A/N: Hey everybody! I've been in kind of a funk these past few days and this fic has just been catharsis for me. I don't have much to say right now other than I love you all and keep writing.
This is an AU where Violet didn't die and went on to college.
The first time she comes home drunk from a party is just five days after her first day of school - a study session turned kickback at the dorms on campus. Taking three out of four classes in her major, History, meant fast friends and a shitload of reading homework.
It's the end of august, sticky and warm.
A friend waves from her car in the street and drives off.
She works on threading her key into the front door and curses at the broken porch light in a pale green dress and tights layered with black over-the-knee socks.
It takes a few minutes, longer than it ever would sober, but she manages, pushing inside and slinging down her bag. There's not a single light on in the house and she doesn't bother reaching for one.
"Hello, anybody home?" she half-whispers, giggling to herself, kicking the door closed with her heel.
She climbs the stairs on all fours, seeing doubles of her hands and feet, and teeters down the hall to her room on the left.
He watches, invisible, unnoticed, from the kitchen.
It's been two and a half years since she's spoken to him, since he's let her see him, since she told him to go away.
The empty foyer smells like lavender and vodka.
The second time she comes home drunk is during midterms. She's been swamped with research papers and exams and needed to escape for a while, with her friends, with whiskey and with weed.
He helps her with the door when he hears her keys drop into the bushes. She doesn't even notice.
She walks in with a lit cigarette hanging from her mouth, singing. He doesn't recognize the song. It must be something new, he'd never heard it on her iPod.
Shrugging out of her cardigan and folding it over one arm, she flips on the light switch.
He's gone before her gaze swivels over to where he'd been standing.
It has to be well past midnight. She checks her watch that isn't there, grins down at her thin naked wrist.
There's no response. He's in bed already, sleeping, didn't bother waiting up. Good.
She stubs out in a decorative vase and stumbles upstairs.
Her eyes are glassy. They burn and she doesn't know why. And if she did she'd never tell.
Who was that standing with her in the hallway? The notion that it was him and that he's back seems little-girl-naive. It's been almost three years.
Even so, she still ends up crying herself to sleep under the privacy of her covers, her high flipped upside down by shamed and sudden hope.
She lives with her dad at Murder House now. Her mom fled years ago, six months pregnant with twins, to her sister's place back east. She promised she'd come back, that she'd send for Violet in the very least, save her from the house and everyone trapped inside it - she never did. She hasn't called in months.
The night Vivian left was the night she found out what he did, how many people he'd hurt, how many lies he'd fed her. It was embarrassing how easily she'd swallowed them, how he had manipulated her into thinking he was some lost soul, fragile and oblivious.
She'd found him curled up in her sheets and watched him collapse into devastation as his sins were brought to light and counted.
She told him she loved him. And then she told him to go.
Sometimes, on what she's deemed 'bad days', she'll step into the spot where she'd stood the last time she'd seen him. She stands there and tries to picture him, his wild hair and his handsome face, all broken sobs and shining eyes. She reworks their conversation in her mind.
Some days she wishes it had never happened. Others she wishes he never had.
The next time she comes home drunk, only a few nights later, she falls asleep on the couch with her hand in a bowl of popcorn and the t.v. on.
He steps into the faint light of the looping DVD menu, taking in how tired she looks, purple half-moons under each eye, like she hasn't slept in weeks. She has. He would know. His shape is moulded into the corner chair in her room.
His voice is a shaking mess, her name choked out in three syllables instead of two.
She's got a test in Biology tomorrow, a big one if her frantic studying is anything to go on, one she can't afford to miss.
She doesn't stir, just makes a little sleep noise and rubs her cheek into the cushion. It knots his guts into balloon animals.
The light from the television burns bright upon her face. She looks older. Her features are more defined. Her hair is longer, darker blonde, almost brown. It suits her.
When he gathers her in his arms and carries her up to her room, her breath smells sharp and antiseptic and her hair, it smells like cologne. It burns through his nostrils like the insinuation burns through the rest of him.
Upon closer examination, he spots a red mark under her ear, the kind that's only ever made by a pair of lips and teeth. The sight is crippling. The color drains from his face and he's queasy and he wants to drop her, jealousy blazing white-hot under his skin. It's the first time he's felt something, really been able to put a name to an emotion, since that day in her room when she tore out his heart.
He wants to drop her but he doesn't, because when he thinks he might, she wraps a sleep-heavy arm around his neck and nuzzles into his collar.
