A/N: Hi guys! So, I finally had the time to write an update to this story. I know it's been 8 months since you all heard for me and you all probably thought me dead or maybe worse, someone who finally decided to abandon all my fics. Worry not, this story will be finished if it's the last thing I do. I hope everyone is doing ok amidst this COVID-19 crisis. Now, without further ado I present to you the next installment to this tale. Again, I'm sorry it took me so long to update it, and I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think of this chapter, I really look forward to your response. Stay at home, wash your hands, stay safe, and enjoy this update!
Theseus woke up earlier than he usually did on weekends. Something about the atmosphere of his home changed while he was asleep or maybe even before he arrived from a late night raid from the night before, it was completely throwing him off. So, instead of just burying himself further into the thick, comfortable duvet that shielded him from the cold London air, he got up and took a quick glance of his sleep deprived form in the mirror before walking out of his room.
The corridor smelled of freshly brewed oolong and what seemed like a toasted pastry of sorts.
That's odd. He thinks to himself as he walks past the large bookcase that housed many of his father's books and some of his mother's photo albums of him and Newt. I don't recall anyone special from either side of the family coming to visit at this time of year. And mum only prepares breakfast this early when that happens.
His curiosity and keen sense of adventure (something he always possessed since he was a little boy, which came in handy with his job as an auror) started to rise as he descended the staircase a few feet away from his room, the scent of toasting pastries growing stronger as he got closer to the dining area.
He walked slowly, but with purpose, peering strategically at the living room before walking past the arch that led to the dining room.
His mother had spotted him as soon as he entered and greeted him cheerfully. "Good morning, Theseus!"
"Good morning, mum," he greeted nonchalantly, absentmindedly staring at the figure of his little brother sitting a few feet away with his back against the entrance.
Theseus glanced at his mother briefly, giving her a puzzled look at Newt's presence in the house. She simply shrugged her shoulders in reply, shaking her head in the process to let her eldest know she had no idea why the younger Scamander was home.
"Newt, not that I'm not delighted to have you here," Theseus started to say as he placed his hand lightly on one of his shoulders to get his attention. "but, what are you doing here?"
"I figured it was time to for a visit," Newt replied casually as he ignored his brother and flipped a page of the The Daily Prophet, continuing his reading of the news of the day.
"But you just left a week ago," Theseus argued, his face incredulous. "in fact, you insisted on leaving despite mum's protests."
Newt fell silent, his eyes staring at the words printed on his morning paper as if he was boring a hole through its flimsy pages.
He did not have any excuse prepared for any of that. He left his apartment last night in a haste with no prior plan, and no concocted explanation as to why he was staying at the estate. He simply showed up, rang the doorbell to his parents' estate, and got invited in by his surprised mother. And the rest was history, or so he thought.
"Leave your brother alone, Theseus," Mrs. Scamander berated, as she began to place the freshly heated scones and different kinds of jam on the table. She turns to her younger son, smiles at him sweetly, placed a hand on Newt's cheeks and says, "you're always welcome to stay for as long as you like, Newton."
"Thank you, mum," he replied politely as he took a scone and started to dab a generous amount of butter and strawberry jam onto it.
"Mum, can I have a moment alone with Newton, please?" Theseus said sternly, glaring a little bit at Newt who was trying so hard to avoid the auror's stern gaze.
Mrs. Scamander noticed an urgency in her older son's voice and a tension that started to build up between both her sons, so she decided that it was a good idea to do what Theseus was asking of her.
"Sure," she replied hesitantly. "I think I'll just bring your father his breakfast in his study, give you two some privacy and space to talk."
Theseus' expression lightened a bit as he turned to his mother and gave her a thankful smile. She smiled back at her son and started gathering a few pieces of scone in her hand while waving her wand in the other to gather some tea and spreads for her husband. Without saying a word to either of her sons, she began walking towards the living room and through the door on the far right towards her husband's study, leaving her two sons in the dining room to talk.
Theseus turns towards Newt, his stern expression starting to spread all over his face that Newt actually felt nervous and a little terrified. The latter continued to pretend to read the morning paper as he took a sip of his tea, waiting for a frustrated Theseus to start the conversation Newt was so desperate to avoid.
