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Some beastly tales

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Tina clambers down the ladder, two stairs at a time. Once again she has no time to proper inspect the mess that is Newt’s case on the way- Queenie’s heels are coming dangerously close to snitching her fingers. Her feet touch the floor, but still she waits, silently hoping, as her sister hesitantly takes her first steps into Newt’s abode.

Queenie walks straight to Jacobs side, the side which the silvery mass of Demiguise does not accommodate, and roots herself there. Her normally pleasant face is slightly morphed; she’s biting the inside of her lip in the manner usually reserved for the comeuppance of early morning shifts. Tina can’t help but notice her perfect hair has become slightly skewed from their recent adventures.

You okay? Tina thinks, concerned at the lost expression on her sisters face.

“Fine,” she replies out loud and squeakily, crossing her arms over her chest. Tina attempts to take her hand, but Queenie flits away, closer to Jacob.

Really? Tina asks again, attempting to think in the most sarcastic, yet worried tone, that she can. Jacob who has said something to make Newt to laugh- a charming burst through his nose- hasn’t noticed Queenie’s discomfort and averts his arm. Tina cocks an questioning eyebrow at her little sister.

“It’s just…,” Queenie jingles her whole body anxiously, “I can’t hear them. I can hear them of course. Just like a crowd of people, but I can’t hear them,” she nods her head minutely towards the door.

Tina leans back on her heels to gaze at a ragged wooden door which has managed to open itself slightly amidst the chaos in the tiny area. A beam of light shines in. As does a cacophony of twittering, scratching and snorting. A small smile falls onto Tina’s face.

It’s so obvious she doesn’t know how she didn’t realise it before. Of course Newt’s case isn’t just a small work area, with several small creatures running around his feet. Not just an adorable tiny leaf who sits on his shoulder and the extraordinary, life-saving, bat like ‘swooping evil’ in his pocket. He’s a man who likes breaking the rules, after all. This must be only the beginning. How many creatures does he have in here?

In a trance she wanders across the wooden boards, hearing the beastly noises getting louder and louder. It’s like music in a jazz club, intriguing and buzzing. It makes her foot tap and blood race. She reaches out a hand, and goes to slightly push when-

“Tina?” Newt says quietly. She whips round, her hand quickly jumping off the door. The others are all staring at her- Queenie restlessly, Jacob distractedly, and Newt…well Newt. He’s removed his great coat, and she watches his chest breath underneath his musty waistcoat, refusing to meet his eyes. What must he think of her? She’s was about to open what must be the most important room in his life (if there is such a thing for everyone) and without his permission. It would be like a person she just met snatching her old auror badge out of her hands. She can feel the anxiety dancing against her chest just by imaging it.

And worst of all- realisation suddenly hits her like a slap. She already has. She took his case, without his permission and handed it in. To people, she thinks bitterly, who wouldn’t have treated it or the beings inside with the respect they deserved. And not just to one or two creatures like she previously believed. To apparently many, innocent creatures who had done nothing wrong.

But, the reasonable side of her brain argues, you thought you were doing the right thing. You thought he was helping the person causing all the damage to no-maj’s and wizard’s alike. Handing him in to your government was the logical thing to do (at the time). He’d just escaped from your house in the middle of the night with no explanation for Circe’s sake, what were you supposed to think?

Yes, her conscience says quietly back, but you were wrong. And don’t forget what you said yesterday- ‘an extermination guide’. That’s the impression you gave him of what you would do to his fantastic beasts.

Her eyes burn a bit and she swears at them in English and Yiddish until she feels the tears retract themselves. He must hate her. She would. She does.

“Tina?” he repeats concerned. She looks at him properly. His eyes are blue. And gold. With flecks of green. They’re all at once soft, compassionate and sad. They move between her own and the occamy baby, who has slivered out of the tea pot and has made it’s home around his neck. Newt’s expression never changes between her and his creature, and it squeezes her heart a bit.

“I’m so sorry,” she stutters, “I didn’t mean to, well I did, at the time, but now,” she squeezes her fingernails into her palms to the point of pain, begging him to understand the context beneath her words. He does. Newt’s posture straightens. His mouth is set in a solemn line. She gives a shaky intake of breath, wondering if getting on her knees would be enough. Or, and most likely, it would probably just make her look even more pathetic.

