A/N: Hey there! Long time no post! Sorry I have been so M.I.A. School is still sucking my will to live, but I'll be done in three weeks! I wrote this because I am just really not into the new season of AHS and wanted to write some kind of Violate story.
This is rough and un-beta'd so if it's horrible, I apologize!
Love you guys!
Tate Langdon leaves a snail trail of bodies up California and into Oregon. He pops his cherry on a group of kids from his old high school and after that the training wheels are off. His mother's fucktoy. A gay couple down the block. The neighbors' exterminator. Before he's even left the zip code he's out of fingers to count on.
With a menagerie of tools and a duffle bag, Tate climbs the coast with one destination in mind: Seattle. Not for the rain, or the culture, or for easy access to the Canadian border.
This horror show is all his twisted version of a love letter for her.
Violet Harmon used to live next door, the daughter of a crooked shrink and his wife. They moved in with a baby when he was just a boy, still learning how to tie his shoes and that his mother wasn't any good. And after his first glimpse of her, napping in her carseat while Ben and Vivien carted in groceries, he was undone.
Throughout the years, he watched her grow into a surly little girl, poisoned early by her father's infidelity, a subject Tate himself was far too familiar with. Their parents split around the same time, when Tate was starting middle school and Violet had just turned seven. From his window, he'd watched her hug her mother goodbye and wanted so badly to be the one ensnared in her clinging hold. But he knew even then, sinking into puberty, that he couldn't be good for her. That she was maybe the only pure thing in this whole damn place.
Ben Harmon started seeing his little tramp, Hayden, on the side when Violet is six. That summer, Vivien went on tour with a local orchestra and Ben had asked Tate to come watch his girl most nights.
At eleven, he had no business looking after anyone, but it wasn't hard with her. He let Violet haul around the remote control and pick out what she wanted for dinner. They'd eat mac-and-cheese in the family room while The Addams Family played on repeat, and sometimes Violet would make him braid her hair.
"If I'm Wednesday, that makes you Pugsley," she would giggle, hopping up and down on the couch cushions with a spoon in her mouth and pointing at his striped shirts for evidence. 'See! You are Pugsley!"
She would quote the movie all the way up the stairs. "I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else."
"Sure do," Tate agreed soberly, leading her down the hall towards her room. She always insisted on tucking herself in, but also demanded a story. Sometimes he'd sit in bed and read something from her bookshelf, or make up stories about a princess with a mean streak from the chair by the window.
Ben would come home with a wrinkled shirt hours later, a twenty dollar bill in his hand, and a sleeping girl upstairs.
Tate babysat Violet until she was old enough to watch herself and then some, until he had obligations like track meets and girlfriends that kept him away.
At fourteen, he helped her bury a bird in her backyard, the first of many.
"What happened, Vi?" he'd asked even though it was obvious, crouched down next a crow that had had its wings broken and its abdomen split down the middle.
Violet kicked at the dirt, toying with the long hairs at the back of Tate's neck. "I dunno. Cat got him I guess." Her lies are sweet and careful.
He just smiled to himself and nudged the picked-clean carcass into a shallow hole. "Mm, smart cat."
On the night of his sixteenth birthday, after his mom had tried to buy his affection with a brand new car, Violet had wandered out in a loose t-shirt and shorts to ask about it.
"What's this for?" she'd asked curiously, walking her fingers over the bulge of one headlight. Her hair was mussed, he remembers, like she'd just woken from a horrible dream.
Tate, still sour over the fact that his mother will never understand he doesn't love her anymore, had batted her hand off and away from his car. "Don't."
Instead of recoil like any other eleven-year-old would have, Violet had retaliated by taking hold of his wrist and sinking her teeth into the thick flesh of his forearm.
"You little shit!" Tate had hissed, but his tone was suddenly fond, bad mood run off by the fierce, smug little grin she was wearing after. "It's my birthday."
Violet looked apologetic for a second, eyes bouncing to the fresh teeth marks he wore so well, but then she was hiding her face to scramble up onto the hood of his car. "Huh, well. Did you get everything you wished for?"
Tate laughed, a sharp and bitter sound, and stepped in to flip down the hem of Violet's shorts. "Nope. Guess I blew all those candles out for nothing."
It was Violet's turn to laugh now, only hers was for real, chin tucked to her chest and cheeks rosy. She was still staring at her knee where his fingers had been.
A light goes on in Violet's house then, and a window's being dragged open. "Violet? Honey, are you out there?" Her mom's voice cuts through the air, unwelcome.
