My Guardian Wolf, Chapter I.

Summary: Kiba could never understand Hinata's strange attraction for Naruto. Nor could he understand his own strange attraction for Hinata. Watch as Kiba tries to come to grips with his feelings, and team #8 faces missions, chuunin exams, and more.

Disclaimer: Rejoice, for I do not own Naruto! If I did, the anime would be so lame, no one would wanna watch it anymore! I only own this fanfiction! Steal it (though I don't know why you'd want to) and there will be trouble.

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Nine o' clock on a Thursday morning. Not even the faintest trace of cloud lingered in the sky; bad news for Nara Shikamaru. But he isn't important right now. Bright sunlight bathed the entire village of Konohagakure with pleasant warmth. Nearby, a small white puppy lay in the dirt, rolling about and enjoying the heat.

"Akamaru, your fur is going to get dirty..." A tough, yet playful voice called out to the young pup. Emitting a small whine, Akamaru scrambled on all fours and bound over to his master. Chuckling a bit, Kiba reached down to pull a bur off of his loyal companion. Casually flicking it aside, Kiba proceeded to stroll over to a nearby bridge, and await the arrival of his team. As usual, Kiba had shown up first. But this was done on purpose, for Kiba always enjoyed coming a few minutes early. It gave him precious time to savor the peace of the morning.

"I wonder what the mission is going to be today, eh Akamaru?" Kiba asked with a hint of eagerness. To someone who wasn't a shinobi; it might seem strange that Kiba carried out intelligent conversations with Akamaru. People just couldn't seem to understand that Kiba understood Akamaru perfectly; and visa versa. Come now, it's very important for ninjas to be able to communicate with their partners!

"Hopefully something good, we haven't seen any action for a long time." Kiba continued, watching Akamaru sniff a nearby tree. "I swear, if I have to baby-sit one more brat, or build one more fence, I'm going to go insane. Simple as that." He concluded. Akamaru barked in obvious agreement, taking a moment to paw at the ground.

"Yo."

With a small jump, Kiba whirled around to come face to face with Aburame Shino. "How the hell did he sneak up on me like that?" Kiba wondered, staring at his team mate for a moment.

"Mornin' Shino. You're...a bit early today, aren't you?" Kiba asked, slightly disappointed that he didn't get more time to himself.

"Oh, really? Hmm." Shino said, staring out into the open field. Or at least...that's what one would assume he was looking at. It's a bit hard to tell with those dark sun glasses. He never seemed to take them off. Not even in the dead of winter, when there was no sunlight at all. "That's Shino for ya." Kiba thought, scratching at his nose. "Strange. Nice guy, but strange."

A somewhat awkward silence fell upon the two boys. Kiba was always a bit unsure on what to say to Shino. Five minutes crept by...Then ten...Just as Kiba was about to take a hopeful stab at conversation, a small scuffling noise came from the distance. It sounded as though someone was shuffling their feet along. Kiba paused for a moment to sniff at the air.

"Hinata's coming." Kiba stated, not knowing what else to say. Shino nodded a bit to show that he had heard Kiba's remark. Silence returned. Kiba could practically see the, "..." bubble looming over his head, just like in the comic books. A couple moments later, shy little Hyuuga Hinata appeared before her two friends. She was wearing her usual beige sweatshirt, the one with the white fuzz at the bottom. She opened her mouth as if to say hello, then suddenly closed it as if afraid to speak. Making eye contact for only a second, she re-directed her silvery eyes to the ground and began to fidget. Kiba couldn't help it, he grinned at her shyness.

"Mornin' Hinata." He said pleasantly, giving her a friendly smile.

"Ah...ano ne...Ohaiyo Gozaimasu Kiba kun...Shino kun..." she said softly with a small bow. Shino inclined his head and returned the greeting, with his usual un-readable expression. Kiba frowned a bit.

"Hinata, I told you you don't need to be so formal with us. We've been on the same team for weeks now, haven't we?" he said with the small frown still on his face. Hinata saw it became a little flustered.

"Oh! I uh...y-yes. I'm sorry..." She mumbled, tapping her pointer fingers together and re-glueing her eyes to the ground.

"And stop saying sorry all the time, okay?" he added, offering up a smile to show he wasn't trying to be rude.

"Sorr-I mean yes. Okay Kiba-kun." She replied with a bit more confidence. Her fidgeting ceased, a good sign. It meant she was starting to relax a little.

"Kurenai sensei is late." Shino remarked, looking down the dirt road to see if she was coming. Of course, she wasn't. Kiba whiffed the air again. Nope, couldn't even smell her.

"Well damn. That's weird." Kiba said, raising one eyebrow in confusion. Kurenai was a fairly new Jounin, but it didn't mean she was irresponsible. Quite the opposite infact, she's usually quite organized. Being late wasn't her bad habit, it was Kakashi's.

"Um...I guess we wait it out?" Hinata tentatively asked, watching Akamaru bother Kiba for a belly scratch.

"I suppose so." Kiba replied, bending over to scratch Akamaru's belly. Akamaru gave a content sigh, tongue hanging out of his mouth. Some time passed, but no one was really quite sure how much. It felt like a half an hour, give or take a few minutes. Still, their Jounin instructor was still showing no signs of showing up. The only one who didn't seem bothered by this was Shino, who was watching Hinata. Her gaze was fixed upon Akamaru, who had long since abandoned his belly rub in favor of pawing at the grass. He seemed...bored somehow.

"You've been watching Akamaru for quite sometime now. Do you like dogs Hinata?" Kiba questioned as Hinata tore her eyes away from Akamaru.

"Oh! I uh...yes. That is to say, I do. Like dogs." She stammered, blushing at the way her remark sounded. She didn't mean for it to come out like that, it seemed a bit stupid to her. But if Kiba had noticed, he showed no signs of it. Instead, he gave another one of his famous wolfy grins.

"Really? Okay then. OI! Akamaru! C'mere!" He called over to his dog who had begun to dig a hole for no apparent reason, other than to relieve his boredom. With a small look of protest, he abandoned his precious hole and trotted over to where Kiba stood. "Go ahead Hinata, you can pet him. He won't bite." Kiba offered, watching his little pup. Akamaru tilted his head to the side as if to ask, "You called me over here just so your friend could pet me?"

Hinata's eyes lit up as she bent down to do just that. Slowly, she extended her petite hand to Akamaru. The pup responded by sniffing at the hand before him. He gave out a, "woof!" of approval, and licked at her hand. Hinata gave one of her sweet smiles, and contently scratched him behind his fuzzy white ears. Kiba folded his arms across his chest and gave a satisfied grin. Out of all the people Kiba had ever met, Hinata was the only one, (spare anyone in the Inuzuka clan) that Akamaru had warmed up to so quickly. True, Hinata was shy. But she seemed to have a way with animals, which really didn't surprise Kiba. Quiet people usually are. Or maybe it was something deeper. Perhaps it was the soft aura of kindness she always emitted.

"Ah, sorry everyone, sorry!" A feminine voice called out to the trio. Everyone's head snapped up at the noise. A slightly flustered Kurenai was dashing over to her group of genin with a clipboard in hand. "I didn't keep you all waiting too long, did I? I was running late this morning, I truly am sorry." she apologized, stopping before the group.

"Aw, don't sweat it Kurenai sensei. No one's perfect." Kiba shrugged. His casual shrug however, betrayed his feelings of curiosity. What could have possibly kept her? She seemed to be glowing somehow. Or maybe that she was just out of breathe. And...was that a blush that danced across her face? No no, surely she was just tired from running. Kurenai sensei does not blush. "Though if I may ask, what kept you? You seem different today."

"Anyway, it's seems as though we have another D-rank mission today..." Kurenai continued, blatantly ignoring Kiba's question. He scowled a bit. He didn't like being ignored, but he decided to not press his luck. If he pestered her with his questions, it meant 50 laps across the track. But of course, that was nothing compared to Gai's training. "Looks like...ah, sorry guys. You aren't gonna like this, but today you're washing dishes at Ichiraku Ramen shop. They seem to be short handed today..." Kurenai trailed off, watching her genin's reactions. Hinata gave a small sigh, (possibly of relief?) Shino seemed un-affected of course, and Kiba gave out a long, dramatic out howl of agony.

"No! Please! No more dishes! Ahh...why can't we get some action for a change!" Kiba complained, picking up Akamaru and setting him on top of his head. Kurenai frowned slightly, and that's all it took for Kiba to shut up. He wasn't willing to try Kurenai sensei's patience today. "Right. Dishes. No problem sensei." he said with a false, cheery smile. Sheepishly, he rubbed the back of his head as the team began to trudge off to the ramen shop.

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"A-ano ne? Excuse me...sir?" Hinata asked timidly, doing her classic fore finger fidget. "We need gloves if we are to begin..." she quietly mumbled, seeming embarrassed for not knowing where the gloves we're in the first place.

"Eh? Oh right! Sure. Left drawer by the sink. Now get to work, will ya?" said a random employee of Ichiraku Ramen, shooing her off into the kitchen. Upon her return, Hinata wordlessly opened the drawer and handed out the slightly worn gloves. With a sigh, everyone slipped on a pair and began the painstaking task of washing a countless amount of bowls. Time crept away, painfully slow. Kiba could have sworn that time was slowing down on purpose, just to mock him. Ten o clock faded into eleven, eleven faded into noon, and still they never seemed to make any real progress. Every time a tall stack of dirty bowls was finished, a fresh new pile took its place. Everyone's minds had long since gone onto autopilot, occasionally snapping out of it to switch positions. This mission...it was tedious. It was repetitive. It was exhausting. But most of all, it was...

"Boring..." Kiba grumbled with an exasperated sigh. "How long have we been at this now?" he asked, tossing aside yet another clean bowl. Hinata wasting no time in snatching is up to dry it off.

"Ano...three hours I think?" Hinata guessed, pausing for a moment to wipe the sweat off her forehead.

"Three hours, twenty three minutes, and fifty four seconds actually." Shino corrected, taking the bowl from Hinata to put it away. Kiba blinked, and exchanged a confused look with Hinata.

"Shino, how did you know that?" Kiba questioned, giving his friend a somewhat odd look.

"It's called a watch."

"Oh. Right. Gotcha."

"Well...I'm sure we're almost done..." Hinata tried to comfort everyone. "They can't keep up after six anyway. At least things can't get worse, right?" Hinata said, trying in vain to lighten the dreary atmosphere.

Wrong!

"OI! You're all so slow! C'mon! Hurry up! I'm starving!" A loud voice rang through Ichiraku Ramen. It was indeed, so loud, that even our three little genin stuck back in the kitchen could hear it. Hinata immediately perked up, listening intently.

"Oh no...don't tell me..." Kiba moaned, putting a finger to his temple. Akamaru whined in sympathy.

"Must you be so noisy! You're causing a scene!" A female voice rebuked. A brief pause of silence, and a screech pierced through the air.

"Ow! Itai! Sakura-chan, what did you do that for!" Naruto whined, apparently in a great deal of pain.

"She already told you you were making a scene, dobe." A cold and sarcastic voice responded.

"AH! What did you say teme! I swear, I'll-OW!" Naruto's remark was cut off, and replaced with three separate grunts of pain from Sakura, Sasuke, and Naruto.

"Okay, all three of you. Quiet." Kakashi hissed, casting them all a disapproving glance. "I only agreed to treat you if you promised to behave. AH hah hah, pay no attention to my three idiot students!" He called out cheerfully to the people who had been gawking. "I haven't fed them today, and they're just getting cranky. That's all. Okay seriously, eat your ramen folks." He finished his announcement with a coy smile.

"Spoke too soon I think, Hinata." Shino remarked as he reached for another bowl to scrub. If Kiba wasn't bound by duty, he would have surely ran far, far away by now. Since this was impossible, he settled for groaning in irritation and massaging his sore temples.

"Ah...headache...I can feel it coming..." Kiba muttered, fumbling with his pouch in search of medicine. Hinata, he noticed, seemed to have not heard either of them. Rather she had abandoned her work and was now eagerly peeking out the kitchen window in hopes of catching a brief glance at Naruto. Her cheeks were tinted pink, and a playful smile frolicked around her face. It somewhat...annoyed Kiba. He and Shino always tried their best to be kind to Hinata, and smiles were still rare and few from her. And yet, that annoying nine tailed brat just had to open his huge mouth and declare his hunger like an idiot? "I will never understand what Hinata sees in that loser." Kiba thought silently. He then scowled, practically throwing his bowl into the sink. It landed with a loud "clink!" and threatened to crack. Thankfully, it didn't. That wouldn't be good to the stupid mission they were forced to be on. Sighing, Kiba resumed his work while trying to block out the lively activity around him.

"Oh...Naruto kun...You're going to get sick if you eat so much..." Hinata whispered to herself as she watched him eat. Shino noticed she did have a rather valid point. Naruto was already almost done with his 3rd bowl, and seemed eager to start a 4th. The clerk was already grinning from ear to ear, and greedily rubbing his hands together. The look on Kakashi's face clearly stated his regret for agreeing to pay the bill.

"Ick, how can you eat so much Naruto!" Sakura asked in disgust, pushing aside her half finished bowl. It seemed she was on another un-necessary diet. "It's baffling, isn't it Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked in her cute, fangirly voice reserved only for Sasuke.

"Hn. Gluttony, pure gluttony." He replied with a look of annoyance at Naruto.

"HAH! Shows how hard you've worked today, Sasuke teme. I'm only so hungry because I fought really hard!" Naruto declared proudly, with a large smile. "Yep, I gotta keep my strength up! One bowl just won't do it!" he grinned, noisily slurping up more of his noodles. Sasuke merely glared in response and demanded another serving of ramen.

"Ah...he took the bait." Kakashi mumbled with concern. "Hey, hey you two! Let's not have another repeat of our A-ranked mission, please?" Kakashi pleaded, watching the boys start another one of their pointless eating competitions. "Come on, your just gonna throw it all up again. Be nice to my poor wallet." he continued, trying in vain to make them slow down. Too late, neither of the boys were paying any attention to Kakashi. "Okay fine. Make yourselves sick. I don't care. But don't expect any mercy during training tomorrow when you wake up feeling ill." he warned, throwing up his hands in defeat.

"A...ano...I uh..." Hinata sputtered, backing away from the window looking slightly horrified.

"What? What is it?" Kiba questioned, looking out the window to see what had gotten Hinata so stirred up. "Oh. Damn..." he whispered in awe, as he too proceeded to back away from the window. Naruto had already finished his 6th bowl, and Sasuke was starting up on his 4th. Neither showed any signs of backing down. So that made...ten bowls. Plus Kakashi's and Sakura's made 12. Not to mention the fact that a disgustingly huge crowd had been drawn in to Ichiraku to watch the competition going on. And they all seemed intent on buying a bowl...plus the amount of people that had been there before this whole mess had started...that was...how many bowls for them to clean up afterwards?

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"Okay...I...I think that's the last one..." Kiba panted, handing Shino one final bowl to dry off. He accepted it with a grunt. After a few quick, half-hearted swipes of drying, he thrust the bowl over to Hinata. Wiping her face with a drying rag, she took hold of it and set it in the bin of clean bowls. The little "battle of the ramen" between Naruto and Sasuke had not ended well for Kurenai's cell. Naruto ended up scarfing down twelve bowls before he, as Kakashi predicted, regurgitated it all over the floor. That emptied up his stomach quite nicely, and he ate five more before throwing those up too. Six bowls later, Sasuke had followed suit, and Kakashi had to cut them off before he ran out of cash. Lord only knew how many bowls of ramen the crowd that had been watching the fight ate, plus the people before them. After Kakashi reluctantly paid the hefty sum, Cell #8 was left with a terrible amount of work.

"Alright! You guys are outta here!" The clerk called out in a cheery voice. "You did a great job today, we made so much money..." he cackled, counting the money in the register for the 3rd time." If we're ever short-handed again, I'll personally request your team!" he said brightly, shutting the register and preparing the shop for closing time.

