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Taking Severus's drink order is easily one of the highlights of Credence's day. Three words: Witch's brew, black, but the way he says it, drawing it out into something almost dirty in a voice like melted caramel… it gives Credence a little shiver every time. He can't help but imagine what all sorts of other words might sound like in that accent, what it would feel like to be ordered around by him a bit. Maybe teased a little, gently.

Severus has beautiful hands, pale and long-fingered. Dexterous. And that particular thought could lead Credence down all sorts of avenues if he let it.

While he's working, Severus pulls his long black hair back into a ponytail and sometimes even a braid. It only highlights the noble cast to his features--high cheekbones and an expressive mouth that rarely smiles, and an aquiline profile that begs any observer to stop and take note. The kind of face an artist could build his magnum opus on.

At least he came in alone today. If he'd come into Cauldron with the pharmacist, Percival, the way he sometimes does, well… Credence knows it doesn't bear thinking about. The two of them together, handsome as a pair of devils and bickering like an old married couple, some days it's just nearly too much.

He becomes aware of the sound of a fingertip tapping on the counter, and it jolts him out of his daze. Severus is looking at him inquisitively, as if to say, What’s the hold-up? He doesn’t actually say it, being a man of few words unless Percival riles him up; Credence wouldn’t dare to do that.

“Sorry,” Credence hurries to say, “right away.”

Severus acknowledges this with a nod, and a single strand of black hair comes loose and slides across his pale forehead to catch on his lashes.

Credence wants to brush it back for him, but he has no right to, so he quickly gets his coffee instead. He nearly sloshes it over the rim of the cup when he becomes aware of the inscrutable dark eyes watching his every move, and quickly attaches the lid. His hand is shaking when he hands the coffee over, and he can’t suppress a little gasp at briefly feeling the coolness of the long fingers taking it from him.

“Thank you… Credence.”

“You’re welcome, Se-- sir!” Credence is clinging to the counter, the sound of his name in that sinful voice unbalancing him completely. This is a first: the addition of his name; it’s been right there, on his name tag, all this time, but it’s never been put to use by Severus. He knows he’ll remember the sound of it for the rest of the day.

He's heard Severus use Percival's name many times in the midst of their waiting-in-line banter, and the way he makes that sound… as if Percival wasn't already the sexiest name. Never mind the name--Percival himself is something to drift off to sleep picturing every night, and Credence knows because he's sure he's done just that since he started working here.

He imagines the two of them alone, what they might be like together when no one's around to scrutinise their carefully cultivated professional image. The two men are a study in contrasts, in so many ways, as perfect a compliment as dark chocolate and coarse salt. Percival's broad, rugged frame and Severus' slim, pale lines… one pair of dark brows expressively twisting with every thought and emotion while the other pair remained as serene as a placid lake until the next opportunity to arch in nearly comedic sarcasm.

Severus has a dry, scathing wit: the kind of wry humour that makes Credence jumpy with nerves, never sure if something just said was meant as a joke or not.

Percival, on the other hand, is charming and warm in the most inviting way. He's the kind of man with a twinkle in his eye who makes you feel as if everything is going to be okay--a fine quality in a pharmacist, Credence thinks.

He watches Severus make his way out of the shop, sliding like a dark phantom past the other customers still gawking at the menu. Honestly, he could watch the man just move all day. It isn't until a middle-aged woman with a carefully angled bob raps pointedly on the counter that he realises how long he's just been staring.

He goes about his work with half a mind three shops down, wondering what he might use as an excuse to venture there during his break. It’s ridiculous for him to buy packs of tissues, band aids, and headache pills there on his pay; all of those are cheaper in the supermarket at the other end of the mall. Those few minutes chatting with Percival--who always seems to have time for a chat, and exchanging meaningful, or really just inscrutable, long looks with Severus, are worth the difference in price to him.

“Hey, Credence, I was wondering…” Newt, his co-worker, sidles up to him during a quiet moment.

“Yes?”

Newt is, if anything, even more awkward than Credence, which always makes him feel a little better. Sometimes though, he takes so long to get to the point, Credence feels like asking him to write it down. This is one of those times. Two, maybe three, minutes go by before Newt has finally managed to stammer out his request for help.

“You want me to buy what for you?” Credence asks, a little horrified. He heard Newt perfectly well, he just can’t believe this, of all things, is the excuse he would next use to venture into the pharmacy.

Newt looks sheepish and guilty. “I know it’s a lot to ask, Credence… but… you know how I am. I’ll probably die on the spot!”

Credence thinks that’s probably an exaggeration, and he’s not sure he won’t die on the spot, asking for what Newt wants. Asking Percival for what Newt wants! “Can’t you get them from the supermarket?” he suggests, a hint of desperation in his voice.

Newt shakes his head. “Not during that ten minute break this afternoon. Not enough time to get there and back. And Tina is going to pick me up here, and…” He tugs at his reddish-brown hair, leaving it standing on end. “Well!” he concludes, as if that alone should convey the urgency of the matter to Credence.

The fact is, Credence has been looking for an excuse to go and visit the pharmacy. Newt is already fishing for bank notes in his back pocket, so he can go there without it costing him anything; not money, at least. Most importantly, Newt is his friend--his hopelessly awkward friend, and he’s the reason Credence got this job and found the tiny, cheap apartment in the building where Newt’s girlfriend and her sister live. All of those are good reasons to agree to this errand, and that’s not even counting the fact that Credence would simply never say ‘no’ if someone needed his help.

“Okay, I’ll go,” he says.

Newt beams at him. “You’re the best, Credence! And, you know, I’ll owe you a favour; anything, just ask.”

Credence merely smiles and takes the money pressed into his hand. He’s still paying off Newt’s favours. He won’t be collecting any for himself for some time yet.

***

Credence knows he’s blushing already just walking through the doors of the pharmacy, because he knows why he’s there. He’s also instantly calmed by the always welcoming scents drifting out of the room at the back.

“That’s the Potions Lab,” Percival once told him with a smile. “That’s where Severus works his magic.”

It’s an accurate description, considering the sheer number of happy customers who swear the tinctures, salves and balms Severus mixes are every bit as effective as the drugs Percival sells. Percival takes this in his stride, agreeing pleasantly and pointing out that different ailments require different approaches, and he’s all for the natural approach whenever possible. Severus, for his part, brings customers over to the counter when he believes Percival’s medicines are their best bet.

The item Credence is here for looms ominously on a shelf right beside Percival’s counter, and he gulps when the handsome pharmacist comes from out the back and greets him with a breathtaking smile.

“Well, if it isn’t our favourite barista!”

Blushing even worse, Credence smiles back at him. “Hello, Mr. Graves.”

The dark, heavy brows shift like uncomfortable caterpillars. “Really? Mr. Graves? Haven’t we got past that, Credence?”

“I’m sorry. Percival.” Credence bites his lip and imagines Percival’s eyes drop to them for a moment too long. He really has to stop imagining such things.

“That’s better.” Percival meets his eyes again. “What can I do for you, Credence?”

It’s so tempting to say, Kiss me, and Credence quickly scrambles for something more appropriate. “I need to buy something,” he blurts out, then cringes internally.

To Percival’s credit, he doesn’t laugh out loud, managing to keep it down to a smile. “Okay, why don’t we try to narrow that down a bit. Any particular kind of thing?”

Credence laughs a little, relaxing around Percival and his easy, gentle humour. “Sorry,” he says. “Yes, I… I need to buy something for a friend, who… he can’t come in.”

“And what does this friend of yours need you to buy?” There’s not even a trace of impatience in the smooth voice, which Credence appreciates greatly.

He gathers up his courage, leans in a little closer towards Percival and says, very quietly, “Condoms.”

“I see.” There’s a brief troubled twist to the right brow, but then Percival is all professionalism. “Did this ‘friend’ tell you any specifics, like brand, type, thickness?”

Credence flushes deeply. Again. He hadn’t considered questions like this and, clearly, neither had Newt. “No, he just… oh god, I don’t know.”

“Well, relax. I’m sure we can figure this out.” Percival gently places a hand on Credence’s shoulder, which instantly soothes him, despite his dislike of being touched by people in general.

He nods. “Just… a good brand, I guess?”

Percival hums to himself, and then asks a question that completely throws Credence. “Do you need condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse?”

What? I… oh god, I don’t know! It’s… well, it’s Newt and Tina, so I’m pretty sure just va-- uh… not a-anal.” He can feel his face burning scarlet throughout his embarrassed babbling. “Probably,” he adds, as an afterthought, because how would he know?

It is then that Percival seems to fully return to his usual, relaxed attitude. He gives him a gorgeous smile. “You’re really buying these for your friend, hmm?”

Credence’s eyes widen. “Yes. Yes, of course. That’s what I said.”

“I know.” Percival looks a little sheepish, which is an expression that sits oddly on his usually so confident face. “Sorry, I assumed… Let’s be on the safe side and get these ones, shall we?” And he picks an imposing box off the shelf. “These have a silicon-based lubricant, rather than oil-based, so if your friend is more… adventurous than expected, they’ll still be fine.”

Credence can barely believe he's hearing Percival say these words out loud. Thickness. Lubricant… Adventurous. If he thought he was going to hear his own name being spoken in Severus' dulcet tones in his mind over and again, this was so, so much worse.

Percival had thought he'd come in for himself, telling a small fib to spare himself some embarrassment. But how much more embarrassed would he be if the two men he constantly lusted for were to know he'd never even done anything like what Tina and Newt were getting up to.

It was a favour to a friend, but his visit to the pharmacy is verging on becoming a sex education course if he isn't careful. And if he isn't even more careful, Percival is going to cotton on to just how little he knows.

If Credence thought he was nearly home free, he quickly reconsiders the state of his luck when Severus emerges from his murky "Potions Lab." He sees the pair staring each other down on either side of the counter, then takes one look at the box in Credence's hands and drops his shoulders before gesturing towards it dramatically.

"Oh, you're not giving him those, are you?" He asks, in a tone that suggests this is the crux of a long-standing argument between the two men. "I don't know why you're always pushing those ones, you know I don't favour them at all."

Percival stands back and raises his brows in defensive surprise and regards him as he strides up close enough to pluck the box back out of Credence's stunned hands.

"I wasn't aware you had such strong feelings on the matter," Percival quips, and Severus shoots him a withering look.

"You know absolutely well how strongly I feel about it," Severus answers in a dark undertone that speaks volumes. Hearing that, Credence blushes so hard he can feel his cheeks beginning to sting.

Percival simply raises his hands in mock defense and steps back. "All right then, Severus, you go ahead and steer the young man in the appropriate direction. Let me simply state for the record that in all my years of practice, I've never taken one complaint over 'condom poisoning.'"

Severus simply sneers at him over one angled shoulder and promptly rounds on Credence again.

"It would be my strongest recommendation that you leave here today with these," he says a touch more gently, handing Credence a new and much more modestly sized box. "These carry far less risk of minor irritation, and paired with my own formulation of personal lubricant, they should serve you quite well. It's an organic product free of glycerin and the usual parabens--far gentler on those parts which deserve most gentle treatment."

Severus referring to the gentle treatment of his parts is the final straw for poor Credence's overtaxed brain for the day. He stands simply nodding, face scarlet and head spinning with images of just how much teamwork between the two men might have gone into this 'special formula.'

Severus looks pleased to see him nodding, and gestures towards his lab. “Come along then, I’ve made a batch just this morning, and it’s not out on display yet.”

Credence follows the man across the shop floor, his long legs keeping up with his sweeping strides more easily than his mind is keeping up with the last few minutes. He stops at the open door to the lab, unsure if he’s allowed to enter, and watches in fascination as Severus sweeps through a cloud of herb-scented fumes to pick up a small jar from among a row of identical ones. When it’s held out to him, he walks inside and takes it.

“Percival will ring that up for you, if reluctantly,” Severus tells him with a snort.

“Thank you,” Credence looks at the carefully labelled, vintage look glass jar. “Is… is it expensive? Since it’s ha--handmade and natural?”

Severus raises a brow. “It’s appropriately priced.” He comes closer, looking into Credence’s eyes as if he’s about to impart a significant lesson in his smooth, deep voice. “You really only want to use the very best in such a sensitive, vulnerable place, trust me.”

“Oh god,” Credence mutters under his breath.

“It’s not for him, Severus. He’s shopping on a friend’s behalf.”

Credence turns almost quickly enough to give himself whiplash. Percival has followed him, apparently, and he’s now leaning casually against the door frame, smiling. The small lab with its bubbling, old-fashioned jars and flasks and beakers suddenly feels scarily, wonderfully intimate, with the three of them ensconced inside.

“Really?” Severus asks, drawing the word out skeptically.

“Yes, really,” Percival confirms.

Credence watches some kind of silent communication between them.

“I guess… Newt, was it?” Percival asks, and Credence nods. “I guess Newt might not have given you enough to pay for one of Severus’ fancy formulas as well as the condoms he wants.”

“I’m not sure,” Credence admits, fumbling for Newt’s money in his pocket.

“Well, I’m quite happy to let you have a free sample,” Severus says unexpectedly, then baffles both Percival and Credence by adding, “for your friend and for yourself.” He reaches back for a second jar and passes that to Credence too, then looks back and forth between their disbelieving stares with almost comical annoyance. “Whatever is the matter?”

Percival laughs, while Credence takes the second jar numbly. “Thank you, but--”

“Better take it,” Percival says. “I’ve never once seen Severus handing out a free sample, let alone two.”

“You don’t see everything I do back here, you know,” Severus states primly, sounding very put out to have been caught being generous. “It’s sensible business practice to give free samples to good customers.”

“Not to mention to cute baristas whose witch’s brew has you making orgasmic noises right down to the last drop.”

Credence stares back at Percival with wide eyes. He can’t believe the man has just referred to him as ‘cute’, to say nothing of the entire statement and yet another word and mental image to take into his fevered dreams. He’s quite sure he must be dreaming now.

“You’re embarrassing him,” Severus chides, a hint of colour in his usually pale cheeks.

“Credence or you?” Percival asks, smirking.

Huffing, Severus ushers them both out of his lab. “I certainly hope you’ll give Credence your own free sample, considering…”

‘Considering what,’ Credence wants to ask, but thinks it’s probably best to keep quiet.

“Sure, why not?” Percival reaches for a second box of condoms like the one Severus has recommended and holds it out to Credence.

“Oh, no, that’s okay, really, I don’t have any use--” He bites his lip to prevent himself from saying anything further and dearly hopes the floor will open up and swallow him.

“Really, no use at all?” Percival asks in sheer disbelief, but a small smile is twitching in the corners of his mouth.

Credence shakes his head.

“Percival!” Severus says warningly. When Credence looks at him, he adds, quite softly, “Well, the lubricant is very pleasant when used on its own, too.”

“On… on its own?” Credence asks, looking at him with wide eyes. He watches the Adam’s apple rise and fall in the long throat as the man swallows and nods.

“On its own, and on oneself,” Percival confirms then, and Credence meets his eyes. Percival is no longer fighting down a smile. His expression is quite different now and a lot more intense.

“Oh,” Credence croaks, ”you mean...”

“For masturbation, yes,” Percival tells him and then, dear god, winks.

This can't be happening, this isn't happening, Credence thinks. "I… I don't have--" he stammers out and looks to Severus helplessly only to see the man's nostrils briefly flare. Credence's blush is stinging so red now he's almost certain he'll need a special salve for that, too.

"Come now, you're not going to tell us you have no need under that circumstance as well?" Severus asks. "If so, you really must be a saint indeed."

He says it so coolly, and yet Credence feels there's something turbulent happening underneath, along with a strange frisson of something unspoken between the two men in their quickly shared glances. They've… they've got to have used these products on each other, certainly that must be it. Credence can only assume that all this sexy talk has got them thinking about it, and the feedback is nearly going to make him faint. He's close to growing painfully aroused and he realises he needs to pay and leave before either of them notices.

Credence fists Newt's money onto the counter despite Percival's little chirp of protest.

"Thanks for all your help," Credence rushes out, already halfway to the door. "I'm sure Newt will be thankful, too."

He doesn't look back as he bolts his way down the hall and back to the cafe.

***

As soon as he returns to the coffee shop and stashes his bag in the back room, Newt looks at him expectantly.

"Everything a success, I hope?" he asks and Credence quickly nods and gestures to the bag.

"Yeah, I got everything you could need, I think."

Newt is looking at him strangely, but he seems pleased nonetheless. "Is everything alright?" he asks.

"Yeah, um, I'm fine," Credence gulps. "I just, I have a couple of minutes left to my break and I need to use the washroom. I'll be right out."

Without waiting for a reply, he steps into the tiny staff washroom off to the left and closes the door, feeling for the extra jar of lubricant in his pocket with a shaky hand.

Chapter Text

It’s later that afternoon that one of the mall administration employees comes in with a flyer. He’s making the rounds with them, taking them to all the shop owners.

Percival smiles when he reads it, then calls out, “We’ve been invited to a Halloween party, Severus.”

Severus, while grateful for the interruption of an elderly lady’s involved tale about her cats and her neighbour’s ill-advised patch of valerian, frowns at him. He sends the woman off with her arthritis cream, then joins Percival at the counter. “I do hope you’re joking.”

“Look for yourself.” Percival hands him the flyer, enjoying the way Severus pales even further as he reads.

The flyer is shoved back at him in disgust within seconds. “Absolutely not.”

“You mean you don’t want to go?” Percival asks in mock surprise, then laughs at Severus’ withering look; he’s used to them. “I know you’re not a party animal, but this is an invitation for all shop owners and employees of the mall.”

Severus busies himself with a stack of forms requesting his herbal remedies. “I don’t see why that should make a difference to me.”

“Don’t you?” Smirking, Percival pins the flyer up behind the counter and circles the date: it’s the upcoming Sunday, at 6 p.m. after closing. “It sure makes a difference to me.”

Severus looks at him suspiciously. “Why?”

Percival attempts to wriggle his eyebrows at him, but fails due to their sheer weight, as usual. “Credence will be there,” he states meaningfully.

“Possibly,” Severus allows. “Though I doubt he is what you’d call a party animal either.”

Percival leans back against the counter and grins at Severus. “Just because the boy is deliciously sweet and, apparently, innocent enough to interfere with one’s peace of mind, let’s not make assumptions.”

Severus’ eyes narrow. “You’re one to talk. You’re assuming him to be there. You also assume this should interest me.”

Percival looks ready to burst out laughing. “It’s probably because I have eyes, Severus. I’ve seen how he looks at you, not to mention how you look at him. I fully expect him to swoon some day while handing you your coffee.”

Severus seems genuinely taken aback. “Surely, you jest? He doesn’t duck in here on a near daily basis for my balms. He hangs on your every word. And, frankly, you end up with twice as much chocolate on your disgustingly sugary drink of choice than any other Cauldron customer.”

Percival laughs. “Why, Severus, you sound almost jealous?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Severus begins to sweep across the shop and back to his hiding place. Before he gets there, he calls back over his shoulder, “I’ll attend that party purely to ensure you behave yourself.”

Percival smiles. “Of course, Severus, I believe you.”

After a moment's consideration, Percival follows him to the door of the lab, leaning casually against its frame. He watches Severus work for a minute or so, until finally exasperated, the man looks up from what he's doing with a customary scowl.

"I can see you're not quite finished," he quips drily.

Percival just grins. "I was only thinking… if you really don't believe me about this, you might care to make it interesting?"

"And how could you possibly manage to make the matter of any interest to me?"

Severus is already returning to his desk in what Percival is certain must be feigned nonchalance, because despite the man's turned back, he knows he's listening.

"Well," he says, "you think the boy is soft on me and I happen to think it's you he's pining after. Either way, one of us is right. So how about this? Whoever turns out to be wrong has to pay for the other's coffees for a full month. I mean…" he spreads his hands and raises his brows imploringly now that Severus has turned to face him again. "Whoever turns out to be right will obviously need the cheering up."

Severus snorts. "And why should I need cheering up if I have the satisfaction of being right?" he asks.

"Because you won't be the one bedding sweet Credence Barebone, of course." Percival can't help a slow, victorious grin.

This time, Severus' answering snort turns into something more like choking. "I'm really not in the pursuit of bedding anyone, you know," he finally says.

"You might not be, but Credence certainly is," Percival delivers matter-of-factly, watching Severus quickly pale and then blush as the implications flit through his mind.

"You're a fool," he mutters. "I get to be right and enjoy free coffee for a month?" Severus turns away again in a final gesture of dismissal. "You're on."

***

"Have you been in that pharmacy much?" Tina asks when she comes to pick Newt up at the end of his shift. "The one at the end of the hall."

Newt and Credence both redden and try to answer in unison. "All the time," Credence blurts out, eager to finally talk about the pair of pharmacists currently stoking the fire of his raging young hormones.

"There's a pharmacy?" Newt ventures, clearly thinking of the purchase he'd begged Credence to make for him only that same day.

Tina rolls her eyes at the both of them. "You know you two are lucky you're so cute, because you're both weird as hell," she says.

"Teeny!" her sister relinquishes the straw from her food court soft drink long enough to gasp before swatting her in the arm.

"What… what did you want to say about the pharmacy?" Credence interjects, hoping no one notices the eager shake in his voice.

"Nothing," Tina begins cautiously, giving him a suspicious look. "I just wondered what you think about that old gay couple who run the place. You guys might be weird, but you're not as bad as those two."

"Oh, they're not a couple," Queenie offers brightly.

Tina turns to her, sensing some sort of challenge in the remark. "Of course they are Queenie, it's so obvious!"

Credence is simply frozen in place, watching the back and forth as though it were a ping pong match, the results of which held his life in the balance.

Queenie laughs in astonishment. "Teeny… they're not a couple." She squares her shoulders at the look she's given in return. "I know these things," she sniffs, anticipating her sister's next question. Everyone knows Tina likes proof.

"Well, I work in a bookstore and read crime mysteries all day," Tina grinds out, "and I know a few things about figuring stuff out."

"What have you figured out?" Credence can't help but jump in, spurred on by near desperation now. What does Tina know?

