The New York Skyline
It was something that had always calmed her, in a way that nothing else ever had. When everything else in her life was falling apart, when she could do nothing but focus on looking after those around her, staring out at those views gave her a moment of peace. Most people preferred to look at the skyline, but Tina much preferred to simply form part of the skyline, looking outwards at the world around it. Around her, people rushed by, a mix of silent and noisy all at once, the ships could be seen in the distance, bringing people to their new home. Here, she could simply be plain old Porpentina ‘Tina’ Goldstein, and forget, just for a moment, the pressures of being one of the few female Aurors for MACUSA, and the first to be promoted to the Major Investigations Squad.
Of course, she wasn’t those things anymore. Now, she really was just plain old Porpentina Goldstein – with no employment to forget. And it was all she could think of – to forget would have been a blessing. She could remember every moment of today in unpleasant detail – coming across the black-haired boy as she headed back from her lunchbreak. He had been hunched over, as though someone was physically hurting him even at that moment, and it was clear he was desperately trying to blend into the background of the busy Manhattan street. Beside him had been a woman of equal height, only due to his hunched demeanour. As Tina had watched, the women turned to the boy with a sharp look, and they both entered the Church that seemed almost as oppressive as the women herself. Something had told Tina that she should follow – that something wasn’t quite right. Of course, she had been correct to do so. Even now, Tina couldn’t bring herself quite to regret following – only the way in which she had dealt with the events to follow. As she entered the dark building, a whimpering had caught her attention, and she had followed the sound upstairs. There, the boy was curled as small as he could be on the ground, the women standing over him – with a belt. As Tina watched, unnoticed for the time being, the belt had flashed downwards, striking the boy with a crack. This time, the boy did not make a sound. Such a thing was a regular occurrence, it had seemed.
Tina Goldstein was known for her calm demeanour, for her ability to think first, and act later, even in the most horrific of situations she had faced as an Auror, but in that moment Tina did not think – in the space of a few seconds, the belt was in Tina’s hand, and the women was flinching back in fright. Tina did not hurt her, even then, she couldn’t bring herself to hurt another, but she had come close. She knew immediately that she had made a mistake, of course. Intervening in a No-Maj situation personally was forbidden, much less to use magic in front of a No-Maj in order to intervene. With all the knowledge of what faced her, she activated her distress call, and found herself surrounded by fellow Aurors – colleagues… and superiors. As the clear up of her mess began, Tina found herself unable to meet their eyes, as she so often had before, no matter their thoughts on her. As she found herself in a room with Graves and the President of MACUSA, she did however summon the courage to stand tall at first, but then those dreaded words. That she was dismissed, no longer an Auror, the career that she had worked so hard to build, gone.
And so here she was, staring back out from that skyline, wondering how on earth she was going to tell Queenie. Of course, if Queenie had been at work today, at MACUSA, she would likely have already heard it in the thoughts of those around her – that her sister had brought shame to the entire Auror force, that she had failed. That she was, at best now, after all the years of hard work, and pain, and worry for Queenie, as she waited for Tina to return from dangerous raids, simply an administrative assistant in the Wand Permit office. They would be back to struggling to meet their expenses again too – and it was all her fault.
Eventually, when the sky had gone dark, the pedestrians on the streets of a different kind, and the docks quieter, Tina dragged herself away from the bench upon which she had sat for hours and began to make her way home. She did not apparate, as she normally would have when the sky began to let a slight drizzle run, but instead delayed her arrival home by walking the distance to she and Queenie’s shared apartment. She tentatively opened the door, only to be met with silence. Queenie must have gone to work after all.
Whilst waiting, she found herself again staring out to the New York streets, from the window in their sitting room. When she heard the noises of Queenie’s arrival behind her, she didn’t turn around, delaying seeing her sister’s pity for as long as she could.
Her sister’s usually comforting presence appeared at her shoulder, to join her in staring out at the street. Tina sniffed.
“You heard, then?” Still, she did not look at her sister.
“They said that you attacked a No-Maj That you lost your head in front of people – I heard it in the thoughts of that horrid man from your division – Bleeker. He was thinking all sorts of horrid things, but I know you Teen, there’s something else. I can hear you thinking about it – it’s not your fault”
“Don’t read my mind” Tina murmured, not really meaning it, for today she was glad of it – glad that she did not need to say the words. That the career girl had lost her career.
“It’ll be fine, you’ll see. Things will come right in the end, I just know it. You did the right thing Teenie, they’re all just too blind to see past the fact it was a No-Maj you tried to save”
Tina stayed silent, disbelieving that things would get any better. She’d been dismissed for the week, but next week, she’d have to make her way down into the darkest of the MACUSA floors, where the desks were cramped together, and where she could not see out from the New York skyline.
“We’re together Teenie, that’s what matters. We’ll deal with it together. Things will be alright”
There was nothing more to be said. Eventually, they’d go to sleep, and a new day would begin, where Tina Goldstein would begin a different life. And one day soon, though the sisters did not know it, both of them would find themselves leading a very different life, with the arrival of a man in a teal coat and a suitcase, and another, a No-Maj, where they would find no judgement. But for now, the sisters stayed exactly where they were. Staring out from the window in their New York apartment, small dots in the beautiful New York skyline.