Warning: The following reflection contains heavy spoilers for the games “Bravely Default” and “Bravely Second.” There will also obviously be spoilers for the entire “Things We Cannot Undo” fanfic continuum that I wrote. Honestly, just read the entire continuum before reading this reflection all the way through, because otherwise you will be seriously spoiled.
If you follow me on tumblr or you’ve read my fanfics recently, you probably know that I heavily ship Nobutsuna Kamiizumi and Geist Grace from the video games “Bravely Default” and “Bravely Second.” It started with writing one fanfic entitled “Things We Cannot Undo,” and now I made it into a big continuum of fanfics centered around this pairing alone.
Now that I just recently posted the wedding oneshot for Geist and Kamiizumi, I thought I would look back at the whole continuum so far, and share what I have learned through writing this continuum. So, here we go:
- People are more likely to support non-canon pairings than you think, provided that you write them well.
When I first started out thinking about the Geist and Kamiizumi pairing, I was kind of joking about it at the time. Others immediately pointed out that they liked the pairing, namely because both Geist and Kamiizumi are both dads in canon and therefore this would make Revenant and Minette siblings. I thought it would lead to some really cute family moments, and so I decided to write a fanfic about them—and this ultimately led to me writing “Things We Cannot Undo,” the first oneshot in the continuum.
Ever since this time, I’ve seen more and more people ship it. They express this to me through messages, the likes and reblogs they put on my headcanon posts regarding the two together as a pair, and even in fanfiction reviews as well! It really warms my heart that others are down for this pairing as much as I am, and I really appreciate the support. It’s through that support that I continued writing the continuum all this time.
- Sometimes, the characters you ship actually have more in common than you think, and that is incredibly awesome.
I wrote up a pretty long post on tumblr that really sums up exactly how much Kamiizumi and Geist have in common. Other than being fathers, Kamiizumi and Geist share many other similarities and I’ll share two of them here. For a first example, both are highly dangerous in battle. Kamiizumi led the Eternian Duchy’s elite forces, the Black Blades, and can use his counterattacks to counter not just physical attacks, but also magic attacks. His counters are so powerful that he can easily cut down one of the player characters just from one counter alone during a boss fight if one isn’t careful. Meanwhile, Geist uses his “Undo” abilities to a great extent to not just heal himself and his son in boss battles, but also KO the player characters again if they try to revive themselves. The two of them combined would be an amazing team, and I actually touched upon this a little bit in “Of Injuries And Memories.”
Another similarity is the deep devotion that both characters have towards those that they are allied with. For example, late in Bravely Second, Geist offers to go get the Compass of Space and Time for Kaiser Oblivion so that the man won’t have to risk his life to get it himself. Despite the obvious risk of death, Geist is willing to make that risk because he truly believes in Oblivion and his cause. Similarly in Bravely Default, Kamiizumi is willing to follow Braev Lee’s Duchy to the point of continuing a destructive civil war in the Eisen Region because he believes in Braev and his cause as well. As I mentioned earlier, I wrote up that gigantically-long tumblr post about all the things these two have in common, and those commonalities are fun to discover in a ship such as this.
- Interpretations of the characters you develop in different ways than you think they will while you’re writing them.
When I first got into writing the whole continuum of fanfics, I honestly thought Geist would be the more vulnerable one, emotionally, between him and Kamiizumi within their relationship. Geist lost his son to the Great Plague as revealed in Bravely Second, and Kamiizumi had more time inbetween the events of Default and Second to gain an arguably lighter and softer treatment in character development by the time of Second in-game, compared to the seriousness he had in Default. As I wrote the fics, however, I soon realized that I’d developed my interpretation of Kamiizumi to have an equal amount of insecurity and vulnerability that Geist also had. They didn’t exactly have the same fears, but they certainly have things that they talk about, like in “Past Loves and Communication” where Kamiizumi recalls his past love interests and then asks Geist if it’s okay to talk about these things to one’s current significant other about. Given that Kamiizumi is not in a romantic relationship with someone in canon, I felt that it made a lot of sense for him, in that fanfic, to ask about that sort of thing.
Another vulnerability Kamiizumi had was about trying to understand more of himself emotional and even as a sexual being as he got used to a much more peaceful time of settling down with Geist and raising Minette and Revenant together, as well as the two of them kind of understanding themselves in terms of physical intimacy. I touched on this in “The Sweater Incident” when Kamiizummi tells Praline that he’s not used to self-expression given that he never really had the time to understand who exactly he was himself beforehand (due to being occupied with the Duchy being founded, the civil war, etc).
