Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. But I do have some pocky.
Prologue: Sword and Sheath
She watched him from her perch, beyond the tree line. Her eyes stared in awe at the beauty the blond had, the grace full slashes down to the elegant steps he took. Never in her life had she assumed that the loud mouth blonde she had known in her academy days could hold such a great secret.
Thinking back, she understood why he was doing what he was doing. Hiding his skill and his arts from the rest of the genins, that had graduated a few weeks ago. He was always underappreciated, back when they were still in the academy, she had known him as a loner, condemned to staying in the background until he acted on those pranks he pulled for attention.
She never understood the puzzle known as Uzumaki Naruto, but today, she found out something about him that even his sensei did not know. The boy actually had skill. He wasn't an expert on any know forms of Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, nor Taijutsu. But the experience and the knowledge he displayed with Kenjutsu was astounding.
She gasped as the blonde slashed downwards, dividing the wind, and splitting several trees that stood a few meters from him. The power he was displaying with the sword right now, took her breath away. She watched him turn and settle into a stance, collecting his mind, and fixating his body in perfect synchronization.
With the orange jacket, he always wore, off. She could see his lean physique coming into harmony with his surroundings. She held her breath, staring into his blind folded face as he steadied him self into another stance, one she had never seen in the few weeks she had stalked him, trying to learn more about her orange clad comrade.
He whispered something, then flew forward with blinding speed. She blinked as she tried to comprehend what he had done to the tree, that she presumed was his target.
Her eyes grew wide as saucers when the tree split apart in nine different places. She thought back to what she had over heard back at home. She had just woken up when she over hared her parents talking. It seemed as though they were splitting up team seven because of friction between the team's members. It wasn't apparent as to why her parents chose to listen until they mention a member of team seven was going to join team Ino-Shika-Cho. She had been giddy about that, thinking it was the last of the Uchiha that was to join them. Until she hared her mother made a comment, telling her husband that Uzumaki would indeed be a good edition to the team, and that maybe their daughter would learn something from the "Main House Heir". She exploded when she hared that, the thought of the "Dead Last Looser" joining her team and teaching her something was too much.
That was what she thought until she chose to stalk him, trying to pull a prank on him when he least expected. When he walked up the steps to the top of the Hokage's monument, she chose time to observe him for his weaknesses. When the blonde removed his jacket, and had drawn out a Katana, she almost laughed a the though of him cutting himself with it. That was until he started to dance with it. At first, she thought he was just waving around the weapon stupidly, day dreaming about himself being great. Then it started raining.
As the water poured from the skies above, she started to notice the crackling that the sword had left behind. The katana seemed as if it had a mind completely independent from the wielder's. It danced across the rain, drawing what seemed as to be patterns into the downpour.
When she had inquired about it to her parents, she found out a little known fact about Uzumaki Naruto.
He wasn't "Dead Last."
She asked for more information, and her parents told her of his decent, making her promise never to tell another soul.
The Heir of three clans, she hared. A master swordsman of the Clan Uzumaki, a long lost clan of Samurais that had disappeared about five hundred years ago. An heir of the Kazama clan of the Legendary Hidden Air, masters of the art of shadow walking, and main house to the bloodline that spawned the Nara, Uchiha, and Hyuuga. The Hidden Air was in fact, the first ninja clan that graced the world. And finally, an Heir of the clan Yamanaka, where her ancestry derives from, but unlike their family, Naruto's clan is the original house of Yamanaka, their ability with mind alteration and advanced telekinetics, generations ahead of her own family.
She was shocked at first, and had asked what at the time seemed to bee the most logical question that came into her mind.
"So why is dose he act so dumb?"
To that, her parents answered mysteriously, alluding to the well known ninja motto "You must look underneath the underneath."
And now as she stood on her perch, she contemplated about all the responsibilities the blonde had. An heir to three clans seemed to be a good target for assassins and kidnapers, trying to find the secrets of his families. With the cheerful visage he held, he seemed a weak and probably a good candidate to be victimized. But her parents told her of his knowledge in the arts of his clans. Though still a novice at best, the skill the boy possessed were levels beyond her and her classmate, even Uchiha Sasuke.
"Oi Ino!" he called out startling her from her perch. "Are you going to come here and train or are you going to marvel at my greatness all day?" he joked.
She looked curiously at him, trying to comprehend the invitation he had just yelled to her. And for that matter, how the heck did hi know she was here? She asked her self, staring in disbelief at his blind folded face.
"Your parents told me that you knew." He told her. "Said something about wanting me to help you with training."
"What!" she asked him stupidly.
"I know, I know. You'd rather be training with dumb ass Uchiha, right?" it came out more as a statement then a question.
