Prophecies can be such tricky things. So can transportation between worlds — truly, Anne, Marcy and Sasha were fortunate to land in Amphibia completely intact, all things considered.
But what if Fate's aim was just a bit off? What if the proverbial pieces didn't land where they were supposed to after tumbling through the music box?
A Theory of Butterflies and Other Insects is a Role Swap AU for Amphibia by CalamityUnlocked in which each member of the human trio lands in a place meant for another. Marcy meets up with Grime and the residents of Toad Tower; Anne arrives in Newtopia and is quickly introduced to its king; while Sasha ends up near Wartwood and encounters Sprig. From there, things naturally unfold quite differently, especially as the girls get settled in.
For you know what they say about square pegs and round holes...
This fanfic contains examples of:
- All of the Other Reindeer: Each of the girls faces this to some extent due to being Fish out of Water.
- Bad Liar: Marcy struggles with this, putting her at a severe disadvantage when dealing with Grime.
- Blackmail: Captain Grime uses this against Marcy, securing her 'cooperation' on pain of the threat of exposing how she got several toads killed with her failed escape attempt.
- Chained Heat: In order to keep Marcy from escaping during the herons' assault on Toad Tower, Captain Grime chains their wrists together.
- Darker and Edgier: With a major increase in violence and Marcy's trauma under the toads, this fic is much darker than canon.
- Disappointed in You: Sasha learns the hard way just how crushing Hop Pop's disapproval can be, even though it's balanced by the willingness to forgive and help her learn how to be better.
- For Want Of A Nail:
- Anne immediately gives King Andrias the music box, though its power has still been mysteriously drained by transporting her and the others to Amphibia.
- Being more socially awkward than Sasha, Marcy struggles to find her footing with the toads, and attempts to escape by luring the herons in by making a racket, leading to heavy casualties among the toads — and giving Grime something to blackmail her with.
- With Sasha's help, Hop Pop successfully beats Toadstool in the mayoral election.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: The story juggles each of the girl's plotlines, switching back and forth between their respective perspectives.
- Heel Realization: Sasha has one while helping Fens, Bog and the other toads gather Wartwood's 'unpaid dues', realizing that they're bullies — and didn't she used to stand up to bullies? When did that change?
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Yunan eagerly looks forward to Anne getting a crack at swords, though her personal trainer Rami starts her off learning the basics with a spear.
- I Have No Son!: Upon learning of the assassination plot, Duchess Artemis immediately disowns her son.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Marcy's mind kicks into high gear during the herons' attack on Toad Tower, further signified by her eyes flashing green during her "Eureka!" Moment.
- Never My Fault: Sasha initially refuses to see how her selfishness is tainting the villagers' opinion of her, insisting that they should trust her more despite not doing anything to earn their regard.
- Not Helping Your Case: The residents of Wartwood are naturally wary of the 'monstrous-looking' Sasha. Despite her skills at social manipulation, she actively makes matters worse for herself by continuing to put herself first, terrorizing the little community with her self-centered fun-seeking while complaining about how they're treating her.
- "Not So Different" Remark:
- Grime appeals to Marcy by calling her 'a fellow strategist', along with being cunning and ruthless.
- During the fallout of A Plan of Poison, Fay remarks that Anne's no different from the rest of Newtopia's corrupt nobility.
- Penny Among Diamonds: Anne feels this way in Newtopia, mostly whenever she has to spend too long among their nobility.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Played With in Newtopia; Fay and Lysander wish to minimize casualties during their assassination plot, but are still planning to blow up King Andrias' box, though they insist the explosion will be contained.
- Role Swap AU: Sasha winds up in Wartwood instead of Anne; Anne's transported to Newtopia in Marcy's stead; and Marcy ends up in Toad Tower instead of Sasha.
- Sadistic Choice: Grime offers Marcy one: either join his forces, or he reveals to the rest of Toad Tower that she attracted the herons to attack.
- Shipper on Deck: Anne immediately starts shipping Lady Fay with Lord Lysander after learning that they're Childhood Friends.
- Sudden Principled Stand: One cements the start of Sasha's Character Development, as she realizes she can't help the toads with their 'tax collection' anymore and defends the Planters and Wartwood from them.
- Third Wheel: Marcy finds herself in this position between Percy and Braddock, due to the latter being her unwilling Secret-Keeper regarding the heron incident.
- Toxic Friend Influence:
- Anne is so used to ignoring her conscience while hanging out with Sasha that she suppresses the bad feelings she's getting from King Andrias and gives him the music box almost immediately.
- Sasha initially terrorizes Wartwood with her misbehavior, and Hop Pop notes that the worst thing about it in his eyes is how she roped Sprig and Polly into her antics.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: After spending nearly a month locked up, Marcy is so desperate to escape that she calls out to the herons, attracting them to the tower. This has massive ramifications.
- Undying Loyalty: Deconstructed with Anne, whose loyalty to Sasha and Marcy made her willing to suppress her conscience in order to please them, with this tendency getting exploited by King Andrias.
- Vengeance Feels Empty:
- Sasha's initial glee at 'getting back' at the residents of Wartwood for their distrust soon shifts into her realizing this.
- Marcy feels much the same way after her escape attempt leaves thirty-one toads dead and six injured, with half of those having suffered fatal wounds in the heron attack she provoked.
- Wham Line:
- The tone of Anne's section of Comin' Atcha changes dramatically when she overhears Lady Fay declaring that "Whatever happens, King Andrias will die tomorrow."
- Anne feels similarly floored when Lady Fay tells her that "the rest of Amphibia lives in squalor compared to Newtopia."
- What Is This Feeling?: While helping the toads collect taxes from Wartwood's citizens, Sasha notices several odd, unfamiliar sensations like a strange twisting in her gut. These, naturally, turn out to stem from her growing guilt.