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The hands of the clock point to home

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Peregrine Uriel Mattimeo Amadeus Scamander was one of the most highly respected diplomats in the world, often seen as operating at a level beyond the International Council of Magic as he managed international relations with No-Majs throughout the European Theatre - part of the reason that his oldest son sneaking off to fight in the war had been a scandal. He had not been pleased with that, or the scandal that followed as his son ended up in a relationship with an American who had also fled to the war at the time when any man with any sense would have been heading away.

Diane Juniper Easter Medith Calypso Sybil Juno Persephone Ezekiel Scamander was a world class breeder of hippogriffs, a creature that was responsible for almost a fifth of No-Maj beast sightings. She was also the woman who was responsible for indulging her younger son's love of all things creature related, including the obscurial that was pacing along beside Percival's desk, staring at the notes he was making.
"That's a... really long name," Credence muttered, and Percival sighed
"It is. You should call her Lady Scamander -"
"Is she really-?" Credence asked, in wide eyed fascination.
"Not exactly. But she's related to the Fawley family, and that means that you should address her with respect. They're one of the families of purebloods, and a distant cousin of hers is currently the Minister for Magic."

"Thank you," Credence whispered, his fingers fiddling with the edge of his shirt before he realised what he was doing, jerking his fingers away as though they had been burned. "I didn't realise Newt's family were so...." His words seemed to fail him and he shrunk, before stumbling forwards as though he had been knocked. A few seconds later, a large white ape faded into view on his back, and he ran his hands through Dougal's fur. Percival smiled a little - he knew that the demiguise had taken it upon himself to support Credence when he fell back into his old patterns of behaviour.

Credence had been abused for a lifetime, betrayed in a million different ways, including by the man who had stolen Percival's face, and tried to kill Theseus's brother. It was no wonder that at times he found it hard. The real surprise was that he had managed to accept Percival as a friend after all that had happened, even sat beside him in the hospital as he recovered.
"Credence, if you have any problems, you stay with me," Percival ordered. "I've spent a lifetime dealing with people like this, I can handle it."
Pain flickered across Credence's face, but he nodded his acceptance, planning to obey. It would be easier to let Percival deal with this.

Theseus had hurried to Percival's side the second he had been discovered, and they had quickly fallen back to where they left off, exchanging kisses even as Percival struggled to regain his strength to stand. Newt meanwhile had been working with Credence to restrain the monster within, and slowly it had worked. Even slower, Newt and Credence had fallen for each other and Theseus had been ecstatic to see his brother so happy, which meant he'd suggested the journey home.

"They won't mind I'm a man?" Credence asked cautiously, for the tenth time since they had got onto the boat. Percival thought he was actually managing to be fairly restrained, as they had crossed the Atlantic and were now taking the train home.
"They won't mind," Percival repeated. "Wizards have no place for those prejudices, and you are magical. Powerful too."
"I wasn't taught," Credence answered back, voice dripping with sorrow and rage, and Percival rested a hand on his shoulder. He understood the judgement the boy would face. His parents were long dead, but he couldn't imagine they'd react kindly to him waltzing in with someone who had never been to wizarding school, didn't even have a wand.
"You'll learn now," he murmured, then tilted his head towards the case. "You go and play with Newt, he probably needs help with the mooncalves. I'll finish these summaries."

Credence scampered off, and Percival tapped his pen on the paper, considering. The Scamander parents were influential, important people. If they turned against Credence, it could make his life difficult. His own concern was that if they disapproved of him, they could argue he wasn't fully recovered. But Theseus wanted him to meet them.

Seraphina, monster that she was, had said 'it'll be fun', as though he wouldn't choose a week's vacation in Grindelwald's cell over disappointing Theseus's parents. But he had to survive.

He made sure he understood some of Peregrine's key work, the treaties he had arranged between different countries, and skimmed the book that Newt had let him borrow about hippogriff behaviour. He didn't want to look too stupid in front of them, wanted to make a good impression.

Newt and Credence emerged from the case as the train stopped, and the four of them headed out onto the platform. Theseus strode off, and the rest of them followed, Credence looking around wide eyed.

Theseus paused a few streets away, in a deserted lot. There was no portkey to be seen, and no other vehicle.
"Theseus, where's the car?"

"Why would we take a car?" Theseus asked with a laugh, as Newt whistled. Summoned by the noise, four hippogriffs slowly flapped down from the sky. Credence yelped, half-hiding behind Newt, and Percival bit his lip so that he didn't say something he regretted.
"You expect me to ride that, Theseus?"
"Well, it'll work better than her riding you. Climb on."

