Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or anything else. Originally this story was written by Gaming Ikari but the author couldn't finish so I decided to finish it up. The first three chapters were written by the other author, I did add in or edit a bit here and there but the majority is like the original and yes they did give me permission to do this.
Chapter 1: Prank gone wrong.
Lounging on the veranda tiles, against the wall shadowed by the eaves of a three-story building, fifteen-year-old Ino Yamanaka 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-fuelled 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 separation 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 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.
In the village of Konoha, one of the first lessons potential ninja learned at the academy, drilled into each and every student from the start, was the need to fight panic and take a half-second to assess the situation before acting. This lesson had proven it's worth many times, giving Konoha ninja an edge some foes never notice until they found themselves defeated.
Ino was not prone to panic, having learned just how powerful she could become if she remained calm. The girl had seen careful consideration allow Shikamaru and her team to prevail over theoretically superior foes. Their three man team nearly fought two members of Akatsuki to a standstill, a feat few other ninja in the world could boast... let alone one Chunin fighting and defeating a member of Akatsuki in one on one combat.
When the nine-tailed Kitsune it lunged forward she paused for a fraction of a section to consider how to best avoid the terrible jaws that reflexive prudence, for the first time, nearly cost her her life.
Only the uncontrollable, terror-inspired twitch of her calves edged her back enough for those terrible jaws to miss, the deep clack of the missed bite washing a chill from the back of her neck right down to her feet. Her mind recognized the need to move, before the demon realized she'd avoided the lunge.
Her need to escape overcame revulsion: The blond girl pressed both hands against the saliva-drenched white wall in front of her, arching her back and wind milling arms to plant her hands in the water. Abdominal muscles strained and hips protested as she tucked her legs in tight to avoid clipping the furred jaw just inches away. The flexible chunin bent her arms to lower her face almost into the water, then flooded biceps with chakra as she kicked her feet forward, towards a gap between the bars.
As her arms tilted her away from the fox, she straightened them as powerfully as she could, a spring pressed down suddenly free to expand. Ino prayed she would pass through the bars, knowing if she hit one of those iron pillars she was dead. Her eyes remained on the kitsune, terrible jaws opening and lunging forward again.
The pain that slapped the blue-eyed youth was overshadowed by heart-gripping terror as her back slammed into unyielding metal, an inch or two to the right of her spine. An instant stretched to an hour as memories filled her thoughts too fast to understand. Relief came as the instant passed into the next, momentum rolling her around the bar and through the gap to the other side.
Stumbling backwards, Ino heard the sweetest music: The cacophony of bone on iron as the bars held back the monster's jaws.
"What the hell!?" Ino began, stopping as she realized her normally lightly teasing voice resembled the squeak of a mouse instead of clearly enunciated words. She cleared her throat, rubbing the base of her long neck to push down the lump she felt.
"Another meal wasted," the voice growled before she could attempt her question once more, chuckling as those horribly large teeth smiled in her direction. "You can't escape though, Yamanaka. Eventually you'll try to get past me. There's no exit down that hallway."
"How do you know who I am?" Ino wondered, curiosity dominating her wildly churning mood. Whatever was happening... Whatever it was... She was going to beat the living shit out of Naruto whenever she managed to get out of this mess.
"Oh, I know of your clan at least. One of yours tried to use that silly little technique on me as well, but there weren't any bars in the way... She was quite tasty," the voice chuckled darkly. Realization Ino slapped Ino in the face: Her aunt Irisa died fighting the nine-tailed kitsune all those years ago, she never even got to meet her only seen her pictures. The demon fox's smile widened in his cage as her eyes widened and her jaw dropped.
Ino's took a step back out of reflex. She was face to face with the monster which nearly destroyed Konoha. The world-shaking beast the Fourth Hokage his life to defeat.
"Boo," the demon added, grin fading as it realized Ino's attention had wandered.
The present was rudely shoved aside as the events from minutes ago fought their way back to the front of the blond girl's mind, throwing a solid right cross to her sensibilities. Her jaw hung slack and her eyes lost focus as she connected the dots between the two wildly improbable events she now faced: She was talking with one of the most powerful creatures in the world in Naruto's head!
It was a moment of terrible clarity which explained the universal aversion to the orphan the entire village displayed. Her own parents had told her to keep away from the solitary child when she'd first started her lessons at the academy. As young as she'd been when she'd heard the stern warning, she never once thought to ask the why, blindly trusting their judgment.
The revelation explained the boy's dozens of idiosyncrasies. Now it was clear how he could keep molding chakra during lessons long after his peers had given up in frustration, their own reserves as dry as the dunes of the Sand Country. His savant-like skill in using the most high-classed, chakra-intensive jutsu now made a terrible kind of sense, it had to be because he somehow could access some of the huge amount of chakra she could feel.
