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Bittersweet Ending / Fan Works

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Ace Attorney

  • Dirty Sympathy ends with one. Klavier and Apollo can never return to U.S. without being sent to jail by Phoenix and both of them lost their careers. Apollo and Trucy never find out they're blood-related and will never see each other again. Phoenix's plans of restoring the Jurist system might be for naught as Kristoph's rightful conviction is dependent on a crime he didn't commit. Edgeworth decides not to rekindle his relationship with Phoenix, seeing the price for it too high and will lead to inevitable disappointment. But Klavier and Apollo are free of their tormentors and are given a second chance at life. Klavier and Apollo are happily in love with each other and won't be sent to prison. Phoenix gets his reputation back and can start using his connections to start doing major good and Edgeworth gains two apprentices to help him.

Axis Powers Hetalia

  • In the doujinshi called "From the New World with Love", England wakes up from his coma and America is redeemed, but... America is very much Lonely at the Top and knows that one day, the monster that was unleashed in WWII will come out again. There's a reason why it has two sequels, a "good end" ("Miracle of a Superhero") and a "bad end" ("Tragedy of a Superhero")...

Avatar: The Last Airbender

  • Blood Moon: The waterbender prisoners all escape and make it back to the South Pole. But Katara's innocence is gone, and she had to kill an Ax-Crazy Hama.
  • married to the flames: Zuko and Jin are Happily Married, but Zuko hasn't returned home. He lives in secret with his wife.

Batman: The Animated Series

  • Reunited: Victor is still an isolated criminal, but now he can be with his wife again.

Big Hero 6



  • The Bolt Chronicles: Many of these stories have outcomes that mix positive and negative elements.
    • “The Kippies”: The story ends with Bolt having comforted Mittens, though they realize they cannot have babies.
    • “The Paris Trip”: The story ends with Mittens realizing she is happiest not staying behind in Paris, though she will lose her connection with Berlioz.
    • “The Blood Brother”: The story ends with Bolt tearfully apologizing to Mittens for his bad behavior towards her, but he loses his friendship with Duke, who is killed by a truck.
    • “The Wind”: The story ends with Bolt returning home having survived a vicious dogfight, though his relationship with Mary is over.
    • “The Gift”: The story ends with Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino reunited in Nirvana for eternity, though the story has earlier shown the death of the first two characters.
    • “The Cameo”: The story ends with Bolt having met his father, 16-year-old Penny having had her first sexual experience, the two characters having enjoyed Los Angeles sightseeing, and their cameo filming session having been completed successfully — though Penny's first experience remains a disappointment and Bolt is unable to convince his father to come home and live with him.
    • “The Seven”: Young Bolt and the collie puppy get adopted at the end of this story (and it's implied the other five are as well), but not before they go through a harrowing experience at the abandoned puppy mill and lose their mothers.
    • “The Spaceship”: Rhino develops intermittent age-related dementia during this story and dies at the end, but before he passes away he enjoys a stunning view of the earth and moon from an orbiting spaceship, gets a chance to bid farewell to Bolt and Mittens, and spends his last hour or so watching his favorite TV program starring his hero and friend.

Captain Planet


  • Ex Tenebris, Lux: Cinderella is still traumatized from her own horrific upbringing and it is implied that she'll always be not entirely stable, especially after having a traumatic miscarriage. However, she is surrounded by people who love her, her husband puts in a better effort in helping her with parenting, and the story ends with her giving birth to a girl that she happily names Liberty, to represent her own freedom from her past.


