Naruto: Childhood Memories
Is a collection of one-shots focusing on Naruto's and the other main characters' childhood. Many different moments in their life, which helped them defining who they are today, will be showcased in my one-shots and that is also why the genre will vary.
Hopefully there is going to be a little something for everybody. Enjoy this one-shot!
After years of hard work at the Academy with discouragement from his peers, Lee questions if he is cut out to be a ninja until he meets a stranger.
This is a story about how Lee finds motivation to chase after his dream.
Lee: Just Wait And See!
Published: 21st February 2018
"Do you know the reason why you are here, my child?"
Lee looked around the office in curiosity. It was much bigger than he had imagined it to be. Even though it was big there weren't a lot of things, only some old paintings, plants, shelves and drawers. And of course, the big wooden desk that was in front him. However, the thing that stole his attention was the view over Konahagakure. Never had he seen his home village from this angle before. All the colorful rooftops and buildings being reflected by the sun made the village more beautiful than it already was. He could almost see his house from here. With astonishment in his eyes, still watching through the crystal-clear windows, Lee felt relaxed enough to quickly forget the butterflies that he had in his stomach just seconds ago.
"Lee?" The 3rd Hokage asked as he sat in front of his desk.
What a place, what a view… Sugoi…
The sudden outburst from his sensei shocked the black-haired boy vividly, causing him to lose his balance. Luckily, Lee managed to regain it before he made a total fool of himself in front of the 3rd Hokage who looked on stoically. Shortly, he stood upright and the feeling he had before rushed back instantly.
"Do you know the reason why you are here, Lee?" The 3rd Hokage asked again and to Lee's surprise the 3rd Hokage did not sound irritated at all, more gentle and understanding, just as he always was when around children. Unfortunately, Lee could not say the same thing about his sensei who stared strictly at him like a hawk.
"No, Hokage-sama…" Although he answered firmly and stood staunchly, this was only a façade. His palm was getting clammy; his two legs trembled bit by bit and even worse small salty drops ran slowly down from his forehead and down to his chin which landed on the wooden floor. Additionally, the fabric under his armpit became darker as well. Lee hoped intensely that they wouldn't notice the sour smell oozing from him.
Calm down. Just relax. It's going to be alright. I haven't done anything wrong… Not yet anyway… Why am I here in the first place?
Never had he been called to the Hokage's office before and neither had his classmates, not even the boy genius Neji Hyūga. That is why it terrified him to be the first one from his class. Lee knew he wasn't there because of something extraordinary he had done lately. Therefore, if it wasn't for his skills, then what was it? He was utterly confused.
"No? Do you have anything you think we should know," a paused came from the 3rd Hokage, "Perhaps about yesterday."
"Er… yesterday you say, Hokage-sama?"
Knitting his brows Lee tried hard to recall what he did yesterday. Despite his efforts, nothing important that might interest the 3rd Hokage seemed to pop up on his mind. The only thing he did yesterday was to go to school, study, eat, and train ninjutsu and genjutsu, unfortunately with no success. To avoid boring the 3rd Hokage, Lee omitted it.
"No, Hokage-sama. Nothing…" Lee said while raising his thick eyebrows.
"Stop pretending, Rock Lee! Why would some of your classmates say that you have beaten and threaten one of them on the way home from the Academy?" His sensei said harshly which startled Lee.
"What? That's a lie," Lee reacted very strongly to the accusation. His palms were sweating, "I haven't done such a thing, Sensei and Hokage-sama. Really. It's a lie. I could never do a thing like that. Never! To hit someone from my own class purposely is not in my nature. That is not what a Konoha ninja should do to his fellow comrades. You have to believe me. You must."
"Don't tell us what we must and must not. We can make our own opinions by ourselves" Lee's sensei said. When Lee got direct eye contact with his sensei he quickly turned away and looked down. "He hasn't showed up this morning because of the threats you gave him. That's a serious matter, young man. It can cause detention or worse expulsion."
Hearing the word 'expulsion' Lee's entire body shivered. Imaging not being a ninja, his heartbeat went uncontrollably fast. Being a ninja was always Lee's dream ever since he could remember it. There was nothing else he wanted more than to become a ninja from Konohagakure.
"But I have not done it," He tried to explain it once more but his sensei did not seem to believe him. He turned to face the 3rd Hokage instead, "Please, do not expel me. I have not done anything wrong. You've got to believe me." Quickly Lee went down on his knee and bowed humbly for him. It was the only solution he could think off in such a short span of time that could possibly change the 3rd Hokage's mind. Every time his head hit the ground a thud could be heard. "Please, Hokage-sama, I have not done it. I'm innocent."