“I didn’t understand, but I do now,” she says to her shoes, “I was wrong. I only thought…but I promise, again, I never meant…it’s just” she rocks backwards and forwards on her heels awkwardly. How can she tell him, that after all that she’s done and said, that this place calls to her? In a way she only thought she’d feel again after solving a case or finally getting Credence out of that awful woman’s hands.

A sharp cry breaks her out of her thoughts. The occamy opens its golden beak giving another loud screech. It seems to have gotten sick of it’s post around Newt’s neck and is wanting attention. It’s eyes are just as mesmerising as in Macy’s, deep and dark and completely trusting. It bumps Newt on the head, hard. But he still seems to be frozen, not even flinching, although it must’ve hurt. Stuck in time by the job of comprehending her staggered speech, he completely ignores it. The occamy shakes it’s dainty head agitatedly, and leans back again, seemingly going for an even harder hit.

“No darling,” Tina says quickly, pushing her palm between Newt’s head and the assault. The occamy, unable to stop itself, crashes into her hand. Tina doesn’t know which is worse. The pain of a sharp beak or the slight tingle enlightened her skin which came from brushing a few hairs of Newt’s fringe. The occamy stares at her, and Tina feels like she’s inherited Queenie’s talent for a second. ‘Another human!’ it seems to say, ‘will you pay attention to me?’ It slithers its strong body around her wrist, a feathered bracelet. Deciding it likes it’s new home, it wraps even tighter causing her bones to crack.

“Ahh,” Tina breaths out a painful laugh, “like this I think,” she cups her hands, gesturing motherly to the makeshift bowel she’s made and the occamy slips into it. It settles down, testing out it’s new environment- pulling at the buttons on the edge of her sleeve, noticing it’s own reflection in the shiny surface of her necklace. “Yes, there you go,” she whispers, smiling in wonder at it’s acceptance of her.

“It’s okay,” Newt says softly. Tina whips her eyes up. He’s staring at her, in a way she hasn’t seen before. Hasn’t seen from anyone before, “I forgive you,” he offers her a small grin, and gives a slight stroke to the occamy who has nested happily onto her fingertips.

“Do you- want to go in?” he asks, bobbing his head towards the door. Contented again, back in his element.

“Yes, of course. If you’d like me too,” Tina says, a bit too quickly.

“I’d like you to,” They stand there stupidly, nodding at each other, eyes bright. Tina offers up her armful of occamy.

“No, no,” now Newt seems to be the nervous one, “I want you take her. I’ll…supervise,” he gives a huff of laughter, his cheeks pink. He finally trusts her, Tina thinks breathing out a thankful breath. And I trust him.

“Okay then,” Tina grins down stupidly at the occamy who has started fidgeting again.

“Well, are we doing this?” Jacob’s voice rings out, re-adjusting his arms around Dougal, whose eyes are currently flashing a bright blue.

“Yes, yes,” Newt claps his hands together. He moves around Tina, refusing to meet her eyes and pushes open the door. He walks briskly into the magical environment, and Tina’s eyes burn in the burst of light. She takes one step, then another, looking around in wonder, clasping the occamy closer to her chest. She hears the brusque sounds of Jacobs steps following her. Then…nothing. Twisting her head around slightly, she notices Queenie hanging by the edge of the shed. She hasn’t taken a foot outside.

Chapter Text

Newt stretches out his hand. It looks normal in the dim light of his shed. And yet it’s not. It’s cold, clammy, lightly sweaty, and shaking. Uncontrollably. And it won’t stop no matter how much he glares at it. The adrenaline of the last few hours seems to have finally caught up with him. His case getting taken- Twice. His creatures escaping. Getting arrested. Getting sentenced to death. Boom, boom, boom and each one right after another. Honestly, whoever’s writing the story of his life needs to let him catch his breath. And possibly leave him alone for a while.

At least Jacob hasn’t been obviliated, Newt thinks gladly. His muggle friend’s shoulder brushes against his own slightly. It’s the position they’d collapsed in after finally escaping from MACUSA’s clutches. They’re both sitting on top of various chests in his shed, sharing a few consolidating sentences every now and again. He seems just as pale as Newt himself, but also distracted. His eyes keep sliding every now and again to the top of his ladder. Newt smiles slightly to himself. He didn’t miss anything at dinner, being quiet has that advantage sometimes. Jacob has obviously fallen underneath the spell of the younger Goldstein sister, who’s currently carrying his case. Speaking of.

Tina has her head lent up against a wooden rung. She fell down the ladder last, and collapsed where she stood. And she hasn’t moved since. Every now and again her eyes clench, as if in pain, but for the most part she’s still. Tilting his head, Newt takes this moment to study her.

