That blustery autumn morning when Tina was laid to rest was the coldest New York had seen in years. The sky overhead was a canvas of rich blue, speckled with pristine white clouds that drifted serenely in the heavens. The sun was a spectacle - big and bright; and amidst the intended warmth it's golden rays brought, everything to Newt was still inescapably cold. People fussed the length of that clear morning about it's radiance and beauty; the vivid orange leaves and dewy green grass - yet, everything in Newt's bereft eye's was cast in dismal shades of grey; an echo of his lonely future. His sun and moon had been taken from him and with her so had vanished the vibrancy he'd taken for granted; neither the brightness nor the array of seasonal colors could dispel his grief. There was only the cold.
Sorrow was no stranger to him, but never had it left him feeling as though there was no air in his lungs; no passion left in his blood, no purpose left for the subsequent life now empty before him. Losing comrades in the war, both of his parents, even some beasts— all he'd suffered with bouts of grief he once thought unrivaled. None of that had prepared him for what he felt in that moment as he watched her casket sink beneath the earth.
A considerable sense of loneliness worked through Newt, regardless of the multitude of people surrounding him. Theseus stood adjacent to him; features somber but never yielding his recurrent stalwart disposition. Newt envied his brothers resoluteness; the world seemed to be spinning and it took everything in him not to lean on his older brother. Queenie stood beyond Theseus, draped in much darker colors than Newt was used to seeing his sister-in-law fashioning which sent a pang of fresh sorrow through him. Her muffled sobs were barely audible as she wept into Jacobs shoulder; who was soldiering through with only silent tears. The rest of the people Newt didn't recognize; colleagues of Tina's, he figured (not that he cared to learn).
The only familiar face that remained other than his family was Director Graves, who had respectfully taken to speaking when all Newt could muster was a slow shake of his head and a hoarse 'no'. He broke down at the very mention of her name, how was he expected to tell that sea of strangers all the wondrous things about his wife?
Percival Graves began his eulogy expressing his deepest sympathy, before venturing to tales of Tina's determination, her bravery, and her sacrifice.
Hearing the word left a sick metallic taste on Newt's tongue.
It made his jaw clench in anger and his heart ache with the crushing emptiness the word implicated.
Graves praised Tina, wishing everyone present to not dwell on the sadness of her untimely death but to instead fill their minds and hearts with the fond memories they shared with the Auror, sister and wife, they once knew.
Those stung. Every image of her in his head- every smile or laugh he recalled- stung deeper than any creature he'd ever dealt with. In those memories of her laid the key to demolishing the facade he had been struggling to withhold ever since that fateful night. Memories were too painful, but that was all she was - all that remained of his Tina. Part of him begged to let those recollections fade so he could grant himself some solace, yet that notion was too painful. How long was he to hold on to a memory? How was he to decide which pain was pain he could simply exist with: pain of remembering or the pain of letting go?
Graves' praises continued, fadinging into a distant noise to Newt the longer he spoke. He withdrew into his thoughts, cursing himself for not harboring the grit to recant their short time together, how much he loved her or how much he wished it was him in her place. It was a storm he simply could not weather. Newt was grateful for all the wonderful things the Director said about Tina - things he yearned to say but couldn't - even if in the deepest part of his muddled mind he blamed the grief that had befallen him on Percival Graves.
Had the man in front of him never bestowed Tina with the promotion she'd so wanted, a series of unfortunate events never would have come to pass. His wife would still be alive had she never been given such a responsibility - a notion that Newt struggled to confine.
After a time, the voices subtly drifted and vanished in the whisper of the autumn breeze. The strangers Newt had no desire to speak to lined up to shake his hand, issue their condolences and then left, all without him registering any of it. Nothing felt real. Not the brisk wind tousling his combed hair or the sincere words men and women left him with. It wasn't until they had gone that he bravely swallowed the lump in his throat, risking to crumble his composure, squared his shoulders and felt his boots sink deeper into the mud. Theseus had gone too, a realization that left him feeling both relieved and mournful for. Much of the stout demeanor he'd been carrying was due to his older brother; Theseus was one person he could not bring himself to appear vulnerable in front of and so Newt's nerve held, thread bare as it was.
