14) All things being possible, ninja prepare for everything they can.

"So. You believed he was taking you up to his room to discuss -"

Shino paused and a single eyebrow arched like a spring-loaded caterpillar.

" - Dog breeding."

Kiba spat out a mouthful of toothpaste and spun on his teammate, pointing his toothbrush menacingly at the unimpressed Aburame. "Look, he raises 'em okay! An' I was giving 'im advice an' it wasn't like we didn't need to get into his room anyhow!"

"I'm certain you had a valid reason," Shino said in such a flat tone it was impossible to tell if he was being serious or sarcastic. Not being able to see most of his face didn't help much.

Kiba bristled anyway, turning back to the sink and squeezing out another thick coil of toothpaste to cleanse his mouth with. "'S just not right," he mumbled, cheeks once again flushing under his tattoos, "For 'em to send us into a mission like that without knowin' ... "

The words were cut off as Kiba returned to industrious scrubbing. Shino remained silent for several minutes, before clearing his throat and saying, "If you read the mission parameters, they very specifically outlined why they were sending in two under-aged, dark haired, rugged looking boys on this mission."

Kiba choked on the water and spent sometime gagging and coughing. Shino watched helpfully. "It didn't--"

"It did. Maybe if you prepare yourself better, next time you won't be so surprised when some man sticks his tongue down your - "

Kiba snatched up his weapon's pouch and chased Shino out of the bathroom.

15) -but there things for which nothing can ready you.

It was a black shoe, with pink laces tied into a lopsided bow. All Kurenai could think when she saw it was, "Oh its so small." Small enough to fit into the cup of her hand if she were to try and hold it; smaller than the tiny fingers that had to have worked so hard to knot the ends of the laces together.

The white stockings they had been fitted over were shoved down around skinny legs, stained with dirt and fluid, but the small shoes were only scuffed a little around the toes. They were obviously very new, like the now tattered red and pink dress pushed up under pale underarms; a gift, or a special treat, for proper young lady.

At a sound behind her, Kurenai turned around part way, using her body as a shield. "Wait! Give me a chance to cover her."

Her partner dutifully gave his back to the scene Kurenai was guarding, but didn't leave. "You can't yet, we need to take pictures first."

She forcibly choked on the sound of fury and horror that tried to claw its way out of her throat. "There can't be pictures of her like this, she's only a - "

"A body at a crime scene, solider," came the sharp interruption of her statement. He took a breath and continued more gently, "I understand, Kurenai, but there's only so much the rest of the team can gather from the surroundings and the body. They need to know how the perpetrator left everything."

Kurenai released the tight coil of her fingers, making herself breathe, settling the swimming feeling in her head. Too deep a breath brought the scent of blood and the rotting trash of the alley. She held her fingers, tan and calloused, above the scuffed end of a small, polished black shoe.

"Let me take them," she said finally, in voice that shook towards the end.

Without turning around, her partner handed her the camera.