Life continues on.
Newt's released from the infirmary. He teaches a class, then another, until all too soon he slides back into his schedule. The insides of his suitcase remain off-limits to all except his afternoon class, and even the Wampus cave is limited to a select few—namely, the little ragtag group that had followed him into Adams.
The cubs keep growing until they're nearly the same size as Amara, filling up most of the space in the cave, causing more mayhem with their antics that leaves their mother annoyed. Newt's sure that they'll be leaving soon, off on their own soon to find their own territory, but he thinks they linger around because of him; once he shows he can live on his own in their eyes, he's sure they'll follow his lead and move on. He'll miss them. They never needed his help and he can't take them with him, so it's all for the best that they go their separate ways.
His brother shows in the days following the excitement.
He's talking to a group of students in the hall, trying to tame the rumors before they get out of hand. The children excitedly ask about the adventure and he tells them what he can, indulging their awe and hoping that, maybe, he's inspired a few future magizoologists. Newt's in the middle of his description of a kelpie when he hears his own name echo through the halls.
Newt turns and spots a tall figure furiously strutting his way. There is a familiarness in the slope of shoulders and the way his arms swing, mirroring what he's seen in his own reflection. Hair, the same russet color as his, is combed out of a tan face, pulling focus on thick eyebrows scrunched over light eyes.
"Theseus," he says, surprised.
His brother doesn't answer, instead striding forward with hard intent and enveloping the shorter man in a crushing hug. Newt reciprocates but only just, trapped arms coming up to awkwardly pat the other on the back, making a point of not complaining when the hold turns a little painful.
Theseus pulls back enough that Newt can see his frown, stark enough that it pulls his lips into a thin line. There's a moment of silence before there's a sharp pinch at his collarbone. Newt yelps and jerks away.
"I get a letter from MACUSA informing me that you've been transferred to New York and sentenced to death?" His brother looks harried, clenching and unclenching his jaw. "How am I supposed to react to that?"
"Not particularly well, I presume."
"'Not well,' he says. "Scared me to death and that's the answer I get—you bloody well better—" Theseus throws his hands up, looking around as if to spot his sanity. It's then he notices their audience. "Oh."
Newt steps forward to smooth over his brother's uncharacteristic lapse (never once did he think he'd be the social buffer). "Yes, um, children, this is my br—"
"Excuse us," Theseus interrupts, grabbing Newt and hauling him off. Newt quietly directs him when he realizes that his brother doesn't have the slightest clue where he's going. They manage to get to his cottage without problem which is a personal best.
Theseus takes stock of the quaint little house that's been Newt's temporary home for the last few months with a professional eye that comes from working as the head of the Auror Office before focusing on Newt. "What was it this time?" he asks, arms crossed.
"Um…" Newt prolongs answer while he shrugs off his coat. He shoulders past his brother and carefully sets down his case by the fireplace.
Theseus follows his gaze and groans. "Not the case."
"Mum got me this case. It's got sentimental value."
His brother doesn't indulge his weak try at a diversion. "You know I support you and your passions—trust you to keep your beasts in check, but this is beyond what trouble you've gotten into! You carry a zoo in your suitcase and you thought it would be alright to bring it to Ilvermorny?"
Newt has the courtesy to feel the smallest bit of shame, if only for a moment. "It was an accident—"
"Right, an accident. An infraction of the national statute of secrecy. They're practically the same thing." Theseus sighs. "Why did you even accept the position here?"
"I was going to buy a birthday present—"
His brother flaps a hand dismissively. "Next."
Newt tries again. "I hadn't tackled North America in my travels. I'd hope to find a gowrow—"
"Those don't exist."
"No one has found evidence proving or disproving its existence, and I was hoping I would be the one to set the record straight."
"Oh, that was a good one. I almost believed you that time." Theseus levels him with a good stare, one that Newt can't dodge. "Come on then, out with it. What were you really doing here?"
"I was planning on bringing Fra—a thunderbird to Arizona."
"I found him in Egypt, Theseus. He'd been trafficked. I couldn't just leave him there."
