Full disclaimer: I haven’t played Life Is Strange.
The episodic title from Dontnod Entertainment has almost been out for seven months and four chapters of its story have been released to the public; still, I haven’t actually taken the time to sit down and play through it (mostly because I don’t really like the idea, or execution, of episodic games). Instead, I’ve taken to the internet to watch Let’s Players go through the various chapters… which is actually to say I’ve watched someone play through the most recent chapter, “Dark Room”. So, upon emerging from what could possibly be the most fucked up chapter in the whole series—a lot more fucked up than a lot of things I’ve seen in many, many other games—I decided that instead of watching the rest of the game to catch up, I’d turn to fanfic to soothe my broken heart. My logic is sound, trust me.
I have a lot of potential love for the series’s main ship—protagonist Max Caulfield and rebel with a cause Chloe Price—but even with series I don’t know, apparently, I like to see relationships from a different angle. And, well, if you give me an enemies/annoyances to friends (to lovers) dynamic—which is the only thing school bully and HBIC Victoria Chase could be—you’ve pretty much got my heart. This is exactly what drew me to Saving Victoria Chase (again and again and agai).
With my very limited knowledge of the series, I knew two things (roughly) going into this fic: 1) Max is kind of a huge nerd who gets along with everyone, but also sticks her nose into things she shouldn’t and 2) Victoria Chase is an extremely exasperating person, taking on that “queen bee” high school stereotype. This still remains in the fic—which seems to take place in some subspace outside of canon. Oh, actually I know one more thing that’s vital to this fic: Max Caulfield has time powers. She can go back in time, which is useful when you’re supposedly saving someone’s life over and over again. Though the title is a bit misleading: it’s more like “saving Victoria Chase from mild to severe inconveniences (again, etc.),” which is still very fun to read.
Max and Victoria don’t really get along, however, being the bleeding heart that she is, Max actively steps in to prevent bad things from happening to Victoria—from slipping on the floor to breaking her expensive camera. (It’s not only Victoria Max helps, but for the sake of the fic, that’s where the focus is.) Max does this by going back in time before the event happens and trying her best to prevent the bad result. While most students are willing to just settle for giving Max the nickname “Super Max”, Victoria is instantly suspicious both due to the fact that Max always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and that Max has no reason for doing these nice things for her. Even when Max admits that she wouldn’t mind being friends with her, Victoria still believes there’s an ulterior motive.
Victoria clearly wasn’t buying it. She looked doubtful, but Max laboured the point. “I helped you today. Not because I’m nosy – you’re right, the phone call is none of my business – but just because it’s a nice thing to do.”
“So you’re trying to suck up to me?” Victoria glowered.
“Why are you trying so hard to be my friend?”
“This is just normal interaction!”
“Is it? Is it, Max? So you’re just doing your duty? Oh, how wonderful, Blackwell Academy’s very own Everyday Hero! Now I get it, you’re trying to suck up to Mr. Jefferson and win everyone around for the photo competition-”
“Victoria,” Max said, holding out her hands in a gesture of helpless appeal. “Being friendly isn’t sucking up to someone, even if I don’t do it as much as I should. Being friendly, that is, not sucking up. I’m just trying to make friends, okay?”
Victoria was quiet for a very long time. She scrutinised Max with that unreadable, systematic expression which was starting to become very familiar – as if she was trying to analyse what Max’s motive’s were, what her dreams were, what she was thinking. Max could almost believe that Victoria had somehow mastered the art of Legilimency from private lessons with Professor Snape if the mental image of Victoria draping herself all over the greasy figure from the HP series wasn’t so utterly horrifying.
“Do you want to be my friend?”
Max froze. She wasn’t sure about her answer. If she said yes… then wasn’t she giving Victoria a weakness to exploit? Wouldn’t Victoria call that a sign of weakness, make a big deal out of it, bully her worse?
If she said no… she might offend Victoria, but that was unlikely, because Victoria clearly didn’t like her very much (right?). No would be the more sensible option. Max should say no.
“Yes,” she said, her time-travelling hand itching to rise up. Shh, down boy. Not yet.
Victoria went quiet again.
A little more time passed.
“Whatever,” she finally said, standing up and brushing her skirt off. “I guess I can afford to be civil to you, or something. I mean, I guess you did save me a lot today. So… thanks.”
Though I’ve only watched a minimal portion of the game, author cinnamonsnaps captured the voices so perfectly that I can literally hear them while I’m reading. Though I’m not sure how big of a deal the LGBTQ+ relationships are handled in the game, I look forward to this fic handling them in a, perhaps low-key dramatic, but ultimately healthy and fluffy-ish way. Additionally, I’m curious to see how cinnamonsnaps’s Max is going to deal with Warren—a boy who has a crush on Max (who is also her friend), but isn’t getting the hint that she’s not really interested. At three chapters and just under 11k words Saving Victoria Chase won’t take long to catch up on, and the author seems excited to continue the story, so no dead fics here! Even if you’re not up to date on Life Is Strange, if you like high school fics with a bit of a supernatural element to them, I highly recommend it. Additionally, if you’re worried about spoilers, so far there doesn’t seem to be any. I can’t promise anything for future chapters, of course. If this sounds like your cup of tea, make sure to check it out here!