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01 October 2005 @ 09:40 am
Naruto fic: Diplomatic Relations, Part Five  
Another part of DR.

Warnings: Spoilers, including for current manga arc, and some knowledge assumed about Gaara's past as described in the manga. A bit of wild speculation about how the current manga arc will resolve itself. Also, less humour and more darkness in this chapter. The humour is back full force in the next part though ^_^

If you don't want to read this part because of the spoilers, that's no problem. You can skip this one pretty safely. So far all the parts are pretty much standalone.

Rating: PG13 for language.




Disclaimer: I keep forgetting to put these in, but nobody seriously believes that 'Naruto' could belong to me, right? The characters, situations and various demons belong to Kishimoto-san and a host of publishers, distributors and corporations with mean, scary lawyers.

AN: Huge thanks for all the reviews by the way; I know I sometimes take a few days to respond, but that's due to timecrunch and my employer's policy of internet access surveillance (inevitable when you have a bunch of highly trained geeks under your orders...who knows what they could get up to with unsupervised internet access). I read them all happily, and respond eventually, and they give me the warm fuzzies that my plot bunnies seem to thrive on.



Part Five: Complicated.



"Fuzzy-brows!"

Lee absently dodged a kunai and looked over in delight. "Naruto-kun! I was hoping you'd make it back before I had to leave!"

"I just got in an hour ago. Sakura-chan told me you were in Konoha, so I ran over. No prizes for guessing where you'd be; same old training field. How you doing?"

Naruto's friendly slap on the shoulder would have sent a normal man flying several feet. Lee didn't give an inch, of course, and neither did Naruto when Lee returned the greeting. In the background, TenTen snorted something about 'idiotic males' and put away her training weapons.

"Lee, I'm going to leave you two chuckleheads to catch up," she said over her shoulder as she headed out of the clearing. "I'll be running north of here, near the river, if you have time to join me; otherwise I'll see you this evening at Neji's."

"Sure thing!" Lee waved at her until she vanished in a burst of displaced air, then he turned towards Naruto. "How was your mission?"

"Same as usual. Some idiots trying to shake down a village on the border. A few easy fights, a couple of missing nin sent back to their Hidden Villages with their asses in their hands...We made it home two days early, it was so boring."

Lee gave Naruto an appraising look. His friend hadn’t changed a bit. Big open grin, a demeanour brimming with self-assurance, and under the Jounin vest lurked an orange jumpsuit, as discreet and capable of camouflage as a bull elephant on the rampage.

Lee hadn’t realized how homesick he was until a mission had sent him back to Konoha. It had been wonderful to see Gai-sensei again. Their reunion had been noisy, tearful and beautiful beyond words; half the village had stopped to watch in amazement, in fact.

He’d also seen Sakura-san again, when she wasn't busy with her duties to Tsunade-sama. She'd progressed even more in the past few months, and he'd been proud to see how strong she'd become. He'd also trained with Neji, TenTen and some of the other Chuunin and Jounin of his generation. He'd just needed to see Naruto and make sure he was doing well too. Lee was due back in Sunagakure by the end of the week; he could leave with a light heart now.

"So, how's Gaara?" Naruto asked after they'd caught up on eight month's worth of news. They'd wandered over to the heights above the village, to get away from the training grounds where a noisy Jounin versus Jounin capture-the-flag match was starting.

"Gaara? He's..."

Lee hesitated over the word 'fine'. There'd been another sandstorm last month and he'd followed Gaara again. He'd gotten a bit too close, accidentally stepping into the small eye of the storm around the Kazekage. Lee must have been beneath the other's notice at the time; Gaara hadn't looked up from the wind-blown sand curling around his fingers, taking strange and disturbing shapes in his palm. He was talking to it softly and smiling...Lee had very carefully backed away, until the harsh wind was once more beating against him.

"He's..."

In Lee’s mind, little pictures kept flashing by, along with the memory of that crazed smile. He could see Gaara peeling an orange, sitting at his desk at midnight in a mesh vest with the Kazekage robe tossed over a nearby chair...the crooked upturn of the corner of Gaara’s mouth when he'd scored a good strike on Lee during a match...

“He’s in good health. Physically.”

…Standing on a rooftop at sunset looking over Sunagakure, serious, protective...Cold green eyes as he ordered Kankuro on an S-rank mission...His silence until his brother showed up again, late but unharmed...

“Not that he’s unhealthy in any other way. I didn’t mean that. I meant he’s, er…”

…Looking out at the desert, eyes dead and bleak for a few moments...Watching over his people who respected him and feared him and liked him and avoided him, the emotions washing around Gaara and barely touching him, like words in a language he couldn’t understand…

"He’s...complicated," Lee concluded with a hefty sigh.