She’s pretty. That’s one of the first things he noticed about her, to be honest. Her body’s like a ballet dances, tall and thin. And yet he senses she doesn’t even acknowledge the proud posture which she carries herself with. Newt laughs quietly to himself, thinking about her quick dive under her desk at the approach of her annoying co-worker. Like a creature hiding from a threat. One rigid hand holds her necklace, an obvious habit. Both legs are crossed over each other, revealing a lack of socks. Her dark hair hangs lank, but is still beautiful contrast against her pearly skin. That describes her perfectly actually. Tina Goldstein. A contradiction.

All for rules about the obliviating of muggles. Even taking him in to MACUSA for not doing it in the first place for merlin’s sake. And yet, when Jacob was sick, she was willing to take him into her home, to feed him, and let him sleep in her sisters bed, incriminating herself in her government's eyes. All to make sure he was okay. She would’ve still done it- deleted Jacobs memory- Newt’s sure about that. But she wasn’t going to let him be ill, before she did so.

Unlike, Newt thinks guiltily, what he was going to do. He remembers attempting to escape out Jacob’s bedroom door while the no-maj lay retching on the floor. He would’ve left Tina and Jacob, if it wasn’t for his murtlap making an abrupt appearance. And even after that he was just going to take away his memory even though Jacob was obviously having a severe reaction to one of his creatures biting him. Merlin’s beard, he’s a bloody idiot sometimes. But Frank was consuming his thoughts at the time, he didn’t have the patience for two American strangers who had both singlehandedly ruined his plans.

Now though… Jacob’s a friend that much is clear. He likes him somehow, and shook his hand despite almost being physically assaulted by one of his creatures. Queenie’s a friendly acquaintance? Nice, bubbly. Perhaps bit loud for him, but people can’t help their natural characteristics, any more than beasts can. It’s her mind reading ability that puts him on edge, Newt’s heart pounds out of time thinking about what she might be able see. But hopefully her finding it hard to understand ‘Brits’ holds true. And then. Tina.

“Ne- Mr Scamander?” her quiet voice calls from the corner. She’s now standing, clasping her hands together in a state of agitation. 'She almost said my name'. The thought makes him feel strangely happy.

“Yes?”

“I was just thinking,” a piece of her hair falls in front of her eyes, “do you have a kettle or something?”

“What?” he asks, confused. He does, it’s in the corner. He’s had to hit a few beasts back with it to be honest. It’s quiet handy if circumstances cause a confrontation to turn nasty.

“It’s…well mamma,” her voice cracks a little, and she stops. Her shoulders heave, but she doesn’t break. And when she speaks next her eyes are dry, “Mamma always said that a hot drink is good for shock. Or for tough times. Or for anything really,” she gives a small wet laugh, “so I was just wondering if either of you wanted me to make you one,”

Newt stares. Tear tracks have dried on her face like rain down a window pane. He can still feel the imprints in which her desperate fingernails dug into him after he caught her. She almost died, more than any of us four tonight- yet she’s asking if we want a comforting drink.

“I wouldn’t say no to another cup of your cocoa,” Jacob says encouragingly, poking Newt discreetly in the shoulder. Newt realises he’s just been sitting there, opened mouthed, for a clearly uncomfortable amount of time.

“Ah I don’t have cocoa,” he gives an apologetic shrug, “only tea I’m afraid,”

“Tea?” cries Tina incredulously, widening her eyes comically.

“What’s wrong with tea?” he says just as affronted. Tina and Jacob exchange a knowing look.

“Nothing. If you don’t have access to coffee,” Jacob quips, and Tina laughs while Newt pretends to look offended.

“Well,” Newt struggles to his feet. His battered kettle hangs on a knob in the wall. Luckily he has three mugs; his own and two spares, just in case a certain niffler breaks them, “I believe the saying goes: long as it’s hot and wet,” a nurse said that to him once in the great war. Head down, he begins to shovel in the tea into the kettles top.

“Aah ahh,” Tina voice says accusingly from behind him. She places a gentle hand on his back. Newt stiffens immediately, he can feel each light tip of her fingers. His cheeks flush with heat, and shivers race up his spine. Tina drops her hand awkwardly, her own cheeks aflame. Still she resolutely pushes his hands aside.

