Chapter 1: You'll Wake Up. Just Like I Used To Do
"It was inevitable. Inevitable. Inevitable!" A pause. "The apotheosis is upon-" Bang. The other members of the infected dropped to the floor as well as him. The host. Their leader. She began to register what she'd just done and tears filled her eyes as the scene flashed back in front of her. "Oh my god..." She sobbed, covering her mouth and crouching down besides Paul's dead body. "Paul no Paul wake up you have to wake up Paul please wake up Paul..." She sobbed harder, as his body became colder. He was really gone and she was covered in his blood. "Paul please you can't leave me god dammit!" She cradled his head with her hand as she held it to her chest, wishing he were still here. Minutes ago he was. And she'd killed him. But the blood on her hands was red, not blue. He'd tried to protect her, and she'd shot him. She'd lost him. Because she was too blinded by fear to notice the anomaly that was he wasn't one of them. She'd have done the same to survive and she wouldn't have been shot because Paul wasn't that sort of person. Apparently Emma was. "Paul please you have to wake up you have to...you have to..." She said quieter. Colonel Schaffer walked up to her and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Come on Kelly. It's time for you to go."
"No! Please get him help please get him help!" She pleaded but the Colonel just shook her head.
"He's long gone. Let's get you to Colorado."
The last thing he remembered was blowing the meteor up before waking up in the Starlight Theatre and having to pretend he were infected. For Emma's sake. Emma. Where was Emma. He stood up but realised there was a new sensation. He didn't feel like a whole human, but instead he felt airy. He looked down and saw...himself? That was definitely him on the floor, blood on the grass. But he was here, wasn't he? Was he? Was he here or....The guy on the floor, he was dead...so what was he? He looked down at himself. He was nothing. He sighed. But he was still here right? A ghost perhaps? Maybe. But his aim was to find Emma. He looked up just in time to see Emma being escorted by a member of PIEP. Paul felt a hiss escape the gap inbetween his two front teeth as he exhaled harshly at the memory. PIEP had tried to kill them, specifically General John McNamara who had convinced them they'd be getting off the island alive. Paul did, but Emma panicked. He realised that now. Emma had panicked, but his blood was definitely red, and there was nothing they could do to bring him back. For he was dead. And the dead weren't living. So if the dead weren't living, and he wasn't a musical zombie, what was he? He'd figure it out later. For now he had to stay with Emma, whether she could see him or not. He could see her, for sure, and he would do whatever he could to ensure she was safe and didn't end up dead. Of course he couldn't hate her. She'd do what any logical person would. He'd probably do it too. He watched Emma climb in the front of the van with the member of PIEP, so he followed. He'd say his leg hurt after all the running to catch up to them, but he didn't experience pain anymore. He followed her in through the door. He found he couldn't walk through walls which sucked. But he was here with Emma...in Colorado, in spirit. But he could see her, she just couldn't see him.
"Here you are, Kelly. Here's your new ID and PIEP's number. If you have any further questions, all the information you'll need is in this envelope." Schaffer said, thrusting a large envelope into Emma's arms. Emma held it with sad eyes.
"Where's Paul gonna be buried." Emma asked, looking the cadet in the eyes.
"Paul?" Was her reply.
"The guy who died on me."
"Would you prefer he be buried here in Colorado?" Emma nodded. "Then that may be arranged. Stay safe, Kelly." And Schaffer turned on her heel, leaving the grieving girl alone. She stumbled to the couch, where she threw the envelope across the room, ignoring the now scattered pieces of paper on the floor. She folded her legs up on to the couch and pulled them closer to her chest as she wrapped her arms around her knees. She hid her head in her knees as she started crying again. "I shot you and now you're gone....you can't be gone..." She didn't believe it. "You can't be gone!" Her voice was strung together with anger infused in the mix. The next stage of grief, anger. "I can't believe I killed you! It's my fault! I had so many other chances to speak to you yet I never saw you as anything other than a customer and argh!" She shouted as she twisted her body around to punch the wall behind her. She winced as her hand hit the firm plaster and shook it to attempt to regain feeling in that one specific area. She had no idea Paul was there with her. She had no idea.