"Stop…" The 3rd Hokage said. As Lee did what he was ordered to, the Hokage stared at his round eyes, still stoically and it continued in that way for some moments. It was like the Hokage wanted to get something out of Lee's eyes. The truth, perhaps. Finally, he broke up the silence by rising from his chair.
With his big round eyes Lee followed every movement of the Hokage and when the 3rd Hokage was next to him he laid his right hand which showed veins on Lee's left shoulder
"Lee stand up. I won't throw you out before we have found some evidences that say you are guilty. If you are innocent you should fear nothing. Relax, my boy."
When he stood on his feet again his leg felt like rubber. Lee could barely stand, "But Hokage-sama, the evi…" Lee's sensei looked questionable.
"Those are my final words" the 3rd Hokage turned to the sensei and then to face Lee, "You may go back to class now, Lee. If we need you again, we will call you"
"Haaai…" The boy's voice trembled. Not only did his voice tremble but his entire body was shivering even more than before. Lee headed slowly to the office door and let himself out.
(– – –)
After school, Lee decided to go to his training area in the forest outside Konohagakure to resume his practice in taijutsu and to shake off the accusation that has been made against him earlier. He just didn't understand who would accuse him of doing such an outrageous misdeed. Maybe they had mistaken him for another student at the academy.
On his way to practice, his attention was suddenly caught by five of his classmates from the Academy sneaking around. Lee was surprised to see one of them on the street because that particular classmate was supposed to be home – recovering. That particular classmate was the one whom Lee got the blame for threaten and beaten up! Looking suspiciously around for a couple of seconds, Lee's classmates pulled their supposed-to-be-beaten-up friend into a narrow alleyway and vanished from his eyesight. The black-haired boy started to run towards the opening of the alley way. Having his back up against the cold concrete wall, Lee turned his head to take a quick peak. There they were, talking in the middle of the long dark alleyway. Lee couldn't see them clearly given that the sunlight was unable to reach the alleyway properly. However, from where he was standing, the little ninja could hear their conversation clearly.
"What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be home pretending to be terrified?"
"Haha, you know pretending to be scared all day long is really boring."
"Aren't you afraid that your mom will find out that you snuck out?"
"Oh no, before I snuck out, I told her not to disturb. So she won't go to my room for a while, Besides, I locked my bedroom door too. So as long I'm back in a couple of hours, I should be fine."
"Nice! By the way, Rock Lee is so much in trouble for what he "did" to you. We made sure that everybody knows that he was the one who threaten you."
"Good, maybe this will finally be the last time we will see Rock Lee at the academy."
When Lee heard those words, he wanted to take a step forward and face his classmates but instead he froze. His heart was pounding faster than normally. Cold sweat ran down his neck. His entire body wouldn't move from the spot. Lee was imprisoned in his own body and had to stand and listen to the rude comments about him.
"'I can become a great ninja without genjutsu and ninjutsu. I have a dream and I can reach it with taijutsu alone!'. Please, my whole body curls up whenever he says that. If he was at least average at Taijutsu then fair enough. But no. Just stop. Stop already!"
"I really don't understand why he is among us. Such a talentless loser and he won't admit defeat even though it is clear that he can't ever become a ninja. What a stubborn idiot."
"If you think about it. We are actually doing him a favor so he doesn't have to embarrass himself!"
"You're totally right," The boys laughed tauntingly.
Finally, Lee got the control of his body again. Instead, of approaching the bullies like he wanted to do before, he ran in the opposite direction towards his training area.
(– – –)
"478… 479… 480…" Lee said to himself winded while still kicking to the worn log. With his attire drenched in sweat, Lee continued to kick because he had only one thing in mind, to complete his training program. He only had a few kicks left and once he reached the five hundred kicks he could then call it a day.
Deciding to finish off his daily training with a powerful kick to prove to himself that he was not weak, that indeed he can become a taijutsu ninja master, he laid all his weight on his left leg and swung his right leg as quick as he could with all his might against the log.
"Ahhhh!" Lee let out a powerful scream. Hordes of birds emerged from the trees around him into the dark warm orange coloured sky. "OW, Ow, ow, ow ow… My foot, my foot," Lee overdid the kick and by accident injured himself instead. He jumped around in circles before he landed on his bum on the dirty ground. Immediately, he grabbed his right foot and blew on it to ease the pain. Suddenly, streams of tears ran from Lee's round black eyes to his cheeks. Lee might look scrawny by appearance but he was actually quite tough for an 8-year old and normally physical pain would not bother him. However, after what Lee had experienced earlier today he could no longer hold it back. He had to let it all out, both the outer and inner pain!
