A/N: Thanks for reviewing. I just love how people like fluff. And the fact that they like my fluff is even better. Now, this is the last chapter, so I made it nice and long, with lots of Kiba and Hinata. Enjoy, and please review. I'll be eternally grateful. Thanks, and have a great Thanksgiving.
Chapter 4: Ino's gift…a mastermind at work.
"Ino, I gotta talk to you." Kiba grabbed her arm and hauled her roughly from her seat. She had been sitting on the edge of the bridge with Chouji, a self-satisfied smile on her face, no doubt happy that her plans for the party were going so well. She wrenched her arm away from him, glaring.
"Itai! Kiba, that hurts!"
"Just come with me, ok?" He growled. He was in no mood to put up with her complaints. She followed him over to the edge of the trees. He pointed at a flat rock, and motioned that she should sit.
"What's your problem, Kiba-kun?" Her voice was dripping with honey. He had a sneaking suspicion that she knew exactly what was wrong with him, since it was the same thing that had been bothering him all week.
His glare only intensified as she sat down. "I'll be bringing Hinata to your house around seven fifteen tonight Ino." The girl smiled broadly. She opened her mouth to say something but he held up a finger, he was not finished. "But I want to make one thing clear. Hinata and I will be on a date, and I'll be accompanying her to her party. That way, there's no real deception." Ino's smile widened, if it could be possible. "What?"
"I was waiting for this to happen, Kiba. Oh, it's just so cute!" The girl jumped up and down, clapping.
He rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Ino." Kiba muttered to himself as she walked back to Chouji. Same old Ino. She never really can keep her nose out of other people's business. He sighed, thinking about the evening before. He had kissed her. Kissed Hinata. That odd feeling in his stomach was back again, and he looked around for Akamaru, who had taken to disappearing lately. Can't really blame him. I've been in a foul mood all week over this party crap. He sighed again, trudging back to his house to get ready for the evening's festivities. His thoughts kept straying to things he knew he should not be thinking of.
Snap out of it, Kiba he growled at himself in his head. He was half a step away from calling the whole thing off, but thought better of it. Hinata would be disappointed, and he couldn't have that. So, he went to his sister, and took a deep breath before speaking. "Uh, onehsan? Can I ask you something?"
"Sure, Kiba. What is it?"
"I uh, kinda have a date tonight. I was wondering…what should I wear?"
His sister's eyes widened, and her eyebrows shot up. "Where will you be going?"
"To a party."
"Then wear your good winter kimono." His sister was now looking at him in a very Ino-like way, and he didn't like it. "It looks very nice on you, Kiba. And you might want to leave that forehead protector at home."
"Why? I like it." He thought then, after all, it might look silly if he wore it while he was in a kimono, and he decided to follow her advice. Kiba shrugged.
The sly look on his sister's face did not go away. "So who is the lucky girl that you asked?"
His sister then began to laugh. She threw back her head, holding her sides, and stomping her feet on the floor. He growled in his throat, and turned to leave. Just as he reached the door, she stopped laughing. "Kiba—"
"Onehsan, you just don't understand." He did not turn around. If he had, he would have seen his sister's face, and the apologetic look that it held. Kiba closed the door to his sister's room.
When he got to his room, he sat for a while, staring at the picture of Hinata and himself. He laughed at himself. Others had seen it before he had? It was beyond him how he was the last person to know how he felt about Hinata. Shino had known, as well as Ino, and his sister. Who else knows? He thought miserably over this for a moment, but then remembered his thoughts from a few days ago, when he told himself he wasn't going to feel guilty over being nice to Hinata. Then it occurred to him why Shino had punched him in the first place. He smiled broadly, shaking his head. "Meddling bastard, Shino." Now that he thought about it, Shino never had done anything like that before, so he wondered why he had done it at all.
Shoving thoughts like this aside, Kiba grabbed his bathrobe and went to the bathroom. He found Akamaru sleeping on the bathroom rug. "So this is where you've been, Akamaru. You lazy bum, you. Get up, boy." The dog got up, stretching. He looked up at Kiba. "I'm fine now, Akamaru. Don't worry. Now, I gotta take a shower. Want one too?" The dog ran from the room, since he didn't like the shower. Kiba laughed. It was fun to pick on the dog sometimes.
