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Happier

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Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

 

When the morning comes

When we see what we've become

Newt sat at the docks, his best friend by his side. They stared at the waters, silence between them. He didn’t mind it, for there was much to think about. Newt had been awake the entire night, thinking of ways to fix what he had destroyed. There was only one solution that seem to work the best. Lucky of him to have harvested a vial of Swooping Evil venom some nights before. The last time it was used, a city’s population lost their bad memories. It was used for a greater good.

This time… This was personal, and while the venom shouldn’t really be used like this, Newt felt it was the only way to redeem himself. To make amends. To ensure his beloved Ti- He froze as he processed what he just thought.

No, it would be ludicrous to think of that.

He had to ensure his fri- his mutual friend would be able to live her life happily, with the man of her dreams. It was what she deserved, after everything going south in her life. Achilles should stay with her. He was perfect for her. A better man than Newt.

So capable, so generous.

In the cold light of day we're a flame in the wind

Not the fire that we've begun

Newt kicked himself mentally. He should never have asked someone to help him take his things. That seemingly innocent request of help had been so costly. Lost him a new friend, costed him Tina, and a place that he felt was more like a home than what he already had in England.

It was 15 minutes to 7 in the morning, the sun now above the horizon. He had one last thing to do, and it involved a trip to Ed’s, where Achilles would go for his morning coffee. A few drops, and he’d be on his way, taking his shameful self back to England. Newt had no reasons to stay.

Or to come back.

“You are not coming back, are you?”

It was quiet, the only sounds coming from the early morning traffic and the birds chirping. Newt stood, and so did Jacob. He was much appreciative of his best friend for accompanying him. Newt gave his best friend a long hug.

“I’m gonna miss you Jacob.”

Every argument, every word we can't take back

Tina stared. There was a person with dark hair, bloodshot eyes, dark circles and bags under. Looking back at her. Water dripped from her hair and face, downwards to the basin. It was amazing how the basin hadn’t yet cracked from her tight grip. She looked absolutely dreadful. Tina didn’t care much about her appearance in general, but even she was shocked at how awful she looked this morning.

Spending the entire night crying to sleep, would do this to a person.

Tina recalled that the last time she had cried so hard, it was in a hospital and her parents had passed on. But that was understandable, wasn’t it? Crying over a man was, simply put, unfathomable to her.

She hiccupped. Sniffled. She tried to fight the sob threatening to emerge from her throat, lest she cried again. No, no more tears. The ship will leave in an hour’s time, and she had to get out there. Had to find him. She had to tell him.

That she loved him too much for him to go.

'Cause with the all that has happened

I think that we both know the way that the story ends

Tina ran.

The moment she apparated into an alleyway near the docks, she ran like her life depended on it. She slipped past the lunch time crowd, negotiating twists and turns, until she was finally at the docks.

The Jolly was docked, the decks full of passengers waving goodbye to their loved ones seeing them off.

‘Newt doesn’t like crowds, he wouldn’t be the first to board the ship and jostle with everyone else. So where is he?’

Inching forwards, Tina called out Newt’s name. She squeezed past people, nearly knocking a few over in her haste. She spied a coat of blue, and messy unkempt hair. “NEWT!” The man she was chasing after was approaching the gangplank slowly. At his speed, she might be able to catc-

Tina stumbled sideways, landing hard on her knees and elbow. It hurt but she didn’t care. Newt was getting further away from her! This felt ridiculously like one of the romance novels Tina had secretly swiped from Queenie’s stash of books.

Man and woman like each other, man leaves, woman chases after, only to be blocked by obstacles and have the man of her dreams leave. Forever.

“Tina?”

Achilles. Figures. It was definitely playing out like a scene in the romance novel. If Queenie were here, she would have had a field day.

Tina stared sadly after the ship, now a dot in the horizon.

Then only for a minute

I want to change my mind

'Cause this just don't feel right to me

Achilles had tried to comfort her physically, but she had resisted. The hand offered out wasn’t scarred or callous. The presence next to her, was not who her heart needed.

It didn’t feel right. None of this was right.

Tina sighed, and with a heavy heart, she left the harbour.

I want to raise your spirits

I want to see you smile but

Know that means I'll have to leave

On board the ship, Newt had spotted Tina, from his position on the stern. He had spent days and weeks, staring at Tina as she pottered around in his case. In between his work, Newt had memorized the details that made up the woman he loved. He would be able to pick out her physique from anywhere.

‘She’s with Achilles, but he does not remember what happened. Hopefully Jacob will tell her about it soon. No matter, as long as Tina’s with Achilles… She’ll be happy.’

Newt swallowed hard, his gaze still on the now-tiny speck still standing at the docks.

‘She deserves someone who can make her smile.’

