To all my wonderful readers,

This story is my little holiday gift to you, my lovely readers! Thank you all for reading my fanfics. Also a big thanks for all the wonderful reviews you have sent me over the year. May all your wishes for this new year come true.

Thanks and happy holidays,

Moonwitch

.

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

Warning: This fanfic will contain mild lime/lemon's

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of it's characters. Thought I did ask Santa for Kakashi!

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.

.

Holiday Photo

A Shino x Hinata Christmas Fanfic

.

Sitting, quietly, on the familiar log in Team Eight's training field. Hinata huddled, warm in her new lavender, winter coat. The soft, white, fur brushing against her cold, pink tinged, cheeks.

A soft, content sigh, leaving her lips as she gazed up at the hazy gray skies. Watching, as tiny flakes of snow drifted downward.

Ever since she was a small child. Hinata had loved winters first snowfall. Not because it usually occurred around Christmas and her birthday.

For Hinata it was the way the snow blanket the ground. In a layer, of pure innocence. Hiding the dark side of a shinobi's life. Covering the dirty ground. Soaked in blood, sweat and bitter tears. Erasing the wars and battles that ravaged the nation's and lands. It was as if the snow itself cleansed the earth. Giving life a fresh new start.

Standing up, slowly, Hinata held out her gloved hands. Catching the tiny, cold flakes as they drifted downward. Each one an individual work of art. Never, one flake the same as another. It was one of the few nicer points. To having her former clan's special, vision genkai the byakugan. She could actually see the tiny details of each snow flake if she, felt the desire.

Spreading, both arms wide, she spun around with the grace of a dancer and the glee of a child. A soft smile, gracing her pink lips as she looked up to the sky. Letting the cold flakes drop and melt against her flushed face.

After a few minutes of dizzy glee, she dropped down onto the log. Brushing the snow from her soft, woolen gloves. Closing her eyes, she leaned back. Enjoying the dampening silence the snowfall brought. The peaceful, afternoon snowfall, calming to her soul.

It reminded her of the calming, inner peace, she always felt when she was near Shino. No matter what the crisis, just being in his presence. Helped to calm her fears.

Just thinking about Shino caused her cheeks, to flush crimson. After all the years, as teammates and friends. Going from young genins to skilled jounin. Hinata had grown to love the silent and protective Aburame.

Long forgotten, were the dreams of being with her childhood crush. Though she would always respect Naruto's perseverance and confidence in never giving up. However, he was very far from what she wanted. His loud, childish, and boisterous behavior was overwhelming even for the most patient person. Hinata wondered if he would ever grow up and act like the adult he now was.

Want Hinata craved, was serenity in a relationship. The serenity she found in Shino. When most gave up on her as a shinobi. Shino stood by her, if it was just for an encouraging word. A bandage for a wound or someone to spare with in the late evening hours. It had even been Shino, who had seen her natural gift for healing. Supporting her when she informed her clan of her wishes. Held her as she cried when her father disowned her. Throwing her out of the Hyuga clan grounds and into the street.

It had also been Shino, who helped her on the long road to become a medical nin. In the end, she surprised her father and clan. When she became the highest regarded medic under Lady Tsunade. Her home made herbal remedies and salves requested by nation everywhere.

Even when she finally earned respect from her fellow jounin it had mattered little to her. It had been Shino who had always known her potential. Never giving up on her. It had always been Shino.

How she savored, the times spent with the tall, Aburame heir. Feeling safe and protected in his shadow as they sat next to the fire during a mission, talking quietly as Kiba slept in the nearby tent.

Spending hours, by the waterfall as Shino quietly watched her practice. She especially loved the times they spent alone in the special field Shino had found when they where chuunin. Sitting together, quietly surrounded by wild flowers and herbs. Shino always, willing to help her, with his kikai. Finding just the right blossom or leaf for her medicinal remedies.

They could sit in silence for hours. Never once feeling uncomfortable or smothered in the silence. Just serene contentment of sharing one another's company.

After all the years, Hinata knew, without a doubt. She was truly in love with her teammate, her friend. She had fallen for Shino Aburame. Now if only she could tell him. To know if he could ever feel the same towards her.

However, even with years of overcoming, her overly shy and stuttering childhood. Hinata still found herself

unable to openly reveal her hearts true desire. She knew Shino was just as aloof when it came to opening his heart.

