Sweat, Tears or the Sea

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." – Isak Denisen

Weeping. The sound was weeping.

Bellatrix paused in the hallway. Her head cocked oddly. Black curls flickered even in her stillness and her mouth opened as if she could hear through the orifice. A very slight humming noise emitted from her throat, vibrating the hard ring of bone the pressed against the pale skin of her thin neck. She rarely heard weeping unless she'd caused it. Curious…

She stepped lightly around a column. Her bare feet made a squeak against highly polished marble floors. An angle of light stabbed the darkness and she tiptoed toward it, brushing callused fingers delicately along the embossed Malfoy wall as she passed. The textures of skin and wall-covering meeting made a muted hiss.

In the shaft of light, she stood. Half in shadow, her face took on a gaunt and hollow façade. She tilted her head back. Closed her eyes. The weeping had turned to sobbing, and for just a moment, she wanted to enjoy it. Her hands curled at her sides, scraped against the frayed tulle of her black skirt. Fingers itched to hold wand hilt…brushed the gnarled walnut wistfully…

But she knew the source of the sobs and now was not the time for wand-wielding. Slowly, she pushed open the cracked door, and stepped fully into the warm glow. "Cissy?" Her voice was husky from disuse.

The crumpled heap of witch on the bed righted abruptly. "Bella!" Narcissa's voice was heavy with tears, cracked and tired. She faced away from her sister, wiped hastily at her cheeks with her dress sleeves. "Why are you awake at this hour?"

"I'm always awake." Bella meandered to the center of the room, slid her hand lazily round one of the giant bed's thick, cherry wood posts. She cast an apathetic glance upward, curled her lip at the Greek-style canopy. "Why are you crying?"

"I'm always crying." Narcissa answered, irony lacing her tone.

"Oh." Bella sank to the lush velvet duvet. "Is this about Lucius?" She picked at a tightly sewn seam.

The lighter sister's lip quivered, and she couldn't withhold fresh tears. "He's gone, Bella. And I know you hate him, but I need him! And I don't know what I shall do without him! And Draco back at school and…" Here, she nearly choked. "I haven't an idea how to protect him! I'm simply lost, sister. Lost!" She took to a fresh bout of sobbing, flung herself across the bed and dropped her face into her arms.

Bellatrix regarded the sobbing witch with wide weird eyes. Her mouth worked fastidiously. She was… uncertain how to deal with this situation. "Hey," she finally said. "Hey!" Her hand hovered hesitantly over Narcissa's quaking shoulder. "Don't…don't carry on this way. It's no good." Narcissa wailed in reply. "Oh, bugger all. Cissy!" She shook the Malfoy witch's shoulder none to gently. "He's hardly worth it. Your husband, I mean. The boy might have some promise, but Lucius is…gah." This didn't seem to comfort.

Bella sighed. She turned awkwardly on the bed. Pulled Narcissa up to a seated position. "That's enough. I mean it." Cissa attempted to shrug her away, but Bellatrix continued adjusting her as one would a life-sized doll. "Look at me."

"No!" The reply was petulant, pouty.

Bella's fingers took hold of a porcelain chin, turned a stubborn blonde/black head. She regarded her sister's blood-shot, puffy eyes. "Stop crying. This instant. It's…unseemly."

"I can't!"

Bella wiped at a new streaking tear as though it offended her. "Would you like a cuppa?"

"No." Narcissa jerked her chin away, looked into her lap. Her skirt had bunched up on one side, revealing an amount of thigh and garter. She couldn't be arsed for her appearance at the moment.

Bellatrix followed her line of vision and popped said garter.

"Ouch!" Cissa exclaimed.

"D'you want a choccy frog? I've got one in my pocket."

Rubbing her stinging and affronted thigh, Narcissa looked disbelieving at Bella. "No, I don't want your melted and crushed chocolate frog!"

Bella tisked. Chocolate nearly always made her feel better. Not that she felt particularly bad that often. Aside from Azkaban. And even that had gotten sort of tolerable after a few years. She thought for a few seconds while Narcissa sniffled pitifully. "How about we go kill something? Out in the garden. Some voles or shrews or hedgies. Eh?" She bent to try a reassuring smile. "Always makes me feel nice."

