Author: grayglube

Title: Toska

Summary: She's delightfully spiteful and, for awhile, it's enough. Until it isn't.

Warning(s)/Kink(s): Language, violence, sexual situations, fantasy dub-con, mentions of childhood sexual exploration (non-graphic)

Disclaimer: I don't own American Horror Story

Author's Notes: Written for the ahs_exchange over on livejournal.


"No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom."

Nabokov


The house is a lot of things.

Depending on who you ask.

But beyond the rationalizations, the explanations, and all the bargaining all she's ever been able to label the house as, with any certainly, is manipulative and cruel.

And really, it's the worst kind of evil. The only real kind of evil there is across the board for anything that can think for itself, act for itself, the evil that thinks it's saving something.

And she knows they're all just a collection of little human pets, or close enough to pets that the house can't tell the difference, or doesn't care about the difference, so long as they stay close and act the part.

Her parents and Hayden and Beau and Hugo and the old lady she helped die are all perfectly domesticated, taken in and fed and comfortable with their accommodations. If not happy then unconcerned.

The Boy and the Black Dahlia, the twins, and the little family of burn victims in the basement are all just strays, a little restless but otherwise docile and pleased to be out of the cold.

The Montgomerys and the nurses and the murder duo are just the half drowned unwanted little things too familiar with pain and neglect to know how to react to fondness or kind words.

Moira is resigned, too old and spent and weak to really ever be wild again, an old cat passed down from old owner to new, always getting her tail yanked by malicious children or stepped on by clumsy adults.

The girl she's killed more on accident than actually meaning to is the lazy, feral acquisition that likes the accommodations but would be just as comfortable anywhere else, out in the cold, eating garbage, it makes no difference to her, she's the same wherever she goes.

The boy she's killed completely on purpose is much the same, though perhaps without any real experience or want to see the other side of things, like something that's lived in the neighbor's yard that comes over and eats from the bowl on the step anyway for lack of something better to do.

Tate, she thinks, is the one who likes the way things have played out but still likes to scratch and hiss and brood like he's some big shit tomcat.

And her in tandem with the gays, are the unruly ones that piss on the furniture and scratch the baby and need to be locked in the closet to be taught to behave.

She's still just a kitten, curious and mean.

The house thinks it's helping but some things are better left to nature, some things need to survive or die out on their own or just alone.

Solitude had made her sour.


It takes a few years for her family and herself to realize that, despite the fun of scaring families off, it's all a little pointless. Rather, it takes a few years of the house being empty for them to come to the conclusion that, without living residents, the house is just a crypt, old, dusty, quiet, boring.

She's only dead because of Tate and her own mental instability and perpetual teenage angst.

Her mother's only dead because Nora wanted a baby.

Her father's only dead because he stuck his dick in the wrong grad student.

But Tate's still waiting for her to come around and Nora has a baby she can coo over for a short collection of days before growing irritated with its crying and basic bodily functions and Hayden is still stuck up on her father.

So the new families come.

The first ends up filing bankruptcy and leave within the year.

The second breaks up with a divorce and the spouse left with the house sells.

The third stays, mostly, and in more ways than one.

The old lady, the girl, and her father.

An older woman and a younger girl visit during the holidays and for small portions of time over long weekends. Eventually it's clear who they are and why they come.

The older woman is the mother and the other girl is the youngest child whose talents lie in something like art or music or dance or something they make special schools for.

And the dynamic stays the same for many years: the mother taking care of youngest daughter who Violet later learns is something of a baby Beethoven or whatever they call kids who play an instrument well but have nothing else going for them with their lives categorized by file cabinets of sheet music and practicing complicated arrangements away in another state with the old lady, the oldest girl, and the father living in the house.

The old lady is the grandmother.

The father is a business attorney.

The first born daughter is the golden child, despite her sister's aptitude for music.

There is talk of getting a house closer to the younger sister's school for awhile but it's all tentative. They've been in the house four years when the girl waits for her father to come home, sitting on the stairs with a stack of envelops slapping against her thigh as she jostles them in her hand, one night.

When he does she grins an uncontrollable grin of a happy kid.

"Guess how many."

"How many?"

"Six."

"I thought you applied to seven."

"I did."

"Guess you're not that smart then."

"Uh-huh, sure. What day are you off this week?"

"Why?"

"Number seven wants me to go in and talk to their sports administrator because they want to give me a full scholarship."

"That's good."

"You have to come too."

"Alright, I'll check my days. Give them a call."

"It's in state."

"…," the girl's father stiffens and realizes the implication.

"Yeah, I know."

"You know what I'm going to say."

"Grams said she'd stay."

"What's that going to do?"

"Well, you can go to Washington and stay with mom and the midget and I'll stay here with grams."

"I'll think about it."

"Okay."

He tells her in the morning that she and her grandmother will stay and he will go stay with her mother and her sister in Washington.

The girl starts college in the fall and later after everything that has happened happens Violet will wonder if the years the girl spent in the house with her grandmother were in fact what looked like the happiest of any she ever had, and, bitter and resentful, Violet will think the old woman and the girl really got the best ending out of anyone trapped inside the house.

When Violet talks to the girl later and tells her that she's lucky they died happy and content, the girl throws her a withering look and informs her that no one dies happy and the only thing luck has to do with anything is how it's as meaningful as coincidence, which is to say luck had nothing to do with their deaths and neither did the universe or fate.


Violet watches them talk. Talk about men or family gossip or the past or the girl's sister or all the collections of meaningless things people talk about with someone who knows them as well as they do.

The girl drops one hip and leans jauntily into the counter the old woman is wiping down, "Soooo, how was your day?"

"Well I did a little work outside and that nice boy, well, no, he's not really a boy, that young guy, who does the hedges, helped me move my gaze balls around and hang those eggs on the tree for Easter, and then that woman next door came and said hello and do you know she won't even say hello unless that boy is here? Really. And she's all laughing and smiling and throwing out her legs, and my ass would make her a Sunday face."

"You're mean," the girl points out, lighting a cigarette and seating herself on the just cleaned counter.

"And all those dogs! They dig up around the hedge, you know. And I'm telling you now if one gets in this yard I'll shoot it and throw it over back into her yard."

"Bullshit," the girl mumbles around her filter before blowing out a drag and smirking, "you'd have me throw it over."

"Oh, you're bad."

"I'm bad?"

"How was your day?"

Violet can't help the twitch in her lips at the old woman's change of topic tactic, she employs it a lot and it makes her granddaughter roll her eyes.

"Long, I'm tired."

The girl slumps severely and sways for effect.

"Well go take a little snoozey and I'll make you something to eat, roast beef?"

"I hate roast beef, do shake and bake."

"Alright, we'll do shake and bake, should I make potatoes?"

"I hate potatoes."

"Oh yes, that's your sister. You want the rice; alright I'll make the rice. Brown?"

"White."

"Go take a nap, go on. I'll cook and wake you up later."

"Alright," the girl is off the counter and swinging out the doorframe with an, "I love you."

"Love you."

The girl leaves and the old woman thinks for a moment before yelling, "White rice?"

"Yup," the girl hollers back.

"And shake and bake."

"You got it," the girl's head pops back into the doorframe, smiling.

"Go nap."

"I'm going."

She's gone for a few seconds before jogging back into the kitchen and giving the old woman a peck on the cheek and dashing away.

"Wha…-"

"I love you grandma."

And she's gone in a wave of long hair and the lingering spirals of blue smoke from her cigarette, the old woman smiles in spite of herself.

When the girl comes down for dinner later she tells her grandmother she's going to be using the dining room to study with some friends in a few hours. Her and three other girls spend seven hours working on complicated medical case studies and practice treatment plans.

Maria and Gladys sit, bloody and damp, respectively at either end of the table and listen intently to the back and forth of medical puns and debates on superior surgical techniques. It's strange how suddenly the most intrusive of ghosts have gone quiet in the presence of what, to them, must be supremely interesting.


There's something sad about the old woman that Violet knows the girl can't see. There's the painful reminder that the old woman is old and won't live to see the things she desperately wants, she doubts she'll live to see the weddings or the births or even her oldest granddaughter's fancy medical school diploma hung up on a wall in an expensive frame.

Violet starts replacing her blood pressure medication with aspirin already knowing the old woman can't see half as well as everyone thinks she does.

The day she dies there's a bumblebee stuck under the gazebo roof, bumping against the wood and floating down and back up again like a pair of eyes watching a ball go back and forth and the telephone lines garble buzzing hymns of electricity or maybe voices from receivers reaching out through the wires to someone's ear.

It's a nice day, warm and sunny and hypnotic.

When the girl comes home she drops her things, calls a hello into the house and smirks at the lack of response knowing that her grandmother's hearing isn't as sharp as she pretends. She's going up the stairs and starts talking about how she has to get ready for a sports practice and that she'll be home again later.

The girl knocks on her grandmother's door and peeks in.

She says 'hey Grams,' and sits down on the bed and quite suddenly the acrid smell of urine hits her, she shakes the old woman and after a moment of deliberation checks her pulse.

Nothing. She's been dead for hours.

Disregarding the wet bedspread she lies down and curls up like a child and cries silently for a long time before she gets up, sits on the floor and smokes a cigarette.

She sputters out a damp expletive and keeps crying, pressing her eyes onto her jean-covered knees.

While she smokes and cries she sends a succinct text to someone saying she'll be missing practice and turns off her phone.

She goes downstairs to the office and opens up a fire box filled with documents and looks for the ones marked 'in event of death.'

There's no wailing or lamentation, just quiet reservation and resignation to the things she's come home to.


The absence of her grandmother has hardened the girl or maybe not Violet thinks; maybe she's always been hard and cold when away from people. In some ways the reaction is disappointing, there is no downward spiral, no days of crying, no brokenness that lingers in any perpetually profound way.

It's only then that Violet realizes that more than anything she's wants to see just how much more the girl can take, what exactly it will take to break her, make her crumble.

The girl isn't stupid or oblivious. She's lived in the house for six years, she knows it isn't exactly normal, or empty, or particularly safe sometimes. She knows.

She knows her cigarettes are going faster than they should be, that despite her showers going ice cold there's nothing wrong with the water heater in the basement, that despite Moira sticking around and cleaning house like she always had for the family that it isn't either of them doing the dishes.

She knows that she isn't just half delirious from too little sleep and just seeing things when she catches Violet flipping through her school assignments, or Maria and Gladys in the den watching her work, or the way Travis just disappears after he's done mowing the lawn, or the tea party cups set up on the basement stairs, or the thumps and groans from the attic, or the surly blonde boy sitting on forlornly on the stairs.

But it isn't until one night when Violet knows for sure that the girl knows they're there. The girl thumbs open her little box of Marlboros and lights one up exhaling heavily over her textbook. Violet's across the room, reclined on the girl's bed staring at the ceiling, when the girl starts talking.

"You really need to quit filching so many. It's not attractive to be so greedy."

The girl is staring at the reflection in a picture frame on her desk, Violet stares back ready to disappear when the girl turns around to confirm she's really there. But the girl looks back at her book merely accepting the fact that there's a ghost lying on her bed.


She's following the girl around the house while she plays hostess to her friends. It's been a long day at the beach and the not small, not large, group of kids on the cusp of adulthood is all varying degrees of sun burnt and sun sleepy.

Every so often she'll catch a flash of a sweater or blonde hair she knows doesn't belong to anyone alive and gets distracted enough to try and find where he'd gone, if he's watching her as much as she's watching the girl.

Eventually while she's trying to see if he's spying on her she loses track of the girl. When she finds her again she's not alone. The girl's leaning back against the kitchen island and is slowly, sweetly, trading kisses with a boy she's seen hanging out in the house with all the girl's other friends.

He has roguishly long hair and a nice mix of muscle and height.

When they stop to breathe he smiles and tells her that her face is red.

The girl tells him she probably didn't put enough sunscreen on.

He tells her that she's pretty when she blushes.

She tells him she's never kissed someone before.

He tells her he'd kiss her all the time if she wanted.

They smile at each other and share a cigarette outside in the backyard in the shade of the gazebo.

Violet feels someone behind her, close, too close, not close enough. She pretends she doesn't and walks outside without looking at him over her shoulder.


She's been in fights before but never quite in the sense that she's been punched, she's been slapped, scratched, had her hair pulled, and been thrown into things, but never punched, because girls don't punch other girls, not usually.

Obviously that doesn't quite mesh with the newly dead resident's way of dealing with being dead.

