Literatti: Fiction By Deslea
The Art Of Perfect Surrender
Deslea R. Judd
Rating: NC-17 (Explicit).
Pairing: Bellatrix Lestrange/Tom Riddle, First War
Summary: Bella understands it, the breaking. You only break the things you love, things you want to tame and keep.
Word Count: 4200
More Fic: On AO3 or my fic site.
Feedback: Love the stuff. On AO3 or at deslea at deslea dot com.
She doesn't know what the Dark Lord will do with her, when he finally comes for her.
It has been a long time, she knows. The descent of cold marked the fall of night long ago, and she's been in his bedchamber since noon. His elves have been considerate of her comfort, binding her firmly but carefully, mindful of pins and needles, placing cushions wherever they are needed. He means to break her, yes, but not hurt her.
Bella wants to be broken.
She understands it, the breaking. You only break the things you love, wild things you want to tame and keep. Breaking is for horses and children and spouses. Things that are not loved, elves and staff and soldiers, are simply threatened and cowed until there is no longer a need.
Bella has never been broken, never met her match before, but now that she has, she understands it. She trusts.
He is a man, and she is a woman, bound and naked in his chamber save for a flimsy open wrap, her body on offer. Sexual taming is a possibility - one that makes her sink down, breathless and undone with longing - but it is just as possible that he will build up her hopes and then tame her by withholding the one thing she desires from him above all else.
It is a torturous thought, but one that must be faced. When he comes, she must be willing to accept his will. Whatever it may be. She must be willing to bend.
But it would be too cruel if-
Maybe so. But she is his and he can be cruel with her if he chooses, just as he can make her wait if he chooses. The wait is a test, she knows, but it is also a purging, a time to let go of the things that hold her back from the perfect surrender that he seeks from her.
She closes her eyes against the blindfold. She can't see either way, but it helps her to focus on her other senses.
She takes stock of herself, the way she is offered to him, offered because she has come here of her own free will. Her legs are each bent double, each ankle bound to its matching thigh, and each wrist is bound to its matching ankle in turn. Her thighs are held firmly open, her sex exposed to the air. Her shoulders are back and her breasts thrust forward. She is posed for him on his chaise as a gift, body and soul. Ready for his worship or his punishment, his embrace or his rejection, his touch - oh, Merlin please his touch - or lack thereof. Ready for whatever he chooses to give her or inflict on her. Either way, her place is to accept, because it is from him.
Resolutely, she sets her chin and schools her thoughts, and she settles down to wait.
She wakes some unknown time later to the chaise dipping beneath her.
There is a slight rustling sound, unnaturally even, and she feels vibrations beneath her. She pieces together that the chaise is being Transfigured a little deeper, so he can position himself before her in the space between her thighs.
"You have done well, Bella."
His voice comes out of the silence. No part of him touches her, but she can smell him and feel the warmth of his body and his breath washes over her. It makes her blood turn into something molten, slow-moving and hot.
"Thank you, my Lord."
His hands fall on her shoulders, stroking down her arms, riding the thin cotton of her wrap, the wrap he bought for her, for this. "You understand this, don't you, Bella? What this is? What it means?"
"I do, my Lord."
"You understand, then, the importance of acquiescence." She nods, and her breath hitches as his fingers trace a lock of her hair off her face and tuck it behind her ear. Intimately possessive with her for the first time. "Bella, you must know that I am not someone who asks for what I want."
"No," she agrees. "The great do not seek permission. They take what is their due."
"Yes. But this - this thing that I very much desire from you - this cannot be taken. It can only be given." He weaves one strong hand deep into her hair, cradling her neck, long fingers twining her curls. "Do you, Bella?"
It is a momentous decision, and no decision at all.
"I do, my Lord," she whispers, heat and salt rising in her throat, and she normally hates tears and suspects that he does too, but this is pledging herself and it matters more than anything she's done in her life.
"Master," he says, low, almost hoarse, and she thinks - thinks - she hears relief in his voice. "When we're alone, like this."
The idea that there is a name for him that is just hers makes something crumble inside her. "Master," she whispers.
His hand is still buried in her hair. "It is customary to have a word. One that represents a refusal in a grave circumstance. It is a safeguard against being unwittingly harmed by one's owner. It is not to be used lightly. I want you to choose one."
"I don't want one," she flares.
A chill falls over his voice. "Nonetheless, you will have one, or you will leave. I will brook no argument from you. On this, or on anything."
She swallows hard. "Yes, Master."
A long moment passes, and then, in a softer voice, he says, "Tell me why you don't want one."
Reluctantly, she says, "Because...because I'm afraid I'll abuse it."
"And do you think I won't know if you try?" he challenges. "I expect you to perfect your surrender, Bella. You think it weakens you to have a word, and be able to use it with cause? I tell you it is weak to refuse to have one because its availability frightens you." His hand tightens in her hair, gripping curls, tugging them just enough to sting. "You will choose a word, and you will find a way to conquer your Black-sized bloody ego anyway."
She swallows white-hot tears of humiliation.
Trust, she thinks. Trust.
"Yes, Master," she says, gathering her dignity. "I choose Muggle." It is a ludicrous word, a word she would never even think to let fall from her lips. Lying dignity accorded by traitors to filth. It is the perfect safe word.
"Very well," he says. There is still a touch of frost in his voice. She has been his self-professed possession for all of five minutes, and disappointed him for four. It impresses itself on her with a horrible, gnawing feeling in her belly that she is unworthy to be his.
He hears the thought - of course he does - and he softens.
"Surrender is different to war, Bella," he murmurs, slowly unfastening her blindfold, and it touches her that he does it with his fingers and not with magic. "In war, it is the outcome that matters." Gently, he slips the fabric off her, taking his time putting it down as she blinks her eyes. He turns to face her again, his face coming into sharp focus, and goes on, "In surrender, though, it is the journey that matters. Commitment and perseverance matter."
Relief washes over her and she closes her eyes as he presses his naked flesh to hers, as he kisses her mouth. Her head tips back and her jaw falls open, taking him as fully as she can. His movements are controlled but hungry too.
"I will, Master," she gasps out between slow, molten kisses. Thoughts fragmenting as she slowly drowns in his crashing waves. "Commit. Persevere. Both."
He mutters a sound of satisfaction and kisses her harder.
"I'm going to mark you, Bella," he growls against her lips. "I'm going to mark you as mine."
She already has the Dark Mark. It dawns on her that he means something else. Something darker and more possessive and more intimate.
Conflicting things rush through her. A thrill of joy, of longing, at being chosen, thrill that she feels as bolts of electricity running straight to her core. Pride and belonging. Fear, too, at the way her life will change. Whatever it is, Rodolphus will see it soon enough, and he will divorce her. She will be written out of her father's will, have to make her own living somehow.
If she accepts, she is putting her life in his hands in a way she has never done before. Not even in war. To give herself over to death for his cause is one thing, but a life of privation and exclusion quite another.
She battles her own terror, and slowly, she wins. She breathes it through and breathes it out, breathes it out in shivering, helpless breaths.
He watches her grapple with it, and when she reaches that golden moment of certainty, he rewards her with the curling up of the corners of his mouth and softness around his eyes. She is almost sick with worry, but she smiles too, wan but sure.
"I'll talk to Rodolphus," he says. "He will co-operate."
Once it would have infuriated her, that he let her go through that fear when he meant to manage the problem all along. Now it does not. He has the right to require her to give up everything for him. That he does not is a gift and a kindness and she accepts it with thanks, slumping into the cushions, almost swooning with relief.
"Thank you, Master," she whispers.
He bows his head, dips down past her throat, past her breasts, bending to her side. Lays his lips there, where her ribs press against her flesh, and kisses her with a tenderness that is new. Murmurs something she cannot make out.
