Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto

Big Heart, Drunken Fist

by Maldoror 6 Reviews

The people of Suna knew that Rock Lee was brave, strong, determined...they weren't quite as familiar with his reaction to alcohol. Enter the Drunken Fist Master! (LeeGaara)

Category: Naruto - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor - Characters: Gaara, Naruto, Rock Lee - Published: 2006/04/29 - Updated: 2006/04/29 - 5493 words - Complete

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.

Timeline: A few years after present manga arc. The guys are eighteen/nineteen. No real spoilers.



---

Lee struggled to open his eyes. His lashes were gummed together by some sort of grainy crust. He winced as he reached up to wipe it away. Everything hurt. He must have overdone it in training again.

"Hey, he's awake!"

Lee flinched; the shout had gone right through his head and out the other side. He blinked fuzzily up at the familiar ceiling of his room in Sunagakure. Those times he woke up here with another man at his side, it was always Gaara. But that voice had sounded like...Naruto?

A fuzzy yellow blob hovered before his eyes. Lee focused. Yes, that was definitely Naruto behind the large friendly grin.

"What happened?" Lee groaned. He was starting to think he'd done more than just train a bit too hard to feel this way. His body was sore, his head ached and it felt like something had crept into his stomach and died, very messily.

"You don't remember?" Naruto asked cheerfully. Lee wanted to hit him for being so bright and jolly and /loud/, but it would be too much effort. He sat up painfully and leaned back against the headboard, and felt a fraction better.

"We'd...gone for dinner...in Suna's garrison kitchen..." Lee muttered, rubbing his head. "What happened?"

"Not sure, but I think you got someone else's bottle by mistake when you picked up the fruit juice to go with our chow."

"...Bottle? It was juice..."

"That's what it said on the label, but some idiot made punch out of juice and moonshine and stuck it in a regular bottle, and you picked it up and drank half of it in one draw," Naruto announced, sitting back down in the chair he'd drawn up to Lee's bed.

Oh no.

"D-did I break anything?"

"Couple of tables, a few chairs and a wall."

"A /wall/?! I broke a wall?! Why didn't you stop me?!"

"I wanted to!" Naruto exclaimed, with a gesture of annoyance. "I was gonna clock you one and let you sleep it off. But the Sand guys decided they couldn't let me punch out the Kazekage's squeeze, so they stopped me. You don't remember any of this? Hah, that's funny."

"Oh no," Lee groaned, rubbing his sore face and gritty eyes. He knew what he was like when he was drunk, though it had only happened three times in his life so far. To have it occur here, in Suna, of all places...

It was only three months ago that Gaara had stood up before the gathered villagers and announced that Lee had been his lover for some time now and that he didn't think this state of affairs would change, so Suna could now consider the two men married, get used to it, if you're unhappy about it feel free to drop by the Kazekage's office after hours to discuss it at length.

A few of the braver Elders had approached Gaara and hinted that a male Jounin from another Village who ran thousands of laps around Suna in legwarmers was as far from the Kazekage's ideal bride as you could get while still remaining within the same species. Gaara had given them a Look. They'd left hastily, after pronouncing the wedding official and giving the two their blessings. Nobody else had said anything apart from Congratulations.

But Lee still felt very unsure about his position here. Gaara repeatedly told Lee that the villagers liked and respected him already, after so many joint missions in Sand, but in Lee's experience, it was always a difficult struggle to earn friendship and respect; it had been so his entire life. He couldn't believe he'd be accepted that easily. He was determined to try his best, though, and to make a good impression on the Sand Shinobi.

Well, he'd probably made one hell of an impression tonight, but not the kind he wanted.

"Did I do anything else?" Lee muttered, as he checked himself automatically. He felt like he'd been in a fight, or a particularly vigorous training match. His head- well, his head hadn't fallen off yet, so there was still hope.

His bandages were loose and coming apart, and his face, wrists and parts of his body felt gritty and scratched in a way he recognized.

"Why do I have sand burns all over- was Gaara there?"

"Well yeah, the Suna guys called him in."

Lee groaned and buried his face in his shaking hands.

"He-he had to restrain me?"

"Hell yeah. Erm."

