Hermann looks up from his book. The creatures never notice Hermann, the unicorn whickers as he walks past, but the little winged snakes Newt is sketching don’t look up form their careful stalking of a ghostly mouse.
Hermann sits beside him. “How are you?”
“Wonderful.” Newt breathes, turns bright, glistening eyes up to Hermann.
He looks so happy Hermann doesn’t want to say anything, wants him to be happy, always that happy…
“Your horse is safe,” he temporises, “He got back to his stable only a little the worse for the wear.”
“Oh good,” Newt smiles, but that smile flickers then, and Hermann’s heart sinks. “And-”
He trails off, Hermann sighs. “They miss you.”
The castle had been in uproar, all sorts of strange and impossible stories being bandied about- thought nothing quite as strange as the truth.
His own father hadn’t cared. Hadn’t seemed to have even noticed he had gone. He’s not sure which is worse.
Newt closes his eyes.
It hurts to even say it, but- “If you want to go back-”
“No.” Newt rubs his face. “I know they love me. Doesn’t stop them from being so fucking awful.”
They sit there, in silence. Then Newt’s hand slips into his, squeezes. “No.”
Newt looks around at the gardens, the creatures who have found their way here and made it their home. Icy birds flit over, settle in the bower above them and coo. “This is- amazing. I never could have dreamed-” he swallows, shakes his head. “I love this.” he says, voice full and heavy. “Thank you.”
Hermann can only lean in and kiss him.