Title: Devil's Due
Disclaimer: If I owned them, Christian would go back to the frilly poet shirt to provide me with endless entertainment.
Rating: R for violence, language, and allusions to m/m slash and child abuse. Lookit me, kids, I'm taboo!
Continuance Note: Hm. Somewhere between the time E&C broke up and the roster split. Heh.

Notes: Christian is, quite simply, one of the best examples of character development. How in the course of a couple years does one go from hanging with alleged vampires to being a clueless valley boy? Ask him. This would be where the two collide. I hope you find it reeking of awesomeness and not just reeking. :)


There was something oddly satisfying about eating an ice cream cone topped with rocky road and sprinkles in front of someone lifting weights.

Edge grinned to himself at the thought and took an indulgent bite into the ice cream, ignoring the shock his mouth felt from the cold and focusing instead on the narrow-eyed glare he was receiving from his friend.

"You are one selfish jerk," Matt Hardy grumbled bitterly, grunting from the strain of the weight in his hand as he fought to bring it to his shoulder. The door to his locker room opened, followed quickly by Lita and an ice cream cone of her own, this one with straight chocolate -- but three generous scoops of it.

"Mmm. Hey, Edge, thanks for pointing out that vendor to me," she clapped her friend on the shoulder with her free hand before settling down beside him on the bench. Edge shrugged.

"Et tu?" Matt whimpered with a longing glance to the ice cream his friends were enjoying in front of him. Lita grinned innocently. Even while she had enough mercy to leave the matter alone, the same could not be said of Edge.

"Fast metabolism so *totally* rules all!" He announced with a toothy smile. Fast reflexes came in handy, too, since they were the only way he avoided being hit in the head with a water bottle that Matt 'happened' to let slip from his hand. "Aw, don't be upset, Matty. It's not your fault I can single-handedly keep Baskin Robbins in business and spend two hours a week in a gym."

Matt huffed in frustration and wordlessly switched the weight over to his left hand.

"Hey, if it's any consolation at all, you had a good match tonight."

"That s'posed t'mean somethin' t'me?"

"Anyone ever tell you your accent gets a lot thicker when you're mad?" Edge asked casually, licking the last remaining bits of ice cream from his fingertips and then wiggling them at Matt. "Anyway, I gotta go. Got an early flight tomorrow and I do need my beauty rest after all."

Matt snorted, but was quickly silenced by a kick to his shin when Lita noticed he was going to say something sarcastic in reply. Edge shook his head in amusement and headed out of the locker room door, readjusting the shoulder strap of his duffel bag as he walked out into the parking lot. The overhead street lamps provided little light for human eyes, yet he could see perfectly fine and with more clarity than any person had a right to do.

He yawned, stopping beside the small black Saturn he'd rented the previous night to unlock it. It was a nice little car, and he was sorely tempted to either buy it or steal it. Both seemed like decent options. Then again, he had never been known for his exceptional judgment.

Edge tossed his baggage into the backseat and shut the door, hand on the driver's side handle when he caught a hauntingly familiar scent. It smelled strangely of death and dried blood, a scent much too faint for humans to detect. Thankfully enough, as he nearly choked on the smell.

A glimmer of movement in the shadows to his left made him spin around, back against the car and eyes wide in uneasy fear. The scent was definitely coming from that area, and there was only one person he could think of who could be causing it. Much as he stared into the blackness given by the shrubbery lining the edge of the parking lot, he could see nothing out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, he turned and took off at a brisk pace back towards the arena, almost jogging but still trying to maintain a bit of his calm.

Matt looked up at hearing the door crash open against the inside wall of his room, surprised to see his friend looking frantically around. "Uh . . . the ice cream guy's not here, man."

"Have you seen Christian?"

Matt frowned. "What happened? He didn't slash your tires again, did he?"

"No. Where is he?"

"I-I dunno. Did you check his dressing room?"