There's a hand fisting in her sweater yanking her up off the ground and spitting has always been her go-to surprise attack tactic so she's already working her throat, building up saliva and phlegm in what's bound to be a blood flecked nicotine laced mess of esophageal sludge.

Violet throws her head back and snaps it forward, forcing everything in her mouth out onto the girl's face.

The girl doesn't even reach up a fast hand to wipe it away, she just lets the thick mess of blood and snot and spit slide down her brow and blinks it off her eyelid furiously, the slow trail leaves a thin red smear down her cheek and then all Violet can feel is the bone aching pain of a knee driven up hard between her legs and the crack of an elbow against her cheekbone as she crumbles.

There's a knee that breaks her nose and a hand yanking her head back, fingers snagging her hair, tight, unyielding. The girl's face is twisted into something ugly and animal, furious and distraught by her death. There aren't tears in her eyes, just bright, wild, rage and her cheeks are blotched red and her chest heaves and her nostrils flare. Her grip tightens.

The last punch, the one that makes Violet's vision bang out for a few more moments than can possibly be healthy is like a brick hitting her in the mouth, she knows her teeth have scraped across the girl's knuckles, tearing them.

She opens her eyes, the ceiling greets her, and she can still hear the girl breathing, heavy and ragged. She enters into Violet's peripheries, leans over and purses her lips before coughing up a vile, sticky gob of bronchial secretions and delivering retribution.

The girl doesn't say anything after, just stares down at her. The girl raises her foot and stomps down on top of her sternum. And then she does it again. And again. It hurts.

Eventually she must stop, Violet isn't quite sure, but she figures the girl isn't one to continue beating a corpse.

When she wakes up later she checks her body for lingering bruises or broken ribs and finds nothing but unblemished skin and unfound fractures.

He's sitting on the stairs, silent, watchful. He throws the metered dose asthma inhaler at her gently and she tosses it from hand to hand fascinated that such a little thing could have made her unintentional murder into just a regular scare-fest.

How it could have mitigated the girl's foolish choice to go up in the attic while smoking a cigarette and inhaling all that dust from the old throw rug Violet unfurled in her face and then running downstairs with her airway closing up looking for the steroidal inhalants mixed with bronchodilators.

It was sitting on the desk, Violet knows.

She knows because she'd run her fingers along it, innocently, without intention, not meaning for him to take it as an invitation to steal it.

But the girl is dead and Violet doesn't even feel that bad about it.

And it's funny because the whole thing probably weighs more on his conscious than hers. Ironic.


The girl relates her post-death beat down on her murderer to the old woman, who just listens quietly and nods. Between them, nothing's changed. They pick up their familiar back and forth as easily as if they'd never died. Maybe death changes nothing for some people. Maybe it means nothing.

"Well, sometimes people just need a beating. Let me make you some coffee, do you want a sandwich? Let me make you a sandwich."

"The coffee should be black."

"Black? No milk?"

"No milk."

"But sugar, okay."

"No. No sugar. No milk. No nothing, grandma."

"Nothing?"

"Nothing."

"Well I don't know how you drink it black. I take mine with milk and two sugars."

"I know."

"Did you?"

"I did. Are you making me a sandwich?"

"Yes, ham and cheese?"

"No."

"No?"

"Salami and provolone."

"Well I'm going to make myself a tuna sandwich."

"Alright."

But the old woman doesn't move to go about the kitchen. Instead she stares at her granddaughter, "How are you?"

The girl sighs out smoke and the rest of the drag twirls from her nostrils in twin plumes, "I'll be alright. I always am."

"Well what else can you be, right? Might as well do something instead of sitting around doing nothing."

"Yeah."

The old woman makes sandwiches.

"Got any quarters?"

"You want to play cards?"

"Yes."

"Alright, how many hands we going to play? Three?"

"Five."

"Five! Okay then, we'll play five."

"No cheating."

"I think you cheat."

"You change the rules, grandma."

"No I don't."

"You're a fucking cheater, stealing all my money."

"You're mean to your grandma."

"My grandma's a cheating asshooole."

"Tsk, that's not nice."

"I'm not nice."

"No, you're not very nice."

"I love you."

"I love you," the old woman mimics back in perfect pitch.


He's not surprised when she stays sitting as he walks into the room, why she doesn't turn to look at him over her shoulder. But her voice is a surprise, "Why'd you take her inhaler?"

He shrugs to himself, "Thought you wanted to kill her."

There's silence for awhile like she's contemplating whether that was what she wanted, he knows she won't admit it but somewhere in her there's deliberation over the idea.

"I just wanted to scare her," she answers finally.

"Yeah, you did that too," he agrees and he can see the tick in her jaw from her clenching her teeth.

"…" She seethes to herself, still refusing to look at him.

He sighs and sits in a chair across from the couch taking in the sight of her, sitting like the letter 'Z' with her ashtray set next to her knees. Her eyes flick to him, dare him to speak. He's never been one to keep his mouth shut when the situation calls for it, "I thought maybe you wanted a friend or something."

She laughs a bitter, little laugh, "I did," she grins a self-depreciating half-smile, "but she's…," she trails off and waves a hand breaking up a tangle of smoke, "Hmmm," she breathes a sigh, "she's not how I thought she was."

"People don't just forgive you for killing them."

She rolls her eyes at him and sags back into the couch, puffing on her cigarette idly and tapping out a rhythm on her knee.

"He was here," she remarks taking note of the people milling about outside in the hallway.

The post funeral festivities have just about finished up.

"That guy? The one she…," he pauses not knowing for sure if the girl and the boy he saw with her in the kitchen were anything more than what he walked in on, "liked?" He finishes, using the word tentatively.

"Yeah."

"So?"

"She didn't…"

"She didn't what?"

"Do anything."

Like show up and say goodbye with words or her body in an abandoned bedroom or a push down the stairs. He laughs at the expression on her face realizes how the girl's lack of action has left her confused and irritated, how inaction doesn't jive with her worldview.

He guesses being dead in a house so fucked up has fucked her up too.

"What's so funny?"

"Did you try to kill him too, so she'd forgive you and be your new best friend?"

"Fuck you."

Her tone is acerbic, he grins and she scowls back.

"You ruined her, you know? And not everyone is like you, Violet."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Not everyone is spiteful like you. She didn't take her anger out on anybody who didn't deserve it."


Violet thinks of their time together and thinks they had felt everything. That they had learned nothing, or at least not enough from all that everything. In retrospect there's only tagged memories of scar comparison, knocked over ashtrays, and obscure alternative rock songs pounding out as a soundtrack to their voluntary moods of nostalgic cynicism and afternoon apathy that have held the position of first things recalled when she muses on the collection of months they had spent dancing around each other and swaying into each other's space like bloated pieces of wood out in some lazy sea.


The girl's father comes back a few years later with Marcy in tow, the woman is still wearing awful three piece pastel suits and carrying a now decrepit and palsy prone Hallie in a knock-off Chanel doggy bag. Movers come and pack up all the furniture and there's no grand gesture of packing up his dead daughter's room last or anything else so falsely poetic.

He does, however, spend the last night before the house is officially on market and empty, of furnishings at least, alone at the kitchen island getting spectacularly blitzed, crying bitterly, silent and surly. The girl sits down across from him.

"Hey dad."

"Well, fuck."

"It's not so bad. I'm just dead, not pregnant or addicted to drugs or clinically depressed."

"Thank god."

Violet doesn't stay to listen; she's just passing through rooms anyway.

The house doesn't languish on the market for long. A new family moves in and Violet realizes she's been dead for fourteen years. When she contemplates the years she can't quite decide whether it feels like less or more than she's actually spent in the house, all she can tell is that it doesn't feel like fourteen.

She counts the days and months and years by new families, tea parties with Angie and Margaret, summers with no air conditioning when the house is on the market, Moira scrubbing the walls clean of yellowed nicotine lines, the new lines on Constance's face, the girl's pounding against the side of the garage as she practices for a sport she'll never really play again, the influx of new babysitters for Michael every time he scares the old one away.

The boy's family rents the house in the summer; they're from the east coast and have New England accents, except for the mother who's quite obviously much more used to summers in the Hamptons. He's only fifteen that first summer in the house but already handsome, already starting to hit his growth spurt, already turning into a boy who girls will think about falling in love with.

She's watching the family barbeque in the backyard one day without much care as to who sees her when the girl slithers up behind her, silent and stoic until Violet turns to see what she wants. The girl's smile is malicious and holds a threat.

"This house is crowded enough, you don't have to worry about me adding to it," she tells the girl.

But neither of them put much stock in words and the house is full of liars.

The girl starts following the family like the way Violet used to follow her. The difference is clear; she's protecting them in a house full of ghosts that are selfish and bored. The silent guardianship is unnoticed by the living but Violet, despite the girl being dead, still follows her just as consistently as she did when she was alive.


Violet sees her, hears her, follows her. The girl was so obviously made-up when looked at from the whole of her interactions, she was an archetype of someone else, some unreal standard from books or conversations or comparisons. From first glance she looks like a girl you already know everything about, the epitome of what she's playing to be, but then when she doesn't see you looking or is amused enough to throw you a glance from the corner of her eye and pretend you're not there even though you both know she sees you and hears you too, she's a girl you know nothing about, and her words become less explicit meaning and all about someone else's interpretation because her tone offers no clue and her face harbors no secret smile or hidden twitch, she's incomprehensible and her poised mannerisms and careful speech reflect nothing about her soul. And once Violet had realized that much there was no way to unrealize the discovery that there was absolutely no way to isolate any one thing about the girl, to form any substantial real conclusion towards her own opinion of the girl. For the first time Violet realizes that she knows nothing about the girl she's killed, not even if she really likes her enough to have killed her, to have made it worth killing her so she'd be stuck in the house.

She doesn't know what prompts her to talk to the girl but she does.

It's an unsure apology that passes her lips and the girl carefully stops climbing the stairs to look over her shoulder and stare down before carefully backtracking so they stand toe to toe before she says, "You're a fucking child. You thought being dead gave you some sort of one-up on everyone else and…," the girl ruminates for a moment before settling on, "well, it doesn't matter so much anymore because even if it did then, now that I'm dead too we're on the same level."

"You think you're better than me," Violet tells her, it's not a question. It's a mere observance of fact.

"Yes."

"Pfft."

"Heh, okay," the girl rolls her eyes and smiles mockingly before going upstairs.


It's the family's fourth summer in the house.

The boy spends the majority of it without a shirt on coming back to the house late from days at the beach, reading surprising literary choices sprawled out in the shade of the gazebo smoking Camel Crushes, mocking his friends in snarky comments through a videogame headset.

It's his last free summer before college.

The girl lingers around keeping him in her sights as if the previous three summers weren't hint enough for any ghost in the house that she's serious about keeping the family safe. But Violet knows there's more to it.

The girl is smitten.

Silently and without real any enthusiasm, resigned to stay in the shadows and content just to watch the boy. The way the girl watches him sleep is especially unsettling, mostly because she knows Tate probably used to watch her. More than probably she concedes; he's forever a seventeen year old boy- of course he'd watched her. In bed, in the shower, eating a sandwich, doing laundry, masturbating.

Violet and the girl don't speak.

The girl never lets the boy see her but sometimes he feels the odd space vacuum in the room and his eyes wander around, looking for something that he's never going to find.

Violet sees why the girl likes him so much. He's her type. Like the boy she watched her kiss forever ago in the kitchen when she was still alive. Honestly she's a bit surprised the girl didn't take to Travis, he's got long hair too but eventually she decides it's not so much the look but the look coupled with an actual brain to take up skull-space.


"You know I'm surprised," she tells the girl.

The girl's gaze flicks to her's briefly before disregarding it in favor of watching the obviously more interesting view the room offers.

"I didn't think you'd be the type to invade someone's privacy like this."

Violet smirks a little at the muffled grunt sounding off in the relative silence of the room.

"I mean it's kind of fucked up."

The girl raises a brow and Violet knows that the fact that she's in the room too is also more than a little fucked up.

"Watching him jerk off, but I can see the appeal."

She can, really. The boy's good looking and good looking boys jerking off is enough to make any perpetual teenage girl a little hot and damp between her thighs.

"If you like him so much you could just kill him, you know?"

The girl's eyes are little slits, her posture relaxed and slumped, and she's so good at ignoring Violet that for a moment she almost believes it's as effortless as it looks.

"How long are you going to not talk? I said I was sorry, you beat the shit out of me, you and your grandmother can play gin rummy forever, not a bad way to spend eternity."

Those eyes jump up to hers and there's something dangerous in them at the reminder.

"Think he'll feel it if you touch him?"

