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21 January 2006 @ 10:30 am
Naruto Fic: Diplomatic Relations Part Seventeen  
Here's the next one! Enjoy ^_^




A change of pace in this short chapter, compared to the previous one (excluding side story). Remember this is Lee's POV, so it's maybe a bit biased at times.


Disclaimer: Naruto is the brainchild of Kishimoto-sama, and I am not worthy. I merely borrow the manga's characters and situations, and make no money off of them.

---

Part seventeen: Seven Days



Lee was halfway between the one-hundred-and-fifth and one-hundred-and-sixth press-up when movement off to his left made him glance up. Gaara was walking towards him at a deliberate pace. Very deliberate. Lee's movement slowed, his arms holding his body sword-straight without any conscious effort four inches from the ground as he watched the Kazekage approach.

Gaara stopped a few feet from him, crossed his arms severely and said: "What else do you want?"

Lee scrambled to his feet as fast as he could, which was faster than most Shinobi could blink. "What? Nothing! I didn't say anything. Did I?"

Gaara stared at him, and Lee reread the situation. The question had been completely abrupt, but there’d been no aggression behind it. Gaara had meant it as a straightforward query.

"Sorry, what do you mean?" Lee asked, a bit more calmly.

"Earlier, you explained at great length," there was a slight stress on the 'great', "that sex was not the only thing out of this bond that you wanted. So, what else do you want?"

Lee breathed out in silent relief. Oh, was that it?

Earlier today, they'd had what Lee thought of, a bit self-consciously, as their Second Time. It had been overall better than the first; the feelings and sensations were not so unexpected, there was less fear and caution and more enjoyment involved. Which didn’t mean it hadn’t still felt pretty damn strange, touching someone else like that.

Everything was strange these days: on the one hand, there was the total novelty of it all. Lee walked through his days in a daze with the same loop of words constantly reeling through his mind. ‘I have a boyfriend. A lover. Gaara. My most important person. The man I love. We're together. We had sex. I can't believe it- I have a boyfriend!‘ and so on and so forth.

On the other hand, maybe the strangest thing was how normal life still was. Neither of the young men changed their routine in any way. To Lee's intense relief, there was no strain between them after that first unexpected time together. There wasn't a miraculous flow of Love that made everything Better, either, but Lee had matured a lot in the last week and so he wasn't all that surprised. Lee felt that they were closer now, but it felt like the closeness of best friends who now shared an intimate secret more than anything else.

It was a secret, in a way. They didn't discuss it with anybody, or with each other. Lee had guessed pretty rapidly that Gaara would need a few days before he would want to talk about what had happened, or possibly repeat it. His friend- boyfriend- lover actually- needed to internalize this. He needed to think back on every aspect of it, take some control over it. It was his nature. Lee didn’t mind a short time-out to come to grips with it either, for that matter, seeing how he’d freeze up several times a day with his mouth open and his cheeks a nice solid red when a particular detail suddenly came back to him.

At least Gaara had stopped brooding, though that might have had nothing to do with Lee at all, and everything to do with the fact that Gaara's staff had recovered from their misguided attempt to shelter him and force him to rest, and had buried him under a small avalanche of backed-up paperwork and duties instead. A busy Gaara was a less morose Gaara. And there was more than enough work to go around.

For instance, there was all the information that an annoyed Kankuro was sending back to Sunagakure for analysis. The Sand Jounin had been gone over a month now, and was looking at a few more weeks in foreign and hostile territory to hunt down tenuous leads to Hidden Sound that usually petered out when he got to them. The tone of his reports was getting pugnacious.

Gaara and Lee had spent all morning together, organizing some inter-village cooperation to get Gaara's brother a bit of support on his mission. Konoha had as much interest as Suna in hunting down Orochimaru. They'd grabbed lunch from the admin compound kitchen and gone back to Gaara's house to eat it and have some tea in a quiet place while they talked.

The Second Time had followed quite naturally. Lee had seen it coming this time, and felt somewhat more prepared and ready. He'd even managed to get that speech out first, the one Gaara was referring to. The one where he explained that he was happy they were comfortable enough with each other to fool around, but that he didn't want sex to be the only thing they shared. Lee had been rehearsing that speech in his head for three days, ever since he’d left Gaara’s home that first time, and he was pretty proud of it. It had been clear, a lot more concise than Gaara seemed to be suggesting, and very positive. Gaara had listened to him patiently and agreed with him, to Lee's relief. Then they’d ended up on the bed again and things had gotten breathless and strange and sticky once more.

