*A ninja lawyer appears* "By the order of the Konoha Judicial Court, Supreme Judge Aldelbert Dondus Yesulia de la Nelson von Smitherson the 3rd" *Checks the scroll again* "Long name… he needs to shorten it to Timmy or Bob. Ahem… *Cough* This story is not owned by the Author. It is owned by Masashi Kishimoto. This disclaimer, as decreed by Judge Timmy, shall be in effect through out the entire story."
Summary: Shipwrecked and lost in unfamiliar lands, Ino and Naruto are forced to work with one another in order to survive. Enemy ninjas? Demons? Stubborn blonds? …talking monkeys?
Chapter 1: Shipwrecked
Red, feral eyes squinted from atop the branch, scanning the horizon for a sign of anything remotely familiar. "Dammit." Naruto cursed as he leapt from branch to branch with a shinobi's grace.
His body was worn and exhausted, to the point to where he was forced to rely on his prisoner's chakra. "Been going around for nearly six days now and still see no signs. Just where the hell are we?"
The entire forest had massive trees, similar to the Forest of Death, yet it was filled with many things he never seen. Flora, animals, insects the list was near endless. He chuckled inwardly as his mind imagined a particular pink haired medic who'd squeal in joy at the possibility of making new medical discoveries.
With a soft thump he landed in a small clearing he found when they first came ashore. In the center was a makeshift tent made out of a variety of long, solid sticks and large leaves. The leaves were arranged on the top and sides with slits cut into them to form an interlocking barrier from the outside forces. A skill he dubbed as useless when his deceased sensei, Jiraiya, attempted to teach him how to survive off the land.
Sprawled out in the center of the tent laid the only female member of the Ino-Shika-Cho combo. She had been unconscious for nearly a week and was beginning to worry about her body shutting down if she didn't wake up soon. Luckily he was able to 'force' her to drink water by manipulating her throat muscles into swallowing so dehydration wouldn't be an issue.
He dropped down to a bent knee as his hands rested over the makeshift splint on her left arm. He let out a defeated sigh, "I knew I should've taken those lessons from Sakura-chan when she offered."
"Shikamaru, what's going on?" Naruto called out as he stepped on deck.
"Take a look over there." Shikamaru pointed out toward the ship's port side. For a second Naruto thought he was seeing things.
"Who or what is that?" He questioned the recently promoted jonin.
Shikamaru placed a unlit cigarette in his mouth, "Troublesome." The tie keeping Shikamaru's hair pinned up snapped as a large gust of wind blew between them. "Hair cut…" The annoyed jonin muttered.
"Shikamaru! Naruto! What going on? The captain said you two needed some help." Ino yelled over the wind as her and Chouji stepped out from below the deck.
Naruto pointed out to the rapid approaching shadow. "Dunno, looks like a whale but it's approaching extremely fast."
"Naruto, go into Sage Mode. I have a bad feeling about this." Shikamaru glanced at the blond genin.
"You got to be kidding! I can't do that! The ship's too rocky and it'd take at least thirty minutes!" Shikamaru wiped the spit off his face from Naruto's overreaction.
"That information would've been useful to know a lot sooner."
A groan of discomfort brought him back to reality. Ino opened her eyes, waiting for her blurred vision to correct itself before sitting up slowly. The pain in her left arm reminded her of that fateful night with Kisame.
An orange figure shifted in the corner of her eyes and leaned over a pile of leaves and twigs. "Naruto?" She called out. Pale blue eyes met feral red as he turned around in practiced response. Mentally he cursed forgetting his current state and quickly turned his head back around at the pile in order to avoid her gaze. Red eyes? I must've hit my head hard.
A pale green glow began flow from her hand to her arm, mending broken bone and torn flesh, "Where's Shikamaru and Chouji?"
"…" He tried to think up of what to say, but no words could escape his lips. What do you say to that?
A worried Ino asked, "Hey you don't think…?"
"Are you kidding? Chouji and Shikamaru are too good to let something like a puny storm take them out." Naruto boosted proudly of Ino's teammates. The sound of an owl reminded him that nightfall was a approaching fast and he needed to light their fire soon. He grabbed a kunai from leg strap with one hand and pulled out a flint stone and cloth piece with the other.
With the kunai in hand he made a small bowl out of the foliage, a method he learned that not only helped keep the wind off the initial fire, but kept it from smothering itself out when it began to spread. A smile unconsciously slipped onto his lips as a memory forced its way to the surface. The day Jiraiya decided to start teach him how to survive out in the woods with just his wits.
"Ok brat, I'm going to teach you a little lesson on how to make a fire without ninjutsu." Jiraiya clapped his hands together and began to rub them excitedly.
