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When The Bough Breaks

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When Tina refuses her favourite drink during a celebratory night out, Newt doesn’t think anything of it. Just Tina being a health conscious and altogether conscientious Auror. He doesn’t blink when she turns her nose up at an odour no one else could quite smell and he shrugs when she finches at Dougal jumping up on her excitedly once they arrive home in the wee hours of the morning.

It’s only when he’s awoken later by sounds of her wretching in the en suite that he puts two and two together.

“Why haven’t you told me?”

Tina is brushing her teeth when she shrugs, glancing back at him in the mirror. “There’s no point when I know what you’ll say.”

“And what is that?”

“Get rid of it.” She drops her toothbrush down into its holder far harder than it deserved. The resentment is etched on her words and it stings, Picket withdrawing into his unruly mop of hair. Whilst he had disregarded other telltale signs, her drastic shift in mood was something he had noticed, chiefly because he was frequently on the receiving end of it - something that now made all the sense in the world. The back of his head still ached from the jinxed teacup she’d propelled in his general direction the previous night.

Newt sighs, rubbing at said tender spot. “Tina, you can’t seriously be considering anything else.” But of course she was. “You know you couldn’t go through with adoption,” because he knows his Tina and he knows her heart. She’d take one look at that baby and fall in love.

She turns to look at him with those eyes that could bring even the highest of men to their knees. The eyes he just knows their child will inherit and make him forget to breathe. And to be true, he wouldn’t be able to sign those papers either.

“Who said abortion is any easier?” She leans back against the sink, her arms folded under her breasts. It’s her stance of relaxed defiance; an indication that tells Newt she won’t give in so easily. It makes him wonder just how long she’d known about this development; how recent and just how much she’d thought about it, considered the possibilities, weighed their options and, somewhere along the way, gotten herself attached. How much longer still would she have kept it from him? Until she was in labour?

If only he’d paid more attention to the subtle ways in which she was changing. Perhaps then he might’ve been able to dissuade her from committing herself to a future that could never be, however often a small child with freckled skin and the darkest eyes frequented his dreams.

“Tina, please,” he implores, hating himself for asking her to do this.

She has unfolded her arms now and is standing before him, her hands on his chest, her eyes pleading with hope and it takes all his strength not to touch her in all the ways that led to their current predicament. “No one needs to know it’s yours. No one but us.” She is almost pleading now and it hurts him that she feels she must.

It could work and he can tell she has pondered it at length - she was nothing if not fastidious. If only she’d apply her strategic impassiveness to this too.

Irregardless, Newt knows something Tina doesn’t and for any of their efforts to hide the child’s true paternity, the enemy would know.

And Newt refused to put Tina and any child of theirs in Grindelwald’s sights.

“What about when the child is old enough to wonder? Are you going tell him that your elusive friend who lives in a case because he faked his own death is his father?” He doesn’t tell her he wants to be known as ‘Papa’ from the start because he is surprised by it himself. Not to mention that it’s simply not realistic and if she wasn’t going to be, it was his responsibility to shoulder that burden. He could not let his mind wander to that which she’d already given her heart.

“We’ll cross that bridge when w-“

“The bridge was burned the moment we decided to sleep together,” he interrupts, frustrated. It sounds harsh but it was true. It was futile to avoid eventualities and this, he realises, was one of them. They hadn’t exactly been careful. She hadn’t been taking any preventative potion and he hadn't kept a tight rein on his inhibitions. 

Still, he couldn’t find it in himself to regret any of it. Though, he omits that from the conversation as well.

“We are not doing this. We can’t.” She had to accept that. End of discussion

The wounded flare in her eyes however, said otherwise. “This is not your decision, Newt.”

With a wave of her hand, Tina slams the door in his face and he’s left with a sore nose to accompany the headache.

He leans back against the door and slides down onto the floor. The ever watchful demiguise joins him shortly after, his small paw pressed to the door, blue eyes flashing.

”if only you could tell me what you see,” Newt sighs, followed by a wince when he hears Tina vomit again.

...

Two weeks pass with no further mention of the elephant in the room and it served no effort to defuse the tension surrounding it. Contrarily, it only seemed to grow with the gradual swell of Tina’s belly.

No one at the ministry has commented thus far but Newt knows people are starting to suspect. It was difficult not to notice when she insisted on wearing her regular form fitting clothing at the office. 

Thankfully his contacts at the Daily Prophet were able to avert the wandering eyes of the all too-eager reporters, thirsty for the a story which may lead to questions about himself and Tina. Best his name was kept out of the papers entirely, lest they attract unsavoury attention.

Although he was among those who made no remarks, he thinks she does it to draw not their attention but his, to the small but conspicuous change in her body - the body he knows better than his own - to urge some paternal need or longing in him.

He wishes he could say it wasn’t working.

A couple days after their initial argument at the threshold of the en suite, she’d left a folder in his shed pertaining to MACUSA’’s correspondence with the Ministry in all things operation ‘Dead Scamander’. Tucked gently into the folds between two pages was the grainy, obscured, black and white square that would begin to destabilise any and all grievances he had on the subject.

He stares at it longer than he ought to before securing it in the desk drawer to his right, among half-empty bottles he throws out that very same evening by a sudden compulsion to do better; to be better.

It's hidden beneath the first photo of Tina he’d cut out of an early issue in ‘27, alongside a jewel encrusted rattle Niffler had retrieved from his pouch and gifted him. 

Much like with said animated sonograph, Newt would find his gaze drifting toward Tina’s middle whenever his guard slipped in the days to follow. He hates himself for forcing her to go it alone for the past few weeks and decides one morning of many that, like everything else, that enough was enough - they were in it together.

They could make it work. They deserved that much. It was worth the risk.

He calls to her from his shed into her office, the lid of his case slightly ajar to let her know what he’d decided when a blonde, high-heeled vagrant stumbles in.

Turns out it’s her long since disowned sister Queenie, whose sudden reappearance starts with an emotional battle over lost time and ends with Tina on the receiving end of the Cruciatus Curse.

She’s in shock and he’s pouring dittany onto the bloodied wounds, telling her she’s gonna be okay and he’ll get them both through it.

“Please,” he implores to what remained of Queenie’s love for her sister to let them disapparate to St. Mungo’s. “She’s pregnant.”

Grindelwald seems genuinely remorseful in his apology that follows but he still doesn’t let them go. For all Newt's efforts to stop the bleeding, Tina's clothes grow stained and heavy against his hands as she gradually weakens in his arms. The wounds would not close.

“Newt,” she barely manages, “the baby...”

“I know, Tina. You’re gonna be okay, just trust me. I’ve got you, Tina”

He hears his brother’s confusion behind him, Credence holding a shaking wand to his throat, “baby? What baby?” but he ignores it. Tina needs him.

The cavalry of aurors eventually arrives and as soon as Grindelwald has left with Queenie, Credence and the knowledge of his continued existence, Newt shoves his brother out of the way and gathers Tina up in his arms. He’d have carried her into the hospital if the healers hadn’t got to her first.

As he fills in her details on the medical registration form, his hand shakes when he checks the box marked ‘pregnant’. Thankfully, Theseus is too busy writing an owl to their respective ministry’s regarding the attack. What was to be done now that Grindelwald knew he was alive? Would Dumbledore be able to break the blood pact without the intel he gathered as his spy? Was there any chance of defeating the enemy? Did any of it matter whilst Tina lay battered and blooded; their baby teetering on the edge of birth and death...

Newt’s thoughts drift off.

“Goldstein?” The chief healer announces hours later.

Theseus is out of his seat quickly but Newt is faster. “How is she?”

“She’ll recover.” He feels the relief start to overwhelm him but he couldn’t quite breathe just yet: “And the baby?”

“Are you the father?”

He can feel Theseus’s eyes on him and he settles for “i’m her friend” instead.

He hears the words “I’m very sorry,” and his heart plummets in his chest.

The healer tells them in which room they could find her but he doesn’t hear it. His world had stopped spinning.

He feels a firm hand on his shoulder, lurching him back to reality. “Don’t worry, Newt I’ll break the news to her...”

Newt shrugs his brother off, shaking his head. She should hear it from no one but him.

The next day, when Newt returns to her side after bathing and changing out of his bloodied clothes, he hopes she’ll have finally woken up but he dreads having to face her all the same. He knows she’ll be broken by this just as he knows she’ll blame him for having caused it.

She tells him she doesn’t want to see him and asks him to leave. She’d never before looked at him with such pure distrust and indifference. It feels far worse than anything they’d endured since Grindelwald declared war on Muggles and her sister and Credence both aligned theirselves with him. Worse still than when they were forced to fake his death and forego seeing each other for over a year.

“I wanted that baby too, Tina.” But of course she doesn’t believe him - he never got the chance to tell her. It sickens him to know that she thinks he wanted nothing to do with it. That he didn’t yearn for her each night they slept with a wall between them. That he didn’t imagine feeling their child beneath her skin, sharing in the wonder that was the life they created together. That he didn’t love the child that could’ve been if he had protected her better.

Later that night, he watches as she prepares to leave London, crying as she entered the hearth to floo back to New York. She doesn’t see that he is crying too.

He wants to run into the flames and follow her, make his penance and, if she should let him, hold her so that they might grieve together. He knows he doesn’t deserve to share that with her, but he wants for it nonetheless. He wants her to stay with him.

The green flames erupt within the fireplace and leaves behind a foul aftertaste of despair and regret in the ash that remained.

Newt sinks to his knees and sobs, choking on his pain.

Chapter Text

He writes to her every other day since she left and although silence is always the answer, it doesn’t deter him from trying again when the owl returns with no reply.

At night, after his feeding rounds, when he’s left alone with his thoughts, reaching into his side drawer for what remained of some forgotten fire whisky, throwing back its contents, he’ll reach for the newspaper cut out just to watch her smile. Often five or six times in a row. During the nights he’s so far gone, he’ll write another again on the seventh.

“I miss you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Forgive me.”

 “I love you.”

“Come back to me.”

He knows she’ll be able to detect the extra gulp of alcohol in the crack and slur of his words, the careless smudges of ink surrounding a vaguely intelligible lament. Part of him hopes she does, that she’ll care enough about him to respond.

She doesn’t.

Once her pigeonhole at the Ministry had stopped taking owls altogether, he knew she wasn't coming back anytime soon.

Theseus tells him he gets bimonthly reports from her regarding their continued investigative correspondence at MACUSA. When Newt asks whether or not Tina has mentioned him, the pity in his brother’s eyes answers before he can voice the words.

He remembers she’d recalled to him her own experience with a similar situation two years previously – waiting, hoping for a letter that had apparently never been sent.

 

Two years ago…

Theseus’s head throbbed from watching Tina pace relentless between his office and hers, adjoined as they were while she served as MACUSA’s Auror ambassador to Britain.

“Tina, please...” he started, squeezing his eyes shut as he so often did in his brother’s presence. “The owl won’t arrive any faster than it’s going to.”

Tina huffed in response, the anxiety rendering her mute.

He couldn’t necessarily blame her. After all they’d been waiting two days for word from Newt or Dumbledore regarding their next move against Grindelwald. The decision they would make would alter their lives for the foreseeable future. It would mean the difference between success or defeat in the war to come.

If time was of the essence, as Dumbledore often liked to remind them, Tina thought they could at least show some small essence of punctuality. Her nerves wound tighter the longer they waited.

Eventually, a small owl carrying an over large scroll whizzed through Tina’s office, hooting triumphantly at having successfully delivered his load.

“I’ll get that,” Theseus offered before Tina broke the wax seal and began to read. 

Theseus watched her face for any indication as to what the letter contained. As it was, her Auror training taught her to remain impassive when emotion threatened to overtake reason. As such, he was left waiting until she handed the parchment to him.

She did so lifelessly.

 

Dear Miss Goldstein and Mr Scamander 

I’ve taken it upon myself to inform you that our mutual friend will be unable to write for quite some time due to a mission he is undertaking on my behalf. Were I to divulge the nature of said mission to either of you, I would not only be risking your lives but disobeying his request that you both remain detached from any and all matters pertaining to his quest. 

For now, and for an indefinite period of time, I ask that you stick to the plan and continue your lives as normal, sans our friend. 

Forever in your debt,

A.P.W.B.D

P.S. He sends his love and his promise to return this time.

 

Although it’s a promise Tina knows is unlike the first he’d made on the docks in the December of ’26, she fears that, despite his conviction, he won’t be able to keep this one either. 

Theseus looks over at Tina, staring down at her empty hands, recalling the last time she touched freckled skin and regretted not committing how it felt to memory.

“He’s not dead, Tina.” As far as the world knew, Newt Scamander had perished in an altercation with one of Grindelwald’s followers. In reality, Dumbledore had laid the foundations for an opportunity to gain intelligence from within the enemy’s ranks, in which Newt assumed the identity of the dark wizard who had died during his attack. He was alive and doing his part. Tina needed to remember that.

“He might as well be.”

In the weeks and months to follow, the deeper he seemed to be buried. No coded message from Newt came to quell the ache within her. No update from Dumbledore about their ‘mutual friend’ arrived to dispel any nightmare that plagued her.

Her sister and her lover were gone.

She was alone, suspended hopelessly in a world fraught with a constant impending doom.

Present day

 

That separation, however, was not caused by Tina and she had been able to find solace in the promise of his return. Newt, on the other hand, was afforded no such assurance. He didn’t deserve it.

Seven months after her return to New York however, Theseus interrupts him during a secret meeting with Dumbledore that had run late into the evening. He notes the urgency on Theseus’ face and immediately excuses himself.

“She’s back in London,” he tells his little brother, handing over a small piece of parchment, upon which an address and other curious details were scrawled.

“Make my excuses,” it’s more of a grateful request than it sounded as he dashes for the nearest alley to disapparate. Dumbledore would understand.

He soon discovers that the address was an upscale venue in the West End. A charitable organisation hosting a contemporary masquerade ball for high profile investors and it just so happens, MACUSA’s department of international affairs had reached out to Tina; the presentable and pristine image of the American aurors to attend and represent their country.

Why she hadn’t informed him of this wasn’t difficult to guess. With Tina by his side, the stable image they presented was the saving grace of his reputation, particularly following the scandal of him faking his own death. Alone and adrift however, he served the cause better locked away in his case with his creatures.

There was also the larger, considerably more painful issue that urged her to cut all contact with him. The baby they mourned separately.

The event was in full-swing once he’d arrived in appropriate attire, a matte Venetian mask in black, on loan from his brother, seemed the only suitable choice for him and although he was thankful he would likely go unrecognised, it only made finding Tina that much more difficult.

There was a balcony overlooking the ballroom, from which he’d have a good vantage point if he were to find his auror before the night’s end. He seemed to have scanned the room thrice over with no sign of her until his eyes double take at the slender figure he knew better than any other. She was taller than most women and she’d chosen to wear a particularly captivating deep blue and golden number with a matching ornate mask. As such, even if he hadn’t been looking; even though he shouldn’t have been, he’d have noticed her anyway.

The large expanse of the ballroom seemed to blur out of focus around her. The music became a soft murmur in the distance. It’s when her back stiffens and she turns slowly in his direction, Newt thinks that perhaps all else faded around him too.

They lock eyes and although he’s too far to see the look in hers, he knows she’s not happy to see him.

Of course she isn’t, you idiot.

She sets her drink down atop the nearest table, makes her excuses to those she had been conversing with and retreats into a darkened corner of the room.

Newt follows and it leads him into a secluded salon, lit only by the dancing lights from the party, diffused by the sheer curtain at the threshold.

“Tina?”

“Mr. Scamander.” Naturally, he sighs. 

She’s seated in the far corner, the few small jewels on her mask divulging her position in the dark.

“Come out, I want see you.” He needs to.

“Why are you here?”

She has got to be joking. “Merlin’s beard, Tina! You’ve been gone for months, you left me without so much as a by your leave.” He wants to tell her that although Grindelwald’s looming shadow had passed for the time being, life without her was far more difficult than any harrowing task Dumbledore expected of him. He wants to tell her he’d endure the latter again if it meant she never leaves. 

“So?” He can hear the shrug of indifference in her voice and it infuriates him. But more than that, it scares him. This doesn’t sound like her; his Tina.

“So, Tina, I haven’t heard from you in all that time. I love you - we’re a family.”

He’s closer to her now and hears her scoff. It was quite the testimonial coming from him. “I’m not so sure.” 

Had she read any of his letters? The half-soaked, ink-stained pleas in which he reverberated his love for her and the wish to take it all back, to do things differently. To be honest and tell her he wanted the baby just as much as she did. That his fear for her safety had muddled his vision and blinded him to the possibility of a brighter future. A future he hoped was not lost to them, if she should have the heart to trust him again – to believe every smudged word he sent across the sea.

“I missed you.” Although the masks obscured their faces, he can feel her heady breath against his skin, as if to say “I see you” - he couldn’t hide from her and for once, he’s glad of it. She’ll know that, for all his lies, his sincerity rings true here.

“Prove it.” It’s a challenge. One she doesn’t expect him to rise to. He detects a familiar note in her voice, one he is surprised to hear tonight of all nights. But it spoke volumes. 

She always was terribly contrary. And he didn’t have the sense to question it at that moment, too eager to feel her touch again, heedless of the inevitable regret she might feel.

For the first time in the better part of a year, he’s close enough to see the brown that is so exclusive to her; his anchor to reality leering at him now with those come hither eyes.

She needn’t ask him twice.

Before she can catch her breath , there’s a hand on the nape of her neck and another splayed against the bare skin of her back as his mouth moves to plunder hers, crushing their lithe bodies together, finally and at last.

The chain around his chest loosens, the tension throughout his body evaporating in a heated frenzy as he kisses her, long and deep. It’s gentle and indulgent and familiar. It’s selfish of him but he indulges in every second of it. He was so sure he’d forgotten the feeling in those nights he spent watching her photo move longingly, but as her lips open to accommodate his tongue and her hands push at his clothing, it feels natural in a way nothing had felt for a very long time.

Ferocity made her insatiable and it only served to urge him on. The hand on her neck reaches up into her hair, freeing it from its gilded confines. It’s no effort to lift her against the nearest wall, gathering her dress up at her waist and thrusting deep inside her.

Tina braces her shoulders against the wall, grinding down to engulf him further with each snap of his hips. On the edge of his senses are her breathy moans. Her nails dig into his shoulder and scalp, forcing a furious pace he could barely maintain when tension starts to swell at the base of his spine. Her fingers turn to claws as she climaxes around him, her inner walls gripping him with a vice-like intensity until he too follows her over that familiar, natural precipice.

Newt lifts his head from the pulse point at her throat and he swears he could see her smile in the soft gloom. He hopes that she feels as whole as he does in that moment.

Then he notices her tears and the pain within them. It was never going to be that easy.

“You changed your hair,” he notes when his hand finds its way back into the dark strands so unlike his own.

“It’s not all that’s changed.” There’s that tone of indifference in her voice again. Though now he can feel the quickened beating of her heart between their bodies, dispelling any doubts he had regarding how she cared for him still.

For all her bravado and in spite of herself, she missed him too.

“Come home with me?” He knows its bold and that he sounds needy, imploring her like this. He doesn't care. He was never too proud to admit the truth.

With his hand on her right hip, his thumb slides over the slightly raised skin of her abdomen, reminding him that she deserves only honesty from him now.

Wiping at her wet cheeks, Tina disentangles herself from him. Newt’s suit jacket and dress shirt were shoved aside for their excursion in the dark and as such, were no more wrinkled than they had been. Her dress however, was creased in incriminating ways.

Their eyes meet and it seems to him, in that subtle afterglow of their love-making, she considers it. Although, no sooner has her own hand drifted toward the scarred skin of her belly and she stops herself, reminded of why she’d left him in the first place: “Good night, Newt.”

He's forced to watch her walk away this time.

The next day when he steps out of the elevator onto the foyer of his brother’s department, Theseus informs him that he could take the rest of the week off – he had more important things to attend to.

"What’s this about?" and his answer comes not from his brother, but from the owl by the pigeonhole assigned to Tina.

Chapter Text

What were you thinking?! Tina scolds herself, tearing off her mask and slamming it down on the nearest countertop. Letting him touch you like that! Touching him like you missed him! “Idiot!” She exclaims with a deep groan, one hand palming her forehead upon which beads of sweat remained from her excursion in the dark.

Her fingers drift down to the right side of her face, stroking the skin left tingling from the memory of his mouth. It transports her to a time on the quay in Manhattan, when timid eyes found her own, reaching out to caress the skin at her ear and promising to return with his first edition. Tina blinks as she feels the tears start to swell once more. This reminder was too sweet to acknowledge and she curses herself again for indulging in it.

“Who does he think he is anyway,” she murmurs into the empty room, “following me like that.”

Of course his brother had been the culprit, ever hopeful as he had been in his letters in which he implored her to return for love of his younger brother. Little did he know any love she might’ve felt for Newt had been forever eclipsed and rendered moot by the pain encompassing her heart. The ache that lingered still due to his part in it.

She began to undress, attempting to ignore the sensitivity of the areas of skin to which he’d paid particularly close attention. No, she refused to afford it any further thought. Her impulses had been the result of pure basal instinct and were not, as the Scamander brothers would have themselves believe, born out of a desperate need to love and be loved in return by the only man she’d once deemed worthy. The one her battered and bruised soul called out to since separating from its other seven months ago.

Instinct, she decides, and nothing more. How could there be? There was nothing left. It was gone. 

With her night clothes having replaced the shimmering ball gown she decides now was far too revealing after all, Tina slumps down onto the edge of the mattress, groaning again in frustration. If only she could convince herself. Perhaps she might’ve believed it if her heart hadn’t bellowed the dishonesty in it when she buried her hands in his hair as he throbbed deep inside her. She couldn't deny that she hadn’t felt quite so whole in months.

She sighs heavily, the tension - the sex - weighing her body down. She needed sleep and the peaceful silence that slumber would bring.

“Nox,” she utters toward the lamp the landlord had inconveniently placed across the room, opposite the bed. The light extinguishes without the aid of her wand and her eyes welcome the lulling embrace of night.

When she meets Theseus the next morning at the Ministry, she doesn’t know whether to hex or throttle him as he beamed brightly at her across the emerald fire.

