Laughing In the Silence

A/N: Naruto Universe = Property of Kishimoto

Chapter Seven

"Ohayo Kiba!" Naruto came up from behind me, grinning with all his teeth. I noticed a bit of red bean stuck to his front teeth, and grimaced.

Hinata was clearly flustered, gazing at Naruto like he was going to explode. We both waited for Naruto to at least say hi to her, but he didn't seem to see her standing right next to him.

I cleared my throat, "Ahem."

"Oh yes, you were saying something about Orochimaru! Do you think the little bastard from last night was with the Sound Village? We haven't heard from Orochimaru for a few years now, but Sasuke still has that cursed seal, so obviously he's still at large. Too bad I wasn't there to take a shot at him, I would've beat him to a pulp with my new technique--" He finally stopped rambling to see me bearing my teeth at him. Naruto was always so tactless, even at age seventeen he acts like he was still twelve.

After a few moments of silence, Naruto deflated a bit, "Or…maybe it was some other evil person. How could he attack Hinata like that."

Hinata clearly bit her tongue several times before finally being able to speak, "I'm…I'm fine…Naruto-kun."

"Oh! HI!" Naruto's blue eyes lit up as he spotted Hinata suddenly. He grinned again, then tried to flick the dust off of his flak jacket. "I'm glad you're OK Hinata. I would've protected you better than Kiba over here, had I been there with you."

"What would you have done, babble at him? That's all you seem to be good for, Naruto!" I snapped, crossing my arms. Beside me, Akamaru growled at me in warning.

"I can trounce your sorry ass with one hand behind me Kiba!"

I flew at Naruto, fists flying. Naruto hands were already forming the seal for his trademark Kage-Bunshin no Jutsu. Just then, a blur flew between us and lashed out at lightning speed. I saw a foot fly at my face, and threw up my arms to block it, but it connected with the bridge of my nose before my hands even touched. Akamaru barked madly as I landed hard on my back, I saw Naruto slam into a tree out of the corner of my eye. My right hand flew for my kunai holster, and snatched a handful of shruikens with the other hand.

"Both of you, are acting like such babies!" Hinata stood with her arms crossed tightly over her chest, white eyes narrowed. She started to walk toward me to help me up, but stopped and began to go in Naruto's direction instead. Feeling sulky, I stayed where I was on the ground and watched her quicken her steps. But Naruto didn't notice her once again, and leaped to his feet. She spun around and tried to come to me one more time, and I quickly climbed up too, determined not to be some sort of second choice.

"That was good, Hinata! You're agility is improving!" Naruto's loud voice was quickly grinding my nerves. "You were pretty bad last year, but this year you've gotten into shape."

"Naruto…" I growled quietly under my voice, my hand balled into angry fists.

But before I had another chance to take a shot at him, Naruto made off toward the village center, calling over his shoulder that he was going to replenish his supplies and have his forehead protector polished.

Hinata looked unhappily at me, lips pursed.

I went up and put a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Sorry Naruto is such a bastard. I'll beat him up for you."

She looked up at me with troubled eyes, "Kiba….I love…I love Naruto-kun."

My heart turned to lead on the spot, and dropped through my stomach. "You can't!" I burst out, eyes wide.

"You're right…" She gave a sad smile, "I just like him…very, very, very, much."

Only this girl can put so many years of longing into "very, very, very". She looked very pretty just then, black hair shining dull blue, with white eyes glowing with tears. Her cheeks glowed softly under the morning sun…but my eyes were fixated upon her small lips. That feeling from the night before returned, enveloping me like a cocoon of warm dust, pressing down at me from all sides. A heaviness sat in the middle of my chest as she gazed expectantly at me.

"Do you think he likes you?" I said at last, having nothing else to say.

"Do you  think so?" The hope in her voice was abrasive against my ears.

I gritted my teeth and muttered, "No."

"What?"

"Hinata, I know you're not stupid. Does he act like he likes you?" I was well aware of my bluntness, but why should I resort to euphemism and little white lies to keep her hopes up for him? He didn't deserve her.

Her eyes disappointed me, filling with tears. "I thought…I just thought that…"

A shiver ran through my body, and I seized her hand in mine. It was then or never, or so it seemed. "Hinata, stop pining for him. He'll never like you!"

She let out a sob.

"Hinata, I like you. I wouldn't forsake you like he does." I said in a rush, fighting to keep my voice level.

But instead of offering me a smile, she wept louder than ever, tears splashed down onto our clasped hands. My hand tightened around hers, and felt her pull away limply. I grabbed hold of her shoulders, and pulled her toward me roughly. She gasped shortly before my mouth came down upon hers. My lips slipped against her tear-stained ones, I slid my hands down the sides of her arms, and circled her slim waist. Her hands snaked up my chest, then shoved me away violently. My eyes barely opened when her hands struck my face, hard. Stars exploded before my eyes as she struck my other cheek.

"I HATE YOU! I…I hate you so much right now!" Her pretty face was contorted in rage as she wiped the back of her hand across her mouth. Without a backwards glance, she took off as I stood dumbfound.

"Hinata!" I shouted after her, but made no move to go after her. An enormous feeling of stupidity swept over me as Akamaru grunted against my leg disapprovingly.

--

tbc!

A/N: The next update won't be for a while. So be patient!