“What the fuck are you doin’ here!” You ran towards your best friend at full speed, knowing he can take your impact easily.
“Chris! I missed you!” Your voice was muffled by the neck of his Cap suit.
Chris kissed your hair, holding it flat with his large palm. His arm was wrapped around your waist, keeping you lifted off the ground, and stuck in his arms.
“I missed you too, Honeypot.”
You had flown down to surprise Chris while he shot Civil War in Atlanta. He’d been moaning for months about how he was so bored and homesick that you decided to shut him up. For a little bit, at least.
Setting you back on Earth, he bared a grin when whilst holding you away from his body. He was looking for any change to your appearance since he’d last saw you, which was five months ago. A lot can happen in five months, and Chris was always so diligent in knowing every detail of your face and appearance. He could spot your hair cut an inch shorter, or you wore a new outfit. It was nice to have a best friend who took notice in the effort you put into looking presentable.
“Well, what are you fuckin’ doin’ here? When’d you get in?” Chris slung one arm over your shoulder and guided you towards the crafts table, where a selection of decorous food was lying.
“Lisa ringed me the other week beggin’ me to take spring vacation to come visit you! I guess I was the only one fit to shut up your whining and begging.” Chris chuckled and nodded in acknowledgment. He knew he had been on the, rather, complaining side in his tone for the last few months. He just missed his family so much. He missed seeing Miles, Lucy, and Noah. He missed not being able to go to his parent’s house on Thursdays for spaghetti dinner.
“Like always, she was right. You are the only human being beside her that could make me feel like I’m home with just your presence.”
You felt so much love for your best friend, and now you felt even more. He was so sweet and benevolent in nature. He’d been that way since the day you met him, 26 years ago. He was just a scrawny 9 years old, terrified to go down the slide on the playground. You were an adventurous 8-year-old and told Chris he could hold your hand while going down the slide together. He agreed and ever since then you two have held each other’s hands through the worst of times and the best of times.
“It can’t be! No way!” Booming from across the lot, you saw Mackie waving his hands frantically at you while jogging over. There had been a companion with him, a brunette you had only heard about before. The brunette didn’t join Mackie when he ran over to you, though. He just set foot in a slow pace walk, almost looking uneager to meet the mysterious best friend of Chris’.
Anthony pulled you into a big hug when he finally reached you and Chris, both pigging out at the table of goodies. “Big Mack! How goes it?”
He shrugged nonchalantly, “Not too bad. Livin’ good down in A.T.L., aren’t we Evans?”
“You are, Mr. Life of The Party.” Anthony gawked at Chris and slapped his shoulder. “Don’t try and pretend that you ain’t out at the clubs, talkin’ to the ladies, now. We don’t wanna be tellin’ lies to our friends now do we?” You giggled at shook your head, turning back towards the donuts.
You held a chocolate glazed one to your mouth when you heard an unfamiliar voice from behind.
“I wouldn’t if I were you. Those have been baking in the sun for a good fifteen hours.”
Sebastian had his blue eyes cast towards you, with a warm smile upon his lips. Chuckling nervously, you agreed and laid the donut back on the tray.
“Thank you. Wouldn’t have wanted to catch food poisoning my first day here.” Sebastian just broadened his grin that, swear to god, was twinkling in the sunlight. He stuck out his hand and you met him halfway.
“Y/N. Chris’ best friend.”
Ever since that moment, you had been hooked to Sebastian Stan. Hopelessly, carelessly devoted to a man who didn’t even know you felt so much towards.
Prompt: “Please put your penis away.” / Smut / It’s a fine line between love and hate. At least, that’s what you tell yourself in order to remain blindly oblivious to the fact that, despite your best efforts, you have a definite attraction to your roommate. A roommate who may or may not like you back.
ppl at my new job laughed at me for wanting to keep my empty water bottle to go recycle it at home like sorry for being a sane human being unlike u savages with not one recycling bin in your entire restaurant u global warming enablers
CastielXReader, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester
Word Count: 1271
Cas-iversary Celebration drabble request by @dont-trust-humanity – “It
would be wonderful if you could write a bit the day after Cas and the reader
had sex for the first time together and he is very cuddly and Sam and Dean are
kinda acting awkward because of the huge amount of physical affection Cas is
showing.” Oh I do love an exasperated Winchester (obviously Dean most of all, cause
you know Sam is the super supportive bro) and a touchy feely angel – please
enjoy the fluff! Glossed over mentions of adult situations.
so much as a hair’s breadth of space had separated you and Castiel since you amorously
fell into each other’s arms last night. The way he made love to you for the
first time felt like worship - the angel tantalizing every inch of your
suppliant body with the reverent caress of hands and fingers, at first careful
in his touch, as though you might break from the sheer force of his love, then exploring
you unrelentingly with his lips and tongue, lifting you to extreme heights of
bliss with his grace, finally allowing you to assuage the physical needs
of his own vessel before you both succumbed to exhaustion. You gave yourself up
entirely to the angel, and he held nothing back. You were his now - his human,
his love, and he had no intention of ever letting you go.
