There she is again. I don't even have to look up to know that it's her. I can tell by the way the door is opened. I lift my head, slowly, very slowly, just a little bit so that I can see her. I was right. It's her. Her in all her beauty. Her in all her elegance. She's standing in the door frame, looking around.

She's looking for someone she knows, someone who waits for her. I am waiting for her, but she doesn't know. She isn't looking for me. I know that, but yet I'm nervous. Her eyes meet mine for a second and I quickly look away, gripping the glass in front of me so no one can see my hands shaking.

"Hey, have you fallen asleep?", Kiba asks and jostles me, making me spill my beer. We're at a bar, him and Shino and me. Kiba asked me to come with them.

"Is something wrong?", he asks, his vivid dark orbs eyeing me suspiciously.

"No, it's nothing", I smile at him.

"You haven't said a word for at least five minutes", he frowns, "are you sure you're okay?"

Right. He must be confused. I usually talk and yell all the time.

"I'm fine", I say, "I'm just a bit tired."

It's true, I wanted to go to bed early today, but I just couldn't miss the chance to go out with two of my friends again. I've been alone for a long time. Well, not really alone, actually, I was with my sensei all the time, but it wasn't too much fun, if you know what I mean. Being trained by him isn't easy.

"You seem a little restless", Shino says. His voice is calm and low as usual, but he looks different, maybe because he isn't wearing his hood. However, he's still hiding. He's wearing a black polo-neck jersey with long sleeves, long jeans, and his sunglasses, although it's pretty hot and dark in here.

He leans back and hands me a cigarette.

"Just to calm down a bit."

I gladly accept his offer. I don't smoke very often, but it's good to calm down, as he said. He twirls a lighter between his fingers, so I quickly put the cigarette between my lips and let him light it.

"Why do I have to sit between you two, huh?", Kiba whines and holds his nose. He, in contrast to Shino, looks as usual, dressed in black shorts and a tight T-shirt, the symbol of his clan printed across his chest. The only weird thing is that Akamaru isn't with him. Dogs aren't allowed at bars like this, especially not as big ones as him.

My hands stop shaking when I draw the first drag. It's funny how things change. I always thought I would stay sober all my life to keep my body healthy and fit for battling, but here I am, sitting at a bar with a cigarette in my right and a glass of beer in my left hand, and I'm even enjoying it. The three of us aren't adults yet, but we're of age, allowed to do what we want, somehow. And what are we doing? Talking about former times, when we used to do silly things all day, playing tricks on people, skipping lessons, hanging out outside reading manga while the others were in class. At least Kiba and me. And Shikamaru, of course. I wonder where he is.