Twenty Truths About Rock Lee OR The Life of the Great Green Beast
1.) Lee knows how hard it is to have no one believe in you or help you up when you're down.
He knew how hard it was when his father abandoned him when he was five, and Lee knew how hard it was a year later when everyone at the Ninja Academy, including his own teacher, thought Lee was chasing a hopeless dream.
2.) But Lee also knows that when you have a dream, that's all you really need to pick yourself up again, especially if that dream is motivated by the repeated images of your mother dying to protect you.
3.) When Lee tells his gennin teammates and his sensei what his dream is, the Hyuuga prodigy laughs at him, considering him a foolish idiot for having such a dumb idea.
And even though Lee is used to such things by now, he can't help but feel lost as all the doubts and insecurities flood back to him, making him wonder if he really is trying to reach for the impossible.
4.) But those feelings disappear in a flash when the person who eventually becomes more than a mere mentor to him tells all of them that nothing is impossible with hard work and determination.
And for once, Lee feels an unbelievable soaring sensation because someone didn't taunt him or laugh at him for his dream.
When Lee leaves, he knows that he can touch the clouds, and nothing can stop him.
5.) The day he comes to practice with a bowl cut and a green jumpsuit, Gai-sensei cries tears of youth, Tenten gawks at him, and Neji just stares.
At first, no one except Gai-sensei thinks much of the change after getting over the initial shock.
But when Lee just picks himself up and smiles after Neji beats and taunts Lee again, he notices Gai-sensei smile down upon him with a sense of pride, Tenten looking at him with a bit of the respect she shows for Neji, and Neji's eyes flicker a bit with annoyance and…fear.
And Lee knows that he is, indeed, a genius of hard work.
6.) When Lee wakes up in the hospital after he battles Gaara, he heads to the rehabilitation center without a word to anyone and starts punching the wooden training dummies with his good arm.
When the nurses finally find him, they try to convince him to stop, and when the doctor comes in, he tries to convince Lee that no amount of training can allow him to live a life of a shinobi anymore.
Lee pounds even harder on the dummy because he refuses to believe that his dream—the dream he worked so hard for—is dead.
7.) But that denial dies and that wave of utter defeat crashes into him when Tsunade-sama tells him that he might die if the surgery goes wrong.
It is then, and only then, Lee realizes that he is faced with the biggest decision of his life.
8.) Two days later, that emptiness gives way when Lee realizes that he is Gai-sensei's purpose in life.
And as he cries into Gai-sensei's jumpsuit with Gai-sensei's hand on his head, Lee is reminded, once again, that he will never be alone.
9.) When Lee comes out of the operation, he is surprised to see that the first person to greet him is not Gai-sensei or Tenten or Naruto, but Neji.
10.) And he's even more surprised when Neji stands next to him and talks about the success of the operation.
Even though the Hyuuga genius never says anything blatant, Lee knows that he is finally worthy in Neji's eyes.
And it makes him feel that all the pain and blood and tears were worth this one moment.
11.) The feeling of pride that he had felt only moments ago is replaced with a sense of helplessness because he can do nothing to help the others save Sasuke-kun.
That sense of helplessness grows even stronger when he cannot stop Sakura-chan's tears.
12.) Lee is filled with more determination when Naruto leaves to train with Jiraiya, and he triples his training with Gai-sensei.
He runs, he punches, he jumps, and he kicks with more power and speed than he ever has before, and Lee waits with anticipation, ready to test his strength against his friend and rival.
13.) Lee feels a sense of déjà vu as he and his teammates prepare for their second go at the chunnin exams.
Lee knows, though, that this time he will not fail because this time, he is ready.
He has learned to open up the Sixth Gate, and he no longer feels as much pain and fatigue that he felt when he opened the Fifth Gate during the chunnin prelims against Gaara.
He hopes that one day, he can open the Seventh Gate with as much ease as he opens the Fifth One nowadays.
14.) When Neji becomes a jounnin and Gaara becomes Kazekage, Lee is truly happy for his rivals and friends.
But when he sees Gai-sensei happily exclaim about Neji being the first and only jounnin out of the Konoha 12 and when he sees the Kazekage's ceremony, Lee can't help but think that he will never be as strong as his rivals.
15.) That unyouthful attitude immediately disappears when Tenten frowns during the dinner they have to celebrate Neji's promotion to jounnin.
When Lee asks Tenten why she is frowning, she explains to him that this will be the last day that she will have to truly relax.
After all, she explains, if a prodigy like Lee didn't pass, then the Jounnin Exams must be extremely challenging.
16.) There are days when Lee sees the ugly scars and cuts that cover his body, and he wonders why he works to the point that his body is literally beaten and bloody and sore.
17.) When Lee wakes up in the hospital after opening the Sixth Gate in order to save Neji and Tenten from the hundreds of Cloud ninjas that were attacking them, he sees the lines of worry in Gai-sensei's face, the anger flaring in Neji's eyes, and the dried tear stains trailing down Tenten's cheeks.
Lee then remembers why he trains.
18.) Lee knows that hard work, determination, and youth can only go so far.
He knows that there will always be ninjas as smart as Shikamaru or as brilliant as Gaara who may find a way to defeat him.
And while he is not afraid to admit that, he is afraid that there will be a time when he will be unable to protect his most precious people because of that simple fact.
He hopes that day will never come.
19.) The people who don't know Lee very well often ask him why he is still a ninja and continues to do what he does when he knows that he could have chosen a far easier and much less painful lifestyle.
A lifestyle that may have been suited for a young boy who knew no ninjutsu and genjutsu.
And Lee thinks that yes, it could have been easier, and yes, it could have been less painful, and yes, he could have chosen a path that may have been more suitable for him.
20.) But when he's standing proudly next to Gai-sensei, who is screaming something about the Springtime of Youth at the top of his lungs, and Neji and Tenten are cringing away, Lee thinks, yes, a shinobi's life is filled with pain, loss, and grief, but there are also those irreplaceable moments of happiness, pride, and victory.
And the Great Green Beast knows that he wouldn't have it any other way.