Hinata knew how hard it was for someone of the Aburame clan. Villagers always kept their distance. Many afraid of the kikaichu bugs that lived with in the Aburame. However, for Hinata she didn't see them in that light. She never shied away from them. Pulling back in disgust and fear. To her the kikaichu were just an extension of the courageous and valiant man she loved.

Pulling off, her warm gloves, the cold air stinging her skin. She slowly reached into her pocket. Pulling out the small holiday photo. A soft smile pulling at the corner of her pink, lips. As she, gazed down, at the old photo of team eight.

She remembered the day, so well. It was the Christmas after they, had all made chuunin. Kurenai had decided, it was time for the team to have an official photo, taken for the holidays. Though Kiba had argued with their sensei, that the only reason she was dragging them out in the cold, to stand by a stupid decorated tree. Was all because Kakashi and Gai were having another one of their childish contests. This one, on who's team had the best holiday photo. Even with, all his protesting grumbling. Kurenai won in the end and Kiba showed up on time. Dressed in a monkey suit as he liked to refer to it. Kurenai could be very persuasive. If not slightly frightening when she wanted her way.

Hinata had to laugh to herself 'That is probably how she keeps order with Asuma and their twin sons.'

Gazing at the photo, Hinata could see all the changes, the years had taken. They were no longer, young, naïve, teenagers.

Her delicate finger traced over Kiba's face. He had grown taller, over the years. His hair longer and yet still as unruly as in his youth. Akamaru was just a small, thing. Sitting on his head with a puppy smile. Now Akamaru was half the size of a horse. Yet, still as loveable, as the pup he use to be.

Hinata slowly, passed over, the image of her younger self. So shy and nervous. Shoulders sagging, with the weight of inadequacy and worthlessness, in her families eyes. Shaking her head, slightly. She let the memory of her past self, slip from her thoughts. She was no longer that girl. Hinata had to hold back a giggle. Seeing the boyish, short, hair she use to have. Glad, that over the years, she had let it grow out. Now the deep shade of midnight blue, hair reached the curves of her hips. She smiled, noticing how small, she looked standing between her two male teammates. Always safe and protected by their watchful eyes. When they were genin, she felt like they were the brothers she never had growing up. Even after all these years, Kiba still remained that over protective brother. Where Shino had grown into the other half of her heart.

As her pale, lavender, eyes moved to the boy. Who stood silently, at her other side, in the photo. A soft sigh left her lips. Just like Kiba, Shino had grown taller over the years. Thought he stood, a few inches, taller then Kiba.

Her small hand went to her lips, as she noticed. He still wore the same, dark, shaded sunglasses and tall collared coat. The only change was the color of his coat. No longer a light gray tone but a deep forest green. The same color as his eyes. Dark eyes she dreamed of every night as she closed her eyes. Hinata took courage from the fact. She was the only person outside of the Aburame clan, he had ever shown his uncovered eyes to.

Folding the photo, carefully, As if it was a precious, ancient parchment. She placed it in her pocket. With her gloves, now securely back on, her freezing hands. She thought over her plan.

It had been a few days earlier, as she was going through the boxes of tree ornaments. That she had stumbled upon the photo. Framed in it's special gold holiday framed ornament. The edges, painted with green holly. Seeing that photo hanging from her fingers by it's delicate, silver, thread. An idea formed. A plan of sorts on a way for her to break through Shino's solitary defenses and maybe overcome her own shy nature.

The sound of snow crunching, under heavy feet caught Hinata's attention. Before her eyes could catch sight of her visitors. She found herself, nearly knocked to the ground by a ball of white and slightly wet fur.

"Akamaru!" Hinata cried out, loudly. As her cold, flushed, cheeks were lavished with wet, doggie kisses.

"Oi Hinata!hope we didn't keep you waiting to long… out in this damn cold snow. Mom and Hana made me go with them on another stupid Christmas shopping spree. More like the two like to use me and poor Akamaru as their own personal pack mules. I swear, I have never carried so many heavy bags. It made my long duty, shinobi pack feel like a feather." Kiba grumbled.

"It's okay Kiba, I was just enjoying the snow." Hinata smiled, only to break out in soft giggles as Akamaru cold nose brushed her cheek once more.

