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One moment Matthew Crawley is in a horrific car crash, feeling his neck snap and his life end. The next he is years in the past, before he came to Downton and given a second chance to relive his life. But Matthew refused to be passive and decides to alter history itself to ensure he, and those that call Downton Abbey their home, their happy ending.

Authors Of Our Own Fate is a Downton Abbey fic written by Mr Chaos and can be found here. Told using revolving POV chapters, it focuses on how Matthew will alter the events of the series to prevent the heartbreak and drama that came about in the previous timeline.


Authors Of Our Own Fate contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the past, Thomas once confessed to Matthew (when he was on the wheelchair) how he got his hand shot so they would send him home, thinking Matthew would get angry. And he did - because he couldn't believe he didn't try to do that himself.
    • Sybil is quite put out at having to deal with the Greys, but Matthew says he needs them to carry out his plan to get himself (and, hopefully, William) out of the trenches. When she mentions that the wheelchair looked really comfortable, Matthew cracks up.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Subverted. It is revealed that ‘Sybie’ was a nickname Cora used for Sybil that she hated. When Matthew reveals to her that her daughter went by that she’s less than thrilled.
  • Alcohol-Induced Stupidity: Robert's argument with Matthew over the war might have gone better if it were not for Robert's previous drinking.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Becomes this in the very first chapter when Matthew returns to the night the Titanic sunk. He quickly decides to change things and as the story goes on events rapidly change.
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  • Armchair Military: One of the things General Lothrop hates about Robert is how he acts pissant about people not joining the war effort when he hasn't left Downton since the beginning of the war, enjoying the benefits of being an officer while not having the responsibilities of actually being one.
  • As You Know: Averted. Word of God states he disliked this trope in the Downton Christmas special and thus decided to handle the information dump in a more natural way.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Thomas to Sybil and Anna when they stop Pamuk’s attempt to out Thomas as gay. Thomas realizes they both know and don’t care and he makes it clear to Anna he won’t forget the kindness they’ve shown him.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Matthew getting to go back and correct the mistakes of his past? Great! Having to see his wife hate him all over again? Not so great.
  • Berserk Button: For Sybil it is Mary and Edith bickering, as it finally gets on her last nerve and causes her to yell at them to knock it off.
    • For Mr Carson, it is insulting Mary. When Pamuk calls her a whore, he immediately punches him.
  • Beta Couple: Anna and Bates are shaping up to be this. Possibly Sybil and Tom, as the latter hasn’t appeared yet.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Future!Sybil. She drugs Larry Grey with the same pill he, in the future, used on Tom as revenge and later plans Pamuk’s murder, hiring Bates to do it. She states she would have done it herself but didn’t know how to find time alone with him.
    • Matthew as well. He's quite the nice chap, but threaten someone he loves and he will be very willing to smash your head with a fire poker.
  • Big Fancy House: Kind of comes with the story.
  • Blackmail: Pamuk does this to Thomas, just like in canon. When Pamuk tries to use it as blackmail against Robert so he won't reveal his attempted rape of Mary, Sybil laughs it up and defuses the situation.
  • Blind Mistake: Mrs. Patmore's eyesight problems start to appear in the lead up to the Winter Dinner.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: In the show Pamuk dies off screen and we just see his bloodless corpse. Here? Bates kills him by both giving him an heroin overdose and making sure there was an air bubble in the syringe. To make it worse Pamuk is the POV character for this final chapter and we get to experience his death with him in horrid detail.
  • Butt-Monkey: The author REALLY doesn’t like Daisy. While characters like Thomas and O’Brien are given Pet the Dog moments Daisy is shown as little more than an annoyance to everyone, including normally friendly servants like Anna.
  • Call-Back: In Chapter 39, Bates has a policy of locking the Gratham Arms' doors at night because a certain Turkish diplomat showed him people were at their most vulnerable when they thought themselves safe. Of course he knows, given that he was the one doing the demonstration.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Matthew to Robert after the latter calls him a coward for not wanting to go to the frontlines. Then Mary, Edith and Sybil to their father after Matthew leaves.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Pamuk BY FAR. The author notes that he sees Pamuk’s encounter with Mary as pure and utter rape. When Pamuk is revealed to be a rapist he goes completely mad.
