near the back of the store where the din of the other customers were somewhat quieter. He encourages them to take a seat as he disappears somewhere behind the counter. 

"Why did you want to come with us? The truth, this time, if you would," Newt asks politely, making Percival stop his scrutiny of the store and nearly giving him whiplash when he turns to look. 

"Excuse me?" Percival grits out, fighting to keep his alarm out of his face.  

"You were looking at him like you were planning on gutting him in that alley," Newt quietly states. Percival feels the color drain from his face in record time. Here he was, a man of the law, being accused of premeditated murder of a No-Maj! 

"I'd never-!" 

"Mmm, yeah, me too, I'd never seen an egg like this," Jacob suddenly interrupts, holding a silver egg larger that his fist and waving it in front of Newt's and Percival's faces. "Anyway, here it is, Newt. I just found it in my pocket, imagine that! Oh, yeah, we never asked for your name, Mister...?" 

"Percival Graves," Percival says while tracking the Occamy egg with his eyes as Jacob hands it to Newt. 

"Percy! Well, today's your lucky day, just like it was mine. That appears to be an egg of pure silver. It's not everyday we get to see one of those, eh? Newt here's an expert on animals, and he said he knew where to return the thing, you see." 

Newt was studying each visible inch of the egg intently, probably for cracks. 

"I've kept it in the oven in the recommended temperature, don't worry," Jacob assures the other man. "Also, you were shouting when I came back. Did Newt say something to offend you? Don't take it to heart, he means well. Though his humor does need some work." 

"No, he—" 

"He was far too indignant when I suggested that he was planning on dismembering you, so at the very least he wasn't hired by one of your rivals to assassinate you,"  Newt states nonchalantly, still squinting at the egg. 

"You—!" Percival's sputtering is suddenly cut off by a loud crack coming from the Occamy egg. His gaze was drawn to the silver egg in Newt's hands, which was now moving

It's hatching. Of course it is, the other eggs had hatched too, earlier... 

"You really are a lucky man, Jacob. Look at this! It's hatching!" Newt declares happily, smiling widely at Jacob. Jacob moved to take a closer look. 

Percival finally decides to act, whipping his wand out just as a piece of the silver shell is lifted up to expose the Occamy inside. Newt hands the egg to Jacob, pulls out his own wand, and stands in front of the baker in one smooth movement. 

"I knew it. Are you part of the smuggling ring, then?" Newt accuses him. "Planning on making sure no evidence gets left behind? It's just a baby Occamy, you know. An innocent. But I suppose that doesn't matter to you, does it?" 

Percival inhales sharply, raising his own hands in the universal gesture of submission. "I think there's been a misunderstanding here. My name is Percival Graves, and I'm an Auror from MACUSA." 

"Regardless, my question stands," Newt replies, eyes tracking every movement Percival makes. "What are you planning on doing to this baby Occamy? I know for sure that there was a whole clutch of them, and I couldn't get here fast enough to save the others. But I'm not letting you get this one, not if you're just going to let it die after you're done with it." 

The appropriate response to this declaration should definitely not be a spark of attraction, nor a rush of arousal. Percival's so fucked. 

"Look, uh, I don't know what's happening, or why it's happening, but can we maybe keep calm, fellas? I'm sure we could work this out..." Jacob offers from behind Newt. Percival exhales and nods, slowly bringing down his arms and stowing his wand away. Newt's a little bit slower to acquiesce, taking his time to shift out of his defensive stance and lowering his own wand. He doesn't hide it, though. 

A shrill chirp shatters the tension. Jacob coos at the Occamy, not that Percival could see it from behind Newt, whose expression makes Percival want to shiver. He ignores the urge and starts to talk, hoping to straighten everything out. 

"First, as I've said, I work for MACUSA. My objective was simply to confiscate the egg. I had done only the most basic of research about Mr. Kowalski, and he appeared to be a simple No-Maj who had no business being around an Occamy egg, much less witnessing the hatching of said egg. I was never going to hurt anyone. I simply meant to summon the egg away from him, and Obliviate both of you, as per protocol. I didn't know you were a wizard, or that he was acquainted with you. I apologize for being hasty," he explains. Jacob beams at him, moving into his line of sight and clapping Newt's should with the hand that wasn't holding the Occamy. 

"Hear that? No harm intended, no harm done, Newt," Jacob says. Newt loses some of the tension in his body, but his expression remains guarded. 

"He's a Squib, not a Muggle—uh, No-Maj," Newt declares, a bit too fast to be wholly truthful. 

Percival just blinks and nods agreeably. "He won't need to be Obliviated, then. That was my mistake. I'm very prone to mistakes today, as it turns out. It's been a very long day." 

"I'm still not letting you take the Occamy," Newt says. "It would die in two, maybe three days if not cared for properly." 

"Mr. Kowalski mentioned that you were an expert on animals...?" 

"I'm a magizoologist. The only one in the world," Newt replies. 

"Excellent. If we'd known that you were in the country, we'd have contacted you earlier—"  

"I'm here legally, if that's what you're asking. I have my wand permits and everything." 

"Ah, there I go again," Percival sighed. "I meant no offense. Only that we might have consulted you with what to do regarding the Occamies as soon as we gained custody of them. They're being cared for by Professor Platt, the nearest uh, professional who had knowledge on how to handle them, and as far as I know, they're in perfect health. I'm sure we could work on having their custody given over to you with due haste. And this one as well, of course. I've seen what Occamies could do when agitated, and I'm not keen on experiencing it again." 

At this, Newt gapes at Percival, finally losing all the signs of battle-readiness. "You're not just saying that. You really want to work with me." 

"Newt, three of my men got sent to the hospital while trying to subdue the newly-hatched Occamies eight hours ago. I got lucky. So yes, I really want to work with you, instead of against you, on this," Percival reassured him. "And afterwards, if you're so inclined, I really would be interested in sharing a cup of coffee with you and get to know you better." 

Newt turns a very fetching shade of red when he blushes, Percival notes. His freckles were especially fascinating, and no, Percival still can't decide what color Newt's eyes were. Percival wants to touch Newt's hair to see if it's as soft as it looks. 

"O-Oh...Alright..." Newt replies uncertainly, still blushing. Percival decides that he'd take what he can get. Now that Newt's not acting so hostile, he has a greater chance of making a better impression.

He's looking forward to it.