Aloha Peoples!!!! Internet has foresaken me, so I had to wait to put this online. God damn you internet god!!! (and the tetris god, but that's a completely different matter) This is My second KibaSaku oneshot, that evolved into a short story, so bear with me. As usual rate and review please, and keep checking back for updates. It makes my day if even oe person gets enjoyment from my stories. My beta has done a sterling job correcting my spellings of names, but might have missed some little things, so be patient. Anyway I'm rambling, so on with the story. BE NICE *Wags Tail*

I was paralysed

Part fear, part hurt...

And part awe, just plain awe.

It's not often I just sit back and take things anymore. I don't let the boys run around and defend me now, and I don't intend to let them do it again. I didn't anyway. I'm quite capable of defending myself. Torture, mental and physical, I can handle. Gaping wounds, ditto. Even betrayal and lord knows I've had my fair share of that, doesn't faze me like it used to.

This however...

Was something else.

I've seen Naruto get angry before, so angry he lost control. I'd seen him leak that red chakra and use it to deadly effect. I'd felt the murderous intent of Orochimaru, and the psychopathic intentions of Sasori. I understood Sasuke's black rage.

I had even braved Ino's fierce wrath the day I ruined her dress before a big date.

I'd braved Gaara.

But nothing I had ever experienced touched this, came anywhere near it.

And this anger, this feeling, wasn't even directed at me.

...0.0

Partying was never really my thing. Sure I enjoyed seeing friends and dancing the night away, but I had always fallen into two major pitfalls at every party I went to. 1 – I didn't get drunk easily, in fact I was literally a concrete elephant compared to the rest of our lot. Having the legendary Sucker as a sensei, did mean that I was introduced to drink a lot earlier than normal, or before it was even legal for me. The constant "coffee breaks" that Tsunade took, coupled with the thrill of doing something bad, meant that by the time I became Chuunin I was knocking back a glass for every bottle Tsunade drunk. That doesn't sound like much, but when you learn that a full third of the village economy was spent on buying sake for the Hokage, it becomes substantially more. All this bulked up and solidified into a massive resistance to alcohol. That meant that when everyone else was wasted, I was barely feeling tipsy. The only other people normally left standing were Shino and Lee, Lee of course was banned from drinking by Gai for obvious reasons, while Shino's bugs absorbed all of the drugs in his system, rendering him immune to alcohol. Either that or drunk Shino was exactly the same as sober Shino.

Quite possible, actually.

Don't get me wrong, I love Shino. I grew close to all the boys who went to search for Sasuke, I felt like I had to at least get to know them properly. They had risked their lives after all. Naruto I already knew of course, though it hurt a lot more than I thought it would when he left with Jiraiya. He had always been there, like a goofy little brother. Though I know in reality, he is more of an older brother in so many ways.

Still goofy though.

The others were always on the edge of my radar, but I never really knew any of them. So I made the effort, but expecting nothing more than what the first impressions gave me. How wrong I was. I remember being very surprised with Chouji. I'd always known he was caring, and that he liked to eat, but I had never really experienced the aura of simpleness and pleasure he projected. He made the smallest thing seem incredibly important, and was very good at knowing what to say. He would compliment you on a new dress, a different hair style or an attractive outfit, but you never felt perved on or anything like that. He was, and still is genuinely lovely.

Shikamaru was another happy revelation. Having always heard the Ino edited version of him, it was nice to actually realise that Shika was in fact a kind, considerate guy, if extremely lazy. It wasn't that he didn't care; it's that he couldn't be bothered. "The world will survive without me for 5 minutes" He used to say before disappearing for a couple of hours. This was, in my opinion, a product of being overly humble, never really thinking that his presence would be missed. Such a sweet guy, even if he does snore loudly at get togethers sometimes.

Neji is... well...

Neji.

His cool demeanour has thawed a little since his fight with Naruto, and he laughs more now, but he is still very cold and distant most of the time. It took a while, but I realised that while he acts Sasuke like, his motives are not the same. Neji does not believe that he is superior, and is not arrogant, he simply knows what he can do, and strives to be better, and always pushes harder and harder to achieve something he couldn't do yesterday. He is extremely determined, and I admire that. He also is impossible to hide things from, and always offers a neutral opinion and a listening ear. Comfort is Chouji's domain, but if you want actual advice to act on, the Hyuuga household is always the 1st port of call.

