AN: Mature content ahead. Proceed only if you're comfortable reading about sexual activity between two adult males.


"Gai Sensei, they are staring at us. Why do people always stare at us now?"

Gai lay a hand on Lee's shoulder. "It doesn't matter, Lee. Just ignore them."

A man and woman stood by the street side, whispering and watching as the two green-clad Jonins walked past. Gai overheard the woman whisper, "I always felt there was something abnormal about those two."

"I know what you mean," muttered the man. "They were always a little too close for a teacher and student."

Gai tensed. Did they realize he and Lee could hear them? Did they care?

"I heard it's been going on for years," the woman whispered.

"It's repulsive, really. They're deviants, both of them."

"It's not the boy's fault. It's that man who corrupted him. He's always been disturbed, you know. And the boy never had a father, or any family at all, really. Of course he'd be vulnerable to that sort of exploitation—"

"That man always gave me the creeps. Youth this and youth that. I'm surprised no one figured him out sooner, he practically wears his perversions on his sleeve…"

Lee stopped and faced them. "Excuse me, are you talking about us?"

The man glared at Lee, his jaw jutting. "What if we are? You're the ones who should be embarrassed."

"Really," said the woman, looking at Gai, "it's madness that you're still allowed to teach. Have you no shame at all? Seducing your own student is bad enough, but then to waltz around with him by your side as if nothing has changed—as if the entire village doesn't know what's going on—"

"Please do not speak of my sensei that way." Lee's tone was calm and polite, but his cheeks were flushed, his eyes bright with anger. "He did not seduce me. We are in love. I chose this. He has done nothing wrong."

"Poor boy," said the woman, shaking her head. "You've been brainwashed by this—this lunatic, and you don't even know what's happened."

"I am nineteen years old. I am not a child or a fool. Do not treat me like one." He clenched his fists. "Why does everyone judge us? What is wrong with two people being in love?"

"Lee, it's all right," Gai said quietly. "Let's just go home."

"But they—"

"Please."

Lee hesitated, looking at him with wide, uncertain eyes. Then he sighed and bowed his head. They turned and walked away.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" the man shouted.

Lee tensed and started to turn back, but Gai put a gentle hand on his arm and whispered, "Just let it be."

Lee clenched his jaws and stared at the ground as they walked. His shoulders trembled. "How can I do nothing?" he said, his voice thick with tears. "It hurts me when they say those cruel things about you. They do not know the first thing about you—about us—but they gossip and spread their lies and drag your name through the mud. I cannot stand it!" He was breathing hard, tears glistening at the corners of his eyes.

"It's all right, Lee. I don't care what they think. Please." He rubbed Lee's tense back. "Don't let it upset you."

Lee wiped the back of one hand across his eyes, took a deep breath, and nodded.

They returned to Gai's apartment. His place was bigger than Lee's, so Lee had more or less moved in with him since they'd become lovers.

Lovers. The word still sounded so odd, so foreign in Gai's mind. It didn't encompass what Lee meant to him.

Gai entered and closed the door behind him. Then he pulled Lee close and breathed in his scent. His hands slid over Lee's back, feeling the contours of muscle through the thin, cotton jumpsuit, warm with his body heat. Lee's arms slipped around him, and his lips brushed against Gai's, sending an electric jolt through his body. Gai shivered and closed his eyes.

"It feels so right," whispered Lee, "doesn't it?"

"Yes," he whispered back.

"So why does everyone else see it as something ugly and unnatural? I do not understand. At first I thought that it was just a misunderstanding…that if I told everyone the truth about us, if I made them understand how I felt about you, that they would accept us. But I have been telling people the truth for the past two months, and they still say those awful things about you. What do I have to do, Gai Sensei? How can I make them understand?"

"You can't control what people think or say. People will believe what they want to believe. It's a small price to pay, for all I've gained."

"You should not have to pay a price at all."

He hugged Lee tighter. "When I found out that you returned my feelings, it seemed too good to be real," he whispered. "Even now, sometimes, I feel like I'm in a beautiful dream, like I might wake up at any moment. I can endure anything, if it means I can be with you."

"Sensei…" Lee's wide, dark eyes glistened wetly.

