Headcanons

Nov. 13th, 2012 04:34 pm
butterflyboy: (butterflies)
[personal profile] butterflyboy
Fifty blurbs about Victor and his world. Some of this can be seen in previous informational posts, but the majority of this is new.


#1: Victor is actually not Nell and William’s first child. He had an older sister, Anna, born four years before him. However, Anna died the day she was born because of complications during the birth (specifically, her umbilical cord ended up wrapped around her neck). The Van Dorts don’t like to talk about her, so Victor has no idea Anna existed. (At least, until Nell slips up one day…)

#2: Victor had six governesses growing up. Almost all of them quit or were fired because they simply couldn’t get along with Nell. The three most important are Miss Horrocks (who was the first and lasted the longest – Victor accidentally got her fired when she was blamed for breaking something he broke), Miss Nelson (Victor’s personal favorite, but who quit after three months), and Miss Austen (second-longest runner at a year and a half). The other three are Miss Johnson, Miss Brann, and Miss Steenburgen.

#3: Victor’s a lifelong insomniac — he’s always had trouble falling asleep. There’s a number of reasons for this, but one of the biggies is that he constantly feels like he’s too cold. He sleeps best when he’s huddled under the blankets spooning up against someone.

#4: Nell wanted Victor to speak a foreign language (believing it to be “high-class” to be bilingual) and so got him a tutor for French. Victor was diligent in his studies and thus has a good knowledge of spoken and written French. He may not be perfectly fluent, but he can carry on a decent conversation.

#5: Victor’s an entomology nerd – he loves all insects and is constantly drawing them and learning about them. Butterflies just happen to be his favorite. If he had his choice, he would love to somehow make a living as an entomologist. Thanks to living in Secundus, he also wants to try making butterfly-themed wonders (like a fully-functional clockwork butterfly) like his closest friends – a task that becomes much easier once he himself goes Creative.

#6: Mayhew once convinced Victor to try smoking his pipe. Victor reluctantly gave it a go and practically choked to death on the smoke. He’s sworn off all smoking ever since. (It doesn’t help that he’s grown up listening to Mayhew’s terrible coughing.)

#7: Victor doesn’t drink anything more than the occasional glass of champagne or wine. The reason? Mayhew once got him drunk, and it turns out Victor’s a CHATTY drunk. As in, he’ll tell you his life story at the slightest provocation. Victor was so embarrassed when he sobered up that he nearly swore off all alcohol forever. It’s probably very unlikely he’ll ever knowingly get wasted again.

#8: Victor has a bit of a thing for long hair on girls. A “Rapunzel fetish,” if you will. He likes stroking it and brushing it if he’s given the chance. He also appreciates having his own hair stroked — it’s great for calming him down.

#9: Scraps joined the Van Dort family when Victor was four and a half. William found the puppy on the street near the cannery, took him home, and asked Victor if they should keep them. Victor was hesitant at first – mostly because his experience with dogs mainly consisted of being barked at by larger breeds – but then Scraps licked his nose, prompting a giggle and a yes. Nell was not happy, but William persuaded her it would be good for Victor to have a pet. Scraps quickly became Victor’s best friend. Scraps died a few months before Victor turned 16, defending Victor from a larger, nastier dog and getting fatally mauled in the process. Victor was devastated, as you might guess.

#10: Victor’s full name is Victor Fitzwilliam Van Dort. William picked his first name, and his middle was Nell’s idea of a compromise between “William” and “Fitzgerald” (she wanted to give him “Fitzgerald” as a middle, but the Van Dort family has a tradition of giving sons their father’s name as a middle).

#11: Victor’s favorite toys as a child were a plush dog and cat. His mother made him give up the cat when he was nine, wanting him to give up some of his more childish things, but Victor begged to keep the dog and managed to hold onto that until he was fourteen. Although he knows he’s too old for such toys now, he still misses them.

#12: Victor’s been drawing since he was a little kid. His favorite subjects are butterflies and other insects, though he also sometimes does landscapes and people. He’s rather fussy about his materials – he’ll only use a quill pen and ink for his sketches. He's tried other pens, and insists the quill gives him the best result. He also paints when he’s in the mood, typically with oils.