The girl is up out of her chair and out of the room. Violet follows and calls a parting, "Hey, I was just kidding."

And she is but the girl's shoulders are tense and her hands are clenched tight into angry shaking fists. And then they're less than a foot apart, staring at each other and it's strange and uncomfortable silence between them.

"What?"

The girl punches her and turns to walk away.

"You can't solve all your problems by hitting people," Violet mocks, smashing a heavy decorative bowl against the back of the girl's head.

Violet watches the girl's hair part around a gushing stream of blood staining the back of her neck and the collar of her shirt, and she turns slowly after she presses her hands to the back of her head and brings them back around to stare at the vivid crimson painting her fingertips.

"Oh fuck," Violet breathes not quite knowing what to do now, having assumed the blow would at least knock the girl out and left instead with her seething and very much still conscious.


"You deserved what you got."

He's standing over her, hands stuffed deep in his pockets, his torso a curve that shadows her face.

"…"

She was less docile this time at least; the girl is most definitely sporting a shiner but everything hurts and Violet slowly comes to realize that she didn't get herself killed this time. She wonders if the girl knows if you kill someone they wake up fine. Probably. She seems smart like that.

"You shouldn't get into fights with people like that. You won't win," he tells her chewing his bottom lip.

"…"

"Do you even really hate me anymore?"

"Yes." But it's bullshit and they both know it, her because she said it and him because of the tone she'd used.

"On principle." He clarifies for himself, for her, for them.

"No, on the fact that I'm dead."

"And everyone else is dead and happy."

"And that you can't seem to get it right."

"Get what right?"

She turns her head and stares at the wall runners, pristine white because Moira is anything but a shitty maid, contrary to whatever jibes Constance likes to throw at her.

"Anything. You're such a fucking screw-up, Tate."

"Hello Kettle? It's Pot. You're black."

He's gone when she turns her head.


It's easy.

She knows to use a greater amount of force now if she's hoping for something even close to a knockout.

And she doesn't really need for the boy to pass out, just be dazed enough to fall over the banister once she pushes him towards it.

The crash is spectacularly loud.

There's a puddle of blood blooming across the floorboards under his head.

"Why did you do that?"

It's Tate.

"Because I'm spiteful, remember?"

There are careful footsteps from the floor below, the girl stares down at the body before looking up to the top of the stairs.

She sighs loudly and removes a shoe from the body, before reappearing the hallway, and yanking down the stairs to the attic. She places the shoe at the bottom of the stairs and then goes up into the attic to turn on the light, she makes it look like an accident and then she disappears again.

They do not exchange words.


There are times when Tate wonders why he loved her, why he misses loving her bitterly and fondly all at once. He can attribute some things to her smart mouth and mean words and others to the fact that she's a scrappy little pretty thing, with tiny bird bone hands and ribs. But, it's not. What it is was how she thought he was such a prize, her prize. A boy specially made to match her, to be hers. He was fully realized, once. To her. There was nothing more to him, to what he could be, he just was and for awhile he was able to forget it was just a role he was playing; alive, nearly sane, honest.


The boy is a sneaky person and he's got a smirk on his face when she tries to elude him by cutting through the kitchen but he's already there. Violet knows he knows she's the one who pushed him, she supposes it makes the difficult conversation of 'why' a little easier if he at least knows who killed him.

The girl comes in through the back door wearing sports equipment and carrying a netted stick that looks like it'd hurt to get hit with. The girl's got dirt on her face and sweat dripping off her forehead, her sneakers squeak on the freshly waxed floor. They both look at her. Her face is blank, passive, it gives nothing away.

"It's her fault you're dead," Violet tells him, she means every word.

"Bullshit."

The voice that comes from behind her back makes her roll her eyes, hard.

"…"

The boy says nothing, the girl says nothing. He just crosses his arms and she cocks a hip out, they both stare at her and Tate, considering, waiting.

"She killed you because she," Tate points at the girl but the boy doesn't even spare her a glance, "didn't want to be gal pals with her."

"Who are you?" The boy's tone gives nothing away besides mocking interest as if he doesn't really care much about who killed him or why, Violet guesses it doesn't matter because he's dead and the dead stay as dead as they can in the murder house, regardless of how or why.

Tate makes an amused sound, "Crazy Tate."

"Great," the boy deadpans with disinterest.

"He's the one that took your inhaler," Violet spits out, savage and angry and wanting to make the girl's expression turn into something less dismissive, to make the conversation less between two boys who could care less and more between four people who want to hurt each other, she wants conflict.

"She knows," Tate shrugs and smirks, just a little, but it's enough to make her feel irritation at being outmaneuvered.

"Old news," the girl agrees, leaving and the boy left with the option of following or staying chooses neither and brushes past Violet and Tate to meander upstairs.


The boy finds out things on his own from other ghosts, he wanders the rooms and makes no effort to talk to anyone when not absolutely necessary.

The girl does what she's done since she died, which is whatever she wants in no particular pattern.

Violet watches the first conversation they have with each other. The girl is reading in the backyard, smoking. The boy is walking around, smoking.

"What are you reading?"

The girl doesn't raise the cover like most people would, she continues reading and answer after a few moments of silence and a drag off her cigarette, "Isaac Asimov, Robot Visions."

"You know where the word 'robot' comes from?"

Without pause the girl answers, "Russian word for serfs that farm land."

She looks up and waits for a reaction, he drops his cigarette and grinds it out in the grass, blowing out smoke to the sky, "Never met someone else who knew that before."

"That's because most people are stupid."

The boy nods, bemused, and the girl sneers, pitilessly.

But it's for show, his simple curiosity and her easy flippancy.

They like each other.

Violet smiles because they wouldn't if they weren't dead, if she hadn't killed them, the feeling is heady. Good coming out of bad, flowers blooming in the crags left by the earth splitting itself in half.


"No point in keeping secrets from one person in a house full of people who also know the secret," he explains when she asks why he told the girl about the inhaler.

She can't keep the angry hiss out of her voice when she tells him, "You're a liar."

"…yeah, I am. Okay, the truth? I told her I took it so you wouldn't be able to twist it the way you wanted it later."

"Why would you do that?"

"Because you're not the only spiteful asshole in this house."

She's heard the old woman tell the girl that spite is like 'piss running down your legs, you're the only one that feels it', forever ago, a conversation meant for two, not for a ghost like her, but that was back before they were ghosts too.

That's the truth about spite; the person is the only one who feels it but they're not always the one cleaning up in the aftermath and that's the truth too.


She hears her mother playing cello in an upstairs bedroom. She listens outside in the hallway and lights a cigarette, she leans her head back against the wall and closes her eyes.

Final deep wavering notes are a hum and a groan all at once and she knows how they feel, they ache like she does in the long quivering drawn out reverberating way, the way the tapped off ember of a cigarette glows before going dark, innocently black and dead looking but burning, still.


She can hear him all the way down the hall, she wonders if he wants her to, if that's the point. She doesn't knock or announce herself, just appears and sits down on the floor next to the bed and watches him tug at his cock furiously.

"What are you thinking about?"

His eyes, all blown pupils and indistinct lust shift to the side to look down at her.

"Raping you."

She doesn't know if he's being sarcastic or a shithead or completely honest or trying to make her squirm but his tone betrays nothing but irritation and how close he is to spilling into his hand.

"Why don't you?" She runs her fingers over the smoothness of the skin stretched over his ribs, he twitches and shivers.

"You'd try to scratch my eyes out."

"Move over." And she's climbing onto the bed without his permission to curl against his side and prop her head on his bare shoulder. She runs her fingernails over the sparse trail of hair on his abdomen, tenderly without a hint of teasing before stretching out her hand to brush her fingers over the base.

"What are you doing?"

"Serious question?"

"Yeah, what weird fucking trick is this?" He asks as her hand replaces his, he's hot in the cradle of her palm and slick, she's forgotten the weight of his cock in her hand but not how he likes to be touched. He'd taught her how to touch him.

"No trick."

She finishes him and he spurts thick and hot onto her hand and his stomach.

"Thanks," he yanks up his jeans buts leaves them undone and doesn't bother to push his cut up shirt back down over his torso, she kisses his arm and then his sternum, fingers traces the lines of muscle that make up his abdomen through the cooling mix of semen and sweat.

"No problem, you smell good," she inhales with her face buried in his neck, turning her face up to take the hard line of his jaw between her lips and nibble the fine stubble there.

"You don't expect me to…-"

"To what?" She chuckles into his skin.

"Get you off later or something, do you? Because I won't."

"No, I don't," she sighs.

He nudges her with his shoulder to make her looks up at his face. His eyebrows knit together when they find no sad expression on her face, no disappointment.

"Not because I don't want to but because it wouldn't mean anything to you."

She shrugs, "You're not really good at it anyway."

"…," his mouth drops open and clicks shut, he's unconvinced and angry but still his pride gets a little chipped by the admission.

"What? You're not," she asserts. He tries but just can't seem to get his fingers and tongue to do what she needs them to do, "Wrong rhythm," she looks down at her hand, "So messy." She wipes her hand on his chest and licks a line up the side of her hand just to see if he taste like she remembers. He does.

"…"

"Heh. Wouldn't mean something, huh?" She laughs soundlessly and bitter before she sits up on the edge of the bed and mumbles, "You're so dumb."


"This house is evil," Violet tells her.

The girl belays no sign that she's heard the words out of her mouth, she just shuts the basement door as she climbs the last step of the stairs. There a long deep scratches on her bicep and what looks like gashes made by teeth on the outside of her forearm, as if she's been fending something off.

Violet notes the lack of unease and fear in the girl's face and realizes that if she'd gone into the basement looking for monsters she'd gone in believing they were there and did so intentionally. Looking for a fight and getting one.

Maybe it makes her feel alive in some way. To hurt things, to be hurt by things. Violet knows what that's like.

"Houses aren't evil," the girl tells her before walking to the kitchen and sitting up on the counter and lighting a half-finished Camel Crush that's been tucked behind her ear and popping the ball of menthol in the filter.

"…"

Violet hops up next to her and decides if the girl pushes her the fall won't hurt quite as bad as other things she could be pushed off of, but the girl doesn't, she just keeps talking.

"You sit and you think and you do things to make everyone angry and you make yourself lonely and when you're alone with yourself for so long you fixate and when you fixate you convince yourself of things and then you do those things."

"What things?"

"Things you think you want to do."

"What sort of things do you want to do?"

"We aren't talking about me."

"What are we talking about?"

"You."

The girl blows out a drag and pulls her hair back into a low ponytail.

"…"

"You don't like being alone, but you do it anyway because you think you can make yourself into another person."

"What type of person are you?"

"The type of person that becomes a hermit."

The girl looks up at the ceiling.

"That's depressing," Violet observes with little weight to the opinion.

"Do you know why you're lonely?"

"Because I'm alone? Is there some great cosmic wisdom I'm not getting here, or are you just talking meaningless bullshit?"

The girl snorts and takes a final pull off a cigarette that was in someone else's mouth the first time it was lit, "It's because you're unable to amuse yourself, you're like a book you hated reading the first time that you have to read again, and instead of going out and looking for something else to read you're going to stick around and keep rereading the same stupid book you hate over and over again hoping that eventually it's going to get good."

"What's that make you, a New York Times bestseller?"

"No, it makes me a fucking library," the girl's tone has a laugh in it and she hops down from the counter and leaves leaving Violet behind to think about how much she doesn't want to be a shitty required reading list book within the whole book to people analogy.


The boy and the girl are languishing in the gazebo, drinking beer together, every so often he puts his down and plays harmonica blues, and the girl idly fixes her sports equipment.

They don't talk.

They just sit and exchange wordless stares.

Content.

Happy.

Unconcerned.

Violet thinks she can't watch them for another minute without throwing a Molotov cocktail at the gazebo every other minute, eventually she goes back inside and sets off to find Tate.

He sits up in bed, the light from the hall illuminating half of his chest and one arm before she shuts it and crawls up the foot of the bed to settle on her knees in front of him, silent until she swings around to sit behind him and run curious hands over the warmth of his bare back and the slope of his shoulders.

"This means something," she mumbles into the back of his neck.

"What? That you're jealous of them, that you're lonely, that you've forgiven me, that you're tired of fucking yourself every night, that you're angry killing people doesn't take the edge off?"

He makes every point with some sort of jaunty shrug that she can imagine he mimics with a twitch of his lips or a cocking of his eyebrow.

"I miss you," she tells him.

It's a lie.

She misses the way he feels, makes her feel.

His hair slides between the gaps of her fingers when she runs her hand up the back of his neck and over his scalp.

