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War and Peace In Mind is a fanfic about Sky High (2005), written by Jeune Chat.

Summary on FF.net: Warren Peace had a hard road to get where he was, and dealing with the future is bound to be no easier. With friends at his side, can he learn of his shaded past and find a heroic future?

Taken from the point of view of the pyrokinetic bad boy Warren Peace, this world-building story expands on the ending of the movie, as Warren and his newfound friends Will, Layla, Zack, Ethan and Magenta continue their time through the changing halls of Sky High, deal with the changing curriculum in the movie's aftermath, and become real heroes in their own right. In addition to getting used to having actual friends around, Warren has to live through his mother Joy Peace's return to the superhero community as the Peacemaker, being introduced to his supervillain father's side of the family, an all-new facet of his powers, and all the trials and tribulations a world used to the idea of super-powered individuals has to offer.

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But not everything is straightforward: Royal Pain had much bigger plans in mind when she made her baby-making assault on Sky High, and these plans are slowly coming to fruition. Warren and his friends will have to prepare harder than ever for the oncoming storm, and make sure they, and the rest of the superhero community, is ready to meet it when it comes.

This story has a sequel, We Are Legend, a post-movie-pre-story interquel, The Book of the Dead, and a whole bunch of side-stories to make this world of superheroes even bigger.

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Tropes contained in War and Peace In Mind

  • Abusive Parents: Lets just say that the Berserker, Stormwitch and King Cobra were less than kind to their children Bloodtalon, Skybolt and Viper for not living up to their super-villain expectations.
  • Academy of Evil: The Academy, Royal Pain's destination for all the super-powered babies of Sky High, with a fresh batch of potential villains already in line.
  • Aerith and Bob: A downplayed example. While a normal (if rare) name, Baron Battle's first name is slightly unusual next to his brothers Reginald, Andrew, David, Christopher and Anthony.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: Will falls into this when he realizes that he's getting stronger, to the point that a serious workout for his dad is child's play for him. He actually has Bad Dreams regarding And Call Him "George"! and Beware the Superman before Warren has a talk with him.
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  • Agony Beam: The main power of Painbreaker, a member of Cutter's Crew and the Academy's premier torturer, who can take a paper cut and make it feel like your hand is burning napalm. It can also work in reverse; where she can take other people's pain onto herself, as well as allow her to sense pain.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Joy Peace is on the receiving end on this by the superhero community, and even her own friends and family, after Baron Battle is arrested, as they believe that her powers of The Empath should have picked up on her husband's instability sooner. It eventually dies away after everyone has had time to think it over and Joy's return to active heroing.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Elise Preston, a Telepath and president of Psychic Club, is portrayed a little like this. She's incredibly proud and sore that Coach Boomer is playing to Will and his group's strength instead of theirs.
    • Cutter also has this air while in the Academy, top dog that she is and can back up.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Stonehenge a.k.a. Larry, the geeky freshman in the movie loses an arm from the Academy's laser defenses.
  • Animorphism: Featured prominently: there's Magenta (guinea pig), her whole Patterson family, Bruin (bear) and Bloodtalon (eagle) in Cutter's Crew, and Nightsteed (black horse) from the Academy.
  • Bad Powers, Good People:
    • Justin, a.k.a. Psysick, a sidekick-level Sky High student. He can psychically make targets feel like they're getting sick, which ends up lowering their resistances and getting them sick for real a while later. In fact, Warren quotes his powers to help Monica understand that the powers don't make the villain.
    • Monica a.k.a. Painbreaker also counts.
  • Badass Family: Every super-family in existence. From the Strongholds, to the Battles, to the Peaces, the list goes on.
  • Badass Grandpa: The Battle clan's Fire Court counts, especially its head, Tobias Battle, the Ember-keeper. In addition, all of its members, Warren's uncles, are in their 50s - 60s.
  • Badass Pacifist: Joy Peace, as the Peacemaker, rarely lifts a hand to her opponent, preferring to let her words, her diplomacy, and her emotive powers do the problem-solving for her.
  • Batman Gambit: This is one of the Academy's main tactics for dealing with heroes. If their trained villains cause as much mayhem and harm/kill as many people (especially other heroes) as possible, it would provoke a Roaring Rampage of Revenge from the other heroes (and especially their super-parents), which would lead to a direct attack on the Academy itself, exactly where the enemy has every advantage.