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o

Sitting in solitary silence, in the trees above the training ground. Shino closed, his eyes savoring the soft, melodic sound of Hinata's gentle laughter. His tall, solid, frame leaning against the back of the fir trees frame. His content peace, broken by the sound of his other teammate's obnoxious voice.

"Hey where's bugboy?" Kiba snickered, looking around the clearing. "That uptight…"

"Kiba!" Hinata hissed, warningly.

"What?" Kiba asked innocently. Though his hazel eyes glinted with humor.

"Geesh Hinata… all I was going to say was… Shino is usually early when we meet." Kiba smirked, giving Hinata a fanged smile.

"I'm sure… he was otherwise detained." Hinata replied, softly. A slight concern, flashing across her pale eyes.

"Oi Hina… you're not worried over bugboy are you?" Kiba teased, giving Hinata a playful poke on the nose.

"Kiba!" Hinata flushed brightly.

"What?" Kiba once feigned innocence.

Holding back an irritated sigh, Shino dropped down, from the tree line. Into the snow covered path in the training ground.

"I'm here dogbreath… now quite teasing Hinata!" Shino stated. His normally calm voice carrying a darker warning. Hinata's mouth opened, slightly in surprise. She hadn't even sensed his approach. Her cold, flushed, cheeks growing a tint brighter as her mind raced. 'Has he been there the whole time?'

Taking in Hinata's startled flushed face, Shino felt a strong, animosity grow towards his best friend. Kiba knew better then to upset Hinata, when he was around.

"You're late Shino!" Kiba smirked, slapping his hand hard against Shino's shoulder. The older shinobi gave a glare behind his sunglasses. Best friend of not Kiba could quickly get on his nerves.

"So what kept you? I mean you are usually so anally on time." Kiba chortled.

Shino blinked, a few times behind his dark frames. Kiba was right. Shino was never late, if anything he always made sure to arrive five minutes early. It was the Aburame way. This time was no exception. So why did he do what he had. Hiding his chakra signature. When he heard, Hinata's small footsteps approaching. He was not one, to give into strange impulses. However there he was, slipping silently, into the trees above. Maybe, it was the way her face seemed to glow ethereal, in the winter air. Or maybe it was because he had always been afraid of her reaction. If she caught him staring too long at her beauty and today he could not force his eyes away from that beauty.

Maybe that was what had finally driven, his normally controlled, Aburame emotions to the edge. Over the last few months, it had become increasingly harder. To remain controlled and unemotional near her. Every time she was near, he felt his heart begin to race. If she touched his hand or even brushed against him during a sparing match. He could feel his body flush with heat. It was as if she set his blood on fire. Her mere presence, consuming all of his rational reasoning. Leaving him stammering like a fool. Even his kikaichu sensed his unbalance. Vibrating under his skin when ever she drew near.

So because of his lack of control on his emotions. Shino ended up staring down from the large evergreen tree, like a stalker. What an Aburame he had become, resorting to such unbecoming behavior. Yet he could not stop watching his hearts desire.

Hinata was a woman of grace and beauty. She was the epitome of perfect serenity. Unlike the other Konoha kunoichi's who were loud, shallow, and self centered.

Nothing like his Hinata. She was the most giving woman, he had ever known, next to his own mother. He had watched the Hyuga heiress grow from a sad, insecure, stuttering girl. Into the stunning, independent, woman she was now. A savant in the field of medicine.

Even with all she had been through. Even overcoming her stutter. Yet she was still the sweet, shy, girl he knew as a young genin. Even though her family, had condoned her small, shy ways he savored them.

Just thinking about her families cruelty, towards his sweet, Hinata. It made his normal calm boil with rage. Another emotion, that was unbecoming, in an Aburame. Yet he could not help but feel, those emotions, knowing it was her own clan that made her so insecure.

When they were younger. Shino had found her stutter adorable. Every so often she would revert back to it, causing a smile to curve on his lips. Safely hidden behind his tall collar. Though he did not miss the days watching, her silently. As she became a nervous, unglued, wreak. When ever that hyper, blonde moron, Uzumaki was around. It always left him feeling unsettled.

Maybe it was back then, when his hidden crush on the sweet, shy, little Hinata had begun. Now, years later that little crush, had grown into much more.

No one, had to enlighten him on the truth of it. He knew it was love. However ,knowing what it was, and doing something about it. Were two entirely different things. He was no fool.

