A/N: Emmett’s arm is healed in this story. AU
It had all started so innocently.
Michelle and Emmett would each sit on their respective sides of the wall on the lower floor of the bunker, swapping stories late into the night. When Howard didn’t invite Michelle to watch a movie, Emmett would entertain her with tales of his life back home.
Having grown up in the city, Michelle enjoyed hearing about rural life. She took comfort in hearing about his younger sister Nadine, his mother and his long-held dreams of becoming a professional athlete.
Michelle eventually learned that even Nadine had encouraged him to attend Louisiana Tech and when he had skipped out at the last moment, she had all but stopped speaking to him. The last Emmett had heard before the attack, his sister was about to take the SATs and apply to school herself. She had her eye set on Tulane. In turn, Michelle indulged in her trek from New York down south to Georgia to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design - where she eventually met Ben.
Ben - a fellow artist complete with the token sensitivity. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that his collected demeanor could change at the drop of a hat when questioned. All it had taken were several concerned calls from Michelle as to where he was so late for several nights in a row before he arrived home one evening and shouted in her face, backing her into the wall and warning her not to accuse him of anything...even though she hadn’t. Michelle hated that forward step he took, the fire in his eyes just like the fury she’d seen so often in her father’s gaze. Only there was no Colin to protect her from Ben. Once he had left their apartment for work at the local gallery the following morning, Michelle had then made the snap decision to leave. It pained her to think that the men in her life kept turning out to have such tempers. Were they all so unpredictable? So volatile? Perhaps that’s what she admired about Emmett the most. He had never once been short with her. After Colin, she was gradually coming to trust Emmett more than any male she had ever met.
Emmett and Michelle both tried to remember the first time they sat on the same side of the wall. Michelle recalled that first Emmett had come in and sat beside her on her mattress, followed by her waking up in the middle of the night about a week later, and knocking on the wall to see if he was up for a nightly chat.
However, it was after one evening on the couch watching a film – An Indecent Proposal – for which Howard had not allowed Emmett’s presence that the former naval officer was sitting just an inch too close for comfort and the arm resting on the back of the couch was close enough to her flesh to make the hairs on the nape of her neck come to attention. It was in that moment that Michelle realized if he ever wanted anything further with her, she really had no choice. He had the gun, he made the rules. Even snagging his keys had proved futile in the end. She was truly trapped and entirely at his mercy.
That night was when the trouble began. Michelle had no idea if Howard had suspected or was upset by her nightly chats with Emmett. Tonight though, she could care less. She was staring at the door with the dead bolt directly across from her makeshift bed - the light from the top of the stairs just visible enough so her room wasn’t entirely inky black - when she decided enough was enough. She might not be able to do anything about Howard’s power over her, but she refused to suffer alone.
As silently as possible, she tiptoed into Emmett’s ‘room’ in the back storage area. As luck would have it, he was playing a game on his mobile phone whose light he used to see her. The shadows were thick but Michelle could still make out his green eyes staring up at her inquisitively as she approached his small sleeping hole between two large shelves.
“Hey. Everything okay?” Emmett asked quietly, placing the phone to the side face-up so they weren’t in complete darkness. His brown hair was tousled, his hat nowhere in sight.
“Can’t sleep either?”
Michelle decided to be bold for once in her life and simply took a seat beside him, Emmett quickly sliding over as much as the small mattress allowed to give her some space. “I don’t want to be alone.” She stated in a monotone voice.
Beside her, Emmett drew a steady breath. “Bad dreams?”
Michelle didn’t reply. She was truly exhausted, nights of light sleep and constant jolting awake finally taking their toll. She was tired of always running away but even more, she was fed up with the urge to escape long after she realized she couldn’t. She had to adapt. She had to build her own comfort. How long would she torture herself with the fear of Howard descending those stairs, entering her room and laying his bulk upon her?
Without another thought, Michelle instinctively shut off her brain as well as her conscience and curled up in a sitting fetal position, drawing her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around her legs.
