Monday, April 4, 1927

Newt stood in a setting of nothing—like he'd been drawn on a new piece of paper, his surroundings a grayish white. There was no indication of where he was. He noticed that there weren't even shadows in the strange place as he looked around, panicking.

The card was still in his hand. He looked down at it to see if he'd missed an important direction, but he hadn't. He couldn't even tell if he was in some sort of room because, for lack of a better explanation, it was blank. His instinct was to Disapparate. He stuffed the card into his pocket before he raised his wand and attempted to escape.

He wasn't able to. He tried again, but it was futile.

What kind of magic is this?

"Excuse me, I know this is a strange thing to ask, but do you know a young man named Credence? He has dark hair…"

Newt's heart began to race. He recognized Tina's fading voice, but she was nowhere to be seen in the strange setting.

Credence?

"Tina? Tina!"

Newt took a few steps forward, unsure what he was walking on.

"You're sure?"

Her voice was coming from behind. He turned and followed it.

"Tina!"

He waited then heard her whisper.

"Newt?"

"Tina! Where are you?"

He waited for her voice, watching in astonishment as the white world faded into dark gray, then black.

"Newt?"

"I'm here," he responded. Her voice was so clear, it was as if she were standing right in front of him.

Blurs of dull color moved while rectangles took shape and remained stationary.

"I don't understand. Where?" she muttered.

When the place finished developing, he could see that the blurs had transformed into people, the rectangles were buildings, and the ground was comprised of crisscrossed bricks. Newt recognized the street as one in the wizarding section of Paris. Though he could see countless strangers surrounding him, he couldn't hear anything as he tried to locate Tina. He pushed past people, wondering how far she'd gone from him.

He noticed giant bubbles, fire magic, and candy vendors, but didn't pay much attention. The world was as it usually was except for the absence of sound. He had never known the sensation before; even in the case, the creatures filled the silence with their communications.

He turned in a full circle, scanning everywhere.

Where is she?

Her name burned on his lips but he didn't say it out loud. If she was far away, she would never be able to hear him. A man passed by Newt, riding a contraption that looked similar to a Muggle bicycle. However, the entire thing was made of candy. A stream of children chased after it with a few annoyed adults following them.

Newt felt a tap on his shoulder and whipped around to see Tina's bewildered expression.

The delighted crowd roared in his ears as his eyes met hers. They burned brighter than the display of fire magic he'd passed.

"What are you doing here?"

He blinked several times, trying to process her question.

"How did you do that?" he asked.

"Do what?" she yelled over the crowd.

Fireworks burst into the sky and took the image of a neon dragon flying in the air. They both watched for a few seconds, captured by the display.

"You're here."

She seemed to be reassuring herself that it wasn't her imagination.

"Yes, I am." She folded her arms before Newt continued. "Dumbledore gave me some sort of Portkey device. You heard me before; didn't you? I said your name. It was all very strange—like a scene was being painted before me."

"Why?"

"I don't know the details. He wrote—"

"No, I mean, why did you come here?"

"To find you."

Her eyes were wide like a frightened animal's. He almost expected her to run away from him.

"You always appear out of nowhere," she stated.

Her thoughts were partly with Newt while the rest were concerned with finding Credence. She hadn't caught sight of Credence during the last few days which had sent her mind somersaulting into possible theories as to where he could be. However, it was difficult for her to concentrate on her investigation with Newt standing there.

"Tina, can we go somewhere quieter? I'd like to talk to you."

Words left her mouth before she could stop them.

"I'm busy at the moment, Mr. Scamander."

She moved to leave.

"I heard you asking someone about Credence."

She stopped.

"He's alive. That's why I'm here."

Surprise, happiness, then hurt crossed his face. She turned to fight her way through the crowd, knowing that it wasn't the best way to introduce the information to him.

Why is he here just when I need to focus? I thought he wasn't coming back.

"I can help you!"

She turned and watched as he approached her. She wasn't sure what to say. All she wanted to do was leave.

Why isn't Leta with him?

"Please, can I come with you?"

They were closer than necessary. She took a step back and shrugged, her face feeling hot.

If he would just stay away, I could forget about him.

Well…

That's not true. I couldn't forget about him even when he was gone.

He looked so helpless that she wanted to say he could go with her.

A roar pierced through the noise of the crowd, causing people to quiet down. Wizards and witches floating in magical bubbles frantically returned to the ground.

She remembered the same sound in the subway as she'd watched Credence become a million pieces of dark matter.

"That's...that isn't—"

"Credence," Tina whispered.

A black ball of chaotic energy bowled past the circus tent in front of them, causing people to scream. A wave of intense anxiety shot through Tina's whole body.

"...Newt and I will protect you…"

Her hands began to shake as she pulled out her wand. Newt casted protective spells over the crowd, shouting the incantations out loud.

A different roar—one that sounded like a beast—rumbled. The various game booths were destroyed as the Obscurus crashed into them. Smoke rose from the tent. Nearly everyone in the crowd had Disapparated except for the circus employees. Tina heard somebody other than her or Newt call out.

