She isn't just a girl. She isn't just a chuunin. She isn't just an heiress to an eminent clan. She is more than these to those that behold her.

i. Needed

I've been taking this path to town for many years now that I have practically mastered every step. My feet stop walking as I reach the gates of walled expanse.

It isn't the least populated track or the shortest way—

It just took me to her direction.

I've been doing so everyday.

Let's just call it training.

Unnecessary training. But I still do it. If it is unnecessary, then it is not needed. If it is not needed and I still do it, then it is a waste of time. And wasting time is foolish. Fine. So it is foolish. But it is this foolishness that –

Her voice wakes me up from my autopilot mode.

"Ohayou gozaimasu, Shino-kun." She greets me with a smile.

"Have you been waiting long?" I asked. It was the only …appropriate thing to ask.

"Not really. Will Kurenai-sensei be with us today?" And we start walking to the direction of the training grounds.

"No. She hasn't come back yet."

"So, it'll be just you, me and Kiba-kun."


She knew that Kurenai-sensei wouldn't be back for another week. She knew that it'll always be Kiba, me and her doing training together. This conversation was another …unnecessary thing. I could have just kept quiet and saved my breath. I could've just gone my way to the training grounds alone.

She could've just left me alone. She could've not asked questions that she knew the answers to. She could've just pretended not to see me and not greet me with a cheerful smile on her little rose lips.

And I'm glad that my musings were not reality.

..because I've realized long ago that I needed these to keep me human — that I needed her.

She tugs at my jacket. "We're here, Shino-kun."

Those Who Behold Her
Ch1: Needed
edited 07-22-11

AN: The story's set after the time skip. They're all 16. Let's pretend that Sasuke returned, Gaara didn't die and Sai never existed. Work with me here. :3