Lee’s speech had been quite polished, but thinking back on it, it would indeed have left some unanswered questions in the mind of a young man who’d had no experience or interest in this sort of human interaction before. Gaara must have tried to think it through, and then he'd gone in search of Lee to get him to fill in the gaps. Fortunately the training grounds where Lee had been working out were empty at this time of day, especially with the entire unit A and a few others out assisting Kankuro in his hunt.

Lee was caught a bit flat-footed, but he crossed his arms over his chest and nodded wisely. This was actually very promising, on so many different levels. So far, it had seemed that Gaara's contribution to getting close had always boiled down to his intense desire to not hurt Lee. Maybe their physical intimacy had helped assuage that fear and he was now thinking beyond that.

"What I want..."

Lee took the time to think out his words thoroughly before answering; he was trying to learn this ability from Gaara. It avoided any potential pitfalls. The trick here was to say things concisely and clearly, not say more than you meant, and to be absolutely honest.

"Gaara, I'm perfectly happy with things the way they are right now. I like hanging out together, going out with you on patrols, working side by side, having lunch like we did earlier..."

What we did after lunch was really nice too, Lee's libido wanted to add, but he had more control than that. That would just confuse the issue at this point.

Gaara looked at him thoughtfully. "Good," he said.

Just as Lee was about to relax and pat himself on the back, Gaara added: "But we did all that when we were friends, too."

Lee hesitated. "Yes. Yes, we did, but that's not- I mean, we're still friends, as well as, um..."

He glanced around. Still no sign of anybody, but evening was falling, the Shinobi left in the village would show up for their daily training soon. "...as well as a couple," Lee added softly, and felt as if he'd bellowed it from the rooftops.

Gaara started to scowl. "So what else do you want?"

"I told you-"

"You said sex wasn't the only thing. What - Else? We're boyfriends, so what does that mean I should do? What do people in a relationship do with it?"

Lee had taught Gaara the words for 'this new type of bond'. But having Gaara use them so naturally, without any hesitation or shyness - and out in the middle of the bloody village-

The mild surge of panic short-circuited Lee's thinking processes, and what tumbled out of his mouth was what he'd have said if Gaara had asked him that question a year ago and Lee would have thought vaguely of Sakura-san and answered.

"I don't know! Gifts, holding hands, flowers, dates - Er, no, not flowers. Definitely not flowers."

Sakura-san's flowers had been the single trembling ray of light in the dark period after his injury six years ago. Lee had decided back then that the day she accepted to go out on a date with him, he'd bring her the biggest bouquet in Konoha as thank you and commemoration. But things had changed - oh boy, had things ever changed - and now, the idea of giving flowers to Gaara was as ludicrous as, well, as the idea of Gaara giving flowers to Lee. As for the notion of walking around the village shyly holding hands...Lee couldn't even wrap his head around that one, it was just too surreal.

"Tokens of affection," Gaara said thoughtfully, staring at the distant rampart. It sounded like he'd read the sentence somewhere once, and had only now figured out where it might fit into his life.

"Yes. But don't worry about it." Lee took a deep breath, let it out. "Gaara, did I give you any impression in the last few days that I want more than what we're doing right now?"

"No," Gaara answered, his gaze still contemplative. “You sometimes look a bit startled or surprised, but you mostly seem to be enjoying yourself.”

Then he looked away and Lee thought he saw a flicker of something uncertain and uncomfortable in Gaara's stance before the control came back. "But I can't be sure. I know how you fight, I can read your anger or your fear, but this...I don't understand this well enough; I don't completely understand what you feel and why you feel this way. I might not be able to tell if you're unhappy."

Lee remembered the distant Kazekage he'd met over a year ago, detached from the people and emotions around him, content to defend Suna and let it justify his existence. That man hadn't particularly cared for anyone's happiness, much less his own, as long as everybody did their job.

"I promise that if there's anything I really want, I'll let you know," Lee said solemnly.

Gaara's attention had been fully focused on him again at the word 'promise'. He examined Lee attentively and then nodded, sealing the deal.

"In fact, if we’re talking about something I’d like..." Lee did a few stretches. "I'd really like to spar, if you have the time."

"No." Gaara's expression had gone hard.

"Just an easy match, no roughhousing. I've gotten a lot better, and I need to-"

"I have no intention of fighting with you now or at any time in the future. I told you this three days ago."

Lee stared at him, arrested in mid-stretch. "You're not serious."

"I am perfectly serious. I never want to strike at you with Sand ever again."

"But Gaara!"

