I finished my 23rd lap around the village. Tenten stood leaning against a training post with crossed arms.
"C,mon Lee, it's getting late and we should break for dinner." she said with the tone in her voice that meant she wasn't going to take no for an answer.
"Okay Tenten." I said wiping my brow with a white towel. Neji hopped down from his balancing post.
She turned to Gai sensei. "Are you coming or what?" Tenten said with an eye roll.
Gai sensei stood on the tip of a training dummy doing a one armed hand stand. "I'll catch up with you all later." He said with a thumbs up. Tenten rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders.
And in a few moments we were off to Kengo's. Kengo's has always been our team's favorite place to eat, because of the amazing food. Yes, Ichiraku's is a good place, too, but they do not really have a lot of options for curry. "I think I'll get sushi today." Tenten said, as we approached Kengo's.
"Apparently someone threw a party." Neji said pointing to the crowd of teenage shinobi crowding around the restaurant.
"Well, we’re going now." Tenten said waving at Ino who was happily waving back and beckoning us all.
"Hi guys!" Naruto shouted in his happy, yet rather raspy voice.
In almost no time we all sat at a table laughing and talking.
"Naruto?" asked Sai looking up from his menu.
"Yeah?" Naruto replied.
"What did you say your mother looked like again?" Sai asked.
Naruto smiled. "My mother was beautiful. She had long bright red hair and blue eyes." He smiled thinking back to when Kushina wove him a tale of how she had met Minato. "Her hair, was it a shade of red, similar to that of a tomato?" Sai smiled.
"Sure. " Naruto said, rolling his eyes getting a bit irritated with Sai at this point. "Okay." Sai said looking at his art supplies. "You know what I wonder?" asked Tenten. "What?" Naruto asked. "How does Sakura have pink as her natural color? Her mother must have cherry blossom hair." Tenten said, thinking of the beautiful hair. "No, that would be my dad." Sakura laughed, shattering Tenten's imagination. "Hey Lee?" Asked Ino. "Yes?" I replied. "Who did you get your hair from?" She smiled. My eyes seemed to bulge out of my head from the memory. "He probably doesn't remember." Neji said. "After all he doesn't have parents anymore." Chouji pointed out, not eating for a split second, but made up for it by eating double. "That is not true." I said a bit defensively. "So where are they?" Tenten asked. Everyone stared intently at me. "Do you all want to know that badly?" I asked. Everyone shook their heads. "It will be troublesome but then again it would be a drag if we were left without a story tonight." Shikamaru said leaning back with his hands behind his head. "Okay, I suppose...."
"I was about 4 years old..."
"When will father be home?" asked a cute little Lee looking happily up at his worn but yet still young and beautiful looking mother. His mother had long, black hair and brown eyes that always seemed worried but happy. "Any minute now." She smiled warmly as she boiled some water. A man with the height of 6 feet walked through the door, he wore a jounin vest, black pants, and a black tank top. He had short, shiny Blond hair and black eyes. "Michiko!" he yelled, coming through the door. "Yes, dear?" asked Lee's mother, dropping something in the boiling water. "I need something to drink." he said, pulling out a cherry wood chair. "Of course." she said, rushing to get him some tea. "How did the mission go?" she asked. "The two men on my team have been badly injured. If it weren't for me they wouldn't have got out alive." he replied in an uninterested tone. "Wow! you saved the day again! Just like a superhero!" Lee smiled, looking up at his father eye's sparkling. "Rock, go play." his father said irritated with the little boy staring up at him in awe. "But father-" Lee began. "I said go play! I didn't get you those toys for nothin’!" he almost yelled. His tone was angry and his voice was deep. Lee turned, a bit teary eyed, and walked upstairs, secretly on the top step listening in on his parent's conversation. Michiko placed the delicate tea pot and two cups down. Lee was never allowed to touch it because it was a family air loom. The teapot had pink cherry blossoms painted on it and a white background. Michiko picked it up with her small, long hands and poured Kurokawa some tea. "It has been getting worse lately." Michiko commented. "Even so we'll get through it, I didn't train my expert Ninjutsu and Genjutsu for nothin’."he smirked grabbing his clansman necklace, which had the Japanese symbol for 'Lee' on its chain. Michiko didn't turn her eyes to her husband, but stared droopy eyed at the tea cup and ran her finger tips over the cherry blossoms. Lee could tell something was bothering her. "I suppose you are right." she smiled weakly. Suddenly Lee had a thought in his four year old mind "If I were a shinobi like father, I could be a hero just like him! I could help others and save the day!" "It's settled." Lee whispered in excitement. "Rock, sweet heart!" his mother called, startling him. "Dinner is ready!" Lee ran down the stairs, almost tripping from excitement. He wasn't surprised to see his plate filled with the usual baked potato, piece of bread, miso soup, and glass of water. They all bowed their heads and Michiko said the blessing. Lee played with his food a bit, he was too excited to eat. "Rock, don't waste your food." Kurokawa said, biting into his bread. "Is there something on your mind, Rock?" His mother asked. Lee flushed red from excitement. "I...I would like to become a shinobi, like father." Lee smiled with a huge grin. His mother got a very worried, sad look in her eyes and didn't dare look at Kurokawa. Kurokawa's face was red in frustration. "Rock." he began. Michiko stared at the ground. "You know what it takes to be a true shinobi?!" he just about yelled. Lee thought his father was excited, so he smiled with wide eyes and asked for a response. "What?" he grinned. "Talent." he answered, clenching his fist. "And you Rock," he began ," can't use any Ninjustu or Genjutsu at all!" he answered, angrily. Lee's smile faded into a frown. "B-but father-" he began. "There is no way someone like you can ever become a true ninja! Theres only one way! One SOLE ninja way! Natural born talent!" he concluded. "F-Father-." Lee stuttered. "I don't want to hear any more about this shinobi crap from you got it?!" he yelled in Lee's little face. "Y-yes father." he said. There was a pause of silence as Kurokawa sipped his tea. "More tea Michiko." he said. Michiko rose to pick up the tea pot, teary eyed for her son. Lee rose and ran upstairs. "STAY OFF THE ROOF!" Kurokawa yelled. Lee only heard his father yell something and he didn't know what.