"What happened with you and Tina?" Theseus asked bluntly.
"What makes you think this has anything to do with Tina?" Newt replied in an attempt to deflect his brother's question.
"Don't play coy with me, Newton," Theseus replied indignantly. "you forget I'm an auror."
"Fine," Newt replied in defeat as he folds the newspaper he was holding clumsily and placed it on top of the dining table. "I kissed her."
"You heard me, Theseus," Newt said impatiently, trying so hard to not glare at his brother or roll his eyes at him.
"How can you say that so casually?" Theseus asked incredulously, his face looking like one of a madman's. "Before you left last week, you were so determined to do it that I thought you had planned on how it was going to go. And then the next day I found out that you hugged her instead of kissing her for Merlin knows why and now you're telling me you kissed her like it's not a big deal at all."
"I wouldn't have kissed her had she not kissed me first."
"She kissed you first?!"
"What is with this thing of yours where you keep repeating what I say?"
"I'm sorry if I'm finding all of what you're saying extremely staggering that I need to repeat myself just to make sure I heard you right," Theseus said in an annoyed tone, his mind still reeling from what his brother had just told him.
Newt decided to ignore this comment and proceeded to take the last sip of his morning tea before settling back in his seat.
"So, does this mean you and Tina are together now?" Theseus asked, excitement started to build up inside of him at the prospect of his brother finally getting the girl.
"No," Newt replied flatly, the familiar ache he had been feeling since he had left Tina alone in his apartment starting to creep back in and tug painfully at his heart.
Theseus expression was that of confusion. He had no words left in him, his mind a mess as he tried to piece things together from the little information that his brother had given him. Newt notices how Theseus was in deep concentration that he decided to save his brother the torture of trying to come up with an explanation to all of this and said, "She said she wasn't ready for something more than friendship."
"Oh," was all the older Scamander could say in reply.
Both brothers fell silent, Newt's recent revelation eating up all the excitement that had started to build up in Theseus.
"I'm sorry, Newt," Theseus said a few minutes later, unable to think of anything else to say.
"Me too," Newt replied sadly as both he and Theseus slumped onto their respective chairs.
"I feel partially responsible for this," the older Scamander admitted, albeit doubtfully. "You wouldn't have done anything had I not forced you to."
"I would have done it even if you didn't," Newt admitted, more to himself than to Theseus, as he peered at his big brother with a sad smile.
They both fell silent again, Theseus finally deciding to sit beside his brother and take some breakfast himself. He poured himself a cup of oolong and sipped it in silence, hoping that his presence would be more of a comfort to his brother than a nuisance.
The weekend went by quickly for Newt. He spent the entire weekend helping his mother train and feed her hippogriffs while absentmindedly reliving his last conversation with Tina. He barely saw Theseus during this time. The auror was locked up in his room dealing with paperwork for the ministry, which was quite a relief for Newt.
It was on Monday morning that Newt finally saw his big brother emerge from his room, dapper in a a suit and tie as he walked into the dining room to get himself some breakfast before heading to work.
Theseus walked past Newt, who had his back against him, and walked straight up to their mother, pecked her on the cheek and greeted her cheerily.
"Good morning, mum," he smiled brightly at her before turning to his brother. "Good morning, Newt."
"Good morninng," the younger Scamander replied, his head ducked as he continued to read the morning prophet like he always did whenever he was home, it was his way of avoiding inane conversations and questions his family might ask him during breakfast at the dinner table.
"Good morning, Theseus," Mrs. Scamander greeted as she starts to wave her wand to summon a cup of tea for her son and some biscuits to pair it off with.
The objects came flying towards Theseus before they started to lower towards the dining table, arranged in a neat array in front of him.
"I'm sorry, mum," Theseus apologized as he takes out his wand, pointing it at the tea and biscuits his mother had just prepared for him, and waved it swiftly at the teacup so that it began to change into a travel mug and the nearby paper napkin started to fold itself onto the biscuits beside it. "but I have to be at the ministry early today. The minister wants to talk to me about something urgent. Thanks for breakfast though."
Theseus smiled at his mother before giving her one last peck, the older woman simply nodding in agreement because she knew what it was like to be head auror, after all she married one. He grabs the newly transfigured travel mug and his biscuits and walks back from where he came from, whispering a silent goodbye to Newt as he walked past him.
