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 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19
Dust from the floor of the magic shop stuck to Alan's clothes as he sat sandwiched between Edgar and Sam. From where they were hiding, he could make out the indistinct forms of passers by through the tinted glass window as they strolled up and down the boardwalk, oblivious to the drama that was playing out just a few feet away.
Sunlight poured in through the yellow glass, bathing all three of them in light and heat. That, coupled with the body heat of his brother and friend pressed tightly against him on either side, made him uncomfortably warm and he felt himself start to sweat. Through two layers of clothing, he could literally feel the stress in Edgar and Sam's bodies at their tensed muscles pressed against his own.
Sam was breathing.
They were all breathing, of course, but he could hear Sam. Only just, and he was sure it was only because they were squashed so closely together that they were almost sharing the same space, but he could hear him, and he wondered whether anyone else could too.
He also wondered whether anyone else could hear his heartbeat, because as quiet as he forced his breathing to become, he could hear his own heart beating so loudly that it seemed impossible that it couldn't be noticed from out on the boardwalk.
The tapping of sandals on the tiled floor announced Sophie's arrival in the room. He swallowed slowly, convinced that the sound would carry across the room and to her ears. The legs of a chair scraped on the floor, either Anthony adjusting his position, or Sophie sitting down. Either way, not a sign of immediate danger.
If he could have turned around, he would have been able to peer through the shelves and see what was happening, but the act of moving carried too much risk of being heard, so instead he maintained his position on the ground, knees pushed up against his chest, staring straight ahead at the tinted window as he tried to work out what was happening behind him.
Another chair, or possibly the same one, scraped on the floor. He exchanged a glance with Edgar. The frustrated look he got back said that his brother didn't know what was happening either.
“Still working on the tracing spell?” Sophie's voice carried across the room to their hiding place. She sounded calm, normal. If she had any idea that something was wrong, the suspicion didn't make it into her voice.
“I've just about finished,” Anthony replied. He paused. It went on too long, stretching into an unnatural, uncomfortable silence. Then came the sound of Anthony clearing his throat.
Next to him, Edgar rolled his eyes. The old man may claim to believe Sophie was innocent, but he was doing a good job of impersonating someone who thought she was guilty. His voice sounded tight and tense, and his conversation stilted. He was going to give away that something was wrong.
“Did you have a good day at school?” Anthony asked, breaking the long silence and managing to sound more conversational this time.
At his other side, Sam suddenly began fishing in the pocket of his jacket. As he moved, his elbow jabbed repeatedly into Alan's side. Alan tried to edge a little further away from him, squashing himself further into Edgar. Edgar glared at Sam accusingly, but he was too engrossed in his task to notice.
The reply to Anthony's question was inaudible, either she spoke too quietly for him to hear, or the reply was a nod, or a shrug, something that couldn't be heard.
“Good,” Anthony said.
Sam finally located what he had been searching for in his pocket. Triumphantly, he raised his hand in the air. He was holding a small, round... something. Alan frowned at it in confusion. Sam rotated the thing. The back was covered in plastic, and at one side it had been very obviously snapped off of something. Broken plastic hinges looked twisted and sharp. It looked like half of a woman powder compact, without the powder. A mirror.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Alan found himself grinning. He caught Edgar's eye and smirked, Edgar rolled his eyes again in response. He should have known Sam would carry something like that. He watched as his friend raised the mirror into the air, angling it so that the reflection showed them what was happening at the other side of the shop, through the books on the shelf.
Edgar shot them an irritated glance, too far away to see anything.
Being able to see what was happening didn't actually make any difference. Sophie had sat herself down in the chair that had been Alan's, her back to the area where they were hiding. Anthony leaned forward slightly and looked at Sophie seriously.
“Now, Sophie. While you're here there's something I need to talk to you about,” Anthony said.
They were too far away and the reflection was too small to make out much, but from the way she sat up straight in her chair, Alan could tell that she was giving him her full attention.
“Sure, what is it?”
“The thing is...” He paused and cleared his throat. “Sophie, I need to know...”
Alan stared into the mirror, willing the old man to just spit the words out, but at the same time not wanting to see her reaction if he did exactly that.
“The thing is,” he tried again, “someone has said something... Someone had told me something, and I don't think it's true, so I need you to tell me.”
He stopped again. Sophie was still sitting, staring at him. Alan wished he could see her face, but at this distance, through the tiny mirror it probably wouldn't make much difference.
Edgar shook his head as he listened to the conversation. “He's useless,” he whispered, just under his breath.
