Newt Scamander is named after two of their family's hippogriffs, Artemis and Fido. These hippogriffs are not his favorite, though. Artemis and Fido would wholeheartedly agree as well that Newt is not theirs, not because Newt didn't favor them, but because Newt has been claimed by the leader of the Scamander brood of hippogriffs.
General, everyone called him.
Perseus Scamander, Newt's father, has always been cruel. Oh, other people might not think so, but Newt certainly does, even from a very young age.
Magicless and magical beasts alike have children for the sake of reproduction. Humans do too, but not all of them. Certainly not his parents. Fauna certainly don't rub it into their child's face that they were unwanted and unloved. Creatures don't use words that might as well be bludgeons, intent on metaphorically grinding Newt into paste.
"We were perfectly happy with your brother! I knew you would be different, a burden, a blight on our family's good name! I did all I could to have you terminated when we learned you mother was pregnant, but you survived, and I have been trying my best to tolerate you ever since then!" Perseus shouts, spittle flying every which way. The glob of spit that landed on his arm might as well be acid. Newt flinches, curling into himself in a desperate attempt to make himself look smaller and less of a target.
It's futile. They are locked in Perseus' study, and there is no one else in sight.
"And how do you repay our kindness? You go cavorting with every blasted animal you come in contact with, as if you were one of them! Other families subscribe to the idea of an heir and a spare, but I certainly don't! I refuse! Theseus is a strong, strapping, proper Scamander heir, and I have no need for a spare such as you!" Perseus snarls, then takes a deep breath, chest heaving. "Alas, we are bound by society and we are forced to keep you alive to keep appearances up. Are you listening, Newton?"
"Y-Yes, Father," Newt replies meekly to his father's menacing tone, voice barely above a whisper.
"Yes, Father, he says! And yet, after every talk we have, what do you do? You go right back to your animals, you neglect your etiquette classes and your other studies, you make trouble everywhere you go! I should wring your neck and do you in for good, blame it on the African Strangler and no one would know better!"
Newt's blood turns to ice. The African Strangler may be carnivorous, but it is still a plant. And a plant is something that Newt can't plead with, can't beg mercy from.
"Are you terrified, Newton?" Perseus hisses. Newt jerks his head, trembling too badly to control his movement. "Good, that's good. Be a good boy, Newton. The next time I hear of another misdemeanor from you, I might make good on that promise. Remember, you only stay alive because you must appear to be a passable spare for your brother. The moment I think your presence is unnecessary... Well. You're creative and resourceful. Use that creativity and resourcefulness to imagine what I might do. Do you understand me?"
"Y-Y-Yes, F-Father..." Newt sobs, fat, salty tears falling down his cheeks.
"Get out of my sight!" Perseus roars with disgust at Newt's blubbering. Newt scampers off, falling off from his chair in his haste and skinning his knee and right palm. Even so, he doesn't dare stop.
He's a child, but he's not an idiot. If he stops, his life is forfeit.
He can't see where he's going through the hot tears that pour out his tear-ducts. He runs, and runs, and runs some more, gasping for breath and coughing because he's too distressed to properly breathe. He doesn't know how far he's gone, doesn't realized that he'd strayed into the grazing territory of the Scamander brood.
It's no wonder he bumps into something. Except he collides with something soft, instead of hard like he's expecting. A moment later, there's a piercing cry above him--and he knows that sound, has known it all his life though it has never been directed at him before. He has offended a hippogriff.
He can't run anymore. He's physically not capable of running, not with his legs feeling like useless noodles, his lungs burning like Theseus' disastrous attempt with cooking bacon, his whole body trembling like he'd been jinxed. He can't get up from his pathetic sprawl on the ground. He can barely lift his head to meet the hippogriff's eyes, he can't even see straight, he can't breathe, he can't defend himself-- would his magic lash out when the hippogriff attacks? It better not. If one of their prized hippogriffs gets injured because of Newt, his father will murder him in cold blood. Newt is certain that his life and well-being is well below that of a Scamander hippogriff. His father has made that clear.
He expects claws across his face, across his torso--but pain doesn't come. Instead, a gentle breeze ruffles his hair, and the next thing he knows, a warm blanket is enveloping him. A blanket of bronze feathers.
Newt gasps. The hippogriff lowers its majestic head level to Newt's own. Newt has seen this one before, but even Theseus has warned him away, so Newt has never tried approaching him.
