Let it never be said that the Aurors of the DMLE were not the finest and brightest of their generation, dedicate to their duty to protect and serve and trained to fulfill it to their full potential.
This didn’t mean they weren’t the biggest bunch of children ever seen when left unsupervised, however.
“Graves is going to curse you proper for snooping in his office.”
“Hush Tingle, I think there’s a secret doorway here.”
“Goldstein, you’re a junior anyway, you’re not even meant to be here.”
“Well you’re definitely not meant to be pushing around the Director’s stuff because you have the dumb idea that-”
The dark desk, which Mendez had been poking determinedly with his wand for the past 10 minutes, began to shudder. Silver ran up the legs and split the surface of the desk into panels, shuttering out and away from its centre, leaving a space in the middle that a grey basin slowly rose from.
The group of Aurors stood around for a hushed moment, eyeballing the Pensieve in awe and trepidation, barring of course-
“Mendez, don’t you dare!”
The young Auror grinned, finger hovering just above the luminescent oily flow of the basin.
“Come on, you can’t tell me you’re not curious ‘bout what Grave’s favourite memories are.”
“Probably his most treasured paperwork.”
“Ten bucks says there’s something there with him fucking Scamander.”
“Fifteen that it’s him fucking Scamander over some paperwork.”
Goldstein’s noises of disgust didn’t reach the rest of the group as they all joined in the betting pool. Ideas and wagers wildly flew about till Mendez interrupted, clapping his hands in obvious glee.
As one, the group moved to jostle for space around the stone basin. The thought of winning the already startlingly large bet (not to mention the bragging rights) was enough to wipe away any guilt of invading their bosses privacy, or repercussions that might follow.
Tina sighed, edging her way out of the room and leaving her ‘superiors’ to their fate.
The grey tinge of the memory made their eyes ache.
They came to in a wild landscape,where thick trees presumably once stood but now there was only rocks and dirt-burned, churned up, gouged into ragged wounds. The surroundings expanded for miles in every direction similarly, the colours drained from the scene even beyond the fading of Graves’ memory. To the left lay imposing mountains, attempting to block out the cloudy sky.
And to the right, two men approaching their group, absolutely hammered.
The first stood out the most-his unchanged, burning hair was a beacon even in the colour sapped memory. He came just a few inches shorter than his companion and was dressed in a graying, dirty uniform that did not yet hold any medals, his laughing face was smooth and whole, and the smile held only sincere amusement, none of the flickering ghosts underneath.
Though almost unrecognisable as a young, joking man, this could only be Theseus Scamander.
And the second man-
“Is that Graves?!?”
Like Scamander, youth and an open expression distanced this Percival Graves from the one they knew and mostly respected at their day jobs. His face shape, the round eyes and dark hair could have been transplanted from their boss to this boy from years ago. And yet, the way his hair was mussed in all directions and his arms wildly flew about-confident and light, could not have been stranger in the Head of Magical Security they had come to know.
The two stumbled across the desolated landscape, seemling effortless in their navigation of the many obstacles, yet still swaying and leaning on one another like the sodden drunks they were.
“Shh...SHHH!” Graves shouted, jabbing his finger right into Theseus’, solemn and respected war hero Theseus, lips with with a messy grin. “You’ll ruin the surprise, Newt’s surprise. The surprise for Newt.”
Theseus cackled with the whole of his body.
“No, no , Theese, listen don’t ruin it. Newt, he’s going to love this.”
“Oh, I know he will mate.” Theseus replied, with a smile that reassured none of the audience but Graves,who continued his journey with a new determination.
The Aurors shared a look, none of them daring to question it aloud yet, just in case it broke the strange moment they found themselves in.
Except, of course-
“Told ya he’d be fucking Scamander.”
“Shut up Mendez!”
The group easily followed the two young soldiers progress, eventually arriving at the foot of the mountain. It's edges were worn and sharp, ledges and crevices turning it into a mangled shape, only same of which looked natural. Having reached their apparent destination, the bottom of a particularly steep, rocky slope, Graves pulled to a halt, face confusedly taking in the climb before him.
“Well, go on then,” Theseus urged, “There’s no point trying from down here, is there?”
“I have total faith in you.”
With such firm reassurance, Graves turned back to his challenge, hands and feet already grasping at any crack to scramble his way upwards as his Aurors looked on agape.
“He can never lecture me about recklessness again.” Murmurs of agreement followed as all eyes stayed glued on the ascending figure.
“You’re doing great mate.”
Surprisingly, Graves has made it quite high in a short amount of time-presumably he confidence and fearlessness that came with being blind drunk helped him to ignore the great drop that now lay below.
“Newt!” He called up, head thrown back to try see further up the mountain, “Sweetheart! I’ve come to woo you!”
