All's Fair in Love and War
A/N: This is the first fan fiction I have posted in a long time, and it's quite different than anything I've written before. The following is the result of a late night browsing the ship boards at FA. Special thanks to Keturah for the quick beta. Hope you enjoy!
Confrontation was inevitable. From the moment he read the article declaring the massive break out from Azkaban, he knew they would come face to face once again. He spent the subsequent months imagining the forthcoming altercation—every shadow became her figure, every stray noise was her calling his name. So when Sirius had frantically summoned the Order, telling how Harry had been lured to the Department of Mysteries, he automatically knew that the stage had been set. He would no longer have to fret over the time and place of the confrontation: this was it.
Upon arrival to the Ministry, he identified her immediately among the darkly robed crowd. In the past she had been easy enough to spot, the only female among the elite death eaters. Her lithe frame had always stuck out, and tonight was no exception.
As soon as they had all entered the room duels began, and as he fought past who he could only guess was Lucius Malfoy, he saw her slip out of the door and into an adjacent room. He instantly knew he was meant to follow, and after blasting back his current opponent, he proceeded after her. In all the chaos, his departure was unnoticed.
He entered the room on tentative feet. As soon as he had passed the threshold a blast of green light hit the wall just inches from his head. He rapidly drew his wand and turned to face her. "Skipping all formalities, I see."
Her hood had dropped, and the eerie lighting of the room cast shadows on her face that emphasized its hollow cheeks and sunken eyes. The corners of her mouth upturned slightly—the closest she ever got to smiling. "Fifteen years in Azkaban and not so much as a postcard. I'm disappointed in you, Remus."
He opened his mouth to reply, but was cut short by another killing curse, which he managed to dodge. "It never struck me that the nature of our relationship would warrant a postcard." He shot a simple stunning spell in her direction, which she deflected easily.
She slowly circled the room, not once lowering her wand or taking her eyes off him. He kept his wand drawn, tracing her every liquid movement. "After all these years, you don't seem to be too happy to see me," he remarked.
"The nature of our relationship certainly does not warrant happiness," she retorted dryly. The bolts of light he was now dodging were bright yellow.
"Well, I see you've downgraded to Cruciatus. How sweet of you, Bella."
Her eyes narrowed. "Avada Kedavra is too simple, too quick and easy. I'm not here for that kind of cheap justice. I want you to suffer, just as you have caused me to suffer for over a dozen years.
"But perhaps the cruciatus curse is also too simple." She ceased her pacing and stared at him intensely. He was at a lost for words and actions under her gaze, his feet planted firmly on the ground and his wand immobile in his limp right arm. It wasn't the first time she had rendered him speechless.
Her wand remained pointed at his chest as she spoke firmly and emotionlessly. "Imperious."
Remus felt the cool sensation spread through his body, and fought it with all his might. He knew, however, that it was useless. While he was quite proficient in resisting most varieties of coercion spells, he knew it was futile when it came to her. She had always had a hold over him, as far back as he could remember. The one time he had fought that control was the same reason she was here for revenge.
He felt the curse kicking in as his feet involuntarily took a step in her direction. "I…don't…understand…why…you're…so…angry." Each word was a struggle.
She glared at him hauntingly from beneath oppressive lashes. "You betrayed me," she said simply. His feet suddenly lurched again, this time at such speed that it almost made him trip.
"We both… realized…the risks. We…had always…been on…opposite sides." His body now staggered forward completely, until it collided with her gaunt frame.
He watched as his hands raised to steady himself against her, then fell once again to his sides. He wanted to look away from her hateful face, but his eyes remained forcibly focused on hers.
When she finally spoke, it was in a dull flat tone, the underlying anger in it undeniable. "Yes, we were on opposite sides, Remus, but that does not justify what you did. There were countless times throughout it all that I could have handed you over to the Dark Lord, could have killed you or exploited you to get information on your side. But I didn't. Here was this situation I could have used to my advantage: I was sleeping with the enemy, I had you dangling from my fingertips and I did nothing. I—a Slytherin, a death eater—did nothing. So what does that say about you?"
"It was war, Bella." He seemed to have gained much more control over his voice now, although his feet remained firmly planted. It was his guess that she was allowing him to speak. "What you did to Frank and Alice...I couldn't just forgive you."
"Forgiveness had no place in it!" she bellowed. "Your side committed just as many transgressions against us, and I did nothing about it. You knew all along what I was capable of, but you were the one who deceived me! Sending a message that we were to meet in our typical hiding place...leading me on to think it was just another tryst. But instead of you, I traveled all that way just to come face to face with six aurors. How do you think that made me feel?"
She glared at him even heavier now, and each word was spit with malice. "I trusted you Remus, and you betrayed me. You're the worst kind of person in that you pretend to be good. At least I acknowledge what I am."
Taking a step forward that closed the gap between them, she raised a hand to the back of his neck where she intertwined her fingers in the hair at his nape. Shutters of fear ran down his spine. He commanded his body to lurch away, but it remained dormant.
She gracefully brought her mouth to his ear and breathed in deeply before speaking. "And now—as the evil, evil person I am—I shall have my revenge." There was a strange softness to her voice that he had never heard before, even in all their intimate encounters of the past.
"What are you going to do, Bella?" He asked in a wavering voice. She lifted her face from his ear and gently placed her forehead against his. Their faces were now mere millimeters apart and he could see every once of emotion in her eyes—every bit of hatred, of vengeance, of hurt. Her breath was hot on his mouth when she spoke.
"Fifteen years of hell calls for quite the reprisal, wouldn't you say, Remus?" He felt his arm rise to tenderly brush her hair, not sure if the caress was her doing or his. Her eyes closed at the sensation. "I want to make you hurt," she murmured, barely audible, "hurt in ways you've never felt, never imagined. I want you to suffer."
His mind filled with various images of torture. He knew far too well what death eaters were capable of, and another shiver spread through his body. Her lips once again formed their funny half-smile.
"Oh no, Remus, I'm not going to physically harm you. That would hardly be justice. No, I'm going to really hurt you, and to do that I'm going to have to go through someone else. Someone you care about."
He stiffened. Not Harry. He brought his alarmed eyes to her amused ones. "No, no, not him," she said, seeming to read his mind. "That would be quite too obvious. Besides, if all goes as planned the boy will not be around much longer anyway. I need someone closer, more personal. But who?"
As if on cue, a voice came echoing from the prior room, where sounds of several dueling wands had been resonating for the past few minutes. "Hey Moony, where are you? If you can hear me, we could really use your help in here!"
Her eyes lit in a way he had only seen even seen under two circumstances—when she was about to kill someone, or during one of their more passionate moments in the past. Given the current state of events, he highly doubted it was the latter. A sense of inevitable dread overwhelmed his senses.
Her hands dropped from his neck and she took a step back, smoothing the front of her robes. "My cousin calls," she said in an ominous voice. Her face darted forward in a quick and unexpected motion, her mouth smashing against his. As quickly as she had initiated the kiss she pulled back, leaving an acrid taste on his lips.
"Hell knows no fury, Remus," she said, and swept out her hand. He fell hard to the floor, hearing the click of her shoes as she ran from the room. He struggled to get up, still fighting the vestiges of the curse.
By the time he had recovered enough of his own will to get to his feet and run into the other room, he was already too late. It would seem that he had sealed more than one fate that night sixteen years ago, when he burst through the door of the auror headquarters and declared that he knew where to find Bellatrix Lestrange.