I own only the contents of the story, not the characters.


Sleep was fitful and left much to be desired. Even the comforting presence of her brother could not relax her. Realizing the futility of the attempt, she crawled out of the bed without waking him at two forty-seven that morning. It was better to get a head start anyway, as she knew the cooking would be an affair to last the entire day. Her body sore and stiff from the previous day's exertion, she rolled her shoulders and sighed. Her mind flickered back to the frightened academy student, and to the feel of rough, calloused hands working her hands free and it didn't feel like prying, somehow… more like convincing her and the voice that chilled and heated her blood both at the same time. She was beginning to be confused by him, by her reactions to him. He was an enigma to her, and a question she wasn't sure she could answer even to her brother, much less to herself, was starting to formulate behind the busy work. How would he react? And could she live with herself if he reacted badly?

Fingertips on the base of her spine startled her not at all, nor did the subsequent bite to the jugular vein that was unavoidable without ruining the food. She let the gnawing go on for a few moments while she moved the pot away from the heat and turned the stove off. Her fingers wove into deep brown hair and she jerked quickly around, slamming her assailant into the stove. Fingers wrapping around his wrists, she held his hands against the far wall as he sucked in his chest to keep bare skin from pressing onto the burner that still glowed red from the flames. His eyes closed and he put on a real smile.

"C'mon, sissy, I was just playing around." He turned his head to offer her a smile. She smiled back, running the sharpest edge of a kunai over the wickerwork pattern of scars that adorned his back. She added a new one, slicing from his third rib on the left side of his spine to the sixth rib under his arm. His eyes rolled back into his head and he shuddered a little, struggling to keep his breath level and not move. She watched the way the blood fell for a few moments, admiring the ribbon of red. Hana finally let go of Kiba's wrists and he pulled away from the stove in relief. She was already cleaning the blood from his back, and the iodine stung like a bitch, but he was used to it. After she was done, his fingers kneaded the stress from her back as she slumped over the counter.

"How long have you been up, Hana?"

"I have been up since about four-thirty this morning." She responded, incorrectly calculating the time by looking at the clock. Kiba started in on the dishes without being asked, smiling at his sister. She finished as much of the meal as she could beforehand, and then made them breakfast.

They took a bath next, taking turns washing each other, splashing, playing, and generally making a mess. The hot water steamed around them as they played games together, Slick, wet games they both enjoyed. Hana tilted her head back to allow Kiba to run his fingers through her hair. He washed her hair for her now, working through her scalp and detangling all knots. He smiled as she propped herself on the edge of the tub and watched him dry himself off. She stood up when he was done, and held her arms out. He took a blue towel and dried her arms for her, and then knelt as she put her hand on his shoulder and dried her left foot, calf, and then thigh as she held still for him. He continued to dry her off until he was working on her hair, and she moved to sit on a stool and allow him to continue. He fixed her hair for her as well, before she lifted her face to allow him to paint the clan's tattoo markings on her face. An intricate, delicate process took a steady hand, and an unmoving canvas. Most of the others simply tattooed the markings on, but that was the path of Laziness, and it made missions of deceit much more difficult. She would only allow Kiba's hands on her face anyway, and as he could not use the tattoo gun, she wouldn't get it done at all.

Sakura and Ino were possibly the most annoying females on the earth, Shikamaru had commented earlier, and Naruto had to agree, as he tuned out Ino's chatter about colors and cuts of fabric. Not that he would ever need the information, or that it would ever do him any good. On the other hand, even if he were interested, he wouldn't be able to follow along with it. Before this day, Naruto never thought he could have gotten sick of Sakura's sweet voice, or that he could get tired just by walking around. But after being dragged around to twelve different stores, going back to six of them, and carrying stuff that Sakura and Ino wanted, while trying on clothes for himself that not a single one was 'just right'.

"Geez guys, I think I already tried this outfit!" Naruto whined, putting on what felt like the thirty-millionth outfit that hour. It actually had only been the twenty-fifth, but Naruto had a bent for exaggeration and a whiny streak a continent wide.

"No you didn't. You tried on those pieces separately. Now we want you to try them on together." Shikamaru said, with a bored look on his face.

Said streak was making itself known, but amidst the opposition from the others, he was sorely outclassed. The end of Sakura's fists had met several parts of his body today and he was still limping, so when her fisted hands made their way onto her hips, he sighed in defeat and wandered into the dressing room to change. He wasn't just re-thinking his crush on her, he was chucking it out of the window. He was no longer sure why he had ever liked her in the first place! He was sick of Shikamaru and Ino's arguing, and he just wanted to run out of the place and never look back. So he did. Instead of putting the outfit on, he climbed up over the edge and tried to escape. A hectic, adrenaline-fueled four minutes later, Sakura held the front of his pants. She wrinkled her nose at the state of his boxers, and Naruto's face reddened. He stopped trying to run away.

Exactly one hundred and forty-six outfits tried, and they finally found the right one. He took his bag and skedaddled, wincing when Ino called after him.

"I'll see you in the morning!"

A/N: Lovely lovely. I know it's short. i'll do my best to make the next chapter longer, but i was finally inspired today to do something. So I just had to take advantage and get this done. Love love love makes the world go round, right? I have no beta anymore, so any mistakes are mine. At least it's over a thousand words this time, haha.