"Why, Violet, why?" he whines out quietly, whispers it, staring down at her face slack with sleep. His is stretched tight in renewed torment, his throat working around words that feel like sludge in his mouth. "I'm sorry, I said I was sorry. Fuck, Violet, I'm so sorry, I don't know what to do anymore, fuck!"
Then, too soon, they're at the foot of her bed and he falls silent, presses his lips into her hair and carefully, so so carefully, lays her out on the sheets, covering her with the blanket she'd crocheted last summer.
He doesn't watch her sleep that night. It's too much. He wouldn't be able to sink into the basement when she woke. He'd want to let her see him, want to talk to her, about anything and everything.
He falls asleep on the same couch she'd been on downstairs. It's still warm from where she'd been curled up on one side and it still smells like her.
When her alarm goes off and she stretches awake, it's in her bed and not on the couch. Her eyes bounce throughout her room before she's even rubbed at them.
Her heart throws itself against the front of her ribs and she can't breathe. There's no oxygen in the room. It feels like there's an anvil on her chest.
Where is he?
She allows herself a few more seconds of freezing terror and then pulls in a long breath, inhales until her lungs are bursting and exhales slowly through her nose.
It was just her dad. He must have found her when he'd gotten up for work and carried her upstairs.
Only he would never. He didn't give two shits about her anymore. His mind was either on his ex-wife, pussy, or those damn twins. He could hardly remember what days she had class let alone remember to check up on her after a night out.
She leaves for school that day watching the house in the rear-view mirror.
She doesn't come home until almost four o' clock the next morning.
It's raining outside and she's half-soaked by the time she gets safe inside.
Tate isn't there to secretly greet her. He doesn't think he'd be strong enough to see but not touch, not after the night before.
She's had too much to drink. Her stomach lurches ominously and there are fresh bruises on her neck. After hanging up her scarf and kicking off her shoes, she wanders into the kitchen for a glass of water.
He's been on her mind all day, even after she's convinced herself she'd somehow gotten upstairs on her own - probably just blacked out or something. It's cliche, but drugs and alcohol are the only things that keep him out of her head anymore.
This was supposed to get easier as time went on, not harder.
Once her glass is empty and her stomach has stopped with the somersaults, she tears off a piece of french bread just to be safe and hops up onto a bar stool, swinging back and forth in the seat.
Sucking on a piece of wet hair, she stares out into the dark room opposite the kitchen. It appears empty, but there are a handful of things that could be hiding out under the cover of darkness.
It occurs to her then that, Moira aside, she hasn't seen a ghost in months, can't even remember the last time.
Where'd they go? Were they gone? Was he gone?
She beats her fist against the counter top at the stray thought, wants to bash her head against it too.
"Get out, get out."
Her voice is hushed and self-serving, not a command but a practiced mantra.
It doesn't help.
She reaches into her bag and digs for her flask, takes a long pull when she finds it. Then, stuffing the rest of the bread into her mouth, meanders through the dark house and up the stairs to her room.
Once inside, she eases her door shut as quietly as she can in such a state. It clicks and she breathes a sigh of relief, leaning back against it for a second, her head feeling suddenly too heavy to hold. She lets it droop forward, feels the entire world spinning under her feet, can taste the night's bad decisions on the insides of her gums.
Peeling out of her clothes takes coordination she doesn't have access to, but after nearly falling over twice, she's in just a bra and panties, her wet clothes slumped in a pile and bleeding water into the carpet.
Her skin is cold to the touch. She wants in bed, but first she wants music.
The light of her iPod is too bright in the night of her room. She squints and bends over, rolls through songs and songs before deciding to put one of her playlists on shuffle. It's aptly titled 'Fuck It' and she feels like a defeatist when she presses play.
Clambering over her footboard and into bed, she lifts back a jersey sheet and down comforter and slinks inside. pulling the blankets up to her chin, watching her iPod screen dim and click dark.
Sad songs fill her empty room.
She tries to sleep, but can't, just lays there, turns from side to side, wishing she'd pass out already, before she starts thinking of him again or crying.
She goes through the day in her head. That'll tire her out.
The Civil War test went well, she scored maybe a low B at the worst - not bad. A few girls tried to get her to pledge for a sorority; she told them she'd rather drop dead. Lunch was fine, a turkey sandwich and coffee from the union, a spliff after. Then there was Anthropology and Ancient World History, then after a short study session, the party.
Her fingers trace out the sore patches on her skin.
