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24 September 2005 @ 08:55 am
Naruto Fic: Diplomatic Relations, Part Four  
I'm back with more DR ^_^ I love writing these two guys way too much.

Title: Diplomatic Relations
Rating: G for this part (will go waaaaay up in later parts)




Part Four: Gyre


The hawk shifted on its perch. It gave Gaara a suspicious stare, then it looked fixedly at the meat between his fingers. Just as it was starting to stretch its neck out cautiously, Gaara tossed it the morsel; the meat was instantly snatched out of midair. The hawk made a huffy noise, swallowed, and then glared at Gaara arrogantly.

Lee, still on the stairs up to the Communication room and trying not to startle either the Kazekage or the hawk, decided it was safe to call out now.

“Hello, Gaara. Taking care of the birds?”

Gaara glanced over his shoulder in acknowledgement, as if to say, ‘What does it look like I’m doing’. It was Gaara’s standard behaviour; Lee didn’t bat an eye.

“Hey, where’s the Chuunin in charge?” he asked in surprise as he approached the Information Desk.

“Several urgent messages came in. He was out of runners, so he went to Crypto himself. He should be back in an hour at the latest,” Gaara answered, reaching into the bucket for some more meat. One of the other hawks hopped along its perch eagerly, its jesses jingling.

Bummer. Lee ditched his backpack and sat down in the man’s vacated chair to wait, hoping it wouldn’t take too long. Though he had the sneaking suspicion that the Chuunin would be in no hurry to get back as long as the Kazekage was in the aviary.

A lot of people avoided being alone in the same room as Gaara if they didn’t have any official business with him. This reaction was due in part to some remaining fear, particularly from the civilians, but it was also born of deference; Gaara always had an air about him of someone who didn't want to be disturbed. Add to that a thread of embarrassment at being in the presence of the most important man in the village, someone they all owed their lives to, and being unable to think of a single subject of conversation that was likely to fly in the face of those cold green eyes…

Lee watched as Gaara tossed another chunk of meat at the hawks. It was a Chuunin's job to feed the birds kept for inter-village communication, but Gaara did it from time to time, for no reason he cared to explain.

The silence that followed was comfortable, with only the noise of the birds of prey rustling on their perches and gulping down their meal, and the worried cooing of the carrier pigeons in the cages further back. Lee couldn't claim to have had long and heartfelt conversations with the Kazekage either; sometimes he struggled just as hard as the other villagers to find subjects of conversation that might actually have a chance of engaging Gaara's interest. But that didn't mean he was uncomfortable in the Kazekage's presence. In the six months since Lee's arrival, he and Gaara had fallen into a routine of daily sparring when they were both available. You didn't need hours of conversation with a guy to get to know him when you fought with him every day. A man’s fighting style revealed his true character, according to Gai-sensei’s declarations, and he should know what he was talking about.

Those sparring sessions had become the highlight of Lee's day, and he liked to think that Gaara looked forward to them as well, seeing how he arranged his busy days to spare the time to be there. It had taken Gaara a few weeks to fully accept that Lee really did want to be attacked as if he were an enemy (within reasonable limits of course). But Gaara was now fully into the spirit of things, and Lee was getting the kind of workouts he'd expect from Gai-sensei.

The bouts were high-speed attacks and parries, Sand Jutsu versus Taijutsu. Lee dodging Gaara’s strikes, rolling, leaping forward, darting to the side, trying to get close enough to counter-attack; landing a blow that exploded against the Sand Barrier, if one of Gaara’s swipes didn’t knock him back first- it was exhilarating! Or, as Kankuro put it: 'Brutal,' usually followed by, 'You should get your head examined'.

Which was silly. Lee's head was perfectly fine. Gaara was practicing his control, as well as his speed and power, and he'd never aim for anything as vital as Lee's skull.

Gaara didn’t speak much during their matches, though he still couldn’t quite beat Neji when it came to being taciturn. Lee didn’t mind; he’d gotten used to Gaara’s shifting moods and bouts of dark silences over the last few months of working together, or hanging out in Gaara's office.

It was another habit, like the sparring. Lee often worked late in the admin building. Between his missions as a Leaf Jounin and his responsibilities as a diplomat, he had a lot to take care of, and he was both conscientious and a bit slow about it. A genius might have mastered the duties quickly, but Lee had only stubbornness, determination and hard work to rely on, the same as always. He’d frequently take a break around midnight to see if the Kazekage, who never slept anyway, needed anything from the kitchen, or just a bit of company.

Depending on the quality of Gaara’s initial silence, Lee would only stay for a few seconds, or else he’d sit down for half an hour or more. Sometimes they didn’t speak at all, and sometimes they talked about their villages, about Shinobi they knew and missions and such. Lee liked those midnight breaks, when the rest of the village had gone to bed, and the chill desert night was only disturbed by the calls of the night watch and the yip of desert foxes outside the walls.

