"Goodnight sweetheart," Vivian calls through the closed door, her palm resting, lingering against its smooth surface until a muffled 'yeah, night' is returned.

Tate watches her smile sadly to herself and, one finger idly tracing a crack in the woodwork, shut off the lights and pad down the hallway to shut herself in her own bedroom.

"Jesus fuck, finally," He mutters from the bathroom, hopping down from the counter and easing open the door to slink out into the dark hallway.

He's been doing this for weeks now. When Mr. and Mrs. Harmon retire for the evening and Violet draws the blinds and switches off all the lights in her room so she can 'just listen to music in goddamn peace, okay?' Tate promptly sneaks into her room to watch her sleep.

It's the only time the voices ever shut the fuck up. Well, they're always there, buzzing between his ears, an ever-present white noise of the worst kind, but around Violet he can almost tune them out and pretend he's just another stupid teenage kid, not an accident waiting to happen. (Or has it already?)

She was infuriating at first. He didn't get it, how some scrawny angst-ridden chick could affect him like this, make him actually want to get better for once instead of just keep going through the motions with a shit ton of therapists. He's been crowned with a laundry list of defects: bipolar disorder, clinical depression, social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder – the list goes on. One of his psychiatrists even went so far as to bring in a priest in order to exorcise him. The bitch thought he was possessed!

But whatever, the point is that somehow The Murder House's youngest (living)resident makes all the bad shit clogged up in that wasteland he's calling a brain just disappear for a while.

Hence the sleep-watching. And sometimes she's not even asleep before he steals inside her room. There's something about the house – besides the obvious, of course – that makes it pitch fucking black inside at night. (It's not a problem for him, though. One of the few advantages of… well, you know; great night vision.) The music helps too, loud enough even at midnight that the windows rattle. So if he wants, and fuck, he wants, Tate can easily pad across the wooden floor and creep inside Little Miss Grunge's bedroom undetected.

She's already asleep by the time he makes it to the foot of her bed tonight, her chest swelling with each measured breath beneath a thin black tank, petal-pink lips parted and slack.

"Hi," he mouths into the dark, fingers peeking out from beneath tattered sweater sleeves to wrap loosely around the wrought iron footboard.

It smells like lavender and coconut and Earl Grey inside her room. He'd never pictured her as the type for tea, but it suits her. There are empty mugs crowded along her windowsill.

Violet looks so virginal like this– Tate snickers at the comparison – the ever-present scowl smoothed out of her brows and mouth, sheets rumpled at her waist, hair fanned out against the goose down pillows.

And her skin, it's a shade too pale, stark against the deep purple of her bedspread, a blank canvas just begging to be marked up with bruises and bites fit to the shape of his mouth. But he doesn't, hasn't touched her like this yet, usually content to sink into the chair in the corner of her room and just watch. But tonight is different.

Tate's knuckles are bone-white, his fingers curled too-tight around the bed frame, and his eyes are black and hungry with dark shadows etched below, because she just fucking moaned. It was just a breathy little sigh laced in need, but it had never happened before, not when he was watching.

He blinks after her slight form in the bed for a long moment. Is she awake, fingers pushed up inside herself? He sniffs at the air. Doesn't smell like sex. The blankets aren't moving. Her eyes aren't shifting behind closed lids. But then, there it is again, a tiny little huff of breath roughened with want.

The music player suddenly cuts silent – another party trick being dead awards you – and Tate rounds the bed to stand at her side of the mattress, far enough back that there's no chance she might brush up against him and wake.

Nope. Not fucking herself after all. One arm is wedged beneath her pillow and the other lies limp at her side. Damn. That would have been a treat. Nonetheless, Tate has never ventured this close to her before, not during his late night visits anyway. It's like a moth being drawn into light.

Both hands jammed deep into his pockets to keep from touching, he bends for a closer view. She's got great tits, the swell of which peek out through the vee of her tank top, pale and supple and just begging to be kneaded. The black tank's been rucked up to reveal the beginnings of her rib cage, her stomach as flat and creamy as he'd imagined whenever his hand was pulling at his cock. The band of her pajama shorts are slung low across her hips, just visible above the comforter and something somewhere below his belt buckle stirs to life.

"I wonder," he mumbles to his selves, eyes tracing where her torso disappears beneath the plaid material of her shorts. One hand slips free of his pocket, fingers balling up the sleeve of his sweater into a fist, debating.

Something tells him no. But the voice is coming from inside his own head, and how much trouble has he gotten into listening to them?

And that's why, when Violet wakes up, Tate's got one finger hooked into the waistband of her shorts, tugging them down just enough to confirm his theory. "Shaved."

Violet's eyes snap open and she opens her mouth to scream but the noise dies quickly in her throat- she's not afraid of anything. Instead, her face twists up into a snarl, her favorite mask.

