Gellert wipes the blood off the dark metal door.
The hidden safe starts the slow process of unlocking, beautifully silent with masterful goblin craftsmanship. It is worth more than most wizards have in their bank. To have one installed in private property is— to most— an impossibility.
MACUSA’s director certainly isn’t comparable to the average American.
Gellert glances down to Graves crumpled at his feet. The director is half-curled in an attempt to protect his hand, to ease the pain of being forced to open the safe with a significant number of broken bones. Graves’ cries of pain are rasping moans that stick in his throat. He doesn’t have the lung capacity anymore to scream.
There isn’t room for Gellert to use the desk with Graves here. Hauling Graves up by the arm— drawing out a scratchy yelp— is easy; the director is starved and too weak to resist. Gellert is not careful when he drops Graves to the floor adjacent to the desk within eye-shot, out of the way.
Graves lacks the strength to braces his fall— coughing interrupts his protest.
The safe’s door opens. Graves gasps for air through the fluid in his lungs.
“What was all of this for, Percy?” Gellert is impressed.
Clearing the desk with a sweep of his arm, he floats the safe’s contents onto the available space. Graves’ chair is familiar and comfortable when Gellert settles into it to take stock: money, valuables, and documents.
Ten thousand in galleons and dragots each, two separate quarters of a gold bar, twenty thousand in muggle bills, a wallet filled with dozens of precious gems, and a folder filled with documents. Everything is organized and labeled in Graves’ typical habit, perfect for Gellert’s use.
Maybe Graves has earned some peace for tonight so Gellert can examine everything properly. If the director had been cooperative, it might have earned him a meal.
Already distracted with planning, Gellert skims through the papers. Nothing scandalous— for all that Graves plays close to his chest, he doesn’t have skeletons to hide. Some muggle military documents from the war, then the unredacted forms of Graves’ private files prior to becoming the director. Personal correspondence with various wizards across the globe, a written record of favors owed to him. A list of specialized booksellers with topics of information— Gellert sets that to the side.
Nothing here is job-related. Typical. Graves, unfortunately, is a stickler for following protocol when it comes to security. There is nothing hidden at home in stolen files Gellert couldn’t find at MACUSA.
When Gellert looks up from pocketing the gems and muggle bills, the muggle cat is curled next to Graves’ head. It is licking dried blood from his forehead, purring at the face it recognizes. The director had turned into her, seeking comfort. Shaking.
“Clever hideaway, Percival. It will be vital to my work, both stateside and abroad.” Gellert pauses to consider the wealth of resources before him, calculating. “You’ve still got some use left, hmm?”
The cat hisses at Gellert for approaching. It runs off before Gellert can pick a spell to cast, leaving Graves lying on the floor with tears dripping off him to mix with the blood. A dip into Graves’ mind is full of fear and pain, and then longing for gentle company and warmth.
None of this is time-sensitive. Gellert can enjoy his good fortune.
“Come here.” The Imperious curse drags Graves’ mind out of the pain and pushes him to obey and focus on Gellert. These days, the director struggles to remain present and aware. The confusion and fear, while entertaining, test Gellert's patience.
By the time Graves drags himself over to the desk, Gellert poured two glasses of red wine. He savors his and the sight of MACUSA’s broken director forcing down the alcohol on a too-empty stomach. Graves’ eyes attempt to focus, trying to seek out an escape. He avoids looking at Gellert— Graves tilts his head down and to the side, begging to not have to drink a second glass.
“Get yourself a bath, darling. I’ll join you in bed later.” Gellert smiles behind his glass, watching for every reaction.
Graves shies away down to the floor. His mind is clouded with thick fear. Through it, Gellert gets some sense of pleading— nothing concrete, of course. Graves’ mind is still reeling from last night’s legilimency.
It takes another few moments for Graves to identify the cat as his prior want. She appears in his mind as a shapeless blur of warmth and fur with a soothing, rumbling purr. The director’s silent tears fall quickly.
“I can send you back to your cell, Percy, if you’d prefer.”
Fear. Pain. Darkness. Loneliness. Lots of pain. Cold. Desperation. Graves’ thoughts reach out, begging again. Gellert’s hands, associated with immense agony. Muddled with warmth and comfort and pleasure. Confusion, disgust. Then, relief. Fear persists.
“It’s your choice; you’ve been very helpful.”
The alcohol will hit soon— Graves is going to be an enticing mess of nerves. As terrified as the director gets, he would rather suffer Gellert’s presence than be locked up alone, discarded. To Graves, anything is better than the cell.
It is pathetic.
And so very entertaining.
Graves’ mind settles on a fuzzy representation of the master bedroom, focusing on the hot steam on the bath, the soft weight of the blankets. Skipping over the rest.
“Of course,” Gellert replies, voice soft as he coaxes Graves to lean in. “You still might earn some food in the morning, yes?”
It is so easy to manipulate Graves— it’s addicting. A younger, powerful wizard now helpless and dependent on Gellert for everything. MACUSA’s pride kneeling naked in his own blood, desperate for any kind interaction after so much torture.
Graves’ imprisonment is worth all of the hassle of impersonation.
Usually, Gellert never has this long to enjoy himself.