The thing she hated most about England was the near constant damp between late October and February. It was like a fine mist, getting everywhere and leaving a damp sheen to everything. It was a rain that clung to the soul. Newt called it drizzle, Tina liked to counteract that drizzle in New York wasn’t quite so damp.
She had been in London a matter of days, and was already looking forward to their next trip. Hopefully it would be somewhere warmer than England in midwinter. At least in New York, when it got cold, it snowed. In England, it just drizzled some more. It wasn’t even good rain, just a pathetic attempt to keep everything miserable. At least in New York, when it rained, it rained. None of this half-hearted attempt.
Tina rolled her shoulders back, pulling her grey coat tighter around her body, her breath frosting the glass. The window was spattered with tiny raindrops, making the No-Maj (No, Muggle) street beyond hazy and distorted. She dreaded having to go back out there. She eyed the dark sky suspiciously. She hadn’t been in London long, she had come to London to meet Newt and the Ministry (the British MACUSA) in advance of a trip Newt was planning for another book deal. And while she had been in London a matter of several weeks, she had already learnt that the dark clouds that hovered persistently over London during the Fall (“Autumn” Newt’s voice reminded her gently) could yield yet another damp drizzle, or equally, a torrential downpour that would make New York proud.
With a huff, she turned away from the window, and back to the wizarding pub she was taking lodging from. Apparently it wasn’t done for a pureblood wizard (however peculiar) to have a female, unmarried houseguest he wasn’t engaged with staying at his home. Especially an American! So, Tina had booked a room out at the main magical inn in London. It was basic, a little shabby, but it was the entrance to the Wizarding community in London, so there were some benefits. The patrons of the bar ranged from those propped at the bar, a pitcher of something in their hands, red faced and happily chatting to their equally as hay neighbour. There were families fielding young children, later in the day they would return with their children hanging off one arm, the other clutching misshapen packages. Packages carefully wrapped by the shop owners of Diagon Alley to maintain the Statute of Secrecy. A steady hum of chatter filled the low ceilinged room, and a small mist of steam rose from the coats of those who had just entered from the great outside. The fireplace crackled and the barman called cheerfully down the bar to his young son Tom, sat at the end with wide-eyed enthusiasm.
Newt had promised her he would be at the Leaky Cauldron at eleven thiry sharp. They had a meeting with the Obscurus books publisher at twelve, and then with the Ministry (again) at two. Then (and she shuddered for this one) they would be dining at his brother’s house in Kent. Tina disliked Newt’s older brother. War hero he may be, kind to his brother, he was not. Despite not having the gift her sister did, Tina had been able to tell within seconds of meeting Theseus that many of Newt’s many insecurities had come from living in the shadow of his older brother. While the rest of the wizarding community saw a kind benefactor, a brilliant war hero with a good head for politics, Tina saw a man who had tried for years to bully his little brother into his own image. His wife was vain, and power-hungry, looking down on Tina for both her Americanisms, and her Jewish heritage.
In fact, Tina wasn’t sure she had seen Newt go red from anger before now, when he had hotly informed his brother that unless that woman, sister-in-law or not, stopped insulting his friends, he and Tina would be leaving now, thank you very much. Tina had been as stunned as Newt’s family when he had spoken up in her defence. She wasn’t, however, surprised when he did indeed stand up and escort her to the front door after a particularly snide comment from Hippolyta Scamander. This dinner was an olive branch between the two brothers. While Tina didn’t want to be another source of bad blood between them, she was incredibly wary of the visit. That they had been surprised by Newt’s loyalty to a friend had made her wary. How could they not love Newt as much as she did? Maybe not in the same way, but she loved him with her whole heart for his loyalty, his steadfastness, his right and wrong.
When he had returned to New York, a year after he had quit it, monthly letters bemoaning the bureaucracy of the publishing world, Tina had found that working in the Auror office wasn’t quite as fulfilling. Newt had taught her that some rules could be bent, and following them to letter wasn’t as easy as before. She loved her job, but she had been given a taste of something a little better. And she missed it. She missed him. Which seemed downright bizarre, given how they had only known each other for a matter of days. And in that time, she had kidnapped him, made him cocoa, betrayed him and then became his friend in the hunt for his magical creatures across New York. It had certainly been a memorable start to a friendship.
So he had returned. He had returned to deliver a red bound, gold embossed copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, wide eyed with surprise at the news of the reception it was receiving in the English speaking wizarding community. He had stayed a month. She had helped feed his animals, listened to his stories of places he had been, had hatched some occamies herself and helped nurse a graphorn calf back to health. (That had been an interesting week at work, paperwork and wizarding law-breakers by day, graphorn nursemaid by night). Then, he had received a letter from a wizard out in California seeking advice about a creature in his garden, and Newt had gone. He had been gone a week when he returned, apparating right into the flat while she and Queenie were at work, flopping down on the couch and sleeping till she arrived home late that night. It had been strangely domestic. (Queenie had giggled for a straight ten minutes when she heard the story – watching Tina’s version of events rather than listening to the words out of her older sister’s mouth. Even Jacob’s reaction had been a soft awwww).
