“It’s okay Eddie,” he reassures for the thousandth time, but he doesn’t understand that Edgar hates him using that name. Chris can’t use that name, he used that name and Eddie liked it then because he loved him...
Edgar doesn’t love Chris, but he doesn’t want to admit it. If he can let himself believe he does for just a little longer. Just a little...
“Go to sleep, Chris,” he growls, sleep shaken off him quickly, as he’s learned to be able to do over fifteen years of vampire hunting. Fifteen years. Here he is, twenty six, still woken up by night terrors. But he’d never had night terrors because of the damn vampires. Not until they worked out how to really hurt.
Chris doesn’t know and Edgar doesn’t think Chris will ever know, but he stays because he doesn’t mind not knowing. Chris is happy enough just to be there for Edgar and Edgar is so grateful just to have someone, especially someone who cares about him like Chris does. For a long time nobody did care.
Those days, Edgar remembers well. His parents never did; too busy smoking weed and trying to relive Woodstock. When they moved out of Santa Carla, finally, months after everything began to go downhill, Alan didn’t care. He was eighteen by then, Edgar not far off seventeen, sticking to his brother - the only thing he knew.
Alan had been working desperately hard for at least a couple of years, painstakingly saving enough to get a small trailer (and nothing else) on the edge of a town just next to the one they left. He let Edgar stay out of courtesy and no more, Edgar was sure.
He was only there for a couple of years. Edgar managed to save up enough for himself and get his own beat up trailer. There had been no emotion between them when they lived together, acquaintances rather than brothers; the defeat of Santa Carla’s coven had changed everything, but their parting was a different story. Edgar packed his few possessions in silence on their last night, and turned to go out the door with nothing but a vague “See you around,” when Alan stopped him.
He drew Edgar into a tight hug, one the younger brother, now eighteen himself, just barely, stiffened against before reciprocating. “We’ve been through some stuff, huh bro?”
“Definitely. I want you to promise me something, Eddie.”
“Look after yourself. You know where I am if you ever wanna come back. I’ll always be your big brother, right?”
“Right.” Edgar had been a little nervous by then, he remembers.
“And brothers look out for each other. Remember that if you don’t remember nothing else.”
And he has. Edgar lies awake after those dreams and remembers Alan’s words as he left.
Less than six months after he moved, Edgar was found. Not by his brother, but by Sam Emerson. The kid – seventeen now, just over half a year younger than Edgar – who’d begged for their help back in Santa Carla those two years ago. It had seemed much longer then, and now it seems to Edgar like it never really happened. It seems like it happened a lifetime ago.
And Edgar had let him in, sat him down, offered him coffee and wondered aloud why he was there.
It was a sad story, and maybe if Edgar hadn’t let himself slip, if he had firmly pushed aside the memories of a darkened bedroom, awkward embraces and trembling, embarrassed adolescent hands as he listened, he wouldn’t have done what he did that night and it wouldn’t hurt as much now.
“Oh Eddie, it’s Michael. He ran off with Star as soon as he was sure David was dead. Broke Mom’s heart. She loved him more. That proved it, she wouldn’t get up and she wouldn’t eat or wash, she just drank, drank and ignored me when I begged her to stop, and even her dad considered throwing her out. Mike came back, only to see what he’d left and laughed in her face. I don’t know what happened to him. Was it Star? He never used to be a bad kid Eddie. He changed but he still said that I was his brother, and brothers look out for each other so could I lend him money please? And I dunno, I just...I let him have what he wanted. He told me he’d come back and get me outta there so I wouldn’t have to stay with what she’d become, but he never did. I saw Star hanging round your shop, maybe she was looking for you...this has to have been about a year ago now, so about a year after we finished the vampires off...I asked her where Michael was and she said ‘Michael?’ like she didn’t know him. And then I asked her again and I got ‘He doesn’t want anybody. Whatever it was impaled David didn’t kill him, he was hiding out, and he came back and Michael went with him and now he doesn’t want me, and he doesn’t want you’. I looked into her eyes for a lie, but she was telling the truth Eddie, the god damn truth, and my brother don’t want me no more.”
Sam’s words had all come out in a rush and Edgar saw the brightening of saltwater in his big brown eyes. He didn’t know what to say though, that’s a shortcoming of his; he never seems to know the right thing to say. He eventually settled for putting a hand on Sam’s shoulder, offering as much as he could.
“I went to your shop, I went looking for you, I know I’d kinda ignored you since we finished what I asked of you, but the shop was boarded up. I knew you’d gone then, Eddie, both of you had gone, and I couldn’t take it. You hadn’t even said goodbye to me and I was so angry, I was so hurt, especially after those nights...do you remember them? Do you even remember?”
