“Fuck” Tina swore under her breath. In her opinion, there could not be single reason for anyone to be ringing her doorbell at six in the morning on her free Sunday. Not a single one.
“Teen, take the door” Queenie mumbled, frowning and turning on her back in her sleep.
“No way. You do it” Tina countered. “I deserve sleep more” It was her first free sunday in two months, and she’d be damned if she gave it up to go open the door. her sister, who slept in every Sunday, could do it this time.
Her reply was met with nothing but snoring, and after five minutes of waiting to see if whoever was at the door was going to ring again, she decided that she could go back to sleep too. Seened sometimes she could be lucky enough to actually catch a break.
Or not. Sighing, and clearly hearing that Queenie was still deeply slumbering and snoring, she finally got out of bed and stumbled towards the door, blurry eyed and as tired as ever.
“What the fuck do you want?!” By the time Tina reached the door, she worked herself up from tired and slow to absolutely pissed. It was her free sunday for fuck’s sake and now she was up at six in the morning opening the door for some idiot who didn’t get people liked to sleep at six in the morning on a weekend.
“I’m not exactly thrilled to be here either, Miss Goldstein!” The cold, aggravated voice of Percival Graves reached her ears, and despite her bad mood and tiredness she immediately snapped into position, standing straight and scolding her face into a neutral expression on pure instinct.
“Mr.Graves I’m so sorry I…” She stopped talking, calming down and giving herself a moment to take in what she was seeing.
Percival Graves, her boss, was standing at her door at six in the morning on her free Sunday, dressed in what looked to be pyjamas with a coat thrown over them and a tiny, equally undressed baby in his arms.
A disgruntled, wailing baby which was crying and screaming at the top of it’s lungs while flailing it’s chubby limbs in every direction, efficiently kicking Graves in the chest repeatedly. Despite it’s tiny size, the noise it made was so unbelievably loud that Tina couldn’t believe she hadn’t heard it all the way from her and Queenie’s bedroom at the back of the apartment.
“I need help, Miss...Tina. Please!” Graves looked at her with eyes that were filled to the brim with pure panic and misery, turning his head to the right in order to try and avoid getting hit in the cheek by the baby's tiny fists. He obviously wasn’t kidding when he said he need help. Why, they could discern later, but right now Tina’s full focus went into silencing the upset baby.
“Give her to me and get inside.” She ordered, lifting the small child into her arms and sighing when it temporarily stopped screaming, looking at her curiously with big, dark eyes that stood in stark contrast to her pale skin.
“I can’t thank you enough, I didn’t know what to do.” Graves seemed just as relieved as Tian when the baby quieted down, following her into the livingroom and respectfully closing the door behind him, more careful than she’d ever seen him. “I promise I can explain.”
“Explanation can come later, for now let's focus on the baby.” In reality, Tina would really, really like an explanation right at that minute, but she held herself back, keeping herself calm through focusing entirely on the tiny child in her arms, letting the instincts she perfected with Queenie take over. “QUEENIE! Get your ass over here!”
It didn’t ment her sister weren’t going to help her, though, because even if she’d had more practice her sister was still the natural when it came to human interactions, and most definitely everything small, fragile and needy. Such as babies.
“I’m coming, I’m coming, check the baby’s diaper before you give her to me!” Queenie’s tired replay came back a minute later and Tina smiled, lifting the baby, who let out a small yelp in protest, smelling her butt to see if the diaper seemed full. It didn’t.
“Okay she’s clean give her here.” Queenie didn’t even seem shocked at the turn of events, simply offering Tina to lay the baby down in a blue blanket she’d snatched from their bedroom, and Tina obeyed willingly, happy to not have to carry the baby any longer.
Graves watched nervously from the sidelines as Queenie turned in the door and carried the baby out of the room, moving to stop her as she disappeared out of sight, but obviously thinking better of it and remaining firmly rooted instead. After a few moments of silence, he turned to Tina, looking at her in an odd sort of way that she could have sworn was supposed to be embarrassed. “I guess I owe you an explanation?”
Now that the baby was longer with them and demanding attention, the reality of what was happening was finally starting to settle in. Her boss, the absolutely terrifying Auror Percival Graves had showed up at her door step at six in the morning of her free day with a crying and screaming baby asking for help.
Could things get any more strange and abnormal? Somehow she guessed it could.
“Yes you do.” She said simply, waving her wand that she always carried with her and starting to prepare two cups of scalding hot tea. She knew her boss preferred coffee but she and Queenie didn’t keep any at home, as her sister was of the firm belief that she drank more than enough at work and didn’t need to have it at home too. “Here.” She gave him the cup, guiding him to sit with her on the sofa and giving him a pointed look.
“Okay, Explanation. “ He sighed, sipping the tea and frowning. “I was babysitting my daughter for the first time without her mom around and short story it didn’t work out at all, I panicked, and tried to come up with someone to ask for help.”
Tina nodded, sipping her own tea. It did sound reasonable enough. “I didn’t know you had a family. Your daughter is beautiful.” She meant the last part. The girl was small and chubby with braided platinum blonde hair, dark almond shaped eyes and an even tinier button nose. “What’s her name?”
