Desert Lullaby

by persepolis130

Notes: I needed a Gaara MPREG, so I wrote one. (grins) It's not necessary to have read any other fics before this one, but this takes place with Maldoror's Lee/Gaara universe in mind; her characterizations are practically canon to me. For those who don't know her stuff, assume that Gaara got Shukaku back inside of him and that Lee has been permanently posted at Suna and has an ongoing relationship with Gaara that both reassures and terrifies his siblings (and the general populace).

CHAPTER 1: THE PROPOSAL

"Let's have a baby."

Lee nearly choked as the contents of the protein drink he was gulping decided to go down the wrong pipe. As it came back up again, he was struck by the sudden revelation that soy stung nasal passages horribly. It was not a welcome one.

Gaara waited quietly, hands still at his sides, seemingly oblivious both to Lee's discomfort and the scorching mid-afternoon sun beating down on him in the open training ground.

When Lee had finally gotten his bronchial passages clear enough that he no longer felt as if he might suffocate by breathing, he said the only logical thing that came to mind:

"Nyuhuuh?"

Gaara crossed his arms, looking slightly put-out. "I said--"

"I heard what you said!" Lee interrupted, waving his hands in front of him. It was disturbing enough the first time, he definitely did NOT need to hear it again. His system might not be able to take it. Where the hell had THIS come from? A BABY?

Gaara frowned, apparently unsure how to take Lee's reaction. "You don't like children," he proposed.

"Wha-- of course I do!" he sputtered, "You know that! I love them! They're so little and cute and cuddly, and they--"

"But you don't want to have one with me." Gaara looked annoyed, as if Lee wanting to "have a baby" with him were a foregone conclusion. In fact, now that he'd had a moment to think about it, Lee wasn't even quite sure what he meant. Gaara DID realize that this sort of thing required a woman, right? Was he talking about adopting? A surrogate mother? Or…?

"It's not that! It's just that this whole thing is… ah…" Lee shook his head and took another swig of his energy drink to buy himself some time. He decided it didn't taste as good after he'd had it up his nose. How to tackle this one…?

Searching for the right words to express his trepidation, concern, and bewilderment all rolled into one, he finally settled on "… it's complicated."

"Complicated?" To Lee's dismay, Gaara took this well-thought-out comment just as badly as his previous unthinking ones. If anything, his annoyance level increased. "Explain," he demanded.

Explain. Right. Perfect. "Well first off, since neither of us is a woman--"

"It's a simple transformation jutsu. All I need to do is make certain aspects of my body female and hold it for nine months. Given the size of my chakra reserves, the strain will be quite negligible. I assure you, it's far from complicated."

Make his body female. Right. That explained that. The only thing stranger than Gaara marching onto the training grounds and announcing out of the blue that he wanted to bear Lee's child was the fact that he'd actually thought the notion through. And had deemed it easy. Let's have a baby! Sure, no problem! It was almost as if Gaara were suggesting they take a vacation together, or say… buy a new couch. Baby? Sure, let's pick up one of those! It'd look great in the den!

The difficulties and… inherent weirdness… of the actual physical act aside, having a child would totally change their lives. Gaara however, being who he was, failed to see the implications it would have, not to mention the strain it would cause on their relationship. They'd been practically married for years now, Lee a nearly constant fixture in Suna nowadays, but this was (oh so shockingly!) not something they'd discussed before. It wasn't as if Lee himself had never pondered the idea of children before (and dismissed it summarily). But to Lee's knowledge, Gaara had never even touched a child, much less contemplated having one.

There was no way he could explain all this to Gaara though. Presenting abstract social concepts to him tended to earn Lee a disgruntled scowl, along with the occasional comment about the stupidity of humans. Which, in turn, forced Lee to insist that Gaara was human as well, which led Gaara to quietly state that he wasn't, and the conversation never really went anywhere useful. Unless you considered sleeping on the couch useful. Though Lee was still sure Gaara hadn't MEANT to lock him out of the bedroom that time...

In any case, it looked like training was over for the time being. Sighing, Lee walked over and plopped down on a partially shaded outcropping on the edge of the field, setting what was left of his drink at his feet. He patted the rock beside him for Gaara to sit down. His boyfriend seated himself somewhat stiffly, regarding Lee with an guarded yet expectant expression.

"Look, Gaara, I'm really… ah, flattered… that you'd want to do this and all… y'know, um… having my… uh… you know…" he scratched the back of his neck.

"Baby?" Gaara offered.

"Yeah, that!" Lee squeaked. Wow, he still hadn't wrapped his mind around that concept yet! "But…" He tried to find a point of attack that would make the reality of the situation clear to Gaara. Though explaining reality to a man who'd just expressed the desire to bear your child seemed like a daunting task.

"Well…" Lee pressed bravely forward, "what about your job, your dedication to protect the people of Suna? I mean, what good is a pregnant Kazekage? Not-- not that the Kazekage can't be pregnant!" He backpedaled, trying his best not to be confrontational. That and he was oddly intrigued by the concept. Or maybe he'd just lost his mind.

"But Gaara, I mean, you couldn't fight that way! And… what if the jutsu didn't work? And if it did, what would your people think when they found out? I mean, it's hardly normal for a man to have a baby! And what about your brother and sister…" Lee trailed off as he imagined the look on Temari's face when her little brother told her Lee had knocked him up. Right before she beat the living crap out of him. It was an image he could've done without.

"I'm sure my siblings would be able to cover some of my more physical duties when I'm no longer able," Gaara pointed out. "They've done so before."

"…that's not really what I meant when I said…"

"I should be fine for anything but Kage level missions up until the last few months. The jutsu is sound. I've tested it several times, and it's fairly easy to maintain. We'll make provisions in the early stages and plan to reinforce closer to the city. I've been examining logs for the past few months, and if we pull back on the Western frontier, our defenses would be only minimally lowered. Any mission too involved could simply be turned down, or referred to Konoha. Our alliance is strong enough at this point that-- Lee, why do you have that look on your face?"

Lee couldn't help but gape, his brain hardly having gotten past the "tested it several times" part. "Gaara… you… how long have you been thinking about this?"

Gaara frowned slightly and turned to gaze across the empty training grounds. "I've come to realize that humans seem to enjoy reproduction," he said, "and not only for the sex."

Lee felt his face flush at the mention of the word in a public place, doing his best not to let his imagination run wild at the mention of sex combined with the thought of Gaara "testing" his jutsu. "Gaara…"

His boyfriend made a small gesture with his right hand, dismissing Lee's half-formed protest. "In any case, humans seem to have a basic desire to pass along their genes to the next generation. To ensure that their clan, family jutsu, and traditions continue into the future. This is apparently common knowledge," he finished, clearly wondering why he needed to explain at all.

Lee shrugged, face still a little red even if no one was around to hear them. "It's not… it's not like it's necessary or anything though. Not everybody wants to. And I mean, I've got plenty of cousins with kids, and you've got your brother and sister who'll have kids too, so…"

This earned Lee a snort and a sideways glare. "You hardly even know your cousins. They don't count. And I'm not concerned about myself."

Lee started to disagree, to insist that his cousins' children were indeed part of his family, (all while trying to digest the "not concerned about myself" comment) when he heard Gaara mumble something.

Lee stopped mid-sentence and waited patiently for his boyfriend to repeat himself. He'd learned over time that this was the best method of dealing with a reticent Gaara. He'd mentioned something once about the sudden blaring silence. But when Gaara didn't say anything right away, his head turned down toward his lap and hair hanging in front of his eyes, Lee felt a bit concerned. "Gaara?"

"I thought you'd like the idea," Gaara finally said in a quiet voice, turning to Lee. His eyes were narrowed, mouth set, and a small crease marked the space between where his eyebrows should be. He looked…

Hurt. As if he'd been sure Lee would think it was a great idea, and now he couldn't fathom where his reasoning had gone wrong.

"I know, it's okay" Lee told him, taking one of his hands in his own and giving it a soft squeeze. "I understand." Yeah, right. It didn't make any sense at all! It was so rare for his partner to show so much emotion, even now that they'd been together for so long, and Lee felt a wave of guilt wash over himself. Even if he had no clue why this would bother Gaara.

"Look, just… let me think about it, alright?" he asked softly. "I'm not trying to upset you, but this is a lot to process in such a short amount of time! And while it's obvious you've given it some thought, I don't think you really understand what it would mean... Setting aside your duties won't be easy for you, and who knows how your system would take having a jutsu forcefully held for so long. And babies take a lot of time to care for. And money. And love. And…"

Gaara's expression was as close to a pout as Lee had ever seen it, and he sighed. Where had his boyfriend gotten this idea anyway? No wait, never mind. He didn't want to know. Not with his mind in its current fragile state, anyway. "Let me think about it, alright Gaara?"

Gaara nodded and stood up, abruptly letting go of Lee's hand as he headed back to the village. If anyone else had done it, it would've seemed rude, but Lee knew Gaara didn't mean it that way. It was just how he was. "Think about it hard." Gaara said over his shoulder.

"I will," Lee assured him, giving Gaara's back the Nice-Guy Pose for good measure. "I promise!"

In retrospect, that might've been a bad move.