“I’ll do it,” she says softly, catching his eye. Her eyes are like chocolate, deep and dark. He’s always preferred dark eyes. They have a power to them, a passionate nature. But Leta’s eyes held something wild and dangerous inside them. Tina’s hold passion yes but also kindness- a bitter chocolate outside with a sweet centre.

“Are you sure?” he asks, already knowing what the answer will be.

“It’s the least I can do,” she averts her eyes. Newt moves back letting her get on with her business.

Suddenly the shack shakes. The three of them stiffen. Queenie’s voice calls out from above.

“Jacob, where are we going again?” she whispers sharply.

“Ahh it’s on-“Jacob starts describing descriptions in a way Newt feels only a true New Yorker would understand. They chat, a magical Romeo and Juliet, Jacob leaning on the ladder, a flash of gold hair listening from above. A mug of tea is thrust into Newt’s hand.

“Sorry I didn’t know how you took it,” Tina says, “white, no sugar,” she replies to his questioning head tilt.

“That’s how I take it anyway,” Newt smiles taking a sip. A bit strong, but he’d expect nothing less from her.

“Me too,” Tina says, between drinks. Newt shoots her a confused look.

“I thought you didn’t like tea,” he says matter-of-factly.

“Yes well,” she looks down, “It’s okay. Once you get used to it,”

They stand together, in a simple silence. Queenie and Jacob now seem to be joking about something, smiling, flirting. Queenie’s bright laugh filters down into the case. They make it seem so easy. Tina and Newt suck in a breath at the same time, and catch each other’s eyes in apparent mutual alarm. Tina whips her head away, a deep red painting her cheeks and neck. Her lean fingers tangle in necklace as she resolutely refuses to look at him. Merlin’s beard.

“How’s the swooping evil?” Tina asks tentatively. This, Newt surmises, has been on her mind of a while.

“She’s okay I think,” He says just as unsure. Other witches and wizards find you annoying when you ramble about creatures, he reminds himself.

“It’s just, I jumped on it-her at bit hard is all,” Tina sounds actually worried.

“No, no. They can take weights heavier than yours’s, look,” he unfurls she onto his finger, a delicate bauble, “she’s fine. Happy to help,”

Tina stares intently, her pupils studying its gentle swings. Newt can’t help but feel proud about her admiring gaze. It’s not often a witch finds a creature with the word ‘evil’ in its name interesting.

“Thank you,” she whispers. Newt goes to reply, that they’ve already been through this. He wasn’t just going to leave her to die. Until he realises she’s not talking to him. She’s talking to his creature. Picket gives an indigent squeak, from his collar.

“You too,” she gives the bowtruckle small smile.

A large rock seems to have been taken off his chest. His breathing becomes faster, his heart a drum hitting his rib cage. Tina stares innocently up at him, no idea of the reaction she’s just given him. Has he actually managed to convince a witch, to convince one of his own that-

“Oi you two,” Jacob says, already half-way up the ladder, “we’re here,”

Chapter Text

Tina rapidly pulls on the leg of her pyjama bottoms, managing to bang her elbow painfully against a wall. It’s her and her sister’s apartment; and yet she’s the one getting changed in the cramped toilet. Queenie is simply getting changed in the open living room, but she can ‘hear’ their guests approaching. She wouldn’t get caught naked. Plus most likely-if she did- she wouldn’t really be embarrassed, even though they’re people Tina just met today! And sure, Queenie has had some acquaintances over. But they’re normally always either here for coffee, or a chat with her engaging sister, never staying longer than 8 or 9 at night at the most. No one’s ever been here because of her before. They’ve never stayed over. And they’ve never been male.

A British wizard and a no-maj. An abrupt bubble of laughter bursts out of her. Her fingers shake as they do up the buttons of her sleeping shirt. She’s locked the door, an even match for Mr Kowaski, Mr Scamander however… A locked door would open at the snap of his fingers. She gives another slightly hysterical giggle. 'You’re being ridiculous Porpentina', she berates herself. She escapes the bathroom, creeping her way towards her living room. 'He’s broken about a dozen laws and doesn’t even seem to care or realise'. She gathers her folded clothes resolutely to her body. 'He’s awfully cute though', a small voice whispers in the back of her mind. She attempts to crush it out but-

“Oh Teenie!” He sister lounges leisurely on their charmed couch, grinning at her. She’s stretched herself out on the now double bed, and Tina can’t help but worry about the amount of leg she’s showing.

“It’s the longest nightie I’ve got!” Queenie says sitting up defensively, causing the fabric to pull up even further.

