I'm alive! 3

I don't own anything related to Naruto or Inuyasha.

It was the thumping beat that drove Rock Lee mad—it pulsed in him and made his muscles twitch. The flashing colorful lights he could do without, but most ninja did not like having their sight altered in such a way. Him especially, being chakra-disabled, as he had to rely on his physical senses more. Still, the music got to him and Rock Lee wanted to dance.

The dance floor was crowded right now though—the type of setting for more intimate partner dances than Rock Lee's preferred enthusiastic hip-hop or breaking. Not to say that he didn't actually like couples dances, just that it was more difficult for him to find a partner. And at the booth they were in, the Rookie Eleven was clearly occupied with drinking and conversation at this point in time.

Lee blinked as he took in his friends, wondering if Naruto would go dance with him. The blonde was crazy like that, and just mischievous enough to get a kick out of dancing with a guy and making people wonder.

Tenten would definitely say no outright—as nice as she was sometimes, and as respectable a ninja, the presence of Neji assured no chances for anything that would stand in the way of her landing the Hyuuga genius. Even if it was Lee, someone who Neji, under any circumstance, would never view as competition.

Hinata was cut off for the similar reasons—being that Neji was overprotective of his shy cousin. That shyness was also a deciding factor—Lee would probably make her uncomfortable…any guy would make her uncomfortable dancing.

Lee wanted to dance and have fun.

Ino, as energetic as she was, probably wouldn't accept a request to dance from him. She'd dressed up to the nines tonight, in hopes of impressing some strange Nin for a good time. Lee would definitely get in the way of that—even if he did make her more beautiful in contrast.

And Sakura…Lee sighed. He'd given up on the girl. She had moments where he almost fell in love with her all over again—she was sweet and strong and beautiful…but he had to forcefully remind himself that she was only sweet and beautiful for one person.

No matter what.

And her strength was used to reject anyone else, without any of her usual sweetness and beauty.

Even if Sasuke wasn't there to witness it, Sakura would forcefully reject Lee.

Naruto was busy having a binge contest with Kiba.

So Lee would have to wait for a different song to get out and dance.

A great sigh left him and he glanced out over the floor. The lights were slowing down and dimming—the song softening so the couples could get closer together. Lee grinned sappily at the happy people but quickly moved his gaze.

The bar was still busy—they'd either send Naruto or the girls to get the drinks from now on—to ensure they got quick service. They'd always manage to get a goodly amount of attention.

Across the room, in the next booths up the few stairs that separated the dance floor from the drinking area, a group of friends was obviously teasing a woman into courage. Her blush on her skin was quite like Hinata's—vibrant red on pale—but that was where their similarities ended.

Hinata was cute.

This woman was hot.

She had long curling dark hair and dark eyes against pale skin—emphasizing long lashes. In the lights of the club she seemed to glow, and her outfit, while comparatively modest, caressed all of her bountiful curves.

He shook his head abruptly, turning his attention to the equally handsome men and beautiful women at her table who were all leaning into the little dish and gesturing out of the booth.

Black curls swished as the woman shook her head.

Lee grinned.

He nearly applauded when the woman smiled and threw her hands up, blushing and biting her lip as she maneuvered her way out of the booth. Her friends cheered her on as she left and skirted the dance floor.

His smile faltered, and then beamed as she approached the Rookies' table. She drew the attention of the rest of them, and the guys stiffened.

It was a common occurrence where a girl—potentially a crazy fan girl—would approach and harass one of the other shinobi. Even the girls got territorial and defensive because it occurred so often.

But they were all shocked this time.

Lee, being on the outer edge due to his superior reflexes enabling his response time to situations in the crowded club (and the actual fact that he wasn't drinking due to his unconscious use of suiken), blinked wide eyes as the stranger blushed and turned to him.

Her eyes, up close, were a stunning blue.

When she released her lip from her teeth she gave him a tentative smile and tucked her hair behind her ear. "Anou, would you like to dance?" she asked softly.

Lee swallowed, opening his mouth to reply—but he was cut off.

"No he would not," Sakura said firmly, glaring with flashing green eyes.

"O-Oh," she girl stammered, her eyes wide and posture unsure, "I'm sorry, are you in a relationship?" She flashed those blue eyes back to him despondently.

Lee gaped.

Naruto snickered beside him, patting his arm in congratulations.