It was their first argument since that teacup had shattered in Lee's office. It was fairly minor, compared to some of the blow-ups they'd had back when they were friends. It ended rather abruptly when Gaara turned and walked away, leaving Lee to stutter at his receding back. Lee gave up on following, since that would have entailed trailing Gaara through the village arguing out loud, and Lee's sense of discretion proved marginally stronger than his combative spirit for once. Damn stubborn…

It felt like a compromise- worse, it felt like giving up, and Lee hated that, but after a couple of hours training harder than he should have, he decided to shelve the sparring issue - for now- and remember that Gaara's reaction was his way of protecting Lee from what he saw as a danger to the Jounin. It was a sign of caring.

Maybe Lee was being a bit stubborn about this himself...but he hated to give up on the combat that had been the highlight of his training days and an exciting, real and very strong bond between them. It had made them into a team, and Lee wanted to keep that entente they'd developed in battle. But he couldn't be too dramatic about it without really hurting the obstinate, uncompromising genius-idiot Lee happened to be in love with, and Lee wasn't about to do that, ever.

During the reconciliation that followed - and which proved quite interesting in its own right - Lee forgot the conversation that had started the argument in the first place.



---



Lee carefully sealed the envelope, and then realized he'd gotten the forms mixed up and he'd put the one he was supposed to file away into the envelope, while the one he was supposed to mail was staring up at him from his desk.

"Damn it..." Normally the admin staff did this sort of paper juggling. But since Lee was still on sick leave and barred from missions, his conscience nagged him to pull his full weight with the office work he was presently consigned to.

His door opened without a knock or a sound of footsteps outside. Lee wasn't caught entirely off guard though; he'd picked up a faint hint of a familiar presence a second before the knob turned.

"'Morning, Gaara," he mumbled around the pen in his mouth as he ripped open the bloody envelope.

He dropped the paperwork and pen on his desk and smiled up at the approaching man - then he stared blankly and without comprehension at what Gaara put firmly in his hands.

"...Thank you?" Lee's politeness came to the rescue. "They look good."

Gaara nodded once. "They're not quite in season yet, but I found some in the marketplace that were ripe."

And I'm sure the vendor gave the Kazekage the best, Lee thought, rifling through the small bag. They did look good, for this time of year.

"Is this what you want?" Gaara asked.

Lee blinked. Want? Had he expressed a particular desire for- no, not that he could remember.

"Want?"

"You said you didn't want flowers."

It took a minute - and the mention of hand-holding and how Gaara didn't see the point of that at all - before Lee realized that Gaara was alluding to their conversation of a couple of days ago. He felt reality crumble around him as he stared at the paper bag of fruit in his hand.

"Oh. Ah. Um, when I said 'dates'..."

The mistake was actually fairly easy to make in hindsight. Gaara had heard the term 'dating' before, Lee was sure of it, but it would just be a word to him. Naturally, when Lee had blurted out that stupid list two days ago, Gaara’s mind had reached for the more familiar meaning of the word ‘dates’ first, especially since it had come in conjunction with the words flowers and gifts.

Lee glanced up to see a slight line form between Gaara's eyes, and he realized he was in the unenviable position of not wounding Gaara's feelings without lying to him.

Though it was possible that a straightforward explanation might not wound Gaara's feelings at all. When it came to navigating the strange inner landscape hidden within the Kazekage, Lee was often at a loss. Chances were, Gaara would just shrug it off as one more strange and idiotic human custom he'd misunderstood. But Lee could only imagine how he himself would feel if his first gift - token of affection, Gaara had called it - was refused, or at least turned out to be not at all what Lee had had in mind.

"What I meant was..."

Desperation is the mother of inspiration. Though later, Lee would credit his brainwave to his long association with Gai-Sensei, who could make anything sound beautiful, dramatic and meaningful, even the time of day.

"When I said dates, it wasn't just something like this I had in mind. But if you share them with me, that'd be what I meant."

It came out a bit awkward - oh, for his sensei's gift with words - but Gaara didn't look suspicious or hurt. He stopped frowning and nodded once again.

"Great! Shall we sit up on the roof of your home? It'll be nice this time of day, we can have an early lunch-"

"I have to meet with that delegation from Tea Country," Gaara answered.

"Oh."

"Bring them by this evening, when you drop by my office," Gaara added, turning to leave.

"I will! And thanks!"

Gaara didn't answer, as usual.

Lee looked at the closed door for a minute, then at the small bag on his desk.

"Dates," he said incredulously.

