Maldoror (maldoror_gw) wrote,

Naruto Fic: Diplomatic Relations, Part Eighteen

Latest chapter. Please read warnings ^_^
Now I go back to bed *coughs, sniffles, hates winter with a passion*




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.

Warning: NC17. Sex happens again. It's not as weird as the first time, but it's still fairly unconventional, especially by fanfic standards. Prepare yourselves mentally, remind yourselves that neither of the boys are what we would call really 'normal', and when you are ready, enter within the murky depths of my imagination...keep your eyes open and don't step in the humour or the few trickles of WAFF.

---



Part Eighteen: Perfect



When he was a lot younger, before coming to Suna, Lee had occasionally day-dreamed of the moment he'd ask his loved one to become his in body as well as mind and heart, and she actually said yes. He hadn't thought much of the moment that would follow, because that made him uncomfortable, but the actual proposal and her acceptance would be the height and expression of their True Love, as inspired by Gai-sensei's speech on same.

The moment would be Perfect. There would be sunshine, showers of petals, birds singing in the foliage outside the window and roses on the palanquin bed. Lee would be down on one knee. The Lady - who was sometimes Sakura-san in his imagination, but not always, sometimes she was just this pure, angelic figure - would gently take his hand and say something so sweet, so beautiful...

"Let's try anal sex," Gaara suggested out of the blue.

The scene in young Lee's head had changed every time in the detail, but one thing that had remained constant was that the Lady had not been a brutally blunt, demon-ridden male redhead. Also, it was always Lee doing the propositioning.

He stared at Gaara who continued eating the dango he'd gotten from the cafeteria as if he'd said nothing out of the ordinary. Gaara didn't even make eating the dango look hot. Lee's inner pervert was almost non-existent, especially compared to other Konoha notables, but he still felt off-kilter that, after dropping that bombshell, Gaara didn't do something a bit more suggestive while eating dumplings off of a stick. But Gaara just bit into them and chewed.

They ate almost all their meals together now, whenever they could, a moment they saved for each other in otherwise busy days. Work was not discussed, by unspoken agreement. But this wasn't a subject that had come up before, either, or that Lee had expected to come up over a quiet, pleasant lunch in their secluded and sun-sheltered spot on the roof. A bit of forewarning would have been nice. Especially before he'd taken a large bite of food.

"Mhuah?" he mumbled helplessly.

"We have some experience to build on. We've both climaxed. Several times now," Gaara added with the faintest hint of a satisfied look. "But we’ve not tried penetration yet. Lee, swallow what you have in your mouth, you look ridiculous."

Lee knew he looked like one of Suna's desert gerbils right now, but if he tried to swallow the mouthful that was distending his cheek, he would surely choke and die. He finally forced it down with the help of half of his bottle of water.

When he looked around again through watering eyes, it was to find Gaara scrutinizing him.

"You don’t want to?" Gaara asked. He’d apparently not expected this reaction from Lee.

Lee made a noise that was half a cough, half a whimper. Want to? Of course he wanted to. He wanted to so badly he was dreaming of it at night, he was zoning off during the day thinking about it, he was-

It was his fondest hope that he’d be able to ask Gaara to try eventually. In fact, the scene in his mind's eye had been slowly tending towards the one he'd imagined in his youth, with Gaara now cast in the main role. Though without roses or the palanquin bed. Or birds singing, since the only birds that came into Suna were crows and small desert vultures. But Lee's proposal would have been much the same, and when he finally dared the question, it would be the pinnacle, the Perfect Moment. All that.

It never occurred to him that Gaara would ask first, although that might stem from the fact that Lee had expected to be the one to ask for it (beg for it, technically). And though Lee had been ardently wishing for it One Day, it hadn’t been anywhere on his mental calendar to even ask yet.

"It’s not that I don’t want to..." Lee fished around for words in what felt like a major demolition zone instead of his brain. "But...do you think we’re ready? We've only been together like that for ten days."

Ten days since that moment they'd touched on Gaara's bed for the first time. Ten very, very nice days. Occasionally upsetting, confusing, nerve-wracking and fascinating, ultimately nice days. Those ten days had done a lot to help Lee get over his last hesitations about sex, Love conquering the demons of the past in the best of romantic traditions. But what Gaara was suggesting was- was- apart from very tempting, it was-...a bit sudden.

Gaara looked at him in a way that suggested that Lee’s tentative objection had completely lost him. "We’ve tried the other ways of having sex at least once. We should try this." He made it sound like they were going through a check list. "That way, we’ll know what we can do with each other, what we might like or not like. I don’t like not having clearly defined boundaries."

"That’s because you’re a control freak," Lee muttered, still a bit under the shock.

Gaara didn’t deny it. He was perfectly still, staring thoughtfully at the sun-baked roofs and towers of Suna spreading out below them. When he spoke again, it was slowly, as if tentatively testing his own emotions and finding them sound, if somewhat unfamiliar.

"I’m curious, too."

Lee stared at him, surprised and utterly disarmed. Curious? Gaara was hardly ever curious. Too entrenched; too cautious; too paranoid. When Lee had realized a few months ago that Gaara was truly trying to become friends, one of the signs of this was an embryonic curiosity about Lee, his ways of thinking and the reasons behind some of his actions. In retrospect, it had probably been a forerunner of things to come.

Lee didn’t want to discourage Gaara's curiosity, but there was a difference between being inquisitive and being rash.

