Title: A Return To Normalcy

Author: Jasmine Starlight

Universe: Naruto

Rating: …figure it out.

Word Count: 1,622

Spoilers: eh…not that many…the Chase Sasuke arc.

Warnings: angst and maybe romance. Implied smut. Perhaps some fluff toward the end. But no promises. Shino is maybe a little maudlin. Yaoi. Hinata is the shit. I also skipped around with the tense. Bad me.

Time Started: 11:56 AM 8/29/05

Time Completed: 01:56 PM 8/29/05

Pairing (s): Shino x Kiba

A/N: I've never written this pairing before; it came to me while I was trying to sleep. Shino is a vastly underwritten character. This is for all the people looking for this pairing and couldn't find it. I am a yaoi fan girl. How long was the mission to retrieve Sasuke? Days? I can't tell the passage of time in Naruto, it's just too complicated. I may have exaggerated their injuries a tad.

Dedication: rikaa for always correcting me and The Caged Bird for overall good reviewerness.

Kiba likes to have sex. A lot.

Most of the time Shino doesn't mind because on the off chance that taking missions isn't a top priority that's how they spend time together. Because life as a ninja means that at any given moment your life could be snatched from you.

But as usual Kiba has to take everything to an extreme, the way he was going it was like he was trying to get Shino pregnant. Which would be really weird. But Shino is digressing, although technically people would be happier about the concept of children.

"People" being their respective families, although Aburame and Inuzuka were very large clans in their own rights, eventually they (Kiba and Shino) were expected to take over said clans.

If Shino wanted to get even more technical he and Kiba have been together, in the relative sense of the word, ever since Kiba came back from the retrieve Sasuke incident. Came back severely injured, Shino noted sourly.

That particular stretch of time had not been a happy one, the mission that took him away from that disaster was pacifistic in comparison; his father had chosen that time to tell him about the facts of life.

Shino really wanted to shout expletives from the rooftops at that point, but that was out of character for him, so he quashed that emotion (like so many others) and struggled through the mission.

Shino wasn't even sure if it deserved the name "mission."

On top of that, he'd returned to find all of his comrades gone on a mission far more dangerous and significant than the one he'd been on. Talk about adding insult to injury, but Shino didn't talk about it, he merely let it simmer inside of him.

He utilized that time by training harshly, sometimes taking Hinata with him, most times not. Hinata was training to be a medic anyway, and harsh endurance training wouldn't really help her achieve her goals.

But Hinata did try to soothe his frayed nerves, in her own quiet way she did help, at one point Shino could recall him asking her harshly, "How can you not be angry? We all got passed over for this mission."

Hinata had smiled gently, "Shino-kun, we didn't get passed over, our particular field of expertise wasn't necessary here. Kiba-kun went because he had to, will letting jealousy distract us from what we really have to do, help anyone?"

Shino had shut up after that, but all that was ancient history now, with Sasuke back in Konoha and Naruto as the new Hokage. Shino was surprised at the amount of determination that Naruto had displayed in his battles to bring Sasuke back. Shino had always pictured Naruto caring far more about his chances at the title of Hokage than for Sasuke's well being.

Naruto had proved everyone wrong and had given that shitfaced grin of his, while doing it. That's how Kiba told it, anyway, that too is ancient history as the rookie nine are all on their way to becoming irritating twentysomethings.

With Hinata as the best chakra surgeon around for miles and Ino staging corporate takeover after corporate takeover with her now large flower shop empire, Sakura finally acquiring some strength of her own, Shikamaru taking care of his own Genin team in a style reminiscent of Hatake Kakashi. And finally Naruto, as the Hokage, making laws about not sealing vicious demons in the bellies of orphaned blonde children; Sasuke becoming head of the ANBU detail for said Hokage and abusing that position to get sex on the job.

Shino? Well Shino was now ANBU with Kiba and shared a substantially sized apartment with said Inuzuka and his dog, he's taken up doing the crossword in the newspaper, when Kiba remembered to pay the news paper boy that is.

Kiba forgets to do a lot of things, Shino recalls all those things at night when they're lying in bed side by side and Kiba is sprawled all over him and vice versa and Kiba's breath is hot on Shino's neck.