“I don’t mind,” Tina sighs, shaking her head, “but we’ve got male company, Queenie,”

“They’ve already seen me in my underwear,” Queenie rolls her eyes. Tina feels her face heat up. How her sister can be so confident, so unabashed she’ll never know. She herself has enough guts while arresting a criminal. But remembering Mr Scamander merely seeing her underthings drying in front of the fire makes her heart race.

“He has got you in a tizzy, hasn’t he?” Queenie knowing raises an eyebrow. Tina glares at her, shoving her clothes, at bit too forcefully, in their rightful draws.

“Says you,” she shoots back half teasing, half serious.

“Tina, he’s just,” a love-struck complexion floats over Queenie’s face, “he’s nothing like anyone I’ve ever met before. Not a bad thought in his head,”

Tina sits down on their makeshift bed, chewing her bottom lip. Mr Kowaski, she has to admit, is charming. Hearing her sisters, glad gasps, she forces herself to voice what’s eating her conscience since dinner.

“I’m sorry. But he’s going to have to be obviliated,” she says softly, taking her sisters hand in her own. Queenie clasps her own even tighter, her eyes desperate.

“But surely, one no-maj, Tina, it won’t make a difference,” she begs.

“To Madame Picurey it will,” Tina says darkly without thinking. She claps two hands over her mouth, eyes wide. Queenies brows run up into her hairline.

Tina still remembers coming that home that fateful day. The pink slip of demotion grasped in her sweaty hand. The yells and curses from the howlers that flew in one by one from her supposed friends and co-workers echoing in her ears.

‘You disrupted our entire system!’

‘I don’t know how they even let you in MACUSA’

‘No one likes you, they never did. Now they never will’

The presidents anger flew off her in waves. It didn’t seem to matter that a woman was torturing innocent children. It was no-maj’s this, exposure that. Acidic shame boils in her stomach from reliving the memory.

‘I wasn’t attempting to expose our world. I would never. But she was hurting them, hurting him. I would’ve done it, even if she was a witch. I would’ve done it if she was anyone,’ Tina was thinking over and over again. But her tongue was numb at the time, the words battering useless against her teeth. Tina left herself looking idiotic, staring blankly at a fixed point on Picurery’s cheek.

Only Graves, newly back from his visit to England, was sympathetic. He gave her arm a quick squeeze on the way out of the President’s office, his kind words halted her tears. For a while. Until she reached her desk to pack her things and found her shiny aurour coat smashed up in a bin. Her aurour badge chucked unceremoniously on top.

None of them had tried to listen to her. And none of them ever would. Unless she proved herself to be competent again. And by completely following the rules.

“I’m so sorry Queenie,” Tina snuggles her head against her sister’s shoulder.

Queenie nuzzles back, “You did a noble thing. It’s not your fault they’re all too dumb to see it,” she says understandably.

“I’m glad I did it,” Tina replies honestly, “but if I still had my job, I’d be able to help Credence properly,” she shakes her head again, “instead I’m stuck monitoring him from afar, while attempting to find anything important enough to make my superiors take me seriously,” she says bitterly.

Queenie sucks her lip in thought. Tina knows she’s sorting through her thoughts, finding patterns, working something out.

“Is that why Mr Scamander is still here?” she surmises quietly.

“He’s writing a book about beasts,” Tina’s brow furrows momentarily, still rather confused on why anyone would want do such a thing, “Graves has always said that that’s what’s been causing the disturbances. If I help him, perhaps he’ll tell me what creature is doing all the damage,”

A short silence from her younger sister.

“And…” Queenie prompts, giving Tina a sharp look.

“And maybe he’s actually helping the person causing the attacks. He was acting real suspicious at the bank,” Tina throws up her hands in defeat. It’s a shame to suspect him. He’s a lot like her in a way. Quiet, but determined. Maybe he could even become a friend. But if he’s assisting the criminal who’s destroying her city… “if he does anything else out of place, I’ll take him in again. He’s got his case back, like he wanted. Either he’s guilty. Or he’s innocent and can help,”

Queenie studies her for a moment. She them wraps her arms around Tina, smothering her in a hug. Tina hugs her back, a bit bemused, but tightly anyway.

“You’re a better person than I am Teen,” Queenie says into her neck, “you suspect him, and yet he’s in our bedroom just in case you’re wrong,”

“Yes well…” Tina stutters self-consciously. And also, the little voice returns; his captivating green eyes, flicked with gold. She’s only managed to catch them once or twice. They remind her of spring time.

