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Jacob Kowalski: Wizard Puncher

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Having been privy to the existence of magic for all of thirty-six hours, Jacob Kowalski was now sure that witches, wizards, warlocks, or whatever they were called, were just as human as the rest of the world. Foolish and impulsive and a million other things. Wonderful and terrible, compassionate and just as afraid of the unknown as someone without a wand. And capable of destruction like he had only seen at the hands of war.

“If I don’t come back, look after my creatures. Everything that you need to know is in there.” Newt shoved the case and a journal from his pocket at Tina.

“What?” Tina asked, having taken both items thrust towards her. She blinked at him, not quite able to form one of the many responses rushing through her mind.

“They’re not killing it,” Newt said it like a vow.

For a moment, Newt and Tina shared a look, heavy with words they didn’t quite get out loud.

Then Newt, Jacob’s brand new best friend, the one who showed and shared this mad world of creatures and magic and mind readers with him, jumped off the rooftop and popped away.

The crack echoed over the screams of the creature, no, the child turned creature, they were chasing.

“Newt!”

Tina had almost immediately popped off after Newt. The case she shoved at Queenie had the blond wobbling on her feet a moment, off balance with the force of it.

 

Then there were two were left atop the Squire’s building. The city was in chaos and flames before them.

 

Queenie turned towards Jacob and he knew that she was going to try and leave him behind.

She would leave him standing on a rooftop clutching an amazing, magical suitcase full of wonders. But she would be leaving to go fight without him.

He’d lose them Jacob realized. All three of them, just like he lost his brother: fighting for what they believed in.

Hell with that’, he decided before she shoved the case at him.

“Keep a-hold that, honey.” Queenie handed off the case to him and stepped up to the edge of the building.  She took a breath, mentally chanting the same as she always did so she didn’t end up splinched.

 

Determination.

Destination.

Delib-

 

“No, no, no!” Jacob shifted the case to his other hand and grabbed Queenie’s arm to stop her from leaving him.

She wouldn’t look at him.

Queenie looked upwards.  It was as if looking to the clouded sky above them and not the destruction of the city below would somehow let her shake Jacob off.

 

“I can’t take you,” she said, still not looking back to him. She just couldn’t.

There was no way she could take a sweet guy, a wandless no-maj, where she wanted to go.

She tried to move her arm out of his grip. He wasn’t hurting her, but he wouldn’t let go. She didn’t think he would. Even without looking in his mind, he was as stubborn as Tina.

 

“Please let go of me, Jacob!” Queenie said.

Hell with that’, Jacob thought again. The thought was directed at her and she flinched with the strength of it.

“Hey-Hey!” Jacob still refused to release her delicate wrist. For a moment, he wondered if he might leave a bruise on her pale skin.

Queenie tried to pull away again and Jacob gave a tug to pull her over to him. Anything to get her off that ledge alone.

She stepped down, but still wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“You’re the one that said I was one of youse…”

 

There was a flicker of doubt in his mind, that they didn’t actually want him around, the magicless murderer that he was.

“Right?” he asked aloud.

Queenie locked eyes with him then. She couldn’t be the one who let that doubt, that darkness take him.  

For a moment, both of them stood, near tears and lost in a swirl of Jacob’s memories as the Obscurus tore the city to shreds beneath them.

 

He knew she was looking. Could feel it, like the steam off a cuppa hot joe, a gentle brush against his mind.

Queenie saw it all, and Jacob let her look.

 

The War.

The lives he took, the ones he tried to save.

The nightmares that still haunted him.

Knowing the headstone that bore his brother’s name held an empty box in the ground below. The terrible truth that it always would.

The loneliness that he tried to stifle with a friendly smile.

 

Queenie saw it all, and didn’t look away, didn’t try to pull away again.

 

She saw the years he stayed after. Helping with the peacemaking efforts in attempts to atone for the sins he committed in the name of liberty.

How he figured he just end up dying alone and forgotten, a baker trapped in a cannery.

Withering away to nothing but dust, bones, and a box of recipes written in the careful, spidery script of his grandmother’s hand.

 

And then... then he had picked up a magic egg from a bench in the bank.

 

They shared the brilliance and terror and unexpected friendship found in a suitcase. The wonder and delight at two sisters who loved and argued in fierce, equal measure.

Queenie saw just how quickly his life was changed when Jacob had met one of the most interesting people on the planet: Newt Scarmander, friend to monsters.

She saw how it made Jacob hope that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t a monster that Newt would turn away.

And talk about magic!

Not even two days with Newt and Jacob was certain he’s met a woman that he’s half in love with.

 

Queenie gives him a little smile at his affection, his appreciation for her bravery and sheer moxie. She raised a hand to his cheek and they leaned close together. Not quite a kiss, but they shared breath for a sweet moment.