"No, I suppose you couldn't. You wouldn't be you if you did. I turn away for a minute and you've already found some poor creature suffering at the hands of man—next thing I know, you'll have a Ridgeback." He points a stern finger at Newt. "You have that dreamy look on your face. Don't you dare."
"You're being absurd. Dragons can't be domesticated."
"Neither can a nundu."
Newt feels the need to come to his creature's defense. "He's very mellow nowadays—didn't escape with the rest—"
"Mellow my arse! Nearly took my secretary's leg!"
"He was de-quilling and having a rough patch. Besides, what kind of woman opens a stranger's suitcase?"
"And what kind of respectable man carries around a suitcase with wild creatures hidden inside?"
Newt scoffs. "Respectable." He's been called many things in his life and respectable was not one of them. It used to hurt, but now he's grown to accept it, desire it even. He was different and would gladly remain so for the rest of his days.
"One day your beasts are going to get you into trouble that you can't worm your way out of. I can deal with exploding offices, not rampaging nundus."
Newt's gaze drifts to his lap. "The ashwinder eggs hatched far sooner than I intended—only my desk caught fire and I put it out immediately. No one was hurt."
"And the hippogriffs crossed the Atlantic by themselves?"
Now this Newt has no trouble divulging. "That was more Mum than me."
Theseus throws his hands in the air, rolling his eyes to the heavens. "I don't know why I'm even surprised—you and Mum are the same. Neither of you know when it's gone too far! You're lucky I'm as high up as I am to keep this mess from going straight to the Confederation!"
Again, Newt scoffs. Leave it to his brother to find a way to bring his high-ranking position into conversation. Promotions and the like weren't something Newt is particularly interested in, and his brother attempting to throw around his authority, unconsciously or not, is annoying. It reminds him why he doesn't write often.
"I doubt you'd have much pull here," he mumbles, more to himself than Theseus.
"What was that?"
"I said, 'the paperwork for the hippogriffs have already been dealt with'. MACUSA is very efficient, Ilvermorny even more so."
Theseus looks like he doesn't believe him, but instead of questioning Newt, he takes on the new subject easily. He leans against the kitchen counter. "High praise coming from you. I might even think you want to stay here."
"It's grown on me—even if their laws are backwards."
"They won't let you stay—not after everything. Not after this."
Newt tries not to feel so sad about it. "I know, but…"
"But what?" Theseus is staring at Newt, curious in the worst of ways.
He shakes off the feeling. "Nothing."
Like most things, Theseus doesn't let it go so easily. "Do my eyes deceive me? Has Newton Artemis Fido Scamander, magizoologist and self-imposed social outcast, finally found people he likes?"
Newt ignores his brother, turning away. He wonders if it's possible to escape this conversation, where he can go where Theseus won't be able to follow. The kitchen window is looking more plausible by the second. "You know I don't like it when you use my full name."
"I do," his brother agrees, "but that's exactly why I use it. Who are these Americans who've taken your interest? When will I meet them?"
For some reason, those words make Newt anxious. Introducing his brother to, dare he say it, his Americans, shouldn't worry him, but there's nothing to help the unwanted feeling gnawing at his insides as he contemplates his answer. Through some sort of otherworldly magic, people were naturally lured to Theseus, a gravitational pull they couldn't resist. Like Nifflers are drawn to gold. His brother was just that kind of person everyone loved and wanted to be around, and, now that Newt has met people who're not immediately put off by his candid personality, he realizes he'd like to have something that his brother cannot take.
There's too much to tell and some that Newt wants to keep to himself, stories and moments that he can treasure as his and no one else's. Besides, if he gives any inclination of what he truly felt, to whom he'd grown attached to, Theseus would latch onto it and pry the whole truth out of him; a con of having an auror of a brother, he wouldn't stop digging.
"I have made a few friends, yes. One of them was accused to be my cohort and after everything I don't know if it's put a damper on our relationship. Tina—" Newt snaps his gaze away almost immediately, but it's already too late. Theseus spies his slip up.
"Oh," his brother says, chewing on the thought. "Has a girl finally caught your eye? Someone respectable, I hope."