“Are you cold?” Emmett’s voice was gentle in the now pitch black of the storage space, the light from his phone screen having gone out.
“Just hold me.” In any other scenario, Michelle would have kicked herself the moment these words were uttered. Not now though. Now she was acting on pure self-preservation. No one was around to ridicule her or judge her. She was taking what she needed and right now, she needed a human companion near her who wasn’t the large man upstairs with the weapon. The murderer.
Emmett swallowed audibly and didn’t move for several long seconds. “Is the suit safe?”
For a split second, Michelle’s inhibitions threatened to return as her thoughts raced to the nearly finished hazmat suit beneath her mattress. No matter, she soon decided. No one would see it there.
“The suit’s fine. Just hold me. I’m cold,” Michelle finished, reminding Emmett of his earlier question.
Emmett’s heart was racing so fast he thought Howard might be able to sense something from upstairs. Still though, he cast his hesitation aside. Michelle needed him right now, and he would never have wanted to imagine Nadine in such a frightened state. Ever so slowly, he entwined his arms around Michelle’s shoulders and brought her head to rest gently on his shoulder. Soon he began absentmindedly playing with her hair. How glad he was that his arm had healed and the sling was now gone, both limbs free to hold her close to him.
Emmett quickly decided that in any other circumstance, he would have been more bold and, most likely, more than a little turned on. Michelle was gorgeous – a unique beauty with wholesome brown eyes, savory hips and a low yet feminine voice. But who was he kidding? Circumstances to hell, he was still very turned on.
Where to begin? His mind was a flurry of aroused observations and sensory intake. He took in everything at once – the way her chest moved with each breath beneath his one arm. The way the natural scent of her skin and hair filled his nose – a combination of rosewater and salt. He didn’t need any light to tell that her lips were mere centimeters from his own mouth, judging from her shallow exhales which lightly caressed his skin.
Breaking slightly from his reverie, Emmett had the good grace to shift his waist to the right so that she leaned more into his side than his lap. Couldn’t have her worrying that she had avoided the arms of one pervert only to stumble into the embrace of another.
And feeling the physical evidence of his current mind state would certainly put her off.
Michelle sighed a little with Emmett’s movement. By now she was nearly delirious with fatigue, somewhat similar to being tipsy. Consequently, she felt the need to break the silence. “Was it weird when I touched you? That night at the dinner table?”
“...Nah. Of course not. It was clever of ya. You got the keys....”
The brunette nearly chuckled at his hesitation. His drawl was pretty cute.
“Yeah...I really thought we could get out of here.” Michelle had to fall silent again or risk letting her thought train return to Leslie screaming at her through the small window, begging to be let inside.
“Well, who knows. That suit’s gotta be worth something.”
“It could be you, you know,” Michelle pointed out, “It doesn’t have to be me. You could go.”
“No,” Emmett replied quietly yet curtly, “it’ll be you who gets out of here and that’s final. I don’t want to leave you alone with him.”
They both had to make it out, she was determined. Whether from exhaustion or emotions, Michelle’s tears fell all the same. Her cheeks hadn’t even dried entirely before she was already fast asleep.
The nights drew on exactly the same. Michelle kept returning to Emmett’s sleep space more and more frequently until eventually, she slept there every night. And then everything progressed further. The embraces came to include modest nuzzling and caresses. Never anywhere besides the hair and shoulders and never any kisses to the lips. Michelle began to idly notice the subtle differences between Ben’s touch and Emmett’s. Emmett was always more halting, even softer. Whenever she felt the pang of guilt over her ex-fiancé, the young woman simply chalked up these trysts to the current situation. It wasn’t entirely her decision...
Perhaps what made them the boldest in the end was the fact that it was something they could hide from Howard. There were several afternoons when Emmett even risked joining Michelle on her mattress during daytime hours. He was determined to try a French braid after all, and light was necessary for that.
Most of their time together without Howard took place at night however, and in only a couple weeks, Emmett was driven up the wall. Every night he looked forward more than anything to his tentative escapades with Michelle. Every light feather brush of lips against the soft flesh of the neck or subtle tug of hair – it was the most teasing he had ever experienced and his entire body was on fire.