Even now, as a man, he was easily moved to tears. He hadn't allowed himself to become hardened and cold, as so many Jonin did. Gai loved his sensitivity, as he loved all things about Lee.

His lips grazed Lee's jaw, and he heard Lee's breath catch in his throat. His head tilted back, exposing his neck, and Gai pressed a kiss to his racing pulse. Lee's body trembled in his arms.

"Gai Sensei…" His breathing quickened. "Can we go into the bedroom?"

"Don't you want to shower first? We've been training all day."

"I do not think I can wait. I need you now. Please?"

He couldn't resist. He took Lee's hand and led him into the bedroom. Lee sat on the edge of the bed and looked up at him, smiling, his cheeks flushed.

Lee was always so eager, so enthusiastic about love-making—so completely innocent. To him, sex was a joy, an expression of love and trust. He'd never had a reason to see it as anything else.

Gai wanted to keep it that way. He wanted to keep that innocent shine in Lee's eyes…so he was always very gentle, very careful to avoid causing him pain. When they sparred together, they traded punches and kicks hard enough to shatter rock, but this wasn't like training. Pain here, in the bedroom, was different from pain on the training field or in battle.

Gai knew that from personal experience.

He softly kissed Lee's lips as he reached down to cup the bulge between his thighs. Lee let out a little gasp. Gai slid a hand under the collar of his jumpsuit and slowly peeled the fabric off his hot, sweat-damp skin, exposing the length of his lean body. A moment later, his own jumpsuit joined Lee's in a rumpled pile beside the bed. Naked, he knelt on the floor between his student's knees.

"Sensei…"

Gai looked up.

"I wondered if we could try something a little different tonight."

Gai hesitated. He had an idea of what Lee was about to suggest. A tiny, cold sliver of fear slipped into his heart. "Yes, Lee?"

"Well…so far we have only done things with our hands and mouths, and I like that a lot, but…there is something else, isn't there? I mean, another way for two men to make love. I want to try it."

Gai took a deep breath and stood.

"What is it, Sensei?"

He paused, trying to think of how to phrase the question in a way that didn't sound crass. "When you imagine doing this, Lee—do you imagine being on top, or…"

"I want you inside me."

The words went through Gai's body and heart like a lightning bolt. "Are you sure?"

He nodded. "I have dreamed about it for a long time." He paused. "Sensei?"

Gai lowered his gaze. He realized he was shaking. "You don't know what you're asking, Lee. It—what you're talking about—it can be very painful if it's not done right, and I've never done it before. Not—I mean, I never—I've only…" He swallowed. "I don't want to hurt you."

"Is it really that bad?" Lee's brow furrowed. "I am not afraid of pain, Sensei. I have broken more bones than I can count. I have torn muscles and tendons and been wounded in battle again and again. Are you saying this will be worse than that?"

"No. But…it's different."

"Are you thinking about him?"

Gai tensed. He didn't need to ask who Lee meant. Eyes downcast, he nodded.

Lee stood and hugged him tight. "It makes me so angry to think that someone hurt you like that," he whispered.

"It was a long time ago," Gai said quietly, "and that man is dead now. It's past. I just don't want to put you through that."

"But it would not be like that. Not with you. You would be gentle."

Gai hesitated. He knew Lee was right, but still, he felt cold with fear at the thought—fear that he couldn't fully explain, even to himself.

An image flashed through his head: Lee on his knees, naked and flushed, his eyes heavy-lidded and unfocused with pleasure…

He gulped, pulse thumping in his throat. "If you feel you're ready…"

"I am ready, Sensei."

Gai took a deep breath and nodded. "Hold on…" He turned, opened a drawer and pulled out a jar of lubricant he'd bought a few weeks ago. He'd wanted to be prepared when the moment came. He unscrewed the lid, then turned and looked into Lee's dark eyes, searching them.

Lee stood with his arms at his sides, as if awaiting orders. He was trembling with anticipation, his eyes wide, his cock rigid.

Gai wet his lips. "Can you get on your hands and knees?"

Lee turned, crawled onto the bed, and looked over one shoulder, as if to ask whether he was doing it right.

Gai stroked Lee's thigh. "Spread your legs a little more."

Lee obeyed.

