An Unforeseen Consequence
Lounging on the veranda tiles, against the wall shadowed by the eaves of a three-story building, fifteen-year-old Yamanaka Ino appeared to be doing nothing more sinister than killing time and enjoying shelter from the sun's heat. Nose lightly twitching to enjoy the daisies in the flower box her head lay again, her gaze slowly wandered from one point to the next as if she watched the crowd far below only to keep from falling asleep.
This appearance was a carefully-planned deception. If anyone could actually see she was there, they might have noticed that the dark color of her clothes blended into the wall almost entirely, making her invisible to the casual observer. Likewise, the wooden flower box she currently used as a pillow meant her blond hair and pale face were also camouflaged. Combined with the gentle slope of the tiles underneath and her height, one would have to be an experienced jonin or ludicrously alert to discern her presence.
Her target was laughably far from the first. The youngest member of the Yamanaka clan also knew that her target, Uzumaki Naruto, was forever wandering into traps. He would never know she was there, which was probably for the best.
Naruto was always playing pranks on other people... Surely it was his turn to be on the receiving end. One simple application of her jutsu and she could cause all sorts of mayhem. She could make him single carols in the streets. She could have him romance the most inappropriate people. She could make him seem to enjoy sushi, despite his vehement objections to the sight of the stuff.
She could make him do whatever she wanted, for she was Yamanaka Ino and she had the powerful Shintenshin no Jutsu under her control.
It was pretty simple, too. All she had to do was wait until he was eating his fill at Ichiraku Ramen. Clueless to her presence, the blond girl could then use her technique to take control of him, at least for a while. She planned to make him do quite a few embarrassing things and then she'd release her jutsu, leaving the clueless genin to deal with the consequences.
Perhaps revenge is a dish best served cold. Ino agreed, chocolate ice cream being a guilty pleasure she did her best to indulge only rarely. He deserved every bit of what she would do to him, she reflected. Her thoughts turned as grim as the scowl on her face. Even with that stupid crush of his, how dare he say that Sakura and her giant forehead were a million times prettier than her! How could anyone who knew her or indeed, anyone at all compare her hair to the color of his urine!? Didn't he have any respect at ALL!?
This would not just be fully justified revenge. It would be righteously delivered heavenly punishment. Other boys had compared her to an angel often enough she felt justified in visiting this treatment on him. Anybody who so thoroughly disparaged the appearance of any woman could expect nothing less.
Noting that Naruto was not currently occupying one of Ichikaru Ramen's stools, Ino settled in for a bit of a wait.
One could rely on the orange-clad youth to proclaim the inevitability of being a Hokage any time he thought it necessary. It was almost a certainty that he would go to outrageous lengths to prove himself to his comrades, ignoring the theoretical superiority of the most dangerous foes to find that minute grip on victory. To think that the blond would ever eat anything over Ichikaru Ramen unless he had no choice was as alien a thought as any his comrades had ever had.
The silver-eyed girl smiled to herself. She could be patient.
Fresh from his training with Kakashi-sensei, Naruto could only focus on the gnawing hunger in his empty stomach. Despite the miasma of delicious scents attempting to pull him to the various stands from which they wafted, the youth resolutely continued to walk: Only the best would do after such a hard day's work.
Ichikaru Ramen was his destination.
No yakitori skewers, however tasty, could deflect his resolve. Naruto waved to Chouji as his friend sat in one of the booths. He shook his head to turn down the offer of the seat across from the portly ninja.
No okonomiyaki, however dense the toppings, could tempt him to commit culinary adultery. Even the cute brunette behind the griddle's flirting comments, enhanced by a tight blue shirt and clinging black leggings, could not draw him from his path.
Naruto couldn't help but grin as he saw the sign which heralded the end of his temptation-laden gauntlet and the beginning of edible nirvana. No other food could sate his hunger the way it was quelled by those tender noodles. Were he stranded in the largest, most barren desert, the boy would take a bowl of the succulent broth over a glacier-cold oasis any day.
Though it was already close to evening, Ichikaru Ramen's stools were empty. The old man smiled as he waved a hand in greeting, his two new assistants now rushing back and forth in the limited space in a frenzy. Both young men knew how many different things went into a Naruto Special and dreaded the alarming decimation about to be visited on their ingredients.
The young man's arrival also explained the absence of other customers. No other resident of Konoha ate at the restaurant when Naruto did and housing the Kyubi caused none of this aversion. The fact that Naruto commanded the old man's attention and depleted nearly all of the ingredients meant that whenever the blond was around, the service was much worse and the variety unusually limited.
With an enthusiastic greeting for the grey-haired owner, the blue-eyed ninja sat down in his favorite stool at the center of the stand. His first bowl of the Naruto Special was always the best: His palate was clear, his anticipation heightened by the span of time since he'd last ate the owner's edible opus.
However, the orange-clad genin never took the time to pause and appreciate that first bowl. The second was always just a fraction less sumptuous than the first. Why wait when more was available?
