I've always thought the Ethan storyline was very important to Brian and Justin's relationship. Basically I don't think they could have gotten where they did without going through that. It was a necessary experience for them both.
But Ethan is yucky :) And more importantly it was incredibly painful for both of them so I wanted to explore ways they could have made their relationship work without that experience. And for me that came down to writing a What If. I couldn't see a way to write a IC story that followed canon and didn't have Ethan without having their relationship blow up in some other way.
But it seemed like with a few changes in how they met I could create a believable universe where things went a little more smoothly for them.
So that was the idea that I went into writing the story with... but it turned out to be a lot harder and time consuming then I thought it would be.
I started my first draft in October of 2007. There were bits and pieces that I liked but right off the bat I felt like I was losing the characters. It was the first time I had ever written something that moved away from canon and I was completely lost without that framework.
I happened to chat with vamphile one night about the difficulty I was having and just talking out the story helped me tighten up my vision.
I knew where I wanted to end up with the story and I thought it was possible but before I talked it out I hadn't really figured out how to get there.
The first thing I did was trash most of the first draft.
I often rework things dramatically in the early stages of a fic but this was by far the most I had ever just gotten rid of. It was a little hard to do mostly because I am usually such a painfully slow writer. But it was the right decision. Starting fresh got the whole thing back on track and I wasn't bogged down by trying to edit the crap I had already written.
I sent the first 1500 words of the reworked fic to _alicesprings in December and she very kindly said nice work... but I have no idea where you are going with this.
It took me six months before I had anything more to show _alicesprings and it ended up only being what would become chapter one.
But after that I picked up the pace a bit and I had a rough draft of the entire story by August of 2008. Unfortunately everything but the first chapter was very rough. I was worried about a million little details but poor alicesprings had to break the news to me that what the story was missing was teh love.
Everything was IC but the best word we could come up with for the final product was mechanical. I had spent so much time thinking through the logistics of the fic that I had completely lost the emotion.
I can't say enough how awesome _alicesprings was to first step up and tell me that what I had on paper had serious problems and then help me work through them. I pretty much tortured her with a million emails before finally making it to the final product.
I only added about 700 words but it completely changed the feel of the story. Most importantly I added the scene with Brian and Gus laughing in the loft which _alicesprings deserves A LOT of credit for.
And then I saw him with his son. Not in the diner or at Debbie's house, but alone one night in the loft. I came in and Brian was lying on the floor with Gus perched on his stomach and they were laughing. The more Brian's stomach bounced the harder Gus laughed until they were both gasping for air.
I had suspected for a long time, but I knew then, for sure, that Brian isn't what he seems.
They looked up at me and Gus clapped his hands and Brian just laughed a little harder.
It's easy to write snarky Brian but before I added this scene his softer side was missing from the story.
One thing I did in this story that I had never done before was borrowed bits and pieces from canon. I generally try to show something we didn't see when I write, but in this story I showed things we did see with a bit of a twist. I wasn't sure I liked it originally but it ended up being one of my favorite things about the story.
He would have come right then if the phone hadn't rung and distracted us both. Mikey.
Brian missing Mikey is important at this point in the story so the phone call in the middle of the hand job was the perfect place for a little reminder of that.
When I finally open my eyes he's just laying next to me, slowly stroking his cock. I can't help staring and when I lick my lips he laughs just a little.
"Do you want to suck my cock?"
I crawl down into position, between his legs and watch as he props his head up on a pillow. Apparently he is going to watch, as if there isn't enough pressure already.
He runs his hand through my hair and my eyes want to drift shut but he is gently steering me to his dick and I know I need to focus.
His dick is huge. When I think about it, I can't believe I had it in my ass... repeatedly. It tastes fucking amazing and the thought of him coming in my mouth makes me crazy.
But it's the first moan and the way his whole body sort of jerks when I do something he really likes that makes me fall in love with sucking cock on the spot. It seems weird, but with my mouth full of his cock I feel powerful, completely in control. And I like it.
I don't really know what I'm doing, but I don't let that hold me back. I lick and suck and stroke frantically. He's dripping with my spit and fisting my hair in his hand.
And then it happens, his dick pulses over and over into my mouth, filling me with hot come. I feel a little like I might choke on it and a lot like I might come again myself.
I crawl up by him on the bed and he leans in and gives me a kiss on the side of the mouth.
"You get an A plus."
I thought it would be fun to use some of the dialog from the jeep here... :)
"Just let me help you."
"Brian. Fuck. You know why I want to do this myself... at least, as much as I can."
"I do. But I also know that a man needs to know when to take help. And fuck, we've already been over this, you will pay me back."
I love him. Sometimes I don't want to; don't think anything good can come from it. But I do. I fucking love him.
So I show him the way I've been fucking dying to show him. And he lets me.
I'm not gentle. I don't treat him like a virgin, even though I'm sure it's been a long time.
I fuck him like I mean it. And I do. I mean every, single, thrust. I just hope he can feel what it means to me.
It's more than the way his head lifts off the pillow and his back arches when I push into him. More than the almost unbearable tightness surrounding my cock. More than the wetness of his dick in my hand. More than the noises he makes from my dick in his ass.
I was very concerned about this scene because I've never thought that Justin topping Brian when he gives him money for school was the first time, but eventually I had to give in and except that for this fic it worked best this way.
"What do you want, Brian."
"You know what I want."
"Well I want some things too."
It seemed important that Justin be clear that he expected more from Brian but the rules didn't seem right for this story either. I like the idea of Justin allowing Brian to step up to his demands.
I come home to a fucking mess of take out boxes, beer bottles, balled up pieces of paper and the smell of pot. My pot. Probably my beer too. Assholes.
The angrier I get the more they fucking giggle.
From the bedroom I hear them plotting.
"Pissed Off Man."
"Rage could work."
When I come out a half hour later they're hard at work and I leave without saying anything.
This scene was important to me because I wanted to show that in this different universe they could handle situations like this in a better way... while still being them.
I try not to think about why I'm doing this. Try not to think about the look on his face when I told him I wouldn't.
A little girl who looks frighteningly like Justin answers the door.
I feel like a deer in the headlights. But the way first Daphne and then Justin smiles, lets me breathe again. Apparently I'm just in time for birthday cake.
I field a barrage of questions that feel like a cross between a job interview and a police interrogation. I should tell Jennifer to fuck off, but Justin's fingers play along my thigh under the table and I can see him smiling at me out of the corner of my eye.
He nearly swoons when I kiss him goodnight at the door a half hour later.
Brian showing up at prom was huge and I wanted him to step up like that here.
Looks like I just made partner too.
Even when writing the story was going well and I knew where I wanted them to end up I still couldn't figure out exactly where to end it. And then one day I was in the shower and I realized that it had to be this scene. Once I had that figured out I was able to pull together a lot of the other loose ends of the story.
And then there was the name. I usually name my stories about three minutes before I post them, but claddagh_girl was making me a wonderful banner and I NEEDED a name. Looking back at the emails with _alicesprings I came up with The More Things Change right away but I was considering it a fall back name. I don't know why I wasn't sold on it because now I think it suits the fic perfectly.
The biggest disappointment with this story was the Michael hate I encountered when I posted it. I love Michael and I think his friendship is incredibly important to Brian and Justin. But having him gone just for the beginning of their relationship really opened up the window for Justin and it worked perfectly with the timeline. But it was never intended to be a fic with any sort of Michael hate.