Kiba slouched in one of the chairs at the small table of the Inuzuka household's kitchen; usually the chair was dubbed his anyway. Mostly because it was the only one that had the ability to rock back and forth due to a make-shift replacement of a leg for it. The original leg was one that Kiba himself had broken off a decade ago and thus he was given the faulty chair. However, something about this particular chair never seemed 'faulty' to Kiba – the busted leg gave it character. His mother and sister's chairs always stayed four on the floor, at all times, and there wasn't any fun in that. He could entertain himself while eating dinner by rocking back and forth, could they do that? No.

The Inuzuka child was shifting his bare feet on the floor at the moment to do just such a thing as the chair gave a 'clack' when the back leg hit and a 'tap' when the front hit. He listened for the rhythm as though it helped him to focus his thoughts while his mother was lecturing him. He found the floor tile more interesting than looking up at her while she paced, back and forth, across the room. Her gestures were wild and she occasionally slammed her hands down on the table, sticking him with some comment that he mustered a snide remark for but didn't say. Her ferocious look was very different from his sister, Hana, who was looking at him with a soft understanding. Her hands were neatly folded on the table and she sat straight watching her brother.

He scratched his nails across his naked side and bit on the inside of his lip with a particularly sharp canine tooth. Normally his nails were too short to do much damage to his skin but he knew he could change that with the manipulation of charka if he wanted. Though he also knew that if Kuromaru, his mother's dog companion, picked up the scent of charka on him then he would jump into the fray. Not to hurt Kiba of course, more just a 'back off' kind of movement. Akamaru would have done the same thing for him.

"We make this trip every year and suddenly, two years ago, you decide you don't want to go. I humored you for a while Kiba but you are going this year. Do you understand me? They're our oldest family friends! What would your father think of this behavior? They were his friends too," she shouted at him across the table. Things in his house were usually more intense then a simple 'lets talk it out' meeting of the family. Sure, if she had her way, Hana would be all for that sort of thing – but his mother ran the house, not Hana.

He blinked as he clipped his lip and tasted blood in his mouth, running his tongue along the wound made it sting a little but he did it anyway. It was just another thing to avert his focus from his screaming mother. The trip in question was an annual trek to visit family friends in the Village Hidden in Mist; how exactly they knew these people was beyond Kiba but he figured out a few years ago that he didn't like the trip. For whatever reason, the kids around there didn't like him very much. Now, normally this wouldn't have bugged him at all – lord knew there were people around Konoha that thought he was a bit much to handle. What with living with dogs and having a loud and brash personally, there was a lot that he could understand people not liking. However those kids were just plain out to get him and it took Kiba nearly twelve years to realize that.

They talked about his father and how he was a bastard mutt for not having one, how he was raised to be like a girl because he only lived with girls. These comments had stung before but two years ago they'd just found other things to pick at. He had taken his team with him the year after that and rather than assuming Hinata may have been his girlfriend they turned on him that Shino must have been his boyfriend. Not only that but they remarked how he needed back up just to handle a bunch of talk from kids. Words like 'fag' and 'faggot' had been tossed around consistently and no matter who or what story he told – no one listened. It wasn't until his last visit, two years ago, that he lost it – they had the gall to insult not only Shino and Hinata but Akamaru as well.

Well, needless to say, Kiba was a certified and well trained genin by then and he had no problems showing that. He beat one of the kids into unconsciousness and several others got away with only a bloody nose or busted lip. He'd taken it for too long and if getting banned from ever coming again was the punishment he was more than happy to deal with that. He found, unfortunately, that he hadn't been banned the following year but he refused to go anyway. After the stunt his mother allowed him to stay home but apparently two years of missing the stupid gathering was pushing it.

"And after the way you lost it last visit and didn't even bother to go the next year to apologize! I know you didn't send those apology scrolls I told you to write. Kuromaru found them in the back yard not two months from when I told you to send them, dammit! What's gotten into you, Kiba?" she growled at him. Maybe earlier she would have tried to understand and sympathize with her son but by this point she was willing to twist his arm, quite literally, to get him to listen.

The legs of the chair scraped against the floor as he stood up and kept his eyes away from his mother's face. He wasn't entirely sure what he was hiding, but he knew it must have been something because Inuzuka Kiba never avoided a gaze without reason. He turned to head for the door without a word to his mother or sister. Instead he pushed aside the cloth they used to cover the door frame and stepped into the living room, "C'mon Akamaru, lets go for a walk, boy!"

