Porpentina Esther Goldstein was not a woman accustomed to travel, especially inter-continental travel. She was a born-and-bred New Yorker, rarely going outside of the city and never for very long. So, whenever she packed for a trip, she was never sure if it was enough, or too much, but always sure that she had forgotten something. Now, the young auror was facing her first trip outside of the United States. Though it was only for a weekend, Tina still felt trepidation about it for several reasons.
This first trip abroad was for business, quite serious business. President Picquery had asked Tina to represent M.A.C.U.S.A. at a small conference of international law enforcement. The topic was, of course, Gellert Grindelwald. Though he had been in the custody of M.A.C.U.S.A. since his capture six months ago, no one was naïve enough to believe that he couldn't possibly escape; after all, he'd escaped the last prison that had held him. So, every possible scenario had to be prevented and every possible precaution that to be thought of.
Tina, as the representative from the government who was holding Grindelwald, also had the equally hard tasks of both convincing every other representative that M.A.C.U.S.A. was more than capable of holding the master criminal and being open to any valid suggestions for improvements. It was a very fine line to tread, and Tina knew that there was little to no room for error about this.
But President Picquery told her that she had complete faith in her about this, and that meant a lot to Tina. The last six months back on the investigative team had been exceedingly better than the months she'd spent in her demoted position. Remembering Picquery's faith in her certainly helped to calm her nerves about this first reason she felt trepidation about this trip. But it did absolutely nothing to calm her nerves about the second reason.
That second reason was that this conference was being hosted by the Ministry of Magic. As in the British Ministry of Magic. In London, England. England…the home of –
The sound of her sister's voice brought Tina out of her neurotic state of mind with a jolt. She stood up straighter and resumed carefully folding the pair of black slacks in her hands. "Yes, Queenie?"
A moment of silence, then her sister's footsteps approaching her, then her sister's hands taking the slacks out of hers. After placing the clothing on the bed, she turned her big sister towards her and said with a confident smile, "He's going to be thrilled to see you."
Of course, Tina knew that she couldn't hide anything from her little sister, even if Queenie wasn't a Legillimens. They'd always supported and leaned on each other all of their lives, and they had no secrets. So, Tina didn't even try to deny that Queenie had gotten down to the core of her nerves.
"But he doesn't know I'm coming," she said. "Maybe he won't like this kind of surprise. He may be busy, or expect that he'll have to –"
"He won't be upset," reassured Queenie, still smiling and confident. "Newt isn't that kinda guy, Teenie, and you know it. You two have been exchanging longer and longer letters nonstop since he left six months ago. Any man who has written to you this much wouldn't be disappointed that his pen pal came to his side of the pond."
Tina took her little sister's reassurance without further argument, because it was what she wanted and needed to hear. She smiled to herself as she thought of the thirty-one letters that Newt had sent her since he'd departed New York City the previous November. They were carefully sorted by order in a box that she kept under her bed. They had, indeed, grown in both quantity and quality as the weeks had passed, and so had the thirty letters that she had written to him.
Queenie had now moved towards the closet that she and Tina shared. Most of the garments in the small space belonged to Queenie; she had always loved fashion and clothing the way that Tina loved her job and great books. She had quite a talent for it, too; many of the dresses that she wore had been made by her own hands. Tina truly believed that, if she put her mind and ambitions towards it, Queenie could eventually make a name for herself in witches' fashion.
Catching wind of her big sister's musings, Queenie turned her head and smiled at Tina. "You really think so, Tina?"
The older sister nodded. "Always have."
Queenie beamed at her and turned back to the closet, looking for something particular as she spoke. "Well, maybe someday. I've never been as ambitious as you, and what you're talking about takes a lot of luck and just as much money. Right now, I'm happy just making things for myself, some friends, and for you. Speaking of which…"
She stopped speaking as her hands found the garment hanging in the closet that she'd been looking for. Holding it up by the hanger, Queenie showed Tina the dress which hung on it. "This is your last piece of luggage to pack."
Tina gasped. The dress that Queenie held up was truly beautiful. It was a cocktail dress of dark blue silk, with silver thread and beads accenting all of the right places. Though the neckline was a modest boatline, most of the back was out, and the skirt would just brush the tops of her knees.
"Oh, Queenie, it's…" Unconsciously, Tina's hands reached out and caressed the soft fabric of the dress. "This is too good for me –"
"Teenie, don't you dare," Queenie commanded, already commencing to carefully pack the dress into Tina's suitcase, along with a matching silver, spider-web shawl. "Nothing is too good for you because you are more good than most. Wear this when you are with Newt and he takes you out to see London, which I'm sure he will do, especially if you ask him. He sees you in this dress, and any last hesitations that he has about his feelings will disappear quicker than you can say evanesco!"
Color flushed Tina's cheeks, and she averted her sister's gaze. "Queenie, please don't get my hopes up –"
"You know I wouldn't do that unless I really believed that you and Newt could have something beautiful together," said Queenie, standing right in front of her sister and taking her hands in hers. "I remember the hopeful twinkle in your eyes when you came back home after taking Newt to the docks. I remember how happy you were when his first letter arrived a week later, and how much more happy and hopeful you became with each letter that the two of you wrote and received. Teenie, I know you, and you wouldn't have even have any hope if you didn't feel sure that there was something therein between the lines."
And Tina knew better than to deny the truth of her sister's words. Hearing this thought, Queenie smiled and embraced her. "Have a wonderful time, Teenie. Just do two things for me: tell Newt that Jacob and I send our love, and believe in yourself as much as I believe in you."
Tina, in a rare moment of revealed insecurity, squeezed her little sister and whispered, "I'll try."
An hour later found Tina in the Portkey Arrivals Room at M.A.C.U.S.A. headquarters. While the Floo network was the standard method of transport for domestic travel, portkeys were the standard method for international travel. The portkey that would take her to the Ministry of Magic in London was a beaten-up porkpie hat that only a street tramp would wear.
"One minute ta go, Goldstein," said Jim, who was supervising the departures in the Portkey department that morning. He held a big, silver watch in his hand, and spoke in a broad, Brooklyn accent. "Bettah get ready."
Tina nodded. After picking up the handles of her suitcases in her left hand, she reached out with her right hand and touched the hat with her index finger.
The minute that followed felt like the longest minute of Tina Goldstein's life. Her nerves and anxieties were bubbling violently beneath the surface of her calm demeanor. What if she had read between the lines of Newt's letters incorrectly? What if she had fabricated feelings he felt from nothing? What if he was perfectly content to remain a friend and pen pal with her?
Tina took a deep breath to subdue the impending tidal wave of doubt. She had a job to do in London, and she needed to stay focused and confident. She couldn't let these worries about Newt cloud the official purpose of her trip. This thought alone was enough to make Tina as inwardly calm as she was outwardly calm – at least, for now. She was, after all, a 'career girl.'
"Ten seconds ta go," Jim said, his voice thankfully bringing her out of her inner thoughts. Seeing that she was all ready to go, he smiled at her. "'Ave a good trip, Goldstein," he said cordially before turning his gaze back to the watch. "Five – four – three – two – one –"
And in the blink of an eye, the battered porkpie and the (barely) confident Auror were gone.