"Well then, don't waste my time, if your just another Sasuke junkie. Now what the hell do you want, and why are you hear?" he asked.
"…………" came her "Oh so intelligent" reply.
"My greatness profound you don't it?" He asked with a chuckle. "Or is it my great and handsome face?" he said, taking of the blind fold, revealing his sky blue eyes.
"Look, I just came here to….Um………………Yeah... So leave me alone!" she yelled at him.
Naruto strode towards the edge of the cliff, over looking the village. He returned the katana to its sheath, and turned to look at the bright blue skie.
"You know……..I' m really looking forward to our firs meeting." He told her.
"What do you mean?" she asked curiously.
He turned to smile at her.
"I just have a good feeling about this team. Not like the first one with the bastard Uchiha and dimwit Haruno." He told her.
"It couldn't have been that bad, I mean, common this is Sasuke kun and forehead girl we're talking about. Their the best in the class in Ninjutsu theory and academics." She tried to reason.
"It may seem so, but those don't get you no where in the real world." He told her sadly.
"I learned that the hard way."
"Common, lets go back to the village. I'll introduce you to Choji and Shikamaru." She said, taking him by the hand and running of towards the steps that lead up to the top of the monument.
'Make that a real good feeling.' Naruto thought to himself.
He found him self reminiscing the days of his early childhood, running around with his friends in the village of Uzumaki. Hidden from the wars and affairs of the larger countries, isolated and peaceful, where no snake and Uchihas roamed. Back then, he had friends that liked him, friends that loved hanging around him just because of his loud obnoxious attitude. He quietly cursed Sarutobi and his father for making him come here.
He always knew he was different, right to the time when the priest had exorcised him of the great fox and sealed it yet again into the blade he now caries. He grew with many children, learning the arts of his the three great clans. Learning the how to maintain the mask he had held since his arrival in Konoha.
Despite what the villagers here felt, he had to keep in mind not to bare with them. After all, in about a few days, all his friends and family would move here. He smiled a little. Three years of living alone was defiantly unhealthy, that's what his aunt Ayane would tell him.
It had actually had been old man Sarutobi's idea. He reasoned of the dangers the three great families now faced, Uzumaki's isolation, Yamanaka main house's location near the Sound, and the Kazama's nomadic ways had put the clans in danger. The best solution, he had told them, was for them to move in to the old estates of the Kazama Arashi, the last heir of the Kazama clan.
He had been happy when they had agreed, and happier still that the old man was actually willing to let him transfer into another team. He shivered at the thought. Two hundred needles pricing his body, and Uchiha Sasuke's cold voice telling him of his great weaknesses.
The hunter had awakened then, nearly killing the girl named Haku, and bashing the Uchiha to the point of exhaustion. He never forgave him when that happened, the betrayal of the Uchiha was the binding memory that burned through his mind and edged it self into his heart as the becoming though that he would always look back too when he remembered.
But it wasn't worth it. They weren't worth it. He couldn't believe he had actually loved the banshee known as Sakura. He almos……
"What the hell was that for!" Naruto bellowed at Ino, rubbing the bump that came after the blonde girl's initial strike
"For spacing out while I was talking, urchin head!" Ino bellowed back.
"What the hell did you call me, you dumb blonde!" he asked/yelled at her.
"Dumb blonde….Dumb blonde!" she asked incredulously.
Shikamaru and Choji stared sadly at their new teammate. It was their first time meating, not to mention they still didn't know hadn't introduced themselves whet the great witch known as Yamanaka Ino had decided she needed Taijutsu training, and that Naruto seemed to be a good practice dummy.
"Itai…." The hared their teammate groaning from the ground.
He slowly got up to eye position, staring at the two best friends before grining.
"Don't worry I already know you two. Lazy boy and Chip man right?" he inquired.
Shikamaru's eyebrow twitched, while Choji tried to look offended. Of course he wasn't, but he didn't want to be the third wheel of the group.
"Actually its Choji." Shikamaru said pointing to his round friend. "And Shikamaru." He finished, pointing to himself.
"Ohh…so its Chi chi." Naruto said, pointing to his round teammate. "And Bakamaru." He finished, pointing to the Nara.
Ino burst out laughing at that, sure the blonde haired blue eyed, not to mention pretty cute when he isn't wearing that forehead protector on his forehead, fox boy was troublesome, but if anyone could make Shikamaru at twitch like that, was ok in her book.
"Gomen, Gomen, I'm just joking around……How bout we go to my place and train?" he asked.
"Sure." Ino answered, ignoring Shikamaru's silent protest and Choji's glaring eyes.
