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Fanfic / Say It Thrice

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Art by AdaSulewska, used with permission (click for larger version)

Death was a far too familiar concept to Lydia Deetz. Between her mother's death when she was younger, the haunted house she loves, her godparent-like ghosts, and her knowledge of various aspects of the Netherworld and the rules, she feels confident that she has a firm understanding of death and the dead.

But not all ghosts are the same as those she knows. And thanks to an accident and an aunt she's quickly growing to hate, she'll have the perfect chance to witness these other types of ghosts in Amity Park. Meanwhile, someone is plotting and a certain poltergeist refuses to let go.

Written by Bookworm Gal, the story can be found here or here.

And while the author claimed there were no plans for a sequel, they weren't quite done with what became the Say It duology. A prequel story, Say It Again, is currently in the works and can be found here or here. This story examines the bond between Lydia and Betelgeuse in the period between the film and the first story. How do they go from disliking/distrusting one another to regarding each other as best friends?


A stand-alone spinoff story, Just Say It (found here and here), was written for the BeetleBabes community's Halloween contest on DeviantArt. In this one-shot, set after the events of Say It Thrice, Lydia is celebrating her first Halloween in Amity Park, and her favorite poltergeist helps her carve some jack-o-lanterns.

Tropes found in the Say It Thrice include:

