Written for the holidaysmut LJ comm. Contains crossplaying, which would be crossdressing to cosplay (dress up as) an anime character of a different gender. Also contains rampant cuteness and fictional portrayals of cons (because I've never really been to one).

Crossplay

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It wasn't the first time Andy had attended a con. It wasn't the first time Andy had attended a con by himself, either. Nor, surprisingly, was it the first time he'd attended a con dressed as a girl. But it was the first time he'd attended a con by himself while dressed as a girl—sorry, while 'cosplaying a female character.'

He didn't normally crossdress, didn't really see the point, actually. People had an annoying tendency to think he was a girl when he was dressed as a boy, so there really wasn't much draw to it for him.

But then, slightly over a year ago, his sister had offered to buy his entire costume—no matter how complicated or expensive, so long as he was crossplaying, and not cosplaying.

She probably hadn't expected him to take her up on the offer.

But when faced with the possibility of a really nice costume that he didn't have to pay for, which meant he'd have money for souvenirs and pocky, well, Andy didn't think it was all that much of a choice at all.

So he'd gone to that first con, expecting to be uncomfortable and planning to hide within the group of friends with them. But then he'd gotten there.

For whatever reason, any and every girl present at a con was fair game to be hit on by any and every passing guy. Andy looked like a girl, ergo he was hit on by guys. Most of them were rather… unpleasant, it's true, but they were still guys, and they were still hitting on him, and looking at him, and telling him he was pretty. And Andy found that he enjoyed the attention. He didn't like it enough to crossdress in the real world, but for a few weekends every year, he could pretend that the men weren't just hitting on him because he looked like a girl, but instead were hitting on him because he looked nice.

So here he was. Pink dress, pink hair, ninja headband.

"Hey, Sakura," someone said.

Andy looked around.

"Where's Sasuke?" the guy, dressed as some sort of cyber-punk, asked.

Andy smiled at him, as threateningly as he could with pink hair. "He's looking at weapons," he said. "I don't think he'd mind trying them out if you're offering." Sure he liked that the guys hit on him. That didn't mean he wanted them. He was only in it for the attention.

The cyber-punk guy laughed and a friend jabbed him with an elbow. "She was cute, though," he said as they walked off.

Andy smiled. He liked being liked.

Drifting through the crowded aisles, Andy fended off random guys and waved to a group of Naruto cosplayers. They wanted a couple of quick pictures of their Sakura and him, so he obliged, smiling happily, and giving their Sasuke (a really cute girl who wore her costume really well) a kiss on the cheek as he left.

There was just something appealing about the blurring of gender in anime, and in cosplaying anime.

Pausing to look at some posters, Andy nearly jumped out of his costume as someone patted his ass. Whirling around he frowned at the empty space. No one was even within arm's reach. Glaring at the nearest few people anyway, Andy turned back to the posters.

I suppose I knew things like that were going to happen, he thought, flipping quickly past a few posters of scantily clad women. It had been safer when he came in a group, but no one else was able to make it this year. He just hadn't realized it would be quite so bad.

Sighing, he flipped the book of posters closed and moved away from the booth.

A few more bad pickup lines and a few more gropes or maybe-gropes, including several from one guy who just wouldn't go away, and Andy was starting to rethink his decision to come by himself. Or at least his decision to crossplay.

He just hadn't expected people to be quite so bold.

Turning to his stalker, who nearly walked into him again—and unintentionally this time—he snapped, "I'm a guy," and glared, hoping the effect wasn't lost in all the pink.

The stalker wasn't that bad-looking. If he cut his hair, dyed it a different color, maybe got a nose job, bathed more often, and tried a different wardrobe, well, maybe then Andy wouldn't mind being followed by him. But as it was… "I'm not a girl, so get the fuck away from me." He lowered his voice a little more than usual, attempting to emphasize its masculinity.

But maybe he lowered it too far, because the stalker frowned for only an instant before he leered again. "Don't lie to me, no way a pretty little thing like you could be a boy," he said.

Andy rolled his eyes. "No way something as stupid as you could be a man, either," he said, loudly enough to be heard. "Now piss off."