  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War ends with ponies winning the war and reconciling with the griffins. Unfortunately, many ponies and griffins died during the war, many were traumatized and majority of Equestria was ravaged by the conflict. However, the epilogue goes toward Earn Your Happy Ending for some characters.
  • Crossed Paths
    • In the recreation of Equestria, this happens for all four duos; they all manage to escape and reconcile with each other, but not without some sacrifices on their part. Twilight and Jack had to kill many corrupted innocent ponies and couldn't stop the Many; Dash and Indy were unable to save anypony from the haunted orphanage, aside from Scootaloo, who was already dead; Pinkie and Fluttershy had to leave Lyra and Trixie in their own story to fight the Taken themselves; and Applejack and Rarity had to kill Diamond Tiara in order to escape the hospital.
    • The story itself; the group reasons with Fracture and assists it, allowing them to return to their homeworlds. Yet they never see each other again - at least not that we know of yet.
  • At the end of Don't Look, Shinji and Misato have survived their encounter with the Slender Man and have formed a loving relationship together and Rei III is activated. However, dozens of people have died including Kensuke, Touji, and Hikari. Furthermore, the Slender Man survived as well and is still after Shinji and Misato, though less willing to attack them when they're not unawares after the pain they inflicted on it. Lastly, Rei III has been infected by the Slender Man and has gained an interest in Shinji.
  • End of the Line ends with Xander averting the apocalypse by returning magic to the world after destroying Sailor Moon's barrier (which she'd created to protect her hometown from said apocalypse). But he, Faith, and all the Sailor Scouts were Killed Off for Real and countless people, animals, and plants died in between having magic ripped out of them and Xander returning it.
  • In Fallout: Equestria, Littlepip successfully disables the Enclave's cloud cloak and allows the sun to shine on the Wasteland for the first time in two centuries. However, to do this she must permanently seal herself in a stasis chamber so her brain may be used as a computer processor.
  • Although the heroes are able to defeat Thanos and undo the Snap in Infinity Crisis, the spin-off sequels note that only the dead who were killed by the Gauntlet came back to life after the Snap was undone, and there were therefore still numerous casualties caused by, for example, vehicles crashing because the drivers suddenly vanished.
  • The Girls' Generation/Super Junior crossover fanfic Kill or Be Killed. Sunny is the SNSD winner and Yesung is the SJ winner, and they are both taken away by their group managers, leading them to outcry in anger after realizing that all of the story's events could've been prevented had they interfered, especially with Sunny in a state of distress after her lover Sungmin is killed. Ryeowook is stabbed by Sunny and left for dead until Sooyoung (who he thought he had killed) nurses him back to health and asks Yesung to look after him while she goes in pursuit of a new life. Additionally, Jessica survives by escaping the amusement park Shawshank style.
  • A Peaceful Afterlife:
    • Kira dies at the end, but he does so saving the others. Unlike other demons, his soul, represented by gold smoke, ascends away and he meets with a being who may be God. He is told he is not redeemed, but proven himself redeemable, and he is reborn as his JoJolion counterpart. From what we know from canon, it is a Foregone Conclusion that he will earn his way to heaven this time around.
    • For the others, their friend Kira is dead. But they see how his death is different from others. They don't know he has been reborn, but they have hope he escaped hell and received some form of redemption.
  • The Stars Will Aid Their Escape: Herald/Nyarlathotep is defeated, Shub-Niggurath's summoning is prevented, and even the Dark Young are killed. However, a large portion of the military is dead, many other ponies have been left insane, Twilight is bordering on insanity herself, Rainbow Dash is heavily traumatized, and on top of all that, it turns out that Nyarlathotep impregnated Fluttershy as a backup plan.
  • Ultrasonic: Ultrasonic is defeated and Zootopia is saved with no apparent loss of life thanks to Miraculous Ladybug, and while the Butterfly is still out there and still as powerful as ever, he's implied to have given up in despair. Nick has been fired from the ZPD, but he avoids jail time for his actions during the crisis and is happy as long as Judy is safe - they get engaged in the last scene. As for Marinette, she finds a new home with Clawhauser and, in contrast to her self-destructive behaviour over the past year, she is willing to make the best of things in Zootopia. But it doesn't change the fact that Adrien is dead and she may never see Alya or her parents again.
  • In Pipeline, Ben's okay, Ace establishes that he's a good father, the Utoniums are slowly accepting Buttercup's death, and Kevin and Dexter have agreed to be civil for Ben's sake. But... Ben and Kevin still need to work some things out, Kevin's betrayed Gwen's trust by keeping things from her, Buttercup and Mac are dead, Kevin and Dexter will never really be friends, and the war still isn't over. Ouch.
  • Clash of the Elements: The end of Part 1. Though Alex has become the Elemental Overlord and stopped Joe Dark, the Genesis Samurais are dead and the Inner Guardians' spirits will never be given the freedom Alex wanted to let them have after taking their souls into their bodies. Not to mention that because of the Star Spirit's interference during the battle Geno has to stay in Star Haven to mediate the world below. That's not even getting into the fact that Cackletta is still alive and so are Dimentio and Smithy.
  • In Necessary To Win, Oarai wins the tournament, enabling it to stay open. Several other characters have accomplished what they have set out to do; Miho has found her own way of tankery, Saki and her sister have reconciled, Nodoka is allowed to stay a her current school, Mako gets the tardies stricken from her record, and Hana has gotten her mother to accept her doing tankery. Not all characters are satisfied, though; Saki and Teru's parents divorce, rather than getting back together as they had hoped, and in the end, many characters, such as Momo and Yumi, are forced to say goodbye to each other as a result of graduating. Some problems remain, as Miho's mother has not disowned her, but does not regret doing so, and the future of Oarai is by no means guaranteed. But the characters remain hopeful, and remain committed to working toward their goals, with Miho and Saki having come to enjoy tankery again.
  • People Like Us: For several reasons, Arthur and Travis decide to leave Gotham City, but neither of them have a job and they aren’t really sure what to do next. However, Travis has saved Arthur from being Driven to Villainy, Arthur got some closure with his mother before she died, and instead of causing chaos and death the Joker persona becomes a cult sensation that a lot of Gotham citizens relate to. What matters to Arthur and Travis is that they have each other.
  • Code Prime - R1: Rebellion has a far better ending compared to its canon counterpart. The Decepticons have now started to occupy the planet with more Cons coming. However, many of the main characters survived the Decepticons' attack and new allies join the Autobot and Black Knight cause. Finally, R1 ends with Optimus Prime rallying his Autobots all across the universe to come and end the Decepticon threat once and for all.