He was an Economics major, tall with black hair and blue eyes, nothing at all like him. She'd met him once before, a classmate of one of her friends. They'd shotgunned hookah together and played beer pong. She'd let him kiss her then, resigned herself to the idea. But tonight, too much booze and desperation got him under her shirt - she had a bruise blossoming between her breasts to show for it. She would have let him fuck her too. Why not? It's not like she was saving herself for anyone, or at least, she shouldn't be. But before he could corral her back into one of the bedrooms, he'd puked all over himself and passed out. It was pathetic and expected. Only then did she realize it was crowding four A.M. and ask to be taken home.
The song changes and it's into one that makes her wish she'd died taking all those pills Leah gave her.
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
Oh you think your dreams are the same as mine
Oh I don't love you but I always will
She snorts derisively at the sudden bout of teenage angst, huffs out a wet breath after when her self-deprecation does nothing to keep tears from springing to her eyes.
The mouth on her throat from earlier felt nothing like his, too clumsy, not enough teeth. His hands were clammy and shaking, greedy. She can still feel the weight of his palm cupping her through her tights - all wrong. Recalling the experience now made her feel cheap. He'd used her and she let him. Just to feel something, to paste over her feelings for him, like she could, like forgetting was an option.
He would always haunt her.
Wheezing, she turns over and sobs into her pillow, fists the sheets, the revelation stark and honest in her drunken haze.
She'd never be free of him. Even if she moved. Even if she never came back. He's wormed his way so deep inside she's been foolish to think she could ever pry him out again.
He was the darkness that she would forever crave.
She cries and screams until her throat is in ribbons, burning and paper-like, the pillow damp with her tears, and only turns over when she thinks she might hurl, pulls in breath after breath of clean air. Her lips are cracked and the circles beneath her eyes are splotchy and slick.
Her head swims still.
When she opens her eyes she can't see straight, her vision is clouded, the whole room looks like it's flopped over sideways. She stutters out until her chest is no longer wracked and drags herself up onto her elbows, fighting for calm.
It's dark. The curtains over her window are sheer, but drawn. She can hardly make out the grooves on her bedroom door, or the shelves of her bookcase. Her iPod is still singing but lost in the night.
The rain rattles soft outside. She can still feel it. Her hair and limbs are damp and cold.
Her toes are freezing.
She's all alone.
There's an ache between her thighs that just won't settle.
Her blood is 80 proof and she can't think straight.
She wipes her eyes and clears her throat.
Her voice is hushed and raw and regretful already.
But it's too late.
He's there. Standing at the foot of her bed in a sweater and jeans. It's deja vu. He likes birds too.
She blinks at him through the dark and follows as he walks around to the side of her bed and looms down.
She can barely make out his face but the light catches on his cheeks and she can see that they're streaked.
He flinches and buttons his lips, his hands pushed into the bottoms of his pockets, anchored down.
She can only half-believe he's really there, wonders if maybe she's already dreaming, if this is just some fucked up trick being played out by her aching subconscious.
The playlist ends and the room fall into a heavy quiet.
She turns her face to map out his features with her eyes and he leans down for a kiss.
"Don't!" Her voice is frantic and too loud for five AM. A tear slips down his face and pecks her on the cheek.
"Don't kiss me," she tries again, forces her voice into a calm she doesn't feel.
He doesn't move, sways on the spot and searches her face. It's obvious there are a hundred apologies clawing up his throat. He's drowning in them. But she doesn't care, that's not what she wants, not now.
It's a plea, not a request.
He nods and rolls his lips over his teeth, one hand flipping down her covers.
The hickie settled in the valley between her breasts greets him. He chokes out a noise like an audible splinter and looks back to her face, his expression a study in heartbreak.
She can't meet the accusation in his eyes, lets her eyelids droop instead. Then there are fingers circling the purpled betrayal, trying to erase it maybe, she doesn't know. They sweep up her sternum and graze either side of her throat. Her breath hitches and she reminds herself it's all just a dream, it's gotta be.
Another hand pushes the damp hair from her forehead and combs it back. She arches up from the bed.
His breath is too far away to be warm, but she feels it wash out against her skin and she feels it swell when a broad palm smooths down the length of her stomach and cups her through her underwear, just like she wants, just how she's been imagining it. His fingers knead and tease. They slide and coax and because it's all a dream, she lets herself rut against them, doesn't even try to smother the want and need in every little noise that pours out.
She forgets to keep her eyes closed.
They lift open.
He's there, watching her, his face heavy with some unnamed emotion, and his fingers hook into the crotch of her panties.
Tears rush down her cheeks.
He pauses, unsure.
