The Jackal, the Mignonette and the Wolf

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Let it be known right here and now…our 'heroine' if she can even be called such is not super strong, or incredibly brilliant, heartbreakingly beautiful or anything of those fancy accessories. No. She's as simple as they can get, not special save for those freaky pale fish belly eyes of hers, except for one thing. Now, wait…let's rewind a bit shall we?

Hyuuga Hinata (the main character of our little tale) is from a respectable family. She works at a café across the street of a local pet store where her friend Uzumaki Naruto works (she sort of…likes him). Her preferred color is blue and she likes the sound of people laughing, so she purposely buys a ticket once a week to a comedy movie (even though she knows that she'll hate it). She buys this ticket and sits down in the middle most of all the seats just to listen to people laugh out loud at some stupid move or stunt and funny gesture within the movie. She doesn't laugh much herself, but she likes the sound of others laughing.

She likes red bean buns with hot chocolate and shares her tips with the busboy at the end of the day. She goes to the pet store quite often at the end of work because she likes Naruto's company who talks about the new animals he's received or talks about something else entirely. She likes all the animals he has in the pet store, except for that one, large python that always looks cramped in its glass case and irate all the time.

Hinata is rather disliked by her family for refusing the heiress title and running away from them altogether, having to hide out at Naruto's apartment for a few months until she could get on her own feet again.

Hinata is a rather gentle person, rarely angry and while she's quick to forgive – she never forgets any wrong that had ever been done to her or her close friends. She has small smiles and a tickling sort of giggle that's faint like glass chimes, and if she's angry at someone she bites her bottom lip until it bleeds or she doesn't face them at all. Her favorite season is spring because it's a dawn of a new age, something freed from a cage and pretty to watch everything rise from wintry set graves.

That is Hyuuga Hinata; a rather standard person with her own set of quirks and despite her normalcy there is something big about to happen in her world. Very big. For you see, she was never popular or particularly picked on, but rather average set; she was not rich but nor was she unable to feed herself – she was well enough off. She was not beautiful enough (rather fairly pretty) to bring empires to their knees like a Helen of Troy wannabe. She was not intelligent enough (only smart and leave it at that) to come up with cures for cancer, the common cold or to theorize the meaning of existence. Oh, she also wasn't a closet psycho killer so she wouldn't leave a mark that way either.

Hyuuga Hinata will be the start of the end of the world.

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It all started on a Friday late afternoon, in the not so crowded little café across the street from the pet store. Hinata was wiping down a caffeine covered table till it was spotless and she pulled out a pen and paper from her apron pocket to take the newest customer's order. "Hello, welcome to 'The Quick Stop', what can I get you?" the darkly clothed man (who was oddly beautiful) stared a moment at the clean table.

"Black coffee," he answered shortly and his wild black hair was matted to his head, from the rain that was pouring outside. He cast his gaze up to Hinata who was staring outside with a dream, dreamy, hazy gaze far away suddenly. "Hey, waitress, coffee, now." He ordered and scowled up at her with his pitch black eyes. Hinata snapped out of it and nodded, smiling apologetically.

"Right away, thank you."

"Whatever," he muttered back when she turned on her heel and rushed to the kitchen, leaning over the counter.

"I need a black joe, please," she called out and a bowl cut hairdo popped up from behind the counter so suddenly that Hinata jumped back and held a hand to her breast where her heart beat wildly.

"You got it!" he said and smiled, bright white teeth shining in the pseudo light of the café. Hinata sighed and nodded back absently. Opal eyes roamed back over to her customer to find him clicking a pen while he stared down at a newspaper which was steadily being rained upon by his sopping hair. She looked over at the ticking clock which read 6:45 and it would be closing time soon. There were hardly any customers in here, except for a middle aged man who was shifting continuously in his seat, and he kept looking nervously at the dark haired and pale skinned man across the room.

It was still raining rather horribly outside.

"Here you are, Hinata," Lee (her friendly co worker) said jovially. A steaming hot cup of coffee was before her and she hooked her finger around the stem.

Walking to the dark haired man she tip toed quietly until she was right next to him and placed his cup of coffee down gently, still standing there. "What?" he snipped, staring down at the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.

"Emollient." She spoke quietly, feeling the need to have her fingers curl around her lips.

He looked up and she saw darkness, a walking black hole drawing her in. "Which?" he said, tone not softer, but colder and not hostile anymore.

"Number seventeen, across," she said softly, and hid her hands behind her back, fingers entwining so she wouldn't fidget. His eyes stayed on her face before he looked away and looked back at the paper, writing the word in.

After a bit his hand went to his coffee cup and he down the hot liquid in one go, placing it and the newspaper down on the table once more. His pen went back in his coat. The other customer within the café rushed out as though the devil was on his heels. The dark haired stranger placed his money down, ten dollars and the coffee didn't cost that much, he didn't ask for change either.

"Thank you, come again," she said and he looked over his shoulder when his hand was on the door, rain droplets still beading from his hair and falling down.

"Hn. Maybe," he said casually and turned the very direction the desperate, balding man had run to.

Rain pelted the store window, landing in droplets and lightning flashed like a cracking whip. Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy, dream of a dream…

"Hinata!" a loud voice called to her, snapping her out of her daze and the pale eyed young woman turned to face Lee, "I'll close up tonight, you should get home before the rain worsens!" he said with a thumbs' up and a large grin.

She smiled graciously, "Thanks Lee." He yelled out a good bye when she unwound her apron and folded it neatly, taking her purse and tucking beneath her arm.

"Good bye Lee!" she called over her shoulder and opened the door, sprinting across the street to the still open and not yet closed pet store. Rain soaked her hair and clothes thoroughly, freezing water on her body. She pushed the door open and cringed when she felt wet pants' legs slap at her ankles; cold water against her cold skin. "Naruto?" she called questioningly and rather suddenly a head of spiky yellow hair popped out of an open door labeled 'Employees Only'.

"Hey Hinata! Fancy seeing you here!" he said brightly, waving his hand and she waved back a little shyly. Stepping out of the room and closing the door behind him he grinned at his shy little dark haired friend. "How was work?" he questioned while he leaned over a fish tank and uncapped some fish food to sprinkle in.

Hinata watched as the fish swam up and nibbled at the little pieces of food, and thought of the dark haired man when her opalescent eyes wandered over to a singular fish bowl with one purple fighting fish in it. "It was alright," she said calmly, looking over at Naruto who seemed to being brimming with excitement.

"Psst! Hinata! C'mere," he looked around as though someone would pop up from behind one of the shelves of dog food. "I've something really, really neat to show you," he grinned from ear to ear in childish vigor. He made a hand motion and looked at her like she was a top secret conspirator. He nodded with his head and Hinata looked at him oddly, "C'mon!" he encouraged and she followed him when he moved to the door he'd popped out from earlier.

He turned the knob and opened the door slowly. He stepped in quickly and dragged Hinata in by her wrist, "Look," he whispered, "But be quiet, 'cause he's sleeping…" he murmured softly, pointing at a form of light, sandy brown and oddly colored grey markings on the creature's fur. Hinata's brows furrowed in question and she stepped closer to observe whatever it was that was lying on the floor. There was a knock on the door and Naruto turned, "Crap! Hinata, I'll be right back, okay?" she heard the door open and close, then voices outside. Hinata turned her attention back on the resting animal in front of her.

He had a thick collar around his neck and the animal shifted, grumbling. Hinata stepped a little closer and crouched down in front of…him. What looked to be some sort of weird dog moved again but this time he leapt up suddenly.

Teeth closed near where her neck was, but stopped short rather abruptly and Hinata was a bit horrified that the beast had either missed or did it purposely because he still had quite a bit of slack on his leash. Hot breath over her throat and she managed to let a whimper out, not wanting to move in case he responded equally quickly to any sudden movement. The breath moved and she watched the thick body move as well, and the dog thing or whatever it was sniffed behind her ear, breath ruffling fly away strands of hair. The fur that tickled beneath her jaw was rather soft like a combed pelt, and smelled of wood smoke. Something slightly wet, hard and threatening touched the skin of her throat. A tooth.

Then, what felt like lips replaced the single tooth held against her neck and hot gusts of breath fanned over her neck, "I smell your fear," it was a hiss; words made by tongue of man and not animal. The lips moved against her neck like a lover's would ghost over pliant flesh and tickled like enemy's poison to the heart. Hinata blinked and squeezed her eyes shut, hoping she wasn't caught in another daydream.

She opened them to gaze straight ahead to the wall and still felt a tooth pressed to her neck, breath over her neck and ear and fur underneath her chin and around her jaw line tickled.

Her gaze went down the length of the animal's spine and came to rest on his tail, large and long; it resembled that of a raccoon. It twitched.

Hinata slowly began to pull her head away from the animal, trying to coax it further away from the tooth that grazed her soft flesh. She withheld a gulp. He snapped his teeth close to her ear and she jumped a little. He moved away quietly and quickly, large paws making no noise on the concrete below him.

Hinata fell on her backside, mind not comprehending what happened. She stared at the animal in front of her that stared back not so mindlessly, inklings of intellect lingering beneath animalistic curiosity. His face was raccoon like as well; black rings surrounding tawny gold eyes with black pupils. The strange grey colored marks on his face as well just like the rest of his body. He sat on his haunches and grunted at her. Head cocked slightly to one side, he studied her intently.

Lips pulled back to reveal malicious looking fangs that were sharp and coated a little in saliva which made them look all the more ominous. His head turned sharply to the door and the pull back of his lips dropped. The knob turned and Naruto flung himself in the room once more, grinning first at the male animal before looking over at Hinata and oblivious to her shaken appearance. "Isn't he great?!" he insisted, waving his arms over his head while his foot kicked the door closed. "I found yesterday behind a dumpster – he looked kinda hungry and he wasn't moving so I brought him here." He grinned affectionately at the animal that sort of glared back at him. "Vicious bastard though – bit me when I tried to give him breakfast by hand this morning."

Blue eyes slanted over to his female companion who stood up on shaky legs, "Hey, Hinata, I wanted to ask a favor though…" he trailed off and his eyes slid back over at the raccoon dog thing.

"W-what is it?" she asked, lips pursed while she ignored her little stutter as best as she could, hands brushing her pants off. She looked up and met Naruto's eyes.

"Do you think you can…take care of him?" he asked hopefully. Hinata's face must have faltered horribly because then he was scrambling for an excuse, "Hinata, my landlord won't let me keep animals and I'm going to be moving in a few months and I'd really, really, really like to keep him, please!" he begged, hands clasped together and he was right in front of her.

"B-but," she slapped herself mentally for stuttering, "you just said he's vicious!" she protested. Naruto's eyes dropped and his face lowered, shoulders drooped.

"Right, sorry, that was pretty stupid of me to ask…guess I could put him up for adoption or something, right?" he sounded like a child whose dog just died.

Hinata bit her lip; cursing her bleeding heart and marshmallow soft spot for Naruto. "I…I suppose I could…look after him for just a few months…" she trailed off and shivered violently at the memory of a tooth pressed to her neck like a mugger's knife. She wrung her hands in anxiety. Arms engulfed her and swung her a little from side to side.

"Hinata, you're fantastic, great – you're an angel!" he cried out, smiling happily. He unfolded his arms from her; "I'll go get you a bag of dog food!" he called back when he rushed out of the room to prepare her for her new 'guest'. Unbidden, Hinata felt eyes on the back of her head, still feeling very hot and flushed from Naruto's giant bear hug. She turned slightly and met head on with golden eyes that gleamed in the light.

Lips pulled back to reveal teeth in what she suspected was a demented joker's grin. She felt ill at the thought of welcoming the animal in her home, despite her assurance to Naruto.

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Review and I'll write s'more hopefully. -.-; You know, Gaara's a tanuki, right? …Does that like mean…he's exactly like them cause that's a really, REALLY naughty mental picture. XD Ew. O.O I just grossed myself out. -.-;;

Yeah, I bloody well know that the title doesn't seemingly pertain to the story but it's to represent the main characters; obviously Hinata and Gaara…shut up. My mind doesn't work that well. XD