So. Defying Convention is a short-ish thing that made me think people like me and my friends from everything I knew about it. It's about a trans man and a nonbinary person. In their mid twenties. Who have known each other for 5 years (since AJ commented critically on Danny's fanfic) and are now finally meeting up in person, at some kind of large fan-ish convention. Soon it becomes clear that Danny has a bunch of anxiety stuff going on.
At first we didn't get along well – Danny crumples up a coffee cup that was previously described to still have a sip of cold coffee in it, and my mind got stuck on the image of coffee splattering everywhere as he throws the crumpled up cup over to a trash can.
But then I kind of liked it. It's definitely cute. The way their dialogue seems a bit constructed reminds me very much of the way I talk to some formerly-only-cybrespace frends when I meet them in person after years. (Although I have also been known to simply and awkwardly not say anything when I realised that my usual way of talking to them simply didn't work at all in meatspace.)
There are a lot of sentences that give me very strong feelings of cuteness, such as:
He sorta likes the idea of being AJ's favourite teddy bear.
Danny was warm, walked at a sensible pace, and made AJ feel tiny and secure, like they could live in his pocket forever.
"I'm enjoying being a degenerate bisexual sex fiend and I think you are, too."
Still, I was on the verge of putting it down and giving up on it multiple times. It simply didn't click with me. They say a lot of cute things, and I like the way they explore their relationship together, but all the time I felt like I was missing something. Which makes sense, the story does throw the reader right into an established relationship that is simply becoming more multifaceted. I think I would have needed more help getting into their dynamic, their shared knowledge.
[Content note for sex for the following paragraphs until the end.]
There is one thing that did work very well for me though, and it is the way they have sex. The first thing that I liked about it was the way they talk about it:
"[…] Thirdly, I love you. I'm willing to guide you patiently if you need patient guidance." AJ kissed the back of his neck. "I'm also willing to tie you up and order you around if you'd rather not have the pressure."
There is one explicit sex scene and it is lovely, Danny is super awkward, but great at figuring out the details of what the much more confident AJ enjoys.
In fact, I liked the sex scene so much that I planned my day by it. I stopped reading, did some other stuff that I had to do, and then retreated to my room in the hope of more good smut to wank to.
Sadly, there wasn't any. What remained of the story was, again, nice, but neither explicitly sexual nor any easier for me to connect to.