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Fanfic / Legacy (Total Drama)

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A few seconds more or less can have profound and far-reaching effects.
—from the Introduction

Legacy is a What If? story by Gideoncrawle, set in the Total Drama universe. The author calls it a Short Story, although its length of about 10,000 words and multi-chapter layout qualify it as a Novelette or even a Novella by some definitions.

Ten years after the (altered) events of Total Drama Island, Heather stops by Camp Wawanakwa on a whim. There she encounters Duncan, who has come to the camp to commemorate the anniversary of a tragedy that disrupted the season and nearly killed the show. The two former rivals reminisce over the tragedy and its fallout, setting the stage for Heather to make a gesture of reconciliation to a former enemy.


Sum This Up In One Trope: For Want of a Nail

Interested parties can read the story here or here.

Other troped works by this author include:

This story is a Death Fic, so you may encounter unmarked spoilers. You have been warned.

Legacy provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Ten years after the show, most of the couples are no longer together because they had come from all over Canada, so most lived too far apart to see each other regularly.
  • All There in the Manual: The story page includes hyperlinks to supplemental information on ancillary topics, including the song that became the basis of Trent's tribute song.
  • Anti-Climax: The show's producers scrap the final episode's scheduled jury vote in an attempt to avert a major anti-climax, as they can see that one finalist has only token support at best. A winner-take-all final challenge is substituted.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Courtney rants about her unfair elimination and thoughtlessly says that she should have been kept on instead of the recently murdered Gwen, Noah shuts her up by saying, "She would be here. Alive. And you?"
  • As You Know: Heather invokes this trope when she explains to a fellow show alumnus how she happened to be near enough to the camp to drop by on a whim.
    Heather: Muskoka is a major summer colony, you know.
  • Author Catch Phrase: Beginning narrative sentences with "So it was", usually in the form, "So it was that X"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Heather's climactic gesture of remembrance gives the dénouement this quality.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The insane Izzy doesn't grieve for her dead campmate because her diseased mind isn’t capable of grief or sadness, although she does understand the concept of loss.
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  • But We Used a Condom!: Lindsay had an unexpected pregnancy with a longtime boyfriend despite presumably using some form of contraception on a regular basis.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: There is a reference to cell phone coverage in the vicinity of the camp being "spotty". This is presumably why the show's staff used two-way radios.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Heather's pregnancy is mentioned thrice in the first chapter, but doesn't become important until near the end.
  • Creator Thumbprint: All of the author’s stories, except for short vignettes, include at least one reference to a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. The author's pen name is also a G&S reference.
  • Dark Fic: The story is based on violent death, from comedic source material.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Heather’s baby is to be named after her mother's late campmate.
  • Death by Adaptation: Gwen
  • Death by Genre Savviness: A certain contestant, who happens to be a slasher flick buff, is convinced that the serial killer is just an actor hired for the challenge, so she doesn't try to defend herself. Tragedy ensues as the story diverges from the canon moments later.
  • Death Fic: The story is all about the repercussions of a contestant's death. Said repercussions are still being felt a decade later.
  • Dénouement: The last chapter is entirely dénouement. The climax comes at the end of the preceding chapter as Heather reveals her gesture of remembrance.
  • Description Porn: This is a basic element of the author's style. An excerpt from the description of Heather provides a non-spoilery example:
    Her short, raven-black hair was styled in a businesswoman’s cut. Her belly was distended to accommodate her daughter-to-be; her breasts were engorged in preparation for their purpose; and her skin, beneath a hint of sunburn and a generous dose of skillfully applied makeup, was suffused in the characteristic glow of advanced pregnancy. All in all, while still a beautiful woman, she bore little resemblance to the teenaged “dragon lady” she had once been.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Chris and the producers of Total Drama cut costs at every opportunity, including using remote cameras instead of live camera crews. It's a matter of time until tragedy ensues, and once it does they find themselves staring down the legal gun barrel.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: When Chef Hatchet leaves Duncan and LeShawna to guard the (currently unarmed and docile) serial killer, he sternly warns them to not taunt the prisoner.
  • Dragon Lady: Invoked for Heather, who is described as having once been a "teenaged 'dragon lady'". This is a reference to both the ethnicity and personality of her canon counterpart. Indeed, the author describes Heather thusly, with minor variants, in every one of his stories in which she appears.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: Used twice, in different ways:
