Newt didn’t know why he decided to show Tina the inside of his case.
Maybe it was the fact that they were both looking for the lost Niffler again (where did it even keep going?) when usually Newt did it alone; or maybe it was because, after multiple adventures, Newt finally felt like he could trust her. Either way, she would be the first person, other than himself, to ever see the inside of the case.
Newt was very careful with who he let near his creatures. They were gentle, delicate souls that needed protection and care, and Newt knew first hand how dangerous humans, and even other wizards, could be - so he was surprised when he began to descend into the case, Niffler in hand, and looked over his shoulder with a quiet, “Would you like to come see?” before continuing his descent without a second glance back.
Heart pounding, Newt skillfully dropped to the floor of his lab, clutching the recently recovered Niffler to his chest. He didn’t want to look back at Tina to see whether or not she was following - he was scared of what look he might see on her face.
Would she be disgusted? Confused, maybe? Or perhaps she would realize Newt just wasn’t worth her time. After an entire week of finding destroyed shop display cases and chasing trails to dead ends, they had finally found the Niffler. Tina had no obligation to stay any longer - and, really, Newt would be surprised if she did-
Newt was startled out of his thoughts by feet landing on the floor behind him. Still scared to see her face, Newt looked out of his peripherals and saw the beautiful bob-cut of Tina Goldstein. Unable to bite back the small smile on his face, Newt began to proceed through his little sanctuary, trying to forget about the woman following behind him. Right now, he had to focus on his creatures, and if she suddenly wanted to turn around and leave, Newt wouldn’t stop her. It wouldn’t be the first time.
It was considerably easy to forget Tina existed, as soon as Newt caught sight of all his creatures. He had came down into his sanctuary earlier that morning while Tina was still asleep to feed and take care of them, so now he could simply walk through and marvel at all the unique species the world had to offer - at all the unique species he got to take care of. It was truly a gift.
A Murtlap scampered around Newt’s legs as he took his first few steps through the constantly changing habitats and climates, and he smiled down at the little creature before it scurried somewhere behind him. He heard Tina give a little yelp, and he realized this should be concerning, though all he could do was give a gleeful smile as he turned and watched it leap up around her calves.
“That’s a Murtlap,” he called out to her, walking slowly backwards. She met his eyes with a startled expression, scared to move for fear of hurting the creature. “Very quick and enthusiastic, but harmless.”
He finally met her eyes with a small smile, and she looked carefully down at the Murtlap that was now scampering away before looking back up at him with an incredulous expression on her face. She moved her attention to the other parts of the sanctuary, mainly up to the ceiling at the constantly-changing climates, and Newt looked away, face warm.
She likes my creatures.
Paws scraping against Newt’s chest reminded him of why he was really here.
“Alright, calm down, you little bugger,” he chuckled, adjusting his grip on the creature as he led the way towards the Niffler’s burrow. He had wanted to take the long way around, maybe show Tina some more of his creatures, but he guessed he could always show her after he put the Niffler back.
If she still even wants to see them , Newt thought sadly to himself - but he shook his head. His creatures came first.
He finally reached the Niffler’s small corner of the sanctuary, a burrow hidden deep in the dirt. Slowly, he knelt down beside it and let the Niffler hop out of his hands and scamper down the hole. He watched it disappear from view, and was still watching the hole long after he couldn’t see the creature any longer.
He had heard Tina’s quiet footsteps following him this entire time, but he was always too nervous to look back. Now, though, it was silent, and Newt was just about to wonder whether she had gone back to the surface when he felt her presence beside him.
Newt looked to his right, feeling nervously hopeful. He saw Tina looking back at him with an awed expression on her face, and he bit back a smile as they both turned to look down the burrow.
“That’s where it lives?” she asked, the nearby Thunderbird making Newt strain to clearly make out her words.
“Yes,” he nodded, though he wasn’t even sure if Tina was looking at him to see it. “They like shiny things. Um, burrowing underground and looking for treasure.”
“And is there treasure under there?” Tina’s voice was bright, full of awe and wonder, and Newt was suddenly overcome with delight that he had invited her.
“You could say,” Newt smiled to himself. “I bury coins down there sometimes.” He looked up at Tina hopefully, and smiled when he saw how she looked at him, her eyes exceptionally bright, the corners of her mouth turned up in a gleeful smile. “You - you know,” Newt stuttered, looking away, “when I have some to spare.”
“That’s very sweet.” Tina stood, looking around at the rest of the habitats. Newt watched her laugh in surprise as a Mooncalf ran by her to join its friends on a nearby hill, and she looked back at Newt, a look of delight clear on her face.
“Can I…?” Her voice trailed off as she pointed behind her in the direction the Mooncalf had ran. Newt was quick to nod his head.
“Yes, yeah.” He stood to join her as she walked slowly towards the group of Mooncalves. They shied away as soon as they saw her coming, and Newt saw her deflate as she halted her approach. He held out a steady hand just in front of her arm, but not touching, as he crept forward slowly. She watched him go, eyes wide.
“Mum’s here,” he called quietly, and he saw the first few heads turn to look hopefully at him. Newt felt Tina’s eyes on his back, and he looked over his shoulder, meeting her eyes to share a hopeful glance.
“You’re alright,” he called out to the creatures as he held out a gentle hand, beckoning the herd forwards. Slowly, they trickled towards him, and soon he was engulfed in a pile of the fluffy creatures. He reached a hand out to Tina, beckoning her forwards slowly, as he looked somewhere over her shoulder rather than at her face, eye contact coming a bit harder now that they were having a more intimate moment.
