Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. If I did, KIBA/INO FOREVER. =)
Rating: M, for language and such.
A/N: Okay, so this needs some explaining. I read a series of really good, yet really depressing fics. I needed some cute Kiba/Ino flirtatousness to make me feel better. Also, I know that phones do not exist in canon, but they do here for the simple fact that I needed a convenient plot device. Sorry. Otherwise, please enjoy!
~ Sugar High ~
The corner grocery store: 'Baking' aisle. One Yamanaka Ino, and one Inuzuka Kiba, engaged in an argument. Over a five-pound bag of sugar.
"Why the hell should I give this to you, hunh?" Kiba held the last bag of sugar protectively. Ino was known for her cunning hands. "Doesn't sugar make you fat?"
Her blue eyes cut him. "Just so you know, it's Chouji's birthday coming up tomorrow and I'm baking him a cake."
"Aww, how sweet." For a second, he saw hope in her eyes. He was happy to squash it. "Go to another store, blondie, this is mine!"
"You're just mad that you're not invited."
Her bluff was transparent. "That doesn't convince me to hand over sugar."
"Why do you insist on being a dickhead about this? I saw that sugar first," she said, pointing her finger at him. "And what does an Inuzuka jerkface need with five whole pounds of sugar, anyway?" She smiled snidely. "Planning on indulging in some more feminine wiles?"
He snorted. "This just so happens to be for my mom"- -Ino rolled her eyes - -"and she'll murder me if I don't get this to her pronto, so forget it, you psycho bitch. You can't have this."
"What did you call me?" Her tone was dangerous. "It better not've been what I think it was."
"Tch. You don't scare me. Not when I live with my mom."
Her nostrils flared. "Give. Me. That. Now."
Never one to back down, Kiba straightened his shoulders. She made things so interesting for him and he'd been bored for too long. "Or what?"
"There will be bloodshed," she threatened, flicking her bangs out of her eyes with a haughty toss of her head, "I kid you not."
They stared at each other, Ino with a pink flush to her cheeks in her irritation. Her hot temper rivaled his and that drew him like a moth to flame. He'd love to spend some more time pushing her buttons. But how? In that interval, a great idea occurred to him.
"What flavor cake will it be?" he asked.
She blinked. He'd caught her off guard with his question. "Uh, chocolate. Why?"
Smiling, he relaxed his stance. "Let's not kill each other. There's no reason we can't share the sugar. I'll buy it, and I'll give you what you need…" He trailed off, seeing if she'd catch on.
"I hear a 'but' at the end of that sentence," she said after a moment's pause. Smart girl.
"But…I want to lick the spoon and I take the rest back home. Deal?"
Her brows crunched together at the same time her hands went to her hips. Her very curvy hips. "Lemme get this straight. You wanna follow me home, just so you can lick some batter off a spoon?" She made a disgusted sound at the back of her throat. Then she leaned forward. "How about this. You give me the sugar and then come borrow some when you need it, like real neighbors do."
"There's only one problem with that, kitten," Kiba said, reaching across the space between them and patting her head, "we're not neighbors."
Like he expected, she batted away his hand. "ARGH! You are so difficult."
"Heh. Only with the pretty girls."
His partially honest statement did nothing to mollify her. "Dammit, Inuzuka, I do not have time for this!" She half-turned from him, crossing her arms.
Obviously, she didn't want him to respond, but he did anyway just because it was so much fun. "That's fine. Enjoy the hassle of running around town for more sugar."
He made to leave. Took a couple steps away from her. Slowly. Thinking, would she go for it? Then she sighed in exasperation, her shoe squeaking on the tile. He knew she'd turned to him.
"Fine," and he heard her stalking closer so she could fall into step with him. "Let's go. I'm not getting any younger here."
They queued up at one of the cash registers to purchase the sugar when Ino smacked him on the shoulder. He growled at her out of reaction, but it went ignored.
"Wipe that stupid grin off your face," she told him. "Idiot."
"I can't help it. Yer beauty makes me giddy."
That…had definitely slipped out. The cutting sarcasm didn't pad the words as much as he hoped, and Ino looked at him, not with her usual agitation, but with confusion, as if he was a puzzle that truly baffled her. The uncomfortable moment stretched out, like most uncomfortable moments do, until the cashier said "Next!" and they shuffled forward to purchase the sugar.
Money and receipt exchanged. Sugar placed in a bag; Ino 'let' him carry it. Typical. Kiba walked behind Ino out of the store, watching the swing of her ponytail. Thinking she made him say stupid things. Made him act like a freaking preschooler, 'cause he pulled her hair. A quick little tug was all, but in typical Ino fashion, she overreacted.
"Hey! What're you-?" Her head ducked. "You're gonna mess up my hair!"
