Let Me Warm Your Heart Part 5
Summary: Every action has its consequences, especially when you are an undercover Auror ‘fraternising with the enemy’. And a heartwarming day can turn gut-wrenching just as easily. Y/N discovers this and more when it’s too late.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FBAWTFT or any of its characters besides the ones that I create. Queen Jo does. GIF credits to the owner.
Warnings: Mentions of abuse, probable depression triggers
You had nonchalantly looped your hand through his, completely oblivious to the exact state Credence was in. Once the euphoria had settled into a constant buzz, he had become painfully aware of the proximity with which you both were walking. The warmth radiating from your body was sending his brain into a tizzy. He could faintly smell the fragrance of lavender and coffee that always seemed to follow you. If he didn’t put some distance between you and him, he would most likely end up doing something stupid. Like sniff your hair or fall flat on his face from hyperventilating so much.
But this was easier said that done. Formulating ways of extracting his hand without seeming too awkward or ashamed was a Herculean task in itself. He stared at the delicate fingers grasping his upper arm, contemplating whether he wanted the contact to end in the first place. His mind seemed to be in no mood to help him, on the contrary it was egging him to lean in closer, to bask in the warmth of his personal sunshine, to clutch your hand and never let you go.
Credence didn’t know what to do about these barely controllable, sinful urges or how to deal with them. Ma would have taken to the belt if she ever came to know that such forbidden thoughts were further poisoning his already corrupted soul. But maybe it wasn’t poison if it tasted so sweet, he thought. He looked at you as you waved at a florist and smiled when he gave you a lily. Both of you moved on ahead and he couldn’t help but wonder, seeing the smile light up your face whether your lips tasted sweet as well.
He mentally slapped himself. If you were to know the exact direction in which his head was working, you would definitely be disgusted with him. Who but the morally corrupted took kindness for granted and started thinking like a creep about their saviour? ‘Yes, and then when she discovers how sinful your thoughts are, how tainted the blood running in your veins is, how corrupted your soul is, she will hate you. Hate you for your wicked, sinful thoughts. Hate you for the nervous and emotional wreck that you are. Hate you for being a burden to everyone, especially her. And when the hate has filled her to the brim, she will want nothing to do with you. That is when she will leave you. Leave you for good, to never return again.’ A voice echoed in his skull, surprisingly similar to his Ma’s. “NO!” he shouted out loud, startling you into letting go of his arm. Credence held the side of his head that was throbbing with pain and registered a vague sense of loss through the haze, the loss of warmth your physical contact had provided.
“Credence, are you alright? You are looking very pale”, you looked at him with concern, worry clouding your eyes and turning them into a murkier shade. He shook his head, trying to dispel your frown as well as the disturbing thoughts swirling in his head. “It’s… It’s nothing. I’m fine, just… just a bit… under the weather, I s'pose.” Hearing this, you drew closer to him and placed your hand on his forehead. Despite his current state of mind, Credence flushed pink as your breath ghosted over his face. “I think, we have been out in the cold too long and that threadbare jacket is doing you no good. Let’s get you warmed up and have something to eat.” A small crease formed between your eyebrows as you gave him a once over, assuring yourself that it was just the cold and nothing more.
Credence found it very adorable that you would make such an expression while worrying for his well being. The thought that someone would care enough to be concerned about him was in itself very uplifting. Warmth spread in the centre of his chest, leaving a content buzz thrumming inside him and the earlier whisperings faded into nothingness. However, you were always so nice to him; it wouldn’t be fair to constantly impose upon you even at your own insistence. “It’s okay. You’ll have to get back to work. I don’t want to… to keep you from it…” as usual you hushed his refusal away. “I need to grab lunch anyway. I bet you haven’t had anything yet either. And I always prefer your company to eating alone, Credence. So come on!”
It made him thankful that you actually sought his company and perhaps even enjoyed it, as opposed to him being a burden whom you helped out of pity. You gave him a small smile, before removing your glove and slipping a warm hand into his. He flinched at first but then easing into the touch, he gave your hand a slight squeeze in return, non-verbally conveying that he was alright and for you to not worry. Any doubts that Credence had at the back of his mind were washed away with the feel of your smooth skin under his own calloused one. The lazy circles that your thumb drew on his knuckles had helped dissipate the anxiety away. He glanced at you as you both walked towards a nearby café, hand in hand.
