He was born as a slave and manipulated into being involved in the genocide of his own race, then forced to live with the burden of having an immortal body filled with the crying souls of the thousands of people who had died.
He devoted at least a couple of centuries conversing with over 500,000 souls, getting to know each and every one of them, befriending them, and cooperating with them.
Hohenheim did not leave his children alone. He left them in the (more than capable) hands of Trisha, where he knew they would be raised well. He trusted that Trisha would be able to explain his absence to Ed & Al without revealing the truth about his body. He couldn’t have anticipated her death, and as he was travelling the entire country he had no way of keeping in contact with Trisha to check that she and their sons were doing ok (this is assuming the Elrics didn’t have a telephone).
Hohenheim had difficulty interacting with people, even his own family. He would probably have a very hard time writing letters back home, or talking to Trisha on the phone. He more than likely thought it best to keep his distance 100% until he could return home for fear of ruining any of his relationships with his family.
Hohenheim was immortal and had already lived for hundreds of years. A year or two probably wouldn’t have seemed like a long time to somebody with such a huge lifespan. Hohenheim likely still pictured his sons as young children, even after 10 years of not seeing them.
When Hohenheim returned to Resembool he expected to be greeted by the love of his life and his two young boys standing at the doorway to his family home. Instead he found a pile of burnt rubble, Trisha’s grave, Edward’s automail, and Alphonse’s empty body.
He completely blamed himself for Ed and Al’s attempt at human transmutation and subsequent injuries. He understood that they were lonely, grieving children and in his eyes the fault was all down to him and - taboo or not - the brothers had not done anything wrong.
Despite being the most powerful character in the FMA universe, Hohenheim was a pacifist and did not fight or injure a single person in the whole series.
He always put everyone else before himself.
The things which made him happiest in the whole world were all to do with his children. Alphonse trusting him, Ed and Al helping him on the promised day, Ed calling him Dad for the first time, getting to shake Al’s hand after recovering his body… his whole life revolved around his sons as soon as he met up with them again. He was willing to sacrifice himself for Ed and Al’s sake.
He died happy because he was so proud of Ed and Al and he knew that they had made incredible friends who would look after them for the rest of their lives.
Without him everyone would be dead.
All he wanted was a normal life.
Van Hohenheim was not a bad person.
Van Hohenheim was not a bad father.
He is romantically cheesy as hell
He wears glasses just so he looks slightly different to Father
He used to fly into an Ed-like rage whenever anyone called him unintelligent
The first thing he said to Alphonse after reuniting with him was, “My vintage armor!!”
One of the first things he said to Edward after reuniting with him was, “we have the same hairstyle”.
Newt gets Graves a kitten, because he knows how helpful animals
are in the healing process and while it’s been a year since Grindelwald, some
scars just don’t want to fade away. Those tricky scars of the heart.
So he gets Graves a kitten. A small, fluffy kitten with blond
wisps of hair and eyes too big for its head. Feeble in its youth. Its cries are
more chirping than cat-like. He puts a big, floppy bow around its neck - the
red ribbon practically bigger than its whole body and giving it the illusion of
wings - before quietly slipping into the bedroom they share.
“This is him,” Newt whispers into the little kitten’s too large
ears, lifting him up and out to show him the slender back of the man laying in
bed before them - dead asleep. “Now off you go, just like we discussed.”
And then he sets the little beast down and lets it loose. He
watches as it determinedly wobbles to the bed, obviously set on a goal. Smiles
as it sets its tiny claws into the soft silk of their sheets and climbs the
tall rise of their bed. Walks closer to watch as the little fur ball then makes
an unsteady beeline for the man in the bed – as though completely aware of what
Newt had said to him when walking home with him this morning from the shelter.
He can’t stop himself from laughing when the little beast
finally makes it to Graves’ face. It reaches out with a tiny paw and taps his
face kindly, as though asking for attention, before finally flat out sitting on
the man’s face.
Graves jerks up, eyes wide and hair sticking out in every which
way, and blinks first at the now upended little fur ball on his pillow, then at
Newt – bewildered and confused from waking. Newt only laughs harder as he
watches Graves slowly try to connect the dots, everything moving slowly from
sleep. His hands seem impossibly large as he gathers the struggling little
kitten up to better study it.
Bright green eyes, blonde fluffy coat, tiny little paws and a
soft little chin that it rests atop his knuckles, staring up at him. Newt sees
it the moment something melts in Graves – too tired and too early to hide the
emotion before Newt can see.
“Do you like him?” Newt asks, bemused as his partner’s eyes rise
from over top the little cat to stare at him, baffled and sleepy.
“I don’t understand,” Graves says, and Newt feels another piece
of his heart melt for the man currently naked and in his bed, holding a kitten
and blinking sleepily at him.
“He’s mine?” Graves repeats.
“Yes,” Newt chuckles.
“You got me a cat?” Graves asks, eyes falling back down on the
Newt pauses, suddenly worried that this had been a rash
decision. He shouldn’t have surprised his partner with something so big, that
required such a commitment, without talking to him first. His thoughts begin to
tail spin. His hands tremble as he wrings them.
“I, uh – yes. That is… if you want him?”
Graves just squints at him for a long moment before suddenly collapsing
back into the bed again, taking the kitten with him.
“That’s great,” Graves mumbles into his pillow, the kitten
tucked happily beneath his chin and purring merrily away. “Kitten Newt won’t
leave me alone in my bed at hideously early hours every morning.”
Newt squawked, indignant; a huge and spreading smile on his face
despite his affronted tone.
“You’re replacing me?!”
“Move over, I’m coming in there.”
“Nope, I have kitten Newt now. There’s no more need for you in
my bed,” Graves says, one eye cracking open to catch Newt’s gaze as he smiles,
unable to hide his mirth.
“Oh you’re going to get it,” Newt growls as he stalks the bed.
“Not in front of kitten
Newt!” Graves gasps, dramatic and scandalized.
Newt crawls onto the bed where he’d normally sleep and gently
covers the little kitten’s eyes with one finger, ignoring its plaintive little
meow as he leans forward to capture Graves’ lips in a soft, sleepy kiss.
“Thank you,” Graves whispers into his lips after their kiss.
This is just a short one-shot. I will post it on Archive and fanfic under the same name eventually. Hope ya’ll enjoy!
-Soul Mates have matching SoulMarks and are called each other’s Destined
-When one of the pair dies the Mark disappears
-Marks have a unique shape and color
-Whether someone can be born w/o a SoulMark or whether they can get one after their Soul Mate is born is not relevant for this story
I Know (By the Timing and the Color of His Eyes)
They found him locked in a trunk in his own apartment. Inside the innocent looking trunk was a huge dungeon-like cell. There were various torture devices around the space that the MACUSA Aurors could barely look at without feeling crippling waves of rage and guilt.
Percival Graves was hanging limply in the center of the room covered in blood and dirt and other questionable substances. Many who were part of the retrieval squad wanted to turn away stomachs queasy from the sight and smell, but they stood firm. It was the least they could do for their Director who they all knew they had failed horribly.
He was stripped bare, and Tina noticed she could count each of his ribs as she cautiously approached him. He had not even twitched at their arrival and she was afraid they had made it too late.
“Mr. Graves,” she quietly called trying not to startle him.
Finally he moved- his head slowly lifting and the Aurors felt relief rush through them.
“Mr. Graves! It’s me, Tina-” She cut off with a gasp echoed around the room by her comrades.
Because there on the junction between the neck and left shoulder where there should have been a unique SoulMark that in all the world would only have one match (where they all knew there should have been a mark thanks to workplace gossip) was a horrible scar. The skin looked red and inflamed like a fresh burn.
It was only the darkest magic that could interfere or damage a SoulMark.
Had Grindelwald really sunk so low?
Looking into Mr. Graves eyes and seeing the broken despair there Tina knew they would not be able to magically fix this.
Mr. Graves was back to work six months after his rescue. Even President Picquery couldn’t convince him to take more time off. He acted much the same, but there were a few key differences to before.
Whispers followed him down the halls of MACUSA usually followed by pitying or distrustful looks. Words like “SoulMark” and “Grindelwald” not said quietly enough. Those of the Auror department were always quick to glare the gossipers into silence when they were near.
Mr. Graves was more strict than before. Every report needed to be perfect. Every case from his time in captivity was reviewed, twice. He stayed late at the department and was always the first to arrive. He no longer stopped to chat with his senior Aurors and didn’t join them for drinks on Friday nights like he used to.