Newt thought back to when Tina was with Achilles. She looked enamoured with him.

‘And that someone is not me.’

Know that means I'll have to leave

Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

 

When the evening falls

And I'm left there with my thoughts

Newt leaned back against the wall, staring at the muggle clock on the shelf opposite him.

It was night.

Midnight, to be more precise.

He needed sleep, but even sleep eluded him. He thought throwing himself into work would be sufficient to tire himself out.

Up to six months ago, Newt never thought his daily routine would actually include anything to do with the Ministry. Willingly include, that is.

Wake up. Report to work at the Ministry, deal with increased sightings of creatures, rehabilitate these creatures before sending them back to their rightful homes, heading back to care for the beasts in his case and basement. Sleep.

Oh! Note to self: Eat when absolutely necessary, when there was time.

Rinse and repeat.

He looked down at the parchment that had been resting on his lap for the past half hour, his quill hovering somewhere nearby.

This was his third attempt to write something addressed to her. Third attempt for the day, possibly the twenty-seventh try for him this week.

Newt didn’t keep a journal for his daily musings. His journals… Manuscripts.. They were always about creatures. Keeping a book to note down what he did for the day that did not involve observing or writing down facts of habitats, seemed like a waste of time.

That was what he thought. But write he did, letters. Day after day, he would jot down a sentence or two about his work; his trip to get a scone, Theseus annoying him, how people mistook a Praying Mantis for a Bowtruckle and called in the department for help. He would write about his home, his basement, how Bunty had been a big help to him. How the baby nifflers were in their teens and pilfering more shiny things from neighbouring houses.

And the image of you being with someone else

Well, that's eating me up inside

All the letters were addressed to the same person, but he had no intention to send it.

Months back, he would have done so in a heartbeat and wait eagerly for the reply. The waiting, the anticipation for a response from her, made his days pass faster as he counted down to departure dates. Crossing an ocean just to breathe in the same air as her. To stare into her eyes and be lost in it, nevermind the naggings or scoldings that came from him being distracted and not listening to her.

It was worth it.

He had enjoyed the time spent with her, his second female good friend. The first in many years. All good things come to an end of course. She was now in a relationship with another man who definitely won him in all aspects of life. A good-looking, tall and strong man working in a similar field as her. Equally brave.

Those two had so much in common don’t they? Newt mused bitterly. How could he compare with the other man?

Where he was awkward especially in social events, Achilles was the life of the party.

Where he couldn’t string a sentence together nor give eye contact, Achilles had no problem with that.

A ministry worker in the Beast Division. An auror with MACUSA. Even Newt knew which sounded so much more capable and brave.

And she had chosen the auror. Picked the blond man to be the receiver of her smiles, her expressive eyes, her infectious laughter. Picked the blond man to be her partner for life.

If not for Spellbound, it could have been him. Would have been him.

Right?

He threw parchment aside, curling up on his bed. The quill dropped when he released the spell. Newt knew he was not coping well and should have to talk to someone about it. But he didn’t want to bother his brother, and his assistant had enough to deal with everyday.

He closed his eyes, praying for sleep to come back and take him. He knew it would, eventually, if the past six months were proof enough.

He just needed some time. She was happy, and one day he would be.

But we run our course, we pretend that we're okay

Now if we jump together at least we can swim

Far away from the wreck we made

Tina signed her name at the end of the report she was vetting. With that, this stack of papers could finally be kept, and officially declared closed. She breathed a sigh of relief, it was her first case as team leader, and she was glad everything went well. What started as a tip-off from an informant about Grindelwald’s cause reaching America’s shores, quickly became a case of illegal procurement and sale of magical creatures.

However thanks to a Newton Scamander’s hot selling guidebook, even the junior aurors at MACUSA were able to effectively quarantine and manage the beasts.

“Thank Morrigan for Scamander’s book!”

“Yeah, thought it was an extermination guide, but hey some of these lil’ guys are actually pretty cute.”

“Scamander? New York’s hero? He’s quite charming isn’t he? That shy grin kinda accentuates his handsome features.”

“Haha ya got a crush on him eh, Midge? Careful now, Goldstein has dips on the guy. Right Goldstein? Goldstein..?”

Tina smiled bitterly. She had thrown herself into her work in order to distract herself from that English man, but no. Fate had decreed she be the team leader to solve a beast case. Of course she had to lead a team of junior aurors, half of them who had varying degrees of crushes on her Ne-.. On Mr Scamander.

Nobody else but Jacob and her knew what had happened. Achilles had his bad memories erased, and often wondered where his new friend had gone to, why was there no letter.

And she had pretended everything was fine. That Newt had other things to attend to. Had given excuses of how it wasn’t uncommon to wait for weeks and months for a reply from the magizoologist.