“Welcome back, Auror Goldstein.” His greeting is as genuine as the soft smile on his face, though it was asking to be wiped off in true no-maj style. It makes her think of Jacob and if it had been thoughtless of her to not invite him to join in her London.

A year had passed since he had seen his friend and Tina knows, without having to ask, that Newt misses him too. The countless letters he’d sent her way in the past several months had often asked after the baker himself. Partially, Tina suspects, in an effort to compel her to reply.

With the crippling heartache and what small measure of pride she had left, she’d neglected any such response and instead offered Newt’s address to Jacob so that the two men might write one another without her feeling akin to some glorified messenger owl.

“Morning,” she grumble, falling into step beside Theseus as he leads the way to their offices.

“You’ll find everything as you left it,” he tells her, turning a corner, his perfectly waxed shoes squeaking slightly against the black-tiled floor. “You’ll be receiving an owl from Mr. Graves shortly. He and President Picquery have devised a plan of action with myself and the Minster now that you’re reinstated as ambassador.” 

They arrive at the door of her office upon which her full name and job title was engraved. The crack in the distressed glass behind the E of her middle name remained, thrusting the memory of the night she’d been ambushed by Grindelwald, Credence and, regrettably, her own sister upon her.

Blessedly, she didn’t remember much from that night, owing to the effects of the torture curse. She could not however, forget the mass of blood pooling around her. So much blood - too much of it to obscure the memory of the agony that followed.

Theseus opens the door for her, snapping her back to reality before the dark ruminations overtake her. “You still haven’t told me why I’ve been sent back,” Tina adds, stepping over the threshold into her home away from New York she hadn’t realised she missed until that moment. Any trace of the horror she’d endured within was gone, leaving in its wake something only slightly foul; something too small to measure.

It was a relief, given she’d be spending an extended period of time there. For what, she waited for Theseus to divulge.

“The owl will explain... in part.”

“And the rest?” She is wary and knows he can sense it. She has every right to be.

“Patience, Tina.” He advises as he reaches the door separating their offices and swinging it open, giving her a view of the corridor beyond, at the end of which were the pigeonholes assigned to each ministry worker in that department. “I realise you don’t do terribly well with waiting, but you’ll find plenty to keep yourself occupied in the meanwhile.” He smirks and she could’ve sworn she saw the flash of a wink on its tail before he walks away.

She thinks nothing of it until she’s crossing her office to shut the door he’d annoyingly left ajar, and then she realises where the impetuous glint in Theseus’s eye had come from. 

Past his office and down the corridor, she sees him advance on none other than the younger of the Scamander brothers who had just stepped off the elevator, head low and shoulders hunched, but his left leg leading his right as always.

“Damn you, Theseus.” She exhales and closes the door quickly before Newt could see her.

How was she to face him after her behaviour at the ball? Would he expect things to return to how they had been a year ago? Could she bear to hurt him as she pushed him away again? She groans and lets her weight pull her down into the chair by her desk, much as she’d deflated the night before. It’s all my fault. If only I kept my damn hands to myself!

But you missed him, reminded the nudge that felt an awful lot like her sister. And you know, deep down, it wasn’t his fault. He deserves better than this.

“Don’t read my mind,” she gently reprimands, more out of habit than anything else. 

Newt wasn’t the only person she missed.

To his credit, and Tina’s surprise, he hadn’t sought her out immediately. A few hours had ticked by and it wasn’t until twilight dwindled dim through the artificial windows that she heard the conspicuous, tentative knock on her office door.

She could see his finger trace the crack of the E as he waited for permission to enter.

It was her undoing.

“I’m a little busy,” lies Tina. She wasn’t ready to face him because she knows she isn’t strong enough to stop herself breaking down and falling into his arms. She doesn’t believe he is either.

“It’s just...” she hears him start, his voice wavering in his throat. “I mean I - I thought you’d want your owl.” The one from Graves she had been expecting, no doubt. Somewhere between thoughts of Queenie and Newt, she’d quite forgotten about it.

She considers her options a moment too long because Newt speaks again. “I’ll just slip it under the door, shall I?” And he’s already bending down to do so when Tina gets up and throws open the door faster than either of them expected.

“Hi.”

“Hello,” Newt smiles meekly, stealing glances up at her face every few seconds, but electing to use the unkempt curls of his fringe to hide behind. There came a chirp from inside his breast pocket and the head of the bowtruckle pops out. “Hi, Pickett,” Tina beams ever so slightly, her mood lifting significantly to see that he was still using Newt as his own personal wand-wood tree. She found comfort in the fact not everything had changed.

Pickett, contrary to Tina, was not especially delighted to meet again as he begun chirping away in great vehemence. Sounds she could only attribute to fury and great frustration.

“Now that’s enough of your cheek, Pickett,” berates Newt, opening up his pocket for Pickett to climb back into. “That was not Tina’s fault.” 

Tina looks back at him. “What wasn’t my fault?”

“Oh!” He chuckles awkwardly, his cheeks flushed, avoiding her eyes again. “Nothing. Nothing at all. Not to worry. You know what he’s like,” laughing again, hands shifting against his sides. He was feeling as nervous as she was.

She nods, humouring him. He does too and the silence feeds the tension wafting in the air around them.

“I’ve got your letter-” 

“Newt, about last night-”

They say simultaneously, both trying to break the silence. Their eyes meet and without speaking, they’re both recalling that moment in Paris, deep in the shadowed halls of the French Ministry’s records room, reconnecting after nine long months of rejected travel permits and unfortunate misunderstandings. 

The timing had been wrong then too.

Newt seems to have noticed Tina’s gaze had dropped, her expression sullen because he clears his throat and hands her the letter, “here you are.”

She takes it slowly, prolonging the moment she hadn’t wanted to begin in the first place. She could feel her inhibitions waning as they’d done so hastily in his presence the night before. Get it together, she urges herself, just tell him-

“Thank you.”

He’s hiding behind his hair again, eyes level with the locket hanging beneath her breast bone, though she could tell by the vacant gaze that he wasn't really seeing it.

“What were you about to say?” He asks, and when her brow furrows in confusion he adds, “about last night...”

The words are as heavy as they had been on her tongue, fringed with prudence and a wariness so as not to overstep.

“Yes.” Tina nods, straightening her back in a way that tells him she means business. “I wanted to apologise. It was crude and terribly reckless of me. I should not have encouraged it and I regr-”

“Please don’t,” Newt interjects.

“What?”

“I’m sorry...” he trails off clumsily, “what I mean to say is pl-please don’t regret it.”

Tina opens her mouth to speak but is interrupted again.

“Because I don’t.” He keeps his voice small, for fear of it breaking. “I don’t believe I could if I tried.” For all the timidity in the quake of his words, his gaze does not falter. Locking their eyes together so that she might understand the conviction with which he spoke. 

She does, and although she’d come close to telling him she regretted it, she was glad he didn’t let her finish. It would’ve been a lie. One of many she’d been telling herself over the better part of a year. The sincerity of the man before her was the reason she’d been unable to convince herself of any. Damn you, Newton.

He doesn’t move to say anything else, for which Tina is grateful. There was plenty more to discuss about their sudden fumble in the dark, none of which she was ready to open. He doesn’t insist because the terms are, as always, her own. 

She shook her head and inhaled, closing her eyes briefly before standing aside, beckoning him into her office. The conversation shifting.

He complies and hovers by the enchanted window, peering out at the view he knows isn’t real, deep underground as they were. Easier than looking her way, Tina mused - she often felt too real; too bright for him to look at for very long. 

“Where’s your case?” Tina inquires, leaning back on the edge of her table, unaccustomed to seeing him without it. She began mindlessly breaking the wax seal on Graves’s letter, unfolding the parchment to scan its contents.

“At home. Bunty insisted. I got back rather late - or very early this morning...” he was fumbling again. “In any case she feels I’m no good to the creatures dozing off during feeding time.”

“I dare say that’s on me,” Tina adds, her forehead creasing in confusion as she read and reread the words in front of her. They made little sense, which was surprising given her superior’s shrewd appetite for coherence.

“Not quite. Though I fear she is of the same opinion.”

“Oh?” It sounds absentminded but she hangs on his every word. Something he knows not to doubt.

“She has experience, you see,” he explains, braving the room with slow, measured steps, “with my frequent landing home in a stupor, barely escaping a splinching... after you left.”

“She knows about... us then?” The penultimate word in her question was difficult to push past the lump in her throat.

“It would seem in one of the worse nights, I blurted out everything.”

Tina’s head snaps up. What had he said? “You told your assistant about... our business? About what happened?” Surely not. She must’ve heard him wrongly.

The startled expression he sends her way tells him she hasn’t. “Tina...” 

“You told her why I left?” The letter is forgotten and she’s wondering whether he’d been drinking again.

Newt shakes his head, his hands have left his pockets and are out in front of him, defensively. “I did not intend it. It was a mistake. A very stupid one at that.”

“That is not an excuse, Newt!” She felt the anger rise within her, “it was not your information to share.”

A beat.

The betrayal Tina felt was now visible In the green of Newt’s eyes. “It was my baby too, Tina.” His voice was smaller than it had been, but no the meeker for it. “It hurt me to lose it just as much as it hurt you.”

She scoffs, hands on her hips as she stormed around her desk, placing it between them. “You had a pretty strange way of showing it.” She deliberately ignores the bittersweet warmth that rose at hearing him say "my baby".

His mouth falls open slightly, a breath choking him. “You did not give me the chance!” She couldn’t deny the truth of these words. She hadn’t wanted to see him during her stay in St Mungo’s and it was less than a day following her discharge that she returned to New York, leaving him and their life in London behind. Nowhere in that time had she braved a look at his face, upon which she’d undoubtedly have seen the sorrow etched onto his features, the same way they marred her own.

Before she could say anything more, Theseus came barging through the door that joined their offices. The door nearly knocking Newt unconscious were he a few centimetres closer.

The dejected shadow on his face told Tina he wishes it had.

“Am I interrupting?” Theseus asks, noting their expressions and the distance between them.

“No.”

Whoever said it, neither of them cared.

“You’re both such bad liars,” the eldest Auror stared indignantly. “Well whatever you two were fighting about will have to wait. I have urgent news that demands prompt action.”

Newt starts for the door, excusing himself from what seemed to pertain to Aurors and them alone.

“Stay, little brother. You’re involved in this too.”

Newt and Tina share the briefest of glances at one another, falling away equally as fast. What should this have to do with him?

“Theseus, what’s this all about?” demands Tina impatiently.

“Didn’t you read the owl Graves sent?”

She nods. “Understood it? Not in the slightest.”

Theseus reaches out for the parchment. “It’s why you’re here, Tina. Why you’ve been sent back to us at the Ministry,” he starts. “You see, we have been in contact with one of Grindelwald’s closest acolytes.” This earns a slight gasp from Newt. Theseus ignores the bewildered gape on his brother’s face and continues. “Who is, as we have just today confirmed - via a willing administration of Veritaserum - seeking amnesty.”

Tina’s countenance must invite some humour because Theseus’s chest lurched slightly with a chuckle. “It would appear that good old Gellert’s charm seems to be wearing off.” Baring the blood-purist tyrant to the harsh light of reality.

“Surely this person knows amnesty cannot be granted for free.” Newt offers into the conversation.

His brother nods. “Willing, she also is, to assist our side in whatever way she is able.” He concludes, pulling out a chair on the visitor’s side of Tina’s office and lighting a cigar with the end of his wand. “That’s where you both come in.”

Tina doesn’t hear the latter of his words, instead preoccupied with the former. “She? Who is it?”

Theseus seems to consider her for a moment, a loaded gesture that does not go unnoticed by Newt who subconsciously moves towards her.

“It’s your sister, Tina.” 

She blinks. 

“Queenie wants to come home.”

Chapter Text

Tina’s initial shock at Theseus’s revelation regarding her sister was such that she couldn’t settle to anything the next day as she, Newt and Theseus made their way to Scotland by way of the Hogwarts Express.

“Too far to apparate and too conspicuous to fly,” reasoned Theseus as he handed them their tickets hours earlier. Adding that to floo was also out of the question, owing to the fact that the network was being watched.

Tina couldn’t say she minded. The rolling glens and arching valleys of the Highlands were rich in the sunlight as though freshly watered, the pastel blue of the sky mirrored itself in the gleaming water of the Black Lake, and the trees of the Forbidden Forest ruffled gently in response to the slight breeze in the air. Autumn was upon them, and as such the castle would still be empty of all students on their summer holidays, for which Tina was silently grateful.

What had once been sheer delight in the presence of any child, was now replaced by a sharp pang of what could’ve been. Their child might’ve attended Hogwarts, sorted into his father’s house of loyalty and kindness, or perhaps Gryffindor to suit his mother’s aptitude for competitiveness and being stubborn to a fault. She remembered Newt relaying some of the Sorting Hat’s most memorable songs from his schooldays. It makes her lips quirk slightly and her heart lift, until the reality of it all came crashing back in a wave of melancholy.

Thankfully, the explicit, feverish atmosphere of Queenie’s startling change of heart drove all of those miseries momentarily from her mind, allowing her to focus solely on whatever Dumbledore might have planned for she and Newt. Why it involved both of them, Tina could barely hazard a guess. 

Theseus, however, seemed intent upon distracting her from any singular thought as he had, during the journey north from King’s Cross, developed a particularly irritating habit of glancing knowingly between Newt and herself who sat together but with a full body’s length between them. They had not so much as glanced at one another since their argument in her office the previous evening.

Newt was looking fixedly at the floor as she preoccupied her own eyes with the passing view outside the carriage. The entire train ride was a subdued affair, the tension thicker than the pollen drifting in the summer breeze, causing Newt to sniff occasionally. Theseus found it easy to ignore as he set his quill to some paperwork, all the while humming triumphantly.

“What’s put you in such a good mood?” Newt finally asks indignantly after what seemed like an eternity of the same endless tune, peering up through the curls in front of his eyes.

“Hmm?” Theseus responds innocently, “I don’t know what you mean.” But the smile he tried to hide gives him away.

There was silence in the cabin except for the scratch of quill to parchment and Newt’s fidgeting. Both sounds seemed deafening to Tina whose insides were turning hotly with irrational anger. Every small movement, cough, sniff or sigh the two men made irritated her. She realises the irritability boiling within her had only partly sprung from Newt’s alcohol induced carelessness. Rather it burned chiefly due to that intrepid little green monster rearing its ugly head, coiling within her stomach. 

She never felt her and Newt’s bond threatened by his assistant, but she was aware of the woman’s blatant feelings for her employer, dangling from her sleeve as they were, ringing as though a bell the Niffler struggled to steal from an equally assertive cat. The woman’s affections were just as loud.

It was a wonder Newt couldn’t hear them.

Tina had known within moments of meeting Bunty.

 

Three years ago...

Tina, Jacob and the Maledictus girl were ushered through the narrow entryway of Newt’s London townhouse in the small hours of the morning. Their host disappeared into the first door on the left Tina supposed led to the lounge, though she saw a single bed stuffed into the corner. Is that where he sleeps?

“Bunty?” She heard Newt call out. It sounded like the name of one of his creatures. Had they gotten loose while he’d been away in Paris?

Next, she heard a clang followed by shuffling from below which grew louder as the source of the sound approached.

Jacob must’ve seen the look of curiosity on her face as he leaned against the banister of the staircase, the lower most stair occupied by the quiet, stricken girl. “Bunty is his assistant. I met her before we left to find you.”

“Oh.” Bunty was a her. A human her. Confirmed once more by the second, decidedly more feminine voice in the next room.

Calm down, Tina, she urged herself, becoming increasingly frustrated by her sordid fits of jealousy where Newt was concerned. Truth was, she’d never felt quite so strongly for another person. Enough, at least, for the threat of losing him to another to consume her so fiercely. She often felt it suffocating not only herself but also her sister...

Queenie...

She looked to Jacob, who appeared just as depressed as she felt.

“Hello,” greeted a gentle, high voice. “Won’t you all come in? Settle down?” It was Bunty. She had a kind face and an even more welcoming disposition. “Newt’s just gone down to check on the creatures.”

Tina helped the girl, Nagini she’d told Bunty, to the sofa, careful not to startle her as Jacob plumped down in the armchair, his face in his hands. Tina didn’t feel comfortable sitting down and instead hovered by the archway that separated the living room and the smaller dining area.

Bunty returned with a tray of tea things, gesturing them all to help themselves. She stood idly for a moment, unsure what else to do.

“You’re Miss Goldstein, yes?”

Tina nodded, curious. “How do you know? Has Newt spoken of me?” She hoped so.

“Newt doesn’t talk much about anything aside from his creatures,” the blonde woman shrugged. “Well... not to me at least.”

Tina noted the disappointment in her voice. “And why should he? I’m only his assistant at the end of the day.” The laugh that followed did nothing to hide the sadness there either.

“Then how?” If he hadn’t spoken of her, how could this woman know who she was. She didn’t appear the type to follow recent news of international law enforcement.

“He carries your picture.” Bunty doesn’t ponder long on the thought and excused herself. “Lovely to meet you. Good night, all.”

Before Tina could register the implications of what Bunty had revealed, or the memory of herself asking a similarly worded question in New York nine months earlier, Newt returned from out of the door behind her.

As he made his apologies for disappearing, he absentmindedly placed a hand on the small of Tina’s back as he passed her, lingering there long enough for it to sear through her thick, leather coat. There had been plenty of room for him to pass without touching her, which made Tina’s heart soar at the unnecessary contact he’d chosen to make. 

He wanted to touch her.

She now understood why Bunty had been so doleful upon meeting her.

Present day

 

Now, Tina wonders as they close in on Hogsmeade station, if Bunty rejoiced when she removed herself from Newt’s life abruptly and altogether earlier in the year.

She would not suspect the gentility of the woman to afford her the capacity to be opportunistic. She had always been kind and accommodating to Tina in the few years she’d known her, even as she had to watch her employer enter into a deeply committed, romantic relationship.

No, Tina decides. Bunty wouldn’t do that.

But what about Newt? Did his drunken carelessness extend to seeking out comfort in the arms of another?

She hates herself for considering it. And she finds herself truly thankful for the distraction Theseus was no doubt about to give as he started organising his paperwork on his lap. “Almost there,” he announces.

“Anything we should expect before meeting Dumbledore?” Tina asks, fixing the already neat cuffs on her white blouse.

Theseus places a finger on his chin, making a drama out of telling her he wouldn’t like to deny Dumbledore the pleasure of divulging any information that both she and Newt ought to anticipate with much trepidation.

“Speak plainly, Thes,” groans Newt. “Any surprises we should prepare for?”

“Well-“

“Hogsmeade!” The conductor’s voice boomed throughout the length of the train via the Sonorus charm.

“Git,” Newt mumbles towards his brother who was grinning across at him.

Theseus turns to Tina who has just gotten to her feet behind Newt, and winks. He was really having too much fun.

The trio makes their way from the platform to an awaiting carriage pulled by two Thestrals they could all, unfortunately, see.

Theseus enters first, followed by Tina at Newt’s wordless insistence and then the awkward man himself. He chooses to sit on the same side as Tina once again. Likely so he doesn’t accidentally look at me, Tina surmises bitterly. It was just as well because she preferred to stare out the window anyway.

Tina takes the opportunity to marvel at the school’s extensive grounds, having only been there twice before. The first shortly after the incident in Paris, during which the stay was too short for any such sightseeing. The second a year and half later when Newt had received an invite to serve as the substitute Care of Magical Creatures teacher for a term.

They’d been officially courting during that time and he asked her to join him. Dumbledore did, after all, offer them quarters in the castle that accommodated for two. “You think he’s up to something?” She had asked him as they unpacked the afternoon of their arrival.

“Dumbledore is always up to something.” Newt affirmed lightly.

The prospect then hadn’t scared Tina quite as much as it did now as their carriage halts at the entrance to his school. She swallows the lump of dread in her throat and inhales sharply.

Theseus was already out of the carriage and making his way up the stone steps when Newt steps out and offers his hand to her as she follows.

Part of her wants to ignore the gesture altogether and brush past him with an air of indifference she doesn’t feel. But another, stronger part yearns to feel his touch again, if only for the fleetest of moments.

With that decided, she takes his hand and gracefully steps down and out of the carriage, withdrawing her hand only once she felt him start to pull away to adjust Pickett who seemed to be glaring at her for having the audacity to touch his tree. 

They follow Theseus up toward the large, imposing double doors which open on their own to reveal Professor Dumbledore, hands in his pockets, arms relaxed by his sides. The image of calm. It was comforting, Tina mused. “Welcome! Theseus, Newt,” nodding to each of them. “Miss Goldstein.” He offers her a smile and before she knows it, they’re in his office above the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom.

Tina was admiring the layout of the classroom down the slightly wound staircase beyond the door. It was spacious with high-ceilings and room for the occasional teaching aid. She could see herself teaching in it.

Meanwhile, Newt was admiring the view of the quidditch pitch from the small, vertical window. Nostalgia and something akin to lost chances ghosted his features.

Theseus and Dumbledore were conversing animatedly, catching up before the inevitability set in.

“So,” the eldest of the man begins. “The younger Miss Goldstein has finally seen the error of Gellert’s ways?”

Tina and Newt turn their attention toward the conversation. Theseus nods, “so it would seem. She proposed an opportunity for one of our own to enter Grindelwald’s ranks under her own assurance of character.”

“What makes you think Grindelwald will trust Queenie so readily?”

Dumbledore looks between Tina and Newt for a moment, considering his words and assessing their moods. What comfort Tina had felt upon his welcome was lost in this gesture. “She proved her loyalty when she led him into the Ministry and...” he looks down to his hands. “And what followed from there.”

Tina squeezes her eyes shut, trying to vanquish the memory threatening to overtake her. The sharp intake of breath from Newt tells her he too was struggling. The sound of splintering wood compels her to open her eyes. He had snapped a quill in two, frightening Pickett in the process. 

“I know it’s difficult. Newt but it’s important if you’re going to understand.” Theseus reasons tactfully.

It earns a groan they seldom hear from ordinarily mild-tempered Newt. “It’s unnecessary to bring it all back again!” He argues, more for her sake than his own, Tina soon realises. He was afraid she would remember more than she already did. She could understand that, willing to obliviate the memory from his mind altogether should he ask it of her.

