Warnings: Slight AU
Characters: Edgar Frog, Alan Frog, Sam Emerson
Spoilers: If you haven't seen the movie you're unlikely to be reading this. But still very few if any.
Synopsis: Edgar and Alan are less than pleased when a magic store opens up on the Boardwalk, but who are the newcomers to Santa Carla running the place, and what exactly are they hiding?
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
When Anthony returned to the shop and made his way up the stairs, Sophie was up. She wore her black robe over her pastel green pajamas, and her hair was unbrushed. She was in the kitchen making coffee. The aroma filled the whole building and Anthony inhaled appreciatively.
“Where've you been?” she asked as soon as he walked in.
He hesitated before he replied, but as much as he wished he could protect her, she needed to know what was going on. “On the beach, another body washed up.”
Sophie turned away and placed the coffee mugs on the table behind her. He heard her take a deep breath. “Was it him?”
“Unless there's another one in town, yes.”
She nodded, added milk and sugar to her drink and gave Anthony his black. “Did they see it?”
She meant Alan and Edgar. Anthony knew that she felt guilty about the way she had acted with Alan the day before, and the consequences that it had had. He hated to rub salt in the wound by bringing it up, but they needed Alan's trust. He nodded.
“Your stunt yesterday has pushed Alan back towards his brother's way of thinking. You have to make amends, or he's in terrible danger.”
Sophie frowned, “If the body turned up here, it was a message for us, not him.”
Anthony shook his head. “I think I may have placed him in danger by contacting him, put him on out enemy's radar, so to speak.”
“We have no reason to think that apart from paranoia,”
“Yes, we do.” Anthony put down his mug and looked at her seriously. “When I saw him on the beach, there was an aura around him, I think someone is using a spell on him.”
Sophie looked down, suddenly very interested in her cup of coffee.
“Sophie, when you spoke to him yesterday, you were just playing a joke on him, weren't you. You haven't done anything?”
“Of course not! I feel like an idiot for doing it, too, so thanks for bringing it up. Could you tell what the spell was?”
He thought carefully, Edgar had been standing between them, his presence had blocked the aura so that he had barely noticed it at first, but it had felt familiar. He shook his head, “I don't think so. And I'm not sure whether I should tell him about it or not, it might cause more harm than good. Do your best to apologize and win back his trust today. Hopefully he'll realize he needs our help.”
Sophie rolled her eyes, “I'll do my best, but I think his stupid brother has brainwashed him.”
“No, Sophie. Everything was fine until you decided to intervene. You did this with your silly jokes and trying to recruit the brother. We don't need more people to fight, we need them to survive. I know our enemy has cost you a lot, but that is not the way.”
“Fine. I know. I'm sorry.” She go up from the table and left, talking her coffee with her.
Anthony watched her go, wishing there was something he could do. Wherever they moved, he followed them, he never touched them, never made any kind of contact, but wherever they went, a trail of death followed them. It was as though his purpose in life was to make them suffer. Whenever Anthony thought he was close to finding and stopping him, he disappeared only to resurface in the next city. This time they had moved twice with no deaths, he had allowed himself the luxury of thinking that perhaps it was over, but a move to an area so rich in talent had apparently proved too much of a temptation for their enemy.
He drained his mug and left in in the sink. He would find him this time, he was determined. He would find him and stop him, and then Sophie could have the life he always wanted for her.
Everywhere Edgar went at school, the air seemed to buzz with rumors of the body on the beach. With every telling, the tale grew more gruesome as one by one the kids added things, embellished, misunderstood Chinese whisper style, or just plain lied.
Edgar leaned against the wall outside the math class listening to Sam. He and Alan had parted ways inside the school building with plans to meet at lunch. Edgar didn't like it. School should be safe, but he just couldn't be sure.
“Oh, you'll like this one,” Sam said suddenly.
Edgar looked at him in surprise, as though he had forgotten there was someone standing next to him. “What?”
“Daniel Toulen said the body was turned inside out. Like completely, inside out, internal organs on the outside,”
“I know what inside out means,” Edgar snapped. “Danny Toulen's an idiot, just like most of the other kids in this place.
“Someone else said his whole body was covered in magical symbols. Like, head to foot.” Sam continued. “And I heard he was still almost alive when they pulled him out of the water. Is any of that true?”
Edgar shook his head but didn't comment. Their lives had taken a turn for the weird recently, and for them, that was really saying something. The things he had learned the night before had kept him awake into the small hours, and he had barely managed to fall asleep when Alan had banged on his door. And then the body on the beach...
It wasn't the first body he had seen. Hell, he had killed before now, but he had killed vampires. The guy laying on the sand with the horrible things carved into his flesh had been human. Magically talented, perhaps, but still human.
Just like Alan.
Alan, who was a target of the same madman.
In his mind's eye, he could his brother's body washed up on the beach, the symbols etched into his flesh and a look of agony and terror frozen onto his face as around him, interested people gathered in a group to gawp. The kids at school would love it even more. Not only a dead body to talk about, but one that had gone to their school. One they knew, if only by sight.
