Authoress: yosh! I'm here with a new fanfic (all my devoted readers should squeal in joy with me!) EEEEE!…so, anyways…this will be a new pairing for me to write about…but (as a few may already know) I'm doing a term paper on the kitsune (I love my English class!) and I found a little interesting bit on dogs while researching…so…I got the idea in my head to put Kiba and Naruto together…so…here we go!

Disclaimer:…do I have to say it…it makes me so depressed to admit I don't own Naruto…

Prologue:

It's said in Japanese mythology that foxes are creatures with supernatural powers and they use these powers for either good or evil. One of the most well known abilities of the kitsune is the legend concerning their tails. It is said when a fox becomes a century old, they grow a tail and, for every hundred years after that, the kitsune will sprout an additional tail. When they become one thousand years old, they are said to gain the abilities of infinite sight and such power, they are considered to be near immortal. These fabled creatures are known as the Kyuubi no Kitsune. Though, the most popular stories of kitsune revolve around their other ability, which is shared with the tanuki and tengu-henge. Most stories of these shift-shapers say that they take the form of young, beautiful women who seduce unworthy men and reward deserving people.

There are very few ways to discover a kitsune's true identity when they have changed their form. One could look at their reflection in a mirror or water, which would reveal their tails. The other way, is to have the kitsune spotted by a canine, at which point, they will return to their true form.

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Naruto looked up from the scroll with a snort. Canine? Who thought up of that one? he asked himself as he slowly started closing it again. He was careful not to crease the yellowing parchment anymore than it already was. Knowing Iruka, he had memorized exactly how many marks were on this scroll and would notice even the tiniest change in the paper. Naruto sighed as finally finished rolling the object back up. Not a single crease, stain, or rip to be seen. His old sensei would be proud…if it hadn't been for the fact Iruka didn't know Naruto had borrowed one of his oldest scrolls, then snuck out of his apartment with it with full intention to read the composition. As much as Naruto loved the brunette, he knew not even the fact he had voluntarily read would save him from Iruka's wrath.

With anyone else, it would have just been more logical to ask to borrow the scroll instead of sneaking around like the little bandit he was. But this was Naruto-the container to the same Kyuubi no Kitsune the scroll talked so apprehensively. It was the same creature that had attacked his village and killed so many without a second thought.

With anyone other than Naruto, no questions would be asked when he requested information on kitsune. In Naruto's case, there probably would have been an alarm or something that would go off, telling everyone exactly what he was doing, and villagers would automatically assume he was trying to do some kind evil research. If anyone knew he wanted to know more about the demon inside him, they probably would hate him even more. Naruto knew that even Iruka, for all his compassion, would want to know exactly why Naruto needed the information. Closing his eyes, Naruto could imagine the slight fear in the brunette's honest eyes. It was Iruka's one fault-he could stop himself from making any expression to indicate his mood, but all you had to do is look into those brown orbs in order to tell exactly what was on the chuunin's mind. It was something Naruto loved about Iruka-being always able to tell that Iruka wanted to be around him…that he saw Naruto for who he really was and still acknowledged him-but at this moment, that same quality made Naruto's heart ache.

No, there would be no telling Iruka-or anyone else, even if he had that much trust in another person besides the Umino-about this. He would quickly sneak into Iruka's house during the day when Iruka would be tending to his academy classes, put the scroll back in its rightful place, and slip back out. No one had to know. Naruto would keep it a secret locked up deep in his heart.

Just like so many other things…

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Kiba itched his nose as he leaned back against the tree supporting him. His leg was no longer throbbing in pain, but he could hardly stand up on his own. He sniffed the air, hesitantly turning his head to smell the air on either side of him. No one was within smelling distance, which meant that, for the moment, he was safe. He braced his arms against the gnarled wood as he lowered himself to the ground, sighing softly in relief to take the weight off his left leg.

It had been a mistake on his part to train with Hinata when she was obviously not in a good mood. Kiba hadn't even bothered to ask why she was in such a rare mood. If she had been an Inuzuka, she would have been snarling, bearing her canines at Kiba when he had accidentally hit into her a few hours ago. He had a sister-he knew that it would have done no good to try talking to her right now. So, he had suggested they walk. Hinata had actually the one to make the first move and activate her Byakugan.