Edge ran a helpless hand through his hair, serving only to mess it up further. "Yeah. He's not there. I gotta find him, though. Now."

Lita glanced up from where she was going through her purse. "I saw him talking to Booker T earlier. You might wanna check there."

Without another word, Edge darted out of the doorway and down the hallway, leaving two very confused friends behind him. They were not nearly half as confused, however, as Christian and his companion were when the door flew open to reveal a panic-stricken Edge.

"What the hell are you doing in here?" Christian demanded, obviously and, Edge admitted to himself, understandably surprised by the intrusion. Booker T turned indignant eyes to meet Edge's.

"You get lost or somethin', sucka?"

"Get out."

"Hey, this is *my* dressing room!" Booker T protested, to no avail; he was pushed out the door anyway.

"You're nuts!" Christian exclaimed, more than a little lost as to why his older brother and recent enemy was busy throwing things into an empty suitcase and spilling more things into the floor in his nervousness. "You got one minute to explain your--"

"Get out of here!" Edge barked the order, throwing the luggage at Christian. It landed on the floor with a loud thud. "I'll answer later, just get out."

"I'm not goin' anywhere!"

"Look, Christian, don't screw with me right now!" Edge sprang across the room quicker than any human could accomplish, one hand around his brother's throat and lifting him a couple inches off the ground. "You've gotta get out. I promise, I'll explain everything when --"

He was never given a chance to finish. The door once again came open, this time to show a man in black jeans and a white dress shirt, curly blond hair left in a careless mess about his head. He removed his sunglasses and gave a feral smile that left Edge chilled to the point he dropped Christian to the floor.

"Shit!" Christian cursed sharply when he connected with the hard ground. He was still rubbing his backside as he stood. That was when he saw the face of one who had, more or less, always scared him senseless. "Grel! Uh . . . hey. Long time, no see."

"It has been a long time, hasn't it?" The man asked, the smile never fading in the least. Edge turned his eyes to the floor when the man turned his attention towards him. "You're not going to greet me?"

"I don't have anything to say to you."

"Oh, Edge, I know we parted on what certainly weren't the best of terms, but you're not going to deny a simple hello to your maker, are you?"

Christian rolled his eyes and picked his suitcase up off the floor. "Please. Quit with the 'Gother-than-Thou' talk, huh? You guys wanna go drink blood or terrorize people or whatever it is that you do for fun, go right ahead. I've got better things to do."

"Actually," Gangrel blocked Christian's path towards the door, "I was thinking we could spend the night . . . catching up. A boy's night out, if you will."

Christian arched his eyebrows. "Sounds fun, Grel, really. I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty nail, though. No offense or anything." He shot a hateful look towards his brother, only to see he seemed lost in his own thoughts. "Incase you haven't noticed, me an' Goldilocks don't get along too well anymore."

"You're children. You'll fight over toys and women and such, but you're also blood." Gangrel patted Christian affectionately on the cheek, though his eyes were fixed on Edge. "Don't ever forget that."

"I'm working on forgetting that."

"Then I say the three of us go out tonight and get reacquainted, maybe see if we can't patch up some of those differences."

Christian threw his luggage back on the ground, careless that its contents spilled across the floor. "You don't take no very easily, do you?"

Gangrel's smile turned into a vicious mockery of benevolence, the same look reflected in his eyes. He turned his attention to Edge, who shrunk away from the look. "I never have, child. Your brother would know that better than most. And soon," he went on, sliding a companionable arm around Christian's shoulders and guiding him toward the door, "you will, too."

Half an hour later, Gangrel and Edge sat across from each other in a padded booth of a trendy club Edge hadn't cared enough to catch the name of. He was idly running his index finger around the rim of the half-empty beer bottle in front of him, desperately trying to ignore the man across from him. His attempts were in vain, however, and what was worse was that he knew it.

Gangrel wouldn't quit grinning, and it was really beginning to irritate him.

