So this was prompted by an anon on my old blog (newt-loves-tina). I'm so sorry I've been M.I.A. lately, I've been SUPER busy!
You can make requests on my new tumblr, which is under the name insalamandereyes! :)
When Tina arrived back at the apartment that evening, she was exhausted; the day had been full of Ministry meetings, of having to relive what had happened in Paris, and it had taken its toll on her. The only saving grace was that, for most of the day, Newt had been with her – having him near had made her feel far less uncomfortable in the middle of the British Ministry for some reason, his shy assurance enough to calm her. They had needed her to stay later though, being an Auror, and so he had gone back to his apartment to check on his creatures whilst she remained behind with Theseus.
Thank Circe that Newt didn't see Theseus today, she thought sadly as she hung up her coat; the Head Auror had looked twice as worn down as she felt, bags under his eyes and hair falling in unruly curls – he wasn't even bothering to tame them nowadays. The reason why was obvious – it was the same reason that Newt had taken to spending entire days in his basement with his creatures.
It had only been a week or so since the incident in Paris, but it still felt as painful and raw.
To her delight, Jacob and Nagini were in the small kitchen area preparing dinner; behind them, Yusuf Kama was sitting at the table and looking over pages of scribbled notes. It was a strangely domestic image but not entirely unpleasant to walk in on.
"Smells good," She mumbled, giving the portly No-Maj a small weak smile.
He grinned back half-heartedly before returning to the food. "Thanks."
It was painfully obvious that he was attempting to hide his own misery – and she knew exactly why, because it had left her miserable too. The absence of Queenie had left a large hole in both of their lives, and Tina couldn't help but feel ashamed that she was most likely the reason for it; it had been her, after all, who had disapproved of her sister's relationship with Jacob, she who had left Queenie alone to go to Paris, she who had not been there for her younger sister when she was needed most. It was not only her fault, therefore, that Queenie had joined him but also that Jacob was now suffering because of it too – she didn't dare admit this aloud, but she couldn't help thinking it anyway.
Nagini smiled, somewhat shyly, at the older woman; she was wearing one of Tina's old blouses and skirts, both of which were loose on her. At first, she had insisted that she could remain in her blue scaly dress from the circus, that she was used to not having normal clothing; Tina refused to accept this, of course, and eventually the younger woman had given in – it was easier than arguing with a stubborn Auror. She looked slightly more comfortable, at least, and it was far less revealing or sexualized than the performance dress.
"You're joining us then, Mr Kama?" Tina asked, keeping her tone neutral; she wasn't quite sure why the wizard was stilling hanging around England a week later, though she could assume that it was for the same reason she herself was. A part of her wanted to speak to him about what he had learnt about Credence, to see if he knew something – anything – about him; even if Credence wasn't Corvus Lestrange, there had to be something that the French wizard had found out that might offer a possible lead.
He nodded his head once, giving her a slightly searching look. "If you do not mind – I would not wish to take advantage of you or Mr Scamander's hospitality."
"Nah, he'll be fine," Jacob brushed off, even though this was probably debatable. "Not that many of us, and we know you – don't you worry, Mr Kama, you're one of us now."
Yusuf's expression was unreadable at being called 'one of us', but Tina could have sworn she saw the briefest ghost of a half-hearted smile flitter across his face.
"Newt's still in the basement," Nagini said softly, giving her a rather knowing look. "He had to look over some of his creatures – he said one or two of them had injuries to be taken care of."
"Oh. Yeah, his Kelpie has a wound," Tina muttered, already heading over to the door to the basement. "He'll probably need some help with that then – he said the Kelpie can get kinda restless sometimes."
Jacob waved a ladle at her good-naturedly. "Dinner'll be in twenty minutes – tell him he's gotta come up and try my stew, or I'll be real offended!"
Despite herself, she smiled and nodded as she slipped out the door and towards the basement. "Sure thing, Jacob."
The Kelpie's habitat was down towards the very bottom of Newt's basement, in a magically enhanced pool; on her way down the steps, she found herself bemused by the different creatures she passed, all of whom looked at her with growing curiosity. It was really quite amazing, she thought to herself, that Newt had so many of his creatures down here, that he took care of them so easily – he was fine-tuned to all of their needs, she had learnt over the past week of her stay in London, immediately knowing what to do to calm or soothe them. It was something she couldn't help but admire about him, even if the thought made her grow warm in the face.