  • Character Death: The story begins with Matthew dying... only to wake up alive and well in the past.
    • Kemal Pamuk, only this time he is murdered by Bates on Sybil’s command for his attempted rape of Mary.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Matthew's experience with contract law gives him a way to avert his canon fate, as he hopes to be able to work for the Army to prevent them from being taken advantage of.
    • He then offers Thomas a job, because he knows Thomas is precisely the sneaky kind of person that would be able to detect those of his type.
  • Comic-Book Time: HIGHLY averted. The author has stated that the timeline when compared to the actions of the cast make no sense and frustrates him to no end and he has stated he will take his time to explore the events of the story and let time move at a slower and more natural pace. This explains why the story, which is pushing 20 chapters, hasn’t even reached the first half of Series 1.
  • Darker and Edgier: Invoked yet also subverted. While the story is avoiding several of the major dramas of the series these changes are causing NEW dramas to pop up, which tend to be rather graphically described.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mary, just as in canon.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Sybie, though Sybil is highly displeased with this trope
  • Death Glare: When Matthew realizes that Pamuk raped his wife in the previous timeline he gets a glare that reminded the readers of Bates’ death glare to Mr. Greene from the series.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: Much of the first two ‘arcs’ are about Matthew getting Season 1 Mary to see him as her Season 2 and 3 self did. By the time Matthew saves her from Pamuk before he can rape her he has succeeded and the two are now on much better terms, even sharing a kiss.
    • In the aftermath, Mary becomes a lot happier and open, apologizes to Edith for being such a horrible sister and resolves to do better.
    • Matthew also takes the time and effort to get Edith to become nicer, while also ensuring she won't try to go after him.
  • Dissonant Serenity: when she meets Kemal Pamuk, Sybil is all a cold mask on the outside, but inside she struggles not to rip the man's intestines with her bare hands. As is, she (barely) restrains herself to "accidentally" cutting his hand with one of her (purposefully-sharpened) nails, and then dropping a Stealth Insult on him while acting "concerned".
    • Also Bates while he kills Pamuk in a way that looks like an accidental overdose.
    • Allen Lothrop manages to hold himself together quite well during the Army dinner in Downton when all he wants to do is to punch the daylights out of Robert Crawley for what he has done to his daughters and Matthew.
  • Double Standard: Sybil brings this up concerning Kemal Pamuk’s "relationship" with Mary. She states that people forgive men for having sex outside of marriage as they can’t control themselves while women who do the same are shunned... yet women are seen as the weaker of the species.
    • Thomas thinks Carson engages in this when he tells him not to bully William, when back when Thomas joined the household he underwent the same thing at the hands of the older men.
    • The issue of women's growing role in society is discussed, as many characters point out that women are usually held up to standards that are not applied to men.
  • Driven to Madness: When things come undone for Pamuk he devolves into ranting and raving.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The whole point of the story is Matthew working to get him and Mary together, preventing all the drama that happened, and save himself, Sybil, and William.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sybil arranging Pamuk’s death proves this isn’t the Sybil of Season 1.
  • Foreshadowing: Several readers noticed that Sybil was acting differently in the first few chapters. She soon reveals that she also traveled back in time at the moment of her death and has been doing the same thing Matthew is doing.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Crawley girls.
    • Mary is Choleric.
    • Edith is Melancholic.
    • Sybil is Sanguine.
    • Lillian is Phlegmatic.
  • Gilligan Cut: Anna and John agree that having even an hour or two for themselves at the fair would be great. The scene then cuts to Mary telling her that no, they are to have at least an entire morning to themselves.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Pamuk Incident. Future!Sybil purposely placed herself in Mary’s room and hid when Pamuk arrived. When he tries to rape Mary, Sybil brains him with a vase and then screams, summoning an already waiting Future!Matthew along with William, who then summon the rest of the family, Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Anna, and Thomas.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Carson when Pamuk calls Mary a whore. William joins in when Pamuk gets Carson on the ground.
