Author's Note: This is NOT, I repeat NOT intended to be Gai/Lee. Turn away now if that bothers you; only wholesome father-and-son-ish cuteness is contained herein.

I'm operating on the idea that Lee was somehow orphaned as a child...god, I wonder what his parents would have looked like? *shudder*


One- Asa (Morning)

Having followed the small sounds across his apartment, Gai pauses in front of the pantry. Munching sounds. Hmmm… It is a rose-colored morning in Konoha, and it's resident Green Beast is clad in only fuzzy, polyester pajama pants, sunlight spangling over the rippled muscles of his torso. Regarding the door very seriously, with one hand around his chin, the sable-haired man pokes open the cabinet with one toe.

Busted. Glancing up innocently, little Lee stops chewing for a moment.

"…Have you been here all night?"

"You told me I could come over when I felt like it," the boy responds succinctly. The four year-old child, who is seated flush on the linoleum floor, envelops another scooped palm full of cereal from the box in his lap, spilling flakes onto the floor as he imitates the sound of a vacuum cleaner. There are scratches across his left cheek, stopping a half an inch below his wide, crow-black eye.

Gai steps back to survey the single front door, still locked, and the unopened window over the kitchen sink. "Wait- how did you get inside?" he asks.

Lee politely attempts to swallow most of his mouthful of honeycombed sugar particles before replying, but some still dribbles out of his little cheeks when he speaks: "I came in through the bathroom window."

"Lee, I live on the second floor."

"Yeah, I know," the boy says cheerfully; another handful of flakes die noisily between his shiny, even milk teeth. Gai is forced to regard the child for a long moment, one flat hand knowingly caressing the smooth, downy blackness of his bowl cut. He's not sure what to do.

"… Well, c'mere and let me get you some milk," he finally says. He watches little Lee patter across the entire four-feet of kitchen space, over to the dilapidated folding couch Gai has had since his Chunin days, and climb sagely into a space that seems to have been his for eternity. Snatching two bowls from the upper cabinet (Gai cannot abide by a messy kitchen) and the quart of milk, the elder Shinobi saunters after him and is seated; the weight of his presence bends the entire couch into a depression, which Lee and several other miscellaneous objects, like the remote, roll down into with Gai. Now plumb against the man's side, Lee's eyes hungrily follow the motions of the man's sophisticated milk-pouring and cereal-dumping skills.

"So how did you climb up the side of the building?" Gai hands Lee a bowl without effect, and prepares one for himself as well. Normally he'd eat it straight from the box, too, but today he has a guest.

"Got up on a parked bicycle, and found a brick to hang onto," the child begins. His braid bobs against his neck as he chews. "Then I got up into this flower box and scooched up onto the window thing. Something broke under my foot, but I'm okay."

"I'm glad," Gai says, leaning over towards the window. Yes, his landlady's planter box is hanging in mangled pieces from the cheery red of the brick wall; globs of potting soil and the small faces of purple and yellow pansies dot the sidewalk below. The framing around the top of her window is also mysteriously loosened, as if a great weight had been put on it.

"Tell you what…I keep a key under the mat. You can use that from now on."

Lee swallows. "I can come back?"

"Of course." Silence for a while. Gai snorts, and mucus wheezes in time with Lee's small breaths until he sniffs, quietly, into his shirt's beige sleeve.

"That's good," the little boy finally pronounces. "Missus Gai Sensei won't mind?"

"I don't have a wife, but if you see any possible ones, you should bring them back here on the double, okay?" Gai notes sardonically. When Lee grins, the man elbows him in the side; the smile becomes a giggle, and then Lee lolls his cherubic head to the side, leaning his cheek against the man's side. Gai's chest flushes warm; he stiffens at the touch, but isn't as weirded out as he thought he'd be.

"I love you, Gai-sensei."

"Hmm," the man huffs, his cheeks aching as a long-caged thing stretches across his cleft face. He ruffles the boy's hair with one hand, and holds the cereal bowl to his lips with the other. There are no spoons in the apartment.

"You're pretty loveable yourself, kiddo."


A/N: Hang in until the third one! It's so cute! . God, I want to be adopted by Gai-sensei...