Naruto stopped walking and examined Lee curiously. That look struck Lee as familiar. Naruto and Gaara were as different as the sun and the moon. But that gaze that seemed to be searching for something it expected to find...that was almost exactly the same, he realized, though in Naruto it wasn't quite as open or obvious. It was Lee's familiarity with Gaara's version that allowed him to recognize it.

"Naruto-kun, what's it like-..."

"Hmm?" Naruto looked brightly back at Lee who’d abruptly stopped in the middle of his question.

"I'm sorry, I was going to ask you something really personal."

"If it's about Sakura-chan, don't worry, mate, there's nothing between us."

"No, it wasn’t that!" Lee yelped, embarrassed.

"If it's about Sasuke, there's nothing between them either-“

“No! It wasn’t about-“

“- and he's too tired to go and flirt anyway. I'm working his bastard ass off," Naruto added with a hard smirk.

"And loving every minute of it," Lee guessed, distracted from both his initial question and Naruto's speculations.

"His fault for bailing! And for not being here when you, me n' Sakura-chan joined forces and aced the Jounin test together. He's got to obey rank if he wants to keep his parole. And that means jump when his Jounin commander, Uzumaki Naruto, says so. He hates it so much, it makes my day."

Lee wisely said nothing. In truth, he could feel some rather complicated bonds weaving between Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke, since the latter’s return. Ties of friendship, anger, brotherhood and pain. He'd offered Sakura-san a chivalrous shoulder to cry on, so he knew some of the details, but there were depths here between the three of them that he didn't feel qualified to enter.

Naruto glanced at Lee, then made a 'follow me' gesture. He jumped into a tree and bounced through the canopy with Lee at his heels. He leapt from a branch and plummeted downwards into thin air, landing with a thump on a rocky outcropping. Lee followed, and realized they'd landed on the monument, specifically on the Fourth's head.

"Hello, old man!" Naruto said, flopping down and thumping the rock with complete lack of respect, then he looked at Lee who'd crouched down beside him. "What did you want to ask me, Fuzzy-brows?"

Lee hesitated, but now the question was running around the inside of his skull like a rat in a cage.

"Feel free to not answer this, but…" Lee took a breath and then finished in a rush, "what's it like being the Kyuubi host?"

For the briefest instant Naruto's smile flickered, but then it was steady again.

"Wow, that's a direct question. But also kinda complicated. Is this about Gaara?"

"Yes," Lee answered. "I guess I'm trying to understand him a bit better."

"Are you two friends?" Naruto idly drew a kunai and started scratching at the rock he was sitting on. The question sounded casual, but Lee thought Naruto was listening to him attentively.

Were he and Gaara friends...?

"I don’t know," Lee said honestly, and the small dash of regret he felt at that admission startled him. "I mean, I get on with him alright. I’d like to be his friend. I think he’s-"

Intense? Strong? Serious? Kind, on occasion? Bat-shit crazy when the wind starts to blow?

“He's...er…”

"I see Gaara’s still got it," Naruto snickered. “Of course he’s the Kazekage, too, that makes things awkward.”

"Not as much as you’d think." Lee rubbed the back of his head. "He doesn’t seem to want me to treat him with respect. I did try at the start- not right at the start, because I sort of forgot when I first saw him. I tried to treat him diplomatically afterwards, but he gets a bit short when I call him Kazekage-sama. And he’s already told me on several occasions he doesn’t want a yes-man. I think he’d rather have someone to spar with and talk to normally. Even argue with him, which I know sounds weird, but nobody else in the village does, and-"

"You guys argue?" Naruto asked loudly, glancing up from the stone he was carving, his eyebrows arched up to his forehead protector. Lee hesitated, remembering that Naruto and Gaara were close. But he wasn't about to lie.

"Yes, we do. From time to time. He can be stubborn when he sets his mind on something."

"And we all know you're as flexible as a rock," Naruto quipped with a snicker, turning back to chipping at the stone.

"The arguments are not my fault! Well, most of the time they’re not my fault."

Maybe it wasn’t anybody’s fault; they just seemed to occasionally clash by their very natures. Lee always looked for the best in people, and Gaara usually focused on the worst. Lee tended to be honest and say things without thinking, even if he regretted them almost instantly when he'd put his foot in it. Gaara tended to say what he thought and not regret it at all. Gaara was indeed very stubborn. And Lee…well, he wasn’t as bad as Naruto had implied, of course, but he just couldn’t seem to back down from a challenge, whatever the form.