  • Handicapped Badass: Bates. In fact he uses his handicap to his advantage, as it allows him to sneak about places and, when caught, claim he was merely trying to find the quickest way out due to his limp. Most people just feel sorry for him and let him go, not realizing he now knows how to get in and out over every building in the village and at the house.
  • Heel Realization: Cora realizes how rotten her behavior towards Matthew has been when she hears Mrs O'Brien speak scornfully about him.
    • She later has another during the Winter Dinner, when she realizes that her pushing Edith and Sybil to marry now that Mary is engaged is a sign that she has not been the best of mothers for the two girls.
  • Henpecked Husband: Downplayed. During the Winter Dinner, some of the male attendants agree that their wives usually are the ones that rule at home.
  • Hypocrite: Allen tells the women from the Order of the White Feather that appear in the Army dinner they are this, because, for all their proclamation about helping in the war, neither of them has enlisted to help as a nurse, to work in a factory or any of the many jobs that men have been leaving to enlist.
  • Irony: When Mary thinks about what her dream first kiss would be it is described just like Matthew’s proposal in the Second Season Christmas Special.
    • When talking with Violet, Cora expresses the idea of leaving for the United States for a time, but when Violet presses her to go visit her daughters in London, she mentions she couldn't go because of Robert and her daughter Lillian. Violet is quick to point out the irony in her statement.
  • It's All About Me: Matthew, as much as he loves Mary, acknowledges that this is one of her most disagreeable traits. Breaking her out of it is part of her Character Development.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: How Matthew lets Edith down. He does, however, tell her that he thinks she is meant for much more than just being a countess.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Some reviewers pointed out that Pamuk’s rant about how women are forced to be sexually repressed in England can come off as this. Of course he is using it as justification for rape so it also becomes a subversion.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Matthew feels this way towards Edith and Sybil.
  • Mundane Utility: Knowing how to throw a grenade helps when you want to hit a milk bottle tower.
  • Never My Fault: Robert's introspective chapter post-Time Skip reveals he blames Matthew for everything that has gone wrong since their fight.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Cora remembers once her mother quietly complaining about the food at a restaurant. When she hears another customer loudly yelling and embarrassing the waiter she leaps to his defense. Just because she didn’t like the food doesn’t mean she’d treat someone like that.
    • Matthew is also this, becoming extra-nice to Molesley to make up for his past life's mistakes and actually thanking Thomas when he corrects him on how dinner is served.
    • Allen Lothrop as well: during the Army dinner at Downton, he thinks that the music is quite dull, but when leaving takes a moment to thank the musicians for their performance.
  • Ninja Maid: Anna jokes that if Mary’s life is like a fictional tale that makes her Mary’s plucky sidekick and that the two of them would spend their time solving mysteries.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Sybil acts a bit oddly during the first dinner. It is later revealed she went back in time too. Matthew having his own Alert is what clued her in that he’d gone back too.
  • Peggy Sue: Matthew and Sybil.
  • Pet the Dog: One of Anna’s P.O.V. chapters has O’Brien taking charge of the downstairs since Mrs. Hughes is bone tired and Carson is in bed after Pamuk beat him up. She does so without being asked and tells Mrs. Hughes to go and get some rest. When Bates offers to fill in as butler O’Brien has no complaints.
    • Thomas then offers to take over William’s duties since he has injured his hand, so that he doesn’t risk losing his job.
  • Plot Bunny: After the author listed one of the alternate ideas for the story (focusing on a 100 year old Mary traveling back in time to her young body instead) and it was picked up by another writer, Mr. Chaos began to include at least one plot bunny at the end of every chapter.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: General Allen Lothrop to the women presenting white feathers to non-enlisted men, calling them out for their hypocrisy because it is obvious they aren't doing anything to help the ones that are actually fighting in the war. Then at Robert, which he has wanted to do for a long time, for getting all gung-ho over the war when he has not been anywhere close to the frontlines to see what's going on while Allen knows the actual destruction and death the war is causing.
