Chapter Three: Maybe…

-December 22, 2007- 7:30 am-

Kiba's nose twitched as the smell of breakfast food wafted into his sensitive nose. Next, his eyes drifted open and his brain began to register that he wasn't in his room. In his house but not his room. A weight on his shoulder and upper leg registered next. Akamaru could be on his shoulder… and maybe the remote on his lap? Barking from his feet made his brain register that Akamaru was not on his shoulder. Then what? The weight shifted and the smell of lilac and lilies entered his nose.

'That smell… Hinata!' His brain panicked but he remained calm on the outside. "Hi-Hinata? Wake up, Hinata?" he called, a blush spreading across his nose with each word. Her white eyes drifted open before she realized how she was sitting and jumped across the couch, pushing her fingers together and trying to hide her beet red face from the boy she had been (ahem) laying on.

"Ah, you two are up, are you? Sleep well?" Tsume said poking her head into the den.

"Baa-chan!!" Kiba yelled, making Hinata blush more.

"What? I haven't seen you have such a restful sleep in ages. And Hinata looked pretty comfortable herself. I didn't mean anything," she said innocently.


"Yes, I did thank you…" Hinata answered as she got up for breakfast. Kiba stared at Hinata like she had grown 10 heads and taken up a career in taxidermy. He couldn't believe she answered that! 'Though… It was good she answered positively I guess… What am I saying! No NoNoNoNo!'

"Are you coming Kiba?" Tsume asked the flabbergasted Inuzuka boy. He nodded faintly before following his mother into the kitchen.

-December 22, 2007- 7:00 am-

"What do you mean she's with those… Those animals!" Hiashi yelled turning away from the kneeling Neji. "Who let her go there! Tell me!" he yelled, rapidly turning back to him. He refused to answer however, he didn't even look up. Angered beyond care, Hiashi lashed out and smacked the boy with enough force that he was sent backwards. He caught himself on his elbows.

Outside the room, TenTen stood, waiting for any time that she may have to step in and help her teammate. When Hiashi hit him, she was about to slam open the door, and send a couple of kunai at the man, but a smaller body stopped her.

"Stop, TenTen-sempai," She turned to Hinatas little sister, Hinabi. The girl was latched onto her hand, stopping her from drawing her weapons. "If you just go in there firing weapons at him, you are going to get someone who doesn't deserve it, hurt," she said, before letting go of the girl.

"No wonder Hinata left…" TenTen muttered. "And if this keeps up, there's no way I'm letting Neji stay either."

"It may actually be best if you took him." Hinabi said quietly. "Father doesn't hit me, even when I do, do something wrong. From what I've heard, I'm his favourite and he was looking for a reason for Hinata not to be the heiress." Hinabi appeared to have picked up her sisters habit of pushing her fingers together. "but Neji is supposed to protect Hinata and keep her in line, so if Hinata isn't around…"

"He takes her anger at Hinata and Kiba out on him. That little bastard." Both of the girls stopped talking as the yelling inside stopped, knowing that if they were caught, it wouldn't be good for themselves or Neji. TenTen grabbed the young Hyuuga and moved up onto the ceiling, using her chakra to keep them there as the door opened suddenly. Seeing that it was just Neji, they jumped down. "Are you al— Neji! Your face!" the Kunoichi said startled.

"I'm fine, TenTen. Hinabi-sama, your father is heading to your room; don't let him catch you with me." he said turning his cheek away from his team mate.

"Arigoto, Neji-nii-sama. Good Bye, TenTen-sempai." she said before running off to get to her room before father caught her near the branch member.

"And for the record, I'm about as stubborn as you are. He left a mark on your face!" TenTen said once she was sure the girl was out of ear shot.

"I'm fine, TenTen." he said, trying to get past her.

"Listen here, Mr. Hyuuga. You can't lie to me about things like that." she said, draping her arms around his neck to stop him from going anywhere. She then bent her arms to cup his face in her hands. "He could really hurt you, Neji. He's a Hyuuga Jounin." Neji took her wrists in his hands gently.

"I'm well aware of what he can do. But I'm hoping that as long as I'm here, he won't hurt you or go after Hinata-sama." He leaned his forehead against hers and looked into her contrasting, chocolate eyes.

"But you shouldn't have to take what he's doing to you. Won't you come home with me?" she asked, rubbing her nose with his for silent comfort.

"I don't know Ten…" he said with hesitance.

"Come on! I have the whole house to myself when Anko isn't home, and it's not like you haven't stayed the night at my place before…" she said tracing her fingers down his chest.

"Ten! We didn't do anything!" Neji blushed hard at what it sounded like she had said.

"Exactly my point, not that I said that we did do something…" she said, smirking at the flustered Hyuuga.

"Do you know how much trouble we'll be getting in if he finds me living with you?" Neji asked, his hands moving around to take her by the waist.

"I'm well aware of the risks, Neji. But Lee moved in with Gai-sensei, seeing as they get along so well and Lee's parents died before we became Gennin. Gai-sensei lives barely 20 seconds at a normal walking pace, away!" she argued. "If push comes to shove, we can explain to him what Hiashi is doing and he won't let him near us…" Neji sighed, knowing that she was right.

"I don't know why I argue when I end up agreeing with you anyway…" he muttered.