"Don't. Don't stop."
She steels herself and closes her eyes, wants to just feel, but his face is burned into the back of her eyelids.
The pad of one finger traces up her bare slit and she loses it.
She throws an arm over her face and breaks into sobs.
He spends the next day alone planning his speech. When she gets home from school, he'll knock on her door and ask if they can just talk. He'll explain everything, why he shot up his school, why he lied about it. He'll tell her about Nora, assure her that the only reason he killed the gays and slept with her mom was to give the poor woman a baby. He had good intentions. Really, he did. He'll get her to see. She'll understand.
Midnight comes and goes and she doesn't come home. But it's okay, he can wait. He will wait. Forever if he has to.
At half past two there's a noise at the door. He phases into the kitchen and waits.
Now's his chance. She'll see. He'll make her understand.
But she doesn't come home alone.
She's with a friend, that girl he's seen dropping her off. Her jeep is parked in the driveway and they're both giggling into the kitchen for a snack.
They stay downstairs for forty-five minutes, eating ice cream and watching cartoons, all vodka breath and bloodshot eyes. Since when did she become such a junkie?
Was it his fault?
That's a stupid question. He knows.
When they stagger upstairs and into her room, she swings the door shut and they fall into bed.
Thrumming with crippling disappointment, he settles into the chair in the corner, invisible, and pulls up his feet.
They wriggle under the covers and talk about boys - she doesn't mention him. She's clearly uncomfortable with the topic and cuts it short the best way she can. She rolls onto her side, her eyes heavy and her mouth quirked up in a smile, and she kisses her friend.
He bites into his fist to keep quiet.
It's two girls kissing. It should turn him on, but it doesn't. It's torture. He's jealous.
They make out and laugh until they're tired and then they pass out.
He sleeps in the chair and pulls at his curls.
She doesn't come home the next night. Or the one after that.
He overhears Ben on the phone with her. She's staying on campus for a few days, crashing at her friend's dorm, they've got a huge project due.
It's a week before he sees her again.
It's only eleven thirty. Something must have happened.
She props her umbrella against the wall and unbuttons her coat. It's raining outside, the first winter storm of the year. There are wet leaves in the foyer. It's almost Thanksgiving.
She takes the stairs two at a time, only a little buzzed, and toes off her shoes in the hall.
When she takes off her coat, hangs it over the back of her chair, he sees why she's home early.
There are more bruises on her throat. Some are shaped like a mouth but others look like the prints of fingers, ovaled and angry.
It was that asshole. He tried to take advantage of her.
She walks over to her desk and pulls open the top drawer, withdraws a crumpled pack of cigarettes and her trusted Zippo. Her hands are shaking. She can't even light up. She swallows a frustrated scream and hurls them both into the wall, wraps herself up in a hug, wishing she had something to take the edge off her terror.
He's there as soon as she speaks.
The facade of indifference shatters and she collapses against his chest. He holds her in the dark of her room and strokes the back of her head while she cries and clings.
He's here. She's safe.
She clutches at the backs of his ribs. Mr. Economics wanted to fuck and she'd told him no. After what happened with Tate she felt sick letting anyone else touch. But apparently that simply wasn't an option. He'd shackled her neck in his hands and forced his hand down her pants before someone walked in. Two guys from the party threw him off and gave him matching black eyes. They held him tight while she kicked him in the chest and the balls. She walked all the way home, couldn't even ask for a ride.
"I want you to kill him," she chokes out between sobs, wiping her nose against the front of his shirt.
He nods and tells her to bring him over tomorrow, promises that he'll make it hurt.
His darkness, she'd shamed him for it before, but now it served a purpose. No one would ever hurt her again.
She lifts her head up from his chest and smiles, but it's broken. It tugs at something inside him, seeing his brave girl terrified like this.
He wipes her cheeks with his thumbs and leans down when she tilts up her face.
They kiss, slow and careful by the door, and then more hurried as he walks her back to the bed where they shed their clothes and burrow under the covers.
But they don't frot or fuck that night. He presses his chest to her back and curls his legs into the crook behind her knees, his chin hooked over her shoulder.
He asks about what classes she's taking, how her day went before the party, what college was like. She tells him, her fingers finding his, and she cries a bit more and then she calms and they sleep.
A/N: This might be my last fic for a little while. I start up school on Monday and I'll see what my workload's going to look like this semester, but I promise I'm not done with Violate, writing or reading. I might sequel this if a new plot bunny comes along, or I might just keep it as a one-shot. Either way, thanks for reading!