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  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: There are four chapters which flashback to Betelgeuse's mortal life during The High Middle Ages. These are not written in the form of English which would have been in use at the time, as that would be almost incomprehensible to modern audiences. The author's note requests that the reader just assume that everything has been translated into something they can understand.
  • Adult Fear: In the flashback where Melinda performs her binding ritual, it's clear that while Betelgeuse is certainly very angry about what's being done to him, he's also genuinely afraid that Lydia's going to be hurt in the process. "She's off limits!"
    • And later, when he realizes that Sanduleak is after Lydia, his voice drops almost to a terrified whisper.
  • Aerith and Bob: In the story, the characters include Danny, Sam, Tucker, Aunt Melinda, Lydia, Adam, Barbara, Juno, Poindexter, Skulker, Betelgeuse, and Sanduleak.
    • In the flashback portion, Betelgeuse lives in the same area as Peter, William, Agnes, Elinor, Remfrey, Galeren, Agnes, Katelin, Lord Gilbert, Hamund, Ysembert, Derrick, Avelyn, and Sibylla. The time period helps make it more reasonable.
  • After Action Patch Up: The Maitlands break out the first aid kit after the encounter with Sanduleak.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Betelgeuse's father
  • Alien Geometries: In her report, Maddie Fenton remarks that structure of the Ghost Zone does not reflect normal forms of geometry and physics. Instead, it appears to be closer to a Moebius Loop or a Klein bottle, but not quite.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Or at least, all teenage boys are, in Betelgeuse's mind. While he's keeping an eye on Lydia's new friends through the mirrors, he's not best pleased at the idea that they might be viewing her the way he himself often views pretty girls.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The green gem in Aunt Melinda's necklace, the Gem of Osiris.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Juno's reaction when she finally tracks down Betelgeuse and realizes what he's been up to recently.
  • Another Dimension: Several. The Netherworld, the Ghost Zone, and Saturn are all mentioned.
  • Apocalypse How: Aunt Melinda's end goal is to cause a Class 0 for ghosts, using a supercharged ghost shield as a city-wide circle for an exorcism. However, as Betelgeuse notes, between a stable portal to the Ghost Zone and the possibility of any open doors to the Netherworld, there's a good possibility of the effect spilling over, upgrading it to an X-5.
  • Attempted Rape: Sanduleak makes it very clear what he intends to do before murdering Lydia. And later, when he escapes from Saturn, he still intends to go ahead with the same plan - and considers it even more worthwhile now that he knows Betelgeuse cares about her.
  • Aura Vision: Distinctively different than Danny's Ghost Sense, some ghosts can sense things about other ghosts and supernatural stuff. According to Betelgeuse's narrative, ectoplasm-based ghosts practically have a spotlight on them while humans have faint aura (though the ones who get involved with the supernatural are a little brighter). Apparently Danny's aura, being half-human and half ectoplasm-based ghost, is really distinctive.
  • Backstory: Sanduleak's backstory reveals he's Jack the Ripper.
  • Bear Hug: Combined with the Group Hug when Danny's parents find out he's half-ghost, apparently all hugs that Jack Fenton gives are at least partially bear hugs.
  • Berserk Button: Betelgeuse is not fond of people messing with Lydia.
    • And Lydia, in turn, is not fond of people messing with ghosts, him in particular.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Derrick turns out to have a pretty strong one. Too bad he turns it against someone completely innocent.
    • In the present day, this is more or less how Betelgeuse treats Lydia. He's deeply attached to "his girl," and her safety is quite literally the most important thing in his entire existence. She notes, in the last chapter, that sometimes he acts more like a little brother, but he'd do anything for her.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Two in rapid succession during the fight against Sanduleak. First Danny shows up, and then Betelgeuse.
  • The Black Death: Is shown during a flashback scene.
  • Bland-Name Product: Tucker references a role-playing game called Castles and Creatures.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Betelgeuse during the flashback to his death
  • Bound and Gagged: This is what happened to Lydia, prior to the events of the story, when Melinda summoned and nearly exorcised Betelgeuse. It was intended to prevent her from interfering.
  • Broken Bird: Lydia, when she arrives in Amity Park, has a lot of this going on. Between losing her parents and everything Aunt Melinda did, she's more or less emotionally shut down for the first half of the story. It's only when she's reunited with Betelgeuse that she starts to actually show her feelings again. "I want to go home."
  • Bus Crash: Charles and Delia Deetz die in a car accident before the story begins, essentially setting the plot in motion.
  • Call-Back: A few to the source materials.
    • When Lydia instantly sees through Danny's Clark Kenting, she assumes that it fools everyone else because "the living ignore the strange and unusual."
    • Danny's suspicion that Lydia is hiding something is compared to his reaction to "Gregor", who did turn out to be lying to everyone.
    • A darkly humorous one comes up when Number 9,998,383,750,000 is FINALLY called. Juno later even tells Betelgeuse off for the fact he wasn't in the Waiting Room when his number is actually finally called.
    • Because of the almost-marriage in the movie, a lot of the ghosts keep referring to Lydia as the "Mortal Bride."
    • Tucker is still affected by his time wearing the Cramtastic Mark 5.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Betelgeuse toward Avelyn, back when he was alive.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The setup for the Netherworld.
  • Central Theme: The Power of Friendship
  • Cessation of Existence: What can happen to ghosts who end up destroyed rather than moving on or being exorcised.
  • Clark Kenting: Danny Fenton is Danny Phantom, with the only real changes in appearance being his clothes, his hair color, eye color, and a different last name. Lydia sees through it almost instantly.
  • Comforting Comforter: In the last chapter, Betelgeuse uses his striped jacket to cover Lydia.
  • Cool Car: Jazz drives "the Fenton Family Ghost Assault Vehicle" during the mission to stop Aunt Melinda and Uncle Roger.
  • Crossover: Between Beetlejuice and Danny Phantom.
  • Deader Than Dead: The result of a completed exorcism.
  • Dead Guy Junior: A character from a flashback, a boy named Henry, shares a name with his paternal grandfather.
  • The Determinator: Betelgeuse. After fighting against the power of an Amplifier Artifact with his own the entire time that Aunt Melinda tries to first exorcise him and then bind him to her will, he gets banished back to the Netherworld. The minute he wakes up, he heads into the Ghost Zone to find another way to reach Lydia. He finds the portal and tries to use it to get out, only to find out it won't work for him without ripping himself apart in the process. He still only sees this as a delay and intends to figure out another loophole. And when Lydia ends up in danger from Sanduleak, Betelgeuse goes through the portal anyway.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Aunt Melinda is set up as the Big Bad, with Sanduleak as a secondary antagonist. During the climax, however, he jumps her and steals the Gem of Osiris, becoming the main threat.
  • Disney Death: Sanduleak managed to hit Lydia hard enough that death was a viable concern.
  • Don't Try This at Home: "Don't try to summon a ghost at home. It should only be attempted by an expert insane person."
  • Dramatic Irony: Jack Fenton makes a comment about how something doesn't make sense, comparing it to the idea of Vlad Masters being "a murderous monster." In the show, Vlad wants to kill Jack.
  • Dramatic Shattering: When Betelgeuse observes Sanduleak through the reflections, and sees him getting far too close to Lydia with some rather unpleasant plans in mind, Betelgeuse's frustrated rage shatters all the reflective surfaces in the real world.
  • The Dreaded: Betelgeuse has a reputation that encourages other ghosts to stay out of his way when he's angry and motivated enough to be an actual threat.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hinted to be Sidney Poindexter's cause of death when he remarks that, if he'd ended up in the Netherworld instead of the Ghost Zone, he would have become a civil servant.
    • Betelgeuse actually tried this back when he was alive. In his defense, he was drunk at the time and he didn't actually succeed before he was interrupted.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Jack Fenton.
    • Tucker also qualifies, but that's mostly because he doesn't know how to drive yet.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Back when he was alive, Betelgeuse tried this when Avelyn turned down his proposal. It just made things worse.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And how.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lydia. Her maternal aunt, Melinda, shares those physical features.
    • Katelin, in the flashback chapters, also turns out to also be this. Apparently it runs in the family.
  • Eldritch Location: The Ghost Zone, the Netherworld, and Saturn are all not quite the same as the human world, due to their unique compositions, physics, passage of time, and geometries.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: When Lydia learns that ghosts think of her as the "Mortal Bride," she remarks that it's a stupid name.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: A lot of the Worldbuilding and such are delivered in this manner. At the start of chapters are excerpts from sources such as The Handbook for the Recently Deceased, The Living and the Dead, the scientific journals of Maddie Fenton, and even the journals of random characters or homework assignments.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Turns out, Betelgeuse didn't realize how young Lydia was during the events of the movie. He is not happy when he finds out what he almost did, and more or less makes her his protectorate as a way of making it up to her.
    • He also doesn't like Sanduleak's preferred methods of interacting with the living. Especially since he tried to drag Betelgeuse into it without telling him what he had in mind.
    • Derrick considers beating Betelgeuse into incoherence and throwing him into the swamp to slowly drown perfectly justified for what he believes happened to his sister, but when he realizes what actually happened (she just got lost on her way home and Betelgeuse didn't harm her in the least, instead actually proposing to her), he's horrified by what he's done... though not enough to admit it.
  • Evil Aunt: This is Lydia's opinion of her maternal aunt, Melinda. She's not wrong.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Melinda is completely unable to grasp the fact that people might disagree with her views on ghosts. And when she's arrested for trying to kill Lydia (for trying to stop her), she's baffled, as she sees it as justified in pursuit of her goals.
  • Exact Words: Betelgeuse isn't afraid to take advantage of these along with his normal Loophole Abuse. For example, as a child, he bet that he could move a heavy barrel from the ground to the table top with one hand behind his back. He didn't say he would lift it, allowing him to create a ramp to roll it up.

