Rotting Camellias is a Vocaloid fanfic by masterofthefictionalyard. Based off of the song Dark Woods Circus, it tells the story of a high school student named Miku who visits a strange circus. It's dark from the beginning, but she can't help being entranced by it. While there, she sees many strange acts, including a fortune-teller with a vague message and a tattered brown tent full of frightening freaks. But what really shocks her is the finale of the main act, where she is entranced by the enigmatic ringmaster and a mournful singer in a cage, covered in flowers. When she goes to investigate further, the singer dies before her eyes, and Miku is captured and put into her cage. As her body begins to sprout its own flowers, she must find out what is happening to her and why.
The fanfic was completed on March 27, 2016.
- Adaptation Expansion: While the fic takes much inspiration from the popular fan PV of the song, it gives a lot more background to the characters and doesn't follow every detail religiously. It's more of an expansion of the song itself, truthfully.
- Arc Words: Even if the sun was to vanish, and every star was to fall from the sky ...
- Ax-Crazy: Mayu is this trope with literal axes.
- Black Magic: Meiko seems to be a master of this. In later chapters, Miku begins to develop magic of her own.
- Breath Weapon: Cul is a fire breather.
- Body Horror: Everyone in the freak tent has shades of this. Also notable are Haku and Neru, who are supernaturally tall with long, spindly limbs.
- Circus of Fear: The "Dark Woods Circus" even has a creepy sounding name. From there, it only gets more disturbing.
- Conjoined Twins: Rin and Len, although they weren't born that way ...
- Creepy Circus Music: In the very first chapter, Miku is lured into the circus by the calliope music. When she hears it in later chapters, it sounds frightening and strange.
- Creepy Doll: Mayu has a stuffed rabbit named Mimi who she occasionally throws knives at.
- Creepy Twins: Miku thought of Rin and Len like this from the very first chapter, even before she knew the truth.
- Dreaming of Times Gone By: Miku has dreams of being in love with a beautiful girl named Luka, who seemed to be in love with both her and Meiko. With Miki's help, she eventually finds out that these dreams really happened long ago, with another mage named Miku.
- Dying Declaration of Love: The former diva dedicates her final song to her love and tells Miku that she's "glad she got to see her face" before dying. Later in the fic, Miki gets one of these for Lily, as well.
- The Freakshow: The tattered brown tent features one of these. Circus-goers don't go into the tent, however instead, there are three peepholes in the side of the tent where they can look into the cages. The circus also features some side-show acts (such as a contortionist and a fire breather) that aren't advertised as freaks.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Kaito is implied to be one, although he acts more like an animal than a human. It is confirmed in later chapters that he is fed the bodies of the dead divas.
- Maybe Ever After: At the end of the fic, it seems likely that Miku and Luka are going to get together, but it's understandably very tentative.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Some of the circus members come across as this. Special mention goes to Mayu, who is all cheer and smiles while throwing knives at her stuffed rabbit and threatening to kill Miku for not singing, but this trope could easily apply to many of the other characters, like Teto and Rin.
- Past-Life Memories: Miku's dreams of Luka turn out to be this.
- Reincarnation Romance: Of the star-crossed variety. Miku snuck into the circus to find the pink-haired diva. She died, Miku took her place, and now Luka is getting closer, and seems doomed to repeat Miku and become the next diva.
- Synchronization: At the climax, Miku is able to trick Meiko into cursing a double of herself instead of Luka. This causes both the double and Meiko to rot away and die.
- Yandere: Rin, in particular, seems to have shades of this towards her brother and Meiko. Tei is shown to have some yandere tendencies, too, when she threatens Miku for interrupting her time watching Len. But the true embodiment of this trope is Mayu, who, in one of the very last chapters, kills Cul when Meiko shows her more love.