If there is one good thing about having to go through all this stuff again, it would be that I keep finding nearly-done projects and just going and finishing them. Because... yeah. I was just in a Naruto-y mood, and I wanted there to be more Lee/Gaara!
So call it a gift for slr2moons. Because it's been so long since I posted new GaaLee! I'm not entirely sure she wants it, mind. I keep reading it and going "hnnnnh sand in places" and yet I'm pretty sure Lee doesn't actually care! Though it feels like there should be more, I've no idea where the plot would go. Probably a good thing with the number of projects I have.
Title: Armor of Grit, Sand and Stubbornness
Warnings: (non-explicit) sex, antisocial Gaara, sand everywhere
Summary: Gaara uses his sand to demand Lee's attention, but Lee wants something more substantial than sand.
On a strictly personal and practical level, Lee was not fond of sand. It was rough and grating and managed to get everywhere. It lingered in his clothes, clung to his skin, and even managed to settle into his hair and eyebrows. Whatever amazing things Gaara could do with it did not change the fact that he did not like having it all over him.
In fact, the things that Gaara could do with it often made it even more of a nuisance.
At the moment Gaara’s skills were entirely to blame for the sand. Lee could feel a single, gritty tendril slipping up into his jumpsuit even as he moved to avoid it. Sand coiled around his ankle, slid up his calf, and pooled against the back of his knee.
Lee didn’t need to question the origin of the sand, or its behavior. He could feel the gaze on him that explained everything. He could see Gaara out of the corner of his eye if he turned his head, standing just within his clearing. He was resting one hand on his gourd, which he had set on the ground at his side. Lee didn’t turn his head enough to see the tendrils of sand rising out of it. He didn’t have to. He could feel exactly where they where going.
Lee was familiar with the complete, undisguised intent in Gaara’s gaze by now. It wasn’t the bloodlust that had made his skin crawl back when they first met (if such an innocent word could describe that deadly struggle), it was. . . something not at all conducive to training.
Neither Gaara’s stare nor the feeling of sand slipping higher, coiling lazily around his hip, was going to distract him. He would gladly break the log he was punching apart before he broke down and responded to Gaara’s stare.
Lee didn’t even try to suppress his smile. It was a challenge now, a game. He was familiar enough with Gaara to know that he wasn’t being threatened, he was practically being invited to play. The sand, now creeping up the backs of both his legs, was as much a demand for attention as a hindrance.
Was the demand intentional? Lee knew from experience that Gaara did not have to be aware for the sand to act. Not only had Lee been protected by Gaara’s instinctive shields before, but he had also experienced other, apparently unintentional, quirks of Gaara’s way of interacting with the world.
Before, months before, Lee had caught sand creeping around his ankles at odd times. Not pressing on him, not tripping him up, just brushing against him in a tentative way. It had been almost like a stray cat asking for attention. Whenever he looked up he had found Gaara reluctantly acknowledging him, and whatever the sand had been doing, it had stopped immediately.
Lee suspected those little touches had been a mark of interest that even Gaara hated to admit out loud. He certainly hadn’t been refused when he responded to Gaara’s touches at last.
The sand crept past his waist. It was sliding up his back and down his arms. Lee anticipated the way it spiraled around his forearms, encased his wrists, and curled over his fingers. He suppressed the ticklish response when it crept around to his chest and trickled down over his stomach.
Though he was sure that Gaara’s sand could respond to defend him, or even to touch, without conscious thought, Lee was equally sure that Gaara was touching him now on purpose. It was a direct question, a challenge. What would it take for him to break down and acknowledge Gaara? It was too tightly controlled, and Gaara’s attention was too obviously focused on him, to be anything else.
What would it take before he ignored everything else in favor of Gaara?
In a moment the sand moving over his body was simply another challenge to be overcome, its weight an additional aid to his training. Lee should have been terrified by the feeling of sand wrapping around his whole body, but he could feel that Gaara did not intend to cripple or kill him. He could take the subtle pressure that was being put on his limbs and joints in stride.