  • Family of Choice: Lydia regards the Maitlands and Betelgeuse as this. She rages at her aunt for assuming custody of her, taking her far away from her treasured "ghostly godparents," and most of all for banishing and nearly exorcising her beloved "Beej." Due to the circumstances at the end of the story, her chosen family expands to also include the Fenton clan, with whom she is living.
  • Fantastic Science: Jack and Maddie Fenton are doing their best to study ghosts, specifically those who are from the Ghost Zone.
  • Flashback: Lydia has one in the form of a Dream Sequence that shows her first encounter with Betelgeuse after the events of the film.
  • Foil: Sanduleak serves as this towards Betelgeuse. Both are poltergeists, share their names with stars, and have annoying limitations. But Sanduleak lacks any of Betelgeuse's virtues, has no problem crossing lines that the other poltergeist wouldn't, and has all of Betelgeuse's flaws turned Up to Eleven.
  • Foreshadowing: Lydia's "Uncle Freddy," whom Melinda mentions a few times as her brother, is Freakshow.
    • Melinda goes to visit him in one chapter. He says he'll tell them to reserve the padded cell next to his for her, since she's obviously insane. Guess where she is at the end of the story?
  • Freudian Couch: Jazz becomes an armchair psychologist to try to reason with Uncle Roger. The narrative even notes that, in the absence of a couch, he's settled on a patch of grass while she talks him down.
  • Friendship Moment: Betelgeuse and Lydia's reunion is full of this. Tucker, who is the narrative character at the moment, is kind of overwhelmed by Betelgeuse's obvious fondness and concern for Lydia, as well as by Lydia's almost explosive joy at seeing him again.
  • From Bad to Worse: Aunt Melinda is about to enact a mass exorcism to destroy all the ghosts in Amity Park, using the Gem of Osiris to help her do it. Then Sanduleak shows up with murderous intentions and grabs the thing, giving him a power boost and affecting his mind. "From Bad to Worse" is actually the name of the chapter in which this happens.
    • And then Betelgeuse comes in contact with the Gem of Osiris.
  • Futureshadowing: Thanks to the flashbacks, this happens a few times.
    • Sanduleak is shown to have a grudge towards Betelgeuse and their first encounter is shown later.
    • Lydia's dislike of her aunt is clear from the first chapter, but it isn't until later in the story that the scene where Aunt Melinda nearly exorcised Betelgeuse is shown.
    • Even Betelgeuse's traits from the film (eating bugs, his skills at exploiting loopholes, his preference for making deals to get what he desires, wearing stripes) are all established long before the flashback to when he was alive.
    • It's widely understood that Betelgeuse rarely feels actual love or loyalty toward anyone; however, once they earn his devotion, they have it completely. At the time of the story, it's pretty much exclusively Lydia (and Juno, somewhat) on the receiving end of his genuine affection, although this later expands to include the Fenton family as well as Sam and Tucker to varying extents. As the flashback reveals, this particular trait was foretold in the stars at the time of his birth.
  • Gilligan Cut: Betelgeuse is about to face Skulker before it cuts to the Box Ghost watching Skulker fleeing, missing chunks of metal and an arm.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: One of the side effects of a ghost holding the Gem of Osiris. It happens both to Sanduleak and Betelgeuse.
  • Good Parents: Jack and Maddie Fenton. They might not be perfect, but they do love their children unconditionally. When they find out that Danny is half-ghost, they instantly accept him for who he is, hug him, and reassure him.
  • Grew a Spine: Uncle Roger, just before the end.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Sanduleak throws Tucker at his opponent at one point.
  • Groin Attack: Lydia pulls one against Sanduleak.
  • Group Hug: Jack and Maddie Fenton wrap Danny in one when they find out that he's half-ghost.
  • Happily Adopted: Lydia, at the very end of the story, is essentially this. She's actually an Emancipated Child, but she's living with and working for the Fentons, and it's clear from the way they treat her that they all consider her part of the family.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Lydia rather accurately describes Betelgeuse as her "not-boyfriend." They're extremely close and, as the story progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that they love each other devotedly - but it's not a romantic relationship; it's much closer to being Like Brother and Sister, and is even described that way by Jazz in the last chapter.
    • Danny and Sam claim they aren't boyfriend/girlfriend whenever Betelgeuse refers them as such. Considering that they're eventually the Official Couple in their cartoon...
  • Heroic RRoD: It isn't wise for Betelgeuse to use the ghost portal in Danny's basement rather than getting out the normal way. In fact, keeping it up too long apparently runs the high risk of him suffering Cessation of Existence.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Betelgeuse will not allow anything to stop him from reaching "his girl" before she's harmed, even if it destroys him.
  • The High Middle Ages: Thanks to the comment about living through The Black Death, Betelgeuse is apparently from the end of this time period originally. This is featured in one of the flashback sections.
  • I Have Many Names: Sanduleak claims this about himself. One of his most commonly known names is Jack the Ripper.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Lydia manages to do this for Betelgeuse when he's under the influence of the Gem of Osiris. He's absolutely uncontrollable - but even in that state, he's somehow able to recognize that this girl is the one person he cannot bring himself to hurt.
  • Iconic Outfit: Though they do change into other clothes at different points, Betelgeuse wears his striped suit through most of the story and Lydia wears her red poncho through the last third of the story.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Melinda reacted murderously when the ghost she had a crush on didn't return her affections and didn't even know how she felt. She decided to expand this murderous anger to include all ghosts.
  • If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Them: Once Sam knows about Lydia's home situation, as well as the fact that she's figured out what Danny is, they agree to trust each other; however, Sam issues this ultimatum with regards to her friends. Lydia understands and respects the protective impulse, thereby sealing their friendship.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: When Lydia, Sam and Tucker confront Melinda, she tells them they should stay out of things they don't understand and aren't their business. Betelgeuse uses that comment as his opportunity to join the conversation, materializing behind Lydia and putting his hands on her shoulders.
    Betelgeuse: Well, it is my business and I certainly understand. And by the way, threatening and trying to blackmail my Lyds? Not a smart move, witch.
  • In-Series Nickname: Betelgeuse is "The Ghost With the Most."
    • Lydia is also often referred to by ghosts as the "Mortal Bride."
    • They tend to refer to each other by Affectionate Nicknames too, since Betelgeuse's name is used as a summons and he is The Nicknamer. He calls her "Lyds" or "Babes;" she calls him "Beej."
    • Betelgeuse takes to calling Danny "Danny-boy," and calls Juno "June-bug."
  • Insistent Terminology: When speaking of Lydia to others, Betelgeuse calls her "my girl" or "my Lyds" - the possessive pronoun is always in use. He rants at Danny (and later the Maitlands) about how she's his only friend and that makes her his.
    • He has another bit of this near the end, when Juno asks if he's Lydia's Honorary Uncle or big brother figure or what; he very insistently says that he's her best friend, full stop.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Lydia is fourteen during the story (twelve during the events of the movie). Betelguese is physically a grown man and over six hundred years old.
  • Internal Reveal: When Lydia works out Danny's secret, and he and the others find out that she's the "Mortal Bride".
    • Danny's parents see him switch out of ghost mode, thus discovering his secret. And at the end of the story, he tells them about Vlad.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Derrick and his friends did this for Betelgeuse. Not as much of a favor as it might seem, however...
  • Invisible to Normals: One of the traits of ghosts from the Netherworld.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Aunt Melinda often slips into this mode, calling ghosts "it" or "things."
  • It Seemed Trivial: Danny, Sam, and Tucker never think to mention to the new girl about the rumors concerning the Ghost With the Most and his missing "Mortal Bride." Likewise, Lydia never thinks to mention she was almost married to a ghost once. Without these minor details, no one can make the connection. Of course, it makes sense that such topics wouldn't come up when talking to near strangers.
  • Jack the Ripper: Sanduleak turns out to be the serial killer himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Betelgeuse is this. Yes, he's a poltergeist with womanizing tendencies and the soul of a con man. But as Juno observes, somewhere "under all that scum" there is a "tiny spark of goodness," which Lydia has somehow found a way to light.
  • Karma Houdini: Derrick brutally murders Betelgeuse in the flashback chapters. He does feel some regret for it later, when he realizes that his victim was actually innocent, but mostly he turns his attention to making sure that no one ever finds out. And he succeeds.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Betelgeuse is known to go after any woman who crosses his path. But he did love Avelyn back when he was alive and even proposed. It did not end well.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Prior to the start of the story, Aunt Melinda managed to induce a very specific form of this, causing Lydia to forget Betelgeuse's name.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: Turns out to have been the case with regards to Betelgeuse.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Seen in the flashbacks to Betelgeuse's life. His parents had several children, but either his mother miscarried or the children died in infancy. He was the last child she bore, and the only one to survive to adulthood.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Henry's father was a kind, open-minded men who was best friends with Betelgeuse. Henry, however, is an ungrateful jerkass who hates Betelgeuse like the rest of the village, despite Betelgeuse taking him and his sister in after their parents die.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded when Sam notices that Lydia doesn't wear the same outfit every day.
  • Loophole Abuse: Aunt Melinda sets it up so that Betelgeuse can't view Lydia through mirrors. But that doesn't stop him from seeing everything else around her.
    • Betelgeuse has always been fond of using loopholes to his advantage. Even when he was a child.