He was about to contest the alleged necessity of it when Tina starts, “Newt.” His eyes are locked with hers immediately. It was the first she’d spoken to him all day and the eager glint on his face was enough to make Tina feel guilty for not doing so earlier. “It’s okay,” she tells him with a weak smile, her voice soft and eyes reassuring. It subdues him instantly and he retreats ever so slightly as Dumbledore, Tina notes, smiles slightly to himself.

“If Queenie would stand by and let him hurt her own sister... well, her loyalties are irrefutable.” This conversation was severely testing Tina’s heart. She had been consumed by the aftershocks of betrayal and loss since the moment Queenie opened the door for Grindelwald. Her little sister who sowed ribbons into her clothes and adorned desserts with edible roses; so full of life and the fervour to love, twisted and manipulated by that same desire to love freely. But now, ready to return home to her.

Tina knows where the conversation is heading, and her mind is made up before it’s over. For Queenie. She’d forgive her anything.

Theseus nods in agreement. “That is one of two reasons our plan should work nicely.”

Dumbledore shifts slightly so that he is facing Tina. “If her sister were to join his cause, he would not doubt Queenie if she were to assure him of your loyalty. She would have no reason to lie and given the lengths she has already gone to for him, he knows she would not.” He watches her eyes, understanding passing between them. 

“Wait…what?” Newt exclaims once more, unable to remain silent. “Dumbledore, what are you saying?”

“That’s what Graves was talking about in his owl?” Tina asks Theseus who turns in his chair to look at her. “The loyalty of one will ensure the lives of many.”

The eldest Scamander brother nods in confirmation as the other moves to catch his gaze. “Theseus, you’re talking about sending Tina into the lion’s den! An Auror tortured by Grindelwald himself, whom he has every reason to believe should have an ulterior motive.” He’s certainly correct about that, Tina thinks. Queenie and Credence are her priorities, but razing Grindelwald’s faction to the ground was indeed high on her agenda. “Her cover will be blown before its even begun.”

The overprotectiveness Newt was displaying might’ve annoyed Tina on any other day. As things stood, it served as a reminder that he still cared deeply for her, enough to break out of the sanctuary of his personal bubble and catechise the dominance of those more sociable and assertive than himself 

“That’s where you come in Newt.”

“What?” Newt and Tina say together, having quite forgotten that Dumbledore explicitly asked for them both.

“Tina won’t be going in alone,” clarifies Theseus, grinning. Too much fun indeed.

Dumbledore pushes himself away from his desk and stands firmly in place. “You see, there is one thing Gellert understands better than anything else. He questions it seldom, if ever.”

A beat.

What?

“Love.”

The weight of the word is heavy, an all too painful and complicated history attached to it. Someone who hadn’t been trained to read the small gestures people made and find hidden intricacies in them would not have seen what the Auror in Tina had in the subtle aged lines of Dumbledore’s face. Queenie was right when she said people are easiest to read when they’re hurting. 

The implications of what he said did not fuel the awkward air between Newt and Tina. They had never denied their love for one another.

“He’s familiar with your feelings for each other – having watched it blossom in New York, while he disguised himself as your superior, Tina. Again, in Paris and then years later… at the ministry that night.” Although Dumbledore hadn’t been witness to the event himself, he knows Newt and knows too that he would’ve done anything to spare his love that night. “He knows Tina would not let you follow her unless she intended on staying. And he knows too that you Newt, will not defy him because it would result in her death.” Newt’s eyes shut tightly at the thought. 

“So what? Queenie, loyal to him above all else, assures him I’m ready to join of my own accord? For what reason?”

“You’ll figure it out on the way. There is still time.” It was Theseus’s turn to speak who had begun opening his briefcase again.

“And Newt just happens to join simply because I did?” Tina scoffs. “Love is not enough to follow someone into a madman’s extremist regime. Jacob is living proof of that.” Newt is quiet beside her. Although he could not rebut her regarding Jacob’s choice, Tina knows he’d likely make a different one. She’s glad he doesn’t interject to announce as much.

“No. It’s not believable. Newt can’t come with me.” she said to herself, as if by saying so might make it true. In spite of the current grievances between them, she doesn’t want to lose him. She couldn’t bare it.

“Well…” levels Dumbledore, hands back in his pockets. “That leads us to the final part of our plan.”

Oh no… 

“You’ll have to get married.” Theseus declares. And if that wasn’t enough, he adds, “with the Unbreakable Vow.”

Chapter Text

The silence and the stillness swells around Tina, broken only by the occasional snore or rustle from the portrait of the old witch hanging on the wall above the vanity. She was back in the room above the Leaky Cauldron’s bar she’d rented only days prior. If her surroundings could have reflected the feelings within her, the picture would’ve cried it out in frustration. The floorboards would’ve moaned with the weight of tension upon them. She walked around the quiet of the room, inhaling, willing herself not to think. But she had to... there was no escape from it.

After their meeting with Dumbledore, she had arrived back in London in the late evening with the brothers in tow. Although Newt was just as stunned into silence as she had been, Theseus was beaming from ear to ear, far too amused for his own good. “Back off home and pack, you two,” he’d told them in their approach to London, suppressing a chuckle fit to burst. “I’ll be round at Newt’s in the morning to get you going.”

Tina had wanted to hex him so that he too would stop talking. Fortunately, they’d used a Portkey acquired by Dumbledore to return home. As such, they had to endure Theseus’s prattling very little and he had been spared a silencing spell to the face.

Tina’s head was splitting from what he and Dumbledore had told them. “The Unbreakable Vow, although unnecessary with the trust you have in each other, will be pivotal to convince Grindelwald that neither of you will falter to remain true to the other as you pledge allegiance to him.”

He understands love, but trust was an entirely different matter altogether.

“Won’t Queenie’s assurance be enough for Newt too?” Tina had inquired, stealing a glance at Newt whose eyes had gone wild and distant. He seemed just as overwhelmed as she.

“Queenie might be incredibly skilled in natural legilimency, but Grindelwald will sooner trust her to know you, her sister, better than any other.” It made sense. “He will always be wary of Newt.” Particularly considering he had already Infiltrated the dark wizard’s ranks under the guise of another. How were they to account for that obstacle, Tina worried. They’ve probably thought of that too, she admitted, looking from Dumbledore to Theseus who seemed not the slightest bit concerned that their plan might backfire.

Before she could challenge them on the matter, “Is it really the only way?” she heard Newt ask his older brother in a small voice, almost inaudible to herself and the professor. With a nod from Theseus, Newt retreated from them and returned back to the view of quidditch pitch, solemn and conflicted.

Now back in London, repacking the few small items she’d already unpacked upon first arriving in the country, Tina knows Newt understands the importance of their task, but is just as scared as she is to undertake it.

An unbreakable marriage to communicate to Grindelwald their incontestable commitment to both each other and his cause was all well and good but...

“It shouldn’t be happening like this,” Tina sighs heavily, clicking the latches on her case shut. Marrying Newt out of necessity for the greater good rather than mutual desire and love was not what she had imagined for herself.

There seemed to be very little air in Tina’s lungs, her breathing struggled and shallow. She was near to crying. Newt deserves better than this. Unlike her chosen profession, Newt had neither signed up for faking his own death, disguising himself as a devoted extremist nor being forced into a marriage Tina doubts he is ready for, only to once again put his life in danger within Grindelwald’s reach. 

Suddenly, the sound of glass cracking followed by a loud smash came from behind her. She flinches and turns to inspect the damage.

She was so angry and fearful that the rage seeped out of her and into the air of the room, breaking the vanity’s mirror glass under the pressure of her raw, untamed emotions.

Tina approaches the now disordered side of the room and waves her hand over the shards of glass at her feet, wordlessly willing them to rejoin the others within the frame of the mirror. She ignores the scandalised face and disapproving mutterings of the witch in the above portrait, staring at herself as more of her face gradually came into focus as the mirror became whole again. 

She looks exhausted and worn out, but there was no time to rest. Theseus was expecting her back at Newt’s townhouse come dawn. Sleep and her misery at their circumstances would have to wait.

Sniffing away the tears, clearing her throat, she moves to collect her case atop the bedclothes. She pats her side to ensure her wand was still tucked away within her coat and disapparates.

Newt’s lounge was in disarray when Tina arrived. The lamp on the cabinet was hanging off the side, dangling by the wire, lighting only a portion of the room at a time as it swung haphazardly. His favourite armchair had been upended and the rug in front of the hearth was on fire. Tina points her wand at it and extinguishes the flames before they could spread.

The torn curtain was hanging off its rail behind her, from which she heard a soft scuttling sound, followed shortly by another beneath the table in the dining area. There were several sickles scattered pell-mell across the floor, leaving a small trail from Newt's coat in the hallway.

Tina smiles to herself, shaking her head. Naturally, she muses.

Then, a blur of blueish grey began to whiz past her.

“Immobulus,” she utters, freezing the blur in mid-air, revealing to her what she had suspected.

Pistachio, the now fully grown Niffler hung immobile in the air, staring at her innocently, clutching a beaded drawback in his greedy paws. “Escaped Mummy, I see.” Tina reaches out to take the creature, holding him to her chest as she moves to investigate which of his siblings had accompanied him.

She squats by the table and slowly lifts the laced-cloth to reveal the rich ginger fur that belonged to Pumpkin. The second Niffler tries to flee with a pouch full of sickles but Tina’s Auror reflexes were faster. “Accio Niffler,” and he’s joining his brother, thwarted and held hostage by the human. 

Hearing noises and muffled cursing beneath her, Tina approaches the basement door. “Newt?” She calls down the stairs into the vast, enchanted chasm below.

She calls for him once, twice more before a lack of response urges her to go down and find him.

To their credit, neither Pumpkin nor Pistachio struggle against her, perhaps as eager to find their mum as she was.

She doesn’t have to look particularly long or hard as half of his body was protruding from the case left ajar on the floor by the Grindylow’s aquatic enclosure. Some of which had congregated in stationary bubbles to admire the spectacle.

Newt is facing in the opposite direction from Tina and hasn’t noticed her presence given his comforting mutterings to whatever had attached itself to his lower half inside the case. “It’s only for a short while. I’ll be back to play with you in a few hours,” he assures said creature, trying, though in vain, to pull himself free from its grasp with his hands braced on the floor.

“Need some help?” Tina tries to suppress a giggle when he cranes his head back in her direction.

“Oh!” His cheeks fill with a scarlet flush. “Tina! I was not expecting you quite so soon.” He tries harder to pull free, embarrassed at how she’d found him.

“I didn’t have much to pack. Thought I’d come and help you,” she shrugs, crossing the basement to place the Nifflers back into their nest. “These two have made a bit of a mess upstairs while you were...” she eyes him when she turns around, “distracted.”

The blush in his freckled cheeks somehow deepens and he looks away. “If you just give me one moment, I’ll be right with you.”

Tina holds her arms and humours him, watching another failed attempt to escape the bottomless hole in the floor. “Oh Newt,” she rolls her eyes. “Don’t be so proud.”

She moves towards him, kneels onto the floor and holds out her arms for him to take a hold of, which he does with a defeated sigh and a small measure of wariness.

They lock eyes and will themselves to ignore the instinctive pull there, focussing on the task at present. “On three,” Tina starts. “One... two...”

She yanks on his torso as he pushes his weight upward from his ankles and the next thing they’re aware of is that Tina’s back has met the straw-covered floor and Newt’s front was flat against hers, pinning her down. It transports Tina back to the masquerade gala when he’d sought her out in the dark and held her against the nearest wall. Kissing, touching, loving away the lost time of months spent apart.

Their breathing is ragged and short as the tips of their noses whisper against the other, eyes unable to avert their gazes. Tina could see that Newt too was recalling the last time they were intimate, the heat and longing darkening the golden flecks of his iris’.

“That’s my job.” Tina offers, in an audible whisper. But she certainly wasn’t too proud to admit that their new position was a welcome one; missed and yearned after.

The distant roar from inside the case startles them out of whatever might’ve happened next and Newt scuttles off of her, making his apologies as he helps her up.

“The Zouwu,” he explains. “She’s developing some attachment issues.” He latches the case shut as she’d done to her own:

“You oughta be careful, Newt. You may have another Pickett on your hands,” Tina smiles as she fixes her now shoulder-length hair, offering to relieve the tension thick in the air.

Newt smiles back ever so slightly, retreating behind his fringe once more. He notes her standing idle and remembers she had come to help him pack. “I’ve still got to check the Augury’s tail feather and feed the Kelpie. Could you bottle some dittany and Aconite for me, please? You’ll find them in-“

“The drawers beneath the stairs,” she interrupts. “I remember.” And they share a heavy look before setting to work.

Tina finds the herbs easily enough, but the empty bottles and their stoppers were another matter. She continued to rifle through each drawer until she comes to sudden and complete stop. The drawer she finds the corks In was also home to another, rather out-of-place object.

A bejewelled baby rattle. 

She was afraid to touch it for fear of recalling another memory she’d rather not dwell upon. But something in her reaches for it anyway and, surprisingly, is not flooded by the inevitable pain she was expecting. Instead, another moment in time rushes forward from her subconscious.

 

Eight months ago...

 

Tina had been tossing and turning. as much as her slightly protruding belly would allow, since she’d turned in for the night. The nausea seemed rooted to her core and she could feel herself getting lightheaded in bed.

The visiting healer told her she had reached the second third of her pregnancy and assured her the sickness of the first would dissipate.

Much to her chagrin, it had yet to do so. Rather it seemed to have only worsened. Leaving her too exhausted to move half of the time and too uncomfortable to sleep the rest.

She groaned and pushed herself up from the mattress. The effort made her head spin despite how slowly she’d risen. She tried to manoeuvre herself off the rickety bed without waking Newt in the next room. She didn’t want to bother him with a problem he’d made clear was hers and hers alone.

But just as she swung her feet down onto the floor and stood up, her vision became a blurred tapestry of vague shadows in the dark of early morning. She felt turbulent waves in her body that caused her to sway slightly. She reached out to steady herself but when her hand found nothing, her stomach lurched and her body hit the floor.

All went dark and quiet.

It was not the rolling of rusty wheels against unwaxed floors that woke her. It wasn’t the swing of light piercing the veil of her eyelids, nor was it the distant sounds of wailing babies rousing her.

No. It was the frightened, distressed keening of the deep, familiar voice she knew so well.

“Newt?" 

She felt a hand on her hairline and another on her belly as he spoke again. “Tina, love. It’s all right. You’ll be fine, I’ll be right here with you,” He promised her, pressing his lips to her forehead.

Tina could sense she was slipping again but heard him say “please save them,” before drifting off into blackness.

She felt the same hand on her belly when she woke again hours later, the last remnants of a crippling fever rendering her senses fuzzy and indistinct.

Her hand moved on the rough hospital bedclothes and collided with a tangled mop of hair. She couldn’t open her eyes to see the owner, the lights overheard were much too bright.

“Tina,” He exhaled. It sounded as though a great weight had been pressing on him and he had been finally reprieved. He tells her of healers and potions and counteracting something but her still clouded brain couldn’t register enough to make sense of it.

“Our baby is safe, thank Merlin!” He exclaimed softly, the hand on her middle caressing the small bump. It endeared her to him in her half-comatose state.

“Rest now. I’ll be here when you wake again.” The reassurance of Newt’s voice and touch was enough to lull Tina into the most peaceful slumber she’d had in weeks.

 

Present day...

 

 

Before, she hadn’t even remembered Newt ever being there, much less praying to the spirits that she as well as the baby braved the storm and survived the fever.

He did care. He did want the baby. Which meant he had been in as much pain as she was since having bled it out on her office floor.

Her eyes must be glistening and her face wet from the tears now because Newt is by her side in an instant. “Tina, whatever’s the matter? Are you all right?” He implores, his eyes scanning her for any injuries.

“Newt,” it’s weak and riddled with tears. “I’m so sorry,” but he hears it anyway.

His expression is of visible confusion. “Wh-” but he is interrupted by a loud crack upstairs that signalled his brother’s arrival. Sure enough, they hear Theseus calling down into the basement. “Newt? Has Tina arrived yet?”

Newt looks back at Tina who had turned away, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. “We’ll be up in a moment!” He replies, placing a tentative but firm hand on Tina’s back. “Talk to me, Tina.”

She does not turn to face him when she answers, “I’m okay, it's nothing.” Newt can tell it’s a lie, but he knows Tina and knows too when to stop insisting. She knows he only wishes she could feel able to open up to him, express what had caused that frightful, sheepish flare in the doe-like hue of her eyes. She knows because she wishes he could too. His heart was heavy with whatever was weighing upon hers in that moment, but he steps back, giving her some space.

Tina straightens her back, sniffs and blinks away the pain. “Shall we?. 

Newt nods after a long moment and follows her upstairs.

They find Theseus waving his wand in various directions, repairing the damage made by the over-zealous Nifflers. “You two could’ve at least waited until your wedding night,” he chuckles with fake chastising.

Tina looks away so that he might not notice the bloodshot quality of her eyes but his frown tells her he had. Like his brother, however, he doesn’t press and instead stops joking around. Now was not the time.

“Mr. Graves and President Picquery are expecting you both in New York by noon. The ceremony will take place there.” He sits down on the sofa, a thick pile of documents on his lap. “I won’t be joining you – we want it to appear like an elopement to the papers who will be informed by myself as you set off on your honeymoon tomorrow.” He tells them the destination is en route to Grindelwald’s last known sighting, confirmed, in secret, a week earlier by Queenie.

Tina settles into the now erect armchair across from her fellow Auror. “I meant to ask, before we left Hogwarts… won’t Newt’s past attempts to spy on Grindelwald be detrimental to our new goal?” She surveys Theseus’s face closely for any signs of alarm. 

There was none, clarifying her early suspicions that he had thought of that too. She admired his scrupulousness. 

“Newt and I discussed this after you left earlier. He’ll explain it to you on the way.” He seems to be in a hurry, Tina notes, miffed he couldn’t just tell her then and now.

“Where are we going?” asks Newt, hovering cautiously behind Tina. She wonders whether he intended to change the subject.

Theseus looks down at the papers within his hand and pulls out two tickets and reads the destination.

“Rio.”

Tina’s eyebrows lift in interest. Perhaps she ought to have packed differently.

Chapter Text

Once upon a less complicated time, making the journey from London to New York had been worth the floo induced nausea. In point of fact, Newt had made the crossing with Tina thrice in a previous year to visit their muggle friend Jacob, kept too busy by his ever-expanding bakery to voyage across the Atlantic. 

Thoughts of Jacob made him miss the infectiously cheerful man. Perhaps they’d have time to see him before they went South. He and Tina both were in dire need of a good laugh.

As they exit the fire within the grates of MACUSA’s floo office, Newt thinks his complexion bears a green to rival the flames of the floo itself. He looks over at Tina with an attempt at a brave smile. She doesn’t look any better than he feels.

He knows better than to ask if she is all right as she hadn’t said two words to him since Theseus escorted them to the Ministry. He settles for offering to take her case as she wipes her face of soot, for fear of receiving a sign of indignation if he spoke. He bashfully wishes she’d offer to clean his face as well but thinks better of asking that too.

Once her pearly skin shone clearly again, she wordlessly takes both cases from Newt, allowing him the opportunity to make himself presentable.

Was it to be done immediately? He dreads, the knot that had formed in his stomach from teleporting such a vast distance had coiled tighter still with the ebbing of an anxiety that often crippled him to his knees.

He watches Tina intently, who seemed to be waiting for something to emerge from the door behind him.

Instead, a someone in the form of Percival Graves approaches them. Newt has never met the real man before, only the facade Grindelwald had assumed in the close of ‘26, though he could hardly claim there was much of a difference in the way he presents himself. It wasn’t difficult to understand just how the employees in the Major Investigations Department hadn’t realised their leader was not whom he claimed to be.

As the real man approaches, there was an immediate impression of shrewdness and fortitude in his manner, and Newt thinks he understands the reverence Tina often showed toward whenever she and Theseus discussed him.

“Mr. Scamander,” Graves nods courteously towards him and offers his hand.

Newt grasps it briefly and shakes, his other hand hurrying to clean the last of the smoky remnants from his skin. He must look like a fool to this man, who was dressed in an impeccably tailored black and white suit, clean cut and almost too formal for work. It was considerably more fitting for a wedding than his own ochre waistcoat and worn wool trench, completely mismatched by his old Hufflepuff scarf.

Graves turns, his expression softening ever so slightly that it was barely perceptible. “Tina. Welcome home.” Newt wonders if Tina had noticed.

She’s only been gone for a few days, for goodness sake! Newt groans inwardly, hoping neither Auror had seen the roll of his eyes.

“Thank you, sir,” she offers him a genuine smile and Newt’s heart plummets to his stomach.

Part of him hates the comfortable familiarity between them and the other part is chastising him for begrudging Tina of an honest-to-goodness relationship with anyone that was not himself. As it was, Tina had known Percival Graves far longer than she’d known him. She idolised him, took orders - mostly - willingly from him and, loathe Newt was to admit it, once developed a crush on the elder man.

He remembers the first day he met Tina, when she dragged him to the Woolworth building and to the secret MID within. It was as the elevator was closing the then disguised Grindelwald caught up with her and reassured her. He also remembers how he’d leaned in close, touched her upper lip to slowly wipe off the mustard there and winked as he walked away. It was less than an hour prior she’d flinched away from Newt who had tried to do the same thing.

Newt knows that despite it being Grindelwald who had done these things, Tina’s reaction, or rather lack thereof, had told him it was not uncharacteristic of the real Graves to invade her personal space so boldly. That Tina did not mind when he did so.

He can’t help but wonder whether they’d once been more than mentor and protege.

Before he can become drowned by images he’d rather never see, he hears Tina’s voice. “Newt! Come on!” 

He looks up to see her following Graves out of the room and he rushes to catch up, left leg leading the other as always. He takes to Tina’s left side as he steps into the elevator after them. 

“Cold feet, Scamander?” Graves jokes, his voice delicately inflected to suggest mockery, into the suffocating air of the lift as it roared upwards.

Newt could tell what Graves was doing and decides he would not be the bumbling, sweaty-palmed idiot he’d presented himself to be moments ago and accepts the unspoken challenge dangling before him. “With Tina? Not a chance.” He counters confidently. 

He feels Tina flinch beside him, her breath caught in her throat as if he’d just declared his undying love for her right then and there.

