Chapter 1: Moving In

Warning - This contains spoilers for those who have not read the manga.

"Naruto, give that to me."

"I can do it by myself, Sasuke!" Another try, another failure. "Jesus Shikamaru, what the hell do you have in this thing, rocks?!"

Shikamaru stopped where appeared at the stairs with a box in his hands, sighing and stepping forward to put the box by Naruto's feet.

"Take this one, Naruto. Sasuke and I will carry the one you have there."

Naruto grunted and stuck his tongue out at the Nara, but watched somewhat gratefully as the other two lifted the large box towards the kitchen while he picked up his own. When the large item was placed on the floor and Naruto placed his own on the counter, they sweatdropped when they realized there was almost no way to get back to the living room.

"We need more help."

Sasuke grunted. "No we don't, you're just a weakling."

"Why the hell did you want to move into a tiny place like this, Shikamaru? Your house with your parents was much bigger." Kiba argued, sidestepping rogue boxes as he came out of the bathroom. He ignored the glare of death Naruto was giving his lover.

"It only seems tiny because I haven't finished moving in yet, Kiba." He paused. "This was Asuma's apartment." He put his lighter to the cigarette in his mouth. Shikamaru was a 'smoker', yes; but his body seemed to yearn more for the nicotine when he was thinking of Asuma.

"What about Kurenai?"

The Nara raised an eyebrow at Kiba. "She has Midori, Kiba. She doesn't want this place when she has a 6 year old daughter."

"Do that outside." Sasuke growled, waving a hand in front of his face.

"It's my apartment, I can smoke wherever I want." He had meant it to put the Uchiha in his place, but he politely cracked a window despite himself.

The men moved what was left of the items inside, stopping only once when Akamaru bit Sasuke on the ankle. At sunset, Naruto and Sasuke said their goodbyes, but Kiba still had one last, small box from the porch. He paused in the living room where Shikamaru was staring out the window, letting the cigarette hang loosely between his lips.

"Last one. Where do you want it?"

Shikamaru 'hmm'ed, instructing him to put the small box on the coffee table. There was no label on this particular box, so Kiba carefully opened the flap to see what was inside. When he saw what it contained, he took a step back and clasped his hands behind his back.

"Umm... maybe I should just leave that one there."

Shikamaru raised an eyebrow and looked in the box. It was a bunch of Asuma's belongings, including the shogi board they used to play on. Kiba looked at him expectantly, as if silently saying 'I'm sure you want to be the one that decides where this one goes.'

Shikamaru nodded slowly, letting smoke curl around his face. "That's all of it?" He asked, carefully closing the flaps of the small brown package.

"'S what I said. Yeah. Do you need help with-"

"No. I can handle everything else myself."

"You sure? I could-"

"Just go home, Kiba."

He turned, taking one last glace at the boy who was staring at the window. Then he left without asking any more questions.

That night, Kiba lay silently on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He thought of the way Shikamaru had acted today, wondering what had gotten him so irritated after looking at Asuma's things. He looked carefully at the steel and oak switchblade he held between his fingers, given to him by Shino Aburame.

I never let this leave my sight now that Shino passed away. I wonder if that's how Shika feels? I know I'd be pretty pissed if anyone tried to take this away from me...

"Kiba? May I come in?"

He knew that voice - he knew it like the back of his hand. "You can come in, Ino."

The blonde haired woman stepped in, switching on the ceiling light in the process. Kiba did not move from his spot on the bed. The accommodate herself, she sat by his feet. She smoothed out the wrinkles in her satin dress.

It was amazing how close they'd become over the years. When they were young, one could say they hardly if ever spoke to each other. Kiba had heard through the grapevine that she was a constantly dieting Sasuke groupie. So he was definitely surprised to find out that her mind had grown as much as her body, and even more surprised that she had been close to Shino - close enough to come to his funeral. They had become inseparable ever since they got reacquainted there.

"...Thinking about Shino-san?" Ino said timidly, eyeing the blade Kiba was toying with. That was another thing. Age had matured her, which was astounding in itself - but everyone always thought Haruno Sakura would be the most renowned konouichi in Konoha. It had turned out to be Ino.

He merely nodded, his eyes narrowed at the item, studying it. He thought how maybe this item could hold part of Shino, a piece of his being. It was the only thing Kiba had that Shino had touched, owned, that was his. Yeah, he certainly knew how Shikamaru felt now. The dog-boy felt a gentle hand rub his leg.

"He's at peace."

He nodded. "I was thinking about Shikamaru, too."

"Oh! That was actually what I came here to ask you. How did the move go? I couldn't get a hold of Shikamaru himself to ask him."

"It went well. It's just... he's been really hung up on Asuma lately, more than usual. I worry about him, y'know?"

Ino let out a loud giggle. "Well that's certainly not like you, is it?"

Kiba stuck his tongue out.

"I was just poking fun. Anyway, I'm sure it's just because of the move. It was Asuma-senpai's apartment, right? That probably stirs a lot of emotions in him. You were trying to compare how he feels to how you feel about Shino-san, weren't you?"

