Warnings: A bit sad
Characters: Sam Emerson, Edgar Frog
Spoilers: Real ending of the Tribe, I suppose
Synopsis: Sam doesn't know what he is any more. A formless thought, an idea. An echo of his former self rattling around inside the mind of a body no longer his own.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Lost Boys
Sam doesn't know what he is any more. A formless thought, an idea. An echo of his former self rattling around inside the mind of a body no longer his own. He has no control over his own destiny, nor over what he sees, or feels. All these things are decided for him by the vampire, the monster wearing his skin.
The vampire believes that it is Sam Emerson. When it won the struggle for control and forced him to make that first kill, it stole his memories and took them for itself. Every thought that he has ever had, every inappropriate feeling, everything that made him who he was, belongs to the monster now. It is those memories that have brought it here, to Edgar.
Sam has long since given up on trying to work out how the vampire could be fooled into believing that they are the same person. He accepts that no matter how loudly he screams, it doesn't hear him, and that it probably has no idea that he is there, but it does things that Sam never would. How it can think and feel and do these things and still believe itself to be him, he doesn't understand. He can feel the surge of loathing and superiority directed at the man standing in front of him, the man on whom Sam has harboured a not so secret crush for most of his life. Sam doesn't think he is even capable of feeling that poisonous, corrosive mix of emotions. Especially not when looking at his best friend.
The night is dark, the moon a tiny sliver in the night sky, reflecting little of the light of the sun that he used to love so much, but through the vampire's eyes he can see the night time world in startling clarity, better even than he had as a half vampire. Edgar's face is contorted in grief and betrayal. The hand holding his stake trembles slightly as he brandishes it ahead of him like a knife, clutched in fingers blanched white by the tightness of his grip. Sam wants to look away, but he can't. He is nothing but an echo, a half forgotten memory. He has no control. He no longer has the option to close his eyes or turn away to avoid the scene before him.
Sam thinks he probably deserves this fate. After all, he is a murderer. He had struggled against the bloodlust for as long as he could, resisting the urge to kill and ignoring the seductive whispers of the monster inside him, but in the end he hadn't been strong enough. He had surrendered. Bloodlust was hunger, thirst and agonizing pain, combined with the terrible knowledge of how to make it stop. To resist was to be driven insane, robbing yourself of your reason, and with it your already wavering self control. In the end, all his resistance, the torture that he had put himself through, had all been for nothing. In the end, he had taken a life.
The memory is still fresh in his mind, if an echo can have a mind. He remembers trying to stop himself even as fangs tore into the skin and sank deep into the artery of the teenager he had chosen for no other reason than that he happened to be in the wrong place. His blood had been thick and warm and – god help him – wonderful. Propelled by his still beating heart, it had pumped through the wound directly into his mouth, and he had drunk, swallowing again and again, draining the kid until he lay limp in his arms, and then he had allowed the body to fall to the ground.
Then, Sam had tried to wipe the blood from his lips, and found that he couldn't move. The monster was in control. He ended a life, and now he has no choice but to witness himself doing the same thing over and over again.
But not Edgar. It can't happen to Edgar. His best friend is his last hope.
“You'd kill me, right Sam? If you needed to?”
Sam is standing hunched over the cash desk in the comic shop, a new issue of Batman open in front of him. The question comes seemingly out of the blue, and takes him completely by surprise. His brow creases into a frown as he glances up and notes the serious expression on Edgar's face. Whatever this is, it's not a joke. “What?” he asks, because there really isn't any other response to that kind of a question.
The Frog brothers exchange one of their trademark glances. Alan moves a little closer, folds his arms and leans against a shelf as he watches casually as Edgar explains.
“Our line of work is risky, there's always a chance something will go wrong. Alan and I have an agreement. We'd never let the other one live as a vampire. One of us turns, the other stakes him.”
Sam nods. It makes sense, in a weird, Frog brothers kind of way. Only they would have a contingency plan that involved murder.
“Obviously, we'd do the same for you,” Edgar adds, “So my question is, will you do the same? If one of us turns and for some reason the other can't do it, will you do it for them?”
“Wait.” Sam's fingertips brush quickly through his carefully gelled hair, displacing a few strands. “You'd kill me?”
Edgar nods. “Of course.”
“You're our friend,” Alan adds.
“Right. Um.” Sam swallows. He rubs his fingers and thumb together, feeling the dried hair products sticking to his skin. The Frog brothers are both looking at him expectantly. “I don't know, guys. I mean, I don't think I could ever kill anyone.”
“We'd be vampires,” Alan reminds him. “You've killed vampires before.”
Sam nods. “Sure, but not ones that I knew.”
“When a person becomes a vampire, they aren't the person you knew any more,” Alan explains. He speaks slowly and deliberately, as though talking to a child. “They're just a vampire that looks like them, wandering around murdering and defiling their memory. It's kinder to kill them.”
Edgar nods emphatically.
The door opens and a customer walks into the store. Edgar and Alan glance up and look at him. He nods in their direction, then directs his attention to the shelves. The Frogs return their gazes to Sam.
Edgar drops his voice slightly to avoid being overheard. “I wouldn't want to live as a vampire.”