  • Secret Keeper: Matthew and Sybil become this to each other, as they are the only two to travel back in time.
    • Bates is this for Sybil after he helps her kill Pamuk and she helps him find a lawyer to free him from Vera.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Robert is decidedly obtuse about how Mary, Edith and Sybil are flourishing in London, choosing to believe that they hate their lives and would rather be in Downton.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sybil is one for both Mary and Matthew, and Anna and Bates. Mary joins in the latter after she realizes her own feelings for Matthew.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Larry Gray once again is involved except this time it is Future!Sybil putting it in his glass as revenge for what he did to Tom in the future.
  • Stereotype Flip: Meta Version. Downton Abbey fanfiction is mostly written by women. Mr. Chaos is decidedly male (and often jokes that he is writing POV's for 60 year old British women). Furthermore, he is writing a decidedly romance-focused story as well. Several reviewers have expressed shock at him being a male, stating he might be the only male Downton-fanfic writer on the website.
  • Time Skip: While they do occur it is nowhere near as bad the show. And then Chapter 31 happens two years after the previous one.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Taken seriously. Matthew decides to take advantage of his foreknowledge to first secure Downton's money so it won't be lost, and then find a way to avoid going to the front for when the war begins.
  • They Do: John asks Anna to marry him. She says yes.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Matthew and Sybil, thanks to time travel.
    • Matthew threatens Pamuk with a firepoker and makes it clear that he will kill him if he comes near Mary again.
    • Sybil arranges for Pamuk to die, and does it in such a way that not only does it look like an accident, but he also suffered greatly and his reputation will be forever destroyed.
    • Let’s not forget William and Carson:
      • When Pamuk calls Mary a whore, Carson punches him out. Pamuk gets him down, which leads to...
      • William tackling Pamuk and beating him so hard William nearly breaks his hand.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Matthew strives to be a lot nicer to everyone else than the first time around. One of his first actions is to establish a closer relationship with Molesley, apologizing in advance for anything he may do that would be Molesley's job. During the first dinner, he actively tries to be friendly with them and engages in conversation with everyone. He is also a lot more open to understanding how important Downton is to Robert.
    • Thomas becomes nicer, and while he still butts heads with Bates, it's more of a game of wits for the two of them. This also spreads to Mrs O'Brien.
  • Trust Password: Sybil tells Tom she's come from the future, and says all she knows about him, but Tom thinks Lord Grantham had someone do a background check on him. Then she drops the Wham Line. Tom ends up fainting.
  • War Is Glorious: Robert believes this. Matthew knows it is not. This difference of opinions ends up causing a terrible row between them, with Robert pretty much disowning Matthew and both the girls and Thomas leaving Downton to join Matthew.
  • Wham Episode: In Chapter 41, it is revealed that Violet also came back in time when her mistakes caused her family to collapse.
  • Wham Line: Several big ones:
    • Sybil: When did you die? and My name is Sybil Branson.
    • Clarkson: Mr. Pamuk is dead... of a drug overdose.
    • Bates (after he kills Pamuk and goes to meet the person that hired him to do the job): "Lady Sybil."
    • Sybil (again) to Tom: You lied about how your father died.
    • Dowager Lady Grantham to Sybil: It seems that Sir Michael had been seeing a Lady Elizabeth Moorehouse quite exclusively a year or two ago but he broke it off quite suddenly.
    • Michael Gregson: Or were murdered in Germany while seeking a divorce so I might marry Edith.
    • Cora Crawley: Sanctuary.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Most of the two years since Matthew and the girls left Downton have been full of this for Robert.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Thankfully averted with Molesley. Matthew makes sure to treat the man with respect and by the time of the Fox Hunt Molesley has gained plenty of self respect and talks with Matthew much like how Robert and Bates do.

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