“You made all of this from scratch? It looks great.” “Thanks! Told ‘ya I could cook, didn’t I? I figured a good breakfast would lift your spirits.” “Thank you. I’m flattered you’d do all of this for me.” “Well, you make it easy.”
The hunted by snow ghosts for Grindelwald manhunting graves???
HOLY SHIT !!!
You wandered through the willows In the forest you were found Trying to hide your footprints in the ground It’s not so wise, if you try to run It’s not so wise, you know I’ve won, you know I’ve won
Percival doesn’t stand a chance.
I imagine this hunt to be like some sick Hunger Games. Grindelwald sets the rule, and at his signal Graves is free to go. He runs and runs, ignoring the ache in his side, ignoring how the rags he wears as clothes get caught in branches and brambles, slowing down his course. He only needs to reach the edge of the forest, Grindelwald had said. If he can live long enough to get there, he will be free.
Of course, Graves doesn’t know that the forest is a fake. That once he reaches the edge and tries to go past it, he will encounter a solid shield that will send him crashing backwards into a tree while Grindelwald’s laugh echoes in his ears.
Percival doesn’t know. So for now he runs, and he hopes.
Night falls and Percival needs to get some sleep. He climbs up a tree, trying to ignore the cold settling in his bones, and settles into the most comfortable position he can. He dozes, waking up at the slightest sound he hears. His teeth are chattering. He can neither feel his toes -because of course, Grindelwald didn’t see fit to provide him shoes- nor the tip of his fingers. But all of that doesn’t matter, he thinks. It doesn’t matter because soon. Soon.
He’ll be free.
Graves thinks of the pie his Mama baked when he was a kid, of his first kiss with Theseus Scamander, of Seraphina’s laughter when they danced together at a MACUSA ball. He thinks of his parents’ pride when he made it to Director of Magical Security. He thinks of his Aurors. Of Tina. Of Credence Barebone.
And he lives. Just a little longer.
When dawn breaks Percival is on the run again. He hungers and thirsts. He hears the sound of running water and seeks out the source, only for the precious liquid to disappear between his fingers once it gets close to his mouth. Percival grits his teeth. No matter what he collects the water with -his shirt, a leave, a hollow rock- it always vanishes. Percival understands. Grindelwald is having fun. Taunting him. Percival is not meant to survive to make it to the end.
But he is Percival Graves, and he is a warrior, and he will make it or die trying.
That night Grindelwald sends direwolves after him. Huge, snarling beasts that Graves can’t fight. He’s so afraid he somehow manages to create fire wandlessly, despite the crushing hold Grindelwald keeps on his magic. He repels the creatures, but not before one of them catches his arm and bites down. Graves howls in pain, and there’s Grindelwald’s laughter echoing in his ears, louder and louder and louder-
The wolves disappear. Graves sobs, uncaring if Grindelwald sees him and cradles his injured arm to his chest. The wound is ugly, messy, bloody, and Graves is pretty sure he heard bones snap. He pales when he does catch sight of the bone protruding from his arm and has to take a few deep breathes to avoid throwing up.
He rips the rest of his shirt apart, half with magic and half with despair, until he can finally wrap the dirty cloth around his arm to try and slow the bleeding. That’ll have to do for now.
He doesn’t run again. He walks. He sees the edge of the clearing nearby and his legs nearly buckle at the sight. But no. Not yet. Just a bit more.
He feels dizzy with pain and blood loss but the light is getting clearer. The forest has become strangely silent as he walks. Closer to freedom. Forward. Forward. Always forward.
He repeats it like a mantra in his head, going on by sheer force of will.
The last tree. It’s there, it’s finally there
- one step forward - one step more -
- his hand reaches out, towards the light, towards the field he sees, towards safety -