Gai was thirteen when he broke his right leg, left arm, and a few ribs on a mission. It wasn't anything major, so he trained through it despite what all the medical nins told him. Obviously, this was a mistake because after a few hours one of his broken ribs punctured some organ or other, resulting in his complete inability to move without excruciating pain. Even this could not keep down the great Maito Gai, so in the end it took half the medical staff on hand to practically strap the kid down on his hospital bed so that he couldn't damage himself further.
By lengthening his hospital sentence, Gai also managed to pack a bit more weight into his medical bills. Gai's single mother was forced to take on missions for the first time in years to cover the expenses. Most people to try to settle down and focus on getting better, but Gai's idea of helping his mother was to train harder so he could prove that he didn't need to stay in the hospital and could take on work as well.
The medical staff told him this was a stupid idea. His mother told him this was a stupid idea. Kakashi threatened Gai when he came to visit that he would be forced to beat him right back into the hospital if he even tried something like that. Still nothing seemed to work until Kakashi found another alternative.
He walked into Gai's room with an amused smirk hidden under his mask as he tossed a scrap of paper into his friend's lap without taking his eyes off a little orange book he held in his hand. Gai ignored the scrap.
"What are you reading?" he asked accusingly, eyeing the age warning on the back.
Kakashi shrugged. "Found it in my teacher's trash can the other day." He marked his page and closed the book almost reluctantly as he stuffed it into his back pocket. "That's beside the point though," he nodded towards the paper he'd thrown at Gai earlier.
"You know full well they strapped my arms down, rival. What does it say?"
Kakashi sighed and walked over to pick the paper off the bed and hold it in front of Gai's face. Gai squinted at the print and was silent for a moment as he stumbled over the longer words.
"I don't get it," he proclaimed proudly after a moment.
Kakashi gave him the usual you-are-such-an-idiot-that-is-nothing-to-be-proud-about stare and began to explain. "It's a job; a well-paid job at that. It could well cover quite a bit of what's left of your bill."
"Yes, but what is it?"
"I'm getting to that, be patient. It's a medical study. You get money for being part of an experiment. Now, you don't get directly experimented upon in this case but—"
"What do I have to do!?" Gai tried to sit up the straps holding his head down didn't let him.
"This," Kakashi answered, and plucked a hair from Gai's head.
Now it was Gai's turn to look at Kakashi like he was an idiot.
"It's simple. They run a few DNA tests on this, modify it a bit, see what happens. Watch some cells multiply under a microscope, take a few notes, and maybe what they find from your hair could lead to some medical discovery."
Gai eyed the hair suspiciously. "You sure that's it?"
"Positive," Kakashi smiled through the fabric of his mask. "What do you say?"
"It doesn't sound like I have much to lose… sure, I'll give it a try."
"Alright then," Kakashi gingerly tucked the hair into his vest pocket. "I'll bring this over to the guy leading the experimentation this afternoon." With that said, Kakashi turned to leave.
The Copy nin turned at the rare sound of Gai using his real name rather than just 'rival.'
"Thanks," Gai smiled, and gave a sort of muted version of his nice-guy pose, which was really nothing more than a thumbs up since both his wrists were firmly attached to the bed.
Kakashi just pulled his orange book out of his back pocket and walked out with a vague muttering of "s'nothing."
Gai couldn't have been happier. Finally, he could be of some use to someone. A lot of someones if this experiment came through.
Two months later Gai was discharged from the hospital. By that time, everything about the experiment had been forgotten, the money long used up and much appreciated. Everything went back to the way it was, until a shocking rumor spread through town.
In the market and the alleys, the rooftops and offices, the whispers could be heard. Some said it was Orochimaru himself, others were convinced it was a follower of his. Either way, he had been a spy in Konoha for a year or more. He was hiding out. No, he had been chased off by ANBU. No, he'd been killed and his body was disposed of.
One consistency stayed throughout the rumors; he had been here, motives unknown, in a top secret medical research department. A few months back, he had run an experiment to try and create a Perfect Shinobi, a fighting machine, by cloning already existing people.
