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 Gemini...... (Naruto fanfic, team eight) pt1

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PoisonAngel
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PostSubject: Gemini...... (Naruto fanfic, team eight) pt1   Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:46 pm

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Let me know if I’m doing this right
Let me know if my grip’s too tight
Let me know if I can stay all of my life
Let me know if dreams can come true
Let me know if this one’s for you

‘Cause I see it
And I feel it
Right here
And I feel you right here

-Spongecola, Gemini


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She saw him fall.

She could only watch helplessly as the enemy nin struck him, saw the mask of pain on his face, saw his eyes roll into his head, saw him hit the ground with a ‘thud,’ and she saw the huge, deep gash from which blood flowed in a steady stream from his chest.

She heard a loud clash of metal behind her, and tore her eyes away from her fallen teammate to turn around, just in time to see an enemy with a kunai in his hands, ready to strike her, but he only fell forward, revealing her other teammate. There was blood across his face, though she doubted it was just his own, and for the first time she saw his eyes. There was not a look of peace on them as she had always hoped to see, but wildness, and just a touch of concern.

“Hinata…” He gasped, voice hoarse and raspy. “Go… and help Kiba. Bring him… to the medics… I will fend off… anyone… who comes after you…”

She continued to be frozen in place, in surprise and fear. “Sh-Shino-kun…” Her tone trembled, weary of the battle.

Shino shook his head. “Iie, Hinata. If a life from Team Eight has to be taken on a mission today… I would prefer it isn’t yours or Kiba’s… Now, go!”

She nodded, tears coming to her silver eyes. She had sworn never to leave anyone behind… and now, here she was, willingly abandoning one of the few people who really cared for her. It had been his… death wish, maybe?

No! It isn’t time for that yet. But Shino had wished for at least her and Kiba to be saved, and it she would never forgive herself if she let him down!

She rushed to Kiba’s motionless form, instinctively tearing a piece of her own clothing to temporarily bandage his wound. She turned him over and winced at the sight of his face, contorted by agony. He was conscious, but barely. And if so, not enough to speak. But he pried his eyelids open to look at her and smiled, perhaps to encourage, to reassure, to give her strength.

Akamaru whimpered inside his jacket.

“Hush, now, it’ll be okay…” She said, soothingly. Even though she doubted her own words that very instant.

She carefully put his arm around her shoulder and stood up. She couldn’t run at top speed, for she had already used much of her chakra. Still, she activated her Byakugan just in case she ran into anyone in the forest.

Halfway to the hospital, her legs would start to give out, but she’d remember her wounded teammate, and his little dog who ran by her, and she urged herself to go on.

At last, she reached the entrance to the village. She wordlessly called the attention of a few of the locals who were brave enough to help. As soon as Kiba’s weight had been carried off her, she fainted, reeling from shock and fatigue.

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Hyuuga Hinata opened her eyes to a white nothing.

Her brow furrowed. ‘Not… dead, am I?’

“Hinata! Finally, you’re awake!” Came a recognizable feminine voice. She tilted her head and blinked twice.

Finally, the woman came into view. It was the face of Haruno Sakura, now a medic-nin-in-training.

“Sa-Sakura? Where am I?” She inquired, rising to a sitting position.

“Don’t you remember? You arrived at the gates of Konoha from your last mission, along with Kiba and Akamaru.”

That was when she remembered. Kiba!

“Sakura, where is Kiba-kun?” She asked fearfully.

“He is being healed by the other medic-nin. I had been assigned to take care of you, so I do not know much about his current state…”

“I must see him!” Hinata got up from the bed, clad only in blue pajamas.

Sakura grabbed her hand. She looked at the other girl’s white irises. “Hinata-chan…” She began. She, in fact, knew what the Inuzuka’s condition was, and it had been anything but good or improving. Should she lie, to spare the girl grief for a short while, or tell the truth, so her hopes wouldn’t be raised? She chose the latter, and to this day, she still doesn’t know if she made the right decision.

“As much as possible, do not look forward to his recovery. It will keep you from breaking your heart,” it was the kindest way to put it.

Hinata’s pale face remained determined, and can even be described as gravely. “I must see him.”

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“Gomenasai, but I cannot let you in yet. He is still being treated by the medics,” The black-haired young woman known as Shizune informed the adolescent Hyuuga. She had been the supervisor for this patient, though it wasn’t the first time she treated him.

