A/N: Hi, peoples. This is my first ever FANFIC!! WOOT! (noisemaker goes off) So, I'd just like to explain. KibaxHina is one of my favorite pairings ever and I love this couple. I hope to make this into a much longer series, where my goal will be 20 chapters. I have the storyline lightly planned out, so I am accepting requests if you guys would like anything special to happen. No flames, please. If you really hate my writing, just make it constructive criticism. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the first chapter of my little story. Review, please please please! ANYWAY! On with the reading!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and never will. If I did, I'd be a whole lot richer and I wouldn't be here writing fanfics, I'd be writing more manga and making sure Kiba and Hinata get together!
The opening gates of Konoha loomed ahead in the night. A breeze ruffled Hinata's raven hair lightly, while the scent of blood wafted off of her. Scratches and bruises decorated her pale body, and her face bore the expression of several nights' lost sleep. Her left leg dragged behind her, leaving a trail of scarlet following after her.
This mission was no walk in the park. She had been asked to infiltrate a neighbouring kingdom which had been corrupted. The rebel group had killed the king and queen there, and it was Hinata's task to assassinate the rebel leader before the princess of the kingdom had been slaughtered as well.
She spent several weeks undercover as a member of the rebellion, and in between listening to the monologues of the rebel leader, she lurked around corners at night, studying the layout of the castle and learning the secrets of those who could assist her.
Eventually gaining the rebel leader's trust, she was given the task of watching over the princess. As soon as the leader was out of sight, she activated her Byakugan and found a small chink in the wall where she communicated with the frightened and tired princess. The princess followed along with Hinata's suggested plan, tricking the guards, while Hinata alerted the kingdom's allies to come with escorts to take the princess to safety.
Hinata fought her way through several dozen men with relative ease; her Byakugan gave her a strong advantage. She led the princess to the gate where the promised escorts were waiting. As the princess rode off into the night, however, the mission was not over. She still had to assassinate the leader.
The leader was a lot more difficult than expected. Hinata had packed fewer weapons than she would've had she known his strength. The leader used swords with a delicate touch but crippling strength, and within a few minutes, Hinata was critically injured and was considering abandoning the mission. Luckily, she had kept one last resort weapon; a bomb. When she was blasted onto the wall and debris came crumbling around her, she detonated it and wove her way out of the debris, thanking kami-sama that she was small enough to get through.
It wasn't until Hinata was at a small creek in the woods a ways off from the castle that she heard the bomb.
On the way back, Hinata noticed a genin team on the road, severely dehydrated and lost. The sensei had been knocked out and utterly exhausted of his chakra a ways back, and the genin team, having rather lacking navigation skills, had attempted to get back to Konoha, succeeding in only getting farther away. Carrying the sensei on her back and giving the last of her rations to the children, she hoped she would face no more challenges and obstacles.
Her prayers went unanswered. Near the borders of the Fire Country a group of A-class rogue ninjas appeared. With Hinata, A-class missions usually were not difficult for her, but in her deteriorated state, she actually began fearing for her life. Besides having to watch over the sensei and guard the children, she was tired from her mission, weary and injured from fighting off the rebel leader and guards, and hungry after giving away her food.
The first rogue ninja took a matter of seconds to get through. He was probably a newbie, just recruited, because he could hardly handle his own katana. Clumsily running towards Hinata with the katana extended, she flipped him in the air where she flung him into a tree, his own katana impaling him.
One of the stronger genin performed the water prison jutsu on one of the other rogues. The other two Hinata had sent to hide behind some foliage with their sensei, who had awoken not long ago.
Hinata performed her Gentle Fist Technique on the third rogue, who coughed blood and fell to the ground in an awkward heap, barely alive.
The fourth one, looking at his fallen comrades, shot a glare towards Hinata and ran off farther into the indigo night.
Hinata motioned to the remaining genin team members and together they started back to Konoha. Several times along the way, Hinata was forced to stop due to an overwhelming nausea, at which point she started retching and shivering uncontrollably. The sensei, who had limited experience as a med-nin and couldn't do much to heal her, suggested that perhaps she had overexerted her Byakugan, resulting in her eyes and mind being exhausted.
