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13 August 2008 @ 09:18 am
a revolution without dancing - animorphs - karen  
Title: a revolution without dancing
Fandom: Animorphs
Rating: PG
Word Count: 709
Summary: Karen does not go to college.

Karen does not go to college. She doesn’t think she could be around all those people, because even now, even after the war has been over for all these years, she still looks at everyone suspiciously for three days, or even longer. She doesn’t tell anyone, though. They have their own problems.

There are two things you can do with a Yeerk in your head. You can hide in a corner of your mind and shut yourself away and shrivel up or you can look through the horror and still pay attention because your mind is the last thing you’re in control of.

That’s what she tells them at the interview. They hire her on the spot. She’s supposed to give advice to people her own age who used to have Yeerks in their heads. It’s nearly absurd enough to be funny. If there’s the girl who watched her hands kill her own parents and the boy who was a Controller from the time he was four till the time he was nine and is still learning how to be human, then she’s the one who had to pretend to be a Yeerk until she could run away.

They are all damaged.

“How did you survive the war?” one of them asks her. They like talking about her; they don’t like mentioning their own problems.

Truthfully, it was almost a relief when all-out war finally happened. She had something to run from that everyone could see and understand. The years before had been full of loneliness, because running from an invisible enemy means you can never trust anyone. Suddenly, it seemed like everyone was a friend.

“Hope,” she says, and thinks about caterpillars.

She doesn’t tell the girl how she hid in the woods for two nights, crying, because she didn’t know where else to go. She survived the woods once before. She doesn’t tell the girl that she became a boy with brown hair for years because finding a girl with red hair would have been an easy task for the Yeerks. The girl doesn’t need to know all that, and she doesn’t want to talk about herself, either.

She watches the Animorphs movie with one of the boys instead of having their usual session, which is fine with her. She gets to sit in a movie theater and eat popcorn, and get paid for it. Things could be a lot worse.

Marco is portrayed as funny and smart, but with a darkness that (for some reason) only Rachel is able to lift. Karen thinks of the monkey who wanted to kill her and just isn’t sure. Jake is the fearless leader who makes the tough decisions with skill and accuracy. There’s nothing about doing the hopeful thing, even when it’s stupid. Cassie is the closest to the truth, but there’s a depth to her that the filmmakers don’t show. She was more than mercy. She was more than hating the fight. She was someone who made the choice to sacrifice her life for a little redheaded girl.

Karen can barely watch it.

And then there’s Rachel. Rachel, the glorious warrior, the hero. All Karen can see is an African elephant turning into a girl. Love was the only thing that had kept her alive that day, and she knows it.

“It would have been really cool to know the Animorphs,” the boy says.

She’s driving him home, so she has an excuse not to look at him.

“I bet they’re really awesome people.”

“Maybe,” she says. To her they’re just people, just like her, just trying to survive with the tools they had.

She doesn’t tell anyone that she knew the Animorphs. She’s sure that, to them, she’s an insignificant blip in their lives while to her they’re the ones who gave her back her life. And took it away again, too, but then saved the world and gave her a new one.

But they did that for a lot of people.

“What was your Yeerk’s name?” someone asks her.

She smiles. Her Yeerk, like she owns Aftran. Sometimes she wonders whatever happened to her. Sometimes she even (maybe) misses her, but how could a human ever find one specific Yeerk?

“Her name was Aftran,” she says.

Arvada: rachel/tobiasarvada on August 13th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh, I love this. Karen and Aftran are among my favorite parts of the entire series. You struck such a lovely balance here; Karen still deeply feels the effects of the war, but she's functioning and trying to move on.

“Hope,” she says, and thinks about caterpillars. Indeed. <33
nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on August 14th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)

Karen and Aftran are both awesome, but I'd always thought more about Aftran. Then, all of the sudden, I thought, But wait. What about Karen? Because we know how Aftran's story ends, but Karen's just out there...somewhere.
Dove: animorphsdropsofviolet on August 13th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's amazingly sad and deep. Made me shiver. Great story. (You should post it to animorphsfanfic too!)
nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on August 14th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And I think I posted it there right while you were commenting here, haha.
telly telly bo bellylusimeles on August 13th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
I loved this, too - at first I was like... "Karen? Who?" but as the story progressed I started to remember, and WOW, way to make a minor character's POV work for this story! I really like how Karen seems to be stuck in this moratorium-like state - like arvada says, she's moving on and NOT moving on at the same time, and that feels really real and wonderful to me.

Out of curiosity - what happened to Tobias in the movie? Did they forget about him since he just totally disappeared? Poor Tobias :( And LOL at the movie Marco/Rachel shipping. I think Rachel probably rolled over in her grave (well, her metaphorical grave, because she was cremated) about a few thousand times and thrashed about pretty wildly in response to that.
nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on August 14th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading!

There was a little bit about Tobias, but I ended up cutting it, since I didn't think Karen and Tobias had much important interaction. Here it is, though. :)

Tobias is rarely mentioned. He was barely mentioned after the war, anyway, and Karen never thought that the public understood him. Here is the proof.
dinos_cowboy on August 13th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! I always felt that Karen would come back into the story later on, and was somewhat disappointed when she didn't. I like having some idea of what happened to her. Thanks :)
fiiishy on August 13th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
whoa. I loved that. The part about the 9 year old who was a controller and didn't know how to be human? wow. I don't know why that never occurred to me that was possible
That's Classified: Crocodile by franken_steinerinlin on August 13th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
That was wonderful. I love the bit about the movie.
Mattmattiris on August 13th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful. I love it.
FreeSpiritbuffyangellvr23 on August 13th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
wow love it...I briefly confused her with Taylor but now that I have them straight, it's awesome :)
Ember: ilacktheiconembergryphon on August 13th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
This was beautiful. o_o I loved Aftran (she was totally one of my favorite parts of the series, despite bein' fairly minor) but I never really thought much about Karen... thank you for writing this, it's a perspective a lot of us haven't ever thought about, and it's nice to read about it! It's also nice to look in-depth at what the ex-Controllers' lives would be like...

