The Combustion Complex
Rating: T; For Harsh Language (Will be augmented soon enough)
Disclaimer: Naruto © Kishimoto Masashi and Shueisha 1999
Summary: Kiba's life is at a metaphorical all-time low. Caught between his failing grades and a pitiable social life, he is forced to make a few decisions, which could irreverently alter his world and how he perceives it. AU, ShinoKiba, Shounenai.
Nihongo: Do I honestly need to remind you? No? Good!
BYBN: Thanks to fightingcomet, lily23, forgetfulallthetime, and Petting Kittens. First reviewers are always the best! (As far as Kemono no Shi has led me to believe).
Shigatsu; Juushinichi - Avarice
It was 4:55 a.m. Or at least…that is what Kiba's bedside clock displayed to him through luminescent numbers. The sleepless Inuzuka turned over where he lay, an arm dangling absentmindedly over the edge of his low bed, his knuckles grazing cool floorboards without notice.
This singular word permeated Kiba's mind bitterly every moment that he realized he still hadn't attained sleep. He continued to turn over, switching positions as soon as he became uncomfortable once again. His mouth set in a scowl, he thought of the school day looming before him, a good three hours away, and the shit he would receive from his friends and teachers. Sleeping in class was an inevitability.
Regrettably, attempting sleep gave Kiba more time to think about prior events, or at least, more time than he wished for. Every so often, his mind would slip back to what had occurred that day, seeing as it was still fresh in his mind.
His body would tremor slightly whenever the mysterious boy from his walk entered his mind's eye. He couldn't explain the odd feeling he had received, but the boy's blank stare pervaded his memory endlessly.
By 5:45, Kiba finally decided that sleep was futile. The sky had already started to lighten, filtering through his window blinds uninvited. He ripped back the covers of his futon and slid out of bed, the heel of his palm immediately grinding against his eye socket as he stood. The slight padding of his feet was the only noise to impede on the silence of Kiba's empty house as he crossed from his bedroom, into a hallway, and finally to his bathroom.
Upon flicking a light switch, Kiba immediately began to inspect his weary face, from his bloodshot eyes to uncharacteristically pallid complexion. Scowling at his reflection in distaste, he pivoted on his heel, turning away from the mirror.
The Inuzuka shed his clothes slowly, giving his shower the sufficient amount of time it required in order to grace him with heated water. Sitting on a low stool, he began to scrub himself clean, taking extra time in running his fingers over his scalp, in the fruitless attempt to appease his established headache.
Once Kiba deemed himself clean, and had dried, he entered his vaguely lit room, pilfering through his closet for a clean uniform. He donned a white, collared shirt loosely, throwing his blazer onto his bed after pulling on his pants. Moving back to his bathroom, he participated in such menial tasks as brushing his teeth, in order to prepare himself further for the day to come.
Locking his front door, Kiba ran a hand briefly through his damp air, in the attempt to keep it from sticking stubbornly to the sides of his face. He adorned a slightly wrinkled jacket with his threadbare schoolbag, and set off down his street, walking up the dreary sidewalk in the most cheerful manner the Inuzuka could muster.
He was silently glad that he lived within a moderately close proximity to his own High School. He had heard many stories about boys who had to travel a good two hours on buses and trains just to get to school each morning. It made him wince.
With his feet guiding him systematically, Kiba hardly realized that he had arrived within a metro district of the city, one which incorporated a seemingly endless line of trains. Stationing himself to the side of a boarding shinkansen, Kiba shoved his hands into his pockets in leisure, waiting.
"You're early, Inuzuka."
"Eh…Shikamaru? You take the Yokohama line from here?"
Nara Shikamaru nodded, shifting his book-bag from his right shoulder to the other, checking his watch distractedly.
"What time is it?" Kiba suppressed a yawn.
"7:12. Are you taking the 7:15? I had the impression you rode the 7:45, with Naruto?"
Kiba shrugged. "I got up early this morning. He won't miss me."
Inclining an eyebrow, Shikamaru nodded briefly, his gaze moving from Kiba to the train swiftly pulling up behind him. The two boarded wordlessly, the rest of their journey made in silence, disregarding the rather robust business man occupying the space around them.
A few moments later, Kiba and Shikamaru were back on the streets, however different they were from the previous neighborhood they had been traveling through.
Senden Uedeshiri Koukou. Kiba nearly flinched as shapely, rather impressive looking gates came into view, indicating to the High School inset just beyond the profound work of wrought-iron and flamboyant characters. Kiba and Shikamaru entered quickly, in order to escape any school administration that happened to be floating around. They entered the school's main building, which had been previously hidden from view behind tall trees, and threaded through hallways until they reached a set of double doors, their shoe lockers set within.
