Title Training Ground
Author Uozumi
Genre General/Romance
Rating G
Disclaimer I do not own nor claim to own this. The characters, ect...contained within are not my property. This is an act of fandom and I do not make a profit from this endeavor.
Summary Choji gives and never takes. That is who he is. Ino/Choji.

Training Ground

Choji gives and never takes. They've known each other for a very long time and even when they were little, he would listen and she would cry. The first time they met was out near one of the training grounds by his house back before they were even in the academy. She had been crying over breaking her mother's vase and hiding out there to bide time before she could think of a good excuse or how to make it up to her mother.

Ino was never a crier even if she cried sometimes. They had girls in their class that could cry without thinking about it, but only when she was deeply troubled did she cry. Mostly she would get mad and start shouting. Still he was there to listen to her. The day Sakura decided to become her rival was a day that he sat just outside that same training area and listened to her rant and rave about it. He was always listening and she was always carrying on.

When Sakura got placed on Sasuke's team, he listened again. He didn't even flinch when she made jabs in his direction; he only sat there and took it. He knew that in a way she didn't mean what she was saying and he was used to her jabs now. Even if the jabs had started to hurt.

They grew up for a year on the same Genin team when she hid her tears. Their team had planned to meet, but when Ino didn't show, Choji offered to go look for her. He tried a few normal places like her house and the shop. When he came to the place just outside of the training grounds near his house, he slowed. He could hear her crying. For a few years when she cried, she would at least tell him something was wrong. Worried, he debated how to approach her. She might just want to be alone he reasoned.

He approached cautiously and she spoke before he could get too close. She had confessed her love to Sasuke and Sasuke had thrown it right back in her face. It hurt so much and she hated that she was crying. Choji said nothing and came and sat by her and she cried into his shoulder, clutching his shirt until the sun had been down for quite some time.

It wasn't always bad. After Sasuke ran away, Ino and Sakura made up and were very good friends again. Choji found that Ino went to Sakura more often for her problems and he respected that. She cycled through boyfriends and only on occasion did he come across her in one of her rages in that training ground behind his house. She would rant at him about boys and a year after Sasuke disappeared, she told him that any girl would be lucky to have him. Choji only smiled but said nothing. He was a giver, not a taker so he merely smiled and thanked her so she wouldn't worry.

Soon both had a few boyfriends and girlfriends to their names. Ino would go on and on to Choji about them sometimes and he listened but never said anything about his girlfriends. He dated girls she barely knew, mostly plain girls who weren't ninja. She dated people in their circle from Naruto to Shikamaru, even though that stint had been to cover up Shikamaru's relationship with Temari.

One day everything changed. They were nearing twenty and Ino brought him out to the training ground, faced him, and demanded to hear him complain about something. She told him that for years she had ranted, raved, cried, and screamed here and he said nothing about himself. She asked him how he could take it and how he could stand it. She didn't understand why he ahd cared. It would have been easy if it had started when they were finally in a Genin group. Then she could deduce it had been because they were teammates. However, she had been doing this for well before that.

Choji grew quiet and didn't answer. He is a giver and not a taker and he cares too much to take from Ino. So he tells her it's because she's his friend. He also assures her that he doesn't have anything to complain about and is quite happy. She forces him to promise to come to her if he ever wants to let off steam. He promises and she smiles.

Because he gives and never takes, he never lives up to his promise. Two years later, she's getting married and he knows he can't complain to her about that. He goes with one of the village girls and congratulates her and her husband, smiling his good natured smile. He could have asked her out many times, he could have told her how he felt even more times, but instead he had kept it hidden. It was best that way and he assures himself of that as he watches her dance with her husband and laugh happily.

Choji gives and never takes. He sacrifices the self to make his friends happy because to him that is his way of being a true friend. He doesn't let things bother him too much and he always smiles and is always there. That is who he is.

The End