Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / Becoming the Mask

Go To

Becoming the Mask is a Trollhunters fanfic by Forever-Furuba/moonlit_wings.

Jim holds a secret; he is not the real James Lake Jr. He is instead a changeling that has replaced the baby Jim and now lives his life as a spy. His loyalties grow conflicted when he is called as the Trollhunter and develops friendships with Gunmar's enemies.

The fanfic can be found on and Archive of Our Own. Not to be confused with the trope of the same name.

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Abilene Paradox: After she learns he is a Changeling, Jim stops addressing Barbara as ‘Mom’ for a while. Neither one says anything about this because they don’t want to pressure the other into keeping their relationship the same as it was prior to the reveal.
  • Actor Allusion: Jim comments that Dicatious and Mark Hamill, Dictatious' voice actor, sound "uncannily alike".
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: When discussing how to defeat Gunmar, Aaarrrgghh immediately dismisses the idea of poisoning him because Gunmar has developed resistance to most toxins.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Subverted. James Lake Jr. is not the protagonist of the story. Instead, the story is centered around Jim, the changeling that replaced the actual James Lake Jr. and has lived his life in his place since infancy.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Jim calls his familiar - the actual James Lake Jr. - "Jay-Jay", because it was one of the nicknames his parents were trying out before settling on "Jim" (by which time he was replaced by a changeling).
    • Not Enrique was known as Riot while living in the Darklands, and give Claire and her friends permission to call him that as an alternative to "Not Enrique". Borders on an Insult of Endearment since a changeling traditionally adopts their familiar's name after leaving the Darklands, and calling them by their old nicknames after that is considered rude.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Darci knows magic is a real thing, but doubts whether specific magical powers (controlling the weather and absorbing the life force of others) are actual things trolls can do when they are mentioned in a historical epic.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Jim is asked if he's willing to bet his friends' lives on being able to convince Gunmar not to eat them, forcing him to acknowledge Gunmar won't listen to a Changeling and prompting Jim's official Heel–Face Turn.
  • Battle Trophy: After their victory over Bular, Jim and the others bring back his severed head and swords as proof. Desecrating the Dead in such a manner is considered taboo in troll-culture, so various trolls (including Draal, who winces as Jim does the deed) are more horrified than impressed. Granted, it's Bular's head they bring back, so Jim gets brownie-points even before Vendel explains to everyone that such a thing is considered a human custom.
  • Becoming the Mask: Named for the trope. The story starts with Jim already deeply invested in his human cover, wanting to keep the humans he loves safe after the rest of their species is subjugated. After accepting the job of Trollhunter as a cover to infiltrate Trollmarket, he gets attached to the trolls there and starts genuinely wanting to protect them as well.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Discussed in-universe. Jim mentions he'd once looked into whether Hans Christian Andersen was a Changeling, because The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid both work as analogies for the why a Changeling shouldn't get too attached to humans. Since Andersen's other stories didn't fit the pattern and there was no other evidence, he was probably human.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Despite Barbara being a Lethal Chef, the Jim of this story actually likes her food because, as a Changeling, his appetite falls in the middle of that of a troll's and human's.
  • Call-Back: In the first chapter, Jim's narration says, "Trollhunters, particularly Trollhunters living in the same city as Bular, had notoriously short lifespans compared to the average troll." In Angor Rot's introductory chapter, Angor's narration says, "Trollhunters, particularly Trollhunters Angor Rot had been sent after, had notoriously short lifespans compared to the average troll."
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: The Changelings, emphasized in nearly every scene where they try to explain their reasoning or backstories to a non-Changeling.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Jim is fond of these.
    • After Blinky and AAARRRGGHH introduced themselves to Jim, Jim is quick to come up with a cover story to explain any absences he may have; he has been secretly dating a girl from Arcadia Oaks Academy (Arcadia Oaks High School's rival school), hence why he has not been telling anyone. He later changes it to claiming he was pulling a prank and was nearly caught, and so had to bail while still setting it up.
    • He excuses his stress and tiredness the day after being exposed as a Changeling to some, but not all, of his allies by claiming he and Draal had an argument, right after Toby comments on having met Draal twice and never actually had a conversation with him.
    • Toby eventually catches onto this and actually recognizes when Jim is lying, this time trying to cover for the Changeling who replaced Enrique, because Jim's excuse is "slightly too perfect".
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Birthday: Applies to all of the Changelings, since it wasn't like their kidnappers would've known or bothered to keep track. This influences Jim's preference not to celebrate what is actually his Familiar's birthday - the day had no personal significance to Jim himself up until it became the anniversary of the day James Senior walked out.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Chapter 17 is called ‘Disappointing Mentors’ - featuring a student disappointing their mentor, and a mentor being a disappointment to their student, when Blinky finds out Jim is a Changeling and takes it badly. Strickler is also disappointed in Jim in this chapter, since he learns Jim has been exposed as the Trollhunter to another Changeling.
  • Easy Sex Change: Trolls can transition with magic, although it takes time and effort. According to legend, the Shattered King was able to transform intuitively and all at once when he was a toddler, foreshadowing his immense and nuanced magical power as an adult.
  • Elective Broken Language: Jim deliberately fumbles and pauses when speaking trollish around trolls who don't know he's a Changeling, to maintain the cover story that he only recently started learning to speak trollish.
  • Exact Words: A gaggletack will force any changeling it touches to switch forms. This only works if it makes skin contact, therefore Jim is able to touch it with his armored hands with no ill-effect.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: Changelings have nicknames before getting Familiars, and pick their "real name" afterwards. The Changeling who replaces Enrique Nuñez decides to allow Claire and her friends to use his old nickname, Riot, as an alternative to calling him Not Enrique.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: While sparring with Draal for the first time, Jim takes several hits and becomes somewhat disoriented. He wonders why the arena is so brightly lit - not due to his head injury making it look brighter, but because, as a later line of narration reveals, he's having a flashback to his time in the Darklands.
  • Heroic BSoD: Being aware of AAARRRGGHH’s history and secretly been trained The Spartan Way, Jim was quick to defend himself against the rampaging troll when AAARRRGGHH pretended to go mad for Jim's surprise birthday party. Jim manages to incapacitate AAARRRGGHH with a Pressure Point, and then has an emotional breakdown at the thought of nearly stabbing him through the neck under a false assumption.
  • Hijacked Destiny: Discussed. When trying to understand why the Amulet picked a Changeling as the best choice for the new Trollhunter, Vendel speculates that it might have actually been calling his Familiar, since Jim "stole" James Lake Junior's name. (However, the Amulet called for "Jim Lake", not "James", in the first chapter, supporting the idea that it chose the Changeling on purpose.)
  • Genre Savvy: Barbara realizes that, if Jay-Jay is rescued from the Darklands, Barbara will have to explain where the baby came from - a DNA analysis would prove he's hers, but she would have to fake a pregnancy for anyone who knows her to believe that. If she claims that she found an abandoned child instead, then she wouldn't be allowed to simply keep him. "That plan might've been feasible a hundred years ago, but not in the modern world."
  • Homosexual Reproduction: The way that trolls reproduce means that any two adults, regardless of their sexes, can make a baby together.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Blinky drops one of these just as Vendel has arrived at the door of his library, wanting clarification on some conflicting rumors of what the Trollhunter’s been up to that morning.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The circumstances which lead to Claire's brother being swapped for a Changeling are not recreated - Jim and Toby never follow the goblins into the museum and see Nomura in her Changeling form, pushing her to reveal the recently-recovered Fetch to Bular in the next episode to convince him of her usefulness and to spare her life. However, Enrique still ends up being kidnapped and replaced.
  • Internal Reveal: Both of Jim's secret identities are eventually exposed to other characters, after Jim interferes in a fight between Draal and Nomura, revealing himself to Nomura as the Trollhunter and to Draal as a Changeling.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Jim and Strickler don't see exactly what AAARRRGGHH and Blinky were doing in the library, because AAARRRGGHH is much larger than Blinky and blocked the view, but when Jim and Strickler walk in, AAARRRGGHH becomes momentarily tense, Blinky is flustered, the study table behind Blinky doesn't have books on it, and Blinky needs to put one of his suspender straps back on.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: After Claire kisses him on the cheek twice, Jim decides to let her down easy and tell her that he is not into her.
  • The Kindnapper: Jim insists several times that replacing human babies with Changelings is okay because the babies are protected and cared for by goblins, who attend the Familiars' every need.
    • Nomura and Draal drug Barbara unconscious and bring her to Trollmarket after Bular finds out Jim is a traitor, so Bular won't be able to use Barbara as a hostage against Jim.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: Why is there lava in the Hero's Forge?
  • Leonine Contract: Jim at one point offers to bribe someone into silence. The bribe on offer is the antidote to the poison coating the knife with which Jim just stabbed them.
  • Living Is More than Surviving: This is what gets Jim to accept that his human loved ones wouldn’t be happy to be kept as “breeding stock” and medical staff on People Farms after Gunmar takes over the world just for the sake of personal survival. Since Jim is Conditioned to Accept Horror, he struggles to grasp why, even if they personally were off the menu, the humans would still be upset at seeing everyone else killed and eaten.
  • Magitek: a Changeling modifies a Geiger counter to detect the energy radiated by Heartstones.
  • Morphic Resonance: Darci comments on Jim looking enough like himself in both troll and human forms to tell that he’s the same person, and wonders if Not Enrique will grow into this since his trollish and humanoid forms have fewer parallels.
  • Morton's Fork: Jim does not seem all that bothered at first that becoming the new Trollhunter would give Bular an actual reason to kill him, joking that Bular's Bad Boss tendencies probably would have gotten him killed anyway.