Despite the raw sunshine pouring through the open windows, this moment in the aviary had something of that same quality. The birds rustled and cawed. A few cicadas chirped in the afternoon heat. Gaara’s dusky red shirt seemed to blend with the tawny plumage of the birds of prey he was feeding; the sun's light picked out the threads, curved around his shoulders, warmed the sand-colour of the gourd on his back. The Kazekage’s robe was tossed over a chair nearby.

The pigeons cooed, a bit calmer now. Lee blinked sleepily.

Then he sternly shook himself. Now was not the time to nod off! He had to leave in a few minutes, if he wanted to make it to the first relay point before dusk. Lee stared anxiously at the trapdoor down to the lower level, as if he could conjure up the Chuunin in charge of the Information Desk through willpower alone.

After a couple of minutes, Lee’s instincts prickled. He glanced up to find Gaara staring at him. Or rather, staring at Lee’s fingers fretfully tapping against the table. Lee forced himself to stop.

“What are you waiting for? The dispatch to Konoha is already sealed and ready to go,” Gaara said, keeping his voice low to avoid scaring the birds. He was wiping his hands on a rag to clean up the traces of blood from his fingers.

“Well, I was hoping to slip in a letter. A personal letter.” Lee waved the small scroll he held. “But if the Chuunin doesn’t come back quickly, he won’t have time to inspect it before the carrier bird to Konoha has to leave. And I have to go soon, too.”

“You have that B-rank mission to the Southern Flats.”

“That’s the one.”

“Is your letter important?”

“Well, no. I could just send it by regular mail…” Lee looked mournfully at his own studiously neat writing, tightly crammed onto the lightweight rice-paper scroll. “It’s just a letter to Gai-sensei. But it takes three days to get to the Flats, then three days back. I’ll be gone a week, and he was going to leave on a mission on Tuesday-“

“Give it to me. I’ll inspect it.” Gaara held out a hand without turning around, his eyes on one of the hawks which was apparently trying to outstare him (Lee’s money wasn’t on the bird).

“But…” Lee hesitated, his fingers playing with the scroll’s edge. “That’s the Chuunin’s job. I can’t ask you to-“

Gaara snapped his outstretched fingers without looking around. Lee shrugged mentally and walked over with the letter. He’d gotten used to the way Gaara could go beyond curt at times. The Kazekage wasn’t deliberately rude to people, but he didn’t embarrass himself with courtesies, either. There was a good chance he didn’t really know what they were, or how they fit into human interaction.

Oh well, there was nothing in that scroll he wouldn’t want Gaara to read. And it wasn’t as if Gaara’s authority didn’t largely supersede that of the Chuunin who should normally be doing this.

Gaara dropped the bloody rag, took the letter without a word and held it up to the afternoon sunshine to inspect it for markings or pinpoints. Then he scanned the sentences quickly, looking for anything that could be code. He would be memorizing the words to transcribe for the Information Desk later, and the copy would be kept for cross-referencing by code specialists. Lee wasn’t particularly upset by any of this; this formality was a standard procedure for visiting Shinobi in any Hidden Village. But he was watching Gaara carefully and wondering if Gaara would notice-

Gaara’s eyes twitched as his own name caught his attention. The swift scan of the letter slowed as he started to actually focus and read.

“Erm, Gai-sensei always enquires about you,” Lee said, a bit embarrassed for no reason he could properly explain. “I give him updates on you, Temari-san and Kankuro. Er, only non-classified information, of course.”

Gaara was staring at the small paragraph (which didn’t say much more than that the Kazekage was doing fine, still sparring with Lee and his speed was improving).

“Why?” he asked, in that flat way of his that seemed to make it more a statement than a question.

“Why what?”

“I nearly killed you twice. He had to stop me both times. Why would he want news about me? Unless he’s hoping you’ll tell him I’ve suddenly dropped dead,” Gaara added, voice indifferent.

“What?! No!” Lee squawked; all the fowls in the aviary chimed in, disturbed by the sudden noise.

“No,” Lee repeated, lowering his voice against a background of ruffled feathers. “He doesn’t hold a grudge about the Chuunin exam any more than I do. And he knows you saved my life. He’s asking about you because he’s met you, and because we spar and work together. He’s just interested in the people I know,” Lee finished lamely. This wasn’t something that should need explaining, in his book.

“Because you were important to him…” Gaara said slowly, staring at the letter as if trying to decrypt some hidden code concealed in Lee’s enthusiastic description of his missions and everyday life.

“Yes.”

“You write to each other often.” It wasn't a question. The Kazekage would know what kind of correspondence a foreign Jounin sent and received out of his village.

“Almost every week,” Lee said happily.

“Why? He has a new Genin team now. He no longer needs you.”