  • Blinded by the Light: Zack can use miniaturized flash bombs or his own glowing supplemented by his reflective suit to blind everyone within line of sight, which is effective given that one of his power quirks is immunity to this very trope. This becomes one of the group's more prominent tactics.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Speed, Lash and Penny have this sentiment when they learn their security detail consists of three sidekicks.
  • Break Them by Talking:
    • King Cobra, who has a poisonous tongue to go along with his poisonous powers. He'll even use it on his own son Viper.
    • Warren does this to Painbreaker, to explain to her why her arguments about having to be a villain don't hold water, and culminates with her realizing that she was never Forced into Evil except by Royal Pain's lies. It's enough to drive her to a Freak Out!.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Principal Veronica Powers has felt the strain more than once about teaching the next generation of superheroes, especially when it involves sending high-schoolers to face off against deadly villains. The school board and parents have called for her head a few times before she and Peacemaker managed to explain themselves.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Elise and Tracy were introduced as members of Sky High's Psychic Club who was one of Will and Co.'s training opponent groups. Later in the story, when Warren finds himself inside the Academy and trying to subvert it, these two appear as two of the Bureau's original infiltrators, People Puppeting a staff member.
    • The Dreamer was mentioned in a throwaway line as the Peacemaker's sister, estranged after Baron Battle's arrest. She becomes Warren's only link to the outside world during his tenure in the Academy.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Penny is psychically ill with grief in the aftermath of Cutter killing one of her clones and the full squadron being restored is treated like having a beloved friend or family member being brought out of a coma.
  • Code Name: Like all Super Hero tropes, this is played straight during graduation from Sky High, where the graduate does an Instant Costume Change, demonstrate their powers, and say their new name. The gang's superhero names: 
  • Da Chief: Crimson Tempus, pyrokinetic superhero, a.k.a. Kane Adams, Maxville Director of Operations for the Bureau. After his death, Principal Veronica Powers a.k.a. Comet takes over, with Jonathan Boy taking over as Principal of Sky High.
  • Dating Catwoman: Through several months of working together as EMT partners, Warren slowly finds himself attracted to Monica a.k.a. Painbreaker.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Even though he doesn't fit the mold, Warren still keeps his secrets close to his chest, even while he is serving as The Heart for his group of friends. The aftermath of Cutter's attack and their vacation in Yellowstone is when he starts to open up about his dad and growing up tough.
  • Disappointed in You: Peacemaker pulls this off to great effect, whether on her son or on squabbling diplomats.
  • Distress Ball: In-universe, people known as "super-junkies" actively try to get this ball and hold onto it for all they're worth, putting themselves In Harm's Way purely to get the rush of being saved by a hero. The superhero community takes a dim view of these people.
  • Embarrassing First Name: If Magenta's mother hadn't lost a bet with her sister, Magenta would've been named Evangeline. Her friends agree that it wouldn't fit her at all.
    • Speed and Lash's real names of Stanley and Lester also count for them.
  • The Empath/Emotion Bomb: The repertoire of the Peacemaker, a.k.a. Joy Peace, Warren's mother. With the powers of reading, instilling and manipulating emotions, she has played diplomat to many incidents, deals and treaties across the world. Not to mention she has the ethics to go along with such a role.
    • Even powers aside, the Peace family tends to experience their emotions more strongly than most. Joy calls it a family curse.
    Joy Peace: "Even if you didn't actually get emotional powers, you tend to feel them, to think about your feelings, to know what others are feeling. We just feel things very deeply, we Peaces. Sometimes too deeply."
  • Emotional Powers: As one would expect, Warren's flame powers are directly linked to his anger - the angrier he gets, the hotter things get. His healing powers also work in a similar way, except that he has to be either focused on the task or emotionally connected to the person he's trying to heal.
    • The former point makes him a prime target for Bloodtalon.
    • His mother also had a similar problem during her Sky High days: if she didn't keep a lid on her emotions, she could end up projecting them indiscriminately to everyone around her. It was why she was a Super OCD case before she met Baron Battle.
    • The other members of the Peace family also have this powerset, but none to the degree of Joy.
  • Epic Fail: Thanks to Warren's subversion of the Academy's Technopaths, Cutter's overly-dramatic cue to activate the Academy's defenses falls flat on its face.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While Penny, Lash and Speed are brought down to jerks, this trope still applies to Penny's reaction to Cutter murdering one of her clones and Lash jumping between Penny and Warren when Warren comes at her with flaming hands (Warren was going to heal her but Lash didn't know that).