She would have wanted to argue, but it wouldn’t have made the situation any better. She contented herself to sitting in the waiting room, along with Kiba’s parents and older sister. A frosty silence hung over them, as no one knew what to say.

Hinata lowered her head, feeling their accusing gazes boring into her. Suddenly, she heard footsteps enter the quiet of the room. As the atmosphere became lighter, she immediately knew it was someone close to her.

“Hinata…”

As soon as she heard the calm voice, she broke into uncontrollable sobs.

“Kurenai-sensei…” She choked, tears going down each side of her face. “I have shown weakness.”

She felt the older woman’s arms around her, and sank into the familiar embrace.

“You have also shown strength.”

No more words were said.

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The girl slipped out from the Hyuuga Manor when she was certain no one was looking. She was no more than six years old.

The playground had always been her haven. It still is.

She arrived the same time the other kids would go home, at sunset. It suited her fine.

She sat in one swing, swaying gently with the help of the wind.

She liked the sound that was made when her sandals scraped against the ground. She was a peculiar little girl.

She was always alone every time she went to the playground. Until now.

She heard someone walking, no, running towards her.

“Hi.”

She looked up to see a little boy, pretty much her age, with a messy mop of brown hair and markings on each cheek. She saw him every time she went here; he was one of those who went home after she comes. His face was red and he was sweaty, like he had run around the entire village. He looked like the kind of kid who was carefree, who always played and laughed and smiled. He looked like he would have no trouble standing up to bullies or defending himself. Unlike her.

Despite all these observations, she made no move to reply to him.

“Are you okay?”

The simple, innocent question threw her off-guard. No, she was not okay. She was too weak and timid, which didn’t pass the expectations of her own clan. She was sad and lonely, because even when she cried, no one bothered to ask what was wrong. But not anymore, because of this little boy whose name she didn’t even know. Before she could answer…

“Well, I hope you’re okay, anyway. ‘Cause you’re really pretty. And I don’t want to see pretty girls cry, ‘cause girls always do that. You know, I wouldn’t want to see you cry.”

She blushed hotly. He didn’t notice this, though as he continued.

“Do you always do that? You look like you do, but I don’t care. ‘Cause I think you’ll be prettier when you smile. Do you smile? Will you smile for me? I just want to see you smile.”

He talked so fast, she didn’t understand what he was saying at first. But when she did, her blush deepened.

“I’m Inuzuka Kiba.” He grinned, then extended his hand.

“I’m… Hyu-uga… Hin-Hinat-ta.” She shook his hand.

Then she smiled too.

“Wow, you have a good handshake. I’ve only met a few people with a good handshake. My sister used to tell me that…”

Hinata tuned him out for a while. She cocked her head to get a better look at him. She had seen most of the boys around the neighborhood even though she didn’t go out of the house much, but she could tell he was pretty cute, maybe even the cutest of all the others.

“…and my broccoli didn’t say anything, and…” He trailed off when he noticed her staring; he waved a hand in front of her face.

“Hello? Hinata? Are you still here with me? Hello?” He pouted. “If you’re gone, that’s too bad. I’d be like, “Where’d she go, where’d she go?” then I’ll ask everyone, “Did you see the pretty girl? She’s my friend.” Hey, are you my friend? Anyway, but I still wouldn’t know where you went, so I couldn’t look for you anywhere, and you’d be lost and I can’t see you…Then you’re gone and you’ll leave me alone and I can’t find you anymore…” He sighed, dropping his arms at his sides and looking utterly defeated.

She felt bad then. “Gomen, I am sorry. Pl-please… c-continue…”

Silence. It was like he had forgotten what he was talking about. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“Um, you know, I only came back here because I left my jacket. ‘Cause my mom will kill me if I lose it. She got it for me when I was four. ‘Cause when I was four, I lost one of my jackets in the playground too. And she made me promise to take care of my things. You know, my jackets? Yeah. Anyway, I’m coming back again tomorrow.” He took the hooded gray coat hanging from the slide ladder. “But I’ll come back tomorrow. Will you come back tomorrow too, so we can play together? I’d really like for us to play together. So will you come back tomorrow? Will you still come back for me?”