The now waist high puppy came bounding through the hallway and jumped up to balance on his two front legs on Kiba's thighs. The ninja smiled and cuffed at the fur behind the big dog's ears, Akamaru licked his cheek affectionately and jumped down so Kiba could get his shoes. As he was sitting on the couch pulling them on, his mother came out if the kitchen with Hana and Kuromaru at her heels, "You're not leaving this house until you tell me what's going on."

Kiba pulled on his sandals and took his black leather jacket from Akamaru's mouth (he had gone off to grab it) to slip it on over his bare upper torso. As he turned he felt his mother's hand grab at the back of his neck and yank him back making his shoulders instinctively tense in an attempt to get her to let go. He managed to after shaking a little and his hand instantly flew to the back of the neck where a few stinging nail marks had started in his skin. He snarled slightly now, Akamaru waiting at his side, "You've got a shitty taste in friends, okay? They're jerks, Ma, those kids talk about Dad and they keep calling me gay! Not even that, they're calling me a fag! They have been for years and I'm sick of it, okay? I'm not going back there just to hear it all over again for another week."

With that he turned on his heel and moved to head out the door; the front door was one of the solid doors they had in the household so Kiba took some comfort in slamming it behind him and Akamaru. He jammed his hands deeply into his pockets and kicked at the rocks dug into the brown dirt at his feet. Akamaru trotted along at his side and once they got out of sight of the house, behind some trees, he bumped his head against the back of Kiba's thigh. The Inuzuka stopped and turned to look at his companion with a face lined in anger not directed at the dog. When Akamaru yipped up at him, his once high puppy voice becoming deeper and more grown up, he sighed and dropped to one knee.

"You know I'm not lying, right? I'd never just attack someone for no reason," he asked softly as he scratched at the other's fur. Akamaru flipped to lie on his back and wiggled a little as Kiba scratched his stomach and his leg thumped against the ground. When a partially cheerful smile opened on the red decorated cheeks, Akamaru lifted up his head to lick a moist trail on Kiba's cheek. He barked back in agreement of the Inuzuka's statement and flipped up again as Kiba stood. They started walking again and Kiba kept one hand down to rest on Akamaru's head, "Well, phase one of storm out of the house worked. Haven't thought up to phase two yet…"

Akamaru barked again and Kiba seemed to nod in agreement as the dirt and grass under their feet became the worn path of the main street leading through Konoha. Food sounded like a good plan considering his breakfast hour had been passed up for being snapped at. The two made their way in the direction of the strong scent of steak being cooked up ahead.


Kiba sat with his back perched against a tree in the clove of trees that parted way amidst a forest he knew well from his training with the rest of his team. A toothpick was expertly manipulated between his teeth by his lips as his folded arms stayed up behind his head with little effort. Akamaru was curled up contently at his side after a good meal with his master and resting his head in Kiba's lap. The two had enjoyed a good meal about an hour ago now and Kiba was timing the wait until they could get up and work it off. White clouds passed overhead frequently enough to eclipse the sun at random intervals and allow him to open his eyes without worry about the blinding brightness.

His face was frowning across the clearing towards the tree that happened to be in the way of his glare. However much he attempted to avoid it, his thoughts continued to drift back towards what happened with his mother, "Why can't she just get it? Even Hana seems to get what I'm talking about and she's with the adults as much as Ma." Kiba always preferred to talk aloud when he really expected answers; he was never talking to himself because Akamaru was always at his side. The dog didn't respond to the question immediately and didn't even seem interested in moving. After a moment he sneezed and Kiba sank a bit more against the tree.

"I'd stay with them if they weren't so damn boring, going off on my own didn't work the last few times but I'm older now so maybe Ma can convince Auntie to let me go and come back when they need me. What do you think, Akamaru?" The dog gave a low snuff that sounded like a cross between a bark and a sneeze. Kiba sighed and lowered his arms, letting one hand rest in the grass while the other ran over the creamy fur along Akamaru's back. The large dog gave something of a shudder before lifting his head enough to look up at Kiba and give him another moist lick across the cheek. This seemed to make the boy feel better as he laughed a little, "Maybe you're right. She'll just keep arguing with me if I stay home…I could always sneak off to Shino's but those Aburame don't like having you in their house, do they boy? Naw, big dogs like you are too much for their clean floors."

Akamaru gave a snort of disapproval and shook his head like something had flown up his nose and he was trying to get it out. Kiba sniggered slightly to himself and scratched the over grown puppy behind his floppy ears which earned him a cold nose against his own. Akamaru knew that none of the Aburame meant any harm, they were just a really neat family and didn't like having the big dog in their house no matter how well trained he was. So Akamaru would routinely sit outside and wait quietly while Kiba got Shino, and if Kiba planned to hang around for a while he would leave Akamaru at home. Sometimes Akamaru even curled up outside Shino's window and stayed close in case Kiba needed him.