  • Fallen Hero: Red Knight, a.k.a Baron Battle, Warren's father. As his hero career went on, he grew disillusioned with the way the world worked, at how the public was too weak to defend itself, at how the police and armies had woefully inadequate tactics to stop evil, and how the governments that made them were going to get them killed someday. Eventually, he decided that the only way to fix the problem was to unite the world under his dictatorial rule, and he started by attacking the world leaders at a diplomatic summit. He racked up 4 murder charges before the Commander and Jetstream stopped him, and is now serving multiple life sentences in Metroplex Detention Center.
    • In addition, the superhero community all but ostracized his wife Joy, for not seeing her husband's descent into villainy until it was too late despite her empathic powers. Her faith and self-confidence broken, she didn't resist, retiring as a public hero and raising Warren by herself.
  • Fangirl: For a public superhero universe, this is a given. Phoenix's are called Phans.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three primary powersets of the Battle clan. The former is more common and always found in the males of the family, the latter two are less common and always found in the females. Warren's five uncles (and once his father) form the Fire Court, his aunt and two female cousins form the Winter Court, and if there were more than just his other aunt having electrical powers, there would also have been a Storm Court.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fights Like a Normal: Zack and Magenta both get martial arts training to supplement their tools and their supporting powers. Goes into Boxing Lessons for Superman for Magenta when she integrates her Shapeshifting into the dodging and maneuvering.
  • Forced into Evil: Some of the Academy students have this view, saying that their powers didn't give them a choice and the Bureau would arrest them given half the chance. Turns out this is Royal Pain feeding them a load of horse hockey, supplemented with subliminal psychic Brainwashing while within the Academy.
  • Geeky Turn-On: The first time Ethan meets Chloe, both of them get into a round of Champion Debate (which is basically a theoretical superhero battle where every feat has to be backed up with facts, events or anecdotes) which Chloe wins by a whisker. At the end of it all, Ethan gets her number.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Warren is on the receiving end of a painful hit or shock from his friends more often than not. Justified as Warren's Healing Hands effectively put him in an ultra-focused state during the process, and will eventually drain his reserves to the dregs if someone doesn't snap him out of it.
  • Gladiator Games: Gym class at the Academy of Evil, also known as Blood and Bones. The objective is to, obviously, draw blood or break bones, and death is a real possibility.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Quoted in the narration. While Warren, Will and the group are competing against other senior teams in the Gauntlet, Coach Boomer at first forbids Will from engaging the other team directly, limiting him to transportation or barrier clearing. When the senior teams start to get good against the group, Boomer puts Will back in the game, no-holds-barred.
  • Good Feels Good: This is the sentiment Warren a.k.a. Phoenix when he gets his first batch of fan-mail. Gushing and Squeeing aside, he is truly touched by the honest thanks given by those he had saved, adult and children alike. Which makes it all the more baffling to him that his father would choose to give it all up.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Libra, Painbreaker's supervillain mentor. His shtick is using his Psychic Powers to capture people guilty of some "wrongdoing", get a "jury of peers" to convict them, and then execute them.
  • Handicapped Badass: Son of Silver is both deaf and mute. Doesn't stop him from being a Hero Killer.
  • Heal It with Fire/Healing Hands: In the literal sense, Warren's new power allows him to push his inner flame into others to heal their wounds. However, over-usage of such could end up killing him, and once he starts, it's very hard for him to stop.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Highlighted for many of the once-sidekicks in the story, most particularly Zack, Ethan and Magenta. The former uses an ultra-reflective outfit to dazzle or blind adversaries, and the latter two use their relatively-unnoticeable forms and a bunch of concealed weapons to get the drop on foes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Several in this story:
    • After surviving being assassinated by Royal Pain's Academy, Speed, Lash and Penny decide to throw in their lot with being heroes, eventually becoming the heroes Swift, Stretch and Legioness. They even manage to help out Fire Court in Paris.
    • The first is Monica Keller a.k.a. Painbreaker, when Warren meets her in his day job and manages to show her that she was never Forced into Evil, and that she always had the choice to do good.
    • After Warren and Monica infiltrate the Academy, they manage to do this to several other villains-to-be, including Bruin, Nightsteed, and Voidhammer.
    • Flamewing and Meduka aren't convinced by Warren, but they choose to join the winning side in the end.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: A big one occurs at the very beginning of the assault on the Academy, when Warren proves he's still firmly on the side of good by turning and firing on the villains everyone thought he'd joined.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The Bureau of Superpowered Affairs is the chief superhero dispatch organization in the world, and who most heroes respond to for emergencies or distresses. They handle everything from secret identities to fan mail.