He grabbed the white-blonde tail and tugged again. The strands were smooth like a satin ribbon in his hand. His nose picked up the shampoo she used and the split-second of distraction cost him. She flicked his ear, none too gently.
"Ouch!" he said, clamping a hand to the side of his head. "That hurts!"
"Hmph. You deserved it." Then she glanced around. "Where's Akamaru? Shouldn't he be with you?"
"Yeah…" He dropped his hand, cautiously. They walked along the sidewalk, passers-by giving them ample room. "He's back at home, napping, the damn mutt."
"So you're alone. That's unusual," she commented, running her fingers through her long hair. He'd seen Hana do that to check for tangles.
"I'm with you, doesn't that count?"
She stopped what she was doing with her hair to study him. Her brows twisted. "But…I'm not like a friend or anything."
"Yet we're having a conversation," he replied, dodging her attempt to flick his ear again, "and being with someone, even if they aren't yer friend, isn't being alone."
"Yeah, it's true that being with someone is not being alone, but you can still be alone in your thoughts, right?"
"Yer physically with another person. Yer always 'alone' in yer thoughts…"
And etcetera. Their philosophical (and telling) conversation about 'being alone' sustained them to entering her house, where she led him back to the neat kitchen. She'd already set up the necessary utensils for baking the cake and had apparently realized she needed the sugar in the middle of her preparations.
He leaned on the counter next to her as she washed her hands. Liking the proximity she allowed him, her concentration on vigorously lathering up the soap. She hummed a tune, sounded like the "Happy Birthday" song, three times before rinsing off, and playfully flicking excess water at him when she finished.
"Yer seriously OCD," he told her. "Do you wash yer hair three times, too?"
His barb hit its mark. She grabbed his hand, using paper towels to do so, and lifted it to show him. "Dirt under your fingernails is unsanitary in a hospital environment. You'd never be able to step foot into surgery."
"'S why I'm not a medic," he said, snapping back his hand. "All a'them're clean freaks."
"Clean freak is not synonymous with 'hygienic'." Ino opened a long cabinet to the side and unhooked an apron. When she looped it around her neck and waist, 'Bakers are Sweet' emblazed across her chest; she cranked the knob on the oven to preheat it. "And besides, people don't wanna eat something that wasn't handled in sanitary conditions."
Her disgusted sneer was made to be obvious. "Present company excluded," she added.
"Is that what you think of us Inuzukas?" he asked, as she stood at the island, in front of her aligned baking tools and ingredients. "That we go hunting for live prey and eat it raw and bleeding in the middle of the forest somewhere?"
"Are you telling me you don't?"
Somewhat annoyed, he let the conversation lapse, watching her reach for and measure ingredients into a mixing bowl. She worked with neat precision, her efficiency graceful and, hell, sexy, and he really, really shouldn't be thinking of Yamanaka Ino as sexy, even though she totally was. After a few minutes of silence, she sighed, rubbing the back of her wrist on her forehead.
She smiled by way of an apology. "So what do Inuzukas cook for dinner?"
At that moment, he noticed a smudge of cocoa that had transferred from her wrist to her forehead. See? Sexy. An impulse to lick it off her speared him; he shifted uncomfortably, aware he hadn't touched her in awhile.
"Eh, actually we do eat our meat raw," he said. "Mom has an affinity for sushi."
Ino laughed at his joke, and stirring the contents of the mixing bowl, cocked an eyebrow at him. "'Affinity'?" she repeated. He understood her tease implicitly.
But that same eyebrow floated under the cocoa smudge. Hm, he still wanted to lick it off. "Yeah, I know big words. One'a my favorites is aphotic."
"Heh, you know, aphotic has less syllables than affinity," she said. She nodded to a round pan that he automatically fetched for her. "I was thinking maybe 'maleficent'."
He set the pan on the island and held it steady as Ino poured the contents of the mixing bowl into it. The brown batter was rich in texture and smelled delicious already. He less wanted to lick the spoon now than he did Ino's face. Maybe her lips…her neck…and…what was his affliction?
She glanced at him. "Here, hold this up while I scrape with the spatula."
"So 'maleficent'," he continued, holding the bowl for her. Their heads were close together. "What about 'atramentaceous'?"
"Pffft. Memorize the thesaurus much?" She smirked as she wiped the batter from the lip of the bowl. "Betcha can't use…what was it? 'Atramentaceous' in a sentence."
"Can, too." Setting down the bowl, he noticed how much batter was left over. "Lookit all this extra." He clucked at her. "Kinda wasteful, Yamanaka."
"Yeah, yeah." Ino bobbed her head. "Check that counter again, genius."
Another, smaller, pan had been set out, so he grabbed that and in quiet concentration, Ino poured the rest of the batter into that pan. Then she set the mixing bowl and spatula to the side and dipped her finger into the settling batter in the small pan. She sucked her finger and winked.