@asmpjuly2004 requested 60. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to seduce me.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to seduce me.” Astrid
stood in the doorway, eyeing Hiccup in disbelief.
“Maybe-” Hiccup dropped his armload of shopping bags. “That’s because I
am trying to seduce you.” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Astrid snorted at the sight.
“Why on Earth would you be trying to seduce me?” She asked.
Hiccup made his way over to Astrid. He cupped her cheek in his hand.
“Because you’re beautiful.”
Astrid rolled her eyes and shrugged out of his grip. “You’re such a
dork.” She pushed past him into the kitchen. “What’s got into you today?” She
rifled through the bags and began to put things away.
Hiccup followed her to lean against
the counter. “Will you go on a date with me?”
Astrid paused in her task of unloading
the groceries. Hiccup took the opportunity to take over. They switched positions
and Astrid relaxed against the bench.
“We’re married, Hiccup.”
Astrid watched her husband put the
milk away in the fridge. “My point is that you don’t need to seduce me.”
Balling up the shopping bags to pack
away, Hiccup turned. “I want to.” He shoved
the bags into a bottom cupboard. Straightening, he stepped up to stand
face-to-face with Astrid, pressing her into the corner. He let his hands roam
down her waist.
“What are you doing?” Astrid shivered as
Hiccup kissed her jaw.
“It’s been a while since I had to
seduce anybody,” Hiccup mumbled. “You’ll have to bear with me.”
“Hiccup, look at me. I’m the size of a
house.” Astrid gestured down towards her pregnant belly.
“A beautiful house. The fanciest of
houses.” Hiccup shifted his hands down from Astrid’s waist so that they were
spread across her stomach. The baby stretched beneath his fingers creating a
visible bulge under Astrid’s tank top.
“You are not allowed to compare your pregnant wife to houses.” Astrid
“Can’t a man seduce his wife?”
Astrid’s palm came up to her forehead
in mock exasperation. “Your technique sucks babe. I can’t believe I’m having a
child with you.”
“Admit it, you love me!
Astrid pretended to think it over. “Eh,
you’re okay I suppose.” She looked down at Hiccup’s hands. “Look, I’d love you more if you could carry
this baby for me.”
Hiccup laughed. “Look, when they make
the technology available…” he trailed off, distracted by the baby’s movements.
“Hey, what happened to you seducing
Hiccup’s eyes narrowed in confusion. “But-
you didn’t want to be seduced!” He complained.
“What, I never said that. Seduce me
Hiccup Haddock!” Astrid demanded.
“Yes sir!” Hiccup replied with a grin
and a salute.
“Hiccup!” Astrid pushed him away.
Hiccup followed her into the
loungeroom. “So demanding General Hoff.”
Astrid paused mid-step. “General-?”
She shook her head. “If this is your attempt at seducing me-“
Hiccup reached to grasp her hand and
cut her off. “How about this; you take a seat on the couch, I’ll take care of
dinner and if you’re really lucky,”
Hiccup’s voice dropped to a provocative whisper. “I’ll even rub your feet.” He
guided her over to the sofa.
Astrid sighed gratefully as she sat, relieving
the pressure on her aching feet.
Request:Scenario where chanyeol find out that his girlfriend (he was going to propose) don’t want to have children. you choose if the end will be happy or sad. Thaaaaanks
Word Count: 4946
Note: It’s finally here! Thank you all for your patience! OML this took ages but I finally found the perfect ending. It’s been 3 months since I posted part 1, can you believe it! It feels like yesterday, well to me at least. Thank you for all supporting this blog even though I’ve been gone for a long time. I hope to be back writing again soon. Lot’s of love, and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Genre: This one’s a weird one, I made it quite lighthearted and funny at the beginning and the very end but there’s still a lot of angst.
@avengerstories thank you for not getting sick of me asking you to edit things for me
The bright sun streams through a small crack in the curtains early in the morning, unceremoniously waking you up. You roll over in bed in an attempt to hide from the rude awakening but it is no use. Once you have been woken up, there’s no going back to sleep.
You open your eyes and find yourself face-to-face with your laptop, which kept you up until well past four in the morning. At the time, binge watching your favorite show on Netflix had felt like a wonderful idea. Now, due to the exhaustion that clings desperately to your bones, you realize that staying up so late probably wasn’t such a great plan after all.
Stop. Pause your scrolling. Wait. I have a thing for you.
Actual Mummy Newt.
