Title: Eleven, twelve, thirteen
Summary: There're twelve letters in her name and eleven in his and it only makes sense for them to meet at the thirteenth hour.
Spoilers: None, references to Episode 4: Halloween Pt. 1
Disclaimer: I don't own American Horror Story. Or Dune.
A/N: My second Violate fic, less graphic than my last one. This sprung up from realizing there was NO WAY Tate could have been wearing anything more than underwear when in the gimp suit. No way. So Violet must have seen him half-naked at some point between him getting out of the gimp suit and having to put on clothes, right?
'I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.'
F. I. T. M. K.
It's a scrawled line across the top of her chemistry homework; she blocks it off and scribbles it out. She's X'd out the five letter word on the black board, she's smeared it. It's like fear, acknowledged with a blatant cross out and dissipating, but it's still there, still readable.
It's a reminder, an attachment, she has fears, like everyone else but they mean nothing. It's knowing she can stick her hand in fire to get something she wants, ambition and drive and she knows she would if she wanted something badly enough, what's a little burn? Nothing a salve can't fix. The salve for sore paws being knowing she's been badass enough to do whatever it takes to get what she wants.
Everything is attainable and she knows that too. She can break down fear before it happens, so the shock of it isn't unexpected. The jolt, the burn, she can see in her mind what it is that scares her, situations, things, circumstances, and all she has to do is plan.
That's it, fear averted, obliterated, done, gone, evaporated, and all that's left is her after it's passed. Maybe she'll be a little burned by it but it's better to walk through the wall of fire and have that be that than have to watch it consume everything until it takes the choice to walk through it from her by surrounding her, consuming her, turning her into ash for a decorative urn.
Her window is being pelted by things being thrown at it. She knows it's him, who else? And only he would actually already be on the roof, flicking tiny stones, at her half open window. She'd wondered how he was keeping them from flying into the room. She'd considered that it was just really good aim, which would have been impressive, but he's on the roof and that's impressive too.
"Hey monkey boy," her lips quirk up and twist in a mean little sarcastic eye rolling grin, he has a smile that apples his cheeks. "Me Tarzan, you Jane." She shakes her head and pushes her head out to look around him at the backyard and the dogs in her neighbor's.
"Get in here before my crazy Dynasty neighbor sees you and decides to call the authorities," she tugs his sleeve and pulls him firmly forward, he clambers over the sill and catches the blinds on his fingertips, shaking off dust clods and making the whole rectangle of wooden slats go up on one side.
"You ever wonder why Tarzan tries to woo Jane?" His fingers curl around the metal post of her bed and he swings close and then back against the sill.
She hasn't and she's trying to fix her window arrangement before she gives it any serious consideration, "The thought never crossed my mind."
"Because if he was raised by apes in the jungle you'd think that after the initial wooing going unanswered he would have just said fuck it."
"And what, swung away on a vine?" The blinds shift and when she loosens her grip the lock releases and they slap down like a waterfall to the floor, she purses her lips and glares at them.
"No, had sex with her anyway."
She can feel her forehead furrow at the idea, she turns with the look still in place and levels it with an equal measure of confusion and the type of disbelief reserved for someone who's just informed someone else that the sky is green and the ocean is orange. "Disney doesn't do rape," she informs him. Though the little mermaid did look a little young, so maybe they do go for sexual deviancies after all.
The blinds are fixed and she glides to her bed and falls dramatically onto it, shifting paper as pencils and sharpie markers roll off the edge and textbook covers flop closed.
"Nature doesn't either."
She thinks about the statement as she takes in him sitting on her bedroom floor back against her furniture knees bent and legs stretched out almost to where her feet dangle, staring expectantly at the level of her torso. Propping herself up onto her elbows she picks apart the idea, reasoning. "Because animals don't have the distinction or emotional attachment to violence human beings have created."
"Human beings get off on violence."
