If you are interested in knowing what is canon and what is my own invention over the past two chapters, I've included them in detail. There's spoilers below (duh). Let's take a look!
What We Know About the Next Movie
1. It takes place in 1928, two years after the first movie (IMDB description before it was removed)
2. Newt is being harassed by Leta Lestrange, she keeps sending him letters and showing up at inappropriate times, and he is having a difficult time moving on, angst, etc. When she DOES finally see Newt in person, Newt expects her to try to convince him to give her another chance, but instead, he finds that she is more interested in encouraging him to help Dumbledore defeat Grindelwald. (I just really think that's not going to go down well.) (IMDB description before it was removed)
3. Newt's now an accomplished author (IMDB)
4. Albus Dumbledore shows up on the scene rather suddenly asking for Newt's assistance in tracking down Grindelwald (IMDB)
5. Newt's Patronus is important (JK Rowling)
6. Credence is alive and will be making an appearance (multiple sources, including the cast list and a deleted scene from the first movie that shows Credence alive and well and boarding a ship at the very end)
7. There's some new teenage character named Sebastian (if you ask me, I think he's another Obscurial, or a... friend... of Credence's) (cast call)
8. We're going to see teenage Dumbledore, teenage Gellert, teenage Newt, and teenage Leta (cast call)
9. We're going to see Dumbledore "at a very different stage in his life and quite a troubled younger man." (JK Rowling)
10. On a related note, we also do know that Newt's expulsion was not truly enforced, and that's canon - I had some questions about that. (movie set props of the file GrindelGraves read)
The Big Questions
1. What did Leta Lestrange do that Newt took the fall for?
2. What happened to the real Percival Graves? (JK Rowling has confirmed he was a real person)
3. How is Albus' past relationship with Gellert going to be portrayed? Is Newt going to learn the truth about the two? If so, how?
4. How is Albus, one of the most secretive characters out there, going to work in a partnership with Newt tracking down his old love interest? Like how?
So that's about where we are. I don't think I'm forgetting anything. This chapter is mainly going to be from Newt's point of view because I found his point of view is the better vantage point whenever Albus is lying.
Now for the reviews:
TheLittleCatmole - I'm so glad you asked about Windsbach. I do have German ancestry, but I'm an American from the wilds of Arizona, like Newt's thunderbird. :D Picking a location for Nurmengard was difficult. It's been over a year since writing it, but I remember immersing myself in WWII info. Putting Nurmengard near Nuremberg was originally my intention, as they sound similar and it was so tempting to do so given its significance in Hitler's rise to power, but I found that Nuremberg was damaged heavily via Allied bombing in the war. I didn't want Gellert's Nurmengard to be a place that could have been destroyed in WWII's bombings. I guess I could've said Gellert could've made it bomb-proof via magic, but that just seemed too cliche. I wanted Nurmengard to be a secure location that was unlikely to be damaged in the war, a place that the Muggles wouldn't target, a small city. I like to think that Gellert would be smart enough to not make his fortress upon a military target. Windsbach was, as far as I could tell at the time, too small to be any kind of military target and went through WWII unscathed. I also needed a place that was near a landmark on a map so that the Aurors could find it easily, even though it was protected by magic and in an unlikely location. Since Windsbach is small, undamaged, and by a famous river, I chose it. No special connections to there, just a very unlikely place.
RedFurryDemon - It's okay. The only drink Newt's allowed to have from now on is juice boxes. But omg, I can just imagine Newt getting smashed in a bar after all the creatures in his suitcase are killed! XD It's a crackfic waiting to happen! Those creatures are his babies, after all. And jealous Grindelwald is the best thing to ever exist ever.
And thanks to all those who liked/followed this time around! I hope you enjoy.
October 1928 - Newt Scamander
The sunlight shining into his room immediately made his head pound in protest. Newt awoke with a sense of utmost dread flooding through him before he could remember why he was feeling that way. He rolled over to his other side in his bed so that the sunlight was no longer shining on his face and tried to go to sleep, but he failed to fall unconscious before he remembered what had happened last night. Once he remembered what happened, there was no going back to sleep. His heart began to hammer with the memory that came flooding into his mind despite the fact it was most uninvited.
