The familiar warmth of Newt's case was a welcome feeling after spending all day in the harsh winter cold, the cold that made her breath fog up in diminutive puffs and fingers go stiff and turn a deep crimson shade. Tina sighed contently, rejoicing in the warmth that thawed her frozen fingers. She surveyed the area, looking for her husband, and when her eyes laid on him a bright smile appeared across her face. He was near the new nundu babies; a sheen of sweat worked itself on his forehead as he tended to one of the more difficult ones. The majority were well behaved, but there was one nundu that seemed to have quite a distaste for him. Newt turned around when he heard Tina's footsteps and gave her a timid smile.
"How was work, dear?" He asked her, setting down the baby nundu in order to turn his body toward her and give her a light peck. He took note of how exhausted she looked. Newt knew, however, that she was simply worn out from the day's events; he had no doubt she'd had a work-filled day.
Tina sighed, shrugging off her coat and leaving it to hang on a nearby tree branch. "Tiring. There was a crackdown on Grindelwald's case yesterday... we think we might have a lead somewhere. How about you? Did the new baby nundu give you any trouble?"
Newt simply shook his head, embracing Tina when she was closer to him. Tina sank into the hug, finally relaxing after her tiring day at the congress. "I missed you," she mumbled into his shoulder, a true statement. It's been such a long day at work, causing her to come home much later than usual, and she would be lying if she didn't say she'd missed Newt tremendously.
Newt chuckled at her proclamation. "I missed you too, love," he said, his hand stroking her hair absentmindedly. Tina stared at the baby nundus, thinking to herself. Suddenly an image crossed her mind: an image of her holding a small child, with her hair and Newt's eyes. It was an unexpected thought, though she didn't find it intrusive. The thought merely caught her off guard, and she felt a longing she hadn't felt before.
It was Tina who broke away once the nundu started screeching again. She crossed her arms and suggested, "I think... that we should name them. The nundus, I mean."
"I think that's a lovely idea. Let's see, there's five... and three are female, so I guess I'll let you name the three."
Tina observed the occamies intently. "How can you tell if they're female or not? I don't notice any difference," she asked, her face screwed up in confusion as she placed her hand on the side of the enclosure. From below, a nundu bit into the air, trying to reach her hand.
"Well, the females are more aggressive, it's a natural instinct to protect their young. Like that one, the one that just tried to bite you, that one is a female. It's also evident by their prickers- females have more silver highlights than their male counterparts. It's all about the natural behaviour of them. It's not quite a large difference, but if you know what to spot it's rather easy to tell," Newt explained excitedly. Tina smiled to herself. Whenever Newt was talking about his creatures, she found herself happier than before. Seeing him happy made her happy. It's how she realized she loved him.
She rested her head on Newt's shoulder, and he took ahold of her hand. "You must've missed me very much," Newt said with a smile.
"Of course, but... I've also been thinking," Tina said, plucking up courage. "How would you feel, or how do you feel, about having children? Not now, but someday, of course. It's just... seeing you with the nundus got me thinking about it."
A brilliant smile spread across Newt's face. "Tina," he said, pure shock evident in his facial expression. "I've been wanting to ask you that for the last three years."
Tina didn't feel at all disappointed when her monthly came for the first time. They'd only been trying for two weeks- surely that wasn't enough time. Her and Newt had only just began, there was plenty of time between this month and the next for her to get pregnant.
Only the next month she wasn't either. Again, she knew it'd only been a month and a half of trying, and the idea was still fresh and exciting in her mind. But she couldn't help but begin to feel a bit disappointed. Newt consoled her, however, once she expressed these doubts. "It's only been seven weeks, love. Babies take more time than that. I've seen my creatures take years and years to conceive, and while I doubt that's the case with you, I know for some mothers, things take a tad longer. Next month," he told her, showering her with loving kisses afterward. His words lifted her spirits, but she felt troubled that he'd stated that for some creatures it had taken a profusion of years. Don't be silly, she told herself, you're not a creature.
Another month passed. Then another. Then two more, then it'd been nearly a year of trying and still nothing appeared to be happening. At this point, Tina had grown quite pessimistic about the concept of trying for and having a baby. She was starting to feel like one of the creatures he'd talked about, trying and trying but to no prevail getting what she- what they- had wanted. It was no secret Newt was absolutely dying to have children. He wanted them so badly, but even if Tina didn't know it, he wouldn't mind if they didn't have children. He had Tina, and she was enough to make him feel content.
They sat at dinner one night, both exhausted from the day's work. Newt was finishing up the fourth draft of his manuscript, and Tina had more paperwork than she had fingers. That, and the fact that she'd begun menstruation at work. She had to tell Newt and see the undeniable disappointment in his face. Tina was close to tears at that thought. She wanted this baby as much as Newt did, perhaps even more. She'd never pictured herself as a mother, even as a child, but now... now she knew that it was her greatest desire in the world. Newt cleared his throat and spoke up. "How was your day, dear?" He was cautious with his words. He could sense Tina wasn't in the greatest mood, and he knew it was more than work.
"Fine, I guess," Tina replied, staring down at her spaghetti. "Just... paperwork."
Newt frowned. "It's got to be more than that."
"I said I was fine." Tina said through clenched teeth. At Newt's look, she faltered. "I'm sorry, it's just that I..." Her eyes began to water. "I started my monthly." It was as if flood gates had open. Tears streamed down her face, and she put a hand on her head to stop it. Newt got up immediately and rushed to her side.
"No, Tina, it's okay, I understand," he said softly, crouching beside Tina's chair and grabbing her hand. "You're perfectly fine, love."
Tina looked at him through red rimmed eyes. "But I'm not. I can't even... I can't even conceive a baby for you." Another wave of tears hit her, and Tina hid her face once again. Newt gave his wife a sad look, stood up, and held her against his chest. He wasn't sad for himself, no. He was sad because his wife was. And he couldn't help but feel partly to blame.
"You don't owe me anything, Tina," Newt said, rocking Tina and kissing her forehead. "Always remember that. I just want you. You're all I need. You're all I want."
Tina stood up and embraced Newt properly. "But what if I'm not enough?"
The Scamanders visit the Kowalskis, and there is an upset after dinner.
Hello! I hope you enjoy this chapter. Next update is due in about a month or so! :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"How's my favourite little guy doing?" Tina inquired with great zeal before scooping her two-year-old nephew into a tight hug. "I missed you," she said into his ear, her voice a few grades quieter. A surge of love flew through her as James put her cheeks in his tiny hands and squeezed them together, making Tina have a very odd and, to him, a very funny facial expression. His eyes shown with glee only a small child could endure, giggling wildly as he scrunched Tina's face into odd positions. His actions were made more childishly hilarious when Tina couldn't help the spread of her cheeks that came with her smile.
"I miss you too, Aun' Teenie." The small boy said, removing his hands from her cheeks in favour of tangling his fingers in the golden locket that hung from Tina's neck. "Show me the pic-sher again!" He asked, the larger part of the locket dangling in his hands. Tina grinned at him, removing the locket from his hands as she pried it open. It opened with a click!, revealing two photographs. On the right was one of Queenie, Jacob, and James, with Queenie perched on a chair, Jacob standing behind her, the couple staring lovingly at their small son, a year younger than he was now, who was flailing his arms in the air as a gummy smile spread across his features. Beside it was a photo of her and Newt, smiling at each other on one of their more beautiful nights in Paris. The lights of the Eiffel Tower shone behind them as they embraced each other, staring into each other's eyes as they swayed to a tune neither of them could forget. James watch d as both pictures moved together, pointing at the moving photographs and exclaiming "Mama! Uncle! Jamesie!" at the respective people. Tina watched the photos as well, her heart swelling with warmth as she watched herself and Newt dance together in Paris. She was blasted out of her trance as her nephew snapped the locket shut, scooting out of her arms as he signaled for her to put him down. James giggled a gleeful laugh as his aunt set him down on the cool, wooded floor. Tina stood back up, her cheeks still flushed from where James' hands had rested. Her arm snaked around Newt's, and her smile was one only Newt or James could spark.