The shadows under his eyes never disappeared, but none of them could voice their concern. There was an emptiness in his gaze that made all their hearts ache. They were very careful to never show pity and everyone worked twice as hard. They could never forgive themselves for not noticing that their boss was being impersonated; that he had been locked away for months in his own home due to their inadequacy.
Grindelwald slowly approached the man hanging in the center of the room. He steps echoed off the walls and he enjoyed the slight shivers that shook his prisoner’s frame whether from the fear or the cold he didn’t really care.
He reached out and grasped the greasy black and grey locks and yanked pulling until he could see the eyes of his victim- even after all this time still burning with defiance.
“Percival, Percival, Percival,” he slowly tsked, “Have I not told you before how rude it is not to greet your host?”
The Director of Magical Security simply glared having learned early on that it was better not to respond. Grindelwald had killed one of his Aurors as retaliation last time.
The Dark Lord merely laughed, “Oh, do not be like that Percival. Our time together is almost over.”
Mr. Graves practically snarled- the first sound he’d uttered since other’s entrance.
“Shhhh,Shhh,” Grindelwald said a gentle smile ghosting on his lips and unnerving his captive, “I will keep my word, and once I have what I want you will be released.”
The Dark Lord’s smile turned truly malicious, “However, what kind of host would I be if I did not leave you with a parting gift?”
His other hand came up and slowly caressed the Mark on Graves’s skin.
The man in question flinched back and for the first time since his capture pleaded with the mad man in front of him.
“N-no,” he croaked, voice hoarse from previous screams.
Grindelwald’s grin widened showing all his teeth with a maniac gleam.
“Oh, but, Percival, I have been researching the perfect curse for my goodbye present. I had to dig through hundreds of ancient tomes. What I wanted was quite obscure. You would not want to have wasted all my efforts? Would you,” he said grip bruising.
“Please,” Mr. Graves begged desperation clouding his voice.
Grindelwald laughed, “I knew I would one day have you begging before me, and you do not even know the full extent of it. Shall I explain?”
Mr. Graves shook his head as much as he could with the German man’s grip on his hair, “Don’t-”
The Dark Lord continued on gleefully, as if presenting a lecture, “In common terms it is called Soul Erasure or the Rasura curse. It was developed by the Egyptians for use against the invading Roman soldiers to strike at the moral of the army, and is rumored to be how Cleopatra managed to seduce Mark Antony. Rather simply it will erase your Mark from you and your Destined.”
Graves let out a tormented denial for which Grindelwald harshly backhanded him and then resumed his explanation the sadistic smile never faltering.
“But this curse will do so much more than that. It will not just erase the Mark from your skin, but from your mind as well. You will not be able to recall its shape or color. You could look at a picture of it and know it as yours, but as soon as you look away you will forget.”
Graves was shaking in horror. If it weren’t for the suppressing bands tight around his wrists he would have killed the man before him- as it was his magic was whirling chaotically inside him urgently trying to break free to stop this.
“And the best part,” Grindelwald said reveling in the effects of his words, “your soulmate will assume you have died. They will mourn and eventually move on. You will never know them. They will be lost to you. It could be anyone you pass in the street and you would not know. They could die at any time and you would not know. Until the day you die you will never know!”
The Dark Lord watched as the man before him panicked. Perhaps this would be the thing to finally break the Director.
He watched Graves’s struggles a bit more before slowly raising his wand so that the captured man could see it, “Well now, this is going to hurt, just a little.”
Tina was worried. It had been almost two years since the Grindelwald fiasco, and there was still something in Mr. Graves that was broken- no- lost.
She blamed herself more harshly than the others. She had been Mr. Graves’s trainee. He was her mentor and she should have been able to recognize an impostor had taken his place, but she didn’t. It took a stranger to notice! (Even if Newt was now a close friend- it should have been her.)
Mr. Graves seemed recovered. His case success rate was at an all time high, his work efficiency was never better, but he was empty. He bantered with the senior Aurors again, but sometimes it fell flat. Once when Queenie had visited her with some of Jacob’s pastries (thank heavens they were Destined and not even MACUSA law would interfere with that) Mr. Graves had passed by and her sister had gasped and given the man such a mournful look. She had refused to elaborate, and Mr. Graves now avoided Queenie.
Tina herself had seen the Director staring intently at his pocket-watch as if memorizing something only for him look away and suddenly his expression would fall into despair and grief so profound she could no longer look at him.
It couldn’t go on she knew, watching her boss prowl down the aisle between the auror’s desks and into his office, something had to give.
That was the day Newt Scamander returned to New York carrying a familiar case and a copy of his new book.
As soon as Director Graves saw the figure standing next to Tina’s desk wearing a blue coat with a case in one hand and a book in the other he recognized him. Newt Scamander, he surmised having read all the reports on Grindelwald’s capture in which Mr. Scamander was featured.
This was the man who recognized that he was not himself. The man he hadn’t had a chance to meet or thank. Steeling himself, Graves walked over to do just that. Tina noticed him first and stood at attention just as he reached a polite distance away. Mr. Scamander, noticing his friend’s distraction hunched in on himself and slowly turned around eyes never quite settling.
An awkward silence stretched before them as the Magizoologist resolutely kept his gaze anywhere but on the Director. His hand was tight around his case and somehow his shoulders managed to scrunch down even further.
Finally, Graves could take the silence no more and extended his hand, “You must be Mr. Scamander. Percival Graves, Director of Magical Security. Pleasure to finally meet you.”
Mr. Scamander jumped at the sound of his voice and a blush spread from his ears down his neck.
“Ah- yes- right,” the man before him shifted and for a moment Graves thought he was going to actually run away when he simply tucked the book he was holding under his blue clad arm and grasped Graves’s hand in a surprisingly firm handshake.
“Please, just call me Newt, Director Graves,” he spoke in a polite British accent, “Mr. Scamander makes people think of my brother. And it is nice to finally meet the real you- uh- I mean…”
“Right, uh, Newt,” Graves responded after the other had trailed off. He was feeling oddly flustered, “Then I insist you call me Percival, and must offer you my sincerest thanks for your actions a couple of years ago.”
He still hadn’t released Newt’s hand and found himself unwilling to do so. Tina stood in the background watching their interaction with veiled shock.
“Percival- um- I think I was just in the right place at the right time,” Newt responded. He still hadn’t looked at the Director. Graves suddenly wanted to see his eyes even if he knew them from the picture attached to the Grindelwald report. He couldn’t explain it- he needed to look into those eyes and map their color to see if a photo could do them any justice.
He shook the strange feeling away and finally released Newt’s hand who snatched it back as if it burned. Graves cleared his throat to try and ease the tension, “Well, it was nice to meet you but I must be going.”
He gave a quick nod to Tina before turning around to make a swift escape. He got all the way to the door of his office before he gave into the urge to glance behind him. Newt was still standing near Tina’s desk looking a little lost in thought.
Without even thinking he called out, “Newt,” gaining the man’s attention (as well as that of all the Aurors in the department).
For a lightning quick moment those green eyes met his before settling on a spot over his shoulder. Graves felt like he had been struck by lightning and his magic was going wild. It gave him the strength to spit out his next words.
“How about dinner tonight? To celebrate your return to New York,” when he saw that Newt was about to protest he plowed on, “And as a personal thank you. I’ll collect you at seven o'clock sharp.” He turned around and entered his office, shutting the door without waiting for a response.
For a moment he just stood there shocked. What had gotten into him? In his mind he could remember that instant where Newt’s gaze met his and that familiar green he swore he’s never seen before.
Maybe, he thought moving to sit behind his desk, this could be the start of a friendship.
It was the start of a crush. Newt was smart and kind and passionate about his creatures. Grave couldn’t help but smile when he saw the Magizoologist. He found himself doing things just to get a smile from the man- to have Newt looking at him. He gave the man a permit for all his creatures. When the Niffler stole his pocket-watch he let the creature keep it. He convinced Picquery to offer Newt a job as MACUSA’s consultant for magical beasts- citing that he would provide valuable insight.
Newt accepted, and most importantly he stayed. Graves found himself smiling more easily. Nightmares that had plagued him were replaced with Newt’s smile or laugh. HIs favorite had been the one with the other man just staring at him. His green eyes never looking away from Graves’s. It was his favorite color now.