He had been drinking too much, which was something he never did. He was not exactly skilled at holding alcohol, even small amounts, and he usually avoided it because he didn't like the way it made him feel. He remembered Professor Dumbledore had sent him a letter. Newt met with him in the cafe down the street.
Newt had shouted at him.
Had that really happened, or was it just an awful dream? The unceasing pounding in Newt's head confirmed that he had been drinking. With a groan, he slowly got out of bed. A wave of nausea hit him. He was, to the best of his knowledge, the worst drinker in Britain. Why did people do this to themselves for fun?
As he painfully shuffled to his living room, he dimly thought he would rather jump off a bridge than live the knowledge that he had drunkenly screamed at Albus Dumbledore in a cafe in front of a bunch of Muggles. Newt hadn't seen someone he truly knew for months now. He had been living a very reclusive life, and the night he drank too much was the night Dumbledore appeared, wanting to talk to him right then. He certainly could never look him in the eye again. Drunk or not, Newt knew he had no right to yell at the man he owed so much. Did Dumbledore even know that he had been drinking? Was he able to tell that Newt was drunk, or did he think that was really what Newt was like? Newt couldn't stand the thought of Dumbledore not understanding that his mind had been altered by alcohol and that wasn't the way he normally was. Yet then again, he also couldn't stand the thought of Dumbledore thinking he was an alcoholic at the end of his rope. He felt like he was a teenager who had broken into his parents' liquor and got caught with it the first time he'd ever done it. It wasn't exactly the first time he had ever drank too much, but he had only gotten drunk twice in his life, so it was close enough to getting caught the first time, wasn't it? What were the chances of that? And why did it have to be Professor Albus Dumbledore who caught him? Literally any other former teacher - any other parental figure he'd ever had - would have been better. Feeling like his life could not get any worse and half-wanting to crawl into a hole and die, Newt rounded the corner into his living room and found something he was not expecting.
October 1928 - Albus Dumbledore
After Newt stumbled home, Albus had stood across the street, walking up and down slowly, trying to figure out what he should do.
He thought about himself, not because he wished to be self-centered, but because he thought that by first understanding himself, he might be able to help someone in a similar situation. Albus did not know the depth of Newt's troubles, or how often Newt was drinking, or how lonely Newt was, but he could at least understand his own situation first. Maybe his situation was the same as Newt's. Maybe it was very different. Hopefully, it was. It was unthinkable to him that Newt would be in a similar state as himself. In the end, perhaps it didn't matter how similar or different their situations were. Both of them were dealing with heartbreak, loneliness, and at least a pinch of self-hatred. In Albus' case, the self-hatred was overpowering, but hopefully in Newt's, it was more mild.
So he thought about himself. Before he could understand why Newt was drinking, he first had to understand why he himself drank. Albus didn't consider himself to be an alcoholic by any means because he did not feel like he had a chemical dependency on it, but maybe he was. He couldn't tell anymore, and frankly, he didn't care much. He could go months without drinking anything, but then sometimes the urge to do so was overpowering. Albus drank because he didn't want to think anymore. He drank as a way of escape.
Escape from what?
Albus' pacing stopped for a moment. The air was getting cold, and the street was becoming more and more deserted as the night became darker, but Albus showed no signs of going home. He was thinking furiously, his mind somewhere else other than the street before him. Then he began to pace again.
Escape from hurting himself was the largest reason. Escape from the voices. The level of self-disgust was rising within Albus. He did not like being this weak. He did not want to feel this way. He would rather not feel the things he did, because he was certain it was a sign of weakness. Just thinking these thoughts made him feel ashamed. He did not want to think these thoughts or admit these matters about himself, but he couldn't make them go away. If he was going to be truly honest with himself, he knew he drank solely because he was running away from his own feelings of self-hatred. Ironically, when Albus would drink, he would do something he greatly regretted the next day. The shame within him would increase by the tenfold, so drinking, though a temporary release, only made reality much more difficult to face the next day. He had not exactly liked admitting to Fallon two years ago that he had had a drunken one-night-stand with a man who was a complete stranger. He knew that she would have been devastated to hear him admit he had done that same occurrence again since she last talked to him. He liked admitting it to himself even less. It disgusted him, and it had made him hate himself ten times more than he had before he got drunk and done that. It was a cycle he could not escape from. Numbing his pain with alcohol always made it worse the next morning when he had to live with himself and had to know what he had done the night before.
But at the time, it always felt so good.
Albus was the worst-case scenario. If Newt was anywhere close to him on the spectrum, Albus knew he would be unable to help. He didn't know how this had happened. Newt seemed fine when he last met with him, and that was only six years ago. But maybe Newt hadn't been fine then. He had been very upset over the Sudanese girl. Maybe he still felt guilty about that.
Feeling as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders and assuming the worst about the situation, Albus stopped walking up and down the street to stare intently at Newt's living quarters, second floor, sandwiched between a lower floor and an upper floor. He did not know how much of this Newt could relate to... but Albus hoped Newt wasn't as bad off as him... because if Newt was in as desperate shape as Albus was himself, he didn't think he would be able to help Newt much. How could he help someone who was hurting if he couldn't even help himself?
He should have known that Newt was, just like himself, only a man. Newt wasn't a tool he could pick up and use to chase Grindelwald across the globe with whenever he pleased. Newt had a life, feelings, wants, troubles, and desires of his own that might and will conflict with what Albus wanted him to do. Wouldn't that be a comic duo, two dysfunctional people chasing after the most evil human being of the century.
This was not going to be easy.
Hurting for Newt just as much as Albus was hurting for himself, Albus walked up to Newt's building, climbed the stairs, and, discreetly as possible, broke in through the front door. He knew there was no sense in sugarcoating it; he broke in. Newt was skilled magically, but no amount of Newt's power would ever be able to keep Albus out of his home, so he found the right spell with ease to make the lock open for him without a fuss. Newt was no where in sight and the living room was dark. He had gone to bed. Albus had expected this much as he had been watching Newt's home for a while now and he hadn't observed any lights going on or off, blinds moving, or shadows crossing over the windows.
Albus wasn't confident that he was doing the right thing in doing this. He was fairly confident that he was wrong in breaking into Newt's home. He probably was making a mistake. But he was still there. The blind leading the blind.
And he was still there because he knew this was exactly what Fallon would have done to him had he been Newt. He thought about how she had blasted his door to pieces of wood when he wouldn't open the door for her. He knew that what he had with Fallon and what he had with Newt was completely different, but if Albus was going to ask for Newt's help, then he had to get personal with him. He couldn't benefit from Newt's help without finishing the construction of bridge that was only partly finished between them.
He found the empty bottles sitting on the table and examined them carefully. Newt had barely drunk anything, yet he was very drunk. That was a good sign. He wasn't an expert at putting alcohol away because he didn't have much experience with it. His body hadn't built up any kind of tolerance to it. This meant that Newt either wasn't drinking often or his habit of drinking was a new one. Not worried about waking up someone who was in a drunken slumber, Albus went through his trash to count how much he had been drinking over the past few days. He hadn't been except for tonight, or, if he had been, it had been elsewhere other than home. He saw a letter sitting on the kitchen table. Looking at the bottom of it, he saw it was signed by Leta Lestrange. It took all of Albus' willpower to not read it. Fallon hadn't read Gellert's letter to him when it was in her hands after taking it from the owl. She had only read the signature line. He was using her as a moral compass. He would do exactly what she did. There were some boundaries that Fallon observed, so he would do the same. Slightly pacified, Albus sat down on the sofa to think. Think, and wait, and hope that Newt wasn't in as bad of a place as he was.
October 1928 - Newt Scamander
Newt froze when he saw Albus Dumbledore sitting on his sofa. His former teacher caught his eye immediately with a piercing intensity that made Newt feel like Dumbledore was staring right through him.
"Have a seat, Newt," said Dumbledore matter-of-factly without an explanation as to why he had broken into Newt's home uninvited or how long he had been there.
Newt didn't dare disobey him. It didn't matter if Dumbledore was logically in the wrong, seeing as he had supposedly broke into Newt's house. Newt still felt like he was the one who had done something wrong. Feeling like he was a kid in school again, he sat down obediently upon the loveseat that was facing Dumbledore as he prepared himself for a lecture that would end with, "Fifty points from Hufflepuff." He just hoped he wouldn't throw up before the lecture was over, because he really was not feeling well.