"I haven't gone anywhere," he hums tilting his head into her hands before shaking off how much he likes the feeling and faking indifference.

"I hate what we are now."

"You hate what you are now."

She drops her forehead to his shoulder and kisses it quickly before twisting off the bed and walking out.


People always alienate the ones they want to charm first before doing anything else.

He's playing with her like she's played with him.

It's fair but it hardly seems so.

"Don't trust a man who can't whistle, a good man knows how. That's how you know," the old woman tells the girl after the boy passes through the dining room as they play cards.

The girl smirks a little at the old woman.

"I remember my father every day coming up over the hill on his way home, whistling."

"You also say good girls don't shave their legs above the knee."

"Well, things change. It's the fashion nowadays. With shorts as short as they are you have to shave more than above the knee."

"That's dirty talk grandma and I won't listen to it."

"Oh ho ho. How many cards do you have?"

"Two."

The old woman goes out and the girl chews her cigarette's filter angrily.

"Are you in the hole?"

The old woman smirks a little.

"No. But fuck you for going out on me."

"That's not nice," the old woman tells her.

"You're not nice," the girls smiles all the same.

The girl looks over at her and tells her she can play too, but only if she has quarters.

She doesn't.


Violet and the girl play chess outside, it feels easy and without any strain of the murderer-victim relationship playing between them. Things have changed, a little. Time's gone by. They're both a little bored.

"You're good."

"I think about playing a lot."

Violet remembers the girl's father played chess.

"And then you realize you've sat around and thought about chess for like three hours," Violet smirks knowing just how certain things, games, take over space in your brain and can't be replaced easily.

"Yeah."

"You know when you're too tired to really think but you still want to get off?"

"Yeah."

"You end up thinking about the weirdest shit to cum. I think about chess, it's all the different patterns, thinking about them, they stimulate the brain."

"Words."

"Words?"

"Dictionaries," the girl captures one of Violet's bishops, "I think about dictionaries. The way words break down," she looks up to explain further, "all the pronunciation cues, alliteration, consonance, assonance, patterns."

Violet nods and breathes deep, inhaling the piney scent of the shrubs, "It's not so bad here."

"No, it's not bad at all. No snow, it's nice."

The girl looks out at the brilliant green of the backyard and closes her eyes when a breeze makes her hair play around her face.

Violet sighs and closes hers too, enjoying the sun before opening them and taking the girl's last rook.


A part of her is glad they don't see her. She doesn't really watch but she sees enough to imagine things that could have happened or did happen later.

Just a girl and a boy making out on a couch with two shirts and one bra stripped off and tossed to the floor and their torsos plushed up tight together.

Once she's alone, outside, she can't stop thinking about them. On the couch. Tangled together like his and hers sports illustrated cover models, tan and fit.

She thinks about Tate too. Blonde curls and dark eyes and a runner's physique and paler than a California boy has any right to be.

She's not exactly jealous but she is irritated to a slight, marginable degree.

And she's horny.

Horny enough that the image seared into her corneas shifts and twists into a third person imagining of her and Tate, dry humping each other to completion on the couch in the living room.

The girl may have someone to keep her amused and the boy may have someone to take the edge off being dead and having to watch his family fall to shambles around him but at least, she thinks despite the pettiness of the comparison, the girl's tits are the same size as hers and she's terrible at scrabble.

Small victories are all she has left to amuse herself. And her fingers, but they don't satisfy in quite the same way as they used to anymore.

If she's comparable to anything she decides it's not a book she hates, it's a half-played game of Risk, small victories and complicated tactics, losing by degrees.


He asks if she's there to play chess, she isn't but still he informs her that no new moves have been made in her absence. He's secluded himself in a pile of blankets stolen from the linen closet and he can't see it but her eyes devour the lithe lines of his back and shoulders, the curve of his spine, the indents between the back of his hips, half shadowed in the dim light of streetlamps and the cloudy moon outside the attic window.

She wonders if he's naked under the quilt drawn over his legs and ass.

His head turns into his folded arms and she hears him sigh, softly.

She can't remember actually moving towards him but suddenly she's over him, her hair dragging across the back of his neck and her hands on either side of his elbows, her knees pressed into blankets, her toes pushed up tight against the inside of her converse.

"What are you doing?"

His shoulders go rigid and his breathing shallows.

"What do you want me to do?" She can feel the warmth of his skin against her lips when she whispers it into his ear.

"Leave."

"…"

She presses her breasts into his back and nips at his shoulder.

"I don't like this game."

"No game, no tricks. This matters, tell me what. to. do."

She molds his shoulders with her hands, inhales the scent of his skin, and makes silent promises with her lips across the hot knob of his spine.

"Leave."

She scratches the backs of his shoulders with her nails as she withdraws, he hisses and she's gone.


"You're playing again?"

Tate looks over the board and then at her, she doesn't look up to acknowledge him.

"Not again, still playing," she grumbles.

Her and the girl have been playing move by move in the attic, sometimes pondering a move when the other leaves or in the presence of each other, eternity makes the concept of time a little less dire.

"You've been playing the same game for a week?"

"Uh-huh."

"Well…, good luck."

And he's gone. But his almost, not quite, apology still lingers.


She's irritated and unsatisfied when she's climbing over the arm of desk chair in the guest bedroom to reach her cigarettes, she almost falls and cracks her head open on the sharp corner of the desk but catches herself and just barely manages not to break her pelvis in half on the wood slat of the chair's arm.

Though the almost injury is more than enough to send a jolt through her sex at the feel of something firm between her thighs.

She catches herself canting her hips forward and scowls heavily before climbing off and sitting down properly, lighting a cigarette and blowing out the first drag furiously.

Her thoughts find them focused on one thing lately. Fucking.

Smoking half-heartedly she recalls her first dose of sexual exploration, trying to remember a time when getting off was more of a game, more of a fun, silly thing instead of something so tainted with implication and heavy sex fantasies.

Vaguely she remembers her old elementary school playground and the first time she ever had an orgasm, before she knew what the word orgasm meant, before she'd ever even heard someone say it. She knows with finite clarity that she'd had the pole everyone slides down like an emergency first responder sandwiched between her thighs as she tried to wriggle her way up it.

God. She'd been there with her mother. Violet wonders if she had any idea her barely pubescent daughter was getting off on the playground equipment. Of course this was all before it meant anything, just meaningless frottage. Innocent.

She takes an angry drag when she remembers all the other things she used to rub up on when she was little.

The idea that anyone noticed is mortifying.

Eventually she'd at least figured out how to use her hands instead of couch arms and closet door edges and stuffed animals with hard plastic nubs as noses.

She smirks a little, wondering if her old stuffed Jurassic Park Raptor toy is in a box somewhere.

Ash spills into her lap from her untapped cigarette; she brushes it off and takes a slow pull while eyeing the bed, the one he likes to sleep in sometimes. Before she gets chicken shit about it she's striping down to her underwear one handed and piling the pillows on top of each in the middle of the mattress before grinding out her cigarette.

She straddles the makeshift mound of feather-down and ruts against them.

It's not one of her best ideas, the pillows aren't quite firm enough to mimic the feel of rubbing her cunt across firm muscles and hot skin, she tries folding them in half but it's still not quite enough.

"What are you doing?"

"…"

She spares him a withering glance over her shoulder to let him know she's doing exactly what it looks like she's doing and he's an idiot for asking.

"Sorry."

He sounds self-conscious.

"It's fine," she asserts.

"…"

She can hear his little shufflings behind her back and she huffs before scowling, "What?"

"Nothing."

He just stands awkwardly, his eyes jumping around the room.

"Well what do you want?" She asks impatiently.

"Nothing."

"Hmph," is all she gives him in response when she tosses her head forward again and stares at the headboard resuming her interrupted attempt at pillow humping.

"Does that even do anything for you?"

She rolls her eyes at the wall and turns to look at him over her shoulder again.

"Not really, hand me that book," she nods to the desk.

"This one?"

He looks at the one closest to the edge and flips the cover open.

"Whichever one, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to read it."

He gives it to her gingerly and backs up again the watch her shove it between the pillows. She carries on.

"Better?"

She frowns, "No. It's digging into my legs."

When she opens her eyes after closing them in agitation he's gone, she scoffs audibly and reaches between the pillows to grab the book and throw it into the wall flippantly.

"Here," he's back nudging at her shoulder with something. It's the cylindrical cushion from the window seat in the dining room.

It works.

She reshapes the mound of pillows under and above it and straddles her makeshift aide to orgasm, she hums when she rolls her hips forward, fisting her hands on either edge of the pillow cases to make sure nothing moves or slides.

From the corner of her half-lidded stare at the bed she sees movement; he's making himself comfortable in the desk chair.

"…what are you doing?"

The words are flavored with a harsh tone and a full gaze. He visibly starts and looks confused, hurt, and moves to rise from the chair, "Alright fine, sorry. I just th…-"

"I don't really care. Just shut up," she cuts him off, not caring whether he stays or not.

She can see him in her peripheral vision while she shimmies forward and drags her sex back, it feels good. The pressure's perfect and she bites her lip at the corner to suppress a whine.

He likes the way the way the muscles of her shoulders bunch and relax while she moves, the way her modest cotton panties crawl up the curves of her pert ass, the way her little feet jerk and her toes curls up toward the sole.

She wants to slide off the bed and crawl across the floor, she wants him to hold his dick like it's an offering and then she wants to watch him stroke himself and cum after she drools over it, getting him slick, because the sight of him, breathing heavy, palming himself through his jeans, looking at her the way he is, is enough to make her salivate, like a catatonic psychiatric patient with facial numbness.

She doesn't stop until there's a prickle of sweat making the back of her neck itchy and her thighs start to cramp and she's cum twice.

They don't speak when she starts putting her clothes back on and rearranges the bed to proper form, she leaves put the window seat cushion back where it belongs and returns for her shoes.

"Heh, didn't think you were coming back."

He smirks when he says it, half a grin really.

And her eyes are greedy, they want every detail. From the way his jeans and boxers hang precariously lax and low on his ass, to how he's got one arm and both knees supporting his weight while his hand flies over his cock and his mouth and teeth work at the wet spot she's left on his pillow.

She wants to stay and watch but she won't because he wants her to stay and he's already told her too many times to go away and all she has left to really say is a level, "Have fun."


She on the outside steps leading down to the basement when he finds her, and sits a step up from her while she reads an absolutely convoluted and pornographic science fiction novel.

When he tugs on her ponytail gently she tilts her head back and he leans over to kiss her, sweet and just as gentle. She can feel his hand on her shoulder, heavy and warm. His fingers running around the collar of her t-shirt before slipping down inside to trace her clavicle.

He's still got her ponytail clenched in his fist when he's delving inside the cup of her bra to palm one small breast, his fingers tugging at her nipple and she gasps in his mouth before snapping her head up into the underside of his jaw, "This is bullshit."

She trots down the steps and leaves him behind.

But he follows her into the basement and catches her wrist.

"Leave me alone," she tugs lightly in an attempt to make her message clear.

"…"

"I said leave me alone!" She tugs harder.

"…," he tugs back and she trips towards him with a glare in place.

"What the fuck! What's your problem, can't you take a fucking hint. I can. Every time you tell me to go I'm gone."

"I'm not the one that needs someone to tell them what to do and you're not an idiot."

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

He puts his face up close to hers and smirks, "Your diagnosis, you want to be needed by someone. And once they do it's gets you high to have that kind of control."

"Point that fucking diagnosis at yourself asshole," she twists his thumb and removes his grip.

"I just want things," he tells her when she's already walking away.

She can't help it, she turns around, "Now you want to go back and start over?"

"No."

"What exactly is it you want?"

"You, like this. Broken."

"I hate you."

"I noticed."

He's kissing her again and she sighs when he leans back and presses his forehead to hers mumbling, "It's not so bad, is it?" His eyes open to stare at her. She closes hers and pushes him back a few inches.

"Stop it."

"I ruined you."

It sounds like a joke.

"You really did," she agrees and he traces the swell of her bottom lip with his thumb, his ring is warm against her chin.

"I'm just clumsy with delicate shit."

"Gonna put me back together now, gonna fix me?" She spits out.

"What for, so I can put you on a shelf and stare at you all day?" He mocks.

"Not enough space on it for me next to your ego."

"Ouch."

"Psychopaths lack basic human empathy."

"I can read a book on mental illness too. They also have an impulsive need for excitement and are unlikely to spend much time weighing the consequences of their actions; they also tend to be arrogant, opinionated, cocky and domineering."