"He got all hung up when I opened one of the cartons and a bunch of Asuma's stuff was inside."

"And don't you miss Shino-san when you look at his knife?"

Kiba didn't give an answer.

"I'll go talk to him. There was something else I needed to talk to him about, anyway."


The Inuzuka gave Ino a strange look when she blushed deeply. She put her hand to her face, stammering that she needed to be somewhere. Hastily, she got off from the bed and bid her goodbye to Kiba.

"Ino, wait!"

"Yes?" She coughed, refusing to meet his gaze. Kiba finally stirred, rolling over to swing his feet over the bed.

"Do you... have a crush on Shikamaru?"

Ino's face turned a shade of red that she didn't know existed. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words could form. It was decided that she would just stare at her feet until her cheeks could return to their normal color.

"Well... I, um... maybe a little..."

Kiba frowned, then smiled; which thoroughly confused the blonde ninja.

"Have fun, then."

The smile turned back into a scowl when Ino left. Everyone always seemed to be choosing other people besides him - it was making him feel extremely lonely. Why shouldn't Ino be attracted to him instead? He thought they were much closer than she was with Shikamaru. Well, they had been on the same team, but still not as close as he himself was with her now.

Ino liked gossip, Kiba liked gossip. She was a loudmouth, he was a loudmouth. She was hot and sexy, he was hot and sexy. Hell, he even went shopping with her! They went shopping together, bought clothes together, got coffee... together...

Does she think I'm... gay?

The all-time rationale when a woman won't pour herself over a man who drips sex appeal. He wore leather every day, the most delicious kind of sexual eye candy imaginable. Sure, he had nothing over Sasuke; the man had his picture under 'godly' in the dictionary. But Sasuke was also gay. Ino had him there.

Why am I even obsessing over this?! I'm not even attracted to Ino...

And it was true that he wasn't. But left to their own devices, any excuse will pop up when one is lonely.

He'd wait. He'd simmer over this until tomorrow, when he'd casually coerce his pineapple headed friend into telling him exactly what happened. Yes. That would definitely satisfy him.

As Kiba Inuzuka turned the corner in silence to Shikamaru's new apartment building, he was satisfied to see said boy sitting on his porch, doing things only this boy would be doing. Playing Shogi by himself and languidly smoking one of those wretched cancer sticks. Kiba stepped up to the porch to his ground- level apartment, watching as that Nara studied the air in front of him. It apparently was Oxygen's turn to make a move.

"Need a partner?" Kiba braved, earning only a soft shrug in return. He smirked when Shikamaru nodded his head to the seat in front of him, albeit after a few minutes.

The leather jacket scrunched ad Kiba moved his hand to his chin. As he moved his first piece, he spoke.

"So... anything new happen since I last saw you?"

Shikamaru shrugged once more, countering Kiba's move. "Nothing really", was his curt reply.

"Oh yeah? Ino told me she was going to drop by. I figured she brought a house warming gift or something. She seemed like she was in a hurry." Fuck it. This guy hates beating around the bush anyway. It's too much effort.

"Yeah, well - she left in as much of a hurry. She barged in, took one look at me and instantly started sweating, mumbled some shit to herself than ran out."

"I... see. Did anyone else stop by? Maybe Hinata?" Kiba made his next move on the Shogi board.

Shikamaru slammed down his next piece rather forcefully. "What are you getting at, Kiba?"

Oh, he's good. He's really good. "Nothing, sorry."

"I'm not going to start keeping women in my apartment, so don't even try making accusations about my private life."

Kiba looked hard into Shikamaru's eyes as the other boy stared back at him. He had heard the harshness of the stoic boy's voice, the edge. It wasn't like the genius Nara boy. Getting up from his seat, Kiba mumbled that 'he'd better get going', pulling his fingerless gloves off and shoving them in his pocket. He needed his hands to go home and pull his hair out.

He left Shikamaru there, and he couldn't help but notice how many wrinkles were forming on his head, and how many extra cigarettes he'd been smoking. Shikamaru Nara was actually stressed about something, and that never happened.

And of course Kiba Inuzuka could be nothing but loyal, as was his dog-like nature - loyal and of course, man's best friend. Shikamaru's best friend. He had to find out what could actually make the lazy genius erase stress from his dictionary... again.

Author's Note: I'm back!! Yay! The first chapter of the second installment, which was hell to write - damn writer's block! College + work + my husband + Elder Scrolls have barred me from putting this out sooner. Shikamaru won for Kiba's suitor. Sorry, KibaHina fans. Many people disliked that 'they always keep couples within the teams'.

I never liked Ino, she was always annoying to me - so I'm making her grown up and mature here.

Speaking of, notice I'm continuing Naruto and Sasuke's relationship from the first story (with use of the word 'lover'), but I'm starting over with Kiba. The installment after this will continue the first two relationships, and so on. Therefore, let's make the ages one year older - 22 (Kakashi 36).

BTW - The name 'Midori' was pulled out of my butt. It also means 'green' in Japanese.