Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > Stumbling Blind

No Time to Breathe

by Virgo 0 reviews

It sucks being popular.

Category: Naruto - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst - Characters:  Ino, Shikamaru - Published: 2005-05-08 - Updated: 2005-05-08 - 5993 words

Stumbling Blind
11. No Time to Breathe

bgm- "I Will Not Take These Things for Granted", Toad the Wet Sprocket

Deep night in Konoha is a time of movement. Subtle movement, movement normal people wouldn't see. Movement genin would rarely notice. Movement that was shadowed and perfected and neigh impossible to notice out of pure chance.

It was a time of training.

They spotted their target with little difficulty (as overlooking a building is not the sort of observational skills the academy promotes) and pressed for a decent vantage point.

The trick of moving in the night is to not melt into the shadow, it's to mold the shadow around you, cloak your movement. The darkness is a natural trickster, only a fool would ignore its latent illusionary talents. Move your body like a wave, never let yourself stay still. Even if the body doesn't move, roiling chakra around you gives the impression of blurring and movement. Shadow didn't contain hard curves or edges, the things inside it did.

A ninja did not.

Neither did a kunai until it was out of the dark's cloak.

It thunked with just enough force to let the occupant of the room know that something was there. Something they were supposed to see.


Something they were supposed to read attached to something they were suppose to see if they got their lazy ass up, dammit!

Another kunai hit within six inches of the first.

Still the shuttered window refused to open.

It got to the point where the ninja stepped onto the porch (mindful of any wayward traps) and opened the shutters, knocking on the glass pane. Then jimmied open the window because there was still no answer.

"Oi!" The other two were approaching cautiously as the first hissed into the room. "Wake up! Dammit, we got training!" There was another pause and no movement. "I said wake up!" A hand grabbed the nearest, not immediately lethal object to throw.

It bounced harmlessly off the pillow that somehow managed to get from beneath the sleeping nin's head to cover protectively over him.

"If you're not a dream," Shikamaru grumbled from under said fluffy shield, "then go away. If you are a dream, you've got five seconds to turn into something worthwhile."

"Che. We're no dream."

"....I wouldn't be lucky enough for you guys to leave, either, would I?"

"Not a chance."

He groaned. Dammit, this sucked. "Okay, okay, I'm coming."

They waited patiently.



"Get the hell out of bed!"


She knocked again, hoping- after five minutes of trying -that something different would happen. Like someone actually answering the door.

It was passed noon and Shikamaru had promised that he'd take some time off to have lunch with her (which she actually had to force out of him, but he gave his word regardless). Provided, of course, that he wasn't suddenly called away on another surprise mission.

But he must be here, Ino thought to herself. She made him promise after the.... Sound-Sasuke Incident that he would find her and tell her before each mission that he would return and, in case she was asleep, he would at least leave her a note.

"Just promise you'll come back to me. That's all I want to hear." She told him. And today, no note, no promise and no boyfriend. Oh, he was definitely going to hear about this....

She knocked once more, waiting for an answer she knew she wasn't going to get. Then she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Circling to the back, she eyed the long porch that extended from under Shikamaru's bedroom window to his father's. It was an easy task getting up there and she peered into Shikamaru's dark room, still and untouched by the sunlight. Experimentally she tested the picture window, mildly surprised to find it unlocked. It stuck a couple times and she winced as she had to jiggle it, hoping no one was home and thinking she was a thief (who generally don't last very long in a town full of ninja).

By the third jam, she figured she had forced it open enough for her to slip through.

His room, though rather bare, was still surprisingly messy. Books and scrolls on the desks, scattered on the floor, clothes draped wherever they fell. Ino was actually surprised that he had studying material and training equipment. Shikamaru didn't seem like the type to study. In fact, the only reason he didn't graduate at the bottom of the class was because- unlike Naruto -he could actually do jutsu.

Picking through the room, she noticed something odd by the door. Approaching it, she realized it was a Konoha-styled flak jacket lying there. With Shikamaru still wearing it. Crawling closer, Ino held out a hand, deciding it best to wake him up and move him to his bed. She wasn't sure if she had even touched him before the boy jolted upright, putting as much distance between them as the door would allow.

Eventually dawn opened in Shikamaru's dark eyes. "Ino! Jeez!" Tiredly, he scrubbed his face with his hands. "....what're you doing here?"

She stuck her tongue out at him. "Good afternoon to you, too."

"Afternoon....?" He peered at the clock and groaned. "Damn..."