"…"

She glares up at him and his smirky face and it really makes her want to do some damage to his mouth, break all his teeth with a brick or a baseball bat.

"And you don't even care about what I did to you, what I did to anyone, that you're dead, that I'm dead, how's that for lack of empathy?"

"…"

"We match, you know? It's nice. I like it, I always have."

"Psychopaths lie a lot."

"Maybe I am. Do you care?"

"Yes."

"Psychopaths lie a lot," he retorts as if it proves him right.

He is but that isn't the point.

"Makes it kind of hard to have a conversation."

"We don't need to have a conversation."

He presses himself between her legs and traps her between his chest and the wall she's backed herself against.

"…"

"Kiss me."

"No," she shakes her head.

"Are you angry with me?"

"I just don't want to kiss you," she whispers.

"That's okay, I don't need you to."

And with a tug and a push she's on the floor, bruising her elbows on the cement and scraping her knees.

"…," and he's there a moment later, on his knees looming into her space as she turns and settles herself on the floor, the rough scrape and cold of it palpable through her thin skirt.

"What are you doing?"

"You don't want to kiss me; you still want me to fuck you though."

"…"

He covers her, slowly. Like an animal stalking weaker prey but she's not scared, just confused. His hands run up under her skirt and settle on her hips, rubbing heat into her skin while he murmurs things in her ear, "This works out easier on the floor, I always think about it with a table but on the floor I guess you can't squirm around as much."

Quite suddenly she realizes exactly what he's doing, or thinking about doing, or trying to make her think he's going to do.

"Is this a fucking joke?"

She pulls back to look at him.

"No."

His hands are under her shirt, pulling her bra down and then pushing her shirt up.

"…," she eyes him carefully; she doesn't feel particularly frightened, just wary of whatever game he's playing.

"What are you doing?"

His question is odd, she goggles up at him, "What are you doing?"

"I hate when you do this," he sighs lifting up a bit to stare down at her, hanging his head.

"Do what?"

"See how far I'm going to go, if you don't want me to than just fucking disappear."

"…"

He cups her sex through her panties and sighs again, she molds up into it on reflex, "You're not even that wet and that's probably just from arguing with me."

"I said I didn't want to kiss you, you think I suddenly want to have sex with you though?"

"Then leave if you don't want to pretend you can't get away or let me hurt you."

"Why would I want you to hurt me?"

"Because afterwards I'd get you off."

"Yeah, well, that's not what I want."

He's off her and she's fixes her clothes.

"What do you want?"

She sits up and runs her fingers across the crags in the cement, "Why can't we be like them?"

"Them?"

She looks up at his questioning tone, "You know who I'm talking about."

"We can't."

"Why not?"

"Because for them it's real, they still don't know for sure if the other one likes them or not."

"Well I want to pretend."

"So did I, but you're not in the mood."

Her eye roll is almost without intention, "Maybe I would be if you weren't such an asshole about it."

"…would you?"

The answer is an obvious 'yes.'

"Just because I've been pissed off at you doesn't mean I don't think about having sex with you so, yeah, I would. If she suddenly asked me if I wanted to have sex I'd probably say yes to that too."

His eyes go wide.

"What," she snaps. "She's hot. It's a fucking fantasy, okay? I said 'probably would' not 'totally would', just like how I think about what it'd be like to have sex with Travis, which I wouldn't, but, still he's hot. And I'm horny. And I just get really tired of getting myself off."

"So what am I supposed to do? Pretend I'm the boy you've snuck up to your room while your parents are asleep?"

She scoffs and picks at the hem of her skirt, "Don't say it like that."

"Like what?"

"Like it's a dumb idea, like it's stupid."

"It is, and then what? We cuddle all night and listen to music?"

"Don't act like sometimes you don't think about it."

"I do, sometimes."

"Maybe sometimes the idea of you hurting me gets me wet."

"…"

The look he gives her tells her to stop teasing him. She leans forward and brushes his fringe out of his eyes and speaks softly, looking down at his mouth, "But you're right, if you wanted to bend me over across the dining room table I'd still be able to squirm around, it'd probably take forever to actually get it in if you have to pin me down and keep me standing. But you could always bang my head against the table of couple of times, might daze me a little. Did you want to find out?"

His lips part and she looks up to his eyes, he takes a shaky breath and nods and just like that he needs her and he's right, it does get her high.

Control, power, he's hers. He always will be.

"Then I guess you'll just have to lurk around until there's an opportunity to pretend like you're the boy I like who I want to sneak upstairs to my room while my parents are distracted."

She gets up and goes upstairs.


She gives him the barest of nods, he sends her one back and a smile plays on her lips. Later when she furtively makes her way downstairs and outside for a cigarette he's waiting, lounging up against the brick. He mutters a small greeting and she acts like he's surprised her.

He feels a distinct sense of déjà vu and he knows that most likely that's the point of her little make believe game.

And while he won't readily admit it out loud his blood is an excited thrum in his veins and there're tingles spreading through his groin.

He asks if she's missed him and she says yes with wide eyes.

She tells him he can come in if he's quiet, biting her lip after the suggestion of 'sneaking him upstairs.'

He nods and she wraps small fingers around his wrist and tugs him behind her inside, and up the stairs, quick and quiet to her room.

"Nice…fort," he drawls, eyeing the sheet stretched over the head board, slanting down to the foot and tied to the legs of the bed.

"Cool kids only," she teases shakily, shy, or playing at it.

"No losers."

"Nope, but it's okay, you're a cool kid."

She smiles and darts underneath the tented sheets.

"Lucky me," he smirks lifting one and sliding onto the mattress.

"What's wrong?" He asks when she doesn't meet his eyes and keeps running her fingers back and forth along the sheet canopying their heads.

"It's really hot under here," she smirks and strips off her baggy t-shirt sitting in a threadbare tank top and tiny sleep shorts.

"Lucky me."

"Shut up," she blushes prettily and looks away, down at the bed, "Are you warm?" She peeks up at him.

"If said yes can I take my shirt off too?"

"…," she nods and coughs delicately to hide a little, twinkling laugh.

"I'm sweating to death."

His shirt is off and she's on his lap and he grips the back of her head with one hand and her waist with the other, raising the hem of her tank top and skirting her ribs with careful fingertips, just as suddenly it's forsaken at the end of the bed too, and then she's leaning back on her elbows and nudging him with her toes, a wicked smile stretched across her mouth when she puts her hands over his and has his fingers curled under the crenulated waist of her shorts.

"Nice little girl undies," he grins at the pastel yellow fabric with tiny bumblebees pollinating embroidered sunflowers.

"…"

She frowns and looks down at her choice of undergarment and then back up at him with a scowl. He leans in close and nudges her face up with his nose against her chin, she pouts like a petulant child at him.

"Don't worry I think they're cute, very innocent. Like a contradiction."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

He smiles at her snapped rebuttal.

"You've got this fuck you attitude but it's pretty easy to get you to blush."

And she does just that as he molds her knees with his palms.

"I'm just not used to this, okay?"

"But you think about it."

"What?"

She looks confused and horny.

"Your sheets smell like you."

"I sleep with them every night."

"They smell like you fuck yourself under them every night too."

She gapes at him, silent. Speechless.

"Do you?"

"Sometimes."

"…"

"More than sometimes," she admits.

She lets him push her back on the bed and trace the wetness between her legs through her panties. Her eyelids flutter, opening and closing, like she can't decide if looking at him is worth the embarrassment the stare gives her, or the anxious suffering it causes.

"Like this?"

"No."

"Show me how to touch you."

But she can't speak and he's already pulling the crotch of her underwear to the side to slip a finger inside and trace the shape of her clit and then feel her wet heat dripping over his knuckles.

"I don't do it like that," she huffs out into his neck.

He looks down at her and waits for her to tell him how.

"I just rub, that's it. I don't actually need to…"

"Finger yourself?"

His own slips out and she follows its retreat with her cunt until she can't anymore.

"I have, it just, it's not…it just only feels really good if I'm really, you know, turned on. Otherwise it's a lot of work and it's just okay, it doesn't feel as good as when I do it the other way."

"Can I watch you do it?"

"Which way?"

"Whichever way you want."

She turns her head to the side, "It's not like a porno or anything."

"That's okay," he promises and she's silently mulling over his request in her head, "You really want to…watch?"

"Yes."

She hesitates but pushes him up and back and he sits up at the foot of her bed, disrupting the sheet above his head before she's climbing over him and pressing him back into the bed.

"What are you doing?"

She traps his thigh between hers and lays her head on his chest, "This is how I do it, except my hands go where your leg is and your chest is usually my pillow," she rubs herself back and forth along his leg like a cat in heat and sucks the skin of his chest between her teeth, leaving marks behind.

"And there usually isn't someone's hand grabbing your ass," he smirks grabbing and pushing her hips forwards.

"No," she answers with a little laugh.

She finishes with a stuttering groan and rocks against him, drawing out the final, sweet, throbs of orgasm for as long as she can.

"What are you doing?" She asks when his hand moves from the soft swell of her ass to between her thighs.

"I want to feel how wet you are."

And she gasps when he brushes along the soaked cotton fabric she's slick and hot under, her hips jumping back, arching into his fingers' careful, questing, ministrations.

"I want to see."

She stills.

He waits.

And suddenly she's off him, sitting up with her knees shut tight together while she drags her underwear down before she turns her legs and kicks them off her ankles at him girlishly and hides the view.

He stays silent while she keeps her legs pressed tight together like she's smuggling secrets between her thighs. He strokes her ankles with light fingertips and slowly she shifts and lets her legs part, bit by bit, softly, leaning back on her elbows and avoiding his eyes.

"Shaved huh?" He smirks and it's amazing how fast her eyes fill with fire and she starts to make her way across the bed to exit her little fort of sheets and pillows and heavy sexual tension.

"Hey, no," he tugs at her wrist and she looks sad, embarrassed. "Come here," he coos and she lets him pull her back onto his body where her sex rests hot and slippery against his stomach.

Her grabs her waist and tugs at her body; she goes up on her knees to avoid being slid up to his chest, "What are you doing?"

"What's it feel like I'm doing?" He questions, reaching to grab her kneadable bottom and haul her closer. Slowly realization dawns and she's gripping the iron railing of the bed with the sheet stretching up on top of her head when he realizes if she won't slide up he can still slide down.

"Oh god," she sounds horrified, "Tate, no. No." But he's already between her thighs, looking up at parts of her that he knows are always happy to see him.

"Shhh, you have to be quiet, okay?" He kisses the inside of her knee next to his cheek and drags the flat of his tongue up her thigh.

"But…," she whines, protesting, but just barely.

"You're so fucking wet," he tells her before licking softly.

She squirms and cries out and wriggles around until he lifts his head to sample her clit with the tip of his tongue. She leans forward and her hips roll against his mouth and chin, unwarranted, out of her control.

He presses obscene kisses to her sex and confesses to her that he's always wanted to taste between her thighs, fuck her with his tongue, make her cum by letting her ride his face, that her pussy's as sweet and shy as the rest of her can be.

She keens and when she finally shakes in relief and satisfaction he slides back up and she sits heavily on his sternum, transfixed by the shine of her arousal on his mouth and cheeks, she kisses and licks it away sucking her flavor off his tongue and the backs of his teeth with a little moan.

"I want to fuck you," he admits and she watches him, helps him eventually, take off his shoes and socks and jeans and finally his boxers.

He eyes are glossy and fixed on his cock, turgid and glistening at the tip. For her. Just her.

"Okay," she licks her lips and circles him with soft delicate fingers before shimmying to frame his hips between the tops of her soft thighs.

He's transfixed by the way she goes up on her knees and nudges him wetly with her cunt before slowly sinking down, his mouth parts and he lets his tongue loll up against his palate.

"How's it feel?" He asks steadily, his tone alone is enough to make her eyes flit up to him as she sucks her teeth with a small hiss and sighs.

"Too much," she gasps, wiggling, trying to get used to being the one on top. She rises up and his fingers dance across the span of her pretty hips, her fragile little wingspan and he's always been fond of birds. She's still moving up and his fingers clutch desperately instead of just dancing over her bones, "No, all the way. Come on."

"I can't," she closes her eyes.

"Bullshit," he challenges pulling a bit.

"It's too deep." She gasps out allowing him a small inch further into her body. He holds her in place and moves his hands to cradle her bottom, "You want to go slow right?"

"…"

She gnaws on her bottom lip and peers up at him from under the fall of her hair timidly.

"Violet."

She shakes her head and sighs, "Yes, yeah, slow."

