A/N: Okay, so I fully intended to give you guys this chapter in full but when I checked the word count and found out I was already at 10k and I wasn't halfway through what I had originally intended for this chapter, I realized that maybe it's because this chapter was meant to be something entirely different. This is sort of just a filler chapter, I guess, but I promise it doesn't make it any less weaker than the past chapters. I hope you enjoy this, coz I honestly enjoyed writing some of things in this chapter. Please let me know what you think! As always, this is unbetaed, all mistakes are mine, and thank you for continuing to support this story!
Tina wakes up the next morning later than all her companions in the apartment. She yawns and stretches, ridding her body of the stiffness that had developed from sleeping on the couch. Her eyes immediately dart over to the armchair that Newt had been positioned in from the night before in the hopes of finding his smiling figure gazing at her. To her disappointment, it was empty. Her eyes immediately scanned the surroundings of their apartment (she still called it that, believing that despite his absence from it that it was still theirs, that they were still roommates) in search for him. She was met with sad disappointment when the only two people she saw were Queenie and Achilles.
"Good morning!" The blonde greeted merrily, a cup of coffee in hand as she sipped her homemade latte from where she was sitting at the dining room table.
Tina smiled hesitantly in reply, still unsure of how she feels about having her sister back in her life.
Achilles was standing by the sink, washing the remains of his cup of black coffee. Upon hearing Queenie's greeting his head turned towards Tina, looking at her as he did before they all got separated. Their eyes lock for a brief moment, Tina immediately breaking the contact as she felt queasy with the way that Achilles had just looked her. She hadn't been looked at that way by a man that wasn't Newt for the past few months. It made her uncomfortable to be looked at by someone she once loved with all her heart, especially now that she knows that those feelings are all but gone.
She clutched her blanket, quickly wrapping it around her slender frame as she stood up from the couch, walking over towards the fresh pot of coffee that was already prepared by her companions. She grabs a mug from the cupboard, keeping a good distance between herself and Achilles, before finally pouring herself a cup. She turns and then walks towards the window to stare outside, not wanting to sit at the table in front of Queenie nor wanting to lean against the countertop near Achilles. The two people who used to mean the most to her made her wish that the earth would just split in two and swallow her whole, while the one person that she really wanted around left before he could even say goodbye.
Tina stared out the window, at the gloomy London rain clouds scattered across the sky that were threatening a light of drizzle for the day. She sighs at the predicament she was in. She never imagined that months after deciding to leave her old life behind, after her leaving America, she would be tossed back into the sticky situation that she found herself running away from months prior.
"I'm going to take a shower," Queenie announces, dumping her mug in the sink as she winked at Achilles, who simply smiled at her antics. He knew she was just leaving them alone so that he and Tina could finally talk after the reunion, something he felt like Tina was trying to avoid.
Achilles felt both nervous and excited at the same time. The last time he saw Tina was not his finest moment, he had been thinking about it and replaying the encounter in his head countless times since. When he saw Tina from the night before he had hoped and wished that she would forgive him, that they could go back to what they once were even if five months had already passed since they've parted ways. But all that hope got squashed and trampled on by the scene he was met with at the stairway.
The image of Newt and Tina almost kissing was engraved into Achilles' mind like words on a tombstone. He knew he had no right to expect Tina's feelings for him to linger, after all, he broke them all those months ago. She pleaded with him, begged him to see reason, but he simply wouldn't. He let her run off, not even knowing where and that simple fact ate up at him every day since.
He turned yet again, glanced at Tina ever so slightly before sighing. He knew he had no right to expect Tina to stay faithful to him, but he would be a liar if he didn't admit that he felt a little jealous seeing Tina with another man.
He glances at her one last time, deciding that he would rip off the band aid and just go and talk to her. He could feel the tension building up as he got closer and closer to her, saw Tina flinch slightly as she felt his presence growing closer.
Tina gulped down a huge sip of her coffee, fully aware that Achilles was walking in her direction with purpose. She was dreading this conversation, even more so now that he had caught her and Newt in a compromising position in the stairway from the night before. She didn't owe him anything, certainly not an explanation. But this didn't quell the anxiety that started to build up inside of her.
Achilles cleared his throat from behind her. "I didn't get the chance to speak with you last night."
Tina swallowed deeply, her heart pounding hard against her chest as the she felt the dread that she had been feeling since Queenie left the room hit her in full force, her racing heartbeat not making it easier on her to quell her anxiety. "Yeah, last night was crazy. It was hard to find the time. There was your arrival, and the whole Percy revelation —"
"And Newt," Achilles smiled in amusement, his heart sinking despite his teasing smile.
"It's not like that with him," Tina replied defensively, turning around to face Achilles in an attempt to convince him, although she knew she was trying to convince herself more. "He's just a friend."
Achilles eyed her teasingly, making Tina laugh almost immediately. She then crosses her arms against her chest, Achilles' teasing finally giving her the courage to look at him since he had arrived in the apartment.
"You know I'm fine with it, right?" Achilles clarified, looking at Tina eagerly in the hopes that his expression was conveying his approval of Newt.
"And why wouldn't you be?" Tina retorted viciously, slightly taking aback at his response and the nerve he had to tell her that he was alright with her finding someone else. "I don't owe you anything, Achilles. I made my feelings clear the last time we saw each other."
"No, Tina, that's not what I meant," Achilles replied, apology laced in his words as regret started to fill his insides at the way he constructed his previous sentence. "I just meant that I like him for you."
Tina eyed him briefly, glaring slightly because of what she thought he meant initially. She didn't know what to say next. What do you say when your ex-boyfriend, someone you once loved, tells you he is okay with you being with someone else?
"Like I said, Newt and I…" Tina began, her voice beginning to drift off as soon as she said Newt's name. "we're just friends."
"Didn't look like it last night," Achilles remarked sadly, the jealousy inside him fighting with the part of him that was trying to be happy for the woman he still very much loved. "He clearly likes you, Tina."
Tina ignores Achilles, turns back to stare out the window, taking her last sip of morning coffee as she did so.
