Percival Graves had promised him, between kisses and touches, that he would take care of himself. Newt had made him swear that he wouldn’t loose him again. That his husband would be careful with this witch hunt for Gellert Grindelwald that he still insisted on doing.
“Come back to me… every single day, just come back to me.”
“I will, Artemis. I am not leaving you now that I’ve finally got you.”
“Swear to me, Percival.”
“I swear it.”
The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.
He’d read that somewhere… or maybe heard it. It sounded like something his brother would say really. Could have also been his mum. He’d lost track.
Anger came first.
And the proof of it was still scattered everywhere in his suitcase and habitats he so loved. His little shed, that he’d always kept so neatly arranged in a way that seemed to make sense to only himself was now completely trashed. Work bench overturned, pages of a new manuscript shredded, those that weren’t were totally ruined from where a bottle of ink had fallen and shattered on top of them in the floor. His creatures had never before been scared of him, but that day even Pickett didn’t dare to come out of his pocket.
Bargaining came next along with denial. Percy had managed to get himself out of plenty of sticky situations in the past, nothing ever seeming to be able to defeat the indestructible Auror. This all had to be some mean, elaborate prank, right? Percival wouldn’t do this to him, he wouldn’t die, he was tougher than to be so easily defeated once again.
….But Percy had been looking so worn down in his last few days.
Fingers twisted the two gold bands on his finger. One his own, the other his husband’s.
“Oh he simply forgot it at home, and with the niffler it’s better if I just keep it safe for him by wearing it.”
That’s the lie he’d told the others, everyone else who didn’t know the truth about what had happened to the once great Auror. Percival’s ring had fit him a little big, and he’d nearly lost it. But thank the heavens for his niffler, who quickly caught it and very uncharacteristically to him- gave it back to Newt immediately.
But they all missed him too, didn’t they? Graves had become like a father to all of them. He’d helped Newt look after all of them, fed them, care for them when they were sick. The silence that had fallen across all of them the day Percy had died… Newt hadn’t even told them but they simply- they all somehow just knew.
Newt didn’t know how he managed to keep himself functional for so long. Sometimes it feels like nothing has changed, like maybe Percy would come in any day again, shedding his coat and scarf and leaving them so neatly arranged on the coat hanger. He’d descent any minute into the case, with that bright smile that only Newt could get out of him sometimes. He’d call him Artemis and pull him into his arms, with Newt complaining about how he was dirty and sweaty and didn’t want to ruin Percival’s good and fancy clothes. And Percy… and Percy would laugh and pull him tighter, kissing him and Newt would melt.
But no such day came.
Instead he kept himself busy in his case, day after day, the time blurring together and forgetting just how long he’d been down there until his scruff started to really become a beard. Finally he emerged, coming to the house he shared with his husband. He’d shaved, showered, eaten. But when it was time to sleep he couldn’t get himself to open the door to their room. So instead he snatched a blanket from inside his case and slept on the sofa.
It was like that for days. He couldn’t go into their room, the last thing that remained of Percival. The sheets still unmade as Newt had left them the day that Percy left.
“You should just stay today.” Newt huffed as his warmth was stolen from him when Percival got up.
“You said that yesterday too, and I did.” His husband replied, a smile on his face as he grabbed a clean towel and made his way to the restroom, his bare ass and body still bearing all the mark from what they had done the night before.
“But I made it quite worth your while.” Newt called out behind him, and he could hear Percival’s laughter as the bathroom door closed behind him and the water from the shower turned on.
It takes Newt a month to be able to stand at the doorway and not dash. Two more weeks before he dares put his hand on the doorknob. Four after that until he finally opens the door. One more until he finally steps inside.
The red head is crying from the very second he sets foot inside. He swears the room still smells like him. Percival’s clothes are still so carelessly thrown on the floor along with Newt’s, though everything now looks so grim, and a layer of dust has settled over mostly everything, and even though the blinds are still wide open just the way they were left that morning almost three months ago… everything looks dark.
