Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. If I did, the kunoichi would have had more focus, damn it.
Naruto fell backwards. He spread himself out amongst the grass. His hand drifted over to his lips. The feeling of a little teasing kiss from a few minutes ago still lingered there. With Hinata, it was just a passionate, heat of the moment thing; something that she didn't even mean. Tenten's felt more like his first real, tender kiss. Unless he counted the time in one of the villages he and Jiraya'd passed through. There, he'd helped a family out. The youngest daughter had taken a shine to him. When the time came to leave, she'd made her "onii-chan" promise to come back and visit. That was punctuated by the affectionate six-year-old giving him a kiss on the lips and saying she'd miss him. He didn't want to think about the other lip kiss he'd had. The fewer thoughts he had on that, the better.
"Wow. You're acting like a civilian school girl."
Naruto jolted. He craned his neck to see someone bending over him. Her long blonde hair cascaded over her shoulder in a loose ponytail. He resisted the urge to just shoot up in shock at seeing a pair of blue eyes. "Ino!"
The girl smirked down at him. "I was looking for a private place to try something new." Ino tilted her head at a cage she held in her left hand. It held a couple of squirrels. "Imagine my surprise at finding a couple people getting cozy out here. Who was she? I couldn't tell, I only saw her kiss you and then she was leaving before I could come any closer." She gave a teasing grin. "Should I take that as an indicator of how well you kiss?"
Naruto frowned and decided to ignore her comments. He pulled himself up, bushing dirt and bits of grass from his clothing.
"Then again," Ino continued, straightening up and putting a finger to her lips. "Maybe she was just getting embarrassed? What with that opening in her shirt. Got a little too frisky, ne Naruto?" Her teasing was rewarded by the boy's flushed face.
"It's nothing like that," he explained. He tried as hard as he could to keep the embarrassment out of his voice. "I was just training her." Tenten's name was better left unsaid if Ino didn't know. The facts that she kissed him and that she walked away with her blouse torn open were bound to lead to bad assumptions if and when this went through the rumor mill.
Ino shook, choking down a snort of laughter. "You!? Train someone? In what? She doesn't have far to go to get in your Oiroke no Jutsu." She held an arm over her stomach and tried not to let her giggles get out of control. The picture of Naruto being serious and lecturing a kunoichi crossed her mind. The cage in her hand dropped to the ground. The squirrels inside skittered around in a panic.
Naruto growled lightly. He spun around and began to walk off. He'd rather go and think about how many missions he had to do to replace Tenten's blouse than listen to Ino laugh at him.
Ino's giggles petered out when she saw Naruto leaving. His fists were clenched at his side. "You were serious?" She asked quietly. Eyes widening, she called out to Naruto. "Wait!"
Naruto stopped. For a moment, he thought about whether or not he really wanted to listen to her. He sighed and turned around. Ino was running up to him. He didn't bother to say anything.
Ino looked into Naruto's eyes. "You meant it. Really? You were teaching someone?" The girl nearly shirked back at his gaze. It was like he was looking into her soul to see if she was making fun of him again. She breathed a sigh of relief when he turned his head to the side, taking his eyes off of her.
"She just asked if I could give her any ideas to help her," Naruto explained, "since I came up with a good one for Hinata-chan."
"Hinata?" That brought to mind a rumor that she'd heard. The two daughters of the Hyuuga main branch had a little match to compare how far the two of them had developed their skills. It was something that happened every once in a while. The younger sister always won because Hinata was prone to hesitation and making mistakes. She'd become less hesitant to attack her sister the past few times, but Hanabi managed to form enough of a gap between the two of them that she was able to keep beating her older sister. The scuttlebutt, though, was that Hinata had not only won the most recent match, but she won decisively.
Ino blinked and stared at Naruto. He was looking past her, probably at the squirrels that she'd brought to the training ground. Was he the reason? High stamina and good durability made him someone good to train with, but he wasn't the type to be good to be trained by. Was he?
Naruto ignored Ino while she let the gears in her brain turn. He watched the animals in the cage that she brought to the grounds. It looked like they finally calmed down. What could she do with them anyway? He wondered about that while he waited for Ino to say something.
"Umm, think you could come up with something for me too?" Ino asked in a sheepish voice. She knew she could be a bossy person. And, normally, she wouldn't pause before demanding someone to do something for her. But she knew that telling someone to do something that could put him in position to attack her, after she had insulted him, was a bad idea. He could conceivably put her through all kinds of hell, all in the name of training. Worse, it'd be her that told him to do it.
These thoughts were far from Naruto's mind. He just gave her a confused look. He then groaned. What's with these people asking him for training all of a sudden? Mou, help one friend, and see what happens? He shrugged and told her okay. Why not?