Newt, finally done reading his paper heard his brother's goodbye just in time for him to take a last sip of his morning tea. He caught a glimpse of his brother putting on his coat and decided that he should head to work with him. It was earlier than usual for Newt to be going to the ministry, but going to work at this hour would mean that he wouldn't have to run into Tina on his way to work.
So, he stood up, donned the gray coat he had packed the night he left his apartment, waved a hasty goodbye at his mother before running towards the estates' fireplace. He arrived just as soon as Theseus had thrown a pinch of floo powder into the fireplace.
"Going to work early, are we?" Theseus asked rhetorically, his eyebrows raised at his little brother.
"Yes," Newt replied as he tries to avoid his older brother's gaze.
Theseus smirks at Newt's avoidance, knowing full well that Newt was only going to work early to avoid the possibility of running into Tina at the elevators. The auror turns back to the now large green burning flame that had taken form in their fireplace, stepped in, and muttered Ministry of Magic! The fire started to engulf him and in a blink of an eye, the older Scamander was nowhere in sight.
Newt followed his brother and before he knew it he was standing at the atrium of the Ministry of Magic, only unlike before, it wasn't filled with ministry employees who were in a rush to get to their respective offices. There was a sort of calmness about the atrium that Newt had only ever seen when he went home late during days where his workload was just too much to handle.
He took time to appreciate the stillness and tranquility that he rarely saw because of the daily ministry bustle before he was broken out of his reverie by his brother, who was apparently waiting for him a few feet away from the fireplaces.
"Newt!" Theseus called out. "Are you heading down or are you just going to stand there and wait for the morning crowd to come pouring in?"
Newt flushed red in shame before he walked towards his brother and followed him towards the elevators.
The brothers stood in silence as they waited for the elevator to give its characteristic ding before it closed up and traversed the different floors of the ministry.
"Hold the elevator, please!" a distant voice called out just as the ding of the elevator was heard.
Newt, who was closer to the elevator entrance caught the elevator doors in time for the person who called out to come running into the elevators.
He raised his head and to his surprise, it was Tina.
"Thank you," she muttered awkwardly as her eyes fluttered in different directions in a desperate attempt to avoid both Newt's and Theseus' gaze.
She stood in front of both Scamanders, hoping that this would mean she didn't have to make any awkward small talk with either of them. Behind her and to her left stood Newt, who had just turned the brightest shade of red while Theseus was standing farther behind Tina and to her far right, leaning against the back railings of the elevator, having a hard time suppressing the amused smile that was plastered over his face because of the situation the three of them were in.
The three of them stood in silence as the elevator doors closed and started to make it's way up the atrium and to the different floors that housed the departments of the Ministry.
Newt got off first. When the elevator doors gave their familiar ding, he could feel himself shaking as he gave a final glance at his brother, regretting the decision almost immediately when he was met with smug amusement all over Theseus's face. He then walked past Tina and managed to avoid bumping into her by a fraction of an inch before he stepped onto the tiled floors of his department. He glanced back at the elevator and caught a glimpse of Tina's brown eyes before the elevator proceeded to take the two aurors to their floor.
With Newt gone, the two aurors continued to stand in silence, Theseus still leaning against the elevator walls and Tina staring at the ceiling, willing the damn elevator to go faster so she could just get off the damn elevator and away from her boss as quickly as she could.
The elevator gave it's familiar ding two floors later and the two aurors stepped out of it. Before Tina could run off to her cubicle and bury herself in paperwork and new cases, Theseus said, "Have a good day, Goldstein."
His greeting caught Tina off guard. She turned towards him and smiled, "You too, sir."
She then turned her back against her boss and began to walk to her cubicle, her mind reeling at the amused grin that Theseus had just given her.
Newt was feeling particulary good with himself after the amount of work he had managed to accomplish in a span of just a few hours. His work had finally successfully kept his mind off Tina and all morning he didn't think of anything other than magical beasts.
This became a bit of a disadvantage come lunch time. With all his work exhausted, Newt had nothing else to do. He then remembered that he had planned to return to his apartment while Tina was at work to fetch his favorite teal coat, the one he had left behind the night he and Tina kissed.
