Syd & Taehyun
I love the idea of these two having a connection, no matter what universe. Obviously this story takes place in an entirely different reality from Folie à deux, but Syd and Taehyun are forever intertwined, and I think that's beautiful.
If you've read Folie à deux, obviously Reb is a much more positive influence on Taehyun here. I didn't plan on their relationship developing the way it does in this fic, but I'm glad it did.
Reb is arguably a Syd-lite in this fic, as he admits having had similar experiences and homicidal thoughts as Syd, and yet his life went in a different, healthier direction.
Of course, this fic is a dark AU of Folie à deux, so check that one out if you're into the characters or general vibe of this fic. It's equally batshit, I think, but in different ways.
Timeline: This fic technically exists in my paranormal mystery/spooky universe. It wasn't written with the intention of being included, but it fit my criteria, so in it went. None of the series' fics need to be read in any specific order, as they're all self-contained stories. This one is a bit of a timeskip for the series, taking place in 1999 while the others are set in the 1980s.
Locale: Readers of my series will notice this fic has a distinct lack of setting compared to the others. This was intentional, and I'll let you interpret why.
Theme: One of the subjects I wanted to explore in this fic is the question of "is there a point at which a person is beyond redemption?" The idea of "once you cross an arbitrary badness threshold, you're evil forever and nothing you do has value" only inspires hopelessness. In this fic, with Taehyun offering Syd a proverbial lifeline and the chance at salvation, Syd arguably does improve his behavior and mindset.
Also I wanted to challenge the idea that finding humanity or relatability in a person who committed atrocious acts is somehow "validating" those acts or "condoning" them. Taehyun is afraid to admit his attraction to Syd because society associates attractiveness with goodness, and Syd clearly was not a "good" person. "That's not an excuse" is a common phrase in this fic whenever someone brings up something that might explain or put Syd's behavior into context; when Taehyun or Reb say it, it's said with an eyeroll, as if it's some sort of legal CYA disclaimer or some inane bit of social conditioning, akin to asking "how are you?" even when you don't care or necessarily want an honest answer. When other characters say it, it's to diminish any point brought up broaden the discussion beyond "Syd = evil," like using a cross to ward off a vampire.
Many of the characters operate under the flawed assumption that "bad" thoughts are contagious. Characters like the girls at the party get extremely defensive when Taehyun poses questions meant to make them reconsider their black and white morality. They don't want to be "contaminated" by empathy; they want to write of Syd and those like him as inhuman monsters, and the idea of considering Syd as a very flawed human almost makes them feel complicit in his crimes. This, sadly, is a common mindset.
Music: Since Taehyun is the focal character, I wanted to give his music taste more of a spotlight in the fic playlist, because Folie à deux's playlist focused more on Syd.
The Nobodies: From Marilyn Manson's 2001 album Holy Wood, "The Nobodies" title is from a quote by John Lennon's murderer, Mark David Chapman, who once lamented that he "felt like a nobody." Aside from the obvious reason I titled the fic after this song, I thought the lyrics have a great thematic tone for the story: for Syd ("when we're dead/they'll know just who we are") and for Taehyun ("yesterday I was dirty/I want to be pretty/tomorrow I know I'm just dirt"). But the victims of a tragedy can also seem like "the nobodies", as their names tend to be forgotten in favor of their killer(s), or the event itself (Syd claims as much when he says, "No one gave a fuck about them until I killed them.").
Columbine Shooting: There are a lot of parallels to the Columbine High School shooting in this fic. I won't list them. If you know, you know.
I'm not apologizing for shit. You can fight me.