Tate didn’t know why he did most things. Every emotion was like a singular snowflake upon his cheek, cold, there for a moment then it was gone.
Maybe that’s why he made bad decisions, most people had emotions that linger, like a buffer. Tate didn’t have the privilege of said buffer.
It was like trance, it wasn’t like a black out, he’d had those before. It was just, nothing.
Tate knew he was dead, that was a given, but everything else seemed muttled. He knew he lived there, he knew he had siblings and a mother, he remembered all that so clearly, but when he tried to remember how he died, it’s simply not there. Like the last months of his life was blurred away.
Time passed differently for the dead, some never even realized they were dead in the first place. Tate felt like he’d been there for an eternity in a blink of an eye.
For instance, he didn’t have a clue why he murdered the couple of queens who were living in his house. He just sorta, did.
Tate stared down at their bodies, he placed their bodies in the basement next to each other so they were holding hands. Something about them, something in the way they looked bothered him.
He hated the basement, it made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. The strange and arcane power of the house remained down there, swirling and growing with every soul trapped in that shit hole.
Moria stood next to him, her disappointment now turned exasperation. He understood her resentment towards his mother, Tate hated her too, but her grievance with him, he didn’t understand.
“Kinda romantic, isn’t it?” He said, “now they’ll be together forever.”
“I suppose so.” Moria sighed.
A twitch of an emotion he couldn’t quite place rose in this throat.
“We were supposed to be together forever.”
The voice was familiar, deep and rasping, a memory slipping through his grasp like smoke. His body prickled at the sound, Tate knew that voice, it felt like he couldn’t go on without it.
Tate whipped his head around, but there was nothing.
The fellow spirits either feared Tate or they avoided him, to much more unknown reasons, but this voice was hauntingly familiar yet it didn’t belong to anyone he could think of and they rarely if ever talked to him.
He looked to Moira but she only sighed.
His chest ached, the quick snowflakes of fleeting emotions had now turned to heavy, fat raindrops upon his cheeks. The voice, the bass of it made him long for something unknown.
Tate dejectedly threw his mask at the couple.
He hated the basement anyway, whatever that voice was was all the more reason to never go down there.
It was years later when Tate Langdon had found purpose, his emotions felt everlasting, his heart full with a familiar swell.
His purpose came in the form of Violet Harmon. Her eyes were soulful, they challenged and questioned Tate. She was perfect.
He watched her, even helped her fight off those batshit home invaders. She was kick ass for sure, with a music taste to match.
But things had gone south, he just wanted to take her on a date to the beach, somewhere he hadn’t been in years. It quickly turned sour as six bloody teenagers stumbled to them, claiming that Tate has killed them.
Violet had simply huffed it off, at first, but it ended up with her running home and away from them but Tate didn’t.
Not even for his Violet could he help the searing memories that flashed before him, he retched and almost vomited at the feeling.
He cried out as the memories flooded him, that feeling of almost painful numbness, the deep void in his mind finally filling.
The teenagers stood triumphantly around him, pleased at his dismays.
“What happened to your little homo boy-toy? You kill him too? You gonna kill her?” The shortest girl taunted.
Who? And why would he kill Violet?
“I have no idea what you’re talking about!” Tate snapped, lurching at her like a rabid dog.
She only smiled, happy with her answer.
“Don’t play dumb, asshole. I took pre-calc with you two, torture enough, you just had to kill me to seal the deal.” She said moving closer, unafraid of him.
“I don’t know what the fuck you’re saying, just leave Violet alone, alright?” Tate hissed.
“Another ‘V’, you got a type. Victor pt.2 kinda hales in comparison if you’re trying to replace him, I’d say she’s too smart, too much money, you always had a soft spot for that white trash motherfucker.” She taunted.
Tate went to grab for her but the hand of the tallest boy grabbing him, throwing him back first into the ground.
As Tate’s head cracked against the pavement, the name resonated inside of him. Tears streamed down his face as he laid there, looking up at the bloodied and mauled teenagers.
