Disclaimer: Naruto and its characters belong to Masashi Kishimoto

"Yellow?" She questions, slight shock in her voice. "Kiba, a-a-a-are you sure about this?"

"Awww. C'mon Hinata, it'll be fun, ya know? Adds color to the dark suit and all," he encourages.

"B-b-b...but, why yellow?" she asks, perplexed.

Because. He thinks solemnly, but bounces back with a quick response.

"A splash of yellow speaks of the bright, sunny day it will be for you. Am I right?" Then, falling back into his usual flirty behavior, he teases her with a suggestive wiggle of his eyebrow to see if he can get a response.

Hinata shyly smiles at his answer with a light blush that colors her cheeks, and it makes him feel warm.

"Besides, deep down you know you love it. It's practically the color of Naruto's hair!" he blurts before he can stop himself.

At the mention of said blond, he notices how she casts her gaze downward and blushes even more crimson. Her reaction abruptly snaps him back to reality and it stings, but he manages to hold his façade of happiness in place.

"You love Naruto and want to marry him, don't ya?" He asks seriously.

Hinata nods and speaks up quietly. "Yes, it's what I've secretly wanted all of my life," she admits.

He pauses but pushes himself to continue on. "Well then, nothing makes me happier than to witness your dream come true, so what da ya say? Can't I be a little different and wear the yellow rose as my boutonniere? It would mean a lot to me and it would definitely spice things up a bit!"

"Um...well..." She looks his way, then realizes she can't think of a good reason to deny him. "Okay, if it's what you really want."

"Thanks," he says and trots off.

Kiba carries himself with all the confidence in the world and jogs away from Hinata in what appears to be a jovial mood, but when he approaches the next block, he quickly turns the corner, and away from her watchful gaze, leans hard against the building's wall, closes his eyes, and allows the sadness to creep in. All at once, the lie pierces him in the gut, seizing his heart and making him want to howl out in pain. The color of the rose may look a lot like Naruto's hair but the Inuzuka purposely picked it for something far more meaningful. It's the story of my life with you, he internalizes.

Alone in the alleyway, he laments. Hinata has been his childhood teammate and close friend for as long as he can remember, the one girl who understood him without a spoken word. She was the gentle, shy beauty just waiting to blossom, but even when no one else bothered, he'd noticed her. The Hyūga heiress was sweet and kind. There wasn't a mean bone in her body, and whether she knew it or not, her presence lit up his world. Presently he knows it sounds crazy, but there was a time when he believed he might have a chance with her. He knew she had a crush on Naruto, but in their younger days, the guy was so dense, Kiba honestly believed the Uzumaki would never reciprocate, and that one day, lovely Hinata would eventually give up on him. He'd often fantasize when that happened, his comforting companionship would be the magic salve to help her to heal. Time would be needed, but he believed with understanding (and a little luck), she'd eventually be able to open her heart to him. From then on, it would be easy for him to love her the way she deserved. Patience and perseverance were the keys to achieving his goal...he was sure of it! And with them, it was all but guaranteed he would earn the love from the girl of his dreams and be able to live out his happily ever.

Unfortunately that was all just a pipe dream now. Naruto eventually came to his senses and discovered he had feelings for the Hyūga darling. He even took the leap and asked her out on a proper date. From then on, everything progressed better than ever for Hinata and their love flourished. Currently their wedding was just a week away and although he dreaded it, Kiba knew his plans of being with her needed to die. He would be a friend of the bride (and groom) but it pained him that's all he would ever be.

Man! This is all so unfair! he wants to shout.

To try to ease his inner conflict, and perhaps as a self preservation tactic, his inner mind tries valiantly to shift the blame Naruto, despise him even, but he finds can't. Naruto is a good guy, a hero by no stretch of the imagination. It took him years, but he finally opened his eyes to appreciate Hinata the tender and brilliant way she deserved. He also isn't able to hold anything against the lovely Hinata. Being with Naruto had been her lifelong her dream. Everyone in the Village knew that. She'd even bravely confessed to Naruto while risking death just to save him!

As the dreaded date nears, he continues to live in denial, but inevitably it finally arrives: The day of the Uzumaki wedding. A part of him wants to show up in all black for the pictures, but as promised, he sports a western tuxedo for the bridal party/special friend pictures that are taking place before the actual ceremony. In the meantime, distinguished guests from distant lands flock to Konoha ready to witness the union. Excited chatter fills the air and ladies of all ages can't get enough of the cutest couple of all time. In every respect it should be a happy time. Peace has arrived and it's the first big celebration since the end of the war. Somehow though, the only thing going through his head is...This ceremony should have been for you and me, Hinata!

Dressed in his best, Kiba stands with the wedding party and the prominent yellow rose is pinned above the breast pocket just over his heart, while the remaining groomsmen don the single red rose Hinata chose for them.