"It won't be slow if I'm on top."

"Okay," she agrees, sliding her knees open more.

"That's good, come on," he thrusts up, not able to deal with the slow descent, "fuck," he sighs while she lets out a surprised squeak and her insides grip him with a wet clench, throwing his head back into the pillow and letting his eyes fall closed while his mouth opens in a low moan.

Her knees dig into his sides and her body goes stiff, he opens his eyes and finds hers scrunched shut and her lips blanching white, holding in a whine of something that isn't pleasure. Her face is blotching in ugly, patchy red and her hands are fisted so tight in the sheets that her arms shake.

"Oh, shit."

He swings up to soothe her but she lets out a hiccup of distress and holds him back, fingers clawing at his shoulder, as a sob breaks.

"Shhhh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he cradles her jaw in his hands and kisses her sloppily, "I forgot, really," he whispers licking a wider stripe of wetness over the hot tracks of her tears.

She nods and he knows she forgot too. Rediscovering her virginity isn't exactly how he planned their reunion going. There's something mesmerizing about her face contorted and twisted in pain with her eyes hard and obsessed like she's about to unleash berserker rage on him in the midst of fucking him, tear his throat out while she's riding him, watching him gush blood all over her sheets and have it spray all over her while he cums and dies at the same time.

"Like this?" She moves and hisses. His fingers knead the soft swell of her ass and his thumbs trace the backs of her hips, unsure whether to make her stop or make her move faster. He doesn't really relish the idea of her on top of him with nothing but the red haze of pain taking up all the space a foggy indistinct sense of pleasure and gratification should be but the red stripe of her blood smeared down the length of his cock pushes all of those thoughts out of the way.

"Yeah."

She moves like she's got something to prove and he falls back to the mattress willing to let her. Her whimpering hum is constant and every so often she makes a sound low in her throat like she's frustrated. He's thankful she hasn't stopped even though he's torn her apart again, made her bleed again.

"Does it hurt?"

She glares down at him, her answer a snarled, "yes."

"You don't have to keep going."

"Not until you're done."

His stomach bottoms out like the groan he lets loose at her words and the dogged tone. He doesn't think he's ever felt such tenderness towards another person in his life.

"You can hurt me too," he offers, "If you want."

She scowls and smacks him hard across the mouth, wincing as she drops down on his dick again.

Her nails rake red furrows from clavicle to hip and he hisses. She punches him in the side of his head and leans down to worry his nipple with her teeth, he all but howls when she bites into the muscle of his chest and refuses to let go until he yanks on her hair.

She squeals and rubs her scalp.

"Sorry," he apologizes.

"Don't say I can if you don't really mean it," she scowls.

"Are you okay?"

"No, I'm not. Come on," she commands with a hard roll of her pelvis.

"You have to go faster."

"I can't…," but she is, she does, "Fuck. Please, come on," she begs, breathless.

And he watches the bounce and jolt of her tiny breasts as she moves and twists, rising up further with every stroke and slamming back down with a vicious slapping sound.

"Fuck, Violet."

She shakes her head and her hair flies around her face, hiding the way she bites her lips and grimaces, "Tate, please. I can't, really. Are you almost there?" She lets her head hang, too tired and sore to hold it up anymore, but she peeks out from under her hair to look at him, waiting for him to break.

"Almost, promise. Kiss me," he leans up and molds his lips over hers, sucks the anguish from her mouth and tongue and traces the edges of her teeth and he falls apart, breaking away and gnawing at her shoulder while he whines out his orgasm with one of her hands cradling the back of his head, firmly and pants in his ear.

When he's shaking in the aftermath of it all she slumps heavily into his chest and whimpers as she lifts off of him, sticky and sore.

"Stay?"

He wonders if she's still playing her little game, he decides he doesn't care and traces the shape of her bottom lip with a careful and firm thumb smiling a little, "Where else am I gonna go?"

She sighs heavily, tired and worn out flopping down at his side with her thighs pressed tight together; he holds onto her tightly and nuzzles into her neck while she tries to ease the ache between her legs with sleep and maybe dreams.

"You're shaking," he murmurs feeling the way she shivers like a scared animal against him.

"Keyed up."

"Shhh, relax."

He feels her nod against his chest, feels her mouth try to soothe the sting out of the bite she'd left behind. And he makes promises against the skin of her neck, "I'll make it up to you."

She hums in agreement and tries to sleep.


"She died a virgin too," he points at the girl.

"How can you tell?"

"It's pretty obvious."

She snorts.

"Do you think she still hates me?" She asks.

"That's a really fucking dumb question, do you still hate me?"

She raises a weak shoulder in a shrug, "If I think about it for long enough I do, for a little while. I guess I just missed you more than I hated you and then I just let it go."

"Well I don't think she's let it go."

"It's so weird."

"What?"

"Them," she points as the boy joins the girl across the yard and tosses balls for her to catch in her lacrosse stick.

"Okay. What about them is weird?"

"They aren't like us, you know."

"…"

Violet turns to face him a bit, "We haunt each other, Tate."

"Is that bad?" He turns too and asks just as seriously as she had stated the fact.

She looks back at the other couple, "No. Just, it's kind of like they don't need to be around each other all the time."

"They're complete people."

"What?"

"Some people need to have someone who 'completes' them, and some people are already complete and so they don't need each other around all the time to be complete, it's a different type of relationship dynamic."

"Where the fuck did you read that?" She asks because there's no way he came up with such bullshit on his own.

"Old issue of Cosmo."

"I kind of want to watch them have sex."

"Why?" He laughs a little, though.

"Who else am I going to watch? Hayden and Travis? Hayden and your Dad? Chad and Patrick? No thanks."

"I used to watch you masturbate, when you were alive."

"…"

"And then I'd go into the basement and jerk off."

"That's nice."

"If you try and watch them they'll probably notice and you'll get your ass kicked again."

"You watched her kick my ass?" She's dumbfounded that he never tried to stop the girl from killing her, but she's happy he never did at the same time.

"I thought the part where you spit in her face the first time was really classy," he smirks sideways at her.

"It usually works, girls hate getting spit on."

"And boys enjoy it?"

"And she actually hit me, girls usually just pull your hair, they really don't fight like guys do."

"Guess she didn't get the memo they sent around to all the girls in the world then."

"You're so witty."

"I try," he banters back while lighting her cigarette.

"Thanks," she blows out smoke in his face; he waves it away with a smile.

"No problem."

"Do you think they…"

"…yeah, what?"

"Well…how do you think they have sex?"

"The time I spend thinking about people having sex usually revolves around the idea that I'm somehow involved in it so I wouldn't have a firm opinion on how people other than you and me would have sex with each other."

"Way to say you don't know in as many words as possible."

"Did you really want my opinion?"

"I guess I did," she takes a drag and offers him one. He takes it and holds it in his lungs a lone time before speaking again, "Well they haven't had sex yet."

"I think she's a thorough fucker."

"A 'thorough' fucker?"

"One of those people that's really really stuck on knowing everything, like it would take her three hours to undress him. And then a few more hours to actually get to the fucking him part."

"They do have forever."

"It'd be like sex in hypo-time."

"Is that the opposite of hyper-time?"

"Obviously."

"He's got a thing for her hair."

"Does he?"

"Big time."

"She does have nice hair."

"He probably wants it wrapped around his dick."

"What?" She cackles the word with a cloud of smoke, "That's really weird."

"Yeah, I guess. It's nice when you're on top and you lean over and your hair blocks out everything else in the room on either side."

"Hair fetish, how poetic."


She doesn't stoop to spying on them the night they seclude themselves in the boy's bedroom, which is, despite his death, still his because his family is still alive and keeps it exactly as he'd left it, like some time-capsuled memento mori.

Violet realizes belatedly, years later at this point, that it used to be the girl's room. It's irony at its finest, little details. After all her own bedroom had been Tate's once. It'd be funnier if it'd all been the same bedroom, like a lover's curse extending out bony fingers over the decades snaring perfect matches for its previous occupants with a grip that equates to death.

But it's not the same room.

It's the old Montgomery nursery.

It's the bedroom of perfect kids that end up dead, not the fucked up ones that end up dead too, that one's down the hall with a patched up, plaster stuffed, wall to cover up the bullet holes.

They put on something that throbs, heavy and bluesy and don't come out for a long time.

When they do the dynamic between them looks as simple as it's always been with one exception, they no longer shift their eyes all the way away when they catch the other staring. Their stares look more predatory than before, greedy like groping hands.

It's hidden infatuation with more than a hint of ardor, violent hunger that isn't eased by the fact that they've finally gotten around to fucking each other.

She's indignant over it.

And resents them, almost as much as she resents Tate, almost as much as she resents herself.


Halloween comes in a whirlwind of pumpkins carved to look like some 'Good Housekeeping' novelty holiday spread and premade decorative bats swooping from every high corner of the house. The owners are throwing a party and are stuck in the in-between limbo of making little vodka soaked gelatin drink things and bumbling around in full make-up but not costume until the designated get ready hour arrives.

When the living residents leave for supplies or food or a break away from all the decorating and cooking and music playlist prep it leaves the house empty, or almost.

The ghosts have left, for the most part. It's just the two of them and a churlish Chad in the kitchen drinking wine like it's a competition sport.

"You might want to go do that upstairs, for a few hours," she tells him.

Chad snorts and drains the rest of the glass, "Honey, you don't tell me where to go and when."

She suppresses a scowl.

"Does my presence prevent you and Bateman Junior from having a little pre-Halloween party dance number? Sorry."

"I just thought I'd warn you."

"Much appreciated," he mocks.

She rolls her eyes and climbs the stairs to get dressed. Her mother dotes on her when it's convenient, buying her little things for meaningless days on a calendar none of them no longer have any use for, and she's left a token behind. It's a gaudy, black, monstrosity of a dress that's more grieving Lolita than Elvira.

There's a package of spider web tights and little hairclips with plastic decals of pumpkins and broomsticks and black cats. She gets dressed and almost slips down the freshly polished stairs in her stockinged feet on her way back down, to bumble around until the person she's stayed at home all day for finally makes his appearance.

She finds his handiwork first.

Chad, bludgeoned to death with a wine bottle to such a point that it will take hours for his head to reform properly and his body to twitch into reanimation. She did warn him.

She catches movement to her side at the back door and doesn't bother to look before sliding across the kitchen floor and the puddle of blood to swing out into the hall.

He chases her around the first floor until there's a stitch in her side and she's wheezing with exertion, her lungs burning and tight and her knees bruised from falling down on the waxed wood floor from the lack of grip her stockings have left her with.

As she dry heaves he grabs her by the hair, hard and threads an arm around her waist that's as firm and ungiving as a metal girder, "Caught you. That was fun. Gonna fuck you now."

And he does, right on the dining room table, with her face pressed against the plastic wrapped Halloween decoration waiting to be strung up, ripping the back of her tights and pushing her panties aside while he knocks her legs apart and she smirks a little while she wiggles around and throws her elbows back into his chest and ribs until he smashes her head into the edge of the table when she tries to slip away. Then there's the hot wash of pain down her brow along with the quick fast gush of blood down her eyelid and cheek and the corner of her mouth.

She's just slick enough for it not to hurt when he pushes in but she can't help but wish his fantasy involved more foreplay.

There's the sharp table edge bruising her hips and too fast a pace for her to really savor and he's finished before she's even gotten the slightest foundation of an orgasm started. He pulls out leaving the stain of his release high on the inside of her thighs, against the nylon of her tights and fixes her underwear into place for her before he helps her stand without swaying.

"You ripped my tights."

"Sorry, I should have peeled them gently down your legs and folded them into a nice neat pile."

"…," she scowls at the smile he gives her while he sets her on the table and sucks in a breath at her bloodied brow and split lip, soothing them with soft kisses and a press of tender tongue.

"You wanna go somewhere?" He asks with her pressed firmly against his chest while he rocks her back and forth, soothingly with Monster Mash playing in the background.

"Like on a date?"

"If you'd like."

"Yes or no. I don't like this ambiguous shit, Tate. Stop acting like a fucking girl."

"Yes. I want to take you on a date. Can we just fucking go?" There's humor in his tone.

"Yeah, we can go," she decides rubbing her cheek against his and kissing him thoughtfully.

They sneak into a Halloween party a few streets away and leave a little drunk and a little high, meaning to trick or treat but forgetting that they have nothing to carry candy in.

Instead they go into town and get their fortunes and palms read, paying the fat, middle-aged fraud in money stolen from a purse in an upstairs bedroom from the party they crashed.

