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Obscurus Obprobrium

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She was dying. The thing that her magic had become was too strong for her small frail body and she was dying. He couldn’t help her. They went up to the mountain and he tried one last time. Drawing the black inky infection that was tearing her apart from the inside out. A shadow in the soul and the body. Her scream was terrified as the obscurus burst forth. The girl so small and frail and terrified and the spell was supposed to separate the cancer and save her. And then the black mass that was her magic turned on him and he felt the faint stirrings of panic as the force of it exploded and he too screamed as pain filled his world and his vision faded into nothing.

He came to in a hospital in Sudan far from where he had been. He was weak and felt ill, but his case was beside him and his things were folded neatly and there was an officious-looking man smiling at him and his hand was clutching a scrap of fabric he knew belonged to the little girl who he had tried to help. Apparently he had been found at the edge of a massive crater. His clothing had been shredded, but there wasn’t a burn on him. In fact, beyond the strange aching weakness within him, he seemed completely unharmed. There was no evidence that there had been a little girl with him. Only a scrap of fabric and superstitious reports of a demon attempting to possess him.

The official was professionally kind, but emphatic he get the hell out of the country.

And he left, tail tucked between his legs.

A failure at protecting her.

At rescuing her from the beast that had consumed her.

In Egypt, he found smugglers. Ones with a large hawk-like creature that had been severely mistreated. The sight of the proud beast gaunt and sickly and weakened made rage burn bright within him where he hid in the disillusionment charm that had been surprisingly difficult for him to produce. He nearly blew his cover when the black wisps began to break through his skin, but it had ended well enough and he soon had a new friend while the world was now lacking in several smugglers. He did feel bad about that, but there were plenty of smugglers and many magical beasts were dying out due to their blatant disregard for the conservation efforts he was trying to put through. Unfortunately, as much as he loved caring for the Thunderbird in his case, he knew he had to let it go. There was only so much room and the poor beast was cramped.

Which necessitated him making a trip to America.

Arizona to be precise, though that also meant a trip through New York.

 

What was the worst that could go Wrong?

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Dougal was bored. All the creatures were, but his insistent tugging at the magical locks was starting to annoy Newt. He understood that the demiguise wanted to explore, but they were surrounded by muggles and he really didn’t want to have to figure it how to obliviate an entire ship. When they made port, he was horrified to find that one of the snaps had broken loose from the constant picking. Luckily only one, but he had no intention of letting the other one go out if he could help it.

Unfortunately he was rather put on the spot by a strange woman talking about seekers and truth and after his little joke about chasers. because he had never been much of a beater and he still cringed at catching a snitch -named after the snidge, which nearly became extinct due to being crushed to death at the end of every game.

Because Dougal had damaged the hasp, Nugget got out and then he lost an egg-how the fuck did he manage to leave an egg behind? He never lost a creature- and the muggle Jacob had to get caught in the Accio because his magic had never worked right since Sudan and he really needed to not think about Sudan when he was busy making Nugget give up the bloody trickets that don’t belong to him. And then he finally got things sorted and was about to obliviate the muggle-and he was thankful that that spell was one of the few that still worked without a hitch- but he got hit hard enough that he went down and then he barely managed to stand up in time for some strange woman to grab him and apparate and -oh bugger me sideways- she was an Auror.

Or not apparently. He knew it was cruel of him to feel relieved, but he was just so very glad that no one had paid attention. At least until ‘Mister Graves’ appeared and the woman Tina practically fell over herself explaining the situation. He’s already nervous enough because his suitcase held technically very illegal animals and the Graphorns and Occamies in his case technically made him a Breeder-which was also very illegal- and oh morgana’s sticky wickethe could feel Her beginning to stir and he suddenly yelped when Pickett pinched a him. But the pinch startled him out of his thoughts and he realized that the case didn’t infect hold animals, but pastries.

In his mind’s eye, he recalled the short, fat, friendly-but frightened muggle that had hit him with a case and -Merlin’s hairy nutsack! This was a disaster! That muggle has his case and -

Everyone except for Newt jumped when the contents of the case abruptly exploded like the pastries had been thrown into an open blender with his distress. But he wasn’t worried about that. He didn’t notice the suddenly interested gaze at his violent show of accidental magic. Not until Pickett pinched him again to ground him and he took a deep, shuddering breath. He looked up, but while Tina was trying to clean the mess the pastries had made of her desk and … Aberforth? Anderson? Abernathy! Was bemoaning the state of his clothes, Mister Graves was staring directly at him with the gaze he had last seen on the Erumpent that had been in his case.

Perhaps he should have listened to that man in the market and bought an evil eye charm before leaving Egypt. He was really starting to think he was cursed.

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Somehow he explained it away as a stress reaction that had developed after his work in the Ukraine, which did absolutely nothing to remove the look in the Director’s eyes and he was stunned to realize neither Ex-Auror Goldstein or Aber-whatever-his-name-was had noticed… but then again, he was used to noticing the tiniest minutiae of reaction due to his profession of magizoologist. And really; the man walked like a hunting Nundu and his eyes were as cold as the enclosure he had made when She had wanted to play in the snow and he was afraid of what would happen if there were people who would try to hurt her to exorcise a demon that wasn’t there.

