“Yeah, you’re right.” Sakura smiled at the Inuzuka.
“Who knew being a shinobi would bring so much drama to our lives, huh?” she laughed nervously.
Kiba laughed with her, an almost bitter smile on his face. “I know, right? There’s been so much drama lately… It makes me wonder if, had I known what I was getting into, would I still have picked this life?”
But he shrugged then, and gave Sakura a weak smile. “But you know, I don’t think I’d change anything. Everything that’s happened has made us—all of us, so much stronger. And things’ll go right in the end, too. Maybe not the way we want, but I’m sure everything’ll work out somehow.”
“I don’t know..” surely Tsume would have told Genma? And Genma was still certain Kiba wouldn’t forget about it. But then what was he meant to do? Adults were supposed to make decisions, but he couldn’t just decide on something that, up until now, he had never had a say on it before - and it wasn’t as if Kiba had ever had a say of knowing or not knowing who his father was. If Genma’s thoughts turned out to be correct, then he couldn’t just walk away… Well whatever happened, it was probably best to get it over with now.
“Well, it’s up to you. What do you want?”
It was up to him? The shinobi shook his head, tongue running over dry lips again as he thought about it. It was up to him. Genma was letting him choose what they did next—if anything at all.
Kiba looked sharply up at the jounin, at this man he barely knew. “So, if for some reason, I decide I want a dad, am I just gonna go home and check it over with Mom, and then you’re suddenly gonna be WonderDad and take me out for ice cream?”
He shook his head, eyebrows furrowed in annoyance. “I’m pretty sure all’ll happen if I find out you are for sure is just, okay, he’s my dad, and that’s that. I don’t think it’ll change much, do you? Maybe we’d say hi to each other when we walk past, or maybe we’d go out of our way to avoid each other. It doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t; I’m 16, I’m not exactly in desperate need of paternal advice.”
The brunette’s shoulders shrugged loosely, and he glanced away from Genma, at some building nearby, as something to look at. “Like I said before. I’ve never needed a father before. Nothing’s changed.”
Hinata could almost take a knife and cut through the awkward. She had to say something.
But it was so strange to be next to this boy, who she had known for so long, like this. Exposed. Blushing. Heart pounding.
What was happening to her?
“How’s Hanabi been lately?” She heard Kiba say and she turned to face him, eyes averted, face burning, “Good, thanks. She’s been training a lot with Neji.” She felt her face lighten as she relaxed. “I’m pretty confident she could beat me up anytime now.”
Kiba let out an annoyed huff, pouting at Hinata. “That’s probably the first time I’ve ever heard you say ‘I’m pretty confident’ and naturally, what follows would be an insult to yourself…” He shook his head, splaying a few lose droplets of water from his hair as he did. It rippled for a moment in the river’s surface before the weak current canceled them out.
“I’m glad Hanabi’s doing good, but Hinata, I think you could take her.” He opened his mouth again, stopped, and closed it again, shaking his head again. “Actually, I know you can. You’re not confident in your fighting abilities—” or really, in anything, which was just ridiculous in Kiba’s opinions, but anyway, “—but I can say, as someone who’s seen what you can do, that you’re way more capable than you think. I’ll be honest, you had a slow start. But you’ve come so far since we were genin, you know? You’re strong now. And you’ve got a lot more experience than she does.”
Kiba looked down at the water around him, letting out a sigh and pushing himself onto his tiptoes on the riverbed. “So I’m pretty confident that if she tried to beat you up, you could take care of yourself just fine.”
Hinata let herself sink to the bottom, feeling the current push her gently along. She felt her toes touch the murky bottom and pushed with her legs, shooting her back to the surface.
The sight she was met with made her turn pink and turn away, Kiba was pulling of his shirt and she could see his well toned abs all too well. She shook her head, trying to clear her un-clean thoughts.
And there was Hinata’s blush again, full force, and for a second he was afraid she might faint, right there in the middle of the river, so he swam a bit closer just to be safe and make sure that he was there and ready in case she did. Not to say it didn’t make him a bit uneasy, because that was quite a blush. Had she noticed him staring? He could only hope that wasn’t the case, because he really didn’t want to get into all that right now.
With Hinata turned away from him, and the way her hair had settled over one shoulder, Kiba had to settle for looking at the nape of her neck as opposed to eye-contact with his teammate. As nice as the quiet was, and just the feeling on the cool water against his body was, he would rather be hearing her voice and making conversation, because with all the blushing, the silent was a tad awkward. “So, uh.” What was there even to talk about? “How’s… uh, how’s Hanabi been lately?” He didn’t see Hinata’s sister much, but he knew Hinata cared for her… and it was something to talk about, right?
The very mention of Team 7 was enough to make Sakura go into a state of depression. She looked sadly at the ground, tears forming in her eyes.
“It just feels so hopeless,” she said. “I feel like Sasuke will never return and there is nothing I can do about it. I thought I still had feelings for him the last time we met…but I don’t know…I guess I don’t now…it’s all just so confusing, you know?”
The shinobi bit his lip when he saw Sakura’s reaction. He hadn’t intended for that to happen… it seemed they were both really good at picking sensitive topics to talk to each other about.
“Don’t cry,” he murmured, placing a nervous hand on her shoulder. He couldn’t stand when girls cried; he never knew what to do to help them. Kiba knew that everything going on with Sasuke right now was a painful subject. He wanted to believe that Naruto could bring the raven back, but at times, it was hard to believe in him. Sasuke seemed so far gone… And he wasn’t even sure what he could say to make Sakura feel better, now, either. “L… look, I’m sure everything’ll turn out okay in the end. Naruto always comes through in the end, right?”
She rubbed the lotion into her arms and looked over at Kiba, he was wrinkling his nose and looking at the river. Huh, she wondered, I wonder if it’s the smell. She frowned and stood up and pulled off her sundress before she could think twice. She wanted to get in so the smell wouldn’t be so overwhelming for him. She was wearing a lilac one peice, form fitting but also humbling. She kicked off her sandals and jumped in, squealing the whole way.
Kiba’s eyes widened at how easily Hinata slipped off her sundress, and his cheeks warmed as he quickly glanced over her now, in her lilac swimsuit. He knew he should look away—wasn’t it rude to stare, or something?—but she just looked… really nice. He breathed again, because apparently he’d been holding his breath and he hadn’t notice, and finally tore his eyes away once she started to get into the water. “Is it cold?” he asked her, since the squealing noises kinda gave him that idea.
Since his house had been out of the way, he hadn’t bothered to go home for a bathing suit. He hadn’t want to make the trip any longer than necessary. He could handle getting his clothes wet. And he’d been wearing casual clothes anyway: a tee and shorts, so it wasn’t really that far off from a swimsuit, once he dropped the shirt. So, Kiba pulled the shirt off, tossing it aside, and he followed the kunoichi into the river, letting out a sigh and sinking down to his shoulders. The water was cool, but not ice cold, and it was very refreshing compared to the warm air around them. It was nice, being here, and being with Hinata.
Sakura sighed, and her hand slipped off of Kiba’s shoulder. She stood in silence for a while longer, trying to start up a new conversation to make Kiba feel better.
“Oh, how’s Kurenai these days?”
The Inuzuka frowned, trying to think of how his old teacher had been the last time he’d seen her. She was a tad more reclusive these days. Raising a child and all probably took a lot out of her. He shrugged. “I think she’s been okay, probably stressed from the kid, but not too bad.”
He realized though that Sakura was only bringing up Kurenai as means to change the subject—and also that he’d been doing most of the talking this whole time. So he figured he could come up with a subject for once. “So, how’s Team 7 been lately, Sakura?”