"Oh, gods Bella!" Narcissa looked horrified. "No!"

Bellatrix recoiled from the rather violent reaction. "Well, sod it then, you miserable cow! I'm trying to help you!" She made to slide from the bed, but a delicate hand on her torn sleeve stopped her.

"I know, sister. Thank you." Narcissa said. "I just need to get this out of my system, I suppose. There's nothing that can be done for Lucius. And poor Draco…" Her eyes began to tear again.

"Oh, no." Bella rose up on her knees. "Don't start blubbering again."

"I'm sorry!"

"And don't start bloody apologizing! It right brasses me." She huffed. Blew a shank of tangled hair from her face. She stared at her own rather tattered skirt for a moment. "How 'bout a shag, then?" A shrug. Tried to appear nonchalant. "It's been a while. Might make you feel –"

"That sounds lovely."

"Hm?" Surprised dark eyes flashed up to hopeful blues. "Yeah?"

Narcissa licked her swollen bothered lips. "I'd like that, Bella." Her breaths came a little faster. A little heavier.

"Oh." Bella blinked a few times. "Damn. Well." She nodded, slid from the bed. "Alrighty." She began working free the ties front of her leather corset. "Go on, then. Quit fannying around and get starkers."

Narcissa snapped to action. She shed her frock coat briskly, watched Bella disrobe as her own fingers shook on her blouse buttons. Her sister was a study in Bohemian haberdashery – completely nude beneath corset and skirt. Happy to muck about half-dressed and barefoot. Or simply blissfully unaware.

But she was gorgeous. As always, a high flush rose on Cissa's already pinkened cheeks at the sight of Bella's curvy body. Her long legs. The shadowed peaks and dips of her vicious spine. Bella was a pure marble sculpture carved with a dark chisel. A spell whispered and the lights dimmed. Narcissa watched her sister close the door – a sepiated fairy woman outlined in black. She walked slowly back to the bed and for some reason Cissa couldn't look away from her sharp angular ankles.

"I said starkers, Cissy."


Bella was kneeling. Peeling away the layers from her sister's pale, fey form. They were a momentary tangle of limbs as they worked to shed Narcissa's stockings and knickers. Then falling into luxury together, a skeleton and its ragdoll. Curves met curves and angles met angles. Grooves snapped in place and suddenly the cool night was not so cool anymore.

Their kiss was familiar and lingering. Narcissa's mouth tasted of tears and Bella's of hot iron. Comfortable tastes. Comfortable textures – their tongues scraping, mouths open and lewd. The Black family bowed lips meeting. Sucking. Knowing.

"I've missed this."

"Me, too."

"They were long years without you, sister."

"Yes, they were."

Who spoke? Who knew? Who cared? When words became unimportant and only sighs and whimpers and moans and the sounds of the unregenerate ruled, there was understanding. Bella's final solution: lust. And the cure for at least one thing.

Salt did it. The salt of tears shed, of the cleansing sea. But as there were no beaches nearby, it was sweat between the sisters. Sweat that sprung dewy on bellies and dripping betwixt breasts. Sweat healed the open sorrow wound. At least for now.

It was perhaps Bellatrix's only tenderness, and only ever toward her sister. But even then…she could hardly control the beast she owned inside. And gently laving Cissa's nipple turned to a bite. A caress of her hip turned to a scratch. A gentling "shhhh" turned into "shite!"

But Narcissa wouldn't question the vile sprite hissing venom into her ear. She bucked against Bella's exploring fingers. Smiled against her neck. She sucked hard on the numbers tattooed – the numbers that were Bella's name for 14 years. When Bella growled, "I want to taste you, Cissy," Narcissa spread her legs and let her.

She squirmed and squirreled against the sinful tongue; hugged her sister's torso with her legs, curled her toes and felt tangled curls wrap the digits. "Oh, Bella! Sister, please!" The plea was for release. It was for enslavement. It covered a multitude of indiscretions and indecisions.