The effect is instantaneous, and it makes her arch against him, tears of exquisite pleasure and pain rising in her eyes. It's like something white-hot racing over her flesh, too fast to really hurt, but scorching her as it passes by. It traces whirling tendrils up and down her side, up and out. She sees white light behind her eyes, forming a pattern, tree roots and branches weaving around her. One branch weaves its way delicately, up over her breasts, trailing off at each peak, while a tendril traces off from the roots, down over the crease between hip and thigh, over the rise of her mons and between her folds. The searing feeling peters out just shy of her nipples and her clit and she clenches inside, arrested on the edges of curling, creeping pleasure.
He makes a small sound of amusement. "Patience, Bella." She can feel his breath on her mark, feels warmth radiate out along its form. Just a little. Draws in her breath as he lowers his lips to her flesh once more.
Slowly, delicately, he kisses her there, just above her hip, pausing to run the tip of his tongue over her flesh. Warmth races through her mark once more, this time reaching its target, and she gasps out a harsh sound of pleasure as fine points of heat penetrate her flesh. Her nipples are hard pebbles and her clit is suddenly swollen, pushing out into cool air. Her flesh fills with blood and heat, growing and parting, opening for him. She craves him there, mouth and hands and cock, and swallows the craving like a bitter potion.
He looks up. "You want more, Bella?" he enquires with a dangerous look in his eyes.
"I want only what my Master wishes to give," she whispers.
"No. You ask only for what I wish to give, and rightly so. But you want more."
Burning shame washes over her, at her failure, and his knowledge of her failure. She bows her head, hot angry tears spilling over her cheeks, blinding her, and she nods.
His breath is suddenly hot and heavy on her cheek as he forces his way into her space.
"Your obedience means a great deal to me," he murmurs. "What it costs you means more." She looks up at him, askance, and he goes on, "The mastery of self is the greatest surrender of all." Her lips begin to tremble, and he kisses her, deep and slow. "You will have the things you desire."
Relief washes over her, and she tugs at her hands unthinkingly, and they do her bidding, suddenly freed from her ankles. She takes it for approval and raises them over his head, plunging them into his hair as he delicately explores her mouth. Chokes out a sound that is somehow every name she has for him, mylordmymastermylovemylord, and that compels him, his searching suddenly fierce and hungry.
At last, he pulls away from her and Vanishes her wrap. He lays her out on her belly, her legs still bent, ankles still bound to the backs of her thighs. Open and helpless. He kneels between her thighs and drapes his palms heavily over her shoulders, easing them down beneath her arms, down her sides, brushing the heat of his mark on her, and she feels tingles anew across her flesh.
Then there is something new there, fabric, gossamer-thin silk rising over her belly, and he is moving behind her, drawing it up around her back. She recognises the tell-tale tug of corsetry, but this is like nothing she's ever felt, tissue-thin and filmy, too flimsy to hold her firm. And yet it does - it could only be by magic - and she drags in her breath in a rasp as the fabric drags over the mark on her side. Sensation races through her in rhythmic, unceasing pulses of heat, nipples and clit and shooting stars in between.
"Every day, you'll wear corsets, from now on," he says in a low, rasping voice, and for the first time, she hears his control begin to slide out from under him. "Thick or thin, over or under your clothes, I don't care. But I want you to feel me in your blood. Not one move without me, Bella. Not one."
The idea of it leaves scorches across the surface of her mind, and she writhes there, choking out sounds of need and satisfaction, near climax on the strength of the thought alone. He utters a low groan in time with her, and reaches beneath her and brushes her clit, just once, sending her over the edge with a high-pitched cry that builds her need higher as much as it slakes it.
He bends over her, lips raining kisses on the back of her shoulder, his beautiful cock hot and hard between her thighs. She wriggles beneath him, pushing down, trying to get to him with her clit, and he makes a sound of genuine mirth.
"All those good intentions about doing my will go right out the window the minute I touch you, don't they, Bella love?"