"I might be inclined to have you ask her herself. She'd have you on your bum in seconds."
Newt has some satisfaction in the surprise on his brother's face, only it vanishes when it's replaced by something more sly.
"Mum's going to love this."
Theseus does what he does best, charming his way past all the difficulties following Newt's political blunder.
"I'm here to 'clear the air' if you will," he tells Newt at dinner after smiling his way into the faculty's good graces. What took Newt weeks and months, Theseus achieved in a day. Even Ms. Barrow is absolutely charmed.
Two birds with one stone, Newt supposes, and can't find it in himself to be mad that his brother is doubling up with his visit. The Ministry doesn't want any hard feelings between it and MACUSA and, despite his role in Grindelwald's capture, Newt did knowingly bring his case to Ilvermorny—faulty lock and all. He'd been sent on their behalf and, technically, had been their representative (a strange decision, now that he thinks about it), so apologies are in order.
Theseus flies through it all beautifully, appeasing everyone with a complaint, commenting to Newt how surprised he is that there aren't as much as he assumed. Not everyone hates him and most actually enjoyed his company, telling his brother how helpful Newt's been the past few months. It's a twist from the normal narrative they're used to.
He's especially amused by the way he and his students interact and Newt regrets letting him shadow one of his classes. Not only are his students in awe of his brother, halving their attention span, but Theseus is only making it worse.
"They respect you," he says, laughing like it's the greatest thing he's heard in a long time. It's not mean spirited, Newt knows (he's learned the difference between people laughing with him and laughing at him), but he still feels a bit sour when it becomes excessive. None of his students know what to do about this burst of hilarity, but they go along with it quickly enough, much to Newt's chagrin, and soon he wishes that he could get away with pushing his brother into mooncalf manure.
Newt shouldn't be so frustrated, but finds that he wishes, not for the first time, that his brother wasn't so well-known and charming. It'd make how easily Ephedra and Hector and everyone else takes to him more bearable; this new primal possessiveness isn't entirely new, but the intensity is. With this newfound selfishness comes anxiety too because despite Theseus sweeping through Newt's social circles, there's one person he hasn't met yet.
They haven't spent so much time together since he'd released Frank. Yes, they saw and spoke to one another as dinner and among the other faculty and Queenie, but never alone. Newt is both terrified and curious about meeting again, talking, and wants to see what might happen.
So when Theseus' attention is taken by Hector that evening, men exchanging daring tales and the sort, each one wilder and exciting than the last, Newt makes his escape. It's easy to slip out of the dining hall, trailing after a familiar bob and tall figure heading to the stone patio outside.
"Tina," he says and realizes that he only wanted her to look his way and when she does, he's stuck. He's made the leap without looking ahead and ends up before her without a thing to say.
Tina must know and doesn't seem to mind the pause from his silence. "Looks like you managed to make it through the year," she says easily like time and space meant nothing to them, housemates from the very beginning. "And only with a couple bumps in the road."
Newt rubs the back of his neck. "I have to admit my time at school wasn't nearly as exciting."
"If I recall, you swam with a giant squid as a second-year." She playfully pokes him in the chest. "Or was that an exaggeration?"
"I only did it once," he admits, smiling, before anxiety grips him. There's been something he's been meaning to ask her, things he thinks he sees and understands, but hopes to clarify. He swallows. "Tina—"
A heavy weight drops on his shoulders, stopping him short. Theseus has made his way over without Newt knowing and with him, the end of his and Tina's conversation that was only beginning. Hector is nonchalantly leaning on the doorway, openly watching. Newt feels the selfishness rise up again, an internal beast newly found and irritated at the intrusion. Did his beasts ever feel like this when he observed them?
"Aren't you going to introduce me, Newt?" Theseus says, unaware of what he's interrupted.
Newt tries to be polite. "Yes, er, this is my brother, Theseus." He abstractly waves his hand. "Theseus, this is Ti—Ms. Goldstein. She—well, she's the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher here at Ilvermorny."