He was an Aburame, a host for the kikaichu. Chakra, eating insect that sent even some of the toughest shinobi's away in fear. Even though Hinata did not recoil in fear or disgust. That didn't mean, if he confessed his true feelings she wouldn't turn away from his sight. Requesting to be removed from the team. 'No!' Shino thought to himself. He could not risk driving her away. No matter how he ached to tell her, she had stolen his heart. He could not for the thought of never being near her again would truly be a death sentence. It would be like taking the very oxygen from his lungs.

'So I will just have to love my shy butterfly… from afar.' Shino thought. It was the only thought that held his sanity in place. Oh Kami how he loved her. From the sound of her voice. To the way she sat serenely, in the field of wild flowers. Her legs delicately, tucked under her like a princess.

'No like a goddess on a cloud.' Shino smiled inwardly at the image.

He would have to keep the desires of holding her against him to himself. His mouth brushing heated kisses across her soft milky white skin a fantasy dream. Yet deep down he knew that keeping his feelings bottled away, would probably be his downfall in the end Just like he knew, her skin would feel softer then fine satin under his calloused fingers.

"No way!" Kiba scowled his voice rising. "Give me a break Hinata. You know you mean the world to me. You're like a little sister to me… in fact I probably love you more then my own annoying sister." Kiba remarked. His voice climbing, ever so nervously high. As he stumbled through a way to end Hinata's madness.

"Shino for the love of the God's! Please reason with her!" Kiba nearly, whined. Not caring how girly it made him sound. As he turned, pleading to his best friend.

"Wh…what?" Shino stumbled. Glancing from Hinata to Kiba in confusion. Once again, grateful, his dark sunglasses and tall collar covered his growing blush. As Hinata stared up at him concerned. He found himself swallowing, nervously standing, under their wide eyed stares.

"What the hell Shino!" Kiba gaped, his arms crossing over his chest.

Shino balked, knowing the look Kiba was sending his way. He had been caught, lost in thought. Staring at Hinata like she was his own exotic butterfly. Held safely in the gardens of the Aburame compound. Something Kiba would instantly know was not normal. Since Kiba was known. For constantly reminding him that he was always on alert. Never missing a damn thing. To the point Kiba thought he was anally retentive.

"S…Shino are you okay? Hinata's soft, voice asked. Shino couldn't ignore, the tone of worry. That filled her voice and the stutter of his name.

Shino found himself staring down, at his little butterfly. Wide eyed and lost, behind his dark shades. Fighting for some sense of composure. Only to feel, it slipping further away. As Hinata took another step closer, then another. till she was staring right up at him.

Her warm, breath, brushing across his face. Her exotic scent and closeness, sending his heart racing. The blood rushing through his veins, sending his kikai into a frantic buzzing vibration. She was so close. All he needed to do, was lean down and her lips would be his.

"Shino?" Her voice called, tenderly. Her dark, eyebrows, pulled up in concern. How he fought the urge, not to run a finger. Slowly across those perfectly, curved, brows. Easing away all of her worries. Instead he stuffed his hands, deeply, in his pockets. Before taking a step back. Holding his desires back once again.

"I'm fine…" Clearing his voice nervously. "Please forgive my rudeness… Hinata. I was distracted by a rare butterfly." The lie rolling off his tongue, like it had been rehearsed. He nearly melted, seeing a sweet smile curl on her lips. As she glanced around the snow covered field.

"Oh, I would love to see it!" Hinata asked, looking up at him. Those pale, lavender, eyes captivating him. Oh, how he wanted to tell her. That she, herself was the rare butterfly, in the snow filled clearing. Talking a calming, breath. He forced down, his emotions like a well trained shinobi.

"I am sorry it seems to have flown away."

"Oh…"Hinata trailed off, disappointed.

"Oh what ever!" Kiba grumbled, arms waving dramatically with inpatients. "Forget the stupid bug!"

"Kiba!" Hinata scolded. Sending an icy glare of disproval, that could rival his own mothers.

"Fine… sorry… but can we get back to the point." Kiba grumbled. Kicking the snow, like a pouting three year old.

"Shino just tell her no… so we can get out of this freezing snow and get some lunch." Ignoring Kiba's childish out bursts. Shino turned all his attention, to the now angry Hinata. Watching with slight amusement as she glared at Kiba.

"Hinata?" Shino called her name softly. His hand falling gentle on her shoulder. As if magic she relaxed into his touch.