Why can't I use ninjutsu or genjutsu?!
From time to time the boy would ask himself this question. He has yet to find an answer for it. Out of so many children in the world why did it come down to him not being able to perform the two fundamental ninja techniques? Even though he practiced the two techniques day in and day out, it did not bear fruit. It was like the lord forgot to bless him with the ability to perform ninjutsu and genjutsu. Lee was not asking much. No, he just wanted to know the basics. As if not being enable to use those skills wasn't cruel enough, Lee had to endure the mocking coming from his classmates almost every day owing to his lack of skills and his dream of becoming a ninja on taijutsu alone.
"Have you ever heard of a successful ninja that only uses taijutsu for combat? No! That's because there isn't one!"…
Are they right? Are they, perhaps right? Is it really impossible for me?
Even his classroom sensei believed that he could not pull it off and become a fine ninja. Instead of encouraging Lee to do better and try harder, he decided completely to give up on him. His sensei always treated him differently compared to the other students in his class just because he wasn't excelling like the others or was as talented as Neji Hyūga.
Should I quit?!
Because Lee was still sobbing and confused about what to do he didn't notice the rattling bushes behind him. A man came out from them and was moving towards the little boy.
"Yo kid, are you alright?" Lee rubbed his eyes which became quite red from the crying. Wiping the tears away, he turned around to see who the deep voice belonged to. In front of him stood a tall well-built man with a shiny bowl style haircut and remarkably thick eyebrows. He was dressed in a funny green jumpsuit, orange striped leg warmers, and a light green flak jacket. Lee notice that he was a ninja from Kohanagakure based on his red forehead protector around his waist, "Kid, are you alright?"
"Sir! Yes sir, I'm alright," quickly the black-haired boy composed himself. Embarrassing himself in front of a superior is the last thing he wanted to do. There was something familiar with this guy standing in front of him. Slowly, Lee recalled where he had seen the ninja before. The well-built man was the ninja from a while ago who surprised him when he was practicing Transformation jutsu. Lee thought at that time that the shiny bowl haircut man was weird for approaching him, a stranger, and for saying that he will become a fine ninja even though he knew nothing about the little boy's background. Despite that it made him happy. Never had he been encourage by anyone before!
Wanting to greet the old acquaintance with a salute, Lee stomped with his right foot to the ground. Instantaneously, Lee felt a great impact of pain through his entire right leg resulting him to lose his balance.
"Wow, easy there, my little friend." The ninja caught Lee in time before he hit his head on the log. After helping Lee to sit down on the ground, the older ninja fished for something in his pocket, "Here, go ahead and use it,"
Lee looked curiously at the container that he received form the man. Inside contained some oily substance. By putting it up to his nose Lee smelt a great scent of eucalyptus which took him by surprise.
"It's a healing ointment… for your foot. Try it," The well-built man smiled. His smiled could easily be used in a toothpaste commercial with its shine, the black-haired kid thought. He took some of the ointment with his finger tip and rubbed carefully on his foot. Immediately, Lee could feel the fresh sensation of the eucalyptus ointment working on the throbbing pain. He could move his foot effortlessly again.
"Sugoi!" Lee said amazed.
"You can keep it, kid,"
"Really? Thank you, sir."
"The name is Guy, Might Guy. You can call me, Guy!" Guy said enthusiastically.
"Nice to meet you. Guy-sensei. I'm Rock Lee. Everybody calls me Lee."
"Nice to meet you Lee. Lately, I have seen you practice a lot around here. I like it! There is nothing better to see you kids in your springtime of youth being active and motivated. You sure are an inspiration for your generation nowadays," Lee stared at Guy who smiled at him. He did not reply to his comments, "But remember, even though training is good, rest is just as important to get those muscle recovered in order to avoid injuries," Lee still kept quiet and looked at the ground instead. "The sun is about to go down. How about we head home? I don't know about you but curry rice is waiting for me at home. What do you say?" Guy asked Lee in a polite manner.
"Yes, Guy-sensei!" Lee answered firmly.
"Yosh, let's go!"
Wandering through the forest they saw the sun slowly go down behind the tall trees of Konohagakure. The lush greens and dark browns surrounding them were lightened by the remaining light that slipped through the cracks. A few birds were still singing a mesmerizing tune up in their nests while leaves were dancing to them.
