Characters: Edgar Frog, Alan Frog, Sam Emerson
Synopsis: Alan was dying. Edgar had no choice.
Notes: This is an odd little fic, I'll tell you that before you read it. We all know how Alan becomes a vampire in the films and the comics, but this is an alternate Alan turns story. Please let me know what you think, you wouldn't believe how long I've debated over writing this, and then over posting it. I'd love to know people's opinions, good or bad.
It is a cold evening in Luna Bay, as they often are at this time of year. The welcome breezes of summer turn into chilly gusts that leave him shivering. The sky is completely clear, allowing any residual heat from the day to escape into the night sky. Edgar pulls his jacket tighter around him.
Luna Bay doesn’t have much in the way of a nightlife. Not compared to Santa Carla. The boardwalk barely exists, there are no nighttime concerts, no fairground rides, no hoards of teenagers marauding through the streets; but there are vampires. There are always vampires. This far down the beach, he has left the half empty clubs and the bright lights far behind. Above, the crescent moon and stars are the only light, shining down onto the dark beach and black sea.
He senses his approach rather than hears him. He turns, and finds himself staring into the eyes of his brother. In the intervening years, he has not changed. Untouched by time, skin smooth as a child’s, pale, made paler by his dark hair, a little longer than Edgar remembers it. He smirks, and the expression is so Alan that for a moment he can almost believe that this really is his brother. Then he smiles wider, revealing sharp fangs protruding from black gums.
Edgar takes a step backward, almost stumbling on the uneven ground.
“Long time,” Alan says. His breath stinks of blood and death.
“So, it’s true,” Edgar says. “You really are here.”
Alan’s smile widens. “I’m here for you, Edgar,” he says.
He shakes his head. “I’ll die first.”
Something about that seems to amuse Alan. His lips curl further and an approximation of a laugh forces its way out from inside him. He shakes his head. “No, Edgar. You didn’t ask my permission, you don’t get the chance to choose either.”
This hadn’t been supposed to happen.
Living in Santa Carla brought with it a certain amount of risk, they knew that and they understood it, but when they feared for their lives it was supposed to be the monsters that were the danger, not the humans that he had fooled himself into believing they were protecting.
It had been all his fault.
Yes, it was also the fault of the petty thief that Alan had chased out of the store, so reluctant to give up the handful of comics he had swiped at random from the stand outside that he had decided to fight back, and it was also the fault of the gang of morons that had helped him, but it had been Edgar that had given the order. It had been Edgar that had sent him out there into the night.
If he had known it might be the last time he would see him, he would have done it differently. He wouldn’t have done it at all. He would have just ignored the gang. A few comics weren’t worth his brother’s life.
Edgar had known as soon as he saw him that it wasn’t good. As soon as he heard the scream outside. The ambulance had taken too damn long to get there, forcing its way through crowds of onlookers and drunks, down to the beach where a kid lay unconscious on the sand.
“Was it deliberate?” Sam asks.
He is sitting in the chair next to him in the waiting room. All around them, the place is alive with activity, doctors, nurses, patients stumbling in varying conditions. Edgar doesn’t see any of them.
“Edgar?” Sam says. He places a hand on his arm and Edgar flinches as though he had forgotten that he was there.
“Do you think they did it on purpose?”
There is no way that his brother landed head first on the beach seven feet below the boardwalk by accident. He hadn’t fallen, there was a wall to prevent that. He hadn’t even been pushed. For that to happen, he had to have been thrown.
Edgar nods. He wants to demand vengeance. He wants to be plotting his revenge, hurting them in the same way they have hurt his brother. He wants to see them all in prison for the rest of their miserable little lives. He raises a hand and wipes compulsively at his eyes. Saltwater damps his fingers and he brushes away the evidence on the leg of his pants.
Sam edges a little closer, his body presses against the side of Edgar’s. He says nothing, and Edgar is grateful for his presence.
“You can’t!” Sam is staring at him with an expression of pure horror.
“Wrong, Sam. I can, and I will. It’s the only chance he’s got.”
