HELLO PEOPLE OF FANFICTION! I HAVE RETURNED FROM THE HELLHOLE OF A LEVEL EXAMS WITH ANOTHER STORY! This one is going to be a long one - 30 chapters to be precise. I have a long summer so plenty of writing time! This story will be written in collaboration with a good friend of mine in real life, who goes by the name of Quills and Swords on FictionPress. Head on over to her profile and read her story Honourable Scandals, it's absolutely brilliant (not like I proofread it or anything...) and needs more followers. She would highly appreciate it if you did!
For now though, enjoy the chapter!
Dear Miss Goldstein
Nope, too formal.
Nope, too forward.
My dearest Tina
Merlin, no. Who knows what she'd think of him.
It had been two weeks since Newt Scamander had returned from New York, and in those two weeks his book was sent for final proofreading before being published and he was back at the Ministry for the time being. He'd been in and out of meetings left right and centre, whilst at the same time trying to avoid as many interviews with as many wizarding newspapers and magazines as was humanly possible. The Daily Prophet refused to give up, though. As soon as word got out that his book (the first of its kind to advocate the care of magical creatures) was going to be published, his tiny flat in the centre of London was inundated with owls every other day. And every time a Prophet owl pecked at his window Newt would take the letter, and without bothering to read it he would cast it into the fireplace.
He could, of course, write all of this in a letter to New York, but Newt, being Newt, couldn't bring himself to do it. Since he'd come back he'd promised himself he'd write to Tina. Tina, because he had made a promise to write her. Tina, because her warm chocolate eyes flecked with gold had seemingly branded themselves into his memory, and the sense memory of the feel of her skin was still on his fingertips from where he'd tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. Tina, because the sound of her laughter seemed to be constantly in the back of his mind, and when he thought too hard about it, it seemed like she was in the room with him. It was almost like she had followed him to England.
But she had not, and Newt, as ever, sat alone in the shed inside his case, another blank piece of parchment in front of him. He twirled the quill between his fingers, the soft silvery fronds brushing the back of his hand. Just to the right of the new piece of parchment was a mountain of screwed up pieces of parchment, which could at any moment cause a small avalanche.
An angry squeaking brought Newt out of his reverie. He looked down to see Pickett stood in the centre of the parchment, tapping his tiny green foot impatiently and folding his arms. He was looking up at Newt with a highly disapproving look on his face and one of his tiny leafy eyebrows raised. "Now don't take that tone with me, Pickett." Newt levelled his gaze with the bowtruckle, raising an eyebrow right back. He folded his arms in front of him and leaned his chin on his hands. Pickett continued to squeak angrily.
"Yes, yes, I know I need to write to her. You standing on the parchment isn't going to help though is it?"
Pickett fell silent for a moment, cocking his head to one side and regarding Newt with a look of what looked like exasperation. Then he started to squeak again.
Newt felt a blush rising on his face. "Pickett, we've been over this. I am not in love with her, she is a dear friend and I simply cannot think of an appropriate way to word this letter."
Pickett raised an incredulous eyebrow and squeaked again.
"No I am not lying to myself. I can't fall in love again. Not after last time."
Then Pickett's expression softened. He moved to sit on the back of Newt's hand and chittered softly. "How do I know she won't break my heart? She deserves a better man than me. She deserves MACUSA's smoothest and most good looking Auror. Not an awkward, gangly British magizoologist."
Pickett seemed to disagree.
"Thank you, Pickett, but I'm pretty sure she just sees me as a friend."
"Now that is true. I don't know how to read people." Newt sighed, "Do you think she does feel something for me?"
Pickett folded his arms and cocked his head to the side again. The incredulous look was back.
"I'll take that as a 'yes of course she does you bloody idiot.' Merlin's beard, I'm taking relationship advice from a bowtruckle." Pickett seemed affronted and Newt chuckled.
"Sorry, Pick, but you're not exactly an expert on human relationships either."
Pickett's next string of clicks seemed more determined now.
"Yes, you're right." Newt sat up with new determination. "Get it together, Scamander. You've travelled around the globe hunting the world's most dangerous creatures and now you can't write a bloody letter? Just do it, for Merlin's sake."
