His hair is death, dark red strands died by blood they will never touch. Everyone who's anyone knows about him, knows that the whisper of sand against sand is your first and last and only prayer. He is the nightmare in your dreams.

"Sand coffin." A child's voice rang out. Not a childish voice, not the voice of a child, but the voice of a demon speaking through a child sacrifice. The assassin wanted to run, to hide, to scream, to deny it all. He had studied countless of years, working his way up through the ranks - genin, chunin, making it all the way to jounin - and for what? To be murdered by a child in the dark?

But no, the man thought with sudden clarity, his vision clearing, becoming razor sharp. That figure was no child, his death was being brought about by no mere boy - that was a demon itself, a twisting mass of hate and anger and blood lust, and even dieing for its death was a worthy way to go.

The would be assassins insight was for naught. It took the sand only mere minutes to crush the life out of him, to diffuse and muffle the explosions of his paper hearts, to shield its avatar from any minute scrapes his weapons might have inflicted.

The child's face was emotionless. His pale skin, untouched by the desert sun, was blank from fear. His fist, small fingers clenched tight together, was the only part of him marred by something as human as tension.

Why did I agree to do this, the would be assassin screamed unheard as grains of sand the size of black mold spores reduced him to nothing more than a spray of blood and shards of bone.

The moon was low in the sky, a gibbous moon - not full, not new, not half, not crescent, just half way to half way there. The boy turned away from the mess that had once called itself a man, turned towards the nothing special moon in the vast desert sky. If his eyes passed over the town on their way, noticing the tight locked doors and steel eyed spies, no one dared to guess if the emotion which passed through his eyes was hate.

For all of their faults, they weren't stupid enough to take that bet.

He never sleeps. When he does, however, when grains of sand collide and form that monstrous form as haunting to Suna as those nine tails are to Konoha - sometimes they wish that was the dream, and the boy the nightmare. Because Shukaku is terrifying, of course - what demon isn't? - but Shukaku is natural, Shukaka is nature. The boy, Gaara, however … he's the kind of nightmare where everything should be normal and isn't, the kind where you are walking in your house and your mother comes and cuts off your head.

In the beginning, soon after the Kazekage had learned to the fullest extent of what his son would become, the babes tried to lead their wolf to the slaughter. Like all of the best fairytales, there was no happily ever after.

The first one to officially hired to try to break through the demon's protective sand and kill the toddler was smart. She observed for days, for weeks, before making her move. She knew that Yashamaru (who was no stranger to plausible deniability, and while the young Gaara was, was still not willing to take any chances) left the target alone for an hour in the afternoons Tuesday and Friday, for three hours on Sunday nights, and never woke up before noon every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The Kazekage's other two children (the only two in Suna not allowed to be dispensable - although given enough time and disappointments, the Kazekage's views on even that would change) visited Monday through Friday, from late evening to early morning.

The target never seemed to sleep, but she had poisons to do that part for her, herbs that had worked for a millennia before the demon had come to existence, and she was more than willing to raise the dosage. The side effects - a chance of never waking up - didn't bother her, since they were her overall goal.

She did it one afternoon, just slipped into the kitchen, where the special soft foods for the still teething toddler were stored, and poured them in. Then she went home, summoned a clone, and sent it with her subordinate to carry out the rest of her plan. She was smart. She knew better than to risk her life by exposing her presence before her mission was guaranteed to be a success.

The demon had its food an hour later. Ten minutes after it has finished eating, its eyes begun to close. The man chosen to perform this part of the plan readied himself. It was not easy, in the beginning, for even the most dedicated ninja to kill a babe, no matter what demon it laid claim to possessing, and this man (this young man, this old boy, this young child) was only fourteen years old yet more than an adult in the eyes of Suna. When the babe's eyes closed for what should have been good five minutes later, he readied his sword and waited.

And then he wasn't waiting anymore.

Because where there should have been a baby, there was a being the size of child, a teen, a man, a lion, a bear - a one tailed sand demon who had just escaped from his own special hell.

