WHAT: Attack! part 1
WHEN: 16 Dec 1997
WHERE: Severus' new safehouse.
RATED: PG-13ish for violence and language
Severus stared into the dark bedroom, wondering for a moment what had woken him. He still wasn't used to the house, and he was about to dismiss it as a random old-house noise and close his eyes again, when he realized what had done it. Red light flashed around the edges of the room, then disappeared again--red light from the wards that he'd woven into the building's all-but crumbling structure. They were only there an instant, to keep the light from being noticed under the door, but long enough to attract attention.
If that weren't enough to wake him, a creak sounded again, like hesitant footsteps against an old attic floor. Only this particular old house didn't have an attic.
Severus slid a hand under his pillow and curled his fingers around the handle of his wand. He eased it out to flick his wrist and stop the wards from lighting, then slid his hand under the blankets again. He listened for movement, wondering if the nastier wards had been triggered, and hoping that at least the sound of footsteps in the nonexistant attic would confuse someone if they were wandering free in the house.
Bellatrix heard the small creak above and her eyes darted directly to it, although she was careful to keep her wand out to the side, casting glances around the crumbling little room. Snape was awake; he was upstairs, obviosly. This would certainly make things interesting, but much less safe.
She had disillusioned herself as best she could before approaching the farmhouse, but she never had exactly mastered the spell; she had never been one to hide herself in battle, ever the proud warrior. She cursed Snape under her breath for the millionth time for causing her to have to hide her fights. Her half realized charm failed to make her entirely invisible, but instead produced an effect like seeing things through rippling water wherever she moved. She only hoped the darkness would help to make up for that.
She continued to look about the room, her ears attuned to the noise in the ceiling, but no longer glancing up. It wasn't as if Severus was going to be able to attack her through the floor, after all... but... she could certainly do the opposite. A slow grin crept across her face and she aimed her wand up towards the noise. "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" she called in a sing-song voice before blasting a hole right through the ceiling where the creaking was. She sprinted towards where the rubble had fallen, hoping to catch Snape injured from falling through the ceiling - maybe with broken bones or, better yet, a concussion - only to find nothing. A quick glance up confirmed moonlight shining in through the ceiling. "Fuck!" She quickly darted behind the closest piece of furniture.
"Well, isn't he a smart one," she said in sugary baby-talk, actually hoping Snape heard every word. "Tricky, tricky. The boy relies on tricks now to do his fighting for him."
Severus recognized that voice, no question. Fucking Bellatrix Lestrange. Well, it hadn't taken her as long as he'd thought it would to hunt him down, but no matter. He'd worry about the giant hole he could just imagine in the ceiling later, when he needed to find a place to hide a body, because this was just the opportunity he needed to be done with her once and for all.
There was no pretending to be asleep, not after that commotion. Severus slid out of bed to his feet, pulling his gray night shirt down over his knees, wand raised. He mentally pictured where the hole must be, based on the crash, and hoped she was on this side of the wreckage. Mind working quickly, he Apparated into the kitchen, which had an open front, and found that he'd been right--there was a pile of wood and roof at the far side of his sitting room.
No Bellatrix, however. Severus blasted the pile of debris outward, hoping it would flush her out--and if he was lucky, that a fallen beam would smack her right in the gob. He hated that stupid fucking baby-talk.
A sizable hunk of rubble connected with Bella's shoulder, sailing over the top of the threabare sofa she had hidden behind. She let out a sharp cry before casting a quick Protego. The remaining pieces of debris deflected away from her, as did the sofa, and scattered. Some of the debris settled in a clear circle around her, and the rest went sailing back towards Snape.
She dodged a few paces out of the bull's-eye she had created around herself, in case he sent a curse towards where she had been, and raised her wand again. "Crucio!" she cried.
Severus would have been too late to deflect that curse if he hadn't already been deflecting the sofa sailing towards him. As it was, he narrowly missed being hit by both as he slid to one side, the curse hitting the sofa instead. It tumbled past him into the kitchen as he tried to get his bearings and spot her. There was the spot she should've been, but the only light in the room was the light of the waning moon filtering in through the windows, and she just wasn't there. It had to be a spell, he realized that, because his eyes were adjusting to the dark now, and he had better night sight thanks to Remus' curse, and she wasn't--
There. It was just a flicker of something, but it was a direction to aim for. His wand shot out as he fired the same curse back at her, the word coming out in a furious growl that belied his outer calm.
Bella hadn't expected him to deflect the curse, but he had. She lowered her center of gravity and ran at him, knowing she could easily take him out at a distance, but craving the satisfaction that would come from beating him bloody with her bare hands. Besides, curses were easier to deflect than a pair of fists that you could hardly see.
Right. Knock the bastard down, disarm, beat him bloody unconscious. That was the plan...