Regardless of his wandering thoughts, he found himself very glad to be on a hunt and putting all thoughts of that intimidating director behind him. Except for the fact he was lectured the entire hunt and then he found out his Muggle had been bitten by Amish and… well, he was looking about a 7 on the scale of not bothered to arse on fire. A bit of a stronger reaction than Newt had expected, but he was sure he could figure something out once he obliviated the man. Except now he wasn’t allowed to obliviate the man and he had to stay for dinner and… well he remembered reading about star-crossed lovers in school before being expelled and he really hoped that that sort of story didn’t really happen. Jacob seemed like a good sort and he really didn’t want anything to happen to the sisters when they had lost their parents to dragonpox.

And when Jacob had seen his animals and loved them, Newt found himself relaxing. In fact, he was surprised at how tightly wound he had been ever since arriving now that it was gone. And he realized that the ever-present hum of Her agitated shifting had gone quieter than she had been since before he had even stepped on the ship in Equatorial Guinea. He knew it would have to end, counting each one of the missing beasts, but in this moment he felt … happy.

And then they caught the erumpent and he was brought before the Entire ICW and… well, he recognized what had killed Shaw. He told them and they didn’t believe him and then they -Mister Graves- took his case and he went a bit… erratic.

He’d not been able to use his wand properly since Sudan. Apparently it was because the Obscurus-having fed on his magic until his core could barely produce enough for a single spell- had the combined strength of two magical cores and She had reacted to his panic by overloading the magic-suppressing chains in a truly spectacular fashion.

By making them explode with enough force that the rebounding magic had blown off the cuffs holding his friends and performed a feat of accidental magic that literally pulled the case to him so hard he ended up flat on his back and clinging to it like a lifeline. Not that he was complaining.

Babbling both to the ICW and to Her; telling them that his beasts were misunderstood. That they wouldn’t hurt anyone. That he wasn’t in danger. That he needed to take care of his beasts. That they wouldn’t harm anyone. That they needed him. Hysterical, but trying so hard not to fall apart at the seams. And throughout the terrible scene of his spectacular accidental magic, a pair of dark eyes gleamed hungrily.

Out of deference to the fact that Newt was … in a delicate situation, he was allowed to have his case, though it was heavily padlocked, and Jacob and Tina were kept in a cell down the hall from him. He could see and hear them and he was forced to explain what an Obscurus was. He didn’t explain how he had overloaded the magical suppression. He also didn’t explain what had happened to the little girl that had died.

He found himself alone in a room with Director Graves, shrinking down in his seat and not directly looking at the powerful predatory creature across from him. The most dangerous magical beasts were witches and wizards after all.

“You’re an interesting man mister… Newton Artemis Fido Scamander…” the man’s voice caressed each syllable in a way that sent a shiver down his spine. Pickett fidgeted in his pocket and She shuddered beneath his skin as he clutched at his locked case desperately. Afraid he would lose them. Afraid that this strange predator would enter the case and harm his creatures. Dark eyes examined him with a piercing intensity and he shuddered, “You were thrown out of Hogwarts for endangering human life-“

“That was an accident!” He interjected. They hadn’t understood. The poor beast hadn’t been dangerous. Not until Leta had made a mistake and he had managed to calm it, but then she was in trouble so he had given a little lie and been thrown out and she didn’t even owl him. The dark eyes never looked away, but they had sharpened at his interruption. Percival Graves did not seem to appreciate rudeness of any sort as he continued to speak.

“-with a beast. Yet one of your teachers argued strongly against your expulsion. Now…” he pressed his fingertips against each other as he pinned Newt with his clinical interest. A clinical interest that had Newt shrinking in his seat and tilting his head to bare the side of his throat. A silent move to make himself appear less of a threat, “What makes Albus Dumbledore… so fond of you?”

“I… really couldn’t say,” he glanced up; Brows furrowing in confusion as the director stared at him. Bewildered that that was what he had focused on when there were other things. Things like his accidental magic or the violent destruction of the cuffs or the fact there was a distinct threat of a rampaging obscurus. One that wasn’t the one wrapped around his magic like a second skin. He found himself thankful that Pickett was with him and She wasn't visible and Maledicta was in her safe little cocoon.

Especially since Graves hadn't stopped looking at him like a Swooping Evil looked at its prey. All hunger and want and it had shivers running down his spine because even though he was very very good at being a magizoologist, he had still nearly died before figuring out how to get the creature to stop attacking and feed her something other than human brains.

He was pretty sure he had been cursed. No one else could have luck this bad.

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"SO setting a pack of dangerous animals loose here was..." Graves made a bewildered gesture as he spoke in that low, soft tone, shaking his head in bewilderment even as he continued to stare. It was making him tense, the feeling of Her pressing against his skin as the Dark eyes remained trained on him. Disbelief evident in his gaze, "Was just another accident, Is that right?"

"Why would I do that deliberately?" He knew the Laws. Except he was already breaking them by having Jacob with him. But Jacob was his friend. Jacob helped him and loved his rescued animals too. He didn't look at Graves. He wouldn't look at him. Seeing that intense gaze focused on him was intimidating. It wasn't like looking at a Hippogryph. It was like looking into the gaze of a man across the battlefield. And he was terrified even as he felt the man's gaze turn away.

"to expose Wizardkind. To provoke war between the magical and nonmagical worlds..." 