Lee winced. This was another reason people tended not to talk with Gaara much.

Gaara could be cruel, in his cold, hard way, though most of the time that cruelty wasn’t intentional. He just had very little empathy for other people. He’d say things in that direct, cutting manner of his without always realizing how much it might smart.

And sometimes he did realize that what he said might hurt, and he’d say it anyway. Gaara had spent the first twelve years of his life as a weapon, as someone who killed with absolutely no mercy and even a sort of hungry pleasure. When Lee thought about it, the changes Gaara had wrought on his own personality were amazing and worthy of huge respect. But that didn’t mean there weren’t some rough edges left. Gaara was the kind of guy who once used the Desert Coffin as the easiest way of ending an argument; by comparison, leaving his audience with a few verbal bruises probably didn’t seem like such a big deal to him.

This attitude wasn't helped by his people, who, good Shinobi that they were, never showed any emotions beyond deference or the slightest trace of wary caution. If one of them had told Gaara to cut it out from time to time, it would probably have taught him a lot. His siblings did so occasionally, but only when he'd really pushed them; they weren't in the village much anyway.

And then there was Lee. Lee, who never backed down from his principles or a fight. Particularly when his pride or his teacher or another point of honour had been ruffled. Lee opened his mouth, then shut it as he reined in the first few words that came to mind. He didn't have the time for an argument right now, and besides, his instincts were telling him that this time the cut had been truly unintentional on Gaara's behalf.

“Gai-sensei and I are no longer teacher and pupil, that’s true," Lee declared with a dramatically extended finger pointed in the direction of Konoha; he ignored the hungry look the nearest hawk gave the digit. "But that doesn't mean we don't need each other any more, or have forsaken each other! We shared many hardships together, and he taught me all about life and Taijutsu. The miles may separate us, we may not see each other for months on end, but we share a beautiful friendship that will last forever!”

“You sometimes sound just like him, too,” Gaara muttered, his eyes flicking over the rest of the letter.

“The bond between master and disciple is very strong,” Lee agreed. “It shapes your entire life.”

Gaara turned towards the Information Desk.

“I wouldn’t know,” he said, reaching for the inkpot and brushes. “I never had any teachers. Only caretakers. All but one of them is dead.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Lee said sincerely, but without much surprise. It was a Shinobi’s lot. “Did they fall in the line of duty?” he added politely.

“In a way.”

“In a way? What happened?”

“I did.”

Lee took a second to figure it out. Then he stared at Gaara’s profile, aghast.

The green eyes slowly rose to meet his without a flinch; cold as glass, they searched his face. Gaara often watched him like this. As if he expected something from Lee, as if were searching for something, some reaction. Maybe some sign of fear or disgust.

Lee knew about the Old Gaara; he'd met him close up and personal, after all. That creature still lurked, carefully leashed and suppressed, at the back of those green eyes. It was the young man who went for walks in the sandstorms, with Lee following at a prudent distance. Lee was very cautious with that Gaara whenever he showed up, and he didn’t like him much or approach him. But he wasn’t afraid of him. The difference between caution and fear might seem fine. Maybe it was as fine as the difference between a teacher and a ‘caretaker’. It was just as vital though.

“I’m sorry you never had a real sensei,” Lee said quietly, but perfectly honestly. In Lee’s opinion, that Old Gaara could have really done with a Gai-sensei in his life.

Gaara's searching gaze turned into something more familiar; that blank look he often gave Lee, as if he was trying to understand a sentence in a foreign language he could only master after interpreting it into his own. Finally he looked away with a slight frown, as if what Lee had said still didn't make much sense, even after translation.

He leaned over the desk and signed his name in the margin of Lee’s letter, adding ‘Inspected. Send this now’ at the bottom. That’d give the desk Chuunin a turn when he got back.

“Thank you,” Lee said. Gaara didn’t answer. Civilities were not Gaara’s forte. He probably didn’t see the point.

Lee made sure the letter was visible on the desk and then shouldered his backpack and turned to go. Gaara had walked back over to the birds. As Lee glanced at him, Gaara slowly extended a finger towards one of the hawks he'd fed. The bird bobbed its head and clicked its beak - Lee tensed - but finally it let Gaara gently smooth the feathers along its chest.

According to Kankuro, the first time Gaara had set foot in the aviary the whole flock had gone absolutely berserk. It might have been the smell of blood in the sand, or it might have simply been instinct.

With the new determination he'd acquired after his fight with Naruto, Gaara had persisted. The doves and pigeons still went crazy if he got too close, but the predators let him feed them now, and the bolder ones even took the meat from his fingers and let him handle them.

Gaara looked at the hawk leaning into his touch with something like grim recognition in his eyes. Lee didn't think Gaara was capable of joy, but the Kazekage could acknowledge his achievements. He'd formed a small bond with a living creature, he'd eradicated a bit of fear.