  • Fractured Fates ends with eleven out of the fifteen participants dead- including the main character herself- as well as the mastermind escaping the underground bunker and avoiding being apprehended by the surviving students. There's also the fact that the world outside is a ravaged, lawless wasteland, not to mention the organization responsible for the killing game is still active and will likely try to hunt down the survivors for their role in ruining the killing game. Despite the odds, the four remaining students are determined not to waste the second chance at life they were given, determined to ensure the sacrifices Hiroshi and Hana made to end the killing game were not in vain, and are ultimately free to return to the surface and make something for themselves in the post-Tragedy world.
  • The PreDespair Kids ends like this. During the finale arc, Hope's Peak Academy is invaded by an army of Monokumas, Ibuki, Kazuichi, and Chihiro are all revealed to have fallen into despair, Ryouko learns that she's a clone of Junko before Yasuke mercy kills her to spare her from a worse fate at Junko's hands, Nagito is fatally stabbed in the heart, Kazuichi chooses to gut himself rather than hurt Sonia, Hifumi and Twogami are both brutally killed by a Monokuma, Sakura is repeatedly blasted with a shotgun by Chihiro while Hajime is Forced to Watch, Ethos finds out his best friend and girlfriend are both despairs before losing an arm in an attack, the survivors end up scattered, the school is demolished with almost three thousand people still inside, many friends and family members of the students are taken captive, and we learn that 3 billion people worldwide have been brainwashed into becoming despairs. What keeps it from being a Downer Ending that the fight between hope and despair is far from over. Junpei reveals himself to have been Good All Along, Class 79 survives the attack, Mukuro is sticking with her Heel–Face Turn, the Remnants of Hope find shelter with Sayaka taking up the role of The Leader, and the Future Foundation members manage to rescue a good number of the students, taking them to their island base where they can rest and plan for their rescue missions.
  • In Three-Point Shot, the killing game ends with more survivors than in canon. Not only do Shuichi, Maki and Himiko survive, but so do Kaede, Ryoma and (technically) Keebo. That said, all the survivors still have their emotional scars from the killing game, particularly Maki and Himiko, who lost people important to them. The survivors' actions dealt a serious blow to the in-universe Danganronpa show, but several years later, the show is still going.
  • Where Talent Goes To Die ends with the mastermind dead and four survivors- Miura, Edogawa, Inoue and Tezuka- escaping the school to the ruined world outside. Their victory is hard to celebrate in light of how many people died, and how the Big Bad arguably got what he wanted in the end, so Miura feels guilty about being unable to save more people. That said, Miura does take some comfort in knowing that the survivors were able to accomplish their goal, and the start of her relationship with Edogawa.


  • Angel of the Bat:
    • For the most part, the ending is far more sweet than bitter: The Seraphim and his Religion of Evil are defeated, Stephanie's surgery on her ACL is successful, Cassandra successfully converts to Catholicism and even has a love interest. The bitterness comes with the fact that her love interest is another woman. While their relationship is just sweet and fun now, if Cassie continues pursuing same-sex relationships into adulthood (with her current girlfriend or anyone else), she will almost certainly face scrutiny and ostrication from the religion she is now so dedicated to.
    • A second epilogue (that the author himself isn't sure is canon) is still bittersweet, but more hopeful. Three years after the events of the fic, Cassie asks her girlfriend Sadie to marry her. She has accepted the Catholic Church may ostricize her, but they can never take away her relationship with God and Christ. She also states that when (not if, when) the church realize the error of its ways, she will forgive it.
  • The End of Ends ends with Terra returning to being a Titan, the universe being saved from the destructive powers of the Dark Prognosticus, and Count Logan finally coming to his senses and redeeming himself. However, his injuries got too much for him and he died, which caused the Titans to feel bummed because Count Logan was really Beast Boy.