And so, it came to be that Newt treated the Goldstein apartment like his central residence while investigating magical creature occurrences in North America. It wasn’t until the illegal breeding of Hippogriffs in a park in Northern Carolina was bought to their attention that Tina accompanied him. They found the beasts, six of them, their plumage dull, their eyes sharp and mistrusting. While Tina set about closing all loopholes in the operation from the human perspective, Newt set about earning the proud, majestic creatures trust. In the end, it had taken several weeks. Tina had been stalling, not wanting to return without Newt when he was so angry at the humans who had hurt these beautiful creatures. And then, one morning, she had woken up to find the cot in Newt’s potting shed empty (he had given her her own potting shed next to his, mumbling about privacy and decency and society. She had smiled fondly and thanked him quietly) and him standing in front of the leading female of the beasts, gently smoothing the plumage and murmuring soft words. Tina had approached quietly, not wanting to startle either beasts. Newt had turned to her, eyes bright and trusting, beckoning her to approach, quietly instructing her to bow. And so, in a matter of weeks, a herd of mistreated hippogriffs began to trust Newt, and Tina. And she wouldn’t leave until they were ready to.
(It was then she realised that she loved this Newt the most, not the bumbling, awkward man he was when they encountered other humans, not the endearing man he was always, but this Newt. The Newt who was happy around creatures, whose eyes brightened when they told her stories and who would fiercely protect any magical creature that needed his help.)
Returning to work in the Auror office had been even harder then. She started going with Newt on the short trips, ones where they could apparate, pick up a Horkalump and return in time to Queenie’s delicious spread. Some trips could be achieved in a weekend. Others took longer. In the end, what was supposed to be a month long trip to America ended up lasting nearly a year. He was there for Jacob’s proposal to Queenie, and he promised faithfully he would be there for the wedding.
Then, inevitably, his travels began to be further, to other countries. He would be gone months at a time. But always, he would find his way back to New York. When Queenie moved out and it was just Tina at home, he was always a little warier about them being discovered alone. He worried for her reputation even as she didn’t. Each time he left, she found it a little harder to say goodbye.
When the chance came, she took it. She approached President Piquery herself, proposing a liaison between the Magical Creatures division of the British Ministry of Magic, and MACUSA. Piquery had fixed her with a look, before rolling her eyes, slumping down and saying:
“Well, we expected this a while ago.”
Clarification had been that the MACUSA auror department had been expecting this request for a while, had already created a position which would allow Tina to travel with Newt, keep him on the right side of the law, and still officially working for MACUSA. She would be able to join the Ministry of whatever country she arrived in as an Auror. When she had gotten up to leave, Piquery shook her hand and said “Congratulations on the engagement then Porpentia, we’re sorry to lose you.”
And that was how Tina found out that everyone at MACUSA had been waiting months for an announcement of an engagement between the strictly no-nonsense career-girl of the auror department, and her slightly strange British magizooligist. It had been nearly four months travelling with Newt, and she was still waiting for the same announcement herself. They had been asked to return to London for various meetings, and decided to make a trip of it. In the new year, they would be returning to New York for Tina to present her own findings about magical law enforcement to MACUSA (and to be there to meet Queenie and Jacob’s new baby when it made its appearance).
And that was how Tina found herself standing at the window to the Leaky Cauldron, waiting for Newt. Tina watched the rain, and watched the patrons, and she thought of loyalty, and family. It was with a pensive look on her face that Newt finally popped up next to her, brushing soot off his pea-green coat and apologising profusely. With a sigh, she put a hand to his chest and proceeded to fish a spluttering Picket from his front coat pocket.
“Newt,” she admonished in exasperation, “You know he doesn’t like being in your pocket for the Floo!”
(The Floo was something new as well, British wizards stepped into fireplaces to transport themselves to other wizarding dwellings. Americans just apparated)
Newt looked down sheepishly, mumbling apologies to Picket. The bowtruckles disgruntled response was to poke his tongue out at Newt and settle determinedly onto Tina’s shoulder. She smiled at the look of resigned acceptance on Newt’s face at this decision. He muttered something she could have sworn to be momma’s boy before straightening up to bow slightly and offer her his arm.
“Our agenda for today Miss Goldstein?” He asked brightly as they picked their way to the back of the pub where the entrance to Diagon Alley awaited.
“Try to convince Peter to let me publish a book on international magical law enforcement, another book or three for you and your magical creatures, to let the Ministry know we aren’t just kissing in random swamps in South East Asia, and…. To mend fences with your brother,” she listed brightly. They stood in the doorway leading to the wall, beyond which laid Diagon Alley. “Well, come on mister, we haven’t got all day. I ain’t going out in the rain.”
“You’re worse than a kneazle!” Newt declared dramatically, producing his wand with a flourish and pointing it above their heads. A magical umbrella appeared over their heads. “Shall we Miss Goldstein?”
“We shall Mr Scamander,” Tina laughed.
And together they walked out into the rain, arm in arm.