It was pretty much the same way he treated Sunagakure, Lee found himself thinking; like something to protect, care for and slowly domesticate. Something to link to, even if he never hoped to get much out of it in return beyond a validation of his blood-soaked existence. It filled Lee with a diffuse sadness he couldn't quite define.

I'm being fanciful today, he thought, shaking his head. Time to go.

Despite his timetable, Lee found himself examining the young man reaching for one of the kestrels. The bird was inching away nervously.

"Hey, Gaara."

Gaara let his hand drop and glanced over his shoulder.

Lee had absolutely no clue what to say. He knew what he wanted to say, but 'Cheer up' would be stupid, insensitive, unrealistic and likely to get him sandblasted to boot. What right did he have to comment on Gaara's mood, anyway? He didn't know all the details of Gaara's past, but he knew enough; even half of it would have crushed Lee long ago.

Gaara was looking at him inquiringly, so Lee stuck out an enthusiastic thumb and winked: "I'll work hard on my mission. And I'll see you in a week! I’ll miss our sparring while I’m gone. But I’ll try to think up a counter to that blow of yours, the one with the three prongs of sand. I’ll defeat you this time!"

Gaara stared at Lee’s thumb. Lee held the pose for a few seconds, then he saluted and headed towards the stairs, not expecting anything in the way of farewells.

“I’ll miss our sparring too.”

Lee stumbled to a halt and stared. Gaara had turned his back to him and was petting the kestrel now; it had apparently lost its fear and was trying to nibble on his fingers.

“Wh-what?” Lee felt sure he must have misheard. Or maybe Suna’s aviary had a parrot in one of the back cages, because surely Gaara couldn’t have said-

“Our sparring. I’ll miss it too,” Gaara repeated. He said it slowly, as if tasting the words and finding them strange and not quite to his taste, but not enough to spit them out again.

Lee remembered the day - the very second - when Neji had admitted that he 'didn't really mind' Lee's constant challenges. He remembered how that felt. Well, this was even better. Especially since he knew Gaara truly meant it; the positive side of Gaara's habit of complete and brutal honesty was that he didn't know how to pay empty compliments. Odds were, he didn't even know what they were.

It was like a great, big bright ball of enthusiasm bursting in Lee's chest.

"I'll be there and back before you know it! Right! If I try hard, I can make the trip in only one day! See you soon!"

Lee ignored the stairs and jumped straight out the open window with his usual enthusiasm. He thought he heard a sharp 'Lee' behind him as he bounced down the wall and onto the flat roof of a shed, but then his feet hit the ground and he didn't have a second to lose. If he couldn't make it to the Southern Flats in one day, he would perform three thousand-

"Lee!"

Lee froze. So did half the people in and around the administration building. In living memory, nobody here had heard the Kazekage shout.

Gaara was leaning out the window of the Communication room, a frown wrinkling the mark on his forehead, but to Lee who'd looked back up, startled, he didn't seem seriously angry.

"Take three days on the trip, coming and going. Do not run like a maniac or open Gates to get there with any unreasonable speed," Gaara ordered in a dire tone.

"But I could-"

"Lee."

"Oh okay."

Gaara gave Lee one last stern look, daring him to disobey, before he turned back to the birds who were probably throwing up a ruckus after that shout.

Lee trotted obediently until he was out of sight of the admin building, then he broke into a fast run. Gaara had said no 'unreasonable' speed, but the Southern Flats and Konoha were both the same distance from Suna, and Lee had made the Konoha-Sunagakure trip in two days when he’d first arrived, so that wasn’t unreasonable. And he didn’t want to waste any time if he could help it.

Because he really would miss the sparring if he stayed away longer than necessary. And the aloof, changeable, brutally honest sparring partner too; just a little bit.



End Part Four



Since this is Lee's POV, Gaara's personality is coming to light only slowly, through Lee's perceptions. This chapter should draw in more of the blanks in Gaara's characterisation.

(Completely random sidenote: Yes, I know that hawks and such are territorial birds with little to no homing instinct, and that they'd probably make crap carrier birds. But that's what they used in the manga, and the images in this chapter caught my imagination. We're dealing with Shinobi, anyway; the guys who can train attack bugs and grow bees the size of Mothra. They could teach a hawk to carry messages. They could probably teach a cat to tap-dance while they're at it.)



 
 
 
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( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
RESPECTAWIGGLE MUDDIGGLEelfiepike on September 24th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC)
seeing a new chapter of this makes me seriously happy. and i love how the theme of this fic may well end up being "hard work wins gaara's love!" even though lee totally isn't working hard to be gaara's friend, he's just being lee.