"This guy bothering you, Sakura?" a new voice asked.

Andy groaned mentally. Classic, he thought, and what do you suppose my 'rescuer' will want later? But at the moment, anything was probably better than Mr. Greasy-Stalker, so he turned to the newcomer. "Yes he is," he said, taking a good look. Well, maybe it would be okay if this guy wanted to follow him around the con.

Dressed like Wolfwood from Trigun, right down to the cross-shaped bag on his back and the candy cigarette in his mouth, this guy was gorgeous. He might have been stockier and shorter than the character, but then, no one could actually achieve the typical anime figure without starving himself to death. "Go pick on someone from your own genre," Wolfwood said, flicking the end of the candy cigarette at Mr. Greasy-Stalker.

Greasy-Stalker grimaced, but since he was all flab and old tee-shirt covered in a cheap jedi robe, whereas Wolfwood was muscle covered in an expensive and complete costume, he simply melted back into the crowd.

"You should know better than to wander around alone," Wolfwood said.

Andy sighed. "I know, but none of my friends could make it," he said.

"You came to the con by yourself?" Wolfwood asked. "A pretty little thing like you?"

Andy sighed again; this guy wasn't any different from any of the others. "I guess I didn't realize it would be so bad," he said. "Thanks for saving me," he added with a nod. Andy turned to walk away, feeling oddly disappointed, but a hand on his wrist stopped him.

"Look," said Wolfwood, "I'll understand if you don't want to, but being alone at a con is never any fun, so why don't we hang out together?"

Andy snorted indelicately. "And this is different from the last guy how?" he asked.

"I'm not expecting anything from you, I swear. I'll protect you from the other guys, and you can protect me from the girls."

Andy gave him a flat look. "You need to be protected from the girls," he said.

Wolfwood shrugged. "You'd be surprised how bad some of them can get. Look, just give it a chance. I swear I won't hit on you."

Andy debated. It'd be nice to have a friend, Wolfwood was right. And maybe Andy could get rid of him another way. "Alright," he said at last, holding out a hand. "I'm Andy."

Wolfwood smiled and accepted the hand. "Nicholas --D. Wolfwood," he said, his smile turning mischievous.

Andy raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

Wolfwood laughed. "Alright, but it is Nicholas. Nicholas C. Welsh at your service," he said giving a mock-bow. "I go by Nick."

Andy laughed. "Happy accident?" he asked, referring to the name.

Nick nodded, letting Andy's hand go. Which was odd, because Andy hadn't noticed they were still holding hands.

"Where to?" Nick asked, gesturing at the con around them.

--

Andy dragged him to the manga booth. And not just any manga booth, but the one that sold predominantly yaoi manga. He half-hoped to scare Nick off, though he really was having fun with his new friend. Nick had so far kept his word about not hitting on Andy, too, which was almost disappointing.

"Oo, here it is!" Andy said to Nick, picking up a manga he'd been looking for for ages.

Nick glanced at it. "Is it yaoi?" he asked.

Andy snickered. "What gave it away?" he asked. "The half-naked men on the cover?"

Nick just shrugged. "My ex used to read those," he said. "Hey, this one's supposed to be good," he added as another caught his eye.

Andy watched as Nick made his way through the booth, picking over the manga on display. He'd thought—well, Nick was the only guy in the booth (not including Andy, who didn't quite count at the moment), so it hadn't been a poor guess that it would scare Nick away. At least to the booth across the way, which wasn't very interesting, but had a surprisingly large number of guys in it, who kept surreptitiously glancing over at the yaoi booth.

Poor guys, Andy thought, shaking his head. Stuck looking at Pokemon toys while their girls read porn and imagine them with other guys. He bent back to the manga in front of him, looking for interesting ones.

He didn't spend all his money there, but he did spend a good chunk of it. Nick had vanished for a few minutes while Andy had been engrossed in the manga, and when he reappeared to hover over Andy's shoulder while he finished up, Nick had a new brown paper bag clutched in his hand.