Sam stared at him in horror as he broke their self-imposed silence, then looked back into the mirror, where he saw that neither practitioner appeared to have heard him. He nodded in agreement.
“Now,” Anthony continued, “I want to let you know that no matter what happens, you're still my granddaughter and...”
“Grandpa, you're scaring me a bit,” Sophie interrupted. She did genuinely sound worried, but that didn't mean that she was guilty, or that she wasn't. The strange, hesitant tone to Anthony's voice would make anyone nervous. Alan exchanged a glance with Sam, and they looked back at the mirror.
Edgar them watched jealously, obviously assuming that they knew something he couldn't.
“I'm sorry,” Anthony said. He got to his feet, his chair scraped on the ground as he did. He walked slowly around the desk toward her. “Sophie, I've been in your room, I've seen your altar. Some of the spells you've been doing...” he paused again.
Without any kind of warning, Edgar suddenly reached across and snatched at the mirror. He tried to pry it free from Sam's hand and take it for himself to see what was going on. Sam instinctively pulled his hand away, but as he did, the mirror slipped from his fingers. Both Edgar and Sam watched in horror as it fell to the ground.
Before it could hit the tiled floor, Alan reached out with both hands and caught it an inch from the ground. He breathed a sigh of relief as his fingers closed around it, then glared at Edgar, who had the decency to look embarrassed. He handed it back to Sam.
Sam smiled in thanks, either for the catch or for giving it back, and then handed it across to Edgar with a look that said he only needed to ask.
Edgar glared at both of them in silent frustration, and Alan was almost glad that none of them dared make a sound at this point. He watched his brother raise and angle the mirror in the same way that Sam had.
Alan leaned across in the other direction, so that he could still see the action behind them, but as he moved, he began to feel the sensation of magic that was quickly becoming familiar to him. It was a creeping sensation under his skin and a building pressure inside his head. He glanced at Edgar. His brother was frowning as he stared into the mirror, but Alan couldn't tell whether he was sensing the same thing or just trying to make sense of what he was seeing.
The wave of power that Anthony had transmitted earlier had shocked Alan, but more than that he had been shocked to learn that Edgar had felt it too. Once before, he had thought he detected a hint of Anthony's power, like a wall of water held at bay by a dam, but this time he had either let some leak out and wash into the room, or more terrifyingly, it had escaped.
This felt different. This was Sophie's power. It was stronger than Anthony's, and she was using it, rather than just flexing invisible muscles.
The sensation receded slightly, but remained as an electric buzz in the air, slight, but still noticeable.
Alan leaned back across to look in the mirror. Sophie was still sitting on the other side of the desk, in the seat that had been his. “...never do anything like that,” she was saying.
“No, no of course not,” Anthony said. All hesitancy was gone from his voice. He reached across the desk, knocking magical supplies out of the way with his hand, and patted her on the arm. He looked happy, and sounded relieved. “I don't know what I was thinking.”
Alan silently cursed his brother and his impatient need to know what was happening. In the mad scramble for the mirror, he had missed something, and something important. Luckily, he knew what it was; he had felt it happen.
Anthony sat back in his chair and shook his head slowly in disbelief. “Why did I ever think it was possible?”
“It's okay, grandpa,” Sophie told him. On the surface, her words were soothing and calm, but underneath that, Alan could detect her anger and tension at having been found out.
Edgar moved the mirror down, out of Alan's line of sight. He passed it across to Sam, who put it back in his pocket, then he looked Alan in the eye. He didn't say a word, but his expression said that he knew what had happened too, and that it was time for Alan to do something about it.
The water gun was laying on the floor next to Alan's feet. Alan looked down at it, and then back up at his brother. His heartbeat had slowed slightly when they hadn't been instantly detected, but as he contemplated performing the spell, it increased again until once again he was certain it could be heard. He had gone along with making the potion because he had no choice, and he had even managed to convince himself that he would be able to use it if he needed to. He had listened carefully to Anthony's instructions, and he knew exactly what he had to do, but he had assumed that he wouldn't actually have to do this.
He was supposed to be a backup, a plan B. If all else failed, he would be able to step in and help, but the idea that all else really would fail had never actually occurred to him.
His hand reached for the gun, but didn't make contact.
Edgar was watching him intently, Alan observed his brother's stare out of the corner of his eye. In it, he could see the desperation that had let Edgar to ask him to do something that he so clearly hated.
“Who told you those things about me?” Sophie asked. Her tone sounded merely interested. There was no malice in it, just a curious girl asking her grandfather an innocent question. He was going to answer her, because he trusted her. Alan knew that he had to move quickly, before Anthony told her everything.