"Scrumptious," she said, "and since you shared your sugar, care to share this when it's done?"
"You don't hafta ask me twice," he said, circling around her, closer than necessary, for the spatula. He felt the heat of the oven as she put in the two cake pans. "When's it gonna come out?"
"Under an hour." He glanced over, tongue already collecting the drippy batter. Her eyes watched him with an intensity he didn't recognize as he licked the fin of the spatula- -hmm, chocolatey-goodness. Then she said, "We…I have to…check it frequently."
"Hm-hm. And before you say anything," he interrupted her sharp intake of breath, "I know there's raw eggs in this, but I've been licking spatulas since I was a kid, and I ain't dead yet."
"You've been lucky." She lifted a finger to her tongue, wetted the pad, then dotted some spilled sugar on the counter. The sugar stuck to her skin and she tasted it. Moaned. "This is my second favorite part about baking."
He'd sell his soul to hear her moan like that again. And was it his imagination, or was he getting a distinct sexual-tension vibe between them? "Yeah? What's yer first?"
Ino's slow smile clenched muscles under his stomach. Her voice, when she spoke, was low. "You'll see."
"Will I?" Casually he dipped his finger in the mixing bowl, loading up on batter. "You sure?"
Her head tilted, like Akamaru's when he found something interesting. Before she could figure out what he was doing, Kiba attacked her with the batter-laden finger. She shrieked, but he'd been too fast. A streak of gooey brown cut across her cheek.
"Kiba! Just what do you think you're doing?" she shouted.
Being a dumbass, he thought, grabbing her wrist and pulling her closer. "Sorry, I couldn't resist."
To see her reaction, he palmed her cheek and used his thumb to wipe off the batter. Under his gentle touch, he saw pink fall across her nose and cheeks. Her breathing became erratic, and the whole time, electricity tingled through his hand up his arm.
"Inuzuka…" she said, but his name was more of a sigh.
The air pressed around him, clogging up his lungs, and she smelled fantastic, like something he'd always wanted to smell but could never find. She shifted her head, and he sucked in air through his teeth when her tongue flicked out to caress his thumb. Her tongue was smooth, not like Akamaru's roughness, and that moan came from her throat again.
Her eyes were deep and dark under heavy lashes, drawing him into this girl who acted as both his friend and rival. His head bowed. He hadn't thought about it, but he wanted to kiss her, wanted to involve himself further with her. Those soft-looking lips parted, her chin lifted, and he felt the heat of her breath on his skin.
The phone rang, jarring them both.
She stepped back, hand against her chest. His heart hammered blood through him and he couldn't get enough air; he knew his reaction wasn't from the start the phone gave him. Again, the phone rang. Ino moved around the island, away from him, and picked the phone off the cradle mid-third ring.
"Hello?" she asked. She held her finger up at him- -I'll be there in a moment. "Yeah, it's me."
The conversation continued on for several minutes, before Kiba got bored and went to the sink to wash his sticky hands. How would she act now, after their near kiss? He supposed he'd take his cue from her, and just as he turned off the faucet, he heard Ino say, "Uh, actually, he's here with me. Uh-huh. I'll let him know. Yeah, it's no problem." Her smile returned. "It's a long story. I'll tell you later. Right. 'K. Bye!"
The phone clicked when she hung it up. "Hinata says hello. And that she was looking for you to tell you about Chouji's birthday party tomorrow at 3:30."
"Ah, so I am invited."
She smirked. "Yeah, but if you hadn't acted like such a butthead at the store, I would've told you then."
"Was my behavior that…atrocious?" he asked, seeing if she'd play along.
"Well," she answered, swinging around the island and opening a cabinet, "it certainly exacerbated my annoyance."
"I was feeling the malaise of boredom." She'd taken out two glasses and had set them on the counter. "What're the glasses for?"
"Milk for when we eat our cake, duh," she told him and flicked his forehead. "You can't have cake without milk."
"Hey!" Guess he had nothing to worry about. She behaved like normal. "Maybe I want ice cream instead. Ever think about that?"
They continued their conversation, standing around in the kitchen, until the timer dinged and Ino removed the cakes from the oven. She slid a toothpick in the center at each one and finding they'd been baked to satisfaction, flipped the cake pans upside down over a cooling rack. The cakes dropped right out.
"When did you learn how to bake?" He'd been watching over her shoulder. "You seem pretty comfortable and everything."
"It's something my mom and I do to, you know, bond." She turned and bumped into him. Her hands went to his sides. "Oh, sorry!"
The accidental touch surprised him with a sudden flare of heat, and he was left recovering as she went to the sink with the pans. The faucet poured water, some splashing, and the flexing of the pans as she rinsed them. He watched her back, wanted to kiss her more than ever.