"You are aware that this, what you’re proposing, is a bit more...complicated than what we’ve done up until now, right?" he asked carefully.

That earned him an attentive scrutiny. "A bit, yes, but you didn’t make it sound that difficult."

Lee looked away quickly, his face a fetching shade of red at the memory. He picked disconsolately at what was left of his lunch; it had started out as a rice ball, but when his fist had clenched in shock- well, now it was more of a rice pancake. Gaara had sat him down two days ago and gotten everything Lee knew about gay sex out of him. Lee didn't know what burned him the most in retrospect; the fact that he'd had to say some very, very crude things, or the fact that it hadn't taken very long to say them at all. When it came down to it, his information didn't go much further than 'lube, stretch, go slow'.

And that would have to be enough, whenever they decided to try this. Either of them acquiring an instruction manual on homosexual intercourse would make the Suna gossip's headlines in less than three minutes, and Lee, for one, really didn’t want that. They hadn’t discussed this much, but they still shared a feeling that this was their secret, their struggle, and they didn’t want any interference. Gaara knew his emotions could still be dangerous and volatile. He trusted Lee with them now to some extent, but he didn't want anybody else to get in the line of fire. As for Lee, his sense of propriety informed him that the first people they would have to tell would be Gaara’s siblings. The thought of their reaction, particularly Temari’s, wasn’t infusing Lee with any sense of urgency to come clean either.

So their options to do research were severely limited, but they knew the essentials. And Gaara was curious. In view of that...now or later, what difference did it make?

Lee wondered how much his libido was contributing to this decision. Because...he wanted this too. He wanted it so badly...

He didn’t know why it was preying on him like that. He should be happy with what he had. Sure, there were still awkward moments (as far as Lee was concerned; Gaara didn't know what awkward meant). There were arguments and setbacks, problems and no-go-zones. And though the Sand hadn't struck once in the past ten days, it was still in the back of Lee's mind, and probably a lot more present in Gaara's.

Yet Gaara was changing, by cautious increment. He was conquering his fear of injuring Lee. He was discovering things that he wanted, apart from the raw necessity of justifying his existence, and that he could reach out for these things without necessarily getting hurt. He was slowly starting to test his limits. This bout of curiosity was just one more sign that Gaara was moving out of his isolation and into Lee’s life.

Despite the problems they still had, Lee knew deep down that these ten days he'd spent watching Gaara gradually discover new feelings and trust himself and Lee with them, were probably going to count as some of the best days of his life.

As for the physical side of their relationship, no complaints there, since the memory of a red head in his lap kept coming back to him at various moments of the day, giving him spontaneous erections that had made him temporarily give up his beloved sleek uniforms and opt for something a bit more discreet in the groin area.

Yet every time they'd touched...every time they'd sunk together into that moment that was just for them, that protected them from the outside world and the problems, confusions, doubts...Lee had that whisper in his mind again. Me in you in me in you in me...

"What are you doing this afternoon?"

"...This afternoon?" Lee tilted his head towards his boyfriend absently. "Training, once it gets cooler. My stamina is getting better, but I still-"

"What are you doing at two o'clock?"

"Dunno. I think I was going to work on-...why?" Lee croaked, suddenly paying a lot more attention to the conversation.

"I have some free time this afternoon."

"Oh." The syllable barely made it past Lee's throat.

"I've got what we need. Even a decent bed now, since the old one seemed to bother you. Can you make it?"

No! Say no! This should be a revered moment - we should be waiting for months, longing for it, the pinnacle of the Springtime Flowering of Love-

"Yes," Lee heard someone say. It had sounded suspiciously like his own voice.

"Good." Gaara fastidiously brushed the crumbs off of his fingers, picked up the dango sticks and hoisted the gourd over one shoulder. He checked their surroundings perfunctorily, kissed Lee's frozen mouth and headed towards the roof's door.



---



When Lee showed up at Gaara's at two o'clock, his head was still spinning.

He knocked. He still knocked, even though Gaara had told him repeatedly that he could let himself in. But Lee's formality was bred deep into his bones, and he wasn't going to just walk into Gaara's home unannounced, whether it was simply to wish his boyfriend goodnight before going back to sleep at the barracks, or whether it was to- to do what they were apparently going to do this afternoon.

The faint chakra flare of acknowledgement had come from the bedroom, to his absolute lack of surprise. Lee kicked off his sandals and headed that way as if he were sleepwalking.

He reached for the doorknob- and froze. The gourd was leaning against the wall just outside the door. In Lee's dazed imagination, it looked as reproachful as a puppy locked out of the bedroom. A very, very dangerous puppy. Lee swallowed, turned the knob and walked right in, closing the door a bit too quickly behind him and leaning against it.

Gaara was sitting at his desk in training slacks and a linen tunic, one leg curled up on the cushion, the other folded at his chest. He was reading something. He glanced up, put down the scroll, switched off the desk's light and got to his feet gracefully. The raw afternoon sunshine creeping beneath the thick curtains illuminated the warmth of the red tunic and his hair as he stood. Although he was probably completely unaware of it, it looked very tempting and caressable, but Lee had something else on his mind right now.

"I noticed the...ah..." Lee jerked a thumb over his shoulder.

Gaara's interrogative look faded into one of comprehension. "I think we'll both feel more comfortable without it in the room."

"Are you sure? You won't feel a bit vulnerable?"

"Vulnerable? No. If I was in actual danger, it would pulverize the door and be here in a second. But that second might be the time you need to react and get out of the way. Not that I think that will be necessary. But it's good to know."