Achilles had bought it, and for a short while, Tina herself too. Repeating the same excuses frequently could lead a person to believe in it wholeheartedly.

However deep down she knew. Newt would never again step foot in America. She had chased him away with her own words. Had she said it in a fit of anger? Or from insecurity? Newt would never hurt her, that she was sure of.

But she had Achilles, and he was a good man. He was everything she could have possibly wanted right? He was like how the men in Queenie’s old romance novels were described as. Handsome, humble, brave.

Tina stretched out, hearing her joints crack from releasing the pressure, and then slumped in her seat. There was still another twenty minutes till knock off time. Achilles had gone off for a mission, but he had asked her to do something before he headed off.

“Write to Newt, Tina. I know you miss him, I do too! You’re his friend for the longest time, whatever happened can’t be that bad right? Go on, write to him okay?”

Tina bit her lip. She had wanted to, on at least eight occasion the past six months! However when she put quill to paper, it felt like she was wading through a pool of mud; it was difficult and took all her energy. Alone at night, she knew what she would say and write, but when there were writing materials around for her, she couldn’t. There was nothing. She would write a few sentences, and scratch it out. No words seem to be able to convey her thoughts.

Or maybe her thoughts were too messed up to even be put to words.

Tina packed her desk and left. She would think about this another time.

Then only for a minute

I want to change my mind

'Cause this just don't feel right to me

Tina sat on the window ledge, staring out at the moonless skies. If anyone stumbled upon her, they wouldn’t have given much thought about it. But Tina did. She had did a bit of research of her own, with the help of a globe.

East.

The direction of her gaze would always be eastwards. Past the North Atlantic Ocean and Ireland. Eastwards to London. Every day, she would wonder how he was doing, if he was mad at her, if he’d moved on and found someone else who shared his love of creatures. Someone else who had a job with lower mortality rates than hers. A beautiful lady, owning more dresses than pants, who could support him better than she did, and loved his creatures more than she did.

Maybe that’s why she hadn’t sent any letter.

She couldn’t bring herself to do so, not when he could be much satisfied without her.

Tina brought up the mug of tea in her hands, and was about to take a sip when she noticed a jagged line running down from the rim to the bottom. She frowned. There wasn’t any cracks before.

As she removed herself from her spot to grab her wand, Tina recalled a line her mother had mentioned before.

‘Cracked cups are bad omens. Also, they harm your pretty lip.’

She’d been thinking of Newt, and him moving on. How was that a bad sign? Maybe Achilles was right, she should write to him. Find out how Newt is.

It wasn’t as if she had anything more to lose anyway.

Summoning her paper and quill, Tina scribbled out her apologies and thoughts before she chickened out.

I want to raise your spirits

I want to see you smile but

Know that means I'll have to leave

Tina wrote to her heart’s content, feeling a weight lift from her shoulders after she folded the letter. Her last sentence made her own heart ache, but she had to write it. To tell him that she send no more letters to him, if it meant that he would be happier that way. All he had to do, was respond.

Attaching it to her owl, she wrote a return address and date sent.

It was the eleventh of June.

Know that means I'll have to leave

Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

 

So I'll go, I'll go

I will go, go, go

Seventeenth of June.

Ministry of Magic. Attacked by Grindelwald’s acolytes.

Five dead. Estimated twenty wounded. All critical injuries.

Newton Scamander.

Wounded critically.

Four words that shouldn’t be together. Tina felt her world collapse when she saw the headlines. This feeling she felt, the sense of dread. Months ago, when she saw Achilles bleeding on the ground, she had thanked her lucky stars that he was alive. Grindelwald’s acolytes had a tendency to leave none alive.

But Achilles was Auror-trained. They were all equipped with knowledge and skills to attack and defend.

Newt was not.

He was gone from her life, but this wasn’t the way she want him to be gone.

Not forever. Not Newt.

Tina did whatever she could at work, including requesting for leave from President Picquery. She had to be there. For her own sake and sanity.

So I'll go, I'll go

I will go, go, go

Achilles, dressed to the nines, walked into Tina’s apartment.

He had thought he would see Tina all dressed up for their evening, putting the finishing touches to her hair.

What he witnessed was a frantic whirlwind in the form of Tina. His beloved was scrambling around her room, grabbing and chucking various items into her traveling case. She paid him no attention, stopping only to register him and his question, and answering it.

“I’m going to London.”

Achilles knew he could not stop Tina when she had already made up her mind. He would go too, to accompany her and be her rock. To see his friend and make sure everything would be alright.

He had a bad feeling about this.

Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

Achilles watched as the beautiful silver butterfly fluttered in front of him, before disappearing into the night sky.