Theseus takes note of his minor slip and raises his eyebrows for a moment before his face is schooled and the charm is brought to an all time high. The smile he gives is all teeth and twinkling eyes and Newt huffs quietly, but Theseus doesn't give any hint of hearing it as he takes the woman's hand and bestows upon it a kiss. "It's my absolute pleasure to make your acquaintance."
The response is short, though he knows she doesn't mean it to be rude. Tina gives his brother a once over, eyes sharp and clear, before flicking over to Newt himself. He offers a fleeting smile and is rewards one in return. "What did you want to tell me?"
"Well, you see…" Newt clears his throat, trying to shoulder Theseus off. He glances at Hector, frowning when he sees Ephedra peeking from behind the man. Was the whole bloody school going to join in and watch him bumble through this? "I was, um…"
Tina sees their little audience and flushes. "You can tell me another time, Newt."
"Yes, that—that would be…" Newt swallows his nerves and does his very best not to look at Theseus. "Fine."
For some reason Tina gives a little laugh. "Well, I should be going. Queenie must be waiting for me. Nice meeting you Mr. Scamander." She smiles. "Bye, Newt."
He isn't fast enough to respond before she turns and walks away. Tina sneaks a single look over her shoulder, smile still shining and Newt suddenly flushes. He raises a hand, dazed and silent in the wake of Theseus's hearty farewell even as the woman disappears down the steps behind a corner.
He turns and spots Theseus's smile, borderline smug.
His brother raises his hands. "I didn't say anything." A pause and then, "But isn't this a surprise. You fancy—"
Newt shoves his brother, whose boisterous laugh draws the eye of more than one of the curious individuals lingering in the connecting courtyard. It quickly turns into an almost scuffle, one where Newt finds himself in a loose headlock, his older sibling turning it into a hug that isn't completely unlike his Demiguise. It's warm.
"Oh, brother," Theseus says, ever fond, while Ephedra and Hector laugh from the sidelines. "What am I going to do with you?"
One afternoon, just as Theseus has predicted, Madame Peregrine comes to his little house unannounced. Newt already knows what she's here for.
"You're here to tell me to leave," he says after he's offered her refreshments, getting straight to the point to avoid unnecessary dilly dallying. They're seated at the little table beside the fireplace, a plate of pastries (Jacob's, Newt reminds himself sadly) set out before them.
"You have been absolutely wonderful, Newt, and if it were up to me, I'd ask for you to stay." He's given a sad smile and it reminds him of the one Professor Dumbledore gave him the night he left Hogwarts in secret to prevent him anymore shame. "But I have students and faculty to worry about, as well as the school's integrity to consider. Soon word will spread and owls will be coming in from parents. Grindelwald, a suitcase full of beasts, students running free in No-Maj towns—it's not something I thought I'd have to deal with this school year."
"I understand." He does, really. This isn't the first time he's been asked and it certainly won't be the last.
"You truly are an amazing man and your creatures are lucky to have someone like you looking out after them. I'm so happy to have had you with us this year and sad to see you go."
"Thank you," he says, "it means a lot. What will you do about the class?"
"Cancel it for the time being. Getting an instructor this late into the school year will be impossible. Besides, it would be hard to find someone to fill your shoes, Newt."
Heat settles at the tip of his ears. "Thank you—really."
"Would you like to join us for one last dinner? I'm sure the students will want to say their goodbyes in person."
"No, no—I'll, ah, slip out in the evening with my brother. No need to make a big fuss over it."
"Are you sure?
He's not, but he nods anyway. "Yes."
"As you wish." Madame Peregrine stands and Newt follows suit. He walks her to the door, except she stops just short of leaving. "When this dies down and you have your book published, I hope that we can expect a visit. An accredited magizoologist as a guest speaker at Ilvermorny can't be argued with, whether he has a safari in his suitcase or not." Here, some semblance of humor appears in the crinkling of her eyes. "And it isn't so bad if you know the headmistress either."
Newt manages a small smile. "Yes, I think I'd like that. Thank you again, Headmistress."
"Call me Cecile. All my friends do." She gives him a solid handshake, clasping her slim ones over his in a show of friendship, and in this moment, Newt realizes that's what she is. A friend. "Until we meet again."
