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Darkest Despair

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He lost all hope as the weeks past with no one but Grindelwald for infrequent company. Grindleward had stolen his face and teased out his memories, stealing his life for whatever nefarious purpose filled that evil mind, and Percival could do nothing to stop him. He had tried at first but the shackles binding him were soaked in powerful magic, inflicting terrible pain if he tried even the simplest of spells as taught to a child. These were the binding spells that kept criminals from escaping while being transported to Azkaban; he recognized his own handiwork in some of them, feeling the irony of that knowledge.

Days had passed since Grindleward's last visit and Percival had long since eaten the last of the meager food dropped into his holding cell, now sustained only by water trickling down the side of one wall. He was cold and hungry, and his body ached from sitting or lying on the hard ground, his back pressed against the damp wall. Only the light and shadows moving across the small grate high on the wall gave him any sense of day and night; a small mercy no doubt overlooked by the cruel, dark wizard. Or perhaps intentionally provided to torment him into awareness of how many days had passed without anyone noticing the imposter in their midst.

All sound from outside was muffled and sometimes he spoke or sang just to hear the sound of a human voice, even if just his own.

A small shadow flickered across the grate, catching his attention. It moved again and he raised his head when something small slithered into the cell. An Occamy? It grew larger once inside, slowly filling most of the cell and Percival pressed back into the corner to avoid being crushed. Another shadow crossed the grate followed by a flare of light that was almost blinding in its intensity. He heard a voice, too loud for ears become used to silence.

"Daphne? What have you found that's so interesting, hmm?"

The grate became larger, the light brightening until he could make out the shape of an eye; a grayish green, gold flecked iris, edged in blue. The eye looked straight at Percival, widening as if in shock. He heard a murmur of a spell and the grate enlarged, the eye becoming part of a freckled face. Whether it was handsome or not was immaterial for at this moment any face other than his own on Grindelwald was the most beautiful he had ever seen, becoming blurry as a film of tears filled his own eyes.

The Occamy was enticed from Percival's cell before the grate became large enough for a man to fit through, and he reached up for the hand that reached down towards him, feeling the warmth of another person for the first time in weeks. Once out of the cell the binding spells dropped away, but weakened by his incarceration, Percival dropped too, to the dusty floor of an old Curio store he had once frequented in the Wizarding district. Had he been there all this time, locked away into a curio on a dusty shelf?

"I..." Percival heard his voice crack and tried again. "I... I assume you have a valid permit for that Occamy?" he asked, and the quirkily handsome, red-haired man in a blue coat chuckled, ducking his head away.

"And you can only be the real Percival Graves," he replied, smoothly side-stepping Percival's question on permits.

Percival would have insisted but the words 'real Percival Graves' caught at him, bringing a small intake of breath that he refused to admit might have been a sob of relief. They had unveiled the imposter, which would explain why he had seen no sign of Grindelwald in days.

Looking back many years later Newt liked to tease him about how they first met, and especially for his 'hero crush' on his rescuer that had turned into something so much more. It was all nonsense, of course, though Percival had yet to meet anyone who had more beautiful eyes than the ones he first saw in his darkest moment of despair.

END