The Break

(Or what you get when I'm so sick I can hardly get out of bed…praise be to my laptop…)

Hum…anyway. Don't know where this came from…I kinda like it…yep…let me know if I'm just being hopelessly delirious, or if other people actually agree with me!

Naruto is, as you most probably very well know, not mine. Joy…

As for the other warning…well, if you know me at all you won't be surprised: slash, ShikaKiba. (my 5th one! Yay!)

Well then, Enjoy!


The air was heavy. Words weren't exchanged anymore; no one moved. It was too late.

Shikamaru closed his eyes and shoved his hands in his pockets.

Kiba sighed deeply as he ran a hand through his hair, quite irritably.

"Let's just…take a break, okay…"

Kiba's head shot up and his eyes widened at what he had just heard the other say. "What?" he asked in shocked fear, hoping that he had heard wrong.

The Nara boy opened his eyes and tried to speak calmly. "Kiba, this isn't going to take us anywhere. Maybe a break is what we need…to clear our minds," he said while doing his best not to notice that he sounded much more like he was trying to convince himself.

Kiba looked down as he couldn't believe it. It hurt. It hurt so much to hear the other tell him that.

He smiled, though it cost him everything to force it out. "I guess you're right. Well, see you around then. Come Akamaru." He turned around and started walking away, not once looking back. But as soon as he was sure the other couldn't see him anymore, he dashed off in a mad run to his house.

It still hurt. It still hurt so much.

As he reached his room, he slammed the door shut and buried his face in his pillow, almost instantly getting back up.

The other's smell was still strong on it.

Sighing, he decided to spend the night in Hana's room, since she hadn't returned from her mission yet.

As much as he fought them, he couldn't keep a few tears from trailing down his cheeks, and as much as he tried, Akamaru could not comfort his master.

No matter what efforts he made, he couldn't sleep. Countless questions drowned his mind – was it his fault? Something he had done? Something he had said? Something he hadn't? Was there something that he didn't know about and that could have great consequences? Was there someone else? Or did the other simply fall out of love with him?

After more than an hour of tossing and turning, he gave up and got up with a low growl, leaving the room. These questions did nothing other than hurt him further more anyway.

He walked down the stairs silently, and once at the door put his sandals back on. As Akamaru nuzzled his hand he shook his head dully. "Not now, Akamaru. I need to be alone. Don't worry about me," he said as he opened the door and walked out.

It was pouring rain outside, and a part of him almost regretted having left his vest in the room. But he didn't feel like going back up to fetch it. Not even bothering to pull on his hood, he stepped out, and began to walk around the most familiar places; he mostly let his feet carry him, as his mind was following another track.

After some time under the rain, he looked up and narrowed his eyes as raindrops got into them.

He was still asking himself countless questions.

They were still left unanswered.

He was still hurting.

He needed to talk to someone. He needed to be with someone, period.

So soon he found himself in front of the Aburame household. Not really wanting to risk waking his friend's parents, he walked around the house to the boy's window, and bent down to take a pine cone. He then lightly threw it at the window sill, waiting after it bounced back. A few minutes later the window opened and Shino poked his head out; seeming only a little bit surprised, he waved his hand, inviting him in. Kiba jumped up, and as soon as he was in his friend closed the window.

Shino obviously hadn't been sleeping, but he was however caught off guard. His normal clothes were replaced by more home-ish, comfortable clothing. His leaf protector was gone and he had just hastily put on his glasses. The Aburame frowned slightly as he took in his friend's appearance. He was soaking wet – by the look of it, he had been under the rain for quite some time, but that wasn't it.

Kiba had been crying. He could both see and feel it.

"Kiba, what is it?" he asked his friend as he frowned worriedly.

Kiba forced out a grim smile and shrugged. "The fact that I came to see you at three in the morning during a storm doesn't necessarily mean that something's wrong," he said weakly.

Shino shook his head slightly, repressing a smile. Kiba was always too proud to openly say that he had a problem, or that he needed help. He always needed some time to warm up to the idea that he was asking for said help before he accepted it.

"I'll get you something warm to drink. You get out of those soaking clothes. Just pick something out of the cupboard." Before the other could say anything or even think about protesting, he was out, the door closing with a light 'click' behind him.