Over the past year, Paul had been there to help Emma when she had incidents with her new coworkers and people who seemed to hate her. They'd suddenly feel a sense of desperation overwhelm them and they'd leave Emma alone. When these moments occurred and she was back at her house, he would often sit or stand behind her and just wrap his arms around her. He knew she couldn't see him, he knew she couldn't feel her. But it gave him that comfort he desperately needed. However, during one particular incident, where Paul had decided to follow one of the assholes home to give him more grief, he returned back after climbing through the window and saw Emma, curled up, crying again. He sat on the chair in her room and listened.
"Paul...Paul it's been a year. It's been a year since I shot you, since I was too fucking stupid to notice you were just trying to protect me. You're an honest guy, well....you were. You were an honest guy, you'd never lie. Not to anyone. You would say the truth straight up, and you told me you wouldn't die. And then I killed you. And you died in front of me. And I couldn't do anything about it. I shouldn't have shot you. All those opportunities I had to talk to you, yet you scurried off with your coffee before you had the chance. You always asked for a Caramel Frappucino when you ordered with Zoey or Nora or the other two little bastards I used to work with, but with me, black coffee. If only I could ask you why. You also sometimes used to come into Hargreeves with Alice to buy her new plants so I guess you accidentally figured out my second job. I miss you so much Paul, and sometimes I can feel your arms around my shoulders as if you're still here, I can sense you when those assholes and my coworkers are being shitty towards me, but it's just a coincidence, because you're dead. And ghosts don't exist."
"Well apparently I do." Paul said, talking to himself in a fairly loud voice, only he could hear. Well, only he used to be able to hear. Emma's head shot up and stared at him. She didn't look down.
"Paul?" She asked softly, wiping tears off her face. Paul didn't reply. Nobody could see him. "Paul is that you?" She asked again. He looked down. He wasn't pale anymore, instead the outline of his exterior glowed a soft blue.
"Yeah it's me..." He said as a response.
"Oh my god...Paul!" She said astounded. "Paul you're-"
"Alive? I wish." He sighed, biting the inside of his lip. He walked over to her, his footsteps remaining silent. She moved over on the bed, allowing him to sit down. As he did so, Emma felt the bed move underneath her. He had to be alive. He had to be. "I did die." He said, turning to face her. He gently brushed his hand over hers, and she felt it. She could feel him as if he were human. "But my soul didn't. For the past year I've been with you. I've been keeping you out of harms way. There's no way in hell I was letting you get hurt again."
"I thought you'd hate me.."
"Killing you." Emma was surprised when she saw him shaking his head.
"I couldn't be annoyed at you for that. You did what any logical person would have done. You didn't know I was just pretending to keep you safe, you didn't know I was still human. But as I've said, any logical person would have done it, fuck even I would have. So of course I don't."
"I love you, Paul." She said, turning her head away from him. "I love you a-and you're not here but you are here and-" He pressed a finger to her lips, to which she felt as if he were human, but it silenced her nevertheless.
"I love you too Emma. And I've been with you for a year, I've seen you through your worst moments. And it'll take a bit of getting used to, seeing me like this. Hopefully you're the only person who can see me, alright. It's getting late. You had a long day at work today and I had to beat an asshole up AKA scare the living daylights out of him because I'm a ghost of sorts. You're gonna go to sleep okay? You'll wake up. Just like I used to do. And I will be right with you." Cautiously, she wrapped her arms around the ghostly figure and could feel him as if he were a solid person. The outline of him was there, she just wished he was here as a person.
"I don't plan on it, Em."
Chapter 2: "I'm back. There's no point trying. I can't lose you. Not here. Not now."
Just after Emma and Paul's "kiss," Paul realises, with Emma's DNA on his face AKA her blood, they're gonna die regardless, so why not die besides her instead of away from her.
AKA the Paulkins kiss we were all starved of.
"Hey Mr Business, how do you do? Can we get a TRIPLE FOR YOU!"
"Zoey?" Emma asked, panic visible in her voice. The once-was-Zoey drew a gun from her pocket and aimed it at the couple...of friends.
"NO!" Paul and Emma chorused. Instinctively, Paul managed to high-speed kick the gun out of the ex-coworkers hand, causing the helicopter to go hurtling downwards. Emma let out a high pitched scream as she clung on to Paul for dear life. They had to brace themselves for the worst. As soon as the metal exterior of the vehicle hit the ground, it split in two forcing Emma away from Paul. "PAUL!" She cried out, followed by a hiss of pain.