"And you clearly like him," Achilles added in realization, his eyes growing wider despite the fact that a part of him already knew this. "So, what's the problem?"
"That's none of your business," Tina deflected instantly, walking past him in an attempt to avoid further scrutiny. "I'm going to work now, feel free to pillage whatever supplies you need while you're here."
Achilles simply looked at his ex-girlfriend as she marched around the apartment like a typhoon with purpose. He sighs, annoyed in the slightest that Tina still loved avoiding talking about how she felt. He decided not to press the matter further, he had no right to anymore. He was just going to have to prove to her that she has a friend in him despite them not being together anymore.
"Say goodbye to Queenie for me," Tina said before she vanished through the fireplace, off to work without even bothering to wait for Achilles' response.
It had been more than a two weeks since Newt had seen Tina. He left the morning after all the revelations of her past had been revealed to him, walking ever so lightly towards the fireplace as his friend had been snoring lightly from a few feet away. He chose not to wake her, or anyone in the house for that matter. He simply needed to leave, had work to look forward to, and a myriad of conflicting thoughts racing through his mind.
His emotions were a mess since then. He knew how he had felt for Tina for some time now, but because of the reappearance of people from her past, him learning about how complicated Tina's life was, and him now being roped into helping them solve the Goldsteins' current problems, he hadn't found the time to deal with any of it.
Despite not seeing Tina, he kept his end of the deal and sent an owl to his old professor asking for his help. He hadn't revealed anything, he simply asked Dumbledore if he could possibly see Newt and his companions at his earliest convenience. The professor had replied to him three days after Newt had sent his owl, saying that he would be eager to see Newt and his friends at Hogwarts the following week. It was then that Newt finally ducked into Tina's cubicle at the Auror Office to deliver the gppd news.
Now, a week since Dumbledore responded, Newt was heading up the staircase to his old apartment, having just finished an uneventful workday. He arrived at his front door a few minutes later, still unable to believe that he was knocking on its door as if he was some visitor and not the owner, straightening his coat after he knocked as he waited for someone to let him in.
Tina came rushing to the door almost immediately, wrenching the doorknob open with a smile on her face as she greeted her friend and asked him to come in. Newt smiled back at her, walking past her as soon as she stepped out of the way to allow him to enter the apartment.
He looked at Achilles, who was sitting on the sofa in the living room reading the Daily Prophet. The two men lock eyes briefly, each giving the other a curt but respectful nod. Newt then glanced over at Queenie, who was doing the dishes animatedly at the kitchen sink. She smiled at him, giving him a tiny wave and mouthing 'hi!' before turning back to dry off the kitchenware she had just finished hand washing.
"So?" Tina asked as soon as she arrived by Newt's side, her hands clutched together tightly as she nervously waited for his news.
"Dumbledore sent me the details for our trip to Hogwarts tomorrow," Newt answered in earnest, looking between the three people in the room as they stopped whatever they were doing and focused their attentions on him. "he arranged for us to take Hogwarts Express tomorrow. It leaves at 11 o'clock. We need to be at King's cross station before it leaves or we're not getting that meeting with Dumbledore anytime soon."
"You're coming with us?" Queenie asked innocently from the dining room.
"I won't if you don't want me to," Newt replied, looking at the blonde witch briefly before turning to glance at the two other people in the room.
"No, no, of course we want you to come with us," Tina interjected, giving Newt a sympathetic and thankful look before glaring at Queenie for her rudeness. "You're the only one of us that Dumbledore knows. It would be easier to tell him everything with you there."
Achilles glanced at Queenie knowingly. It had been awkward living in Newt's apartment for the two of them. Despite Tina agreeing to help them deal with the Percy situation, she continued to avoid them, refusing to talk to either of them in the two weeks that they had lived with her. She had been staying at work later than usual, coming home only when she knew that both Achilles and Queenie were asleep. The two of them simply shook it off, allowed Tina to deal with their reappearance into her life in her own way. They knew she just needed time. And time they can give.
"Okay," Achilles announced moments later, the silence that settled in the room deafening. "I guess we'll see you tomorrow, Newt."
"I guess so," Newt replied simply before glancing back at Tina, giving her a smile before walking towards the fireplace and heading home. "I'll be at Platform 9¾ by 10 o'clock. See you there."
Newt had been standing on the familiar platform from his school days when he heard the familiar footsteps of his three companions for the day. Tina came walking in first with Achilles and Queenie trailing right behind her. Newt walked towards them, greeting them with a bright yet awkward smile before finally leading them to the Hogwarts Express.
Tina, Queenie, and Achilles followed Newt before halting briefly afterward to inspect and gape at the magnificent maroon train they were going to take to Hogwarts. They have never seen a train as magnificent as the one that they were looking at in that moment, it sent excited chills through their spines.
Newt couldn't suppress his smile as he saw his three American companions gawp at the train and platform in awe. Hogwarts and everything about going there was one of the best things about the British Wizarding Community in Newt's opinion.
He turned ever so slightly, looking from one of his companions to the next, finally settling on Tina as he smiled at the sight of her, all excited and amazed. His mind drifted back to a distant memory, a memory he had tucked away safely in the depths of his mind, one that he always returned to when he got reminded of how messy things were between him and Tina after their kiss.
He thought of the day he took Tina out on that friendly date, the day that he took her to Diagon Alley for the first time. He smiled as he remembered the awe she had all over her face as she walked the streets of the famous alley. He marvelled at the disgusted reaction she gave him when she discovered his favorite ice cream flavor, Earl Grey and Lavender with chocolate chip toppings. He revelled in the memory of her taunting laugh and the excitement that emanated from her when they walked into that quidditch store, the place where he discovered her love for quidditch for the very first time.
He glanced back to look at her now, his heart fluttering as he saw that oh so familiar awe all over her face as she took in her surroundings and the majesty of it all. He catches her brown eyes, the two of them connecting for a brief moment. Tina looks away almost immediately, missing Newt's smile by a fraction of a second. He could swear that he saw a light blush on her cheeks when their eyes met, his insides squirming as he hoped to Merlin that his body didn't react in the same way that hers did.