Of course, 'argument' was perhaps too strong a term. They disagreed. Yes, that was more like it. To be exact, a red-faced Lee disagreed, loudly, and Gaara would stare at him with incomprehension or indifference or cynical amusement, depending on his mood, until the storm blew over and Lee had run a few laps around Suna to cool off. Then Lee would forgive Gaara, since he really wasn't the kind to hold grudges; and Gaara, oblivious to the graciousness of the pardon, would continue to give Lee that ‘What a strange creature’ stare; and the rest of Suna would come out from hiding and life would go on.

Naruto didn’t appear particularly shocked by the admission. In fact, he seemed to find the whole thing very funny once he'd pumped a reluctant Lee for a few examples of past arguments.

"So, what exactly did you want to know about the Fox?" he finally asked, to Lee’s surprise; he’d assumed Naruto wouldn't answer such a personal question if Lee couldn't really affirm that he and Gaara were friends. "The bastard’s got kickass chakra and a nasty disposition, to start with. Did you need more?"

"How badly does he affect you?" Lee asked, then winced as he realized how blunt that had sounded.

"He lends me his chakra when I yell at him,” Naruto answered casually before Lee could apologize, his eyes still focused on what his kunai was doing. “It can make me go a bit wild in a serious fight, but that's about all. A few interesting nightmares, too. But if you're trying to understand Gaara, then you're asking the wrong questions."

"What do you mean?"

Naruto finally looked up, waving the kunai in Lee’s direction.

"Look, Lee, apart from a few gory dreams and the chakra, neither the fox nor that bloody big raccoon really affect me or Gaara."

"I thought it was a Tanuki. But I don't understand-"

"The 'Tails don't talk to us unless we get in touch with them," Naruto said bluntly. "They don't influence our every move; they don't dick around with our subconscious. They're caged; they're chakra powerhouses. Nothing more. Until that bastard Mizuki spilled the truth, I didn't have a clue I had the Fox in me, I just thought I was a social reject who sometimes had some very sick dreams."

"But..."

"But why's Gaara like he is? Why'd I almost end up like that too?" Naruto's grin was hard and toothy now. "Because we're the bloody cages and everybody knows it."

Lee felt something go cold in his chest as he suddenly realized what Naruto was saying.

"Everywhere we go, that's all people see. The hosts. Some dopes even think we're the Tails incarnate. It makes us about as popular as plague-carriers. Gaara's got it worse. Kyuubi's ass is completely sealed in me, except when I'm really pushed to the ropes. But Shukaku's built into Gaara like a weapon, and he's had it like that since he was a baby. Plus he can't really sleep, poor bastard; that can't help. Gaara's got a short mental fuse and you don't want to be near when that snaps. Hell, you don't want to be near me either, if you've hurt my friends. But it’s not due to the Demon Tails that we're like that; it’s the way we were kicked around since we were kids."

Lee stared blindly out across the rooftops of Konoha, while his mind slowly tried to come to grips with the enormity of what Naruto had just told him.

No effect...the demons had no real effect on their hosts. He’d assumed that the Old Gaara walking around in the storms was a creature born of Shukaku's influence. But if Naruto was right- and he had to know what he was talking about if anybody did- then the demon had little or nothing to do with Gaara’s behaviour, past or present. All the damage had come from ordinary people; just normal people, like Lee. Isolating young children out of baseless fear, shunning them out of loathing or superstition, using them to kill and turning them into monsters...

Lee had been lonely in his life. Isolated by his lack of talent, his inability to do ninjutsu in a village of ninjas; his family dead when he was very young, cared for by distant relatives who mostly ignored the uninteresting child. He knew what loneliness could do to someone. He’d had a dream to stubbornly cling to, and then a mentor to walk the road with him. That had made all the difference.

And that road had been nothing compared to what Naruto and Gaara had been through.

"Plus, Gaara's got the Sand Barrier. That's a bit freaky, the way he thought it was his mom. I'm not sure he's quite over that yet. He did say he was, but I don't know if he's as over it as he thinks he is, if you see what I mean. We had a good long talk a couple of years ago, just the two of us. I was damn happy to see he'd managed to sort out a lot of his problems. His brother and sister, and becoming Kazekage, that all saved his life. He's not one hundred percent straight in the head yet, but he's gotten some of the worst kinks out. Guy's strong."

"Yes, he is," Lee agreed firmly, because that, at least, he was sure of. But another question was trotting around his head now. "Why did he take it back?"

"What?"

"Shukaku. When you destroyed Akatsuki's demon cage-"

"No choice; those Demon Tails were rushing out like water from a broken pipe. Had to seal the worst one somehow."

