I don't own Naruto
Anyone can distinguish an idiot. It's fairly easy; a good example would be Uzumaki Naruto. Explaining why an idiot is an idiot is not quite as easy. Oh, it's easy to give reasons on why a certain person is an idiot, but to actually detail the reason would require quite a bit of philosophy. Uzumaki Naruto is an idiot because he's weird. What makes him weird? Uh…….because he's loud. So being loud makes someone an idiot, like Hokage-sama, right? She gets pretty loud when she drinks and gambles (not to mention when she's angry and irritated). However, claiming that the number one ninja of a ninja village is an idiot could lead to unwanted consequences; like having your leg surgically removed and replaced inside your anus. But we are getting off point here. We all know that Tsunade-sama is not an idiot. Why? She just isn't. So, that leads us back to the question of why Naruto is an idiot. Okay, new reason, he's annoyingly loud. Ah yes, how simple it is to equate annoyingness with idiocy. We don't know why being annoying results into idiocy, we just do. And who can forget that Naruto is the class dobe, which of course means he's an idiot. Forget the fact that his class consisted of a book-nerd with a large forehead, a genius from a tragic genius clan, a lazy baka with an IQ over 200, an heir to the most prestigious clan in Konoha, and so on. That doesn't matter; a dobe is a dobe, regardless of circumstances.
But we are getting way off topic here; the point of the matter is that idiots are easy to distinguish; however, explaining why they are idiots can be extremely tricky. The reasoning behind idiocy just leads to more idiocy, a never ending cycle that humans fall prey to. Let us analyze Uzumaki Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto has always liked Haruno Sakura. There's nothing idiotic about that at all. The thing that first caught his attention about his Sakura-chan is her hair. Once again, nothing is wrong with starting to like someone over a certain feature. In fact, females in general use their looks (and in Sakura's case, her hair) to capture the attention of the opposite sex. Naruto started liking Sakura because she had the longest hair of all the females he knew of in his age range. Ah………now that can be misconstrued as an idiotic reason. It's just not normal to like someone because their hair is long; it's a fact that isn't widely accepted in society, thus leading to labeling Naruto as an idiot.
But in defense of Naruto, the Kyuubi-container isn't an idiot. He's just perceived as one. The blonde ramen fiend in his quest to become the greatest Hokage of all time stumbled upon many explanations of why things are just the way things are. He one time overheard a mother tell her daughter why girls have longer hair than boys. "It's because boys like girls with long hair." Excited with his newfound knowledge, the young boy logically reasoned that since boys liked girls with long hair, he should therefore start liking girls with long hair. Since he was going to be the best there ever was in everything he did, he then found the girl with the longest hair and started his stalking…..errr…..admiring of Sakura-chan. A completely non-idiotic reason if completely thought out. Feel stupid for thinking Naruto's reason is idiotic? Well don't, because anything idiotic can be reasoned with a colorful use of words into something plausible with the right amount of imagination.
Now that your mind is completely frazzled by this trivial information, let us return to why this information is needed to clarify a situation. A now 17 year old Uzumaki Naruto has fallen in love with Yamanako Ino. But wait, what about Sakura? How can Naruto fall for someone else when he is infatuated with the youngest Haruno? Even after having her hair shortened, Naruto continued to like Sakura. Even after defeating a demon possessed psychopath known as Gaara and not receiving any acknowledgement from his crush, he continued to like Sakura. Even after promising to bring back one of the traitorous Uchiha that she boldly claimed that she loved to a heartbroken scapegoat of Konoha, he continued to like her. Throughout his entire three years, he built a reputation outside of Konoha that only a hero could allege to having. And even though he acquired quite a number of female followers during his reputation building, much to the glee of a perverted teacher, he continued to like his pink-haired goddess. Throughout all this pain and suffering, he continued to like her and follow her like the loyal friend that only Uzumaki Naruto was capable of.
So, why has the eternal rival of the pink-haired goddess caught the attention of Konoha's number one surprising ninja? For a year after his return from his training trip, he formed a tight working bond with Sakura, keeping Team Seven alive and well. It was at this point, close to a year after his return to Konoha, where all of his adoration came to a painstaking halt. In an intoxicated state, Sakura blurted out that she loved Naruto, which of course lead to Naruto whooping and leaping for joy………until she giggled at his shenanigans and said that him acting like the way he was at the moment was why she considered him her best friend, a brother that she never had. AW HELL NO! Best friend status, also dubbed as the "mission failed, find love elsewhere."
Thus began Naruto's search for a new girl to stalk….errrr…….admire. Twelve hours and sixteen minutes after making his life-changing decision, he stumbled upon Ino. Ino was walking out of the public bath house with her hair down, allowing Naruto to see that she quite possibly had the longest hair in his age group. Of course, this made his decision of choosing her as his next victim…..errr…..crush easy. Yes, this was the only factor to his decision making. Her wearing, in his opinion, a modest (skin-tight) white (see-through) chemise (deep v-neck and showing off her midriff) had absolutely nothing to do with his decision at all. Yup, nothing at all.