Lee glanced up at Naruto who was trying to not look quite so blatantly evasive.

"What do you mean? What else did I do?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing. We know what you're like when you've had some-"

"What did I do?!"

"You propositioned me rather loudly," Gaara said, stepping through the door from the bathroom with a glass in his hand. "Then you decided to challenge me to a match, so I had to restrain you. You sent Naruto flying too. Then you went to sleep."

Lee curled up into a ball, arms gripping his legs and head on his knees.

"Oh Gaara, I'm so sorry," he groaned.

He felt a weight settle next to him on the bed and a hand touch his shoulder.

"Why? It's not your fault. Here, drink this. It's water and some painkillers."

"I deserve to suffer..."

"Don't be stupid."

"Oy," Naruto whispered, "why'd you have to give him the details? He didn't remember anything."

"He asked," Gaara answered in his flat, matter-of-fact voice.

"Yeah, but you didn't have to tell him-"

"You can go away now, Naruto; he's obviously recovered."

Lee gave Gaara a tentative look, to see just how angry he was. Gaara was giving Naruto one of his dead-eyed stares, not that that was going to make Naruto leave any faster, seeing how Naruto had the stubborn pout going full blast. Something on Gaara's face, as it was turned towards Naruto, caught Lee's horrified attention; the beginnings of a bruise on the corner of the Kazekage's jaw.

"Did I do that?!" Lee blurted, pointing a trembling finger at the mark.

Gaara glanced at Lee and reached for the bruise absently. "It's nothing."

"B-b-but didn't the sand react?"

"It did, but not fast enough."

"Yeah, you're fearful when you're toasted, mate!" Naruto exclaimed. "You know, if there was a way of reliably pointing you towards the enemy when you're like that, it'd actually be quite useful to-"

"No it wouldn't," Gaara said coldly. "Naruto, you should go."

"Why? You gonna be mean to him? It wasn't his fault, and he said he was sorry." Naruto narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Gaara.

"I'm not going to be 'mean' to him. I just want to talk to him."

"I can be here for that."

"Then we might want to have sex."

"I'm out of here."

"Gaara, I'm so sorry," Lee repeated, over the noise of Naruto's hasty exit.

"Stop apologising."

"Stop apologising?! But-but I attacked you! I hurt you! And Naruto too- I have to apologize! I didn't notice what was in the bottle, I got drunk and I broke a /wall/!" Lee wailed. "D-did I hurt-"

His words were lost in a hard kiss that knocked his sore head back into the wall behind the bed.

Before he could fully understand what was going on, Gaara had broken the kiss and leaned back. "Your mouth tastes strange."

"It's the alcohol, I'm sor-hunf!"

Lee blinked and tried to breathe. Gaara had hauled him into a hug that was closer to a stranglehold, strong arms gripping Lee solidly.

"Gaara?" Lee grunted.

"I was worried," Gaara said. His voice was its usual steady tone, but Lee could hear something more in his words- and he could definitely feel it in the way Gaara was holding him. Tentatively, he squirmed enough to get his arms around Gaara and hold him.

"I was worried..." Gaara whispered into his shoulder.



---



"We should start strengthening this wall first, as it took the brunt of-" the Jounin interrupted himself and looked down from the fortifications they were inspecting. Gaara had spotted it too; a Chuunin was charging through the streets, his eyes on their small group, obviously headed their way.

"Gaara!" the man shouted as soon as he was in earshot.

The Jounin dropped his blueprints and Gaara prosaically uncorked the gourd on his back. The only time his ninjas shouted, or called him anything but Kazekage-sama, was when something was very, very wrong.

The Chuunin leapt up to the fortifications.

"Sir, it's Lee-san!" he panted.

The desert evening lost all its heat for Gaara, and his heartbeat seemed to ring loudly in a suddenly empty chest.

"What happened?!" the senior Jounin snapped. "He wasn't on a mission! He was right here in town with-"

"He was with that Leaf Jounin, Uzumaki, in the refectory," the Chuunin gasped. "And he suddenly went crazy! He attacked a few people and broke down a wall. His strength and speed are frightening! The Captain sent me to fetch you!"

