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
It was a scientifically proven fact that Friday was the best day of the week. Or if it wasn't, that was only because there was no need to prove something that everybody already knew. On Fridays, the sun was a little warmer, the people were a little happier and the birds sang a little louder.
The Friday effect was taking its time to kick in on this particular morning. Sam crawled out of bed late, with a sense of impending doom handing over him. It felt like a Monday.
He left his bike at home and got a lift to school from his mom on her way to town. It would mean walking home, but it was better than making the day even worse by starting it out with a detention. He loved his mom, really, he did. But she had absolutely no sense of urgency. Nothing she ever did was rushed. She drove slowly and calmly into town while Sam pressed his face against the window looking out for Edgar and Alan, hoping to get the story on what had happened after he left. If he got into school without seeing them, he would end up having to wait until lunch.
As the car pulled up outside the school gates, he finally noticed Edgar. He was alone, just walking through the gate into the school. Before his mom had stopped the car completely, Sam unbuckled his seat belt and opened the door. He stumbled as he jumped out onto the slowly moving sidewalk.
“Sam..!” His mom shouted, but her attempt to tell him off was cut short when her oblivious son slammed the door closed, waved a thank you for the lift and hurried off after his friend.
Sam half jogged after Edgar, hooking the strap of his backpack over one shoulder as he did. Something seemed different about his friend. As he approached, he regarded him critically from behind. There was nothing new in what he was wearing. He and Alan never were irritatingly determined to keep to their own style, never mind that it made them stick out a mile around school, never mind that Sam had offered to go shopping with them, they were very happy with their army surplus store look. It was almost as though they didn't care. Sam had long since given up on the idea of changing them.
As he approached, he realized what was wrong. There was only one Frog marching up the drive toward the school this morning, and he obviously wasn't prepared for his lessons, he hadn't even brought his school bag with him.
Edgar looked worried. Even from behind, the mood was transmitted through his movements; the slow, heavy tread of his footsteps along the concrete path into the building, and the way he looked down, like he had no interest in what was happening around him. Sam jogged the final couple of steps to catch up with his friend, reached out with one hand and tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.
“Hey, Edgar. What's going on? What happened after I left?”
Edgar spun around in surprise, ready for a fight. Sam backed off a step in shock and waited for him to realize who he was. Edgar eventually relaxed. “Sam, good. I thought I was going to have to hang around this place for hours before I found you.”
Sam smiled, “Well, it's nice to be wanted. But you know, technically, I found you.”
The vampire hunter ignored his comment and looked around quickly, assessing his surroundings, taking in the steady line of schoolkids arriving ready for the start of the day, their various locations and the areas that were less busy.
The whole school seemed to be brimming over with Friday feeling, Sam could see it in the bright eyes and smiles of his fellow students as they chattered about their plans for the weekend. Sam still wasn't feeling it, and from the look of Edgar, neither was he.
Edgar's eyes were underlined by dark circles that told of his second sleepless night, possibly even his third or fourth. Sam wondered how Edgar and Alan managed to sleep at all, considering what they knew about their town, and the things they had done. He had had more than his fair share of nightmares since moving to Santa Carla.
“Come here.” Edgar grabbed Sam's arm and pulled him to a less populated area of the school grounds, near the side of the gym. He spoke in a tone only slightly above a whisper, looking around as he did, watching out for anyone that might be able to overhear. “We're going back to see the old man tonight, he's going to try to trace the spell on Alan back to the warlock.”
Sam nodded. That much he already knew.
Edgar grimaced in distaste, “Seems no matter how hard I try to avoid it, we keep having to trust that guy. And now he's going to be doing his own spells on Alan.”
Sam tried to appear sympathetic, but if it was going to solve their warlock problem, he couldn't see a downside to accepting the old man's assistance. “So, I assume Alan is saying home not looking at anything? But – and I'm sorry if this is a stupid question – but isn't he still in danger there on his own.”
Edgar's expression darkened further. “We're working on the assumption that Alan is safe for now. The spell is to get information, until the warlock has that information, he needs Alan alive.”