It all came crashing down when he saw Newt rubbing at the place his SoulMark would be. How could he have forgotten. Newt was probably waiting for his Destined, and Graves was just a friend. He was too broken to be anything else. He almost gave a bitter laugh. His Destined had probably moved on already, or, he thought with an ache, they were already dead. Graves didn’t know. Graves would never know.
He shook his head, and with an iron will pushed those echoes of Grindelwald away. Either way, he remembered now that Newt wasn’t his. He couldn’t keep Newt from finding his Destined. Of anyone Graves knew the Magizoologist deserved to find his soulmate most, and so he took a step back. He denied all of Newt’s offers for lunch or dinner or to help out. He stopped the chats, and only interacted with the man for a case. He ignored the hurt looks because this was for the best. He had to keep his distance. Graves put a wall around his feelings and soldiered on, for Newt.
Then some hot-shot, poaching ring decided to kidnap MACUSA’s resident Magizoologist.
Graves mobilized every available auror. They tracked down the poachers to their hideout in record time. The Director of Magical Security tore down the wards and apparated into the warehouse with three squadrons of MACUSA’s best and brightest just in time to see Newt tied to a post, shirtless, with one of the low-lives standing behind him a whip in his hand, raised and ready to strike.
Graves didn’t even think. His magic lashed out and wandlessly knocked the man away, into a wall. His Aurors took care of the rest while he rushed to Newt’s side and quickly released him- catching the man when he fell unable to hold himself up.
He cradled Newt protectively equal parts relieved and furious. Surprisingly, the Magizoologist didn’t push away, and Graves allowed himself to indulge for the moment confident that his men and women could handle the riffraff.
Suddenly, he heard a mumble of, “my case” before Newt was sitting up straight and frantically looking around the warehouse (yet for some reason he still didn’t leave the other’s embrace- not that the man was complaining). But Graves couldn’t concentrate on Newt’s words for his gaze was captured on that place between neck and shoulder. It was clear.
Newt finally spotted his case being handled by a protective Tina and turned his attention back to the man who had suddenly gone rigid around him. He realized what Graves was staring at and quickly covered the spot, but he knew it was too late. The Director would know that they were not a match. Maybe, a small part of Newt thought, maybe he already knew and that was why he has been putting distance between them.
“My-” Newt spoke to break the heavy silence between them, “my Mark… It disappeared shortly before I came to New York… the first time. They- whoever… Whoever they were- died before I could meet them.”
Graves’s mind had gone blank. Newt’s SoulMark was gone- had disappeared around the same time that Grindelwald had cursed his. And suddenly he knew. Knew that his Destined was alive. Knew that he was holding him at this moment. And so he did the first thing that came to his mind. He kissed him. One hand going tight around Newt’s waist, the other tangling gently into coppery hair.
Newt froze for a moment before eagerly returning his affections, and when they finally broke apart Graves rested his forehead on the other’s while they both caught their breath.
Finally, Newt pulled back looking flustered and confused, but there in his green eyes was a spark of hope.
“I… I don’t-”
Graves cut him off with a gentle smile, “I know.”
Gradence fluff, maybe holiday themed where Graves gives Credence his scarf because Credence looks cold? (Pre-Grindewald, that is).
‘Here kid’ Credence started and flinches away from him - Graves literally ready to give him his coat as well ’M…my mother wouldn’t be ha-happy’ but Graves is already wrapping it around him and the scarf is warm from where its been around Graves neck Imagine Graves pressing his warm hands to Credence’s cheeks (you know that part in the movie with the face touch and Credence’s stressy eyebrows and face….ugh) And Graves would just be watching his face because really whats he going to do he cant steal a child off the street, he’s going to have to walk away but BOY he does not want to. He’s thinking 'I could charm Credence’s jack but uhhm…look at what he’s handing out - that would go down really well’ and he’s set this all up for Grindelgross
Credence would see orig. graves coming and his heart would beat a little faster 'Good day, Credence, how are you?’ he has countless fliers stuffed in his pockets that he’s taken as an excuse to come and check up on him bringing him food 'Where’s your scarf Credence?’ 'I’m so sorry, m…mother took it. I can…I can get you another’ Until Credence’s mother spots them - this creepy older man seducing him and Credence allowing it Maybe she blames Credence for drawing Graves to him She jelly The next time Graves come Credence wont look at him and tries to tell him that he cant talk to him anymore, clutching his leaflets in shaking burning hands with the stripes across his palms from the belt. 'What on earth?’
Newt is not very good reading people, he’s an expert in magical creatures, sure, but that’s it. People are complicated because they are unpredictable, they usually say the opposite of what they're feeling or prefer to remain silent about their thoughts.
So Newt has given up on them for a long time. He has decided to focus only on his creatures. But sometimes, like now, he thinks he can guess what a particular person is thinking, sure he’s not Queenie Goldstein, but he can interpret certain behavior and make a quick deduction of it. It must be like he does with his creatures, right?
So he truly believes he has gotten it right this time. He’s sure Percival Graves hates him. He doesn’t know why though, but he knows the Director does not like him at all.
And he has plenty of evidence to support that fact.
It’s been from the beginning. When he arrived MACUSA looking for Tina, he found the man on his way to Tina’s office and introduced himself with a smile on his face. But Graves looked at him almost in shock and didn’t shake the hand Newt was offering. So Newt decided to turn around and run away from him.
So he has decided to avoid him as much as possible.
Newt accepts the job Picquery offers him because he enjoys being in New York and really likes being around Tina, Queenie and Jacob. But part of him thinks it’s a very bad idea.
Because when he goes to the President’s office, she’s not the only one in there, Graves is standing in a corner watching the whole exchange.
“What do you think, Mr Scamander?” Seraphina Picquery asks with a particularly kind smile on her face. Every now and then her glance lands on something behind Newt and he’s sure she’s looking at Graves.
“I-I mean… I appreciate your offer, but I have to travel constantly because of what I do and I don’t think I can stay in just one-” Newt gasps, because suddenly Mr Graves apparates beside him, so close he can feel the heat coming from his body. After the corner of his eye, he notices the wizard is tense. He has the impression is because Graves doesn’t want him there.
Picquery looks at the Director and rolls her eyes before glancing back at Newt.
“Don’t worry, Mr Scamander. You'll be free to go when you need to, just make sure to inform… Mr Graves before you go and return to your duties in MACUSA as soon as you can,” she says.
“Really?” Newt is so excited because no one has been this comprehensive before. He has been able to get a stable job because of that. Theseus will be so happy to hear that. “Well… if that’s the case… I accept.”
Graves relaxes or maybe that’s just Newt’s imagination playing tricks on him.
“Great, now Mr Graves will show you around and he’ll tell you about your duties,” she says and waves her hand. “You two are dismissed.”
When they’re alone though, Newt doesn’t let Graves talk, he refuses to be a bother and doesn’t want the Director to hate him more than he already does.
“Don’t worry, Mr Graves, I’ll ask Tina,” he tells him and he's sure it’s the right decision because the man frowns as soon as he finishes to talk.
He walks away, he definitely doesn’t run this time.
Newt’s given an office near Graves’, but he doesn’t use it, he spends the majority of his time with Tina. Or at least he used to until Graves shows up in the office and basically yanks him away from there.
“You enjoy being a distraction, don’t you Mr Scamander?” Graves asks and it’s the first time Newt sees the way his lips are quirking up. He wonders if the man is mocking him.
“N-no, of course not!” He gasps almost offended.
Graves laughs and Newt manages not to look as shocked as he feels.
“Well… Since you seem to despise being in your own office, how about you become my own… distraction for the rest of the day?”
Newt blushes and avoids his eyes. He feels his cheeks burning; he’s aware that Mr Graves only wants to be with him to keep an eye on him and his case.
“Alright,” he says, hating the way his voice sounds.
It’s a disaster; his Niffler escapes and takes Graves’ watch and by trying to catch him, Newt ends up falling all over the auror, with the damned thief in his hands, his face inches away from the Director and their legs intertwined. He tries to move away, but it’s very difficult with the creature in his hands. Newt suddenly feels Graves’ wand poking his leg.
He stops when two hands grab his hips almost possessively. Newt looks up and notices Graves flushed face and the way his eyes are closed and his teeth are gritted.
He must be furious.
“Please, Newt… stop,” Graves gasps.
It’s the first time he has called him by his given name.