Lee opened the hatch of his room out to the top of his roof and looked over Konoha. He could see the ninja academy with the older kids in it, practicing their transformation jutsu. Lee hugged his knees. "Rock?" asked a soft voice. Lee turned to see his mother. Lee was silent and continued to stare over Konoha. "Rock...." she paused. "D-do not listen to him!" she shouted, trying to get it out. "If I had not listened to him I might be a ninja myself right now." Michiko said seeming to think back on a sad memory. "Do not fool yourself... You cannot use ninjutsu or genjutsu...you could never be a ninja." Lee said not even flinching. "I almost was Rock, that is, until I listened to your father....I was almost the first to graduate without any special talent." she said. "but, I let him get the best of me and now I live my life in sorrow wishing every day that I could have one more chance. "You almost graduated the ninja academy?" Lee asked wide eyed. Michiko nodded slowly. "How? If you cannot use ninjutsu or genjutsu, how could you have fought?" he asked. "I fought with Taijutsu." she smiled. "Taijutsu?" he asked. "Yes, I trained every day...any spare moment...until...he..well..that isn't important I suppose..." Michiko said gazing outward to the ninja academy that Lee had been staring at before. "Being a shinobi has always been my dream...my calling...it is not about power or natural talent...it is about protecting the ones you care for and giving all your effort." She smiled at little Lee when she turned. The wind blew the cherry blossom petals down from the trees, it was a beautiful sight as they blew past their heads. It resembled the teapot quite nicely. "If you want to enter the ninja academy when you’re of age, you can. I will always be supporting you." She smiled, her long dark hair blowing to the south with the cherry blossoms. Lee smiled and hugged his mother. "I love you." he said. "I love you, too." she smiled. They stopped hugging when a loud shout broke their cry. "What did I say about the roof?!" Kurokawa boomed. Lee bravely marched up to his father and looked him straight in his angered eyes bravely.
"Father, I am going to enter the shinobi academy when I am a big kid! I will prove to you and everyone that hard work beats out natural talent! I will become a splendid ninja without ninjutsu or genjutsu!" he said with confidence. Kurokawa chuckled to himself, "You can train till your hands bleed like your mother's, but all you're going to prove is what a waste of time it is." he smirked. "We shall see." Lee said going back into his room. "And you!" Kurokawa said angrily waving his fist toward Michiko.
"Sometimes I’m sorry I ever married you." he sneered. "You forced this marriage on me because of beauty, not because of love." she said turning to him angrily. "Get inside!" he yelled. Michiko calmed herself as much as she could before stepping into the house.
6 YEARS LATER....
Lee was training in the ninja academy. Kids whispered, as everyone rushed out of the building in fits of laughter and smiles. Class had ended but Lee continued his training on school grounds. He had been going at it for an hour more than he should have which he had already mentioned to his parents.