"Controllable violence," she corrects. Control, dominion, fortitude, she likes the solidness of the nouns, concrete in her mind, iron fists in velvet gloves, spare the rod spoil the child, cliché, cliché, cliché, but even they are solid too. Comforting. And it's so true to form that he knows she's too lost in her own swimming skull soup brain-thought medly to stay on topic so he changes it to what's solid, comfortable, safe, not him, not her, not them, "What are you working on?"
"Chemistry," she supplies sliding onto the bed and reaching for her book while gesturing for him to throw her rolled away pen and highlighter on the bed.
And she knows he's talking about her, him, them. She ignores the obvious because that's not a topic she wants to broach in the midst of homework and chores and parental drama.
"It's failing to hold my attention. I need something to work to. Hold on."
She throws on her playlist that's a mash-up of concert edition Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, and White Zombie.
"Am I distracting you?"
"Not if you be quiet, which you have to be because this is due tomorrow."
"Lock my door."
He gets up and locks it.
They're on her dresser, he flips open the top and thumbs one out. She opens her mouth and bites down on the filter when he places it between her teeth with a cheeky grin. She blows smoke in his direction after digging her lighter out of her jeans.
"Can we talk or will that distract you?"
"No, it's fine. I was kidding. You can talk."
She highlights a paragraph on the excited states of electrons and how it causes them to jump levels then degrade back down when they burn out. Highs and lows, fast and slow, and wasn't that them? Give and take, Sahara to arctic tundra in less than six seconds. They were in a lull of boring conversation and music that didn't fit her mood at all and homework she didn't need to be doing, the lull between life and death instances with murderers and false miscarriage fear alarms and making out with heavy petting. When were they going to get to that?
When did she even start to consider that?
Mostly because he was always around and he was a boy with the added layer that he was dangerous and seductive and she's been starving for that much in her life and she's suddenly so hungry for it, ready to lunge at every bite offered.
Mostly because she started considering her daily schedule and weekly and monthly by his visitations and sarcasm and smirks and shifty eyes.
Mostly because she reading too much of her graphic novels and they have the perfect mix of angst and sex in black and white and text bubbles to give her a rich fantasy life that stars her and him and has her hands down her pants every night, more than once or twice and then again in the morning sometimes before she's got to get up and get dressed and it's a race to get off and still be able to shower, eat, and finish last minute school assignments.
"When's your birthday?"
Her response comes out plain and without any telltale hitch or pause or quiver.
"Long way away."
She circles a box in the corner of her book with a red pen and stars it for review, just to look busy and concentrated in her efforts instead of hanging like sap on his every word.
"How old are you going to be?"
"Should I get you a present?"
There's a tease in his voice placed to get her to look at him, she does. He grins. She bites the inside of her cheek and looks at the wall to keep an obnoxious and unwanted smile from starting, "I like presents."
"Alright. I'll get you one."
"I hate chemistry."
"Maybe chemistry hates you."
"Maybe." She catches him starting to rise and watches him roam around the room. "What are you doing?"
"Don't touch my underwear drawer. Creep." He follows her eyes and she wants to kick herself because now he knows where she keeps her underwear because she's looked right at the drawer they're in and it shouldn't make her think of him going through it, sifting through red lacy briefs and white cotton bikini cuts and purple paisley thongs and it really shouldn't be so appealing all of a sudden.
And the ridiculousness of the unwanted fantasy of her giving him the equivalent of a Victoria's Secret fashion show in her bedroom makes her start humming to her music to drown out the imagery.
"What's your favorite color?"
He's pulled open her closet doors with curious hesitance that isn't really, little pushes on the door until momentum slides it all the way and he can look like he didn't know it would that.
"What do you think?"
Despite how much is in her closet. He says nothing about the color blocking of her hanging garments and she's happy not to have to explain her obsessive need for it to be that way.
"No, it's not."
"I'm not obvious."
He's serious. And he's right.
It is pink.
She is a virgin.
"You're really girly, secretly."
"I am a girl."
"Pale pink, not hot pink."
Not pale pink, Nabokov Lolita nymphet pink. Cute and sweet and an absolute veneer to cover up rotted, decayed morals, depraved motivations, and deviant social interactions, cotton candy spun from sugar and cyanide.