The Byakugan, the famous bloodline limit possessed only by the Hyuuga Clan, can see through many things. But even if she used it to look inside her brain, Hinata was sure, she wouldn’t be able to find out what made her say her next words.

“O-kay. I’ll… come back… t-tomor-rrow…”

“I’ll see you then!”

The little girl watched the boy as he ran, kicking up sand and dust into the air. She giggled. Tomorrow, huh?

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“Kiba, you do the fishing.” Kurenai ordered, leaning against a tree trunk.

“Sensei!” Kiba groaned. “Why can’t Shino do it?”

“Shino can’t swim.” She replied flatly.

His jaw dropped. “Really, Shino?”

The bug boy just shrugged.

“Oh. Okay. Come on, Akamaru.” He coaxed his dog to stand up and sit on his head as he headed for the river.

“Hinata, you go help him.” Kurenai pointed to Kiba.

“M-me?” Hinata stuttered.

“Yes, Hinata.”

Nodding, she slowly stood up and followed her teammate to the stream.

“I don’t think there’re any fish in here. Hinata, can you use your Byakugan to see if there’re any fish in this river?” Kiba touched her shoulder. She did as she was told.

After a few seconds…

“Hai, Kiba-kun. There is fish in this river.”

“Okay.” Then Kiba stripped down to his shorts and jumped in. “Geronimo!”

Hinata giggled at the actions of her teammate. As soon as he jumped, he disappeared under the river. She took this as normal until a minute passed and he still hadn’t gone up.

She panicked. “K-Kiba-k-kun?” She called out frightfully. She cleared her throat. “Kiba-kun! Kiba!”

She knelt down at the riverbank, seeing her reflection in the water. She was supposed to use her Byakugan, supposed to scream for help, supposed to actually do SOMETHING, but it wasn’t necessary.

“Boo!”

“Eep!”

Hinata staggered backwards as Kiba’s face poked out of the water. He shook water droplets from his hair and laughed, backstroking away from the bank.

“You should have seen your face, Hinata!”

She was quite annoyed. Yes, even Hinata is capable of being annoyed, especially if it involved Kiba. “That was not funny at all, Kiba-kun.”

He stopped wading. “Okay, I’m sorry.”

“You have worried me a lot.” She looked at him sharply. He wasn’t there in the water anymore. When she whirled around, she only saw a glimpse of his face before his arms wrapped around her.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered directly in her ear. They stayed like that for a few minutes, before he broke off.

He smirked. “And I’m sorry for getting your clothes damp too.” He laughed.

She spread her arms and looked at her clothes. Sure enough, they were a little bit wet too. But she laughed along with him anyhow.

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PostSubject: Re: Gemini...... (Naruto fanfic, team eight) pt1   Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:47 pm

Pt 2


Hinata woke up in the middle of the night without opening her eyes, finding out that she had found a pillow in the forest.

She was about to go back to sleep when she remembered that her team didn’t bring any pillows.

She forced open her sleepy eyes to find out that her head was resting on Kiba’s outstretched arm, while she was on her side and had one hand on his chest.

She sat up hastily, realizing the position they had previously been in. Her cheeks had a pinkish tint in them, even if no one was awake to see it.

Shino slept sitting against the trunk of the tree, showing no signs of discomfort whatsoever. Kurenai-sensei was curled up like a cat on the opposite side of the fire. Akamaru dozed at the head of her and…

Her eyes rested on Kiba, looking peaceful as he slept, little flecks of fire-orange light dancing on his face. It seemed like he was dreaming. What was he dreaming about?

She smiled, the god of sleep tentatively taking his hold on her mind again. She laid her head back down on his arm and snuggled up to him.

Dreams will be dreams.

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“Are you okay, Hinata-chan?” Kiba held his hand out to Hinata, who fell down during their training.

“Hai,” she said softly as she took it. Just as he helped her stand up, Hinata stumbled against him and now they both fell down. And yes, he landed right on top of her and his lips did the same on hers.

It happened so fast neither knew how to react to the, um… kiss, if it can be called that.

Both pairs of eyes involved widened, even though Kiba quickly used his hands to lift himself from her. As he hovered above her, his mouth once again a moment away from hers, they stared at each other in astonishment.

“Kiba, Hinata, are you guys alright?” Kurenai asked.

