Word Count: 2 200
Summary: Andromeda has good reason to want to leave home, but not good enough reason for Bellatrix.
Warnings: Incest, references to abuse
Author's Notes: For rumpledlinen in darkwitches, a dark femmeslash exchange. Gifted to the community, as rumpledinen dropped out.
Andromeda had spent weeks planning for her escape. She had spent weeks choosing the exact minute that she would be able to slip out of the house unnoticed – after her parents had gone to bed and before Bellatrix and Narcissa got up to sneak down to the liquor cabinet and fetch a bottle of wine to dull their pain.
Andromeda didn't drink.
She fancied that it was because she was braver than Bellatrix or Narcissa.
Her sisters weren't brave. Her sisters cried after Mother and Father took them into their bedroom for punishments. Her sisters could only make the memories of their parents go away by getting so drunk that they couldn't stand up and by telling themselves and each other that they would only have to bear it a little longer before they could go and get married and then everything would be all right.
Andromeda knew that wasn't true.
Her mother and father had hurt her – and her sisters – for as long as she could remember and she didn't see any reason to believe that they would stop. It was a fact of family life in the house of Black that the smallest transgression could warrant a beating and any resistance to that punishment would end in the Cruciatus curse or worse. The household was never going to change.
And when they got married? If they got married, their husbands would beat them just like their parents did. Why wouldn't they? What reasons would their husbands have to think that they shouldn't beat their wives? And then would the girls just sit around, waiting for their husbands to die?
Of course they would.
Andromeda would rather not.
She didn't care to spend her whole life waiting for people to die before they killed her.
So she was going to run away.
It seemed so simple when she thought of it that way – I'm going to run away. Simple and childish. She was going to run away.
But it wasn't going to be childish – it was going to be real and right and she had waited forever to do it and now – now, she wasn't going to let anything stop her.
So she waited in her bedroom, clutching her bag in shaking hands, listening to her heart pounding in her ears, and when she heard her parents' door close, she squeezed her eyes shut and counted backwards from two hundred before she stood up, cracked her own door and peered out into the corridor.
Bellatrix was standing right outside.
Andromeda had been so sure that she wasn't going to be interrupted that she actually let out a small scream.
"You're trying to leave," Bellatrix said. She said it calmly, simply, in a voice devoid of any sort of emotion at the statement – or perhaps she was not so much calm as she was numb. It was difficult for Andromeda to tell.
Andromeda shrunk back, clutching her bag so tightly that her knuckles went white on the handle. She eyed her sister warily, trying to gauge what she was going to do – was she going to scream for their parents? Try to stop her?
"Yes," Andromeda said at last, very quietly. "I'm going to leave."
Why? What sort of question was why? Bellatrix had lived through what Andromeda had, Bellatrix knew what sort of pain their life involved – how could she ask why Andromeda wanted to leave?
"Because!" She stared at her sister in disbelief. "Because I can't stand it anymore, Bella! I would have thought that you of all people would understand that… would understand why I can't…"
"Why you can't what?" Bellatrix hissed. "Why you can't stand it anymore? Why you're going to just give up and leave us here?"
"You're being a coward, Andromeda!" Bellatrix hissed. She lunged forward and grabbed Andromeda by the front of her dress, shaking her. "You're such a coward! Running away from here when you should know that the things Mother and Father do to Narcissa and I are just as bad – no, a thousand times worse than what they do to you–"
"Stop it!" Andromeda dropped her bag and raised her hands, pressing them over her ears. Tears sprung to her eyes. "Stop it, Bella – please stop–"
Bellatrix shook her roughly. "You can't run away, Andi, you can't! Do you understand me? You need to stay here! Narcissa needs you!" Then, her voice cracking slightly, though she kept her blazing eyes fixed firmly upon her sister, "I need you."
Andromeda looked down. Guilt was choking her – Bellatrix might as well have reached out and wrapped her hand around her throat.
"You don't need me," she whispered. "I can't do anything here."
"Like Hell you can't! You're going to break Narcissa's heart if you leave – she relies on you, you should know that! You're going to break my heart, Andi…"
"Don't do that to me, Bella!" Andromeda knew that she was being manipulated, knew better than to think even for a moment that Bellatrix meant it when she said she needed her, but even though she knew her sister well enough to be able to tell that she was insincere, the look on Bellatrix's face tore her apart.
"Don't do what to you?" Bellatrix whispered. Tears glistened in her eyes. Andromeda could not be sure whether they were real. "I'm not doing anything to you, And!" Her voice rose a note – she sounded hysterical. "And if you do go running away like the little coward that you are, then no one's ever going to do anything to you again! You're going to go on without anyone ever trying to hurt you again! How are you going to live with yourself, Andromeda? How are you going to live with yourself, knowing that you're safe while Mother and Father have Cissy and I…"
Andromeda pushed her back. "Stop it. Stop it!"
"Are you just going to try not to think about it, then?" Bellatrix demanded scornfully. "When you're gone and lying all warm and safe in your bed in some new place, without us, are you going to try not to think about what Mother and Father will be doing to Cissy and me? Cissy especially – she isn't going to be able to protect herself without you…"
"Then you'll have to be there to protect her, won't you?" Andromeda hissed, all defiance. It wasn't her fault, she told herself, though she certainly felt as though it was. "You'll have to protect her when Mother and Father starton her – but you're not going to do that, are you? Because you don't care!" Her voice was rising and Bellatrix glanced over her shoulder, clearly fearful of them being overheard. Andromeda would have been equally fearful, but she couldn't bring herself to be calm. "You never did it for me! Where's all your self-righteous family loyalty when I'm the one they're hurting?"