"'Mass Slaughter for the Greater Good', you mean?" He felt a shiver of something that wasn't fear and he latched onto it. Revulsion running through him even as he felt the gaze glance away at the guards before returning to him. He heard the soft voice of the predator before him speak; an assertion that was matched by a brief nod and he felt Her roiling beneath the surface as he glared at the desk between them. Unable to hide the venom in his words as he finally glanced up. He ignored the deepening of color in those dark eyes as he made his point crystal clear, "I'm not one of Grindelwald's Fanatics, Mister Graves."

He barely caught the faint twitch of a smile and he wondered what that could mean before Graves was suddenly waving away the guards. He really didn't want to be alone with the man, but he had little choice in the matter. Not when he was the prisoner and Mister Graves was the one between him and freedom. He shuddered and the lights in the interrogation room flickered with Her roiling at his distress. He took a deep breath and chanced another look.

"I wasn't lying when I said you are an interesting man Mister Scamander," Mister Graves had loosened up. Looking less like he was about to pounce, but no less deadly. No less dangerous. Newt felt his mouth go dry, but refused to do anything about it. He wouldn't show fear. He couldn't afford to. Not as the powerful auror began to speak, "You aren't a stupid man and you know that I am not either. So long as you cooperate with the investigation, I see no reason to treat you with anything less than perfect courtesy. Now tell me, why are you here? Really?"

"I ... There- In Egypt, I found a trafficked Thunderbird," he spoke hesitantly, slotting the words together as he tried not to think about Frank. About the creatures that would need help. About the heavy padlock that kept him from taking care of them properly. He wished Dougal was inside, but he was gone and Newt was afraid of him being captured for his pelt. People could be so cruel, "I discovered that they are native to Arizona and I was hoping to return him to his home."

"Is that so?" Mister Graves frowned, but it didn't seem to be the normal sort of frown. The frown of derision at protecting and rehabilitating unfortunate creatures that needed to be protected from the dangers of mankind. Both of them. More the frown that reminded him of his Niffler when presented with a challenging ward to get around, "You feel... very strongly about conserving these creatures, it seems. That's an impressive view of the world."

Newt found himself relieved; a brilliant smile lighting his face as he looked into Mister Graves' eyes for another long moment. Even if the man before him reminded him far too much of his Nundu, he seemed to have none of the terrible prejudice that seemed to infect the whole wizarding world. It faded away as he continued to speak, cold terror deeper than anything he had felt washing over him at the words spoken with a clinical calmness.

"Unfortunately, I cannot release you. Your intentions are good, but you have admitted to smuggling a number of illegal animals into my country and have come very close to destroying the Statute of Secrecy in a manner even Grindelwald has yet to-"

There was a loud noise like the sounds of hundreds of animals growling as the magical light in the room suddenly doused, plunging them into darkness.

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Light returns at the palm of Grave's hand. It throws bold shadows across his face and Newt shrinks back. Nervous as he reigned in his fear. He couldn't afford to risk any danger coming to the creatures in his case, but he knew that it would be increasingly difficult to hide his status if he didn't have a chance to center himself. And he was starting to become fairly certain that that chance wouldn't come soon as the Director stared at him.

"I'm s-" he fell silent as the man pressed a finger to his lips and wandlessly lit the room once more. Thankfully She was dormant once more, but he felt exhausted. more worn out than he had been in a very long time. He didn't know how much longer he could hide her. He needed to get away, but he couldn't just leave. Not now.

"Another Accident I assume?" Graves asked dryly. He shivered, but gave a sheepish nod. Unable to maintain eye contact as he tried to figure out a way to explain why his accidental magics were so powerful when he himself had very little available to himself. He started when Graves spoke again, glancing up at where the man was thoughtfully eyeing one of the orbs rather than him, giving him time to recover, "I notice they seem to occur with periods of... great stress. I Should have been more clear. I will not be releasing you as you are still a suspect, but I see no reason not to put you in the custody of a trained auror. Your no-maj companion will still have to be obliviated, but things with miss Goldstein are a bit more... complicated. She has aided you in your efforts rather than bringing you in immediately."

"Well... She did... try," he admitted meekly, not looking away until Percival turned the dark-eyed gaze back on him sharply. He swallowed and gave a hesitant shrug, "When my... ah... My Niffler escaped in a bank and I was forced to abduct the mug-er... the No-maj when he found my occamy Egg that had begun to hatch at a very inopportune time. I... I'm a conservationist and i got my hands on a number of them with intent to return them to their habitat. Once that was all sorted out, she apprehended me when he ran off... with my case. By the time we located him, it had opened and he had been bitten by Marcy... My... my Murtlap. I had to take him with me while I attempted to treat his ... symptoms. There weren't any flames coming from his arse, so I was certain that he was going to improve, but I needed to be certain. I enlisted his assistance in recapturing the Erumpent I found in southeast Asia and I had intended to release her in Africa, but I was unable to make my way to the reserve before I left for America. I... I could show you my case if you promise not to harm any of them. They aren't dangerous."

"At this point in time, I'm more inclined to lock you inside your own case for everyone else's safety, Mister Scamander," Graves smiled despite his words and Newt found himself relaxing marginally. Hoping it was a rather strange sort of teasing that the Auror had decided to indulge in. He gave another of his sheepish shrugs, feeling Her far more calm now that he wasn't panicking, "But if you insist, then I would very much like to see what's in your fascinating case."