Shino. I like to call him half way between Neji and Chouji, with a small sense of alien thrown in. Shino is an observer of life, quite happy to be alone in the forest, looking for rare bugs and plants. He is always there when you call, the implacable gentleman, and is never a bother. I remember going bug hunting with him once, and him asking permission to put his arm around me to show "the correct way to attract a butterfly." It was so sweet and when I giggled, I saw the tips of a smile above his collar. He is so patient with me, and others... all except...

Kiba, the loudest, brashest, most unashamed guy I know, bar none. Naruto is a numskull, a child stuck in a man's body, with flashes of the mature adult underneath. Kiba on the other hand, manages to be loud, playful and grown-up all at once. Yes, he can push anyone's buttons, but he can do it on purpose, while Naruto did it by accident. He is as cunning as a wolf and as loyal as a dog. I remember he was the only one of the Konoha 11 who was on my side when I forgot about TenTen's birthday party, although he did charge me a belly rub and a cuddle later on. Before I knew him I would have thought he was trying to hit on me, but now I know that Kiba is simply a big, fluffy puppy. He lives on attention, likes feeling loved and will do anything to get it. Need some milk, call Kiba. Emergency babysitting, call Kiba. It's raining and you just need that new handbag on the other side of town, call Kiba. Just be sure you understand the charge of hugs and nuzzles, that can be cashed in at any point. He is a little sweetie, and very protective. Walking in on him struggling over to a wounded Akamaru after the failed Sasuke mission was one of the most heart wrenching thing I have ever seen, bless them both.

That's the 2nd problem. 2 – I am nearly drowning in great guys, and after every single party, without fail, I go home alone. Oh, I know they don't see me like that, and to be fair I don't see them like that, but it's the attention they give the others. Chouji, Shika and Ino take turns crashing round each other's houses, collapsing at whoever's is nearest. Neji always walks Tenten home, saying that he doesn't want her to get in trouble on the way back. Hmph, Tenten can disable any guy who looks at her wrong in 20 different ways before he's even started a wolf whistle, and normally Neji is so drunk he can't look after anyone. He really lets go at parties.

Kiba will sway on the spot and say that he'll take Hinata home, just as soon as he beats "this guy at the bar" at a drinking game/snap/staring contest. Shino will then offer to take Hinata home, and Kiba will roar that anything Shino can do, he can do better, before scooping Hinata up in a fireman's lift before storming out of the bar, followed at a distance by an ashamed bug nin. At least that's what happened last time.

Sai... Never in a million years. He's getting better, but...no. Just no.

Even Lee will be swept off for late night training by Gai, and I'll be left all alone, to walk home by myself. Of course it is my fault, after I crippled Lee for a week for offering to walk me home; the boys give me a wide berth when it comes to closing time. I'll sometimes see Kiba and Shino arguing, both throwing looks at me, but it never comes to anything.

...

Of course, Naruto coming back was the excuse to host the party to end all parties. Ino, Kiba and Chouji proclaimed themselves head of Venue, drink and food respectively, which was all very well until Kiba realised that he had no idea how to get drink.

So he came to me.

"Right, Sakura, I trust you and everything, but I'm not too keen on this plan" Kiba whimpered as he followed me down the corridor.

"Stop fretting you big baby", I retorted, "Tsunade owes me big time for hiding those financial scrolls away from Shizune. You wouldn't believe the amount that woman spends on sake..."

I skipped down the steps with practiced ease, a side effect of working in the Hokage's tower for so long. Kiba and Akamaru loped behind, both whimpering and exchanging looks. I knew Tsunade was scary but this was ridiculous.

"Look maybe you should go by yourself, she knows you best..." suggested Kiba, looking extremely shifty.

"No way" I said, giving him a glare, "You volunteered for this job, so you're going to do it"

I turned the corner and started toward the Hokage's office when Kiba caught me by the hand and spun me round. I groaned, he had turned on the puppy dog eyes. I was getting both barrels from him and Akamaru, countering my eye bleeding glare with a wall of creamy chocolate. Damn them and their eyes that you could swim in. This called for desperate measures.