"Isn't this wonderful. Spring is absolutely the best season of them all. Don't you agree, Lee?" Guy asked the little kid but no response. Lee was utterly blank and did not pay attention to what Guy had to say. He was in his own thoughts, "Lee, something is clearly bothering you… Lee? Lee?!" Guy raised his voice unintentionally.
"HAI!" The black-haired boy was suddenly snapped out from his own thoughts and saluted Guy out of reflex.
"Lee, is something troubling you? You've been really quiet."
All of a sudden, the little black-haired boy stopped up. Lee hesitated, wondering if he should tell Guy or not. They have after all just met each other, and Lee was ashamed of telling anybody that he couldn't use any techniques besides taijutsu. He took a deep breath, steeling himself, and made a decision. "Guy-sensei, can you graduate from the academy with only taijutsu? Can you become a great ninja with only taijutsu?"
Guy looked surprised at Lee as if he did not know how to answer the boy who showed such a serious facial expression. However, Guy's look slowly turned from surprised to confused, which scared Lee. The little boy thought that his response was an instant no. However, the puzzled look on Guy's face quickly morphed into a bright smile and laughter. Now Lee was the confused one.
"Guy-sensei, why are you laughing?" Lee feared that Guy might laugh at him for asking such an obvious question. However instead of being told that it was impossible, Lee was met with something unexpected.
"Lee, let me tell you a true story about a young boy about the same age as you." Guys started out while heading back to Konohagakure, "This kid, he had a dream. A dream to become one of the best ninjas there is in the world. Be an inspiration, a role model. However, there was a problem. This little guy could only do taijutsu. He wasn't particularly good at the technique but that was the only technique he could use without failing miserably. Because of this he decided to train hard and make taijutsu his specialty. Many of his classmates from the academy did not believe he could archived such goals with the level of skills that he had at that time. They looked down on him, made fun of him, and even called him nicknames that weren't that flattering…"
Is he talking about me?! That couldn't be! We just met! He couldn't possibly know all these things about me. Is he a fortune teller? … Maybe I should just listen to what he has to say before I make any conclusion?
"…However, despite their harsh words, the kid never gave up. He turned their negativity into something positive, his inner strength. He would inflict his self-imposed rule which was forcing himself to complete another exercise if he was unable to complete the previous exercise. It was not as punishment, but as a way to make sure he didn't fail in the long term. This rule would be the foundation of his training regime. He trained and kept pushing himself in order to chase after his dream. Never would he skip practice day. Even if it was freezing or burning outside the kid would keep training hand-to-hand combat, because he learnt from his papa, his teacher, supporter and best friend, that if he let himself off the hook every time he had a bad day, he would not train to become stronger but rather train himself to believe it was okay to give up any time he met obstacles. Over time the kid developed an extreme discipline, an iron will and strong determination. Traits that help him in graduating the academy and even become one of the finest Konoha ninja in taijutsu… All this thanks to his papa... His papa supported him till his very last dying breath during a mission…" Guy's voice cracked when he finished his sentence. Lee observed that Guy's eyes started to water.
"Guy-sensei, are you alright?" the black-haired boy asked, worried.
"Yes, yes. I'm good. Ahem, I just got something in my eyes," Guy wiped his eyes and flashed his dazzling smile like nothing had happened. "What was I about to say? … Oh right! What I'm trying to say is – In short you can become a powerful ninja. Just believe in yourself! Trust your worth! Prove to those, who look down on you, wrong. That indeed talent is not everything. With hardship and bravery, you can tackle all obstacles and conquer your fear. If you mentally believe it will happen, your body will find a way to make it physically happen!"
"Really? Are you lying to me?" The little boy asked Guy eagerly. His face lighting up.
"Of course not! A real man never lies, especially towards kids! And about taijutsu… Taijutsu is absolutely the coolest technique out there in the ninja world. You've got to keep your body strong and healthy while still being able to kick some enemies. What's not to like? If it was up to me everybody should practice more taijutsu" Guy smiled, "Therefore, don't be ashamed of only knowing taijutsu, Lee. Acknowledge your flaws, embrace them! You must believe in yourself enough to be the person now that you want others to remember you for later."
Lee couldn't believe what he just heard. A burden has been lifted from his shoulders. Now feeling hundred times lighter than normally. Years of doubt and insecurity were now replaced by a rush of hope and renewed energy in his entire body. It was like he could accomplish anything he set his mind to do. Out of impulse, Lee hugged Guy, streams of tears running down his cheeks.