******

Recovering from his initial shock, Credence stepped out, bowing like Newt did. He found it hard to maintain eye contact with anyone, even a large bird-horse-thing, but he wanted to be respectful.

"There you go, Credence, if you climb on the male," Newt instructed.
"How do I-" Credence started to ask, before working it out for himself. He felt his face colour as he made his way over to the slightly smaller creature, holding up a hand the way Newt did with the Thunderbirds. It rubbed it’s face against his shoulder. Newt helped him climb onto the male, and he leaned forwards, wrapping his arms gently around the bird's neck. It was surprisingly soft, and he nuzzled his face into the feathers for a moment, before glancing at Percival, who was looking disgusted by the entire situation, and rather like he wanted to vanish. As he watched, Percival climbed into position, Theseus and Newt following.
"Won't we be seen?" Credence asked quietly.

"They're charmed so you won't see them," Newt said calmly, guiding his hippogriff to take flight. He held on as they soared, graceful as he always was around creatures.
It was a little more of a challenge for Credence to coax his creature to do the same, but soon they were in the air, soaring above the countryside. The fields were a patchwork, arranged in a way that looked almost like a quilt of different colours.

Credence had half-expected to dislike being so high, but knowing that Newt was nearby, and so were Percival and Theseus, he found himself enjoying it. It felt liberating. Had he ever been told when he lived with Ma that this day would have come, it would have seemed unbelievable - not just because of the flying, but because he was wanted, and had a family who cared about him.

Nagging concerns began to niggle at the back of his mind about meeting Newt's parents, whether he would meet with their approval. But while they were airborne he was able to push those thoughts to one side and not consider any more about it - it is what it was, and he would find a way to handle it. It was only as they began to spiral back down towards a large farmhouse that his worries overwhelmed him, and by the time he stepped down he could feel himself shaking.

Percival patted him on the back briefly, in a momentary attempt to be reassuring. Credence allowed it recognising it as the kindness that it was. He wasn't alone, even now as it all felt overwhelming. The hippogriffs turned and trotted away to the stables, and Newt reached for Credence's hand before beginning the task of walking with him to the Scamander household.

It was an impressive house, larger than Credence had expected. Percival was standing nearby with Theseus at his side, both with their wands drawn. They were both important, and being important put them in danger. Credence found he worried about their safety a lot - he wanted them to get through everything unscathed, but was beginning to realise that it might not be possible.

Newt's thumb rushed over the mat of scars on his palm, and he let the touch ground him.

"It'll be alright," Newt murmured, and Credence would have believed him if he wasn't gripping his case so tightly. He tried not to think of Ma's reaction had she met Newt. He would have probably died from the thrashing he would have earned by being romantically involved with anyone, let alone a man or a wizard or both. He knew that Newt's parents were important, but he wasn't about to let anyone hit his lover. He could feel the darkness twisting inside of him again, clawing at his skin from the inside as it fought to take over, to be the one to fight.

"Easy," Theseus spoke, and something about his tone pulled Credence back from the edge. "Don't need you turning into a smoke monster on us, Perry worked hard on the garden."
"Sorry." Credence cringed, and Theseus opened his mouth to say something, then paused as the door opened.

The man who stepped out to greet them was tall, his hair grey now, but there was something in his stride that was like Theseus's. Credence hung back, staring at the ground and trying not to be in the way. He could hear Percival and Mister Scamander talking to each other, and he wished he could remember all the details that Percival had explained to him. Mister Scamander was important, and wanted what was best for both of his sons. Percival might be able to convince him that he was a suitable choice, but Credence didn't think he could.

He felt Dougal clamber up his leg, and wrapped his arm around the invisible ape, hoping that at least he could comfort the beast.

"Oh Newt, Theseus..." a woman's voice from behind made them turn, and Theseus stepped forwards to embrace a woman who had eyes the same shade as Newt's. They cuddled close for a moment, before she ruffled his hair and turned her attention to Newt, pulling him close. "My darling... I can't believe you've brought a friend home!"
Newt blushed a little, and his freckles disappeared. Credence tried to hide his smile.

