Characters: Edgar Frog, Alan Frog, Sam Emerson
Warnings: Not really.
Spoilers: For Reign of Frogs, I suppose.
Synopsis: Set after Reign of Frogs. Alan drank vampire blood, and Edgar is going to save him even if he has to to tear down the whole town to do it...
Prologue | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Alan tailed her to the site of the burnt out mansion. The damage the fire had done to the place was impressive. The walls were blackened with smoke, every window was broken, but it was still standing. The door was gone, she made contact with the ground just outside and walked through.
When Alan rushed inside after her, she was gone. There was no sign of the vampire or of Edgar. His eyes flicked frantically around the imposing hall that was the first room in the house. Keen, half vampire eyes allowed him to pick out footprints in the soot. They led him to a staircase taking him down into the basement. That part of the house was relatively untouched by the fire. He knew that Edgar had been back to check the mansion several times before tonight and found no sign that the vampires had returned. Why she had brought him here, he had no idea, but in a way it made sense that this was where it ended. Perhaps the vampire appreciated the symmetry.
The Black Widow seemed to radiate power in a way unlike any other vampire he had encountered before. Whether that was because he was more attuned to it now, or because she was simply older and more powerful than anything they had seen before, he didn't know. It hardly seemed like the ideal time to consider it.
He climbed carefully down the slightly fire damaged stairs into the darkened basement. His eyes adjusted quickly to the gloom and he saw her waiting at the other side of the room. Edgar lay on the ground by her feet, unconscious. He faced the stairs as though deliberately positioned to be the first thing Alan saw as he descended. A bruise, already turning an unpleasant shade of purple, adorned his forehead, she had either hit him, or thrown him into the wall and knocked him out. To Alan's intense relief, he could still hear his heartbeat and breathing. They were getting stronger, he would be awake soon.
“Welcome,” said the Black Widow.
To her left there another man lay on the ground. He was semi-conscious, unmarked, unbitten and still human. He was suffering for that. His breathing was labored, his eyes half open and glazed as he watched the scene unfolding around him without comprehension.
Seeing Alan's eyes drift in his direction, the Widow smiled, “He's for you,” she explained. “Your first kill. I suspected we might end up here tonight, so I prepared him for you. He's a murderer, to appease that human conscience of yours. Most new vampires would tear their own families apart while they slept, but you...” she shook her head disapprovingly, “Maybe your brother would make a better recruit. I doubt he'd have your hangups about killing.” She looked down at Edgar's unconscious form and smiled, “What do you say, Eddie? Want to live forever?”
Edgar's eyes opened a fraction of an inch. The room was spinning, he wanted to throw up. Whatever he had missed while he was out, he really didn't like the way the conversation was going. He tried to get up, but his body wasn't responding properly. His strength failed him and he ended up back on the ground with no choice but to watch and wait.
Alan's fingers tightened around the stake tucked in his belt and he took a step closer to Edgar. His eyes narrowed, and his voice sounded dangerous even to his own ears. “No.”
She smiled with pleasure, “So that got a reaction, did it? Okay, I have a deal for you. If you kill my evildoer, I won't turn your brother.”
Alan didn't move, didn't react. At her feet, Edgar once again tried to get up. He managed to push himself into a sitting position and was rewarded by a feeling of intense dizziness. His head drooped forwards and hands tried to grip the floor for balance. “Don't you dare, Alan,” he called.
The widow knelt down next to him. Edgar knew he couldn't get away, but he tried to crawl. Alan pulled out his stake and rushed at her, but she dodged easily. The same move she had used against Edgar earlier that evening disarmed him and with no more effort than a human might use to toss a football, she threw him across the room. He landed with a painful sounding crack next to her other victim.
Edgar watched with dread as the Black Widow bit into her own wrist. The blood welled up much more slowly than it would in a human. He struggled harder to stand. His strength was returning but not quickly enough, and his head was still spinning. He managed to drag himself a few painful and futile feet away. She simply reached over and pulled him back..
“One of you is going to drink,” said the Widow, as she moved the bleeding wound closer to his lips. He could smell the blood. He turned his head away, closed his mouth as hard as he could.
The man on the ground was dying. Alan didn't know how he knew it, but he could tell. He could almost feel the life ebbing from his body. No matter what the outcome of this showdown, he wasn't going to make it out alive.
If Edgar became a half vampire, he would kill himself. This was something that Alan knew with a certainty. If Edgar drank, Alan would lose him forever. But to take that final, terrible step to becoming a full vampire would mean death for Alan. Maybe not death in the normal sense, but the end of everything he knew, everything he was. Either way, whatever he decided, he would still lose Edgar.
He could see his brother trying to struggle. The Black Widow was too strong to resist even if he had been at full strength. She was toying with him, giving Alan the chance to make his decision.
The fear in Edgar's expression was a terrible thing to see. His brother was never afraid. Give him a strong enough stake and some holy water and he would march straight into hell without looking back. He had no fear of death. But this was something much worse than death that was being offered to him, and the terror in his eyes as he realized he could do nothing about it was painful to watch.
Edgar's head shook from side to side, his eyes were focused on Alan, begging him not to do it, not to drink. But to save his brother the hell he had gone through, Alan would do anything. Even this.
The man on the ground was fading fast. A few more minutes and he would be gone. Alan felt the hated fangs protrude. The Black Widow smiled as he slowly and awkwardly used the sharp teeth to pierce the man's artery. Blood gushed from the wound and filled his mouth. He hesitated before swallowing, but the decision had been made and there was no going back. It was hot and thick and wonderful, everything that he had needed for so long. The relief at finally surrendering was sheer bliss. He had almost forgotten how it felt to not be at war with his own body.