Death Note

  • Fade, L's reign of terror as Kira as ended and Light is spared execution and allowed to go back to his normal life. But Light has lost his family, his lover and his health and has a decade or less to live. Light makes the best of it to put the nightmare behind him.


Dragon Ball

  • No More Forgiveness is a Deconstruction Fic regarding Goku's parenting to the point that Gohan has fully disowned him for it and ends with Gohan managing to free having found his own closure from his past trauma after their battle while Goku heeds his son's advice after losing to him in a fight and genuinely improved to become a better father. However, despite this, Goku's constant neglect proved too much for Gohan and the fic ends with the latter never forgiving him, showing no signs of reconciliation between the two with the story explicitly confirming the fight to be the last time they interact and have now lived their own separate lives.

Final Fantasy VII

  • Us and Them: Aeris manages to summon the Lifestream and destroy Meteor, but the effort allows the Id's Death in her system to overwhelm her and she dies. She's revived but because the gateway to the Galactic Capital is destroyed, no one on Gaia knows about it and think she's dead.

For Better or for Worse

  • In The New Retcons, Michael and Deanna eventually make peace and find happiness in their lives. But they had to divorce each other to do it.



  • In Blame It on the Brain, while Earth is saved, the mutants are now publically accepted, and Fry isn't dead, the Nibblonians are gone, Earth has sustained serious damage, and Mom, her sons, and Zapp Brannigan are dead (they might have been jerks and idiots, but they did their part for Earth on a larger scale), even if Earth's new state of peace may help with the reconstruction.

Harry Potter

The Hunger Games

Jackie Chan Adventures

  • Queen of All Oni: Jade and Viper are freed from the mental corruption that made them villains, but are stuck as physically Shadowkhan and left emotionally scarred by the whole experience (Jade is also physically scarred from the Final Battle and can't even walk without magical aid); Viper is such a wreck, in fact, that she flees from the heroes and runs off on her own in a desperate search for a cure. Meanwhile, Blankman has successfully stolen ten of the talismans and used them to take over the Magisters, while the Grand Design has started to break down, potentially unleashing many sealed evils onto the world. However, Uncle is quick to remind everyone that change is a natural part of life, and that something good may still arise from all of this.

Jurassic Park

  • The ending of The Geeky Zoologist's reimagining of Jurassic World is bleaker than that of the film it is based upon. The Indominus is killed and Mount Sibo's eruption ends but the park is in ruins, hundreds of people have found death during its fall, the grey guards suffered heavy losses, the whole northern part of Isla Nublar has been turned into a volcanic desolation, and the very symbol of the first film and Fan Favourite Roberta the tyrannosaur passes away. Things doesn't improve in the following weeks, with the operation Fallen Kingdom managing to rescue only one third of the animals before being hindered by the US government who prevent Ingen from bringing its creatures back to the United States for now, forcing it to kept them in a facility in mainland Costa Rica, which trigger protests and political tensions. The company is also about to face another economic crisis because of the fall and many Ingen employees are fired, including Owen Grady who can no longer take care of Blue, his only surviving Achillobator. Not only Claire Dearing has been disfigured and crippled by the Indominus but it's also very implied that her family will turn its back on her, with her half-sister Karen blaming her for Gray's death. On Ingen's side, Lynton is likely to order Wu to resume his work on genetically-engineered dinosaurs for military applications. The epilogue reveals that an Ornitholestes and a group of Compsognathus have managed to reach the mainland by their own means and a series of attacks begins.

Katawa Shoujo

  • Reconciliation: Hisao dies of a heart attack, devastating both his wife Lily and Hanako, and preventing Hanako from apologizing to him. However, Hanako and Lilly renew their friendship, and Hanako later gets into a relationship with her publicist Sho.

Kill la Kill

  • Concerning a Drifter's ending has the note of, while things don't go back to normal and her nieces are without their mother, Satsuki is, at least, able to find some strength to move on, along with that she'd be able to see Ryuuko outside of her room at the mental home.
  • Kiryuuin Chronicles ends with Satsuki's family being reunited but her Parental Substitute, Rei, who rescued her and her sisters from their abusive situation (and a fire) and looked after them, has passed away and, thus, doesn't get to see the family reunited.
  • Lost, Found has Ryuuko being reunited with her family but in the chapter after she is, Nui (suddenly) dies. Apparently, the two couldn't exist together at once, afterwards.
  • The last chapter of The Outside. Ryuuko learns that she can come to terms with Satsuki's failing health and dying, after the latter suffers and nearly dies of (another) asthma attack, learning to let go. Though, Satsuki survives tuberculosis and the aforementioned, we find out that her life expectancy is shorter than Ryuuko's, so, with her being an ill girl, she'll likely die before a certain point.
  • The the alternate ending to Piano Notes is this. Despite everything, treatments, surgeries, and all, Satsuki's illness still takes her life, however, as on her deathbed, she tells Ryuuko how much she's made her happy and that she loved her.
    • An earlier fic by the same author titled Sunshine (sequel to Raindrops, which has a Downer Ending) has a terminally ill Satsuki being Peaceful in Death and being reunited with her sister, Ryuuko.

