Disclaimer: Don't own LB.
A bit like Meander, a series of Star/Edgar drabbles. Multi chapter. Not all of these are romantic in nature. If anything, they'll be the opposite. Not necessarily pairing drabbles ether; these upcoming drabbles may deal with slashy/other themes.
Theme: The Beginning
Summary: Everything has to start somewhere.
The Space Between
The boy knows too much.
She doesn't know why, or how, but he does. She gently ushers Laddie through the store; the little boy pauses at each comic rack, shuffling through the old bargain stock with childish interest, and Star floats around him, unconsciously shielding him from the two khaki wearing brothers with the serious faces. She doesn't know if they would pick on Laddie; she likes to think not, but she trusts no one.
One of the brothers, a light haired teenager in a bandana, scrutinises her from over the counter. His brother is stocking elsewhere; distracted by his work. Laddie sticks to the other side of the shop, away from the boy, and ducks behind the shelves if he attracts anyone's attention.
Star lifts her head, meeting his eyes. The side of her mouth quirks in question; he doesn't respond. The creases around his eyes deepen. He frowns, and cocks his head in a quiet challenge.
He knows too much, and it's ridiculous, for teenagers don't believe in such things, and there is no way in hell he could know...what *she* was, but somehow he seems too, and it frightens her.
She takes Laddie's hand, and walks too quickly to the exit.
The chandelier crashes below; Star sees the first flares of sparks erupt from shattered bulbs as Edgar steers them upstairs. As they break into the main bedroom, darkness descends down the staircase, and Star bites back a yelp of fright.
She almost falls into Alan, who releases a dazed Laddie. Her nails curl into his marine jacket, which is blotched by blood. The smell rises to her nostrils; makes her dizzy, hungry.
A strong hand grips the back of her neck.
She turns, just in time to see the pointed tip of a stake.
"I say we terminate them right now..."
Edgar Frog glowers at her in revilement. She is nothing but scum to him, and Laddie begins to shiver, backpedal towards the door.
As she flees, the dark irises of Alan Frog flash at her.
The fridge is closed.
Grandpa Emerson lowers his beer, and murmurs something unintelligible.
Lucy is on him in a heartbeat, demanding answers and the like. Sam clings to his brother just a little longer, and the Frogs blink in astonishment at this new revelation.
Star draws a little back into the shadows, Laddie stuck to her side.
Nanook snuffles her satin slippers, and nudges her wrist, suspicious.
She jolts, her hand pushing her hair from her eyes.
Edgar Frog is looking at her. He isn't smiling. He sniffs, and wipes the sweat speckled ash from his forehead.
"You no longer smell like a flesh eater."
Star still has nightmares, sometimes.
She wakes, and Michael is sound asleep. His face is pressed against her neck, his arm looped around her waist.
She can't bring herself to wake him. Not again.
She lightly pulls loose, and tiptoes across the bedroom. Slings on a dressing gown, and creeps downstairs.
The Frogs and Sam are nestled in the lounge; sleeping bags and torches and empty packets of cheese puffs. A pizza box is by their feet, and they are all completely dead to the world.
She slides past them, dancing over a slumbering Alan, and ambles into the kitchen.
It's been a month, an entire month, and this home...it's strange to her, so large and full and alien. They've become unofficial lodgers, her and Laddie, and the attic had been cleared of spiders and animal skins just for them. Star was grateful, terribly grateful, so much it made her chest ache. The Emersons have carved out a niche for them in their tight, budgeted little family, and she can't even...
Michael still goes to her room. Knocks three times; a code for comfort, and she always obliges, leaving a snoozing Laddie behind, and ventures downstairs to Michael, to his arms and whispers and dreams, of David and flight and blood in bottles. She doesn't want to hear it, but she opens her ears anyway.
Michael is haunted, but for a short while, he is content. She prays it remains that way.
As she runs the tap for a glass of water, she begins to cry.