That’s it. Resume scrolling if you want, but know that I’ll be judging you - Graves will be judging you, because actual Mummy Newt is the most adorable thing in all of creation and if you hurt his feelings by ignoring him then Graves will have to eviscerate you. He won’t want to do it. It’ll make him sad. But he’ll do it.
Now how, you might ask, does Newt evolve into Actual Mummy Newt? Like this:
There’s a girl. The girl is desperate, the girl is scared, but the girl saw Newt save a Jengu spirit from a hunter’s net on the river banks and she thinks - she hopes - that he will be kind. She tucks her baby’s blankets more tightly around her and kisses her tiny fingers and says goodbye, and she leaves the baby on the doorstep of the tiny hut. She retreats - but not far, because there are wild dogs and wild cats and she is determined to see her baby safe - and waits.
The door opens. A man peers out, cautious, wand raised. Her breath stutters to a halt and her heart freezes in her chest, because it isn’t Newt, it isn’t the kind man - it’s Graves. Graves stalks around glaring balefully at the world and it’s easy to mistake him for an angry man. The girl knows angry men. She readies herself to move forwards, to take her daughter and run, to forget this plan and ignore the better future she hoped her daughter would have -
Graves picks the baby up, gently, nervously, as though she were something precious and fragile. His face, when he looks at her, is blank; when he looks up and sees through the girl’s pitiful illusens, there is sorrow and fury and careful understanding in his gaze. Remember, Graves was an auror because he wanted to protect people. Remember, Graves was an auror who saw all the things people needed protecting from. He makes to step forwards, baby cradled in his arms, to say something, perhaps - the girl vanishes. Her heart pounds and she’s crying and that’s it, that’s goodbye, she’s done everything she can do.
(It’s not goodbye. It’s only until later, and later is sixteen years away when the girl - the woman - holds her daughter close and presses desperate kisses into her curly hair and smooths her hands over her perfect face. In the background the man she thought was kind and the man she thought was angry stand to the side and smile. The woman will be crying then, when she says goodbye for the second time, but they will be different tears and a different goodbye and her daughter will turn around and say I’ll write, mama, and I’ll bring you photos next time to show you where I’ve been.)
But that is then and this is now, and now Graves goes down the ladder one careful step at a time and stares at the bundle held against his chest. Tiny grey eyes and tiny snuffling nose and tiny dark eyelashes blinking against tiny dark cheeks - she’s tiny.
“We’ll take her to Nairobi,” he tells Newt. “They’ll have an orphanage there, or a family who can take her in.”
Newt lays her down on his lap - she’s no longer than his thigh, she fits in like she’s made to be there and curls her legs against his stomach - and runs gentle fingers over the fluff on her head. “We can’t apparate with a baby,” he says. “It’ll be slow - a month, maybe?” The baby sneezes and Newt waves his fingers at her, distracting her while he wipes the bubbles of milk-spit away.
“It takes as long as it takes,” Graves says, and maybe he honestly deludes himself into thinking that will only be a month.
Because. That month.
The baby is two weeks old, or thereabouts. She can’t see, not really - she scowls at the world as it fails to come into focus and Graves scowls right back and makes Newt laugh. She can smell though, and for the first few nights she is miserable and howling because she can smell that her mother is gone; she tugs at the cloth of Newt’s shirt and scrabbles for milk that he doesn’t have and she wriggles against a hold that isn’t the right hold and she screams.
Newt bounces her and talks to her, always talks to her non stop nonsense words, and waits for her to get used to him. He mixes four different kinds of milk to make the best substitute he can (and sends Graves out among the habitats to collect them) and feeds it to her with a careful diligence while Graves hovers and worries about it being the right temperature. When she fusses and squalls, Newt rubs her back until burps and makes a face as he cleans away the excess milk.
There are a lot of cleaning charms involved. Babies make a lot of mess. Newt switches into old clothes, comfy clothes, over-large button shirts with the sleeves rolled up soft cardigans that he can wrap around the baby like a blanket and hug her against his chest. He bounces her and he babbles to her and he coos in delight when she looks at him and smiles, even though he knows it doesn’t mean anything at that age. He gets up in the middle of the night and shambles over to the cot on the other side of the room and stifles a yawn as he picks her up and tries to convince her to tell him what’s wrong.
“She’s a baby,” Graves grumps from where he’s trying to osmose through the sheets and become one with the mattress. “She can’t tell you what’s wrong. She doesn’t speak English, she speaks loud.”
Graves’ reply contains several swear words at that and Newt pointedly covers the baby’s ears. Graves’ reply to that is to offer a rude hand gesture on his zombie-stumbling way down to the kitchen to retrieve and heat up the milk. He hands it to Newt and stands behind him while Newt feeds her, Graves’ arms wrapped around Newt’s waist and Graves’ chin balanced on Newt’s shoulders.