Kung Fu Panda

  • The Vow, which focuses on Lord Shen, ends with him surviving his canon fate and reuniting with his wife Lady Lianne. Crippled and thought to be dead by all of China, he's forced to live the rest of his life as his wife's secret prisoner, remembered as nothing but a mass-murderer and a would-be conqueror. Though this isn't the kind of life he wants, he has his wife and their son Zian whom Lianne has decided to raise in secrecy before he's ready to face the world that is still sore from his father's crimes. The Wolf Boss Zhan and most of his pack are sent away before they can be killed in the final battle. With their reputation worse than ever, they travel west to find a new life, with Jade accompanying them out of love toward Zhan. Zhan ends his long servitude to Lord Shen out of resentment, but they still part in civil terms, with Zhan keeping open the possibility of meeting his friends Shen and Lianne in the future. Also, while the soothsayer Ah-Ma is left out of the loop regarding her former ward Shen's survival, she knows at least that his line will live on through Zian.

Lady and the Tramp

The Legend of Zelda

  • Sacred Reliquary leaves us with "evil" defeated as usual... but to prevent the cycle from repeating, Link chooses to destroy the Triforce completely, wiping all magic, magical beings, and the memory of such from the face of the earth entirely. And given the morally grey undertones of the fic, the results of the final battle are something of a Pyrrhic Victory.
  • Zelda's Honor, has a rather depressing one. The majority of the Gerudo are killed in Link's purge of holy hellfire; all the Kokiri except for Saria are basically dead and she's left pregnant and decides to live alone in the woods raising a new brood of Kokiri; Malon had her son aborted in front of her and is now left a single mother of a future daughter; Impa and Talon are dead; Giana, Darunia and various other characters have lost limbs and are disabled for the remainder of their lives; Link dies alongside Navi by Zelda's hand to save the world from his righteous judgement against all who opposed Hylia and the Triforce. But hey, the good guys still won in the end, right?

Love Live!

  • Flowers Drenched In Vodka: Both Hanayo and Eli are on their way to recovery but they've broken up and decided to take a break from seeing each other.

Mai Hime

  • In Perfection is Overrated, the SUEs, the Usurper, and the Obsidian Lord and his minions are defeated. Not everyone survives, though — Hitomi killed over 20 innocent people and Yukariko died thwarting Ishigami's plan — and unlike in canon, their deaths were not undone. The surviving Himes have various problems to deal with in their lives, both mundane and magical (Shizuru, despite Natsuki having accepted her love, must one day deal with how her parents will react to her coming out of the closet), but they resolve to face those problems in the future (Nao, for example, overcomes her bitterness and hopes to become someone her mother can be proud of when and if she comes out of her coma), having realized that this world and their lives will never be perfect and chosen to face those challenges.

