A/N: If you want an explanation for this story's inspiration, then go read E. E. Cummings. And I swear to God, if I find out that a single one of you assumes that he is an author on ff.net, I will hunt you down in the small hours and send a bat up your nightdress. *throws peanuts at the uncultured masses* X3

Y'know, I love this site, but I seriously need to read some heavy literature again. -_-;; *le sigh* Quick, somebody find me a fluff fic so I can kill the urge to read more Steinbeck. @_@ Geh, who am I kidding; I'll never escape it. *creeps off to find her copy of "Cannery Row"*

Lee's POV. Shounen ai. Please to enjoy, Mr. Customer! ^_~

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"Deeper Than Roses"

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Your eyes are silent. The purity of white.

And purity is not always about being a good person. When most people say that someone is pure, they mean that they are good and kind and uncorrupted by dark influences.

But the darkness is pure too. Just purely dark.

Sasuke-kun, for example, is pure. Pure hatred, pure desire. Everything sharp and focused and cruel. Or at least, this is how he wishes to appear. This is how he wishes to be.

Naruto-kun is also pure. Desire again, and the need to prove himself. To be accepted.

Your purity also lies in a need to prove yourself, not that you need to. You are one of this village's geniuses, after all, and a child of geniuses at that. Of course.

Because bloodlines mean everything here. Who you are and who your parents were and who all of you know. And no one else is worth anything.

It's so stupid, because none of them get it. None of that matters. What is important is that each of us becomes a fine ninja and protects this place and its people.

I want to fight you.

In this place, those words do not necessarily mean dislike or signify enmity. Sometimes they mean, "I want to be your friend," or "I want you to acknowledge me."

Or, in desperate no-other-way and not-a-chance situations: "I like you. Want to be with me?"

I like you. Want to be with me?

I see you on the street, and I smile at you, because no one's looking. You don't bother to check for witnesses before you smile back. You trust me that much, at least.

It makes me happy.

When no one is around . . . when it's only us, and you have no responsibilities and I have nothing to prove . . . then it is okay to smile at each other. To like each other.

When no one is around, and we don't have to explain . . .

Someone said to me once that everything dies, so nothing really means anything in the end. And of course everything does die. But does that really mean that nothing matters?

Because everyone leaves something behind. Even if it's small and hard to see. A girl finds a flower and it makes her happy, and on the street she smiles at a boy, and the boy feels handsome and confident, and then when he goes to battle he protects his friend and saves his life, and that friend grows older and becomes a teacher and inspires one of his students, and that student becomes Hokage. Because little things grow.

You come up to me and put your hands on my face and in my hair, and I laugh and do the same to you.

The world is strange. We are strange. Everything hurts, and everything dies. But everything also heals, and everything also lives.

Your eyes are silent, but not empty.

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somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond

any experience, your eyes have their silence:

in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,

or which i cannot touch because they are too near

. . .

(i do not know what it is about you that closes

and opens; only something in me understands

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

~ e. e. cummings

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. : defend the small spaces : .