‘Aha!” Queenie squeals, jumping up and down “and you think his cute,”

“Mercy Lewis,” Tina covers her face in her hands, as Queenie prances round the kitchen laughing.

“You want cocoa?” Queenie says, a silly smile sitting on her face.

Tina nods. “Better make it four,” she calls as only two cups fly out of the cupboard.

“Four?”

“They’re our guests, we should offer them a nightcap. Plus, I forgot to tell them where the bathroom is,”

And, Tina thinks resolutely, it’ll give me a chance to study Mr Scamander some more.

Chapter Text

1917

They came in on a giant tray. A tired nurse, forced up by the amount of starch in her apron, ambled between the beds putting one in each of the men’s laps. They were about the size of a Chinese Fireball egg, Newt thought absently staring at the gifts in the beds near him. Flashes of red sparks and whirlpools of blue dance across his neighbors egg’s surface, and every now and again it vibrated slightly. The nurse props his own in the crook of his arm, for which Newt is thankful. His legs currently can barely stand the weight of the thin sheet, and every slight movement is painful. An idiotic healer actually patted his leg yesterday, under the pretense of being helpful. Newt hexed him so hard he hasn’t been back since- thank merlin. Why can’t everyone just leave him alone? His heart is broken, now his body is broken, and his few creatures are home which is a distant dream away. He’s alone, and all that’s left is mud, blood and fire. Newt’s days are spent staring up at the canvas watching dreary French rain drip through the ceiling.

“Now boys,” the nurse insists on calling us boys even though she herself could only be in her mid-twenties, “these are nice little letters from some of the upperclassmen at Hogwarts,” she always sounds upbeat this woman. Nothing shakes her, not even Tom Longbottom’s regular night terrors.

“Apparently each egg will turn into the symbol of the writers house, a moving statue for you to sit beside your bed. I’ve tried to match them up the best I can,” there are murmurs all round of appreciation at this. Most of our scarfs are still patterned in our Hogwarts colours, despite our time in the army. Newt’s own hangs at the end of his bed, the Hufflepuff yellow and grey swaying proudly.

“They’re activated by touching your wand tips to the eggs head,” loud laughs this time. War creates immature boys out of gentlemen. The nurse says her goodbyes quickly: obviously not understanding the joke, but understanding enough to decide to be offended.

Newt shakes his head, rolling his eyes bemusedly at his ward mates antics. Bawdy jokes continue to be passed round like cigarettes, most at the nurse’s expense. The random sound roaring lions and squawking birds only increase everyone’s sudden good humour. Newt cradles the egg while reaching, painfully over to be bedside table fumbling for his wand, wanting to see his badger (He’s already named it- Harold). He follows the instructions to the letter, and the egg begins to melt away, to reveal… A thunderbird. A proud, thunderbird in miniature, that flaps its wings happily onto Newt’s shoulder, holding a letting in its beak.

“What the hell is that Scamander?” asks Johnson from the bed beside his, a silver snake wrapped around his neck.

“A thunderbird,” Newt whispers memorised. He’s never seen one before, not in real life. It’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.

“A thunderbird?!” Johnson says incredulously, “no offense mate but no Hogwarts house’s symbol is a thunderbird- what sort of dangerous past are you hiding Scamander?”

Newt doesn’t respond to the jab, but someone else does.

“Don’t be a dick, it obviously means that his letter comes from an American,” Potter in the bed opposite Newt retorts, whose forehead is screwed in obvious hatred for Johnson. Sensing some fiery tension between the two men Newt jumps in before a row can start.

“America?” he cuts in awkwardly. Johnson turns away, sniffing snootily, from this clearly boring topic and apparently satisfied Potter allows his full attention onto Newt.

“My parents took my sister and I over to New York before the war,” Potter says knowingly, “I made an American friend there, and apparently all the Ilvermorny houses are named after beasts and a thunderbird was definitely one of them”

“Ah right…thank you,” Newt processes this information in for later. Perhaps he should visit New York if they appreciate beasts so much. Although probably not. He had not met many a country who loved creatures as much as he- even creatures as wondrous as a thunderbird.

His own tiny thunderbird is currently shaping Newt a new hairstyle, walking forwards and backwards on his scalp. Every now and again it dangles the letter over Newt’s eye line, and when Newt doesn’t take it, carries on resolutely. Newt has a suspicion that whoever transfigured the creature has a persistent personality. Chuckling a little he finally takes the letter, and apparently satisfied the thunderbird flies off to his bedside table and begins drinking Newt’s water.