Taking his arm she helped him to his feet. "You look awful. What happened?"

"They decided to get me for some night maneuvers. I didn't get back until 5 or so...." 'They' meant whatever jounin was available to train him at that particular moment. Being the only genin promoted and apparently having impressed Godaime meant he only got extra attention. He wanted to curl up and die right there and end it all if it didn't hurt so much.

Then something hit him. "....we were going to eat together, weren't we?" Ino nodded. "Che...." Life was really sucking right now.

"Don't worry about it."

"....." He looked up at her. "....what?"

"Don't worry about it." She said again, taking Shikamaru to his bed. "You look like you're about to fall over. Just get some rest."

Wordlessly he allowed her to lead, not sure what to say and far too tired to think as Ino untangled old clothes from his bed sheets while he sluggishly discarded his flak. He scowled as Ino fluffed his pillow, doubly so as she tucked him in. With his masculinity wounded, he turned his back to her. And then he felt his bed depress. Looking over his shoulder, he found Ino sitting next to him.

"What're you doing?" He grumbled. He tried to glare, but the bags under his eyes just made him appear even more tired.

"I'm just making sure you go to sleep."

"You don't have to watch me."

"You don't have to watch me, either. But you do." Ino got a good look at Shikamaru's blush before he had the chance to turn away. She thought it was rather sweet, actually. And knowing he'd be embarassed if she ever found out, never made any indication that she was awake through most of his late night visits. Her father would go spastic if he ever found out, though. Even if it was Shikamaru.

Shikamaru, on the other hand, was trying very hard to forget what she said and to forget that she was there at all. That decided, he began regulating his breathing, filling his hara and feeling his chi circulating the seas and passing through the gates. He felt for the knots in his body, carefully untangling them string for string relaxing each fiber of muscle as he moved from his toes on up. On a normal night he'd reach his shoulders before he was able to sleep. This time he didn't even finish his calves before his mind decided he had enough.

The tension was still in his expression, even when he fell asleep. Gently, Ino loosened his hair tie and combed the tangled strands across the pillow. Shikamaru frowned a bit and Ino's fingertips stilled against the back of his neck. He let out an exhausted sigh and his entire frame seemed to sink. It never really hit her how strained he was until that moment, watching as each faint crease slowly smoothed themselves out. All except for that perpetual line between his eyes.

She sat over him for a long moment, enjoying the sense of security she somehow got from watching him sleep. He shifted again, a restless shadow passing over his face as he turned onto his back. Then rolled over onto Ino, an arm draped across her waist.

A hand went up to her mouth to stifle a squeak, wide eyes focused on his expression almost fearfully. Something seemed to trouble his expression for a moment, but, as he settled more fully onto Ino, it was quickly dismissed.

Fighting back the instinct to push him away, she wriggled slightly in his grasp, delicately repositioning his head against something not so embarrassing. Sure he'd have a killer neck ache when he woke up, but she figured it was the price he'd pay for using her as a body pillow.

She didn't know how long time passed, she was too tangled in the thin strings of emotion that went through Shikamaru as he slept, the ones he wouldn't show to anyone at any other time. She watched as the muscles in his jaw clenched, how his regular annoyed pout grew more exasperated, even when something in his dreams made him chuckled against her side. It made Ino somehow feel more connected to him, seeing as he dreamed some distant memory that had him clutching onto her, burying the tears that dried against his lashes. She saw things as he slept no one else had ever seen before. And she treasured it.

Just as she were starting to drift off herself, though, her attention was caught by a low moan rumbling through his chest. Craning her neck to peer down into Shikamaru's face, she noticed the deepened crease in his brow and faded flush across his cheeks. For a moment she was afraid that he may have gotten sick, but as he snuggled closer against her, she felt something nudge against her thigh. What....?

As she realized what it was, Ino's own face began a slow burn. Here, she decided, is where I draw the line.

The teenage body was, indeed, an unreliable thing.

With all the care the world was willing to lend her, she drew her leg out from under his and gently lifted both his head and arm from around her, slipping out of his bed. From the way Shikamaru curled into the space she had previously occupied and the confused expression on his face, Ino didn't think he was much happy with that turn of events. He let out a huff, but did nothing else.

She stood there and watched him for a moment longer and decided, oddly enough, that it was kind of cute. She shook her head. The guy has a wet dream holding on to her and she felt flatter. Something seemed wrong with that thought, but she couldn't help it. Pushing back a strand of hair from Shikamaru's face, she put her palm against his cheek, almost half expecting him to nuzzle it, or maybe even open his eyes in the confused state between sleep and awareness.

But he did nothing and Ino's mind had to force her to leave and let him rest.


Even if it was a nice day with a cool breeze and a warm sun, she still would be pissed. And the fact that it was a horrible day with a heavy rain and oppressive heat that couldn't escape the pressure of the afternoon just made her more than pissed. It made her super pissed.

And why, might one ask, was she super pissed?

Well, obviously because of the terrible condition the day was in. And she was outside in it.

And, most importantly, he was /late/, in every sense of the word because once she saw him, he was dead.

Ino just crossed her arms and sighed impatiently, resisting the urge to tap her foot or fingers or something. Which lasted about a minute before some odd appendage of hers moved. Whatever tattoo got beat out signified just how pissed she was. This particular one almost seemed like a long, continuous sound.

Oh, yeah. He was going to get it.

Turning her head this way and that, she looked for a familiar silhouette. And when none came out of the mist and rain, she began to settle for any silhouette.

Looking at the clock Shikamaru was now twenty minutes late and she was beginning to think that this was another busted date- third one in two weeks. Just a few more minutes, she told herself, and then I'm gone.

Of course, being the hopeless romantic she was, Ino wound up standing there for another fifteen minutes. By that time the storeowner had given her a cup of tea while she waited. He shook his head, wondering how kids nowadays could go around, leaving each other like that during such terrible weather.

The empty cup sat next to her for a while before she decided to return it. As she came back from the counter, the door rang open and someone dripped irritably on the floor. Thoroughly soaked, Shikamaru grimaced at her as water dripped down for his nose. The shoulders of his flak jacket was eight shades darker than the rest.


"You're late." She said haughtily, desperately ignoring the presence of the flak.

"I know. Ino-"

"You're damn late." She was glaring at him now. "Do you know how long I was waiting out there for you? Where were you? By now we've missed the show and I'm starving and you don't even have an-"

"Ino." He said forcefully. If she kept going, he'd never get a word in until she ran out of things to rant about. And from her expression that wouldn't have happened for a long, long time. "I can't go out with you today."

Her anger stumbled to a crash. ".....What?"

With a huff, he rubbed the back of his neck, wiping the rain that gathered there. "I spent the last hour getting briefed for a mission. I'll be gone for a couple days."

Ino's face crumpled. "But.... You just got back from a mission the other day! We had this day all planned out!"

"I know."

"I've been waiting for this day all week....!"

His shoulders hunched a bit, feeling guilty though he knew he shouldn't be. "I know, I know. I'm trying but things keep coming up."

Biting her lip, Ino put a hand to her forehead. After a few deep breathes, she felt in control enough to say, "I feel like you're leaving me behind. I never get to see you and we never get to be together. It's just..... It's hard, okay?"

"I know."

"It hurt when my dad was always gone, but it hurts more now....." She trailed off, wondering if this was how her mother used to feel. "Because I don't have anyone to keep me company."

He had a slightly calculating look. "You know, maybe you should stop being so competitive." Ino looked up at him, clearly not following. "It's because you want to be the best kunoichi, you don't think you can be friends with any of the other girls. Not to mention most of them are scared of you, anyway."

The girl raised an eyebrow at him. "You're telling me to make friends?"

Her response was a shrug. "Why not? It would take your mind off me for a bit, hanging out with other people. Besides, without Sasuke in the picture, you really have no reason to be rivals with Sakura anymore, do you?"

It can't be said that Ino would ignore a perfectly valid argument. If she strongly believed in something different, she would merely justify her way by 'gut instinct', but she would always hear the other side out (unless it was something she didn't want to hear in which she'd just go back to 'gut instinct').

So, she heard him and mulled it over.

"I.... suppose it wouldn't hurt to talk to her a bit." She agreed slowly. "I mean, it's been so long, I don't really know how to be friends with her anymore."

He just shrugged. "Just give it a try, I suppose."

Ino nodded, but she still had that distressed look in her eyes. "Even if I do get all the friends in the world, it still won't keep me from worrying."

"I know."

"And I'll still miss you know."

He couldn't help the bit of color that got up in his cheeks. "I know."

"And I'll still be pissed every time they take you away from me."

Shikamaru put a hand to his head. "Ino....."

Waving her hand, she effectively cut him off. "No, don't worry about me. I'll just stay here, cold, alone and unloved while my boyfriend goes out, risking his life." She said as she pushed him towards the door.