At the time, Kiba had been so surprised, he hadn't been able to block when she performed a Jyuuken on him-hitting one of the major tenketsu in his leg. It left him almost paralyzed in pain, but it had been dulling for the past half hour. In just half an hour, Hinata had been letting off enough steam to knock poor Akamaru into unconsciousness and leave Kiba all but defenseless. If it hadn't been for his quick reflexes and sense of smell, Kiba knew he would have been undoubtedly joining his puppy in that state very soon. He took a deep breath, knowing that as soon as Hinata came within smelling distance, he would immediately know and be able to prepare himself before she even came within his sight. Because of that, Kiba sat comfortably-or as comfortable as he could get in his situation-as he played out the entire day.

That morning, he had a mission with his teammates and nothing of interest happened, so they returned to the village in the middle of the afternoon. He had left his friends and their sensei to go take a nap back at his house. Somehow, in those few hours he wasn't around the Hyuuga, something had happened to Hinata that left her more pissed off than Kiba had ever seen someone. Even his older sister (for all her bitchy moments) never had taken to attacking a friend when in one of her moods.

Kiba closed his eyes, his hands absently trying to rub some feeling back into his numb leg. This was his first time being hit with one of the Hyuuga family's abilities and he was very glad they were loyal to Konoha. He never wanted to experience something like this pain again. The smallest of smirks came to his face as he remembered the chuunin exams. Hinata had been so quiet then, but still very powerful. It was too bad her creepy, fate-loving cousin beat her down so badly. He would never forgive Neji for being such a prick.

Thinking about the long-haired Hyuuga made Kiba remember that Hinata had gone easy on him. Neji had gone all out and nearly killed the blonde loudmouth. But…Naruto was still able to fight…and beat Neji's ultimate defense…Kiba thought to himself, a twinge of jealousy coursing through him. Not only was the blonde an idiot with an amazing amount of stamina, but he was damn lucky. He had been able to defeat Kiba…and the Hyuuga genius.

"Kiba-kun!" The Inuzuka jumped when he heard Hinata's voice, amazed that he hadn't smelled her. He bit back a chuckle when he saw the girl walking up to him, Akamaru draped across her arms. His nose had been tricked him, only picking up his dog's scent and, since it was so familiar, it didn't even register in Kiba's mind as something unusual. The boy watched his teammate warily, wondering if Hinata would attack him again. There would be no time to get up and defend himself properly if that was the case.

"I hope you're not going to attack me again, Hinata-chan…" Kiba called out as the girl came even closer, Akamaru still remaining motionless in her arms. The girl's face took on a surprised look, her pale eyes traveling over Kiba's body. He smirked, smelling that she was definitely confused over something. Blind rage usually had that effect on people.

"Gomen nasai, Kiba-kun! I-I didn't mean to hurt you or Akamaru!" Hinata quickly apologized, running the last few feet to reach Kiba and gently laid his puppy down as she knelt at his side. Her gaze moved down Kiba's face, his chest, arms, and torso, checking for any serious injury. There were a few cuts, but nothing serious enough that Hinata needed to worry. She then glanced down at Kiba's one leg, noticing how he was rubbing it vigorously. Activating her Byakugan, Hinata gasped and quickly began feeding chakra into the boy's leg in order to repair his tenketsu. "Gomen, Kiba-kun…I didn't mean to-"

"Calm down, Hinata-chan…I'm just happy you're on our side…" Kiba said jokingly, removing his hands from his leg once feeling started to return thanks to Hinata. The girl blushed profusely, keeping her head bowed so she wouldn't have to look at her teammate. "…care to tell me why you were trying to kill us?"