Newt supposes, in a way, he had.

Whatever measure of composure she’d lost in that brief moment had returned tenfold as she steps forward when the elevator door slides open. “If you two cavemen are quite finished playing tug of war, we’ve a President to meet.” and she strides out of their sight, the clicking of her shoes against concrete floors following her.

President Picquery is waiting for them at the end of the labyrinth of corridors as they approach, a sign which communicated to Newt the urgency of the matter.

What warm welcome Graves had provided was lost on her. “You’re late, Miss Goldstein,” the older woman said, sounding jaded but not surprised.

Tina lowers her head, “yes, Madam President. I apologise.” It was barely five minutes past noon, Newt notes incredulously but remains silent for fear of causing Tina more trouble than he was worth.

He notices that the President was wearing heels which brought her to slightly below eye level with Tina who had, blessedly to Picquery, forgone such a fashion staple. She’d have towered over her superior and that simply wasn’t the done thing if one was to appear intimidating.

“My fault, Sera.” Graves interluding once more. Newt had quite forgotten he was there.

“No matter,” Picquery waves him off, pointless to apportion blame and moves aside. “Shall we, then?”

Newt looks at Tina who had already turned to him. She nods after a moment and mimics the action. “Lead the way, Madam President.”

They’re ushered into a dimly lit room in which Newt’s vision had trouble adjusting enough to see the others.

“Percy? The honours?” Picquery’s voice echoes, reaching Newt’s ears before his eyes could find her.

His gaze is drawn to a hand waving slowly in an arching motion out of the corner of his eye and suddenly, several torches were lit ablaze in their brackets on the walls at either side of the immense room. It was now bathed in a warm glow, and the reflective tiles on the floor created an illusion of dark water beneath their feet, multiplying the number of torches.

Newt wonders whether Ilvermorny had taught its students wandless magic or if it was simply a defining attribute of Aurors employed at MACUSA. He had seen the level of skill Tina possessed in the smallest of hand movements and had just now seen Graves demonstrate a similar aptitude for using magic without the use of either his wand or an incantation. 

He would have to ask Tina later. Three years spent in each other’s company and she was still managing to surprise him.

The deep warmth of the room contrasted sharply with the clinical brightness of the execution chamber he remembers all too well. Newt and Tina had the misfortune to have been in it long enough for the icy chill to seep into their bones, leaving in its wake a foul aftertaste of death. Following on from that experience, they’d both been plagued by nightmares.

Nightmares that varied each night, a small but significant detail altered to wake them in a fit of cold sweats. Sometimes the Swooping Evil would move an inch too far. Some nights Tina would be too entranced by the memories to hear him calling to her. And other nights Pickett hadn’t been in his breast pocket and he’d been forced to watch as the death potion swallowed her.

For Tina, Newt was the one in the chair and it was she who was left to watch him die.

When Newt had held her in his arms in an effort to calm her, telling her “better me than you,” the look of anger she’d sent his way was something he was unlikely to forget in a hurry.

That particular night ended in Tina leaving for work early and giving him the cold shoulder in the day that followed.

That reaction had not been as surprising.

“I trust your brother told you what’s to happen after the ceremony?” Either Graves or Picquery asks him, Newt doesn’t know as he stares at Tina who was admiring the expanse of the room.

Newt nods, “we’ll stay in the city tonight and head for Brazil tomorrow afternoon.”

“Graves, ask one of the secretarial staff to arrange accommodation for Miss Goldstein and Mr Scamander for this evening.”

“That won’t be necessary, Madam President,” Tina interjects. “Newt and I will stay at my apartment. If that’s all right?”

“Perfectly.” The president nods. “Let’s get to it then.” And she ushers both Newt and Tina to join her at the altar now rising from the floor, a relic of the disused room. It was small but ornate, donned with ancient runes that glowed golden against the black stone.

“Face each other and join hands,” and Newt is surprised to see that Tina reaches out to take his hand before he had even turned. He lifts his other to take hers, caressing her knuckles gently so as to help her relax. He knows her insides are screaming with the anxiety he himself was so accustomed to.

He wishes that he, like her sister, was adept at legilimency so that he could breach the barriers of Tina’s mind and comfort her with a string of hushed endearments and sweet sentiments.

It will be all right.

It’s just us. You and me. Together.

I’ll catch you. 

No one can touch us.

I’ve got youTina.

But Newt knows they were just that: sentiments. And they weighed far less than taking her into his arms and holding her still while the harrowing world raged around them.

“We are gathered here today to witness the union of two faithful souls...” President Picquery begins, head held high and eyes front, rendering the old book in her hands useless. She seemed to know the marriage rites by heart.

Years later, Newt would be unable to reiterate the rest of the ceremonial speech for his mind had become deaf and blind to all but the woman before him who seemed to be calming somewhat. 

Perhaps she had heard him after all.

It’s then that Newt finally realises they were getting married.

Him. Married. To Tina.

Four years ago, he would not have thought it possible. Trudging through the roughest terrain on the planet, withstanding the most treacherous of the elements to ultimately brave the wildest, most magical creatures in existence and he could not have foreseen this turn of events. 

And, Newt thinks, this isn’t how it should be. 

Tina deserves a wedding befit for the woman she is. A wedding with a dazzling dress lovingly hand-crafted by her sister who knew her tastes better than anyone. A wedding in which their nearest and dearest were in attendance and they didn’t have to worry whether they’d be married for a year or a hundred.

Something altogether better than this rushed secret ceremony in a vacant shadowed room in the North American Ministry.

He looks down at his left hand, the other dropped by Tina who was now preparing to slide a golden band onto his ring finger. He looks up at her face, watching intently.

Despite the circumstances, she was becoming his wife, and there is certainly a great deal more magic in the world than any witch or wizard could have ever anticipated.

It was his turn to do the same and as Graves hands him an identical, though daintier, band to him, he looks to Tina with a question.

She nods and he slides the ring on her slender finger, marvelling at how naturally it looked.

The sound of a book closing is all he hears before he’s given the go-ahead to kiss her.

It’s a chaste but slow kiss, and one Newt cherishes all the same. His hands hold her small waist whilst hers settle on his lapel and if they were alone, he knows he’d close the distance between their bodies and deepen the kiss until she gasped for air. 

When they break apart, they stare at one another’s left hand while the President and Graves confer off to the side. 

“Are you all right?”

There is some hesitation, but it’s brief. “Yeah. You?”

“Always with you.” 

They share a watery smile. 

“To the Vow then,” announces Picquery as she approaches them once more. “Graves has consented to be your Bonder.” She moves aside to allow the man himself to step up to the newlyweds.

“Kneel,” he instructs, pulling out his wand from the innermost pocket of his suit jacket. 

Newt and Tina let go of one another as they sink to the floor. They reconnect instantly by reaching out to grasp each other’s right wrist, long fingers circling around the other’s forearm. Newt gulps and Tina inhales deep. 

Graves continues to stand over them and points the tip of his wand on their linked hands.

“Will you, Newton, uphold your marriage vow to pledge your living and your dying to your wife?”

“I will,” Newt says. 

A thin stream of light issues from the steely black wand and winds its way around their conjoined wrists.

“Will you, Porpentina, remain true to your promise that your back shall be a shield to your husbands and his to yours, no matter what you shall face?”

“I will,” breathes Tina.

Another loose tongue of flame bursts from the wand, taking the opposite route of the first and interlinks with it at their pulse points, creating a seamless infinity strand around their hands.

“And should either of you follow a darker path, irrespective of the reason, will you promise to remain steadfast and unwavering in your commitment to one another?”

Although Newt and Tina’s eyes had been locked the entire time, it was as if only now they were truly seeing one another. Baring themselves to the other’s scrutiny. The conviction and determination mirrors itself in the shared gaze as they both affirm, “I will.”

The blaze of a final and third beam shoots from the wand and twists with the length of the others, locking the infinity in place. The red glow it emits before finally extinguishing into their skin is brilliant but ominous.

 ...

Hours later, Newt finds himself settling into the Goldstein apartment whilst he waited for Tina to return from wherever she’d gone off to. “I’ll meet you at my place in an hour or so,” she’d told him before sauntering off to an empty alleyway to apparate. Unwilling to sit idle while he waited, Newt decided he would walk the distance from MACUSA. Unfortunately, she lived relatively close and it didn’t take him more than half an hour. 

That was three hours ago, and he was starting to worry.

He busied himself with the creatures he’d chosen to bring with him, but there were so few that they too, didn’t fill up much time. Even the Zouwu had gotten bored of playing after a short time, and Dougal the Demiguise was far too sleepy to interact. As such, Pickett became his only source for company, but even the clingy though irritable Bowtruckle had chosen not to acknowledge his presence for the time being. Likely sulking due to his tree having the audacity to get married.

Newt feels a sharp stinging sensation in his right wrist. The folded sleeves of shirt reveal freckled skin marred with a white meandering scar, slightly reddened with irritation. He rubs at it, wondering if Tina’s identical mark was also bothering her.

Where is she?! He huffs, his hand falling to the material of the loveseat upon which he sat.

 

Approximately one and a half years ago…

 

“Where’s the harm in it?” Newt asked one evening of many they’d spent curled up together on the same couch in her Manhattan flat. Their bodies were exhausted from earlier excursions. Tina was flat on her back and he, his own back flush against the cushions beamed languidly down at her, his mouth teasing the skin of her long neck in the way he knew she liked. “Just two young people enjoying each other on a fine winter’s night.”

“Enjoying each other a little too much,” she warned half-heartedly, turning into him, folding her arms between their naked chests while Newt looped his arms around her.

He pushed his hips into hers, urging a low, guttural grunt from her throat. “We’ve tried the whole abstaining malarkey for society’s sake, but us Scamanders and Goldsteins have very little self-restraint.” His nose nudges against hers, lips ghosting one another, though no kiss would be granted until she stopped worrying.

Tina sighed, conceding. “It is difficult. Trying to keep my hands off you when you come out of that Kelpie enclosure all wet and dripping… watching you do what you do best.” And, to be truthful, seeing him go above and beyond his physical limitations in the case always stirred something deep and primal within her.

Newt raised an eyebrow, feeling challenged. “Oh, my darling. That is not at all what I do best.”

Her lips inch closer to his, using her teeth to bite down on his lower lip. “Remind me.”

He smirked against her mouth and lifted himself up off the couch and above her, kissing her softly before he trailed down her taut body, seeking her core, leering up at her as he went.

She is reminded of that which she’d never forgotten, making her scream until the perpetually cautious Demiguise made concerned whimpers from inside the case.

 

Present day…

  

There’s a loud pop! and Newt is suddenly no longer alone with his wandering thoughts. 

“Tina!” He exclaims breathlessly, sitting up straight and grabbing a throw pillow to hide the shame in his trousers. “Where have you been!?”

She shrugs her coat off and hangs it on the stand. “It’s a surprise,” she winks, turning her back to him as she enters the bedroom, closing the double doors with a graceful flick of her wrist.

What in the world…

Chapter Text

The Daily Prophet
FAMED MAGIZOOLOGIST WEDS AMERICAN AUROR

Newt Scamander, world renowned author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 
now on its third edition - marries North American witch and Auror Porpentina Goldstein
in secret ceremony. “It’s quite like my brother,” Theseus Scamander, chief Auror and war
hero comments on the elopement. “He never was one for attention.” A fact most debatable
considering his younger brother’s wild escapades in New York nearly four years ago,
during which time he met his now wife.

Sources claim the couple have been estranged for the better part of this year following
on from Grindelwald’s attack on the ministry. However we can only speculate as to why the
newlyweds chose to separate only to marry in a hasty fashion upon their reunion. Has the
Magizoogist seen fit to help his American fancy in a time of trouble? Are we to
expect reports of a birth in the coming months? Time will tell, as will the young
Mrs Scamander’s (neé Goldstein) waistline.

 

The New York Ghost
MACUSA’S FINEST ELOPES WITH BRIT

One of MACUSA’s best and brightest has tied the knot in a small, private ceremony.
Miss Porpentina Goldstein, Auror and Ambassador to the British Ministry of Magic
has only yesterday married British author Newt Scamander, with whom she had been
courting steadily for the past three years.

Reports suggest that the delay in proceedings was chiefly due to the Auror’s sister
having joined murderer and extremist Gellert Grindelwald in Paris years previous.
No comment yet on how Miss Goldstein, now Scamander, felt marrying without her
 only living relative in attendance. Though we at The New York Ghost wish the
newlyweds every happiness in their new life together.

 


 

 

“Well... at least the local press ain’t expecting a rugrat outta ya anytime soon,” Jacob comments optimistically over the two newspapers in his hands, a photo of herself and Newt during his book tour in the States flashes obnoxiously on the front page. Jacob watches it in a wonder that only a no-maj could know. However, Tina notices, the mention of Queenie casts a dark cloud over his ordinarily jovial demeanour.

Tina shrugs, leaning back against the small counter next to the table, coffee mug in hand. The heat from the ceramic was replacing the stinging sensation around her wrist. “I don’t really take much notice these days.” As long as Grindelwald does, that’s all that matters. Her brother-in-law had ensured they made the front page for that very reason.

Silence swells between them for a moment before Jacob speaks again. “I can’t believe you two are married.” It’s absentminded and Tina knows he isn’t looking for any particular response, for which she’s grateful.

She wishes Newt would wake up soon.

Jacob had been a great friend to her, an invaluable source for comfort over the years regarding both Newt and her sister. But that was just it - every conversation with Jacob, however unrelated, would always lead to a similar end.

Queenie, and how much they missed her.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to share in something so close to their hearts. It was only that Tina was not demonstrative like Jacob. She wasn’t overtly affectionate like Queenie nor was she vocal with regards to her feelings. She never had to be - Queenie always knew how she felt. She was not accustomed to expressing them in an intelligible, sensitive manner. So, in the end, after each discussion with Jacob, she often found herself fabricating an excuse to leave, the awkwardness unbearable. It was the guilt hours later that would see her apologising to the no-maj the next time she visited him, vowing to stay longer.

Queenie had been the only person for so long who was able to make sense of the jumbled clutter that were her older sister’s thoughts. The only one who could translate them into an emotion Tina could understand. The only one.

Until Newt.

Her husband.

The force of that new, categorically veracious reality strikes her hard in the chest, momentarily robbing her of breath.

“You okay, Tina?” Jacob asks through her fit of coughs.

Tina nods, covering her face with her left hand upon which another reminder of yesterday’s events gleamed brightly at her.

She couldn’t deny it looked good on her, better for Newt having put it there, of course. And he’d done so tenderly, rather cautiously, as though he feared she’d pull her hand away and refuse him.

Tina pours out the remainder of the coffee and remembers how she had felt the same way.

When Theseus escorted them from Newt’s place to the ministry the previous morning, Tina’s voice had deserted her. The memory thrust upon her in Newt’s basement had rendered her mute, guilt overwhelming any attempt at speech. 

How could you have been so cruel? She’d chastised herself as the brothers conversed. He was right - you never gave him a chance. Instead, she abandoned him, left him to grieve alone, burdened by the possibility that she blamed him; despised him. It was no wonder he had been so wary to slide the ring onto her finger. Why he didn’t dare look at her until she looked away. Why his voice quaked and his hands trembled in her presence.

Sometimes Tina wishes he would reach inside himself and find the raw confidence and assertiveness he’d shown the night she returned to London. When he’d slammed his body into hers and held her up against the wall. Hours ago, during what should’ve been their wedding night, she’d given him ample opportunity to indulge once more. With a flimsy nightdress and the strategic placement of her robe, she’d given him full view of the legs he so often loved to bury himself between.

But then, thinking better of it and reminding herself of not only their quest, but also the reason they had been estranged for seven months in the first place. Perhaps not. Their circumstances were no better than when she’d first discovered she was with child. It’s this reminder that thrusts her back to the self-loathing from moments ago. 

He should hate me. 

Why doesn’t he hate me?

Tina knows Jacob is casting furtive looks in her direction, but she doesn’t see him. A chill from the memory of pushing Newt away from her bedside at St. Mungo’s stole over her. I don’t deserve him.

Before Jacob can say anything, one of the doors separating the bedroom from the rest of the apartment opens.

“Tina, do you know where I put my- Jacob.” It’s a dishevelled, heavy-eyed, half-dressed Newt who stops dead in his tracks upon realising they have company.

Jacob is out of his seat and opening his arms to embrace his friend before any of them could catch their breath. “Newt! Buddy!”

Newt’s arms hang limp at Jacob’s sides for a moment before returning the embrace. The crooked smile he sent Tina’s way over the shorter man’s shoulder urged a smaller one from her.

“Surprise,” she beams back at him with a subtle wink, deciding the two hours she’d spent looking for Jacob yesterday and the extra hour it took her to explain the wedding band on her finger was all worth it to see that bright, genuine smile hidden behind tawny curls.

“It’s been a while,” Jacob laughs, ending the hug with a pat on Newt’s back. “I missed ya, pal!”

“It’s wonderful to see you.” Newt agrees brightly, buttoning the open neck of his shirt, only just catching a glimpse at Tina eyeing his chest. It didn’t make him feel self-conscious as it might’ve done had it been anyone else. With Tina, whom he had been more intimate with than any other person, he felt desirable, confident even. He hopes that she too feels the same when, the night before, for instance, he’d watched as she moisturised her long, slim legs from under her teal dressing gown. The simple fact she thought nothing of doing so in front of him told Newt that, at the very least, she was comfortable in his presence. It was all he could ask for. 

It is progress.

“I wasn’t sure whether we’d have time before Tina and I left the city this afternoon.” Leave it to Tina to make time. He was so grateful to her.

“Where you guys headed, anyway?”

“Bra-“

“Mexico.” Tina interrupts, moving between the two men. She turns her head slightly as she passes Newt and mouths, “don’t.”

She stands by the windows behind the sofa, facing them as they linger by the table.

“He ought to know, Tina.” Newt reasons.

Tina shakes her head, hands now placed firmly on her hips. “It’s too dangerous,” her voice grave.

Jacob looks between them both and thinks that if he weren’t there, the fixed glares they were giving each other would escalate until the landlady below would know that a man had entered the premises.

Feeling the increasing need to referee, he steps into their line of sight and holds his hands out. “Hey... what’s all this about?” Then realisation dawns on him. “Is it... is it about Queenie?”

Newt considers the tone in his friend’s voice. He could hear his heart in the words. It was broken yet hopeful and he couldn’t bear to shatter what remained of it. “Yes. Queenie wants to come home, Jacob.”

This earns him an exasperated groan from Tina but a sanguine intake of breath from

Jacob. 

“She’s been in contact with our ministries,” Newt explains. “She wants to help us to take down Grindelwald.”

Jacob is incandescent with joy now and it was no mystery. If what Jacob had endured since Queenie’s defection was anything akin to how Newt himself felt during the past few months without Tina, he understands all too well how happy he was at the prospect of a reunion.

“What you got planned?”

“Well-” 

Tina steps back over to them before Newt could continue. “I’m sorry, Jacob. We can’t reveal anything more... it’d be dangerous for not only you but Queenie as well.”

The disappointment on Jacobs’s face is a stab in the heart for Newt but he knows Tina is right. It was safer to end the conversation there. 

“Have those marks on your wrists got something to do with it?”

Both Newt and Tina’s hands reach for the new scars starting to seep into their skin. They nod.

Jacob does too and says nothing more.

“Jacob,” Newt says lightly, breaking the tension. “Would you feel up to helping me feed the creatures some breakfast?”

This seemed to cheer the other man up significantly. He would never miss an opportunity to go down into the magical world that was Newt’s case. As such, he was already descending the narrow stairs down into the shed when Newt turns back to his wife, now staring into the fireplace, biting her nails. 

“Tina? Won’t you join us?”

She doesn’t make any sign to show she had heard him but answers anyway. “You go ahead. I’ve some errands to run.”

Newt has barely opened his mouth when a sudden impact to the air signals her disapparation.

What am I going to do with her?

 

...

 

The hours tick by in the case as Newt and Jacob catch up. With all the feeding and nursing out of the way, there was quite simply nothing left to do except play with the Zouwu via a large ball of conjured string which was gradually becoming lost in her elaborate and powerful tail.

“Hey Newt?”

Newt was standing on a boulder, hands in his trouser pockets as he observed the ceiling of his habitat, noticing a small tear in the case’s lining above the Occamy nest. Must fix that. “Hmm?”

“How come you didn’t come back with Tina in the spring?” Jacob doesn’t realise how loaded the question is as he inspects each miscellaneous item Dougal was offering him, the handbag from Macy’s Department Store dangling off his furry arm. 

“She didn’t tell you?” 

Jacob shakes his head. “The paper this morning mentioned an attack at your Ministry?”

“I don’t think she would like me for to say...” He remembers how she’d reacted when he told her of his drunken fumbles. This was another topic of discussion best left closed.

Yet, something seemed to twist in his gut and lurch in his heart, tightening until a sickly feeling engulfed his stomach. Jacob was his friend, his only friend apart from Tina. Friends share their troubles, don’t they? If only for the reprieve of having lightened the load.

And his heart strained with the impossible weight of it.

Newt moves down off the large rock and walks over to Jacob who was now standing with Dougal perched on his hip. “We were going to have a baby...” he dares, hearing the words spoken aloud restored the pain from months ago. “But I acted foolishly to start. I was afraid, you see.” Jacob nods, he’d known of Newt having to fake his death at least. “I was not even supposed to be near Tina at the time. It was too big of a risk.” The year they’d spent apart had been too difficult to endure without the occasional secret rendezvous. One in the previous winter had likely resulted in the predicament that followed. Newt remembers Tina had dropped the plate she was washing when he apparated into her apartment without telling her to expect him. The broken shards of china lay forgotten on the floor amongst their clothes.

“Eventually I came around. How could I not? I missed Tina and I wanted to be a father to that child so badly. Only…” Newt’s eyes lower, brimming with tears. He swallows them and inhales, bracing himself for the memory to come. “In the end, when I should have been there, when she needed me most… I was too late.”

Of course, he’d been in time to save Tina but even she struggled to survive that first night. The healers at St. Mungo’s fought to close her wounds and temper the bleeding long enough to perform counter curses. It was a miracle she pulled through. Another would’ve been asking God too much. It was certainly more than fate had ever afforded them in the past. They just weren’t that lucky.

