AN: Alright, I've always wanted to try a story like this one, and I figured what a better way to celebrate me being back other than having a nice, heart-warming story... Ok, maybe a partially heart-warming story. Alright, this starts off when the rookies are about 6 years old. R&R. Also, I will be jumping around for a bit before I start in one timeline, so I'm sorry.
"Hey mommy, why's that boy over there all alone?" a small platinum blonde girl, pausing on the swing set while staring at a spiky blonde haired boy. He looked so lonely, sitting on a large rock near the tree line, staring blankly as the other kids ignored him.
"I don't know. Why don't you go over and talk to him, I'm sure he needs a friend, Ino," Ino's mom said, knowing all to well why he was alone, and in her mind, she hated everyone of those parents who told their children to ignore poor Naruto.
"Ok mom. Do you know his name?" Ino asked her mom, pausing as she jumped off the swing.
"His name's Naruto Uzumaki, if I heard correctly. Go on now, talk to him," her mother said, giving an encouraging smile. Ino smiled back, turning as she ran towards Naruto, whose gaze turned instantly to Ino, noting that for once, someone other than Teuchi, Ayame, and the Hokage had a friendly smile when they approached Naruto.
"Naruto?" Ino asked tentatively, making sure that was his name. Naruto cringed and became afraid. How does she know his name, he questioned silently.
"H-how do you know my name?" Naruto asked timidly, waiting in case he had to run. Ino laughed nervously, showing Naruto she was friendly.
"My mother told me your name, silly. My name's Ino, and my mom is right over there," Ino said, pointing towards the swing sets where her mom stood, and waved, smiling gently. Naruto relaxed, seeing that the people were friendly.
"So, Ino, what do you want to do?" Naruto asked, eager to play with his new friend. Ino just shrugged, all the while smiling.
"I don't know, I thought maybe you would want to play something," Ino said. Naruto shrugged.
"I don't know, I've never played with anybody. Their parents have always stopped them," Naruto said, frowning. Ino stopped smiling and felt sad. But then a smile returned to her face as an idea popped into her head
"Well, you know what? You've got a friend now! I can help teach you what to do when playing with others!" Ino exclaimed brightly, causing Naruto to smile. He had his first friend that was his own age. They ran off, receiving weird looks as Ino explained, while running, everything that people do when playing with others. And thus, a friendship was born, filling the loneliness in Naruto's heart.
"Hey, can I play?" a boy asked, seeming to be around their age. He had black hair and onyx eyes, while wearing the signature Uchiha, high-collared shirt.
"Sure, what's your name?" Naruto said, stopping with Ino to talk to the kid.
"My name's Sasuke Uchiha, what's yours?" Sasuke asked, smiling.
"My name's Naruto Uzumaki, future Hokage!" Naruto exclaimed, this being one of the bast days of his life.
"My names Ino Yamanaka. Nice to meet you, Sasuke. We were just starting a game of tag, so you can join if you want," Ino said racing off with Naruto and Sasuke on her heels. This truly was a sight to behold because for once, the blonde jinchuriki had friends to play with.
2 years later
"C'mon Ino, we're going to be late to Sasuke's house!" Naruto yelled as he sped off towards the Uchiha district. It had been 2 years since him, Ino, and Sasuke became friends, and for Naruto, it had been the best.
"I'm going, I'm going!" Ino yelled, racing after her companion. She caught up with Naruto, and rather forcefully, slowed the boy down.
"C'mon, we've only got 5 minutes before we're late!" Naruto whined, receiving a slap to the back of the head.
"Shut it. Besides, we can literally see the Uchiha district from here. Let's just walk," Ino said, causing Naruto to whimper. They continued walking, unaware of the scene that they were about to encounter.
"Hey, why are the guar-" Naruto stopped, mid-sentence and step, seeing the blood on the ground that had just stared spurting from the guards necks.