He glanced back at his desk, his paperwork and research haphazardly scattered across its polished surface. He sighed, but ignored the mess and instead got up to grab his gray coat, puts it on, and made his way to the exits.
Newt was out of the ministry in a matter of minutes, walking towards the secluded corner just a few strides away from the ministry with purpose and due haste. As soon as he stepped into the darkened corner away from prying eyes of muggles and wizards alike, Newt disapparated, his mind's eye thinking only of the living room of the place he used to call home.
In a blink of an eye the lanky wizard disappeared from where he was standing and reappeared in the very living room he had imagined moments ago. He took a quick scan of the place, a hint of sadness filling him as memories starting flooding back. He never had a particular attachment to the place before Tina had started living in it, but since then every memory he made with her has been etched in his mind, in the simple way the apartment had changed since it had experience the touch of one Tina Goldstein. He sighed sadly, giving the space another onceover and walked towards the coat rack by the door, seeing his teal coat hanging right there, waiting for him to take it back.
As soon as he reaches the rack, he heard footsteps banging against the wood instincts immediately told him that it couldn't be Tina, she usually didn't come home at this time of day, even before everything that happened. His senses went into overdrive, he rummaged through his gray coat to find his wand and takes it in his hands, pointing it towards the direction where he heard footsteps. He started walking in the direction of the footsteps, his own featherlight as if he were gliding across the room.
He reached the edge of the kitchen and leaned against the wall, peaking at the space behind the wall to check for any signs of intrusion. Loud footsteps began to emerge, and Newt retreated back to the safety of the wall as he heard the footsteps growing louder by each passing minute. He took a deep breath and prepared himself. He's going to have an encounter with whoever it was that was in his home, and despite having no experience with dealing with criminals, he had picked up a few tips after living with aurors for most of his life.
Newt mustered all the courage he had, took a deep breath before stepping out of the corner he was strategically hiding behind to confront the intruder. But instead of catching the intruder by surprise, he ran directly into the person, scattering all the contents that she had in her hands across the vast space of the room.
"What the – ?!"
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" Newt apologized frantically, as he rushed to pick up the few pieces of parchment that went flying in his direction the moment he hit the stranger strutting around his home.
"Newt?" Tina voiced out in surprise as she began to rise from where she was crouched, picking up the rest of the papers that went flying out of her hands. "What are you doing here?"
Newt was taken aback by the surprise and sweet delight in Tina's voice. He didn't expect her to sound so happy to see him, not after what transpired that morning in the elevators at the ministry, or much more what happened to them the last time they were together in this very room.
But she was delighted to see him, albeit surprised.
He stared at her briefly, his mouth agape as his mind raced, trying to find the right words to explain why he was in the house when he said he would come back after she had found another place to live in.
Their eyes meet for a brief second, causing ripples of electricity to run across both their bodies. Tina's eyes immediately lowered to the teal coat that Newt was holding, hoping that in doing so the emotions that were rushing through her would subside.
"Oh, I see," she remarked as she caught sight of the coat that the man in front of her was clutching.
"Yes, um," Newt replied, clearly still at a loss of words as he lowered his own eyes to look at the teal coat he had in hand in a desperate attempt to stop staring at the woman in front of him. His eyes then traveled to his other hand, the one holding on to the rest of Tina's paperwork, a few pages folded in his tight grasp. He cleared his throat and extended his hand in her direction, handing the auror the rest of the paperwork that she clearly came home to retrieve. "Here, uh, I'm sorry. I thought you were a burglar or something."
Tina smiled, although Newt hadn't seen it. She reached out and took the pieces of parchment from Newt, their fingers brushing against each other briefly and softly it took everything in Tina to not drop the papers herself.
"Um, uh, thank you," she said awkwardly, as she transferred the papers from one hand to the other and finally placed them inside a folder before tucking a stray stand of hair behind her ear. "And it's fine. You can always come here whenever you want to. It's your apartment after all. I'm just squatting."
She continued to stare at her feet, not having much courage to look Newt in the eye after what she had done to him that last time.
"Yes, well, um," Newt muttered incoherently, tucking his hands into the pockets of his pants as he scrambles to find the right words to say in this situation. "Best be going."