Deep red stands for true love and it's too heartbreaking for him to wear the color and keep up his façade happiness for her. This is the saddest day in his life...The day his dream of a future with her must die.

He glances over at his friends and aligns himself properly for the group picture, and soon the clicks of the camera go off. His smile is fake, but everyone is too happy gushing over the couple to bother to notice.

After the photos, with exception for the bride and groom, the friends all change back into their usual attire, and Kiba shoves his tux in its bag and joins the others outdoors to take their places to witness the union. In all honesty, he remembers nothing that follows, only how beautiful Hinata looked on the altar with her pearlescent eyes and sweet tender smile.

During his turn in the receiving line, Kiba jokingly takes a few jabs at Naruto, teasing him in his new role as husband, but internally he can't quell the desire that he truly wishes he were standing in Naruto's place. He gathers himself though, says his congratulations, and heads off to the reception.

The festivities that follow are long, and it's exhausting keeping up the ruse. He forces himself to manage it though, and when he finally arrives back home, he removes the yellow rose from his tux and throws it onto his dresser. He should really trash it...put the whole event behind him, but instead he allows it to sit there, and with morbid fascination, watches it over the coming days as it begins to shrivel and die.

As one love blossoms, another withers, it seems to say. He knows it's stupid, but he can't get over the fact this is the sign that all the happy times of his and Hinata's friendship together were never meant to go any further.

Kiba tries to move on. He really does, and to the casual observer, he's his same ole' self. In the aftermath, a grand effort is made to appear to be 'fine,' and for the most part it works. That is until a fresh wound is inflicted when he bumps into the happy couple after they return from their honeymoon and he learns from Hinata of Sakura and Ino's engagements.

Right then, any and all progress falls flat on its face.

'Hinata-chan, I really want to take the high road and wish you all the best as you enjoy the love from your golden sun, Naruto, but today I...I just can't.

Quickly heading home he slumps behind the door and berates himself he was never brave enough to tell Hinata how he really felt or ever mustered the courage to try. It's now made worse knowing people like Sasuke and Sai were able to, and as he pets his longtime companion Akamaru, he can't seem to shake the feeling that he's getting more and more isolated from the pack. Everyone else was able to find and win over their special person. Am I the only one destined to be friendzoned? His worries intensify, and with darkness he wonders now that he's lost the woman he thought he'd have a future with, will he ever experience true love with a woman who will love him back?

Love is tender, wonderful, and kind. It's the richest gift that can bestowed in a lifetime... unless of course, you're a 'have not'.

As the days pass, Kiba boasts that being a bachelor is the best thing in the world. 'The freedom is like no other,' he claims. There are even moments he half believes it when he's around a crowd, but when alone, he struggles to bury his dream of being with the one girl he loved from afar. He continues to bravely risk his life to do his duty, keeping busy, and pushing himself to laugh and gather with his fellow friends as a fun lovin' guy. But, at the end of each day, when he sits in the quiet confines of his home, there is no wife to greet him, no special nights, no special touches or dreams of populating a new generation, and that's when things get tough. He knows once his heart fully lets Hinata go, beneath the jovial man with the red marks will only lie a man of muddied dreams whose goal of winning her love will forever remain unfulfilled. This place he's at, this rut, it feels like there's nothing but endless torment and loneliness. His heart feels like it will be forever broken, and a huge fear continues to consume his every thought: Will fate ever be kind and bring him a mutual love to help him pick up the pieces? Or is he destined to forever be alone? The uncertainly of it all leaves him miserable, but he's a ninja and does his best to stay unfazed. It's hard, but to keep himself afloat, he clings to the hope that the passing of time will somehow be able to mend these feelings of sorrow, and that one day in the future there will indeed be happiness in store him after all the pain.

The end

Author's note:

A red rose represents beauty and perfection: true love, but a yellow represents friendship and nothing more.

With White Day passing and Spring and Summer Weddings coming, it can be hard on the have nots. Fear of being alone is not easy nor fun and can definitely grate on you when you're the only one flying solo. Navigating the ups and downs of life when it comes to love is often a struggle, so let's hope there are happier days for Kiba.

Written for National Heartbreak Day, May 29, 2022 and for my Show me the 'Review' Love Challenge. A big thank you to: mississippimudpiecraves, naash, RushiAei, usagi-no-usotsuki, WildMan98, and Yengirl for your participation this round and for supporting the spread of the positive constructive review. To all my readers, there's a great variety of stories submitted this time so please hop over to my C2 account to see what they've published and don't forget to kindly review. Positive constructive reviews are the great motivator to write and share, so don't forget to include yours. Take care everyone and have a great Memorial Day Weekend.