Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or make any money off of writing this story.
Summary: This is based in the Shippuuden manga, sometime after Naruto develops his jutsu and uses it in battle for the first time.
A/N: Edited and revised.
Shintenshin no Jutsu
"I don't care if you want to or not, a mission is a mission. Right now Sakura is out doing errands for me and Shikamaru and Chouji are on a scouting mission for the Kusagakure. Team 8 is out protecting a feudal lord and you two are the best for the mission as of right now." Tsunade looked up from her scroll, daring Naruto to make another comment.
"Tsunade-baach-," he was cut off a by Ino as she grabbed his collar in an attempt to shut him up.
"Yes, Tsunade-sama," she bowed slightly before proceeding to walk towards the door, still holding Naruto by the cloth of his jacket.
"After all the trouble I went through to master my awesome new jutsu, I still only have a B rank mission?" He groaned as soon as Ino's hand was away from his throat.
"You realize you're still a genin, right," she said as if he might have just learned it.
"Yeah…" Naruto's voice trailed off in depression at the thought of everyone else at chunin, except Neji. He of course had to be a jounin.
"Alright, go get ready; we have to leave in ten minutes." Ino stated in a slightly cheerful tone, trying to break his concentration.
"Okay, we have to take down this gang, right? I'll go in the lead and you back me up, once I get in position, I'll signal for you to follow me. You cover me and then we attack, right?"
Her head nodded in silent agreement.
The gang was stationed outside of a small town and was cutting off most of the supply shipments that came in from various villages. This had grown to be a problem for the Land of the River. Their economy was beginning to shift and needed aid badly.
"Careful, Naruto, this gang deserved a B rank, don't rush in and get pinned down." Ino whispered the words before he disappeared into the shadows of the warehouse. She watched the small blur until a large group of people came in from one the side doors. "Stop, Naruto! There's got to be almost twenty-five guys there." Her thoughts focused on trying to make him realize where he was headed. "If I move now, they'll spot me instantly and we both might die. If he would stop, I could use my Shintenshin no Jutsu and bring him back here… There!"
Naruto landed behind a pile of crates to survey the area until his body went limp. The jutsu had taken full effect as Ino raised his head long enough to dart back to far end of the building. Just in time as several men began moving the cargo outside. She rested a second before deciding to release her hold over his mind when a cold voice at the end of the hallway of his conscious drew her attention. She ventured onward through the dark corridor only to meet a dead end. Ino heard an exhale from the demon's nostrils as hot breath swept by her legs, making them sweat from the sheer heat. She felt fear at the very thought of what the hell was going on inside his mind.
"Come to me again, kit?" the voice was rough and dominating, "Why what do we have here? You aren't the loud–assed punk. Why are you here?" The voice was loud and echoed in the endless maze, shaking Ino to her very core.
"It… It's a… jutsu," the kunoichi replied with a feeble voice, stammering with the words. "What are you?" she asked, the words barley getting past the bars that withheld the evil chakra.
"The source of this boy's power. Surely you've sensed it before." The reply was just as cold, stinging the air with a venomous tone.
Ino's mind thought back to when Sakura told her about the time in The Land of the Wave, the way Naruto had done something. She said it was like her skin was being burned by darkness by just being in its presence. Could this be the reason? "Why are you here? Why are you locked inside Naruto?" her voice quivered at the thought of having such an evil being eating away at her from the inside.
"I was put here as punishment by the damned Yondaime," he replied, the breath seemed like fire as it moved away from the bars.
The words sunk it as the story of the 4th as he sacrificed himself to save the Leaf village came up in her mind. Everyone just said that he died, saving the village from the… Kyuubi. "Why did he put you in Naruto?" her voice grew stronger against the evil atmosphere.
"To keep me from terrorizing his home, I hate the bastard for putting me in this boy. Do you have any idea how damn annoying it is when he gets saddened or depressed? It pulls down the air and he forces me to deal with it."
Ino was beginning to feel lightheaded; the force of being in that highly concentrated chakra was exhausting her spirit. She needed out before it was too late. The blonde ninja focused all her chakra and broke free from the demanding evil power. Her eyes fluttered open as she returned to her own body, where her mind didn't have cackling laughs and a demon fox who suppressed happiness by nature. She picked herself up long enough to see a confused Naruto, wandering around, looking to see what had happened.
"Ino, did you do something?"
'Should I tell him? No, it might freak him out if he knows I know. I'll just wait it out until we complete the mission. 'But it is his mind.' We can't die though.' The thoughts circled themselves in her head until finally she spoke. "No, you were about to head off. Now hurry and watch out for the guards."
He nodded his head, content that every thing was fine and headed back down into the depths of the near empty building.