  • Magic A Is Magic A: Or, as Betelgeuse puts it, Rule 1 is Rule 1. And his biggest rule is that he can only be summoned/banished by using his name three times. There is no other way for him to get in or out. That includes using the ghost portal. Trying anyway isn't a good idea - though for Lydia's sake, he'll risk it.
  • Magic Mirror: Betelgeuse's primary means of keeping tabs on the mortal world is through the use of mirrors. This helps him watch over Lydia even while they're separated. Melinda's ritual ensures that he can't see Lydia herself, but he can see everything around her, so he can tell if she's in any sort of danger.
  • Magical Incantation: In order to summon, bind, banish, or exorcise a ghost, you need the right words.
  • Mama Bear: Barbara is not happy about what Sanduleak had in mind for Lydia.
    • Against her own inclination, Juno is sort of this for Betelgeuse. She even admits she wishes she could hate him, but there's just enough goodness there that she genuinely cares.
  • Meaningful Name: Melinda's married name is "Livingston" and she hates ghosts.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The wedding ring from the film is the thing which helps to unlock Lydia's memory.
  • Minovsky Physics: Ectoplasm.
    • The Ghost Zone and everything in it (especially the ghosts who originate there) are composed of it. Ectoplasm mimics more traditional molecular structures, but are not composed of any recognizable atoms or atomic particles. The structures and forms created by ectoplasm are stable while remaining malleable. The ability for the ectoplasm to mimic and interact with objects from the real world is imperfect (i.e. "phasing" through solid objects, turning invisible), but is effective enough to allow entities from the Ghost Zone to exist outside it. The ability for ghosts to enter the real world, be seen by humans, and affect it without being destroyed is due to the relative stability of the ectoplasm from which they are composed. Destabilization of the ectoplasm takes extreme measures (like excess or loss of energy) and will eventually lead to complete collapse of the structure. The flexibility of ectoplasm and its ability to mimic normal forms of matter is also probably why it is possible for Danny to be half ghost.
  • Morality Pet: Lydia, for Betelgeuse. Despite his carefully preserved reputation for being an unrepentant monster, he would do just about anything for "my girl."
  • Muggles Do It Better: Non-ectoplasm ghosts can't show up in photographs and their voices cannot be heard over the phone. But since it is established that they can move and manipulate solid objects, pushing buttons is perfectly within their capabilities. Adam and Barbara are able to text Lydia once they have access to a cell phone.
  • My Beloved Smother: Aunt Melinda acts this way toward Lydia, pouring on the sugar and the cutesy nicknames and making everyone else uncomfortable.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Derrick has a brief moment of this when he realizes he killed an innocent man.
  • Mythology Gag: Even though the events of the cartoon didn't happen, Lydia still ends up with the red spiderweb-pattern poncho.
    • The longer version of the summons from the cartoon also makes an appearance in the story, though in far less pleasant circumstances.
    • Once again, someone compares the Handbook for the Recently Deceased to stereo instructions.
    • Maddie Fenton accidentally calls the Netherworld "the Neitherworld."
  • Nameless Narrative: Does this for the first several chapters in regards to Betelgeuse, even during his point of view.
  • Narnia Time: The passage of time is not consistent between Earth and the Netherworld. Sometimes one is faster and sometimes the other is.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Comes up a few times, mostly from Betelgeuse.
    Danny was then treated to a very colorful and descriptive tirade that would've been censored heavily even to qualify for an R rated film. The Ghost With The Most seemed determined to use every curse in existence in the most creative manner possible. Danny thought he might have stopped speaking modern English at one point and either switched languages or started using something older. Or both. It was actually pretty educational.
  • Never My Fault: Melinda blames ghosts for all of her problems: the lack of parental love and affection, her first heartbreak, her brother turning to crime, her sister leaving, and anything else she can come up with.
  • The Nicknamer: Betelgeuse
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Averted in the final chapter, when Lydia practically hugs the stuffing out of Betelgeuse. He reciprocates warmly.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Betelgeuse's cause of death was a combination of attempted suicide by hanging, alcohol poisoning, internal bleeding from being beaten with a hammer, and possibly drowning from either blood or the bog he was tossed in to die.
  • No-Sell: Sanduleak's repeated attempts to stab Betelgeuse don't quite work out for him.
  • Noodle Implements/Noodle Incident: Betelgeuse's first attempt to marry a mortal bride involved "possession, goats, torches, an angry mob, near certain doom, a scullery maid, a river, freaky trees, and something about a cursed coin." As in, that's what the mortal wanted him to fix, and Betelgeuse fails to mention how he did it. And the ingrate went and committed suicide during the wedding ceremony instead of holding up her end of the deal.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Turns out that this is part of Melinda's hatred of ghosts. That and Never My Fault.
  • Not Me This Time: Betelgeuse claims that he is (mostly) not to blame for Lydia's injuries. He's telling the truth; Tucker backs him up on the claim.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Betelgeuse's fight against Vlad at the end is left to the reader's imagination.
  • Older Than They Look: Betelgeuse has been around for approximately 600 years.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. In addition to the Dead Guy Junior with Henry sharing the same name as his paternal grandfather, there are two characters named "Adam" and two named "Roger": Adam Maitland and Roger Livingston in the present, and the minor characters Adam and Roger from the flashback to The High Middle Ages.
    • Then there is Lydia, one of the main characters, and Lydia, the ghost associated with Freakshow. The former was named after the latter because Cathy knew her before she became a ghost and named her daughter after her.
  • Only Friend: As noted under Insistent Terminology, Lydia is this for Betelgeuse, which is why he considers her his.
  • Only One Name: Betelgeuse. Justified by the fact that he was born back before surnames became common.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Juno's bosses seem to reflect various Biblical descriptions of angels, although they're not actually identified as such.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Depending on whether the ghost originally formed in the Ghost Zone or in the Netherworld or human world, they will exhibit different traits. These include potential power strength, the variety of available abilities, and even whether or not they are composed of ectoplasm. Poltergeists fall somewhere in between the two, exhibiting traits of both.