Before Gaara woke up a half hour later, Shukaku destroyed the building, destroyed the neighboring building, destroyed the neighboring buildings, destroyed the neighborhood, and the first assassin that had been smart enough to doom an entire sector of Suna was destroyed with it.

He doesn't count who he kills, and those he has killed don't have anyone willing to count for him. He is death, he is their weapon, and he is a double edged sword.

How much energy does it take to clench a hand?

How many fists can be made and unmade in a minute?

How many people can be buried in a desert full of sand?

How stupid can someone who thinks they can kill a demon be?

How stupid can someone who thinks they can't kill a demon but tries anyway be?

How many people are really that stupid?

Next to none. Over a hundred. All of them. Enough. Enough. All of them (until he shows them that there is no need).

A young child sat on the red stained desert sand and didn't scream.

Sometimes, those who are too young to know better, and those who are too old to not, want to scream and rant and rage and wish the Kazekage had had enough sense to leave his monster in the kettle - figuratively or literally. There's something strange about a royal family with three children with three hair colors and three relatives to condemn them. First their mother, than their father, than their uncle - or was it first their father, then the mother, then the uncle? Or the uncle than the father than the mother?

"But he's my brother." Temari said, her eyes wide above her chubby childhood cheeks. "And Kankuro's my brother and I see him."

The Kazekage, her father - always village first and family last - stood tall and imposing above her. "He is not your brother," He said calmly, reasonably, like the kind of man who truly believed in what they were saying, the kind that was most dangerous. "He is a demon."

But Temari was young enough to think she knew better, young enough to wonder why things had changed. "No he's not, he's my brother!" She almost screamed, tears starting to well up in her eyes, because she knew that it would start with Gaara first and then her second, or third. "Just because Uncle Yashamaru's gone doesn't mean he's not my brother!"

The Kazekage looked down on her, his top lip curling. He did not like and had no use for children, mostly for the same reasons. "He is not your brother." He repeated, firmly, while Temari tried to hold back hateful tears. "He is a demon, and he is the reason why your Uncle Yashamaru is gone."

"No he's not, no he's not, no he's not!" Little girl Temari screamed, her little face screwed up and her little cheeks stained red.

"Yes he is." The Kazekage said. "He is a demon. He is not your brother. He is the reason why your Uncle Yashamaru is gone."

Temari looked up at him, face blotchy and hands clenched tight, but she had no sand to strike him down with. Gaara, sitting blank faced next to them, did, but did nothing. She was not yet a ninja, but she knew that crying would be futile. "He is my brother. He is not a demon. And I never liked Uncle Yashamaru anyway."

The Kazekage just looked at her. "That can be changed." He pronounced, and then did.

The boy a makes a fist and that's all it takes. There is no need to move further than that, to risk injury and pain and death. The sand that his mother cursed and his demon blessed takes care of the rest, wrapping pinprick grains around living flesh and squeezing until nothing remains. Family, acquaintance, assassin, it matters not. They don't doubt that he would kill his friend as well, but no one yet has been willing to befriend him and test that theory.

The first time Temari was old enough to understand just what Gaara did to people with his sand, she turned first to him, blank faced and dull eyed, and then to her father. "I hate you." Temari said, her little girl voice quiet with fear and anger and betrayal.

The Kazekage - not her father, never her father, never anyone's father - smiled as she walked away.

The boy doesn't smile but he will prove them wrong anyway.

It was the shock in his siblings eyes when he pushed through the defense never meant to be shattered. It was the day when he visited him in the hospital and for the first time, didn't deliver his promise of death. It was the day he brought him home and said friend and meant it.

It was the day he came home with him and said friend and meant something more.

He spends his infancy loving, loving, loving, his childhood hating, hating, hating, and when he gets to his adolescence, it's shouldn't be a surprise when the cycle starts to repeat itself. But it is, to the boy and to them and everyone except for him.

Yashamaru could hear Gaara's whispers drifting out from the baby's cradle, but the man was in a particularly petty mood. "You've already taken my sister," he said to the baby who could not yet understand him, "what more could you possibly want?"

The Kazekage's wife was dead, and the newest addition to Suna's practically royal family was soon to be. Everyone in Suna knew it, as sure as they knew that the sun and the desert would stay as dry as their creek bed that would never rise. The baby was not yet a year old, but the townspeople had seen all of it that they wanted.

As if to prove their point, the baby demon whimpered once more, and when the sand moved to get it its bottle when Yashamaru should have, the man merely covered his eyes.

When the sand brought the bottle to the baby, course grains snaking around the plastic and softer ones supporting the back of the baby's head, the baby Gaara did not know that it was not loved. It had food when it required it, was never without one of its many sandy attendants, and knew not of pain. So when Yashamaru staggered to his feet an hour or four later, empty cans clattering to the floor, and picked the baby up, Gaara merely giggled, trying to reach the man's nose.

The baby's fingers were too short and his arms too chubby, but the tendrils of sand were always long enough. As baby Gaara laughed, Yashamaru withstood the tickle of the sand, the omen of what was yet to come.

"Cursed brat," he drunkenly slurred, but baby Gaara knew not what the words meant, nor the tone behind them, and so loved his uncle anyway.

But years and years and years after that, not-baby Gaara did know what those words meant, and more importantly, he knew who meant them. (Everyone). He knew that the only one who could love him was himself. (No one else). And he knew that these truths would be true forever. (But not a day).

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

He didn't see his evil, even when his nightmare sand came crushing down on his dreams. He didn't hear his evil, even when he screamed to his mother for his blood. He didn't speak of evil, even when he laid in bed with his bones shattered seemingly beyond repair.

Or at least, if he did, he showed no sign of it not even half a year later when he and he fought together for the first time.

A year later, however, Gaara did, when he looked down at his sand and for the first time in a long while, hated what he was able to do with it (but mostly what he had already done).

And the lion shall rule the lambs as the nightmare rules the dreamers.

He was Gaara of the Desert, Gaara of the Sand, Gaara of the one tailed demon Shukaku. He was That Demon, Demon Brat, Please Die. He was their nightmare, their double edged sword, their smoothed over mistake.

They thought it was Naruto, his fellow demon vessel, that changed him, made him someone (something) that Suna could be proud of. But he and Naruto were cast from different cloth, and no matter how hard the blow Gaara's head remained hard and unyielding.

Sand swirling around his feet, Gaara thought he would have laughed at that, if given the chance.

And that was where the problem was. Because Suna didn't know what had changed their nightmare from dream devouring hate into their guardian protector. They whispered of Naruto and Temari and Kankuro, of fellowship and siblinghood and the power of love, a fairytale come true.

Some of them, the brave, the foolhardy, the romantics - they whispered of a special girl thought had caught his eye, of Sari or Matsuri or some other maiden with dainty steps and a heart of gold.

Gaara wanted to laugh, and to call them all fools.

Because if they knew…

Gaara was murder and blood from before he could walk, before he could talk. He had killed his first man before most babies had taken their first step. And then he killed his second. And his third. And then his fourth and his fifth and his sixth and his seventh and then so many he didn't count, couldn't count, because he hadn't even learned what numbers were, what the words for the numbers were, other than more and more and always more.

Fingers drumming against a rather elaborate desk, Gaara stared unseeing at the pictures hanging on the wall, at his predecessors blank faces. He didn't know and didn't want to want to know how they could try to justify his change with some girl, with some human infatuation.

Because he was a murdered, a monster, a killing machine, more terrifying than the monster inside of him if judged with his humanity in mind. And girls… girls weren't.

Girls were flowers and perfume and so, so breakable. If he crushed their arms and legs, and shred their bones to dust, they wouldn't live on to become one of the most feared personages in the Elemental Countries, legendary medic or not.

If he said the heartless things he felt, if he told them they would never be as thin as the bodies bleached to skeletons by the hot desert sun, if he told them how useless they really were, if he told them they would never be as beautiful as death to him, they would cry and turn away from him and hate him and not argue with him and prove him wrong about them and then him. And he wouldn't mind.