Was this also a sort of training for Gaara? Lee thought he might be tightening his control, carefully touching skin he couldn’t quite see. The thought of Gaara training with him like this was friendly and encouraging to Lee.
It wasn’t a threat yet–not even close–the feeling of sand that was practically a rough second skin shifting under his clothes. Lee wondered if it would become dangerous. How rough would Gaara have to be to force Lee’s attention fully onto him? How hard could he squeeze to restrict Lee’s body without breaking something? Lee wanted to know almost as badly as Gaara did, morbid as it felt.
Lee’s skin was being scrubbed raw by the gritty caress, even as his limbs were weighed down. Would Gaara’s ‘playful’ touch go on long enough to draw blood this time? If it did, would that be the end of the game?
The minute the weight was enough to force him to slow down, the sand started to creep up the back of his neck. It fanned out into his hair and along his cheeks, and before he knew it sand was brushing over his lips.
Pressing his lips together firmly enough to shut out the sand that was teasing them, Lee finally stopped. He knew Gaara would get his way. That was inevitable since the moment he had allowed the sand inside his jumpsuit. Even so, he did not want that sort of fake kiss. He didn’t want the taste and feel of sand in his mouth.
There was only one solution now. If he wanted to replace the sand with something more substantial, Lee would have to go straight for the source.
It only took a few running steps to reach Gaara, who only moved to lift his chin a few degrees and look Lee in the eye. He was still as stone when Lee darted down to kiss him on the mouth.
All Lee count taste was sand. Grit insinuated itself between his lips. He hated it all the more because he knew now underneath his armor Gaara’s lips would not taste of dirt.
Lee rubbed his thumb over Gaara’s lips, feeling grains of sand shift under his touch and the tip of Gaara’s tongue prodding at his thumb. The glimpse of soft wetness was almost more than he could stand. Lee pressed another kiss to Gaara’s lips, tongue slipping inside to meet Gaara’s. No sand here. Only sweet unyielding muscle that was undeniably Gaara.
“Take off the sand armor.” Lee wished he could make it sound like he was in control, but he knew even under his empty tone of confidence he was pleading for it. Gaara had already won the first round by getting his attention and making him move first.
“Make me.” The dark purr of Gaara’s voice would have sounded dangerous from anyone else, but Lee already knew what Gaara sounded like in a deadly mood. This was Gaara playing with him.
If Gaara wanted stripping off his armor to be round two, Lee was determined not to lose that one. He practically tackled Gaara, sweeping the startled sand ninja up and over his shoulder as he took off running. He might not be able to strip the sand from Gaara grain by grain, not with his own hands, but there was more than one way to remove sand.
It wasn’t long before Lee found his goal. He jumped without breaking stride and landed on a thick branch stretched over the water, his arm still firmly around Gaara.
Gaara had gone still, only breathing heavily, each gasp shifting him slightly against Lee’s shoulder. Could he sense the water below them? Lee looked down at the river, knowing it was comparatively shallow and sluggish, and weighted down with silt, and wondering if Gaara would forgive him for stripping away his shield like this.
There was only one thing he could do. Lee swung Gaara down to lay in his arms, so that he could look him in the face. He did want Gaara to be vulnerable, exposed before him. He also wanted Gaara to chose it himself. He couldn’t quite see that happening. Gaara wouldn’t make himself vulnerable willingly, but he might consent to let Lee appreciate his skin only for a few moments.
Gaara gave the river below them a passing glance, and he had to know what Lee was thinking, how this would end, but he didn’t comment. Instead he stretched up to bite at Lee’s neck, just underneath his chin.
Anything short of an outright show of wrath was all the permission Lee expected. He launched himself off of his perch, up and out over the river.
Clutching Gaara tightly, Lee felt suspended in midair for an instant, even though he knew he was free-falling. He could have cleared the river if he tried, even with his squirming armful. Instead he let himself flip over once in the air, and hit the water on his back with Gaara on top of him.
