I'm offering first a drabble and then an explanation of Imprint. Because that's how we roll here. ;)
Title: Everything and Nothing
Series: Everything and Nothing
Characters/Pairings: Vayne, Larsa
Summary: Older brothers have strange ambitions at times.
...And he is dead and he is alive, he is within the earth and he is a part of the night, he will perch where he pleases and when he wills it, he will fly, a part of the world, the thunder in the sky, and in his brother's bones
the last of his brothers, the best of his brothers
he remains coiled, dead thing, strange thing, beautiful and still alive, in Larsa's hair and Larsa's lips, in Larsa's tongue and Larsa's eyes,
everything everything he is as he is everything
and when Larsa smiles and when Larsa laughs and when Larsa grows and when Larsa fights
everything everything he sacrifices everything
this and this and only this is when Vayne is truly alive.
And in any case, here is the general outline and annotations for Imprint. Hopefully, this will explain just what the hell is going on in the story... if not quite what I was smoking when I came up with it! ;) And in any case, I'd love to hear back from the kind people who did read the fic. Does the explanation below make sense to you and adequately explain what happens?
A Short Outline of the Story:
-Larsa and Penelo meet when Larsa rescues her from Judge Ghis' attention outside the Lhusu mines. But veering away from canon, Larsa decides to invite Penelo to serve as a "neutral observer" to the events occurring in Archades, to understand more of her uniquely Dalmascan views on the politics there. Flustered but curious and interested despite herself, Penelo accepts and has the time of her (low-born, as she's constantly reminded) life in Archades.
-Penelo forms a close bond with Larsa while serving as his guest, one that stems from both his chivalrous and protective crush on her and her natural sympathy for someone in his difficult situation of being both a scion of Archadia and an increasingly frustrated questioner of its ideals and activities. Partially because of her, Larsa starts understanding more about some of the less savory practices of the empire... and just how far his family has gone to perpetuate them as well. This understandably leads Larsa to start openly questioned just what he is expected to do as a man of House Solidor in the future.
-Vayne hears of this and takes measures to restrict their bond, which leads to Larsa eventually (and reluctantly) returning Penelo to Ashe's band when he meets with them in Jahara. Until the events of the Bahamut, they remain separated, with Penelo helping Ashe and Larsa spending his time trying to futilely dissuade his brother from war-mongering.
-Penelo and Larsa reunite in the Bahamut, with Vayne meeting the girl who had apparently bewitched his brother for the first time there. Shortly afterwards, Larsa turns his blade on his brother… a fact that Vayne attributes principally to Penelo's influence and still resents greatly.
-Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, Larsa dies, at least mentally and spiritually. He does so by rushing into the force-field protecting his brother after Vayne is felled the first time… and Vayne does not even realize it until after his second transformation and his eventual triumph over Ashe's band. (Without Larsa protecting them with the manufacted magicite he gave and then reclaimed from Penelo, the party falls easily.) Only Penelo survives-- and this is only because she abandoned Ashe's quest temporarily to try (and fail) to rescue Larsa while everyone else was fighting.
-After Larsa dies spiritually, what is left of Vayne's spirit is channeled within Larsa's body by Venat. This saves Vayne and gives him new life… but it also causes a great chasm between the two of them that has not and likely never will, seal again.
-Unable to cope with the fact that he could not protect his younger brother-- and indeed, actually was the instrument of his death-- Vayne's personality fractures as he retreats into a sort of waking and self-willed hallucination/fantasy about what went on in the Bahamut. He forces himself to believe that Larsa had actually survived, that Larsa is actually and voluntarily sharing his body and that "Larsa" often has clear ideas for what to do with his flesh.
-At times, Vayne speaks to or witnesses an imaginary Larsa within his own mind. And whenever "Larsa" seems to speak or interact with Penelo in any meaningful way, it is really Vayne acting as his brother's intermediary in the flesh. Larsa is well and truly dead and never even manifests as a ghost in the story. But Vayne wants Larsa to be safe so badly that he hopes that, by acting out Larsa's fantasies and desires, he is helping his brother live once more. He believes that when Larsa is actually content, Larsa emerges and becomes the dominant personality in the body again.
-As penance for taking his brother's life, Vayne also begins to manipulate events and people around him to ensure that Larsa's dreams for both peace and Penelo are carried out… although this comes as a terrible price to all involved. As the false Larsa and new Emperor of Archadia, Vayne marries Penelo himself, impregnates her and forces her to carry the child to term, deciding first that Larsa needs a larger family and then (as his madness grows) that Larsa deserves another chance at living in a new body after his too early death.
-However, Vayne can't outrun the truth of what happened with his delusions forever. And as time goes by and Vayne destabilizes further and further by realizing that Larsa is truly gone from his life, Penelo (who has been suicidal but never insane-- and who knows all too well who is really victimizing her) decides to take a chance to try and free herself and her child by killing him. But unfortunately, due to her advanced pregnancy, his superior strength and the still loyal (though increasingly wary) Venat, Penelo is overpowered.
-And by the end of this piece, Penelo (who is set to die in another three days time) will give birth to a child who will be raised as a second Larsa by his father/"brother." And heaven help that poor child if he fails to live up to Vayne's conception of him in his future years.