Dumbledore picked up a small goblet and put it back on the coffee table so that it was squarely in front of Newt. There was a swirling dark green potion in it, and Newt picked it up without asking any questions because he wasn't able to find his voice. Dumbledore immediately answered his unspoken question by saying, "For the pain in your head that comes whenever you consume too much alcohol. It doesn't taste the best, but it will immediately take off any nausea as well and cancel out its unpleasant taste."
Newt drank one quick swallow of the potion to find it tasted even worse than he expected, but the minute it hit his stomach, he felt better. The pain in his head lessened and the nausea followed in leaving. Thankful of the immediate relief, he took a few more deep gulps before having to put it back down due to the foul taste.
"How did you come to know about this? It's wonderful."
"Books and the like," answered Dumbledore shortly. He was sitting upright with a broken quill in his hands that he was evidently trying intently to repair. Newt knew the object was just a diversion for him to focus on to lessen the awkwardness of the situation, because Reparo would easily do the job. Dumbledore shifted his weight, still focusing on the quill, and finally said, "You are not very skilled in holding liquor. You look dreadful."
"That's because I normally don't drink," mumbled Newt shamefacedly. "I don't understand why so many people do it; it never works right for me. It just makes me feel like I'm a kid who broke into his parents' stash."
"You're quite terrible at this."
"I'm very sorry, Professor, I -"
"Don't call me that," interrupted Dumbledore. He had said this before, but before, he had always said it in a more patient way. Newt supposed he didn't feel as patient now.
"Albus. Sorry. Old habits." Newt sighed and ran his hands through his unkempt hair. "Anyway, I'm very sorry for last night," he said quickly. "Drunk or not, I shouldn't have spoken to you like that. I'm sorry."
Dumbledore didn't show any signs that he accepted the apology. Eyes still on the quill, he softly said, "Why were you attempting to make alcohol 'work right for you' last night, then?"
Newt opened his mouth and closed it again. He ducked his head and put his face in his hands. Silence fell between them. He couldn't find the right words, and even if he could, he doubted he would have the strength to say them.
Dumbledore at long last put down the quill he had been dissecting so intently. Newt didn't look up, but he could feel his eyes on him. He couldn't bear to meet his mentor's knowing gaze.
"If it makes you feel any better," Dumbledore said softly, "let me tell you that alcohol never - as you put it - 'works right' for anyone, not even those who manage to have a fine time with it." Newt finally met the blue eyes. "There is always the morning, and with the morning comes regret." Their eyes remained locked for a long moment before Dumbledore looked away and back at his hands. "Or so I've heard," he finished.
Newt knew he would have to be the most daft person alive to not understand the implicit message Dumbledore was telling him. He realized now that, though a hint of humor was radiating off Dumbledore, there was also sorrow behind his words. It made his mind stall. He looked at Dumbledore, feeling as if he were a stranger. He was no longer his teacher, and Newt was no longer his student, and he hadn't been for years. Dumbledore wasn't that much older than Newt himself really, maybe a fifteen or sixteen year difference set them apart. It was odd to know that Dumbledore was an infallible young man like himself who had a past that Newt didn't know anything about. Why would Dumbledore drink and then have regrets in the morning?
Dumbledore shifted his weight again and said, "It's none of my business, but I advise you to try to find another way to deal with unpleasant thoughts. Drinking never solves problems, only perpetuates. There has got to be a better way to go about matters."
Slightly disliking what felt like a lecture, Newt said, "I told you I don't like it, and what is the better way, then, Prof- Albus?"
There was a hint of a smile on Dumbledore's face. He was thoroughly interested in examining his fingernails now, having been made bored with the quill. "I'm working on it. If you can figure that one out before me, then you are wiser than me, my friend."
Newt sighed. "Fair enough," he said dejectedly. "Anyway, I'm very sorry you had to see me like that."
"I forgive you."
"Are you ever going to tell me the real reason why you sent me to New York?"
Dumbledore sat up straighter and looked at him directly. "Certainly," he said, clearing his throat. "But I'm still waiting for you to answer my question first."
"Which one? There has been several, and I don't remember all of last night clearly, so -"
"Why were you drinking last night?"
Newt looked at him but didn't answer. I don't know, why do you drink, Dumbledore? he wondered in silence.
Dumbledore smiled as if he read Newt's mind.