Carefully avoiding stepping on a strange creature's tail, she noticed that Newt was currently tending to the Kelpie on a higher platform of the basement; the water level had raised so that the beast had more space to swim in, and the Kelpie was now calm under the touch of the Magizoologist's hands. Making her way over to him, she couldn't help but smile at the sight; just as inside his case, it seemed as though the basement was more Newt's habitat than his own apartment was – and it was terribly endearing, if she said so herself.
It was only as she made her way down the last few steps that she realized Newt and the Kelpie weren't alone.
The woman standing beside Newt was rather short and awkward-looking with ginger hair; she was holding a bucket of food as he rubbed the last of some ointment into a half-healed wound on the Kelpie, her eyes entirely focused on him. She seemed somewhat familiar, but Tina couldn't think how – it was like she'd seen the woman in passing, maybe just once or twice.
Shifting at the bottom of the steps awkwardly, Tina cleared her throat. Immediately he turned his head to look at her, eyes lighting up; whilst he didn't leave the Kelpie's side, he did grin and straighten up. "Ah, Tina – I didn't realize you were back yet, must have lost track of the time."
"It's fine," She assured him, forgetting about the woman with him momentarily as she took him in; to her surprise, she realized he was soaking wet. "So…you went for a swim then?"
He chuckled. "Yes, it's the best way to get him to let off some steam – otherwise he gets rather snappish, you see. I'll dry myself off in a moment, I just wanted to get him settled whilst he's calm."
Tina couldn't bring herself to mind too much; the material of his shirt was thin, and she could see right through it. When she looked closely, she noticed that he had numerous freckles across his back; the wet fabric of his shirt was clinging to him rather nicely too, for that matter, showing off a surprising amount of muscle and a toned abdomen.
Stop gawking at him, she scolded herself, trying not to go bright red at the thought.
It was only when a nervous voice suddenly spoke that they both remembered that someone else was with them. "So…who's this, Newt?"
"Oh, right," Newt said hurriedly, now turning his attention back to the Kelpie. "Bunty, this is Tina Goldstein – she's a…" He hesitated, clearly remembering the moment the two had shared in the French Ministry of Magic. "Well, she's…"
"A close friend," Tina answered, seeing that he was flustered; she, herself, didn't quite know where their relationship stood at this current moment.
"Yes," He agreed, thankful for her intervention. "She's a very close friend of mine. Tina, this is my assistant, Bunty."
An awkward silence fell between the three of them; Tina couldn't help but think that Bunty was looking at her in a rather anxious way for some reason. It suddenly occurred to her where she'd seen Bunty's face before: she'd been more focused on Newt and Leta at the time when she'd seen the photograph in Spellbound magazine, but now she could remember a different face peeking out from behind a bookstand – unknown woman, the photo had called her.
"Uhm…well…nice to meet you," Tina said finally before turning back to the Magizoologist. "Jacob wanted me to tell you dinner's nearly ready upstairs; apparently he's gonna be real offended if you don't try his stew."
Newt grinned to himself, though remained focused on the Kelpie. "I see. Well, it just so happens that I'm rather hungry anyway – I think homemade stew might be just the thing."
"I could stay down here and finish settling everyone for the evening," Bunty said suddenly, now looking at him eagerly. "Pinky still needs his nose-drops, Patrick hasn't been fed yet, and we still need to look over the Niffler's paw."
"Ah." His smile faded quite quickly. "Still not much better then?"
"No, he's still limping. His bandages will need replacing."
He nodded, almost to himself. "Right… Well, there's no need to worry, Bunty; I'll be able to handle everyone else after dinner, I think. I know you've stayed past your usual hours – you should head home now."
"I don't mind, Newt," Bunty insisted, stepping closer to him. "It'll be easier with two, especially since the Niffler's been putting up a struggle lately. I'm happy to wait down here for you – I wouldn't want you to do it alone."
"Oh, I can help," Tina blurted without thinking, also stepping closer to Newt. "That is, if you don't mind, Newt."
Newt sent her a grateful smile. "Of course I wouldn't mind – the Niffler's rather fond of you, actually, so I think you'll be a great help in keeping him calm." He turned back to his assistant. "Really, Bunty, there's no need to worry; Tina's getting rather good at helping with some of the creatures, and I wouldn't want to delay you going home. You've worked all day – you deserve to go home and rest."
