Kiba growled pleasantly and stretched, his eyes bleary before he rubbed at them and regained his sharp sight to stare amused into the eyes of little Lina- since he'd helped her fix the dollhouse a few days back she had latched onto his leg many a time. He groaned playfully as he stood up and she did just that, her little cheek pressed tightly to his knee as he lifted his foot and walked with her latched on to him.

Her little giggles were muffled against his pant leg as he looked around for his jacket. He spotted the dark leather by the door and smiled as he turned to the kitchen. That was where Kagome would be.

He grinned as her wide eyes locked on the growth on his leg, her face twist into a smile as she crouched down to address the child. "Lina-chan, would you mind letting my boyfriend go? He's supposed to take me to the market."

She pouted and snuffled into his leg, "Mine."

Kagome laughed as Kiba blushed and shook his leg a little. He sighed as Kagome leaned forward to run her fingers through the girl's hair, a soft look in her eyes as she whispered. "I think we can share ne? Besides, I am supposed to be getting a few little treats aren't I?"

Lina grinned and immediately released his leg.

Kagome laughed and kissed her forehead before the little girl ran off to share the news. Kiba grinned and reached down to help her up, keeping her hands in his while he kissed her cheek. "You rescued me from the little monster, how can I ever thank you?"

Kagome giggled. "I don't know how good of an escort you'll be if you needed rescuing from that runt…but I do need an honour guard while I shop."

Kiba laughed, "You just want me to carry the bags."

She huffed and tossed her hair, taking her hands from his and stepping up to the counter to grab her bag- "If you're going to pout about it I'll carry them, heaven knows you're not strong enough to."

She threw a wink and a smile over her shoulder as Kiba growled and lunged forward to gather her up to his chest, feeling her laugh against him as he curved his head into her neck. "I think I need amends for taking that jibe."

Kagome's laughter rang out again and she kissed his nose, jiggling her shoulder so his chin lifted before she took another step closer to the door. "Well then hurry up, the sooner I get done at the market the sooner we can go on our date."

Kiba laughed and quickened his steps, agreeing wholeheartedly with the speedy plan.

They were walking through the stalls as Kagome called out her morning greetings, and Kiba couldn't help but smile as her cheery greetings reciprocated more smiles and cheer from the patrons and customers gearing up for the day.

Kiba relaxed as Kagome's hand slipped into his, her slim fingers wrapping around his calloused ones as she leaned sideways to greet a little girl running through the street. Her smile turned up to him before a vendor called out to her, and Kagome quickly gave him a kiss before making her way to the elderly man.

Kiba smiled as he watched her gently take the elder's hands in her own, smiling gently as she spoke slowly and made the gentleman relax and smile in return. Her kiss still tingled on his lips as he observed how much she cared…

Then his senses caught and he cursed, the dark scent making his head snap to the left. Sasha glowered at him, her face dark and her fists clenched as her eyes darted to Kagome.

Kiba wished he'd brought Akamaru with them from the orphanage- but Kagome had insisted he made a great babysitter. Now Sasha had nothing to be wary of. She thought she'd tamed him, had him under her control- and Kagome was so very obviously not a ninja. The sly look that smoothed her face from anger made his breath catch and his muscles go numb, and he quickly took the few steps to Kagome as Sasha started making her way over to them.

Kagome spun when he grabbed her elbow, eyes wide and confused as she looked up at him. "Kiba what's-"

"Hello Kiba-kun."

Kagome froze and then turned her head to face the kunoichi, her eyes blinking as her shoulders rounded and she stood quietly.

"Sasha." Kiba carefully spoke.

"I see it didn't take you long, you must have been tired of the challenge." The woman said slowly, examining her nails without a care as Kagome's breath caught beside him.

Kiba cleared his throat- well aware that people always saw what they did because that's how they thought. That Sasha had thought him a mere challenge and not a person…. He growled. "My ninken has good taste, she's his friend."

"Mmhmm, sure. As if that mutt could help you pick up chicks. Was she waiting on the sidelines?"

Kagome gasped, her face clouding with irritation and Kiba winced. "How dare you treat Akamaru-chan like that?!"

Kiba startled and then a slow smile spread over his face, his eyes warm as he added, "Or talk about Kagome like that." Kagome blinked and closed her mouth, blushing as she realized she hadn't stood up for herself and then smiling at him.

Sasha snorted, "Please, I believe this whore needs to know her place. I can't believe you're even insinuating that she's better than me because your dog was friends with her."

Kiba's jaw clenched. "She is; a million times better than you. My partner thinks so too."

