Authors Note: It was written for Naruto Wishlist and I am just now getting around to posting it. I hope you all enjoy (and REVIEW)
Disclaimer: It is times like this (and ONLY times like this) that I wish I was in a communist society. Because then Naruto would be a little bit mine too.
Not Her Type
Inuzuka Kiba was a lot of things. He was brash and rash and impudent. He was as annoying as Naruto, and for the same reasons. He was tactless, foolish, and foolhardy. He was loud and rowdy and he didn't give a damn for what was proper and right. He had no problem letting people know that they had pissed him off, or made him happy, or expressing whatever other emotions he was feeling. To make it worse Inuzuka Kiba was a dog person. So Inuzuka Kiba was definitely not Haruno Sakura's type.
She was drawn to cat people. She liked introverts. Always calm and poised and dangerous in a way that was so subtle it somehow managed to shout. All of the crushes she's had over the years (and there have only been two, because this is not a crush) have been on the strong silent type. She'd been drawn to the dangerous types, and Kiba (although he was both dangerous and deadly in a fight) lacked that air of danger that men like Sasuke and Neji had exuded. When cat people fought there was a feral grace to it, a beauty that was lost in the simple brute barbarianism that Kiba and Naruto fought with. Kiba was not her type.
She had never been drawn to like souls. She liked the contrast, had believed from the earliest memories that opposites attract and likes repel. Kiba was far too much like her than she was comfortable with. They both had flash fire tempers, frightening and destructive, but short lived. They were both impossibly stubborn (well, he was impossibly stubborn, she was right, it was different, sort of), willing to butt heads for hours on end until the other person relented. They were far too much alike to ever get along peacefully, and a relationship defined by constant fights was not Sakura's type of relationship.
Sakura was at the very least a fairly logical person, she always thought first, and normally she went with her head instead of her gut (which Kiba did not, impetuous fool). So when she found herself ignoring all her well formed arguments against Kiba (she had even resorted to making a pro-con list, and the con's so outweighed the pro's that it was almost laughable, but it was mostly just pathetic) she was confused to say the least. She knew that Kiba was as far from what she wanted as Orochimaru (and she was only exaggerating a tiny bit), but damnit she wanted Kiba.
It wasn't what it had been with Sasuke, a mad urge to posses him. To be possessed by him. She had wanted nothing more than to follow in his footsteps, and do everything he told her. She had wanted to make him smile and be his perfect girl. She had strived to change herself into what Sasuke wanted. She'd honestly wanted nothing more than to sit in silence and gaze at the stars with him.
It was so different with Kiba that it seemed pointless to compare them. She found herself looking forward to their explosive fits of temper. She enjoyed throwing things (more often than not very pointy and dangerous things) at him and calling him an ass. He called her a hag (what was it with men and this insult? It was almost laughable how often it was used), and said that she should endeavor to be more like the shy, kind-hearted Hinata, and instead of being insulted she had laughed. She didn't feel the slightest urge to change herself or to impress him by dressing up and painting her face. A bit of it was that she had gotten a whole heaping of self-confidence when she started training with Tsunade, but most of it was that she knew that she didn't have to change herself to appeal to him. It was so different than Sasuke, so freeing, that she didn't quite understand it, but despite that she couldn't (not that she would if she could) deny that she certainly liked it).
It confused her, though, and if there was one thing Sakura didn't like (besides lazy, useless teachers why couldn't she have had Kurenai? She would have been good at genjutsu) it was being confused. Which was why she had offered to pay for all the ramen Naruto could eat (she sincerely hoped that her wallet could take the abuse) if he would help her out. For someone as dense as Naruto normally appeared to be, he was surprisingly good at emotional stuff. Plus it was either him or Ino, and she did not want to have to admit to her best female friend that she might just be having feelings (not a crush, he was so not her type) for Kiba, she'd be teased mercilessly.
"So, you wanted to talk about something Sakura-chan?" It was a testament to both how long and how well she knew Naruto that she could understand what he was saying through what appeared to be ten mouthfuls of ramen.
"Er… yes." She knew that there was no point in trying to be subtle. But she also knew that Naruto, despite meaning well, could not keep other peoples secrets (although he was remarkably adept at keeping his own, she thought slightly bitterly) so some matter of delicacy was required. "Well you see. I think I might like this guy, except that he isn't what I normally like at all. He's rude and obnoxious. He is scruffy and foolish and he doesn't posses the slightest bit of tact." She became aware that she was ranting, and tried to calm down. "I just don't get it, you know the type I am normally interested in. And he is so far removed from them he might as well be a girl for all the sense me being attracted to him makes!"
Naruto had slowed his consumption of ramen to the point that he'd stopped completely during her monologue. "Sakura-chan, you aren't talking about me are you? Because it sounds a lot like me, and you know I love you and all but I'm not in love with you, not anymore at least, and I don't want this to get in the way of our friendship or anything."
After Sakura had finished marveling at the fact that Naruto could stammer all that out in one breath she almost hit herself (or him, had she thought that he had the barest amount of sense? She must have been more messed up than she had thought over that whole Kiba thing). "Relax Naruto, its not you. Jeez, how could you even think that? You are so self involved." She sniffed self-righteously and began to slowly eat her ramen. Naruto, to his credit, had the decency to flush in a way that would have maybe been becoming if it weren't on Naruto.
"Well," Naruto began stuffing his ramen into his mouth again. She counted the bowls on the table (six) and winced imperceptibly. "I think that you liked Sasuke because you wanted to. He was everything everyone told you you wanted, so you thought you should. And after a while of convincing yourself you should have feelings for him, you actually began to have feelings for him. Don't get insulted Sakura-chan, I'm not saying that you didn't love him or anything, I'm not that stupid." The kunai she had not so subtly been considering plunging through his groin slipped silently back into her pouch.
"So, this guy, who is not me right?" When she nodded and began fingering her pouch again he continued. "Just checking! You like him, except that you don't think you should, because for as long as you can remember you wanted Sasuke, or someone like Sasuke. But that is just your mind telling you that you want that kind of guy. Although I can't see why you would want him¬. " He grouched, thinking of the bittersweet rivalry the two had shared. "But that isn't what your heart wants, and you could go on ignoring your heart for a while, because the mind, it's a really tough organ, muscle thingy and if you think hard enough eventually you get the rest of your body to agree with it. Except the heart, that's another tough muscle and it can go on being ignored for a bit, but eventually what the heart wants comes to the mind, because the heart is probably stronger than the mind, and it doesn't like being ignored and won't tolerate it for all that long. So this guy that you like, he is what your heart wants, and I think that you should listen to your heart, because when you go with mind over heart you always end up regretting it later. Just look at Neji."
He referred to the fact that Neji had broken up with Tenten a year ago because his uncle had decided she wasn't fit for the clan. Now Tenten was dating Lee happily and Neji was back to being intolerably bitter and bitchy, and he had taken to glaring harshly at Lee whenever Tenten laughed or smiled, and he had also taken to beating Lee viciously whenever they sparred in training. Sakura winced when she remembered the wounds Lee had sustained in the last training session that had driven him to come to the hospital and seek her out. She hated that Naruto could be so smart and still so stupid. It just wasn't fair.
Sakura sighed and ran a hand through her short bubble-gum pink hair. "I hoped you weren't going to say that." She stayed at the ramen stand another half an hour watching Naruto devour another seven bowls of ramen and paying the outrageous fee (shouldn't Naruto get some sort of frequent customer discount?) with remarkable stoicism. She even took Naruto home when the thirteen bowls he had eaten began to torment his stomach. Then she steeled her own nerves and sent out to find the dog-ninja.
It shouldn't be so damn hard to find him. Konoha was not a huge town and there weren't many places where Kiba frequented. Plus he had that huge dog following his footsteps. He wasn't at any of the training grounds, and he wasn't with Hinata, or Shino. He wasn't at any of the restaurants that he tended to frequent, and he wasn't out of town on a mission. She sighed again and slammed a fist negligently into a wall loitering harmlessly beside her. She cursed when it crumbled and raked the same hand angrily through her hair ripping out a few of the silky strands. There were tears of frustration building in her eyes (it wasn't fair, when she had finally decided what she was going to do it shouldn't be so hard to do it) and she barely restrained the urge to hit the wall again and force the bricks still standing perilously to collapse on themselves.
"I knew you were destructive Haruno but what did that wall ever do to you? I should report you to the Hokage for the destruction of public property." At the voice, rough, tough, and so lovely and perfect, Sakura felt the tears roll unbidden down her cheeks. She knew life was unfair but this was ridiculous, she had just spent the last forever looking for him, and now he finds her and she has destroyed a wall and she looks so uncomposed and foolish that she feels foolish. She heard Akamaru sniff and then whine to his master, but she was so frustrated and tired that she didn't even register it as the communication that they shared.
"Hey, Haruno what's wrong?" His voice gentled and he placed a hard, callused hand on her shoulder. She felt him trying to steer her around to face him, but she stood firm, it was one thing to know that she was crying it was another thing entirely to see her doing it. The dog (although she still felt that it was now too large to fit into the canine category) pressed against her legs hard enough to make her stumble, and humiliated she started to sob even harder. She missed Kiba's glare at his canine companion, but she would have been grateful for it.
She sat, in her odd, double-jointed way, in the middle of the side walk and buried her face in her hands. She barely noticed Kiba kneeling beside her and awkwardly prying her hands away from her face. "Sakura? I didn't mean it, I know you aren't insanely violent or anything." He fumbled over the words, so clearly uncomfortable that it registered in Sakura's embarrassment fogged brain, unfortunately for him it just made her cry harder. Except that now he had her hands and he was right beside her and she couldn't resist throwing herself into his arms. She felt him stiffen (and somewhere in her brain she recognized it as a natural male response to a hysterically crying female, and a natural shinobi response to anything suddenly touching them), but she burrowed her head into the nook between his shoulder and throat none the less.
He smelled wild, feral, and so good that Sakura barely resisted sniffing him in a blatantly obvious way. He didn't try to talk again, simply rubbed comforting circles on her back until her tears were reduced to a red nose and a few hiccups. When he slowly unwrapped his arms around her she reluctantly stood up and wiped harshly at her eyes.
"Thanks" She said it stiffly, awkwardly, her entire posture conveying embarrassment so clearly that he didn't need any of his sense of smell to tell him what she was feeling.
"It was nothing." He said it gruffly and shoved his hands, which suddenly felt big and useless, into his pockets. "Want to tell me what it was about?" His tone made it clear that it wasn't really a request. He needed her to tell him what had upset her, because he had a sudden desire to hit something and he needed to be told whose ass specifically he was going to be kicking.
"Not really?" She offered it hopefully, staring up at him with big red-rimmed eyes.
He offered her a small smile, it was intended to comfort her, but he wasn't sure it did the trick. "That wasn't really a question Haruno." He was back to calling her by her last name, but for some reason she didn't mind when it was him, it sounded almost like an endearment rolling off of his tongue.
She flushed, and considered refusing to answer. But she probably owed him an explanation at the very least, considering the way she had thrown herself into his arms and cried for a good five minutes. "Its silly really." She offered and hoped that he would let her leave it at that.
"Tell me any way." He crossed his arms imperiously over his chest and she could have sworn that Akamaru was doing the same thing with his big paws.
"Well you see…"she flushed some more "I was trying to find someone. I needed to ask them something important, except that I couldn't find them. And it was just so frustrating that I had to hit something, and I hit the wall and it broke, but I didn't mean to break it. And then it was just so embarrassing and frustrating that I guess I just needed a good emotional catharsis."
"So what was it you needed to ask me that was so important Sakura?" She stammered awkwardly for a minute.
"Who said I needed to ask you anything? Awfully self involved aren't you Kiba-san?" He gave a low growl at the honorific. She knew how much he hated it.
"Shino and Hinata told me you were looking for me. Which is why Akamaru and I came looking for you. Although we do have an advantage in finding you." He tapped his nose "You have a very distinctive scent Sa-ku-ra." Her name rolled like a caress off his tongue and down her spine, she shivered lightly. "Cold?" before she could answer Kiba's jacket was off his shoulders and dwarfing her smaller frame. She wrapped it around her and happily breathed in Kiba's scent.
"Thank you." She smiled tentatively at him and he rewarded her with his own striking grin.
"Now what was it you wanted to ask me?" She gulped.
"Would you- I mean would you like to, damnit let me start over." She flushed with embarrassment and looked down. She didn't remember this ever being so hard when she was asking Sasuke out three times a day, maybe she fell out of practice, after all she hadn't asked anyone to dinner with her in at least three years. Kiba was still standing patiently, looking politely at her, she wanted to hit him for being so calm. "Would you like to go out to dinner? With me? Like a date, unless you don't want it to be a date, because we could go as friends or something. Unless you don't want to go at all, and I get it. I understand. I shouldn't have asked you. I'm sorry. I'll be going now." She turned on her heel and began walking away. It had never been that awkward with Sasuke, she was positive.
"Hey!" Kiba wore a bemused frown as he hurried after Sakura. "You weren't supposed to ask me! I'm supposed to ask you." Hearing that she turned around slowly, "Damn woman, now I understand what Shikamaru meant about you all being so troublesome." She began to smile slowly. "And then you go on and answer for me before I get a chance." It was his turn to drag his hand impatiently through his hair. "What was the point in asking in the first place then?"
"Does this mean you'll go?" She sounded so pathetically hopeful that she wanted to hit herself. Kiba smiled gently.
"I'll pick you up at eight, as long as I get to pay." She thought about the damage Naruto's meal had done to the contents of her wallet, and beamed at him.
"I think I can let you do that." She turned again and started walking towards her house.
"Hey!" Kiba jogged to catch up "Where are you going?"
"I have to get ready!" She exclaimed, looking worriedly at her watch.
"But it's only six!" He protested, baffled. She shook her head at him naivete.
"I know!" She sped up and turned around to wave briefly. "I'll see you in a couple of hours!" They walked off in opposite directions, both wearing identical silly looking lovesick grins.