"I understand," Dumbledore said with a nod. "Despite the fact that I asked you first and that you now owe me for embarrassing me last night in front of dozens of strangers, I see that you won't cooperate with me until I tell you a little bit about myself first. You feel your privacy has been breached, so now I have to reveal more about myself." Newt began to say something to object, but Dumbledore cut across him, "I have many reasons why I do not make the best of decisions sometimes, Newt. I know this is shocking to everyone, especially my former students, because I suppose that I seem so well put-together, but nothing could be further from the truth. I am not put together or fine at all, Newt. I am not the calm I appear to be to outsiders. The answer as to why is simply because I have done things that I regret and would rather not remember. I have fallen down the rabbit hole of self-destruction far more than you did last night, and I hope that you never fall as far and as hard as I have. That's partly why I am here at this hour in this fashion, to make sure you do not do what I have done. I need you for something, and I can't benefit from your assistance if you are falling apart. I had to follow you to investigate how serious your state of mind is. I did not spend the night in your living room trying to assess the current state of your mental well-being because it was comfortable or convenient or enjoyable."
He paused here, as if waiting for Newt to say something to argue, but Newt was far too taken aback by his sudden honesty, and the fact that Dumbledore had spent the whole night there waiting, to speak.
"But my mistakes in life are not what I am worried about right now. I'm a lost cause, anyway," he continued dismissively with a slight smirk. "I am worried about two things, and the first one I need to address is you. I am worried about you."
Newt continued to stare.
Dumbledore broke eye contact and looked down. He let out a sigh and scratched the back of his head with his left hand, looking like he was trying to make up his mind about something. He brought his gaze back to Newt's face and said, "Is it because of Leta?"
Mutely, Newt nodded, completely obedient to answering Dumbledore's questions now.
"Is it because you blame yourself for what happened between the two of you?"
Newt nodded again.
"Is her harassing you contributing to how awful you feel?"
"And you, though it was very uncharacteristic of you to do so, drank last night to see if you could escape from the memory of her?"
"But the attempt completely failed?"
Nod. Newt had gotten nothing out of it but a terrible hangover and embarrassment.
"Are you beginning to believe her, what she says happened back at Hogwarts?"
Newt hesitated. He felt and saw tears beginning to spring in the corner of his eyes, so he looked away and closed them.
"Are you beginning to believe her?" Dumbledore demanded.
Newt understood that Dumbledore was trying to get this out of him as soon as possible so that it could all be laid out on the table in front of him, so that then they could just deal with whatever issues were plaguing him. Newt nodded. He expected Dumbledore to launch into a speech about how what Leta was saying was completely untrue, but he didn't. Instead, he said, "Is your self-abuse limited to just occasional misuse of alcohol, or are you doing anything else to cause self-destruction?"
Newt reopened his eyes and stared once again into the blue eyes. It was such an oddly-shaped question.
"No, I'm not," said Newt finally.
"Be sure you understand me. There are many different forms of harming oneself. When was the last time you actually talked to someone about anything, spent time with a friend?"
Newt shrugged. "I don't know. A few months... maybe..."
"Isolating yourself from others is not something anyone should do. It's harmful to anyone. You need your friends."
Newt shook his head.
"Good," repeated Dumbledore. He stopped again, looking pensive. "Then I know where we are," he said after a long pause. He looked like he was trying to gather his thoughts. Newt didn't dare speak. His mind was swirling with questions.
"I'm sorry," Dumbledore said after several minutes in silence, giving Newt a quick obligatory glance before looking sharply away. "I may be more on edge than the situation requires." Dumbledore stretched out a leg, re-positioning his posture. "It is simply I didn't think I would ever see you in that kind of state. Yes, I'm aware a lot of people drink and are just fine," he said with a flick of his head. "A lot of people get drunk from time to time and still live productive lives; for most people, drunkenness is even something to laugh about. But if you're drinking to numb pain and you get angry when you've been drinking, then it's self-destructive."
"No, I agree with you completely," Newt said quietly. "I won't be doing that again. I promise that's not who I usually am; that's not what I normally do, and I don't want to give it another try."
Dumbledore didn't say anything, but he did give a curt nod of acceptance. The silence settled between them again, but this time it was a comfortable silence, probably the most comfortable silence Newt had ever had with Dumbledore.