"I-I wasn't…" Hinata turned her head to the side, wishing that Kiba wouldn't have asked her such a question. She took a deep breath, summoning up enough courage to look into the Inuzuka's eyes. "…I-I got into a fight…with my father…gomen…I didn't mean to-"

"Don't keep apologizing, Hinata-chan…" Kiba had met Hinata's father on more than one occasion and, simply said, he had no love towards the man. He had forced Hinata into the life of a shinobi, making his eldest daughter go against her own compassionate ways, then had the gall to act as though it was Hinata's fault she wasn't the Hyuuga genius, instead of Neji. If he had been Hinata, Kiba would have knocked some sense into the man long ago-or at least tried to. But, to have Hinata admit she fought with him? And, from the way she put it, it sounded like a verbal dispute. That was so unlike Hinata, Kiba caught himself staring at the girl in amazement. "What happened?" was all Kiba could ask as Hinata sat back on her heels, returning to her old nervous habit of pushing her fingers together.

"…he was trying…to arrange a marriage…and I refused…" Hinata said softly, a proud smile coming to her face at the end of her statement. Kiba looked at Hinata, wondering why on Earth her father would be arranging a marriage. Hinata was only thirteen! For a moment, Kiba was glad his clan never got into those odd politics that wanted their heirs married at young age and all that other bull crap. His mother had told him, and his sister, that when they find the right person for them, as long as they brought them home to meet the family, their clan wouldn't care if they got married or not. Hell, his mother didn't even mind if her children had children with multiple partners! She just wanted her two children to be happy, no matter what path they had to take to receive it.

"…go Hinata-chan!" Kiba cheered, hugging the girl as he said so. For Hinata to go against her father so brashly, it meant certain repercussions later, but it was worth it to prove that Hinata was a person who wasn't going to be pushed over as easily as before. Kiba was glad his teammate finally started standing up for herself. "So, what'd you tell that old bastard?" He wanted to go run to Shino's and recount their teammate's victory as soon as possible.

"…that…I…I'm in a relationship…with someone…else…" Kiba was stunned into silence. His eyes shifted from Hinata's nervously moving hands to the small smile on her face. He could even smell she was being completely serious, which made the Inuzuka feel a brotherly surge of protectiveness for his tiny friend. If this bastard, whoever he was, seduced his Hinata, there would be no punishment great enough. Then again, if Hinata truly loved whoever this mystery guy was, then Kiba was all for just taking the man aside and chatting about how Hinata was like a sister to him…and that his family was known to take the law into their own hands…this guy could ask any of the castrated members of Konoha's society. He would also add, as if it was an afterthought, that no one in his family had ever seen the inside of a cell yet.

"…who?" Kiba was almost too afraid to ask. It certainly wasn't himself or Shino-their bug-loving friend would never have been able to keep something like this from Kiba…he would have smelled it. That only left a few males in Kiba's mind. Shikamaru and Choji were already…involved with one another, Lee…was, well…Lee, Neji was Hinata's cousin…and he had serious friendship issues, which erased the chance he was in a serious relationship. That left only one loudmouth, blonde, stupid shinobi who Kiba was already planning to have his aforementioned chat with when Hinata chuckled nervously.

"…we…wanted to keep it a secret…" she whispered softly, which got Kiba to inwardly growl. That blonde wouldn't be able to ever sit down again if Kiba had his way. No one would keep something like this a secret unless they were unsure about the relationship in the first place…and if he was unsure…Kiba would make him sure as hell 'sure' that he wanted to be with his friend-or else he'd eradicate the annoying blonde.

Kiba nearly smacked his head when he remembered all the times Hinata had stammered when even in Naruto's presence. She could hardly speak to the guy-no wonder, he was forcing her to keep quiet about their relationship. That thought made Kiba wonder exactly how far she'd gone with the blonde. Anything past hugging would definitely mean a serious talk with the blonde. "…did you…y'know…"

"Kiba-kun!" Hinata exclaimed, surprised he would ask such a thing. She was expecting him to bug her about who the guy was, but, if her friend was willing to let that little bit go, then it meant less refusing on her part. "…h-hai…" she answered, a crimson shade erupting on her pale cheeks.

Oh, that's it…Blondie's gonna die…Kiba decided as he forced himself to smile supportively at Hinata. "I'm happy for you…how did your father take it?" From the watery look that came to Hinata's eyes, it obviously wasn't a good reaction on Hiashi's part. "Did he get really mad?"

