When Tina apparated, she landed in an alleyway behind The Prancing Unicorn. Like The Leaky Cauldron in London, this was a building squeezed in between two others on a busy city street that No-Majs walked right past since they weren't able to see it. She let herself in at the back entrance (for that alley was the official apparition point for those staying or visiting the establishment).
Tina approached the front desk, where a young witch with apple-red curls sat reading a magazine. "Excuse me," she said impatiently.
The young witch looked up from the latest edition of Witch Weekly, clearly annoyed at her night shift being interrupted. The name-plate on the desk said Bianca. "Yeah?"
"I'm here to see a guest, Newt Scamander." Tina just barely managed to keep it from being an order.
Seeming to move at a glacially slow pace, Bianca lowered her magazine and opened the sign-in ledger. She scanned the names and then looked up at her. "You Tina Goldstein?"
Tina blinked. "Um, yes, I am, why?"
"The English guest said to give Tina Goldstein a key to his room if she came to visit," said Bianca. "Let's see your identification."
Still in a state of exhilarated shock, Tina pulled out her credentials and flipped them open for Bianca to see. Bianca examined them, nodded, and took out a key from the drawer. On the ring it hung on was a label numbered 7.
"Up the stairs and on the left," said Bianca. Then she smirked. "Nice job, honey. He's a cute one."
Tina's cheeks flamed with color, and she let out a high-pitched chuckle before fleeing up the stairs. Turning left, she soon saw room number 7. Biting her lip, Tina was about to knock when she changed her mind. Pressing her ear to the door, she strained to hear any sign of movement from within. There was none. Stepping back and looking down, she saw some light coming through the crack of the shut door, which meant that he wasn't sleeping. Most likely Newt was in his suitcase with his creatures.
Her hand was shaking as she raised the key, and she had to steady it with the other hand before she put it in the lock. She then opened the door as quietly as she could, poking her head around first. As she'd guessed, the room was empty and his suitcase lay closed in the middle of the room. After shutting the door behind her, Tina pocketed the key and approached the suitcase.
But then, she stopped. Her heart screamed at her to climb into the case, find Newt, and jump into his arms. But her mind held her back, and she knew why. Newt had said in his letter that, if he hadn't clarified anything sufficiently for her, that she should ask. Well, she still had some questions…what were they?
She paced for a minute, and then her eyes landed on the desk in the room. It had some blank sheets of parchment, two quills and a pot of ink – standard for all inns and hotels. Yes, writing them down would help her. So, she walked over to the desk and hunched over it as she began to jot down the words that came to her mind.
As she did so, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. The movement of a suitcase lid opening…her heart began to pound. The strangled gasp that she heard made her straighten and turn towards the suitcase.
There was Newt, his head and shoulders sticking out of the case, his eyes wide with shock and hope as he drank her in. "Tina…you came," he breathed.
Tina gulped. Her logical mind was quickly losing any kind of control as she returned his gaze, remembering the last words of his letter. Before her mind checked out completely, Tina blurted out, "I have some questions."
Morrigan, why did my voice have to crack?!
Newt blinked, and then hurried out of the case as he said, "Oh, um, of course, yes, whatever you need." After he'd locked the suitcase, Newt straightened and faced Tina.
Her heart began to pound even harder. He was without his blue coat, revealing his topaz-colored waistcoat, and the sleeves of his white shirt were rolled up above his elbows. To top it off, his usual bowtie was absent, and the first few buttons of his shirt were undone…
Tina! The paper in your hands!
"Right, um…" Tina pulled her gaze away from him and looked down at the piece of parchment she'd been writing on. There were only a few words written down, each representing a lingering question that the letter hadn't answered. They looked incredibly stupid right now – and it didn't help that her hands were shaking – but she knew that she had to do this.
"First…the picture, Leta's picture…Queenie told me about it seven months ago, but I've never seen it, then or last month…do you still have it?" She kept her eyes on the paper as she spoke, hating the question that she asked, but she couldn't help it.
"No," said Newt, in a voice that Tina was compelled to look up at him again. His gaze was as firm and warm as his tone. "I got rid of it on my voyage back to England seven months ago. My time in New York showed me what true friendship was, and while I still had a lot of things to work out, I knew that I could no longer hold onto what was more of a delusion than a memory."
That answer was better than Tina had expected, and she very nearly ran to him then and there. But she had more questions. She nodded and looked back down at her paper; she didn't notice that Newt had taken a step closer to her.
"Okay, um…" Her next question was even harder, so she held the paper tighter and kept her eyes trained on the piece of parchment, as she had before. "Your father…I know that you two never had a, um, an easy relationship…and I would hate to…c-cause further –"
His tone gently demanded her full attention. She looked back up at Newt, and she gulped. He was two steps closer to her than he had been the last time she'd looked at him.
"If I truly gave a damn about what my father thought, I would have a high-ranking Ministry job and have nothing to do with anybody outside of the pureblood magical community of Great Britain. And, Tina, you know…you must know…" His tone and gaze became pleading. "I don't and have never shared my father's horrible beliefs about –"
"I know, Newt," she said, and she meant it. "If I ever thought you did, I wouldn't be here. Besides, Queenie would have picked up on it months ago and thrown you out onto the street if she found anything like that in your mind."
