Credence's face still stung from the blow that his alpha had aimed at him. Anger at that swirled inside him, overwhelming every thought, every idea other than the simple fact that the man he loved was a monster. A monster that was threatening his sister.
Ma had always told Credence to be wary of wolves. Warned him that a stupid ugly boy like him would get taken advantage of, but could never be loved. He was learning that the hard way now. The life Mister Graves had given him was fluttering inside of him, a painful contrast to Mister Graves' words.
The night he had fallen with child, Mister Graves had promised him that he was special. That he would be a good mother. That he would carry their child, and that child would be a wizard, magical just like both of its parents.
A wall cracked, and he heard Mister Graves gasp. Raw fury was bleeding from Credence as he remembered the blow he had endured. The words that Mister Graves had thrown in anger - that he was worthless. Unteachable. Unwantable.
It had felt like heaven when Mister Graves had met him, had seen him rather than just pushing past like so many others. It had been tender and good and kind, and he had been grateful. When Mister Graves had said he could help, when he had touched Credence in ways no alpha had before, Credence had felt precious.
But he was cast aside for his sister. Mister Graves had already hurt him. He wouldn't get to hurt Modesty as well.
Another wall fell.
Ma had always told Credence he was the child of an unnatural woman. That being an omega and a male, he was born to sin and temptation. And he had been tempted.
It didn't matter how many heats he waded through at prayer, begging god for forgiveness for his unnatural wants, his eyes was caught by alphas that wandered past. He would see omegas in beautiful, delicate clothes that fitted on their bodies like a caress, and he wanted that.
He had hoped.
He had thought he was too intelligent for that. But Ma was right, he was a stupid little boy. An ugly, stupid little boy.
Mister Graves had made him feel different. He had cornered him in an alleyway as a heat approached, and kissed him softly. Credence's legs had gone weak, and he hadn't had the strength to fight back. Not with Mister Graves telling him that he was special, that he was valuable. That first night it had been no more than a few kisses, and yet those kisses had been more than he had ever felt before.
Ma had always been clear that certain behaviours only began within the confines of marriage, and as no one would ever want to marry Credence, those behaviours were forever closed off to him.
But he had thought Mister Graves was different.
Mister Graves had purchased a hotel room for the two of them. He had been gentle. He had planted a life inside Credence, and had planted hope inside him as well, telling him that they would be together. That their child would share their magic.
Credence should have known that something was wrong when Mister Graves had said that he couldn't live with him. They'd been sharing a hotel room again, and he had learned how to do something with his mouth which Mister Graves liked, which he said was a much better use for Credence's tongue than talking, when he had asked. Thinking back, he must have sounded pathetic. Please Mister Graves let me live with you I'll cook and clean for you and I won't be any bother at all, just don't send me home...
Mister Graves had rested a hand on Credence's stomach, and warmth had flowed from that touch, before he shook his head.
"Credence, my dear boy, not until you find the child. Until the child is safe, then we cannot move on with our lives. I want you to wake beside me, but the child is dying. While you chase your dreams, they grow weaker.. you don't want to kill a child do you Credence?"
"Find the child my boy. We will raise them, and our own blood, and you will never have to go to your mother again. Do this, and you will be honoured among wizards. Forever."
He had given Credence the symbol, a necklace which he wore, careful to hide it from his Ma. He had hoped, and he had thought that things would get easier, but they hadn't.
Something had gone terribly wrong. His anger had burst from him, and Ma and Chastity were dead. Then Mister Graves had been angry.
As another wall crumbled, his face still stung from Mister Graves slapping him. He had thought, for a few weak moments, that he might be treated as something precious. Mister Graves had shown him the truth. Told him that he was a squib. That he was unteachable. That Mister Graves was finished with him until the child was born. Then he would wean it, and then Mister Graves would have finished with him.
He had hoped they would be a family.
The last wall collapsed, and he saw Mister Graves standing there, ignoring his little sister. He had his wand drawn. Credence wouldn't let the alpha hurt Modesty.
"Credence, I owe you an apology..."
"I trusted you." Credence snarled, overcome with fury and pain. "I thought you were my friend. That you were different. That you wanted me."
"You can control this Credence." Mister Graves said, as the darkness rose up inside of Credence, almost blinding him, the world around him turning to shadow.
"I don't think I want to, Mister Graves." Credence murmured, fixating on one thought. He had to protect his family. Modesty and the child inside of him both. He snarled, and the anger poured from him. He ran. He could only hope that if Mister Graves wanted what he was, he would follow.
He made it easy to follow him. He flipped cars and smashed buildings, allowing his terror and anger a voice after so many years. Something tried to address him but he raced on, not listening, not caring. All that mattered was getting Mister Graves away from his sister and showing him what he could do.
He remembered every pain as fresh as when it was first inflicted. The laughter of children on the street. His Ma hacking at his hair with scissors, telling him he was a vain, worthless omega. His knees aching from days at prayer. His hands bleeding. Mister Graves pushing him aside after getting what he wanted from him.
He was furious, even as he was afraid, and Mister Graves had followed him. He was talking about together now, about the future, but it was too late. Credence knew he couldn't go back to him. There was too much anger, too much fear caught up in it all. He ran, down to the subway where he had always found shelter and warmth when the snows fell.
A man he didn't know was approaching, calling out his name. He was saying Credence was safe, but Credence could smell an alpha. The man was talking softly, and the voice was gentle. He spoke of someone like Credence, and Credence couldn't help listening, shrinking in on himself.
The man was smiling, and talking so softly, and then he was flung away. Mister Graves was approaching. He was running. A train approached as anger swarmed him once more. The man who had smiled and spoken softly was being beaten by Mister Graves. He was hurting him, like Ma hurt Credence, and Credence couldn't stand it. He let his anger take over entirely, as he sobbed. He needed to protect the gentle man.
He had to destroy Mister Graves. He chased them, but Mister Graves was too fast. He tried to run. But he was trapped. So he returned, screaming in terror and anger until he heard a gentle voice. A woman. The alpha who had tried to save him. He remembered that. She had stood up to Ma. He tried to pull himself back, to approach her. She was offering him protection. He was almost himself when footsteps approached.
He was afraid. He could smell more alphas, and he couldn't let them near, not when they could hurt his child, not when they could hurt Modesty. Pain struck him. He was being lashed from all directions, and he screamed as the pain began to tear him to pieces, the alphas working together to murder both him and the child inside of him.
His last thought was that he had hoped, once.
He wouldn't hope again.