"This sure beats how we got to Ilvermorny," Achilles commented as he continued to gawp at the magnificent craftsmanship of the Hogwarts Express, breaking Newt from his own Tina bubble.
"You only say that because you're wildly claustrophobic," Tina joked from where she was standing, her blush now gone as she glanced back at Achilles to give him a teasing look.
"And you only say that because you only had to do it three times," Achilles jabbed back, chuckling along with Tina at their banter.
Newt looked between the two of them, a hint of jealousy starting to form inside him as he watched Tina and Achilles kid with each other. Queenie caught on to Newt's jealousy almost immediately, her own mind now swimming in the raw thoughts that Newt had running through his mind.
"We used vanishing cabinets," Queenie said a few seconds later, answering the question that had immediately popped into Newt's head when he watched Tina and Achilles tease each other.
Tina and Achilles turned to face the blonde witch, surprised that she mentioned Ilvermorny's mode of transportation without anyone asking. Tina's eyes immediately flew to Newt, realizing that he must have been thinking about the question and that Queenie had caught on to it.
Newt turned the slightest bit of red as his companions stared at him. He hadn't been around Queenie enough to be used to her mind reading.
"I'm sorry, honey," Queenie apologized, turning her body towards Newt, looking at him sympathetically. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I just can't help it."
"It's…fine," Newt replied, turning an even darker shade of red as he started to walk towards one of the entrances to the train. "follow me."
Tina looked at Newt sympathetically, understanding how nerve wracking it must be to have someone read your every thought. She had been used to it, having lived with Queenie her entire life, but it doesn't mean other people are. She jogged up to Newt, walking immediately by his side as soon as she caught up to him and said, "I'm sorry about Queenie. I told her to tone down the mind reading."
"It's fine," Newt reassured her, avoiding Tina's gaze as he finally stepped onto the train, trying to reel in the jealousy that had already taken a hold on his heart and the embarrassment he felt about having his every thought exposed to someone he barely even knew.
The three Americans followed Newt, stepping onto the Hogwarts Express as they continued to ooh and ahh at its beauty. They followed Newt through the train, passing by dozens of compartments they suspected were for Hogwarts students before finally settling in the one located near the front of the train, a larger compartment than the ones that they had previously passed by.
Newt twists the lock of the compartment, pulling the door open to allow his companions to step into it first. Shock and amazement started to form on the faces of Tina, Queenie, and Achilles once they stepped inside as they all took in a sight that neither of them was expecting.
The compartment was not the empty one they had expected it to be. Inside there were only two pairs of compartment seats fit to seat eight people that were situated to either side of the compartment door. Farther in front of them was a long table covered with a dark red mantlepiece, on top which were mountains of sweets, pastries, and snacks that have been laid out.
Achilles was the first one who walked towards the table, picking up a chocolate frog and reading the labels on it's royal blue packaging. Queenie followed her friend and went on to pick up a licorice wand and swirled it between her fingers, watching as it twirled gracefully between the tips of her giners. The two of them turned to face Newt and Tina, who were still standing by the entrance, a question etched all over their faces.
Tina looks up at Newt, her eyes still full of awe with the same question etched on her features as that of Achilles and Queenie.
"Is this for us?" Tina squeaked, her voice emanating one of disbelief at the amount of food that was laid in the largest compartment of the train.
Newt nodded in answer. "Dumbledore wanted to make sure we were well fed for the trip. Usually there's trolley that carry these treats to students for the trip from Platform 9¾ to Hogwarts, but since it's just us, there wasn't really a point to that."
Achilles turned back around to grab some more chocolate frogs and a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans before taking the seat right in front of him to his right, laying down his treats beside him as he did so. Queenie followed him, bringing along with her a flask of pumpkin juice and a cauldron cake, which, she had started munching on as she walked towards her seat. She sits opposite Achilles, smiling at him as she settled closer to the window, munching on her cake as she leaned against the glass of the compartment, staring out of the window into the beautiful English countryside.
Newt and Tina glance at each other, smiling awkwardly before Tina finally started to take the seat to her right so that she was facing the beautifully laid out table of treats that Dumbledore had prepared for them. She sat closer to window, leaning against the glass so that it was cradling her head, just like her sister did on the opposite side of the compartment. Newt glanced in the opposite direction, looking at Achilles and Queenie on the compartment seats to his left and considers himself. He knew that things were rocky between Tina and her loved ones, but he thought that after their revelation a few weeks past that she would have gotten over it and that everything would be fine by now. But by the way Tina was avoiding both Queenie and Achilles, Newt knew that the wedge between them hasn't been fixed yet. So, he walks towards the treats table and grabs a box of Bertie Bott's every flavored beans, some cockroach clusters, licorice wands, pumpkin pasties, and a flask of clear liquid. He then strides towards Tina, laying the snacks he had brought beside him.
Tina regards him for a moment, her face scrunched up into a look of disgust at the items that Newt had decided to bring. Newt caught her expression almost immediately, smiling amusedly at her reaction before opening up a box of every flavored beans. He takes between his fingers, a light brown colored bean with a shiny finish before popping it into his mouth and chewing. He smiled in satisfaction, a little relieved he got a sweet toffee flavor instead of earwax which had almost the same color and finish. He shoved the box in Tina's direction, offering her the box so that she might take a bean for herself.
"Oh, no no no," Tina declined almost immediately, waving her hand in disagreement at the beans that Newt was offering. "I don't want to eat a single one of those."
"Why not? They're fun," Newt commented, taking another bean and popping it in his mouth, his face scrunching up a bit as the sour flavor of lime started to fill his mouth.
"Yeah, that looked like fun," Tina replied playfully, smiling at Newt before she looked out the window and stared into the beautiful green view.
"Don't bother offering her one of those," Achilles said from where he was sitting, his own box of beans now laying haphazardly beside him as he munched on a wriggling chocolate frog. "she hates them, swore never to eat one for as long as she lived."
Newt looked at Achilles briefly, his spirits a little dampened by the fact that he knew Tina so well it felt like he didn't know her at all. He looked down at the other treats he had brought over, took a bag of cockroach clusters in hand and raised it to eye level, smiling deviously before saying, "Then maybe have one of these then?"