Tate turns towards the voice, feeling guilty for something he hadn't done, but then his face is being yanked back to Violet's. Her hands are velvet against the beginnings of stubble on his cheeks. She holds his attention effortlessly, big brown eyes locked on his, and he can't decide what to do with his hands.
"Happy birthday, Tate," Violet whispers, like it's their secret, and then she kisses him on the cheek.
He has to consciously resist touching the place her lips had just been as he watches her bound back down his driveway and vault the fence separating their lawns. At the door, she waves, and he manages to return it with one of his own. Then she's slipping inside, leaving Tate to feel the crushing knowledge that he'll never shake this web she's spun around him. That he'll always belong to the girl next door.
Tate sees her watching up from her room when his mom makes he and his prom date take pictures on the lawn. He thinks about calling up to her, but then she's gone and the curtains have been drawn shut.
"Tate, eyes over here." Fingers obstruct his view of her window to tame his bangs. Smile, dear!"
She cries the day he gets his acceptance letter to Michigan State.
"You haven't even gotten the one from UCLA, how have you already made a decision?" She's fingering the edge of her skirt, curled up next to him on his old porch swing.
Tate can't look at her face. Her voice stings enough as it is. "They're offering a full ride scholarship. I can't say no." Without this, he's stuck. Trapped in L.A. with his mother forever.
She folds up both legs and bites at her knee through stretched leggings, looking petulant, like the child he has to remember she is.
They sit there for a while, the letter between them, Constance's soap muffled through the wall. Tate pulls at his hair. He fidgets and stares at the side of her face. But the next time she looks over, he's leveled with an accusing glare.
"Whatever," she growls, and snatches up the letter to tear it into confetti. She showers him in it and hops up off the swing, eyes shining. "Congratulations, Tate."
When he leaves at the end of that next summer, she's waiting for him in the backseat of his car.
"You really weren't going to say goodbye?"
Tate reaches over her to pile in his last box of things. He doesn't know what to say. Which is fine, because Violet is pushing him back out of the car, crawling out after him and beating at his chest. "Just don't go!" she screams, like it's that easy. Doesn't she know he's leaving for her? To remove her greatest threat at a decent life?
His affection for her aches, pulls at him, insistent and fierce just like her. It isn't sexual, not yet, but that doesn't make it any less consuming. School, his mother, friends, fucks, none of it can send him flying like the sound of her feet carrying her to meet him, or the cruelty she wears like armor. She is the only pinprick of light in his life, perfect, and he knows that what he's been fighting inside, all that darkness; it will smother her.
He lets her cry and rage and when she's done, lets her wrap both arms around his middle and press the side of her face into his chest.
"I'll be home for Christmas," Tate promises, stroking down her hair, matting it against her tear-stained cheek. She takes a wet breath and shudders out another.
They stay like that until she needs to wipe at her eyes and go home for dinner. She pushes shut his door after he's slid into the driver's seat and flattens both hands down over the open window when the engine starts.
"Be good," she says, another secret, and leans in through the window to dust her lips over the edge of his cheek.
He feels the burn of her kiss all the way through the midwest, states and states away from his little bird.
Tate never comes home that Christmas. He sees a photo on facebook of Violet cozied up to some guy at a local show and cancels his plane reservations.
They don't see each other again until he is a graduate, so many excuses later. He rolls up onto his block with his heart wedged tight in his throat, missing his little girl but knowing he's done her wrong.
What he finds waiting for him in the driveway isn't that girl. In her place is an eighteen-year-old temptress, a woman. Her hair is sleek and blonde and all her baby fat is gone. She's slender limbs tucked away behind layers and layers.
She stands up to salute when he parks. He can hardly breathe.
Tate wants to sweep her into a bone-crushing hug and so much worse, but the hardness in her eyes, in her smile, stops him. "Hey, Violet."
She stands up to her full height, still at least a head shorter than Tate, and just takes him in. He feels flayed open at the way she looks at him, clinical and assessing. Then, when she's had her fill, Violet simply pats Tate on the shoulder and walks back down the drive towards her house.
He has to find out she's going to Washington State in the fall from her father. Ben tells him at the mailbox one morning, when he'd caught Tate on a jog. Tate smiles and tries to sound happy for her. He nods that it's supposed to be a good school and then excuses himself. Back at home in his own bedroom, he tries to swallow down the knowledge that in a few weeks she'll be gone and there will still be this gaping chasm between them.
