Sweat runs down Tina’s forehead and drips onto her chin. She’s pretty sure she could ring out her hat; her fashionable hair cut does succeed in keeping her neck cool, but her new fringe collects heat under its fronds, sizzling her brain. Reaching out a weary hand, she pushes open her apartment door and trudges in her steaming apartment. Tina quickly casts cooling charms around the place and slowly stops melting.
In previous terrible summers she’d come home to an ice cold home. Queenie always made it home earlier than her, and on days like this she’d either be fanning herself with a copy of witches weekly or coming up with new flavours of icy-poles. Tina would come home to be greeted by either a chilly snack or saucy gossip about some famous witch or wizard.
But her sister had moved out a month ago, packing secretly and leaving while Tina was at work the day after their worst fight ever. She now lives with Jacob in the apartment above his bakery, and refuses to see her every morning when she tries to visit. So this summer Tina is coming home to an empty, hot, apartment, with only a niffler pastry stuffed in her pocket for company. Her only consolation lies on the dining room table.
It came this morning- with Olga the barn owl- a letter written in a familiar messy scrawl. She used to rip them open as soon as they'd arrive, savouring every word. Then she’d read it aloud to Queenie, who’d tease and Tina would blush, walking to work every day with a silly grin on her face and a spring in her step.
Now she waits. Waits all day long, so she can come home after a long day, curl up on the couch and let Newt’s stories wash over her. If she tries hard enough, she can almost pretend he’s sitting beside her. And Tina, for a moment, no longer feels alone.
Peeling off her jacket, hat and shoes, she pads over, lovingly tracing her name in his hand. Newt always makes it more cursive than the rest of his writing, as if caressing ‘Porpentina Goldstein’ with his pen. Tina bites her lip, smiling as she turns the letter over in her hands. She places a delicate finger in between the slit of the envelope, and pulls. And straight away she sees that somethings wrong. Newt’s irregular writing that wrote her address, is not matched by the elegant hand of the letter inside. Sizzling with suspicion and slight anxiety, Tina tips the contents onto the table. A note from her magizoologist is nowhere to be found. Heart in her mouth, she tentatively picks up the folded paper that’s there.
‘Has something happened to Newt?’ she thinks desperately, holding the letter like a bomb, too afraid to open it, ‘Is he dangerously ill? Has he been kidnapped by one of Grindlewald’s followers?’ In their last couple of letters, they'd discussed the possibility of them both creating enemies for themselves, thanks to their actions in December. With a slightly shaky hand Tina finally unfolds the letter and reads, slowly becoming confused but also slightly intrigued.
'Dear Miss Goldstein,
I do not know if Newt Scamander has mentioned me before, but my name is Albus Dumbledore. I am one of his old school professors from Hogwarts. It has come to my attention, from my various birds in New York, that it was you who first and formally helped and cared for Credence Barebone. And that if your original efforts had been listen to, the intense tragedy of last year’s events would not have taken place. In this knowledge, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the boy is not dead; Credence is alive and well, and has recently been spotted in Europe.'
Tina collapses into a chair, hand over her mouth, heart racing. Alive? Credence is alive? Her breath coming in short excited pants, she quickly reads on.
'It’s now come to the point in my letter, in which I’m afraid Miss Goldstein, I’m going to ask for your assistance. For I believe Credence will be in terrible danger until found by the right people. And I believe this could be achieved by a witch who he already trusts (Especially one with such excellent qualifications). If possible I would like you to come over to England, in where it would be both easier to get to him and easier to communicate with me.'
Tina’s eyebrows have almost flown off her brow. Go to England? To meet with a man she’s never met, to apparently save Credence? Her mind races, and she jingles her foot erratically. On one hand this could be a trap or an assessment from MACUSA to test her loyalty. But on the other… it could be real, an actual letter from the great Albus Dumbledore, giving her the opportunity to finally properly save the boy she'd let down. ‘And’, a little voice in her mind whispers, ‘you would finally be in the same country as one Newt Scamander again,’.
She closes her eyes and sees a small crooked grin, light green eyes soft and happy boring into hers. Saying goodbye yet promising to return. Tina wraps her arms around herself, gripping her elbows tightly. Does he think about her as much as she thinks about him?
'I understand it may be hard for you to travel to stay in a different country- with your family in America or any other commitments you may have already. But trust me when I say; an obscurial living without proper love will end in disaster. If you agree to come, could you please send a flower back to Newt’s address? Any flower will do. I’m afraid the ministry is watching my mail at the moment, so using Newt’s correspondence to you was my only option. I will somehow get a boat ticket to you, as I’m sure Mr Scamander will inform me of your strange response. He's has told me quite a bit about you.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
P.S Don’t worry about not knowing where to go, I’ll meet you at the docks.'