  • Heroic RRoD: The fate of Margaret Peace, Warren's ancestor who had Healing Hands like him. Her powers also gave her a compulsion to heal the wounded and were Cast from Hit Points, and when she couldn't stop people from petitioning her aid, she eventually and literally healed herself to death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: During the final assault on the Academy, Tracy and Elise intercept the Academy's own Brainwashing psychics Psion, Mindmelt and Brainshock, to prevent them from wreaking more havoc on the battlefield. None of the five survive the encounter.
  • Hero Killer: Son of Silver, a Chrome Champion Gunslinger villain with a reputation for killing the unkillable. His tally when the story starts was three heroes and six sidekicks, and by the story's end, he has increased his count to six heroes.
    • Cutter also counts when she kills Coach Boomer.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The Headmaster of the Academy is never characterized during the story, only speculated as someone Royal Pain hired to lead the Academy after her capture. When the Champions finally see him, they find that it is Royal Pain, in Artificial Intelligence form.
  • History Repeats: Once again, Royal Pain's scheme is derailed by the interference of Violet Cavey a.k.a. Magenta, and her own flaw of considering Sidekicks Beneath Notice.
  • Honor Before Reason: It's mentioned in an early chapter that Layla's decision to not show her Green Thumb and support a flawed system may have been impressive, but the Sidekick curriculum also left her unprepared to handle the stress of a tough hero situation and use her powers when dealing with Penny. The only thing that motivated her to get dangerous was Penny slapping her.
  • Hope Bringer: During The Infiltration, Monica wants Warren to become this for the Academy students that were Forced into Evil; to show them that they don't have to follow the Academy's tripe, to show them that they can choose their own destiny, and basically do to them what he did to her.
  • Idiot Ball: Warren, Will and the group recognize early that the debacle of Royal Pain's Homecoming pacification was this. If every super-powered person in the room had kept their head and Zerg Rushed her instead of panicking after the Commander went down, they could've overwhelmed her before she could take all of them out, instead of being pacified like fish in a barrel.
  • Incompletely Trained: Principal Powers reasons that insufficient, inflexible training was a contributing factor to the above Idiot Ball; the students weren't taught how to handle stress against a real, dangerous super-villain, nor were they taught to fight together as a team, which is how Will and his friends had managed to foil her plan. With Royal Pain's Academy of Evil on the horizon, Powers is doing all she can to change this.
  • The Infiltration:
    • The Bureau manages to get five superheroes (three shapeshifters and two telepaths) into the Academy to glean information. None of them make it out alive.
    • When Monica is recalled by the Academy, she pulls Warren with her as a "willing" prisoner, in order to subvert the Academy's defenses from within.
  • Killed Off for Real: Yes, this story doesn't shy away from death.
    • The three shapeshifters sent into the Academy are rooted out, locked in cages just big enough for their small, shapeshifted forms, then forced to un-transform.
    • During the assault on the academy, Son of Silver adds to his tally of kills, including Diamond, Seawalker and Crimson Tempus.
    • When Sonic Boom a.k.a. Coach Boomer manages to stop Son of Silver, Cutter guts him.
    • In the brief moments the Academy's arsenal of death ray defenses go up, they slaughter four Academy villains and two heroes, Cool Cross and Iceangel a.k.a. Melissa Frost.
    • Tracy and Elise stage a psychic attack against the Academy's own three psychics Psion, Mindmelt and Brainshock, killing them at the cost of their own lives.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Even though they've the same power as their founder Royal Pain and that they're what's keeping the Academy well-defended against assault and infiltration, the Technopaths of the Academy get virtually zero respect for their efforts. This makes it relatively simple for Warren to inspire several of them to sabotage said defenses.
  • Knife Nut: Cutter has knife-throwing and quick-drawing down to an art. Couple that with her tendency to Teleport Spam (within line of sight), and you have one dangerous villain.
  • Love Martyr: A downplayed example, Joy Peace and Baron Battle were deeply in love with each other, but Joy's love for her husband blinded her to his slow Sliding Down The Slippery Slope, such that she didn't/couldn't use her empathic powers on him even while his madness got worse. It was only when she was pregnant with Warren that she could bring herself to, and the degree to which his moral center had rotted away shocked her.