‘Okay?’ He asked her in his mind. He gentled his grip, only for her to drop her hand into his.

Queenie didn’t answer aloud, just intertwined their fingers and gave him a smile.

 

The scream of the creature Credence had become almost covered the crack of their Disapparation from the rooftop.

 

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There was destruction everywhere, but Percival Graves strode through Times Square with great purpose. Buildings were aflame, rubble covered the street and skittered out before his unhurried gait. People screamed and fled like the poor, scared animals they were.

Newt didn’t have the time to properly appreciate the beauty of Times Square when he Apparated into it. He landed a scant hundred feet down the street from where the Obscurus had momentarily halted. Credence’s face was barely discernible in its chaotic depths.

 

And Graves was trying to inch closer, one step at a time.

“To survive so long, with this inside you, Credence,” Graves shouted over the roar of untamed magic, “is a miracle. You are a miracle!”

Newt looked around, the overturned vehicles and flaming debris that marked the passing of something amazing and terrible in equal measure.

The dark, swirling miasma roared with Graves’ approach. The din from within echoed across the near-empty square, a pained scream of man and magic.

“Come with me-think of what we could achieve together,” Graves tried to cajole the boy within.

The Obscurus moved closer, only to scream at him again and lash out in a burst of Dark Magic.

Graves was sent flying backward. As he was knocked to the ground, a shock wave billowed out across Times Square.

Newt dove behind the closest car to take cover from the wave.

 

Tina Apparated into Times Square not far from where Newt had taken cover. She also hunkered down behind an overturned vehicle that was only slightly on fire.

“Newt!” Tina called

Newt looked away from where Credence had disappeared and to Tina.

“It’s the Second Salem boy,” Newt told her with no small amount of wonder. “He’s the Obscurial.”

Tina’s brow furrow as she looked towards the roaring monster not too far away.

“He’s not a child,” Tina said.

 

Obscurial never made it past ten. They both knew that.

 

Newt knew all too well, as he himself had lost the young witch to the Obscurus when she was only eight. Credence was eighteen, almost nineteen now, and he had survived.

“I know, but I saw him,” Newt said, “his power must be so strong-he’s somehow managed to survive. It’s incredible.”

“Newt,” Tina drew his attention again. “Save him.”

Tina dashed out toward Graves, wand at the ready.

Newt Disapparated, a plume of dust blossoming up from where he had been standing.

 

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Newt popped himself atop a rooftop, within shouting distance of where the Obscurial was currently hovering.

“Credence!” Newt called to him, not faltering when the monstrous form turns towards him. “Credence, I can help you.”

With another scream, the Obscurus dove towards Newt, heedless of the offer of assistance.

Newt scrambled to Disapparate away.

 

Where Newt had just been, a  dozen Aurors Apparated to the rooftop to attack the Obscurial.

They were knocked awry for a moment, struggling to avoid the creature. Spell blasts in white and electric blue slammed into the tumbling Obscurus as it crashed down onto the street again.

It destroyed everything in its path with terrifying ease.

Even trying to get out of the way of the Aurors, Newt narrowly avoided being hit by wayward spells several times.

As Newt popped in and out across the rooftops of New York City, he was both leaping for cover from Aurors and desperately to keep up with the Obscurus as it ripped new holes into the horizon line. It finally dove towards the ground, slamming through the sidewalk and disappearing into the subway station it had found.

 

The next roar of the Obscurus shook dust from the crumbling ceiling of the underground station.

 

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On the street, Graves was stalking toward one of the subway entrances, his coat dragging over the rubble.

“Bar the area. I don’t want anyone else down there!” he snapped. He disappeared down the stairs, leaving the others to fire spells to the sky.

 

A crowd of No-Maj had already begun to gather, heedless of the danger. Police still had their useless weapons drawn.

 

Past the crowd, Queenie and Jacob popped just shy of the glowing boundary still falling around the subway.

The side of the street they landed on looked like it had barely survived Credence’s passing. The building they were hiding against was a stiff breeze from toppling over in a heap of bricks and broken glass.

A trio of Aurors had their backs turned towards them. Together, the wizards and witches worked to bring the boundary down between the raging Obscurial and the No-Maj crowd that was quickly growing.

Jacob tugged Queenie down the stairwell keeping her slightly behind him as they went down rubble-cluttered stairs.

 

Tina Apparated just shy of the subway entrance. Seeing the barrier nearly complete, she dropped and rolled beneath the magical field. Her coat cleared the crackling shield just before it touched down on the sidewalk.

Straightening to her feet, Tina dashed into the subway before any of her former coworkers could see her.

 

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Beneath the broken street, Newt dropped down from the platform and stepped onto the train tracks.

There wasn’t much light left, most of the lights had been shattered by the passing Obscurus.