‘No, Y/N would never abandon me. Not of her own volition’, he reasoned with himself. Well, at least he hoped so. It was just that, the mere thought of being apart from you had awakened a sharp pain in his chest. A pain so smothering that he felt as if his lungs would be crushed under the pressure. And it was this that Credence was most afraid of. For a world without you had already become unimaginable for him.
You walked towards your cabin in MACUSA, intense satisfaction coursing through your veins. Your boots thumped in tandem with the upbeat mood. Though it was a dreary day, windy and cold, the food and spending time with Credence had filled you with warmth. He had become chattier of late, talking at length about how Modesty was progressing well at her school; about Chastity who seemed to be getting better at playing the old grimy piano that they had at the church. His expression had become a bit gloomy at the mention of his mother, but you were relieved to hear that the abuse had stopped, even if temporarily.
You sat down at the desk, pulling the nearest file from the stack of paperwork and read through a case report of a man arrested for torturing two high ranking Muggles with illegal curses. Not Muggles Y/N, No-Majs, you reminded yourself for the umpteenth time. It had always been difficult to switch over to calling them the way the Americans did. With the victims healed and subsequently oblivated, you were now tasked with investigating whether the accused wizard had any connections to Grindelwald. You stared at the report and your mind harkened back to the first time you had seen the Dark wizard in person.
He had broken down the front door, splintering it like a hurricane on its path of destruction. His blond hair was unkempt, there was blood splattered on his dark cloak and a wild gleam in his eyes. If you closed your eyes, you could still see him as if he were standing in front of you. Still hear the way he shouted, finally glad that he had come to the right place. Then the glee had morphed into a murderous rage when he realised that what he sought was not there. What had followed was a horrific ordeal best reserved for someone’s worst nightmares. And you had lived it. A dozen curses, cries of pain, loud crashes and finally, a brilliant flash of green. That was all it took to turn your life upside down.
Reliving the past had turned your breaths shallow. You took in a deep lungful of oxygen and dislodged the memories trying to take a hold of you. There would be no end to it if you succumbed to them. You continued reading the report but your mind wandered again, this time returning to a certain black haired, soft-spoken boy. You idly wondered whether there existed a permanent solution to his predicament. You would whisk away Credence the moment he gave the word. Arranging a safe house for him wouldn’t be much difficult with your clout in MACUSA. If you were discreet enough, and with some magic involved you could pass him under the radar as an informer needing safety. That was quite close to the truth in a way, since he was, even if unwittingly, your inside source on Mary Lou. And God knew he needed it.
You had soldiered on through half of your pending work when there was a knock on the door. You looked up to see Abernathy standing in your doorway. You just hoped that he saved the incessant small talk for someone else. He could get quite… talkative if given the leeway. “Director Graves said he wanted to see you immediately.” You were surprised by his curtness, Abernathy’s usual demeanour was anything but formal. Noticing his grim expression, alarm bells rang in your mind. Something had gone terribly wrong. Your intuition tingled with a sense of impending doom heading your way and you rushed from your cabin.
The Director was sitting at his desk, tapping a quill on a piece of parchment when you knocked on his cabin door. He tucked something inside his pocket, placed the quill down and nodded for you to come in. His wand replaced the quill previously in his hand and twirling it in a clear show of power, Graves fixed his gaze upon you. In that moment, the dark eyes that met yours held enough of a warning. The room was filled with an oppressive air, almost as if containing Percival Graves’ wrath. He looked nothing less than a silently raging God, with his flared nostrils and stormy expression. Staring into his eyes, you felt as if you were looking into the foreboding pits of hell itself. The moment he opened his mouth to speak, you knew. A disaster was fast approaching.
“What. Were. You. Thinking?” each clipped word felt like a stinging slap in your face. Idly and in strange contrast to the dire situation, you wondered if he had charmed the office atmosphere to act that way. You schooled your face into a neutral expression, showing fear would only make matters worse. “I don’t understand what you are referring to, Sir.” “You have been interacting in close quarters with the Barebone boy.” You realised that it wasn’t framed as a question.