"I'll give you a week worth's of hugs if you come in with me"

Two pairs of ears picked up, I had got their attention.

"Starting today, you need only have to gesture and you can have a hug, both of you"

Kiba and Akamaru exchanged a look; then turned towards me, looking for all the world like a novelty car set that not only included a nodding dog, but a nodding owner as well. I grinned.

"Good, well know that's sorted"

I turned on my heel, only to hear a small cough behind me. I turned back, half guessing what he wanted. Kiba had his arms spread wide; smiling his half smile, where one of his canines would poke over his lip. There was no doubt about it, Kiba was the cutest out of all the guys I knew, nobody could resist that smile.

"Oh, go on then" I sighed, trying to hide my smile. I stepped in to his embrace and let his arms fold around me, my hands pressed up against his chest. Kiba's hugs were good. The others were okay, but all the girls' agreed no one could touch Kiba if you wanted a good hug. He was tall and broad, with big arms that wrapped all the way around you. He wasn't hard, due a small layer of fat all over his chest and arms. Kiba always joked that it was to keep him warm in the winter, but everyone knew he was sensitive about it. His whole family had it, an apparent mutation due to close proximity with nin dogs, who had a similar attribute. It made him no less fit, or able to do things, but had the added bonus of making him very soft and comfy. Hinata once feel asleep in Kiba's arms after a long mission, leaving the mystified Inzuka to explain to Hinata's irate father why he was carrying his daughter home, fast asleep.

Too bad he was like a brother.

I was enjoying myself to much, and so to bring myself back down to earth I said what I always said when I hugged Kiba.

"Love you big brother."

It always made sure I remembered my position, and that I didn't let myself get caught up in any little crush that could harm anyone. Kiba was a brother.

"Love you too little sister"

I always got the answer back to, and it always brought up the bittersweet realisation that while I was precious to him, this would be all I had. All I would ever have.

But today was more bitter than sweet. With Naruto coming back, all the memories of Sasuke, and the hurt of rejection came flooding back. I wanted to feel loved in a different way today. So I snuggled deeper into Kiba's arms, and wrapped my own round his waist. We'd only done this a few times, like when my Mother and I had a huge fight and Kiba had found me in the rain, or on the anniversary of the 3rd Hokage's death near the memorial. It became a much more intimate hug, and although I knew we didn't mean it in that way, it became a lot harder to explain to passes by.

"Oi Sakura, what's the matter?" Kiba whispered in my ear. His stubble brushed my ear and made me giggle, so I turned my face to look at him.

His eyes looked concerned, their normal lazy amusement replaced by a confused anxiousness.

"Just feeling a little bit alone, that's all"

Understanding rushed into those eyes, and he nodded. Then something strange happened. As I started to turn back into his chest, I caught another emotion in his eye. Behind the concern and the worry, behind even the amusement that was always there, ready to pop up at the right (or wrong) moment.

I saw a flash of pain, a pain so close to my own.

Kiba felt lonely too.

Before I could say anything, the Hokage's door burst open, and a blonde head poked out.

"OI LOVEBIRDS, I DO HAVE AN APPOIONTMENT IN FIVE MINITUES SO IF YOU WOULDN'T MIND..."

I untangled myself from Kiba, shooting a snide smile at Tsunade, before turning back to flash a real grin at Kiba.

"She's only joking; she knows we're not together"

Kiba smiled his half smile "I know, it's what sensei's do. It's not like a could pull an angel like you anyway"

He stuck out his tongue, while I elbowed him in the ribs, giggling.

"Ohh you're such a smooth talker Inuzuka, I'm swooning already"

We both cackled, before he pushed me out the way and strode inside, exaggerating his walk so that he looked funny. He looked at me over his shoulder and pulled a face, making me giggle again. Then he smiled, and I felt a warmth for him so strong that I blushed. He was such a good guy, but something was bothering me. Even now, as we joked and played, I could still see it in his eyes.

It was like an optical illusion, one of those ones where as soon as you see it, you can't un-see it. I could still see his loneliness, I could almost feel it. And it felt so familiar; it hurt to look at him.

Well that's chapter one, any suggestions of names for the chapter would be cool, and in case anyone is extra slow today, this is all in Sakura's POV. Yes, a man can write a female POV. I wasn't a dame in two pantos for nothing ;)