It started as a joke. I think I was having a gmail chat with my former internet soul mate and I said something like “You know what would be awesome? An LJ costume party, where everybody has to write something totally unlike themselves.” I may have gotten the idea from the Soap Opera message boards which I was still following at the time, but in the process of pulling away from as LJ and House MD fandom took over my life.
And four years later, Come As You’re Not is, I like to think, a bit of an institution.
It’s definitely gotten harder each year.
2006-I wrote Foreman/Wilson (new pairing) and somewhat poetic nonlinear (new style). That came fairly easily, because we weren’t that far away from both Histories and Deception and I was reading a lot of fic, including my favorite “poetic, nonlinear” writer paperclipbitch
2007-I wrote “fluffy” House/Wilson smut for deelaundry and included a new kink; docking. This was tricky. I was already deep into my angsty sand-box for House/Wilson and in the writing process, I kept trying to sneak in hints of angst here and there. They grew like weeds and beta_goddes kept forcing me to pull them out.
2008-I wrote a fic where Jack said “I love you” to Ianto, and meant it. OK, it was a hyper-dark, fucked-up!Jack, post LOTL fic, that involved torture, which was also a costume for me, but it was in the end a story where Jack said “I love you"and meant it, or at least believed he did. Again, tricky, because I believe no such thing Also, I’m not that comfortable with the knives and things. Not surprisingly, it was somewhat controversial.
2009-The backstory: For Christmas 2008, I had written a Life On Mars smut fic that had both Sam/Gene and Sam/Annie, and the last line implied that what Sam really wanted was a Sam/Gene/Annie threesome. I had every intention of writing that as a sequel. But I got hung up. It didn’t come as easily as some of my other fics. Basically Gene Hunt didn’t want to play. I have all sorts of great dialogue and fanon bits ready to go, but it all comes down to him not wanting it. So as spring came and went, I figured I’d use it for a Halloween costume, since I’d never written a full blown threesome before. (The closest being a quickie scene in Rainy Night In Princeton, which was sort of a snapshot of a Cam/Chase/Wilson threesome.)
Then I got
However that was the challenge to self. Three threesomes. As you can see, I never got there. Gene has continued to be a recalcitrant bastard and I’ve only just gotten through a first draft of the House/Cam/Chase.
So I ended up with one fic that was still a costume. I always knew the problem would be that Jack wants a threesome that replaces his greatest loss: Rose and the Doctor, and my fanon for that is a completely whole threesome. Also what he had with the twin acrobats and the two executioners. The original draft had it phrased as “You have to want each other as much as you want me.” That meant getting Ianto to a place where he can actually be more like Jack and Gwen, who have both shown the ability to, for want of a better phrase, screw around with impunity.
I also knew that the only thing that would piss off certain segments of the fandom, in the unlikely even they read the story in the first place, more than reiterating Jack’s desire for Gwen, would be to have Ianto desire her as well. Shiny hair and all that. But wouldn’t it be worse to have him in a situation where he’s completely unhappy and only going along because of Jack?
Jack of course had to play the “love” card to get him there in the first place. I took a few hits for that, but I do think our Jack, real!Jack is a manipulative bastard and more than willing to use that line to get what he wants, especially since he believes it will make Ianto happy in the end.
My original concept was to have Gwen use the alien sex spray to show Ianto how much he wanted her. That lasted into my first draft before being jettisoned. Too much potential ‘rape spray’ crapola still out there. I wanted to make it very clear that Ianto did want Gwen. Had always wanted her.
Earlier versions also had far more of the class issue and how Gwen was the kind of girl he’d aspired to, but couldn’t hope to achieve, being a boy from the estate. Also, I had a line about how wanting her was a betrayal of his sister, because Gwen was the kind of girl who’d mocked her in shops. I picked that up from some Gwen-hater on my f-list but couldn’t re-find the exactly phraseology. I let most of that go because as an American, I’ll never be completely fluent in the intricacies of the British class system and I didn’t want to get it so wrong as to invalidate the rest of the story.
Another idea that didn't make the final cut, or even the first draft, was that at the end, having decided he did want Gwen, he therefore didn't want to share her with Jack, and was stuck in virtually the same place. That was too bitchy, even for me, although if we follow the whole "Ianto only loves one person at a time" theory to it's logical conclusion, that would be inevitable ending.
Also, in the interest of costuming, I want to write a Jack who really did love both of them, and found them equally sexually appealing. The “Isn’t he beautiful” line was a late inspiration, but one I’m proud of, again, because it meant I was truly in costume.
I can’t thank my beta, filthgoblin, enough for getting me through this. She helped me pluck out all the “whiny Ianto’ weeds that attempted to group up through the soil while I was writing this, and gave me extra insight into British mores and what Ianto and Rhiannon’s upbringing might have been like, and just generally kept sending the damn thing back until it was soup. She also listened to a lot of whinging and whining on my part, and most told me to man up and do what needed to be done.
I’m happy with the result and the reactions, although naturally at least one of my anonymous fans had to completely miss the point and insist that my Jack was nothing but a “walking itchy penis,” presumably because they still don’t want to see Jack lusting for anyone but you know who.
Meanwhile, House/Cam/Chase is off in Beta-land, and I’m still hoping to figure out an end run around Gene to make the Sam/Gene/Annie happen by this Christmas,.
And next year….(Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise) NEW FANDOM.