Would you ever write a time travel fic where nothing needs to be changed? Like … like a domestic AU story, but with time travel, in concept? Nothing to prevent, no horrors to avert, just … life, but with a character that can time travel.

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.


AND

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?

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Okay, you said you don’t know how Rockstar!Shikaara would have broken up but I do. Time, distance, and I Needed You. They fell in love by talking. Trading stories and thoughts that were transformed into songs. They fell in love in run down bars and smelly sound studios. Words held them together. But talking is so much harder over distance. At first it is good. The Sand Trio is only in the next city or the next state. Their “tours” are never more than one gas tank away. (1/?)

Gaara and Shikako like this. Neither are the type to cling so the distance works and they both understand how important Gaara’s music and Shikako’s research is to the other. But then the Sand Trio hits it big. The next city becomes the next state, the next time zone, the next country. They are still together but it is harder to talk. She is asleep when he calls and he is preforming when she texts. They find it easier just to wait for a good time. It relationships need to be worked at. (2/?)

Relationships need attention otherwise they wither. Not talking every day turns into calling once a week to once a month emails. It turns into seeing each other only if Gaara happens to be in town or Shikako goes to a conference where he is at. They still love each other, time doesn’t kill their feelings but things are slipping through the cracks. Times get tough (because the music industry is vicious and academia can be just as bad) and the distance is a wall. (3/?)

It gets worse because Gaara doesn’t realize that Shikako is not fine when she says she is fine. He doesn’t realize when Shikako begins to feel that she is giving more than she is getting. Gaara is oblivious to exactly how many times Shikako has said it is okay that he spends all his time away or record in a better studio hours away or accepted his apologies when an event made him miss their only chances to talk. Gaara doesn’t notice it but these things build. (4/?)

It’s not all Gaara’s fault. Shikako has always been bad at setting limits and telling people when things are a problem. She hints but Gaara misses them by a mile. It’s a slow death of a relationship. Tiny cuts over and over until a big thing hits and they can’t recover from it. That thing is a car accident that costs Shikamaru his arm. Shikako needed Gaara then. Needed him more than she has ever needed anyone. His cell is off and he doesn’t get her call until the next morning. (5/?)

He doesn’t get into town until 5 days after the accident. By then the worst of the waiting is over. Shikamaru will definitely live but those five days waiting in the hospital have crystallize every problem that their relationship has and magnified them. Shikako unloads at him. It is not pretty. Gaara is blindsided but he realizes she is telling the truth. He hasn’t been there for her. It doesn’t matter how much he loves her if at the end of the day, Shikako is alone in a hospital. (6/?)

((Part Seven Not Received?))

Gaara goes back to his motel room and thinks about his life. How everyone he has drifted away from everyone he loves. It hurts. He deals with the only way he knows how: music. His fans were surprised at the dark, somber tone of his next album. There was a lot of talk about what the songs meant. It frustrates Gaara. Nobody GETS it. Not really. He writes another song. It’s a plea, an impossible hope, a desperate longing. He pours all he has into it. Falling asleep after the first play through. 8/9

Gaara wakes up in a different place. Kankuro is nudging him and the bad lights of the student bar are achingly familiar. He is confused at first but soon it is clear that he actually traveled back in time. For a second chance. Shikako is sitting in the corner where he met her the first time. Scribbling away in that furious trance she gets into while studying. Gaara’s heart aches at just the sight of it. He doesn’t know what force brought him back but he is not going to let this go to waste. 9/9

… wow, anon, this was beautifully bittersweet. I mean it doesn’t exactly match the fake fic summary I wrote, but I like the vibe of it.

For some reason I didn’t receive part seven, so if you’d like to re-send that I can edit that in. Although… you know you don’t have to be anonymous to talk to me, right? You could have just made a post on your blog and tagged me in it so I could reblog it. 

But I appreciate this little ask box fic that you’ve sent me.

Song remains Anon: half the fun of these is seeing what not-the-obvious answer you come up with. Though time travel when nothing has gone wrong/can be fixed is an unusual take on the trope XD

jacksgreysays:

Oh thank god. I’m just like… crap, there was a reference. Oh god. Why. End me now.

I’m glad my tangential brainstorms are entertaining, anon, because otherwise it’s just me ranting at myself and gesturing at my screen to nobody. 🙂

Time travel is my not-so-secret favorite trope and while I do love seeing it played out normally, I am especially fond of it when there are tweaks. Or when it’s not just a formulaic “do this instead of this and the future is saved.” There was no end of the world for Gaara to fix and there was no path for him to divert. Just the knowledge that things won’t stay the same.