Now that she had calmed down, she could feel that terrible force of chakra from behind those bars. Even killing intent didn't compare to it.
"This is Naruto's mind?" Ino whispered in disbelief, taking in the rusted metal of the young man's mind. No wonder she hadn't recognized the feel of a person's thoughts in this dark, terribly desolate place. Most people visualized their own minds in abstractions that were generally more... peaceful. This had the homey feeling of an abandoned bunker, not like a cottage in the meadow or the beautiful palace which comprised the typical image of a person's mind.
"Not totally stupid, but not all that smart either," The fox grumbled, it's claws again reaching forward to try to grasp the frightened girl through the metal bars which formed it's seal. They dug into the ground, creating an earthquake as the fox dragged them back within the seal. "Of course you're in his mind. You used that technique of yours, didn't you? This is just an abstraction of his mind which your tiny mortal brain can comprehend. Are you sure you don't want me to eat you? I might be doing you a favor..."
"No, you can't eat me!" Ino roared, irritation finally overcoming her initial fear of the rumbling beast. A shuriken from her belt pouch was hurled through the bars, though the eyes didn't even blink. Her mind was racing as she considered her options. How the hell was she going to get out of this? She glanced back down the hallway, considering it.
The kitsune said there was no escape. Perhaps he was lying...
"I wouldn't," the monster fox taunted, the chuckling somehow more sinister than any sound she'd ever heard. The great monster's voice dripped dark enjoyment. "The only thing you'll find down that corridor are his memories."
"There has to be a way out," Ino muttered to herself, unable to deny the urge to see what made the blond genin tick. She'd been fairly dismissive of Sakura's teammate until recently: Then the boy fought a member of Akatsuki with nothing more than his guts, his chakra, and a desire to prove his worth against a ludicrously dangerous foe, choosing to do so alone instead of with the aid of one of the most experienced ninja in Konoha, plus there had been that rasensuriken thing he has, that had been the most impressive jutsu she had ever seen.
Shikamaru had entered the fight with a plan and a unflinching desire for revenge driving him: What arrogant pride made the blond boy take on one of the most dangerous ninja in the world just to measure his own strength? He hadn't known Asuma especially well, couldn't have had any strong hatred for Kakazu or his partner. Nothing save the man's association with Akatsuki and his trespasses against fellow academy students who hadn't been especially close made him the blond boy's foe.
Ino's felt a desire to walk down the hall in the careful stare she directed down the darkened corridor. There were so many questions she had about him, so many mysteries and she was always too curious about people.
Ino's curiosity could no longer be denied. She'd hadn't really had any contact with Naruto before graduation, except for the casual association granted by their classes together. After she and Sakura had come to terms with their rivalry, after that first chunin exam, she'd occasionally listened to the pink-headed girl's stories, but...
Well... She always embellished the stories of her own missions with Shikamaru and Chouji. It was just that they were really boring, unless she added a few more ninja, each using a few more jutsu then they actually had. Talking about yet another ambush, the majority of their foes decimated by Chouji's powerful taijutsu while Shikamaru held them immobile would have quickly grown stale. Even the occasionally quick or cautious foe who escaped was easy prey for her jutsu.
She listened to Sakura's own tales under the assumption that the green-eyed girl was adding the same sort of embellishment. The recent understanding she'd gained threw her teammate into a whole new light, knowing every word her friend spoke was the simple truth, if not actally understated.
She struggled to resolve the class prankster with the sort of ninja who didn't hesitate for a second to go toe to toe with one of the Sannin for a girl who ignored him and a boy who belittled him... all within months of graduation. The sort of boy who could come up with a plan to free his jounin sensei and allow his team to prevail when, by all rights, they should have been easy pickings for Zabuza's Mizu Bunshins. The sort of young man who would travel non-stop to another country to fight a member of Akatsuki to save the life of a young man who'd tried to kill him.
The chance she had was too unique to pass up. Her feet were slipping through the cold water before she admitted to herself she wanted to know more about the orange-clad genin.
Butterflies churned her stomach as she advanced down the hallway. The inky blackness was frightening enough, and only the cackling of the amused fox allowed her to walk on, spite trumping anxiety. She paused before the first iron door she saw, massive hinges crudely bolted to a frame assembled from scraps of girders. A ring hanging on one side of the door rustily protested being disturbed as she grasped it, pulling the door open with a squeal.