Like Tenten, Naruto went over what he knew about Ino, trying to think of something that could help her. Ino's specialty was the same as the rest of the Yamanaka shinobi: the Shintenshin no Jutsu, a slow but powerful skill. At the chunin exams, she and Sakura were about even in taijutsu, both at about above average then. Like Sakura, she was apprenticed to Tsunade as a byou-nin. Now, what could help her out in a fight? His eyes wandered off to the side. Seeing six shuriken stuck in tree bark, he got an idea.
Ino smiled when Naruto offered a "what-the-hell" shrug and said okay. But then, he just spaced out, staring at her. Now, she didn't mind attention from a guy. She prided herself on it, in fact. But, he'd just said he'd help make her stronger, and then nothing. The image of the girl from before walking away with her shirt ripped down the middle floated through her mind. She hoped he wasn't trying to think of a way to take advantage. Sure, Naruto never seemed to be the type, but he was still a guy, and she liked to consider herself one sexy kunoichi. She was about to yell at him when he glanced off to the side and said something. "What?"
Naruto turned back to Ino. "I said, 'three days.'" She directed a confused look his way. "Give me three days. And meet me at training ground number eight at around noon." With that he started leaving, waving goodbye over his shoulders.
"Training ground eight?" Ino asked in quiet confusion. Naruto left the field before she could think to ask why he wanted to meet her in the most forested of all the training grounds. She figured it was better not to think about it. She headed over to the cage and prepared to try getting used to taking over animals for scouting purposes.
The next day, Naruto walked through the streets. He was planning to go to the Academy to visit his old sensei and use the library there. The civilian library would probably throw him out, and likely didn't have what he was looking for anyway.
A peculiar motion in the crowd caught his attention. Usually, he'd keep his eyes on the path. Most of the villagers would ignore him, but he didn't like looking around to see various glares directed his way. He looked up this time to see Tenten waving at him with a wide smile. She was with her team and jounin sensei. They were probably heading out for a mission outside the village. He grinned, noticing her pink, long-sleeved tang. She brought both hands up. With a quick set of hand signs, she put her right hand over her left forearm. A kama appeared in her hand. She twirled it around with a triumphant grin. Naruto returned the grin and gave her a thumbs-up.
She'd taken his advice it looked like. Naruto was impressed that she already mastered getting her weapons from the hidden seals in her clothes. It was truly one of her natural skills. He gave a little chuckle. And maybe one of his was teaching. He still couldn't believe he was going to be instructing Ino in...
He paused, thinking of something. He created a kage bunshin and it went off in the direction of the village gates. And for himself, he chose to start hurrying up. It looked like he more things to do than he initially thought. About halfway to the Academy, he grinned to himself.
The next day, Naruto bugged Tsunade for as many D-ranked missions as he could accomplish in time. This garnered him many thanks from newly minted genin from the academy. He took the ones mostly requiring physical labor. While his kage bunshin did the work, he and another pair of clones sat back to read the books and scrolls that he had "liberated" from library. He'd sneak in to return them later, since the chunin instructor in charge of the room at the time wasn't inclined to let him take them out. After picking up his pay for the missions at the end of the day, he procured some extra books from a store before heading home. He promised himself to return those as well. But for now, he was heading for training ground eight to practice.
On the third day, Ino walked through the forests of the training ground curious as to what was about to happen. She was a little worried as well. She'd spotted Naruto go into a bookstore the day before. Through the window, she could see that he'd spent a significant amount of time around the area where they displayed books from the Icha Icha series.
Any other thoughts were cut off by her hand suddenly being raised. "What?"
Naruto came from behind a tree with an amused smile. "The lesson's just starting. You have a question already, Ino?"
Ino was not pleased. "What did you do?" she ground out from behind clenched teeth. It couldn't be genjutsu, he wasn't good at it. There was no way he was turning a version of her family's own technique at her. What was he doing?
"Calm down, and you'll figure it out." With a flick of Naruto's wrist, Ino's foot shot from under her.
Ino was suddenly on the ground staring at the foliage above. Before she could get up and knock Naruto a good one for messing with her. Ino couldn't move. Her legs were under her and her arms were locked behind her arching back.
"C'mon, Ino. I didn't think it'd be this easy."
Though she wouldn't admit it, Naruto was scaring her a little. She struggled to no avail. With an aggravated rumble of her throat, she looked up to see Naruto standing over her. Her eyes widened.
"If we were in each other's shoes," Naruto smirked at Ino through his fingers. "I'd be done right here."
Naruto stood above the kunoichi. His hands were in a sign extremely familiar to the girl. It was the final sign for Ino's own Shintenshin no Jutsu.
"But, how did you…?"
Naruto produced a kunai and took a few swipes.
An unnoticed pressure lifted from Ino. She uncurled from the uncomfortable position. She inspected the area around her. "Ninja wire?"
