Hi all! This is my second Naruto story up so far, and others are on the writing stage right now. Hopefully, they'll be up soon.

Anyways, the inspiration came the night when I realized that it had been over a year since me and Laria met. Then, I just based it off this.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

---Touched---

How she longed to be touched; to be held; to be embellished with comfort.

But she couldn't.

Nobody would touch her; nobody would hold her; nobody would provide the comfort.

And why?

No one knew why. They just... didn't.

Was it really that big of a mystery? After all, she was shy, and the only people she was commonly with was her teammates and teacher. But every other time, she was alone; afraid. She was afraid of the one person who hated her the most – just because she existed. She was afraid that he would harm her in some way. So she kept to herself, making herself invisible from the world.

She was shy.

She was alone.

She was afraid of him.

Her fear of him got worse when she found out she would have to face him in the preliminary rounds of the Chuunin exam. They walked up, stopping a few feet away from each other. Her hands grasped at the soft material that lined her jacket, soaking away what little comfort it provided. Eyes were downcast, only glancing up at her opponent when he had grasped her attention.

"Give up."

Her eyes widened with shock and terror, lips quivering with fear as he continued talking. She felt what little self esteem she had slip away from her and she stood there, withering away as he pounded insult after insult – taunt after taunt – at her. She looked away, guilt grabbing at her as his words sank within her, and she tried grasping the truth that she thought was there.

She opened her mouth, meekly trying to deny the facts and assumptions that he had just stated. But she lost her voice as she spoke, and her sentence was left hanging without finishing. Tears threatened to appear around her eyes and she looked away again, not wanting to show her displeasure to him.

But her quiet denials couldn't stop him from continuing on, and she could only gaze up at him as he touched upon the topic of change and fate. Again, she opened her mouth to deny that she wanted to leave, even though on the inside, she was begging somebody to take her away to someplace else – someplace where she wouldn't have to face him.

Her entire body was shaking now, watching helplessly as he pressed his hands together to form a seal. His eyes closed in concentration, opening them the second he had activated the Hyuuga bloodline limit. Veins popped out on the sides of his eyes, a ring of power hitting the girl, the force of it making her shake even more.

His eyes were downcast and Hinata watched, unable to stop the constant quivering that racked her small body. He looked up, the intensity of emotion in his eyes scaring her to the core. Whimpers were heard from the girl as the Hyuuga prodigy gazed intently at her, eyes narrowed slightly as he watched her every move.

The whole room shook with silence, the audience staring at the Hyuuga pair below. Her arms were held up instinctively, trying to use them as shields against the other. Thoughts raced through the girl's mind, effectively making her quiver even more. She continued thinking, trying to distract herself from penetrating eyes that seemed to look through her.

She looked away, only snapping her attention back to the other Hyuuga when he had broke the silence with his words. He continued talking, words striking her inside, breaking down her mental defenses. He began to tear her apart, the shattered remains of her emotional state lying carelessly on the floor, and it was just by his words. She was afraid; shaking in nervousness around him. His power-enhanced eyes pierced through her like an arrow as he looked at her, opening his mouth to speak.

"That you cannot change-"

"You can!"

Frightened, white eyes turned to the source of the voice, anger radiating from him as color drained from his hands, which encased the railing tightly. His entire form shook with the anger that was growing with every passing second, his gaze staring at the Hyuuga prodigy, who glanced behind him.

"Don't label people like that, you idiot! Beat him up, Hinata!"

Only a quiet whisper was heard from the girl, the words being the name of the person who had spoken last. Fear ebbed away from her only slightly, but not enough to relinquish it. The orange-clad boy gripped the railing tightly again.

"Hinata!" He screamed, ignoring the looks from the other bystanders, "Why don't you say something back?! It's making the people watching get angry!"

She found the floor interesting to look at, and she remained quiet; the entire room was wrapped up in the silence. Only movements were made; the most distinctive one was Neji's head turning to settle his gaze upon the quiet girl.

'Naruto-kun...'

She looked up at him, white eyes meeting white eyes. But something different about one pair of eyes; something had changed. Her eyes were no longer filled with a sense of fear, but with a new found confidence.

'Thank you.'

The other boy's eyes filled with slight shock, taking notice about the new feelings that were swimming in his cousin's eyes. His own set narrowed, and he pestered her more about giving up. But she took no heed to his advice, raising her arms and performing seals at a rapid rate.

'I...'

She was changing with every seal she made. She felt confidence building up to replace the fear that was ebbing away. Thoughts wandered over to her savior – Naruto. Thoughts lingered upon the courageous acts that he had done; acts that inspired her to do the same.

'I don't want to...'

She doubted that anybody would touch her; hold her; comfort her. She doubted that anybody would physically touch her in any way, except if they were fighting. But, today – the day she fought her stronger and more superior cousin – she found a different way to be touched.

'... Run away anymore!'

Emotionally.

She mentally thanked Naruto for touching her; not on the arm, not on the face, but in her soul. And as she performed her last seal, she found herself ready to take on her stronger cousin. In fact, she was ready for anything.

And it was because of Naruto's words.

"Byakugan!"

---The End---

Thank you readers, for reading. Thank you reviewers for reviewing. Thank you everybody who beta-read this story, and a special thank you to Raye, who caught a mistake in here that everybody else missed.

This story is dedicated to my online friends who, even though they can't touch me physically, can touch me emotionally.