A flood of memories struck her, a solid haymaker to the gut buckling her knees. Her mind reeled, a discordant bouquet of emotions warring for dominance. Anger. Hurt. Apathy so thick Ino's respect for the boy rose, just for the willpower it would have taken to cast it aside.
As her mind struggled, her vision tumbled through a rainstorm of colour, then...
Naruto's eighth birthday. Staring at the wall in a shabby, ill-kept apartment. She shifted only slightly, and then just to offset the gradual ache ever-building from sitting on a lumpy bed. The bed's only companion was a rusted metal dinner tray, decorated with three empty styrofoam cups. Ino was unable to flinch at the way the boy ignored the itch of wet skin from tears he was too detached to wipe away.
A lone visitor taking him to Ichiraku Ramen for a treat, giving the boy a small cupcake and some words of encouragement... it was a glorious sunrise by comparison. The blond girl wondered if Iruka would ever realize just how much those thirty short minutes meant to the orphaned boy that day.
Ino stumbled back from the door, hand recoiling from iron ring as if it was a hot pan, wanting nothing more than to forget the raw hatred the young eight-year-old boy had possessed. Iruka-sensei's visit was the only pause in a silent contemplation of rage. Even now she felt tainted by it, angry with everything around her just from that one memory.
She'd known this much hate only for the pair who'd killed her sensei. To feel it for everything but one person, even peripherally... It staggered her. How could someone walk around with so much hatred bottled up within themselves? The stark contrast with the smiling boy she knew Naruto to be only made the memory that much more repulsive.
She wanted to conjure a lock and seal away the memory forever, make sure it would never haunt her or it's owner again. It was too painful to bear, even as a spectator.
She found another door and in this she saw a familiar image as it was opened, this of Gaara. Only perspective gained from the sight of his furtive, shy smiles whenever he and his siblings had reason to visit softened the hard memories from years ago. Ino still had nightmares of the vacant-eyed youth from her first chunin exam.
The first of Naruto's memories was already an ugly scar she could never erase from her mind. She saw the how Naruto had met Gaara, then of the realization that he and Gaara were two sides of the same coin. The fight with Gaara was incredible, she had heard of it but to actually see it was another thing. But it were those thoughts that ran through his mind at that time, the images of the 'darkness' of his life that he spoke of and the painful ache she could feel associated with it.
Morbid fascination pulled Ino deeper down the iron hallway, searching darkened patches of rust for the next memory. Even the hallway filled the hollow of the girl's neck with a lump: Naruto's mind was the long-abandoned ruin caused by an epic struggle.
She grasped the ring on the second door, opening the memory with a firm, determined yank. Even braced for it, she couldn't stop the tears.
Naruto breathed a sigh of contentment as he stretched out on his bed, staring up at his ceiling as he let the warmth from the bowls of ramen spread out from his stomach, until even his fingers and toes tingled. Dreams crept around the edges of conscious thought, waiting for him to lower his guard so they could slip to the front of his mind.
Sure, he'd pissed off Ino, he mused... He'd also messed up at asking Sakura on a date and had to put up with Sai's... curiosity about the Sexy no Jutsu. Then again, he'd also gotten the chance to tell Iruka about kicking Kazaku's ass, which resulted in his teacher paying for his first three bowls of Ichikaru.
Any day he got treated to Ichikaru, he concluded, was a good day.
He drifted blissfully into sleep, pulling his black sleeping cap more snugly onto his head as he curled up underneath the blankets.
He found himself drifting between stray thoughts... and then with an abruptness he thought out of place, he was vividly dreaming.
He knew he was dreaming because Ino was crying. Not only that, but he was in front of the stupid fox's cage in his boxers. All the party needed was an older teacher-type spouting strange, inscrutable advice to convince him to never again eat crab ramen before bedtime again.
"What the hell?" Naruto muttered, scuffing his bare foot on the water as he cast his eyes around. Being a dream, he was wearing the same clothes he'd been wearing when he'd fallen asleep... His hat, his boxers, and the blond hair his father (or mother) had given him. He prodded the blond girl on the shoulder. "Oi, what's going on?"
"Naruto! I'm sorry!" As the tall blond girl tackled him, Naruto knew without a doubt he was dreaming. A small part of him insisted it was real, but the various soft parts brushing against him convinced the blue-eyed Hokage-to-be that this was fiction from his subconscious: No way, no how was he this lucky with any girl, let alone Sakura's rival of all people. As if reading his thoughts, the fox chuckled as it watched him. Ino paused, sniffling as glistening grey eyes met blue. "I should have been nicer! I didn't know!"