Shikamaru and Kiba finally parted ways, setting out for different ends of the large room, passing rows and rows of lockers as they went. Sitting on a bench before his own, Kiba began to pull off his shoes, disregarding the figure that attempted to sneak up behind him.
Kankurou sat next to the Inuzuka with a well placed huff, slouching as soon as he had perched himself on the long plank of overly-polished ebony. Disregarding the newly arrived male, Kiba stood, opening his shoe locker, and quickly exchanged his shoes for the off-white trainers unique to his school.
"Good-morning to you, too." Kankurou stated blandly, placing his chin in a propped palm. The upper-classmen was disregarded once again, Kiba sliding his locker closed with a well-placed shove from his foot.
"Brought you a burger." Kiba stated finally, pulling the sole strap of his pack over his shoulder.
"What?" Kankurou questioned, standing, in order to follow Kiba out of the slowly crowding locker room.
"…a hamburger. I brought you one. It's sort of…old...but-"
Kankurou smiled, holding up a hand in order to show that he understood what the other was trying to imply.
Kiba nodded tiredly, silently hoping that the afternoon would roll around quickly. By then, hopefully, he would gain some energy that he had failed to regenerate a few hours before. Kiba waved as he came to his classroom, 2-3, Kankurou continuing on to another building, where the third year classes were held.
Kiba was surprised to see that the classroom was already half-way filled, students standing in collective huddles around the room. Finding no one that he particularly felt like conversing with, Kiba sat at his predestined desk, laying his forehead against the chilled surface. He willed his eyes to remain open, despite his all-consuming fatigue.
Cocking his head to the side, he examined the clock positioned above the empty teacher's desk. It was already 7:50, oddly enough. Naruto would be here soon, and then…
The classroom's door slid open, grinding against the floor at an alarmingly high pitch.
"-the fuck did you trip me?" Came a rather harsh growl as a pair of two males entered the classroom. Kiba grinned to himself, his expression hidden within his desks polished surface. The situation was all too familiar. He had no need to look up.
"Drop it, Uzumaki." A rough reply, the owner of the voice fully aware of the onlookers standing around the classroom.
"Drop it? Drop it?"
"Mendokusai yo…" Kiba registered the tone of voice as Nara Shikamaru occupied the vacant seat ahead of him. "Sensei has arrived."
Surely enough, the thudding of a foot-high stack of papers and other miscellaneous materials being dropped onto the front desk signaled the arrival of their Eigo sensei, Madarame. Voices quieted as students scrambled to be seated, the high-pitched squeaking of desks as some parked their asses haphazardly occurred every so often.
How class 2-3 managed the fate of having both Madarame and English for their first class, no one was quite sure.
The period continued on uneventfully, the students falling into a relative 'hush' as the teacher began to serve his intended purpose. Kiba frowned as the man began to hand out a stack of papers to each row of desks. Seeing as it was still the beginning of the school year, teachers were still issuing assessments to take up each class period, rather than teaching anything worthwhile.
The Inuzuka raised a pen he had been chewing absentmindedly, and began to fill in a small form, as well as answer a multitude of other, hardly relevant questions.
It was the slow chiming of the school's universal paging system that awoke Kiba from the slight daze he had managed to slip into. He looked around silently, noticing how the students were passing their finished assessments up to the front of the class. He followed suit quickly, accidentally shoving his paper into the back of the neck of the person sitting in front of him. The male looked back at Kiba distastefully, making sure to place a sizeable dent in Kiba's paper with his thumb as he passed it up.
Scowling, Kiba's gaze roved around the room, examining white-washed walls with leisure. 'Ten minutes left,' he noted dryly, happy to be able to escape classroom 2-3 for Physical Education.
Kiba, slightly startled, looked up the meet the gaze of his sensei.
"May I speak to you outside for a moment?"
The door slid closed behind Kiba and his sensei as they exited the classroom. The younger male noticed his assessment clutched within his teacher's long fingers.
"Inuzuka-kun, this is your writing, no?" Kiba's assessment was promptly held up in front of the owner's face. Madarame tapped a section of the paper where he had instructed to write out a paragraph in English.
"Yeah, what of it?" Kiba asked.
"Your-" The older male was cut off by the chiming of the hall's five minute bell overhead. He frowned. "To put it bluntly, Kiba-kun. Your penmanship is inadequate."
Kiba frowned indignantly.
"Look here. Is this an 'O,' or a 'T'?"
Kiba crossed his arms, turning his head to look out across the building's spacious cloisters.