“She left a week later,” he finishes, collapsing onto another small rock. Jacob joins him, speechless. 

“I had no idea…”

“Tina doesn’t like to talk about it,” shrugs Newt, not surprised.

Jacob exhales deeply. “I think you gotta. Eventually.” It was true. There was no denying the level of miscommunication, the plethora of misunderstandings or the contrary nature of their behaviour with one another. One moment they’re flirting and the next, pining silently for the other, wiping away unshed tears and unspoken apologies.

Jacob is right, Newt decides. He and Tina needed to talk and preferably before they reach Rio where there would be quite another concern on their hands.

“Was Queenie involved?”

What?

“I’m sorry?”

“Queenie. Was she there that night? At the ministry?” Jacob clarifies, his expression divulging very little of what he hoped the answer would be.

It was a question Newt was hoping he would not have to answer. How could he tell the man that the love of his life had led Grindelwald straight into the Ministry of Magic and watched as he tortured her pregnant sister to the brink of death? Were there words soft enough to explain those events in a way that would not pierce Jacob’s already battered and bruised heart?

Blessedly, Tina had chosen that moment to lift the lid of Newt’s case and call down to him. “Newt! It’s time to go!”

An hour later the trio are standing on a platform at Grand Central Station. Theseus had booked them train tickets from New York City to New Orleans, where they would arrive the next afternoon to start their honeymoon which would lead them to Central Brazil in a fortnight. Ministry contacts would be waiting to meet them at Castleobruxo, South America’s wizarding school before they went on to Rio. All of this Newt repeated to himself as they made their way through the crowd.

“I bet you can’t wait to explore the rainforest, Newt!” Jacob grins at him.

Newt nods in subdued excitement. “The most i've seen of the Amazon was Equatorial Guinea in the winter of 1926.”

Tina and Jacob’s brows both furrow in confusion. “You were here in December of that year.”

“Oh,” chuckles Newt awkwardly, shifting his case in his hands. “I meant their winter, which is our summer…” He trails off, giving a geographical lesson on seasonal changes within the Southern Hemisphere which Tina was already familiar with, though she didn’t have the heart to interrupt him mid-chatter. His unencumbered babbling was endearing to her and she wishes he felt free enough to do it more often.

Jacob must’ve caught her staring at Newt adoringly because he smirks at her.

Tina blushes and looks down at her feet.

Suddenly, the obnoxious horn signalling the train’s imminent departure suspends Newt’s voice.

“Time to go, Newt.”

“Right you are, Tina.” He stands still for a moment, unsure how to go about his next action.

“We’ll see you soon,” Tina assures Jacob gently, taking Newt’s case from his now trembling hands, sensing what he wanted to do.

Newt silently thanks her as he steps forward to embrace his friend. “We’ll bring her back to you.” It’s a promise he knows he can’t keep but one he makes anyway.

Chapter Text

Given how prone she was to travel-sickness, Tina had taken a draught of dreamless sleep once she and Newt settled into their sleeper car. She was initially reluctant to do so as noon had only just passed and Newt would undoubtedly have little to do without her to keep him company.

“Not so, Tina!” He’d countered. “Don’t you know I have an appointment with a certain Bowtruckle who has been planning on giving me an earful since you returned to London? He is very cross with me.”

It made Tina laugh out loud for the first time in she didn’t know how long. In the end, Newt insisted she get some sleep and leave him to a well-deserved scolding. She didn’t have the energy to refuse.

She fell to the sounds of chirping and low muffled chuckles.

Seconds later, or so it seemed to Tina, she was woken by what sounded like a barrage of gunfire as the door to their carriage burst open. Sitting bolt upright on the cot, the rasp of curtains being pulled back and the blinding tip of a wand met her eyes. Shielding them with one hand whilst the other grasped hopelessly for her own wand. In the time it would’ve taken her to repel the curse, she was already slammed back into the bed, pinned by the word “Crucio” in a malevolent and sinister voice.

She feels blood pool between her legs as the pain ripples throughout her body in waves, ebbing the depths of her nerve endings with an agony she’d felt only once before. She can feel herself losing consciousness as the blood continued to leave her body. She wills it to flow faster, to plunge her into the dark, forever and at last. Anything to be free of this pain.

A distant mumbling penetrates the white-hot ache and she can feel pressure on her shoulders. The mumbling becomes clearer, more distinct and the pressure grows fingers.

“Tina! Wake up, you’re having a nightmare Come on, love...” the now familiar sounds were ushering her back to the world. 

A sharp gasp and a tug upwards from the dream is enough to wake her; to find Newt’s concerned expression looking down at her. “Are you all right?” He asks gently, smoothing back the tussled hair at her temple.

Tina nods and wills herself to remain still so that he won’t withdraw his hand. “I’m sorry.”

Newt shushes her, one hand moving down to her waist, supporting his weight above her. “We all have nightmares every now and then.” It’s supposed to be comforting but Tina’s nightmares, or rather various inversions of the same memory, followed her like a shadow, a dark constant waiting until she surrendered to sleep to smother her. 

She doesn’t share any of this with Newt, certain that, despite what he’d said, he too played host to a dark twin that woke when he closed his eyes. Instead, she forces a meek smile, curling into his touch.

Neither of them moves for what felt like an hour, caught up as they were in the close proximity of the other. At one point, Tina turned her face against Newt’s hand and pressed her lips to his palm. Only just and ever so faintly, but it was a kiss, nonetheless. In response, his thumb caressed the slight clef in her chin, where he ordinarily would’ve placed his own mouth.

Similarly, Tina felt the muscles in Newt’s forearm tense against the thin material of her blouse. His sleeves are rolled up to reveal the barbed pattern of scars not unlike her own. “Does it bother you? The sting...” Tina asks him, her left hand ghosting against the pale hairs of his arm, not quite touching the skin she knew would burn upon contact.

Newt glances down between their bodies. “Not too bad that I can’t ignore it, but still-”

“Sore enough that you can’t forget it,” she finishes for him.

Newt smiles. Tina does too. She sits up, placing her hands around his elbows for leverage, but also to keep him from moving away. She might’ve asked for it in the past but right now, in this moment, she doesn’t want space. She is done with distance and the loneliness that filled the spaces between.

To her relief, he does not shift away. He presses both his hands against the mattress at her hips. His eyes drifting down to her mouth.

“Tina...” he breathes, so close that she can feel it against her face.

“Newt...” her voice is even weaker than his.

Once again, his hand gravitates towards her face, his thumb traces her cheek bone whilst his ring and forefinger roam the delicate grooves of her ear. Tina can feel the cool metal of his ring against her helix and wonders if he could feel hers as her fingers entwine with his free hand on the bedclothes. 

The silence circulating the train car was not an uncomfortable one. It was a stillness that aligned perfectly with the calm they were instilling in each other while the sounds of the train deadened the longer the moment continued. They had not been this close since Tina had yanked him out of his case and they’d tumbled onto the floor of his basement together

“I miss you,” Newt hesitates, his voice low and his eyes drifting from hers. There’s a sadness in them that he can’t hide well, not from her.

Tina inclines her head to catch them. “I’m right here.”

He lifts his head to meet her eyes, unwavering and pensive. “Are you?”

She opens her mouth to say something, to confirm that yes of course she is, but no sound escapes. Instead, it curls back down her throat and into her stomach, lurching with an uncertainty only two ex-lovers thrust into a marriage of convenience could know. Am I? She repeats Newt’s question. One minute she’s caught up in the trauma of the past and the next, in him, his arms. 

“I want to be…” but is she ready?

Newt seems to have read these thoughts because his other hand cups her cheek, framing her face. “I’ll wait however long it takes.” The kindness of his conviction was winsome in a way that makes Tina’s heart beat faster.

Their faces are only a few inches away from each other now, and when Tina leans in to him, he doesn't make any effort to pull back. Without thinking or reasoning, she brushes her lips lightly against his but doesn’t press further, relaxing there so that he could make the decision. This was a mutual affair and Tina feels her desires were clear with her hands placed firmly on his chest, teasing the buttons of the shirt. 

Newt’s hands are still on her face, one pushing back the hair from eyes. He’s about to close his lips against hers when a loud knocking separates them. “Ticket Check!” Announces the conductor at the door, completely oblivious to what he’d just interrupted.

Newt clears his throat as he pushes himself up from the cot, fixing his waistcoat. Tina is left to tame her hair and gather her senses, embarrassed and disappointed. 

“Good evening, Mister.” She hears the other man’s voice when Newt opens the door, though not completely so as to give her some privacy. “Travelling alone?”

“No,” Newt answers. “My wife is...”

Before he can finish, the conductor boldly careens his head around the door to see Tina, now getting up from the cot, hands covering the front of her blouse.

“Oh!” The realisation seems to dawn upon the man when he sees her and notes the disordered bundle of sheets behind her. “Apologies, Ma’am,” tipping his hat slightly, though he turns to Newt and winks before walking to the next cabin.

When he closes the door, Newt stares at it for a moment, too nervous to turn around.

“It’s okay, Newt.” 

He turns. “What?” She has her back to him, staring out of the wide window at the passing greenery, her arms folded, back stiff. Oh no.

“It’s likely just as well. We can’t afford to be reckless again.” It’s decisive and resolute. The moment has passed and she is retreating back into herself once more. Whatever secret part of herself she bore to him moments ago was now masked from view, hiding from world, from him.

“Tina, I think we ought to talk. We have time.” They were stuck in tight quarters for another eighteen hours and Newt would’ve preferred to not suffocate with the tension that had been clouding over them for the past week. He wasn’t sure how much more of it he could take. He was gasping for air.

“It can wait.” She bends down to open his case. She often retreated into it to spend some time with the Demiguise who never demanded anything of her. Newt understood this all too well. He only wishes she wouldn’t do so to get away from him.

“But-“

“Please, Newt.” Tina sighs, her eyes closed. “Just stop.”

With that, she slips down into the case and Newt is left alone. 

The remainder of the journey passes in a now uncomfortable, stifling silence.

 

 

The afternoon of their final day of travel brings with it a humidity that makes Newt’s hair frizz up and Tina’s jacket unnecessary. When they alight the train compartment and step onto the platform, the lingering remnants of summer in Louisiana hits them like a gust of hot air. Tina wishes she’d worn a skirt instead of her wonted black slacks.

The French Quarter is relatively deserted in the mid-afternoon haze - an uncustomary siesta sending the locals back indoors - save for a few guileless tourists and a lonesome busker playing his saxophone aridly to the memory of an audience.

Newt takes pity on the man and flips a couple of muggle coins into the panama at his feet.

He catches up with Tina who was looking for the most secluded alleyway to apparate, though it seemed pointless given the vacant streets. He remembers years earlier she’d scolded him about the Statue of Secrecy and how it was their responsibility to maintain it. “Yes, yours too,” she reminded him when he playfully rolled his eyes. He misses their blithe bickering. 

Tina doesn’t offer to go side-along so it surprises him when she takes his arm once they come upon the entrance to their hotel. “Okay. Here we go,” she starts, adjusting her hold on him, “just imagine we’re the happiest couple alive.”

Newt wishes he could make that a reality. 

“Bienvenue au Vieux Carré!” Greets an overzealous concierge as soon as they’ve entered the foyer. The establishment is owned by a wizarding family with contacts at MACUSA and many of its guests have been employees Tina is acquainted with. It also welcomed those from the non-magical community, which is why, Newt guesses, there are no outward signs of magic in the décor and furnishings. 

They approach the front desk arm in arm. “Mr and Mrs Scamander, checking in.”

“Ah yes! Ze honeymoon suite has just been prepared for you, with a special request from your brother.” The grinning man explains in a pitiful attempt at a French accent they know is fake: his clear pronunciation of the letter H was a dead giveaway.

He disappears below the granite counter and retrieves a bottle of champagne and an extensive bokeh of flowers whose petals change colour when jostled. Among the arrangement of carnations nestled several tiny vials containing a deep violet potion, shimmering in the low light. Attached was a note that read “safety first, lovebirds”.

“Oh, how thoughtful,” strains Tina, trying to hide her grimace. “We must thank him. Don’t you think, love?”

Newt nods, forcing a smile towards the curious onlooker. “You’re quite right, darling.” He unlinks his arm from Tina’s and curves it around her waist, his hand placed on her hip, pulling her closer. Its bold and he knows it but if they were going to sell the image of a happy couple, he would do his best to deliver. They didn’t say anything about no enjoying it. “He really has gone above and beyond for us.” Theseus would be expecting a very grateful letter in the next round of owl-post at the ministry. 

The concierge beams at them, his neck stiff in a way that appeared almost animatronic, somehow falser than his accent. His eyes scan the lobby and the street outside before he snaps his fingers, whooshing their luggage out of their hands and up to their room with the gift from Theseus. It reminded Newt of magic a house-elf might perform.

A superfluous bellboy is summoned to lead them to the room they could’ve found on their own just as well.

They follow in spite of themselves, hands clasped and shoulders close.

The boy holds the door open for them, but they don’t let go of each other as they pass the threshold into the spacious suite. “If you need anything, tap the coin you’ll find on the duvet with your wand and someone will be right along.” He hovers by the entryway a little longer than necessary, waiting for the customary tip Newt was still unaccustomed to but familiar with owing to how often he once frequented the states to see Tina.

“Thank you, this will be perfect,” Tina remarks, waving her hand over her pocket to transfer a small sum to the boy’s burgundy uniform.

He tips his matching cap at her obligingly and leaves them alone with a final lacklustre “enjoy your stay.”

The sound of the deadbolt releases their hands and drops their smiles. Newt is left standing in the centre of the room as he watches Tina move to unpack.

“We need to be seen out in the town,” she decides with her back to him, holding up articles of clothing to inspect before folding each on the chaise lounge upon which Newt takes a seat, his arm feeling suddenly lonely.

“There’s an apothecary run by a witch Graves tells me is of the same beliefs as Grindelwald.” She’s removing her coat now, throwing it down on the bed before reaching down to unlace her shoes. “You remember Abernathy?”

“The rather small man who supervised you at the Wand Permit office?” Newt takes pride in his memory, never failing him when it came to Tina and their first week together. He would recall any detail, however small, should she ask him. He could remember the exact drinks she ordered, but didn’t touch, in The Blind Pig; the look on her face when President Picquery had removed the surveillance bracelet from her wrist; each individual jewel stitched into the dress she wore that night to celebrate being reinstated. In afterthought, he might’ve fallen in love with her that same night.

Tina nods. “Right. Well, she knows him, he was seen paying her a visit when he was here last month. Didn’t leave her place until the next morning.” The implication makes Newt blush, his palms clam up and his eyes to drift over to the distasteful bokeh that seemed to be missing a couple of the vials. 

She passes in the corner of his vision, busying herself, filling up the moments. She’s avoiding something. Probably the talk he’d mentioned back on the train. Sometimes she was just too stubborn for her own good and his sanity. He wishes she would just slow down and come back to him. To let him hold her and be done with the dancing around one another.

“So, we go and make our intentions clear. Show her that we are interested in joining the cause.” She continues after everything in her case was settled into drawers and the wardrobe. “A spark-”

“To light the fuse,” finishes Newt. She meets his eyes for the first time in almost a day but says nothing except “I’m gonna change. I think you should, too. Something a little flashy.” She reaches for the package she’d pulled out of her case last and steps into the en suite.

Newt is left at the foot of the bed, wracking his brain trying to decipher just what she meant by flashy.

 

 

To his relief, it hadn’t meant what her sister, or indeed his brother, might’ve considered.

Tina emerges from the bathroom thirty minutes after first disappearing dressed in a magnificent royal blue and black dress that hugged her curves and accentuated her long neck and narrow waist. The v-cut was low and wide enough that her delicate collarbones and shoulders were on display, but still high enough to preserve some semblance of modesty. While the bodice adorned dark jewels sown in an intricate pattern against her torso, the hem was simple around her mid-thigh, fringing down below the knee. The back, although she hadn’t yet turned to show him, was likely an entirely different affair that makes him gulp at the prospect.

Her makeup was light and natural but still marked a noticeable change to her features. Her lips were coated in a ruby red that caught the light and her eyelashes seemed impossibly longer, framing her onyx eyes in a way that made them all the more captivating.

She is dressed to the nines and Newt feels entirely inadequate and undeserving next to her.

He had chosen for himself a dark grey suit, expertly tailored to his muscled frame, obscuring his lankier regions from view. His suspenders were a deep navy beneath the matching grey waist coat, but the tie was a shade of blue that coordinated perfectly with the colour of her dress. 

He catches Tina eyeing him. “You look good, Newt. Relax.” He wonders whether she can.

It wasn’t often they dressed up like so. It was still beneath Theseus and Queenie’s standard of evening wear, but it was bordering on ostentatious for Tina and himself. Though, for all the discomfort he knew she was feeling, she held herself with confidence and a grace which could rival that of her sister. Not that he was in a habit of comparing them. No one could compare to his Tina, in the end.

She is stunning and his heart was bursting in his chest from just staring at her.

“Shall we, then?” Tina interrupts his thoughts, now wearing a drop-waist jacket in navy that made the outfit appear less formal. 

Newt nods and smooths down his suit jacket, offering her his arm to disapparate.

She takes it and his heart beats faster still.

They arrive at the destination at once and find that it appears to be no more than a derelict side store, long since forsaken and left dismantled by the most recent hurricane season. Its blackened windows cracked at the corners and the odd display piece left behind reminds Newt of St. Mungo’s and its muggle-worthy facade.

He shares a knowing look with Tina who silently reminds him that they’ve got a role to play and the curtain was about to be drawn back.

They step up and through the glass together, greeted by a chiming bell that seemed to come from all directions. 

The first thing they notice is that the shop is dark and the air, heavy. It was hard for their lungs to adjust to the new, low level of oxygen.

“We’re closing soon,” came a voice from a back corner, hidden behind towering shelves of boxes and jars. A young red-haired woman with a wearied expression appears from behind one, giving them both a once over, gauging the threat they might pose with one hand on her wand that is tucked against her side. 

“But not yet,” Tina challenges, a defiant quirk to her voice.

She releases his arm and begins to roam the wide array of products on display. Tina no doubt would’ve made note of all the illegal items she’d have arrested the proprietor for were she not undercover. Newt, on the other hand, found himself sick to the stomach at the produce acquired from creatures, both magical and non, labelled crudely in tight containers. He held his tongue, however. A part was to be played on his end as well. He was still in the thick of the first act.

“I don’t suppose you make many sales with that fogging charm out front.” It sounds absentminded but Newt knows Tina is being calculating. “Wouldn’t it be a more lucrative venture to open the door to a wider range of clientele?”

It hits a nerve; the target. “I won’t have muggles in my shop!” The young witch snaps, observing their hands closely. 

Newt attends to use of the term muggle and decides to take a turn. “Ah! A fellow Brit,” he begins, trying to appear assured of himself with a straight spine and a poised grin. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss?” He reaches for her hand. 

With a sneer, she yanks it out of his grasp. “None of your business.”

Tina giggles lightly behind him. He feels her hand firm on his shoulder before she comes into view, her other hand on his stomach, tucking herself into his side. “Now is that any way to treat a customer?” He loops his arm around her, pulling her closer, the tip of his nose against her temple, unable to look away from her profile.

He must appear to the shopkeeper as a man besotted and completely in love with his wife. In truth, he is. It was the most genuine part of their performance. It would not, like their debonair and devil-may-care attitude, come off with the costumes they now wore. It was true and persistent. 

“You’re not here to buy anything. I sensed that the moment you walked in.”

Newt lets Tina take the lead, she seemed far better at this than him. Without the help of another man’s identity, he struggled to make himself, awkward and annoying Newt Scamander, seem at all intimidating and suave. With her charming and self-assured example, however, he’s confident he’ll learn.

She ignores the other woman’s remark. “I can’t say I blame you... about the no-majs.”

“They’d take one look at your shop and stage a coup on the sidewalk with their Salem revival pamphlets and Puritan preaching.” The contempt in her tone is palpable and it makes her fellow witch relax slightly in their presence.

“Yeah, heard you get a lot of that in New York.” Tina’s slight but conspicuous twang in her accent must’ve divulged from where she hailed.

Tina shrugs, her fingers readjusting themselves on his shoulder. “Not so much anymore. Barebone was dispatched a few years back. Not a moment too soon, if you ask me.” She turns to Newt, their noses touching now. “Right, baby?”

He can only nod in response, stunned by her beauty and the sexiness with which she carried herself, how she spoke to him. The feeling of her against him causes his blood to rush and his trousers to tighten.

“I heard the Obscurial got her.”

Tina rolls her eyes. “Who do you think planted the idea in his head?” They knew her attack on Mary-Lou Barebone and the mass obliviation that followed had been reported in The New York Ghost. It was not a stretch of the imagination to assume it had also reached national papers. It wasn’t every day an elite MACUSA employee attacked a no-maj, in broad daylight no less. The woman before them now would probably have read about it.

“You were demoted for that, dearest,” Newt nudges her playfully.

“One less no-maj in the world? Worth it.” She declares with a malicious grin that the other witch could see.

It's enough to convince her because she has leaned back against the counter by the till and nods in agreement. “Good riddance to them all, I say.”

“Hear, hear.” Newt toasts to that, his fingers pressing into Tina’s hipbone.

Eventually, the witch felt comfortable enough to formally introduce herself. Her name was Pomona Ambrosio and she’d inherited the apothecary from her grandmother who loathed muggles and blood-traitors alike to the point no half-blooded witch or wizard could phase through the enchanted glass if they wanted to keep their skin. 

“Of course, if I wanted to keep the shop running, I had to lift that barrier. There are simply not enough purebloods left to make ends meet,” Pomona had told them over a glass of firewhiskey, reverberating her shared beliefs in blood superiority for the better part of an hour before the conversation inevitably found its way to Grindelwald. She seemed especially proud to be on intimidate terms with one of his closest acolytes.

“I worked at MACUSA with him,” Tina added after another false sip of her drink. Newt knows she likes to remain clearheaded while she worked, but he found great comfort in the amber liquid, calming his nerves and making him appear more relaxed. He was on his third glass.

“If only I’d known I was among such a like-minded colleague, perhaps enduring Picquery’s feeble leadership might’ve been easier.” Tina goes onto explain it had been difficult to pretend she was in favour of the President’s protection of the non-magical community, but that it was in her interest to abide for appearances sake. “Better to stay close to the enemy.”

