Characters: Edgar Frog, Sam Emerson
Spoilers: Yeah, but surely if you're reading this you've seen the movies.
Synopsis: Edgar doesn't want Sam to leave.
Edgar's trailer is out in the middle of nowhere, stuck somewhere between two California vacation towns. Downmarket versions of Santa Carla, vibrant in the summer, but very quiet come the cooler months. The trailer is positioned in a location too far from either to really belong. His world is a solitary island in a sea of unforgiving land.
In the summer, it is as hot as hell. The metal walls of the trailer seem to suck in the heat of the day and store it there overnight, but during the winter, heat evacuates quickly, leaving Sam shivering under a blanket while Edgar mocks him for being soft. Spring is nice though, somewhere between the two extremes, warm in the sun, cool but not cold inside. It is Sam's favorite time of year.
Sam knows it isn't his kind of life. He thrives on the town, with its lights and sounds, its shopping malls and its busy beaches. Edgar's trailer is a lonely place, but for some inexplicable reason, he likes it. Something about the place screams Edgar. The out of the way location tells of his aversion to other people, the ring of salt surrounding his home is a barrier separating him not only from the creatures of the night, but from the rest of humanity as well. Sam feels privileged to be the one on the inside.
Edgar moved out here not long after the event he still can't talk about. He had been saving his money for years, it added up to just enough to pay for half of a deposit on a piece of land that no one else wanted. His parents gave him the rest after they finally sold the store and split up the profits.
Over the past few years, Edgar seems to have grown more antisocial. The loss of Alan was a heavy blow. To both of them, but to Edgar especially. Sam often wonders what would have happened if that night had gone differently; if Alan had succeeded in killing the vampire before it had forced him to drink. Edgar always used to present himself to the world as the one that had it together; the leader, the dependable one. In fact, without Alan, he is lost.
He would never admit that of course, but Sam can see it in his eyes; the loss, the betrayal. It isn't just that he misses his brother, it is something more, something deeper. Without Alan there to keep him grounded, Edgar is slowly losing his grip.
Sam wonders too what would have happened if Edgar had been the one forced to drink, how Alan would have coped. The brothers had always come as a pair, you simply didn't get one without the other. If losing Alan was causing Edgar to fall apart at the seams, Sam suspects that the opposite would have been true too.
He knows he is no substitute for Alan, but Sam tries to get out to Edgar's trailer as often as he can. It is partly a sense of obligation; Edgar has saved his life more times than he can remember, he owes him, but he wants to be there too. He wants to be with Edgar, on the inside of the salt ring.
He just wishes that the trailer had enough room for a spare bed, a comfortable couch or at the very least a space where he could sleep on the floor. It isn't that sharing Edgar's bed hadn't been the stuff of adolescent fantasy, but when it comes down to the reality, there is the problem of logistics. There simply isn't enough room in a single bed for two fully grown men.
Edgar knows how Sam feels about him. If Edgar was anything like any normal straight guy, he would go out of his way to avoid this kind of situation, but no. Here they are, sharing the same mattress, the same sheets, the same pillow. Edgar's body is pressed closely against his, pinning him to the wall. The coolness of the flat surface at his back is a relief from the warmth of Edgar's body heat.
He takes a deep, but quiet breath through his nose and inhales that unique, indefinable scent that is Edgar. A mixture of sweat and something else, his aftershave, maybe, or his soap, or maybe it is just him. It is beautiful. His long hair is tied back by a rubber band, but stray hairs still tickle Sam's chin and nose. He rests his head on the pillow, and tries to force himself to relax If he believed in any kind of a God anymore, he would curse him for putting him in this ridiculous, uncomfortable, wonderful situation.
Outside, the sun begins to rise. Edgar insists on leaving the lights on throughout the night, but the rising of the sun brings a gradual softening of the harsh, artificial light into the golden glow of the early morning. Edgar begins to stir.
He turns over onto his back, his eyes open slowly and he looks at Sam at first in confusion, as though he had been expecting someone else. Then he smiles at him. As Edgar gets out of bed, Sam continues to lie unmoving, watching him lazily through half closed eyes.
Sam knows that he has to go home eventually. He has been out here in the middle of nowhere for a week, helping Edgar sharpen his stakes, watching him train. He doesn't go out on patrol like he used to in Santa Carla with Alan. Those days are behind him; he no longer feels the need to be out there looking for trouble, but if trouble comes, he wants to be ready.
For Sam, every moment of the past seven days has been a sweet, exquisite kind of torture.
Training is done for today. Edgar allows them to relax. The sun is a large, red ball sinking slowly into the horizon. The few clouds in the sky above it reflect the deep color in an explosion of reds, pinks and yellows. It is one of the most spectacular sunsets Sam has ever seen in his life.
They sit outside the trailer, inside the circle of salt that Edgar double checked and reinforced earlier that afternoon. Vampires don't come out until full dark unless forced or desperate, but you can never be too careful. They lounge in beat up folding chairs, refugees from the '60s, with hideous flower print patterns that had once been vibrant and fashionable, now fading into gray and brown. Suspect stains and cigarette burns adorn the material.
As the sun makes its gradual descent, and the color of the sky fades into a deep blue that will soon turn to the black of night, Sam turns reluctantly to Edgar and tells him it is time for him to leave.
Edgar just looks at him for a moment, blankly, and then nods.
“I'll come back,” Sam insists. “Soon. But I have things I need to do.”
“Don't be gone long,” Edgar tells him. “You're on the vampire's radar, it's not safe.”
Sam doesn't believe Edgar's theory. He thinks that Alan was deliberately targeted for turning because of who he was. If that is true, it means that he and Sam are targets too. Sam doesn't believe it, because he doesn't want to. Edgar can't help it because he always fears the worst.