Tina sits back in her chair, slowly shedding the edges of the letter in deep thought. Does she have any other commitments? No, not really. Yes, she’s got her job back again, but her workmates like her just as much as they did before- not at all (although the new recruit, Achilles’ Tolliver, seems to actually smile at her). Plus she’s still not being allowed any official cases, not until she can prove her worth again, and only doing paperwork is killing her enthusiasm and her hand.
Family? Yes, one sister. Who doesn’t seem to want to see her ever again. Not to say that Tina isn’t trying, but it’s getting emotionally exhausting to fail every, single, day. She’s had plenty of lovely chats with Jacob, and she does see why Queenie wants to be with him so badly (Actually the baker seems to agree with her about their predicament; telling her one morning with intensely sober features, that he ‘doesn’t want his baby to be arrested on his account’).
But Dumbledore’s offer? She’d be saving Credence from a terrible fate. And going London would also give her the chance to see Newt again, the only person in the world, she believes, who actually wants to see her. Would his face light up, just like it did on the docks, if she turned up on his door step?
Slowly she picks up her wand, and ignites the letter with the tip. It burns slowly, a low lit flame turning the words to ash, hiding them forever from possible prying eyes. Tina brushes the dust off her pants, and walks to the vase on her windowsill, in which several dark red roses, just starting to bud, are sitting in water.
‘It is summer in England, right?’ Is Tina’s first thought when stepping onto British soil. The picture of Olga flying off into the sunset with a red rose clamped between her teeth, a feathery Spanish dancer, honestly made her doubt her decision a little. How would it be possible that a simple flower would get such an important message across an ocean. But a week later she’d returned home to find a steamer ticket pushed under her doormat.
She’d written a letter to Queenie, and Jacob had promised her that he’d get her to read it. (Tina had stood in front of the bakery for an hour, waiting to see if her sister’s blonde curls would pop out an upstairs window. Just a simple wave goodbye would’ve been enough. Eventually, she had to walk away, ankles aching, head bowed, suitcase bouncing uncomfortable against her shins).
The London docks were bustling, and the taste of iron and smoke filled her lungs. Tina had always imagined England as green with pretty cottages, but instead grey buildings reached to a smog filled sky. Biting her tongue, she awkwardly pushes her way through the bustling no-maj’s (muggles she supposed, now she was in England), who all seemed to know where they were going. Tina picks at her skirt anxiously- which is a blood red colour. (It is the last piece of clothing Queenie made for her- said it brought out her pale skin and dark hair). Throughout the entire rocking ride, she’d bitten her nails to the quick by wondering about how Dumbledore was even going to recognise her. Tina thought wearing the same colour as the rose would at least give him, at least, a vague clue.
She leans over the crowd, searching for possibilities. The portly man with a blonde moustache that he’s twirling between his fingers? No, he’s waiting for those two small girls- his daughters- with matching blonde pigtails and bright blue petticoats. The tall dark gentleman, with the shiny top hat and stylish goatee? No, he’s being greeted by a loud American cheerfully, already laughing about an old shared joke together. The ginger haired man, in a light grey suit with sparkling blue eyes? Looking closely at the him, it seems obvious he’s also searching the crowd. She sucks on her tongue, nails biting onto her palm, still not quite sure. Then, with a slight movement of his hand, suddenly a newspaper appears out of thin air. He casually shuffles through it as if nothing unusual has happened.
Tina rolling her eyes, slowly moving closer. She’s starting to see why Newt and Dumbledore get along so well. They both have a complete disregard for the rules. She lightly taps the top of the paper, and he folds it gracefully in half, studying her.
“Mr Dumbledore?” she asks tentatively. Smiling he tucks the paper under his arm and holds out a hand. Tina takes it.
“Ahh Miss Goldstein, I’d recognise you anywhere,” she pauses mid shake, narrowing her eyes suspiciously.
“Excuse me?” she says brashly, removing her hand from his and crossing her arms over her chest.
Dumbledore holds up his hands in an innocently, and unwraps the newspaper to show her a large headline. It’s a large picture of her, admittedly before she had her haircut, but she’s actually smiling so that’s something. ‘Tina Goldstein, appointed as auror’ is written in bold block letters above her happy expression. Quickly scanning the article, she slowly unfolds her arms. Words like ‘Scamander’, ‘Grindlewald’, ‘American,’ and ‘hero’ pop out at her. So does the papers name- the daily prophet. She traces the date with one finger- exactly one month ago today.
“Why am I featured in a British newspaper?” she asks curiously, not even wanting to touch why he didn’t approach her if he already knew what she looked like.
“Newt Scamander has recently become quite a celebrity,” Dumbledore shrugs, tucking the paper away from sight again, “so naturally hungry journalists have jumped on him and his recent heroic actions,”
“Newt…celebrity?” Tina says blankly, passing the weight of her suitcase between one hand then the other.
“So naturally, my dear, they found out about you,” Dumbledore says smoothly avoiding her question, “can I take you bag for you?” Without waiting for an answer he takes it, holding it comfortably as she wobbles gawkily on the uneven pavement.
“Mr Dumbledore,” Tina begins after a time, with a terrible suspicion she’s being left two steps behind in this conversation.
“Professor Dumbledore, please,” he says gentlemanly, “I’ve been a teacher so long now, I hardly respond to anything else,”
“Right, Professor,” she corrects herself, inclining her head and twisting her fingers together awkwardly, “But what do you actually expect me to do, about Credence I mean?”
Dumbledore’s mischievous features immediately morph into a frown.
“Not here,” he hisses, holding out a crooked elbow for her to take, which she does quickly, “Merlin knows who’s watching,”
“Where then?” Tina asks quietly, as he begins leading her away from the dockyard, and towards a dark alleyway.
“Somewhere too obvious for them to bother checking,” he says a small grin back on his face, seemingly almost excited by the challenge. Making sure she's still on his arm, Dumbledore spins them and they disapparate.
They reappear in a card board box of a cupboard, smelling strongly of stale beer. Dumbledore quickly sticks his head out of the wooden door, leaving Tina- who has accidentally stepped into a barrel of stinking fish- teetering on the edge of again regretting her decision.
“The coast is clear,” he whispers and sneaks out the door, her hot at his heels.
Brushing down her skirt, she stares around at her surroundings opened mouthed.
At first Tina had thought it was just a typical old pub; it’s dark wooden beams slightly rotten, it’s tables covered in a thin layer of dust and various stains. It was packed with people, and they all seemed perfectly ordinary, chatting loudly. The only strange thing is that most seemed to have identical books clasped tightly in their hands, but that could just be a trick of the light. ‘Perhaps there is a book club meeting on or something’, she thinks- all perfectly normal.
Until suddenly there is an almighty crash and a young man is strung up by his ankle, by an invisible hand. Nerves bouncing, Tina terrified, quickly whips out her wand, ready to dispel the scene. Dumbledore touches a light, but firm hand on her arm. She turns to him eyes wide and frantic. Doesn’t he realise what will happen when the muggles notice? However instead of terrified screams, bawdy laughter breaks out from the tables. One man, with tears of mirth running down his face, goes a step further and summons the trounced man’s wand from his pocket. Tina stutters incredulously at her surroundings. She’s never seen magic used so freely in such a public place before, except maybe at her school days at Ilvermony. But even then it was highly discouraged, (Seen as good practice for when they graduated).
“This is the Leaky Cauldron,” Dumbledore says to her quietly, voice smooth with amusement, “a completely wizard run establishment, and has been since the middle ages,”
“And the-“ Tina says, stunned, watching as a bar man begins to intersect, shooting random curses at those trying to oppose him, “the no-maj-muggles don’t notice?”
“Hardly ever,” Dumbledore says calmly, “and if they usually just get accused of being drunk or a loony, no harm done” he cheers at a particularly well shot spell, which causes bats to erupt all over a belligerent witches face.
Tina’s throat, however, is dry with barely restrained stress. At home she would’ve made a scene. Tied up a few people maybe, at the very least thoroughly berate the perpetrators. But this is a foreign country, with foreign rules and government. So although her muscles tingle with suspense she forces herself to stay still, Newt’s particular disregard for the rules making more and more sense.
“You are I live in very different worlds, Professor Dumbledore,” she says croakily, as the man falls with a crack on the floor. Dumbledore laughs heartily, waving the disgruntled bar man over.
“Tom, any seats more me and my friend today?” he asks jovially. The man- Tom- sighs as if every problem in the world began with this question.
“Not really Albus,” he says, wiping his brow, “that bloody book signing thing at Bott’s, is causing every man and his dog to want a drink here today”
“Are you sure?” Dumbledore asks, with a hand on Tina’s shoulder, “My friend here is from New York, and I promised her a drink at the best pub in England,”
Tom looks at her suspiciously. Tina knows that in her old fashioned skirt and sensible blouse she looks more English, than the stereotypical image of the wild, free, American 1920s woman.
“Hello,” she says awkwardly, but making sure her accent rings out.
Tom’s eyebrows raise up, surprised, and quickly surveys the crowded bar.
“I suppose I could find you something,” he says with a grimace, shooting a look in the direction of a box like tabled, stuffed in a forgotten corner.
“Excellent,” Dumbledore says, manoeuvring Tina to their seats, “two butterbeers and a shot of firewhisky, please,” he calls over his shoulder.
“I want at least galleon tip, Albus,” the bar tender replies grumpily, and the professor chuckles.
Tina sits down, her knees hitting the bottom of the table. Dumbledore places her suitcase carefully next to her and then collapses in the seat opposite swinging his hat off his head. She clasps her hands in her lap, tingling with anticipation.