"My aunt sent me some of her famous homemade onigiri, there should be some left in the fridge, and I marinaded some chicken and ribs last night." He told them. "I was actually thinking about barbe…" he never finished his sentence, seeing how Choji had suddenly grown three times his size and carried them off running towards the sunset.
'Should I tell him we're going the wrong way?' he asked himself.
Ino stared in awe as the entered the blonde boy's home, the traditional Japanese make of the house astounded her. The mansion wasn't anything like the Uchiha manor she had seen often in her Sasuke expeditions with Sakura, this place was more inviting. She noted as they had entered the estates, the genjutsu that the family had used to protect themselves. She also noted the mini village that was contained within the walls of the giant complex. The estates itself was about twice the size of the Hyuuga estates, the only thing not ugly looking about this place were the abandoned homes that stood in ruins.
As they walked through the paper slide doors of the manor, she stared intently at the blonde's servents. Seeing that all were dressed in the same manor as Hyuuga Hisashi, which she had seen often times when she went with her father to the meeting grounds.
"Oh yeah, don't mind them, their just here to look after me and the estates. Their sort of a early party for the rest of the clan, since their coming here the day after tomorrow." The blonde told her, when he caught sight of her curious look.
"You have a clan?" Shikamaru asked incredulously.
"Actually Bakamaru, I have three." The blonde told him proudly.
Ino paid no attention to the conversation between the three. Instead, she gazed around in wonder as they entered the main complex of the manor. The lay out of the manor was quit simple actually, it only consisted of the walls that surrounded the box shaped complex and the three buildings that served as a sleeping area of the main families.
The group entered the dining area, where they sat down to talk more about themselves as one of the blonde's servant/relative worked on the grill, preparing their lunch for the day.
"Why didn't you show Sakura this while you were still in team seven? I'm sure she would have been impressed." The blonde girl comented.
"Che…..Anyone who chases a person, just because of material wealth, isn't worth the said person's time." Naruto answered.
"I agree." Shikamaru stated, and Choji nodded signaling his agreement.
"So why are you telling us, and not them?" the girl asked.
"That's because you took the time to get to know me rather than just running off after the bastard. Anyone who gives me a second glance, deserves to know me better. If your just going to assume something that you don't already know about, then your not worth my time." He answered.
"We're having a party when my family arrives, I already know Ino and Shikamaru are coming, so what about you Choji, are you going to come or should I tell the cooks not too marinade anymore BBQ?" he asked the P.H.A.T boy, or so he liked to tell himself.
Faster then the eye could blink, Choji was in front of Naruto, kneeling before him showing great and profound respect.
"I would be greatly honored to accept your invitation, oh great king of shinobis." He told Naruto.
Naruto smiled nervously, backing away a little from his large, newfound friend.
"Ha ha ha, no need to do that, we are team mates aren't we?" he commented nervously.
"Hai, oh great Naruto sama." Choji answered.
Shikamaru, and Ino rolled their eyes simultaneously. Leave it to Choji to suck up to someone that offered him free food.
"So what are we going to do with the whole training thing?" asked Naruto, trying to lighten up the completely serious mood. Serious for Choji at least.
"I was thinking we could just spar, then go off watching clouds. I saw a hill on our way here, seems like a good spot to cloud watching at, with the sakura tree providing shade and all……" Shikamaru said.
"No…" Ino comented, "were already far behind as it is, and I don't want to loose to Sakura." She told them
"So we're just gonna spar?" asked Naruto.
"Well you two could spar. Me and Choji could work on our new attacks." Shikamaru told them.
"Sure….that could work." Comented Ino. "How bout you teaching me some of that fancy Kenjutsu you were using on the Monument?" she asked Naruto.
"Ha ha ha…No can do, their family techniques and I can't just give them to you unless we're married or something." He answered.
Shikamaru shivered at the thought of marriage with the Yamanaka Inoshi's "Sweet and Inocent", bright little girl
Ino on the other hand, contemplated on what teqniques she wanted to work on. And Choji, he just stared loningly at the grill master and his grill, inhaling the sweet and beautiful sent of the heaven that was BBQ.
In the suspicious looking room in the very suspicious looking Hokage's Tower, seven people sat around a crystal ball, observing the beginnings of team Ino-Shika-Cho-Naru.
"This is the start of a beautiful friendship." Nara Shikato commented, his wife, the Akemichi couple, and the Yamanakas nodded.
Sandaime just smiled, thinking of the food that Naruto's famous aunt Ayane was famous for.
"So their arriving in two days right?" he asked the couples.
"Yup……I cant wait to try Ayane san's famous round house devil's chocolate cake." Commented Chojimaru, his wife and the rest of the rooms attendees nodded in response.
Author's Notes: Please review and tell me what I did wrong. Don't flame though. (Chi Chi is japaneas for tits.)