As Ino walked out of the bath house, she couldn't help but notice a drooling Naruto gawking at her direction. Feeling self-conscious, she felt disgusted about the blatant ogling of her body, until she turned around and saw a ramen booth. Lightly knocking her head with her knuckles, she chuckled as she realized her stupidity at her initial assumption. 'Naruto was just drooling at the sight and smell of ramen. He isn't the kind of guy to gawk at a woman's body. He's too much of an idiot. Plus, he's crazy over forehead girl and waaaaaaay too loyal to her.' Poor Ino, you should never go against your woman intuition.
"Long time no see Naruto, close your mouth, I think I saw a fly go in." Naruto quickly snapped out of his daze and used his ninja skills to act like he wasn't mentally disrobing Ino…….while having his gaze glued on her chest. Luckily for Naruto, Ino was facing the ramen booth. "Hey Naruto, wanna head over and get some ramen? I haven't had anything to eat yet, and I don't want to eat alone." A recovered and stabilized shinobi of Konoha responded with a smirk, "It really must have been a long time if you need to ask me if I want to go get some ramen."
"Baka, I was just following social protocol and asked to be polite. Wait right here, let me go put up my bath supplies. Be back in a minute, on second thought, go ahead and sit down and order me a miso ramen." As Ino finished her instructions, she quickly turned around and left, giving Naruto a very enjoyable view of Ino's backside. 'Whoa, those are some tight shorts. Damn, I really need to stop hanging out with Ero-sennin. While I'm at it, I think I should limit my time with Kakashi-sensei too.'
As Naruto sat down and ordered his and her food, Ino returned. (Hey man, they're ninja, they, like, run at the speed of light.) Much to Naruto's chagrin, his ramen partner was dressed in her normal attire. But before he could further mentally wail about the platinum blonde's form of dress, she interrupted his thoughts with a question, "So Naruto, how's life been treating ya?"
"Not bad, just going with the flow for now. How bout you?"
"Just busy trying to catch up to the rest of you. I just made chuunin recently and apprenticed myself to the interrogation department. Figured my stealth and scouting skills is about as good as it gets, might as well work on some other field I can specialize. Trying to catch up to Forehead is nearly impossible now; she's come a long way ever since she became Tsunade-sama's apprentice. So now, I'm just trying live up to the name of being one of the Rookie Nine." At this Ino just sighed. Reminding herself about how far behind she is compared to the rest of her friends left her in a depressed state. She was last in becoming a chuunin, minus Naruto because he was gone for three years, and her mission history was laughable compared to the likes of Neji and Shikamaru.
"Ahhh….cheer up Ino. At least you're a chuunin. I failed my last three tries and I'm still a gennin. Not quite Hokage worthy achievements, huh?"
At this Ino chuckled, "Yeah, I guess you're not quite on the fast track to Hokage. But did they ever tell you why they didn't promote you? After all, you've made it to the finals every time and have yet to be defeated in the chuunin exam finals."
Naruto merely looked down at his ramen and said, "I didn't display leadership quality and I have a lack of discipline and restraint."
Ino's brows furrowed at the response. It was obvious from Naruto's tone of voice that something was wrong. "That's a load of bull, isn't it? They're just trying to find a way to deny you of promotion."
"Why are they denying you of your promotion?" After another few seconds of silence from the whiskered blonde, Ino just huffed and slurped on her ramen. 'Damn jerk, just trying to be nice and make conversation and here he is not saying a word. He's starting to sound like Sasuke.'
"Thanks for caring. Hehe, stop acting all mad, I was just trying to come up with an answer, but there isn't one I can give."
"But you know why they won't promote you."
"Are you going to start speaking mime every time I bring up the topic of your promotion?"
"Yea, until I can find an answer to that particular topic."
Ino gave an exasperated sigh and finished off her ramen. They continued to make small talk for a few more minutes until Ino stood up and paid. She was about to say goodbye and leave when Naruto cut her off.
"There's a festival happening next week. Do you want to go?" At this point, Naruto sheepishly scratched the back of his head. He was contemplating on how to get his new relationship with Ino started. He saw that she paid and was about to leave, when he just blurted the first thing he came up with. After mentally berating himself for sounding so desperate, he just watched Ino contemplate the idea.
After a few more seconds of thinking about it, she replied, "Actually, that sounds like a good idea." Naruto silently cheered at his newest conquest. "I'm pretty sure it would be fun to have a reunion between the Rookie Nine and we can also invite Gai's team as well. Everyone has been busy with missions, that I haven't had a chance to catch up with any of them." The smile Naruto had on while cheering stayed on his face, but a visible twitch in his eye signaled his distress.
