A/N: I've never written Gai before - so hopefully he'll read ok. Also - I've never written Kakashi before - so again, hopefully you approve!

Courtship

It started while he was training, about halfway through the summer months.

He was on his 673rd press up when it happened. He wasn't really paying attention to his surroundings, just running through his regime in his head, mulling over what to do after his 1000 press-ups were done.

Suddenly, there was a box.

He nearly hit it with his nose.

Gai stopped and sat up, looking at the sudden box.

It was small, square and the exact same shade of green as his suit.

After glancing around, he picked it up.

It was unadorned and there was no note, so he opened it.

Inside, there was a single walnut-whip, perched on crumpled silver paper, lightly dusted with sugar.

Gai loved walnut-whips.

He glanced around again. No-one and nothing, just his usual training grounds, silent and a little dusty.

After performing the necessary poison detection rituals and finding nothing, he ate the chocolate, pocketed the box and went home, all training for the day forgotten.


Two days later, when he opened his front door, he nearly stepped on another sudden box.

Glancing around at the empty street (after all, it was five in the morning) Gai bent down to examine it.

This one was the exact same shade of orange as his leg warmers. He picked it up. It was both slightly bigger and slightly heavier than the previous box.

Closing his door and heading back to his living-room, Gai opened the box. He paused for a moment, staring at the single object nestled within, on a bed of crumpled silver paper.

Three single Forget-Me-Not blossoms were encased in a clear glass globe that glistened when the light hit it.

Slowly, he sank to the sofa, the box held open in one large, square palm.

Very few people knew that the Forget-Me-Not was his favourite flower. Most assumed it was the sunflower, the rose or the lily, large, vibrant flowers, to go with his large, vibrant personality. But he actually preferred the Forget-Me-Not, for its beautiful simplicity, that spoke volumes to the right person.

After carefully placing the small globe on the living-room windowsill, where the light could hit it, Gai sat and looked at it, his mornings training completely forgotten.


Another week passed, filled with boring missions, but without sudden boxes, and Gai began to think the random gift giving was over.

That was, until Lee handed him a shiny black box, tied with silver ribbon. When asked where it had come from, Lee simply grinned, shrugged and said it was special delivery.

Perplexed, his deep brow furrowing, Gai found somewhere secluded and sat down to investigate this latest gift. He placed the carefully folded ribbon in his pocket and then lifted the lid.

More crumpled silver paper cushioned a small jade bear, with diamond eyes.

Gently, very gently, Gai brushed calloused finger-tips against the smooth stonework.

A green bear? Obviously it was meant to be himself, the Green Beast of Konoha.

It was becoming fairly apparent, by this point, that he had an admirer. Precisely who it was though, was continuing to elude him. He was sure that if he kept his eyes open and thought about it hard enough, he'd eventually figure it out.

Well, that was the plan anyway. But not a single one of his female acquaintances was acting any differently towards him. Not a single one of them blushed, looked away or stuttered when they spoke to him. He knew Kunoichi had to be very good actresses, but this was a little too good.

When the sudden boxes and gifts came up on a night out with his fellow Jounin Team Leaders, the only reaction he got from Kurenai was a smirk and a request for detailed descriptions of each gift. Asuma simply laughed and Kakashi disappeared behind his ever-present Icha Icha Paradise, as if refusing to take part in the conversation.

Gai went home that night as confused as he had been before speaking to his friends.


It didn't occur to him that it could be a man, until he spotted Shino being pressed up against a tree by Kiba. The two young men were so intent on what they were doing, that he managed to back out of the clearing again without them having had any idea of his walking in on them.

And that was saying something; he hadn't exactly been being quiet.

As he made his way to the next training grounds along, Gai mulled it over and realised that of course. There were no women who knew him half so well enough to be able to pull off these perfect gifts.

He knew why it hadn't occurred to him sooner – the only gay men he happened to know were all in relationships. He went through a mental check list as he performed his pre-training warm ups.

Iruka and Tenzou – still an item and apparently moving in together soon.

Kotetsu and Izumo – very together, had been since they were teenagers.

Genma and Raidou – tempestuous relationship, but he was pretty sure they were in an 'on-again' phase at the moment.

Personally, he was Bi-sexual – but again, few people knew that. Even fewer knew that he preferred men, in the long run. Though that didn't really help with the identification process – anyone could assume.

As he was squaring up to the first training post, there was the sudden box. His body stopped mid-pirouette and he allowed himself to drop to a stand-still. He looked around and again, the training area was empty, not even a trace of chakra, familiar or otherwise.

He approached the box.

This one was tartan – stripes of green, orange, black and silver, wrapped with a red bow. It was much larger than all its predecessors, long, thin but not very deep.

Taking the box down, he weighed it in his hands. Moving back, he sat on the ground in the middle of the area and untied the bow, carefully folding it and placing it in his pocket.

Taking the lid off, he was entirely unsurprised to find a new set of leg-weights, nestled comfortably within the layers of crumpled silver paper. But, instead of the 'strength' and 'determination' that he had painted on his own, these ones had 'love' painted in kanji on each separate link.

He couldn't help smiling as he swapped the weights and began training.


Three days later, he was sitting in his living room, staring at each of the presents, lined up on his coffee table. The closed boxes sat behind each of the gifts – except for the leg-weights, he was wearing those – folded ribbons carefully placed on top of the last two.

He was trying to figure out what had been bugging him since this had all started.