"But why did he accept?" Lee asked. "Somebody else could have done it. That old woman, Chiyo, said she'd be the vessel; it was her fault to start with, that Shukaku had been sealed in Gaara, and she was dying anyway, she should have-"

"Because without Shukaku, he wouldn't be able to defend Sunagakure," Naruto said with a shrug. "The harm was already done; carrying the bloody thing around some more isn't that much worse than what he'd already been through most of his life."

It had been the answer Lee had been somehow expecting.

"His life’s what you need to know about if you want to understand Gaara," Naruto added as he dug sharply at the rock with his blade. “I'll give you the highlights. Hold on to your lunch; it ain't pretty.”

Lee had studied the information Konoha had on Gaara before he'd left on his diplomatic mission eight months back, but it was very dry and incomplete. Now Naruto was filling in the blanks, with what Gaara himself had told him on the occasions they'd talked together, unlikely brothers of a similar misfortune.

It was a lot of information after all the evasions and strict silences in Sand surrounding Gaara and his origins. Lee learned particulars about Gaara's father and mother and the fear, guilt and superstition that surrounded the host of Shukaku even before the Sand had become vicious. He learned about the early murders and the assassination attempts, and he learned about a man named Yashamaru, and it was like someone had punched Lee in the stomach. His hands had clenched into fists.

The anger he felt told him something important. Gaara might consider Lee to be nothing more than a convenient sparring partner…but as far as Lee was concerned, Gaara was indeed his friend. Lee would feel righteously indignant if he heard of a stranger being treated like this, but he only felt this angry and protective when a friend had been wronged.

"Oh well, it’s all history!” Naruto exclaimed, his bright voice piercing the shadows that seemed to have darkened the afternoon sunshine. He was sweeping away stone chips from ‘Uzumaki Rules!’ carved into the Fourth’s head. “Don't worry about it. Gaara's a lot better now."

"Naruto..." Lee lifted his head to stare at his friend. What could he say? I'm sorry for the life you've had? That could barely begin to cover it.

The friendly punch on the arm nearly knocked him over. "Don't look so down. Me 'n Gaara survived. My buddies helped. Buddies like you, Fuzzy-brows. Come on, let's go downtown. I've been away two weeks, I want my ramen. That bastard Sasuke was in charge of provisions on this mission, and he kept feeding me health food. I'm talking tofu, here. The bastard and I both know it’s a way of getting his own back, but he’s too good at denying it. And that’s not the worst, lemme tell you what happened two missions ago- you have the time, right? When you heading back, by the way?"

"In two days-" Lee hesitated as he got up. "Tomorrow, in fact."

"Cool. Gaara can do with having a buddy around. Come on, let's go eat!"

Lee slowly followed Naruto who'd hurled himself off the monument with his usual energy. He had a lot to think about.



End Part Five

[EDIT: In answer to a question that might crop up a few times, the Lee/Sakura question will be addressed in a coming part of the fic. Just enjoy the hints of the undercurrents of Lee's thoughts - because most of Lee is pretty oblivious to all this - for now ^_^]


Next part should be out fairly soon, as it's already 90% written (I'm sticking on the part after that though). In unrelated news, Freeport 31 should be out next weekend, in whatever shape it may be. There's only 4 chapters or so left to that fic 0.0 Once that's done, I can fully concentrate on ANBU, which is going to require some forethought before I post the first chapter, just to make sure I'm not writing myself into a corner ^^; Erm, I mention this in case anyone was wondering (the inner workings of a Maldoror are strange, mysterious and sometimes creepy...this morning, they're fuelled on too much tea)

 
 
 
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
RESPECTAWIGGLE MUDDIGGLE: went down to the ramen standelfiepike on October 1st, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
i repeat: this is SO GOOD. naruto! i like your speculation of the future, and lee's loneliness--because it's easy to forget that lee was also a lonely kid, these hidden villages don't raise them with much kindness--and yeah. my day is always automatically better when i see another chapter of this. <3
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 4th, 2005 04:00 am (UTC)
'These hidden villages don't raise them with much kindness'

Word. They breed angst and ninjas on equal level in that emo-hothouse. I think that Lee's past plays an important role in his understanding of Gaara; that's why I took a chapter to play with that and Gaara's past as well. Glad it made your day better ^_^
Asuka Kureru: Gaara_empty shellaskerian on October 1st, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
GAARA ;_; *massive angst* *uses appropriate icon*

