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Fanfic / Coming Back, Broken

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Coming Back, Broken is a Trollhunters fanfic by Fabius Maximus.

Six months after they entered the Darklands, Jim and Claire have returned with Enrique. But getting back is not the same thing as putting their experiences behind them. There are secrets, secrets about what they did in the Darklands that may destroy them...

The fanfic can be read on Fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own.


This fanfic provides examples of:

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  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: The group came up with a cover story for Jim and Claire to use when being reintroduced into the world; they were both captured to be used as contestants in an L.A. fighting ring before eventually escaping and making their way back.
  • Cool, Clear Water: The gang bath Jim and Claire in Hearthstone water - water magically enhanced by the heartstone - to magically clean them.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Their nerves fried from the hostile environment of the Darklands, both Jim and Claire become jumpy if anyone (students, teachers, etc) is behind them, Jim giving an expression that can only be described as "scary" when Steve came up from behind him and gave his back a hard slap.
  • For Want of a Nail: Not only does Claire join Jim into the Darklands in this retelling, but they were gone for months.
    • With Toby being the only one of the three left behind, he was unable to cover for their disappearances and was more or less forced to tell Barbara lake the truth who, after a brief emotional breakdown, tells Claire's parents.
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  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Subverted. Having been together alone for months in inhospitable conditions, it was only inevitable that Jim and Claire would have to undress with one another. By the time they make it back to Arcadia, Jim has since become acclimated to Claire being nude to the point where he is confused by why other people would think that is weird.
    And you've completely separated the idea of a nude Claire from the idea of a sexual Claire.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: While being treated medically, both Jim and Claire start thrashing and convulsing in their beds, only to calm down when AAARRRGGHH!!! pushes their beds together, calming down when their hands find each other.
    AAARRRGGHH!!!: Nobody else. Only them in Darklands.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When Jim and Claire return from the Darklands, Barbara inspects their bodies and finds many injuries, including bruises, broken ribs and a fractured leg in Claire's case. She claims that the only thing keeping them going was adrenaline, but Claire does not seem too bothered by her leg after getting a few nights sleep, implying that she has since grown used to it.
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  • Married Too Young: Claire mentions that her mother is currently 35 with a 16 year old daughter. This means that she had Claire when she was only 19 and still in college. This also explains why she is so organized and orderly.
  • Menstrual Menace: Apparently a combination of a poor diet, stress, exhaustion and a number of other factors have left Claire's menstrual cycle to become unpredictable and particularly horrible, Claire's cramps being so bad that she had the school nurse call an ambulance.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted without ceremony.
    Claire: Jim, this is wonderful! I... when was the last time we bathed?
    Jim: Real water or Darklands?
    Claire: I—Darklands.
    Jim: A month? No, less. It was when you had your period, remember?
    Claire: The last one in that place! Are you still going to build me my statue?
    Jim: Gold?
    Claire: Gold! 100 Feet tall, outstretched hands.
    Jim: One hand holding tampons…
    Claire: And the other one chocolate, the greatest inventions in the world!
    Ophelia: Claire!
    Claire: Do you know what it's like to have to use uncured leather, what's left of your underclothes, or moss? Two hundred feet tall! And give it diamond eyes!
  • Nothing but Skin and Bones: Barbara points out that whatever they have been eating in the Darklands lacked a few key nutrients that humans need, being the reason why they have lost an unhealthy amount of weight. A few more months and they would have died of malnutrition.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: While originally Claire's hair had a dyed-in Skunk Stripe, her hardships in the Darklands seemed to have made it permanent.
  • Properly Paranoid: Jim and Claire's new tic against people sneaking up behind them makes a lot more sense to Toby when he recalls that changelings can walk about in daylight undetected.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Strickler tries speaking to Barbara again, she gives him a speech that begins as an admission of guilt over how she raised Jim before it slowly devolves into this.
    Walter: No—
    Barbara: Ate cake. And cried. Especially when his friends left. Because his father walked out the door on his fifth birthday, and never came back. Then, he took care of his mother. His first attempt to cook dinner set the kitchen on fire. But he got better. When I was working through med school, and then my internship, he cooked for me. He helped keep the house up. Because between work, medschool and trying to understand why my husband left me because I was 'getting too clingy', I was a shitty mother who could barely cook for myself. The fact that we still have this house, that I'm a doctor instead of an assistant pharmacist at Walmart—that's as much Jim as it is me. And it cost him, because believe me, when he was five, he had a lot more friends than just Toby.
    Walter: I—
    Barbara: Before this year, I would have sooner mistrusted myself than I would have Jim. And then he turns into a burgeoning juvenile delinquent. Someone I don't recognize, and then, when it's too late, and he might be dying somewhere I can't get to, I find out it's because he's become a chosen one... And You. Used. Me. Against. My. Son. When I should have been supporting him, I was yelling at him. When he needed me, I was looking at him like I was disappointed in him. And then, when he turned against you, you tied me to yourself with that damned ritual, while you were in my house, smiling at me, wooing me, so that you could use me as a human shield against my son. Tell me, Walter, if there had been a way to break the connection, to leave me dying in Trollmarket, and you free to flee, safe from Rot, from Jim, from Gunmar... What would you have done?
  • Satanic Archetype:
    Javier: Why don't they fight their own fucking fights!
    Vendel: Would you be eager to fight the devil?... [f]or that is what Gunmar is to trolls—the devil, who can strip the will and mind from your closest, oldest, friend or mate, and send them against you.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: While they seemed to have bounced back from the horrifying conditions they had endured in the Darklands, it is clear that the uninhabitable conditions and Gunmar's inhumane treatment has left them with a few scars beneath the skin.
  • Synchronous Episodes: Chapter 7 follows Claire, while Chapter 8 follows Jim.
  • The Talk: When it was being made apparent that Jim and Claire were going to be sleeping together often (literally, not sexually), Claire's mother was sure to give her a conversation about protected sex. When Claire tells this to Jim, he then immediately realized that Blinky did the same thing. Considering Blinky was talking about where troll babies come from, Jim thought that he was just giving him another lecture about troll lore.
  • Team Mom: Having been the only one of the three not to go to the Darklands, Toby ends up taking it upon himself to take care Jim and Claire, reminding them to lunch and homework and other habits they had forgotten in the Darklands.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Claire's experiences, having solidified her relationship with Jim, has given her a rather passionate opinion of the subtext of her favorite romance-story Romeo and Juliet, claiming that it encourages people to give up (i.e. suicide) when the world wants to separate you from who or what you love.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Given the situation they were in, Jim had to care for Claire when she was ill or menstruating, something Barbara compared to boyfriends seen on television.


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