Pomona doesn’t dispute this but instead expresses her admiration. “Smart.”

After swallowing another large gulp of the alcohol, his throat burning, Newt interjects. “If only Grindelwald knew what MACUSA was planning, where they’re weakest.”

Tina catches his eye briefly. “Oh, the things I could tell him,” she adds with a conniving smirk, their joint effort urging much intrigue in their redheaded company.

Their eyes move from each other to steal a glance at her. Her stare was distant but focussed. Weighing their words, scheming.

She had taken the bait.

 

 

It was nearing nine p.m. when Newt and Tina finally left Pomona’s shop. She’d given them each a trinket to commemorate their marriage with no charge and a “don’t be strangers”.

Newt decided it was cause for celebration. Though Tina thinks his already inebriated state was the culprit.

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough, Newt?” She eyes him warily, concerned.

Newt shrugs, “you’re the one who said we need to be seen out in the town.” That is true. It would, after all, be a shame for her dress and his suit to go to waste. “So? Join me, Mrs Scamander?” He was smiling brightly with a playful, carefree glint in his eye she rarely saw.

How could she refuse that face?

 

 

In hindsight, she realises she should have.

Sometime between Newt’s seventh or eighth drink and the jazz band’s final song, Tina put her foot down and grabbed Newt around the waist and disapparated.

When they appear in their hotel room in the small hours, she is struggling to keep him upright.

“Bed,” she commands as she starts walking them over to it.

“Hmm yes. Bed, indeed.” Newt murmurs, turning in her arms and grabbing a hold of her waist and burying his face in her neck, kissing, sucking and nibbling. His hands splay out on her back.

“Newt, no.” She doesn’t want to push him away, the feeling of his mouth against her skin was tempting and makes her insides squirm in all the right places. But he’s drunk and that was quite enough to shame him come morning.

Sensing her stiffen in his arms, Newt releases his grip and stumbles away feeling rejected. “You’re so confusing, Tina!” He doesn’t need to explain because she knows he’s talking about the moment on the train the day before or perhaps he meant how she’d tried to seduce him on the night of their wedding. Or indeed, why not, the masked ball when her inhibitions had blown caution to the wind and practically encouraged his advance.

He’s not at all wrong but she says, “don’t start,” as she turns to take her coat and shoes off. Too tired to get into it.

Newt groans dramatically, his arms flailing at his sides like a sullen teenager. He approaches the balcony doors and swings them open and steps outside under the awning. “Hello world! My name is Newt Scamander and my wife is the most contrary woman to walk the planet!” His arms are outstretched as he proclaims up to the moon.

Fearing they’d make a scene, Tina leapt out of her shoes and rushes over to the balcony. “Newt, stop it! Get inside!” She takes a hold of his arm at the elbow and tugs gently. “You’ll wake the other guests.”

“I don’t bloody care!” He pulls his arm free of her grasp and stumbles away indignantly.

He slumps down on the side of the mattress, his back hunched and his arms loose and limp by his sides. “I’m so tired.” But seems hopeless. 

The wounded look in his eyes is difficult to witness. He is hurting and Tina knows it’s because of her. She approaches tentatively, her own eyes mournful, riddled with guilt.

“I’ve missed you,” Newt exhales in an audible whisper. His head bobs from side to side, compelling Tina to reach out and steady his shoulders. “So much.” His head falls against her middle as his hands hang onto her hips. “I know I hurt you and I know I deserved it…. 

Tina squeezes her eyes shut, burning, already starting to swell with tears. How could she have done this to him? This kind, sweet and patient man who never wished harm on any living soul.

“But now you’re back and you look at me like you never hated me, and it makes me hope I’m forgiven,” he continues, voice muffled slightly by his face pressed against her stomach. “You touch me like you want me but then you push me away.” If it were not for the fabric of her dress, Tina would feel a dampness there.

“I just don’t understand.” It sounds lost with a desperate longing to be found.

It breaks Tina’s heart and no matter how tight she squeezes her eyes, a single tear manages to escape, falling down over her cheek. She can taste the saltiness of it on her lips. The bitterness rivalled how she feels about herself for having reduced Newt to this pitiful state he’d surely regret when he wakes.

“Do you hate me?” It’s a question that perhaps hurts the most. It has sharp edges and it cuts into her gut.

Tina steps back and out of his arms and slowly takes a seat beside him, her eyes focussed on her hands. He’s watching her. She inhales…

“I wanted to...” he deserves only honesty now.

“When you rejected the baby at the beginning. I wanted to hate you. I felt like I was alone, and I’d be no better than a single parent when they arrived.” If there was anything she could blame Newt for, it was leaving her to face those obstacles alone. She understood his apprehension and the fear he felt, but her pregnancy, despite how short it was, had been difficult. She needed him and he wasn’t always there. And yet, she still couldn’t hate him for it. 

Newt is gaping at her now, hanging on her every word. He’d waited so long for this talk and now she was finally relenting. It didn’t matter if it hurt him, he just needed to hear. It needed to be said. “I tried so hard to hate you after everything. But then you sent the first letter, then another and another.” She received an owl thrice weekly for the first month, often accompanied by complaints from her disgruntled landlady’s who had been suspicious regarding the masculine handwriting. “They were so full of apologies and regrets that I knew you didn’t deserve any of it. You put your heart into those letters.” And she felt her own rip open with each break of a wax seal.

Tina inhales once more, the rest seemed to stick beneath the lump in her throat. “I knew it wasn’t your fault, but it was too hard to admit that it was mine...” It came with a long exhale. It was the first time she’d said it aloud and the reality of it was to her ears what a stake was to the heart. The tears flow freely now.

“No, Tina.” Newt shakes his head, shifting on the bed to face her better. “It wasn’t your fault.” She can tell he’s sobering up now by the careful sincerity in his voice. He takes her hands into his, urging her to look at him. 

“I’m an Auror, Newt. This is my job. I didn’t do it that night.” She wants to say she was an even worse mother but she couldn’t find the strength to admit that just yet.

She feels him squeeze her hand. “You wanted to believe Queenie. She is your sister and you love her.”

Tina blinks and finally meets his eyes. “I should’ve believed you. I never should have left.” She shouldn’t have waited for a request from the ministry. She should’ve returned sooner. She’d missed him, too. 

Her eyes overflow with tears. “I’m so sorry, Newt,” she sobs, her chest contorting with the force of it. “I can’t make up for the time we’ve lost or the pain and confusion I’ve put you through.”

Newt takes one of his hands and places it on her back of her neck, stroking the waves of her hair. “Then let’s have now. We’re together again. Let’s not waste any more time.”

He smiles at her through a similarly watery countenance and she leans her temple against his forehead and lets the emotion overtake her. The relief would come tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Having always considered himself a shrewd and responsible drinker, the seldom he indulged, Newt’s body was plunged into a state of shock when his eyes open to greet the new day. 

Everything seemed too much for his suffering, though somehow heightened, senses. The sun was too bright, the heat was too heavy, and the scrape of Tina’s quill against a scroll of parchment was too loud. His head was bursting with a number of unpleasant expletives that he felt himself become quite another person. He couldn't say he liked him.

“Ugh,” He groans through the daze, pushing himself up off the mattress, a hand pressed to his throbbing temple. The new position did not help to temper the nausea. 

“Let me guess,” Tina starts with a tone of amusement from the desk in the corner, her back to him. “Never drinking again?”

Newt glares daggers at the back of her head until his brain readjusts to reality and his memory of the night before washes over him. 

They finally talked. 

The alcohol induced agency with which he’d expressed his feelings was certainly worth the pounding headache and churning stomach that was now threatening to keep him bedridden for the day. It had offered Tina the opportunity to reciprocate with an honesty they’d both deserved. She’d opened up and trusted him enough to let him in, to witness the vulnerability she’d worked so hard to fortify.

To do so had been no easy task. Newt recalls the feeling of her tears mingling with his own as their faces pressed together. How she’d fallen into him whilst sobs ricocheted throughout her body. The weight of the past year had finally lifted, and it could only mean improvement from this point on.

They’d fallen asleep in each other’s arms, joining once again in the dream world in which there was no dark wizard to defeat, no toxic ideology to vanquish and no threat of young lives cut short. It was a world where there was no need for hasty marriages, Unbreakable Vows or undercover rescue missions. In sleep, Queenie had never crossed the fire. In dreaming, their child had lived.

It was as close to a Utopia they’d ever experience. They would be hard-pressed to find something quite as perfect when they woke. It was only natural that Newt had woken with his arms empty and Tina’s side of the bed cold.

Looking back over at her now, however, was quite the sight to behold. She had shifted in her seat sometime during Newt’s reminiscence. Her long, shapely legs crossed, hung over the side of the chair with the two folds of her gown parted up to her mid-thigh. Newt would’ve given anything to find the strength to be close enough to touch her there.

She wasn’t dressed but her hair was wet, telling him she’d only recently awoken herself. Long enough to shower and acquire a small ampule of a menacing looking potion she’d left on the nightstand by his side of the bed.

She must have sensed him eyeing it suspiciously because she sets her quill in the ink bottle and turns to him. “It’s a tonic. Queenie’s own brew.” It has a reddish-orange hue that reminded Newt dangerously of the deep amber colour of firewhiskey. “Trust me,” he does. “It works. I can’t tell you how many times I was able to face a full day of work after a binge the night before.”

Newt understood that being an Auror was an emotionally taxing career, as well as a physically draining one. He’d lived with Tina for the better part of two years and had inevitably witnessed how far a particularly difficult case would send her into the bottle. Likewise, he’d found his brother at the bottom of one many times, especially following Leta’s death.

It makes him wonder (and worry) how often Tina brewed this same potion for herself in the months they’d spent apart. When the pain of a mother’s loss overwhelmed her and required the numbing comfort of alcohol. Admittedly, he too had surrendered to its embrace on those darker, lonelier nights.

He reaches for the bottle and throws back its contents in one large gulp, trying to avoid his taste-buds to prevent an abrupt trip to the loo which would’ve been inconvenient since Tina had just disappeared behind the door.

One glance at the clock on the wall tells him it had just gone past breakfast time for his creatures. If he made them wait much longer, he’d never hear the end of it.

Mindful of his still sensitive stomach, he steps up and off the bed to collect his shoes. He remembers kicking them off carelessly when first stumbling onto the bed in a drunken heap but is not surprised to find them neatly tucked underneath the chaise lounge. Elsewhere in the room, his case was, as always, settled within eyeshot of the bed. Something he’d been adamant about since first procuring it as a mobile habitat for some of his magical wards.

He shakes his head with a smile and sighs Tina’s name admirably. She knew him so well. So tentative to his needs, however pernickety they may be.

When he has one shoe tied, Tina emerges from the en suite dressed in only a skirt and her silk brassiere.

Accustomed as they were to seeing each other in a more extensive state of undress, Newt doesn’t blink upon seeing more of her skin than usual. Though he does appreciate the view. Too much for his already tight fitted trousers, it seemed.

She was rifling through one of the drawers for what Newt assumes was the missing article of clothing. He takes the moment to marvel at the definition of her back and arm muscles, expertly grafted by the more physical Auror activities. When she turns with the chosen blouse in her hands, her abdominals display a similar tautness. 

Other, more sinister tell-tale signs of her profession were also visible on her skin. Some of the nastier, more stubborn scars remained but not one, Newt notices, from the torture curse. It was just as well. She didn’t need the reminder every time she caught sight of her reflection. 

Newt had familiarised himself with each and every one of the foreign grazes on her skin. The stories behind and why Tina had chosen to keep them had been a frequent post-coital topic of discussion as his fingers caressed her body. From the childhood accident involving a broomstick and a keen determination to prove herself to a surprise ambush by bootleggers in a vacant alley in Brooklyn. His hands and tongue knew each scar intimately.

All but one. 

Tina has her arms through the sleeves of the blouse when Newt approaches her. “Tina, what...” his hand moves to her hip and with his thumb, caresses two long, lightning shaped indents on her lower belly. The slight redness stuck out against the creamy, unmarked skin beside them. “Where did this come?”

Her eyes seem to water at once, her breathing hitch at feel of his touch. The silence between them is absolute for a moment before she speaks. “The baby.”

Understanding dawns on Newt immediately. She had been so small to start that the rapid growth of her belly had left its mark, a permanent reminder that she’d once carried another soul. 

Gazing deep into her eyes, he doesn’t need to ask why she’d kept this one.

They stand there, in the centre of the room, holding each other for a time. No pressing need to break apart, no tugging nudge to separate. They could finally mourn together, shouldering each other's pain. Mere hours from the long-awaited reconciliation, their chests already felt lighter.

The rest of the morning passes in subdued silence with Newt coming and going from his case and Tina sending coded owls to various people. One of whom was his brother, and another, Graves.

“Codes can be broken, Tina.” Newt had warned when she’d sent off the first one.

“I’ve enchanted them so they can only be read by the intended recipient,” she’d told him with a false outrage that makes him smile.

She had transferred the writing slope to her lap so that she could enjoy the balcony and the view of the courtyard below. The hotel was quaint but the sizeable property grounds allowed for a spacious lounging and communal area for the guests and their children. Two of which, sisters Tina assumed, were chasing each other around the water fountain, cooling themselves down by the spatter rebounding off the aged teal stone.

Naturally it transports her back to her childhood with Queenie. Before their parents died and the world was still kind. It makes her want to get to Rio faster.

The sounds from the city beyond the hotel marked a significant change in the busyness of the streets from the time she and Newt had arrived the previous afternoon. Granted, the mid-morning hustle and bustle could not compare to New Orleans nightlife which Newt had sampled a little too rigorously only hours ago. 

He was still nursing a headache despite Queenie’s tonic. Dougal had been hovering around him since he’d opened the case, something that was not uncharacteristic of the Demiguise who could sense the slightest shift in a person’s health. When Tina was pregnant, he’d so often outright refused to leave her side that eventually Newt had given up trying to coax him back into the case each night. His invisibility made it impossible when he didn’t want to be found.

Tina never helped him look as she appreciated Dougal’s company after deciding she would not be sharing a bed with Newt any longer.

Currently, Newt was wearing him like backpack whilst Pickett complained up at him. “You’ve got to learn to share, Pick,” reprimands Newt. “Especially now that Tina and I are married and on good terms again.” Pickett blows a raspberry at this and retreats back into his breast pocket.

“Serves you right. You spoiled him,” chuckles Tina lightly from the balcony. She was reclining back in her chair now, letting the bare skin of her face, arms and legs absorb the sun. The natural auburn highlights in her hair were visible in the light, adding a new richness to the deep chocolate shade. Newt thinks she looks beautiful as he defends himself.

“He had a cold, Tina!” and she rolls her eyes with a shake of her head, smiling.

This same light-hearted contentment continued well into the afternoon during which neither of them had left their hotel room. Of course, there was the persistent matter that they had to be seen enjoying their honeymoon. But no one would’ve suspected anything of a newly married couple spending an entire day in their hotel. On the contrary, it was rather expected of them. At least that’s what they told themselves come eight p.m. when they ordered room-service and placed the ‘do not disturb’ charm on the door.

After dinner, Newt invites Tina into the case with him to help with the evening rounds. He’d brought with him the Zouwu, Pickett, Dougal, Niffler and a pair of mated Hippogriffs. The latter of which had been sent to Newt via his mother who was unfortunately unable to accommodate for another flock.

“Between you and me, I think she’s getting on a bit,” Newt reveals to Tina who gasps with a mild reproof. “It’s strenuous work!” He reasons, proven by the female who was nudging his back incessantly for attention.

“I don’t think age could stop your mother from anything,” Tina remarks as she throws a rodent carcass into the air for the male to catch.

Newt’s mother was a formidable woman revered by many in the magical community. She also harboured a kindness that was a scarcity in the troubled times of late. It was not difficult to see from whom Newt had inherited much of his own gentle nature.

 

Approximately two years ago… 

“You are not telling her!” Theseus yelled toward Tina who was roughly ten paces in front of him, marching up the gravel path toward Scamander manor.

“She has a right to know!” She repeated for what seemed like the umpteenth time in the past 20 minutes. She had disapparated from the ministry to the small village in a hurry and Theseus had followed, determined to stop her before she could reach her destination.

Fortunately for Tina, Theseus had sustained an injury a few days previous that slowed him somewhat.

As such, she’s pounding her knuckles on the black wood of the imposing doors before he has reached the steps.

The resident house-elf Monty appeared at the door only seconds later. “Miss Tina. What a surprise. My mistress will be pleased to see you.” He looked behind her. “and Master Theseus! Welcome home, Sir.”

“Monty,”. Theseus managed through ragged breaths. “Don’t let Tina see mother.”

Of course, Monty wouldn’t have been able to disobey this command, but it was rendered moot when the mother in question had appeared from the side of the house.

“Theseus? Tina?” The look of surprise on her face mirrored Monty’s, except it was laden with a bright, welcoming smile. She glanced around them, searching. “Where’s Newt?”

Tina and Theseus exchange haunted looks, their heads falling. The younger of the two approaches the older woman.

“Celeste,” Tina begins. “He’s alive but he won’t be coming home for a while.”

In spite of himself, Theseus does not stop her. It would’ve been safer and ideal if himself and Tina had been the only ones privileged to the information, but he couldn’t deny that she was right. His mother deserved to know the truth. He was doubtful he could keep it from her for very long.

Celeste’s eyes are searching Tina’s for clarity. “What do you mean, my dear? Why can’t he come home?” Her tone is soft and patient. It breaks Tina’s heart to be telling her this. Tears forming in her eyes betrayed her to Theseus who thankfully stepped in and ushered both her and his mother into the house.

He explained that, to the world, Newt Scamander was dead and would remain a as such until Grindelwald was brought to heel. It was only when he told his mother they couldn’t see him until then that the floodgates opened and sobs overcame Tina.

Celeste’s arms are around her in an instant, offering what comfort only a mother could. “Oh, my dear one.”

Tina felt guilty for imposing her dramatics upon the woman whose youngest son was all but lost to her, but she found herself frequenting Scamander manor in the weeks to follow, searching for that same comfort.

She would sleep in Newt's childhood bedroom, feeling a part of him with her still. For a few days it would help, until the misery crept beneath the floorboards and she had to escape. Though Newt's house in London wasn't any less depressing in his absence and New York served little to silence it because the hole Queenie had left replaced it with a more bitter type of loneliness.

“I wish you would stay with us,” Celeste had hoped each time she stood at the gates to return to London. “Your presence is such a comfort.” Which was another reason Tina returned so often. She felt useful there, wanted and welcome. Such was how Celeste made her feel.

Her kindness knew no bounds and Scamander manor quickly became a sanctuary for Tina, however brief her visits became.

Present day...

 

Watching Newt tend to his creatures so delicately and lovingly reminds Tina of his mother. She wonders if their child would’ve inherited the natural tenderness that seemed to accompany hazel eyes.

There it was again. She couldn’t stop her thoughts from finding their way to the baby that might’ve been. No matter how much it hurt to do so, it seemed quite as natural that she should think of him or her as if it were something like breathing.

“Tina!” Newt interrupts her thoughts. “Come and see!” Grateful for the distraction, she follows his voice behind a group of trees in the Hippogriff enclosure to find him kneeling inside the hollowed-out trunk of the largest. There lay a large bird’s nest within which nestled an opal coloured egg. From a distance it appeared to be covered in scales that reflected the light, but upon closer inspection, she saw that the pattern resembled that of a Hippogriff’s neck feathers, overlapping one another in sharp oval shapes.

“It finally happened!” He beamed excitedly, caressing the tip of the egg with such care that makes Tina’s heart burst. “It’ll be hatching within the next twenty-four hours.”

“I suppose we’ll be sleeping in the shed tonight then?” Tina inquires, knowing full well Newt will want to maintain a watchful eye over the hatchling.

“Well... not if you don’t want to. There’s a perfectly good bed upstairs in our room. I’m sure you’ll find it more comfortable.” He’s hiding his face behind his hair once again, afraid that she might agree with him.

“I like yours better,” she smiles, pushing back his curls so that he would look at her.

Sometime later, they’ve settled into the small double bed in the additional room of his hut, the door left wide open and facing the Hippogriffs.

Newt lay stiff and still at first, staring up at the gaps in the wood panels. He was mindful not to touch her, despite how loudly his insides screamed at him to reach out. 

Thankfully, Tina was more daring than him and once she’d settled under the duvet, she shuffled toward him and lay down on her side facing him, only the breadth of her arm between them. “Relax, Newt.”

He turns his head to look at her with her head propped up by her elbow.

“It’s just me; just us.” The comforting smile she flashed him seemed to calm his nerves and relax his muscles.

“Just us,” he repeats in a contented whisper.

Tina inhales and closes her eyes. “Good night, Newt.”

Newt take the opportunity to study her face, absent of stress and pain. It makes him happy to know she feels this way in his presence. “Good night, love.”

In the fortnight that follows, as they travel from place to place, the space between them gets gradually smaller until Tina abandoned all grievances and had taken to sleeping on Newt’s chest if he didn’t spoon her throughout the night. They were slowly becoming comfortable with each other again and even Pickett had stopped bleating whenever Newt joined Tina under the covers. One morning he’d found the Bowtruckle sleeping in her hair, which he fervently denied ever happening.

The latest addition to the case only served to bond them further as the baby Hippogriff had, at first, been rejected by her inexperienced mother and as such, had to be bottle fed every two hours. If it weren’t for Dougal’s tendency to babysit the other creatures, Newt and Tina wouldn’t have been seen in public for the majority of their honeymoon.

In the weekend between the two weeks journey to Brazil, they received an owl from Theseus urging them to make more of an effort as reporters were starting to grow suspicious, evidenced by the assorted article clippings he’d attached to his letter.

“Two prudish workaholics like themselves can’t possibly be spending their time idle in various hotel rooms across the Americas,” impugned The Daily Prophet. 

“If humans could multiply like rabbits, the newly wedded Scamanders would have their own colony by now,” quipped The New York Ghost.

Even the Parisian paper Le Cry de la Gargouille had published its own flamboyant theories pertaining to their sudden disappearance. When they arrived in Columbia, one of the local tabloids, so named El Místico, had printed a rather exciting piece detailing an underground Crup fighting society that Newt and Tina were planning on infiltrating and would surely spend much of their alleged honeymoon planning such an “apoderarse del control”.

