Author Notes: Mmm…not much to say…in most Rock Lee stories I read his family has died or something, so I decided to switch it up. If by any chance his family actually did die in the manga/anime, please let me know!!!
With that said, Tally-Ho!!
When Did Your Heart Go Missing?
Lee couldn't help but sulk. It was as if the anti-god of Green Spandex and Orange Leg Warmers was frowning on him now that he had to face guy after literally misplacing his own niece.
I hope she's alright, Lee thought. Images of Marama standing in the street confused and alone sprang into the young shinobi's mind. For some reasons it was also snowing in these images, and she was wearing only rags, begging for money. Perhaps I should look for her…
Meanwhile Marama was in paradise. Her friend Naomi told her the Hidden Leaf Village was home of some of the best-looking ninja ever, but this guy just took the trophy. Ok, so, maybe his face was half covered but there was something intensely sexy about his mysterious style. And that thick white hair, broad shoulders, defined muscles…oh yes, she'd definitely, make sexy time with this ninja!
"Do you need help getting up?" Mr. Right asked her.
I think you swept me off my feet already, sir.
"Yeah," Marama said, taking his hand.
He pulled her up a little too firmly, causing the young Maito to press against his chest. The white haired ninja chuckled. "Touchy, aren't you?"
Marama blushed. "Not really…" Get a grip! Do you wanna look like an idiot? She straightened up. "My name is Marama Maito, by the way."
Damn. She hadn't meant to give away she was related to Gai. Hopefully, he wouldn't know who her crazy uncle was…
"Oh! You're related to Gai?"
Double damn!! "Er, he's my uncle. We're nothing alike," she added hastily.
Again, the ninja chuckled. "I can certainly she that. Are you meeting him somewhere by any chance?"
"Well actually," Marama explained, blushing furiously. "One of his students was showing me around…and we got separated. Now I'm lost."
No need to get into the details, she thought, still feeling foolish for running from Lee. It doesn't matter.
"As it happens I know where Gai lives," The ninja said. "I could take you there if you like. Jump on my back."
Marama blinked. "Excuse…me?"
"Jump on my back," he repeated. Marama stared at him. Was he being…serious?
The answer came when the white haired Ninja kneeled down for her to climb on. Today must be my lucky day! Marama rejoiced, as he stood up with her arms wrapped around his neck.
"Ready?" he asked. "Let's go!"
Together they jumped from roof to roof.
They were standing in front of Gai's door, bidding each other farewell.
"It was nice meeting you, Kakashi," Marama said.
"You too," Kakashi replied, giving her another once over. She had the same dark hair as Gai, but she did not have the Maito tallness…or eyebrows, thank goodness. Yet her personality was the same Yosh! as Gai's, even if she didn't realize it.
Her eyes, however, were a mystery.
Kakashi had come across Gai's sister and their parents—none of them had the dark, serene blue Marama possessed. It was almost a little unnerving.
Could it be coincidence…her parents named her after…that spirit? Kakashi thought, as he bound from roof to roof.
One could only wonder.
In Gai's apartment Marama was musing over something completely different—what to do with the spandex suit Lee had left at the lake. Her first idea was to burn it, but fire and spandex didn't mix well together. She could throw it away but…that just didn't feel right.
You know what you have to do, an annoying little voice whispered. Marama sighed. There was no point in arguing with the Annoying Little Voice.
Grudgingly, she took the stupid suit, found Rock Lee's listing, and headed out the door.
Lee's house was not far from Gai's apartment. However, it took Marama over forty minutes to find the place given that she was new, and also crap at taking directions.
"I shouldn't have to go through this kind of torture," she muttered, knocking on Lee's door. From the other side she heard the pounding of someone running down the steps, followed by a bang.
The door swung open and Marama was face to face with a small, female Lee.
"Hi," she giggled, hiding behind the door. "Who are you?"
This must be Lee's little sister, Marama observed. She had thick, curly hair and a beautiful smile. No bushy eyebrows. If the elder girl didn't hate kids, this squirt might borderline cute.
"Hey," Marama said. "I'm here to see Lee, is he home?"
"He will be if you wait ten minutes," the little girl replied. "Come on in!"
She pushed the door all the way open for Marama, who stepped inside hesitantly. Was it in this town's nature to be so hospitable? It was nothing the young girl was use to at all.
"Mommy, a pretty girl is here to see Lee! Come look!"
Marama blushed furiously. Maybe I shouldn't have come in at all…But it was too late. A woman stepped into the foyer, and smiled at Marama. She was identical to the little girl except her hair was pulled back, and she seemed more graceful. How did a boy like Lee come from such a beautiful woman? Marama wondered.
"Hello," Lee's mom greeted sweetly. "I'm Rock Mirdori."
"Nice to meet you. My name is Marama Maito. I hope I'm not intruding," Marama said, bowing slightly.
Mirdori smiled gently at her. "Not at all. Come inside, I was just cooking dinner."
The woman walked back towards the kitchen, her daughter in tow. "Isn't she pretty?" Marama heard the little girl whisper.
"Don't talk about others, sweetie," the mother scolded. "But yes she is quite lovely." She turned to Marama. "Would you like to take a seat? Lee should be home shortly."
"Uh, ok." What else could she do?