“That's a hell of an assumption. What if you're wrong?”
“We're not wrong. And it's safer for everyone if Alan stays home today.”
Sam nodded. He didn't agree, but he decided not to argue. From experience he knew that it was best not to question his friend's decisions when he was in this mood. Especially since Edgar's paranoia-driven logic was starting more and more to seem like good sense.
“So, do you know what the spying spell is for?” he asked.
“It's scrying, not spying.”
Sam frowned. “Are you sure? Spying makes more sense.”
Edgar fixed Sam with an incredulous look, then thought about the words. He shrugged and nodded at the same time. “Fine, yeah, I guess it does. But Alan says scrying, and he's the expert. Anyway, we're going back home now, so you can ask him if you want to make sure. Come on.”
Edgar turned and began to walk in the direction of the school gate. Sam watched him go for a few steps, hesitating. When it became clear that Edgar was serious about leaving, Sam jogged a few steps to catch up and once again tapped him on the shoulder.
Edgar turned to look at him.
“We're going now? It's the start of school; the first bell hasn't even rung yet. We can't just leave.”
Edgar gave him a look of pure fabricated confusion. “Why not?”
“Well, we've got classes.”
“This is more important than school,” Edgar told him. “But if you want to stay here, fine. Get yourself an education. I'm sure it'll come in real handy when a vampire's trying to eat you. It's not like you're really involved in this anyway, is it?”
“But...” Sam sighed and shrugged. “No, I'm coming.” He took a slightly nervous step in the direction of the gate, then looked around, expecting to be ambushed by a teacher for the crime of walking in the wrong direction. There were none around that he could see. He took another step. “Wait, so do you know what the scrying spell is for, then?” he tried.
Edgar hesitated visibly before he replied, and Sam could see the internal debate as he decided how to answer the question. He shook his head. “It doesn't matter what the spell's for. We're going to make the warlock regret the day he first picked up spell book.”
“Hmm,” Sam folded his arms and gave his friend a thoughtful look. “But do you know what it's for? Because that kind of information might be useful to know.”
Edgar shook his head. “Yeah, we've got a theory. Well, the wizard has one. But like I said, it doesn't matter.”
“It might matter,” Sam said.
Edgar clenched his fists and took a step forward into Sam's face. Sam automatically stepped back to avoid him, his back hit the outer wall of the gym. “Damn it, Sam! It doesn't. Will you just let it go?”
Sam's widened eyes glanced around for someone to protect him in case Edgar had gone completely nuts. Suddenly, a lack of teachers seemed like a very bad thing. He swallowed, and nodded slowly, feeling the bricks of the wall rubbing against the back of his head as he did.
“Good. Thanks.” Edgar backed off as though suddenly realizing what he was doing. “Um, sorry.” he muttered, and turned to leave.
Sam fixed the back of his hair with his fingers, then chased after his friend.
Sophie adjusted the position of her bag's shoulder straps and tried to look inconspicuous as she watched the two boys from across the school grounds. The other one was absent today, which was unexpected, but not a problem. Her efforts to talk to Alan had proved useless, clearly she had pushed too hard the first time and scared him off. Maybe a spell like the one she was using on the brother would have been useful, but it was too late for that now.
It was a shame, because Alan's support would have made things so much easier, but it was time to go directly to the brother. In fact, given his hostility toward her, not having Alan around might even work to her advantage; they were irritatingly protective of one another, if he didn't feel he had to watch out for Alan, Edgar might drop his guard and actually listen to what she had to say.
She brushed a hand through her hair, pushing the flyaway strands back into their proper position. He wasn't remotely interested in her, a fact for which she was eternally grateful, but it never hurt to look your best when trying to win someone over. She just wished she had her grandfather's talents for subtle magic, it would make things so much easier if she could activate the stupid boy's gifts herself. She could do it without his permission, something Anthony would never dream of. As it was, she needed him to want to access his abilities, and to ask her grandfather to help him with it. With this kid, that was going to be difficult.
But with the help of her spell, she was sure it could be done.