Hesitant to case a Lumos, Newt squinted to see in the darkness. After a moment, he saw the Obscurus in the shadows of a tunnel where it seems to be calming.

Newt hid behind a pillar to try and speak to the person within the madness.

 

“Credence…”

Newt’s tone was soft, steady. It was no less deadly than trying to befriend a thunderbird or occamy: slow and gentle usually made a friend.

“It’s Credence, isn’t it? I’m here to help you, Credence. I’m not here to hurt you.”

Watching him warily as he approached, Credence’s face became visible within the heart of the swirling cloud.

Newt moved closer and closer, slowly, keeping his tone even.

“I’ve met someone just like you, Credence, he said. “A girl-a young girl who’d been imprisoned, she had been locked away and she’d been punished for her magic.” Newt let his feelings on the matter creep into his voice, the frustration, and sadness.

Credence was listening-he had never dreamed there was another like him.

 

Slowly, the Obscurus melted away, leaving only Credence behind.

A scant few feet away from Newt, he is left huddled on the train tracks. Terrified and exhausted.

Credence looked to where the wizard was still working his way toward him.

 

Even with the haze of the Obscurus still dancing around his shoulders, Credence looked to Newt. Shining across his face was the tiniest trace of hope dawning.

He wondered to himself, the words almost audible in the silence between Credence and Newt: might there be a way back?

Newt took another careful step toward him, nearly within touching distance.

“Credence,” Newt asked again before he moved any closer, “can I come over to you? Can I come over?”

Credence just barely dipped his head in agreement, a bare nod of acquiescence that has Newt’s pleased grin flashing brightly.

 

Just as bare fingertips skimmed against the worn wool of Credence’s suit, spells began raining down from the hole in the ceiling. Silver, red, and blue aim towards Credence.

Newt had a shield spell up as quick as his wand could, lest something strike the boy. Like a demented firework show, the spells struck the shield and shattered apart. It wouldn’t hold for long.

Beyond them, Graves marched down the tunnel, heading for where Newt and Credence cowered with a frightening expression on his face. He looked fit to murder.  

“Go, Credence!” Newt commanded, spinning Credence about to get him moving.

Newt went to follow Credence, keep him safe, but a sudden burst of spell light threw him backward.

When Newt rolled over and drew himself to his feet, he planted himself in Graves’ path.

 

“Leave him be,” Newt commanded. He didn’t take a dueler’s stance, instead just adjusted his footing and stood his ground.

“Get out of my way,” Graves snapped back, a slash of his wand slicing a furrow into the train track beside where Newt stood.

“No,” Newt said, spinning away from the next catastrophic blast of white light.

Credence ran as Graves fired more and more spells at Newt, who was quickly making his way backward toward the platform.

 

When Graves stumbled for an instant, Newt sought shelter behind one of the tunnel’s central pillars. The pillars had survived fairly well but the tiles shattered under Graves’ aggressive spellwork.

Newt tried to duel, but he was clearly outmatched by Graves. He was more focused on keeping Credence and himself safe than being on the offensive.

Credence continued to flee down the tracks, glancing back at the chaos behind him. As he looked forward, he was struck motionless in the headlights of the oncoming train.

The train horn screamed its warning but Credence couldn’t move.

 

Looking back, Newt spared a wave of his want to send Credence to a safe spot on the platform farther from where he and Graves still dueled.

Newt ducked behind the closest pillar as the train roared past. The pillar he hid behind shattered under a sickly green spell.

Newt paled as he realized what spell had just missed him. Then debris from the pillar rained down on Newt, nearly taking one of his eyes out.

Credence began to get lost in the emerging blackness of the Obscurus as Newt cried out in pain. “Credence,” both Newt and Graves called to him at the same time.

 

A breath later, the Obscurus overcame Credence and let loose an unearthly scream.

 

Before Graves could raise his wand, it blasted towards him.

Newt scrambled to his feet and both he and Graves Disapparated and Apparated around the subway to avoid the Obscurus’ path.

It burst through, enlarging the hole in the ceiling of the subway. The cacophonous scream had Newt’s ears ringing more than the knock on the head.

Climbing upwards, the creature ravaged a half-finished skyscraper in a torrent of shattered glass, crumbled scaffolding, and sparking wires.

 

The crowd outside the barrier ran for cover from the falling rubble. The screams of the terrified No-Maj were drowned out by the Obscurus as it crashed back through the sidewalk. There wasn’t much of the ceiling left over the platform.

 

Both Graves and Newt were blasted across the tracks by the Obscurus as it crashed back to the platform. Graves was thrown across the platform into a wall. Newt tumbled to land on his back on the tracks with the screaming black mass barrelling straight for him.

 

“Credence, NO!” Tina shouted.

 

There was a moment of heavy silence.