Gaara stared at the man. The relief that Lee was alive took precedence, but it was quickly bowled over by disbelief. Lee? Gone crazy? Lee had attacked people? His Lee?

The Chuunin had turned and hopped down from the fortification, looking over his shoulder, expecting Gaara to follow. "He hasn't really hurt anybody yet, and we've surrounded the refectory to contain him- Sir?!"

Gaara didn't wait for him to continue; a touch of his finger to his forehead, and chakra and sand howled and whipped up around him. The jutsu triggered and carried him across the village to the garrison refectory, leaving violent dust devils and a few broken windows in his wake, not that he cared at this point.

There were two dozen Shinobi in a tense and wary circle around the refectory. They quickly made way for Gaara who marched towards the door. He ignored their attempts at explanations and words of caution.

His attention focused on Lee as soon as he crossed the threshold. Lee was standing in the middle of some wrecked tables, and he looked unharmed. Some of Gaara's tension left him. But he noted how Lee's eyes were unfocused and half-closed; he was staring at the far wall and the large hole punched through the stucco, and he was giggling. Hardly normal behaviour.

Gaara turned towards the other three people present: Naruto and two senior Jounin, including the Captain of the guard. Too bad Kankuro and Temari were both out of town, but at least these three were reliable.

"What happened?" he snapped.

"Kazekage-sama, we're don't know-"

"I told you guys what happened," Naruto said in a bored voice, and his lack of worry also helped ease some of Gaara's alarm.

The glance the Captain gave Naruto was far from convinced. "We're not sure what happened. Lee-san started behaving irrationally, and-"

"He's drunk," Naruto announced.

Gaara's head snapped around as he quickly examined Lee then Naruto. "Drunk? How did that happen?"

"Not sure; we were both having some juice- but when he broke the bottle on the table, it smelled like alcohol. Homemade hooch at that. The kinda stuff Jiraiya drinks."

"Sir, I think there must have been a more serious drug in Lee-san's food or-"

"I told you, man, Fuzzy-brow can't hold his liquor!"

"This is more than simply being tipsy," the Captain snapped.

"My husband is highly sensitive to alcohol, it's a physiological reaction," Gaara explained shortly. "This is normal behaviour. Did he hurt anybody?"

"Nah," Naruto answered. "He started challenging Shinobi left and right to a 'friendly match'; he threw one guy out the window, and there's a couple of bloody noses, but he took down the others who tried to tackle him without damage; he didn't need to bust their bones to win, it was pretty clear-cut. Can you believe he's even better at fighting drunk than sober?" Naruto put his hands behind his head and grinned delightedly across the room at a swaying Lee.

"And what were you doing all this time?" Gaara asked him a steady, deadly voice.

"Hey, I tried to stop him! But these guys decided they would rather fetch you. Like Lee was going to be all that hurt by a lil' tap to the jaw or a nerve pinch-"

"Good call," Gaara told the two Jounin.

"Hey!"

"I'll deal with this."

Gaara strode through the wreckage towards Lee, who was hiccupping gently and trying to use his finger to break the rest of the wall, and pretty much succeeding. One of the Jounin made a worried sound behind him, but Gaara waved him back.

Lee glanced up when he heard the crunch of Gaara's sandals through the debris.

"Gaara!" he exclaimed with a large, happy grin.

At least he recognizes me, Gaara thought.

Lee's bleary gaze focused on him as he approached, and the smile became completely loopy.

"Hey, Gaara, did I ever tell you how much I like that coat?" His words were a bit slurred, but otherwise loud and clear.

Gaara paused as he was about to step over a wrecked table and glanced incuriously down at his long black jacket. "No."

"Oh. Because I do. You look really good in that coat. Really, really, really good."

Gaara paused. Lee, who was normally serious and all business when about the village, was giving him a look that normally only happened in their bedroom. Gaara remembered that Lee was a natural of the Drunken Fist style when he was smashed; it looked like there were other side-effects as well.

"I think you should wear that coat," Lee declared, pointing at it and then staring at his own finger, perplexed.

"I am wearing my coat," Gaara said. Humour him. He stepped nearer.

"No, I mean, you should wear that coat when we're having sex tonight."

