"Except nothing was really that easy. I had spent four and a half years struggling to rebuild myself, to come to a kind of peace with my past, and to forge my way ahead. Every step of that progress had been earned, fought for and won by dint of labor and pain."
After the defeat of Bianca and the rise of the Red Queen in Ward story arc "Gleaming", Victoria Dallon gets sent back to just after the bank robbery in Worm, two years before the Gold Morning. Trapped in a world unknowingly heading towards the apocalypse, Vicky has to find a way to help her past and future friends, halt Amelia's downward spiral and come up with ways to fight Scion despite her lack of resources and incomplete knowledge.
Tropes found in this fanfiction:
- Abusive Parents: As soon as she returns to the past, Vicky decides to flee her house to avoid her mother Carol, who doesn't know how to not be a crappy parent. Shortly after she makes sure that her friend Kenzie is taken away from her own abusive parents."And there's another kid, Kanzi or Kenzie Martin," I said. "I think she's seven now and lives somewhere around Baltimore. Her parents Irene and Julien are abusive, as in they-should-be-incarcerated-immediately levels of abuse."
- Alternate Universe Fic: Neither Rain nor the Fallen exist in this story.
- Anger Born of Worry: Framing the events of the original timeline as a nightmare, Vicky berates Dean for charging ahead and getting himself killed when Leviathan attacked Brockton Bay."It's just... I had a dream Leviathan attacked here and you died."
"I'm here," he said.
I ignored him. "Because of course you went charging into a fight against an Endbringer. Of course you couldn't help yourself, or have the common sense to stick to the sidelines. Of course you had to go andand get yourself crushed. You dumbass."
It wasn't fair of me to blame him for his own death. Leviathan moved so fast there weren't sidelines to stick to. Still, I'd often thought of the ways things could have gone differently; he could have sought shelter with his family, or stayed paired with someone who could move him from danger, or done anything but try to face off against Leviathan.
But he wouldn't have had it any other way, and I wouldn't have had him any other way.
Didn't mean he wasn't a dumbass.
- Blatant Lies: Right after time-travelling, Vicky meets up with her -deceased in the original timeline- boyfriend Dean and attempts to explain her agitation away as caused by a dream where he died and the world ended, as well as her figuring out her adoptive sister is in love with her and the recontextualizing past interactions that goes with it. And she did that all in a single night. Because it was a long night. Yes. Dean visibly doesn't believe her but he lets it go.
- BrotherSister Incest: Deconstructed. Amy Dallon's unrequited and obsessive love for her adoptive sister Victoria ruined her relationship irreparably and destroyed Vicky, who is very scared of her formerly dear little sister."Every word he spoke really only confirmed the worst of my suspicions. It wasn't that Tattletale or the stress or the Nine that put things into her head; the desire and will to change, control, and take me had always been there, and everything else had merely exposed it."
- Broken Bird: Vicky was put through a lot of awful experiences thanks to her emotionally abusive parents, her obsessed stalker of a sister -who was responsible for Vicky spending two years brainwashed and transformed into a malformed garden of meat- and heinous super-villains, but she overcame her personal tragedies and built herself up into a better person, fighter and hero. Now she's been flung into the past, and her first thought is helping as many people as possible before the end of the world.
- Broken Pedestal: At the start, Vicky gets to meet Cauldron and calls them out on their "for the greater good" crimes. Vicky had already anticipated they wouldn't care, but she expected better from her erstwhile idol and role model Alexandria, whose total lack of reaction hurts her.I looked around at the four, saw only degrees of indifference. Sveta had called Cauldron sociopathic, so I wasn't surprised the Number Man and his coworkers looked bored.
It was Alexandria who got to me. I'd heard her be called a traitor, but seeing a hero of her status just not react to a reminder of the crimes that were occurring here, probably beneath her feet while she was sitting back in a leather chair, was something else entirely. "And you don't care," I finished.
- Cain and Abel: Amy is the unintended Cain to her sister Vicky's Abel. Unintended because Amy actually loves Vicky... a bit too much, unfortunately. Her unrequited and obsessive crush led Amy to let Vicky's boyfriend die, abuse Vicky physically and mentally and ultimately engage in acts of villainy. Vicky both hates and fears Amy, but she also considers her to be psychologically damaged because of their screwed-up family and other external circumstances; so that now she's landed in the past before her sister has done anything, Vicky arranges for Amy getting much-needed help (in a way which will keep her far away from her sister).
