Warnings: Very non-graphic slash. A bit of m/m kissing, basically
Characters: Sam Emerson, Edgar Frog
Spoilers: A bit for everything
Synopsis: On the anniversary of Alan's disappearance Sam makes the mistake of going to visit Edgar. Everything changes.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Lost Boys
A/N: I was in two minds whether to post this one at all. It's been a work in progress for almost a year now, a random idea that occurred to me in the middle of the night, and that I have tried repeatedly to write. Several times, I've written something else while trying to write this. It's based on the song Sorry About That by Alkaline Trio. They are my favourite band, you'll find references to their music throughout my Lost Boys fic if you're looking, but this is the first time I've stuck to closely to the idea expressed in a song. I found it a bit stifling, to be honest, but I'm glad I finally finished, after all this time, which is why I chose to post. It'd have been a shame not to.
He had seen him tonight. All he had caught was glimpse over a street crowded with holidaymakers, slow-moving cars, and street hawkers selling their cheap jewelry and henna tattoos, before he turned away and disappeared into the crowd, oblivious of his observer. He had changed since the last time they had been together. His hair had been allowed to grow long. The ever-present red bandanna kept it out of his eyes, but g it to hand free at the back. Years of working and hunting had hardened his body in a way that suited him, allowing the muscles that youth had promised to finally manifest. In so many ways, he looked exactly the same, but in so many more, he was different.
The years had been kind to Edgar Frog. He had aged, of course he had. He was human. Determinedly, intensely human. But the passing of time appeared to have touched him only lightly, to the point where, had Sam not known better, he may have thought his one-time friend had been tempted, or perhaps forced, to become something other. But no. Not Edgar. He would die before surrendering his humanity.
Of course, Alan had said the same thing. Look how that turned out.
Standing completely still in the ever-moving crowd, Sam continued to watch for several minutes in the direction that Edgar had gone. He inhaled deeply through his nose. The air was the warm of a California summer evening, filled with the familiar mixture scents inescapable in any beach town by night. Hotdogs and cotton candy from a dozen vendors mixed with the oddly pleasing scent of the burning fuel that powered their grills and machinery. The faint but freshening scent of saltwater washed over the area area close to the beach. And of course, human life. A never ending stream of life; of blood.
It wasn't Santa Carla, but Edgar was here, and it was as close as either of them had been in years to home.
He shouldn't have come here. He had known that before he had thrown a change of clothes into a rucksack and thrown it through the open window onto the passenger seat of his car. He had known it when the idea had first occurred, when he had been flicking through the TV Guide, noticed the date, and frozen, staring at the page. But he had come, because as much as he knew he shouldn't, he also knew that he needed to; and more importantly, that Edgar would need it too.
A year was such a short period of time, when you really thought about it. The earth rotated once around the sun, three hundred and sixty five times around its own axis, four seasons came and went, and everything changed. This day last year, they had been happy.
He had spent the morning in the comic store, allegedly helping Edgar and Alan unpack and shelve the new comics, in actuality, getting a head start of reading the ones that he wouldn't be able to afford for a few. Lunch, had been a hotdog from one of the beach side vendors. Alan had had an ice cream too. Chocolate. He had scowled when Edgar had scraped a hot finger across the top of it, and plunged it into his mouth, but two seconds later it had been forgotten.
That afternoon, they had worked out their battle plan, each detail carefully considered and discussed. They had packed their belts with weapons, both Frogs had decorated their faces with smears of greasepaint in brown and green, and the three of them had set out to slay the monsters.
Three had left, but only two had returned.
Edgar had never been the same after that. Neither of them had. Grief had settled around them, so thick and heavy that it almost became a tangible thing. Sam still visited the comic shop, watched Edgar working in silence, but when was with him after that night, his eyes always appeared to be looking at something else; a memory that he couldn't let fade. One friend was gone, and the other was drifting away. And Sam had been powerless to prevent it.
Then one day, Edgar too, was gone.
His departure was not so sudden as his brother's. He had planned; told Sam what he was going to do and where he was going to do. He left a forwarding address. Sam had been to visit once or twice. But the man in the trailer surrounded by a ring of salt and homemade keep out signs, cut off from the world by miles of scrub land, was a shadow of the one that Sam had known.
Still, he was his friend, and despite some part of him knowing that it was a bad idea, Sam had filled up his tank with gas and hit the road.
