For my friends Monica and Stephy, who were always enthusiastic as I wrote this and a constant cure for my writer's blocks. xo
Kiba has always been aware of his sexuality, albeit self-conscious about it. He's come to terms with the fact that his crushes will always be one-sided. But when Kankurou makes an appearance in Konoha and stirs up old feelings, Kiba becomes determined to see this one through. All that stands in his way is Kankurou's hard-headed stubbornness.
KIBA - Monday
1 – Unnerved Acceptance
Unnerved – deprived of courage and strength
Acceptance – the mental attitude that something is believable and should be accepted as true
I have known ever since I can remember.
First it had been Shikamaru. Shikamaru, with his lazy slouch and bored look; it was so alluring. And we understood each other in our need to skip class. Class work and home work was boring. It might have been Chouji instead, but Chouji cared too much about food. It might have been Naruto, but there was something about Naruto that caused everyone to keep him at a distance. So it had been Shikamaru.
But I never bothered saying anything.
Next it was Shino. When Team 8 had been formed, we spent so much time together that I had started to admire Shino's calm and mysterious exterior. The mysterious part only made him more appealing. It only made him more intriguing.
But is also made him more ominous, and so I never bothered saying anything.
And then, the same person that everyone had kept at a distance became somewhat popular and no one cared anymore for whatever was different about him. I still don't know what it was. Though I've heard rumors; and they terrify me. But I think that's what did it – how terrifying it all seemed. I loved the thrill. And the way he was always so determined to be what he wanted to be caused admiration on my part. But I was able to hide that for a bit because Hinata admired him enough for the both of us.
Seeing Hinata crush Naruto and Naruto crush Sakura made me feel guilty and sometimes dirty for the way I felt. And so I started to act like I hated Naruto to hide it. I always competed with him and tried to make him angry to make sure no one ever new my secret.
And then that day came. I was holding Akamaru with a self-inflicted wound in my side and I was facing death. I had merely laughed at the circumstances which had made my opponent angry, and he had come at me with his kunai. I closed my eyes and waited for the pain, but it didn't come. Instead I heard a thud and creaking joints. I opened my eyes to see a familiar ninja puppet between me and my attacker, and I smirked as I remembered the Chuunin exams and how funny I thought the puppeteer had looked.
He hadn't changed a bit.
He took care of the weird twins that had almost killed me, and practically carried me back to Konoha as I began to loose consciousness from loss of blood. His strong and powerful muscles that I could feel around me felt right. But that feeling had been different from anything else I had ever felt for someone before.
And so I shrugged it off.
While I was in the hospital, all bandaged up, I was relieved when Hana said Akamaru was alright, but after she had left the room my mind went elsewhere. I kept thinking back to the puppeteer and eventually decided that it wasn't the same way I felt for Naruto.
And so I believed it was nothing.
I saw the puppeteer the day I left the hospital. I didn't recognize him at first because he had no hood or face paint. But his voice was unmistakable; that deep, yet smooth, masculine voice. He had asked me how I was doing. I had said as good as new and I thanked him briefly before continuing on my way. It had taken everything not to walk closer to him, and then everything to not run away afterwards.
I sure as hell didn't think he looked funny anymore.
But then he left with his two siblings and I didn't see him for a long time. And my feelings for Naruto continued, and I continued to compete with him on every mission and got frustrated with Hinata for liking him so much. Hinata didn't understand why, Kurenai-sensei got the wrong idea, but Shino said nothing.
I think he knew.
Finally the day came for the mission where we would return the favor to the sand shinobi. I was paired up with Chouji and we were to help – go figure – the puppeteer. He seemed angry that we had come, naturally, saying he could handle it himself. While Chouji and I tried to help, we kept getting in each others way. We both blamed and yelled at each other. In truth though, I knew it was mostly my fault because I was so distracted by the puppeteer's body language and the sweat running down his brow.
Eventually I pulled myself together and he and I actually made a rather good team. And afterwards when we caught up with his brother, I had to admit I felt rather guilty as I ignored the 'heart-warming' situation while I was distracted by my own thoughts. I couldn't quite figure out why the puppeteer gave me such a different feeling than Naruto and the others did.
And then the time came when Naruto left the village. I was sad to see him go, though I hid it well. It's been two years since that day. And it only took four months of that time to get over him.
But today he was coming back to the village, in the company of one another. And unlike with Naruto, my thoughts for this one had never dissipated. The way he walked and stood so arrogantly was still clear in my mind. The memory of the way he talked and sneered was so fresh in my memory it was like it was yesterday. And the way he smelt – I could smell it.
And it was getting closer.
I waited on a nearby rooftop with Akamaru where I could clearly see the gates of Konoha and the road beyond. The sky was a soft gray and the sun hadn't properly risen yet. The town was quiet and empty at this early hour, but my presence had been requested. I would be meeting them with Shikamaru due to the bonds we had created in our past – Tsunade had thought it was best. I had come early, and so waited on the roofs.
Shikamaru was late.
When Shikamaru finally arrived, the smell was even stronger and I knew it would only be about five more minutes. I had retreated to the moist ground with Akamaru and crouched beside Shikamaru as he leaned against the frame of the open gates. He slouched lazily and as I scratched behind Akamaru's ear I couldn't help but notice how attractive he had become, which was emphasized by his maturity over the other classmates of our year.
That was only one of the usual thoughts that passed my mind whenever I checked someone out. No one ever noticed when I did this because they thought I was just smirking at them in spite. Shikamaru didn't notice because his eyes were closed. But I didn't care about any of that right now because the familiar smell of sand, sweat and cedar was filling my nose.
I stood up and looked down the road and saw Temari approaching alongside her brother. She walked with a slight sway to her hips and but I hardly spared her a glance. No, I was drawn to the one walking beside her – the strong and masculine gait of the one beside her – and the smell of the one beside her.
I was drawn to Kankurou.
"Shikamaru," I said casually. "They're here."
Shikamaru opened a lazy eye to look at me and then stood up straight to look down the road. Sure enough, his eyes fell over Temari, noticing her strut right away, even though he tried to hide it with a yawn. I stood as casually as I could while we waited for them to reach the gates.
"Oh, look," Temari smirked and came to a standstill with her hands on her hips. "They've sent us the crybaby and the mutt."
Shikamaru sighed but said nothing.
"Watch who you're calling mutt!" I shot at her, trying to keep my eyes from straying over Kankurou.
"Heh," Kankurou sneered. "Is that any way to treat your honored guests, dog-boy?"
I turned to glare at him. The sound of his voice was as captivating as I remembered it. Though he was wearing his hood and face paint, I remembered the scruffy brown hair and strong features beneath. I felt a small blush creeping up my cheeks but was saved by Shikamaru.
"Let's not start a fight before we even get into the village," he sighed. "It's troublesome enough that we have to escort them to the Hokage's office." He turned and started walking away with his hands in his pockets. He called back over his shoulder. "Come on, Kiba. Let's get this over with."
We followed after him as Temari scoffed, Kankurou growled and I smirked and pocketed my own hands to keep myself in check.
I walked behind Kankurou and Temari with Shikamaru in the lead and Akamaru at my heels. It was taking a lot of restraint to not reach up and pull off Kankurou's hood. He was so much sexier when you could see his hair. I sighed longingly from behind everyone but they took no notice. They probably thought I was tired.
It was almost noon and my stomach was starting to growl. As much as I wanted to hurry up and get this over with to go and meet Chouji and Shino for lunch, I wanted to enjoy my little time with Kankurou.
The sky was starting to darken as heavy clouds drew overhead. I sniffed the air to gouge how long it would be before it started to rain – barely half an hour. Akamaru whined beside me as he noticed the change of smell in the air as well. I crouched down beside him and ruffled his ears; he had become too big to sit on my head or in my coat anymore.
"It's okay, boy," I said. "You go on home." I knew he didn't feel like getting rained on right so early in the morning. He barked at me cheerfully before running off in the direction of our house. I stood back up to realize I had been left behind. Well, sort of. I could see Temari talking with Shikamaru up ahead now, and when I looked around I saw Kankurou standing beside me.
"Let's go, dog-boy," he said, strolling ahead of me.
"Hey!" I protested, catching up. "Would you quit calling me dog-boy? You're almost worse than Naruto."
"Don't compare me to that annoying, little brat," Kankurou huffed.
"Then quit calling me 'dog-boy."
"Fine, whatever," Kankurou scoffed before quickening his pace. "Mutt," he muttered under his breath. I tensed up; clearly he'd forgotten I had an acute sense of hearing. Or maybe not.
"I said quit it!"
"Che," he smirked when I came into stride beside him again. "You said dog-boy, not mutt."
"It's the same thing!"
"No, it's not," he said matter-of-factly. "So if I can't use one then I'm going to use the other."
"How about you use neither?" Why did I like this guy again?
He turned his head towards me and flashed his teeth in a playful grin. He threw his arm out around my shoulders and let his hand hang loosely down my chest in the way straight guys did to each other when they were boasting or something like that. "Too bad, mutt" he smirked, and then he let me go with a shove and continued towards the Hokage's tower. My heart pounded at the close proximity I had just experienced and my face heated up in betrayal. I decided watching the ground as I walked was a good idea.