"Lady Scamander, it's a pleasure..." Credence managed to stutter out, and she pushed her son to one side to give him her undivided attention. She looked him up and down, walking around him as though she was evaluating him. He gripped on to Dougal in an attempt not to panic. He tried to breathe slowly and calmly, not to visibly panic. She finished her circuit of him and nodded, her eyes bright.
"It's wonderful to see you dear boy, but Newt hasn't been feeding you enough, you’re malnourished and your hair - Newt, really, couldn't you give him more zinc." She turned to her son, disapproval clear. Credence blinked a little, reaching out to touch his hair. He liked the cut it had now, and didn't know how he had managed to annoy her.
"I'm sorry ma'am..."
"Don't apologise young man. It's quite alright, now, you can call me Diane, and I'm just annoyed that Newt hasn't been feeding you properly. Don't worry about any of that, we need to focus on the important question."
"Important question?" Credence repeated, a frown creasing his forehead.

"Yes, now, what are you?"
Credence cringed. He'd heard enough about politics from Miss Tina and Miss Queenie to know that blood status was important, but it wasn't an answer he knew for the simple reason he knew nothing about his birth parents.
"I don't know I'm afraid ma'am. I believe my mother was a witch, but I don't know about my father, and she thought I was a squib."

A look of horror passed across Diane's face, and Credence nearly cried, his fingers fiddling with the bottom of his shirt once more.
"I'm not ma'am I swear it," he blurted out, as Newt wrapped an arm around him.

"Oh you dear child, no, it wouldn't matter even if you were, but that wasn't what I was asking? I'm guessing you are a Puckwudgie, you've got their fight, and their loyalty. I always thought that if Newt was going to end up with anyone it would be a Puckwudgie."

Credence felt himself shaking where he stood, the smoke clawing inside once more.
"Mother," Newt said softly. "Credence didn't go to Ilvermorny. He wasn't educated, not like that."
"Oh... Oh I'm so sorry," Diane cuddled him, then paused. "Well, if you weren't in the house then if we have any competitions you will just have to be with Newt in Hufflepuff."
"Competitions?" Credence asked.
"Oh, it was a game for Newt when he was younger. Theseus was a Gryffindor - and his young man was in the closest thing to it, so both of them get that-"
"Lady Scamander, with respect, I'm hardly young," Percival protested, and Credence did smile at that one. She smiled back at him.
"You are a young man until you are able to call me by my name. Any friend of my boys; is a friend of mine. Now, where was I? Ah yes. So Theseus is a Gryffindor, as is his young man, Perry was a Ravenclaw, Newt was sorted into Hufflepuff and I was in Slytherin - something to do with ambitions to be the best at what I loved. So we had little tournaments, Newt always got so sad that no one wrote-" She paused and shook her head. "Not that any of that matters now, not if you're here. Newton, dearie, will you be requiring a second bed or are you happy just to charm yours larger? Theseus, I already made yours a double."

Both brothers turned a slightly interesting colour, but Newt managed to answer after a moment.
"I'll be fine to charm mine, thank you, Mother."
"Oh..." Lady Scamander turned to Credence, looking him over curiously. "Well, we always knew you wouldn't be one for grandchildren. So do I need to make him a hand? Both of them?"
"What?" Percival muttered to Theseus. Credence looked down and patted Dougal, and Newt sighed.

"Have you managed to fix the clock yet mother?"
"It isn't broken."
"It says I'm in mortal peril every time I set foot in my case, " Newt tried to argue.
"Well, it's not the spell's fault. I know that you're not going to get devoured alive by a nundu, but as far as it's concerned-" Lady Scamander tried to reason. Credence stared in confusion, until the gentleman who had been watching the five of them with interest stepped forwards.
"You have no idea what they're talking about, do you?"
"None at all," Credence admitted.
"What's your name?" the man asked, holding out his hand. "I'm Peregrine, but you're welcome to call me Perry,"
"Thank you sir-" Credence caught himself, swallowing before he spoke. "Perry."
"That's my boy," Perry grinned. "Now, you want to see what's happening?

"Please?" Credence asked softly, and the man nodded, leading him into the house. Credence was vaguely aware of the rest of the party following, but he was focused on what was in front of him - the hall of the house was filled with books, and some sketches were framed on the walls - he could recognise Newt's work. He was led through into a parlour, where a fire burned brightly in the grate. On the mantlepiece above was an elegant brown and red clock, with words and hands in gold. Stepping forwards, Credence could see that all four hands pointed at the word "Home", and each had a letter carved onto it. Other words followed; "Travelling", "School", "Work", "Hospital", "Prison", "Mortal Peril", "Quidditch", "With Friends", "Lost", "Hungry" and "Busy".