Also, EEE SASUKE IZ TEH BACK. And the naruto/sasuke relationship, while not the focus, still makes me squee. And i really must see T7 OT3 hints everywhere, because huhuhu. (hm, but you should adress Lee's feelings for Sakura at some point. i didn't feel that he was in love or believed himself in love here, just that he was a close friend of hers. when did that change? before gaara? (did i forget something from a previous chapter?) or did he just not notice yet?)

hee, i really like the way you figure the current arc will end, especially gaara taking shuukaku back. *purrcuddlerub* oh, and the "their reunion was so beautiful, half of Konoha stopped to watch" thinger... priceless. XD Ahh, Lee and Gai. So cutely clueless. Never change that.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 1st, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
I knew that'd get your OT3 senses tingling :P

Good catch about the Lee/Sakura thingie: No, I've not addressed it yet, but I will. There is indeed a shift, but, as you guessed, Lee's just not noticed yet *huggles oblivious, chivalrous Lee*
锴 angry fishtrap 狗: working hardkaigou on October 1st, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
second that on the OT3.
This feather may look worthless...: venushooraysilverkiiri on October 1st, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
OMG Life loves me. First Merula, then Asuka, now you. My day is complete. Much more fic joy and I'd just explode. poof. gone.

I loved this chapter! Naruto explaining and Lee coming to see that Gaara was just nuts, no demon needed, that was beautiful. And I'm so seeing T7 stuff everywhere I look too. ^_^ And the Narusasu going on... aww.

Also, best part? It had been wonderful to see Gai-sensei again. Their reunion had been noisy, tearful and beautiful beyond words; half the village had stopped to watch in amazement, in fact. You so win for that. I love Lee and Gai-sensei. ::fond smile::

Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 4th, 2005 03:56 am (UTC)
I could almost see that reunion in my head: Gai going LEEEE!!! with tears of joy running down his face, and Lee sobbing and going GAI-SENSEI! I'd stop to watch :P

Glad you liked it! It was a good weekend for ficcage, that it was.
This feather may look worthless...silverkiiri on October 4th, 2005 03:58 am (UTC)
Oh yeah. I'd have had to look. Morbid curiousity, ya know?
Alisonsonnie_skies on October 1st, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
Ah...Lee is so gallant. And huggable. Oh...when Gaara notices that...

Nice job...a bit different than other parts, but still excellent.

"Uzumaki rules!" hahaha
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 6th, 2005 12:40 pm (UTC)
I was slightly unhappy about how different this part was - though Naruto did supply a bit of humour, he's pretty reliable that way ^_^ We're back to our regular programming of humour and yummy situations and only slight sprinklings of angst in the next part.
Admantiusadmantius on October 1st, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was awesome. I still love how you go so deeply into the characters, even if there is angst involved. 'Cause you have to admit that everyone has a good heaping mass of angst in their own lives.

It's also interesting, because I recently (due to an upgrade in my firewall software) was able to download the Naruto mangas from naruto-kun.net, and read them all within two days. If I hadn't done that, then I would have had NO IDEA what you were talking about at some points in the story, but everything became so obviously clear to me in that instant. It was beautiful!

On a side note, were you going to post the doujinshi pages that I've done in your live journal? 'Cause I don't know if everyone who reads your journal is apart of the kakairu circle. If you need me to, I'll pull together all of the necessary links. Just asking. ^_~.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 2nd, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
The amount of tragic backstories in Naruto sometimes verges on the ridiculous (for the guys; the girls mostly seem okay). But Gaara's kinda takes the cherry in my opinion :P

I did post links to the DJ last week, along with much huzzas and hopping about ^_^ I haven't posted the links to the new pages yet. You're bringing them out fast, so I thought I'd wait until the latest batch is done (or maybe the chapter finished, though that's a way's away...) Today's going to be crazy, I probably won't get near a PC, but I'll try to sort/post the links tomorrow, since we're at a narutal breather space, after Kakashi's left.

(I hope this makes sense, don't have time to reread, gotaa go and get lunch ready for 10 ppl :P)
Admantiusadmantius on October 2nd, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC)
That's okay. At the end of the chapter was going to make a zip file of all of the pages and post it here so that everyone can download it and read it as a coherent whole. I don't like how Deviant Art breaks up the pages so much. When I do that you can get the link from me and post that in your journal. It'd be a lot easier.