"Father said, after training to come straight home." Lee said, sadly looking at all the beautiful lanterns that were being set up for the summer celebration festival. As he began on the dirt road back home he saw children catching fireflies and adults with stands set up selling fans, pastries, and other luxuries. Lee wanted nothing more than to have someone next to him when he saw the families walk around enjoying the beginning of the festivities. He wished his beautiful mother was next to him. He wished that tonight he could watch the fireworks go off while dipping his feet in the lake to cool himself off. But, father's orders were father's orders. Lee watched a family of three, just like his own (A mother, a father, and a son.) walking along. The mother and father kissed each other and the father picked his son up in his arms and flew him around like a plane. Lee could have burst into tears at this moment, but he held them back. All he'd ever wanted was to impress his father. Yes, his dream would always be to become a shinobi impressing him or not but, he wished with all his heart for a father who loved him. He sucked all his emotions up and tried to forget about it. Suddenly a thought overcame Lee's 10 year old mind. What if I just say there was a bit of traffic? This way I can enjoy the festival and perhaps catch a glimpse of the fireworks." "It is decided." Lee grinned happily. He ran through the streets that had been now only lit by lanterns, fireflies, and stands. The sun had only a little ways to go until setting. Lee pushed his way through the crowd to watch the parade begin. His eyes widened when he saw shinobi and Rulers from another village on their way home. In the arms of The male ruler was a princess about Lee's age who waved to everyone as if she were the center of the parade. She seemed like she was having quite a lot of fun. Lee remembered the scene before him of the pink hue of the lanterns on the carriage and the light shining on the villgers' faces forever. "Well, well, well, if it isn't dork Lee." said the voice of a boy about Lee's age. Lee turned to see his classmate, Kaori Yusuke. "Yusuke?" Lee asked. "Duh! What, are your eyebrows blocking your vision, dork Lee?!" he laughed. Lee looked onward to the festival in an attempt to ignore the boy. "Lee and princess sitting in a tree!" he laughed, making kissing sounds. "Stop that! I am only watching the parade!" he said, getting angry at Yusuke at this point. "Haha, no way, dork Lee!" "Stop calling me that!" "No way, dork Lee. By the end of the week I'll have everyone in school calling you that." He said, shoving Lee on 'dork' into a man who looked already irritated with the noise the two young boys were making. "My apologies." Lee said bowing. "You should be ashamed! I could call your parents on you, I hope you know that!" The man said. Lee's heart sunk when he remembered that his father probably wouldn't like his excuse for being late home. Yusuke saw his worry. "Your dad doesn't know you’re out, does he, dork Lee? Ha! Your dad gets so angry that he wakes my stupid brother up with his yelling from down the street...I wonder what would happen if he knew you were out now." Yusuke smirked. "No Yusuke!" he yelled. "Ha, then do what I say, got it, dork Lee?" he laughed. "What do you want, Yusuke?" he asked in an irritated tone. "Give me your necklace!" he smirked. Lee ran his hand over the necklace, which matched his father's. "But this is my clansmen symbol." Lee said. "I can tell it's important...that’s why I want it, dork Lee! Unless you want me to tell daddy you've been a bad boy!" he laughed. Lee sadly stared at the necklace. He removed it and gave it to Yusuke. Yusuke took it and ran towards Lee's house anyway. "Yusuke, we had a deal!" Lee shouted. All Yusuke did was laugh. Lee knew what he needed to do: run, and that’s exactly what he did. He arrived at a curry stand. He had always wanted to try it, but his family was fairly poor and all he had in his pocket was 100 yen. (which if I’m right is worth about $1.00 in America.) Lee looked up at the sign, which read 150 yen was the price for a cup of curry. There goes his chance to eat curry, while watching the fireworks. A tall figure shadowed over him. Lee just knew it was his father. He was shocked to turn and see his mother. "Do you still have your allowance?" she asked. "Yes, but that is not enough." he answered relieved and shocked that his father wasn't the one there. Michiko paid for a cup of curry and gave it to her son. "Happy summer, Rock." she smiled. Lee grinned and took a big spoonful of curry and shoved it into his mouth. He instantly fell in love with its taste. "That boy Yusuke has some nerve, coming to our house at this hour, yelling about how you fell in love with a princess." Michiko laughed. "I told him I was only watching the parade!" Lee defended. He blushed a bit. "Girls are icky." he said crossing his arms. His mother laughed a bit. "Where is father?" "He left for a mission, he is not sure when he will be back." "Mother?" Lee inquired after taking another bite of curry. "Yes?" "May we watch the fireworks by the lake tonight?" "Well, it is already quite late but, I suppose this one time we can." Lee jumped for joy. That night Michiko and Lee watched the fireworks and had a lot of fun doing it. When he went to bed that night, Lee had hope in his dreams. The next day he trained past school, as usual, but this time headed straight home. Not even Yusuke's teasing upset him today, even if he did get another boy named Fukada to start saying "dork Lee", it couldn't ruin his mood. Lee was on top of the world. He opened the door with a grin and closed eyes, but opened them to see a trashed house with the stove still on. His worried eyes filled with tears. "Mother!" he cried. He ran all over the house but, he was completely alone. His last hope was to report his missing mother and wait for his father's return. So that’s what he did. He reported and waited....and waited....and waited.... Nothing....Neither returned. Lee eventually gave up on waiting and learned to care for himself. He never told anyone anything else....
END OF FLASHBACK.
"So, you see, I do not know if either of them are alive." I said.