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Deconstructed. Victoria is still carrying terrible emotional scars of being raped by her former best friend and adoptive sister over two years ago.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: Usually Vicky would take Bakuda down as fast as possible, trusting her force field to tank her bombs and Amy's healing to fix any damage. Nowadays she doesn't want to be touched by Panacea, though, so she fights more carefully, avoiding reckless stunts.
- Dramatic Irony: Vicky partially blames Amy's breakdown and subsequent sanity slippage on Carol disliking Amy for hypotetical crimes Amy might commit in the future. Nonetheless, Vicky is about to cut ties with her sister because of future crimes Amy hasn't committed as of yet.
- Exact Words: When Dean asks Vicky what tipped her off about her sister's feelings, Vicky is unwilling to reveal she's a time-traveller, so she answers she figured it out because of the bank robbery. Technically true but it omits the physical and emotional abuse Vicky was put through in the original timeline.Dean smiled, too, but it was a little strained. "So, uh, your sister," he said. "What tipped you off? She didn'ttell you, did she?"
"I figured it out because of the bank robbery," I said. It was only technically true, but I didn't think I could try to say anything further.
- Fate Worse than Death: Vicky doesn't want to be healed by Amy again, not even if she's sustaining life-threatening injuries. She would rather die than allow the person who abused her physically and mentally to touch her again.Victoria Dallon: "If something happens, I don't want Amy to heal me. Promise. [...] Promise me that you will make sure they know I don't give consent to her touching me, regardless of the circumstances. As in I would prefer to die, Dean. Tell them why if you have to."
- Fix Fic: Subverted in per Word of God. Although she certainly wants to avert future tragedies, Victoria wasn't one of the key players in Worm, which means her capability to influence events and her knowledge thereof is limited.
- Flying Brick: As befitting a Supergirl Expy, Antares is super-strong, nigh invulnerable and can fly.
- Good Morning, Crono: The story begins with Victoria waking up on her bed in her old room, four years in the past.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Vicky is certain that Amy let her boyfriend Dean die in the original timeline because Amy wanted her hated rival out of the way."I can't read minds," he said. "But... yeah. There's a lot going on there. I kind of talked to her about it on Thursday, but she pushed me away. I'm not her favorite person, but she needs help."
She let you die, I thought. There was time. She could have saved you.
"She hates you," I said bluntly.
"I can't read minds," he said again. "So I can't talk about what she's thinking, or how she's going to act. All I can see is what she's feeling, and we don't have a lot of control over that."
Every word he spoke really only confirmed the worst of my suspicions. It wasn't that Tattletale or the stress or the Nine that put things into her head; the desire and will to change, control, and take me had always been there, and everything else had merely exposed it.
"There's the ugly stuffthe jealousy, the hatred, the, the" He broke off, looking uncomfortable.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In the beginning, confronts Cauldron about making experiments with kidnapped people which usually lead to horrible bodily disfiguration. Doctor Mother calmly replies they are trying to create superhumans capable of taking on Scion but they can't control the results of the experiments, which is unfortunate but won't stop them from trying to save humanity."You called her Garrotte," I said. "After you took her name. She's in the asylum now, struggling to come to terms with all the people her body chose to kill. She came here because she wanted answers. She wanted to know who had done that to her and why and"
I looked around at the four, saw only degrees of indifference. Sveta had called Cauldron sociopathic, so I wasnt surprised the Number Man and his coworkers looked bored.
It was Alexandria who got to me. I'd heard her be called a traitor, but seeing a hero of her status just not react to a reminder of the crimes that were occurring here, probably beneath her feet while she was sitting back in a leather chair, was something else entirely. "And you dont care," I finished.
The Doctor spoke. "If we could control the results of the formula, we would. We cannot, and I won't insult your intelligence by feigning remorse for trying to do something about our imminent extinction in spite of that lack of control."
That much was true; I had seen broken and uncontrolled triggers since Scion's death, and I knew things did not always work out. That did not erase the issues of kidnapping, identity erasure, brainwashing, and consent.
- Jumping on a Grenade: Subverted when Antares spots a man leaving a backpack bomb in a restaurant. Her first instinct is flying off with the bomb and letting her force-field tank the explosion, but she's worried about the blast affecting everything else, so she resorts to evacuate the place in a rapid, orderly fashion.