He couldn’t get himself to clean any of it up, he just waves his wand and gets rid of the dust, but everything else was left intact. Newt takes a shower in their own bathroom that day, using all of Graves’ products, longing for a part of his husband back.
He’d received a few owls from the ministry, asking when he’d come back for work. Some offering information on a new sighting of a creature, and the ministry asking if he knew what it was, when he’d go investigate it. All of them go unanswered.
He has stopped wearing his own coat, has replaced it with the one his husband always wore. It looks awkward on him, far too fancy, far odd. But he wears it with pride. It belonged to his husband, his husband who had done so much for everyone.
The period of depression is the one which lasted the longest, and it partially never ended. Never again did he sleep in their bed, too haunted by all the memories of that house. Newt still goes there and visits. Sits on the floor facing Percy’s side of the bed. He swears he can still picture him there sometimes, sleeping comfortably under the blankets, limbs all tangled with Newt’s own.
The magizoologist can’t help seeing him everywhere, besides him, hearing his voice.
He knows Percy wouldn’t want him to be like this, he’d want him to move on, to go back to his creatures and the one thing he loved the most. But he can’t- he just can’t. It all feels wrong without him there by his side.
He changed his last name now, because when first discussed Newt said he’d just tack it on to the rest of his name. Neither were more powerful than each other, they were a team, and they would always be. So he married and became Newton Artemis Fido Scamander Graves. Now- now he’s no longer Scamander, he’s just Graves. The name feels funny, not quite his, but he gets used to it soon enough.
His money is really starting to run low, he nows he will have to go to work soon. It’s been almost a year, but still he wears his husbands’ ring on his finger, his coat on his shoulders, and his memories like a cloud hanging over him. Newt never touched Graves; money, despite knowing his husband would complain if he was still alive enough to do so. “We’re married, partners like you said. Everything that’s mine is yours too.” Something like that is what he would say. But Newt would never dare. Besides his husband’s stolen coat, he didn’t touch anything else of his.
Newt pushes himself to go back to London, to the ministry and beg for his job back. It is given with a lot of hesitation, but he’s got it back at the very least. He’s off traveling again, writing about creatures and submerging himself in his work. The more he works, the busier he is, the less and less that he thinks about his deceased husband.
Percival is still out there he tells himself. He’s just busy with work and will write when he has the chance.
Newt keeps on trying to fool himself, but it never works. He knows the truth.
Three more years pass by, four now since his husband was burried.
Never once did Newt visit his grave, not even when his husband was being put underground. It all felt like too much. Theseus went though, and told him about it. About how all the Aurors had been present there, even Picquery herself had gone and spoken a few words. The Goldstein’s had cried… but had they done so for their now dead friend, or for the husband whom he’d left behind? It had been a beautiful sunny day. Newt felt like the weather was almost mocking. How dare you be so happy on this day?!?!
Newt cries himself to sleep a lot.
Dumbledore had become headmaster of Hogwarts. He’d invited Newt over, and brought him into such a tight hug the moment they met. He allowed Newt to use the pensieve in the room and left him alone. Newt had pulled out memories from himself the day he learned Percy was dead. This way I can’t ever loose him.
He sees him again, for the first time in years. And he looks stunning. Wearing a tux, hair slicked back, and smiling as Newt leaned in to kiss him as they were declared married.
Newt goes through all of the memories.
Dumbledore finds him sobbing uncontrollably on the floor hours later and pulls him onto his lap, holding him and sushing him, telling him things would be alright.
It goes on like this for many years.
Newt’s old now, he needs a cane to help him walk. The suitcase was passed down to his nephew, a blonde with freckles who loved magical creatures as much as Newt did.
All his animals had either died, or been relocated to a better and more natural habitat. Even Pickett had died. But somethings remained the same, such as the two wedding bands on his finger, and the way he’d never again been with anyone after Graves.
You were my first and my very last.
And for the first time since he’d left the house the two had lived in, he goes to their room, no hesitation this time as he opens the door and limps to the bed, carefully laying down and closing his eyes for the very last time.