"Just wish I had someone to tag along with me. Not Shino though, I don't think I could tolerate another hit on him, not while he's around at least," he mused quietly. Akamaru lowered his head back to Kiba's warm lap and closed his eyes but listened as he continued to receive the loving scratches behind his ear. Occasionally his foot twitched in an eager show of enjoyment but other than that his only movement was his breathing. He laughed slightly, "Maybe I really should act gay…just to throw 'em off."

As the sun started to remain visible longer and the clouds disappeared, Kiba shed his jacket and tossed it in a heap of black leather off to the side of him. His bare upper frame, courtesy of storming out before grabbing a decent shirt, was nicely tanned from frequently working outside without his shirt on. The summer heat had brought about a usual lack of modesty in the wild child and he began to wear less and less when he wasn't out on a mission or walking through the village. With his home located in the forests and beyond sight of anyone except those who were looking for it, he would run around his own home doing chores or playing with Akamaru and the need for a shirt was little.

It had caught Hinata off guard when she first saw him chasing after a hyper Akamaru around the house. She had blushed and found the dirt on the ground the most intent thing to focus on. Shino had taken it a little better but Kiba would have sworn the guy had never seen someone without a shirt on before. Sure, they were only thirteen, but didn't he ever run around without a shirt on or anything? It wasn't until later that he began to really notice a pattern in the way Aburame dressed and acted; mysterious and fully clothed. While that seemed strange to him he didn't make it a point to prod Shino about taking off his clothes as long as Shino didn't prod him about keeping his on.

Years of hard work and missions had toned his muscles but he was far from bulky, he had a firm form for his age. The tanned flesh was far from flawless, however, as it was littered scars from missions and damage showing his dangerous line of work. But anyone who knew Kiba knew that he would never have given up that life; not for anything. The only contrast to the pattern of the scars was the ones that raked across his side from back to front. Ones of the same sort, or appeared to come from the same place, crossed over his shoulders and down along his chest. They scratched over his collarbone where they appeared to thin out slightly before digging in just as harshly as they had towards the top. There was no mistaking the marks for anything other than what they were; claw marks.

He ran his fingers over his shoulder, over the scars that stood out slightly against his sun-soaked skin, the paler color of the scar tissue never tanned like the rest of his skin did. He spaced his fingers out to run them down the four thick lines that were the perfect width apart to fit his fingers. With the other marks from kunai, shuriken, short swords, and an assortment of other weapons – the claw scars didn't appear to stand out too much. He rubbed and massaged at the skin under his fingers with all of his hand and pulled on the skin as he moved his hand down the rest of his chest.

They were old; he wouldn't have been able to open them simply by pulling on his skin like that, almost a year and a half old. Akamaru lifted up his head to look over at Kiba and blink slowly at his master's zoned out eyes. Kiba noticed the movement from his lap and looked back over to his dog that had now sat up and licked at his shoulder affectionately. He smiled and shook his head, raising his hand back up to run it down his companion's back, "No big deal, I'm alright. Happened a long time ago, right boy? I'm fine now, no more of that stuff."

Akamaru looked at him with eyes that seemed partially unconvinced and partially worried, eyes that made Kiba sigh and move both hands up to cuff at the back of Akamaru's ears. The large dog seemed slightly more comforted by this but he licked at Kiba's arm again and gave a large yawn. Kiba laughed and moved to stand up, "Tired huh? You're getting old, aren't you Akamaru? Bet you couldn't even take old Kuromaru down by now, you're so lazy."

The dog barked his defiance and rose up with Kiba, tail wagging eagerly behind him. Kiba clapped his hands together and Akamaru lunged at him but he side stepped. He clapped and jested at the dog with playful put downs and Akamaru continued to try and tackle him to the ground. Soon they were jumping through the trees and chasing each other in an energetic game of tag. Kiba touched dirt and bolted, leaving Akamaru to run after him. Since Akamaru had gotten bigger it had become harder for him to manage his weight on tree branches. He was not a fat dog, however he was definitely bigger and because of that he and Kiba frequently stayed on the ground. He had become quicker over land with his long strides and already energetic run. Kiba had to swing himself up into a tree to avoid being pounced on after only a minute of running on the ground.

The dog growled playfully up at him, lowering towards the ground and wagging his tail in the air. Holding onto a branch, Kiba leaned over to call down to him, "Slow poke! You've got no real lunge in those jumps! Are you even trying to catch me?"

Akamaru barked up at him and ran at the trunk of the tree, digging his claws in he managed to quickly and easily heave himself up the trunk and was back in the game. Kiba laughed and started the chase up again by running and hitting the ground once more, weaving and leaping between the trees. Occasionally he grabbed onto a branch to swing up and jump behind Akamaru to run in the opposite direction, Akamaru's scraping paws and sharp turn immediately behind him again. After about fifteen minutes he managed to tackle the hard-breathing boy to the ground and the two rolled for a moment before they landed with Akamaru standing on Kiba.

He growled furiously in Kiba's face with his nose merely inches from his master's, teeth barred over a very serious looking Kiba. The two glared harshly into one another's eyes for a moment before Akamaru suddenly lunged forward with an eager lick. He drenched Kiba's sweating face with doggy saliva playfully, making him laugh and attempt to fight the dog back before it got in his mouth. Akamaru jumped off and ran around one of the trees, growling playfully at Kiba from his 'hiding' place. The boy wiped his face off with the back of his bare arm and continued to laugh as he attempted to catch his breath – the task wasn't an easy one.

"Oh, so you want me to go after you now huh? Don't you think that's a little easy Akamaru? After all you're so slow," he poked in a taunting voice. The dog leapt from his hiding place and Kiba side stepped again before running back in the direction of their original clearing. He looked back behind him for the large dog and Akamaru kept up easily, even closed in. Having not caught his breath completely, Kiba didn't doubt that he wouldn't be able to outrun Akamaru for much longer. His chest heaved painfully but not sore enough to prevent him from running as he closed in on the clearing once again. The force hit him before he had time to react.

Or rather, he hit the force before he had time to react, his speed and lack of attention had sent him colliding into someone and tumbling over them. There was a particularly loud grunt and he was faintly aware of rolling with another body across the green grass of the clearing before they stopped. He was once again found under something but rather than Akamaru this time it was someone else. Also, instead of being pinned by easily escapable paws on his chest, he was pinned with his hands on either side of his head and weight across his abdomen – not a lot, but enough to keep him from moving.

The scent was the next thing to hit him as his charka immediately, in an attempt to see without his eyes, went to his nose. The collision of sweat, dry heat, and the chemical scent of some kind of make up hit his nose. The smells of a person always mixed to form them but he didn't know these smells and thankfully none of them were bad enough to make him cringe. He squinted open an eye in the bright sunlight and his lack of clear vision made it hard to see who exactly it was that he had run into. His first instinct was to struggle and try to attack something but for some reason he didn't move.

"Does anyone in this damn village believe in watching where the hell it is they're running?" A sharp voice asked from above him, sounding clearly unhappy. He recognized that voice though he wasn't really sure where from, one of his missions? A distant relative of Shino's he had met, maybe? Scratch the last one, it seemed like a completely stupid idea and the voice didn't sound quite old enough to be anyone from Shino's family. Maybe it was someone from his own? Well damn then he should have been able to recognize that.

"Would you get the hell offa me?" he snapped back himself and immediately shoved up with all his body weight. Bad idea. The form on top of his rose with the push but didn't get off and shoved back with more muscle and control than his own. The collision with his stomach made him lose air fast and he gasped slightly at the very much needed oxygen that he was being denied at the moment. After he got a little air he managed a winded, "Akamaru…"

It was enough, the large dog bounded from the side to tackle the form off of him and send it onto his side. More rolling was involved but Kiba didn't watch, instead he stood up and coughed into his hand before looking over at Akamaru. The dog had managed to get the form pinned on the ground with a paw on its throat and willing to decent. Snarling fangs were pressed into the painted face of Kankuro, which was twisted into a look of annoyance and anger. The face paint had changed from the last time Kiba had saw him, back when he had been saved from Sakon and Ukon. Now that he was able to see the person he understood the scent and knew that from that point on, he would be able to link that smell with the middle Sand Sibling.

Despite the dangerous paw at his throat, Kankuro twisted his head to fix his glare on Kiba and his green eyes glittered with anger, "Get. Him. Off."

"Tell me what you were doing back here first," Kiba replied, his own black eyes narrowing in reply. He had the strong feeling his glare lacked the intimidation of Kankuro's but that didn't mean he was going to give up without a fight. Akamaru's paw must have pressed down a little because Kankuro coughed and had to gasp slightly for the next breath of air. Kiba wouldn't be able to get any answers if Kankuro couldn't breathe, "Akamaru, get off 'im."

