Time Outage

Time for my annual “fuck daylight savings” chapter, this time featuring the Villain crew!

Ao3 Link

“Why the fuck aren’t you ready yet?”

“Ready for what?” Henry asked.

“For supper. We’re having supper at that stupid place you wanted to go to. You’ve been pestering me about it, and it’s five-thirty, why aren’t you ready?” Sam demanded. Henry was just on the sofa, doing whatever he did when he was on the sofa. Reading, probably.

“It’s not five-thirty.” Henry sounded confused. “It’s two o’clock.”

Sam frowned. “My alarm went off. Did you change my alarm?”

“No, of course I didn’t change your alarm, let me see.” Henry’s hand brushed Sam’s, then he touched Sam’s hip, pulling his phone out of his pocket. His hand lingered there. “Huh.”


“Your clock is wrong.”

“Of course it’s not,” Sam said. “Clocks don’t just suddenly get wrong.”

“Yours is wrong. You’re three and a half hours ahead.”

“No,” Sam insisted. “That’s wrong. Yours must be wrong. There’s no way it’s only two o’clock.”

A year ago Sam would have been angry, assumed Henry was playing some stupid trick on him. But he knew Henry didn’t do stuff like that. Which meant that Henry’s clock was wrong.

“Well, it is. My phone says so, the TV says…” Henry trailed off.


“The clock on the TV says it’s ten in the morning.”

“What…” Sam let out an exasperated sound. “Well, are all the clocks wrong? Was there an outage?”

“An outage? What, a time outage?”

Sam punched Henry, hurting his hand. “You know what I mean. Did daylight savings mess up the clocks?”

“That’s not how daylight savings works.”

“It doesn’t fucking work at all,” Sam growled. Daylight savings was one of those stupid things that Sam didn’t understand the point of and wouldn’t bother recognizing if it didn’t make everyone else late for everything all the time.

“Is this really the time to take up the issue of daylight savings?”

“I don’t fucking know, because I don’t fucking know what time it is!”

“This is not something to get angry about,” Henry said calmly. In that way that he did when he was trying not to laugh at Sam.

“It’s something to get angry about if I’m getting angry about it,” Sam snapped. He didn’t need Henry telling him how to feel on top of time collapsing around him.

Sam was tired. He’d woken up too early today.

“Okay. Let’s go find someone else,” Henry said. “The clocks can’t all be wrong.”

“Fine,” Sam said, following Henry from the living room, in a foul mood now. This restaurant had better be worth all this.

They met three people, all of whom shakily gave Henry different times. The analogue clock in the kitchen said it was midnight, and the grandfather clock in the hallway said it was quarter past eleven. “Todd,” Sam demanded, breaking into his room. Todd was here, Sam had heard him ‘eep.’ “What time is it?”

“What…time is it?”

“Yes, that’s what I said. What fucking time is it? You have an alarm clock, a phone, a laptop. Tell me.”

“Well…It’s ten after one. Wait…” Todd trailed off. “My phone says it’s six. Uh…” There was some typing. “My laptop says two in the morning.”

Sam growled something indistinct and left the room—which smelled stale anyway, Todd needed to learn how to clean—and he pounded his fist on Derek’s door as he went by, nearly falling because Derek’s door was always open and Sam always forgot that. “What time is it?”

“Seven-thirty? No, that can’t be right…”

“How,” Sam exploded, “Can every fucking clock in this house say it’s a different time? What kind of fucked up, bullshit game is…” Sam trailed off, a calm coming over him. “That fucking insect.”

“He’s definitely the person of interest here,” Henry agreed in a growl of his own.

“I’m not sure he qualifies as a person,” Sam said, stalking off towards the room they’d given Scott, which was in the basement. Not the fun part of the basement, sadly, but the part that had proper rooms in it.

As always, Sam slowed down as he approached Scott’s cave, the smell catching him off-guard. It seemed to shift every time Sam came down here. Today there was a strong current of rotten fish to it. Still, Sam braved it and pushed the door open, kicking aside God knew what upon entering the room. “You.”

“Me?” Scott asked, in his irritating cutesy voice that was too loud even over his stupid pop music. He had an arsenal of voices, so wide that Sam wasn’t sure which was his real one. They were all irritating in degrees.

“What did you do?”

“Well…I just finished writing this program that’ll make a heart monitor play Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

“You…” Sam cut himself off, exhaling, taking in a breath, regretting that. “What did you do. To the fucking clocks?”

“Oh, the clocks!” Scott clapped his hands together, glee behind the rust on his voice. “You noticed! Happy daylight savings!”

“Daylight savings is not a holiday,” Henry said, looming behind Sam. Sam liked it when Henry loomed behind him.

“It is in my house, and this is my house now, and in my house we celebrate it. We’re celebrating! Are you having fun?”

“I am not having fun,” Sam said, trying to be patient because he didn’t have his gun. “I don’t fucking know what time it is.”

“That’s the fun part! Time is a social construct! Live free from the shackles of the clock industry!”

“I have reservations at an expensive restaurant,” Sam said, talking over him. “I have a meeting at eight o’clock tomorrow.”

“Take off your clothes and run wild in a field! There’s no clock to stop you!”

“It’s March. Fix the clocks.”

“Or…you could have an all-day movie marathon, build a pillowfort, I’d make popcorn. I’ll download some movies right now. There’s one about a unicorn I think you’ll love.”

Scott,” Sam hissed.

“What?” Scott asked, his irritatingly innocent voice coming into play.

“How’d you change the analogue clocks too?” Henry asked, which gave Sam a second to calm down.

“Duh, I hacked into them. Same trick as hacking into a cute guy. Used my fingers.”

“I refuse to believe you’ve ever had sex,” Sam snapped. “Fix the…”

“That would be a lot of work, Sammy,” Scott whinged, like radio static on a live wire. “I went to a lot of effort to reprogram every timekeeping device in the city in celebration of my favourite holiday, do you know how long it would take to change them all back?”

“No, because time is a social construct and I won’t be able to check any clocks!” Sam huffed. “Every clock in the city? That’s…admittedly impressive.”

“The real hard part was finding people willing to vandalize all the dark age clocks for me. Just fucking kidding, that was the easiest part, I just mass texted a bunch of kids. Even filmed the ones who climbed up the big bell tower on the cathedral. God, they could have died.” Scott giggled.

Sam sighed. This was a losing battle. It wasn’t important enough to threaten Scott over. “Fine. Whatever. Have your stupid fun. Will you at least tell me what time it actually is so I’m not late?”

“Okay, okay,” Scott said with a sigh of his own. “It’s…hm…uh…shit.” His voice turned sheepish, a cracked bleat. “I forgot.”

“You forgot.”

“Yep. Gone right out of my head. Don’t suppose you’ve got a sundial handy?”

“Henry, give me your gun.”

“Hey, don’t you have dinner reservations? You guys should get ready, Sparkles hasn’t even shaved. He looks horrible, you’re lucky you can’t see him, Sammy. I’m revolted just looking at him.”

Sam just snarled wordlessly and turned, stomping out of the room.

“You sound like a bullfrog having an orgasm when you do that,” Scott said.

Sam just left, in search of fresh air. “I hate him,” he told Henry. “I hate him.”

“Yeah. He sucks. Keeping him around was your idea.”

“I’m taking another shower. It’s not like anyone can say I don’t have time.”

As Sam ascended the stairs, he distinctly heard Scott call out, over his stupid music, “Happy daylight savings!”

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