Cheated Death, Died Later
A character narrowly survives being killed, only to die in different circumstances later.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-06-23 05:24:42 sponsor: TARDIS2468 (last reply: 2012-09-21 22:10:42)

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Alice receives a phone call and is told that there has been a fire at the office Bob works and he is missing, presumed dead. She is called again later and is told Bob has survived, much to Alice's relief.

Then only a half hour later, Alice receives yet another phone call. Bob is dead. He crashed his car driving home from the office.

Yes, this is a death trope, so spoilers ahead.

See also Take a Moment to Catch Your Death and Life Will Kill You.

[[folder:Literature]]
  • In a Harry Potter in - universe fairy tale, three wizard brothers cheated Death. Death made plans to ensure they wouldn't live to see old age. Two of the three died fairly soon after (it's not entirely clear from the story exacly how much later IIRC), but the third went into hiding and was not taken until he was very old.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • It's debatable if this kind of thing counts (because she never stayed dead), but in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy dies and gets revived again twice, although her two deaths are pretty far apart.
    • In "Help" Buffy saves a girl (who believes she will die on that day) from being killed by a cult; then just before midnight the girl collapses & dies of a congenital heart defect.
  • In one episode of Red Dwarf, Rimmer travels back into the past and somehow alters his own history in a way that when he returns to the present he's still alive instead of being a hologram- only to be killed moments later.
  • Inversion? In a post-9/11 episode of NYPD Blue a woman's body is found buried in concrete. It turns out she worked at the World Trade Center and was missing/presumed dead from that, but she was actually killed by her lover earlier that day.
  • The Unusuals: A woman who claims to be psychic believes she is going to die on a bus, and confesses that much to Leo - who himself is afraid of dying at age 42 because all his male relatives died at 42 (and he's 42 now), so he always wears a bullet proof vest. She keeps getting on buses she somehow knows are going to be hijacked by a man with a grenade. Leo followes her onto one of the buses. When the hijacker drops the grenade, Leo falls on it. But it was a fake, and obviously didn't explode. The psychic is confused, but Leo thinks he's found a way to Screw Destiny. He even gives up his bulletproof vest. Until later that night, he gets a call: there was a bus accident and the psychic had been killed in it. Cue Leo buckling up his vest again.
  • Burn Notice: Larry. Yes, dead Larry.
  • In CSI: New York, it's revealed that Mac's wife (who died in 9/11) made it out of the first tower, only to be crushed by falling rubble from the second.
  • Season 1 finale of Being Erica: Erica goes back and saves her brother Leo from dying. When she's back in the present, he's alive for 5 minutes before he dies in a car crash. This was because she broke the rules of time travel and the universe repaired itself.
  • In an episode of Bones, Sweets meets a young man on the subway who had just gotten clear of cancer. Then an earthquake hits DC and the young man is killed.

[[folder:Film]]
  • The premise of the Final Destination franchise is that a moment of premonition allows people to predict, and avoid, an accidental death. Then, a strange force ensures that all of those people will die soon afterwards in similar accidents.
  • Goldeneye: Boris survives the destruction of Janos' base in Cuba, only to be frozen solid by an exploding nitrogen tank moments after he celebrates his good fortune with his catchphrase 'I AM INVINCIBLE!'
  • The 2004 (or so) Death Race had a character crash into a wall. He almost dies in a car crash and gets out to say, "You can't kill me!" (or something to this effect) then dies shortly thereafter.
  • In The Matrix, Neo brings Trinity back from the dead only to have her die later anyways.
    • The same thing happens to Neo. Trinity saves him at the end of the first movie, and he also dies at the end of the third.

[[folder:Games]]
  • In Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5, the prestige class Death Delver has the nine lives class feature which gives the character (what else) nine additional lives before they actually die. Secondarily, a prerequisite for the class is to have a "near-death experience" (go below 0 hit points, but survive.
  • This is what happened between the end of Mass Effect 1 and the beginning of Mass Effect 2. At the end of the first game, you narrowly evade being crushed by falling debris only to be killed without mercy by the Collectors a month later. He got better

[[folder:Real Life]]
  • Rudolf Diels, the first chief of the Gestapo, had an amazing knack for surviving the deadly political games of the Nazi regime, only to accidentally shoot himself on a hunting trip.
  • There's an Urban Legend about a cat who fell off the top of the Washington Monument and survived just fine, then got killed by a dog while trying to run away from the scene. Its stuffed body is now at the Smithsonian.
  • In a very tragic example, Hilda Yolanda Mayol, a 26-year old American woman, was working in the World Trade Center at the time of 9/11 and managed to survive. She died just two months later aboard the ill-fated American Airlines Flight 587.
    • Also, Jessica Ghawi survived the June 2012 shooting at the Eaton Centre, only to be killed a month later in the July 2012 Aurora shooting.
  • Thomas Edward Lawrence. Lots of firefights, frequently against greater numbers. Survived a plane crash, what, seven times? Got his toe (!) broken by a stray piece of a wheel of a locomotive he blew up. Killed in a motorcycle crash.
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