"It's pink. But sometimes it's white, sometimes it's red."
"Red doesn't suit you."
He looks back at her and his eyes glide over and down and up and dart over her face like she's wearing a mask and he's trying to figure out what it's of, it's weird and she doesn't get what that sort of stare and study of her means when he's doing it.
She wonders if he's trying to picture her in something red, a dress or a sweater or maybe prom night pig's blood. The look makes sense, it seems like something he'd picture automatically, she had.
"Maybe I'd like to pull it off one day."
In a completely none pig's blood way. Maybe she'll wear red on Christmas, a dress, go all out, shoes, garnets, rubies, a sequined Jessica Rabbit doppelganger ensemble with a lot of leg. Or if she's feeling really terrible and in the mood for a mind fuck Dolly Parton with a lot of frills and beauty queen banana curls.
"You've got time."
"But don't expect to see me in pink anytime soon."
She's got time to get to that point, she needs to mellow out, calm down, find her niche and then she can wear all the cute outfits and come up with her own secular lingo slang to go with an image she decides on based on how she feels in the morning, a disguise to throw everyone off, masks and costumes and the fun of knowing she's smarter than everyone else. That they in fact do not know her by looking at her.
Like him with his ugly old man sweaters and dumb, unwitty saying shirts from a mall kiosk, and his tattered sharpie marked converse sneakers. He could slip in the anything: All American Apple Pie Abercrombie ad , James Bond , James Dean, Marlon Brando, Ted Bundy, all too easy, any day, any time, if he wanted.
At the moment she's an open book but she's sixteen and what girl isn't?
They've got other things to worry about besides image and personality red herrings at the moment and that's the only reason it gets thrown to the wayside first, she's got to grow up, and he's got to tame his rage.
They've got time to play dress up before they get too old for it to be fun anymore.
"Can you meet me later?"
It doesn't matter.
"It's Halloween eve. We should raise the dead."
"Are you serious?"
She doesn't care.
"Yeah, of course I am. Ouija board and everything."
She's not one to aggressively try and piss dead things off; Ouija boards have a bad history of just that. It's like all the other evil incarnate things that screwy people will tell you are perfectly fine to play around with, voodoo, animal sacrifice, séances, calling the devil to your door. Some shit wasn't supposed to be given those sorts of invitations and there was a difference between curious and suicidal. But all she says is: "Okay, fine. My basement, tonight, we'll 'raise the dead.'"
It sounds suspiciously like an innuendo she didn't mean to imply.
"Midnight of course."
"Witching hour." She thinks of Anne Rice and horny ghost demons looking for new life; she's no stranger to modern gothic literature.
"Do you know why the witching hour is the thirteenth hour?"
She's glad he's asked because she knows and she wants to show off and really she asked but he keeps it going so it's like he's asked anyway. Adopting a studious, haughty posture she gesticulates with her highlighter before switching to making points with her cigarette. "Because twelve is considered a complete number, it's omnipotent."
She inhales on her cigarette and blows out without really sucking in the smoke, "Twelve months, twelve disciples, twelve witches, twelve gods, twelve labors, twelve tribes, twelve hours. Anything exceeding completeness is evil, how can you build on perfection, right?"
She pauses to take another drag and blow a sloppy ring of smoke out in what she hopes is a theatrical way.
" Judas was the thirteenth guest to the last supper, Loki was the thirteenth guest in Valhalla, the devil is always the thirteenth guest at the black Sabbath. If you have thirteen letters in your name you have the devil's luck."
He's thoughtful for a moment and counting on his fingers, "You have twelve letters in your name, Violet."
"Good thing they didn't name me Sunshine, or I'd have thirteen."
Though the devil is the luckiest son of a bitch around so maybe she should regret not being named Sunshine, she relegates the idea with the assertion that Sunshine is a horrible name and not worth any sort of luck it'd bring her.
"So does that mean you're complete?"
"I guess it does."
"Complete people don't need anyone else."