He had done it., had let her go. Freed her from the bindings that was him.

He leaned onto the metal railings that separated land from river, hands clasped together, eyes looking at the majestic Tower Bridge but not quite seeing it. The gentle sound of water and light breeze accompanied him in his brooding.

Just hours ago, Tina had spilled out everything to him. Everything happened so fast, he was sure this was all a dream. Or a nightmare.

His memories, once thought to have disappeared for good, came back in pieces. Patched back together by Tina’s confession.

Her feelings for Newt. Her feelings for him. Same, yet different.

Achilles finally understood. The Tina he knew was not the Tina Newt had known. He had fallen in love with a woman who hid everything behind a mask. He had loved her tenacity, her strength and power in the field. Achilles had seen glimpses of the real Tina, whenever there were cracks to her walls. He had been there for her, given her comfort and love. She had reciprocated of course. Achilles thought he had found the woman of his dreams.

But the Tina that Newt was familiar with? That Tina had no need for masks. No need for walls. Achilles had witnessed that before, when Newt was in New York. The Tina at work without Newt, and the Tina at home with Newt. She couldn’t have been so different. So carefree. Her smiles reached her eyes, her hearty laughter so contagious. No restraints on her, she was simply… Free.

Even though I might not like this

I think that you'll be happier, I want you to be happier

He felt hurt. A year together with Tina Goldstein, and all he had done was scratch at the surface. Whereas by comparison, Newt was there for a few months with her, but had so much more.

Achilles sighed.

She was happy with him...

But she was happier with Newt.

Achilles left his spot by the railings, and began the long walk back to the hotel. He should leave. There was nothing here for him, and he too, needed work to distract his mind. To fill up the void in his heart. He would leave a message for Tina, and head back to MACUSA using the Floo Network. He had come to London to be Tina’s pillar of strength, both of them thinking that Newt was critically hurt. Now that the magizoologist was confirmed to be fine, there was no reason to stay on right?

Then only for a minute (only for a minute)

I want to change my mind

'Cause this just don't feel right to me

Back in his room, Achilles headed straight for his travel case by the work desk. He scribbled a note to Tina, apologizing for his hasty departure but giving no further reason for it.

She would understand.

As he bent down to retrieve his case, the photo of Tina slipped out from his breast pocket and floated to the floor. Achilles picked it up, and leaned back on his chair, staring at the witch’s face.

He gulped.

This felt wrong. It was like he was fleeing, and leaving Tina behind. Potential life partners they may no longer be, but they were still friends right? Breaking up didn’t mean that he had to cut ties with Tina. Hell, he still had strong feelings for her. He still cared for her, and wanted her to be safe and happy.

Abandoning her in a foreign land would make him like a jerk, wouldn’t it? Leaving now would make her guilty, that’s for sure. Work would be so awkward.

Plus, he hadn’t seen Newt yet.

Newton Scamander…

His dear friend had left America. Taken steps back. A ship back to England. Denied his feelings for Tina, so that Achilles could continue pursuing his fellow New Yorker.

I want to raise your spirits

I want to see you smile but

Know that means I'll have to leave

Achilles, like any other jilted lover, had felt immense hurt, but this was after Tina had come clean with him and initiated a break up.

He couldn’t imagine how sorrowful Newt must have been. The intensity of his anguish.

Six months. Tina was despondent for six months. That would have meant that Newt too, was miserable for the same length of time.

Know that means I'll have to leave

Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

Now that Achilles understood the magnitude of Newt’s sacrifice, he needed to talk to the man. To assure the Brit that they can and will remain friends. He had missed the magizoologist. And Rachel too.

He tucked the picture back into his pocket, and tore up the written note.

Achilles would stay. He would stay for Tina, allow her to sort out her thoughts properly. He would stay for Newt, and made sure that the man would be happy.

For if Newt was happy, Tina would be.

And all he wanted, was for Tina to be happy.

So I'll go, I'll go

Sinking into the bed, Achilles allowed his body to relax. This was good. After staking out a place, fighting off acolytes, filing reports, taking a transatlantic portkey, heading to St Mungo’s, the break up, a quiet walk… Achilles was exhausted.

A quick nap, and then he’d have to face Tina later. As a friend. A coworker.

The time to leave will come.

But first, he had matters to attend to.

Was he contented? He ought to be. He had made a decision that would make Tina free.

Then what was this on his face? It made his eyes sore and nose drip. He sniffled.

Achilles covered his eyes with his forearm, the other hand resting on top of that forearm. He clenched his teeth, shuddering as a sob escaped from his lips.

“We were happy… Right?”

Another sob.

And he allowed the floodgates to open, to mourn for his feelings.

Time will heal his heart.

I will go, go, go