At long last, Newt heard Dumbledore clear his throat. Newt's eyes were back on Dumbledore by the time Dumbledore said, "You had asked me why I had sent you to New York two years ago, but you already know the right answer, Newt. I did not want to put you in any danger, but I should have known it could have happened. I was hoping you would find the Obscurus. Find the Obscurus and help him or her, whoever they were, before he did. Grindelwald."
Dumbledore gave Newt a piercing look before continuing, "I've been tracking him." Dumbledore picked up the broken quill again, and held it over the table in both hands, expression intent. "From an early age, Grindelwald has had a fascination with Obscuri. He's been hunting them down. He wants to use one. He thinks it's possible to harness their power for his own use."
"It isn't," said Newt before he could stop himself. He then scolded himself mentally for the interruption. He was finally getting the answers he wanted, yet he had to stall it.
Dumbledore bowed his head in agreement. "Yes... I know. But you see, Grindelwald thinks otherwise. He likes to push the envelope, see what he can get away with. He's one to experiment with magic. The Obscurial in New York," said Dumbledore with a bitterness in his voice Newt did not recognize, "fell victim to his manipulation. He is surprisingly skilled in controlling and brainwashing others... especially the young. Grindelwald believed that if he could make Credence bend to his every whim, he would be able to harness the power of the Obscurus, to use it to wreck havoc on the Muggle world, to frighten and provoke them." Dumbledore paused here, and Newt could tell it was an invitation for him to begin to speak.
"Grindelwald requires a lesson on Obscuri, then," said Newt. "Trying to control an Obscurus is like trying to control a thundercloud and its lightning. The entire premise of an Obscurus is that it is an uncontrollable magical force. If it was controllable, then it wouldn't even be an Obscurus. The Obscurial never controls -" Newt broke off here. He knew that what he was saying was only partly true. He took in a deep breath before continuing, "The Obscurial controls very little of the Obscurus that bursts out of them. Very little being my emphasis." Newt sighed and clarified, "The only reason why I say the Obscurial controls only a slight margin of the Obscurus is because the Obscurus usually will attack the person the rage is directed to. Credence's Obscurus killed his abusive mother. There was a reason for that. And even though the Obscurus was raging and out of control, it still never attacked Grindelwald... not really." Newt shook his head. "But still, there isn't much control going on. The Obscurial may be able to direct the Obscurus in a general direction, but that doesn't mean he can truly control the violence that follows after it's aimed."
Newt looked at Dumbledore's face. Dumbledore seemed to be carefully considering Newt's words.
"All in all," Newt concluded with finality in his voice, "it's a very dangerous and stupid thing to do - trying to control something so deadly. Arrogant, really."
"Well, Grindelwald is very arrogant," replied Dumbledore. "He believes he could part the ocean if he wanted."
"So then, you're seeking to stop him? And you want me to help?" asked Newt.
Dumbledore seemed to hesitate in his answer. "I seek first to find him... and to save the Obscurials before he gets his hands on them. Where we go after that point, I am not yet sure."
Newt searched Dumbledore's face. There was something strange about this answer.
"Albus," began Newt, the name still feeling strange on his tongue, "do you have a bit of a past with Grindelwald?"
Dumbledore gave him a sharp look. "Whatever gave you that idea?"
Newt swallowed, feeling mollified by the intensity of Dumbledore's gaze. "Forgive me, I don't think I ever told you the details of what happened. I was questioned by Grindelwald in MACUSA, Tina and I." Saying Tina's name hurt for some reason, but he shoved the thought down. "He mentioned you, when he was in disguise, of course. Grindelwald questioned us both after he went through my suitcase. We thought he was -"
"Percival Graves," said Dumbledore, "the Head Auror of MACUSA. Yes, I had heard you were interrogated by him from the reports. Graves was a highly respected Auror; it was a scandal when it was revealed that he had been friendly with Grindelwald." He looked pensive and had a strange look on his face that Newt couldn't quite place. "He's missing now."
It was news to Newt that Graves was missing. Hearing the name Graves made Newt feel a pulse of loathing, but perhaps that wasn't fair of him to feel that way. He didn't know anything about the real Percival Graves.
"He was friendly with Grindelwald?" asked Newt.
Dumbledore looked surprised. "You didn't follow the case afterward?"
"I admit I didn't, no." Newt wondered why he hadn't bothered to find out much of what happened in MACUSA after Grindelwald's capture and subsequent escape.