"Thank you, you won't regret it!" he beamed, placing the suitcase on the desk between them and trembling with excitement that had Her dancing beneath the skin with a curiosity that matched that of the girl who had died in Sudan. Graves caught his eye as the padlock sprung open and the case was released from the bindings.

"I think you're absolutely right, mister Scamander."

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Newt descends rapidly, eager to see his creatures as Percival stares into his case with a furrowed brow. He was slow to follow after the cheerful wizard, but eventually made it to the bottom as the case closed behind him. He jumped at the sound of something cutting through bone with a loud thwack, and turned to see Newt had already removed his coat and had begun hacking at a raw carcass of some sort before throwing the massive chunks into a pail. Percival stared for a moment as Newt smiled at him, though still not-quite meeting him in the eyes. That had to be an affectation of some sort.

"My apologies. I thought it would be easier to introduce you if I fed them as well. I'm their caretaker you see. At least until they can be rehabilitated. Some can't, but most are only wounded and are easy to return to the wild. In fact, the reason I am here is because of Frank," he admitted, deciding that honesty would get him further than it had with his Minister. He grimaced at the look he received and shrugged, "I'm not very good with names. It's rather hereditary I'm afraid."

"Thus the Fido?" the man asked somewhat rhetorically as Newt nodded with a wince, but smiled regardless.

"Newton was my brother's idea, actually," Newt admitted, watching a wry smile slowly spread across the man's face as he continued and lead the way, "He had some of the better ideas for names. Which is my Niffler is Nugget, Evie the Erumpent, and Rhadaghast, Rhodes and Rumple are the Runespoore. Otherwise there's Mngwa the Nundu and Wilhelmina and Lund the Graphorns and their children Smilodon and Peter."

"Those first names almost sound normal," Percival admitted as they entered the first enclosure. He frowned at the desert environment and the heavy rainfall, but Newt didn't seem perturbed. He elected to worry later as he waited to see what was there and soon found himself staring at the sight of an honest-to-Giles Corey Thunderbird. He felt his jaw drop as the massive beast alighted on a rock and began to nuzzle the gangly wizard. Seemingly treating Newt as another of its kind as the wizard fed it something from his pocket. The beast soon soared off and he turned his shocked gaze to the seemingly bewildered younger wizard, "And... what's that one's name."

"Frank," Newt chuckled, looking after the beast fondly as he moved to the next region and Percival followed, "Theseus said that the name Thor would be bad even by my family's terrible naming conventions. Watch your head. Rhadaghast, Rhodes, and Rumple weren't fond of people even before they tried to kill Rumple and they're a bit testy I put a cone on his head to keep them from doing it again."

"Right," Percival decided to simply start a list, picking up a stone and transfiguring it into a piece of paper while a second stone became a pen. Both hovered after him, scribbling the information on what exactly was in the case. On and on until they reached the Nundu. He had been told there was a nundu of course, but that was different from SEEING a highly dangerous beast that couldn't be tamed treating Newt much like his aunt's crotchety old cat treated his aunt. Purring and brushing up against Newt like he was the Nundu's most favorite person in the world. Needless to say, it was frankly disturbing.

By the time Percival left the case, he seemed to be seriously regretting his assertion that Newt could keep the case. However, none of the beasts had harmed him, though he was pretty certain that the runespoore had been eyeing him up for a meal when Newt had snapped at it-without even looking at what it was doing- and continued blithely on as though telling a three-headed snake not to eat someone was enough to keep it from eating people. Which apparently worked in his case. And, as they finished the conversation and returned to the interrogation room and he watched Newt close his suitcase, he found himself wondering just what the hell he was thinking letting this obviously insane wizard capable of controlling Magical beasts just by talking to them walk around with a single Auror as his guard. Writing up the permits was going to be a nightmare. Maybe he would let Tina handle that since Newt seemed rather fond of her. Unfortunately, she was also rather meddlesome. He would deal with it tomorrow.

Tonight he would see if Credence found the child. And try and find a decent drink in this fucking stupid Country if he hadn't.

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“-a Nundu! A gottverdammt Nundu! What in Faust’s name was that man thinking?!” Percival Graves, or the man who looked like him rather, had stormed down nearly an hour ago. He was somewhat disheveled and smelled faintly of firewhiskey. And he’s been ranting about some Englishman and a case full of any country’s worst nightmare.

As much as Percival Graves agreed with that rather hysterical rant, he found himself unable to to honestly sympathize with the man wearing his face all things considered. For the first time, he was actually rather glad to not be the one dealing with the miles of red tape that whoever Grindelwald had brought over seemed to be causing the Terrorist. It took no less than 100 wizards to take one down. He dreaded to think what one of those things would do in his city.

“And why did you agree to not impound his case and have him arrested for animal trafficking?” He asked. He knew he wasn’t getting out. Not with his hands wrapped in tight leather straps that kept them closed into fists; magically suppressing chains bolted closed around his wrists, ankles, and throat; and a lot of physical torture that had been designed to both weaken him and bring down his shields until they were no more powerful than wet tissue paper. 