 

The Obscurus had frozen and drawn back where Newt lay. The black cloud was swirling a little slower.

Each step Tina took towards the tracks, the Obscurus withdrew into itself a little more.

“Credence, please.” Tina was pleading with the boy she knew was in the depths of dark magic. “Don’t do this, please.”

Newt sat up just a bit, holding both hands up in supplication as a tendril of swirling smoke reached out to him.

The creature pulled away from Newt, the maelstrom within gentled.

“Keep talking, Tina.” Newt slowly pulled himself to his feet. “Keep talking to him,” he told Tina, “he’ll listen to you.”

Credence, within the tangled miasma of the Obscurus, reached out to Tina, to the only person who ever showed him a true kindness.

“He’s listening,” Newt held out a hand to Tina, to help her down onto the tracks.  “You are listening, aren’t you, Credence?” Newt asked.

 

Credence could not answer, but his face became more defined in the center of the cloud.

 

“I know what that woman did to you,” Tina said gently, dropping down onto the tracks beside Newt with only a small stumble. “I know what you’ve suffered...You need to stop this now,” she told him.

She positioned Newt behind her, clasping one of her sweaty palms with his as she holds out her other to the frightened, pained boy within the magic.

“Newt and I will protect you,” she promised, knowing that Newt was nodding in agreement behind her.

Graves pulled himself to his feet with a toss of his head to get the disheveled hair from his face.

“This man,” Tina pointed to where Graves loomed above them.

Graves’ face was twisted in hatred, dark with fury.

“He is using you. You know this,” Tina said.

Credence gained more substance even as Aurors flooded down the stairs to encircle the remains of the subway platform. He became more man than monster, fading from black into snow-pale skin.

“Shhh!” Tina demanded, ignoring the drawn wands of her coworkers. “Don’t move! You’ll frighten him.”

 

Credence moaned, wrenching his head away as the Obscurus began to swell from within him at the sight of so many wizards and witches.

Tina casts a hasty shield spell as bolts of white start to fly.

“Credence, you’re alright,” Tina said, trying to keep him calm. Spells smacked against the shield, but it held, for the moment.

“Wands down!” Graves thundered. “Anyone harms him, they will answer to me!” His expression is manic and he draws his own wand again. “Wands down!” he demanded again, ready to cast against his subordinates.

Another few Aurors crowded onto the platform and raised their wands against Credence.

 

“No!”

 

It is not just Graves and Tina’s whose voices chorus the denial. Jacob and Queenie added their voices from the bottom of the stairs.

 

In a flash, Jacob rushes the closest trio of Aurors and tackled them from the side. He knocked another askew with Newt’s case while Queenie stunned another two. He ducked a spell, fumbled the case as he saw another Auror raise his wand and then Jacob tripped over a chunk of the ceiling. The case slid across the floor and the wind was knocked out of Jacob, but he kept moving. Spells kept smacking into the ground where he had just been.

 

Knowing where the Aurors were aiming, how this would end Jacob rolled to the side and took a flying leap off the platform. He spun, turning his back to the deadly Obscurus and the spells halted abruptly at the unexpected move. His chest was heaving with each breath, but he wasn’t wavering from where he stood between the boy and the ones with wands.

 

“What are you doing?!” Graves demanded, incredulous. His wand was still raised.

“Jacob,” Tina’s voice is steady, but her hand shook.

Newt grabbed her hand, a silent squeeze of support even as she trembled.

They don’t dare move.

Tina’s shield was barely holding and likely wouldn’t hold against any further spells.

 

“It’s Credence, isn’t it?” Jacob tone was light, soothing; it’s almost conversational. “I’m Jacob, Credence, Jacob Kowalski. Nice to meetcha.”

The No-Maj reached a hand behind him, keeping his eyes locked on the wand-wielders.

“Credence, can you take my hand?” Jacob asks him. His large hand opens and closes, opens again, waiting.

“Move, No-Maj,” one of the Aurors snapped, nervous as the Obscurus releases twirls of smoke that crawl across the floor of the train tracks.

“Nah.” Jacob had been to war, had seen more terrifying things than a few dozen men with weapons drawn, but now he could stand between an innocent and certain death.

 

The smoke from the Obscurus burbled up the train track walls and across the whole of the platform. It left a chill in its wake, dancing around the shoes of all the Aurors. It twined around Queenie’s ankles, but she didn’t kick it away as other did.

 

“Hold your spells!” Graves demanded, raising his wand against the Auror who had spoken. “Hold your damn spells!”

 

The sweat gathering on his brow made Jacob want to blink. He darted his eyes away from the glowing tips of wands to see Queenie, Newt’s case in hand, was standing a little away from the crowd of witches and wizards. No one was restraining or hurting her, so he refocused again.

“Just take my hand, buddy.”

The icy cold behind him lessened, slightly. The smoke that had wafted in his peripheral vision disappeared.