“Are you ready?” he says, as the three drinks hover towards them, splashing a little with their rough landing. She nods.
The man begins, and Tina listens enraptured to the spiel that runs out of his mouth. Every now and again he pauses to take a leisurely sip of his drink, and she has to prevent herself from tapping her fingers on the table in irritation. She isn’t touching her hot butterbeer, even though the foam looks enticing and the steaming drink smells of Christmas. Her habit of getting food on her cheeks and upper lips is way too possible for her to dare to take a sip in front of a stranger. They stay locked together in the corner for a good hour, his plan slowly forming in Tina’s mind like a puzzle piece. Although she’s found a quite a large snag.
“Forgive me Professor,” she says, after he leans back in his chair finally finished, “but how am I supposed to live in Paris for a month?”
“I already said you could come back on weekends if you wanted,” Dumbledore says unconcerned, playing with the cherry stem in his firewhisky.
“But I only took a week off,” she says, leaning her elbows on the table. Her heart is already racing uncomfortably fast just imagining the President’s face if she didn’t turn up for her shift next Friday.
“How unfortunate,” he sighs, twiddling his thumbs and looking up at the ceiling.
Tina opens her mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. She sees Credence cowering in a corner, clutching his injured hand to his chest. The disbelief in his eyes, as she comforted him and dressed his wounds. His hungry expression when she asked for a hug. Biting the inside of her lip, she shuts her eyes knowing right then and there, that she has no choice. She’d do to help that defenceless child- whatever the cost.
“Alright, I’ll do it,” she says softly, and Dumbledore’s eyes twinkle at her proudly.
“Perfect,” he says clapping his hands together, raising himself gracefully from his seat, “I’ll go get you a room,”
He sashays over to the now empty bar, to speak to Tom who’s washing some glasses. About thirty minutes ago all the excited witches and wizards picked up their novels and pushed their way out of the back door. Tina noticed quite a few younger witches freshening their lipstick, and artfully arranging their already perfect hair. ‘What could be so exciting about a book signing?’ she wonders, finally giving herself permission to take a tiny taste of butterbeer. Sweet heat travels down her body and into her toes and she shivers deliciously. She might have to stay in Britain forever if this is what all their drinks taste like.
“Up stairs and to the left,” Dumbledore slides a purple key with the number four hanging off it towards her, “And I’ll see you on Monday Miss Goldstein,”
Tina quickly sits up, tucking the key into her pocket. The slight fear of losing one of the only two people she knows in this country-of being alone- enters her body and begins to spread. She could- she wants- to go see Newt. But she knows in her heart she’s more likely to spend the night, not knocking on his door, but curled up on her hotel bed filled with regret, but too nervous to act on her desires.
“You’re leaving?” she asks, a bit too causal, her voice a little high pitched.
“Yes, I’ve got an old student I promised to catch up with I’m afraid,” Dumbledore explains picking up his hat. Tina deflates. She feels him studying her and resists the urge to cover her hands over her face.
“Although,” he says, hesitatingly, twirling his hat between his fingers, “I suppose I could show you around Diagon Alley, it’s important that you know your surroundings if you’re going to be staying here,”
“Are you sure?” Tina asks, trying not to sound too desperate.
“Of course, I’m meeting the student at the local bookstore in any case,” he smiles, and Tina sighs thankfully, standing. She hits her suitcase with her foot, and stares down at it unsure of whether to take it with her or not. ‘How far is this ‘Diagon Alley’ away?’ She thinks anxiously. Newt had written to her about the magical alley way, but never about its particular location.’ Is it near Hogwarts?’
“Tom can you take Miss Goldstein’s luggage up to her room please?” Dumbledore says, coming to her rescue.
The bar tender raises his wand, and her case floats as if on a tiny cloud up the stairs and out of sight.
“This way,” Dumbledore says, with a graceful hand gesturing to the back door.
He leads Tina into an old, crumbly, bricked courtyard. She stares around in disdain, raising an unimpressed eyebrow. A pile of old boxes are slumped in a corner and the ground is littered with cigarette butts. Why on earth did Dumbledore take her out here? Smiling shrewdly, he whips out his wand, tapping sharply on the wall three times. Tina’s mouth slowly unhinges, as the red brick falls away to reveal a carnival of magic. She hears Dumbledore chuckle as she stumbles captivated into the busy spectacle.
In American all the magical stores are hidden in plain sight, Rappaport’s law preventing any large wizard congregation and possible exposure (The government building where they make these rulse, obviously being the exception). Tina and Queenie both bought their wands at a shop disguised as a tailors.
