AN// Hey! I'm back! Boy, is it going to be weird to see my pen name in the 'completed fics' list… If you want to know why I was gone so long and such, check my profile. I've updated it.
This fic… is special. I actually started writing it a while back and decided that I should finish/edit it. I think it turned out pretty well. I have to say, I think that Team Eight is one of my two favorite teams. The other being the Sand Sibs.
Anyway. This is just me trying to get a better grip of the dynamic of the team and such. I wish I could have put Kurenai in more… This is a bunch of drabbles that I wanted to write combined, actually. I'd really love to hear what anyone thinks of this. (Six pages on word!)
So, take a look, and tell me what you think. I hope I did okay, considering I haven't written this in a long time…
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, or any related characters. However, some of the individual ideas in here are mine. I don't care if they get used, just ask first. I happen to like my idea of the dog tags, thanks.
All of Team Eight wear coats.
Not light sweaters or jackets. Large, blocky, winter coats.
And each has a reason for wearing them.
No one understands.
The truth is, no one cares.
Team Eight is ignored, glanced over.
Because they are the failures, the misfits.
Team Eight was not chosen because they fit together… they were chosen because they fit with no one else.
The Aburame, the Hyuga, and the Inuzuka.
Each of them the child of a clan leader, with a clan trait.
Aburame with his bugs. Hyuga with her byakugen, and Inuzuka with his dog.
And the three of them were thrust on a Jounin new to teaching Genin. Her skills did not match theirs. In fact- no one bother to try and work out what would be best.
Even their academy teacher, famed for treating all his students equally, overlooked them.
And no one could blame him.
Aburame was quiet, anti-social and passed tests, but offered no skill in physical areas. No one stopped to think that he might be covering his abilities.
Hyuga was shy, too sweet, and timid. Her class work was good, but she could not injure anything. No one bothered to see that she too missed obvious answers on tests, and hit all of her weapon targets- provided that they weren't alive.
Inuzuka was loud, brash, and cocky. His class work hardly scrapped by, and his physical performance was acceptable. No one thought that it was odd that an Inuzuka did not do better in his physical exercises.
So as the others were sorted according to need- Team Ten had the necessary members for the Ino-Shika-Cho combination and Team Seven had the Kyubi vessel, the Uchiha, and a girl with advanced chakra control- Team Eight had the leftovers.
Aburame was a failure to his family- he preferred reading his books and studying philosophy to training and fighting. He disliked taking lives unnecessarily, and did not train as much as the others.
Hyuga was a failure to her family- she disliked hurting anything at all, and preferred to save lives. She believed that it was harder to save lives than take them. On top of this, she had terrible skills, worse than her younger sister.
Inuzuka was a failure to his family- he was a loner amongst his family, preferring to train with his partner or write in the notebook hidden in his room. His family was too social for that and thought him touched in the head.
And no one noticed them.
They were forgotten once they passed by, all three of them.
No one thought that they would become official Genin.
No one noticed that they did.
The first day of training was the beginning of something good.
Aburame could sense it in the air.
Hyuga could taste it in her mouth.
Inuzuka could smell it riding the wind.
Their teacher was unimpressed by what she saw.
Aburame showed up wearing a long sleeved shirt, long pants and dark sunglasses, his headband displayed on his forehead. He looked creepy. He always did.
Hyuga wore a lose, baggy short sleeved shirt, dark shorts and her headband tied around her neck in a timid way. She looked small and shy, as usual.
Inuzuka came in bold colors, though his shirt was long sleeved and his shorts a size or so too large. He wore his headband proudly displayed on his forehead, with Akamaru at his side.
Their teacher left them for several hours going off to complain to her superiors.
The failures started talking amongst themselves.
Inuzuka provoked Aburame, causing a caustic verbal battle. Hyuga managed to stop them, and the three started having a real conversation.
They talked about their family's expectations of them. Of being ignored. Of lying so that no one would notice them. Of not liking to hurt people. About drawing, reading, and writing.
Shino promised to bring Hinata a book about improving control over one's chakra.
Hinata promised to teach Kiba a technique that would allow he and Akamaru to work better with each other.
Kiba promised to bring Shino a book on an Inuzuka philosopher, Toboe, that Shino had been looking for.
They talked about many things.
They shared their goals and fears.
Things that they liked, things that they did not care for.
Shino told them that he wanted to be able to use his bugs to help people someday, rather than just injure. Hinata gave him a shy smile while blushing and Kiba grinned, showing his fangs.
Hinata admitted that her goal was to be able to speak to someone without stuttering. Shino nodded in admiration, and Kiba told her enthusiastically to 'go for it!'
Kiba declared that he wanted to be strong and to protect his city. Hinata blushed again, giving him an encouraging look, and Shino inclined his head in a gesture of acceptance.
They talked about sillier things too.
Shino brightened at Hinata's promise of vegetable salad- fresh from her garden- but shuddered involuntarily when tofu balls were suggested.
Hinata smiled shyly when Shino offered to bring some honey- the Aburame clan had some bees, after all.
Kiba pounced on the beef jerky that Hinata had brought for a snack that day.
They talked about superficial things.
Shino didn't like people staring at his face.
Hinata didn't like displaying her femininity.
Kiba didn't like people looking at the scars on his arms and chest from roughhousing all of his life.
Their teacher came back, disgruntled at the fact of having to teach a group of misfits who were more than likely gone or had killed each other. She was surprised to see them chatting happily, like old friends.