The rest of the family was engaged in warm welcoming, causing Tina to smile at her younger sister. "Thank you for having us," she said happily, looking at Queenie with a bright gleam in her eyes. "I'll admit, I was having a bit of a baby-deficiency!"
Newt gave Tina a slightly startled look, and Queenie immediately begun trying to read their minds; they'd both been thinking about babies quite often, more often than not. With that knowledge, Queenie set her already-made-years-ago plan to work. "Baby deficiency?" She repeated with a smirk. "That's a bit abnormal-"
"James deficiency," Tina covered quickly, looking at her feet. "James... deficiency. I wish I could see him more often, he's bigger every time I see him."
"Well, that's just the Goldstein genetics working their magic. Figuratively and literally. I mean, just look at you! At your rate, ma and pa were beginin' to wonder if you'd ever stop growin'!" Queenie answered. Tina knawed on the inside of her cheek, walking behind the blond and Newt into the dining room, where Jacob was setting the table.
"How has the bakery been?" Tina asked, changing the subject.
"Same 's usual," Jacob replied. "A little less busy though, with the economy and all. Almost had to pry some kids away from the windows." He chuckled and motioned for Newt and Tina to sit down. "How about you? How've you guys been?"
Newt smiled. "We've been good. Busy, but good." He looked at Tina warmly and grabbed her hand. "There’s a new batch of occamy hatchlings, Jacob. Descendants of yours."
The room quieted as Queenie magically dished out plates of food, Jacob staring in awe as he usually did. James giggled as a bowl was filled with soup in front of him, and Tina watched him, fighting off thoughts that wondered about her own child doing the same. It would do no good to be upset at a dinner with family. Normal chatter started up again between everybody but Tina, who instead ate quietly and observed the toddler in front of her with wonder.
Queenie noted Tina's attentiveness toward James. She had yet to read through her sisters thoughts, and figured Tina wouldn't want to have her mind raided without consent. She remembered earlier about how Newt and Tina had had children on their mind, and began to speak. "Have you guys thought about havin' kids yet?" She asked, looking at her sister.
The sudden question caught Tina off guard, and she froze. What could she say? She looked at Newt, her face pleading. He cleared his throat and squeezed her hand. "We've discussed it," he answered. "But we wouldn't mind waiting a few years, given the events going on in the muggle world. These are... difficult times to begin with, let alone to bear a child in. Someday, though."
Both Queenie and Jacob agreed, and it was the end of that conversation. Everyone had finished only moments after, and Queenie turned to face her son, immediately becoming flushed with worry. "Oh, James. You've made a mess of yourself. Let's go get you cleaned up."
"I can do it," Tina said quickly, her chair squeaking as she stood up. "I wouldn't mind helping, I mean."
It was then that Queenie realized something was wrong. As much as it pained her not to look into her sisters mind, she didn't. She'd tell her when the time was right. She smiled at her sister then. "Alright," she said. "His room's down the hall, three doors down on the left." Tina nodded and picked her nephew up, walking down the hallway and into James' room.
The table quieted as Tina left, her footsteps echoing off the walls before she shut the door to her nephew's room. Newt sighed, and then Queenie was absolutely sure there was something wrong within the Scamander household. The blonde shot Newt a questioning look. "Things haven't been going too well at home," he admitted. "Tina and I... we've been trying over a year for a baby, and nothing's happened yet. It's killing me to see her this way. One mention of a baby and she... she breaks down," Newt explained. He immediately looked ten years older. "She thinks it's her fault, she won't listen to me when I tell her it's just biological timing. I don't know what to... I just want her to be happy."