Paul blacked out momentarily, and even when he regained full consciousness, he was shaking. "Oh shoot!" He said, fumbling with the locked buckle of the seatbelt. He could hear Emma groaning in pain. "Emma?" He called, standing up, managing not to fall out. He started scanning the area and saw her curled up on the floor. He walked over to her. Was she okay? It would be miraculous if she'd escaped like he had, minus the shakiness.
"Paul." She said, twisting her torso, which forced the rest of her body to roll over. That's when he noticed the massive piece of shrapnel impaled through her leg.
"Oh my god Emma!" He exclaimed.
"Shh. Shh don't mention it I'm fine."
"You have the audacity to say you are fine when you have a metal pipe stuck through your leg?!" He said, becoming more protective over her. He always had in a way. Ever since he realised he liked her that way, he swore to protect her. And now she was hurt.
"Paul! Paul please be quiet okay? We're still in the middle of the apocalypse." She grabbed his hand as she propped herself up on her elbow.
"Then we need to get off the island! We need to find a boat or something! We have to get to the shore!" His voice was enhanced with desperation and determination. He wasn't leaving without her. He tried to move her, but she screamed out in pain.
"No no ah!" She hissed, holding on to her thigh. "Paul! I can't make it...I'm not getting off the island." There it was. Her voice, however, was full with failure. She'd failed herself. She'd failed everyone who'd ever said she couldn't do it. Because she couldn't. She wasn't making it off alive.
"No...no but Emma, those things are gonna find us, okay?" He said in attempts to comfort her.
"So you gotta fucking kill them before they do!" She paused as if she'd had a realisation. "The meteor. You gotta destroy the meteor, Paul. It's like what your friend said, the hivemind."
"What Bill, Charlotte?"
"I don't know your friends' fucking names!" She said, frustrated. The longer time they talked, the more risk of danger they were putting themselves in to. "Just....you take the head out and the whole thing goes down!"
"Okay...okay..." he said, standing up and walking away from her and approaching Zoey's dead body. He removed the grenade belt from her chest and fastened it to his. "Okay. So I just gotta...get to the Starlight Theatre...destroy the meteor and all these things will just drop dead?" He said, returning to the smaller girl.
"Yeah. I sure as shit hope so." She said, now overwhelmed with pain, almost blinded by it.
"You stay here and try to hang on." He said, relaxed. Emma wondered how in the hell, in the most stressful situation on Earth, Paul Matthews was remaining calm. She turned to face him.
"Hey...Paul?" her voice was now soft which took them both by mild surprise. She moved herself closer towards him and he put a hand on her mid-upper back to support her. "I know why you came into Beanie's all those times instead of just going to Starbucks. And it wasn't because you liked our shit coffee. Our coffee was shit." She said, managing to sustain a sob as tears began to fill her eyes, not by choice but by force, from the pain. "Cause we didn't care!"
"Shh..." Paul said, reassuringly. They'd be okay, wouldn't they? They had to be. They'd come so far they couldn't give up now. And it's what Emma was doing. And he could understand why. But he wouldn't.
"And sometimes we would spit in it! And you might have drank my spit but...but if I didn't know you back then, I wish I did. But....anyway, Paul. If we get through this I would love to just see a nice silent movie with you. But in case we don't...kiss me?" It was a risk and a half. She wasn't the hopeless romantic. She didn't like this side of her. She hated it. But maybe it was okay if Paul saw it. Just this once.
"Okay..." He said, still taking time to process everything she'd just said. She wanted to go on a date with him if they made it out. She wanted to kiss him. He couldn't even imagine this situation as it seemed so surreal. He was an anxious, panicky freak from an office who was tall, lean and lanky and definitely not society's definition of attractive. But still he leaned down and prepared himself to kiss the girl he really liked. But instead, he felt something cold and wet on his face as he heard Emma cough. When he reopened his eyes, he noticed blood around Emma's face. "Oh...Emma." He said, wiping some of it away from his eyes.
"Oh...yeah that's a lot of blood. But I think that's all of it so get back on in here!" She said, grabbing his tie, but he pulled away. After this situation, the whole apotheosis situation, he believed he'd developed a phobia of blood. He'd had a mild one all his life, but it had currently worsened. She looked up at him.
"Uh...no thanks." He said, embarrassed.
"Yeah that checks out. Go and blow up those singing bastards. And do not get yourself killed!" He smiled.
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I will never be in a fucking musical." And with that, he stood up and began walking away.
She could only lie there and watch.