'Why did the Yondaime put the Kyuubi in Naruto? He was just a baby. How does he feel? Is this why the adults used to get a grave look on their faces when he was around? I mean, it does explain a lot about him… Why didn't they tell us? Well… I would have probably treated him worse and definitely stayed away from him more… It could seem like he himself was the demon sometimes, but he's not, right? Nahhh… he's too good-natured to be evil… although he does get quiet a lot more recently and he does get serious even more then he used to. Of course, I haven't really been around him much since he came back… He has gotten way stronger, he took down the Akatsuki guy even Kakashi-sensei couldn't… He even developed a jutsu the 4th couldn't.' The thoughts kept bubbling up in Ino's mind ever since she saw it. That thing had completely changed the way she looked at Naruto. 'He seems so… different now, almost like a different person than the one who would act like an idiot, just to get… attention. He was always alone wasn't he? He never had anyone… at all. I can't believe he went through all that, even now he must put up with the pain.'
"Ino, are you okay?" Naruto asked with concern, "You've been staring at the fire for almost half an hour. They had captured most of the gang's members, thanks to the Oodama Rasengan, and handed them over to the town. They still had another day's trip left to return to Konoha, but decided to stop for the night along a river. The sun was about to set, casting a warm glow over the river's face illuminating their camp site with a beautiful mixture of yellow and bright orange.
Ino looked up to see Naruto's face outlined in the light, almost glowing as his hair was shaded to matched his face. His blue eyes looked on, questioning her expression. She saw through his happy exterior and remembered what the voice had said about him being saddened and depressed. She had never taken into mind how distanced he must've felt. "I'm fine," she eventually replied as the sun moved lower across the mountains in the distance. Their shadows grew against the dark grass. The view was beautiful, the water dancing in the light as it made its journey down stream, continuing its purpose in life. She smiled weakly, still looking at him while Naruto's glance shifted upward into the sky.
"It's nice here, huh?" His voice broke the silence that had suddenly grown over the crackling fire. He was looking back at her now, deep blue slits piercing her pale cyan eyes, attempting to read her mind.
Naruto was annoyed at his team mate at the moment. On the way up, she couldn't stop talking and now she was withdrawn and quiet. He didn't like her attitude, she was definitely hiding something but it was damn near impossible for him to try to understand her. "Back in the warehouse, it felt like I had passed out for a couple of moments," he paused, wanting to phrase his sentence carefully, "Are you sure that nothing happened?" The words were dragged from his mouth, lingering overhead, patiently waiting for an answer.
"Well… You had jumped down and was about to move on when a group of workers came in. You were surrounded but they hadn't noticed you yet. So, I uh… used my jutsu to get you back to safety."
"You mean the one where you confuse the enemy or the one where you transport yourself into someone's… mind." There wasn't need for an answer, as dense as Naruto was sometimes, he could still be sharp enough to pick something like this up. "You saw it didn't you? You saw him. That's why you've been silent since we left, isn't it." The sentence seemed stale as it moved over the gentle fire.
"Ino was taken back at how fast he had picked it up. "I, I didn't mean to. It's just that you were er-, cornered and that was the only way to, you know, keep us from failing the mission." She struggled to say everything.
"Are you going to tell anyone? The others who don't know yet?" He looked up from the glistening fire, now looking at her with a solemn gaze. She saw how hurt he was, having someone just invade his mind like that. Having access to every feeling, every secret stored there. She had complete control of his body as well, something else he was scared of. "I think Sakura knows something but only Sasuke has seen him. Back when we…" he broke off again, recalling the memories of seeing his comrade with his sword drawn at him.
"No," she said after a couple of minutes. The thoughts of the demon were still holding her concentration, keeping her from looking him in the eye. "What is it like? I mean, do you wanna talk about it?" Silence reclaimed the conversation shortly after.
A few minutes passed, Naruto opened his mouth to say something but only his lips moved. Slowly he brought himself to say, "I don't know… The only one who has ever really talked before with me was Kakashi-sensei. Yamato-sensei knows as well, he had to help me with my training a lot because of something Tsunade-baachan said. They told me that Akatsuki was looking for all of the Jinchuurikis, like me, so they had me develop that jutsu that I used. That's also the reason Ero-sennin took me with him for all that time."
She was stunned at far Konoha had gone to cover this up. Only the adults knew about him, how he was sentenced to live a lonely life in order to save the village that had ostracized him. "I'm so sorry, nobody knew, you were always so happy or goofing off…" Her face was softened by his warm facade even when he was forced to remember all of his turmoil.
"The Third punished all those who let on about me being… his container. He tried to uphold what the Fourth had done. He told me it was to let everyone see me as a hero, not some monster. Even the Fifth doesn't allow people to discuss it. I guess people like us have to deal with being hated and excluded." The thoughts burned as he recalled the day everyone left the playground with their parents, while he was forced to sit alone, looking at the horizon. Tears streaming down his face, eyes a flame with determination, he vowed to be acknowledged. "That's why I was so set on being Hokage, it isn't for the power, I just wanted to be acknowledged."
His words struck Ino as he basically spilled his life before her, hoping for someone to hold onto. Someone to love him and treat him with respect. Even a pompous brat like Ino could see the boy who had been tossed aside by the village. She stood up and moved gracefully across their camp. She sat quietly next to him, expecting him to break out into tears. Instead he turned and wrapped his arms around her neck, happy to have someone to understand something about him.