“She needs a name,” Newt says softly while he’s tucking her blanket around her and setting her back down to sleep.
“It’s only three weeks to Nairobi,” Graves says back just as softly.
“I was thinking Claire,” Newt continues as though Graves hadn’t spoken, and the stubborn tilt to his chin says that Newt is prepared to engage selective deafness however many times Graves tries to raise the point.
Graves doesn’t try that hard. Six weeks later - because Newt and schedules? No. - they arrive in Nairobi and take Claire to the local centre for magical fostering. Ten days after that they leave Nairobi as the official, legally recognised adoptive parents of one Claire Mathilda Scamander-Graves, and by that point Graves has even learnt to keep the milk in a coolbox in the bedroom instead of falling down the ladder to the kitchen every night in search of it.
I want to lose 10 lbs in 2-3 weeks. Any tips and guild lines up should follow?
10 lbs in that short of time can be really unhealthy/unsafe so please be careful!
Here’s my rules that helped me lose 10 lbs in the last 3ish weeks:
1. Stay away from: milk, gluten, corn, soy, refined sugar, nuts, and tomatoes.
2. Eat an egg every morning (eggs have a lot of protein and nutrients that will keep your body looking and feeling better).
3. Do at least an hour of cardio every day and weight training every other day.
4. Eat veggies with every meal and try to eat different veggies.
5. Fast for 36 hours once a week (obvi stop if you feel dizzy, etc)
6. Drink at least one cup of water or tea every hour.
7. To help with cravings, drink ginger tea (or apple cider vinegar if they’re really bad).
If Graves were a kinder man, he would’ve taken the boy to hospital that day he found him adrift on the seashore. He would’ve gotten Credence a proper doctor, found him a linen-pressed bed, and been done with the whole thing.
If Graves were a less selfish man, he would’ve driven the boy down to his own office himself to fill out a missing person’s form and inquiry papers. Would’ve asked his lieutenants and old colleagues from his Dublin days about missing white boys with dark eyes, darker hair, and skin like the moon.
If Graves were a better man, he would’ve gotten on the phone with Social Protection, would’ve reported a missing, potentially underage boy found nude and trembling on the beach, would’ve reported signs of abuse.
But instead, he swoops in himself and carries the boy into his home, into his life, like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Like he’s not purposefully making the lad dependent on him. And no, Credence has never complained, never once expressed a desire to leave, but that doesn’t mean the situation is in any shape or form okay . With a growing sense of guilt, Graves realizes more and more the many ways he’s been taking advantage. He’s imposing himself on this lovely young thing, making himself an indispensable source of comfort and shelter and love. Every kind word, every gentle caress and loving glance, is a lock clicked on the boy’s door. And Graves doesn’t even hold the keys anymore.
And even if he did, he’s come to realise that he doesn’t want the boy to leave, impossibly, selfishly. And the boy never asks, only smiles and claws out a place for himself in the vast emptiness of Graves’ life, fills up the room with brightness and silent laughter.
Graves goes back to work after four days. Four days of holding the sweet, lithe body close and safe, four days of chasing the boy’s lurid nightmares away, of feeling the gentle trembles calm under his patient touch, of letting the boy tuck his pale face against Percival’s throat, of spooning sweet porridge and soup into the little plush mouth.
To have to go and sit in the grey-lit station, a fat pile of paperwork lumped on his desk, and hear the grappling of petty thieves and vandals being wrestled into the holding cells is a horrid, cruel torture that sets his teeth on edge and makes him pace and snarl like a tiger in a cage.
He wants to be at home with his boy, his sweet lovely boy, tucked up nice and warm and safe within Graves’ arms. Because four days is too short a time to know someone so completely and even now Graves knows the boy was kind and gentle and sharp of mind.
He found him hiding in the bedroom once, he remembers.
Graves loves his bedroom, and so does Credence apparently. Graves can’t blame him. It’s warm and dark and just this side of small to be recognized as more cozy than cramped. There’s a large window with a soft, cushioned alcove across the room facing the bed, a little bench piled high with pillows and blankets.
Graves found Credence sat in front of the wide, bay window the third day, when he was supposed to be eating lunch. There was a frantic chirping, the loud flap of wings, and it only took Graves a few moments to realize that a little bird’s frail feet had frozen to the wrought iron frame of the window.
Graves was about to make his way forward, to do what, he doesn’t know even now, but then Credence leant in, wrapped a slim, gentle hand around the bird’s plump body, and breathed low and warm. It was such an ingenious little move that Graves stopped and stared for a moment. He watched the boy melt the ice with his hot, sweet breath, and eventually Credence pried the little feet from the metal and turned to Graves with bright, happy eyes.
Look what I did!