"He's really come out of his shell the past few years, hasn't he?" Gangrel asked more to himself than his companion, watching Christian at the bar, chatting up a woman who appeared somewhat more interested in what he had to say than giggling with her friend about how cute they both thought he was. "He used to be so quiet and withdrawn . . . it's good to see him opening up a little." He fell silent a moment, taking a drink from his glass of water while turning his eyes back to Edge. "I don't suppose it was all your doing."

"Christian does his own thing and I do mine."

"Or so you'd like to believe."

Edge sighed in exasperation, leaning back against the wall of the booth and closing his eyes. "We both know why you're here, okay? Stop trying to act like you're my friend. I won't let you have him."

"Do you intend to fight me?"

Edge gave a faint nod, despite the amusement in Gangrel's voice. "If I have to."

"Your bravery would be admirable if you weren't so young and stupid," Gangrel complimented, downing the rest of his drink and pushing the glass aside. He leaned forward, folding his hands atop the table and letting the small hanging lamp overhead shine more light on his face. Edge silently wondered if it was an intentional gesture of intimidation. "When you were a child, did your mother ever tell you the story about the young girl who was forced to spin hay into gold? Then someone came along, promising her the gold in return for her firstborn child. She went on about her life, never expecting him . . . and then he showed up. Do you remember that?"

"Rumplestiltskin. What's your point?"

Gangrel gave another grin, this time broad enough to show the tips of sharp, blood stained fangs. "Don't you wish you could just say my name and make me disappear?" He paused to cast another glance to Christian, smiling to himself at some private joke Edge didn't care to know. "You sold your soul to the devil long before you ran into me, boy. And when you needed it most, finding yourself with no soul to sell, you sold your brother's. You know the terms of our deal, Edge."

Edge flinched before dropping his elbows noisily onto the table, sending his bottle crashing to the floor and breaking into hundreds of tiny shards of glass. He paid it little attention. "I change my mind."

Gangrel laughed quietly, leaning back to once again let the shadows swallow him. "Yes. So did the girl in the story." Another silent pause followed as he took a moment to watch Christian. "Pity. He's so young and vulnerable. I think it's really quiet fortunate someone would take him in before he gets himself into trouble."

"Not if that person wants to change him into a monster."

"Monster, Edge, is all a matter of perspective."

"Maybe so, but I'm pretty sure I can speak for most people by saying anything that has to live by preying off other people could be considered a monster."

Gangrel, either not having anything to say in return or simply not caring to answer, remained silent. Edge took the opportunity to let his head rest in his hands, trying to decide just how badly Christian would hurt him once he finally learned the truth. Christian had known all along about Gangrel and Edge both being vampires, and it was no small miracle he'd managed to keep that particular secret to himself for so long. The one thing he didn't know, and what Edge had prayed he wouldn't find out, was exactly how that had come about in the first place.

What seemed to Edge like an eternity ago, he and Christian had been a perfectly normal pair of brothers, arguing over what to watch on television or the touchy subject of dating the other brother's ex-girlfriend. Christian, though, was the tame one of the pair, more often than not spending his nights at home torturing himself with one term paper or another or trying to write the perfect application for whatever college was his favorite at the time. Meanwhile, his brother, never one to be content with the straight and narrow path, seemed to constantly get a kick out of flirting with death and disaster. Edge had never seen himself to be the textbook definition of a suicidal maniac, as Christian frequently told him, but in retrospect he could easily see how Christian was lead to that conclusion.

His love for hanging around the worst possible people he could was almost as addictive to him as the heroin he did nearly anything to keep in his blood. It came as little surprise to those who knew him well that he already had an extensive police record before his eighteenth birthday. Shoplifting and other forms of robbery were kid stuff to him by the time Gangrel found him in an alleyway one night in mid-January, curled against a chainlink fence with his arms around his knees and trembling violently, sweating profusely despite the snow falling around them.