Tina eyed him, her eyebrows arched sharply and her expression telling him that she would not fall for any one of his tricks, especially when it involved putting something in your mouth. "Do you really think I would eat something made out of cockroach when I don't even eat beans that have good flavors in them?"
Newt chuckled lightly, smiling briefly with an innocent look on his face before he answered. "It was worth a shot."
Tina laughed at his antics, shaking her head at him as she did so before looking back at him as he offered her a pumpkin pasty as a peace offering. Queenie was keenly observing the two of them closely from where she was sitting, noting how their body language suggested something more than either of them were letting on. She delves deeper and deeper into their minds, having a harder time with Tina than with Newt, as her sister had been trained in occlumency to keep Queenie out.
"Fine, have one of these then," Newt says in defeat, a pasty held out in Tina's direction. "be boring like that."
Tina gasps a little bit too loudly, feigning insult as she snatched the pasty out of Newt's hand. "I'm not boring! I'm cautious, there's a difference."
"If you say so," Newt teased, suppressing a laugh as he chewed on a licorice wand, Tina already laughing from where she was sitting.
Queenie and Achilles share a knowing look as they hear the laughter coming from Newt and Tina's corner reverberating across the room. Queenie gave Achilles a sympathetic look, knowing how much that the moment between Newt and Tina was hurting him. He smiled simply in reply, sadness evident in the smile that he gave her.
Tina caught her sister staring at her, her eyes flickering over to Achilles a few seconds later. Achilles seemed to be uncomfortable in his own seat and Queenie was squirming where she sat. After moments of squirming, the younger Goldstein finally stood from where she was sitting, her cauldron cake all but consumed and her pumpkin juice non-existent.
"I think I'll go do some exploring," Queenie declared as she stood, taking a step towards the compartment door. "my legs are feeling a little stiff."
Before anyone could say anything or object, the blonde witch was out of the compartment, closing the door shut behind her as she started to canter away.
Now that only the three of them were left inside the prefects' compartment, the tension among them starting to build up. Tina caught Achilles straightening his spine from the corner of her eye, something she knew he did when he tried to act all tough in situations where felt most uncomfortable. She turned back to look at Newt, who was also observing her from where he was sitting, completely unsure of what he should do himself. She gave him a sympathetic look, mirroring the uncertainty that he was feeling through her facial expression.
"I think I'm going to stretch my legs," Tina announced as she stood from where she was sitting. A palpable disappointment started to spread through the compartment, one that made Tina add, "I think I should follow Queenie anyway. We wouldn't want to end up looking for her once we arrive. And I gather this train is larger than we've seen so far."
Tina smiled weakly at Newt, a smile he reciprocated in kind as he nodded (albeit reluctantly) at her, signifying his approval of her plan. She then turned towards the door, stopping briefly by Achilles to give him an apologetic look as if saying she was sorry to leave him alone with Newt, knowing that Achilles might not like being in that situation.
Tina pulled the compartment door open, closing it behind her before she begins to walk in the direction that her sister had taken, leaving the two men alone in the compartment.
Achilles regarded Newt for a second, not entirely sure what he should do or say to make the situation less uncomfortable than it already was. He noticed Newt squirm in his seat, sensing that he too did not like the situation that the Goldstein sisters left them both in.
"Tina told me about what happened between her and Queenie," Newt blurted out suddenly a few minutes later, shocking both Achilles and himself. He turned to face the auror, his insides squirming as his curiosity took the better if him. "but she never mentioned anything about you."
Achilles simply stared back at him in shock, a lump starting to form in his throat as it started to go dry. His grey eyes had locked with Newt's greenish blue ones, seeing the genuine curiosity that Tina's new friend had with things regarding her past.
Tina must have neglected to mention us to him then. Achilles thought to himself as he ducked his head and broke the eye contact between himself and Newt, trying to find the right way to explain their (well his mostly) side of the story and how it affected Tina and solidified her decision to leave home. He groaned internally, cringing at the idea of revealing that he played a part in her departure from America. Looking back, he realized that that last moment between him and Tina was something he was not entirely proud of, something he wouldn't think he'd feel when it happened.
Newt observed Achilles quietly, seeing how the auror had a hard time trying to find the right words to say to him. He shifted in his seat, starting to angle his body away from the auror and back to train car window so that he could observe the familiar terrain of the English countryside, a familiar and welcome sight from his past.
Achilles glanced back at Newt, surprised that the Brit had decided to let the conversation go that quickly. He considered his options, whether or not he should tell Newt about what happened between him and Tina.
I think it would be best if Tina told him. Achilles thought to himself tentatively, his mind racing with different thoughts as he tried to think of another reason why he shouldn't tell Newt their story. But I don't think she will.
The chestnut haired man finally cleared his throat, startling Newt from where he was sitting. The British wizard saw that Achilles was ready to tell his story, so he shifted yet again to face the auror and gave him his full attention. Achilles straightened his spine, sitting up properly as began a tale that would bring Tina's past full circle.
Tina had to leave that house, the one place that housed so many wonderful memories after the loss of her parents.
She ran, ran as fast as her feet would take her, bumping into a few No-Majs in her attempt to put a sizeable distance between her and the place that she, Queenie, and Percy had called home.
She was still crying, sobbing her eyes out as she ran past strangers, pushing against the crowds without a care in the world. People kept asking her if she was alright, but she continued to ignored them as she moved past the crowds that she now found herself in.
She needed to get somewhere, tosomeone, the one person she knew she could count on now that her family decided to abandon all their morals for the sake of revenge.
She trudged forward, squeezing between the multitude of people walking the busy, bustling streets of New York City in the direction of his home. She could see it, see the door to the apartment building that he had lived in. Her heart lightened at the sight of the familiar door growing closer and closer.
Before she knew it she was through the front door of the apartment building and knocking on his apartment door.
The doorknob twisted ever so slowly as Tina tapped her foot at it impatiently, as if trying to will it to open faster. The door flew open a few painful seconds later and before the man standing on the opposite side of it could say anything, Tina threw her arms around his neck for solace, pulling him closer to her as she buried her face into his chest.