"Oh, are you certain?" Bunty asked, somewhat disappointed. "I want to help however I can: I've grown fond of all of them."
Tina tilted her head, eying up the other woman and thinking to herself; Newt's assistant was really very keen to stay late, she thought, and it didn't escape her notice that she was sending him quite longing looks, clearly pining and wanting. Her stomach flipped at the realisation – she knew because it was something she'd experienced herself first hand.
"I can handle it," She said, somewhat sharper than she'd intended. "I've been helping out every night for the past week, I think I'll be okay."
"It's just that sometimes they require expert care," Bunty insisted. "As I said, Newt, I'm happy to help."
Newt seemed blissfully ignorant of the sudden tension between the two women. "It's kind of you, Bunty, but I want you to head home now; you've done good work today, and you should be well-rested for tomorrow."
Newt allowed the Kelpie to slip back into the pool before straightening up, pulling his wand from his trousers, and waving it over himself: instantly his clothes dried, as if they'd never been wet at all. "Alright, I'll see you tomorrow then, Bunty. I suppose I should double-check the lock on the baby Niffler habitat before dinner, just to be on the safe side – I'll meet you upstairs, Tina."
She nodded her acknowledgement to him as he passed her, eyes still focused on the short woman; as Newt's assistant, she almost certainly knew more about magical creatures than she herself did, shared the same interests as the Magizoologist. Tina suddenly felt rather inadequate in comparison: sure, she was learning as best as she could, but she knew very little compared to Newt and Bunty.
Though she didn't want to admit it, part of the reason she'd wanted to learn more about the creatures in his basement was because it meant getting to spend some time with Newt alone; she was intrigued and fascinated by the beasts, of course, there was no denying it – but she did want to know more about magical creatures because she knew how much Newt loved them, how much he adored them, how much every single one of them meant to him. While they weren't technically 'together' in that sense, she'd have been lying if she'd said it wasn't on her mind.
Finally, Bunty shifted awkwardly on the spot and Tina straightened up, forcing herself to smile politely. "Well… Nice meeting you."
"Yes," Bunty said slowly, eying her up in an almost nervous way – clearly, her thoughts weren't too different. "You too."
As she headed up the basement stairs, Tina scolded herself: she'd sworn she wouldn't get jealous anymore, she'd learnt her lesson after the stupid debacle with the picture in the magazine, and it was incredibly silly anyway. But there was something in the way that Bunty had looked at Newt, almost longingly, that had made her bristle; she had no rights to feel this way, it wasn't as if she and Newt were together, he was perfectly free to be with someone…
Maybe I want that someone to be me, she thought absent-mindedly, and a thrill ran through her at the idea. She'd told herself for months it was silly, that there was no hope of it ever happening – after all, she was plain, boring, prickly – but since the exchange in the French Ministry… Well, that had to mean something, didn't it? Newt had gone out of his way to compliment her, even if it was a slightly unusual thing to say – but she'd understood what he meant and been tearfully overjoyed by it. Surely if he hadn't felt that way about her then he wouldn't have made such an effort, wouldn't have told her he had kept a copy of her picture from the newspaper?
Not for the first time, Tina wished Queenie was there with her in that moment – not only for her own safety, but because she would have known just what to say and do in this situation.
Dinner had, of course, been absolutely delicious – even the limited amount of ingredients in the apartment hadn't been able to stop Jacob from making a delicious stew for everyone. It was slightly awkward as they all ate around the table, uncertain of what to say to each other whilst in such proximity; it escaped no one's notice that Newt and Tina were sending shy glances to each other, sat together closer than usual due to the limited amount of space. Nagini and Yusuf both seemed quite content to eat silently, though it was obvious they felt rather awkward.
After several minutes of this, Jacob cleared his throat and started to talk in the hopes of prompting some conversation; it took a few attempts, but eventually they all began to chat quietly. It was about random menial things, from the weather to small news stories; Jacob was intrigued when Tina mentioned reading about the opening of a new magical candy store in a town somewhere, eager to know the kinds of sweet treats that wizards ate and how they compared to non-magical ones. Despite there still being some awkwardness in the room, it was still nice all the same.