"Aw, come on Pervy Sage! What's the fun of doing something if you can't use ninjutsu?" A fourteen year old Naruto whined.
Jiraiya reached into his pocket and pulled out a flint stone, "Well, if you can't do something the old fashion way, how can I expect you to do it the ninja way? Listen brat, chakra's nice to have available, but you can't rely on it to do everything for you. For example, you use chakra to climb trees, right?"
Naruto gave a small nod as Jiraiya continued, "Let's just give a 'what if' scenario. Let's say you went undercover as a merchant's assistant and you were escorting goods. Now imagine that your under watch constantly. And, let's just say you were tasked with climbing a tree to see up the road ahead incase of bandits. Now, do you blow your cover and use your chakra to run up the tree? Or do you climb up it the hard way?"
"Oh right! Ha, you don't act it but some times you can be real smart Pervy Sage."
A young Naruto gave a wide smile as Jiraiya nodded in agreement until realization hit him. His face faltered, "What's that supposed to mean?"
He placed the kunai against the piece of cloth and struck it several times, mentally praying it was dry enough to light. "Come on. Light dammit! Ah ha! Bingo." Embers from the friction landed on the cloth, producing a small, thin stream of smoke. He sat the kunai down and covered the pile with his hand and lightly blew to accelerate the process.
"All right! Way to go Naruto!" Ino cheered as she dropped her splint to the ground and stretched out her freshly healed arm.
He laid back and closed his eyes, "Whew finally. Now, time to get some sleep."
"Sleep? It's barely dark." Ino pointed out.
"Well I've been up for almost a week straight and nearly out of chakra." He countered. And been running on the fox's chakra since we got here. He mentally noted. He didn't want to admit either that he stayed up the entire time mostly out of fear of trouble while she was unconscious.
"A week…?" Ino whispered, "How long have I been out?" The only response she got was snores.
"That knucklehead. A week… I don't see how anyone in their right mind could have that much energy."
"Lady Hokage!" A man in an ANBU mask burst through the door.
"Don't you have any manners? Knock before you enter!" Tsunade shouted at the top of her lungs. An irritable expression blanketed her features. "Report, and it better be good. It's late and I hear a nice bottle of sake calling me."
The man behind the white, bull mask bowed, "Sorry milady, but it would seem Shikamaru is back." He stated.
"You disturbed me for that?" She clenched her hands into fists, the knuckles of each fingers popping one after another.
Tsunade had been known for her volatile temper whenever she becomes irritated. And with her monstrous strength, it was no wonder that even the strongest of ninja checked themselves when she began to crack her knuckles. Though if this ANBU had any fear, he didn't show it, or at least the mask kept it hidden. "Sorry milady, but its an emergency. Ino Yamanaka and Naruto Uzumaki are not with them."
Tsunade's heart began to race as any anger she had was replaced with worry. "You say…" She struggled for the right words. "That Naruto is…" It was common knowledge among the ninja that dealt with the hokage on a regular basis that Naruto, not only her biggest headache, but also her biggest weakness. She would stand up and knock down the gates of hell themselves if it meant protecting the boy she came to love as a little brother (or grandson due to age difference).
"Missing." The ANBU finished for her. "It would seem their ship was attacked by Akatsuki."
"How are Shikamaru and Chouji?" She asked, her professional persona quickly taking over.
"Tired, a couple of gashes and broken bones."
"Once they're patched up and gets a nights rest, I want to see them. And one other thing."
"I need you to tell Might Gai to come to my office immediately. I have a mission for him. Dismissed." The ANBU nodded before disappearing from sight.
She took a deep breath before exhaling, trying to calm her nerves. A trickle of water hit the back of her hand. Without even thinking she reached up and touched her cheeks, realizing what she felt were her own tears. "You stupid brat. I've already lost the pervert. I refuse to let you leave me too."
A ninja dressed in black appeared in a blast of smoke. "Milord, it would seem the nine-tailed jinchūriki has been lost out at sea."
"Interesting… perhaps this can work in my favor. Gather what details you can find about Naruto's mission." The figure sitting on a throne ordered.
"At once, milord." The ninja made a few hand signs before disappearing in a puff of smoke.
A large, masculine man appeared; wearing black leather pants and black boots, he obviously enjoyed showing off his physique. "Lord Danzo…" His voice was deep and dark, sending shivers of fear down the guard's spine that were posted around the room.
"Kazuya, where's Kazuma?" The figure on the throne questioned. A lithe man appeared beside Kazuya, dressed in the basic ninja garb except instead of black, it was colored various shades of green and brown for camouflage. Danzo grabbed a scroll off the table on his side, "Here's the details of the target I want you to track. Find him, and if possible bring him to me unharmed."