His arms immediately wrapped her in a warm embrace, an instinct that he has always had since they started dating, holding her close to him as she sobbed lightly. His right hand immediately flew to her hair, stroking it lightly as he soothed her as she cried. Her cries quiet down a few minutes later, so he moves slightly to plant a kiss on her temple before she finally disentangles herself from him, her brown eyes immediately searching for his beautiful, piercing grey ones.
"What happened?" he asked, his face so full of concern as he placed his hands on either side of her shoulder.
"It's Queenie," she said as she continued to sob, speaking becoming more of a chore as she panted between her tears. "and Percy. They've both gone insane."
"Ssshhh," he shushed in an attempt to calm Tina, rubbing his hands lightly against her back as he led her into his apartment. "tell me what they did."
"They haven't done it…yet," Tina croaked as she took a seat on of the softer chairs that Achilles had in his apartment. "but they plan on killing the No-Majs responsible for our parents' death."
"I thought Percy didn't know who was responsible for killing his parents?"
"Not those No-Majs!" Tina screamed in frustration, her sadness now subsiding, anger finally taking over. "The ones that killed our parents, you know, mine and Queenie's."
"Ah," Achilles remarked, his expression one that Tina couldn't read, an expression that looked like he already knew what she meant.
"You knew?" Tina proclaimed in disbelief, her tears now drying as she stopped sobbing because of the realization that the man that she loved, a MACUSA auror at that, already knew the plan and had no qualms about any of it.
"Yes," Achilles admitted regretfully, knowing that his admission would lead into a fight. "Queenie broached the subject to me over coffee the other day, hoping to get my opinion on how you would react to it."
"What did you tell her?"
"I told her she knew exactly how you would react."
"And?" Tina pried on further, a little irritated that her boyfriend was leaving her to guess.
"And that was it," Achilles replied with a simple shrug.
Tina regarded him for a second, her eyes narrowing as she tried to gauge what he thought of Percy and Queenie's revenge plan. As she looked at him she could sense that Achilles was avoiding her gaze, as if trying to hide something so contemptible that he wished she wouldn't see. It then hits her why. Her face morphs into one of incredulity as she looked at Achilles.
"You agree with them," she announced in realization, her eyes widening and her voice soft but laced with so much disbelief and disappointment.
"I mean," Achilles began, stuttering as he tried to find the right words to explain why he thought that the plan was sound. "it would finally bring your parents to justice, Teenie."
Anger started to build up in Tina as she heard the words come out of his mouth. She turned away from him swiftly, not wanting to see his face in that moment. She understood why Percy thought this would be a good idea, she understood (barely) that Queenie found it enticing and righteous, but she could not believe that Achilles, an auror, a person who trained to uphold and enforce the laws of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, would agree to murder of No-Majs, innocent No-Majs whose only crime was being kin to the men who killed her parents.
Exasperation took over Tina's entire body as she gasped in disbelief at what she was hearing. "I cannot believe I'm hearing this."
She turned, her face seething with anger as she gritted her teeth in an attempt to contain the vicious words that were threatening to escape her mouth. She wanted to lash out at him, to tell him off and to ask him how he could think in such a way. She came over to see him so she could finally get someone on her side, someone who understood that killing another person, no matter how justified you think it is, was not right. But instead she came running into the apartment of an auror who claims that murdering innocent people was okay.
"How did they do it?" She asked, her eyes that were still red from crying now filled with hot tears all over again.
"Do what, Teenie?" Achilles countered, approaching her and rubbing her shoulders in a tender manner in an attempt to loosen the tight knots that had started to form there and in her entire body.
"Convince you," she replied, glaring at him with her tear-filled eyes. "because the Achilles I knew would never think any of this is right."
"They didn't need to convince me," Achilles replied honestly, settling his hands on both of Tina's, snaking his fingers through her palms before finally allowing their hands to intertwine. He pulled her closer to him, their noses now almost touching as they breathed in the air that the other was breathing. Their eyes linked, grey eyes meeting brown as he continued to say with all that was in him, "I would kill a hundred men in pursuit of your happiness."
All Tina could do in that moment was scoff. No one in her life had ever said something so romantic to her in her entire life, but now, Achilles' confession sent pangs of pain across her entire body, as if someone took a dagger and stabbed her in the heart. Had this been a different circumstance, had he said that for something different, Tina would have wrapped her arms around him and kissed him senseless.
But this was not one of those scenarios.
She started to pull away, putting as much distance between her and the man she knew she loved. They've been together six months, but she has never once uttered the L word to him, not yet anyway. But she felt it, oh god she felt it, and it felt good.
She wrenched her arms away from him, now wrapping them around her tall and slender body in defense. She then walked away, walking towards the large window that was towards the far end of Achilles' apartment. She stared at the hustling and bustling streets of New York, watching the crowds go about their daily chores as she tried to process what Achilles had just said to her.
"I love you, Tina."
There it was, the four words that she was so desperate to hear in the months that they've been together, four words she was so desperate to say to him as well.
She closed her eyes, the tears that had formed there finally falling, streaming down her face as her heart ached at what she was going to do next. She wanted to hear those words, wanted so much to say it back. But right now, she just couldn't. Not after hearing the man she loved justify murder.
She felt Achilles approach her, she could sense his presence growing closer. She blinked, continues to stare at New York City like her life depended on it. She felt him wrap his hand on her waist, grasping on to her before she finally turned to face him.
"You don't have to say it back," he reassured her, his eyes so tender and genuine it melted her heart.
"I want to," she admitted to him, staring at her feet as she avoided his piercing grey eyes. She then finds the courage to look up at him, her face tear-stained and her eyes still red. "but I can't. Not right now, not after what I've just learned about you."
She quickly disentangled herself from Achilles, walking towards his front door and wrenching it open.
"Tina, wait," Achilles said hurriedly, following Tina in the direction of the front door. "what are you doing?"
"I need to get out of here," Tina replied, halting by the threshold as she turned back to look at Achilles, pain etched on her beautiful eyes. "away from you and Queenie and Percy. This is all too much to handle in just one day."