Because Matsuri and Sari, Gaara almost found himself thinking bitterly, were no different than the baby girls, the toddler girls, the little girls who would have spat on him if they weren't so afraid when he brought them back from the brink of no return - or at least their ball. But he wasn't bitter, not about that, so Gaara tried to change his way of thinking.

Because even Matusi and Sari, ninja though they were, were nothing compared to him. They wouldn't be able to casually risk their life like it was nothing to be thought of, like he did, to tell him that there was nothing wrong with him and mean it, like he did, to sit there and smile when he told them that yes, he felt nothing when they looked at him and then disregard him entirely and prove to him he was wrong, like he did.

Gaara wondered if it was wrong to want.

Forever meets a day.

Gaara's eyes were wider than he thought physically possible. Because he was here again, unbidden (but not unwanted, oh so desperately not unwanted).

"What are you doing here." Gaara said, covertly looking around for a quick escape, and he absolutely did not sound panicked, because panicked was not how human sacrifices and mass murderers sounded.

He merely smiled, holding out his healed arm. Gaara stared, stupidly, before realizing what the proffered hand was supposed to mean. "Yosh!" He cried, staring at Gaara with a determined face. And then he didn't move, just stared, black eyes free from hate or fear or pity, staring, staring, staring.

Until Gaara, feeling stupid and panicked and defensive, finally reached out and took the other boy's hand in his, trying not to squirm at the slow, heavy squeeze and then the slower, cloying parting. "What are you doing here." Gaara repeated, his voice scratchy from disuse. He resisted the urge to lick his dry, cracked lips, or to look away from him.

"Call me Lee." The older ninja toned his somewhat blinding grin down to a smile, and though Gaara should probably had feel relieved, he didn't. Because even though somewhat was an understatement, and it should have had been extremely blinding, Gaara was used to the moon and to the desert and to himself, a washed out, humanized reflection of Shukaku.

Lee was more than bright enough to burn as his own sun, despite how hard he tried to be someone else, and Gaara wanted it(him).

But Gaara wasn't sitting in the safety of his own room, wasn't even in the safety of his own village(hated there as he was), wasn't even in the safety of his own desert(which was any of them, all of them), and he couldn't be thinking such thoughts here, in some shady little spot in some unimportant place where (he)Lee was so very, very not far away.

"Lee." Gaara's voice might have cracked. He looked down at his hands, seeing the blood that should have been there and wasn't. When Lee moved closer, reaching out one scarred, tanned hand and taking Gaara's back in his, he swallowed, throat dry and rough and painful (just how he liked it).

Gaara looked up at him, at the tough, scarred fingers, the pure, innocent bandages, the much too tight jumpsuit, the skin shades darker than his own, the eyes - his eyes, black as night and full of things Gaara couldn't name, not because he didn't know what they were, but because he feared what they weren't.

And isn't that just pathetic, Gaara thought, cheeks flushing and his voice tinged with self-hatred. Because here he was, sitting next to a goddamn Konoha ninja, the goddamn Konoha ninja, the only one he might have actually given a damn about, thinking fucking poetry while Lee just stared

at him. With that amused look in his eye. And suddenly, despite being used to Suna and her sweltering summers, Gaara suddenly felt very hot.

"Call me Gaara." He said, eyes focused back down on his hands. Their hands. Their fingers, which Lee, an appraising look in his eye, slowly intertwined.

"Gaara." The sound of his name on Lee's lips was the nicest thing Gaara had ever heard, better than all the snapping bones and cut off screams in the world. Gaara stared down at their intertwined hands, at his pale ones which had never touched another person, and at Lee's scarred and broken one that had probably (and had) snapped and broken and killed.

Gaara wasn't a romantic sort of person, but he could see himself, and Lee, fighting together, not each other, rending and killing and destroying, like they had once before. He wondered if Lee would run away if he knew just what kinds of things Gaara had wanted him to do to him when Gaara had come upon him, bleeding and determined and outclassed but still fighting.