The name was sweet like Violet’s on his lips. Familiar but so far away.
“Go back to the house and never, fucking ever, come back out.” The tallest boy said.
Tate stood up quickly then ran, legs shaking like the boogeyman was chasing him. The calling of the teenagers after him.
He cried as he ran home, tears blurring his vision. The memories were too heavy, he felt as if he was at the bottom of the ocean, each memory a wave beating down on him.
Why couldn’t he place Victor, who was he?
Tate shook his head and continued his way home, wanting to check on Violet before she fell asleep. She didn’t need to know what he’d done.
When he was able to make his way back into the house Violet was already asleep.
Tate stood at the end of her bed as she slept. She looked distressed in her sleep, her brows knitted close, lips pursed in worry.
He wanted to hold her, tell her it was okay and she was safe now. His stomach turned at the thought of her being scared, she deserved peace.
Carefully he crept next her. kneeling, he brushed her hair out of her face, she had fallen asleep with her day clothes on.
Tate could realize he was being weird, he shuffled backwards, sitting in the corner as he watched her.
Sleeping was different when you were dead, apparently memories were too.
Sometimes he’d fall asleep and wake up somewhere else entirely in the house, drifting between the human world and theirs.
As he rested his mind was far from easy, all he could think was the heft of the name “Victor.”
When he woke up, Violet was gone, probably to that fucking school.
She must’ve been upset with him, maybe even scared. He knew she hated school, she avoided it at any excuse, did she hate him now too?
He watched as Ben and Vivien squabbled pointlessly. He sometimes wondered how such people could have an amazing daughter such as Violet.
Where did she go? Did she really hate him?
He made his way up to her room, he hadn’t checked there for a while. Maybe she’s gotten his message.
Carefully he opened the door, tiptoeing in. Only to find Violet lifelessly slumped on the bed.
“Violet?” He asked, grabbing her shoulders. “Violet?!”
He looked around the room, what had happened?
She had no cuts, she wasn’t bleeding, no clutter, no rope just a bottle of pills.
Oh god the bottle was almost empty.
Fuck fuck fuck.
Tears clouded his vision, this couldn’t be happening, she couldn’t be dying. Why did she do this?
She needed these out of her system, she needed to throw up.
He grabbed her hands, he drug her to the end of the hallway. Oh god, her body was so limp, so lifeless.
“Don’t you die on me, Violet, don’t you die on me!” He cried.
Who did this to her?
He turned on the bathtub, pulling both himself and Violet inside. He shoved his fingers down her mouth but she wasn’t throwing up. She needed to throw up, why wasn’t she throwing up?
She was seizing, incoherent mumbles falling out as she began to cry. She still had fight but it was leaving her.
“C’mon, Violet.” He said, shaking her. He sobbed as the last waves of her seizure. “No, no, no.” He muttered as her breathing was going faint.
He held her tighter, she was going to be trapped there. His cries grew hysterical as he tried to make her throw up again.
He waited against her head as he pulled her closer. He tried shaking her but it was no use.
“Stop it. You can’t save her.” A voice said sharply.
The voice was deep and gravely, chalked full of cigarettes and bad decisions. It accused Tate in a utmost knowledgeable way.
His eyes drifted to the source of the voice at the end of the bathtub.
There stood a teenage boy. His green eyes glowered at him, his heavily freckled face drawn tight with contempt. His nose was wrinkled in anger, flashing a wide scar that dashed across the bridge of it.
All the puzzle pieces fit together now, fuzzy memories now clear.
“At least you tried to save her.” Victor said leaning over the edge of the bathtub, turning the faucet off. “I didn’t get that luxury.”
His head pounded at the comment. The memories easily supplied now. That stinging emptiness as he dragged his body onto the lawn.
Why did he do that to his baby?
“Don’t try to make this about you.” Tate snapped. He hurriedly wiped the tears from his cheeks but he was still crying, he hadn’t even realized he never stopped.
Victor lulled his head to the side, hands idly moving through the draining bathtub water.