She couldn't help but laugh.
Team Eight had a bond from the beginning.
Kurenai told them that they were official Genin. They didn't need another test. They were a team now.
By then, dusk and set in.
The three children started to shiver.
Kurenai frowned, noting lack of suitable clothing.
She bought them all coats- specially fitted for training weights of course.
All three of them felt warmer than they had in a long time.
Because their families bought them things out of duty, not of caring.
They slept soundly that night.
They took a picture as a team the next day.
Team Eight had never been happier.
Training was hard, but they managed.
They got used to the increasing weights, as they grew accustomed to the old ones.
Team Eight had the greatest stamina and their bodies could take more strain that the other teams.
Over time, they got more and more used to being close together.
Shino was still quiet around other people. Hinata couldn't stop stuttering when she talked. So outspoken Kiba became Team Eight's voice.
Shino couldn't see well in light. Kiba was colorblind. Hinata's eyes were good enough for the three of them.
Hinata had a tendency to be hurt by what people said. Kiba was hot headed enough to take things at face value. Shino had a gift for hearing what people really meant, he became their rationality.
They all became smarter, stronger, and faster.
Shino laughed with them once in a while.
Hinata talked without stuttering when she was with them.
Kiba stopped to think about things.
Over time, things accumulated in their jackets.
Pressed flowers from Hinata and a dog's fang on a chain from Kiba were tucked into Shino's coat, and over his heart hung a dog tag with his name and team number inscribed on it from Kurenai. When he feels discouraged, his hand drifts there.
A small lavender flower charm from Shino, a dog's fang on a chain from Kiba, and a dog tag with only her first name and team number on it from Kurenai hung on a long chain under her coat. Whenever she felt incredibly upset, Hinata fished them out and clutched them in her hand.
A chakra infused charm made to repel fleas from Shino, and a wolf's fang on a chain from the ever-thoughtful Hinata hung on a chain around Kiba's neck along with the dog tag with his name and team number from Kurenai. He liked to twist his fingers around them when he was upset.
The coats had other uses too.
Shino's lower face was hidden in the collar of his.
Hinata's slight curves were buried under her's.
Kiba's scars disappeared under layers of fabric.
But for all of them, the coats were more than that. They wouldn't be Team Eight if they didn't have their coats, because their coats symbolized the warmth that they didn't receive from their families. The coats represented their togetherness, just like Team Ten's earrings.
Other things changed.
They slowly gained self-esteem, and skills that they learned from each other.
They all learned techniques from the others. They all enjoyed it.
They were siblings. Even their teacher was like an older sister rather than anything else.
They all looked forward to spending time with their real family, their team.
Team Eight still passed unnoticed.
Hinata and Kiba were the only ones who could tell how Shino felt under his defenses.
Shino and Kiba were the one's who noticed that Hinata was getting bolder despite her nature.
Shino and Hinata were the two who saw that Kiba was getting better with his temper even with his clan's infamous irritability.
They were a family, that was simply it.
To any other person, they might appear weak.
But they were not.
They never failed a mission, always putting their best into it, no matter how small. And, over time, there were people who would pay more just to have Team Eight come in on a D-rank mission.
Team Eight passed unnoticed, always.
There were some nights when none of them wanted to go home.
So they would go to Kurenai's apartment. She understood, and left the three alone and stayed with Asuma.
The three would eat together, like a real family, and train and talk and eventually, crawl into Kurenai's large bed and fall asleep.
Shino on one side, lying perfectly still. Kiba on the other side sprawled next to Hinata, who curled up between her boys, safe and content, while Akamaru sprawled across their feet.
Nothing romantic ever happened between them. They were too good of friends for that.
Not one of them would even get into a relationship without the approval of the others.
They were a family.
Time passed, and they had to get new coats.
They wore their new coats as they had their old ones.
Even in the summer. No matter the weather, Team Eight was clad in coats.
The mementos had been replaced after so many years, but some of them were too precious to give up.
They had never split up. They stayed together.
They had to- they were Team Eight.
One day, they would make their families proud. And even then- they would wear coats.
Sometimes though, when they are with their clans and the bitter cold of loneliness bites into their veins, they will cross over to their secret places and find their old coats.
Their first coats.
And they will remember the days long ago, and hug their coats tightly and sigh sadly.
And when the loneliness is bad enough, they will go their grove, their clearing and lie down and think.
Team Eight has always been sensitive to one another.
As if by magic, they eventually gather in the clearing, and lay down.
Shino on one side, perfectly still. Kiba on the other sprawled out. And Hinata curled up in between her boys, safe and secure, with Akamaru at their feet.
In the morning, they creep home and doge the questions. Then they return to their rooms, and find a certain photograph. And then the look at it and smile.
Because it is that photo. The first photo of Team Eight.
Shino on one side, stoic, a smile hidden in the collar of his brand new coat. Hinata in the middle, smiling shyly, hands hidden in the long sleeves of her coat. Kiba on the other side, arm around Hinata, with Akamaru zipped up in his jacket. And Kurenai stands behind them, a hand on Shino's head, and a hand on Hinata's, smiling proudly.
And, smiling sadly, their hands will make their way to the collars of their coats, and pull out the dog tags and finger them.
A sideways eight is infinity.
And Team Eight will be a team forever.
Because they are the best. The misfits, the outcasts, the worst of the worst… are the best family.