Some said his lab was raided and everything was destroyed; a few said they knew of one experiment had survived. There were tales of what had been in his lab: twisted bodies of failed experiments, things that could barely be recognized as human with far too many arms and multiple heads; bones contorted into and faces seemingly melted off, mounts of flesh with empty staring eyes; some of the more recent were said to be the bodies of infants, dead from horrific mutations; the horrific descriptions kept building and building.
The whispers were everywhere, and when Gai turned to hear who was saying such things, all he saw was a crowd of people moving and minding their own business. As the rumors grew more and more consistent, the connection between the experiment he had participated in and what was being said was impossible to ignore. From the looks Kakashi shot his when he thought Gai wasn't looking told him that his rival thought so too.
The best thing to do was ignore the rumors and hope they would go away. There was nothing to pin on Gai, nothing at all, and yet he still felt guilty for what had been done. For all he knew, one of the twisted bodies could have been his twin.
Gai continued to tell himself that they experiments had been destroyed. He put the thing out of his mind, and bit by bit the rumors grew old and the village of Konoha moved on.
Gai recognized him the second he saw him; the same jet black hair, the same cheekbones, the same funny eyelashes and brows, everything. Gai's blood ran cold and for a second he thought he was going to be sick.
One of the experiments had survived.
How could this be?
Why was this monster allowed to live?
But upon second glance, the child was not such a monster after all. For all Gai could see, he was nothing more than a child version of himself. Except for a haircut and clothes, it was almost as Gai were looking back in time. The kids even treated him the same. Nostalgic.
This boy was no mere clone. When Gai looked at him he saw nothing unnatural. This boy was his twin. No, more like a son.
He passed the boy in the Academy courtyard every evening after training. It was usually late, but the dedicated young man was always out there, completely alone. Gai would walk past him and always peek out of the corner of his eye. The boy would do the usual training such as running or jumping rope or doing pushups. Only after a week of passing the boy daily did he see him attempt ninjutsu.
He was standing in the center of the fenced off training area, fingers pressed together in a hand sigh. His thick brows were scrunched together in concentration, a bead of sweat running down the side of his face. Or maybe that was a tear. Gai stopped to look at the child struggle. He certainly was trying, and that was something to be admired. The boy looked as if he was close to giving up. Gai couldn't stand there and just watch.
"Boy," he called to him as he walked up behind him.
The kid turned around blinked wide-eyed at the man before him. Gai beamed and gave him thumbs up.
"Being passionate is the greatest part of being young!" he Gai bellowed. "Keep on giving your best and you will become and amazing ninja!"
The kid just stared at him like he was crazy in the awkward silence that followed. Gai wondered if he should get the hell out of there and forget any of this ever happened.
"Hold your ambitions high, my lad! You're young, go for it!" Gai laughed nervously, already on his way off. "Farewell!"
He strutted proudly out of the training area and down the street. The first encounter wasn't exactly what he had planned it to be, but the kid had spirit. Gai knew he would succeed, after all, he was just a miniature version of himself!
Gai knocked on the door and waited for the muted, "Come in," before opening the door and walking in. The Third shuffled a few papers around before pushing his work aside and giving the man now standing in the middle of his room his full attention.
"Did you need something, Gai?" he asked. The man's age had been starting to show more and more ever since he was required to retake the post of Hokage.
"Yes, Hokage-sama. Yesterday, I registered to become the leader of an incoming Genin team. I was wondering…there's this one kid in particular…"
"Rock Lee," the old man filled in. When Gai didn't seem to understand he slid back his chair and pulled a drawer out from his desk. The Third fingered through the files until he found a fat folder which dropped on his desk labeled "Academy Students."
He opened the folder and began searching through the different assessment sheets until he came upon one with a picture of Gai's clone. With great care the Third pulled the sheet out of the folder and turned it so it was facing Gai.
"The boy's name is Rock Lee," he repeated. "It says the date of birth is November twenty-seventh. No doubt you have realized the term 'birth' does not pertain here. This boy is your clone, Maito Gai."
"I see him as more of a son," Gai stated proudly.