The part where she talks about Rachel, and Rachel's love for her best friend keeping her from killing Karen, made me happy.
Awesome job. =3 *stops rambling*
Stretch: Animorphs - The A Teamstretch on August 13th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
I love when people take minor characters and flesh them out, this is wonderful! I always wondered what became of Karen because she was so young when she was infested. I really like this idea of how her life turned out.
seeyouupside on August 14th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC)

This was beautiful and short. And gah.
(You should write a Jordan!fic so my J!fic isn't so lonely. hint hint hint)
nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on August 14th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

And it was partially your Jordan!fic that inspired this one. Because I realized that minor characters are amazing and need more love. So maybe there will be Jordan!fic on the way from me. Except that yours was so good already! I'll need to figure out what else can be done with her.
seeyouupside on August 14th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Actually, don't use Jordan. She's mine. You can take Sara. But Jordan is myyyyyy fic. love. :)
nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on August 14th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
Fine. Take Jordan. Sara's cooler anyway. I just have to figure out how...
You, or your memorylilting_grace on August 14th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
Oh my god, I just downloaded ALL the Animorph books in pdf form. I only recently discovered that piracy extends to books, and am overjoyed with this new knowledge.

Now I can read them all in rapid succession without dealing with library pain! Jackpot!

And I'm one book away from being totally caught up on the Young Wizards series, which is amazing and I will be sorry that I am caught up.
nearer than the moon am i to youodette_river on August 14th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
AWESOME. Score for not having to find out of print children's books at libraries!

And also yay for YW! The latest book (Wizard of Mars) was supposed to come out this fall, but I think the publication date got pushed back again...curses! I guess I'll just have to keep re-reading them until it finally comes out...
You, or your memorylilting_grace on August 14th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
Wait, it hasn't come out yet?? Oh blast, I just saw the title on the list and thought it had. Oh MAN, that means I'm totally caught up! Now I too must wait.

I can't believe she's been writing them for 20 years though. Wow. I'm always floored by long series like that- imagine, you could have read the first book when you were ten and now be reading the latest ones to your children! Reminds me of the Stephen King series, The Dark Tower, which lasted 34 years. He actually had people writing to him and begging him to tell them the ending because they were old and dying and wouldn't live to see the end of it.

Granted, I remember reading the first YM book a decade ago, but I wasn't waiting around for more like with HP or His Dark Materials (the latter being four years of agony). Time is an alarming thing.
meimi: animorphs + world according to marconyonyo on August 14th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was lovely. And so bittersweet, to think how Aftran's story kept going with the Animorphs after Karen's didn't, and how Karen wouldn't know everything that came afterwards. Nicely done. :)
♪ medica ♫: the glorious prince [elfangor]senri on August 15th, 2008 07:59 am (UTC)
This is ffffffabulous! Totally adding to my del.icio.us. I love seeing Animorphs fic like this, as it's particularly interesting seeing the group from the eyes of someone who is an outsider and only got to see them in the smallest of glimpses. I love that perspective and your take on what Karen might have gone through after her life intersected with the Animorphs. Lots of little subtle things in here, hinting how the world changes after the war is revealed. Wonderful work. I hope you'll write lots more.
felinephoenix: trashcans!felinephoenix on August 20th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Oh, that was wonderful. I love fics that explore what life was like for people after the war and having to deal with the invasion. This story did that perfectly. I'm not sure what else to say since I think everyone else already said it... oh yeah! I loved all of the little details, the bits about the various hosts in recovery, all the things the movie got wrong.
ITL: [Psych] ShawnandGuslast01standing on January 26th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
This is fascinating and honest and real.
Margalo Streussal: ats - when you can't crawlstreussal on January 27th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC)
Just found this and wow.

I love that Karen actually did go into hiding - there's no way that the Yeerks would have let her be free.
Taorminamyitt on August 8th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
This is amazing, and a little sad. I always loved the Karen/Aftran dynamic, and I absolutely am ecstatic about post-war recovery stories, especially involving Controllers or former Controllers. Fantastic.
Ollywollypollygolly ump bump fizzemeralddarkness on February 3rd, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)
Man. Fantastic animorphs fic is hard to find, but I seem to keep on finding it today!

Karen is very much just left behind, and I'm so glad you went through and wrote this. I never considered, really, what happened to her before reading this, but this reads perfectly. She really is a far more interesting character than most people think, just because you see her so briefly that you don't stop to consider it.
Mistraliwith_rainfall on June 12th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
This is fascinating. I especially loved this:

She doesn’t tell anyone that she knew the Animorphs. She’s sure that, to them, she’s an insignificant blip in their lives while to her they’re the ones who gave her back her life. And took it away again, too, but then saved the world and gave her a new one.

And this:

“Maybe,” she says. To her they’re just people, just like her, just trying to survive with the tools they had.
This makes me wonder how much Aftran's views and thoughts have affected Karen's outlook on life - not only the child Karen, but the adult. I wonder if they helped her in any way, or harmed her.
I never really realised the potential of these two characters, but now I'm really intrigued about them.
Anyway, I'm rambling. XD