Once they'd all finished, Jacob announced dessert would be ready shortly; Newt stood from his chair and made his way back towards the basement. "Half an hour, you say? Well, I'll go and check on the Niffler's paw in the meantime then – better to see what the problem is as soon as possible." He hesitated for a moment before his eyes drifted to Tina. "Would you mind helping me, Tina? You don't have to, it's just that you offered earlier, and the Niffler usually calms down when you're there…"
"Sure," She agreed, giving him a small smile as she stood up too. "I'd love to help out, Newt."
In the week since Grindelwald's rally, it seemed that the Niffler had been avoiding treatment for his paw; he had allowed Newt to wrap his paw once the day after what had happened, but for some reason he refused to allow the Magizoologist to treat him again. It was difficult to know what kind of treatment he needed when Newt couldn't even get a proper look at his paw; the bandages desperately needed changing, even though he'd tried to cast a cleaning charm on them, and the fact that he was still limping was worrying.
"I've had to keep him separated from the baby Nifflers," Newt recounted to Tina as they made their way back down the stairs. "They're too rambunctious for him to deal with while he's injured, and I didn't want to risk his paw getting injured more."
"Probably a good idea," Tina muttered, though she was smiling to herself.
The Niffler had been left in his den to recover – Newt suddenly realized that he hadn't attempted to make an escape or steal anything since they'd returned from Hogwarts, and he frowned to himself because it meant that he was sicker than previously thought. As he peered into the den, Tina hovering behind him, he saw the furry creature shifting through a pile of gold coins with his good paw; he sniffed the air and look at Newt curiously, clearly wondering why the man was there.
"Alright," Newt murmured soothingly. "Why don't you come out? We'll give you something nice and shiny to play with."
Thankfully he'd been able to train the Niffler somewhat in the last nine months, for he carefully limped to the entrance of his den and allowed himself to be lifted up.
"Good boy," Newt crooned softly, settling him in his arms. "Let's take a look at you and your paw, see if we can't make you feel better."
The Niffler didn't remain calm for long, however, when Newt took him inside and set him down on a small workbench; he immediately tried to scamper away, nearly collapsing on his bad foot, and made a disdainful noise. The Magizoologist shushed him, trying to hold him still but having some trouble; Tina looked alarmed and uncertain, not sure what to do in this situation.
"Should I… Maybe I should grab something?" She asked slowly. "You know, bandages or whatever?"
"A good idea," Newt sighed. "But it won't be much help if he wriggles around like this all evening. Come on, you, it's just to check up on your paw – I won't hurt you."
As the Niffler snuffled, squirming uncomfortably, Tina suddenly appeared and laid a hand on his head. "Easy there, mister," She murmured, voice oddly gentle. "No need to fuss."
To Newt's surprise, the Niffler stopped struggling and looked at her; for a moment he sniffed at her hand, as if trying to detect her scent, before cautiously butting the top of his head against her fingers. Tina seemed stunned by this, but Newt could only grin. "See? Told you, he's rather fond of you in a way he's not fond of me or Bunty."
"Oh. Well, I'm fond of him too," Tina admitted, cautiously tickling the top of his head. "I mean, he's the reason we met, right?"
Her cheeks grew warm when she realized what she'd just said, but he only nodded in agreement. "That's true – though I suppose you might have found a reason to arrest me anyway, even if he hadn't escaped. Now then," He carefully removed his hands from the Niffler; the creature merely moved closer to Tina, sniffing at her and rubbing himself against her hand. "If you keep him calm, I'll see if I can remove those bandages and examine his paw; I don't think it's broken, but it might help to put something on it to help it heal."
The Niffler looked apprehensive as Newt took his paw and started to unwrap the bandages, but it remained under Tina's hand willingly; she couldn't help but feel her heart swell as he chattered happily at her, feeling overjoyed that one of these magical beasts seemed to like her somewhat. It made her feel slightly better about not knowing as much as Newt and Bunty did about these creatures, even if it seemed like such a trivial thing.
When Newt took hold of his bare paw, the Niffler gave a sharp cry and tried to struggle away; Tina hummed to him under her breath, now stroking the fur of his back. It took him a few more moments to settle, but then he stopped resisting and instead gave what sounded like a reluctant grumble of defeat.
"How's he looking?" Tina asked after a few minutes.