"That is very wise of you," the Hokage replied.
"Why didn't anyone tell me earlier one of the experiments survived?"
The Hokage looked up at Gai's face. For once there was no smile. The Third looked back down at the wood of his desk.
"It was not my decision to make alone. The Elders had been planning to get rid of all the clones, but Lee was the most recent, and nearly fully developed. The debate over the experiments took several months and in the end it was decided all the umbilical cords should be cut. The day they were was November twenty-seventh. When Lee still sustained life signals an hour later, the Elders had no choice but to let him live, since killing him would without a doubt be considered murder. It was still difficult to convince them to consider Lee human, but eventually he was placed into the orphanage. You were not notified because the elders wanted everyone to believe that all experiments were taken care of. Do you understand?"
Gai shook his head, a little shaken.
"Was there another reason why you came here?" Sarutobi asked, putting the folder in the corner of his desk and reaching for the papers he'd been working on when Gai came in.
"Uh, yes. I was hoping there was a way that you could put the boy…uh…Rock Lee…in my Genin Team."
The Hokage looked up at this, and searched Gai's face to see if he was serious.
"This isn't usually done…" he began.
"But you have to Hokage-sama! This boy is like a son! He's my twin! You have to let me get to know him! Please, I beg you!"
The Third raised his hand to silence him. "As I was saying, this isn't usually done," he paused, "but in your case, I'll make an exception."
Gai could have jumped in the air and hugged the Hokage, but remembering who he was talking to, he just settled for beaming so wide his cheeks hurt.
"If you are up to, that is. Lee has certain…limitations that might make him difficult train."
Gai smile dropped just a fraction and he raised an eyebrow.
The Hokage pushed Lee's document a little closer to Gai and pointed to the comments section of his evaluation. Gai stepped closer to read the small, scrunched print.
Unable to use Ninjutsu or Genjutsu, Iruka's writing was clearly written.
Gai looked up from the paper. "What is that supposed to mean?" he asked.
The Hokage sighed sadly and turned the paper to scan the words himself.
"The experiments that were taken place twelve years ago involved DNA manipulation. Lee, although he seems like a normal boy with no physical deformities, does not have a fully developed chakra network. He can still function, and Hyuuga-san has noted that all parts of his network are present and accounted for, but for some strange reason he can't seem to be able to mold chakra at all."
After a pause, a large smile crept across Gai's face again. "That does not matter to me! Lee has more spirit than any boy his age I've seen! He's an ambitious young man in the prime of his youth! He can work around any obstacle, I know it! To prove my point, I hence forth renounce my use of Ninjutsu and Genjutsu unless it is a life-threatening situation! I will prove to him and to everyone you don't need chakra control to be a fine Shinobi!" He struck the Nice Guy Pose for emphasis.
Sarutobi returned with a small smile of his own. "I'm glad you are willing to go that far for your students. Congratulations. In fall he will officially be on your team along with two others. Until then, please don't mention this conversation to anyone."
"Understood, Hokage-sama!" Gai shouted.
"In that case, you are dismissed."
"Thank you very much!" Gai bowed quickly and walked out briskly, breaking into a run as soon as he was out of the office. There he jumped into the air with a great shout of triumph and raced down the corridor, surprising a very wide-eyed secretary with a near bone-crushing hug on his way out.
Later that day, when he told Kakashi the news that he was getting a Genin team for the fifteenth time in two days, he let it slip about Lee being part of that team. Kakashi only groaned, and shut his book.
"Oh wonderful, a second Maito Gai. As if one of you isn't enough."
A/N: Is it just me or was everyone OOC is this? I don't really like it, but I really wanted to get the idea out, so here it is. For anyone who has ever tried to write a fic from Gai's point of view, you know how hard it is to try to apply logic.
Concerning Abortions: If you are pro-life, I'm sorry for what the Elders chose to do to those experiments. Please don't hate me for that.
Fun Fact: The follower of Orochimaru did in fact escape, taking a few of the experiments with him; say hello to Jirobo, Kidomaru, Sakon, Ukon, and Tayuya.