"It shows us where everyone is. We'll make you boys one each if you'd like, so we know where all our family is. Newt, we did notice you spending a few hours in prison again."
"That was an accident!" Newt protested, but he smiled. "Honestly, it all worked out."
"Excuse me," Credence mumbled. "But Percival's name starts with a P as well..." It was easier to concentrate on that than accept that he was being offered inclusion as part of the family. He blinked a little when Perry nodded.

"Well, we can make his hand silver if he'd like, yours as well. Then we can see you... now, Credence, is there anything you like to eat? We'd best feed you before Diane starts trying to sneak you hippogriff snacks."
"I'm... I'm not hungry, I'm alright really..." Credence mumbled, a little overwhelmed by the attention.

"Nonsense," Lady Scamander called out. "We'll get you fed. Perry dear, can you make dinner so that I can check on the hippogriffs and then charm the hands for these boys?"
Perry stepped away to cook. Credence wanted to offer to help, but he knew he wouldn't be able to as he hadn't mastered magic. Lady Scamander looked at them all. Credence half-wanted to hide, but he stayed still.
"Now, Theseus, why don't you give your friend a tour of the house while I take Newt and Credence to check out the stables?"
Theseus nodded, reaching out to Percival and walking away with him. Lady Scamander smiled at Newt.
"Now, shouldn't you rush ahead and check on everyone?"
Newt did as he was told, leaving Credence alone with her. He braced himself for pain, waiting to lose everything. He closed his eyes for a moment to calm himself, and when he opened them again he found Lady Scamander staring at him with a slight smile on her face.
"Would you like a cuddle?" she asked. Credence hesitated, and then jerked his head stiffly, too ashamed to speak out loud. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him against her and rubbing his back. If she felt the scars there, she said nothing. She held him for a few moments before stepping away.
"Newt can be difficult, but he is a good man. Even if... even if things don't go as you would like, I want you to know that you can always turn to me. You look like you've been alone for quite long enough."

Credence didn't know how to reply to that, so trailed along after her as they went to the stables.

***

"A tour of the house?" Percival asked when they were left alone. The Scamander household was impressive, but he'd already seen the kitchen, and he couldn't imagine that he would be that bothered about where other things were.
"Oh, that's mother's code for 'why don't you take your friend upstairs and see how strong the mattress is'," Theseus explained and Percival suddenly regretted asking. Certainly, especially when they were younger, he and Theseus had tested quite a few mattresses, along with a handful of tables, dugouts and walls (the last one leading to the discovery that bombed out buildings could be quite fragile, and that falling masonry did rather ruin the mood). But the thought of doing so in Theseus's parents' house, with their approval, was a little startling.

"Your... mother is quite upfront about that kind of thing, isn't she?" Percival asked, thinking of Mrs. Graves' attitude to relations as something to be done between a married couple in the aim of producing a Graves heir.
"We grew up on a farm. It's a very fancy farm, and the hippogriffs are world class, but Newt and I were always aware of the facts of life. Newt started making some really rather worrying notes when he was six or so..." Theseus trailed off a little, then focused. "So, do you want to test the mattress?"

"I'd rather tour the house first," Percival answered, and Theseus led him along corridors, introducing him to various paintings along the way. Percival braced himself for their disapproval, but instead they seemed quite taken with him.
"An American-"
"-Ridiculous that we lost the colonies-"
"Wwll if they're all like that at least they haven't forgotten their manners-"

A little awkwardly, Percival raised a hand to wave at them, as Theseus chuckled, clearly delighted by Percival's response.
"They'll get used to you." Theseus led him through to the library. Percival pointedly ignored the collection of "romance" "novels" that he had seen Theseus flicking through in the trenches, and instead began to examine the spines of some of the older books. These were an archive of different information, about legal cases and the like from both the no-maj and magical world. There were libraries like this in America, but not within private houses.

"You can use the library at any time you wish," Peregrine informed him as pushed open the door, looking between the two of them curiously. "Theseus is actually showing you the house. Wonders never cease."
Percival resisted the urge to try and apparate away from the conversation, and instead bowed slightly towards Theseus's father.
"It is an honour to meet you Mister Scamander. I must say that all of us within MACUSA admire the work you did on the Lichtenstein Treatise, and the Paris Pact..."
"Thank you, and call me Perry, really, you and Newt's friend are both so shy..."

Percival frowned a little in reflex at that comment. He had been called a great many things across the years but he was fairly certain that no one had ever referred to him as shy. Peregrine reached out to rest his hand on Percival's shoulder.
"You aren't here to negotiate a treatise for MACUSA. You are here because you've had a difficult time recently, and because you and my son love each other. You don't have to impress me. You make Theseus happy, and that impresses me enough."