It's raining when he leaves his little cottage for the last time, the family photo waving their goodbyes as he shuts the door. Frank's storm has long passed, leaving behind a natural drizzle that will linger for the rest of the week. The evening air is fresh and chilly and Newt can see the small clouds of his breath.
Tina walks with him to the school's entrance. They're silent and Newt's thankful of that. It gives him more time to take in the carved stones and paintings one last time, file them away to memory alongside the stories and people he's discovered. In his pocket, he rolls the golden bead in between his fingers.
(William had scheduled to meet that morning, waiting for him in the snakewood courtyard. Newt had sat beside him on a stone bench, his case on his lap, and waited for him to speak.
"You still have what I gave you?" William finally asked.
Newt held a hand over his vest pocket, trying to hold back a wry smile. "If you want it back, Pickett's become attached to it, I'm afraid."
"It's yours to give now. Show it to any of my kind when in aid and they will help you." With a twist of his hands William somehow summoned a familiar journal, offering it to Newt. "Might even help you find that gowrow you're looking for."
Newt had taken his research, running his fingers across the leather. He'd almost completely forgotten he'd given it away and holding it is like getting back something he didn't know he'd lost. The binding had been repaired.
William huffed suddenly. "Edited some of your writings. Can't let you go off telling the world untruths."
Taken by the act, Newt gingerly tucked it into his inner coat pocket. He blinked rapidly, trying to quell the sudden tears. It'd been so long since people had cared for his work and now he'd found a number of them.
"If wizards were more like pukwudgies, the world would be a kinder place," Newt told William, honest and open. "Every child here is lucky to have you looking after them,"
William had looked at him then, wrinkled and serious, his beady eyes unblinking. And then he softened, just a little, enough for his usual grimace to melt into a small smile. He patted Newt's forearm with his aging hand.
"Don't be a stranger, Mr. Scamander.")
Although Newt makes the decision to leave whilst all the students are having dinner, he still feels a bit rejected when no one comes across them in the hallways. One more smile, one more happy memory he can take with him, that's what he wants—what he's ruined for himself. He'd said his goodbyes to Hector and Ephedra, had been promised to wait for their letters and invitation, and that had lessened the heartache, knowing there would be more once he was gone.
All too soon, they've reached the entrance.
"Well, it's been…" he begins to say, but somehow no one word can adequately describe this adventure. It's all so much more than he imagined.
Tina seems to understand. "Hasn't it?"
"You'll give everyone my best regards?"
She nods. "Yes. Try not to get into too much trouble."
"I will. Quiet life for me from now on… back to the Ministry… deliver my manuscript…"
"I'll look out for it. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. The rightness of the words jump out at him immediately, as if they'd always been there, just waiting to be heard. Absolutely fitting.
Traveling and researching creatures is one thing, writing a book is another. He would be laying down his life's work on ink and paper for everyone to read, ingraining his soul with every word, so of course he had to have a proper name for it. His creatures deserved it.
With a gift like that, he has to return the favor. "I'll send you a copy of my book, if I may."
She gives him a weak smile. "I'd like that." There's a pause, and then—
"Does Leta Lestrange like to read?"
He starts. "Who?"
Tina's looking at him rather intensely. "That girl whose picture you carry."
With a start, he realizes that he hasn't thought of Leta for some time. He should feel guilty, but doesn't. "I-I don't know what Leta likes these days because people change." He swallows. "I've changed. I think. Maybe a little."
Another smile, this one a little bigger and brighter. "Yes."
He finds the need to blink and breaks eye contact, feeling weightless and all too big for his body. He doesn't know how to proceed and, so, abruptly turns and hurries down the staircase.
He makes it four steps.
Under the faded paintings of thunderbirds and pukwudgies, he makes a decision. His suitcase bumps into his thigh as he spins on his heel and marches back across the distance covered, feeling like he's on the cusp of something great. "I'm so sorry—how would you feel if I gave you your copy in person?"
Tina lets out a watery laugh, surprised and delighted. "I'd like that… very much!"
Newt nods, still in the midst of processing this feeling of want. "And how would you feel about me seeing you outside of school grounds?" He takes a hesitant step forward, looking at the hair curled against her cheek. "Visiting you in New York, I mean."