"Hinata what was it you were talking about a moment ago?" Shino asked softly.

"Oh…"Hinata's voice, growing low. Her fingers, nervously pulling at the edge of her coat's sleeve. Shino's mouth curling up, behind his tall collar. She was always so very adorable when nervous.

"Well…I was just saying…" Her voice, trailing off unsure. Forcing her courage, she smiled up softly. "It has been along time… since we had our photo taken together…I mean as a team..." Her hand, trembling slightly as she reached into her pocket. Pulling out the old holiday photo she treasured.

Holding out her hand, her breath caught as Shino's fingers brushed against hers. As he took the photo from her grasp. His touch, sending a delicious shiver through her body.

"I…I was thinking, since it was the holidays… we should take a new one." Her doe like eyes, gazing up.

Looking down at the photo in his leather gloved hands. Shino stood silent, his eyes taking in the faces of new chuunin's no older then fourteen. Standing with their proud sensei. 'We're so young…' He contemplated. 'Had we really been that young and innocent?' A short chuckle leaving his throat, as he stared at the goofy grins. The unusual sound of Shino's laughter causing Kiba's head to jerk upward in surprise. Only to be followed by a smug smile.

"See Hinata…even Shino thinks this is a stupid idea."

"I did not say any such thing Kiba." Shino replied. Handing the photo back. His eyes not missing the care with which she used, placing it in her pocket.

"So you will do it Shino?" Hinata pleaded.

In Shino mind she was breathtaking with soft, lavender moonstone eyes gazing up. Small flakes of snow adorning her long, dark, lashes. For a moment he was lost in the image. Staring into those angelic eyes as the snow continued to drift down around them. Like feathers floating on a gentle breeze.

"If it is what you wish Hinata…then yes I would be happy to." Shino replied, unable to deny her anything.

"What!" Kiba hollered the sound causing Akamaru to bark with concern. "No way Shino you can not seriously want to do this…this…urgh…it's just so damn stupid!"

"Oh, please Kiba…"Hinata begged softly. "Wouldn't it be nice to have a picture of us all together? Now that we are all jounin. Come on it will be fun."

"Really Kiba, I do not see any problem with Hinata's simple request." Shino's voice, stoically calm as always. "The picture itself will only take a few moments of time."

"You…you don't see the problem...ahh!" Kiba's voice, flustered with annoyance. "The problem is…"His finger pointing sharply at Hinata.

"She is going to make us dress up in something...fancy!" He groaned in appall. "I for one… do not want to stand around some.. stupid lighten tree! Wearing a stiff shirt and strangling tie. Smiling like a dimwitted git waiting for the camera to click!"

Shino's eyes narrowed as he took in Hinata's disheartened face.

"Listen Inuzuka, don't be so unreasonable." Shino's voice, never rising in anger. However his use of Kiba's last name, enough warning that he was not amused with his outburst.

"Please Kiba…"Hinata whispered sadly.

"No!…" Kiba ranted. " And there is no Kurenai- sensei to force me this time. So just forget it!" Kiba turned to stomp off.

Shino fists clenched in his pockets. Kiba was always acting childish and he knew if he didn't stop and agree to Hinata's simple request. Hinata would be heartbroken. The last thing Shino wanted to see for the holidays was a tear-filled butterfly.

"Kiba!" Shino's voice low and warning. As he moved to stand in front of his best friend. Stopping him in his tracks.

"This photo apparently means a lot to Hinata…do you not see that?" His head nodding in her direction. Sending Kiba's eyes to look over Shino's shoulder. Only to find, Hinata sitting on the old weathered log shoulders slumped, head hanging low.

Akamaru sensing Hinata's unhappiness, send Kiba a scolding bark. Pushing past his master, nearly knocking him to the cold ground. Then trotted over to Hinata. Sitting down on his hunches and lifting both giant paws to her folded arms. His wet tongue licking her cold nose till he drew out a small giggle.

"Fine!" Kiba groaned defeated. "But… Hinata can count this as her Christmas present…hell her birthday present also...for putting me through this stupid photo." Kiba added, under his breath, so only Shino could hear him. Shino held back the chuckle that begged to slip from his could use all the excuses in the world but the reality of it Shino knew, was that Kiba hated to see a sad disappointed Hinata. Just as much as he did.

Walking back together, they stood in front of their shy teammate. Shino in the end having to give Kiba a nudge to get the dolt to finally give in.