Sasha lowered her chin as she glowered. A mirthless laugh coming from deep in her throat. "I see, she actually puts out, is that it? You must have been so desperate for a good fuck that you condescended to take a civilian."

Kagome made a choking sound. "Stop treating Kiba-kun like that."

Kiba growled, "Just stop talking to us."

Sasha had rounded on Kagome though, "Why? You think he actually is protecting you because he loves you? If he didn't stay with me long why would he stay with you?"

Kiba felt Kagome grasp his hand tighter, her chin jutting out as she glowered at Sasha.

His ex laughed- "You think he's actually interested in you! I saw that kiss- he's on the rebound. It took us weeks to get that intimate. He must see an easy lay in you."

Kagome stepped forward and glared- "I think you're scared of being intimate, but that's no reason to rip into us for being in a relationship."

"Please, a relationship. You're so stupid. Why would he choose you over me?" Kagome blinked and looked down, and now that she was positioned in front of him Kiba was able to see the way her posture shifted and her expression clearly communicated her doubt. Sasha grinned and her eyes flashed, "You're going to be second best- he's always going to think of me while he's with you. I had him first. He'll never truly be yours you know."

Kagome drew in a breath- "Stop treating him like he's some object." She said softly before turning away, gathering her basket to her and keeping her face turned to the ground as she slowly walked away.

Sasha laughed and called after her- "Best leave now before you get hurt! It won't be long before he comes back to me!"

Kiba watched Kagome leave with a stunned weight in his chest, his eyes snapping feral as he rounded on Sasha and growled loudly.

She startled and looked at him; fear crossing over her face before haughty wrath overcame it. She tossed her hair and canted her hip, a sly smile overtaking her in the position he had once found feminine and endearing.

"That was low and uncalled for."

She snorted and laughed, "But so true. I don't know what you see in her right now- but later you'll see it my way. We had such a good start."

"I broke up with you."

Her face darkened like a spoiled brat's. "You were obviously not in your right mind- we had something good."

"No," Kiba shook his head and took a step back from her. "You thought we had something good. But I felt constrained- you only wanted a prize pet didn't you? A ninja suitable to your strength level so you wouldn't look weak."

Sasha coloured in frustration and hunched her shoulders- "Don't speak nonsense; we had a lot of fun as a couple. We could go back to that."

Kiba shook his head again. "I have Kagome, and she accepts Akamaru." He straightened, "You never did that, and I don't think you ever really accepted my clan either. You were always scared of my bestiality and my clan grounds…how long were you going to delude yourself."

Sasha pouted and glared, "I accepted that, you were so strong…"

"No."

She blinked, drawing back as she realized none of her entreaties were working. Then she huffed and crossed her arms. "You'll see. You'll come crawling back to me when she gets scared off by all this ninja clan stuff." She nodded her head in sly satisfaction- "Just wait."

Kiba nodded his head genially, "Wait long enough, Sasha, and you'll see that she's made for me. She's so much better than you could be."

He gave her a tilt of his head as he set off, pleased with her gaping expression and loose, surprised posture as he set off at a trot back to way to the orphanage. It was time to speak to Kagome- he couldn't have her doubting his attraction to her.

And he hoped he could convince her he loved her as well.

He pulled up to the orphanage with a slight breath, his eyes darting about the children and looking for her adult form as he couldn't find her. His breath hitched as his eyes caught Akamaru's- his ninken confused before the dog sniffed and approached him- a growl working through the barrel of his chest as he asked where Kagome was.

Kiba swallowed- "We ran into Sasha."

Akamaru froze before a more threatening growl came out of his throat and he set off to the door. Kiba swallowed and turned to follow him.

The stiff air between them as they spent hours searching her known haunts was stifling, until Kiba sighed. "I'm sorry."

Akamaru loosened the tight coil of his muscles but didn't reply in any avenue of communication they'd developed.

"I know you didn't like Sasha, and that I was a jerk. I just…she wanted me…I thought so at first."

Akamaru snorted.

"Yeah, I know. I can't believe I ever thought she wanted me. Must have been that head cold I had." Kiba smiled as Akamaru wuffled, his shoulders relaxing as they stopped at an intersection. Defeat overcame their postures before Akamaru shook it off and turned to head to the clan compound.

Kiba jogged to catch up with consternation, unsure as to how the house would help.

But he trusted Akamaru and owed it to him to show him that he did.

They carefully manoeuvred through the gates, greeting the elders as they looked up from their business.

Akamaru growled at a few- Kiba understood little of it, he wasn't quite paying attention as all the ninken resting snapped their heads to look at him.

Kiba swallowed- "They all know Kagome?"