The other boy, the friend, was there. Despite his lack of ability he seemed interested in the Practice. He wouldn't pose much of a problem for her; most likely he would take her side if she gave him the opportunity. She took a deep breath, fingered the pentacle pendant around her neck, and walked confidently toward the two friends.
As though he had sensed her presence, Edgar's eyes fixed on her the moment she began walking toward him. He stiffened and scowled in her direction.
She smiled at him in response, trying to appear friendly. If this was what he was like after the spell, she was glad she hadn't tried this before. She continued on undeterred.
As soon as he was sure that he was her target, Edgar turned away from her. He grabbed Sam by the sleeve of his jacket and tugged him away, still heading toward the gate. That wasn't part of the plan. She increased her speed and caught up to them. Edgar stopped walking only when she planted herself firmly between him and the school gate. She smiled again.
“Hi, Edgar, where's your brother today?”
“He's sick,” Edgar told her. He stepped around her and continued walking without so much as glancing at her face, still dragging a confused looking Sam by the sleeve.
“Mono,” Sam added, turning back to look at her as they walked, “highly contagious. I'd keep away from him if I were you. But if you're looking for someone to hang out with, I'm available.” He smiled, then stumbled as Edgar gave the sleeve a hard tug. “Hey! This jacket wasn't cheap, you know!”
He was cute, she thought, in a naïve kind of way. It was unfortunate that she didn't have the slightest bit of interest in him. She turned her attention back to Edgar, following after him as he walked.
“Actually, it's you I wanted to talk to.” She placed a hand on his arm and saw a literal shudder of distaste run through his body. If she cared what he thought, she might have been offended. “It's about magic,” she said, speaking in a lower voice. “I don't think you want to talk about it here.” She glanced around. There were fewer people around now to over hear, but if she knew the kid, he wouldn't want to risk anyone finding out. “Meet me at lunchtime just outside the science labs, we'll go somewhere quiet.”
Edgar hesitated. She watched his eyes flick from left to right as he recognized the veiled thread in her words. He was certainly not stupid, this hater of all things magical, though he obviously couldn't grasp the idea that hating the supernatural meant hating himself, his brother and his entire family. Or maybe he did, maybe that was why he was in such a bad mood all the time.
He adopted a defensive pose and glared at her with dislike. She felt his eyes move to her pendant, focusing all of his hatred onto the symbol. She reached for the spell that she had cast the previous night, to force in a little more magic, twist his arm a little further, but as she tried to grasp it, she found it missing. No connection had been made, and there was nothing there to manipulate.
It was like reaching into a pocket for some money she knew was there and finding it gone. She managed to disguise her shock at the discovery, but barely. This had never happened before. When she cast a spell, the spell stayed cast until she broke it. She didn't even know it was possible to break someone else's spell. She looked carefully at Edgar, wondering what he was hiding.
If he even knew that the spell had been there in the first place, he gave no outward sign other than the same undisguised hatred with which he always looked at her. His body language said that he wanted to tell her to go to hell, but something – something other than her non-existent spell – convinced him to agree to her request. Self preservation, presumably, a response to the implied threat that she might blab his secrets.
In reply, he nodded once, curtly, then he looked reluctantly at the school gate, released his grip on Sam's jacket and turned back into the grounds.
Sophie watched him disappear around the corner with his friend almost jogging to keep up. As soon as he was out of sight, she slipped out of school herself.
She barely noticed the world around her on the short walk home. She walked against the flow of kids heading into school, paying no attention to then as they stared, wondering why she was walking in the wrong direction. The spell had been broken. It was impossible, it went against everything she knew about magic. Only the spellcaster could break the spell.
The only explanation was that the spell had never been completed in the first place. She thought back to the casting, she knew that everything had been done correctly, she had done the same thing dozens of times before. The hair she had used had been taken right from Edgar Frog's shoulder, it was the right color, it could only be his. The ingredients had been fresh, the candle she burned had been new.
With an irritated sigh, she increased her pace until she was almost jogging home. Panic that she had been discovered began to set in, and once the thought was in her head, it wouldn't leave until she knew for certain.
