Title: Pass The Dream Along
Theme: 14. Frozen In Time
Characters/Pairing: Inuzuka Kiba, Uzumaki Naruto
Fandom: Naruto
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Kishimoto does.

Notes: AUish. Future fic. Gloomy. This was done for 30quills on Livejournal. Unbeta'd.

It was stupid to hang on to such a memento. Kiba knew that. It wasn't as if he was coming back or anything. Really, there was no point in keeping it other than, well... Kiba needed a face to go with the dream. Tracing his fingers around the worn metal frame of the picture he stared at it for a long moment before carefully placing it face down on the table beside his bed. A happier moment, frozen in time. Just two boys in the rain. He snorted, yes it was stupid -- but then again, Kiba had made a habit of doing stupid things.

Like joining ANBU.

His mother and sister had protested vehemently when he'd come home with a spiral on his shoulder. They had said that Inuzuka's didn't have the right mind-set for ANBU. Too family oriented. The death rate was atrocious. He not argued -- something that had surprised everyone, including himself. Kiba knew, and agreed, with every objection they slung at him. He just went and did it anyway.

A promise was a promise after all.

He'd promised Naruto, way back in their first Chuunin exam, that if he couldn't be Hokage then Kiba would be one. Naruto wouldn't be Hokage now.

Not after Kyuubi had taken his mind and crushed it. Then he'd disappeared from Konoha, leaving behind a scratched hitae-ite and a million questions. Even if he was found again... Uzumaki Naruto had been declared an S Class missing-nin.

Uzumaki Naruto was dead. Kiba knew that. The pinched weary look on Tsunade-sama's face said louder than words that she knew it too. Naruto would never have left under his own power.

Not when there were dreams still unfulfilled.

In his absence then, Kiba had taken it upon himself to keep a promise no one else remembered. To be Hokage. Protect the village. So he would be, already he was making an impression on some of the council members. ANBU though, was his own choice. His own way.

Two years, he'd vowed. One for himself and one for Naruto.

It was only fitting he thought -- ANBU was a mind breaker, a soul crusher. The service had a tendency to warp it's shinobi. Naruto had suffered the hatred of the villagers all his life. Kiba could not say the same.

This was his way of making them even.

Two years, then he'd see how long it took him to fulfill Naruto's dream. Kiba would let that stand as his tribute when he next saw him. Be it in this life -- should he meet the Kyuubi -- or in the next. He'd keep the promise, because Naruto had somehow become family. And that was what you did for family.

Pass the dream along. Keep the boy in the picture alive.