Kiba stayed silent as his gaze remained on the door for a few seconds. He was really grateful that the boy hadn't pressed on to know his problem – even if he would end up knowing about it pretty soon anyway.

Apart from Shikamaru, Shino was possibly the one who knew and understood him best, and definitely the one he trusted the most. That was why he had come to him, without even giving the idea a second thought. In the end, no matter what happens afterwards, some of the strongest friendships are formed in the Genin teams, and team 8 was no exception, contrary to what everyone seemed to have been thinking at some point.

Sighing, he wiggled out of his wet clothes and grabbed a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of trousers out of the cupboard. He then hastily put them on before he sat on the bed, back to the wall, waiting for the other to return.

Before long, Shino came back in carrying a mug. He closed the door and walked to the bed, handing the mug to his friend who gratefully accepted it before he sat down next to him.

Some time passed in silence and the only noise was that of the rain and of Kiba's occasional slurping.

"He broke up with me," Kiba then said out of the blue.

Shino was clearly surprised. Even if while he was making the drink the idea had crossed his mind, he had quickly dismissed it as 'not likely to ever happen'. He was silent for a few minutes as Kiba finished his drink and leaned over to put the empty mug on the nightstand; he then moved back to support his back on the wall, looking pointedly at his hands.

Shino frowned as he wasn't used to seeing Kiba like this. Ever since they were kids, Kiba had always been smiling, or laughing, or talking. When they were put in the same team he had even declared that since Shino rarely did any of those – not around anyone else, at least – he would do so for the both of them, earning him his reputation of 'Second loudest-mouthed ninja of the village'.

So, Kiba being silent and sad-looking like he was then was really out of character. And it was something Shino had immediately decided he didn't like to see.

"Did he…tell you why?" he asked hesitantly, fearing to hurt the other.

Kiba seemed a bit startled at first, turning to him as if he had momentarily forgotten he wasn't alone. Then the words sunk in and he looked down even more. "That's what I've been asking myself all night long. I mean…for hours. I've got so many questions…and no answers."

"Did anything recently occur that could have led you to suspect this would happen? Did you argue a lot?" Shino asked again softly.

Kiba shook his head and groaned in frustration. "No and that's the point! Everything's been alright, as always. We didn't see much of each other this last month, because of missions; but everything was fine as far as I was…am concerned. I never expected him to drop that on me…" he murmured as he trailed off, his look saddening.

Shino frowned again and wrapped an arm around his shoulder, drawing him in a comforting embrace which the boy gladly returned.

Kiba was his best friend. They knew each other; they knew parts of each other that no one else knew. And he knew that Kiba was extremely sensitive. He was someone who needed people's attention, their recognition. Whether it was in a relationship or a friendship, Kiba would always engage himself 100% in it. He was the kind of person that needed emotional sheltering; he felt a strong need to feel safe with other people, and would return that to them.

Kiba had always been his closest friend, even closer than a brother would be. And Shino had always been very protective.

In the morning, Shikamaru would have some serious explaining to do.

But until then, he held his friend, stroking his hair and trying to make him feel better. He couldn't make his problem disappear, nor could he just take his pain away with a snap of his fingers; but he would do everything he could to help him make it through.


Shino opened his eyes and blinked a few times before the events of the previous night came flooding back. He turned around, noticing that Kiba was gone. Instead, he found a note of his pillow. It read:


I think I really need to leave the village for some time, to think about things or whatever. I'm sure the Hokage has some long mission up her sleeve that I could do. You're probably thinking that it's not the good thing to do, and you're completely right, which is why I didn't tell you about it – I know you could have talked me out of it easily.

Thank you for last night, I knew that I could always count on you. Without you I don't know what I would have done…

Well, see you when I get back!


Ps: you'll get your clothes at that point, too!

Shino frowned as he put down the note. Leaving did sound stupid, but on the other hand, what else could he do? The mission would most certainly help him take his mind off his problem. That was what was important, wasn't it?

Still, he really ought to have a talk with Shikamaru.


"Are you sure?" Tsunade asked, visibly surprised, "You do realize that this mission will keep you away from the village for at least a month, don't you?"

Kiba nodded, serious. "Yes. Actually, at the moment it's just what I need."

Tsunade still looked a bit unsure, but eventually agreed. "Fine," she let out as she sighed, handing him the assignment.