Diagon Alley however…young wizards are busy throwing frog spawn at each other while their distracted parents are examining unicorn horns. A group of witches are eagerly drooling over a newly purchased broomstick, discussing their favourite quidditch moves loudly and unabashedly. Dumbledore points out the important stores; the dressmakers, in which a measuring tape all by itself manages to wrap itself around her waist. The bank which is flanked by frowning goblins. The ice-cream shop, Mrs Fortescue’s which Tina gets so distracted by, she accidentally steps on the back Dumbledore’s heel. (Newt had mentioned in a recent letter that he thought she’d like the strawberry flavour- ‘and perhaps if you ever visited England we could go get some,’).
Finally, the pair make it to a store in which half the wizarding world population seems to be congregated around. Families, friends and even seemingly reporters holding large cameras and notebooks, gather around the stores entrance, so condensed that Tina can’t even tell what the store is. Two giggling girls manage to push themselves out of the fray, practically screaming.
“He smiled at me!” one of them is twittering, clutching a book tightly to her chest, “he actually smiled at me!”
The other has opened her book and is seemingly caresses a page on the inside, with a silly smile on her face.
“Mercy Lewis,” Tina says curiously, trying to catch a look at the clearly famous author inside. But the intense amount of people obscures her view and all she manages is the back of people’s heads and hats.
“Yes, Newt has trounced a quite admiration reputation,” Dumbledore says absentmindedly, ignoring how Tina somehow manages to choke on air.
“What?” she says faintly, her heart caught in her mouth.
“Oh, didn’t I tell you he was the student I was seeing?” Dumbledore says a bit too innocently, “his book signing is on today,”
He points a finger at a large black board surrounded by a mountain of books. In green and red chalk, a message is written next to a roaring dragon. “The fantastic magizoologist Newt Scamander. Book signing today at Flourish and Blott’s from 1 to 3 pm.”
“His book? It’s published?” she says in a small voice, feeling a little ill.
“He didn’t tell you? He got it published about a month ago,” the Hogwarts professor sounds genuinely confused.
“No,” Tina bites her lip, heart-broken.
His letters hadn’t said anything about it. They’d been filled to the brim with his creatures’ exploits, which she’d lapped up eagerly, fascinated and honoured to have such an intimate peek into his world. But why didn’t hell tell her about his book finally being published- especially when it’s clearly become so successful. ‘It must be because,’ Tina thinks sadly, ‘he doesn’t want to see me anymore.' Telling her would mean feeling inclined to fulfil his promise to give her. To bring her a copy in person.
“Perhaps it’s time I went back to my room, Professor,” she says gloomily, moving to trudge back up the street.
“Actually, I was actually thinking about buying you a copy,” Dumbledore says briskly, moving quickly towards the crowded door. He takes a clanking bag out of his robes, and begins rummaging through it.
“That’s really not necessary,” she cries, jumping forward to dissuade him.
“No, no I insist,” the professor says cheerfully, disappearing within the bookshop.
Inwardly screaming and nerves jumping, Tina also pushes her way in; willing herself to keep her eyes on the ground, but unable to stop herself scanning the area for an unruly ginger hair. The store is packed to the brim with both books and people. The witches and wizard’s themselves are trying to politely jam themselves closer to the back of the room- all holding books, all chatting excitedly.
Though there seems to be a clear line, Dumbledore is somehow managing to create a path for himself, slowly cutting and making his way to the front. Beyond his head, Tina can just see a glimpse of four people standing behind a broad table, each holding a glass of champagne in their hands. And one is achingly familiar. Almost unconsciously she follows the Hogwarts professor, ignoring everything and everyone around her except Newt’s face which slowly becomes more and more distinct.
Eventually she manages to prop herself up next to Dumbledore’s side again finding that they’ve wiggled their way to the front. Only a thin line of journalists is separating her and the man she’s thought about daily for six months. Peering around a particularly bulking camera, Tina hungrily takes in the scene before her. There’s two people who she doesn’t recognise. And two she does.
One stranger is a mousey looking girl, with two bright red buns sat on top of her head. She’s almost hiding behind a large tower of books, from the reporter’s constant flash. The other is a confident looking man, looking dapper in a well cut grey suit, hand comfortably stuck in his pocket, looking completely at ease with the crowd.
The people she does recognise both cause her stomach to drop- but in very different ways.
Newt is looking bashful, smiling softly at all of the chaos around him. Tina can’t help but feel delighted at his happy expression, at the confident way he’s holding himself. She beams at his handsome features- he’s not only achieved his dream but is getting the recognition he so rightly deserves.
And the woman next to him…is Leta Lestrange. Tina watches her with a jealous taste in her mouth she has no right to, and tries to swallow away. The beautiful woman smiles charmingly, and places a graceful hand on Newt’s upper arm. Tina’s breath catches and she gulps uncomfortably. Is that what she thinks it is, glittering on her finger?