"...I think you've been thinking about all of this a bit too much..."

"I am not putting you at risk again," Gaara said firmly. "You can call me a control freak, but this is non-negotiable. Now, come in. We can't do anything if you stay glued to the door like that."

Lee mentally walked through the first five steps of the complicated Eagle Flight kata; something he frequently did when he thought it best not to say the first two or three things that came to mind. He shoved himself away from the door. Gaara was composed, watching him move forward. By contrast, Lee had the strangest feeling he'd just grown an extra arm and leg, or something equally grotesque.

Gaara picked up a jar from the desk and tossed it at Lee.

"Will this do?"

Lee caught it and stared at the label.

"...Yes, this is the compound I'd heard about. Er, where did you get this? You...didn't buy it at the store, did you?"

"Do you think I do my own shopping? I put it on the list and my aide got it for me."

Oh, what a relief. Not.

"Did he ask you why you wanted it?" Lee asked, his voice at a higher pitch than usual as he imagined Gaara's severe, silent, hawk-faced aide picking up a list of the Kazekage's household necessities and staring at the one particular item he would never have seen there before.

"No. It's not his job to ask. Besides," Gaara frowned and glanced at the window, though the closed curtain blocked his view of Suna, "after my shows of instability these past few weeks, they're back to treating me like they did when I first took my position as Kazekage; like I'm some protector demon-deity to obey and placate and never question. I could ask my aide for a sacrificial dagger and a goat, and he'd provide it without a word."

"I think he would have a few questions."

Lee, more familiar with how Sunagakure saw Gaara than Gaara himself was at times, was damn sure that a request for either lube or a goat would cause tremendous speculation. Fortunately, the one kind of lubricant compound Lee had heard about and mentioned to Gaara was one that had a great number of uses for Shinobi; they could apply it to tripwires to avoid friction slowing a trap mechanism, they could use it as base for camouflage paint, they could anoint their kunai with it to draw in absolute silence, they could rub it into aching muscles...and of course one other use that was a regular garrison joke whenever the well-known lubricant appeared. The fact that the aide had bought a large jar with the instructions 'massage small handful into affected area and let dry' on the back indicated he'd probably not figured out what his boss was really going to use it for.

"Anyway, this will do fine," Lee sighed, glancing down at the ingredients again and making sure there was nothing toxic or scented in this formulation. "You'll be using it on me, of course."

"What do you mean?"

"You'll be, ah, taking me."

"No I won't."

Lee blinked as he looked up from the jar. He hadn't expected any argument on this; not from Gaara. Lee had known, since he'd first allowed himself to hope they could have sex like this one day, that he'd be on the bottom to start with.

"You have to."

"No."

"But- why?"

Gaara's eyes narrowed. "I want you to do it."

Lee rubbed his forehead. "Well, you have to have a better reason than that. Because I don't think that would be a good idea. To start with, you'll feel more in control if you're, um, doing it. Don't tell me that's not a factor," Lee added in a mutter. "And besides, you have to understand that this is different than what we've done before. This, um, this type of- I mean-"

"Anal sex?" Gaara supplied, in a voice that made it clear he was getting tired of having to guess what Lee was saying half the time.

"...Yes. That. You see, it's fairly established by now that I, well, like men. But we're not sure at all about your preferences. Obviously, you like what we've done so far, but I'm not sure that really means anything. When it comes to...um, being on the receiving end, I think orientation really does make a difference. You see? Now, since it's established that I'm gay, and we have no idea if you are or not, for this first time, I think you should take me. Makes sense. So we'll do it that way. Okay?"

"No."

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Yes."

"...Have I told you how much it annoys me when you do that?"

"Yes."

Lee felt a vein start to twitch in his forehead. He'd thought it was rather generous on his part to offer to do this first; not that he minded, of course, but he wouldn't mind it being the other way around either. He hoped one day to ease Gaara into it, to be able to make love to him, even if it was just once, just to see if Gaara really hated it or- but right here and now, there were too many reasons why it was going to be in this order.

"Fine. I didn't want to say this, but..." Lee took a deep breath and released it, "we have some practical concerns here. In regards to your Sand Barrier."

Gaara's eyes flickered towards the door. So did Lee's; he couldn't help it.

"You see, this sort of- anal sex." Why did it feel as if his mouth was going to curl up and die when he said something like that? Gaara didn't seem to have any problems. "It can be painful. It is painful. The first time, that is. Now, thanks to my training, my resistance to pain is one of the highest in both villages, while you can count on your fingers the number of times you've been physically injured. That's why it really makes sense for you to be on top."

Gaara stared at him, and then his eyes narrowed to slits. "So you think I'm weak."

"Wha-at?! No, that's not what I- you're one of the strongest men I know!"

"Well then," Gaara said smoothly, turning towards the bed.

"But-but Gaara!" Lee clutched his hair. "What about the Sand? If I hurt you-"

"You would have to hurt me considerably to get me to lash out at you. I do have some control over myself," Gaara said, looking back at him. "And more than anything in my life, I never want to injure you again. That resolve will protect you."

Lee was struck dumb by the intensity of the look in those green eyes.

"Your physical control is better than mine," Gaara continued, voice flat, monotone, unbending. "If you go slowly, it won't hurt, and neither of us will be at risk."

"I heard it can hurt even if you go slow," Lee countered, trying to get back onto solid ground.