On that fateful night, Emmett was already beginning to lose control. It began when her hand brushed over his lap and instead of moving to hide his arousal, he simply shifted to climb half over her body, gently pushing her against the wall and nipping at the supple skin of her neck. The next move was beyond anything he had ventured before, and yet he couldn’t care less at this point. Ever so smoothly, Emmett began to grind his hips against Michelle’s. Both in their sleeping shorts, the contact was painfully enticing and Michelle hesitantly yet with a husky giggle began to undulate her own waist in response. Naughty teenagers sneaking around behind closed doors all over again. How interesting the apocalypse was turning out to be...
In fact, the two were so engrossed in heat, perspiration, heavy breathing and soft sighing that the not so distant clump of footsteps approaching first from the stairs and then across the adjacent room and into the storage area were all but lost on them.
That was, until the light snapped on and Howard’s voice bellowed like a cannon.
"What the hell is going on?”
Michelle and Emmett flew apart so fast that both narrowly dodged falling off the mattress and colliding head with paint can, respectively.
“Howard – we, I mean I...”
“Shut your mouth, you half-wit idiot!” Howard snapped with a step toward Emmett that made both he and Michelle cringe. “This is my fucking home! I built it for you to keep us safe and you go behind my back fornicating down here in the dark like rats.”
“Howard, we were not—" Michelle began only to be cut off.
“You think I’m stupid? You think I didn’t see what you were just doing? I thought that little stunt with the keys was the end of it. What could you possibly see in this piece of trash?”
“Oh, come on,” Michelle began, this time determined to finish her thoughts. She was too equal parts ashamed and angry to care at this point. “I was cold and he was keeping me warm. That’s all that was happening. The real question you’re asking is why didn’t I ask you for help getting warm?”
All right. Now that Michelle definitely regretted the instant it left her mouth. The ensuing silence was thick enough to slice with a chainsaw. Then suddenly, Howard backed off and when he spoke again, his voice was more level.
“You know-I went through this same situation with Megan. When she became interested in boys, I told her that if I ever caught her with anyone in my house, I’d see to it personally she’d be so humiliated she would never think of touching anyone again. Unfortunately, she’s no longer with us. But the lesson is still there to be learned.”
Drawing the gun from his belt, Howard sighed heavily. Michelle and Emmett just stared. The burly man before them continued, “Get upstairs, both of you.”
When Emmett went to open his mouth again, Howard abruptly silenced him with a point of the gun in the younger man’s direction. “I said upstairs, now.”
Howard followed them slowly up the stairs, the ascent feeling like an eternity. Emmett made sure to let Michelle go first so Howard couldn’t make any sudden attacks on her from behind. Languidly, he followed them with the raised pistol until they reached the area with the shower and Howard’s queen bed.
When Michelle glanced cautiously back at Howard, he simply holstered the hand gun and sauntered over to the nightstand. What he took out next had the other two utterly confused. It was a camera – a video camera, to be exact.
“Um, Howard...” started Emmett.
“Did I say you could speak?” Howard spat. “Michelle. I’m going to do you a personal favor. Since you clearly crave contact with Emmett so dearly, I’m going to let you play out your little fantasy. Now be a good girl and listen carefully. You’re going to undress...”
"What?” the young woman before him all but choked out. A few strides away by the shower, Emmett inhaled sharply.
“No interruptions,” Howard continued calmly, taking a seat in the chair by the nightstand. “You are going to take off your clothes. Now...”
Subtly, he removed the camera from its case and the soft click of the record button sounded in the silent room. “Action.”
Everything after that passed as somewhat of a blur. Michelle numbly fished her way out of her shorts and top, leaving only her bra and panties.
“All of it.” Howard stated without her even looking at him. His face plus the eye of the camera and the tiny red recording light were too much.