  • Made of Iron: Warren, and indeed the whole male half of the Battle clan, have indestructibility as a power set. Thrown through walls, walls falling on them, and even gunshot wounds don't stop them for long. In practice, it's portrayed as an accelerated Healing Factor, where they experience the wounds they take but their bodies repair them near-instantaneously. Too much damage too quickly will do the trick though.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Tobias Battle is a Pragmatic Hero who prefers expediency over ethics. He puts on an arrogant, smug facade to make others drop their guard, he knows how to rile people up or think the way he wants them to, and all because he believes he knows best for his family. It has gotten to the point where he expects things to go his way just because he says so, so Warren not singing to his tune often shocks him.
    • His youngest son Baron Battle was the same way.
    • Royal Pain definitely counts, considering how many powered people she managed to coerce into her academy before she got captured.
  • Meaningful Rename: With her formal Heel–Face Turn and assignment to be a superhero and the leader of the new team of ex-villains, the Redeemers, Monica changes her superhero name from Painbreaker to Mercy.
  • Mind Rape: Thanks to three employed psychics, this is what the Academy does to its students to keep them compliant, depressed and to lower their control over their powers, thus reinforcing their propaganda that the Bureau will arrest them if they manage to escape and lose control of their powers in public. Warren's healing powers visualize this as a black band around their life-fire that he has to sever.
  • Motive Misidentification: On their very first superhero outing, the Champions of Justice take out Saurian Lord and Skybolt and put them in Metroplex, only for them to break out later. When Warren confronts Saurian Lord in the Academy, he says that getting in and breaking out without breaking out their leader Royal Pain was all just to Troll her for screwing up her attack on Sky High.
    • Then it turns out that Saurian Lord lied: he got into Metroplex so that his nanobots could get to Royal Pain, scan her brain for updates and plans for the academy, and return them to her Headmaster AI when he broke out.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Warren. The fact that Magenta nicknames him "Ab-boy" says it all. He even gets into a superhero battle with werewolves alongside Tsunami, which ends up with him drenched and his costume shredded.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Warren gets this reaction when he realizes he had just inflicted emotional and psychological torture on Painbreaker to the point of breaking her.
  • My Greatest Failure: Baron Battle's Face–Heel Turn was this to a lot of people, from Joy, to the Battle clan, to Sky High.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Principal Powers's first name is Veronica. Speed and Lash's names are Stanley Sofferman and Lester LaDuke. There's a reason those two only go by their nicknames.
    • Also mentioned are the names of a few powered students that were only extras in the film: Rob (appearance-changer), Melissa Frost (girl with ice powers), Jacob (multiple-arms), Troy (acid spit), and Jenny (ball shapeshifter).
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Saurian Lord, Cyborg Technopath of robot dinosaurs, who dresses like a barbarian.
  • Noodle Incident: In a world of superpowers, you can bet there are always going to be some odd incidents:
    • Whatever caused the Patterson family (Ethan's family of liquid shapeshifters) to create the odd family tradition of asking containers of liquid if they were safe to drink; apparently one member of their family got themselves drunk or baked into a cake at one time.
    • Magenta shares times when she sleep-shifts, often when she has nightmares; one time she woke up inside a cereal box.
    • The Battle Clan has many stories of destroyed property whenever one of them powers up for the first time.
    • Layla tried inventing compact plant capsules in her sophomore year. Given that she had abandoned it by her graduation, and the fact that Will goes scarlet whenever they're mentioned, there was obviously a reason.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: From the end of the movie to the start of the main storyline, this is the case for Sky High. The Hero/Sidekick divide is dissolved and everyone learns everyone's curriculum, students are put in small groups to learn about teamwork, about their powers in-depth, exposing their fears and weaknesses to help them overcome them, and putting them all through Training from Hell. This is not without a good reason.
  • Odd Name Out: The names of the Battle clan's Fire and Winter Courts follow a Theme Naming scheme (Fire King, Fire Prince, Fire Lord, Fire Knight, Ice Queen and Ice Princess), except for two: Burning Duke and Freezing Duchess. When asked about it, Ivana (Ice Princess) explains that when the Battle clan went to register as superheroes in the 40s, Fire Duke and Ice Duchess were already taken.
    • As the sole electrokinetic of the family, Lauren's name of Tesla also counts. To a lesser degree, so does Baron Battle's old superhero name of Red Knight.
  • Official Couple: Will/Layla and Zack/Magenta. Later in the story we have Ethan/Chloe and Warren/Monica.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Magenta. As a guinea pig or a girl, she's still on the small size, and yet has the martial arts skills and the concealed weapons to take down men twice her size. After graduation, she even becomes a bouncer!