“Edgar, are you okay?” Sam's concerned voice cut through his horrible imagining and he shook his head to clear the images.
“How much did you know about what was going on?” he asked.
Sam's eyes widened as though in panic. “I...”
“Hey, Frog,” a voice interrupted before Sam had the chance to make his excuses. “I heard you saw the body. Is it true it looked like some kind of devil worship? I bet you loved that, didn't you?”
The voice belonged to John DeLang, not so much the school bully as the bully wannabe. He usually got his kicks standing behind his larger friends, laughing as they beat up some defenseless freshman. He didn't like Edgar and Alan. It wasn't an unusual position to take in a place where image was everything and vampire hunter chic was very much not in. The feeling was mutual. Generally though, he kept away. He didn't like his victims to fight back.
Edgar turned his attention to the older boy and glared menacingly at him. The effect would have been better if John didn't have a good three inches height advantage, but confidence won out and the bully backed off a step. “Yeah, moron, best thing ever.” Edgar told him, in a voice dripping with sarcasm.
DeLang looked confused, glanced from Edgar to Sam and back to Edgar, then scowled, deepening the ever present furrow between his eyebrows. “Whatever, I'll leave you with your boyfriend. I don't want to get any gay on me.” With that, he turned and stomped away down the corridor.
Sam watched him go with an amused smirk. “Wow. Say what you like about California, but I really think we had a better quality of bully in Phoenix.”
“Forget him,” Edgar told him. “We've got more important things to worry about. Like the evil, murdering warlock on the rampage. You know, the one that probably wants to kill my brother. And while we're on the subject, you didn't think it would have been a good idea to give me a heads up? You knew about the warlocks murdering to steal magic, and you knew Alan was... You knew what was going on.”
“Yeah,” the amused smile died on his lips. “Sorry, Edgar. Really. Yeah, I knew about the magic, and I knew about the body, but we didn't know they were connected.”
Edgar shook his head. “Please. You tried to cover for Alan, babbling on about coincidences when I said the first body was connected to the magic store,”
Sam slumped slightly against the wall and nodded. “I don't know what to tell you. I'm Alan's friend too, he asked me not to say anything. I didn't even know about the body 'til we got to school, what was I supposed to do, just blurt everything out with Alan standing right there?”
“Well, I couldn't. I really didn't know it wasn't a coincidence. And Alan had only done one spell, just for fun, and then decided not to do it again.”
“Fun,” Edgar muttered, shaking his head. “If someone told me I was a warlock, I'd punch him in the face, not run home and try out some spells.”
Sam shrugged. “So it turns out you and Alan don't share a brain. It actually comes as a surprise to me too, but you know most brothers do disagree now and then. It means you're normal.”
Edgar looked at him Sam and noticed how exhausted his friend looked, dark circles around his eyes told of a sleepless night, and the general weight of the new knowledge he found himself burdened with was already taking its toll.
“There is nothing 'normal' about the ability to cast spells. Don't you see what this means, Alan's...” he stopped, took a deep breath and leaned his head back against the wall behind him. “Alan's in danger,” he said. “We need to do something.”
“We could talk to Kirsty's friends,” Sam suggested.
“Kirsty being who, exactly?”
“The dead guy's sister. She's a student here. She's not in today, obviously, but I bet her friends know if anything weird was going on with the brother before he washed up on the beach.”
Edgar looked at him in disbelief. “How do you know that when I don't? You've been here, what? Five minutes?”
“Almost a year, actually.” Sam shrugged. “I actually talk to people sometimes. And when I say talk, I'm referring to actual conversations, not just accusing them of being werewolves and witches. I don't know if you realize this, but you and Alan have a bit of a weird reputation.”
“Hey.” Edgar jabbed a finger into Sam's chest. “We're protecting these kids. If they want to hide from the truth under a rock and not notice we're keeping them safe, that's up to them. I don't give a shit what they think.”
Sam held his hands up in mock surrender, “Alright, alright, don't shoot the messenger.”
Edgar dropped his hand to his side. “Fine, c'mon Mr. social butterfly, lets put your people skills to work.”
Alan glanced from left to right in the hall before he opened his locker and quickly swapped his books. The corridor was full of kids and teachers. Their presence made him feel safer, if anyone was going to attack him, they wouldn't do it here, but he couldn't shake the creepy feeling that he was being watched.
He slammed the locker closed and looked around again. No one seemed to be paying him any attention at all. He had heard his name mentioned once or twice today when someone spoke about the body, but other than that it was just like any other day, he was practically invisible to the other kids.
His bag loaded up, he slung it over his shoulder and made his way down the hall, looking out for Edgar and Sam as he went. Neither of them were around. The crowds began to thin slightly and the noise level dropped as students disappeared through various doors into classrooms, or went outside to enjoy the sunshine in a free period. Alan was just about to push open the door to his next class when he felt someone tap his shoulder. He spun around expecting to see Edgar or Sam, and found himself looking at Sophie.
“Aagh,” he said, and backed off into the wall.
She smiled, “I wanted to apologize for yesterday,” she told him.
