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Time Skip

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Kiba scowled as he caught a whiff of the Haruno girl's scent.

'Why don't you like her?' Akamaru yapped as he trotted alongside his master. She's nice.

"I just… don't, okay?" he growled, sticking his hands into his pockets.

'You don't like that she's replaced Hinata.' Akamaru cut straight to the heart of the matter, giving his master a look that the young man could only assume had been learned from his mother.

"That too." Kiba muttered as he came up on the Team 8 clearing. "And she doesn't seem to know anything." In fact, it was rather sad. She was just as bad as he'd feared- almost completely useless. She had above average stealth, especially now that she'd gotten rid of that godawful dress, but that didn't help when his nose could easily pick her scent up at fifty paces.

He fixed his scowl back onto his face, breaking through the tree line. He was early, actually (he was usually the last one before Kurenai-sensei arrived) and he wasn't surprised when he saw that familiar (annoying) shock of pink hair.

"Haruno-" Kiba froze at the same time that Sakura whipped around.

She was covered from head to foot in bruises- concentrating on her arms and sides for the most part. The glow of healing chakra on his hand flickered out in surprise.

"What happened?" Kiba demanded, stomping up to her. Rage radiated from him in waves, making even Akamaru's fur bristle a little.

"Training." Sakura muttered, resuming her healing.

"Bullshit!" Kiba yelled, reaching forward to stop her from applying the jutsu. "This isn't training; someone's beating the crap out of you!"

"So?" Sakur shot back, shooting to her feet. "You don't care! You've mentioned several times that I'm not a part of this team. You don't have the right!"

Kiba gulped, guilt on his face. "Yeah, but-"

"Who could forget," Sakura sneered. "'Don't thank me,'" she parroted. "'I'm just keeping you alive until we get Hinata back. After, you can go drag some other team down with you.' Isn't that what you said?"

Kiba actually physically flinched. They'd gone on a C-rank escort mission the first week she'd been assigned to them. While she'd managed to hold her own for a while against a group of bandits, one had broken through her genjutsu and Kiba had been forced to intercept the hit. When she'd attempted to bandage it after the enemy were dispatched he'd been... less than understanding. "Yes, but-"

"Shut up!" Kiba slammed his mouth shut. He'd usually stand up for himself and cuss back but in this case his instincts were screaming alpha female. "I'm trying the best I can you ! I'm a civilian kid you asshole! I wasn't born with some fancy clan techniques or bloodline. Hell, I didn't even have any teachers who taught me anything and I sure as hell didn't have teammates who stuck by me either. So do me a favor and go-!"

What followed afterward was a torrent of the most foul words Kiba had ever heard, suggesting he go do something that was in all probability physically and mentally damaging and considered morally wrong in most countries. Through his humiliation he allowed a note of relief that the kunoichi kept Akamaru out of it- something the smug little dog seemed to be aware of as he was calmly lying down at Sakura's feet and laughing that raspy dog laugh that Kiba hated.

"-and furthurmore-"

"Sakura!"

Sakura froze, mid-rant. She gulped and Kiba heaved a sigh of relief at the face of his saviour. "Kurenai-sensei..."

"What is the meaning of this?" the women barked, striding up to the two of them.

"Er-"

"I was-"

"I believe the yelling started when Kiba started questioning her methods of training." Shino said quietly from his silent position next to his sensei. "Why? Because Kiba called her dead weight."

Kurenai locked her red eyes on the both of them and they both simultaneously cringed at the heightened feeling of doom that fell on their shoulders.

"Well," she said in a dangeorus tone. "I believe I know what we're going to do today."