Only Adam’s managed to voice the groups thoughts succinctly, taking the opportunity to speak whilst Mendez laughed till it bordered on hysteria.
“This isn’t our Graves. No fucking way.”
“NEWT!” Came Graves’ voice again, in an alien sing-song voice that only proved the point that this must be a fever dream of their boss rather than an actual memory.
Where Graves’ youth seemed to unnaturally attach itself to their image of their boss, Newt Scamander in his teens was simply a softer version- still he had the curly hair and freckles, still he had sharp eyes that skittered around the landscape though now they were not underlined by the sallow bags that spoke of the older Newt’s constant exhaustion. The young man peered down from an overhang just a few feet above where Graves was swaying. Graves looked up at the sound of his name. The sloppy, slanted smile of the drunk awakening over his face.
“My Love!” He called out, waving up at Newt, which left him angling by just one hand to a chorus of gasps from his unseen audience. Newt darted forward, face tight with worry as he tried to reach down the happily swinging Graves.
“”Percival, for Merlin’s sake, be careful!”
“Aw!” Graves said, bringing both hands back to their hold and pulling himself to more stable ground, eyes locked on Newts. “I knew you cared.”
Newt’s nose crinkled, eyes narrowed in a look of pure annoyance the Aurors had never seen him give before, much less to their boss.
“Maybe I just don’t want to clean up your idiotic remain after you fall to your death!” The boy sighed, reluctant fondness softening his glare under the onslaught of Graves’ heart eyes. “What are you doing here Percy, shouldn’t you be on leave?”
“I’m gonna vomit.”
“I told you, I’m here to finally win you over.” With both feet now on reasonably flat ground, Graves was now free to enthusiastically gesture his hands up at Newt, though the way his swaying body kept skimming far too close to the edge had his Aurors taking tight, tense breaths.
“Are you drunk?”
“Only on the sight of you.”
“This is disgusting.”
“Make it stop.”
“This can’t be real.”
“I came all the way from Paris for you Newt.” Graves continued on, eyes locked on the centre of his affections even as his hands sought ways to climb closer to Newt.
“And what on earth possessed you to apparate cross country whilst drunk?”
“Hey little brother! I came too!”
The force of Newt’s sigh seemed too solid to be a memory, each Auror feeling the exasperation in themselves. They watched as the younger Scamander pinched his nose in a gesture that seemed far too natural a habit.
“None of that’s important,” (“I’m important” sounded from below) “Lets focus on why I’m here-”
“Percival, you’re drunk, will you please go home.”
“But your surprise!”
“I don’t want a surprise.”
But already Percival had turned away from Newt’s protestations, flicking a hand down at Theseus, who dramatically cleared his throat and pulled his wand with a flourish. With a flicked and a mumble of orchstremus, music suddenly flooded the previously empty night, a gentle shimmer of piano keys, violins rising up, booming in the summer air until-
“My gift is my song,
And this one's for you.”
Graves’ voice belted out, easily overpowering Theseus’ delicate instruments below and echoing off the cliff side. Apparently less shocked than the Aurors, Newt desperately tried to shush his friend, only for Graves to carry on. His sonorous voice now melding more to the rhythm of the music.
“I sat on the roof,
As I kicked up the moss,
Well some of these verses,
They got me quite cross.
But the sun's been kind,
While I wrote this song.
It’s for people like you
That keep it turned on.”
The Aurors could only look on helpless, for if they thought Graves looked loving before, it was nothing compared to the soft, round eyes that never left Newt as his mouth shaped his words of adoration. Something open, amazed and captivated put a sparkle in Graves’ eyes that was more powerful than his serenade.
“So excuse me forgetting,
But these things I do,
You see I’ve forgotten
If they’re green or they’re blue.
Anyway the thing is,
What I really mean,
Yours are the sweetest eyes,
I’ve ever seen.”
In a feat of wandless magic that should not have been possible for someone with as much Firewhiskey in him, Graves floated himself up to the outcropping Newt stood on, sweeping him in an excited twirl, nearly overbalancing them both. Below them the music cut out, replaced by Theseus’ betrayed shouts.
“You didn’t say you could actually sing you bastard!”
Undeterred, Graves pulled his own wand out, his hand pressing close to him by the small of the back and resumed the orchestra with a smug grin.
“And you can tell everybody,
That this is your song.
It may be quite simple,
But now that it’s done.”
He leaned close, eyes closing in pure joy as Newt allowed him to ungainly spin them round the ledge, song now whispered close to Newt’s lips, raised in a reluctant grin, and hands holding Graves steady as he made a half hearted effort to distance them.
“I hope you don’t mind,
I hope you don’t mind,
That I put down in words.”
The music faded, as Graves slowed them, apparently shocked and distracted enough by his closeness to Newt to lose all concentration. He moved closer to Newt’s lips even as he quietly spoke the last words just for them.