Tina took a tentative step forwards, freezing whenever a Mooncalf looked her way, but they simply continued crowding around Newt. They seemed to know she was coming without seeing her, and the Mooncalves cleared a path for her to join Newt in the center of their huddle.
Newt met her eyes, smiling wide. She was doing the same.
The Mooncalves pressed in closer, and Tina began to be pressed lightly against Newt’s side. The man jumped at the sudden contact and stepped away, the Mooncalves taking a few steps back to accommodate the sudden action.
“S-sorry,” he stuttered, looking down at the floor. Tina just shook her head, smiling softly.
“No, that’s okay,” she whispered comfortingly as Newt peeked up at her from beneath his lashes. She didn’t know why Newt had suddenly jumped away. Maybe it was an issue with physical contact.
Alright, then. She just wouldn’t touch him.
Suddenly, a change in atmosphere above her made Tina look up, Newt following suit. Shining like lights were what looked like glowing bubbles, casting a warm glow on the scene below.
Tina looked back down at Newt, eyes wide. Behind him, the large eyes of the Mooncalves had reflections of the mysterious source in them - and Newt himself, his eyes were practically filled with the light gold glow as he looked up, smiling. Tina wanted to laugh at the pure joy on his face.
“What are they?” she asked quietly, bringing Newt’s attention back down to her - but not for long. He tilted his head back to stare at the lights above them as he answered.
“Glow Bugs,” he said simply, and left it at that. Tina wanted to ask for more of an explanation, but she suspected she’d be okay without knowing the answer. She simply looked up at the creatures, awe filling her eyes as she thought of all Newt had done. Collecting these creatures, building this sanctuary, caring for the creatures as if they were his kids - he even referred to himself as Mum .
The Mooncalves began to gravitate away from the pair, retreating back to their hill, finally bringing Newt’s attention away from the Glow Bugs. His eyes kept looking upwards, as if he could watch them all day - but he didn’t look necessarily sad to be leaving them now. Instead, there was a certain gleam to his eyes, like he had an idea.
“Come with me,” he said, a small smile playing on his lips as he turned and continued to lead the way through the sanctuary. “I want to show you something.”
Tina beamed and took a few quick steps to match his pace as they passed by different climates, unique habitats, and creatures she had no idea even existed. She caught Newt looking at her multiple times during their journey, but he looked away every single time. Tina wanted to tell him, It’s okay, you don’t have to be afraid of me , but she knew actions spoke louder than words. Until he realized that for himself, Tina would make sure he felt as comfortable with her as he possibly could.
Newt finally brought Tina to stop beside a spherical-looking nest made of roots, branches curling around the outside. Tina readjusted her position so she could actually see what was on the inside, and she sighed in wonder when she did.
There were four snake-like creatures inside, their skin shades of blue and green. Their orange eyes looked up to Newt, calling to him, and he smiled as he leaned over, hands cupped. The one nearest slithered in and he stood back up, staring down at it with clear admiration.
“He’s an Occamy,” he explained, staring down at the creature in his hands before holding it out to her. “Would you like to hold him?”
Tina smiled wide as she nodded vigorously. “Very much.”
Newt smiled softly as Tina cupped her hands like his, unsure of what she was doing. Newt didn’t correct her, though, so she figured she was doing alright. Tina was aware of how close her hands were to Newt’s, making sure to hold them just close enough to let the Occamy slither over, but not enough to make contact. She didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable in any way.
The Occamy moved over to her hands and wrapped itself once, twice, thrice around her wrists, and she beamed down at it as it lifted its head to look up at her. The Occamy was cold and slick, but not necessarily uncomfortable - she just relished in the feeling of having this experience, of being able to hold such a wondrous creature.
Tina noticed Newt watching her, smiling, and she wanted to meet his gaze to smile back, but she knew he would look away. Instead, she gently lifted a finger to stroke it along the soft back of the snake-like creature.
Suddenly, the Occamy turned in a way Tina didn’t think it was able to and nipped at her fingers.
“Oh, don’t - don’t pet him,” Newt explained sheepishly, the corners of his mouth turning up in a smile - though, Tina knew he wasn’t laughing at her . Once again, she marvelled at how much he cared for his creatures. (She probably would’ve been more impressed if not for the dull throb faintly creeping up her fingertips.)
“Occamys learn to defend themselves at a young age.”
Forgetting her rule from ten seconds ago, Tina lifted her head to look at Newt and let out an amused chuckle. Just as she remembered and was about to look away, Newt met her eyes without hesitation and smiled widely in return.
Tina held his gaze, staring into his eyes as he looked into hers. They were a beautiful shade of light brown she had never seen this clearly before. It matched his hair colour almost perfectly, the soft, warm colours an exact embodiment of his personality - of his caring, gentle soul that seemed to always give, never running out.
Newt suddenly cleared his throat, his eyes finding the ground as he cupped his hands and offered them, once again, out to Tina. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling like an idiot as she transferred the Occamy back over to him, and he slowly lowered it back into the nest.
“Thank you,” she said gratefully as he stood back up, and he looked back at her for the briefest of moments before looking back down at his Occamys - and this time, Tina was the one watching him .
Tina didn’t know where she stood with Newt. She didn’t know if she was an acquaintance, a friend, or something more - but it didn’t matter. Any time she got to spend with Newt was enough for her, no matter the title she held.