The Matrix

  • Applies to both parts of the What If? series;
    • In What If, Trinity’s memories are restored and the human resistance has begun to rebuild in the real world, but Morpheus and the Oracle are dead, Zion has been decimated, and Neo is essentially trapped in the Matrix.
    • In The Return of What If, the humans have defeated the machines and Neo has been restored to his body, but they had to kill virtually everyone connected to the Matrix to achieve victory.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • In Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist:
    • Marinette proves that sometimes, the best revenge is living well by building her portfolio and achieving many of the things Lila falsely claimed to have done herself. Hawkmoth is gone, but the revelation of his identity took a toll on her partner, and she and Adrien also have to permanently give up their Miraculous. It's not completely goodbye, as they can keep in contact with Fu, Tikki and Plagg, but neither of them can be Ladybug or Chat Noir again.
    • Adrien discovers not only that his father was Hawkmoth, but that his mother wasn't actually dead, just in a coma from misusing the Peacock. He voluntarily spends several months checked into a mental hospital, then emancipates himself, cutting all ties with both of his parents. Thankfully, he's building a new family with Marinette and her parents.
    • Alya realizes just how much of a Poisonous Friend Lila was, and is able to reconcile with Marinette. The damage has still been done, and it's clear that Lila doesn't care about how much she hurt her... but Alya is able to make her peace with this and move forward.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Actually, I'm Dead sadly ends more on the bitter side of the trope: In the end The Dark Force in The Alicorn Amulet takes over Trixie's body almost completely and The Mane Six had to seal her in stone with The Elements, while Trixie was just barely there enough to tell them to do it. Not only that, but they also had to reseal post-reformation Discord in the process, as he was holding her down so they'd have an opening. Oh, and Lightning Dust was beat and mauled so badly, she needed a wheel chair, to attend the memorial. About the only bright sides, are the fact that the the stone prison Trixie and Discord are in can be undone once the others have found a way to help her and Word of God confirming this story is only part one of a series, where these lingering problems can be resolved later in.
  • At the end of Bittersweet, just when you think Pinkie's alive again, she's only there to tell everyone to move on. In other words, Pinkie Pie got Killed Off for Real.
  • The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone ends on this note. After getting soundly defeated by humanity's military forces trying to stop her conversion crusade and sustaining heavy casualties, Celestia takes Equestria and they retreat back to their own home dimension, but in the process, are forced to leave behind about three thousand ponies. The good news is that Equestria won't be bothering anyone else anytime soon, humanity of course survives, there is hope for peaceful coexistence between humanity and the ponies that were left behind on Earth, and the last chapter has the Queen of the Gryphons state that Celestia will have to answer for her crimes eventually. The bad news is that the PER and HLF are still out there causing trouble, hundreds of ponies are still stuck in the internment camps despite the growing international pressure calling for their release, South Africa is rapidly turning into a fascist hellhole, and several countries start spending large amounts of money (at the cost of education and healthcare) beefing up the military for a war that will never happen.
  • In Falling Backwards, after Rainbow Dash suffered sever brain trauma, that reduces her to having the mind of a small child, it seems like a hopeless situation, until the Princesses come up with a solution. The catch? It involves physically regressing her to her current mental age. Which will give her a new lease on life, but take away the chance of her friends ever getting Rainbow back in their generation and making it improbable that she will ever be exactly the same again.
  • In Guppy Love, after realising how her puppy love crush is causing her to selfishly cling onto the mermaid Rarity as a replacement for her dead parents, Applejack accepts that she and Rarity can never be together and lets her return to the ocean once her injured tail heals. Years later, she and Rarity have friendly visits, Applejack is now married with a child on the way and Rarity is in a relationship with another mermaid: Sunset Shimmer.
  • The Dashverse story May the Best Friends Win ends with Trixie admitting to being a Jerkass and apologizing to everyone, thus saving her and Rainbow Dash's friendship. However, she can't bring herself to stay in town, saying that she needs to leave and make her own friends, rather than leech off of Rainbow Dash's life anymore.
  • Loved and Lost: The heroes still feel guilty about their mistakes, are still shaken over everything they've endured, and express remorse over Jewelius' fate despite all of the suffering he inflicted upon them and Canterlot. Nonetheless, they manage to clear their names and reconcile with each other before enjoying Shining Armor and Princess Cadance's delayed wedding in the epilogue.
  • The Monster Mash is a collection of horror-themed stories in which the ponies cross paths with the supernatural. Despite earning their happy ending, in most cases the characters are left marked by their experiences.
  • Nightmares Are Tragic, being a retelling of ""Elements of Harmony", ends with Princess Luna freed from the Nightmare state. And she's found the new incarnation of her One True Love, Dusk Skyshine, who died over four thousand years ago. The only problem is, in this life he's a ''mare'', Twilight Sparkle. And while Luna clearly hopes they can fall in love again, this isn't a fanon where Everyone Is Bi, and there is no guarantee that It's Okay If It's You will apply for either of them. By story's end she still hasn't mustered up the courage to tell Twilight about their past connection. On a larger scale, the Shadows are massing on the Moon, clearly preparing to invade the Earth, so there's no guarantee that anyone will get a Happy Ending.
  • In Our True Colors, Pinkie Pie finds the orphaned Scootaloo a new (foster) home but it isn't with her.
  • The Dark World of the Pony POV Series ends like this. The heroes finally earn their happy ending by overthrowing Discord and defeating Nightmare Paradox, restoring harmony to the world and even managing to resurrect everyone killed by Discord or his minions during his reign of chaos. However, those who died indirectly or through old age (like Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy) remain dead, and there's also the fact that Twilight has become the Alicorn of Happy Endings, and now has to leave to help other worlds reach their happy endings as well, leaving her friends behind to their well deserved happiness.
  • The Pony POV Series Chaos Verse: The Big Bad Nightmare Phobia is destroyed, and Discord and Fluttercruel make peace with the Princesses, but the Construct Ponies are all dead, leaving Discord and Fluttercruel alone in Limbo once again. Though the Constructs also managed to gain their own souls and earn a place in Pony Heaven and Fluttercruel manages to reconcile with Fluttershy with Luna's help. The last scene has Discord begin recreating Chaos, with Celestia offering her and Luna's help.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

