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Paths Less Traveled By is probably the one of the most heart-wrenching stories in TFA that includes Beachcomber. It was written as a response to Derrick J. Wyatt revealing that they were planning on killing off Beachcomber early on in Season 3 of TFA, but cut him out for time. As a result, the author decided to take four of the most plausible reasons for Beachcomber to die and wrote it. She also threw in a toddler Cosmos for seemingly no reason, other than to add a child figure into the works and make it even more heart-wrenching by making Beachcomber his father-figure.
Basically, Cosmos has psychic powers, tries to share Beachcomber's dreams for the night, and ends up going through scene after scene of ways he could have died in his lifetime. He has no way of interfering though, as there's always some sort of barrier keeping him from interacting with the scenario except in the fourth scene.
It can be read here.
- The Alcoholic: The fourth scene.
- All Just a Dream: Though it's stated at the beginning, Cosmos starts to forget that it's all just a dream until he wakes up.
- Bad Dreams: It is heavily implied that the things that are happening are actually Beachcomber's dreams. This is never explained outright.
- Break the Cutie: Cosmos
- Children Are Innocent: Cosmos. Though the whole story is about him losing it.
- Critical Existence Failure: Beachcomber. So much so that it's practically the ONLY thing that happens in the fic.
- Erudite Stoner: Beachcomber in the last scene.
- Nightmare Sequence: Four of them, actually.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The third scene. Warpath is cruel.
- The Pollyanna: Beachcomber, maybe.
- Shout-Out: The second and third scene are both shout outs to the song Tower by Luka Megurine and another fanfic titled Dura Lex Sed Lex, respectively.
- The Woobie: both Cosmos and Beachcomber