Newt does as he’s told and Graves opens his eyes and stares at him for a couple of seconds before rolling them both over so he’s the one on top.
“You’re driving me crazy,” he breathes.
Newt blushes. Graves is definitely mad at him, only this time he doesn’t blame him.
“I’m sorry,” Newt says and he really means it.
Instead of rising, Graves leans in. Newt thinks he’s going to yell at him, but then someone knocks and the Director is suddenly standing beside him. Newt doesn’t notice when the man offers him a hand and he stands on his own, he decides to get in his case with the Niffler.
There’s also the way Graves is always looking at him, it’s an intense gaze that doesn’t go away unless someone else snaps the Director out of it.
It happens also when they are on a meeting and Newt wishes Graves stopped because he’s just everyone knows by now their Director is not a fan of his.
One day while he’s feeding his creatures, Tina reminds him they have to go to a meeting, he says he knows and he’ll be there, the problem is Dougal is not feeling well, so he stays until the demiguise falls asleep.
He’s late for the meeting, but he manages to sneak in the room without anyone noticing… The problem is that Graves is the one speaking at the moment and he stops once his eyes land on Newt and follow him around the place until the younger wizard sits next to Tina.
Newt can feel all the eyes on him, but he refuses to move his gaze from his own hands on his lap.
“You were saying, Mr Graves?” Madam Picquery clears her throat.
“Oh, yes, about the information we got from the goblin,” the auror continues, looking flustered for some reason.
He avoids Newt’s eyes for the rest of the meeting.
“You couldn’t be more mistaken, sweetie,” Queenie comments during lunch.
Newt blushes, he has been thinking about Graves and how much the man dislikes him.
“It’s quite the opposite, actually,” the witch giggles.
Newt looks at her, confused. What does she mean by the opposite?
He doesn’t believe her. Because if Graves doesn’t hate him then why he’s so grumpy all the time Newt’s around?
Like when Tina and him were talking about Dougal’s sickness and she hugged him to cheer him up and Graves just glared at them for a couple of seconds.
Or when Richards thanked him for helping him with pixies on his kitchen. He kissed him on the forehead while telling him he was the best thing on earth.
Newt swears he heard Graves growling behind them.
“Well… darling while I agree Mr Graves was definitely angry I can assure you he was not angry with you,” Queenie tells him with a mischievous grin on her face.
Newt doesn’t believe her.
Graves is usually opposed to the idea of letting Newt to go out and help them arrest wizards. But sometimes he has to, when there are dangerous creatures involved and he’s the only one who knows how to control them.
Graves stays close to him all the time though and they start to make a oddly good team.
That is until Newt disobeys one of the Director’s orders and runs towards the wampus to try to heal him. He manages to do it eventually, but not without getting himself injured. It’s not something to worry about, but Graves loses it, he rushes towards him. Newt tries to move, arguing he’s perfectly fine, but the auror keeps him in place, grabbing him by the waist.
“You’re hurt,” he almost growls, angry and scared.
Newt opens his mouth to protest, but the wizard bares his teeth at him.
“Don’t move until I tell you to,” he hisses and starts to check his wounds. But even though he looks irritated, his hands are gentle and kind when he starts to mutter healing spells.
When he finishes he presses their foreheads together and stares at Newt in the eyes. He looks calmed, but there’s a fierce determination in his face.
“If you do something as reckless as you did today, if you keep not caring about your own life, I swear Newt I’ll take you to my home and lock you in my bedroom forever, are we clear?” Graves whispers and the only thing Newt manages to do is nod.
When they have news about Grindelwald’s followers, Graves starts behaving even weirder than before.
He seems to appear anywhere Newt is at the time and looks at him like he wants to learn him by heart.
Then, one night, when he's about to go with the Goldsteins, Graves corners him. He looks like he hasn’t slept in days and the desperation on his face is almost palpable.
“Move in with me,” he gasps, the words come out of his mouth like something between an order and a plea.
“What?” Newt squeaks and he blushes when the auror leans in, burning his face in the crook of Newt’s neck.
“Please,” he begs this time. “Or at least allow me to follow you, to put a protection charm around you or just let me… please.”
Newt blinks a few times, before making sure he’s not dreaming.
“You’re… worried?” He asks and when he sees Graves nod he adds: “But I thought you hated me!”
“Hate you?” Graves looks up and frowns. “Who told you that? Newt, I’ve been in love with you since I met you!”
“Oh…” It’s everything he says. His heart is beating inside his chest like a drum.
“And I thought it was obvious,” Graves continues, amused.
Newt chuckles, flustered. Graves seems encouraged by his reaction because he kisses him on the neck, tracing a path up to his lips. But he stops before kissing his mouth and waits for permission.
Newt whines out of impatience and closes the distance between them. Graves moans and licks his lower lip until the younger wizard parts his lips.
“Move in with me?” Graves asks again, taking the man by the waist and pulling him closer.
“Yes,” Newt answers, breathless. “But we’ll definitely have to talk about those protection charms. Because I don’t need them.”
“Fine, my darling,” Graves purrs and Newt almost melts at the word. “But then you’ll have to let me be with you all the time, so I can protect you myself.”
“That’s not necessary, Percy,” he gasps, distracted by Percival’s teeth on his neck.
“It is, but we’ll discuss it later,” the auror whispers.
Newt sighs, knowing that man will drive him insane. What he just got himself into?
#PLL Theory: Amoji and Uber A/AD are two different people.
We’ve given it major thought and, after thinking it through, even developing a migraine in the process, we’re almost sure that the Amoji who was texting the girls in PLL 6B is someone completely different to AD, the person sending the texts after Hanna was kidnapped for confessing to killing Charlotte.
This theory takes us back to the flashforward; before Charlotte’s trial, someone was blackmailing Melissa with the tape of her confessing to killing Bethany Young. Melissa was told to drop a certain amount of money off to a disclosed location, and after doing so, Charlotte turned up dead. Let’s not forget, Melissa was supposedly back in town after Charlotte was killed, but Peter confirmed Melissa was actually in town before Charlotte was killed, as she was delivering the money. Spencer also says the first payment was made while Charlotte was still in lockdown, which means that Charlotte may not have been the blackmailer. This does not mean she wasn’t in on the blackmailing.
Now, why was Charlotte getting someone to blackmail Melissa? Because she, along with whoever the blackmailer was, needed money. We’re playing fill the gaps in here, so this is just our take on it. We believe Charlotte never truly got better over the five years. She was using Ali, pretending to get better, so that she would finally be declared sane and released from the sanitarium. Charlotte was also using Rollins, making him fake a relationship with Ali, so that he would be one step closer in receiving funds from the Carissimi Group. This is what Charlotte wanted; she wanted money. She needed money. She must have had some plan to use this money and escape, run away somewhere with who we believe was the person blackmailing Melissa; Wren Kingston.
If Graves were a kinder man, he would’ve taken the boy to hospital that day he found him adrift on the seashore. He would’ve gotten Credence a proper doctor, found him a linen-pressed bed, and been done with the whole thing.
If Graves were a less selfish man, he would’ve driven the boy down to his own office himself to fill out a missing person’s form and inquiry papers. Would’ve asked his lieutenants and old colleagues from his Dublin days about missing white boys with dark eyes, darker hair, and skin like the moon.
If Graves were a better man, he would’ve gotten on the phone with Social Protection, would’ve reported a missing, potentially underage boy found nude and trembling on the beach, would’ve reported signs of abuse.
But instead, he swoops in himself and carries the boy into his home, into his life, like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Like he’s not purposefully making the lad dependent on him. And no, Credence has never complained, never once expressed a desire to leave, but that doesn’t mean the situation is in any shape or form okay . With a growing sense of guilt, Graves realizes more and more the many ways he’s been taking advantage. He’s imposing himself on this lovely young thing, making himself an indispensable source of comfort and shelter and love. Every kind word, every gentle caress and loving glance, is a lock clicked on the boy’s door. And Graves doesn’t even hold the keys anymore.
And even if he did, he’s come to realise that he doesn’t want the boy to leave, impossibly, selfishly. And the boy never asks, only smiles and claws out a place for himself in the vast emptiness of Graves’ life, fills up the room with brightness and silent laughter.
Graves goes back to work after four days. Four days of holding the sweet, lithe body close and safe, four days of chasing the boy’s lurid nightmares away, of feeling the gentle trembles calm under his patient touch, of letting the boy tuck his pale face against Percival’s throat, of spooning sweet porridge and soup into the little plush mouth.