She entered through the back door, turning her key in the lock as quietly as she could, hoping that her grandfather would be busy in the shop and wouldn't hear her. As she pushed open the door, her hope of that was shattered as she found herself face to face with the old man pouring himself a large mug of coffee.
Anthony glanced up in surprise as she entered. He put the coffee pot down and looked at her in confusion, then checked his watch. “Why aren't you in school?” he asked.
Sophie smiled reassuringly and reached for a spell that she knew was there, tried and tested, and used over and over again with her grandfather non the wiser. It hung around him like a cloud. It was funny, the way he had the ability to detect spells on other people, and even tell what they were, but he didn't know that there was one on him.
She added a little more power to the trust spell before she told him, “I've got a few free periods this morning, I thought I'd come back here and study.”
Anthony nodded. “I'm sure you do mean to study,” he told her. “But I assume not for school, or you'd do it there.”
She smiled, “You caught me.”
Anthony nodded and turned to head back into the shop. “Be careful you don't fall behind on your work,” he warned her. “But enjoy your free time. I've got some things to be doing today.”
As his hand pushed aside the curtain that separated the shop from the storeroom at the back, Sophie called out, “Wait, can I ask you a question?”
Her grandfather nodded, and walked through into the shop. Sophie followed him through and watched him sit down behind the counter. From one of the shelves underneath, he lifted his large, leather bound spellbook, filled with handwritten spells that he had devised himself. Sophie watched as he slowly turned the pages, looking for the spell he wanted. She had loved that book as a child, the feel of the cover, the smell of the old, yellowing pages.
“What did you want to know?” he asked.
She turned her attention away form the book, “Is there any reason why a spell wouldn't work?”
He frowned and looked up at her. “There are all kinds of reasons. What sort of spell is it?”
She hesitated, not wanting to give too much away. The spell on her grandfather had worked so far, but she didn't want to push it too far. “Just... an influence spell.”
“Oh?” He smiled knowingly. “And who is the lucky boy?”
Despite herself, Sophie felt her cheeks begin to heat up as she blushed. Her grandfather assumed it was a love spell. That was okay, it made for a realistic cover actually. She shook her head, and looked away coyly.
Her grandfather sighed and pushed aside his book. “It could have failed for all kinds of reasons, but Sophie, you have to be very careful with that kind of spell. You are playing with someone's free will, that kind of thing is very dangerous. Not to mention, just a step above what the council considers to be black magic.”
“I know,” she assured him. “But lets just say theoretically. If the... love spell didn't work, why might that be?”
“Did you do the preparation properly?”
She nodded. “I know it wasn't something I did wrong.”
“Well then,” Anthony took a long sip of his coffee and sat back in his chair staring at her thoughtfully. “It must be him. It is very difficult to break someone else's spell, but it can be done. Still, it's more likely that he rejected it before you were able to cast it. You know how to do a protection spell to shield yourself from evil spells. Maybe the object of your affections knows it too.”
“He doesn't.” she told him.
“Then there are two other explanations. Influence spells take away a little of a person's free will, that's why they are frowned upon. But if the person in question has exceptionally strong will, he might be able to reject the spell without even realizing it, simply by the power of his desire to be in control. Or alternatively, what the spell is asking him to do goes so far against his nature that his mind refuses to acknowledge it, and again if fails.” He smiled. “Sophie, are you sure that your gentleman friend is interested in ladies?”
Sophie stared at her grandfather in shock. “I didn't know people could do that.”
“It's rare, but it can happen.”
She shuck her head angrily and turned around. Stupid Edgar Frog with his stupid free will and his stupid prejudices against magic had managed to reject her spell, something no one had ever managed to do before. That just wasn't acceptable. She was going to have to do it again.
“Sophie?” said her grandfather as she stepped through into the back room to go upstairs and try again. “I don't want you doing influence spells anymore. They're too dangerous.”
Silently, she reached for the spell around her grandfather and placated him by feeding it more power, then she stalked up the stairs to her bedroom.