"…iie…he just…said I'm not allowed to see him anymore…" Hinata whispered softly, bowing her head. Kiba inwardly cursed. Between Naruto and her father, Kiba was going to have to do some serious chatting. He might actually have to ask his sister for help on this one. No one hurt his friend like this and got away with it. His course of action was confirmed when he heard Hinata sniffle quietly and he could smell the salty tinge on her face.

"Hiashi's just gotta mind his own business," Kiba stated gruffly as he pulled Hinata into another hug, making the girl squeak in surprise. "If you guys love each other, no one else's opinion matters…" He glanced down at Hinata curiously for a moment when he heard her sniffles stop. "You do love him, don't you?"

"H-hai, very much…and he loves me too…" Hinata said, smiling into Kiba's torn jacket. He chuckled quietly as he tightened his arms around her. He could see she was happy with Naruto, but that didn't mean Naruto wouldn't have to answer for what he's done.

"arf!"

"Oh, Akamaru…you've woken up…" Hinata was surprised to hear the dog's bark, but was glad that he had woken up on his own. It meant that there was no serious damage done to the cute puppy. Hinata hadn't been too sure of the nin dog's injuries since she knew very little about dog anatomy. She pulled out of Kiba's grasp in order to turn and look at the dog. Akamaru's tail was wagging and, as soon as Hinata's face was visible, he licked her face enthusiastically.

"He said he's happy for you," Kiba commented with a smirk on his face. Akamaru stopped licking Hinata long enough to bark, as if reassuring Hinata what Kiba had said was true. The girl giggled and wrapped her arms around Akamaru. Kiba watched the Hyuuga and his pet, remembering all the times other people had tried to hug the dog and Akamaru had nearly bitten them. The Inuzuka family knew better than to touch another person's dog, who were bred to distrust anyone but their own master. Many children in Kiba's academy class had to find that out the hard way. It had surprised Kiba when he had first become a genin that, even when he was in a bad mood, Akamaru never snapped at Hinata. The girl had, at first, been afraid to be around the puppy-the pair could smell how fear radiated off her whenever Akamaru was around-but, as time went on and they became closer, Hinata started to trust the canine and visa versa.

Kiba had nearly had a heart attack when, one morning while they were on a long mission, he woke up to find Hinata brushing Akamaru in the middle of camp. And his dog didn't seem to care that the girl wasn't, in any way, related to his master. For a while, Kiba had been jealous of how easily Akamaru had come to accept Hinata. When he was little and Akamaru had been given to him, the dog had always bitten him and, after a while, his family started to worry if something was wrong with Kiba. It was unheard of in the Inuzuka family for someone's dog to turn against them, especially when they were so young.

It had taken one accident for Akamaru to finally start warming up to Kiba. It happened one day, when they had been walking together-in an uncomfortable atmosphere-after Kiba's mother kicked them out of the house, saying they needed some fresh air. A group of bullies that Kiba had the misfortune to meet before had quickly found him and started making fun of him. They, like so many other people, thought it was funny that Kiba didn't have a nin dog at his age when almost everyone in his family had at least two or three by now. They had then noticed Akamaru was reluctantly following him and started to mock the puppy as well.

It had only been by sheer luck and quick reflexes that Kiba had caught a glimpse of a rock in one of the boys' hands before he threw it at Akamaru. He had been fast enough to shield the puppy from the attack, but had gotten hit in the back of his head by the rock meant for the dog. Kiba had passed out from the shock of having his skull being cracked open by the forceful blow and, when he woke up, he was surprised to find himself in his own bed with his older sister leaning over him, a wide grin on her face. The other Inuzuka had then proceeded to tell Kiba that she had happened to be walking down the same street he had been on when he was knocked out. She said all she saw was Kiba moving in front of the stone, then Akamaru snapped out of whatever stupor he had been in. The girl had then gone on to act out the way the white puppy had attacked the group of bullies, giving them more than one good injury to go home crying over. Kiba had been surprised to hear that, since his puppy seemed to hate him, but was even more astonished to hear that Akamaru had then proceeded to start dragging the boy three times his size home. Kiba's sister had been too amazed to do anything but follow Akamaru home and watch as the dog proudly pulled his master into the house, where everyone, even their parents, had been stunned into silence.

Ever since that day, Kiba and Akamaru had been closer than any other pair in the Inuzuka clan. People were surprised to see how easily they adjusted to being in each others' life, but were confused when Kiba and Akamaru started becoming more like one person than two. Nowadays, there was very little they could hide from each other and even less than they could disagree on.

Too bad it seemed like today would be one of those unusual days…

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Kiba heaved a sigh, covering his ears as the white puppy growled at him. It wasn't unusual for them to fight, but this was just ridiculous. Ever since they had dropped Hinata off at Shino's, since the girl didn't want to return home just yet, Akamaru had been clearly pissed off about Kiba wanting to talk with Naruto.

"Arf!"

"What do you mean 'we don't even know if Naruto is Hinata's lover'?" Kiba retorted, returning the glare Akamaru gave him. "Look, he's the only guy it could be! And, unless you know something I don't…I don't see anyone else who could possibly get Hinata to act like that!"

"Arf arf!"

"…don't start putting words in my mouth! I didn't say that Naruto was a bad influence…I'm just saying…that they're kinda young to be having sex, don't you think? And, if he does love Hinata as much as she thinks he does, even an idiot like him should know they can't hide it!"

"…grrr…"

"…oi, don't use that tone with me! I feed your sorry ass!"

"…arf…"

"I knew you'd see it my way…" Kiba stuck his nose out proudly once Akamaru admitted defeat, but froze when he felt his puppy's mouth wrap around his arm, just tight enough that Kiba could feel his teeth rip through his shirt. "Oi! What's that for!" Akamaru barked with Kiba's arm in his mouth, but his meaning hadn't been lost. "…'you'll see'! You bit me, Akamaru!"

The dog ignored his master's retort and started walking towards his own destination, pulling a unenthusiastic Inuzuka along with him. They could hear people talking as they awkwardly walked on, Kiba nearly doubled over so the dog would still be touching the ground with all four paws and Akamaru with his nose pointed up, checking street signs every now and again. Some people, the ones who obviously never saw an Inuzuka and his dog before, laughed at the sight while others who were familiar with Kiba and his dog just raised their eyebrows and sighed a 'what did Kiba-kun do now?'.

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Kiba rolled his eyes as he leaned back in the tree. His backside was starting to go numb, but Akamaru didn't care. The dog had demanded Kiba sit up in the tree and watch. Watch what? He leaves me to go off somewhere…probably to go home and sleep in my bed while I'm cramping up here in this tree…Kiba thought to himself as he shifted again on the branch. It didn't help any, but at least it gave back a little bit of feeling in his, otherwise, tingling butt. Akamaru hadn't even hinted at what Kiba was supposed to be watching for. He didn't know anyone who lived in the particular apartment complex that the tree was closest to, so he had kept his gaze on the dimly lit street below. So far, nothing except a few drunk couples walking by had given him anything of interest to watch. And those few instances were more disturbing than out of the ordinary.

Whatever it was that Akamaru wanted him to see must have been very important since the dog had reminded Kiba several times (before he left Kiba alone in the tall tree) that he had to keep his chakra masked and make sure that no one could see him. The dog-lover snickered quietly to himself, knowing that no one would be looking three stories up into a tree and, even if they did, they wouldn't be able to see him through all the leaves and branches. It was the perfect spot to sit and spy-if there was anything worthwhile to watch…which there wasn't.

Kiba stifled a yawn as he stretched his legs out again, before they too started to cramp up. As good as a hiding spot as it was, the tree branch was far too thin and scratchy to be considered anything but uncomfortable. He looked up from the street, knowing that the strain he was putting on his eyes in order to see the dark, empty road would give him a headache if he didn't stop soon. The teen bent his head back and looked up into the verdant canopy above him. In the moonlight, the leaves seemed to be a dark blue instead of the bright green Kiba knew they were. The silvery light also made an eerie shadow across the branch he was sitting on-making the shape of a person crouched down, but there were many pieces of material fluttering around him as if they were tails.

Kiba turned his head so he could look at the apartment building. From his seat, he could clearly see that they weren't the best places in the village, but there was one that stood out more than the rest. The majority of the rooms seemed to be deserted-or infested by rats-but this one…it was sparsely furnished, but the Inuzuka could see that someone lived there. There was a small bed resting next to the open window and it was covered in pale sheets whose color was distorted by the moonlight. The rest of the room was as bare as the bed; a small table with one chair, a few countertops that were immaculately clean, a tiny refrigerator, but Kiba could see nothing that would hint on whose room it was.

Suddenly, his eyes caught the moonlight reflecting on something. Curious, Kiba slid out of his perch and jumped over to the apartment's window, gracefully landing on its inner ledge. Thankfully, whoever lived here left the window open. Kiba glanced around the room, sniffling the air, but both actions told him the same thing-no on was here, but the smell of the place was very familiar. Kiba tried to place who this scent belonged to as he slipped into the room, his feet landing silently on the other side of the bed, then he went in search of what had gotten his attention.

Kiba found the object on a nightstand next to the plain bed and, making sure there weren't any hidden jutsu or other traps in the room, picked up the picture. There were four familiar faces smiling-or, in half the cases, glaring-back at him. A smile tugged at his face as Kiba studied the four people. A pink-haired kunoichi who had a severe case of multiple personality, a jounin behind her with his only visible eye turned upwards in a curve. The other two faces were what caught Kiba's interest the most. The remnants of the Uchiha clan looked exactly the same as the last time Kiba had ever seen him, his mouth in what had to be a permanent frown and his eyes on the other person in the picture. The brightest yellow Kiba had ever seen covered his head and his entire body coated in a disgusting shade of orange, but it was the pout on his whiskered face that Kiba to chuckle.

No matter what, there was always that fox-like appearance to Naruto, even when he was locked in a glaring contest with his rival. Looking around the room, Kiba was slightly surprised at how different the boy's room was from his personality. Wondering about that, he gently set the picture frame back down exactly where he had found it and raised an eyebrow when he noticed the drawer was opened a sliver. His conscience told him it wasn't right to snoop, but Kiba had an idea that, whatever Akamaru wanted him to see was in that drawer, so he slid it open enough so that he could see its contents.

More picture frames, Kiba discovered as he pulled out a few. There were ones that seemed like they were only taken a few days ago, but the other ones were what caught his attention-the old pictures. Kiba found several ones that had to have been taken before Naruto was old enough to go to the academy, since he wouldn't have known who it was if it hadn't been for that spiky head of hair and the whisker marks on his face.

What…the hell…Kiba thought as he looked at one in particular. It was a photograph of the blonde on a swing that Kiba recognized as the same one in front of the academy, but the peculiar thing about the picture was the boy's face. It wasn't the usual, happy-go-lucky grin Kiba always associated with the boy and it wasn't the glare Kiba had also become accustomed to since Naruto had started seeing him as a rival. It was the most heart wrenching expression Kiba had ever seen on someone. Naruto looked so…alone in the picture, just staring off into nothingness with a deadened glimmer in his eyes. His mouth wasn't in any way telling, like it was now, but was fixed in a straight line across the boy's face.

The Inuzuka put the disturbing picture down and continued sifting through the pictures. There were pictures of Naruto, smirking as he hung off their academy teacher, Umino Iruka, there were others of the boy laughing at the Sandaime, but there was one kind of picture that Kiba never saw. Of all the photographs in the drawer, there wasn't a single one of Naruto and his parents-or even of his parents. Even Kiba, for as much as he was annoyed by his mother and father, carried a picture of the two with him at all times, along with a photo of him and his sister when they were little, a picture of the girl when she became a chuunin…pictures of Kiba and Akamaru, of his team. Besides that one picture, Kiba couldn't find any evidence of Naruto's team, there were no hints of any other family or friends…nothing.

I…knew he was an orphan…but I thought he lost his parents…when he was a kid…Kiba thought to himself, looking down at the picture of Naruto on the swing, realizing that the boy didn't have any family pictures…because they never existed. If he was like Hinata and prone to letting his emotions take over him, Kiba knew his eyes would have been filling with tears at the mere thought of living so alone…for his whole life. He couldn't even imagine what it would be like not to have his parents around when he just wanted someone to hug him, telling him that everything would be fine…not even a sister to annoy him, but keep him company when he was sick or hurt…Naruto didn't even have a pet to share his companionship with.