Kiba motioned to stand up, though he found out it was quite hard to do so, with her right beneath him, and such.

He grinned goofily at Hinata. “Um, Hinata-chan…?” He blushed hard with every word. “Would you mind… if I fall on you again?. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I will, right now if… I try to stand up...”

She regarded him seriously for an instant, but blushed right back. “Not at all, Kiba-kun.”

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“I… do not want to t-talk… about it... Please, d-do not a-ask me…” Hinata buried her head in her hands. Her eyes were red and puffy from her crying. The night air was cool on their skin, as Kiba loomed before her, unmoving, waiting patiently.

“I wasn’t going to.” He said quietly. She could clearly hear the sound his sandals made on the grass as he knelt down, to her level. He put both hands on her shoulders and made her face him, though he didn’t say a word.

“I… mustered the c-courage… I f-felt br-rave. I did not… see… r-rejection… coming… I sh-should have… I never… I never wanted to get hurt… I j-just wanted… h-him to m-make me feel…

“Special.”

She stammered all throughout her statement, but every word burst with emotion.

“I was ordered by your father to take you back inside the manor right after training. Though I’m not sure that is what you want to do,” Was all he uttered to her.

She looked up to him. She was certain that after her big speech, he’ll offer some advice or compliment her or tell her that Naruto was a big idiot for not seeing how special and great she was. But he did neither of these things. He didn’t even force her to do anything she didn’t want to.

“K-Kiba-kun…?”

“Hai?”

“I would like you to take me inside now.”

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“Kurenai-sensei?”

“Yes, Hinata?” Kurenai wiped her eyes.

“I must see him.” Hinata said, looking her teacher straight in the eye.

She nodded in return. “I will talk to Shizune.”

The jounin walked over to the famed apprentice of the Hokage. After a few words, it was obvious that Shizune refused. But as their voices dipped lower, and their sympathetic glances towards Hinata became more frequent, she knew her teacher had won.

Shizune had a hand to the room, and she motioned Hinata to come closer.

“Healing is a very difficult process. Please prepare yourself for the worst.”

Even though they were said gently, the sentence sent chills up and down her spine.

Before she knew it, she was pushed into the room and the door closed behind her. It was dark, and only lighted by the glowing chakra of the medics in the center of the huge room. She stepped forward, quietly, as to not disturb anyone.

He looked the same the last time she saw him. Half-closed eyes, pained face, and the blood…

‘I’m sorry.’

None of the medic-nin looked at her to tell her what was going on. They didn’t need to. She knew they were trying, and trying hard, but it became apparent that they were close to giving up. She knew at that moment that she would never hear his laugh again, never see his living face that wasn’t streaked with blood, never see him jump up and run around without a care. She would never again feel his warmth pressed against her as he gave her one of his comforting hugs, she would never hear him say all those nice and wonderful things he’d always tell her when times got hard or when she just needed some hope. They would never have a conversation whose secrets were theirs and no one else’s.

She would never again see that bright, radiant and cheerful smile that could only belong to the world’s one and only Inuzuka Kiba.

She was wrong.

For a few moments his lips twitched, their edges slowly curving upwards into a small, contented smile.

‘Do you smile? Will you smile for me? I just want to see you smile.’

Warning lights went off in her head. Something, an intuition, a sixth sense, told her that something was wrong. As she watched the expressions on the medics’ faces turn from panic, fear, and dread, she knew it was all over. Something tugged at her heart as the bluish chakra dimmed. Somehow, she felt his at least faint presence disappear from the room, and she felt him leave.

And just like that, he was gone.

The world didn’t start spinning around her and neither did the atmosphere grow cold, as it said so in books. Hinata knew nothing was left unsaid, that even though she never got a chance to talk to him, she’d already said goodbye the moment she went inside the room, and he had said the same thing when he smiled at her, one last time.

‘I’m Inuzuka Kiba.’

The medics, knowing all the family and friends this boy had left behind, and knew it was their duty to inform everyone of his passing, wearily got up from their positions and one took a big piece of white cloth from the table and proceeded to draping it over Kiba’s body.

“Matte,” she blurted out. The medic stared at her strangely then nodded, as if understanding, and dropped the cloth and went to the other side of the room, to talk with his companion on how they will say the announcement.