Burdened by lack of sleep, hunger, thirst and illness, Hinata continued her weakening journey back. After noticing the genin team was basically half alive on their feet, Hinata asked the sensei to bring them all back. He did so with little protest; the genin were barely graduated and were scared for their lives. After promising he would send for help if she didn't show up within a few hours after them, he disappeared into the cloak of night, carrying all three of them with him.
Hinata had crossed the Fire Country border naught but 2 hours ago. As she continued to heave herself forward, she saw a guard asleep at the night shift stand. She waved her arms as high as her tired body would allow and croaked out pitiful cries for help as loudly as she could. After making no movement and no inclination that he was awake, Hinata paused at the gates. She had officially passed into safe territory.
Now that she was free of fear and worry, she collapsed on the ground, crying from total fatigue and the terror of the past few weeks. Hinata felt herself slipping in and out of sleep, and after a while, the ground seemed like the most comfortable, inviting bed in the world.
"Woof! Woof!" The barking was beginning to get louder.
"Woof!" The sound of padded feet approaching resounded in the Hyuuga heiress's ears.
…oohh..kami, what time was it?...and what was that infernal barking?...
Hinata felt something furry pressing against her. Something wet slobbered over her cheek.
She groggily opened her eyes.
"What, what time is it?" Hinata said wearily, rubbing her eyes as she sat up.
She looked over to the east of Konoha and saw that stars still littered the navy sky. A faint tinge of burnt orange was just tickling the edge of the horizon.
"Oh…it's still night..that means I can still sleep.." muttered Hinata gratefully, nestling into Akamaru's soft fur. She inhaled its scent, but immediately regretted it, sitting up, coughing and throwing up slightly in her mouth.
"Oh, good kami, how long was it since your last bath, huh?"
Akamaru looked at Hinata innocently and whimpered a bit, his head tilting to the side.
Hinata sent Akamaru a mock scolding look and lay back down on the ground, her arms behind her head. Akamaru lay down beside her, and closed his eyes, content being next to his recently returned teammate.
A soft breeze blew through Konoha then. The smell of savoury soups and biscuits wafted through the air. The restaurants would be open soon and the chefs were starting to cook. The glittery dew on the plants sprouting in cracks on the street disappeared, and the sweet smell of flowers surrounded Hinata.
"I..I just…." Hinata whispered, half asleep.
Akamaru pined just then, and raised his head, looking inquiringly at his companion.
"I'm just so tired…I think I'll just-"
Oh joy. Maybe if I pretend I didn't hear him, he'll leave me alone. Hinata then passed back into slumber.
Kiba sprinted towards Hinata and Akamaru, still calling out for Hinata. Why hadn't she told him she'd returned? It'd been almost a month and Kiba had been literally pining for his teammate.
After arriving at Hinata's side, Kiba panted a bit, his hands on his knees, catching his breath. Then he remembered why he was out so early and turned sternly to Akamaru.
"You know better than to run off in the middle of the night like that, Akamaru. I almost tore up the whole house looking for you." Kiba scolded.
Akamaru whimpered slightly and looked down at Hinata.
"Hey," Kiba's voice became more enthusiastic. "-you found Hinata. Good boy." Kiba smiled, and rubbed his dog affectionately behind the ears. Then he knelt down beside Hinata. He looked closely at her for the first time. Seeing the dried blood and bruises, Kiba feared she was dead for a moment; she wasn't moving and she was incredibly pale, almost grey. Starting to panic, he checked her pulse and was relieved to notice a faint pulsation underneath her cold skin. Kiba gently grabbed her shoulder and shook her slightly.
"Hey, sleepyhead." He whispered. "Welcome back."
Hinata was still unconscious, though. Kiba guessed that the neither Hinata or guard probably hadn't alerted Tsunade. Once again, he inspected at her injuries, his brow furrowed in anxiety. How long had she been out here? Her wounds could've been infected or she could've gotten a fever. Wondering if her body was even strong enough to be carried the long distance to the hospital, he began to bandage up some of her cuts while still whispering to her.
"Hina-chan," his voice starting to become louder. "C'mon Hinata, you have to go see the Hokage."
Hinata stirred slightly. Then she rolled over on to her side and waved her hand up, whining "I don't wanna go, 5 more minutes." Then she fell back in blissful rest again. Kiba tried to start bandaging up her damaged and bloody left leg, but she was lying on top of her left side. He didn't dare move her over to bandage it, for fear he might cause pain or break something, so he continued to attempt to wake her up.