With a slight frown, Dumbledore stretched out his legs a bit further and seemed to think that fact over. "Well," he began finally, "once it became known that Percival Graves had at some point gone missing and mysteriously replaced with Gellert Grindelwald, naturally, his friends at MACUSA were concerned. As soon as Grindelwald was imprisoned, the rest of the Auror department and the president began to investigate his disappearance. They questioned Grindelwald, who was, unsurprisingly not of much help in the matter, and they searched. Graves was very popular in MACUSA, highly respected, like I said, and even adored, when it came to the Auror department. He was considered one of the best Aurors in the world. Trustworthy. Everyone feared that Grindelwald had killed him. After all, you saw that Grindelwald was not using Polyjuice Potion to take Graves' appearance, so there was no reason for him to keep him alive."
"But Grindelwald did keep him alive."
"Yes. They found him alive. Grindelwald was holding him captive in his own apartment." Dumbledore paused. "How terrible it must be for one to fall so fast. He was considered powerful, a very capable wizard," he explained with a glance at Newt. "I think his Auror department had, up until that time, perhaps even fantasized that Graves would lead them all to take Grindelwald out if he ever made a grab for the United States. I think MACUSA felt safer knowing that they had Graves working tirelessly beside his Auror department to keep America safe from Grindelwald's advance. And then they found him, magically bound and subdued, unable to speak, on the floor of his own bedroom in his home, helpless." Dumbledore seemed uncomfortable at this point, and he shifted his weight and gave a flick of his head. "The finer details of the case were quite disturbing."
"But Graves was a supporter of Grindelwald," Newt said.
"To a point, yes. Graves had, recently, become interested in Grindelwald's... philosophy. He admitted it. He confessed to meeting with Grindelwald once to talk, and he confessed to going to pro-Grindelwald meetings before meeting with him for the first time. But he maintained that he never wanted any of what had happened to happen. He did not consent to Grindelwald taking on his appearance and going about as him. He did not want anyone to get hurt. He obviously was being held against all his will and might. What happened with Tina Goldstein, who I'm assuming is the Tina to whom you were referring, was particularly devastating to Graves. He was very fond of her, so finding out that she was almost killed as a result of Graves taking on his identity..."
"Well," said Newt, "he shouldn't have ever gotten himself involved with Grindelwald in the first place." He was having a more difficult time feeling sympathy for Percival Graves than Dumbledore was.
"Perhaps," said Dumbledore, "but the devil does not appear to you as the devil; he appears to you as something much more benign, even agreeable. Graves was not the only man to be taken in and made a fool by Grindelwald's ability to bend and distort morality, and I am certain he will not be the last."
Newt felt annoyed by Dumbledore defending Graves' poor choice in siding with a man who promoted killing Muggles for the "greater good," but he held his tongue because he didn't want to start an argument. It seemed to Newt it was obvious that anyone who promoted killing innocent people was evil. There were no gray areas about that.
"And now Graves is missing?" Newt prompted.
"Yes," replied Dumbledore, a faint crease appearing between his eyebrows. "He has been missing for many months now. No one knows what ever became of him."
"He fled so he would not be prosecuted?"
"On the contrary," said Dumbledore, "MACUSA was surprisingly light on his sentence. He lost his job, of course, but he was not sentenced to any jail time, just a fine. Technically, Percival Graves did little against the law. He had the right to go to pro-Grindelwald meetings outside of work. The meeting with Grindelwald was illegal because of his job title, but it was just a talk; he did not assist Grindelwald in any way, he gave him no money nor inside information into MACUSA; it was simply a talk. Granted, we will never know for certain what was truly discussed, but whatever it was that transpired between them in that hour left no kind of paper trail. It wouldn't hold up well in court. Before his rather extraordinary escape, Grindelwald said that Graves had not consented with the switch, and anyone there who rescued Graves from his apart could tell as much."
He's still partly responsible, Newt thought. Maybe Grindelwald had found him again and killed him out of revenge. Or perhaps Graves' shame made it impossible to ever show his face again to anyone he used to know. Newt couldn't understand why Dumbledore didn't see that Graves had reaped what he sowed. He wasn't a victim. Newt would have never, ever -
"But anyway," said Dumbledore suddenly, jarring Newt from his thoughts, "I interrupted you, Newt. What were you saying about Grindelwald mentioning my name?"