“If it was about me, I’d still be in the basement. This is about you, Tate. It always has been and it always will be.” He said easily.
Tate didn’t know what to do. He wanted to lunge at him for the statement but it was true, painfully so.
“My girlfriend just died, okay? Can’t I get like a moment to...y’know, cope?” Tate said.
Victor stood up, opening the bathroom door and gesturing to it.
“Un-fuckin’-likely. Last time you ‘coped’ you burned a man alive and shot up 15 kids. Now your girlfriend killed herself over you. What’s your body count asshole? You got me for starters, then those kids, the last dudes here, then those home intruders, now here’s the cherry. What could’ve saved you died.” Victor said.
“Vic- I’m so sorry- please-“
“Don’t fucking ‘Vic’ me.” Victor said. “You’re only sorry because it hurts! Guess what asshole! Everything hurts! Maybe I would’ve OD’d in a gutter if I wasn’t for you but at least I wouldn’t have to hear your undeserving sniveling!”
“If you’re only here to yell at me-“ Tate tried again
“Shut up! I’m here to help you get your fucking replacement outta here so her parents don’t find out and ruin everything!” Vic yelled “more than you already did.”
Tate tasted metal in his mouth. He wanted to gut him, he wanted him to choke on his own blood for the way he just talked about Violet, what he said about him. He also wanted to kiss him, he wanted to see if his memories were true on how he tasted like black licorice and menthols. He wanted to taste his blood while he kissed the cuts better.
Fucking hell, his wires were definitely crossed.
“Get her, come on.” Victor said.
Tate shook his head, he shouldn’t be thinking about this while he had Violet’s body in his arms.
Victor disappeared down the hallway, whistling as he left.
Tate scrambled up from the tub, pulling Violet into his arms. Tears had stained her cheeks, when had she cried?
Water dripped off him as he followed Victor, Violet heavy in his arms.
“You’ll put her in the crawlspace. No one goes down there.” Victor instructed, throwing the basement door open.
He sighed, lumbering down the stairs, eyes of the house upon him. The basement was his least favorite place, it made his skin crawl. He watched as Victor expertly navigated the corridors, not so much as flinching from the growls from the shadows.
“Why are you helping me?” Tate asked “why are you back? You already made your stance on me pretty clear.”
“I’m not back.” Victor said flicking the hatch to the crawlspace open. “I’m helping Violet and Violet alone.”
The crawlspace was God awful, it was dank and dark, smelled of complete shit.
There was a drop off, he could leave her there, but she’d be alone. She deserved a proper burial.
Tate paused, laying her gently against the concrete. He cradled her head, stroking over her hair.
“Do- do you hate me? Because I let you die?” Tate asked.
Victor stiffened as he looked down at Tate.
“I hate what you became after I died.” Victor said kneeling next to her. “I guess, I liked how she was changing you, like you could’ve been yourself again.”
“Did you ever love me?” Tate whispered, not knowing who the question was for. Perhaps it was for Violet, perhaps for Victor.
“I could have.” Victor said, voice soft, uncertain.
Tate’s hand held Victor’s freckled cheek. He looked over the face he never knew he missed so much. His chest felt like it was strangling itself when he touched him, how unusually soft he was, so feminine and masculine at the same time.
For a moment Victor leaned into his touch, eyes sliding shut. But as quickly as the moment came he pulled away.
“I said I hate you, creep. I helped you hide your girlfriend now don’t ever come down here again.” Victor said. “Fucking hurry, or whatever. She’ll be awake soon.”
Tate pulled his hand into his lap. Of course, how could he forget Violet.
His throat felt like it was going to collapse as he scrambled to get himself together and leave Victor behind.
All these years they could’ve been together, if only Tate remembered, if only Victor came up from where he was hiding.
He was Violet’s, he loved her and only her. Victor was a part of his past, though he couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve been if they were together.
He loved Violet, no one else.
He made his way to her bedroom, taking a deep breath before opening the door.
He sighed as he entered, Violet was soundly asleep. Good. Now he just had to wait for her to wake up.