"Ino....." there was more of a growl in his voice that time.

"Just come back." Her eyes were serious and more than a little sad. "That's all I want from you."

For a moment her just looked at her. Then, grabbing her hand, he tightened his hand slightly. "Just wait for me." Was all he said and all she could do in return was give him a tiny smile.

After he had a gone safe distance, Ino sank to the floor, wishing so many things in her head. The shopkeeper just brought her to a chair and gave her another cup of tea.


"AGAIN?" She nearly shrieked. And very nearly tore out her hair. "Why /again/?"

"Ino, come on." Shifting, Shikamaru cast an uneasy glance around. "You're making a scene."

"This is the fifth date- the /fifth/," she poked him in the chest, "we've had to break off! Why do they keep pulling you for things like this? Why are you always gone?"

"Look, it's not like I-"

"We've only gone out on maybe two dates! I've only seen you a couple times this week! Can't you get a break or something?"

He scrubbed his face with a hand. "It's not my choice, all right?" He huffed. "If it was, I-"

Ino mirrored his move, if not just to try and gain some semblance of control. "I know, I know. I know it's not your fault, I know you're not doing this on purpose. I know if it was your choice, you'd never do any missions, but....."

"It's all right, Ino."

"Why do they always need you? When can I actually get to spend time with you?"

He looked away, unable to answer. She was taking this one harder than the rest. But, he supposed, he should've seen it coming- in fact, he really wasn't surprised at the outburst at all. All the other times seemed like she was gradually building up to an explosion.

"You can ask for some time off, can't you? They don't need you all the time!"

Rolling his eyes, Shikamaru said, "You talk as if I have a choice in this. When they give me a mission, the only thing I can say is, 'I accept'."

"Screw that! Tell them you need a break!"

"Ino, listen to yourself and tell me if you think they'll actually listen to that."

Her face seemed to crumple. "....I just want to spend some time with you."

Ouch. He felt that go straight through him. "Ino..... I didn't mean," he ran a hand along his neck nervously. "You know how it is. If I could, I would-"

"I know!" Clicking her teeth shut, Ino covered her face with a hand again, other arm around her waist. Great, he thought bitterly, now she's closing herself off to me. "I know I shouldn't be mad at you and I know it's not your fault and I know neither of us can do anything about it but make the best of it."

"Ino." He reached out to her.

"But I hate it!" There was an edge in her voice that didn't want to be contained. "I hate that I can't see you and I hate that I have to worry about you all the time! I hate that we don't have any control about this! I hated it when they kept taking Papa away and now I have to go through it again with you! I hate it! I can't stand it!"

Sharply he grabbed her arm, trying to get a point of focus across to her. She glared up at him through gleaming eyes, as if he were her source of hate. "Look, there are some things we can't control. Those things we just have to accept, okay? I know you don't like it. I don't like it, either. There's hundreds of people that don't but none of us can do anything about it."

Control was slowly creeping over the wild tinge in her eyes and Ino tried hard to keep her lip from trembling. "I'm afraid, okay? I keep thinking that- because you're so far ahead of me, now -you'll be too far for me to see. I'm afraid that you'll be so far that I'll lose sight of you, that you'll get tired of waiting for me and you'll just leave me behind. I'm scared that every time you leave, I'll never see you again."

Narrowing his eyes, Shikamaru replied- voice thick and deep, "I promised you I would return. I promised you that I would come back no matter what." His eyes were burning and boring a hole through her misdirected anger. "I don't just make any promise. And I will never break them, no matter what it takes." His grip loosened on Ino's arms once he saw that she had regained her sense. "I promised I'd come back to you." He said quietly, not wanting to let her go. "And that always seemed enough to keep you waiting for me." Lightly a thumb skimmed over the ball of her shoulder. "And the thought that you were waiting for me was always enough to make me come back to you."

Hands folded on themselves tightly she looked at her feet. "......Just go."

Shikamaru's eyes flickered wider in surprise. "What?"


"But, Ino-"

"You have a mission to do, right?" She tried to force a smile on her face. "So, get it done. I'll still be here when you get back. We'll do something then."

With a dubious look, he half turned for the door. "All right..... I'll get back as soon as I can." She just nodded, eyes closed, unable to watch as he walked away. As Shikamaru turned the corner, Ino tried to stave off a sob with a hand against her lips. Trembling, she hurried back to the flower shop.