"Uhm….Ino…I think you misunderstood me. Inviting the rest of the gang is fine with me, and you're right, it would be a good time to catch up and have fun, but when I asked you, I was specifically asking you to go with me." By the end of his explanation, Naruto fidgeted uncharacteristically.
After doing the standard blink-blink that all anime characters display in a moment of surprise, she squawked out, "Uzumaki Naruto, are you asking me out on a date?!?!"
Naruto quickly looked around seeing if anyone he knew was listening. After calming down and his heartbeat restored to a normal pace he answered. "You know, you don't have to talk loud enough so that the rest of the village can notice the intense and awkward moment I'm having." After taking a deep breath, he continued, "And yes, I did ask you out on a date." After waiting for a bit and realizing that she wasn't going to respond anytime soon, he asked again. "Will you go out on a date with me?"
Now that the moment of truth arrived, Naruto readied himself for Ino's answer; however, this time, it was his turn to blink-blink. He began to clean his ear out after hearing her answer and asked her to repeat, thinking he didn't hear right.
Now, when a girl says no flat out, it means usually that the guy has no chance at all. It also means that the girl isn't trying to be nice and break the news to you softly. It means, "I'm annoyed by you right now and I'm telling this as straightforward as I can." Naruto by all means should be devastated at this point; however, Naruto was more confused than anything. Usually when he asked a girl for something in the past four years, girls literally went starry-eyed and responded with a very enthusiastic yes. After being conditioned to receiving positive answers, he wasn't able to process the fact that he was rejected. Being puzzled about this mystery, he just simply asked, "Why?"
"Why? Well, because you're Naruto"
Now if that isn't an idiotic reason to reject someone, than I don't know what is. So Naruto was still confused because Ino's answer just didn't seem to help solve his mystery. Noticing Naruto's blank stare, Ino just crossed her arms together and asked Naruto a question.
"What about Forehead?"
"Huh, Sakura-chan? What does Sakura-chan have anything to do with this?"
Wanting to bash his head into the nearest wall, Ino restrained herself and replied with an even voice. "Isn't she the only girl that you claimed to love? After all, you did break Hinata-chan's heart claiming that you will forever try to win Sakura's heart."
"Why would Hinata-chan have a broken heart over that?"
This time, she wanted to bash her head into the nearest wall, but prevented herself because she was pretty sure that it would be painful to do so. "Don't get off topic Naruto. I thought you liked Sakura."
"Yeah, I did," said a drawling Naruto who took his gaze off of Ino while talking. "I realized it was time to move on. I was just hurting myself. Even though I knew all along what my role with Sakura-chan was, I didn't let myself admit it, until I had no choice but see how she truly felt about me."
Understanding his pain, Ino sympathized with her fellow blonde. She had a similar experience with the lazy bastard known as Nara Shikamaru. After Sasuke's defection, Ino decided it was time to move on. Sasuke betraying Konoha and the fact she didn't truly have strong feelings for him made the decision fairly easy. Once Ino decided to move on, she quickly found herself spending more time with her lazy teammate. Starting to find herself attached to the lazy genius, she invested all her emotions to the cloud-watcher. She believed things were going fine until an appearance of a Sand Nin put a wrench into her quest of winning her love interest's affection. Basically to make a long story short, she fought a losing battle for Shikamaru's interest. Getting over Shikamaru proved much more difficult and painful than getting over Sasuke was.
"I'm sorry Naruto. It's pretty painful to admit to yourself that you'll never have the wanted attention of a beloved." Ino's eyes softened as she consoled the heartbroken blonde. "I bet you're feeling pretty down in the dumps right now, but don't worry, I'm pretty sure you'll find someone else to harass…..errrr……love pretty soon."
"But Ino, I have found someone else. It's you." Shortly after he said this, Naruto began to sweat. Ino narrowed her eyes at Naruto and began staring, causing Naruto's discomfort. Gulping down a lump in his throat and losing a few more gallons of liquid, a common side-effect of being a victim to the fearsome Death Glare no Jutsu, Naruto recomposed himself. 'Damn, she's pretty good at that. I didn't even see her do the hand seals for that jutsu. She must have a lot of practice doing it.'
With a voice of ice that put Haku's ice jutsu to shame, Ino carefully replied, "I'm pretty sure I'll be a horrible choice. I suggest you reconsider your options and pick again."
"But I don't want to pick again. I like you."
Softening her gaze, Ino asked, "Why me?"
"Well that's easy, because you got really long hair." Ino's gaze hardened again, to the point where Naruto struggled to keep his knees from shaking. "Hahaha…..what I meant was I find myself attracted to you, and your hair is one of the features that have captivated me."