Before she can do something stupid like cry or hyperventilate, Dumbledore accidentally tips off a reporter’s hat with his elbow.
“So sorry,” he apologises to the red faced gentleman. He picks up the cap and offers it back to him, winking at Tina.
“It’s Dumbledore,” the reporter the words spitting out of his mouth with the force of his enthusiasm, “it’s Albus Dumbledore!”
“Whoops,” the professor says serenely, as all the journalists, plus the four behind the bench, hault their conversations to stare at them.
Tina turns a pasty colour, resisting the urge to stand behind Dumbledore’s back. She tries to distract herself by examining her cuticles, but unable to prevent herself, she finds her gaze dragging to Newt, shyly peeking, not knowing quite what to expect. ‘Was she right? Did he not want to see her anymore?’ What meets her eyes though, makes her gasp with gladness.
Newt is clearly brimming over with joy, eyes wide and shiny and she’s unable to look away as his lips soundlessly mouth her name. Pickett waves at her happily from her pocket, and she notices with a jolt that he’s wearing her now flowered red rose in his button hole.
“Tina?” his voice finally appears, and she’s struck by the breathless quality to it. As if he’s been deprived of air until he saw her again.
“Hi,” she says, equally effected, her eyes never leaving his.
“But, but,” a disbelieving grin breaking across his face, “what are you doing here?”
He begins attempting to climb over the table, but he can’t quite get his foot on top of it. Instead his knee keeps hitting its hard edge while Newt becomes more and more frustrated and Tina falls more and more in love. The man in the grey suit coughs pointedly which Newt ignores, finally giving up and simply apparating across to her. She rushes to meet him.
“Newt,” she says smiling helplessly, as they’re finally nose to nose. He drinks her, running his eyes over every inch as if afraid she’ll vanish at any second. His gaze pauses at her lips.
“Oh, you’ve got something,” he raises a hand, to wipe a gentle thumb across her top lip.
Tina can vaguely hear the sounds of snapping cameras. But all she is able to feel is the heat from his fingers on her skin and the jolts of electricity which sizzle down her spine.
“Thank you,” she says softly, while flushing with embarrassment.
She must have managed to get butterbeer on her face, even though she only took the smallest of sips. He doesn’t seem to mind however, studying her neck fixatedly where the red must reached. Swallowing tightly, he wets his lips with a flicker of tongue and she trembles.
“Merlin,” he whispers under his breath, sliding his hand down to her upper arm, and holding tight, “I missed you,”
Tina covers her hand with his, sliding their fingers together.
“I missed you too,” she replies and he takes a step closer.
She can almost count the freckles bouncing across his nose. ‘They’re everywhere,’ she thinks, entranced, ‘would he let her kiss them?’
Dumbledore clears his throat behind them, and they jump apart guiltily.
“I think it’s time for me to get going,” he says with a knowing smile, tipping his hat at the pair of them, “see you on Monday, Miss Goldstein. Nice to see you Newt” he winks at her again, before disappearing back into the throng and out of sight.
“What has Dumbledore got you doing for him on Monday?” Newt asks her, a protective note in his voice.
“I’ll tell you later,” Tina says, looking darkly around at the reporters, who are leering over them like large birds of prey.
Newt seems strangely happy with this answer, his chest puffing out a little, two spots of red appearing high up on his cheeks bones.
“You’re staying then?” he asks, fringe bouncing animatedly, “Here, in England?”
“For the foreseeable future, yes,” she replies smiling, and he grins back wildly, nodding repeatedly eyes glinting.
“Come, I’ll introduce you to everyone,” he says, tucking her close to him, tentatively putting a hand around her waist.
Tina can feel each of his fingers where they burn into her skin though her clothes. How would she have coped if there was a slit in her skirt? She might’ve combusted.
His three friends are staring at her- all slightly dumbfounded but each in different ways. She waves at them awkwardly, but they don’t return her gesture. Newt doesn’t seem to notice, happily going through all the introductions, every now and again squeezing her hip.
“Tina, this is Bunty Weasley, she’s my assistance,”
The girl, Bunty, is biting her lip close breaking point. Her uneasy gaze altering between studying her face and his arm that's wrapped around her.
“And this is Leta Lestrange, my old friend from school and my brother’s fiancé,”
Leta’s smile seems rather pinned on her face, as if it might fall at any moment. She reaches for the man’s hand next to her, eyes strangely bright.
“And finally this is my brother Theseus, I’ve told you about him in our letters of course,”
Both women inhale a sharp hiss of breath. Theseus however, seems to get over his shock, taking them both in with a teasing expression.
“All good things I hope, Newton,” he says, kissing a pale Leta’s pale forehead lovingly.
“Always,” Newt says drily, pulling Tina closer to him to her surprise and happiness. She leans into him as close as she can, her fringe brushing cheek. She can remember a few choice words and stories Newt had to tell about his war hero of an elder brother, and glares at him accordingly.