He had still known it was a bad idea when he pulled his car up just outside the large circle of salt. He had stepped over the protective barrier, careful not to disturb it, and knocked on the door. But when Edgar answered, and Sam watched his initial irritation at being disturbed turn to relief when he registered who his visitor was, he had changed his mind. He was exactly where he needed to be.
The inside of the trailer looked like something out of a vampire's worst nightmare. Garlic bulbs hung in garlands from the walls and ceiling, stakes and crucifixes decorated the walls and weapons of all descriptions were within easy reach wherever you happened to be. The smell of garlic permeated the air, drifting from the general direction of the kitchen, where the table was covered by a liberal coating of the crushed cloves. There also lay a hammer among the fragments, and a glass in the sink with pieces of the offending substance stuck to the sides. That explained the pungent odor on Edgar's breath.
Sam winced internally. Apart from the garlic explosion, the trailer was military-neat. Edgar's trademark. He did, after all, consider himself a soldier in the war against the undead. Today, however, he looked less like a soldier and more like the lonely, confused kid that he still was. He backed away from the door, leaving it open for Sam to enter, and dropped down onto the battered old couch. A cartoon was playing on the TV with the sound off.
Sam left the door open, futilely hoping to air out the room a little against the smell of garlic, and sat down next to him. Edgar looked from the TV to Sam, and then back again. He shifted slightly in his seat, then pressed a button on his remote control, sending the screen black. His eyes remained fixed on it.
“I wondered if you'd come,” he said. “I didn't know if you'd remember.”
Sam said nothing.
Edgar sighed, and rubbed at his eyes with the tips of his fingers. “Thanks,” he said.
Sunset had been 8.09pm that day a year ago. Sam remembered that fact as part of their hunting plan. A year later, the sun abandoned them at the same time. The sky was still bright despite its absence. Behind and above them it glowed a deep blue, becoming lighter as it stretched toward the horizon where reflected light bleached the evening canvas a golden yellow. Trees cut dark silhouettes against the colorful backdrop. Edgar raised a hand holding a half empty can of beer in mock salute to the sunset.
They sat outside, but close to the trailer, still within the protective barrier of the salt circle. On the ground, Edgar had spread an old blanket. It was thick enough to mute the discomfort of the hard, stony ground. Sam sat with his knees pulled up toward his chest, feet crossed at the ankles. In his right hand, resting the top of his knee, he held his own drink. A beer of the same unknown brand as Edgar's, the only thing available in the tiny store on the outskirts of Luna Bay that he had passed just before he arrived. He had known Edgar's place would be dry, and that if this was to be a wake of sorts, alcohol was a necessity.
He remembered his first, illicit taste of beer, one New Year's Eve on the Santa Carla boardwalk, sandwiched between Edgar and Alan in the crowd of revelers, sharing the one can they could get their hands on between the three of them. It was one of his better memories, and now, like so much else, it felt tainted by what was to come.
He looked at Edgar. The hunter sat slouched as he stared into the work of art left behind by the setting sun. The condensation from the cold can soaked through the knee of Sam's jeans in a cool, damp circle. Edgar chewed on his bottom lip with his front teeth as he watched the light of the day slowly fade to blackness.
When the daylight was gone completely, all that lit them was the glow of the half moon and the electric lights in the trailer behind them, shining out through the uncovered windows and open door. Edgar turned to Sam. His face was half in shadow, and he had removed the bandanna that usually held his hair in place, wrapping it instead around his wrist.
“Do you ever wonder what happened to him?” he asked.
They had worked their way slowly through the first of the two six packs that Sam had brought with him, but they were both reasonably unused to the effects of alcohol – both too aware of the possible costs of losing control. Edgar spoke with the careful clarity of someone trying not to slur.
Sam frowned. “What do you mean?” he asked?.
“Alan,” Edgar said. The name hung in the air, echoing in Sam's mind through the silence that followed it, as he realized that was the first time he had heard Edgar say his brother's name since it happened. “Do you think he turned? Staked himself?”
“I don't...” Sam chewed on his bottom lip hard.
He had wondered the same thing himself, every night. Not knowing was hard, and for Edgar it must be so much worse. There was no possible answer to the question that could make things better. Whatever had happened, Alan was still gone.
“I think maybe he's still fighting it,” he said finally. “Maybe still hunting the head vampire, trying to fix things so he can come home.”