Sam shakes his head. He keeps shaking it, maintaining eye contact with Edgar while he takes a step closer to the bed as though he can protect Alan with his presence. The machinery in the room is loud, humming and beeping as it forces air again and again into Alan’s lungs.
Edgar sees the tears in his friend’s eyes. He looks away. “I have to do this.”
“You don’t know it’ll work,” Sam tells him. “Just because they heal fast doesn’t mean it’ll heal the injuries he already has. He might become a half vampire and still be…” he tails off. His arm waves ineffectually over the bed, indicating Alan’s current state.
Edgar doesn’t answer. He knows that nothing is certain. He also knows that this is the only chance he’s got. “He’s not going to wake up, Sam,” he says. “Or, even if he does, he’s not going to be Alan anymore. Don’t you understand that? This is the only chance he’s got.”
Sam is still shaking his head from side to side, more slowly now. “What if it doesn’t work? What if he turns and he’s craving blood and he can’t move or speak or do anything about it.” He stops shaking his head and focuses his eyes directly on Edgar’s. “It’d be torture,” he adds quietly.
“What if he wakes up and he’s fine, and he comes with us to kill the head vampire and everything goes back to normal?” Edgar says. “How about that scenario? Don’t you think it’s worth the risk?”
“What if he wakes up and he hates you? Think about it, Edgar. How would you feel if someone did that to you?”
Edgar sinks into the chair next to the bed. He has been up for forty eight straight hours, it’s all he can do to keep from collapsing. He doesn’t care if Alan hates him. He would welcome it, if it meant that he was capable of feeling anything. He wants his brother to punch him, to tell him he made the wrong decision, because then he will know that he did the right thing.
“What if he turns?” Sam says quietly.
“He won’t. He’s stronger than that.”
Sam looks unconvinced, terrified and horrified at the same time.
The vampire is new enough to immortality that it lets him get the drop on it easily. That’s good. He doesn’t want to risk killing it. He doesn’t know whether this will work if the source of the blood is already dead.
It snarls fiercely from its position on the ground, showing sharp fangs, eyes red with rage and bloodlust. It stinks, its breath smells so bad he has to force himself not to lean backward. This is the part where he is supposed to raise his stake into the air and bring it down into the vampire’s heart. He raises his knife instead. “Bleed, bitch,” he says.
He strikes at random, the knife slashes the skin of the vampire’s arm and it screams in rage. Blood flows from the wound, but the vampire is moving too fast. Before he knows it, it is on its feet again, coming at him. He reaches for his holy water gun, aims and fires. The vampire screams again, this time in agony. It’s skin is smoking where the blessed water came into contact with unholy flesh, and he wonders again whether this is the right thing.
He pushes the thought aside and concentrates on the task at hand, he can think later, right now he has to do this.
The vampire is covering its face with its hands, Edgar is almost certain he got it in the eyes. He kicks it, hard, pushing it backward against a wall. He raises the knife again, strikes. He slices down the flesh of one arm, so deep that he can see bone. Blood pours out this time. The vampire strikes out with its other hand. Long nails scratch the skin of his face, breaking the skin. He ignores the pain. He pulls the cloth from his pocket and presses it against the vampire’s wound. The vampire kicks and flails, unable to see, not understanding what it happening.
When the cloth is saturated with blood, he turns and runs, leaving the wounded vampire alive on the street. It is a risky move, he knows that, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about anything right now but Alan.
The room is bland and colorless, everything is a shade of white or gray; the walls, the ceiling, the floor. The blinds that cover the window, blocking out the world beyond are equally bland. The frame of bed where he lays is made of white metal, the sheets are plain white. Even his brother’s skin looks too pale, as though he has been made to fit in with the scheme of the room.
The only color comes in the subdued blues and yellows of Sam’s jacket. His friend is sitting in the chair by the bad, legs pulled up onto the seat, arms wrapped tightly around them. He is staring into space when Edgar pushes open the door. When he sees him, he focuses his attention on Edgar instead. “Did you get it?” he asks.