Tina had spent an hour trying to convince Newt that if any such illegal organisation existed, the Columbian Ministry would investigate. Besides, they didn’t have time to stray from their objective, already half a day late in meeting their appointed liaison at Castleobruxo. This was chiefly on account of Newt insisting they absolutely must stop to document Nogtails in rural Poza Rica. They'd ran into some trouble with a disgruntled farmer who was setting traps for the creatures to keep them from ravaging his harvest. Newt's intolerance for blinkered people reared its head when the man shook his cane at them. It had taken Tina and the farmer's wife stepping in to pacify their respective husbands.

Such is what Tina tells the Headmistress of the school upon their arrival.

They are making their way up the seemingly endless sandstone staircase that seemed to imbed itself into the moss-covered terrain of a massive golden rock, hidden deep within the lush and wild Amazon Rainforest. The bright green robes of the students they passed seemed to camouflage into the surrounding landscape, obscuring them from any would-be-attacker.

Isaura Xavier, the current headmistress of Castleobruxo, was standing at the top of the rock with a poise full of subdued pride. The imposing temple-like structure behind her blocks out the sun and casts Newt and Tina in a reprieving shade. Newt’s nose and her forearms were already starting to burn. 

“Welcome, my friends.” Isaura greets them with a tight smile and a soft-spoken voice, inflected slightly by her accent.

“We apologise for the delay. Someone,” Tina eyes Newt, “wanted to stop to admire the wildlife.”

Newt shrugs shamelessly. Isaura doesn’t seem to mind as she responds with “I understand the... how you say? Compulsion?” She moves aside as the door open and gestures them to follow as she continues. “Our school is renowned for its excellency in Magizoology. We prioritise the knowledge of all living creatures to help nurture a student’s respect for the world and life around them.” Tina can tell Newt was fit to bursting with admiration for the school’s primacy. She could imagine him seriously considering choosing South America as the location of schooling for any future child of theirs, irrespective of his great respect for Hogwarts and Dumbledore.

Whoa! Slow down, Tina. She urges herself, surprised by the image of herself and Newt with a nervous preteen conjured at the forefront of her mind.

She seems to have fallen behind because the voices of Newt and the headmistress talking animatedly about using his book as a study guide were slowly drifting away.

She catches up to them just as they come upon a large circular mosaic on the wall.

“Pipoca,” utters Isaura at the intricate pattern of multicoloured tiles that seemed to rearrange themselves. The wall suddenly shook, the circle emerging and separating from the stone around it. Newt and Tina step back as it began to roll to one side, revealing a hole in the wall and a set of stairs leading downward.

“Meu escritório,” she explains. “My office.” And they follow her down deeper into the temple.

The stairwell was dark save for the row of torches burning along both sides of the passageway. Tina feels her lungs constrict with how narrow the tunnel was becoming the further they delved.

Newt grabs her hand, squeezing gently so that, even though it was difficult to see him, she could still feel him and the assurance that she is okay. “I’ve got you,” she can hear him whisper.

Noticing Tina’s discomfort, Isaura says “I am sorry for the long walk. It’s just that I don’t allow apparition inside my school.”

“It’s the same for Hogwarts.”

“Ilvermorny, too.”

All three wonder which establishment had started this tradition. Reading up on the school during one of their train journeys, they discovered that Castleobruxo, like Hogwarts, appeared as no more than an ancient ruin to muggles. If that didn’t repel them, the spirit creatures tasked with protecting the school and its students, who lurked low in the hedgerows and high in canopies would surely drive them off screaming. 

Tina finds it difficult to imagine anyone could navigate the dense, suffocating jungle well enough to even find the temple. It was well protected which would be a convincing factor in her agreeing to send an aforementioned child there. 

Eventually, a source of light ahead allows Tina to relax some more, but she doesn’t let go of Newt’s hand.

“Professor Xavier, might I ask why there are so few older students?” Inquires Newt once they’ve settled into her underground office. It was true, they’d seen very few taller, more mature looking students during the small tour.

A shadow clouds over Isaura’s face and she looks down at her hands. “Grindelwald is very, what is the word? Persuasive. He exploits the persecution of our kind by non-wizards to lure young people to his side.” she opens a file in front of her. “It is sad but there is still a lot of hatred for what is ... different here in Brazil.” 

The couple on the opposite side of her desk nod, understanding completely. They wonder whether students at their respective Alma maters would drift from the light with that same enticing slogan for freedom and a false image of peace. 

The conversation turns swiftly to the order of business which could apparently be found in the file Isaura was now studying, keen to move on. “The British And American ministries wrote to tell me that you will be needing myself to liaise with you while you are undercover?”

Tina nods. “We’ll need to have someone close by to contact should Grindelwald plan to make a move.”

“It will have to be a discreet method of communication though,” Newt points out, wanting to feel useful for once. “We’ll undoubtedly be searched upon arrival and I doubt any owls we send out won’t be checked.”

Isaura nods, “It seems your Mr. Graves has a suggestion for just that, Mr. Scamander.”

Tina smiles admirably. “I’m not surprised.”

Newt rolls his eyes. He has no reason to be jealous - Tina is his wife, not Graves’s - but he can’t quite be rid of that tug in his gut whenever she praised her boss. He can already see her telling him off for being possessive but he’s fairly certain she too would feel the same way.

“He proposes we enchant a single personal item, one that you wear at all times?” her English improving as she read the instructions word for word.

Tina’s hand reaches for the locket hanging against her breast bone. Isaura follows the movement and nods. It would be suitable for a prompt form of contact.

The older witch rifles through the papers and holds up a sealed envelope. "I understand your sister Queenie has written to you. We received an owl only this morning.” This is surprising to both Newt and Tina as they had not expected Queenie to be so reckless as they neared Rio. She must have sent it at great risk to herself.

Isaura hands Tina the letter which she takes with trembling hands. She reads to whom it was addressed and gasps at the use of her nickname at the top of the page. Newt is up and out of his chair at once, hovering behind her, one hand on her shoulder and the other, reaching for hers. He would be her anchor.

 

My dear Teenie,

  I don’t have long and I’m sorry this is the first you hear from me, but an explanation will have to wait until we’re together again.  

Abernathy received an owl from Pomona Ambrosio who claims she met with you and your husband. She is certain you can be trusted. Well done!  

Grindelwald has seen the letter and trusts Abernathy’s judgement. He is curious to receive you. But be careful, sister, he is suspicious, especially of Newt. Please be prepared to provide proof of your allegiance – he will demand it before he accepts you.  

Once the papers report you two arriving in Rio, he’ll send someone to collect you.  

Until then,

All my love,

Queenie.

 

Tina exhales heavily as the parchment falls from her hands. Proof of their loyalty was still stinging faintly around their wrists. Yes, they were prepared to meet Grindelwald. But Tina isn’t so sure she’s ready to see her sister.

She feels Newt’s thumb caress her jaw as she brings their joined hands to her neck. The tension momentarily evaporating.

Once all other arrangements had been made and the plan for any necessary action was repeated thrice over, they were shown to a room in which they’d stay for the night before heading to Rio the next morning.

It was cramped with a low ceiling but they didn’t need much as they planned on sleeping in the case anyway.

“A word to the wise: don’t go wandering outside the castle after dark,” the headmistress warns, turning back into the room with one hand on the doorknob. “Night belongs to the Caipora and they’ll give outsiders more trouble than you can imagine.” There was an amused hint to her words, but Tina recognises caution when she hears it.

Newt, however, has perked up with a dangerous curiosity and excitement glistening in his eyes. 

“Don’t even think about it.”

Chapter Text

Rio de Janeiro in early October was not at all what Newt and Tina had been expecting. Coming from two of the world’s most populated cities themselves, they didn’t imagine they could feel overwhelmed with the density of a crowd. As it was, they seemed to swarm in their thousands in the streets that were, unlike those in New York and London, wide enough to accommodate the masses. Somehow it still felt suffocating and cramped.

If they’d visited eight months earlier, perhaps they’d have been able to enjoy the festivities that Carnival had to offer. As luck would have it, they’d arrived amidst a muggle conflict in which the public were staging a coup against the current governing body.

Newt cares little for politics in the magical world due to the inherent hypocrisy that too often accompanies it. He doubts very much the politicians of the muggle world are any different. He doesn’t have to wonder if Tina was of the same opinion as he caught a glimpse of her disgruntled expression as they meandered their way through the crowd. Though he suspects the blistering heat had something to do with her low spirits.

They’d tried to dress appropriately to help their bodies cope with the Brazilian humidity. Tina was wearing a loose white blouse with no sleeves and beige coloured breaches that were held up by brown suspenders. She’d unbuttoned a few extra buttons on her shirt as the thin material proved to be too thick after all. Newt’s eyes are appreciative of the view of the deep V-neck that bared some tan skin to the air. Tina too enjoyed the definition of Newt’s biceps and chest muscles through the slightly damp shirt. He’d forgone his heavy coat and restrictive bow tie in favour of rolling up his sleeves and leaving a few buttons open as well. His fairer, more sensitive skin wasn’t reacting to the sun quite as well as Tina’s.

This and the tense, disenchanted mood of the crowd around them was enough to make them forget they are magical and could readily use a simple cooling charm. As such, they kick themselves upon arriving at the hotel after an hour of navigating the gathering of stubborn bodies.

“It’s a good way to be spotted though,” Newt concedes, trying to lighten the mood as Tina fans herself with her wand vigorously. She nods. The sooner the papers announced their arrival, the sooner Grindelwald would send for them as Queenie promised in her letter.

“It’s also ideal for him,” she adds, slamming her wand down onto the table and starts unbuttoning the rest of her blouse. The cooling charm had done little to tackle the heat and her clothes were now sticking to her.

Newt watches her and decides it’s a good idea and flicks his wand to all but lift his shirt all the way off. “What do you mean?” He doesn’t miss how Tina’s eyebrows lift in appreciation.

She leaves her shirt on but let’s it hang open to reveal her brassiere and toned stomach. “The entire city filled with preoccupied and angry no-majs? It’s perfect conditions for Grindelwald to go about his business undetected.”

The implications make Newt nervous. He remembers the things he had to do whilst undercover the first time around. The lies he told. The torture he witnessed. The innocents he’d come close to killing. The memories of it occasionally return to him in the form of nightmares that wake him in a fit of cold sweats. He wouldn’t admit it to Tina but the thought of her being forced to do anything akin to what plagued his slumber, makes him want to abandon their mission altogether and run away.

But neither him nor Tina are cowards. They’ll fulfil what’s been charged to them and they’ll do it better for having each other’s backs.

He looks over at her, seated by the small table, conjuring spheres of ice into the water she’d just poured for herself. Another glass starts filling in mid-air for him just as he begun craving rehydration.

“Thank you.”

They drink in silence, regaining some sense lost in the heat. Newt rolls the ice on his reddened arms, cooling the burn whilst Tina just had to roll it across her neck and chest. The droplets of water trickling down her perfect skin over her throat, clavicle, between her breasts and past her navel. Newt’s eyes watch it slide lower, wishing his tongue could follow.

His thought broke off. The roar and stomping sounds of the crowd below were drifting in through the open window. It was deafening and there was no silencing spell powerful enough to quieten the entire muggle population of Rio. What was supposed to be a few hours of blissful relaxation, the calm before the storm that awaits them with Grindelwald’s summons, didn’t look like it was going to be happening after all. A refreshing nap was simply out of the question.

“Case?” Newt offers across the table to Tina.

“Case,” she agrees instantly. There would be little opportunity to relax down there with the demanding creatures but at least it is temperature controlled.

Standing before it, Newt offers Tina his hand as she steps inside. He’s close enough now to see the two day old wound on her upper arm that had been the result of a threatened Hippogriff who thought her baby preferred Tina as its mother.

Had it been him who was on the receiving end of the sharp, overlarge talons, he doubts he’d have tended to it until he felt himself careen out of consciousness.

But with Tina there had been so much blood. The initial shock and fear spilled out into anger. Not at the creature, but at himself for not having protected Tina better. He felt much the same as he’d done for the long seven months she’d been absent from his life. Consumed nightly, not by her heated embrace, but by his own regret and failure. The steady stream of blood trickling down her arm, soaking the entire left side of her shirt transported him back to that night at the ministry.

His case had been in her office, hidden from view by a disillusionment charm when Grindelwald had burst in, demanding to be shown the traitor. Tina held her own for the most part, jinxing and stunning several of his followers unconscious. One had landed on top of Newt’s case in the commotion and as such, he’d been locked within when Grindelwald pointed his wand and malice upon Tina.

He struggled against the weight of the man as he heard her screams and strangled cries. It was a desperate “Ascendio” and a breaking of the case’s hinges that plunged him upwards and onto the floor, pooled with blood. He’d waded through it on his hands and knees towards her. She lost consciousness quickly and he was left pleading for her and their child’s life. If Theseus hadn’t sent a Patronus to his Aurors, Newt knows the next thing he would’ve seen was a flash of green light and then perpetual blackness.

As soon as they were freed, Newt had disapparated straight to St. Mungo’s with Tina who’d awoken screaming in agony and clutching her belly. In hindsight, and given the accident two nights ago, Newt realises the apparation had caused her more pain. He’d done the same to get away from the irate Hippogriff and it only made her bleed faster.

“You need to stop beating yourself up about that.” Tina’s voice brought him back to reality. “It’s only a graze.”

It was not, in fact, a graze but rather three crooked gashes that would’ve required stitches were it not for the wonders of magic and dittany.

“I ought to change your dressings. We don’t want it getting infected,” he suggests, following her down into the case. Dougal is already in her arms when he turns from the ladder, inspecting the wound himself.

“Don’t you start,” Tina warns the Demiguise as she reaches for the handle on the door.

“Stop!”

She turns to look at Newt, surprised by the sudden outburst.

“So sorry. I just...” He moves past her. “I think it’s best that I go out first.”

“Why?”

His hands fidget at his trouser pockets and his eyes fall back to the cuts on her arm.

Tina sighs. “Okay. Go ahead.” He could tell by her tone that she was annoyed by his overprotectiveness, but he didn’t care. He refused to watch her bleed again.

As expected, the female Hippogriff squawked at the sight of Tina in the hut, flapping her wings wide in an effort to intimidate her rival.

Newt was able to subdue her quickly with the distraction of a dead ferret, but Tina elected to stay back anyway, settling on the steps in front of the shed with Dougal in her lap. The baby Hippogriff seemed offended that Tina was devoting her attention to the hairy white beast instead of her magnificent feathered self. Customary Hippogriff pride having taken a hit, she galloped back to her parents.

In spite of her initial grievance with Newt’s mollycoddling, she let herself enjoy the sight of him shirtless, pushing the heavy-loaded wheelbarrow around the uneven floor. The artificial moonlight bathed his skin in a curiously warm light as he stands staring out into the vast, exotic corner in which the Zouwu lives. The enormous creature was sleeping atop one of the larger boulders in the distance, her tail curled around herself. Tina could hear Newt mumbling under his breath as he surveyed the terrain around the beast, most probably deliberating what extensions to make next. Tina always teased him for never being satisfied with the layout of the habitats, adding small changes here and there nearly every time he stopped inside it.

Similarly, she feels in a particularly playful mood now. “You know, this old hut could do with some remodelling for once.” It was, after all, the only thing he hadn’t changed in the four years she’d known him.

Newt looks back at her, leering at him from the stairs. “What on earth for?”

“It’s a little cramped, don’t you think? I mean, look at this...” She stands up and enters the hut, stretching her long arms out to touch both walls, her fingers could almost reach the wood. “Not much room for… anything,” she stresses the last word, an emphasis that implied she was willing and eager to test that theory. And although her demonstration was to prove a point, she is also strategic in how much skin she was showing him.

It works.

He approaches slowly at first, prowling towards her. She doesn’t move an inch when he steps into the hut to stand before her, only a thin layer of air separating their bodies. “Not much,” he agrees, cocking his head to the side, revealing the rare confidence she’d yearned for when the showers got too lonely and her fingers, obsolete. His hands reach out instantly, grabbing her hips and pulling them towards his own. “But enough.”

Just as Tina opens her mouth to speak, he silenced her with his own, kissing her words away.

She stumbles backwards with the sudden force of Newt’s body against her own. Before her brain is able to engage with this new development, her lips begin to return the kiss - tentatively at first, building gradually to rival the passion with which his hands plundered her body.

Newt yields to her, letting her have her pleasures and making them his own. It felt to Tina that he been waiting each day since their last nightly excursion to be able to kiss her again, and to kiss her this way. She had waited just as long to be kissed by him, to know such love she’d previously thought lost to her.

They stumble back against the ladder at the far end of the shed, where everything had slowed down and gone soft; his lips, her lips, her heart. All were aflutter in an instant.

With his hands on her ribs, Tina jumps up and settles onto the conveniently placed ledge, opening her legs to cradle him between, locking him there by her ankles. He pushes her blouse the rest of the way off and his mouth moves to devour the flesh of her neck and chest. A deep, throaty moan urges him to nibble slightly on her collarbone and his fingers to press against the bumps at the indent of her spine.

In response, Tina arches into him, her head lolling back with her eyes closed and her nails digging into his scalp and shoulder. All at once and quite as suddenly, passion had replaced the caution of the past two weeks. The decision had been made far beyond the point of turning back, his hands were pulling away the fabric of her bra and replacing it with his tongue before they could think better of it.

“Newt,” she rasps breathlessly, her voice failing her. She pulls at his hair and rejoins their mouths, tongue seeking its partner.

In his distraction, Tina’s hands slip down and over his torso, feeling around for his belt buckle. She fumbles with it for a time, tickling the skin of his abdomen, eliciting a low growl from his throat. The bulge that pressed against her hand was not surprising but gratifying all the same and as she strokes the length of it through the uncomfortably stretched material, he bites her bottom lip, hissing against her mouth.

He grabs her hand. Their lips disconnect and their eyes meet. Hers, with a question. His, an answer.

“I want to take care of you.”

Tina’s eyes are fixed on Newt’s, considering the depth of the gaze. Mouth slightly ajar in surprise. When she purses her lips, Newt prepares to be dismissed.
 
Instead, a kiss draws him back in.
 
It’s deeper with an added sense of urgency and desire the tentative first had lacked.

Eventually, their mouths finally break apart and the fairer haired of the two drops to his knees, descending Tina’s lithe body, seeking her core. Newt’s mouth tastes the skin of her breast, her belly and hipbone. His hands drop lower still to her thighs, stroking, opening, teasing until he hooks his fingers into the belt loops of her trousers and yanks them off with the underwear beneath.
 
Newt doesn’t dare steal one last glance up at Tina’s face but his hand splays against her stomach while the other holds her by the hip. His mouth starts on the opposite side, his lips pursing softly, faint whispers against Tina’s skin, urging barely audible gasps from above which compel him to drift lower, deeper.
 
Tina doesn’t seem to know what to do with her own hands until Newt suddenly grabs one of her legs and sets it over his shoulder, giving him better access. Tina’s hands settle rigidly against the chest of drawers behind her, palms crushed to the cold mahogany, a contrast to the heat growing between her legs.
 
Newt’s lips have moved to the inner thigh he holds against his neck. They form not into kisses but leave a wet trail with his tongue, edging inwards. It’s all Tina’s body is crying out for and it’s more than she can bear. She arches her back away from the wall, pushing her groin towards Newt, demanding satisfaction.
 
“Are you certain?” He asks, peering up at the brunette.
 
“Yes. Damn it,” Tina hisses with even less hesitation than Newt’s decision to marry her, because she has scarcely room to move away, and it leaves her in this position; pinned and undone; exposed and honest, bared to Newt’s scrutiny and just simply grateful that he wants her. 

He too is grateful that she pined for his touch just as much as he’d missed touching her. How could he resist, was he able? A world without her was a world without warmth, without the guiding light of the sun, the moon and the stars. Such was what she meant to him, and furthermore the world. Newt imagined it, a world without his Tina was a world that in afterthought, seemed much like darkness, void of the reasons he had now for living. Having her in his arms now reminds him of just how lucky but undeserving he truly is.
 
Newt’s hot breath sends jolts up Tina’s spine, coiling at the nape of her neck until finally and at last, she feels tongue against tender flesh. Lapping, nuzzling, humming, sucking and nipping to devour the very last of the agonies from within. He is taking the very best care of her.
 
When Newt finally opens his eyes, mouth still attached to Tina’s centre, he sees flashes of light through the cracks in the case’s lid.

Someone was in their room.

By the sudden absence of heady breaths and impatient squirming, Newt knows Tina had noticed as well.

Her hand summons her wand and waves it down the length of her body, transfiguring some clothes and dignity onto her naked form.

She and Newt share a look. She nods and moves aside, letting him go up first.

At the top of the ladder, he pushes on the lid just enough so that a sliver of the room could be seen. The pacing sole of a poorly waxed shoe confirms they are not alone.

It's Abernathy, the defected MACUSA employee who aided in Grindelwald’s initial escape and his rally in the underground amphitheatre at Père Lachaise.

Newt pushes the case all the way open and steps out. "Can I help you?"

The man jumps slightly at the sight of him.

“Scamander,” Abernathy nods at the taller man though no ounce of respect is spared in the gesture. “Ah, Goldstein.” Tina, absent all indication of their activities moments ago, had appeared from behind Newt. “Though, I hear it's Mrs Scamander now.”

Tina eyes him gingerly, holding her tongue. He was still the snivelling, imperious runt of a man she’d briefly been supervised by. She could not afford for any hint of scorn she was feeling to bleed out onto her features. They were supposed to be on his side now. 

He seems to consider them for a moment, determining if they posed a threat or if indeed Pomona had be right about them. Neither their expressions nor their demeanour divulged much of anything, he seems to decide as he straightens his back, clearing his throat.

“Mr Grindelwald requests that you join him for dinner,” Abernathy announces with an awful finality. 

Chapter Text

Ash was swirling overhead in the cloudless evening sky, emanating from the gargantuan hay statue of the muggle President that blazed in the centre of the city. The flames could be seen from the mountainside favela that Newt and Tina had been escorted to by their reluctant guide Abernathy. He must think he’s above such tasks, the couple agreed when they’d stopped in front of a cluster of derelict houses that left little room for a discreet disapparation point. He huffed and groaned the entire journey.

