[identity profile] first-seventhe.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] brokenprism
Same As It Never Was

Fandom: FFVIII
Cast: Rinoa, Squall, Quistis, Laguna, Ellone (starring with Kiros, Watts, Zone, Ward, and Angelo)
Ships: Rinoa/Squall, Kiros/Laguna, Laguna/Squall, Quistis/Rinoa, Quistis/Squall, Quistis/Rinoa/Squall.
Rating: R (individual chapters PG-13 to R)
Warnings: Well, PLEASE reference the list of pairings for all relevant warnings!

Other Relevant Tags: oh shit it's a long final fantasy fic get in the car!, the fandom hell bus has arrived honk, no I am not going that way, sqwhale, incest, no seriously this fic is freaking long we are not kidding, meta, magic meta, suddenly bechdel, we ship everyone/kiros

Notes: Co-Written with [personal profile] justira, this is the fic that blossomed from our innocent desire to write some incest into one of the most epic and awesome projects I have ever worked on; it will likely be around 200K and 2011 by the time we're done with it.

Thanks: to [personal profile] renay, [livejournal.com profile] katmillia, and [livejournal.com profile] safety_caesars for beta, critique, comments, and cheering. ♥

Summary: Rinoa's gone public as a Sorceress and is campaigning for Timber's independence, Laguna's steering Esthar's re-emergence, Galbadia won't give up, Squall's dealing with the political fallout as Garden Commander -- and in case no one has enough on their plates, something's wrong with the Sorceress-Knight Bond. When terrorists attack Timber in the middle of Squall and Rinoa's argument over where the new Garden should go -- Timber or Esthar? -- they decide to take a break, hoping that if they can sort out the politics in their separate spheres, they can come back and sort through the quietly desperate mess of their private lives and repair their Bond.

Sorceresses still make the world nervous and Galbadia won't let Timber go; Esthar needs to come out of hiding and Garden needs to decide its place in the world. Four lives are unraveling -- but maybe, between them, they can find the answers...

Same As It Never Was
on AO3 || on ff.net

Reading Guide

This guide, like the story itself, contains massive spoilers for FFVIII.

So this is the Incest-Free Guide to Same As It Never Was. Yep.

We've worked pretty hard on this story, and we really hope it's worth reading for the plot and character development outside of the story's ships -- but we totally understand that some of the ships, particularly Laguna/Squall, may make some people uncomfortable. While we of course think the story is best read in full, we also understand if some people would just rather skip all the Squall/Laguna parts. So, we would be very honoured if readers gave the whole story a try, but we're going to do our best to accommodate readers who are not comfortable doing so.

Thus, a reading guide. This guide will show you which chapters or scenes to skip in order to avoid the Laguna/Squall parts of the story, and will provide a short précis of relevant developments from the skipped sections. This guide will be updated with information on any given chapter concurrently with that chapter's release. We'll link here from the notes in each chapter.

There are two summaries for each chapter for you to choose from. The shorter summary touches on only the most plot-relevant developments, skipping almost all character and relationship development, thoroughly spoiling which events are plot-relevant and which aren't but also avoiding potential squick. We dub this the Squall summary. The other summary is longer and tries to capture character development and disguise the plot-relevant events within the general summary babble. This spoils the plot threads less but may tread too close to squicky territory for some, though we of course do our very best to avoid that. This is the Laguna summary.

Read the Squall-flavoured summaries if you really really really want to avoid any hint of squick, don't mind being spoiled for plot-relevancy, and don't mind missing out on the character development.

Read the Laguna summaries if you want to avoid being spoiled for the story's plot, want to see the character development, and generally want to get as close as possible to reading the story without the Laguna/Squall.

So, let's go folks!


Chapter 1
Free and clear!

Chapter 2
Free and clear!

Chapter 3
Free and clear!

Chapter 4
Free and clear!

Chapter 5
Free and clear!

