A "Fantastic Beasts" drabble
Newt can't sleep in cities anymore. Buildings weigh on him, lock him in, leave him twitching and trapped and restless. He couldn't have slept in Tina and Queenie's spare room of their bigger-on-the-inside flat anyway, even if he hadn't had someone to rescue, even if he does like places that are bigger on the inside. He can't find any rest with humans all around him, never mind if they have magic running through their veins or not.
When he's out in the wilds, he's quite capable of falling asleep under trees, or in caves, or half-buried in a sand dune out of the reach of even the highest tide, or, once, in a hammock of sun-starved carnivorous choke-vines, gambling that he'd wake up before they did.
At school his housemates had eventually given up complaining about the creatures he'd smuggled into the dorms, purring at his feet and coiled on his stomach through the night. During the war, he'd ended up asleep among the Ironbellies so many times his commander had finally assigned him to dragon stable sentry duties, a position even Newt could figure out had been invented to get rid of the problem of him.
Now, free and on his own, Newt won't really be home until the hatch locks closed over his head, shutting out the grey and dusty flat he uses more as a way station than an actual dwelling. There's a bed in it, somewhere, never used; an icebox so empty it's barely even a box, a box should contain something. There are rooms and floors and window-ish sort of things, and maybe a table. The door locks, sealed with the little metal key because there's a metal lock and the key goes with it, it has a purpose so it should be used, and then with layers of magic, more to alert him if they're broken than to keep anyone out.
There's only one thing within these walls that's important, and he's holding it.
The world hidden within an unprepossessing suitcase – that's home. That's safe. Safe for all of them. Everything else can be locked away outside it. The grime of the ship and the relentless pressure of people. The crowds and the cruelty of New York. The lives and the futures lost, to death and to forgetfulness and human inflexibility. The itching panic of knowing he'd said something foolish to Tina, but not being sure what. What had he said? He'd been babbling again. The pounding fear for his friends who rely on him to speak for them, to stand between them and the ignorance of two worlds that just don't understand. They're more alike than they know, magic and mundane.
Sometimes Newt would like to hide himself away in one of his favorite jungles, rich and strange and ever-changing – or the deep primal woods of Europe that are still there, if you know how to look – or the gasping deserts within deserts, so rich with such wonderful life for those who care enough to see – except who would speak for the voiceless, miraculous creatures of this magical world then?
So much good in the world to protect, and only him to care.
The first deep breath of his treasured hidden world revives him, rich with the scents of life and magic. It keeps him awake enough to stumble through his comfortable, familiar shed without knocking anything over, although heavy feet and over-enthusiastic shoulders have done worse to it before he got around to asking them not to do that, and then adjusted the magic to gently discourage that from happening again.
The low sun is bright on his face and warm, and Newt finally starts smiling again. Starts feeling – no, not human again, he can't deal with any more humans right now – alive again.
The world hidden in a suitcase – his traveling home – is the only place he feels truly safe. He's not locked in here. Everyone else is locked out.
Within his sanctuary, he can rest. He can sleep, secure among those he understands best and those who understand him. Newt knows with absolute surety that nothing in here will hurt him, or expect anything of him that he doesn't know how to answer, or demand something of him he doesn't know how to offer. He can't say as much for the outside world, and so he can never truly let his guard down out there.
But this world, at least, is his.
The world spins around him, forest blending into tundra into savanna into caves into sky into garden, all interlocking and interweaving, magic at its most beautiful. Newt drops his battered blue coat onto the nearest grassy hollow and collapses into it with a sigh. The smell of crushed grass and life weaves its way into the wool, and the stench of the ship and the cities begins to fade away.
He misses Frank. Frank was beautiful against the sky, never the same twice as the Thunderbird learned his wings again and rediscovered his freedom.
It's a small sky. Too small for Frank. Someone will need that space, someone different, someone lovely and wonderful in ways all their own, but…perhaps he'll leave that environment as it is, for now.
Newt misses the sight of him, but when he closes his eyes against the light, he can pretend that the shadows are close enough. Frank has the true sky and his friend will never be caged again.
Almost at once, exhaustion catches up with him, washing over him like outspread wings and ceaseless rain. As he drifts off to sleep in a bed better than any mattress imprisoned within brick walls, Newt recognizes the sound of Graphorn paws padding quietly around him, quieter and sneakier than it looks, clever baby. And for once the bold little thing backs away and leaves the Nundu alone as the rainforest king breathes a meaty, satisfied huff over him from massive jaws heavy with teeth; he really must fix that enclosure.
He's looking forward to it. Real work, good work, to repair and protect rather than hunt and destroy.
Tiny, cunning fingers snatch at a shining raindrop still clinging to the wool of his coat, and Pickett clicks high-pitched abuse at the disappointed Niffler as he shakes his little hand dry. Quivering fronds and scattering droplets tickle, but Newt has been sleeping with small companions all around all his life, and he lies still; their more fragile bodies are in no danger from an errant movement of his.
All around, wings flutter and fall quiet, sharp hooves step carefully and settle close by, clicking claws scuttle back and forth, feet unlike any others bearing bodies strange and wonderful tread lightly, guarding him as he guards them. Each of them, regardless of their shape or size or nature, considers Newt one of their own.
Newt loves his world, his friends; he loves them so much. He came so close to losing them, and the scents and sounds of them will fill his dreams, bittersweet and treasured.
It's always others Newt fights for, when he has to, never himself.
And if he weeps for a lost and broken child, a shattered city and a lost dream, none of the fantastic creatures who hold his heart would ever say a word of blame.
Author's Note: Maybe everyone and their grandmother has already done this. If not, someone take this concept and do it better. Put it on Tumblr and make it a prompt or something. I don't even know what I want to do with it. This is the second draft, after getting a copy of the script, but when the first draft went up, I didn't know if I would even keep this. Verdict: people liked it, so I guess it stays. Anyway, when my mom and I went to see "Fantastic Beasts", she immediately diagnosed Newt as "somewhere on the [autism] spectrum", because she's a Special Ed. teacher. (I don't think she's wrong, either.) Thanks for the plot bunny, Mom: somehow my brain turned that into "the Suitcase World is Newt's safe place and he sleeps there".