 “Because he’s a British National with a war hero brother and he rather violently destroyed three sets of magical suppression chains in a burst of accidental magic. And two sets were only in proximity to him,” Gellert Grindelwald ground out, running his temples, “A Nundu! And he gave it some incomprehensible name because it sounded interesting! If it wasn’t for that’s Scamander boy, I wouldn’t -“

He cut himself off and there was a long pause as he turned to look at Graves. He had caught the involuntary flinch at the name. Gellert knew he knew something. He had to. Quick strides brought the wizard to him, grasping Percival by the chin and diving into his head with all the finesse of a rampaging erumpent. Dragging his memories of the war to the forefront of his mind. Examining every memory of Theseus Scamander and his obvious adoration of the younger brother. He knew what to do and he turned to leave as Percival Graves was left shaking and dazed with the worst migraine he’d had in Weeks and a wish that he could sleep without dreams. A fact he knew wouldn’t happen after having the worst memories of his life revealed. 

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"I've been put under suspension for six months," Tina grimaced, but she was visibly relieved. Glad that she hadn't been fired, or worse, "If it wasn't for your insistence that I tried to bring you in, Mister Graves might have had to recommend the Capital Punishment because I didn't followe proper reporting protocols when I brought you in the first time."

"You would have been given a Dementor's Kiss?" he couldn't hide the horror in his voice. Tina looked away and shrugged, but that wasn't a no. He shuddered and felt Her stirring beneath his skin. Trying to find what scared him so to protect him, but unable to and restless because of that.

"Well, there would have been a trial, but the evidence against me was pretty bad," she explained weakly. Even if he had insisted that the No-Maj, Jacob needed to be held under observation for a couple days, that wasn't allowed, "I probably would have been found guilty, but there hasn't been someone sent to the Mirror in a long time. Rappaport's Law is the strictest anti-cooperation law in the world with the harshest of sentences. And for good reason. A breach of this magnitude often results in life imprisonment or an execution."

"I'm sorry," He cringed. He hadn't realized just how serious Americans were about keeping the statute of Secrecy. It still didn't explain why their laws were so severe though, "Why is it so important? In Europe, the witch trials were only dangerous for the muggles."

"You didn't have Scourers," she pointed out, though there was an edge to her voice, "They were wizards that turned on their own kind. Often to make a profit. They rooted out their own kind and made it so that they couldn't escape. The first President of MACUSA called for volunteers to hunt them down and bring them to justice. Twelve answered the call. Just a Century later, A no-maj descendant of one of those Scourers who escaped, met a descendant of the twelve that wasn't particularly smart. He tricked her into revealing herself to him and stole her wand. He tried to expose the whole wizarding world and nearly got away with it had he not gotten increasingly violent. He ended up shooting at some innocent no-majes he thought were wizards and was imprisoned. Unfortunately, it was a serious enough breach that the Law was enacted."

"Barebone?" Newt had been listening, really, but that name sounded familiar. Far too familiar in fact. He recalled the intense stare of the frail woman standing on the steps of the bank. Consumed by the fires of faith and warning of the dangers of witches. He felt a chill run down his spine as color drained from his face. There was an Obscurus in New York. One that wasn't Her. He was certain he knew where the child was, but not Who. It could be anyone, but Mis Mary Lou Barebone was the person to examine. He didn't mean to stumble, knees suddenly weak, but TIna still cried out as she reached out to attempt to hold him up. The loud shout drew everyone's attention and Mister Graves stormed  over, worry crossing his face.

"Mister Scamander! Miss Goldstein, what happened?" he demanded. She didn't answer immediately, still focused on helping Newt, so he reached over and helped Haul Newt up until he stood on his own two feet as she took a calming breath.

"I don't know Sir-I mean Director Graves, Sir. He - I was telling him about Rappaport's Law and-"

"I think I know where the obscurus is," He interjected suddenly, drawing both of their eyes towards him. Catching sight of the look they were giving him, shock clear in the widening of their eyes, he ran a hand through his messy hair and took a deep breath, "She has two children with her-'

"Three. They're adopted," Tina shook her head, "They wouldn't have the chance to be magic if that happened."

"Where did she adopt them from?" he asked. There was a long pause as Tina and Mister Graves looked at each other. He looked between them and frowned, "You don't know?"

"Tina, Your suspension is revoked pending the results of your Research into the matter of the Barebone children. Mister Scamander, come with me," Mister Graves barked out, grasping Newt by the upper arm and Dragging him away. Newt caught sight of Queenie as they rushed to the Apparition point and found himself thinking very loudly about Jacob's impending Obliviation. Not feeling guilty at all despite knowing TIna and Mister Graves would be very cross if they ever found out what he had done. Jacob and Queenie had been love at first sight and he knew that they would be good for each other.

He didn't expect to be apparated into an Alleyway facing a dilapidated church. He saw the youngest Barebone child playing and frowned. He glanced at Mister Graves, but he seemed to be looking intently at one of the windows.

"Why are we here?" he asked, but found himself recoiling when Mister Graves turned a hungry look on him.

"Do you know how to recognize an Obscurus?" he demanded. Newt blinked, confused, but crossed his arms with a frown and examined the Auror skeptically. He didn't trust the wizard despite the fact the other man had helped him. Mister Graves seemed to realise how he sounded and quickly raised his hands, trying to defuse the situation, "I promise I just want to keep the city safe. I don't want to hurt her."

"Her?" Newt frowned, looking at the girl and missing the brief look of self-recrimination that crossed The Auror's expression. She was the right age for a budding obscurial. Between the ages of six and ten, but she didn't have the look of one. No, he didn't think it was the youngest Barebone, but the other two were much older than an Obscurial usually lived, "I would have to speak with the child to be sure."