It probably didn't mean that much to Gaara. Lee had suggested a gift and Gaara had given him a bag of fruit. Still, it was a gesture Gaara wouldn't have even thought to make a week ago. Lee decided, as he dreamily stuffed the wrong paperwork back into a new envelope, that there could be no harm in indulging in a moment of warm pleasure. No harm at all. He was also going to have to figure out a way to reciprocate.

But no flowers. No, definitely no flowers.



---



"Lee-san?"

Lee glanced up, shading his eyes from the late afternoon sunshine.

"Hello, Captain Sanada. How are you?"

"...Fine. What are you doing out here?"

"Just sitting here." Lee patted the low wall that circled the grounds in illustration.

"Are you alright?" Sanada asked, scrutinizing Lee carefully.

Why was it that people assumed that if he wasn't training like a maniac or slaving away at his desk, he had to be at death's door?

"I'm fine. Thank you for asking!"

"But what are you doing here? You were already here fifteen minutes ago, when I left the compound."

Lee couldn't tell him. And he wasn't about to lie. He gave Sanada a grin which hopefully didn't come out as too deranged, and said nothing.

Sanada looked like he was about to insist Lee come in from the sun, but in the end he turned back towards the admin building's doors.

"Come talk to me if you have any problems," he said gruffly, already three steps away.

"Of course," Lee answered, honestly pleased. The manner had been brusque, but he thought the offer had been entirely genuine.

You've got good people in this village, Gaara, Lee thought, glancing up at the window four stories above.

Of course, those good people were starting to think Lee had definitely snapped. He'd been out here more than fifteen minutes; almost an hour now. Staring at passing admin staff and guards with that bright serious 'Yes? Anything I can help you with?' look that mostly discouraged comments on the fact he was just sitting out here in broad daylight with no visible reason.

He’d grabbed a chair from a conference room and sat down next to Gaara’s office door when he’d first decided to wait. Maybe he should have stayed there. It would have been more comfortable, and he would have been immediately aware of any change in the situation. But after a few minutes of sitting in front of the only exit out of the Kazekage’s office, he felt that this was putting too much pressure on Gaara. Cornering him.

Maybe leaving had been the wrong decision. Sometimes, Lee's instincts were reliable when it came to dealing with this side of Gaara, and sometimes they left him floundering. He just did what he hoped was best in the end. That should count for something. At least one would think it would count for something.

Calm down, Lee thought, noting his thoughts were getting mournful and a bit bitter. It's just the way he is. Maybe he just had a lot of work to do today?

No. Of course not. If Lee had dropped by Gaara's office to chat and the Kazekage had been really busy, he'd have told Lee to leave him alone. End of story. There wouldn't have been Sand stopping the door from opening. There wouldn't have been that faintly sinister feel from inside the room.

What did I do? Lee thought pathetically, then mentally slapped himself. He couldn't think that way. It might not be his fault at all. Gaara had a lot of demons trapped in his head. Anything could have triggered him. An overheard word; something innocuous that Lee had said; a look of fear or a superstitious sign; the full moon last night. This had happened on occasion before they'd become lovers.

The truth was, Lee had hoped, deep inside, that it would not happen anymore. And that had been foolish of him.

Should he have waited outside Gaara's door, if only to make sure the staff were okay...? Most of them knew that if the door didn't open, they should steer well clear. But Lee didn't like the idea of some new secretary innocently insisting, or knocking a bit too loudly, or-

No, stop that, Lee thought, appalled and angry with himself. What, you think he'd hurt his own people now?

Lee moodily kicked the wall with his heel. He’d chosen this spot strategically. Whether Gaara left by a window, the main gates or the roof, he should notice Lee down here, if only from a distance. Maybe when Gaara stopped...doing whatever it was he was doing…maybe he would...In the seven days they’d been together, they’d always made the time to see each other even briefly at noon and in the evenings, surely Gaara would make the effort tonight. If he was able to.

Lee stared blindly at a large crow pecking at some garbage in the gutter on the other side of the street. The late-afternoon sun warmed Lee's hair and forehead, while beneath all that two sides of an argument wound their dreary way through his mind for the third or fourth time.

I want to help...I hate to see him like this...

But I can't help. Not with some things.

This bites.

I knew going into this that it would be hard, from time to time.

Yeah, but somehow knowing that doesn't make it feel any better right now.

If only-

Lee's senses pricked. There was the slightest feel of a presence behind him. But no noise. Normally, anyone coming across the admin compound grounds would brush pebbles and sand, easily audible for a Jounin.