  • Playing with Fire: Warren, natch, as can the whole male line of the Battle clan, a.k.a. the Fire Court. Others include the Pyro Club of Sky High, the Academy student Flamewing, and Crimson Tempus, the Bureau's Maxville Director of Operations.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Averted with a vengeance. When the group figures out a possible connection to the Academy and thus a way to find it, they go to Principal Powers with their suspicions. Will expects her to take their information, vaguely tell them that she'll handle it and brush them off. Instead, Principal Powers actually narrates the above scenario, tells them that she respects them too much to do that, gives clear reasons for why they need to go slow, and outlines exactly how they plan to do the infiltration and who are the best people for the job.
  • Power Incontinence:
    • Warren's Healing Hands have a compulsion to be used; being in close proximity to someone injured, the degree of injury, and a close relation to the victim all increase the strength of the compulsion. Moreover, once he starts, he can't stop without outside influence, and can eventually burn himself out.
    • If Painbreaker doesn't use her powers for long periods of time, she goes periodically blind and numb. In actuality, when her powers were first used to redirect her grandmother's pain from the cancer onto herself, they also accidentally redirected her grandmother's blind and paralysis symptoms onto herself as well. This unfortunately made Painbreaker think that she had to use her pain redirection powers or she would suffer those symptoms as backlash, a belief that was perpetuated until Warren talked to her.
  • The Promise: While Warren was growing up, he promised himself that he would never let his mother hear that he had misused his powers, not only because it might make him like his supervillain father, but it might have killed his mother to hear such a thing. The cafeteria fight with Will during the movie was him breaking that promise, and he was so ashamed he went home and cried in his mother's arms.
  • Race Against Time: With the end of the movie and the start of the story, Sky High finds itself in a such a race against Royal Pain and her Academy of Evil, who has a 23-year head start on them and is about to graduate its first class. If Sky High doesn't prepare its students properly, all it will be doing is sending nascent, naive superheroes to be massacred by a wave of newly-graduated, well-trained, cunning, ruthless, young super-villains.
    • The Champions of Justice get in one during the assault on the Academy, when they have to reach the Headmaster before he over-rides the Heel Face Turned Technopaths, regains control of the Academy's defenses, and uses them to turn the battleground into a killing field.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Warren writes poetry. Gothic poetry, yes, but still poetry.
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: Warren calls Principal Powers out on this when he hears that he and his friends, high-schoolers with half-finished hero training, will be going up against trained assassins. Powers justifies her decision through her worries about spies in Sky High (which is how the assassins got close in the first place), and that telling anyone, or even their superpowered parents, could tip their hand to the Academy, and prompt them to send villains against the school en masse.
  • Refuge in Audacity: When Joy confronts Warren for beginning a relationship with Monica/Painbreaker and asks what he was doing, he says he was saving the city from the forces of evil. The audacity and truth of this causes Joy to go into hysterics.
  • Rescue Romance: Ethan and Chloe. Ironically, she's the one who does the saving when they are mugged (because she jumped in before he could reveal his powers).
  • The Reveal: In Chapter 7, Will describes how he realized Royal Pain's plans and her Academy of Evil, through several simple questions:
    Will: Where was Royal Pain going to take three hundred super-powered babies after she destroyed Sky High? Who was going to take care of them all? Who was going to teach them?
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Bruin used to go on these all the time before he joined the Academy: if he came across a mutilated game corpse during his job as a park ranger, he would end up tracking down the guilty hunters, transforming, and killing them in retribution. The guilt comes later, and always too late.
    • This is what the Academy seeks to exploit for all the heroes out there; see Batman Gambit above.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Even though Warren is two years older, he still defers to Will as the leader, even when he has more years of actual superhero experience by the time Will and the rest graduate. This has not gone without notice.
  • Sadistic Choice: Judge Libra ends up putting Warren into this: offer his healing services to the Academy, or watch his Brainwashed friends tear each other apart. He chooses the former, for the obvious reasons, but also so that he and Monica can get into the academy and pull enough Heel Face Turns to subvert it.
  • Sapient Steed: In the Academy, as a horse Shapeshifter, Quint a.k.a. Nightsteed, has the ignominy of being this for another villain, Cowboy Jack, who treats him in ways that would be cruel to a real horse. He even has to wear what amounts to bondage gear as a riding harness.
  • Scars Are Forever: Comet a.k.a. Veronica Powers gets a nasty gouge across her eye from the villain Talon, which still remains even after Warren starts healing.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Magenta's shapeshifting averts this, as she can become a tiny guinea pig with no regard for the Law of Conservation of Matter. This becomes a useful aspect of her power, given that what works for her clothes, also works for concealed weapons.