Lee found the river to be shallow enough that his back brushed the bottom. Gaara bit at him fiercely, catching his chin and neck, though he seemed to be striking blindly, as he squirmed his way out of Lee’s arms.
Letting Gaara go, Lee pushed himself up to the surface. The river was barely deep enough for him to tread water. Lee found his toes touched the soft bottom if he stretched his legs. For a moment he took deep breaths, feeling the weight of wet sand in his clothes, pulling him down like so many training weights instead of slithering over his skin.
Then he realized that Gaara had not followed him to the surface. It had never occurred to him that Gaara might not know how to swim, or might be stubborn enough to stay underwater.
Their landing had stirred up the river’s silt, and when he ducked under the water again, Lee could not see any sign of Gaara in the murk. He stretched out his hands, caught hold of something that felt like Gaara’s robe, and yanked it toward himself with all of his strength.
Gaara practically crashed into him. Lee found his face with his hands, smiling as he felt how Gaara’s cheeks had puffed out as he held his breath, and pulled him close for an insistent lip-lock.
It wasn’t hard lifting Gaara with him so that his head broke the surface, but Lee was sure it was easier with Gaara distracted. He could stay above while holding Gaara, even with the weight dragging at him, but the minute Gaara tried to squirm away from him they would both get tangled up in his wet, trailing clothes.
Lee ran his fingers over Gaara’s cheeks again and again. The sand had melted away, the added weight of the water making it impossible for Gaara to keep his perfect control. If his skin was fragile, unmarked and pale, it was only a testament to how much time he spent encased in his armor. What fascinated Lee was how soft it was. He wasn’t used to Gaara’s ‘skin’ feeling like this.
Even Gaara’s lips, curled back in a feral snarl, were soft. Lee appreciated this even as Gaara bit him again. He was clinging now, nails digging into Lee’s arms.
Staying in the middle of the river with an irate Gaara clinging to him was not particularly safe. Especially not if Gaara decided it was time for round three and made a serious attempt to injure him. Lee recognized this. As much as he wanted to keep Gaara in the water to prevent him from covering himself again, Lee knew it was time to get him back to solid ground.
Gaara didn’t resist when Lee dragged him toward shore. He seemed to angry to care, even when Lee pulled him up onto the riverbank, laying him down with his head and shoulders out of the water.
Lee braced himself above Gaara, waiting. He was fairly sure the sand in his clothes was too soaked for Gaara to effectively kill him with, but Gaara had access to dry sand all along the riverbank. Any moment Gaara could attack him, and Lee wouldn’t blame him for it.
Breathing hard, Gaara simply lay where he was. Lee could see the sand nearby shifting, but experience said if Gaara hadn’t struck him immediately, he didn’t intend to let him strike at all.
Lee reached up and loosened his jumpsuit, acutely aware of Gaara’s eyes on him. It was uncomfortable sliding it down with all the wet sand in it, and it the fact that he was also soaked through didn’t help.
Still, he couldn’t back down now. Not when Gaara had that hungry look in his eyes. Lee knew that look too well, knew how it felt. He suspected he gave Gaara that look whenever he wanted touch and got only a teasing tendril of sand.
Lee got his jumpsuit down to his waist and let it be. He was aware of sand clinging to his skin, chunks sliding off to fall in the water beside him. It was a little hard to understand why Gaara’s eyes were resting on him so hungrily when he knew he looked a mess, with bite marks scattered over his neck and his skin flushed raw in places where Gaara had gotten overenthusiastic while groping him with the sand.
The sand beneath Gaara shifted, lifting up and coming to circle around his shoulders. Lee wouldn’t let it embrace him again, hunching closer to Gaara instead. He caught Gaara’s arms and lifted them to drape over his shoulder.
The sand subsided to form a loose ring around him, carefully not touching him. Gaara was watching him, giving Lee a flat stare even as he tightened his arms around Lee, holding on with his own power. That was exactly what Lee wanted.
Starting with his left arm, Lee started to unwrap the bandages around his hands and arms. Gaara watched, apparently enthralled, though it was not a quick process.
By the time Lee moved to his right arm, Gaara was sitting up, so that their noses nearly touched. The sand he was controlling backed off into an even looser ring around them, uncertain. Lee wondered if it meant that Gaara finally understood what exactly he wanted, or if he was just keeping his distance, even though they were physically touching now.
Soon Lee was discarding his bandages in a pile. He waited a moment with his hands braced on either side of Gaara’s body, waiting for him to make the next move. Gaara had full permission, as far as Lee was concerned, to make his next move anything he wanted.
When Gaara didn’t shift, Lee whispered, “Show me what you’ve got.”
He meant it in the most loving way possible, but Gaara took it a challenge. Not that Lee minded when the sand suddenly closed around him, shoving him down on top of Gaara’s body.
It wasn’t what he had meant, but Lee would go with it. He touched Gaara with his bare hands, sliding from his fingertips to his palms to his wrists until the inside of his elbow rested against Gaara’s cheek and the rest of his arm wrapped awkwardly around his head. At the moment he was so drunk on both his own and Gaara’s energy that all he wanted was the feeling of skin on skin. It almost didn’t matter to him what part of his body happened to be bare and touching Gaara, so long as they were touching.
Gaara turned his head to bite lightly at the vulnerable inside of Lee’s elbow before darting another look up at Lee. Lee didn’t even think about it before he was kissing Gaara, sliding his hands into Gaara’s clothes, and completely preoccupied with the body pressed under him.
Lee worked his hands into Gaara’s clothes, trying to get them off and get his hands all over Gaara all at once. While one hand was dragging at Gaara’s collar, the other was gripping his backside. Lee was equally aware of wet sand grating between his fingers and Gaara squirming at his touch. To throw off the invading hands or his own clothes, Lee wasn’t sure.
It had been months since he had kissed Gaara like this, lips and tongues sliding against each other and only trying to get closer and deeper. Lee wasn’t sure of the last time Gaara had kissed him when it wasn’t an excuse to bite.
Once he had managed to get Gaara’s clothes off and flung them to the side, Lee had to pause. He could feel Gaara’s narrow chest rising and falling rapidly under him, and knew he was just short of hyperventilating. He sat back to tug his jumpsuit down and off of his legs, giving Gaara a moment to collect himself, and making them equal at the same time.
Lee smoothed one hand up Gaara’s leg, then reached up to touch his cheek, then his hair. He was very aware of the fact that Gaara was vulnerable to him. He might have a usable weapon nearby, but Lee had stripped away both his armor and his clothes. Lee kept waiting to see if Gaara felt cornered enough to attack, now that he was vulnerable.
It was different for Lee. He specialized in taijutsu. His entire body was a weapon, and it would take serious injury for Gaara to reduce him to the same state of physical vulnerability. He wondered if Gaara could tell that he was absolutely vulnerable in his own way, with his heart and his hopes exposed. Did Gaara even know how easily he could have pierced through Lee’s heart?
If Gai-sensei were there, Lee was sure he would have had something to say about the passion of youth to make everything smooth again. Even though, and Lee couldn’t help smiling at this, Gaara would probably never forgive him for bringing up Gai-sensei now. It was the one time Gaara’s dislike of his beloved teacher was funny, but this was the one thing he didn’t want to share, even with Gai-sensei. For this moment Gaara was his, and he couldn’t share that with anyone.
The smile both calmed Gaara’s breathing and put him back on his guard. He started to sit up again, but Lee lay down on top of him before he got far, kissing all over his face to convince Gaara to stay.
“I’m yours,” Lee whispered. Because this moment, with Gaara moving awkwardly under him and the feeling of skin on skin and the wet and the sand all around him, was his. The feeling of chill water over him and Gaara’s warm body pressed under him was his and his alone. Because for that moment Gaara was his love and his most precious treasure and even his responsibility, there was no other answer.
“I’m yours,” Lee repeated.
Cupping Gaara’s face in his hands, Lee kissed him. He was trusting that Gaara understood, both what was said and what was left unsaid. He knew what was too sensitive to put breath and sound behind.
Gaara must have known that Lee couldn’t offer that without taking something equal in return. Even if the only physical language he knew was trading blows he had to know accepting Lee’s love meant accepting Lee as well. He knew, yet he wrapped his arms around Lee and pulled him down, arching up into him.
It was more than agreement, or accepting what Lee was giving him. It certainly wasn’t submission and it wasn’t quite an offer, but it was a sort of permission.
Lee worked his hand under Gaara to grab his backside. He pulled him close, pressing into Gaara as if he might disappear the instant Lee loosened his grip.
More words escaped Lee, important and senseless words. He wanted to reassure Gaara, to urge him on. He alternated filling Gaara’s mouth with his eager tongue and his ears with endless words.
Gaara tasted so good, felt so soft, was so very warm. Lee wanted Gaara to know everything. He called him blood-hungry and felt Gaara purr in satisfaction, called him beautiful and felt him almost laugh. If he poured enough of his feeling into Gaara, his words and his wants and his love, he wondered if Gaara’s heart would overflow, unable to hold him.
Before Lee even knew what he was doing, he was too caught up in it to stop. Gaara was pushing up into him, using the sand to pull him closer. If Lee had been thinking he would have at least gotten Gaara up onto the grass first, but he couldn’t seem to stall Gaara’s demands long enough to move him.
They usually went at it with hands and mouths, taking turns. Now Lee was discovering that the heat of Gaara pressed full against him was enough to make him forget about the sand and the wet. It made it impossible to care that Gaara’s teeth were digging into his lower lip or the aches of bites and bruises all over his body.
When Gaara gasped and clutched him and finished right along with him, it made Lee forget to breathe for those few, sweet seconds.
Then Gaara let his head flop back on the dry sand as he panted for breath. Lee lay his head down on Gaara’s chest to breathe as well. He hadn’t meant everything to happen so fast, but it was impossible to regret anything with Gaara’s arms still draped limp over his shoulders.
When Gaara withdrew his arms, and Lee saw the sand under them creeping over Gaara’s skin again, he still didn’t regret it. He wouldn’t, unless Gaara wanted him to.
Lee rubbed his thumb over Gaara’s cheek. A layer of fine, dry sand had already settled over his face, but it fell away easily at Lee’s touch. Perhaps he was allowing the touch, Lee could never be completely sure what Gaara enjoyed and what he simply put up with.
Moving slowly, Lee started to explore Gaara’s body again. Sand and skin alike shivered under his touch, until he was aware of the frustration and conflict raging inside of Gaara. He could feel it in each shift the body under him made, wanting to be touched, but wanting to be shielded at the same time. Lee wished Gaara would accept the shelter of his own solid body as a shield against the outside world, but apparently it wasn’t enough.
Everyone had armor that could be stripped away, and armor that should not be stripped away. Lee knew that. He respected that when Gaara turned his face away without a word and refused him further kisses. He let Gaara re-form the sand armor, making a deliberate barrier between them. It was no different than letting him pretend sometimes, that he hadn’t been watching Lee. It was the same as letting Gaara pretend, if he needed to, that his sand hadn’t been teasing Lee without his conscious demand. It was only letting Gaara have his own defenses in place when he needed them.
Lee knew the importance of Gaara’s armor, but he also knew that Gaara had slipped in through his own defenses far too easily. He had already carved out a spot in Lee’s heart and curled up to stay. Lee wondered if he knew this. He wondered sometimes if Gaara would hesitate to use his hold on Lee’s vulnerable heart to pry pain out of him, the same way Lee hesitated when it came to exposing anything more than Gaara’s body.