Author's Note: I realized the other day that while I haven't written anything major in a while, I do have a lot of little drabbles and one-shots floating around my livejournal. Quite a few of these are based on original characters, but many of them are in keeping with my Feverishly Fleshing-out Minor Characters theme, and so I've decided to post them here, for the delight (or horror) of you all.
These drabbles with range in length and character-choice as much as they do in mood and content. One may be entirely cheerful crack; the next may be as sober and angsty as I ever get. I'll try to post summaries and warnings before each story, so you know what you're getting into. That said, let's get on with the show!
Title: Family Traditions
Word Count: 767
Warning/s: No spoilers at all, but there's a bit of subtext from my previous Genma and Hana stories.
Summary: Kiba had to learn to swim somewhere…
Notes: Inspired by iamzuul, who answered my plea for something to write with a cry of "MORE CRACK!" and by link no miko, who more specifically asked for "younger!hana and young!kiba going swimming in a river and teaching him how to dive!"
Of course, before you learn how to dive you've got to learn how to swim.
(To those who may wonder: This is not quite the way I learned how to swim, but the sibling interaction is true to life. Fear the four-year-olds.)
"It's wet," Kiba says, with the irrefutable logic of a four-year-old. "Mum says if I come home wet anymore she'll tie me to Kuromaru. No more river." He crosses his arms over his chest and juts his chin out like a miniature replica of the Hokage Mountain carved in flesh.
"She only said that 'cause every time you go near the river you fall in and one of us has to drag you out," Hana retorts in growing exasperation. "Either you never ever come here again, or you learn to swim, okay? We're sick of watching you try to drown yourself on your own."
"Wasn't trying to drown," Kiba mutters sulkily. "Was gonna catch a fish n' eat it. Anyway," he adds, "I don't wanna swim."
"You don't want to drown, either, do you?" Hana demands. She crosses her arms as well and glares at her little brother. A trickle of sweat slides down her cheek, dampening limp strands of hair to her face. It's too hot to argue, certainly too hot to deal with a little brother who has decided that the Terrible Twos can last three years and counting. She asked Genma once if she was ever this bad, and he just laughed and showed her the white scars on his thumb—faded but still visible even after nearly ten years—that serve as a memento of their first meeting.
According to Genma, Hana was a brat and she's never grown out of it.
Hana doesn't find that reassuring.
She has, however, learned some useful things from her adopted aniki, and one of them is a strategy so rarely employed in their family that it might be enough of a novelty to shock Kiba into obeying. So instead of yelling and ordering him into the water, or threatening not to let him eat anything but vegetables for a week, or just picking him up and throwing him in, Hana tries reasoning with him. "It's not that deep here, see?" she says reassuringly, jumping in with a splash. The brown water eddies around her hips, and she splashes some up at Kiba on the bank. He jumps back with a yelp, and she sighs and plants her hands on her hips.
"Look, I know you're not scared of water. You can just pretend this is your bath, can't you?
"No bath!" Kiba yells. He grabs a stone off the bank and throws it at her, and for a four-year-old he has astonishingly good aim and a very strong arm. Hana ducks underwater as the stone whizzes over her head, and by the time she reemerges, sputtering and dashing water out of her eyes, Kiba's already taken off up the hillside. Hana's dogs stand in a bewildered and dampened grey cluster on the bank, waiting for her orders.
Hana sighs. "Go get 'im," she says.
Howling with glee, the dogs take off. Kiba shrieks and speeds up, chubby arms pumping the air for all he's worth, but while the dogs are barely five years old, still puppies by Inuzuka standards, they're fast. And while one of them jumping on a man's back probably wouldn't make much more of an impression than a (clawed and fanged and snarling) pillow thrown at his head, three of them piling on top of a four-year-old make quite a bit of an impression. Kiba goes down to the accompaniment of the dogs' joyful yelps and his own screams.
Hana pushes herself up the bank and jogs dripping up the hill to pull the puppies off. Kiba's scratched up a bit, but that's nothing new; in the Inuzuka clan scratches and bites are as common as stubbed toes are to any other family. At least he's not crying, although he is muttering vindictively under his breath and wiping dog-slobber off his face as he glares at Amaya, who just smirks back.
"No swimming," he says stubbornly. "I wanna go home. I'll tell Mum on you!"
"Mum's the one who made me bring you out here," Hana snaps, tugging him to his feet. "You think I'm doing this 'cause I want to?"
"No," Kiba grumbles. "It's 'cause you're mean." He kicks her in the shin, and those little sandaled feet pack a lot of punch. "I hate you!" he yells, trying to twist away from her hands on his shoulders. "Lemme go!"
"Fine, you little rat," Hana snarls at him, picks him up under the arms, and throws him in the river.
After all, it's the way their father taught her to swim. And the Inuzuka have always been firm believers in family traditions.