The crow glanced up from the gutter, hunched itself briefly and suddenly shot up towards the sky in a clap of black wings. Lee licked his lips and glanced around.

Gaara drew level with him. He'd swapped his robe for an ordinary jacket and the gourd was slung over his shoulder (because of course that thing was always with him, it was never locked out of the room, Lee found himself grumbling, completely unreasonably.)

Gaara didn't glance up at him. But he stopped walking once he was two steps past Lee. He didn't look back. He just stood there. Lee hesitated, unsure of what was expected of him, and really wishing he didn’t have to be guessing all the time.

Oh what the hell. Go on instinct.

He hopped down from the wall and moved to Gaara's side, about three feet away, a safe distance. Gaara was still for a second. His face was utterly composed, his eyes oddly blank. It was the mask he wore when he had to hide what was inside. Lee was one of three people in Sunagakure who could even tell it was the mask, and not Gaara's usual expression.

Gaara started walking again. Lee followed.

Were they heading towards the training grounds? The ramparts? The desert? Maybe Gaara wanted to talk about whatever it was that had suddenly made him completely close up today. But Lee didn't think so. One day. Maybe.

Gaara shared his body with Lee. He shared his time, some of his meals, his occasional thoughts, his presence and some tentative new feelings. But he didn't share the things that coiled inside of him like snares. Not yet. Maybe never.

Lee wondered if he might resent being locked out like this one day. Not now, but in a few months. Or in a few years...the thought of years together made him briefly dizzy, as if he'd stepped through a small door to find himself unexpectedly in a huge open space.

If Gaara always came to find him afterwards, even while he was still deep within the darkness, even if Lee couldn't do much more than follow him in silence...then Lee thought he could live with that. Time would tell. Weeks, months or years- it was unwise for Shinobi to plan too far ahead, but Lee thought they still had quite a few good days and bad days still to come.



End Part Seventeen



Next part should be out next weekend, but it's a bit complicated once again, and I don't have much time to work on it. So it might be delayed.

 
 
( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
jade_dragoness: Jade_Dragoness_Wilsonjade_dragoness on January 21st, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
*beams* A new chapter. Yay!

*sighs* This chapter so filled me with melancholy. But also expanded my love of Lee even more.

Lee waiting for Gaara outside because he didn't want to pressure him. And wanting them to do things together as a couple really got to my heart. That neither have a clue on how to act, as boyfriends.

And the ending, *smiles* I'm so looking forward to more in a weeks time. *settles down to wait*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked the chapter (almost three small chapters in one, really) ^_^ I wanted to show the uncertainty, and also the bad days, the difficulties, as well as the warm fuzzies.

Bit more than a week's time now for the next part; probably next weekend.
Linda S.darkfire_blade on January 21st, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)
Yes! Awesome chapter. I really like how you're not rushing this and letting Gaara take his time to understand, as well as Lee. You are absolutely amazing. Plus you crank out these long chapters really quickly, but they're always so great and so deep and so meaningful.

Kudos to you!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ I'm concentrating on this fic particularly, and I have several chapters in advance, so I can post it once a week. I bet near the end, I'll be waiting a couple of weeks between posts as I try to tie the story up ^^;

I like letting the relationship develop at its pace, as it feels more natural to go through awkward, weird stages, and finding things out. It's more fun, too ^_^ I love a confuzzled Lee...
Illucienillucien on January 21st, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Yay! I was waiting for a new chapter. You left it at a small cliffhanger >< I wanted to read what happens next. Great read though! Characters...perfect. ^^
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
A cliffhanger? You mean, when they walk off together? Ah well, this fic is still very much a collection of vignettes, so you have to imagine what will happen next *evil smile* The next chapter posted will skip a few days ahead. (There's indications, from Lee's intuition, what will happen right after I dropped that To Be Continued in there: they'll walk around the desert in absolute silence while Gaara tries to come to terms with whatever plunged him into his own twisted inner landscape, and Lee will follow and be there for him. Gaara won't confide in Lee; it's way too soon for something like that to happen)

Glad you like the characters ^__^
JBMcDragon: Sit. Sit! by Alestarjbmcdragon on January 21st, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC)
I really am loving this story, though I don't comment all that often--busy lately. ;)

I like that the boys are having sex without being In True Love because it seems MUCH more realistic for teenaged boys. *grins* Or even gay men in general!