She doesn't know why; only that her cheeks are burning, and she's gripping the glass so tight it's going to crack. She sniffles quietly for a while, her shoulders shaking, and then she hears the double doors swing in creaking unison.
She freezes. Fills the glass so quickly that water sloshes over the sides, and soaks the sleeves of her dressing gown.
Bare feet pad to the fridge. Edgar's face is illuminated by the glare of electric light. He reaches for a root beer and observing her silently, uncorks it, and takes a swig.
She turns her head sharpish, and moonlight catches the moisture glimmering on her cheeks.
Edgar lowers the bottle, eyes narrowed.
He doesn't ask the obvious, and Star thinks he wouldn't even if he could.
She gulps, shuddering.
He says nothing. He places the bottle on the middle shelf (Star wonders if Grandpa will notice) and closes the door softly.
The light is gone. His face is plunged into darkness, and Star finds herself retreating a little closer to the moon soaked windows.
"Nightmares are stupid," His growl penetrates the dark, and Star is shaken by the earthiness of it. "You've got the Frog Brothers downstairs. What more protection do you need?"
In the twilight, she is sure she sees a shadow of a smile hidden in the crook of his mouth.
"Civilians," he mutters, and turning on his heel, pads back to the lounge.
Awake, and a little startled, Star follows.
Edgar is lying on the couch. He has the television on low, and amazingly, neither Sam nor Alan stir.
The springs in the old sofa creak. Edgar inclines his head; Star wraps her dressing gown a little tighter around her shoulders, and stares at the television intently.
Star doesn't know how he's done it, but he's left them behind.
The dog tags glint in the fading sunlight. They sit on the table, nestled besides a half finished cup of lemonade, and a comic book.
She finishes washing the dishes; wipes her hands on the hem of her skirt, and fingers the chill of the metal with a quivering touch.
Michael is at work, helping Lucy at the video store. Grandpa is with the Widow Johnson, and Sam has locked himself away in his room, not speaking to anyone. He'd started taking long walks at the boardwalk in the early hours, when the crowds had abated and the lights faltered into the sort of darkness nobody wanted to exist in. It was a dangerous move, and the other night, Michael had driven out into the backstreets and found his younger brother gazing aimlessly at the tousled waves beneath the pier. He'd dragged him back; Michael had been half sick with fright, and like always, Michael's fear and confusion only translated to anger, which had evolved into a fierce argument on the porch at three o'clock in the morning. Lucy had got between them, her small body a determined shield between the towering figures of her boys, and gradually, tempers had faded. There was something in Sam's eyes; a lingering, hungry dullness that Michael couldn't reach.
Michael had carried that look in his eyes for the past few years.
Star places the necklace in her bag, and slips out into the February air.
Edgar hasn't seen her yet.
There are boxes stacked on the counter. Boxes full of clothes and essentials and old comics. Outside, a battered old truck sports a badly concealed hunk of weaponry. It's a good thing cops suck in Santa Carla; carrying half a kilo of potential murder weapons weighs in a pretty hefty charge.
He's ticking away in that old folder of his, eyes narrowed in concentration.
He raises his gaze; chin tightening, he snaps the folder shut.
He doesn't move to greet her. Star idly scans the comic shop; the counter had been overturned, as if he'd been desperately searching for something. A copy of Vampires Everywhere is screwed up in the waste basket.
He strolls to the desk, props himself up on the ledge, and glowers at her.
"You..." Her voice shakes a little, but as she reaches for the dog tags, her hand is firm. "You left these behind."
The fading sunlight sparks the sides of the necklace held aloft.
A panic seeps into Edgar's eyes. He straightens up, shoulders tense, but his lower lip catches, ever so slightly.
Star gulps, and stretches it even further out.
It's like Edgar is balking from it. He watches it, watches her, and his fingers curl into a loose fist.
"It's okay," murmurs Star. Crossing the shop, she lays them gently down on the counter with a soft, metallic clink.
She turns to him, confused.
He growls in the back of his throat, backing away to the door. His eyes are suddenly too bright; he's so young.
"It's not okay."