"No, but that has nothing to do with it." Sakura spat this out almost in disgust, and Lee turned his wide eyes onto her.

Tenten leaned forward on the table to see around her fellow kunoichi. "Look girl, just back off. We don't need your type here."

Ino sniffed haughtily and tossed her golden hair behind her, dark eyes wandered up the figure of the stranger before she sneered. "Go play with someone your own size."

She stranger blinked suspiciously bright eyes, her eyes darting between each of the kunoichi before sliding back to him. She opened her mouth again, leaning forward slightly, but Sakura smacked her hand against the table—jostling the nearly empty drinks scattered around.

"Are you stupid too?" she practically hollered, grinning smugly when the girl startled at the rude question. "We don't want you here, take the hint and bother someone else!"

The stranger bit her bottom lip, her shoulders hunching in. Then she took in a deep breath and bowed slightly, "I'm sorry, please forgive my intrusion," she said wobbly.

Lee gaped as he watched her skitter quickly back to her table. The friends seated there gave her looks of confusion, half rising from their seats. One particular male, silver haired and clearly golden eyed (even from across the club) stood fully and dwarfed the female as he pulled her into his arms and back into the booth.

Wide eyes turned back to his friends, the girls' expressions angry as they finished off their drinks and slammed the glasses back on the table.

"What a cow," Ino sniffed out.

The guys were obviously thrown by the girls' attitudes, but then they were also thrown by the stranger's approach. It seemed to be the night for oddities.

"That was harsh," Naruto finally managed with a scowl.

Sakura snorted and glared into her empty mug—"Hardly, it was a dare."

"What?" Kiba shouted incredulously.

Ino nodded firmly.

Tenten sighed and looked over at Lee apologetically, "Sometimes the girls get dared to dance with someone, just to prove a point. We didn't need you going through that for some girl's pride."

Lee felt a little pinch in his chest, his face pale as he stared at the girls.

Hinata even sighed and looked down.

Tenten grimaced, "Sometimes, they even do that to make a guy jealous—but they shouldn't use you like that, it's so wrong. Only weak kunoichi resort to such measures."

So they didn't believe, for even one second, that the woman could have honestly wanted to dance with him? Under their guidance he had dressed himself and messed up his hair—and still he wasn't good enough?

"That's bullshit!" Naruto shouted angrily. The girls nodded their heads in agreement before he continued—"Lee was totally getting hit on and you guys ruined it. You're just making things up!"

Lee half smiled at his bright friend.

Sakura snorted and slouched back. "It's all true—bunch of bitches." She slurred the last words.

Closing his eyes and slowly opening them, Lee sighed. Licking his lips he looked back across the dance floor. First he met glaring golden eyes, then glaring brown eyes, and dark glaring eyes…then he spotted the woman curled up in the booth, being comforted in the arms of that silver haired man and the petite brunette he was with.

She shook her head and rubbed her cheeks, and even from across the room Lee could see the shine of tears on her skin.

Lee's face went stony and he stood up abruptly. The table shook as he placed his hands on it to brace himself, but he ignored his confused friends and instead turned to navigate through the pulsing crowd.

Two of the men with her group stood and took steps forward, blocking him. A third obstacle came in the form of a tall woman—she crossed her arms and glared down at him.

Lee scratched the back of his neck and tried to peer around them to see the blue-eyed stranger.

They set their stances more.

Lee sighed and looked at them—"I want to apologize and make sure she's okay."

"Yeah, well she don't need your apology none," one man stated while the other hunched his shoulders and glowered.

The woman sniffed and lowered her chin threateningly.

Lee swallowed and rounded his shoulders back, setting his mouth and tilting his chin up. "I still owe her one."

The woman's eyebrows lifted briefly before she regained her glower, but the man with the dragon tail smirked and relaxed. The other man, with dark long hair and raging violet eyes, glowered deeper but allowed the shorter one to pull him away.

The woman sniffed and eyed them disdainfully before grimacing and moving out of the way.

Lee, while maintaining his strong stance, watched this byplay with interest. He wondered if they were on the same cell to have established such methods of silent communication without the typical ANBU tells and gestures.

But his wondering was cut short, because they moved away to reveal the table and the dejected figure of the girl twirling a straw in an empty glass. Lee sighed and softly walked to her.