It took a moment for Queenie to process this information, though her face turned instantly sympathetic. “Oh, Newt, I’m so sorry for you two. I know my questioning must not have helped, I feel so bad that I upset her. But,” Queenie held her husband’s hand and shot Newt a serious look. “She’ll be okay. Teen’s gone through much harder things than this. And you’ll get your baby soon, I just know it.”
“I know. I just wish I could do something to take her mind off of it. It kills me to see her so upset, day after day. She barely wants to, apologies for my bluntness, be intimate unless it’s to try for a baby anymore, and I… I just miss her,” Newt lamented. He was clearly distressed, and Queenie knew she had to speak to her sister to keep the couple’s relationship from further strain. These kinds of issues could destroy relationships, and while she knew neither of them would allow it to happen, she wanted to be sure. Her sister’s happiness was her first priority.
The table quieted, and they could hear James and Tina speaking in the room down the hall. However, it grew silent after awhile, and after thinking he’d heard a sniff, Newt stood up. “She’s been gone for a long while now, perhaps I should go check on her.”
“No, no,” Queenie objected, standing up in front of Newt. “I can go talk to her. It’s time James were put down for bed anyway.”
“Why don’t I go speak to her?” Jacob suggested, the third to stand up from his seat. “I’m not any use cleanin’ when you two can use your magic, and I can put James to sleep quicker than a professor their student.” Before either could object, he lurched. “Please, let me do somethin’. I wanna help her. I don’t like seein’ two of my friends sufferin’,” Jacob pleaded. Queenie glanced between her husband and Newt before nodding.
“Yes, Jacob. You may go and comfort her, then put James to bed. Newt ‘nd I will clean up the dishes. Won’t we, Newt?”
One could never say no to a Legilimens.
Tina didn’t know how it happened. One moment, she was observing her nephew, who’d quickly tired himself out and fallen asleep, the next, her eyes were filled with tears and she could hardly contain her sobs. Her thoughts of pity wouldn’t stop, the questions of why she couldn’t conceive winding through her mind like a spindle on a spinning wheel. What was wrong with her, why wasn’t she good enough?
Newt had briefly mentioned visiting a Healer, but Tina had shut it down almost immediately. What scared her more than not being able to conceive- yet- was finding out she wasn’t able to conceive, ever.
The door behind her opened suddenly, and Tina closed her eyes, quickly wiping her eyes and pressing her hand to her forehead. "Newt, I'm not in the mood for-"
"It ain't Newt," said a deep voice. Tina turned around and realized it was Jacob who'd entered the room. Tina wiped her eyes again, trying to disguise the fact that she’d been crying. "He was tellin' me 'n Queenie about what's been happenin',” Jacob explained. “It’s not your fault, Tina. My ma was like that too, with my little brother. She’d been tryin’ for years and years, and once she was about to give up, voila. There was a bun in the oven. Now, I’m not sayin’ it’ll take you long, bt if it does, it’s totally normal.”
Tina had a newfound gratitude for her brother-in-law. “Thank you, Jacob,” she said softly. “Maybe I’m not… incompetent. Maybe I’m just not tryin’ hard enough.”
“Even if you couldn’t have a baby, that don’t mean you’re incompetent. It’s all gots to do with genetics, or somethin’ like that.”
Tina hugged Jacob. Though she didn’t feel intensely better, his words had helped cheer her up a bit. She was grateful to have his advice in her head. “Thank you, again. I’ll keep your words in mind next time I’m feelin’ like this.” They separated, and Tina shifted toward James. “Oh! He fell asleep earlier, I meant to tell you but… yes. I think it’s time Newt and I were off, now. It’s been a tough night for the both of us. Thank you, Jacob.”
Thank you for reading! Comments, kudos, bookmarks, shares, etc. are always appreciated, and super inspiring! I hope you enjoyed this chapter.
Next Publication: World Burn | Chapter Two