Sam nods reluctantly. He doesn't want to go, not because he's afraid of the monsters, he would just rather be here. He looks at Edgar hopefully, knowing before he says anything what the answer to his question will be. “Come with me?” A suggestive smile creeps onto his lips. “You can protect me.”
“I've got too much work to do,” Edgar tells him.
That night, as they squeeze once more into Edgar's single bed, and their bodies press together under thin cotton sheets, Edgar reaches for him, pulls him close and kisses him gently on the lips.
At first, Sam is too surprised to react. He simply lays there enjoying the sensation. Edgar's lips are softer than he imagined, and his kiss is much more gentle and caring, but there is a kind of desperation contained within it. Edgar's intoxicating scent fills his nostrils, and he breathes in deeply, trying to capture everything he can about this moment, committing it to memory, because he knows that it won't last.
It takes genuine effort and willpower to pull his lips from Edgar's and move away.
He moves back until he hits the coolness of the wall behind him, then he looks at his friend searchingly, trying to find any clues as to his sudden, unexpected behavior. Under the artificial light of the electric lamp, Edgar looks pale, his cheeks are flushed.
“What are you doing?” Sam asks eventually.
“Kissing you,” Edgar tells him.
Sam nods, and wonders whether he really needs to make his question more clear. When Edgar doesn't elaborate further, Sam tries again. “Yeah, but – and don't take this as a complaint – why?”
Edgar is propped up on one elbow, he reaches for Sam with his free hand, and tries to pull him closer. When Sam doesn't move, he edges nearer, further squashing Sam against the wall. “Does it matter why? It's what you want, isn't it?”
“Well, yeah, but...” Sam has never made a secret of his feelings, and for reasons known only to himself, Edgar has never appeared to mind. Sam wonders briefly whether Edgar had felt the same way all along and had only finally realized it, but in his heart he knows that isn't true. Just wishful thinking. But then, Edgar did just kiss him...
Half of him wants to accept the gift he is being offered and simply enjoy it. Edgar more than willing, and they are both completely sober, they haven't touched a drop of alcohol all week, denying him the chance to blame his behavior on intoxication. But still, Sam knows better than most people how different to world looks during the night; in the clear light of day, Edgar's embarrassment might put an end to their friendship. He would rather have Edgar in his life as a friend, than as a lover for one night only.
“But is it what you want?” he says finally.
Even knowing the truth, if Edgar had told him yes, Sam would have accepted that. Maybe he wouldn't have believed it, but he only has so much willpower. But Edgar doesn't say that. He doesn't say anything. Instead, the hand still resting on Sam's hip drops to the bed, and Edgar backs off a little and looks away.
Sam pushes back the covers and sits up. Edgar doesn't move, remaining laying on the bed, the sheet covering him to midway up his chest, staring at nothing.
“Edgar, what's going on?” Sam asks.
He thinks he isn't going to get a reply. It is a full minute before Edgar responds. “Don't go,” he says. He speaks so softly that Sam can barely make out the words even in the silence of the trailer. He turns his eyes to meet Sam's and suddenly Sam sees years of grief, years of responsibility that should never had been his. These are the things that Edgar hides from the world, but once again, Sam is on the inside.
And Sam understands. Alan is gone. Edgar, who was always supposed to be part of a pair, has found himself all alone in the world. Sam's visits can't possibly make up for the loss of his brother, but they mean that for a time Edgar is once again part of a team. Sam doesn’t believe vampires are targeting them. What happened to Alan was a horrible accident, but Edgar believes it.
And Edgar believes in safety in numbers. So he is giving him a reason to stay.
Despite that realization, or perhaps even because of it, it is still tempting to finally have a chance at something he had long ago given up as fantasy. But he knows it wouldn't be real. Edgar doesn't feel that way about him. Not really.
Edgar reaches for him again. His hand strokes Sam's arm, his fingers lightly trace the surface of his skin, and Sam shivers in pleasure at the sensation. Despite his efforts at self control, his body begins to respond. Edgar pulls him closer, and their lips brush lightly. Sam backs off again, shaking his head sadly. “Don't do this, Edgar. Please don't do this to me. I don't think I could stand it, having you but not having you.”
Edgar accepts the rejection this time. He rolls over and turns around to face out into the trailer, showing his back to Sam.
Sam bites his lower lip and holds his breath, searching for something that he can say to fix this. “If you want me to stay, I'll stay,” he promises. “As long as you want, until you get sick of me and you kick me out. You don't need to give me a reason.”
Edgar shakes his head, rolling it back and forth on the pillow, “You should go,” he tells him. “You've got things to do, right?”
“I'll come back,” Sam tells him.
“I know. This time, but one day you won't. One day, something's going to happen, just like it did to...” he breaks off, still unable to say his brother's name.
Sam reaches for Edgar, grabbing his shoulder and pushing it toward him, forcing Edgar to turn onto his back. He stares down at him, looking him straight in the eye. “I will always come back,” Sam promises.
The vampire hunter brushes at his eyes once, quickly, with the fingers and thumb of one hand, and clears his throat before he replies. “It that a promise, or a threat?”
Sam grins in relief as things make a move back toward normal. He raises his hand to his chest and with a single finger, traces a cross over his chest. “Cross my heart, and hope to die.”
Edgar rolls his eyes, but then looks at Sam seriously. “You'd better keep that promise, Sam, because if you don't I really will have to kill you.”
“You wouldn't,” Sam assures him. He lays down and pulls the covers over his chest, then closes his eyes. The electric light is uncomfortably bright but he ignores it.
“No?” Edgar says.
“You couldn't do it,” Sam assures him. “You love me too much.”