Gritting her teeth, Michelle tried to control her breathing. The room was chilly and she distantly realized she had a full bladder. Slower than ever, she stepped out of her white cotton undergarment, pulled her tank over her head and unclasped her bra, holding both items in front of her breasts and lower regions. It now seemed unbearably cold and she was aware of Emmett’s gaze on her rear side that was totally bare to him. As long as it wasn’t yet visible to Howard and his camera.
Yet Howard was hardly satisfied with the sight of her trembling, struggling to conceal herself.
“All of you, let us see...” Howard murmured and absentmindedly fingered the gun at his hip, never taking his eyes off her. Strangely, he seemed to be eyeing her face rather than her body. Whether it was a dare to get her to look at him or simply because her intimate parts were still covered Michelle had no idea. Over by the now curtainless shower, Emmett’s breathing was quickening as Michelle shut her eyes, bit her lower lip and let the bra and tank top fall to the floor.
Now covered with only her hands, Michelle took a deep breath and looked Howard directly in the eyes. “I get it. Look, I’m sorry. Please, just turn it off. I’ll go back to bed and never talk to...”
“Show’s far from over,” Howard put in simply. “You can liven it up by dropping your hands. Or on second thought, touch yourself.”
Michelle’s next reaction was to retch, then she caught herself just in time. “Your chest,” Howard requested.
Michelle glanced down at the floor and began to stroke circles around her breasts, avoiding the nipples entirely.
“Good girl,” praised Howard, “Emmett, isn’t she performing well?”
“Y-yes, sir,” Emmett muttered. That was the first time Michelle had heard Emmett call Howard ‘sir’. It was also the first time she had stripped in front of two men. Oh, the power of guns.
“Happy to hear it, Emmett,” replied Howard, shifting to include the younger man in the camera view for a split second, “Because you’re going to help her out.”
Michelle couldn’t believe what she was hearing. At this point, she wanted nothing more than to burst through the door of the bunker and risk burning in whatever toxins the outside world now held.
“Michelle, undress him.”
Swallowing hard, Michelle didn’t miss how Howard nonchalantly took the gun from its holster again and placed it on the nightstand, as if reminding them of the consequences should they refuse to comply.
Sluggishly as ever, Michelle crossed the several paces to Emmett and gripped the hem of his shirt. His abdomen was so tense beneath her fingers. Then came the shorts...fortunately, the current situation had rendered any physical signs of arousal non-existent.
“Now Michelle, you’re going to take him.” The two naked individuals whirled to face him in disbelief. “Oh come on. Had you really expected any different? It’s what you two obviously wanted so badly. Why not make a spectacle of it? Now – action.”
Now the tears that had somehow been shy until now decided to flow forth. Michelle choked back a sob and masked the sound at the last moment with a sigh. Emmett felt a lump forming in his own throat at the sight of wet trails streaming down her cheeks. The woman before him was undoubtedly beautiful, even in distress. He had never been so against anything in his life as he was at the thought of taking this girl in her current shame and sorrow. More than Howard watching the two of them, her grief before his eyes was almost too much to handle.
At some point, they both decided that they would have to re-imagine their earlier nights down in the basement of the bunker. Fortunately, Howard chose to show mercy enough to remain silent from then on, so they could indulge in this task however they saw fit.
Their first kiss was gentle yet fleeting. Then Michelle led Emmett to the bed and sat him down, careful to avoid his gaze as much as possible and adamantly determined to keep from even turning her head in Howard’s direction.
“You’re great- really beautiful,” Emmett uttered softly, his own eyes glistening. Only now he was realizing that if Howard felt like it, he could kill them both during the act. Why in the hell hadn’t he gotten on that damned bus?
Michelle pursed her lips at Emmett’s attempt at a compliment. Normally, she would have been flattered but right now, any voice seemed like the ocean rumbling deafeningly in her ears. From there, Emmett closed his eyes and forced himself to block out the presence of Howard and the camera. Reaching into his mind, he pulled forth every fantasy he’d ever had about Michelle, from the feel of her lips on his, to his tongue inside her mouth, to his hands on her hips – until he eventually realized that all of those things were now actually happening.
