The problem with being an unassuming, wide-eyed magizoologist with floppy hair and a crooked grin is that people had this really bad habit of looking at you and seeing an unassuming, wide-eyed magizoologist with floppy hair and a crooked grin.
Which, fair, were all true and verified features of Newt Scamander, but they weren’t the only features. That’s the thing that people always missed.
There was the dreaming author feature as well, Newt quite liked that one. And the hopeless romantic, though he thought (wrongly) that he kept that one mostly hidden, and the bleeding heart, mustn’t forget the bleeding heart.
All of this wrapped up in a deceptively tall bundle labelled “FIANCE AND/OR GREATEST WEAKNESS OF PERCIVAL C. GRAVES” with a second label stuck upside on the back that, in big red font, declared him “THE PERFECT HOSTAGE FOR ALL YOUR EVIL NEEDS” and somehow forgot to mention the bit about wrestling nundus, subduing dark lords, and single handedly dismantling the infamous Kinshasa potions trade with extreme prejudice and potentially more explosions than were strictly called for. But no. HOSTAGE, the labels read.
Of course Newt couldn’t see the labels, but if they didn’t exist then his second working hypothesis was that someone had taken out a billboard on Times Square with real-time updates of his location, when exactly Tina and/or Graves were persuaded to take a break from their insistent protective hovering, and how friggin inconvenient it would be to be kidnapped at any particular moment.
For the twelfth time this fecking month.
And, to add insult to painful, bleeding injury, these particular kidnappers were green-gilled twitchy teenagers who hadn’t been asked to wash their socks before they tied them into a crude gag and shoved them in Newt’s actual, real life mouth, the one he used to eat things and give blowjobs. That one. The mouth that should have been full of anniversary dinner but was instead enjoying the culinary delights of teenage sock.
Newt raised one unimpressed eyebrow.
“Yeah, that’s right,” the first of the unfortunate pair sneered, jabbing at the air in front of him like a demented wrestler. “You’re at our mercy, you better be scared.”
The second eyebrow crept up. Newt was not a kidnapper himself, but forced familiarity had made him - not a kidnapping connoisseur, per se, but at the very least he’d come to expect higher standards than this. He tilted his head laboriously towards the second kidnapper and attempted to communicate the exact depth of his incredulous disappointment in the wrinkle of his nose.
The second teenager was staring rather fixedly at the pool of spreading blood. More specifically, she was staring at the flick knife embedded three inches deep in Newt’s thigh, and the jagged, messy tear where she’d tried to pull it out and lost her nerve.
See, a professional kidnapper would have known to leave the knife in there to stem the bleeding. Does Newt not deserve a bit of professionalism? He’s a high quality hostage here, even if he is currently bleeding more than he should be, he doesn’t like working with amateurs.
“Hank,” the girl croaked. “Hank, I think he’s going to die.”
Newt blinked. The newly-identified Hank blinked. The girl had not blinked in far too long and had probably forgotten how.
“What? Nah, he’s fibbing,” Hank said, remembering last minute to brandish his fist threateningly as he said it. “If he was dying he’d be screaming or something. Yeah?”
“You stabbed him.”
“Yeah, but, not like hard or anything.”
There was an awkward, hesitant silence, in which the girl stared and Hank squinted at the knife as though waiting for Newt to reveal it as a trick (and if I shine the light on the glistening wound, look, it’s actually chocolate sauce! Oh how strange it’s really blood after all) and lo and behold, Newt lost his patience.
They’d tied his hands together round the back of the lamp post but they hadn’t taken his wand out of his sleeve, and as disgusting as the sock-gag was it vanished easily enough to a non-verbal spell.
“If we’re quite done,” he said drily as he disconnected his thumbs and slipped his hands free. “I have a dinner to get you, and frankly, you’re both being incompetent.”
“What,” the girl said, rapidly continuing into a high-pitched screech of “the fuck” as Newt pulled the knife from his leg and pressed the heel of his palm against it to stem the bleeding in one swift movement.
“What the hell man,” Hank chimed in, “that’s fuckin’ nasty shit.”
“Quick question,” Newt asked. “Do either of you know of have either of you ever met Percival Graves?”
Blank stare to the left. Blank (still unblinking) stare to the right.
“Grand. One more question, if you don’t mind; would you identify yourselves as magicals or muggles, do you reckon? Or no-majs if you prefer.”
Blank, really quite wierded out stare to the left. Bug-eyed, vaguely nauseated stare to the right. Incompetent opportunistic kidnappers who aimed for a random rich-looking guy off the street and somehow managed to pick Newt. How the hell is this even Newt’s life.
And now the blood was welling up over his fingers in a way that wasn’t ideal and would very much benefit from a healing charm, except that (a) they were pissing muggles so the statute of secrecy came into play, and (b) Newt genuinely sucked at healing charms.
He smiled at them. From the way both of them flinched back, it can’t have been a very nice smile, though he’d tried to keep it as polite as possible.
“Ta then,” he said, “but I’m late for dinner so I best be off. Nighty-night.”
He staggered all of five paces, wincing with each step, before he mumbled a heartfelt sod the statute and jabbed his wand at a nearby wall. A flash of light, and the previously empty street corner contained a frantically wailing bowtruckle, a furious swooping evil, and a bat-winged horse comprised entirely of hellfire and damnation.
“Home please,” Newt said, draping himself gratefully over the fanged demon steed from the depths of the underworld, and with a final flash of sulphur-tinged darkness, he was gone.
“Mate,” Hank said, finally breaking the silence of the alley. “Mate, what the actual fuck.”