She's at his window the night before she's set to leave, has been a pro at scaling houses since he can remember.
"Why Washington?" Tate asks before whatever's brewing inside her can bubble over. He doesn't bother trying to mask the selfish anger in his voice.
Violet shoots him a look and walks a slow circle around his room, taking in what's changed over the years. "Well, hello to you too."
Her name said like that, right at the edge of something, gives her pause. "Yes?"
She puts down his wallet she'd been trifling through and sways over to where he's sat up in bed with a book.
"My boyfriend's going there," she says, and even though he won't look at her, he can feel her eyes on his face, calculating his reaction. And so he gives none.
That disinterest must tip some scale inside of Violet, must be the last tally mark on one side of a chalkboard in her head. Because she cracks then, splits wide open and scrambles up the bottom of the bed. "You fucker," she seethes, and slaps him hard across the face when she's seated in his lap.
Tate steels himself against the blow and holds the stare she's daring him to fold under.
"You ruin everything!" she screams, fingers clawed into his shoulders. She tears at his t-shirt and cries. It's obvious that in his efforts to give her a chance at happiness, he's hurt her even worse, broken her maybe.
Every dry sob is like taking a punch. Each time she squeezes at him, starved, instead of hitting him, he wants the ground to swallow him up. He should never have left her here alone. Not for four years. Not for any time at all.
She shakes and screams at him until he can't watch her unravel anymore. He clamps both hands onto her upper arms, pins them at her sides, and jostles her into meeting his eyes.
"Violet, I'm sorry," he pleads, voice rough with welled-up tears. Their secret spills out into the open so easily, the one they've kept close to their chests like it might not exist if others knew; this tangled, forever bond they have. "What do you want me to say? I'm sorry!"
Violet pinwheels her arms out of his hold and grabs his face, makes a surprised noise when her palms feet wetness there, and kisses him.
It takes a moment for Tate's brain to come back online after short-circuiting on contact, but then he's responding, biting at her mouth, hungry like he's making up for lost time. His heart might rocket straight out of his chest. Or maybe stop altogether. It doesn't matter. Because Violet is making little sounds against his lips and squirming where he's trapped and hard.
When Violet pulls off his mouth to breathe, she's still crying. "I have to go," she says abruptly, and tips over the side of the bed onto her feet. Tate shoots up, strung-out and sluggish, and goes for the window. But she's already out on the roof.
"Goodbye, Tate," she says quietly, her mouth still swollen from his, and gives him the weak imitation of a smile. Tate blinks the world back into focus and yells down after her.
"Wait! Violet, wait!"
There's no response.
The next morning, her old pickup isn't in the driveway and Tate just knows, feels the shock of it down to his bones. Little bird has flown far and away.
He holds it together for a few months.
Constance talks him into a job down at the office where her old flame, Larry, works. It's just 9-5 shit, paperwork and filing, and not nearly enough to take his mind off of what he's lost.
It doesn't feel like before, when Violet was young and naive enough to think he'd make things right. She's grown now, and more cynical than any girl her age should be. She won't send letters, or call. That kiss was her goodbye. She's cut his strings, left him a puppet without its master.
Friends Tate had in high school visit sometimes, take him on benders, smart enough not to ask what he's trying to drown in that much whiskey.
He's never home. Sleeping on couches on the other end of the city is preferable to knowing her room is just across the yard, that it's hollow.
Some nights, he fucks pretty little barflys, always blonde and always tiny like she was. But it's almost painful, seeing all that hair fanned out across the pillows and knowing it will never be hers. She will never wrap her hands up in his t-shirt and lead him up the stairs, or quote movies she's too young for, or want his help burying her secrets.
Ben will try and stop him, make small talk over the fence when he goes home to mow the lawn or if he spots him at the store. But Tate doesn't want to know. He wants her to be happy, but not if he isn't there to see. Her smile belongs to him, her laugh, those hands, smothering her giggles. It's fucked up, but he's made peace with that.
He gets a call about being fired, but lets it pile into his voicemail with a dozen others from his mom and a girl called Emma.
When Violet doesn't come home for Christmas, Tate can't help himself. Holed up in a friend's basement, he pulls up her facebook page. He has to see her.
But the profile picture of her shotgunning a PBR doesn't hold his attention. Two notifications down, something in him shatters.
It's all there in an unassuming blue box: Violet Harmon is engaged to Gabriel Ramos.
