Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
All posted chapters have been revised. This basically involved cleaned up typos, rewording a little dialogue, fixing a messed up name and correcting a continuity error. While there are very likely still errors because I'm not perfect, these should be a little cleaner. I have redone all that was already posted in order to get myself back in the game of writing. I know it's been getting close to a year now since I've last updated, but I am working on it. Life happened and I'm sorry but I'm back. And if it makes you feel better, my little sister is going to be badgering me to update and since I live with this person and I'll want her off my back, it is likely that you will get more frequent updates now.
No Thanks Necessary
Kiba Inuzuka tucked his small hands into his armpits to keep them warm as he darted along the shadows of the normally bustling streets of Konoha. With practiced ease, he slipped through streets that grew increasingly narrow and messier as he moved towards the poorer area of town. Here pot holes went unfilled and dirt that had been smashed down by traffic was never evened out by a genin team as a mission for public upkeep. The buildings could all do with a good clean, and, increasingly more common as he continued down his path, new windows and doors would not be remiss either.
Finally arriving at his destination, the boy darted up rickety stairs towards the top floor. He moved to the last door at the end of the hall and raised his arm to knock out a specific rhythm against the old wood, its painted color long since faded beyond a description.
There was a shuffling noise inside and a quiet, "Kiba?" from within.
"Yeah, it's me." Kiba replied softly.
A series of locks were clicked out of place and soon the door opened to reveal a pajama clad Naruto Uzumaki. The blonde wore a sleeping cap whose buck teeth usually never failed to get a snicker out of Kiba who thought it looked like some mutant monster was chewing on his friend's head.
It usually never failed to get its laugh.
But not tonight.
Naruto didn't ask any questions about why the other boy was there.
He never asked questions.
Not on the nights when the Inuzuka came to seek refuge. Instead, he just pulled the young boy inside.
With movements well practiced by experience, the pair pulled out a futon from the closet and Naruto finished setting it up while Kiba changed into a pair of pajamas he had left stashed there. It was a well-rehearsed scene and one had to wonder how it was that these two rambunctious boys who were just a bit too alike to get along most days at school could so seamlessly move about each other now.
Yet they did.
Naruto slipped back into his covers as Kiba shifted around to get comfortable on the futon.
"You good?" Naruto asked quietly.
It was a loaded question. A million little questions with big answers all rolled into two words.
Was he comfortable?
Did he need anything else?
Did he want to talk about it?
Was he ever going to tell someone else why he didn't feel safe in his own home some nights?
The answers were too big to move past the lump in his throat and so all he could do was grunt a semblance of a response to the other boy. He focused instead on stopping the tears from falling as he turned so his back faced Naruto even though that made his hip dig into the floor in a numbingly painful way.
Naruto just sighed.
Kiba knew the boy wanted answers, but he also knew that Naruto wouldn't push.
That's why Kiba felt safe here.
It would be years before Kiba would understand the irony of feeling safe in the home of the village pariah instead of in his own home, the family compound of one of the biggest clans in Konoha.
"Night Kiba." Naruto whispered softly.
Clenching his eyes shut, Kiba pushed hard against the blockage in his throat.