...aaah, i love them both so much and you really do them justice. <3
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 26th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
Actually that could very well be the subtitle of the fic. Persistence, determination, hard work...Lee's the master. Glad to hear I do them justice ^_^ Lee's fairly easy, once I found the line between him being, well, Lee, and a parody. Gaara's much harder. Hopefully I can keep him to character in the coming chapters!
tokagemusume on September 24th, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)

"The difference between caution and fear might seem fine. Maybe it was as fine as the difference between a teacher and a ‘caretaker’. It was just as vital though."

Yes. Nicely put. I'm so looking forward to these installments already.
Do people really beat you up about things like carrier-hawks? *snigger* Straining at gnats!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 26th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Re: 偖
No, actually, not many people beat me up over tiny details, and sometimes I wish they would :P It's how I notice and correct small flaws (and bigger ones too, though those are harder to correct), is when someone points them out. But whne it comes to details, I'm my own worst obssessive critic ^_~ I just had to put that sort of disclaimer in.

Glad you like the fic! Next part probably up this week sometime. ANd I have another GaaraLee fic to post soon. And then I wonder where all my spare time goes to :P
joisbishmyogajoisbishmyoga on September 24th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
*speechless* Gaara... socute... and he'll miss Lee... and he shouted... and... and... and he found out Gai wants to know how he is... and I'm abusing ellipses. Um. Yes. I love this fic. All of them, but this one tops at the moment.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 26th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)
*waves sign with 'Save the Ellipses' on it*

It's my favorite fic too at the moment (hence all the work that's going into it when I should be spreading myself a bit more evenly *guilty*) but the two just have such a great interplay. I find them both addictive ^_^
This feather may look worthless...: gaara btchplzsilverkiiri on September 24th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
I love Gaara so much! ::huggles the crazy kazekage:: This fic is so wonderful! Like all the WIPs on here, I can't wait for more! ::lub::
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 26th, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
*lubs right back* Glad you like my version of Gaara. He's hard to write, actually, since he's changed a lot in the manga, and we don't have many scenes with the new version. But I'm having fun trying to find out how he'd behave ^_^
(no subject) - silverkiiri on September 26th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maldoror_gw on September 26th, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - silverkiiri on September 26th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
babaca: Kakashi (from dj Shinyou by Arch Media)babaca on September 24th, 2005 05:19 pm (UTC)
Nice bonding chapter. I liked Gaara trying (and failing) to get Lee not to do his goofball fast as he can approach to mission completions.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 26th, 2005 12:19 pm (UTC)
Lee wouldn't be Lee if he could be talked out of being an occasional goofball ^_^ Gaara will probably learn this eventually. Glad you liked it!
LittleBlackBowlittleblackbow on September 24th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
Wow. I love this fic so much. I could almost imagine Lee's expression when he said he'd miss their battles. ^^ Can't wait for more!!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 29th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
Glad you loved it ^_^ I find Lee's dialogues fairly easy to write, because he has a great style in the series. Gaara's a bit harder to pin down, especially after the changes in the manga, but Lee's a great foil for him!
(no subject) - littleblackbow on September 29th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maldoror_gw on October 1st, 2005 04:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...: red floweredenfalling on September 24th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
Or, as Kankuro put it: 'Brutal. You should get your head examined'.

Which was silly; Lee's head was perfectly fine. Gaara was practicing his control, as well as his speed and power, and he'd never aim for anything as vital as Lee's skull.


*hugs Lee to itty bitty pieces*

Plus, he's still noticing Gaara's clothes. And Gaara will miss him! And Gaara knows enough to tell him not to kill himself running fast! (Even if it didn't completely work.) Gaara cares enough to raise his voice and startle other people, just to make sure he gets through to Lee.

*dances*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 29th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, Lee's still noticing Gaara's clothing. At one point- in a year or two - Lee might actually come to realize that this is a bit strange...*rolls eyes*

The shonen ai hints have to be seen through electron microscopy, but they are there :P It's 99% friendship (sort of) for now, but that's about to change in a few more chapters.
Illucienillucien on September 24th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC)
I was extremely happy to see part four right after doing a really grueling social assignment, I think this is the best part of my day so far ^^

I loved this chapter, it was cute, sad, funny it had everything. Can't wait for more!!!
**** Sends Much Love****

...And eleven parts! that makes me so :DDD *squee*.

Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 29th, 2005 12:21 pm (UTC)
Actually, on second count, it'll be more like thirteen parts. Maybe a couple more. All short, for the most part, so it's a nice break for me :P

Glad you liked the chapter! Cute, sad and funny was what I was aiming for ^_^
Proud_Snapist: slytherinproud_snapist on September 24th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC)
I've always felt an intangible sadness that is a part of Gaara that is irreversible and permanent. The same sadness that is somehow filled in every nook and cranny that is Gaara's character. You've displayed that so very well...it aches. The dynamics between Gaara and Lee are incredible, and you've done a great job in their evolution. It's like a development by leaps and bounds in just a few sentences, nothing that is completely apparent but the feeling of the text, the images, the emotions (or lack thereof) involved, speaks volumes and whole novels. Great job.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 28th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean by Gaara's sadness. I think Gaara and Naruto's evolutions are the best part of the manga. In a way, it's made worst by the fact that he faces it head-on and tries his best as Kazekage, instead of moping around like some people *coughSasukecough* He won't even bother to mope. It's beyond that.