His tone is what his look isn't, a little sad, false dejection, forlorn, lost puppy dog and things you don't get no matter how much you beg for them. She wants to soothe his worries, there's a paradigm shift if there ever was one; her comforting and sweet and welcoming and playing a nurse putting band aids on his emotional booboos.
He is so fucking with her with that tone. He still uses it despite the fact that by now he must know she knows, or maybe he knows that she knows he knows and does it anyway. And then that means that he knows she knows that he's been playing her but not anymore but needs to keep up the instinctual tone and glance that's reserved to play other people, not her though, not anymore, because she's onto it, she can catalog his looks and pin meanings to them easily, she thinks she can, so she is, she believes that much. Mental exercise and he's a goddamn brain teaser.
"That doesn't mean they don't want anyone else." That's okay she can throw the dice on that front too, she can play him like he plays her. No, she thinks fiercely, she'll be a goddamn orchestra constructer just for the flair and fun of making him work to figure her out.
"Guess I'm lucky you keep me around then."
"Guess you are." She tilts her head and raises her eyebrows in a way that conveys the emotive unsaid line 'You're one lucky boy.'
His stride over and the way he leans down is confident, cocky, something a girl might slap a boy for but she doesn't because she wants to know what he'll do next. Scared animals stop moving when approached by a predator; she leans forward and comes up on her knees to level her stare on his chest. Walking the walk.
Her fingers tug him closer wrapped tight in his shirt closing in tight little fists and his pull up her chin, his kiss is a hawk swooping up a field mouse, a plunge into the ocean from a oil rig, a hop down into the abyss that's really an eye or a mouth, his mouth on her mouth and beforehand she's wishing he'll slip in his tongue but then remembers she's never French kissed someone before and is glad when it's just a simple slide of chapped lips against her bee's wax and honey balm slathered ones.
"See you later, midnight girl," he sighs stepping back with his body hunched and rolling itself up and away like a cobra dancing out of a basket.
"Is that my new nickname?"
"See you later, Lord of the Jungle."
"Ohohahah," he monkey chimes.
"Don't forget your loincloth."
"Don't forget your cauldron."
And he's out her window and scurrying down the brick columns, impressive and useful that is, she decides. She's always been one to appreciate athleticism, mostly reserved to watching televised rugby and shows about gladiators who slather on the olive oil before picking up something sharp or bare knuckle brawling in a bath house with other greased shiny well-muscled men, naked, because it's on channels you have to pay extra for and nudity comes with the package.
She rolls her eyes at herself and smokes her cigarette like it's a contest to take the hardest most furious inhales and hold them until she's dizzy headed to take the edge off her sudden, unexpected Tate induced fugue state between warming up and full blown fuck ready.
Fear is the mind killer she tells herself as sneaks downstairs with the basement in mind. It's a room, it's creepy, it's supposed to be, it's a basement, and it's practically a prerequisite. Dank and dark and maybe demonic, but it's just a room, it's just a basement that shit went down in once upon a time.
And so what if it's haunted or cursed or demonic or a gateway to hell? Fear is weakness, she isn't weak, she deals. It's just a slice of life, maybe it's not logical but some things aren't.
So what if she can't dissect and study it? Why should she? She can't change it, she doesn't want to, so she accepts it and opens the door after looking over her shoulder casually without a furtive cast that would tip off anyone looking to the fact that she's doing something she shouldn't.
It's her house and she'll do what she damn well pleases, because it's her house, she owns it, it's hers. Now. Maybe it hasn't always been, maybe there are things trying to own it that did before but they don't and they won't because it's hers and she's never been the sharing type.
Own it or bail.
She's not so into bailing either.
The house has a soul and she owns it.
Not one to book or run or cry because she's scared, she'll fake indifference and deal with the uneasiness with swagger, plaster on a smug grin and crack a joke because in the end she's alive and whatever is dead or gone can't own the house like she can.
Maybe something's jealous and spiteful and mean and cruel but she'll be a good hostess and let them do what they want like spoiled children because in the end she's alive and they know better, she can still do things, she lives here now and they're just guests, they're angry too but she can be a hard bitch if she has to be, and she can be twice as spiteful.
