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The Hound And The Lioness: Understanding

Continuity: Between Part 1 and Part 2

"Hinata!" The lavender haired kunoichi halted and turned her body at the sound of the voice, jumping in shock. The surprised look melted into a smile once she recognized the speaker!

"Yes, Kiba?" She called back, waiting for the Inuzaka male to catch up to her. Having left Akamaru home, Kiba took his time to get into step with Hinata. As they continued down the crowded street there was a sudden silence between them as they embraced their surroundings.

Eventually, though, Kiba picked up on the fact that Hinata was scanning the crowd. After knowing her for as long as he did, Kiba knew what—or rather who—she was looking for. He knew she could user her bloodline limit to locate him, but then that would take away the initial surprise of seeing her crush in the crowd. Sliding his hands into his pockets, he sighed because her search was useless. Naruto had been gone for half a year already, having left to train with Master Jiraya.

"Looking for Naruto again?" Hinata stopped and looked at her friend, her eyes saddening at the sound of the blonde's name. The heiress merely nodded and Kiba shook his head. Why did she continue to hope that he'd come back so soon?

Must have been her force of habit of cheering for Naruto, since even during the Academy days she would do so (not that Naruto heard her due to the loud girls in the class). Kiba knew that she admired him—that much was obvious to everyone—but he didn't understand why exactly she was so enthralled by Konoha's maverick. He was tempted to ask, but he found that he couldn't; every time Kiba tried, the words would get caught in his throat when he saw her face at the mention of Naruto.

But the hurt look that was etched on her face from the fox-nin's absence was breaking his wild heart. No matter how much Hinata covered it up with bravado like the boy she liked, Kiba could tell that she was in pain. And he wouldn't stand for it. "Hinata, why do you feel so much for him?"

Hinata's eyes widened a little, and she stopped walking after Kiba asked her that question. That was something only she and Kurenai had talked about after the Chunin Exams. Blushing, Hinata looked down at the ground and pressed her pointer fingers together. Kiba smiled at the display, chuckling a little because she reverted back to her old habit, if only for a while.

It was good to know his friend wasn't changing too much, at least personality wise. But the same couldn't be said for her appearance: the Hyuuga heiress had recently started to grow her hair out as a sign of confidence in herself. And though she kept it hidden beneath her jacket, it was hard not to notice her developing figure and curves.

"Kiba, do you know what it means to be alone?" Kiba blinked at the sound of her voice, looking at her. He was about to open his mouth, but thought against at the last moment. No, he didn't know what it meant to be lonely. Unlike Naruto, who never knew his parents, Kiba had his family around him and a variety of dogs surrounding him as a child. He did understand why she had brought it up, though.

It was a hard fact to deny that out of anyone in the Village, Hinata understood what Naruto went through as a child. It wasn't to the same degree as him, but Hinata knew the pain of being alone, of being despised, of being unwanted by those around her. And because of this she could sympathize with Naruto more than any of his comrades could.

"Okay, I get what you're sayin' Hinata," Kiba said, looking away from her and straight forward, "You know how he feels, but that doesn't explain why you love the guy." Hinata blushed again when Kiba said love, giving a tiny 'Eep!' The Inuzaka raised an eyebrow as Hinata shook away the reddening in her cheeks. The girl tucked a lock of stray hair behind her ear as she tilted her head up a little. Kiba followed her glance, the Hokage Mountain just within view.

"My father recently told me about the Fourth Hokage, about how he was a little like me as a child. As it turns out he ended up marrying a woman much like Naruto, personality wise. They were total opposites in how they handled things, but they apparently completed each other perfectly. My father went on to say that the Fourth wouldn't have been the man—Hokage—he was without this woman, whose name was Kushina."

Ah! Kiba saw what she did there! She was planning to be the 'Hina' in Naruto's life, to make him the best he could be.

"But it's more than trying to be someone important in his life. He's a source of inspiration for me: while I shied away from people, he made himself noticed; while I let other people put me down and stop me, Naruto-kun let it become his fuel to get further ahead." As she spoke, a smile that hadn't shined in months appeared, Kiba catching it from his peripherals. "You could say that he is my sun, and looking toward him brightened my day. Is that stupid?"

Kiba looked away from her and blinked. Wow. She had thought a lot about this. As Kiba interpreted what she said, it was more than just understanding Naruto's pain, it was about her wanting to heal that pain and help Naruto like she had helped him. And now that he gave it some thought, the phrase "opposites attract" came to mind.

Hinata was a dark beauty and heiress, Naruto a no-name but bright (or rather optimistic) orphan. She was shy and tentative, he was loud and…spirited. He smiled, as it seemed like someone had almost written them to complement each other. "No, it isn't….but doesn't it hurt to love someone who's oblivious to your feelings?" He didn't—couldn't—watch the smile that had lingered shrink once again, because of him.

"Of course it is, Kiba. Knowing that he's liked Sakura for so long, and won't notice me. All I want is to walk beside him, to have him smile at me the same way he does when looks at her." Her shoulders sagged, only to rise as something crossed her mind, "But she's a lot like him and I can't help but laugh at the fact. She's so focused on Sasuke that she doesn't notice Naruto, and is just as clueless as the boy who likes her."

Hinata gave a sniffle, saddened at the fact that she wasn't even on Naruto's radar. Kiba said nothing, but stretched out a hand. She grabbed it, squeezing slightly and pretending it was a hug (Hinata understood Kiba had some sort of reputation to hold, so he couldn't be seen as too soft, even for her.). And while it wasn't a perfect fit, it did calm her down, enough so she placed a kiss on his cheek. The ravenette giggled at the sight of Kiba's blush and confused look. "That's an apology. For doing the same thing as Naruto's doing to me."

His cheeks went deeper in shade, his fangs suddenly lost in the blush. And then Kiba barked a laugh. "Ah, man, Hinata, you're a really joker. Please, you're cute and everything, but not my type. I need someone willing to *spark an argument, and have a **sharp enough tongue to handle my mom." His blush faded, as they came closer to the Hokage's mansion for their next mission. "I do believe in opposites attract in your case, and I'm positive that one day, Naruto will recognize and understand that you've been there for him longer than anyone else."

As you can see, I'm leaning more towards Hinata with Naruto rather than Kiba. That's my personal preference. ^^; 'Sides I like their friendship together more. * and ** refer to my canon choice for Kiba, a certain redhead that comes from Kumo.