Author's Notes: Written for Round One of the Women's Tennis event (Must write about the Black family, anyone who has/once had the last name of Black counts) on the 2012 Hogwarts Games on the HPFC forum.
Warnings: Contains sister/brother and father/daughter incest, sexual abuse and underage sex.
Cassiopeia knelt beside her baby sister's cradle with one hand on the side, rocking it slowly. Even making it sway the tiniest bit was a great strain on her small arms, and she was tired and out of breath, but she kept it rocking back and forth, back and forth. A faint haze of moonlight shone through the gossamer curtains, interrupted only by the pattern of small, sparse, embroidered flowers, which cast hazy, spidery shadows on Dorea and Cassiopeia.
She sung under her breath, a constant, quiet, tuneless medley of the music and sounds that always played inside her mind when she was alone, and she rocked her baby sister's cradle.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
The manor was silent, save for Cassiopeia's quiet singing.
Silent, at least, until a floorboard creaked behind her and she heard her father's voice.
"You ought to be in bed at this hour, you know."
Cassiopeia sprung away from the cradle instantly. Her father had startled her – as he so often managed to – and her heart pounded so quickly that she was afraid she might faint. She felt a twisting pain in the pit of her stomach, as she so often did when her father was near her.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," she whispered.
"I don't like you touching the baby, Cassiopeia; you know that."
She looked at her little sister guiltily. Her father had told her time and again that she should not touch her little sister for fear of hurting her, but Dorea was sleeping soundly.
She looked like a porcelain doll nestled in the sheets. So fragile, so breakable.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," Cassiopeia said again, not looking back at him, preferring to stare at Dorea. "I won't touch her again. I promi–"
The words stalled in her throat when he grabbed onto the front of her nightdress, pulling her up against him. His eyes narrowed into slits and Cassiopeia could smell the wine on his breath. There was always wine on his breath – always when he was close enough to touch her, at any rate.
"Good," he hissed. "Promise. Don't touch her again. Or I'll have to punish you."
She nodded, tears filling her dark eyes, and she did not dare to draw breath until he had set her on the ground again and left the room. Her chest heaved as she gasped in, and then she rushed away from the cradle, to her bed, and flung herself onto it, burying her face in the pillow.
I'll have to punish you.
He said it often but never told Cassiopeia what the punishment was. All she knew was that it must be bad, worse than anything she could even imagine. It wouldn't be a slap or a whipping or being sent to bed without supper.
Wondering what it was could be made sweat break across her brow and on her palms and it made it difficult to draw breath and so she tried to never think of it.
It had been Father who wanted Cassiopeia to have her own bedroom.
Cassiopeia had stood at the door, holding her breath, and listened to her parents debate the matter. She did not know whether the idea of having her own bedroom made her feel special and grown up – Pollux had his own, after all – or nervous, for her stomach did churn and twist a little at the idea of going to bed without her little sister nearby.
"I don't see Cassiopeia shouldn't go on sharing with Dorea," Mother said. "There's no reason to disrupt either of them. They're so close – why shouldn't we encourage that?"
"Violetta…" Father's voice was soft and earnest, a tone that Cassiopeia knew by now to fear because it always served as a prelude to anger. "You know as well as I what happens when siblings are allowed to be too… close without supervision. Why…" He dropped his voice to a whisper and Cassiopeia had to press her ear against the door to hear what he said next. "Think of what happened with Arcturus and Lycoris."
She gasped. "Cygnus! We don't know that anything happened between them!"
"Aye, but we do."
"And- and they are man and woman in any case – Cassiopeia and Dorea are both girls…"
"All the more reason…"
"Surely we ought to worry more about Cassiopeia and Pollux – or Cassiopeia and Marius…"
Cassiopeia had not been able to listen anymore. She fled, heart pounding.
She could not think what her mother had meant by we ought to worry more about Cassiopeia and Pollux. There was nothing that they should be worrying about. She idolized her older brother. He loved her. He told her so when he climbed into her bed at night, careful not to disturb Dorea, and put his hands on her little breasts and between her legs and said that she was pretty…
That very night, Cassiopeia was moved into a new bedroom. Dorea cried a bit when she was sent to bed without her sister, but Cassiopeia learned later that she had fallen asleep without trouble.
Cassiopeia herself, on the other hand, had a most difficult time falling asleep.
Because that was the first night when she found out what I'll have to punish you meant.
Marius and Dorea said that it was wrong, what Pollux did to Cassiopeia, but she didn't care; they were only jealous.
She thought that, while she straddled her brother's lap and trembled in his embrace, moaning quietly as he touched her, working his fingers deep inside her, until she could stand it no longer and her body heaved and soft gasps of pleasure were torn from her throat.