"It's an E." He replied lowly.
His sensei's eyebrow's peaked. "You will suffer greatly in my class, as I require penmanship to be no less than discernible."
"What do you want me to do about it?" Kiba restrained the annoyance in his tone.
"Tell me, Inuzuka. Have you signed up for any after-school activities this year?"
Kiba sighed, pulling his bento from the top of his school bag, dropping it onto his desk's surface, in close proximity with his head. He untied its sash with one hand, only sitting up in his seat in order to situate his hashi. Once he had his chopsticks in order (he was having problems focusing), he clamped one side of a strip of meat, guiding it to his mouth with some difficulty.
He didn't remark as the seats around him were suddenly filled. Kankurou sat sideways at the desk in front of him, Naruto behind, and another to his left. He wasn't concerned enough to look and see who it was.
"What're you doing here?" Kiba asked, managing to scoop up a meager five grains of rice. 'So much for that whole 'regeneration of energy' plan.' Kankurou frowned, as if he had been rejected somehow.
"You said you had something for me." He stated, somewhat annoyed.
Kiba nodded in understanding, gingerly pulling a small wrapped hamburger from where it had been crammed into a section of his bento. It was undoubtedly cold. However, by his smile, Kankurou didn't seem to mind. Living without a parent's support, he didn't often have a chance to indulge in his favorite food.
Not having the required focus in order to eat, Kiba stabbed at a few strips of meat, eventually making a small volcano-shaped hill with his remaining rice.
The rest of the classes held within room #2-3 passed by with little luster, giving Kiba the opportunity to sit idly by. With this, he was able to store up a little energy. He hoped that it would be enough to enable his endurance for the tasks to come after school.
Kiba recognized the fact that he was early as soon as he had entered the supposed meeting place of the English Club. Only a single person stood within, his back turned to the door so that he did not notice the Inuzuka entering. Kiba sat down in the row of desks closest to the exit, in case the need for a quick escape exposed itself.
"Can I help you?"
Kiba flinched in surprise, moving to stand beside his desk.
"I was referred here, by Madarame-sensei."
"For what purpose?" The figure remained faced away from Kiba, presumably sorting through a stack of papers.
"He says I need to work on my 'penmanship.'" Kiba clarified, the fact that his entire body was tense evident in his speech.
"Eigo club starts in 15 minutes."
Kiba nodded to the other male's back, before sitting down in his prior seat.
As students slowly arrived, Kiba's uneasiness was only multiplied by the odd looks that he received as teenagers passed by, filling up the vacant seats around him. If he had recognized a single person in that room, he might have barked at a laughing group of guys as they sat down a few rows away, blatantly eyeing him as they did so. However, seeing as he wasn't familiar with any, he kept his attitude suppressed.
The club started moments later, and it was soon declared that the meeting was one of the club's Socratic Discussion days, where students broke off into groups in order to discuss literature they had jointly read. Kiba mentally decided that he would be uncharacteristically patient and wait for someone to approach him, rather than make a fool of himself in front of the sum 40 teenagers he had never met. He didn't have to wait long.
The boy he had spoken to before (he recognized his hairstyle) stood across the classroom, side glancing at Kiba every so often as he talked to another male, eventually being so bold as to deliberately point at the Inuzuka. The male whom he had been speaking to turned towards Kiba also, eyeing him from across a sea of student's heads, nodding in affirmation to the other. He made his way over to Kiba through the slowly forming circular groupings of teenagers and eventually stood, towering over the newcomer where he sat.
"Penmanship?" He asked in a veritably monotonous tone.
"Yeah." Kiba replied simply, rubbing his shoulder subconsciously as he stared upward.
Kiba was glad for a moment as the prospect of leaving the noisy club HQ was proposed, before he recognized the fact that he would be walking around a deserted school with a teenager he had barely met.
"Aburame Shino. Class 2-8." The mysterious male introduced himself as soon as they had left the club's designated classroom a few yards behind. Kiba was caught slightly off guard.
"Inuzuka Kiba. Class 2-3." Kiba reported to the back of the other boy's head as he followed diligently. The other, Shino, nodded in understanding, before stopping in front of a new, unused classroom. He slid the door open quickly, stepping into the dust-filled room without hesitation. A few broken desks lay around the perimeter of the room, the remaining space filled with towers of textbooks, workbooks, and barely intact desks.
"Take a seat." Shino stated blandly, leaving Kiba to start sorting through the stacks of workbooks. Kiba complied silently, sitting down at one of the desks that was neither broken, nor had any legs missing. Setting his school bag beside his feet, he waited for Shino to finish.
The other male finally contented himself with his selection, pulling a thick workbook from a precariously wobbling tower. He sat backwards in the chair situated in front of Kiba's desk, setting the dusty workbook down and turning it to face Kiba. The Inuzuka, however, stared down at the book blankly. By the cover, he supposed the paperback was entirely in English, which for some reason seemed slightly daunting.
"Begin the exercises. I will correct your mistakes." Shino stated finally, after 5 long moments of sitting without movement from either male. Kiba grunted an 'alright,' before finally opening the front cover of the workbook before him. There were endless tables of letters across several pages. 'Simple enough. Mirror the letters in the boxes below. I'll be out of this place in no time.'
Kiba began to write hurriedly, copying Roman letters into small boxes. His confidence only grew after the boy sitting stonily in front of him did not stop his writing to point out a mistake once. However, as soon as he reached the end of the page, his confidence was instantly drained away.
Shino's hand closed over his own, hindering the movement of his pencil, and causing him to jump in his seat.
"In precedence," Shino stated, unenthused, his deep voice resonating. "The posture of your hand is incorrect. Nihongo and Eigo writing forms are entirely different." The Aburame moved from his seat, kneeling so that his eyes were level with the desk.
Shino situated Kiba's fingers correctly, the Inuzuka's eyes narrowing in annoyance. He slipped from his own chair, hitting shoulders with the other boy as he copied Shino's position. He grabbed one of the Aburame's hands, instructing the teenager to show him the possible difference. Indeed Shino did, moving his pen from Japanese, to English style
"90° to 45°" Shino stated as he moved his hand. Kiba stood back up, using Shino's thigh as leverage in order to do so. He sat back in his desk silently, repeating the same exercises on a different page. He scowled all the while, cursing the other male for not telling him in the first place.
"I can come tomorrow, too, right?" Kiba asked as the bell tolled, signaling that it was two hours after school had ended, not all that enthused about the prospect. Shino nodded silently. Kiba stated a quick goodbye, amplifying the only polite cell in his body as he thanked the Aburame for his help. He left the classroom without glancing backwards at the bespectacled male, strolling leisurely with his hands in his pockets.
Kiba made it to his shoe locker just as a large group of guys entered rowdily.
"Hey Kiba, what're you doing here?" One of the boys asked, crossing over to Kiba before he could make it to his locker.
"I was checking out a club."
Naruto blinked. "I thought you were going to join Amefuto?"
The Inuzuka looked around warily at the boys slowly changing their shoes.
"I was, but Madarame-sensei sorta forced me to go to another one…"
"Really, which one?"
"Eigo." Kiba whispered discreetly.
"Eigo!" Kiba repeated, though slightly more harsh.
"I don't understand what yo-"
"English!" Kiba growled.
"English!" Naruto parroted, nearly exclaiming.
Kiba's hand flew up quickly, covering Naruto's overzealous mouth.
"Bakayarou!" Kiba hissed, not daring to look around at the boys which where presumably watching him. It was not as if he cared that the other boys knew which club he had been forced into, it was just…yeah…
Kiba let go of Naruto as soon as he felt the blonde's tongue protrude from within his closed fingers, absentmindedly brushing his palm against his pant leg.
"Your hands taste like damp paper." Naruto remarked distastefully, scowling.
"Try keeping your hands tasting minty-fresh after sitting in an abandoned classroom for two hours with a guy as stiff as a boa-"
"Stiff?" Naruto grinned. Kiba rolled his eyes.
"You fuckin' know what I mean." He growled. "Ha, Aburame Shino, stiff…He probably has blue balls."
"Yeah, he was helping me at the Eigo club. Ever heard of him?"
Shinkansen: Passenger Train
Yokohama: A large city just South-West of Tokyo. (Honshu)
Kiba's Uniform: Gakuran (high-collared, black buttoned down coats) are usually worn as uniforms in all boy schools, as well as among junior-high students in Japan. However, I decided to have Kiba, Shino, and the others wear blazers (rather like suit jackets in a way) because they are more modern and are usually worn by high schoolers.
'Senden Uedeshiri Koukou' – 'Propaganda-Up-the-Ass High School.' Clever title, isn't it? (The Japanese is crammed together, to create a name.)
Abhorson: Damn. I'm such a procrastinator. I have a lot of plans for this story, some of which you might perchance have interest in? Stick around a little while?
Sorry for the lack of pacing.
-The Cataleptic Who Cares, Abhorson
-Edit - This story is curently 'on hiatus,' for lack of a better description. There are quite a few things that I am not happy with, so I will be redoing it, whenever I break from Kemono no Shi. -