Several more attempts proved to be futile. Kiba frowned. He began pondering whether he should get Shino. Nah, Shino couldn't do anything, in fact he might put her to sleep even more. Maybe Sakura? Or Naruto? Or-
Wait. Naruto? That was perfect.
Kiba smiled down at Hinata. "OK, fine, I'll leave you here. Just hope Naruto doesn't see you like this, a whole mess and all-"
At that exact moment, Hinata sat up, straightening her hair and her face flushing crimson. Then her face flinched in pain and she gasped, clutching at her left leg, after putting a lot of pressure on it. When the pain become a dull ache again, she looked around and found no blonde idiot in sight. Sighing tiredly, she stood.
Continuing to straighten her hair and sniffing her breath, she said, "Kiba, you shouldn't do that kind of stuff. It's not very polite."
Kiba laughed heartily and started to bandage the leg. "Oh, come on, Hina-chan, I had to wake you up, didn't I? Besides, it's hilarious every time I see you react. You fix your looks as if it's the last thing you'll do."
Hinata pouted a bit and folded her arms. Then she slapped him on the arm playfully. "Thanks for the incredibly wonderful wakeup. I should probably head to the Hokage's office now. Wanna come with?" Kiba finished up the bandaging and stood with Hinata. Hinata cautiously leaned on her leg and slowly started to walk towards the office, beckoning Kiba after her.
Kiba's chuckling died down. "Yeah, sure, ain't got anything better to do."
The two started to walk there together, but suddenly, Hinata turned to Kiba, looking uncertain.
"Kiba…do you think I'm pretty? Do you think Naruto cares?"
Kiba was caught off guard. Rage filled inside him. Naruto again? What did she care what he thought? He was too stupid to notice that the most beautiful girl in the world was practically begging at his feet, and probably never would. Kiba had been tempted many times to just scream the plain fact in his face, just to save face for himself and Hinata. Just to ease Hinata's pain.
"Kiba?" Hinata said, concerned, seeing his angry expression.
Kiba whistled out, trying to control his expression. Then his face became serious.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Kiba muttered.
"Oh, OK." Hinata murmured happily. She continued to walk again.
"But, Hinata," Kiba said urgently, grabbing her wrist. "You shouldn't care what he thinks. He doesn't know beauty when it's right in front of him."
Hinata's eyes bore into Kiba's, slight shock written on her face. Then she started to blush, and looked away.
"Um, thank you, Kiba."
Kiba suddenly realized he was blushing. Where had that come from? Since when did Kiba Inuzuka ever let his feelings come to the surface?
The silence started to become awkward, and Kiba broke out into a grin.
"Hah! Gotcha! Naw, I wouldn't call you pretty, I would call you cute in a sisterly way." He broke the silence, laughing, and ruffled Hinata's hair lightly.
The shock and blush wiped off Hinata's face. A mixture of relief and disappointment came in its stead.
"Oh, ok." Hinata turned on her heel and started to walk to the Hokage's office, faster than usual, obviously trying to say she would rather go alone now.
Kiba lingered behind and slapped himself mentally and in reality. Why had he said she was "cute"? Why couldn't he come up with a better cover? After living with his sister, he knew it was basically taboo to go up to a girl and say she wasn't pretty (although after meeting Ino he couldn't say she didn't confirm the rumor). He knew Hinata always longed to be pretty, and often she went to him for comfort whenever she doubted her appearance. And right off the bat he said she wasn't pretty and was instead "cute". Kiba knew that Hinata would be wondering if Naruto thought the same.
Kiba knew he had limited excuses for what had just happened. But it was the only cover he could think of at the time. Kiba understood and learned early on that she had difficult times at home, on the battlefield, in love, everywhere, and that he was her only sanctuary. One of her few real friendships. He was a brother to her. He always would be.
He dropped his head to his hands and held it in his hands for a while. As a brother…was that all he was to her? And for a moment Kiba wished that he hadn't tried to cover up what he said.
Kiba turned his head after Hinata and watched her retreating figure, whispering words that would forever be etched into his heart.
"You're not pretty, Hinata; you're beautiful."
A/N: So, what'd you think? Love it, hate it? Review, and yes, I have the storyline for the next chapter planned out, but for future chapters, as said earlier, I will accept requests. So, yeah...pretty please go review. I will give you a cookie if you do so!