Akamaru snorted as an aged elder sniffed and growled out in his pseudo human language. "She comes by."

Kiba swallowed and nodded- "Then did she pass by today? We've been looking for her."

The elder gazed at him steadily before nodding his head- "She's visiting in the inner compound."

Kiba blinked and let his eyes drift in that direction, his breath catching because that meant she'd been welcomed by all that had resided guarding over the gates…

She'd been accepted by his clan. Seen his clan and still walked forward….

He set off down the dark hallways with Akamaru trotting along beside him, his mind fuzzy with deep thoughts and his limbs tingling with an anticipatory numbness (he didn't understand how they were still working…).

Hopefully he'd have better control when he saw Kagome.

He looked up just as he thought this, and his body betrayed his will yet again.

Kiba stopped dead in the shadows of the hall, his feet stiff in the grass as he looked into the enclosed courtyard and Kagome seated therein. He felt Akamaru's reassuring warmth right at his left side, but couldn't find the courage to take that extra step forward.

Instead he leaned against the dark wood of the wall, a smile quirking up one side of his lips as Kagome's laughter rang out and the barks of energetic puppies echoed in the walled area.

He sighed and crossed his arms as his head touched the wood grain, Akamaru's rumbling and pleased growl a heavy comfort beside him as a chuckle worked its way up his throat. He loved the way Kagome just got right in there and played, the way the pups couldn't get enough of her and the elders couldn't stop their pleased growls.

She just endeared herself to them all.

And Sasha had never even wanted to touch the dogs…

He shook his head and took in a deep breath as he walked forward. He would never compare the two, it wouldn't be productive and it might give people the wrong impression.

He had dumped Sasha because he had felt off; he had felt like she was tugging at his leash…he had felt like a mutt. He sighed and took another step closer, observing the runt of the pack – a small brown fluff ball – off to the side and carefully inching his way closer as his tail started to wag.

A slow grin pulled at Kiba's lips and he felt all the elders shift as they watched.

The fluff ball was a shy little thing who usually avoided all the other dogs (and that included the elders) as if expecting them to snap at him. And for him to now be approaching this outsider- to really want to join in playing with her and being touched by her…

He stopped when he was steps away, watching as Kagome startled and then looked down to spot the brown pup; his cowering form and his large hopeful eyes as his tail wagged slowly and tentatively.

Kiba watched Kagome soften, her eyes liquid and her form welcoming as she cooed at the pup and carefully picked him up. The pup's body expression turned more hyper and happy, his tongue hanging out of his mouth as he barked and his very energetic tail thumped against her arm.

"You are such a cute little thing aren't you? I think I might want to steal you away from here." The pup barked as Kagome laughed, "But I don't think they'd like that. You're going to grow up to be a strong ninken with a wonderful partner- you're going to make a difference." The pup calmed and tilted his head. "Oh yes you are, don't look at me like that." Her giggle rang out as the pup licked her nose slowly. "Yeah, but you better come visit me. Akamaru has mopey days when the kids are at school, he needs someone to play with."

Akamaru whined out a growl, covering his eyes with his paw.

The pup barked an affirmative and started wiggling around in her arms- happy little yips escaping him as Kagome got attacked by his cheerful tail and sloppy tongue.

Her squeal made him laugh.

She gasped and spun, stumbling to her feet and righting herself as she blushed and fidgeted. When she bit her lip he took a step forward, his hands reaching up to her before he hesitated and let them fall to his side. With his built up energy he shifted his weight from foot to foot, rubbing the back of his head with a hand and trying to find a way to say something to break the ice- he couldn't look at her properly in the eyes until he did.

She finally cleared her throat and carefully put down the runt she had been holding, her eyes large and bright as she looked at him and sighed- "Kiba, I came to…I'm really sorry about this morning."

"Kagome," Kiba started, stepping forward as Akamaru whined and gently butted his head into Kagome's hip. Her hand came down absently to scratch behind his ear, her face clearly contrite as she bit her lip and hunched her shoulders.

"I mean I shouldn't have reacted so strongly, I practically left you hanging there in the market. At least I could have stayed to show you that I trusted you…but," she sighed, her small shoulders heaving with some weight as she looked away. "I am sorry for doubting you that split second… I don't really, and I didn't mean to make you feel like I was." Her eyes blinked and turned back to him, entreating and so blue.

Kiba cleared his throat and smiled- "I was going to apologize for not saying anything to Sasha- truth is I was too stunned."

Kagome let out a breath that sounded like a laugh, her cheeks rounding above her smile as she relaxed her tense posture. "Not used to woman fighting?"

