Author: Canadian Chica PM
Shinobi have one unspoken rule; Never ask about the parents. Team Gai has all had sad childhoods, some worse then othersRated: Fiction K+ - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - Lee R. & Tenten - Words: 2,344 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 7 - Published: 09-19-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4546696
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Canadian Chica: This is my second attempt at Team Gai. Be brutal, and thanks for reviewing my other oneshot to those that did.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
There was an unspoken rule amongst all young shinobi; Never ask about someone's family. There was a good chance if you didn't know about your friend's parent, they were probably already on the memory stone. If an uncle, an aunt, a friend, or anyone that was not given the term 'mother' or 'father' was the one that picked them up, then the child's parents had been lost to a mission already. If it was important to know, then the older ninja would tell whoever was curious, or it was common knowledge. Every teacher and every student knew this at the Konoha ninja academy, and it was followed strictly.
Following this rule, it took team Gai several years to learn of each of their teammates past. Neji's past had been the first revealed, Tenten learned about it first, followed shortly by Gai and Lee when she told them why he was so upset. In their third year of being a team, Gai had gotten drunk one night and blabbed that he had lost his entire genin team only a year and a half of making rank. Lee had never tried to hide his past, but he never told them the whole truth, until that is, when they literally stumbled onto it.
Lee had been born to a small village near the northern boarder of the Fire Country. When Lee was eight years old, his father had taken ill and his two elder brothers were forced into the mines near by to pay for their family's upkeep. Lee had been too small and weak at the time to work, so his parents sent him to Konoha to live with an obscure cousin who ran a grocer there. They didn't want him, and the cousin didn't either.
Lee would be a scrawny delivery boy for a year before he earned acceptance into the academy. He had applied against his relative's wishes, and left for his first day without so much as a farewell from the man. However, Lee would graduate (albeit worst in his class) and did so while still running errands for his cousin until he was exhausted to his core.
Lee was never unkind or ungrateful to his family. His meager earnings as a genin and the slightly more substantial ones as a chunin went to either this room and board (his cousin was shocked at the first payment, he had thought Lee would be free loading off him for a few more years), or to his family back in a far away mining village (they no longer thought him useless). He respected them and true to his personality, never wished them ill.
So many year later, when Rock Lee is a highly (in most cases) respected chunin on the verge of taking his jounin exam, he pauses at a fork in the road when he as his team are returning from a boarder patrol mission where Otogakure lies silently.
"Lee, are you alright?" Tenten turned back first to see Lee staring at a distant mountain, not the direction they should head in to reach Konohagakure. Neji pauses when she does, but does not ask questions. Lee continued to stare out in the distance, his silence such as change from his normal behavior, it prompted another question on his welfare by his female teammate and a look of concern from his 'esteemed rival'.
"My family resides at the base of that mountain" Lee finally spoke up, his voice an eerie quiet calm. "I remember standing here when I was being taken to Konoha for the first time, wondering if I'd ever see that mountain again".
Tenten and Neji had tripped over something that Lee had never told them. Neji had suspected something along the lines of that Lee was abandoned (why else would he wish to bond with someone like Gai?), and Tenten knew that Lee lived with a cousin, but never would have thought that the 'second beautiful green beast of Konoha' didn't have a happy childhood.
Tenten scanned Lee's face and quickly made a decision. She then turned her imploring eyes on Neji, who, for some unknown reason, seemed to have a weakness when it came to her begging. He too then quickly made a decision. He was the official leader on this mission, it was his call what they did.
Neji turned onto the path that he had originally bypassed, the one that led to a mountain. So in sync were they as a team, Lee knew Neji was offering Lee a chance to see his birth family again, and both followed their jounin teammate. Lee would have liked to cry and thrown his arms around his friend, but too long had he known that would have him in extreme pain.
It was late afternoon when a whisper started through the village's inhabitants that 'nin' were seen a few miles away. It was unknown if they were enemy-nin, rouge-nin, or anything other kind of 'nin' that they had a tendency to call themselves, but no 'nin' was a good 'nin' in their village. Men hurried back from the mines, and women hurried back from the fields to defend themselves and their homes if needed, which was always the case with 'nin'. In the evening, the whispers were more tangible.
That was when the 'nin' appeared on their outskirts. They didn't appear threatening (well the male with long hair did), but you never know with 'nin'. Then the less frightening green one (didn't he look slightly familiar?) came forward with a smile and bowed to the elderly headman of the village.
"Hello Kazou-san" the aforementioned leader puzzled over who this 'nin' was that knew him. Leaning more heavily on his walking stick, Kazou peered forward, trying to place a familiar face, with uniquely strange eyebrows.
"Forgive me, shinobi-san, but who are you and what do you want?" he was old enough to remember that not all 'nin' were out for destruction, but still held cautious.
The green one looked puzzled, so the female (don't assume they're weaker because she's female a voice whispered) then spoke, "We're looking for a place to spend the night before continuing back to our village. My teammate here said he knew of this village here, and recommended that we stop for the night". She spoke eloquently, and calmly. Nothing to worry about people, just give us what we ask.
"How does he know of our home? We know of no 'nin' that came here peacefully, and it is too small to be on any map that you might carry" the men were reaching for their work tools. They would die to protect their homes, but they would try. However it was the female's turn to don a confused expression.