To have to go and sit in the grey-lit station, a fat pile of paperwork lumped on his desk, and hear the grappling of petty thieves and vandals being wrestled into the holding cells is a horrid, cruel torture that sets his teeth on edge and makes him pace and snarl like a tiger in a cage.
He wants to be at home with his boy, his sweet lovely boy, tucked up nice and warm and safe within Graves’ arms. Because four days is too short a time to know someone so completely and even now Graves knows the boy was kind and gentle and sharp of mind.
He found him hiding in the bedroom once, he remembers.
Graves loves his bedroom, and so does Credence apparently. Graves can’t blame him. It’s warm and dark and just this side of small to be recognized as more cozy than cramped. There’s a large window with a soft, cushioned alcove across the room facing the bed, a little bench piled high with pillows and blankets.
Graves found Credence sat in front of the wide, bay window the third day, when he was supposed to be eating lunch. There was a frantic chirping, the loud flap of wings, and it only took Graves a few moments to realize that a little bird’s frail feet had frozen to the wrought iron frame of the window.
Graves was about to make his way forward, to do what, he doesn’t know even now, but then Credence leant in, wrapped a slim, gentle hand around the bird’s plump body, and breathed low and warm. It was such an ingenious little move that Graves stopped and stared for a moment. He watched the boy melt the ice with his hot, sweet breath, and eventually Credence pried the little feet from the metal and turned to Graves with bright, happy eyes.
Look what I did!
The bird meeped in the boy’s careful grip, and Credence turned to the window and carefully let go. There was a sharp flutter of wings, a goodbye chirrup, and the fat little body disappeared into the distance, leaving behind a fluff of feather on the windowsill and a soft smile on Credence’s lips.
Graves finds himself smiling at the memory, but blinks and Abernathy, one of his subordinates, is gaping at him like he’s seen the good lord’s face in a potato crisp.
“What exactly are you looking at, Abernathy?” Graves snaps, sharper than he’d intended, and the shrimpish man stutters out something and scampers away like a spooked mouse.
“You’re in a good mood,” Tina says over lunch a bit later. She’s skeptical, and Graves thinks irritably that she’s a better detective than Chief Inspector Picquery gives her credit for.
“What about it?” Graves mutters, the smile that had been hovering at the corners of his mouth vanishing. He’d been imagining Credence this morning, sat up on the bathroom sink, chin and jaw smeared with foaming shaving cream and giggling at the rasp of the straight-edge shaver which Graves drew ever so cautiously across his jawline. Tina’s voice was a cruel break to the memory.
“You’re never in a good mood.” Tina picks at her salad, tone factual.
“I beg your pardon,” but Graves isn’t as offended as he’d like to pretend to be. He is in a good mood. Imagining his boy waiting at home for him, fiddling around with Graves’ da’s old radio, bouncing around in his longish sleep-shirt. It makes Graves’ ribcage swell, but not painfully—warm and brimming, happy.
“Well, I’m not complaining.” Tina smirks now. “You’re less likely to go off on the secretaries when you’re getting laid.”
Graves sputters—”Is that anyway to talk to your superior, Goldstein?”—but inside he’s grinning. It’s a good day.
He’s productive despite all of the distractions, and queerly it is the thought of Credence waiting, swinging his socked feet from the kitchen bar that has Graves finishing up much more paperwork than he’d thought he’d accomplish in a day. He’s able to leave early because of it, and decides for a quick stop at one of the grocery stores, thinking about picking up more milk and eggs. But instead, he finds himself perusing a techie shop front, full to bursting of sleek television screens.
Graves has never worried much about his lack of a television. He has never put much stock in that form of entertainment, though he knows his officers adore popular dramatic programs on Friday nights and Sunday mornings, coming in on Monday chattering about who cheated on who and who was brutally murdered and such and such. But now he finds himself fretting in front of an entertainment shop when he should be grocery shopping, because Credence gets bored quite easily, bright, feline eyes going blank and dazed on some middle distance Graves can’t see.
He eventually pulls himself, and finds his way to the market. He gets what he needs and heads home, the newest TV model still sat in the shop, and he’s glad of it because when he opens the door of the house, Credence comes bounding up to him, grinning, Shakespeare’s Hamlet clutched between his fists.
The boy gestures wildly at the cover, panting, but then stops and just beams and there’s a hard, sticky lump in Graves’ throat, looking down at this sweet-eyed boy. The version he’s holding was Graves’ father’s copy, the only book the old man had ever read that was written by an Englishman.
“That was my Da’s,” he says, clearing his throat roughly, and he sees a worried expression forming on Credence’s face, darkening the smooth brow and thinning the soft lips. “Don’t worry. He would’ve liked you having it.” He would’ve liked Credence period, Graves finds himself thinking, would’ve liked the mystery and strange kindness of him. “I could read it aloud, if yeh’d like,” he finds himself offering for some unknown reason. He knows the boy can read and write, seen it with his own eyes, but finds he wants to do everything he can for Credence.
And it’s worth it to see the pretty, plainly joyful smile twisting those pink lips, making those dark eyes shine.
“C’mon, love. Let me put the milk away and I’ll tell you all about the Dane.”
Queenie’s the one who tells him about the man in the bakery.
Queenie’s a sweet girl, chicly curled hair and bright eyes, and she’s sharp as a knife too—one of the many reasons Jacob’s lucky to have her. So when she sees a tall, strange Nordic man showing her patrons photos of a pale-faced boy and asking after his runaway “son”, she feels a creeping suspicion curling in her gut.
When Graves comes into the shop Saturday morning, searching the shelves for the lemon tarts he knows Credence likes the best, Queenie tells him all about it.
“It was strange, you know,” she mutters lowly to him. “I hope it’s not true, the poor lad.”
Graves’ skin crawls with nerves. “What made you nervous?” he asked, tone suddenly serious and businesslike.
Queenie’s got good instincts. He remembers vividly when Siobhan O’Hare got engaged to some Dublin slicker last July. Queenie had called him a cheat, and two weeks later Siobhan’s mother had found the scrub in bed with one of the Langer girls. If Queenie thought this man was bad news, Graves was inclined to believe her.
Queenie hesitates for a second. She’s the lovely type of person who doesn’t like to speak badly of people she doesn’t know, but she eventually talks, instincts winning out over courtesy. “I don’t mean to be rude or anythin’, but he was a bit weird, the man. Some sort of thick accent, tall. Well-dressed. And there was something wrong with his eyes, you know?”
“His eyes?” Graves prompted, more and more ill at ease.
“Something missing. Something—wrong. I dunno how to explain it.” Queenie fiddles with her apron, frowning at a muffin whose top is the slightest bit lopsided. “Wonder why he thinks his son would run all the way up here, middle of nowhere.”
“What did the boy in the photo look like?”
She shrugs. “Waifish, dark hair, pale skin.” She blinks gold-spun lashes. “He looked sad.”
Spine icing up, Graves manages to calm himself enough to buy the pastries and walk home at a normal rate. He doesn’t burst out into a sprint the moment he sees the swell of his hill, but it’s a near thing. He nearly wrenches the door off its hinges, though, and Credence is startled enough to nearly fall off the living room couch.
He can see the question in Credence’s face— “What’s wrong, what happened?”—but he can’t physically do anything other than crowd Credence up against the couch and just press their foreheads together. He twitches, then gives in, grabs the boy by the waist, slides his nose down Credence’s cheek to his neck, and just breathes.
Graves remembers when he first found the boy washed up on the shore, cold and pale and faded. He thought the boy was a ghost, a faerie from one of the old legends, flickering on the twilight. He thought if he dared to touch him, his hand would find mist and magic. Now, he can’t think that anymore, because Credence is warm and soft and solid underneath Graves’ hands and arms. The boy doesn’t tremble or whimper, only makes a soft, confused noise, a little hum in his throat that Graves can feel under his lips. He presses three quick kisses, gentle and fond, up the boy’s neck and jaw, before pulling back, cupping the boy’s cheek with a large, warm palm, can’t help himself because the boy is safe and here.
Credence is flushed and confused, but pleased, smiling brightly, and Graves can’t help himself.
