A/N: Helloo. Well, I was um. Inspired! Lol. I was watching the filler episodes on Kiba's team and I suddenly got this idea. And I scribbled it on a piece of paper and had been lazy to type it up since. BUT now I've gotten over my laziness, so here it is! Please R&R, I want to know if this one-shot is any good…thank you! XD


Always
I love her, I really do. I guess she and I were just never meant to be.

I mean, she had always had a thing for Naruto, and I suppose she was the devoted type. She was shy and rarely talked to others, so I felt really special whenever she came over to have lunch with me and Shino during training. She always played with Akamaru, and I could tell Akamaru enjoyed her presence.

Slowly but surely, I began to look forward to our lunch breaks.

She had always been rather chatty with me, while she hardly communicated with Shino. Not that she could be blamed – Shino was hardly the social butterfly.

Soon I began to notice the little things about her. Like the way her eyes sparkled whenever she got excited, and the way she always fiddled with her fingers when she was nervous or scared. I liked to see her smile, because whenever she was happy, I was happy too. I know it sounds corny; even Akamaru thinks so. But her smile is so tender and innocent that I sometimes wonder why she doesn't smile more often.

During our training sessions with Kurenai, I usually went slightly easier on her. One day, however, Shino threw a kunai towards her, but she couldn't dodge in time. It cut her waist, barely missing her stomach, and she was rushed to the hospital. Though it was a minor injury and she told me not to worry, I could tell she had been crying from her wet cheeks, and Shino got an earful from me.

Shino had kept very quiet while I ranted at him. I occasionally screamed my lungs out in a single breath and my cheeks felt terribly hot. Finally he turned to look at me (well, I THINK he was looking at me; no one can really tell when he keeps those glasses on all the time). He said, "You love her, don't you?"

I shut up after that. I was stunned; the very thought had never occurred to me before. I just thought of myself as her close friend, maybe even a brother. But to love her as more than that? It somehow felt wrong to me. I refused to believe Shino, and when she was discharged from the hospital, we did not mention a word of our previous conversation. And so the years went by.

She became more and more beautiful as time passed, and even I had entertained thoughts of what it would be like to be her boyfriend. She became more daring, and when she finally asked Naruto out on Valentine's Day when we were 17, I felt an unexpected pang in my heart.

I suppose things could have turned out differently. I mean, I was on the same team as her, and knew her better than anyone else. I don't think she would have rejected me had I asked her out when we were younger.

I guess this is what I get for procrastinating. Akamaru tells me about what a fool I had been. I could care less, but the pain in my heart is unbearable as I now watch her and Naruto say their marriage vows.

Yes, today is Naruto and Hinata's wedding day, and I was of course invited, along with most of the villagers.

As Naruto and Hinata start to lean towards each other for a kiss, I find myself turning away. I cannot bear to look, for it breaks my heart. Akamaru sits on the floor and whines, but I don't need his pity.

The wedding dinner finally starts, and as Hinata walks by my table I suddenly catch hold of her arm and embrace her in a fierce hug. She is startled, but not surprised. She murmurs my name, and I can feel people staring at the both of us. But I don't care.

Finally, I whisper hoarsely, "Congratulations on your wedding, Hinata-chan," and we break apart. Hinata looks at me and smiles, but her smile is now different from what it used to be. It no longer looks tender or innocent, but instead is a mixture of sadness and regret. She quietly says her thanks, and turns around to join Naruto at merry-making.

I hope I did not cry – guys shouldn't cry. But as I sit back down at my table, I feel a hot liquid burning against my cheeks, and Shino gives me a weird look. Then again, I never know if he really is looking at me; he doesn't ever remove those damn glasses of his.

You know what? I still love her, very much. But all I can do now is to watch her from afar, wishing to get back all that I had lost. I had wasted the time I could have spent with her, all those years on Kurenai's team; I wonder if she still remembers the fun times we had as Team 8. I clench my fists as I think about the infinite possibilities.

She now belongs to another man, and I know he will treat her well.

Still, I am hoping for another chance and am living in the past. I know that no matter how long it takes, I will be right there waiting for her…always.