"Ino, go get some help!" Naruto commanded, not waiting for an answer as he ran to try and assist the guards. Ino ran off, not sure who to get. Naruto ran past the guards, seeing that their necks had been sliced and that their eyes were lifeless. He heard screams coming from the houses as he rushed to Sasuke's, hoping he could at least figure out what was going on.
"I-Itachi, why?!" He heard Sasuke yell, and he picked up his pace. He had to figure out what was going on.
"I'm sorry, little brother. Use this feeling and when you are stronger, then take me on," Itachi's voice was heard. Naruto tackled through the front door, not wasting anytime as he ran to the living room where he saw Sasuke and Itachi, the latter standing over the dead bodies of their parents.
"Sasuke, are you ok?" Naruto asked, rushing to his friend.
"Naruto, you were not meant to see this," Itachi said, and Sasuke collapsed to the floor, uncontrollably sobbing. Naruto hunched over, and a dark red glow came about the room.
"You…. BASTARD!" Naruto screeched, turning his head towards the Uchiha, bearing his growing fangs and red eyes. The red glow grew stronger, and Naruto charged the man, who pulled out his katana. Itachi swung when Naruto was close enough, only succeeding in getting the weapon swiped out of his hand. Itachi had two options at that point; flee and live, or try and put Naruto in a genjutsu and stop him, and then flee. He chose the former, seeing as a group of ANBU and the Hokage appeared in the room, the ANBU group splitting up; one to stop Naruto, the other to chase Itachi.
"Naruto, my boy, calm down," the Sandaime said, calming Naruto down with his presence. The red glow disappeared, and Naruto returned to normal.
"Oh, hi jiji!" Naruto said, before passing out on the floor. One ANBU in particular, seemed worried about the young boy.
"Kakashi, take him back to his apartment and stay next to his side. All of you except for Anko are to stand guard for Naruto, Anko, you're taking Sasuke to the hospital to have him checked out," the Sandaime ordered, receiving a 'Hai' before they disappeared.
"Sandaime-sama, is Naruto ok?" Ino asked, only witnessing the part where Naruto collapsed. The old man sighed. He didn't know how much of that she saw, but he'd have to go out on a limb.
"He'll be fine. Ino, can you go get your father for me? I'll explain it all when he get's here," the Sandaime said.
"Ok, I'll be ri-" Ino was cut off as a blonde-haired man came barreling towards her, his ponytail flowing out behind him.
"Ino, are you ok?" the man panted.
"Ah, Inoichi-san, glad your here. Ino is fine, but, as you can see so far, the Uchiha clan is not. Sit down, and I'll explain everything," the Sandaime said, gesturing for the blondes to sit.
"What about the fo-" Inoichi shut up, remembering that Ino was there with him.
"Like I said, I'll explain it all," the Sandaime said, making up lies on the spot to tell.
3 Years Later
"Alright, first spar is... Ino vs Naruto!" Iruka called out, watching as the two blondes reluctantly walked down to face each other. Then, smiles plastered their faces as they realized the same thing.
"Hey, Ino-chan, I bet I'm stronger than you!" Naruto teased Ino, who smirked.
"Yeah, let's see if that's the case, though I'll probably win," Ino said cockily. Naruto laughed, and Iruka ran through the rules of the match.
"Now, GO!" Iruka yelled, starting the match. Ino ran at Naruto, throwing a leg sweep at Naruto, who easily jumped over it and sent a palm strike towards Ino's stomach, which she blocked with her forearm. She slammed a fist forward blindly, striking Naruto in the chest and sending him backwards. He puffed out a breath, and before he knew it, he was on the ground, pinned with Ino sitting on his chest.
"Winner is Ino! Good job Naruto," Iruka said, gesturing for the two to sit back down. Naruto didn't sulk as he walked back, sitting next to Sasuke(Who, in this story, is completely opposite than canon, since, of course, Ino and Naruto were there to help him through it). Ino sat next to him and smiled, laughing when Naruto stuck his tongue out. Sasuke instantly slapped him on the back of his head, causing him to bite his tongue and everyone in the class to break out laughing.