Newt straightened up, letting go of the Niffler's leg and pulling out his wand from his trousers. "It's not broken," He said, looking slightly relieved. "Having said that, he still appears to have some minor burns and a sprain. We'll have to rub some ointment onto it, see if that'll heal the worst of it."
The Niffler was now rolling over to lie on his back, presenting his belly to Tina; she laughed quietly at this and gave his pouch a tickle. "I wonder why he's so calm for me…"
"Ah, that…might be my doing," Newt admitted sheepishly, and she looked up in interest. "Nifflers are very good at tracking, you see, and when I was in Paris…well, I wasn't sure where to find you, and so I had him sniff your trail out in the street."
"How?" She asked, both surprised and impressed by this revelation. "How did he know which one was mine?"
"Oh. Appare Vestigium," He answered, now avoiding her eyes as he busied himself with finding some balm in the cupboards nearby. "It tracks and illuminates footprints and magical activity in the area… I saw you casting a spell at something, saw the upset with the circus, and I had the Niffler search for your scent."
Tina was impressed, if a little overwhelmed. "And how did he know my scent?"
"Well…he knows you, doesn't he?" Newt stated. "That is, when I was in New York and you visited the case often…well, you get the idea. I think he instinctively just went for your scent since it was the only one he knew. He seemed quite pleased when we found where you'd been standing, rolled on your footprints and everything…then again, that might have been just because it was gold at the time."
"That explains it then," She laughed quietly, looking down at the Niffler affectionately; it may have seemed a little strange, given that less a year ago she wouldn't have given magical creatures a second thought, but she was really very fond of him too.
Within a few minutes, Newt had finished tending to the Niffler and was rubbing his head softly with his thumb. "Alright, you, you've behaved rather well – you deserve a treat, I think."
The Niffler chattered excitedly when Newt presented him with a golden coin, grabbing it with his good paw and sniffing it. Tina carried him back to his den before setting him down; he grew even more excited when she offered him a coin of her own, clearly pleased. Both humans watched as the fluffy creature limped happily into his home to inspect his treasure further, waiting until he had settled down and forgotten about them before straightening up and looking at each other.
An awkward silence fell between them, and Tina looked down at the ground with a small but sincere smile. After a moment, Newt cleared his throat and smiled too. "Well, thank you for helping me, Tina. I really appreciate it."
"Any time, Newt," She said genuinely, looking up now; he found himself suddenly short of breath as their eyes met. "You know, I…I really like seeing your creatures."
"You do?" He asked, astounded by this revelation.
Tina nodded, her eyes bright. "Yeah, I do; it's one thing reading your book – which is amazing enough, by the way – but seeing them properly…I can see why you love them so much. When I read your book, it was like I was seeing them for myself – I know this sounds kinda weird, but when I was reading, it was like you were there with me, like you were telling me and showing me them."
"I could hear your voice," She admitted, somewhat shyly. "I liked to think you were reading it to me in my head sometimes. That sounds weird and stupid, I know, but I couldn't help it – it was you, your voice." She hesitated now, losing the little confidence she had managed to build up. "Seeing all these beasts in person though…it's amazing, Newt, they're amazing."
Newt didn't know quite how to express the sudden rush of emotion that ran over him, his heart racing fast and hard in his chest; for so many years, he had been told that his fascination with magical creatures was silly, that he was wrong and strange – that he and his beasts were unlovable, even. And yet here was Tina Goldstein, the most extraordinary woman in the world, telling him how she felt about his creatures, about reading his book, and he understood what she was trying to say – it was in the same way he had compared her eyes to salamanders, he thought, the same way he had awkwardly tried to explain his feelings in Paris.
Suddenly it wasn't so difficult after all – he knew exactly what to do.
She was about to speak again when suddenly he was pressing his mouth to hers, small but certain; it wasn't forceful enough to make her uncomfortable – she could pull away any time she wanted, and she knew it – but enough to make her realize what he was trying to say. For a moment, Tina was shocked and unable to move – and then she melted against him, closing her eyes and kissing him back with a happy sigh.
Her jealousy of Bunty earlier that evening suddenly seemed so meaningless and silly now as Newt gently pulled her closer to him, deepening their kiss; there was nothing but pure joy inside of her now, joy and indescribable happiness – and absolutely nothing could have ruined this moment for her.
I wasn't planning on ending this here but oops :p
I hope you enjoyed! Don't forget to review, and hit me up on tumblr if you'd like to request a fic!