Pre-movie, Graves had already started reaching out to Credence. First as a favor to Tina, then to keep an eye on the Second Salemers cult, and finally b/c he’s developed a soft spot for the poor orphan boy. Still purely innocent at this point.
The events of movie happen
Post-movie, Graves is rescued, severely injured, needs to spend months recuperating, guilt-ridden about Credence’s death
But then Credence is discovered alive! he’s in a No-Maj hospital and has been in a coma for months (pretty much since post-movie)
Mb Tina happens upon him when she was in the hospital for a case or something?
Graves starts visiting Credence, pretending to be a family friend or whatever. Starts to pay for the hospital bills. (re: guilt)
Finally, Credence wakes up…and he doesn’t remember a single thing. Not who he is, what he is, and definitely has no idea who this handsome man who’s apparently been by his bedside for a month is.
Graves says that they’re not exactly family or even friends, and it’s vague enough that Credence senses that he’s hiding something
Naturally, Credence assumes they’re secret lovers and Graves is just ashamed b/c…well, Credence is a pathetic slip of a thing, isn’t he?
Credence doesn’t ask about it b/c he doesn’t want to anger Graves. If Graves leaves him, he’ll have nobody left. (the angst!)
The secret relationship theory is further proven when Graves takes Credence back to his place after he leaves the hospital
Credence tries to be the perfect partner to make up for the amnesia thing, Graves thinks he’s just being useful b/c he doesn’t want to be a burden
But in his weakened state, Credence can’t do much. He’s overwrought with guilt (so much guilt under one roof) and breaks down, crawling into Graves’ lap, crying about how he wishes he could be better for Graves
Graves, who’s been enjoying Credence’s company far too much after recovering alone for months, and guiltily loving the domesticity of it all, assures Credence that he’s just happy to have him here
Credence then asks something that’s been bothering him since he left the hospital, “it’s been weeks, why haven’t you touched me?”
and that’s when Graves realizes Credence has been under the assumption that they were lovers all along
and of course, Graves goes along with it! he rationalizes that Credence doesn’t need more trauma on top of what he’d already been through. Graves will tell him later, at some point. no, really.
this goes on for MONTHS. the guilt is building like the real estate bubble but Graves is so happy and selfish ughhh
Mb Tina finds out and comes over to burst the bubble (and beat the shit out of Graves for taking advantage of Credence)
Mb Credence nearly dies of embarrassment, runs away, and Graves does whatever the 1920s equivalent of chasing after someone about to board a plane is
But even though the premise is fake, the feels are real, and they’re both willing to try this again the right way, with no secrets between them