#13: Victor’s birthday is June 9th, 1860, 9:20 A.M. He was a very quiet baby – shy and slow to warm up to strangers. (NOTE: Butterfly Boy is actually five years younger than all my other Victors. "Secundus," for RP purposes, is set in 1880, midway between 1875 (when I usually have Corpse Bride set) and 1885 (the year of Back To The Future Part III. I just couldn't choose between them.)

#14: Victor’s first experience with Touched came from seeing a man demonstrating Tesla coil music on a visit to London. Nell tried to convince her son that the man was evil, but Victor couldn’t help but wonder if someone capable of creating such a wonder as music from electricity could be all bad. In fact, now that he lives among mad scientists, he’s developed a taste for Tesla coil music.

#15: Victor’s family moved into the mansion on the town square when Victor was seven – before that, they lived in a rather more modest house closer to the outskirts of town. Victor actually got lost in the place shortly after they took up residence there, and never truly felt comfortable with its massive size.

#16: Despite his moments of clumsiness, Victor has been lucky enough to avoid injuries that leave scars for the most part. He does have a collection of little scars on his left leg – a result of a childhood incident where he fell into a rosebush and got badly scratched.

#17: Victor’s Favorites –

  • Favorite Color: Blue, green as second-favorite
  • Favorite Song: He’s not sure – he likes a lot of music, primarily classical. Probably a composition by one of the greats, like Beethoven or Mozart.
  • Favorite Flower: Daffodils and bluebells
  • Favorite Food: Chocolate anything (cookies, pastry, candy bars), apples
  • Favorite Vice: Sloth (in the sense that he’d happily spend a day chasing butterflies instead of attending to more important stuff)
  • Favorite Outfit: Clothes don’t mean a whole heck of a lot to Victor, but he’s fond of the first suit he got in Secundus: black jacket and pants, lemon yellow vest, emerald green tie, black fingerless gloves, black goggles with green lenses
  • Favorite Time of Year: Spring – he loves watching the world come back to life after a long winter
  • Favorite Holiday: May Day, of course! Burtonsville may not have indulged in the most spectacular of celebrations, but making May baskets (baskets filled with flowers, left on people’s doorsteps) and having a sort of community picnic were activities almost everyone enjoyed. There was even a Maypole for the younger people. Victor really enjoyed it as a day his usually stodgy little town seemed to come alive. Runner-up is Christmas – even with Nell dragging in people to entertain, he feels this is the time of year he and his parents felt most like a family


#18: Victor started out as the shortest child in his town, but once puberty hit, he grew to be one of the tallest – he’s six feet, three inches. That doesn’t stand out too much in Burtonsville, where a lot of people are either abnormally tall or short, but he sometimes receives a few stares when traveling.

#19: Victor’s greatest fear is the dark. As a child, he was always uneasy at night, largely because he felt monsters lurked in the shadows of his room. As an adult, he’s mostly conquered this fear – except when it comes to total darkness. As long as he has some sort of light source, he’s okay, but if he can’t see anything? He feels like he's either about to or has already been swallowed up by the scariest monster his mind can imagine. It doesn’t help that his worst nightmare is basically him trapped in total darkness, being told by an invisible choir that he's been abandoned because he's worthless. If he ever went blind, there's a good chance he'd go insane, either temporarily or permanently. (Very close runner-up? Finger injuries. Means a lot to a pianist.)

#20: As a child, Victor did have one semi-regular playmate for a while – Barney Waterman, the son of one of the cannery workers. He’d occasionally come over to play with Victor, and they always had a good time together. However, after Victor and his family moved into their mansion when he was seven, Barney stopped coming over. Victor has no idea whether it was his family or Barney’s who stopped the visits, but suspects somebody thought the Van Dorts were “too good” for socializing with the workers. When Victor was ten, Barney’s father quit his job at the cannery and took a new position at a different factory. The Watermans moved away, and Victor hasn’t seen Barney since.

#21: While Victor enjoys good literature as much as the next person, he also has a secret love for penny dreadfuls. Yes, he knows the serial stories are really nothing but lowest common denominator trash, but he loves them anyway. He got hooked on them as a teenager thanks to Mayhew’s nephew, and keeps a secret stash under his mattress. For a while, buying them for the other boys in the village even kept him from being bullied. (That ended when he forgot to get them one week and got beat up, which caused him to decide the bullies could get their own from then on.)