He hesitated only slightly when he got full view of her—especially as she looked so unyouthful at that moment (a very debilitating contrast from the woman who'd been encouraged by her friends to approach his table).

She sat morose in the booth, her ankles lax so her feet twisted in, and her unoccupied hand hanging limply into her lap where she gazed at it. Her hair created quite the shield for her face, but the suspicious shine of wiped tears was still obvious.

Lee licked his lips, cursorily glancing at her other stiff companions, and knelt down in front of the woman. She startled when his hand came into her view, and as she jerked he gently grasped her resting hand.

Her blue eyes were still watery, unsure as she looked at him from under wet spiky eyelashes and thick bangs.

"Would you still dance with me?" he asked earnestly, leaning forward more and looking directly into those stunning blue eyes.

She blushed, glancing quickly around at her stony friends, and then bit her lip. Taking in a deep breath that raised her shoulders she smiled shyly and nodded at him.

Lee held her opposite hand in front of them while he reached around her back to gently place his fingers against the small of her spine.

She smiled and blushed up at him.

Emerging onto the dance floor he stopped them just on the outskirts of the crowd—he didn't want to be jostled with her in his arms.

A grin stretched his own lips and he spun her into his arms, releasing her gently to take a step back and hold her hands just as the song developed a clave rhythm.

Immediately his hips moved to flow with the music, matching the four beats just like when he was training. It wasn't something he consciously did anymore.

Lee's breath caught as she matched his steps, her hips twisting and her feet crossing as she followed his lead. He grinned at her and she beamed back. She knew the old dances! They were considerably archaic—no longer used in social functions but part of his taijutsu training to develop fluidity. And she was keeping up with him!

He grinned and drew her into more intricate steps, spinning her under his arm and tossing her away to let her perform show moves alone. She always quickly made her way back to him, her green dress swishing against his legs as she laughed and danced.

Her grin kept getting brighter and brighter—her green dress spun and flared with every move—and they were given more and more of the dance floor until Lee was looking at this bright woman in a ring of unfamiliar faces.

It became more intricate and intimate—a private conversation between two bodies in a sea of blurring faces. When she moved back into his arms she told him she was a fighter, she would go where she wanted and persevere until she got there (and, somehow, she wanted him). When she slowed the count on her hips (his eyes entranced) she told him she was a lover. When she danced close to him, her hands tender in his hand and on his shoulder—she told him she was a comforter, compassionate and caring. When she crossed her ankles, performing on the spot taps—he knew she was playful and mischievous. When she spun under his arm, her green skirt trailing around her—she let him know that she was enthusiastic, energetic and alive.

He had to swallow twice to wet his dry throat.

Then he laughed, spinning her in his arms again before bracing her into a low dip, feeling her spine stretch and bend in his grip as she arched spectacularly and grinned upside down at the crowd that was applauding them.

The hand she had placed at his neck gripped just slightly as she lifted her head, turning her exhilarated grin to him only to blush and bite her lip, tilting her chin slightly to one side, when she saw his own exuberant expression.

Lee slowly pulled her up, still in the dance somehow, and she smoothly followed him, her legs crossing and toes pointing as if they'd practiced the seamless movement.

Lee blinked when someone whistled, and he looked into the crowd to see the male Rookies catcalling and grinning, clapping and giving him conspiratorial winks. A laugh escaped his throat at their support (even Shino was grinning over his collar).

When he caught sight of the girls his heart pinched again. All four were gaping, shocked and disbelieving.

Before he could sigh and contemplate this, a small hand grabbed his own and tugged him until he was facing the other way. The stranger grinned over her shoulder at him as she pulled him to her table—"Come meet my friends!" she shouted excitedly.

The silver haired man was standing with his arm around the short brunette from before, smiling slightly at the breathless pair when they made their way to the booth.

"Sesshoumaru-nii-san! He can do the traditional dances!" she shouted excitedly.

Rock Lee blushed and grinned, bowing as much as her grip on him would allow him. "I am Rock Lee of Konohagakure—taijutsu specialist."

The tall man nodded his head in understanding. "Taisho Sesshoumaru of Hidden Moon. Your fluidity training served you well."

"I'm Taisho Rin, my husband is right—Kagome can usually dance circles around her partners."

Lee's companion blushed and waved her hand in front of her face. "Maa, I do not!"