In response, Edgar pulls the small glass bottle from his pocket and shows it to Sam. He had squeezed the substance from the saturated cloth earlier that night with gloved fingers, terrified of contamination, horrified that he was going to do this to anybody, especially his brother. He feels sick at the thought. He puts the bottle back into his pocket, not wanting to look at it.
The younger boy tightens his arms grip around his knees, pulling him into an even smaller ball. He looks away, eyes drifting over the boy in the bed.
“Are you sure about this?” he asks.
Edgar nods. The truth is he has never been less sure of anything in his life.
“How are you going to get it into him?” Sam asks.
He still doesn’t look happy about the situation, that’s okay, Edgar isn’t happy either. Far from it.
“What do you mean?” Edgar asks.
Sam grimaces and gestures in the general vicinity of Alan’s face. His brother’s skin looks pale and clammy, a thin layer of sweat coats his face. His neck is encased in a brace designed to keep his head in the right place, preventing any further damage from occurring. His mouth is held partially open by a tube attached to the machine that is breathing for him. He isn’t going to be drinking anything anytime soon.
Edgar fingers the bottle in his pocket, feeling its smooth exterior and the weight of the substance inside. At the other side of the room there is a cabinet full of medical supplies. He opens it and begins pulling out drawers at random until he finds what he is looking for.
He unwraps the packaging around the needle, opens the bottle and tilts it so that the blood pools at one side, then he dips in the tip of the needle, slowly pulls back the plunger and fills the syringe with red.
Sam looks horrified. “Will that even work?” he asks.
Edgar shakes his head. “I dunno. One way to find out.”
“This is so wrong.”
Edgar couldn’t agree more. He steps closer to the bed, holding the needle gingerly, careful not to accidentally touch the point. Sam is sitting completely still now, hands balled into fists so tight his knuckles are white.
Edgar stands next to his brother. He raises the needle, depresses the plunger just a little to get the air out like he’s see on TV, then he stops. Sam is watching him with eyes wide. Edgar watches him back out of the corner of his eye. The needle feels impossibly heavy in his hand. He doesn’t know where to inject it, whether it will make any difference. He eyes the bag of fluid hanging to Alan’s left. Whatever is inside it is being placed straight into his brother’s veins. Should he add it to there, or… he lowers the needle. He can’t do it.
Without warning, an alarm starts to sound, where until now there had been a steady rhythmic bleeping, suddenly it is replaced by a loud, continuous tone. Edgar flinches. He knows what that means. Alan’s heart is no longer beating. He glances quickly at the door, expecting a troupe of doctors to come storming in. His hands are trembling and he realizes that it is now or never. He stabs the needle clumsily into Alan’s leg through the sheets that cover him. He presses the plunger. It is surprisingly difficult to force the blood out and he knows that he has probably hit muscle instead of vein, he presses as hard as he is able, and the amount of blood inside the syringe decreases just a little.
He pulls the needle out just as a man and woman run into the room. He hides it behind his back and complies without argument as he and Sam are ushered from the room and into the corridor beyond.
“How could you do this to me?”
Alan is alive. Just as importantly, he is still Alan. At this particular moment, he is pissed.
“What the hell else was I supposed to do?” Edgar asks him.
Alan is sitting on the side of the bed, legs hanging down and feet pointing at the floor. He is glowering at Edgar as though he can turn him to ash with the power of his glare. “Anything! Nothing! What the fuck, Edgar?!”
Edgar backs off, just a little. “You were dying,” he says. He speaks quietly, trying to diffuse the situation. The last thing they need is the hospital sending security in.
Alan shakes his head. “You should have let me.”
They have nothing. They didn’t have any leads on the head vampire before, and the time pressure is not helping anything. Edgar doesn’t know how long he has, but one night it will be too late, he will lose his opportunity to undo what he has done.
Alan’s terror is palpable underneath his anger.
Edgar paces the room, back and forth between the door that leads from the kitchen to the store, and the bottom of the stairs. Alan sits on the battered old couch next to the staircase, arms wrapped tightly around his chest, as though he could hold himself back if the need to attack struck him. Edgar can feel his brother’s eyes on him, following him as he walks his route, he can almost sense the need stirring within him.
“We’re never going to find him,” Alan says. He speaks quietly. The tremble in his voice is barely detectable; Edgar doesn’t think anybody else would be able to notice it.
“We will,” Edgar tells him. “I’m going to fix this, I swear it.”
Alan shakes his head. “There’s only one way to fix this.”
“I know, find the head vampire.”
The head shaking continues, Alan’s eyes remain steady, never leaving Edgar’s. “I was supposed to die,” he says. “And that’s what I have to do.”
He hasn’t left his room in days, the door remains firmly closed. Locked too, though Edgar has no idea how, there was never a lock on it before. He heard banging a few nights earlier, he wonders whether Alan has actually nailed it closed.
“Alan, can we talk?”
Edgar is sitting on the floor outside the bedroom, his back pressed against the door. He waits, hoping for a response. None comes.
“Please. Just let me know you’re okay.” Edgar’s worst fear is that Alan will do something stupid. There are weapons everywhere in the house, and the bedrooms are no exception.
He flinches as something hits the door at the other side and smashes loudly. Alan doesn’t say a word.
The boardwalk lights illuminate Alan’s room through the open window. Edgar stands in the doorway, staring into the dark room. The door is broken behind him where he kicked it down, the nails and pieces of wood that had held it closed are scattered around him on the floor.
He can see his brother’s silhouette against the flashes of red and blue that flood into the room. He is sitting on his bed, arms wrapped around his body tightly. He opens his eyes and for a moment Edgar thinks he is seeing the boardwalk lights reflected in them, until he realizes that the glow is coming from within them.
“You were right,” Alan tells him
Edgar backs into the wall. “Right about what?” he asks.
“You did the right thing." He smiles, but there is no humanity in the expression. Everything that was Alan is gone now. Edgar looks closer, squinting in the darkness. Alan's lips are stained red.
Edgar feels a cold dread wash over him.
The thing that had been his brother gets to its feet and takes a step toward him. Edgar edges sideways, closer to the door.
"Thank you," Alan tells him.
Edgar reaches for a stake from his holster. He doesn't draw it, not yet. His fingers close around the wood and he feels as though he can draw strength from its presence. "For what?"
"Saving me," Alan says simply. He stops walking forward. Edgar ceases his retreat.
Alan sneers and Edgar realizes that is is the first time he has seen that particular expression directed at him.
“Maybe I’ll return the favor.”
Edgar stumbles as he flees the room, almost falling onto the broken wood in his haste to escape. He pulls what is left of the door closed behind him for all the good it will do. As he runs down the stairs he can hear the faint sound of laughter echoing through the house.
Sam is sitting cross legged on the floor of Edgar’s bedroom. His back leans against the wall, his head tipped backward and his eyes closed as though he is meditating. “Where do you think he went?” he asks.
“Hell if I know,” Edgar tells him. He turns and walks across the room again, pauses briefly before spinning and repeating the action. In a bag by the door, he has a collection of weapons. If Alan comes back, he may have to use them. He doesn’t think he will be able to do it.
Nothing is the same anymore. He ruined everything. Now Alan is still gone and he doesn’t even have a body to mourn.
“You were right,” he tells Sam. “It was a fucking stupid thing to do.”
Sam shakes his head. “You bought him some time. I know it didn’t work out, but it came pretty damn close. At least you were able to say goodbye.”
Edgar stops his pacing and sinks to the ground next to Sam. “This is all my fault,” he says. His voice comes out as little more than a whisper.
Sam shuffles along the ground so that his arm presses against Edgar's and he can feel the body heat coming from his friend. Sam says nothing. Edgar decides to take that as agreement..
“We don't know he isn't okay,” Sam says.
But Edgar does know. His brother is gone.
“He might come back,” Sam suggests.
Edgar feels a chill.