Gaara stared at Lee, then he glanced at the broken window of the refectory. There'd been a few faces there a second ago, but they'd wisely decided to bolt before their Kazekage looked their way. From the sound of it, the circle around the building was widening at high speed until they could at least pretend to be out of earshot.

"You could wear it when I go down on you," Lee said dreamily. "Or...I was just thinking the other day- when I saw you wearing that coat- that we could try to something different and-...Er..." Then Lee apparently got distracted once more by the way his finger was pointing at Gaara.

There was nothing but consternated silence from the two Jounin in the room. Naruto was laughing fit to choke a horse, of course.

Gaara wasn't in touch with many normal human emotions, and so he wasn't particularly embarrassed, but he knew that Lee would be mortified when he snapped out of this, so he walked forward more quickly and touched Lee on the shoulder.

Lee looked up from his finger, grinned and draped himself over Gaara with a happy sigh. He smelled of alcohol. Quite a lot of alcohol. Lee tended to drink water or juice like it was some kind of competition, swigging most of it in one go and slamming the bottle down with a generous 'Ahh!' when he was done. In those circumstances, he'd have gotten a good dose before he realized the taste was off.

"Lee-"

"Hmmm, Gaara," Lee purred. One hand slipped down Gaara's back to grope his ass.

Gaara realized that Lee had lost some notion of his own strength along with his inhibitions. He winced as he was pawed. The grip wasn't hard enough to maim, Lee hadn't lost it that badly, but still uncomfortable.

"Kazekage-sama?!" one of the Jounin asked loudly, taking a step closer.

"I'll deal with this," Gaara said shortly, trying to pry Lee's hand off.

"You got the time, right? Can we screw now?" Lee mumbled happily into Gaara's neck. "There's a table over there. Somewhere over there. Hey, who broke the table? So, anyway, can we?"

"No, not now."

And definitely not here. Lee was overly sensitive about their relationship and how the rest of Suna saw it. Gaara, more familiar with his own village, knew that his marriage with Lee had in fact done a lot to warm the villagers towards Gaara himself; it informed them that their aloof Kazekage was indeed human, with human needs and the ability to love. But what Lee was suggesting...was probably a bit too much information for them. Besides, Gaara felt sure it was illegal according to Sunagakure's statutes, and he didn't feel like presiding over his own trial for public lewdness.

"Pleeeease?"

"No." Gaara managed to get the hand off, but the other one was creeping lower and was plucking at his waistband.

"Awww, you sure?"

"Certain."

"Just snuggle then," Lee declared, wrapping his arms around Gaara and squeezing tenderly, or at least he probably thought it was tenderly. Gaara's ribs creaked.

It was partly Lee's strength and grip, but mainly it was the flash of alarm as he heard both Jounin step forward determinedly. They were considerably more attached to 'Lee-san' than Lee would believe, and they'd all take care of their Kazekage's friendly husband, but if they thought Gaara's life was threatened they would kill Lee without hesitation.

The alarm he felt finally triggered Gaara's automatic defences.

The Sand hissed and shot out in a circle, levering Lee's arms away and tossing him back.

"Hey! Ouch!" Lee staggered and gripped his wrists; the bandages were torn and his face scratched by the Sand.

"I'm sorry." Gaara stepped forward, alarmed and angry with himself for his own bloody reactions that had once again hurt the most important person in his life.

"What-..." Lee rubbed his eyes and looked confused. "Oh, that's right, I was in a competition! I won five matches against other people already! Did you want to challenge me?"

"No," Gaara said quickly. "I want you to-"

But Lee had already fallen into a familiar fighting stance.

"Come on! Hey, we can say that whoever wins gets to top tonight!"

"Oh, so that's how you guys decide who pitches?" said an amused Naruto from the peanut gallery. Gaara delivered a lethal glare in that direction.

The moment of inattention cost him.

Lee was suddenly there and Gaara found himself blindsided. He normally knew Lee's moves perfectly; short, sharp jabs weaving into graceful movements- but this loose, disconnected style was not familiar at all. It looked like Lee could barely stand, yet out of all those uncoordinated, drunken gestures, his fist shot out like a weapon, catching Gaara by surprise.