It certainly wasn't the most dignified way to die, becoming another OD'd teen with a reputation to add to the long list of statistics. He could only vaguely recall bits and pieces about that night, remembering only that Gangrel had been a terrifying figure to him dressed all in black and that Edge had mistaken him for the grim reaper. Somehow able to force the words out, he'd asked if this man standing before him was the angel of death. Edge remembered all-too-clearly Gangrel's eyes glinting with a hint of red before he knelt in front of him.

"To some, yes. To you . . . I can be a savior." Edge shivered at feeling Gangrel's long fingers tracing the outline of his jaws. His flesh was cold as ice, a stark contrast to Edge's own feverish skin. Gangrel had come closer, pressing Edge closer against the fence and leaving their foreheads touching. "I can save you, child, make you see things as you've never seen them before, let you taste things that are far more addictive and pleasing than whatever poison is killing you right now. But what, I wonder, could you do for me in return?"

Edge whimpered, the tremors increasing in intensity and making him wish this strange person across from him would either save him or let him die with at least some of his self-respect still intact. Unfortunately, the man appeared to be taking a sadistic pleasure in watching the boy now in his arms suffer.

"You're dying," he whispered in the boy's ear, soliciting a pitiful mewling sound that only the insanely desperate can manage. "I can save you. Just promise me what you can."

Driven mad by the whole situation, Edge whispered, "my brother. You can . . . have him."


Before Edge could say anything else, Gangrel pulled him into his lap and tilted his chin up so that he was forced to stare up at the sky, squinting from the snow falling down into his eyes. "This will hurt for only a moment."

"Well, I suppose now would be as good a time as any to bring him into the family," Gangrel announced, knocking Edge from his inner reverie. He blinked twice, disappointed to see they were still seated in the booth and that Christian was still perched atop a bar stool, something of a smirk on his lips. He turned and noticed the two staring at him, then held up a small piece of paper and gave a thumbs up sign.

"Please," Edge begged with a new sincerity, looking back to Gangrel, "I'll find someone else for you. Just don't . . . don't do this to him."

"It's been my understanding recently that you and he really don't care much for one another anyway."

"Well --"

"Have I been misinformed?"

"No, but --"

"Then it shouldn't bother you as much as you pretend it is. A conscience is a terrible thing to have, Edge, but don't worry. You'll lose it soon enough," Gangrel assured with a pat on the hand and a cruel sneer that turned pleasant as soon as Christian came to stand beside the table. "Well?"

Christian beamed proudly and tucked the paper into his jacket pocket. "Heather, single, a local model, and one hundred percent scorchcake!"

Gangrel raised a single pierced eyebrow. "I'm assuming that means you like her."

"Dude. She's totally reeking of babe-age!"

"Christian, dear," Gangrel sighed quietly, rising from his seat and motioning Edge to do the same, "I think I liked you better when you stayed quiet. You caused fewer headaches that way." Once all three of them were standing, he ushered the brothers out the door and immediately set to work on hailing a taxi. Christian huffed loudly and shot Edge an angry look, annoyed with his pacing in a tight circle.

"Would you stop it, you dorkchop? You're making me dizzy."

"Christian, wouldn't you like to go for a walk or something?" Edge asked with a certain urgency in his voice that made Christian temporarily forget his irritation.

Gangrel turned, a not so friendly pair of eyes fixed on Edge. "No need for that, boys. I think our problems have been solved." He moved his arm out towards the road to indicate the yellow cab pulling to the curb. As a show of goodwill, he opened the door and let Christian go in first, stopping Edge before he could jump inside as well. Edge tried not to appear too distressed by the bony hand that rested on the small of his back or the mouth at his ear.

"Try another move like that, boy, and I'll just skip the trouble and kill him. It makes no difference to me."

"I'd rather you killed him than turn him into a monster."

Gangrel chuckled under his breath, stepping back enough for Edge to get in the cab's backseat. "We'll see."