It irked Grindelwald. Well, to be blunt, this entire situation was irking to the extreme. Aspects could even be considered infuriating. That he was forced to delay once more, forced to sit idly for a time by an organization centered on cowering from no-majs. Muggles. That alone was irritating, how much these American customs had slipped into his bearing, they needed to be extracted as soon as possible. Percival Graves was a convenient face nothing more. Finally, that he had missed such a mass of power, unused, waiting to be harnessed, and now lost. But out of all of the situation, what grated on Grindelwald the most was not that he had overlooked Credence Barebones, who was still merely a sniveling child, or that MACUSA had him in a cell for a time, no, it was something far more base. Newt Scamander.
He was of little relevance at the beginning, a means to an end at most, someone to distract MACUSA from the Obscurus, but it seemed Newt Scamander was not a man that remained where he was meant to be. He started breaking from that role while in interrogation and it was almost a shame to send him to his death, with how quickly the man had caught onto his slip and how staunchly he was against the cause. It would have been fascinating to see if that stood the test of Grindelwald. But Miss Goldstein looked stricken at Newt’s line of questioning and while he had done his best to discredit her within MACUSA, he didn’t necessarily enjoy that. She had a spark and he respected maintaining that amongst the stifle of the society around her, even if he knew she was incapable of grasping onto the scope of his vision. So if she began to see the flaws in ‘Graves’ performance, their time had come to an end. Mr. Scamander was interesting, but not needed. He could study the Obscurus and gain insight to finding and using the Obscurio, the other beasts could be set loose or killed, they didn’t matter and nor did the man.
Or that was what he had believed, but they both proved to be a very stubborn thorn in his side, impeding his claiming of Credence. If anything, Miss Goldstein’s expression hardened after he threw the barb her way. And Mr. Scamander…
He and Albus shared a belief and that was that life was like chess. Their view on the humanity of the pieces differed, but there was that commonality of the board and the strategy required for it. And with that view came a respect and an understanding. You didn’t make a move during another player’s turn, you prepared for your own. And you didn’t touch the other player’s pieces. Credence was his, his to manipulate, his to shape. Lesser beings would call it fondness, but it truly wasn’t.
Credence was given the minimum of what he needed to survive and to remain close to Grindelwald, no more. He was there to serve his purpose, which began and ended with the Obscurio being found. Even Albus was never given everything. Oh he knew what Albus felt, it and his old friend’s guilt were all that stood in the way of his actually confronting Grindelwald and confident as Grindelwald was, Albus was the only other that could even potentially be called his equal. It was an inevitable fight, but it was one that would be staved off as long as possible. And if Albus, his potential equal, was not given that, Credence deserved nothing. He had bent and broken under a muggle who held no power except what Credence gave. It was unacceptable.
But regardless of that, Credence was still his piece. And Mr. Scamander stole him. It was poor form, but it showed a strength of will that Grindelwald overlooked. It took Grindelwald weeks to gain Credence’s trust, but Mr. Scamander coaxed him to solidity in a matter of minutes. It was the first time that Grindelwald evaluated him a threat and he acted accordingly. The spell he used was flashy, painful, and powerful. He remembered teaching it to Albus and it being one of the few spells that the other had struggled with for a time, lacking the rage necessary to power it. One of his sisters ‘incidents’ brought that problem to an end. He chose it partially to agitate Credence, but also because Newt Scamander had proved difficult. Grindelwald had a method for difficult things.
If he didn’t murder them outright, he made them scream. There was something vulnerable and exposed about being forced into vocalizing weakness and it served to satiate Grindelwald, but also to inspire fear in the difficulty. And that spell had fulfilled its purpose multiple times over. Only twice had it failed him. Once with Albus’ imbecilic brother and now once again. Mr. Scamander never screamed.
Oh, he writhed, he attempted to defend himself, he failed, but he never screamed. And it was IRKING. He held a higher threshold and competency then Grindelwald could have guessed and to put it bluntly, he was the only reason that magic was not exposed. The only reason that Grindelwald was here, the only reason that he failed.
And Grindelwald wanted him to scream.
There was a knocking from the bars and Grindelwald turned to face them, finding a more recently enlightened auror standing at near attention in front of the cell, a light of respect and accomplishment in her eyes.
“My lord, the preparations have been made.” He nodded and stood gracefully, straightening his garments and striding to the door, the lock undone by the woman shortly after. He breathed in deeply upon stepping out of the cell and then set his gaze on her.
“Do you have him? Has the potion been brewed correctly?” She nodded smoothly and removed a coin pouch from her pocket, retrieving his wand and returning it to him, before stepping into the cell and beginning to set it all up. It was, ironically, inspired by Mr. Scamander’s case, not as extensive, but useful enough.
He ran his fingers over the hard-won knots of the Elder Wand, long-missed, and watched as the auror levitated the prone and unresponsive form of Percival Graves from within the pouch onto the cell bed and forced Polyjuice Potion down his throat. The man moaned in discomfort as the potion pushed its way through him, before falling silent once more, looking, to all the world, like Grindelwald himself asleep.
She turned to face him, a small smile on her lips, but was not given a chance to speak before he had her stunned, merely watching as she fell, slamming her head against the metal bed frame on the way down. He left her in the pouch, obliviated, with a few hairs missing. If she lived, her life and an alibi was the thanks that she would receive.
Striding through MACUSA, nodding to those that smiled his way, Grindelwald’s mind whirred through future plans, but the first that he settled on was simple. He needed an example to remind both Europe and America why he should be feared, because fear was just as important as the best stratagems. Someone with ties to both would be optimal and it was then the foundations for the plan set. He needed Newt Scamander to scream and he would ensure that the world would hear it.