“Sorry,” Graves whispers, and then dips in for another kiss. This time his mouth touches smooth, soft lips instead of the silk of Credence’s neck, and the boy shudders, clutching at Graves’ shoulders as they trade heat and warmth, and a weight loosens in Graves’ chest, unfurling into something hot and sweet and beautiful. The boy’s new at this, lips clumsy and unsure and his hands flutter in the air, hesitant to touch, but his inexperience only makes Graves growl, low and pleased in his throat. He cups the boy’s crystal-line jaw, feels the impossibly smooth skin, trails his thumbs over the arch of the jugular. There’s a quick, thrilling slide of tongue, the catch of teeth, and Graves has to pull away, panting like he’s just run twelve kilometers, because if he doesn’t stop, he’ll consume . And he just wanted to hold the boy, wanted to gather the boy lovingly in his arms so the world wouldn’t be able to rip him away, and now, without planning it, he can taste the sweet on his lips, the ghost of the boy hot against his side.
“Credence,” he murmurs, and the boy looks up with limpid eyes, shy and delighted. He gives a little huff and nuzzles into Graves’ chest, arms trapped between them. He fingers Graves’ tie, pressing his swollen lips to the fabric, and Graves’ heart plays a tap dance on his third rib.
“Oh lord,” Graves murmurs, stunned. “Oh—I didn’t plan that.” He pulls away, bereft at the lack of Credence’s warmth, and his heart hurts at Credence’s soft noise of protest. “No—I—it was my fault, something happened today at the bakery.”
Credence stands there, stunned. Graves draws back, paces, rakes his hands through his hair. Credence blinks, makes a little questioning sound. What happened?
“Queenie—the baker I go to—she said a strange man had come round, asking after his son. He had a picture.” Graves can’t look at Credence, doesn’t want to see the happy light in his eyes at the news that his father’s come for him. Doesn’t want him to leave. “Is—did you run away from home, Credence?”
The boy doesn’t answer, and Graves looks up, and—
The boy’s stricken, healthy color leaching from his skin as he pales. Graves sees the tears well up silently, watches as they roll down trembling cheeks and drip off the sharp jaw and dampen the boy’s jumper, and automatically he reaches out, but the boy flinches back.
“Credence,” Graves fumbles.
Credence gets small, his shoulders hunch, and Graves wonders frantically whether the boy is going to shatter.
“Credence, please, what is it?” Graves had never wished so much that Credence could speak as he does now. He glances around frantically, finds the pad of paper and pen on the writing desk. “Please.”
The boy swallows, sniffles, but takes the paper.
Are you going to give me back?
“Back?” Graves’ mind whirls. “To—to the man?”
Credence nods, doesn’t look up.
“Remember what I said. No matter what, you’re welcome here.” Graves takes two steps forward, silently cheers when the boy doesn’t back away. He opens his arms, reaches out. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, Credence. Not in my house.”
The boy lifts his chin, swipes roughly at his wet eyes, but doesn’t move yet. He scribbles something down instead.
“Always,” Graves whispers, the tiny word in the middle of the paper cracking his heart, and the boy rushes into him, crumpling, sobbing and hiccuping loudly. “Oh, baby. Baby, I’m so sorry, I didn’t—Come here, let’s—” He picks the boy up by the soft thighs, lets the boy nuzzle into his neck in a parody of the loving embrace they had entwined in only ten minutes prior. He adjusts his grip, and then sits on the couch, the boy clinging to him, a trembling, warm mess on his lap, terrified. And this isn’t right, can’t be right. No teenager in their right mind should be so petrified at the idea of their father coming for them, no young person should sob and tremble and flinch at the very idea.
“Is that man your father, Credence? The one looking for you?” Graves whispers, and he feels the boy shake his head in the negative, curls tickling his chin. “Who is he?”
The boy shifts, finds his pen.
A bad man.
“What did he do?” Graves can feel a beast awakening in his chest, a feral animal dripping from the maw, teeth snapping and clawing at the ground. Fury makes his jaw stiff, but he’s careful to keep his grip on the boy’s waist firm, but careful. “What did he do to you, Credence?”
Credence looks up at him with dark eyes and doesn’t answer. Doesn’t even move to reach for his pen. Graves remembers vividly the dark, splotched bruises on the boy’s hips and thighs, remembers him naked and trembling on the beach.
Graves is one of the few men in the local Garda who is certified to carry a gun, and for good reason. He doesn’t like guns, never has. Has met one too many egomaniacs with god complexes because they had a finger wrapped round a factory-made trigger. He respects the power a gun has. He has never, ever felt the urge to kill someone unthreatened and unprovoked, never had any sort of temptation to threaten or degrade.
Now, his eyes shine red and his breath gets thick and heavy in his chest. Now, he finds himself struggling to not pin Credence to the couch and blanket his weight over the boy, protective and feral as a mother bear, the world unable to pry him away from the sliver of boy he guarded. Now, he finds his own fist curling in on themselves, teeth gritting against each other, and he can see in his mind Credence’s faceless tormentor crushed and broken from Graves’ bare hands.
The only thing that jerks him out of his bloodlust is the feeling of Credence shifting closer, slim fingers sliding up to twine at the hair at the back of his neck. He pulls back a bit, just to see the boy’s face.
“You’re so beautiful,” Graves says aloud, feels his own eyes water hotly as he cups the soft, rosy cheek. “How could anyone ever hurt you?”
The boy doesn’t answer, just dips his head, holds Graves tighter, and Graves thinks about thick, clotted blood and the spatter of gunfire.
He can’t go back, he refuses to go back.
When Graves comes home, feral-eyed and hungry-mouthed, swoops down and presses his lips to Credence’s, Credence thinks he might swoon. He feels lost, feels stardust swoop through his veins, leave grit of glitter to ache in his chest and swell in his fingers. He clings to the man as long as he can, but then.
Then Graves retreats and he says something about a strange man, looking for Credence. And Credence knows the witch has come back for him, will take him. And he looks at Graves, looks at his uncertain face and his beautiful eyes and his darkened brow and Credence thinks he would let himself drown in the murky depths of the sea, his own home turned against him, before he gives up this lifetime with Mr Graves.
He knows it.
The man is taller than Graves originally expected, thick ashy hair carefully combed away from the pointed, lupine face. He’s dressed finely, sleek dark suit with a pale silver tie, but it is his eyes that draws Graves’ stare—they are flat and dull and Graves can’t help but compare them to a slow-gliding shark circling a stranded swimmer. Patient and watchful one moment, murderous and terrifying the next.
The man smiles. He has a cruel mouth. The lips look thin and soft, but the eyeteeth are wolfish, long and needle-sharp. “Yes, how may I help you?” His voice is thick and heavy, the Baltic salting the slanted vowels and clicking consonants, and Graves knows this is the man that Queenie spoke of. The bad man.
Graves takes out his badge, allows the man a look at his identification. “Inspector Percival Graves, district Garda.”
The man blinks down at the badge and says, “Ah.” He reaches out for a handshake. “Gellert, Gellert Grindelwald. May I ask why the sudden visit?”
Graves smiles tightly, keeps his grip light and unthreatening. A heavy, cold ring digs into his palm. “A few concerned folk downtown have let me know you’ve a missing son.” The lie leaves his mouth smooth as butter. “Wanted to ask if yeh wished to file an official report with the authorities.”
The eyes go flinty and sharp, and then the predator subsides. The hairs on the back of Graves’ neck stand. “It’s nothing.” The man’s dismissive, and he has some charm, Graves can see that. But it is an empty charm, empty words and empty eyes. “Just a bit of family business, I wouldn’t want to trouble any of your fine officers.” Another depthless smile.
“With all due respect, sir, if a child is in danger, it’s the Garda’s responsibility to put out a missing minor’s report,” Graves says, affecting sternness.
“Ah, yes, no it is nothing like that.” Grindelwald waves him off. “I would offer an invitation in, but I was in the middle of something just before you came. Perhaps we could have this conversation at a later date?”
Graves looks at him and his expression must’ve been extremely skeptical, because the man laughs deeply and says, “No, no, of course. You take safety very seriously here in Ireland, yes. I understand.”
He opens his room’s door, and Percival is ushered into a dim-lit sleeping/sitting area, a rumpled bed shoved in the corner, a couch shoved in its opposite. Nothing sinister or out of place, a dirtied coffee mug set out on a coaster, a wrinkled shirt hung on a hanger on the curtain rung. A pile of musty, old-spined tomes draws Graves’ eye, but he can’t make out the titles on the back, even though they glint brightly and embossed. Some sort of Cyrillic alphabet, entirely foreign to him.