He glanced at his watch. "Five thirty! Oh, man, I better hurry." He tore off his clothes and jumped into the shower. After being out in the snow for most of the day, the hot water felt good. He stood under it for a long time, it seemed, and then got the shampoo bottle from the rack on the door. His thoughts turned to the previous night once again, and he started to think those things he shouldn't. He thought of how nice it had been to be so close to Hinata, and how soft her hand had been when she held his. He thought of how he had kissed her. This made him blush, even though he was alone. By the time he rinsed his hair of all of the shampoo lather, he was in quite a state, still thinking of Hinata and how nice she smelled.
He now glanced at his watch again. It was six o'clock. He had just enough time to get ready and rush over to the Hyuuga compound to get Hinata at seven.
Hinata sat nervously combing her hair. Her little sister Hanabi sat on her bed looking over at her and giggling. "Oneh-sama, you're so nervous! Are you worried about your date?" Hinata blushed furiously, but nodded. "It's ok, but what will you wear?" The elder sister pointed at the other chair in the room. Over the back of the chair, a snowy white kimono was draped. It was made of a thick silk, and had silver snowflakes embroidered on the collar and sleeves. "Oh, it's so pretty!" Hanabi smiled at her older sister. "You'll be very pretty tonight, oneh-sama. Oh, I didn't give you your birthday present yet!"
The girl ran from the room and came back quickly with a box wrapped in icy-blue paper. Hinata smiled and thanked her sister, taking the package with a small bow. When she unwrapped the paper and opened the box, she found within an obi, relatively narrow, and the same color as the paper. "Arigato, Hanabi. It's beautiful. I'll wear it tonight." She hugged her sister, and the girl retreated from the room. Hinata smiled after her.
I wonder if Kiba will like it, she thought as she held up the cloth to the light. It was really beautiful, and she hoped that he would. She glanced at the clock. It was a quarter to seven. Oh, no! I don't want to make him wait! She dressed as quickly as she could, and was waiting for him on the front porch by five minutes to seven.
Kiba walked quickly through the street, feeling a little uncomfortable in his kimono. He was much more used to wearing his shinobi clothes. The dark brown wool matched his hair almost perfectly, and he wore a dark red obi belted around his waist. The cloth was a little scratchy where the underkimono did not reach down to his wrists, but he could deal with it. As he walked, he hefted Hinata's gift in his hands. It felt empty. Then, he looked down at the top of the small box, and saw the note that he had stuck under he ribbon. It had taken a lot of courage to write it.
The moment he turned the corner to the Hyuuga compound, he saw Hinata. She stood on the porch of the main house, leaning against one of the pillars. Dressed all in white, with her hands in her sleeves against the cold, she regarded him silently as he walked toward her. He slipped her gift behind his back. With the other hand, he waved, grinning. When he reached the porch, he bowed formally, which was very odd to him, but he felt like it was kind of necessary. Hinata bowed back, smiling slightly.
Swiftly, he pulled the present from behind his back, and held it out to her. "Happy birthday, Hinata-hime." Her smile broadened, and she took the small box. As she untied the ribbon, the note fell, but she caught it before it touched the ground. Hinata was very agile, and very observant, it seemed. Carefully unfolding the paper from the black lacquered box, she handed the paper to him. He folded it nervously, and held it. As Hinata opened the box, he held his breath. Would she like it? Was it too much?
She made a small gasp, and removed the necklace from its place in the box. Kiba watched the expression on her face change from surprise to a quiet joy. He sighed quietly, in relief. She likes it. He reached out and took the box, placing it on the floor. "May I?" He asked, meaning that he would put it on for her. She nodded, blushing. Kiba held out his hand, and she placed the necklace on one of his fingers, letting it dangle there. She still held the note in her hand.