The bird meeped in the boy’s careful grip, and Credence turned to the window and carefully let go. There was a sharp flutter of wings, a goodbye chirrup, and the fat little body disappeared into the distance, leaving behind a fluff of feather on the windowsill and a soft smile on Credence’s lips.
Graves finds himself smiling at the memory, but blinks and Abernathy, one of his subordinates, is gaping at him like he’s seen the good lord’s face in a potato crisp.
“What exactly are you looking at, Abernathy?” Graves snaps, sharper than he’d intended, and the shrimpish man stutters out something and scampers away like a spooked mouse.
“You’re in a good mood,” Tina says over lunch a bit later. She’s skeptical, and Graves thinks irritably that she’s a better detective than Chief Inspector Picquery gives her credit for.
“What about it?” Graves mutters, the smile that had been hovering at the corners of his mouth vanishing. He’d been imagining Credence this morning, sat up on the bathroom sink, chin and jaw smeared with foaming shaving cream and giggling at the rasp of the straight-edge shaver which Graves drew ever so cautiously across his jawline. Tina’s voice was a cruel break to the memory.
“You’re never in a good mood.” Tina picks at her salad, tone factual.
“I beg your pardon,” but Graves isn’t as offended as he’d like to pretend to be. He is in a good mood. Imagining his boy waiting at home for him, fiddling around with Graves’ da’s old radio, bouncing around in his longish sleep-shirt. It makes Graves’ ribcage swell, but not painfully—warm and brimming, happy.
“Well, I’m not complaining.” Tina smirks now. “You’re less likely to go off on the secretaries when you’re getting laid.”
Graves sputters—”Is that anyway to talk to your superior, Goldstein?”—but inside he’s grinning. It’s a good day.
He’s productive despite all of the distractions, and queerly it is the thought of Credence waiting, swinging his socked feet from the kitchen bar that has Graves finishing up much more paperwork than he’d thought he’d accomplish in a day. He’s able to leave early because of it, and decides for a quick stop at one of the grocery stores, thinking about picking up more milk and eggs. But instead, he finds himself perusing a techie shop front, full to bursting of sleek television screens.
Graves has never worried much about his lack of a television. He has never put much stock in that form of entertainment, though he knows his officers adore popular dramatic programs on Friday nights and Sunday mornings, coming in on Monday chattering about who cheated on who and who was brutally murdered and such and such. But now he finds himself fretting in front of an entertainment shop when he should be grocery shopping, because Credence gets bored quite easily, bright, feline eyes going blank and dazed on some middle distance Graves can’t see.
He eventually pulls himself, and finds his way to the market. He gets what he needs and heads home, the newest TV model still sat in the shop, and he’s glad of it because when he opens the door of the house, Credence comes bounding up to him, grinning, Shakespeare’s Hamlet clutched between his fists.
The boy gestures wildly at the cover, panting, but then stops and just beams and there’s a hard, sticky lump in Graves’ throat, looking down at this sweet-eyed boy. The version he’s holding was Graves’ father’s copy, the only book the old man had ever read that was written by an Englishman.
“That was my Da’s,” he says, clearing his throat roughly, and he sees a worried expression forming on Credence’s face, darkening the smooth brow and thinning the soft lips. “Don’t worry. He would’ve liked you having it.” He would’ve liked Credence period, Graves finds himself thinking, would’ve liked the mystery and strange kindness of him. “I could read it aloud, if yeh’d like,” he finds himself offering for some unknown reason. He knows the boy can read and write, seen it with his own eyes, but finds he wants to do everything he can for Credence.
And it’s worth it to see the pretty, plainly joyful smile twisting those pink lips, making those dark eyes shine.
“C’mon, love. Let me put the milk away and I’ll tell you all about the Dane.”
Queenie’s the one who tells him about the man in the bakery.
Queenie’s a sweet girl, chicly curled hair and bright eyes, and she’s sharp as a knife too—one of the many reasons Jacob’s lucky to have her. So when she sees a tall, strange Nordic man showing her patrons photos of a pale-faced boy and asking after his runaway “son”, she feels a creeping suspicion curling in her gut.
When Graves comes into the shop Saturday morning, searching the shelves for the lemon tarts he knows Credence likes the best, Queenie tells him all about it.
“It was strange, you know,” she mutters lowly to him. “I hope it’s not true, the poor lad.”
Graves’ skin crawls with nerves. “What made you nervous?” he asked, tone suddenly serious and businesslike.
Queenie’s got good instincts. He remembers vividly when Siobhan O’Hare got engaged to some Dublin slicker last July. Queenie had called him a cheat, and two weeks later Siobhan’s mother had found the scrub in bed with one of the Langer girls. If Queenie thought this man was bad news, Graves was inclined to believe her.
