A/N: While going through my old writings, I came across this list of 'life lessons' that I had received in an email years ago and decided it must be worth keeping. Upon finding it again, I decided I would issue myself the challenge of writing a short story inspired by each lesson. So far I'm having a lot of fun with it. All the stories center on the Hyuga family in some form or fashion but other characters will make their guest appearance as well. Most of the stories are stand-alones but there will be some stories that encompass more than one life lesson. There are 21 life lessons total so we'll see where this goes. Reviews are welcome!
Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto.
ONE: Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
A young Hiashi sighed wearily as he looked at the bullies waiting for him a few yards ahead of him. Of course they looked as though they were minding their own business, but after a week of torments, Hiashi knew better.
He had considered finding a detour home but the only options appeared climbing over fences and sulking through neighbors' yards like a common criminal and his youthful pride made him balk at even following the idea through.
The future head of the Hyuga clan unable to stand up for himself? Hiashi's face reddened at the embarrassing thought. Beaten and teased by a bunch of plebeian nobodies, his father would be ashamed of him if he knew the truth. So far he was able to explain away the bruises and black eye on training and his father was too busy and mostly satisfied with the explanation to think otherwise. He only reminded him that appearances were important for a clan leader. Standing before elder council members or a rival clan with a black eye only shows that you're weak so make an effort to keep that in mind, his father had said absently.
Hiashi was not weak.
But he was scared. There were five of them to his one and even with his Byakugan, they eventually overwhelmed him.
He gave another sigh to steel his nerves and made his way down the road towards the waiting bullies. He will not run.
"Well, take a look at who it is. Milk Boy!"
He didn't know why they started calling him that. Perhaps it was something to do with his eyes or his very pale skin. In a voice that carried more confidence than he actually felt, he said forcefully, "I wish to pass. Let me through!"
"Ooooohhh," the boys said in unison, mocking him. Hiashi's face reddened in mortification but he stood his ground.
"Sounds like he's serious this time, guys," the biggest boy said; their leader. He pushed off the tree he was leaning on and started to circle behind Hiashi. "We'll be happy to let you pass. All you have to do is pay the toll."
Hiashi clenched his fist and swallowed nervously. "I do not have any money," he said softly.
"Meh, too bad," the leader shrugged helplessly. "Well, let's see what you have in here."
Before Hiashi could react, his tote bag was torn ruthlessly from his back. He turned around but he was struck hard in the gut by a well timed fist. He dropped to the ground, choking and gasping for air. Two more boys brutally held him down from behind, knocking what precious air he had left out of him. They forced him to watch while their leader rummaged through his things, throwing out books and papers.
They laughed cruelly when their leader dumped out the remaining items and threw his bag a distance away, unhappy with what he found.
"Well, Milk Boy, you know what this means, don't ya?" the big boy said, cracking his knuckles as he approached.
Hiashi struggled in vain to get up but the boys' hold was too strong for him and he was still winded from the first strike. His eyes watered with pain and shame.
The boy reared back to strike him but was suddenly pounced upon by a very pissed Hyuga Hizashi who seemed to have come from nowhere.
The big boy squealed in fright as Hizashi beat him mercilessly to the ground and then proceeded to beat him some more.
Hiashi and the other bullies were motionless in shock and surprise at the fury Hizashi displayed. It wasn't long before the leader of the misfortunate gang was crying and tearfully begging Hizashi to stop.
He did but not before grabbing the bloodied boy by the hair and shoving his face into the dirt. He turned his glare towards the other boys, the chakra veins burning hotly around his eyes.
"Get your fucking hands off my brother and start running because you're next!"
There was no hesitation. After witnessing the beat down of their illustrious leader, the other boys immediately lost their nerve and ran away in a panic.
Hiashi slowly got up, holding his middle carefully. Between the punch and being forced to the ground, he suspected he might have cracked a rib. It hurt to breathe.
"Ah, that's how you have to deal with low-lifes like these," Hizashi commented drily as he helped guide his brother over to the tree to rest. "You!" he shouted to the poor boy still laying in the dirt, "Stop your crying and pick up every last book and paper for my brother and be quick about it!" He turned his attention back to Hiashi once he was satisfied the task was underway. "Sorry it took me so long to figure out what was going on."
Hiashi wiped at his eyes in frustration, embarrassed by the tears and his dirtied appearance. "I could not stand up for myself," he said softly in a watery voice.
"I thought you did alright," Hizashi said confidently. "You didn't run. That's something. He turned his attention back to the rehabilitated bully. "Just leave the bag right where it is, jack ass, and be on your way. If I see you harassing my brother again, I will stomp your ass again, got it?"
Hiashi was not comforted and secretly envied his brother for his brash, can-do attitude. He simply watched the boy who tormented him limp home.
"Come on. Let's go," Hizashi said as he carefully took his brother by the arm that was not holding his middle. "The sooner I get you home, the sooner I can deliver those four other ass kickings. One must follow through on their promises."