- Just Before the End: Victoria Dallon is transported from two years After the End to two years before the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, she has no better plan than transmitting her incomplete knowledge to the secret organization trying to avert the end of the world, working on her GED before her hometown gets destroyed and doing whatever she can before all hell breaks loose.
- Lack of Empathy: Decades of making harsh choices for the greater good have rendered Doctor Mother almost unable to feel pity or remorse. In her defense, her answer to being told she'll be killed by one of her victims is that she obviously had it coming.Victoria Dallon: You called her Garrotte. After you took her name. She's in the asylum now, struggling to come to terms with all the people her body chose to kill. She came here because she wanted answers. She wanted to know who had done that to her and why and... And you don't care.
Doctor Mother: If we could control the results of the formula, we would. We cannot, and I won't insult your intelligence by feigning remorse for trying to do something about our imminent extinction in spite of that lack of control.
- The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Subverted. Back when she was a teenager, Antares usually charged headfirst in any situation, trusting her force field to deflect any physical strike. Her adult self is reluctant to take unnecessary risks, so she fights more carefully and cleverly.
- Little "No": Victoria Dallon is approached by a member of Cauldron wanting to bargain for information. Nonetheless, Vicky reminds herself Cauldron is responsible for her friend Sveta becoming a tentacle monster, so her initial answer is a quiet but firm "No."
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Invoked. When Victoria wakes up and finds she has somehow returned to the past before her boyfriend's death and the end of the world, Vicky quickly wonders if she is trapped in a psychic illusion.None of this could be trusted. Nevertheless, I got out of bed and started to pace around the room, taking stock of what I'd supposedly been gifted. The Wretch gone, Dean alive, my home intact, an apparent chance for a do-over; it was as though someone had decided to give me everything I had most wanted during those long months of confinement.
Except nothing was really that easy. I had spent four and a half years struggling to rebuild myself, to come to a kind of peace with my past, and to forge my way ahead. Every step of that progress had been earned, fought for and won by dint of labor and pain.
My best guess was that I was under a master effect that absorbed the subject in a world of their own making. I didn't know how I could break it, since it seemed to be using my knowledge against me.
- Murder by Inaction: Victoria is convinced that in the original timeline Amy let her boyfriend die out of jealousy because she stalled at healing Dean until it was too late to save his life."I can't read minds," he said. "But... yeah. There's a lot going on there. I kind of talked to her about it on Thursday, but she pushed me away. I'm not her favorite person, but she needs help."
She let you die, I thought. There was time. She could have saved you.
- Oh, Crap!: Vicky's reaction when she realizes her force-field is becoming Wretched again.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Victoria leaves her home as soon as she wakes up in the past in order to avoid her sister, since Victoria knows she can't prevent Amy from noticing her heretofore devoted and loving sister suddenly can't stand her.I didn't flush and I used hand sanitizer instead of the sink, again to avoid waking Amy. I needed to put off talking to her as long as I could. She'd notice the sudden change in my attitude towards her, and I doubted I could lie or otherwise pretend that the last four years of my life simply hadn't happened.
- Peggy Sue: Victoria returns to the beginning of the history.
- Shooting Superman: At one point, Oni Lee shoots Victoria Dallon knowing fully well she's protected by a bulletproof personal force-field. Vicky catches the crumpled bullet and just stares at him. Then Oni Lee shoots her again.He shot me. The bullet slammed into the bridge of my nose. Crumpled, it slid down my face and into my palm. I made a show of looking at it and then slowly lifted my head and looked him in the eye, raising a theatric eyebrow as my forcefield came back online.
He shot me again and turned to ash.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: Bakuda goes in a bomb spree at the start of the story.
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble: When Vicky meets the Number Man in the past, the next exchange occurs:Antares: I talked to you and your wife yesterday.
Number Man: I'm a bachelor.
Antares: Not in four years, you aren't.
- Triang Relations: Vicky and Dean are ridiculously devoted to each other. Amy is in love with Vicky, but her feelings are unrequited. Moreover, Vicky is scared of Amy's obsessiveness and jealousy.
- Uriah Gambit: Vicky is convinced that Amy let her boyfriend Dean die in battle in order to have Victory for her alone.She let you die, I thought. There was time. She could have saved you.