"QUIET!" Iruka yelled, scaring the kids into submission. "Now, since you all want to laugh and joke around, I want you all to practice tree climbing, and the height that you get will be your score in this class," Iruka said, ushering the kids towards the trees and directing them how to do it. Naruto tried, and was instantly propelled off the tree, causing Sasuke to smirk.
"Let's see you try that one!" Naruto yelled as he got up, seeing that Sasuke had already made it a quarter of the way up before his steps faltered and he fell, gracefully landing on his feet.
"What was that?" Sasuke asked cockily. Naruto just humphed, and sat down, seemingly meditating. Immediately he received odd looks from his classmates.
"Kyuubi, can you stop that?" Naruto questioned as he approached the cage.
"Hmph. What's in it for me?" the Kyuubi asked greedily.
"I'll give you a better landscape than this rotten old cage, ok?" Naruto settled, having already planned this out.
"Alright then, I'll stop sabotaging you," the Kyuubi said, receiving a thank you from Naruto disappeared.
Back to the real world.
"Naruto, everything ok?" Ino asked, watching her friend stand up.
"Yeah, I'm good, just had a little chat," Naruto said, careful to what he said aloud.
"Good. Now c'mon, Iruka-sensei said we had 10 minutes to finish up," Ino said, watching as Naruto raced towards the tree and up it, not hesitating once as he reached the top and gained everybody's attention. He chuckled, realizing that he must've done something out of character. Heh, if they loved that, then they'll love this next trick I have up my sleeve, Naruto thought from atop the tree, making sure everyone was still looking. He closed his eyes and made himself fall backwards, laughing mentally when he heard everybody gasp at him. He did a quick spin and applied chakra all around himself, doing as Inu-san had taught him, and landed relatively softly.
"Baka!" Ino yelled, slapping Naruto upside the head.
"What, I was just having some fun. Besides, I wanted to show up Sasuke somewhat. Also, I always wanted to try that after Inu-san showed us that move, I just added the spin to make it look cooler!" Naruto said giddily, receiving another smack upside the back of the head.
"Baka, let's head back. I already made it near the top and so did Sasuke," Ino said, Sasuke nodding in agreement.
"NARUTO!" Iruka's voice yelled across the whole area.
"Hehe, I guess he saw what I did," Naruto said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
"Naruto, mind explaining what that was?" Iruka said in a sweet voice, almost sickly sweet and terrifying.
"Simple. Inu-san taught me that when he was watching over me," Naruto said, figuring this wasn't a time to lie.
"Who exactly is this 'Inu-san'?" Iruka questioned, knowing it was the cyclops.
"I don't know, he's an ANBU with silver hair and one eye covered. That, and he's always reading an orange little book," Naruto explained. Iruka sighed. That definitely was Kakashi.
"Alright, just don't do that again until you're a ninja, ok?" Iruka said, settling on saying that.
"Fine. So, what did I get?" Naruto asked, receiving another sigh from Iruka.
"A 100. Ino, a 90, and Sasuke a 95," Iruka said, watching as the three cheered.
"ALRIGHT! IT'S LUNCH TIME EVERYBODY!" Iruka yelled out, catching everybody's attention, which ran from their positions to the front of the academy to eat lunch.
1 year later
"Alright, today is one of your final days before the test. Today, we will be testing your teamwork skill, which means I will be putting you all into groups of three and spar against another group. Group 1 is Shikamaru Nara, Kiba Inuzaka, and Sakura Haruno. Group 2 is Shino Abuarame, Chouji Akimichi, and Hinata Hyuuga. Group 3 is Sasuke Uchiha, Ino Yamanaka, and Naruto Uzumaki, and finally, Group four is Kenchi Yaka, Yukan Kaminari, and Tsuki Himawari. Groups 1 and 3 are up first," Iruka announced, gesturing for said groups to gather in the center of the academy training grounds.
"Alright! Our team will beat yours, dattebayo!" Naruto yelled, receiving a glare from the opposing team.