He cleared his throat nervously, not entirely sure what else he could say. "I got what I came for."
"Yes," Tina says breathlessly.
She finally found the courage to look up, just as he found the courage to do the same. They looked up at the same time, their eyes meeting again. Tina smilea at Newt, he reciprocated, then a grumble rises between the pair.
Newt chuckled and Tina chuckled back despite herself.
"Looks like someone's hungry." Newt commented.
"Well, I was busy the whole day," Tina explained. "I barely had time to grab a bite to eat."
"Are you busy right now?" Newt asked bluntly. "We could grab something before heading back to the ministry."
They stared at each other slyly for minute before Newt added, "That is, if you want to."
"I want to," Tina assured him, smiling at him before she tucked the folder she was holding into her own coat. "Let's do it."
Newt smiled, satisfied with himself. He was happy. Despite everything that had happened last week, he was glad that he and Tina could still fall into old patterns, even if just as friends.
"I know a great place to grab some hotdogs on the way back," Tina added as she started to walk towards the edge of the room. "it's right around the corner from the coffee shop we used to go to."
Newt's hear sunk. That coffee shop housed so many memories between him and Tina. He always thought of it as their spot, a place where their story began. But after all that has happened, there was no story to speak of. The two of them were just friends, and maybe that was all that was meant to happen between them.
He hid his disappointment and sadness well, despite the myriad emotions and thoughts that were running through his head in that moment. He followed Tina, looked at her and nodded his head, knowing that she meant they should meet at the corner alley they used to apparate to everytime they went to the coffee shop. Tina smiled back at him and in a blink of an eye she had disapparated. Newt followed suit and reappeared in the corner alley he was all too familiar with, Tina just a few inches away from him.
"There you are," Tina said, a little relieved at the sight of Newt. "I thought you might have changed your mind."
Newt smiled and shaked his head. "Never."
Tina smiled back and started to walk towards the hotdog stand, Newt in toe. He caught up to her a few seconds later and they walked towards the hotdog stand at the same pace, chattering away like nothing had happened from the week before that fundamentally altered their relationship.
"Seriously, you can't tell me that tastes good," the woman questions tauntingly at the man who managed to scarf down almost half of his hotdog sandwich with ease.
"You can keep teasing me about it, I won't change my mind." The man replies matter-of-factly, his face laced amusement as he takes another bite off his sandwich.
"Avocado, I can understand," the woman says before taking a bite off of her own hotdog sandwich, which looked like it was barely eaten. "But peaches, seriously?! They don't go with hotdogs."
"Say what you must, I like it." The man replied with much satisfaction all that the woman could do was roll her eyes at him and continue to eat her lunch as she strolled beside her companion with ease.
"You really do have weird taste in food, Mr. Scamander," Tina teases him, raising her eyebrows at him knowingly. Newt simply smiled back at her, taking another bite off of his sandwich after slurping down a huge gulp of his drink.
The two companions continued to laugh and tease each other as they walked casually in the direction of the Ministry of Magic. They have done this routine countless times, it was really hard to miss. But today, instead of sipping on coffees and munching on pastries, the pair held hotdogs and cups of Coke in their hands as they made their way back to the place where they worked.
It wasn't usually at this time of day that Newt and Tina would usually stroll the familiar path from the coffee shop to the ministry. Their routine was usually executed in the mornings before they headed to work and both ministry employees usually went home separately. Today was actually the first day that the pair hadn't been seen on the streets of London in the wee hours of the morning.
The observer had been tracking down their movements, hiding strategically amongst the strangers that Newt and Tina had passed by every morning since the observer had found out that they started living together. It was the observer's daily mission to track their whereabouts, to know where both employees were at specific times of the day so that the observer would be able to intercept one of them if the need arises.
The observer was lost in thought, distracted for a while as she thought back to the times where she hadn't spotted the pair together in the morning. It wasn't unusual for Newt and Tina to not have breakfast together, it has happened a few times before. Maybe this was one of those days, and in any case, it didn't matter any longer, they were together now.
A quick blink of the eye and the observer lost track of of the two companions. The observer frantically searches for the familiar pair, a tall, lanky man, and an equally tall, slender woman. The observer panics, they were nowhere to be found! Today was supposed to be the day the observer would finally make contact.