"It's because you love me and don't want me hurt… I'm just so cute, you end up doing it anyway." she said, giving him a quick peck on the lips and earning a smirk from her lover.

-December 22, 2007- 12:45pm-

Hinata squealed as the dogs splashed water on her. After lunch, Tsume had sent Kiba and Hinata upstairs to wash Akamaru, Kuromaru and a few of the puppies that were going to their new homes within a couple of days, and apparently, they didn't like the water very much.

"Akamaru! Chill out!" she heard Kiba yell from somewhere downstairs. He, like most other dogs, apparently didn't like baths as much as Hinata remembered.

"P-Please calm down…" she asked the puppies splashing around in the tub, knowing they understood her. Just as she finished speaking, they looked at her and continued to swim around in the semi-deep water, but no longer splashed and bit at each other.

"You really are rather good with pups, Hinata-san." Kuromaru said, walking into the bathroom just as Hinata sat down to wash one on the puppies in the tub.

"A-Arigoto…" she muttered, pouring a little shampoo into her hand. The large dog sat down and watched as she began to massage a puppy.

About 20 minutes after Kuromaru came into the room, Kiba walked in with a restrained Akamaru. Three clean puppies began running around his feet.

"Are they done already?" he asked, before doing a count. "Wasn't one of them brown?" he asked, looking at the two white puppies and one black and white one.

"N-No, Just v-very dirty…" she muttered as she drained the dirty water from the tub and began to refill it.

Twenty minutes later, a very wet Kiba and Hinata had managed to clean the very reluctant Akamaru.

"Done." Kiba sighed, leening back tiredly. "Jeeze. You aren't nearly that bad when we're in a lake…" Kiba muttered, glaring at the small dog under the towel Hinata was drying him with. Just as Hinata released him from the towel, Tsume and Hana appeared at the door.

"You two look tired, want us to wash Kuromaru?" Hana asked, trying to hide her smile.

"You come up to help us with the easy one..." Kiba grumbled bitterly.

"Watch it, Kiba…" Tsume glared at her son who just turned his head away. He stood up himself before helping the shy Hyuuga up as well. Once to her feet, she hid partially behind her team mate, glancing warily at the new comer. Although Kiba and Tsume were comfortable with her, and she obviously was an Inuzuka and not a Hyuuga, Hinata still hid despite herself.

Kiba must have read her mind, because he took her beside him, and introduced this new woman.

"Hinata, this is my older sister, Hana. Hana, you know Hinata." Hinata gave a weak smile and small wave. Hana returned it, adding a friendly Hello.

Hana hid how worried she was for this young girl. She was wearing a sleeveless pink top without the jacket she normally wore, so she could see the hand print shaped bruises on her small arms.

"Kiba, why don't you and Sunshine get changed?" Tsume said. Kiba seemed suspicious, but nodded and took the girl from the bathroom anyway.

"How could someone do that to such a sweet girl like her…" Hana asked when her brother and guest had left the room. Kuromaru entered the room and sat down,

"We've been asking ourselves that question…" the dog answered, walking up to his mistress.

"You should see her back. She was so sore last night, she asked me if I'd help her take her top off. It was no surprise!" Hana sat down beside her mother, who was now scrubbing shampoo into Kuromaru's fur. "Her back was practically one big bruise! Makes me want to take a page from Kiba's book and beat the crap out of the mongrel," she growled.

"You would be no better then he was." Kuromaru added in. Tsume sighed in agreement.

"I was talking to Kurenai-sempai this morning." Hana said. "She talked to Tsunade-sama. But apparently, she needs the report of a Medi-nin, or she'll have to go back with him." she said softly.

"So that's why you came over." Kuromaru said from the tub.

They were suddenly interrupted by very soft knock at the door, which Hana had closed.

"Come in, Hinata!" Tsume called. As she was told, a red faced Hinata entered the bathroom, still in her wet, soapy clothes.

"I… ah… w-would i-either of y-you be a-able t-to… ah… h-help me take my t-top o-off…?" she said, her face turning redder with each word she spoke, tapping her fingers together.

"I'll help you, hun." Hana said, following the girl from the room and closing the door behind her.

"Just an excuse to get under her top."

"You make it sound so perverted…"

-December 22, 2007- 01:45 pm-

"Welcome home, Neji-kun," TenTen said, plopping down on the couch next to said Ninja. Neji didn't answer. He knew that they weren't home free yet, he was sure TenTen knew that too, but was trying to be optimistic. "Please try to relax, Neji-kun…" TenTen begged, knowing what was running through his head. She snuggled into his side and began tracing circles on his thigh.

"I'm finally out of my cage. But I'm not free. He doesn't even know I'm gone," he said, distractedly undoing her buns and running his fingers through her ringlets.

"We told Gai-sensei. He has to go through Lee and Gai to get to us. And even if he does, you'll be going back there over my dead body." she murmured against his lips before gently kissing them.

Neji's hand slid down to her waist, pulling her closer, craving the comfort unique only to her. After they broke apart, they just stared into each others eyes, foreheads touching.

'Let's hope it doesn't come to that…' he thought, sliding his other hand down her cheek. Maybe she would be right, after all, she seemed so confidant and she had always been right before…

A second chapter for my reviewers! lol. Hope you injoy it!