"It stings a bit, but hardly enough to get me to harm anyone, much less you," Gaara said, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring. "The muscles stretch with only minimal discomfort. I tried it in the shower yesterday, and even though fingers are not the same as-"

Lee didn't hear the rest. Once he'd figured out what Gaara was saying, he had to go sit down.

"- doubt it can be that painful, if people do it for pleasure-...Lee?"

Lee clutched the edge of the bed as if he thought it might buck him off. "You-...tried-..."

His heart was slamming against his ribs and choking him. His imagination had seized upon Gaara's practical words and was conjuring the kind of fantasies he'd never had the audacity to even dream of...Gaara, face to the wall, eyes sliding shut as he arched sensuously against the shower tiles, his hand slipping behind his back, his fingers reaching down to-

Then Gaara was straddling his lap, pressing against the hard-on that was fast dragging all the blood from every inch of Lee, except his face, which had to be a very exceptional shade of red right now. Lee opened his mouth to protest- Gaara kissed him deeply, savagely, and moved hard against him.

Lee thought he was going to black out. His hands were on Gaara's ass, trying to get him to move like that again, and he could still see it- Gaara's eyes closed in bliss that almost looked like pain it was so intense as his fingers moved, panting as the water cascaded down- agh!

He accidentally bit his tongue when Gaara shoved him back to lie on the bed. It snapped him out of his fantasy-induced trance. He gasped in some air and caught Gaara by the shoulders as his lover made to kiss him again.

"W-wait-"

Lee fished around desperately for all the reasons he had lined up, but they seemed to have vanished when his brain flat-lined.

"But...why?" he asked plaintively. "Can't you give me one reason?"

Gaara stared down at him. When he finally spoke, his voice was reasonable, almost gentle.

"Lee, if you'd asked me half a year ago, I would have told you I had no sex drive to speak of. These desires I now feel...I don't understand them yet. I don't know what to do with them. For this first time, it's safer to rely on your reactions and instincts, and for me to take the passive role."

"Why?" Lee yelped, panic washing through him. "I haven't done it before either! I'm not a genius, I never get anything right the first time, I-"

"You don't have to be a Taijutsu master to get this right. Civilians have sex all the time. From the number of kids running around this place, they're quite good at it. You know what to do. Humans have it wired in here." A warm fingertip pressed against Lee's forehead.

Lee took in a steadying breath and let it out again. He knew that when it came to these new feelings or impulses that Lee had awoken with a touch, Gaara still didn't trust himself. He trusted Lee. Lee wasn't sure that the 'passive' role was any less daunting, but this was Gaara's choice, and Lee had to respect his lover's evaluation of what he might enjoy and what he felt like trying. They could give it a shot, and stop at the first sign that it wasn't going well.

But all that aside, there was one thing Lee wanted to be absolutely clear on.

"Gaara, you've been mistreated since you were a baby and you've got a demon bound up inside you, but you're still human."

A flicker of sadness crossed Gaara's face as his fingertips brushed Lee's cheek.

"Make me believe that," he whispered.

Aha! A challenge! Lee didn't know about showing Gaara his humanity, but he did want to make Gaara feel good. If he didn't, he'd- he'd- he'd perform-...he'd think of something suitably gruelling later, when Gaara wasn't rubbing against him like that.

He lifted Gaara away and rolled over onto the bed with him. He lifted up the linen tunic, the pads of his fingers trailing over the smooth skin beneath it. Gaara’s hands caressed Lee's sides and ended up at his buttons.

Lee didn’t pay too much notice to the disappearance of his clothes. Having Gaara stare at him with that hungry, attentive look a few times had cured Lee of whatever physical shyness about his body he might still have harboured. He was almost getting used to being naked by now. He was not getting used to seeing Gaara pull off his own clothes, though, or being allowed to touch that breath-taking body, but then again, Lee had no intention of ever becoming used to that. He wanted it to be a fresh wonder each and every time.

Gaara sat back and slid off the training pants he’d been wearing, and Lee's heartbeat went soaring. They’d been this far before; they’d explored each other’s bodies, curious and cautious, on one of their three previous times. It didn’t make this moment any less bewitching and unnerving, especially in view of today's ultimate goal.

Lee's eyes watered as they roamed over the strong, lean frame. His fingers followed closely. Gaara slipped down to lie beside him, no sign of modesty or embarrassment in his movements. He touched Lee’s face, caressed his throat, then the green eyes dropped to Lee’s hands which were smoothing the skin of Gaara’s chest and hips.

Lee watched his fingers caress the bump of a hipbone, sweep up to linger on muscles and creamy skin. He dropped a kiss against Gaara’s hard belly, feeling the heat from Gaara’s skin warm his flushed face. He...had that strange urge again; to lean over and- and nibble on that flawless skin. To make a small, human mark on that demon-possessed body usually encased in Sand. He didn't, of course. He always treated Gaara with extreme gentleness and made sure never to hurt him or startle him. Out of love, and out of a small part of self-preservation as well.

Then Gaara moved into his arms, and Lee's thinking processes concentrated on the breathtaking fact that they were both completely naked and pressed against each other. No, he was just never, ever going to get used to this...

His thumb lightly circled a nipple the colour of sandstone in the dim, warm light. Inexperience still clung to him, unsure of what Gaara might like or dislike, unsure he was doing it right, if he’d notice if he was doing it wrong. So many ways of touching, so many places to touch- Lee had had no clue there were so many possibilities. Sex-ed had really fallen short in so many ways, in his modest opinion.