"Er, it's okay?" Naruto tried, without much success. He gingerly patted the girl on the back, torn between the twin urges to throw his arms around and give her a firm hug and trying to crawl away. This dream was getting REALLY weird. Normally his dreams were only sort of strange. Hell, if the blond was a pinkette and he wasn't being watched by the creepy fox, it would have resembled one of his normal dreams.
He shrugged. What the hell, it was just a dream. He hugged Ino, patting her on the head. "Don't cry, Ino! Nothing's worth getting this upset over!"
"Always cheerful, just like Iruka taught you," Ino sniffled, pulling back and looking up at Naruto with the softest grey eyes he'd ever seen on the girl. That pretty much settled it for him: Nobody knew about his conversations with Iruka, not even Sakura or Sasuke... and the thought of Soft or Kind being used in the same sentence with Yamanaka Ino, especially in regards to him? It had to be a dream. "Naruto, I've been really mean to you... Do you forgive me?"
"Of course!" Naruto promised, thinking that this dream wasn't so bad after all. Now that he had a moment to consider it without being yelled at, Sakura's rival was fairly pretty in her own way. He recalled the way both girls had fawned over Sasuke and figured it was something with his subconscious mind trying to overcome Sasuke in every way possible. He resolved to give his subconscious mind a kick in the ass and anywhere else he could reach at the next opportunity. "Don't worry about it, Ino. I'll even treat you nicer after this dream is over!"
"Dream?" Ino seemed to scowl for a moment and then she smiled. The devious look on her face gave Naruto pause, though rational thought fled as the girl, still hugging him tightly, took a deep breath. "Yeah, this dream! When this dream is over, I might even treat you nicer, too!"
"This is my dream, not yours," Naruto groused, finally letting her go and taking a look around. It didn't feel like a normal dream, either. He grinned at her. "It's not like you're going to even know about any of this when I wake up. You're just a figment of my imagination."
"Well, I want out," Ino admitted, her head bowing forward as she sidled up to Naruto. He blushed as he felt... parts... brushing against his bare chest. She latched onto his arm. "But it looks like the only way I can get out is if that monster fox lets me. Make him let me go, will you?"
"Sure," Naruto promised. It was just a dream, after all. He marched right up to the bars of the cage, poking his finger into the darkness. "Oi, stupid fox! Let Ino go so I can get back to sleep!"
"Make me," the fox growled, annoyed. It didn't need this. Nations coward at it's feet and some upstart punk was always giving it orders.
"Rasengan!" Naruto roared, feeling the familiar drain on his chakra. Funny... He didn't usually feel a drain when he performed jutsus in his dreams. Then again, this dream was kind of weird anyway. He held the jutsu swirling in his hand in front of himself. "Don't make me come in there!"
The nine-tailed kitsune frowned at the swirling mass of chakra. It couldn't hurt him after all this was just an image of his mind, but if they did fight and if he accidentally killed his jailer, and that was a possibility, that wouldn't be good because then he would die.
Of course, the idiot thought it was all a dream. He thought he was just being the typical hero without knowing just how close to death he was coming. Then again, with how close the moron trodded to death every time he gleefully threw himself into battle, the idiot's danger sense was probably as well-balanced as a vase in an earthquake.
The fox relented, pulling back his chakra and allowing the Yamanaka to release the seal from where she stood. Without the demonic pull of his chakra, she was able to release the technique with ease. The stupid blond who was his jailer wasn't even competent enough to realize as the girl faded from his mind, her soul dispersing through the air to return to her body.
Naruto grinned as he allowed the technique to dissipate. It had been a weird dream.
Right now it didn't matter because he wanted to swim in a lake of ramen.
Ino breathed a breath of air, writhing as she felt herself once more in her own body. She was free! She'd escaped the nine-tailed kitsune! She was once more back in her own body! She was alive! She- Ino sniffed, realizing she smelt like garbage.
Pulling herself from the dumpster, Ino smiled as she thought of a blond boy.
She'd misjudged him.
She'd thought he was nothing more than a loser, a failure not worthy of her attention. Just looking through his memories she'd seen fights that had left a lasting impression on her.
A small part of her shuddered at the reckless courage it would take to fight Orochimaru not once, but twice... both times knowing full well he might die. When ninja dared talk about Orochimaru to her generation it was in a whisper, as if the mention of his name would bring him back. That Naruto would charge into battle with him for the sake of his comrades, when even jounin would run, was a resolute monument to his character.
The blond boy was a ninja worth watching.
Thinking of her sensei's last words to her, she grinned. Sakura might not know the prize she had following in her footsteps, but Ino would claim it. She wouldn't lose to Sakura in love. Not when the prize was so worth catching.
Not when the prize would be the next Hokage.
Next up chapter 2: Ino's new crush