#22: Victor was rather badly bullied when growing up, mostly by boys who considered him too girly or who resented him for having a rich family. The worst bully, and the one who kept at it the longest, was a boy named Gordon Tannen, whose father worked for William in the cannery and absolutely hated his job and his boss (he only kept working there because he had a family to feed – also probably because he liked to complain). Oddly enough, Victor now feels a bit of gratitude toward Gordon for his bullying – Gordon was the leader of the little “gang” that was chasing him the day he ran into Doc’s flying train. (And yes, Gordon is indeed related to Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen – he’s a distant nephew.)

#23: When he was nine years old, Victor got sick with a terrible fever that left him bedridden for four days. During the worst of it, Victor became convinced he was dying and tried to get his parents to promise to Reanimate him. Fortunately, the fever broke that same night, and Victor made a full recovery.

#24: When Victor was sixteen, William started having him help with the ledgers for the fish shop, in order to prepare him for the business world. One day, Victor noticed that the money recorded for sales in the shop didn't always match up with what was actually in the till. Further investigation suggested that one of the employees was overcharging for certain products and pocketing the extra money. Victor brought this to the attention of his father, who promptly fired the thief. It was the first time Victor saw William truly angry at anyone, and he was a bit frightened by it.

#25: Nell’s line about how Victor “doesn’t even know any women!” was something of an exaggeration – Victor’s met girls before, he’s just never gotten past the “acquaintance” phase. The closest he came to even being just friends with a girl was with the daughter of a business associate of his father’s, Barbara Porter. William asked him to entertain her when she and her father visited one day, so Victor (a bit reluctantly) took her out on a walk about the village. Unfortunately, during said walk, he tripped on something and ended up falling on top of her. William had to bribe the town crier not to go spreading the news and making it look like Victor was some sort of rake. On top of that, Barbara didn’t believe that Victor had actually tripped – she accused him of wanting to “indecently assault” her and never spoke to him again.

#26: While playing with Scraps one day in a field when he was six, Victor twisted his ankle stepping on a rock and couldn’t walk. He sent Scraps to find his governess or his parents. The poor boy ended up waiting a hour for rescue because Nell and Miss Horrocks were arguing too loudly to pay attention to his dog. Everyone was appropriately horrified once he was found, at least, and rushed to get Victor medical attention (fortunately, the injury was a sprain, not a break).

#27: Victor can be clumsy, yes, but it’s generally a clumsiness born of distraction. A lot of times, he walks into things or trips over his own feet because he’s internally focused on something else – e.g., a piece of music he’s composing or a drawing he wants to do. On the flip side, when he concentrates too hard on trying to move correctly, he can be pretty awkward, as any girl who’s danced with him knows. He can move gracefully so long as he doesn’t overthink it.

#28: William and Nell met one day at the marketplace when Nell marched up to William and told him he’d do as a husband. Nell, as it turned out, was determined to marry into the upper classes so she could have the pampered life she'd always thought she deserved. After realizing no nobles were coming to sweep her off her feet, she did a little research and determined that William – working his way toward upper-middle-class and decently wealthy – was the only acceptable choice in the town. William, who had a similar ambition of being well-off and well-respected, decided that this was as good a basis for a relationship as any and started courting her.

#29: Pretty much the worst day of Victor’s life happened about three weeks after Scraps died, while he was still fifteen. Victor’s parents had some business friends over for tea, and forced a still-grieving Victor to come down and be social. Poor Victor made a bad impression, being quieter and clumsier than normal, culminating in knocking over one man, tripping his wife, and insulting said wife’s coat in apologizing. An enraged Nell turned on Victor once the guests were off, screaming at him about what an embarrassment he was while they were still standing on the front steps. Victor was so horrified, embarrassed, and depressed – that he came damn close to committing suicide. As in, he got his hands on his father’s straight-razor, snuck into the bathroom, and actually had it to his neck when a noise spooked him, making him drop it and run back to his room. Fortunately, the distraction gave him time to realize suicide wouldn't fix anything, and he made a promise to himself never to get that low again. His parents also apologized the next day, which helped a lot. Victor avoids telling anyone about it unless he feels he has to, certain they'll think less of him for it.