  • The End of the Affair: Hachiman and Yukino have met up and more or less reached a resolution of their mutual attraction from high school. Unfortunately said resolution is basically them reaffirming how they would never get together due to the consequences of their choices and following their ideals, ending with them going to live their separate, and quite possibly unhappy, lives once more with the implication that they would never see each other again.


  • In Naruto: Asunder we have the Akatsuki defeated, Minato and Kushina are still alive and the five elemental nations are at peace. The cost however was Gaara, Tsunade, Jiraiya, Kankuro, Lee, Hinata (who's dying words were "Naruto-kun. You still owe me a date.") and Naruto. They do become legends though.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Children of an Elder God: At the end, Shinji and Asuka have lost almost everyone that they care about, and due to their mutations they don't fit into human society any longer, so they abandon civilization forever. Still they are still together, the narration states that their remaining friends will meet them again, and thanks to them humanity has been saved and will endure for several centuries more.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: The story ends in 2080 when Asuka passes away and Shinji dies three days later. However they have a daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Kaworu and Rei visit Shinji when he dies and Rei hints that he and Asuka will be together in the Afterlife. After their deaths, Ryuko, Kyoko and Misato go about their many accomplishments when they were alive.
  • HERZ: After the last battle, Shinji and Asuka are alive are able to be happy together. Most of canon characters have survived, Yui and Kyoko's souls have been released and SEELE has been defeated once and for all. However Rei seals herself together with the Evas, Adam, Lilith and the Lance to ensure that they will never be used again, which means she has to say goodbye to her family forever.
  • At the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, SEELE still exists, NERV's workers are at the mercy of the Japanese Government, and Shinji and his family lose their home. However, Instrumentality has been averted, Keel has been assassinated, leaving SEELE without a leader and at the risk of being exposed, and the main characters are safe and sound.

One Piece

  • In Marie D. Suesse and the Mystery New Pirate Age!, the Disinfector manages to, with the help of the Suesse family, push the Reset Button and undo 20 years worth of terrible events in the One Piece universe that include the deaths of Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats, but one of the events undone in the process is Madelyn meeting Garreth and having Mar with him. However, the last scene shows Garreth and Madelyn meeting again.



  • A New Chance For Adventure: At the end of Hunting The Hunter, Ash and his team succeed in defeating Rico and saving Team Rocket's Pokemon, with the covert help of Skailyn, but they arrive too late to stop him from selling Larvitar's mother to Team Magma, and have no leads with which to find her. Not to mention Latios giving into his anger and offing Rico behind Ash's back.
  • In A Pikachu in Love, after spending the entire fic questioning his relationship with Ash and growing closer to Pichi, Pikachu finally realizes just how much Ash and Co. care about him, and decides that it's too important to ever doubt or break. Unfortunately, on the same night he plan to tell Pichi that it would be the last time he would see her, Pichi had already realized she was in love with Pikachu and plan to tell him that on the same night. Though she manages to tell Pikachu first, and Pikachu does admit that he loves her to, he was forced to explain how he can't leave Ash just like that. Though hurt, Pichi understands, and bids a tearful goodbye to her love for the final time. What keeps this from being a complete downer ending though is that Misty, who had secretly followed Pikachu and saw it all, managed to get the gist of what's going on and quickly comforts Pikachu, reminding her how much she, Ash, and Brock all love him. On top of that, there's also an implied chance at the end that Pikachu will see Pichi again someday.
    The small group of friends journied on under the bluest of skies, the most golden of sunshine, and Pikachu took pleasure in smelling the clean air that gently blew into their faces. It felt like the world was beautiful all over again, and that there was something special waiting for him at the end of the road.

Real-Person Fic

  • In With Strings Attached, after successfully restoring the Vasyn to Ketafa, the four are informed that they can't take their magic home with them. Whereas John and Paul are pleased because they were fretting about returning to Earth as Blessed with Suck, Ringo is devastated, because he was profoundly transformed by his magic and had all kinds of plans for using it. He ends up clinging to the hope that the four will be given a chance to use it again in the future, making this a rare book where the characters actually ask for a sequel.