Abernathy pulls out his wand and a small piece of torn parchment. He reads the contents before setting it alight.

Just as they were beginning to think he had led them to be ambushed, the ground beneath them begun to shake and the air became heavy with something other than humidity. Several of the shacks appeared to be razing themselves into the hillside as their foundations quaked beneath them. The corrugated roofs bounced up and down and the makeshift windows fluttered in the non-existent breeze. They could just make out residents within who, to their confusion, hadn’t seemed to notice the earth shifting around them.

Newt and Tina step back, maintaining a cautionary distance from whatever might appear between the two cubic houses that were now separating, pushing against the others to make room. The sound of bricks piling on top of one another merges with the heavy crack of stone. This too goes unnoticed by the muggles surrounding them.

Finally, the noise of shifting ceases and an overlarge white door with black ornate inlay greets them from its position in the rock face. Without turning to acknowledge them, Abernathy approaches the door but remarks “the Fidelius charm. Genius, right?”

The couple behind him share a look that communicates apprehension, but they follow anyway, hand in hand.

Upon closer inspection of the door, Tina notes the sigil of what Grindelwald affectionately called the Alliance. It comprised of the famed elder wand which stood betwixt two letter G’s back to back, framing the symbol that represented the Deathly Hallows. Newt remembers it all too well from his extended stay in Nurmengard Castle a year ago. It had been engraved on various objects throughout the Austrian stronghold, never once could Newt forget where he was. The subtle though stringent reminder barked at him whenever he would pass.

Grindelwald’s need to flee Europe upon Newt’s cover being blown and his location compromised, was an abrupt one. His new lair in Rio was not without the customary homely touches, as the sigil appeared again and again on the torch brackets that decorated the corridor beyond the entrance at intervals.

They were inside the mountain now. A deep cavernous hole in the earth that cocooned the dark magic within. An apt base of operations, the Auror in Tina mused as she grudgingly admired the ingenuity in it. The ministries of the world would be hard pressed to uncover a location protected by a Secret Keeper. Not even she and Newt could divulge the coordinates in their next check in with Isaura. Newt had told her of a house owned by a pure-blooded family in London that was protected by the same complex enchantment. No such residence had been found because anyone who’d visited, of which included Theseus’s would be father-in-law, was unable to share the secret themselves.

“A secret protected by the Fidelius Charm can only be shared by the primary Secret Keeper,” Newt explained to her one evening. “The secondary keepers are quite unable to do so.”

Tina supposes Grindelwald had charged himself as Secret Keeper after Newt’s treachery.

He is learning.

It makes her stomach twist uncomfortably with nerves. Those who knew her called her the quintessentially prideful woman, but she is not too proud to admit that she was frightened for what awaited them farther into the dark chasm of the mountain. Grindelwald’s alleged trust in Pomona Ambrosia’s judgement by proxy of Abernathy was all well and good, but it didn’t instil a confidence in her enough to dispel the concerns she had regarding Newt’s safety.

Similarly, and Tina hates herself for thinking it, she couldn’t trust Queenie any better. Although she was not in the habit of doubting the effects of Veritaserum, she suffered no delusions that there were no ways to counteract it. No potion that could dull the effects enough to bend the truth. No charm that would evaporate the liquid prior to consumption. Yes, it was possible Queenie had found a loophole. The question is, why and to what end? There was no guarantee that Queenie had told the truth and Grindelwald was willing to welcome them. So far there was only reason to doubt - she’d been fooled by her sister before, and to her own detriment.

Before she could dig herself deeper into a pit of fear and unease, a series of screams echo down the long corridor towards them. Abernathy does not acknowledge it, indicating that this was a common occurrence. Tina looks to Newt whose face doesn’t appear surprised but rather regretful.  Why didn’t you warn her, you idiot!  He reprimands himself upon meeting her horrified expression.

They say nothing as the screaming continues until suddenly and all at once, its silenced by a flash of green light beaming out of the cracks in a door they’d just passed.

Newt tightens his grasp on Tina’s hand, pulling her closer to his side. A gesture that says, “I’ve got you.”

Tina squeezes back.

The corridor curves to the right and out of her peripheral vision, Tina catches someone dragging a large heap from the door the screams had escaped. She tenses slightly, feeling Newt turn his head to look. Not wanting him to see what she had seen, she pulls on their conjoined hands and speeds up slightly, turning the corner on Abernathy’s heels. He is considerably shorter than both Newt and Tina and so it was difficult not to step on his overlong robes.

The abrupt stop he comes to next almost has them colliding into him. He flashes them a miffed sneer and tells them to “wait here” before he disappears into a dimly lit room.

They turn to one another, eyes searching, pleading, loving.

“We can do this,” one of them decides.

The other nods. “We can do this.”

There was no other option.

Tina remembers her training, taking note of all the exits and hiding spots. She could hear Graves’s voice in her mind, drilling these habits into her during her first year at MACUSA. There was a very small number of escape routes, owing to the fact they were inside a mountain fortress. The only escape would be the way they’d entered. The odds were stacked against them should Grindelwald deem them unwelcome.

They adjust their demeanour and the way they carry themselves much like they’d done before meeting with Pomona in her New Orleans Apothecary. While that had been a pivotal performance, this was to be the true test of their subterfuge. They might fail to convince Grindelwald and live only long enough to become that lifeless corpse they could hear being dragged in the opposite direction.

Tina leans into Newt, their foreheads supporting each other, eyes closed, sharing the strength they needed to surmount the obstacle that waits in the next room.

Despite the thickness of the stone, they could hear Abernathy speak.

“Sir,” there’s a swish of robes and soft but steady footsteps. “Your guests have arrived.”

Then they hear it. The low, soft-spoken distinctive voice that had nurtured killers and razed cities to ruin. “Ah! Marvellous.” It’s intimidating in a way that only those who were familiar with the man could know. To others it may seem reassuring, comforting even. It made him all the more dangerous.

There was another pair of footsteps, with heels and steps that were a great deal more purposeful than the last. A woman, Tina notes. Could it be Queenie?

Somehow the anxiety Tina felt at hearing Grindelwald speak was eclipsed by the fact she would see her sister very soon. She hadn’t so much as set eyes on her since she’d lay bleeding on the floor, her vision blurry and her heart broken.

“Well? Show them in!” Griped the feminine voice that was decidedly not Queenie Goldstein given the French accent etched into the words.

The door swings open and they release their hold on each other. “Welcome, my friends,” Grindelwald greets, his arms outstretched, beckoning their approach.

The room was vast but filled sparsely with only an unnecessarily long dining table that didn’t quite engulf the size of its surroundings. The only source of light flickered above in a pillar chandelier that hovered below the high ceiling, the flames too dull to chase away the shadows at each corner. So far, the lair is filled with too much darkness, and too little of anything else. It would remind Newt of his school years if it were not for that as well as the bloody stains on the floor by the fireplace, cold with disuse.

Had it been left there intentionally? He worries. It was not a good sign.

“Nice to see your own face again, Newton.” Grindelwald nods towards him when he enters the room behind Tina. Like before, he decides silence suited him best in this situation. His brain and mouth were linked by several faulty connections he didn’t trust enough to use.

Grindelwald makes his way over to them and takes Tina’s hand. “Porpentina,” he brings it to his lips and kisses her knuckles in a perverse attempt at being chivalrous, though his mismatched coloured eyes peer up at Newt who stood close at her back. “Charming.” When his eyes fall, they widen a fraction at the now pearl-toned scars weaving around her wrist. Tina feels his hold on her hand tighten, pulling her forwards abruptly as his other hand wretches away her sleeve. She feels the light touch of his fingers against her forearm and notes his stare sought out Newt’s. There he found its twin. “Curious.”

Newt prays he isn’t glaring because the rage was flaring inside him from how the other man had touched Tina. She, however, hadn’t blinked. She remained poised and as calm as ever. “In time, Mr. Grindelwald,” she answers his unspoken question with a curt smile. She is playing a dangerous game, but Newt trusts her judgement.

It seems to have worked in their favour because Grindelwald nods politely and waves his hand over the table, three chairs sliding out from under it. “Please, join me.”

He naturally takes a seat at the head of the table, leaving the rest free. Newt follows Tina to the left side, about to sit down beside her when the French woman bounds toward them.

“Not next to each other!” Rosier scolds, gesturing to the opposite side of the table.

Chuckles erupt from Grindelwald who seemed to find the sudden outburst amusing. “You must forgive Vinda,” he manages between jolts of laughter. “She’s a stickler for etiquette.”

She shoos Newt over to the other side, directly across from Tina, though he’d prefer to be within touching distance of her. “Without it, I believe we no better than the filth outside these walls.” Her words tug both Tina and Newt back to the reality of what they are dealing with. Cruel witches and wizards who would abuse their power and treat muggles as inferior beings, stomping out their existence as though they are no more significant than an insect. Had it been a no-maj from whom they’d heard the screams?

It wasn’t news to them, but being here, hearing it, feeling the wicked infestation within the walls was a different thing altogether. And now they must convince the Alliance that they too would sooner see muggles brought to heel and the wizarding community on top than continue to skulk in the shadows, fearful of persecution.

They remind themselves, over the first glass of alcohol, their sacrifice now measured short in comparison to the promise of a world without the ever-looming threat of a dark wizard and his murderous, hateful acolytes. A world in which Queenie and Credence were safe. Of course, they’d be lying if they claimed revenge for the loss of their child didn’t play a part in it. It made Tina’s stomach churn, allowing him to take her hand when she wanted nothing more than to watch him bleed to death beneath the tip of her wand. Just as he’d done many months prior.

“Quite right,” agreed Grindelwald in response to Vinda’s assertion. “Leave us.” Rosier and Abernathy both stomp out of the room as though a couple of dismissed school children.

“I know what you’re thinking,” they turn their attention back to their host, hoping he didn’t. “But we must humour our friends every once and a while, no?”

They smile but say nothing. Newt is using all his strength not to fling himself over the table to make Grindelwald’s already pallid complexion even more lifeless. Admittedly, it wouldn’t be the smartest move. If Tina couldn’t reach her wand in time to help him, Grindelwald certainly would.

“You don’t mind if we have another guest, do you?” Their eyes follow the direction his hand is now pointing. Another door has appeared in the stone wall. It opens slowly to reveal the blonde curls and dreamy-eyed look that belongs to only one person Tina knows.

Queenie , she inhales at the sight of her baby sister, whose once bright eyes were now dull and empty, having lost all of the wonder Tina had envied her for. Any doubt she’d had mere moments ago about her sister’s credibility were now dismissed. Queenie is unhappy and the imploring nudge Tina felt in her mind says, “save me, sister.”

Other than this brief telepathic plea, Queenie makes no outward sign of acknowledging them. She too has a role to play, which she maintains as she settles behind Grindelwald with one hand on the back of his chair.

“A family reunion, how nice! Though, I understand you must harbour some resentment, Tina,” he muses, too calmly for someone talking about torture and betrayal. It was a test, a challenge to get a rise out of her. Fortunately for herself and Newt. they’d been expecting it. “May I call you Tina?”

She looks him dead in the eye, accepting his challenge. “It’s reserved solely for friends. Do you intend to be my friend, Mr Grindelwald?”

It’s fleeting and almost impossible to catch, but one of his white eyebrows twitches.

Game.

“I hope you can forgive me... Tina.”

Set.

“You see, I did not know you were with child at the time.”

She swallows hard, forcing the memory down, though she senses both Newt and Queenie tense. “Would that have stopped you?” It’s more rhetorical than anything else.

His lack of response indicates she had passed his test. “Touché.”

And match.

Although she could relax for now, she loathes the cavalier tone of his words. As though they were discussing a simple misunderstanding. As though her and Newt’s lives hadn’t been forever upended by the mistake she knows he meant to make. If one good thing could come out of this conversation, her determination to see their task through was stronger than it had been the day before.

“So!” He settles back in his chair, conjuring food onto the table. “How is married life? I heard Seraphina was good enough to officiate the union herself.”

“It was advised,” Newt states for the first time since entering the room. “Though it was difficult to have someone like her bind us.”

Queenie leans down to whisper something into Grindelwald’s ear. It was, after all, why she had been invited in the first place. To gage their intentions in person. It was as Dumbledore had predicted. Her constant and continued assurance would be Grindelwald’s guide towards accepting them.

Whatever she’d said seemed to satisfy him. “It is a rotten business,” he agrees. “The muggle protectors are all the same. Shameful to our kind.”

“In the end it didn’t matter who married us.”

“It’s always easier when your partner shares much the same beliefs as you.”

Grindelwald nods, though Tina could’ve sworn she saw a familiar hint of regret in his eyes, one she’d seen in Dumbledore’s. “Half the battle, I dare say,” he adds.

His eyes fall inevitably to the scars on their wrists. “The other half?”

Tina shrugs, rubbing her arm to give the impression the Unbreakable Vow was a given and not at all noteworthy. “Extra security.” The more willing they appear, the more convincing they’d be.

Queenie whispers something again.

He turns to Newt. “Do  you , Newton? You’ve been awfully quiet.”

Blessedly, the younger man had chosen that moment to take a particularly large gulp full of wine.

“No matter. You’ll have your opportunity to talk.” Grindelwald empties his glass. “Separately.”

He rises from his seat and when Tina moves to do the same, she finds herself rooted to the chair, unable to move. One panicked glance over at Newt tells her that he too is paralysed. They simultaneously reach for their wands but find them gone.

They look to their host who is holding them firmly in his hands. “Did you really think I would welcome you so easily? Has Percy taught you nothing?” The mention of Graves fuels Tina’s anger. He’d been tortured and imprisoned by Grindelwald for months and she’d been there to help him recover. She’d seen the damage this man - this monster - had inflicted upon her friend.

“Tell me, Tina. Does your husband know just how close you and dear Percy were for a time?” It’s a taunt, one meant to undo them further. She hopes it won’t work as she eyes Newt closely. “The things Tina could show you in a pensieve, Newt. You would not believe what they got up to during all those night shifts shared together with an endless flow of whisky.” He sounds ridiculous, Tina thinks, trying to create a rift between them like some school-age girl who lived for the drama of others. Still, she holds her tongue and Newt doesn’t react.

Grindelwald was leaning against the table, facing Tina until he turns his head towards Newt. “I wonder if she lets you touch her like that,” he concludes before getting up to leave, his beastly laughter following him out of the room.

 

...

 

Tina doesn’t get a chance to talk to her sister because when she’d turned to look back from Grindelwald, the blonde was gone.

She’d looked to Newt instead who was staring down at his hands, avoiding her gaze. She knows, against his better judgement, what Grindelwald said regarding herself and Graves was tormenting him. Likely imagining the worst, most intimate of encounters. She would have to answer for it later because the moment she opened her mouth to explain, Abernathy and Vinda returned to the room, pointing wands at their backs.

She was led out whilst Newt remained, casting her a furtive glance with alarm in his eyes. It wasn’t being separated that filled them with dread, they’d expected that too. It was the threat of never being reunited that scared them. Would their last moments together be filled with tension and the images of her with another man? Would she have the chance to dispel those thoughts from his mind?

Now, as Tina sits alone in an impossibly darker, more cramp room, she fears what was happening on Newt’s end. Twisting the ring on her finger, she prays he is all right.

“Hello again,” comes a voice from behind her. “Have you enjoyed your stay so far? You’ve been treated well?” Grindelwald asks, settling in the chair across from her, his hands clasped. It reminds her of the time she and Newt were interrogated by the then disguised Grindelwald in the vaults at MACUSA. He has much the same demeanour as he had then, beneath the visage of her friend. She remembers punishing herself for weeks to follow for not recognising the obscure, uncharacteristic mannerisms he’d displayed. Up until that point, he’d played the part well, even showing distress at sentencing her to death. Or had that been genuine? Did it hurt him to end magical life, irrespective of whom it belonged to?

She doesn’t dare to hope, least of all when she felt her legs fused to the chair, her spine aching from the pressure of being held down by some invisible force, her wand confiscated.

“Forgive me, Mr. Grindelwald, but is the small talk strictly necessary? Can’t you just ask what you wanna know?” She wants it over and done with as soon as possible and loathe she is to endure the empty niceties. She wants to get back to Newt. To her husband.

He considers her for a moment, sizing her up before leaning back in his chair, relaxing. She takes the moment to look around the room, all but one wall is solid stone, encasing them inside in a claustrophobic bubble with no hope of escape. The fourth wall shimmered slightly, vibrating just enough to appear in waves to the naked eye. Tina has seen it before, at MACUSA, in the death chamber. Behind the stone wall would be another room, hidden by the enchantment that flickered in front of her. She suspects Queenie is there, watching, listening. And she’ll tell Grindelwald just what she’d found inside her sister’s mind.

Yes, this was very much an interrogation and it was time to convince him.

“Very well,” he agrees finally with his white eye leering. “To the point then, Tina.”

Tina turns her gaze back to him, bracing herself. “You’re an Auror. A damned dedicated one come to that.” The irony is not lost on her, but she suppresses the smirk to maintain eye contact.

“I remember how devastated you were to be demoted.”

Of course you would , Tina thinks. He had been there, watching it happen. In hindsight, she realises that the real Graves would’ve contested Picquery’s decision. Instead, he’d just stood there and let it happen. It ought to have been the first sign that something was amiss in the Major Investigations Department. Like a fool, she’d missed that too. Hopefully Grindelwald is worse at detecting liars than she is.

“Then you’ll also remember why I got demoted in the first place,” Tina points out. The time had come.

Grindelwald nods. “The Barebone woman.”

“So you understand,” she hopes, the lack of oxygen in the poor excuse of a cell was restricting her airways, gasping for this to end.

“I understand that you wanted to protect an abused youth. What’s significant about that?” His dismissive words makes Tina wish Credence could hear him, to snap him out of whatever manipulation he’d succumbed to, to help her, Newt and Queenie.

“Nothing at all.” Tina shrugs, leaning back in her chair, mimicking him, “But I couldn’t admit to having attacked her previously, without provocation, could I?” There was no way he could prove otherwise.

This seems to grab his attention. He sits straighter, arms folded on the table between them, closer. “You attacked her? Why?”

She recalls how she’d convinced Pomona. How she’d spoken and what she’d said that led her to trust them, to think that she too despised the Statute of Secrecy and the laws imposed upon all wizard kind to ensure the protection of the non-magical. She remembers fuelling her bitter, scornful words with the very real, very raw pain and anger she feels constantly toward the man before her. What he’d stolen from her, from Newt, from Theseus and so many others like them. Yes, she loathes Grindelwald and if she couldn’t give him his due, she would use the veracity of emotion he’d caused to bring him down from within. She would make all the suffering, the nights of screaming and the irreversible heartache count for something. She had to.

So, she puts on her darkest mask and arms herself with that painful fury. “Her relentless Puritan preaching got on my nerves. No-maj’s are not worth the air we breathe, I loathe sharing it with them.” The glare she sends his way is not discernible, but it does express rage. .“She was a waste of it. She and her pitchfork, noose-tight agenda.” She spits the words, teeth clenched, eyes flaring with contempt and hands balled into fists. “My ancestors did not flee Salem for my sister and I to hide in the dark.” The anger in her voice here scares her because she isn’t sure where it had come from and, worse still, if it was genuine.

“Why didn’t you join her?” He cocks his head to the side, intrigued.

Tina looks down at her wedding ring, glinting up at her in the low light. She thinks of Newt and the anger vanished instantly..

She remembers Dumbledore’s words in his office many weeks ago. Something that would put the conversation to rest. There is one thing Gellert understands better then anything else. He questions it seldom, if ever...

Love.

“I understand.”

“I thought you might.”

They share a bittersweet smile and it’s in the sincerity of his that tells Tina she’s got him. Hook, line and sinker.

 

...

 

She is escorted to another room after her meeting with Grindelwald. It’s almost as big as the dining room they’d first seen, except instead of a table occupying the majority of the space, a large bed stood in its place. It’s not, however, the first thing she notices.

“Newt?” Tina calls out with a shameless desperation in her voice. Logically she knows that since she was taken for interrogation first, she’d be the one left waiting until his is over.

Feeling helpless, she slumps down on the bed and finds her wand placed on the mattress. It’s a good sign, she decides, but anxiety rises in her stomach because Newt’s isn’t next to it.

Their belongings, his case, had been brought to the room, placed neatly by the door. The creatures were past due their nightly rounds and it fell to her when Newt wasn’t around. They were practically her wards too. It would be a good distraction if nothing else. She steps inside the case with a practiced ease and enjoys the company of the Demiguise, Niffler and Zouwu but avoids the Hippogriff family. It was senseless to get herself fatally maimed just as she had successfully infiltrated the Alliance. She hopes beyond any hope she’s never had that Newt will too. That he’ll join her any moment and hold her, kiss her and finish what they’d started before Abernathy had interrupted.

Would he even want to? Would the thoughts of Graves touching her ruin any attraction he felt towards her? Would he resent her?

Each thought, she knows deep down, is not her husband. He is not capable of resentment. She is just trying to distract her mind with impossibilities she could fix because it is easier than brooding over the very likely possibility that Newt may not step into his case again. And there was quite simply nothing she could do about it, locked in the room by magical reinforcements and surrounded by dark witches and wizards who would see her die simply for the career she’d chosen.

If Newt was killed, could she do it alone? Would she care to?

Could he stop himself from attacking Grindelwald over what he’d said at the dinner about their baby? She knows she had to rein in every impulse screaming at her to torture him the way he’d tortured her, until the mountain was filled with blood. Could Newt do the same? Would he try?

Before she could answer any of these questions, she hears a noise above that sounded too heavy and staggering to be Newt’s.

She is sitting on the boulders by the sleeping Zouwu, Dougal in her arms and the Niffler eyeing her wedding ring. Her and Dougal’s eyes fixed upon the opening to the shed as they hear the sounds approach.

A click and snap. The case was being opened.

A creak and series of thuds. Someone was entering the shed, climbing down the ladder.

Tina lets go of Dougal and the Zouwu wakes, alert, her tail curling around Tina who stands in front, her wand aloft.

The thuds turn to the stomps she’d heard above, only closer and closer still.

Her heart is racing and her hand, shaking until, all at once, everything stops, frozen.

The door swings open.

“Oh my god,” Tina gasps.