"Of course. I thought only girls became one."

"No, anyone has the potential," he corrected gently, looking out in time to see the young man that had been at the meeting step out. He had a shy, timid look about him as he moved furtively. He rather reminded Newt of an abused beast with his thin shoulders raised and his head stooped as though expecting a violent hand. He scurried in their direction with familiarity. He knew Newt, or perhaps he had business in this alley.

"Mister Graves..." The boy was so soft spoken, it seemed like his breath was a whisper, but Newt still caught the brief look of discomfort at realizing Newt was also a wizard. Up close, Newt could see he was malnourished. Thin and frail. There was a whisper of magic about him, but that was so very weak. Almost like that of a squib. He could see evidence of abuse and if he wasn't an adult, he'd be a textbook example of what an Obscurial would look like. He looked so much like Her it hurt.

"Credence, this is a friend of mine. His name is Newt Scamander. He's here to help the Obscurial. He believes that the child is near your mother," he explained. THe young man frowned in confusion, but didn't seem inclined to ask for clarification. Newt frowned, but realised that Mister Graves most likely didn't know how to recognize an Obscurial himself. There wasn't much known about them for good reason. The only well-known commonality was that they always involved children and that the children always died.

"A magical child has accidents when their magical core starts to develop. Before there were ways to reliably track children, muggle-nonmagical folk- would often be frightened by strange happenings that would occur around their children and blame things they couldn't see. Demons, Spirits, Fairies were all blamed for possessing or stealing and replacing their beloved child. These children would be punished for accidental magic that they couldn't control. The child would attempt to suppress the outbursts," he explained softly. He didn't look at either of them as he spoke. He recalled all too well how She had looked when he had found out what had happened, "Rather than disappear, the stress would only worsen the outbursts. And then they would disappear briefly. Perhaps even as far out as a year or two, but not longer than that. And then they would begin to worsen. AN obscurus is believed to form during the disappearance of magic as it feeds on a child's magical core. It will gain strength as that magical core becomes destabilized... and the child dies. The oldest recorded Obscurial died at the age of ten. THe one I met in Sudan was... She was eight when she... When I failed to save her."

"Modesty-" Credence began, looking at the young girl, but Newt shook his head. Credence and Graves looked at him with surprise and he shrugged.

"It's not her. She's the right age, but she ... She's not the obscurial. The other one isn't either. Neither one of them has the right... Just trust me," he frowned, noticing something in the way Credence held his hands. Oddly straight and stiff rather than faintly curled as they normally were, "In fact, the only one who shows the potential should already have reached the ignition point. Credence, how old are you?"

"I-... I'm Twenty mister Scamander," He ducked his head meekly at being addressed, but Newt had noticed it. More accurately, She had felt it. The subtle shifting of something beneath the skin. He was careful to keep his expression on his face, well used to the scrutiny that a Hippogryph could put one under. HUmans are a cakewalk in comparison. It was emoting properly that was the problem. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to help Credence. If he tried to draw the obscurus out, it might actually kill him. He was lucky as hell the first time, but he couldn't handle two Obscuruses feeding on his magical core, "I don't think hovering over him will help, but would it be alright if I assisted in his search? I could pose as someone questioning about her teachings after having been put on the spot as I had been upon first arriving."

"That could work," Mister Graves agreed, but he held out his hand for Newt's case and Newt found himself hesitating. He knew why he couldn't have them with him when he was alone, but it still made him anxious to be apart. Unfortunately, he knew it was safer to leave them with Mister Graves than to take them into that viper's nest, so he handed them over and watched as Mister Graves apparated away. Credence turned to lead him inside, but Newt reached out to stop him.

"Credence wait," he spoke softly, gently turning the younger man to look at him. The prolonged eye contact was uncomfortable between them, but this was important, "Why does she hurt you?"

"W-what?" he watched the way Credence tensed; the flash of terror, the subtle shift that made Her flicker just below the surface, "I-I don't- I have-... Ma says... Ma says my birth mother was an unnatural woman. She-... She has to be ... be strict to save me... from falling into her wicked ways."

"I see," Newt felt his heart sink. He knew exactly who the Obscurus was possessing, but he still didn't know how to help, "I'm sorry for putting you on the spot. Lead on... and can you tell me more about this New Salem group?

 

Chapter Text

Newt felt like his head was spinning. The woman was horrifying to the extreme in her passionate belief in the evils of magic. But he'd listened and done his best to hide the fact he was like her son. Except not quite as he'd learned. Obscurials normally didn't last as long and Newt only lived because he was already an adult when he'd been possessed. How was he going to be able to help Credence when he didn't know how the poor young man was even still alive? His head was aching and he wanted a nice hot cup of tea when he made his way to Percival Graves's home. The apartment wasn't far, which left him suspicious, but he brushed the thought away. It could simply be coincidence.

"I'm back Mister Graves," he called. He nearly jumped out of his skin when the man appeared, but smiled at the sight of his Case. He reached of iteagerly and the wizard quickly handed it over. Newt would have smiled, but he knew how other wizards felt about magical creatures. He was the lone soul who could see how desperate these poor beasts were, "Meeting Credence and his mother was... enlightening." in more ways than one.

