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Five Times They Pined, and One Time They Almost Didn't

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Tina strolled through the store, basket on one arm, list in the other. The two spice containers clinked together, and she stopped to readjust them.

“Goldstein,” a deep voice from her right calls. She glances to her left, confused when she sees no one. Graves clears his throat, and this time she turns to the right. Once Percival Graves was in her view, she starts towards him.

“Boss, I’m surprised to see you here. Prez force you out of the workplace or what?” She continues to read through her list, catching an item that she hasn’t crossed out yet. Graves just stood there, hands almost showing the strain of him not fidgeting with the way the joints bent awkwardly.

“Madam Picquery did threaten to throw me out with two weeks vacation. I decided it would be prudent to leave my office,” he says after a moment's hesitation. His suit looked extremely out of place under the bright fluorescent lights. “I was wondering how Newt was doing?”

Tina smiles, eyes glinting mischievously, “Now that you’ve gotten to your real reason, I have to say, didn’t take you so long this time. Newt’s fine, he’s currently enjoying himself at a dragon reserve. He’s coming to visit us today, though. He’ll be staying for about a week, before heading out. Just a thought.”

“Good to hear,” he says, finally giving in and tugging at his collar. “I have to go get-” he pauses, glancing down at the list magicked onto the handle of the basket, “-Marshmallows?”

“You do that, boss.”

Graves tugs at his collar again, then rushes off to buy some fluffers.

*    * *

Tina quickly enters the door, bags hanging off of her arms. She had run into the landlady, who made her usual tiff about men not being allowed in the building, ‘so don’t get any ideas’. The soup is warm in her hands, but she shivers a bit. Queenie is already cooking, but glances at Tina when she hears her thoughts.

“Madam kicked Percy out of the building?” she asks incredulously. Tina nods, setting down the bag of groceries. “I believe it. Next time you see him, invite him over, ‘kay?”

“Won’t accept, but will do. Where’s Crede?” She eyes the hallway, walking deeper into the apartment.

“Shh! He’s catnappin, best sleep he’s had all week.” Queenie flutters her hands, showing off her motor skills.

“Queens. It’s Sunday.” Tina spins around, mouth slightly uplifted.

“So it is!”

“Newt here yet?” Tina asks, glancing around the kitchen for any stray hints of the chaotic mess. There were none.

Just then, the crack of apparition sounds in the apartment.

“Newt, speak of the devil. Percy was asking after you.” Newt’s first action after arriving was to blush at her words.

“Um,” he says softly, his voice showing how flustered he was. His following words were too quiet and mumbled to understand.

“Sweetie, that’s great!”

“How’s Dence?” he asks, taking a deep breath to go with the blush crashing down on his features.

“He’s doing fine. How’s Boss?” she replies teasingly, and Newt dies a little in that moment. His soul leaves his eyes, then brightens them as he thinks of Percival Graves, MACUSA director extraordinaire.

“Teens, he’s busy comparing Newt’s freckles to stars.”

Newt slowly shrugs off his coat, hanging it on the chair. Pickett, who is currently in his hair, keeps it classy, poking his head out a bit at the women, and chattering on.

“How are Jacob and the President?” he points out in question form, eyes widening in tandem with his mouth in a, ‘you caught me,’ motion.

“Point taken, but I’m the outlier.”

“You’re infatuated with the President. Not an outlier, Teens.”

“Doesn’t count, we’re not together.”

“Percy and I aren’t-”

“Percy, hmm?” Queenie smiles with an oily smugness streaked across her features, her eyes shining over with satisfaction.

“You call him that as well!”

“Only because he can’t stop me, Arty .”

Tina looks on at the pair, one blushing and the other like the cat that got a cream soaked canary served on a silver platter. With kibble.

The bickering carries on for a time, Tina watching fondly.

*    * *

The moment Percy sends the owl off, Seraphina barges in. He sighs, face blissful, pen hanging from his fingertips like dripping water.

The sound of Sera loudly chanting leads him to the flashing red exit sign of his reverie.

“Percy, I think I might be in love. Percy, I think I might be in love. Where. Are. My. Marshmallows. I need them, now.” The panicking Sera stalks closer to him, then as she takes in his somewhat dazed appearance, softens and asks. “What happened to you?”

“Newt has the most beautiful eyes, Sera.” The pen falls from his fingers onto the floor, but he doesn’t take notice. Sera glares at his hand, then starts rummaging through the food bags.

“So does Auror Goldstein. And you look like you never go outside. What else is new?” She pulls a marshmallow from the bag, chewing rapidly to calm her frayed nerves. “I am the calmest person I know, this will be fine. I have nothing to worry about. Tina is wonderful, I am wonderfully not crushing on Auror Goldstein, this is fine.”

“Do you think I’ll be easy on the eyes if I-”

“Percy you’re too handsome, shut up and take him somewhere casual. But only after I, the president, take care of my feelings. Your pen is on the floor.”

Percy starts, then looks down as if he’s surprised to find the dropped pen where he somewhat left it. He nods in agreement, still happily contemplating Newt.