One of Graves' biggest passions, though he would never admit it out loud, is knitting. When Newt's birthday comes, he gets an anonymous gift that contains a pale blue sweater knit with love with a picture of a hipogriff.
@thegaypumpingthroughyourveins This is gross, I love it.
Healing from the physical damage Grindelwald had laid upon his body had turned out to be relatively simple. Not easy, no - Graves would never go so far as to say easy - but simple. Take these potions, rest for these many days, perform these exercises to regain the musculature lost, eat this many calories, drink this much water; orders, Graves could follow.
It was the after part that he struggled with. After his body had healed. After all visible signs it had ever happened were gone. Graves had always been a very physical creature. So it was beyond his comprehension when he woke up one day feeling amazing only to realize that his heart was still sick. His body had never felt better, but he was loathe to leave his bed in the morning and dreaded even more the act of climbing into it at night - deterred to sleep lest he dream. Lest he fall back into that place…
So he works more; anything to keep him from his house and the silence that waited for him there. Anything to keep his mind off the gnawing sense of emptiness in his chest. Anything to keep him moving, lest he stop moving altogether.
And when Picquery catches onto to this and forces him to leave his office on time because honestly, Graves, you just survived a madman. I’m not going to let you work yourself to death when only just got you back - Graves decides to start making daily walks through Central Park. At first only in the evenings but as time passes, he goes in the mornings too and it’s then that she meets her:
Julie-Ann Marie Smith.
He had been sitting on a park bench and staring out over the expanse of the park when she randomly sat next to him one day, this innocent little No-Maj. She had a curtain of cute silver curls atop her head and these huge spectacles that made his blue eyes two sizes too big to not be comical. She wore her Sunday best every day, her neck and wrists and ears outlined in modest jewelry.
“May I join you, young man?” She had asked quite kindly, her hands trembling where they held up her rather hefty looking bag.
Graves blinked, then made a point of scooting over to make room for her.
“Of course,” he said.
It turned out the woman came to the park to knit that day, and as Graves would later find, every day. He watched as she pulled out two long, wicked looking needles and a ball of soft yarn and simply began to knit right next to a total stranger.
He had thought about leaving from his morning walk early, only… he couldn’t stop watching her hands weave such plain and simple yarn into something long and grand and elaborate. There was something soothing in the gesture of her needles, in the way the fibers melded into something greater, in the way she created something out of nothing. Without realizing it, his fingers danced in the air from where they hung between his knees, hunched over as he was while watching her. He startled when she suddenly spoke.
“Would you like for me to teach you?”
“Knitting. Would you like for me to teach you?” She asked again, her eyes never lifting from her work, but still somehow growing gentle. “You look as though you’ve got a bit of an inch in your hands. I find it helps me keep my hands occupied when I get an inch. I tend to lately, since he passed.”
“I’m sorry for your loss,” Graves said.
“Thank you,” she smiled, and something glimmered behind the thick lens of her glasses.
“I’m afraid I must go,” Graves said, rising to his feet only to pause. He watched her for a moment, contemplating. Curious. “Maybe I’ll take you up on that offer another day.”
“I’m not hard to find,” she smiled.
They end up making somewhat of a ritual together. Every morning, thirty minutes before work, Graves met Julie-Ann in the park at their bench. He brought coffee for himself, tea for her and two of those oddly shaped scones everyone’s been going on about for the both of them. She teaches him to knit and once he’s learned, they knit together every morning.
Its soothing for his hands and occupies his mind. He sleeps better after sitting beside his fireplace knitting until he’s weary. It helps him clear his head for his cases and actually makes it far easier for him to connect the dots between patterns in his criminal cases than ever before. It lowers his blood pressure and winds him down after a hard day at work.
The only problem is - what does one do with several dozen blankets and scarves and mittens?
He thinks of Credence and the other Barebone children, and decides to give them away.
Time passes that way for a while, kind and patient and healing. He overhears Tina telling Queenie and Newt about how she’s been seeing a lot of orphans running around with finely knit sweaters and mittens and scarves and how wonderful that is - some organization must have finally taken an interest in New York’s children - and Graves can’t help but smile ever so slightly, proud. If Queenie catches his gaze as she hands him his coffee later and smiles at him strangely, neither of them comment on why.