Gai took a deep breath…then lay his hands on those firm cheeks and gently parted them, revealing the small, puckered opening between. He'd glimpsed it before—he'd had his head between Lee's legs more than once—but to have it offered to him like this was an entirely different matter. He stared, entranced. He felt awed, strangely humbled by Lee's trust in him, his willingness to allow Gai into his body.

Holding his breath, he brushed his thumb across that little ripple of flesh. Like a rosebud…

Lee's breathing quickened as Gai dipped one finger into the jar of lube and spread the cool, clear mixture over Lee's rim.

Lee squirmed and let out a breathless giggle. "That's cold!"

"Sorry. I can try to warm it up…"

"No, it is fine." Lee wiggled his bottom, and the sight made Gai momentarily dizzy. "I am ready."

Gai nodded. His heart pounded. "I'll start with just one finger." He pressed gently. There was a momentary resistance, then his finger slid in, disappearing up to the second knuckle. "How does that feel? Be honest. If anything is uncomfortable…"

"It feels a little funny. But not in a bad way."

Experimentally, Gai slid the finger in and out. When he pressed a certain spot, Lee gave a start and gasped. "Did that hurt?"

"No. It felt good."

Gai rubbed gently, and Lee moaned. "Sensei…I do not know what you are doing, but it feels incredible…" A flush rose into his cheeks, and he closed his eyes, mouth open and panting. "Gai Sensei!"

The sound of that sweet voice crying his name was the most beautiful music he could imagine.

Gai slid another finger inside him and continued to rub that sensitive little spot.

"Please please please," whimpered Lee. "Please, I want you inside me, Gai Sensei…please take me, take me, I need you so much, Sensei…" His voice rose higher and higher until it was almost a whine, a desperate plea.

Breathing hard, Gai withdrew his fingers from Lee's body, then scooped out more lube and spread it over his own hard shaft. He positioned himself over Lee, until he felt the head of his maleness press against that tight hole, and slowly, slowly submerged the first few inches in Lee's body. A soft moan escaped his throat. "Oh, Lee…so tight…" He felt Lee's body move beneath him as he stared down at the back of his student's dark-haired head, the tender, smooth skin at the nape of his neck, and pushed in deeper.

Lee let out a sharp cry.

Gai froze. "Are you all right?"

"Y-yes…don't stop…"

Gai took a deep breath. His hips jerked, almost involuntarily, pushing in and out. He buried his face in Lee's hair…

Then a memory flashed through his head. He was in a small, dirty room, on a bed, and a dark shape loomed over him. He saw the man's grin flash white in the shadows—felt rough hands pushing him down as he struggled, his head cloudy with wine—pain as two thick, calloused fingers jammed into his body…

No. No, this isn't like that! I'm not him!

Hard, steel-gray eyes, empty and merciless—that rough voice, mocking him—"Isn't this what you wanted, Gai-kun?"

The memories played out in his head. He couldn't stop them.

"It's too big—it hurts—"

"Call yourself a ninja, and you're afraid of a little pain? Suck it up. This is nothing."

"P-please—Kentaro—please stop, I'm not ready—"

His stomach tightened, and his erection faded as shame filled him like bile, hot and sour. Lee froze beneath him and looked up uncertainly. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he lied. "I'm fine." He tried to keep pushing, but his body wasn't cooperating anymore. A part of his mind was still trapped in that dirty hotel room, in that night, sixteen years ago.

"Sensei?"

Gai hung his head, tears prickling at the corners of his eyes. "I can't," he whispered. "I'm sorry." He pulled out, sat on the edge of the bed, facing away from Lee, and buried his face in his hands.

Lee crawled toward him and lay a hand on his shoulder. "Gai Sensei, what is wrong?" He paused. "Is it me? Did I do or say something I should not have?"

"No, dear one," Gai said quietly. He lay a hand over Lee's and squeezed. "It's not you." He wiped the back of one hand across his eyes and stood. "I--I need to be alone for a few minutes. I'm going to shower."

Lee huddled on the bed, looking small and miserable. "Please talk to me. Let me in. Let me help you. I cannot bear it when you shut me out like this."

"I can't talk about this. Not right now. Forgive me." He retreated to the bathroom, shut the door, got into the shower and turned it on. The hot spray hit his body. He stood, letting the water beat against his back, and closed his eyes.

-To be continued