She tells the house not to fuck with her with a snarl almost coming out, she believes it too, believes she can be the biggest baddest fucker the house has ever seen, the angriest, the most homicidal, the most cruel, the most mean, the most evil thing to ever live under this roof.
She doesn't want to be, but she will if pushed too far past fuck-it.
Believing it herself is all she needs, it'll come off her in waves if she believes it, she'll exude it through her pores and aura and walk and words.
She'll fuck up the house worse than it'll fuck her up. If she snaps it's going to give something else whiplash. She thumps down the stairs smiling and giddy and high on her new found fierceness and chants out sing-song greetings, it's midnight and it's her hour, it's her house, her basement, her mediocre excuse for a date night locale, but it's all hers.
And then there's something lifting and grabbing and shoving at her and all she thinks is that she's done it, the house is angry and is coming to get her, but she's the unholy Martha Stewart and she'll bite and kick and scream and roar and thrash and kill whatever it is that thinks it can put its hands on her to scare her senseless and shitless. But she's not senseless or less full of shit, and it's just Tate.
She shoves, angry and full of humor and calls him an asshole. It's funny but she can't laugh because he'd ask why and she's not going to let him in on all her secrets.
He asks her if he's scared her and her answer sounds contrived even to her, but it's true, he's just surprised her, sent her flying off the handle, unbalanced ready to tear his throat out with her teeth if it hadn't in fact been him in her basement, she's not about to let the house send something to rip her face off and go without a damn good fight.
She's got teeth and nails and life and two lung-fulls of air. She'll be Amazonian, Babylonian, Bene Gesserit, Divine Retribution, Doomsday, Last Call, Atom Bomb, Holy Ghost and Hell Fire to anything that decides to mess with her.
She'll man up and fight instead of girl down and cry.
But still, she's happy it's him in the suit and that she hasn't accidentally killed him because she thought she was being attacked by some basement ogey bogey.
It's easy to forgive him, especially with the way his hand scruffs up his damp, sweaty hair and his grin grows with a wattage that outshines the dank dankness of the environment they're forced to meet in and the circumstances under which the environment is made a viable option; parents, protective impulse, the air of delinquency hanging around both of them.
He bets he can scare her.
He can't but she'll let him enjoy trying.
Maybe she'll forget about how she's made Frank Herbert's made-up mantra her personal creed. Maybe, but she doubts it. She'll enjoy the possibility. It's improbable but it's not impossible.
He has a way of surprising her and she has a way of letting him. It's close enough to scare to pay attention to but not enough to worry about being a hypocrite to her self-made promises to never let herself be afraid.
His fingers can't find the tab of the zipper hiding somewhere on the back of his neck; she slides her hips in the gap beneath banister supports and taps the side of his knees with her feet, "Turn around."
"Wanna get me undressed quick, huh?" He smirks and turns and stands between her legs with his head bowed and brushing hair off the latex.
"Oh, shut up," she quips banging him in the kneecaps with her extended feet, fingers working the zipper down which requires a sharper, harder tug than she originally thought.
He sighs long and hissing, peeling the collar away from his throat, even when it belongs to him it's delicate, just like hers, throats are sensitive, delicate, and easy to fit a hand around. "Harder to get out of then into."
It is, she yanks the edges of the part made by unzipping and it releases bare skin with a sucking rip, sharp like the hiss and rattle of tape off wrapping paper. Her hands sliding down his back to unstick the meld of skin to synthetics, release its grip before replacing it with hers.
"I can imagine. I hope you cleaned it before you put it on."
It's hot and humid under the suit like stirring something on the stove and having your hand in the steam so long water forms and rolls over your fingers and down your arm.
"It was clean."
His back is smooth, unblemished, downy hair baby fine and soft and she lets her fingers curve in at his chest and slide down to his waist unsticking the sides, his ribs expanding under plump fingertips that tingle with her heartbeat.