    • In the first chapter, Heather’s voice trails off into a dramatic pause.
    • In the second chapter, Heather’s thoughts trail off when she gets too close to something she really doesn’t want to think about. The reader is given enough information to figure out just what that something is, and is unlikely to blame her.
  • Due to the Dead: Being all about the repercussions of a death, the story naturally has several examples:
    • The black-draped seat at the bonfire site.
    • Two of the surviving contestants keep a space between them during the finale.
    • The contestant’s death is partly blamed on the unsafe conditions at the camp, which leads to the enactment of a new law named after her. This new law improves safety for reality show contestants.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The deceased is twice honored in this way:
    • One of the seats at the elimination ceremony venue is draped in the dead girl's nightgown and is not used for the rest of the competition.
    • When the previously eliminated contestants return for the final challenge, two of the surviving contestants keep an empty space between them when they approach the bleachers and when they take their seats.
  • Epigraph: Chapter 2 begins with a quote from the Shakespeare play, Richard II.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Chris is horrified and heartbroken over Gwen's death.
  • invoked Fatal Method Acting: One contestant ends up genuinely murdered while the cameras are still rolling.
  • Flashback: Chapter 2 and most of chapter 3 cover events from years before the main setting, but are told as if they were set in the same time frame.
  • For Want of a Nail: A delay of a few seconds has consequences that reverberate for years.
  • Foreshadowing: Several examples:
    • The reference to 19 (instead of 20) spectators in the Peanut Gallery during the final challenge and the flowers on the table hint at the nature of the tragedy that drives the story.
    • The description of Chef Hatchet’s attempts to save his mortally wounded patient foreshadow that he will fail.
  • Framing Device: Heather and Duncan at Camp Wawanakwa comprise the frame story, and their reminiscences comprise the inner story.
  • Grief Song: Trent writes a song in tribute to his late girlfriend and first love. In the following years, he sings it at most of his gigs, usually as the closing number.
  • Heel Realization: Heather reached out to Lindsay after the latter lost her baby, but Lindsay did not acknowledge the gesture. Lindsay did respond to condolences from Courtney, among others, so Heather assumed that old resentments still lingered. The incident left Heather questioning, for the first time, the wisdom of her game strategy.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Gender flipped with the bereaved Trent. He started out in deep mourning after the death of his first love and continues to make annual gestures of remembrance, but he otherwise went on to live a normal life.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • When the other contestants see one of their own violently struck down, they just stand there and seem to have no idea of what to do.
    • One contestant is completely unable to cope with seeing his campmate murdered, leading to his withdrawal from the game.
  • Holy Backlight: When Heather comes out of the kitchen and sees Duncan standing in the doorway to the lodge, she can't make out much detail at first because he is backlit. When he comes into the lodge and is no longer backlit, she recognizes him.
  • In Medias Res: The opening chapter is set years later than most of the next two chapters.
  • Irony: Heather is planning to name her baby after her late colleague, whom she couldn't stand when the latter was alive. Heather appreciates the irony of her decision, and comments on it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Heather comments on the seeming absurdity of her decision to name her baby after a former enemy.
  • Lampshaded the Obscure Reference: Trent identifies Utopia, Limited—one of the least known of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas—only as "some old musical". The narrative expressly notes that the song from Utopia, Limited that became the basis for Trent’s tribute song is quite obscure.
  • Last Kiss: Chef Hatchet kisses the dying contestant on her forehead, "as a father might kiss a favorite daughter."
  • Literary Allusion Title: Chapter 4, which marks the end of the flashbacks, is titled, "Back To the Present".
  • Narrative Filigree: Evident in the first and last chapters, which have a "Slice of Life" feel. The first chapter goes into considerable detail about the condition of the camp to create an autumnal mood, and the final scene deals at some length with the dramatically pivotal subject of what Heather and Duncan had for lunch.
  • Nested Story: In addition to the nesting inherent in using a frame story, the main story contains Heather's story of how she came to choose her expected daughter's name.
  • Never Found the Body: Izzy was reported to have been killed in the sinking of a ferryboat, but her body was never recovered. This is part of the reason why neither Duncan nor Courtney believes that she is really dead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The would-be rescuers burst into the lodge at exactly the wrong moment. Tragedy ensues.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: Three contestants are eliminated by means other than the normal vote:
    • The first is slain;
    • The second quits because he can't cope with the trauma of having a friend die violently before his eyes; and