The corpse lay limp in his arms. He released it and allowed it to fall to the ground. He looked down at the body of the man he had just killed, and he felt nothing. He thought he should feel something.
The Black Widow watched with satisfaction, and Edgar with horror.
Edgar couldn't tear his eyes away from the nightmare scene in front of him. Alan's mouth was red with blood, the body at his feet had been alive only seconds before. Alan looked at him far too calmly. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, it only smeared the blood further across his cheek. He had been given a choice between damning himself or his brother. He had chosen to bear the burden himself. Edgar wondered whether he would ever be able to forgive him.
Even while he was still watching the thing that used to be his brother, he heard the Widow's voice speaking to him. “Now you.”
She pressed her still bleeding wrist to his lips, holding his head in place with her other hand. He struggled as hard as he could manage, but she was so much stronger than him. No matter how much his body writhed and kicked, she held his head firm.
He held his lips pressed together, refusing to allow the blood to enter his mouth. She responded by pulling him closer to her, pressing his face against her body so hard he couldn't breathe. He tried to do nothing, to simply allow himself to pass out through oxygen deprivation, but he failed. His mouth opened in a gasp as survival instinct took over. Blood rushed inside, warm and terrible only because he knew what it was and what it would do. He fought not to swallow, but his body once again betrayed him in a desperate bid for survival, and he felt himself accept the blood.
He felt sick at the sensation of the liquid running down his throat, yet he continued to swallow again and again, until she finally dropped him and he fell to the ground gasping and coughing.
Edgar spat out the blood still in his mouth. He struggled to his hands and knees and retched, trying desperately to bring what he had swallowed back up, to undo what had been done to him, but it was too late. He could already feel that he was different. His head was no longer spinning, the blood had healed his concussion. He still wanted to vomit, but not because of the bump on his head.
Alan sank to the ground next to the body of his victim, and watched. He could feel the change from half to full vampire working on him. His muscles cramped as his body changed. It was painful, but not as painful as watching the scene before him. Edgar half lay on the ground, shaking, and coughing. He forced fingers down his throat, as though just bringing the blood back up would undo the change. It was too late. By now, he would feel it. Alan remembered all too vividly that strange sensation of otherness that came with knowing your body was no longer truly your own. With it came helplessness, confusion and the horror of knowing that you would become the thing you hunted, the thing you hated.
Edgar sobbed as he tried to cough up the poisonous blood, Alan lay helplessly on the ground, just feet away, watching but unable to do anything. Even if he could reach his brother, it was already too late. Edgar was a half vampire now. Soon, he would be like Alan.
There was a kind of comfort in that thought. They would still be together.
Edgar reached shakily for his second stake and thrust it ineffectually in the direction of the Widow, she stepped aside easily and the weapon dropped uselessly to the ground next to the first. He turned and looked at his brother pleadingly, questioningly. 'Can you help?'
Alan hesitated before he nodded, caught between the need not to be alone and the need to help his brother. The pain was beginning to subside, and he was able to think clearly. Edgar reached for the stake and slid it across the ground to where Alan was sitting. Alan caught it easily in his right hand.
The Widow's eyes were the same shade of blue as the sky on a clear summer's day. He would never see that again. He would never see his parents again, or his brother. He would never do any of the things he had planned to do with his life. It was all over, and she was responsible. He threw the stake across the room with a force that he never could have managed as human.
His aim was perfect, it pierced her right through her heart. The vampire screamed as she died in a ball of white fire.
Edgar gasped as he felt himself released from the change that had barely begun. He breathed deep, then turned to Alan triumphantly. Mission accomplished. The head vampire was dead.
Then he remembered.
The thought struck him like a punch to the gut, leaving him winded and gasping for air. When he recovered enough to look up again, Alan was gone.
Edgar took a deep breath and began to climb the stairs into the ruined house. He walked in a kind of daze through smoke blackened rooms until he found the gap where the door used to be, and staggered out into the night.
Alan was standing in front of him as he emerged. Edgar looked at him, unable to form words. He could feel hot tears building up pressure in his eyes as he refused to let them fall.
Alan was holding his other stake. Wordlessly, he offered it to his brother.
Edgar shook his head.
"Edgar, please. While I'm still me. I don't know if that's going to change."
It had to be done, he knew that. Alan had killed, he was a full vampire now. There was no going back. Slowly, he reached out and took the weapon. He looked at it, then back at Alan. Alan nodded.
The healing effects of his few minutes as a half vampire held out, and the world didn't spin. He wished it would, it would provide a welcome distraction. His hand gripped the wood so tightly it hurt. Alan remained perfectly still and closed his eyes. Edgar thrust the stake forwards. He missed the heart. He missed Alan completely. “I can't,” he said. It came out as a whisper.
“I'm a vampire,” Alan told him. His voice betrayed no emotion as he voiced the horrible fact, but his face reflected the revulsion that Edgar himself felt. But it was Alan. It was his brother.
“I can't,” he said again. “I thought I could, but I just can't.”
Alan nodded, “It's okay, I wouldn't be able to do it either, if it was you.”
“What are you going to do?” asked Edgar.
Alan smiled sadly, “I suppose I'm going to live,” he said. He turned to leave, “I'll be seeing you,” he said, and took to the air.
“You're not invited in the house!” Edgar yelled into the night sky.
He dropped to the ground and watched him go for long after he was no longer visible. When he finally picked himself up, the sky was beginning to lighten on the horizon from black to deep blue. He wondered whether Alan had found a place to shelter. He hoped so, but at the same time, part of him hoped his brother had the courage to face the sun while enough of his humanity remained.