“Everyone this is Tina Goldstein, a auror from New York, she’s my-“ he looks down at her through his lashes, stammering a little, and she stares back at him, tingling with anticipation, “well, she’s my Tina,” he finally finishes shyly, and she beams at him, limbs feeling strangely light.
“How on earth did you ‘befriend’ an auror Newt?” Theseus asks intrigued. The other two seem intensely interested in their glasses for some reason.
“She arrested me,” Newt replies cheerfully. The girls gasp and Theseus laughs.
“Why would you arrest him?” Bunty asks her, eye brows furrowed disbelief as if Newt was not able of doing anything wrong.
“He broke the law,” Tina states bluntly, shrugging, and Newt bumps her hip with his own teasingly. Bunty gapes at her as if she’s from outer space.
Theseus is still chuckling, hand on his chest. Leta has conquered another glass and is pouring some drink into it.
“Why do you have a picture of someone who arrested you in your case?” Bunty asks Newt faintly. Leta’s hand slips and alcohol flows freely over her wrist.
“You have a picture of me?” Tina asks wondrously, smiling so hard her cheeks hurt.
“It’s just a photograph from a newspaper,” Newt inclines his head, cheeks pink, “I’d like a new one- a proper one- you’ve changed your hair a bit,” he fingers her fringe, just like he did at the docks and she melts into his touch.
“Any girl that keeps my brother keep on the straight and narrow is alright with me, Miss Goldstein,” Theseus says pompously, “being with an auror I’m sure will reel in some of his, ah, peculiarities,” he says raising his glass at them both.
Tina glares at him, waiting for an outburst from Newt, from any of them. None come. She’s stares round at the group astonished. Bunty is calmly flicking through Newt’s book. Theseus is grinning as if he’s made some funny joke. Leta doesn’t look particular comfortable as she passes Tina her champagne, but her hand is still locked in her fiancés.
Tina stares up at Newt who gives her a dejected look, flicking his head like ‘this happens all the time,’. His down turned eyes filled of resignation makes her hackles rise.
“Apologise,” she says sharply to Theseus, taking Newt’s hand in hers and squeezing.
"Excuse me?” Theseus says confused, his glass stopped half way to his mouth. Her own glass is trembling with her rage.
“Your brother is not peculiar,” she says firmly, ‘he’s brilliant, apologise,”
“Tina, there’s no need,” Newt whispers quietly into her ear, “I’m used to it,”
“That’s even worse,” Tina says, stroking the back of his hand with her thumb. He sways on the spot, humming, obviously enjoying her ministrations.
She thinks back to Queenie’s intense hurt and sudden closed off expression after Tina had screamed she couldn’t see Jacob anymore. The heavy bag of guilt that she has to carry with her every, single, day.
“Siblings should look out for one another,” she says softly.
Newt stares at her sympathetically. She’d written him a novel of a letter after her sister had left, and he knows the whole sorry business.
Theseus looks at her as if she’d slapped him. Leta however gives her a though, slightly sad, sweet smile, which she returns shyly.
“She’s right, darling,” Leta says quietly, kissing Theseus' frozen cheek.
Tina raises her eyebrows pointedly at the Scamander elder, who scrunches up his face like a petulant child.
“Sorry,” he says stiffly, and Newt nods his head gratefully, first at Theseus, then at Tina.
She wonders how long he’s got that kind of appraisal from his brother- from anyone- to
be so civil about hearing it. She wants to curse every single one of them. Tina lovingly buries her nose in Newt’s shoulder, rubbing her face into his sleeve. She promises herself silently, to tell him he's fantastic every single day, for as long as he’ll let her.
“Thanks love,” she hears him breath in her ear. She smiles her teeth accidentally brushing his neck, feeling a slight rumble on her lips. ‘Did he just try to supress a moan?’ Tina looks up at him, and to her surprise his light eyes have turned dark. They bore deep into her hers, causing her to lose the air in her lungs.
“Photos, photos, photos!” One reporter calls, “perhaps with just the two of you, if the others don’t mind,”
Tina spins round to find each vulture writing so fast on their pads that their quills are tiny blurs. The one that spoke is pointing at the both of them, an eager gleam in his eye.
“They don’t,” Newt says his intense gaze still focused on Tina, his voice deep.
“Brilliant,” the reporter says gesturing disdainfully at Leta, Theseus and Bunty- who all look extremely put out- to move away. Pushing Newt back behind the desk with Tina in tow.
The buzzing journalists arrange Newt to sit down pen in hand, with Tina leaning over his shoulder and then run to get the first printed copy for them to pose with. At first she tries to make sure her body hovers an inch off his back, feeling intensely self-conscious. Her breasts are still breasts no matter how small they are. Newt, however, is having none of it, grabbing her hand and wrapping it around his chest. Her front is pulled flush to his back, his hair tickling her nose.
