I think I’ve hit a point where every time I get a prompt for a concept I’m always just like: wait a second… have I already… seen this before…
And in this case, yes, sort of here, in which rockstar!Gaara goes back in time after both breakups to the day he and his siblings had their first official gig and the same day he met Shikako.
And, well, explained like that, I suppose it doesn’t match your prompt, anon, because while it’s not a horrible crisis, arguably Gaara starts off maybe wanting to prevent the breakups. But he quickly finds that there’s no big mistake he made…
But it’s still not quite what you want, anon, so I went back to the drawing board.
So… “life, but with a character that can time travel.” And again I stumble because my brain just automatically wants to make certain connections. “A character that can time travel” to me is my original character Leanne Peridot from my series Counterclockwise but then again her life is pretty awful. If anything, for her, the time traveling IS the horribly crisis that she’s trying to prevent.
It’s, again, not what you want, anon, so I went at it for a third time, trying my best to stay away from any preconceived notions, and I think I would say it depends on the mechanic/type of time travel. And I came up with two tentative possible stories based on different time travel mechanic/types.
A) The Accidental Rewrite
It’s, as you said, someone who goes back in time not to prevent anything horrible, but it just… happens. And I think, maybe, the time traveller has no say in it. One day they went to sleep the next day it was three years in the past. And the thing is, they didn’t have a shitty life… I mean, could it have been better? Yes, maybe. But it was a satisfactory life.
Except… was it? Now they’re starting to wonder, were they supposed to do something more with their life? WERE they supposed to prevent some horrible thing from happening and they messed up so badly to the point that they didn’t even KNOW about the thing they were supposed to prevent?
And at this point you have to wonder: is it a loop–which makes the time traveller doubt everything about their life–or, which I much prefer, is it just the once. And life moves on.
Because if it’s a loop then that means the looping becomes the center of the story. How the time traveller games the system and what differences they make between lives, not so much what they make of this new chance at life. So I think if I were to do this kind of mechanic, it would very much be a “it happened once and I still don’t know why, and maybe at first I tried to look into it but otherwise I just figured it was my second chance at the three years,” got a slightly better job, maintained my friends and family relationships better, etc. Maybe met a significant other when before they didn’t have one. The time travel is what causes them to change their life and it is a mystery but it doesn’t become their life.
B) The Chronic Condition
(That pun though)
Basically, Counterpoise but without ALL THE HORRIBLE THINGS I DO TO MY CHARACTERS. Time traveller slides in and out of different points in time and lives their life out of order from everyone else, but it’s okay because they know people in each era and it’s kind of just like traveling and visiting friends/family except instead of around the world it’s across time.
Maybe at first it is scary. They can’t control it. They don’t know when they’re going or what will happen. But after a while, they grow accustomed to it. They can’t control when they’ll travel, but maybe they can control what era they’ll go to. Or maybe they can sense when they’re about to travel and maybe they can hold it off for a few hours or days just to get ready instead of just getting ripped away from what they’re doing. It becomes easier. Manageable.
And I quite like the idea that a person can always have loved ones even if they don’t see them often or even in the same order. My grandparents meet me for the first time when I am the same age and we are friends, then they meet me as after a few years whereas I am younger. Then they see an old, familiar looking guest at their wedding. Then every so often, I visit them at their house, give gifts to their kids (my parent and aunts/uncles). Then I am born and for all intents and purposes meet them for the first time and they get to witness the stages of my life as I grow up.
Like… who cares if the milestones are out of order so long as the people we care about are there.
So I guess what I’m saying is. Yes, anon, I would maybe write a story about time travel without a dramatic purpose.
Story A would work in any series–original fiction or fanfiction–whereas Story B is just me being nicer to Leanne. Which, I mean, I probably should be nicer to her anyway (because if her entire life is suffering, it won’t be as deliciously satisfying whenever I make sad things happen).
Is there a particular series/fandom you wanted to see either iterations in?