“How wonderful life is,
Now you’re in the world.”
Newt’s hands found their way to the collar of Graves’ uniform, pulling him across the final inch with a fond shake of his head, they kissed as the last remains of Newt’s songs fell silent in the night.
“D’ya think they can’ hear Theseus shouting or ar they just ignoring him.”
“You’d have to be deaf not to hear-”
The Aurors froze, hands frantically reaching for their wands to defend against the monstrous rumble that seemed like it could claw its way from the memory to devour them all where they stood. The two lovebirds broke apart, Newt with exasperation and Graves apparently oblivious to what had interrupted them,
“I tried to warn you.” Newt said, pulling out his own wand and walking some way down the ledge.
Finally broken form his Newt-induced trance, Graves rushed to the edge at the sounds of his friends cry, desperately trying to spot him below.
Only to be met by twom fiery eyes looking back at him, rage blazing in them and all directed at Graves.
“Honestly Percy, I thought you’d know better than to wake a sleeping dragon.”
The Horntail snorted, ruffling Graves’ hair with a steaming hot breath the Aurors could almost feel, an its jaws began to crane towards the intruder.
With a scream they would never have thought the mighty Graces capable of, he flung himself away and dashed to the opposite edge. All thoughts of wooing, song and love fled, it seemed, in the face of a grumpy dragon. Graves scrambled down the mountain side, even quicker and more carelessly than his ascent.
The Horntail flicked its tail languidly at the fleeing wizard, eliciting another yelp from him (later described by Adams as a cross between a puppy and a balloon losing air.)
His head jerked back in shock, hands shaking till their grip fell loose, and Graves fell, head disappearing from the view of his Aurors.
As the one they darted forward,all knowledge of the future falling aside at the cold panic of seeing their boss fall. As they crept to the edge almost certain they would be faced with Graves’ splattered remains, Newt’s laughter awoke in the silence.
“By the way Percival, you have a lovely singing voice.”
Below them, Percival floated in the air, twisting in the secure hold of Newt’s spell so that he could grin up at the wizard.
“I’d sing for you every night if you’d let me.”
With another snort form Newt,the gentle fall gained speed, just fast enough to knock the breath from his and likely leaving bruises on his back and ego. Yet, already he had brushed himself off and staggered to his feet, the affected aura of a charmer in place.
“Is that a yes, then?”
His reply came in a flurry of flames a little close for comfort, and he ran-pausing only to grab Theseus by the scruff of the neck. The two soldiers began to fade from sight as they fled, the grey swallowing the figure and all else until only the sound of their echoing laughter remained, like ghosts.
“So, did you all have fun in there?”
It was only Tingle who gave any reaction, swinging around to face the voice with a pale face whilst the rest of the group appeared frozen in shock at what they had just witnessed.
“I’ve told you, it’s Newt, Graves-Scamander takes far too long.”
The Aurors looked sheepish, hiding the deserved terror underneath cast down eyes and shuffling feet.
“We just, uh-”
“You thought it would be funny to look into Percival’s private memories?”
Silence met his question as Newt moved forward, sending the Pevensive back to its hidden place with a stroke to the rim.
“Some things aren’t meant for your eyes, and I suggest you leave before Percival comes back and catches you all.”
He turned and looked each Auror in the eye, a wicked smile just about on his face.
“After all,” he said , “You know he isn’t the same young man anymore, and he’s far less forgiving.”
Not needing to face the fury of Graves, or anymore of Newt’s cool disappointment, the group exited swiftly, a silent look between them making the agreement that they would never speak of this again.
Newt remained in the office, seating himself on the old leather sofa and waited, knowing it would be a matter of minutes before his husband came through the door.
Sure enough, not 5 had passed before Graves came through the door, face taut in his a frown and shoulders hunched in annoyance at something or other.
“Newt.” He said briskly, going to sit behind his desk with barely a glance to the other man. His hands went straight to the files on his desk, eyebrows drawing in confusion at their now messy placement all over.
“Someone’s getting a disciplinary for this.” He grumbled, trying to find some order in them again. Newt smiled and wandered over, arms wrapping around his husband from behind, and waiting for that tell tale slump of his shoulders before speaking.
“Don’t be too mad, love, they’re just having fun.”
“They’re supposed to be working. They’re not children.”
“Yes, yes I know. We’re all mature adults now and we should take everything seriously. No more fun and games.”
Newt didn’t need to move his head to know Percival was smiling now, relaxing back into his hold and turning just a little so that his lips pressed against the line of Newt’s jaw.
“Now, I didn’t say that, did I?”
Newt hovered over, enjoying the adoring look in Percival’s eyes as he looked up at him.
“Will you sing for me tonight?”
“For you? Every night.”