It was a late night, just a bit past one. The streets were silent, aside from a few stragglers making their way home briskly after a night out drinking and other things of the like. The air was especially cold, breaths of hot air visible in the chill. Many would be hurrying home at this point, eager to wrap themselves in warm covers near the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. But of course, Percival Graves was not many.
His walk was slow with long strides ─ almost leisurely if you squinted hard enough ─ as he made his way home to his apartment. An aura of authority practically illuminated him, and though his pace said otherwise, his expression was that of a man on a mission. Perhaps that was simply his default expression though. Nevertheless, it proved to be useful as the few walking past him sidestepped hurriedly, as though touching him would send a bolt of lightning through them. Yes indeed, Graves very much enjoyed this peaceful walk home. And then his peace was broken.
“Stop! You fuggin’ cheat! You, you─hic─you cheat!” A man’s drunken voice shouted from across the street.
Graves did not slow his stride as he turned his head towards the disturbance, an eyebrow raised. He spotted a disheveled man, clearly drunk out of his mind, wobbling out of a nearby bar with the help of a young, dark-haired man, who appeared to be perhaps the bartender. A ways from them was yet another man, sprinting down the sidewalk like his life depended on it, the square shape of a wallet clearly visible in one hand.
“Bastard!” A hiccup. “I’ll get you! I’m fast!” The man then proceeded to keel over.
The bartender merely patted the patron on the back as soothingly as possible. His face, however, seemed rather amused at the whole ordeal.
“I’m sure you’ll catch him.”
“Damn straight I will!”
“Of course, of course.”
“Just you watch, I’ll---” And more puking.
But that was when the Auror slowed to a stop. If it were anyone else, they would have either been watching the drunken man emptying his stomach or the thief nearing the street corner - not the bartender’s subtle hand gesture.
The thief suddenly tripped unceremoniously, cursing loudly as he did so, but scrambled to his feet and took off out of sight. It would have gone unnoticed under the cover of darkness, but Graves saw it clearly, the wallet, quite literally, flying across the sidewalk, straight into the bartender’s hand. Within a mere second, the wallet was out of sight, deftly placed inside the patron’s back pocket as if it had never left in the first place. If the man wasn’t busy puking, he surely would have noticed. Or not.
On cue, an old cab pulled up beside the pair, and it was more than likely that this was a common occurrence.
“Right on time, your cabs here mister,” the bartender chimed, a smile still plastered on his youthful face.
A groan came from him as he sniffed and crudely wiped his mouth on his sleeve. The bartender ushered him into the cab and handed the driver a few bills, before happily shutting the door. As the cab took off, the man waved a lazy good bye before passing out in his seat. And then there were two.
They made eye contact. The bartender stared at the Auror, smile dimming slightly though still present; a look of confusion. Tilting his head to one side innocently, the young man turned and headed back into the bar. Graves frowned at this, but to his luck, it seemed that all of the patrons had left after the commotion.
The sounds of chimes echoed in the empty room as the door shut behind him. The bartender had his back turned to him as he organized his glasses on the shelf.
“Sorry, mister. Bar’s closing up now.” He turned to face him now, hands on his hips - though his expression was nothing but friendly.
He was actually a she . Pale with short, jet black hair combed to one side, and eyes just as dark. An Asian woman, with soft yet boyish features. She was very easy to mistake as a man, her voice barely gave it away; low and raspy enough to sound like a young man, but high enough to sound feminine.
“I can see that.” Graves answered, authority practically oozing from him. “However, I have some questions I need answered. Surely, you’ll have time for just a few?” His tone left no room for questions.
The woman blinked at him, a single brow raised. They were both sizing each other up, but for different reasons entirely. “Well alright, shoot.”
The Auror stood directly in front of the bar now, the bartender nearly in arms length in case things went awry. He didn’t see any place on her clothing that would allow her to hide a wand, and surely, she wasn’t that much of a fool to leave it within the bar with no-majs around - especially drunken ones. She watched him dutifully.
“Now I have to ask, and do answer sincerely,” the older man began. With a simple wave of his hand, all of the curtains came down to shield from any prying eyes. She visibly tensed. “What in the world do you think you’re doing working in a no-maj bar?”
It was silent. A very awkward and uncomfortable silent. She cleared her throat and opened her mouth, before closing it. His gaze didn’t falter as he stared her down with such smoldering seriousness, it would have made any grown man wet themselves. She clicked her tongue, realizing how bad this particular situation was.
“Well, I don’t know what a no-maj is, but you’re...” she trailed off for a moment in thought. "You’re a special somethin’ huh?”
And then she smiled at him sheepishly before vanishing into thin air. He followed not a moment later.
It took a mere 5 minutes for Graves to capture the fleeing witch. Of course, you would expect nothing less from the Director of Magical Security. So there they were, atop a building, the bartender looking anything but pleased with her predicament, cursing under her breath for being caught so easily. The older man had his hands in his pockets looking quite unamused, though he rarely ever seemed amused.
He merely watched her for a moment, trying to figure out who this woman was. Certainly no dark witch, he would have recognized her if she was. She was, simply put, nobody. But a nobody who was breaking the law by interacting with no-majs without a care in the world, and that was dangerous.
And by her body language, he could tell she was irritated - not afraid mind you. Almost like a child being caught red-handed for stealing a cookie.
“Who are you?” He finally asked. Her lips pulled into a thin line, unsure of whether or not she should respond.
“Percival Graves.” That earned him a funny look.
“What kind of name is that?”
He easily sidestepped her question. “Do you know why I am arresting you?”
The woman stared at him incredulously, her voice not betraying her confusion, “Arresting me─what are you a cop?” She scrunched her nose as she processed the information. “Like a magic cop or something?”
The Auror furrowed his brow at her response. Surely, she wasn’t this ignorant.
“Do you know what MACUSA is?”