The boy shivers as a gust of wintry wind blows through the the dark alleyway. He wraps his arms around himself, stubborn flakes of snow clinging to his dark jacket.
“Credence.” Graves speaks softly, stepping carefully towards the boy like as he’s a timid foal. Credence is much like unknowing prey—shaking and vulnerable, trusting and delicate. “Did she hurt you again?”
“It’s not that bad.” Credence bows his head, dark eyes trained on the cobbled ground.
“Let me see.”
Credence slowly uncurls his tightly clenched fist, the red marks vivid against his pale skin. Graves gently takes his hand, murmuring a healing spell with a flick of his wand. Credence lifts his head, his face shining with wonderment and reverence.
“Thank you,” he whispers worshipfully.
“Soon she won’t be able to hurt you ever again,” Graves promises, his palm cupping the boy’s cool cheek.
Credence’s face flushes, his eyes flaring with heat. He leans into the warm pressure of Grave’s hand, a soft sigh escaping his parted lips. Graves basks in the blind affection, delights in the power he has over the naive boy.
“When can I join you?” Credence’s voice is tinged with desperation.
“Soon,” Graves repeats, his hand sliding down Credence’s neck to wrap around his throat. “First you’ll have to get me what I want.”
“I will,” Credence asserts earnestly, swallowing roughly around the light pressure of Graves's fingers around his neck.
He’s so weak, so fragile. With just a squeeze, Graves could easily extinguish the feeble life fluttering beneath his fingertips. But not yet, not until he gets what he wants.
“Good,” Graves murmurs in the boy’s ear, his lips brushing against the delicate flesh. Credence shudders beneath his touch, his breath coming out in fast, harsh pants. “You’ll be rewarded greatly, Credence. I promise you that.”
Graves steps away and glances at the boy briefly. His pale face is stained bright red, his lip swollen where he aggressively chews on it, his eyes dark and swirling with desire. So weak, so timid, so gorgeous.
Graves offers a devious smirk and Apparates away.