Summary: Credence decides to show the reader his appreciation for her kindness towards him, although it doesn’t go as he originally planned.
Word Count: 2,533
Warning: Possible spoilers, mentions of blood
Y/N had let out a sigh of disappointment when she reached the corner of 42nd street only to find it empty. Well, empty to her standard considering that she had expected a large mass of people to be gathered on the street corner.
She had been looking forward to catching Credence after the New Salem Philanthropic Society rally that had been scheduled to be held there, but it seemed that she had been too late due to her grocery shopping taking a lot longer than she had originally anticipated. Sure, she knew that the people who would have had the misfortune to walk past Mary Lou Barebone’s incessant rambling would be rather relieved to know that it had concluded. Y/N was too, in a way, but she had been hoping to get the chance to talk to the woman’s eldest son since she hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, even if that meant that Y/N would have no choice but to listen to Mrs. Barebone distastefully drone on about her own kind just to see him.
It would have seemed as if the rally had never taken place to begin with, the exception being a few disposed flyers floating around on the pavement that were being picked up by the wind. Y/N adjusted her grocery bags onto her right arm before bending down to pick up one of the pieces of parchment with her left hand, curious to what Mary Lou had her adoptive children write on them this time.
“LEAVE WITCHES IN OUR WAKE. BURN THEM AT THE STAKE.”
Y/N couldn’t help but to roll her eyes in exasperation at the slogan. She would always take a flyer from Credence when he was tasked with handing them out to passers-by, mostly as a ploy to talk to him so as not to raise his mother’s suspicion, but also to make fun of every new slogan that Mrs. Barebone had slapped on there. It was a ritual they shared, Credence never dared to say anything against them while out on the street but Y/N almost always managed to pull a small smile from him at her antics.
She flipped the piece of paper over to the back, wondering if there would be anything else on the other side only to find it blank save for the Barebone’s residential address, which had always been a constant. Curious to what the time was, Y/N pulled out her watch from her coat pocket and furrowed her brows. It was past noon. She let out a disappointed sigh; it didn’t seem that she would be seeing Credence today.
Deciding that it was best that she had better get going, Y/N set off in the direction of her home and tossed the flyer into the first bin that she had spotted along the way. For a while now, Y/N had been worried because of Credence’s sudden disappearance and no matter how much she tried to reason with herself by recalling the one time she didn’t see him for over a month, in which he had been fine, she still could not shake the feeling of anxiousness.
What paranoid her the most was that the last time she seen him had been when he showed up on her doorstep in the middle of the night due to a horrible beating that had been delivered by Mary Lou’s hand. What if he had been punished because he had snuck out that night? Did his mother notice that his wounds had been completely healed and swore that witchcraft was the perpetrator?
Y/N shook her head at how she kept escalating a situation that she knew nothing about, if Mrs. Barebone had sworn that it was witchcraft then word would have definitely travelled by now. She was most likely just worried because she had grown quite accustomed to seeing the timid young man a lot more often than she usually did as he had been making his visits quite frequent before they had ceased all together. Maybe he was just busy scouting for new locations for the rallies, she tried in vain. There had been more of a turnout with each one due to the suspicious activity in New York recently, maybe he was just preoccupied, she hoped.
After 20 or so minutes of lamenting Credence’s wellbeing, along with what she was going to cook for dinner that night, Y/N arrived home. However, she instantly perked up at the sight of Credence standing at her door. Speak of the devil, she mused.
“Credence, what are you doing here?” Y/N asked cheerily as she approached the bottom of the stairs that lead to her front porch, all traces of her previously melancholy state having dissipated at the sight of the man.
The sudden greeting had caused Credence to jump in surprise before he turned around to look down at her from the top of the stairs, “Sorry! I should have given you a little warning beforehand.” She apologised, laughing a little and craning her head back to look up at him from her position.
“It’s fine.” He replied with a small shake of his head. He kept his right arm behind his back, as if hiding something. Credence hadn’t expected Y/N to be home so soon, he knew that today was the day that she did her grocery shopping and from first-hand experience he knew that she liked to take her time, her excuse being that she didn’t want to forget anything and have to make a second trip later on in the week.
He shifted nervously, his right hand holding the bouquet of roses flush against his back in order to shield them from her sight. He originally planned to leave the flowers on her doorstep and walk away without leaving a note as he wasn’t ready to make such a bold move. He was happy to see her but it was just his luck that she finished her shopping early on today of all days.
“Well, this is a surprise. I wasn’t expecting to see you today after I missed the rally,” She began with a smile being none the wiser to Credence’s internal dilemma, but her expression soon turned into one of confusion, “How did you sneak away from your mother?” She questioned, genuinely interested. His mother kept a tight leash on her children, as always, but she was particularly insufferable on the days of her rallies.
Credence had almost let out a sigh of relief at the question as he thought Y/N had caught him out, although it didn’t completely quell his anxiety, “Ma got caught up with Mr. and Mrs. Evergreen, their son works for the local newspaper. She took them back home in hopes that she’ll have an article written about the Society.” He answered softly, his gaze eventually lowering until he was staring at the ground, “She didn’t want me around, only my sisters.”
“It’s a blessing in disguise, really.” Y/N offered cheekily, hoping to lift Credence’s spirits a little, and made her way up the stairs, “I haven’t seen you in so long, I was getting worried that…”
Her sentence trailed off and she felt panic begin to settle in when her eyes had caught sight of Credence’s left palm that was held idly at his side, it looked scratched and in some places the skin appeared to be broken and slightly bloody. Had his mother beaten him again? She thought, feeling her heart sink at the possibility.
“Credence…” She began softly, in an attempt to conceal her worry and approach the subject lightly so as not to make him uncomfortable. “Did something happen earlier today?”