Beanie's opened 14 years ago in Hatchetfield making it an older chain than Starbucks. It used to be a fairly good coffee store until the new managers came in. That's when the quality and taste of the pastries and drinks sold went downhill. And Emma had seen the highs and lows of this tiny store. She got her first job at the age of 16 and that's where she'd worked ever since. She did have a smaller job at a plant store downtown to cover her bills for high school, as her parents wouldn't pay for her but would pay for Jane. She quit as soon as she left high school, but remained at Beanies. She enjoyed the plants in the windowsill, the pastel green paint on the walls and the darker green carpet that matched the tables that were made of some sort of oak. There were paintings of flowers along the walls. The counter was of a white marble that contrasted the green and had a black countertop. Once walking in through the door, the customer would see a gap between the counter and the wall to allow the waitress to present people with their meals and allow employees to walk behind the counter. Next to that was the till and besides the till was a glass cabinet that showcased all their baked goods and cakes. The coffee machine was behind them and in the backroom were kitchens and things. It was a nice little store. She told her manager that she was going on a study trip to Guatamala for 2 years, which was a lie as she was running away. She was granted those two years off. It was ironic when her two years came to a close she had to go back to Hatchetfield anyways as that was when her sister died.
Upon return, the coworkers went easy on her at first but soon got harsher. When she felt her life went to shit, that's when she noticed a new customer come in. He had pale skin, he was tall, lean and lanky and had messy brown hair that wasn't quite curled but was somewhat along those lines. He was never seen without a brown suit. He soon became her favourite customer. Not only was he...fairly adorable, but his voice was something she wished she could melt in, She often went home after long shifts, daydreaming about him. But she wasn't a hopeless romantic, and she definitely didn't believe in love at first sight. But there was something different about him. Something she saw potential relationship qualities within him. It was when he bought his goddaughter, Alice in the store, and she saw how gentle he was with her, was when she finally accepted the fact she liked him. But she didn't know his name.
Not until the apotheosis.
Paul was on his way to blow up the meteor. Him, Paul Matthews, an average guy who liked black coffee, about to save the world. About half way there, he realised the infected would take him down if he dared to even step foot in the theatre. So he made a decision. He kept walking and pulled the pin on the grenade outside of the theatre, not inside. He began running backwards and launched the grenade at the old structure, not daring to look back. There was an ear-piercing screech heard around Hatchetfield as he ran back to Emma. He saw her still lying on the floor. He was out of breathe and his knees buckled beneath him just as he reached Emma. "I'm back. There's no point trying. I can't lose you. Not now." Emma turned her head to see Paul. "Paul!" She smiled. He turned her around carefully and leaned down, clashing the two's lips together. He could feel her arm stretched around his back, pulling the two closer. The kiss seemed to last forever, but it was Emma who broke it off. Paul opened his eyes, smiling. "There's the kiss you wanted. I did it. I blew up the meteor." She took his hand.
"Help me sit up."
"Oh...okay." he said, holding her and helping her sit up. He gently moved her towards a tree and propped her up there. He sat against the bark, his back pressed against it, and Emma rested her head against his arm. She held on to his hand and he realised they'd be okay.
"Thanks for not dying on me, Paul. Also we're dating now I know for a fact that you're alive."
He smiled and ran a hand through his hair. "I was hoping it would end up with us dating anyways." She smiled.
Through the adrenaline of the situation, Emma had momentarily forgotten she had a pipe through her leg. But they were happy in an apocalyptic world.
Chapter 3: A Shower Chapter??? But No Smut??? More likely than ya think
Throwing hands for my mans satan
also im distracting myself because I'm scared to write Chapter 8 of Something You Pine For bc Eli will kill me if I'm not already dead.
Emma's singing in the shower while Paul's at work, something falls on her foot, she gets mildly injured, she curses a shit ton, Paul is actually in their bedroom listening to the fiesta go down.
Emma sighed as she got up from her bed, wincing from the pain of her leg which still wasn't fully healed. It was beginning to piss her off now. She could barely do anything. She'd been advised to take short showers so that was what she was doing. She turned the water on and felt herself relax at the noise without even being in the water. Slowly she removed her clothes, being more careful when it came to her leg, and put her Spotify playlist on. "Oh. Fuck. Yes." Emma smiled as the song Crazy = Genius by Panic! At The Disco began to play. She drew the curtain back and stepped in, hissing momentarily at the water hitting her leg, but quickly adjusting to the pain. Usually, after the events of the apotheosis, she didn't sing. But this damned song....She just had to sing. She had to scream the lyrics at the top of her lungs while Paul was at work. So she took a deep breathe, and reaching for the shampoo, she began to sing.