Director Graves was the last to approach, suddenly looking as though he'd aged ten years. Newt's makeshift resilience faltered slightly seeing him closely for the first time in a while. The worry lines on his face were darker and the gray hair peppering his temples had all but created a halo of white. He slouched, an ability he was unaware the man possessed, making him greatly less intimidating. When he spoke then, his voice was gentle, expressing how deeply sorry he was and his changed bravado would have caught Newt off guard had he not seen the hurt in the man's eyes. It was the first time all morning Newt's focus fell solely on something other than his boots; he recognized the pain the other man held in his dark eyes - the sorrow in his voice - it was everything he too felt. Suddenly Newt had a difficult time blaming the man shaking his hand for the broken heart he now carried with him.
The crowd was gone when Newt found himself lingering a few steps from the edge of his wife's resting place. Men came with shovels in tow to fill that hideous hole; every scoop of dirt they tossed heedlessly was like a weight upon him. He watched for the longest time stewing in his own misery until he felt a quake in his rudimentary composure and shifted his focus back to his mud caked boots in hopes to seal the fresh crack.
His mind was a web of a thousand different thoughts and soon, he felt a familiar tickle fishing through the chaos in his head. Any other day Newt would have quickly shielded his intimate memories from his gifted sister-in-law, but what would she find in that mess of memories that she didn't already suffer from herself?
Queenie gradually made her way to his side, a figure cloaked in black, the doll like features of her face hidden behind a midnight veil. Neither of them uttered a word, instead Newt opened his troubled mind to her, letting her drink freely. Carefully he fed her the story of Tina's final moments in vivid detail until he was shaking from the anguish reliving that night brought him.
She was crying when Newt risked a glance from the corner of his eye, and when she reached for his hand a sob pushed passed his closed lips.
"How is it that even though it's tied to so much sorrow and suffering, her face is still the face of happiness for me?" The rasp in his own voice was something unknown to him.
Queenie offered only a consolatory squeeze of his hand in lieu of a verbal response. Sniffles and sobs continued to work through her small frame in fitful shakes that mirrored his own as they stood – a post for the other to lean on.
"That's…that's not really the right question— or maybe it is, it's just not the biggest one I want an answer for…" Newt quickly caught the tear sliding down his face with the sleeve of his coat. "…I just want to know: when you find that you've lost the single most important person to you on this entire planet, where is all that feeling— all that love, love you had absolutely no idea any one person was capable of harboring, supposed to go?"
A new stream of tears spilled down Queenie's wind blistered cheeks and she hurried to brush them away with a clean end of her handkerchief, but Newt saw anyway.
"I wish I knew, Newt…" she told him. Her weepy eyes peered distantly in the direction where her sister rested, seemingly lost. The usual sugary warm tone that had always been a staple in his sister-in-law's comforting timbre was gone. "…I feel that way, too."
Their words faded into the breeze, drifting around them only adding more weight to their encumbered hearts. The pair lingered side by side, unsure if they could manage without the other just yet, a silent exchange of condolences keeping them tethered together.
"…Tina was pregnant." Newt's voice was barely an octave above a whisper when he spoke again. Each word stung as it strove past his tongue, yet he could not abandon the grief driven momentum he suddenly felt. "The healers that took her body, they told me…" He paused to battle the striking flash of memories that blinded his mind. "Apparently the child passed away before Tina – um – before Tina died."
He had hardly finished speaking when a sudden embrace jolted him, the abrupt familiarity of Queenie's warmth sent him spiraling into emotion so strong he feared he may fall. It was the sincerest, most unrestrained gesture of condolence he'd shared with anyone since his world had been ripped from him. When she squeezed him tighter and tighter, Newt was certain she'd pushed every breath from his lungs, and only then did he feel safe to crumble. He'd soldiered through everything with a charade of empty expressions and a hefty monotone he did not recognize. A convoluted pantomime all so his brother never saw his broken pieces. Theseus would not have understood— as much as his older brother meant to him, never had the battle hardened war hero ever loved anything the way Newt loved Tina. Queenie, however, did understand. She had lost a friend, a sister, a mother; things Newt knew neither he nor Jacob could ever begin to replace. So he allowed himself to cry in the arms of another who could comprehend the weight of everything he had held inside. He wept with his whole heart, loud and rather sloppily just as she did, leaving dark smudges of her makeup on his coat while mumbling incoherent phrases meant to comfort him.
When she finally pulled free of him, Newt had to fight the frown that threatened to take shape feeling her sudden loss.
"You should have this," Queenie sniffed, brandishing an opened envelope from her coat pocket. "It's the last letter Teenie sent me." She explained, obviously plucking the question from Newt's head.
She caressed his check gently, supplying him with a faint smile and eyes glistening with moisture.