Credence caught her gaze and quickly retracted his hand, although the action had disturbed the skin and caused him to hiss at the sharp pain. “N-No, nothing happened. Not like that.” He recovered meekly, a slight wince noticeable on his features. “I…” He trailed off and began retreating into himself, his nerves beginning to get the better of him.
“I… uh, wanted to–“ He began but faltered, a barely noticeable tinge of red beginning to colour the pale skin of his face. Looking for a distraction, Credence glanced down at his hand to survey the damage; while in his haste of picking the flowers, he had managed to snag himself a few times on the thorns of the stems. He seemed to have forgotten the state that his hand was in, his mind being focused solely on Y/N and not ruining the gift he had for her. His hand hurt but the feeling was nothing in comparison to the pain he was usually accustomed to in his hands.
Y/N watched Credence closely, her eyebrows drawn together in concern. She now noticed his other hand that was held behind his back, was he hiding something from her? Was that hand in worse condition?
“It’s okay, Credence. Tell me what you were going to say.” Y/N coerced in a soft tone, “It’s alright; you have nothing to worry about. You’re safe with me.”
Credence nodded to her words but still found himself unable to speak, and in his moment of panic he pulled his right hand out from behind his back and held out a bunch of a dozen red roses. He looked down at his shoes, finding himself unable to make eye contact with her in fear of what her reaction might be.
Y/N stood in shock at the sight in front of her, staring at the flowers in his outstretched hand, this situation being the furthest thing from what she had been expecting. Y/N felt her heart flutter at the gesture; he must have remembered their conversation about flowers that they had months back and how she mentioned that she liked roses, no matter how cliché they may be. Don’t get her wrong, she was still worried about the condition of his hand, but she couldn’t help the large grin that made its way onto her face. Now she was the one who was at a loss for words.
“I just wanted to thank you for being so nice to me,” Credence mumbled quietly, sounding dejected and obviously taking her silence the wrong way. He brought his arm in to hold the flowers against his chest and moved to walk past her, but she quickly stopped him by reaching out and grabbing hold of his arm.
“Credence, wait.” Y/N piped up and dropped her bags onto the ground, internally cursing herself for being so ignorant and not accepting them from him sooner. She ducked her head in a playful attempt to catch his attention in hopes that he’d make eye contact with her. Although, when that didn’t work she then slowly brought her hand up to trace up his jawline before fully cupping the side of his face in her hand, the action had caused him to flinch slightly but he eventually allowed himself to close his eyes and relax into her gentle touch.
“Credence, I’m sorry for not accepting the roses sooner. They’re beautiful; you just surprised me, is all.” She murmured and brought her other hand up to caress the opposite side of his face, which he eagerly leaned into, before moving in and placing a soft kiss on his cheek in order to show her gratitude.
His brown eyes snapped open at the new contact to look at her in shock at what she had just done. The affectionate gesture was completely foreign to him and he felt his face grow warm in embarrassment. “No one has ever given me flowers before. Thank you, Credence, I love them.”
Credence found himself only capable of nodding at Y/N’s kind words which made her smile up at him, and it only grew wider when she noticed the blush on his cheeks. She then moved one of her hands from his face to tentatively grasp his injured hand and raise it up so she could better survey the damage. Credence looked down and watched her as she examined his wounded hand with watchful eyes, thoroughly enjoying the attention she was giving him as she fussed over his hand.
“How did you manage this?” Y/N questioned as she caressed his knuckles tenderly, already having a good idea once she inspected his hand.
“I… I was worried that I’d get caught picking the flowers, so I rushed an-and pricked myself on the thorns.” He mumbled feeling a little embarrassed at his confession.
“Well, we can’t leave it in a state like this. I’ll have to fix you up.” Y/N announced while supressing a smile, finding Credence’s embarrassment endearing. “So, with or without magic?” She asked playfully despite knowing full well what his answer would be.
“With.” Credence answered immediately, eyes snapping to make contact with her own. Y/N hadn’t expected him to answer her so quickly or as loudly as he did, for that matter, which caused her to flinch back in surprise.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so rude.” Credence apologised, instantly regretting being so abrupt with her, but he was left completely baffled when a wide grin broke out on her face and then even more so at her laughter that followed.
“No Credence, it’s absolutely fine! You weren’t rude at all. You just… surprised me, is all.” She giggled and brought a hand up to cover her mouth, happy at his little ‘outburst’ and taking it as a positive sign that he was beginning to feel more comfortable with her.
“Now come on. Let’s get inside.” Y/N announced as she took the roses from him and walked over to the door, taking out her key and unlocking it before turning around to face at him. “Have you had lunch yet?”
Credence shook his head, which didn’t come as a surprise; it was no secret that his mother didn’t feed him properly. Y/N, on the other hand, loved cooking for Credence and would do so every day if she could. “Well, I’ll fix you up something once we get your hand back to normal.”
Y/N opened the door and motioned for Credence to go inside while she moved to pick up her bags that she had previously dropped onto the porch, but before she was able to Credence had intercepted her and was already holding them in his uninjured hand.
“Credence!” Y/N admonished jokingly with a huff, making it very obvious so as not to confuse him, “I’m supposed to be taking care of you, not getting you to carry my bags.”
“It’s the least I can do.” Credence replied earnestly and lowered his head out of bashfulness.
“Fine, I’ll let you this once. Now come on, get inside and make yourself comfortable while I put these in a vase and get my wand.” Y/N smiled, shaking her head in wonder at him before turning and walking inside.
Credence watched Y/N’s retreating figure from the doorway, the beginnings of a smile making its way onto his face. Today had gone a lot better than expected.