Tina gives him a sheepish look, caught. "Well, so far it's just a hunch, I mean--"

"Ah ha!" Queenie shouts in triumph. An elderly woman nearby jolts and scowls as tea slops over the edge of her paper cup.

"I knew you were full of it on this one," Queenie goes on, oblivious to the glare. "They're not a couple."

Tina narrows her eyes, cheekbones beginning to colour. "You wanna bet?" She nearly hisses the words.

Queenie takes a long considering draw on her pinstriped plastic straw. "Yeah," she finally says. "Yeah I do, actually."

“You’re on,” Tina states, grinning as if she’s already won.

Credence gulps. Rather a lot hangs on the outcome of their bet. “You’ll… um, you’ll let us know what you find out, right?” he stammers, fidgeting with a sugar bowl he’s refilling.

Newt looks confused, and Tina frowns at him. He avoids eye contact with them both and ends up meeting Queenie’s eyes; she’s assessing him curiously. “Sure, honey,” she tells him with a smile. “I’ll let you know once Tina admits defeat.”

“Ha, not going to happen.” Tina hurries Newt along. He only just manages to grab his bag of ‘contraband’ as she drags him out the door with a called back, “See you later.”

“Hey, what’s this?” Queenie peers at the flyer pinned to the edge of the corkboard behind the till.

Credence finishes stacking the bowls ready for the next day. He absently tells Queenie, “Merlin said something about a notice before. I was busy with customers.” He turns around and starts to read. “Oh!”

Giggling at the nickname Cauldron’s staff use for their white-haired boss, Queenie reads the whole notice. “Ooh, a costume party! What fun.”

Credence gulps. He can’t help himself; his first thought is whether or not Percival and Severus will go.

“What are you going to wear?” Queenie, the resident expert on all things fashion, immediately asks.

“Don’t know,” Credence mutters. “I might not go anyway.” He honestly can’t afford a fancy costume and, if his favourite healers should attend the party, they’re bound to go dressed to the nines, and he’ll have to hide in a corner in some cheap dollar store outfit.

“Fiddlesticks! Of course you’ll go. And I’m going to help you with your costume.” Queenie, decision made, slings her handbag back over her shoulder and drops her empty drink cup into the bin behind the counter. “I’m off to see Jacob. Are you just about done here?”

Credence nods. “Just a couple more things to do, then I’ll lock up. Night, Queenie.”

“Night, honey!” Her dainty shoes clatter across the brown tile floor.

Once outside the café, Queenie does a sharp turn towards the pharmacy. Intuition is great, but a bet requires proof, and there’s no time like the present. She tiptoes past the still open door, hearing the usual bickering going on inside. Giggling, she thinks it’s no wonder the easily fooled assume the two men are a couple.

“You realise he’ll be in costume,” the handsome pharmacist, Percival, states.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” That’s the darkly sexy Severus, of course. “Are you still going on about that party?”

“Naturally.” Percival laughs.

Queenie peers around the corner into the shop. She sees him sitting behind the counter, one elbow on it, chin resting on his hand.

“I’m just imagining him in any number of adorable costumes.”

‘Who?’ Queenie wants to yell out.

“You would.” Severus walks up to the counter and gives Percival a disdainful look. “I can practically see your dirty imagination forming thought bubbles above your head.”

Queenie fights down a giggle.

“Is that why you’re blushing?” Percival asks cheerfully.

“I do not blush!” Nearly black eyes narrow at him from a face just slightly less pale than usual. “It’s nothing to me if you want to visualise him in a maid costume or dressed up as a dainty little fae creature.”

Black brows rise dramatically. “Why, Severus, wherever those ideas came from, it wasn’t my mind.” Percival laughs. “Though I must say, your imagination is far more colourful than I imagined.”

Severus scoffs. “Trust me, if I was imagining the boy in anything but his usual uniform, it wouldn’t be anything as clichéd or as syrupy sweet as those costumes.”

‘Which boy?’ Queenie is tempted to go inside and demand a name, if only to confirm her growing suspicion. Queenie Goldstein’s mind is a wondrous thing, able to store away little details... incidents, questions and looks... most people miss, especially details that will allow her to reach for her bow and arrow and play Cupid.

“Well, I’ll give you this. His usual uniform is quite fetching in itself, especially the jaunty little witch’s hat sitting on his long dark hair and of course, with every step he takes, there’s that big bow bouncing up and down on his pert little--”

“Good night, Percival.” Severus snorts like an angry dragon and makes his way towards the door. “I trust you’ll be able to concentrate on locking up, at least?”

Queenie quickly ducks around the nearest corner, but she can still hear the pharmacist’s laughter following his friend--and friend only--to the shop door. She grins. There’s only one boy she knows who wears a uniform like that and fits the description and who, incidentally, takes an extraordinary amount of interest in those two men. Evidently, the interest is mutual.

***

Credence is so deep in thought when he leaves Cauldron and double-checks the security grate, he jumps nearly a foot in the air when a very familiar voice says his name. He turns to find Percival smiling at him from just a few steps away.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s okay.” Credence ducks his head. “I was miles away.”

“Thinking about the party?” Percival is still buttoning up his camel brown coat.

Credence’s eyes follow every movement of his beautiful hands against the comfortable looking garment. He wonders what it would feel like to put his head on Percival’s shoulder and nestle into the folds of that coat with him, surrounded by that fresh, yet warm, aftershave the man favours.

“Credence?”

“Oh, yes, the party.” Credence feels another one of those annoying blushes coming on. “I’m not sure I’ll be going.”

Percival’s brows draw together. “You can’t mean that, Credence.” He takes another step closer and leans against the security door with one hand, his fingers curling around the metal grate. It puts him very close to Credence, whose back is pressed against the grate now and who is having a lot of trouble breathing. “What kind of a party will it be without your smile to brighten things up?”

That blush is getting worse, Credence knows. “You… you shouldn’t say things like that, Percival.”

“Whyever not? Your smile is enough to even make Severus lighten up for a while.”

Credence gives a little snort of laughter. “Now you’re just making fun of me, and of Severus too, probably.”

Percival smiles. “He’s used to it from me and, believe me, he gives as good as he gets.”

Credence’s eyes widen comically at the pictures forming in his mind.

“I’m certainly not making fun of you, Credence.” Percival’s voice has softened, and his warm brown eyes are forcing Credence’s to hold his gaze. “I’d love to see you at that party, and Severus would too.”

“You… you would? Really?” Credence swallows.

“I can’t think of a better reason to go.” Percival tilts his head a little, smile still firmly in place.

An answering smile is forming around Credence’s lips, and he lowers his eyes.

“Hey,” Percival murmurs, tipping his chin back up with his index finger.

Credence stares at him, not daring to take a breath. Oh god. Oh god, the look in those eyes, and that light, tender touch…

“That’s the smile I’m talking about.” Percival nudges at the corner of Credence’s mouth with his thumb, just for a moment. “Say you’ll come, little coffee witch.”

Credence lets out a giggle. That uniform has got him called a witch before, but never in such a sweet, teasing way, nor by someone like Percival. “Okay,” he says, because how could he possibly say no? “I’ll come.”

He's rewarded with a beaming grin. "Severus will be thrilled at the news, I'm sure," Percival says.

"And you?" Credence asks hopefully, blush rising again at the thought of Severus thinking anything positive about him at all. He feels greedy, wanting to hear that both of them look forward to his attendance equally, but he can't help himself. Besides, it's no more than daydreaming, so what's the harm?

Percival continues to smile reassuringly. "Of course, Credence. We'd… both be happy to see you there. You really can believe me, I'm not just teasing."

Credence bites his lip and fights to get his smile under control lest he frighten the man right off with his over-exuberance. "Um, have a nice evening, then, Percival," is all he says before offering a last little wave and turning to hurry for his bus.

All the way on the bus ride home, Credence goes over and over his conversation with Percival in his mind. Outside of the condom incident, it was his only real moment with either of the pharmacists all day, and he can't quite suss out the possible hidden meaning behind each word.

Percival had insisted that there was no teasing involved, but Credence knows it's hard for him to trust when he knows how capricious and cruel people can really turn out to be. And he kept mentioning Severus…. is it because Severus especially dislikes him and Percival finds it funny? Because the alternative is almost too much to hope for--stern, cool Severus can't actually be looking forward to seeing Credence. In fact, it's shocking enough just to think of the man attending a party at all.

When he gets home, Credence has worked his stomach in knots, wracking his brain over what he could possibly wear to a costume party that won't end up with him looking a fool in front of both men.

He can't afford anything especially nice, and even if he could, he could never justify the cost just for the one night. He's never been to a party, not really, outside of a handful of dull church functions that amounted to no more than sitting and making polite conversation with a few elderly ladies over tea.

He drops his bag as soon as he's through the front door and heads towards his room. There's hardly anything in his closet worth wearing on even a normal day, and there's no chance anything in there would lend itself to something like a proper costume. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

For a moment, he just sits at the edge of his bed in something close to despair, mulling it over. Whether Severus really is hoping to see him (and, unthinkably, Percival too), that's one thing. Because here would be a fine chance to display himself in a fun new way that might finally nudge those two into seeing him as more than just the "coffee witch" down the hall.

And if it's the other thing, if it's all an insincere trick…. then all the more reason to show up and enjoy himself while looking his best. Because if Credence knows only one thing for sure, it's that he's done with being downtrodden.

Just the very thought of rallying his self-confidence immediately brings Queenie to the forefront of his mind. And just that easily, he knows that she's right, she's the one who can help him to get through this party without having to hide away forever once it's done.

Decision made, Credence bolts up off his bed and makes his way two floors down from his apartment.

Queenie pulls open the door almost before he's hardly knocked, as if she were expecting him. The first thing that hits him is her big, sparkling grin; the second thing is the smell wafting out from the kitchen close behind her. In a word, it's heavenly.

"Hi, Credence," she says, a little breathlessly. "Long time no see."

There's something almost mischievous about the way she's smiling, and Credence is starting to feel more than overwhelmed with all the unspoken things he keeps seeing in twinkle of everyone's eye these days.

"Um, hi Queenie, can I talk to you?"

Her smile softens a little at how nervous he clearly is. "Of course," she says. "Jacob and I were just making some pasta, if you'd like to stay for dinner?" Then, in a bit of a stage whisper she adds, "I'm guessing you wanna talk about the party, huh?"

Credence feels his shoulders sag in dual relief. "That… that would be really great, thank you."

Queenie pulls him inside and quickly hooks her arm in his. "Honey," she calls to the kitchen, "Credence is gonna stay with us for dinner but I'm just gonna show him that thing I was talking about."

Jacob's beaming face peers round the corner, steam billowing out around, reminding Credence of Alice In Wonderland's Cheshire Cat slowly forming in mid-air in disjointed pieces.

"Oh ho!" he says. "You gotta lemme know what he thinks."

"Will do," she winks and then steers Credence towards the couch where her phone sits face up on the coffee table.

They settle down together and she picks it up, already swiping to some saved tab as she talks. "So," she gives him an assessing look. "I was thinking something delicate and fae, and I have just the thing. It's perfect."

"F… fae?" Credence gulps, even more nervous now wondering what Queenie's already been cooking up.

"Yeah, have a look," she says, and she hands him the phone. On the screen is a page from a mail-order costume site, displaying a pair of models on a pale blue screen. One is a young man in a Peter Pan outfit, complete with tattered green tunic and jaunty little hat. He grins roguishly at his companion, a young blonde in a Tinkerbell get up.

Credence's eyes widen and he looks to Queenie, seeing how she bites her lip hopefully.

"You see, Jacob can't dress up because he's gonna be helping with the catering and I thought maybe we could be each other's plus one."

At Credence's cautious silence, she quickly adds, "besides, I've got a gift card for this place that I've never used before and they can ship it in time, too."

"Isn't… isn't his 'skirt' a little short?" Credence finally hesitantly asks.

Queenie simply peals with laughter. "Well, it'll be longer than mine, that's for sure!" She nudges him with her shoulder good-naturedly. "C'mon, Credence, let's live a little. It'll be fun!"

Credence can feel himself begin to shrug despite his every nerve screaming I don't know about this. "Um… I mean, yeah. Okay."

Chapter Text

Percival greets Severus in the morning with a slightly sheepish look, something the man is not used to seeing on him at all.

An arched brow and a head tilt are all he can manage at first; he hasn't had his coffee yet, and it shows. Finally, at Percival's continued silence he simply asks: "What?" in an exasperated tone.

"I… " Percival starts and stops. "I think I may have been hasty yesterday in suggesting that little wager of ours," he admits.

This certainly gets Severus’ attention. “Indeed. Have you decided you can’t possibly win, or is there more to this?”

Percival, if anything, looks even more sheepish. “Let me put it this way: I’ll happily buy you coffee all month just to get this bet called off.”

Now Severus sits down, on Percival’s usual perch behind the main counter. He assesses him for a long moment, surprised when, for the first time ever, the other man seems to have trouble withstanding his scrutiny. “That won’t be necessary, Percival,” he says, his voice softer than usual. “I’m perfectly content to call it off, but I am curious what brought on this sudden lack of levity about the situation.”

Percival sighs. “That’s just it. It’s not the kind of situation, and Credence is not the kind of boy, for levity.”

“Percival, what’s happened?” Severus reaches across the counter, but withdraws his hand before it reaches Percival’s arm.

When Percival meets his eyes, he looks more vulnerable than Severus ever remembers seeing him. “I… talked to him, yesterday, after I closed up.” When he receives a nod, encouraging him to go on, he sighs and rubs the base of his palm against his forehead. “Severus, he’s so earnest, so sweet, so… sincere.”

Severus lets him order his thoughts in his own time; it’s a quality Percival appreciates a lot.

“He’s like a fawn--nervous and shy, as if he’s afraid of being attacked whenever he ventures out of his woods.” He closes his eyes, embarrassed by his own simile. “I talked him into coming to the party, and he seemed so very pleased to know we or… someone, anyone, enjoys his company and wants to see him there. I don’t know what kind of monster has ever made him feel unwanted in the past! I mean, how could anyone?”

He takes a deep breath when he realises Severus is beginning to look concerned but also every bit as put out as he feels. He tries to laugh them off--that brief loss of cool and burst of righteous anger at some shadow figure from Credence’s past--but he’s not fooling Severus, he knows.

“Percival…” Severus’s infamous eyebrow arch has never been more telling, Percival thinks and, if he wasn’t so out of sorts, he’d probably find it amusing. “Credence is rather more than a potential conquest to you, isn’t he?”

Percival could deny it, he supposes, but Severus seems able to read him as easily as one of those old-fashioned Herbalism tomes he collects so lovingly. He settles on the edge of the counter and sighs. To his surprise, Severus abandons the stool to sit beside him, facing him and mirroring his pose. “What about you?” Percival asks, suddenly worried about the answer.

“It hardly matters,” Severus hedges.

“It does, you know.” It’s Percival’s turn to drop his voice to something soft and encouraging, and his hand briefly, very briefly to not make Severus uncomfortable, closes around the fine-boned wrist, then lets go again. But he doesn’t move it far away, resting it on the edge of Severus’ coat where it drapes over the counter.

Severus looks surprised, but not irritated. “I wouldn’t, for a moment, fool myself into thinking I’m even visible beside you.”

That’s not something Percival expected at all. “Remind me, Severus, once I find and deal with the spectre in Credence’s past, to seek out whoever made you blind to all that you are.”

Severus’ dark eyes fix on him with the intensity of one trying to detect deceit. When he finds none, he quirks a brief, lopsided smile. “It’s time you went back to your usual humour, Percival. I don’t quite know what to do with you when you’re like this.”

This does make Percival smile, but it also makes him think he should squeeze that slim wrist again; never one to deny an impulse, he does.

Severus’ hand covers his for an instant so brief, it might never have happened.

Both of them, somewhat unsettled, vacate the counter in opposite directions to get to work, having no idea that Tina, on her way to the bookshop, passed by the shop windows and is continuing on her way with a triumphant grin.

***

Severus is three customers away in the queue for coffee, and Credence is about six different kinds of flustered.

He fumbles a young business woman's order, he's so distracted, giving her a hot latte that was meant to be iced. As he goes about fixing it (with everyone's impatience now building like a physical press against him), he thinks maybe he could use an iced drink, himself.

He's still thinking of his conversation with Percival last night, how he'd insisted that Severus would not only attend the party but wanted to see Credence there as well. The very idea of it seems preposterous, and still the hope swoops in his gut. It's the same fluttering excitement he'd been nearly squirming with under Percival's warm, sensual gaze, and between the two men and his (clearly futile) attraction, he feels about ready to explode.

I can't mess up Severus' drink, he thinks, urging himself to get his nerves under control. It actually helps, giving himself a simple mission to focus on, keeping himself from glancing up at the man every several seconds.

Soon enough, the nearly faceless patrons ahead of him have been dealt with, and Severus is standing tall and stately in front of his counter. When Credence steels himself and tries to meet his eyes with a mildly professional smile, he nearly flounders once again. Because Severus is looking down at him as usual, but this time… it can't be right, but… there's something like a little smile toying at the corner of his lips. It wavers there uncertainly, as if it's been years and his face has forgotten quite how to do it.

"Good morning, Credence," he says, and there's something close and almost familiar about the way he says it. As if they share some sort of secret.

"Good… uh, good morning," Credence stammers back and his own smile is gone, he knows, whisked away by astonishment. His heart is honestly pounding.

"I won't bore you by pretending I'm about to order something adventurous and new," Severus tells him, "but I am picking up Percival's drink as well as my own, so I'm afraid you'll have your hands full."

Credence is momentarily frozen but something in him nearly wants to blurt out just how happy indeed he'd be to have his hands full with both men, even if it is just coffee for now.

"Yeah," he nods, eyes wide. "Absolutely, I can do that."

He turns away and busies himself with the drinks, but rather than the usual waiting silence Severus… keeps talking to him?

"I understand we're all to be treated to some ridiculous farce of a costume fête," he says. The way he's talking, it's like they've spoken this way every time, when in reality it's absolutely unprecedented that Severus would even deign to speak to him outside of strict business.

"Uh, yeah," Credence shoots him a tremulous grin from behind the espresso machine, pretending he isn't currently drowning. "Everyone seems pretty excited, I guess."

"Well, I know Percival certainly is." Severus honestly rolls his eyes and Credence isn't sure this is really happening anymore.

"But then again, Percival is never one to miss out on a party," Severus adds consideringly, lips quirked. "Certainly you'll go, won't you?"

Credence can't say why, because normally he'd be scouring every word for the nasty catch, so used to hopeful moments coming with a nasty lash at the end, but… he just can't imagine someone as serious and steady as Severus playing petty games with the local coffee boy. It seems, somehow, beneath the man, and all at once he's more than flustered and confused. Credence is touched.

Percival really wasn't toying. Severus and possibly Percival himself really are looking forward to seeing him there, for whatever reason. And more than that, he's almost (maybe not quite), but almost tempted to think Severus is a little nervous in expressing it. The thought of that, this frankly intimidating and self-possessed man being uncertain about anything, suddenly it has Credence's fears temporarily melting. An image of Modesty, huddled beneath the kitchen cupboard and sniffling out her heartbreak crosses his mind.

He does now for Severus what he always did for her. He hands the pair of finished drinks across the counter and beams a genuine 'everything's going to be just grand' smile. He knows it's worked when Severus stands, a drink in each hand and simply blinking at him with the most open face he's ever seen the man wear.

"Of course I'll be there!" he says. "Wouldn't miss it."

There’s a moment during which Severus just looks at him as if he’s never seen him before. Then, that brittle attempt at a smile of his own gains strength, and his sensually curved mouth turns up into a slight, but genuine, smile full of warmth.

Credence feels as if he’s witnessing a rare phenomenon of nature, something like an aurora or maybe… maybe a frost flower. Newt, who knows all sorts of odd things, told him about those, and it seems fitting to compare Severus to something which, torn between warmth on the inside and frost on the outside, ends up forming fragile, delicate ice formations of intense beauty.

“Could I get my espresso some time today?” a businessman grumbles in line behind Severus, and the spell is broken.

Severus’ smile turns into a glare directed at the man, but before he leaves, he looks across the counter for another moment. His deep voice rumbles warmly, “Thank you, Credence.”

Credence doesn’t think he’s thanking him for Witches Brew, black and Love Potion No. 9. “You’re welcome, Sev-Severus.”

***

Percival can tell, as he’s handed his chocolate-heavy drink, topped with cream and chopped hazelnuts, that Severus has had… an experience. The man looks as if his shell has been cracked and the crack filled in again with molten gold. “Thanks,” is all he says.

Severus nods and gives him a brief half-smile before retreating to his lab.

Percival knows he’s going to be working in there with the basket of lavender, which has even drawn him into the back room for a calming sniff a few times already. He hopes working with it will have the same soothing effect on his friend.

When Severus reappears half an hour later, bearing a large mason jar with lavender, and asks Percival if he wants to display it on the counter, Percival can only nod mutely. It’s unheard of for Severus to ‘waste’ precious ingredients on something as frivolous as brightening up the shop. The fact that the man has gone and tied a bow of white ribbon around the neck of the jar is almost enough to make him slide off his stool.

There’s no time to ask how this new soft edge to Severus has come about, because customers are entering the shop, but Percival doubts he would question it, even given the opportunity. It’s obvious he brought it with him on his return from Cauldron, and that’s more than telling. He simply smiles, unseen, after Severus’ retreating figure and enjoys the lift to his own mood provided only in part by the fresh flowers.

Even so, flowers continue to be on Percival’s mind all morning, alongside wide brown eyes and dark hair ending in soft waves, and an apron ribbon not dissimilar to the one adorning the lavender jar in front of him and, by lunch time, an idea has formed in his mind. He sprints across the mall to the florist and, after consulting a chart of rose colour meanings on the wall, requests to have a single white rose with pink-tipped petals delivered. The meaning of orange roses catches his eye on the chart as well, and he boldly decides to take one of those back to the shop with him.

“You’re sure you don’t want to drop this one off yourself and save the delivery fee? Isn’t the Cauldron almost next to your shop?” the florist asks.

“That wouldn’t make this much of an anonymous gift, would it?” Percival points out with a grin.