#30: Victor has EXCEPTIONAL climbing skills. He can find a way to scurry up almost any surface. Two factors contribute to this: One, he has quite sensitive fingertips, and thus can make use of little cracks and depressions other people might not be able to find. Two, he discovered that being able to escape up a tree or wall was a good way to shake his bullies at a young age – while his tormentors could still yell or throw things at him, they often considered it easier to go find new prey.

#31: One of Victor’s dreams is somehow gaining the ability to fly. It’s part of the reason he likes butterflies so much – he likes watching them flit around from flower to flower, as free as anything he’s ever seen. He’s always hoped that one day, he’ll get a chance to fly just like them – to be able to go where he likes without worry. (Flying in the train works as a nice substitute for a while, but Victor really achieves his dream when he creates his riding butterfly Ferdinand.)

#32: Victor once tried growing a mustache like his father. After a few weeks of the experiment, he decided that while his father could pull off facial hair, he sure as hell couldn’t. He’s been clean-shaven ever since. (And yes, he is capable of shaving himself without injury, though it took a few tries.)

#33: Some of Victor’s most embarrassing memories come from the dances and balls his mother forced him to attend so the Van Dorts could be seen mingling. The three worst:

  • Stepping on the dress of a young lady he was dancing with and tearing it. The lady answered his apologies with a slap, and Victor spent the rest of the dance hiding in a corner, nursing the bruise.
  • Attempting to look and sound more “manly” (trying to make his shoulders look more broad, deepening his voice) while he asked another young lady to dance. The girl’s hysterical laughter sent him scurrying away in shame.
  • Relatedly, trying to make conversation with the son of a baron, only to be regarded as somehow lesser for not being a fan of hunting. And then getting a lecture from Nell for not impressing the “elite.”


#34: Despite his skinny frame (he only weighs about 125 or so pounds), Victor can put away a lot of food if you give him the chance. He’s got a very fast metabolism thanks to his Van Dort side, and all that fidgeting he does burns calories. As mentioned previously, he loves chocolate anything and apples. He also has a taste for red meat, and loves Lewis Carroll’s squimberries. His least-favorite food? Fish. Blame growing up with the stuff around him pretty much constantly. (He still likes some other kinds of seafood, though.) Relatedly, though he’s never really tried to cook beyond making sandwiches for himself (and a childhood incident where he burned himself attempting to make soup), he’d be a decent cook if he tried it. The trick for him would be to avoid injury during the prepping.

#35: For some reason, Victor has a spot on his back, between his shoulders, that, when touched, really turns him on. He has no idea why – it’s just always been that way. He’s had to learn to be very careful when it comes to scratching his back.

#36: The Van Dorts purchased a piano for their house when Victor was six. Victor, who was already fascinated by piano music, immediately became entranced by the instrument. He taught himself a few simple tunes, then petitioned his mother for a tutor. Nell thought that having a son who knew piano would be “cultured” and readily agreed (which is pretty much the ONLY time she’s ever agreed with Victor on anything). Victor’s first piano tutor was a man named Mr. Carter, a stern but fair man who took a shine to the boy and often spent extra hours with him for free, teaching him everything he could. Unfortunately, he resigned after a spat with Nell. Victor had two other tutors after him, and then was pronounced skilled enough to learn from practice on his own.

#37: Victor owns a silver pocketwatch with a design of a fish on the front and his initials – a gift from his father when he turned 17. There’s a small pen-knife attached to it that Victor uses for his quills.

#38: Victor barely has any extended family. Nell refuses to associate with her “lower class” relatives beyond Christmas letters, so he’s completely unfamiliar with the Butler side of his family tree (which includes a grandmother, aunt and three cousins still-living). As for the Van Dort side, his uncle Peter (William’s older brother) died in a carriage accident before he was born, and his grandfather, Gregory Van Dort, died when he was five. His grandmother Meredith followed when he was twelve – Victor has fond memories of her telling him stories about past generations of Van Dorts.

#39: Victor’s solution to a lack of playmates when he was younger? Play with his reflection in the mirror. As he puts it, “It may have been hard to play a game with him, but at least he never talked back.”

#40: Victor’s vice, as stated before, is Sloth – he’s not always the best at facing his problems head-on, and he’d be perfectly content wiling away his days with his piano and sketchbook rather than doing more important things. His virtue, however, is Charity – he always wants to help other people, to the point of laying down his life for the ones he loves. If he can make someone’s life better through his help, he’s at least going to offer.