Kazuma walked to Danzo and grabbed the scroll and began to read it. After a few seconds of scanning over the details, his eyes sharpened with interest, "Is this correct?"
"This boy is a sage, much more, a jinchūriki. We'll need some time and a few pieces of equipment from the store room." Kazuma explained as he turned to hand the scroll to Kazuya.
"Granted. I'll alert the guards that you are coming. Don't fail me Kazuma."
"I won't milord." Kazuma began to walk away. He stopped and turned toward Danzo, "Milord, what if he fights back. Should we engage him in combat?"
"Only if deemed necessary. I need him alive and in one piece if we are to succeed. Oh, and Kazuma, before you leave get with Zu for details about the target's latest mission."
"Yes milord." The raven haired male bowed before motioning for his bald headed giant companion to follow.
Danzo turned to the map of the elemental countries on his right, "Soon, Konoha will pay for banishing me." He threw a shuriken and watched with amusement as it struck The Land of Fire.
The door flew open as a green blur entered the room. Rubbing a thumb against his chin with a toothy smile that put Mr. Clean to shame stood Konoha's greatest taijutsu master. "Ah Hokaga-sama, I heard you request Konoha's fastest ninja for a top secret…miss…sion…"
Might Gai may play the fool some times, but he was a jonin for a reason. Tsunade's red eyes, puffy cheeks and the small trail of what looked like dried tears was all he needed to see. "Tsu… Hokage-sama, something happen?"
Tsunade pushed forward a scroll, indicating for the jonin to take it. His eyes scanned over the contents quickly, "I'm not complaining, the money your offering is generous, but I don't see how delivering an unsealed message scroll to Suna and bringing Shizune-san back to Konoha qualifies as more pay than an S Rank." The mission was unranked, which was highly unusual unless it was supposed to be off the radar.
"Reread it again." Her anger, or namely lack there of, satisfied his suspicion. You simply did not question Tsunade if you valued your health. Something definitely happened.
He read the scroll again, taking his time to make sure he read every detail about it. An eyebrow raised as he glanced up at the blond haired woman, "Is this true?" Tsunade gave a simple nod.
"To lose the flame of youth at such a young age." He set the scroll on the desk and grabbed another, even smaller scroll and slid it into a pouch on his vest. "Does Kakashi-kun know?"
Tsunade shook her head, "To be honest I want a full nights rest before I tell him. Right now I'm not sure who'll be tougher talking to. He, Iruka and Sakura were all attached to the brat. And with Ino involved, its just more fuel to the fire."
Gai couldn't agree more. Sakura was friends with Ino and close to Naruto. Iruka had seen the boy as a son he never had. As for Kakashi…
"When I look at him, it's hard to believe how much he's grown. He reminds me so much of Obito its scary. I never told him to his face, I'm proud of him. He's finally achieved his dream and now accepted by everyone. But still, some times I feel like I failed him." Kakashi's voice echoed in his head.
The conversation he had with the Copy Ninja last week was fresh in his mind. He thought it was the booze, but now that he thought about it, that night he was talking to Kakashi Hatake, not the legendary Copy Ninja.
"Get some rest Hokaga-sama." Gai walked toward the door, "I'll go at top speed and be at Suna before tomorrow night or I'll do 200 laps around Konoha on my hands." He flashed her his trademark grin before disappearing in a green blur.
Naruto stood up with a yawn, "Good morning." He stretched his muscles a bit then began to job in place.
Ino swore mentally the teen was on drugs. Seriously, how do you go from sleeping like a rock to wide awake and jogging in place in less than a minute?!
"About time to you woke up. I swear Naruto, you could sleep through an earthquake." Ino said while tossing him a purple fruit she had found earlier. "So, Mr. Energetic, any idea where we are?"
He stopped for a second and crossed his arms while going into a deep thought. Like a light switch was turned on upstairs, he held up a finger and cheerfully answered, "If it makes you feel better I have an idea where we're not."
"Ugh, great. We're lost!" Ino whined.
Ino and Naruto come across a lake and decide to camp out under the stars. Ino discovers Naruto's accelerated healing and realizes that there's more than meets the eye to the genin. Meanwhile, Shikamaru and Chouji confront Tsunade about their mission details and learn about one of Konoha's biggest secrets.
Next up Chapter 2: Secrets
Read and review, tell me what you think and if you have any ideas for the story. This is going to be a Naruto/Ino as they journey home, so probably won't have any other pairings. I'm also looking for a beta if anyone is interested.