 

“I gave the order,” Madam Picquery said as she stormed down the staircase. “Destroy it,” she commanded. Her scowl was fierce when none of the Aurors immediately complied.

“Over my cooling corpse,” Jacob shot back, cheerfully.

His grin is bright, fierce, and he raises his arms further, widening his stance for comfort and more cover.

“Youse can kill me if you want the kid.”

“Goldstein,” Madam Picquery tone is warning, her wand held loosely in her grasp at her side.

“Not now,” Tina said. She hadn’t looked away from Credence and didn’t plan to until he was himself again.

 

The President looked affronted, but cast a look at the receding darkness that was the Obscurus.

 

“That’s it, Credence,” Tina kept her voice soft and soothing as well, ignoring the glare of Madam Picquery.

“You cannot kill a No-Maj, Madam President,” Newt said, with no small amount of personal glee. “Unless you yourself want to be tried for murder with a host of witnesses.”

Madam Picquery’s face was still twisted in the same scowl, but she held out a hand for the Aurors to pause as if they had not already.

They all kept their wands aloft and lit, but did not strike.

“Credence, Jacob is a friend,” Tina told him. “A friend like me. Can you take his hand, Credence?”

“Goldstein,” Madam Picquery started to say again.

“Oh hush!” Queenie glared over at the President. “You’ll make it worse! Just hush!” She stamped one heel in frustration.

Madam Picquery was stunned into silence.

 

“You doin’ okay down there, honey?” Queenie asked, in the general direction of all of her friends.

Better than I was in France,’ Jacob thought to himself.

 

Queenie must have caught the thought because Jacob felt a brush of her against his mind. A soft cloud of affection that reminded him of the best damn strudel and cocoa.

Queenie bit her lip, scared for her sister and friends, and the poor boy who just needed help.

Newt is bleeding. Tina’s face is pale with fear and she’s an errant wand wave or outlashing of Obscurus magic away from serious injury.

And sweet, brave No-Maj Jacob had positioned himself between a dozen Aurors and the boy-gone-monster.

 

“We’re fine,” Jacob said with confidence, his eyes flicking to each and every wand he can see ready to shoot to kill. “Aren’t we, Credence?”

He aimed the question over his shoulder, taking a peek backward to see if the boy has reclaimed himself yet.

Credence groaned. He was trying. He was.

“We’re doing just fine,” Tina added her support.

 

Jacob could see a face. Scarred hands. Shoulders twined with shadows and smoke. But he was there. The kid was finally there.

 

“There we go, Credence,” Jacob said, a smile on his face even as he noticed his jacket has a literal hole burnt in it from where one of the spells had hit.

Credence pulled himself in further. His shoes were back, badly in need of mending and letting the cold seep into him again.

“You can do it, Credence!” Queenie offered her cheer as well.

“See?” Jacob says to the boy behind him. “Even Queenie’s just waiting for you to get yourself back. You can do it,” his tone was cajoling, gentle. He doesn’t dare turn again, doesn’t dare give them an opening to hurt the boy.

Credence pulled himself in further. He almost had legs again, his face tracked with tears as it solidified past the darkness.

“You’re doing so well,” Tina told him. She, all of them, could best see Credence’s form taking shape.

 

"Wands down,” Picquery finally ordered.

Her face was stony, frowning at the chin Jacob still has raised in defiance.

The Auror’s  lowered their wands with hardly a murmur.

Tina let the fractured shield spell fall, praying as the final wisps of smoke finally retracted.

 

Credence, once more whole, let out a moan of agony.

He felt exhausted down to his soul. His very bones ached. Credence tried to take a step, towards Tina, and he crumpled with the first step.

Jacob caught him before he could hit the ground, cradling the boy’s featherlight frame.

 

“Ain’t got a bit of meat on him, does he?” Jacob asked no one in particular, adjusting his hold to keep the boy off the rubble-covered ground.

Newt and Tina hurried forward as Credence tried to lift his head from where it smacked against Jacob’s shoulder.

“Don’t you worry,” Jacob told him. “I gotcha, kid.”

 

Credence couldn’t get his legs under him, could barely take a breath. He was so cold.

 

Jacob lowered him to the track floor, still positioned between Credence and the people on platform. “There we go,” Jacob shrugged out of his ruined jacket, smacking at the smoldering spell marks with a scowl. “Here, kid,” he draped the jacket over Credence’s trembling frame.

Newt knelt at Credence’s feet. The boy was only even slightly upright because of Jacob’s arm around him.

“You did so well, Credence,” Newt said.

Tina, who had knelt closer to Credence’s shoulder, nodded in agreement.

 

“You fools,” Graves spat, spinning on his fellow Aurors. “Do you know what you could have done?! You could have killed him!”