"Yes, he did... When we were being questioned, Grindelwald asked me about you."
Dumbledore said nothing and kept his expression blank, but Newt could tell his mind was racing behind his mask of indifference.
"Grindelwald went through my expulsion records," continued Newt. "I don't know how he got them; he must have requested them from our Ministry while we were being held. He saw that you had defended me and protested my expulsion, so he asked me why you would do such a thing."
Dumbledore's face was frustratingly unreadable. "What were his words, exactly?"
"He read off what I had been expelled for, and then he said, 'Yet one of your teachers argued strongly against your expulsion,'" said Newt as he watched Dumbledore's eyes closely for any inkling of emotion. "Then he asked, 'Now, what makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?' I didn't really know how to respond. Given everything that was happening at the time, it just seemed like a very odd question. I was expecting him to question me about what creature of mine it was that was destroying New York. But it was as if he knew you personally or was curious about you."
"'What makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of you?'" murmured Dumbledore, seemingly more to himself than to Newt. He almost looked pleased. "Hmm. Very amusing. But no," he said with a shake of his head, "I have never met Grindelwald personally."
"Then why do you think he -?" began Newt.
"I don't know, Newt," said Dumbledore, and now, he sounded irritated. "I can't explain the inner psychology of a maniac like Gellert Grindelwald."
Newt already knew he didn't believe Dumbledore's explanation, but he wasn't up for challenging the claim, so Newt fell silent.
"Grindelwald is responsible for deaths of hundreds of people, and the death toll seems to be increasing steadily," said Dumbledore with finality in his voice. "It has to end before it gets any worse. He simply can't get his hold on an Obscurus... and for that..." Dumbledore looked carefully at Newt, "for that, I shall require your assistance..."
Newt drained the rest of the foul-tasting potion. He put it down with a clank on the table that seemed to ring through the whole house. His mind was buzzing. A part of him wanted to say yes to Dumbledore, but another part was holding him back.
"I will think about it," said Newt finally, disbelieving in his own gall to not immediately agree. "I can't commit to a yes or no yet."
He could tell Dumbledore didn't like this answer, but the older man nodded in acceptance of it anyway.
"Newt, I am very sorry about what happened two years ago. I shouldn't have urged you to go there without you knowing there might be danger."
That apology came a little bit too late, thought Newt smugly. "It doesn't matter," he said politely. "I might have gone that month anyway, as I was determined to bring Frank back -"
"The thunderbird, his name was Frank."
"I didn't want to wait much longer to bring him back to Arizona. I would have gone that summer, but I was told to avoid traveling to Arizona at all costs from May through October. November was the first month in the clear. Apparently, it's a bit hot and unpleasant there for half of the year, and if I'm going all that way, I'd rather enjoy my time there. I might have wound up there in the same situation on my own."
There was an awkward pause.
"In the meantime," said Newt, "I have five hundred and fifty-nine creatures to feed. It's probably going to take awhile."
"Right," said Dumbledore gruffly, recognizing the dismissal and rising to his feet. Newt did the same.
Once at the door, Dumbledore turned around and fixed him with another penetrating stare. Newt reluctantly looked up and met his eyes.
"We will talk about Leta at another time, after you've had some time to recover your thoughts," said Dumbledore sternly. "We aren't done here."
"Right," said Newt heavily. He knew there was no escaping this, whether he helped Dumbledore or not.
"And I am going to be coming by checking up on you. At completely random times. When you may or may not be expecting me. To see how you're doing. I already put a charm on your apartment, so I'll know if you move and where. Don't bother to try to remove it because you won't be successful."
Dumbledore stuck his hand out for Newt to shake. Newt shook it grudgingly.
"Take care of yourself in the meantime, Newt."
Later that evening, another letter came from Leta. He glanced at it without emotion. This one was much shorter than the previous one. It simply read, "Please hear me out somewhere, face to face. I miss you." Newt crumpled it up and threw it away.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty scared about Fantastic Beasts 2. The spoilers we have, and the cast calls, make me nervous for the upcoming movies. November 2018 is so far away! What theories do you have? Thoughts/concerns? I am curious. Let me know if there are any errors, and I will gladly fix them! I've edited this a hundred times, and I just wanted to post it, even though my head is killing me at the moment.