A/N: If for some reason you are still with me then I applaud you. I really liked this chapter! However, I know the posts are pretty spaced apart so I'd be surprised if anyone was still with me. Anyways, if you are- thanks a lot and I'm sorry about the delay!

Edit: I momentarily updated with the wrong file (it was my unedited one so there was a few mistakes) Sorry! this is hopefully the correct one now.

The room above them was covered in dust. Forgotten relics of the past lined the walls, their true forms covered in tattered sheets and blankets, making them resemble ghosts in the misty light. It was the attic of Briarcliff, Tate realized. Most likely used for storage, judging by the look of the place.

Why were they up here?

Violet made her way across the room with purposeful strides, moving over to the far corner and yanking one of the canvases off of a chest, sending a wave of dust flying into the air. The dim beams of light coming from a small window at the top of the room filled with swirls of tiny particles, dancing this way and that in a non-existent wind.

Tate would have never known just how dirty the room was, had it not been for that beam of light. He would have been content to stay, breathing in the filthy air without a second thought. But he wasn't thinking about this now, he barely gave the room a passing glance.

He was too busy looking at the girl in front of him. She was bent over, looking at the inside of the newly revealed trunk, digging through it lazily for a few moments. He liked how she moved, every motion slower, more calculated, more in control.

There was nothing controlled about him, he knew, and some part of him longed to get closer to her, to learn to move in the ways she did. With purpose, like she made an effort to do every act.

He watched her, not attempting to hide his stare, as she rummaged through the trunk for another minute or so, before finally finding what she was looking for.

"Finally," Violet whispered under her breath, her voice sounding tired, but relieved.

She turned back to face Tate, holding a wooden box in her hand. Opening it slowly, she reached in to reveal a lighter, and wrapped her hands around the metal cylinder with care. Then, she glanced up at Tate and gave him a half smile. It wasn't a real smile, not really, and it didn't exactly reach her eyes, but it was something.

She lit one of her stolen cigarettes and brought it to her lips, taking a long drag before exhaling slowly, her eyes fluttering closed.

"You want one?" she asked Tate without opening her eyes, holding out the pack in his direction.

He shrugged and took one, rolling it between his fingers. He wasn't one to smoke much, and he usually preferred something stronger the nicotine, but right now, it seemed like the acceptable thing to do.

He lit his cigarette and returned the lighter to the girl before him. Violet placed it back in the box, then wrapped the box up with an old gown before stowing it back in the large chest. She gave the chest one loving tap and hopped up on top of it, crossing her legs and leaning back on her free hand.

"Why go through all the trouble to hide it?" Tate asked after her little ritual was over, noting the care she took into concealing the simple box. "I see patients smoking all the time. Why can't you?"

She took another drag and blew, not meeting his gaze.

"They won't let me have a lighter...or cigarettes." She tugged at her sleeves with her free hand-a nervous habit that Tate had begun to notice-and turned back to look him in the eyes. She looked more annoyed than anything, but he noticed how guarded she seemed, even now. The excitement of escape was already fading from the atmosphere; her walls were coming up again. Tate didn't want that.

"That sucks." he tried to sympathize. It was stupid for them to keep such a simple thing away from her. What could it hurt?

"Yeah." She sighed. "Anything that burns is off limits, and a lot of other things too." She flicked her ashes onto the floor, not giving them a second glance.

Tate was even more interested now. So she wasn't allowed to have anything that was remotely dangerous? It was odd. She didn't seem like the type for mindless violence. She was so collected, so calm. So...unlike him. And granted, she did get into a fight with a patient over cigarettes, but he didn't think she was ever actually planning on seriously hurting her. She didn't seem like the kind of person that would hurt someone for no reason. And it wasn't because she was weak, just...different. From him. From the other patients. From everyone else he'd ever met.

Then why?

The question never left his lips, but he was burning with curiosity, as he asked himself for not the first time just why she was here. Actually, he couldn't help but wonder why a lot of the patients were here. The woman he spoke with earlier seemed sane enough. But he supposed he seemed sane too at first, and according to the bastards that threw him in this hellhole, that wasn't the case.

A silence had fallen upon the room and Violet seemed to tense under Tate's gaze, her cigarette hanging unused between her fingertips.

"No one has any freedom anymore." He sighed.

Tate felt that way, he really did. Everybody was slaves to something, in one way or another. They said that you had a choice about your life and what you did with it, but that was bullshit. Everyone was expected to do the same thing, over and over. Get up, go to school, graduate, get a job, have a family, and then die. That was it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Freedom was an illusion. And people just put up with it, content to sit and rot and wait to die. It didn't make any sense. At least he would have been in control of his own fate and his own death. Or at least, that had been the plan.

Suddenly, the look in Violet's eyes brought him back from his thoughts.

Violet was openly staring at Tate, looking at him like he had just called the sky green.

"Of course we don't have freedom," She blew out smoke from between her lips and looked away. "We're living in a place where they strap you to the bed at night."

"They strap you to the bed?" Just like that, another spark went off in Tate's head, feeding his flaming curiosity. They hadn't done that to him, and that was saying something.

"People like me? Yeah."

He couldn't read her voice. Tate smirked, half of his mouth quirking up at the side.

"-kinky bastards." he swore, flashing a glimpse of white teeth.

Violet looked at him for a second, and then the corners of her lips turned to up into a smile. A real smile, the kind that met her eyes, and she laughed quietly.

"Totally," she said, looking somewhat surprised at her own laughter. "Who knows what kind of shit these people get off on. I swear to god, the doctors here are just as mental as the patients." She smiled again as she spoke, blowing smoke through the corner of her mouth.

"Not to mention the fact that they strip search you when you first get in. I'm sure it wasn't even necessary." Tate glanced with a smile and lowered his voice in feigned secrecy. "The sisters probably just wanted to check out my ass."

Now they were both laughing a little, looking slightly more relaxed, more comfortable in their own skin.

It was odd, Tate noted, being so at ease in such a dark, dreary place. He hadn't felt this way in a long time. Hadn't talked to another person for the simple sake of conversation. Hadn't wanted to just get to know someone for the sake of knowing them, drinking up every clue and hint about them as they were water in the desert.

And he realized at that moment, that he felt almost...normal. In fact, the whole time he was with Violet he hadn't thought about blood, or murder, or getting back at those bastards who put him here. He hadn't been angry or upset.

It was almost as if he was a different person entirely. It scared him, just a little bit, that so much could change so fast. But...he liked it.

Tate just didn't know how long it would last. Because even as they sat there talking, laughing and smoking, he knew this feeling couldn't stay forever. Could it?

Or would it disappear the second he was alone again, left to the devices of his own mind?

He wasn't sure he wanted to find out.

And yet, here Violet was, putting out her cigarette on the damp attic floor, her eyes downcast, the laughter fading.

"We'd better get back. Before they figure out where our little hideout is."

A/N: Sorry about the wait! Please review so I know if this story is worth continuing?