By the way Lee's fingers slid over his, the way Gaara felt himself dropping his sand armor (only on his hands, only on his wrists, only on any place Lee would deign to touch), the way Gaara felt clumsy and awkward and hormonal for what was probably the first time in his otherwise perfectly controlled life, he kind of hoped (and just thinking the word made him shudder, made him want to rip and tear and rend, go smash a couple of puppies in front of some first year Academy class, find the first person to look at him funny and made them stop permanently, to just go out there and make fear and hate and kill - but never Lee, oh hell no never Lee) that the answer would be good.

Gaara sat there and refused to look away from their hands, his hand and Lee's hand, and he felt like he was just twelve years old again and seeing Lee for the first time, the first person to beat his unbeatable defense and still look at him with those eyes afterward. Those eyes that said, yes, I do think you're what I've been looking for, even after he tried his best not to be.

Gaara shivered and looked at Lee out of the corner of his eye. Lee slid his eyes up and over to meet his (and oh hell oh god oh good where had he been looking, breathe, breathe, remember to breathe) and then smiled, tinted with just the right hint of smirk and snark that Gaara could accept it and not run away.

So Gaara took another shaky breath and stayed.

Forever meets a day (and then a night).

Gaara shut his eyes, trying to keep it all inside, to not spill his secrets and desires and moans for anyone to hear. A hot mouth settled on his ear, sucking and biting and breathing until Gaara had to hold in a shudder.

"Don't." Lee practically growled, and Gaara, like the good little slut he was (had to be, whatever Lee wanted, to keep him here with him and on him and not there without him) obligingly opened his mouth and moaned, a bead of salty sweat falling into his opened lips.

"I want to hear you." Lee breathed against his other ear, tongue lightly flicking out to brush against his skin. Gaara shuddered and whimpered at once, making a strange sound in the back of his throat that he was sure Lee would have laughed at if it was another time. But it wasn't - another time, that is - and instead Lee just spared him the faintest of chuckles, reaching a hand behind Gaara's head to bring their lips together in a bruising, blinding kiss.

Gaara groaned when Lee did that thing he liked with his bottom lip, he whimpered when he felt Lee push against him, grinding him against and grounding him on the plush mattress, thank hell, because he was just about sure he was going to float away. Gaara leaned into the kiss and sucked, right there on Lee's tongue that was in his mouth because Lee liked it when he did that and he liked Lee and was willing to do anything to make sure Lee liked him back even though a vast majority of the things that Lee (and Gaara, but he tried not to admit it) liked seemed somewhat strange and particularly unsanitary.

There was a bead of sweat that rested on Gaara's left cheek, and it itched, slightly, but he didn't want to wipe it off because he didn't know whose it was - his or Lee's, Lee's or his, his or Lee's, Lee's, Lee's, and it was sacrilege to wipe away anything of Lee's. Because sometimes, when Gaara did things right (or spectacularly wrong, or even slightly wrong or slightly right or spectacularly right or just anytime Gaara did anything and sometimes even when he didn't and just sat there and watched) Lee would make noises too.

Like right then, when Gaara trailed an inexperienced hand down Lee's chest and his nails caught on his nipple and Lee closed his eyes and opened his mouth and moaned, hot breath wafting against Gaara's neck as he fell onto him, his entire body quivering. Gaara realized he didn't mind when Lee (sweaty and hot and heavy and hard) was on top of him, pushing him down and trapping him against the sheets.

Because Lee was the best thing Gaara had ever wanted, and it was all the better that he was one of the few things Gaara had ever got (because he'd trade the world for him, would kill whoever necessary and then a few more, just to make his point stick, because Lee watched him and talked to him and fought him and liked him, touched him and stayed with him and wanted him, ate with him and slept with him and let him inside his body. Lee wanted Gaara, and more than anything Gaara wanted him to want) even when Lee did things like trail his hands, teasingly, warningly, possessively, down Gaara's spine and then down and then across his thighs and then back up again, until Gaara was willing to just break down and scream for him.

It was times like then, when Lee moved his face back the faintest of spaces and looked at him with those wide, seemingly disbelieving eyes that Gaara felt like this was an equal relationship (if something so trite and common was what something this amazing was called). Gaara liked to keep Lee on his toes, to keep him guessing what he really wanted, because he would hate for them to become any sort of predictable.