Ooo... ten people... rough...
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 4th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC)
I survived! (Barely)

That'd be great to have a zip! It'd be much more fun to read them all at once in the windows viewer than through devart. I'll hop about and wait until the chapter's end!
love and joy and hijinks: ::ramenOTP:: [not mine]permetaform on October 1st, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
this is just exxxxxcellent, wonderful way of keeping both characters in-character and their interactions are just (to borrow a lee-phrase) beautiful. =D

I'll have you know that your fic alone have opened my eyes to the awesomeness that is gaara and lee. Thank you.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 3rd, 2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
Whahahah! You shall all BOW to the awesome pairing! And I shall be its priestess. You can send the sacrifical cookies to me.

Glad they're IC ^_^ Especially in this chapter with less humour and more serious interaction.
Chaosorder_of_chaos on October 1st, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
Squee! And I must be bepeating myself by now, but THIS IS SO BRILLIANT!
*worships*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 6th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
I don't mind repetition ^_^ Glad you like it! You can place the sacrificial cookies on that altar over there :P
Chaosorder_of_chaos on October 7th, 2005 01:00 am (UTC)
*cuts up Dumbledore*
*bakes cookies, using Dumbledore and chocolate*
*places sacrificial cookies (choco-lemon flavor) on altar over there*
*gets minion to clean up mess*
Illucienillucien on October 2nd, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
Let's add another review, your fic is extremely excellent as always!!! That naruto revenge thing on sasuke was awesome, and Lee is...Lee-like as he should be. :3
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 4th, 2005 04:36 am (UTC)
I can imagine that if they were to work together after the time jump, Naruto and Sasuke's relationship would be...rather interesting. Oh yeah. And not the roses and restaurants type of interesting you'd find in many a fic :P Glad you liked the fic! (And Lee...but everybody loves Lee)
Proud_Snapistproud_snapist on October 2nd, 2005 04:05 am (UTC)
::am sobbing:: WAHHH!!!! Poor jinchuurikis!! I think you've got all the right things down w/ Gaara and Naru's upbringing. I can't imagine Gaara's life...and how noble he can be. Normal humans can be so noble in the face of terror, but since Gaara's life was like a gothic novel and a horror movie at every step, he has the insight to be noble at every step too...in a freaky way.

I was wondering, what you thought about Sasuke's whining? He's one of those other tragic characters that is damn complex. I had always thought his whining was just as justifiable as Gaara and Naruto's responses and ways of coping to their tragic lives. I think that Sasuke, unlike Naruto and Gaara, has a specific picture or face to place his troubles, his loneliness, his heartbreak on.... Everything encompasses Uchiha Itachi for Sasuke. But for Gaara and Naruto, they don't have one face to place their troubles, they have an entire village of anonymous hate. So instead of pooling their hatred into one face to defeat, they decided to defeat the idea of the village itself, to defeat the general feeling of hatred. The village's hate is not specific enough for them to put a face to, too. But for Sasuke, Itachi is the sole reason for most of his problems.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 4th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
I always thought Gaara was a really interesting and great character (I love psychos anyway), but when I really fell in love with him was after the time-jump, where he picks himself up and decides to change his life around, despite all the unknowns that implies, and protects his village with his life.

Sasuke and I have a very difficult relation ^_~ It's one I'm exploring for that SasuNaru fic, ANBU. I don't have any problems with his actions most times. And he's got enough childhood trauma stockpiled to turn the whole Brady Bunch into angst zombies. Sure. And your contrast between Sasuke on one hand and Gaara and Naruto on the other is a good point.

What bugs me with Sasuke is that he lacks growth and perspective. And for someone who's obsessed with revenge, he's rather lame at trying to get it. You don't attack head-on a guy who wiped out an entire clan without breaking a sweat. Sasuke should have realized that in all probability he'd only get one shot at Itachi. In that case, you make sure that when you TAKE the shot, by then you're way stronger than, say, Naruto (who beat Gaara), Gaara (who kicked Sasuke's ass), Kakashi (who's still not as strong as Itachi) and a whole host of others. A twelve-year old Sasuke taking on Itachi made me laugh, to be honest. What were you thinking, kid...? 'Foolish little brother' indeed. If you're going for revenge, do it properly. You don't have the luxury of losing your cool and throwing your life away if you're serious about revenge. Revenge is a dish best served cold...

In that light, bailing and going to Orochimaru was probably a good move. Fighting Naruto- logical. Sparing him...a bit less so, but that finally shows some growth in Sasuke: he's finally breaking free (a little) from the template his brother forced on him. I rather liked Sasuke then. In a few years, when the manga shows him turning up again (waaaaah, such a long wait) I'm curious to see how Kishimoto-san will have him evolve.

Erm, and that was probably way longer answer than you wanted; plus I'm tired so it may not have made sense. I'll develop it more in ANBU hopefully!
Proud_Snapistproud_snapist on October 5th, 2005 03:28 am (UTC)
That is a great response. I'll be reading your ANBU fic now when I get more time. I know what you mean about Sasuke's head on collision against Itachi. I was screaming at him "NONONONONONONONOONOOOO!!!!!! Don't do it!!! YOu're a genius for a friggin' reason!!" I mean, I know we're supposed to cut him a littl slack since he's supposed to make every attempt he can at revenge and since he thought he'd never see Itachi and then boom! there he is. But..if he fought Itachi the way he fought Orochimaru...I think he would've gained more respect from Itachi. But then...Itachi wouldn't be able to rekindle Sasuke's hatred and humiliation at being weak. Ahhh....what a web we weave....and it spells an intricate pattern of ANGST.
(Anonymous) on October 6th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
Yay! You know, I'm really happy you are writing this - we need more well written SasuNaru on the Net. It kinda bugs me, that there's so much badly written SasuNaru and NaruHina an SasuSaku going around - even though they are supposedly the most popular pairings in Naruto, the majority of good authors seem to have decide to write NaruSasu instead (or NaruSaku. Or KakaSasu. Or InoSaku. Or ItaNeji. Or - well, you get the idea...)

*goes back and reads pairings again*
...
Oh damn it, they're yummy!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 8th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC)
*shuffles feet* Actually, I haven't decided the 'direction' of the actual slashing yet. I put SasuNaru in Pairings because it's the combo I see most often, and rings slightly better than NaruSasu to my ears. I always have problems with the slashing order, because the person who takes charge emotionally isn't always the one on top, and I never know how that counts ^^; Oh well, hopefully it'll be good whoever ends up on top!
Lrayvah on October 2nd, 2005 08:18 am (UTC)
Argh! The End already??
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 6th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC)
Lol, yes, sorry ^^; I'm actually real proud of myself; these parts are quite short, compared to my usual long dense chapters. The next part should be out soon, as soon as I finish these two sentences I just can't seem to get right...
Doewiebele: Rape!doewiebele on October 2nd, 2005 08:24 am (UTC)
So good! So good!

Yuu work the plot wonderfully.... I think you are a gifted writer! *hugs*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 6th, 2005 12:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks! *hugs back*
Battle Angel Productionsalita_b_angel on October 2nd, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC)
YEAY more Lee and Gaara hyjinks!

Something bout the name 'fuzzy brows' just makes me all warm and want to coo. It's an adorable name and perfectly describes how cute but weird Lee is, and everytime Naruto says it, I just get this huge sense of COMMUNITY.

I love Lee is distracted by Gaara even when he's not there physically. As we all know from too much romance fiction, THAT MEANS IT HAD BEGUN and LEE IS DOOOMED.

Your insight into canon always amazes me, because they make clear things you know and assume but just can't put into words. And there you go getting it right on target. It is assumed Naruto and Gaara are hosts and of course thatloaded metaphor is left to lie instead of seeing that the demons have very little to do with how they were influenced as they grew up. It's always nice to read something that just rings so true.

Also nice insertion of Sasuke backstory. Everyone wonders. Personally I feel like Sasuke is going to have one of those MEANINGFUL deaths at the end, after Itachi is whooped.

Hm... it's interesting to see the distinction between your Naruto and GW fics because even if both are equally brillantly skilled, your GW ones are so much more plot focussed (there is always that big baddie out there somewhere) while your Naruto ones are more character based. It's good though to reground myself into Naruto this way, considering how the later chapters of Naruto have been kinda blah character wise. Nice to see you're forming those definitive ideas on characters and their motivations. I get the feeling though the up coming ANBU fic is going to dive deep into plot and thus make me all flail about with cliff hangers again. I know how the evil that lurks in your mind works.

<3
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 6th, 2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
Lee is already completely and totally doomed. He just doesn't know it yet.

It was while I was rereading the manga (again), that it suddenly occured to me that the Tails are awfully silent, especially compared to the way fanon treats them. Naruto is starting to let Kyuubi's influence show a bit, but at the start, the harm mainly came from other humans. You could practically write a book on that irony...