Would she let him kiss her? Their almost-kiss had come about so naturally, and Ino hadn't fought it, which led him to believe that she was interested in kissing him. Yet he thought she would resist him if she could, either out their sense of rivalry or because she wanted to spite him. He wasn't sure what to do.
"Are you planning on icing these cakes?" he asked, mainly because he didn't like having time to think.
"Hm-hm, just Chouji's. And I'll do his tomorrow. I'll store a couple cups of sugar so that you can take the bag home with you." She wiped her hands on her apron. "There. I think our little cake should be ready to eat."
He helped her set a couple plates and forks on the table, pour the milk into the glasses, as she put the small cake on a plate and sliced it with even strokes of a knife. She served it, sliding a piece to his plate and one to hers.
She sat on the chair next to him. "Bon appetite."
"Looks good," he said. When he pressed a fork into it, the cake sprang up like sponge. Impatient for a taste, he ate a chunk off the fork. "Moist. So this must be yer favorite part, huh?"
A moan nearly in his ear burned through him. Oh, God. She'd taken her first bite. He felt his insides turn gooey, and he faced her, cake forgotten. He was gonna kiss her, to hell with what she thought.
"It's perfect," she said. She caught his attention on her. "What? Is there something wrong?"
"You've…gotta little," he ducked his head closer, the air vibrated, eyes on the pretty pink mouth, "chocolate in the corner…of…lemme…just…"
His lips landed on hers, testing. A pause. Her mouth was warm, soft. Then she shifted, inhaling, and his tongue met hers. His hand went to the back of her head to touch her hair, their tongues exploring, and he felt her hand cradle the side of his face. It was like he'd been kissing girls for his entire life, even though this kiss was his first intimate kiss.
At another moan, his muscles tensed. He sensed how into the kiss she was because she let him wrap his other arm around her shoulders. Warmth spread through him, and he realized she'd gotten him het up. Really het up. Damn.
But he couldn't pull away, and instead nuzzled her and licked her neck like he'd wanted to a long time ago. He felt her fingers on his thigh, squeezed when he nipped her. The nearness of the pressure was enough to tighten his groin uncomfortably.
"Easy, sport," she murmured, her lips ghosting the words on his skin. "You're gonna…tear out my hair."
At first he didn't know what she meant, but then he noticed the hand under her ponytail. Knuckles flush with her scalp, a fist in her hair. Taut muscle lined along his back and down his arm. Heart slamming. Relax. Relax.
"Shit, I'm sorry," he said, when his grip loosened. "You hurt?"
"No. I like being able to tell how much you like kissing me."
"Yer not…upset or anything?" This part confused him. He was sure she'd be mad at him. "I didn't know."
"I think…I was ready for you to kiss me. Like…we argue all the time, but that's us flirting, or something."
"So yer okay with me kissing you." He felt giddy, almost as if he'd eaten the whole damn bag of sugar. "Really."
"Really, really," she whispered. "But let's not have too much of a good thing. Our cake awaits."
He snuck a kiss from her anyway. "Hm. It's not a lie."
"What's that?" She kissed him once more.
"That bakers are sweet."
She giggled, pushed at him, and their seriousness lightened as they finished their cake and drank their milk, all the while chit-chatting. He could like hanging around her, and not for the great kissing, but for the fun, too.
When he stood to leave, he nodded at the sack of sugar on the counter. "Did you want to measure out what you needed for the icing now?"
Ino's smile was sly. "Oh, darn," she said, snapping her fingers, "I forgot all about it. Guess you'll have to come again tomorrow."
Oh, hell, yeah. He huffed. "I hafta spend another afternoon with you? What a pain."
She stepped into him and slipped her hand under his shirt at his back. Her hand was hot on his skin, searing a path up his spine. "You know you like it."
Her voice promised him more kissing. He narrowed his eyes and dove for her mouth. This kiss wasn't exploratory, it was demanding, teeth clicking together, and he felt her crumble under it. Abruptly, he pulled from her. Her mouth was agape, the flush high on her face.
"How felicitous for me," he whispered. Then he grabbed the sugar and headed out the door. "See ya, Yamanaka!"
He shut the door, but not before he noticed the sultry gaze on Ino's face. Tomorrow. Tomorrow, I'll come for you. He licked his lips and grinned.
A/N: About the weird wordplay between Kiba and Ino- -I read a fantastically long, rather mature story in another fandom, but the author tended towards more interesting word choices. I decided to gently tease this author in my story via the dialogue. I also wrote, revised, and edited this sucker in a single day. If you see any problems, let me know and I'll correct them. Otherwise, I suggest you go brush your teeth before you get any cavities! =)