Grindelwald clears a small chair and a desk off for Graves, but Graves declines to sit. “I won’t stay for long, won’t want to inconvenience yeh.”
Grindelwald smiles humorlessly. “Of course, of course.”
“If there’s any light yeh could share on the situation, maybe?” Graves prompts after a tense, awkward silence.
Grindelwald draws a quick, sharp breath, dusts off the tops of his pants. “Yes, yes. Hmm. Where to begin.” He taps his mouth with his middle finger, a habit it looks like. “To clear some things up, no, my son isn’t a minor.”
(Inside, Graves lets out a long, relieved sigh he does not want to address).
Grindelwald continues, oblivious, “He’s not missing. He’s left, after a very heated argument. Our opinions differ greatly on some things, you see, and it’s created a large rift between us.” Grindelwald moves to the kitchenette, trailing long fingers over the miniscule counter. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable, meets Graves’ gaze head on. “I am here looking for him, yes, but my son is an adult. I have no legal holding over him. I cannot force him to come home with me. But I wish to talk sense with him. To apologize, and get on with our lives.” He licks his lips, a small wet flicker, perches on a stool. “I’ve heard rumors among his friends that he’s found refuge in a little Irish town named Perth. And so here I am. Still searching.”
Graves blinks. “And you’re sure there’s nothing you want to be done in search of your son?”
Grindelwald dips his head politely. “Ah, no thank you. It is a kind offer, but a misplaced one. He will come to me when he is ready to make amends.”
Graves moves his lips in the small image of a smile. “Ah, alright. Just lettin’ you know, Perth’s a small town. Size of a shoebox, nearly. If your son was hiding here somewhere, people would know, trust me. Strangers aren’t common, not in Perth.”
“Thank you, Inspector,” Grindelwald nods. “But I’m sure he’s here. I can feel it.”
“Just one more thing, Mr Grindelwald, before I leave,” Graves says, adjusting the lapels of his coat, careful to not look the man in the eye. “Do you have a current picture? Of the boy?”
Grindelwald smiles, reaches into his pocket. He withdraws a small, battered leather wallet and flips it open. Graves cranes his neck, takes a quick peek—no credit cards, strangely, or pictures of family that he can see, just a glossy Polaroid slightly bent at the edges.
“Here,” the man reaches out, and Graves grasps it, brings it close to his eyes to see.
A pale, wane Credence, but the same age. Sunken cheeks and puffy mouth, lovely, knobby knees bared in cut-off shorts, slim arms vulnerable and bared in a black tank. He’s sitting on some sort of porch-step, and it would’ve looked like any other suburban teenager lounging in a friendly neighborhood had Graves not seen the eyes. The boy looks terrified, eyes blown and wild, mouth open the slightest bit as if he were about to yell. And there is a kind of vagueness to the whole scene, the background too cloudy, the clothes the boy’s wearing too sharp, as if the photo had been modified somehow, tampered with.
“Yes, I’m sure I’ll recognize him now,” Graves says faintly instead of any of these things, already slipping out the door. He barely manages to hand the photo back, barely manages to return Grindelwald’s unnerving smile. “I’ll—I’ll notify you if I hear anything.”
A few more smiles and thank yous and have a good days, and Graves begins to wander his way down the drive.
“Oh, before you go, officer,” Grindelwald stands in the doorway, watching as Graves stumbles his way to his patrol car. “My son’s name—it’s Credence. Credence Grindelwald.”
Graves sits for a good few minutes in a grocery shop parking lot after that, an accented voice rattling in his head, I can feel it.
It’s a bad day. He knew there would be bad days. He prided himself on having mostly numb days, his mental walls so tall and so thick and so impenetrable even he forgot, some days. The bad days were few and far between. The nights - that was another matter altogether. But he had a dream-catcher for the nights, slowly eating away his nightmares one dream at a time.
It was the bad days there was no escaping from. There were no dream-catchers for the waking hours.
He’s sitting in his office during one such bad day, hands trembling where he pressed them fiercely into his eyes - willing the thoughts, the memories away.
It had been a stupid thing that had triggered him. So ordinary, so mundane. Nothing grand or flashy. Nothing he could have anticipated or avoided. No, it had been something simple. It had been the smell of his shoe shine.
He had had them sent out for a shining rather than go in person, far too busy to sit in one of the subway’s grand chairs while a stranger shined his shoe. He knew a man, the same man who he bought them from, who’d gladly shine them - so he had sent a messenger to take them there.
The messenger returned, shoes wrapped in a tidy brown package. Innocent and innocuous. Graves paid for his trouble and dismissed the man before taking the parcel to his desk to see the result first hand and ensure the product was as it should be.
It was the smell of that pearly black oil, heavy and fresh the second he opened the lid, that sent him spiraling back into the dark edges of his mind - the place beyond his carefully constructed walls.
He fell from the chains that held him aloft, and when he hit the floor, he heard his shoulder crunch - but he didn’t have the energy to make a noise. He pressed his face against the floor, eager to capture as much of its cool bliss as he could despite the filth that was no doubt on it. He was fever hot and burning cold and he thought that any moment now, he might shiver apart at the seams.
His back was a roiling, tattered mess of welts - hot and throbbing. He could feel his anus gaping so lewdly, he’d be blushing if his fever had not already left him red in the cheeks. There was a hot, thick liquid oozing down his thighs that left him with the distinct taste of bile in his mouth, and he had to take a deep breath to keep from vomiting. Deeper still, to forget that Grindelwald had managed to get him off somehow, despite the lashing. Despite the rape. Did he like this? Did he somehow secretly like cruelty? Perhaps he deserved this… was made for this…
He trembled, exhausted on the ground.
It wasn’t until he heard a pair of familiar shoes approach him and a chuckle, dark and menacing, that he finally opened his eyes. He was met with the blurry sight of two familiar black dress shoes - the pungent scent of their fresh shine thick and burning in his nose, their surfaces glimmering like new. Perfect in every way except for the streak of white that marred the right foot’s shiny surface. Graves blinked at it, uncomprehending.
“It seems you made a mess of my shoes, pet,” Grindelwald crooned, crouching to better caress Graves’ sweaty face with two knuckles as he smiled. “Do be a dear and clean them, won’t you? No sense in wasting a good shine.”
He startled from the memory at the sudden sound of china falling to the ground. He opened his eyes, wide and filled with dread, and prayed that it was a figment of his imagination. That it wouldn’t be Grindelwald at his doorway, one hand still out from obviously pushing some knickknack to its doom himself before blaming Graves - an excuse just to punish him for no reason. He trembled despite himself, face nearly hidden by the shaking cradle of his hands before his eyes widened even further.
It wasn’t Grindelwald.
It was Queenie Goldstein, slender and doe-like in the frame of his doorway, like a deer caught in headlights. In her large eyes, he could see the beginning of tears swelling. His breath seized in his chest and he couldn’t breathe.
No. No, no, no, no.
“Queenie,” He croaked, his voice dry and harsh and pleading even to his own ears. They both flinched. He stood from desk and approached her quickly, as though if he got to her soon enough, it’d make the inevitable not so. His hands felt overly large where they grasped her shouldered, the split coffee and broken glass spreading in the space between their shoes. “What did you hear? What did you see?”
She didn’t answer, skin chalk white as she just stared at him with her overly large eyes. He wanted to shake her. He wanted to shake the memory right out of her - and she heard it, too, because she wilted in his grasp and instantly, he pulled away as though burned. Disgusted with himself.
“Mr. Graves,” she whimpered, one hand outstretched to him - pleading.
“D-did you,” he stopped himself at his stammer and cleared his throat, eyes closed as he continued - calmly composed. And somehow, that made it worse. “Did you see it?”
“Please,” she whispered and took a step forward, hand outstretched as though to grab his own, but he merely took a step backward in response - just out of reach. Always just out of reach.
“Did you see what he did to me?”
And when he finally opened his eyes, it was to the sight of Queenie - arms crossed around herself. Her lower lip was trembling. Guilt was a hot, tight coil that pained his guts.
“Yes,” she said, “But Mr. Graves, I–”
“You don’t have to say anything, Ms. Goldstein,” he said, throat tight as he turned from her. ’I know what you must think of me’ went unsaid. But he forgot that what went unsaid was still clearly said when in the presence of Queenie Goldstein.
She grabbed him gently by the elbow, and when he flinched, she did not force him. Instead, she pressed her forehead to the broad span of his back and breathed against him.
