hands 20, 32, 36 please and thank you!
pressing the other’s hand against their cheek
Newt frowns as Tina looks away, trying desperately not to appear as though his heart has just sunk in his chest, although he thinks it’s probably beating somewhere beneath his ribs by now.
He can see her teeth digging into her lip, the mark of some emotion she’s tried to swallow back down.
He glances at his own hands, feeling his eyes dampen as he tries to understand. And then suddenly she turns and buries her face in his neck, her breath wobbling with the unmistakeable tremor of tears.
“Shh,” he soothes, wrapping an arm around her waist and closing his eyes as he breathes in the familiar scent of her hair.
He’s lost count of how many times he’s said it, by now. I love you. It slips from his mouth often, a weight lifted in sharing, and in the way her face lights up, delight flushing her cheeks and warming her eyes with tenderness. Sometimes, it makes him wonder whether staring into someone’s eyes really is as uncomfortable as he’d once thought.
But as the weeks have gone on, her reaction has darkened a little, as it did just now. Her face will fill with happiness for a moment, but then she will pull back, look away, frown.
It would not occur to him to regret the words, not when he feels them to his very bones. Not when he feels so certain, deep in his chest, that they are welcome. But it does give him pause, that his words make his love hurt somehow, that they pull at some unspoken and badly healed scar.
Over time, he has guessed from the way that she opens her mouth and then pauses, from the frustrated slant of her brow, that it is her own silence that bothers her. He trusts her heart implicitly, and most days, it is only for the sake of the disappointment he sees in her own eyes that he wishes she could voice them. (Other days, rarer days, he wonders what it is he might have done, to make her afraid to tell him. On those days, he reminds himself that at ten, he did not watch his parents gasp for their last breaths, that six months ago, he did not see a sibling he’d raised turn her hopes to a madman.)
He settles his jaw against her hair and and slides his palm from her back up to her shoulder. “Would you prefer I didn’t say it?”
Her fingers knot into his lapels. “No, no never.” She lifts her head to see him. He takes a relieved breath as their eyes meet, even though he’d thought he’d known that answer. “I wish I could...” she trails off, touching his cheek.
He covers her hand with his, smiling softly at the way she winds her fingers through his own. “Tina,” he whispers, trying to find the right words, and for some reason, his mind is pulled back into another day, more than a year ago. To the look of shock on her face when she’d seen the obscurus suspended in the interrogation room between them, and his desperate need to explain, and how he’d wanted—needed—her to trust him. To her dark eyes reflecting off of the blackened water in that death cell. To her pleading with those women by name, because of course Tina would take the time to learn every coworker’s name. To the stubborn set of an auror’s shoulders, and the frantic energy of a trapped child. To the kindness towards Credence, and the tears in her eyes, and that broken, heartbreaking word, Momma. “Tina,” he whispers again, and her lips wobble as he wipes a tear from beneath her eye, “I’ll catch you.”
Her breath catches on a soft, broken sort of sound. His gaze softens as he tucks her hair behind her ear, and he guides her back into his embrace.
It is not some big moment, some grand event. It is a quiet day a few weeks later; a day like many others.
Newt is taking stock of potions in the menagerie; Tina is resting on an expanded folding chair nearby with a book in hand and her feet tucked up beneath her.
He hums in response, expecting a question about murtlap essence or tonight’s supper or some detail of London geography.
“I love you.”
His hands still. Oh. So that’s what it feels like. To—Merlin he can hardly breathe for how it rushes through him, like her fierce glare when she’s determined, and her narrowed eyes and pursed lips when she’s trying not to laugh, and the fire that lights her features for the intensity of everything she feels. Like the way their hands brushed when he made her a cup of tea after Paris, and their first kiss in the setting sun of his case a few weeks later, and her beautiful laugh when they caught the niffler trying to steal an entire drawer of cutlery, and her warm hand in his during the long hours they’ve spent over cups of tea in his kitchen learning everything they can about each other.
He surprises himself when he starts to cry.
She laughs wetly, suddenly no longer halfway across the room, grabbing his hand and holding it to her face, pressing her lips to the back. “I love you,” she repeats. Her words are sure and solid; her expression beautifully light and full of wonder.
Then she leaps forward, her arms thrown around his neck, and it is as though a dam has broken, as she repeats the words into his ear again and again, punctuated sometimes by a kiss to his jaw or a hand weaving into his hair.
He laughs as he cries, and then she does, relieved and joyful and tender, and they hold each other up.
That’s what they will promise each other, he thinks, when they marry (he’s going to marry Tina, he knows, has known for weeks, months, since that moment looking into her eyes in the records room at the French Ministry, since before, since he pushed his notes into her arms on a roof in New York, and she wouldn’t let him go alone.)
They’ll promise to catch each other.
And that’s enough. That’s everything.
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