"Who the fuck are you?" She hisses, whipping the blankets up to her chin, eyes skittering blindly throughout the room.

Tate cautiously withdraws his arm, watching her with wide eyes. Shit shit fuck, she wasn't supposed to wake up.

Blanketed by darkness, her face falters into one of genuine terror for a breath before flickering back into a defiant glare. "I can hear you breathing, shithead. Just get the fuck out of my room and I won't have this place exorcised."

Tate has to smile at that and impulsively rips the sheets from the bed, just to see if she pisses herself, to see if she's really as fearless as she fucking says. To Violet's credit, she doesn't. Her shoulders just tense up a bit and she flinches. "Very original," she snorts.

If Tate was smiling before, now he's grinning like a mad man, lips curled back to reveal two rows of too many teeth, and approaches the mattress again. If she didn't scream when he startled her awake, she's not going to scream now. Ben and Vivien will be none the wiser.

Quick, impossibly fast, because he can fucking do that, Tate's hand sinks beneath the elastic of her shorts to cup her firmly through her underwear.

This time her scream expires in a choked sob. But again, she doesn't move, maybe because she's scared still, maybe not. "Tate?" It's a shot in the dark, but would anyone else really want to blindly grope her before cutting her open? Probably – whatever. Maybe it's more of a prayer than a question.

"Trick or treat."

His fingers curl slightly and she huffs out an angry breath. "What the fuck are you doing in my room?"

"You're already wet. Were you dreaming just now?" One finger traces pointedly up along the seam of her sex.

'Get out!"

Noting that she hasn't made any attempt to call the cops or draw her legs up to her chest or even swat away his hand, Tate dutifully ignores her.

"Have you ever had anybody else's fingers in your pussy? I bet you haven't. That's ok, I like that. You're just for me."

She doesn't even try at a response this time, one arm throwing itself across her eyes and both feet sliding up the bed until her knees are bent just like when it's her own hand between her legs.

Tate's thought about this before when he visited her at night. But in each fantasy she'd pushed him away unless he used force, which he wasn't going to do, not with her. He wanted to love her, wanted her to love him, wondered if she might be able to blot out all the darkness inside him like none of his therapists ever could. But he wanted her too. No matter how often he jerked off, and lately, it's been very often, he was left wanting. Sure, he's stolen a few kisses in the basement, but he yearned to know what her skin tasted like under his tongue, what kind of noises he'd be able to coax out of her, if she was really as tight as he'd imagined, so many things.

"Can I?" He whispers it, fingers rubbing loose circles over the damp fabric, voice full of newfound uncertainty and poorly-retrained want as, carefully, he perches at the edge of the mattress beside her.

Violet draws in a jagged breath and pulls her lip between her teeth and fists one hand into the fitted sheet. And she nods.

Did she know he could see her through the dark?

Fuck it, who cares? Tate pushes aside the crotch of Violet's panties and presses his whole hand against her bare mound. "How many fingers do you usually use?"

"God, do you ever shut up?"

"No." And then he's pushing inside with the first. "You're soaking."

Violet doesn't dignify this with a response, just shifts up into his palm and releases a broken sigh.

Tate begins pumping inside, coating his middle finger in her slickness, his thumb applying easy pressure to her clit. He's painfully hard now, and the darkness in the pit of his mind is lapping impatiently against the edges of his vision. But he won't give in to it, not now. Fighting, he raises his spare hand up from his thigh to lightly stroke the backs of his knuckles down her flushed cheek, tender against all odds.

Before long he's stretching her with two fingers, curling them up against that spot she's always reaching for but still hasn't managed to find, and Violet is feeding him breathy moans and hissed obscenities through the air, heels dug deep into the mattress.

"Oh shit, I'm gonna…" she keeps panting out, writhing up from the bed, back arched beautifully, hips bucking against Tate's hand.

"Yeah," Tate breathes, swallowing thickly. And then he's surging forward as her insides begin clutching at him sporadically to swallow Violet's keening with his mouth, releasing his own groan of need. She shakes violently against him and fists her hand into his messy blond curls as his tongue pushes past her lips.

He kisses her until she slumps boneless against the mattress, fingers slackening in his hair but reluctant to let go altogether. He sinks his teeth into the plump swell of her lower lip and soothes it after with his tongue, only pulling off her mouth when they're both breathless and dizzy.

"That was…" Violet starts, tongue darting out to feel the subtle crescents of his teeth marks in her lip, thighs pressed together, arm falling limp from Tate's hair.

But then he's not there to finish her sentence, already back in the basement, one hand pressed into the brick and the other fisted around his cock, face twisted up into a pained grimace. No, he won't give in to his demons, not with her.