Hey, I managed to write some fanfiction after all! Uncharacteristically, it is entirely devoid of Mike/Sam.
Emily, it turns out, is a lot of fun to write.Title:
BarricadeFandom: Until DawnRating:
Only Mike, Ashley and Emily survived the night. There's a certain amount of strain on their friendship, particularly when it becomes clear how Chris really died.
When he can manage it, Mike heads over to Ashley’s place to spend some time in her room. It’s cute and colourful and always warm there. Nothing like the mountain.
Being here doesn’t make him forget about the mountain, of course. Nothing does. But at least he can be sure, when he’s surrounded by fluffy cushions and stuffed animals, that he hasn’t somehow found himself back there.
They never really hung out one-on-one before, him and Ashley. Apparently that’s the kind of thing that changes when everyone you know gets eaten by monsters.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Mike says.
Ashley gives him a barely-there smile. There’s nothing behind it, but he appreciates the effort. Smiles are tough to come by, these days.
“Really,” he says. She’s gone back to looking out of her window; he tries to catch her eye in the reflection. “I mean it. You know, Em won’t talk to us, and...” Everyone else is dead.
There’s no point in saying it; he knows that neither of them ever stops thinking it. “I’m just glad to have someone around.”
Ashley is silent for a moment. “Chris should be here too,” she says at last, quietly.
Of course she’s thinking about Chris. “I know. Everyone should be.”
She turns away from the window. Her eyes are a little red. To be honest, Mike can’t remember the last time they weren’t. “I’m the reason he’s dead.”
“Look, I’ve been blaming myself too,” Mike says. “But none of the crap that happened up there was—” He can’t say ‘our’. “None of it was your fault. There’s no way—”
“I’m not telling you I blame myself
,” Ashley says. The words seem to be ripped out of her, uncontrollably. “I’m telling you I murdered Chris.”
He really didn’t come prepared for this conversation. “The wendigo got him. You didn’t do anything.”
“Did you know he reached the lodge?” Ashley asks. “He begged me to open the door. I just stood there and watched it tear him apart.”
Mike stares at her.
Ashley gives him a bitter smile. “Like you said. I didn’t do anything.”
“No,” Mike says. “No, you—” This can’t be right. “It was too close behind him, right? You couldn’t open the door, or that thing would’ve got in and killed us all.”
Ashley shakes her head. “There was time. He tried to shoot me in Josh’s screwed-up game, you know? I saw him and I was just – I was back in that moment, and—”
“Ash,” Mike says. “Just... stop talking about this, okay?” The longer she talks, the harder it’s getting to pretend it away.
Ashley goes quiet, but it’s already too late, isn’t it? Mike can’t sit still; he can’t think straight. He paces up and down the room a few times, scrubbing his hands through his hair.
“Why’d you have to tell me
that?” bursts out of him at last. “I was fine not knowing! It’s not like it brings anyone back!”
It takes someone else away. He’d already lost just about everyone in his life, and Ashley has stolen away the last friend he thought he had. Because you can’t stay friends with someone who killed a person you care about, right? That’s not a line you can come back from.
(He hears Emily whimpering, feels the gun shaking in his hand. Just like he does in his dreams, on the nights he manages to sleep. Would any of them have forgiven him, if he’d pulled the trigger? He put the gun down, in the end, and he still hasn’t forgiven himself.)
“I had to tell someone,” Ashley says. There’s something strange and desperate in her voice. “It’s the only thing I can think about.”-
“Hey.” Someone kicks the side of Mike’s bed, and he wakes up with a violent jolt. “Morning, you piece of shit.”
“Emily,” Mike gasps out, holding a hand over his heart, which suddenly seems intent on bursting out of his chest and hurtling across the room. “How the hell did you get in here?”
“Came to return your keys.” She throws them at his face; he just manages to dodge, adrenaline still sparking through his reflexes.
“Didn’t you give them back when we broke up?” he asks.
She shrugs. “I kept a copy. You know, just in case.”
“Just in case what?
“But I really don’t want anything that reminds me of you now.” She gestures at the keys where they lie on his bedspread. “So there you go: free keys to your place. You can give them to Ashley. I bet you’re already fucking her. You deserve each other.”
There’s a tug in his gut at the mention of Ashley. “We’re not—”
“Having sex?” Emily asks. “Please. I know for a fact you can’t go three days without it, and I’m generous enough to assume you’re not dicking your mom. So, unless you dragged Jess’s corpse down the mountain—”
“Hey,” Mike says. “Leave Jess out of this.”