Hinata knelt down beside him and contemplated on what to do next. All thoughts and memories leaving her in one split-second decision, she bent down and kissed him softly on his pale, blue lips. Then she touched his face, already turning cold, and lightly ran a hand through his brown hair. She would have wanted to spend more time with him, but there were no regrets.

‘Are you okay, Hinata-chan?’

After taking one last glimpse at his familiar, peaceful face, she draped the sheet over his head.

She rose up and headed for the door without hesitation. Everyone in the waiting room turned to her expectantly.

She shook her head, confirming the ominous suspicion: Kiba had taken his last breath that day. Everyone froze for a second, until emotions broke loose.

His parents knew they cannot mourn in public, but his sister bowed her head and streams could be seen flowing down her marked face.

Kurenai would let out occasional sniffles but tried to suppress her sniveling.

Hinata, however, had already cried, though it was not with physical tears.

‘I wouldn’t want to see you cry.’

It was a wish she dared not defy.

The doorway to the waiting room burst open, and a dirty, blood-stained Shino entered, panting.

“How is he!” He mouthed to Hinata, but he saw the weeping people inside and instantly knew what happened. His eyes softened, and he turned his back to all of them. Hinata watched blankly as his shoulders shook, and he sobbed. She drew nearer and hugged him briefly.







“He will be terribly missed.”

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OWARI

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PostSubject: Re: Gemini...... (Naruto fanfic, team eight) pt1   Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:48 pm

Pt 3


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Free your mind

Don’t let me down

We’ll find a way to make it go away

Oh, I’ll make it go away

-

Why can’t you see me like I see you?

Can’t you feel me like I feel you?

Can’t you be with me tonight?

-Spongecola, Dragonfly

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FIVE YEARS LATER…

The pale, raven-haired girl gently laid the white daisy on the heroes’ memorial, amidst a background of silver skies.

His name was carved on the obsidian stone, blending in and yet standing out among countless others.

Inuzuka Kiba.

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“Aburame Shino. The Hokage-sama asks for your presence at her office.” Said the man, beckoning towards the said place. After he left, Hinata leaned closer to Shino. Shino had been walking her home after training when a strange man interrupted them.

“Shino-kun? Why do you think you’re being called for?” She whispered. She had become more withdrawn and soft-spoken lately. Fortunately, everyone around her understood why.

“I don’t know, Hinata-chan,” he said gently. “But I do hope I passed the exam.”

She gave him a small smile. “I do not doubt it, Shino-kun.”

He smiled, a rare occasion, in return. “I apologize, but I must leave you here. The call sounded urgent.” He coughed into his hand, sounding quite pressured. .

“If you don’t mind, I would like to accompany you, Shino-kun.”

He nodded in relief. “Arigato.”

They walked in silence until the reached the door to the building. Shino looked at Hinata uncertainly.

“Go ahead, please. I will wait here.”

After he disappeared inside, Hinata leaned against the wall, crossing her fingers nervously.

“Kami-sama…” she prayed fervently. More than half an hour later, the door opened. She stood up abruptly.

“So… how was it, Shino-kun?” She clasped her hands expectantly.

He looked over his shoulder, which to her seemed like a head shake. Her face fell, until she saw the green leathery material he took from behind his back.

A Chuunin vest.

He smirked at her, and she drew nearer and hugged him happily.

“Your family, Kurenai-sensei, and our comrades will be proud of you, Shino-kun. I am proud of you…” Her eyes suddenly drifted upwards, to the sky, and her voice dropped low.

“Kiba will be proud of you too.” She spoke with the semblance of tears in her tone. It was not unfamiliar, to both of them.

“Come,” he said comfortingly, putting an arm around her shoulders as he escorted her outside. “I shall walk you home. And Hinata-chan?”

“Hai?”

“I miss him too.”

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“Father?”

Hiashi looked up from his table at his eldest daughter. “Yes, Hinata?”

“I… I…” She stammered, never failing to feel intimidated by the presence of her father.

He raised an eyebrow. “Hn?”

“I… I have decided… to give up being a fighting ninja. I have already sought the approval of my sensei, and I… would like to pursue being a medic. Shizune-san, the apprentice of the Hokage-sama, has already offered to take me in… as her student… Tha-that’s all…”

He stared at her intently, and Hinata felt like she was going to shrink in size.