Naruto smiled. "The same kind that Tenten uses. I asked her where she got hers from and bought a bundle two days ago." He held down a snicker. His kage bunshin had caught up with her while she still had the kama in her hands. Tenten had explained with a chagrined smile that she hadn't yet mastered putting away her weapons while she was still wearing her seal clothes.
Realization dawned. "So, your idea is…"
Naruto nodded. "Your special technique is powerful, but needs to work with your teammates' abilities. One-on-one, you need to be able to bind your opponent, like with Sakura-chan during the exams."
Ino grinned. That had been one of her best moments.
Naruto pulled out the bundle of wire he bought. The shop that Tenten frequented was a good one. The owner was kind. He planned to do all his business there from then on, instead of skimming surplus from mission tower. "Thought that using this would be better than cutting off the ponytail every time."
Ino reached up and fingered the end of her hair. It had taken quite a while for it to grow back.
"So, for you, we'll focus trapping and binding your opponents."
"What happens after I use my technique?" asked Ino, trying to poke a hole in Naruto's training regiment. And trying to ignore the fact that what he just said made it sound like he prepared and tailor-made the session just for her.
"That's why," he explained making a few motions with his hands. Ino rose up from her position still crouched down on the ground. Her arms and legs spread out from her body. She slowly lifted up into the air until she was almost a meter from the ground. "You'll be getting used to being tied up, so you can quickly escape after taking over a body."
"Ass!" she bit out. Ino searched her memories for the lessons from the academy about escaping being tied up.
"Why do it the hard way? You trained under baachan, didn't you?"
Ino blinked. "You mean Tsunade-shishou?" She rolled her eyes at his nod. Only Naruto would have such casual disrespect for their village's leader. "Yeah, I did. What does that have to with anything?"
"She hasn't taught you how to use chakra scalpels yet?"
She felt like smacking herself in the head. Blue chakra flared to life in her hand. With a flick of the wrist, her hand was free. She reached over and cut the wires around her neck and other wrist. She dropped down to the ground. And not a moment later she was yelping out at her feet coming from under her once again. The rope trap that had been placed underneath her pulled at her ankles. She was sent down to her butt.
Naruto jumped over with a length of rope. He lashed her wrists together. He jumped over Ino, making her wince as her arms moved with him. He brought the rope down to the center of her back then looped it around to the front, under her breasts. Coming back around to her back, he brought the rope back up to loop around the wrists and back to secure it. "And to have a little variety, we'll use ropes as well to keep people from just looking out for one thing."
Ino took a deep breath. "I understand that." There was a moment of silence. "But shibari!?" She screeched.
Naruto blushed. "Sorry. The Academy library mostly had stuff on setting traps and securing prisoners. I could only go with what I found in the bookstore."
Ino just glared at over her shoulder. The chakra around her hand flared to life again and she cut herself free. She stood and faced Naruto. After some consideration, she blew out a breath and shook her head. She knew she was going to regret her next words. "Alright, let's get this over with."
Ino watched the end of the wire in Naruto's hand writhed and coiled in his grip. He explained that if it could be manipulated to an extent with chakra. It would help with doing ties quickly. With enough chakra, the puppet trick he did with her in the beginning was possible.
He demonstrated the lesson by binding her wrist slowly. She saw that after the wire fell over her wrist, it snapped up the underside looped with itself to capture the appendage. With an unexpected tug, he forced her arm forward. The blonde girl stumbled and nearly fell into him. He waved off her glare and told her to try, holding out his hand.
Ino took a length of wire and focused some chakra into it. She felt out the ways she could make it move. Satisfied that she could replicate the technique, she tossed the line onto Naruto's wrist. Her first attempt looped his wrist just fine, but was too loose to bind.
"Imagine the path in your mind," Naruto explained. "Then, get the end of the wire to follow the path." Ino nodded.
It took her a couple tries, but was able to do the tie quickly and smoothly. While Naruto was inspecting her work, Ino gave a vengeful smirk. She gave a hard jerk at the twine. Unfortunately, she overestimated the strength needed to overbalance the jinchurikki.
"Ah!" Naruto exclaimed at the sudden pull on his arm. He found purchase on something before he fell on his face. He looked up with an annoyed expression, before becoming wide-eyed at sight of his hand clutching Ino's chest. He retracted the limb as if burned and backed away.
Ino didn't even scream her outrage. With a furious look, she swung at the boy. His frantic duck only left him open to the knee to his forehead.
Naruto moved quickly and precisely. He knew what to do and where.
Ino had to admit, the knucklehead could certainly get the job done. From the simple to the elaborate, only Forehead was better.
She watched the boy set up trap after trap. He explained how each worked and different ways to hide the trip point. It was like seeing the embodiment of his prankster spirit.
She blinked when Naruto told her to dismantle the traps to test her knowledge. Unfortunately, she was too distracted watching to undo them all correctly. For every one she missed, the boy added on an additional lesson in the form of jumping in to bind the victim after the trap was sprung.