As he was about to go, she stopped him. "Kiba, I have complete trust in your abilities for this mission, so I will not worry about it. However, I do worry about you. Sometimes running away won't do any difference. It'll even make things worse," she told him softly.

He briefly paused, wondering for a second how it could be that she always knew everything; but in the end, he smiled softly. "Thanks, Tsunade-sama."


Shino sighed as he rang the bell of the Nara household. Shortly after, Shikamaru's mother opened the door.

"Good morning, Mrs. Nara. Is Shikamaru there?" he asked shortly though also managing to sound somewhat polite.

She nodded and walked aside to let him in. "Good morning, Shino. He came home late last night and has been moping ever since. You wouldn't happen to know what's gotten into him, would you?" she asked as she closed the door.

"That's what I'm here to find out," he replied truthfully.

She nodded and sighed. "Well, anyway, see if you can get him to come down and eat a little," she asked of him before she walked to the kitchen.

Shino nodded and walked up the stairs, knocking on Shikamaru's door before walking in. Shikamaru was nowhere to be seen, so he walked further in. Finally he spotted him lying on a bench on his balcony, most probably looking at clouds as always when he was alone. Eyes narrowing despite himself, he walked to him.

"Came to kill me a slow and painful death?" the Nara asked blankly.

"Actually I came to ask you why you did it, but that might depend on your answer," Shino replied.

Shikamaru sighed and sat up, looking down at his hands. "Frankly, I don't even know myself." At the other's raised eyebrow he scratched the back of his head. "I mean…lately I've been thinking and asking myself…I don't know…will this – us – last? I mean we're happy now and all, but how long can it really last? Two guys haven't really got a future together," he said the last part bitterly. "I never meant for things to go that way," he then said softly, as if suddenly he felt guilty about it.

"But they have. And you made them," Shino stated. "It's not all though, is it? I know you well enough to know that you wouldn't let…uncertainties like that ruin your relationship. There has to be more."

Shikamaru was a bit surprised but eventually nodded. "I've been proposed to join the ANBU."

"And you're scared it'll build a wall between the two of you," Shino said taking a wild guess.

The boy nodded. "It's not official as I haven't given my response yet, but still. I mean, for all I know, the Old Lady could send me off on long missions perpetually or whatever."

Shino sighed. "Let me just ask you one question. And answer truthfully, simply." As he had the other's attention he continued. "Do you love Kiba?"

"Yes and that's the main problem," he answered looking down.

"Kiba loves you back. That's all you need to think about – and I hardly see how this qualifies as a 'problem'." Shino then walked away, pausing at the door. "The future is something that two people who love each other build together, Shikamaru; not something that society or others plan. However," he paused, once again catching the other's attention. "If you think from the start that you and Kiba haven't got one together…then maybe you did the right thing by breaking up with him."

On that note he left the other to ponder on his words.


"This isn't going to help much. You do realize it, don't you?" Hana asked her brother while looking at him from her seat on the table as he packed his stuff. Truthfully, when she returned from her mission she had had a great shock upon hearing of her brother's break up – and his consequent plans to leave the village for a month.

Kiba half-glanced her way before mentally going over his list one last time, closing his bag once he was sure he hadn't forgotten anything. "I know, Hana. It's just easier for the time being."

"Why don't you just talk to him?" she asked again.

"Hana, he broke up with me, okay?" he snapped back before he looked down. "Sorry…" he said while shaking his head. He hated being jumpy.

She frowned worriedly as she walked closer to draw him in an embrace which he weakly returned. "I just hate to see you so sad…" she said gently as she ruffled his hair playfully.

He smiled and embraced her one last time before pulling back, slinging his bag over his shoulder. "Look after mom for me, okay? See you in a month. Come, Akamaru!" His furry companion barked before following him.

Hana sighed and shook her head as she watched them go. He would regret it soon enough, she was almost completely sure of it…But now, he was old enough to decide for himself and all she could do was hope that this particular decision would turn out to have something positive in it.


"Man, you sure are talkative this morning," Chouji remarked sarcastically at his friend's silence. "Rough night? Or frustration?" he asked teasingly, only hoping to get a reaction form the other.

Shikamaru just half-heartedly glared at him before setting to ignore him royally.