His laptop didn't have a chance. It's on the floor in pieces and there's a chunk of wall missing. Tate kicks the hole bigger, puts his fist through the plaster and screams until his throat is raw.
He spends two weeks drinking. New Year's is a blur.
He needs to see her.
When he finally sobers up, the first place he goes is home. Constance isn't there, thank christ. He's up the stairs and packed in five minutes; a few changes of clothes, her favorite movies, and the deadly secrets hidden under his bed. At first, he doesn't know why he's bringing them. He sits in bed and runs his hands over the shotgun he bought from a friend back in high school. It feels just like he remembers, sleek curves and danger, just like his girl.
Duffle at the foot of his bed, Tate sets his friend inside and lays back. She's going to be so angry with him. And maybe she really loves this guy, Gabe. There are pictures of them all over her facebook, teamed up for beer pong, sweaty at a show, kissing. How can he make up for so many years of leaving her alone?
Doubt settles over him like dust, and Tate wants to accept this. That she can be whole without him. But then he remembers her graveyard out back. Birds and cats and dogs, a squirrel or two, each of them split down the middle with a steady hand.
Violet isn't all light; she's carrying darkness too, like Tate. They're the same, a matching set. Gabe could never understand that side of her.
Tate knows how to show her he does.
The body count just goes up and up the closer he gets. Sloppy sketches of him are all over the news, but no photos yet. All they know is someone's out there, killing. There's no motive, no concrete description, nothing substantial.
Tate sleeps his way through shitty motels that take cash and don't ask questions. Some nights he'll watch reports of himself and the most recent discoveries. The drawings are getting closer to resembling him, a caucasian male in his twenties with wild blonde hair, and Tate wonders, half-asleep one night, if Violet knows. If she's afraid.
He gets his answer six days later.
Getting her class schedule was easy. Gathering the courage to face her, however, was an entirely different story. Death never did scare him like she could.
Under a shade tree at the end of January, he waits in mid-morning drizzle. And smokes - anything to keep his hands busy. Scores of kids wander by, alone or in chattering clumps. He combs the waves for dusty blonde.
"Took you long enough."
He spins and finds her at last. Half-soaked, bookbag slung over one shoulder, Violet is there. And she's smiling.
Any hesitation crumbles, along with the walls and walls she's built up. Tate meets her halfway, crushes her in his arms and breathes free for the first time in half a year.
"I knew it was you," she whispers into his collar, another secret of theirs, and plucks the cigarette from his mouth to kill it herself. "I knew it."
Tate doesn't let and inch of space between them. He nods against the side of her throat and chokes out the most relieved sob. "I'm so sorry, Violet. For everything."
Violet whines and shakes her head. Quiet, she tells him, "it's okay," and lifts his face in both hands.
When they kiss, it's out where anyone can see. Tate stands there, bowed over Violet, fingers tight around her hips, and feeds every unsaid thing between them into the seam of her lips.
Her hands wind into his now-infamous hair and tug. She isn't letting go.
He takes her back to where she calls home and they tumble inside together, tearing at clothes, peeling out of them.
She's perfect. All smooth, bare skin and not an inch of shyness. He splinters.
"I shouldn't have left," he says between her legs, filling her with two fingers. She claws up his back and pushes her hips to grind against his mouth.
"No, you shouldn't have," Violet agrees, and even though it's caught on a moan, there's still bitterness there. It's well-deserved. Tate wraps an arm around her thigh to work her clit, his I'm sorry.
She comes apart on the rug and again on the bed - her and Gabe's bed. He isn't home, and by the time he gets back, they'll be gone. He doesn't even need to ask; this here is his answer. They're rewrite this love story in blood and terror, and in fingerprints on naked skin.
Tate keeps them touching everywhere , digs an arm under the pillow and keeps his other palm flat against her back. She's slippery against him, has to cinch both legs around his ribs when he angles her shoulders back against the mattress to fuck deeper.
"I love you," she says, braver than Tate, and shakes into pieces around him. He kisses her quiet and breathes a laugh through his nose, because isn't it obvious?
"I have always loved you."
Tate tries to rut through her orgasm and his own, but his rhythm falters and sticks. He bites out a broken sound into her hair, goes rigid, and rocks into her when he can see again. He can't feel his toes.
Violet pushes damp bangs back away from his forehead. "Homicidial maniacs," she starts with an indecent smile, still breathing heavy and with her heels in his back.
"Look just like everyone else," he finishes after a dramatic sigh, and crushes her into the mattress.