Mental Mishap

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Naruto was running quickly through the streets of Konoha. He cursed himself mentally for living in such a disorderly way. He had arrived home and lost track of time, while indulging in his favorite daydream. It typically involved Sakura and him going on a date. This time however his mind had included Ino. It was so odd that he had been completely distracted. "Baka…who else could space out for 30 minutes anyway!?" He thought. It wasn't really that he cared about being late for training with Ino, but it still reflected badly upon him, and she had been the one to come to him for help anyway. He could barely wrap his mind around the concept. Ino HATED him, and she always had. He had never seen her show any signs of weakness, let alone ask for help. Now she had done both in the matter of a few hours and after he had insulted her at that. He couldn't begin to guess what her motives were so he decided to simply see how the night played out as he entered the clearing.

"DARN!!" thought Naruto. Ino was standing in the center of the clearing, arms folded, looking cross. He was only a few minutes late but knew that Ino could be set off by the slightest things. He stepped into the clearing and was amazed to see her expression soften as he approached her. "Naruto! I thought you weren't going to come." Ino said, flashing a bright smile at him. "Oh…yeah. Sorry for being late Ino. I got caught up in some…stuff." Naruto stammered. He had barely been able to reply due to the severe shock of seeing Ino smile. Sure, he had seen it before, particularly whenever Sasuke had been around, but this one was at him. No, odder still, that smile had been for him. What the heck was going on here? Coming back to reality he realized he had been standing in front of her smiling like an idiot. "Uhh…You wanted to train right?" He asked.

"Yep." She answered, with that same disconcerting smile. "I thought we might spar so that I could get actual experience rather than just doing drills." She said. This caught Naruto off guard. "Are you sure Ino, I wouldn't want to…uhh." He stopped, realizing that if he finished his sentence he would bring Ino's full wrath upon him. "Wouldn't want to hurt me? It's ok Naruto. I know you won't." Ino said, flashing another smile. Naruto was going out of his mind. What were all these signs he was getting? Was this all really about training? Did Ino like him!? "No, that's not possible" He thought. "I mean get real, this is Ino!" With that he resolved to stop reading into her actions and focus on their training.

Ino could barely contain her laughter. She actually had this dope thinking that she liked him. She could see the confused expression on his face and was enjoying every second of it. It was true that over the time he had been gone, Naruto had developed nicely. He had clearly grown up both physically and mentally and could even be considered handsome by some. However, Ino knew better than that. This was Naruto! To her, he would always be the loser who couldn't seem to get anything right.

While the mental torture was fun, it wasn't the real reason she had asked him to come and train tonight. Finally reaching the rank of chuunin, she was taught the Yamanaka clan's most secret jutsu. It wasn't too much different from her traditional mind control technique, but it involved actually trading bodies with the target, rather than simply taking over their mind. This would keep her body protected instead of leaving it limp in the middle of the battlefield. Additionally, once the jutsu was completed she would actually "be" the person, as the jutsu required no chakra for maintenance after completion and could, hypothetically, be maintained indefinitely. Having just learned this technique, it was only natural that she was dying to try it out, and that jerk Naruto had given her the perfect target. She would get revenge Yamanaka style, by making him humiliate himself.

Leaping a few feet back from Naruto she sunk into a fighting stance. "You can just give me tips as we go along." She called to Naruto. Without waiting for him to respond she launched her attack. Flinging several kunai, she was surprised that he didn't move to dodge. With poise and speed that made his actions look effortless, Naruto caught the first of the kunai and used it to deflect the other two. "Dumb luck," Ino thought to herself as she launched her second attack.

Using the momentum from her initial run she pushed off from a tree and sailed clear over Naruto, launching more kunai. She had pushed off right into his blind spot and watched as these kunai sailed, unchecked, to strike him in the...POOF The Naruto that had been standing right underneath her disappeared in a puff of smoke. Ino hadn't seen him use a replacement jutsu at all. Suddenly, a voice from behind her said, "Tip number one: don't look away from your opponent." Naruto laughed as he ruffled her hair and sprang away. It was Ino could do to keep the expression of rage from her face.

They trained for a few more hours like this, Ino making basic errors and Naruto appearing behind her, ruffling her hair, and disappearing before she could retaliate. While it wasn't even the true reason she had asked Naruto out here in the first place, she had to admit that she was learning quite a bit from the ditsy blond ninja. Finally, Ino decided she had trained enough to tire Naruto a little and lay down in the middle of the field. "Naruto, let's take a break." She called. "Ok, I like stargazing out here anyway." He answered from right beside her. If he hadn't have been appearing next to her all evening, she would have jumped about a foot in the air. "Well it is a beautiful night." She answered with a sigh. "Thanks for coming out here and helping with my training." She said. "No problem." He answered. "To be honest, Ino, I kinda had fun tonight."

"You better have had fun. Playing the nice girl all night nearly killed me" Ino thought."I had fun too Naruto." Ino replied with her most girlish giggle. She was a little surprised to find a part of her meant it, but she quickly pushed the thought aside. "And the Emmy goes to….ME!" Gathering the last of her reserves of chakra, she prepared to perform the jutsu. Just as she was about to release the jutsu she turned to Naruto and felt something press against her lips. Before she could process what was happening she felt her concentration slip and the chakra was released in a burst.

Ino, still in shock, rolled onto her back and looked at the stars. Blinking, she tried to register what happened. One minute she had been performing her jutsu and the next Naruto had…had…kissed her!? Surprisingly, she felt no anger at the thought, only a little giddy because this meant he liked her back. "Wait, HE LIKES ME BACK!? Did I just think that!?" Ino thought.She had to admit it had been a pretty romantic situation, and, at least for the moment, she was caught in a small flurry of conflicting emotions for Naruto. "Wow….Wait it's Naruto! He caught you off guard! Don't fall for this Ino! Oh well, at least the jutsu wasn't completed." To do that she would have had to touch Naruto. "OH NO!" Opening her eyes, Ino's fears were confirmed. She was staring at her unconscious form lying only a few feet away. "The burst of chakra must have knocked him out. I've got to think of something quickly."

Just at that moment, Naruto opened his eyes. He had heard of people getting a "firework" sensation when they kissed someone for the first time, but this had been something entirely different. It was on par with the first time he had eaten ramen or performed his first Justus. No…it had been better!

Naruto's previous infatuation with Sakura had evaporated instantly and was replaced several fold by his feelings for Ino. He wondered how things could change so quickly. Opening his eyes slowly, he expected to see a shocked or furious Ino. Instead he was looking into his own face.

A/N: I don't know when I'll update again. Things have been pretty busy lately, but I should probably have the next chapter up in a week or so.