Concerning the Naruto vs. GW: Lol, what you say is true, and I'd barely noticed myself; though there is always some plot lurking around (I likessss plots and violence, my precioussss...), my Naruto stuff is indeed more character driven than my GW stuff. I thought at first, when I noticed it, that it was because all my Naruto fics were one-shots, but now I've written several multi-chapters, and it's still true. ANBU should also be character intensive; it's going to be on the template of The Arrangement, where I use missions to illustrate character points in one big chapter (so, probably not too many cliffies, yay!) I guess there are just more characters in Naruto, and despite the story, their development is more character-driven than plot-driven too. YOu don't have a scene in GW where the fighters interrupt themselves to discuss their tragic past and their bleak view of the future *cough*Neji*cough*, or if they do, it lasts two minutes, not two episodes. Ahhh, but Naruto is fun. And writing fics in the fandom is fun too. And now I need to stop babbling and go get a cup of coffee so my evil mind can start to actually function...
cirquenayacirquenaya on October 2nd, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
The way you bring out details and major concepts from canon is amazing. When reading, I just get this "of course!" reaction to everything - the way you write it, things just make sense. Of course Gaara would go out in sandstorms, of course Gaara and Naruto aren't terribly influenced by the demons, of course Lee and Gaara would just somehow fit together. I can't wait for more. Your speculations on where canon is headed were amazing, as well.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 6th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)
I'm especially hoping for the 'of course' reaction when I start getting into lime and lemon territory ^^; That's distinctly harder to keep them IC then, but hopefully I'll succeed, because I am determined and full of youth! Oops, sorry, channelled Gai there for a minute...
tokagemusume on October 9th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
Nice Tension
I like the way you manage to keep Gaara scary while still making us empathize with him. Those are the most interesting characters...
Maldorormaldoror_gw on October 13th, 2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice Tension
Thanks! I try not to cut any character corners, so to speak; Gaara is not a fluffy kitten. He's killed a lot of people and he used to enjoy it quite a lot. That's what makes him fun to write and 'humanize' ^_^ That, and the sheer 'Huhhhhh' factor on his part when confronted with someone like Lee ^__^
Moeko: Naruto: I think I love youmoeko on February 22nd, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
Now I understand what gaara meant when he said all but one of his teachers were dead. Naruto was the one. I feel so stupid. I hadn't made the connection. I guess I was a bit too focused on 'Lee and Gaara' and not 'Gaara'. I feel terrible now. T_T
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 23rd, 2006 05:27 am (UTC)
Actually, in the previous chapter, Gaara was talking about 'caretakers', which he distinguishes from teachers. He'd probably say Naruto was someone close to him, or maybe a teacher. Caretakers were the people controlling Gaara and making sure he did his missions without killing too many people.

The caretaker Gaara mentioned in the previous chapter, who survived, was Baki, the Sand Jounin who was in charge of the Sand Sib team when they went to the Konoha Chuunin exam. I think he'd count as one of Gaara's caretakers. He just got lucky and survived the job ^_^ It's all rather subtle points, not necessary to the plot, so it's okay if people missed that.
Rieka De-Volkaranty_rie on July 23rd, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
Yes! Thank you! :D Thank you ever so much for not blaming the Tails for their behavior! It really makes me wonder if those people who claim to be Gaara's fans really like him if they have to justify his actions like that. It's very good, too, the explanation you put on Naruto's lips. And Lee's reaction was good as well. Sasuke's mention was cute too, he's so passive aggressive like that. XD
Maldorormaldoror_gw on August 5th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's also a bit of a bugbear for me, too. There are way too many fics - the majority in fact - where Naruto has looong conversations with Kyuubi, who is more or less nice or paternalistic, or else influences him in all sorts of ways. Same for Gaara. Now, some of these fics are very well written, and I guess I don't mind them, but it just doesn't seem to hold up too much against canon. And blaming any of their behaviour on their Tails is missing the point, which is that isolation is what drove them to being (or nearly in Naruto's case) what they are. After all, Naruto turned out all right in the end because of his friends and despite having the Fox. Oh well, it's one of those fanon things, I guess....*sigh*
Rieka De-Volkaranty_rie on August 5th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
Yup. It's a big petpeeve of mine. I mean, there are some humorous Naruto-Kyubi conversations out there, but I don't think that would be, you know, appropiate for a longer, more serious fic.

Aw, hell, I feel so bad. XD I ended up finishing this fic and Kindred on one sitting, I was just hooked, but then life caught up with me and I haven't been able to leave a coherent, thought out review. I owe you that one. XD

I feel I've got a lot to say about this fic and the sequel, but I have to make it coherent. The idea it's in my head, but it's jumbled and time-jumping and generally me-ish. And I really admire you too much as an author to make you endure my mindstate in a review. ^^;

But it was a nice reading, very entertaining and good enough to make me ditch sleep. And considering I'd usually trade my first born for an extra hour of sleep, I think it's the highest praise I can give anyone. XD
Mercurial Georgia (G.S.Y.H.)gsyh on May 15th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
DR 5
Sharp, the part about it not being the demons but being kicked around as kids, awwwww.
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