(- - -)
After 20 minutes of listening to Guy's amazing missions, Lee made it back to Konohagakure. The moon appeared from behind the clouds, bright as it illuminated the sky. The different colored lights from the streets and buildings lighting up the entire village vibrantly. Looking upwards, Lee saw the Hokage Rock, the monument with all the faces of the Hokage carved into the stone. Lee started to remember the history class that taught him the meaning behind the monument – the Hokage will always watch over the village. It was because of this symbolic meaning that inspired him to become a ninja in the first place. Lee too wanted to protect his precious village he called home.
Lee's reminiscences were interrupted by an old lady and her husband who screamed for help on the ground in the middle of the street. The old woman had a hard time holding onto her purse which was about to be snatched by two thieves. Her husband tried to help his wife but were flung to the side by the other thief with an immense power. The passers-by were too frightened to help the elderly couple. Both of the robbers were twice the size of Guy. Filled with anger, Lee wanted to help the poor elderly woman but he was beaten to it by Guy who appeared in front of the poor lady and the thieves with speed akin to lightning.
"Oh no, you don't! Not on my watch!" Guy jumped and launched a kick towards one of the thieves, "DYNAMIC ENTRY!"
The kick landed critically on the upper body of the thief which resulted in the man being thrown four yards away. Instantly, his partner charged at Guy, but Guy was ready for him. When the other thief was about to punch Guy on the face, the highly skilled ninja evaded it by stepping to the side with the speed of lightning. Quickly, he threw an uppercut towards the thief which sent him flying beside his partner. Retrieving the purse which was dropped on the ground, Guy walked towards the old husband to help him up before he assisted the old lady.
"Here you go ma'am. Your purse."
"Thank you so much young man. How can we repay you?"
"There is no need for that ma'am." He flashed his affectionate smile and showed a thumbs-up to indicate that she was welcome. It was at that moment the criminals got back on their two feet once again. Clenching their fist, they were about to charge Guy from behind.
"GUY-SENSEI, BEHIND YOU!" Lee shouted his lungs out. Without turning his back to face the big robbers, Guy threw a backwards punch which landed right on one of the thieves' jaw. The thief was knocked down immediately. This time holding a pocket knife, the other thief swung the knife towards Guy. Thanks to his agility, the fast ninja evaded them easily. Seeing an opening, Guy launched multiple kicks and punches at the other thief. It was too quick for Lee's eyes to follow. The thief tried to ward off the attacks but it was too difficult for him. Before Guy could execute another powerful kick, the thief fell on his knees and ultimately smashed his face to the ground.
"Oops… I might have overdone it," The well-built ninja said to Lee while sounding apologetic, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
After Guy tied the thieves arms behind their backs and given them to the authorities who arrived shortly, the people of Konohagakure surrounded the black-haired ninja and applauded him for his bravery.
Lee was glad to have witnessed what he just saw. Seeing how people praised Guy for handling the two big robbers single-handedly and by only using taijutsu, Lee couldn't help but think just how cool the ninja he met was. His speed! His strength! Especially when Lee thought about how his senior kept throwing those powerful kicks and punches one after another without breaking a sweat. It ignited a fire inside of the him. The little boy's whole body was itching to start his new taijutsu regime – to become stronger and better. Lee was ready to show the world what he was really made of – that a talentless scrawny kid could grow up and become a full-fledge ninja. Trying to get Guy's attention from the crowd, the black-haired boy yelled in public.
"Guy-sensei, I have decided! Someday, I will protect the village and prove to the world that I, Rock Lee, can become a splendid ninja like you. Just wait and see!"
The one-shot about Lee finally sees the light of day. I'm so thrilled to write more Naruto fanfictions that (try to) fit into canon. I got a whole new motivation after watching Naruto Shippūden #480-483, the Childhood arc. They basically got inspired by my stories!
Jokes aside before I leave I would like to thank my β-reader, Jazeoth 2.0, for the help I got with this work. Please, check out Jazeoth 2.0's stories.
Lastly, I would like to thank you, yes you, who have read, reviewed or subscribed to alerts over the past years. Knowing that my work is appreciated means a lot to me. Thank you for your support. And please, give me a lot of constructive criticism. Thereby, I can improve my story. That is what FanFiction Review Movement is all about, to help and encourage authors.
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Best regards MLLu ^^
Ps. another one-shot is under construction!