This chapter was a nice change from some of the previous ones--a little lighter, and not so emotion-heavy. (Er, I like the emotion-heavy. But this is a good moment for a break, let the readers catch their breath. ;))

I was a little confused at the end of the first part--I think the time-jumping without a section break threw me a little, since you haven't done it before. ;) I kept thinking maybe Lee was still training and thinking about this stuff, and the making up was talking about that fight after the teacup dropping. *grins* (I like to know stuff like that, so I can add it to my repitoire of 'stuff to know in writing,' and you seem like you might want to know that, too!) It wasn't enough to detract from the chapter as a whole, but just thought I'd mention it.

I loved some of the lines, and this might be the best sex-description I've ever heard:
Then they’d ended up on the bed again and things had gotten breathless and strange and sticky once more.

*dies* Lovely. Perfect. *grins*

Thanks for another great chapter. :D

J
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Busy? I know the feeling ^^; I haven't read/reviewed hardly anything these days...

This chapter was indeed a change of pace and tone. The drama is going to slowly start lightening anyway (until the last chapters, if I decide to go for the dramatic version of the end...still trying to make up my mind if I want the Drama version or the Funnier version). The crisis/breakthrough was chapter 12, now things are slowly improving as the boys learn.

I thought the small time-jumps might be a bit confusing (you should have seen the first draft...it was even worse...), but I'm not fond of 'two days later' announcements, even though it would make things a lot clearer, and not just for this chapter ^^; I'll try to place the subtle 'time markers' I use a bit closer to the breaks or the head of chapters in the future, if I can. Man, so many things to think of, right? Lol, to think this is our hobby...stuff we do for fun...
This feather may look worthless...: chibigaaraleesilverkiiri on January 21st, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
I haven't even got to read it yet, but I wanted to let you know that just seeing this on my flist made a horrible day so much better. ::hug::
This feather may look worthless...silverkiiri on January 21st, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
Ok, I've read it, and I loved it. ^^ Everything about it was just so perfect, from the snapshot feeling of the whole thing, to the little things like Lee putting the wrong paper back in the envelope. And this line: If Gaara always came to find him afterwards, even while he was still deep within the darkness, even if Lee couldn't do much more than follow him in silence...then Lee thought he could live with that. was a favorite.

::snuggle you::

Can't wait for more!
(no subject) - fortissima on January 22nd, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - silverkiiri on January 23rd, 2006 02:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
K. Takefutago_02 on January 21st, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
god, yes... lee is so considerate! :) aw, it's short... :( but i love it all the same... :)
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Lee's solid gold. Though even he flounders and gets a bit miserable or irritated from time to time. He's human :P

The next chapter won't be out until next weekend, but it's going to be over twice the length of this one, to compensate ^_~
obsessed_futagoobsessed_futago on January 21st, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
Hee! The "dates" were...really unexpected, but funny...^^; Their relationship is really cute, especially new...
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ The 'dates' were unexpected for Lee too, poor guy. Although it wasn't entirely illogical thinking on Gaara's part...
Kathy: Happy/Cheerful/Awakekael_raye on January 22nd, 2006 12:07 am (UTC)
XD
"Dates"!?! XD That just totally rocks!!! I never expected that to happen. Gaara is so cute! ^_^ And Lee is trying not to hurt his feelings. This chapter was just as good as all the others, even though it was shorter. Thank you!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
Re: XD
Thanks ^_^ I was surprised how short this chapter came out. Yay, I can still write concisely! *celebrates* Glad the 'dates' amused you; I don't know where I got the idea from, but I wrote it down in one lump, then stared at it and thought 'well, yeah, to Gaara, that would be the first meaning of the word he'd think of...'
(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
"...Fine. What are you doing out here?" Sanada asked, scrutinizing Lee carefully.

"Just sitting here." Lee patted the low wall that circled the grounds in illustration.

"....Are you alright?"

Why was it that people assumed that if he wasn't training like a maniac or slaving away at his desk, he had to be at death's door?

... For some reason this was my favourite part of the fic. ^_^;

Lee is adorable, his explanation of dates with fruit was very enjoyable. As always loving htis fic!
Nobody puts Qem in a corner.qem_chibati on January 22nd, 2006 02:21 am (UTC)
Er that was me btw
(no subject) - maldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Maru Nekomaruneko on January 22nd, 2006 05:44 am (UTC)
For goodness... Lee getting jealous of the gourd was just so adorable! You've always made the relationship between the two of them so tangible and real. Wonderful job as always!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
Aw thanks ^_^ I try to add little details into the fic that are unique to Gaara and/or Lee, such as Lee's relation to something as present in Gaara's life as the gourd. It also shows that Lee, though he's a really nice guy, can be a bit unreasonable and grumpy too; he's human :P
(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
Sweeeeeeet!!!!
Hi this is veemon,

I love this line ^^
Gaara’s mind had reached for the more familiar meaning of the word ‘dates’ first, especially since it had come in conjunction with the words flowers and gifts.