Bellatrix looked as if Andromeda had just slapped her across the face. She reeled and sputtered. "I- I've done so much for you–"
"So much? Like what? You never stopped them!"
"But I did! You don't know how many times I've taken it for you!" A tear rolled down Bellatrix's cheek, and this time, Andromeda was sure that it was real. "You don't know how many times I took the blame for something you did so that I'd be the one getting beaten – and I did it because I'm your sister, Andi, and sisters are supposed to help each other!"
Andromeda could find no words. She looked down at her bag, the bag that she had so lovingly and carefully packed so that she could leave the home that was killing her. She looked back up at Bellatrix.
There was a long, tense pause, and then Bellatrix kissed her.
The bag slipped from Andromeda's fingers and landed on the ground between them with a thud.
Bellatrix kicked it aside and moved closer to her little sister. She knotted her fingers in her hair and pressed her mouth harder against hers.
"Bella…" Andromeda murmured, and though she was sure that she was trying to say get off me, get off me, Bella, we can't do this, all that came out was a soft moan.
"I love you, Andromeda," Bellatrix whispered. She leaned back and knotted her fingers in Andromeda's hair, pulling her head gently to the side so that she could nip at her throat. "Please believe that I love you. More than anything!"
"I- I do–" I know that you love me, it just doesn't matter.
Bellatrix shoved her back onto her bed, a little more roughly than Andromeda was entirely sure was necessary, and straddled her. She squeezed her breasts gently, unusually tenderly, then ran her hands down over her waist.
"You're so wonderful, Andi. You know that, don't you?" Bellatrix whispered. Her voice was thick with lust and passion and tears were glittering on her cheeks. Andromeda felt sick for her sister – it was so unfair, so unfair that she was making her sister cry. She didn't want to. She hated when Bellatrix displayed any sort of weakness like this. "You're perfect – you'reso perfect and I couldn't stand to lose you… Cissy couldn't stand to lose you… Mother and Father couldn't stand to lose you," she added with a touch of bitterness, "and you know what they'll do when they find you're gone…"
"Mmm…" was all Andromeda could stand to stay. She was sure that if she had tried to tell Bellatrix that she wasn't leaving just because she didn't love her, she would start sobbing.
Bellatrix kissed her hard and knotted her fingers in her hair to keep her head steady. "Never…" She kissed her again, on the side of her throat this time. "Ever…" Again, just below her collarbone. "Leave." Once more, burying her face in her breasts.
"Bella, please–" Andromeda began, but her words turned into a breathless gasp when Bellatrix's hand moved up her leg, beneath her skirt.
I don't want to do this… I want to leave, I want to leave.
But she couldn't push her sister away.
Bellatrix's hand rocked slowly and steadily between her legs now and sharp gasps escaped Andromeda's lips with every touch. It was difficult for her to remember why she had wanted to go… all thoughts of her parents felt so wonderfully far away when it was just her and Bellatrix in bed together.
"Say you love me," Bellatrix whispered. She pushed her fingers beneath Andromeda's knickers and slipped one inside her. "Say you love me." Her voice rose a little. "Say it now!"
"I love you!" Andromeda gasped. She thrust her hips against her sister's hand and tried so hard not to think of how harsh Bellatrix sounded – how like their mother. "I love you more than anything… please…" Her arms wrapped tightly around Bellatrix's waist and she squeezed her eyes shut. She could feel her sister's desperation and knew that she was taking far more pleasure in hearing Andromeda beg than she would have if Andromeda had actually touched her.
A single tear escaped Andromeda's eye and ran down her cheek while Bellatrix pumped her fingers in and out of her. She should have been gone by then – running away across the moors to some new and safer life, far away from all of this – and it hurt to think that Bellatrix could so easily keep her.
Bellatrix's teeth sank into the side of Andromeda's neck and she jumped. The pain – sharp and stinging and deep, hurting her heart and soul more than it hurt her skin – pulled her mind away from how far she could have been from the house if she had left at the proper time.
"Oh… Bella…" she whispered.
Bellatrix pulled back and her lips were smeared with blood. Andromeda's hand moved to her neck automatically and she felt hot, sticky liquid on her fingers.
"That hurt," she murmured, but it wasn't really true and she didn't bother trying to sound upset about it. The bite hurt less than anything else that Bellatrix could have done, and the feeling of her older sister's fingers inside her was enough to distract her from pain that was so simple and physical as being bitten…
Besides, she had already endured so much more pain than this, so much worse…
Bellatrix was upon her again, licking and sucking at the blood while she worked her fingers in and out and a sob wrenched itself from Andromeda's throat. Her body arched and she clenched around her sister's fingers and then it was all over and the only thing in the world that she was aware of was Bellatrix's breath against her ear.
"You're going to stay now, aren't you?" Bellatrix whispered. "That was enough – you know that I love you and you're going to stay with me now, aren't you?" And when she didn't receive an immediate answer, she shook her sister roughly. "Aren't you?"
No. I'm not going to stay. Sex was never, ever going to make me stay.
I want to stay.
"Of course I am, Bella," Andromeda whispered, and Bellatrix seemed satisfied by the lie.