The Amazon woman gave him one last suspicious look over before laughing and joining the conversation, "No, of course you don't." The others looked at her in confusion. She smirked and continued—"They just naturally trip all over themselves to keep up. I'm sure you have nothing to do with it."

Kagome blushed and looked down while pressing her lips together. Lee tilted his head and twisted forward slightly to look at her in concern, watching the way her blush reddened even more.

Her blue eyes finally, shyly, glanced up at him through her lashes—and he grinned at her. She smiled tentatively back before laughing and hugging his arm, leaning her forehead on his shoulder.

Sesshoumaru smirked at him—seeming both satisfied and amused at the same time.

Lee laughed, "I'm very happy that she knows the 'traditional' dances—she makes an excellent partner."

"Mou! The partner is only as good as the lead!"

Her surrounding friends laughed, and Lee relaxed. In their conversation he learned that Sesshoumaru and Rin were treating the group for a very successful mission—Miroku was the shorter man with the dragon tail, intelligence and general fuinjutsu were his areas of expertise; Inuyasha was the glowering one with flashing eyes, specializing in explosion seals and kenjutsu; Sango was the Amazon woman who studied weaponry and blacksmithing; Rin was an extremely adept scout; Sesshoumaru was squadron leader with a bloodline and family kenjutsu (also related to Inuyasha in some way though they didn't talk about it and did not mention Inuyasha carrying the bloodline); and Kagome who was a long range specialist.

Their conversation only ceased flowing when Naruto shouted (clearly audible even over the din of the club) and Lee and the group turned to watch the rest of the rookies approaching.

The girls looked slightly dazed still, but the guys gave him 'atta-boy' grins and Naruto even supplied a thumbs-up with a shouted "That was AWESOME!"

Kagome laughed delightedly beside him, leaning into his side and smiling widely at his friends.

It appeared that she'd forgiven them for their harsh words earlier, but the same could not be said for her friends. The Amazon stiffened and glowered spectacularly at the girls, especially giving bright pink hair the stink-eye.

The girls obviously felt this negativity, and, while the guys watched, they reacted according to their personalities. Lee watched Hinata duck her blushing face and press her fingertips together, Ino shuffle and toss her golden hair back, Tenten steel herself and brace one hand near her sealing scroll, and Sakura set her arms akimbo while tilting her head to one side.

Hinata timidly cleared her throat (and it was a mark of how successful they were as shinobi that they all heard it) before Sakura took the reins with a sigh. "We're sorry about earlier."

Kagome blinked and smiled unsurely.

Ino huffed and crossed her arms as Sakura continued, trying to make amends for their behavior. "It's just that we thought you were using Lee to complete a dare, or maybe even to make someone jealous."

Kagome's eyes widened and her hand on his arm went slack. Lee thought she might have been slightly offended.

Then Ino added, "For all we know you could have even been using him to get in touch with our rookies! It wouldn't be the first time a girl has tried to be successful scoring a guy by looking nice and approachable with his less stellar friends."

Kagome gasped, and Lee turned to her offended expression only to see the very same one on the face of each Shinobi from Hidden Moon.

"How dare you!"rang Rin's scandalized voice.

Kagome mouthed something inaudibly until she found her voice with a violent shake of her head, sending her raven hair storming against his shoulder.

"It's happened before!" Ino exclaimed defensively.

Kagome made a frustrated sound, "Lee is a very wonderful man—that his friends could even think that…" she trailed off and turned wide eyes to him. Then she glared and turned back to the rookie girls—"I don't think I like you very much right now." She turned to him and smiled wobbly before she cleared her throat and went to her friends and table to take a drink of water.

Sakura and Ino had gasped, Tenten's face went slack of expression except for her slack jaw, and Hinata blushed but smiled shyly.

Kiba gave him a wolfish grin as the other guys hid their smiles politely. Naruto, glancing around at the tense groups, smiled and scratched the back of his head. "Sooo, I guess we're ready to head back now right?"

"I think I have other plans tonight guys—you can take the girls back."

Despite everything, there was only the vague feeling of unfinished business as his friends agreed to the change in plans. Naruto grinned at him and gave him the thumbs up—Lee laughed and performed his trademark grin and pose back. Sakura, stunned almost white, was carefully maneuvered out the club by Hinata and Tenten. Ino, equally discombobulated, kept on blinking as she absently followed their friends.