Maybe they made a detour, maybe they've found a quicker way back to the ministry. The observer thought.
The observer continued to search with eagle eyes, hoping that the pair were just drowned by the sea of people they were surrounded by.
Impossible. They wouldn't be able to do that with this crowd. The observer thought in comfort.
The observer searched and searched even more, finally spotting the pair a few paces ahead, still chuckling and teasing each other as they continued to eat their lunch. The observer sighs in relief. Looks like the plan was going as it should.
The observer weaves through the crowd they were hiding behind, trying to not look so conspicuous that the ever so observant auror, Tina, would suspect them of anything.
The pair came to a halt that the observer almost missed it. They stopped right in front of the entrances to the ministry. Tina took the the last bite of her sandwich as Newt was finally throwing away the box that once held his hotdog sandwich and the plastic cup that once held his iced tea (he insisted on it depiste Tina's protestations that he should get Coke just like she had, it was the better pair!). Tina threw her box into the same bin and gulped down the last of her Coke before throwing that away too. The pair stood awkwardly for minute, unable to say their goodbyes yet and shifting from a comfortable mood about them to an awkward one.
Something must have happened that I don't know about. The observer thought.
Tina says goodbye first, thanking Newt for ensuring she had eaten something before going to work despite her busy schedule. The man thanked her in return for accepting his offer. Neither of them knowing what to do next, they simply waved their hands at each other and proceeded in opposite directions into the respective toilets that were used as entryways into the ministry.
They're in. Now's my chance.
The observer started walking with purpose towards the ministry, using the toilet entryways that were usually only used by ministry employees and not visitors like they were.
The observer walked calmly, but with purpose, making sure that no one would suspect that they don't belong at the ministry. The observer walked into the stall, closed the door behind them, stepped into the toilet bowl and flushed themselves in, their heart beating fast and hard against their chest at the though of finally making contact. They would finally getting the chance to talk to one of the ministry employees they have been tailing for weeks now.
The plan was in place. The observer hoped it would work.
Newt was absentmindedly staring at the floor of the ministry elevators as it made its way up the different departments from the atrium. Newt was broken out of his reverie by the ding the elevator made as it made stops at every department before finally reaching his.
In his concentration, Newt had completely forgotten that the next floor the elevator was headed to was his. So, when the familiar ding of the elevator was heard, the ministry employee continued to stare at his shoes, still absentmindedly thinking about Tina and what had transpired between the two of them as they went out to get some lunch.
"Hey, Scamander," a voice called from behind. "this is your floor, is it not?"
Newt was shaken out of his absentminded thinking and turned to the voice that called after him, which belonged to one of the men who worked for the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophies, Mr. Duncan Finlay.
"Yes, it is." Newt replied innocently, still not moving from where he stood.
"Well, aren't you going to get off?"
"Yes, uh," Newt replied as he starts to walk out fo the elevetor. "Thank you, have a nice day."
Mr. Finlay shook his head at Newt before the doors to the elevator closed in front of him.
Newt turned and started walking towards his desk, his favorite teal coat in his hands. He walked past a few of his coworkers on his way to his desk and ignores them despite their cheery greetings towards him.
He slumped onto his desk chair as soon as he arrived, laying his coat on top of the mess that he had left before leaving the ministry. He sighed, realizing that he could have just went home after lunch, having finished most of his workload for the day. But instead he came back to the ministry, not because he had to, but because he wanted to spend more time with Tina.
Newt sighed again. If he was going to mope around about how things are going with Tina, he might as well do it at home instead of here in the open for everyone to see. He stood from where he was sitting, laid his teal coat on top of his desk chair, and waves his wand at his messy desk. Papers started flying and arranging themselves into neat piles before finally laying on top of each other on Newt's desk. The desk went from disorganized to clean in a matter of minutes.
Newt stares at the neat pile for a minute, thinking of any piece of paperwork that he would need to bring home for further study if needed, if not for real work or research, then for distraction. But before he could think any further, an unfamiliar figure approached his desk.
Newt looks up, ready to greet the stranger and ask them how he could help. But the the stranger was too fast, too excited to let the him inquire first and spoke first.
"Hi, my name is Queenie Goldstein. And I need your help."