  • Mythology Gag: Steve Jorgensen-Warner was a character from the original novel. A Changeling named Stephan Jorgensen-Warner plays a minor reoccurring role in the fanfiction, with his first name spelled and pronounced differently to avoid confusion with Steve Palchuk, who is the animated series’ adaption of Steve Jorgensen-Warner but with a different last name and no longer a Changeling.
  • No Sympathy: Two ways in one situation:
    • From Jim and Not Enrique's perspective, Claire is showing No Sympathy by wanting to reveal her brother's kidnapping to her parents, and looking for ways to get Original Enrique back, instead of letting Not Enrique assume Original Enrique's identity and helping him to maintain The Masquerade around Ophelia and Javier, since Original Enrique is safe in the Darklands and Not Enrique was frequently in mortal peril there. She won't even let Not Enrique use the name "Enrique" without a fight!
    • From Claire’s perspective, the Changelings are the ones showing No Sympathy for wanting to stop her and not seeming to understand why she's upset that her brother was taken away to a pocket dimension populated by human-eating trolls, she isn't allowed to turn to her parents for emotional support because of The Masquerade, and a stranger is trying to lay claim on her stolen brother's identity.
  • Of the People: There are two possible meanings for the word "troll", one being "a member of the species" and the other being "a member of a particular tribe". Jim claims that, when a non-Changeling troll says "Changelings are not trolls", they are describing how Changelings are disowned from their tribes of origin and never adopted into a new one. It is unclear whether Jim believes this or is just trying to downplay the insult.
  • Papa Wolf: Having known him for a very long time, Strickler is highly protective of Jim, seeing him as a son. When Bular tries to kill Jim for his "failure" in opening Killahead Bridge, Strickler does everything he can to talk Bular down, finally all-out attacking him when that fails, becoming a fugitive in the process. Granted, he was planning on bailing out anyway, but still.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Jim carries a knife coated in Creeper's Sun poison and implies it is standard issue in the Janus Order.
  • Pragmatic Hero: On the Anti-Hero scale. Much of Jim's early inner monologue involves cold, logical and rather disturbing observations of the people around him, making various comments about his loved ones under a plan to help keep them alive in a future where Gunmar reigns supreme (like including Toby as a part of breeding stock and having Barbara be a doctor for said breeding stock).
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: After Bular gives his own Badass Boast about how he has killed changelings and trollhunters before, Jim gives one of these before he stabs him with the Sword of Daylight and Draal smashes him to pieces.
    Jim: You've never endured the Darklands. I've fought Nyarlagroths. They're bigger than you.
  • Publicly Discussing the Secret: Jim gets annoyed that his human friends bring up Trollmarket in the high school cafeteria. He worries other students might eavesdrop because Claire, Darci and Mary have abruptly started sitting with Jim and Toby.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Bular accuses Jim of doing something to or with the Amulet to prevent the portal to the Darklands from opening when Killahead Bridge is rebuilt. Jim actually stole a piece of the bridge itself.
  • Sabotage to Discredit: In order to buy himself more time, Jim manages to sneak off with a piece of Killahead Bridge, counting on the portal's failure to open being interpreted as Deya placing a more complicated seal on it than a simple "insert Amulet here."
  • Secret-Keeper: Draal and Nomura inadvertently become this on opposite ends. Nomura figures out that Jim stole a piece of Killahead Bridge and thus confronts him. Recognizing her, Draal attacks her, only to accidentally expose Jim as a Changeling (to Draal) and the Trollhunter (to Nomura). Draal eventually decides to keep the secret if Jim lets Blinky know too.
    • Several human children - Toby Domzalski, Darci Scott, Mary Wang, and Claire Nuñez - discover trolls exist and are sworn to secrecy. Around Chapter 40 begins a plot arc of them wanting to share the secret with their families, against the trolls' wishes.
  • Self-Deprecation: Strickler really does not like it when Jim refers to himself as an "impure."
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Inverted. When Jim first starts training in armor, he notes that he isn’t as fast or agile anymore, so although he can take a hit better, he also gets hit more often. He speeds up again once he’s used to the armor.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: During his fight against Draal in the Hero's Forge, Jim briefly loses himself, thinking for a moment that he was fighting for his life in Gunmar's crucible.
  • Shout-Out: Toby compares Jim's fake argument with Draal to a fight between Manolo and Joaquin in The Book of Life.
    "I'm alright, I'm – is that my voice? Is that my" – he coughed again – "voice?" The high squeak had gone back to its normal gravelly depth.
  • Sounds of Science: Stephan is pretty sure Bernie is Thinking Out Loud as a side effect of isolation, but it might just be how Bernie is.
  • Sparing the Aces: Jim tries to set Toby up for this, giving him a piece of Heartstone in hopes Toby can use his skill in geology to make it grow, which would make him useful enough for Gunmar not to eat.
  • Staying with Friends: Barbara temporarily kicks Jim out after learning he's the Trollhunter, a Changeling, and been giving her sleeping potions to sneak out at night without being caught. Jim moves in with Toby.
  • Talk to the Fist: Bular taunts Draal about his father, who Bular killed. Draal punches Bular in the face.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Jim realizes Gunmar is setting the Changelings up for this. Once the sun is blotted out, Gunmar will no longer need servants able to withstand sunlight.