He entered the infirmary, carefully picking his way around makeshift cots and sleeping wounded to the covered form of an attendant he could see. Kiba startled the man by tapping his shoulder lightly, and he spun with wide eyes and almost tripped onto the sick bed of his patient.

"My companion was sent in with a flesh wound." He kept his voice a low whisper in respect for the healing going on around him, having established deference for the process and the people at a young age in the rough life of his pack and that of the common ninja.

The healer gave him an odd measuring look before he softly snapped his fingers and grinned.

Akamaru had been injured; a slight flesh wound that should have been patched up quickly if not for the fact that their team medic had been knocked unconscious and the hospital was full to the brim with the fevered healing bodies of fighters. Thus it had gotten an infection and pained him more than it should before he was brought home to Konoha where he could be properly treated.

The healer wove through the maze with ease that spoke of his continued presence in this section of the hospice, and Kiba followed dutifully in search of his friend. He was only slightly startled from his perusing when the healer spoke. "It was quite odd to get him in here, and with what little room we had left there was no place to put him." Kiba felt his hackles rise at the stray thought that they had sent him away… "I asked around and many were refusing to even let him sleep at the foot of their beds."

Kiba scowled as he was very familiar with the thought of others calling them dirty mutts or barbaric. Akamaru was a dog after all, and others had trouble seeing him as well trained instead of a flea-carrying hair-shedding mutt trained to use his teeth viciously. He couldn't blame the doctor if Akamaru had been holed up in a closet…the only thing he could do is curse the bias- and that was now something he did only because he'd learned about fighting prejudice the hard way.

The healer smiled slightly over his shoulder with a confusedly happy glint in his eyes. "The conversation with the others woke up our recent patient," Kiba winced at the thought, remembering his stint in hospital beds and the need for rest and quiet and hoping that the healer hadn't taken offense to his ninken disturbing his ward. "But she was very understanding (unlike some of my patients, came the faint mutter Kiba caught with his sharp ears) and she happily took your companion into her bed."

"Wait…into?"

The healer smirked; "She protested making him sit atop the covers at her feet, and I dare say she was happy to cuddle up to him."

Kiba kept his silence by biting the inside of his cheek with a sharp canine, and felt his brow furrow as he followed and couldn't wrap his head around the notion. Akamaru had grown out of the stage where females thought he was small, cute and cuddly. If anything now he was in the stage where he was a deterrent at best and demon at worst.

And it was with these thoughts that he stopped with the healer, looked around him to see a thick mass of black hair, dull with illness, covering her features from perusal and the floppy ear of his ninken as he shuffled his muzzle further down into the pillow and the sheet shifted around them both.

It was startling to see his lifelong companion in the arms of someone else, and even more startling to see him comfortably sleeping- even with that whining happy growl he let out when he was truly content. His little pup was wrapped up, almost to the point he was hidden if not for the telling feature of his bulk, by the crisp hospital blankets beside a woman, a nin if the hitaiate on her bed post meant anything significant, and her arms were wrapped protectively around his Red.

It was made all the more disturbing to him by the fact that his dog had an overwhelming presence compared to the petite girl.

Kiba hadn't really noticed Akamaru's growth since he was with him all the time, but seeing him near someone so petite and undeniably adult threw him off for a moment, and then got him wondering how big she would be when she was healthy.

He settled his weight to one foot as he regarded the odd duo, and heard Akamaru's growling dog groan as he woke up. He must have sensed the presence of his partner, and Kiba grinned with a soft look in his eye as his boy opened one deep brown eye and sighed at him.

The dog let a smile shift his face and his tongue lolled out of his mouth as he refrained from moving any more in the woman's grasp. Kiba nodded to him, and took the elbow of the fidgeting healer to talk somewhere else.

"He'll be better soon then?"

"In about a day or so."

A brief thought was dedicated to the kind woman who had bothered to take his ninken into her bed for rest. "And the woman; is she going to get out soon too?"

The healer shifted slightly an uncomfortable look washing over his face before he glanced suspiciously around. "To tell the truth, if she had anyone to care for her I could have sent her off. But she has no kin left and she was injured in the line of duty, her contact didn't return with her."

Kiba let his eyes flash over the healer, taking in what had been revealed and what could be figured out. If the female didn't have a team that meant she was one of the legendary spies of Konoha; changing like the seasons' leaves to blend in with their surroundings. That her contact wasn't here meant he was dead or had defected. And she had no kin…

Kiba shuddered at the brief thought, all too attached to his pack to even contemplate being alone. He glanced back, as if he could see through the wall and to his ninken and the kind woman…and he nodded his head decisively.

"I'll be off duty for a while, and just light guard duty after that. Will that free up enough time to look after her?"