But even so, Graves’ favorite reaction he has gotten to any of his creations has to be when Newt Scamander finds a simple brown package on his desk one day - no note, except for a simple tag that reads “Happy Birthday”.
It is a simple sweater, nothing too elaborate - Graves isn’t that good yet. But it’s made of fine, soft yarn; the sort of sweater you relax in when it snows. And into the yarn, Graves had weaved a gentle spell that wove the image of a hippogriff into the front - grand and tall and proud.
He overhears Newt asking quite nearly everyone who created such a kind gesture for him, but no one knows. And no one dares ask the director, because why would a man like Percival Graves own knitting needles?
Graves smiles over the rim of his cup, listening to them try and solve the mystery. It isn’t until Christmas that he’s found out.
“Mr. Graves,” Newt asks, lingering at his door.
Graves blinks. It’s late and most of his people have left to go attend Christmas with their respective families. He thought it was only himself in the office at this point. But here Newt is, case in one hand, a familiar package in the other.
“Mr. Scamander,” Graves greets in return, eyes on the package and the familiar length of scarf tumbling slightly out its side.
Newt walks into his office, more confident as he goes.
“I didn’t realize anyone else was here,” Newt says, eyes wandering along the office as he goes.
“Neither did I,” Graves says. “You don’t have plans?”
“For Christmas? No. Going home didn’t quite pan out this year. Rarely does. You?”
“Nothing to go home to,” Graves says before he can stop himself. Silence reigns between them.
“Would you like to spend Christmas night with me, then?” Newt asks, and Graves blinks - surprised.
They spend their Christmas night in the employee lounge by the fire, exchanging polite conversation followed by kind stories. They discuss this and that. They talk about Theseus, their connection in common. They talk about Newt’s beasts and, as Newt becomes more and more comfortable over their fire whiskey, the goals he has for his creatures (and the illegal extent of his case within).
Graves decides not to take note of it. It it Christmas after all.
It isn’t until late that night or perhaps early morning that Newt finally tottered onto his feet, case in hand, ready to depart for the night. Graves rose to his feet to see him off, determined to spend the night in his office - no point in going home at this hour.
“Well I had a lovely evening, Mr. Graves,” he says, “Thank you.”
“As did I,” Graves says. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Scamander.”
“Merry Christmas,” he says back, then bends to pick up his little package as he catches sight of it out of the corner of his eye. “Oh, I almost forgot!”
The scarf unravels from the package extravagantly - yellows and blacks and grays. Newt smiles fondly, his fingers digging into the soft yarn pleasantly. He looks up at Graves with a strange look.
“Your secret santa gift?” Graves bluffs.
“Yes,” Newt says.
Graves looks at the scarf in the man’s scarred hands and feels a plume of pride. He really likes the way the Hufflepuff themed scarf had turned out. He had tried to replicate the one Newt had said he lost, burned accidentally by a baby dragon he had in his care for a week.
And from the look on Newt’s face, he very much likes the outcome too. Graves watches as the man takes the scarf in his hands and deftly winds it around his neck until his mouth and nose is all but lost in its warmth. But even so, Graves can tell the man is smiling.
Graves doesn’t know it smells like him. Like whiskey and old books and rich cologne. Newt cherishes it.
“I suppose this is goodnight then,” Newt says, suddenly walking toward him. Graves doesn’t realize his intent until its too late - until there’s lips on his cheek, chaste and bashful.
And then they’re gone.
“Thank you for my scarf, Mr. Graves,” Newt says, blushing, as he walks away. Graves stiffens.
“How do you know it was me?” Graves challenges him, eyes on his back as he goes. Newt pauses, glances at him over his shoulder, and smiles.
“You’re the only one I told about my old scarf,” he says. “Because I knew you were the only one who wouldn’t make fun of me for losing another article of clothing to my creatures.”
Graves blinked. People made fun of him? But –
“Goodnight, Percival,” Newt said, his smile as warm as the whiskey in Graves’ belly.