"I'd really like that."
The pitter-patter of rain goes in tune with his heartbeat, rapid and nonstop. Something pushes him—maybe it's the fluttering feeling in his chest or maybe how he can't stop staring at the woman before him—and his hand reaches out to tuck the misbehaving strand of hair behind her ear. For some reason, he lingers.
Then, strangely enough, the lapels of his coat are suddenly in her grip. Her eyes drop down for a moment and his insides feel a bit funny. Human rituals had never interested him like those of his creatures, but now, here in the gaping mouth of ancient stone, he's never wanted more to try and take part.
His hand is still at her face, grazing the soft, warm skin at her jaw. They're closer than he remembers and he doesn't know if he should be invading her space further or backing away—it's improper, too intimate, a display of established courtship in many species.
He stays where he is.
The air is a lot warmer between them and Newt feels like he's overheating. He swallows, tilting his head down to brush his nose against Tina's. The distance between them gets smaller and smaller and—
—his hair is pulled by small, skinny fingers.
Pickett squeaks, demanding attention. He tugs and pulls, pointing down the hallway. Newt unwillingly tears himself away from the moment and looks past Tina's shoulder just as a couple of heads duck out of sight and back into the shadows of the pillars of the entrance hall.
That's when he hears the giggling.
Tina closes her eyes. "Of course."
Newt's hand drops to his side. He steps back, shivering at the chilly breeze that hits him and watching, half amused and half put out, as Tina turns away from him. "Come out, all of you. You've been caught."
Multiple heads peek out from the corner and between pillars and Newt recognizes every one of them. It's his students, still thirsting for gossip. Realizing they've been spotted, they slip out and congregate on him and Tina. No one speaks a word about what was about to transpire and, for that, Newt's thankful.
"Madame Peregrine said you couldn't be our teacher anymore." Mildred says. "Is it true?"
"So you were going to leave without saying goodbye?" Robert asks.
Newt gaze slides to the side. "Yes, ah, well—my creatures and I are a sort of a hazard, I'm told. We must be off before MACUSA gets too antsy." He clears his throat. "I'm already forbidden from entering major cities—best not make it the entire country."
Tina stares at him incredulously and he offers a bashful smile. It wasn't as if he let laws stop him now, so he highly doubts an official letter from the president would hinder him later. If Peregrine's prediction came true and his book did adequately, then those limitations might be lifted.
He clears his throat. "Goodbye."
One by one, the students converge on Newt, grabbing at whatever part of him they can. He's never been the popular one (Theseus was the hero, the one everyone fell in love with) and this type of affection by people not in his immediate family—or his creatures for that matter—is strange. It's new and slightly unsettling, but not unwelcome; warm and soft and sincere, if not a bit awkward, except that's what he loves most about it.
So he hugs back as best he can. He tries to show his gratitude in every touch like he does with his creatures, to let these wonderful children know that they truly are extraordinary. "I'll miss you all terribly," he says, and he actually means it.
"Come back soon!"
"You'll come back, right?"
"Ms. Goldstein, you have to make him write! Tell him!"
Tina smiles. "You heard them."
Newt ducks his head, flushing. "I'll try my best to send an owl or two."
That seems placate them. There are more hugs, and even more words, multiple voices speaking up at once to get out their goodbyes. Newt could get used to this, this attention, and more than ever he wants the moment to continue, to prolong it as much as he can.
Then Tina's gently nudging them away. "That's enough. Mr. Scamander has a train to catch and you have a dinner to get to. Hurry, before Headmistress realizes you're gone."
They hurry off, throwing more goodbyes over their shoulders. Robert's the last to let go. "You'll come back?" he asks quietly.
For once, Newt says the right thing and Robert doesn't look so forlorn, willingly letting go and running to catch up to his brother. Newt watches him leave, amused and happy.
"You'll be missed," Tina says at his shoulder. Their eyes meet and Newt's reminded of what lies unresolved between them.
"Yes…well, I, er, shouldn't keep Theseus waiting." He has already been delayed more than he should, his brother waiting at the train station.