That's cute and so Gaara like.
I wonder when Temari and Kankuro will find out about their relationship because they care about Gaara so much.
Thanks for this great chapter!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Sweeeeeeet!!!!
Lol, you have to admit, for someone living in a desert and more familiar with dates!fruit than dates!romance, that is a pretty logical mistake to make *huggles Gaara carefully*

Temari and Kankuro won't be staying ignorant for very long, that's for sure.
kiyakotarikiyakotari on January 22nd, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
I missed it when you posted part 16, so I had to go back and read it...but I certainly didn't mind that. Only wish I'd noticed it sooner. ^_~

I love how things are working for them - no overflowing Love to pave the Way to Happiness here. Realism is the best spice.

"You said sex wasn't the only thing. What - Else? We're boyfriends, so what does that mean I should do? What do people in a relationship do with it?"

I LOVE that last line. "What do people in a relationship do with it?" The way he identifies the relationship almost as a possession, something to be used, is so...perfect. I don't know if you meant it to seem that way or not, but it fits unbelieveably well.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 29th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
I did mean it a bit like that. It's a slip of his tongue; Gaara knows a relationship isn't talked about in those terms, but as he was getting a bit annoyed with Lee's lack of comprehension, that's how it slipped out. For him, the bond they share is something that's become crucial to his existence, it's so vital that it takes on a bit of its own reality, its own physical existence. It was just a very little phrase I slipped in there, but for me, it shows the way Gaara's approach to this and to life in general is not 'normal', it's skewed by his past. He sees things differently than we do; Lee can feel this but even he's surprised by the way it comes out from time to time. Lol, I'm surprised (but pleased!) you caught that.

Crystalline Starslikeredgold on January 23rd, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
Ah yes once again another chapter of greatness to enjoy ^_^ I probably should be doing terms right now xD oh well...

Lee is so adorable being jealous of the gourd-- and sitting outside like a crazy person xD

And Gaara with is interpretation of "dates". I really can't get over how you characterize these two...its just so...so them ^_^
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 30th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ Lee's got a lot of work cut out for him. But he loves a challenge, so we don't feel sorry for him! Now, go and work on your tersm :P
(Anonymous) on January 23rd, 2006 07:48 am (UTC)
I actually got quite confused reading this chapter, but still good all the same.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 30th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Lol, sorry about the confusion; it was a change of tone/pace. Glad you liked it nonetheless ^_^
Doewiebele: Bunnyluvdoewiebele on January 23rd, 2006 09:10 am (UTC)
Good! As always!

I love the interlude and their gradual 'grow' in their relationship. I just can't help but be curious how their Second Time went :P <---- perv

And take your time for the next chapter... rather wait longer and read something good, then something rushed.

.... 'dates'.... *snickers*
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 31st, 2006 12:01 am (UTC)
Ahh, their second time. My imagination is a treasure trove of lemons, which I never have time to write :P Sorry, you'll just have to drool! (Unless I get the impetus to add it as a side story, but I doubt I'll have the time).

GOod thing you're willing to wait ^^; Next chatper's been delayed until next week. I hope it's good!
Laurenjordi124 on January 23rd, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
the dates thing was so damn cute...love it

would love details on their second time as well hehe
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 2nd, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
Ahh, their second time would actually be quite fun to write up, if only I had the time *evil smirk* Let's just say that part of it involves Gaara trying to figure out 'what Lee did to him last time', and let's leave the rest up to the imagination *runs off*
oh_my_fryoh_my_fry on January 24th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
cool
gaara lee leegaara love them both and love this story you are talented!!!!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 2nd, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
Re: cool
Thanks ^_^ Glad you like it!
naughtyginnaughtygin on January 24th, 2006 05:24 am (UTC)
Yay! You updated! I love this story to death ^_^ Keep going with the great work!
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 2nd, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ I should be able to keep goin' till the end in this one, I have all but the last 2 chapters sketched out or written :P
tripoverhercats: Between Love and Hate - Firetearstripoverhercats on January 25th, 2006 09:27 am (UTC)
::blink::

Dates... OMG.

Goes and laughs fool head off. That is so perfect. So utterly them.