The florist nods knowingly. “Good point, Mr Graves.” While he wraps sheer pale pink cellophane around the rose stem and the sprigs of baby’s breath he’s added, Percival writes out a small card.

For the sweetest, purest being I know. You’re constantly on my mind.

He folds the card and watches it being attached with a pink ribbon. The ribbon is curled with the aid of a pair of scissors, and he’s handed the orange rose as it is, at his own request.

“Delivery to Mr Barebone will be within half an hour,” the florist tells him. “Have a nice day, sir.”

Percival returns to the pharmacy with a spring in his step.

His mood only lifts further when he next sees Severus, who has, of course, taken note of the single orange rose in the midst of his display of lavender. For a moment, Percival wonders whether he’s going to say something snarky; he might point out a mismatch of colours or a disturbance to his careful arrangement. What he receives instead is a long, curious look and a touch of a smile, and he realises that, of course, Severus knows far too much about plants to not be aware of even whimsical meanings ascribed to the colours of roses.

***

Credence is just pulling on his coat to meet Queenie in the food court for their lunch break when a delivery boy from the mall's flower shop ducks in.

At first he's thinking that the boy must be only stopping for a coffee before heading out with his errand, but then he hears his name being murmured over the counter and he freezes in place.

Newt is there at the register speaking with him, and as Credence slowly turns to see what's going on, Newt gestures in his direction. The delivery boy brightens, spotting Credence's name tag just before the coat falls over it. He steps to meet Credence at the open space next to the counter, leaving Newt to continue on taking orders with a look just as perplexed as Credence imagines his own must be.

"I… I haven't made any flower requests," Credence stammers out, thinking there must be some mix up. The boy just smiles and hands him a single white rose, nestled in baby's breath and still glistening with a spritz of moisture that clings to the pink-dusted petals like tiny diamonds.

"No, you haven't. But somebody else has, and you're the lucky recipient."

The boy has the audacity to wink at Credence's stunned stare, so he simply takes the flower from his hand and looks to Newt for some sort of confirmation, almost as if to ask did you know about this?

Newt only shrugs and then a thoughtful little smirk begins to grow. "You're off to see Queenie, aren't you?" he asks. "I'm sure she'll be more than happy to help you solve this particular mystery."

"But it's…." Credence looks down at the rose he's holding in his fingers as if it were spun from glass, and something absolutely helpless flips low in his belly. The sensation is not entirely unpleasant. "It's Halloween, not Valentine's."

Newt answers with another shrug and then grins. "Queenie," he simply whispers emphatically before turning away again.

***

When Queenie sees Credence make his way towards the food court table sheepishly carrying a rose, she squeals. Shrieks, more like.

A few heads turn in irritated surprise and Credence slinks into his seat, blushing crimson. He meets her eyes and confesses, "I don't know who they're from" in a sort of nervous whisper.

"Credence. Barebone," she says. "This is the greatest thing that's ever happened in this entire shopping mall." She waves her own words away, unable to find a way to express her excitement earnestly enough. "No, in the history of shopping malls!"

He puts the rose across the table between them and tugs the card free of the wrapping. "It came with a note," he says.

"Oh, it better have!" she answers, and reaches over to pluck the card right out of his fingers. "For the sweetest, purest being I know. You’re constantly on my mind." She reads the words aloud and then simply gapes at him, eyes wide.

At Credence's deepening blush, she peals with giddy laughter and a few more faces turn. "Credence, not only do you have a secret admirer, it sounds like they're just about the most romantic person in the world!"

"I just… I'm going to be all nerves until I can figure out who it is," Credence says, running his hands through his hair.

Queenie simply tuts at him. "Credence, don't you dare tell me you're unhappy to receive a rose from a secret admirer."

"I'm not unhappy, just… I've never gotten one before and I don't know who it's from or what I'm supposed to do." He glances round to make sure no one's close enough to hear and then whispers conspiratorially, "Queenie, I've never even kissed anyone before."

She gasps and claps her hand over her mouth before giving him the softest, kindest smile he's ever seen her give, which, for Queenie, is saying a lot. "Oh, Credence. No wonder you're anxious, then. Well, don't worry! We'll get this thing sorted out and who knows? Maybe you'll end up getting all kinds of kisses."

"What's all this about kisses?"

Suddenly Tina is there pulling up a chair to the little plastic table and Credence pulls back as though he's just been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

"Don't tell me a kiss is all I'm getting as a reward for winning this bet," she goes on. Then she glances down at the table and raises an eyebrow. "I might accept the flower, though."

Credence can't help himself, he pulls the rose slowly yet still possessively back into his lap where it's safe. Tina regards him with a strange look and is just as quickly distracted again by her sister's indignant response.

"Oh, you're not winning this bet," she says and the look she gives is as close to smug as Queenie's likely able to get.

"Are you kidding?" Tina snorts. "Those two are a couple. Confirmed."

"What do you mean?" Credence interjects. "Did you… did you just go straight and ask them?"

With the upcoming dance and the rose and this crazy bet, he feels near to bursting. He wants something steady and impossible to question, like Severus' drink orders and Percival's warm, reassuring smile. He can't help hoping the flower delivery has something to do with them, though he knows he never has been and never will be that lucky. Even still, with all his anxious questions, he wishes he could just run to the pharmacy right now and have them tell him what to do as though his tortured nerves are no more than a common cold.

"I didn't need to ask them," Tina is saying. "I went past the pharmacy and they were in there alright, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes." She makes a face, a mocking imitation of somebody love-addled and then punctuates this revelation by stealing one of Queenie's fries.

Credence is on the brink of becoming completely overwhelmed. He knows there's no chance either Percival or Severus regard him with anything but passing kindness, but Tina's words are like the final nail in the coffin on yet another buried hope. He feels stupid and fears he may even cry, later when he's alone and it's safe. He's just so tired of disappointment.

But there's Queenie, a golden-haired seamstress of silver linings. "Oh, balderdash!" she scoffs. "Those two aren't a couple. They were probably just having a heart to heart about the person they both happen to share a crush on."

Credence looks up from his lap and feels his breath catch. He's so spellbound by Queenie's words he barely hears Tina now.

"Oh, right. How convenient is that? So who do they have a crush on then?"

Queenie sniffs and gives the rose in Credence's lap a long considering look. "Well," she says, "a lady never tells."

Chapter Text

Credence fidgets through Tina’s presence at their table. He likes her, even if she can be a little intimidating but, right now, he desperately wants to know what Queenie knows, and he won’t find out while Tina is there and Queenie is being so shifty.

When Newt turns up, very close to the end of Credence’s and Queenie’s lunch break, and the two of them go off to share a quick pre-wrapped sandwich, he looks at Queenie expectantly.

She gives him a sphinx-like smile.

“Queenie, please tell me. You know who sent this!” he pleads, cradling the rose in careful hands.

Her smile turns very kind and sweet. “I don’t know who exactly sent you the rose, Credence, honestly. I could only make a guess, and I don’t think I should.”

“But you…” He looks around and leans closer. “What you said before, about Severus and Percival. I mean, it’s not possible, really, but were... were you hinting--”

“Oh, look at the time! I need to get back to work,” Queenie says, jumping up. Reaching over to ruffle Credence’s hair--free of his witch hat, for once--and smiling, she says, “Our costumes should arrive tomorrow, or late this afternoon even. I’ll let you know so you can get yours and make sure it fits, okay?”

Credence’s mouth hangs open at the sheer speed with which she departs, and he wants to run after her and demand to know what she knows, but the fact is, his break is nearly over too. So he sighs and just makes his way back to the café, holding the rose to his chest as if it was a precious jewel. If he allows himself to think, just for a few minutes, that Queenie was implying either Percival or Severus sent him that rose… he’s breathless with joy at the mere idea, and a smile plays around his lips. But then he realises that would mean she was saying they both have a crush on him, and that’s just not possible. His smile slowly vanishes again, and he’s so distracted, he walks right into a broad chest just as he’s about to enter Cauldron.

“Oh, I’m sorry!”

Percival, of all people, is the owner of that chest, and strong hands take hold of Credence’s upper arms and draw him out of the direct line of customers streaming in and out of the place. “Whoa, why the rush?”

Credence blinks at him, then quickly down at the rose clutched to his heart. He breathes a sigh of relief that it’s unharmed by their collision. “I am sorry. My break is nearly over, and I need to put this in water…” Credence’s voice trails off, and he slowly meets Percival’s eyes, with a question in his own that he wouldn’t dare to voice.

Percival smiles at him, and it’s one of those smiles Credence sometimes thinks about when he has trouble drifting off to sleep. They’re as effective at relaxing him as warm milk, or some phantom hand he imagines stroking his hair.

“Lovely,” Percival says, and only then does he look down to watch Credence’s fingers gently cup the flowerhead. Something flits across his face, something gentle and elusive, and he seems unaware he’s moving his right hand to lightly touch Credence’s fingers; the pad of his thumb barely caresses the pink tips of the petals.

When Credence gasps, he seems to snap out of his distraction, meeting his eyes again and looking embarrassed. “Someone has a secret admirer,” he murmurs, then quickly adds, “I’m sorry, Credence, I shouldn’t make you late. Let me come in with you for the afternoon coffee order, and I can take the blame if you get into any trouble.”

Credence’s mouth is so dry, he can’t form words, so he just nods and lets himself be steered through the doors. He swallows convulsively while heading out the back to find a suitable container to fill with water and hold his rose until closing time. He stores it protectively away in his locker, hoping the darkness for a few hours won’t do it any harm, and hurries out into the café, expecting Percival to have left with his coffees by now.

Instead, he finds him sitting on a chair edge at the nearest table, jumping up the moment Credence steps up to the counter. “Did you… did you wait for me, Percival?” he asks in disbelief.

“Of course.” Percival sounds, and looks, as if he couldn’t possibly have done otherwise. “No one brews coffee like you do, Credence.” He winks, then smiles at Credence’s furious blush.

“I’m sure that can’t be so,” Credence says bashfully, “but thank you for saying so.”

Percival leans on the counter. “It certainly is so. You’re solely responsible for getting Severus and me through the long hours, you know? It’s tempting to think your coffee is made with love.”

His voice has dropped and gone more and more quiet as he spoke, and by the time he’s finished, Credence is leaning close to even hear him. Now he can only stare at Percival, torn between saying, ‘Oh, but it is!’ and coming to the earth-shattering realisation that yes, it really is, and Percival seems happy about it. He decides to be brave for a moment.

“I do love… love to make your coffees, P-Percival. You’re my favourite customers.”

Credence has the rare privilege then to see a Percival stunned into speechlessness. It doesn’t last long, but the next words he hears are just as rewarding. Better, even.

“Bless you for that, you sweet thing.” Percival gifts him with such a soft look then, Credence needs another moment to realise it’s the second time that day he’s been called ‘sweet’, and he thinks of his beautiful rose. Oh… oh!

His hands are shaking as he readies the drinks and his mind is racing. It's entirely possible Percival's choice of words is simple coincidence, but after everything he thinks Queenie suggested… Percival and Severus both have been so exceptionally nice to him these past couple of days and Severus even smiled at him… that's, that's flirting, right?

He thinks of Percival's warm, smooth voice murmuring so close to him over the counter and a whole-body shudder suddenly rolls through him. The man's eyes are still on him, he can feel it, and he bites his lip against a soft sound that begs to be let out. Would Percival still think him "sweet" if he knew the kind of thoughts he's constantly entertaining about him? And about Severus, too? That sort of wantonness has got to be a strike against him, certainly?

Credence is trying to wrack his brain for a way to suss out whether or not Percival sent the rose, and whether or not he'll admit it. With his spine tingling and his nervous hands working nearly of their own accord, he realises he's practically dumped an entire candy bar's worth of chocolate onto the top of Percival's drink.

He turns to hand the cups over with a sheepish sort of look and Percival glances down to his Love Potion No. 9 and smirks. "I really must be your favourite customer," he says. "I'm pretty sure that much chocolate topping isn't Cauldron standard, is it?"

Suddenly Credence has a flash of inspiration and takes a leap with it. On his way to his break earlier, he'd looked up the significance of white roses on his phone and remembers one word that had come up several times. He raises his hands in mock defense and smiles shyly. "I'm innocent!" he says, biting his lip at his own daring.

Percival goes absolutely still and then raises his head to regard him in something like absolute wonder. Credence watches just as stunned to see Percival take a deep breath and swallow, Adam's apple bobbing as though his words are visibly lodged in his throat.

"You certainly are," he finally breathes, and as he lifts the two cups they share a long look of mutual bewilderment before he turns and leaves Credence flustered and blinking at the empty counter.

***

Queenie’s message that the costumes have arrived catches Credence on his way home, and he tries to will the busdriver to take chances with the speed limit--less because he’s in a hurry for his costume, and more because he’s still hoping to get some information out of her.

Though there’s one thing he’s fairly sure of now, and he’s giddy with excitement about it: Percival sent him that rose. He’s… not 100%, but about 80%, maybe... sure of it, and he’s been positively bubbling all afternoon, beaming at every stranger and wanting to hug everyone from Newt to the old man he nearly knocked off the steps up into the bus.

Right now he’s sitting a couple of rows behind the driver, cradling his rose and staring down at the notecard he can’t stop reading. The idea that Percival--handsome, kind, funny, strong, gentle Percival--is constantly thinking about him is almost more than he can handle. The words on the card swim in front of his eyes when he remembers the feel of the warm fingers touching his, and the tender way Percival’s thumb caressed the petals of the rose. Would he caress him that way? Or would he simply pull him into his arms and kiss him breathless, and--”

The bus comes to a stop then, which is lucky, because the whooshing sound of the air pressure released by the use of the brakes covers the moan Credence can’t suppress.

He manages to just about regain some composure by the time he’s let himself into his place and found an empty glass bottle for the rose. He places it somewhere it will catch sunlight for part of the day and then hurries to see Queenie.

“There you are!” she greets him. “Come on in.”

Their costumes are laid out on her bed, and Credence gulps at his first look at the Peter Pan outfit. “There seems so little fabric,” he mutters.

This amuses Queenie greatly. “I know, but you’re going to look so cute! I’ll be in the kitchen. Go on, Credence, try it on, then come out and let me see if it needs any adjusting.” She’s off, leaving him alone with the emerald green crushed velvet shorts, the green velour top, the thin ribbon belt, and the pixie hat to match the shorts exactly.

Credence changes into the outfit and is both pleased and shocked at his reflection in the mirror. He supposes he looks okay, but he’s sure the costume is too tight, especially the shorts. He flushes when he realises the triangular scrap of tunic fabric falling down over his groin will have a hard time preserving his modesty, should he get too… excited. And he will, if Percival and Severus are anywhere near him.

A quick glance back over his shoulder at his mirror image has him biting his lip. The shorts hug his bottom like a second skin..

When he walks out to face Queenie, the first thing he says is, “Can you make this more loose and the top longer?”

The first thing Queenie says, at the same moment, is unfortunately, “That’s just a perfect fit, honey!”

“Oh, but--”

“Oh, I know, I know, you think it’s too tight, but it’s just right, Credence, trust me on that. You’re going to make someone drool.”

He looks at her helplessly. “About that…”

Queenie shakes her head and smiles gently. “It’s not my secret to tell, honey.”

Credence hangs his head. “It’s just that… well, Percival, from the pharmacy, you know… he came in this afternoon, and he touched… touched my hand, and he called me ‘sweet’, like the note said, and--”

Queenie’s squeal interrupts him. When Credence looks at her, she’s slapped her hand over her mouth. She slowly lowers it and asks kindly, “Do you like him, Credence? A lot?”

He nods at once; it’s like asking him if he likes air. Then he frowns a little and fidgets with the tunic edges.

“Honey?” Queenie prompts.

He looks at her again, and she’s quite shocked at how crestfallen he looks. “Oh, Queenie, I’m awful. I’m so ashamed.”

“Aww, what’s this all about?” She pulls him over to the sofa and makes him sit, settling down next to him. “What have you got to be ashamed of?”

He fights down tears, by this point. “He thinks I’m innocent. He’s said so, and in the card too, and… and I’m not, I’m so wanton!”

Queenie chews on her carefully made up lower lip, looking half thoughtful, half amused. “You told me just this afternoon, you’ve never even kissed anyone, You can’t be as wanton as all that.”

“In thought!” Credence says, before he can chicken out. He explains, now that he’s started to spill his shameful secret. “You see, I… I want Percival, a lot.” He blushes right over his ears.

Queenie grins. “That’s okay though, Credence.”

He shakes his head. “No, it’s not, because… you see, I want Severus, too.”

Her smile only widens, to his great confusion. When she just keeps smiling, and looking as if she’s fighting an impulse to speak, he blinks.

“That’s wrong, isn’t it? It must be!”

“Oh, damn, I’m going to have to tell you.” Queenie sighs. “I can’t have you beating yourself up like this.”

“Tell me, Queenie, please.” Credence tugs at her sleeve.

“Remember me telling Teenie that they both have a crush on the same person?” she asks him.

His eyes widen, and he nods with dawning hope and disbelief, gasping when Queenie simply pokes him in the chest lightly. His jaw drops, and he’s absolutely floored, but a wonderful warmth rises up through his whole body, ending up in a bright smile, which drops again almost instantly.

“Aww, Credence, what is it now?” Queenie sighs. “You should be bouncing up and down!”

He looks at her helplessly. “But Queenie, if that’s true… I’ll have to choose.”

“Not necessarily.” She giggles at his expression. “I don’t think Teenie is all wrong, you know. They do care a lot about each other, too.”

Credence thinks about this, and it only seems to make matters worse. “So one of them will be twice as hurt?”

“Or... all of you will be twice as happy,” she tells him, giving him a moment to let that settle in.

When it clearly has, judging by the bright flush on his face, she pats his knee and says, “But that’s something you’ll have to sort out amongst yourselves.” She grins. “But I’m happy to give you a little nudge on Sunday.”

"A… a nudge?" he asks. Suddenly a whole new host of worries occur to him. Queenie said it herself, he's never even kissed anyone. And now he's somehow meant to take on not one, but two handsome, sophisticated, accomplished men.

The idea of even one of them liking him in that way seemed genuinely impossible as recently as that same morning. Now the impossible seems to have become a reality and here he is on the brink of having everything he's ever dared to dream… and he has no idea what to even do.

Queenie is watching him with a sympathetic half-smile. Reaching out, she taps his temple lightly with the pad of her finger. "What's going on in there now, hmmm?"

Credence sighs heavily. "I just… I don't know what I'm doing and I don't know how to do it." He gives her a pleading look, eyebrows canting up. "Do you think they'll like, be patient with me? I'm so scared I'm going to just make a fool of myself."

Queenie's smile turns teasing again, shining at full beam. "Oh Credence, I'm sure both of those two would be more than happy to take their time and show you… whatever you want to know."

She giggles at his blush and then turns a little serious for a second. "And if they aren't… patient, or kind with you, I mean, then I'll be the first one to tell them exactly where to go."

Credence thinks of Percival's warm smile again, and Severus' constant steady calm. Somehow he thinks Queenie must be right; he can't imagine either of them acting rough with him, or anyone for that matter.

***

It's late and he's in bed, but he can't sleep. Thoughts of the day and all the whirlwind of emotions he's been through still cling to him as close as that Peter Pan costume he still can't believe he's actually going to wear. There's so much he's apparently going to be doing soon, things he can still hardly breathe to think of.

The rose is on his bedside table, standing in its glass container, all silvery in the moonlight. The bloom was well chosen; he feels just like it lately: fragile, pale and constantly blushing. Credence reaches for it, just to admire it a while, since he can't sleep.

It helps somehow to have it near, something tangible that he can hold onto and feel. Almost as if Percival is there with him, or at the very least, his thoughts and intentions. The petals are so soft and dewy against the brush of his fingertips and he can't help but run them lightly over his lips then, imagining how a kiss might feel something just like this.

There's been so much building up in him, and he knows for certain now he's not alone in that feeling. In fact, his company in that is abundant, it seems, and images of two pairs of dark eyes... two sets of slender, masculine hands flit through his mind.

Credence finally lets loose the moan it seems he's been holding onto for weeks, gives it full voice. He's alone but for Percival's gift and the memory of so many soft looks he's also been rewarded with these past few days. And it's not just that they want him, though that knowledge alone is enough to set his pulse alight, it's that they also want each other, as well.

Notions Credence has never dared to entertain even once in his life now fill his head, and he's suddenly grown so hard it aches. He flips onto his stomach and ruts against the sheets a handful of times, whimpering at the tension between almost and not enough.

Gasping, he remembers Severus' sweet balm, tucked away in the drawer just underneath the now-empty vase. Yet another wonderful gift these men have given him. He reaches for it now, leaned over on his side and cradling himself in one loose palm with a little hiss. He's leaking so much he barely needs the aid, but for the thought that Severus' crafted this--that he'd even spoken to Credence of his body's own sensitivity…

Credence slathers his palm and thinks this could be his wetness, his excitement mingling with mine and it's just like the rose standing in for Percival's desperately longed-for kiss.

Already, after only a couple of firm swipes, he's coming with a choked-out groan.

***

Percival has spent a good ten minutes under an uncomfortably cold shower spray, with the cold water hitting his skin as if it was a fortress against his overheated imagination. He decides to give up on that idea and turns it to warm, because he might as well just have a pleasant shower and be comfortable while haunted by visions of Credence and Severus both within reach, both wanting him as much as he wants them, both willing to let him take their beautifully complex selves apart and then lovingly put them back together.

At this point, it’s still a theory--a dreamlike scenario to fuel his free hours and lately, quite honestly, more and more of his work hours.

Severus has been a fascinating enigma from the moment Percival first walked into the tiny, dingy herb shop he used to run in a Greenwich Village back alley. He’d been impressed with his handmade, high quality products, but he was honest enough with himself to admit that, even then, he’d been at least as impressed with the man himself. His deep, sensual voice only made more so by his accent and sarcasm; his darkly fascinating looks and complete unawareness of his effect on people; his astounding intelligence and wit; and his loyalty, because once Percival had returned with a firm offer of a business partnership, neither of them has looked back or regretted combining their divergent but complementary skills.