The boy was completely alone. Kiba tightened his grip on the picture in his hands, but nearly dropped the picture when he saw something besides pictures resting in the bottom of the drawer. Kiba cautiously picked up the sharp object, turning over the kunai in his hand as he gently set down the picture frame. Using two hands, Kiba studied the knife curiously.

It was coated in a deep rust color, which was what caught Kiba's attention in the first place. He had never seen a blade become so rusted it was almost black in color. If Naruto had been keeping a weapon in the nightstand for protection, Kiba could understand why the blade was there. But this? It would be useless, except to spread tetanus and probably a few other diseases. The blade's edge was chipped and was in serious need of sharpening, but it was perfect in some unexplainable way. As if it was supposed to be that way for some reason that Kiba couldn't understand.

Kiba slid a sharp nail along the blade, surprised when the rust began cracking and flaking off into his palm. It…isn't rust…Kiba decided as he studied the dark shavings in his hand. Rust didn't just break off like that, it rubbed off, leaving a reddish-orange stain, but the stain underneath his fingernail wasn't anywhere close to orange-it was blood red. He carefully put the blade up to his nose and took a questioning sniff, nearly flinging the blade out of his hand when the unmistakable scent hit his nose.

Blood.

There was nothing that could leave the same sickening taste of iron in his mouth, but what had gotten Kiba to nearly throw the blade away in fear was the fact he could tell the blood was human. Not just from any human-but the blonde idiot who was always smiling, always so confident and proud of himself. Kiba studied the blade again, apprehension tightening his gut as he looked it over. Now there was no mistaking the blood for rust-the scent lingered in Kiba's nose and his mouth, making him almost sick with its powerful odor. He didn't know how he hadn't sensed it before, but a small part of him reminded him why. He never thought that Naruto of all people would keep a kunai coated in his own blood. Especially when the scent was still so fresh that it was making the Inuzuka's stomach turn.

Kiba didn't want to believe what he had just discovered, but the evidence was sitting in his shaking hands. For a moment, he wondered if this was what Akamaru wanted him to see-the bloodied kunai, the pictures…even the apartment that reminded Kiba of a hospital room, not Naruto. As he slowly put everything back in the drawer, in the exact order he found it, Kiba knew that this was the reason Akamaru had been so against saying Naruto was Hinata's boyfriend. The kid was so emotionally messed up that he probably wouldn't have known love if it hit him in the face. But, how did his puppy know it when no one else could tell something was wrong with Naruto?

He closed the drawer, holding onto the small knob for a moment longer, for support more than anything else. His mind was still reeling with the irrefutable evidence. It wasn't possible…Naruto wouldn't do anything like that! Even Kiba knew the boy was one of the bravest, simplest…most caring people to ever exist. We were all so wrong…Kiba realized as he sat down on the bed, not trusting himself to stand anymore. …does anyone even know him? Kiba wondered, looking down at his shaking hands.

It hurt slightly to know that someone who he had seen as a good friend (as well as a pain in his ass) had been hiding something like this from everyone, but what hurt even worse was knowing that he couldn't tell anyone about it unless he wanted to admit he went sneaking through Naruto's private things. Being stubborn, hell, even being stupid…those were things he could stand having people accuse him of…but not for being untrustworthy. He would rather die than have people think he was deceitful. But, for one of his friends, he might just have to destroy his own image. Kiba decided that the first thing he would do tomorrow would be to take Naruto aside and have a different kind of chat than he had been planning on.

Shimatta…why didn't you tell anyone? Kiba asked, burying his head into his hands.

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Authoress: how's that for a prologue?…I'm sorry, it's not in my usual style, I know…but I thought I'd try something a lil'…darker…with this pairing…but I promise, things will lighten up soon!

Kiba: so, if Naruto's not Hinata's boyfriend…who is?

Authoress: all in good time, my Doggy Boy, all in good time…so, until the next chapter…ja ne! and (onegai!) review! We writers like to hear what everyone thinks…especially when trying something new!