However, what she expected even less than her curse failing to connect, was that he had been able to actually see her in the darkness. She realized this too late and, by the time she was half way to him, Snape's curse hit her. She shrieked, every nerve in her body suddenly on fire, and collapsed in a writhing, opaque heap on the floor.
By Salazar, that was a sweet sight. Severus smiled, watching Bellatrix scream and convulse, but not taking a step closer lest she flail herself at him. It was tempting to do a bit more of this before he killed her. He liked seeing her in agony.
After almost a minute, which he was certain felt like hours to her, he flicked his wand to end the curse, counting on her being too weak from the pain to do anything to him. "Perhaps I'll torture you to insanity before I kill you," he murmured, voice low and smooth. "So you can die doing what you love."
By the time Snape ended the curse, tears of pain were running down Bella's cheeks. "Insanity?" she asked, sniffing loudly and swallowing a pained moan. Her voice was raspy from her cries. "Aren't you a little late for that?" She laughed hollowly, producing very little sound as she struggled for her breath. Every part of her body stung, but she had not come all this way just to die at that half-blood fuck's hands. She summoned her wand to her, having no idea where her flailing had sent it, and raised it quickly. "Expelliarmus," she said flatly, hoping the charm connected, but not waiting to see if it had.
With a cry when her muscles felt as though they were ripping in two just to move, and what must have been pure adrenalin driving her, she rolled up and flung herself towards him. She collided with his middle and sent them both to the floor - falling back down again had been the easy part. Landing on top of him, Bella scrambled to a position she hoped she could maintain by pure leverage, with little gasping cries as she did. Sitting with her knees on either side of his waist and a hand gripping one of his shoulders, she swung her free fist (which was balled around her wand already), down hard to the center of his face with a growl she hoped sounded more angry than pained.
Pain exploded in Severus' nose, wrenching an animalistic snarl of fury from him--he had one clear thought to hope that the moon just having been full wouldn't affect his control over the beast--and then his vision went red for an instant. Growling, he brought up the arm that she didn't have a hand on, curling a fist to backhand her with as much force as he could muster from that angle, and as soon as the blow was finished, the hand opened and struggled to sieze her wand hand.
The satisfaction from the sickening crack of Snape's nose and warm gush of blood was short lived. And then for a moment, Bella was sure it was all over. Pain shot from the point where Snape had impacted the side of her face, splitting her lip, through her whole head and down her spine when her jaw wrenched to the side, the after effects of his curse amplifying the sensations. Her vision blurred and dimmed, and when it finally came back into focus, Snape had her wrist in his hand, preventing her from aiming her wand properly at anything. The hand that was on his shoulder moved to the top of his head, threading her fingers into his hair. Using as much strength as she could and levering herself against his grip on her wrist, she lifted up, pulling him with her several inches off the floor, and then slammed his head back into the floor with a roar. Without waiting, she lifted again and repeated the motion as hard as she could.
Severus snarled again as pain shot through his head, twice, and his other arm now free grabbed the hand holding his hair. He let out a fierce growl and summoned his strength, throwing his weight to pitch them both over sideways and over, so he was now on top, her hands pinned to the floor and his blood dripping onto her face. His legs weren't yet braced well on the floor, but he didn't care. He wrenched his head back, ignoring the pain as some of his hair stayed in her grip, lips curling back over crooked yellow teeth. He wanted to bite her, to rip out her fucking throat, but he was fighting to think of a strategy rather than just let himself be swept away on alien instinct.
Bella struggled for a moment, pushing and straining against his hands to get out from under him. It was no use. She had certainly gained a lot of her strength back, but when it came right down to it, he was heavier than she was. She shifted, first attempting to bring her knee up into his groin, but finding their position difficult to connect in any painful way. So she rolled her hips to the side, out from under him so the small of her back was against his waist, and kicked back. Her foot connected with his knee and she felt it shatter, caving in the wrong direction toward his other leg.
That was more pain at once than Severus knew what to do with. He let out a strange choked noise, unable to keep from making a sound entirely, and immediately lost focus of what he'd been doing, his grip going slack as he collapsed onto his side.
Bella wrenched her wand hand from Snape's loosened grip and summoned her wand from wherever it had fallen. She aimed hastily at him, blasting him back and away from her into the kitchen wall.
Severus barely registered the curse that threw him across the room except that it wrenched his knee and made him howl--but it was all over when the back of his head hit the wall. Blackness descended, almost a relief.
Bella rolled up onto her knees, moving to ready herself for another attack, but Snape didn't move. He just slumped into a heap at the other side of the room. For a moment, she only stared, drawing fast, shallow breaths, and then she allowed herself to collapse as well, relief washing over her. It wasn't long before she was half laughing and half holding back silent sobs of pain, a funny mix of emotion that was neither good nor bad filling her now that the fight was over.