Still, he hesitated.
Edgar released a breath as a hushed grunt of frustration and grabbed hold of Alan by the collar of his t-shirt. He dragged his brother's ear toward his mouth and spoke in an angry hiss. “If there was another way, we'd use it. Frogs don't hesitate. Go. Do your thing.”
The water gun was still laying on the ground by his feet. A little of the potion was had leaked out of the end onto the floor.
Edgar released his grip on Alan's shirt and locked eyes with him. His expression was grim but determined. They really didn't have another option, they had to attack now before Sophie found them. If they didn't they were dead.
But the spell could go wrong, it might not work. If he rushed out and failed, he would have given their position away for nothing.
He didn't want Edgar to see him doing it.
“Go!” Edgar mouthed at him silently, miming a push with his hands. At his other side, Sam was nodding enthusiastically.
He tested the connection to the potion, still sitting on the edge of his awareness. It felt as strong as it ever had, it almost begged him to be used. His fingers slid across the floor to where the gun was waiting for him. He moved slowly but decisively, still hoping that as the last second something would happen that would mean he didn't need to use it. Nothing did.
As his fingertips made contact with the plastic gun, the strength of the connection intensified. He blinked and allowed himself a second to recover before he took the toy in his hand.
He looked to Edgar for confirmation that this was really what he wanted. His brother was staring at him intently, waiting. In answer to Alan's unspoken question, he nodded.
“Now,” he whispered.
In one fluid move, Alan sprung to his feet and rounded the end of the shelf, placing him in full view of the counter where Sophie was standing. She was turned away from him, looking at her grandfather, waiting for an answer to her question. Alan pointed the gun and took a deep breath, relaxing himself before he fired, perfecting his aim.
Anthony turned his head slightly and looked straight at him. His eyes widened in surprise and he opened his mouth to speak. Alan shook his head, but it was too late, the old man had already given his position away.
Time slowed to a crawl. Sophie turned to look at him, her face creased in confusion, which morphed quickly to anger as she stepped toward him.
Suddenly, the air felt thick with magic. It assaulted his senses, growing in intensity beyond anything he had experienced before, far beyond what he had sensed from Anthony. Pressure built inside his mind until it felt like his head was going to explode, and then it built further. Thought became impossible, movement became impossible, he wanted nothing more than to collapse on the floor in a whimpering heap and wait for it to pass. Only, it wasn't going to pass.
This was the force of Sophie's magic building before she turned it on him. When she did, he was going to die, and then so would Edgar, and Sam, and then Sophie would make her grandfather forget, and they would continue their murder tour of the country. He couldn't let that happen.
He forced his arm to move, taking aim again through vision blurred with pain, and squeezed the trigger. He fired again and again, not sure whether he was hitting his target or not. At some point, he had closed his eyes against the agonizing pain in his head. He fired again, shouting out the words to the spell as he did.
As he did, he felt the connection shift from the potion to the girl. He could feel her power in another way now, like a vast, stormy ocean inside her. He reached out with the senses that until today he hadn't realized that he possessed, and blocked her from her power Suddenly, the pressure inside his mind stopped.
The sudden absence of pain came as almost as much of a shock as the pain itself. He felt the water gun drop from his fingers and heard it hit the ground. Slowly, he forced his eyes to open and blinked as his vision returned to normal.
He forced in a deep breath, and watched as Sophie frowned, reaching for the spell that had slipped from between her fingers. It wouldn't return. Her frown deepened as her concentration intensified. Alan could feel her magic, bubbling beneath the surface of her skin, and he could hold it back.
It made him feel powerful.
Sophie roared in frustration and ran at him suddenly and unexpectedly in a confusion of clicking heels and sharp nails. He tried to hold her back at the same time as he tried to hold onto the spell in his mind, not daring to lose his concentration for a second. If she could use magic, they would lose.
“What have you done to me?” she snarled.
Black painted nails went for his eyes, and he grabbed her by the wrists, stopping her before she could do any damage. She shrieked and struggled, kicking with her feet as she tried to free her hands for another attack.
Alan held tightly to her wrists. Letting go would mean she could regroup for another attack, but holding on meant that he was essentially trapped, not able to attack or defend any further. It was a basic error, and one that had resulted in a stalemate. Luckily, Alan had backup.
Or, he thought he did. Apparently, his backup was either still hiding, or thought he was doing fine on his own. Still concentrating on subduing Sophie's magic and her physical attack, he yelled for help.