There’s a pause. Emily sighs. “Okay, yeah, that was shitty. Sorry, I guess.”
“We’re not talking,” Mike says. “Me and Ash. That’s what I was trying to say.”
“You try to shoot her?” Emily asks, leaning back against his dresser.
“Em, I’m really sorry.”
“I don’t care,” she says. “There’s nothing you can say to make up for it. Don’t bother trying. So what’s so bad the two worst people in the world broke up over it?”
“Ash let Chris die,” he says.
For the first time in their conversation, Emily looks thrown. “What?”
“Apparently Josh put them in some kind of fucked-up Saw
situation,” Mike says. “Chris had to shoot her or himself. He pointed the gun at himself first. She told him to shoot her instead.” She’d told
him this, all this crap that just made it sound worse, and he doesn’t understand why. “And he did. And it was a blank, obviously. But she couldn’t get over it. She could’ve opened the door so he could get away from the wendigo, and instead she just... stood there and watched him die.”
“Shit,” Emily breathes. “I thought she was supposed to like
“I thought so too,” Mike says. “I guess someone pointing a gun at you isn’t so easy to forget about.”
Emily gives him a look so frosty it feels like they’re back on the mountain. “I guess not.”
Mike clears his throat, awkwardly.
“Wait, this was just before you tried to put a bullet in my head, right?” Emily asks. “So I was just going to be the next victim in her murder spree?”
Mike winces. “I don’t think it was like that.”
“What was it like?
“I don’t know,” Mike says. “I don’t think she wanted anyone dead.”
Emily arches her eyebrows. “Apart from Chris. Who you just told me she killed.”
It’s weird. He couldn’t understand why Ashley had done it at all, but now, talking to Emily, he’s starting to see it more clearly. Because Ashley wasn’t just Mike, gun in his hand, weighing up whether he’d be able to live with himself if he killed a friend. She was Emily as well, on the other side of that gun, trapped and terrified.
When he looked at Ashley and saw himself there, he couldn’t forgive her. When he sees Emily, though...
“What if it’d been you and me?” he asks. “After I tried to... you know. I’m running from the wendigo, you’re by the door to the lodge. It’s only a few hours since...”
“Since you nearly murdered me,” she says. “Just fucking say
“Would you let me in?”
Emily hesitates for a long moment.
“Of course I would,” she says. “I’m not a murderer. Not like some
“You had to think about it, though,” Mike says. “I’ll bet you’d have had to think about it for longer that night. Maybe long enough for the monster to catch up.”
“Don’t try to tell me I’m the same as that bitch.”
“It’s not like she was cackling over his severed head,” Mike says. “She’d frozen up. I had to drag her away from the door. And I don’t think she’d have told me about it if she didn’t regret it.”
“Look,” Emily says. “Ashley was already on my shitlist when I came here. You’ve just told me she’s the reason Chris is dead. I’m definitely not walking away wanting to be friends again.”
“I’m not trying to convince you,” Mike says. “I get why you cut us off. I’m trying to convince me
. I just...” This is going to sound pathetic. “I miss her. I need someone I can talk to about this.”
“Yeah, bet that’s nice,” Emily says. “It’s a shame the only people I could talk to about this tried to kill
Mike looks at her.
“I miss you too, you know,” he says. “If you want to talk—”
Emily snorts. “Yeah, nice try. You’re not seeing me again after I walk out of here.”
“I could give you my new number,” he says, trying not to make it sound like a plea. “I lost my phone up on the mountain.”
Emily rolls her eyes. But she lets him enter his number into her phone.
She says she’ll never call it, but it’s something, maybe.-
He has to ring Ashley’s doorbell four times before she answers it. She opens the door and just stands there, staring at him. Frozen,
he thinks, and then like when Chris—
and he has to start speaking to cut off his own train of thought.
“You might need to get your doorbell looked at,” he says. Probably too casually. It’s too late; he’s said it now.
“I didn’t think it could be for me,” Ashley says. Her voice is wavering. “I didn’t think there was anyone left who wanted to talk to me.”
“Is that why you told me about Chris?” Mike asks. “You don’t think you deserve friends?”
There are tears in her eyes. “I don’t know.”
“Honestly?” Mike says. “I’m not sure I deserve friends either. I just... I screwed up, so badly, so many times. But Emily thinks we’re crappy enough to deserve each other, at least.” He shrugs. “And I miss you.”
“I’m sorry,” she says, almost in a whisper.
He catches her up in a hug. She buries her face in his shoulder, and they stay there, in the doorway, for a long, long time.