Credence is hard to figure out for completely different reasons. He’s a walking temptation which, combined with his virginity and doubtlessly unintentional teasing smiles, makes him almost more than Percival can handle; at least, for more than minutes at a time without feeling on the verge of spontaneous combustion. Or, alternatively, of kissing the boy’s beautiful, plush lips until he begs for mercy, or for more. He’s so painfully sincere and so grateful for every scrap of attention, and it’s hard to keep from overwhelming him with more attention than he can probably handle at this point.

Percival rests his head back against the tiles, with his eyes closed, trying to let the warm water massage the sexual tension out of his limbs. He only succeeds at having the echo of the water pounding the shower basin, and the way it hits the side of his neck and his cheek, resembling deep rumbling whispers in his ear. And then the warm rivulets trickling down from his chest over his stomach and groin put a sudden, vivid vision into his mind of slim fingers tracing over his hips and belly and wide eyes gazing up at him as he is allowed to slide between heart-breakingly beautiful lips.

It takes a couple of minutes, and hardly any shower soap at all, before he imagines himself spilling into an eager, if inexperienced, mouth, while dexterous fingers find their way inside him, and his cry of completion reverberates off the tiles.

Later, when he slides between his satin sheets, the sense impressions are just as vivid, even with his heartbeat and libido calm for now--he can vividly imagine long, lean limbs tangled with his and sleek dark hair tickling his skin as a head rests on his shoulder.

Chapter Text

One more work day before the party, and Credence has never started a shift more flustered in his life. He gets his apron strings stuck in a knot he can’t undo, then he drops a full sugar bowl and a container of milk on top of it, so cleaning it up is even messier. By the time the tall, dark, lubricant-providing shape of Severus looms on the other side of the counter, he’s sure he’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

“M-morning, Severus,” he mutters, knowing his smile probably looks more like a grimace.

Severus frowns at him; possibly, he looks worried, but Credence doesn’t fully trust his ability to tell. “Good morning, Credence. The usual, please, and for Percival too.”

Nodding, Credence ducks behind the coffee grinder and assembles the appropriate ingredients. His hands are shaking and sweaty as he gets started on the Witch’s Brew, and he has to blow a strand of hair out of his right eye.

“Credence… are you well?”

He looks at Severus then, because his deep voice sounds decidedly concerned, and that’s when it happens. A blast of hot steam shoots out over his left hand and wrist, and he’s too shocked to make a sound; the pain only kicks in a moment later, and he cries out and sways back.

“Credence!” That’s Newt, helplessly throwing his hands in the air.

“Find a container big enough for half his forearm and fill it with the coldest liquid you have handy--milk or water, ideally. Now!”

Credence is vaguely aware that’s Severus shooing Newt out of the way and pressing him into service. He’s turned around, his hand held under the nearest tap and cold water streams over his hand. When Newt returns with a deep bowl of cold milk, Severus takes Credence’s hand from under the tap and dunks it into the bowl.

“Come with me,” he commands, his right arm around Credence, his left hand holding the bowl while he steers Credence out from behind the counter.

“Should we call an ambulance?” Newt yells out.

“Don’t be ridiculous. He’s in perfectly good hands.”

Credence, while his hand and wrist are submerged, and Severus’ arm is protectively wrapped around him, feels just fine, and the words make him feel wonderful, burn or not. “I know I am,” he mutters.

Severus gives him a brief, surprised sideways glance as he walks him out of the Cauldron and straight for the pharmacy.

The moment they get inside, Percival is shooting out from behind the counter like a Jack-in-the-box. “What’s happened?”

“Hot steam.” Severus keeps walking Credence towards the lab, and Percival hurries past them.

By the time Credence realises the cold milk is no longer cold enough to subdue the pain fully, Percival has started a tap running in the lab, and Credence is handed over to his care. He hisses for a moment, and the soothing cold of the water runs over his red flushed skin. His elbow is cradled gently in Percival’s hand, and his other hand rests on Credence’s shoulder.

“It’ll be fine, Credence, I promise. Severus has the very best remedies for burns.” He’s speaking as if he’s soothing a hurt baby animal.

Credence smiles at him in a way he hopes doesn’t make him look too dopey and lovesick; either way, Percival is smiling back, and the hand on his shoulder lifts just long enough to caress his cheek.

Credence gasps and stares at Percival and, just then, the shop bell rings.

“Oh, blast!” Percival exclaims. He quickly says, “Keep holding the burnt area under the stream, I’ll be right back.” Once Credence nods, he hurries out of the lab.

Credence is amazed to hear him tell whoever just came in that they’re closed for a medical emergency for at least the next twenty minutes.

Percival returns within a minute and says, “I’ve flipped the sign to ‘closed’.”

“Good,” Severus replies, not looking up. He’s busily assembling a sizeable glass container of salve to which he adds something else with a dropper, a bandage, fastenings for it, and several balls of cotton wool.

Percival checks his watch. “Five more minutes,” he says, and he’s back at Credence’s side, his hand sliding beneath his left forearm and keeping him from having to hold his arm up himself. He’s half standing behind him, and now he’s leaning forward and brushing his hair away from his neck to look over his shoulder and inspect his burn. “Just pink now,” he says.

“Excellent,” replies Severus.

Credence assumes he’s describing his hand, but honestly, the description would fit all of him at this stage. Percival’s breath is warm against the side of his neck and the tips of his fingers are brushing against his skin lightly when he moves at all; they’re still holding his hair aside.

“Does it hurt badly, poor darling?” he whispers into Credence’s ear then, and Credence is convinced nothing will ever hurt him again.

“No,” he breathes, his eyes fluttering closed. It’s all he can manage in the way of actual language; he’s afraid any further words would simply come out as a moan.

“I’m glad. You’ll be just fine.” Percival’s voice is soft and soothing, and his face is so close to Credence’s ear, his lips briefly brush the shell of it as he speaks.

Credence simply smiles and tries to keep breathing, unaware any time has passed when he hears Percival say, “Pale pink now. And just over ten minutes.”

“Everything’s ready,” says Severus.

The water is turned off and a soft towel gently folded around Credence’s hand and wrist, and the pain he expects to return at once is no more than a dull throb now. He’s turned and led to the table where Severus is waiting and, before he can sit on the low stool beside it, Percival’s hands are on his hips and he’s lifted onto the edge of the wooden surface.

He squeaks in surprise, and Percival laughs. Severus, too, quirks a lop-sided smile as he goes and quickly washes his hands.

Credence’s right hand fists his apron above his knee while he lets Severus slide his warm, slightly damp palm under his left hand to lift it up. For a moment, he thinks Severus is going to kiss his hand better, with the way he contemplates it, but of course he’s just inspecting it before beginning to gently dab his burn salve into the red skin.

“Please tell me if this hurts, and I’ll use the cotton wool.”

“Doesn’t hurt,” Credence manages to say, which really doesn’t cover the wonderful sensations of Severus holding his hand while spreading something soothing and cool on the back of it. “This smells very nice,” he says softly. “What is it?”

Percival and Severus answer at once, “Lavender,” and stare at each other.

Credence giggles at their expressions, and they both turn to look at him with something like amazement. He blushes under their scrutiny and lowers his eyes, which only results in a deeper blush as he watches Severus’ long fingers, glistening with the sweet smelling salve, as they move in feather-light motions over his wrist, the back of his hand, his knuckles and over and around all his fingers one by one, before repeating the tour of the burn site with a new layer of salve.

“Credence...” Percival starts softly, his voice a little husky and his eyes fixed on the treatment when Credence glances at him. “How did this happen?”

“I--”

“It was my fault, I’m afraid,” Severus says with a sigh. “And I’m extremely sorry.”

“No! Not at all,” Credence protests. “I was being clumsy.”

Severus doesn’t stop his salve application, but he meets Credence’s eyes. “I was distracting you with my talking.”

Percival watches the exchange in astonishment, never having known Severus to talk more than necessary.

“You only asked if I was okay,” Credence points out softly, “which was nice of you. Thank you.”

Severus’ fingers stop moving, and he just stands there holding Credence’s hand and looking deep into his eyes for a few long moments before he says, in a near whisper, “You’re welcome. You were looking flushed.”

Credence ducks his head and says, with a sheepish smile, “I usually am when--”

“When?” Percival asks, and Credence meets his eyes.

“When you come in for coffee,” he says, apparently emboldened by the encouraging look and the grounding sensation of Severus’ hand under his. “Either of you.” He says that part so quietly, it’s almost not meant to be heard, but it is.

“Good grief,” says Severus in a low, husky voice.

Percival adds to this, “I’ll say.”

Both of them can’t seem to stop looking at Credence as if they’ve never seen him before.

He fidgets, trying to get up off the table, sure he’s shocked them both, but Percival’s hands rest on his knees. “You still need bandaging,” he tells him, and he sounds a little out of breath.

“Oh.” Credence feels his palms hot through his apron and trousers.

Severus wipes the excess salve off his own fingers and, with a quick instruction to Percival, who holds one end of the bandage to Credence’s wrist and presses it down with his thumb tip, begins to wrap his hand and wrist.

They’re both standing impossibly close, and Credence, even nervous and out of his depth as he is, can’t help feeling like he might need bandaging all over. He definitely feels on fire.

But it's not just their nearness, or how painfully sexy he finds them both. There's something about having the two men fuss over him, working together to tend his hurt and knowing just what to do. It's everything he's dreamed about, nearly everything, at least, and with them both so close he almost feels as though the rest is just a breath away.

Percival and Severus both seem to feel it too: the tension could be cut right through by one of Severus' fine little knives along the far table. And still Credence can't help but hold onto a trace of guilt, despite what Queenie said. Surely one or both of them must be put off by his divided affections?

"It's… it's just you're both so nice to me, and--" he tries to make it sound casual, make it seem perfectly normal that nice men might make him flustered to the point of self-injury. But at the look the two men share, Credence falters, uncertain where exactly he was going with it. If the steam had burned, it had nothing on the heat in that one quick mutual glance. He tries to change tack.

"S-- Severus, your salves are always such good quality, I honestly can barely feel any pain now."

Percival smiles on him fondly at the compliment and even Severus' lips quirk as he slowly wraps the dressing. "I wasn't aware you were a particular connoisseur of my wares," Severus murmurs next to him. "In fact, I believe this is the first time I've treated you with any of them."

"No, you gave me that one the other day and it's just per--" he cuts himself short, paling at his own words and the way the two men have promptly stilled. To his horror, he hears Percival curse softly, and he can't manage to meet his face although he can feel the way his eyes are locked on him entirely now.

Severus softly swallows. "And you… this complimentary review comes first-hand, or by way of your friends?"

The man is still holding his now fully-bandaged wrist, and Credence can feel his face heating shamefully at the words first hand. 'Oh, the knowledge came by way of my hand, alright,' he thinks.

But that's not what he finally manages to say. "Oh god," he breathes. "You… you both must think me so sinful, I swear. I-- you won't believe me but I've never… I mean, I've never even kissed someone, I even told Queenie, and--"

He feels Percival's warm fingertips press against his lips to hush his rambling, while Severus stands stiff and silent at his side as though waiting to be shot. Credence is so mortified, only now he can't help but finally meet Percival's gaze.

The man's eyes are black and wide, a pained expression twisting his heavy brows steadily upward and he's breathing hard. It's not anger, Credence realises, but it's something altogether desperate. He watches the man shoot a helpless look in Severus' direction before his eyes flit back to his face as if he's scared Credence might disappear if he looks away even for a second.

"Credence," he says in a ragged voice, and then he swallows. He presses the bridge of his nose between his fingers and then drops his hand back to Credence's knee. "Would you like a kiss, Credence?" he asks in a rough whisper.

He hears Severus suck in a breath, and his own breath is already shaking. He can't believe this is actually happening, but there's no way he can do anything but nod furtively as he lets out a trembling whimper. The answering movement happens so fast he doesn't even register--just suddenly Percival is between his parted legs and the man's mouth is pressed hot and searching against his.

Credence moans into the kiss and at the same time reaches with his bandaged fingers to take Severus' hand, either for moral support or simply to express his need for total inclusion, he's not sure. Either way, he feels Severus' cool hand gently squeeze in reassurance and it drags another wanton sound from him against Percival's lips.

The man seems at war with himself even as he deepens his kiss, hands hovering around Credence's face and settling indecisively here and there on his thighs and hips. Credence has never done this before, but somehow he understands that the man is caught between restraint and the need to devour him right then and there, so he laces the fingers of his free hand into Percival's hair and opens his mouth to him.

Credence is satisfied by the man's answering groan. Percival's tongue licks hungrily into the space he's made for it, and honestly it's better than anything he could've dared imagine. The better part of him is half-ready to goad the man into abiding his devouring urge, knowing he's absolutely safe in both their care.

As if in response to his own thought, he hears Severus make a soft sound and feels those long, cool fingers soothing over the hair at his temple. "Ah, sweetheart," the man whispers. That alone is enough to have Credence so hard he fears he might spill at a touch.

Percival finally pulls back, looking dazed and flushed, panting heavily. Credence leans forward, chasing after the broken kiss almost drunkenly. It's his first, and already he knows he can't ever get enough.

Gulping at the air and adorably blinking away his own fever, Percival smiles down at him cautiously. "Well," he ventures, "now that you've tried it, what do you think?"

"I like kissing," Credence gasps out, ready to beg another.

"And," Percival continues, "were you by chance hoping to try it with Severus, too? As a comparison, since you're so new to it."

He smiles again at Credence's wide eyes, this time with more tender reassurance. His trustworthy Pharmacist smile.

Credence turns his face and blinks at Severus, hopeful and questioning. He's astonished and pleased to see the man actually blush at Percival's suggestion. "Percival… " Severus begins, clearly refusing to believe Credence might want that, only to have Credence stroke his unbandaged thumb along the edge of the man's hand. He takes in a shocked little breath to see Severus briefly close his eyes and lightly shudder.

"Severus," Percival says softly. "It's okay. We all… we all quite like each other here. Don't we, Credence?"

Credence nods his head in eager agreement and shifts himself slightly to better face Severus on the edge of the table. "Please, Severus," he pleads gently. "Please kiss me. I've wanted you to for so long."

Severus looks at him then as though he's absolutely lost. "Oh, hell," he breathes and then steps close enough to duck his head and run his lips feather-light against Credence's own. Credence gasps. "Ohhh… " he croaks. He leans forward and parts his lips, stoked up to something desperate and needy with just that one grazing touch. Severus crowds him in and nips against his swollen bottom lip, pulls back, then after a second swipes his tongue against the spot still tingling from his bite. Credence tilts his head back and bleats out a pleading sound. "Patience," Severus chides in a low voice.

Percival tsks, watching the little game play out. "Come now, Severus," he chuckles lightly. "Don't tease the boy, he likes you."

At this, Credence raises his head back into a nod and looks at Severus with wide, desperate eyes, his lips parted.

Severus slides a slender hand around the side of his neck then, the faint remaining lavender scent teasing Credence’s inflamed senses further and making his nostrils flare. “Your lips…” Severus says, his voice deeper than ever and his eyes fixed on them. “As if you’ve been kissed for hours.”

Before Credence can say he wants to be kissed for hours, please, that sensual mouth is finally on his, and with exquisite tenderness. Severus breathes out against the parted lips just as Credence breathes in, and it’s the gentlest, sweetest exchange Credence can imagine. His soft sob is stilled by the way Severus tilts his head, a little, to fit them together even more perfectly. The sleek black hair slides against his overheated cheek like cool silk, and Credence wants to feel it run through his fingers as he did Percival’s hair. So he reaches into it, panicking for a moment when Severus removes his hand from the side of his neck at once, but then he feels it elsewhere, in the small of his back, a gentle pressure to match that of the tongue tip lightly nudging his.

The needy little sound Credence makes is echoed by something more wild from Percival, and Credence wishes he had a free, uninjured hand to pull him closer now as he did Severus earlier. All he can do is widen his legs in hopes his knee will nudge Percival and let him know to please, please be close.

The movement does that and more. It brings Severus harder up against him and Percival’s hand slides up his right thigh.

Credence moans helplessly into the kiss now, his fingers twisting a little in his hair, then stroking soothingly against Severus’ scalp. “Sorry,” he gasps.

“Do that again,” is Severus’ growling response, and he obeys, shaken to the core by that growl.

Percival’s hand tightens on his thigh, in response to the sudden charge infusing the thus far tender kiss. It seems to travel through all three of them with equal force as though they’re a perfect electrical circuit.

When Severus releases the panting, slick lips at last, he stares at Credence in wonder, then at Percival, as if he’s wondering how the man is taking it.

“You…” Credence tries to speak, feeling as if his mouth has forgotten how to do anything but kiss now. “You… two, too,” he babbles. Then a giddy little sound escapes his lips. “Want… watch--” He gives up talking then.

“You want to watch us kiss too, darling?” Percival asks, smiling at Credence, his eyes already drifting towards Severus’ lips, which look more relaxed than ever.

“Yes!” Credence nods eagerly, glad he’s made himself understood. His right hand drops to rest on top of Percival’s now, high up on his thigh, and his bandaged left one lightly rests against Severus’ arm.

Severus is looking at Percival with undeniable want, and Percival teases, “Are you going to show me how you scrambled up Credence’s words, my friend?”

In response, the hand not still on Credence’s back pulls Percival forward until he’s close enough for an arm to wrap around his middle, and then they’re kissing, neither letting go of Credence who watches, spellbound, as they adjust to each other, faces tilting for a perfect angle, the odd glimpse of a tongue and the sounds of moans driving him mad. He realises they’ve both held back for his sake, to not overwhelm him. Part of him is touched by their sweet, tender concern, and part of him wants to make them lose control, both of them. He wants, desperately, to be devoured.

His need expresses itself in a long, soft moan, and they stop kissing at once, swaying unsteadily even as they refocus on him.

“Our patient needs attention,” Severus rasps out. This time, no one needs to coax him into leaning in and… no, he’s not kissing Credence’s open, tempting mouth. He nudges against the sharp jaw from underneath with his nose, and his lips fasten on Credence’s neck an inch at a time.

Ohhh!” Credence gasps out, arching his neck into the kisses, his head falling back only to be cradled in Percival’s palm. “Percival,” he whispers pleadingly, missing the hand on his thigh but loving it in his hair. “I feel so…” He doesn’t know how to explain that he feels utterly unhinged and feverish from their attentions.

“I know… I know, baby,” Percival soothes him, his wonderful lips brushing his temple.

Credence turns his face further to the side until his cheek rests in the palm, his lips breathing against the inside of Percival’s wrist, making his pulse race.

Severus, having finished tasting all of Credence’s long neck, looks at them both then, smiling secretively. He turns Credence’s face towards himself and begins to lick at the corner of his mouth, tongue tip nudging his lips apart a little.

A half moan, half exhale spills from them, and Severus’s left hand reaches to wrap around the back of Percival’s neck and draw him close, and Percival understands without a word. With his nose brushing Credence’s hot cheek, he licks at the left corner of his mouth, which falls open.

Credence is shivering all over, with two tongues now teasing at his lips, venturing a little way into his mouth by turns, playing with each other whenever he needs a moment to gasp in a gulping breath. He tentatively lets his own tongue join in the play.

There’s a low groan, and the hand in the small of his back pulls him forward until he can feel Severus hard against his thigh, and Percival’s hand shifts until his knuckles brush over the bulge straining against his own trousers and apron.

“Fuck, darling,” the man gasps into two open mouths.

Credence cries out needily, unable to form words and unwilling to disrupt the hot, wet play of their tongues against each other. He thinks suddenly of poor Percival's aching arousal--the only one now remaining completely unattended and he whimpers in empathy as if it were himself left wanting.

His nerves are a distant memory now, with only instinct and want left to guide him. With his right hand he reaches out and slides the uninjured fingers between Percival's legs, cupping the erection visibly straining the fabric of his trousers.

Against his lips, Percival hisses and lets out a curse even as he pushes forward into Credence's searching palm. The encouragement works wonders for his sense of daring, and almost beyond his control, he bucks up against the brush of Percival's knuckles in return, pleading silently for more. His sudden motion inadvertently presses Severus even harder against his thigh, causing the man to moan low.

Credence feels a shudder run through him, head to toe, at the sounds he's gotten out of them. He wants to hear more, more soft little swears and endearments, more bitten-off groans. Severus pulls back briefly, eyes pitch black and glittering, glancing at Credence's hand between Percival's legs. "Eager little thing," he murmurs with a hint of a smile before pressing the softest of kisses to the side of his throat.

"Isn't he, though?" Percival gasps out, looking to Severus with a bewildered expression, eyes bright. "Fuck… Severus," he breathes. "It's-- Credence, you're so good, god…"

Severus reaches out and runs a soothing hand against Percival's hair, chuckling softly into the crook of Credence's neck even as he does it. It's the first time he's ever heard the man laugh, a strange thing to think when Credence has him nearly rutting into the meat of his spread thighs. "I think you've quite broken him already, my dear boy," Severus whispers conspiratorially against his ear.

Credence can barely think to respond. As it is, his mind is screaming along with every cell in his body touch me touch me touch me. Somewhere in the back of it all, he's aware that he's meant to be working, and that he's currently dressed for it.

"I'm…. oh, my uniform…" he manages to stammer out. He fists his free hand in the folds of the black apron and pulls it upward, wordlessly pleading with either of them to take mercy on him, and soon. Even the brush of the fabric against his black trousers is excruciating.

"Oh dear," Severus says. His eyes somehow, impossibly, seem to have darkened further. "Have we reached a… critical point?"

"Yes," Percival grits out, though the question wasn't aimed at him. It doesn't matter; he's spoken for everyone. Credence slides his thigh coaxingly against Severus, this time with intention, thrilled to see the man bite his own lip before promptly catching Credence's mouth in a searing, consuming kiss. Finally.

"I believe you're both right," he pants out after breaking the kiss again. Credence can see his beautiful mind working, solving everything. Taking care of them. "Percival," he says after a second or two. "I'm going to nip off for just a moment to check in on our 'Do Not Disturb.' I'm sure no one at the door will be foolish enough to argue with me on the matter."