I most enjoy writing the fanfics where Geist and Kamiizumi really express their vulnerabilities, because they’re very much human despite the more obvious quirks others associate them with, such as Kamiizumi being the stoic yet cat-loving Swordmaster while Geist is the sadistic, blood-soaked Exorcist. An example of this is “Steamy Moments” where the two talked about their own scars and wounds they shared in past battles with Edea, and how it impacted them and what they thought of their situations. A darker example is “Quiet Violence,” where Geist understands that he has his sadistic urges and fears that he’ll become a complete monster because of them and his past actions spurred by them. Kamiizumi points out that Geist isn’t the only one who is sadistic here—the Swordmaster understands that he himself has similar urges, and killed others as well (most notably Qada).
- Relationship development takes time. This especially applies to fictional, non-canon pairings.
When I first wrote “Things We Cannot Undo,” I knew the way that Kamiizumi and Geist got together was rather spontaneous with them having sex one night and then deciding to date each other the day after, despite having about three or four months of living together and getting to know each other beforehand. I tried to get into their heads when writing the two doing other things, like talking about each other’s sadism in “Quiet Violence” or touching on each other’s vulnerabilities in “Steamy Moments,” because I think those things (at least for these two) are particularly important when heading into or being in a romantic relationship—there will be tough times along with the good times, and both partners will need to work it out somehow. When writing these oneshots dealing with issues such as this, I imagined that both Kamiizumi and Geist, post–Bravely Second, are in a time of adjusting in general—being good fathers to their kids, trying to be good to each other in their relationship, adjusting to the peace that came after the defeat of Providence and such, and actually having a regular sort of life for once. Naturally, becoming romantic with each other was also going to take time.
Some of the ways I explored this was, more obviously, through their relationship talks like in “Shovel Talks” and in “Quiet Violence.” I think both Geist and Kamiizumi would know that communication is hugely important, given the past events they’ve been through in canon, and so talking things out is probably one of the better ways for them to figure things out with each other and in other aspects of their lives. “Alluring” is also a oneshot that discusses adjustment, with Kamiizumi getting adjusted to the notion of knowing that he and Geist were going to get married, and that can be a huge change.
Another way I explored this development over time was little things, like referring back to past actions and what could have gone differently. Also known as: I wrote a lot of continuity nods. As you all know, I love continuity nods to bits, if you’ve read my book reviews, and so this continuum wasn’t going to go without them.
An example of these continuity nods would be Geist recognizing that it would be too soon to propose to Kamiizumi in “The Gift-Giving Problem” and then later mentioning this to Braev in “Blessings” when asking Braev for a marriage blessing. Another example is Kamiizumi and Geist’s increasing physical closeness and eventual talk of sex in a good number of the oneshots (and I’m honestly surprised at how much I wrote about them discussing sex, even if briefly, in those oneshots). Comparing “Steamy Moments” to “Things We Cannot Undo,” Geist and Kamiizumi felt incredibly awkward the morning after they had sex in “Things We Cannot Undo.” Both of them enjoyed it, yes, but given it was also Kamiizumi’s first time (and I presume Geist’s first time in probably a really long time), as well as the spontaneousness of them going at it, there was bound to be some awkward feelings afterwards. Fast-forward to “Steamy Moments,” where both of them are completely fine with seeing each other naked and taking a shower together, while being much more relaxed about the idea of them having sex together in general as well as Kamiizumi commenting that they were probably mature enough at this point not to spontaneously have sex in the shower and end up scaring anyone else walking in. Heck, the two of them almost had sex in public in “Alluring” (but thank goodness, they didn’t, because I think both would’ve been mortified if someone walked in on them)!
Writing all these continuity nods helped me not just see how much development was going into this relationship over time, but it also helped me understand what had happened in the relationship and where it was going. It’s fun to have those nods written in, to look back at then and compare it to the more recent writing, to see how strong that pairing became. I still look back at the past oneshots I write, and then note the continuity nods I end up writing in later oneshots, and it awes me as of how much Geist and Kamiizumi developed in the continuum I wrote up myself.
Now that Kamiizumi and Geist are married, there are questions to be answered, but mainly this one: Am I going to continue this fanfic continuum, or end it at the marriage?
The answer is yes, I will be continuing writing this continuum post-marriage! It probably won’t be updated as frequently, due to other writing projects I have on hand, but I will definitely add more to this series as I go. I have so much more I want to explore in this continuum, and I would be happy to continue this series in order to do so!
Thank you to everyone who followed, read, reviewed and shared this series with others! Going back to the first point, I probably could not have written this much without the support of all of you reading and supporting me writing this ship and the continuum. I hope you all continue to follow this continuum and this ship as I write future oneshots for it, and I hope you enjoy that journey as much as I have so far!