A kiss lingered while hands explored. Lee's fingers trailed over hard muscles, caressed the firm lines of Gaara's back, his hipbones, his thighs. Then his palm fit over Gaara’s erection. His lover’s breath trickled out against Lee’s throat before Gaara kissed the edge of his jaw. Lee’s fingers were steady and careful, his body responding better than his mind was to uncertainty and excitement. Even when fingers found his own hard-on and made sure it got a whole lot harder.

He was kissing a beautifully delineated collarbone - and resisting the urge to nip it, dammit - when Gaara finally squirmed out of his arms. Tension tightened the muscles of Lee's shoulders, but he let Gaara move to the side of the bed where he'd dropped the jar of ointment earlier.

Gaara scooped out some of the lubricant, letting the run-off spill from his fingers.

"Er, do you want me to do that?" Lee asked, sitting up slowly. He’d be able to reach that, um, area a lot easier than Gaara could, and of course Lee would be able to see what he was doing.

Gaara glanced at him in surprise, and then ever so briefly his eyes flickered towards the door.

"I'd better do it," he said quietly.

Lee's apprehension cranked up a couple of notches. He tried to keep it out of his body language.

Gaara got to his knees facing Lee and slipped his hand behind his back, and Lee managed to forget about everything around him, including the bloody Sand, as he realized he was going to get a re-enactment of his earlier fantasy right here and right now and for real.

Gaara arched forward a fraction, arm dipping down, hand out of sight. After a few seconds, he glanced down at the open jar he was still holding. "It's a lot easier with this than with soap," he said prosaically.

Oh good. Lee was glad to hear that. Nonetheless, now would be a good time to put a moratorium on Gaara's straightforward and blunt approach to sex. Lee wasn't sure how much information he could handle right now.

Even without the commentary, it was almost more than Lee could handle. Gaara’s movements were slow, but without any trace of diffidence or shame. Lee could see the muscles of Gaara’s forearm moving, and he realized he was naming each muscle in his head in an attempt to focus on something that wasn't going to leave him quaking.

Gaara’s back arched a bit. There was a faint flush on his cheeks, darkening his face and lips like sunburn; it was excitement, not embarrassment. Lee had by now figured out that Gaara was physically incapable of the latter. Gaara had little self-consciousness and absolutely no idea just how amazingly erotic and discomforting it was to watch him do that.

Lee’s propriety was torturing him with red-hot pokers, telling him he should look away from the body offered to his eyes without any sign of constraint. But where else was he supposed to look? And every flicker on Gaara’s face or in his posture - determination, caution, a sudden flash of discomfort - would rivet Lee’s eyes helplessly to the sight, turning his brain into an anxious mulch of worry and desire. There was a tightness to Gaara’s lips now, it spoke of a bit of effort, and something that was not entirely unlike pain, and Lee was having to try hard not to fidget or wince every time Gaara inhaled sharply, or frowned, or-

"Relax," Gaara said, most of his concentration on what his fingers were doing. "I've seen you more at ease in a fight."

"Yes. Sorry," Lee said automatically.

Gaara's green eyes drifted over his face. "Why are you so nervous?"

"I've never done this before!"

"You told me that everything we’ve done this last fortnight was new to you too, yet you seemed pretty composed while doing it."

"Er..." That was true. Sure, Lee had felt awkward and unsure, but he'd fallen back on Shinobi instincts gained during his training, a mental space where actions were measured, and self-doubt was not allowed, only caution. Why did he feel so wired now?

Because this was It. This was the moment. He was going to make love to Gaara, to the person who counted the most for him. Lee had been getting a crash course in Reality versus Romance this past fortnight, but a small part of him had been clinging to this moment still. He'd wanted it to be magical. He'd wanted it to be romantic. He'd wanted it to be Perfect.

It probably wasn't going to be. But there was something that mattered a lot more than Perfect. He rose up onto his knees and cupped Gaara's face with his hands.

"I love you," he said softly, with everything he had.

Gaara's movements stopped and he stared at Lee.

Lee kissed him, letting his hands drift down Gaara's arms, his back. When he broke the deep, gentle kiss, they were both breathing more rapidly.

"Closer," Gaara said, his voice its usual monotone, but his eyes as deep as the sea. "I want us to be as close as we can be."

"Now?" Lee quavered, tensing up again.

"No, give me another minute." Then he leaned forward and kissed Lee, putting down the jar and letting his free hand brush scars and skin and shivers.

It felt a lot longer than a minute. When Gaara's fingers trailed over Lee's erection, time seized up and snarled itself into knots. Gaara's hand left Lee panting and wracked with pleasurable shudders, clinging to Gaara's shoulders. There was a click of fingernails against glass as Gaara reached out to the jar without looking away from Lee. Then his hand was back, cooler and slick. Lee closed his eyes and stifled a whimper at the extra layer of sensations. He could feel Gaara's gaze on him; Gaara always looked at him in these moments with something like hungry desire, as if Lee's pleasure was more real to him than his own.

Gaara finally leaned back, removed both his hands from their tasks and wiped his fingers on the sheet. He turned away from Lee and started to lean over onto his hands.

Lee reacted, and caught him by the shoulders, twisting him around again in a rustle of bedcovers that knocked the jar askew.

"Wait. Wait. Um..."

Lee rescued the ointment and screwed the lid on with tense fingers while he tried to formulate his thoughts. Gaara looked at him steadily and without a comment.

"I...I want to see your face. I need to see your face, and make sure I'm not hurting you."