    • Chris declares the third unfit to continue after said contestant enters a period of severe mental instability.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Played with and ultimately defied. It takes a contestant's death and the enactment of a "memorial" law to clearly establish that reality show contestants are to be considered employees for the purpose of applying workplace safety regulations.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Heather is almost eight months pregnant. This causes her some trouble in getting out from behind the steering wheel of her car.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: When Duncan offers to share his lunch with Heather, she has to find her own beverage because all Duncan has is beer. For the sake of her 8-month fetus, Heather is unwilling to drink anything alcoholic.
  • Paper Cutting: Subverted in that the chainsaw psycho tries to do this, but is interrupted at precisely the wrong moment and so inflicts a serious wound instead, more or less by accident.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: Most of the surviving contestants must deal with nightmares in the wake of their campmate's death.
  • Plot Bunny: The author has related an anecdote about how the story idea spontaneously fleshed itself out in his mind and became so distracting that the project which inspired it had to be set aside for a couple of weeks so that Legacy could be written.
  • The Reveal: Heather revealing her planned gesture of remembrance is the story's dramatic climax.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: One contestant enters a period of mental decline after seeing a fellow contestant murdered before his eyes.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Lindsay and Tyler had begun to discuss marriage when an unplanned pregnancy forced the issue.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: This is a standard feature of the author's style. In this story, it's most notable in the details related to the victim's wound.
  • Signature Style: Description-rich and dialogue-light, with a flavor that readers have described as “19th Century”, “elegant”, “nearly poetic”, and so on. The author is also inclined to explain things in detail, whether in the story or in notes, and to use "death and renewal" themes.
  • Sleeper Hit: In-universe, Katie and Sadie's "guest alumnae" appearance is an unexpected hit with the contestants and the viewing audience alike. Over the next few seasons, this unlooked for success nets them multiple guest appearances on the show, then full-time salaried positions on the show's staff, and finally speculation that they are being groomed to take over the show as the new hosts.
  • Slice of Life: The story begins and ends this way, hence the lengthy discourse on the riveting subject of what Heather and Duncan had for lunch.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Chapter 3 includes brief descriptions of how the remaining episodes played out after the tragedy.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Inverted in that the dying person is unconscious and so can't ask, but Chef Hatchet stays with her of his own accord because he thinks it important that she not die alone.
  • Stunned Silence: The other campers (but not Chris or Hatchet) react this way when the killer slashes his victim.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: In-universe, Trent tweaks an obscure Gilbert and Sullivan song note  for his tribute song, albeit not to get around copyright because the song was already in the public domain. He writes his own verses but makes only minor changes to the refrain and the tune.
  • Title Drop Chapter: The final chapter is titled "Legacy". This chapter elaborates on the titular legacy, revealed in the previous chapter's closing Wham Line.
  • To Absent Friends: The final chapter has this mood after Heather reveals her gesture of remembrance.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Both Heather and Duncan have grown up, figuratively as well as literally, in the ten years since they were on the show. Duncan has even learned basic precepts of chivalry.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The brief Introduction suggests pretty strongly that the story's "For Want of a Nail" premise will end badly for a certain character. Sure enough, it does.
  • Trophy Wife: Duncan jokingly suggests that Heather's current job description is "trophy wife" because she's a beautiful woman who does not work outside the house, and because her husband is a successful businessman nearly ten years older than she. Heather allows that Duncan's assessment is not unreasonable, although her age difference to her husband is less than is typical for trophy wives.
  • Wham Line: Two near the end of the first chapter which firmly establish the tone of the fanfic (after it was hinted at previously):
    Heather: How long has it been? Ten years?
    Duncan: Ten years ago today, may she rest in peace.
    Heather: That wasn’t really what I meant, but... But, yeah. Poor Gwen.
  • What If?: The climactic encounter with the chainsaw psycho (Episode #19, "Hook, Line and Screamer") turns out differently than the canon version. That single change drives the entire story, with consequences that are still felt a decade later.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: While not actually an epilogue, the reminiscence portion of the story ends with thumbnail sketches of what everyone is currently up to.
  • Worthy Opponent: After ten years, Heather is ready to admit that a certain despised campmate was a valuable teammate before the merge and a formidable opponent after.


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