Queenie hesitates for a second. She’s the lovely type of person who doesn’t like to speak badly of people she doesn’t know, but she eventually talks, instincts winning out over courtesy. “I don’t mean to be rude or anythin’, but he was a bit weird, the man. Some sort of thick accent, tall. Well-dressed. And there was something wrong with his eyes, you know?”
“His eyes?” Graves prompted, more and more ill at ease.
“Something missing. Something—wrong. I dunno how to explain it.” Queenie fiddles with her apron, frowning at a muffin whose top is the slightest bit lopsided. “Wonder why he thinks his son would run all the way up here, middle of nowhere.”
“What did the boy in the photo look like?”
She shrugs. “Waifish, dark hair, pale skin.” She blinks gold-spun lashes. “He looked sad.”
Spine icing up, Graves manages to calm himself enough to buy the pastries and walk home at a normal rate. He doesn’t burst out into a sprint the moment he sees the swell of his hill, but it’s a near thing. He nearly wrenches the door off its hinges, though, and Credence is startled enough to nearly fall off the living room couch.
He can see the question in Credence’s face— “What’s wrong, what happened?”—but he can’t physically do anything other than crowd Credence up against the couch and just press their foreheads together. He twitches, then gives in, grabs the boy by the waist, slides his nose down Credence’s cheek to his neck, and just breathes.
Graves remembers when he first found the boy washed up on the shore, cold and pale and faded. He thought the boy was a ghost, a faerie from one of the old legends, flickering on the twilight. He thought if he dared to touch him, his hand would find mist and magic. Now, he can’t think that anymore, because Credence is warm and soft and solid underneath Graves’ hands and arms. The boy doesn’t tremble or whimper, only makes a soft, confused noise, a little hum in his throat that Graves can feel under his lips. He presses three quick kisses, gentle and fond, up the boy’s neck and jaw, before pulling back, cupping the boy’s cheek with a large, warm palm, can’t help himself because the boy is safe and here.
Credence is flushed and confused, but pleased, smiling brightly, and Graves can’t help himself.
“Sorry,” Graves whispers, and then dips in for another kiss. This time his mouth touches smooth, soft lips instead of the silk of Credence’s neck, and the boy shudders, clutching at Graves’ shoulders as they trade heat and warmth, and a weight loosens in Graves’ chest, unfurling into something hot and sweet and beautiful. The boy’s new at this, lips clumsy and unsure and his hands flutter in the air, hesitant to touch, but his inexperience only makes Graves growl, low and pleased in his throat. He cups the boy’s crystal-line jaw, feels the impossibly smooth skin, trails his thumbs over the arch of the jugular. There’s a quick, thrilling slide of tongue, the catch of teeth, and Graves has to pull away, panting like he’s just run twelve kilometers, because if he doesn’t stop, he’ll consume . And he just wanted to hold the boy, wanted to gather the boy lovingly in his arms so the world wouldn’t be able to rip him away, and now, without planning it, he can taste the sweet on his lips, the ghost of the boy hot against his side.
“Credence,” he murmurs, and the boy looks up with limpid eyes, shy and delighted. He gives a little huff and nuzzles into Graves’ chest, arms trapped between them. He fingers Graves’ tie, pressing his swollen lips to the fabric, and Graves’ heart plays a tap dance on his third rib.
“Oh lord,” Graves murmurs, stunned. “Oh—I didn’t plan that.” He pulls away, bereft at the lack of Credence’s warmth, and his heart hurts at Credence’s soft noise of protest. “No—I—it was my fault, something happened today at the bakery.”
Credence stands there, stunned. Graves draws back, paces, rakes his hands through his hair. Credence blinks, makes a little questioning sound. What happened?
“Queenie—the baker I go to—she said a strange man had come round, asking after his son. He had a picture.” Graves can’t look at Credence, doesn’t want to see the happy light in his eyes at the news that his father’s come for him. Doesn’t want him to leave. “Is—did you run away from home, Credence?”
The boy doesn’t answer, and Graves looks up, and—
The boy’s stricken, healthy color leaching from his skin as he pales. Graves sees the tears well up silently, watches as they roll down trembling cheeks and drip off the sharp jaw and dampen the boy’s jumper, and automatically he reaches out, but the boy flinches back.
“Credence,” Graves fumbles.
Credence gets small, his shoulders hunch, and Graves wonders frantically whether the boy is going to shatter.
“Credence, please, what is it?” Graves had never wished so much that Credence could speak as he does now. He glances around frantically, finds the pad of paper and pen on the writing desk. “Please.”
The boy swallows, sniffles, but takes the paper.
Are you going to give me back?
“Back?” Graves’ mind whirls. “To—to the man?”
Credence nods, doesn’t look up.