"NO! wait! D-mmf!" Kiba had started to shout, but Shino covered his mouth before he allowed Kiba to finish his stupid remark.

"Thank you sir." Shino called out, releasing Kiba before he decided to stomp down on his foot.

"Ah, Goodbye sir!" Hinata also called out with a courteous bow that the clerk didn't see. If they weren't so depleted of energy, they were sure they would have positively bolted out of that ramen shop. They settled for a tired scuffle instead. No one spoke until they had returned to the place where they first met up that morning.

"I...never wanna see another bowl of ramen...as long as I live..." Kiba declared, leaning against the bridge for support. Akamaru whined to be taken off of Kiba's head. Kiba was too tired to oblige. Shino furiously nodded his head in agreement, accidentally knocking a few bugs off his head. Hinata said nothing, but rather walked over to Kiba to remove Akamaru for him. Gently, she pulled Kiba's hood down, and picked up the little pup into her arms. Kiba twitched slightly upon realizing how close their faces had just gotten. After setting him down, Akamaru gave a "woof" of appreciation before running off the relieve himself. Cell #8 spoke no more after that. The sun was starting to set, which showed how late they had actually been working. Large, pink and red clouds lazily drifted across the sky, announcing to all that it was time to go home. Off in the distance, a lost crow called out, looking for his flock. Evening cicada's melodies soon rang across the forest, soothing animals into a slumber. Kiba stifled a yawn, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere around them.

"Well then...I supposed ill be heading home now. See you all tomorrow. Goodbye." Shino said to his friends as he began walking down the dirt path.

"Ah, Ja ne Shino kun!" Hinata called after him, watching him slowly disappear from sight. Kiba repeated the farewell before stretching his arms high over his head. The sound of the cicada's was starting to make him sleepy, and eager to return home. Akamaru walked up to Kiba and pawed at his leg, indicating that he too was ready to go home. Hinata opened her mouth and yawned loudly. She rubbed at her eyes, also becoming sleepy and longing for the comfort of her bed.

"You did well today Kiba-kun..." Hinata complimented with a sweet smile. "I too, am going home now. I'll see you later" she mumbled in a pleasant tone. With one final little bow, she turned around and began to trek home. Akamaru whined, and acted as though he wanted to follow. Kiba frowned for a moment. For some reason, he felt sad to watch her go. He wanted to enjoy the evening just a little longer with his team mates, especially after such a hard day of work. It just made it that much more enjoyable

"Hinata, wait. I'll walk you home!" Kiba shouted before he realized what he had said. Hinata stopped abruptly and turned around, her eyes slightly wide from the unusual offer. She stared for a moment, then blushed when she realized she was being rude. Akamaru barked, and dashed after Hinata. He pawed at her pant leg as if to ask, "Scratch my ears for me?" Hinata's eyes lit up again as she leaned over to oblige.

"T-thank you Kiba-kun. I-I would be g-glad for the company..." she stuttered, still not quite over the shock. He gave another wolfish grin, and walked over to accompany the shy girl home. "What possessed you to offer that?" a voice sneered in Kiba's head. He ignored it for the time being, content to just be walking with his team mate. They walked in silence, though it was not an awkward one. Upon reaching her home, Hinata bade Kiba farewell and closed the door softly behind her. Kiba stood there for a moment, before whirling around to begin his trek home. Walking Hinata home had made him late, and he didn't want to worry his parents. With a sigh, he put Akamaru on his head and began to trudge home.

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A/N: omg, I'm an author! A poor one, but an author none the less! I can write author's notes now! Squee! Anyway, incase you we're wondering, this is my first story. I'm worried that this chapter was slow moving and boring. Hopefully it will get better later. They say experience is the best teacher. Most people I talk to don't much like the kiba/hina pairing. I don't understand why, I think it's adorable. Kiba's almost as loud and over confident as Naruto anyway. Anyway, I'm not going to beg for you to review or anything, but it really does only take a few minutes. okies, I hope to see you all in chapter two! Oh, and here are the definitions of the Japanese words I used earlier:

Ano ne: Umm…

Ohaiyo Gozaimasu: Good morning. (polite form)

Itai: Ow!

Ja ne: See you!