Against all odds, the leader of the Scamander brood is offering him comfort. General, Newt knows, does not let anyone approach him. Not even Perseus. No, General is always the one who initiates contact with those few humans he could tolerate. Anyone who tries otherwise is guaranteed a lost limb at the very least.
But here General is, gazing soulfully at him. This close, Newt can see the striation of General's beautiful golden brown eyes. Newt can feel General's every breath as the hippogriff's chest expands and deflates with every inhale and exhale.
If General was planning on hurting him, if Newt really had offended General, then why is Newt still alive? Why is Newt inexplicably safe, maybe even the safest he's ever been?
His tears start anew, because why would General show him care and compassion when his own father would likely throw Newt into Fiendfyre at the first opportunity?
General tightens his hold, fully sheltering Newt under his wing now. Newt cries silently for a long, long while, feeling safe, confused, hurt, comforted, overwhelmed by everything.
He's just a child. He falls asleep from exhaustion right there, oblivious to the fact that General has decided to spontaneously adopt him, unknowing and uncomprehending of the fact that sometimes, he wouldn't need to prove himself before someone will love him, that it's possible for people and all sorts of beasts to freely offer him love. He'll struggle with that all his life, but it's okay. He's not alone. He never will be, because Theseus and other creatures will make sure of it.
In the morning, Newt wakes to the sight of Theseus a few feet away. Theseus is not one of General's favored humans, and yet, he's here in striking distance. He's in his pajamas, and he's sitting cross-legged on the dewy grass, breaking numerous rules of society.
General preens Newt's curly ginger hair, which is an impossible battle. He makes no moves against Theseus' presence.
"Hey. You feeling better, Newt?" Theseus asks.
Newt nods dazedly. It's the middle of fall, but he feels warm all over even after spending the night outside.
Newt glances down. There's a kneazle sitting by his ankles: Merle, one of those blasted animals that his father had seen him cavorting with. General has never let any kneazles go near him, to Newt's knowledge. Newt feels light-headed, because that... that means something, doesn't it? That General would suddenly change, would suddenly allow the presence of others near him--
"What say you to breakfast, huh? I could try cooking eggs this time," Theseus asks, derailing Newt's train of thought.
"You'll make Lapsy cry again," Newt replies automatically, thinking of their house-elf's despair whenever the Scamander heir wanders into the kitchen.
"Hey!" Theseus cries indignantly.
General nudges his back, and Newt rises to oblige. After a last affectionate rub of Newt's head, General takes off to the skies, likely to hunt for his own breakfast.
Newt turns back to Theseus when General disappears from view. "You should hurry back inside and change into proper clothes, Theseus."
Theseus holds out his hand with a blinding grin. "Not without you."
Newt takes the offered hand and marvels at its warmth. He doesn't meet Theseus' gaze. "You got near General. That was dangerous."
"He had you hostage! Of course I would," Theseus protests. "You weren't in your room last night, so I looked for you. Merle helped me, isn't that right, Merle?"
"Meow," Merle agrees from where he's trotting alongside the two brothers.
"But General could have attacked you," Newt says. "Weren't you scared?"
"I was scared he'd attack you. At first. But he was just letting you sleep, so I went back to bed and asked Merle to wake me up early so I could sneak out this morning," Theseus explains.
"Good, you didn't sleep out in the cold," Newt mutters. "But that was still dangerous. If you'd gotten hurt..."
Because of me, Newt doesn't dare say out loud, but Theseus still hears it.
"I'll always come, you know. Especially when it's dangerous. Because you're my brother," Theseus declares. Newt thinks that if it's possible to make an Unbreakable Vow with no wands and only two people, Theseus would have succeeded right then.
Newt hugs him, because he doesn't have any words for how thankful he is of his brother's presence.
Years later, Newt would borrow bravery from his Gryffindor brother to set foot back into his childhood home. He brings Percival Graves with him, and they make a beeline for the grazing territory of the hippogriffs. Newt has no intention of introducing Percival to Perseus, after all.
No, he wanted to introduce Percival to General, who was more of a parental figure to Newt than his biological father.
General, more gray than bronze-brown these days but no less majestic, bows dutifully back to Percival when the American wizard bows deeply in greeting. Here was someone who obviously cherished Newt as much as Newt cherished him, so there was no reason to be rude.