  • While Heartbreak intially ended on a Downer Ending, it's sequel chapter concludes on a more softer, if still somber, note. Yang reaffirms her love for Garnet and is able to get back together with him, but she will have to live with the fact that she basically broke his heart for nothing, and that Garnet's trust in her is at an all time low, coupled with the fact that she won't be so Easily Forgiven by most of Garnet's friends and family, especially his mother.
  • Ruby and Nora has had a few stories end like this. If it keeps up, the Grand Finale will certainly have one, too.

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • In The Hidden Queen, Daenerys loses her dragons and her supporters, she is overthrown by Stannis Baratheon, believed dead by everyone and forced to go into hiding under an assumed name, and everything she has fought for in Essos is lost as well. However, her dragons perish in a Mutual Kill with the Others and so the world is safe from eternal winter, the Seven Kingdoms are doing more or less okay under Stannis’s rule, and Daenerys herself is fairly content in her marriage to Jorah Mormont and accepted by his family and the people of Bear Island.

Sonic the Hedgehog

  • Two of the alternate endings for the Sonic X: Dark Chaos rewrite are this. Ending A has Tails dying to stop Dark Tails, the galaxy left in ruins and the Forerunners invading the universe... but Sonic and his friends got their Planet Egg back and everyone joins forces to stop them. Ending D is the "happiest" of the endings - the above still happens, except Tails doesn't die which (while leaving Dark Tails alive) stops the Forerunner invasion entirely.
  • Veritas Dolor: Shadow is talked out of his suicide, but Rouge knows that it'll happen again sometime in the future. She just hopes he'll be able to stop himself if she's not around for him someday.

Star Fox

  • The Friend has two bittersweet endings and one that is a complete downer.
    • Ending A has Star Wolf being defeated by the protagonist and the Star Fox team, however, thanks to Corneria's corrupt police force, Fox and Peppy are shot dead right in front of the protagonist and Falco is struck by an EMP blast, bringing his Arwing down to the ground and supposedly dying on the crash. Then, the protagonist is arrested...if not killed.
    • Ending S has the protagonist killing himself to avoid doing what Star Wolf demanded him to do. With the protagonist's dead, Fox McCloud is struck violently by it and enters deep depression, never understanding why his best friend did that.

Star Wars

  • The first work of the Ouroboros series, Wake The Storm, ends with Anakin swearing to never turn to the dark side and reuniting with Obi-Wan and Padme after they thought he was captured and brainwashed by Seperatists and Anakin killing Palpatine. However, as he's dying, Palpatine executes Command Code Retribution, resulting in the Jedi, planetary leaders, CIS leaders, and the Senate all being killed and the armies of the Republic and Seperatists going rogue.

Tolkien's Legendarium

  • Heart of Ashes, the second part of the The Heart Trilogy, has this kind of an ending after the first part Heart of Fire had a "Ray of Hope" Ending. The now identified Fankil is defeated before he can use Kathryn in freeing his father Morgoth from the void, but he's still at large and will return to fight another day. Smaug has killed Freyja and a lot of Vathvael's people, but the city will carry on under Queen Lalemwen, and Andraya is no longer alive to bother Smaug or Kathryn with her schemes. Kathryn gives Smaug the ultimatum to give up his plans to take back Erebor and have his revenge, if he wants her to remain with him. The danger of being corrupted again by Sauron's taint within him also forces him to be mindful of his darker desires. With a lot of reconciliation to work on, Kathryn and Smaug decide that it's in their best interests to go into hiding from everyone, but Gandalf believes they will meet again.

To Love-Ru

  • To-Love-Death, Mr Law's Zombie Fic ends like this: Rito and several of his classmates and teachers survive, but not without most of the main Toloveru cast being killed off in horrible ways. Not to mention Nana making it all the way to the end before being decimated by helicopter blades by a surprise zombie. Turns out they didn't love death after all!.

Total Drama

  • In Legacy, which is set ten years after the events of the show, Heather and Duncan spend much of the story reminiscing about the death of a colleague, a tragedy that disrupted the season and nearly killed the show. The late colleague was someone whom Heather couldn't stand whilst they were living at the camp; but ten years later, the more mature Heather reveals a heartfelt gesture of remembrance to her late enemy.

Warrior Cats

  • In Spottedleaf's plot, Mapleshade gets her revenge on Spottedleaf, but Mapleshade also dies as a result.


  • Fallen King ends like this. Pegasus was stopped from getting the Millennium Puzzle, both Ryou and Yami Bakura are presumed dead, and Joey, Tea, and Tristan have escaped with the soulless Mokuba. However, Joey realizes that they'll never stop being hunted, declares that they cannot be friends, and the trio separate to save the world.


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