That's why he works so well with Lee. You can see right through Lee, all the way to that big kind heart of his. I don't need to belabour their interaction. I just put them together in a scene and let them interact, and there they are ^_^ Glad you like it!
Alisonsonnie_skies on September 24th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
thanks for updating! now i have another part to re-read until part five comes out...hopefully soon.

i absolutely adore kankurou and his sarcasm!

the bonding part was excellent...even though it was a difficult chapter, be proud of it! and seriously, the amounts of comments you've gotten so far (and this has been posted for how long?) probably and hopefully make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 27th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC)
I'm so warm and fuzzy, I'm in danger of turning into an electric blanket ^_~ I am really glad people seem to like this fic so much, including some people who aren't really into the whole Gaara/Lee pairing. It makes the work definitely worthwhile ^_^

I love down-to-earth, cynical Kankuro too. He doesn't appear much in this fic anymore, and I was wondering if I could bring him back a bit somehow.
(Anonymous) on September 24th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
"Lee’s money wasn’t on the bird."

'Cause Gaara makes it better !

“You sometimes sound just like him, too,” Gaara muttered,"

Absolutely dies laughing :)

Choelera.

Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 27th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ I don't know why I find the Gaara/Lee pairing so easy to write with humour; there's so much tragedy on Gaara's side, but I guess Lee's enough to counter that!
Emithe_loud_monk on September 25th, 2005 12:41 am (UTC)
“In a way? What happened?”

“I did.”


I don't know why those two sentences were so deep @___@


I loved how you made Gaara yell for Lee and tell him to not over-exert himself (or run too fast or whatever x3 ) But It was really interesting! The idea of Gaara feeding the birds xDD AHAHAHAH <3 Much love!

I still love your characterizations and did I say I loved them? BECAUSE I DO.
Majorly.
WITH LOTSA LOVE

It's so perfect *__*

I'll try drawing fanart for you, but I can't promise anything good x3
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 27th, 2005 12:23 pm (UTC)
*feels loved* Aww thanks ^_^ I imagine that Gaara, even the more mature version, would not feel particularly guilty about his past murders. He's not really human enough yet. But he's human enough to care that Lee's planning to bust a gut to get to his mission three times faster; there's hope ^_^
Chaosorder_of_chaos on September 25th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC)
Squee!

It was exhilarating! Or, as Kankuro put it: 'Brutal. You should get your head examined'.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 27th, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
Lol, yeah, I guess Kankuro puts it best :D (He seems to be the guy in Sand who has his head screwed on the right way at least)
(no subject) - order_of_chaos on September 27th, 2005 09:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kiyakotarikiyakotari on September 25th, 2005 02:06 am (UTC)
...My brain is pretty much dead from lack of sleep at the moment. So...commmenting = not my strong point right now.

But I DID love that. Especially the shout, and the...damn, I just loved it. I'm not awake enough to pick things to bits.

Can't wait for more, of course.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 27th, 2005 12:19 pm (UTC)
Sleep deprivation bites; I should know, after nearly three years on night shift (mind you, I seemed to write a lot more back then, then I do now that I'm living normal hours...)

Glad you liked it, and Gaara's little touch of concern for Lee ^_~ Now get some rest!
Lrayvah on September 25th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
This is so great! Lee is so cute! You write them both very well. V.V. excited about next installment!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 27th, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you like them ^_^ Next installement should be out by this weekend.
(Anonymous) on September 25th, 2005 09:39 am (UTC)
Just discovered your fics today. Am rather in love. Am stalking your journal. May sound more coherent when it is not 2 AM.

Also?

Which was silly; Lee's head was perfectly fine. Gaara was practicing his control, as well as his speed and power, and he'd never aim for anything as vital as Lee's skull.

For a guy with black hair, Lee can be really blonde sometimes. But then, that's why we love him (well, that and the kicking ass part).
acechan on September 25th, 2005 09:41 am (UTC)
Er, that was me. Stupid LJ decided to log me out all on its own....
(no subject) - maldoror_gw on September 28th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Doewiebeledoewiebele on September 25th, 2005 09:48 am (UTC)
Loved this chapter! Very in character!