Chouji let out a sigh as he crossed his arms behind his head. This reminded him a lot of the boy during their academy years. Kiba had done an excellent job in changing that part of him. Speaking of which… "Hey, there's Kiba! Maybe he'll know what's gotten into you!" he told his friend as he called the other boy.

Kiba paled as he saw them. He began walking faster towards the gates, and just lightly waved back. "Hey Chouji! Sorry but I really have to go now! See you later!"

"Well, that was weird…" Chouji thought out loud. He hadn't even glanced at Shikamaru. And his lazy friend hadn't looked at him either. Plus Kiba looked like he was leaving on a mission. Something was definitely up…

Shikamaru let out a sigh as he watched the other leave. He couldn't take his mind off Kiba's look when he had told him, and just then, when he had seen him – more like purposefully ignored him, but still…not like he could blame him for that…but…

That look…

…it really hurt.


Some three days later, Kiba was standing at the gates of the Hidden Sand, Akamaru by his side.

"Identify yourself," the sentry asked.

"Inuzuka Kiba, Jounin of the Hidden Leaf. I'm here on a mission for the Hokage," he said, holding up his passes.

The sentry looked at the papers and nodded. "The office is at the end of the main street."

"Thank you," the boy answered politely. He then made his way towards the office, ready to begin his mission.


Shikamaru let out a deep sigh as he rested his head on his palms. Two things kept replaying themselves in his mind.

The first was Kiba's expression when he had told the boy they should take a break.

…He hadn't really planned on it sounding that lame – seriously, what could sound lamer than 'take a break'? What did 'take a break' mean anyway?

But back to Kiba.

The boy obviously hadn't been expecting it. Hell, he himself hadn't been really expecting doing it just like that either! The worst was…he was starting to wonder if it had been a good decision…

This led to the second thing on his mind, which was the talk he had had with Shino. Well, more like the lecture Shino had given him, but that was close enough. He hated to admit it, but the Aburame was often right, and maybe – just maybe – he was right on this one, too – maybe.

But still, in the end, he himself really had a point. Even if they loved each other, did Kiba and him really have a future together?

"Shikamaru? Oi, Shikamaru!" Ino narrowed her eyes and whacked the back of his head, this act of uncouth violence being her last resort to get his attention. "Nara Shikamaru! Snap out of it! I've been calling you for the past hour!"

"What's the fuss about?" he asked tiredly as he rubbed his poor victimized head.

"We're about to order," Chouji answered, preventing Ino from yelling any more.

He nodded and leaned his head back on the palm of one hand. "I'm taking the usual."

Ino nodded and humpfed before she turned back to the waitress.

Chouji took this opportunity to question him. "What's wrong with you? No offense, but you look like shit," he stated blankly. "And what was with Kiba this morning? You didn't so much as look at each other…!" he added as he frowned.

Shikamaru simply looked at him from behind half-closed lids before speaking. "Too troublesome to explain," he answered while closing his eyes, meaning the conversation was over.

He wasn't emotionally ready to have another person tell him he had been stupid – especially not his best friend.


Temari sighed contentedly as she walked out of the assignment room. Her mission had been a real success – though that was no surprise. She didn't really like long missions though – she liked Suna too much, and as much as she tried to deny it, she missed her brothers. Still, one of these days she'd like to take a week's vacation or two to visit Konoha. It had been at least a year since they had been there, and she was starting to miss their comrades.

She smiled as she thought about it. The idea of taking a break did sound quite appealing…there were no sandstorms in Konoha…

As she walked while already imagining what she would do during all that free time, she ran into someone as she rounded a corner. She was about to either apologize or snap at the person – depending on who it would be and what rank they would belong to – but was visibly surprised to see an acquaintance from Konoha.

"Kiba!" she half-exclaimed as she helped him up. "What are you doing here?"

"Running into people, falling down and then having them help me up. Really cool game, you should try it sometime," he advised good-naturedly. He then laughed at her exasperated expression. "Nah, seriously I'm on a mission. Obviously."


"So you're here for a month, uh? Where are you staying?" Temari asked him as they drank some tea. After they had run into each other, she had invited him over, only too glad to be able to talk with someone she hadn't seen for a long time – meaning there was a lot to talk about since he wouldn't be aware of the latest news and changes.

"I think they've got a place for me at the office," he replied, chewing on a biscuit.