The letter is more of a note, short but sweet, and is written in hesitant strokes. Newt begins to read.

4th March, 1917.

Dear Soldier,

I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what horrors you are going through, or what travesties you have seen but I am sorry. I know that probably isn’t enough- that someone is upset for you- but I hope it is. Whoever you are, wherever you are, know that someone’s looking out for you. Someone’s thinking of you, and hoping you make it out safe.

God be with you,

PG.

PS. Sorry if you wanted a different symbol. However, I’m not too sure what the Hogwart’s creatures are. Hopefully you don’t mind. Just know that this American Thunderbird supports you.

 

1930

Newt watched fondly from the door way at Tina, who’s sitting on their couch patiently, her hands covering her eyes. He knew she was caught between catching a glimpse of the gift in his hands and keeping her promise not to peek.

“I know you’re there,” she calls huffily, although her hands stay resolutely in place. To be fair he was gone for longer than he thought he was going to be. He’d just had to go to his desk, but had debated the pros and cons of a coloured ribbon. It was his fiancés birthday after all.

“Yes I’m here,” Newt walks in and sits beside her, attempting to quell his presents noticeable movements. Tina however, being the incredibly perspective person she is, feels the slight wind each wing beat makes anyway.

“Darling, I said no dragons not because I didn’t want one, but because one won’t fit” she says drily.

“It’s not a dragon,” Newt laughs (although he must expand downstairs one day).

He reaches out at soft hand, brushing her hair lightly before dragging her hands out of the way. Tina’s eyes widen with joy seeing his gift in his palm.

“Oh Newt,” The Thunderbird flags around her head, seemingly saying hello. She giggles and follows it her face enraptured. The same face Newt thinks with more than some fierce love, she has whenever she’s around his creatures.

“Newt I can’t take him,” she whispers slightly aghast, slightly in awe, “he sits on your desk, he always has for as long as I’ve known you,”

“You’re not taking him love,” Newt says putting an arm around her, “it’s your birthday present. I’m giving him to you”

The thunderbird- Potter- flutters down to sit on her shoulder and nuzzles into her neck. She pets him softly under the chin.

“I just thought, for next week, you should have something for your desk,” Newt says pecking her softly on the cheek. Tina had just received the all clear of officially becoming a ministry of magic employee- returning to New York being far too painful for her, as well as Jacob. Also the idea of having something of his on her desk, something so domestic, made his heart beat a little faster than normal. He can’t imagine what will happen when he finally manages to find the time to buy her a ring. His heart will jump out of his chest probably. Tina’s eyes trace over the creatures’ intricate markings, brows furrowed seemingly lost in thought. Newt’s heart beats erratically for an entirely different reason.

“Do you…do you not like it?” He asks tentatively. Jacob did tell him to get the ring. Or any type of jewellery, a necklace, some earrings. (Theseus suggested a very inappropriate book that Newt didn’t even bother considering).

Tina kisses him full on the mouth, sweetly, fingers petting the nape of his neck. Newt breathes a sigh of relief when he finally breaks always, nudging his nose into hers.

“I love him,” she tells Newt softly, “I just had déjà vu for a second there. Where did you say you got him again?”

“At a time when I needed him,” he replies after a while, “he gave me hope, and a feeling of companionship at a time where I had none. Figuratively and literally. And now in these terrible times, and being an aurour, I think you need those feelings more than I do,”

“Then I love him even more,” Tina says gently, nestling down into Newt’s shoulder, “but won’t you miss your thunderbird?”

“No love,” he says smiling down at her, “you see, I’ve found another one”

————-

Chapter Text

The grave yard’s steps are cold. That’s the only thing Newt’s mind can properly process. That the steps are biting cold, a coldness that passes through his shoes and burns his feet. Everything else is a distant buzz in the back of his mind. The niffler’s claws digging into his shirt, the girl in the feathered blue dress curled in a ball against a grave stone. His brothers hand clasped in his own like they’re children again. Except now he has to be the strong one, no more hiding in his older brother’s coat. Theseus’ foot stumbles on a step, and Newt holds him tightly keeping them both upright.

“I’ve got you, alright?” he mutters, and his brothers lets out a tight sob.

“Just…put me down, Newt, please,” his voice is calm but tears run down his cheeks. Newt complies, and Theseus shoulders fall forward helplessly, and his elbows rest on his knees. It’s like a whisper on the wind but Newt catches his brother’s desperate prayer ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry’. Newt places a tentative arm around him and for a moment in time they cry together, for the girl they once knew and who they had both cared for.