“You do know that in doing so, you will relinquish the title of being the heiress to the Hyuuga, don’t you, Hinata?”

“Y-yes, father.”

“Are you sure of this?”

“Yes, I am sure.”

“Very well. Your title will be passed to your younger sister, Hanabi. You are dismissed.”

She bowed briefly, beginning to leave the room.

“And Hinata?”

“Father?” She turned back.

“I must let you know that I do think you made a wise decision. The entire clan knows your abilities as a ninja was never sufficient to become the Hyuuga head, and…

“And I wish you the best of luck in the profession you will pursue, in being a medic.”

It was a compliment, she knew, coming from Hiashi-sama, to which only one word can serve as a proper reply.

“Arigato.”

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“Hinata! Shino! How great it is to see you!” Kurenai greeted as soon as she saw her former pupils enter the familiar training grounds.

Kurenai gave Hinata an embrace and shook Shino’s hand. She then pointed to the three children who had been training with her.

“Team Eight, this is Aburame Shino-san and Hyuuga Hinata-san, my old students.” She paused. “ Shino, Hinata, they’re my new genin team. This here is Reddo, and his animal partner Urufu…”

She gestured to a boy with messy blonde-brown hair and baggy clothes. He grinned toothily at them, waving his hand. A small monkey clung to his arm, and he whispered a few words to it before turning to the newcomers.

“Konnichiwa!” He saluted them playfully. “Nice to meet you, Shino-san!” He took Hinata’s hand and kissed it lightly. “And you look very lovely today, Hinata-chan!”

Hinata smiled at him. Kurenai, however, thwacked his head.

“Red-ddo! I told you to behave yourself! You be polite, young man!” She ruffled his hair as he scowled. She laughed and gestured to another boy, who had his hands in his pockets and a mask covering his face, except for his eyes.

“This is Kuro...” Unlike Reddo’s loud and rowdy introduction, Kuro merely acknowledged them with a slight nod and a quiet repetition of their names.

“And finally, this is Hisakata,” Kurenai gently put her hand on a little girl’s head who was trying to hide behind her. Instead, the jounin pulled her from behind her back and out right in front of the two. Hisakata had straight, ebony hair that reached her knees, her long bangs falling over her wide eyes. She was slender and seemed awfully fragile. She gave the two a small wave before going behind Reddo, who was the closest to her. He grinned at her kindly, chuckling.

“Aw, come on Hisakata-chan, they won’t bite. Right now, Kuro?”

Kuro just stood there like a statue, making Reddo look like an utter fool. The enraged boy stuck his tongue out at him.

“I hate you, Kuro! You really think you’re all that, don’t you?”

Kurenai put her hands on her hips. “Reddo! Stop starting fights!”

The team and their new sensei argued among themselves for awhile Shino cleared his throat to indicate that Hinata and he were still there.

“Oh! I’m sorry about that.” Kurenai said, scratching the nape of her neck. “Heh. I almost forgot you two were there.”

Hinata nodded. “It’s okay, Kurenai-sama.”

Kurenai paused, sighing. “Coming from you, I think I liked the suffix ‘sensei’ much better than ‘sama’ better.” She then motioned to a corner of the grounds.

“Shino? Hinata? May I speak to you guys a moment?”

They nodded, allowing Kurenai to lead them to the spot. When she turned around, she noticed that Reddo had followed them too.

“Reddo? I meant to speak with them in private.” Kurenai wagged her eyebrows suggestively. Reddo pouted, stuck his tongue out and stormed off, muttering something close to ‘meanie-headed woman sensei…’ as he left.

Silence.

“They’re quite… special.” Shino remarked, referring to the new Team Eight. Kurenai followed his gaze.

“Yeah. They’re one hell of a team. In fact…” She looked at them again, a twinkle in her red eyes.

“They remind me of you guys. You know, Kuro, with his… calm demeanor and overview on things, is just like…”

“Me.” Mused Shino.

“Yeah. Very much like you, Shino. And Hisakata is a splitting image of you, Hinata.”

Said kunoichi blushed. “I can’t disagree. She’s… a lovely girl.”

“Indeed she is. And with Reddo… he’s exactly like… well… you know…” Kurenai shook her head feverishly.

