Cold Outside (Credence Barebone Imagine)
Your parents weren’t wealthy, they weren’t lavished and spoiled or rotten from the inside out with greed like everyone you knew seemed to think.
You were a simple child, perhaps a little too simple, but careful like your parents nonetheless. You sat on your knees behind the counter of your parents’ pastry shop, sniffling every so often - your nose stuffy and red from the cold.
“Y/N,” your mother said from her place behind the counter, “it’s getting warmer out, why don’t you go play with your friends?”
You looked up from your colouring book on the floor to the woman above and sniffed again, “It’s cold outside, Mommy.”
You heard the hum of an impatient woman and shot up from your place on the floor and straightened up your posture, turning into the back room to fetch your overcoat, scarf and matching gloves.
You recognized that woman immediately, the pointed nose and squinted eyes, she scowled down at you from her place behind the counter. Brown hair cupped by that hideous grey hat, skin wrinkled with anger and form shivering from the cold she loomed you, you forced yourself to smile up at her before dashing past both women with a quiet goodbye.
“Y/N, you forgot to pick up y - ” your mother moaned as you rushed out the door, the bell’s ringing and swinging door the only evidence you were ever there at all.
You always hated being seen by customers, especially that horrible woman. Your mind always exaggerated her features in memory but she was still just as hideous inside as she appeared outside in your mind.
Since your parents had realized their dream of opening a bakery together almost eight years ago, that awful woman came every Monday to purchase treats, for herself of course. You knew she had children of her own - adopted, but still hers.
You’d seen them all shuffle single filed out of that dreary old church every Sunday in their ugly blue uniforms, their mother, leader of the Second Salemers preaching to passersby about the danger of witchcraft in America.
Just as you turned a corner, you were blinded by a thick sheet of paper. “Ah!” You swatted the killer paper out of your face and while the wind tried to carry it away, you turned with a grumble only to be blinded yet again.
“P-Please!” You heard a cry, and as you gripped at the paper angrily, scrunching it up and gaping at the dozens of fliers being swept away with the wind you couldn’t help but feel terrible for ever having felt angry at all.
Ahead of you by just a few paces were four boys, “Please, sto-stop it. I need those.” A pale-skinned boy in an ugly blue uniform crawled around on his hands and knees in a pathetic attempt to pick up the fliers.
The other three boys laughed as they stomped the fliers into the snow and dirt, some picking them up to shred them into pieces just to throw them in the Second Salemer’s face. You frowned, those boys weren’t much bigger or older than you and so you puffed out your chest, your coat stretching snuggly across the expanse of your small chest.
Stomping towards the group fiercely, your little legs took long strides that probably looked ridiculous to anyone else, but intimidating to you. “Stop it!”
Your eyes briefly met with the cowaring boy on the ground, who’s knee-high socks and NSPS uniform was completely covered in mud and a flash of sympathy crossed your youthful face before twisting into an angry scowl which looked more like a pout.
“Leave him alone, what’s wrong with you? Those aren’t your fliers!” You pointed accusingly at the group and stomped your foot. “Go away!”
The red-head of the group snorted at you and bunched up a flier with his fist, tossing it at you and raising his eyebrows tauntingly.
“Why do you care? You part of this circus or somethin’?” The brunette of the group turned and laughed at you, poking his tongue out and shredding up another flier.
“I said go away! Do you want me to start screaming?” You threatened, your bottom lip quivering the more worked up you got. “Oh no, guys, we’d better run. Second Salemer’s gonna start screaming.” The ginger taunted. “More like crying.” The brunette smirked, about to open his mouth to speak again when his face met snow. “Ow!”
Your hand raised above your head, you stomped your foot again, “Go away! Go away!” You screeched as you flung snowball after snowball at the now retreating group of boys.
You had long since forgotten about the stray fliers and so as you chased away the group of tyrants, you accidentally trampled a few with your boots. You stopped immediately and let your arms drop, gasping softly as you ducked down onto the ground to gather the remaining fliers.
“I’m so sorry,” you apologized, “I’m gonna tell my daddy and he’ll - “ the boy’s shaky hands shot up to catch yours and he whimpered, head down and body quivering, “Plea-se don’t tell anyone! Ma will find o-out!” He begged.