Naruto's attempt at suaveness was met with a snort. "Uh-huh. So if I had short hair, you would never have considered me. Is that right? I'm also guessing this is the reason why you never considered Hinata."
"No, you can't say that. I could have still picked you even if you had shorter hair, you never know. Plus you're way hotter than Hinata; I would choose you over her any day of the week." Okay, maybe Naruto was stretching the truth; Hinata was hot. After his long training trip, he was very surprised to see Hinata grow up to become a beautiful woman. Blatantly choosing Ino over Hinata probably wouldn't happen, but Naruto was truthful on how he saw Ino. Over the years, Ino achieved a very high ranking of Konoha's most beautiful kunoichi. Being very well proportioned and skilled in the ninja arts, regardless of how she feels about her ninja skills, Ino has a dominant featuring role in most of Konoha's male fantasies. So choosing Ino over Hinata is an outcome that Naruto could truthfully claim.
In Ino's case, hearing Naruto quickly state Ino was more desirable than Hinata boosted her ego. Even though she was used to receiving flattering comments from the male population, she still struggled to keep the blush from appearing on her face.
"You should be glad Hinata isn't here to hear that. But regardless of that, I guess I'm flattered to hear you say that about me. The way you said that makes me think you really mean it, and that you weren't trying to cover your ass from that stupid comment you made earlier about my hair." Naruto was about to speak up but Ino held up a hand and stopped him. "However, my answer is still the same. Get over Sakura with some other girl." After finishing her statement, Ino turned around started to walk away.
Tired of hearing rejection, Naruto once again tried to find the reason behind her flat-out refusal. "How come you don't want to go out with me? And don't say because I'm Naruto, that's a lame excuse and you know it."
"Look, you're getting over Sakura. That's great; I think you're making a smart decision in that and I hope you succeed. But you have to understand that even though I support you in your decision, I refuse to play the part of the rebound."
'Oh, I see now. I guess I can see how she thinks she's a rebound.' "You're not a rebound Ino. You're just taking this the wrong way."
"Oh really, how long has it been since you decided on moving on?"
"It's been awhile, I swear. It's been like…." Naruto quickly made some calculations, "840 minutes."
Ino narrowed her eyes again. "So, you decided to like me 14 hours after you give up on Sakura. I'm the first girl you come upon with long hair, and now you're head over heels for me. Is that it?"
At this point, Ino reinforced her Death Glare no Jutsu and Naruto chuckled nervously, "Hehehehe….wow, you computed that number pretty fast. You're beautiful and smart. How can any guy not fall for you?" 'Holy freaking crap, how long can she hold that jutsu, she's gotta have more chakra than me to keep this up.'
Seeing that Ino wasn't letting up, Naruto tried again. "Look Ino, I truly like you and I'm not saying or feeling this because I'm in a vulnerable state right now."
All Ino did was stomp her feet and let out a frustrated sigh. "You're not getting the point Naruto. You follow Sakura around for who knows how long like a little dog and after you realize you can't have her, you come to me. How do you think that makes me feel? I feel like I'm second best. Not to mention you just haphazardly pick me 14 hours after you decide to chase another girl. I'm not the girl you like; I'm just the object you picked next to follow around."
"Ino, that's not how- "
"NO NARUTO, no. The answer is no. So please stop asking me." Ino finished her tirade without anger and silently pleaded with her eyes for Naruto to give up.
Naruto looked away after Ino finished. After a few awkward seconds, Naruto quietly said, "Okay Ino. I'll stop, but I won't give up. Uzumaki Naruto never gives up. That is my nindo. I'll stop bothering you for now, but I'm going to prove to you that you're not a convenient choice or second best. We're already friends, at least I hope we are, and I'll deepen our friendship and get to know you better. And after I learn more about you and you learn more about me, I'll ask again. And if you reject me again, I'll just annoy you until I drive you insane and you finally say yes." Naruto concluded with his infamous fox-smirk, showing determination that scared Ino into thinking Naruto was serious. Too bad for Ino that Naruto was being serious.
Shrugging her shoulder, Ino returned Naruto's smirk with one of her own, "I guess I can't help it if guys go crazy over me. Just don't be depressed when I make it hard on you and reject you again."
"Hah…..like you'll be able resist my irresistible charms."
Laughing lightly, Ino couldn't help but silently encourage Naruto to try. After all, if he truly felt that way about Ino, who was she to stand in the way of…..NO……NO……this is Naruto for crying out loud. It's cute and all that he declared all of this to her, but it's not going to happen. 'There is no way we are ever going to be together. But, he does make a good friend; after all, Sakura has reminded me time and time again of that fact. Maybe it won't hurt to be better friends.'
"Even though I don't want to date you, the idea about the festival sounds appealing. Let's gather everyone up and have a good time. Sound like a plan?"
All Naruto did was smirk and nod in agreement.