“Remember what I said. No matter what, you’re welcome here.” Graves takes two steps forward, silently cheers when the boy doesn’t back away. He opens his arms, reaches out. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, Credence. Not in my house.”
The boy lifts his chin, swipes roughly at his wet eyes, but doesn’t move yet. He scribbles something down instead.
“Always,” Graves whispers, the tiny word in the middle of the paper cracking his heart, and the boy rushes into him, crumpling, sobbing and hiccuping loudly. “Oh, baby. Baby, I’m so sorry, I didn’t—Come here, let’s—” He picks the boy up by the soft thighs, lets the boy nuzzle into his neck in a parody of the loving embrace they had entwined in only ten minutes prior. He adjusts his grip, and then sits on the couch, the boy clinging to him, a trembling, warm mess on his lap, terrified. And this isn’t right, can’t be right. No teenager in their right mind should be so petrified at the idea of their father coming for them, no young person should sob and tremble and flinch at the very idea.
“Is that man your father, Credence? The one looking for you?” Graves whispers, and he feels the boy shake his head in the negative, curls tickling his chin. “Who is he?”
The boy shifts, finds his pen.
A bad man.
“What did he do?” Graves can feel a beast awakening in his chest, a feral animal dripping from the maw, teeth snapping and clawing at the ground. Fury makes his jaw stiff, but he’s careful to keep his grip on the boy’s waist firm, but careful. “What did he do to you, Credence?”
Credence looks up at him with dark eyes and doesn’t answer. Doesn’t even move to reach for his pen. Graves remembers vividly the dark, splotched bruises on the boy’s hips and thighs, remembers him naked and trembling on the beach.
Graves is one of the few men in the local Garda who is certified to carry a gun, and for good reason. He doesn’t like guns, never has. Has met one too many egomaniacs with god complexes because they had a finger wrapped round a factory-made trigger. He respects the power a gun has. He has never, ever felt the urge to kill someone unthreatened and unprovoked, never had any sort of temptation to threaten or degrade.
Now, his eyes shine red and his breath gets thick and heavy in his chest. Now, he finds himself struggling to not pin Credence to the couch and blanket his weight over the boy, protective and feral as a mother bear, the world unable to pry him away from the sliver of boy he guarded. Now, he finds his own fist curling in on themselves, teeth gritting against each other, and he can see in his mind Credence’s faceless tormentor crushed and broken from Graves’ bare hands.
The only thing that jerks him out of his bloodlust is the feeling of Credence shifting closer, slim fingers sliding up to twine at the hair at the back of his neck. He pulls back a bit, just to see the boy’s face.
“You’re so beautiful,” Graves says aloud, feels his own eyes water hotly as he cups the soft, rosy cheek. “How could anyone ever hurt you?”
The boy doesn’t answer, just dips his head, holds Graves tighter, and Graves thinks about thick, clotted blood and the spatter of gunfire.
He can’t go back, he refuses to go back.
When Graves comes home, feral-eyed and hungry-mouthed, swoops down and presses his lips to Credence’s, Credence thinks he might swoon. He feels lost, feels stardust swoop through his veins, leave grit of glitter to ache in his chest and swell in his fingers. He clings to the man as long as he can, but then.
Then Graves retreats and he says something about a strange man, looking for Credence. And Credence knows the witch has come back for him, will take him. And he looks at Graves, looks at his uncertain face and his beautiful eyes and his darkened brow and Credence thinks he would let himself drown in the murky depths of the sea, his own home turned against him, before he gives up this lifetime with Mr Graves.
He knows it.
The man is taller than Graves originally expected, thick ashy hair carefully combed away from the pointed, lupine face. He’s dressed finely, sleek dark suit with a pale silver tie, but it is his eyes that draws Graves’ stare—they are flat and dull and Graves can’t help but compare them to a slow-gliding shark circling a stranded swimmer. Patient and watchful one moment, murderous and terrifying the next.
The man smiles. He has a cruel mouth. The lips look thin and soft, but the eyeteeth are wolfish, long and needle-sharp. “Yes, how may I help you?” His voice is thick and heavy, the Baltic salting the slanted vowels and clicking consonants, and Graves knows this is the man that Queenie spoke of. The bad man.
Graves takes out his badge, allows the man a look at his identification. “Inspector Percival Graves, district Garda.”
The man blinks down at the badge and says, “Ah.” He reaches out for a handshake. “Gellert, Gellert Grindelwald. May I ask why the sudden visit?”
Graves smiles tightly, keeps his grip light and unthreatening. A heavy, cold ring digs into his palm. “A few concerned folk downtown have let me know you’ve a missing son.” The lie leaves his mouth smooth as butter. “Wanted to ask if yeh wished to file an official report with the authorities.”
