Lady Shardae here! This was written while I was going through a large bowt (bout?) of indecision relating to my ex. My best friends asked what my problem was, so I explained about the whole 'Love' factor to them.

Aaaaaaand.................!! I turned it into this cute little one-shot. So I present Lady Shardae's belief about Love compact with Chouji Fluff! ;3

He held me close, and I was happy. I was comfortable, and content. This was where I belonged, in his arms. But he said the words I'd dreaded to hear.

"I love you, Teska," He whispered into my hair, and squeezed me a little tighter. A lump formed in my throat as I stood there in his embrace. I couldn't stand the silence filled with expectation and pulled away from him. I looked up at him guiltily.

"I'm sorry Chouji. I can't tell you that..." I watched as his face fell. My heart broke, I wanted to squeeze him, but I couldn't bring myself to utter that little phrase. 'I love you' was not something I took lightly.

"Why?" He inquired, obviously hurt. His hands found mine and held me in the spot.

I looked down at my hands, I wanted to run and never turn back. I didn't want to face the hurt this would cause. I peaked back up at him through my bangs and bit my lip.

The silence stretched on and I finally spoke, "That's not a phrase I can say, Chouji. I can't promise you all that it entails to me. You mean more to me than you could ever know...more than I know, but that's not 'love' to me."

I couldn't hold his gaze. I'd dreaded having to explain this to the shinobi. I didn't know if I could promise him what that phrase entitled, even if he wasn't a shinobi.

"Then what is love to you?"

"Love is a promise. It's saying you'll help that person live life to the fullest. You'll watch over them; help them stay healthy. Be there to congratulate them. Be there with them when they fail and encourage them to try again. Be the shoulder they have to cry on.

"It's promising you'll be there for them whenever they need you and whatever they need you for. It's being their protector. Saying you'll be there through everything, every time something goes wrong. Every time something goes right. Every time they need inspiration. Every time they're stuck, in trouble, or not able to help themselves. It's promising you'll share everything with them, that you'll always, always, always be there for them.

"And I can't promise you that. I'm so sorry Chouji, you have no idea how much I want to tell you that I love you. But, I can't tell my parents I love them, because I don't know if I can promise that I'll always be there for them." I let out in one breath, and held the next. I looked expectantly at the ninja, waiting for laughter, a disbelieving face, something, but all I got was an awed silence.

"Chouji?" I pulled my hand from his grasp and touched his cheek, forcing myself to meet his gaze despite my embarrassment.

"I didn't realize it held that much meaning to you," He brought his hand up to blanket mine on his face, "Don't feel bad. I can live with it." He held my face between his hands when I looked down. "But I love you. Never forget that." He pulled me back into a hug.

"I want to tell you, really I do. But the words get stuck in my throat, and the back of my mind screams at me that I can't promise you. As much as I want to." I buried my face in his chest and took a deep breath.

"Hey, don't be sorry Teska. We all have our quirks. This is just one of yours."

I looked up at him and gave him a tentative smile. "Really?"

Chouji smiled, and the swirls on his cheeks made it appear so much smaller. "Yes, I know you love me by my definition."

I beamed at him; he was so considerate. He leaned down and pecked my forehead. "I know you'll get there. And I can wait."

I put my cheek against his chest and closed my eyes.

"And it makes it all the more special when you do, Teska."

I smiled, "I promise. I'll tell you that as soon as I know for sure it's true."