Title: "Purgest the Primal Guilt"
Author: Sullen Siren
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Bellatrix/Remus, Sirius/Remus, with slight mention of Sirius/Bellatrix
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters depicted here, and have no affiliation with J.K. Rowling or any of the other powerful companies who own these properties. For which I'm sure they are profoundly grateful. I'm also not making any money, so please don't sue.
Note: I haven't the faintest idea where this train wreck came from, but it demanded to be written once it appeared in my subconscious. Since writing it seemed the easiest way to get it the hell out of my brain, this is what I did. I apologize to anyone who is squicked. The title I took from the poem "O Martyred Spirit", by George Santayana. Big thanks to aliaspiral for the beta. Any continued errors are either me not listening to her, or me adding things with all new mistakes. I am just *that* talented.
"We have done it again we are
Still living. Sit up and smile,
God bless you. Guilt is magical."
-- James Dickey, "Adultery"
She wasn't supposed to be there, but then he knew that she rarely did what she was supposed to. It was a family trait – one of many he was all too familiar with – and she could rarely surprise him simply because he never made the mistake of considering her predictable.
He was in the library when she sank into the chair next to him, too-familiar dark eyes watching his with a predatory glint. She smiled, sharp and crooked and beautiful – echoes of another in the angle of her mouth – and whispered in his ear. "I know what you are."
He tried to ignore her, but it was impossible. There was something primal and irresistible in the Black family – something that made them shine a little brighter than the rest of the world, made them difficult to look away from. She wasn't Sirius – but she drew him as well, in a lesser, darker way. "What do you want, Bellatrix?"
Her smile grew and she shifted, all elegant length and dark hair and red, red lips. Remus could recognize desire, and he saw it in her. He knew it was a game, but her hair looked soft and familiar and if he hazed his eyes just slightly she could be a blurred copy of Sirius.
She played her fingers across the table. "Werewolf. Beast. Half-blood." She leaned forward and her breath was hot and languid against his ear. "My cousin couldn't hold his tongue. Couldn't wait to tell the family what a *bad* boy he'd been. Playing games with a half-blood Gryffindor werewolf. You're his best attempt to annoy his mother yet. She screamed for hours." She licked her lips, tongue darting against his ear for a moment, and then sank away.
His cock throbbed and his heart broke because he'd always wondered if Sirius was fucking over his family when he fucked Remus. It didn't matter that Bellatrix lied as well as she breathed – all that mattered was that she knew the lie he wouldn't be able to tell from the truth. Bellatrix licked her lips and there was a promise in her eyes – both threat and invitation. "Wouldn't it be a shame if the rest of the world found out about all the ways you're a liar, Lupin?"
He understood the threat. Some days he thought that secrets and lies were all that lay beneath his skin, and there was more than one Bellatrix could bleed from him and let the world see. She was, in her way, as much a rebel of her family as Sirius was. She'd just gone a different way. They were so alike, these Blacks, with their obsessions and fierce loyalty, their temper and their thoughtless cruelty.
It wasn't until the end of last term, and the Shrieking Shack, and the morning when he'd woken with blood that wasn't his in his mouth, and a piece of black robes with green fluting on the floor that he'd admitted to himself that Sirius could be cruel.
It wasn't until this term, when he'd felt a faint rush of pleasure at the awkward silence between Sirius and James and the sorrowing looks Sirius gave them both, that he admitted that he could be just as cruel.
Bellatrix's presence hummed beside him and he gritted his teeth, wishing – not for the first time – that he wasn't prone to weakness around the Black line. That the smell of them and the hum of energy and focus beneath their skin didn't stir his blood and heighten his senses. "You're not supposed to be here, Bellatrix. You've graduated. Shouldn't you be following your new master around like the bitch you are? Has he gotten you a collar and leash yet?"
"Interesting choice of word, coming from you. Bitch. Is that what you wish I was, Lupin? Your bitch? Is that what my addled cousin was? Or were you his? Which one of you was on your hands and knees when my cousin was fucking his way into his mother's bad graces?"
She made him angry, and he knew that was what he wanted, but he couldn't help it. She slid a foot up and down his calf and he shoved her violently away, damning Sirius and all his kin. "Get the fuck out of here, Bella."
She looked up at him from where she'd fallen, and he saw the truth of her. He saw danger in her. He saw obsession and hate and a willingness to do anything to get what she wanted. "I think I'll stay. You ought to be glad. You wouldn't even have to close your eyes to make me into what you want."
He saw desire in her and understood it no more than when he saw it in her cousin's eyes. He saw secrets and old hatreds burning there too. And he saw Sirius. He picked her bodily up from the floor and pushed her roughly against the nearest bookcase. She laughed – triumph in the sound – and he pushed his hips harder against hers, tightened his grip in her hair, on her neck. He could feel the skin beneath his fingers pulse and imagined the pale, perfect skin purple with the bruises he left on her. Marked. Her tongue snaked inside her mouth and he could feel the heat and want of her. He pulled away for a moment to look at her and she looked back with her heavy lidded eyes. "Why?"
She smiled – Sirius' smile. The smile he'd worn when Severus stumbled into his attention, when Peter did something stupid – the smile of the superior Black to the lesser being. "Does it matter?"
She licked at the corner of his mouth and he felt a growl rise in his throat as her fingers grabbed at his cock through the fabric of his trousers. "Neither do you."
It was a lie. He did matter. He mattered because she wanted what she knew Sirius couldn't have – not anymore. He didn't know how much she knew, but Bella was far from stupid. She knew that much. She wanted to have what her cousin had wanted.
Maybe it was more. Maybe she wanted to break what she saw as Sirius' favorite toy.
And she was a twisted bitch. She'd get off on the idea of fucking a beast. He knew that's all he would be to her. Bellatrix reveled in doing what she knew was wrong. Sirius had told him that – a quiet, embarrassed conversation over whiskey when they'd talked about their first times. Bellatrix had taught her cousin of primal things and sweat and heat and danger in the feel of skin on skin, everything about that first time had been wrong.
It was why Bellatrix had made it happen at all.
"How do I measure up to your cousin?" He asked hating the way his voice rasped as he tried to scrape her skin away with his words, make her raw and ashamed like he was.
She grinned, feral and unscathed. "You should know better than I do. I had him before he grew into it."
"You're a rabid dog who'll end up dead before he's thirty. You'll rot away and eat a few friends and eventually you'll play with something sharp in a warm bath, because that's how the weak always end it." She grinned. "Or maybe Sirius will catch you. Wouldn't that be ironic? My dear cousin, returned to the warm bosom of his family, bringing down the freak of nature he used to –"
"Shut your fucking mouth."
"Give me a reason to, Wolf."
He did. He fucked her – rough and fast - against the wall in a dusty corner of the library. She came fiercely and utterly silently with his cock still hard inside of her. She dropped to her knees and he saw the glint of her teeth as she sucked him off, tasting herself on him. She watched his face as he came and he watched hers without ever seeing her.
It was the first time.
He promised himself it would be the last, but it wasn't, and he'd known it wouldn't be when he made the promise. It became a game for both of them. She came to him infrequently and never with any warning. He fucked her against the walls of the Quidditch shed, in the prefects' bath, in the alley behind the Leaky Cauldron while a black dog he didn't know watched from the shadows.
James and Sirius made up and Remus grew tired of fighting, so he let Sirius make it up to him too. He forgave, but he couldn't forget, and he couldn't stop the hard, cold center of him from being angry. Sirius, catching the subtle nuances of human behavior for perhaps the first time in his life, sensed that, and was content with their tentative and renewed friendship.
Remus was not, but he wouldn't be the one to make it more again, not when he couldn't look at Sirius most days without a flash of betrayed anger. Perhaps that's why he kept playing at their game. Her game was to catch him off guard. To make him hate and want her and to leave knowing he'd be ashamed of what he'd done.
His was to push beneath her pale skin and find where the blood pulsed so he could poison it with words. He never won his game.
He would taunt her, hating himself as he did. "Wonder what LeStrange would think of his pure blood fiancée now?"
"Back against the wall and legs in the air – you should have been a whore Bellatrix, it's all your good for."
"Inbreeding shows, Bella. You're looking haggard already."
It was never cruel enough and she never cared. She'd smile her poison-apple smile and lick her lips and hiss a few words that would send his world into the pained tailspin he could never bring about for her.
He was rough and thoughtless and she never protested – she relished the bruises. When she went down on him it was with the same fascinated shamelessness Sirius had done it with. Neither minded their teeth well and when they scraped down his length his world exploded in a mix of pleasured pain that left him reeling.
They never spoke outside of whispered threats and insults. There was a silent accord between them. Mutual loathing mixed with twisted desire and a strange stillness that he never understood. She was waiting for something, always. He felt a chill dread when he let himself wonder what it was.
When he saw the Dark Mark branded on her arm he twisted it in front of her and took her from behind so he couldn't see it, and she laughed and called him a child – believing what he couldn't see couldn't hurt him. He'd lifted his wand to her head and she'd laughed at him without sound. They both knew he couldn't kill her. Not like this. Across a field of blood and battle – then he could. Here he never would.
It was, perhaps, the most telling difference between them.
He never for one moment believed that Bellatrix couldn't hurt him. She hurt him every time she left, when she whispered in his ear that in the end, Blood would win out. It always did. "Sirius is a Black, Lupin. In the end that will matter more than the fact that he was yours." Bellatrix lied very well. But he didn't think that was a lie. It was what she believed.
No matter how much he tried to deny it, he knew what a Black was. And sometimes, it was hard not to believe her.
Once he bit her – hard enough to bruise but the skin wasn't broken. The next thing he knew she was sitting on his chest, his body bound in a hex while his head swam in pain and his eyes burned like acid. She watched him like a child would the magnified insect they were burning. "Do that again, and my cousin will cry at your funeral. I will not be the animal that you are."
She left him then – hard and aching and bound for hours. Lily found him there and he blessed and damned her silent aid and quiet lack of judgment that confirmed his suspicions. She'd known for some time. But Lily kept secrets well. She always had. She kept her own better than any.
She came less and less often, and the secret war he'd known about since fourth year became public. He'd been waiting for it all along, but somehow he still wasn't ready when Sirius walked in. Bella lay beneath him, long past the time when the Order and the Death Eaters should be attacking one another on sight, wanton and unashamed while he drove into her from above. She watched the doorway for several long moments, sharp teeth showing their too-white smile until Remus saw what she was watching.
James hovered behind Sirius in the dingy doorway to the flat the four of them shared. They all knew it for what it was – a last ditch effort to retain the spirit of their Hogwarts' days, when it was Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs against the world. It was dissolving already as James prepared for his wedding, and Peter spent more and more time at his mindless Ministry job while Sirius and Remus walked the fragile lines of their truce through the cheap-mortared hallways, coming and going and smiling hellos and goodbyes without really speaking.
Remus bolted away from Bellatrix and she sat up slowly, dark hair spilling around her – the only cover she bothered with. She looked between them with her dark, dark eyes and Remus wondered why he'd never noticed that they were shaped differently than Sirius'. She smiled the death-grin tattooed on her arm – his stomach turned and he wondered why the hell he'd done this with her for so long - and stood, reaching for her wand. "I think we're done now, Wolf. I got what I wanted." She winked once at Sirius. "You're looking well, cousin. I'm sure I'll see you at the next reunion. Your mother sends her best."
And then she was gone, and he knew what she'd been waiting for all of this time. James looked between the two and raised his hands. "Remus mate . . . . fuck me, but I'm not saying a goddamned word. You . . . "He shook his head and walked away leaving Sirius and Remus staring at one another.
Remus felt the words rise up in his throat. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. It was a mistake. I was weak. She looked like you. I wanted to hurt you." But he swallowed them all down, and felt a wave of shame at the thin stab of pleasure he felt when he saw the stunned hurt in Sirius' eyes.
Sirius walked over and picked up the discarded robe Bella had left behind. He ran his fingers over it and Remus had a dizzying moment when he couldn't tell which Black's hand it was against the black fabric. When Sirius spoke, it centered him again. "Crazy bitch. You alright?"
And just like that the shame and the last of his anger melted away. "Yeah."
"Are you hers now? Voldemort's?"
Remus flinched. "No. She just . . . It was just something she did. I was just something she did."
"She always did want everything that mattered to me." Sirius looked at him, and there was pain, and accusation, and confusion in his eyes – which weren't Bella's – but it was all right. Because he knew the same things were buried in his eyes whenever he looked at Sirius. It made it easier, somehow. They'd both sinned so badly they couldn't be forgiven by anyone but each other. "I'm sorry."
"I love you, Moony. I should have said that before you fucked my cousin."
"I should have said it before the Shrieking Shack."
"No you shouldn't. We were fucking kids. What did we know about being in love?"
"It's only been a couple of years, you prat." The words came easily, but the spirit behind them was hard. They were so far from easy mirth and teasing.
"I run on dog years." Sirius smiled, and Remus could tell he had to work for it too – but he said it. There was a time when Remus could have cheerfully strangled Sirius for his incessant dog puns – now they were a relief. Though still not funny.
Remus smiled, and for a little while, things were all right again. He pretended not to notice that he saw Sirius check his arm later that night, when he got out of the shower. He pretended that he wasn't watching when Sirius came and went; that he didn't see him on the streets and check to see whom Sirius was speaking to. When they fought in skirmishes, he pretended not to notice that Sirius never struck at Bellatrix. He pretended not to notice the way Bella smiled at both of them – like she knew how this would end, and was waiting for it.
He pretended that sometimes, when Sirius sank to his knees and took him into his mouth, he didn't see Bellatrix's wicked face. He pretended that he didn't wake up clutching the sheets from dreams where Bellatrix and Sirius stood side by side in black robes and smiled death-skull smiles as they killed everyone else that had ever mattered in his world.
He pretended that they were happy. Sometimes, that almost made it true.
Not really sure where that came from, but there it is. There's a few lines I'm rather fond of, but boy was it unfamiliar territory. Which is kind of fun in and of itself - that feeling of writing something new. Not new to the world of course, but new to you. I think that's why I had such fun with my yuletide fic. It's certainly not an epic of world-changing proportions - but it was a new place for me to write in, and I like that sometimes.
Though there's something to be said for familiarity and the ease that comes with feeling you really *know* the way to write a particular character. It may not be what everyone else sees as the absolute correct version of that character - but it's yours. Granted they'll always change and sway a bit with the plot and shape and tone of the story their in - but sometimes it can help break a block for me to slip into that character that comes easiest.
It's really late/early and I'm nattering.
On a side note, I am now a year older. 26. I feel old.