As did Lee's speed. The Sand Barrier slowed down the punch, but the blow still got through and caught Gaara on the side of the face. He stumbled back to get out of range and tripped over a broken chair.

"Sir-"

"I order all of you to stay back," Gaara snarled. "I'll kill the first person who hurts him."

The Jounin fell back hastily.

"That was quick," Lee said disappointedly, his eyes unfocused once more as he tried to look down at his own fist.

"Hey, Gaara, watch yourself," Naruto said, voice serious now. "Fuzzy-brow's damn quick at the best of times, and now all the brakes are off."

"He pulled the punch," Gaara stated, getting to his feet. He hadn't had his Sand Armour on - not here, in his village, facing his husband - so the punch had actually connected. But it hadn't been more than a tap, considering the kind of blow Lee could normally deal. He might be drunk and not quite aware of his own strength, but he was still just playing, one of his friendly 'challenges'.

"Oh, second round?" Lee asked brightly, focusing on Gaara, or nearly.

"No, Lee-" Gaara started, speaking sharply, and then the Sand was rising to parry a flurry of blows.

Lee kept staggering so badly that Gaara felt sure he was about to fall down any moment now, but each time, the stumble turned into a deadly spin, or a high-kick, or a graceful lunge ending in a spray of Sand as he hit Gaara's Barrier. Gaara stared at his husband, trying to gauge this strange style, and also figure out how to stop Lee without hurting him. And how to avoid getting hurt himself; Lee's speed was increasing, and the Sand was having a hard time keeping up, despite Gaara's own improvements in its manipulation these past years.

Lee dodged a few grasps by the Sand, and stumbled sideways, hiccupping.

"You're not t-trying sheriously, Gaara. C'mon, don't you want to play?"

"Not really, no," Gaara muttered, calling in a bit more Sand from the surrounding areas.

"...You don't?" Lee's big eyes suddenly filled with tears. "Are you mad at me for- hic!- for some reason? Did I do shomething wrong?"

"No, of course not," Gaara said, reacting to that look as automatically as the Sand reacted to defend him, even though he knew it was just the drink talking.

"That's good," Lee said softly, rubbing his eyes, streaking sand and tears across his face. "So you really don't mind playing with me? Do you, Gaara?"

"I..." Gaara, who used to think of killing as one of life's simple little pleasures, suddenly realized he was unable to crush Lee by simply refusing; not when Lee was looking at him in that way. Things had been so much simpler before he'd discovered that he had, against all expectations, a heart, and that it firmly belonged to that lovable bowl-cutted cretin over there. If he listened real hard, he'd probably hear Shukaku howl in sheer derision at its host.

"Maybe we should go home first," he temporized, but Lee was once more falling into a fighting stance, his eyes even more unfocused than before.

"GOTCHA!"

And Naruto seemed to materialize out of nowhere and landed on Lee.

Naruto was quick, strong and he was taking no chances. He was a frequent visitor to Suna, he knew how fast and tough Lee was. He was also completely unfamiliar with the Drunken Fist Style, Gaara reflected fatalistically as he watched Naruto sail back through the air and thump into the far wall.

"Are you okay?" he asked. "That was dumb. You should have let me handle it."

"Ooooooof...."

"Lee, no!" Gaara snapped as a green blur shot past him, aiming at Naruto.

"Hey, he challenged me!" Lee shouted back cheerfully.

What followed was short and brutal. Naruto tried to fall back, but Lee stayed in his face with ease, pressing his advantage as a hand-to-hand combat master. Naruto swung, Lee dodged as if all his bones had suddenly turned to rubber, and then he bounced back and plunged into a complicated movement. A blur, and Naruto was slammed down to the floor, with Lee standing above him in a beautifully cut Taijutsu pose, right hand out, one knee lifted in perfect balance, his breathing as measured and serene as any martial arts master. Gaara was caught off guard by a flash of pride before he shook himself sternly and marched over to separate the two.

Lee put his foot down with utmost precision and control. Then he almost fell over. He staggered, and Gaara thought for a moment that he'd collapsed right on top of a stunned Naruto. Then he saw Lee's arms wrap around Naruto's shoulders and neck in a headlock.

Naruto growled, fully recovering from the pounding with his usual speed; he tried to shake Lee off with a few rough, vigorous punches to whatever part of his captor he could reach.

"Don't hurt him," Gaara said sharply, stepping forward.

"Hurt him? Hurt /him/? What about me?" Naruto yelped, tugging at Lee's arm around his neck.

"You have the Kyuubi, you'll live."

"Thanks!"

"Lee, let him go," Gaara ordered.

"He's not conceded yet," Lee said reasonably, squeezing a bit more.

"Naruto, give up," Gaara said.

"Like hell I will! I never give up!"

Gaara closed his eyes. He was the Kazekage of Sunagakure, and his men were all around the refectory. He had to keep his calm and his composure in all circumstances. This was normally no effort at all for Gaara, but for the first time in his life, he felt this irrational and quite pointless urge to swear...

"Kage Bunshin!"

Gaara's eyes flew open, to see a dozen Narutos separate Lee from the original, and pin the drunken Jounin to the unbroken section of the nearby wall, using their mass and combined strength to immobilize him.

"Gaara, quick!" several clones shouted in harmony. "Slap some kind of sand restraint on him!"

Gaara's hand rose, and the Sand hissed and leapt to his command-

- Lee screaming in agony as the Desert Coffin crushed his left arm and leg - blood flowing, soaking the Sand -

Gaara blinked and tried to focus, but the move was too close to those bad memories of years ago; his hand shook briefly and the Sand moved too slowly.

With a cry, several clones went flying and the rest poofed out as they tried to grapple Lee without hurting him too badly. Naruto swore, the kind of words he'd picked up from his Sannin mentor.

The Sand darted forward and gripped Lee's arms and legs, but without the clones he moved too fast, and Gaara didn't dare squeeze too hard. Lee struggled and Gaara could almost feel the Sand abrading his husband's clothes and skin. Gaara cursed himself for a weak fool and tightened his hold, his outstretched hand slowly moving into a loose fist.

Lee burst into motion that had to be seen to be believed. What looked like a graceless stumble turned into a loose-jointed vault over one noose of Sand, and a seemingly effortless flick of his legs freed him of the other. Lee tumbled like a drunken acrobat, all knees and elbows, yet was suddenly graceful as he leapt up over a wave of Sand trying to catch him again.

"Yippee!" he yelled happily.

"At least one of us here is having fun," Naruto grunted, rubbing a bruise, but he was smiling ruefully at Lee as he said it.

He stopped smiling and fell into a defence stance when Lee took one more abrupt and unexpected turn and charged at him, obviously intent on finishing his fight with Naruto. He was weaving and moving in a completely chaotic way that made even seasoned fighters like Naruto and Gaara unable to predict his approach. Drunken Fist Style, Gaara thought, unleashing more Sand. I'll not underestimate that martial school again.

"Hey!" Naruto protested as a wall of Sand leapt up before him. He was just as ready for a challenge too. One's drunk, the other's a fighting fool, Gaara concluded, exasperated. I should knock both their heads together, but they probably wouldn't even feel it.

The Sand wall protecting Naruto swept like a curtain towards Lee, fractured around him and solidified into a roughly-shaped cage.

"Good one!" Naruto crowed. Gaara didn't answer, concentrating on packing in more and more Sand, increasing the tougher mineral content until the cage would be unbreakable. He hadn't had much time to prepare this jutsu, and the fact he'd left gaps to avoid entombing Lee entirely made it weaker; Gaara just hadn't been geared for a serious fight this evening-

"Yaaaaaaa-choi!"

Sand exploded out of one side of the cage; it held firm for one blow- Gaara tried to strengthen it more, but Lee was reacting too quickly, and the blows were masterful despite his inebriated state.

"Kyyyyy-ahh!"

A few 'bars' of the cage hit the far wall. Naruto ducked as a chunk flew over his head, and stared as Lee managed to wiggle out of the gap.

"Hey, Gaara, that was an interesting jutsu!" Lee said cheerfully. Gaara checked him over, but Lee didn't seem too injured by the effort, beyond some more Sand scratches on his arms and legs.

Lee staggered through the debris, and his happy grin melted by degrees as he rubbed his eyes.

"Gaara?"

Gaara took a prudent step forward.

"Gaara...can we continue tomorrow? I'm sleepy."

"Tomorrow's fine," Gaara said quietly.

"Good," Lee mumbled, and then gently folded forward. Gaara caught him before he fell.

A pair of arms fitted around Gaara's shoulders, but they were holding him normally now.

"Hmmmm. Can we go to bed now?"

"Sure," Gaara whispered, kneeling to support Lee as he slumped.

"Hmgood..." Lee snuggled up closer as Gaara held him. His head dropped onto Gaara shoulder and he started to snore softly.

Silence fell, disturbed only by the clunk of a broken chair collapsing a bit further.

Naruto hovered into view, a 'isn't that cute' grin on his face as he looked down at them.

"Is he out of it?"

"Yes."

"Good job too. Here, I'll give you a hand."

"I can carry him," Gaara said, standing up slowly to avoid dislodging Lee. He didn't feel like letting anybody else near his husband while Lee was so vulnerable, an automatic and probably irrational reflex that Gaara didn't bother to try to curb.

"Yeah, well, humour me," Naruto said, with a grin and a steady look in his eyes that said he knew exactly what Gaara was feeling. "Just in case he wakes up. Your sand jutsu might hurt him if he tries anything funny. He can attack me and my clones until he falls asleep again and there won't be much damage done."

Gaara reluctantly saw the wisdom in that. He hooked one of Lee's arms over his shoulder and Naruto did the same with the other arm.

"May I help?" the Captain asked, coming forward. The other senior Jounin was outside, dispersing the crowd.

"No, we're fine. Captain?"

"Yes, Kazekage-sama?"

"I don't normally impose edicts without the approval of the council, but I'm about to impose one now." Gaara fitted Lee's sleeping form more firmly against his body. "I believe I am going to ban alcohol in Sunagakure."

The Jounin glanced at Lee and at the broken wall, and then saluted. "The edict will be on your desk and ready to sign first thing tomorrow morning, Kazekage-sama."

"Good. Dismissed."

A couple of Chuunin had come in to start cleaning up the mess. They were looking around at the debris and then at Lee with considerable respect; the Shinobi of Sand admired strength. There was some affection and amusement in the mix as well. And then, to his surprise, Gaara was also granted quick sympathetic grins before the men set to work. That was new. Apparently having his sex life discussed out loud by his drunken husband had gone one step further in proving to his people that Gaara was indeed just human. Or possibly it was the care Gaara had taken to restrain Lee...This had to be more of Lee's magic, Gaara thought. If his great heart and faith could turn the most bitter, burnt-out monster into a lover, he could tame anybody, even if the means and the method were sometimes unexpected.

Naruto was chuckling as they made their way through the streets, but Gaara kept having flashbacks to what he'd felt when that blasted Chuunin had first blurted out that something had happened to Lee.

Empty. Cold. A ringing hollow where his heart and soul used to be.

Gaara had always faced cold reality head-on. He knew, and accepted, that his joy and sanity were now placed in a pair of reliable, caring, bandaged hands. Strong hands. Gentle hands. But ultimately human and mortal as well. For an instant he'd thought his worst nightmare had come to pass, and despite all the thought he'd given to eventually losing Lee, the tragic but not unpredictable end to a Jounin's life, at that moment he'd felt...there were no words for how he'd felt.

He'd been so worried...

But Lee had been okay. Sort of. Then Gaara had only had to worry about hurting Lee, or have others hurt Lee, and eventually keeping Lee from hurting Naruto or Gaara himself. Yes, that part had been rather stressful, but not as bad as all that. Actually, in retrospect, now that he was thinking back on it all, well, he had to admit, it was all rather...



---



"Gaara, are you sure you're okay?" Lee asked in alarm as he felt Gaara start to shake and gasp almost silently. He carefully disengaged himself from Gaara's grip and leaned back, to see a sight that few others had seen and lived to tell the tale.

Gaara of the Sand was laughing.




END

I just realized this is my first Gaara POV...this is more a humour and romance piece than serious, but hopefully I got his character (after some tenderisation by Lee) correct ^_^
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