Temari looked shocked. "No way. You're staying here. The house is big enough anyway," she declared in a tone that could not be discussed.

He blushed a little and smiled. "Thanks Temari."

She smiled and waved a hand, as if to indicate it was nothing. "So, how's everyone? And how's Shikamaru doing?" she then asked as she was curious.

He sucked in a breath at that. He then gulped down some tea and forced himself to smile. "He's alright."

Temari noticed it but chose not to comment on it. She then looked up as Kankuro entered the room and she leaned her elbows on the table. "There you are! Guess what, we've got a guest for the next month!"

Kankuro's eyes widened and he grinned. "If it isn't Doggy Brat."

"Candy Boy. So nice to see you again," Kiba replied, harboring the same grin.

"Hey I saved your life, so stop calling me that!" The older boy replied sulkily as he plopped down next to him.

Kiba eyed him with a raised eyebrow. "And who exactly ever declared that it would keep me from calling you 'Candy Boy' when you always call me 'Doggy Brat'?" he asked smugly.

Kankuro knew he had lost on this one so to save his dignity didn't reply to the other.

Temari rolled her eyes at her brother. He could be so childish sometimes…Truthfully, Kiba was possibly the only one who could get away with calling Kankuro 'Candy Boy'.


"So," Kankuro started as they walked back from the grocery shop – Temari agreed to cook, but only if they got the ingredients. "How come you're on such a long mission? I never would've thought you'd agree to stay away from Shikamaru for that long," he said though it was only to tease the other.

Kiba looked sideways to hide his sadness and spoke softly – almost murmured, "We broke up."

Kankuro was visibly surprised. He was almost sure that the two practically never fought, and hearing that they had broken up sounded just…weird. "So that's why you agreed to do this mission," he stated. "What happened?" he asked after some time. "I would've never thought I'd see the day the two of you would just…break up like that."

Kiba stopped walking for a second before catching up with the other. "I guess we just needed to…take a break."

"Sounds like you're reciting," Kankuro said neutrally.

Kiba didn't answer. He just kept looking down as he walked.

"Sorry," Kankuro empathized after some time.


Time passed by slowly. First a week, then two…Kiba was doing great with his mission; having to concentrate on it made not thinking about Konoha a lot easier. He was even enjoying himself with the siblings – even if no matter how much the boy had changed, he was still a bit creeped out by Gaara.


If during the day, his mission and his friends occupied his thoughts, there always came a moment when he couldn't avoid thinking about his problems anymore. At night, when he was alone in his bed, sleep was hard to find. So he'd lay awake, looking at the ceiling, the wall or out the window; and he'd replay the last months in his mind, trying for all he could to search for anything – acts, words, expressions, anything – that could have led him to expect a break up.

And after that, he would shift his position to lie on his side and try to get some sleep, the same question always lingering in his head until he was carried away by a dreamless slumber.



Shikamaru let out a deep sigh as he sat up. Even staring at clouds didn't soothe him like it normally did. It had been three weeks since Kiba had gone away on his mission.

Three weeks since he hadn't heard from him – he didn't even know where the boy was, since his mission was confidential.

Three weeks since he'd been thinking about him all the time.

When Shino had come to his house to talk to him – or lecture him, as you wished – he was still somewhat sure he had done the right thing. But too soon he began to doubt it. Of course, the fact that he was thinking about Kiba all the time did help the uncertainty to spread.

Chouji agreed with Shino, in the sense that he had done a stupid thing – he himself had even started to be convinced he had been remarkably stupid on that. Still, his team-mate did all he could to cheer him up.

Ino had noticed right away that something was wrong, and eventually one night he had told her everything. To his surprise, she had reacted quite well, even if she too agreed that by the look of things he had done quite a stupid act. Her piece of advice had been to wait for Kiba to come back and then to talk about his uncertainties with him.

Though first he'd need to get Kiba to agree to talk to him.

He sighed once again as he leaned back on the grass. Clouds were so lucky. They surely never had any relationship problems.

"What are you thinking about?"

He tilted his head sideways to see Ino standing there and looked back up at the sky as she sat next to him. "Just about the fact that clouds are lucky because they most probably don't have any relationship problems."