He finds a cracked pumpkin bucket on the sidewalk and they go door to door for less than an hour and steal all the candy left outside of houses in bowls where no one's home.

It isn't that she forgets about his personal lynch mob, she just decides that if they press the issue she'll just disappear and leave him as their problem to sort out. At least, that was what she had decided until they actually show up and Miss Mall Goth can't seem to leave her out of it.

She picks up a rock and hits her until she stops gurgling and twitching and there's bits of brain and skull fragments pressed into the patchy grass.

The punky kid hangs back and kicks at the ground, hands in pockets and mumbles obscenities about how every fucking year is a bust and Lockjaw just spits blood out as his two cents.

The cheerleader pulls on her hair and rakes her nails down her face until Tate's got an arm around her hole-in-head boyfriend's neck and tells her quite simply to 'cut the shit.'

Miss Pep Rally quits the cat fight and lets out a little scream when Tate snaps her boyfriend's neck and pushes him away like toy that isn't as fun to play with as he thought it would be regardless of her withdrawal.

And though Violet loathes admitting it, between her thighs she's slick with want.

Her fingers shackle his wrist and drag him through the door into the kitchen because she knows the house may not be able to push his fan club off the property line but it can sure as hell keep them from passing through the doorways. He moves to slam the door but she kicks it back smashing it into the wall and leaving a hole shaped liked the doorknob in the plaster before pressing her back against it and dragging him down to the cold tiles with her.

"I want them to fucking watch."

She's spiteful like always.

Delightfully so, even though she hates him, she's got him, even though he's done awful vile things, he's still the only person in the house she'll go to when she's needy, she wants them to be jealous.

Lockjaw and Little Miss Mall Goth are too gruesome looking to get laid, Punky is all lank, greasy hair and skeleton limbs, the jock probably can't get his perfect little girlfriend to look at him when they do it because of the hole in his stupid face.

All she feels is rage and an awful ache between her thighs that has barely been eased by the other times, mostly because re-popping her cherry had hurt and stung more than it did the first time and acting out one of his secret little not so mysterious male brain perversities had been more strenuous and bruise inducing than she'd realized.

He tugs her stockings all the way off this time while she's pushing her panties down to her ankles and flicking them away with a flimsy little shake of her foot while he yanks his belt open and rips it out of the loops.

When she twists her fingers in the fabric of his t-shirt and pulls him forward he almost falls into her but he catches himself hard on the door behind her while she pushes her face up close to his, "If I don't get off this time, I'll fucking kill you," she hisses.

"You didn't before?" He almost squeaks in surprise.

"No, I didn't," she replies haughtily.

"Okay, I promise," he nods boyishly, enthusiastic before swooping in next to her ear and nipping at the lobe, "Gonna make you cum so hard."

She rolls her eyes and scoffs, "Doesn't sound as good as it did in your head."

"Yeah, well…," he starts, looking a little put out; "I mean it."

"We'll see."

"Are they watching?" He asks as he pushes inside.

She mewls and braces herself with a hand on the cold floor her fingers slipping under the door, her knuckles pressed tight against the slightly damp draft guard and the granules of dirt trapped underneath rubbing them raw.

He's got her tilted up on his thighs with an arm around her naked waist while she grasps his elbow with her other hand and tries to find purchase on the floor behind him with her toes. She turns her head to look.

"Brainy is, Overbite is gone, Sid Vicious is leaving, the other two are arguing, she's crying, he's angry," the glass of the back door shakes when the male half of the other couple presses his girlfriend against it and glares down at them from over her shoulder, Violet rolls her eyes, "fucking assholes."

Tate's eyes shift to see exactly what's going on and he watches the girl he murdered slap her boyfriend and drive a knee up into his groin and prance off, "He's in big trouble now."

"Mmm. Guess she's not into playing rough," Violet smirks at the last member of his welcoming party disappears from sight and stalks off into the night, his little idea to make her and Tate just as uncomfortable by fucking his girlfriend where they can see being spectacularly foiled by an uncooperative other half.

"Like that?" He asks breathless, sliding closer so she can press her feet against the floor and buck up against him, "Shut up," she commands nipping at his bottom lip.

"Like that?" He presses her more fully against the door and an ache starts in her shoulders, she scowls, "Yes, Christ, shut up!"

She puts a hand over his mouth and rocks her hips back and then forward to fill herself up with him again while he nuzzles her hand away and flicks his tongue at her bloody fingertips, "I fucking love you." He tells her sucking her middle finger into his mouth and pulling all the blood from it with his tongue.

"Ewww," she pulls her hand away and he releases her finger with an audible pop.

"I really, really, do. You're so fucking hot when you get like this."

"Stop talking."

"I love it."

"…"

His hips slap into hers and she lets her eyes fall shut.

"Do you love me?" He asks.

"…"

She arches against him to get him deeper.

"Do you love me?"

He pulls back and holds her hips still, fingers digging into her waist.

"Yes. Now, shut up."

"Come on, Vi."

"Come on what?" She snarls, angry at him even though he's back to fucking her.

"Admit it."

"What?"

He grins, "When you smashed her head open it turned you on. I know it did."

"…"

"I wanted to fuck you right then."

She hates it when he gets chatty; she tips up her face and drowns his words in his mouth with her sighs and whines.


"You're jealous of them," he remarks, somewhere behind her as she watches the boy and the girl from an upstairs window.

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because it's easy for them."

"It's not for us?"

"No."

"What makes it not easy for us?"

"You're a liar. You've always been a liar."

"I do love you and I'd never let anyone hurt you, not really anyway."

She turns and presses her back against the window molding with her arms folded behind her and her head tilted so she can still look out at the yard, "'I adore you, mon petit, and would never allow him to hurt you, no matter how gently or madly.'"

"What's that from?"

"A book you've never read."

"You're lonely."

She looks at him with a sideways glance, "I'm restless."

"…," he shifts awkwardly under her stare. She closes her eyes and sighs, "I've never been good with being by myself, but now whenever you're around, which is all the fucking time, it's like that, I feel restless, do you know that feeling you get really late at night when you feel like you're not real, like your some mannequin left alone in the department store after it closes?"

"So?"

"…"

"…"

"Hey," she says after opening her eyes again and finding the yard empty.

"Yeah?"

"Go away."


But the house is evil and even if it isn't it is, still, at the very least, a presence. There's an energy in it that isn't nice or good or pure or benevolent. She wonders how the girl could be so stupid.

Maybe she isn't Violet concedes. Maybe she just doesn't want to agree with her murderer. Maybe she wants to lull her into a false sense of comfort. Like they are indeed becoming friends over chess games and cigarettes.

But they aren't because people like the girl she's killed don't need friends.

They like distractions and hobbies and that's the closest thing they have to real needs.

There's something evil in that sentiment alone. A person who thinks they're the only person in the world, a person who doesn't need anyone, anything. A person like that is dangerous.

And the twisted thing is Violet knows she knew that much before when the girl was still alive, she saw it, felt it, knew it. She wonders if the house did too.

It's strange.

She wonders if Tate ever thought about her in such terms when she was still alive and he was the only dead teenager in the house.


"You got played."

"What?"

He relishes the way she turns with confusion and hurt coloring her features.

"She played you."

"…"

He likes the way her mouth falls open and she whips her head around to look at the girl lounging in the study.

"She wanted you to kill him."

He leaves her to stew in her own aggravation.


"What are you doing?" Violet asks, distaste coloring her tone.

The girl barely shift from her leisurely sprawl on the couch, "Relaxing."

"You tricked me."

"Not really."

The girl opens her eyes and doesn't even bother to pretend she doesn't know what Violet means.

"You did."

"How?"

"You made me think you were protecting him from everything."

"I made you think that?"

"You led me to believe…"

The girl cuts her off quickly, "I did nothing. I said nothing. You followed me around. You formulated a conclusion. You killed him because of your own convoluted thought process."

"You knew."

The girl knew Violet would kill him.

"I know a lot of things."

"You think you know a lot of things," Violet snaps.

"It's your own fault, take responsibility."

"I am."

"How can you? You don't even know what you should take responsibility for."

"…"

"Do you feel like the same person now as you were when you were alive?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"This house changes you," Violet asserts.

"Do you know why?"

"Because this place is fucked up."

"It's got a lot of energy stuck in it," the girl concedes that much.

"Violent energy."

Violet rolls her eyes after the girl rolls hers.

"There's nothing violent about energy, it just moves, it fluctuates, randomly, it's chaotic but it's not uncontrollable. You just have to fence it in. That's all."

"…"

"You can't make energy, you can't lose it either, you just move it around. Right now you can see me and I can see you but if you shift it right…"

The girl disappears.

"Funny," Violet deadpans, crossing her arms.

"…you can move it completely around," the girl says from somewhere behind her.

"Is there a point?" Violet turns to face the girl that thinks she knows everything.

"This house has its own, everything does. Inanimate, animate, energy is both, is can shift itself around chaotically or controlled. So what happens when all the energy that makes you rearranges with the energy of something else?"

"I don't know."

"Do you think about going from place to place or do you just do it?"

"I don't have to think about it."

"No you don't, but you can. You don't, you just tag along, find a current, ride it and get off at the desired stop. That pulse is all aimless energy, and without any aim to it sometimes it ends up wherever without any real purpose."

"…"

"Sometimes it ends up in your own organizational make-up, and you don't really notice unless you start to look for it. You can feel it since you don't have anything to fence your energy in anymore, like a body, something to fence it all in."

"Nice hypothesis."

The girl clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth, "Why do you think bodies age, decay?"

"Cells break down," Violet answers and the girl just nods.

"You ever run out of nail polish remover and put on a fresh coat and wipe it off before it dries to take off all the nail polish?"

"Yeah."

"When air dries the nail polish it spreads out the molecules but once you add more of the same molecules it makes the whole thing wet again because it fills in all the gaps and you can wipe it off, for lack of a better term the addition of new molecules or energy helps to move that energy somewhere else, like off the nail and onto a rag."

"I get that."

"So if you let fluctuating energy move towards static energy, that static energy will be pushed away somewhere else and a gap will form and new energy will bumble by and take up that empty space within the fenced in area you keep static so you can stay corporeal."

"Oh-kaaay."

"It's like a coloring book, the outline stays but the colors can change from the original. So why do you feel different than when you did from when you were alive, Violet?"

"…"

"But that's my understanding of things."

"Do you feel different?"

"No."

"What does that mean?"

"Some things only come in one color."

Violet believes that sometimes some things don't have souls either and evil people don't think there is such a thing.


"If you're so smart and everything can be explained then I have a question for you," she informs the girl.

"Alright. What's your question?"

"Why can't we leave?"

"The house is the picture in the coloring book, we're the crayons," the girl answer quick and easy.

"You can color outside of the lines though."

"Yes, you can, but what does that accomplish?"

Violet doesn't know. The girl goes on answering her own question, "Formless, shapeless, color blobs."

And then the girl mumbles, maybe more to herself than anyone else, "Too many currents to keep a shape out there."

"How do you know?"

"Logic."

"Bullshit," and she leaves the room, the girl just shrugs.

Violet wonders if the house picks its colors or if just mixes its own in until it gets the shade it wants.


"There's a flaw to your theory," Violet insists.

"It's not a 'theory' it's a point of view, there's no such thing as right or wrong with how you look at something," the girl tells her with just a hint of weariness that they're still talking about a topic she's bored with.

"I've tried; I just end up back in the house."

"Not all energy is conscious of itself, you know?"

"…," Violet doesn't understand, not really.

"Would you rather be formless, exist in some unconscious state, out there, in all that chaos?"

"…," Violet doesn't know, not really

"Chaos doesn't have a pattern; human beings don't like things without pattern."

"…," Violet doesn't care, not really.

"Or you could be rebounding off of all that energy, out there, you think the small amount of energy that makes you up can power through all that? No, you'd have to have more energy than an opposing unstoppable force to leave."

"…," Violet doesn't realize, not really.

"Or maybe, since you think the house is evil, imagine this: it's just not, it knows what would happen to you out there how, for lack of a better term, 'all of that', out there would eat you up, and it knows all that is waiting for you out there is oblivion, obliteration. The house is keeping you safe. That's one way to look at it."

"Doesn't that scare you?"

The girl waves a hand, squints and tilts her head, "The world is chaotic, pattern making is ultimately futile and planning is useless, alive, dead, whatever. Everything is in constant fluctuation and whether you accept it or not it's going to happen, all I'm trying to do is be consciously aware of that for as long as possible."

"That's so nihilistic."