Your eyes widened as they met his properly, his pale face was beginning to grow red, the tips of his ears, nose and lips were all beginning to deepen in colour and as you took in his strangely sharp features, you realized his eyes were also growing puffy and red. He was crying.
“I lost the fliers, Ma is going to be livid with me.” He panicked, scavenging through the melting snow as tears fell from his brown eyes. “These ones are all wet and soggy,” you told the boy, and he almost immediately started wailing, head in his hands - he cried and cried and just wouldn’t stop.
“It’s okay, it’s fine. We can just go get the other ones, right? Those boys threw a whole lot in that direction.” You pointed a finger in the opposite direction and the raven haired boy sniffled, his cries slowly subsiding until only soft hiccups remained. “I-I can’t collect all of them, there’s so many.”
You reached out and wrapped your fingers around his wrists, pulling the small boy up into his feet.
“I’ll help, silly.”
The boy was completely at a loss for words as you turned, hand-in-hand and running off down the street to fetch his fliers. “We need to hurry, Mommy said it’ll rain today.”
Struggling to keep up with your quick steps, the boy’s eyes wandered from the street ahead to your hand cupping his mindlessly. His eyes watered but he quickly blinked away the tears, he was truly terrified right now.
“Look, Second Salem boy - fliers!” You turned to face the brown eyed boy and smiled widely, “I’ll go get those ones across the street, you get the ones here.”
You dashed across the street after a quick left-and-right.
You busied yourself catching fliers from the ground, the air and even peoples’ hands to get as many as possible in a nice, neat stack.
On your way back, your eyes scanned the street for the timid boy you’d met, but you saw nothing.
You clutched the stack close to your chest as you walked, checking alleyways, looking through glass windows and turning corners. Only when you gave up and began your trek home did you find him again by the side of the street, picking fliers from the gutter.
“There you are,” you pouted, “I thought you left me to do the work.” The boy looked up at you wide-eyed, about to speak when his eyes were forced shut - a droplet of rain had landed on his forehead.
“Oh, oh n-no.”
You smiled at the boy, “C'mon,” you grabbed him by the tie carelessly and dragged him down the street and into your parents’ pastry shop away from the cold and the rain.
“Mommy, I brought a friend!” You called, smiling at the regulars seated by the window and far wall of the store on your way in. “Mommy, I brought a - ”
“And what’s your friend’s name, dear?” Your mother’s head revealed itself from behind the counter, oven mitts adorning her hands.
“This is, uh,” you stopped and frowned almost immediately, your entire body freezing up in thought.
Anyone else who didn’t know you would’ve assumed something was seriously wrong with you at that moment, but your mother and a few customers joined together to laugh at your odd behavior.
“What’s your name, sweetheart?” Your mother knelt down to eye-level with the boy at your side, all the while you stood useless, still attempting to remember the boy’s name. Had he even told it to you at all?
It took a moment for him to respond, but he eventually spoke after a long, timid stare at the ground. “C-Credence, ma'am. Credence Barebone.”
You smiled up at your mother almost instantly, “Credence! His name is Credence, Mommy!”
You clapped your hands together and gasped as the fliers flew to the ground.
“Where did you meet Credence, Y/N?” Your mother asked as she began collecting fliers from the ground, brows furrowing as she skimmed over the content. “Ah, a Second Salemer?”
The boy, Credence, began shrinking under the gaze of everyone excluding yourself, as you were oblivious to the agenda behind the extremist group.
“Well,” Your mother smiled at you and then at Credence, “you can’t hand out fliers in that weather.” She motioned outside with a nod and you turned to look outside where the rain angrily patted against the glass window.
Credence panicked at this, turning to you with wide eyes.
“Ma will definitely give me a lashing for this, I-I should go.”
You pouted and reached out, caging Credence’s arm in yours and urging him to come with you to the kitchen, “Well I’m sure your Ma wouldn’t mind you staying for a little while longer? I could give her a discount on her next order of pastries.”
Your mother wriggled her brows suggestively and you nodded, “Please stay and play with me, Credence. I’ll even help you hand out fliers next time!”
Credence bit his lip and looked from you to the door for several moments before the alluring aroma of whatever was being baked and your pleading stare seduced him beyond reason into staying. “I-If it’s not too much trouble, ma'am, may I stay?”
You squealed and clutched Credence’s arm tighter, looking up at your mother thankfully.
“Of course, dear,” your mother said. “It’s cold outside.”