Pollux pulled his fingers slowly out of her and she rested against him, breathing heavily.
"I love you," she whispered.
He didn't respond, didn't even move. Had it not been for the sound of his breathing, she might of feared that he had died in her arms.
They had slipped away from a party – or, rather, Pollux had whispered in her ear an order to leave with him and she had neither dared nor wished to protest. He had taken her up to the library, sat her upon his knee and lifted her skirts and touched her so skilfully…
The music from the party was still audible and Cassiopeia listened idly to it while she touched her brother's chest to feel his heavy breathing. Her eyes closed and she laid her head upon his shoulder, dozing slightly in the heavy haze of pleasure that he had put her in.
Her eyes flew open and her body hunched up automatically at the sound of her own name being shouted. She looked up guiltily and her face crumpled with fear when she saw her father standing over them. Her instant reaction was to grab at her skirts, trying to pull them down and cover herself, but she didn't know why she bothered. He had already seen. He already knew.
"Daddy–" she began, but he cut her off with a glare.
"Don't you even try to talk your way out of this!" he hissed. "Pollux- get out!" he added, and Pollux did as he was told immediately, not so much as looking at Cassiopeia as he fled the library and left her, trembling, with her father. Fear tightened her throat and she wanted to call out and beg him to stay, but she couldn't. Of course she couldn't.
He silenced her with a harsh slap and Cassiopeia flinched. The blow itself was by far not the hardest she had received – not even the hardest she had received recently – but she knew that it signified far worse to come.
He grabbed her by her hair, pulling her head up so that she was looking at him, and when she tried to pull away, she stumbled and hit her knee on one of the small tables that littered the library. She gasped, feeling her skin tear, but her father didn't even look down at her leg.
"My daughter- making a whore of herself–"
You made a whore of me a long time ago, Daddy, Cassiopeia wanted to tell him, but she couldn't. Of course she couldn't.
He struck her again, and again after that, and she cried out, flinging her arms up to shield herself from the sharp blow. She cowered away from him, scrambling into the corner and drawing her knees up to her chest.
"Don't hurt me, Daddy!" she cried out tearfully, but after so many years, she ought to have known better than to beg. It never did any good. It usually hurt her.
Her father laughed and the all-too-familiar harshness of his voice made her want to cry again. She tried to struggle to her feet, to run, but pain shot through her leg and she crumpled. A dry sob wrenched itself from her throat as she gripped her knee and felt blood.
She dared not look. The sight of blood made her ill.
"Why are you trying to run from your Daddy, Cassiopeia?" Her father's voice was at once concerned and mocking, a hideous combination that he always used when he knew that he had her. "Why are you crying? You're not afraid of your father, are you, my little girl? Are you?"
I'm not crying! she wanted to tell him, because it was all she could do to keep the tears from falling, but she didn't dare to say it.
"No, Father," she whispered.
"Stand up, then!"
Cassiopeia's fingers dug into her wall to pull herself up, her nails tearing the paper, but she didn't care. What did it matter if she destroyed everything in the entire house – none of it was important…
Her injured leg – had she broken it, perhaps, or merely hurt her knee so badly that it would not work? – dragged almost grotesquely along the ground and she tried to look neither at it nor at her father.
"Now come to Daddy," he breathed.
Come to Daddy.
The words echoed in her mind in a thousand different voices, shouting at her, louder and louder after he had fallen silent – they were words she had heard so many times that she could no longer count – and she managed to take a step towards him.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," she whispered, and she bowed her head, not letting any tears come to her eyes while he pushed her down into the chair that she had so recently occupied with her brother and spread her legs.
No one came to see Cassiopeia anymore. Daddy was long gone, and Pollux as well; Cygnus and Walburga had long forgotten about her and even Kreacher the house-elf only ventured into the attic to bring her food every few days, likely on some long-forgotten order by some member of the family, because even the house-elf didn't speak to her.
She had gone up into the attic of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place when she was twenty-three, when she could no longer stand seeing her father smirk and glare at her and knowing what he was thinking of and when having Pollux come to her bed had turned from a blessed relief to a terror almost as profound as when her father did it. She had gone up when she had been brought to visit Arcturus and his children, who lived there.
She had gone up and never come back down.
Her family didn't want her back down, she knew. She had tried the trapdoor that was supposed to lead her out more than once, and always, she found it locked.
There were times when she wondered who it was who had imprisoned her, but more times when she didn't care and was only grateful.
And now she sat in the attic, rocking slowly back and forth, back and forth, and reliving, though she tried not to, what had happened before she had climbed the ladder to the attic and taken asylum with the spiders.