#41: Victor takes after the Van Dort side of the family very strongly – Nell has openly wondered if any of her got into him at all. In particular, his height comes from the Van Dorts – six-foot-three is downright average for them. William, who’s only about six feet, is considered short; Victor’s great-grandfather Horace was a giant at seven feet.

#42: Whenever Victor’s feeling upset or trapped, he tends to want to go and find the most open space he can. He’s not claustrophobic (no more than any other person so long as there’s light) – he simply prefers being out somewhere with lots of space and few other people. It gives him the room to breathe and privacy to think he needs.

#43: One night, Victor stayed up late reading a copy of the first chapter of “Varney the Vampire” by candlelight. The chapter in question contained a scene of Varney mesmerizing, and then biting, a young woman. The scene stuck in Victor’s head after he fell asleep, and he ended up dreaming of a genderswapped version – with himself as the innocent victim, and a surprisingly-beautiful young lady vampire out after his blood. And rather than her bite being painful to Victor – well –
He woke up afterwards rather sweaty, and discovered that he’d somehow gotten his pajama bottoms all wet and sticky.
And that is how Victor found out about wet dreams. Something of an embarrassing night.

#44: Although he and his parents either walked or took the carriage when they wanted to get around town, Victor does know how to ride a horse. He’s not great at it, but he can get around on one. His first lesson was not promising, though – upon first mounting, he got nervous and squeezed the horse with his knees in an attempt to make sure he was firmly on. . .and ended up having to hang on for dear life when the horse naturally started galloping at full speed.

#45: One of the things Victor was teased about most as a boy was liking “girly” things. The local boys mocked him for liking the color blue (which in those days was seen as a more feminine color), playing “tea party” with his toys, and chasing after butterflies. Nell also tended to give him a hard time whenever she found him indulging in “girlish” activities – probably because they were a painful reminder of the daughter she’d never have. (For what it’s worth, by the by, despite his “feminine” interests, Victor very strongly identifies as male.)

#46: Victor’s somewhat stronger than he looks. Thanks to years of climbing up all sorts of surfaces, he’s developed pretty decent arm and back strength. He’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger and never will be, but he can carry a bigger load longer than anyone would suspect. He’s also a decent swimmer, and can run at a pretty good clip.

#47: Although Victor doesn’t have much experience with daily life outside of his village, he has gone other places in his 19 years. Besides visits to the houses of important upper- and upper-middle-class people for parties and balls, he’s been to London a few times (obviously the nicer West End as opposed to the East) when William visited business friends, and twice to Brighton for family seaside trips. His sudden move to Secundus was just the first time he’d been anywhere without being a guest or a tourist.

#48: Victor’s schooling consisted of attending the parish day school, supplemented by various tutors in other subjects (such as the piano and French tutors previously mentioned). Nell considered sending him off to boarding school, but William rightfully feared that their sensitive young lad would be chewed up and spit out by the older boys. Victor did actually want to go to university at one point, but William said there was no point – he was sure to take over the cannery, so he could get all the education he needed under his father.

#49: Bonejangles lives in Dr. Finklestein’s castle with Emily, Jack, and Sally, being one of the good doctor’s best success stories – the first man to be resurrected from skeleton and brain tissue only. He’s held together by near-microscopic wires, which transmit the electrical pulses normal muscles would use to move. (Emily’s got a similar system for her skeletal arm and leg, but the plug-in points tend to be a bit loose, hence why they can fall off. On the plus side, Finklestein’s rigged up a system that allows her to still control the errant limbs – Richard later refines this system even more for his own body parts.) He runs the Secundus version of the Ball & Socket, which here is a primarily-Reanimateds’ pub (although live people are allowed in so long as they’re decent to the regulars).

#50: Things Victor would like to do before he dies:

  • Find a place to live that’s all his own (or his own and Alice’s)
  • Visit another country – the top two places he’d like to see are France and the U.S.A.
  • Get a drawing of his published in an entomological journal
  • Eventually have a family of his own
  • Discover/Create a new species of butterfly (his personal longshot/in an ideal world goal)
  • Build a working, metamorphosing clockwork butterfly

November 2012

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