So I have this plot bunny that’s stuck with me for… wow, almost three years now. Really, really, really stuck with me, as in it started out as a SGA plot bunny, morphed into an original plot bunny when I stopped writing SGA, and then tried on Smallville, DCU and now the Batfamily for size. It’s the plot bunny that will not die.
*Grin* That should be in Caps, I think. The Plot Bunny That Will Not DIE!!!! *cue appropriately dramatic music*
Anyway, it started out when I read a fanfic based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material’s series. Randomly just read it because the summary sounded interesting even though I’ve never read the books or, honestly, read in that particular fandom. I don’t even remember what the story was anymore.
Now in the story (and in His Dark Materials) everyone has a daemon, an animal that’s part of them, part of their soul somehow. Which was cool and I liked the idea but not enough to seek the story out again or to read the source material. Neat idea but… eh.
And I’ve always loved werewolves and other shape changers. Getting to change shapes would be absolutely awesome. I’d adore the chance to do it.
So my mind started picking at the core concept and fitting it into SGA, which was my newest read and write in fandom of the time. It made sense that the Ancients could have created a machine that allowed people to change into an animal shape so that they could fight the Wraith. Easy! And the machine made it so that the ability was passed on to their kids and lo, the entire population of Earth thus had the ability to change into animals.
Cats and dogs and birds and fish and reptiles of all sorts. Probably not bugs. Insufficient complexity to sustain human intelligence if you turned into a bug. Also, there would likely be problems with conservation of mass if you changed into a bug. But all sorts of critters.
And me being me, I started thinking about how that would affect society, clothing (changing shapes while dressed in restrictive clothing would be very difficult), housing, roads, education, etc. It’d affect everything. I’m a world builder. This stuff is fun for me.
Thinking about all of that made me move away from writing it as a SGA fic, and besides, by the time I’d fleshed things out I was leaning more towards an original story anyway. Put all that work into the world building I might as well treat the idea seriously.
But I never had a plot for all that world building so nothing ever got written. But I had fun thinking about how it would apply to Smallville, my other major fandom, and then since I’ve gotten into the Bat boys I’ve been thinking about how it would apply to them.
See, there are rules about how the changing applies to people. *eager grin*
You don’t start changing in childhood. Nope, it happens right about puberty, say 13 to 17 years old or so. When you’re a kid you don’t change at all. As you grow older you spend a lot of time comparing notes with your friends, doing exercises at work on what this or that sort of body would be like. Learning about how water shifters differ from flying shifters differ from predators differ from herbivores. Everyone’s got theories like ‘all scientists are herbivores’ or ‘all military are predators’ except that there are always exceptions that disprove the rule.
And types run in families. So if your grandparents were birds then it’s likely that your parents were birds and you’ll likely be a bird too. People tend to marry true to type, though not always. And statistically having a bird parent only gives you a 65% chance of being a bird. There’s still a 35% chance that you’ll end up being a cat instead. Or an elephant. Or maybe a dolphin. XD
Everyone just KNOWS that your other form says things about your personality, though there’s no scientific data supporting that. So predator types are always assumed to be more aggressive and dominant while prey types are always assumed to be more hesitant and skittish. Foxes and wolves don’t get alone so no one would introduce a fox female to a wolf male and expect them to get married.
And me being me, the original story idea I had was based around a family that has seal grandparents and cousins on the mother’s side while she’s a fox and eagle/hawk grandparents and relatives on the father’s side while he’s a wolf. And then they went and had two kids that turned into a housecat (the older boy) and a Siberian tiger (the younger girl). *laughs*
There are places where predators can go and learn to hunt in their animal shapes, kind of like game reserves. Plus places for herbivores to run around in herds in safety. Buildings are designed to let people fly in if they want. No one thinks anything of it if you leave a set of clothes at work. After all you might need to shift during the day or something.
Some people view shifting as a gift from God. Others see it as the work of the Devil. The vast majority of people don’t even think about it once they have their other shape. It just IS, you know? Theories abound on where it came from and why people do it but it’s all metaphysical mumbo-jumbo that don’t really matter. You’ll occasionally run into fanatics who believe that it’s Right/Good/Proper for you to always/never change shapes. Some cults require their followers to renounce their other form. Others require them to live in that form for days and days on end as a form of brainwashing.
As I said, I’ve been thinking about this idea for a LOOOOONG time. Got lots of details in my head. #^^#
But anyway, I was thinking about how this would apply to the Bat family.
I’ve already decided that aliens would not change. So Clark, Kon, Kori , J’onn and M’gann wouldn’t change into an animal form (though J’onn and M’gann could fake it if they wanted to). And Gar would be odd only in that he’s green and able to change into many forms instead of one. This is how I see everyone shaking down (and opinions are more than welcome):
Bruce: his parents were greyhounds, sleek, elegant greyhounds. Bruce assumed that he’d be a greyhound too but when his shifting hit (late due to his emotional trauma) he was a Great Dane. He was fine with that because a) big, b) fierce, c) strong, and d) intimidating.
Dick: His parents were lemurs but Dick, when he first changed (at a very young age, like 11 or 12) was a robin. His parents thought that was amusing given how much Dick liked flying. Now he could fly all the time. After his parents died he had a hard time changing (again, emotional trauma) but he eventually regained the ability when he was 17 or so.
Jason: Never had any clue what his parents’ shapes were but he learned shortly after becoming Robin that he was avian. Jason’s a big scrapy raven who’ll peck your eyes out if you look at him wrong. After the Lazarus Pit he’s an albino raven when he changes, which he doesn’t do very often because he finds having white feathers embarrassing.
Steph: Her dad was a big tom cat. Her mom was a much smaller house cat. Steph the first time she changed was surprised to find that she was a hell-raising bobcat. She liiiiiiiikes her other form. *grin*
Cass: Is a black panther. Her father was a jaguar. Shiva’s another black panther. Cass also loves her other form and spends significant amounts of time in it. At least then no one expects her to talk. ;)
Talia: is a Saluki. She rarely changes shapes, finding it uncomfortable to be in her other shape. She feels like it reduces her intelligence and focus (but it’s mostly that she’s not happy with that form).
Ra’s: I think Ra’s has to be some sort of lizard, maybe a king cobra. Not sure about him but he’s so very reptilian that it makes sense.
Damian: I can’t see Damian as anything other than a cat of some sort. Granted, he’s too young in canon to change but I figure that when he gets older then he’ll be an Egyptian Mau. Much to Bruce’s dismay since his whole family is canine, including Talia.
You’ll notice that Tim’s not on this list. There’s a reason for that.
You see, there’s this thing where one in maybe two or three million people doesn’t change. It’s very rare and highly studied but some people just. Don’t change.
I’m kind of thinking that either Janet or Tim doesn’t change.
If it was Janet then Tim was so socialized as a child that shifting was wrong/weird/bad that he just doesn’t change shapes.
But if it’s Tim who doesn’t change then… that would be very interesting.
Not that I have a plot for a story. I only have a world. *sighs*
Seriously, this plot bunny needs to either evolve a plot or go away. Not that it’ll go away. Several years with it bouncing around in the back of my head has already proven that. And not that I really want it to develop a workable plot. I already have twelve WIP that I should be writing, along with my novel, along with three original fics that I’m writing. *dies a little*
Still, it is a really interesting idea….
(Anyone that wants to play with the concept is totally free to do so—seriously! Go write this thing so I don’t have to! @___@)