"Yeah," the girl smiles, "I just try to amuse myself until that ultimate, final oblivion, the end of the cosmos," she pauses, "or something like that," her grin is brilliant white and big.

"That's it?"

"Does there need to be something else?"

"Amusement is the only thing you look forward to?"

"Yeah, I could totally be fucking with you right now and you wouldn't even know, you don't know, that's entertainment right there, if I was looking for it right now."

"Maybe I should get a funny hat with bells on it and dance around for your amusement then," Violet scowls.

"Would you sing songs too?" The girl asks feigning happy surprise at the notion.


"I died right here," the boy says.

"Me too," the girl tells him.

They smirk sideways at each other. And consider the floor before swooping in on each other, forgoing the hardwood in favor of pressing against each other against the side of the staircase.

She watches, her legs hanging down between the gaps of the banister supports. He watches too. Bored, she bets. Or maybe wistful. She wraps an arm around his calf and strokes his knee through the ragged tear in the denim of his jeans. His fingers tangle themselves in her hair, massage her scalp and she leans into the side of his thigh.

She's so tired of being broken. And that's all, she realizes. That's all it takes. She doesn't really need to forgive him or be angry with him or ignore him, she doesn't need to because she doesn't want to. It's been decades and things that mattered before don't quite pack the same punch on her conscience anymore.

Maybe she doesn't have one.

Maybe the house knew she didn't want one and took it for itself.

Maybe she never had one.

Psychopaths can feel things, sometimes.

Stuck out in a sea of absolute apathy there's always a rock to break against, curve up over, an deadly hidden bit of stone or ice that sinks as many ships as is can, that's him, or her, one of them is an ocean or a ship. Something. It doesn't matter.

They feel things.

She does, at least. He does, too. She knows. Anger in every single form from spite to resentment to seething hate, enjoyment even it's just petty amusement or the visceral bliss of fucking someone or pushing them down the stairs.

"I love you," she tells him flicking her tongue across the cartilage of his ear, nipping at it, while they fuck, sweetly, slowly, the way she's always dreamed about, the way she's missed, at first bitterly and angry at herself, and then just as sweet and slow with the creep of weepy nostalgia over all the years in between.

He whines and reaches a hand between them to circle the base of himself, hard, and pauses to regain self-control so he doesn't spill inside her too quickly, "Oh shit, don't say that."

"I mean it."

"I know, just…," he lifts his face off her shoulder to look at her and suck in a breath, "fuck, I almost just came, tell me you love me later or I'll cum and you won't and then you'll be all pissed off."

She smiles brightly and he stares back befuddled and almost orgasmic, she kisses him quick and leans back, running her feet down the backs of his knees, down his calves to tickle at his heels with her toes before grabbing handfuls of his perfectly and forever firm ass to pull him back inside while she tilts her hips up.

"Stop it," he gasps.

"Unh-uh," she laughs girlishly and pouts prettily.

She clenches around him, like the steady beat of her blood.

He presses his sweaty cheek against hers, "Fuck, Violet." And her breath hitches at the way he says her name, she grabs at his hand still trying to stave off the inevitable and puts it under her thigh to pull it up the line of his side so he can get deeper.

She tells him she loves the way he fucks her, his cock, him, in all the pretty and dirty ways she can think of. Her fingers tangle in his hair and yank his head up; she watches the boyish amazement soften his features while he fills her up in dirty, pretty ways with his cum.

"Sorry, sorry," he apologizes with kisses to her face and neck and chest and gentle fingers and little gasps making her skin warm and damp.

She plays with his lank sweaty curls and rolls her eyes grinning, a little, "Make it up to me in a few minutes."

"Why not now?"

"I was too close, it won't be as good."

"Oh."

He makes to roll off but she cinches her limbs around him and lets him cover her like a blanket until her legs cramp and she starts to feel sore.

"What are you doing?" She asks when she's lying prone, dozing and feels his fingers tracing the lines of her shoulders and spine. They are followed by his mouth and the gentle touch of his teeth and it's nice until he's quite literally biting her on the ass.

"Ow! Tate! Holy shit." She bucks and squirms and has to kick him off.

"…," he grins wickedly.

"Ow, that hurt," she presses the mark gingerly and looks at it over her shoulder. She punches him in the chest and flops back down on her side so she can see what he's doing at all times.

He reaches out and strokes at her navel, "Hey?"

"Yeah?"

His fingers tip-toe down to her thighs and tap gently on the soft bare mound above her sex, "Do you want me to?"

"Later, I'm tired. I haven't slept in awhile," she takes his hand and nibbles his fingertips.

"Me either," he grazes her brow with his knuckles and she opens her eyes to find him watching her, "Later. I owe you," he adds, his eyes heavy and dark and she can only nod and nuzzle into the hollow of his throat.


The chess board is set up on the table next to the couch's arm. He watches as the girl pushes her pawn to the final line of squares on Violet's side.

"Queen?" Violet asks.

"Rook."

"Rook?"

"Yeah, rook. Caw."

"What are you playing at?"

"Decimating you. And pecking your dead eyes from your rotting corpse and eating them. Caaaaaw."

"I'll tear out your liver and eat it."

"Organ meats are very good for you."

"…"

"Especially for small, pale, anemia ridden girls like you."

"Bitch," Violet sighs when the girl disappears, sitting up and then bouncing higher a few inches when the tender little bruise on her bottom hits the wood beam between the couch cushions. She winces and lies down on her stomach instead, considering the board with her chin propped on her folded arms.

He leans over the top of the couch and lets his fingers reach down and stroke the dimples between the backs of her hips.

"Let me see."

"No," she pouts.

He climbs over and slips her onto his lap, "Don't be such a baby."

"I'm not," she hisses.

He smiles and tugs at the waistband of her cotton shorts and lifts the elastic of her panties up so he can peek at the bruise, "Does it still hurt?"

"No."

He prods at the mark with his fingers and she gasps.

"You're such a little liar."

He pulls at the fabric and bares her entire ass so he can trace the bite.

"You're such a little pervert," she retorts.

"Can I spank you?"

"Can you what?"

"Spank you."

"No!"

"Really?"

He raises his hand and smirks as she twists her head and looks at it, "…don't," she warns lowly.

"…," He jerks his hand back.

"I'm serious, do not spa…Tate!"

The sound is a loud crack and she winces, eyes cinching shut tightly and her lips puckering cutely until the shock wears off and they go insanely wide and angry and her mouth disappears into two thin white lines.

"You kind of deserved that, you called me a pervert," he reasons.

"You are a pervert."

"…," he spanks her again and she squeaks.

"Quit it!" She squirms and pushes her hand into his face, knocking his head back.

"Nope."

He catches her hands and puts them under his thigh.

"Get off my hands."

"Disappear if you hate it so much." He gives her a gentle pat and pokes at the raised duskiness of the bruise, affectionate and fond.

"…," she buries her face into the couch cushions and tilts her ass into his palm.

"Yeah, see. Now who's the pervert?" He chastises dragging her shorts and underwear to the backs of her knees and starting an alternate pattern of smacks and soothing strokes.

She mewls and whimpers while he makes her skin blush pink and then flare an angry red.

He hears her let out a broken choke and stops, she turns her face and he looks down at her, all wet eyes and raw bitten lips and she doesn't look up at him, she just breathes hard. He frowns and rubs the back of her thighs, feeling a little guilty when she winces as he runs his knuckles across a palm print.

"I wanna go upstairs," she tells him.

"Why?"

She scowls like a little girl and bucks up until his hand is between her thighs, she's not just wet, she's gushing, dripping with want. And then her weight is gone from across his legs and he's tripping off the couch to start searching for whatever bedroom she's arranged herself in.

When he finds her she's up on her knees holding onto the iron rungs of the headboard for balance while she pulls her legs out of her shorts. He crawls up from the foot of the bed and slips his hands under her shirt as she raises her arms to let him take it off her.

She leans in and he swoops down to kiss her but she pulls back and mumbles for him to take off his clothes against his lips. She's sitting gingerly on her heels, on hand still perched delicately on the iron railing while he peels off layers and watches her eyes go hungry while they sweep over his skin.

Finally when he crawls back on the bed she kisses him, soft and shy with her tongue tangling with his, he moans in her mouth and she pulls back, flushed.

Then she turns and wraps her hands around the top rung of the headboard and goes up on her knees, presenting him with the soft curve of her back. He's surprised for a moment, stuck stupid until she puts her chin on her shoulder and smacks his knee with her foot.

He startles and jumps a bit and it makes her laugh and toss her hair over her shoulder with a sweep of her head, he slides in behind her and wraps an arm around her waist, she drops her chin to her chest to see, lining herself up over his cock and sinking down onto it.

He shivers and she bites her lip.

"Say it."

"You told me I said it too much," he teases, thrusting up and pulling her down so he's buried in hot, tight, wetness without the slow preamble of her sinking down too leisurely.

"Say it," she growls.

"…," he chuckles in her ear but says nothing.

"Please?" She implores rises up on her knees and dropping back down, starting a rhythm of skin and slickness between them.

"I love you."

"I love you." She answers before he pulls out and pushes back in.

She wiggles her pert ass and widens her thighs, leaning forward and tilting her hips back, trying for an angle that works, "Slower," she whispers.

He pauses and drags himself out in tiny increments, and then waits until she moans for it all back before letting her have it all inside her again.

"Good?"

"Yeah," she sucks her bottom lip into her mouth, "You have to," she starts breathlessly, reaching a hand down behind her to grasp his hip to still him for a second, "just…like this," she explains tugging at him until he's all the way in and then tightening her grip until he rocks up hard, she makes him go through the motions again until her hand guiding him is no longer necessary, "okay?"

"That's it?" He laughs a little. He hears her scoff, "Don't say it like it's so obvious, if it was you'd have been doing it right, and I'd always cum when you fuck me."

He glowers unseen behind her and soothes his wounded pride with a hard thrust into her eager cunt that makes her squeal, "Well how hard is it to say 'hey, roll you hips up before you pull out'?

"Roll? More like rocking," she corrects as well as she can while trying to catch her breath.

"Rocking your fucking world."

"Ugh, shut up, Casanova."

He grins and tightens his arm around her waist, pulling her down and putting his other palm down on the bed in front of her, between her splayed thighs, widening his own and push up more steadily, making her bounce with every entrance of his cock.

"How's that?"

She writhes further toward the headboard and he moves his arm between her legs away so she has more room, she reaches down and tugs it back, her nails sharp little pricks on his forearm, "No, don't move," she arches up on his arm and drags her clit along it as she pulls off his cock, "God," she rasps.

"I love you," he breathes into the back of her shoulder, she groans and ruts into his forearm, while he fucks her.

She cums with his name rolling off her tongue like a plea for help or a prayer for mercy.


"The thing is you gotta have the hole already dug. Blah blah blah otherwise you gotta dig a couple more holes and before you know it you're digging holes all night. Or something like that."

"Did you just quote something?"

"Yeah."

"Why are you digging a hole in the backyard, Moira is going to kill you when she sees it."

"Gonna hide it under the lawn chairs."

"You didn't answer my question."

"I'm going to kill them and throw them in the hole and then when they wake up they'll be buried alive."

"Not for long."

"Eventually, yeah, they'll dig themselves out but how long can you dig going on one breath? When you're tied up? She won't just go somewhere else, not her. Nope. Not her."

"Why?"

"She's got a thing about it."

"A thing?"

"Yeah, she told me."

"Gimme, you can't dig for shit."

"Why can't we just be normal?"

"You hate normal."

"Oh yeah."

She ruminates on things while she watches him dig a hole like it's a special skill that only he's good at, cocky and throwing dirt on her shoes because he's a boy and boys are assholes.

Violet wonders about the boy and girl she's going to throw in the hole, later. And she thinks about the house. The girl had said once that some things only come in one color and Violet had thought it was bullshit. If the girl was a color she wouldn't have one, and Violet can't quite remember if that means black or white.

The house isn't some kaleidoscope thing, it's just patchwork and Violet knows a few things about color schemes from the gays and Moira. The house and everyone, everyone, after long enough is just some gradient of a shade and a not-a-color color, after awhile.

Things that only come in one color are useless.

The house has two: worsted grey and red.

Dead flesh and blood.

And it's got enough to go around.

She wonders how many times she'll have to dig a hole in the yard for them to get it.

And she's not so resentful and envious anymore when she finds the solitary thing that matters, that she's better at than the girl, or the boy, she didn't need to be dead to figure it out, she didn't even have to try.


A/N: Yep, long fic. Now do you see why I was gone so long? This was actually finished before ADPIE went up over here.