Alan looked at her. His eye was drawn to the pentacle pendant hanging around her neck and his mind immediately went back to the body, and the carving on its chest. But that symbol was representative of all kinds of magic, there was nothing evil about it. He knew that, yet seeing it now still made him feel uncomfortable.
Sophie smiled wider and took a step closer. “Aren't you going to say anything?”
“You said you wanted to apologize, so go ahead and do it.”
He folded his arms and waited. Sophie pursed her lips in irritation. “Fine. I'm sorry.”
Alan nodded and attempted to side step past her in order to gain entry to his classroom. As he tried, the girl moved with him, blocking his way.
“So, do you forgive me?”
Alan shook his head. “No.”
Sophie stared at him as though trying to decide how to respond. Alan used her confusion to step around and slipped inside the classroom. He closed the door behind him and chose a seat at the back of the room, as far from the door as he could manage. If she lingered outside the room, he didn't know about it.
Kirsty's group weren't hard to find. Even without Sam pointing them out, Edgar was sure he would have had no trouble locating the group of depressed looking teenage girls sitting around looking mournful. Even in the murder capital of the world, death came as a shock to people that knew the victim.
They had commandeered a bench in a shaded part of the grounds and were all crowded around it, squashed together to ensure they all fit. There were twelve of them, all aged between fifteen and sixteen. Edgar recognized some of them, but the majority he would have passed on the street without noticing. Except for today, that is. Even in Santa Carla, a teenage girl with mascara and tears running down her face stood out from the crowd.
Sam sauntered over and put a hand on the shoulder of one of the girls at the edge of the bench. She looked up at him and smiled, wiping a hand across her cheek to brush the tears away. “Hey Danni,” Sam said. “How're you doing?”
“I just can't believe he's gone,” she told him in a hoarse voice. The girl next to her put an arm around her shoulders and squeezed tightly. “He was so great,” she added.
“So great,” echoed another of the girls. “And so gorgeous.”
Edgar caught Sam's eye and rolled his eyes dramatically. Sam frowned in response. “Yeah, yeah he was. Hey, this'll sound like a weird question, but do you guys know if Mark was mixed up in anything unusual before he died?”
One of the group that Edgar recognized as Lisa, from his history class shook her head. “Unusual? What do you mean?”
Before Sam could answer, Edgar stepped forward and interrupted. “You know, acting out of character, being secretive. Maybe you saw him with some strange things, books, symbols, weird herbs? Did he ever mention magic? Did he talk about anyone unusual that he'd met?”
“He...” Danni, the girl whose shoulder Sam was still touching frowned. “He went to the new shop on the boardwalk. You know, the Cauldron? He used to go to the other store in town, but I think liked the girl that works in there.” She looked at Sam as she spoke, ignoring Edgar's presence completely. Sam glanced at Edgar as she said this and noticed his suspicious frown.
The girl opposite her, with long, blonde hair tied back in a pony tail, stared at her in disbelief. “Are you serious? That weird goth girl? The new kid? Isn't she like four years younger than him? He told me I was too young and I'm older than her!”
Another of the girls turned to Sam. “Are you going to the funeral?” she asked. “I was thinking I'd wear my new black dress that I got in the sale. It's a bit short, but I think I could get away with it. And my black boots.”
“That sounds great,” said another girl. “What do you think, eye makeup or not? I want to say yes, but if we cry and it runs, we'll look terrible.” She looked at Sam for an opinion, he glanced at Edgar for an exit. Edgar just shot him an amused look, folded his arms and watched.
“Ah, I've got to go. I'll see you guys later.” Sam backed off and fled with Edgar following after him.
“Wow,” said the vampire hunter when they were out of earshot. “You're their girlfriend.”
Sam crossed his arms, “I'm their friend.” he corrected.
“Do you help them paint their nails too? There's a guy just died and their most pressing concern is what to wear for the funeral. Did I mention this town is seriously messed up?”
“I guess people around here are more used to death.” Sam said. “Murder capital of the world and all that.”
Edgar folded his arms thoughtfully. “So, the dead guy was hanging out at the magic shop, and presumably got himself on the radar of our two least favorite warlocks.”
They stopped at the entrance to the school building and Sam shrugged. “It makes sense he'd go there. He was a Wiccan, after all.”
Edgar's eyes narrowed. “He was a what?”
“A Wiccan. You know, it's a religion. They do spells, it makes sense that some of them have real magic.”
“I know what Wiccans are,” Edgar said. “I didn't know we had any at our school.”
Sam smiled sympathetically. “Well, I don't suppose they'd talk to you about it, would they? Relax, they've been here a long time, and they're all good people. None of them will have decided to go on a killing spree. The murderer might have magic, but there's no way he's a Wiccan.”
“I didn't say he was,” Edgar said. “But I bet he picks his victims from among people who visit that shop.”
“We're not back to watching the door, are we?” Sam groaned.
Edgar shook his head. “That was because I suspected the shop guy, now I think Alan's right. I don't like him, but I don't think he's a murderer. The real murderer is probably clever enough not to go inside or the guy would recognize him in every town. Our priority right now is to protect Alan.”