Gaara seemed to weigh that thoughtfully.

"That would be a good idea. But how would we do that? The few times I observed two men having sex, there was always one on hands and knees-"

"I'm sure it's possible." Lee's voice was determined. He was rather wishing he'd studied porn as assiduously as Kakashi-sensei had at one time suggested, but he'd rather figure it out - and see Gaara's face - than rely on Gaara's past as an innocent voyeur as a guide. That just creeped him out on so many levels.

"Trust me, I'll figure it out," Lee said, mind working fast, knowledge of movement and anatomy flashing through his mind. They were both pretty flexible-

Gaara nodded shortly once, as if his trust in Lee was something self-obvious that hadn't needed any words to ensure it. Lee's trust in himself wasn't at an all-time high, but Gaara waited patiently and with utmost confidence, and he really couldn't fail that now, could he?

He gently eased Gaara down onto his back, head on the pillow, then he shifted down and nudged Gaara's legs to bend at the knee.

"Can you...tilt your..."

Gaara lifted his hips, and finally his legs too, under the pressure of Lee's fingers. His lips were a firm line tight with vestiges of tension and restraint. Lee had felt it beneath his fingers as they touched, he could see it in Gaara's body language. His lover wasn't quite as self-assured as he might appear superficially, but there was no hesitation as he followed the suggestions of Lee's hands.

Lee crept nearer, his thigh bumped Gaara's, and this was it, this was real, he was actually going to do this, and though he knew deep down that he was as ready as he'd ever be, his heart was beating as hard as when he opened his first three Gates.

"Tell me right away if this hurts," he said, voice more severe than he'd intended. Most of his concentration was on his fingers guiding his erection towards the ripple and dip of flesh they'd found, awkwardly slick with lube.

It took a few small changes in their position and a press forward a bit more firm than Lee liked, before he felt something give. He supported the curve of Gaara's body with his own, his arm curling around Gaara's leg, pushing it back a bit, propping them into position. The other hand sunk into the mattress near Gaara's ribs. Lee felt his balance, making sure he was absolutely in control of every movement he might make. He hadn't thought this moment would feel so much like moving through a brand new kata, one you absolutely had to get right the first time. 'Humans have it wired in here'? Not really...

Lee's attention was split and scattered, eyes on his lover's face, hunting for signs of pain, ears open for a scrabble of Sand at the door, body feeling its way forward. It was different than mouth or hand; less moisture, more pressure. Lot more pressure. Lee stopped, and the band of muscles gripped him more than he'd thought it would. How much were they supposed to relax? Maybe Gaara hadn't done this bit properly - dammit, Lee should have made sure-

"Come on," Gaara said. "It doesn't hurt." But to Lee's ears, his voice sounded taut and controlled.

Lee moved forward again. The tightness coiled like a ring about half an inch from the head of his erection. The movement wasn't any easier than that first push.

"You can go deeper," Gaara muttered, shifting his head against the pillow.

"Don't want to go too fast," Lee mumbled, cautioning himself more than answering.

"You aren't."

"...You sure?" He could move, but it felt nowhere as easy and natural as he'd hoped it would.

Gaara didn't answer. His eyes had narrowed. A sign that Lee should get on with it. Now.

Lee moved again, barely. At the back of his mind was the knowledge that he always had to try, try and try again before overcoming his challenges, but he couldn't do that here, this was Gaara, his lover, he didn't have the luxury of getting it wrong. And it felt like he was forcing his way in-

The word 'forcing' struck ugly, alarming echoes in his head; memories of sex-ed class, the ones he thought he'd gotten over. All the ways you could do this wrong, all the ways it could be abuse- rape- Lee froze.

"Gaara- this-this isn't right! I'm hurting you, this is too-"

Lee started when a hand landed hard on his mouth. He stared past the fingers gagging him. Gaara was looking up at him with an echo of a familiar and worrisome pinpoint pupil stare.

"When we first met, you kicked me through the Sand Barrier," his lover said in his unhurried, dangerous monotone. "You cracked the Armour, punched me repeatedly and hammered me into the floor hard enough to leave a crater. Even the Sand couldn't absorb all that impact; I was black and blue all over for days after that. That hurt. This does not hurt. Now, to use your phrase, get a grip. And- and-" Gaara's borderline-lethal look melted into a frown. He took his hand away from Lee's mouth and squirmed against the sharp bend of his waist and hips. "And do something..."

"Wh-what-"

"I-" Gaara leaned back against the mattress again, moved his shoulders. "I don't know- but do something!"

Lee took a second to draw a steadying breath. Gaara didn't look distressed; he looked a bit fidgety and increasingly annoyed, but not in any pain, and there was no hiss of Sand at the door or anything alarming. This...was apparently normal. Now- instructions- there wasn't anything he was supposed to do now, that he'd forgotten- no? And the pressure around his erection was growing. Like a tightening heat band. Lee twitched his hips back a bit, instinctively-

Instantly, Lee knew what he had to do. What he needed to do.

He let his body reach for what it wanted, though he kept a tight rein on it. He didn't want to hurt Gaara. He pressed in again. It felt less forceful this time. He drew back and pushed in again-

- Gaara's eyes widened.

Oh...

...damn...

The best part though-...

Pleasure curled through his nervous system with every small push forward.

Glide of flesh in flesh, immediate and real and intimate, coiling hot and violent in his gut.

But the best part was...Lee fought to keep his eyes focused, because this, this right here, this was the best part.