Percival is nodding in time with Credence, stepping forward to replace Severus between Credence's open legs for the time being. "I'll keep this one entertained, but we'll be waiting for you." He smiles down at Credence warmly, smirking at the way his bandaged fingers keep longingly straying to the button at the waist of his trousers. "Won't we, baby boy?"

"Mhmm," Credence answers, nuzzling his cheek into Percival's stroking palm. "Please be quick, Severus."

Severus curtly nods and watches them a moment as though it physically pains him to leave them. Then he turns, opening the door just enough to sweep through it, but before he goes he stops once more with his hand on the frame and glances back. "And Percival?" he says.

"Mhmm?" Percival is nipping at Credence's ear, whispering heated words there in between soft nibbles.

"Don't you dare bring him off without me," Severus warns.

“Oh god!” Credence whispers, unable to believe, still, that Severus would speak like that.

Percival chuckles. “Better hurry then,” he says, which may or may not have been heard by Severus, but it certainly was by Credence, who looks at him wide-eyed, licking his kiss swollen lips. “Let’s get this apron off you, baby,” Percival murmurs, and does just that. He flings it on a nearby shelf and tucks his fingers behind the waistband of Credence’s trousers, giving him a teasing smile while he draws him to the very edge of the table. There’s barely enough room between them for his hand to move, but it takes him no time at all to work open the button and zip.

Sighing with the partial relief of pressure, Credence smiles at him gratefully.

“You know,” Percival tells him between kisses to his cheek, “I’ve imagined you in nothing but that apron. And your little pointy hat, of course.”

Credence bites off a gasp of stunned surprise at that, noting Percival makes no move to remove his hat now. He looks down when Percival starts to peel his trousers over his hips, lifting one at a time, and helps by holding onto his shoulders.

“Good boy,” Percival praises, while he slides the trousers and underwear down off his bottom, both hands ending up beneath Credence’s bare arse. The sound the boy makes at the sensation has Percival swearing softly while he closes his eyes and leans their foreheads together.

There are faint voices out in the shop, but neither of them is capable of analysing to whom Severus is speaking.

“Want to be good for you. For you both,” Credence whispers against Percival’s lips.

“Baby boy, you’re the very best that’s ever happened, to either one of us,” Percival tells him, punctuating that with a brief, soft kiss for emphasis.

“Yeah?” Credence breathes, heartbreakingly hopeful.

“Oh yes,” confirms Severus, closing the door behind himself. When he walks around the table, his eyes drop to the extra skin on display and the way Percival is leaning into Credence, looking frankly overwhelmed. He raises a hand and strokes it over the back of Percival’s head, and receives a grateful look from him and a downright adoring one from Credence.

“Your fuzzy-haired friend came to check on you,” Severus tells Credence.

“Oh no!” Credence shifts as if to climb off the table, but only ends up pressed half naked into a fully clothed Percival, leading both of them to groan in unison.

Severus chuckles darkly. “You’re not going anywhere until you’re well taken care of,” he says with dark promise, “which is what I told your friend, too.”

“I hope you didn’t elaborate?” Percival asks, brows trying to arch.

“I said there were complications. Blisters. And that Credence would have to sit unbandaged for a while longer to ensure complete healing and no lasting pain.” He smirks. “The well-timed groan added a touch of authenticity. Thank you.”

Credence squeaks, but Percival only laughs softly. “You’re a devious man, Severus. I like it.”

“I aim to please,” says Severus.

“Prove it,” Percival tells him with a teasing smile, slowly and reluctantly stepping back, his hands only then sliding out from under Credence’s arse cheeks.

The soft, complaining sound of loss is covered by Percival’s and Severus’s reactions to Credence with his pants down around his knees now, his impressive cock fully hard, flushed red and dripping onto a firm thigh.

“Goddamn,” Percival mutters, swiping his hand over his mouth.

“Indeed.” Severus hardly has a voice at all, just then. “I was not exaggerating. That does look painful.” He looks into Credence’s eyes for confirmation and gets a nod and a sweet smile.

“Let’s not leave our baby boy in pain,” Percival says, both hands resting on Credence’s thighs to part them wide.

Credence gasps, unbalancing back onto his elbows. And then Severus moves around the side of the table and effortlessly shifts him back so that, instead of crouching between his legs, Percival needs only to lean over him and press his lips to the soft, wet head. He makes a pleased sound, and Credence cries out and arches his back.

“I don’t think we have very much time,” Severus says huskily.

Percival makes a sound of agreement, even as he looks up to try and meet Credence’s eyes while sliding his lips over the rim and partway down the shaft.

Severus, barely looking away, reaches for something on a corner shelf, and a soft click followed by the slick, wet sound of him coating his fingers in one of his potions, has them both looking towards him eagerly.

Percival reluctantly pulls off Credence, cradling his cock in his palm, and moans in sympathy with Credence when Severus slides his fingers between it and his hand to apply the slickness to his shaft. “I don’t recognise the scent,” he murmurs distractedly, mostly to keep from going out of his mind.

“Secret formula,” Severus returns in a rasp. “Never sold.” When Percival looks more intrigued, he adds, in a low, confidential voice, “Edible, too.”

“Is it now?” Percival watches the long fingers lovingly apply the edible substance to what is already the most delicious cock he’s ever seen, not to mention had in his mouth. He winces in sympathy with Credence’s gasping, shuddering moans and hushes him gently.

“Please,” Credence begs, pushing his hips up and his cock more firmly into Severus’ grip, inadvertently exposing his sweet, unexplored pink hole for an instant.

“Oh, Jesus.” Percival looks to Severus as if for moral strength, but he’s focused on his task. So he leans over Credence, and the unbandaged hand comes up and reaches around Percival’s neck.

“Kiss me again, Percival,” the boy pleads.

Percival is only too pleased to oblige, tasting every honey sweet sigh and moan at whatever Severus is doing to Credence. When he can take it no more, he abandons the plush lips for the sight of Severus crouching between Credence’s thighs and swiping a long tongue up the underside of his cock, while firmly grasping the base to keep him from coming just yet. When his tongue tip reaches the head, he laps at the gathering drops.

The unfathomably dark eyes meet Percival’s, and Severus makes room for him by shifting over. Percival realises he’s pulled Credence’s trousers all the way off when he hooks one of the boy’s endlessly long legs over his shoulder. He smiles approvingly, and their fingers meet around Credence’s cock.

Percival bites gently down on a pale, creamy thigh just as Severus leans forward and sucks at the head of Credence's cock, eyes closing in bliss. Credence yelps out a tortured little sound and twists beneath their hands, bucking up into the touches even as he leans his head to watch.

"Oh god, he's divine." Severus breathes the words out hot along his shaft, kissing and licking as he goes. His voice sounds as wrecked as Credence feels. Just then, Percival joins him fully in his ministrations, moaning his agreement, and when he pauses in his fervent sucking to bestow Severus with another passionate kiss, Credence can take no more.

"Uh, ahh! I'm gonna…." The pleasure grips him so hard he's nearly winded by it, feeling it come.

"Mmm, yes you are," Percival growls his agreement, breaking free of Severus' lips to wrap his own around the head of Credence's cock, already beginning to spurt. Severus strokes his hair and croons his approval, watching the convulsive flex of Percival's throat as he swallows.

Credence feels as though his spasms will never cease, stomach and toes both clenching rigid. After at least four hard pulses, Percival pulls off with a wet pop and Severus wastes no time in taking his place. Just watching them, just the thought of them has Credence's orgasm almost impossibly gaining in strength, and he's panting and whimpering loudly. Remembering Severus' earlier request, he reaches down to twine his fingers in the long dark hair and tugs, shuddering and thrusting up into the man's beautifully sensual mouth. Severus grips his hips steady in his hands and takes every drop with the deepest, most anguished groan, as if he's been praying for this.

Percival's mouth is pressed against his own again, his hand brushing back the sweaty hair from his brow. He tastes his own bitter salt on the man's tongue and hears Severus murmur wonderingly.

"Absolutely criminal negligence," he says, "that no one's ever even kissed such a perfect creature until now."

Chapter Text

Almost instantly, though dazed and dreamy in his post-coital euphoria, Credence blinks up at Percival's smiling face. "Y-- you guys now," he manages hopefully.

"Oh, to be young again," Severus snorts.

Credence’s half-lidded eyes drift towards him. “You’ve both made me feel so good. Want to make you feel good too.”

Severus swallows hard. He bends over him, left hand supporting him, right forearm resting on the table beside Credence, and his fingertips mirroring the movements of Percival’s fingers along his temple. His eyes sweep all over the flushed face. “So generous,” he murmurs and kisses Credence’s puffy, damp lips. They open to him eagerly, and he deepens the kiss, and his groan when Credence’s right hand fumbles for his bulge has nowhere to go but down the boy’s throat.

Percival watches them with a smile. “He really is our good boy.”

Credence whimpers into the kiss and, when Severus releases his mouth, he looks at Percival again. “I want to be. Please teach me… things.”

“Things?” Percival sounds amused. He starts to draw Credence up to a sitting position again, with Severus’ help, and sits sideways next to him on the table, wincing a little and adjusting himself.

Severus’ left brow shoots up. “Feeling a little pinched?” He looks pointedly at the distended state of Percival’s trousers, earning himself a pained chuckle.

“Please, may I…” Credence starts. His hand, which had fallen away from Severus’ body as he was pulled up, reaches towards Percival, his fingertips grazing over the hot curve of him.

Percival moans softly. “Go ahead, baby,” he encourages. He’s barely finished speaking when Credence’s fingers busy themselves with his zip and fumble clumsily. But then Severus is helping and, in no time at all, ten fingers are wriggling their way between his underwear and his straining cock.

“Fuck!” he grunts, upper body swaying towards Credence, right hand grasping at Severus’ shoulder for support. “Come here, Severus,” he urges, drawing him closer by fisting his hand in the black cotton of his shirt.

Severus closes what little distance is between them, and Percival’s hand drops down to release him from the confines of his trousers. His left arm is around Credence, and he rests his head on his shoulder while he draws out Severus’ long, slender cock.

Credence gives a little whimper, reaching for it with his bandaged hand, but his arm is grasped just above the bandage and Severus tells him, in a quivering voice, “No, better not.”
When he looks up at him with his well kissed lips in a pout, Severus almost relents, but just looks at him softly and runs his fingers through his long hair.

Credence mewls and tips his head, resting it on Percival’s, who chuckles. But his chuckle turns into a gasp when Credence’s and Severus’ hands fold around him, fingers entwined.

“That’s good,” he breathes.

Severus tightens his hand on Credence’s, beginning to move it up and down along Percival’s length. A moment later, he frowns and lets go, smirking when they both give him a betrayed look. “I’m just going to make this more pleasant,” he explains, reaching for his special lubricant.

“I wasn’t complaining,” Percival pants, but he watches avidly as Severus coats Credence’s hand liberally in the vanilla-fruity smelling substance.

"Oh Jesus, now I'm really not complaining," he says, feeling the extra glide of Credence's slickened palm. Percival huffs out a breath and looks down, watching his exploratory strokes in something like disbelief. Credence glances up to his eyes and bites his lip, both eager and cautious.

"Is this good?" he asks. "I want to make you feel good, Percival."

"It seems we have a very apt pupil indeed," Severus nearly purrs, crowding in and pressing his own forehead against Percival's temple. Now their heads are so close, looking down with avid attention like a trio of co-conspirators hatching some secret plot.

Percival groans. "You're right about that," he pants out.

"Well, then, Percival… I suppose we should teach him." He kisses the side of the other man's face quite tenderly, only to have Credence and Percival both let out a soft sound nearly in unison. "Go on and tell him what you like," Severus whispers against his five o'clock shadow. "I'm quite interested to learn this myself," he adds.

Credence looks up to Severus' face then with glittering eyes. "I like you both, for each other," he can't help but blurt out encouragingly. "I… I think about it all the time."

"Oh god, me too," Percival groans, just as Severus quips, "You little minx, do you really?"

The two men share an assessing look then, before Severus finally smirks. "A pair of minxes, the both of you," he says. Then he leans back in and tells Percival once more in a low voice, "educate us."

Nodding, Percival swallows and takes a deep breath. "If I can even talk," he says, and breathes in deep once more. "Uh, I like… slow, firm strokes… oh Christ, just like that… and then, just… just tease the head a bit as you pick up the pace…"

Percival drops his head back, closing his eyes and breathing hard. For a long moment there's only the wet, rhythmic sound of Credence's caressing hand and their collective breath. Then Percival whimpers out a small sound before his voice drops into another groan. "Oh, fuck… baby, you're a good learner…"

Credence, encouraged and more than a little proud, looks to Severus and smiles tentatively. The man beams back at him, reaching to stroke the back of his head gently, and his heart flutters at the silent praise.

"Yes," Severus nods, almost reading his thoughts, it seems. "What a good boy you are." With a glance at the blissfully pained expression on Percival's face, he smirks again. "You've reduced him."

"This stuff smells nice, too," Credence softly muses. "And he's… oh, he's so pretty…" What he's doing to Percival, the whole hidden magic of what's happening in this lab between them all--he's nearly hypnotised by it.

"It tastes about as lovely as it smells, I made sure of that," Severus tells him. Without any further comment, Credence decides to see for himself and curls down low enough to suckle clumsily at the head of Percival's cock, hoping it's even a fraction as good as it was when it had been done to him.

Percival yelps and a shudder powers its way through him. "Oh fuck! Oh, fuck… Severus, you need to feel this." He gulps hard, and his left hand drifts out onto the air helplessly begging someone, anyone to take it. "Credence, do that again, and I'll give you my soul, I swear."

"That good?" Severus tries to joke, but his voice has gone just as breathless. He takes Percival's searching hand and places it on his own slick erection almost without thought.

At that, Credence slides right off the table, his knees protected by a small rug. He’s clutching at Percival’s clothes with his unbandaged hand and sliding his mouth back over the head of his dripping cock without hesitation, making a sound of pure hunger.

Percival is almost sobbing, his free hand reaching down into Credence’s hair, and then he stares almost awed into the black eyes fixed on him. “Severus…” he whimpers, “I…”

Severus moves closer, keeping hold of Percival’s hand--which has started stroking him slowly--and resting the other on the nape of Credence’s neck, and then they both look down at Credence, who is suckling on Percival’s cock as if he can’t get enough.

“So close, baby boy,” Percival gasps out, “you’ll make me come like a fountain, better pull off.”

Credence makes a soft sound of protest, which only pushes Percival closer to the edge, and when Severus makes it worse by saying, “If it’s too much, we’ll share that too,” Percival groans out loud, fingers shaking in the soft strands of Credence’s hair and knocking his little pointy hat a little further to the side. He can’t help the desperate huff of laughter escaping him along with the first spurts, but Severus steals the laugh right from his mouth with a deep kiss while he comes and comes and…

Credence starts sputtering, staring up at them wide-eyed.

They stop kissing, and Severus gently nudges him off Percival’s cock, aiming it up and back, catching what’s left over the back of his own hand and letting it hit Percival’s shirt and part of his exposed stomach. When the flow stops, he pulls Credence up, with Percival’s less steady help, and cups his chin. “Open up,” he growls, and then he leans in to kiss him, and Credence makes desperate little noises when Severus drinks what’s left of Percival’s seed right from his mouth.

Percival can only watch, panting. Severus is painfully hard, and Credence is halfway there again already, their cocks sliding together between them, probably leaving trails on Severus’ immaculate black trousers.

“Well past your turn, Severus,” Percival says once he has his breath back, more or less, and the kiss stops.

At the look in Percival’s eyes, Severus nods and reluctantly releases Credence, who’s putting his hands down on the edge of the table as if to say, Stay put, right there.

Severus blinks at him but clutches onto the wood as silently instructed, watching helplessly as Percival slides down to kneel on the floor. When he looks up at him and winks, he gulps.

“And how do you like it, Severus?” He curls his fingers around the flushed shaft even as he asks, sliding them down so he can use his thumb tip to keep Severus from spilling at once.

“Soon,” Severus rasps. “Very, very soon.” He shivers when Percival, despite his words, just contemplates him for a moment, his fingers tracing up and down his cock as if he’s admiring a work of art. “Please,” he grunts out.

That’s when Percival takes pity. He looks into the dark, glittering eyes as he slides Severus’ cock deep inside, letting the red tip graze gently along the roof of his mouth.

Severus’ brows are drawn together tensely, his lips parted and gasping for air, while his nostrils are flaring. When Percival sucks hard enough that it hollows his cheeks, Severus’ eyes fall closed, and he lets out a pained moan.

Credence, whose right hand is gently resting on Severus’ left where it clutches the table top, stares at the elegant ecstasy of his face in silent wonder.

Percival tugs at his shirt, where it barely hangs down past his arse, and points to the table next to Severus, and Credence takes the jar and slides down beside him again. Their eyes meet, and Percival lets Severus’ cock slip from his mouth slowly.

Credence immediately latches onto the head with a blissful sigh.

“God, you’re a wonder,” Percival praises softly, his voice shaking, and he watches a smile play around the busy, perfect lips. He takes a moment to kiss the nearest cheek, then begins to lavish the shaft with the luxurious product.

Severus groans, aware now he’s getting the double treatment, and looks down at them with something like desperation. “Please,” he says again. This time, his voice is barely more than a low moan.

Percival strokes one hand soothingly up and down a tense, flexing thigh, and then starts to lick at the slick shaft, meeting Credence’s eyes.

The boy moans, as does Severus, and starts to lick at the underside of the head, his tongue tip playing against Percival’s now and then, both of them lapping at the more and more copious trickles of salty fluid.

Credence makes sweet, surprised noises with every taste as if he’s the one being pleasured, and it gives Percival all sorts of ideas. He thinks about earlier, about the way Credence was arching up on the table, putting himself on display for them a lot more than he could have known.

Percival nips at the side of the flushed cock head, coating it with saliva, and Credence takes over without hesitation. He’d praise him again with words, but there are other kinds of rewards.

Reaching into the magic jar again, slicking up his fingers, he starts to swap back and forth with Credence, and Severus is close, they can taste it. He tightens his fingers around the base even as he reaches down and below the loose shirt hiding the boy’s delectable bottom from view. When he slides his middle finger up and nudges, a little, then waits, Credence gasps but nods his permission, letting his morsel slip from his mouth.

Percival, looking deep into his eyes, sucks it into his mouth even as he starts to slide the single finger up into the tight heat of Credence’s body. The lack of resistance is gratifying.

This time, Credence just keens, eyes closing while he lets his head fall back.

Percival, rather satisfied with the reaction, looks up at Severus, whose eyes are already fixed on him.

“Are you…” Severus starts. The usual smooth confidence in his voice is nowhere to be found. He’s a panting, gasping mass just like all of them. “Are you doing what I think--”

Percival nods slightly, taking him deeper into his mouth, deeper, and then swallows.

Severus swears under his breath, knuckles white as he grips the table and floods Percival’s throat, groaning helplessly.

Credence, flushed once more, fully hard and whimpering, nuzzles up against Percival’s cheek as if to say, Me too.

When Percival draws back, a few streaks hit the rosy cheeks before Credence can get his mouth over the tip. “Sweet Jesus,” Percival mutters, his finger sliding higher and crooking almost accidentally, and he feels Credence clench around him even as he moans around Severus’ spurting cock. Percival would come again, if he was capable so soon, but his strength leaves him and he falls back onto his haunches; he sees at a glance that Credence has spent himself a second time, all over the polished wood floor in front of the rug. “Fuck, baby…” he gasps.

When Credence releases Severus, he sways sideways and is caught against Percival.

Moments later, Severus is kneeling next to them, staring at the mess on the floor and the one he made on Credence’s face. “Come here, sweetheart,” he says tenderly.

Credence leans forward, closing his eyes trustingly as Severus swipes his face clean with his fingers. Before he’s done, Percival leans in for a quick lap of his tongue over Credence’s cheek.

Severus stares at Percival, who looks almost sheepish, and Credence looks back and forth between them both and just starts giggling. The sound is giddy and satisfied and a little disbelieving.

And he's not the only one feeling completely amazed by the day's unbelievable turn. Severus slips his wet fingers into his mouth without a thought and licks them clean with a wondering expression. When he releases them again, he asks, "Have I died? I can't say I've been a terribly good person to deserve this, but…"

He presses the softest of kisses against Credence's forehead and then does the same to Percival, who only gapes at him with the softest look in his eyes. "We haven't died, Severus," he says, "but god, why have we waited so long when it's… I mean, this is… "

Severus turns his eyes meaningfully towards Credence, who smiles and has the nerve to blush bashfully before nuzzling his face against Severus' still heaving chest. "Well," he answers, "I do believe this particular little miracle has gone and broken the dam irrevocably."

"He has," Percival enthuses. "He is. Our perfect miracle."

Credence raises his head suddenly, eyes wide. He realises he hadn't thought of it all through the heat of everything that had happened, but now the question grips him with the familiar touch of worry. "Please," he says, looking at them both in turn. "I want… are we… can this happen again?"

He doesn't know how to ask what he wants to, but his meaning reads clear to them both. In perfect unison, both men's expressions fall in what Credence will later remember as almost comical shared concern before they rush to soothe him.

"Sweetheart, baby boy," Percival coos, "you didn't think this was just some one-time thing, did you? Oh, love…. "

Severus on the other hand, aims for something with a little more bite. "They'd have to kill me," he pronounces, and Credence doesn't know who they are or why they'd ever want to take him away, but he feels nearly faint with the relief of being so completely wanted by them both.

"It's true," Percival agrees, stroking his hair and petting his back as if he were an overworked puppy. "I told you, you're the best thing that's happened to either of us, outside of… "

Severus' brows raise in question, waiting cautiously to see what could possibly be as good as Credence in Percival's estimation.

Percival gives him a searching look before finishing his sentence. "Well, outside of finding each other," he says.

Severus' guarded expression promptly melts, and with Credence still tucked safely against him, he lunges forward and catches Percival in a kiss filled with years of heat. Credence cuddles in between them and smiles to himself, content to stay there like that for the rest of the day, crouched on the floor.

Unfortunately, someone has to be reasonable about things eventually. Percival, once freed from Severus' kiss, looks at them both with a stern slant to his dark brows. "New house rule," he tells them, "you two need to stop underestimating yourselves or I'm going to start taking it personally."

"Yes sir," Credence immediately responds, sweetly chastised.

Severus and Percival exchange sudden surprised looks at that, and Severus breathes appreciatively, "Oh, that's lovely," as though he's just seen his first tropical sunset.

Percival grins. "I hate to do this, but I'm afraid we're going to have to get up off this floor and start pretending to the world that we didn't just pleasure the brains out of each other in the Potions Lab."

Severus takes a look down at the state of their clothes, not to mention the floor. "Yes, quite." Then a quick glance at Percival's stained shirt. "You usually keep a spare set of clothes handy, for work accidents, don't you?"

"Yes, thank god." Percival smirks. "Let's just hope no one notices I'm suddenly wearing something completely different than what I came in with today."

Credence can't help but giggle again at that, only to let out a disgruntled little sound against being carefully ushered up off the floor. He leans a little unsteadily against Percival for a moment, one hand lightly fisted in Severus' shirt, possessively. "I don't want to leave you two," he pouts. Then, suddenly something occurs to him. "Your coffees! I never finished making them…"

Both men smile down at him over that. "We could probably use the pick-me-up at this point," Percival opines. "How about this? We'll get dressed and I'll walk you back to work, so I can explain about your… injury, and I'll return to Severus with the coffees."

"Okay," Credence nods, letting Severus lift his feet one by one and slide his discarded pants up over his legs like dressing a small child. Percival holds him steady as Severus zips and buttons him carefully, turning him gently to replace his apron and tie up it's flouncy bow.

Credence holds onto Percival's shoulders and smiles dreamily at his warm gaze, and the fussy care with which Severus puts him all together again. He's never been so happy, or felt so absolutely safe and loved as he does right now, and he can't help but nuzzle into the crook of Percival's neck to kiss and nibble softly--to show his appreciation.

Percival sighs and tries to settle the witch's hat on his rumpled hair. "Good lord, you're going to wear out this pair of old men, you know that?" he asks teasingly.

"I'm making coffee, though," Credence protests with a little twinkle in his eye. Severus has finished tying him up, and he turns to him then. "Can I have another kiss?" he pleads. "Before I have to go?"

"One more," Severus says, but he's hardly reluctant as he slots his mouth against Credence's parted lips and draws out a final soft moan. Satisfied, he pulls back and spins Credence around, delivering a smart pat to his bottom. "Now, off to work with you," he orders, "little devil's apprentice."

"We should make a drink called that!" Credence retorts, smiling. "At Cauldron, I mean."

Percival just chuckles along with Severus as he finishes the buttons on his own shirt and tucks it hastily in. "Come on, baby," he says and offers his arm. "I've got some explaining to do over there."

Chapter Text

Credence had barely been mentally present for the rest of his shift, but the cover story worked perfectly and served to explain away any of his dishevelment and distraction. He tried not to feel too guilty over Newt's concern and sympathy, and when he was offered the chance to end his shift early, he refused, to take the edge off the feeling.

The only real downside to that same sympathy was that Newt had already gone ahead and arranged for Queenie, Tina and Jacob to meet them at the end of their shift, with the intention of treating Credence to dinner and a little extra pampering. He couldn't exactly protest, even with Percival's disappointed face leaving him combing his brain for any possible way out of it. In the end, there'd been nothing to do but go along as though everything was still the way it always was, even when Percival's warm hand lingering over his as he passed the cups across the counter screamed otherwise.

The thought of being able to spend time with the two men again at least as soon as the next day's party is what carried him through for the rest of the day. That, and the scribbled phone numbers Percival had snuck into his pocket before leaving with the two coffees he'd (very lovingly) made for them.

The pharmacy had been exceptionally busy after the not-so-brief emergency closure, and not only that, it had closed earlier than Cauldron. All he'd had of the two men, besides their morning tryst, was a pair of glimpsed smiles and matching regretful waves as they left together out the double doors nearest Cauldron's entrance.

After that, Credence had done his utmost not to make a pest of himself, worried there might be some unspoken rules regarding how soon one is meant to reach out after a first "date," so to speak. He supposed Queenie would know all about it, but he was loathe to speak to her too soon after everything, wanting to keep his experience a secret between himself and the other two men for at least a little while longer. As it was, it had taken nearly all of his energy to keep his poker face in tact around his friends all evening. The excuse of his injured hand would only go so far to cover his odd behavior, after all.

He made it all the way to bed time, then lay there for a good half hour just going over everything in his mind, all the things they'd done together, each little touch and taste. It was all so new, and even still, every cell in his body seemed to scream to be near the two men as soon as possible. Thirty minutes of this, and then he gave in and picked up his phone from the bedside table, opening a group text with the two new numbers in his phone.

Credence
Can't sleep :(

Thinking about you guys…

Within seconds, two responses popped up one right after the other.

Severus
Oh, thank God I'm not the only one.

Percival
Are you kidding me? I'm so hard right now, if either of you tried what you did earlier today, you'd chip a tooth.

Credence
😂🍆💦😁
(laughing smiley, eggplant, splash, toothy grin)

Severus
Good lord, you've reduced the boy to hieroglyphics, Percival.

Credence
I'm looking forward to seeing you both at the party tomorrow. I'll be wearing something I'm a little self conscious about, tbh.

Percival
Oh?

Severus
Now this sounds promising…

Credence
I can't show you yet, it's a surprise!

Percival
And to think, here we were hoping this party might be a chance to get to know you a little better ;)

Credence
Maybe I should injure myself at work more often! lol.

Severus
Absolutely not.

Percival
Not unless by ‘injury’ you mean falling into our arms.

Credence
😖
(dopey smile emoji)

Severus
You’re a little charmer, Credence, and you, Percival, a hopeless romantic.

Percival
It’s the company I keep of late.

Credence
I don't want to sound weird or too much…

Severus
Nonsense. Besides, no one does "weird" as well as I do. Please go on…

Percival
Oh love, you're never too much. Not possible. What is you want to say, baby?

Credence
I just… I wish we were all curled up in bed together right now. I really wanted to spend more time with you, but I couldn't get away from my friends.

I know I'm supposed to play it cool or something, but I just want to be honest 😓
(worry face)

Severus
Please don't "play it cool," I absolutely won't abide that. We're all well beyond cool at this point.

Percival
Credence, I want you in my bed right now. I've been pouting all night like a child whose candy has been snatched away.

Severus
We love how absolutely earnest you are, believe me. So refreshing.

Credence
Really? 😳 (blush)
I feel all hot all over and I can't wait to see you both. It just feels good that I can say these things.

Percival
Oh god, Credence, if you want to tell us how "hot all over" you feel, I will NEVER stop you.

Severus
Getting through the rest of tomorrow is going to be an absolute chore. I'll be needing at LEAST three Witch's Brews.

Percival
Credence, please do pop into the pharmacy before your shift starts, if you can manage it. I have a feeling we'll all be quite desperate to say "hello" by then.

Credence
Please! I won't be able to make it until the party if I don't at least get to steal a few kisses!

Severus
I fear this may turn into quite a different sort of chat if we're not careful here…

Credence
I'm not sure I want to be "too" careful, but the sooner we sleep, the sooner I'll be kissing you for real. Both of you <3

Percival
I'm pleased at what a clever boy you are and somehow I'm still pouting at the same time lol

Severus
BED, the lot of us. And then we grit our teeth through this bore of a costume party until we can hide ourselves away together uninterrupted.

Credence
I've decided that's what I'm going to dream about tonight :)

Goodnight kisses for you both 💋 (kiss)

Severus
Goodnight, little minx.

Percival
It's the good MORNING kisses I'm looking forward to. Goodnight, my loves.

None of them had an abundance of sleep that night, but this doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm for getting up and going to work on Sunday morning. In fact, it’s fair to say they have never been more eager.

Severus, certain he will make it to the pharmacy first, stares in disbelief when he sees Percival has already opened up the shop, but left the ‘closed’ sign in place. The shop is, after all, not due to open for nearly half an hour.

Credence left earlier to catch a faster bus, but nearly missed it because he had to run back for the bag containing his skimpy costume. Even so, he stumbles into the pharmacy mere moments after Severus, who still has one arm inside his long coat. “I’m here!” he pants, having run all the way from the bus stop.

“Thank goodness for that!” Severus exclaims, while Percival hurries around the counter, and Severus’ coat-less arm is already pulling Credence close, so Percival just slides one arm around him too, and the other underneath Severus’ coat, and they hug each other for a long moment.

Credence’s head is on Severus’ chest and he softly complains into Percival’s clavicle, “That night was too long.” He purrs when a soft kiss is placed on the crown of his head.

“Much too long,” Percival agrees, and then he tilts his head and kisses him as if it’s been a month rather than a night.

Credence whimpers, and the bag slides from his hand. So he uses it more productively, reaching around Percival’s neck and clinging onto him. When he feels Severus’ lips on the back of his neck, a shiver runs down his entire body, his arm tightening on the taller man’s waist.

“We should take this out of the direct line of sight into the shop,” Severus suggests eventually.

Percival releases Credence’s mouth with great reluctance. “Probably wise,” he agrees. He reaches down and picks up Credence’s bag, looking up when he hears Credence giggle, and blinks when he finds him halfway across the shop, being carried by Severus--long legs wrapped around his hips. Laughing, Percival follows, and drops the bag off the moment he gets inside the lab.

Credence is sliding down to stand, but Severus doesn’t allow any distance between them, both arms folding around him while he swoops in for a long, deep kiss.

Percival moves up behind Credence, left arm winding around his waist below Severus’ and right hand cupping his shoulder while he nuzzles into the side of his neck.

“Ungh…” Credence’s knees buckle, and he moves his right arm back, over his shoulder, to reach for the back of Percival’s neck.

“My bed was far too cold and empty last night,” Percival complains to them both, his knuckles brushing Severus’ stomach, while his palm is stroking Credence’s.

“As was mine, and too big,” Severus is speaking against Credence’s lips while nosing at his cheek.

“Too… how big?” Credence’s voice is hopelessly husky.

Percival starts to worry that, at this rate, they’ll need to come up with another excuse to keep the shop closed and Credence locked in with them. The thought, and Credence’s interest in Severus’ bed, make him chuckle. “Yes, Severus, tell us--room for three?”

Humming, Severus seems to think about that, then thinks some more while nibbling on Credence’s ear.

“Oooh!” Credence’s head falls back onto Percival’s shoulder, and he goes for his cheek.

“Yes,” Severus finally says, “I believe so, but there’s only one way we can make sure.” He kisses the corner of Percival’s mouth, then kisses him properly when he turns into the kiss enthusiastically.

Credence presses little butterfly kisses to their cheeks by turns, his hands in their hair and playing with it as if he’s comparing textures.

"Does this," he says in between kisses, "does this mean we can all… stay together tonight?"

Severus manages to sound fierce even while murmuring. “I’d like to see someone try and stop us.” He punctuates this with a tender kiss to Credence’s cheek.

“The thought of tonight is what’s going to get me through the day.” Percival kisses along the sharp jaw. “It’s also going to keep me at least half-hard all day.”

Severus’ chuckle is positively filthy, and Credence just shivers all over. “I’m so worried about that. With me, I mean. I don’t think my costume can take it.”

“Oh god, I need to know what this costume is,” Severus nearly groans.

At the same moment, Percival says, “Not many could once you get excited, sweetheart. I hope it’s stretch fabric.”

Credence giggles helplessly, which turns into a hiccup when Severus’ knuckles graze over the currently bulging trousers at his hip, before his hand diverts around the side and lightly squeezes his arse.

“We need to behave, Severus, or we’ll get Credence fired for spending another half shift driving us mad instead of working his caffeine magic.”

Severus gives a long-suffering sigh. “I’ll behave, if I get at least a hint about this costume.”

“That’s fair,” Percival agrees, almost absently twirling Credence’s hair around his fingers while smiling at them both. “Come on, baby, just a little hint.”

Credence looks bashful, which isn’t easy to do with kiss-swollen lips and a hint of a hickey on his neck. “It’s… it’s green.”

An unexpected snort of laughter escapes Severus, which sets off Percival.

“A frog?” is Severus’ guess.

“An elf...” Percival muses.

Credence smiles and shakes his head. “No, you’re both wrong, but now I want hints from you too!”

Severus shrugs. “That, too, is fair. Black.”

Credence laughs. “You always wear black! It’s not a costume, if you dress as yourself.”

“He’s got you there,” Percival states.

“I won’t be quite myself,” Severus says primly, which is clearly far too amusing to them both, so he plays along, “even aside from hardly being able to see or think clearly all day.”

“We’ll all have that problem.” Percival tries to think of a way to describe his costume in terms of colour. “My costume is multi-coloured,” is the best he can do.

“A rainbow,” Severus guesses, while Credence pouts playfully, not considering that at all helpful.

Percival smirks. “Well, that settles it. We’re all fantastic at getting each other riled up in a split second, but terrible at guesswork.”

“Better than the other way around,” says Credence, and is promptly kissed for his wisdom, by each of them in turn.

Severus finally glances at the wall clock. “Well, my dears, I’m afraid we need to delay further exploration of our common traits. It’s nearly that time.”

“Oh no!” Credence reluctantly disentangles himself from their arms and reaches for his bag, while Percival smoothes and tucks his clothes back into place and Severus combs his fingers through his curls to tidy his hair.

"You'll come soon to get coffees though, right?" he asks with a touch of anxiety, even while he already knows the answer.

"Of course," the two men both state together at once before another shared round of giggles.

"We'll need at least two rounds today, I think, after how little sleep any of us seem to have gotten," says Percival. "Not to mention how little enthusiasm we all have for this day ahead. Severus and I will take turns visiting you."

"Oh thank god," Credence sighs. "I can't wait to see you, and then your costumes, and then, just… I just can't wait."

"We're all together on that one," Severus agrees.

Credence just grins. "We will be, together. I can't believe only this time yesterday the idea that either of you might even like me seemed unthinkable…"

Together, Percival and Severus make soft sounds of protest. Before he can hold them up any longer and make himself late in the process, Credence just shakes his head to reassure them he no longer thinks that way. "Please?" he asks. "Just one more kiss before I have to go?"

"How could we ever deny you?" Percival asks, his little frown of concern melting into a smirk. He pulls Credence into his embrace and delivers a parting kiss that leaves him loose-limbed and dazed.

As soon as he's released, Severus is there to take Percival's place, holding his face softly between long-fingered hands as he licks a tender goodbye into his mouth. "This day will be a test of all my strength, sweet boy," he whispers. "Until tonight, when you can revive me again."

"Goodbye," Credence says, clutching his bag to his chest and backing away as though he can't bear to even let them out of his sight. "Be… be nice to each other, in the meantime." He smiles a little at the soft growl that elicits from Severus.

"Oh, you minx," the man says by way of parting, sliding an arm around Percival's shoulders.

***

"I'm sorry I was almost late!" Credence rushes out to Newt, as he dashes back behind the counter to stash his coat and bag. "Uh, the pharmacists wanted me to come and change my dressing before my shift and make sure it's healing like it's supposed to."

Newt glances at him, untroubled. "Well, it's not your fault if they kept you. Besides, that's rather important, I'd say."

Only half an hour later, Percival strides in and even after everything they've done, Credence nearly upends a jug of creamer at the sight of him. Percival catches it at the edge of the counter just in time, smiling. "Our favourite patient," he says. "Let's not go for injury number two, even if it is just cream. Don't want you slipping."

Credence’s eyes widen and he looks around, but Newt is quite oblivious to anything other than the tray he’s currently assembling for table seven. He looks at Percival again. “What’s the cure for slipp… slipping on cream?”

Smirking, Percival tells him, “Well, that depends on the injured body part, but prevention would definitely be best.”

“Prevention?” Credence whispers.

“Hmm.” Percival leans further across the counter. “It’s best not to let cream get anywhere it can cause trouble. It’s better to put it somewhere safe and, if a spill does happen, quickly lick it up.” As if to illustrate the point, he swipes his tongue over his top lip.

Credence whimpers, his eyes fluttering closed for a brief moment to enjoy the mental picture.

“Credence, you okay?” Newt asks with a frown.

Catching himself on the edge of the counter, Credence tries to snap back into the present fast. “I’m good,” he croaks.

While Newt nods, shrugs and goes back to work, Percival chuckles. “You sure are. I shouldn’t put such ideas into your pure mind, should I?”

“Not unless you want me to burn myself again,” Credence says, but he’s smiling.

“Don’t you dare,” Percival tells him sternly.

Credence's smile grows a little wider. "I promise I'll be good." Then he leans in and whispers confidentially, "at least until after the party."

"Good god," Percival breathes, "Severus was right. You really are a little minx."

Catching another odd look from Newt, Credence works to keep his smile and his body language neutral. "I'll be just a couple minutes with your drinks."

***

Percival returns to the pharmacy with a cup in each hand to find the place quiet. Severus is in his lab with the door open and half an eye on the front counters as he works, half bent over at his bench.

For a moment, Percival just leans in the doorway and admires the man unawares, happy just to enjoy the freedom of being able to do so openly. When Severus finally glances up at him, he smiles softly and hands him his cup before raising his brows. "You're definitely going to be the one who goes for the second trip later," he says. "Otherwise, I'm at risk of just launching myself over the counter and having him there in front of God and the entire mall."

Severus takes his coffee and quirks his own brow at the remark. "I'm not sure I'll be in a much better state of self control than that, but I'm certainly not going to miss the chance to find out for myself."

After a few sips, he sets the cup down on his bench and sighs, looking to Percival somewhat desperately. "Percival," he says, "that boy."

"I know." Percival can only shake his head in a shared sense of wonder.

"I mean," Severus goes on, "he could be… he could be out with anyone. Painting the town red every night with some girl like the ones on the cover of every magazine we sell. Or some delicious little slip of a boy, for that matter. It's bad enough trying to wrap my mind around the idea of holding your interest for even a breath, but you and I are of a similar age, at least…"

Percival sets his cup down next to Severus' and glances over his shoulder to be sure there's no one around. "House rule," he chides, frowning. "No, don't roll your eyes at me, you're as bad as he is. As far as I'm concerned, I'm the lucky one here, and clearly I'm going to have to work double hard proving it to the both of you."

Severus smirks, a hint of something almost bashful in his look. "Well, I've seen how hard you're capable of working," he says.

Percival leans over the bench, bringing his mouth up close to Severus' ear. "Oh, you haven't seen even a hint of how hard I can work," he murmurs, pleased to hear how Severus catches his breath.

"That boy asked to be taught things, and honestly, I can't think of a better candidate for a little demonstration, Severus."

Severus, glad he wasn’t foolish enough to be drinking or even holding onto his cup, with Percival this worked up from his Cauldron trip, raises a brow at him. “Are you offering to be that candidate or to do the demonstrating?”

Giving him a positively indecent smirk, Percival says, “I’m flexible.”

Groaning softly, Severus reaches around his waist and pulls him hard up against himself, which means Percival needs to balance with one knee on the bench. “Are you really?”

“Why don’t you find out?” Percival drapes one arm over his shoulder, running his hand into his hair on the other side. He tugs, and Severus’ mouth is on his, stealing his breath. The talented hands aren’t being idle either, sliding down over the curve of his arse and squeezing. He groans around the exploring tongue and rubs himself teasingly against the part of Severus that’s taking a definite interest. His reward is a low grunt and the fingertips of both hands sliding down and inwards, over the seam of his trousers where it’s stretched over his arse cheeks.

Naturally, that’s when the shop bell chimes.

“Fuck,” Percival grumbles into Severus’ retreating mouth. He feels like chasing after it, the way Credence does, because Severus’ kisses are absolutely addictive, just like his hands and his voice and his eyes and the scent of various herbs always clinging to him. “Why didn’t I turn the sign?”

“Because if you did, again, people might decide we’re closing down for good and will find another business?” Severus sounds amused.

Percival sighs. “The advantage of that would be more playtime.”

“Yoohoo, anybody here?” comes an obnoxiously cheerful voice from the vicinity of the dental care section.

“Indeed. We should consider it. Alas, for now, duty bellows.”

Percival snorts, but grudgingly attends to the shop, which is mercilessly busy for the rest of the day.

Severus does manage to sneak out for a second set of coffees a little later and, while he knows what his reaction to Credence’s beaming smile is doing to his once empty heart, he can’t even guess at its effect on his face or his curmudgeonly reputation.

“I hope you’re being nice to each other over there?” the cheeky thing asks quietly after the exchange of harmless hellos.

Severus raises a brow. “We’d be a lot nicer to each other if people didn’t insist on trying to buy our wares.”

The boy makes puppy dog eyes at him, even while he’s smiling, and the effect should be ruined, but is not. “Not even a few kisses?” The lopsided smile he gets in return is all the answer he needs. “Ooh. I wish I could at least come and watch.”

“Better give me those coffees, minx. If I stay here too long, I’ll end up going back as worked up as Percival was earlier.” At Credence’s look of flushed and pleased surprise, Severus chuckles. “We still need to get through the rest of the day, and that party. Somehow.”

“Couldn’t we…” Credence leans very close. “Couldn’t we sneak off somewhere during the party?” He bats his eyelashes at Severus, who clears his throat.

“Well, that’s certainly something to think about for the rest of the afternoon.”

Credence makes a soft, slightly desperate sound. “I can’t think about anything but you two. It’s like a fever, but you have such good medicine and take such good care of me.”

Severus’ jaw tightens. “One Witch’s Brew, black. One Love Potion No. 9.” Then he adds more quietly, “And one promise that you’ll let us take very, very good care of you tonight, because you're such a good boy.”

Credence is smiling shakily, and looking quite pink. “Coming right up, sir.” His voice goes equally quiet. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

"Oh my god, is that…? Credence BAREBONE, that is a hickey on your neck!"

Credence--mid-spin in front of the mirrors in the back of the dress shop where Queenie works--stops. Turns slightly away, going promptly bright red. There's no denying it now, he knows his face says everything, even if he can barely let her get a decent look at him.

For a moment, he just stands there and lets her gape at him in absolute shock and befuddlement. Then, her hands are around his upper arms and she's steering him, with far greater strength than he would've given her credit for, down into one of the plush dressing room chairs.

He looks up at her bashfully as she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, as though steeling herself for some great and arduous task. "I need you," she says slowly, "to tell me everything."

"Oh my god, Queenie, I don't even know where to start." Credence is speaking through his fingers now, face in his hands and one eye peeking out at her. "It just… kind of happened."

"What just 'kind of happened'...?" she asks.

He drops his hands, one bandaged, one bare, and gives her a final baleful look before relenting to the inevitable. "When I burned my hand," he says, "I went to the pharmacy and--"

Queenie interrupts him with a gasp. "Did you make out with the pharmacist?!"

Even though the shop is closed and there's no one else around, he shushes her. She gives him an expectant look and he just stares back at her blankly, wishing she would simply understand and not make him say it.

And finally, she does. "Oh my god," she breathes. There's a note of glee infusing the astonished hush of her words. "Was it both of them?"

Credence simply nods and hides his blushing face again.

"Oh, Credence, this is big." Queenie sits down next to him, all seriousness now. "How did this even happen?" she asks.

"I don't know, I guess I just started babbling about how I like them both so much and Percival just kind of took pity on me and asked me if I'd like to have a kiss since I'd never had one before…"

Queenie starts to giggle helplessly and Credence doesn't think his blush can get any hotter now. "Oh, Credence, did you actually tell him that? You really must've been babbling!"

"Oh god, I really was," he admits. "But he was so kind about it and I think he could see that I'd really been working myself right up over it. And I just… I wanted the kiss so badly, I said yes."

"And then, what about Severus?" she asked. "How does he come into it?" Her voice dropped back down into confidential tones. "Do they both know about this?"

Credence is, for a moment, frankly shocked at the question, before he reminds himself that he's clearly full of enough surprises that Queenie is genuinely floundering to catch up.

"Oh, absolutely they both know" he rushes to reassure her. "In fact, I think… I think we're all kind of dating now.

Queenie only sits silent for a second, nodding to herself. "This is unbelievable," she finally pronounces.

"I think," Credence ventures quietly, "I think it's like you said when I got that rose. They both like me and they also like each other and neither of them knew what to do about it. And then when they realised I was feeling bad for liking them both at the same time…. everything just clicked."

"And everyone's… okay with all this? I mean, you're all on the same page?"

Credence can't help but smile, thinking of just how okay they all really are. His smile grows when he sees that Queenie is beginning to grin, herself. "Oh yeah," he says. "I feel really safe with them, and we're all just…. so happy about each other."

He looks at her earnestly then, and puts his hand over hers. "I know that you know how sensitive I am to dark undercurrents," he says meaningfully. "This couldn't be more different."

She looks at him very softly then before giving him a fierce hug. “Oh honey,” she says, “I’m so happy for you. You deserve someone who’s sweet to you and cares for you and shows you all the good things you’ve missed out on so far.” She pulls back and laughs. “Two someones are even better!”

Credence couldn’t agree more and tells her so.

***

“The first of us to spot him gets the first kiss tonight,” Percival declares, impatiently tapping the bottom of his glass on one of the long wooden tables, which are set up under the skylight upstairs at the mall.

Severus chuckles. He covers Percival’s hand to keep him calm, and gets an appreciative smile. “It’s amusing that he’ll be in green, considering that has to be the only colour you’re not wearing.

Percival looks down at himself. “Don’t you like my costume?”

Severus takes his time assessing Percival, starting with his black over-knee boots, his red/white striped pants, his long vest and loose, white shirt undone obscenely low. By the time he gets to his single big gold hoop earring and flouncy blue tricorne hat featuring a skull and crossbones and a single purple feather, he’s smirking. “I like it a lot, as it happens.”

Percival returns his smirk. “And I have to admit, considering the deceptive simplicity of this costume of yours, it’s certainly... striking.” He reaches up to loosen his collar but, with his shirt untied down to not far above his navel, there’s nothing to loosen.

Severus has swapped his usual black shirt, trousers and open coat look for a long black buttoned wizard’s robe which makes him look almost like he’s wearing a cassock, with a sweeping black cloak attached and just a hint of white standing shirt collar showing at the top. In his right hand, he’s casually twirling a “magic wand”. His dark hair is neither tied back nor in a braid, but looks as if it’s been brushed to a silky shine and is falling loosely around his striking cheekbones and jaw.

“You’re sure you’re a wizard, not a priest?” When Severus gives him a ‘look’, he grins. “Okay, okay, a wizard, but you know, considering you’ve already put a spell on me, just like our little witch, you’d find it easy to convert me to anything you like, too.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Oh, sweet Lord, we may need some of our own medicines tonight!” All of that comes out of Severus’ mouth almost in a single breath, and Percival can only stare as he follows his line of vision.

“We might both need a real priest.” Percival’s voice has gone husky. “If he’s meant to be who I think he’s meant to be, my thoughts alone right now require confession.”

“Likewise,” Severus croaks, equally fixated.

When Credence spots them, his excited flush is instantaneous, and it only makes him look more adorable and tempting. And when he’s obviously taking in their costumes, his flush deepens, and he sucks his bottom lip between his teeth and gives them a bashful smile.

“I swear, he’s trying to kill us.” Severus absently picks up Percival’s glass and downs every last drop while he takes in the sheer ridiculous length of the boy’s bare legs--bare except for the tiny green pair of velvet shorts doing nothing to hide how well endowed he is.

Percival takes the glass from Severus and tries to drink from it too, failing to notice it’s already empty. “I don’t know where to look first.”

The girl dressed as Tinkerbell immediately starts to flutter around one of the caterers, after a curious and far too knowing look in their direction, but the moment she leaves, the spotty flower delivery guy working for the mall florist makes a beeline for Credence.

“Oh no, we’re not having that!” Percival says at once, starting towards them.

Severus agrees whole-heartedly, elegantly both avoiding collision with, and diverting the path of, a girl he’s seen working in the stationery shop, and who seems to also find Peter Pan irresistible all of a sudden.

“There you are,” Percival calls out, strutting past the flower boy, “darling.” He gives Credence a charming smile, even while he worries for a moment that he might mind the public familiarity, but the beautiful smile only widens.

“Hello! I finally made it. Had a few things to talk about with my friend Queenie.” He nods towards Tinkerbell.

“Pardon me,” Severus smoothly tells the flower boy without meeting his eyes, sweeping him casually aside with his impressive robes.

The boy, who was determined enough to try approaching from the other side, not expecting a second attempt to be foiled, frowns and gives up at last, and Tinkerbell is giggling into the caterer’s shoulder.

“Well, now that we’re alone… you look absolutely delicious, sweetheart, and not at all like a frog.” Severus has moved in very close to Credence’s left, and Percival is making sure everyone to his right knows pirates are not to be trifled with.

Credence grins and whispers, “You two look…” He looks back and forth between them a little wild-eyed. “I feel so…” he tries.

Percival covers his hand where it rests on the table behind. “Do you feel hot all over now?” He can feel Credence’s shiver under his palm.

“God, yes.”

Severus groans softly, surreptitiously spreading out the cape part of his costume to cover Credence’s left arm and shoulder, and his arm sneaks a little way around his waist. “I know the feeling.”

Percival grins at him past Credence. “Poor Severus. What a good thing it is that you’ll have four extra hands--”

Credence holds up his bandaged left one.

“... three extra hands to help you undo those hundreds of tiny buttons.”

“I could have altered that costume for you with some velcro and fake buttons.” Tinkerbell pulls the caterer past while delivering this statement, winking at them; her boyfriend chuckles happily into a burger, unphased.

“Oh my god,” Credence whimpers, but Severus lets out a snort of laughter.

“I can guess what these things were you’ve talked to her about,” Percival says with a smile.

“You don’t mind?” Credence asks.

“Are you kidding?” Percival says at once, and Severus makes suitable noises of protest. “We’re extremely pleased you don’t want to hide us away from your friends. Right, Severus?”

“Indeed.” Severus looks around, finding more than a few eyes on them. “By this point, it would probably be a fairly fruitless endeavour.”

Indeed, Newt and Tina--dressed as a jailbird and a policewoman--are gawking at them too from a nearby table, where Queenie and Jacob are joining them now.

"Queenie saw the mark on my neck while we were getting ready" Credence explains, "and I'm really terrible at hiding things, so… that all came up."

"The mark on your neck?" Percival asks, frowning. Seconds later, Severus makes a sound of annoyance, head tilted and examining the spot in question.

"Percival, you absolute brute," he says. "What have you done to this poor boy?"

Percival makes a face of feigned offence. "How do you know it was me?" he asks.

"Well, I certainly didn't devour him like a bloody werewolf," Severus retorts.

Credence turns a feverish and glittering gaze on him. "Oh, would you, though?" he breathes hopefully. "It is Halloween, after all." He looks to Percival in turn and smiles shyly. "Please make sure to do it again, Percival."

Both men simply stare at him in stunned silence for a moment, until Severus clears his throat and shifts his cloak a little more pointedly over the front of his wizard costume.

"Feeling a little wolfish yourself, Severus?" Percival asks, and he tries to sound smug but it only comes out a little breathless.

Severus looks vaguely pained. "Thank goodness everyone knows about the three of us now," he says. "I could hide the way you both affect me, but I find I have absolutely no interest in doing so." He gives Credence a fond and searching look. "It's twenty nineteen, for pity's sake. We're three men who are terribly fond of each other and if anyone wants to take issue with it, they can go hang."

Percival leans into Credence's ear and whispers, "Did that just turn you on as badly as it did me, because holy Christ, Severus…"

Credence only nods, eyes wide and holding Severus' smouldering dark gaze. "Does this mean we don't have to stay at this party terribly long?" he finally asks in a softly pleading voice.

Severus smiles down at him, and Percival leans his forehead against the side of his face and groans. "Oh thank god," he says. "I'll finally be able to lay you both out in a proper bed rather than wind up in some musty closet again."

"My Potions Lab is not 'musty,' I do beg your pardon," Severus quips, brow delicately arched. "Although, I will say it's not nearly as well equipped as my home quarters."

"Equipped?" Credence whispers.

Severus leans closer and whispers back, "Experimental salves are a bit of a hobby of mine, I'll admit. My medicine chest is quite fully stocked with all sorts of tingly delights."

From very closeby, Credence’s eyes are fixed on him in absolute awe, and Percival has fully turned away from the crowd and is swallowing hard. “My dear Severus, it’s horribly unfair to have kept that to yourself all this time, and to choose to tell us about it here.”

Severus just smirks. “Is anything keeping us here? We’ve put in an appearance; what more can be expected of us, when there are far better pursuits awaiting us?”

“Oh god, can we please go now?” Credence begs, and Percival just stares at them both by turns and then grasps an elbow in each hand and steers them away from the crowd.

“My car, and your place, Severus. Do you need to say goodbye to anyone, baby?” Percival asks Credence.

He shakes his head, not wanting to waste the time, and especially not wanting to risk anyone looking too closely at the state of his costume--especially the lower half.

“Sounds good,” Severus says, already pressing the elevator button to go down. “I, for one, am in no state for public transport or a taxi.”

Credence just whimpers his agreement, while Percival guesses, “I don’t imagine many taxi drivers would appreciate us having our wicked way with one another on the back seat.”

“Too many pictures in my head,” Credence murmurs, tugging down his tunic tellingly.

Severus, noticing this, snaps at the closed elevator doors to hurry up and, miraculously, they open with a cheerful ‘pling’ a moment later.

“Oh, that’s it, you really have turned into a wizard!” Percival all but groans, tugging a half-dazed Credence into the elevator with them.

Severus just chuckles. But the moment the doors close in front of them, he’s on Credence, one hand around his nape, the other on his waist. He groans into his mouth when it opens to him with an eager gasp.

“One floor, then it’s my turn,” Percival tells them.

Severus releases Credence reluctantly, and he’s in Percival’s arms in an instant. “Well, since you’ll have to concentrate on driving,” he says, generously.

Percival grumbles in protest as soon as his mouth is unoccupied again. “I was going to offer to let you drive.”

“No thank you, I’ll be fine. Someone has to look after Peter Pan on the way.” Severus gives him a smile, which makes Credence grin and Percival sigh heavily.

“Why can’t you just fly us home on your broomstick?” Percival asks sulkily. He only realises what he’s said when Credence starts giggling helplessly and Severus gives him his trademark single raised brow.

“While it would certainly be up to the task, so to speak, of supporting you both at this point in time, I’m afraid the ability to fly didn’t come with the costume.”

"We're going to be on the security cameras," Credence says as another wave of giggles comes over him. Percival laughs out loud, glancing up, and then the elevator chimes again, opening the doors onto the parking garage.

Their steps and laughter both echo off the cement walls as they make their brisk retreat through the parkade, following Percival's lead. His car isn't parked all that far from the elevators; the locks chirp at their approach and Credence is being poured out onto the backseat with Severus clambering in close behind him.

As soon as Percival is in the driver's seat, Credence sits up and leans through to the front of the car to bestow him with a breathless kiss, feeling Severus' arms snake their way around his waist from behind at the same time.

He's shaking, he knows--not with nerves but with the eager exhilaration of finally having an outlet for all the pent-up sexual frustration he's carried with him like a weight, for years. His ma and the church never quite beat it out of him, and immersing himself in school and work had failed to suppress it, either. It had grown into something wild and hungry, and terribly overwhelming; now that he had not one, but two lovers to help him sate it, he understands it would have been far more than only one man could handle.

With Percival's tongue in his mouth and the press of Severus warm and close around him, he lets out a moan filled with something urgent and needy. He wants to be taken, every soft, yielding orifice coaxed open and plundered. He might have been shocked once, or embarrassed at himself, groaning in the back of a car between two men with his cock straining a pair of velvet hot pants past their endurance--but he's so far beyond that now. He knows these men now, knows their taste and scent, the feel of their calloused hands on him and he wants them like his lungs want air.

Percival is panting when he breaks the kiss, cheekbones flushed and eyes bright. "Credence?" he asks softly, a questioning look tugging at his brows.

"Take-- take me home," Credence gasps out against his mouth. "Please, before I come in my Peter Pan costume."

"Christ!" he hears Severus curse behind him as he draws him properly back into the seats.

The keys to the car clatter in Percival's hands as he rushes to get the ignition started. "You don't have to ask twice, baby," he says, "I'll be lucky if I don't make a mess of my own costume while I'm in the middle of driving."

Severus smirks and presses his nose to Credence's cheek as he carefully latches his seat belt as one might do for a small child. "Not that I didn't greatly enjoy having your arse in such a convenient position just then," he murmurs.

"I promise I'll put it right back as soon as we're home," Credence smiles, enjoying the way the man's eyes darken.

"Please," he answers, before kissing him soundly again.

The car is in motion, rolling smoothly up the incline out of the garage but Credence is barely aware of anything but the feel of Severus' lips at his throat and the flashing glances of Percival's hungry gaze in the rearview mirror. He's looking at them nearly as much as he is the road it seems, and Credence nearly envies him for whatever picture he and Severus are currently making.

Severus is making small, appreciative sounds against his lips every time they kiss and just the thought of unwinding this self-contained mystery of a man has every nerve in Credence's body aching. He loves the feel of Percival's eyes on them, and his listening ear, knowing their little noises are likely driving him as wild as they are each other.

He can't help himself, he draws the tunic of his costume up a little higher, letting them both glimpse the way his little green shorts hug the contours of his aching hardness. A spot of damp has darkened the fabric around the head and this time, Percival takes his eyes off the road just long enough to glance back over his shoulder; a reflection won't do.

Severus groans low. Credence wasn't being dramatic, he really does feel as though he's dangerously close already, stretch velvet shifting agonisingly against him with every tiny move, nearly as effective as a caressing hand. When he feels Severus' cool fingers steal their way beneath his tunic to seek out and pinch one pebbled nipple, he lets out a warbling gasp and grips himself hard at the base of his own cock.

"Oh god, I-- oh, fuck," he moans out with a touch of alarm. "I'm sorry, I-- I really think I'm--"

"Fuck this," he hears Percival hiss and the car swerves sharply with his sudden turn off the road and in between two darkened shops along their route. Even the feel of Severus bracing him steady against the sudden change of direction adds to the heat of his arousal, as does the thrill of whatever it is Percival has just decided is going to happen.

He leaves the car running and hops out of the driver's seat to make his way around to the other side, where Credence is still buckled in. The driver's door is only just swinging shut as he's already yanking the passenger rear door open, and Credence starts to shudder and pant when the man swiftly ducks down and pulls at his too-tight shorts with just as much determination.

Severus curses and groans almost as though he were the one about to be fellated in the back of a running vehicle, while Credence--fully understanding and just as desperate now--shimmies and lifts his hips to help expedite the freeing of his cock. He's still holding himself tight, almost afraid to let go, but his hand is in the way and he knows this.

"Let go baby, it's okay," Percival whispers in a ragged, husky voice, "let me take care of you now."

"We've got you," Severus croons and then his mouth is on his again, swallowing down the strangled squeal as Percival takes him in and sucks. The wet heat against his tongue, probing hungrily… the firm, wet, rhythmic pressure around his cock--even the steady rumbling of the car--all of it takes over him in a searing grip of pleasure and he comes hard, one hand tangled in Percival's hair and the other twisted in the folds of Severus' cloak.

Chapter Text

 

By the time they make it through the front door of Severus’ apartment in Dumbo, Credence has just about recovered from the sheer intensity of his frantic back seat orgasm, and is, for once, physically calmer than his two older lovers.

When the door closes behind them, and Severus turns off his alarm and flicks on his hallway light, Percival and Credence can only stare. He watches them with amusement as they carefully advance down the hall and into the living area, following them slowly.

They both look around in amazement at the antique, rustic furniture, the simple fireplace, the many rugs on an intentionally aged wood floor, the throws and blankets and books everywhere… so many books. There are hanging planters and window sill containers and vases holding herbs and wildflowers. Instead of fluorescent or LED lighting, there are candles and wall lanterns--the latter cunningly connected to turn on together. And separating the living and dining area from the wood kitchen is a long work station holding as many jars as the lab at the pharmacy, and herbs are drying from shelves above.

“I don’t know why I’m surprised you’ve managed to make the inside of a New York apartment look like a country cottage,” Percival tells him with a warm smile. “I should have expected your old world charm to extend to your living space.” He leans in and kisses Severus’ cheek gently.

“I wasn’t aware I had old world charm.” Severus holds him close while they both watch Credence take in everything. He looks like an elf, or a fairy, standing there in the midst of all the rustic splendor; a character from a myth or legend.

“I really should have told you,” Percival says.

Severus nods a little absently. They both realise at the same time that Credence has gone very quiet. “Credence?” Severus prompts gently. They walk up behind him where he stands completely still in the middle of Severus’ living room, looking on the verge of tears.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” Percival strokes a gentle hand up and down his back, while Severus caresses his cheek with his knuckles.

“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Credence starts smiling then. “It’s so beautiful and cosy!”

Severus very obviously takes a breath of relief. “You like my old-fashioned tastes?”

Credence looks at him for a moment, then hugs him tight, mumbling into his shoulder. “I love everything here! It’s a real home--it feels warm and comforting and safe here. I’ve never...” He sniffles softly into the dark fabric of his cloak.

Percival meets Severus’ eyes over his shoulder, and the look they share is full of a dawning understanding of the things that have shaped Credence’s lack of confidence and complete surprise at being wanted.

“It is, I agree,” Percival says, his voice thick and full of emotions. He rests his head against the side of Credence’s and, when the boy turns into his arms after another few moments, he holds him tight too, even while saying, “It’s a beautiful place, Severus.”

Severus struggles for composure. Then he folds his long arms around them both and just holds them for a couple of minutes. “I’m not an impulsive man,” he tells them, voice breaking a little, “but I think...” He takes a deep breath. “Come with me. You need to see the rest of it.” He tugs them both along, down the hall and to a sizable room that looks like a study or den, with more books and a rocking chair, and a reading nook.

“You have an actual library!” Percival exclaims, equal parts amused and envious. Credence’s mouth is wide open in amazement.

On the opposite side of the hall is the bathroom. The walls are lined with shelves holding candles and jars with all kinds of liquids and more herbs. There are thick dark towels and mats, and a large clawfoot tub beside a wood stove.

“Oh!” Credence says, simply pointing to them as if he can’t quite believe they’re there--in New York City, in 2019.

Percival blinks in astonishment. “This place is fantastic, Severus.”

Severus smiles a little nervously and leads them on until they get to the wood-panelled bedroom--which is vast enough to hold a large chest, multiple dressers, a couple of candelabras, another fireplace and, in the centre of it all, a huge, wide four poster bed with emerald green and cream coloured bedding and a matching canopy.

Credence squeals, then quickly slaps his hand over his mouth.

Percival looks stunned. ”Severus… holy Moses! You live in a comfort-sized castle.”

Severus starts to pace back and forth in front of the bed, not quite meeting their eyes. “As I was saying, I’m not impulsive by nature, but… you’ve seen all there is to it now, except the small conservatory off the kitchen, that is...”

Percival gawks at him, while Severus continues, “This place... “ He stops pacing and looks at them at last where they stand, speechless. “This place has become much, much more of a home in the last few minutes than it ever was, but even so, I’ll understand if you just laugh at me when I--”

“Severus, please tell us,” Credence pleads, surprising them both, and Percival nods his encouragement too.

“Very well. Now that we’ve found each other at last, I don’t like the idea of not having you both here with me. Not at all. In fact, I fear I can’t bear to be away from you for any length of time, so it would really make perfect sense if you were to both--” He looks at them almost helplessly. “Come live with me, please.”

Credence’s sob is heartbreaking, but sounds at the same time relieved, as if he’s been holding it in for years. He flings himself at Severus, and then Percival is there too, and both of them keep assuring Severus how very much they like his idea.

Credence fidgets between them like a flightless bird, and tries to somehow hug them both at once. Severus takes off and tosses aside his pixie hat and strokes his hair, while Percival murmurs soothing nonsense in between awed, grateful looks at Severus.

“You never cease to amaze me, Severus, you wonderful man,” he tells him, finding the slim hand on Credence’s shoulder and squeezing it.

“Likewise.” Severus turns their hands and kisses Percival’s, and then Credence brushes his lips along the knuckles too. “And as for you, sweetheart…” Severus leans in and kisses the sweet lips until they’re no longer salty with tears. “What did we ever do without you?” he whispers.

“We waited for him, that’s what we did,” Percival says, realising the full truth of the statement the moment he says it.

Severus gives Percival a long look before turning that same assessing gaze onto Credence. "I never once even contemplated being part of a… a sort of trio," he says. "I'm truly surprised to catch even one man's eye, if I'm being honest. But something about the three of us…." he sighs, seeming momentarily lost for words. "We're like a perfect potion: if even one ingredient were missing, the others would be lacking sorely for it."

"That's it exactly," Credence whispers, nuzzling into his side. "I was, I felt so guilty and bad about liking you both, and I think Severus and I are a lot the same… when it comes to not really believing someone might want us." He feels Severus pull him closer against him, a wordless agreement.

"But Percival," Credence goes on, "you saw all that was going on, that it was all just a lot of mutual good feeling."

Percival smiles softly at them both, running a hand over the back of Credence's head. "I did," he says, as soft as his smile. "I saw it and I felt it, and it might have been a bit clumsy and hasty, the way things all happened…"

Severus snorts. "I'm not sure there's some tidy, elegant way to go about such an unconventional situation as this, Percival. What would you have liked to do, hold a group meeting over it?"

"Well, he gave me a flower," Credence offers brightly.

Severus looks down at him with a smirk, which he quickly turns back on Percival. "Oh, you got one too, did you? The plot thickens."

Percival blushes, running his hand over the back of his neck. "You were the one leaving lavender and ribbons all over the place, so…"

"You put ribbons?" Credence asks, sounding more awestruck by that than anything else.

"Our Severus is quite the romantic when he wants to be," Percival observes, leaning in to place a kiss tenderly against the man's neck.

"You're one to talk, flower boy," Severus fires back, but his eyes flutter closed at the touch of Percival's lips, and his breath catches. Credence leans into Severus' other side and does the same, pressing butterfly kisses slowly along his throat. When Severus fists his hand helplessly in the back of Credence's tunic, like a drowning swimmer, he can't help but whimper back.

"Will you," Credence asks breathlessly, "Severus, will you do what you did in the car? Un- under my shirt?"

Severus tilts his head back to give them both more room, and Percival sends a shudder straight through him with a lick and a quick scrape of teeth. "Oh? You liked that, did you?" he asks, still somehow managing to arch one inquisitive brow. "I'm quite curious to find how sensitive you are."

His voice has gone husky and low, the sound of it alone making Credence already painfully hard just thinking of what this man--what both of them--might know how to do to him. “Very,” he says breathily, “when you two touch me.”

“Oh, baby,” Percival tells him, his lips not leaving Severus’ throat, “you’ll get all the touches and caresses you could possibly want. We’ll never leave you feeling unwanted.” He slides one hand under Credence’s tunic, and his palm is warm on his waist, his thumb tickling him lightly.

“Please, yes.” Credence lets his hands wander too, one clutching the back of Severus’ robe, the other moving from Percival’s shoulder towards his neck, where he tugs loose the ribbon tie of his shirt. He mumbles in protest when Severus takes a step back, but it’s only to sit on the edge of the bed, and he’s pulled down to sit on him.

“There was a promise of you putting your lovely bottom right back into my lap once we got home,” Severus’ voice murmurs into his ear.

“Mmm…” Credence closes his eyes, wriggling a little and smiling at Severus’ gasp. He doesn’t see Percival kneeling in front of them, but the hand on his waist wasn’t dislodged by the change of position, and now it’s joined by gentle fingers he recognises as Severus’ venturing under the front of his tunic, caressing his stomach on the way up to skimming his rapidly rising and falling chest. “Oh!” He shivers all over when a fingertip slides over a nipple from below.

“Very sensitive indeed.” Severus is kissing his cheek, while Percival pushes his tunic up. When they work together at pulling it up over his head, Credence helps, and then immediately tugs Percival’s shirt from his striped pants.

“Let me assist,” Severus offers, and he’s already pushing the sleeveless vest off Percival’s shoulders. He does so with his long arms encircling Credence, who smiles at the cosy awkwardness of Severus not reaching past him to make things easier for himself.

Percival pulls off his own shirt as soon as the vest is gone, looking almost bashful under Credence’s admiring gaze and the reverent way he reaches to touch him, trailing fingertips from collarbones down to his sternum. Then he meets Severus’ dark eyes.

“Percival…” he just whispers. He curves one hand around Percival’s shoulder, prompting him even closer.

Percival obeys, crawling closer on the thick bedside rug, until he’s pressed hard up against Severus’ shins, with Credence’s legs open around him. While Credence is still tracing along his stomach, unsure what to do next, Percival leans in and kisses the centre of his chest.

Credence sighs and arches into the caress. Severus’ exploring fingers return to play, too lightly, across his nipples, and he lets his head drop on Severus’ shoulder with a stifled moan.

“Not too much?” Severus whispers, then nibbles lightly on Credence’s ear.

“N-no,” Credence manages, “so good.” His legs part wider to accommodate his rising problem, which isn’t at all disguised by his tiny, bright green shorts.

Percival groans. He rests one hand on the border of green velvet and smooth skin and leans in to tongue at the nipple not currently between Severus’ finger tips.

Credence all buy yelps. His sudden squirming makes Severus grunt and shift to lessen the pleasantly dangerous pressure.

Percival has the audacity to laugh at the chain reaction he’s caused, but his laughter sticks in his throat when Credence’s legs clamp around him, and the boy leans forward to kiss him. Percival is still licking at the retreating lips when they whisper, “Please, help me with his buttons.”

He nods, then takes a moment to admire the twisting, turning, barely dressed form overbalancing Severus onto his back, doing his best to help by sliding the soft pixie slippers off Credence’s feet and flinging them back over his shoulder.

The ‘oof’ and grumble from within the thick bedding sounds far from genuine, and when Percival crawls onto the bed on Severus’ opposite side to Credence, he sees him lying back with the most relaxed and contented expression he’s seen on the dear, stern face outside of an orgasm.

“Time we peeled you out of your many layers, my dear,” Percival tells him and, after a quick conspiratorial smile shared with Credence, they both get to work on the long row of buttons--Credence starting at the neck, he at the bottom.

Severus calmly looks back and forth between them as they labour, his fingers playing with Credence’s hair and over the back of Percival’s neck. When they part his robes and descend on him with tender lips and caressing hands, he moans softly.

“You’re very sensitive too,” Credence murmurs gleefully, then proves it when his teeth close lightly over a hard nipple and make Severus groan out loud.

Percival makes a sympathetic sound, even while he extends the groan by curving his hand over the hard outline of Severus’ clothed cock. “You’re doing beautifully up there, baby,” he praises Credence, and they share a heated look across Severus’ stomach and groin.

“I con… cur,” Severus gasps. His hands are still in their hair, and he tightens them for a moment. “Please…”

Credence gives him a sweet, tender kiss to soothe him, while Percival begins to stroke back and forth, until Severus’ hips rise in a wordless plea as well. He quickly undoes the black pants and peels them down over Severus’ hips, the relieved sigh at being freed turning into a deep moan when his cock bounces straight up into Percival’s open mouth.

Swearing softly against Credence’s wet lips, Severus tries to ground himself by clutching onto him, pulling him up and tugging at him until he’s got him manoeuvred to climb across his waist, the once again hard cock in green velvet pressing into him. “Uh…” he grunts. “Credence.” He squeezes his arse, starting him on a rhythmic back and forth movement.

Credence arches his back, sucking his lip between his teeth as he rocks against Severus’ bare skin.

Behind him, Percival is cursing softly around Severus’ cock. He’s trying, and failing, not to be distracted by the sight. He sucks, hard, and Severus pushes deeper into his mouth, grunting and lifting Credence with the bucking of his hips.

Credence whines at the restrictiveness of his shorts and the sensation of feeling himself dripping and wetting the fabric.

Severus rests calming hands on his thighs, and Percival releases Severus for a moment to rest his chin on Credence’s shoulder and murmur, “Shall we take these off?” His hands pat at the low-riding waistband of his shorts.

Credence nods eagerly. He helps to push the fabric down as far as it will go, then leans forward over Severus, supporting himself on his hands, trusting Percival to shift and move him until he’s managed to peel the tight shorts down his long legs and off.

Severus is looking up at him bright-eyed and panting when Credence moans with relief at being fully naked and not in any way restricted.

“God…” Percival whispers, stroking reverently across Credence’s flank and hip, then along his spine.

Credence whimpers when tender lips kiss random spots on his back and flutter kisses across his arse cheeks.

Severus reaches up and cups the back of his neck. “Kiss me,” he pleads, and Credence is only too happy to oblige. He’s so lost in the hungry, desperate way Severus kisses him, it takes a moment to sink in that the other glorious sensation he’s feeling is a light kiss to his exposed hole, before he hears the softest murmur.

“May I, baby?” Percival asks, “I promise, I’ll make you feel so good.”

“Yes,” Credence gasps out against Severus’ lips. “Please, please, yes!”

“Oh god, baby.” Percival parts his cheeks and begins to lick at him--lightly at first and then, when the sensitive skin flutters under his caresses, he begins to tongue at it in earnest, the tip of his tongue probing at the rim on each pass, until it gives, pink and wet and opening to him like a flower bud.

Credence is moaning, pressing his face into Severus’ neck and letting him soothe him with long strokes over his hair and murmured endearments. He knows he’s dripping all over Severus’ stomach, and must make the most obscene picture with Percival worshipping him like this, and everything, all of it, turns him on so much. When Severus reaches between them, long fingers closing around his shaft, he almost comes on the spot; he would, if he hadn’t already in the car. Shuddering, he presses back onto Percival’s tongue, and it slides in deep.

Percival is humming, because he can’t talk and, now he’s inside, his right hand returns to pleasuring Severus, whose cock is red and twitching, leaking in almost perfect sync with Credence’s moans and gasps. It’s almost unbearably gratifying, making them both feel so good at once, and he drinks in the sounds of their delight as if they were secrets whispered to him.

When Credence’s breathing turns erratic, and ever faster, Severus whispers calming words to him, his hand sliding from between them and brushing his hair back from his flushed face. He moans when Credence nudges himself against him, over and over, chasing after his climax while trying to keep his movements subtle enough not to interrupt what Percival is doing to him. Severus cups his face and kisses him, his tongue imitating Percival’s actions.

The effect on Credence is powerful and instantaneous, having two tongues inside him is driving him nearly mad. He returns Severus’ kiss wildly, opening completely to Percival at the same time. He moans around Severus’ tongue when he comes, his semen pooling in the dip below Severus’ ribcage, his navel, and running down his sides.

Severus follows him moments later, back inside Percival’s mouth, gasping for breath and hoping it’s not too much for him to take.

It’s not. Percival’s eyes are bright, and he’s licking his lips, when he falls back on his side next to them. Then he smiles. As soon as Credence slides off Severus’ stomach and falls down on his other side, exhausted but flushed with pleasure, Percival swipes a fingers through the pool of come he’s left behind and licks at it. “You two are divine, and I’m the luckiest man on Earth.” He twitches up his brows. “And I refuse to get into any arguments about that.”

They both look at him tenderly and gratefully, and Severus raises himself on his elbows, his eyes dropping meaningfully to the damp spot on the pirate pants Percival is still wearing. “You also look like the most desperate man on Earth. Fetching as those pants are…” He reaches for the waistband, pulling Percival to his knees on the bed. “They need to go.”

Percival agrees but, before hastily removing his boots, socks and pants, he says, “And what about you, Merlin?”

Credence laughs huskily. “I’ll help Merlin.”

Severus snorts. “Oh, you will?” he asks teasingly.

Credence just nods, pulling and tugging at Severus’ elaborate costume until every shred of it flies over the raised footrest of the bed. He stares at the long limbs he’s revealed--they are, astonishingly, even paler than his own, looking absolutely elegant and dramatic against the dark green of the bedding.

Percival is a complete contrast to them both--the tone of his skin as warm as his disposition and his strength held within lean, ever-shifting muscles. He lies back with a sigh, almost lazily stroking his cock with a none too subtle sideways look at his audience.

Credence’s eyes are fixed on the flushed head appearing and disappearing from within his grip, and he’s licking his lips for the taste he now knows even while his wet, widened hole is spasming in hopeful anticipation. “I want…” he starts, then gulps.

While Severus reaches for something on his bedside table, eyeing them both with a smirk, Percival holds Credence’s gaze. “Whatever you want, baby, it’s yours, any way you want it.”

“Really?” Credence crawls closer, his fingertips touching the tip when it next emerges, coming away wet.

“Really.” Percival is panting. He stops his strokes, knowing he won’t last any longer if he doesn’t, and especially not with Credence looking at him so hungrily.

Severus is kneeling beside them, coating his right hand with one of his experimental balms. “This has a slight tingle to it, and it warms very nicely under… friction.”

Credence’s eyes widen, and Percival drops his hands at his sides. “That sounds wonderful,” he says, his voice shaking.

Severus begins applying the shiny, almost meltingly smooth mixture to his cock, using only light pressure to not end Percival’s pleasure prematurely. When he moans, Credence makes a needy sound, rocking a little on his haunches without even realising. “You want to ride him very badly, don’t you?” Severus purrs.

Credence whimpers, “Oh yes.”

“God, please.” Percival bucks up into Severus’ grip, his gaze fixed pleadingly on Credence. “I need to be inside you, baby.” He reaches for Credence’s nearest hand when the boy whines softly, intertwining their fingers.

“Now now, be calm, or it’ll be over too soon.” Severus chuckles. “We don’t want to disappoint our lovely miracle, do we?”

“Never,” Percival promises, clenching his jaw and doing his best to lie as still as he can.

Severus turns to Credence, even while his left hand dips into the jar beside him. He smiles. “Why don’t you start to climb on top of him, sweetheart. I don’t think it’ll take much, but I’ll prepare you some more.” When Credence nods and moves forward eagerly, he adds, with a smirk. “It’ll give Percival a moment to compose himself.”

“I’ll need more than a moment for that,” Percival counters. “Just look at him. Look at Credence.” He does, his expression as tender as it is wanting.

“You can do it,” Credence whispers, quite unexpectedly, blushing even while hovering over him on all fours, looking like temptation personified.

“Christ! I’ll do my best, darling.” Percival gives him a shaky smile, watching as Severus’ hand disappears behind Credence. He almost holds his breath when the boy bucks back onto the long finger he knows to be sliding into him.

“Ungh… Severus,” Credence gasps, back arching and mouth open. “More!”

Severus looks impressed. “Well, well… Percival has prepared you beautifully. He must have a very talented tongue.”

Credence nods his agreement, unable to speak with two fingers sliding smoothly in and out of him, and Percival glances at Severus. “You’ll find out for yourself soon.”

“Now that’s quite a promise.” Severus gives his cock another slippery stroke, even while he’s thrusting his fingers in and out of Credence.

“I love how good you are at multitasking, Severus,” Percival gasps.

“Mmm… hmm.” Credence is begging by pushing back onto the slick fingers. When another one is added, he gasps, his eyes dropping down to Percival’s cock as if considering how the width compares. “I’m… I’m ready, Severus.”

Severus crooks his fingers inside him slightly, making him moan in a way that sends shivers through both himself and Percival, but he reluctantly pulls his fingers out of the widened channel, spreading any escaping slickness around the rim.

“Get on top of me, baby boy, please.” Percival is reaching for Credence’s other hand, both of them trembling inside his as Credence slowly lowers himself, trying to aim while holding Percival’s fevered gaze.

“Allow me,” Severus whispers near his ear. And then his hand is there, guiding Percival’s cock to its sheath.

After whimpering at the first contact, Credence starts to breathe hard and slowly lowers himself.

“Relax,” Severus murmurs soothingly. “This is going to feel nothing but wonderful.”

“I… I know.” Credence smiles, breathing out with all the calm he can muster, and then he feels the thick, hot tip pop inside him. “Uh… Percival… oh, oh god!” He wonders if he should be more careful, even as he slides down a little further, but there’s no pain. “You’re… you’re inside me!”

Percival is holding his hands tightly, all at once providing support for Credence and keeping himself from giving in to the near unbearable temptation of thrusting up into the tightness. “I know, baby, I know. You feel so damn good.” He gasps and licks his lips. “Be careful, not too fast yet. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Okay.” Credence raises himself up again a little, then goes down a little further than before. “You won’t hurt me,” he says, with perfect confidence, and Percival smiles at him soppily.

“You’re both a beautiful sight like this.” Severus is stroking up and down Credence’s spine, getting a sweet smile for his calming influence.

Percival is smiling at him too. “And you, my dear, really are a wizard. This stuff of yours…” He groans when Credence slides down a little further.

Severus looks very pleased with himself. “It’s all about the friction.” He adds, with a tender glance at Credence--who looks transported by the pleasure of his gentle up and down motions on Percival’s cock, “... and the beautiful creature causing it, naturally.” His voice is deeper and more intimate than ever.

Credence moans and rocks a little harder, and Percival barely manages to unclench his teeth enough to say, “Severus, that voice of yours is positively dangerous inside a bedroom.”

Severus chuckles darkly at that. He leans in close to Credence’s ear. “I bet riding that wonderful cock is all the stimulation you need.”

Credence whimpers his agreement, but then swallows hard and says, “But your voice makes me so hot, too.”

For this, Severus nibbles lightly on his earlobe until Credence makes sounds more like a mouse than a human. He flicks his tongue against the pink flesh to soothe it. “Sweet boy,” he whispers. “Look at him, he’s coming undone under you. I think he’ll fill you up the moment you take him all the way inside.”

At this, Credence moans, staring down at Percival. “Yeah?” he whispers.

Severus hums in confirmation. “He won’t be able to help himself. You felt so good even on my fingers. I can’t imagine the pleasure of being fully inside you.”

“Credence…” Percival is all but whimpering his name, his palms growing damp and his face flushing as if he has a fever. “Have mercy, please, if you can, I… I won’t last much longer.” He bites off a groan. “Just… god, just look at you.”

“Oh, Percival!” Credence clenches his fingers around Percival’s and sinks down on him all the way, and without conscious decision, he clenches around his cock too.

“Fuck! Oh fuck, Jesus!” Percival bucks up and lifts him on his groin, and then he just gasps for breath as he comes, hard, inside the tightness of Credence’s body.

Credence almost squeals in triumph. The wet rush of heat inside him makes him hard yet again. Looking at Percival lying limp and wrung out underneath him, and Severus leaning on his side and stroking a soothing hand over Percival’s brow while looking at him as if he’s in awe of him… he’s never felt better in his life. Or more wanton. But he doesn’t care, because no one here minds. They all want each other so much, there’s no reason or need for judgment. He collapses on top of Percival, snuggling into his warm arms with a happy sigh.

“Did you like that, my love?” Percival whispers, his fingers combing the hair back from his damp temple to see his face. When Credence moans an affirmative, he smiles and tightens his arms around him, drawing his knees closer to his body to nudge Credence up higher along his body, all while making sure he doesn’t slip out of him just yet.

Severus realises exactly what he’s doing. “You know, this lubricant is edible too.”

Just the words send a shudder through Credence, and he’s almost embarrassed to still want so much right now, even while he’s exhausted.

“What a wise inventor you are, my dear Severus,” Percival tells him with a smile and watches him, breathing hard, as he moves behind Credence and between his legs.

“Lift up a little, baby,” Percival tells him, and Credence does at once, just raising his hips.

He can feel the sensation of Percival’s seed trickling out of him down along Percival’s cock, and then he feels Severus’ tongue lapping at his hole. He moans, squeezing his eyes closed at the sensation, and when he feels Percival shiver under him, and hears his panting, he knows Severus is lapping at Percival now--his slick cock, his sticky thighs, his hole… he doesn’t know which. He just knows Percival is groaning at the sensation.

“Severus… that wicked tongue.”

Severus seems to be laughing even while his mouth is busy; with Credence again, this time, as he cleans up the spill around his opening, dipping a finger inside him the moment Percival slips out at last, as if to lessen the shock of sudden emptiness.

“Oh!” Credence gasps, biting his lip when Severus lets two fingers play inside his tender, wet channel. He closes his eyes, clinging to Percival, who’s clutching at him too even as he grunts at whatever is happening. “What… what’s he doing to you, Percival?”

“Severus is… god, those long fingers!” Percival knows he’s not able to come again just yet, but being probed like this is still delightful and makes him look forward to the rest of the night.

“I know.” Credence is whimpering.

“You too?” Percival asks, and when Credence lets out a long moan, Severus chuckles. “You fiend, Severus.”

“Let see if I can’t…” Severus crooks his fingers deep inside Credence exactly right.

Squealing, Credence jolts on the digits milking his prostate and, quite unexpectedly, his cock shoots out more come than he thought he had left in him just then. He’s dribbling a trail all across Percival’s stomach as he clings to him, panting. “What was that?” he pants out..

“A little bonus orgasm,” Severus tells him, and Percival laughs softly at Credence’s amazed expression.

When Severus crawls up alongside Percival, Credence rolls off and in-between them, sighing happily. Severus strokes lightly over his chest, and Percival over his stomach, their fingers meeting and caressing each other as they draw circles on the pale, sweat-damp skin.

“While I think this night is far from over, I do believe we need to do something about the absolute mess we are.” Severus raises a brow.

“Nap first?” Credence mumbles with a smile, and Severus kisses his cheek.

Percival chuckles. “I fully agree with both of you, my loves.”

Credence looks up at him, his eyes pleading and searching.

“What is it, baby?” Percival asks, lifting his chin and kissing him sweetly.

“Are we?” Credence feels awkward asking, but Percival’s soft smile and nod tell him he’s been understood perfectly.

“Yes, you are. I love you very much, both of you.” Percival reaches around the back of Severus’ neck and draws him close for a kiss too.

“I feel the same way,” Severus murmurs and, once Credence whispers his agreement too, they seal it like a pact, with a long, tender kiss shared between all three of them. Severus draws up the duvet then, and they drift off in each other’s arms.