Chapter 6
Action: Commence being wary. Most of the chapter is all right, just bonding stuff. The very last scene is NOT all right. If you're curious, feel free to read up until the late scene with Ellone on the train. If you are not sure, skip, and read one of the following summaries to stay caught up!

Squall's Summary:
Squall, worried about Rinoa, keeps prodding his Bond and disturbing his GFs and has strange unrestful dreams full of odd memories because of it. Ellone arrives in Esthar. Her powers have been changed strangely by Time Compression, making her more sensitive to all the memories around her, and she picks up on some of the noise and resonance around Squall in the Bond through her lingering connection to Rinoa. To her disappointment, she also quickly discerns that Squall still doesn't know that Laguna is his father. She resolves to show him. Squall's dreams get even stranger, mixing images of Rinoa and Laguna with strange memories from his Guardians. The meetings continue, with Laguna trying to herd everyone together for the next step in the Esthar Garden evaluation. Squall, plagued by exhaustion, meetings, dreams, and Laguna, and with prodding from Ellone, admits that he's worried about Rinoa. Ellone volunteers to go check on her and departs for Timber. Squall's dreams become even stranger.

Laguna's Summary:
Squall, worried about Rinoa, surrounded by bureaucrats who will never shut up, and plagued by visions and memories from the Bond and his aggravated GFs, is starving for straight talk whether he wants to admit it or not. Exhausted and tense, he gradually turns from resenting Laguna's presence to tolerating it, as the man is almost the only person in Esthar willing to take Squall on his own terms. Laguna, meanwhile, is worried about Squall but has no idea how to express it, cautious of respecting Squall's prickly distance. Ellone arrives in the middle of this situation. Her powers have been changed by Time Compression, and she picks up on odd bits of noise and resonance around Squall over the Bond through her lingering connection with Rinoa. She's ecstatic to see her family together, and then quickly and dismally disappointed to learn that Squall still doesn't know that Laguna is his father. Although a little nervous about how her powers have been changed, she resolves to make the relationship clear to him by showing him times Laguna has been happy. Laguna is deeply affected by watching Ellone and Squall together, but is hesitant to intrude. Ellone spends a lot of time with them both, but never together; while the activity in Esthar since its re-emergence, and Laguna's place in it, is a delight to all her senses, both mundane and temporal, she's saddened to see Laguna's uncertainty and Squall's exhaustion. Squall is glad to see her but doesn't really know how to be a brother, and is uncomfortably (and irritatedly) aware that he's hurting her with his obvious distance from Laguna, though he admits that he likes Kiros and Ward.

The meetings continue, Laguna trying to herd his Estharian higher-ups together to prepare for the next step in the Garden evaluation. When some construction company representatives connected to the Esthar Garden evaluation try to bribe Squall, Laguna offers the obviously-angered Squall a quiet drink at the bar. Squall, between Ellone's obvious want for them to get along better, his own exhaustion, and Laguna's grudgingly-welcome directness, accepts. Squall's dry humour slowly re-emerges that evening as he relaxes by slow increments, watching Laguna be his obnoxious self. Squall's dreams continue to tangle everything together, though they are slightly less disturbed and disturbing that night. The next morning, Laguna is to have a quick breakfast with Ellone while he rushes to get some work done for the Garden project, but Ellone arrives with Kiros and Ward and they have a hectic, cheerful meal. Laguna is touched, and conflicted, acutely aware that Squall is missing from this familial scene, remembering the hesitant truce of their previous night at the bar. Ellone, Kiros, and Ward resolve to be there with him and Squall next time. Later, Ellone and Squall have a casual dinner in Squall's room, and Ellone continues to pick up on the odd resonances around him, echoes of Rinoa. She asks after the two of them, and he haltingly explains that they're taking a break and about the attack on Timber. Ellone impulsively volunteers to go check on Rinoa for him. She leaves for Timber, just as Squall's dreams take a sharp turn into even more disturbing and strange territory.



June 2011

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