Also, I not-so-secretly love sad things. 😀

image

Kinda? Well. I haven’t really thought about it too much considering it is an AU so far outside of canon that there is no easy one-to-one adaptation for it.

I mean it’s just an inevitability thing, I think. The Sand Trio wouldn’t be a band together forever: they’d end up breaking up because of an argument or drifting apart or literally someone dies. And given the state of the world in this AU deaths are a little harder to come by, and I don’t really see an argument breaking up this iteration of the Sand Siblings. So drifting apart feels the most natural for them.

As for the Shikaara relationship? Well I suuper don’t know for that.

Song remains Anon: half the fun of these is seeing what not-the-obvious answer you come up with. Though time travel when nothing has gone wrong/can be fixed is an unusual take on the trope XD

Oh thank god. I’m just like… crap, there was a reference. Oh god. Why. End me now.

I’m glad my tangential brainstorms are entertaining, anon, because otherwise it’s just me ranting at myself and gesturing at my screen to nobody. 🙂

Time travel is my not-so-secret favorite trope and while I do love seeing it played out normally, I am especially fond of it when there are tweaks. Or when it’s not just a formulaic “do this instead of this and the future is saved.” There was no end of the world for Gaara to fix and there was no path for him to divert. Just the knowledge that things won’t stay the same.

Also, I not-so-secretly love sad things. 😀

‘The song remains the same’ rockstar!gaara AU

Ahahahaha, this is a great prompt anon. The problem is I would just use the title you’ve given me for the rockstar!AU. I mean maybe the only difference would be the implication that the rockstar!AU is somehow related to canon DoS?

Or, well… hm…

Maybe a Time Loop!AU of the rockstar!AU? Or maybe a post-breakup!rockstar!Gaara goes back in time to before the breakup (both with his siblings and with Shikako?) But that seems so sad!

Then again, I do love sad things.

the song remains the same

Five years after the breakup–both breakups, not that the media cared about one of them–Gaara wakes up the morning of the Sand Trio’s first official gig.

The same day he met Shikako.

And then it would basically be rockstar!AU except with additional time traveller!Gaara who is doing his utter best not to mess things up.

But he’s kinda conspicuous about it?

Then again, I don’t actually know what would have gone wrong enough to cause break ups considering this Gaara is not a sleep-deprived demon container and this is not a highly militaristic ninja world.

It could very well be that it’s not something he specifically did. Maybe he and his siblings just drifted apart–artistic differences and different opportunities becoming available for them. Temari went solo, Kankurou ended up doing a lot of collaborations with other artists, Gaara wrote music for movies and tv shows and musicals. So the breakup between the siblings would have been amicable.

But I really have no idea what would have gone down between Gaara and Shikako, then.

Was it a fame thing? A time thing? A misunderstanding? I have no idea, anon.

Anyway, time traveller!Gaara being really courteous and trying to change the future but in a less frantic way than Shikako in DoS. It kind of hurts my heart, though. In a fantastic way, because I do love sad things–let’s be honest here–and in this fic it would be Gaara trying so hard not to “make the same mistakes” but the problem is he didn’t MAKE any mistakes.

There’s no one point where Temari decided to go for her solo career instead of sticking with her brothers. Kankurou has always loved collaborations, it’s not something he chose as a second place or because he hated being in the Sand Trio.

Some relationships just don’t last.

Although maybe he does change his relationship with Shikako. Or, no, not MAYBE. He does. Because he’s a different person when they meet which means they’d have a different dynamic. Maybe not too different, but still changed.

The songs are the same, though. That’s all he has left of that previously timeline, the songs he carries with him, that he brought back. Because Shikako is the same, it’s him that’s different.

Although, maybe, to reflect that he writes other songs on top of those songs he brought back. And I suppose this fic would end with the Sand Trio’s last concert–and most of the songs are the same, but there are a few to reflect that Gaara has made changes.

Making sad headcanons about rockstar!AU, excellent prompt anon! 😀

edit: friiiiiiiick, I am clearly NOT CATCHING these references. did not make the led zeppelin connection until i was tagging this post. YOU WERE PROBABLY AIMING FOR A BEHIND THE SCENES THING WITH THE SAND TRIO? AAAAAAAAAAH, MY BAD ANON.