Newt allowed himself only the smallest sigh of relief. Tina looked back down at the paper in her hands, but then she looked back at Newt. He stood before her with the posture of a man who was ready to accept whatever she gave him; he was still staring at her in a way that made her feel so warm and safe.
Suddenly, Tina was reminded of a very dark memory from seven months ago: in that death cell, about to be swallowed up by that death potion, and her only hope of surviving was to trust Newt. She'd been so scared that he'd let her fall, but then he'd said, "I'll catch you."
Tina realized that's what she needed to hear now: a promise to catch her before she took the biggest leap of her life. Perhaps she'd already read it in his letter, but she needed to hear it, too.
So, she dropped the piece of parchment, closed the distance between them and stood before him. Newt seemed to be putting all of his conscious efforts into not reaching out to touch her.
"Newt…" she said, her voice more vulnerable than she'd ever let anybody but Queenie hear. "…are you sure? Is this…us…what you really want?"
If possible, Newt's gaze became even warmer. Slowly, so as not to startle her, he raised his hands. Tina didn't resist as he gently cupped her face between his warm, calloused palms. Their foreheads touched as he responded, "With all of my heart, Porpentina."
Tina's heart soared. It wasn't just his affirmative answer: he'd used her full first name. In one of her letters, she'd confided that she'd always felt insecure, sometimes even embarrassed, by her full name. She'd been teased about it quite often as a child, and even at Ilvermorny. Him saying it now, in this most profound of moments, was his way of saying that he wanted her exactly as she was.
In other words: "I'll catch you."
She noticed that tears were in his eyes just before tears filled up her own. "Me, too," she breathed.
Then he kissed her, and she kissed him back, and the world was perfect. Her hands came up to clutch his waistcoat lapels, and his hands still cupped her face like a precious flower. Somewhere in her mind, Tina thought, This must be what bliss is.
When their lips finally parted for breath, they just stood in silence, just breathing together in the joyful silence. But it was soon broken by the sound of a stomach grumbling.
Newt, being the source of the noise, took a step back and rubbed his neck. Tina giggled, and Newt smiled even as he blushed beet-root red. "I beg your pardon."
"It's ok," said Tina. "Have you had any supper?"
"I'm afraid not."
"We could go downstairs and order some food in the little restaurant here," suggested Newt.
Tina's eyes spotted the little table for two in the corner that was set for a meal, and she got a better idea. "Or we could just order room service here. Saves us a walk downstairs and saying hello to people."
Newt smiled and said, "Even better." He walked behind her and gallantly removed her blazer. After he hung it on the coat stand by the door (right beside his own blue coat), he led her by the hand to the small table.
"Is it just me," said Tina once she'd finished her pastrami sandwich, "or has that felt like the first real meal we've had in a month?"
"Absolutely," said Newt, his bowl now empty of chicken-and-vegetable soup.
Tina finished the water in her goblet (neither had opted for any alcohol this evening for obvious reasons), and her eyes then fell on the piece of parchment that she'd dropped near the desk. The memory of fifteen minutes ago making her blush, Tina got up and threw the parchment into the waste-basket under the desk.
Turning back to Newt, she saw him standing up from the table. He walked towards her, and she gladly let him take her hands in his own. Now that her appetite had been satisfied (and her heart's desire was fulfilled), Tina felt drowsiness quickly creeping up on her. She closed her eyes as their foreheads rested against each other.
The minutes of content silence were broken by Newt's soft, rich voice:
Tina's eyes opened and her gaze met Newt's. Her heart pounding for what felt like the umpteenth time that day, she stuttered, "Um, p-pardon me?"
Newt's ears turned bright red as he stuttered right back, "Oh, n-not like, that is to say, the night, I mean. To sleep, just sleep. We're both tired, and I just…don't want you to leave…"
Her heart calming, Tina stepped back and pulled out her wand. With a wordless spell, just as she had that night before entering The Blind Pig, Tina transfigured her clothing. This time, though, her blouse and trousers became her favorite pair of light-blue pajamas. Newt, looking relieved that he hadn't mucked it up, pulled out his own wand and mirrored her actions: his clothing became long-sleeved, light-colored, stripped pajamas.
The bed in the room was more than big enough for the two of them. As each walked to a respective side, Newt asked, "Shouldn't you send word to Queenie? I certainly wouldn't want her to worry about you."
"She's spending the night at Jacob's, so there's no need," Tina replied.
After putting their wands down on their respective bedside tables, they both turned down the covers of the bed, and then climbed onto their own sides. Tina laid her head on the pillow, her body facing Newt, as sleep began to overpower her. Newt pulled the covers up over them both before laying down close beside her, his body turned to hers in return.
Tina's eyes were only open a sliver as she took Newt's hand, which had reached for hers between them. "Tell me that this won't have been a dream when I wake up," she said softly.
"I promise, Tina," Newt murmured. Then, he leaned over and kissed the corner of her mouth.
Tina's face scrunched as her eyes shut completely. "Mmm…you're scratchy…"
"So sorry," Newt murmured, rubbing the two-day stubble on his cheeks. "I'll shave first thing in the morning."
Sleep was already pulling her under as she muttered drowsily, "Good…wanna kiss you more…"
Newt's bright smile was only seen by the darkness, but it was felt in both of their hearts. Newt fell asleep very soon after Tina, his head close to hers and their hands still holding each other, just like their hearts.