A/N: Ahhh, so many reviews. I love you guys. I can't believe the response to the previous two chapters. You guys are seriously awesome!! On with the new chapter!!
I do not own Naruto.
Predawn in Konoha was the most peaceful time of day, no matter what the season. It was even better during the summer just because there was a slight reprieve in the unbearable heat that ravaged both day and night. The wee hours of the morning were just different from those of the rest of the day. They were so cool and calm and full of the promises of a new day. And, as the day slowly woke, so did Haruno Sakura.
She yawned and tried diligently not to stretch too widely, afraid to wake the body that rested next to her. Well, he wasn't really next to her, more like entwined with her. In the few hours that the two had slept, the boy had managed to pull her into a spooning position while wrapping both arms and a leg around her. It was as if he subconsciously feared that she would disappear from that place. The woman smiled softly as she ran her fingers lightly across one of the arms that held her so close. She heard a soft growl and he snuffled her hair before burying his nose into the spot where her neck and shoulder met. It was the same place where he had bitten her.
Sakura would have reached up to touch the spot, but knew that it was unnecessary. It had happened. She belonged to Kiba, and she was finally a part of something that wasn't self-destructive. Feeling her man's breath across the four small punctures brought back memories from their night together.
They had made the most romantic love that she had ever witnessed, and the primal act of being claimed as a mate had only added to the beauty of it. Then he had told her that he loved her. Kiba had said it first, not Sakura. And that had scared her from the stupor of having just had her world rocked.
She had shot up off of his lap and turned to face him. The boy could see the fear and terror in her eyes before he even smelled it on her. The quickened heartbeat was another clue.
"Someone said that and didn't mean it, huh?" His eyes had darkened, and she wondered if he had taken her sudden jolt as some sort of rejection. Slowly the girl had nodded, sweat-drenched bangs falling into her eyes.
"Yeah," she had answered, looking down into her lap. She was on her knees as well, facing the man she loved so much. And the pain that reflected in his eyes almost made her sick. Someone had hurt him the same way. "And, what's worse is that I knew he was lying, but I just couldn't keep from falling for him anyways," she had whispered to her own hands. Then she felt his hands on her face, pulling her up to look at him.
"I told you, never look away from me," his voice was stern but soft, and Sakura had flinched as if she thought he might strike her. The boy had softened at her reaction and pulled her to him for an all-out hug.
"Oh...Pink...I'm not lying to you. I love you, and nothing else matters. Not anyone or anything else." He had then pushed her back to look into the emerald depths that were her eyes and pleaded, "please, let me heal you."
The pink-haired woman had only been able to nod for fear of breaking down as she pulled him into another tight embrace.
After, they had had their heart-to-heart, confirming their feelings for one another, the two had spent some time cuddled on the bed talking about what was next. Kiba let her know that they had a long road ahead of them, including clan meetings and ceremonies. And he had added that she would have to deal with his mother. The woman had scoffed at that. Why did she have to deal with Tsume? His reply had been that Sakura had three strikes against her: she had been claimed as Tsume's son's mate, she would have to prove that she was right for the role of Alpha female, and she was not an Inuzuka. The last was what he had been most worried about. Some members of the clan would not be happy about being led by a woman who was not kin.
This had given Sakura pause. What had she gotten herself into? Then, the man had pulled her close and kissed her crazy before telling her to sleep. That was what; a relationship with someone who supported her and whom she would support as well. He didn't seem to be bothered by clan politics, nor did Akamaru who had slept in the kitchen during their affirmation of their love.
When questioned about Akamaru's thoughts, Kiba had shushed her and said not to worry. He had said that the dog loved her as a mistress, and that they would both do what they could to prove to the council that Kiba had made the right decision. The woman had fallen to sleep with fearful thoughts of what it would mean if they failed, but his soft murmurs about how everything would work out calmed her from her fitful rest.
Thus, Sakura contemplated what had happened between them, and right there, lying in his arms, she decided that she would do whatever necessary to show the Inuzukas that she was right for Kiba. She would keep Akamaru alive, no matter what. Even if it meant challenging Inuzuka Tsume to a fight. Yeah right, like she could ever win that, but it may just come to that.
The girl sighed softly as she looked up at the clock on the night stand. The alarm would ring in just a few minutes. Well, might as well get up and moving. She took a deep breath through her nose...and froze. What was that? She took another long breath in through her nostrils and glanced around as well as she could. That smell, what was it? Pink hair rustling softly, the kunoichi shifted to where she could smell her arm. Was that coming from her? She then bent a little further to take a whiff of Kiba's arms, which were still wrapped around her torso. She was startled by a bark of laughter.
"It's us, Pink," his voice was thick from sleep, and he had not opened his eyes yet.
"It's...delicious. What do you mean it's us?" She rolled in his arms to face him, and he cracked an eye open for just a second.
"Just what I said. You're smelling our combined scents." He stopped as if that explained everything. The medic pushed closer and buried her nose into his chest. He laughed again when he felt her tongue flick out for a taste. The laugh was deep and still sleepy. He couldn't blame her, it was truly a tasty scent. Cherry blossoms blended with something wild and free to create the perfect combination. It was enough to drive a person insane out of sheer want to stay engulfed in it forever. The dog-nin glanced down at his girl and laughed again when he was met with the biggest eyes in the world. She was brimming with wonder, and he remembered that this was a new sensation for her.
"You didn't know?" He asked pulling her eye level to him. The woman shook her head. That explained her reaction. "Well, since, you have been infused with my chakra, and a little of Akamaru's, by way of my bond with him, you will gain some of my traits. And the same will happen to me when we finish the bonding ritual."
"What do you mean?" The woman looked at him skeptically.