"She said at night in my dreams, you dance on a tightrope of weird. Oh but when I wake up you're so normal that you just disappear. You're so straight like commuters with briefcases towing the line. There's no residue of a torturer inside of your eyes. She said you're just like Mike Love but you wanna be Brian Wilson, Brian Wilson. She said you're just like Mike Love but you'll never be Brian Wilson. And I said hey! Hey! If crazy equals genius. Hey! Hey! If crazy equals genius then I'm a fucking arsonist, I'm a rocket scientist. Hey! Hey! If crazy equals genius!" She put the shampoo back after rinsing her hair and reached for the conditioner. As she did so, the shampoo bottle fell on to her bad leg. "You can hOLY FUCKING SHI-IT. I WANT TO FUCKING DIE OH FUCK. FUCK THE FIRE IN THE SONG MY LEG IS ON FIRE JESUS FUCKING-MMPH!" She wouldn't be determined for the pain to get to her so she continued singing, well, attempted to.
"She said darlin' you know my fucking leg HAS gone NUMB ALL BECAUSE OF THIS ONE FUCKING SHAMPOO BOTTLE. OTHER SHAMPOO BOTTLES WOULDN'T BETRAY ME THIS WAY. NOW I AM TECHNICALLY DI-I-SABLED. SHE SAID YOU'RE JUST LIKE MIKE LOVE BUT YOU WANNA BE BRIAN WILSON, BRIAN WILSON, SAID YOU'RE JUST LIKE MIKE LOVE BUT I'M GONNA GO FULL JACK THE RIPPER IN A-
IF CRAZY = GENIUS THEN I'M ABSOLUTELY MENTAL!" She screamed, taking a break from the music. She grabbed her leg gently and it stung like hell. She rinsed the conditioner out of her hair quickly and reached for the shower gel. Luckily, the conditioner didn't fall on her leg. She took a breathe. "You can set yourself on fire but my lEG IS GONNA BURN BURN BURN. SHAMPOO BOTTLES ARE NOW SATAN, AND SATAN IS A RE-AL MAN." She was in too much pain to finish the remainder of the song. She grabbed the towel from the side of the shower and wrapped it around her. She struggled to put pressure on it and winced as she got changed. Luckily, she didn't need to go out anywhere for the rest of the night so she'd chosen her pyjamas to get changed in to afterwards, which were slightly less restricting on her leg. She limped through and fell face forwards on to the bed.
Paul had gone home earlier to surprise Emma, but once he walked through the door, he could hear the shower running. He sighed. Emma knew the rule. She should only really shower when he was home in case her leg gave way and she got hurt more. Still, he listened to her singing. He tensed up slightly, then remembered she wasn't infected. They'd both had their blood tested and they both came back clean. So there was nothing to fear. He hung his blazer up and put his car keys on the coffee table and walked upstairs to surprise Emma.
Suddenly, there was a crash. Paul went into alert mode and ran up the stairs, but heard Emma scream-singing her own lyrics to the tune of the Panic! song she adored so much. As time progressed, he walked into their room and sat on the foot of the bed, quietly laughing to himself at the ridiculousness of the situation. Emma Perkins, his girlfriend, scream singing. Somehow, she still managed to sound amazing. He saw her limp in and fall next to him, her leg obviously having enough of Emma for today. Paul placed a hand on her back to inform her he was home and immediately she flipped herself over. "You're not supposed to be home for another 20 minutes!" She hissed.
"Is your leg okay, love?"
"Wouldn't you like to know." She paused. "How long have you been home and did you hear me singing."
"I've been home for...8 minutes by now and yes, I heard you singing." She punched him lightly.
"Now we're both in pain. Help me in bed my leg won't move it's gone stiff again."
He smiled and gently picked her up. She winced at the sudden movement. "You could have told me you were going to do that!"
"Sorry! I assumed it's what you meant!"
"Eh fuck it. It's not like I've had a crowbar through my leg before. Just take me to bed babe." Paul sighed and shook his head as he placed her on her side of the bed. He tucked her in but she grabbed his hand. "You tell anyone, you die. Also I love you and I cherish you and please come to bed I'm lonely-"
"Okay okay!" Paul laughed. "I love you too, Emma."
"Yeah, I know."