His fingers fumbled with the clasp for a moment, and then he reached around her to put it around her neck. As he tried to fasten it behind her neck, the backs of his knuckles brushed against her neck. Soft…Her skin was very soft, and he allowed his hands to rest where they were for a moment, even after the clasp was fastened. Those thoughts kept popping into his head about Hinata, and how she smelled, and how soft her skin was, and he beat them back. He had to focus, not turn into a puddle of goo. Like you can help it, Kiba. Look at her. He did. All he could see was the back of her head, and her neck, smooth translucent skin and fine hairs.
Before he could stop himself, he ran his knuckles along her neck to where it met her shoulder. She shivered. His ears detected the sound of paper being unfolded, and he watched nervously from behind her as she read his note. He knew the words by heart.
Happy birthday. I wanted to tell you how much I like you, but I can't really get myself to say it out loud. So I'm being kinda pathetic and writing it down.
I like how you don't have to say anything to let people know how you're feeling. I like how you smile, even when you do cover it up. I like the way you never stop trying, and how you always seem to be thinking about something.
Most of all, I like the look in your eyes when you look at me.
When she finished reading this short but heartfelt note, she turned to him. He had been standing behind her, waiting, and very nervous. She smiled up at him, a completely different smile than any other he had ever seen on her face. It was wide, and utterly happy. She had tears in her eyes. "Hey, now, Hinata-hime, what are you crying for?" She did not answer, but wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly, burying her face in his chest. He felt awkward for a moment, and then put his arms around her. "Don't cry, please? I thought birthdays were supposed to be happy?"
Sniffling, she looked up at him, the tears on her face glittering in the half-light. "I am happy, Kiba-kun. That note was…wonderful. Arigato." Hinata stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. If it had been lighter out, she would have seen how very red he became. Kiba reached into his sleeve, and pulled out a long white strip of cloth. "What's that for, Kiba-kun?"
"It's a surprise. I'll have to blindfold you, but you have to promise, no peeking, which means no Byakagun, ok?" She nodded slowly, as if she was beginning to become suspicious. Tying the cloth over her eyes, he checked to make sure that she could not see. Satisfied that she couldn't peek, he took her hand. "Ok, now just walk beside me. I'll make sure you don't trip." They made their slow way down the street, and in about ten minutes, were in front of Ino's door. There was no noise from the house, since they had seen the two of them coming.
Before he opened the door, he looked over at her. He could tell from the way her head was positioned that she was listening intently, trying to figure out where she was. She's so beautiful…Kiba felt himself move slowly toward her, his hands reaching for her face. Oh, you're in deep, pal. You have got it BAD. Shut up, will ya? Kiba's hands touched Hinata's face, and she started, then realized who it was that was holding her. "Kiba…" She said softly, but left any other thoughts unfinished. He ran his thumb over her lips, a small shiver running through her. He wanted to see her eyes. Oh, damn you Ino. She'll just have to be not quite as surprised as you want her to be!
His hands reached around her, pulling away the knot from the blindfold. She blinked, the light from the door momentarily dazzling her. Hinata did not look around as he thought she would. Her eyes were entirely focused on his face. Kiba felt her hands on his chest, as they took hold of handfuls of the heavy cloth of his kimono, and then when she began to pull him down to her. The strange feeling in his stomach had come back, this time with a vengeance. His breath had become shallow, and his heart was beating fast.
Hinata's breath was misting before his eyes now, entwined with his own, and he saw nothing but her eyes. Her face tilted up toward his, and their lips met. Her hands let go of his kimono, and her arms snaked upward, around his neck. Kiba's hands came to rest on Hinata's slight waist. She made a small noise like a whimper, and he pulled her closer.
Had either of them opened their eyes, they'd have seen Ino, Shikamaru, Chouji, Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, and Shino all staring at them through the window in the door, their mouths hanging open.
For a long moment, after the kiss ended, the two of them remained as they were, both surprised by what had just happened, but neither one sorry for it. Kiba began to grin, his insides turning to mush again. Before he could say anything about going inside, she kissed him again. He blinked in utter surprise, because this was not like the first kiss, but more forceful, and the unbidden thoughts he had had so much success in getting rid of came back to the surface, and his heart seemed as if it would pound out of his chest.