The eyes go flinty and sharp, and then the predator subsides. The hairs on the back of Graves’ neck stand. “It’s nothing.” The man’s dismissive, and he has some charm, Graves can see that. But it is an empty charm, empty words and empty eyes. “Just a bit of family business, I wouldn’t want to trouble any of your fine officers.” Another depthless smile.
“With all due respect, sir, if a child is in danger, it’s the Garda’s responsibility to put out a missing minor’s report,” Graves says, affecting sternness.
“Ah, yes, no it is nothing like that.” Grindelwald waves him off. “I would offer an invitation in, but I was in the middle of something just before you came. Perhaps we could have this conversation at a later date?”
Graves looks at him and his expression must’ve been extremely skeptical, because the man laughs deeply and says, “No, no, of course. You take safety very seriously here in Ireland, yes. I understand.”
He opens his room’s door, and Percival is ushered into a dim-lit sleeping/sitting area, a rumpled bed shoved in the corner, a couch shoved in its opposite. Nothing sinister or out of place, a dirtied coffee mug set out on a coaster, a wrinkled shirt hung on a hanger on the curtain rung. A pile of musty, old-spined tomes draws Graves’ eye, but he can’t make out the titles on the back, even though they glint brightly and embossed. Some sort of Cyrillic alphabet, entirely foreign to him.
Grindelwald clears a small chair and a desk off for Graves, but Graves declines to sit. “I won’t stay for long, won’t want to inconvenience yeh.”
Grindelwald smiles humorlessly. “Of course, of course.”
“If there’s any light yeh could share on the situation, maybe?” Graves prompts after a tense, awkward silence.
Grindelwald draws a quick, sharp breath, dusts off the tops of his pants. “Yes, yes. Hmm. Where to begin.” He taps his mouth with his middle finger, a habit it looks like. “To clear some things up, no, my son isn’t a minor.”
(Inside, Graves lets out a long, relieved sigh he does not want to address).
Grindelwald continues, oblivious, “He’s not missing. He’s left, after a very heated argument. Our opinions differ greatly on some things, you see, and it’s created a large rift between us.” Grindelwald moves to the kitchenette, trailing long fingers over the miniscule counter. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable, meets Graves’ gaze head on. “I am here looking for him, yes, but my son is an adult. I have no legal holding over him. I cannot force him to come home with me. But I wish to talk sense with him. To apologize, and get on with our lives.” He licks his lips, a small wet flicker, perches on a stool. “I’ve heard rumors among his friends that he’s found refuge in a little Irish town named Perth. And so here I am. Still searching.”
Graves blinks. “And you’re sure there’s nothing you want to be done in search of your son?”
Grindelwald dips his head politely. “Ah, no thank you. It is a kind offer, but a misplaced one. He will come to me when he is ready to make amends.”
Graves moves his lips in the small image of a smile. “Ah, alright. Just lettin’ you know, Perth’s a small town. Size of a shoebox, nearly. If your son was hiding here somewhere, people would know, trust me. Strangers aren’t common, not in Perth.”
“Thank you, Inspector,” Grindelwald nods. “But I’m sure he’s here. I can feel it.”
“Just one more thing, Mr Grindelwald, before I leave,” Graves says, adjusting the lapels of his coat, careful to not look the man in the eye. “Do you have a current picture? Of the boy?”
Grindelwald smiles, reaches into his pocket. He withdraws a small, battered leather wallet and flips it open. Graves cranes his neck, takes a quick peek—no credit cards, strangely, or pictures of family that he can see, just a glossy Polaroid slightly bent at the edges.
“Here,” the man reaches out, and Graves grasps it, brings it close to his eyes to see.
A pale, wane Credence, but the same age. Sunken cheeks and puffy mouth, lovely, knobby knees bared in cut-off shorts, slim arms vulnerable and bared in a black tank. He’s sitting on some sort of porch-step, and it would’ve looked like any other suburban teenager lounging in a friendly neighborhood had Graves not seen the eyes. The boy looks terrified, eyes blown and wild, mouth open the slightest bit as if he were about to yell. And there is a kind of vagueness to the whole scene, the background too cloudy, the clothes the boy’s wearing too sharp, as if the photo had been modified somehow, tampered with.
“Yes, I’m sure I’ll recognize him now,” Graves says faintly instead of any of these things, already slipping out the door. He barely manages to hand the photo back, barely manages to return Grindelwald’s unnerving smile. “I’ll—I’ll notify you if I hear anything.”
A few more smiles and thank yous and have a good days, and Graves begins to wander his way down the drive.
“Oh, before you go, officer,” Grindelwald stands in the doorway, watching as Graves stumbles his way to his patrol car. “My son’s name—it’s Credence. Credence Grindelwald.”
Graves sits for a good few minutes in a grocery shop parking lot after that, an accented voice rattling in his head, I can feel it.