Ino had hung from the trees twice, tied against one once, and just plain trussed up four times.
She was going to kill him. Bury him somewhere out of the way and salt the earth.
It was just too humiliating to be tied up in so many ways in such a short period of time. The most annoying off all was that she was pretty sure that he didn't know the intimate meaning behind shibari.
Still, it was sweet that he'd tried to come up other ways to do the binds.
A bit of soreness from her chest reminded her that he wasn't always successful. She once more turned a harsh glare towards Naruto. He looked up from the knot he was cinching and flinched. Her eyes softened, seeing the concerned and apologetic look in his gaze.
Maybe she could forgive him.
She shifted and felt the line of rope that ran between her legs. No, she was going to kill him. Glass the burial site, then salt it.
When Naruto finished giving his lessons, he created a dozen clones and told her to trap them. Of course, to challenge her, they all dispersed. He told her that they'd stay in the forest and try to hide from her. She gave an annoyed look and bounded off to hunt for the clones.
In the meantime, Naruto hunkered down against a tree and went back to work on the Rasengan. He'd gotten to the point where he had enough randomly rotating tendrils that the ball was half solid. Once it was complete, he'd get some balloons to test if it was enough for the first stage. After that, some rubber balls for the second stage.
An hour and a half later, Ino was tired and dirty. She'd finally caught the last clone. It was hanging face down from a tree, arms wrenched behind its back and legs dangling a few centimeters from the ground. She found Naruto sitting against a tree holding a swirling blue ball of chakra. "I think I did it," she heard him say. He jumped when she asked him what he did.
Startled, Naruto slammed the ball of chakra into the ground. He shot a look over to Ino. She tilted her head to the side in amusement. The scent of cut grass drew his attention back to his hand. The area around it was completely cleared, He lifted his hand to see small hole in the ground. It wasn't very deep.
"New technique?" Ino asked. "Doesn't look very strong."
"It's only the first stage," Naruto said absently. He pulled himself up and brushed his hand on his pants. "Get'em all?"
Naruto sighed. "Well, not exactly memories I want, but it's the best way to know whether or not you did everything correctly." Ino looked at him curiously. He released his bunshin. His eyes closed as the experiences rushed into his mind.
Ino watched Naruto's eyelids flutter. She thought about what he said. Her eyes widened as she saw the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu in a new light. Naruto twitched a couple times. He spoke after a minute.
"Nice work on the second one." Ino had tied it to the tree branch it was hiding in. It didn't even see her coming.
Ino nodded. It confirmed her assumption.
Naruto chuckled. "Fifth one gave you some trouble, huh?" That one got proactive. Ino got tied against a tree once. Left hanging from branch once. And once ended up in the tamer version of the reverse shrimp tie that he'd come up with. "At least you expected the seventh one."
Ino blushed at the reminder of being hog-tied on the forest floor.
"Good job on the tenth. I see you're beginning to see how you can use the wires in combat." That clone had taken an aggressive stance. Ino stayed on the defensive, not wanting to dispel the clone. She off-balanced it with a wire pull of the ankle when it landed from a missed kick. "Maybe we should expand on that."
Getting his meaning, Ino fell into stance.
"No binds. Just use the wires to help you fight." At her nod, Naruto dashed at her.
Ino ducked under Naruto's punch, hooking a wire around his wrist as he passed. She straightened and rotated. Naruto was forced around by his arm to meet Ino's spin kick. He was knocked back a couple meters.
"Nice," Naruto commented. He put his hands together in the sign for the Kage Bunshin. Two clones appeared at his flanks. All three threw a kunai at Ino. One disappeared while the other two followed after the kunai. Ino dodged the first blade, caught the second and swatted the third out of the air with it. She flipped over the first Naruto and threw the kunai at the second midair. She gasped when the third burst through the trees at her. Leaves fell all around them. Thinking quickly, Ino lassoed a wire around a branch and pulled herself out of the way of the attack. She rebounded of the tree and kicked the freefalling clone into oblivion. "Seems you're a natural at that," said Naruto from the ground.
Ino bounced off of another tree to land in front of him. "Thanks."
"I think we've done as much as we can. Just keep practicing."
Ino looped a rope around his neck. "Aww, no extra credit?" she teased, feeling the serious air of the training session lift. "I don't get the same treatment as your mystery girl?"
Naruto shrugged the rope off with a blush. "Very funny, Ino." He began to walk off. "See you later."
"Hey," Ino called out. Naruto turned, led by his arm. "After that, I think I can allow you the -chan, ne?" She grinned at him, releasing the wire from his wrist.
"If you want," he answered as he continued walking. "Later, Ino-chan."
Ino didn't have to see his face to know it was even redder as he left.