She turns away from Achilles, ignoring his voice calling for her to come back as she descended the stairs that she had just rushed through just minutes earlier. She needed to get away from here, from America, away from everything that reminded her of a life that she once knew.
It was cowardly, she knew it deep in her heart, but she had nothing left for her here, except for the people she loved, people she loved so much it would be hard to turn them in to the authorities. Yes, she had to leave. It would be better for everyone if she just left.
"Was that the last time you saw her?" Newt asked after Achilles finished telling his story.
"No," Achilles answered truthfully, looking back at Newt before he continued. "she came back the next day, begging me to see reason."
"And did you?"
"No," Achilles answered with regret, shame starting to fill his entire being as he admitted to a man he barely knew that he was in the wrong. "that's when she ended things between us and left. We haven't heard from her since."
"I'm sorry," Newt said apologetically.
"It's not your fault," Achilles countered, looking at Newt thankfully. "it was mine. I didn't know what I had when I had it, I've only realized how much Tina really meant to me when I lost her."
Newt considered Achilles for a second, trying to find the right words to say so that he could comfort the man beside him.
"Don't make the same mistake I did," Achilles added from where he was sitting, catching Newt by surprise as he continued to struggle at finding the right words to say.
"Excuse me?" Newt blinked in confusion, not sure what the auror was implying.
Achilles grinned smugly from where he was sitting before he stood up, walking over to where Newt was sitting, and took a seat beside him. "Cut the act, Scamander. You're in love with her. It's all over your face."
Newt turns bright red at Achilles' statement it makes the auror laugh.
"You don't need to be embarrassed about it!" Achilles commented, patting Newt on the shoulder before he crossed his arms against his chest. "Besides, she's in love with you too."
"What are you talking about?" Newt asked with an incredulous look on his face, the redness now starting to subside. His mind floats back to a memory from weeks ago, a memory he had tucked away in the deepest parts of his mind, one he treasured so much he would never let it go.
"I like you too, Newt…"
Tina's words rang in his ear as the memory flashed through his mind. That was a day of great sorrow for him, but despite getting his heart broken for the second time, he still treasured that moment between him and Tina because it reminded him that it was possible for someone to like, maybe even love, him.
"Oh, but you already knew that," Achilles stated excitedly upon seeing the expression on Newt's face as the Brit continued to daydream about that fateful day. Newt turned to face the man beside him, still at a loss for words. The auror looked at him curiously, confusion starting to take over his mind as he blurted out "then why aren't the two of you together yet?"
Newt didn't reply. He simply sat uncomfortably beside Achilles, squirming as he tried to find a way to change the conversation to something that was less uncomfortable for him.
"Oh, I see," Achilles said after watching Newt squirm, finally understanding what was going on between him and Tina.
Achilles turned away from Newt, slumping down onto his seat as he felt the man beside him starting to become a little less tense. He wanted to say something to him, something to comfort a man he had no reason to love, but he now respects. He knew what it was like to pursue Tina Goldstein, what it was like to love her, and how hard it was to get in. But he also knew it was something that was possible, and that from what he has seen so far between Newt and Tina, he knew that they will eventually end up together.
"Listen, Newt," Achilles began, his mind finally made up with the words of reassurance he had for Newt. "I know we don't know each other, and we certainly have no reason to like each other…"
Newt looks up at the chestnut haired man, dreading what he might say next.
"But I want you to know that I'm rooting for you," Achilles continued, his eyes so genuine it made Newt appreciate the man more. "don't give up on her. I know it will take time, but when she finally gives you her heart it will be worth it."
Achilles offered Newt one final smile, placing his hand on top of Newt's shoulder before finally standing up andwalking in the opposite direction. The auror sat back on the seat he had previously occupied on the opposite side of the train compartment, clearing out the mess he had previously left there. Newt regarded the auror for minute, the jealousy he had for the man starting to dissipate, now replaced by feelings of appreciation and respect.
Achilles was right, they both had no reason to like each other, but after everything that Achilles has said to him that morning, Newt couldn't help but feel a little grateful for the man who was supposed to be his rival. He smiled at the direction of the auror, a thankful smile the Achilles had missed, before finally turning back to the window, a smile on his face as new hope began to rise inside him.
It had been quite some time since Tina had left Newt and Achilles at the compartment they were assigned for the trip. She had been walking through the train for what felt like hours in search for her younger sister. She didn't know what she was going to say to Queenie once she found her, but she knew she didn't want to be stuck in a compartment with Newt and Achilles.
She knew it was an awful thing that she left the two men behind, alone in a compartment when she knew that they didn't exactly get along just yet. But she needed to get out of there. She didn't know how to act around Achilles or around Queenie, what more when it was around Newt?
You're overthinking this, Goldstein. Tina berated herself as she wandered mindlessly through the sea of compartments that looked magnificent despite their emptiness.
Her mind drifts to the encounter with Newt at the stairway of their apartment, how she could almost feel his lips against hers before they were so rudely interrupted. She grazes her fingers over her lips, imagining what it might have felt like if they weren't interrupted. Her thoughts then drift to the expression Achilles had on his face when he caught them. She felt the slightest bit of uncomfortable, knowing that he had been the one to catch her and Newt. She knew didn't owe him anything, least of all an explanation, but she would be lying to herself if she didn't acknowledge the guilt that had been eating her up inside.
Achilles had tried to be a man about, he even tried to talk about what happened the morning after, but as always, Tina had to be the coward and run away from a confrontation with him.
They hadn't talked since, not in the manner they should have since they reunited. There is so much yet to fix between the two of them, so much they have left to talk about so that they can maneuver through this new type of relationship they find themselves in, friendship. It didn't help that Tina had to see him everyday since their return, see how hurt he is by her brushing him aside.
Then there's Newt. Poor, sweet Newt.
Her feelings for Newt have not calmed since the first time they kissed. They have grown deeper and stronger despite the distance that had settled between them since the people from her past returned. It didn't help her struggling heart to see the man she once loved living in the apartment that the man she now loves has loaned to her. She had seen him a total of three times since he brought Queenie and Achilles to her, and to her surprise, she preferred it less.