The dog seemed to hesitate for a moment but with another look to Kiba he obliged and bounded back over to his master. Kankuro sat up and rubbed at his neck in annoyance, cursing under his breath as he coughed again and re-learned how to breathe. Kiba turned to sit Indian style with Akamaru sitting at his side, this way Akamaru sat at his height and it made both of them seem slightly taller. After a moment however, Kankuro stood up which easily outdid them both and thus killed the intimidation factor. He seemed to brush off Kiba's question as he moved to just leave the clearing and go back to wherever he had been.

"Hey!" Kiba shouted as he stood up but didn't move after him, "You could at least tell me what you were doing back here so I know if I need to apologize or not!"

Kankuro sighed and lowered his hand from where it was massaging at his neck, turning partially to look at Kiba. The boy couldn't have been over sixteen but that still didn't change the fact he seemed to be trying to make up for that with a big mouth. Kankuro hated people with big mouths and big egos, call him a hypocrite but he never considered himself to have a big ego – if you always pick on people weaker than you then you really are better. Well, not really, but he used to think that way when he was younger, maybe this guy just had a reverse psychology. Pick on the bigger kids and you're tougher if you live? Sure, whatever.

"Walking," he said, cursing at how strained his voice sounded. He didn't doubt that he might be bruising from that stupid paw on his throat; wouldn't that have been fun to explain? Assuming anyone cared to ask; which they wouldn't.

Kiba's eyes stayed intently fixed on the figure in front of him and seemed to be trying to read weather or not it was a big fat lie. Well, it wasn't, he really had just been walking when he saw the jacket lying on the ground. Normally around his own village it meant bad things when a jacket was randomly found lying somewhere. Apparently Konoha was different and he would just have to be careful to never go investigate another jacket around here then.

After a minute the dog yipped and Kiba seemed to relax and gave a shrug, "Whatever." He turned to pick up his jacket, suddenly tired from the running around with Akamaru and thinking of going to get a drink. He shook out his jacket and pulled it on as he walked past Kankuro, who lashed out at the last minute to grab him by the front of it and yank him back. Kiba gave a slightly startled sound as he was yanked and suddenly lifted to his tip toes.

"I think that's apology worthy, brat," the older shinobi growled. Kankuro was at least three inches taller than Kiba and thus Kiba being pulled to his tiptoes put them at about eye level. An annoyed look over took the surprised look in his eyes and he resisted the strong urge to spit in that painted face.

"Forget it, not my fault you were standing in my way."

"You'd better be fucking kidding me because you should have been looking where the hell you were running." For most people, swearing in arguments made them sound stupid or immature; for Kankuro it really did make him sound more threatening. Like the type of person that resorted to swearing for two reasons – he was seriously turned on or seriously pissed off.

"I'm not apologizing 'cause you got in my way," Kiba challenged

"Excuse me?"

"You still have sand in your ears from the trip? I'm not apologizing."

A suddenly very angry look over took Kankuro's face and Kiba had little time to react before a fist collided with his bare stomach. Leather did very little in terms of protection from things like being punched in the gut and for the second time today, air left him in a rush. He was let go and shoved backwards, the force made him hit the ground and he rolled slightly to keep his shoulder from being landed on awkwardly. The pain ran through his body like a second adrenaline high and he dug his fingers into the ground to keep himself up on all fours. Roots tore under his grasp and he tried to regain his air as the feeling washed over his nerves. Being punched was nothing like being stabbed or burned; it was almost like being hit full force with charka except more solid. His stomach muscles ached from the tension and he closed his eyes tightly, shaking his head as though trying to clear it.

Kankuro watched as the boy tried to regain himself and when the slitted eyes finally looked up the feeling in them wasn't exactly what he was expecting. It wasn't pained or angry, it may have been surprised a few minutes ago but whatever that guy had done to recover really sent him all the way. The look in those eyes was almost urging, like he wanted to be punched. Did he seriously provoke him just to get hit? What kind of freak actually wanted to be hurt that way? Or at all for that matter? The seventeen year old thought he had read it wrong but as he kept the look for a moment he realized he hadn't been wrong. The look almost resembled lust...Lust from being hit in the gut with enough force to make someone sick.

"You like being hit?" He raised a brow at the question, almost like it was amusing. It seemed to start something behind those eyes because Kiba quickly pushed himself up and moved to storm past him. His face was aimed down and set in a firm look of annoyance and determination but it felt more like he was trying to maintain that really than feeling either of those things. The last place he wanted to be right now was here; what had Kankuro seen in those few seconds? With the look it made sense why Akamaru hadn't jumped him, he didn't sense fear or pain from his master he sensed something else. His companion had remained silent and blinking a few feet away, but as Kiba stormed past him he rose obediently to follow.

Kankuro watched the disappearing form with a bemused look; if the kid liked being hit he could only dream where some of those scars came from.