Gaara made sure to lick his lips (slowly) because even though he was pretty sure it just made him look mentally deficient, it also made Lee's breath catch and his eyes catch, and Gaara had always liked being the center of attention (when it came to Lee only Lee).

One of Lee's hands darted down, down, scarred fingertips brushing the Gaara's sensitive sweat cooled skin. Gaara watched with half lidded eyes as a smirk spread across Lee's face, wiping away his disbelief as Gaara moaned and groaned and writhed, pale skin white against the dark sheets.

"Gaara-sama," Lee mockingly worshiped against the flat of his chest, and Gaara tried to remember to remind himself to punish him for that later, but it was oh so hard to remember anything when Lee was touching him there (anywhere) and then oh hell his hand was on his - Lee Gaara wanted to scream and then does - and his mouth was on his nipple, nibbling and sucking ever so warm. Gaara thought he should want a shower, but that would mean cleaning Lee off of him, and wanting to be rid of Lee at this time, in particular (any time, no particulars) was pure blasphemy.

Gaara wondered, faintly, how anyone could think Lee ugly, think him homely, could not want to see him like this (although they better not or Gaara would make them not, eyes cold and hands clenched and sucking on Lee's neck, making them all scream). His hair, black as night, as tar, as death mussed and slightly curled with sweat, his eyes half-mast and predatory and so deep Gaara thought he might (and did) lose himself in them, his body tight and tanned and trim, all pliable muscles and ever so flexible.

As Lee looked up to gauge the effect of his latest touch, Gaara reached out with one slightly shaky hand to brush Lee's bangs out of his eyes, to brush against the curve of his cheek, the bridge of his nose, the contours of his lips.

And Lee's smirk softened (and the wariness, the doubt lessening, each and every time), became the smile that Gaara loved (and hated) so much, so full of promises Gaara still didn't really expect him to keep.

Lee leaned forward once more, a softer, more gentler kiss, and Gaara thought of death and skulls and blood and Lee, Lee, Lee, Lee.

He will prove them wrong.

"Temari," Gaara said, "Kankuro." The three sand siblings stood in the foyer of their rather large house. "This is my," Gaara hesitated, "friend, Lee."

It wasn't supposed to be such a momentous occasion, but it was. In all the years Temari and Kankuro had known Gaara (had feared Gaara), even after his miraculous recovery after the failed invasion of Konoha, Gaara had never brought back an acquaintance, or anything of the sort.

Until then, when their little brother stood, pale eyes glaring as he dared them to question his choice. The sand on the floor (for they lived in the desert, and sand was always everywhere) whispered with his unease.

For a long time, Temari had sort of thought Gaara would be bringing back Naruto one day, or some pretty girl (or pretty boy, because Temari knew better than to judge or restrict the demon of the sand), but Rock Lee… That was unexpected, although it probably shouldn't have been.

Because Lee, Temari thought, trying to look at him with the kindest eyes she could muster (which were pretty kind, actually, since anyone who was able to convince her littlest brother to even think, let alone say the word friend was not someone she wanted to drive away), wasn't pretty. He wasn't dark red hair falling artfully over pale skin untouched by the world like her little brother. He wasn't even sunshine and good times like that Konoha brat Naruto. Instead, he was, he was - Temari hesitated to even think it, less Gaara had recently learned to read minds (she wouldn't put anything past him), because her little brother's glare was getting harsher each time Lee fidgeted and she didn't want to know what he'd do if they were stupid enough to reject him - he was ugly, all loud voices and tacky clichés, big black eyebrows and wide fish eyes, scarred over skin and unfashionable clothes.

But Gaara was her little brother (and mass murder, don't forget that part, never forget that part) and she was his older sister, so she forced herself to smile and walk forward (trying not to tense when the sand shifted towards her, like it was worried she would attack Lee) and embrace her little brother's new and only friend. Gaara quieted his sand, shifting his searing gaze to Kankuro.