  • She's Back: An example at the beginning of the story. After several years of inactivity blaming herself for her husband's fall and accepting the blame from other people, when Joy sees the video of Warren's cafeteria fight with Will, she realizes the pain her son has gone through because she was too afraid to help him. She then decides to don her old costume as the Peacemaker and get back into the superhero game, helping people, doing the job she loves and not letting anyone tell her otherwise, with the first step being helping her son.
  • Ship Sinking: Melissa Frost, the girl that Warren dances with at Homecoming, makes it clear to him that the dance was mostly a reward for him saving the school, not because she likes him.
  • Sleep Cute: After the homecoming assassination attempt, Warren sees Will and Layla, and Zack and Magenta in these positions in the infirmary. The former pair are holding hands in their sleep, and as for the latter, Zack is cuddling Magenta in her guinea pig form.
  • Standard Superhero Suits: This story runs the gamut, from the colored spandex that most of the hero community favor, from the stylized royal robes and crowns of the Battle Clan, to the long dresses of the Peacemaker and the Rose Queen.
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Even though being a superhero is a well-paid job in and of itself (courtesy of the Bureau), most superheroes have other jobs anyway to keep up their secret identities. Of the main characters post-graduation, only Warren has a stock job as an EMT (at least until he joins the Bureau's medical staff full-time); Ethan becomes a public relations consultant, Layla becomes a recycling coordinator for the city park and Will becomes her assistant (after finding out he's horrible at real estate), and Zack and Magenta find jobs at a night club (Zack as a DJ, Magenta as a bouncer).
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Appears many times in the story where families often share similar powers.
    • The powered members of the Battle clan have Elemental Powers: Playing with Fire (and Made of Iron) for the males, An Ice Person or Shock and Awe for the females.
    • The Peace family all have emotive powers.
    • Will is an obvious example, having inherited both his father's Super Strength and his mother's Flight.
    • Zack's family powers are energy-based: his father is Electro-Man, while his sisters have various esoteric powers from long-range machine activation to battery charging.
    • Ethan's family have powers around transformation into liquids; the standout example is his father, the hero Tsunami.
    • Magenta's family power is Animorphism, from her father's lion form to her mother's hyena.
    • Layla's family is based around interaction with life, given that her mother Speaks Fluent Animal.
    • This goes for Cutter's crew as well: Cutter's father is named The Vanisher, Viper's father is King Cobra, Skybolt is the son of Stormwitch, and Bloodtalon is the daughter of Condor-Woman and The Berserker. Painbreaker is also rumored to be the descendant of the Grim Reaper, though this is never confirmed.
      • Slightly tragic in Bloodtalon's case; even though she inherited her mother's bird-shapeshifting powers (including the lighter bones), her father pushes her to wield an axe even though she inherited none of his Super Toughness.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: A villainous example: Cutter eventually becomes a couple with her super-villain mentor, Son of Silver. To the degree that she will instantly evacuate a fight solely to rescue him if he is in trouble.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Peacemaker's power as The Empath works great at helping people through their issues and healing the wounds on their hearts, and Sky High has one of their own, a Telepath.
  • Thicker Than Water: The Battle clan in spades. Their family motto says it all:
    "Alone we burn wood; together we melt steel."
    • This had left Tobias in a quandary when Baron Battle was arrested, but he regretfully chose to leave Joy and Warren out to dry to preserve his family's reputation with their employers. Once he passed his position as family head to his son Reginald, he instantly went to rebuild bridges with his daughter-in-law and grandson.
    • Although Warren agrees with this to an extent, his loyalty is still to his friends first. His choices often leaves Tobias speechless.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Ethan (5'4") and his girlfriend Chloe (6'11" + heels).
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Tobias Battle. Not only is he and his family what some people would consider "mercenaries/heroes for hire", but he gives Joy a painful burn just so that Warren could heal her in front of him, and see his new power for himself. That said, his motivations were to warn Warren about rumors spreading regarding his new healing powers, is willing to counter those rumors to protect Warren and Joy in the name of family loyalty, and even injuring his mother was so that Warren could see what those who wanted his powers for their own use were willing to stoop to.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Just like heroes, villains have secret identities too. Painbreaker is an EMT and Bruin is a park ranger. It's telling that the only two villains that are shown like this end up making a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Painbreaker suffers this when she realizes that her Agony Beam powers did not have to be used and the numbness backlash she had suffered for years was a result of her own psyche, a dash of Power Incontinence and the Academy's manipulations and psychic pressure, meaning that her descent into villainy was her own tragic choice.