Shino also recalls that day when Kiba had come back from his first real mission where life and death were involved and Shino had put off going to the hospital because he was afraid of what he might find there.

Yet again, Hinata came to his rescue and gently prodded him to do what he was supposed to do, so in the quiet of twilight Shino went, discreetly entering the hallway that housed all of his comrades after their failed mission.

Kiba's middle was swathed in bandages, Akamaru sporting similar injuries as they both slept fitfully, Shino carefully made his way toward the bed.

When he reached it, he noticed how Kiba was still struggling for breath and his normal tan skin tone was pale and pasty, what he didn't notice was how those simple facts made worry surge in his chest.

Gently he unfurled Kiba's clenched fists and took hold of one of them, "It wasn't supposed to end like this, dog-breath." He whispered hoarsely.

"Shino?" Kiba's voice asks and Shino drops his hand and stands up stiffly, "You're awake?" he inquires unsure of himself.

"Yeah." Kiba responds tiredly, finally opening his dark eyes, "Shino?"

"Yes?"

"I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For being such a dick whenever you were around, I was being stupid and I don't deserve to be friends with you."

Shino blinked in surprise; "You shouldn't apologize." He said quietly as he took off his dark glasses. "I'm at fault here too. For what's it worth, I wish that you were the one away on a mission with your father."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"There's no way you're pansy-ass bugs could have done anything like Akamaru and I did."

Shino cracked a tiny smirk, "Maybe we should find out."

"Bring it on bug-boy, as soon as I can get out of this freaking bed I'll kick your ass as many times as you want."

There's something about that sentence that pulls on Shino's heartstrings; Kiba had always been so exuberant and energetic. His lack of enthusiasm makes Shino angry, but he ignores that feeling again in favor of talking with Kiba.

But Shino had nothing to say that Kiba would find interesting, he frantically searched his mind and just as Kiba was about to say something Shino blurted out, "I like you."

Kiba looks surprised for a moment but then a wolfish grin prevails, "I was about to ask you how Hinata was doing but I can see you won't be interested in that."

No matter how hard Shino tries he can't fight the flush that's rising on his face.

"Shino?"

"Yes?"

Kiba yawns before replying, "Without those stupid glasses you look reaaally hot." Shino's smirk returns, "Without that stupid coat of yours, you look tolerable."

"Hey! I'm an invalid you bastard!"

"My parents were married when I was born."

Kiba pouts and Shino finally took notice of what time it is, he makes to leave but Kiba stops him, "Don't go." Kiba has a pleading look in his eyes and Shino is hard-pressed to refuse him.

Shino reclaims his place on the stiff hospital chair and Kiba looks triumphant, "You don't look that hurt." Shino tells him somberly.

Kiba grins in way that showcases his canine like teeth, "And you look like you have a stick up your ass."

"…"

"Seriously though, if you're going to stay you can have half of the bed." Kiba said as he edged toward the side of his bed. Shino regarded him over the rim of his large coat, but acquiesces none the less, "Take off your coat and your shoes, and your glasses." Kiba orders bossily.

Shino replies, "You're such a bossy invalid."

"Hey!" Kiba exclaims, looking righteously angry for a moment, before remembering that Shino is lying in his bed, completely at his mercy. Kiba turns off the lights and shares some of his blanket with Shino, who has gotten over his moment of stiffness; not literally you perverts, and has seemed to have relaxed.

That was when Kiba made his move, "It feels so nice to be snuggled into warm pillows, Shino."

Shino's eyes snap open, as Kiba feigns sleeping, "Those aren't pillows." He says to himself in horror.

Kiba's voice in his ear snaps him out of his reverie; "You're so tense again, Shino." He says enticingly, "Let me help you with that."

And Shino doesn't mind because Kiba is just what he needed in his overly-angst filled life, Shino is just glad he didn't turn out like Sasuke. So Shino responds accordingly and their apartment is filled with moans, "Shino! How come you never told me you could do that with your tongue!"

OWARI

Whew, I finally finished that. I have to type more now. Bye.