She's almost sobbing with need now, and she can only close her eyes and nod.
"It's all right," he soothes. Helps her up to sit again, and suddenly her wrists are bound to her ankles once more, sign that his indulgence of her has been withdrawn. "You have all the time in the world to learn." He sits back on his heels and begins to stroke himself. "Of course, I don't see why I should go without as well."
She bites down on her lip and watches him, watches his cupped palm drag over the ridge separating cockhead from shaft. That ridge is one of her favourite things in the world, and every time he brushes over it, she feels aches all over the place. She imagines the slight vibration of him passing over the lip of her entrance. She imagines the feel of her insides moulding to him as he drills it deep into her. Imagines him rubbing it over her clit - that's her other favourite thing in the world, cock against her clit - and driving her slowly out of her mind.
A smirk rises on his features. "You think it a waste, Bella? My cock so close, and none of it for you?"
She shakes her head, but it's a lie. She does. He knows she does.
He regards her thoughtfully. Gets up and stands before her. Holds himself out to her. She wriggles closer and takes him eagerly. Her hands are bound, so she can only let him do what he will, taking deep thrusts and kissing and licking and sucking whatever she can. His hands are deep in her hair, cradling her tenderly even as he thrusts into her, and she gives herself up to it gratefully. There is the thrum of pleasure from silk rubbing relentlessly against her mark, and there is the rhythmic, rolling acceptance of his cock filling her mouth over and over, her body undulating, rocking with his movements in hypnotic waves. Just for a moment, everything else fades away, even the aching void of her sex and the fires of her burning, burning mind.
It's a relief.
His movements become erratic and she knows he's close, and she prepares to drink him in, but he pulls away abruptly. "Oh, no, Bella," he says, his eyes gleaming as she stares up at him hungrily, "I'm not finished with you yet."
The threat/promise of it makes her shiver.
He takes his place between her thighs once more. She's held out open for him, now even more than before, her bound hands holding her arms back and her chest open, breasts thrust forward for him, while her hips and her sex are propped up beneath her heels. She strains forward, offering it all, hoping to Merlin that he will accept and bring her relief.
His expression softens, and he tilts his head and runs one palm down her forearm to rest over where her wrist and ankle are joined. Says, almost wistfully, "You're very beautiful like this."
Just for a moment, it all falls away, her arousal, her need, and there is only the warmth of his approval. She feels a flash of something utterly pure and selfless inside her, great love flaring bright and white, her self forgotten.
Perhaps seeing it and recognising it in her, he relents.
He rolls her nipples between practiced fingers, gently tugging them. She feels the tug on the edges of her mark, and it sends currents through the rest of its pattern, not only her clit but constellations of feeling right around her flesh. When he lowers his lips to her there, it's like he's touching her clit as well, doing things to it her anatomy would never allow - licking around most of its surface, bathing it and cooling it with his breath.
She arches up into him and sighs as his hand finds her overflowing sex, as he parts folds and slowly, leisurely slides his fingers inside her. She's on such a hair-trigger that she comes again, but this time it sends her catapulting into something new, hazy and heavy and slow-moving and white-hot all at once. Sensations are brighter and sharper, but in slow motion as well, and her body is like lead, something with no will of its own, something that only receives from him and responds perfectly to his will.
He eases her onto her back, and she yields, falling back exactly where he moves her. An empty vessel, waiting to be filled. To be whole.
He sits up, back on his heels again, and thoughtfully, he strokes himself ready and presses his cockhead against her clit. Sliding it back and forth between the folds of her sex. She sighs out the satisfaction she'd forgotten she wanted. Writhes with delight, moving her hips, matching him rhythm for rhythm.
"Master," she whispers, but this time, it is an offering, not a plea.