"Yes... I suppose today has been rather stressful," Mister Graves smiled, though it was more of a faint twitch of his lips. Those peculiar micro-expressions that so fascinated Newt. He glanced away before gesturing for Newt to follow him inside. Not that Newt had the choice, but he smiled and followed anyways. He was surprised when he found himself in a sitting room and Mister Graves wandlessly and wordlessly poured them both a glass of Ogden's best.

Quite a large amount of surprise considering the difficulties in importing alcohol into the country. Newt accepted the glass with a hesitant smile that Mister Graves returned before gesturing for him to sit on the rather comfortable couch while the director chose the armchair that looked like it had been used enough to have faded in some places. They sat for a moment in silence, though Newt was surprised that Mister Graves hadn't demanded answers at the door. He observed the man as Percival contemplated the contents of his snifter.

"I fear I owe you an apology, Mister Scamander," Mister Graves began after the silence had drawn to the point of awkwardness, but Newt didn't jump. Mister Graves' low timbrous voice hadn't cut the air so much as smoothly slide closer... Much like the Nundu had when he'd coaxed it into recognizing him as an ally rather than a danger or something to eat and Newt was curious, "I had heard the conversation about your brother, but I did not connect the information until I came close to making a terrible mistake. I owe your brother my life and I nearly sentenced you to the Mirror over a misunderstanding."

"You know my-" he paused, recalling something in the letters his brother had sent before the war became too hectic and their falling out, "... Oh no. You must be Percy." 

Newt couldn't miss the cringe, but the smile that Mister Graves sent him afterwards made billywigs flutter in his stomach. It was more real than the faint twitches. This one lit up his eyes and made his features smooth out. Almost appearing younger.

"Please... Call me Percival," he asked, though he didn't seem particularly bothered at the nickname he'd been saddled with, "I hope to be as close a friend to you as your brother has been to me."

Chapter Text

Rather than talk of the obscurus, Percival seemed interested in talking about Theseus. Talking about Newt. The Auror was fascinated by the work he did in the Ukraine. The failed dragon project, though it worked when Newt was the one flying the world's largest dragons. It wasn't surprising that Newt could coax the beasts into doing as he asked. Not when it was evident that the beasts within his case saw him as 'mummy'. A caretaker who provided and cared for them. Who rescued them and kept them safe. Percival could wait for what he wanted. Especially when it allowed Newt to relax and open up to him. His lips pulled into a small, shy smile and peeking up into his eyes with meek little glances that made the auror wonder if Newt was interested in him. He could use that, but he would rather err on the side of caution. The English could be quite finicky about those sorts of things. But regardless, the evening had drawn on and now it was quite late. Newt was starting to yawn and Percival could feel a creeping exhaustion himself.

"It's getting late," he noted softly, putting aside his glass and standing. He held out his hand to assist Newt in standing and led him to the room he'd be allowing the much younger wizard to sleep in. Newt smiled at him as he warded the room to prevent any attempts to escape and he smiled just slightly in return as he bid the wizard goodnight and turned down the hall. He made his way to a door by the entryway that only he could see. One leading to a flight of stairs and a basement that held the Percival Graves. He didn't need to be here, but he was curious to see what the helpless Director would do when presented with the knowledge that Gellert had his best friend's baby brother under the same roof. Had the man believing that Percival was a kind man who would care for him.

"He's really so very sweet. Your friend's recollections do not do the boy justice," He mused with a smirk that made a cruel light shine in his borrowed dark eyes. The original owner's own dark eyes narrowed. A sneer on his lips as he struggled weakly in his chains and growled at Grindelwald. They both knew there was little else he could do. The collar around his throat was covered in runes that fed on his magic. Independent from Gellert's magic with a source so readily available. Percival was helpless as a no-maj and he knew it. THe chains bolting him to the wall were insult to injury, but they both knew that he'd tried to inflict harm on the dark wizard. The chains were because he'd given Grindelwald a black eye before being sent flying into a wall and cursed until he begged for mercy.

"Stay away from him," Percival hissed. His voice was hoarse from night terrors, but he still forced himself to appear strong. Refusing to be weak in front of an enemy. Refusing to be anything but the powerful Director of Security. They both knew that his illusion had cracked, but Grindelwald allowed him that falsehood. The illusion of comfort that he needed to keep his mind intact, "He's just a- He's not a threat. He doesn't fight. He's a pacifist. Leave him alone!"

"A pacifist that worked with Dragons. One that keeps deadly beasts in his case. They treat him like a mother," Gellert pointed out with a smile as he conjured a chair ans sat across from Percival with a smirk, "Imagine how my plans will improve with a man like him at my side. It's a pity he doesn't see the grand designs of the greater good, but he will soon enough. His beasts will be safe if we don't need to hide. I simply have to make him understand..."

Chapter Text

Reports of ghostly activity crossed his desk, but they didn't make sense. things moved or missing altogether. That sounded like a poltergeist, but there were no noises or sightings. It was as though the activity was being done by someone invisible. And apparently very short. It didn't make sense, but he gathered them up and took notes on what he could glean. Intending on bringing the information to the man who'd caused all the fuss in the first place. He had a feeling Newt would know exactly what it was.