"That's not true," she said, a hand playing with the grass. "When I was a kid, my mother used to say that storms, or rain, snow, sunshine, are the expression of the cloud's mood. So if sunshine means happiness, rain would mean sadness; and storms, fights. But you know the saying: 'After the storm comes the sun'. That would mean that clouds 'fight', and then 'make up', wouldn't it?" she asked as she smiled at him.

He looked at her lazily, brows lightly furrowed. "Technically, yes. But then that would mean that they always fight during autumn and winter and that they practically stop during spring and summer. That would hardly make any sense," he pointed out.

Ino let out an exasperated sigh and let herself fall on her back. "You're so…so…troublesome!" she said as she couldn't think of anything else.

He raised an eyebrow at that, a smile playing on his lips. "That's my line."

Her only – very gracious – answer was to stick out her tongue at him.



The boy turned around, visibly surprised to see Temari standing there. He was on his way home, so he didn't expect to meet her in town. "Hey Temari."

The young woman looked sideways before speaking. "We need to talk." As he nodded she motioned for him to follow her to what looked like a park, where they sat on a bench. "You're leaving tomorrow," she started after some time.

Kiba leaned back on the bench and looked at the sky. "Yeah…"

"I'm sure you've had more than enough time to think over what you'll do then…" she stated though the way she let it trail off suggested it was a question.

Kiba seemed taken aback for awhile, but eventually nodded slowly. "I have," he agreed, still looking up at the sky. "But…I still haven't been able to find a suitable answer. I'm still doubtful. And still not over it," he added more quietly.

Temari sighed as she glanced at him sideways. She knew he had been thinking about it the whole month. "Are you still in love with him?" she asked after a little while.

"I…just can't forget," he replied softly, looking at her for the first time.

She nodded and got up, lightly dusting off her robe. She looked at the setting sun for a short moment before speaking again. "So just talk to him once you get back. Knowing Shikamaru, he's been thinking about it as much as you have." She then turned to him and smiled encouragingly. "Well, let's go home now. Surely my poor excuses for brothers must be hungry…"

He chuckled at that and got up, following her. "Temari," he called after they had walked a few steps. "Thanks. For everything."

"You're welcome," she simply answered, smiling brightly.


Kiba sighed as he walked to the Nara household. He had gotten back from Suna not long before, and after having handed his report and stopped at his house to get rid of his stuff and take a quick shower, had found himself walking to the place. Truth be told, he would have rather talked with Shino first, but he couldn't wait. Patience had never really been his thing…

He paused as he reached the door and breathed in a few times before knocking. Normally, he would sneak in the boy's room using his balcony, but with things being as they were it wouldn't exactly be the best thing to do. So he knocked again, and this time didn't have to wait for long before the door opened to reveal the boy's mother. "Good evening, Mrs. Nara. I know it's late, but is Shikamaru there?" he asked politely, trying not to sound too anxious.

She eyed him for a few seconds before moving aside so he could walk in. "He's in his room."

Kiba murmured his thanks and took off his shoes before climbing up the stairs. As he reached the boy's door, he took a deep breath before knocking on it. As he got no reply he figured that Shikamaru most probably was on the balcony, staring at the sky as always. So he pushed on the handle and silently walked in, closing the door behind him before crossing the dimly lit room to the balcony. He stopped in his tracks as he saw the other boy casually lying on his bench. His heart started beating madly against his ribcage, and he rested a hand on it as if to steady it.

"Mom, is that you?" Shikamaru asked before he raised his head, almost jumping up as he saw the boy standing there. "Kiba…"

Then there was some silence as they took in each other's appearance.

"When did you come back?" the Nara asked breaking their trail of thoughts.

"About an hour ago," he responded.

Shikamaru had to hold in a sigh as he looked at the other. He had missed him so badly. If he didn't think himself stupid before, he had completely gone past it by now. This month without seeing him had made him realize just how much he loved Kiba. Only, what could he say now?

'Sorry I said we ought to break up; I've changed my mind. I love you. Do you still love me? If so, do you think we can just pretend like this never happened and get back together?'

That just didn't sound good, and it was the best he could think of right then. Also, he had this urge to hug the other as close as possible and never let go, but he doubted Kiba would appreciate it at the present moment.

Luckily Kiba helped him a little.

"I've come here because…I can't go on like this. I have to know if…if you still love me," he said while looking down, though it was easy to see it pained him to say those words.

Easy to see how much a part of him dreaded the answer.

"This month has been the worst of my life."

At the boy's statement Kiba's head shot up and he saw that Shikamaru was blushing, looking sideways.

"I know it's going to sound stupid," the Nara started as he took a few steps towards him. "But I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. And I do…love you. It feels like I do even more than before."

They were so close now. Their clothes were touching; they could feel each other's breath on their lips. They felt strangely scared, exactly like they had before their first kiss: they both wanted to do it so badly, nut neither dared to make the first move. Only this time, they couldn't tell who made that first move. All they knew was that the next moment, their lips were lightly pressed together in a soft kiss.

As they pulled back, their eyes met, and slowly they leaned in again, only closing their eyes at the last moment. Shikamaru raised a tentative hand and rested it on Kiba's waist, while the boy raised his arms to wrap them around his neck. This time as they parted Kiba smiled before resting his head in the crook of the other's neck, breathing in his scent. And Shikamaru held him tight, savoring this moment and their closeness.

"I can't believe I've been such an idiot," he whispered.

Kiba smiled against his neck. "But you're a cute idiot."

"A 'cute idiot'?" the other repeated as he raised an eyebrow.

"Hey I like cute idiots," Kiba said as if he had been offended.

"Then I'm a cute idiot," Shikamaru agreed.

Kiba shook his head. "Nope. You're my cute idiot."

The other smiled at that. There really was no need to fret when thinking about their future. What would come would come. Meanwhile, they just needed each other…


Kiba sighed sleepily as he blinked a few times, pleasantly surprised to open his eyes to Shikamaru's smiling face. "Hey…" he said.

Shikamaru raised a hand to brush back a loose strand of hair on the boy's cheek before taking his hand in his, his other arm holding the other close. "Hey yourself…"

"What's up?" Kiba asked as he let his other hand caress the boy's sides before resting on his waist in a light hold, his fingers playing with the hem of his boxers.

The Nara moved a little and lightly brushed their lips together. "Have I told you how much I love you?"

Kiba smiled smugly. "Well I believe you just have, but you could always say it again…" As the other moved to be on top of him he wrapped his arms around his neck, bringing him down so their foreheads touched. "I love you too, Shika. So much…" he murmured.

Shikamaru smiled and closed the gap between them, kissing him deeply.

They parted as there was a light knock on the door, shortly followed by Mr. Nara walking in. The man seemed surprised, but not at all embarrassed that he had just walked in on his son and his boyfriend. "Kiba…nice to have you back," he said naturally.

The Inuzuka smiled warmly, momentarily forgetting his embarrassment. "It's nice to be back."

The man smiled back. "Well boys breakfast will be ready soon, so come down when you're ready okay?" And he left the two alone, closing the door behind him.

"It's amazing how well you get along with my father," Shikamaru commented.

Kiba shrugged but as he turned to him his look softened. He then leaned forward and lightly pressed their lips together. "I don't want to be apart from you like that ever again," he softly whispered.

Shikamaru smiled and wrapped his arms around him, holding him close. "It won't happen again; not if I have any say in it," he promised. He'd never let that happen for a second time. His sanity depended on it.

A few years ago, if someone would have told him that some day he'd love Kiba that much, he would have been ready to bet his life on the fact that this person was mad.

But now, it just all made sense…


"So, I take it you've made your decision," Tsunade questioned as he stood before her.

He nodded, smiling slightly. "Yeah. I decline; for the time being." Even if he knew she didn't need him to explain – Hokages were creepy, they seemed to know everything and anything about everyone and anyone, kind of like mothers, but even worse! – he did. "What makes me succeed in my missions is mostly the fact that I know my team mates and trust them with my life, just as they know and trust me. My strength lies within my friends, and joining the ANBU isn't to be taken lightly, so I'll wait for them," he finished.

"Plus the fact that you wouldn't want to be apart from him now," she added smugly. At his blush she grinned. "I understand. I must say this decision is quite wise, as expected from you."

"You mean you expected me to refuse?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

Tsunade shook her head and smiled mysteriously. "It's not that simple. But I'm not surprised either." She then lightly waved her hand goodbye at him and he left the office, still puzzled by her behavior.

There should really be a book on how to handle Hokages…

The End

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