"Alright, BEGIN!" Iruka yelled, NAruto bouncing on his toes with Sasuke and Ino falling into different fighting styles behind him. Kiba dropped into his family's taijutsu, Shikamaru stood there lazily, though on guard, and Sakura fell into a sloppy Academy style.
"Ino, Sasuke, here's the plan. We keep switching our opponents to confuse them, all the while fighting. When I say something, we switch, ok?" Naruto whispered, receiving a silent yes from his team mates. Naruto burst forward, moving in the most unpredictable style he could as he charged Kiba and Akamaru. Akamaru jumped into Kiba's hand, and Kiba launched him as fast as he could at Naruto. Naruto dodged the dog, and with Kiba's guard lowered, stuck him in the chest with a palm strike.
"Now!" Naruto yelled, seeing that the others had gotten a hit in. Naruto switched with Sasuke, who then switched Naruto's original position with Ino's. Naruto ran towards the Nara already planning his moves out. The Nara was moving slowly, almost as if he really didn't care. Naruto sent a leg-sweep, catching the Nara and tripping him before he sent another kick to the Nara's chest, sending him backwards and into the wall, knocking him unconcious. Naruto heard a yelp of pain and looked towards Sasuke, seeing that Akamaru had bitten his leg. Naruto charged towards Kiba, who was currently in a match of power with Ino. He had to help them out, no matter what. Ino saw this, and jumped away at the last second, watching Kiba look confused as Naruto's foot slammed into the side of the boy's face.
"Ino, go help Sasuke. I've got dog breath," Naruto said, not looking twice as he charged the Inuzaka. Meanwhile, Ino charged Sakura, leaving Sasuke to deal with the overly vicious dog. Ino slammed a fist into Sakura's face and a kick to her chest, knocking her back. Ino charged again, though stopped when she saw Akamaru flying over her head and slam into Sakura, who cursed loudly and threw Akamaru at Kiba, who was surprised when his puppy slammed into the side of his head.
"Naruto, hurry up and finish Kiba. We've got Sakura!" Ino yelled leg sweeping the banshee and Sasuke coming in and sending the pink-haired girl into the air. Naruto found this a good point to finish, as he kicked Kiba into the air and kicked him again, sending him towards Sakura who was falling. They collided in midair and fell in a tangled heap, knocked unconscious.
"Winner is Group 3. Would groups 2 and 4 please come down for your match," Iruka said, having the other Chuunin instructors help group 1.
"That was awesome!" was all Ino could say as they walked back.
"Says the one that didn't get bit in the leg by a rabid dog," Sasuke grumbled. Naruto laughed, slapping the Uchiha on the back.
"Hey, just remember. It was a 4 on 3 fight and we still won. We are the best team," Naruto said, receiving a grunt from the other boy.
"I bet we'll be the top three of our class," Ino said. She was about to laugh, but Naruto tackled her, knocking him and her to the floor.
"Naruto, what the he-" Ino stopped in her tracks as she saw a giant fireball scorch where they had just stood.
"Sorry," Naruto said apologetically, standing up then scoping out the area before helping Ino up.
"I-it's ok. Thank you," Ino said, looking around for the culprit.
"Die demon brat!" a voice came and Naruto flew back, blood gushing from his arm. Ino looked and found a Konoha Jonin with a bloodied kunai, a maniac grin on his face. Iruka charged, but was knocked back by a gust of wind as a second ninja appeared.
"Sasuke, let's get these bastards!" Naruto yelled, a rage seen only once before had started filling him. He charged at the two ninja, not waiting for the Uchiha as he slammed a fist into the face of a very surprised ninja, sending him flying across Konoha. His partner, the one who attacked Iruka, snapped out of confusion and went on the offensive. He slashed at Naruto, who dodged and slammed a fist into his stomach, sending another fist into his face. The man stumbled a bit, and then was sent back by a kick to the chest from Sasuke. An Anbu appeared just as the man went flying into the academy.