"Credence!"

A stunning young woman stood next to the smoldering circus tent with her hair done up in an elaborate bun. She wore a dark, shiny dress and black lipstick. The Obscurus paused in midair before drifting toward her in a peaceful way.

Tina stalked forward, her legs trembling as she gritted her teeth. Newt was next to her, keeping up with her pace. She heard him call out, but his words seemed far away.

They heard something large coming closer, paws pounding against the ground. A large creature burst out of the circus tent with a mane of bright light. It had striped golden-brown fur, ginormous fangs, and a large, pink nose.

Tina and Newt halted, surprised by the sudden entrance. They realized that Credence—who'd transformed back from the Obscurus—and the woman were trying to calm the beast down. They managed to convince the cat-like creature to lean down and allow them to ride on its back.

"Wait!" Tina shouted.

The creature bounded toward them, carrying Credence and the woman. Tina was about to dodge out of the way when she felt Newt's hand take hers. In an instant, the street before them disappeared.

They were in a world of white.

The card was in between their clasped hands, now folded into fourths. Newt inhaled and exhaled deeply, trying to catch his breath.

"Don't worry. We're safe," he said. Her hand was trembling in his. "That was a Zouwu."

She didn't acknowledge his words but gazed at the setting they were in with darting eyes.

"Where are we?"

He gave her the note to read. Her hand shook so badly, he wondered how she could make any of the words out. When she finished, she handed it back and he placed it into his pocket.

"It takes a moment for us to arrive there."

She folded her arms and walked a few steps away.

"H-he got away."

Newt could hear the anger in her voice.

"We'll find him again."

She didn't respond.

"You're shaking."

"I'm fine. I was just shocked to see him as the Obscurus."

"Are you cold? You can have my coat."

She shook her head. Newt almost gave it to her anyway, but he didn't think she would accept it. He had so much to say to her, but he knew that he needed to focus on Credence.

"How long have you known he's alive?"

"I found out a few days after you left."

Didn't you think that information would be important to tell me?

Newt didn't ask his question out loud. He was sure that if he did, it would only make her more upset. He was about to ask another question when she spoke.

"How was your meeting?"

He was surprised by the unrelated inquiry.

"Both were fine."

"Both?"

"One with Mr. Worme, the other with Leta and Theseus."

"Oh." Her expression was grim. "Did you tell her how you feel?"

The white began to fade into darker colors.

"Leta?" Newt asked. Even her voice wavered.

"Yes. Did you win her back?"

Why can't you see that I'm here to win you back?

He approached her with caution and stopped, standing an arms-length away from her.

"I told her I'm not in love with her."

She looked at him.

"You did?"

"I did."

"You're sure?"

He hesitated, unsure if she was asking about if he'd really talked to Leta or if he was sure of his feelings.

"Yes, I'm very sure."

"Oh."

He wished she would say more, but she didn't. There were shapes and a few moving blurs of color. Tina bit her lip, still shaking, but not as much as when they'd first entered the place. Newt wished that the strange feeling between them would pass.

"We can look for Credence after we talk to Dumbledore's friend."

Tina didn't respond to him.

"I'm sorry for what I said about Aurors. It was unkind even though it was true." Her eyebrows lowered into a frown. He continued. "But you're not what I said they are. Y-you've gone middle head." He realized that his statement made no sense to her. "It's an expression. You're like the middle head of a Runespoor—the visionary."

Her head tilted as she folded her arms. Her expression was different from any other way she had gazed at him before.

"Who else uses that expression, Mr. Scamander?"

"I think it might just be me." It felt like a small victory when she smiled.

"Do you know anything else about why Dumbledore wants us both to see this friend of his?"

Newt shook his head as everything around them solidified. They were standing on a street in front of a gray, ancient-looking building. From what they could see in the dim lighting of the lamppost, the windows were comprised of square panes of glass and a strange symbol hung on the side of the house. They heard the sudden sounds of footsteps heading in the direction away from them.

"This must be it," Newt stated. Tina didn't look confident. "What?"

"I didn't say anything," she responded.

"You're worried."

She nodded. Newt pulled his wand out.

"Don't be."

"You just took all of my worries away." He examined her face, noting her sarcastic tone. "How do you know this isn't a bad idea?"

"Are you crazy?"

"This is Dumbledore's friend. He wouldn't send us to someone dangerous."

"Have you met this friend?"

"No."

"Then how do you know it's not a trap?"

"...I'll catch you."

"You don't have to come with me," he said after a moment.

Newt waited for her to say that she was going to leave. He wouldn't have been surprised if she did. However, she shook her head and spoke quietly.

"I've missed you."

Newt's eyes widened. They heard the sound of a door opening before a soothing voice with a French accent spoke.

"Have you come with the card?"

A woman with white hair, tan robes, and a lined mouth was standing in the doorway of the house they were supposed to visit. Newt nodded and she beckoned them forward. He was struck by her wizened appearance. He fumbled with the card to show her that they were who they said they were.

"Come in. Nicolas is waiting for you."

Newt let Tina enter first before he followed.