He'd already slurped down his third bowl as Iruka-sensei arrived, sliding onto the stool to Naruto's left and grinning. The chunin teacher sat next to his favorite student ordering his own meal and taking a moment to ponder the incredible change in strength of the once-time worst student.
Neither Iruka nor Naruto had a clue that the younger ninja was in social peril. The chunin and genin both failed to sensed the blond girl currently targeting the ramen-binging youth..
His posture was completely relaxed, head thrown back as he tilted his bowl to slurp the last dregs of broth in his bowl. His shoulders shook as Iruka turned his head to the young ninja, the blond's booming laughter loud enough to reach the kunoichi where she lounged in concealment. Whatever her former classmate said in reply wasn't loud enough to carry up to the girl, though Iruka's resulting laughter matched Naruto's for volume.
For a moment, Ino hesitated. This moment of joy was one of those moments she imagined the boy treasured most. Guilt nipped at the edges of her vengeance-fueled determination as she felt a strange desire not to intrude. It was one thing to cause the boy some embarrassment...
It would be terrible and cruel to steal a time of happiness from him. More than he deserved for his comments. She would find him again when Iruka wasn't around, when the joy in initiating her vengeance wouldn't be marred by the spectre of guilt.
Her decision to leave was quickly countermanded by a flood of anger which washed away guilt as Naruto made a fist at the back of his head and pulled it back, as if indicating a ponytail. The fuming girl distinctly heard the boy say "pee" in between bouts of chuckling. Her conscience was ignored as her hands flashed in a series of seals, ending with fingers contorting to form a heart.
Ino grimly smiled as she watched Naruto through her fingers. It would begin with a visit to Temari, staying at the guest lodge. That would draw the ire of both the girl's brothers and Shikamaru as well. Then a couple visits to places the boy had sworn he'd never eat. Perhaps even a prank on Sakura.
The cute blond boy would learn, very soon, not to mess with a Yamanaka.
"Shintenshin no Jutsu," she whispered, feeling the numbness hit her body as her spirit vacated. Chakra fused with the seperation of her consciousness to form a wild rush through the air as she bored directly into Naruto's body, hitting with no more force than a slight tap. She felt the familiar tingle in foreign extremities as Naruto's body became her puppet.
Then the feeling changed. A force slammed into her from all directions, an unstoppable avalanche, blanking all thought. Control over the boy's body was ripped from her in the same moment. She felt herself falling.
Hitting the ground in a smooth crouch, she found herself looking through large steel bars at a room built of rusted metal sheets crudely fastened to an unseen structure. Ice-cold water deep enough to chill her calves flooded the floor, making the the echoing plip of dripping water much louder than it might have been otherwise. The only exit seemed to be a darkened hallway on the other side of the room, just through the bars.
What the hell?
"Well, it looks like I get to eat now, too," a voice murmured from behind her, so loud and deep she felt the vibrations deep in her chest. Ino turned to see large eyes, red irises dancing wildly. A great deal of teeth then emerged from the darkness in a smile, each as large as she was. She realized she was in this thing's cage, and that the great steel bars were the prison.
Her stomach dropped: she was on the wrong side.
"A virgin, too," The great being roared, a snuffling sound emerging from the darkness. The inky black hiding the teeth widened into a smile, showing that what she thought had been a large mouth was small compared to the reality. "I'll have to thank the brat."
Ino tried to release her jutsu as those teeth opened.
Even as she raised her hands to form the seal, Ino knew she was far too slow.
Both ninja eating at Ichikaru Ramen paused, eyes dropping to orange-clad belly as a deep purring rumbled suddenly from Naruto's stomach.
"Hey, Naruto..." Iruka queried after a moment, gesturing to Naruto's midsection with his chopsticks. "Are you all right?"
"I must still be hungry," Naruto shrugged, shoving the strange noise from his mind. Ramen needed eating. The blue-eyed genin handed his empty bowl to the smiling old man, already reaching for another bowl. "Another special, please!"
Neither the fifteen-year-old or his former teacher noticed the soulless body sitting on the roof behind them as it jolted once, struck by some invisible force. The involuntary shift altered the girl's balance, slowly tipping her torso forward. The angle was steep enough that as her torso hit the roof chest first, her weight was enough for her to slip from her perch, limply bouncing off of a sign before landing in a dumpster with a dull thud.
Alright, so I've rewritten the previous Chapter 1. For those new to the story, it originally began as a roughly-hewn one-shot, ending with Ino's body falling into the dumpster as Iruka and Naruto ate ramen.
It was a touch dark. It also made me chuckle. I'm sorta evil like that.
However, prods for continuation and a kernel of a story wormed themselves into my consciousness and I decided to do more with it, hence the continuation. A half-baked rewrite also turned into this fully developed monstrosity.
Speaking of which, length-wise, this is gonna be at least double what it was... if not triple At least, if not a lot, lot more. I've rewritten chapter 1 and 2, and the grand total now throws down at a whopping 6,000 words. The previous length of the original six chapters was 9,451 words, so I'm already two-thirds of the way towards that mark with two chapters.
Hopefully you guys enjoy the newly expanded stuff.