“I can’t tell you how glad you’re here Tina,” he breathes, clutching her tighter.
“Really?” she asks uncertainly.
“Of course,” he says incredulously, “why wouldn’t I?”
“It’s just,” she plays with one of the buttons of his waistcoat, “you didn’t tell me about your book being published. And, well, I’d like to have heard about it, even if you didn’t want to come see me anymore,”
Newt quickly turns, obviously trying to catch her eye. But their posture defeats them and his nose ends up hitting her chin. Puffing his cheeks out infuriated, he spins round in his chair to look at her properly.
“Tina I’m so sorry,” he says sincerely, eyes soft, and she folds like a road map, “I would’ve it’s just, my travel pass has been denied, I’m not allowed to leave the country,” her mouth falls open.
“But they can’t do that,” she says outraged, “how are you supposed to travel for your work? For your creatures?”
“Don’t get me started,” Newt says stonily, shooting a glare at his brother. She strokes his hand gently, until he shakes his head like a dog, his normal good nature coming back to him.
“But you see that’s why I felt like I couldn’t tell you,” he bites his lip nervously, “I didn’t want to let you down,” Tina shakes her head dismissively, tears pricking at her eyes. ‘You could never’ she tries to convey without speaking, and he chuckles softly, understandingly.
“I don’t have to worry about it anymore though, do I?” he says rather smoothly, pressing his forehead into hers. A small smile creeps onto Tina’s face and he returns it toothily.
“No you don’t,” she says softly, “I’m here,”
“You’re here,” he repeats, cupping her cheek.
A book is slammed down in front of them, by a reporter who’s almost foaming at the mouth with excitement. Tina eagerly looks down at her first real look at Newt’s manuscript. The dark blue book is decorated tastefully in gold leaf which every now and again morph into tiny nifflers and bowtruckles. Newt’s full name is written is elegant letters, and above it sits the title- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Tina traces the letters in astonishment.
“Newt,” she says in amazement, “it was just an idea, you didn’t have to actually use it,”
“Nothing else fit,” Newt shrugs dismissively, “it was perfect,”
She turns to him, one hand on his book. He turns to her, placing his hand gently on top of hers. The journalists gather around them, cameras ready
“You’re perfect,” he whispers, and her heart swells, tears actually falling this time, tiny drops splashing onto their entwined hands.
“Newt, I-,” she stutters, voice shaking, but wanting, needing to get it out, “I think I-,”
His eyes fall to her lips, face flush with understanding. He raises his eyebrows in a silent question, and she nods minutely, wondering if this is a dream, and dreading to wake up.
“Tina,” Newt says, and kisses her.
“Tina,” she stirs grumpily, pulling her blankets firmly over her head. Mercy Lewis knows what the time is, but it definitely isn’t time to get up.
“Tina!” Newt shouts from above, voice full of laughter.
“What?” she grumbles back, peeling apart her eyes.
Slowly Tina sits up, blearily, on the squishy couch they’d magiced into Newt’s magical hospital, watching as he bounces down the stairs. Sat on the floor beside her, is Pickett who is slumbering on an open page of Newt's book, his green drool rolling down the page. She’d wanted to read it straight away but she’d also wanted to see his beasts, so Newt had proposed that he would narrate while she re-met each one. This slowly turned into chaos with each creature wanting more and more time in the spotlight. They’d had to get the couch when it got late, as the babies began to fall asleep on her chest (which would cause Newt to kiss her every time it happened). Tina had eventually fallen asleep herself sometime in the early morning, rocked into oblivion by the sound of his voice.
She blinks up incredulous at Newt’s energetic features. He’s smiling cheerfully, hair askew, a newspaper clutched in his hand, and two steaming cups are floating above his head.
“You’re really not a morning person, are you?” he says tilting his head to one side, eye brows raised interestedly.
She tries to rebuff him but is prevented by an ill-timed yawn. Tina scowls, embarrassed, as he laughs.
“No,” she says shortly taking the- blessedly- cup of coffee he hands her, “what is so important that caused you to wake me up?”
He sits himself down hip bumping hers, placing the newspaper in her lap. She stares at the headline, which when she finally focuses on it, causes her face to break out in a delighted grin.
“Do you like it?” Newt asks softly, teeth nipping her ear.
“I love it,” she says honestly, “we should get it framed,”
He chuckles, beginning to cheekily tear it out. Shaking her head fondly, she brings her hand up to his hair kissing him sweetly. He sighs into it, curling his hand round her neck, pulling her closer.
Laying in their combined laps, the newspaper gets crumbled. But it’s still there. A photo of Tina and Newt kissing lovingly over his book has made it onto the front page. And the headline reads- ‘Mr and Mrs Fantastic Beasts’.