Gaara's lips were parted. The expression on his face-...It wasn't entirely pleasure, he looked...surprised, too. There was also more control and discomfort there than Lee would like. But...

But...

But the way Gaara's eyelids flickered and his mouth opened wider in a silent gasp at Lee's thrusts...It joined them. It was as if the pleasure coursing through Lee was flowing directly into his lover's body and back again like the tide, as if some last barrier between them had finally crumbled.

His usual modesty had melted into something primal. Lee watched Gaara intently and without any self-consciousness. He didn't miss the minute ways Gaara moved in response to the thrusts into his body, or any twitch of expression. Fist tightening on the sheets- go slow. Flicker of eyelid- that's better. Lips parted in a silent gasp- he likes that...

Gaara was almost entirely still beneath him, apart from the sharp lift and fall of his chest, but there was the slightest nudge from the leg pressed against Lee’s hip when Lee moved in and stopped. It pushed Lee on, then relaxed with him, the tide moving them both.

Lee’s breath and heartbeat were loud in his ears. He could feel every muscle in his highly trained body forming a whole, moving exactly as he wanted them to. As Gaara wanted them to.

He licked his lips. He wasn't going to come before Gaara did.

Gaara blinked, then his eyelids slid closed - shudder of discomfort and pleasure entwined-

Lee was not going to come before-...uhn...good thing he loved a challenge.

Gaara finally moved. His hand reached up and blindly fastened on Lee's supporting arm. Fingers gripped convulsively.

This wasn't going to last long. Gaara's breathing was getting shallow and ragged, a familiar pattern; it was a sound Lee was beginning to know and love as much as Gaara's heartbeat and the way Gaara spoke to him sometimes when they were alone.

Gaara made a small sound, a hissing gasp. Not pain, not quite pleasure either, and beyond both.

Fingers felt like a blind man's, up Lee's shoulder, his neck, touched his cheek as Lee leaned forward into that touch. Lee turned his head, nuzzled at the palm.

Gaara's leg was pressing him to go further, but Lee kept the movements slow and measured.

It felt...

- I hope I'm not hurting him -

...just...

- I hope I'm doing this right-

The warm pressure caressed and squeezed him, in-out, in-out; sensual and maddening.

Gaara arched his neck against the pillow. He was shaking.

It was too much. Watching Gaara- keeping absolute control over his body- the pleasure growing with each gentle thrust until it just- Lee couldn't handle it all. Too new, too sudden, too real-

The only thing left was the control he had over his movements. He would never hurt Gaara. Everything else was sudden, shocking, intense pleasure as he twitched his hips in-out-in and came.

Fingers drifted over his face, touched his closed eyelids as he threw his head back, shuddering heavily. Gaara groaned softly. There was absolutely no pain in that sound.

Lee was panting, his forehead pressed against Gaara's chest. He could feel his spine complaining at the angle he'd bent himself into. He'd slumped when his supporting arm had gone a bit wobbly, something that normally didn’t happen unless he'd been training for days. His whole body felt warm, pleasantly heavy.

Gaara was touching his back with gentle fingers. Lee breathed deeply the scent of their combined bodies.

Then Gaara poked him in the ribs and squirmed a bit. Oh, right.

Lee used his body like a tool, pulling out of the warm, slick place, sliding himself down numbly. His mouth barely touched Gaara's erection- his lover jerked and moaned, a low sound Lee was going to remember for a long time. In fact, it was about to become his sworn duty to get Gaara to make that sound again in the future.

Gaara's body twisted and tensed beneath Lee’s fingers and then his lover came beneath his tongue. Lee swallowed and waited until Gaara was panting, body loose against the sheets, then he lifted his head and wiped his chin absently, mind numb. His body, now let off the leash he'd had it on from the start, slumped against Gaara's, head pillowed on his lover's chest, and everything was quiet and good for a minute.

Then Gaara nudged him.

"On my leg," he muttered, as if saying all the words in that sentence was an effort he was not inclined to make.

Lee moved, practically in a dream, rolled them both around until he was on his back and Gaara was lying against him, body against body, close and safe and nothing bad had happened, quite the contrary...

"Gaara?" Lee stirred, his conscience prodding him to make sure. "Was that...are you okay? Are you feeling sore?"

There was a long silence. Lee craned his neck, but he couldn't see Gaara's face from that angle. Just as he was about to struggle to sit up, Gaara whispered: "I feel warm..."

Lee craned his neck and squinted, not wanting to jolt Gaara if there wasn't any immediate injury to attend to. His lover's head was a tousled red mop from that angle. He appeared to be kneading his chest gently. His movements looked slow and languid, without any trace of alarm, and Lee let his budding tension evaporate.

"Yes, it's hot in here. We should open the window," Lee said, with a vague look in that direction. Wouldn't hurt to get some fresh air in. Except that would involve removing Gaara from where he was lying half-sprawled on Lee, and getting up.

Hmmmmm-no. Heat wouldn't kill him. And Lee decided that he liked Gaara right where he was.

There'd been the slightest snort from his lover. As if Lee had said something unintentionally amusing.

A scratching noise made Lee glance at the door. A trickle of Sand wormed its way under the jamb, then formed itself into the vague shape of a hand and scurried across the floor. Lee watched it with some concern, but it skirted the bed, crawled up the wall and disappeared behind the curtain. He could hear it fiddle with the latch, and then the curtain blew towards them with a faint waft of air. Lee glanced from the window to Gaara in surprise, to see Gaara's fingers relax and rest once more on Lee's stomach. Though Gaara had the ability, he rarely used his Sand for anything trivial like that. A good Shinobi always kept his weapons sheathed and hidden until needed. Besides, Gaara's relationship with his powerful weapon was complex and fraught with dangerous feelings; he knew how people feared its appearance. Offhand, Lee couldn't ever remember Gaara using the Sand for anything other than attack or defence.