Newt didn't even bother to let himself think of what would happen if Tina didn't write back. He wouldn't blame her, of course, she was extremely busy protecting wizards and muggles alike and probably didn't have the time to talk to him. But deep down he knew that if she didn't reply, he would not be able to take it.
The finished letter ended up reading:
10th December 1926
For Miss Tina Goldstein
He decided this was the most appropriate introduction. He didn't see it as too formal or forward.
First of all, might I apologise for not writing to you sooner. My schedule has been so overloaded of late, I haven't seemed to stop. My book was sent to the publishers for a final proofread and is set to be published in the New Year. I promise I will bring you the very first printed copy as soon as logistics allow. It's the least I can do.
I cannot thank you enough for the title. I was struggling for one since I started writing the book, and your suggestion was simply perfect.
As well as the book, I'm back at work at the Ministry. I've been in and out of meetings in parts of the Ministry I didn't even know existed, and I seem to have unofficially taken residence in the Obscurus Books offices. The Daily Prophet (that's the New York Ghost's British counterpart) seem to have gotten wind of the fact that my book is due to be published in the New Year, and will not stop bothering me. I did not write this letter to complain to you, but I am receiving owls every other day asking for interviews and each time I do, I turn them down. So not only am I constantly in meetings and working, I am also having to evade the press. I guess I never thought I'd get this much publicity, especially since the book isn't even published yet.
My publisher already wants to discuss the book's tour. I have made it clear I do not want to make big public presentations and sign copies of books for crowds of people, but my publisher seems to be adamant. Nothing is set in stone yet, and I will continue to avoid doing a tour for as long as I can.
The creatures are doing absolutely wonderfully, as in between everything else they are always high on my priorities list. I fear that Dougal might be getting lonely - I may try to negotiate a trip to East Asia to find him a mate once the buzz of my book has died down. Not that I was ever expecting there to be a buzz, but apparently there is, so I'm accepting it with little fanfare.
But I think I have talked enough about myself. I do hope you and Queenie are well, and that Jacob got his bakery. I have no doubt that business would be positively booming for him had he managed to get it. I hope that your career is going well and that MACUSA is treating you with the respect that you deserve.
Might I inquire about the Grindelwald situation? I probably shouldn't say this, but the Ministry does not think MACUSA has the competence to hold him. Or at least that's what my brother thinks. Who, if you didn't know, is the Ministry's new Head of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement, much to my father's delight.
I do hope that you will find time in your busy schedule to write back, and I shall await your reply should you choose to do so.
Newt read that letter aloud to Pickett several times, and the bowtruckle seemed miffed that Dougal got a mention and he did not. Newt laughed and promised to mention Pickett in his next letter - if she wrote back, of course. As his eyes skimmed what he had written, he took a deep breath. Tina probably didn't wish to hear about his recent antics, but he had written that letter now, and he wasn't going to let the time spent writing it go to waste. If nothing else, he wanted to know that he'd sent that letter to get the weight of it off his chest, so to speak. If she actually replied that would be even better.
Without another thought he folded the letter once, sealed it inside an envelope and addressed it to Tina. He then attached the envelope to the leg of his delivery owl, Herbert. He was a Eurasian eagle owl Newt had found in China when he was there observing a group of demiguise. Herbert had broken his wing, and once Newt had nursed him back to health he found that the owl was rather taken with him, and vice versa. He'd had him ever since. He sent the owl up the ladder of his case before climbing out himself to find Herbert waiting on the windowsill in the lounge of his flat. Newt let the bird climb onto his arm before handing him a sliver of chicken he had retrieved from the shed. He stroked the owl's silky feathers. "Safe journey, old chap. It'll be tricky negotiating the Atlantic, so please be careful. There's more food where that came from when you come back." With that he opened the window and the bird took off from his arm, gliding into the English night sky.
As Newt watched his owl until he could no longer see him, he hoped that Herbert was not intercepted on the journey over. For Newt had, now, just sent an international letter without proper authorization. But no matter. The Ministry, and no doubt his brother, would just ask questions. And Newt wasn't prepared to tell anyone, let alone his brother, why he was sending letters to a woman in New York that he'd only come to know for a few days.
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Stay tuned for chapter two courtesy of Quills and Swords.