"What if you were allergic to latex, you'd have died and then when they came to pick up your body they'd find you in a gimp suit."
Her hand s are warm when she pulls them out and it's only because his back is to her that she presses them to her pouting mouth.
"And your father would send you to a nunnery."
"Where I'd knit lace until my eyes bled."
He's moving away by half a step and pulling down the shoulders of the suit and dragging the make of it down his arm and ripping his fingers out, a loose, empty arm flaps down like a crippled bird wing.
"Sorry to be so inconsiderate of your fate after my postmortem demise."
"Postmortem demise would be like killing a zombie."
"Or exorcising a ghost," he intones with a small sound that sounds like a laugh mixed with a sigh, he's amused by something.
The other black empty skin of an arm falls down to his waist and he's got dimples on his back, like hers and his spine is a velvet curve she wants to feel against her cheek.
And it's the shine of sweat and the sharp curve of his shoulder blade that makes one hand white knuckle the banister and the other his bare bicep plump with muscle, makes her lick a long wet line across the ridge of his scapula. Her lips meld around the curve of bone with a soft, gentle, suck that is just a pulse and wave of lips and the roll of her tongue flat against his skin for a moment longer. He turns slow, steady, mechanical ease taking over his joints.
"Why did you do that?" His nostrils flare and his eyes are sharp and mean and full of promises.
"Wondered if you'd taste salty," she smiles softly and tries on looking innocent and being anything else with the thoughts she's thinking. His grin is lunatic addictive and he knows exactly what she's doing but isn't going to buy into it, she likes that between the two of them she's not fooling anyone. He answers like anyone else who would believe her would, with a joke, but there's a cadence in his voice that edges every words in manufactured ease and she's willing to bet the wet stripe of drying spit on his shoulder is like a nicotine patch that gives you crazed dreams after keeping you up all night, like an electric shock treatment after the sedative has taken hold and there's only a single twitching foot belaying that it's working, though she doubts it'd be his foot twitching because she's licked sweat off him.
"Snip and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of."
"Sugar and spice and everything nice."
He snorts and looks pointedly at her lips and the discoloration that's almost faded in the fullest parts.
Halloween candy she's stolen off the dining room table and stashed next to her empty cigarette boxes that she has to wait to throw out at school because her mother would flip at the sight of them in the garbage can.
"It's the best flavor."
"Cherry is the best flavor."
"Sorry, I'll be more considerate of your preference next time. You're not naked inside that thing, are you?" he's half in it and half out, torso bare and a hue more colored than she'd thought it be, the cast of faded tan is much more appealing than the milk-white she's been expecting.
It's so strange now that he's got his fingers free of tight black inky suit but his hips are still sharply encased, a second skin he's shedding, like a snake, like a Gundam fighter suit she remembers in a show from her childhood after elementary school let out and the cartoon of choice either dealt with Super Saiyans, giant cartoon robot fighting competitions, or paranormal ghost boy detectives. She remembers always being late and eventually quitting Girl Scouts because of the conflict between the times of her favorite dubbed anime shows on cable television and the meetings about the holiday pigs-in-a-blanket "dinner parties" or bracelet making fundraisers.
He shakes his head in the negative so obvious bemused by her question that she can't help but shake her head at him and shove his shoulder.
He's down to his underwear and kicking the suit away without looking where it's going.
"Worried you might get a rash, actually."
She picks at her nails and avoids looking down at the black boxer briefs stretched across his thighs and groin and without a doubt perfect ass.
"I could take them off if you want."
"Little chilly down here for the Full Monty isn't it?"
"You could keep me warm so I don't get cold."
"Put your pants on. And then you can try to scare mine off."
"I'll try my best."
A/N: Despite there being none in this fic I think panty thieving Tate needs to be made at the very least fanon if not actual canon. If he turns out to be Constance's son like some people hypothesize it would be full circle, inherited kleptomania. And also I went a little all out with the references to books and movies and television here, safe to say Violet has eclectic tastes and she obvious would reads Nabokov and watche Dragon ball Z or something in those veins.