Sam drums his fingers nervously on the counter top. Two pairs of serious eyes are attempting to bore a hole into his skull. He takes a deep breath and thinks it through. He decides that it is never going to happen. Neither Edgar nor Alan will ever become vampires, they are too good at what they do. He is safe to say whatever he wants and never have to go through with it.
“Alright, guys. If it means that much to you, I'll kill you. But I won't be happy about it.”
“You should be,” Alan tells him. “Killing a vampire is always a good thing. Neither of us would want to live as monsters.”
Sam can see why the Frogs feel that way. Their whole lives are about the extermination of the vampires, becoming like them just isn't an option. As for himself, the idea isn't appealing, but if it happens he isn't sure he would want to be killed. He glances at the shop's sole customer, he is browsing the Marvel titles, completely oblivious to the strange conversation going on a few feet away.“So you're saying you could just stake me?” he asks. “You wouldn't even hesitate?”
“Of course,” Edgar tells him. He glances at Alan and rolls his eyes as though Sam has said something stupid.
“Of course you would, or of course you wouldn't?” Sam asked.
Edgar leans forward over the desk from the other side, staring Sam in the eye with a serious expression. “It wouldn't be you any more, Sam. As far as I'm concerned, you'd have died when you were turned. I wouldn't let some vampire wander around with your face, killing people. I couldn't do that to you.”
“But if I was still me, if I still remembered who I was, or I...”
“No,” Edgar interrupts. “You turn, you die. I wouldn't even think twice.”
“Oh.” Sam shrugs. “Okay. Thanks, man. I guess.”
Edgar accepts his thanks with a nod. “You wouldn't have to kill me anyway,” he adds. “If I ever got turned, I'd do it myself while I was still a half vampire.”
Alan nods in agreement, and Sam smiles in relief. Not that it's going to happen, but if it does, it's good to know he's off the hook.
Sam listens helplessly as the vampire taunts his best friend. He watches the pain in Edgar's expression and feels the surge of enjoyment the vampire gets from that pain. He wonders whether the vampire knows that he is still there, watching, and whether he is doing this to torture both of them. He screams loudly in his mind, knowing that it won't make any difference, but needing to feel like he is doing something.
Edgar begins to move, side-stepping around him, never taking his eyes from Sam's. Sam knows he is looking at the monster. He knows his face has been contorted by the creature into something hideous and frighting, and that his mouth is full of sharp fangs, and his eyes probably red. He knows that Edgar is looking at a vampire and seeing nothing of the man that he used to be. Edgar considers Sam dead, and Sam wishes that he was right. But as the hunter begins to circle his pray, Sam imagines that he is looking through the red of the monsters eyes to see his friend inside.
Sam watches helplessly, nothing but a spare thought; an echo bouncing forever from the cavernous walls of his own mind, refusing to fade away. Through their shared brain, he can still feel the twisted pleasure the vampire is taking from Edgar's pain, and it makes him sick.
Edgar raises his stake a little higher, continuing to circle. The vampire spins with him, still speaking, still taunting. As Sam watches, he prays that even if his friend doesn't recognize his presence, he at least still believes the same things he did when he made his promise, and that he doesn't think that the real Sam would ever do this to him.
Edgar's mouth is set in a grim line. He thrusts the stake forward toward the vampire's chest. His aim is perfect, but the vampire knows him too well. He ducks and steps aside so quickly that Edgar doesn't even see him move. The hunter blinks in confusion and relocates the vampire. He attacks again. The vampire avoids again. It laughs, and Sam stops screaming for a moment. When the monster laughed, it sounded like him.
Edgar obviously has the same thought. He pauses in his attack. His eyes seem to shine in the moonlight, then he begins circling again. His heart doesn't seem in it, somehow.
The vampire senses this too. It grins, bearing sharp teeth designed to tear flesh. “You can't do it, can you, Edgar?”
If the echo of Sam had a body, he would have shivered. The voice is his own, but like his face and his mind, it is twisted almost beyond recognition.
“I always knew you were full of shit. All that talk about not hesitating, how you'd kill anyone that turned. But you couldn't kill Alan, and you can't kill me. You're weak. It's pathetic. You don't even put up a good fight.”
Edgar growls in the back of his throat and advances again, stake ready to strike and a new determination in his eyes.
“I could turn you,” the vampire suggests. “See if you've got the guts to take your own life. I bet you can't do that either.”
Sam resumes his silent screams, pleading with a monster without conscience that can't even hear him. Edgar would do it. Sam knows that, and he can't face the possibility of a world without Edgar Frog.
Edgar uncorks a flask secured onto his belt and throws the contents forward. Sam feels the vampire's agony as holy water touches unholy flesh. The smell of burning fills the air. In one fluid movement, while the vampire is still recovering from the attack, Edgar drops to the ground and rolls behind his pray. Sam feels a hard blow to the back of the vampire's head, and it staggers forward, landing on the ground.
Suddenly, Edgar is on top on him, brandishing his stake, ready to strike. There is no triumph in his expression, no pleasure at his victory, nothing but grim determination. He thrusts the stake downward and Sam feels it penetrate the heart that used to be his.
He is aware of the pain, but while the vampire screams and writhes on the ground in agony and confusion, the pattern of thoughts that is Sam Emerson finally relaxes. He forms himself into a smile, and whispers an inaudible word of thanks in the direction of his best friend.
For a moment, he thinks he sees tears in Edgar's eyes, and then he sees nothing at all.