"You don't recognize him?" the fearsome one who didn't show any expression now spoke. He carried himself in a way that made the elderly man fear for the brave young men in his village.
"Should I?" Kazou cautiously stared a little harder at the green one. He could honestly say that outfit did not strike a cord of remembrance within him, nor did that hair style (if it could really be called a style) seem familiar either. The green one's eyes with their bushy eyebrows did look like the common eyes of his village, and maybe his face was similar to some of the younger miners, but other then that he was unknown to Kazou.
"Kazou-san, I'm the youngest son of Azumi and Tsuneo" Lee's eyes were imploring. He obviously didn't think that he was unrecognizable to his old village mates.
Kazou squinted and leaned in very close. Lee had no problem with his invasion of personal space (Lee did it often enough Neji thought listlessly), and only smiled charmingly into the face of the old man.
"Lee-kun? Is that really you?"
"I cannot believe that you have returned my son" Lee's mother was a beautiful slight woman. Her skin was pale, and her hair dark. It was easy to see she was pleased that he was there for a visit, as she bustled around their tiny cooking area, preparing what she could for an additional three people.
"Me either" Lee's father was a large bulky man, with the same bushy eyebrows as his youngest. It seemed that they were genetic in that family, as all three of his sons had them. However, Lee inherited his mother's paler skin and slight frame.
Lee's brothers, Ichiro and Keiji, favoured their father with their stocky frames and darker skin. They also seemed to be happier about seeing Tenten then their brother, and were each trying to earn the closest spot to sit near her (Lee and Neji weren't budging from their positions at her side).
"So much has changed! I can hardly believe I am back myself!" Lee's smile was as wide as it's ever been, and he gave his family his own patented 'good guy pose'.
Lee spent the rest of the night asking a multitude of questions revolving around anything or anyone he could remember. Neji spent the night being silent and grunting his responses. Tenten did her best to avoid Lee's brother's and help Azumi with cleaning up from dinner but when she saw no other way, she hastily made her exit to visit the blacksmith she saw earlier.
"Such a polite young girl" Azumi purred after Tenten's retreating form. "I surprised her mother would allow her to enter such a dangerous profession".
"Kaa-san, Tenten is the fire country's best weapon's user, a relative weapon's master!" Lee was quick to defend his precious blossom. "I'm sure her mother is very proud of her".
"What do you mean 'weapons master'? A frail thing like that couldn't hope to wield some of the blades I know you 'nin' like to use" Ichiro stared at the doorway the aforementioned girl left from.
"Yeah, far too dangerous for a female. You guys should keep her in your precious 'hidden-village' so that she doesn't hurt herself" Keiji agreed.
Neji felt a smirk blooming on the corner of his mouth. He remembered once upon a time when he witnessed a young Tenten pin a classmate to the wall for that very same though. However something said earlier was unsettling to him. He was not curious in any sense of the word, but something began to nag at the corner of his mind.
Who was Tenten's mother?
Looking back, Neji realized that Tenten had never spoken of her parents. Neji and Lee knew that she lived with a strong genin and his wife, and that she'd lived there sense at least their academy days. They also knew that this wasn't uncommon for children of ninja that fell in battle. However most of these children eventually called their foster family's the terms of endearments that were reserved for those that sired them. Tenten referred to them as Ryugga and Ayumi.
The unspoken rule of young shinobi suddenly reared its ugly head. Neji couldn't ask.
The next morning the three teammates left the village before a single soul had awoken for their work day. Their food and water had been replenished, and spending the night on a real futon was enough to recharge their batteries. Lee had an extra spring in his step, Neji's long strides were a tad more graceful then what they had been the previous days, and Tenten was calmly twirling a freshly sharpened kunai around her finger.
"YOSH! Thank you my illustrious teammates! My cup of youth is overflowing! When we return to the village I shall run fifteen hundred times around Konoha after six thousand push-ups…" Lee's exclamations continued on for quite some time, until he was silenced by a sharp byakugan glare. They continued in their companionable quiet until they saw the edge of the forest protecting their home.
"Yosh! We have returned home triumphant! Tenten, now that we have met my own and Neji's parents, when will you introduce us to yours?" Lee's inquiry stopped them dead in their tracks. Neji had shown them his father's grave a few years ago, so that they all could pay their respects to a great father, but this was perhaps crossing the unseen line. Asking to see someone's personal past.
Tenten's eyes grew haunted, and Neji's curiosity died unceremoniously. True to form though, Tenten put on a sickly sweet smile to face them.
"I don't know where their graves are Lee. I was in shock after they died, so the next thing I remember was waking up in Konoha hospital" she then turned back to path. "We'd best hurry. Tsunadea-sama probably will want our report". She then set off alone down the road.
Never ask about the parents. The only unspoken rule that shinobi had. Now Neji and Lee knew why. Tenten hadn't been born into the world of ninja like Neji, nor had she entered it on her own free will like Lee had. It had been thrust upon some poor helpless girl, and years later it still hurt her.
Neji just followed his female teammate, with his green one falling in behind him. They wouldn't ask again, and they won't expect an answer any time soon.
All of Team Gai had a sad childhood it seemed. Some more depressing then others.
Canadian Chica: Well that's it! I don't really like the ending, but It's all I had. R and R