Title: The Kit In Love

Author: Smurf

Summary: Request fic. A Naru/Hana Valentine's Day fic. Fifth in the Naru/Hana series. This fic like the Lion and the Mouth, and Like A Stack of Branches, is based on a fable.

Disclaimer: We the serialhugger collective do not own Naruto or any of the licenses or trademarks related thereof. We make no claims otherwise, and no monetary gain has been made from the creation of this piece of fanfiction.

The Kit In Love

February, fourteenth, six thirty-two AM, found Hana awake with a start in a tangle of sheets, staring up at the bed she had previously occupied from the floor. "What the...?" sitting up she could see the cause of her sudden fall. "Naruto?"

There was something not right about the scene before her; Naruto was usually such a sound sleeper, she sometimes wondered if he couldn't double for a corpse, but now... Now, his brow was furrowed, he was tossing and turning, and she could here incoherent mumbles spill from his lips. If that wasn't enough to tell her that her boyfriend was suffering from a bad dream, the slight smell of fear hanging in the air certainly was.

"Hey, Naruto," she nudged him, carefully aware of where his limbs were. It could be dangerous waking up a shinobi, especially from a nightmare. A low moan that sounded almost pained came in response, but Naruto did not wake. "Naruto!" Hana tried again, shaking him lightly this time until she could see his eyes flutter open.

"H-Hana...?" Gasping Naruto bolted to a sitting position, his arms instinctually snaking around the Inuzuka, his face hiding against the curve of her neck and shoulder.

"That must have been some nightmare." Hana's left hand rubbed soothing circles over his back, while her right braced against the mattress, keeping her from falling backward under the blonde shinobi's weight.

Naruto mumbled something into her shoulder, but she couldn't quite make out what it was. "What was that?"

"I said," his bright blonde head lifted, blue eyes meeting the Inuzuka's dark brown. "It was horrible..."

"Want to tell me about it?" Hana didn't want to push, but when she and Kiba were younger and he'd had frightening dreams, he would talk it out. It always seemed to make her little brother feel better. Logically then, the same should hold true for Naruto.

"I asked you to marry me," Naruto started, looking down at his lap.

Hana felt her eyebrow twitch. Asking her to marry him was a nightmare? "The hell-!"

"No! No... I asked your mom, you know," he started over, "and she said okay. But I had claws and fangs and she said I'd have to get 'em pulled, 'cause they scared you... and I'd have to have my ninjutsu sealed..."

Hana watched him as he spoke, trying to focus on the words and not how his mouth moved while he spoke them. Her preoccupation with his lips, hadn't dulled much since the first time she'd kissed him a little over two years ago.

"I did it... I let 'em rip 'em all out, 'cause it meant I got to have you," Naruto's breathing was steadier now, and his heart beat had slowed to normal. There was a long pause, and Hana wondered if that hadn't been the last of it. She waited though, not saying a word just in case it wasn't.

"I went back, to..." Naruto groped for the right word, "... to claim you, only it wasn't you waiting for me. It was your entire clan," his breath hitched, "They all came at me, and I was defenceless... they kept sayin' how they couldn't hand you over to a monster like me..."

His eyes, that hadn't met hers since he had begun his story stayed trained on the outline of his knees under his orange blanket.

"Naruto..." Hana wasn't sure what she could say. 'You're not a monster'? He wasn't; he knew it, she knew it, Kiba and her mother did too. She couldn't speak for the rest of her clan though. 'I'm sorry'? That didn't fit. It was frustrating when she couldn't find the right thing to say; Hana hated being frustrated. "That's just stupid!"

Naruto wasn't one-hundred percent sure, but he thought he saw Hana's eyes widen in surprise at her own outburst.

"I... uh..." wait, that worked. It was stupid; it had been a stupid nightmare. "I mean, going to my mother to ask permission to marry me," she continued, not too sure where the words were coming from or where they were going. "It's my opinion that matters, not hers," or her clan's. Hana wasn't the type to let other's make her decisions for her, she never had been. "Even for a dream that was pretty ridiculous."

Naruto's eyes were wide, but his face wasn't so ashen anymore and his mouth had tipped up at the corners, before breaking into that trademark cheesecake grin of his, laughter bubbling over the lips Hana loved so well. He wasn't too sure what sort of a reaction he'd expected his girlfriend to have, but whatever it was, that had definitely not been it. Trust Hana to do something so unpredictable, that Kohoha's number one most unpredictable ninja couldn't even hope to have seen it coming.

"I-" he brought his laughter under control, "I'll remember that the next time I propose."

The Inuzuka settled herself on her side of the bed. "You'd better!" Hana nestled under the soft blanket and seemed to ponder something. Sitting up again she placed a soft kiss against the corner of his mouth, "Happy Valentine's Day," she returned to her previous position. "Now go to sleep and if you kick me out of bed again forget my clan, I'll be the one coming after you."

Chuckling softly, Naruto lay next to the dog-ninja, spooning himself around her content. "I won't; G'night Hana."

Hugs & Oreos!

For those of you wondering why we've posted this so far in advance; we'd have forgotten about it otherwise. We tend to finish stuff early, then forget to post it on time. So when we do have a piece that has a fixed deadline, ie. Valentine's Day, we prefer to post it as soon as it's complete.
~ The Serialhugger Collective.