Andy wondered what it was. He couldn't possibly have gone to another booth in the short time he'd been gone, could he have? But if he hadn't, then why would he have bought anything at the yaoi booth? Or had there been a bit of yuri mixed in there as well?

And then Andy forgot about it entirely when Nick offered him a piece of pocky.

They spent the rest of the day together. Watched a bit of the anime marathons that were going on, crossed quickly to the other side of the aisle when the requisite fat-40-year-old-men-dressed-as-sailor-moon-characters walked by. Nick confessed to a bit of a school-girl fetish, and Andy allowed him to suspend the promise not to hit on him and tried on a few costumes at one of the larger booths.

He tried on one of the boy's costumes as well, and thought for a moment that he might have given the game away when Nick saw him in that.

Nick licked his lips. "You're hot no matter what you wear," he said.

Andy blushed—few people had ever told him he was attractive when they saw him as a guy—and then he quickly changed back into his Sakura outfit.

Andy didn't remind him of the promise when he reemerged, and didn't say anything when Nick flirted. After all, it was just a little flirting. That didn't hurt anything, even if Andy flirted back.

And if Nick maybe got the wrong idea, well, it was only a weekend con, and the weekend was half over already, and then they'd never see each other again.

And maybe Andy wanted him to get the wrong idea. Not that he planned to let it go anywhere, but it was nice to pretend that someone wanted him for who he was, and Andy wasn't quite ready to let that illusion go.

Which was probably why he accepted when Nick invited him to dinner at the diner across the street.

It wasn't anything fancy, but it was still nice to be out, just the two of them. And they got to talk more than they could over the noise of the con.

They left only reluctantly after they'd finished eating. Nick covered the bill, and, while Andy didn't like the date-feel that gave to everything, he didn't argue very hard over the chance not to spend more money.

Nick grabbed his hand as they went out the door. Andy let it go for a few steps, but then he realized that he really couldn't let the illusion go on any longer. He tugged his hand out of Nick's grasp and took a few steps away.

"What's wrong?" Nick asked, walking towards him.

Andy stumbled back until he was against the bicycle rack. "Nothing," he mumbled.

Nick shook his head and took another step. "It's not nothing," he said. "Not if you're acting like that. What is it?" He came a little closer.

Andy shook, not wanting to say it. He studied the ground for a moment to gather his courage, but he dropped it again when he looked up and saw that Nick had gotten even closer. "I-it's a bad idea," he finally said.

"Is it?" Nick asked, closing the final distance. "Aren't you single?"

Andy nodded. "That's not-"

"You're single and I'm single," Nick said, "So what's the problem?" he leaned forward, and Andy leaned farther back, trying to delay the kiss a little longer, even though he wanted it.

"I'm a guy," he said, the words coming out in a rush as he tensed for a bad reaction.

"That's okay," Nick said. "I'm gay." He leaned farther forward, Andy too stunned to pull back more as he was carefully and tenderly kissed.

He enjoyed it for a moment, before what Nick had said fully sunk in and he shoved the other away. "You knew!" he accused.

Nick smiled guiltily. "Yeah," he said.

"How?" Andy demanded. No one had ever figured it out before, though he supposed it wasn't an utter impossibility.

"Well, I heard you tell that guy who was following you, and I might not have believed it then, except that I saw you in the men's bathroom this morning."

"You- what?" Andy said, burying his face in his hands. He hadn't even thought…he should have known that coffee was a bad idea. "I can't believe it," he moaned.

"Well, it's true," Nick said gently. "But is it really a bad thing?" he asked. "If I hadn't figured it out, Mr. Greasy-Stalker would still be following you."

Andy sighed. "I guess you're right," he said, leaning forward so his head was on Nick's chest. "But somehow it's really embarrassing."

Nick chuckled and it rumbled nicely in his chest. He reached a hand out to lift Andy's chin and stroked a finger along his lips. "Is that the only problem, or is there something else I should know about?"

"I don't usually dress like a girl," Andy said, because he wanted it out on the table in case Nick was making assumptions.

"Didn't really think you did," Nick mumbled, as he leaned down for another kiss.

--

Reviews are muchly appreciated.

This story is a subtle crossover with my other story Snow Prince.