As though in reply, he slides up her body and presses his mouth into hers, and at the same instant her ankles and wrists come free. She twines them around him with a sigh. His cock is just nudging into her, gradually making a path, just like she imagined it would, until finally he's buried inside her to the hilt, grinding against her, the rise of hair at the base of his cock etching patterns into her swollen flesh. He alternates between slow, rhythmic strokes and fucking her harder than anyone's ever fucked her in her life, commanding her to come then bringing her there himself, until finally there is only a stream of climaxes, one after another, rising unbidden with a hastening momentum of their own. The chaise is drenched and sodden beneath her and her cries of pleasure reverberate off the walls, and through it all his cock is filling her, making her complete, complete because she's his, tamed by him and for him at last.
When finally, he spills over inside her, he holds her close and brings her down, murmuring approval into her hair, his cock still twitching against her. There are tears of joy in her eyes and his seed is comforting and warm inside her. Her breasts brush against his flesh, and it sends waves of pleasure through his mark on her, but this time they are soothing and warm and not scorching hot. Even as they ripple around her sex, they cushion her, hold her steady, gently building her up as surely as they had brought her undone.
He presses his lips into her hair. "You'll sleep here," he murmurs, nodding to the chaise beneath her. The implication is clear; she may share his room, but not his bed.
"Thank you, Master," she says gratefully, and part of her is surprised to realise that she really means it, that she really needs only what he wants to give. Her will is a strong one, and she will have to master it over and over again, but not today.
His eyes meet hers. "Good girl."
She takes his hand and bows her head to it. Kisses it. Says raggedly, "I'm...yours." She has no other way to explain what has happened to her.
"I know," he says, rather kindly really, and then gently extricates his body from hers.
She watches him as he readies himself for bed. Her body aches but she does not feel it; the chaise is damp, but she doesn't feel that either. Every part of her is focused on him.
"Good night, Bella," he says presently as he slips into his bed a little distance away. His eyes gleam, holding hers in the dim light.
Overwhelmed with it all, she can only nod. Perhaps he understands, because he doesn't take her to task for her silence.
She stays there, eyes locked with his across the void of the room. Marked and owned. Broken and tamed.
This work had a few inspirations. The most direct was this picture (nudity, not safe for work). If you can't view it, it's basically a bound woman sitting serenely on a couch in the position described at the beginning of the fic. It's very beautifully posed and subtly done, and very evocative, whether bondage and/or D/s is your thing or not.
Another inspiration was Bella's use of the name "Master" during her panicked exchange with Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries at the end of Order of the Phoenix, which I've been mulling over a bit of late. She does call him "my Lord" at other times, but during this very emotional moment, when she is at her most submissive, he becomes "Master." It occurred to me that this could be taken as reflecting a formal D/s relationship where she calls him this in private. (I'm not saying this is my general head-canon, only that it seemed like a reasonable interpretation). It wasn't a huge stretch for me anyway, because a lot of my Bellatrix characterisation is around this idea of self-forgetting/self-emptying in her utter other-focus on Voldemort, and that's very much what underpins her mastery of self here. There's also a lot of psychological overlap, in my view, between D/s submission and submission in worship, and I think there are hints of religious submission in Death Eater culture and ideology.
As an outgrowth of these thoughts, I spent a little time on D/s blogs. I have a basic understanding of how D/s works, but I wanted to get a bit further into sub-Bella's brain. A lot of the details arose from that reading. Branding, for instance, was something that had never really resonated with me before, but I found a blog by a woman who was testing the water with some really low-key D/s stuff, and one of the things she did was write her Dom's name on some part of her body each day. Something about the domestic ordinary-ness of that detail touched me quite a lot, and the tattoo detail was born.
I had a belated realisation on re-reading that the tattoo detail was also kind of indirectly inspired by another fanwork, which I didn't realise while I was writing. The work is the fantastic No Mere Mortal by Miss Morland. She did something completely different with it, and in many ways something better, and I'm totally in awe of it. Bellamort fans, you have to check this out.
Oh - and I envisaged the tattoo as looking a lot like this one, from this blog post.