The watchers in the door all began to blush. Fiercely. Sakura looked at Ino as if to say, "Should we interrupt?" Ino's malevolent grin told her that they should, and they began whispering to the boys. On a silent count of three, they all burst through the door, yelling "Happy Birthday, Hinata-chan!" only to find no one but Kiba. He had thrust Hinata behind himself, and he was growling. From the look in his eyes, he was ready to kill someone.
"Oi, Kiba!" Naruto smirked, "You gonna keep Hinata-chan out here all night? She might catch cold. That wouldn't be a very good birthday present, now, would it?" The blond-haired young man raised an eyebrow at him.
Kiba felt Hinata's hand on his arm. He looked down at her. She looked frightened. "It's ok, Hinata. They just wanted to surprise you. Are you ok?" She nodded, but clung to him. Sighing, he took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Her eyes were now much less startled. She smiled up at him. "Let's go inside. It's cold out here."
Ino's living room was decorated in white streamers, with little blue snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, as well. There was a lot of junk food, and a big cake in the middle of it all. Hinata was so surprised that she couldn't speak, it seemed.
Ino came up to Hinata and said in a low voice, "How do you like my birthday present?" At first, she seemed confused. Then, her eyes widened. Ino smiled widely. "It took forever to get him to realize that he liked you, you know. Months!" Kiba's jaw dropped. What the hell? Ino had been working him for months without him knowing? He sighed. "I even got Shino to help." Kiba stared at Shino, and the taller shinobi merely shrugged.
Kiba moved to go and hit Shino, but was stopped by Hinata's hand on his arm again. She looked up at him with that strangely expectant curiosity. He smiled. "You really don't want to know, Hinata-hime."
Later that night, Kiba walked Hinata home, and they stood outside for a long time, talking. It seemed that they had both been set up, in a way, but it was only because others had seen something that they had not and were tired of watching them dance circles around one another. Kiba leaned against the pillar, and Hinata leaned against him, her back against his stomach, and her head resting on his chest. Occasionally, she would twist her head up to look at him, and smile.
I love her smile, he thought, looking down at her. He watched her looking up at him, her eyes bright in the moonlight, and felt a jolt in his stomach. Oh, man, am I…in…Hinata's hands had reached up and taken hold of his face, pulling it down, and his lips met hers once again. This must be the fifth time she kissed him tonight, but it still amazed him how soft her lips were, and how their gentle force disarmed him completely. His hands rested on her shoulders, and turned her around, never breaking from her lips. She was unbelievable…
As she pulled away from him, she smiled at him again, softly, slowly. Again, he thought, do I love her? The little voice in his mind then piped up, and said in a sarcastic tone, Do you really need to ask that question? You really are a dumbass. That was the first smart thing that voice had said. He loved her, alright. That was something he was surprised he hadn't thought of before. He felt dizzy at this realization, and held onto Hinata for support. Her eyes looked at him questioningly.
She laid her face on his chest, closing her eyes. "Kiba?" She asked softly.
"Hinata, I—" His voice stuck in his throat. What if she doesn't feel the same way? He looked down at her for a long moment, watching her for some hint of her feelings. Then, it began to snow. Just like that. White flakes floated down from the sky, falling to join those that had already covered the street. A few snowflakes drifted under the cover of the porch, coming to rest in Hinata's hair. "I…" Oh, just spit it out, idiot! "I love you, Hinata." Her head popped up, eyes wide. Shit. Now see what you made me do?
"Kiba…" Her eyes closed again, and she put her head on his shoulder. It was a long moment before she spoke again. He knew what she was going to say. She'd tell him that she liked him, but wasn't sure if she loved him, and— "I love you, too." He blinked.
She looked up at him, and suddenly made that awful silly face, and wiggled her fingers at his face. In a very firm and un-Hinata-like tone, she said, "I—love—you." And she stood on tiptoe, throwing her arms around his neck. Well, so much for her shyness, eh? He thought as she kissed him again.