Tina nods, appearing sad. Newt thinks he knows why, feeling the same building in his chest, but he can't seem to figure out what to say to make the farewell better. He turns away instead, ready to run away from the sad goodbyes.
"Hey, Newt," Tina says.
He turns back to her eagerly. "Yes?"
Rocking onto her toes, Tina grips his coat, leans forward, and—oh.
After a moment, she falls back on her heels. "Visit soon," she whispers.
She's not Leta—they're similar and yet not, opposites of each other (but no, Leta isn't at all like Queenie, who isn't at all like Tina). She's what could be, a possibility. A chance of words and moments, a future that calls like a luring kelpie.
Newt knows what it's like to fall for someone, pulled in by their very gravity and wanting to stay in their orbit day in and out, just to hear their voice, see their face. There's the desire—the need to be there, facing every sunrise with them, and wanting it to set just for the promise of tomorrow. Experiencing it for the first time is a rush and he's willingly dived even when he didn't know what would happen should he reach the ground, if someone would be there to help him back up.
Affection is a fickle thing, he thinks. It pulls you, even when it's gone, demanding some piece even if it's not ready to be given. Newt's used to giving. He gives to his creatures, to his family, but beyond that, he's learned not to give himself so freely. No one wanted to crash a second time.
She was a taker, you need a giver, Queenie had told him.
Could he take? He's fallen into someone's orbit, allowed himself to be tugged along like some accessory, giving and giving and giving until he had nothing left to give. To force himself to receive and take, now that would be new.
His suitcase drops and he lurches forward, reaching out before he can stop himself. Tina's solid and warm in his arms, perfectly eye-level when he brings her close. "Tina," he says carefully, quietly, "slap me if I'm being too forward, but I'd very much like to give that earlier bit another try."
No regrets, no worrying over what-ifs and could-bes. He hesitates only for an instant, barely glimpsing her nod her consent, before taking the risk and plunging headfirst.
It starts slow because he's not the most experienced in this field, tentative and light despite the rush he feels building in his chest. There's no fireworks or spark, only the warmth shared by two people in a moment that could be the beginning of something more. And it does become something more, Tina winding her arms around his neck; she pulls him closer, gives him more than he'd asked for, and, for once, he's willing to take it.
There's a small intake of breath, like a high-pitched gasp, that doesn't come from either of them. They ignore it, just as they ignore the footsteps when they recede. Newt feels her smile against his lips and he can't help but do the same. Giddy, that's what he is, what he feels after being caught like teenagers hiding in a broom closet.
Tina break the kiss, but remains close. Gently, she cups his face, running her thumbs across his cheeks, her skin pleasantly warm. The action's more intimate than he's used to, almost casual, and it has him swallowing back the sudden feeling in his throat. "I'll see you soon," she says.
"Soon," Newt promises. He allows himself this, ingraining the moment into his memory for those dreary days he'll no doubt have to deal with in the upcoming weeks. A quiet life in London suddenly seems too boring when he knows that there's something across the pond waiting for him.
"Go!" she laughs when he doesn't move, giving his lips a quick peck. Amazing how a simple thing can be so natural, so invigorating. "You'll miss your train!"
Right, yes, he's got a train to catch and an older brother waiting for him. Responsibilities were really a bother in the most inopportune times, but Newt manages to separate himself and takes a few steps back. Tina's cheeks are tinged pink and Newt's skin is burning, but they are smiling.
It's more difficult to turn away a second time, goes against every instinct in his body that tells him he's found something incredible and worthwhile, but Newt leaves. There's a pull in his pocket where the januscope is settled, the magic of the place and people luring him back even as he passes through the grand entrance one last time, the painted thunderbirds and smiling statues bidding him farewell while the gates sing for a quick return.
Soon, it whispers back at him, a promise he intends to keep.
A/N: That's it, guys, sorry for the wait. Hope you enjoyed it!
I won't be posting on fanfiction anymore and will be moving permanently to AO3, so if you want to continue to follow me, that's the place to go. Don't worry, this account and the stories won't be deleted. Catch y'all on the flip side! ;)