"Alright…I'll do it Hinata…but only cause I love you like my little sister!"

"Really Kiba!" Hinata squealed, jumping up excited.

"Now don't get all wound up hime. I am only doing this one time…so don't ever ask me again." Hinata nodded, her head furiously. Happily agreeing to Kiba's demands, if it meant he would agree.

"Also don't expect a Christmas present this year cause Hinata-hime this is it." Kiba added ,with a halfhearted grumble under his breath. A small fanged smile growing on his face.

"Thank you…Thank you Kiba!" Hint cried out in joy. Wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly.

For some reason, seeing this made Shino's heart sink. Jealous was not an emotion conductive to an Aburame and definitely not to the Aburame's heir. Yet, as he stood watching behind dark shades. Hinata jumping up and down with happiness clinging onto his best friend. He had to admit to the fact it was jealous he was feeling.

"So when is this nightmare taking place?" Kiba asked halfheartedly. "Oh and please tell me… you are not going to drag us outside to freeze our asses off like Kurenai did."

"How about tomorrow." Her glove, covered, finger tapping against her lips in thought. "Say around one o'clock. Ino said I could stop by later today and borrow her camera. Since it has a flash timer on it." Hinata beamed, brightly causing Kiba to just roll his eyes.

"Kiba, don't worry. I won't make you stand outside freezing. We can do it at my apartment. I spent all last night decorating it for the holidays."

"Fine… now that it is all settled… can we go get something nice and hot to eat….now!" Kiba said, walking towards the path, that led to the village's market district. Akamaru barking in agreement with his master.

"Come on Hinata… hurry up! I'm freezing in this damn snow!"

Okay!" Hinata smiled. Shaking the falling snow from her midnight hair as she followed behind.

"Oi Shino… are you coming or what?" Kiba called out, seeing the bug user, still standing near the large oak tree.

"You go on ahead…I'll catch up with you later." Shino replied to Hinata's chagrin.

"Alright… catch ya later buddy." Kiba snickered. "Don't go and freeze that bug brain of yours." Kiba's loud laughter, filling the winter air as he walked away. Hinata hesitatingly followed with Akamaru.

Sitting down on the familiar old log. Shino stared out at the surrounding snow covered forest. His breath making a small cloud of fog in the brisk frigid air. Pulling the dark, ebony scarf, tighter around his tall collar. He stuffed his leather gloved hands into his pockets. The simple action warming him and sending his kikaichu into a content hum.

His thoughts as always reflecting to the fair skinned Hinata and his uncontrolled emotions towards the dark haired beauty. Seeing that old photo, changed everything. Forcing him to come to terms with just how long he had been in love with his shy little butterfly.

When he had first found himself teamed with the shy, stuttering, Hyuga heiress he was indifferent. Ignoring her soft smiles and polite behavior she showed towards him. He knew it wouldn't be long before she realized what a true Aburame's fighting style really was. Then just like so many others, she would keep her distance. Just as he expected the Inuzuka to do.

However in the end, both of his teammates surprised him. Granted Kiba loved to taunt him with childish and immature name calling. Ones that after years of friendship he was able to return freely. Lowering, just a little, his stoic Aburame trait.

He had to smile to himself, thinking of how he and Kiba use to fight like alpha males, over leadership of Team Eight. Driving their former sensei Kurenai to the point of smacking both of them over the head on many occasions.

However it was the shy, little, Hyuga who had surprised him. She never uttered a girly shriek. Not even a whimper of fear, the day he first used his kikaichu in front of the team. Instead she watched in what he could only describe as fascination.

The Aburame where a revered clan and yet most of Konoha avoided them like a plague. Resulting in the clan withdrawing. Over the years, it had become a defense mechanism of sorts for clan members to keep their personal emotions in check. The only time one would see a Aburame showing emotion was in the confines of the clan grounds. Inside those grounds, families were like any others happy, loving, laughing freely.

Outside of the clan's home a Aburame remained calm, stoic, and unemotional in front of others.

It was actually strange, in a sense. For Shino always thought he would be the insecure one in the team. Though he would never have let it show.

However in the end, it was Hinata the heiress of Konoha's greatest clan who was the one who showed her insecurity. Always holding back. Fear was her weakness, not her skills. Shino knew that well, as he watched her from afar training. Watching the times when she would sneak away to pick wild flowers and numerous herbs. Secretly making salves and ointments in their sensei's kitchen. Her true talent and skill showing as she created, new healing remedies and cures.