But Gaara knew Lee didn't fear him or the Sand. And apparently the Kazekage didn't feel like budging either just right now. Lee felt a quiet contentment as he caressed Gaara's shoulder and smiled.

A syrup of thoughts trickled through his brain. I did it. I just had sex; real sex. Wow. And it was amazing. I hope Gaara enjoyed it. I hope I did it okay.

"So...erm, did you like it?" he asked, the question slipping out without much forethought. "I'm sorry that didn't last very long- but I wasn't too rough, was I? You sure you're not sore?"

There was a few seconds of contemplative silence from Gaara.

"It can last longer?" he asked, in a voice that sounded decidedly interested.

"I think, yeah." Lee scratched his head. The delightful heaviness in his limbs was fading.

Gaara was silent for a few seconds, then he lifted his head, and Lee blinked into intense green eyes. "It felt...I could feel you moving. In me. And the pleasure it gave you...I could see it. We were so close...I gave you that..."

Then he paused. Lee didn't know what kind of face he was making: he was touched by Gaara's words, but he was also a bit embarrassed, and confused, and still rather worried, and it was probably all there and mixed up in his expression.

"You meant, how did it feel physically," Gaara said with a small smirk, letting his head sink back against Lee's chest. "It didn't hurt. I told you it wouldn't. There was some discomfort, but it was trivial compared to the sort of pain we run into on the battlefield. Discomfort isn't even the right word...Mainly it felt..."

Gaara's hand twitched against Lee's skin in something akin to frustration, then it settled back on his abs with a minimal caress of the thumb across the ridges of Lee’s muscles. "It was not what I imagined it would be, but it felt good. I liked it."

Lee took that at face value; with Gaara, it was a safe thing to do. He felt something unwind deep inside of him. Relief, pleasure. A bit of pride, too.

They were silent and mostly still, except for Gaara slowly wiping up various wet spots with a corner of the sheet, in such a way that he didn't have to remove his head from Lee's chest to do so.

Lee listened to the faint whisper of the curtains letting in a welcomed afternoon breeze, lazy and fat with heat but still a relief. A woman was shouting a few streets away, telling some kid to stop teasing the dog. Crows were squabbling on a nearby roof. The Kazekage's house sounded utterly silent by comparison. Only their breathing, soft and unhurried now.

Finally Lee twisted his neck and looked down at the slice of Gaara's face he could see. The dark eyes were shut, two black smudges against pale skin, the mark on his forehead buried in spilled strands of red.

"So do you feel more human?" he asked, only partly teasing.

A slight crease formed between Gaara's eyes. "If I say no, what stupid rule did you impose on yourself?"

"...To do it again?"

The corners of Gaara's mouth twitched up. "That is an acceptable rule," he declared, rolling away and onto his back in a stretch, one hand still lingering against Lee's chest. "I want to do it again too."

Lee's youthful energy came back in a rush. He hauled a startled Gaara back into his arms and buried his face in a creamy neck with a happy grin on his face. After a few seconds, fingers hesitantly threaded themselves through his hair, wandered over his shoulders and back.

Then Gaara stirred, and moved away from Lee's arms. Lee made a drowsy sound of protest and wiggled over on the bed, keeping his arms around Gaara and tugging back gently.

"I have to go," Gaara announced a touch regretfully, as he sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "We're organizing the next series of patrols for Unit B, starting tomorrow. I have a meeting in half an hour and I have to shower first. Some of my Jounin have very sensitive noses."

Made perfect sense; much more sense than Lee's desire to continue to stay wrapped up together in a hot room, skin against sticky skin. But...

"Can I join you? It'll save water," Lee added virtuously, his hands still glued to Gaara's hip. Lee wasn't much of an aesthete outside of martial arts, but he thought that the contrast of the darker tan of his scarred fingers against Gaara's unblemished and gloriously naked skin was something that should be put in a museum. A private museum.

"It's not a big shower," Gaara said, looking down at him doubtfully.

"I can make myself real small."

The thin sand-coloured lips quirked. "I don't believe that."

But a hand grabbed Lee by the wrist, hauled him out of the bed with lazy strength and dragged him towards the bathroom. Lee followed with a happy grin.

It hadn't been perfect, he had to admit. Too short, too nerve-wracking, too awkward, too damn new- But then again, if it had been perfect, they'd have nothing left to figure out. Nothing to work on together and improve. If it had been perfect, there'd be no chance of making it better, through hard work, dedication and a great number of repeated attempts.

Lee found himself thinking that perfect wasn't all that it was made out to be, after all.



End Part Eighteen



Haha, okay, don't worry, the next lemons are a bit more normal. A bit. I hope this was hot, despite the awkwardness, the odd moments and the humour that just insisted on cropping up (I think sex can be inherently a bit funny, and I think Lee and his grand romantic ideas are funny, and when you associate Gaara, Lee, his romance and sex, it tends to be hilarious, even when it should probably be Dramatic and Serious and Wonderful and other things with capitals instead...)

Thoughts, comments, odd looks in my direction and the occasional snort of laugher are all welcome; reviews are my oxygen.

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