Her emotions and thoughts were in such a disarray that Tina failed to notice the only other person in the hallway besides her. She stared blankly into the ceiling, her mind still reeling at everything that had happened in the past few weeks. In her daze she walked straight into the beautiful blonde standing only a few inches from her, bumping into her as the younger Goldstein yelped in surprise.
"I'm so sorry," Tina apologized as she grabbed her sister before they could both topple over, straightening her spine and holding on tight to Queenie as the blonde tried to regain her footing. "I wasn't paying attention."
"Yes, I can see that," Queenie replied formally, her voice a little stifled as she tried to find the right words to say in that moment. She and her sister weren't on good terms yet, they haven't spoken since she and Achilles had arrived, and she knew that Tina was avoiding her. But she also knew she didn't want to push Tina when it came to this reconciliation. She knew how much she screwed up, and how long it would take for her to regain her sister's trust and rebuild their relationship. But she was willing to do the time, whatever it took.
"When did it get so dark?" Tina asked a few minutes later a little disoriented, looking out through the windows of the Hogwarts Express, surprised that it was now way past dusk. "Have I been wandering these hallways that long?"
"Maybe?" Queenie replied with a little hesitation, unsure of when her sister left the compartment at the front of the train. "How long ago did you leave the compartment?"
"Right after you did," Tina answered immediately, glancing at her sister as she answered, catching Queenie's beautiful green eyes almost immediately. "I just wanted to make sure you wouldn't get lost."
"How could I get lost in a train, Teenie?" Queenie giggled, finding what her sister just said preposterous.
"I don't know," Tina laughed back, unable to help herself.
The laughter between the two sisters faded as quickly as it came. The two of them settled in an awkward yet comfortable silence after their laughs died out, the pair of them now staring out towards the tiny flecks of light that shone on the English countryside.
Tina turned back to look at her younger sister, admiring how the dim light had shone on her beautiful features. The blonde continued to stare at the vast darkness outside, missing how her sister had just looked at her with so much affection. Tina turns back to look outside, now missing how Queenie had turned to look at her, a bright smile spread across her face.
Queenie's smiled disappeared as quickly as it came, the witch now looking down at her hands as she dreaded what she was about to say next.
"Teenie," Queenie began, her mind trying to coax through the many barriers that Tina had set up in her own mind as a defense to Queenie's mind reading. "why did you really come to find me?"
"I told you," Tina explained, her face hard as though she was tryng to convince Queenie of a lie. "I wanted to make sure you didn't get lost."
"I could hardly get lost on a moving train, Teenie," Queenie replied seriously this time, looking at her sister knowingly.
"Fine," Tina relented, her body loosening up a little bit from the tense stature that it took the moment Queenie began the conversation. "I didn't want to be left behind in that compartment alone with Newt and Achilles."
"Thank you," Queenie replied smugly, satisfaction evident in her smile as she looked out towards the dark countryside.
"Don't be so smug," Tina retorted in an annoyed but playful tone. "you knew that was bound to happen when you left. You know I don't like being placed in awkward situations."
"I kind of hoped that London would have squashed that out of you already," Queenie replied, still staring out the windows as she avoided her sister's gaze.
"Well you hoped wrong."
A comfortable silence settled between the Goldstein sisters, the pair continuing to watch the countryside as the trees grew lesser and bushes grew thinner, sturdy wooden buildings now starting to appear as the darkness was being replaced by more and more light that came from streetlamps.
"I'm so sorry, Teenie," Queenie said into the silence that had settled between them, looking down at her dainty hands that were resting on top the window sill. "all of this is my fault."
"No, it's not," Tina comforted in reply, her elder sister instinct kicking in almost immediately as she continued to stare at the countryside, her eyes now glaring at each random building they would land on. "it's Percy's fault. He knew exactly how to manipulate you."
"That's not what I meant," Queenie clarified, looking up timidly at her sister from where she was standing.
"I don't understand," Tina replied in confusion, peering down at the blonde witch to her right.
"This," Queenie gestured, pointing in the direction of the compartment that they both left in a hurry to avoid an awkward encounter. "all this awkwardness between you and Achilles and Newt…" Queenie paused, considering if her next words would make matters worse. She gulps, finally deciding that this conversation was going to end up in a bad situation whatever she said, so she added, "and me, it's all my fault."
"I don't see how it's your fault, Queenie," Tina replied firmly, her expression still confused as she tried to find an explanation to what her sister was trying to say.
"I promised Achilles that if he helped me find you, I'd help him get you back." Queenie blurted out in admission, unable to hold it in any longer.
"That was not your promise to make, Queenie!"
Tina's anger at her sister, an emotion that was beginning to subside since she and Achilles had arrived at her home, started to rise back up again. Queenie was never one to meddle in Tina's relationship, not even to further it on. This was the first time that she had did so, and it didn't make Tina's feelings for her any better. She had gone months loathing her sister for choosing Percy over her, heartbroken over the fact that someone who shared her blood, someone she had raised would choose someone else over her. She knew she didn't have the right to ask for Queenie's loyalty, but she was damn sure that Queenie had hers if the need came.
"I know, I know," Queenie interjected, breaking Tina from the internal struggle that she found herself in. "but how was I to know you'd run off to London and fall in love with someone else? For all I knew you were still pining for Achilles wherever you were."
"I don't pine," Tina chided in disgust, the mere word 'pine' making her want to vomit. She turned away from her sister, detaching herself from the train window that she and Queenie had been leaning against for the past few minutes. She was now standing a few feet away from Queenie, her back turned against the younger Goldstein as she tried to get her emotions in check.
"Oh, you do Tina Goldstein," Queenie countered, striding past Tina so that she was now right in front of her, now able to look her sister in the eyes if she ever found the courage to meet hers. "you're pining after Newt right now."
"What?! I'm not!" Tina denied almost immediately, glaring at Queenie as their eyes met in an attempt to convince her that what she was saying was not true.