  • Papa Wolf/Protectorate: Betelgeuse will pull out all the stops to defend Lydia from anything, even at tremendous risk to himself; she even comments on it in the first chapter, when speaking of her exceedingly protective, slightly possessive "not-boyfriend."
  • Patchwork Fic: With regards to Beetlejuice, the writer describes it as 99% the film and 1% the cartoon (namely Lydia's age, the existence of the red poncho, and a little of the characterization of Lydia and Betelgeuse).
  • Perky Goth: Sam Manson. Lydia also qualifies (or at least, she did before her aunt got involved).
  • Poltergeist: What Betelgeuse and Sanduleak are said to be.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Lydia begs this of Betelgeuse when she's trying to save him from the Gem of Osiris, pointing out that she's lost her parents and she can't bear the possibility of losing him too. It works.
  • Poor Communication Kills: When Danny first asks Betelgeuse who his mortal bride is, the Ghost with the Most finds that Melinda's binding prevents him from saying Lydia's name, so he simply describes her to him. Unfortunately, the description he gives (dark-haired goth girl) sounds a lot like Sam. Danny doesn't approve. Only when Danny mentions Sam's name does Beej realize there's been a misunderstanding.
  • Portal Door: The ghost portal that connects the Ghost Zone to the Fentons' basement. Betelgeuse tries to use it to escape without having have his name spoken three times. It doesn't work out quite like he was hoping.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After dealing with Sanduleak and getting the group somewhere safe, Betelgeuse succumbs to exhaustion due to his method of reaching them in time. He does try to resist as long as possible though.
  • Power High: One of the negative side effects of a ghost getting a hold of the Gem of Osiris. Both Sanduleak and Betelgeuse respectively get hit hard with this.
  • The Power of Friendship: When nothing and no one else can reach him, Lydia manages to get through to Betelgeuse.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Charlies and Delia are dead, not even leaving a ghost, before the first chapter even begins. Lydia implies that they, like the Maitlands, died in a car crash; fortunately, they'd provided heavily for Lydia's future.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery : Melinda's first crush was a ghost who didn't realize she had feelings for him, and she did not handle it very well. So she blames all ghosts for all of her problems.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: In a bit of a variation, Betelgeuse inadvertently does this when he is using reflective surfaces to spy on the real world and gets furious at what he sees happening.
  • Reality Ensues: Strangely enough, it turns out that if you try to murder your niece, you'll get arrested.
  • Reality Warper: Betelgeuse's main power is moderate reality warping.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lydia delivers one to the Fenton parents on their treatment and views concerning ghosts. While they can easily write off her more emotional arguments as being the result of misplaced sympathy, they pay closer attention when she points out that just making assumptions, rather than using the scientific method to determine whether ghosts could be considered people, is bad scientific practice.
    • Reasonable Authority Figure: They have the decency to re-examine their methods and are big enough to admit that she's right. By the end of the story, it's strongly implied that, thanks to discussing the Netherworld with Betelgeuse and Lydia, they have completely changed to only hunting ghosts who require it.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Based on one of the flashback chapters, this is the origin for Betelgeuse's taste for insects.
  • Refusing Paradise: When offered the chance to move on rather than suffer oblivion after the damage from holding the Gem of Osiris, Betelgeuse decides to risk staying anyway - because he won't let anything, not even long-denied peace, take him away from Lydia.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Betelgeuse, once he knows that his beloved Lydia is descended from his foster daughter Katelin, immediately rejects the idea that she is this for him, noting that she deserves to be, and is, loved by him for who she is on her own merits.
  • Ritual Magic: Seems to be the preferred strategy for dealing with ghosts from the Netherworld. Anyone can use it if they know the right words, have a physical object connected to the ghost in question, and have a strong enough will to overcome the ghost's power. Or an Amplifier Artifact.
    • It is stated that the living can use this method to summon, bind, banish, or exorcise a ghost.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After rescuing Lydia, Betelgeuse fully intends to enact one on both Sanduleak and Aunt Melinda, once he's recovered his strength. "When he got through with those two, no one would even think of bothering him or Lydia again."
    • Sanduleak also plans to enact one against Betelgeuse, by once again targeting Lydia, after he escapes from Saturn.
  • Rule of Three: Betelgeuse's name still needs to be said three times to summon/banish him. But when he's got the Gem of Osiris, it doesn't work.
  • Running Gag: Betelgeuse's tendency to read and write notes in Lydia's journal. She eventually gives up trying to keep him out and they have full conversations in the text. Several chapter summaries are done through this banter.
    • Him referring to Sam as Danny's girlfriend (and them denying it).
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Betelgeuse trapped Sanduleak in a well for a century.
  • Secret Diary: Lydia keeps a journal that Betelgeuse locates. He writes comments in it about her entries and she eventually just goes with it. Her aunt finds the journal and learns about Betelgeuse's existence, his interactions with Lydia, and his name. She then uses the information to try and get rid of him.
  • Secret Keeper: Lydia joins Sam, Tucker, and Jazz in agreeing to guard Danny's secret.
  • Secret Test of Character: The scene with Beej Refusing Paradise to stay with Lydia seems to have been what the one offering Paradise was looking for.
  • Skeleton Key: Uncle Roger happens to leave one where Lydia can find it.
  • Slashed Throat: Sanduleak's preferred method of dealing with people, which makes sense since he's Jack the Ripper.
  • Sleep Cute: Occurs in the last chapter with Betelgeuse and Lydia.
  • Soul-Cutting Blade: Melinda has a knife specifically meant to affect ghosts.
  • Speak of the Devil: Danny and his friends have a lot of trouble learning much about Betelgeuse due to the fact that his name can be used to summon him and no one really wants to risk it.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": As he corrects in Lydia's journal, his name is "Betelgeuse," not "Beetlejuice", a reference to the inconsistent naming from which even the franchise itself suffers.
  • Summoning Ritual: Rather than simply say his name three times, Aunt Melinda uses this strategy to summon Betelgeuse so that he will be contained and under control.
  • Switching P.O.V.: It varies by chapter, or even chapter portion, which character is holding the narrative point of view.