Her mother looked up at the chime of the door, prepared to great another customer. She was more than a little surprised to see her daughter with a forlorn look on her face come into the shop.

Concerned, she did what any good mother would do and immediately rushed to the girl's side. "Ino, honey? What's the matter? I thought you were going out with Shikamaru-kun tonight."

She shrugged vaguely. "We were, but....." The girl reached behind the counter to get an apron. "It's okay, Mom. I can work tonight's shift."

With a concerned, knowing look, her mother brought Ino in close. "Oh, Ino..... I know it's tough, I've been there before."

Unable to hold back a sniffle, she asked, "Why are they always taking him?"

"It seems like it, I know, but they don't mean to. They're not taking him on /purpose/." She hugged the young girl. "We've lost a lot of people and they're struggling to keep all the clients happy. Even if we did have more ninja available, it would still feel like you never get to see him. Especially if he has a specialty that they need." She squeezed Ino's shoulder. "It was always hard whenever they called your father away. I always got angry at it too."

Trying to show some humor, Ino's lips pulled in a failed smile. "So that's where I get it from."

"Sweetheart, don't get upset with Shikamaru-kun because of this. I know you don't mean to, but you still have to be careful."

She looked at her mom curiously. "What did you do whenever dad left?"

"Oh, I threw a fit. There were so many times we almost broke up because I'd get so mad." She smiled sadly. "And, I'm afraid, you've got both your father's will and my bad temper."

"You're not that bad."

"I mellowed out after I had you." She poked Ino gently in the side. "Having a child of your own does a lot for your patience, it's amazing."

She let out a tiny huff through something resembling a tentative smile. "But, how did you get through it?"

Running her hand through Ino's hair, her mother said, "At first it was a lot of temper tantrums. Then a lot of crying to my mother and my best friends. It never really got easier. In fact, a lot times it seemed to get harder the more in love with your father I got. I wanted to keep him close, I didn't want to think about him getting hurt." She sighed. "There were several times we almost broke up because I'd just get so angry. I knew it wasn't his fault, but I couldn't help yelling at him about it. It hurt us both. Because he knew his missions hurt me, and because I knew my anger was hurting him. But we couldn't stop. A ninja can't turn down a mission and I couldn't help but to get upset."

Sadly, Ino buried her against her mom's shoulder, and the pain echoed hollowly inside.

Her mother knew what that meant. "You got upset at Shikamaru-kun about that, didn't you?"

"I didn't mean to yell at him. I know it's not his fault, but....."

She sighed. "You're so your mother's daughter."

"I don't know what to do......"

"Ino, honey. You know it's going to hurt me to say this, and I'd hate to tell you this, but..... The only thing you can do is wait for him. Support him when he leaves, wait for him until he returns and love him while he's here. That's the only thing you can do for him."

"But, what if he leaves me?"

"If he leaves you, then it just means that he wasn't worth keeping."

"Mom," she tried to blink back the tears, "I don't want him to leave me."

"Then you just have to trust him." She rubbed Ino's back gently. "Shikamaru-kun is a good boy. He'll do what he knows it right, what's right for him and for you. Don't give up on him too easily, he has a way of surprising people."


"If he's the one," she said with a slightly faraway hint in her voice, "then we won't have to worry about you. He'll take good care of you, so long as you take care of him."

The two stood there for long minutes at a time, holding each other tightly and drowning in memories and fears and worries. With a final squeeze, Ino pulled back.

"Mom, I'm going to go out for a walk, okay?" She sniffled slightly. "I just need some time."

"Take all the time you need, sweetheart. He'll wait for you." Ino smiled at her mother once more before she walked out the store once again.

Her mother stood behind the counter, lost in thought and worry. Yet she didn't jump at the touch of arms around her waist, fully aware in an instant of who it was. With a sigh, she leaned into Inoshi's chest, wrapping herself in his warmth.

"After we close shop tonight," she said quietly, content in his arms, "do you want to go out and eat tonight? Just the two of us?"

For a moment there was a pause and then she felt a shrug. "Sure, all right." Cheek resting against her head he asked, "Any particular reason?"

Smiling slightly, she said, "Because you're here."


It was a lot later than she had meant it to be by the time she started heading home. By then, the shop would've closed up for almost an hour now. That meant she had to go around to the back. It was a good thing she didn't have to work that day, she thought. After what had happened, she didn't think she could deal with the customers. Especially the ones that had the tendency of getting into other people's business. Especially 'young, adorable couples' like herself and Shikamaru.