  • Walking Techbane: A downplayed example. Apparently Zack emits more than just light when he glows; all the EM radiation he emits futzes up most small pieces of tech that he handles.
  • War Memorial: The Bureau has The Wall, a holographic monument to every hero that had died in the line of duty.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Discussed multiple times through the fic:
    • Warren has higher oxygen requirements than normal humans (which he mitigates by carrying oxygen capsules), and cold weather or temperatures can send him into shock.
    • Layla's affinity with plants also draws her to them; she can go ill or stir crazy in environments without plantlife, like urban cities or deserts.
    • Ethan's liquid form is more sensitive to temperatures, and can also absorb harmful elements that can be detrimental to his health. His family calls that "tainting"; his uncle once got tainted by a villain's poison and had to be institutionalized for a spell.
    • Son of Silver's metal body means that he loses body heat faster in cold temperatures. And he has the obvious weaknesses of being deaf and mute.
    • Similar to Layla, it is shown that Royal Pain's stint in Metroplex, deprived of and isolated from any sort of technology, has driven her insane.
  • Welcome to My World: Not quoted, but this is the sentiment after the events of the movie, when Sky High's curriculum is changed such that the Hero and Sidekick classes are integrated and both groups have to also learn the other's curriculum. While the sidekicks have to deal with increased physical lessons and standards, the heroes have to deal with all the logistics, vehicles, weapons, and trivia that the sidekicks normally handle.
    Warren: Sidekicks were under-appreciated.
    Zack: And heroes were overworked.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 40. Cutter's Crew shows up, and Warren's biggest fear from Bloodtalon comes to pass. Will has to break off to handle him, Layla is hurt by Cutter as a result, Warren has to heal her when he calms down, and his healing is revealed to the Bureau, causing one of their premier healers to try and pressure Warren into healing full-time. And at the end of it all, having been recalled, Monica knocks Warren out to take him to the Academy.
  • World's Strongest Man: See Afraid of Their Own Strength above. Will is specifically labeled as the strongest student at Sky High, and the only thing really holding him back is lack of experience. With ample time, he no doubt has the potential to be the most powerful superhero in the world.
  • Working with the Villain: Warren and Painbreaker find themselves working for the same EMT service, as partners no less.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Royal Pain's defeat, her ex-sidekicks Speed, Lash and Penny find themselves the targets of super-powered assassins from the Academy, as they know of the Academy's existence in the first place. This goes for pretty much any of the Academy students that get caught as well.

Tropes contained in The Book of the Dead

  • The Chains of Commanding: Veronica Powers feels the strain of the increasingly-obsolete curriculum of Sky High, believing that the villains are growing smarter while the heroes are being Incompletely Trained.
    Principal Powers: I sat there for ten years pasting pictures of dead seniors in this book, because I thought that was the cost of doing business!
  • Death by Irony: One entry in the Book of the Dead has a senior who spoke strongly about doing good, only to be mind-controlled into doing evil barely a year after graduating, and he could not stand the guilt.
  • Dropping the Bombshell: Principal Powers drops this on Director Kane Adams about Royal Pain's Academy, along with the realization that she had all the time to set it up and produce a fresh crop of well-trained super-villains, with Sky High woefully unprepared to respond to it.
  • Heroic BSoD: With the death of her sidekick Bloom, the hero Zephyr Blade couldn't stand the guilt, and was institutionalized exactly a year after her graduation from Sky High. But because she didn't die, she wasn't put in the Wall.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Commander's father, the Iron Fist, did this to the villain Lord Gothic by throwing both of them into a volcano.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Zephyr Blade and Bloom, so much so that being unable to prevent Bloom's murder drove Zephyr utterly insane.
  • Incompletely Trained: This is Principal Power's reasoning of the fate of Bloom, a sidekick graduate, who was killed by Son of Silver only 10 months after graduation because she wasn't trained to fight or work together with others.
  • My Greatest Failure: Sky High's principals have a whole folder of alumni that had turned to villainy. As well as the eponymous Book of the Dead.
  • War Memorial: On a smaller but more personal scale to the Bureau's Wall, Sky High's principals have the eponymous Book of the Dead, an album of every hero or sidekick that did not last a year after graduation from Sky High before perishing. No names in the book are in the wall.
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