  • Take Care of the Kids: During a flashback sequence, Galeren asks this of Betelgeuse during The Black Death, and he does. It's a promise he's still keeping, since Lydia is Galeren's descendant.
  • Talkative Loon: Aunt Melinda has essentially become this by the final chapter. Though since that scene is 99% narrative, we don't realize it represents a monologue until Freakshow, who's in the next cell, yells for someone to sedate her again because "the dosage wore off and she won't shut up."
  • Talking in Your Sleep: How Lydia accidentally summons Betelgeuse in the last chapter. She's having a nightmare that he's never coming back.
  • Tap on the Head: Not Played for Laughs. Sanduleak hits Lydia hard enough that there is some serious concern that it might have been fatal (which is what he was aiming for anyway).
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Lydia made her own poncho. with cloth Betelgeuse brought from the Netherworld. Averted with Barbara, who claims not to have much skill when it comes to sewing.
    • Katelin makes a woolen mantle with stripes for Betelgeuse during a flashback sequence.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Turns out Betelgeuse has gotten really good at restricting his hauntings to Amusing Injuries, which is why there were no lasting repercussions from him flinging Charles and Otho off of a staircase, or Maxie and Sarah Dean through a ceiling. Explained further when Betelgeuse assures Danny that he won't kill Aunt Melinda; he dismisses it as "boring and too easy" and that Lydia would never forgive him, but implies that the real problem is that though Juno and the Celestial Bureaucracy allows and even encourages ghosts to scare the living senseless to keep them from breaking the Masquerade, lethal injury is right up there with proving the existence of ghosts as the big no-no, as people murdered by ghosts tend to become really dangerous(not to mention really pissed-off) ghosts themselves — not that Sanduleak really cares. Betelgeuse went "juicing" with him exactly once, thinking he'd found a kindred prankster, only to realize he'd gone on a wilding with Jack the Ripper and sealing him in a well for the next century. Enforcing this rule on such a powerful ghost without being asked is why Juno and her superiors haven't done anything permanent to Betelgeuse.
  • Title Drop: "Say it once, say it twice, say it thrice, and then I'm good to go."
  • Tongue-Tied: Betelgeuse cannot say his own name. Or, after his encounter with Aunt Melinda, Lydia's name.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Betelgeuse is not as bad as he was in the film; by the time of the story, Lydia is quite fond of him, to the point that being forcibly kept away from him is painful.
  • The Tunguska Event: Gets mentioned as the result of a ghost gaining possession of the Gem of Osiris.
  • Two Words: Added Emphasis: "Two words. Sandworm bait."
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Henry hates Betelgeuse despite the fact that the man takes him and his sister in after their parents die.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Betelgeuse seems to have a reputation for this, based on the Box Ghost's comments to Danny. The ghosts all know that the Ghost With the Most is coming, that he's searching for his Mortal Bride, and that he's really angry about whatever's keeping him away from her... and they're terrified.
    • And when he sees that Sanduleak is about to rape and murder "my girl," he goes ballistic.
  • Victorian London: Sanduleak was originally from this time period when he was alive because he was Jack the Ripper.
  • Weird Science: Anything that has to do with ectoplasm-based ghosts.
  • Wham Line: "Before their mutual weddings, the women were Catherine and Melinda Showenhower. As in Frederich Isak Showenhower. As in Freakshow."
  • What the Hell Are You?: Essentially Betelgeuse and Sanduleak's reactions when they first see Danny, though they end up being more confused than afraid.
  • When She Smiles: Tucker definitely notices a significant difference in Lydia after she's reunited with Betelgeuse.
  • Woman in White: Lydia's Aunt Melinda
  • Worldbuilding: A lot of time and effort is put into making the two sources work together as an understandable whole.
  • World of Chaos: What happens when Betelgeuse gets the Gem of Osiris.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Betelgeuse ends up calling Lydia by her actual name, instead of "Lyds" or "Babes," when it briefly looks like Sanduleak managed to kill her.
  • Younger than She Looks: Due to the fact they called her a "little girl" in the film (even though her actress at the time of filming was 17), Lydia is stated to be 12, almost 13, shortly after the events of the movie. This allows her to be about the same age as Danny and his friends during the story (14). Justified, as in the cartoon she is 12 years old in the first season.

