New Dog, Old Tricks

"I'm serious Hinata. He'll do it. You'll see."

She stared at him in disbelief. Shino's voice sounded eager, which was strange to her. Whatever it was, it had to be something interesting for him to just ask her to meet him in the woods like this. These sort of things didn't usually happen when it came to Shino, unless it involved training, and he didn't look prepared to fight, and Hinata wasn't anyway.

"I..I just don't think Kiba-kun would do something like that…." her voice trailed off, as she looked toward the clearing, hoping that Kiba would get here quickly. It wasn't that Shino scared her, well, he did sort of intimidate her, but Kiba was the one to usually break the ice between the three of them during missions.

That, and part of her wanted to see if what Shino had said was true.

Then again, it was sort of awkward to plot against the dog boy like this, she and Shino of all people. No, she thought to herself. Plot wasn't the word for it. 'Plot' sounded too evil, too nefarious.

Experiment. Yes, that sounded better. Shino had come up with an experiment and needed an observer and the materials. That was all it was. Kiba just had happened to be one of them, and if worse came to worse, he would just be angry at them for a while, he wasn't the type to hold grudges.

Besides, the whole thing didn't sound too serious. Heck, he might even find it funny. "Wow, I can't believe Shino actually had a sense of humor this whole time." he would say.

If he did it, it would look real cute.

She gasped. What was she thinking? This is Kiba we're talking about. Her classmate, teammate, one of her best friends. She couldn't think such a thing…..

Still….she imagined Kiba actually doing it and decided it would be cute. But cute adorable, not cute cute…..yes, cute cute. She forced herself to think that.

The two sat in silence for a few minutes, Hinata twiddling with her fingers, going through everything Shino had said to her, what he had seen at the park, and what he needed to confirm. She suddenly realized he had never even given her a reason for this whole ordeal. What was the point of this?

Shino on the other hand, was shifting his body weight one way, then another, trying to figure out how to lay this whole thing over to Kiba. He wasn't one for speeches, and for some reason no matter what he thought up to say seemed right. He went back to when he was younger, and remembered his dad telling him about how actions spoke louder than words, and decided he would simply act out on the problem, and see how Kiba reacted. Simple as that.

Feeling quite proud of himself, he chuckled, but his fun was short lived when Hinata suddenly blurted out, "Th-there he is!". He turned around, and saw that she was right. Shino squinted through his sunglasses, and noted that Kiba wasn't with his faithful companion. Good, he thought. He didn't bring him, that will make things a bit easier.

"Hey! What's up, you guys!" Kiba smiled at his teammates, not a clue what was going on. He only knew Shino had wanted him and Hinata to meet at their usual training spot, and to not bring Akamaru. Maybe Shino's finally loosened up and wants to throw a party or something. It didn't bother him much that he had been asked to leave behind his dog. The white pup had been eyeing a dog down the road these past few weeks, Kiba wouldn't be missed. He'd save some food for him to bring afterwards. But there was nothing here, just the three of them, and the trees.

"Um…good afternoon Kiba-kun." Hinata was stammering, but not like normal. She had gotten better at that nowadays. Right here it was purely anxiousness. Shino looked toward Kiba and nodded his acknowledgement. The scruffy Inuzuka finally cleared his throat and spoke up.

"So..um…what's this all about, Shino? Why'd you want to speak with me?" Kiba crossed his arms, already growing impatient that no one was making so much as a peep. He had skipped breakfast to get there early, hoping something beneficial would happen, and this was the outcome?

Shino turned his back to him, and Kiba was about to yell in protest, when the Aburame boy suddenly squatted down, and picked up a stick off of the ground. Without a moment's hesitation, he chucked it as hard as he could muster, and the three of them watched as it hit the ground maybe 30 yards away.

"Um…S-S-Shino?" Kiba looked at him questioningly but only out of the corner of his eye. His real vision was focused on the location of the thrown stick.

Hinata looked at Kiba, then Shino, then Kiba again, waiting for a reaction. Come on, do it. She could see with her pure vision that Kiba was starting to sweat, his eyes still dead on the stick.

Kiba's legs were shaking, and he was trying to talk, but the words just weren't there.

Stick. Stick. Stick. Stick. Stick.

I want that stick. I need it.

He tried his very best to focus, and finally turned around, stuttering. "Shino, w-w-why did you d-d-d-do that?" He wanted to sound strong, but his voice was squeaking, too tense to make decent conversation now. He quickly turned his head back to the location of the stick, worried he might lose it by not looking at it.

Shino didn't answer him. Instead, he calmly said the one thing Kiba needed to hear.

"Fetch."

Kiba cried out, and broke into a run, heading for the stick, Shino chuckling to himself. He had been right. Basic instinct beat out willpower every time. Hinata's gaze followed Kiba's mad dash towards the stick, and as she watched, she decided it was really cute.

"Shino-kun?"

He was full-out laughing now, watching Kiba grab the stick in his claws, a look of sheer delight on his face, come running back.

"Yes, Hinata?"

"When Kiba-kun brings it back, can I throw it this time?"