"So, you're related to Gai?" Midori inquired, making polite conversation as Marama sat down.
Inwardly, the young girl groaned. "Yeah, but…we're not alike at all. Not one single bit."
Midori laughed lightly, pouring the ramen noodles into a bowl and lacing them with soy sauce. I don't remember my mom cooking meals like that, Marama thought bitterly. It smells so good…
"He's actually a nice man really," Lee's mom was saying. "He has a few…quirks…but overall, very polite and kind."
"Well, that doesn't seem to run in the family," Marama replied bitterly, watching the noodles.
"Oh? And why is that?"
Marama's face to red. She said something she knew she shouldn't have. "What I meant to say was…" Marama began, but suddenly Lee's little sister ran into the kitchen.
"Lee's home!" She announced loudly.
"Just in time!" Midori beamed. "Marama, I would love for you to stay and join us for dinner. Are you hungry?"
"Oh yeah!" Marama replied enthusiastically. She had forgotten her hunger while talking to Kakashi, and now it was back with a vengeance. "Are you sure you don't mind me staying?"
"Not at all," Lee's mom replied.
From the foyer Lee was hugging his sister. "How was your day, Masami?" He asked.
"Good!" She replied. "But yours is even better! A pretty girl is here to see you!"
"A pretty girl?" Lee repeated, wondering who on earth could be visiting him. Masami would definitely recognize Tenten and Sakura—who was it? It couldn't be…
It was. Lee met Marama's gaze as soon as he entered the kitchen.
She waved embarrassedly. "Yo."
Lee couldn't believe after all the trouble Gai's niece had caused him she would have the audacity to come into his own house. There might be a good explanation, he thought to himself. Still, after having to 500 crunches after training, Lee deserved an answer to that 'explanation' if there was a legitimate one to begin with.
Midori could sense the tension between the two, and whether it was love or a misunderstanding, she decided to leave them to work it out.
"Come on Masami," she said, picking up her daughter. "I need to water the plants before dinner…"
The two left, leaving Lee and Marama alone.
Before the girl could open her mouth Lee asked sternly, "Where on earth did you go, Marama? Why did you just leave like that?"
Marama looked down. For a boy who couldn't talk to his crush, Lee could certainly be firm. He really had learned a lot from her uncle.
"Lee," Marama began, trying to search his face for mercy. "There was…no excuse for what I did. I know it must have caused you a lot of trouble and my uncle a lot anxiety…but, really, I don't feel comfortable telling you why I left like that. I'm sorry."
You'd never believe me anyway.
At the end of her apology Lee relaxed. "It is alright, Marama," he said. "I accept your apology. And I am glad you are ok."
Marama's head jerked up. Wait…does he actually care? Or is he just saying that?
She never had the chance to ask, however, before her stomach growled extremely loud. This could only happen to me, Marama thought.
Lee himself was quite aghast. "Er, I guess you should stay for dinner…"
"Yeah," Marama sighed.
After dinner Lee helped his mom clean the kitchen, not something most boys did. But Lee had always had a kind heart. Even when he was struggling with school, he always was a bit of a softie. If only girls could see that rather than his green suit, Mrs. Rock thought. Then again a change of style wouldn't hurt…
"She seemed nice," Midori commented, handing a plate for her son to dry.
Lee blushed. He hadn't told his mother the circumstances in which he and Marama had met. Hopefully, it was something he would take to his grave.
"She is very kind," Lee agreed.
For the most part Marama had been very sweet during dinner. The only time she was reluctant to speak was when Masami made the mistake of asking about her parents.
"My dad and my older sister are on a mission together," Lee's sister bragged. "What about your siblings? Do you have any?"
"No," Marama said.
"What about your parents are they shinobi?"
Lee saw Marama's fork stop midway to her plate. Her serene eyes suddenly became distant, and filled with sadness.
"…My father is," she replied quietly. Lee caught his mother's eye.
"Masami," Midori scolded, "don't pry so much."
"I was only asking," the little girl said defensively.
"It's ok," Marama said, all smiles again. "It's no big deal."
It was the exact tone she had when she told me her reason for moving here, Lee remembered as he put the dishes away. Is that what she does when she's lying?
Gai too had nothing much to say about it when Lee asked him about Marama's sojourn. "All teenagers need a little time to themselves."
Lee sat on his couch. He wondered what was really going on in Marama's head.
Marama walked home, belly full.
"I haven't had a home cooked meal like that since…forever…"
A cold, sharp chill crawling up her spine hindered her cheerful thoughts. Marama glanced behind her shoulder—but all there was to see in the dark was an empty billboard. Still, the feeling kept on her. The sound of buzzing in her ear, bugs crawling all over her body…
Not again, Marama cried inside, jogging down the deserted street. Why does this keep happening? …Wait a second, I forgot to give Lee his suit! Man!
Marama slapped her forehead, coming to a stop in front of Gai's door. "I guess it'll just half to wait until tomorrow,"she thought, walking inside.
Across the street, on the rooftop behind the billboard, Shino stepped into the moonlight.
"Marama…" he muttered. "Are you really the one…we tried to kill?"
DUN DUN DUN!! Cliffie!!! Please read and review, as always, and I will have another chapter, ASAP!! ADIOS!