Madam Picquery stepped from within the ranks of her Aurors, an eyebrow arched at the one who looks like Percival Graves. Of a sudden, Picquery was uncertain that all was what-or who-they appeared to be.

“The Obscurial was to be killed on my orders, Mr. Graves,” she told him. “And he cannot be allowed to remain,” she added, looking to those still on the tracks. “He must be killed.”

Credence moaned in fear, twisting in Jacob’s hold.

“No, no, no, kid,” Jacob pulled him into a hug, hunching over him. “Keep it together.”

 

Credence was shocked into stillness by the embrace. He couldn’t quite lift his arms to return the hug, but he clenched his hand in the fabric of Jacob’s vest.

 

“That isn’t right!” Tina was on her feet, wand out again. Her eyes blazed with fury. “You can’t just murder a boy!”

“He was responsible for the death of a No-Maj. He risked the exposure of our community,” Madam Picquery said. She frowned when Tina and Newt both positioned themselves between Jacob’s hunched form and those on the platform. “He has broken one of our most sacred laws-” she began to defend.

“Ha!” Graves’ disdain was crystal clear. “A law that has us scuttling like rats in the gutter!”

He spun, facing the Aurors.

“It is a law the at demands we conceal our true nature! A law that directs those under its domain,” he motioned with a sweep of his hand to all those assembled, “to cower in fear lest we risk discovery!”

 

On the tracks, Credence had gathered his wits a bit more.

“Can-can you help me stand?” Credence asked in a whisper.

“Of course, kid.” Jacob got one arm around his back and hefted him up with one hand under his armpit.

Credence clutched at Jacob’s shoulders as the No-Maj helped him to his feet.

 

Though he wished to scream as every muscle protests movement, Credence let not even a whimper pass his lips. His throat was sore as if he had been screaming for days. In a way, perhaps he had been. He stood, finally, just behind Tina and Newt.

Jacob let Credence stand mostly on his own, to stare up at the man he thought was his friend.

Graves’ face was twisted in a terrible scowl as he continued his rant on the platform, heedless of his so-called miracle.

 

“I ask you, Madam President, I ask all of you! Who does this law protect? Us?” He jerked his head to one side in denial. “Or them?” He gestured to the hole above them, meaning the No-Maj world above them.

Graves narrowed his eyes in a glare, vitriolic gaze aimed directly at President Picquery.

“I refuse to bow down any longer.” He turned, his coat flaring out behind him dramatically.

“Aurors, I’d like you to relieve Mr. Graves of his wand and escort him back to-” Madam Picquery told the Aurors flanking her.

 

A shield spell flared into life in a flash of white before Graves could make it to the stairwell at the end of the platform.

Graves turned around and strode confidently back along the platform.

 

The Aurors moved to encircle him, firing spells at all angles, but Graves took the attack well in stride. He fired spells at the Aurors now facing him. It seemed no challenge to get most of them out of his way. He parried the many spells fired at him and was skilled enough to send a few of them flying through the air.

 

“Keep an eye on him,” Jacob said quietly, pulling Tina behind Newt to steady Credence. Using a large chunk of fallen ceiling, he hopped onto the platform. Graves had his back to him, distracted instead by the Aurors before him.

 

Newt opened his mouth to call Jacob back but realized the fatal mistake that would be. He instead patted his pockets down, nearly whacking himself in the face with his own wand in the process.

After a too-long moment, he found what he was looking for: the cocoon for the Swooping Evil. A flick of his wrist and the creature shielded the group of Aurors from Graves’ incessant attacks.

 

Jacob hadn’t boxed since 1918, hadn’t hit anyone since 1923, but the need, his anger, and muscle memory served him well.

“Hey, buddy!” Jacob snapped from just behind Graves.

The wizard spun, wand aloft and a spell on his lips-only to be clocked by a solid right cross.

 

The spell that would have tossed Jacob clear across the platform, perhaps even killed him, became a bitten tongue and blood filled mouth when he punched Graves as hard as he could. Another fist immediately followed from the left, because the bastard was still standing.

It loosened both a tooth and Graves’ hold on consciousness.

The third strike, an uppercut to the jaw with all Jacob’s might, snapped Graves’ head back towards the ceiling. Gravity did its thing and the wizard was left sprawled belly up on the ground. His wand clattered out of his hand. And for just long enough, he was entirely witless.

 

With only three hits, the No-Maj Jacob Kowalski had stunned and brought down one of the most powerful wizards known to the magical world. Brought him to the ground, muddled his mind, and lost him his wand.

 

Newt barely waited for Graves’ body to hit the floor before he struck further. From his place on the rails, he slashed his wand through the air towards Graves’ sprawled form.

From his wand spiraled a thick, crackling rope of bright white light. It wrapped itself around the wizard tightly, whip-crack quick.

Graves came to enough to try and struggle as it tightened around him, but it was to no avail.

Jacob scooped up the fallen wand from the ground and handed it off to Queenie.

 

“What a bonehead,” Jacob said as he handed off the wand. “Ain’t no one better than anyone else.”

 

Stories would be told in the days to come about how a No-Maj punched Gellert Grindelwald and called him a ‘bonehead’ to his face and lived.

 

Queenie took the wand from Jacob and tucked it into her jacket pocket to have a free hand to check his knuckles.

 

“Your hand, honey!” Queenie ignored Graves’ muttered curses as the bound wizard was roughly pulled to his feet.

“Eh. He deserved it,” Jacob shrugged.

He winced a bit as Queenie ran a hand over his sore knuckles. He looked up as two more Aurors flanked Graves, wands lit to further bind if necessary.

“Rock hard bean you got there, mister,” Jacob said, flexing his hand.

Nothing was broken, but his left hand was hurting like hell already.

“But I ain’t sorry.”

 

Newt approached Jacob and Queenie, one hand still cradling the Swooping Evil cocoon carefully as he considered Percival Graves' glaring face.

 

Meanwhile, Tina and Credence carefully made their way to climb onto the platform itself. One of the Aurors offered a hand out to Credence to help steady him.

“You’re all right,” the Auror said, seeing how badly the boy was shaking.

Credence made it all the way onto the platform, hunched over a bit and scrambling over broken stone. Jacob’s jacket slid off his shoulders, but he didn’t quite have the coordination to catch it. He bent, grabbed the jacket with one trembling hand.

Straightening up, however, made his vision go spotty. And there was a roaring in his ears he was sure wasn’t coming from the thing that was inside him.

 

“Watch it, Hamonde,” Tina warned, seeing Credence waver on his feet.

“I got ‘im,” Hamonde grabbed for Credence’s arm, yelping when he suddenly had an armload of unconscious Credence trying to melt into the floor.

With attention focused elsewhere for a moment, Graves struggled against his bonds, thinking he might get free.

 

“Release me now, you damned-”

The crunch of his nose breaking had Queenie’s nose wrinkling in distaste.

“Ow.” Queenie shook her hand out, looking up at Jacob. “That hurt more than I thought it would.”

“Aw, honey, you coulda hurt your hand!” Jacob pulled Queenie away from where Graves was being more forcibly subdued. “Gotta teach you to punch proper one of these days, so’s you don’t hurt your wrist.” Jacob was barely aware of Newt casting another spell, revealing a face nothing like the one he just planted his fist into three times.

Poor Queenie’s knuckles were already bruising.

Jacob missed the reshaping of Percival Graves into Gellert Grindelwald, the shock, his little sass-off against the President and Newt.

 

“He’s bleeding!” someone cried out, drawing more eyes to where Credence had collapsed.

 

For a second, Hamonde, Tina, and others thought he was dying in front of them.

 

Tina laid a gentle hand on Credence's as Hamonde gets him to lay flat on his back, only to realize it isn’t blood. It’s...smoke.

“The Obscurial,” Newt supplies helpfully. “The host has rejected it. Normally it kills them,” he added, a little less cheerfully.

 

The smoke ran out of his nostrils, his ears, a trickle at first, then a rush of unnatural smoke of red and white that pools around Credence’s unconscious body.

Hamonde beat a plume of the smoke away from him but did not release Credence to fall back to the floor.

 

With a choked gasp, Credences’ eyes shot open and he screamed, the miasma of black and red smoke shot through with silver sparks expelling from his mouth like a terrible smokestack.

A moment of the explosive roar and then he fell back, deathly pale and barely breathing.

 

Newt raised his wand, to gather the smoke into an odd bubble.

“This,” he said to Madam Picquery while keeping his eyes on the Obscurial matter, “this you can kill.”

With her approving nod, a half dozen Aurors took aim at the swirling mass and obliterate it.

With the last fragment of it smashed into nothingness, Credence took a shuddering breath.

“Is he going to be okay?” Auror Hamonde asked Tina. “Is he going to live?”

“I don’t know,” Tina answered honestly.

She looked to Newt for answers, but he offered nothing, simply stared at them.

“I don’t know,” she repeated.

 

* — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — *

 

Frank the Thunderbird disappeared into the clouds as the sun rose higher behind the storm.

With the vial of Swooping Evil venom crushed, the magic-tinged rainfall wiping clean the memories of the city of No-Maj below.

Dozens of Aurors worked to repair the destruction the Obscurus had left in its overnight rampage.

 

At the top of the stairs leading to the subway, Jacob Kowalski was getting ready to say goodbye to three of the most amazing people. And was going to lose a whole other world he had no clue existed before a chance meeting at a bank.