He had a feeling that the gifts themselves offered clues as to the admirer. He just couldn't quite figure it out. So he was staring at them, allowing his mind to wander as he did so.

Obviously, the green and the orange could be discarded – and possibly the black – as those colours represented himself. But all that silver? And then the red?

He sighed and sat back, muscular arms folded over his breast.

Images played through his mind, of all the men and women he knew, but none of them seemed likely. Not at all. One image in particular, kept cropping up – Kakashi hiding behind his appalling book.

In a sudden fit of pique, he wished he could be quite so aloof. He launched himself to his feet and left his home, on purpose to find something to distract himself with. His feet took him to his usual training ground and he lost himself in physical exertion.

Another week passed and he limped home after a particularly gruelling mission. His mission-partner had gone on ahead to hand in the mission-report, so Gai headed home for a shower.

He entered his apartment, dropping items of clothing as he closed the door and made his way inwards.

He discarded the vest and rucksack under the coat-hooks, his shoes having been toed off on the doormat. His gloves and hitai-ite were dropped onto the coffee-table. The leg-warmers came off by his bedroom door, the weights taken off far more carefully and placed on his bedside-table.

He reached behind himself and unzipped the suit, slipping his arms out of the sleeves, letting them dangle from his waist as he entered the bathroom and studied himself in the mirror.

He was covered in bruises, cuts, fresh scars and one large blade-wound, where he had misjudged an attack – only by infinitesimal degrees though, in his defence. The field stitches would hold for now – he honestly couldn't be bothered to subject himself to the hospital until he had showered.

He stepped back and slipped the rest of his suit and his underwear off, dropping them both into the hamper under the sink.

He relaxed with an explosive sigh as he let the hot water and steam caress his sore muscles. Placing his hands against the tiles either side of the taps, he lowered his head and let the stream hit the back of his neck, revelling in the feel of the hot water running down his body, each cut, tear and scar tingling as the water rushed over it, reminding him that he was indeed still alive.

After a few minutes, he blindly grabbed his shampoo and washed his hair. Twice. He then conditioned, rinsed and grabbed the soap – eager to get the grime of the mission off his body.

He took so long in the shower that his fingers and toes looked like shrivelled prunes when he finally shut the water off. He grabbed a hand towel and scrubbed his face before looking at himself once again in the mirror.

He felt much better now that he was clean, but there were things scratching away at the back of his mind already. Beginning to bug him. He shook his head and tried to pay no mind to the ghosts of his past.

Towelling himself off, he moved back into his bedroom.

There was another sudden box, right in the centre of his double-bed.

Right where it hadn't been when he'd passed through the room.

He draped the towel over his shoulders and went to investigate. Sitting on the bed, still naked to the world, apart from the towel over his shoulders, he examined the glimmering silver box.

One eyebrow rose in enquiry; he lifted the lid and peaked inside.

Dog tags. On another bed of crumpled silver paper. Lifting them out, he found only one of the tags was marked – with his name, rank and number. The other was smooth, unblemished.

What a strange gift.

He lifted the chain of the tags over his head and dropped the cool metal against his chest. They looked alright there, so he nodded and went to get dressed.


Another two days passed, this time, enforced R'n'R with strict instructions to refrain from training his body for at least a week.

He found himself sitting in the living-room, fiddling with the tags at his neck and staring at the five empty boxes on his coffee-table. The Forget-Me-Not globe was playing pretty rainbow coloured lights against the far wall, as the clouds covered and uncovered the sun.

There was a knock at his door and he glanced over. A familiar chakra signature greeted him. He stood, strode over and threw the door open with a wide grin.

"Yo."

Kakashi raised one hand in greeting and then slouched back down into his usual posture.

"Eternal Rival! I am glad you have visited! But what could have brought you?"

He motioned to let his fellow Jounin in. Kakashi unhurriedly toed off his shoes and then sauntered into the living-room. "Heard you were pretty beat up on that last mission. Came to see how you are."

"Ah! I am fine, thank you, nothing my old body cannot handle!" Gai closed the door behind him and followed the silver-haired ninja.

Gai blinked. Sil… Silver… haired…?

Kakashi was standing at his coffee table, looking down at the boxes, one half-gloved finger trailed over the lid of the largest, "You still not figured out who the secret admirer is?"

Gai shook himself and smiled warmly. "I think I may just have done, Kakashi."

Kakashi's perpetually half-mast right eye widened slightly as Gai moved forward. Quietly, Gai spoke.

"It was the colours. I knew something was important about the colours. It's been nagging me for weeks."

Kakashi affected a bored expression, "Oh? So what did they mean then?"

Gai was within touching distance now, "It was so obvious, that my mind kept skirting the truth. They represent myself and the secret admirer. The fourth box shows them melded together, into one harmonious pattern."

Kakashi nodded, "Seems a reasonable assertion."

Gai stepped closer still, "It only just hit me now, who the admirer could be. The only person who could possibly know me so well, could possibly persuade Lee to help him, could possibly get the gifts to me without my ever noticing."

Kakashi looked straight at him, "Oh? Who could that be then?"

Gai reached out and gently removed the mask from Kakashi's face. Before Kakashi could make any move, he leaned in and brushed his lips against his rivals.

Kakashi grinned, "Took you long enough."

A/N: See - I have this 'extended scene' in my head, of them getting some lovin'on... should I write it or not?