Oh yeah, I thought. That's why.
The way to the Hokage's office and the discussion within was dull and I was hardly a part of it so I blanked out. Shikamaru seemed to be doing the same.
Tsunade was talking with Kankurou and Temari about the documents they had brought and about their mission, and then went on to tell them where they're living quarters would be. She gave them the address and told them how to get there, but Shikamaru and I still had to escort them.
I didn't mind. Obviously Shikamaru found it troublesome, but to me it seemed more like he was acting that way because he felt he was supposed to. On the way back down the outside staircase, Kankurou bumped into me when he passed and our hands brushed ever so slightly. A mental shiver bolted through my mind and I looked at him. He gave me a sly grin. He hadn't noticed our hands like I had; he was only responding to bumping into me.
I made an effort not to sigh and shoved him slightly with my shoulder, smirking at him as I passed. I heard him growl and the next thing I knew I was tumbling down the stairs, tangled up in Kankurou. When we rolled into the dirt of the road below, he tackled me again in mid roll and pinned me to the ground. He sat on me with his hands holding mine to the ground. I managed to get them free, but he only grabbed onto them again. The fact that his weight was pressing on top of me and that he had a triumphant smile on his face wasn't helping.
This was all a game to him – and he was winning. I couldn't bring myself to use the energy needed to get him off of me, and I can tell you that I was not incapable of doing so. I could feel his warm breath on my face, not because he was particularly close, but because he was breathing so heavily. When I was no longer making a move to fight back, he leaned in closer with an even cockier grin than before.
"Heh, give up?" he jived into my ear. I growled at him but remained motionless. He sat back and just as I was sure he would feel the effect his close proximity was having on me down there, he stood up and offered me a hand. I smirked at him and went to take it, but he pulled it back with a small laugh and walked away. I growled low in my throat and pushed myself off of the ground in time to see Shikamaru and Temari reach the road. Temari was smirking at me and Shikamaru looked bored.
I ignored both of them and headed down the street after Kankurou. "You don't even know where you're going!" I yelled to him.
"I'll figure it out," he called back over his shoulder. I rolled my eyes and jogged to catch up.
"You play dirty," I said.
"Just because you're so weak…" he trailed off and I attacked him with yet another growl, but he had been expecting it, and I once again found his weight crushing down on top of me.
"Can't you two at least let us get settled in before you start brawling all over Konoha?" Temari called to us.
"Heh," Kankurou slid off me and stood once again, and offered me another hand. I looked at it skeptically and started to get up myself, but having him standing over top of me was making it difficult. He continued to hold his hand out so I finally rolled my eyes and made a grab for it. This time he let me grasp his hand and he pulled me to my feet. I dusted myself off and we headed down the road again in the direction of their temporary home.
It wasn't long before I could see it in the distance. As we neared it, I noticed a change in the air and Kankurou gave me a sideways glance when I started to sniff it. I ignored him and sighed, then took off into a run, heading for the protection of the awning hanging out over the street at our destination.
"Hey, mutt! Where do you think you're going?" Kankurou called after me. If he can't even call me by my name, I'm not going to warn him. Besides, I knew there was no point explaining as I reached the apartment, because there wouldn't be enough time. Just as I stumbled underneath, as if on cue, the rain fell – hard. I smirked at a grumbling Kankurou as he broke into a jog and came up beside me.
"Why didn't you warn me?" he growled. His face paint had become streaks on his face, no longer obscuring his features. I was about to answer when he took of his hood and wrung it out, and I was suddenly twice as glad I hadn't told him it was about to rain.
I gathered myself quickly, before he noticed I had stalled my words and shrugged.
"For what? Being stronger than you?" he said, half out of irritation and the other half teasing.
"No, for not using my name," was my quick reply. As I was beginning to wonder where Shikamaru and Temari were, I saw them coming around the corner, Temari holding an umbrella over both of them. Kankurou grew annoyed again at the sight.
"Che. You expect too much," he said, unfortunately putting his hood back on. "I only use names when I actually care for a person."
"You mean you're capable?" I asked in mock shock.
"Capable of what?" he growled.
"Heh, there's more to me than you think," was all he said before adding, "Mutt," and turning to his sister in annoyance. "Since when do you carry an umbrella?"
"Unlike you," she said with a sigh, stepping under the awning and closing the umbrella, "I come prepared." Shikamaru stepped around her and pushed the door to their apartment open.
"You guys coming?" he asked. "Or are you just going to stand there and bicker?"
Tsunade had picked out a luxurious apartment for Temari and Kankurou. Their lodgings were on the third floor of three, eliminating the possibility of noises coming from upstairs, and it also had a good view from the balcony on the west side.