The healer gave him an oddly relieved and gratified look combined with suspicion, but his face cleared and he smiled before he gestured to his office. They entered quickly, the door shut firmly and quietly behind them, like most things were done in the rest wards. The healer bustled about for a second, shuffling through papers on a crowded desk

"She should be waking for her medication soon, it really is only to numb the pain now as the risk of infection and ripping her wounds has passed." He glanced at the clock quickly. "When she does it is possible to take both of them to your home, your companion can recover with a full night of bed rest and no strenuous activity for at least a week." He swiftly palmed two vials of pills, and passed to him two sheets. "These are the sign out forms; I need your signature to ensure that you will take full responsibility over them. And these are her pills. She will be coherent enough to show you which are which."

Kiba nodded, efficiently putting his name on both forms before he took the pill vials; a glance at the description had him furrowing his brow in worry and glancing up at the distracted healer.

"Oh, there is no threat with those, Miss Higurashi is very sharp and healthy mentally, we just need her to recover physically before she can go back out into normal life and then duty."

Kiba nodded, absently thanking the healer and pocketing the medicine as they both left the office for the quieter air of the ward and the walking paths between the wounded.

He came across his new charges to find Akamaru slowly shaking himself awake, the hand of the now conscious and very aware female resting to stabilize him against his barrel. His tail wagged happily when he noticed him approaching again, and Kiba grinned in response before he knelt to scratch a floppy ear with his fingers.

He looked up at a content sigh to find himself face to face with large blue eyes.

They abruptly blinked and then crinkled at the corners in a smile before they turned to face the healer. The bird-like man stepped forwards jubilantly, a small smile on his face. "Higurashi-san, this young man has offered to care for you until your recovery- so you will finally be able to get out of my ward."

A smile crossed her lips before her voice rose up into the ward. "One would think you were so happy to get rid of me Takaharu-sensei." Kiba was shocked by the soft notes that were her voice, and found the tone oddly pleasing to his ears unlike most other noises he had to adapt to or block out.

The woman smiled teasingly at the spluttering medic before turning that smile to him and bowing her head. "Many thanks are with you. My name is Higurashi Kagome; I do hope we come to know each other well."

Kiba grinned rakishly, absently feeling Akamaru's flank for the wound as he replied. "Name's Inuzuka Kiba and it would be no trouble at all to make a new friend."

Kiba looked into the room, cocking an eyebrow at the now becoming familiar sight of his dog and the woman from the ward sleeping cuddled up together. She had only been too happy to rest on the futon at her arrival, and Akamaru had only been too happy to comply to her invitation to rest again with her.

Of course her weariness was explainable, and Kiba scowled at the remembrance of her wounds. He had stayed to help her gather her meager belongings and walk her to his house at the edge of the Inuzuka compound, and as a result had to restrain himself from letting out a string of curses that would have woken the entire ward (and any deceased who had been there previous).

He had winced in empathy when she had flinched at having to shift and stand, the healer had started whispering about going on walks to make sure her muscles didn't weaken too much on her. She had smiled, teeth clenched as she did and eyes closing against tears, and let her legs drop over the side of the bed as she clutched the sheets with white knuckles.

The sheets, from her hands and her movement, had lifted from her body and the hospital grade kimono had left her legs bare to his gaze. The cuts were stitched clean, wounds scabbed over and in the process of scarring but not the threat of opening as she winced and tried to stand.

It had ended up with him too worried to let her walk and carrying her most of the way with Akamaru carefully trotting along beside them.

He couldn't bear to see her wobbling just to stand up straight.

Kiba was very well aware that females made fine ninjas. He was also aware that some kunoichi (namely the onna of his family) had no qualms or troubles kicking his ass.

But he had been raised with the firm belief that females were treasured, and even with one who chose their path in the fight they were to be honored and respected.

And whoever had damaged her legs hadn't done either.

The scars were too many and too concentrated; wounds overlapping wounds. Whoever had discovered her had subdued her and then tortured her.

Kiba growled, catching himself but only after Akamaru shifted and pinned him with a stare. He glared stolidly at him and he let out a snuffling sigh before he shifted and burrowed further under the coverlet and the kunoichi's arms.

This caused the blanket to move, revealing more of Higurashi than Kiba was comfortable seeing but was caught staring at anyway.

Even recovering she was beautiful.

Her hair was the long mass that many females, even civilian, were reluctant to keep now days and she had the hands of a killer and mother all rolled into one. Kiba thought that, if she were well, her muscles would be thicker than most women were comfortable with, and her eyes would sparkle with health and life when open.

And his eyes couldn't help straying.

Akamaru was currently snuggled up against a chest many men would die to bury their faces against. Kiba felt the pervert for noticing, but she had the right amount of cleavage that it was pushed up and together by her sleeping position and he was a male. And she looked perfectly feminine.

He supposed the loose hospital issue kimono wasn't doing anything to help with the matter and stalked forward to pull it closed.

And his fingers brushed her skin.

Soft…

Kiba pulled away, closing the shoji door behind him and marching down the hall to his room while ignoring a niggling thought at the back of his head.