Tropes found in the prequel Say It Again include:

  • Alpha Bitch: Lydia has to deal with a trio of school bullies, led by one of these; in a minor nod to the cartoon, her name is Claire.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Apparently, if you've been in the Netherworld long enough, you get the option of moving on to whatever comes afterward. A ghost of Betelgeuse's acquaintance informs him of her intent to do just that. For his part, Betelgeuse isn't interested; there's still too much fun to be had where he is.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Lydia's persistent kindness to Betelgeuse ultimately wins his complete loyalty.
  • Big Brother Instinct/Papa Wolf: The prequel sets the stage for Betelgeuse to feel this way toward Lydia by the time of the main story. He's puzzled by his own fascination with her, and he knows it's not romantic or sexual in the slightest, but he has to acknowledge that she's already become important to him even if he's not sure why.
  • Break Them by Talking: Claire's personal form of bullying involves doing this. Lydia is pretty immune to it, which impresses Betelgeuse, right up until Claire starts talking smack about Lydia's birth mother.
  • Curiosity Causes Conversion: Betelgeuse can't figure out why Lydia would want to be nice to him, since almost no one ever is; he especially doesn't understand her motives after the almost-wedding. So he decides to stick around and see if he can work out her angle. In the process, he grows genuinely attached.
  • Diary: Part of the friendship between Lydia and Betelgeuse is forged by them having written conversations in her journal, as shown in the first story.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: It takes Lydia a while to figure out what nickname to use for Betelgeuse, but when she presents a few possibilities, he vehemently refuses to let her call him "Spooky."
  • Everyone Has Standards: As mentioned above, Betelgeuse didn't realize how young Lydia was during the events of the movie. He is not happy when he finds out what he almost did. And this time, it shows his exact thought process when he realizes the truth.
    • He also doesn't use his power to force women to say "yes" to him. He'll still hit on any woman that catches his eye, but they always have the option to smack him and tell him to get lost.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Whether he's really evil is up for debate, but Betelgeuse definitely doesn't understand altruism - at least, not directed towards him. He can't figure out why Lydia would set him loose for a couple of days when it doesn't benefit her in the least.
  • Flashback: Lydia has these in dream sequences, showing the first time she encountered a ghost and also the circumstances of her mother's death.
  • The Gadfly: Betelgeuse is this at times, deliberately annoying other characters. He rarely does it with Lydia, however, so she's taken by surprise when he picks a quarrel with the Maitlands right in front of her. It turns out he has a reason; hers was an Inconvenient Summons and he needs to get back to what he was doing.
  • Halloween Episode: Chapter 12, which sees Lydia carving jack-o-lanterns with Delia followed by watching a scary movie marathon at the theater with Beej.
  • Heavy Sleeper: After she falls asleep at the movies on Halloween, Betelgeuse has to carry Lydia back to her house - by flying. She doesn't wake up even once.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Lydia laments that, while she gets along well enough with some of her new classmates, she's still very much an outsider on account of her unusual experiences and wishes it were possible to meet someone who could understand. Doubles as Foreshadowing for the friendships she makes in the main story.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Doubling with Mythology Gag, Betelgeuse teaches Lydia the longer incantation. Instead of summoning him, it brings her to the Netherworld. It's his belated birthday gift to her.
  • Insatiable Newlyweds: It's unknown just how long Adam and Barbara were married before their untimely deaths, but judging by one scene in the kitchen, they still act like a pair of these.
  • Insistent Terminology: As shown in the main story, Betelgeuse quickly grows to consider Lydia "his girl." He admits he's not quite sure why he's more or less imprinted on her in this way, but he's known from the first time he saw her that she's something special and he regards her as his own.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The wedding ring from the film, which serves a slightly different purpose here; it's revealed that it actually belonged to Betelgeuse's mother.
  • Mythology Gag: Just like in Say It Thrice, there are occasionally references to elements of the cartoon.
    • As noted above, the blonde Alpha Bitch character is named Claire. She's not meant to be the same character from the show, however.
    • The longer version of Lydia's incantation makes an appearance here, and it's implied that part of the events of the cartoon, including Lydia's random visits to the Netherworld, occurred during the time between this story and the main one.