Do something, Temari wanted to scream at her first little brother, do something or he'll kill you, and either Kankuro heard her or had decided to be smart for once in his life. After Temari stepped back, eyes softening at Lee's hearty thumbs up, Kankuro stepped forward to slap him on his back. Temari winced, looking at the rising sand and holding her breath for a few seconds until Lee slapped him back and laughed. They both tried to pretend they didn't notice how much Lee didn't hold back.

Because even though their brother seemed happy, ever-present glare softening into something like a smile when he looked away from them and at Lee, Lee's eyes remained hard on the older sand siblings. I know what you did to him, his eyes seemed to say, I know what you think of him.

And Lee didn't have a mass of sand to control, he didn't even have chakra, but Temari and Kankuro felt uneasy all the same as Lee slipped an arm around Gaara's shoulder and the look in Gaara's eyes softened even further.

As their little brother and his first and only (and last, although they didn't know that yet) friend walked out of the room, Lee looked back at them with one hard, judging look, and instead of seeing the goofy boy who had idolized his equally goofy sensei, they saw the first ninja to break through the unbreakable sand, to have been picked out by Gaara to die and still live, to see the monster he was and still stay with him anyway.

And then Lee grinned at them, ridiculous and silly and full of energy, and they relaxed.

But his unforgiving stare remained in their minds.

Over and over again.

Gaara sat at the dining room table, a bowl of curry (Lee's favorite) in front of him. When Kankuro and Temari stroll in, the latter ranting about something Shikamaru had done (Gaara reminded himself to pay him a visit later), the two stopped short.

"Gaara?" Kankuro said, incredulous, than shied back a bit like he still expected Gaara to threaten him with his sand and with his death. Even while the people of Suna raved about how much Gaara had changed, how much better he was, they still flinched every instance he would have retaliated at in the past. Gaara never felt like correcting them, but Lee did, so he supposed he could spare them some attention. When Gaara sent him a glare, his older brother raised his hands to the air and his eyes back to the exit. "You never eat curry."

Temari, finally silent, looked over at him, worrying her forehead. "And your face is all flushed - Gaara, you didn't make it too spicy, did you?" She sighed, shaking her head (and her hands, although those didn't shake on purpose). Just as she was about to rush over, check his temperature, and taste test his food for him, the tablecloth rustled.

And Gaara had the pleasure of seeing his two siblings freeze, their faces paling, without even having to bring out the death threats.

"Gaara-sama!" Lee respectfully cried as stood up, but his word choice and eyes were mocking. Kankuro's face, which had looked pale despite the makeup, abruptly flushed. Lee's lips were red and swollen, his pupils dilated, and the look Gaara sent him (eyes half shut and cheeks a light pink and mouth slightly open) could only be interpreted one way.

"You should have told me if the curry was too hot, Gaara-sama!" Kankuro decided that that was enough. He abruptly turned around and walked away.

Temari stayed a moment later, cool eyes observing the situation. "Really, my friend!" Gaara's cheeks flushed further at that word, something that had nothing to do with the physical and more to deal with-

Temari sent them both a smile and walked out.

version of e.e cummings "i carry your heart with me"

"you carry my heart with you"

you carry my heart with you (you carry it in

your heart)you are never without it (anywhere

you go I go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only you is my doing, my darling)

you fear

no fate (for I am your fate, my sweet)you want

no world (for beautiful I am your world, my true)

and it's me who is whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

you carry my heart(you carry it in your heart)


So. This was my hundred word drabble for Gaalee, which originally was just supposed to be the italics. Then I decided to fill it in, make it less confusing, and voila! "you are my heart" was born. But then I got into Gaara's background too much, so… eh. I wanted to base it off of a poem, I figured e.e. cummings was eccentric enough for those two. But then, about halfway through, I realized that it fitted Lee's perspective more, so I flipped most of the you's and i's in the poem, and got this. I'm thinking about writing one from Lee's perspective (one that would paint him as much less secure, since Gaara has a sort of biased view point on him). For any of you bored enough to make it all the way down here, tell me if you think it's worth a shot.