How on earth had he come to know this? Was he keeping track of your activities in some way? A tail, perhaps? You would have noticed if that had happened. Your tracking and detecting methods, backed by a highly accurate intuition were partially one of the reasons why you were considered one of the best Aurors MACUSA had recruited in the past decade. If Graves had some way of tailing you despite this, you knew matters could get ugly pretty fast. Above all, you couldn’t risk Credence being drawn into these affairs. “I’m waiting for an explanation, Y/N.” Thinking of all the possibilities and their repercussions, you replied. “That is correct, Sir.”
“So you are admitting to having interacted with a No Maj despite our strict non-interaction policies? Do I need to remind you about what happened to Ms Goldstein?” Wincing internally, you said, “What I meant was, I have been interacting with the eldest of the Barebone children with a view to gain knowledge of the original subject of the investigation, Mary Lou Barebone. I managed to gain his trust, which was crucial for acquiring information about Mary Lou’s daily schedules and dealings. He is an important informer and quite unaware of magic or its existence. There was nothing more to those interactions than mere information acquiring.” You waited with baited breath for Graves’ response. His calculating eyes assessed you and you fought off the intense urge to shiver violently. Fortunately, you had the foresight to place protective spells on yourself before entering his cabin. This man was extremely dangerous and would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.
“You mean to say, that despite my specific instructions to not interact with anyone, you jeopardised the investigation by convincing one of the observation subjects to become your informer, by some underhanded means no doubt. And this informer of yours happens to be the same worthless boy whom Goldstein tried to foolishly protect and failed, consequently losing her job. Am I to overlook the fact that you have broken at least five sections of the Statute of International Secrecy and disobeyed direct orders from your superior?” the menacing look that he gave you would have turned a lesser mortal into ashes.
But you were no lesser mortal. His words implied that they had known! They had known all along that Credence was being abused and Tina had tried to stop it. They knew and they still demoted her and did nothing to save the abused boy. Above all, Graves had the audacity to insult Credence! The anger pulsing in your veins sharpened your tongue and the words flew out of your mouth before you could stop them. “With due respect Director, I hope you know that the applicable sections of the Secrecy Statute would have been binding only if the boy had become aware of magic because of me. Contrary to your beliefs or misinformed facts, I don’t know which it is, the boy or his mother for that matter are as near to discovering our kind as Healers are close to discovering the cure for lycanthropy. The investigation has been running quite smoothly so far. So it would be unfair to threaten me with consequences for wrongs I did not commit.”
You knew you’d regret the last jibe the moment you saw his eyes. His face was a neutral mask but the hatred and contempt flashing in his eyes doused your anger like ice cold water over fire. “I see that your acumen over Magical Law hasn’t diminished over the years. Very well. I will rephrase this in a manner you will understand. Given your propensity to disregard your superior’s orders and your use of rogue methods to acquire information which may prove dangerous to the safety of our kind, I officially have to take you off this case. Henceforth, you will never interact with any of the Barebones. That includes the boy…” “But Director, you can’t…”
Interrupting your indignant protest he continued, “This is a non- negotiable order. Be thankful that I am not demoting you like Goldstein. Keeping in mind that you’re a valuable asset to MACUSA, consider this as a fair warning.” “But…” “You will refrain from contacting any of the Barebones, in any possible manner from now on. If you disobey this order, I will come to know.“ He paused to let the implications of his words sink in. “And believe me, it will not be as light as a mere demotion.” “I…” “And when I say the consequences will be harsh, I don’t mean for just you.”
When you heard that, any objections that you were about to raise died in your throat. The fight left you in that moment. The murderous glint in his eyes was enough of an indication of his intentions. He would destroy anyone that stood in his path and that meant and included Credence. His thinly veiled threat forced you to merely nod and leave the cabin with a heavy heart. Because to you, Credence’s life was much more precious than your own. You would have to follow these orders to ensure his continued safety. Even if that meant you could never meet the person you had fallen for.
Graves stared at your departing figure, taking in the defeated slump of your shoulders with a satisfied smirk playing on his face. He pulled out a chain from his pocket, a triangular motif hanging from its chain. His smirk grew wider when he saw the symbol of the Deathly Hallows gleam with an unnatural sheen. Two could play this game, indeed.
A/N: Hope this one isn’t too verbose. I honestly struggled with getting this out and don’t know whether it’s any good. I tried changing the way I use pronouns in this. Is this better or do you guys prefer she/her? Feedback will save this eternally damned writer’s soul. Please excuse any typos that may have crept in. Let me know if you want to be tagged in the future chapters of LMWYH. :)
~mystical reading nerd