Loud footsteps echo in wet silence, and through his tears he sees the shadows of a man supported by a woman. The man seems to be giving up a fight, almost drunkenly attempting to tug himself out of the woman’s grip. The woman doesn’t let him, stubbornly holding on to his elbow. Newt can see by the tense line of her back how tight she’s tied up in herself, like a taut piece of string. Tina and Jacob.

He gives his brother a reassuring squeeze and leaves him alone to grieve for his fiancé in peace. He shuffles over to assist Tina, grabbing Jacob’s other arm and pushing him to a sitting position, forcing him to say in place.

“Let me go back,” he moans, rocking a little, “she’ll come back, she has to come back,”

“She’s gone,” Tina says shortly in a voice Newt has never heard from her before. An empty bottomless voice which scares him. He’s known her angry, sad, hopeless, but never this…this shell of a person that’s replaced his passionate salamander.

“Tina,” Newt starts softly, brushing the small of her back lightly. She shakes her head, biting her lip hard. His eyes meet hers, and the fires still there. He lets her go.

Tina scuttles down the steps to crouch down to speak to the unknown woman, the one that was with Credence. He watches her, patting Jacobs back robotically, as she hugs the woman who leans into her, shoulders shaking. He can see Tina running a comforting hand through the woman’s frazzled hair, an act of a practiced elder sister.

“I loved her you know,” Jacob says to no one in particular. Loved Newt thinks sadly. Who is Queenie doing this for if, Jacob doesn’t love her anymore? The thought leaves a sick taste in his mouth. Queenie’s betrayal hurts even more than Leta’s death. Leta fought and Leta lost. Queenie chose. And that’s all there is.

Tina gives the girl a final tight squeeze and stands on shaky legs. Newt’s unable to take his eyes off her, as she walks away, her slight silhouette creating a makeshift path between the graves, brambles and gothic fences. The sun is slowly setting, and she’s cast in a beautiful pink and orange glow that’s absurdly romantic backdrop against her dark hair. Tina pauses- seemingly taking in the glorious sunset, laying a calm hand on an upright grave. Then she screams. A guttural heart breaking sound that pieces the air, and causes her body to bend in two. Newt isn’t sure if he ran or if he apparated, but in any case his arms are around her.

“Love it’s alright,” he’s holding her so tight he’s afraid her ribs will crack. But he holds on anyway, and eventually she falls limp in his arms.

“I lost them…I was so close to finding him and then I lost him…” she whimpers, “and I lost her…my sister, my baby sister…,”

“shhhhh,” he nuzzles her cheek.

“I told her not to be with him…I just… I didn’t want her to be with someone she could never properly have…” she wails, “if they were ever caught she’d be put in jail! And what if they had children, the little children… to never see their parents again…”

“It’s not your fault,” Newt says resolutely, grabbing her by the shoulders forcing her to listen to him.

“But if I’d just been there for her,” Tina swings up her hands helplessly.

“If Grindlewald got Queenie under his spell then there’s nothing you could’ve done,” Newt spits fiercely, almost shaking her in his attempt to make her understand, “It wasn’t your fault,”

She nods blankly, eyes red rimmed.

“Okay, Tina?” Newt says, gentler.

“Okay,” she says, eyes fluttering shut. This time she’s the one to rap her arms around him, and he gathers her like a baby bird.

“Thank you,” she whispers in his ear, and almost on instinct he kisses her cheek a wings breath away from her mouth. Both freeze. Then they do kiss. A salty, short press of lips. But it’s enough. A lit match in the darkness, a promise for the future.

“Do you two want a croissant?” calls out a teasing voice caked in a French accent.

The absurdity of the sentence causes them both to whip round. It’s Nicholas Flamel, and Yusuf Kama, looking tired yet pleased with themselves and holding a tray of croissants. What on earth? Peering past them Newt sees Jacob giving himself and Tina knowing look, Theseus looking at him as if he’s a case he hasn’t managed to solve yet. The fading light doesn’t prevent Newt from noticing how they both have crumbs around their mouths. An inappropriate laugh bursts out of Newt, and for a second he feels hot shame along his chest, until he feels Tina herself giggling against his shirt. What the hell?

Tina lays her head on his shoulder as they walk forward to join the others- hopefully to find peace in each other’s grief, and a family. A mismatched broken one, but one that’s there all the same.