It was an exceptionally rare, but amongst some of history’s most powerful wizards there had been a few who found a name, not their own, which appeared on their skin. Merlin had one, or so it’s said. The theories abound: a kind of prophecy made flesh, the effects of a soul overburdened by magic, the hand of destiny making a play.
That such names were called Soulmate’s Marks had always seemed incredibly naïve to Percival Graves, who had once been told that he did not have “even a single romantic bone in his whole damn body” by a then fourteen-year-old Seraphina Picquery.
But the matter was that amongst those few rare witches and wizards in history to have one, how many had actually lived happily with the person whose name was on their skin?
Had any of them?
None of this was on the mind of Percival Graves who, at age twenty-six, was canvassing an area of the Lower East Side in search of Merinda Nagshead, who had cast an unforgivable curse on her husband and brother-in-law earlier that day then fled. The brother-in-law was still recovering from blood loss. The husband had been dead before anyone arrived — having stabbed himself twenty-seven times at Merinda’s command.
“What does what mean?” Percival caught those dark, feline eyes looking up at him quietly.
“Shot-zee.” The boy clumsily sounded out, frowning when he obviously didn’t get it right, leading his father to smile fondly at him.
“Schatzi. It’s a German endearment, it directly translates to “treasure” but it is usually used to address your girlfriend.”
Pale cheeks flushed darkly and something greedy and ravenous coiled in Percival’s chest briefly. “I’m not your girlfriend, though.”
“Perhaps not. But you are my treasure.” Percival leaned in, kissing Credence’s cheek softly.
“Did you ever have a schatzi?” The boy asked, peering up at his father through dark lashes, his fingers tightening in the man’s sleeve.
“I did once.” Percival murmured softly, stroking Credence’s cheek and adjusting a soft curl of dark hair as he did so. “She died, though. In the war.”
“Oh…” Those soft, soulful eyes that could hide nothing looked up at Percival with such pain and worry. “I’m very sorry.”
“I only knew her for two days.” The man shook his head, pausing in their walk to press his forehead to Credence’s. “You remind me of her in a way… You incite the same feelings.”
The boy froze, staring up at Percival, fingers trembling gently. “What sort of feelings?” He whispered, breaths puffing softly against the older man’s lips, a temptation that Percival was desperate to resist.
“I’ve always been a warrior.” The man murmured softly, inky black eyes fixed upon Credence’s matching gaze. “But what good is a warrior with no reason to fight, to protect? I wanted to save her, to protect her…” He couldn’t voice the silentand I failedthat crowded the back of his throat. “I want to do the same for you. Icando that for you… Not Grindelwald or MACUSA or anyone in all of the world could stop me from protecting you now.”
They stood like that for a while, in the brisk, cool air, staring at one another, clutching tightly at the tangle of their arms.
Newt’s gentle nature and shyness goes out of the window when magical creatures are involved. Graves tries not to get turned on by Newt interrogating poachers and smugglers about animal trafficking ring. He fails.
“Mrs. Graves?” The boy whispered, stepping into what he had dubbed, in his mind, as Antigone’s parlour. It was deep blues and browns and filled with vases of white, yellow and red flowers, some that Credence recognized from the Solarium. White gardenias, yellow irises, and bloody red poppies splashed together. She was sitting by the window currently, working on a needlepoint that looked elaborate and done entirely in gold and black thread. After a few moments of watching Credence began to recognize the MACUSA symbol, as vague of an image as he had of it, from peering at Percival’s letters and such for any clues about his work.
“Yes, Credence?” The woman didn’t even look up at him.