Maybe…he could give her something to go home to, someone to call home.

He watched them playing in the sealed courtyard, her sitting to rest after walking slightly around and Akamaru running playfully but not as quickly as he used to. She was laughing at the antics of his ninken, and Kiba shook his head before calling out.

"Oi! What are you a ninken or a lapdog?"

Kagome let out some more of that bell like chiming others would call a laugh, and Kiba grinned at the indignant huff of his dog as he went over to the kunoichi and flopped down with his head in her lap.

Her hands were immediately in his fur and ruffling his ears as he glanced up smugly at his master. Kiba scowled playfully, "Better question is who you belong to?"

Kagome smiled up at him and gestured for him to sit near. And he complied without protest, stretching out beside her and watching her fondly as she gave Akamaru a vigorous rub.

His gaze turned thoughtful, and his eyes caught hers before he voiced his question. "Why did you come with me anyway? I could have been some nin stalker…"

She grinned and closed her eyes before he could finish. "Akamaru is really a sweetheart. And you are his master so you couldn't be any less right?"

Kiba felt his shocked blush and heard the wuffling snicker of his dog before he yanked playfully on his tail. He faced his guest with a smirk. "That's a rather dubious referral."

She smiled gently.

"Most would call me beastly and flea ridden before they told me that I should go back to the caves of my ancestors."

The teasing statement was met with her shadowing eyes and lowering face. Kiba paused, felt Akamaru under their combined efforts stilling as well before she looked up into the distance.

She had her lip between her teeth and her eyes glassy before she bothered to reply. "Yeah…" She gave him a measuring glance before her eyes lightened and she smiled slightly. "I used to have a friend who was abandoned by those around him due to his bloodline. And he was so…misunderstood that sometimes it hurt."

Kiba shifted his head tilting as he listened. They had already talked many times during her short stay, but this one was shaping to be something different.

"As a result of that I learned to blend in, to hide my differences with the others whenever we traveled together…just so that we could actually enjoy the presence of friends. When I came here…it was so easy for me to slip into the role of spy…" there was a halfhearted chuckle from her throat, nothing at all like her previous all out laugh. "But first I fought with him, I made friends with him, and we joined a family as messed up as any other out there just to fight together." She shivered at something that Kiba knew wasn't the cold, but he pulled her into his side anyway because that was all he could do now besides listen. "Even after we saved many…he was still so shunned, and then he died and he was feared because he went down only with his enemies."

She looked at him with a wry smile; "Maybe I can fight alongside you as well?"

Kiba smiled.

He growled at the opposing nin, taking pleasure about the slight increase in the scent of their fear before a high war cry came from the trees and his partner in crime jumped out wielding a glaive. The surprise of her attack sent them scattering, and Kiba grinned feral as he and Akamaru caught those she didn't.

After a few throwbacks and very little difficulty due to his teammates Kiba was able to take his breather and turn to see the status of his friend. Akamaru paced up beside him, sitting on his haunches as they watched the female shinobi.

Her glaive had just finished spinning across her shoulder on rebound, the flat staff resting lightly across her back and gripped by one hand below her waist as the other remained out beside her to balance her crouched weight.

Kiba was unashamed to admit now; he was staring at her like she was in heat.

The fight had built up sheen of sweat along her visible skin, still not fully recovered from her injury and bed rest for so much strenuous activity, and her hair fell messily and shadowed her face…her eyes stood out more, flashing with battle adrenaline and satisfaction.

And her chest, lately becoming a favorite of Kiba's simply because it was something so delightfully feminine amongst all the females who starve themselves to emaciation or worked their figure to a manly proportion, was open for his viewing pleasure.

And right now it was heaving with adrenaline and exertion much to his masculine delight.

Akamaru barked at him in reprimand before he bounded over to her and Kiba followed.

They had to report back to the hokage and sign up for their rest leave.

Kiba smirked.

He had plans for the time spent with his now permanent house guest and jounin partner.

She mewled lightly and snuggled into his chest, and Kiba couldn't help it when his smirk turned into the puppy smile as he gazed down at her sleeping face as she sighed and shifted again.

She woke up, blinking sleepily and stretching along his body while he had to hide a groan. And she looked at him playfully, "you know, I think Akamaru takes up less room than you, maybe I should start sleeping with him again."

Kiba growled, hearing the laughter of Akamaru which only added to his miffed feelings.

But she laughed and leaned up to kiss him, and it was fine.

They just needed to get a bigger bed.

Author's Notes: I don't own anything. Well, I do, but its name is Fred and he doesn't help me make money- fish tend to have short memory and are no good for investment tips like that.

I like how this is vague...seems cute to me. But if you don't like it- tough doggy treats. No bones about it.
NINKEN: means ninja dog. KUNOICHI: doesn't necessarily mean female ninja, it's a colloquial word for onna which means female- but in this context it everyone believe sit to mean female ninja, so it is.