Bella answered it with desperation. Ate it up with fervor. She loved the begging as much as she loved the granting. She extracted one hand from her sister's – clenched amongst bedsheet and sullied attire – and maneuvered it beneath the writhing witch. Practiced and patient, she stroked Narcissa's slippery slit, teased until the freed hand wrenched curls and the proper mouth poured pornography.

That was the time to plunge. To fuck. To comfort completely.

And in that moment – when blood rushed in her ears and her pulse was audible to the world – Narcissa forgot her sorrow. The emotion solidified then liquefied somewhere inside her and her sick sister savored it. Almost pain burned a tight trail up from her clit to her brain and blazed there – exploded pockets of color behind her slammed shut eyelids. Her muscles humiliated her. Beyond any control they squeezed Bella's fingers as if grasping for life.

Embarrassing, that weakness. It broke her. She groaned it out into the tense silence and Bellatrix… "Bellatrix…"

The snake slithered the sweat trail up her sister's body. Kissed the panting pretty lips and let her taste herself. "Yes, Narcissa?"

"Sister…" There were no words. She simply stretched. Something popped. She smiled. Bella smiled back, pulling her body up, up still til she perched over Cissa's face.

It was a dark grin staring down at her. Fingers still sticky with dissolved sorrow curled around the ornate headboard. "I love you, Cissy."

No answer was necessary. Narcissa's nostrils flared at the musky, heady, sweaty scent and she dove into the sea of her sister's heat with the eagerness of a woman who knows that although she is the one beneath, she is the one in control.

And like a puppet with uneven strings, Bella obeyed her sister's mouth. She bore down, begged, rode hard and cried out with an absolute abandon. The way she experienced all aspects of life. Pleasure that made her weak and pain that made her strong. "Go on. Gut me. Cut my cunt up, Cissy! Tear me apart! Ah!" Her head rolled on her shoulders as though the neck had snapped.

Because while Narcissa had the more delicate, feminine fingers of the pair – they possessed deadly sharp red varnished nails. Bella reveled in the scratches, the cuts, the tiny stabs of pain buffered by pleasure and wrapped in delight.

Narcissa remembered and exploited the weakness. Fucked her harder. Watched her face slack and mutate. Her arm curved taut over one of Bella's thighs, holding on, holding steady while the pain did its work. If there was a trickle of blood or two… Oh, well. It tasted no different from any other part of Bella.

Because Bella was essential. She was the physical. She was violence and pleasure and pain and hunger and desire. She was the basest of all elements and as she came apart – slamming her forehead into the headboard on a howl – Narcissa understood.

This was the supplest part of Bella. The part collapsing bonelessly beside her on a bed brought from their childhood home – a bed they'd probably shared even there. In the muted glow of golden sconces, they pressed their hands together. Felt the lingering sweat drying – the blood, the tears, the nameless. And Bellatrix grinned. Her breasts lolled as she rolled to face Narcissa.

"No need for all those histrionics, you know."

Cissa blinked. Innocent. "What?"

Bella licked her teeth wolfishly. "If you'd wanted a shag all you had to do was say."

Narcissa laughed. It was the first time she could recall laughing in months. "What if I'd just wanted your choccy frog?"

Bella was grunting. Laughing. Kicking the thick duvet down and then pulling it back up and over them. "It wasn't my choccy frog you were interested in, Cissy."

They pressed together. Naked. Soft. Bella reached behind her sister's head and removed the elaborate barrette that had become quite snagged in her hair. She tossed it careless out of the bed. They wriggled against each other. Re-acquainting. Re-arousing. "D'you feel better?" Bella asked quietly.

Narcissa licked her sister's jagged collarbone. "Yes." She tasted the salt of Bella's sweat and sighed. "I feel much better, sister."

Bella kissed her sister's closed eyelids. She tasted the salt of Narcissa's tears and sighed. "I'm glad…"

It was early.

It was late.

It was dark.

It was light.

The sister's didn't know. They simply sought the salt – the comfort. They moved with each other, against each other, ebbing and flowing like the tide with or without the moon. Like the sea…

AN: This one is for Greyella. A dear one. For comfort, sister...