As they grew as a team. He would observe her pushing herself to the point of collapse. Many nights he found her on the ground, unconscious from exhaustion. Carrying her home in his arms. Slipping through her window and placing her gentle down on her bed. Never understanding why no one came to check on her. To make sure their heiress was safe. It was as if he was the only one that seemed to notice or care for the petite Hinata.

Knowing this, he took it upon himself to stay behind with her as she trained. Sitting silently as she went through her routine. Quietly offering advice only when it was needed. He had known she did not need another person barking orders at her.

Some days, they would sit quietly by the waterfall. Under the giant, weeping willow trees. It was around then Shino had begun to realize his friendship towards the shy Hyuga. Had grown into a young man's romantic crush. It was also then when he realized his feelings would never be returned. For his ebony blue haired crush had found love with the blonde Uzumaki. It tired him to know end, watching her fall for Naruto. Yet he would listen, quietly, as she confessed her feelings towards the loud blonde. Wiping away her tears, every time the moron stomped over her heart. How frustrating it was, to sit there, his heart beating for her. While the one she cared for ignored her existence. He never could grasp why Naruto never noticed the shy, sweet, beauty that was Hinata. The only female kunoichi with a heart of unimaginable kindness. Even with a life of sadness and strife, in a clan who looked down upon her as worthless. Why didn't every one see what he did in her? He was grateful that over the last few years Hinata spoke less and less of Naruto. Though that didn't let him fall into a false hope, that he stood a chance.

Thinking back to the small photo. Shino was reminded of when his crush for the Hyuga changed. It was during the mission, to retrieve the bikochu beetle. That Shino realized that it was not just a childish crush he felt for his teammate but love. He had nearly lost her on that mission. That knowledge had scared him beyond anything he had ever experienced before. Aburame were trained to remain calm in all situations. To understand death was a normal occurrence for any mission. Yet he had failed to uphold those emotions when it came to her fragile life.

After Hinata had been captured, he had repeatedly told Naruto and Kiba to trust in Hinata. However inside he had fallen apart. The very thought that he would never see that soft smile of hers. To never hear that gentle voice. That he had been unable to protect her, tore him inside.

In the end, she proved her skill as a great kunoichi. Using the chakra blades she had trained so hard with, so many nights, as he sat watching her. In the end, it was his sweet, little, Hinata. Who had saved them all from certain death. He had been so proud of her even if the mission had been a failure. It was not her fault that Naruto had been an idiot. In the end even after Hinata had proven herself. Naruto still looked at her as if she didn't exist.

It took all his skill as an Aburame to control his emotions and not kill Naruto when he told them he had seen a beautiful woman naked dancing on the water. He knew immediately it had been Hinata who Naruto had seen training.

Yet years later Shino understood why Naruto still brought up the mysterious woman on the water. When last spring he himself stumbled upon Hinata.

It was not something he had planned on. Seeing her as she practiced in the late night. Her silky skin revealing in the glow of moonlight.

It had just happened, that he found himself returning sooner then planned. From a mission he had taken with his father. Only wishing to relax, quietly, before retiring to his clan home. He decided to spent a few moments by his favorite spot near the waterfall.

It had been by complete accident that he found Hinata there, under the light of the full moon. Her silky smooth, skin reveling in the glow of moonlight as she practiced on the water's glittering surface.

The sight of her beauty held him mesmerized. Frozen in place unable to look away as she moved across the water. Each and every movements like the ballet of a dancer, effervescent and delicate.

The water, glistening, in the rays of moonlight as it swirled up around her creamy white thighs. Curling, like a satin ribbon of liquid light. Shimmering around her curvaceous hips then over the tops of her perfect, perk breasts. Only to drip, like crystalline, tear drops from her outstretched finger tips.

Shino knew lust like every male experienced. However, seeing Hinata's delicate, pure beauty before him. He knew, what he was feeling, was more then just simple hormone driven thoughts. What he felt was much stronger.

He wanted more then just animalistic pleasure. He wanted…no needed to hold her soft lithe body in his arms, like a delicate butterflies wings. Sheltering her from the cruelties of the world. Keeping her away from the mockery and pain her family had forced upon her when they disowned her. To shield her inside the safety of his clans safe solitary and serene walls.

To let his lips, brush kisses across those velvet lips, till she was breathless. Each and every kiss, removing the loneliness in her heart. To whisper, softly, that she was the only reason he woke every morning. The reason he breathed. That he was the weak one without her by his side.

"Shino!" Hinata's soft voice called out. Waking him from his passionate thoughts. He looked up to find her gazing down at him with those soft pure eyes. The snow falling around like a halo around her.

"Hinata I thought you left with Kiba?" He asked, still caught by those eyes.

"I…I was worried about you." She smiled shyly.

"Me?" Shino replied slowly, stunned by her concern.

"You seemed…distracted.." She paused, unsure. "If you don't …Her words trailing off, soft and timid. His shaded eyes catching the sadness.

"It's nothing like that Hinata." He replied gentle. "Though you may have to resort to gentle fist…if Kiba puts up resistance." Shino added, a tone of a smile hinted his voice. His actual smile, hidden behind his tall collar and thick winter scarf.

His smile growing ever wider as the sound of soft laughter filled the winter air. Shino knew he would never tire hearing that wondrous sound. The sound of her happiness as it fell from her delicate lips. Soft and light like the fluttering wings of a butterfly.

Her soft laugher was like a dug an exquisite elixir that warmed his heart. Edging away his emotion controlled ways. Leaving him chuckling, deeply, along with her soft laughter.

"I like it when you laugh." Hinata smiled, taking a sit next t o him. Her face upturned catching the snowflakes as they flittered down.

The winter's silence drifted around them. Leaving Hinata with the calming peace she so loved when around Shino. The winter's snow making it just a bit more special.

"Shino?" Her soft, demure voice breaking the winter's silence. "If it wasn't the photo…"She paused looking up at him. Unsure if she should intrude, yet unable to let it go. She would have no rest tonight if she knew something was concerning Shino.

"Shino tell me what has you so… distracted. You know you can tell me anything." Shino's eyes widened at the concern edging her words. Turning his head , he looked over at her. Seeing her nervously playing with the edge of her winter coat, his heart clenched. Torn between not wanting to see her so worried and the fear of reveling the truth. That she was the true cause of his distractions. Distractions that was ever growing. No matter, how hard he tried to force his emotions away. He sat their quietly, weighing the options. Tell her the truth and lose her forever from his life or lie to the only woman he had ever loved. Neither option, seeming sound in his mind.

"Shino…?" Hinata's voice called softly. Awakening him from his emotional and ethical conflict. When her soft gloved hand touched his arm an idea struck him. One that appeased his dilemma.

"It's nothing to be concerned about Hinata. Just something about that rare butterfly I saw earlier today."

Her head nodded. Pale eyes gazing up, softly, waiting for him to continue.

"Well you see…this particular butterfly is the rarest of all butterflies."

"Really?" Hinata said.

Shino couldn't hold back the wry smile that pulled on his lips seeing how he had her attention.

"Yes it is and though I have seen this particular butterfly on many numerous occasions. I have yet to capture it safetly. It always seems to be fluttering just outside my reach. Yet it's beauty I can see with the up most detail."

"I'm sorry Shino…maybe I could help you."

"You are very sweet to offer Hinata….however I think that I shall never hold this butterfly. I will just have to be content with watching it." He said softly.

'If only you knew the truth my little butterfly…'He thought longingly, as he looked down into her gentle eyes. Only to quickly stand up as he watched her shiver lightly in the cold breeze. His hand automatically reaching out for hers.

"You're cold…we should go."

"But it's so beautiful…"Her eyes taking in the snow, blowing along the breeze. The trees covered in frozen snow and ice. Making them sparkle like gold holiday glitter.

"I know but if you stay out in this cold much longer I fear you will catch cold. How about I treat you to a nice mug of hot chocolate before I walk you home. "His heart skipping a bet as her small hand took his. A soft smile covering her lips.

"Can we make it double the chocolate." She laughed. "I have a feeling I might need the extra sugar to deal with Kiba tomorrow.

"Anything you want…" Shino grinned behind his collar. 'Anything to make my butterfly smile.' Floated in the back of his mind. As they made their way through the snow embanked trail towards town.

.

To be continued ….

o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.o

I wrote this story originally as a one shot but as most of my story ideas... it grew much larger and now will be a two chapter story. LOL. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year.