*stuff your face with more cookies*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 28th, 2005 12:21 pm (UTC)
*chomps and mumbles some 'thank yous'*
Admantiusadmantius on September 25th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
I had intended to reply to this earlier, but never got around to it. I was drawing ^_~. But I love this story, as I love all of your work, and can't wait for the next bit. Either this, or Freeport, or Long Time Man, or Source, or ANBU, or... you know, I'll just stop talking now. Whichever one you update next will me me forever happy. Or at least satisfied enough until the next bit comes out.

Cheers!
~Admantius
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 28th, 2005 12:21 pm (UTC)
I had intended to reply to this earlier, but never got around to it. I was drawing ^_~.

That's okay. You go right ahead and draw some more ^_^ *waits patiently for next page*

Probably another small part of DR will be out next, then Freeport if my beta can get it to me. Then I'll see where my bunnies take me :)
Battle Angel Productionsalita_b_angel on September 25th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC)
Exactly the kind of crack I needed today. Lee is just so goddamn CUTE. I love Gaara's subtle domestication with his birds. He might even try for a rock garden next, I bet he can make some lovely shapes out of that. I always like how your characters seem to fit together so well. Lee, despite being Lee doesn't push it, and Gaara seems so truly... not exactly HAPPY, but... content to let Lee fill the space in his life. And good ol' Mal humour. It's that tiny line of OOC humour that makes it pure brillance.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on September 28th, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
I love Gaara's subtle domestication with his birds. He might even try for a rock garden next

Yes, Gaara's a bit rough and edgy still, but he should be able to domesticate a rock.

(Sorry, didn't sleep last night, that does strange and surreal things to my sense of humour. I've written very good fics on sleep deprivation ^_^)

Domesticate a Rock. Geez, I didn't even realize there was a pun in there until I was about to hit Submit.

The post-time-jump Gaara struck me as a lot more steady and patient than the old one. That Gaara has found something - protecting Suna - to sort of fill the hole, even if it takes time. It's made him in no hurry to move forward and try for something closer with another person. Fortunately, Lee is stubborn ^_^
love and joy and hijinks: ::buttprint!:: [mine]permetaform on September 28th, 2005 08:08 am (UTC)
::CHEERS YOU ON LIKE WHOA:: I will have you know that seeing you update this totally made today be shiny. Thank you.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 1st, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
I'm glad to make any day shiny ^_^ Hopefully another update soon (as soon as I can work out this last lil' thing that's nor working, grrr)
renel on September 29th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
I couldn't find your email address to send you this comemnt, so I'm delurking for now.

Oh the love!!

You have no idea how long I waited for a multi chapters leegaara’s fic.
I searched until I just give up. Then, I don't know a few days a go I saw
this fic on the leegaara group and I couldn't believe it was true! Then I started
reading, and oh the love...

I don't think you need to worry about Gaara and Lee being ooc, I
think you did a wonderful job. Gaara puzzling over Lee's
personalities. And Lee, being Lee. I don't know how
else to explain it.

Then part where Gaara was starring at Lee in the training ground– no shirt
and *brain melted*. The part where Lee went into the sand storm because it
just wrong for Gaara to be alone out there (I would have wanted to see Gaara’s
reaction to that or what happen the next day– did Gaara give Lee lecture for
being stupid or would that be just another puzzle about Lee that he needs to
figure out. Also his reaction to seeing his brother out there also.)
This chapter when Gaara shouted out the window-- ohmygosh!! It's like a major
turning point. :) And Lee! He doesn't even know that his heart has already
been taken. *melts* I'm so in love with this story you have crafted. I can't wait
for more.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 1st, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
*happy blush* Glad you liked it ^_^

THe 'day after' that storm scene is indeed an interesting subject. I wondered myself; at one point I was thinking of writing it. I think Gaara would tell Lee that it was a stupid idea. And he'd just stare at Kankuro ('you're my brother, you KNEW it was a stupid idea, wtf were YOU doing out there'). He'd be puzzled either way, and not very happy. He's under a lot of control these days, so he'd be nervous about what he might do when he lets that slip.

Lee's definitely got the bug; he just needs a few hits with the clue bat to realize it. Coming eventually. Right now it's still at a friendship level, but there's the seeds of more there, as you noticed.

Next chapter out this weekend, normally. And the actual yaoi side of things starting in a couple more parts.
(no subject) - renel on October 1st, 2005 06:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
JBMcDragonjbmcdragon on October 13th, 2005 10:23 pm (UTC)
*grins* I love you.

So, I was over on aff.net (where I saw this, and left a longish review complete with archival request for Hidden Village, btw) and then I was like, "Hey! Wait! I think I know this author!" and came running over here to hunt down your LJ in the hopes that there would be more fic.

And there was! Ah, happy day!