"You come by the apartment when you're finished here, huh?" She tossed a glance over her shoulder to the gray stone with her sisters name on it. "Don't rush, honey. I just don't want ya to be alone, okay?"
Newt wanted to say thank you, but another lump swelled in his throat and instead nodded. Queenie left him with a soft peck on his cheek before returning to where her husband and daughter waited. He watched them go, eyes locked with them until the bright horizon swallowed their little family and the letter in his hands suddenly weighed a hundred pounds. His focus shifted to the parcel feeling as though he was holding a ticking time bomb; Newt knew what reading her words could do to him – the pain of remembering…
Newt's eyes danced back and forth from missive to stone – her stone – until with a flair of freshly acquired martyrdom, he lit the metaphorical fuse and began reading.
I'm writing you with news that I only just found out today, and would much rather tell you in person. Currently these days however my time is stretched horribly thin at MACUSA, that I hardly have the time to go home, eat, and sleep before doing it all over again; I am utterly exhausted. As such, this letter has to suffice until we can speak next.
As I'm sure Newt has probably informed you, I haven't been myself lately; I feel sick all the time— in waves really, my mood constantly shifts, all things that I've been blaming on stress and work. Newt's been so patient and supportive through all of this, but it's gotten to the point that I know he's worried, genuinely worried. He's planned this trip to Eastern Europe for our Anniversary in hopes it will fix everything. I'm not convinced it will but seeing how excited he was about the whole thing I couldn't turn him down. And seeing all this strain I've put on him I went to see a healer today, just to see if there was anything I could do to get rid of this stress. What I wasn't expecting was his diagnosis: as he put it, I've got a few more 'tricky' months to get through before I feel myself again; just under eight more months to be exact!
Oh, Queenie I wish I could have told you in person, but I won't be gone too long, and now work is going to have to give me time off! I'll admit, initially the idea of starting a family, especially with all this war and Grindelwald madness, terrified me. Now that it's happening, I'm overcome with his profound feeling everything will work out just fine. Newt is going to be over the moon when I tell him!
I'm actually surprised Newt hasn't caught on yet, and I hope it stays that way. I want to relish in that big goofy grin of his when I tell him on our Anniversary. I doubt I will ever get over his smile, and honestly, I never want to. Every time I look at him, those big green eyes, those freckles and that mess of hair my heart skips and that tingle rushes through me as though I'm seeing him for the first time. It's like I can't breathe the way I should when he's near. He is my greatest joy, my fondest memories— my whole life too, and I cannot wait to share the love Newt and I have with our child.
I look forward to when we can discuss this properly! Sorry things got emotional there at the last, damn these mood swings! Send my love to Jacob!
A single tear slipped from Newt's chin, and dotted the page, just shy of ruining the ink as he finished reading. A strange sense of tranquility crept over him as he lingered, staring blankly at the lines on the page. For the first time all morning, he felt the heat of the sun on his shoulders, warmth he never thought imaginable while in mourning. He stood alone in the grassy sea of granite stones and yet he did not feel lonesome. It was clear to him in that moment he could never allow himself to surrender the memories he treasured no matter how they pained him; he'd keep all of them: the memories of her hope and of his Tina.
Falling in love had been the single most irrational act of selfishness he'd ever done; an act of beautiful insanity and he vowed to never let that magnificence destroy him. A piece of his heart would forever have her name, a token he would proudly carry with him until he rested beside her: his beautiful Porpentina.
A/N: That's all folks! You've made it to the end of this crazy roller coaster, and for that I thank you. I wasn't sure I'd ever get to this point, but I did and I'm so happy it's over. I wrote this on a whim, from a prompt I came across on tumblr and it sorta consumed me. I apologize for any heart ache this causes, I will leave you with the knowledge that what I have planned next is the opposite of this: lots of fun and fluff, I think I've given myself whiplash jumping from this to that.
I currently working on the next part of my series Laughter Lines, and I've so far completed the first draft of chapters 1 and 2. Right now, I do not have a date at which I will have something new to post, just keep up with me on tumblr and you can check my progress.
Thank you so much to those of you who stuck it out with me. You were, and continue to be my biggest motivation!
Furthermore, you can follow me on Tumblr fandom-non-sense
That is where you can keep up with my progress, check out my favorite works by other talented authors and even find a link to keep me caffeinated so I write quicker ;).
Also HUGE thank you and shout out to my betas onebethatatime and katiehavok. They are the true heroes here and I owe them both so much for making these chapters readable.