  • One-Gender School: As in the cartoon, Lydia is a student at Miss Shannon's School for Girls.
  • The Power of Trust: Realizing that Lydia is not only kind to him but actually trusts him cements Betelgeuse's determination that this is "his girl" and he's going to look after her.
  • Practical Currency: As Betelgeuse explains it, the Netherworld operates on a barter system. Since its inhabitants don't need things like food and shelter, they instead trade in commodities which they want, like cigarettes and favors. In one episode, we see him exchange a package of chocolate striped cookies for a favor.
  • Prequel: To Say It Thrice
  • Protectorate: Lydia develops into this for Betelgeuse surprisingly quickly, on account of his possessive nature. He first shields her from the verbal abuse of Claire because he can tell that the other girl's words have hurt Lydia, and he doesn't like it when people hurt the things that belong to him.
  • Red Herring: It seems like Betelgeuse might be planning something involving Lydia's absent mother, due to the heavy emphasis on her in some of their conversations. In reality, it's that he gets the rhyme that allowed everything from the cartoon to happen...
  • Scaled Up: Betelgeuse brings back his creepy snake form from the film.
  • Secret Relationship: The platonic version. Lydia and Betelgeuse initially have to keep their growing friendship hidden from everyone, since she knows that neither her parents nor the Maitlands will be at all pleased to know that she's interacting with him (nor will Juno be happy about him interacting with her).
    • Secret Keeper: When she does reveal it to the Maitlands, they reluctantly agree to be this, on the condition that she will tell them immediately if he does anything inappropriate.
  • Tacky Tuxedo: According to Lydia, both his maroon tux and the red dress he gave her were pretty tacky.
  • When She Smiles: A variant; Betelgeuse finds himself wondering what Lydia looks like when she's actually happy. When he sees her laugh, he feels justified in the thought.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Betelgeuse. He'll scare them a little, sure; but not as much he would adults, and he definitely doesn't harm them. In his own words, "children have to be protected."

Tropes found in Just Say It include:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Lydia and Betelgeuse finish the carving activity by hurling pumpkin guts at one another.
  • After-Action Report: Of a sort. It technically takes place after the events of Say It Thrice, but does little to reference that story.
  • Halloween Episode
  • Pumpkin Person: The jack-o-lantern that Betelgeuse so painstakingly carves turns out to be a rather impressive self-portrait.

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