There are so many good descriptions in here--you really have a way with words, and a great handle on Lee. I keep marvelling at it. *laughs* I have *such* a hard time writing Gai that this really impresses me--it's the earnestness and bluster and sometimes obliviousness, and yet he doens't seem stupid or make me want to roll my eyes. Well, roll my eyes *much.* *grins*

The image with the sandwiches--way back in the first chapter--has stayed with me, btw. I think because just for a moment there, out of his robes and eating something, Gaara seemed so *human.*

I love this. I really do. Oh! Also, I have (too many) birds. And, man, they act *just like that.* It kills me to read these descriptions. Especially the inching away--most birds don't like to be petted (really, what comes down from above on them in the wild? Nothing friendly!), so unless they're *really* petted a lot, they tend to inch like that. *laughs*

And, hey, you can use hawks as messenger birds. You'd just have to train them to go to a specific place, whereas pigeons 'go home' instinctively. But hawks you could train to go to *more* than one place, and they're certainly smart enough to learn. ;) So, it all works out. There you go. You can pretend like you knew all that and planned it. ;-D

J
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 14th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)
Glad you like it! It IS hard to write Lee (and Gai). I thought they were parodies in the series, until Kishimoto gave them one of the most touching scenes there is, and then I was like, whoa. I try to do them justice, and I think I'm getting the hang of Lee's speech/though pattern now. He's great fun to write ^_^

I am also very fond of those sandwiches :P Gaara is still scary, possibly dangerous and mentally injured, but he's human and he's got to eat like everybody else. When you work all day then all night and don't sleep, raiding the kitchen is probably justifiable.

You can train hawks to carry messages? Huh, I learn something new every day 0_0 It wasn't my idea to use hawks, 'twas Kishimoto-sama's plot detail :P But I feel better for using it now.

Feel free to archive, and thank you so much for asking ^_^ (This and Drunken Fist as well) The good news is that DR really should be finished, because I have the various chapters pretty much plotted out and just need to write them.
(no subject) - jbmcdragon on October 15th, 2005 03:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
silvarwyrmsilvarwyrm on February 8th, 2006 02:40 am (UTC)
Hey, good job on this fic! I'm hooked already...

I like the very careful characterizations. Gaara and Lee are both difficult characters to write - the former isn't going to feel real unless one deals with the question of mental instability, and the latter is too tempting as comic relief. I like the way you're developing them.

One minor comment, though - I thought Gaara's eyes were blue...? Artistic license trumps all, of course, but I think you've got them as blue in Chapter 1 as well ;)
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 8th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ The characterisation is delicate, since I wanted to keep their personality quirks, but also translate it into characters that could have a deeper dimension, who felt real. So I'm always chuffed when people say they 'feel' they're reading Lee and Gaara ^_^

Ah, the eyes. When I first watched Naruto, I coulda sworn Gaara's eyes were blue. But later on, they look more green. All the sites I checked said 'Green', so I changed it to green. I thought I'd changed it in that first chapter already *goes to fix*
Hakkai_duohakkai_duo on February 21st, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
Ok I finally broke down and started reading DR. Though I am still somewhat of a N00b in the world of Naruto (I have only read up to Lee and Garra's fight in the Chunin, right before Lee does the whole Ferky Gate opening thing) But so far the authors I have read (Mostly just you and Asukerian (ahh I can never remember how to spell her name -.-;;) have made it easy to understand and fill in the gaps. Which I like! Cause this series rocks and I want to know much as I can about it! On DR, hehe I really like it. You have a gift to make me Love characters I don't really like ^.^ Like Lee, I dunno, somthing about him is just strage, but ehehe Add Gaara *glomps him* and Lee is pretty cool. It's an interesting story, and I can't wait to read more. hehehhe
Favorite parts:

“Give it here. I’ll inspect it.” Gaara held out a hand without turning around, his eyes on one of the hawks which was apparently trying to outstare him (Lee’s money wasn’t on the bird).

I don't know much about Gaara but really does seem spot on.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Lee said sincerely, but without much surprise. It was a Shinobi’s lot. “Did they fall in the line of duty?” he added politely.

“In a way.”

“In a way? What happened?”

“I did.”


Awww Poor Gaara.....*cuddles him and gets sandblasted* ow....

Anyway I have babbled enough, keep up the good work! *runs off to read more*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 24th, 2006 05:36 am (UTC)
If you're still working your way through Naruto, you're in for a treat ^__^ There's some kickass fights comin' along, and Lee comes into his own later. Gaara too, as a matter of fact, plus you get the whole story of Gaara's childhood trauma. Apparently you can't be a good Shinobi if you don't have a childhood trauma. It's some sort of prerequisite.

Glad you liked the chapter ^_^ This one had a quiet atmosphere and a sobriety that I like and rarely achieve, as I tend to write too much...
YOSH! It's Mogura!: Gaara;OMGWTFNOmogurachan on April 1st, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
-Sniggers at the idea of a tap-cancing nin-cat.-

I still love this chapter, by the way. <3
( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
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