Percival nodded formally. He thought of his long dead father, who had made it clear that Percival was never good enough to earn the family name. It was understandable now, why Theseus was the way he was.
"Thank you Perry," Percival murmured.

"Once you've finished looking around the house, you should both head to the stables, Diane has had some new hatchlings that she wanted you to meet."
"Thank you," Theseus answered, guiding Percival away. "So mother has some new babies... well, Newt and I are both named after hippogriffs."
"You have a hippogriff called Theseus?"

"Don't be ridiculous." Theseus answered with a smile. "He's called Apollo. And Newt's is called Artemis. We're both twins actually, we both got a 'griff hatch on our birthday. Hippogriff flocks tend to have their children together in the wild, so in captivity they often time their birth to match those that are around them."

Percival nodded, trying to stop focusing on the simple fact that Theseus had been named after a hippogriff, and let him lead the way to the stable. He smiled a little at what he saw. Newt was busy grooming a hippogriff with a distorted wing, while Credence was sitting on the floor, a small hatchling cradled in his arms.

"You like them?" Percival asked, crouching down beside Credence. It was a genuine question, but also a chance for Credence to stick to their agreement - if it all became too much for him and he needed out, he simply needed to say 'I thought I saw a billywig' and Percival would find a way to get him out of the situation. Then he could get into the case if he had to allow the obscurus out, his shadow form letting the terror and rage free for a few brief moments so that Credence remained in control.

"I love them," Credence answered, awe clear. Diane stepped forwards, and ruffled Credence's hair. He seemed to lean into the touch. Theseus nodded, squeezing Percival's hand, a silent reassurance as the emotions suddenly threatened to overwhelm him. Percival didn't even understand why he was suddenly feeling emotional, he only knew that he was.

He leaned against Theseus a little, as Diane helped Newt with the hippogriffs, then paused.
"Just give me a moment."
She walked away, and returned with a small grey bundle of fluff. A few moments later, it blinked and revealed itself as a young hippogriff chick, younger even than the hatchling Credence was playing with.
"Ma'am?" Percival questioned as the bird was deposited in his arms.

"It's a family tradition to name our children after the flock. Only you two, well, you're a part of this family, but I can hardly rename you. So the little boy you are holding will be Perseus... and Credence dear, what name do you want for yours?"
"Can she... Could she please be called Modesty?" Credence whispered, pressing his face against the soft downy feathers.
"Of course, oh darling, please don't cry..." Diane sat beside Credence and hugged him close. "Why?"
"My sister... I scared her and she... she ran away, and... and Mister Graves helped so much, he found her a nice wizarding family, she'll be happy. And I see her in America sometimes. But I miss ...I miss her."
"Poor dear..." Diane murmured, glancing over Credence's head to catch Percival's eye and mouth 'thank you'. "Well, if you ever want to bring her here, you'd be more than welcomed. Both of you. This is your house now, as often as you want it."

Newt walked over and embraced Credence tightly, wrapping around his shuddering frame. Credence clung to him, the chick cawing for attention between them. Percival allowed them that moment and didn't interrupt - there was nothing he could do to help now. Diane walked over and embraced Theseus, then nodded at Percival. "I'll show you how to feed Perseus."
"But Newt-"
"Newt won't always be there to do everything for you," she reasoned. "And it's good for you to be able to do this sort of thing for yourself." Gently she showed him how to tear apart the grubs and feed it to the young bird. Percival was a willing student, and soon Perseus was full.

"I'll need all of you to come with me," she said as Newt and Credence stopped their playing with the chicks. "Sooner we get the clock hands sorted out, the sooner you are officially a part of this family."

Percival considered protesting, saying he already had a family. But he didn't, not when he saw the sheer hope on Credence's face, not when he felt accepted. He walked beside Theseus, watching the way Credence and Newt leaned in to kiss each other gently on the cheek before Credence got a little shy and ducked his head. Credence was eager to see the spell work that went in to making the hand of the clock. While Percival would never admit it, he was also interested to see, watching the charms wrap around the metal to link it to them and to help keep them safe.

That night, he lay back in bed, Theseus beside him (stealing the quilt, the way that he always did), and felt himself relax. Theseus offered him a cigarette, but Percival shook his head and paused.
"I wanted to make a good impression because of who they were," he murmured, "and I forgot… I forgot they were your parents."
"You made a good impression," Theseus promised. "And trust me, they've basically adopted you now."

Percival didn't think he minded that quite as much as he would have expected to.