By the Hokage's orders, Shikamaru and I escorted Kankurou and Temari all the way to their floor and showed them to their room, even though Temari seemed to know exactly where to go. She took out the key Tsunade had given her and unlocked the door, walking in and holding it open for Kankurou. She disappeared inside as she went to find her bedroom. Kankurou waited at the door, holding it open by leaning against it.
"I'd invite you in," he began with a smirk, "But I don't want the place to smell like dog."
I growled at him and tried to think of a good retort, but was saved from the necessity when Temari came back into view. As she took a hold of the door, Kankurou took his turn to slip inside and disappear.
"So," she said, more to Shikamaru. "Where are you headed off to?"
"We're meeting up with the guys at the Korean Barbeque restaurant," he sighed as if it was just another troublesome thing in his daily routine. Temari watched him expectantly and I felt an awkward silence approaching.
"What?" Shikamaru asked, completely oblivious.
"Well aren't you going to invite us?" she said bluntly, yet as if it was the most obvious thing in the entire world. Shikamaru raised an eyebrow at her forwardness. "We're guests to the village, after all. Not to mention we've just had a long trip and are probably hungry."
Shikamaru looked like he was about to give a smart retort to rub Temari the wrong way, and I continued to stand to the side as an observer. I wasn't about to argue with the kunoichi, and I obviously liked the idea of Kankurou tagging along.
"Temari," Kankurou drawled, coming back into view, with his rain-ruined face paint now washed off and his hood once again removed. "We can go out later. I'm not really hungry right now, anyway." Temari looked at him quizzically and then, right on cue, Kankurou's stomach let out a loud growl.
"Hmph," she said, crossing her arms impatiently. "Yeah. Right. You just want time to put your makeup back on."
"It's not makeup!" he hissed. "It's war paint."
"If you want to come along, I don't care," Shikamaru interrupted with a yawn, before muttering, "Too troublesome to argue." He glanced from Kankurou to Temari. "But I'm not waiting." He started to walk away lazily in the direction of the staircase.
"You guys coming?" I asked, turning to follow him.
"Sure, whatever," was Kankurou's response, and Temari's response was her quickly disappearing into her apartment and reappearing just as quickly, somehow with four umbrellas, and stuffing a small pouch into her obi.
"Let's go," she said, pushing past us, handing us each an umbrella, and following after Shikamaru.
"Oh, you guys brought them?" was the first thing out of Chouji's mouth when we neared their booth in the restaurant.
Shikamaru didn't answer as he slid in beside Chouji. I sat down across from them and slid up against the wall to be across from Shino. Kankurou slid in next to me, and then Temari removed her fan and slid in after him. She caused Kankurou to have to move farther in, and I was instantly aware of his leg pushed up against mine.
"There's no way you need that much room," Kankurou growled at Temari.
"A girl needs her space," was her only response, and so Kankurou huffed and rested his head in his hand and his elbow on the table, effectively shunning her and facing my direction at the same time.
"Can I take your order?" a waitress asked cheerfully. I asked for my usual, as did Shikamaru. Chouji and Shino had already ordered, and so Kankurou asked for what Chouji had and Temari asked for a salad.
Chouji started up a conversation with Shikamaru and Temari listened in out of boredom. Shino said nothing and remained mysterious behind his dark sunglasses, even though it was raining outside the window. We had never actually talked about it, but there was an unspoken understanding we had. He had figured out that I wasn't into girls, and I knew he knew, but we never talked about it. I'm sure he already had his suspicions of how I felt towards Kankurou. As he sat across from me, seemingly observing his surroundings as he so often did, he was probably aware of the effect Kankurou was having on me at that moment.
I put my hands on my knees, and rubbed the top of my legs to distract myself, and adjusted my pants by pulling them away from my body in attempt to make sure a certain growing bulge wasn't noticeable. In my efforts, I only pushed my leg against Kankurou's more and ended up brushing my fingers against him.
He looked at me quizzically for my fidgety behaviour, but didn't seem to notice the extra contact. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I said, unintentionally making it sound like I didn't want to discuss the topic further – which I didn't.
He gave me one more look over before turning around to Temari and starting up a conversation about what they were going to do later on.
I took in a long, steadying breath as I shut out the world around me. Kankurou was really getting to me and I couldn't even explain how. It was completely different to anyone else I'd ever crushed on. And the worst part was, even though it had always been this way, Kankurou was completely oblivious as to what he was doing to me. Our conversations were just a chance for him to tease or overpower me. And these current touches between us did nothing to stir his blood the way it stirred mine.
Next update before the New Year! :)