“Um… It’s great to see you two… moving on… too…” She blinked several times. “Aw, crap, I miss that thick-headed rascal! Things have been quiet in our district since he left…” She laughed softly. After a few more moments of silence, she regained her upright composure.

“Anyway, I just want to see say, again, how great it is to see you two.” She said, eyes softening. “You’ve gone rather far since you left my care, and I couldn’t be prouder.” Kurenai couldn’t seem to have been able to hold it back any longer and she hugged both teens briefly.

“Hope to see you guys soon enough. I missed you.” Kurenai then grinned, realizing that she couldn’t look down at them anymore. Shino was even taller than she was now. It seemed that many things changed as time passed…

“Bye!”

Kurenai then ran to her new team again, leaving Shino and Hinata by themselves.

“Goodbye, Kurenai…

“--sensei.”

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PostSubject: Re: Gemini...... (Naruto fanfic, team eight) pt1   Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:48 pm

Pt 4


“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, INO!”

The cheers and laughter of the old Rookie nine, plus the former Gai Team, was heard in the restaurant, with the birthday celebration of Ino also serving as a reunion. They hadn’t seen much of each other in a while, except during missions, and their senseis were immediately assigned to new teams once their students were promoted.

Which meant that it would be a memorable party for all of them.

After the meal was over, most of the present shinobis went straight to partying.

“Happy birthday. Ino-chan,” greeted Hinata as she gave the blonde girl her gift.

“Arigatou, Hinata-chan.” The celebrant gave her a hug as she took the neatly-wrapped package. Even though the four girls of their batch became better friends over the years, the two had become considerably close because of some things they had in common.

“I didn’t think we would ever be happy again… you know, ever since Chouji died on that mission,” Ino commented shakily as the two watched their friends having fun on the dance floor.

Ino turned to Hinata. “Only ‘til last year did I find out how hard a blow losing Kiba must have been to you… and Shino, of course. Shikamaru was hysterical the first few days, and I’ve never seen him like that before…” She laughed a little. Hinata smiled too, recalling the first time she saw Shino actually cry.

Ino sighed, taking a drink. “Sometimes I don’t think I want the life of a ninja anymore… It hurts to see friends leave, just like that.” She snapped her fingers for emphasis.

“Same here,” Hinata replied quietly, absently stirring the ice in her glass.

They remained silent for a while, until Ino stood up and stretched her arms.

“Well, no use for nostalgia to attack right now, especially on my birthday! Come on, Hinata! We can’t let them have all the fun!” She exclaimed contentedly, grabbing Shikamaru as her dance partner.

“At least everyone else is happy,” Hinata bowed her head.

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“Hey, Hinata, can I trust you with a secret?” Tenten asked her, the weapon master’s cheeks tainted a soft pink.

“Of course, Ten-chan. What is it?”

Tenten leaned closer and whispered something in her ear.

“Neji asked me to the Shinobi dance.”

Hinata looked at her friend with amusement, though it didn’t come as much of a surprise. “Really? When did he do so?”

Tenten withdrew, throwing her head back to laugh. “Oh, just last night. Jeez, if only you saw how embarrassed he was. He was so red! Took him a while, too.”

Hinata remembered. Neji-niisan was out pretty late the previous night. “I see. I’m happy, for the both of you, Ten-san.”

The older kunoichi nudged her elbow. “So, how about you? Who are you going with? I heard Shino’s been thinking…”

She lowered her face. “Shino-kun… invited me. I… declined.”

“Aw, why is that?”

“I… I’m afraid I’m not ready… to move on yet. But there are no worries. Shino-kun… is a good friend to me. He understood.”

“I see. Well, I understand. I’ll see you at the dance, Hinata. Bye!”

Hinata watched her friend leave, still not abandoning her blissful and carefree mood. She sighed.

Did anyone really understand?

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He left, she knew, but he would never really be gone.

Until now.

Bitter tears that had been repressed for so long. coursed down her ashen cheeks. It had been seven years of denial, seven years of refusing to move on. She fell to her knees and one hand fingered every inch of the gravestone that was one of the symbols of his legacy.

She knew no matter how hard she tried, or whatever she did, she will never go about another day without thinking of him.

“Gomen, Kiba-kun. But I do not know how not to cry.” She choked out.

