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Fan Fic / Diplomatic Relations

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Being in love with Gaara was bound to make his life more interesting. And possibly rather short as well.

Diplomatic Relations is a Lee/Gaara Naruto fic written by maldoror-gw, who is also the author of The Arrangement.

Lee is promoted to being Leaf's ambassador in Suna. The people of Suna are baffled by him, but Lee's good-guy stubbornness means he also slowly becomes Gaara's friend. Gaara, for his part, is intrigued and confused by Lee's lack of fear for him. Eventually they become lovers, but the relationship brings its own set of challenges. And there's the series' Big Bad to deal with...


The story is told from Lee's POV, so there is heaps of comedy and idealism, along with insights into Lee's psyche. The plot diverges from Akatsuki's attack on Suna in canon. The story depicts Lee going about daily life in the desert village of Suna, beginning as a series of one-shots detailing Lee and Gaara's growing acquaintance, and is now novel-length at 23 chapters. Some scenes are NSFW.

The fic is definitely worth a read for the excellent quality of its writing and world-building, even for readers who wouldn't usually read M/M pairings.

There is a sequel, Kindred, this time told from Gaara's POV. Side fics set in the same universe include the comic one-shots Chicken Soup for the Demonic Soul and Big Heart, Drunken Fist, and the longer horror/mystery fic Missing.