 

“Hey,” Jacob tried to be reassuring. “Hey, this is for the best.”

Newt, Tina, and Queenie didn’t call him on the lie. All three were crushed that he wasn’t allowed to remember any of their adventures together.

“Yeah, he continued, trying to inject a touch of believability into his tone. “I was-I was never even supposed to be here.”  He fought back tears, knowing that his friends were just as distressed.

He swallows back the sadness, squaring his shoulders with the bravery that had him jumping between an Obscurus and a team of Aurors.

“I was never supposed to know any of this,” Jacob rationalized.  “I mean, everybody knows Newt only kept me around because,” he lost his rhythm as he considered. “Hey, Newt,” Jacob turned to face them, “why did you keep me around?”

 

In this moment, Newt has to be completely explicit; it does not come easily to him.

 

“Because I like you,” Newt says after a moment of thought. “Because you’re my friend.” He paused for a moment and then said, emphatically, “I’ll never forget how you helped me, Jacob.”

Jacob was overcome at Newt’s answer.

“Oh!” he said after a long moment of silence.

There was a lump in his throat. He stepped away from the doorway, hugged Newt firmly.

“Well you were-are, are,” he corrected with a stammer, “an amazing friend and you’re gonna do just fine.”

 

Tina sniffles, offering Jacob back the repaired jacket without a word.

 

“Thanks,” he said, shrugging back into it. “Can’t even find the hole now, huh? That’s some magic!”

 

The joke fell flat, but Jacob was trying. Trying to say goodbye when he didn’t want to, trying to put a brave face on when he just wanted to cling and beg and stay.

Queenie moved up the stairs closer to Jacob. Were there music playing, they were close enough to dance. But there is no music; only the misery of an unfair farewell. Queenie’s eyes were bright with tears that hadn’t yet fallen.

 

“I’ll come with you,” Queenie said to Jacob in a low voice. “We’ll go somewhere-we’ll go anywhere-see, I ain’t never gonna find anyone like-”

“There’s loads like me,” Jacob interrupted her, his voice as watery as the rain falling just beyond the safety of the subway entrance.

“No.” Queen gave him a heartbroken smile. “No, There’s only one like you.”

Jacob smiled at her, or something like a smile as best he could manage. He knew that two steps back and he wouldn’t have any of this, any of them.

“I gotta go,” he told them.

 

He turned, faced the rainfall that will take the memories of the last two days from him. He was already wiping tears from his eyes. His foot lifted partially off the pavement, but he couldn’t quite manage to step forward.

 

“Jacob!” Newt reached out to stop him, almost trying to grab his jacket, but not quite reaching past Queenie.

“It’s okay...,” Jacob assured him, turning enough to back over his shoulder.

He wanted his friends to be okay, even if he had to lose them.

“It’s okay...” Jacob said again, looking at each of his friends in turn.

Maybe it would be. They’d be fine without one magic-less guy in their life.

“It’s okay.” Jacob smiles, even with the tears on his face, he was glad he had someone to say goodbye to. “It’s just like waking up, right?”

 

The trio smiled back at him, encouraging. Nothing they could say would soothe the situation, but they can’t keep Jacob with them.

Jacob turned around fully, looking each of them over one last time.

 

I love ya, Queenie,’ he directed the thought at her quietly. He was sorry for the tears running down her face, but he couldn’t not tell her.

 

Looking at their faces as he moved backward, Jacob walked into the rain. Turning his face to the sky, his arms flung out, he allowed the magical rainwater to wash over him completely.

Unable to leave one last thing undone, Queenie created a magical umbrella with her wand and stepped out towards Jacob. She moved in quick and close.

 

I love you.’ She didn’t say it aloud, but he heard her nonetheless.

 

With her free hand, she stroked Jacob’s face tenderly. Jacob took a deep breath, willing himself to keep his eyes shut. He couldn’t grab at her, keep her close, but God did he want to.

Before she can convince herself not to, Queenie bent in and pressed a sweet, long kiss to his lips.

Finally, she pulled away. Jacob’s eyes were still closed, waiting for the rain to work.

 

With a crack like thunder, she was gone. Newt and Tina, too. There was no one standing at the top of the subway staircase watching his memory be erased.

 

Jacob was left standing alone in a crowd, getting rained on. His arms were still spread as if he was waiting to embrace someone.

 

When Jacob finally opened his eyes, he was blank-faced and more than a bit confused by his location. He was equally confused by the torrential downpour he was standing in.

He looked around, curious as to how he ended up at Times Square. Turning away from the subway entrance, Jacob moved off through the crowd, tired.

His knuckles hurt as if he’d smacked them on something; his head throbbed as if he had been drinking, or crying. He couldn’t quite remember.

 

Alone, damp and a bit melancholy for a reason he couldn’t quite name, he headed for home.   

 

* — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — * — *