Breaking

Dec. 4th, 2011 04:26 pm
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[personal profile] cold_clarity
Breaking

Hard R
One-shot.
Bellatrix/Snape (and maybe Snape/Lucius if you squint)

I originally wrote this for the 2009 rounds of [livejournal.com profile] hp_darkfest and only just now realized that I never put it up in my journal so...here it is now, mostly for archival purposes. the prompt for the fic was: Some must cry so that others may be able to laugh the more heartily. -- Jean Rhys. what transpired was an AU situation. Voldemort won. Harry died. Snape didn't. Bellatrix was never killed. things transpire from there.  this being a fic written for a darkfest, I'm warning for graphic torture, and non-consensual sexual situations. read at your own discretion.

all my endless gratitude to [livejournal.com profile] smirnoffmule and [livejournal.com profile] luckinfovely, both of whom provided help as beta-readers. this thing would have been a shambles if they hadn’t been there to catch all of my glaring mistakes.



It is after some countless number of unmarked weeks (or what he takes for weeks, because, really, it could have been weeks or days or hours or months; because time flows differently here, like sludge, in the dimness and the dampness and the drafty cold) that he breaks. Not noisily, to be sure, and with no great display of dramatics. He’s never been one for that sort of thing—and even now, the rule holds true.

No.

This breaking is a fracture run too deep, a quiet splintering. A slow crumbling and the murmured Bella… to indicate (in two desperate, whispered, syllables) that she has won.

Laughter answers him. A quiet, throaty sound. Almost a purr, out of the shadows, from somewhere far above him. And then—

“Crucio.”

.

There was a start to this, he’s certain. There was a moment to mark the beginning of it all, a catalyst for all the cruelties that would follow. But he can’t recall it.

He only knows that he had seen—or he remembers seeing—Lucius first. He remembers Lucius’ hands, steadying and firm. Holding him against the wall. Keeping him upright.

And he remembers blinking and trying to think. Trying to speak. If he succeeded, he can’t remember what he said.

“Severus.”

He met Lucius’ eyes and saw a panicked kind of brightness there, in that pale, pressing gaze. And, at the time, all he could think was that Lucius had never looked quite so unhinged.

.

Tasks.

She whiles his life away with tasks. Useless tasks, pointless tasks—maddening, mindless tasks. The house, the shack (he doesn’t know where they keep him) is in shambles. The tasks are endless.

Clean the floor. On your knees. In shackles. Your gag is fitted with a brush. Use the bucket full of water and lye. Don’t tip the bucket.

Magic the stove clean. With a wand that isn’t yours. Don’t break anything.

The shower on the third landing is broken. Fix it. Don’t stand on your feet.

Prepare dinner. Don’t get it wrong.

But it’s always wrong. There are tasks and there are rules and he is always wrong.

And Bella laughs. And then the punishment comes.

.

It does not take much to break a human spirit. Perhaps, all it takes is patience—of which Bella has little—and a dedicated kind of cruelty, a love for the act of crushing, cutting, and shattering. A taste for blood and razor edges and things far baser than dark magic.

And that, Bella possesses in abundance.

He realizes this as he’s squinting in the dimness, holding the quill in an aching hand. He writes out traitor for the tenth, hundredth, thousandth time (pain cuts across his shoulder, the words gleam wet and dark and red against the parchment and in his skin), and his lips tremble with the effort.

She has his good hand, his right hand, his writing hand, bound up behind his back, corded to his neck and the twine collar around his throat. Every shift (every move to loosen a knot or ease an ache) threatens to choke him. His left hand shivers on the quill. His back is wet and warm.

T…r…a…

Spidery and disjointed; barely coherent words at all. His shuddering hand drags through the blood—a scarlet smear against the parchment.

And Bella hits him hard enough to make black stars explode behind his eyes.

“Oh, Severus, love. I warned you about smudges.”

He feels her wand against his throat, driving up below his jaw, blunt and prodding. And for the first time—for a terrifying moment—he almost, nearly pleads for her to stop.

.

The Potter boy is dead.

That’s what Lucius said, on one of his infrequent visits to the dark, cramped room. He spoke in a hollow tone, clipping the ends of his words. The rest of his statement was implicit: And you are being punished, you fool.

And after that, his presence became a stiff and tense and unpredictable habit characterized by a wooden kind of silence in the empty space between them. After Severus stopped asking whys and where’s and how’s, there was the whisper of pale hands attending to abrasions and contusions, palming salve over burns and welts and gashes.

Once, Lucius paused and traced a torn up trench of flesh, running down Severus’ back; a red line connecting shoulder to hipbone. And with a tone that verged on heartbroken, he murmured, “Severus. Why?”

And there are things he should have said, answers he should have given. Lily. Albus. Harry, even. But his mouth was still full of the coppery taste of blood and his lips were cracked and his throat was raw. So he stared into the shadows and said nothing at all.

.

“You’re disgusting, you know that?”

He is blindfolded. Bound, spread-legged, to a chair. Bella’s voice is close and hot against his ear, a vicious kind of whisper.

“A waste, really.” Her hand in his hair. Stroking. Tugging. Yanking. His head drawn back, neck exposed. He feels fingernails against his throat. “A mudblood with so much talent—and the Dark Lord saw fit to let you prove yourself.” Her mouth has moved. He can feel her breath against his lips. “And you threw it all away.”

And her nails press harder and skin breaks and when she kisses him her teeth make a wreck of his bottom lip.

“Tell me, love. Was it worth it?”

Her hand slides down his naked chest, and she palms over a nipple, and he thinks a stronger man might have snapped a retort—once, he would have.

As it stands, he can only suck in shaking, halting breaths and fight the urge to whimper.

.

Her first victory was in his silence.

He can recall, dimly (when he first awoke in this nameless nowhere) Bella looming over him, eyes gleaming. And despite the pounding in his head, despite the disorientation and dizziness and nausea, he spoke. Stiff and cold and biting, he very nearly managed a sneer, an insult, something.

And Bella drove a foot into his gut and all but cackled. He choked on whatever it was he’d intended to say next, and she kicked him again, watching him writhe. When her foot came down—pressing, crushing, suffocating—on his throat, she held him pinned until the world sank back into murk and noiseless darkness.

Later, when she stripped him naked and made him stand in the middle of the boarded up living room without a change of position for seven hours, he told her the Dark Lord could have done worse, that her methods were banal at best and utterly pathetic at worst. And in spite of his aching back and his trembling legs and his desperate want for sleep, he asked (with a disdainful curl of his lip) if she’d tried to drive many people mad this way, if it had taken her an encounter with the Longbottoms to realize that breaking a person required a little more than making them stand in one place, like spoiled children.

She forced his mouth open and scrubbed it raw, with a fork and a horsehair brush, after that.

And the game went on like that for a bit. She ordered. He obeyed. He taunted. She punished.

She blindfolded him and branded welts into the inside of his thighs, creeping closer and closer to his groin with the hot poker.

She magicked blackish boils onto his back and his belly and left them for days, itching and burning, and oozing. And then she lanced them with a muggle boxcutter and smirked and made him lick the sour pus off of her hands.

And on it went.

And eventually, he stopped speaking, stopped testing, stopped retorting for fear the words would break on something like dry heaves or sobs. Eventually, he struggled to keep his jaw clenched because otherwise he’d scream and never stop.

.

He finds that he cannot string whole streams of memory together, anymore. That the only stable things are Bellatrix and her methods, and the sporadic appearance of Lucius like a spectre, pale and blond and noiseless, in the cramped cell that is meant to be Severus’ room.

It’s some time or any time or a time only marked by Lucius’ silent visit, by the gentle brushes of his hands and the presses of his fingers and his palms, when Severus reaches up and takes hold of his wrist. Lucius freezes and for a long time, the silence between them crackles, sharp and threatening, as Severus reaches for the strength to speak.

“She doesn’t know,” he murmurs, at last, in a voice as dry as sandpaper.

And Lucius looks down, his face curtained by long, immaculate hair.

“No. She doesn’t.”

“And if she finds out?”

The question hangs there, but Lucius never answers. He pulls out of Severus’ grip and takes his hand and attends to split knuckles and a bloody mess of fingertips that sported fingernails, once.

.

It is after some countless number of unmarked weeks (or what he takes for weeks, because, really, it could have been weeks or days or hours or months; because time flows differently here, like sludge, in the dimness and the dampness and the drafty cold) that he breaks. Not noisily, to be sure, and with no great display of dramatics. He’s never been one for that sort of thing—and even now, the rule holds true.

Almost.

Because, really, it’s a series of small cruelties, an adding on of violations, that brings him to the end.

“You’re being too compliant, love,” she tells him from her draped-over position in the sitting room’s enormous armchair.

He’s been sanding the floors all day. Not allowed to stand, except to meet her demands for tea and for biscuits, and for a number of other things that aren’t in the house. And then he has to kneel again, naked, while she slaps him and spanks him and kicks at his face (and whispers “Don’t fall, dear. You’re stronger than that—aren’t you?”).

She watches him now, mouth twisting into a smirk. “Come here.”

And he does. Crawls forward to kneel before her, a burning, bitter taste in the back of his mouth. She grabs his chin, wrenches his head up. Runs a thumb over his top lip.

“You don’t talk anymore.” She smirks and forces her thumb between his lips, between his teeth.

For one long, agonizing moment, neither one of them moves.

And then Bella sneers, “Oh, come now, Severus. I know that mouth is still good for something.”

He could bite down, he thinks, could wrench her thumb from the rest of her hand (and he tells himself he might have done so, once, in another place, and another time) but there is the sense of something fraying inside his chest. A red-electric snap rapid-firing down his spine, burning up his nerve endings. And numbly, his eyes still locked in Bella’s hot, unrelenting gaze, he begins to suck her thumb.

Presently, she fits her free hand in his hair, kicks one leg up over the arm of her seat, and draws him close. Beneath her robes. Between her thighs. And she muses, in her cruel taunting way, while he laps and licks at her, drowns in the scent and the taste and the moist press of her cunt.

“Do you like to imagine what might have happened?” she murmurs. “Do you like to tell yourself stories about the Dark Lord’s defeat? There wouldn’t have been a place for you in that world, Severus. You know that. Lily’s little baby hated you—”

And her voice breaks off in a husky gasp. Fisted fingers tighten. Her thighs shudder and tense, clenching against his head. When she comes, it is a shuddering, breathless moment. A bucking of hips and the final wrenching of his hair. With a flushed face, she shoves him away, her breathing heavy and uneven.

He watches her. He can still taste her. He won’t (he realizes, with a chilling wash of horror) be able to ever not taste her. He very nearly vomits.

Nearly.

But he has never been one for displays.

“Bella…”

Silence. There is a very long silence. Her eyes are closed. She inhales in shudders.

“Bella…”

She answers with a throaty, purring laugh. When she points her wand, she doesn’t open her eyes.

“Crucio.”



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