Kiba barked out a laugh, leaning down to brush her nose with his and then kiss the tip. Kagome sighed and returned the gesture as he grinned. Trust his Kagome to say something like that- while still being worried.

He sighed and pulled her tightly to him as he kissed the crown of her head and rested his mouth near her ear.

"I love you."

Her eyes widened and her shoulders rounded back: "What?"

"I love the way you care so much for people, the way you take them into your heart and open up all you have for them. I love the way they can't help but love you back because you're always so sincere in everything. I love the way you can communicate with Akamaru though you weren't raised with him and the way he just adores you. I love the way you laugh and smile, how your eyes light up and you toss your head back when you laugh because it just comes tumbling up your throat." He took a step towards her and trailed his hand down said throat, watching her breath catch and her eyes turn dewy.

"Kiba…"

"Kagome, you don't know how hard it is for me to hold back. I'm not rushing you because I don't care, I'm doing it because I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you by my side. I love you."

She gave him a watery smile before leaning her forehead against his clavicle, her slender arms coming to wrap around the barrel of his chest as she took in a shaky breath. He heard her sniffle and kissed the crown of her head, rubbing his nose in her hair as Akamaru rumbled out a whine and rubbed against their legs.

"I love you too." She whispered as she nuzzled under his chin, a great sigh escaping her as his arms wrapped tightly around her and pulled her to him. She uttered a small laugh- "But I don't think I can coherently say everything I love about you- I'm a little shocked right now."

Kiba laughed and blushed. "It's enough you love me,"

She grinned and kissed his chin, "Well, I love you." She relaxed into him and leaned up for a kiss, their lips soft against each other.

Kiba cursed as Akamaru nudged against them too hard, he falling on top of his hind end and catching Kagome in his lap. Her breath rushed from her in a loud woosh, and Kiba glared in consternation at the far too satisfied ninken of his.

Then the runt puppy barked and jumped on her lap, snuggling up to her stomach as Akamaru curled around them contently. Kiba sighed as Kagome giggled and started scratching Akamaru behind the ears, her back leaning against his chest as he leaned in to rub his nose against her neck.

"I think they're happy everything worked out." She stage whispered.

Kiba rumbled out a groan and then laughed against her skin. "Not as happy as I am." He growled out against her shoulder before kissing it. Kagome sighed and the puppy appeared over her shoulder to lick his nose.

Kiba looked cross-eyed at him before laughing. "I think the runt likes you."

Kagome laughed and turned in his lap, smiling as she kissed his cheek. "I hope he does, he's adorable."

Kiba laughed- "I think the whole clan likes you- you're adorable."

Kagome laughed at him and then stopped when she noticed he was serious. She choked and then giggled nervously- "Yes well, I think I don't mind. Your clan grounds always feel so welcoming to me- it must be the origins. I always had a soft spot for inu."

Kiba's wide eyes blinked, drying out on him as a slow grin displayed his canines. It wasn't many who knew the history of his clan- the struggle of an inu hanyou ending with a wish and a splitting of his soul- human and beast set to guard as partners for the rest of their life.

Kagome knew.

Kagome accepted- Sasha was so entirely wrong.

Kiba laughed and pulled her to him for a kiss, falling onto his back as the pups joined in frolicking around them. Akamaru sighing as he rolled out of the way. Kagome laughed heartily before gathering the runt to her, leaning over to slowly kiss Kiba on the lips- the pups stilled and watched this. Kiba groaned as he leaned into her warm lips, pleased and content as her hands placed the pup on his chest and then wrapped around his neck.

"Oh!" Kagome gasped as the runt puppy crawled his way up to lick them on the nose, barking happily as they started laughing and pulled him in for a hug. Kagome sighed and relaxed, splayed across his chest as the rest of the dogs in the inner compound came to lie around them, piling over their legs and huffing as they settled down.

Kagome giggled- "I think we're stuck."

Akamaru snickered against her back, curled up around her side with his head across her spine. Kiba raised his head as much as he could to look down at his partner, his eyes bright and joyful as Akamaru grinned and winked.

Kiba let his head fall back to the ground, his hands going up to tangle in Kagome's dark hair- relaxed and very comfortable under the weight of his friends and Kagome.

He sighed and closed his eyes, a broad smile across his face as Kagome snuggled into him and the dogs quieted.

The day had gone well, all Sasha encounter aside. Kagome was his and he was hers and the dogs were happy.

Kiba laughed and kissed the crown of her head before settling down for a dog nap.

………………………………………………………………………………..

Finished chapter two! It's a quick post- late for class. I'll fix mistakes later. Chau amigos!