Idly she wondered what he'd say if he heard people talking about him like that.

Ino shook her head free of that thought, unable to stop that depressed weight from settling on her chest again. All that time trying to think things out didn't seem to help much at all.....

Things just weren't going the way they were supposed to. She had a boyfriend she wanted to spend time with. He seemed like he wanted to spend a little time with her, too, but they weren't getting the chance to. They still hadn't shared their first kiss yet- hell, they never even got more than a handful of hugs in there! Not one cuddling session!

The thought was starting to get her worked up again and she barely noticed as she passed her parents.

"Ah, Ino!"

"Eh?" She came to an abrupt stop, looking at her parents in surprise. "Where are you guys going?"

They just smiled at her as if they knew something she didn't.

"Don't be so harsh, ne, Ino?"

"It's been a long day for everyone, princess."

"We'll be back later, sweetheart. Don't stay up too late, now." They waved at her, continuing their walk wrapped in each other's arms. She watched them with more than a little envy.

That depressing picture in mind, Ino continued her shuffle home, digging her key out of her pocket as she rounded the corner to the back door.

She stopped when she heard a slight snoring coming from the doorway.

Under the light of the step was Shikamaru, arms wrapped around his knees and back pressed against the door. The blanket from their living room, Ino noticed, was draped across his back and he was drooling slightly on one arm.

She didn't know if she should laugh or shake her head. Either way, she couldn't help but be touched. He really was a considerate guy. Even if he didn't like expending effort, and seemed gruff, he'd do anything for the people he cared about.

Ino decided that that was why she liked him more than anyone else, even her father. She knew her dad could never chose between her or her mother (just as she'd never be able to chose between Shikamaru and her father), but she knew that it was always her mom that was at the forefront of his mind. Just like she was in Shikamaru's. And Shikamaru in hers.

She sat on the step next to the sleeping boy, leaning her head against his shoulder as she looked up at the night sky through the stair lighting.

Casting him a sideways glance, Ino smiled. "I'll wait," she told him softly, "if you will."



You know, for the longest time I was actually debating on taking that 'wet dream' mentioning out. I wonder if I've burned anyone virgin eyes with it wide, evil grin

Filling the hara (a point just below the navel) with chi is an ancient meditation technique. You draw your breath into the hara and feel the chi circulate through the body. The seas that are also mentioned are the four seas named in the Nei Ching: Sea of Blood, Sea of Energy, Sea of Marrow and Sea of Nourishment. The gates, also from the Nei Ching, are the Gate of Jade, Gate of Wind and Gate of Mortality. I may be abundant with useless knowledge, but it makes me look smart when I actually use it^____________^

Someone had commented that, in the last chapter, Sakura still probably would've gone to see Sasuke, anyway. That I wouldn't doubt, really. But, I have two reasons on why she didn't. The first and most prominent one is because she would get in the way of the progress of the chapter and story. That chapter was to deal with Sasuke and thoughts and insecurities therein attached. To have her there would keep them from coming to terms with aforementioned problems be counterproductive in the growth of Ino and Shikamaru's relationship.

The second reason is because- in my mind -Sakura would be in a very emotional position at that point. Someone she knows is dead, one permanently injured and people talking badly about the guy she had the biggest crush on. With people discussing Sasuke as a traitor and grouping him with Orochimaru, it would obviously bring out hard emotions for her. Whenever Sasuke yelled at her (before he left Konoha) she always took a submissive position. When he talked to her before he left, she was also very docile despite wanting to leave with him. It shows that she's very sensitive to the words he tells her. So, depending on what he'd tell her and the worries about other people and the disastrous return of the retrieval party, I actually wouldn't find it farfetched that she would be too afraid to see him. If not just for a little while. I wouldn't doubt that she would eventually go to see him again, but probably after she regains some sort of courage.

Enough with that. Now for something completely different.

Blargh. I had duty today (wednesday) without being told until this morning, so I pretty much finished this chapter in one day because I had nothing better to do^^;; One thing I don't like about duty is that I have this piece of artwork I've been trying to do for over a year because it's large, I barely get time to work on it and it's done all in crosshatching. I like it (so far) and I'm getting a lot of encouragement on it. The only problem is, when I work on it during duty (or have it out because i was working on it) people are always stopping by and looking at it. And complimenting me on how great it is.

I don't take compliments well. I mean, I like a good ego stroke now and then, but sometimes it gets too much for me. I guess I'm modest? I don't really know^^;;
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