"We'll have to perform it in front of the clan elders, and this time, you'll have to bite me as well. The claim goes both ways." The girl gasped and hid her face in his chest.
"We don't have to...you know...in front of them, do we?" Her voice was muffled, and he could feel the heat from her blush. He was so close to saying yes, just to see the blush cover her still nude body.
"Of course not, nothing quite so personal. I bite you on the neck, then you bite me. That's it." Sakura was relieved, but she did prefer the way they had done things better. Being bonded with a mate for life was very intimate, and making it a part of the ultimate act of intimacy just seemed right.
I completely agree, sighed Inner Sakura as she filled Sakura's mind with visions of staking claims and slaking lust. Thoughts of bringing Kiba to release as she dug her teeth into his throat were shattered with the sound of her alarm buzzer.
Sakura reached up to turn the alarm off, and she hoped that he would ask her to stay home this time as well. The woman was slightly disappointed when the man raised up from the bed and began to dress himself. She looked at him, a question in her eyes.
"What? Oh, I have training this morning, too," he explained. That, and the smell of her arousal at some inner thoughts was driving him crazy. He could not allow himself to take her body again this morning. Way too much that needed to be done, and if they started the day off like that, he wouldn't let them leave at all. Hmmm...maybe tomorrow.
So, the two dressed and had a light breakfast of fruit at the kitchen table. In a moment of pure idle thought, Sakura remembered something from the night before.
"Hey, Kitten, what was in the glass that you were carrying? You know, the one I broke with my shuriken?"
"Orange juice." The meaning of the gesture was not lost on Sakura. The day that they had shared orange juice in Suna had been the day that they had become more than friends. Neither had realized it then, but they knew it now.
A few hours later, Sakura and Sai were sitting under their tree discussing today's sparring match. Sai commented on Sakura's agility, and wondered at how she had been able to find some of his best hiding places. The woman had played it off as due to her much-needed rest as she didn't feel the need to tell the artist that it was because she could smell him. He had a weird smell, not offensive but something spicy intertwined with something inky. It was almost as if he carried the scent of two people. Perhaps Sai had a lover? And, she was very near to asking him about it, when several other scents filled the air. The two stood to welcome their companions.
Naruto, of course smelled of ramen and powerful chakra, Kakashi smelled of the deep woods, and Sasuke smelled...spicy. The girl took in a sharp breath as her hand flew to her mouth to stifle a giggle. This action elicited a few raised eyebrows in her direction, and the woman had to turn away from the males to keep from laughing out loud. So, that was why they were almost constantly together lately. She had just thought it was because they had compatible personalities. So, perhaps this was why both boys fought girls off vehemently, and why neither could be found in feminine company. Somewhere deep inside Sakura was happy for them both, and she nearly said so aloud. But, she was suddenly wrapped up in Naruto's custom bone-crushing hug.
The boy hugged her close and spoke of how glad he was that she was okay. While trying to soothe her friend, the lady smelled another pleasant aroma as she noticed Kiba and Hinata arriving to pick up their loved ones. Even after strenuous workout, their smell had not faded from Kiba, and she thought it was even better mixed in with his masculinity and sweat. The boy grinned at her and continued to talk to his teammate. But, his eyes never strayed from where she stood trapped in Naruto's embrace.
"Oi, Sakura, what happened to that scarf thing?" Naruto asked, still not letting her completely go.
"Hey, Naruto, do you remember when I said that you could hug me whenever you want?" Sakura asked looking over his shoulder at something. He nodded. "Well, I suggest that you don't make the hugs last so long."
He released her, and held her at arms length. A question covering his whiskered face.
"Not unless you want a very possessive Inuzuka to kill you for man-handling his mate," she snorted while trying not to laugh outright at the boy's expression. He let go, head tilted to the side as he processed her words. Then, his eyes widened, and Naruto looked from her to Kiba who had moved in to stand near his love. The fox-boy's mouth worked with unformed questions.
"Whaaaaat?" He finally formed a thought. "M-mate? Sakura-chan...you..and..Kiba?" He didn't seem to be able to grasp onto the concept at all. Luckily, Hinata pulled him aside and explained things quietly. Once the boy understood, he strode up to his friend and her lover.
"Just promise me that you won't hurt her. God knows she's had enough of that," he said while thrusting a finger in the direction of his team. Kiba responded by putting an arm around the girl's shoulders.
"Don't worry. She's all mine now, and no one will hurt her again." Naruto seemed to be okay with answer since he thrust his hand forward to shake Kiba's. The two smiled at one another in some kind of agreement, and Sakura could only wonder if this was some kind guy thing.
The two decided to make their goodbyes at that time. They had another place to go, and the sooner they went the better. As the couple made their way, Kiba explained some things to Sakura.
"Just remember not to avert your eyes from her. She'll take that as weakness, and put us both out on the spot. And, if she bares her teeth, just stay passive. If it comes to that, anything you do will be seen as a challenge." Sakura's body tensed. She was not ready for this, but she knew it needed to be done sooner or later. They would have to tell Tsume their decision, and wade head-on through whatever consequences it carried.
As the two came to a halt at the door to Kiba's home, he took her hand in his.
"Ready?" he asked, giving her hand a light squeeze. She looked up at him, hoping her smile looked braver than she felt.
"Yeah." And the two entered the Inuzuka home to face their future together.
A/N: So this is the end of this funness. Do not despair, though. I will begin a sequel within the next few days. Just to think, I started this as a way to fend off boredom. Wow, is all I can say to the reader response to this fic. I have plot bunnies attacking me, and I will continue on. Just need to close this chapter to start anew. Oh, and Tsume's reaction is very important to the next part. That is why I have saved it for later. Well, I'll see you all again soon.