Diplomatic Relations provides examples of:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Gaara is eighteen, but is feared and respected as a Reasonable Authority Figure by older Suna veterans.
  • Action Girl: Temari is a battle-axe, village leader and a scary older sister combined into one.
  • Almost Kiss: While in the desert and bereft of supplies, Gaara preserves spilled water by licking it off Lee's chin and mouth. Lee is already feverish but this really sends him into confusion.
  • Badass Family: Gaara, Temari, and Kankuro, who collectively run the village, organise the war effort and deal with Lee's stubbornness.
  • Bathtub Scene: Gaara creates a pothole in the desert filled with water for bathing in after he and Lee destroy a hive of giant sand bugs. Gaara sees it as a practical way of getting clean but Lee is distracted by (Gaara's) semi-nudity.
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  • Battle Couple: Lee and Gaara become one, as a result of having trained together for months.
  • Berserk Button: For a few chapters, Gaara has one for Lee mentioning the word 'love'.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Kankuro is this for Lee, and eventually Gaara as well. Temari is also this for Gaara and Lee.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Suna desert has these. They function like locusts and operate via Hive Mind.
  • Big Eater: Lee is shown to eat way more than the ordinary person, even for a ninja, justified in that his attack style is completely Taijutsu-based and he spends a lot of the fic pushing himself to physical extremes.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Lee is relieved that he still has these after Gaara puts the Sand Armour on him and leaves him shaved all over, because they make him resemble his manly teacher, Gai.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Lee is The Ditz who wears orange legwarmers in the desert and gives regular speeches about the Power of Youth, but is also a lightning-fast Taijutsu expert and the only person in the village capable of training with Gaara.
    It was strange how people always underestimated Lee when they first saw him. It happened all the time. Really, couldn't they recognize a fearsome warrior when they saw one? Maybe it was because he was wearing the poncho...
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Lee gets up to speed with Gaara's in a conversation with Naruto. He realises that it's the villages' rejection of the demon hosts which has made them what they are, not the demons themselves, making Gaara and Naruto Not So Different.
  • Darker and Edgier: Gaara's semi-human personality is explored in greater depth than in the original series.
    • Lighter and Softer: Having Lee has a narrator guarantees idealism everywhere, and the war on the Big Bad is a lot simpler than the one in the original series.
  • Day in the Limelight: The fic is this for both Lee and Gaara, whose lives are explored in detail, as well as Sunagakure as the Hidden Village setting of the story.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gaara will sometimes become this to Lee, often as a Not So Stoic sign of affection. Also because, naturally, Lee is an irresistible target. Kankuro has this in spades as well.
  • Demoted to Extra: Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura are back in Konoha and occasionally mentioned by Lee. Tsunade is seen and referred to more often as she is Lee's direct superior and Gaara's counterpart in Konoha. Lee also often thinks of Gai, and recalls Kakashi in a flashback.
  • Determinator: Lee refuses to give up trying to be Gaara's friend despite warnings from pretty much everybody.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Lee realises that he always seems to notice what Gaara's wearing...
  • Dynamic Entry: True to character, the first chapter is Lee's big Dynamic Entry into Suna. The Suna guard's response:
    "...Are they (Konoha) trying to start a war?"
  • Emotionless Girl: Gaara is a male version of this, even moreso because he fails to understand emotions themselves.
  • Elemental Baggage: Gaara's gourd of sand accompanies him everywhere and Lee sometimes thinks it has its own moods. It is a defining moment when Gaara leaves the gourd outside the room when coming to visit Lee.
  • Fight Scene: Lee and Gaara have plenty of fight scenes, both against each other while training and against the various antagonists in the story. Wordof God states that she prefers action scenes to emotional ones, making this an example of Author Appeal.
  • First Kiss: Gaara and Lee have theirs in the midst of a huge Gaara-created sandstorm, also making it a Big Damn Kiss.
  • Friendship Moment: The fic could be described as a series of these between Lee and Gaara, leading to them being in a relationship.
  • Gayngst: For a while Lee struggles with accepting that he's gay, and the embarrassing realisation that Gai and Kakashi have known for years. Later, Lee isn't sure whether Gaara is attracted to men even after they decide to start a relationship.
  • Heroic RRoD: Lee has this after opening seven Chakra Gates in battle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lee tries to do this for Gaara, who is not happy about it.
  • Hidden Depths: For Lee in comparison to his original characterisation.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Wordof God says Lee and Gaara would have remained this forever if adverse events hadn't forced Lee to own up to himself about the extent of his feelings for Gaara.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Lee, for one, wears orange leg-warmers and a green spandex suit. On a walk in a non-ninja town, Gaara gets mistake for a hooker due to all the buckles, mesh, leather on his outfit.
  • Hot-Blooded: Lee is a classic example in his overzealous approach to training, battles, paperwork, and his friendship with Gaara.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Kankuro and Temari's reaction when they discover Gaara and Lee making out.
  • The Idealist: The fic, being from Lee's POV, is resolutely idealist as Lee refuses to get mired in any angst despite the events around him and Gaara.
  • Innocent Fanservice Boy: Gaara, who strips to have a wash in the desert and fails to notice Lee's sudden panic.
  • Lemon: Wordof God describes these scenes in the story as weird and unconventional, which makes sense given who the main characters are...
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Lee's response after Gaara is attacked and his sand manipulation powers are rendered useless by a seal.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Lee is pretty much stronger, faster and tougher than most by this point in the timeline. His weakness is of course his inability to mould chakra.
  • Love Epiphany: Lee gets one when when he decides give his life up to protect Gaara. Gaara, by contrast, realises he has a strong bond with Lee and needs him around but isn't sure whether he's capable of experiencing love.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: A more literal example than most in Gaara's case:
    "You'll be on missions, in danger, and I won't be there to help. It's driving me insane." Lee didn't think Gaara was speaking metaphorically here; Gaara usually said what he meant, nothing less and nothing more.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: As Gaara theorises.
    "So love is a very stupid emotion," Gaara said in a flat voice.
  • Not Even Human: Gaara considers himself this. He sometimes refers to Lee and the larger human races as "humans", implying that he's not. Lee, of course, makes it his mission to prove otherwise.
  • Odd Couple: Lee and Gaara. Lampshaded by several characters who are taken aback upon learning of their relationship.
  • Oh, Crap!: Rogue ninjas corner Lee and Gaara in an alleyway, then run as soon as they realise they're dealing with that Gaara of the Sand.
  • Opposites Attract: The main pairing essentially comes about because Lee and Gaara are different from each other in almost every conceivable way.
  • Original Character: The story gives us minor characters in Suna to flesh out the village's functions.
  • The Power of Love: Lee believes in this as a result of a speech he remembers Gai giving many years ago. Later subverted as he realises a relationship with Gaara will be fraught with difficulty.
    • More painfully, Gaara goes through the same thing; his uncle told him that love would make him stop hurting, and he doesn't take it well when he finds out that's not true.
  • Recurring Dreams: Lee starts getting these about Gaara following the Bathtub Scene, leading to a sleepless chapter of Gayngst.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lee and Gaara. Lee is the red oni, while Gaara is the blue. Also, Gaara as the blue to Kankuro's red.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Gaara and Lee get one after months of being close friends.
  • Sand Is Water: Gaara's sand attacks mimic sandstorms.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Tsunade gives Lee a long speech about maintaining decorum while in the presence of the Kazekage; Lee breaks them almost immediately, then decides to keep at it in order to become Gaara's first real friend.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Gaara gets attacked for the Shukaku.
  • Sex Changes Everything: This is what Lee fears will occur as he has grown up all his life to idealise sex as a life-changing event: Gaara does not see things the same way and sex just turns out to be a nice added bonus to their relationship.
  • Slice of Life: The early chapters feature Lee and Gaara getting on with their shinobi duties in Suna and having short conversations, as a means of Lee (and the reader) getting to know Gaara.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Lee begins on the idealism side and slowly becomes more realistic, though still hugely idealistic compared to Gaara, as a result of their relationship. Similarly, Gaara learns to be a tiny bit less cynical.
  • So Proud of You: Gai says this after Lee opens seven Gates and kills a number of high-level shinobi to defend Gaara.
  • The Stoic: Gaara, as in the original series, taking on additional nuance as Lee finds out about his Dark and Troubled Past.
    • Not So Stoic: Gaara reacts badly to Lee's accidental confession of love and blows potholes in the desert. And his eventual friendship and relationship with Lee, of course.
  • Straight Gay: Lee and Gaara are characterised exactly as they are in the original series, Hot-Blooded and Stoic respectively, just also gay.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Gaara functions normally most of the time but it is shown that his former psychotic personality, dubbed 'Old Gaara' by Lee, is never far from the surface.
  • The Talk: Temari insists that Kankuro give Gaara this; by the time Gaara is done explaining how much he doesn't need it, Kankuro is in desperate need of Brain Bleach.
  • Teen Genius: Lee is occasionally envious of Gaara and Neji for being this.
  • Ten Ways to Rewrite a Show: Number three with a sprinkling of number ten.
  • Thirsty Desert: Lee and Gaara when stuck in the desert after an attack takes away their supplies.
  • Transparent Closet: Gai and Kakashi figured Lee was gay all along, but allowed him to come to the realisation in his own time.
  • The Un-Favourite: Lee was this to the relatives who raised him after the death of his parents, due to his weird looks and inability to mould chakra.
  • Walk on Water: Lee can't do this due to his lack of chakra control. When he and Gaara need to cross a river at one point, he resorts to getting a boat and later sticking close to Gaara, when Gaara decides to walk.
  • When She Smiles: When Gaara smiles at one point, Lee is surprised and pleased due to Gaara naturally being The Stoic. Gaara wasn't even aware he'd smiled and questions Lee about it. Lee also thinks he imagines Gaara giving an amused smile at Lee's antics in the first chapter.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Naturally, Lee to Gaara.

Kindred provides examples of:


Example of: