Author's Note: Just read.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. Neither do I own the song quote used, for it rightfully belongs to the awesome local Pinoy band known as Spongecola. I love it.
P.S. Italics are UNRELATED flashbacks. They are a series of events that have nothing to do with each other, except that they involve Kiba and Hinata. And Shino, Kiba and Hinata's ages (here) are somewhat old enough to be teenagers, yet still young enough to be in a team.
Anyway, go. Read. Now.
me know if I'm doing this right
Let me know if my grip's too tight
Let me know if I can stay all of my life
Let me know if dreams can come true
Let me know if this one's for you
I see it
And I feel it
And I feel you right here
She saw him fall.
She could only watch helplessly as the enemy nin struck him, saw the mask of pain on his face, saw his eyes roll into his head, saw him hit the ground with a 'thud,' and she saw the huge, deep gash from which blood flowed in a steady stream from his chest.
She heard a loud clash of metal behind her, and tore her eyes away from her fallen teammate to turn around, just in time to see an enemy with a kunai in his hands, ready to strike her, but he only fell forward, revealing her other teammate. There was blood across his face, though she doubted it was just his own, and for the first time she saw his eyes. There was not a look of peace on them as she had always hoped to see, but wildness, and just a touch of concern.
"Hinata…" He gasped, voice hoarse and raspy. "Go… and help Kiba. Bring him… to the medics… I will fend off… anyone… who comes after you…"
She continued to be frozen in place, in surprise and fear. "Sh-Shino-kun…" Her tone trembled, weary of the battle.
Shino shook his head. "Iie, Hinata. If a life from Team Eight has to be taken on a mission today… I would prefer it isn't yours or Kiba's… Now, go!"
She nodded, tears coming to her silver eyes. She had sworn never to leave anyone behind… and now, here she was, willingly abandoning one of the few people who really cared for her. It had been his… death wish, maybe?
No! It isn't time for that yet. But Shino had wished for at least her and Kiba to be saved, and it she would never forgive herself if she let him down!
She rushed to Kiba's motionless form, instinctively tearing a piece of her own clothing to temporarily bandage his wound. She turned him over and winced at the sight of his face, contorted by agony. He was conscious, but barely. And if so, not enough to speak. But he pried his eyelids open to look at her and smiled, perhaps to encourage, to reassure, to give her strength.
Akamaru whimpered inside his jacket.
"Hush, now, it'll be okay…" She said, soothingly. Even though she doubted her own words that very instant.
She carefully put his arm around her shoulder and stood up. She couldn't run at top speed, for she had already used much of her chakra. Still, she activated her Byakugan just in case she ran into anyone in the forest.
Halfway to the hospital, her legs would start to give out, but she'd remember her wounded teammate, and his little dog who ran by her, and she urged herself to go on.
At last, she reached the entrance to the village. She wordlessly called the attention of a few of the locals who were brave enough to help. As soon as Kiba's weight had been carried off her, she fainted, reeling from shock and fatigue.
Hyuuga Hinata opened her eyes to a white nothing.
Her brow furrowed. 'Not… dead, am I?'
"Hinata! Finally, you're awake!" Came a recognizable feminine voice. She tilted her head and blinked twice.
Finally, the woman came into view. It was the face of Haruno Sakura, now a medic-nin-in-training.
"Sa-Sakura? Where am I?" She inquired, rising to a sitting position.
"Don't you remember? You arrived at the gates of Konoha from your last mission, along with Kiba and Akamaru."
That was when she remembered. Kiba!
"Sakura, where is Kiba-kun?" She asked fearfully.
"He is being healed by the other medic-nin. I had been assigned to take care of you, so I do not know much about his current state…"
"I must see him!" Hinata got up from the bed, clad only in blue pajamas.
Sakura grabbed her hand. She looked at the other girl's white irises. "Hinata-chan…" She began. She, in fact, knew what the Inuzuka's condition was, and it had been anything but good or improving. Should she lie, to spare the girl grief for a short while, or tell the truth, so her hopes wouldn't be raised? She chose the latter, and to this day, she still doesn't know if she made the right decision.
"As much as possible, do not look forward to his recovery. It will keep you from breaking your heart," it was the kindest way to put it.
Hinata's pale face remained determined, and can even be described as gravely. "I must see him."
"Gomenasai, but I cannot let you in yet. He is still being treated by the medics," The black-haired young woman known as Shizune informed the adolescent Hyuuga. She had been the supervisor for this patient, though it wasn't the first time she treated him.
She would have wanted to argue, but it wouldn't have made the situation any better. She contented herself to sitting in the waiting room, along with Kiba's parents and older sister. A frosty silence hung over them, as no one knew what to say.
Hinata lowered her head, feeling their accusing gazes boring into her. Suddenly, she heard footsteps enter the quiet of the room. As the atmosphere became lighter, she immediately knew it was someone close to her.
As soon as she heard the calm voice, she broke into uncontrollable sobs.
"Kurenai-sensei…" She choked, tears going down each side of her face. "I have shown weakness."
She felt the older woman's arms around her, and sank into the familiar embrace.
"You have also shown strength."
No more words were said.
The girl slipped out from the Hyuuga Manor when she was certain no one was looking. She was no more than six years old.
The playground had always been her haven. It still is.
She arrived the same time the other kids would go home, at sunset. It suited her fine.
She sat in one swing, swaying gently with the help of the wind.
She liked the sound that was made when her sandals scraped against the ground. She was a peculiar little girl.
She was always alone every time she went to the playground. Until now.
She heard someone walking, no, running towards her.
She looked up to see a little boy, pretty much her age, with a messy mop of brown hair and markings on each cheek. She saw him every time she went here; he was one of those who went home after she comes. His face was red and he was sweaty, like he had run around the entire village. He looked like the kind of kid who was carefree, who always played and laughed and smiled. He looked like he would have no trouble standing up to bullies or defending himself. Unlike her.
Despite all these observations, she made no move to reply to him.
"Are you okay?"
The simple, innocent question threw her off-guard. No, she was not okay. She was too weak and timid, which didn't pass the expectations of her own clan. She was sad and lonely, because even when she cried, no one bothered to ask what was wrong. But not anymore, because of this little boy whose name she didn't even know. Before she could answer…
"Well, I hope you're okay, anyway. 'Cause you're really pretty. And I don't want to see pretty girls cry, 'cause girls always do that. You know, I wouldn't want to see you cry."
She blushed hotly. He didn't notice this, though as he continued.
"Do you always do that? You look like you do, but I don't care. 'Cause I think you'll be prettier when you smile. Do you smile? Will you smile for me? I just want to see you smile."
He talked so fast, she didn't understand what he was saying at first. But when she did, her blush deepened.
"I'm Inuzuka Kiba." He grinned, then extended his hand.
"I'm… Hyu-uga… Hin-Hinat-ta." She shook his hand.
Then she smiled too.
"Wow, you have a good handshake. I've only met a few people with a good handshake. My sister used to tell me that…"
Hinata tuned him out for a while. She cocked her head to get a better look at him. She had seen most of the boys around the neighborhood even though she didn't go out of the house much, but she could tell he was pretty cute, maybe even the cutest of all the others.
"…and my broccoli didn't say anything, and…" He trailed off when he noticed her staring; he waved a hand in front of her face.
"Hello? Hinata? Are you still here with me? Hello?" He pouted. "If you're gone, that's too bad. I'd be like, "Where'd she go, where'd she go?" then I'll ask everyone, "Did you see the pretty girl? She's my friend." Hey, are you my friend? Anyway, but I still wouldn't know where you went, so I couldn't look for you anywhere, and you'd be lost and I can't see you…Then you're gone and you'll leave me alone and I can't find you anymore…" He sighed, dropping his arms at his sides and looking utterly defeated.
She felt bad then. "Gomen, I am sorry. Pl-please… c-continue…"
Silence. It was like he had forgotten what he was talking about. He rubbed the back of his neck.
"Um, you know, I only came back here because I left my jacket. 'Cause my mom will kill me if I lose it. She got it for me when I was four. 'Cause when I was four, I lost one of my jackets in the playground too. And she made me promise to take care of my things. You know, my jackets? Yeah. Anyway, I'm coming back again tomorrow." He took the hooded gray coat hanging from the slide ladder. "But I'll come back tomorrow. Will you come back tomorrow too, so we can play together? I'd really like for us to play together. So will you come back tomorrow? Will you still come back for me?"
The Byakugan, the famous bloodline limit possessed only by the Hyuuga Clan, can see through many things. But even if she used it to look inside her brain, Hinata was sure, she wouldn't be able to find out what made her say her next words.
"O-kay. I'll… come back… t-tomor-rrow…"
"I'll see you then!"
The little girl watched the boy as he ran, kicking up sand and dust into the air. She giggled. Tomorrow, huh?
"Kiba, you do the fishing." Kurenai ordered, leaning against a tree trunk.
"Sensei!" Kiba groaned. "Why can't Shino do it?"
"Shino can't swim." She replied flatly.
His jaw dropped. "Really, Shino?"
The bug boy just shrugged.
"Oh. Okay. Come on, Akamaru." He coaxed his dog to stand up and sit on his head as he headed for the river.
"Hinata, you go help him." Kurenai pointed to Kiba.
"M-me?" Hinata stuttered.
Nodding, she slowly stood up and followed her teammate to the stream.
"I don't think there're any fish in here. Hinata, can you use your Byakugan to see if there're any fish in this river?" Kiba touched her shoulder. She did as she was told.
After a few seconds…
"Hai, Kiba-kun. There is fish in this river."
"Okay." Then Kiba stripped down to his shorts and jumped in. "Geronimo!"
Hinata giggled at the actions of her teammate. As soon as he jumped, he disappeared under the river. She took this as normal until a minute passed and he still hadn't gone up.
She panicked. "K-Kiba-k-kun?" She called out frightfully. She cleared her throat. "Kiba-kun! Kiba!"
She knelt down at the riverbank, seeing her reflection in the water. She was supposed to use her Byakugan, supposed to scream for help, supposed to actually do SOMETHING, but it wasn't necessary.
Hinata staggered backwards as Kiba's face poked out of the water. He shook water droplets from his hair and laughed, backstroking away from the bank.
"You should have seen your face, Hinata!"
She was quite annoyed. Yes, even Hinata is capable of being annoyed, especially if it involved Kiba. "That was not funny at all, Kiba-kun."
He stopped wading. "Okay, I'm sorry."
"You have worried me a lot." She looked at him sharply. He wasn't there in the water anymore. When she whirled around, she only saw a glimpse of his face before his arms wrapped around her.
"I'm sorry." He whispered directly in her ear. They stayed like that for a few minutes, before he broke off.
He smirked. "And I'm sorry for getting your clothes damp too." He laughed.
She spread her arms and looked at her clothes. Sure enough, they were a little bit wet too. But she laughed along with him anyhow.
Hinata woke up in the middle of the night without opening her eyes, finding out that she had found a pillow in the forest.
She was about to go back to sleep when she remembered that her team didn't bring any pillows.
She forced open her sleepy eyes to find out that her head was resting on Kiba's outstretched arm, while she was on her side and had one hand on his chest.
She sat up hastily, realizing the position they had previously been in. Her cheeks had a pinkish tint in them, even if no one was awake to see it.
Shino slept sitting against the trunk of the tree, showing no signs of discomfort whatsoever. Kurenai-sensei was curled up like a cat on the opposite side of the fire. Akamaru dozed at the head of her and…
Her eyes rested on Kiba, looking peaceful as he slept, little flecks of fire-orange light dancing on his face. It seemed like he was dreaming. What was he dreaming about?
She smiled, the god of sleep tentatively taking his hold on her mind again. She laid her head back down on his arm and snuggled up to him.
Dreams will be dreams.
"Are you okay, Hinata-chan?" Kiba held his hand out to Hinata, who fell down during their training.
"Hai," she said softly as she took it. Just as he helped her stand up, Hinata stumbled against him and now they both fell down. And yes, he landed right on top of her and his lips did the same on hers.
It happened so fast neither knew how to react to the, um… kiss, if it can be called that.
Both pairs of eyes involved widened, even though Kiba quickly used his hands to lift himself from her. As he hovered above her, his mouth once again a moment away from hers, they stared at each other in astonishment.
"Kiba, Hinata, are you guys alright?" Kurenai asked.
Kiba motioned to stand up, though he found out it was quite hard to do so, with her right beneath him, and such.
He grinned goofily at Hinata. "Um, Hinata-chan…?" He blushed hard with every word. "Would you mind… if I fall on you again?. 'Cause I'm pretty sure I will, right now if… I try to stand up..."
She regarded him seriously for an instant, but blushed right back. "Not at all, Kiba-kun."
"I… do not want to t-talk… about it... Please, d-do not a-ask me…" Hinata buried her head in her hands. Her eyes were red and puffy from her crying. The night air was cool on their skin, as Kiba loomed before her, unmoving, waiting patiently.
"I wasn't going to." He said quietly. She could clearly hear the sound his sandals made on the grass as he knelt down, to her level. He put both hands on her shoulders and made her face him, though he didn't say a word.
"I… mustered the c-courage… I f-felt br-rave. I did not… see… r-rejection… coming… I sh-should have… I never… I never wanted to get hurt… I j-just wanted… h-him to m-make me feel…
She stammered all throughout her statement, but every word burst with emotion.
"I was ordered by your father to take you back inside the manor right after training. Though I'm not sure that is what you want to do," Was all he uttered to her.
She looked up to him. She was certain that after her big speech, he'll offer some advice or compliment her or tell her that Naruto was a big idiot for not seeing how special and great she was. But he did neither of these things. He didn't even force her to do anything she didn't want to.
"I would like you to take me inside now."
"Yes, Hinata?" Kurenai wiped her eyes.
"I must see him." Hinata said, looking her teacher straight in the eye.
She nodded in return. "I will talk to Shizune."
The jounin walked over to the famed apprentice of the Hokage. After a few words, it was obvious that Shizune refused. But as their voices dipped lower, and their sympathetic glances towards Hinata became more frequent, she knew her teacher had won.
Shizune had a hand to the room, and she motioned Hinata to come closer.
"Healing is a very difficult process. Please prepare yourself for the worst."
Even though they were said gently, the sentence sent chills up and down her spine.
Before she knew it, she was pushed into the room and the door closed behind her. It was dark, and only lighted by the glowing chakra of the medics in the center of the huge room. She stepped forward, quietly, as to not disturb anyone.
He looked the same the last time she saw him. Half-closed eyes, pained face, and the blood…
None of the medic-nin looked at her to tell her what was going on. They didn't need to. She knew they were trying, and trying hard, but it became apparent that they were close to giving up. She knew at that moment that she would never hear his laugh again, never see his living face that wasn't streaked with blood, never see him jump up and run around without a care. She would never again feel his warmth pressed against her as he gave her one of his comforting hugs, she would never hear him say all those nice and wonderful things he'd always tell her when times got hard or when she just needed some hope. They would never have a conversation whose secrets were theirs and no one else's.
She would never again see that bright, radiant and cheerful smile that could only belong to the world's one and only Inuzuka Kiba.
She was wrong.
For a few moments his lips twitched, their edges slowly curving upwards into a small, contented smile.
'Do you smile? Will you smile for me? I just want to see you smile.'
Warning lights went off in her head. Something, an intuition, a sixth sense, told her that something was wrong. As she watched the expressions on the medics' faces turn from panic, fear, and dread, she knew it was all over. Something tugged at her heart as the bluish chakra dimmed. Somehow, she felt his at least faint presence disappear from the room, and she felt him leave.
And just like that, he was gone.
The world didn't start spinning around her and neither did the atmosphere grow cold, as it said so in books. Hinata knew nothing was left unsaid, that even though she never got a chance to talk to him, she'd already said goodbye the moment she went inside the room, and he had said the same thing when he smiled at her, one last time.
'I'm Inuzuka Kiba.'
The medics, knowing all the family and friends this boy had left behind, and knew it was their duty to inform everyone of his passing, wearily got up from their positions and one took a big piece of white cloth from the table and proceeded to draping it over Kiba's body.
"Matte," she blurted out. The medic stared at her strangely then nodded, as if understanding, and dropped the cloth and went to the other side of the room, to talk with his companion on how they will say the announcement.
Hinata knelt down beside him and contemplated on what to do next. All thoughts and memories leaving her in one split-second decision, she bent down and kissed him softly on his pale, blue lips. Then she touched his face, already turning cold, and lightly ran a hand through his brown hair. She would have wanted to spend more time with him, but there were no regrets.
'Are you okay, Hinata-chan?'
After taking one last glimpse at his familiar, peaceful face, she draped the sheet over his head.
She rose up and headed for the door without hesitation. Everyone in the waiting room turned to her expectantly.
She shook her head, confirming the ominous suspicion: Kiba had taken his last breath that day. Everyone froze for a second, until emotions broke loose.
His parents knew they cannot mourn in public, but his sister bowed her head and streams could be seen flowing down her marked face.
Kurenai would let out occasional sniffles but tried to suppress her sniveling.
Hinata, however, had already cried, though it was not with physical tears.
'I wouldn't want to see you cry.'
It was a wish she dared not defy.
The doorway to the waiting room burst open, and a dirty, blood-stained Shino entered, panting.
"How is he!" He mouthed to Hinata, but he saw the weeping people inside and instantly knew what happened. His eyes softened, and he turned his back to all of them. Hinata watched blankly as his shoulders shook, and he sobbed. She drew nearer and hugged him briefly.
"He will be terribly missed."
A/N: Hope it wasn't too sad. I was kind of mad at myself for making my first tragic Naruto fic a KibaHinata. Anyway, I think the first parts were focused on their friendship first, then just made my way up. I think I did a pretty decent job, but there is always room for improvement. I worked on this for quite a while, proofreading and rewording things. I just wanted to see if everything was just right. Thank you for reading, and please, whether it be comments, constructive criticism, or flames, place it all in your review on your way out.
P.S. I forgot to mention that I did an epilogue to this, so if you want to see it you can email me or just vote if I should post it. That's all, and please tell me what you think when you