“Yeah, we left. Didn’t wanna stick around a backwards town where our parents didn’t care and neither did our friend. Do you really think I had anybody apart from you? After that night me and you actually - oh yeah, I remember all right Sam - after that night you freaked and asked me to leave you never once called or came to see me. I took that as a pretty clear sign you didn’t want anything to do with me!” Edgar still had his hand on Sam’s shoulder, but he couldn’t help adding his own cutting reply.
For a long time there was silence between them, Edgar trying to work out if it was hostile or not before admitting in a tiny voice, working around an obstruction in his throat “I’ve missed you.”
Sam stiffened under his hand, looking up at him, a tear threading its way down his cheek. Edgar sat beside him, pulling the shaking teen against his own skinny chest. “I’ve missed you so much sweetheart,” he whispered into Sam’s ear as Sam convulsed with quiet, breathy sobs against Edgar’s shoulder.
It was true; Edgar had barely slept without some thought of the boy he’d left behind, waking up in the dark, full of helpless longing. Alan knew, Edgar was sure of that, which was why he never said anything as Edgar found his release, sometimes not able to keep back the whisper of that name, and was why Edgar would sometimes find a cool hand on his forehead, a familiar voice telling him to go back to sleep, not intruding or asking anything more.
Maybe Edgar sleeps with Chris now because it reminds him of these times. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know himself any more.
But Edgar had Sam back, just for a little while. He began to dare to hope, he began to allow himself happiness. He even got back into hunting vampires: ones that had fled Santa Carla had set up here too. But life has a way of ruining everything.
Edgar remembers Sam being at his side, and suddenly not being there any more. He remembers his shouting, cursing, even then the horrible, sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach; he knew exactly what had happened.
It was only minutes before he found Sam again, but time meant nothing. Edgar was trapped in it as he witnessed the nightmarish scene before him; Sam, held fast by none other than David and Michael, struggling and kicking out desperately.
It was David who saw Edgar, and smirked a terrible, self satisfied smirk. He jerked his head and Michael got a firmer grip on Sam, as David himself bound Edgar with impossibly strong fingers, too quickly for the stunned hunter to react. “I want you to watch this.” The blonde vampire said, almost gently. “I want you to see the price you pay for destroying my brothers.”
He nodded, and Michael himself bit into his own wrist. Edgar knew then, what David planned to do, and it was worse, far worse than he could ever have thought. “Sam!” it was a cry full of panic, desperation, pure terror and anguish at what Sam would become.
When Sam looked up in response to his shout, with eyes full of emotions matching his own, Edgar felt an almost tangible pain in his chest. Was this his heart breaking? Edgar tried to free himself, even though he knew he’d never loosen David’s grip, standing stock still when he knew it was all over.
When Michael pressed his bleeding wrist to Sam’s lips, forcing the life giving – and life taking – liquid down his throat.
David let go of Edgar then, and Michael let go of Sam, leaving him to fall to the floor. He just laughed as Edgar ran over to Sam, picking him up and pulling him against his chest, shouting in blind rage at David and Michael, angry tears burning and blurring his vision.
Everything had changed and Edgar couldn’t do a damn thing about it. It wasn’t long before Sam grew cold, all but shoving Edgar away when he tried to touch him. It wasn’t long before Edgar fled again, shivering in the driving, freezing rain, banging on Alan’s door in the middle of the night.
“Brothers look out for each other...” he mumbled when a sleep-dazed Alan opened the door to him, peering out questioningly. He felt like he was betraying Sam by leaving him alone. But who he’d left wasn’t the Sam he knew. It wasn’t the Sam he loved.
Alan let Edgar in, pulled him close like he used to do when they were both much smaller. Edgar didn’t feel nineteen that night. He was that scared and lonely eleven year old again, who had seen his first victim of a vampire and whose brother picked him up off his unresponsive mother’s knee and explained to him that that was what happened around here. It was his brother who had listened to his angered vow to try and stop it.
Eventually, Edgar went back home – not that he could call it that any more, and desperately tried to make Sam listen like he used to.
But Sam’s changed. It isn’t just the vampirism, which has almost destroyed him, Edgar can and will help him through that, it’s the utter and final betrayal of his brother that’s turned him into this unfeeling being of stone. This isn’t Sam any more. This is another one of them. And Edgar hates that he realises this.
They went separate ways. Whatever love had been left between them was now only evident in their awkward courtesy. Sam left, back to Santa Carla he said. He didn’t need to tell Edgar whereabouts. There was only one place that still linked them, and it never saw the light of day. Not any more. Not since its teenage managers left.
Edgar was prepared to leave Sam alone, if Sam left him alone.