Newt himself was busy with his task, though his weakness towards the act of speaking with fellow humans somewhat hindered his ability to insert himself among Mary Lou's following. It wasn't enough to her more militant followers, but his inherent shyness mixed with the newness and perpetual astonished belief helped keep them at an arm's length rather than pushing for more. He slowly began to gravitate towards the children, his nurturing nature a kindness that many were unused to and they began to open up to him. He was careful to keep that side hidden, unsure of how it would be taken. But as Credence began to blossom under his careful touch, he found himself growing more bold.

"Credence, I think I am positive of where the Obscurial is," Newt spoke calmly, smiling at the young man as he clasped his hands tightly behind his back. If this went wrong, things could become quite dangerous, but Newt was sure he could figure things out. If not, Jacob had told him where there was a large area that didn't have much to worry about things getting flattened, "If I could see you this afternoon after your Mother's meeting, I think we should find somewhere to talk. I believe the park would be best. Nice and open, you see. I have something to show you and I think you'll understand once I explain things."

"B-but what about the child? Shouldn't we bring them to Mister Graves?" Credence asked, looked at him anxiously, but Newt shook his head with a wry smile. There was no child. Only a young man that should have died and didn't. A miraculous child that Newt intended on saving.

"Not yet Credence," he spoke softly, gently. slowly reaching out to place a hand on the young man's shoulder. A gentle touch that Credence leaned into despite himself. It was different from the way Percival touched him, a light inquiring comfort rather than a firm controlling grasp, "I have to be sure that the obscurial will take the news well before springing it on them in front of an audience. I promise, you'll understand when I talk to you at the park. Once we have that talk, We can bring Percival in and talk to him. There is a chance I could be wrong, but I think it's important to be careful."

Chapter Text

Newt couldn’t contain an obscurus. No one could; not even Gellert Grindelwald had that power, but he could try to at least contain Credence long enough to slow the boy down if things went awry. Not that he thought he’d really be able to. Credence was an adult and he had to have far more power than an eight year old child. Far more than a wizard possessed by a child’s obscurus. Newt could only hope that he got things right the first time. She fluttered beneath his skin, flakes of black mist wafting off his shoulders as she shared his anxiety of what was to come. Newt would have to be careful.

“Mister Scama- Mister Newt?” Credence called from beyond the wards, unsure of where he was. He jumped when newt seemed to appear out of nowhere, gently reaching out to take his elbow in hand. He shuddered at the sensation of the man’s magic reaching for him. Unlike Mister Graves’ magic, Newt’s magic felt... wrong somehow. Like two hearts beating out of sync.

“Hello Credence,” newt smiled awkwardly, nervously, knowing that this could end in terrible pain and even death. He swallowed thickly, but ploughed in ahead with what needed to be said, “No one will notice us while we’re inside the bubble. It’s called disillusionment. I have... there’s someone who I want you to meet. She’s... I met her when she was seven and we’ve been together for some time. She... I think you’re like her. “ like she was.

“Who? I never-“

“She’s dead. She... she died because I wasn’t able to help her. I thought I could, but it didn’t work right. It nearly killed us both.” Newt shuddered, feeling her running featherlight over his arms. Soothing him as he’d once done for her.

“Then how- Who am I meeting?” Credence’s brows were furrowed as he watched Newt without comprehension. Bewildered by his words.

“Credence, I’m... I was turned into an obscurial,” he flinched as Credence’s eyes widened and the boy stepped back, “I was too late to save her. Now her obscurus is a part of me. She lives beneath my skin, but it’s going to kill us both. The best I can do is keep her calm and content and try not to become too upset.”

“What happens when you’re upset?” He asked nervously, watching newt and the strange black ash that seemed to flake off from his coat. Something within him stirred. Something he’d tried so very hard to force down when he was younger, “Why am I here? Why didn’t you want me to bring the child?”

“There is no child, Credence,” he admitted softly, looking away as he clasped his hands together, “The obscurial has grown into a wonderful young man who is shy and sweet and kind. Obscurials don’t live into adulthood. That you’re-to see you like this is nothing short of miraculous. Even by wizarding standards, an adult obscurus is unbelievable. I’m the exception, but mine is accidental. You are the impossible.”

“No...” Credence shook his head. His dark eyes wide with fright as he looked at the wilting man before him. There had to be a mistake. Credence was a monster. An abomination. The nightmares and the pain were an extension of his wickedness. They couldn’t be true. He shook his head frantically; backing away. Unaware of the black flakes drifting from his own shoulders, “no, You’re wrong! There- it can’t be- I’m not-...”

“I’m sorry Credence, truly I am,” he didn’t look directly into the younger man’s eyes, but there was no deception. His face was open. Misery and sadness, but also a strange alien hope, “I don’t know why or how Director graves knows about them, but no one knows Beasts and non-Beasts as well as I do. You’re like me Credence, but you’re also a source of hope. I want to help you Credence. You’ll learn magic like he promised and we’ll learn to cure obscurials. Together.”

Credence exploded. A black mass burst out from him and buzzed, burned and churned and Newt was thankful for the size of the area he’d warded. Credence was massive. A huge black cloud of terror and anxiety with raw energy sparking like lightning in a storm and Newt breathed out in empathetic pain before he allowed her to pour out and dissolve him into a smaller mass that danced in a soothing pattern as lights glimmered like stars through a veil. Soothing as a soft susurrus emanated in a counterpoint to the harsh shrieks of pain and fear that belonged to the younger man’s obscurus.