"Stop lying to yourself, Teenie," Queenie retorted fiercely, not once believing the mask that Tina had so desperately tried to put on ever since they arrived in London. "it doesn't take a legilimens to know you're in love with him. I didn't need to read your mind to know that. Neither did Achilles."
"What?" Tina bellowed in surprise, completely unaware of the fact that Achilles knew how she felt. She had tried tooth and nail to keep her true feelings to herself, even tried to convinced herself that they weren't real, but now that Queenie had revealed that they were out there for the world to see, it made Tina feel a little uneasy.
"He knows, Teenie," Queenie replied tenderly, the ferocity that had began to build inside her starting to subside. "despite your best efforts to convince him that you and Newt are just friends, he knows."
Tina considers her sister's words for a second, confusion starting to spread across her entire being. She wraps her arms against her body, a favorite defense mechanism of hers, as she contemplated on what Queenie's words meant, on what the repercussions might be.
Achilles knew. He knew about her feelings for Newt despite her best efforts to hide it from him. She had denied it to him the first and only time they had talked after everything was revealed to her, but she never thought for once that Achilles didn't believe her. She thought she had done a find job of concealing her feelings for Newt from Queenie and Achilles, but apparently she hasn't.
"Why do you think he told you he was okay with it?" came Queenie's voice a few silent moments later, breaking Tina out of her reverie.
"I don't know," Tina admitted defensively, her mind having a hard time trying to keep up with her heart. "maybe he was just trying to make me admit to something that was not true?"
"That you're in love with Newt Scamander?" Queenie supplied tenderly in the hope that it would make her sister finally admit her true feelings out loud.
"That's not true," Tina denied profusely as she stared blankly into the space behind Queenie, a tear starting to form in one of her eyes as she avoided Queenie's watchful gaze.
"C'mon, Tina," Queenie said exasperated, exhausted at the mere thought of concealing your true emotions from the people who cared about you. "anyone with eyes can see it. Why are you so afraid to admit it to yourself?"
"Because I don't want to get hurt again, Queenie!" Tina roared in answer as she faced her sister in defiance.
Tears started to fall from Tina's eyes as she finally admitted her truth out loud. Yes, she loved Newt Scamander. Yes, she was going to hide it for as long as she can. Yes, she was a coward for doing so. But no, no one was allowed to blame her for her choice, not after the hurt and pain she had experienced that led her to flee her home.
Queenie stood there, in front of her sister, as still as a lamp post, breathing heavily and not moving a single muscle because she was unsure of what to do. Her sister was hurting, she knew it, she could feel it. And it was not because of the tears that were streaming down Tina's face, but because of how she could read every single thought running through her sister's mind, how her mind felt like an open book, a book that had long since been closed off from the world, even to her.
People are easiest to read when they're hurting.
Footsteps came hurtling down the hallway as two men approached the two sisters who had just turned silent.
"Is everything okay?" Achilles asked in concern, looking from Tina to Queenie, noting how tense the air seemed to be in the room.
"We heard screaming," Newt added, his eyes flicking immediately to Tina, his heart aching at the sight of her tear-stained face.
Before either Goldstein could answer the train came a complete halt. The train horn blows, signalling that they have arrived at Hogsmeade station. Newt peered out the window at the sound of the train horn, the familiar platform of Hogsmeade station right before his eyes. He peers back at the scene that he and Achilles had just walked into, peering back at the auror in an attempt to ask what they should do.
"We're here," Newt declared reluctantly as he turned away from Achilles, now looking from one Goldstein sister to the next, trying to gauge if it was a good idea to tell them that it was time to get off. He looks at Achilles again when neither Goldstein moved, hoping that the auror would know what to do in this situation since he knew both Tina and Queenie longer than he did. But he simply looked back at Newt, an uncertain look on his face.
"We need to go, Dumbledore's waiting," Tina said a few seconds later, wiping the tears off her face before walking through the closest train door, now opened after the train horns had stopped honking in signal of their arrival.
The other three companions followed Tina, Newt walking faster than the rest of them so that he could catch up to his friend and prevent her from taking a wrong turn or getting lost. By the time he had reached her they were only a few feet away from the infamous Hogwarts self-drawing carriages.
Tina had already reached the carriage that Dumbledore had ordered to bring them to Hogwarts. Newt was close behind her. Tina had quickly gotten on the carriage, taking a seat on the right closest to the thestral that was attached to the reigns of the carriage. Newt looked at his friend initially before turning back to look at Achilles and Queenie. He signalled at the pair, urging them to walk faster so that they could finally be off to the castle. The two Americans quickened their pace in the direction of the carriage until they reach their intended destination.
Newt decided to take the seat in front of Tina, completely aware that she wouldn't want to be staring at her sister the whole ride to Hogwarts. Achilles sat beside Tina while Queenie sat beside Newt. The younger Goldstein still looked a little shaken from what had happened between her and Tina on the train. The two men wanted to find out what had happened, but from the atmosphere that had settled between the four of them, neither had the courage to ask either woman of the situation that they had missed.
The carriage began to move in the direction of Hogwarts. Despite the silence between the foursome, the magic of entering Hogwarts for the first time didn't escape Newt's American companions. Tina, whose surly mood was evident by the way she was resting her chin on her hand, had began to straighten her spine as she took in the different trees they had passed since the carriage started moving. Achilles, who had been looking at Tina and trying to figure out what to say, began to focus his attention on a centaur that was only a few feet away from them, who had bowed at him upon meeting his gaze. Queenie, who began to stare at the night sky as soon as the carriage moved, continued to look at the stars as the carriage moved, completely entranced by it's shimmering, blinking light.
Newt smiled as he observed his companions, happy that they find the forest as compelling as he did the first time he took this trip. It was no boat-ride to Hogwarts, the trip that first years usually get to experience, seeing the beautiful Hogwarts castle from the Black Lake, but it was still a wonderful sight.
Newt turned, looking at the black winged horse that was pulling their carriage. His mind then drifted off to the many wonderful creatures he had found in the Forbidden Forest in his youth, his final thought settling on the question, "Can Tina, Queenie, and Achilles see thestrals too?"