She pulled her jacket, actually hisjacket, closer to herself to prevent the cold from getting to her. It was the one he always wore in their genin days. After his death, his family gave it to her as a gift, knowing how much it meant to her, and she accepted it gratefully. She always wore it whenever she could, because felt like him, and reminded her of him, even after days on end. It was like having Kiba-kun hugging her all day.

She would cherish it forever.

She pulled the hood over her head as she saw a single raindrop make its way to one of the lily petals. Seconds later, it began to rain.

Suddenly, a shadow loomed over her, and she stopped feeling the cold rain crash into her.

She looked up, only to see who else but Aburame Shino, holding an umbrella over both of them.

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“Hey, Shino! Catch!”

Shino whirled around just as a fist-sized rubber ball hit him squarely in the face, right between his eyes, in fact. His sunglasses fell to the ground. One hand reached up to his face, only to mutter a quiet “Ow.”

In a second Kiba, Hinata and Akamaru were there beside him.

“Sh-Shino-kun, are you alright?”

“Ohmigod, I’m so sorry Bug Frea--, I mean Shino! I didn’t mean to hit you! I told you to catch! I really didn’t! I swear!”

“Bark bark!”

Hinata stepped closer to peer at the bridge of his nose. “I-I think it’s broken, Shino-kun.”

Shino nodded. It really did hurt. Quite a lot, actually.

Kiba started to holler, flailing his arms around.

“Oh no! Shino! We have to call someone to fix your nose! Ohmigod! Quick, Akamaru! Call Kurenai-sensei! Call the ANBU! This is an emergency! No! Call the Hokage-sama herself! Should I get my sister? Oh, wait, she’s a vet! No! Call…”

He was stopped by a light punch directly at his own nose, provided by Shino.

He crossed his eyes to look at his aching part, using both hands to rub it. “Hey, Shino! What did you do that for!”

“To shut you up.”

“Oh.”

Hinata giggled softly. “You two must stay here while I call a medic. Hai?”

“Hai hai.”

“Demo, Hinata-chan…”

“Kiba, if you don’t shut up, I’ll give you a broken nose of your own too.” Shino said.

The canine ninja crossed his arms, pouting. Shino shook his head, trying to hide a smile, while Hinata didn’t even try to suppress hers as she ran towards the hospital.

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It only meant one thing whenever Hinata arrived at training with red-rimmed eyes.

Kiba caught Shino’s gaze, even behind the sunglasses. Both sighed wearily, turning to their teacher.

“Kurenai-sensei…” Shino began.

She nodded instantaneously. “Yes, I understand. Team Eight, training is cancelled for today. Kiba, Shino, please kindly escort Hinata home.” Kurenai gave another solemn nod and disappeared.

It was Kiba who approached her first. “Hey, Hinata-chan! I’ll treat you to ramen, okay?” He said kindly.

“No, Kiba. You did that last time. I’ll pay for it today. Is that alright Kiba, Hinata?” Shino offered.

“A-ariga-tou…” Hinata choked, before bursting into well-worn tears, hiding her face in her pale, tiny hands. Kiba wrapped his arms around her in a sort of awkward hug, but his intentions were welcomed. The three stood there for what seemed like hours, Hinata crying, Kiba gently patting her back or stroking her hair while continuously whispering “Don’t let your father get you down, Hinata. Me and Shino will help you train, hai?” and Shino watching them, giving her his support by his mere presence.

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“Let’s go home, Hinata-chan.” He said silently. Hinata couldn’t have been more surprised. She took her face from her hands but didn’t face him yet.

“You’ve always been there, haven’t you, Shino-kun?”

There was a silent pause. “Of course.

“That’s what I’m here for.”

She inched closer to him, a grateful smile on her lips.

“Thank you. And Shino-kun?”

“Hmmm?”

“Will you promise, that whatever might happen, to us, in the future, that you and me, we will never, never ever forget?”

He put his arm around her shoulders, giving her better shelter from the rain.

“I promise.”

It was then that she remembered one particular memory, one sunset years ago, in a small playground just outside of the village. It made her brave a smile through her tears, as rain fell poured down incessantly on her and Shino

‘Will you still come back for me?’

Yes…

… Yes, she would.

x-o-x-o-x-o-x-o-x-o-o-x-o-x-o-x-o-x-o-x

OWARI

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