"Naruto, are you ok?" the Anbu asked as he walked to the boy. Naruto slowly calmed down in the Anbu's presence, and Ino ran over to the boy.
"I-I'm fine. I just thought that that was all over with," Naruto said. His eyes rolled up and he collapsed, Ino catching the boy with the Anbu's help.
"Is he ok?" Ino asked, worrying.
"Yeah, he'll be fine. He just passes out after things like that," the Anbu said, setting the boy down on the ground before disappearing.
"Everybody go home, we'll continue this tomorrow," Iruka said, rushing towards Naruto. Everybody but Ino and Sasuke left.
"Iruka-sensei, what should we do with Naruto?" Ino asked, kneeling next to Naruto.
"Well, I honestly don't know, but if they just made an attempt on his life, he shouldn't be left without protection," Iruka said.
"I'll bring him back to my house, my dad should be home soon," Ino volunteered.
"I'll help. I wonder if Inu-san will be watching over us while we bring him back," Sasuke said, looking all around for the Anbu.
"Hey, I'll walk with you guys just in case he isn't," Iruka said, helping to lift up Naruto. He let Sasuke take Naruto from there on, focusing on his surroundings. They headed out, Ino's house only being 2 blocks from the academy. The first block was relatively empty, a few passerby's. The second block, however, a mob had formed. Ninja and civilian alike were waiting for one boy in particular, and Iruka grew tense. One or two ninja he could handle, but not an entire mob.
"EVERYBODY GATHERED: DISPERSE IMMEDIATELY, OR FACE ANBU WRATH!" Inu's voice rang out from some where's above.
"No! We have to stop the demon before he bec-" the man who spoke up was instantly cut down, blood splattering the crowd.
"Now, if you don't want to die and end up like your friend here, I suggest you all go home!" Inu's voice rang out again.
"NEVER! There is only one of you, and lots of us. You may be an Anbu, but we still outnumber you!" another voice spoke up, a murmur of agreement ringing through the crowd.
"Oh well, I warned you," Inu said, opening up his wrath upon the crowd, blood flying everywhere, and the people final got the message as they started to run, being cut down by hailstorm of kunai.
"Alright, it's all clear to go," Inu said, giving an eye smile.
"But you just slaughtered an entire crowd!" Ino said despairingly.
"Ahh, I forgot. It was merely a genjutsu, though that first guy I did kill. Now go before they figure it out," Inu said ushering them into Ino's house.
"Thank you, Inu," Iruka said, opening the door for Sasuke to bring in Naruto.
"Ino honey, what are yo- Is Naruto ok?" Ino's mom said, rushing to the door to help.
"Yes, Mrs. Yamanaka, he's just suffering from exhaustion. He took out two jonin that had attacked him," Iruka explained, directing Sasuke to set Naruto on the couch.
"Oh my. But why bring him here?" Ino's mom asked, confused.
"Because Ino knew I'd be home right about now," Inoichi said, walking in through the door.
"Mr. Yamanaka, I'm sorry to intrude like this, but Naruto here just needs somewhere safe to stay for now," Iruka said, bowing in respect.
"Not a problem. He's welcome here anytime. I've even invited him to stay here with us, but he's respectfully turned down the offer," Inoichi explained.
"Ramen king, I'll save you!" Naruto's voice came out. Everybody sweatdropped, laughing nervously at the outburst.
"So, where are these jonin that attacked Naruto?" Inoichi asked, an evil gleam coming into his eyes.
"Umm, Naruto and Sasuke kind of knocked them across Konoha," Iruka said, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
"Heh, I guess the Academy is doing something right," Inoichi said, laughing.
"The Academy doesn't teach the way that these two fight, even you daughter doesn't use our fighting style," Iruka said, giving Inoichi a smile.
"Well, I was thinking, since everybody is here, that you recommend these three for a gennin team when they pass the tests," Inoichi said.
"Already done. These three work the best together, which I was proven right today in the three on three battles," Iruka said, "Oh, I have to get back to the academy." Iruka rushed out the door, heading hurriedly to the Academy.