Lee carefully glanced at Kagome's friends, but approached anyway. Once he reached her he drew her into his chest and rested his head atop her crown. "Thank you,"

Her breath hitched on a sob and she shook her head. "No, it's all wrong. You're perfect, you shouldn't have to be thanking me, and they shouldn't even be thinking that!"

Lee closed his eyes as his grin grew. "How about we go out for a snack and talk in a much quieter place."

Sesshoumaru straightened and eyed him with his golden glare.

"I'd like to get to know your friends better too."

The giant man immediately relaxed, his mouth softening into what passed for a smile.

"We have to meet Kikyou anyway," the gruff man with the long black hair and violet eyes said—implicitly agreeing with the plan.

The dragon tail and the Amazon grinned and started walking to the door, Kagome and Rin grasped hands—the latter standing on tiptoes (and her husband slouching over ever so slightly) so she could kiss Sesshoumaru's cheek—before weaving around the pulsing crowd and waiting at the door.

Lee waited while Sesshoumaru double checked the booth, his eyes then running over the crowd before following his friends.

Lee was vaguely impressed at how thorough the man was in his protection—he'd not outright noticed all the little maneuvers the group had done to keep everyone safe—Kagome reaching out to him earlier must have happened only after several scans of the area to check for dangers.

Lee grinned at the rather stoic man as they joined the ladies and then those already outside, both glancing back one more time just in case someone was paying too much attention to their group leaving.

Kagome grinned and snuggled into his shoulder before laughing and dancing away with Rin—assured of both their protection.

Golden eyes stared sideways at him for the beginning of the walk, watching and noting their very similar reactions to the other groups out and about that could potentially threaten their group. Still he remained stiff and stoic beside Lee until golden eyes glanced up and saw Rin and Kagome dancing along the street, performing under the street lamps. His eyes visibly softened to amber, and his features relaxed.

"I…feel I must warn you."

Lee stiffened.

"Kagome has never really been loved—and I see the way you look at her. Don't feel hurt that she sometimes doesn't understand what you want."

"I…have never been in a relationship." Sesshoumaru sharply glanced at him. "I was in love with Sakura and," Sesshoumaru's face displayed his unease, "I was never enough."

"You still love the…pink-haired one?"

"No." Lee continued more quietly, "I would never attempt a relationship with halfhearted feelings. And I want a relationship with Kagome—she's so vibrant…youthful." He smiled in amusement to himself.

"She sees life a different way—just like my Rin." Sesshoumaru paused, "She also sees a person in a different way, like no one else does, and I'm glad she was right about you." Golden eyes narrowed playfully and his lips quirked into a slight smile—"You're a very good man—and a good dancer."

Lee grinned—his straight blinding grin that made everyone else uneasy. But Rin grinned just the same way back at him from up ahead, and Sesshoumaru's smile quirked up even more.

Kagome, laughing, stumbled her way into him, running from playing with the others. Lee looked up to spot Miroku and Inuyasha chasing her—quickly, he pulled her into the open pose and spun her around his body, her laughter ringing louder through the air as she finished her spin and gazed up at him with sparkling eyes.

Miroku wiggled his eyebrows.

Lee laughed, looking down at Kagome when she giggled and the conversation resumed around them.

It was quite like before; when they were dancing, and the world became the two of them while reality blurred into nonsense around them. It was comforting, and it was intimate.

Her hands rested gently on his chest as she leaned into him, her smile softening and her eyes sparkling like the night sky. "Thank you," she said softly.

His eyebrows shot up under his messy bangs. "For what?" he asked, honestly incredulous and uncomprehending.

She grinned sheepishly and blushed, "For dancing with me, it was…wonderful."

Lee blushed and smiled, a soft one that did not display his teeth, as was his wont. "It was very youthful."

She laughed a shocked giggle that became a full-bodied laugh as she leaned more into him. "Okay," her bubbly voice said, "it was youthful—and amazing and absolutely perfect. So thank you."

Lee gazed down at the happy woman in his arms, and wondered if she knew everything that dance was to him. She'd lifted him up when he'd just been deciding he'd be alone his whole life—too youthful and exuberant and too much the fool for all the kunoichi in Konoha. She was perfect—"No, thank you." He grinned, "And please, dance with me from now on."

She smiled and whispered her agreement.