“Her name’s Ariel Lilly. And I’d be surprised if you knew I had a daughter, very few does.” He smiled, a genuine smile of a kind Tina had never seen him show before, and she smiled too.
“Your wife must be lucky. What, if I may ask, was it that keep her so busy she can’t help her husband with her baby at six in the morning on a Sunday?” Tina smiled brightly, putting down her now finished tea and looking curiously at her boss.
At mention of his wife, however, graves smile fell, and suddenly he didn’t seem as happy. “I’m not married, just seeing someone. Ariel kind of just happened, really.” He confessed, looking down at the floor between his feet. “Unfortunately we’re both quite busy people, and normal we’d leave her with my...partners house-elf, but this time I wanted to do it on my own.” He sigh and looked incredibly miserable, burying his head in his hands.
“Hey, it’s okay. Taking care of a baby is hard. God knows it wasn’t easy to watch after Queenie.” She wasn’t quite sure what she was doing, but the poor man beside her looked so miserable she couldn’t help but want to comfort him.
Graves glanced at her from behind his hands, and she sensed that he appreciated the comfort, however surreal it might be for him to sit there and receive comfort from a Senior Auror that he employed. Slowly, he straightened himself up and removed his hands from his face.
He sigh. “I just wanted to do a good job. Se… I mean my girlfriend was more worried about leaving us alone than she ought to have been, and I wanted to prove her wrong.” He laughed bitterly. “Guess that pathetic attempt washed down the drain.”
He looked sad and broken down. He really had wanted to be a good dad.
“Your not awful, Mr.Graves. Just inexperienced. I’m sure your wife, whoever she might be, understand that.” Queenie smiled, walking into the room with a now sleeping baby in her arms, handing her off to Graves who took her tentatively in his arms, marveling over how quiet and happy the baby now was.
“Thanks. You must be magic to babies though, because not even my, ah, partner can get her this quite.” Graves smiled, slightly lopsided, and held onto the baby a little tighter.
Queenie giggled, light and airy, blushing underneath the hand covering half her face. “Oh, I’m sure Seraphina Picquery is a very great mom, too!” Queenie laughed some more, a huge grin on her face.
She didn’t seem to see that the world had stopped around her.
“Queenie, did...did you say Seraphina Picquery?” Tina couldn’t help but stare at her sister, caught in an absolute shock at the sudden claim. Did her sister just reveal the mother of Graves baby to be the president Picquery? Was it true? Had she heard wrong? She got to have.
Graves was white a sheet, shaking and clutching the baby so hard against his chest that it started whimpering, protesting against her father's fear grip. “Seraphina Picquery is not the mother of my child!” He shouted, terrified.
“Mr.Graves!” Queenie shouted right back, much more aggressive than Tina was used to hear, and she was sure her little sister must have gone crazy because you didn't shout at Percival Graves . “Stop lying to us! You are very much in love with Seraphina Picquery and you’re proud to have her as the mother of your child! And don't try to deny it because I'm a legilimens if you remember and I can see it!”
Tina didn’t know what to say. Actually, she was quite convinced she didn’t have to say anything, because her face was probably giving her away anyway. Her sister had just demanded that Percival Graves - the Percival Graves - admit to having a love affair with his boss and the President of MACUSA, Seraphina Picquery. She had shouted out that it was their love child that he had brought into the apartment and she wanted him to say it too.
Graves seemed as shocked as Tina at first, but as Queenie kept glaring at him, he finally sighed and nodded. “Yes.” He admitted finally. “It’s true. You can’t tell anyone, it's an absolute secret, but Seraphina and I we… we are indeed dating and she is indeed the mother of my daughter.”
Tina still didn’t say anything, unsure if there was anything appropriate she could say at the moment, and finally, she settled on a simple yet more than covering reply. “We won't tell a soul.”
Of course they wouldn’t tell anyone, if they did, they’d be without jobs faster than they could say ‘Witch’. They needed to keep their jobs, and if that meant that they’d have to keep silent about the love affair of the century, then so be it.
“Of course we won't, dear.” Queenie chirped. “Seraphina won't ever hear of it, or any of this visit. You can stay with us through they day and we’ll help you with the baby and then you just get home before her and it’ll be like you never left.”
Tina wanted to stop her sister, wanted to take her by the arm and hiss at her that they couldn't have her boss in their house and give him daddy lessons because honestly none of them hardly knew more than he did about takign care of a tiny toddler, but it all fell flat.
It all fell flat because suddenly the baby cooed, stretching it chubby arms into the air. Tina watched in amazement as, carefully, Graves held out his finger for the baby to grab, smiling as it did and playfully fighting back when it tried to pull it closer, causing a sea of giggles erupted from the baby. Calm and with a not so stressed baby, Graves appeared not to be a whole new person - but a great dad as well.
“Of course we’ll help. We don’t know much about babies, but I'm sure we can give you some pointers.” Suddenly she found herself agreeing with Queenie, if not for anything else then because she longed to see more of this warm and caring and oh so drastically different Graves that she was now faced with.
Graves looked up from the baby, which was still holding his finger having caught another finger in its second hand, and smiied even wider. “Thanks.”