"Brat, what are you doing here?" the Kyuubi's voice rang through the changed landscape. Instead of the sewer setting, it was now an open field where the Kyuubi was chained to a solitaire tree.
"I don't know, I was protecting the Ramen King the last I remembered," Naruto explained, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
"Puny human, I meant what happened before you idiotic dreams," The Kyuubi said.
"Well, I was attacked, and the first thing that went through my head was to protect Ino, for some odd reason. Next thing I knew, I had tackled Ino, got up, looked around for the attacker, and went on the attack," Naruto summed up.
"Kit, all things aside from the attack, what's with you and Ino? I mean, you two do spend a lot of time together, more than just regular friends do," Kyuubi said, his point getting across to the blonde.
"HEY! There is nothing going on between us, we're just friends," Naruto said, blushing at the comment.
"Then how come your first thought was to protect Ino and not yourself?" the Kyuubi responded, giving a smile full of malice.
"I-I don't know. All I know is that we're just friends," Naruto said, walking off, away from the damned fox.
"Boy, I have a deal to make. I will lend you my power, you just have to promise to give up SOME of your Ramen obsession," the Kyuubi said.
"Deal," Naruto said, the landscape around him fading.
3 hours after attack
Ino sat with a chair next to Naruto, who was starting to run a fever and thrash. She was becoming more and more worried as Naruto got worse and worse. He thrashed around even harder, and stopped suddenly, his fever going down when he stopped. His eyes opened slowly, staring up into Ino's baby blue eyes.
"Naruto, you're ok!" Ino yelled, crushing Naruto in a hug as he sat up.
"Where am I?" Naruto asked, his vision still a bit blurry as he tried to break the hug.
"You're at my house. You passed out after beating those jonin," Ino said, not letting go as she kept her eyes closed.
"Umm, Ino, can you let me go please?" Naruto asked, blushing after about 2 minutes. Ino realized it had been longer than a hug, and jumped back, blushing and cursing silently to herself.
"Ahem. I see that you're awake now," Inoichi said, witnessing the whole thing play out. This only caused the two to blush even more, and the older blonde to chuckle. "It's ok, you two lovebirds can go back to hugging, I just wanted to know this earlier," the blonde said, chuckling even more as they blushed even redder, stumbling over words as they avoided eye contact.
"W-we are not d-dating, w-we're just f-friends," In said, stuttering as bad as Hinata.
"Y-yeah," Naruto said, agreeing wholeheartedly with his friend, though it made him think back to his conversation with Kyuubi. He shook his head, ridding his mind of those thoughts for another day.
"So, you two were just hugging? And you, Ino, weren't just crying 10 minutes ago about Naruto?" Inoichi inquired, chuckling again as he saw the blondes fumble.
"W-wait, you were crying over me? Why?" Naruto questioned, turning to his friend. Ino just looked down, frowning.
"I-it was because you had started taking a turn for the worse. You started running a high fever and then you started roughly thrashing around. I was worried," Ino explained, tears falling to the floor as she sobbed.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to worry you," Naruto said, gently wrapping the girl into his arms and hugged her.
"So, now that that's out of the way, Naruto, from now on, you are staying here with us. We need to keep an eye on you, especially since those ninja were as to be so brave and attack you at the academy," Inoichi said, leaving no room for argument.
"Ok," Naruto said, still hugging the blonde girl.
"NAruto?" Ino asked, looking up.
"Yeah?" Naruto replied.
"Thank you," Ino said, burying herself further into the hug, causing Naruto to blush.
"Naruto, why don't you get ready for dinner," Inoichi said, signaling for the hug to be done with.
"Yes sir," Naruto said, breaking the hug off. He walked to the bathroom to wash up, smiling the whole way. Maybe Kyuubi was right, maybe he did like Ino as more than a friend.
AN: Alright, how was that? I know, most of it sucked, but I promise, it'll get better now that I'm done jumping around