The end where something is bothering Gaara, but he stops to wait for Lee is very touching. Even if he never manages to tell Lee what it is, he waited for him.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 2nd, 2006 04:34 am (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ That last section was there to show that things aren't all roses and kittens, but also thorns and dander, so to speak. Gaara's still got problems; Lee isn't the cure-all that will automatically help. But they try. That bit would have been a touch grim by itself, so I'm glad I came up with the 'dates' thing first ^_^;
indramh on January 26th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
@_@

I actually read this a few hours after it came out, but ... @_@ I think I just rolled off of my chair when I read the 'dates' section. Really. Oh, Gaara, what could you have done without Lee? And Lee doing nothing = Lee snapped? Priceless!

P.S. I drew out the first few paragraphs of DR, part twelve into Doujin format, to practice. I posted it on the LeeGaara comm here. Hope you don't mind...
Maldorormaldoror_gw on January 26th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ Glad it made you laugh! (Laughter is good medicine, hence making people laugh is good for my karma)

PS: Mind?! Lol, of course I don't mind! I'm delighted! So cute ^__^
The Hoydenthehoyden on January 28th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
I'm behind on commenting on recent chapters, but I was so happy to see this one, and even happier that Lee exercises an incredible amount of tact in accepting Gaara's gift. Ultimately, I think what I really love about this series is that Gaara still has plenty of problems, and Lee is forced to reevaluate what his idea of "love" is. It's just so utterly believable that this series spoils me for the pairing - I'm not sure I'd like it if it weren't in your hands. Anyway, excellent job as always, and of course, I'm always want the next chapter right after I've read the current one.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 2nd, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
Thanks ^_^ I'm glad you picked up the changes Lee went through; they're a lot more subtle than Gaara's so they probably don't jump out as much. But I wanted to make sure both characters evolved and changed - a bit for the better, but mainly just changed. Lee's changes are less striking, but he's definitely losing that idealistic, unrealistic attitude towards Love, and he's maturing in other ways as well. I find it hard in this fic to balance Gaara and Lee, since Gaara is this absolute sinkhole of pain and psychosis, but he can still give something to Lee. And Lee's smart enough to see it that way. Meh, that's True Love in my books; but then again, maybe I'm jaded ^_~
Erinaerlyn on February 1st, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)
I've finally been introduced to the Naruto fandom, and this is one of the first fics I find? Just my luck. I'm going to be corrupted to favour this pairing forever, now, you know. ^_~ This is one of the most well-written stories I've read, with a beautiful flow, even with the between-scene 'gaps' you mention. They work. Also, your characterizations of the boys are both in-character, as well as really...deep. Character development like this is something I search for in a story, whether it's fanwork or the original. You truly have a talent here.

...And now look at what you made me write. ^^; I'll be sitting here admiring you all day, if you give me half a chance.

You are so going on my friendslist, if you don't mind. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 2nd, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
Friend away ^_^ Welcome to the loony bin that is my imagination (via LJ).

Aw , I'm glad you like it! Character development is hard (at least to keep it going in a logical direction is hard), but it's part of the fun. In a masochistic, wailing 'I can't figure out what he'll do next!!' sort of way. Um, fun. Yes. Actually, the fun bit is getting nice reviews like yours ^_^ Thanks!
☆ROCY: emo harryaerithia on February 3rd, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Dates. Just... dates. Fabulous to the extreme.

I promise, one of the upcoming chapters I will leave a long, extended review with all my thoughts and opinions. It's simply that I'm sleep-deprieved, clutching my tummy from laughing so much, and other extenuating circumstances.

Much love.

(And might I suggest putting all the chapters in their own folder in Memories? Just.. because?)

((((ohmigod, dates))))
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 7th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
Glad that made you laugh ^_^ And yes, good idea about putting all the DR chapters into their own Memories. I'd been intending to do it for ages, but I'm too lazy :P I went ahead and did it, and lo and behold it took all of 10 minutes...Now I need to add my other fics too, while I'm at it.
dark_strelitzia on February 24th, 2006 04:58 am (UTC)
Really good ^-^ I really love this, though for some reasons I can't fins some of the chapters :'( Is that archived anywhere else like ff.net?
Maldorormaldoror_gw on February 24th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
If you go to http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=maldoror_gw, you should see Diplomatic Relations in my memories. Or you can go to http://www.adultfanfiction.net/aff/authors.php?no=8506 or to http://www.kiyasama.com/project_greenlight_fanfiction/, I'm in the Authors there.
(no subject) - dark_strelitzia on February 24th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
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