“What I saw,” she started, voice soft and thready. He waited for the inevitable, now that his secret was out. He had done so well with keeping his rape a secret. But stealing the integrity of his image as a respected leader had not been enough for Grindelwald. He had had to steal his image as a man as well. Something hot burned against the edges of his eyes as he awaited Queenie’s condemnation. ‘What I saw was disgusting. Pathetic. You let him do those filthy things to you and you liked it. Even cleaned him with your tongue. We should have let him keep you. We should have left you there to rot. We–’ his thoughts derailed when her tight grasp on his elbow tightened and she said, suddenly confident, “was a brave man, a man I can now proudly call a friend, survive the twisted machinations of a monster. What I saw was a good man go through hell and walk out the other side. And I’m so, so happy that you’re back.”
Something hot spilled from his shocked gaze - burning as it slipped down his cheek. It was all he could do to keep upright and keep breathing. But he managed to wind one hand up to grasp the thin hand Queenie had on his elbow and squeeze, grateful, and unable to show it in any other way. But Queenie understood. She stayed with him that way for a long moment, and together, they just breathed until the vice on his lungs got a little more bearable. No, there were dream-catchers for the bad days… but there were good friends.
And on his desk, the shoes still sat in their brown little package, innocent and innocuous.
If I had only felt the warmth within your touch If I had only seen how you smile when you blush Or how you curl your lip when you concentrate enough Well I would have known What I was living for all along.
Percival Graves had not been preparing and becoming the best auror of MACUSA just to be part of a basic training program, just to be a teacher, he even hated the word for Lewis’ sake. So, no, Picquery will not convince him to do such thing, his skills and power was for better use on the field, chasing and bringing criminals to justice.
“Don’t be like that, Percival,” Seraphina, exasperated, decided to drop formalities for a minute. “It’s necessary, all our workers, even the ones that are not aurors, need to learn the basics of defense and attack.”
“They all went to school, didn’t they?” Graves huffed.
“Yes, but it’s not the same; you have been in real fights, you are an experienced auror, I’m sure you have a few things you could teach them they’d never learn at any school.” She insisted.
She had a point, but he’d never admit it.
“I’ll be waisting my time.”
Seraphina rolled her eyes, tired.
“Fine. Be that way. I’ll find another auror.”
Graves tried to hide the triumphant smile that was forming on his face.
At the end of the day, Picquery chose Goldstein to teach the class. It was going to be a short one though, every single afternoon for a week, just to give some tips and advices in hexes for the wizards to use during a fight.
It was a good choice, auror Goldstein seemed dedicated and responsible. But, most importantly, she’d do it while Graves could focus his time on other things…
“You’ll do fine,” he told her, taking pity on her; there were a few minutes left and she was outside of the auditorium, waiting for everyone to show up.
“I’ve never spoken in front of so many people before,” she confessed. “But I think I could handle it.”
She got distracted by something at the end of the hallway. Graves followed the direction of her gaze just when she started to smile. Goldstein was looking at her sister and the man next to her.
The… lovely man next to her, Graves mentally corrected himself as his eyes laid on said wizard. He had messy reddish curls and a shy smile lighting up a face full of freckles.
“Who’s he?” He asked before he could stop himself, he didn’t even take his eyes off him.
“That’s Newt Scamander, my friend. He came back to New York to visit us. And since he’s staying a few days I told him to take the training, because that man seems to be followed by danger wherever he goes.” She added looking at him fondly.
Graves’ lips quirked up, almost involuntary as he looked how Newt moved his hands in the air, whatever he was telling Miss Goldstein he was very excited about. Yes, he had heard about him, he was the only one to realize the Grindelwald wearing Graves’ skin wasn’t the real Director of Magical Security. Before he wanted to thank him, now he wanted so much more from the man.
Graves blinked, surprised by his own thoughts. He hadn’t never felt so… attracted to someone like that.
“Actually… Madam President just told you are not going to give the lessons, but me,” he told her.
Auror Goldstein looked confused.
“But I thought you didn’t want to do it, Sir,” she said.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Graves replied, making every effort not to look at Newt while saying it.
Graves saw Newt getting in the auditorium and followed him right behind. He chuckled when the man turned around and realized who was he.
“Mr Graves!” He squeaked, almost jumping.
“You must be Newt Scamander, the magizoologist,” Graves smirked, taking a step closer to the man.
“Uh, oh… Yes! It’s a pleasure to finally meet the real you!” Newt babbled, looking adorable while doing it.
“The pleasure is mine,” Graves assured, purring. He had decided he was going to is everything he knew about seduction and flirtation just to make Newt to stay in New York permanently with him.
“So… Where’s Tina?” Newt was so flustered he didn’t know what to say except to talk about his friend.
“She’s not going to come,” Graves informed him. “I’m the one in charge of this training. I’m sure you and I are going to have so much fun.”
Newt’s shocked and flushed face was worth everything.
It was better that Graves had expected. He started to remind everyone the basics of self defensive magic, which everyone knew already, but he told them the right time to use each spell and how to make sure it’ll work in their favor.
He made them train in the room and had them forming duos or teams of three, but he always kept Newt to himself. He convinced the man it was better for him to try the hexes under his supervision, that way Graves could correct his posture by putting a hand on his back or taking his head in his hands to move it tenderly to one side or another. He also got as humanly close as he could to Newt’s body when he was telling him how to cast a particular spell.
Graves was enjoying the whole thing maybe a little too much.
And thanks to Newt’s tardiness, Graves had the perfect excuse to make him stay after the class and be alone with him.
The only problem was that even though everyone seemed to notice his attempts the object of his affections did not. Newt was completely oblivious.
It was really frustrating.
He knew Picquery was going to talk to him, so he wasn’t surprised she stopped him in the hallway two days later outside his office.
“I heard rumors,” was the first thing she said and it looked like she was holding back an amused smile. “But I like to know things first hand so tell me… why did you decide you wanted to be in charge of the basic training program? You told me you hated the idea.”
“I’ve changed my mind,” he told her the same as he said to Goldstein.
Graves didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of a real answer, but Mercy Lewis was not on his side that day because the lovely magizoologist was walking down the hallway and stopped right next to them.
He beamed at them and Graves was a weak man and Newt’s smile was something irresistible so obviously he grinned back like an idiot.
“Mr Graves, I wanted to thank you, the lessons have been really helpful, but I don’t think I can stay for the three left so I-”
Graves panicked, but thankfully it didn’t show up in his features, he was one of the most powerful aurors after all, he couldn’t let anyone see him panicking.
He took Newt’s hands, cutting the man off.
“No, Mr Scamander, you must stay for the rest of the lessons, it’s important and it’ll help you on your line of work I can assure you,” Graves hoped he didn’t sound desperate because he was. “You must remain in New York.”
Stay with me, he bit the words before they escaped his mouth.
“Well… If you think it’s really necessary…” He trailed off and blushed when Graves caressed his freckled cheek.
“Yes, it is.”
“Okay… I-I will tell Queenie and Tina I’ll stay with them a few more days,” he said.
“You can stay with me,” the auror blurted out and he could swear he heard Seraphina chuckling behind him.
“You’re very kind, Mr Graves, but that won’t be necessary,” Newt smiled, before excusing himself and walked away.
Graves groaned, he had been so close. He was sure he could have convinced him to move in with him. Next time then…
Seraphina cleared her throat.
“So I didn’t believe when they told me you were crushing harder than a twelve year old, but now I can see it's completely true,” she laughed.
Graves glared at her, but he knew she was right he was completely gone.
“I don’t blame you, he’s cute,” she commented, grinning when Graves growled at her. “Oh my friend, you got it so bad.”
The auror sighed. He looked at her for a second before coming up with a very nice idea.
“Offer him a job,” he asked. “Please.”
“So you’re serious with him,” she quirked up both her eyebrows.
“You’re lucky I was just planning to do it,” Seraphina said. “Because I truly believe we could use a man like Mr Scamander here.”
“Thanks,” he breathed.
Graves was watching Newt talking with auror Goldstein about a… Niffler? At least that’s what he thought he had heard. He wasn’t paying too much attention to the conversation to be quite honest, although he knew he should start to find out more about magical creatures if he wanted to keep Newt’s attention on him.
Graves licked his lips in anticipation, now that Newt had accepted the job it was just a question of time… He was going to be all his.