Suddenly, there was no one else in the room with them. They were alone, the beating of their hearts the only sound. It wasn’t until Emmett felt Michelle’s hand on him that he realized the fantasies had worked. He bit back a moan as she softly stroked him, quickly moving her hand to trail upward along his abdomen and chest. He tangled his fingers in her hair as she gripped his dark locks in both her hands and tugged first gently and then harder. Her tears streamed down onto his neck, but he was too far-gone in her touch to care. Right now, her pulling his hair was driving him crazy and he had to stifle a shout as he felt her warmth slide gently over him, teasing. It was moist and smooth and somewhere in the back of his mind, Emmett regretted not having shaved his beard for a while.
Gently, Michelle buried her face in the crook of his neck and inhaled shakily as she slowly sheathed him. Emmett was engulfed in so much emotion and sensation all at once he felt like he was exploding. The precarious and highly disturbing environment coupled with the surreal experience of this sexy woman on top of him had him on overload. Not only had it been a while, the voyeurism almost aroused him even further. It was him - not Howard, the man with the gun, but he, Emmett, who had the sole ability to provide her comfort amidst all the horrors of this predicament. Ever so slowly, the young brunette man grasped her hips and began moving her back and forth over him, just letting her lie there and allow her mind to wander wherever it needed. He would take care of her.
But she wouldn’t have any of it. In one barely thought-out move, Michelle placed all her anguish and frustration in the next bite she dealt Emmett’s neck. The soft flesh gave and she was sure she tasted the rust of blood as Emmett groaned but not loud enough for Howard to notice from across the room. It was fine, he’d take it. Anything Michelle needed to get through this Emmett would go along with.
She was even warmer inside and silky and with every gentle thrust upward, Emmett had to struggle not to finish right there. Surely not even a minute had passed yet though, when Michelle’s intermittent clenching around him became too much and Emmett’s control started to fade, his breathing picking up. Hearing what may have been the only possible buzz kill in any other type of situation, Emmett was too far along now for Howard’s voice to deter his arousal.
“Be smart now,” came that voice, thick with something neither Michelle nor Emmett could identify, “Withdraw, please. We can’t afford any accidents.”
Right, no babies during the apocalypse. Damn it. And it was then with a comparable amount of effort to finishing one of his track meets years ago, that Emmett pulled out of that heat and turned his back to Howard’s camera as he caught his climax in his cupped hand.
“Don’t get that filth on my comforter,” was the first utterance Michelle could make out as she hastily rolled off the man beneath her. Emmett still panted quietly beside her, caught somewhere between an afterglow and reluctance to glance back in Howard’s direction.
What Michelle said next shocked Emmett out of his reverie. “Seriously, Emmett? You’ve got to be kidding me. Is that how you country boys screw? Howard – I think I’m gonna need you to finish me off.”
Standing up as naked as the day she was born, Michelle strode steadily across the wooden floor to where Howard sat. Dumbfounded with his mouth agape, Howard stared up at her as she stopped, her breasts mere inches from his face. Slowly, she encircled her arms about Howard’s neck as Emmett watched horrified from the corner of the bed, not caring what kind of mess he made of the blanket beneath him anymore. Trying to move as little as possible, he snatched his shorts and shirt from the floor to cover his skin that was now covered in goosebumps. Finally, Howard clumsily set the camera on the table beside them, still filming.
Then Michelle slowly leaned over and began to murmur in Howard’s ear, lowering herself onto his lap. “It was never him, Howard. It was always you. The soldier, the sexy older man – what girl wouldn’t want you?”
Emmett didn’t miss it yet somehow had the good sense in the moment not to cast a glance at her next actions, but instead followed the slight movement of her hand with his peripheral vision. Ever so carefully, her right arm slunk off his shoulder to the nightstand, her fingers circling swiftly yet silently around the pistol.
“Megan would have been proud.”
Michelle’s sweet voice contrasted almost painfully with the thundering shot that rang out half a second later.