“I think he turned,” Edgar said. He spoke in a hoarse whisper, as though forcing out words that wanted to remain hidden inside him. He looked away, speaking to his army boots as he continued, voice lowering still more. “I think I felt it happen.”
Sam allowed the hand holding his drink to drop to the ground, and stared at Edgar, unable to think of anything to say.
Edgar inhaled slowly through his nose, filling his lungs with air, and then held the breath for a moment before exhaling through pursed lips. He rubbed a hand over his face, as though he could brush away the memory.
The space between them narrowed slightly as Sam edged a little closer, trying to say with body language what he was unable to articulate; that whatever had happened to Alan, Edgar was not alone. That he would never be alone.
Sam didn't know whether Edgar had received the message, but as they sat side by side, shoulders touching, the hunter seemed to relax slightly. Sam leaned in further, resting a little of his weight on Edgar.
Somewhere in the distance, an owl hooted a welcome to the night, its hunting ground.
In the same way that he had known that he shouldn't have come here, some part of Sam knew that he was making a mistake. He knew it, but his mind filed the knowledge away as something to deal with later. It was no more than a single moment of bad judgment, but that was enough, because when Edgar responded, any chance of stopping disappeared.
He should have left things as they were. A night of sitting together, commiserating, drinking to the memory of their fallen comrade. Things had been good. Not perfect; when they had lost Alan, perfection had became an impossibility, but they could have gone forward as friends.
Sam's hand reached for Edgar. It snaked over his shoulders, and tugged gently until the hunter turned to face him. They both paused, and Sam could see Edgar assessing the situation and making a decision. In the heat of battle, decisions need to be made quickly, and that had become Edgar's habit. Instead of pulling away, as Sam had expected, he moved closer. Their lips touched.
Edgar's lips were chapped by the dry air, and their uneven surface tickled Sam's. They kissed lightly at first, carefully, and then harder and more desperate, and then to Sam's mind, the rest of the world dropped away completely.
Sam had woken in Edgar's arms. Clothing lay scattered around them where it had landed. The blanket had somehow wrapped itself around them in the night, keeping them warm against the cool night air. He lay completely still for a moment, barely even breathing for fear of waking Edgar. He watched as light slowly returned to the world, turning the sky first red, then pink and gold. As he watched it, and contemplated the day that was to come, a terrible knowledge washed over him. It was over. He and Edgar. The tenuous, fragile thing that bound them together had been broken.
He glanced away from the still lightening sky to look at the man laying next to him. As he watched the dawn, Edgar had woken, and was staring back at him with the same thought written in his eyes.
As the colors of the sunrise faded to the dusty blue of a misty morning, they scrambled for clothes carelessly discarded hours earlier. They worked in awkward silence, taking care not to look each other in the eye.
They had lost each other that night, and when Sam had driven away into the still rising sun after declining a mumbled offer of breakfast, he had known it. That was the end.
It had also been a beginning, of sorts. When Alan had returned, with fangs, red eyes and promises, Sam had tried over and over to call Edgar for help, and each time he had hung up before the first ring. With the exchange of tainted blood, Alan had ensured that the rift he and Edgar had forged that night would remain permanent.
Edgar had always said said that when someone became a vampire, they were no longer the person they had been; they became a monster wearing the skin of the innocent person that they had destroyed. Once, Sam had believed that. Now he wasn't so sure. Most nights, he felt like himself. Most nights, he could lose himself in memories of the past and dreams of the future. Most nights, he thought about that one night that changed everything, and wondered what his life would have been if he had stopped and thought at the right moment.
He and Edgar may have still been together. Perhaps not in the way that he would have wanted, but their friendship may have lasted. And even if it had not, he would have been able to call him for help when Alan came. They may have still been on the same side.
A group of young men walked down the street toward him. One of them struck Sam hard with his shoulder. The unexpected and unwelcome contact broke him out of his thoughts and brought him swiftly back to the present. Had he been paying attention, vampire strength would have been enough to break the man's arm, but he had been absent, and the impact shoved him out of the way. Only his new muscles and dexterity allowed him to keep his balance.
The man turned to him with an expression of scorn. “Watch it, moron!” he said.
Sam said nothing in response. He watched them go for a moment, allowing the space between him and them to grow. Then he smiled to himself, ready for the hunt. He inhaled the scent of his victim, then turned and followed.
Edgar could wait one more night.